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Archive for July, 2010

A Whole New Hair Experience

I love going to the hairdresser. But actually I hate it. But I love it. The feeling of someone else washing your hair, giving you a lovely massage, focusing their attention on making you look nice is brilliant but then there’s always that nagging, uncomfortable feeling. In my experience everyone else who goes to the hairdresser seems to know the etiquette – whether to ask for a cup of tea and magazines or not, what to talk about, how to describe what style they’re after – and I don’t know any of it. I am filled with panic.

The last time I went, a couple of months ago, I thought I was quite clear in saying I wanted choppy layers and a bit of volume but the stylist just cut two layers into my hair and then blow dried it. To add insult to bad hairdressing, she left the room as I was leaving instead of thanking me an saying goodbye. That, of course, meant I needed to find a new salon, with all it’s awful new-etiquette perils.

Luckily I was recommended (by my lovely co-blogger Raitapaita) a new one to try. Sweeneys Hair Design is in the Duke Street Arcade in Cardiff’s city centre. As I work in the centre of town this made it really convenient to pop over in my lunch hour for a bit of R&R and a new look!

When I arrived I was welcomed with a smile and not a disgruntled stylist trying to finish the conversation she was having with her colleague. I felt really at ease when she sat me in front of the mirror and I explained that I need something interesting doing to my hair, and then went to get my cup of tea (I declined the magazines in the end).

She listened to what I’d asked for and actually did it, efficiently and professionally, whilst making small talk about where I work and how horrible the weather was looking. In addition to improving my hair she gave me a few tips on how to maintain the style myself at home, and didn’t try to inflict the salon products on me for a ridiculous surcharge.

I left feeling revitalised and happier – what more could you ask for?!

Sweeneys Hair Design, 9-11 Duke St Arcade, CF10 1AZ. Wash, cut and blow dry £30 for new customers.

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Review: 25th Birthday Prom, St David’s Hall, Cardiff 17 July 2010
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Owain Arwel Hughes

The Welsh Proms 25th Anniversary season at St David’s Hall got off to a rousing start with this round-up of music which was all performed at the first season of Welsh Proms in 1986.

Rossini’s Thieving Magpie overture opened the concert and was presented as buoyantly as one might expect in such a circumstance. The RPO’s technical excellence really shone through here and every note was crystal clear in a way not often heard in this sort of music. After that Grace Williams’ Fantasia on Welsh Nursery Tunes brought a nod to national pride, which was incredibly well received. A less well-known work than the rest of the programme, this was a highlight for me as the playful nature of the nursery tunes was perfectly captured alongside the subtleties and tone of the orchestral setting.

Having never heard Ravel’s Boléro performed live in full before, this was particularly exciting. My partner looked on wide-eyed as all sorts of new and exciting instruments arrived on stage and they really made their mark in the magnificent sound world of the work. The Boléro basically consists of one passage of music repeated and repeated, the trick of course being to make sure it doesn’t sound like that. Happily Owain and the RPO achieved just that – demonstrating the stunning orchestration and contrasts of dynamics and expression in a way which made the performance utterly mesmerising.

Getting off to a slightly faltering start, Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition once in its stride maintained it boldly. A thrilling orchestral piece by anyone’s standards, this was a platform for the RPO’s technical superiority to place miles ahead of the competition. Clarity abounded, but without being boring and the varied emotions and feelings of each ‘picture’ come across brilliantly.

The RPO made a wonderful sound throughout the concert, and I genuinely can’t wait for an opportunity to hear them again. The very appreciate, though sadly not full-to-the-rafters, audience would, I’m sure, say the same.

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