Hey Sand Stars!

OK. Let me be brutally honest: I’m not very good at exercising. I enjoy it for a few weeks and then I get distracted by life.

Or…you know: CAKE…

Anyway, I was introduced to a new fitness craze called Speedflex (which originated in Dallas), which has its Middle Eastern headquarters is right here in Dubai. A typical session can range from 30 minutes and focusses on providing a high intensity, low impact cardio and resistance workout.

The machines used (you are guided by personal trainers who adapt the workouts to your individual needs) may look simple enough, but they are unique in that they make adjustments depending on how much force you apply. The coolest thing about the training regime is that you don’t feel muscle pain, the same way you would had you worked out intensively on your usual gym equipment! That means I could go straight into 6-inch-heels for a performance the very next day after training!

An induction session includes a health assessment so that you are aware of the areas in your body and overall health that needs work. Trainers work with you to reach your personal fitness goals; even in a session that could include about 8 people or more. Your fitness levels are monitored throughout the course of your training so you will be able to visualise your progress. Trust me, seeing your heart rate up on the screen is a real incentive to keep going!

I enjoyed my first session and- for someone who gets rather intimidated by fitness machines and training sessions -I could actually complete the training successfully in one piece and with a smile! Considering that the clientele ranges from 20-60 years old, I reckon anyone could reach the level of a Speedflex ambassador such as Alan Shearer (former England football captain).

The Speedflex Middle East headquarters is at the JA Ocean View Hotel in Dubai and the centre manager is the lovely Brit, Kayleigh Dawson, a 23-year-old enthusiastic and knowledgeable fitness enthusiast and former swimmer. For more on Speedflex and the training schedules, check out www.speedflex.com. There is a Ramadan promotion on now too, so don’t miss out on keeping healthy!

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First Stop on the Speedflex Train!

 

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Getting Summer Ready (and serious about my health) on the Speedflex System

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With Speedflex Centre Manager Kayleigh Dawson

 

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Hey Sand Stars!

In my line of work, I have to make sure that I’m on time: be it for meetings, performances, piano tuition or appearances. I’m not much of a watch wearer, but when it comes to work, I have to admit that I need a little bling on my wrist to keep me on schedule!

There are a number of watch brands that I love and Anne Klein is one of them. One of my current favourite models is part of a gift set. The watch is set in a rose-gold toned bracelet. The pearl-coloured dial subtly shines in the light and the piece is water resistant. The watch comes with three additional bracelets: one gold-toned bangle with white enamel filling; one gold-toned bangle with a clear, Swarovski crystal-accented centre piece, and one gold-toned chain bracelet.

The fabulous part is that you can wear the watch with the bracelets in various ways, or all pieces separately! The watch and its accompanying accessories are perfect for feminine, boho-chic looks like below:

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Photography by Pho-Tah. Watch & accessories by Anne Klein. Blouse by Meher & Riddhima.

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Watch Set by Anne Klein

The other Anne Klein timepiece that is on my list of favourite accessories, is a classic, elegant beauty with a black leather strap and a dial with Roman numerals. This watch means business! It’s perfect for corporate wear, but versatile enough to add a classic edge to an androgynous look like a baggy white shirt and skinny, ripped jeans.

Personally, I found that the watch can amp up a LBD- ideal for a busy day of meetings, teaching, performing and then dinner with the girls:

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Watch by Anne Klein

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If you’re in Dubai, check out Hour Choice stores to get your hands on Anne Klein watches.

M

xx

Hey Sand Stars

A recent collaboration with a watch brand has made me think about the concept of time.

We live our days like robots: Get up. Go to work. Come home. Sleep. Repeat. Often, we are so wrapped up in work projects, our family, partners or friends and life’s little (or big!!) issues that we forget to simply stop and focus.

It’s important to be present in each moment to give time its’ due: because not one minute is returned. One way to practise being more present is to do mindfulness meditation at least 2o minutes each day (OK, I only do 10 minutes; but that’s a start!) The aim is to meditate, using your breath as an anchor when thoughts or emotions and sensations in the body arise. Have a look here for more details: Mindfulness.

By being mindful and focussed on the ‘now’, we actually end up being more productive, less judgemental and more objective. This allows us to be more successful in our professions and stronger to deal with any situation, because we are not ‘feeding’ into heightened emotions like anger or sadness. Although one should allow and acknowledge the presence of emotions (such as the latter); mindfulness teaches us to be more observant of these emotions than allowing them to take over our sense of perspective.

There are a number of guided meditations that can be found on Youtube. I suggest you alternate and find the one that works best for you.

Let’s all try and be present for each moment in time; let nothing pass you by. Life is precious and every minute is a treasure.

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Photo: stacykeibler.com

 

 

 

Hey Sand Stars!

Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of dining onboard Bateaux Dubai; Dubai’s premiere dinner cruise experience, with two members of my team.

Bateaux Dubai was launched in 2004 and cruises along Dubai Creek, passing Dubai’s unique heritage sites such as the Grand Mosque and Dubai Museum. Run by JA Resorts & Hotels, the sight-seeing and dining experience is of a high standard and focuses on quality in terms of customer service and food. I was honoured to even have been asked to perform a few pieces on the onboard piano during the evening! 🙂

The cruise leaves at 8h30pm and returns to dock at 11pm sharp; I felt a bit like Cinderella having to return back to reality albeit a little earlier than midnight 😉

The food and general ambience was relaxed and not too formal, which is perfect for those of you who love getting dressed up and eating fine food but in a more personable atmosphere than the high end eateries in Dubai.

Have a look at some of the photos below (PS: the food is DELICIOUS- my favourites were the Roasted Beef Rossini, prepared for me sans alcohol and the Chocolate Fondant. There are delectable vegetarian options, too.)

To book a cruise: Bateaux Dubai or call +9714 814 5553.

 

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Canadian Lobster

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Roasted Beef Rossini

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Chocolate Fondant

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My team and I with the Chef De Cuisine onboard. All food is freshly prepared onboard the Bateaux Dubai.

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Tahmeed Omar (Pho-Tah) & Rahma Himid (Grace & Garbo)

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The magnificent view from the deck

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A very happy and satisfied Littlepianodiva 😉

Hey Sand Stars!

I hope everyone has been well. It’s with much excitement that I let you all know that my newest single ‘SpaceOut’ is now available! The track is under the name of my alter-ego ‘M’Queen’ 😉 She’s a lot cooler and sassier than I am 🙂

The trance/electronic piece was composed by myself and produced by Chris Rayner, one of Dubai’s leading DJs.

While I will still be playing chillout, classical-influenced piano, M’Queen will be releasing more dance-y music. Check in for more updates!

Currently, the track is available worldwide via iTunes, CD Baby, etc. See a few links below:

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/mqueen

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/spaceout-feat.-chris-rayner/id1080116824

 

Cover artwork by Rae and cover photo by Pho-TahSpaceOut Cover.jpg

 

Hey Sand Stars!

I hope everyone has been doing well and that 2016 has been amazing thus far. Events, performing and production work has already begun and I look forward to a busy 2016, God willing 🙂

One event I was recently invited to, by the Rivoli Group, was The Bride Show Dubai. One of the group’s brands, Balmain Swiss timepieces, was the official timekeeper of this bridal extravaganza and it was an honour to meet the Balmain team and learn a little more about one of my favourite watch brands.

As you know, the Balmain name is synonymous with edginess; structure and fine detailing and one can definitely see the amazing craftsmanship in its watches.

My favourites include the La Vela II (amongst many). All pieces are Swiss made, with the finest metals, diamonds & pearl finishes and many are water-resistant (YAY!) Pierre Balmain was renowned for his arabesque, ornate details and you’ll find this in many of the timepieces.

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In Dubai, check out Hour Choice stores for the finest Balmain watches.

Join the Balmain Army 😉

Live, Love & Laugh Littlepianodiva Style!

M

x

Hey Sand Stars,

Happy New Year! May 2016 be YOUR year; full of blessings and happiness 🙂

2015 was an insanely busy year and I look forward to sharing lots of cool music and other news with you soon.

In the meanwhile, I wanted to ask if anyone else is as excited as I am for awards season?! I’m a red-carpet-fashion lover and seriously looking forward to seeing what the ladies (and dapper gents) wear for the Golden Globes, SAGs and Oscars this year.

Because of the nature of my work and the need to look glam, I’m always looking to awards season for inspiration for my gigs. I love Meher & Riddhima for their feminine, elegant designs (they are a local, Dubai-based duo).

International designers I love wearing include Zuhair Murad, but there’s no need to stick to high-end designers to looking like a star. Many high-street stores stock stunning gowns and jumpsuits; the key is to check the fabric of the garment (make sure it’s of good and lasting quality) and the tailoring: the dress needs to fit well. It may even be an idea to get something custom-made, but- again -select strong, quality fabric that won’t crease easily and will fit you like a glove!

I look forward to seeing you all dress like superstars 😉 Tag me on Instagram.

Live, Love & Laugh Littlepianodiva Style!

M

x

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One of Meher & Riddhima’s beautiful formal gowns.