Welcome to my blog!!

Welcome to the official blog of Journalist, Presenter & Crafts Expert Momtaz Begum-Hossain.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

How To Present On A Red Carpet: Film Premiere Of Amar Akbar & Tony

One of the first TV Presenting tasks I ever got asked to do was report from a Red Carpet. It's the staple experience for any wannabe telly presenter - standing outside getting cold for hours, shouting at celebs to get their attention and invariably being ignored...everyone has to try it! I'm not exactly a pro, but as I've done my fair share (including two in the last two weeks), I thought I'd share some advice for anyone starting out, using a recent red carpet example where I covered the Premiere of new British indie movie Amar Akbar & Tony.
The Premiere took place a week before the film released at cinemas (April 17th it's OUT NOW!) at the Cineworld in Haymarket. Thankfully the red carpet bit took place inside, but my camera man Shevy Sandhu and I filmed some links outside to set the scene.
You can watch our finished report here.
And below are my 
Top 10 Tips For How To Present From A Red Carpet
Yes that is Cindy Beale from Eastenders and no she did not want to speak to me but you have to be confident and assertive enough to talk them around; and it does work, even if you only get a sound bite, that's better than nothing!
Celebs will be asked similar questions from all the press in attendance so if you can pop in a practical task they'll appreciate it. In the case of the cast of Desi Rascals I asked them to perform their famous Power Dance, which they did!
This is one of the easiest ways to strike up a conversation (not just on a red carpet but in real life!) and you never know what you may find out. For example after telling Doctors actress Rebecca that I loved her dress, she revealed it's actual vintage and used to belong to her granny. Now you don't find out stuff like that everyday!
I'm not a fan of the saying 'kill two birds with one stone' but getting more than one celeb at once means you get two interviews out of the way and it adds some variety to the overall film.
Again in this instance be confident and enthusiastic. I thought this was Ella from The X Factor but it was Ella from The Apprentice, I didn't watch either so I didn't ask her about the shows - instead I greeted her very enthusiastically so she felt comfortable to talk, and getting someone to talk is the main thing!
It's all well and good interviewing the guests but if it's a film you're covering you must nab the leading cast otherwise your report is a bit pointless. 
Remember, these events shouldn't just be about the faces, show some love to the hardworking peeps behind the scenes...after all, there would be no film without the Director who in this case was also the Writer, Producer & Distributor. These people have stories to share that will make your report far more interesting.
Working on a red carpet isn't really work. There's no need to stress. Rather then trying to get 'the numbers', concentrate on engaging who you speak to and enjoying the whole experience.
I know TV Presenters who never do any planning (and it shows!) and others who get everything written for them, they just turn up and read...but my feeling is you should do some prep. Have an idea of what you want the finished piece to be like and decide on what links you think will work - when it finally happens it can be very quick and before you know it it's over and you may be so caught up in the buzz you forget to record the important stuff, so never be afraid to write scripts and bring them with you, you'll get a much more professional end product.
After all the advice I've given you need to see me in action right?! Ok well here goes...press the play arrow!

Most of all, every presenter needs to develop their own style so whatever yours is: hone it and go out there and share it with the world! 

Catch Amar Akbar & Tony in UK cinemas it's OUT NOW!

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Help Me Fund My Next Craft Book!

I recently started a Crowd Funding Campaign on website Kickstarter to publish my next craft book and now have just until the end of the month to raise £3.5k to help me do this project.
Buy why do I need to ask people to donate money? Well, I'm going to try and explain more...

Back in 2012 my book 101+ Things To Do With Glitter was published by Vivays. After I handed it in and was awaiting for it to be printed I started on the follow up, a title about ribbon. But sadly the publishing company went into liquidation which promptly stopped production and distribution of the glitter book and stopped my ribbon book (which by that time has been all written and the projects made), from progressing. 

I dedicated over a year to the book, unpaid, so couldn't bear to see the work remain just as a file on my computer. I then waited a further two years for legal decisions to be made and for the old publishing company to be bought by  a new one - this eventually happened but they no longer wanted my book. 

I looked into various options as to how I could publish it myself and eventually digital publishing made the most sense. My plan is to create a digital craft book for Ipad and tablet but one that's also available to purchase as downloadable pdf.

The most important part of the book is that is showcases the work of independent UK Maker/Designers, who have designed the projects that feature in the book. This isn't a vanity project to help me publish another book with my name on...I have long been a supporter of creative talent in the UK. I used to edit a Craftzine as I strongly believe in giving people platforms to showcase their work, especially as otherwise they wouldn't get a chance. This is my way to help them.
Papercrafts section: Notebook by Carole King
The projects in the book fit into four categories: fashion, interiors, gifts and papercrafts and here are some examples of the types of projects in the book...
Fashion section: Ballet socks by Nadia Kamil

Woven cushion by Agnis Smallwood

The £3.5k I am trying to raise will go towards design and photography and turning the book into a digital format to make it available, as well as extras like sending projects back to the designers, photoshoot travel etc. 

Crowd funding is a method that allows you to raise money for your own projects but it's an all or nothing approach so if I raise £3.5k it means I can make the book, if I raise less than that then I won't get any of the money that has been pledged..

Currently I am spreading the word through social media and emailing friends but at the moment still feeling nervous about whether or not I will reach the target (current count is £726).

I have joined up with graphic designer Kara-Jessica Mallet to help me on this project and together we are trying to do as much as we can to raise awareness and get the book made.

All the details about our campaign are on our Kickstarter page which you can see here. 

If you're reading my blog and like what I do, I hope you can spare a few pounds to help me on this mission of mine, every penny can make a difference in reaching our target. 

Thanks so much!


Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Underwater Love: Design Features At Atlantis, The Palm Dubai (and my wee visit to the hotel!)

Me, blending in like a piece of the furniture at The Atlantis Palm Dubai
I love a good theme and I love water so a water themed hotel is bound to be my kind of place right? Atlantis, The Palm Hotel in Dubai is indeed that 'water themed' hotel but I had no idea it would also be such a creative destination. There are crafty touches in the design and décor everywhere you look, starting with this exquisite glass centrepiece in the entrance (made by Dale Chihuly the same artist who created the jaw-dropping Rotunda Chandelier the V&A Museum in London.) It consists of 3,000 handblown pieces of glass and measures 9.75m in height. The good news is you don't need to stay at the hotel to enjoy the art, so if you're ever in Dubai it's worth popping in just to admire the views...
Dome ceiling in the lobby with top view of the sculpture

Underwater themed painted ceiling in the hotel
Another painted ceiling in the hotel
And another one!
Sea urchin lampshade
So that's a taste of when you look up....when you look down, the floors are works of art too...
Then there are the giant prawns in the corners ...
and random features around the place like shell vases...

That's just some of the water themed décor touches, but what about water itself? Well there is no escaping 'The Element' and the 65,000 sea creatures that live within it at the hotel...
From my room (I was lucky enough to spend three nights at the hotel earlier this month) I could look down onto sting ray from my balcony, while around the hotel there is no escaping the sharks and giant leopard print sting rays swimming passed thanks to The Lost Chambers Aquarium that stretches throughout the hotel...
She's in fashion
If that's not enough, you can also dine next to fish at Ossiano underwater restaurant (I should point out it's a seafood restaurant so it's a bit strange eating fish while they are looking at you!)

Oi! Is that my cousin you're munching into?
Or if you have £8k spare you can sleep with sealife in one of the hotel's two dreamlike under water suites....
I don't mind if I do...
But if that's too overwhelming you could simply stick with visiting the aquarium and just watch the fish swim by for hours.
Who needs a telly? 
I spent one afternoon doing just that and spent my other two afternoons hopping from flume to flume at the hotel's Aquaventure Waterpark (which included going down one of the longest and scariest flumes in the world!)
Ahhhhhhhhhhh! Splash!
As well as a dip in the 'fake sea' that Dubai is known for
 I also had a dip in the pool...
This is the life!
...fed some stingray, and most exciting of all, got to hang out and swim with a dolphin called Tina at the hotel's Dolphin Bay. 
Holding on!
Could a hotel got more water themed? I think not! I went with little expectations (other than I hoped the flumes would be good and thankfully they were!) so it was a real pleasure to discover that I would love staying in the hotel so much. 
Should you visit Atlantis, The Palm Dubai? If you get a chance to then yes. If you can stay overnight then even better - there's just so much to enjoy and take in, from the surroundings to the little details, and so many people to talk to - staff are everywhere (especially around the waterpark) and they always at the ready to strike up a conversation.
This trip is going down as #funtimes : )
With my fellow travelling companions
Oh go on then! 
Here are some snaps of what I ate while I was there (I took so many photos that it would be a crime not to share them...be prepared you may get hungry!)

Delicious Chinese lunch with bubble tea at Yuan
Teatime at Plato's Tea and Coffee Lounge (over 120 teas to choose from!)

A mere snapshot of the 100 desserts on offer at Saffron buffet restaurant
Yummy global breakfast

Sipping a mocktail at Nasimi Beach Bar

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

East Shopping Centre: Europe's 1st Asian Shopping Mall

London, Leicester, Birmingham, Manchester, Bradford, Glasgow...all the major cities in the UK have got their Asian shopping hot spots but last weekend saw the official opening of the first ever Asian Shopping mall, not just in the UK, but the first of its kind in Europe. An Asian shopping mall I hear you cry, what's that? Well, literally it's an in-door shopping area that specialises in shops and facilities that cater to the South Asian audience - primarily this means Asian fashion stores but within the modest mall there's also a food court, souk style market, beauty parlour and wedding decor company. 
The centre officially opened to the public (after an initial soft opening), at 12pm on Saturday 14th March with a ribbon cutting ceremony by the local MP Lyn Brown followed by a stampede of eager shoppers.

East Shopping Centre is based in Green Street, east London which is already a major shopping hub for South Asian food and fashion. The centre is an addition to the existing area which at the moment consists of one long street. I've always been a fan of Green Street and wondered how the often characterless nature of a shopping mall could retain the vibrant, cultured flavour of the area, but thankfully a couple of hours spent smooching around to sample the shops and services and I can confidently say the centre has its appeal. Here's a peek at what's inside...


Green Street is a hub of asian clothes and fabric shops but the ones who have chosen to be part of the centre are in the more 'upmarket' end of the scale category. Stores are very boutiquey with some seriously shimmering outfits from well-known names such as Raishma (images above), Memsaab, Zarkan of London and Asian Bridal who have all gone to town with delightful shop front decor and mannequins kitted out in finery. 

There's also a souk area made up of market style shops though it's very much on the intimate side!


In the food court there's a coffee shop, mocktail and dessert bar and several eateries where you can pick up hot global cuisine. I had a chance to taste dishes from all the restaurants and for fast food I was very impressed with the choice and flavours and the fact the brands here are different to those found in mainstream shopping centres.
There are seats and tables but the space is small, a couple of extended families could easily fill it up. The Food Court will no doubt be successful but perhaps too much so I hope there's room for expansion!
Is it worth a trip to East Shopping Centre? I think it will attract new shoppers to Green Street, the rustic nature of the place doesn't appeal to everyone but an indoor centre is likely to make the area more accessible. For any non-Asians looking to buy Asian fashion I think they will feel more comfortable shopping here than having to try and navigate the high street, though hopefully once they've been inside they'll feel more inclined to explore further afield.

East Shopping Centre is light and airy, has ample toilet and refreshment facilities, good accessibility (walking distance from Upton Park tube station), has late opening and even has environment credentials including a flow restrictors to save water and solar panels. 

I'll definately be back, especially for another beautician appointment. It's incredibly hard to find decent beauticians and my usual has recently disappeared. I was on the look out for a new one and Karma London ticks the boxes - a wax followed by a bubble tea to curb the pain...I could get used to that!
Find out more about East Shopping Centre: www.eastshoppingcentre.com