a few “non-ballet” finds…

a few “non-ballet” finds…

Having started to look further afield for my ballet kit, I thought I’d share some of ballet-able items I’ve come across! The difficulty with shopping from established ballet brands is that, ultimately, less than half of it feels age-appropriate, flattering and/or supportive. I know that’s because adults are probably in the minority of shoppers, but I can’t help but feel that as a size 8-10 with an athletic build, it would be really nice NOT to be maxing out the size Large and having to buy everything in navy and black! 😂

I’ve mentioned this before, but WHY is charcoal grey so hard to find in the ballet world! This affordable playsuit by ASOS would be a perfect little warm-up. I like this because it’s tailored at the waist, instead of the sack-like shape you tend to see from mainstream ballet brands.

Can’t fit a bra under that leotard? Make a point of it! Forever 21 do a lot of really cute sports bras for their active range. A lot of them are only low-medium support, but I find that combined with the built-inshelf bra you’re good to go!

For me, layering tops are a really great way to avoid the jiggling cleavage that comes with centre work. 😰 Even though it’s more flattering on a larger bust to have a lower neckline, I find myself much more comfortable with a higher neckline that doesn’t draw as much attention. Sometimes even just a layer of mesh will do! Missguided surprisingly have a LOT of cheap crop tops in really fashionable cuts and colours, that would look great over a leo.

But if you do prefer the classic ballet wrap, American Apparel (as much as we all hate the guy who runs it) often makes wrap tops in some much more interesting colours and fabrics than you tend to see. I love the velvet ones, for example!

Ballet Rookie x

spacegirl ballet!

spacegirl ballet!

I came across a new brand today called Quontum (via ASOS) that has put out a range of really interesting sportswear! It sort of reminds me of ballet on a space station – a little bit tough and practical, a little bit pretty and flattering. I’m really tempted to try out some of the looks for ballet class…

I love this mesh leotard with the baby pink cuffs and back detail.

I’m also SO tempted by this unique wrap top, with an interesting panelled design in charcoal grey. I don’t know why but it’s so difficult to find cute charcoal grey or even normal grey ballet gear! It’s such a shame because it’s really flattering colour that suits all the pastel pinks and blues you tend to see.

I also like this leotard and crop top with khaki green panels, which gives it a bit of an army girl vibe. I can definitely imagine a science fiction heroine in these!

Do you know of any unusual leotard brands? I would love to see what else is out there!

Ballet Rookie x

a pretty ballet bag

a pretty ballet bag

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I’m so happy! I have honestly been “umming and ahhing” over this Repetto ballet bag for at least three months, when one particularly stressful day I just thought, sod it. I deserve it!

I’ve been using natty old tote bags for over a year now and things were always falling out of the top because they don’t close. It was also seemingly impossible to keep them on my shoulder, because tote straps are quite small and as soon as you’ve stuffed it with a drink bottle, slippers, spare layers, tights, and all the rest of it… it’s like carrying a puffy bed pillow on a strap. 😂

So! At last. A decent amount of space and a zipper! And pockets! 💕💕💕

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I also decided to splurge on this Seamless Cropped Top. I was really unsure, because it’s £35, which is really a lot for a little sports bra. (Not to mention the chance that it would be unsupportive and ugly.) But I’m thrilled to report, it’s absolutely brilliant!

I’m a good D or DD cup, depending on the bra, so finding support in ballet is an absolute nightmare. But this cropped top strikes the perfect balance between comfort, support and a flattering look which actually fits under ballet leotards. I honestly can’t recommend it enough!

Do you have any recommended ballet kit?

Ballet Rookie x

damn arabesques…!

damn arabesques…!

If there’s one thing that never seems to get any easier, it’s the arabesque. Every millisecond I hold them I feel like my back is falling apart! Worse still, my back flexibility/strength is just not what it used to be as a gymnast, so I’m always disappointed at how terrible it looks compared to how difficult it feels.

Well… Miracles do happen!

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I don’t practice arabesques (or anything really) at home, but I just felt like testing myself for some reason. I’d had a particularly good class and I guess I was just feeling limbered up. So I was so happy to see my leg is finally horizontal (just!) and my shoulders are much more square.

Another point of pride is that, in the top picture, my teacher had yanked the foot of my standing leg around so that it actually had some turnout. So I’m amazed that I naturally stood on a foot that is just as turned out! Maybe the dreaded turnout really is improving too… 😂

So! A happy day for me! 😊 Here’s hoping it’s a little inspiration for anyone else out there too!

Ballet Rookie x

pretty ballet nails!

pretty ballet nails!

I’m sure most of you know about the cute OPI Ballet collection that came out last year. But what about this adorable new collection of nail polishes and lip glosses from Japanese gift shop Maison de Fleur? By attaching tiny, teeny tulle skirts on to the bottles, they look like itty bitty ballerinas. It’s too cute! 😂

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Could they be any cuter!?

Unfortunately it’s not easy to buy from this brand as they don’t even have their own website (as far as I can make out) but they are currently sold through Stripe Club, ZoZo Town and Fuji Daimaru UROKO. (So if you do want to buy, you’ll probably need to go through a Japanese parcel forwarding service like Tenso.)

But we can still enjoy “window shopping” from here! 💅🏽

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They are a little on the expensive side, at ¥2041 (~£12.70) for one nail polish and ¥3553 (~£22.10) for one lip gloss, but they’re so cute that I don’t think I could resist if I were in Japan right now!

Which colour would you pick? 😊

Ballet Rookie x

let’s do the splits: nine months on

let’s do the splits: nine months on

It’s been a good amount of time – over nine months – since I started trying to get the splits in July 2015. So I thought it was time to check my progress.

This is the result of stretching 2-4 times per week.

Right Leg Splits. Top: June 29th, Middle: Sept 28th, Bottom: July 1st
Right Leg: This doesn’t look much, but I feel way more comfortable in my right leg splits now. My toe is starting to point and my hips are much more relaxed.

Left Leg Splits. Top: June 29th, Middle: Sept 28th, Bottom: March 1st
Left Leg: I am not very happy with the progress here. Even though it’s another few centimetres closer, I really should be on the floor by now!

Centre Splits. Top: March 29th, Middle: Sept 28th, Bottom: March 1st
Centre Splits: I’m so close!! Hooray! It’s a bit hard to see but I actually think I’m closer to the floor here than on my left leg splits.  In fact, I have started practising an “upright” centre split with my feet turned up.

The Routine: Calf stretch, standing hamstring stretch, standing hip flexor stretch, standing pike stretch, straddle (“pancake”) stretch, kneeling hip flexor stretch, kneeling hamstring stretch, lying on the floor and using a theraband to pull my leg to my head, and finally, just holding each split as long as I can. I also use a lacrosse ball to do trigger-point release around my hips.

Ballet Rookie x

that’s Dita on pointe!

that’s Dita on pointe!

I don’t know if I’m the only ballet enthusiast who didn’t know this, but I came across this pretty picture of Dita von Teese on pointe yesterday and it blew my mind!

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Her feet look pretty great! And it turns out she has even had her own custom pointe shoes designed by Christian Louboutin, with signature red leather soles. They’re so beautiful!

I really love the colours and how they work with her outfits. It’s definitely a little inspiration to keep strengthening those feet! 😩

Ballet Rookie x