The Nutcracker is one of the most exciting ballets to watch. For almost 2 hours this magical production sucks you in and the time goes by in a blink of an eye. It’s every ballet lovers favourite performance and it’s a show that most major companies in the world put on at this time of year. Some American companies are said to gain up to 40% of their income from this show every year!
If you’re looking to introduce a family member to ballet then this is a great performance to start with. It’s full of festive fun, glitter and sparkle, and amazing costumes. The lavish set design is always a treat – and the story really captures the spirit of Christmas with a beautiful tree, a toy maker with magical powers, a dream world full of sweets, mice, gingerbread men and toy dolls. At the heart of the story is some beautiful dancing that is simple in some areas and technically difficult in others, all set to some very familiar music from Tchaikovsky.
Set on Christmas eve, the Nutcracker tells the story of Clara and a magical present she receives from her godfather Drosselmeyer which takes her on a journey where she saves a handsome prince from the evil Mouse King. One of my favourite sections, and perhaps the most well known, is the dance of the Sugar Plum fairy. The way that she delicately introduces herself with developpes and pirouettes that circle the stage. It’s a challenging yet beautiful solo and a section that audience members look forward to each year. Some of the very best dancers of the world best have performed it too from Margot Fonteyn and Natalie Markova to Darcy Bussell and Lauren Cuthbertson.
Many people have choreographed their own versions of this story, from the original steps of Marius Petipa to the adaptations of Rudolf Nureyev and the contemporary reinterpretation of Matthew Bourne. All beautiful and well loved in their own right. My favourite production of the Nutcracker is by The Royal Ballet, and this year they will stream their live performance from the Royal Opera House to cinemas around the country. It’s happening on Tuesday 5th December so be sure to check that out!
Many feel that Christmas hasn’t really arrived until you’ve seen a production of the Nutcracker and this year you’re spoilt for choice. Productions of note in the London area are the English National Ballet, performing at The London Coliseum with a beautiful dancing and choreography, and the Birmingham Royal Ballet at the Royal Albert Hall which is set to be spectacular with 100 dancers involved.
Are you watching the Nutcracker this year? Tweet me and let me know.
Regular readers will know that I absolutely love a good candle! Once lit their warm scent can instantly change your mood, or bring back a happy memory from years ago. They’re also great for creating an atmosphere in your home – I love to light a candle when I get home from work in the evening, and in the morning at the weekends when I’m making breakfast.
It’s during Christmas when candles really come into their own though, and in recent years I’ve loved having a Yankee candle advent calendar, which gives you a little Christmas scented tea light to burn each day as you count down the number of sleeps until Christmas morning. Cinnamon, caramel and other sweet or spicy scents transform your home into a domestic winter wonderland as you wrap presents, bake goodies or snuggle up in front of a movie while the snow falls outside.
This year I was lucky enough to receive a set of candles from Yankee Candle, the undisputed Champions of festive scents. They sent through a set of 4 jars – The Perfect Tree, Christmas Magic, Crackling Wood Fire and my personal favourite – Spiced White Cocoa. I have to confess I’ve only taken these for a quick spin, lighting each one for a few minutes to get a sample of the festive scents each one has to offer. I’m saving them for the cold December nights once our tree goes up!
Yankee Candles also make a fantastic gift with plenty of box sets on offer. But for something a little bit different you can use their website to upload a photo and create a completely personalised candle to give to a loved one. You just choose your size then select from one of the 18 fragrances. Add a photo and message and voila! You’ve got a cracking prezzie. I created my own, uploading a photo of my husband and I from last Christmas in front of our tree on a cinnamon stick candle – his favourite!
Do you love the smell of a Christmas candle? Head over to Yankee Candle and have a browse through the treats on offer and Tweet me and let me know which one you’ll be burning this Christmas eve!
Mulled Wine arrangement from their Christmas collection. Filled with luxury grand prix red roses, and wonderfully festively smelling pine cones and seasonal berries, this arrangement is a marvellous festive centrepiece fit for any Christmas table. Right now Appleyard London are offering my lovely readers a huge 40% off Christmas Flower Delivery by entering the code BLOG40 at the checkout. I highly recommend you take advantage of this wonderful offer, I know I will be! Shop Appleyard London Christmas flowers and let me know in the comments below which arrangement you picked. Happy shopping!
Skull and Bones Boys Club SABBC have been dropping some bombs this year, making them a go-to brand for Christmas gear for men. I’ve picked out their wooden comb and noose chain items which would make great stocking fillers. Comb http://www.skullandbonesboysclub.com/product/combs/ Gentleman Noose Chain http://www.skullandbonesboysclub.com/product/gentleman-noose-chain-3/ Noose and Monkey Noose and Monkey have had an amazing year, going from a small brand with a modest line of jackets and shirts to being picked up by Topman and collaborating with Hype. I’ve picked out some of their finest autumn/winter pieces, so dive in and help sharpen your fella’s wardrobe. Stud Toe Cap Dress Slippers http://www.asos.com/pgeproduct.aspx?iid=4519956 Cufflinks with Diamante Skull http://www.asos.com/pgeproduct.aspx?iid=3938492 Shirt With Collar Bar And Tipped Placket http://www.asos.com/pgeproduct.aspx?iid=4368286 Abandon Ship Gamesmaster T-Shirt Abandon Ship are an unapologetic Scottish brand offering a range of colourful and often downright obnoxious designs. I’ve picked out their Gamesmaster t-shirt, a genuine banger. Grab it and listen to him tell you about that time the batteries ran out on the last level of Super Mario Land. http://www.abandonshipapparel.com/product/games-master-tshirt/ Video Games Guys love it when girls buy them video games, so pick up one of these and reap the rewards. Just have a flick through his collection first and make sure you’re avoiding getting a duplicate. FIFA http://www.amazon.co.uk/Electronic-Arts-M3OESSELE11237-FIFA-Xbox/dp/B00KHJLDQE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1416759830&sr=8-1&keywords=fifa+15 Call of Duty Advanced Warfare http://www.amazon.co.uk/Call-Duty-Advanced-Warfare-Xbox/dp/B00MO6ZFIA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1416759737&sr=8-1&keywords=call+of+duty+advanced+warfare Far Cry 4 http://www.amazon.co.uk/Far-Cry-4-Xbox-One/dp/B00I9WUXB2/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1416759756&sr=8-2&keywords=far+cry+4 Destiny http://www.amazon.co.uk/ACTIVISION-P4REFPACT12441-Destiny-PS4/dp/B00BF6D52S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1416760043&sr=8-1&keywords=destiny Uppercut Deluxe Wash Kit Uppercut Deluxe are an Australian brand who bring classic barber products to a modern world. I’ve picked out their essential wash kit, which includes face wash, shaving products and a wonderful wooden tooth brush. http://www.uppercutdeluxe.com/uk/filled-wash-bag.html Bellroy Slim Sleeve Bellroy are on a mission to eliminate chunky wallets, offering wallets designed to slim down the cards and notes that a guy carries around day to day. I’ve picked out their classic Slim Sleeve wallet, which is a great gift if your man carries a brick around in his back pocket all day. http://bellroy.com/wallets/slim-sleeve-wallet