Thursday 28 November 2013

Snowflakes with jazz hands

Have you ever seen The Nutcracker? For our latest UK Ballet Meet Up, the plan was to learn some of the snowflake corps de ballet routine:

Pretty nerve-wracking if, like me, you casually attend on ballet class a week (two on a good week!) and don't like to perform!

Luckily I had no need to worry - the lovely Karis from EverybodyBallet was in charge and led a lovely class with adapted sections from the ballet. We started with a 30min barre to warm up (I love barre work! It's so simple and difficult and disciplined all at once!), before spending 2 hours on the snowflake choreography.

One thing we all learnt very quickly - snowflakes aren't delicate and floaty, they're spiky. A lot of the movements were surprisingly quick and we had to get used to using straight arms (as opposed to usually maintaining a delicate curve).

And then there were the hands. At select moments during the piece we had to "shimmer" our fingers in a snowflaky manner (I'm not sure how many snowflakes you've met, but I'm assured that they all shimmer their fingers!). This looked beautifully delicate when demonstrated by Karis, however I'm convinced my version was a cross between jazz-hands and spirit-fingers (oh gosh - that's a dodgy reference to cheerleading film Bring It On (and its sequels!)). Suffice to say, less snowflake and more west end musical. It wasn't until after the class that I discovered many of my classmates had made the same link and we had all been trying desperately not to go too "jazz" with our snowflakes!

What was amazing about the class was how many people were there! At our very first meet-up there were just 5 of us taking the clad (plus a couple of spectators/photographers). At this incarnation (number four) there was 15 of us! Crazy. It was so nice to meet more ballet people and chat with them after class. Some had travelled from as far away as Lincoln just for our ballet workshop! That's dedication, and a testament to the amazing organisation as of Becca :) 

I've saved the best for last: somehow I ended up in a tutu! Still not completely sure how that happened, but it actually worked! It made dancing in my little group of snowflakes more fun and I felt a bit more floaty (erm... I mean spiky of course!). Not really my thing though - I expect it'll be a while before I find myself donning one again!

Apologies for the slightly dodgy iphone pics - I didn't have a decent camera with me! Much too busy dancing to take proper photos anyway!

Wednesday 20 November 2013

Mexican take two

Last week I finally got around to trying another Kitchen Nomad recipe. This time I picked something that looked fairly simple: blackbean soup.

It was mostly straightforward - for a start all of the ingredients were mentioned in the actual recipe :) There was one teeny missing step, but beyond that it was plain sailing. Hurrah! 

The end result was a rather tasty spicy soup. It was initially a tad watery, so I added some roasted butternut squash that had been "hanging around" in the fridge and re-blended it. Perfect - more body and a slight touch of sweetness. I have been eating it for lunch all week, either with grated cheese or a few blobs if soured cream. Yummy yummy.

Sunday 17 November 2013

Little happy things

Look at this:

It's a glittery pear Christmas tree decoration! Isn't it fab?!

Today went from an empty, plan-free firework recovery day to lazy dim sum lunch with friends and a wander around the Harrods gift shop. Wonderful, relaxed and happy; and also with a new Christmas bauble.

Wednesday 6 November 2013

Fireworks and rushing around.

So far, fireworks season has gone really well. I had planned to write a proper post about everything I've been up to, but between fireworks and the day job I'm simply too busy right now. Instead, for now I'll have to content myself with a few pictures that I snapped over the weekend...

Three vans loaded up and ready for the drive to Portsmouth.

Rigging the shell tubes on the barges at Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth.
A snapshot of the show on Friday night (two barges in the middle of the harbour).

A few of the shell racks - my vague attempt to document some of the kit we travel with.

Rigging at Kenilworth Castle.
A slightly blurry side view of the show at Kenilworth Castle.
I wasn't firing on Bonfire Night itself (Tuesday) because I was needed at work, but I'll be back out on Saturday on another fabulous fireworks show.

When did you last see fireworks?

To all firers out there - stay safe this season.