Big day for Audi in Bahrain today


The two R18 cars 🙂

I wish I was in Bahrain today but had to leave Thursday night to spend the weekend with NJD. In the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), the two Audi driver line-ups are fighting a thrilling battle for the title. As of the sixth of the season’s eight rounds in Bahrain today, a new strategy will guarantee absolute equality of opportunity. Audi will start to compete with two hybrid vehicles to set the agenda for the future.

Audi entered the 2012 endurance racing season with two different vehicle concepts. The Audi R18 ultra makes full use of the potential of a conventionally powered LMP sports car with a TDI engine whereas the R18 e-tron quattro as the brand’s first hybrid race car rang in a new era. That both concepts have their particular fortes was obvious on several occasions.

While the R18 e-tron quattro made history by achieving the first victory of a hybrid vehicle at the Le Mans 24 Hours and subsequently won the 6-hour race at Silverstone, the R18 ultra managed to score a debut victory at Spa. With the better grid position and fastest race lap by Lucas di Grassi at the fifth round in Brazil, the conventionally powered TDI sports car proved its potential through to the most recent event.

Marcel Fässler/André Lotterer/Benoît Tréluyer, after scoring two victories this season in the number “1” R18 e-tron quattro, are leading the WEC drivers’ standings. With 78 points yet to be awarded, Tom Kristensen/Allan McNish trail by only 7.5 points. The Danish-Scottish driver duo of car number “2” is returning to hybrid drive in Bahrain after having run twice before in the R18 e-tron quattro, at Spa and Le Mans.

For Audi Sport Team Joest, this involves a challenging task, which thanks to Audi’s uncompromising commitment to the shared components principle is made considerably easier. For the Audi factory drivers and Audi Sport Team Joest, the track in the island state is new territory.

The sixth race of the season is scheduled from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. local time and will thus take place mostly during hours of darkness.

Like at all WEC rounds, Audi is offering comprehensive coverage to the spectators at home: will broadcast the race for six hours on the internet and also offer cockpit camera perspectives and summary reports of the race. The Audi Sport iPhone and Android apps provide WEC coverage on smartphones with live tickers, news, pictures and results. In addition, Audi’s racing fan community is kept up to speed on Facebook and Twitter.

Stressing about Moon Cakes

I just received my Mandarin lessons for this week which I do every night before I sleep – that is if I am a good girl. Most nights I just keel over and the end of the week I struggle to learn all my 6 words of the week with correct pronunciation. It may sound easy to learn 6 words a week but trust me, in Mandarin, it’s a Herculean task.

Moon cake月饼(yuè bing) is a Chinese baked food product…..they look very nice too.

In Malaysia and Singapore, my nine years there had many of my friends trying to get me eat them but I more often than not didn’t take to it. But they are very tempting with some amazing presentations during the Mid Autumn Festival or the Zhongqiu Festival.

Typical moon cakes are round or rectangular pastries that measure about 10 cm in diameter and are 4–5 cm thick. The rich, thick filling is usually made from red bean or lotus seed paste and sometimes contain yolks from salted duck eggs, surrounded by a thin (2–3 mm) crust and it was those ones I avoided.

During my visit to Hong Kong and then later to Macau and more recently to Korea, I tried moon cakes again which were slightly different to the ones I ate in Malaysia and Singapore but I still prefer the traditional cakes a lot more. Most people eat moon cakes in small wedges accompanied by Chinese tea which makes it a really nice , traditional experience, especially when it’s with good friends.

Now although I may know a bit about moon cakes, I am still struggling with my pronunciations in this lesson today – wish I had more Chinese and Asian friends in Dubai who could help me with this so my last-minute rush to complete lessons becomes a less traumatic experience.

Weekly science debates initiated at Bahrain Science Centre

Our science centre is becoming a landmark in Isa Town Bahrain

After the amazing visitor response in the last two months where more than 3500 visitors enjoyed the science, art and craft workshops, Bahrain Science Centre is hosting a series of debates starting this month. Visitors are invited to participate in debates on topics which include marine conservation, nuclear energy, genetically modified food and organic food. With the Marine theme of the month, children and youth can also come and enjoy a talk which will take them through a spectacular journey to meet weird and wonderful creatures that live in the sea.

Getting visitors brains in motion with a series of exciting activities, the Centre will host debates, experiments (‘Experiment of the Week’, in which kids do their own experiments under the supervision of a science teacher), science-themed art activities, static electricity demonstrations, art workshops, MAD Science shows, animal story-telling and science talks. Visitors will be enthralled to experience the ‘Scary Skeletons’ exhibition lead by the team on a torchlight safari at the Centre. Entertaining and exciting activities are offered to develop essential life skills for visitors at the Science Centre, which falls under Bahrain’s Ministry of Social Development.

“Competitive debate is a challenging and highly rewarding activity for most who become involved in it.  The majority of people avoid public speaking, and debates provide a non-threatening environment to develop public speaking skills for the future. The Bahrain Science Centre encourages building these essential life skills in the youth and children”, said Assistant Undersecretary of Community Development, Mr. Khalid Ishaq, from Bahrain’s Ministry of Social Development.

The debates will help to enhance public speaking skills, build friendships among teammates, and develop research and analytical skills, often a characteristic that high-level business professionals possess. It also encourages listening and note-taking skills that help students to learn faster and obtain better grades.

“We are delighted with the enormous success of the Science Centre with over 3500 youths and children visiting in just two months, and we look forward to further successful events in the upcoming months at the Centre”, added Ishaq.

Currently operated and managed by MTE Studios, the Bahrain Science Centre is the first of its kind in the country and all the displays are designed to be educational. Schools in Bahrain started exploring the new Bahrain Science Centre by appointment prior to its official launch with great success since it first opened its doors in late March 2012. School groups are still being formally invited until the Bahrain Science Centre opens officially to children as well as families and adults in early October this year.

The Bahrain Science Centre is located in Building 334, Road 109, Block 801, Riyadh Avenue, Isa Town, Kingdom of Bahrain and can be contacted on 343 606 31.

Press release issued on behalf Bahrain Science Centre. For further information, please contact Shereen Shabnam on +971 507690087/504828177/

My shoe fetish goes one level Up!

I can do some serious damage to someone with those spikes

I love the detail and can’t wait to get my hands on these

Despite being a shoe collector, I have to date never been loyal to one brand when it comes to my shoe fetish….my mobile shoe rack in my car, the huge shoe storage space under my 4 poster bed, the walk in shoe closet at the entrance to my villa or my usual shoe shelves give evidence that I have very diverse eclectic or maybe even eccentric taste when it comes to shoes and boots and no brand has so far impressed me enough to be a loyal fan….although Michael Kors has come very close.

So for me to blog about shoes is a new thing despite being an authority on what works and what doesn’t (for the record, none of my Jimmy Choos have impressed me so far so no matter how famous the brand is, i would not touch it again). It is therefore unusual that I thought of writing about a pair of shoes I have not even tried yet but have been bowled over by their Industrial and bold designs. I’m talking about the AW12 collection from Vince Camuto.

The shoes in this collection reflect an air of bold fierceness. Since I am slowly venturing into the fierce fashion zone (my way of trying to appear strong and firm), I cant wait to try these out….if you have tried this brand before, let me know what your thoughts are….i hope they are as comfortable and gorgeous as they look in the pictures. I certainly don’t want a repeat of the Jimmy Choo experience. My feet ache just thinking about it!

The Journey of a Drop


©SusanSmart – It certainly looks like a dramatic fall

If you have been following the London Design Festival 2012, by now you must have heard about the installation by Rolf Sachs at the V&A.

I read with interest how conceptual designer Rolf Sachs presentes a site-specific installation for the V&A’s rarely seen before Henry Cole Staircase. Playfully responding to the museum’s architecture, Sachs creates a visually arresting and emotionally engaging spectacle with the focus on the dramatic drop….from the images, it looks pretty dramatic.

So….emerging from his inherent curiosity and experimental personality, Rolf Sachs invites the observer on a sensory journey. Apparently spectators are drawn into the mysterious performance and a voyage of discovery that beckons the eye upward. From the soaring heights of the atrium, three lab- like instruments individually drop primary coloured ink in measured intervals.

Starting slowly, with scientific precision, each measured drop quickly gains pace. As the speed gathers momentum, the drop becomes more spontaneous in its nature, before falling into the depths and landing into a vast tank of illuminated liquid with unexpected results.

On impact the individual drops explode into the liquid creating organic transient clouds of ever changing shapes and colour. Yet once more taken by surprise, the observer sees these clouds mingle and merge until inexplicably disappearing… until the next show.

Understated at first glance, the seemingly simple notion of a drop falling has been masterfully designed using finely-tuned machinery and specially developed liquids and pigments.

Intended to touch all the senses, the apparent silent sounds of the drops hitting the water is captured by an underwater microphone and amplified like an echo throughout the space.

Encouraging further interaction, binoculars are at hand opposite the tank, to witness the complete journey of the drops from a variety of perspectives, intensifying the connection between the art and the observer. I better not tell NJD as she is dying to use her funky Nikon binoculars for weeks now and this would be such a perfect place to use it.

We know that Rolf Sachs’ work takes inspiration from everyday objects he believes to have soul and character but this is the first time I read carefully about his work.

Perhaps because he moves across art and design, objects, spaces and visual medium, all of which are approached with his playful sense of humour. Or maybe I got drawn because the essence of his work encourages human interaction, and emotional and sensory reactions.

Whatever it is, I love the fact that his ideas, prototypes and creations showcase how he fuses design with the arts.

‘How to… click good pictures in low light situations’ with Canon

After spending hours getting a video camera for my youngest sibling in Fiji who is superb in getting the best specs for stuff within her budget, I thought I was done with cameras for a while.

Now I have another sibling walking around the house with some mega pixel wide angled gadget looking smug so I am now sharing this awesome tips I received from some friends at Canon who sent some awesome tips from Hendrik Verbrugghe, Marketing Director of Canon Middle East – he shares a few tips for clicking mesmerizing shots in dim light.

Capturing images in a low-lit environment has always been one of the major challenges for photographers, as sharpness and accuracy of exposure can be compromised, resulting in blurred or dark images. Canon cleverly addresses this issue with its innovative HS system enabling users to capture extremely low-lit environments in stunning clarity even without the help of a flash.

The technology represents a cutting edge combination of high-sensitivity sensor and DIGIC 4 processor working together to capture stunning images even in low light. Enjoy these tips below from Hendrik:

1: Get steady: Unsteady positioning of your camera could affect the clarity of your image, especially when using slow shutter speeds. Avoid any jerking movements by steadying one or both of your elbows against your body or an external surface when using a handheld camera. Cameras such as Ixus 510 and PowerShot SX 260 powered with the HS system produces less noise and blur, usually a problem in low light situations. This reduces the need to shoot with flash or tripod, allowing you to capture the real, natural atmosphere of the moment.

2: Open your aperture and increase your ISO: The simplest way to take good pictures in dim light is to increase your camera’s sensitivity to light. A higher ISO setting on a digital camera makes it more sensitive to light. Basically, the higher the ISO setting on your digital camera, the faster it will respond. For example in Canon’s Ixus 510, one can increase the ISO from 100 to 3200. As a result, the camera becomes more sensitive to light and is able to capture maximum amount of light to paint the scene perfectly.

3: Shooting Modes: Most modern point-and-shoot cameras have preset modes, which you can choose based on the scene you are at the moment. When shooting in a low lit environment, choose the “low light” mode or even the “night” mode which will let the camera function in slower shutter speeds, which means longer exposure time.  Whether shooting night-time portraits against a dark background or a moving subject, indoors, Canon’s HS system makes it possible to shoot in more dim-lit situations than before.

4: The right use of flash: For more effective lighting when you’re outside in dim light and your subject isn’t within flash range, turn off your flash and capture the scene in the existing light. The typical digital camera flash range is 6 to 10 feet. Subjects that are outside the flash range will be too dark. This is particularly important when shooting night landscape photography.

5: A little camera trick: When you half press the shutter release button of your camera, it will focus on the frame you have chosen. Once it does this, it will calculate all the required settings for that particular frame. Try ‘tricking’ your camera by focusing on something darker than your subject, so that it prepares itself to allow for more light, then move your camera back to what you really want to take and click away.

6: Press the shutter button smoothly: Say goodbye to blurry pictures. This is possible by gently pressing the shutter button. It produces mesmerizing shots and helps in giving the right balance to the sharpness of the image.

Obtaining clearer and crisper images in low light situations has often been a challenge for regular DSC users. Putting these tips into practice will enhance the photos of even the most inexperienced photographer. So next time you find yourself stuck in a dim light environment, use it to your advantage and to put your new skills into practice to capture some stunning images.

Hatteras Making the Dream a Reality

Cool to see the behind the scenes work

Just received some progress notes on the new Hatteras 100 Raised Pilothouse, which is scheduled to debut next fall. It shows lamination work on the hull with engineers and craftsmen laying in electrical, plumbing and propulsion systems.

Special work has also gone into making the engine room a showpiece, featuring twin CAT C32A @ 1900 BHP marine diesels as the center of attention. The main deck and superstructure got finished in lamination followed by a complex rotation involving two gigantic cranes before being sent to the line.

The cap for this beautiful new Hatteras is currently undergoing its finishing touches. The tooling department will soon complete the massive 80 foot flybridge mold and then send it to the lamination department for part construction….looks like that will be on schedule.

As the larger pieces of the puzzle come together, several smaller ones have too. In the woodshop and finishing room, a number of the stateroom cabinets and dressers are done. The open-grain wenge is finished with a clear topcoat, to show off the wood’s natural color. The rich, dark wooden surfaces will be balanced with elegant dimensional doors and drawer fronts; accented with off-white padded-panels….Well done to the Hatteras team as we are able to see the process via their awesome progress images on this cool baby!

Sony’s new 4K LCD 84 inch TV – Divine

Sleek…is the only way I would describe it 🙂

I have a 55 inch TV in my bedroom and another 2nd 55 inch in my living room which I thought was sufficient but I found myself itching to check out the new SONY BRAVIA LCD television in the industry’s largest 84-inch class1.

Not that I need a TV but for some extraordinary viewing pleasure, this new baby boasts a 4K (3840 x 2160) LCD panel, comprising 8.29 megapixels, which is four times the resolution of Full High Definition standard. I had a look and yes….it does deliver a high-resolution large-screen picture with powerful sound and visuals for an immersive theatre-like experience.

Delving into the tech specs, the new 4K BRAVIA TV is capable of reproducing any content with different resolutions, such as movies, photographs and games, into stunningly crisp, high-quality images with 4K resolution. For 3D footage, the ‘4K X-Reality PRO’ super-resolution processing up scales ‘Blu-ray 3D’ Full-HD resolution 3D images to 4K and displays them in high picture quality (3840 x 1080) that exceeds Full High Definition resolution…personally I just prefer watching it normally. I tried it with 3D glasses which were light and features a comfortable passive design, requiring no batteries.

Being an upbeat diva, I like my noise – the ‘10 Unit Live Speaker’ side speaker system achieves powerful three-dimensional sound that envelops the viewer in position-orienting tones, from deep bass to high notes…super nice.

I’m sure NJD will be happy to know that this TV features SimulView, a function which allows 2-player games to be played without having to split the screen but I am certainly not telling her. Essentially, the TV will display two separate Full HD images, permitting each player to view their own screen through the SimulView glasses…this would appeal to people who like playing games on TV but I don’t fall into that category and am super happy with my rom coms and series in the evenings.

I’m told the 84-inch BRAVIA LCD television will be available to public from November in UAE – check it out and let me know what you think….since I am planning to spend more time home in the evening detoxing, I would love to own this baby (Devil horns:))!

I’m in love again -With Phantom Venus

How beautiful is this :):):)

Its awesome to always fall in love…that exhilarating feeling one gets and the best things one can fall in love with are of the non-breathing ilk ….no clutter, no heartbreak, no expectations…man, I could go on.

So when I called Alaa to tell him I am in love again, he naturally sighed with an OMG until I told him it was related to his latest note to us about the Rolls-Royce team’s new surprise, Phantom Venus – a one-of-a-kind motor car inspired by the legend of the Queen of Sheba.

Revered without parallel in Middle Eastern cultures, the story of Balqis, Queen of Sheba has been celebrated in a car that embodies the beauty and grace, intrinsic to the Queen’s legacy. Conceived, designed and crafted by the Bespoke team at the Home of Rolls-Royce in England, Phantom Series II Venus is adorned in ethereal White Pearl exterior, completed by Oak Burr veneer and Forest Fall leather – creating a luxurious interior ambiance without peer.

Hand-painted twin-coachline, finished with gold crown emblem, exclusive to Phantom Venus, elegantly illustrates a story that has been weaved through dynasties and mythology alike.

Geoff from Rolls Royce is naturally delighted tobe able to present a car here that so elegantly celebrates an incredible part of Middle Eastern folklore.

Perfectly complimenting the theme of the motor car, luxury goods house Asprey has created an exquisitely crafted handbag stitched in Seashell, finished in Forest Fall and White Pearl and embellished with the crown emblem. This exclusive piece perfectly encapsulates the story of a woman who ruled as both king and queen with authority and poise.

I’m actually not sure if I love the car more or the bag…. Not too bothered as they both give equal amounts of visual and mental pleasure to this diva!

Loving the new Sacoor Brothers AW12 Ladies Dresses


Nice 🙂

Inspired by young NJD, I am becoming a fan of Sacoor Brothers more each day….beyond my fascination for polo, I now find myself planning to venture into the dreaded Dubai Mall and face the parking and exit woes just to pick out some office dresses.

The gorgeous brothers are celebrating the arrival of cooler weather with colours and fabric to match so diva can step out in style with their elegantly tailored dresses perfect for a formal day or a night out on the town.

For the uninitiated, the international fashion and lifestyle brand based out of Portugal started as a dream of 4 brothers who intended to give the world of fashion refinement, elegance, quality and design. I’ve met all of them on a number of occasions and respect their aim to bring quality clothing to the region….NJD adores their polo range and she looks über cool in their clothes.

Along with their fashion line for men, ladies and boys, the brand is also well-known to have dressed personalities from the world of fashion, cinema and television….plus NJD of course who is their unofficial brand ambassador/advocate.