My top 4 cars at DIFC Motor Village

Shereen Shabnam McLaren

So despite my diva infused hectic schedule from yesterday (I had to wear orange to spruce things up today), I managed to hang out at the Dubai Motor Village with my favourite brands. While I was a guest of the fabulous team from McLaren, it was great to catch up with the reps from Aston Martin who have much to my delight have spoilt me with some of the best cars recently, with DB9 being my utmost favourite….my next tryst is with a Vanquish or a Rapide (Love life when i hear the roar of a strong engine)

Shereen Shabnam vanquish

Meeting with McLaren’s Regional Director, Ian Gorsuch, years after doing a cover story on him during his Bentley days was awesome – what a small world. It was just like yesterday and now his kids are all grown up and abroad since I last met his family – time flies. He had some exciting news on the new hot orange McLaren on display about which you will read more in September when the car gets to the Middle East. Naturally diva is always scouting for an exclusive when it comes to cars.

Shereen Shabnam Cayenne

Being a Porsche chick now, despite my challenges with a Cayenne Turbo engine which will undoubtedly cost me heavily in fines, I met with the Porsche team and I have to say, I am super impressed with how much they know about where I’m from, what I like, what i dislike and what is the latest story on my blog and my car preferences (10 points to you Porsche for making my evening just perfect – i left the Motor Village with a huge grin). And I loved all the cars you had on display as well…especially the Panamera and the Cayenne.

The super car exhibition is still at the village until the 3rd of April so do visit.

Shereen shabnam audi

 

 

 

The Middle East’s First Rock Camp for Girls Returns to Dubai

The girls at the last Rock camp

Little diva has always been a pianist but last year, she left her comfort zone at the Middle East’s First Rock Camp and realised she also enjoyed drumming as much as playing the piano. Back by popular demand now, the camp premise is simple: pick up an instrument, form a band, write an original song and perform it in front of friends, family and fans on the final day.

Camp for Girls UAE (RCFG UAE) announces the second edition of its popular and groundbreaking music education project, set to launch on April 11th. Organised by women and catering to all girls aged from eight to 18, RCGF UAE is an in-depth, five-day course for wannabe female rockers – the first of its kind in the Middle East.

As a parent, I loved the fact that Natasha came out of the camp more confident, found a love for a new musical genre and instrument and highly recommend the camp to other parents.

“This is not just a music camp,” said Zahra Soar, Dubai Eye radio presenter and camp founder. “This is a not-for-profit mentoring program that will empower girls and galvanise them into action. If a student graduates from RCFG UAE with greater confidence to perform, and wants to form her own band, then we have done our job.”

The tuition is on a very personal level; girls are split into bands, each band guided by its own experienced mentor. UAE-based performers like Noush Like Sploosh, Fatiniza and Carla Saad, all well-known names on the Middle East music scene – will pay close attention to each girl’s musical development.

Alongside band rehearsals, girls attend a series of specialised workshops, with instruction on setting up PA systems, lyric writing, creating fanzines, as well as partaking in self-defence classes and band photo-shoots.

And the highlight of the week-long event is the camp finale, which will tie together everything the girls have learned with a headline performance.

We connected really well with organisers behind the camp. Rock camps catering specifically for girls are nothing new. North America and Europe have seen the rise of girl-only rock camps over the past decade, all in the hope of encouraging more girls to pick up instruments, join bands and write their own music. Singer Kate Nash has recently launched an after-school club for girls in the UK.

RCFG UAE receives regular advice and updates from the mentors at the original rock camp for girls in Portland, Oregon and has recently applied to join the internationally accredited Girls Rock Camp Alliance.

For more information about RCFG UAE please call organiser Zahra Soar on 055 9359982 or visit the Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/RockCampforGirlsUAE

MET Opera time again at the Meydan IMAX

It’s that time of the month when my darling daughter pesters me about seeing MET Opera and convinces me why it being on a school night is actually a good thing and does not interfere with my weekend plans – this kid would do anything for performing arts.

So…the fabulous “Meydan IMAX Theatre presents the Met Opera’s seventh installment, Jules Massenet’ WERTHER this coming week – on April 6th.

Director Richard Eyre returns to the Met with a new staging of Massenet’s tragic romance Werther, starring Jonas Kaufmann and Sophie Koch in their first Met performances as the brooding poet Werther and his unattainable love, Charlotte.

Lisette Oropesa sings the role of Sophie, Charlotte’s sister; David Bižićmakes his Met debut as Charlotte’s fiancé, Albert; and Jonathan Summers is Charlotte’s father, Le Bailli.
Alain Altinoglu conducts the first new Met production of the opera in more than forty years

Show Begins: 6.04.14 at 19.30
Show Ends: 6.04.14 at 23.00

STUDENT: AED 125 – One ticket (complimentary drinks)
REGULAR: AED 150 – One ticket (complimentary drinks)

Hope to see you there!

MET Opera_Massenet's Werther Shereen Shabnam

Carnival unveils amazing Spring Summer Collection

Carnival Dubai

Carnival Dubai

Tonight I enjoyed meeting with Gul Zeb, Owner & Founder of Carnival, a premium multi-brand boutique for high-end luxury fashion wear in Dubai that started with a small retail outlet and has now grown in to a full-fledge multi-designer boutique.

Carnival fashion house is famous for its select intricate pieces, from prêt-a-porter to haute couture; this outlet offers a lot of variety when it comes to Asian wear. Tonight they unveiled the best of Asian Designers’ Spring Summer Collection 2014.

The outlet is not far from my house so I now have made a point to check them out during my evening walks. Many celebrities such as Abhay Deol, Siddharte Roy, Adnan Siddiqui, Ahsan Khan and many others have visited the outlet on their trip to Dubai.

A talented figure, Zeb designs a signature line under her very own name, Gul Zeb. By balancing modern designs with traditional elegance, she has acquired a large fan following, particularly amongst the Arabs and Asian community.

She mainly focuses on bridal wear, designing exquisite and breath-taking pieces, her devotion & commitment reflects in her work. Most of the top-notch Asian designers currently stock at Carnival such as Faraz Manan, Rana Noman, Nomi Ansari, Zehra Saleem, Priyanka Avasti, to name but a few.

Zehra Saleem

With Gul Zeb being such a warm and friendly person, tonight’s ceremony was attended by crème de la crème of Dubai. “Kashmir Collection” by Crescent, whose brand ambassador for the past two years is Kareena Kapoor, one of the most talented Bollywood Actors, was show cased during the event.

The lawn collection, which sells out like hot cakes in Pakistan, is one of the top-selling brands at Carnival.

Crescent’s Spring Summer Collection 2014 is inspired by flowers, birds and the natural beauty of Kashmir. Priya Awasty, the naturally talented designer, introduced white chickenwork and woven Banarsi textured shirts complemented with vibrant chanderi veils during the launch.

Carnival was recently awarded by Rashid Paedriatic for their generous contributions to the organization and has been actively supporting causes initiated by Care Foundation. The multi-designer boutique is situated on main Al Wasl Road. For more information please call at 04-385 4040.

Faiza Samee

A Fortnum and Mason experience

Shereen Shabnam Catherine

This week was awesome as I spent some quality time my awesome editor from MADAME magazine at the new 9,400 sq ft Fortnum and Mason store and café next to The Address Downtown Dubai. The iconic British brand opened its second store in Britain last year, after having a single outlet for nearly 307 years and now they have ventured into Dubai….so we in Dubai are extremely lucky to the brand right at our doorstep (I can say that now that I live in Downtown)

As expected, the store had its usual iconic hampers, teas and preserves but we also loved the stock of scented candles and soaps. The ground floor is more of a retail space, similar to the London stores’ food hall.

Fortnum and Mason

Upstairs, The Tea Salon is inspired by the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon in Piccadilly and its here both me and Catherine became trendy models for the official photographer as we sampled the exotic Royal blend tea and enjoyed the beautiful views of the Dubai Fountain.

Royal Blend shereen shabnam

We decided to burn some calories from the delectable pastries by taking the stairs to the 3rd floor Ice Cream Parlour, which is touted to offer the finest ice cream in the world. This I have to try on my next visit and will strive to think of better ways to burn calories after I have my Fortnum & Mason indulgence with my little British diva next weekend.

cafe area shereen shabnam

Family fun time at Dubai International Horse Fair

DIHF Spanish horses Shereen Shabnam

The 10th Dubai International Horse Fair (DIHF) held today provides the ultimate arena for the regional equine industry where the latest technological advancements can be accessed together with the most exquisite Arabian beauties on show. Meanwhile the Dubai International Arabian Horse Championship, held alongside the Dubai International Horse Fair, is set to unveil the world’s best purebred Arabian horses that will be judged for their beauty, agility and heritage with prize money of USD4 million (AED15 million) up for grabs.

Currently taking place at Dubai World Trade Centre until tomorrow (23 March), the Dubai International Horse Fair showcases the widest range of international equine products, services, equipment and technology for horse owners, breeders and equine professionals in the Middle East. Additionally, event will also provide several exciting activities for families and the general public including polo demonstrations, an equestrian-themed Art Gallery, Heritage Village and Horse Auction for Arabian Purebred Horses (Saturday 22 March) among others.

We love Racewood’s Interactive Jumping Simulator and RS Racetrainer at the exhibition. The jumping simulator can be used by beginners and professionals alike and offers the rider the most realistic and interactive riding experience in a safe and controlled environment. The simulator aims to perfect the rider’s technique skill and positioning due to sensors on the head, saddle, neck, bit and leg, which mimic the exact movement of a real horse. The RS Racetrainer is an unmotorised gym trainer used by jockeys to improve technique, increase stamina and lose weight and can be interactive using a smart phone or iPad or tablet device.

Racewood jumping simulator - Bill Greenwood

Last year my favourite part of the exhibition was the vibro gym type of floor – we were allowed to try it even though the promotion was actually for horses. This year,  the latest in fitness equipment is the “TheraPlate” Vortex Wave Circulation Stimulation Technology, which can be compared to the vibrating Power Plate equipment we use in gyms. The TheraPlate is a large vibrating plate that offers several benefits to horses including increased blood circulation, improved joint health and function, faster healing, reduction of swelling and inflammation, pain relief among several others.

Spas are not only meant for pampered human beings – horses also get five-star treatment with the Khail Spa Equine Hydrotherapy Spa System distributed by Al Khail Equestrian Equipments. Taking a natural approach to healing, horses can use the spa, which is a deep long trough of water, to mimic the motion of sea currents as this was the traditional method of training and easing stress in the legs. The cold salt water spa is regarded as a vital treatment in reducing inflammation in lower leg injuries and accelerating the body’s natural healing processes.

You can also enjoy the Fair tomorrow so keep an eye on it.

DIHF Polo

 

ART Dubai 2014 in images

 

I love anything to do with the sea

I love anything to do with the sea

The last 3 days have been loads of fun…from the opening of Peru’s master weaver, Eddie Sulca’s exhibition at the  Artissima Art Gallery to the amazing array of art infused events at Art Dubai.  The 2014 edition of Art Dubai features three gallery programmes–Contemporary, Modern and Marker; the winners of The Abraaj Group Art Prize; commissioned artists’ projects; the critically acclaimed Global Art Forum; live radio; film and more.

Taking place at Madinat Jumeirah until 22 March 2014, this year’s edition of Art Dubai builds on its reputation as a fair of discovery and is the most global fair to date with 85 participating galleries from 34 countries; more than 500 artists are participating in the gallery halls and across the not-for-profit programmes. The eighth edition of Art Dubai is held in partnership with The Abraaj Group and is sponsored by Cartier and Emaar. Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) is the strategic partner of Art Dubai and supports the fair’s year-round education programme. Art Dubai Modern is sponsored by Mashreq Private Banking. Maserati is the Car Partner of Art Dubai 2014. Rothschild joins Art Dubai as a Corporate Patron of the 2014 fair.

New for this year, the galleries are presented in three distinct programmes – Contemporary; the inaugural Modern; and Marker – the curated section of invited art spaces and galleries focusing in 2014 on Central Asia and the Caucasus. It has been a great place to meet interesting art enthusiasts from all over the world…highly recommended exhibition if you love art. Although there was a lot I loved at Art Dubai, these pieces were my favourite:

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OFF AND RUNNING! at DUBAI INTERNATIONAL ARABIAN HORSE CHAMPIONSHIP & FAIR 2014

DIHF Shereen Shabnam

I had an exciting morning today – apart from having coffee with the beautiful Catherine from English/French magazine MADAME at the Fortnum & Mason Cafe, I had a whistle-stop visit to DWTC where His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Aviation Authority, formally inaugurated the 11th Dubai International Arabian Horse Championship and the 10th Dubai International Horse Fair.

Last year I had an amazing time with little diva at the Fair and since this weekend she is rehearsing for Les Miserable in school (another weekend this yummy mummy will be a chauffeur), I decided to venture out to the Fair on my own. As two of the region’s most important Arabian equine platforms, the co-located events will gather a host of global and regional equine industry players across every segment of the professional and recreational segments – from stable and horse owners, breeders, professionals and veterinarians, to service and care providers, specialist product providers, leisure riders and everyday horse enthusiasts.

In addition to showcasing the region’s lucrative equine industry, the Dubai International Horse Fair will provide several exciting activities for families and the general public including polo demonstrations organised by the Dubai Polo Club and Equestrian Club (Saturday 22 March), an equestrian-themed Art Gallery and a celebration of local culture at the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) organised Heritage Village, which will showcase the UAE’s authentic cuisine, clothing, handicraft, calligraphy and more.

I guess I have to take Tash this year for our favourite ‘gemat’ experience again. Elsewhere, 100 Arabian horse breeds of best-in-class pedigree from local studs will go under the hammer at the Horse Auction for Arabian Purebred Horses. Held on the final day of the show (Saturday 22 March), the auction is anticipated to attract hundreds of prospective regional buyers.

With more than 200 participating companies and brands from five continents represented at the Fair, new country participants include France, Iran, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Tanzania. Leading international and local companies and organisations will showcase a range of products and services to cater to the burgeoning regional equine industry. Participating companies include Ajman Stud, Al Hawajer Stud, Dubai Arabian Stud, Dubai Equine Hospital, Dubai Racing Channel Studio, Jebel Ali Racecourse and Shadwell Stud, based in the United Kingdom, among others.

I am excited about the weekend – In Dubai, every weekend is an amazing experience and this weekend, I look forward to meeting my local Emirati friends for ‘Qahwa’ and talking about equestrian sports, events and art. Join us at the fair if you love horses.

 

DEWA to celebrate Earth Hour on 29th March

At Armani Dubai this morning

At Armani Dubai this morning

I had an exciting morning at the Armani Hotel today…one of my favourite venues in Dubai. Primarily it was a briefing by the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) on marking Earth Hour in Dubai on 29 March 2014, at Bay Avenue Park from 8:30—9:30pm. Earth Hour, a global initiative to highlight environmental sustainability and promote the rational use of electricity, is being celebrated in Dubai by DEWA in partnership with Dubai Supreme Council of Energy and Emirates Wildlife Society (EWS), which works in association with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). The celebration is supported by Dubai Properties Group (DPG).

Earth Hour is under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council. DEWA encourages all residents of Dubai to participate in being part of the Earth Hour walk, which starts at 8:30pm.

Earth Hour is traditionally marked by switching off the lights and appliances not in use for one hour, thus saving energy and also encouraging more people to understand the importance of the rational use of electricity.

Earth Hour in Dubai is one of a series of key initiatives launched by DEWA to strengthen awareness on environmental conservation and building a sustainable future for the Emirate of Dubai. The EWS – the official representative for WWF – is promoting ‘Earth Hour’ across the UAE. Individuals and organisations can participate in Earth Hour in Dubai by logging on to www.ewswwf.ae/earthhour. Also keep an eye out for the #MaketheSwich and #EarthHourDubai campaign on Twitter.

Abu Dhabi Motors wins Rolls-Royce “2013 – Global Dealer of the Year” award

Peter Schwarzenbauer (Chairman) , Arno Husselmann (General manager of Abu Dhabi Motors), Torsten Müller-Ötvös, (Rolls Royce CEO)

Peter Schwarzenbauer (Chairman) , Arno Husselmann (General manager of Abu Dhabi Motors), Torsten Müller-Ötvös, (Rolls Royce CEO)

Although I am a Porsche infused diva, my other favourite brand because of the awesome people who work there is Rolls Royce. The CEO of Rolls Royce is a charm to talk to and the marketing team headed by Alaa are amazing. So… last month Abu Dhabi Motors, the sole Dealer for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain won the Global Dealer of the Year Award for 2013 and further improved on its 2012 successes.

Although I met with the team at Sheikh Zayed Road with the CEO as we toured the new workshop, the Rolls-Royce Motorcars held its annual Global Dealer Conference at the Emirates Palace Hotel for the first time in the Middle East last month.

At a glittering award ceremony, Abu Dhabi Motors repeated its 2012 achievement by being awarded the Global Dealer of the Year for 2013, edging out Beverly Hills, London, Beijing and Moscow for the title as prestigious recognition of its sales and parts performance as well as high Aftersales standards.

Abu Dhabi Motors achieved a sales growth of 23% over 2012 which ensured it was the Global Sales Leader of Rolls-Royce cars in 2013.

In addition, Abu Dhabi Motors was honoured for being the bestselling Global Bespoke Dealer in 2013, a title it has claimed as its own for the fifth consecutive year, boasting the richest bespoke specifications and creating several unique vehicles to meet the sophisticated requirements of their customers in the UAE. Several new concepts will be finding their way to Abu Dhabi during the course of 2014 to ensure the companies successes in Bespoke will continue.

The Rolls-Royce dealer Awards programme is one of the most sought after recognitions within the company and is a celebration of the brand’s successes over the past year which awards the best performing dealers for their professionalism, commitment and dedication to the brand as well as their applied systems and processes in sales and after sales. Designed to ensure top class customer experiences, improve operational standards and reward sales successes, the awards honoured Abu Dhabi Motors for the pivotal role it has played in contributing to the increasing global success of the Rolls-Royce brand….knowing the UAE team, they totally deserve it!