Welcome to the Ex-Official Blog of Writer, Presenter & Crafts Expert Momtaz Begum-Hossain which stopped being active on 31st August 2016.

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Momtaz's NEW BLOG is www.craftandtravel.com

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Crafting With Danielle Proud

There's no doubting that Danielle Proud is the original craft queen who helped bring craft back into the mainstream in the UK. Long before the current resurgence of craft books and publications, Danielle's book House Proud coined the term 'hip craft' appearing in all the mainstream papers and even on TV. At the time I was working on a craft magazine and it was the most exciting book to ever land on my desk.
After that Danielle appeared regularly on daytime television showing you how to do simple crafts while having your breakfast on GMTV and This Morning. I remember these clips so clearly and am still sad they've stopped.
While I've long admired her crafting capabilities and interior design, I didn't realise Danielle's background was in fashion and that she's such a brilliant artist. One of her biggest passions and talents is painting and after a 'career break' to have three children Danielle is now heading into the world of designing homeware and furniture. The furniture is still underway but you can own her first item of homeware just by purchasing some coffee.

When I was younger I was addicted to collecting tokens and saving up for freebies. I thought this kind of promotion had stopped with these day companies simply asking you to 'Like' them on Facebook and then they send you a voucher to print off. 
Not in the case of Kenco. Their Rewards Club is all about collecting tokens and exchanging them for cool stuff. For 60 points which is three 200g jars you can get one of these gorgeous eco cups designed by Danielle.
I was invited to a special launch event earlier this month to meet Danielle, find out what she'd been up to since publishing House Proud, try out one of her coffee cups and do some crafting with her.
The project we were assigned was to make a coaster to match Danielle's Eco Cup. The base was made from tree trunk direct from Danielle's back garden. They were really solid, smooth and beautiful - such a simple but wonderful material to work with. 
Some of Danielle's illustrations were made into decal transfers which we cut out, soaked in water and then smoothed onto the coaster.
Danielle was on hand to ensure we all ended up with masterpieces and it also gave us all an opportunity to talk to her properly. It was so refreshing to hear the enthusiasm she has for family life. Her career is important; it's not her priority, yet she still manages to get involved in exciting projects that feed her creative needs. The kind of balance we could all do with.
Afterwards we varnished each side, then once dry they were good to go!
My two are currently in use and I love them!
I've also been using my eco cup for two weeks and I can confirm it makes drinking tea/coffee/your hot/cold drink of choice much more fun. It's a great size and although they look like they are made of melamine plastic in this picture, they are CERAMIC! Quality stuff. As 'collectables' go, these are so worth it, even if like me you don't drink coffee. Leave the jar in the office, give to a friend or use it to bake a coffee cake just so you can enjoy this cup and lots of other lovely goodies. 
To find out more about how to get one visit: www.mykenco.com.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Asiana Bridal Show 2013: Catwalk & Event Gossip!

Model Sabeeka Imam wearing Nicky B
This January marked my 4th visit to the Asiana Bridal Show and once again I'll be writing the official catwalk report that will appear in the summer issue of the magazine... but that's a long way off!
So in the meantime I thought I'd do my own report of my 17-hour day working there!
It involved waking up super early to ensure we filmed and photographed the models in hair & make-up:

Young & talented hairdresser extraordinaire - Aamir Naveed
Getting my own make-up done by a member of the official catwalk make-up artist Ambreen's team:
Thankfully Rumana loves glitter too!
 Catching catwalk show rehearsals:
Interviewing approximately 50 exhibitors, fashion designers, sponsors and guests for the official video that I'm presenting:
The crew from Studio 4 Photography
Breaking my sandals: 
: (
Eating a curry:
Catering by Madhu's
Meeting high profile bloggers Nazma from AsianFashion Blog and Rabbia from Asian Wedding Ideas:
Check out Rabbia's report of the day here. Nazma is working on several posts but here's her first thoughts.
Posing with The Dreamboys: 
Get your hen & stag do organised by Asiana Events
Getting in the way backstage (I eventually got chucked out!) :
And of course catching the incredible show itself.
Celebrating the glamour, beauty, uniqueness, colour and sparkle of Asian Fashion, this isn't just a show where pretty people strut on catwalks, as Stephen Walker the choreographer told me, it's like a West End Show but with more style!    
As well as 14 collections from over 10 designers there was a snake:
Fire eater:
Khatak dancer:
Live performance by Rishi Rich:
 As well as music from tabla players, Japanese drummers, a violinist, amazing props and accessories and of course utterly gorgeous clothing.

I'm no professional photographer, so to see proper photos follow these links to see the catwalk collections accompanied by my trend reports:
RDC London
Nicky B
Kyles Collection
Charmi Creations
Yuvna Kim
Ziggi Studio
Frontier Raas
Frontier Bazar 
Khushboo's By Chand

There were some seriously stunning outfits with so much attention to detail and oh my....how they shimmered under the runway lights. 
The Creative Director of the Show was Anisha Vasani, pictured here with Style Coordinator Puja Mathia:
These girls, plus Backstage Production Manager Sonia and all the dressers worked non-stop for over three days to get the show in shape and it was spectacular. I'm not even being biased. I know I work for the company who produced the show but I have very balanced opinions on things and when I hate someone I say so!

Although it's labelled a bridal show, it's an annual catwalk show that really captures the flamboyance, eccentricity, fun and frivolous side of Asian Fashion. You don't get many chances or really any chances to see Asian clothes on the catwalk in the UK...so if you want to know more about it, make sure you visit next year!

It was  also a real honour to be the Presenter for the official video, when it's up I'll add the link!

In the mean time here's how I ended the night.....despite being on my feet for what felt like forever (wearing heels that were too big for me after my own sandals broke) I still had the energy to strike some poses in the Asiana Foto Pod...well when you've spent your day at a fashion show, model behaviour is bound to rub off! 

The Asiana Bridal Show 2013 took place at the Riverbank Park Plaza Hotel on Sunday 27th January.