It’s the most wonderful time of the year!It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The festive party season is in full swing and many of us are desperately searching for that perfect dress, shimmering shoes, and beguiling bags. All so we can look absolutely fabulous at the works Christmas party. Plus making sure we don’t eat too many mince pies so we can still fit into our perfect dress…thank god for shapewear underpants! But no party look would be complete without the perfect eye make-up. This is easier said than done for spectacle wearers, who often find this tricky to get right. Cue me spending an hour going for the smoky eye look and the end result looking more like Tai Shan the panda…but that’s a whole other story. Whilst many of us will opt for contact lenses on a big night out, others may not be able to wear them or some just prefer to keep their frames on. But there’s absolutely no reason why we should have to sacrifice those glammed up eyes because of your specs! Here’s some quick and easy party season make-up tricks for gorgeous spectacle wearers: Here’s some quick and easy party season make-up tricks for gorgeous spectacle wearers:
Going BronzeBronze, metallic eyeshadow (my favourite!) is big in the beauty world, and for spec wearers it’s an excellent colour of choice to make your eyes really stand out. Warm metallic and shimmery shades are soft and help to lighten your eye area. The Revlon Nudes palette is a great product for mixing bronze hues, allowing you to create a more intense look that contrasts with your frames.
Load up on LinerEyeliner is a spec wearers’ best friend, creating that wow, stand-out party season eye make-up look. Choose a soft black kohl such as Revlon’s Colorstay Eyeliner to line your eyes along the top and bottom lashes. Keep the line thin on the inner corners. Then thicken it up as you sweep it across and gently smudge to create that smokey-eyed look. For more intensity, use a thin black liquid liner to outline your lashes on your top lid. Always apply a couple of coats of mascara to your top lashes.
Glamorous GlitterIf you really want real impact, glitter eyeshadow is always guaranteed to make your eyes stand out in your frames. It’s also the perfect festive party season make-up look, and is really easy to create. Whatever shade of shimmer you choose to enhance your eyes, make sure you apply a cream eyeshadow base first before adding the glitter. This helps to keep it in place. Use a slightly damp brush to apply the glitter, dabbing on bit by bit and using gentle pressure to help it set. Use a touch of Vaseline on a piece of tissue to wipe away any excess glitter.
Boost your BrowsSpectacles naturally draw attention to your brows, so make sure yours are well groomed and enhanced to make the right impact. Pluck or trim any stray hairs and use a brow defining product such as Benefit’s Browzings Eyebrow Shaping Kit to fill in any sparse spots. Sweep a light dusting of shimmer powder underneath to define your brow bone and lift your eye area.
And don’t forget…
- Since you can’t apply make-up wearing your glasses, use a magnifying mirror to help you see better.
- Curl your top lashes so they flick upwards and don’t hit your lenses.
- The thicker your frames, the thicker your eyeliner needs to be to make your eyes stand out.
- The colour of your eyeshadow shouldn’t compete with the colour of your frames.
- A good rule of thumb I use when picking eyeshadow colours is to avoid picking colours, you’d find opposite on a colour wheel and swabbing them together on the back of your hand to see if they blend nicely together.
Christmas fashion and style in Meltham and Saddleworth
The big day is nearly here and you’re invited to an evening of Christmas fashion and style in Meltham and Saddleworth. Are you a last minute Christmas shopper, trying to get something for everyone a week before the big day? Or, have you not only bought, but actually wrapped most of your presents already? Either way you can’t deny that the festive season is nearly upon us.
Does the office party or Christmas Jumper Day fill you with dread? Do you worry about what to wear to the charity gala dinner? If so help is at hand as Allegro Optical calls in the experts at two evenings of festive fun and sparkle.
Find your fashion
Following on from our successful colour and style event in July we are hosting two evenings of seasonal fashion and style tips. Coco Chanel famously said “Fashion changes, but style endures” and that is what the evenings are all about.
The purpose of our event is to engage in an evening of discussion about the importance of self-confidence through good styling. Fashion wouldn’t exist without style. Many of us don’t feel empowered enough to wear the styles of clothing that appeal to us the most. At Allegro Optical we want to encourage everyone to be bold enough to celebrate their own style and unapologetically express themselves.
A word from the experts
Guest speakers will use style, embellishment, and festivities as a topic to lead discussions about how to stay confident, motivated, inspired and most of all to love ourselves. The fashion industry doesn’t discuss this enough, so we aim to encourage and empower our audience and have them leave inspired or having inspired others. We talk about how colour and shape can flatter or flounder and how it can help your personality sparkle this festive season.
The evenings begin with a drinks and nibbles reception and you will have the opportunity to talk to all the speakers.
The first event is taking place on Thursday 14th November at Scona in Greenfield at 7:30
The second on Wednesday 20th November at Allegro Optical in Meltham.
Jill talks through how she chose her perfect specsChoosing new glasses can be a difficult decision. They are after all the only accessory most people wear every day and they are the first thing people see when looking at our face. When choosing your new glasses, do you take into consideration what colours you wear or are drawn to? Do you bear in mind the Jewellery you wear? Is it silver, gold or do you wear large bright statement pieces?
Colors must fit together like pieces in a puzzle!Think about what colours go with your colouring? Are you a light or a cool? Deep or Warm? I am a light, so when I go choosing a new outfit, whether for a special occasion or something casual, I am always mindful of my colour pallette. While out and about I see many people wearing spectacles in generic colours such as black or tortoise. I often wonder how many people take their natural colouring into account when choosing their glasses, rather than trying to find a safe neutral colour that will go with anything. When I was advised I needed to wear glasses all the time, I thought about my wardrobe. I also thought about what colour frames would go with my natural colouring. I was due to have my hair recoloured, so I waited until this was done, to be sure the new glasses would be the perfect colour and shade.
A frame designed to enhance the proportions of the faceI looked at my face shape like I look at my body shape when choosing a piece of clothing. My new spectacles needed to fit both my head for comfort and my face for proportion. I have a heart shaped slightly round face and choosing the right frame was like shopping for the perfect pair of jeans. I wanted them to fit well and make me feel good and confident. Having taken into account my skin tone, eye and hair colour and now face shape, (just like when shopping) I asked for advice. Sheryl, Josie, Gemma, Jim and Steve all gave an opinion, which I valued. After trying on several frames in various materials such as Metal, Plastic and Hemp. Trying various shapes from Cats eye, through round and square, I settled on a modern version of a cats eye shape by Gianfranco Ferré. Fashion designer Gianfranco Ferré was known as the “architect of fashion.” Over his 25-year career, he developed a style that still hallmarks the brand. Often described as a combination of discipline and luxury, severity and ornamentation. I just like the bold simple styling. Style is fundamental and my new frame delivers a geometric design, with simple embellishment and pays homage to Ferré‘s studies as an architect. I like its clean crisp style and elegant simplicity.
New to varifocalsFor the first time I have opted for varifocal lenses. I have always worn occupational lenses and distance specs just for driving. I’m appreciating having everything in one lens already. Whilst walking to work, I noticed a van with writing on the side and found it so clear, crisp and sharp, I looked over my glasses and the writing was not as clear. I feel that I am going to see a whole new world which I am looking forward to. No more thinking “who was that waving at me” whilst I’m out and about. All told, the advice and guidance of an experienced and fully qualified Dispensing Optician was invaluable. Having the various varifocal lens designs explained to me helped me to understand my options and gave me an idea of what to expect. Even though I work for Allegro Optical I was a little nervous about having to wear varifocals. Sheryl talked me through how to use them and reassured me. Now I’m loving my new glasses and even thinking about getting a second pair, but that’s going to be another story.
Scottish pianist Muriel Johnstone
Muriel Johnstone is arguably one of Scotlands’ most prolific composers of Scottish country dance music ever, and one of the Scottish Country Dance Society’s best-loved musicians. Born in West Hartlepool, England to Scottish parents who were both dancers, Muriel was exposed to music from a young age. Muriel studied music at Edinburgh University and went on to forge an enviable career with a vast catalogue of recordings, compositions and publications.
Having taught and performed in many countries including the UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and many more, muriel knows a thing or two about Scottish music. Having qualified in the study of classical music (BMus and LRAM) she has become a sought after performer, accompanist (especially for dance) and teacher, bringing into prominence the role of piano in traditional music.
Muriel has over 800 compositions in the Traditional Scottish genre, a good many of which are for dancing. With many pieces commissioned to celebrate events and festivals. Muriel’s Scottish dance music includes reels, jigs, strathspeys, pastoral airs and waltzes. Her additional repertoire encompasses other forms of music inspired by the beautiful landscape of her home.
With so many fantastic achievements under her belt and a huge catalogue of compositions, Muriel was becoming frustrated when making music. Having had pretty poor eyesight all her life Muriel turned to laser surgery in 2005. She elected to undergo monovision correction and chose bilateral monovision LASIK correction. Monovision (MV) is a correction to compensate for presbyopia. One eye is corrected for distance while the other eye corrected for near vision. Patients should be able to suppress the blurred image from one eye and see clearly at all distances without glasses. However, this surgery may not be suitable for some patients. Those whom night driving and/or reading are an essential part of their life. Reading music on the stand is an essential part of Muriel’s life. Recently this compromise in visual acuity was becoming an increasing problem.
Our regular readers will have seen previous blogs where we talk about the problems monovision refractive surgery causes musicians. Muriel is no exception. Like Swiss Cornet player Angelo Bearpark, the surgery had a detrimental effect on Muriel’s vision when focusing on the music stand. Muriel visited her usual optician in November 2018 but was unhappy with the solution provided. She returned in February and was dispensed with a pair of varifocals. While useful for daily tasks were unsuitable for playing the piano.
Muriel then visited her optician for a third time in July and was dispensed with a pair of single vision glasses for driving. However these were not as clear as the varifocals. She was also provided with a pair of occupational lenses for music. But she couldn’t read the music without leaning forward considerably, which wasn’t practical. It seemed her optician was unable to help and at this point Muriel began researching musicians eyecare and discovered Allegro Optical.
Muriel contacted us and explained her problems with her vision. She talked about her frustration at a failure to acquire a satisfactory solution. We talked at length about Muriel’s working distances, the instruments she plays and her previous refractive surgery. However our location, in the heart of Saddleworth in the small village of Greenfield, was hardly convenient. We are over 500 kilometers from Muriels’ home, but she decided to fly down for a consultation anyway.
Managing Director Stephen met Muriel at the airport. They had a very wet trip to Greenfield from Manchester chatting about all things music. When they arrived, Muriel received an extended eye examination with our fabulous Gospel singer, flautist and optometrist Gemma. Having performed in some iconic venues such as the Royal Festival Hall and the Tate Modern, Gemma completely understands a performers visual needs and was able to find a suitable prescription.
As a result of the bilateral monovision LASIK correction Gemma found Muriel needed uneven near and music stand additions. She also has a variable ocular dominance, as would be expected post LASIK.
Playing a piano and sometimes the organ Muriel needs a very wide field of view. Her previous optician had tried to address this by dispensing Zeiss Occupational lenses. They felt the working distance of the lenses were the closest to Muriel’s needs. Sadly for Muriel they didn’t work as she had to keep leaning forwards to get the music in focus.
Unfortunately Zeiss, like most large lens manufacturers don’t make lenses specifically for musicians. So it was always going to be a bit of a compromise. Even using the best of the ZEISS Office Lens portfolio with Maximum Intermediate Distance (M.I.D.) technology, the lenses didn’t work.
To resolve Muriel’s vision problems and give her clear vision across four sheets of music and the ability to see her audience we had to create a lens design to her Muriel the widest possible field of view. We based her lens design on our Fogotto range of lenses but added an anamorphic component design to widen her field of view further. The term anamorphic derives from the Greek words meaning ”formed again.” This enables us to squeeze in more lateral vision. We also incorporated some prism assistance to help with fixation and fatigue when playing for long periods of time.
Muriel’s lenses are made from a 1.67 high index optical resin. This provides durability with minimal weight as she often plays for hours at a time. The last thing she needs is a heavy pair of spectacles weighing on her nose. As Muriel doesn’t always play alone, at times she needs to see her fellow performers, so we needed to produce the lenses in as wide but flattering shape as possible. Muriel chose the beautiful Crystal Diva rimless frame by Silhouette, although we glazed it with a larger lens shape to give a better field of view.
Once fitted with her new glasses a few weeks later Muriel was delighted. She was utterly surprised by the clarity her new spectacles provided. We even had a cheeky whisky to celebrate. When asked how she felt about her new glasses she said; “I just want you to know how THRILLED I am with all of my new glasses. My eyes feel very comfortable in the varifocals and later today I hope to have a long session at the piano to really test my (stunning) music glasses! Thank you again.”
Why do musicians come to Allegro Optical?
As an independent family run business, we are gaining an international reputation for professional excellence and an inventive approach to meeting customer needs.
Now known internationally as the ‘Musicians Opticians’ we are attracting many clients from across Europe and further afield. Our groundbreaking work with performers, players and conductors has resulted in Allegro Optical becoming the first and only opticians to gain registration with the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM).
We treat each client as an individual because they are. It is true that no two musicians are the same, So why should their vision correction be? We enjoy creating unique lenses to meet a musician’s particular needs. As musicians ourselves we can ask the right questions and interpret the answers accordingly.
So successful has Allegro Optical been in helping performers that this year alone we have scooped no less than five national and regional awards. These awards include the National ‘Best New Arts & Entertainment Business of the Year‘ at a gala event in London. Managing Director Sheryl Doe was awarded the 2019 ‘Dispensing Optician of the Year‘ and she has been shortlisted for the AOP Dispensing Optician of the year 2020.
During March Allegro Optical was awarded the ‘Scale-Up Business of the Year‘ at the regional finals of the Federation of Small Business awards in York and went on to receive the FSB Chairman’s award at the national finals in May. Finally winning the FBU Yorkshire family business of the year. Allegro Optical’s unique optical solution and our cutting edge approach to dispensing has led to the group being named finalists in the Huddersfield Examiners Business Awards in the Innovation and Enterprise category.
Are you are a musician who is struggling with their vision? Is making music is no longer the enjoyable experience it once was? If so call us at either Greenfield on 01457 353100 or Meltham on 01484 907090.
It was “Entente Cordiale” when ’Cornemuse’, or French Bagpipe player Agnes looked to Saddleworth and Holmfirth for a solution to her vision problems.We receive quite a few enquiries through our website from frustrated musicians and a good number over the phone. Occasionally an enquiry gives us pause for thought and this was exactly what happened when Parisienne French Pipe teacher Agnes Lefebvere contacted us. Agnes explained that she was having real problems focusing, not on her music on her stand, but on that of her students. She had visited at least four optometrists. Always trying to try to find a pair of spectacles which met her needs Agnes was disappointed and frustrated. Agnes explained to us that she needed to read both music on her stand and her students. Having tried single vision glasses with a set point of focus for her music stand, a single focus pair for her students stand, varifocals and occupational lenses, all of which hadn’t worked, she was at her whits end. Increasingly frustrated, Agnes took to the internet. She set about trying to try to find a solution to her vision problems and found Allegro Optical. When she contacted us she explained her requirements and set out what she expected from a pair of “music glasses”. Agnes stands to the right of her students and often has to use two music stands, one in front of the student and her own.
It’s all about the pipesAgnes teaches her students how to play a variety of both French and Scottish pipes and bagpipes. A feature of many French bagpipes is the position of the tenor drone. Located in the same stock as the chanter rather than alongside the bass drone. This places the student on the teachers left and can provide some visual challenges. Luckily our Managing Director Stephen Tighe has quite a few Bagpipe playing friends. So a few phone calls were made to old military band colleagues. Pipers don’t usually use printed music when marching. They tend to play from memory, so it was just the teaching problems to solve. Working with Agnes using Skype and watching her teach we came up with an interesting solution.
It’s all about approaching the problem from a musicians perspective
What Agnes needed was a lens that weakened in dioptric power for her left eye. This would allow her to view her own music and her students. We dispensed Agnes with a single focus lens to her right eye for her music stand and one of our Fogoto lenses, rotated by 90 degrees to her left. The monocular solutions allows Agnes to read her own music while also being able to follow what her students are playing.We posted the new glasses to Agnes a couple of weeks later and waited to hear how she got on. It wasn’t long before Agnes contacted us saying; “My husband picked up my new glasses in the mail on Wednesday when we were not there when they tried to deliver them. The glasses are so much better than anything I’ve ever used before, thank you very much. I think I still have to move a little, but not as much as in previous pairs. Now I see the music of my students and my own desk much better. They are definitely better than my old glasses. I was a little afraid to buy glasses online, but I am very satisfied with the quality of frames and glasses. Your customer service is second to none and I will definitely be using your business again. I already recommended you to several friends. Thank you for your help.”