Looking to escape to one of the world’s most vibrant and exquisite cities, Dubai. Need a hand to create the perfect itinerary then look no further Excursions Dubai will help you plan the trip of a lifetime.
Excursions Dubai is a UK based company working directly with the most reputable tours and excursions companies in the UAE, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Their aim is to provide you with the best rates and cheapest deals and to avoid disappointment for availability when arriving at your luxury destination.
This cosmopolitan city has increased in popularity over recent years. Dubai’s thriving economy has become an attractive celebrity hot spot. With its incredible landmarks, high-rise buildings, large shopping centers, lively nightlife and a strong social culture, you will never be bored in Dubai.
Whether you just want to lounge on a beach, sightsee, shop till you drop or participate in thrill seeking sports Dubai will cater for you. This is where Excursions Dubai can help you pre-book your holiday activities. Excursions Dubai is the only UK tours company who provide an exclusive yacht hire service in Dubai.
Excursions Dubai is ideal for adventurous groups or individuals wanting to pack as many activities in the best possible way for their dream holiday. Excursions Dubai will help you tailor your itinerary to your desired requirements.
Not sure what to do? Read on for Excursions Dubai’s recommended top 10 things to do in Dubai, based on customer feedback:
Desert Safari /Overnight Safari
From short excursions in 4×4 cars or on the back of camels to spending the night under the brilliant night sky, a safari will take you to the heart of life in the desert.
Float gently over the magic landscape and allow the desert to take your breath away. What better way to get an overview of one of the world’s most amazing landscapes.
Dolphin & Seal Shows/Swimming with Dolphins
Get up close and personal with dolphins and seals at Dubai Creek Park. Delight in their graceful performance, be wowed by their interaction with the audience and, of course, have fun with the whole family. Or, if you fancy a more personal encounter, why not splash and swim with the dolphins at either Dubai Creek Park or at Palm Jumeirah Atlantis.
Ferrari World Abu Dhabi
Ferrari World is a theme park dedicated to all things racing and, of course, Ferrari. The more than 20 high-tech attractions include the world’s fastest roller coaster and a 62-meter G-force ride above the height of the roof!
West meets East in Dubai and Abu Dhabi where you can find everything from enchanting souks, to the ultra-luxurious and international fashion brands at fantastic prices. Wonder through traditional streets or shop at the largest malls or gasp at the beautiful buildings that make the city so famous! Go sightseeing in Abu Dhabi and visit the world’s third largest mosque and the Al Hosn Palace, the only palace that allows visitors. Or go sightseeing in Dubai and visit the world’s largest building, man-made islands and much more.
Take to the skies and discover the wonders of Dubai from above. The trip will take you above and around magnificent skyscrapers, world-famous iconic buildings and on to sun-drenched beaches and other Dubai attractions. Be amazed!
At the Top Burj Khalifa & Burj Al Arab
Visit two of Dubai’s most iconic buildings: Spoil yourself with afternoon tea at the world’s most exclusive and luxurious 7 star Burj Al Arab Hotel and enjoy outstanding views from the world’s tallest building Burj Khalifa.
Dubai Marina Cruise/Dhow Cruise
Go aboard the Dubai Floating Restaurant, a traditional wooden dhow, and experience a dinner cruise with a difference under the Arabian sky. Alternatively join the 5 star Dubai Marina Cruise and discover Dubai Marina, Mina Seyahi Lagoon and Palm Crescent.
Exclusive Yacht Hire
Choose from a wide range of exclusive yachts and hire a yacht of your choice for a day out at sea, at your own leisure and privacy. Rest, relax and enjoy a BBQ while you entertain your loved ones, family or guests after a day of swimming and soaking up the sun.
The only tour that takes off and lands in water! This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, taking in all the breath-taking views of Burj Al Arab, Burj Khalifa, Palm Jumeirah, The World, Sports City, Jebel Ali Creek and many more of Dubai’s iconic landmarks.
To pre-book and for more details on the top 10 things to do go to http://www.excursionsdubai.com/things-to-do-in-dubai/
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(Images: Taken from Excursions Dubai Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ExcursionsDubai )
Every girl wants to feel like a Queen on her wedding day, which is why creative daydreamer Leena Mistry brings to you the ultimate luxury beauty and stationery service, Ratanji Rani.
Ratanji Rani is a bespoke company offering beauty treatments and stationary products to tailor to individual needs, a new business concept presenting a total package for any occasion.
Founder of Ratanji Rani Leena Mistry explains the businesses unique selling point, “There are two elements to Ratanji Rani. I am a mobile therapist around South East London. I mainly offer home treatments for holistic massage, facials, manicures, pedicures and shellac nail treatments, but I also get booked for pamper parties, weddings and small events”.
She adds, “The second element is the stationery side. I create handmade wedding stationery, from ‘save the date’ wedding invitations, to the actual day stationery. It’s evolved wonderfully as I create handmade pieces for occasions such as birthdays, Christmas, Diwali and Rakshabandhan”. Leena is all about standing out from the crowd and therefore prefers working on a one to one basis with her clients.
Ratanji Rani is more than just a name, Leena explains how she came up with it, “The name is in honour of my grandparents, Ratanjibhai & Rattanben Mistry, but funnily enough I also inherited the ‘Rani’ name. Growing up we all used head up to Wolverhampton as a family. Being teenage girls we’d always take our time getting ready or doing the ‘usual chores’. My mum and aunty would always be telling us to hurry up and they’d always use the term ‘ranio’ – chalo ranio jaldi kar (come on queens, hurry up) or ‘oh ready thaigia ranio’ (oh you’re finally ready queens)”.
She continues, “A running joke. When you put all the girls together we just used to gab and never get stuff done, so the term ‘Rani’ meaning queen always stuck. I didn’t really have to think about the name when I knew I wanted to start-up, it was a natural choice to take my grandads name and team it with Rani”.
By the time the website was up Leena sadly lost her grandmother Ambaben Govindbhai Mistry, in honour of her memory she decided to split the wedding element and named it Ambas’ corner.
Starting her own business has been a passion of Leena’s for as long as she can remember and has seen her idea develop into a much bigger achievement. Artistic and a natural people’s person Leena studied hard to improve her skills as a designer and therapist.
During college and University Leena took evening classes to gain her therapy qualifications. Fascinated by old traditional methods of crafting she has also attended workshops on letterpress and bookbinding, skills that she can now use for her stationery products.
The website was the start of a successful future for Ratanji Rani, but Leena had no idea how to set up a webpage so she turned to a brilliant web developer and friend Dhawal. Having lots of ideas as to how she wanted the site to look and what she wanted to represent, Leena worked with Dhawal to eventually launch ratanjirani.co.uk in April 2012.
It seems Ratanji’s stationery appeals to a vast target audience, including those getting married wanting custom made invites, place cards and table décor. As well as greeting cards for family and friends or seasonal products such as handmade Rakhis’, Christmas gifts, Easter cards and Diwali cards.
However, Leena finds her beauty clients are mainly busy mums and young professionals, she says, “Its so much easier for them book me in to pamper them in the evenings once they are back from work or put the kids to bed and not have to worry about rushing to get a salon before closing time they can have wonderful treatments in the comfort of their own home”. As the company is online it only takes a few clicks to book a slot with Leena to be pampered or arrange a meeting for the stationery packages.
Promoting the company has mainly been through social networking or word of mouth. She says, “My amazing and very supportive husband, family and friends always name drop and help promote where they can. I have attended local fairs to sell my stationery during seasonal periods and I’ve also done some voluntary therapy work”.
The company models itself on delivering a service which is fit for a Queen, Leena says, “I believe in being able to use natural products such as beeswax and shea butters. It’s much kinder to the skin, than some of the pre-blended, preservative filled options available for the beauty side. For card crafting, I prefer to pay a little more and source suppliers who offer a really good quality base product”. You may be paying a little more than on the high streets but Ratanji Rani products are made to perfection.
Passion isn’t the only reason Leena puts her heart and soul into her business, as she admits it is hard work and long hours, nevertheless she says, “I really enjoy creating and crafting. I also find the beauty side very therapeutic for me, its lovely being able to create a calm when massaging or chatting away while doing manicures”.
Aiming to expand and grow the Ratanji Rani name Leena says, “I want to continue to learn and develop and create beautiful things for people. Quitting the day job is definitely on the list”. Although her current job is inspirational for her business, Leena has too much creativity to spend working in accounts. Ratanji Rani services hopes to be available nationwide and supply stationery internationally.
Her advice for any savvy business newbies is, “It’s hard work but if its something you love never give up on it. Always stay true to what you believe in, no matter what others in the same industry are doing”.
Interested in feeling like a Queen for a day get in touch with Leena via email email@example.com alternatively visit www.ratanjirani.co.uk or www.homebly.com/ratanjirani for treatment bookings or stationery queries.
(Images original by Leena Mistry – Rakhis, Invite, Lip Balm)
(Image original by Jason Read, Photographer – Massage )
You don’t know her name yet but she’s already made it into the International Independent Charts and nominated for a Download Music Award, singing sensation Grania has arrived with a soulful twist.
Born in Liverpool but raised in Manchester, 20 year old singer, songwriter and dancer Grania Nesbitt is finally ready to share her voice with the world. Growing up surrounded by musicians, it was no doubt Grania would follow in her singer mother’s footsteps.
A natural performer Grania began dancing at an early age but later started singing at the age of 12. She says, “I wasn’t very good at singing in the beginning, dancing was my first love. I still do a lot of dancing, but now my singing and song writing is a massive passion of mine. I used to sing every night in my room”.
With help from a vocal coach and endless hours of practicing Grania is now confident more than ever to share her soulful voice. Along with singing she started writing her own songs at the age of 14 after starring in a production of West Side Story.
She explains, “I went to the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) I was a dancer in the show, but what got my attention of singing and song writing was the main part who played Anita she was a songwriter. In one of our breaks she sat at the piano and sang one of her own songs, I was just captured in awe I was like I want to do that”. And that is exactly what she is doing perfecting dance routines, scribbling lyrics and developing her vocals everyday.
She started recording in a studio when she became friends with a young music producer Matthew Cosgrove who she met at college. It wasn’t long before the duo recorded a number of successful tracks and realised they made a powerful musical team.
In 2012 Matthew produced the track Ease the Pain. The song made it onto the official International Independent Charts where it reached number three and remained in the top ten for more than ten weeks gaining over 60,000 plays. Grania was also nominated for a Download Music Award.
At present Grania is working with a number of producers, she says, “I’ve got a project with a producer from Universal which is quite exciting. I’ve got one with a songwriter from New York (Theory) he’s a songwriter for Sony. I’ve just finished recording a song for him, he wrote it for me, which is a bit different I’m hoping it will be signed because he’s signed through Sony that would be big”.
This could be the big break Grania is waiting for if the track gets signed. However, keeping herself busy in the mean time she is also working with several UK based producers as well as continuing her dance tour with Torque Dance Group where she teaches jazz, contemporary, tap, street and musical theatre, before heading to University to study Performing Arts.
In September 2012 Grania was honoured to be part of a growing Manchester based charity, Mothers Against Violence (MAV). She was introduced to it by a music producer friend Tommy Riley, the event gave Grania the opportunity to feature on the official charity single Guns to Dust as well as perform some of her own music.
She says, “I loved the idea they were doing a music single for the charity which is on YouTube and getting music artists involved to help”. Following on from the main days event, which took place at Albert Square in Manchester Grania’s songs were aired as part of the mini radio tour, some of the stations include Tameside Radio, Peace FM and Unity FM.
The charity was founded Patsy McKie in 1999. She decided to set up the charity after her son got shot in Manchester. Patsy aim’s to hold a fun event each year in a bid to get guns off city streets. Grania hopes to be involved again this year and help raise money for a great cause.
There’s nothing like life experience’s to inspire a songwriter, Grania explains the meaning behind some of her songs, “Ease the Pain is on SoundCloud it’s a slow R‘n’B track based on a four-year on and off relationship. Its something a lot of people can relate to you fall in love with wrong person and your so naïve to it”. She continues, “Into the Night was like a summer romance and Little White Lie that’s a twist, being lied to but lying to your self in a relationship. A lot of my songs come from my own experience if not mine then from someone else’s”.
Her music is influenced by range of genres. Grania is a fan of country, heavy metal, pop and R‘n’B music. It’s no surprise she enjoys listening to music by Beyoncé, Etta James, The Killers, Rihanna, Alicia Keys and many more who all inspire her style of work.
As an up and coming artist Grania wants her music to be enjoyed by everybody she says, “I’d love to aim at everyone like Beyoncé, everyone aspires to be Beyoncé I adore her. I’d say the teen to twenties they are loyal fans if you think about Justin Bieber and The Wanted. I’d love to have a fan base who are always there and I know all their faces”.
With the hope that she will one day be performing in stadiums around world Grania endures a rigorous fitness routine, she says, “I go to the gym everyday if I’m not the gym I’m dancing I wouldn’t say I’m obsessed but close. I love the feel good factor after and I try to eat healthy, but I like my chocolate and love cookies”. Her dancers physic would have you guessing whether she ever eats junk food but Grania admits to being a bit of a foodaholic.
Lucky to have encouraging family and friends, Grania says, “My mum and dad are very supportive. My mum kind of knows where its coming from she wanted what I want. She’s like wanting to live her dream through me but not in a pushy way she wants me to have what she couldn’t have. She definitely keeps my feet on the ground its nice having her round. I’d love to have her round if I did a tour she would be perfect, she’s so funny”. Her mum is her rock helping Grania to develop her blossoming personality. Nevertheless, her friends are always there to lend their support by attending all her gigs.
The rise to fame is never a straight road but Grania is counting on every experience to be the learning curve she needs to become a strong and successful musician. She says, “The most difficult part is you have your ups and downs, good times and bad times. With the music industry you come to a point where you think every things going really well and then it can be taken out of your hands just like that. Last year I was on radio tours everyday it was a bigger step towards making or doing what I want to do. And once the radio tour finished performance dwindled out and that was it”.
Accepting that this is part of the process she adds, “Its hard to think this could be it and its never going to happen you have to learn to deal with getting over that barrier and doing it again. I would never give it up”.
As a budding musician Grania has her future set on collaborating with other artists, she says, “In a dream world I’d love to work with Beyoncé. But a bit more realistic I’d love to work with Mischa B because she’s Manchester based hometown girl and she’s got an amazing voice very much soulful and powerful. I could see our voices working together”.
She adds, “I would also love to work with Iggy Azalea because she is so different as an artist to what we’ve had before and she seems like someone cool to work with. Song writing wise I’d love to work with Ed Sheeran”. Ambitious and motivated Grania will make this a reality.
Looking ahead she says, “I hope for a bright future, I hope I succeed in making it into the music industry and do world tours and have at least one number one. I’d love to be a music artist or performer but I’d also love to write songs for other artists”.
Grania shares her advice to aspiring performers like herself, she says, “Learn, keep learning I don’t think you will ever stop learning. Things are always changing in the industry in life. So don’t think that you know everything be friendly, if you’ve got an arrogance about yourself or that cockiness it will put people off and really affect you in the future. So be yourself, be nice and you’ll get far”. It’s all about having the right balance of confidence and kindness, which Grania presents in her warm and down to earth personality.
A young starlet in the making Grania is ready to be part of a new musical generation. To support and keep up to date with Grania’s music check her track list on SoundCloud and follow her on Twitter @Grania_
Images original by: Grania Nesbitt
Move over Ryman’s there is a new fun and funky stationery giant in town by the name of Dazzle Craft. Introducing stylish stationery and cutting edge craft products, Dazzle Craft is here to transform your handmade cards, gifts and invitations.
Aspiring entrepreneur Vickey Huang, 25, has turned her ambitious business plan into a fully operational online stationery company. After completing her degree in Business Management with Communications at the University of Birmingham, she decided it was time to launch Dazzle Craft.
The company went live in May 2013. Although it has only been running for a few months it is clear there is a gap in the UK retail market for prettier stationery. Its aim is to provide beautiful, stylish and quality stationery at an affordable price. The products are designed in Asia and carefully handpicked specifically for Dazzle Craft consumers.
Vickey says, “Dazzle Craft offers products which you may not see in the UK. Many of our products use original and modern idea’s but at the same time it is made to fit daily use”. These everyday stationery products feature delicate detailing on pens, folders and notebooks as well as introducing innovative craft tools.
The company’s name was influenced by a cafe in Vickey’s hometown, she explains how the brands name came about, “There is a café in Taiwan called Dazzling, when we were in Taiwan we went to this café. We were sitting there thinking what name we could give the business. My partner (Ryan) came up with Dazzle Craft. I just thought yes we do have some craft items, and some of our items are shiny and blingy”. A fitting name for company combining stationery and crafts.
Setting up a business has been a goal of Vickey’s for a long time; the idea came to her when she moved from Taiwan to the UK at the age of 17. She says, “When I first came here I bought my own stationery like books, pens and folders because it’s a lot cheaper back home. I noticed a lot of stationery in the UK they are very plain, it makes a good use but it’s just not as good-looking as what we have back home. This is why I thought about introducing some of the stuff from Asia to UK customers”.
Her parents have been encouraging and supportive in setting up the business even though they live in Taiwan. Her dad was imperative in ensuring she followed her dream. As he wants Vickey to enjoy the experience of growing her own business and seeing it succeed.
The website was set up within two months by a professional web designer. Vickey spent to two weeks training on how to maintain the website and understand the ordering system. However, the websites vibrant colours and personal layout was all chosen by Vickey to make sure it reflects the brands colourful and modern stance.
She says, “Starting online we can test the market and see whether it makes money and if it takes off. We’d probably move on to having our own shop or target larger businesses to introduce our products and supply to them. But first we are hoping to build our own reputation”
Initially the company’s target audience was 11-18 year old girls, surprisingly after holding a summer fair at a local school Vickey was amazed to find that the items intrigued a larger audience. She says, “After the summer fair on Saturday (08/06/13) a lot of young girls loved the products mainly aged 7-13 year olds. We even got an older woman aged between 55-60 who was excited to buy our products”.
All the items available online are selected to suite the taste of young people, university students and office workers. Dazzle Crafts bestsellers include the Pearl Crown pen, L shape folder and a nifty new product, the Desk tidy.
Vickey explains, “The Pearl Crown pen is actually a Japanese design a lot our products are designed in Korea and Japan. From the summer fair that we did a lot of the girl’s recognised the pen from the Japanese Manga comic book. The Popcorn pen also sold well”.
Getting your business established can be a struggle Vickey says, “The most difficult thing is to get people’s attention and advertising is costly but it is a crucial part of a new business”. Therefore Dazzle Craft regularly offers promotional discounts and competitions through their Facebook page.
Challenging it may be but Vickey shares her advice for anyone who is determined to set up a business she says, “To start any business you need to have passion. A lot of people have good ideas but you need to turn them into action and not to hold back. When I first went back home to Taiwan whilst studying I noticed there were no shops similar to Accessorize in the UK, which I love. It was in my mind to open a store like that in Taiwan. Two years later someone else had opened a shop and I was too late”.
Nevertheless, Dazzle Craft is finally here and with lots of great products on offer the company could one day be gracing our high streets. Dazzle Craft products can be purchased at www.dazzlecraft.co.uk also follow Dazzle Craft on FACEBOOK and TWITTER
(All images original and taken by Vickey Huang)
We all remember playing those much-loved computer games as a child and growing out of them as we got older, but 23 year-old Matt Slade is turning his competitive gaming habit into a dream career.
Outrageous and ingenious design graduate Matt, from Preston has produced and promoted two major projects, after teaching himself everything there is to know about music production. He is eager to embrace a career in a thriving industry.
Matt’s work is heavily influenced by the current electronic music scene of Japan and South Korea. He explains, “Many people see this type of music as over stylised and lacking of any substance, but this is the kind of work I enjoy. I am an extremely visually oriented person, so I like to take those aspects of my work and play on them to the extreme. I believe this is substance in itself”.
His name as a solo artist is Crystal Boy, which has evolved from his obsession with Japanese music. Many Japanese musicians play around with English in their song titles making their style appear quirky and cool. Matt says, “There is a certain disconnect that takes place between English and Japanese that I find fascinating, some titles are quite strange such as, ‘BubbleMan Engine’ by MAA or ‘Beep Count Fantastic’ by Aira Mitsuki. I really love the way these are thought out and I title my songs in the same way”.
He adds, “Crystal Boy basically came from this kind of thing. There is a song called ‘Crystal Girl’ by Iconiq and people have cited the similarity, but that’s fine because I love it. I think they express their remits as artists really well”.
Every creator idolizes someone and for Matt it is successful Japanese music producer Yasutaka Nakata. The man behind one of Japans biggest pop groups Perfume, Yasataka’s music style has influenced Matt’s musical vision. He says, “His style sums up everything I love about Japanese music. It’s the way the chords are written or the scale he uses, which makes his work so dynamic and beautiful”.
Matt has worked hard teaching himself the core aspects of being a music producer. “It was only in July 2011 a friend of mind released his own track which I offered to remix, and that is how it has all started although it has been a short time I have learned so much about music production, composition and arrangement”.
Since remixing that one track Matt has built a portfolio of projects including Glitter Punch and Naïve Noise.
Teaming up with Caryl Archer vocalist and songwriter to release Glitter Punch. He says, “Glitter Punch was formed as a result of YouTube. Caryl and myself met when we were discussing Japanese pop star Utada Hikaru on a video of hers. The whole project snowballed when we jokingly suggested song titles and ended up making a song. Before we knew it we had an album of tracks. We released this as Mirrorball Swing under the name Glitter Punch Project”.
The duo have released two albums under Glitter Punch and it has received great reviews, he says, “The first project has had comments like ‘PxP sounds exotic’ and ‘This sounds really eastern’”, which is motivational for Matt as it represents the type of music he is trying to express.
Naïve Noise is a project targeted more towards UK clubber’s with a more western EDM sound. Matt says, “Naïve Noise started in a similar way to Glitter punch. I met Otis Barnes (DJ and music producer) on the way home from a Steve Aoki gig in Manchester and we’ve been making tracks that resemble our favorite sounds. This project is in talks with a record label in Leeds about a potential signing which is very exciting”.
Each track is different yet conveys a recognizable beat so you know you are listening to Crystal Boy. Although Matt’s work has not been featured in the industry his music sounds ideal for catwalk’s, TV advertisements and high street fashion stores.
His first major project for 2013 is for an American band Eleven: Eleven, which is a massive opportunity for him to gain the needed exposure for his amazing work.
He says, “I have lot of plans for new music. All of my projects are really in their infancy, so I am excited to develop them. We have a second record in the works for Glitter Punch and Naïve Noise. I am also working with a budding Canadian artist called Dayton Ricketts”.
So how did it all start? Like any typical teenage boy Matt loved spending time on his PlayStation and playing computer games. However, his addiction was more than just a past time he appreciated the visual style and interesting sound choices within them.
He says, “I have liked creating things as early as I can remember, and when I look back, the reason I loved all my favorite games and films so much was because of the art direction and soundtrack”.
Adding, “I adore creating anything concerning video and music as the two go hand in hand. I usually make music videos and all the promotional material that goes into promoting them”.
His work ethic sums up a perfectionist, he always tries to find the most unique blend of sounds, “I’m a firm believer in making content that is challenging or different for the consumer. If all you do is create something that has already been done a thousand times, then nothing is being contributed to the industry. So I try to make something genuinely different”.
His parents never doubted his talent and with the support from family and friends Matt has been able to create music, which celebrates his personality. Nevertheless, he says, “I feel it should be noted my degree was instrumental in giving me a fresh perspective on things. It shook my view of design in a big way. It taught me that it is an idea’s based discipline. It’s really helped to develop my identity as a creator”.
A design background has given him the knowledge to market his music in the best possible ways. Using YouTube and other forms of social networking he has managed to gain a dedicated fan base. He says, “My online fans are fantastic and so involved in the projects and competitions we put on for them. When I get such heart-warming and constructive comments, it really fuels the drive to carry on”. Keeping him passionate about his work and inspiring him to continue producing music for their loyalty.
What would a future megastars advice be to you, “There’s no rush. Don’t compromise. Take your time. Seize every opportunity”. Design and music have been the most important areas in Matt’s life since he was young boy, so in a fantasy world he sees himself working with artists like Luciana, Nicki Minaj, Die Antwoord, 2NE1 or Iggy Azalea. He says, “I think they would all provide a punchy aggressive electro vocal I could work wonders with”.
He maybe dreaming right now but with his determined and ambitious persona he could very well be working alongside the people who influence and shape his incredible work, “If one day I could work with some of my favourites, it really would be the pinnacle of my achievements. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted, so without sounding cliché, it really would be my dream come true”.
(Image: Original and Designed By Matt Slade)
Blowing bubbles, climbing trees and watching the clouds go by makes one talented photographer very happy. Recent graduate, Ayesha Jones is on a journey to capture images that are more than just pretty pictures.
Born and bred in Birmingham, 22-year-old Ayesha achieved a 2:1 in photography at the University of Central Lancashire (ULCan), and was chosen to exhibit her final project in London.
Her love for photography grew from her shy timid nature, she says, “I’m more of a visual person, the way I learn and communicate is more visual. I was not much of a talker growing up. I guess I use photography as a way of expressing myself and I like the way one image can provoke so many thoughts and feelings.”
At 13 Ayesha was scouted by Select Modelling Agency at Clothes Show Live in Birmingham. She then went on to feature in numerous fashion shows, music videos and working as a film extra. Her experiences led her to assist photo shoots for JLS and Alexandra Burke.
Although she had fun and learnt a lot about the fashion and modeling industry Ayesha has decided to leave modeling behind her. Her final university project has given her a more clear direction as to what she would like to achieve, she says, “I want to leave the commercial world behind me and focus on more arts based photography.”
Ayesha suffers from Scoliosis a condition, which causes the spine to curve. About three percent of the population is diagnosed with scoliosis every year. Her illness motivated her to move away from commercial photography and instead look at portraying images that convey a deeper meaning.
She says, “I no longer want to participate in creating images that represent a false reality, a superficial ideal that is lead by money and control. I want to do something that brings about greater good in some way. Whether its provoking positive thoughts or inspirational discussions, I want my work to have meaning.”
The Free Range Festival in London exhibited 13 university students’ final year projects. IMPerfection was the title of her project, she explains, “IMPerfection explores the way beauty can effect female desire, sexuality and perceptions of what it means to be a woman.”
She adds, “It is also about seeing your imperfections as the very things that make you perfect for your particular purpose and situation, which is why I included images of my scoliosis in it.”
Ayesha hopes her work will inspire people to be more open minded about self-perception and plans to create books and films as well as holding live social events. Her first graduate project is to work with Scoliosis Association (SAUK) www.sauk.org.uk to bring more awareness of the condition and where suffers can seek advise.
Ayesha wouldn’t have made it this far without the support from one special person in her life, her mum, “My mom has always been there and supported any idea and project I have ever had.” She has taught Ayesha to be positive and to always look at set backs as an experience.
Her passion for photography is not Ayesha’s only love, in her spare time she enjoys studying numerology and astrology, and reading books that educate her more about the world and human nature.
Adventurous and eager, Ayesha has and continues to work hard. Over last few years she has travelled between Manchester, Birmingham and London developing her skills as a photographer, whilst gaining an insight into the harsh realities of the fashion and modeling industry.
Even though she has discovered a new path, she will not forget the important lessons she learnt as a model. Her words of wisdom for anyone hoping to build a career within these industries are:
“Evaluate your motives for doing what you want to do. Don’t try to do what someone else is doing because the idea of it seems good. Look inside and follow what feels right to you, it’s impossible for your heart to lie so use it to guide you. We all have our unique strengths everyone’s a genius at something you just need to find out what it is. As Einstein says, ‘Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.’”
Keep up to date with Ayesha’s fantastic work and latest projects at www.ayeshajones.com where you can also view her touching short film.
(Images: Obtained from www.ayeshajones.com)
How many of us can say we love our job everyday? For one young, talented and determined graphic designer, Sofi Evans can say exactly that.
At only 23 Sofi has achieved a first class BA Hons in Graphic Design at the University of Central Lancashire (ULCan) in 2011. She then went on to securing a full time job with a graphic design company in Chester.
Originally from North Wales, she now lives in Chester and works for an innovative design company Partnership Design, she says, “I go to work and enjoy what I do and I get to be creative everyday, we work on really cool stuff” which is why she plans to work hard and learn as much as she can to get to the top.
However, her success has not come easily, working every minute of her last year at university to ensure her final project was at its peak of perfection, and spending a gap year in London Sofi knows the importance of being hundred percent committed to her career.
Although it was a struggle living on little money in the big city and making sure she had another placement lined up Sofi acquired plenty of experience. “I was working crazy long hours whilst enjoying the London social scene and always looking for my next job.”
Despite being a none-stop year she says, “It was defiantly worth it, each placement taught me invaluable skills, as well as showing me the positive and negative aspects of the industry”.
Her favourite design company was with Philosophy Design, where she learnt a lot about what is expected of a graphic designer. The company also helped her to improve upon her computer skills, which she hadn’t picked up on at university.
So after three years of studying and a year of gaining experience she is still exploring what makes her design style unique, she says, “I haven’t really found a specific style yet. I like to try out different things and experiment, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. My style depends on the brief I have been given and I think a graphic designer needs to be adaptable to suit different clients.”
Working towards developing her individual style Sofi’s inspiration mainly comes from her beautiful Chester surroundings, “I get inspiration from lots of different things. When I’m out and about walking along the canal, or in shops and restaurants I keep my eyes peeled for interesting menus, posters, logos and typefaces, basically anything that might help me come up with new ideas. I also love looking at creative blogs, my favourite is graphic-exchange.com.”
Being good at what she does Sofi enjoys’ injecting her creative flare into her everyday life, “ In my spare time I enjoy doing up old furniture as I can put my own twist on it and new furniture is way too expensive.”
Although she is content with where she is in life right now, she hope’s that one day she could build her own client base or work for a bigger company, “My dream job would still be working within design but probably working for a really cool company like Apple, but I do love my job right now.” She adds, “If I could choose my own clients I’d love to do packaging, especially beauty or food packaging.”
Her future looks positive as she continues to work hard, She says, “I’m hoping to have done some travelling later in life and work up the career ladder maybe getting to a project manager position.”
Graphic designers are essential in today’s society, making it a popular career choice Sofi explains, “It is a really competitive industry so you do have to work hard you wouldn’t be able to just float by, you need to have a passion for it there is no point in doing it if you don’t enjoy it.”
Experience is crucial and has proven to be the door that has got her to where she is, “I wouldn’t have got my first if I hadn’t taken a year out, because I got to see the standard of work you have to compete with in the industry which is really high. I went back to uni knowing what I needed to achieve.”
It seems graphic designing is one area which will always be in demand as brands love to up date their image. Take technology giant Apple, now famous for their clean cut bitten apple logo which was once an image of Sir Isaac Newton sat under an apple tree. Who knows Sofi may one day reach her dream to work for them and revolutionize one of the most iconic logos’ of our generation.
(Image by: Sofi Evans, The Importance of Everyday Design, Degree Project, 2011)
There is a brand new online trend capturing millions of young people who want the world to hear their opinions.
‘Cut the Chat’ is an online TV chat show, which talks about everything from unemployment to health, sex, music and dating.
This new and exciting chat show even has Channel 4 bosses gripped by the idea. It is a platform for youths aged 16-30 from different ethnicities and backgrounds to discuss issues ignored by other talk shows in a humorous and honest way.
Femi Oyeniran and Damon the Barber are co-producers of the show and were inspired after participating in a youth project. As a group the concept of the show was formed leading them to film their first show starring Eddie Kadi which aired on 1st January 2009.
It has now evolved into live shows at the Roundhouse and a one time special session at Tate Britain. Musicians like Donaeo have guest starred sharing valuable advice on how to make it in the music industry. Other guest appearances include Ed Sheeran, Kojo, Adam Deacon and Lioness.
The show consists of five hosts who all bring a touch of their own personalities to the episodes, Femi Oyeniran, Damon the Barber, DJ Ace, Little Man and Hannah.
So what makes this chat show different to any other TV chat show, Femi explains, “It’s a chat show aimed at young people. There is nothing like it out there online or on TV and the Head of Diversity at Channel 4 agrees with me in that regard. There might be people out there who want to copy what we do, but for now we are one of a kind”.
Cut the Chat is at a whole new level from the typical day time TV shows. Viewers can interact with the cast, by commenting on episodes and signing up to the forum. Anyone can get involved by messaging the team with your thoughts and ideas, gaining real constructive responses.
A truly uncensored, straight to the point forum where even controversial issue, such as last years riots can be debated in an open and non-judgemental approach. Femi adds, “We hope to build a legacy of a format site that speaks to young people and grows and grows for years to come”
Be a part of a fast growing entertaining online community by visiting Cut the Chat at www.cutthechat.com. You can also be the first to add your comments to Little Mans hilarious episode ‘The Art of Masturbation’. Catch the team on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
(Image obtained from: barberstyle.com via google images)
If live entertainment and the chance to see some of the biggest performers in the game is your swag, then you need a bit of ‘The Sunday Show’ in your life.
Bringing a mix of music and comedy every Sunday at London’s Leicester Square since 2007, the show has no means of slowing down. Marvyn Harrison, entertainment promoter and host has had the pleasure of introducing well-known artists such as 112, Ryan Leslie, Omarion and Blackstreet.
The Sunday Show is different to the typical stand ups you see. It is a lifeline for emerging and established talent to perform side by side. Marvyn says, “I really wanted to break new talent and be involved in the life cycle of an artist, whilst adding value to a generation of music fans”. It is what motivated him to start a show that is aimed at supporting up and coming UK artists.
This summer the show is headlining French Montana at Proud2 and the O2 Arena in July. So how did such a small scale show develop into a household name? Marvyn explains, “Starting off was difficult, especially building contacts and being taken seriously. But to become a good promoter it’s all about networking, having a great concept and having well grounded ethics, in order to succeed”.
Looking into the future, the show plans to take its weekly stage performances to arena gigs, TV and radio shows as well as inviting even bigger UK and international acts.
You can catch all the latest news on music, comedy and films on The Sunday Show blog, and gain access to view exclusive interviews and new music videos.
The Sunday Show is more than just an entertainment station. They offer music lovers the opportunity to join one of their internship programmes, designed specifically for destined writers, bloggers, photographers, events staff or music managers.
For up and coming events visit: http://www.sundayshowtv.com/
(Image obtained from: sundayshowtv.com via google images.)