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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Sunday 23 May 2010

Red Carpet Glamour

The best looking couple of the night, move over Hritik and Barbara

This week I unexpectedly had my first Red Carpet experience, attending the European Premiere of the Bollywood movie Kites. Leicester Square was cordoned off to allow A-List celebs who had just flown in from India to make their way across the legendary carpet while hundreds of screaming fans lined the sides. Attending with The Great Bollywood Deewana, I lapped up the cheers as we sauntered along what felt like a very long catwalk, waving at all the lovely people who commented on my hair!

Making my entrance on the red carpet

It was the first time in my entire life that I have ever worn heels from my house all the way to my destination. Normally I pop them into my bag, wear comfy flats and then change into them when I need to look glam, but for this event I didn't think the the bulkiness of carrying additional footwear was appropriate.....and I'm pleased to say, my feet survived! Yay!

If you've ever wondered what a Red Carpet is like, well it's very soft and feels very lovely to walk on. As for seeing so many faces watching you, it feels quite surreal, esp when you know you're not important! You can pretty much walk at whatever pace you like, we timed it so there weren't too many other guests in front or behind us.

I was among the first fans in Europe to see the film!

I really couldn't wait to see the film, I've seen a few terrible Bollywood flicks lately and so I had high hopes, especially as Hritik, the leading man normally chooses his projects so well.
Once inside we hung around a bit but were told to take our seats which was a shame as we couldn't watch the other stars arriving.

The movie's stars took to the cinema stage

When we entered the cinema screen we were convinced we would have the worse seats, maybe in the corner somewhere but to our complete and utter surprise we had the best two seats in the house, directly in the centre, second row from the front and as you can see there was no one sitting in front of us, we felt like VIPs!

After sitting in the screen for 1/2 and hour and munching on free popcorn all of a sudden there was an applaud in the room and all the stars of the film entered the screen and one by one walked onto the stage to introduce it. This included the leading couple Hritik Roshan and Barbara Mori, the film's producer and two directors (there are two versions of the film, one in hindi and one in English - a Bollywood first!) and the music director. It was completely surreal to think we had the best view ever!

Overall I loved the film, it was an action packed romance, about being in love whatever the consequences and whatever the cost. The pair were soooooooooooooooooooo gorgeous, I hope they both win awards for their excellent performances.

If one day you find yourself in a similar situation (i.e. you're a totally ordinary member of the public and you suddenly find yourself thrust into the Red Carpet limelight), here's my top tips on how to survive a Red Carpet experience:

  • Theme your outfit - I went Vintage - if you opt for a theme you'll immediately look distinguished, not like a star but someone special, which of course you are.
  • Pack efficiently - you don't want a bulky handbag so take miniatures of whatever you need that fit into a smaller purse such as a mini lipgloss, compact mirror etc.
  • Wear red - don't worry about being camouflaged, the stars rarely wear red so you'll be safe knowing you'll be the only lady/gentlemen in the shade.
  • Don't over do it - leave the Oscar ballgowns to the leading actress, if you wear one you'll look out of place and worse still like a wannabe so just be comfortable in something that reflects your individuality.
  • Add height - hats are sure to make an impression if you're out to get noticed just don't forget to take it off when the film starts!
  • Take your time - it's your unique moment so walk slowly, take it all in, wave at random people, take photos and make sure you smile. Don't get there too early or you'll miss the atmosphere and don't be too late or you may not be let in!
  • Promote something - preferably something that's handmade by you or by an up and coming designer just incase someone asks you where it's from and you can get some business for someone who deserves exposure.
  • Enjoy! - who knows when you'll get to walk the Red Carpet again, it's a once in a lifetime tick box thing, so if you make it on there, just have fun and enjoy yourself : )

Saturday 15 May 2010

Friday Night Crafting

Last night I found myself surrounded by the skeletons of extinct beasts, bum operations and ickle babies in jars of formaldehyde amongst a crafty paradise.... a Stitch London night held at the Hunterian Museum.

Craftaholics from around the capital packed out the science themed museum run by the Royal College of Surgeons of England from 6-10pm.

It was a tight schedule! I signed up to four back to back session which were:

Suturing - the craft of stitching up wounds:

My friend Janine was cautious!

Eek! I've never had any stitches and have never made the connection between being stitched up in a hospital and sewing, but of course if it involves a needle and thread it has to be crafty! We were shown the craft by a 4th year medical student and had an arm each to try out two different stitching techniques, continuous and one with gaps.

The trick was you couldn't touch the needle with your fingers but had to use scissors and tweezers to do all the wrist movements........much respect due to surgeons, it was tricky and I sadly cut my thread by accident and left a sharp needle directly inside the wound.....thankfully it wasn't a real arm then!

Weaving on a card loom:
Who needs to spend five days setting up a loom when you can make a card loom in less than five minutes. This kind of weaving was far more 'me' than my previous experience and I ended up with a bookmark in less than 1/2 an hour!


This was my first ever attempt at spinning, as you can see my yarn remained rather lumpy, not quite suitable to knit with! I'm not sure what this kind of spinning is called, but it was done on a small hand apparatus. Which means if you want to make your own yarn, you don't need a giant spinning wheel in your home, you can do it anywhere.... well anywhere you can stretch your arms out.

Stitchy card making:
Loved this session, it was such a simple concept but very engrossing and involved stitching science themed collage pictures together to make greeting card. Defo going to do this again.

And finally of course I did some knitting! (I'm currently knitting some elbow warmers to protect against seasonal eczema.)

By the end of the night though me and Janine were not just crafted out, we needed to lie down....we made the mistake of buying a pot of olives and eating them whilst looking at dead things in formaldehyde, it was the wrong decision : ( In fact I took some photos of some of these scientific wonders to share with you but on the way home I felt so sick I deleted them from my camera. I have never known myself to be squeemish but maybe it's happening with age???!

Top night! Thanks Stitch London x

Monday 3 May 2010

How to make a Bollywood movie

Opening scene of my Bollyflick!
I don't just like making crafty stuff. I also like to dabble in a spot of home movie making too. And here's my latest escapade. A bollywood blockbuster with a special message! (You'll need to watch it in full by following the link to see what I'm talking about!)

After viewing, you may be so hooked, that you're wondering how you too can become Sharmila Tagore and Rajesh Khanna in your own home movie?

Well here's the essential Need to Know for how to make your own DIY Bollywood masala film:


It's all about the white stuff
Breathtaking surroundings, stunning architecture, picturesque palaces, fabulous forts, magnificent mansions, all these wonderful places enhance the dreamy escapist elements that help make a Bolly flick into a superhit. But there's one place that has traditionally been a staple location for Bollywood - the snowy backdrops of the Swiss Alps.

Switzerland is a popular holiday destinations with Indians because of this very fact; thousands of Bollywood movies have been shot there. Regardless of the storyline,dream sequence songs just seem to work well in the snow, you'll often find couples one minute in the noisy streets of Delhi and the next minute, serenading each other on a mountain top.

On a recent visit to the the Swiss Alps I encountered tour groups of Indians keen to go to the very spot their fave Hindi film songs were shot. And at the bottom of the slopes, I discovered the perfect post tour refreshments to make them feel at home:

Masala tea and samosas are the just the thing to warm you up after prancing around in the snow!
Of course these days who needs to go to Switzerland when global warming is resulting in freezing cold winters across the globe i.e. London where today it hailstoned despite being May.....

A few months ago when the Capital was covered in snow I found my own replica Switzerland in the guise of Greenwich Park.


Transform into a Bollywood babe with big hair and lashings of eyeliner
From the earliest heroines like Nargis who ruled the screens in the 1950s through to more classic divas like Rekha to recent babes like Bipasha Basu, Bollywood beauties all have these things in common - beauty, style, grace, charm, an ability to dance, seduce, be dutiful and appeal to the hearts of millions with her overall loveliness. How did I manage this transformation? With a retro wig and layers of MAC make up!


Velvet jackets and vintage clobber are a must for the main man

What makes the ultimate Bollywood hero?
Big pecs are a good start as the man in question will need to battle with villains, impress the leading lady with his dance moves (topless scenes are common) and be the most romantic man in the world, knowing how to organise candlelit meals in secluded spots is a compulsory skill. If the delicious John Abraham is too busy body building to hire, than you can cast a fine Englishman in the lead instead as long as he's prepared to lip sync accordingly.


Graphics in the vein of Batman, the 1960s TV series, are a welcomed addition

So now you have your Jodi - the leading couple, they need a chance to dance - it's how they seal the deal of falling in love. You don't need to be too coordinated but your facial expressions do need to evoke some passion. Dance alone and together and of course if you can run hand in hand, across a field and convince the audience you are more than just acting, you may receive a Filmfare nomination.


Guns are not always necessary!
Shootouts, confrontations, fight scenes, thugs being beaten up people who leap out of their wheelchairs, grab the yobs by their ankles and fling them across the room; when it comes to action in Bollywood, they are the most creative scenes in film history. Hypnotic and well choreographed, in some films, like last year's Wanted there are over 100 different ways in which a goon can be defeated.

But action doesn't just mean violence, stunt work can be less intensive - all that matters is that you do it yourself!


pyaar, ishq....whatever you call it,lurve is always a sub plot if not main plot!

Karan Johar is the king of emotion when it comes to Bollywood, known for his heart tugging tear jerkers, such as Kal Ho Naa Ho (my fave film), Khabi Kushi Khabie Gham and the recent My Name is Khan, a viewer is set to embark on an emotional rollercoaster from start to finish when they watch one of his masterpieces.
But my film is all about the 'L' world so pyaar, ishq..whatever you wanna call it, runs through the whole film.


If it gets you moving on the dancefloor than it's a winner. The appeal of a soundtrack is as important as the plot. If the tracks don't cut it with the fans, your film may flop. My film uses the delightful and sweet 'Hum Aur Tun' from 1970's action romance Daag, which my mini movie is based on.


Extras? If you can't get 'em, make 'em!

Think carefully about your props, product placement is fine, in Jaan-e-Man, there were numerous references to a malt drink called Bournvita, I was so hooked that I tracked some down in India and bought it back to the UK - a much more energising version of Chocolate Horlicks - sweeter and more addictive!

Have lots of wannabe star extras loitering around, if you can't find anyone then making them is fine too!

Finally you need a video camera and someone who can edit it all together to create the final cut. Today YouTube.....tomorrow Film City.....a girl can but dream.....

Saturday 1 May 2010

From Grey to Yay!

How's this for a super quick, 15 minute makeover project?
I was in major need of new draws for my smalls so I hot footed it to Argos ahead of the Bank Holiday rush and bought a chest of drawers that are very useful but quite an eyesore in my room.

So I consulted my collection of gorgeous Paperchase wrapping papers. I had previously covered a wall in them for a cheap wallpaper effect but over the winter they have slowly fallen off the walls as my radiators melted the blu tak that was holding them up! (Anyone else had this problem before?)

I cut them to size to fit across each drawer, sprayed the backs with a spray adhesive and then smoothed them into place using a tissue to blot out any air bubbles. And there I have it, new luxury looking drawers in less it takes to watch an episode of Ready, Steady, Cook!