REVIEW: David M. Hawkins presents ‘Cabaret’ (Melbourne season).

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The beautiful cast of ‘Cabaret’. Image: supplied.

Iconic Musical Heats Up The Athenaeum. 

I was invited to attend a preview production of the production of Cabaret currently playing in Melbourne. As a longtime fan of the musical, I jumped at the chance to attend.

Cabaret is set in Berlin in 1929 and tells the story of a young American writer named Clifford Bradshaw (Jason Kos) who finds himself in the debaucherous night spot The Kit Kat Club. Bradshaw quickly becomes bewitched by one of the club’s headlining performers, the vivacious Sally Bowles (Chelsea Gibb). The pair end-up living together in a flat they rent from a conservative but caring landlord, Fräulein Schneider (Kate Fitzpatrick).

While Cabaret might sound like the typical boy-meets-girl story, it is anything but. The Nazi regime is beginning to take hold and the characters do not know if they are safe or who to trust. Particularly distressed is Fräulein Schneider’s love interest, fruit shop owner Herr Schultz, who happens to be Jewish.

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The story of Sally Bowles (Chelsea Gibb) and Clifford Brashaw (Jason Kos) is not a typical love story. Image: supplied. 

In Cabaret, the action constantly shifts between bittersweet realism in the dramatic scenes and bright musical numbers that are performed within The Kit Klub Club. These songs are so much more than catchy showtunes though, they are commentary about the characters’ lives and the political climate of the time. Leading these dynamic numbers is the Emcee (Paul Capsis) who also acts as a narrator for the show.

With a book by Joe Masteroff and a score by John Kander and Fred Ebb, Cabaret is so cleverly written that, if performed right, you will fall a little bit in love with every character. And as for the ‘villains’, you will love to hate them. Every performer in this production had me smitten.

From the moment Paul Capsis greeted the audience with the iconic song ‘Willkommen’, I knew the show was going to be great. Capsis brings bucketloads of charisma and energy to the role making him the perfect Emcee. He is one of those rare talents who can give one hundred percent to challenging songs and choreography while making it look effortless at the same time. If you are debating seeing Cabaret, I urge you to not let the opportunity to see Capsis in this role pass you by.

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Paul Capsis is an unforgettable Emcee. Image: supplied. 

Chelsea Gibb brings a unique level of vivacity to the role of Sally Bowles. Gibb’s performance of the title song is an absolute showstopper filled with raw emotion. Her chemistry with love interest Clifford Bradshaw (Jason Kos) is electric.

Kos brings an appropriate sense of innocence to the role of Clifford and successfully portrays the character’s transformation into a more jaded, weary man.

The supporting cast work well together and create an eccentric, unconventional family. Kelley Abbey’s intricate choreography is performed with style and ease. Ensemble vocals are flawless and powerful.

The Athenaeum theatre is a small space but the inventive scenic design is nothing short of genius. A raised platform acts as both The Kit Club’s stage and Fräulein Schneider’s apartments. Two doors on either side of the platform allow for actors’ entrances and exits as well as clever storage spaces for props and costumes. A few small tables and chairs surround the platform for cast members to act as an audience at the club. Between songs, the Emcee often sits at a table, watching the characters’ lives unravel.

Without giving too much away, this production of Cabaret is unique, innovative and expertly performed.

So what are you waiting for? Book now and come to the cabaret!

Cabaret is running until the 20th of May at the The Athenaeum theatre in Melbourne. Tickets are available through Ticketek

*I was invited to attend a preview performance of ‘Cabaret’ and tickets were supplied. This has not influenced my views in any way.  Please read my PR & Disclosure Policy for more information.

REVIEW: Plunkett’s VitaE High Potency Intensive Vitamin E Ointment*

These days, we’re all so busy. I absolutely love when I find a multi-tasking product that can help simplify my beauty routine.

Plunkett’s VitaE High Potency Intensive Vitamin E Ointment has over 150 uses! It claims to soothe a range of medical conditions including eczema, nappy rash and sunburn, to name a few. As a beauty balm, this product can act as everything from a lipgloss to a hand cream to a highlighter.

The combination of Vitamin E and Rosehip oil ensures that Plunkett’s VitaE High Potency Intensive Vitamin E Ointment provides extreme hydration. It is a dense gel and it has a very slight rosehip fragrance. It leaves the skin feeling very soft and gives it a glow.

Now, I’m only one person, so I haven’t been able to try out all 150 uses, but I love using Plunkett’s VitaE High Potency Intensive Vitamin E Ointment as a hand treatment, lip balm, brow gel and hair tamer. I tried using it on my face once, but for my combination skin it felt a little too oily. I’m sure people with really dry skin will adore this product.

I’m keen to try out the more medicinal uses of this product and see how it goes. I love using natural remedies wherever possible!

Plunkett’s products are available in most Australian pharmacies or online at http://www.plunketts.com.au

What’s your favourite multi-tasking beauty product?

*This product was provided for my review.  This has not influenced my views in any way.  Please read my PR & Disclosure Policy for more information.

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Casual Curl* Review

Deep down, I think I secretly want to be a hair dresser.  I LOVE playing with hair, whether it be a friend’s or my own, and trying out new hair styles.  I also absolutely love trying out the clever-styling tools that make the process easier.  The one thing that I refuse to do at home is a proper blow wave.  Why, you ask?  Well, I have an irrational fear of round brushes because I have only tried to use one at home twice in my life and both times I managed to get it stuck in my hair!  It’s such a shame that I am too scared to use a round brush at home, considering how popular the flicked-out/loose curl look is nowadays.  Not to mention that regular salon blow waves are expensive!

I was delighted to try out the new Casual Curl roller, but was a little scared too because it resembles a round brush.  So I recruited my lovely blogger friend Melissa from ‘Melissa Bubbles Beauty, Fashion & Life!’ to teach me how to use the Casual Curl and put my mind at ease!

What is Casual Curl?

“Casual Curl is an innovative styling roller that allows you to style your hair into ‘the Kate look’. Relaxed, smooth, casual curls are created in just minutes – and you don’t have to be a professional to master the technique.

Endorsed by multi-award winning hair stylist and Australian hairdresser of the year Brad Ngata, Casual Curl is set to become the next essential tool for every salon and home styling kit.” – From the Casual Curl website 

How to use it? 

Luckily, using the Casual Curl is much easier then battling a blowdryer and round brush!  Here are the instructions according to the Casual Curl website:

1.  Prepare your hair with a setting lotion or spray and blow dry hair.

2.  Take a section of hair as wide as the Casual Curl roller and roll the hair around the roller. Apply a setting spray for more hold.

3.  Attach the CasualCurl roller to your blow dryer.

4.  Turn on the blow dryer, heat the Casual Curl for 30 seconds. Turn the dryer off and let the roller cool.

5.  When cool, unwind the hair to release a perfect, casual curl. Spray to hold in place.

6.  Repeat process for desired Casual Curl style.

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My Results (Keep reading after the pics) 

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My Thoughts

I think the Casual Curl is a very innovative hair styling tool and definitely makes it possible to achieve the loosely curled, salon fresh look at home.  For long, thick hair like mine, I think it is definitely necessary to use multiple rollers because there is a lot of waiting time involved while the roller curls down, and with multiple rollers I could use the cooling time to start the next section.  Much more user-friendly than a round brush, I would definitely (calmly) use the Casual Curler again without Melissa’s supervision!  I hope they bring out wider versions of the Casual Curl soon because it was too narrow to attach to my GHD Air hairdryer and I had to use Melissa’s narrower VS hairdryer instead.  I would recommend wearing a heatproof glove (like the velvet ones that come with some curling wands) if you are sensitive to heat because the Casual Curl heats up fast.

For more information, or to purchase a Casual Curl roller for yourself, check out www.casualcurl.com.au.  Casual Curl are currently offering a great special where you save 20% when you buy two rollers.

Have you used the Casual Curl?  I’d love to know what you thought of it.

*I was provided with one Casual Curl roller for my consideration and review in accordance with my PR & Disclosure Policy.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Till next time,

Claire xx

Ms This n That Blog

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Katy Perry Killer Queen Oh So Sheer Perfume Review*

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Not sure if I’ve just been lucky, but I haven’t tried a celebrity perfume that I don’t like! As well as delighting us with the idea that we can smell just like our favourite famous idols, celebrity perfumes tend to be more affordable and accessible than designer scents – a thrifty gal’s dream! I believe a great outfit is never complete without a memorable scent, it’s a little bit of luxury that every girl deserves, so I say “good on you!” to the celebrities (and of course the perfume manufactors) that sell their perfumes for a reasonable price.

Katy Perry is a fun, fearless and feminine songstress, with just a touch of mystery. So far all her great fragrances have reflected her dynamic personality. While all her perfumes have been lovely, the original Killer Queen was the first one that I fell in love with and just had to purchase during the post-Christmas sales. When I heard that a new version of this enchanting scent in a gorgeous violet bottle called Killer Queen Oh So Sheer had been released for a limited time, I was definitely intrigued! Needless to say, I was delighted when I was given the chance to try and review this fabulous new fragrance.

I love that Killer Queen Oh So Sheer is the non-identical twin sister of the original Killer Queen Fragrance. It is presented in the same regal triangular, diamond-like bottle with the gold Killer Queen Crest on the lid. Unlike the sassy red Killer Queen formula, Killer Queen Oh So Sheer is a softer, violet coloured liquid, just like the purple florals in the scent.

Like the original edition of Killer Queen, the top notes of Killer Queen Oh So Sheer are purple plum, mulberry, blackberry and elderberries, but bergamot has been removed to make the scent fresher. The middle notes are also similar to the original, with the return of red velvet flower and rainbow plumeria and the addition of purple freesia and purple lilac to make the scent more floral. The bottom notes are the same as the original Killer Queen: cashmeran, natural patchouli heart and liquid praline. The result of this delightful concoction is a lighter, more floral and more girly version of the original fragrance, with same long lasting power. Killer Queen Oh So Sheer is an instant mood booster and reminds me of spring. I think I’ll be wearing this a lot as the weather gets colder here in Australia to cheer me up as the grey days increase. As the fragrance is very sweet and not too overpowering, I think it’d be a great first fragrance for the little fashionistas in your life.

Killer Queen Oh So Sheer is available at Myer, Priceline, Chemist Warehouse and selected pharmacies while stocks last.

*Killer Queen Oh So Sheer was kindly provided for my consideration in accordance with my PR Disclosure Policy . This has not influenced my opinion in any way.

Till next time,
Claire
Ms This n That Blog xx

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Review: Sally Hansen Sugar Coat Textured Nail Polish*

I loooooovvve nail art, but when it comes to textured polishes, I’m not that experimental. I mainly stick to classic colours with lots of shiny top coat, or if I’m feeling ‘wild’ I’ll use a glitter or shatter polish. Textured nail polish is a huge trend right now and I was secretly desperate to give it a go! So, I was delighted to receive two bottles of the Sally Hansen Sugar Coat Textured Nail Polish in Cotton Candies and Sour Apple, the perfect excuse to try something different!

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Above: Cotton Candies and Sour Apple Nail polishes. Even the names are sweet!

The colours are just stunning! Cotton Candies is a vibrant pink and and Sour Apple is a gorgeous pale teal – perfect shades for spring! The colours both looked so fun that I couldn’t decide which one to try first so I decided to combine them. I painted Sour Apples on my ring fingers and Cotton Candies on the rest.

I was surprised to find that the textured affect appeared on my nails pretty much as soon as I painted them! Before l knew it my nails were covered with cute little bumps that almost looked like tiny bubbles. They literally looked like I had dipped my nails in sugar! When they dried, I discovered they felt like it to!

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Above: Sugar sweet nails!

The bottles suggest applying two thin coats and, in this case, the bottle ain’t lying! I’m not the best painter, and on some nails I clumsily applied too much polish and the textured affect wasn’t as neat or as pretty as the nails where I had managed to apply the polish more delicately.

I would definitely wear this polish again on a day when I’m feeling brave enough to venture away from my ‘safe’ shiny nail polish look. I also think Sally Hansen Sugar Coat textured nail polish would make a gorgeous contribution to a girly costume for a dress-up party.

So, if you’re a girl who loves to try all the latest nail trends, you simply must try Sally Hansen Sugar Coat, it’s the sweetest nail look going around!

*These nail polishes were kindly provided for my consideration but this has not influenced my opinion in any way.

Road-tested & Reviewed #1: Maybelline Super Stay 24 2-Step Colour

Welcome to my first Road-tested & Reviewed Post. In these posts, I test if beauty products live-up to their spectacular claims. Today’s subject is Maybelline’s 24 2 Step Colour in ‘ Keep Up The Flame.’ The Maybelline website claims that “[this is the] 24-hour lip color that stretches the limits of long wear” without crumbling, caking, fading, feathering or transferring. Sounds great to me!

All winter long, I searched for the perfect glossy, long-lasting lip colour. In August, I spotted Maybelline’s 24 2 Step Colour in ‘Keep Up The Flame’ at the wonderful 50% off Maybelline sale at Priceline. I loved the colour and the 24 hour wear claim caught my eye. I decided to ‘invest’ in the lip colour at its fabulous discounted price and put it to the the test!

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How to use it (according to the Maybelline website)
“Apply the liquid lip color to your clean, bare lips. Allow two minutes to dry, then apply ultra-conditioning balm to seal in softness. Reapply balm as needed. Remove with an oil-based make-up remover.”

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1pm: I applied the lip colour and left the house to do the afternoon shift at work.
As you can see the colour is glossy and rich. I tried kissing the back of my hand, the colour didn’t smudge, I took a sip of water and their was no lippie on the glass. I was very impressed!

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4pm: During a break at work (excuse the terrible lighting)
The colour was still rich, but not as glossy. Pretty happy that the colour hung on through my lunch though!

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11pm: Home from a long afternoon/evening of work and rehearsal for a musical that I’m in.
The colour has definitely started to thin-out here, but it was hanging on- especially on the outline of my lips! Pretty impressed that it stayed on at all after a sweaty dance rehearsal.

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7am: the next morning, 18 hours after application of the lipstick.
My lips are pretty much nude again, except for a thin line along my top lip. There was no lipstick on my pillow case though!

20131002-181701.jpg1pm: 24 HOURS LATER!!! This photo was taken in my car, before driving to my afternoon job from my morning job, so again, please excuse the lighting.
Not much has changed since that 7am photo, and that thin read line has hung on for dear life! This means that, technically, the lipstick did last for 24 hours! Sure, it was only that thin line, but that goes to show that this lip colour has serious staying power.

The Verdict
In this particular road test, that involved working, rehearsing, sleeping and then working again (a typical day in the life of me), I got over three hours of great colour, but it still looked pleasant at the tenth hour. As I mentioned, there was still some colour left 24 hour after application. I would definitely buy it again!

What’s your favourite long-lasting lip colour? Comment below and let me know.

Till next time,
Ms This n That xx

The Importance of Being Pampered: Endota Spa Melbourne CBD Review

It is a truth universally acknowledged that winter takes a toll on our bodies, mentally and physically. Lack of vitamin D (the feel-good vitamin pumped out by our old friend sunshine) has been proven to increase sadness, which is probably why it is so much harder to roll out of bed on a winter morning. The cold makes us more prone to sore, tired muscles and it’s so much harder for our skin to stay dewy and fresh when it is being smacked in the face with frosty wind everyday. In desperate attempt to stay warm and happy, we reach for carbalicious comfort food, and because moving is such an effort, we don’t exercise as much; which doesn’t do any favours for our skin or our waistlines. My best friend Or and I had spent many of our recent coffee catch-ups venting about how much tougher life seems to be in winter, so when her 25th birthday rolled around, I decided to treat her to a pampering sesh at Endota Spa in the Melbourne CBD so we could both escape a dreary winter day and indulge in some much-needed TLC.

I first treated myself to an Endota Spa experience a month before my wedding last year. I’ve always taken pretty good care of my skin but, feeling the pressure to ensure my wedding day skin was the best skin of my life, I decided I better get some professional assistance. I booked myself in for an hour facial and, in the midst of a very stressful time of my life, the treatment was relaxing, indulgent and just what the doctor ordered! Not to mention my skin felt and looked fantastic afterwards. I ended-up booking myself in for another facial two weeks before the wedding and a deluxe relaxation massage the week of the wedding. It was money well-spent, I felt beautiful on my wedding day, just like every bride should. So when I need a pampering treatment, or even just some new skincare products, Endota Spa locations are my go-to spas. Sure, it’s the only spa branch I’ve ever tried, but I say: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” I love how environmentally conscious Endota Spa is, and that they focus on using organic and natural ingredients. I also love how, compared to some other spas, the service prices are very affordable.

Speaking of affordable, Endota Spa’s August special is a one hour facial and half an hour massage session for just $120, which sounded exactly like what Or and I needed! I called-up Endota Spa in the Melbourne CBD and the friendly receptionist kindly booked us in and gave me the option to have our services carried out in separate rooms or the same room. As Or and I have been friends for many years; have lost all sense of personal space around each other; and consider each other to be sisters from different misters, I booked us into the shared room (much to our husbands’ amusement – typical boys!) The spa also kindly agreed to organise champagne and platters of nibbles for after our treatments for just $40.

Endota’s Melbourne CBD is tucked away on the lower level of 69 – 71 Flinders Lane. It truly is a relaxing oasis in the middle of a concrete jungle. Upon arrival, we were welcomed and taken to a lounge where we could relax and sip green tea as we filled out our client information forms. We were then taken to the beautiful, warm treatment room which was dimly lit and the aromas of essential oils lingered in the air. We were instructed to change into plush robes, sit on the chairs on opposite sides of the room and begin Endota’s signature ‘Billabong Footbath.’ It was heaven to soak my sore, tired feet in the hot bath and relax. When our therapists returned, they scrubbed our feet, while consulting to us about our skin types and massage preferences. I’ve never met an Endota Spa employee that I didn’t like and these beautiful therapists were no exception. They were polite, courteous and made us feel very comfortable.

After drying our feet, our therapists lead us to our individual massage tables, holding-up towels so we could discretely remove our robes and cover our bodies with the warm towels on the table. I relaxed onto the heated massage table, rapped in a cocoon of beautiful warm towels and for the next hour and a half I completely relaxed; which is unfortunately a rarity in my busy life. The time just flew by and I didn’t want it to end. The highlight of the facial for me was the incredible Rosehip and Myrrh Face Mask, which was super nourishing on my dry skin and left my face feeling revived and plump (in a good way!)

Following the treatments, our therapists left the room so we could change back into our normal clothes and Or and I couldn’t stop singing the praises of our treatments as we did so. It made me so happy to see that my friend really appreciated and enjoyed the gift. When we left the treatment room our therapists led us to a different lounge where glasses of sparkling rosè and decadent food platters had been set out for us. We were left to relax for as long as we liked, we had many a laugh and enjoyed the luxurious food and drink to finish off our beautiful spa afternoon.

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Upon leaving, I couldn’t resist purchasing the beautiful face mask that was used during my facial for just $40, and I asked for samples of good eye creams because I feel my dry skin definitely needs it during the winter months. The staff generously gave me four sachets of eye creams to try out at home!

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All in all, it was a beautiful afternoon, and it was so lovely to share it with my best friend. It was a true bonding experience. If you are stumped for a gift for YOUR best friend, a relative or even your partner, Endota Spa has a pampering package to suit you. Alternatively, you could take advantage of the August special and just treat yourself.

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Above: myself and Or, all fresh-faced after our facials. Sorry for the black and white filter, but friends don’t post make-up free pictures of friends without a filter 😉

To find an Endota Spa near you and check out its treatment menu, visit their website.

Go on folks, pamper yourselves!

Till next time,

Ms This n That xx