Tuesday, 30 April 2019

My Flute Practice Routine 2019

Hi everyone,

I'm not sure if you know or not, but I'm currently in the process of learning on how to play the flute. I have been learning the flute for around five years, and during that time the way I practice has actually changed. At the moment I'm currently working towards the ABRSM Grade 3, but I'm also working on pieces that fall around the Grade 6 standard. Also, during my practice sessions I will analyse what I'm doing, and by doing this it will help me to figure out were I'm going wrong, and if anything needs work. Then I can come back to it at my practice.

Scales & Arpeggios (30 minutes)
Before I even start working on my scales & arpeggios I warm up my flute by doing Harmonics on C; which is starting from the low C and without moving your fingers you go up the next octave, then to G, C, G, B, and then finally C. It's taken me the best part of 16 months to get to the 7th Harmonic with practice and patience.

Once I have warmed my flute up by using Harmonics and tuning her to A I then start with my scales and arpeggios. 
The scales that I'm currently working on are D Major 2 Octaves, Bb Major 12th & E Harmonic Minor 12th.
The arpeggios that I'm currently working on are G Major 12th, D Major 2 Octaves, Bb Major 12th & E Harmonic 12th.

I don't practice these all within one 30 minute session, as I like to rotate and change things up a little bit as I like a bit of variety within my learning. But, just as they all practiced that's all that matters, as scales and arpeggios form the basis of all musical learnings and it's important that they are learnt and practiced.

Exam Pieces (30 minutes)
I'm currently working on three pieces from the current ABRSM Grade 3 flute exam pack, and again I will rotate all of these pieces just to give myself a bit of variety.
The pieces that I'm currently working on are: -
- The Irish Washerwoman
- Study in D Minor
- Cinq Sets

All of these pieces have there own hurdles to get your head around, but it's really nice to hear the progress that I have made during my next music lesson. The first piece that I took to was the 'Study in D Minor', and I more or less sight-read it within the first lesson that I picked the piece. It wasn't perfect, but I thrilled to bits that I had actually sight-read a piece during a lesson; as it had never happened before.

Additional Pieces (30 minutes)
These are the additional pieces that I have chosen to learn with the help of my music teacher. The pieces I'm currently working on are the Chopin Nocturne Op 9, No 2 & and 'The Swan' from 'Carnival of the Animals' by Saint-Saens.

With these additional pieces I like spend around 15 minutes on each piece, and by doing this I can focus on working out my little "niggles", while having a bit of fun. I've actually taught myself how to sight-read 'The Swan' without my teachers knowledge up until recently, as it was a piece that I really wanted to learn; and I have been learning this piece since just before Christmas last year. It's still not perfect, as I have a bar that keeps tripping me up every time I practice it.

For the Chopin Nocturne Op 9, No 2 I'm currently working on quite a few 'runs' that take place towards the end of the piece, as I need to train my fingers up to do them. It's taking a bit of time to get these right, but progress is still being made even though it may be in form of 'baby steps'.

Music Planner
I have an A5 ring bound planner which is dedicated to my music learnings/ practice, and within this planner I keep the times I have practiced, flute lessons, what I have been set to do by flute teacher, a condensed practice log, a more in depth practice log, and also any goals. Alongside my music planner I also have a 'Music Journal' and this is what I take to my lessons; and within this is where I also log my more in-depth music practice.

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Theatre Review: 'Breaking the Rules' by Clare Norburn (Updated)

Hi everyone,

I had the pleasure of seeing Clare Norburn's fabulous production of 'Breaking the Rules' twice back in 2016, and I have finally managed to go again on the 17th April 2019 only this time it was being performed at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester.


Gesualdo - Gerald Kyd

The Marian Consort
Jamie Akers/ Wezi Elliot - Lutest

Original Review from 2016

'Breaking the Rules' is a performance to celebrate Gesualdo's 450th birthday. The performance consists of a two hour monologue and the Marian Consort performing Gesualdo's Tenebrae Responsies and Madrigils. The Tenebrae Responsies are sacred pieces of music composed by Gesualdo, and the Madrigils are the pieces of music were Gesualdo started to explore the use of harmonics and chromatics, and at that period in time it was just starting to come about.

'Breaking the Rules' is a one man concert drama that centres around the last day of Carlo Gesualdo. Gesualdo is alone in his chapel on his family estate. But, Gesualdo has been living inside his castle for some time.

  Two weeks previous he lost his only son and heir, and Gesualdo himself now stares death in the face, knowing that he faces purgatory for the multitude of sins that he has committed.
  During his final day, Gesualdo is haunted by the memories of his first wife, Maria; who he murdered 23 years ago because she was having an affair with local nobleman, Fabrizio Carafa, the Duke of Andria. The only thing that will finally free him of these visions from the past is if he 'turns on' the music, which he himself has composed.
  Also, in the chapel with Gesualdo are his consort of singers and they help to provide a soundtrack into Gesualdo's mind, as well as to act as a trigger to help Gesualdo remember his important life events.

Gerald is absolutely outstanding as Gesualdo, because he makes him likeable; even though he has a very dark and intense past. The monologue is performed with a lot of depth and contrast; and this is due to Gesualdo reflecting back on his past as well as highlighting some of his important life events.

The Marian Consort are fabulous as Gesualdo's personal consort. They perform a selection of Gesualdo's Tenebrae Responsies and Madrigils because Gesualdo has to 'turn on' the music while reflecting on his past life. The music which is performed by the Marian Consort is beautiful to listen too because of the harmonics and chromatics that is used throughout Gesualdo's compositions. Angels are definitely singing in the form of the Marian Consort.

'Breaking the Rules' is a fabulous production that provides the audience with a unique experience. If you want to see a show which puts in a dream-like state, and through a palette of colours, then this could be for you. 'Breaking the Rules' is a show that certainly takes you out of yourself and transports you to another place.

2019 Update

I had the pleasure of seeing 'Breaking the Rules' for a third time, and this time it was held at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester at 7.30pm.

This was staged differently to when I had watched this in the past; as they used elements of the hall to give it a more spacious feel rather than the condensed feeling which is due to the layout of the churches.
  The opening act started off with the Marian Consort singing from the dress circle; and at the start of the second act the Consort sang from the gallery. But they also walked around the stalls during the second act.

The way the monologue is performed has also changed from when I first saw the production. Gerald has given Gesualdo a 'new lease of life', as there's even more depth of colour, as well as a lot more to Gesualdo's character from what I remember previously. Also, both Luigi and Guilio now each have their own characteristics.
  The 'magic numbers' scene has also been staged differently, because this scene used to be Gerald sitting in a chair reading a book; whereas it now commands the entire stage.

'Breaking the Rules' has certainly got better and better over the years. It seems to go at a more relaxing pace, which gives it a more natural and free flowing feel. Everyone was on top form. The Marian Consort sounded exceptionally crisp and clean, and Gerald has only bettered the entire monologue throughout the years.
  I actually felt very at home with 'Breaking the Rules', as I had a lovely, warm cosy feeling throughout. I even caught myself saying some of the monologue to myself, as well as having a little sing-a-long with some of the music.

I would highly recommend anyone to grab a ticket to see this wonderful production; as I didn't think it could get any better, but this show has bettered itself throughout the years.

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Products I Would Repurchase - Part Four

Hi everyone,

It's been a long while since I have done a 'Products I Would Repurchase' post, so I thought it was time that I did another segment for you.

Vichy Purete Thermal Fresh Cleansing Gel
The Vichy Purete Thermal Fresh Cleansing Gel is a lovely refreshing cleanser to use, both in the morning and evening. I have just recently purchased another bottle of this cleanser, as I hadn't used in a while. This is a brilliant cleanser for anyone whose looking for a cleanser that gives them just a little bit of hydration, and it also works well for oily and combination skin types (like myself), as it doesn't strip the skin of any of its natural oils. Also, this cleanser has a lovely, sweet refreshing scent to it, which makes it even more of a joy to use; as it was the fragrance aspect of this cleanser that I was missing.

Clinique Moisture Surge Moisturiser
I've gone through a number of tubs of this moisturiser over the past couple of years, and its great for a getting some additional hydration into the skin. This is another skincare product that I've come across that not only works for people who have dry skin, but it also works well for people who have oily/ combination skin. It's also a lightweight moisturiser, which means that it sinks into the skin straight away.

Clinique 'All About Eyes' Eye Cream
I've gone through a couple of tubs of this eye cream. This eye cream is great for anyone whose looking for a basic eye cream that adds just the slightest bit of hydration under the eye area. It's also formulated for people who have sensitive skin, which makes a really gentle eye cream to use.

Caudalie Polyphenol C15 Serum (Discontinued)
I think I went through two of these serums before I found that this had been discontinued, and it was this serum that got me into adding Vitamin C into my skincare routine. But, if this product was still available to purchase I would happily buy it again.

Kiehl's Daily Reviving Concentrate 
This forms part of my morning skincare routine, and it's one product within my morning skincare routine that I wouldn't want to be without. It's a lovely, lightweight oil that sinks into the skin straight away. Once the skin gets used to the Daily Reviving Concentrate you should start to a natural glow to your skin.

Elemis Lime Blossom Cleanser
I've gone through two of these cleansers in the past, and I would happily buy it if I fancied changing up my skincare routine and going back to a cream cleanser. It's a rich, but lightweight cleanser aimed at oily/ combination skin types. It also has a mild fragrance to it, just to give it a more luxurious feel.

Elemis Lavender Toner
This is gorgeous and relaxing toner from Elemis, as it has lavender in it. I really enjoyed using this as part of my evening skincare routine. I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for adding a little bit of extra relaxation into their skincare routine.

Body Shop Ginseng & Rice Face Mask
This is one intense face mask from the Body Shop, but it does a fabulous job of clearing the skin and giving it a natural glow. Because it's also formulated with rice, it gives it an additional level of exfoliation. I really enjoyed using this face mask, and I got about six months of use out of this face mask. I'm not in any need of any face masks at the moment, but this one that I would happily repurchase.

Clinique 'Take the Day Off' Cleansing Balm
I've gone through a few tubs of this within the past couple of years, and I use this as my first cleanse in my evening skincare routine; as I actually 'double cleanse' my skin in an evening. I like this as it's just a basic cleansing balm, but it's a cleansing balm that gets the job done effectively. It also rinses off cleanly with warm water and a flannel.

Kiehl's Rosa Arctica Lightweight Cream
I've only used a deluxe size sample of this in the past, but I do have a full size of this ready to be used once I'm done with my current moisturiser. This is a gorgeous, lightweight moisturiser that sinks into the skin straight away. Because this is the lightweight formula it makes it ideal to have as part of a morning skincare routine. I also got a load of compliments while I was using this moisturiser, as it gave my skin a natural glow.

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

My Favourite Skincare Products

Hi everyone,

I thought that I would share with you my favourite skincare products. Some of these products are my tried and true products, that I have repurchased a few times; and some of these are completely new into my skincare routines and I have fallen in love with.

Dr Botanicals Moroccan Rose Superfood Facial Oil
This has got to be one of the nicest, and most luxurious facial oils I've ever used. It has a lovely lightweight formula that sinks into the skin straight away, and the scent of this oil is heavenly. I really enjoy having this as part of my evening skincare routine, as I wake up with a natural glow to my skin the following morning.

Dr Botanicals Japanese Orange Revive & Firm Facial Serum
This is my first introduction into the world of using Retinol, but because this is in a mild and natural form my skin has actually taken well to using this product. I was a little bit hesitant at the idea of using this at first, but it has become a product that have grown to love. I use this on alternate evenings, due to it being a retinol based product. It's also has Vitamin C added this serum. It has a gorgeous citrus fragrance, which smells divine.

Vichy Purete Thermal Fresh Cleansing Gel
I went through a bottle of the Vichy Purete Fresh Cleansing Gel, and I have missed having as part of my skincare routine. When I originally used this cleanser it formed part of my evening skincare routine, but I now have it as part of my Sunday skincare routine; as I switch my routine up a little bit at the weekends. This cleanser doesn't strip the skin of any of it's natural oils, as well as adding a bit of extra hydration into the skin. It also has a lovely, but mild fresh scent which I absolutely adore as it has a bit of a sweetness too it.

Dr Botanicals Tropical Invigorating Duo Moisturiser
I use this moisturiser as part of my morning skincare routine, and it has a rich consistency while still being somewhat lightweight. It also sinks into the skin more or less straight away. This is a brilliant moisturiser for a adding some additional hydration into the skin. It also has a fresh scent to it.

Alpha H Liquid Gold
This was the product that got me into using glycolic acid years ago. I use this as part of my Saturday skincare routine, due to it being an intense chemical exfoliator due to the alcohol content. Alpha H Liquid Gold does contain 5% glycolic acid, and it does work. I also don't follow up this product with a moisturiser, as it makes it work more effectively.

REN Wake Wonderful Night Time Facial
This forms part of my Sunday skincare routine, and this is an overnight exfoliating booster which helps to deep clean pores, support natural cell turnover and boosts the skin's natural radiance. But it also locks in moisturiser at the same time. This product is also on the intensive side of things, so I only use one pump of this and it does the job. You can also follow this product up with a moisturiser and it doesn't affect the effectiveness of the product.

Kiehl's Daily Reviving Concentrate
I have had this product as part go my morning skincare routine for around two years, and I don't want to be without it. It's a lovely lightweight oil that sinks into the skin straight away, and it adds a natural glow and also a shot of hydration. It does have a bit of a scent to it, and it does take a bit to get used too. I would highly recommend this product, especially if you can get past the scent.

Lancome Energie de Vie Nuit Overnight Recovery Mask
I absolutely adore this overnight mask from Lancome, as it does exactly what it's supposed to do; which is to give the skin an intensive boost of hydration overnight. It's a lovely product to use, and it's inspired by the current Korean skincare trend.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading about just a few of my favourite skincare products, and I'm hoping to do some posts like this in the future.

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Blast from the Past - Part Two

Hi everyone,

Here's the second instalment of my 'Blast from the Past' series, and I do have a couple of specials coming up over the next few months.

Boots Natural Collection Lip Gloss
The Boots Natural Collection lipglosses were my first introduction into lipglosses when I was around 9/10 years old, and the first one I owned was a shimmery pink one. I think it was called something like 'Raspberry Ripple' or just 'Raspberry', and these had a lovely sweet scent that smelt delicious.

Boots Natural Collection Body Mists
The Boots Natural Collection body mists have now sadly been discontinued for years. They used to have a collection of around five to six different fragrances, and these fragrances consisted of vanilla, lime, raspberry and/ or strawberry, blueberry and maybe apple and orange/ citrus.

Body Shop Range in 'Moonflower'
This was one of the ranges from the Body Shop that my mum actually introduced me too. The 'Moonflower' range was a lovely, light but slightly sweet floral fragrance; and this range was avaliable from sometime in the 1990s to around the mid 2000s. The range consisted of an EDP, body spray, body lotion, body butter and shower gel. From the range I had the body spray and EDP. I really wish that the Body Shop would bring this range back, as it holds loads of lovely memories for me.

Impulse Body Spray in O2
This was the body spray that every girl wore during my years at secondary school. The Impulse O2 fragrance was a gorgeous fresh, sweet apple scent, and it used to make everyone feel happy, as it was such an uplifting fragrance.

Boots No. 7 Make Up from the Mid/ Late 90s
I think I was around 10 years old when I was introduced to the Boots No.7 Make Up line, and this was purely by chance as I had a won a No.7 make up gift set in a raffle. If I remember correctly the set consisted of a neutral eyeshadow quad, a little bag, a mirror, and possibly a lipstick/ lipgloss. My favourite product from this gift set was the eyeshadow  quad, as I remember using it all of the time.

Keep an eye out for more blog posts, as I have a few ideas for this series in the works.