Howdy friends! So, I’ve just recently gotten home from a two-week stint in Asia competing, practicing and teaching and once again I’m trying to recalibrate my ‘home groove’. I don’t know about you guys but I definitely find that it takes me a few days to truly settle in to wherever I am and whatever I’m doing and let me tell you, living as an ever-travelling, competing ballroom dancer, that can make life pretty tough at times! Luckily though, no matter where in the world I am, I can always rely on certain things to help a sister out and today I thought I’d share those things with you 🙂

Hand sanitiser:

This is only a relatively new thing in my life and was really brought to my attention while I was aboard the NCL Epic Cruise ship. The constant reminder of “washy, washy – happy, happy” songs and hand sanitising stations made me become a total germaphobe! I had never really thought about germs so much up until that point and then all of a sudden I was questioning EVERYTHING! Especially the poor old breakfast buffet. In my defence though I was also hearing some pretty horrific buffet stories from friends aboard the ship too which obviously didn’t help either! Nevertheless, it changed me and after washy, washy-ing 200 times a day (I kid, I kid… or do I?) for a whole week, hand sanitiser is now a part of my life. Thinking about it now though it kind of makes sense considering my constant state of travel and the fact that my job entails me holding people’s hands! What’s even better about this new obsession is that you can buy the sanitisers in such cutie patootie packaging!! I’m such a child when it comes to things like this; give me something pink and cute and I’m bloody sold so for me it’s a double win! I found these Gudetama hand sanitisers in Hong Kong and they are so dang cute with their little detachable loop bands making it easy for you to bang it on your bag and they smell like peachy goodness. The little pink guy on my backpack was a gift from a student so I’m not sure where it’s from 🙁 but still.. BEST STUDENT EVER AWARD!

Travel sickness tablets:

Yep, I’m one of those people. One of the one’s quietly winding down the window in the back of a car on a -2 degree day, one of the one’s getting all woozy when the plane is doing a million circles before landing into Heathrow, one of the one’s who should have travel sickness tablets on them at all times. You never know when that sickness is going to strike so I have learnt that it’s better to be prepared than to suffer in sick silence. I’m talking the proper stuff by the way, none of this ginger tablet crap that does absolutely nothing. A brand I often buy is Kwells and honestly I’ve been taking them for so long that the mere thought of them makes me want to gag, but boy do they work! One trip I was feeling confident and I decided to see if all my travel hours had paid off and given me some sort of immunity to travel sickness so I bought some of these pressure band things. Big mistake that was.. half way through the flight turbulence struck and the old pressure bands weren’t doing much other than putting large indentations in between my wrist bones. So, never again! I always travel with them and they come in so handy, especially considering they are quite small so if you have to (wouldn’t recommend it though) you can swallow them (don’t do it) without water (just don’t!).

Travel sized perfume:

As I’ve mentioned before here, I’m slightly obsessed with perfume. So it’s kind of no brainer that this would be on my list but when I’m travelling I find it much easier to opt for something more suited to my handbag size so I have access to it whenever I need a refresh. Smelling good is always appreciated and in my field of dance where it’s literally body on body, I think its super important (*cough, cough* men take note!) that you have the respect to not smell like an old wash cloth 🙂 I have a few different options I love to keep in my bag at different times. One being this small Elizabeth and James roll on that I bought at Sephora, it wasn’t too expensive, smells beautiful and is small enough that you can pop a bit of fragrance on in a hurry and chuck it back in your bag without it weighing your bag down or taking up too much space. Another option I like is to use the little tester perfumes you sometimes receive when buying or trying a new perfume. I always make sure to put them in a small pocket in my bag though so they can’t roll around and leak perfume everywhere! Finally, something I’m using at the moment which I also received as a welcome home gift from a student (I know, my students rock!) is this travel sized Chanel No.5 bottle which came with two refills! I think its perfect for the hand bag because it is small and sleek and the wind up, wind down feature means you don’t have to worry about lids falling off and leakage. Also, the two refills give me a little confidence to wear No5 everyday.. yes please!!

Face masks:

My face and skin undergoes constant change depending on my surroundings. I know how I’m feeling or how my body’s doing just from looking at my face. Dark circles, puffy eyes, dry lips, pimples – I get the works and sometimes if I really don’t take care of myself I get them all at once. HOT. I still haven’t found the cure for puffiness under the eyes (if anyone out there knows of any product they can recommend I’m all for it!) but I do know that there is something about Asia that makes it really bad. I don’t think its the food as I tried for a few days to eat super clean; veg, fruit, green juice, nuts and rice and I still woke up with severely puffy eyes and soreness. I think it may have something to do with the aircon in the hotel rooms but I’m not sure. All I know is that its the bane of my existence while Im there. Anyway I digress! Luckily, I can throw my skin a bone via the help of different face masks. I’ve tried all sorts of face masks in the past but one that I’m loving at the moment and that I found really helps to ‘wake’ my face up is the GlamGlow YouthMud mask. I bought this on my cruise as I’d heard so much about Glam Glow and decided to give it a go #poet. Now bearing in mind I have sensitive skin, the first time I tried this bad boy, I had to wash it off within 20 seconds. It was burning like hell! But after doing a bit of research online I read that it may cause a tingling feeling so I drank some cement and gave it another go. Burny Burn Town once again! But this time I persisted and it did pass and it was even followed with a pleasant cooling sensation which was highly appreciated in my case. it goes on as a thick ‘mud’ and after about 5 minutes dries to being rock hard giving you what I can only describe as all over botox face. You can leave it on for up to 15 minutes and when you rinse it off your skin will feel baby bum smooth. I feel like it really de-puffs my face as well and leaving my skin in the perfect pre-makeup state. I simply follow with my usual moisturiser and then I can apply my makeup straight away with out the fear of it slipping and sliding all over the joint. Definitely recommend it to anyone who, like me, wakes up looking like they were involved in a mild car accident overnight.

So there are some of my secrets, what are yours!? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

Love, Rachelle xx

 

 

 

Pretty over-dramatic title up there I know, I mean talk about #firstworldproblems, “Oh no, I can’t live without this specific Shampoo or my life will literally end!” But c’mon we’ve all been there right!? You’ve finally found that amazing product that takes all of the stress of searching through the aisles (or pages if you’re a bit of an online shopper!) away and then POOF! Its been discontinued. Truly devastating. Its like recently my hairdresser has decided to move forward with his studies and has therefore decided to stop hairdressing which is obviously so great for him but when I was on the receiving end of the news I was gutted! I felt like it was the end of the world or he had died or something (again, slightly over-dramatic maybe?). But anyway, I’ve gotten over it now and I’m working on ways to move forward *enter gentle sobbing*. So today I wanted to talk about my good old shampoo and conditioner. Two very important products in my life and if you love your hair, they should be important in yours too! I did a post similar to this last year but I wanted to give an updated version because a) they discontinued my shampoo (I know!) b) I’ve tried some other mediocre products which made me love mine more and c) I really need to harp on a bit more about how banging my conditioner is.

About a month ago I was informed that De Lorenzo had decided to can my colour (Claret) in their shampoo range. After continuously shouting “WHY, WHY, WHYYY DE LORENZO!” and other profanities such as “IT WAS JUST THE PERFECT COLOUR, WAAAHH”, I pulled myself together and decided to try something new. After doing my usual read a million reviews online, I narrowed it down to a red shampoo by Davines. People were saying it was awesome and I thought man this stuff is gonna be good surely! Well, turns out most of those people probably haven’t tried De Lorenzo’s products or they were looking for something a little different to me. Maybe the shampoo would be really great if you wanted to add some soft red tones to your already light, blonde hair but for me having already red hair, it wasn’t very noticeable. Usually I would get out of the shower and be like BAM! New colour! To the point that sometimes people ask me if I’ve just gotten my hair done (yes, it’s that good). But after trialling this stuff for a few weeks my hair was starting to look a little dull and with my colour only being a demi-permanent it wasn’t helping it fade gracefully y’know. What a bummer.

So a few days before I went on a month away trip I decided to head to some shops in search of my old faithful De Lorenzo to see if I could scramble up any last bottles of Claret. Upon my looking I saw they had a few other red shampoo’s available in their range (Claret was well and truly gone) and I went with a bottle of ‘Fire Red’. Fire Red is said to enhance vibrant red-orange tones in coloured or natural hair. Could be a win or could be a total fail, but luckily for me it turned out to be a win! The colour was so similar to Claret it me wonder if that’s why they discontinued it in the first place. So whatever your hair colour, or whether your hair is coloured or not, definitely go and check out the De Lorenzo range to see if they have any shampoos or conditioners which might help you enhance your tresses. Be careful as to not make it become your only shampoo though as it can be a bit drying and that’s not what you want! I usually go with using it every second wash and that works a treat for me. The best thing is that the shampoo is made from all natural plant products and it’s made right here in Oz! I love a good Vegan product that can stand up to others and the pigment in this shampoo is so potent that it literally colours my hands and nails when I’m applying it! But fear not worry warts! It all washes off by the time I get out of the shower so don’t think you have to go all crazy wearing surgeon gloves in the shower to save your manicure 😉 Head on over to http://www.salonstyle.com.au to shop the range or click here to check out my home boy, Fire Red.

While I was away on my recent dance trip/holiday (which you can read about here!) I ran out of conditioner. Now again I know it sounds like nothing and I thought the same, I was like that’s fine I’ll just grab something else and my hair will remain in its awesome state. BA BOWWWW. I headed to Boots and hit the conditioner section; popular brand – check, slightly expensive – check, pretty packaging – check, picked a winner, no problems. Ah, where to start.. I had to use half the dang bottle to coat my long, thick hair (I usually only use about a 50c piece worth), I had to leave it in for 5 to 10 minutes (hate that, especially in a shower in Blackpool which is more like a scolding hot drizzle from a teapot than a shower AND when I usually only have to wait 30 seconds to a minute) and I got no bloody pay off after waiting all that time! After using it for a couple of weeks my hair was becoming pretty dry and after all the torment I was giving it from being styled into lavish dance do’s (lavish, dahling) this stuff wasn’t helping  to restore it back to its usually happy, bouncy self. Once I got back to my house and a bottle of my conditioner – Pureology Hydrate Condition, I was home. My hair was back! Having that time without it made me realise how great it makes my hair feel and look and made me love it even more *insert heart eyes emoji. It may sound so ridiculous that a conditioner can bring so much joy but I’ve tried SO MANY conditioners over the years from Pantene to high end salon brands and this stuff just takes the cake. This conditioner is also 100% Vegan created with the best and purest products specifically for colour specialists and their clients. So if you have coloured hair, this stuff is for you! You just bang it on, wait 30 seconds and rinse off to feel the magic it has worked; it brings hydration, strength and shine all back to your hair without using any nasties. Did I mention it’s inexpensive too so just quietly.. TRY IT!! You can only buy this brand in specific salons but to make things easier click this link to purchase it online and get it delivered to your door!

Thanks for reading my little bloggity blog and if you haven’t already please SUBSCRIBE!

Love, Rachelle xx

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A week ago today I got back from my first ever REAL holiday. I know, I know, I travel the world for a living I hear you say but this trip was an actual full-blown week of doing nothing, on a ship with absolutely no dancing involved – A PROPER HOLIDAY! As you may have noticed I’ve been MIA for about a month or so and what can I say other than I’m sorry!? May is always the busiest time of the year for me as it’s the build up to the biggest comp on the Dancesport calendar held in Blackpool so I always spend that month in the UK training and getting my head in the zone which = not much space for my blog. But, with time away brings much excitement for newer, shinier blog posts full of inspiration and enthusiasm! Today I wanted to revel in some of the highlights of my trip cruising around the Mediterranean sea. Not only to give you a little look into some pretty places around Europe (just incase you’re planning a trip in the near or distant future!) but also because it’s cold and wintery back here in Oz and looking at these photos takes me back to the warm, early Summer sun. Aaaah, dreamy 🙂 Quick warning, this post is going to be very picture orientated so if that doesn’t float your boat (haha, cheeky boat puns and all now!) look away now..

This was my first cruise so to be honest I was a total noob at pretty much everything. I was lucky enough to have my best friend working on board though so he quickly helped met get accustomed to the boat lingo. “Washy washy, happy happy” = “wash your hands with this sanitiser”, “Gangways” = the ramps you use to get on and off the ship, “tenders” = the boats that take you ashore when it’s to shallow to port and “All aboard” = “get your ass on the ship by this time at the latest!” were some of my faves. Also, having the first day as a ‘Sea Day’ (“you’re gonna spend the whole day on that ship!”), really helped me get my bearings (yep, more boats puns) and locate the most important parts of the ship, by which of course I mean the Mandara Spa. On Sea Day I had a relaxing Hot Stone Massage complete with slight rockings from the ship to reeeeally put you to sleep, spent too much time in the sauna, ate boat food and enjoyed the night’s entertainment. The entertainment was made even better due to the fact that aforementioned Mr, Bestfriend was in the two main shows; Burn the Floor and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. The next week was sure to be a banger!

The first stop, Naples, is where Pizza was invented so naturally Steve and I only had one thing on the agenda for that port. You guessed it… Ride a llama! Ha! Eat pizza obviously. I thought being a Vegan and asking for a pizza with no mozzarella on it in the home of where pizza originated would go down like the following, *insert Italian accent* “What!? No mozzarella on your pizza? Are you crazy? This will not be pizza without the cheese! Get out of my shop!” but actually I was pleasantly surprised! I didn’t even get a reaction out of the waiter and he happily took my order 🙂 The pizza definitely lived up to it expectations and it WAS the best pizza I’ve ever eaten. Quick tip if you’re ever going to Italy, go to Naples and eat the pizza. Eat ALL the pizza because it’s bloody amazing. Wandering the streets I was drawn to how beautiful the city was in an old and historical way. There are lots of cute little shops and if you feel like being really tourist-y you can head to Pompeii and see the ruins and Mt. Vesuvius. I was feeling lazy that day after my extremely “busy” Sea Day so I chose to look at Ol’ Vesuvius from the window of the ship’s buffet restaurant ‘The Garden” instead. #YOLO.

Heading into Civitavecchia I wondered what the hell is so special about this place? But then I realised (or was told by Tourguide Bestfriend) that this joint is our gateway to Rome. Feeling more adventurous that day we decided to take a day trip without the overpriced help of Ship Excursions into Rome to see the sights and take selfies with them. Now, I knew that Rome had some amazing ruins to see but I did not realise that the whole place is basically scattered with them! You just casually get off the train and then BAM! Beautiful picturesque ruins to your left, dilapidated Castle to your right! My mind was well and truly blown, everywhere you looked there was something interesting to see! It was so different to home and I just couldn’t believe that some people were lucky enough to grow up with that much history surrounding them. So. Dang. Cool. We saw the Colosseum,  the Trevi fountain and the Pantheon, ate some delicious sorbet, drank italian espresso’s and generally did as much as we could in a 5 hour window. It really was apparent that you need a good couple of days or more to explore Rome but I felt very lucky to be able to get any time there at all, it was gorgeous!

Another breathtakingingly beautiful place we ported at was Cannes in the French Riviera. Golly gosh this place looked like it was out of a postcard it was so pretty. It was the perfect photo taking destination hence why the majority of my photos from that week were taken on that day! There was so much to see here ranging from the expensive brand shops on the waterfront to the cute little market stalls a couple of streets back all the way to the mountain-esque views. I fell in love with the winding little streets piled high with town houses and cafes and I’m pretty sure I said to Steve about 732 times, “Can we live here now?”. On the day that we were there the temperature was a perfect 25 degrees which just added to the relaxed, romantic vibe the whole place had. Speaking of romantic, on our wanderings we came across a guy playing a violin by a castle on the top of a mountain.. I mean C’MON! It doesn’t get much better than that does it. It was definitely my favourite of all the ports we visited as I’m sure it was for many of the other cruisers and I’m looking forward to the day that I Cannes go back again! Yes, I went crazy with the can/Cannes puns on my Instagram.. apologies to my followers 🙂

Those were my main standouts from the week! But what about you? Ever been to Europe? Any places you would recommend? Hit me up in the comments below 🙂

 

 

 

Today is my 1 year Vegan-niversary 🙂 Cheers to you, tummy! How time flies!! I have to admit it hasn’t all been sunshine, rainbows and butterflies (especially in the beginning!) but it has definitely been my calling in terms of mental and physical health and clarity. So to celebrate I decided to write a little blog post on some of the memorable moments that have happened over the past year including everything from the good, the bad and the ugly! So why not start with the ugly, shall we!?

The first week of hell…

When I first started this lifestyle I decided to write a bit of a food journal and boy am I glad I did this looking back at it now! The diary entries are priceless and it’s pretty clear to see that I was feeling like death in those initial few days. The general consensus of each day being – I HAVE A HEADACHE, MY STOMACH HATES ME, KILL ME. Really my body was just going through a detox from a lifetime of eating crap but even knowing this didn’t make it any easier! Here’s a look at my struggle through Day 3..

Thursday 28th April 2016 – Day 3 Vegan

Woke up with a headache AGAIN.

Made a smoothie for brekkie at 10am

  • 4 nanas
  • 5 dates
  • coconut water
  • almond milk
  • cinnamon
  • ice
  • spinach

Have had chronic upset stomach all morning.

Midday- STILL HAVE HEADACHE. Time to drink a gallon of water to see if that helps.

Tried to eat some fruit (peach, apple + banana) and a cucumber around 2pm but still have headache.

Had a coffee at 4pm.. still have headache.

Made an early dinner of baked sweet potato wedges with homemade tomato soup – headache finally gone! YAY.

Bloated as all hell today, hoping to wake up to a non-bloated, flat tummy tomorrow morning.

HA HA even reading it back again, it still makes me laugh. I can’t actually remember how horrid I felt but from the sound of this bad boy I was not too chipper. These feelings definitely started to clear after day 6 or 7 and I remember how amazing I started to feel once that initial phase was over! No more bloated-ness, no more brain fog and no more HEADACHE. Maybe this was going to be something I really enjoy!?

Revealing the new Vegan diet…

It sounds pretty strange but I was actually really nervous about telling people of my new vegan ways haha. I knew that people would ask questions (they did, and still do!) and I wanted to be able to answer them truthfully and knowledgeably without sounding too preachy or making anyone question their own food choices. Truth is, I still find it tricky sometimes because there is always the odd wangchong out there that gets off on making me feel like I’m missing out or telling me that I am totally batshit crazy but I’ve just come to be able to blow it off now and realise that maybe they have their own insecurities that has nothing to do with my choices. Food is a pretty crazy topic!! My close family has been so supportive (always worrying more about what I can eat before themselves!) and so many of my friends have actually been open enough to suggest going to Vegan restaurants and giving it a go too! So for that I am extremely grateful and feel so lucky to have such supportive, understanding and non-judgemental people in my life 🙂 You too Seewah 😉

Making new discoveries.

The other day I was discussing why I transitioned to Vegan-ism with someone and it really made me realise how many doors it opened for me. Whilst most people would feel like they were giving a lot up (this person I was talking to included), I was never a great lover of meat anyway (I only really ate chicken and fish) and dairy upset my stomach so for me I felt like it wasn’t that hard to just go into it all guns blazing. Little did I know it would then lead me to try SO MANY other new and exciting things ranging from skincare, haircare, beauty products to things like Veganaise and Vegan Cheese! I used to turn my nose up at Tofu, now I crave it! Beans? no thanks.. nowadays they are a staple! It’s forced me to try new recipes and think of different ways of creating meals which has been so much fun 🙂 A few weeks ago Steve and I made Vegan Lasagne and it was AMAZiNG… I never thought something like that would be possible to eat when first starting out on this diet but these days it seems anything is possible! Vegan chicken schnitzels anyone?

So for now I’m going to keep on keeping on with this whole Vegan thing. Steve has become a bit more of a flexi-Vegan, eating Vegan at home but doesn’t mind going for something Vegetarian or Pescatarian when we go out which is totally cool too. I think that people should just do whatever makes them feel best and hey, if you are craving fish.. then maybe your body needs some dang fish! My body however hasn’t craved anything over the past year so that’s why I’ve found it so easy to stick to what I’m doing, not even straying once! I’ve had a few mishaps though which have obviously been when eating out; I’ve been given a focaccia full of cheese one time even after telling the lady I wanted no cheese or dairy in it because I was Vegan.. man I was HANGRY that day (my family can vouch for that!), generally my Asian students have a tough time understanding what Veganism is and always seem to be trying to force feed me Cheesecake and giving me rice balls that contain “no meat” only to bite into it and find a whole heap of red meat and egg inside.. hah! Oh the joys, but luckily I have done a pretty good job at avoiding these obstacles and sticking to my guns 🙂 I haven’t had to give up the things I love in life; coffee, ice-cream (sorbet), pizza and bread and using these new vegan products have improved my skin and hair dramatically so no complaints here!

I think I’ve saved a lot of little animal friends this past year too and as Steve said to me this morning, “Your stomach must be so green it’s growing trees in there.” He he.. #yeahboiii.

 

 

 

There are a few grooming pre-requisites that any female ballroom dancer should be aware of before heading into a dance competition. Some things are obvious (no crinkly floats or skirts!) whilst others may not be so obvious. I travel to major competitions all over the world and nowadays I see its pretty common to get hair and makeup done by a professional but what about the other important factors that go into creating the finished product? Ballroom dancing is a highly visual and highly perceptive sport/art so if you want to do well not only do you have to learn how to dance but you have to make dang sure that you look the best on that floor too! The learning stuff I can leave to your teachers as it’s not so easy to give a dance lesson through a blog (I could try? Joking..) but I thought maybe I’d help a sister or two out by sharing a few things I find important on a competition day. The best thing about most of these factors are that we can ourselves control them and therefore put forward our best 🙂

1. Dress + Shoes:

When going into a competition I think these two items are probably most important (thanks Captain Obvious you say!) but I don’t mean just ‘having’ these things but actually the quality, the fit and the look of them. Obviously the style and cut of the dress is your own personal choice but some things to make sure of are that the fit of the dress is right, the colour is appealing and that the stonework is professional. Find yourself a dressmaker you can trust! Also make sure that once you have your dress that it is always clean on comp days, fake tan and makeup all over your beautiful dress is not a good look.

Shoes are an important one for me but maybe that’s just because I’m a bit of a perfectionist! I feel that the shoes should make the feet look elegant and beautiful because they are where a lot of judges’ eyes will most likely be at some point. Therefore, dirty old shoes are a not a go-er. Just imagine if you were going to a ball… would you wear a clapped out pair of dirty, worn out shoes to go with your amazing new ball gown? No? Well its the same thing on the dance floor! If you can, try to have 2 pairs of dance shoes; one for practice and one for competitions. Also, if you dye your shoes to match your dress then that’s taking professionalism to the next level my friend! Hands up who wants a DIY tutorial on dyeing dance shoes? Let me know in the comments box below!

Last quick thing to mention on this topic is smell. I go to too many comps where my gag reflex is triggered. Tan makes us not smell pleasant and coupled with intense working out, tight-fitting dress materials and closed in shoes with no socks it really isn’t a flower party. Invest in some Febreeze, wear deodorant and smother yourself in lovely perfumes. We want to knock the judges off their feet when we dance past them because our dancing is THAT amazing, not because we smell like an old spice pantry.

2. Fake Tan

Fake tan is pretty much a must for any ballroom dancer. It’s horrible and leaves us looking like Oompa Loompas in public for many days after the comp but unfortunately there is no getting around it. In my 20 years of dancing I’ve only ever seen one (Yes, ONE!) girl not wear fake tan to an event. That chick was ballsy and had the most beautiful porcelain white skin and was going for what looked to be a 1920’s type vibe. So it was for an effect to help with her statement but even that didn’t last for long.. 2 or 3 comps maybe? Then she was back with the rest of us, tanning up a storm. I have a blog post on tanning which you can find here but mainly for grooming sakes make sure your tan is even, not too orange or green in colour and don’t wear too much! Over tanning is probably worse than not wearing any tan to be honest. I’m very fair naturally so I never have the problem of being over tanned but I do feel that ballroom gals can get away with being a lot less brown than the latin ladies. I only ever really wear one or two coats of tan these days (my latin days are OVER!) plus I feel that having darker hair can let you get away with wearing less tan too. A tip I like to do if I do have a fair bit of tan on is to still keep my face a shade or two lighter but apply a deeper colour around the perimeter of my face so that my face still has light to it. If you match your whole face to the colour of your skin not only will you look like a carrot but you will lose your features too! Getting patchy tan after doing too many comps in a row? Buy yourself some exfoliating gloves, scrub it all off and start again girl.

3. Nails

sns-nails
SNS nails 🙂

Ah nails, it pains me to say this but ev-e-ry thing counts on that dance floor and sometimes it comes down to the most tiniest of details, especially at the highest level. It may sound super pedantic to say that even our nails need to look groomed but hey, that’s dancing for ya! I really don’t like wearing acrylics, I have done for soooo many years because my natural nails are short, weak and don’t grow so acrylics helped my hands look more lengthened and elegant. But that stuff is really bad for your natural nails. Nowadays I’m trying out SNS which is basically a dipping powder containing 5 different kinds of Vitamins and Calcium which help to create healthier nails underneath. It has no odour, uses no primer and requires no UV light to set. Unlike acrylic and gel it prevents damage to your real nails but feels just as strong and durable. Also unlike shellac, you are still able to have the help of tips initially to get you started with some length until eventually your real nails grow long enough on their own. If you are lucky enough to have long natural nails just make sure they looked manicured and maybe slap a bit of colour on them too!

4. Hair + Makeup

This one is a little bit of an ambiguous topic but there are a few ‘guidelines’ I guess that can be followed. Hair should be sleek using gel or hairspray to get a smooooth and shiny finish. Big, boofy and loose wedding type hairstyles don’t really hit the mark. The hair should be so tight that when you move your head the hair does not move, any wobbly bits need to be sorted out and there should be absolutely no flyaways! I did a low bun tutorial with my gal Rachel Macintosh a while back linked here where you can kind of get a vibe for just how sleek I mean when I say sleek. I mean like LEGO. Like rock hard. Get it? The ponytail part of the hairstyle should be pulled so tight that you feel like it’s giving you a facelift and any decorative parts and the bun should be pinned in a way that you cannot see the pins. Headpieces can be cool, just make sure they tie into your dress otherwise it can tend to look like a bit of a random after thought.

Makeup should be clear, should bring out your features and should complement your overall look. I like to look at my dress and start to conceptualise a vibe I want to portray and allow the make up to reflect that. For example recently, I’ve been wearing quite a simple, black, timeless and bold looking dress so have tried to also keep my makeup along those lines. I’ve made an emphasis on a porcelain, full coverage base, kept with neutral browns and whites on the eyes paired with some black to give it a bit more edge and a retro 50’s glam red lip to finish. I do often rock this look but that’s what I feel most comfortable in and you do have to also feel your best on that floor too! If I was wearing silver or something more blingy then maybe I would add some glitter and some highlighter etc. So remember, it’s so important to have a clear image of how you want to look because if you aren’t clear enough to portray it, the audience/judges won’t be able to read it.

I hope some of these things helped, I am forever learning new things along the way and that’s whats so great about dancing! It’s always evolving and changing 🙂 Who knows, maybe one day none of these thing will be important! We might all be dancing around in jeans, with no fake tan and our hair out flying everywhere.. you never know!

Love, Rachelle xx

 

 

 

 

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Howdy from Hong Kong! Gosh I love Honkers. It’s such a bustling, crazy little place where the streets are always filled with people, everything is open til later than late and there are TOO MANY beauty shops. Imagine 5 different versions of Priceline (Australia) or Boots (UK) and then put a dozen of them within a 5 km radius of one another and that’s Hong Kong. Then rather than imagining those shops to be all set out in a spacious and clear manner, change that to everything being piled ontop of one another and filled with brands and products you’ve never heard of. It’s a girls paradise! Whenever I come to HK I always make sure to stock up on all the different beauty buys that I know I cant get elsewhere. It’s also a place where I find myself trying so many different and new things and being a fair-skinned lass, the products seem to be made for me! So, because I only really had yesterday free in the whole week that I’m here I tried to cram the bulk of my beauty hunting into one day and I still managed to come away with some bargains! Let’s have a little looksie shall we?

First up, face masks. I haven’t really gone into too much detail on my blog as to how obsessed I am with sheet masks. But I guess cat’s out of the bag now!! After travelling to different parts of Asia for the past 7 years, I quickly noticed how beautiful and young Asian skin looks. This can’t all be because of great genes can it!? One thing I have learnt is that Asian women put a lot of time, effort and care into maintaining the youthfulness of their skin and a big part of their regime is face masks. This is pretty obvious from the minute you step into any beauty store as the places are usually decked out with massive skin care sections featuring hundreds of different sheet masks all claiming to do various things. Snail goo masks, bird’s nest masks, bee pollen masks, horse oil masks.. there are definitely some strange ones but there are also a fair few that are much less daunting. I’ve tried so many different ones and I am honestly yet to find one that I feel hasn’t left my skin feeling better than before I put it on. I guess you just have to be clear in what you feel your skin needs and then try to either ask one of the staff to help you or try to find parts on the box that are actually written in english and then find something that offers what you need. I always tend to sway toward the same things which include brightening, tightening, moisturising and collagen masks. This time the shop I was in was offering a bit of a deal on some boxes and so I got the 24K Gold Hydra Ampoule Mask by Fresh Nation. There seems to be a lot of hype surrounding ‘gold’ masks and this one contains an extra separate section containing ‘ampoule’ which is basically a concentrated, stronger version of the product that you apply first before the sheet mask. This mask is good for moisturising and hydrating the skin whilst improving elasticity and vitality. Sounds good to me, cant wait to try it!

There is the cutest shop ever located right in Causeway Bay called Etude House which is Korean based and stocks oh so many cutesy beauty bits. I don’t often buy many things from here because the first time I found it, I went totally overboard due to the cute-ness and was left slightly underwhelmed on the quality of the tester samples they gave me, but it is always fun to see what new things they have on offer. They also have billions of face masks so I picked up a collagen one (always a winner!) and a Cherry Jelly lips patch because YOLO. The lips patch contains collagen, sodium hyaluronate and cherry extract which will help the lips feel moisturised, revitalised and plump which sounded great for my post flying, dehydrated non-plump lips. I also got a little charcoal chin patch because I’ve had a bit of a chin breakout 🙁

Over at Sasa (the joint that seems to be the major player in beauty here) I found a replica of the Silisponge. If you haven’t heard of the Silisponge don’t be too alarmed as it’s a relatively new product which was produced in Korea to rival the good old beauty blender. Its made out of silicone and is meant to be a lot more hygienic than a normal sponge and it doesn’t soak up all of your precious product. I first saw it online and didn’t even bother trying to order one because it was completely sold out. It hasn’t taken long for other companies to steal the idea and make their own! I gave it a go this morning and whilst I did feel like I was slapping my face with a silicone chicken fillet (for your bra), it did give a nice finish and I barely used any product. Plus the sponge washed off clean as a whistle afterwards so no more nasty germs! What I found most hilarious about this buy though was compared to the usual AUD$30 Sephora like to charge for the Beauty Blender (I don’t get it?) I paid AUD$5 for this little guy. I’m pretty sure I won’t have to be replacing it every 3 months either!!

I got a few random bits from a shop called Mannings Plus which reminded me of a pharmacy or chemist in Australia but still contained sooooo many exciting things! I bought a charcoal toothbrush because mine had unfortunately been ruined by my red shampoo some 36,000 feet up in the air. There is always something that has to leak/explode isn’t there! Also, Id never seen charcoal toothbrushes before? Apparently the charcoal is meant to remove stains from teeth, be naturally antibacterial and balance the pH level of the mouth which reduces cavity forming bacteria. I’d heard of charcoal toothpaste but these bad boys are next level! I also got some Revlon airbrush effect foundation, pretty boring I know as it’s not in cushion form and isn’t some new age asian bb cream but this stuff is great for competitions and I have completely run out of comp makeup 🙂 Also it was AUD$7 cheaper than what I pay in Australia.. BARGAIN!

Speaking of bargains, there’s one last thing Id like to mention. About a month ago I did a little online shopping and purchased some Crest 3D Whitening Strips from America. This product isn’t sold in Australia but I had heard from a couple of friends who had been to America and bought it say that the strips are AMAZING and their teeth spoke the truth! All up it cost me AUD$90 for the Professional Effects pack (not the bargain I’m speaking about btw) and it took roughly 2 weeks for the delivery. It contains 20 treatments and I’ve been sharing it with my boyfriend and we have had some pretty positive results! Anyway, I found the same product in Mannings for the price of AUD $30. 1/3 of the price. I know. CRAZY. So I guess I know where I’ll be purchasing this stuff from in the future huh! But seriously I would still buy these things even if I had to pay the $90 because my teeth have literally lightened a few shades already. I have taken progress pics but I feel like they would seriously ruin the prettiness of my blog, so use your imagination guys 😉

Well that’s it! Has anyone else been to Asia and are there any items/products that you would recommend getting? I know the mascara here is off the chain and they have amazing falsies too 🙂 Let me know in the comments below.

Love, Rachelle xx

 

 

Let’s address the ginormous elephant in the room here before we get started shall we? I’ve been MIA for the past couple of weeks… apologies for that. Life is a rollercoaster ride and sometimes you’ve just got to hang on tight, close your eyes and feel your way through those ups and downs. For me these past couple have weeks have been just that, up and down. But mostly down. In positive news, my partner and I got a new car (after driving around in a 2000 Toyota Echo for 8 years, basically ANYTHING is an upgrade!), I’ve gotten to catch up with some friends and family (yes, this is a luxury for me!) and I’ve been trialling a few products to post about. But the bad news has kind of been what’s been consuming most of my time and energy the past week and a half and that has been the passing of my Opi (it’s how you say ‘grandfather’ in German, and yes I’m half German). It’s never easy losing someone you love and my Opi was so special to me which has made it even harder. Those happy memories of him will last forever though and the thought of that has definitely helped, but it for sure has been difficult to get on here and pretend that nothing has happened so I decided to take a little bit of time 🙂 Alas I feel that time has passed now and I didn’t come on here to be a negative Nancy so I shall speak sadly no longer and I’ll jam on through to some of those products I’ve been wanting to post about!

Today it’s hair masks but make sure to stay tuned for the next episode! I’ve been trialling a couple over the last 3 weeks and one has definitely been a stand out. I love the luxurious-ness of hair masks and I especially love the way they leave my hair feeling silky and sleek like I’ve just walked out of the salon. Each of the masks I’ve been testing have different “priorities” shall we say but the general gist of any hair mask I feel is to replenish damaged hair, giving it back its strength, smoothness and shine. So if you’re interested in splashing out and giving your hair a good masking then read on sister!

Evo: Mane Attention Protein Mask

Suitable for: coloured hair, damaged hair, people with hair, people with split-ends, hair.

First impressions: Nice simple packaging, easy to use and LOVE that I only need to leave on for 3-5 minutes. Smells fruity, floraly, pretty-y and is transparent in colour (does that even make sense?) Probably better to say the product has no colour?  Ahh forget it. It doesn’t have much of a ‘mask’ type feeling to it and could actually pass as being a conditioner. Due to lack of richness/thickness it doesn’t go very far on my super thick hair and I have to use a gallon.

After drying: Well considering it claims to be the “psychiatrist for split ends” and states it provides “boosts for the shoots” (ahem, whatever that means!) I feel it kiiiiiiiiind of lives up to its name. My hair did feel different in a slightly courser, stronger way and there did appear to be less split ends. I guess if you are looking for that silky, slippery post-mask hair feeling then this isn’t really the guy for you. This bloke is more about fixing past damage and protecting the hair from future inflictions. The concept is that the more you use it the stronger the hair becomes and after a couple of washes I was all out of product and I couldn’t really tell if my hair was that much stronger. I would have loved to have tried this product 2 years ago when my hair actually was totally stuffed from bleaching it platinum so that I could really put it to the test because at the moment my hair feels in pretty good nick so I’m not sure if that’s why I didn’t feel much change? Not my favourite hair mask but definitely not something that I would say is totally hopeless.. give the little sampler a go and see if it helps you 🙂 You can find it over here at Salon Style.

Davine’s MINU/hair mask

Suitable for: coloured hair, non-coloured hair, transparent hair? women, hair, everyone.

First impressions: Cute little tub for ease of getting out the product. Oops, maybe a little tooooo much product. The blue goo smells like citrus which reminds me of how much I hate citrus. The citrus does become bearable for all non-citrus lovers. It definitely has that rich, thick, mask type consistency but you have to leave it on for 10-15 minutes #youwinsomeyoulosesome. I combed it through the ends, shaved, brushed my teeth, exfoliated my face and knitted 10 sweaters before finally washing it out and… my hair felt like it belonged in a Disney movie. Totally worth the time.

After Drying: The Disney hair feeling didn’t go away and on top of that my hair was uber shiny. My hair seemed to dry really easily and was so silky and smooth that it just went where my hair dryer blew it. No need for extra styling because it looked like I had already done that just from rough drying it with my old scabby hairdryer! It definitely replenished my hair like it said it would and the satin finish lasted a good 4 days of beating ranging from tears to hairspray. Looking forward to using it again and getting my Ariel hair back #underthesea. To find prices and sizes check it out here at SalonStyle.

snapchat-me
Follow me on Snapchat 🙂 rachellemp. Taken the other day post protein mask!

I do have a few more reviews on other beauty products to come so don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE if you enjoy my nattering!

Love, Rachelle xx

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So today I thought I’d share a little recipe that I made the other night because it was an absolute treat! Of course it was plant-based and vegan but that’s not to say you have to stick to the recipe 100%. The best thing about this recipe is that literally ANYTHING can be subbed in our out depending on what you are feeling. I made mine with chickpeas as my form of protein but you could easily switch that out for chicken, tuna or any other meat you fancy. This really allows you to play around with different flavours and be a little more adventurous! Whoever invented Buddha bowls is an absolute genius.

Buddha bowls are typically made from a combination of grains, vegetables, protein, nuts and seeds and are the absolute bomb because you can make up new concoctions every time. It’s a dish I know I can rely on when I don’t have too much time but I want something nourishing and tasty! The highlight of the buddha bowl from the other night though was definitely the coconut rice. I got this idea when I ordered coconut rice from a Thai joint the other week and once I tasted it, knew I had to recreate it at home! Is coconut rice something I’ve been missing out on for a while now?! No, don’t answer that question, I already know the answer 🙁 Either way, normal rice is really going to have a tough time competing against my boy coconut rice now because that stuff is soooo tasty. Sticky, creamy, coconutty.. It’s almost like a pudding *drools*. OK continuing! I used the rice as my base but I’ve seen a lot of other recipes using quinoa too. My stomach absolutely hates quinoa so I try to steer clear from that nasty stuff (no offence to anyone who loves it!!). On top of the rice I banged on a few different veggies; some cooked, some raw, a chickpea concoction, and topped it with pumpkin seeds, pepitas and a semi-homemade dressing. I say semi-homemade because I basically just used two pre-made dressings and mixed them together #chefextraordinaire! The finished product was so delish that Seewah (Steve, remind me to tell you the story) nearly ate two bowls worth! So much for thinking I had lunch covered for tomorrow.. HA! No chance.

Needless to say this recipe is healthy as … but because of the rice it makes it feel a little more hearty than just a regular salad for dinner. I tried to cut and chop the veggies differently to give the bowl more texture and don’t be afraid to go a little wild with the substitutions. I would have loved to have added a bit of avo in there but alas, I ate it all at lunch. Whoops! As these bowls are based on the principles of Chinese and Japanese ways of eating it’s best to try to have a little bit of lots of things rather than just stocking up on one food type (I’d have a whole bowl of rice and nothing else otherwise!). This way of eating is said to be great for lowering your risk of chronic diseases and reducing toxins in the body. Sounds good to me, so time to get creative!

Coconut Rice Buddha Bowl: (serves 2)

  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup uncooked sushi rice
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/4 large cucumber
  • 6 cherry tomatoes
  • 8 button mushrooms
  • 1/2 can chickpeas
  • 1 stick celery
  • 1 shallot
  • 1/4 green capsicum
  • handful of sunflower seed and pepita mix
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Dressing:

  • 2 tbs hummus
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • garlic powder to taste
  • water
  • pepper

TO COOK THE RICE:

  1. Rinse the rice and place into a small pot with coconut milk and roughly 1/4 cup of water
  2. Cover and bring to the boil. Once boiling, lower to a simmer and keep covered to for 20 minutes, stirring regularly.
  3. Once all liquid is absorbed set aside to cool with lid off

TO MAKE THE DRESSING:

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a small cup and add enough water to reach the desired consistency. I prefer mine a little more watery than too thick for this recipe

TO MAKE THE SALAD:

  1. Slice the mushrooms and sautée in a little olive oil
  2. Peel the carrots into fine shreds
  3. Julienne the cucumber
  4. Slice the cherry tomatoes, celery and shallots
  5. Dice the green capsicum small
  6. Rinse the chickpeas and place into a mixing bowl and mash them up with a potato masher. Then add in the chopped capsicum and shallots and give it a good mix
  7. Add the ingredients in a layering type system starting with the rice, then top with the salads. Sprinkle seeds onto and finish by drizzling over the dressing. Eat up!

Love, Rachelle xx

 

I don’t know about you, but I have to wear my hair up pretty much every dang day and have had to since I was in pre-primary (fancy private school = hair up at ALL times… groan!) Luckily now it’s a little more on the relaxed side and I can rock a bit of a half up half down situation but it still really is a must to have it off my face when I’m at dancing. I was taught from a young age that you must never wear your hair out whilst having a dance lesson and I guess it’s now become something that I live by. Gotta respect that history guys! So naturally you can understand why I like to get a little creative with my ‘do especially now that my hair is getting looooong. When I was younger my mum used to always give me the ‘topsy tail’ pony tail but back then she used some weird plastic gadget to get the effect. If you grew up in the 90’s then you know what I’m banging on about.. those little plastic sticks with the holes on them. These days I get the same outcome without the topsy tail tool and it’s so quick and easy that I pretty much do it everyday. Lately I’ve been lucky enough to receive a few compliments here and there on my hairstyles so I thought why not spill the beans! Share the love! The awesome thing is that these styles can be done with short, medium or long hair as I have actually tried and tested these with all above mentioned lengths.

As all of these styles are pretty basic and are all based around a similiar theme I thought I wouldn’t bore your eyes off with giving you a step-by-step run down on each of them. All you really need to know is how to do a simple ‘topsy tail’ and then most of the other stuff will make complete sense 🙂 So basically I secure the hair as per normal with a hair elastic, I then loosen the hair tie a little so that I have some room to create a hole above the hair tie using my thumb and index fingers. Once I’ve created enough of a hole I then take the pony tail and flip it up and tuck it through the hole so that it does a loop. It should then come back down out the other side back to where it initially was sitting but now there will be some hair detail around the hair tie, giving you the tucked effect. Hopefully that makes sense, if not maybe the pictures will help you along the way. Time to get into it!

Half up/ half down with a twist, or two, or three:

This is a hairstyle I’ve been rocking a lot lately as my hair (and layers) are that bit longer now so it sits really well throughout the day and paired with a little bit of hairspray goes NOWHERE! For this one its best to use those thin rubber elastics, I love these by Lady Jayne so that the lackeys aren’t too chunky and it gives more of a sleek look. There are a few variations on this look as you could do one twist or as many as your little heart desires! My max is 3 because I’m too lazy to have tried anymore but you do you girl because 7 could totally look amazing 😉 With this style I only grab very small little sections of hair from either side of my face and pull them to meet at the back. It’s best to make sure your hair is brushed down nicely the way you would usually like it to sit so that when you pull the two sections around to meet at the back the top part of your hair sits smooth. Once I’ve pulled the hair to the back, I then secure with the elastic and topsy tail that guy by flipping the tail up and under so that it creates a twisted effect. If you want even more of a tighter, intense twist then you can topsy tail it again 🙂 Repeat this process as many times as you like.

Half up/half down pony tail:

Rather than continuing with the small sections pulled to the back sometimes I just do one or two twists and then grab the remainder of my hair and brush into a pony tail ( and because my hair is too thick for life, I have to use a normal elastic to secure this part). I then topsy tail the pony tail.

Or some other variations are to either plait, braid or fishtail the remainder of hair rather than the standard old ponytail.

Half up/half down with gibson tuck:

When I want a little more of an up-do I like to do a bit of a gibson tuck on the ponytail part of my hair. For this I secure the ponytail slightly higher than the nape of my neck and pull the elastic outwards rather than downwards. I then create the hole above the elastic but only on the top section (not at the hair underneath the elastic.. don’t split the sections in two). Then I literally tuck the hair into the little hair pouch created and I secure it with some bobby pins. This works great for shorter to mid length hair but now that my hair is a little longer I like to shorten my pony tail by creating a loop in the end with a small rubber elastic. This way it’s easier to tuck 🙂 This hairstyle is so great for those warmer days or for when you want a bit more of a polished look!

Aaaand thats all folks! I hope you enjoyed and that you found a little bit of new hair inspo. Everyone feels better when they are having a good hair day and I can especially vouch for that. The best thing with this style is that there are so many different variations and once you learn the trick it becomes so simple! I also love how the finished effect hides the hair elastic   which gives it a more finished off look. Most of these styles only take 5-15 minutes maximum and paired with a bit of hairspray can last you all day. So go on, get onto it and start having a play! Or not.. no pressure 😉

Any questions, comments or queries? Please comment below! Also let me know if there is anything in particular you would like to see a blog on.. I’m open to any suggestions 😉

 

As I’ve mentioned before on numerous occasions, I am a total sucker for trying out new products. The good news is that I don’t think I’m alone.. amiright!? I especially love giving all natural products a go because if a cruelty free, plant-based product can deliver the goods, I’m sold! For the past 2 months I’ve been trialling a couple of products from The Jojoba Company range as I’d heard so much about Jojoba (pronounce hoh-hoh-buh for those of you wondering!) and all the benefits it has on skin. When I found the range at a Chemist near my Dance Studio I knew it was time to bite the bullet and give some of their products a go and so I walked out of there with the Jojoba Bead Facial Cleanser and the 100% Natural Australian Jojoba Oil.

What on earth is Jojoba I hear you ask? No, you didn’t? Well I’ll tell ya anyway 😉 Jojoba oil comes from the Jojoba bean and is so beneficial for our skin because the oil is a very similiar consistency to that of the protective wax we create ourselves (sebum) that keeps our skin moisturised and silky smooth. Because of this similiar consistency it is able to penetrate deep into the skins layers where cell regeneration and synthesis occurs carrying other nutrients with it. It contains Vitamins A, D and E and other anti-oxidents and fatty acids which are also known for their skin healing and protective qualities. Jojoba is naturally antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and hypo-allergenic and works wonders on all skin types ranging from oily skin to baby skin. If you want to know any more about Jojoba and The Jojoba Company then click here.

The Jojoba Bead Facial Cleanser ($34.95) comes in a paste form containing naturally solidified jojoba beads which help to exfoliate any dry skin and leaves my skin feeling oh so smooth and clean. It also contains Vitamin C, aloe vera and Vitamin E which help to hydrate the skin and dissolve any impurities. See you later dryness! I’ve been using this product every morning and it really wakes my skin up and leaves me feeling rejuvenated and awake. You only need to use about a marble’s amount and you cleanse in circular motions around the face and neck and then rinse off with a warm muslin cloth or with some warm water. It’s suitable for all skin types and is completely safe and eco-friendly.. boom baby!

The highlight product for me though has to be the Jojoba Oil ($29.95 for 85ml). This stuff is like a little bottle of liquid gold. Having skin that’s normal to dry I feel like the oil has really helped to bring moisture to my skin, especially while I’ve been travelling and submitting my skin to extreme temperatures (-3 degrees to 38 degrees anyone?!). I only need one tiny pump and that will smooth all over my face and neck and I just rub any excess into my hands. Whilst it is an oil product, it doesn’t at all feel heavy and greasy on my skin and within about 5-10 minutes it’s completely soaked in. My skin drinks that stuff up!! Since using it though, I have altered my routine a little and try to cleanse and oil my face as soon as I wake up so that the product has time to soak in whilst I’m having my brekkie. That way it’s done its business before I go and hit my skin with makeup products 🙂 This oil is also suitable for all skin types so don’t be afraid if you have oily/combination skin!

my-skin
My skin sans foundation 🙂

Now don’t get me wrong, I do still love my Dr Hauschka products as they are just SO luxurious and lovely but they do have a little more of a hefty price tag than the products from The Jojoba Company. I also love the simplicity of putting one ingredient onto my skin and having that ingredient be so similiar to the sebum my skin already naturally produces. In the past couple of months I haven’t had any breakouts, no dry skin, no patchiness and it has helped with dryness that I used to experience under my eyes too. I have loved the effect on my skin so much that I am definitely going to try some of their other products.. I’m looking at you Hydrating Face Mask! So if you’re looking to try something all natural and 100% Australian that works a treat on the skin then I would definitely recommend giving the Jojoba Oil a go and try it for yourself!

Love, Rachelle xx