Have you ever continuously checked your emails waiting for ‘that’ message, and when it finally does, you can hardly believe it and it makes you wear one of the biggest ever smiles?
That’s exactly how I felt when I got an email to say that I’d been selected to take part as a model for the the new promotional material and marketing for the new spa at St Michaels Hotel in Falmouth, Cornwall, UK.
Self love, a positive body image and confidence is something I have been majorly working on in the last few years and it was kick started when I went on a health, food and fitness lifestyle change when I turned the decade into my 30’s. I wondered about writing about this part and putting it in this blog post, but then equally I think it’s important, encouraging and nice for people who read these stories to know that sometimes, there is a lot more behind a picture.
I saw an advert on Instagram for a call up to St Michaels Hotel and Spa for their latest marketing campaign. Modelling is always something I have admired and have been interested in, because quite simply I love capturing the art of a look book and being able to be part of creating content and images which people love and can relate to. Being able to reach out to people, to speak to them, to resonate with them, to make them smile, inspire them, to give them ideas, to feel like they can too, to make them feel like they want to be where you are or to inspire styling, it’s quite amazing.
I don’t profess to be a model, I have said this before and I will say this a million times more, it’s about gaining some inner confidence to be a able to achieve something you’ve always wanted and it has a lot more substance for me than just a picture, I love blogging and modelling because what you are ‘modelling’, is art. Its speaking to an audience, capturing the moment and having an outlet for creativity.
Modelling comes in many forms and its something which I have only just had the confidence to get involved in. Be it fashion, interiors, marketing or food! Being able to create the right looks for the images you want to portray is so fulfilling. What I also love is us all being able to accept the bodies we have and embracing our look, it’s something to be celebrated and given that this is something I have struggled with, I love that this is so widely accepted now – and more important self love and a positive body image is encouraged which is such a step forward in society. We should build each other up, love each other and ourselves, spend a whole lot more time laughing, smiling and going for it and spend a lot less time self-doubting, not liking ourselves for who we are and having our our doubts get in our own way.
So on that thread…I submitted my interest to St Michaels and was astounded to receive an email from the very lovely Tori who is part of the marketing team, asking me to come along to an open evening at the hotel. I was gobsmacked. And what an absolutely fun evening it was! I had no idea of the format of a role call and I have to say, everyone was absolutely so lovely! We were all asked to change into our swimsuits and use the spa facilities as if we were there for the day with our friends. It was a brilliant idea because everyone was chatting and we were all instantly relaxed.
We spent a few hours exploring the spa, having a good giggle and enjoying the amazing facilities. The audition was fantastically managed and we were all made to feel comfortable and exactly like it was a fun evening with friends. I left absolutely buzzing with excitement and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I didn’t ever think for a minute that I would be picked to model for the actual promo! The audition was a thoroughly enjoyable experience in itself.
So first, a little about the spa – in a word – WOW! For me, this is the best hotel spa in Cornwall. It is incredible and the attention to detail has been so well thought through.
Everything from the treatment rooms to the pool with its hydro jets to the different steam rooms, everything has been so well crafted and thought about to give you the ultimate relaxation. I don’t think I have been to a spa yet which feels like the ultimate sanctuary and literally somewhere you could stay all day. The layout is seamless too and the decor is absolutely 5 star.
The pool is so warm and filled with hydraulic jets which massage your back and it also has built in loungers in the pool, so that you can literally lie there and feel weightless in the slipstream of the jets and bath-like warm water.
There are heated loungers to the side of the pool, a sauna, 2 different types of steam rooms (the rainforest one is in green and there is a Cornish sea salt one in blue – I love the local touch of the Cornish sea salt), an ice bucket challenge (yup, seriously, how cool is that!?), an outside swedish sauna, outside hot tub and seats and loungers a plenty to put your feet up, have a drink and read and snooze all day. The colours of the steam rooms also have that sensory feel, again so well thought through and instantly give you the feeling of calm.
Not only are the facilities absolute luxury, the decor is the most relaxing sanctuary you can think of. As you walk into the spa, you immediately melt away with the haven feel of the spa with it’s mixture of decadent blue, wood and a whole wall of candles! Also – so romantic!
I felt so at home and so switched off the minute I stepped into the spa and wanted to stay all day (and night!). This picture below completely encapsulates that point. The feel and the look makes you feel so completely chilled out. To me, it felt like a retreat a thousand miles away from home and the stresses of everyday life. It’s totally geared towards making you feel switched off and to let the layers of a stressful life slowly peel away with every hour you spend here.
The heated loungers are in their own nook, just to the side of the pool, all of which has been lavishly decorated in copper tiles, which retains the heat beautifully, so that when you’re laying still you don’t get cold if you are fresh out of the pool and instead you can feel the heat encompass your body like its own sauna and if you’re not careful you will forgivingly fall into a lovely nap! It has so be one of the nicest feelings in the world when you are at the spa and your whole body feels warm and relaxed and your mind feels totally switched off.
The attention to detail beautifully follows into the changing areas, which could happily sit as a bathroom and dressing area in a personal mansion! They aren’t cold (so important!) the lockers look like a wardrobe and there is even a dressing table complete with hairdryers, straightneners, copper pots for beauty supplies and the most gorgeous furniture!
They feel like a sanctuary and your switch off and zen continues into this room. This is totally set up for both day visitors and residents of the hotel alike. You’re made to feel at home and if you have been for a day visit, you’ve facilities at your disposal to get yourself ready for home or equally, if you are staying, you can get glammed up for the evening ready for dinner. You can see that the planning stage in the new spa was thought about for a very long time, its almost like all of the best bits of every spa you have been to, have been put together to form one big amazing spa, which ticks every single box!
The outside decking area has also been completely transformed and now has a hot tub and a Swedish sauna – complete with a glass back which looks out onto the beautiful view and the tranquil gardens, you really do feel like you are a million miles away from home and on holiday. If you haven’t already, you need to visit this spa! It’s an absolute must whether you are a visitor to Cornwall or you live here, you can’t not go! Its THE place to be, it’s ‘The Spa’ in Cornwall – and one of the best in the UK. I cannot rate it highly enough and feel to very lucky and honoured and proud to be one of the first to experience it and to advertise it.
So roll forward a few weeks, I really didn’t ever think for a minute that I would get picked for the shoot…but then there it was. There was the email to say that the St Michael’s team would love for me to model for them and take part in a shoot! Needless to say I was (and still am!) ecstatic! I am absolutely over the moon and never in a million years thought I would get picked. It’s such a massive honour and I was litererally jumping up and down and screaming at my phone!
The shoot was set for one months time and was an absolute blast! This is my first official photoshoot and I really didn’t know what to expect, however the St Michaels team, Elliott White – The Photographer and my fellow models were all exceptional. To find a balance between professionalism and fun is difficult but I am so happy to say that I think we all did this with absolute ease.
We arrived at St Michaels for 6am on a lovely Summer’s morning. The crew wanted us to have an early start in order to get the maximum use privately of the spa facilities without distrupting the guests too much which is completely understandable. I sent pictures to Tori of my swimwear outfits a couple of weeks prior and they chose a white swimming costume for me to wear which is from ASOS – which has a multi strap back and a plunge front which I think looks amazing in the photos.
The nature of a lot of the shots are natural lifestyle photos and I think this is perfectly captured. I think you can always get the best out of people in photos the more comfortable they are and this is why the shoot and pictures turned out so well I feel.
Along with me, there was another lady and two guys. We got on so well, I feel like I have known them for years already! We were genuinely chatting away between shots and getting along really fabulously and we really did have a good giggle too! I like to think this really shows in the pictures, we were all totally at ease and it made the shoot even more of a pleasure to do. The crew were exactly the same, super friendly and always on hand to chat and make us feel as comfortable as possible. We’ve all kept in touch too which is so lovely and I’m really happy we have.
We started off by having shots outside on the decking area, the morning dawn was starting to rise and it really added to the ambience of the outside space. If you’re an early riser then make sure you visit the outside area of the spa early in the day, the beauty of it the space, faint sounds of the sea and the beautiful facilities make it a pure relaxation space.
If you are going to St Michaels spa to switch off then I would say that this is the perfect time and space to do this. A dip in the outside hot tub completes this totally. There is something so pure and balancing about being outside but being in water, and the heat from the hot tub makes it a true restful space. Plus it means it can be done anytime of year come rain, wind, snow or shine and any temperature too!
We also took some shots inside the Swedish sauna and by the outside shower. This was followed by a dip in the hot tub for two of the team (who went on to feature in The Guardian! So proud!) and I was on a sun lounger, just ya know, casually reading a magazine! I love this shot because it’s so natural, I know thats the idea of a lifestyle shoot but it honestly does represent a real life scenario for me (reading a fashion magazine!).
The team then asked if we could get some inside shots of the spa and two of us went to the sauna and one into the pool. It was amazing fun to be able to test out the facilities at the same time as working on the shoot! This shot beautifully captures the amazing decor of the spa. I absolutely love how warm it feels, I know I have said this already but it really is like a sanctuary (I repeat this because if I had to describe the spa in one word, this would be it!). This shot masterfully crafts the pure elegance of the spa which is perfectly balanced between opulence and pure comfort. The ‘stay here all day’ feeling hits the spot at 10/10.
Two of the team then took some amazing shots in the steam and therapy rooms, these guys were pure naturals and made it look effortless. I think this comes across so amazingly well in the photos and I genuinely think it looks like 4 mates having a glamorous day out at the spa – and it really did feel like that behind the scenes.
I then had some shots taken getting into the pool (this is the one I have featured on my Instagram, Twitter and Facebook pages and which has gone on, to be on the front cover of the Euro Spa Magazine! – WHAT!?). I cannot tell you how honoured and proud I am to be part of this marketing campaign for the hotel and so to feature not only in the magazine and represent the hotel, but to be on the front cover is beyond my wildest dreams! The magazine also has a full feature on the spa inside! It’s just so exciting and absolutely amazing, I feel very proud.
To get the shot of me getting into the pool – Elliott was amazing! We spent a long time playing around with different ideas and in different poses. I tried my hair in different positions and my arm too and we tried different movements of getting into the water. I would walk in and out and then pause with my leg at different angles to make it look right.
We wanted it to look like I was walking into the pool, whilst looking natural and not too staged. I honestly think we nailed it! I never really give myself a pat on the back and I am not naturally confident at all but I am so proud of these photos. Elliot was fantastic at directing me too, to get the shots he needed. I am really patient too and more than happy to try different things to get the right outcome, so I think we worked well together.
Elliot White who was our photographer was excpetional! He made me feel so comfortable and I instantly felt at ease. With it being my first model photoshoot and being in my swimsuit was nerve-wracking but he guided me through every shot with such patience, professionlism and artistic flair, and I can honestly say I loved every second of it. I also learned so very much, there is so much detail and eye which goes on in photoshoots – never think its just point and click! Its so creative and I love it, its one of my favourite things in the world!
After the inside pool shots, Elliott and I headed outside for some hot tub shots in order to capture the outside light at its best. We tried different looks here too and we wanted to create the same natural and relaxed poise as the inside shots.
I sat on the edge of the hot tub and I tried my arm in different positions, looking away from the camera, looking towards the sea, my hair on each shoulder and my leg in and out of the hot tub. I enjoyed the creative side of the shoot so much and this is what I particularly love about blogging and fashion. I love creating looks! Each look and picture is unique and I love trying to capture essentially what you want the reader to think and to feel. When you get a shot right, capture the image you want and the look you want to depict, its the best feeling and you instantly know its right! You know that its going to look exactly how you want it to and its so much fun and gives you such a buzz when you are working with likeminded people.
So surely, after reading this and seeing the promotional material from St Michaels, you want to visit – right!?
As a funny side not and *outtake insight*, the hot tub shots were really funny. It was around 10am by this time and of course…breakfast time. So there I was in my swimsuit perching on the side of the hot tub being snapped away – whilst all the guests are sitting having their bacon and eggs at the window! Elliott and I made light of it and it was making us laugh, it certainly added to the fun of the shoot! Yeah, deep breath and hold that tummy in Deb!
We wrapped around 10.30am when the whole team were happy with the shots they had and we finished the day perfectly as me and my fellow models and new found friends all had breakfast together upstairs in the beautiful dining area. The food was amazing and it was so nice to sit and chat about the amazing shoot with these fabulous people. It was so kind of the hotel to lay this on for us too.
I’m not going to lie I was really nervous about doing the shoot and I definitely stepped out of my comfort zone! AND I LOVED IT! To be honest that was one of the reasons I applied for the shoot – sometimes its so good to push yourself because it opens you up to new experiences and this was a day, experience and very proud moments I wont ever forget. Its made me hungry for even more and I can’t wait to be more involved with the hotel and to do more and more fabulous shoots!
I could not be prouder of the photos and being part of the shoot. I’m immensely honourted, flattered and so thankful to St Michaels for believing in me to be apart of this marketing campaign – I am chuffed to bits and its a very proud moment for me! And I cannot wait to work with you guys again! Thank you also for the amazing feature in the European Spa Magazine – to not only feature but to be on the front cover, its jaw dropping for me! So beyond proud!
It just proves that a little self belief goes a long long way.
Now go visit – it’s incredble and you will not only leave feeling relaxed, happy and pampered – you will be blown away by the beauty, decadence and total luxury of the spa and the absolutely lovely staff who make your visit truly wonderful.
St Michaels Hotel and Spa – NAILED IT!
Love Debs Xo