Category Archives: Music/Entertainment

An Interview With Hollie Kamel (Wedding Singer)

With less than a fortnight to go before Santa does his rounds over the world’s rooftops, I felt that my guest this week should be someone who is a bit Christmassy yet a bit sazzy …. someone like the dropdead gorgeous Hollie Kamel, with her seasonal name, her angelic voice, and her sazziness!  Hollie is a popular wedding, party and event singer – and I caught up with her recently to chat about music, her wedding business and her passion for fashion too .. welcome Hollie…image

Hi – I am Hollie Kamel and I am a Professional Singer and UKA Salsa Dance Instructor & proud mummy to a gorgeous little 5 year old called Jasmine Lila.

You’re a professional wedding, party & event singer. When did you realise you had a passion for singing?  What made you take the plunge to pursue wedding singing as a career?

I first started singing as a child, as I come from quite a musical family (my brother has had a few top 40 download chart hits!). To begin with I was in the school musicals and then went on to perform on radio and at about 16 started to train classically to give me a strong foundation of technique and skill to perform from. However, my career took a very corporate path, in media, marketing and sales and my singing and dancing was always a part time profession. This all changed once I had my little girl, as part time corporate doesn’t really exist, so I took the leap of faith to launch myself as ‘Hollie your Wedding Singer’, perfect for Weddings, Parties & Corporate Events!! 😉

imageYou offer an excellent range of bespoke entertainment including solo singer, duo, and a mini function band.  What tends to be the most popular package?

I provide Solo Singer, Party Duo & Themed Show packages and to be totally honest, they are all really popular and different in their own right. Where everything I do is bespoke, I always tailor make the package to meet and exceed the client’s needs and depending on their event, the service they choose will reflect this. (I do find that Vintage/American Songbook/Jazz is hugely popular & of course, Party Singer!!).

What do you love most about being a wedding singer?

What I love most about being a wedding singer, is that you are blessed to share and be a huge part of their wedding day and all the love, celebration and emotion that surrounds it.

imageYou have a vast range of songs in your songlist portfolio. What are the most popular songs requested for the wedding ceremony, wedding breakfast/reception, and for the evening do?

Most popular Wedding Ceremony songs include:
• How Long Will I Love You
• At Last

Most popular Breakfast/Champagne Reception songs include:
• Let There Be Love
• All of Me

Most popular Evening Reception songs include:
• The Shoop Shoop Song (in his kiss)
• All about the Bass
• Dance with Me Tonight

imageIs there any song on your list that you really enjoy belting out? Any song on the list that makes you groan?

Songs I love to sing:
• Somewhere over the Rainbow
• At Last
• Rather Be

Songs I could live without singing for a while
• Wind Beneath My Wings
• I Will Survive

What music genre do you enjoy listening to?

Where do I start with the genres I like listening to…..I love SO many kinds of music and it really depends on my mood. I love vocal based music like Eva Cassidy and the Carpenters, James Taylor etc, but I also love R&B and of course Salsa!! I have a HUGE passion for West End Musicals!

imageIf you had the chance to sing a duet with anybody in the world, dead or alive, who would be your partner and what song would you sing?

If I could duet with one singer (dead or alive) in the whole world then I would love to choose to sing with Jessie J (as I think she is vocal Viagra) but her range is SO huge that I wouldn’t be able to – so instead I choose to sing Somewhere over the Rainbow with Eva Cassidy !

Have you had any unusual song requests?

I have had some very strange requests in my time including ‘Gilbert O’Sullivan’ numbers and Copacabana!

Singing all year round at weddings, parties and events must be a strain on your voicebox. How do you try to keep your voice limbered up and ready for performing? How do you avoid the dreaded sore throat/croaky voice etc?

As a Singer it is really important to continually look after your voice, so I always do the following before a performance:
• Warm up
• Avoid dairy
• Take Vocalzone
• Drink lots of water

As a cure for a ‘sad’ voice I do the following:
• Take Singers Throat mix (the most evil tasting liquid in the WORLD)
• Drink Honey and Lemon (Hot)
• Steam
• Hum
• Vocal REST!!

imagePersonal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing on and off stage?

On stage you will find me wearing very glamorous evening dresses or ‘themed’ attire (such as Vintage) with ridiculously high heels and accessories and ALL my hair and make up intact!! Lol!
Off stage you will normally find me in skinny jeans, ugg boots with a skinny rib t-shirt in the summer and a trendy jumper or hoody in the winter!

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

As far as retailers go Amazon is amazing for costumes and accessories. I love QUIZ at Lakeside/Westfields for glamorous party wear and Ali Express for every kind of costume, dress or outfit (but it takes about 8 weeks to arrive but is CRAZY cheap!!)

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wishlist?

My next purchase needs to be another shorter style, sparkly or sequinned party dress for xmas season (more laid back events).

Boots or Shoes?

For me, boots or shoes is hard, because boots at home and shoes at work nearly always!

Links you would like to share eg website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can follow you and your career

https://www.facebook.com/holliekamelsinger
https://twitter.com/holliekamel
https://www.youtube.com/user/holliekamelsinger
http://uk.linkedin.com/in/hollieyourweddingsinger
http://www.pinterest.com/holliekamel/

Many thanks for chatting to us today – I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous, Fun  & Eventful New Year! For those readers in the UK who are looking for some fabulous entertainment then Hollie is your girl – she’s simply divine! My wedding song was Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” – what was yours? Please do tell!

Linda x

All photos were published with kind permission of Hollie Kamel.

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An Interview With Miss Brazil & Miss England 2014

It’s Saturday lunchtime and I’m sitting here chatting to two of the world’s most beautiful women, Julia Gama aka  Miss Brazil 2014 and Carina Tyrrell aka Miss England 2014, just 2 out of 120 beautiful ladies hoping to win the title of Miss World 2014 on December 14th 2014, being held back in London (the last time the competition was in London was the very first Miss World  63 years ago).

The girls have just had their interview process in the “Beauty With A Purpose” part of the competition. Since this ethos was introduced into the Miss World competition, the contestants have raised millions of pounds and have endured countless hours of hard work to make a difference and bring about positive changes to communities in need worldwide.  Both girls agreed enthusiastically that the “Beauty With A Purpose” part of the competition was their overall favourite part, with Carina commenting how heartwarming it was listening to the interviews of her fellow contestants describing the various projects they’re involved in worldwide and how fantastic it was that these young ladies are so committed to the various causes. So, girls, what are your “Beauty With A Purpose “projects?

Miss Brazil: My project is the Fight Against Leprosy.image

Miss England: My project is to help the homeless in Cambridge – it was the charitable side of the Miss World competition that attracted me to enter in the first place.

Miss Brazil: Yes, that reason attracted me too.

What is your current occupation?

Miss B: I’m a student of chemical engineering in my 3rd year at university and a model too.

Miss E: I’m a student doctor in Cambridge.

How have you got on walking in heels on stage? Has it taken lots of practice?

Miss B : Do you know, before the competition I had never worn make up or heels! Honestly! But I have been really good, I think!  And I’ve enjoyed the experience!

Miss E: It does take practice and I’ve had lots although I think heels shouldn’t be too high.

Have you had any embarrassing moments so far?

Miss B: One time, in the hair and make-up room, there was a plate of cakes with bright pink icing for us to eat. I had one, so delicious, but I realised just before being interviewed that the pink dye was around my mouth and teeth.  I had to scrub my face really hard to get rid of it!

Miss E: No, nothing embarrassing … although at a charity party for the homeless project, I did lose one of my contact lens and almost stumbled as I made an entrance!

What outfits/shoes would you normally be found wearing when not in competition mode?

Miss B: Comfy, sportswear type of clothes. I am very casual. As I said earlier, entering this competition was the first time I wore heels and make up. I have enjoyed the heels and make up experience though.

Miss E: I like wearing smart trousers and skirts and elegant jackets – more chic wear rather than casual.

imageAny favourite shopping haunts?

Miss B: Garancedore.fr

Miss E: Debenhams – love the vast range of clothes, especially the pencil skirts and bolero jackets. I’m so pleased that Debenhams is sponsoring my Miss World wardrobe. I rather like Guess too…

Boots Or Shoes?

Miss B: Shoes? As in..heels? Erm.. that is difficult.. I’d say both.. as long as they’re comfortable!

Miss E: Shoes. Most definitely.

Thank you ladies for spending some of your lunch break  chatting to me. I wish you both the best of luck in the competition.  To follow the lovely Julia and Carina and their fellow contestants in their bid to become Miss World 2014,  download the Miss World 2014 app featuring Miss World TV with its live and scheduled broadcasts from key events including the Miss World final.

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission of Miss World organisation.

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An Interview With Buckso Dhillon Woolley

My blog guest this evening is the very bubbly and gorgeous actress and singer Buckso Dhillon Woolley.  You may have spotted Buckso in UK BBC shows such as the soap Doctors, Waterloo Road and Coronation Street- she’s also in Iceland’s latest advertisement alongside the scrumptious Peter Andre: 

http://www.iceland.co.uk/thats-why-peter-andre-goes-to-iceland/watch-the-tv-ads/tv-ad-2/

This lady can not only act but she has the most fantastic voice too  –  she adds a delightful jazzy twist to well known songs … well, just listen for yourself and get blown away!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HugLs2JpeQ8

So you’ve watched the ad, immersed yourself into her performance and now it’s time to say hello to the lovely lady herself … welcome Buckso:image

Hi! I’m Buckso, mother to 12 yr old twins and wifey to Nic who lives in Derbyshire, that has a passion for all things of beauty and having a chance to express oneself through singing and acting. I started late in the world of acting, only pursuing it about 7 yrs ago realising that “I really couldn’t do anything else”.

You’re an actress, voice over artist and singer that has just got into the entertainment industry “proper” since you turned 35. When did you realise you had a passion for acting and singing? What made you take the plunge to pursue acting as a career at a later age than most?

I knew there was “something” there the moment I sang the theme tune to a well-known kids programme from the 80s called “Why Don’t You?” until that moment I never knew I had a singing voice and the feelings I got thereafter were too difficult to ignore. I took the plunge when after having twins, when I realised that I would not manage the day job anymore as it was shift work. So after completing a beauty course in 2005 (another passion of mine) I joined an agency for background artists, thinking that would be the only way I’d ever get a chance go on TV, and things started from there in 2007.

You are currently the envy of many women – appearing with the gorgeous Peter Andre in the latest Iceland advert! Was he fun to work with?

LOL!! I forget that fact you know!!? I was also one of those women that drooled over him whenever he appeared on TV but in his company, all that went away! I just saw him as just another colleague whom happens to be VERY well known, and he’s very pleasant to speak to, even going out of his way to shake hands with the background artists which I’ve not seen happen before, and having “been there” myself I totally loved that about him.

imageYou have appeared in quite a few TV shows including the BBC soap Doctors, Coronation Street, Waterloo Road, Law And Order UK, and Hollyoaks. What do you love most about the world of TV?

I love the fact that A) if you make a mistake you can do it again! B) The camera is pretty close-up on the face so it doesn’t take much to capture a facial expression and I think that can be challenging at times, which I love, but the fact it goes out to the masses in such a short space of time is an element I like.

You have a part in a new series by Caitlin Moran to be aired next year called Raised By Wolves – which sounds very interesting. When you are relaxing at home, what sort of TV programmes/films do you like watching?

To be honest I hardly watch any TV, and I certainly don’t like watching myself back!! But when I do it’s films, films, films….. I LOVE watching films, I will often go the cinema alone in the day (or evening) to watch a film I fancy, but I do tend to use Netflix a fair bit and I love watching things like Homeland, Breaking Bad etc. The fact you don’t have to wait another week to watch the next episode is AMAZING!! I’m also guilty of LOVING the shopping channels, namely QVC! I could watch it AAALLLL day. (Me too Buckso… I’ve bought plenty of Pout foundation from QVC !)

Is there any style of presenting or TV role or job that you would like to try that you haven’t yet experienced?

As mentioned in previous question, I LOVE QVC, and went for an audition workshop to become one of their presenters but ALAS I didn’t quite cut the mustard with them, but that was back in 2007 when I was a little green around the gills, now I’m sure it’d be a different kettle of fish!! So I’d love to present on there as well as doing something in the style of Oprah and Louis Theroux. A supporting role in a feature film wouldn’t go amiss either.

I love your singing voice, especially your jazzed up version of “Valerie” THANKS!– and I know that you enjoy singing jazz and big ballads. Growing up, was that the type of music you listened to or was it more that the song styles suited your voice? What music genre do you enjoy listening to? What type of songs would you belt out whilst driving along in your car? (Or is it just me that does that? LOL!)

LOL!! Oh no, I do that too! Growing up I only became interested in music from the age of about 10 when I’d hear my elder sister playing Pointer Sisters and Blondie, but when I heard her playing Elvis Presley my interest reeeeally piqued! I have loved that man since that day forward. Then I started listening to stuff from the 60’s realising I was most affected by the likes of Barbra Striesand, Dionne Warwick, Shirley Bassey etc when they sang with such feeling, it touched me and that for me is the essence of why I love singing the songs I do now, because they’re emotive. Jazz was something I have gotten into more so over the last 6 years or so, when my vocal tutor, used to have a Sunday night session called “song sung jazz” and he would steer me towards singing those sort of songs, I suppose he knew that’s where my voice sat at its best. I enjoy listening to any type of music that has a good/catchy beat and isn’t anything to do with thrash metal and the like!!! My mood depicts the songs I listen to…..if I want to get somewhere quick in my car I’ll play upbeat dance stuff, or if I’m chilling along like I’m driving Miss Daisy I’ll have classical on..:)

imageIf you had the chance to sing a duet with anybody in the world, dead or alive, who would be your partner and what song would you sing?

It would HAVE to Elvis Presley! The fact they can superimpose themselves onto videos with him nowadays like Celine and Barbra have done is amazing!! I’d be singing Can’t Help Falling in Love.

Have you got any future plans lined up for 2015 that you can tell us about?

Nothing firm, but I am hoping to put together a Bond themed set, where I would sing most of the songs from the films with a view to doing more corporate work, unless I get picked to appear in the West End production of “Bend it like Beckham” then it changes ALL my plans!! (I featured in their latest workshop back in April this year as one of the aunties)

If you were given the chance to be the voice-over character for a major film such as Shrek, what film would take your fancy, what character and why?

Well seeing as I’ve got quite a low, deep voice I’d like to have a go at the Witch in Snow White and bring a little sexiness to the tone, because I think they make them look really hot nowadays, so why not have the voice to match!? 😉

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing when not on TV?

Oohh casual aaaalll the way! Good old Primark for me I’m afraid, I make more of an effort when I’m out for lunch with friends/shopping and then it’s more a case of just putting on makeup I’m VERY low maintenance I am. The way I see it is you can’t make a silk purse out of a pigs ear, you either got it or you aint..;0)

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

LOVE Primark and I tend to buy from QVC as their designer brands are from the States and aren’t available in shops here like Ronni Nicole/Nina Leonard/Centigrade/Dennis Basso etc, so invariably I never get seen in the same outfit as anyone else!

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

I don’t tend to have my “eye” on things, I’m very much a “see it I’ll buy it” type of gal….that way I NEVER have a moment where I “don’t know what to wear.”

Boots or Shoes?

LOVE boots, as I feel so much more secure in them, and they finish off a trouser/jean much better and that’s what I tend to wear most of as opposed to dresses.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can follow you and your career.

You can follow me on @bucksodw or go to my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/bucksodw

It’s been brilliant having you on the blog Buckso and I look forward to seeing you on telly in 2015.  As I’ve already said I like singing along to the radio in my car to upbeat tunes from pop to rock… Valerie is one of my favourite singalong  songs and the 80s classic “Somebody Else’s Guy” is another. Do let me know what songs tickle your fancy whilst driving and entices you to singalong! 

Linda x

All photos and the youtube video were published with kind permission of Buckso Dhillon Woolley.  The Iceland advert was published courtesy of Iceland Foods Ltd.

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An Interview With Sally Morgan

Embarking on her Autumn UK tour,  I managed to catch up with Sally Morgan, better known as TV’s Psychic Sally… you may have seen the lovely, bubbly Sally  in her TV series “Star Psychic, in Psychic Sally Big Fat Operation, in Sky Living’s Psychic Sally On The Road, as well as appearances on Channel 4’s Come Dine With Me Halloween Special and Big Brother’s Bit On the Side with Rylan Clark.  Sally has a big passion for fa shion too, so a big warm welcome to the blog….image

Hi, I am Sally Morgan aka Psychic Sally. I am often referred to as an ordinary woman with an extraordinary gift…I believe that I can connect with people on the other side. I am currently touring theatres in the UK with my interactive show Psychic Sally On The Road, I am also the star of several TV shows and an author. When I am not working my most favourite hobby is shopping! Shoes and bags are my biggest obsession!

Congratulations on being recognised as one of the top 5 psychics in the world after being tested by Professor Gary Schwartz, a Harvard University Ph D graduate. What sort of tests did you go through as part of his experiment?

There were lots of different tests often referred to as ‘blind on blind’ wheimagere I give information about a person that I have not met. It was a fascinating project to be involved in and I think I left a lot of people speechless with the information I gave. The validation given would have been difficult for even the biggest skeptic to pull apart.

You had your first psychic experience with an appearance of a ghost at around the age of 4. Were you not frightened at such a tender age? When did you first realise you had this psychic ability?

My ability has always been something that is just within me, I have never known any different. When I was 4 I had no idea what it was. I just remember one day being told off at nursery when I asked if my grandad could stay. The teachers said no and I pointed at another older gentleman in the room and shouted that it wasn’t fair that another little girl could have her Grandad there. What I didn’t realise is that this man did not exist in real life. Only I could see him!

In your 20s you used your psychic abilities as a sort of party piece but soon your excellent reputation attracted an extensive client list including celebrities and royalty – reading for Princess Diana for 4 years. Did you realise that your psychic abilities would shape your career or as a child did you yearn to follow a different career path?

imageIf I am honest I had no idea that I would end up working as a medium full time. (I use the word medium as someone who is in touch with spirit but a more generic term is psychic.) When I was about 15 my mother took me to a spiritualist church where a very famous psychic of that time told me that I would go on to do great things with my ability. I honestly had no idea at that time that I would use it as any more then a party piece. I got a job as a dental nurse in my 20’s which I loved but outside of work I was starting to build up a client base. I had people from all different walks of life wanting to see me, and soon people started coming to my house for readings. It grew very organically, at one point I was known as ‘London’s best-kept secret’. In my early 30’s I realised that I had enough demand to work as a medium full time and so that is what I did. I set up my own practice at my home and took bookings all day long. I haven’t looked back since! If I hadn’t of developed naturally into working as a full time medium my dream job would have been to be a fashion or interior designer. I have a real eye and passion for fabrics, textures and colours.

imageLaunching in the TV spotlight in 2007 with your TV series Star Psychic, you went on to star in other TV programmes & documentaries such as Psychic Sally Big Fat Operation, a fly on the wall documentary showing your life changing weight loss operation. What were the main differences you noticed, other than weight loss obviously, after the operation compared to Sally before the op? Did people’s attitudes change or have you more stamina to get through your gruelling tour schedule?

The biggest change for me was that at the end of a 2-hour show I could still stand! Seriously, before the operation my feet and ankles use to swell and I would be in agony at the end of an evening. This may sound silly but it was something really simple that really made me stop and recognise the change. I was walking down my stairs at home and when I got to the bottom step I sprung off it, like I was as light as a feather. I hadn’t done that for years! I know wear clothes that I never thought I would, jeans, dresses etc. People are often staggered at my weight loss, when you compare pictures of my before and after, it is like looking at someone different. Like anything in life you have to take the bad with the good. Most people are very supportive but there are always those they feel you have changed as a person because you are thinner and perhaps put more value on how you look. But the truth is I am still the same old Sally. Even when I was bigger I still loved fashion – I always dressed in bright colours and wanted the latest trends. It really was a health decisions. After suffering a mild heart attack I was told by the doctors that I had to lose weight – it was literally a life or death decision.

imageYour successful Sky Living series Psychic Sally on the Road provided an unique insight on your hectic tour schedule and home life. You have toured the UK for over 7 years performing over 120 shows a year – and are just about to tour the UK again ( I will be putting your tour dates in the article) You have also taken your interactive show to Australia, with a hope to tour there again in 2015. What do you most enjoy about touring? Any secrets on how you keep your stamina going that you can share?

There are two main things I love about touring 1. Is meeting so many amazing people all with an interest in the afterlife and 2. Learning more about spirit and how they interact. Since being on tour I have taken my understanding of  the spirit world to the next level, really developing my knowledge of what happens when we pass, the signs spirit give us and how they interact with one another. You will often hear me say that ‘spirit orchestrates the evening’, this is completely true. I never know what is going to happen on any night, I put all my trust in spirit and that the messages will get to the right people. I have always been a bubbly and energetic person and I am lucky to have a great support network around me, which makes life on the road much easier. I always stock up on bananas for energy and make sure I drink plenty of fluids…and of course the odd cup of tea!

You are an author too of 4 books – My Psychic Life, Healing Spirits, Life After Death, My Heavenly Truth, and you are currently writing your 5th book, Call Me Psychic, due out early 2015. Do you find writing therapeutic? What sort of book genre do you like reading? Favourite books or authors?

I love reading  motivational books and one of my favourite authors has to be Deepak Chopra. I have always enjoyed writing and it was always a dream of mine to write a book. I can’t believe I am now writing my 5th! It is very therapeutic and for me, taking the time to reflect on my life and work is very rewarding to me.

imageYou won Channel 4’s Come Dine With Me Halloween Special, beating various celebs including Robert Englund (aka Freddie Kreuger). Did you enjoy the experience?

We had so much fun making the show. I am a bit of an entertainer so I put a lot of effort into the evening – hiring a local dance school to perform their version of Michael Jackson’s Thriller. I also had a couple of friends dressed as Zombies, which certainly gave the neighbours a fright! I really tried to push the boundaries and created completely new recipes for the night…this could have been a disaster but luckily the food turned out brilliantly. I was gobsmacked when they announced me as the winner but it was great being able to give the winnings to my chose charity.

You also appeared on Big Brother’s Bit On The Side With Rylan Clark, sharing your views on the Big Brother 2014 housemates. Did you enjoy that experience? Did you get any psychic experiences relating to the housemates?

I love Rylan, he is such a down-to-earth person with lots of endearing qualities. We have become quite good friends since, as he has always been a big fan of mine. The 2014 Big Brother housemates were certainly unique…I picked up on their true characteristics straight away…I think I will leave that there!! Ha ha

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

On stage I always wear heels, normally from Russell & Bromley as they are so comfy! I wear black trousers and then either a bright or sparkly jacket, which I get specially made. I love a bit of glitz and glamour!  In the day I will often be seen in M&S jeans, flats and a t-shirt or jumper…very casual.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?

I love high street brands Zara, Whistles and Weekend Max Mara.
I also love asos.com for online shopping. So much selection and quick delivery – very convenient!

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

I have my eye on a pair of brogues from Russell and Bromley. I would also really love a Burberry Mac!! Ha ha

Boots or Shoes?

Shoes – I find it hard to get boots that fit me as I have big calves so I definitely have more shoes then boots.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers of the blog can learn more about you!

Facebook: www.facebook.com/sallymorgantv
Twitter: @SallyMorganTV
Website: www.sallymorgan.tv

Thank you very much Sally for taking time out of your busy schedule for a chat – I hope your tour continues to be a success.  So, dear readers, for the list of tour dates for the rest of October and November, press HERE. So if Sally’s in your town , why not pop along and say hello… she may have a message for you! How fab would that be?

Linda x

Photo Credits: All photos have been published with kind permission from Sally Morgan

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An Interview With Must Love Festivals

We are currently in the middle of festival season – music, the arts, lazy hazy summer days – although I don’t go a-bundle on the camping aspect! Europe is buzzing with festivals and so I’m delighted to get an interview this week with  Abi who is one of the people involved in the fantastic digital storytelling project, Must Love Festivals, that is covering Europe’s 40 most unique festivals spanning 11 countries…. a big, warm welcome Abi…image

Hi, I’m Abi. I’m a travel writer and photographer with a love for all things digital and in my past life I used to work as a hospital doctor.

The “Must Love Festivals” project is the brainchild of Kash Bhattacharya, the award winning creator of the Budget Traveller Website. So what is the project exactly?

“Must Love Festivals” takes 16 bloggers (or digital storytellers as the phrase is now) and spreads them out across Europe this summer to cover some of the continent’s quirkiest festivals. We’ll be taking on 40 festivals in 11 countries, reporting back in real time and then spending some time huddled behind a screen to write up articles, photo essays and videos.

How did you first become involved in this project yourself? What Festival will you be covering?

Ah, well my secret confession is that I first said no since I did think that most festivals were all about mud, crowds and music. And while I like the third of those, I’ve never been such a fan of the first two. Kash convinced me to open my eyes and give it a go since Europe has such a range of festivals – from folk to fashion to food…and even to things that don’t begin with F 😉

I’m lucky to be covering a few. I’ll kick off with Bardentreffen in Nuremberg. It’s awash with music but as this year’s festival coincides with the 100 year declaration of war by Germany in WWI, they’ve chosen the theme of War and Peace to mark the occasion. Performers from around the world will use their music to explore the theme of reconciliation and dealing with conflict. Next up will be a colourful folk festival in Italy’s sunny Puglia. I head to Barcelona for the Festival de Gracia, a free street festival of decorations, food and art. Then it’s to Dublin to catch up with some books and fashion and finally I’ll travel to the islands of Malta to soak up their Birgu candle festival.

imageFestivals are not all about music, mud and fashion – as the project hopes to show – so what is the most unusual festival you’ve been to?

In my youth, I went to the Tomatina in Spain where the world descends on a picturesque hamlet one day to pelt rotten tomatoes at one another. It sounded harmless at first but those flying pips and pelted pulp really can sting after a while…Plus, they get everywhere.

What has been your favourite Festival to date?

Ah, that’s tricky. I think one of the best is one that’s actually close to home: the Bristol balloon festival. There’s something so hauntingly beautiful about seeing so many hot air balloons hovering in the air at once.

If you were given the chance, what Festival would you love to attend that you haven’t been to?

I’d love to visit the Midnight Sun Festival In Finland. It’s just gone and one of our team made a beautiful video about it.

imagePersonal now – what outfits would you be packing for your Festival expedition?

Ah, now. Well, Spain and Italy don’t have quite the casual dress code we have here so I’m looking for long cotton trousers and skirts with some smart but lightweight tops. The aim is to look polished but not overheat or burn! And there’s not much place for a big floppy hat in a crowd unfortunately!

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?

I love the bright colours and designs of Desigual. And for accessories, I always check out Etsy to see if there’s anything handmade and original that suits.

What footwear do you favour when attending festivals?

You need something casual but resilient as you could be on your feet all day long…I have a pair of black Fit Flops that I love as the sole is so thick that those atmospheric cobblestones don’t bother me. Yet,
they have a hint of sparkle too which is perfect for when the sun goes down.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc

You can find all the Must Love Festival goings on at http://mustlovefestivals.com/ and across Twitter and Facebook through the hashtag #MustLoveFestivals. As for me, I blog over at Inside the Travel Lab (www.insidethetravellab.com) and will be covering my summer of festivals across Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. Hope to see you there!

Links for the social media networks mentioned above:

http://www.facebook.com/InsidetheTravelLab
http://twitter.com/Insidetravellab

http://instagram.com/insidetravellab

Wow! Thanks Abi for taking the time to chat to us about what seems to me, at any rate, an exciting project.  I wish you safe journeys and I look forward to readings your blogs!

Linda x

Photo Credits:  All photographs have been published with kind permission of Abigail King.

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An Interview With Sian Welby

My guest this week is the gorgeous ray of sunshine that is Sian Welby, the lovely lady that reads the weather on Channel 5 as well as getting our hopes up on the live National Lottery updates; she is also a presenter on BT Sport, Eurosport and ITV4… plus she is the female face of Electronic Arts… welcome Sian…image

Hi! My name is Sian, I’m 27, from Nottinghamshire and I’m an alcoholic! Sorry, couldn’t resist! Basically I’m a tea loving northerner masquerading as a Londoner, now living in Clapham and working on the telly. After 5 years of travelling the country, working all hours and putting in ground work I finally got my big break in 2010. The way and route I got there is certainly unconventional and here’s my story.

imageYou’ve been presenting since 2007. Have you always hoped to be on TV as a presenter or a weather girl or something completely different?

After I finished 6th form I knew that uni was going to be a waste of time for me. Time has always been an important factor in my life. I knew if I wanted to be an actress or entertainer I had to start the second I had finished my A levels if I was to stand any chance. I initially did a few drama school auditions, but to be honest I couldn’t afford to do more than 3. Some cost £50 an audition, then there’s the travel on top as well as accommodation if it’s a two day event. I was skint. Working Saturdays at Waitrose, doing A levels and learning to drive, it was all too much. I ended up on the ‘waiting list’ as they call it, for Mountview School of Acting, but when that fell through that’s when I decided to have a year out, save some money and try again properly the year after. That one year out would become five. After landing a job at New Look in a town called Newark I decided that I would just try and work as many hours as I could. Meanwhile, I had had this new idea of becoming a presenter as a few mates had likened me to Cat Deely who at the time was a bit of an idol. Mainly because she wasn’t afraid to laugh at herself and be silly. So I literally googled ‘how to be a presenter’ and a website called startintv.com came up. Once I had joined that I uploaded a pic, wrote a quick bio and to my surprise instantly got an audition. That audition would be successful and take me to LA and Las Vegas. It was an incredible start to the world of television and it taught me so much. When that ended I would get another presenting job and so on and so on until suddenly five years had passed and I was STILL at New Look. It was crazy. I had an advert in Times Square one day and was picking up sale clothes off the floor the next. That was it. 2010 was the year I HAD to make it. I remember having an unopened bottle of champagne in my house and I vowed I couldn’t open it until I deserved it. The year flew by, it was suddenly September and to cut a long story short after applying for an agent through a Facebook competition, I was asked to do an advert for New! Magazine. I literally had to say loads of words, DIETS, CELEBRITY, GOSSIP etc etc when the advert went out the line they used of mine was PETER ANDRE. Who knew that line and that moment would lead to one of the biggest names in media and publications spotting me and ultimately giving me a job on his new channel, Channel 5, as his weather girl. I started that November. Amazing. I still haven’t thanked Peter Andre!

imageBeing a former New Look sales assistant, you have hosted some fashion week shows and being on TV presenting the weather you are in the spotlight fashion wise (more so than when presenting sport, I feel). Do you pick the outfits you wear to present the weather, or does the wardrobe department have a say or bit of both?

Once you’re in the lime light you always feel under pressure to look good. It took a bit of fine tuning on the weather because you are only shot from the waist upwards. So I quickly learnt that dresses have to be fitted and shirts tailored. Block colours look really good on tv. Black actually isn’t great on tv, where as reds and blues look amazing. On the weather I have a green screen so I can’t wear certain colours. I choose all my own outfits, because I know now what works. On the health lottery it’s quite fun because I actually have a stylist and she finds me some awesome outfits that I might not have ever chosen myself. Always high street brands. You really can’t go wrong nowadays with the high street because there is so much to choose from! Oasis and Miss Selfridge are my go to brands.

imageDespite your blonde hair and ultra feminine exterior, you are a tomboy at heart and a gaming geek! You are the female face of Electronic Arts and Xbox 360 features the show on their live dashboard. What do you love most about the world of gaming?

I landed the job for EA sports the same time as getting the weather job. I have always been a tomboy and grown up, me and my sister were like brothers! Building dens, climbing trees and playing on a the mega drive! It’s funny because from working in the games industry I learnt that it really can be such a fun and sociable hobby. It’s not all sweaty geeks in damp fusty bedrooms, it’s so much more interactive. I got hooked on this snowboarding game SSX when it came out a couple of years ago. Basically it was who could ski down the mountain the quickest and most stylish. Simple. But when you’d get home, you’d get a notification to say your mate had beaten your time and suddenly the battle was on! I can get quite competitive, especially against boys, and especially against the proper geeks, because I knew it would kill them knowing this blonde girl had beaten them!! Last year I hosted the launch of the new xbox one in Leicester Square and that was a real career highlight, it was the first time live music had EVER been played in the square, and I was there, hosting it all.

Your TV presenting career has also veered towards the sporting world – especially the cycling events on both Eurosport UK and on BT Sport too. Do you participate in any sport? What’s your favourite sporting activity that you love presenting and/or watching?

imageSince presenting for ITV, BT sport and Eurosport covering the cycling I have really got into riding my bike, there are some beautiful parks in London and it’s a great way to see them all. I also went skiing this year for the first time and loved it. I think it might be something I try and do once a year.

Is there any style of presenting or TV role or job that you would like to try that you haven’t yet experienced?

I’ve always been sad that I never got to do kids tv. I want them to bring back the types of live Saturday shows I grew up with like SMTV and Live and Kicking. You can’t beat shows like that. You get to have fun and make mistakes and laugh along the way. It’s an ideal job.

imageMy youngest son and myself share a mutual interest in the subject of weather, climate, natural world, earthquakes and volcanoes etc. In fact, he checks the weather app every morning for the weather not only where we live but to check other places around the world too! Not only that, he has been known to role play as a weatherman in games with his brothers! When you was a child did the weather fascinate you?

I have also always been fascinated by extreme weather. I love a good thunderstorm! I would really like the chance to go storm chasing tornados in America. I just need to try and find a tv crew who dare to come with me!

imageYou’ve also presented the National Health Lottery Draw live on Channel 5. Just supposing you won a substantial amount on the lottery, what would be one of the first things you’ll buy?

You know what. I really think if you won that kind of money you should really think about doing something that would literally otherwise be impossible without it. If you earned good money you would get a mortgage, new car and set up a savings account. If you won good money, you should really try and make a difference. I would definitely start up a charity or get involved with an awesome project that would fall through without your input. I would also buy something ridiculous, like a pet giraffe.

Have you got any future plans lined up for 2014 that you can tell us about?

Well I’ve had lots of exiting meetings, but as I’ve come to learn, in this industry you just have to be patient and hope the right job finds you at the right time. I can’t wait for the next new challenge and something I’ve realised is, I really enjoy radio. So we’ll see!

imageBeing a presenter you have come across many colourful and influential characters I’m sure – have you met or interviewed anybody who was either your idol or has left you lost for words? Who would make you go giggly & all unnecessary?! Who has made a lasting impression on you so far?

I have met some great people. Actor Nick Frost is one of the best celebrities I have ever met. A very funny,very humble bloke who got me in a headlock on the red carpet in Leicester Square and gave me a ‘nuggi’ it was hilarious. Jonny Depp once looked at me and said ‘alright?’ That. Was. Amazing. Ha! It’s funny all the little moments you remember. I’m meeting Simon Cowell in June and I’m actually so excited. He really is an icon.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing when not on TV?

Fashion wise I always get pulled back to my tomboy roots. I love a pair of jeans with a loose fitting t shirt and a pair of converse. Although I am into fashion and when I’m working or going out I like to be in the latest trends. Recently I’ve been loving the big shirt and jumper look, with skinny jeans and a pair of boots. Although I tried out that look on the weather one week and someone tweeted that I looked like a little school boy! Ha!

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?

Love ASOS, TopShop, Oasis, Miss Selfridge, Bershka and even Missguided the new online store. It has some right gems on there.

imageWhat’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

One day I must own a pair of red soled Louboutin’s. Even when they break my ankles when I fall over in them, I’ll still love them unconditionally like a child.

Boots or Shoes?

Boots are great because I love wearing socks! Weird fact about me is that I always wear odd socks!!

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can follow you and your career.

@sianwelby on twitter

Sian Welby presenter on FB

Thanks Sian… it has been great chatting to you! The storm chasing idea sounds absolutely awesome… I’d love to do that too but I may be a teeny weeny bit scared but it sure would be an ultimate adrenaline rush!

Linda x

Photo credits: All photographs have been published with kind permission from Sian Welby.

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An Interview With Gate City Management

This week I’m truly honoured to chat with the suave, family-orientated and musically talented Chris from Gate City Management.  Hailing from Atlanta, the “Gate City”,  Chris grew up with a love for the entertainment business and by the time he left  high school he was proficiently playing 5 instruments.  But that’s not all… fashion is also in his heart.  So, without further ado, let’s welcome the man himself… hi Chris, a big warm welcome to the blog..image

Hello my name is Chris Waymon, CEO of Gate City Management. I am a musician, businessman, a father, a husband, and a friend.
Where did you get inspiration from to start Gate City Management?
I was once an artist myself. Growing up and learning the entertainment industry, I saw and experienced what it takes to be a successful artist through artist development such as, vocal lessons, stage presence, dance lessons, interview techniques, styling, branding plus many more. Longevity is what we are striving for through artist development. This is why the artists I grew up on were so successful. This is what a lot of artists now are truly missing and they are wondering why they are one hit wonders. So I created Gate City Management to help bring this concept back.
imageYou have experience as a producer, production manager, and event organiser as well as a big love for music. So what “hat” do you tend to favour the most?
My favorite hat will always be music. It has always been an outlet when I needed to express myself. Over time I have evolved to be a producer/ production manager, and event coordinator but each one was still for a musical project.

Gate City Management only seek those who have worked a minimum of 3 years in their chosen genre of the entertainment industry, and currently working full time in that said career.  You are not a firm for those seeking to ‘get discovered’. However for those new to the entertainment business you do offer workshops, conferences and career consulting.  What seems to be the most popular type of service you offer amongst your clients?
We are also looking for the next superstar, whether it’s a model, actor, or artist. How the entertainment industry used to work is the record label used to pay for artist development, but since most artists are looking to go the independent route they miss out on the artist development phase. Being the “Starving Artist” many can’t afford or understand artist development. So as of now our most successful service is being a producer/ production manager.
imageYou were born & raised in Atlanta so it’s hardly surprising you have a love for the entertainment business. In fact, Gate City Management is named after Atlanta’s nickname back in the 1800s, Gate City.  Was it difficult to pick a name for your company or was it just an obvious choice? 
It was kind of hard, because I love my city and the history of Atlanta so of course I had to do my research to find a way to show my two loves music and Atlanta. The problem I had was finding a way to represent Atlanta and still connect with others, because overall I want it to be a universal household name.
You went to Georgia State University and majored in music;as well as when you were in Middle School you formed a group which emulated The Fugees; so what career did you dream of having when you was studying?
Growing up I idealised Sean “Diddy” Combs as a successful businessman in the entertainment industry. I planned to be an artist, and afterwards have a record label. So once I stopped being an artist I could focus on my own entertainment company almost like Bad Boy.
imageI’m impressed that you can play 5 instruments including the iconic sax! What’s your favourite instrument to play?  What sort of music genre do you enjoy listening to?
My instrument was the sax even though I learned the bassoon, trumpet, baritone, and drums I still appreciated where it started from which was the sax. As far as the type of music I enjoyed, I like jazz & blues with a appreciation of the instruments and if it was R&B and Hip Hop, it’s lyrical content. 

Are there any new services you hope to introduce in 2014?  

I have one of my consulting managers that wants to do sports management so we have been discussing it but as of right now not at the moment.  We have enough on our plate. 

You have worked with talent in the past such as Jermaine Dupri, Nivea, Young Bloodz, Bone Crusher…. is there anybody (alive or dead) you would love to work with if you had the chance?  Who would make you totally awestruck?

If I was still an artist, I would love to work with Andre “3000” & Kanye West. I would also like to work Jay Z  from a business aspect of the entertainment industry. 

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
 A lot of people don’t know but I have a background in fashion. I am slowly working on three different clothing lines but that is further down the line. So I like to consider myself being fashion forward. My favorite brands are Akoo, Polo, and Gucci. As far as shoes are concerned, I’m a sneaker-head and collect shoes but I only like Air Force Ones and Retro Jordans, and Gucci and Prada dress shoes.
 
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?
Being that I’m 6 ft tall I don’t have many shops that cater to my height, so my stylist gets most of my clothes from different places. I’m  just not sure where from.
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
I’m looking to work with upcoming designers to help build their line as a brand ambassador, so if there are any designers reading this, please contact so we can talk. I’m looking for something different.
Boots or Shoes?
Both it depends on what I’m wearing that day jeans or a suit.
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers of the blog can learn more about you and Gate City Management.

It was so nice chatting to you Chris and I wish Gate City Management all the best in 2014 and beyond. Don’t forget, my designer friends, to get in touch with Chris …

As always, join our Facebook group Boots Shoes et Al, for daily shoe pics, shoe bargains, and lots more …just press the button! Whilst you’re pressing buttons, press the subscriber button and be one of the first to receive my new blog post each week… I look forward to hearing from you 🙂

Linda x

 

Photo Credits: Photos have been published with kind permission from Chris Whymon and Gate City Management. 

 

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An Interview With Alex Proud

Tonight I’m really proud to be interviewing the man about town, Camden Town that is, Alex Proud.   I can’t remember exactly when I first became aware of Alex – it was either through watching one of my favourite TV programmes, Channel 4’s Four Rooms, where Alex is one of the regular dealers; reading one of his highly entertaining articles for the Telegraph Men section ( I know I’m not male but I love Alex’s writing style and wit and quite often I agree with his sentiments);  or, hearing about his fab entertainment venues – BUT most recently I discovered that he had a love for Jeffery West shoes, a love shared by most of the men that I’ve interviewed as well as by my darling husband too.  So, without further ado, let’s meet the man himself….hi Alex, welcome to the blog:image

Hi! Alex Proud, pleased to meet you.

Although you are a nightclub & gallery owner & dealer & TV dealer & journalist, you studied politics at the University of York.  Do you still have a love for politics?  Is being a politician next on your impressive career list or is writing a regular column for Telegraph Men a sort of “political” outlet for you?

Yes I still love Politics, I used to be Charles Kennedy’s advisor, and I still actively engage with the Liberal party. Also, I am the Vice Chairman of the local business improvement district and I’m heavily involved in Camden politics. But yes, sometimes I do see this column as an outlet for my political passions.

You started your dealer career by selling Japanese art and eventually moved on to Rolls Royces.  Were you driven to selling items that personally appealed to you or because these items were in demand?  What made you opt for Rolls Royces?

I hate to destroy any romantic imagery, but I did what I did to make a living. Ha! But I do love British cars – I currently drive an Aston Martin and I love Jags – the new advert is fantastic; it is good to be bad!

imageYour fabulous famous photography gallery, Proud Central, was opened in 1998 and has become one of the world’s foremost private photographic galleries.  What inspired you to open such a gallery?

A series of coincidences led me to put on Dennis Morris’ Sex Pistols exhibition and when I saw the reaction it garnered, I quickly developed a passion/love affair that has endured since.

imageThe photography shown in your galleries focus on popular culture, encompassing rock & roll, fashion, sporting moments etc.  What sort of photography do you like to look at? Have you a favourite print?

Somewhat like the referee of a football game, it would be undiplomatic of me to express my personal favourites. I enjoy all good photography.

In 1999 you set the publishing company, Vision On, with well known photographer, Ian Rankin. I am a great admirer of the work of Ian Rankin, so I am well impressed! Do you do any photography yourself, as a hobby?

Yes. I’m a keen Instagram-er if that counts? But I have to admit I’m pretty dreadful.

imageIn 2006 you opened the stunning 700 capacity bar & music venue Proud Camden, which was soon followed by Proud Cabaret, the burlesque restaurant within Proud Camden; and Proud Brighton. What’s the most memorable gig held at Proud Camden? 

Most memorable gig would be the launch of the first Proud Bar, when The Libertines played…

imageBeing a bit of a party animal, having co hosted parties with people as diverse as Paul McCartney and Hugh Heffner,  you probably are not easily starstruck … so any great party anecdotes?

I’ve got hundreds of great party anecdotes. You will have to take me out for dinner and get me drunk to get them. Sounds good to me… 😉 

imageYour close ties with Mencap has led you to put together club nights in an effort to change people’s attitudes towards people with learning disabilities.  What inspired you to help in this way?

I dislike the way the British are obsessed with puppies and kittens and donkeys and we seem to ignore human beings with far more desperate needs. Mencap and people with learning difficulties are a wonderful way for all of us to put a little bit back into society. I only wish I, and many of us did do more.

You appear on Channel 4’s Four Rooms – I love that programme – so do you enjoy the TV experience?  What item would you say was your best deal as a result of the TV programme?

It’s great fun, albeit long-winded and tiring and I don’t deal well with the early starts that are necessary in the television industry. The best deal I’ve done as a result of the show is still purchasing the world’s first passport which I’m holding onto, but which I believe to be worth much more than I paid for it.

imageYour wife, Danielle, is an interior designer, Creative Director of your Proud establishments  and in her previous job, Head Designer at Biba,  so she obviously has taste too for certain items – do you share a similar taste for objects?  Have you ever done a deal and brought home or to the gallery an object which didn’t quite meet her approval?

Danielle and I don’t have very similar tastes but we respect each other enough to manage to live with each other’s differences. Yes, I regularly bring home things that don’t meet her approval and ditto the other way around. It tends to mean that things disappear. Like some sort of dictatorship when things randomly disappear in the middle of the night.

imagePersonal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

I normally wear Jeffery West shoes and Gresham Blake suits.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

I love ASOS, because I hate walking into shops. Again, Jeffrey West shoes, I have them handmade bespoke for my feet and I have blue croc skin, brown with flames up the side…

I like Mr Porter for the odd treat.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

A new tailor that Holly introduced me to – he’s going to make me a suit. He’s called David Brooke.

Boots or Shoes?

Boots. Always. I just think that Chelsea Boots are cooler. And preferably with Cuban Heels to make me a bit taller.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers of the blog can learn more about you!

Twitter: @AlexanderProud

Instagram: alexproud55

Proud: www.proud.co.uk

 

Wow, thanks for a great interview Alex!  If any readers are in London, pop into the Proud Chelsea gallery and view the fab photographic exhibition currently on show until May 4th 2014 charting the career of legendary Formula One driver Ayrton Senna – as 2014 is the 30th anniversary of Senna’s debut as well as being the 20th anniversary of his death.  Entry is free.

Linda x

Photo Credits:  All photographs have been published with kind permission from Proud Publishing Limited 

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An Interview With Sukki Singapora Part 2

In September 2012, I  interviewed on this blog, the little known Singaporean burlesque star… and now a year later, Sukki Singapora is well known as the globe-trotting Burlesque Queen, next in line to Dita Von Teese’s “Burlesque Throne”. With a dedicated fan base (who refer to themselves as #teamsukki) and a World Tour under her belt, it’s been great following her success as a Burlesque star …. as well as an international role model. So, it’s with great pleasure that I welcome once again my gorgeous friend onto the blog to chat about her year… 
Hi Sukki! Your debut Burlesque performance was in 2011, and I was fortunate enough to interview you in September 2012 …. so, what made you want to become a Burlesque performer in the first place?Sukki Singapora Singapore Burlesque by Trixta Photography
I’ve often talked about how I entered into burlesque – from my upbringing in classical ballet to a discovery of vintage fashion, which in turn led to a discovery of burlesque – but perhaps less so the why. I suppose it was because when I was growing up as a child of mixed race, it was hard to fit in to any one culture. In my teens I discovered vintage fashion as an outlet for this and a way of “belonging” – of course then you hear about burlesque as the two tend to go hand in hand. I fell in love with the art and glamour of it all.
Congratulations on being nominated  for London’s Asian Women of Achievement  Awards in 2013!  Being a role model for Asian women & The Arts is such an achievement in itself… and not forgetting your Royal Invite to Buckingham Palace too!  What was your Royal Day like?
Sukki Singapora arriving at Buckingham Palace Burlesque view 1Why, thank you. The day was wonderful, and it was an honour to be greeted to such a reception. I was shown around on a tour by Master of the Royal Household near the Queen’s quarters, and then sat down for tea and cake from the Royal Bakery. It was my first time in Buckingham Palace, and I was enamoured by just how luxurious the it was. I believe I’m the first burlesque performer to be invited for tea, so it was certainly a huge compliment. Aside from the showbiz and glamour side of the day, I just hope that it help promotes the message of my Society and makes a difference to those who struggle to follow their creative dreams.
 
Could you talk us through the outfit you wore on the day?Sukki Singapora arriving at Buckingham Palace Burlesque view 2
I had the great pleasure of wearing a bespoke dress by one of my favourite designers, Kiku Boutique of Manchester. My heels were by a Singaporean company called Charles and Keith, and I accessorised with Clogau diamonds from the Welsh Gold company. I was acutely aware that it was a moment in history, so I wanted to do that moment justice!
After 5 years of being away from your beloved homeland of Singapore, you returned this year to promote Burlesque!  How did you feel and how was your reception?
Sukki Singapora AWA Awards Sponsor BoardI honestly felt overwhelmed and moved by the reception back home. It was hard not to get emotional when I met some of my fans who’ve supported me the whole way, and knew of my political struggle. It’s still not something that is widely accepted, so to receive an applause after greeting some of my Burlesque Society members and students brought me to tears. It was a difficult moment, but one which I’ll never forget. It’s why I’m inspired every day to push myself further, so that one day I can say I was the first Singaporean to perform Burlesque legally in Singapore.
 
You’re known for your elaborate sparkly costumes… and you’re currently working alongside the awesome Will.I.am‘s jewellery & bling team to create some new pieces for your new Sparkle for Singapore Act!  I’m impressed!!! So, how did you get to work with those awesome fellas and have you managed to meet THE man himself?
I was actually contacted by the designer who founded the celebrity brand, a woman called Bella. A lot of her clients are based in Asia, so I was extremely humbled to be approached by her to represent the company. The moment it became real was when one of the pieces was delivered to my house and I’ve never seen anything quite so exquisite. I love Will.i.am‘s work, so it was a pleasure to be able to work with his team. I’ve not yet met him, but I tweeted him a hello the other day. You never know, it could be on the cards for next year…
Apart from your Burlesque shows & Society, you’ve featured in numerous Corporate Burlesque Entertainment Booking Sukki Singaporaphotoshoots and appeared in several high profile ad campaigns. Do you enjoy modelling? 
I adore modelling. It’s great to be able to do both the live shows, but also to take a moment to create an incredible set, get the lighting just right, and then capture that vision like a work of art. It appeals to the side of me which loves to create that look of unobtainable beauty and glamour.
You’ve been doing an awful lot of travelling lately around the world – where have been your global highlights this year? Any place you haven’t visited that you would love to visit for pleasure or business?
Sukki Singapora Asian Burlesque Singapore All Asian ShowReturning to Singapore was most definitely a highlight, however it was also a joy to be able to tour countries such as Japan. I’ve always wanted to visit Japan, and it didn’t disappoint! The fans there are some of the most wild! In terms of where I’ve not visited, I always said at the start of my journey into burlesque that one day I’d be performing in shows in Las Vegas, so next year will be a landmark year for me in that sense.
Looking ahead to 2014 – any plans in the pipeline that you can reveal to us?
I’m trying to keep next year a surprise, however I can reveal that I’ve been secretly filming pilots for several TV appearances… you’ll have to wait and see!
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
I like to mix my style depending on my mood, as well as incorporating talented individuals to design wardrobe pieces for me. At the moment my favourite pieces are from Armani and Kiku Boutique. My favourite shoes have to be heels.. of all shapes and sizes. I love crazy graphic heel shapes, or platforms which look like they defy gravity. Cubism chic!
What’s next on your shoe wish list?
At the moment designs by Charlotte Olympia and Nicholas Kirkwood are catching my eye. I’ve a soft spot for his lace courts. 
Boots or Shoes?
Shoes! Although as winter in the UK approaches I may be converted!
You can follow and keep up to date with Sukki via facebook: www.facebook.com/SukkiSingapora Twitter:www.twitter.com/sukkisingapora or via her website: www.SukkiSingapora.com
If you would like to read Sukki’s September 2012 interview, press here 
I’ve really enjoyed catching up with you Sukki and I think Las Vegas will be mesmerised by you….!! 
Linda x
Photo Credits:  Photos have been published by kind permission of Sukki Singapora
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An Interview With Celia Sawyer

I like to welcome onto the blog this week a lady who oozes sophistication, coolness, glamour and quite a lot of business savvy !!! She is the delightful Celia Sawyer from the Channel 4 TV Programme  Four Rooms, airing in the UK every Friday at 8pm …. make a note in your diary, electronic or otherwise ( yep, I still use my faithful filofax!).  A big, warm welcome Celia … tell us about yourself :Celia Sawyer 2

Hi, I’m Celia Sawyer, a self made multi millionaire business woman who has various businesses including luxury interior design, property developing, film investment, dealing in antiques and collectibles and TV star of Channel 4’s Four Rooms . I am also a mother of 2. 

How did you first get involved with the TV series “Four Rooms”?

I have an interior design business, and had seen the show as I also deal in collectables for my clients, so I saw an advertisement for the show asking for images of interesting objects, so I sent a photo of myself and said “How about me as one of your dealers?”

Great approach, Celia!

Celia Sawyer 3Have you had any unusual experiences whilst filming the programme? or any other funny anecdotes?

It is strange  when you look at items like Hitler’s toilet, you just cannot believe people have these items in their possession! Some of the dealers get quite competitive and the atmosphere gets a bit strained at times with everyone after one item, and we sometimes don’t speak for a day or so. 

During the series, have you come across any designs that have made an impression on you?  Have you “pinched” any ideas for your own home? 

The series is more about items, as opposed to designs, however I do get inspired by some of the more beautiful items brought on to the show and they give me ideas for my schemes.  I have the Road Kill Couture in my home on display! 

What do you like best about being a TV host?

It’s nice that people, who have seen the show, come to me for advice… I like to help if I can!

What role on TV would you like to try that you haven’t tried as yet?Celia Sawyer 4

Mmmmm… an interesting question, but probably a role on TV that is inspirational and can give the public help to realise that “you can do it too” 

Any future plans in the pipeline that you can share?

Things in the pipeline that have to stay there for now I’m afraid, but you will be seeing more of me I hope! 

Oooh… Sounds good!… So, personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

Normally bodycon outfits… I like Donna Karan dresses and suits, Alexander McQueen jewellery, Burberry metallic macs. I train hard fitness wise, so I like to wear things to show my hard work off! Burberry boots, Louboutins and strappy sandles are my favourites, high and glitzy!  

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? 

I love going to Harvey Nichols with the personal shopping team. They rush around for me and grab all sorts that I would never be able to find. I often look at Net-a-Porter online, but I really like trying on clothes first as I’m very fussy, so it’s often just for ideas! 

Celia3What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

For someone to make me something outstanding for my next TV debut – sexy with some great long boots to match!

Boots or Shoes?

I love both.  Firstly, winter time I live in boots, either Burberry long ones with very high heels, my vintage 60s platforms (10 quid!) or my Louboutin ankle boots. In the summer I love strappy platforms, something unusual like my new Gianvito Rossi sandals which change colour in different light.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc,so that readers can find out more information about you! 

Twitter @celiasawyertv.

 www.celiasawyer.com

 www.cool10.co.uk

Thanks for a fascinating interview … those Gianvito Rossi sandals sound awesome Celia! Don’t forget everybody, tune in Channel 4, Fridays at 8pm!  

Linda x

Photo Credits:  The photographs have been published with kind permission from Celia Sawyer.

 

 

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