Wednesday, 28 August 2013

A final bow

Saying goodbye is never easy, but when the time is right moving on can be super productive and exciting. And as they say, when one door closes another opens, but first its nice to tie things up with an overly dramatic bow and go out with a flourish of applause (stolen applause in my case!).

The decision to leave my job as wardrobe assistant at the ballet was a little nerve wracking. If I'm being perfectly honest, it wasn't so much the leaving there that saddened or scared me, but the uncertainty of not knowing what lies around the corner. Although that said, my decision was made much much easier having a strong hand to hold along the way (thanks Rich), and certain personal goals and achievements in mind. Even so, being a creature of habit, three busy years with a company is a lot to let go of, so many memories made! The hilarious moments of lost sanity during rehearsals, the stress inducing get ins and get outs, the brilliantly fun times secretly trying on all of the costumes and hats (the bigger and sparklier the better!), the never ending repairs, the awful tour food and accommodation resulting in living off snickers and jelly (sorry Japan, I am light years away from being brave enough to go local)- so many thoughts, some just amazing and will last forever, others I hope to forget quickly! But over all a satisfying feeling having developed my sewing (and people) skills, worked backstage on some seriously beautiful productions and made some friends I will love eternally.

You gotta do what you gotta do... It is tradition, in the world of ballet and theatre, to embarrass yourself as much as possible during your final performance, quite often taking part some how in the show itself... On stage. And I am not one to break tradition, in fact I'm so applause hungry that I have par-taken in two on stage appearances now. When my dearest and most awesome partner in crime Gill waved goodbye to life as a wardrobe assistant, I accompanied her, as her peasant wife no less, into the lime light. We totally stole the show, Gillian in her top hat and fat suit and yours truly nearly taking out half of the dancers with a skirt waaaay too long! Ah good times!

As a result of sharing Gill's on stage performance I genuinely thought I had escaped further humiliation... How foolish of me. I was tag teamed; my fellow wardrobe ladies suited me up (pink tights and all), and my hair and make up was done by the one and only Marion Tait, legend of the ballet world. Having THE Marion Tait attend my make up and hair sealed the deal- I was going on!

The final performance of the season, and my final performance working with the company, and what a show to go out on- Giselle. If you've never seen a ballet (do it!!!) but want to dip your toe in the water, then a production like Giselle is perfect. One of my favourite shows I have worked on and seen (from the wings). The story is tragic and romantic- the perfect combination in any piece of dance! The music is sweet with just the right amount of drama and suspense, the scenery is simple yet atmospheric with the moody lighting and smoke. The costumes for Giselle are just gorgeous. Beautiful floaty dresses, delicate hues, a washy watercolour of movement complimenting the choreography wonderfully.

As you can probably guess from the name, Giselle is a French piece dating back to 1841, adapted from a Heinrich Heine poem about heartache and loss. This tragic story is set in a sleepy village, around our heroine Giselle, a delicate flower of a girl, suffering a weakness of the heart. She falls in love with a handsome villager who wins her affections, despite hiding his noble birth and being betrothed to the princess. Of course, she discovers his engagement and is humiliated and heart broken- cue seriously emotional scene of devastation and desperation, a crazed Giselle throws herself across the stage in a turbulent whirlwind, resulting in her death at the end of act 1. 

Upon mourning dear Giselle, the young man responsible stumbles into a spooky forest haunted by the spirits of jilted women 'The Wilis'. Led by their merciless queen, the wilis lure foolish men deep into the forest and make them dance till their death, as revenge for these women once scorned. Romantic Giselle forgives him, and the power of her love saves this man from the magic of the wilis, and Giselle dances with the prince one last time- until sunrise, when he is safe. As the first rays of light break through the trees, the spirit of Giselle is released unto heaven. CUE ME- Ballet pose extraordinaire!! Velcro'd to a pole and lifted to the lofty heights of heaven aka the lighting rig above the stage. Curtain down, and applause. (For the real Giselle of course, not the 5 ft stunt double trying not to fall off the platform).

The Marion Tait treatment:

Getting into character before the show:

And of course, one with the girls, go wilis!:

So much fun and a real great memory to treasure, what a way to end my time with these guys.

And as I washed off the glitter, I stepped out of the lights and into reality... And a brand new chapter of my own story.

Are you a ballet or theatre fan? Have you seen anything great lately or are you planning to delve into the dramatic arts soon? I look forward to experiencing the view from the auditorium, rather than in the wings!

Friday, 23 August 2013

Popcorn at the ready!

The last good film you saw, and I mean REALLY good, can you name it? Ever stumbled across something, flicked over spontaneously to something on tv, been recommended or lent a dvd or just taken a chance on something you hadn't caught the hype of? I had a brilliant opportunity such as this, yesterday evening. 

I watch a lot of movies, and I don't really have a preference to which variety (although I am partial to a beautiful costume drama or geeky comic book adaption!). This indecisive ability makes the process of choosing a film painful! My boyfriend is in the habit of horror, the nastier the better for him, but after an unfortunate streak of awful slasher flicks, we decided to steer clear of the supernatural and went for something Richard had seen last year, but had apparently passed me by entirely.

Intouchables. I hadn't heard of it at all but hey ho we proceeded. And I can honestly say this is one of the best pieces of film I have seen. Such a simple concept, quiet and gradual- no huge car chase or bloodfest, just story. Beautifully told story. Complex characters in an engaging and relatable way, gripping and consuming, this film pulled me in. It tackles several stereotypes of society and brings life into this 'characterisation', an honest and humorous portrayal of real people but also a depth beyond the surface. I don't want to say too much about the synopsis for fear of spoiling the charm of this gorgeous film, other than it is created by Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano, and is based on the story of two real people, and after nine weeks after its release on 2 November 2011, it became the second biggest box office hit in France.

Also something I absolutely have to mention with this film, is that the soundtrack is truly beautiful. I downloaded it instantly after the film finished and each time I listen to it I become absorbed into its emotion and delicacy, ah man I'm in love with this music.

Forget my ramblings and check out this trailer for Intouchables:

Since I have my inspired hat on, here on some trailers for a few films on my 'to watch' list:

Director: Tony Kaye, Writer: Carl Lund, Stars: Adrien Brody, Christina Hendricks

Moonrise Kingdom
Director: Wes Anderson, Writers: Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola, Stars: Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis

And one to look forward to (December release!):

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Director: Ben Stiller, Writer: Steve Conrad, James Thurber, Stars: Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig

If you've seen any of these films then for sure let met know! Or have any recommendations :)

Saturday, 17 August 2013

A voyage across the sea

Taking a giant leap into the unknown can be such a scary concept, trust me, I'm an expert on this these days. Life is never simple, easy or laid out clearly for you, it takes some puzzling, making a few mistakes and taking a few risks from time to time. Please don't get the wrong idea here, I am far from a rebellious run away or rule breaker! No way. My wild Saturday nights are spent knitting in my pjs watching some Madmen (ahhh heaven). But sometimes, every now and then, opportunities can arise that are just too good to hide from.

My boyfriend and I had plunged ourselves into some what risky territory straight from the beginning, considering I live in England and he lives in Holland, but things developed despite the distance (and some sea!), and after several million txts and skype dates and a few trips back and forth, we were stuck like glue. Uhoh. A year later and the 440 miles between us wasn't getting any less, so upon some serious brain storming, excited jives but some tears too, we built a plan!

Our adventure really began a month ago, when I parted ways with my job as wardrobe assistant for a ballet company, and Rich flew to England for the start of our summer vacation together. We spent several weeks exploring England (many posts to follow!) and spending time with my gorgeous family, relaxing and plotting towards the big leap approaching. And then just over a week ago I packed a huge suitcase and said 'see you soon' to my English loved ones, jumped on a plane tightly holding Richard's hand, and said 'hallo' to my Dutch loved ones!

Unless you have experienced something similar to this, it really is difficult to explain the vast mixture of emotions that spin your mind. Especially being such a home bird! I don't know how many times I remind myself it isn't goodbye to anyone, and how lucky I actually am to have two amazing families. And it is the support and encouragement from these families that have made things easier than it could have been. Tears and laughter do not even begin to describe this journey, my technique (besides super friends and family) is to close my eyes and jump!

And jump I did, right here to this wonderful sea side town. Let me show you around:

And when I feel a little home sick, I just wave!!

Many many more posts and photographs on their way, updating you on these wee adventures!

Have you ever taken any daring risks, leaps of faith or tackled similar situations? Are you a free spirited soul, drifting from one adventure to the next or do you prefer the simple, home life (like me! Haha!)?

Monday, 12 August 2013

A stitch in time

Calling all knitters!

[Photo from]

I have made it my mission to develop my knitting skills, in the hopes of reaching the lofty heights of being able to knit myself some winter woolies. Never one to take on simple tasks, I always manage to throw myself in at the deep end, but I am holding faith that practice really does make perfect (well, I'll be happy with 'good enough'!).

It seems to me that although knitting was once a handed down craft, from generation to generation, these days our main source of information is that grand old oracle- Mister Internet. And boy have I found a treasure trove of knitted goodness online!!

[Photo from knitionary.blogspot]

Right now I can do the most basic of stitches, I am the master of knit one purl one, but I am itching to try my hand at reading a pattern. Moving up from rectangular scarfs, I am setting my sights on mittens and arm warmers (hello Christmas presents!) and am on the look out for some vintage patterns for cardigans and jumpers. My search begins with the key words BASIC KNITTING PATTERNS, but before long I have let myself become engrossed in a world of nostalgia and retro heaven!

[Photo from Subversive Femme on Etsy]

Take a look at my pinterest 'Knitting Inspiration' board for example. There is such a huge choice readily available, many pdf downloads landing right in your lap. So many vintage pattern books in pdf form, allowing these wonderfully kitsch delights to live on. One of my favourite places I have stumbled across is this gorgeous Etsy shop Subversive Femme. What better place to buy pattern books, than from  a fellow seamstress/ knitter? And of course, the mecca of knitting web sites Ravelry provides access to a whole community of fibre friendly fellows; the high lights of this site includes patterns, valuable information on the right yarns to use and even forums and groups.

The first thing on my craft table... These gorgeous knitted socks. Just think of the colour combinations! Then, when I'm feeling ambitious I will try my hand at this:

[Photo from Subversive Femme on Etsy]

My question for you; do you have any good 'beginners' knitting tips? Or a favourite place to source patterns / wool?

Sunday, 4 August 2013

In a world of my own

Call me crazy, but I really love a rainy Sunday.

I know, I know, its August, we should be sunning it up! But you have to admit, there's something deliciously comforting hiding from the storms, watching the rainfall from a window alone with your thoughts, or escaping into a book. Just me?

Well, on today's drissly Sunday, I took some time for reflection. With Thursday getting closer and closer- the day I move to Holland for three months, moments like these are important. Its good to sit and appreciate what you have, where you are in your life, just to look around you and take it all in. For me this is the quiet before the storm, (the nerve wracking but awesomely exciting storm!).

Upon thinking about what I want from my new adventure, I decided to compile a little collection of pictures. Using a great website I stumbled across recently;, I made this little post to share a few of my favourite things with you!

I think it's time to indulge in a little 'A Clash of Kings' action, perhaps in a Lush bubble bath... I need to get a job!!