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

Hello and Happy 2017! So sorry I have been MIA for the past couple of weeks, I really wanted to have a bit of “do absolutely nothing” time whilst I was home in Western Australia and I may have accidentally let the electronic side of that creep into my first week of being in the UK. Whoopsie 🙂 But alas, I am back now and ready to go!

Over the Christmas period I enjoyed the usual Aussie shenanigans; beach, alcohol, sun and food. After not enjoying most of these things for the past 10 months I had become a little bit of a rookie on the sunscreen front. In which case I mean I forgot to sunscreen my face completely and then decided to head to the beach. BIG FAIL. So obviously I got burnt, it hurt, I peeled, yadda yadda but the peeling was not so hot to look at. So to cover my flakey forehead I decided to cut in a fringe (or “bangs” for those of you that call them that.. never understood that term btw?) It turned out not so bad actually and did a really good job of hiding my sunburn too! Cutting in a fringe is often something I do myself whether it’s because I happened to have a bit of a break out from eyebrow threading or if I just feel like mixing it up and having a fringe for a while. It really isn’t too hard to master once you know what suits your face and I don’t find it too hard to push mine back as I often curl my hair so i just incorporate it into some curls around my face 🙂 That way I get the best of both worlds! So if you would like to rock out something new and fresh for 2017 then let’s get into it..

You’ll need:

  • scissors
  • comb
  • hair (quite important I’d say)
  • courage

Just a quick note, you can do this with wet or dry hair but I prefer to do it dry as that way I can see where it will truly sit as wet hair will definitely shrink up a bit once dried. Also I didn’t take any pics when I was actually cutting my fringe in (silly me, I know!) so I’ve just tried to do it with a small thin section so that you get the overall idea 😉

  1. First up, section how thick you want your fringe to be. Do you want it wispy, medium and choppy or blunt and thick? Decisions, Decisions! Try to get the section even on both sides and do this while your hair is parted where it naturally sits.
  2. Pull the excess hair out of the way and comb the fringe section down and forward onto the face.
  3. Time to get ballsy people! Comb through a section of hair (I like to start somewhere close to my temple) and hold the comb nearest to the length you would like. Remember it will bounce up a bit so start longer rather than going too short! Cut straight across using the comb as a guide. I like to aim for around top to middle of eyebrow for this part.
  4. Continue to cut all the way across the fringe using this same method, tidying up any stray long strands along the way. If you find the comb annoying then you can do it free-hand, I just feel it helps at the beginning to get it all even then I ditch the comb and go back in again.
  5. If you want your fringe blunt, then your done! But I like to go a step further and chop into mine a bit to soften the edges and give it a bit more of a feathered look. I simply hold the scissors upright and chop small little sections up into the ends only really going a few centimetres into the fringe. Keep snipping until its sitting the way you enjoy 🙂

You may want to give it a bit of a blow dry afterwards and I always find that after I wash my hair I have to go back in for a little re-trim as some new random long bits decide to join the party! Hopefully this helps my fellow fringe go-ers out there and maybe converts a few non-fringers to give it a go! It’s such a great way to soften the face and it really isn’t too hard to do yourself, you just have to have a clear image of what you like/want first before you get into hedging your new ‘do.

Happy snipping!

Love, Rachelle xx

Today’s blog post is just a cheeky little baby one because it’s Christmas week and I’m feeling on the relaxed side #sorrynotsorry. Although I am sorry for the title.. what a mouthful! Lately I’ve been pretty darn obsessed with H2coco’s “Cocoespresso” drinks to feed my caffeine addiction to the point where it’s getting expensive. I found myself craving one everyday until finally I said “enough is bloody enough” and decided to try and create my own similiar concoction. Well, not to toot my own horn here but I think I may have nailed it. Actually I would maybe go as far to say that I think my recipe is better than the real deal. Shock Horror!! Big call I know, but if you don’t believe me then try for yourself!

WHAT YOU NEED: (Serves 2)

  • 3 tsp instant coffee.. or 2-4 shots of coffee (depending on how strong you like your Coffee!)
  • 500ml coconut water
  • 4 tsp coconut sugar
  • ice
  • blender

METHOD:

  1. Boil your kettle and place instant coffee in a mug. Add roughly 1/4 cup of water or enough water to dissolve the coffee. Alternatively, make some shots of coffee.
  2. Add coffee to the blender
  3. Add coconut water
  4. Add the coconut sugar
  5. Bang in your ice
  6. BLEND AWAY!

So as you can see it’s a really tough recipe and you will need to have some serious kitchen skills to pull it off 😉 But in all seriousness though, for something SO easy it really comes out like something you would get at a hipster cafe. It should turn out to be frothy, light, coffee-coconut-y amazing-ness. If it’s not cold enough, add more ice and blend some more.. I added a good handful of ice for two people. If you want to make it more of a frappe type consistency then add even more ice.. YUM! I just think it’s such a great twist on the typical black iced coffee plus the coconut water is nice and hydrating for the summer (insert thumbs up emoji). It contains no nasties and is Vegan friendly too, perfect for hot days when you want your coffee fix but don’t want to swelter whilst drinking it. I’m personally going to be making gallons of this stuff over the rest of Summer and hey, to join the Christmas festivities I might even add some Vodka and make myself one of my favourite cocktails – the espresso martini! Just the one though, I swear 😉

 

Hope you love the recipe as much as I do and wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a beautiful New Year!

love, Rachelle xxx

These past couple of weeks have been a little on the hectic side. Not only have I increased my own training in preparation for the Australian Dancesport Championships (a big competition in Australia for those of you not in the dance scene!) but I’ve also been helping students in their prep also. Throw in a couple of Christmas floorshows and a quick TV appearance on top of that and it’s no wonder why I’m sitting here post competition absolutely knackered and putting off unpacking! So this is why I wanted to post a little blog on recovery and it’s importance, but also I thought it seemed appropriate considering the stressful times that have been the last few days! I shall explain..

Let’s rewind back to last Wednesday morning. The Aussie Championships were 3 days away, we were flying down to Melbourne for the comp the following day, all was well and we felt fit and ready! That was up until Steve got out of bed and couldn’t put any weight on his right foot without being in 7/10 pain. Slight Drama.. talk about throwing a spanner in the works!! Being a head strong male he decided to still head to work for 3 hours of teaching to see if it would “go away” (I know, don’t even get me started!). After about an hour and a half he couldn’t hack the pain anymore and so he cancelled the rest of his day of work and went home. Now let me say at this point that cancelling work and going home is a big deal for Steve, so I knew immediately it wasn’t looking good. He rested a few hours and thought it felt a bit better so after a big fight I finally gave in and decided to let him see if doing some practice with me would “stretch it out”. BIG FAIL. All our practice did was make it worse and ended up leaving him with a limp when he walked. I thought there was no chance we were going to be dancing that weekend.

With our sports masseuse having no time available we spoke to a few people and figured it might be plantar fasciitis which is stemmed from tight calves and hamstrings and overuse of the feet, common in dancers and marathoners. What we also found was that there is nothing that can be done to make it go away, you just have to deal with the pain, stretch that bad boy out and rest. Rest wasn’t really an option in the short-term so we did everything we knew of in terms of active recovery to make it bearable for the coming weekend. In the end we ended up being able to dance at the competition with most people probably not even knowing that there was a problem so it just goes to show how much this stuff works and can really help! So here are a few of the things I swear by:

  • Rest: This one is pretty obvious I know and isn’t always an option but I feel it’s the most important! People dont prioritise rest enough when it comes to a training regime and can easily end up burning out or creating an injury. If you rest well you can come back the following time you train so much stronger and clearer and it’s less likely you will lose determination. So keep that in mind when you aren’t feeling 100%.
  • Stretching: This is something I never really did when I was younger as I never had it drilled into me nor was I ever sore! But.. after you hit 22/23 I think that’s when you really start to feel sore and old haha! Well that’s when I did anyway. What helped me was getting into Ballet Beautiful because it made me realise how much better my body felt after a good stretch. Also if I go into the studio feeling tight (every day!) then I always try to stretch and warm up my muscles before going head first into it! Tight muscles can pull on other muscles which can then lead to injury. As Steve said to me this weekend after learning he really needs to start stretching “I’m really not getting any younger am I!!”. I definitely feel the older we get the more important stretching becomes 🙂
  • Foam roller: If you are a semi active person and you don’t have a foam roller then its time to invest in one! If you’ve never heard of foam rolling then click here! They are the best for rolling out any excess lactic acid in the muscles and releasing tight muscles in your legs, butt, back and shoulders. I love rolling out my ITB’s on the foam roller and always look for it when I’m feeling stiff and sore. Probably should be rolling on it right now rather than typing this to be honest!
  • Massage Ball: The massage ball/trigger ball is one of my favourite travel essentials. I use one with spiky ends but you can use any type of ball really. You can try using a tennis ball, rubber ball or even a golf ball if you’re game! It’s the best at getting into those tricky spots and working on those knots and twinges. So just find the points that are aggravating you and literally roll that on the ball. I like to lay down on some carpet and get the ball into my hips and psoas muscle. It’s also great to roll your feet on after a long day of standing. This was actually one of the things that got Steve through the competition this weekend, rolling his foot out on the spiky ball!
  • Ice Baths: Ok, so I have to admit I’m still a bit of a newbie when it comes to ice baths and at the moment I’ve only tried it on my feet. I know that a lot of athletes use ice baths for their whole body for fast recovery and it was actually suggested to me from my Sports massage therapist. All you need to do is fill up a bucket (or wheelie bin for full body!) with cold water and chuck in around 20-30% ice. You don’t want too much ice that you get freeze burn but you also don’t want just a couple of cubes floating around there either. Then try to stay submerged for roughly 8-10 minutes. Like I said I’ve only attempted feet and its pretty darn painful the first time but once you get used to it it’s not so bad. Also the benefits you reap afterwards are addictive! You will feel like a new you I’m not joking!
  • Anti-inflammatories/gels: This isn’t really active recovery but they are more so a when all else fails type of thing. I love gels as I can apply the product directly to the area I need it and it gets to work almost immediately. Also taking Nurofen isn’t my favourite thing in the world but like I said when you have no other option they do work. I always try to have some form of gel and tablet on hand just incase!

So I think the best advice I can give on this topic is to listen to your body and try not to turn a blind eye to what it’s telling you! A few years ago I sprained my ankle quite badly and never got it properly checked by a doctor to see if I had done serious damage. I let it rest for only two weeks and was pressured into getting back into my dance shoes and on the floor as soon as possible. Now after getting it properly checked out it turns out I did ligament damage and because I didn’t take at least 8 weeks off and let it heal properly I now have scar tissue. Silly me and even sillier me for listening to other people’s un-expert opinions rather than listening to my gut!! My ankle is now going to be something I constantly have to manage and have looked at because if I don’t it will just turn into a club foot.. haha not what you want as a dancer! I have to crack it everyday otherwise it starts to feel stiff and it’s just a nuisance really. So my advice is look after your body, trust your instincts and put time into recovery!!

If you have any more questions please feel free to ask in the comments below! As I’ve said many times these are only my opinions and things that have worked for me so keep in mind that they may not be right for you 🙂

Love, Rachelle xx

 

Ok, so I’m assuming that if you’re looking at this blog post then you are interested in a few sneaky tricks on what to do when your drain is blocked. No? Oh wait sorry, wrong blog! Those tips are for my other website gunmetalgreyplumbing.com (not a real website). You must be here for the Comp Day hacks? Yes? Well, quit farting around and let’s get straight into it then!

If you are a competitive Ballroom Dancer then you would be well aware of those “Comp Day Feels”. They are indescribable feelings that only one dancer to another dancer can relate to. Put simply there’s dry mouth, butterflies in the tummy, hairspray in every orifice, fake tan smell and (many) toilet moments. Too far? Sorry it was I know, but you know it’s true! There is just something about Comp Days that are so different to any other normal day and there really isn’t another way of recreating those vibes to prepare yourself. Some of us can be jittery messes on the day and others out there (me most of the time) play it a little too cool, hiding the fact that we are actually scared shitless behind an overly playful exterior. But no matter how we play it, Competition Days are always a massive energy burner not just from the dancing but from all the hype that surrounds it and that’s why I thought of a few pre-comp hacks that will hopefully take a bit of unnecessary stress away.

Firstly, the dress. The hot, crinkly, mess of a dress that has probably been left abandoned since the last time it was used. Now I’m not speaking for everyone out there but my dresses can definitely get on the crinkly side, especially when I have to squeeze two of them into one carry-on suitcase! At the moment my skirts have around 300 layers of material which means ironing out the wrinkles is not an option. But nor has it been for a while if I’m being honest! I’ll get to that in a minute but first I just want to say I’m not a believer in the whole “hang your dress in the bathroom and the steam from the shower will smooth it out” situation. Been there, tried that, set off a fire alarm in my room/the whole Bed n Breakfast and had to apologise endlessly to all the people out the front of the building in their pyjamas afraid of catching on fire. Plus, after all that commotion AND steam, my dress was still no better off! So yeah, I haven’t had much luck with that and I think it’s a bit of a myth really.. but if you’ve had luck with it I envy you! Actually no I don’t, because my hack is all I need 🙂 I came about this idea a few years ago when I had a dress with its skirt and float’s made out of Lamé material (very expensive, shiny type of material for those of you wondering!). Steve (the professional iron master of the partnership) was beginning to tentatively start ironing the skirt on the lowest setting when all of a sudden, the iron melted the skirt. Not ideal. We put the old hotel iron away and I decided to try to use a hairdryer on it instead and BOOM!! Seeya later wrinkles. It was smoooooth and silky and amazing. This dress had been shipped from England, so she was like, really wrinkly. Since then its been something I do on all my dresses and it works an absolute treat. I’ve tried on a variety of materials too, ranging from pearl chiffon to crystal organza and all work fine. The best thing is you can even take the hairdryer to the comp and do any touch ups when you get there! I just recently gave this idea to a World Professional Finalist after I had been watching her struggle for 10 minutes with her steamer trying to work wonders on her floats and she was extremely grateful! We got the job done in no time!

Next up, why don’t you try to pre-make your own isotonic drink the night before? All those unfortunate “feelings” I mentioned previously equate to one dehydrated person! Put a bunch of dancing and sweating on top of that and you will quickly feel like your running out of steam. So it’s important you get those liquids in without pumping yourself full of sugar from pre-made “energy” drinks. Steve is rarely seen in the kitchen but if there is one time when you will find him there it will be on a Comp Day where he will be whipping up a LARGE isotonic drink for us to take to the competition. It really is as simple as:

  • water
  • 2 lemons
  • salt
  • coconut water

Before I start, I’ll just tell you that I don’t have exact measurements for this drink sorry as it’s mostly about playing with the ingredients to find something your taste buds enjoy. Generally we buy a massive bottle of Evian (the biggest), transfer about half the water to our tummy’s or another empty bottle, squeeze in the juice of 2 lemons, bang in a pinch of salt, and then fill up the rest of the bottle with coconut water. Very specific I know 😉 haha. We just try to taste it as we go along and see what it needs more or less of. If we are travelling and don’t have access to all of these ingredients (who wants to buy salt on a weekend away?) then we have a simpler version where we mix fruit juice (I love any mango versions), water and coconut water into a bottle. Not only are they delishhhhh, but they are so much better for you than those sugary lolly drinks! Remember it’s really important to replenish those lost electrolytes!

Finally are a few key items that we always TRY to make sure we pack beforehand so that we aren’t left stumped at the competition.

Nurofen Gel- This stuff is my JAM! It works wonders on inflammation and targeting pain and is quick, easy and scent free! Sorry Deep Heat you may be good but you make my nose bleed. I love using it on my knees if they feel a little niggly after I’ve danced (aarrhhh.. every damn day! haha I kid, I kid. But seriously..) and always keep it close by for quick application on my neck and shoulders incase Tango was a little bit… rough 😉

Safety Pins- An obvious one but it’s crazy the amount of times I’ve had guys come up to me at a Comp scrounging around for pins! That number ain’t going to just magically levitate in positions guys! Pack some spares just incase you or a friend needs them! We usually attach a bunch of them onto Steve’s suit bag as it is literally at every. Single. Competition.

Clear Contact and Scissors- I mean this one is optional I’d say but most guys these days like to cover their paper back numbers in clear contact. This way if there are any unwanted sharp elbows that happen to fly by then your number is covered! It’s a perfect option for those times you have to wear the same number for many rounds or days (Blackpool). The scissors are also handy for those occasions when you get your number and its the size of Australia. Sometimes the back numbers these days are HOOGE so if you can cut around it neatly without chopping off any important info (sponsors/name of the comp) then I’m sure it’s ok 🙂 Just note that not all comps these days have paper back numbers! Most comps in Australia these days provide numbers that are now made out of material.. so contact isn’t necessary!

I hope some of these hacks help to eliminate some stress on your next Competition Day! But as for those nerves/butterflies.. just pray that they never go away because as long as they are there, it shows that you care! #POET *drops mic and leaves room*

P.S To all my Aussie dancing buddies competing in the Australian Dancesport Championships this weekend; GOOD LUCK! I will see you there or I will see you on a another time 😉

Love, Rachelle

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