Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Scottish Ballet's 'Highland Fling'

On Saturday night, my friend Sarah and I were invited to the opening night of Scottish Ballet's 'Highland Fling'... 'a Romantic Wee Ballet'.  I wasn't too sure what to expect, other than what I had watched of the promotional video featured below and the promise from Ann that the performance would be 'wicked in more ways than one' to say I was intrigued!

'Highland Fling' is Matthew Bourne's modern reworking of the classic, romantic ballet 'La Sylphide', and of all the Scottish Ballet productions I have seen pushed my expectations further than I ever thought.  I was caught slightly unaware when I realised that the opening set of 'Highland Fling' was a dingy Glaswegian club toilet, setting the scene for the first act.  

Packed full of Scottish references (tartan wallpaper, Sean Connery portraits, cans of McEwan's Export to name a few) the first half of 'Highland Fling' has just the right amount of cheekiness, comedy and drama (Forget love triangles, 'Highland Fling' has a love square!).  While the first is predominantly  character driven, helped along with the use of recognisable cultural references, the second act moves into a beautiful but haunting piece of choreography, danced to a backdrop of an abandoned car and the  distant Finnieston Crane

Wonderfully danced and beautifully told, 'Highland Fling' presents a ballet that is extremely accessible to a modern audience.  While retaining all of the mysterious, mystical elements of 'La Sylphide', 'Highland Fling' pushes forward a ballet that presents extremely modern themes and should not be missed.  You can still catch 'Highland Fling' in Glasgow until the 4th of May before the production goes on tour to Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Inverness.  You can find all of the relevant information here.

Nicola xx  

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Make Up Chemistry: NARS Himalayas and Night Breed

I love duochrome eye shadows: I like that you can get a multitude of effects and shades by combining them with different shadows and often, you never quite know what shade you're going to create!  One of my favourite duo chrome eye shadows is  M.A.C's 'Pink Opal' however, I find I often overlook 'Pink Opal' as it's a loose pigment.  

On a recent swatching trip to NARS (my favourite kind of make up trip!) I came across Himalayas, a slightly more subtle pink duochrome eye shadow.  The MA suggested I also buy Night Breed as together, they create a really pretty, smokey grey/pink/purple eye.


When you first look at 'Himalayas', it appears to be a slightly shimmery white eye shadow however, in certain lights, you are able to see the pink iridescence.  When applied as a base it gives a sheer wash of colour - it's not the most pigmented of eye shadows, however it's how 'Himalayas' interacts with other shadows that makes it so special. 

'Night Breed' is a funny eye shadow.  In the pan it's an intense black with extremely twinkly silver glitter.  If you want the eye shadow to appear how it looks in the pan on the lid, you need to use a  fairly sticky base and pat the shadow on. To achieve full pigmentation, I've found that 'Night Breed' works best on top of the NARS eye shadow primer as it provides a tacky base for the pigment and glitter to adhere to.  However, when using 'Night Breed' with 'Himalayas', I use Two Faced Shadow Insurance alongside a pencil and blending brush to buff the shadow into the duo chrome, creating a smokey purple/grey but glitter free effect. 

I think this is a really good way of introducing black eye shadow into your make up collection if it makes you a little nervous! I've got a post coming soon demonstrating how I wear 'Night Breed' on it's own using the NARS eye shadow base.

I'd love to hear some of your NARS eye shadow recommendations?

Love Nicola

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Nail art made easy

I am not a big nail person, I wish I was but I'm just not!  When I'm painting my nails I get so fidgety waiting for them to dry and I'm not a particularly neat nail painter (you'll see this in the photos below).  My friend Kerry is amazing at nail art  (check this instagram photograph of how she transformed my nails for my holiday) and I really wish that I was artistic and steady handed enough to try and replicate some of her nail art.

I was recently sent some Nail Art Nail Tattoos, along with two polishes and a top coat, and was excited to try them out!

The nail tattoos are stickers that you place on the nail once the polish has completely dried - I can't stress how important this is, as on my first couple of attempts I got in a bit of a mess.  It either smudged or the tattoos slid off.  When you were younger, did you ever have the reusable sticker scene sets ? This is what the tattoos remind me of, they feel exactly the same!

Placing the tattoos can be a little fiddly but as long as your nail polish is completely dry, you can move the sticker easily before sealing it down with a top coat.  This another really important step or the tattoo will begin to peel off (another mistake I first made).

I was also sent three polishes - a tomato red called 'She Wore Red Velvet', a white called 'I Live in an Igloo' and a top coat called 'It's Crystal Clear'.  Both polishes are opaque after two coats and although I was initially a little wary of high school 'tip-ex' nails, I grew to really like the white as an accent colour. I did find that the top coat caused my polish to bubble, which you can see in the photograph below.

In the first photograph I'm wearing 'She Wore Red Velvet' and 'I Live in an Igloo' with two love heart tattoos and in the bottom I've paired a bow tattoo with Essie's 'Fiji' and O.P.I's 'Teenage Dream'.  I used 'It's Crystal Clear' over 'Fiji' to see if it caused any bubbling which you can see on my thumb nail in the bottom picture.

As long as you follow all of the instructions, I think these tattoos are a really good way of achieving simple nail art.  It took me a few attempts to get it right but I like the way it turned out! You can buy the tattoos from the Skin Art website or from Boots and Urban Outfitters and they cost £5.99.  The nail polishes cost £3.00 which I think is really affordable for how opaque they are - I want the multicoloured glitter polish 'Party Piñata' next!

Have you dabbled in any nail art?

Lots of Love

Friday, 12 April 2013

Operation Disco Pants...My weight loss so far

I'm still plugging away with Operation Disco Pants and wanted to quickly share some photographs that show my weight loss so far.  In the last couple of years, I have lost about 3 stone and to be honest didn't feel I looked particularly different...until I found some photographs that completely horrified me!  My weight loss has been gradual which I attribute to previously being motivated by holidays.  I knew I was going on holiday, lose weight, come home and put weight back on.

This time feels different...I have been motivated to completely change my lifestyle and it feels amazing (most of the time. There's still that part of me that craves Domino's daily)! I'm even participating in a sponsored weight loss for charity, which has not only allowed me to share this bloomin' hard journey with other people, but has given me a goal to work towards that isn't completely centred around weight!

I want to think of this post as a before and during as I still have some way to go in meeting my weight loss and health goal (I probably want to lose about another 2 stone).  However, these pictures have been the biggest motivational tool I've used so far...



As always, if you're embarking on a weight loss journey or are in the middle of something similar, I'd love to hear from you! Having people to talk to has been one of the most effective ways I've found of keeping focused and motivated so feel free to email or tweet me!

If you want to read about how I'm currently losing weight, you should read these posts:

What I eat

How I exercise

Lots of Love

Thursday, 4 April 2013

My Favourite Perfumes

I want to start with a quick disclaimer...this will probably not be one of my most descriptive posts as I am useless at describing scents. Perfumers would probably recoil against the numerous variations of lovely/beautiful/pretty/amazing found below...but I'll give it a go!

Tom Ford 'Black Orchid'

Probably the most complex of all the perfumes I've picked, 'Black Orchid' is my 'grown up' perfume.  Reserved for special occasions, 'Black Orchid' is unbelievably long lasting and extremely strong.  Any more than two spritzes can leave me feeling a little overwhelmed.  Personally, I prefer 'Black Orchid' once it has settled a little.  After a quick google search, I think it is the truffle notes that jar slightly with vanilla and ylang ylang when initially sprayed - it is said that truffle was included to evoke 'a man's sweaty crotch' (please don't let this put you off!).  Until the scent has settled, 'Black Orchid' has quite a spicy scent that settles to a beautifully complex creamy vanilla.  It is difficult for me to accurately describe the scent of 'Black Orchid', instead I would urge you spritz a tester to truly see how the perfume transforms throughout the day.

Stella McCartney 'Stella'

'Stella' has quickly become one of my favourite day time perfumes.  The most dominant note of 'Stella' is rose which sadly comes with a reputation of being dated or old fashioned. By combining rose with a base of Amber helps give 'Stella', a deceptively simple scent, a little more complexity and depth while still smelling quite light and fresh!


Of all the perfumes on my list, Chloé is my favourite but seems to be the scent that divides opinion most. I love Chloé for everyday wear as it smells so clean and fresh.  Best described by Chloé as a 'powdery rose', on me it wears as a clean, feminine, rosy floral and each time I wear it will always be asked at least once which perfume I'm wearing.  After a lot of time spent reading other reviews, it seems that the appeal of Chloé is dependent on skin chemistry - it either works for you or it doesn't!

Chanel Chance and Coco Mademoiselle

While both are different perfumes in their own right, Chanel Chance and Coco Mademoiselle are undeniably 'Chanel' scents.  I find Mademoiselle a little more sophisticated than Chance and imagine that Chance is marketed at a slightly younger audience.  With Mademoiselle's spicy and citrus oriental notes, it feels Chic...and strong.  More than once I've suffered being stuck beside someone on a bus/train/office who has been a little over enthusiastic - with Mademoiselle less is more! According to Chanel, 'Chance' is an 'unexpected floral', and it is the jasmine in Chance that I love, allowing it to translate easily from daytime to evening wear.

What are your favourite perfumes? Have I included any of your favourites?

Love Nicola