Sunday, 30 November 2014

Teenage Skin | LittleEllieMae

When beauty bloggers mention skincare we generally think of face care (face creams, exfoliators, washes etc) but what about the rest of the body? I feel women's skin as a whole isn't talked about enough. 

As teenagers we have all experienced (or maybe you are currently experiencing) the body going through some rapid changes during puberty and sometimes stretch marks can appear from sudden growth during these years of your life. 43% of women have stretch marks and 24% have acne scarring- its a lot more common than we expect!

I know that young people, especially, can be embarrassed to talk about these skin issues with 16-24 year olds rating their body confidence at only 5.5 out of 10 on average. 
I am a huge believer in self confidence and love (even if I find it difficult myself sometimes!) so I jumped at the chance to try Bio- Oil when it was offered to me. 

Bio- Oil has been clinically proven to help improve the appearance of scarring, acne scars, prevent and improve the appearance of stretch marks, replenish skin's natural oils and helps improve the appearance of uneven skin tone therefore helping to improve self-confidence day by day!

Bio- Oil is made up of fantastic Vitamin A and E with natural plant oils such as Calendula, Lavender, Rosemary and Chamomile which are hugely beneficial to the skin. Also, with PurCellin Oil it creates a dry oil type texture which is easily absorbed into the skin which I love because it doesn't leave your skin feeling greasy like some other moisturising products.

You can use Bio-Oil pretty much anywhere, whether it be on your scars and stretch marks or on your dry elbows and knees, nail cuticles or dab on your face for a light moisture replenish! I especially love to use it to even out my skintone on my face and it creates a fantastic base for makeup too!

I genuinely love this product and have already recommended it to my friends and family. My Mum is especially a big fan of it too!

Bio- Oil also has some celebrity fans too, including Rochelle Humes and Una Healy from The Saturdays, Jade Thirlwall and Leigh-Ann Pinnock from Little Mix! They swear by the stuff!

I genuinely love this product ( I wouldn't be recommending it to you guys if I didn't!) and I think that it should be a staple in every teenage (or adult!) beauty cupboard! 

Have you tried out Bio- Oil before, if so what did you think? What is your favourite beauty cupboard staple? I'd love to find out your recommendations too!

Ellie Mae x

Disclaimer: I have worked with Bio-Oil to produce this post but all opinions and views are 100% honest and my own, as always :)

Friday, 21 November 2014

BRB Beauty and The Beast- Props, Stage and Review | LittleEllieMae


In my previous post I spoke about my time with Birmingham Royal Ballet at the Theatre Royal Plymouth for their production of Beauty and The Beast. Not only did I have the opportunity to check out some of the amazing costumes, makeup and wigs, I was also taken on a tour of the stage and backstage area to find out more about how the props and staging works. 

Walking through the backstage corridors I got to experience the exciting atmosphere just minutes before the curtains were due to go up; Dancers were getting into their costumes, ushers were ready in their uniform and the tannoy system called "thirty minutes until stage time!" (which it was actually thirty five minutes to go, but they add an extra five minutes so that none of the dancers are late!). 

One thing I noticed backstage were these wooden boxes placed in every corridor- they are rosin boxes with graters which the dancers use to scrape their ballet shoes on to stop from slipping on the smooth surface of the stage. 

Then I was taken to the stage area where all of the props were ready to be used in the show. My favourite props that I saw were the tables of food and drink for the banquet scenes which although were all fake, definitely looked like it could be edible! I loved the detail in all of the props, like the small decorations on the cakes and glazing on the pig head. 

One of the tables featured in The Beast's castle in the show, therefore possessed magical powers and could light candles and pour a goblet of wine all by itself! (Big backstage secret here...) But I learnt that actually a person was lying underneath the table and controlled all sorts of buttons and wheels to activate the magical actions- oh and the 'wine' is cleverly just Ribena juice! The tricks of the theatre!

Similarly the magical chair of The Beast's castle was also controlled by a person sat inside the chair with their arms in the hollows of the armrests which caused the chair to lovingly give Belle's father a hug in his time of need. I found this so interesting as I had never previously given much thought to how certain props were operated in the theatre yet it was done so cleverly. 


The staging on the show was fantastic. The backdrop consisted mainly of dark and almost menacing looking scenery, especially around the appearances of The Beast which suited perfectly the story of the ballet which was based on a more sinister outlook of the traditional folk tale, where David Bintley (Director) focused on the fact that "it is the humans who can be beastly". 

I particularly liked the use of mirrors in some of the scenes as they created amazing shadows of the dancers and props. There was interesting use of light and shadow throughout the show, it was used as a platform to convey the atmosphere greatly in addition to the dance. 

As a self- confessed musical theatre lover, a ballet is something a bit different for me and I was somewhat skeptical of how much I would enjoy it as I usually love the singing and conversational aspect of shows. However I can honestly say that I loved the ballet of Beauty and The Beast by Birmingham Royal Ballet so much. 

The dancing was some of the best I have ever witnessed, with every move and motion perfected down to a T. The story was very easy to understand and there was some added humour of the rabbit and the aristocrat characters which lightened up the intense but compelling story line. 

The props, costumes, wigs, makeup and staging along with some breathtaking dancers created a show that I would happily go and see again and again. 

What I wore to the ballet:

Dress- Primark
Boots- River Island
Lipstick- Rimmel London by Kate Moss in 107

I would definitely recommend you go and see Birmingham Royal Ballet's Beauty and The Beast which is currently touring around the UK. Otherwise Birmingham Royal Ballet put on a vast variety of different ballets and will be back at the Theatre Royal Plymouth in Spring! 

Ellie Mae x

Disclaimer: I have worked with the Theatre Royal Plymouth and Birmingham Royal Ballet to create this post but all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own! Photos marked with an asterisk are credited by Birmingham Royal Ballet. Thanks to James from J-D Photography for editing some of the photos for me. 

Monday, 17 November 2014

BRB Beauty and The Beast- Backstage at Theatre Royal Plymouth | LittleEllieMae

Birmingham Royal Ballet's Beauty and The Beast tells the tale of a beautiful girl named Belle who's father promises her to The Beast after he picks a rose from the chilling castle. The Beast asks Belle to marry him time and time again, although Belle does not love him back and he begins to perish of a broken heart. Also with appearances from Belle's arguing sisters, greedy Cochon and the mysterious Wild Girl. Its a tale we all know and love. 

I was invited by my local theatre, The Theatre Royal Plymouth, backstage at BRB's tour of Beauty and The Beast to check out some of the makeup, wigs and costumes for the show. 

Firstly I had the opportunity to meet Yaoqian Shang who was playing Wild Girl in the ballet that night- the only character in the show who is actually turned from an animal into a human by the Woodsman, the rest are turned from humans to animals.

Yaoqian sat down at her dressing table a premature two hours before the curtains opened (just in case her makeup goes wrong and has to start again!)  to begin transforming herself into a magical fox looking character. I was somewhat surprised that the dancers did their own makeup entirely by themselves; I had preconceptions that a makeup artist would be rushing around making up everybody before the show but that was not the case at all. The dancers bought all of their own makeup- not thick stage makeup like I had imagined, but everyday makeup that you and I wear. Yaoqian had a huge variety of branded bottles and palettes sprawled across her dressing room table, ranging from Mac Studio Fix Fluid Foundation to Bobbi Brown eyeshadows in deep plum colours to use as a strong contour in the hollows of her cheeks to portray a chiseled, foxy look. Although Yaoqian possessed all of this beautiful makeup, she confessed that she rarely wore a face of makeup outside of work but her favourite brand to wear on stage is Mac due to its good quality and variety of colours.  

Yaoqian joined BRB in 2013 and told me that she just had to experiment with her makeup to look right for her role but fortunately she managed to get some tips from a previous dancer who played the role of Wild Girl a few years before. The most difficult part of the makeup look for her was the eyebrows which had to be raised and lengthened to achieve the look inspired by woodland creatures- she had to balance both eyebrows out a few times (just like I am with eyeliner!) but she said to remember that "they are sisters not twins"! She used a dramatic winged liner on her lids and a mirroring liner under the eyes along with fluttery fake eyelashes to make her eyes appear wider and doe- eyed. I really love the makeup look that Yaoqian wore for her role, with toned heavy contouring and slick liner, and she applied it so well and looked great. 

Yes, their dressing room mirrors are actually surrounded by those Hollywood style lights!

I then went to meet Jonathan Payn in his dressing room who was playing the role of Cochon that night; Cochon is a wealthy townsman who courts both of Belle's sisters in the show. The character is extremely greedy and money- obsessed, therefore acquires pig- like features. 

Jonathan is one of the most experienced dancers of the show, dancing for 11 years as Cochon, so is very comfortable with the process of getting ready into his character. As his character is so pig- like, he creates a makeup look that resembles a pig as much as possible. He draws on harsh black brows that are raised and lengthened to make his face appear rounder. To emphasize the pig-like features, Jonathan puts sponges inside his cheeks to puff them out and keeps them in for each scene he appears in! He also applies heavy contour, using dark colours to emphasize the parts of his face going inwards and light colours to emphasize the parts of his face puffing out, such as the apples of his cheeks. Of course, he has a prosthetic pig's nose which he glues onto his face which finishes the look completely. Jonathan wears a fat suit during the show and also an extravagant curly haired wig.
All of the wigs in the ballet are made of real human hair but sometimes they are required to dye it different colours if it doesn't match the specification. 

In Cochon's second scene his greed becomes excessive and he turns into a real pig!

The costumes were simply stunning for this ballet. They were full of different textures from tulle to velvet and organza. I had the chance to look at the dresses which the dancers wore as part of the bird scene dance (the dark coloured dresses, pictured) and the beautiful party dresses as worn in The Beast's ball (the golden dresses, pictured). What surprised me was that each dress was different- they were not remakes of each other but every one seemed to have its own personality with slight unique details. So much talent and skill had been put into these costumes, and they had lasted amazingly as they have never been replaced after 11 years of show time. 

I really enjoyed my first backstage experience of the theatre- all of the BRB and Theatre Royal Plymouth team were lovely and I learnt so much.

Keep an eye out on my blog for another post about BRB's Beauty and The Beast where I will be talking about the props, staging and a review of the whole show!

Ellie x

Disclaimer: I have worked with the Theatre Royal Plymouth and Birmingham Royal Ballet to create this post but all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own! Photos marked with an asterisk are credited by Birmingham Royal Ballet.