Ballet, Ballet, Ballet. Oh, and Cupcakes. And maybe a little Christmas glitter thrown into the mix.
Here’s a host of my favourite treats which I hope will inspire you if you are heading out to the ballet this Christmas season or anywhere else!
First up is this beautiful gold sequin dress from new find Mint Velvet, a company renowned for making wearable pieces in great fabrics, shapes and colours that won’t break the bank.
It’s a beautiful shift dress at £199 that you can dress down with a soft leather jacket or let it make the statement it’s born to do!
This is exactly the dress to take you to the ballet – it’s comfortable and yet dressy enough for the ballet but also great for afternoon tea at Claridges in front of the roaring log fire, on to the Opera House and then out on the town if that’s your plan.
I’ve already recommended my favourite sparkly gold shoes for the ballet. If you mis-match the size of the sequins you’ll be fine to wear them together – don’t be afraid of sequins !
Ballet afternoon tea
Talking of afternoon tea – there’s a new App in town which I absolutely have to tell you about. Primrose Bakery has long been a supporter of Ballet News, and now they have launched an App which includes 70 exclusive recipes for their sublime cupcakes, layer cakes, loaves, biscuits and loads more!
Now, you know what it’s like when you’ve got a recipe book in front of you mid-bake, and you need to turn the page ? It’s a problem. It gets all floury & oily and over time the pages start to look a bit the worse for wear. Well, the really, really clever thing about this App is that you don’t need to touch it to turn the pages ! The App has a in-built magic wand. All you have to do is wave your hand over your iPhone and hey presto, the page turns over for you. It’s called Touch Free. And it’s just brilliant.
You can also save favourite recipes and share them with your friends via facebook and twitter, you can make your own shopping list, vary the ingredients and add your own and you can search recipes by season, occasion, flavour and difficulty, as well as by ingredient. There are also notes for the cook (that’s you, right ?!), tips on decorating, and videos on how to do perfect icing. Genius, eh ? And it’s only £2.49 from iTunes.
Notes on Touch-Free :
•Touch-free mode is only available on 4th generation iOS devices and above
•Ensure your environment is well lit
•Choose the recipe you’d like to follow
•Choose ‘Steps’ and rotate the phone to landscape to start cooking
•Place device on a flat surface and tap the touch-free icon to grey
•Wave slowly from right to left to navigate
•Wave hand 15cm above the device and camera lens for best results
•To switch off tap the touch-free icon to blue
Ballet on your iPhone 4S
If you don’t have an iPhone, don’t despair (though you’d be well advised to take a look at the latest iPhone 4S with it’s dual core processor, enabling the marvellous time-saving miracle that is SIRI !) Why ? Well, while you are baking you can ask SIRI to set a timer for, say, 30 minutes, and SIRI will remind you to take your cupcakes out of the oven at just the right time.
But if you prefer to browse paper pages, Primrose Bakery has just published a new book and you’ll find all the scrummy cupcakes in there too.
Ballet warm-up boots
If there’s one ballet product that I recommend time and time again, it’s the Bloch warm-up boot.
This warm-up boot is incomparable when it comes to keeping your feet warm. It’s better than slippers (so perfect even if you don’t do ballet) as they also keep your ankles toasty. I’ve never found a better warm-up boot/slipper and it doesn’t matter whether you are a ballet dancer or not – they do the trick for every foot. They are light & padded and the layers keep your feet relaxed and warm. What’s more, you can stuff things inside them if you are travelling!
They are available in three colours as you can see from the photograph, and in three sizes. Stock can be variable as they are so popular so be persistent and bulk buy when you find your size/colour!
Do you need some Christmas present ideas ? Ballet Zaida has produced two ballet calendars for 2012 which feature excellent photography.
I always think that when you’re getting ready to go out, nothing gets you in the mood quite like a quirt of your fave perfume. Would you like Cupid to strike an arrow for you this Christmas ? Well, here’s a scent you may not have tried yet, by Vera Wang, called Lovestruck, complete with arrow!
The fragrance is a sparkling addictive floral you are sure to fall in love with. There's an instant attraction to the mouthwatering pink guava and mandarin, followed by a delicate mix of tuberose and lotus blossom. Behind it all, precious woods and sheer musk envelope a passionate elegance.
What’s special about this perfurme ? Well, aside from the fact that it makes a perfect Christmas treat to give or receive, it’s full of romance and it’s spontaneous – just what you want at the ballet.
It’s sparkling and addictive scent recreates the feeling of instant attraction, with a mouthwatering mix of exotic fruits and delicate flora, and the comfort and warmth of woods.
It’s feminine & dazzles the senses with its charm and feel-good spirit, wrapping you up in the warm, fuzzy feeling of adoration and contentment. What’s not to love ?
Top Notes: Pink Guava, Angelica Flower, Mandarin
Heart Notes: Indian Jasmine Sambac, Tuberose Buds, Blue Lotus Blossom
Base Notes: Sheer Musk, Precious Woods, Vanilla
One of my absolute favourite flowers is the Peony, and I’ve found a necklace that embraces the colour of those flowers in an unusal combination.
The Mystere Pendant, is a Peony crystal and vermeil concoction designed by Aude Lechère and it’s £610.
I think one of the really important things to keep up during winter is moisturising your hands. Some of those soap dispensers in theatres and bars aren’t all that moisturising and it’s good to have hands that feel like velvet. I’ve tested a lot of hand creams but Cowshed has produced one that not only delivers on the velvet, it’s dreamy-smelling too!
The Cow Pat Hand Moisturising Cream has grapefruit and coriander essential oils and it feels warming and smells good enough to eat. 300ml will set you back £16 and there is also a handy travel version.
The Nutcracker ballet
The Nutcracker is a favourite ballet at Christmas time and a family treat. This year you’ll find several versions to choose from in London alone! Here’s my pick :
The Royal Ballet’s version of The Nutcracker, at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, will be danced between 3 December 2011 to 18 January 2012.
English National Ballet will dance their Nutcracker (a new version by Wayne Eagling which premiered last year) at the London Coliseum from 8 – 30 December 2011.
Here’s a video of their lovely new production :
Birmingham Royal Ballet take up residency at the O2 for a couple of nights – 27 – 30th December.
Northern Ballet take their Nutcracker on tour :
Bradford, Alhambra Theatre
8 Nov – 12 Nov
Newcastle, Theatre Royal
15 Nov – 19 Nov
Manchester Opera House
22 Nov – 26 Nov
Here’s a glance at what they have in store for you :
If you want some quiet time, how about my top 5 ballet books of all time ?