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I LOVE PERFUME. It’s actually one of my guilty pleasures in life; buying perfume. I guess I found my ‘nose’ for it way back when I was a young teen still living at home. My dad worked away overseas and would spend a month away and a month at home and would often bring me back presents of pretty glass bottles filled with amazing scents. My dad luckily has pretty good taste when it comes to perfume so they were always high quality and so I thought myself extremely lucky to be rocking out the scents of Gucci, Kenzo and Prada at such a young age. Wearing the perfumes used to remind me of dad while he was away and this is still something I love so much about perfume! It’s so cool that one whiff of something can trigger so many memories, emotions and feelings!

Nowadays, I travel overseas a lot myself, so I like to try ($$$ permitting of course) and buy myself a new perfume either on my way to a destination or on the way home (TREAT YO’SELF right!!?). Buying duty-free knocks the price down so much and I love the whole experience of wandering around sniffing out all the options (literally), smelling some coffee beans and the continuing to sniff some more! I have, in my time had a few perfumes I have regretted buying but I also have found some absolute treasures that have become repeat buys. So I thought I’d share some of those good ones with you!

Day-time: (this is listed as affordable to more pricey by the way ๐Ÿ™‚ just for your viewing pleasure!)


BRITNEY SPEARS – FANTASY:ย 

fantasy

I have to admit I do cringe every time I have to say the name of this perfume out loud. Which surprisingly is more than you probably imagine! I have worn this perfume on and off for the past 10 years and it always receives compliments… compliments followed by the question of what is it? Followed by my cringe. But sometimes you just gotta say hey, this perfume is $20, made by Britney Spears for young teeny-boppers but daaaamn it smells good! It’s super sweet and caramel-ly so for those of you gals out there that love sweet, vanilla, lolly type scents, this one’s for you! It has notes of kiwi, chocolate, musk and cupcakes (wtf, I know!) and really is a sweet summery smell. Another thing that I can’t get over about this perfume is its longevity on the skin. Most cheaper, celebrity perfumes you spray on and can’t even smell them 10 minutes later but this bad boy stays on for hours, years even! I can spray it on in the morning, have a shower that night and still smell it the next day! Cheap and long-lasting.. #DOUBLEBANGER!

CHLOE EU DE PARFUM:ย 

chloeThis is a pretty iconic perfume in its own right and I’m pretty sure it’s because of its floral-y amazingness. Totally sure. It epitomizes the smell of roses so perfectly and for me that’s why it’s one of my faves. It’s feminine and fresh and doesn’t smell like a Nanna like some floral perfumes do (I’m looking at you Red Door by Elizabeth Arden!!) I like to wear this during the day but there’s absolutely no reason why it couldn’t be a night-time scent as well; it’s elegant but edgy y’see? Along with the significant rose smell it also contains hints of freesia, peony, lily of the valley and amber so for you floral lovers out there.. GO GET IT!

GUERLAIN – INSOLENCE:

insolence

Insolence hands down wins the title of my favourite ever perfume up to and including the year of 2016. I call it my powder puff perfume and I’ve been wearing it for about 5 years now. I remember the first time I smelt it.. I was in the U.K getting changed after a dance lesson and a girl in the change room sprayed some and I swear I almost died. It was love at first whiff. I had to ask her what the name of it was and I quickly bought it duty-free on that very flight home! It’s had my heart (and nostrils) ever since! I’ve also tried Guerlain’s other version of it called ‘My Insolence’ which comes in a pink bottle and it’s just as gorgeous just a little more sweet. The smell of Insolence is powdery and soft with floral and sweet notes. It contains violet, raspberry, red berries, musk and sandalwood just to name a few but for me the scent really can’t be summed up in words. Some one needs to create an app where our devices can pump out the smell of something at the tap of a finger. How good would that be right now!! Also for some of those cooking tutorials where you just knowย the smell of those baking cookies would be off the chain! Anyway, I digress.. go find this perfume, smell it and get back to me. I know the minute my mum smelt it on me she went out the next day and bought a bottle for herself she loved it so much ๐Ÿ™‚

I only have a couple of night-time scents but I feel that it makes it a bit more special and maybe gives you more of a personal stamp that people can remember you by. I tend to leave this two to night-time or special occasions as they were both rather pricey and I don’t just want to go through them willy-nilly you know?! But that’s not to say they cant be worn through the day as well ๐Ÿ™‚

Night-time:


TOM FORD – VELVET ORCHID:

black orchid

This one is a bit of a newbie to my perfume corner but it’s one I loved immediately. I wanted to buy another special night-time fragrance to give my other much-loved, yet to be mentioned favourite a break sometimes. So of course I headed to the Tom Ford counter. Tom Ford knows how to rock + roll. I smelt a lot of their fragrances as most of them are neither masculine or feminine and can be worn by whoever (very cool) but this one really stuck with me. It’s a bloody treat. It’s my typical kind of scent; floral, sweet and powdery but with a hint of balsamic which gives it its edge. Kind of like Strawberries and balsamic ice-cream.. sounds wrong but it’s so right!! (For all you vegan folk out there, I tried that ice-cream before I was vegan ๐Ÿ˜‰ it was yummy but the big bloated tummy I got afterwards wasn’t worth it) Velvet Orchid reminds me of dessert and liqueur and has a very luxurious feel about it, perfect for the night! Some notes are myrrh, rum (yes please!), honey, orchid, rose oil, vanilla and lime which all add up to create a very special, dark fragrance.

CHANEL No5 EU DE PARFUM:ย 

no5

Well I don’t think much needs to be said about this one. She is famous enough already and there really isn’t much I could say to add to that! This is the only woody perfume I’ve ever bought as I’m not much into the smell of the woods but I’ve loved no5 for roughly 6 years now. It’s always been my go-to special fragrance and I absolutely always wear it on my birthday (it makes me feel special, ok! he he). It’s one I always try to have a bottle of and that actually comes pretty easy, not because I buy, buy, buy but because it’s so darn strong! You really don’t need that much of it and if you do go too hard it can quickly become overkill, sending anyone in your 10 meter radius to start gasping for air. The longevity of it is awesome, both in the bottle and also on the skin. It lasts so long it’s another one I can smell the next day! Whilst it is woody, there still if a powdery, floral tinge to it and it’s another one of those ones I can’t put my finger on exactly what it smells like. It smells like Chanel no5! Hence why there are so many soap bars and candles and what not out there that are now branded as smelling like “Chanel no5”. The key notes however are ylang-ylang, sandalwood, jasmine, vanilla, rose, patchouli, bergamot and vetiver. Marilyn Monroe loved it for a reason guys!

What are some of your favourite fragrances? Are there any out there you think I might enjoy judging from this list? Please feel free to share in the comments below ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™ 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 themย 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 undergoesย 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. Iย 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 driesย 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

Love, Rachelle xx

 

 

 

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 Oompaย 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 sleekย 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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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Ahhh Packing. Not my favourite verb. For most people I assume it brings feelings of excitement and “yay, holidays!” For me, procrastination and “do I have to?!” Leaving it to the last-minute is my forte, hello 10:45pm the night before flying.. which has its pros and cons but mainly means I have to be quick and efficient. No time for farting around picturing myself swanning about London in particular outfits.

Although it takes me a while to get my ass into gear, once I start I am pretty good at finding my rhythm. I have a relaxed type of order when I pack.. Starting in the bedroom and working my way to the bathroom. This way I can stay on top of whats done rather than running around like a headless chook.

flight-outfit
My outfit for a recent flight to Hong Kong

BEDROOM:

Clothing: I usually get out all the clothes I ‘think’ I need and chuck them on the bed. Then before they hit my suitcase I do a recheck whilst wearing my BE SENSIBLE hat and cull anything that I really don’t need ( I’m looking at you second pair of ripped high-waisted denim jeans). I also grab out my outfit for the plane which always consists of loose clothing and a jacket (I’m cold-blooded) and a scarf. I always take a scarf onboard as it can double as a light blanket for around your shoulders because damn that aircon can be strong! My biggest tip for when packing your clothing is to Roll, Roll and Roll! You will save so much space through rolling your clothes and better still your garments wont be too horribly crinkled when you arrive. BO-NUS! ๐Ÿ™‚

Shoes: Depending on where you are headed shoes are a bit of an obvious one. I try to take a small variety mixing it up between comfort and style and ALWAYS pack a pair of heels just in case! My general shoe pack consists of some sneakers for when I’m feeling a bit sporty, high tops because I’m a midget interested in style and some height, a pair of heels and some ballet flats. If you have some extra space and are headed to colder times I suggest also packing a pair of slippers.. your frozen feet will thank you!

BATHROOM:

I have my bathroom essentials split into 3 major bags; make-up, skin care/bits and bobs and hair care. Because I travel so often this is usually how my things stay stored year round. Lazy or thoughtful? You be the judge.

Clear Bag: In my bits and bobs bag I have a range of things;ย all my girly needs, nail file and clippers, a spare face mask, medicines and skin care products.

bits-bobs-skincare
Bits, Bobs + Skincare

Hair Bag: I like to ‘borrow’ the small travel sized bottles they give you in hotels and refill them with my own shampoo, conditioner and hair masks to save space. A good hair mask and some hair oil is a must for me as it usually takes a bit of TLC and time for your hair to adjust to the new climate.

Makeup: My make-up bag is BIG, HEAVY and super UNCONVENTIONAL.ย I’ve had the same bagย for years but justย can’t seem to bring myselfย to ditch it for a newbie.It literally contains everything I need… ever. Competition makeup, false lashes and daily essentials are some of the things bagged up in this bad boy but if I’m only going somewhere for a quick trip and am not competing (HA! NOT OFTEN) I pack my daily make-up essentials in a much smaller bag.

Once everything is out and ready its time for a game of packing tetris so that it all fits nice and snug. A few quick tricks; put smaller items inside shoes, wrap perfume and hair tools in jumpers/clothing and most importantly don’t forget to ROLL! Did I mention to roll? Hehe. Enjoy your trip!