The Queen’s Garden Party at Buckingham Palace

I recently had the wonderful honour of attending the Queens Garden Party at Buckingham Palace.

So many people have asked me ‘how does one get to be invited to such a prestigious event?’

It’s a simple yet wonderful story of friendship and how an instant understanding of how beliefs and ideas can sometimes gel when you meet someone for the first time.

A while ago, I invited the Lebanese journalist and actress Lena Kay to be a speaker at an event I organised with the kindness of Lord Eames at the House of Lords for  International Women’s day. Prior to the event, we sat together in a Lebanese restaurant enjoying the wonderfully similar cuisine of my grandmother’s recipes when she lived in Lebanon many years ago.

We discussed the agenda and my vision of the event and we shared many ideas about possible collaboration in the future. It was a really joyful evening and it was clear that a great working relationship and even a potential friendship was in the making.

As I reflected on that evening, I thought how lovely it is that in London things like that can happen and how different cultures can come together with such positive harmony. I then got a WhatsApp message from Lena the following day asking me if I wanted to come to the Royal Garden Party as her guest and I of course replied with a resounding YES!

IMG_9685

Posing for the camera at the Hilton London Kensington Hotel

Photos by Daniel Balica

IMG_9687

Off to the Palace wearing the most comfortable wedges by Pons Quintana

IMG_9686 Searching for the end of the queue, but every moment was a joy! 

Leading up to the special day, I had to decide what to wear.
My love of vintage clothes took me to Camden Town and Notting Hill and then on to the Sunday vintage fair in Hammersmith, where I often find unique dresses for my performances.
The world is so small and I was so lucky to end up speaking to a wonderful lady about the Palace Garden Party and what I should wear and some of the rules and guidelines that I should follow.
She spoke with authority as she was herself in those parties and events and she even showed me the dress and hat she wore to the last garden party.
I loved the dress and fascinator immediately and bought it.
Though it was beautiful, I knew I could work with my dressmaker and with some changes, I could make it even more special and uniquely mine!
The joy of seeing so many beautiful dresses and hats on that day is a treat for someone who loves fashion.
Beautiful pastel colours and flowers dominated the afternoon and interestingly many people were wearing dresses from the collection of the talented Ted Baker.
Everyone looked wonderful.
Suprise, suprise it rained on the day and one tip that I would share with you is not to wear high heals on wet grass.
I’m so pleased I chose wedges and they were not only great on the grass but so comfortable for the hours of standing required.
If you have the privilege of being invited to the Garden Party, can I suggest that you turn up early as it takes so long to get in and then to stand in various queues for delicious cakes and canapés. You can imagine how everyone wants to see the Queen, which involves  yet more queuing and standing about in the hope of talking to Her Majesty.
The personalised invitations offered helpful tips regarding protocols such as not taking photographs and not bringing in our mobiles, though some people flouted these instructions and those that did, were promptly reprimanded by security personnel.
I was shocked by the sheer volume of guests which can range from four to eight thousand, so if you are invited, do plan ahead as much as you can and don’t leave anything to the last moment.
Also, don’t underestimate the time it takes to move around the stunning grounds and then you can really enjoy the once in a lifetime Buckingham Palace experience .

IMG_9689

The best Vanilla Ice Cream in the World by Marshfield Farm 

 

IMG_9691From Top to Toe 

Handmade fascinator, Jacket, Dress – http://www.vintagevalentina.net, Hair  by Anna Hannon -Supercut, Earings – Sally Greville-Smith and Vintage bag  – Hammersith Vintage Fair, Chanel neckless.

Dressmaker – Bozena Wnorowska

Wedges – Pons Quintana.

Makeup : Eyeshadow – Diorshow Mono 616 Pulse,  Mascara – Diorshow Black, Lipstick -Chanel – 90 Pimpante, Eyeliner – Long-wear Gel – Bobbi Brown, Foundation – Mac  Studio Tech and Sunbasque Blush, Primer Hourglass – Mineral Primer, Secret Brightening powder- Laura Mercier,  Eye Base Essentials – Linen Trish Mcevoy, Eyelashes – Salonsystem, Nails polish- Essie Limo-Scene.

Advertisements

The Most important 10 Moments of my Year 2014

1.pink lion –
This is a wonderful memory that I got from January last year. I attented to the Midem music festival in Cannes where about 10.000 people from all around the world came to talk and do business in regards with music.
It’s definitely a great place for artists to do some networking and also meeting publishers and record labels. On the last day of my visit I decided to do a good meditation and visualisation before starting my long schedule day of meetings. It made me feel strong, focused and very relaxed.
I texted my husband, who is a Behaviour Strategist in Harley Street, and wrote – I feel like a pink lion. As a response, my husband sent me this wonderful photo that became my screen saver, reminding me that sensation of feeling strong but soft at the same time – Velvet glove with Iron fist .

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/1ab/14200245/files/2014/12/img_0038-0.jpg
2. On the same day I went to the Carlton hotel in Cannes, where all the exclusive people from the music industry have their meetings. With the attitude of a Pink Lion I was looking around and also very aware of what was going on. Suddenly I saw a man in his late sixties who was talking with the Warner music representative in Israel. I was drawn to talk to him even though I felt a bit shy. I looked at my pink lion photo and went straight and started to speak to him. I was thrilled to realise that my intuition was so strong as the man was the legendary -Seymour Stein, who was the founder of Sire Records which signed pioneer artists such as Talking Heads, The Pretenders , Madonna, Depeche Mode and many more . I told him about my song ‘Free Will’ and very soon I will actually send him the single!

3. Deciding to do the kickstarter campaign was a moment that I will never forget. To do such a campaign I had to work out of my comfort zone, as we all know that asking for money is not the easiest thing.

4. Recording string section for my single.
It was the first time that I had 14 players playing my songs. I absolutely loved it and it felt very emotional. The cinematic strings section were recorded by Haydn Bendall who’s previous credit include Kate Bush, Katie Melua and Dido. The beautiful strings arrangement was done by Phil Curran who worked with me on my previous BBC 2 playlisted single “Beauty of the Duty”.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/1ab/14200245/files/2014/12/img_0231-0.jpg

5. Celebrating my 50th birthday at the Old Government House Hotel with my husband and receiving beautiful messages from all my fans and friends. I feel that Life begins at 50th!

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/1ab/14200245/files/2014/12/img_0623.jpg

6. Singing ‘Free Will’ at the Houses of Commons.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/1ab/14200245/files/2014/12/img_1288.jpg
7. Achieving my kickstarter Goal !
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/886828190/free-will-one-song-can-inspire-millions-and-change

8. Supporting Mkdons and watching the game when they won 4-0 to Manchester United !

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/1ab/14200245/files/2014/12/img_1830.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/1ab/14200245/files/2014/12/img_1829.jpg

9. Recording the piano version with special gusets – the Ely Cathedral Girls Choir conducted by Sarah E. A. MacDonald which created a pure and ethereal sound and the Latin version in English and Spanish ‘Tengo Libertad’ featuring Eric Fernandez
who is know for his collaboration with
the Gypsy Kings.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/1ab/14200245/files/2014/12/img_2484.jpg
10. Meeting and hearing the inspiring speech of HE Mr Mazen Kemal Homoud, Ambassador of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
at a fundraising event for empower women in the Middle East .

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/1ab/14200245/files/2014/12/img_2861-0.jpg

Free Will

I hope you’re all well! I have some big news to tell of what I’ve been up to this past month. The big news of the month is that I have been recording with the London Hungarian symphony orchestra for my new coming single ‘Free Will’. The string section will be a mixture of Violin, Cello and Viola which supports and brings the music up to a new level. The recording has been created with one of the world’s top engineers, Hayden Bandall who is associated with the likes of Kate Bush, Paul McCartney and the Pet Shop Boys. Hayden will be the engineer and will also be mixing the track. Phil Curran who arranged the radio 2 playlists where my previous single Beauty of the Duty was played, will be the arranging and producing the new single. The String section brings a new side to the piece which enriches the true sound and beauty of the lyrics which comes together to build a complete and impacting piece of music.  Watch this space for ‘Free Will.’

Continue reading Free Will

Receiving the Ambassador for Peace award at the Houses of Parliament.

Image

Receiving the Award of Ambassador for Peace with  Dr Nazia Khanum, OBE Photo : Peter Zoehrer

Last week I was invited to receive an Ambassador for Peace award by UPF

at the Houses of Parliament.

The occasion was part of Parliament week and the ceremony itself was the conclusion of the European Leadership Conference –

Women’s Federation for World Peace.

Image

with Martina Coombs : Former WFWP – UK & President WFWP – Europe   Photo : Aime Bapaga

It was such an honour to be amongst influential and powerful ladies and to receive the award  at the same time as Dr Nazia Khanum, OBE: Director, Equality in Diversity ‘Women’s Leadership: Family, Community and Democratic Values’ was a very proud moment for me.

 All I can say is that dreams can come true !

I was walking in London a few years ago and I had a lovely thought in my mind about how important the influence of the Princes Diana’s and Mother Teresa’s of this World have been.

I then thought about how I and the many other people around the World could work hard for peace and harmony.

Music is of course still my life, but how wonderful to be able use it in the right direction and do something useful and meaningful and I’m so pleased to be one of those people and for my hard work to be acknowledged in this special and formal way.

Image

With Robin Marsh UPF Secretary General who recommended the Award  Photo:Christophe Murphy

MUSIC FOR PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST

ISRAELI & PALESTINIAN MUSICIANS

UNITE FOR PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EASTImage                                                    

Israeli singer songwriter Tally Koren and Palestinian singer Nizar Al-Issa are uniting in west London for an evening of music for peace in the Middle East’. 

It is fitting that the event takes place on the International Day of Peace – Saturday, September 21st. The event, organized by the Universal Peace Federation UK, is a fundraiser for the Parents Circle Families Forum – Palestinians and Israelis bereaved by the conflict who work together for peace and reconciliation.

Initiatives such as this one are particularly important at a time when moves towards peace have been rekindled.

Tally’s latest single – Hallelujah:72 Names – has been translated into Arabic specially for this event and will be sung in Hebrew, Arabic and English.  

A new interpretation of the classic hymn, Jerusalem, will be sung by Israelis and Palestinians together, looking to a new future for this historic city, that can be enjoyed by Israelis and Palestinians.

Tally Koren said: “I believe strongly that music is a common language that can bridge the divide and lead the way to a better future for us all. “

Nizar Al-Issa said:  “ I am taking part in this concert because I believe in peace and in the humanity of both sides

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Miracle 3 – Calling You

Calling You is known to be the song that caused me the biggest miracle in my life, meeting my husband. It was a very cold winter evening when I was in the studio and I asked my producer Phil Curran after our session to play a few chords as I feel like writing a song. It was probably a real yearning for finding the love that I was so much looking for and because I felt so lonely in the UK, which is not my home place, which made the angel hear me.

‘I’m calling you now I’m alone, I’m calling you my angel make me strong’.

After a few weeks of writing the song I met (the angel) who after a very short time became my husband.

Spa Holiday in Goa

Last Christmas I took a seven day holiday in an amazing Spa Hotel in Goa – The Park Hyatt.

As I have a holistic approach to life I asked my husband to go to a Spa hotel rather than our traditional beach holiday. It proved to be the best holiday we’ve ever had and I benefited from a relaxing state of mind and body together with the glorious sunshine and the beautiful Goan cuisine.

My husband and I have travelled extensively, but this was the first time we have visited a Spa Resort and it made an interesting change. I booked the holiday through Flight Centre East Sheen and the great service and friendliness started before even going away. Robyn from Flight Centre found us the the luxurious hotel, set in sixty-four acres of manicured gardens and carefully designed lagoons, pools and restaurants there was a strong impression of space and quietness. The facilities and attention to detail in the beautiful rooms was everything you would expect from a sophisticated 5 star resort with a wide range of relaxing treatments to choose from at the Spa and expert tutorage in the Yoga classes. I took 3 private Yoga classes for the price of one private class in the UK and I could see a change in my body and suppleness in few days. I felt clearer and more focused and my appetite changed.

Since then I am still enjoying the benefits of my treatments and my focus on more nutritional and nourishing ingredients in my food.