I always wanted to volunteer more when I was living in Dubai, I was so busy with work. When I left Dubai, I gave all of my art and craft supplies to START and got to know the charity quite well.

START hosts workshops for children with special needs including Autism and Down Syndrome. START’s programme aims to help children augment their critical thinking, problem solving and cognitive development. The workshops are taught by practicing artists who volunteer their time to create lesson plans and directly engage with the children. I love to paint, so volunteering seemed perfect to me.

On my latest trip to Dubai for Dove, I blocked off an afternoon to volunteering and it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. To combine my love of creativity with a great cause was amazing. The workshop was run out of the Jam Jar in Al Quoz.

If you’d like to volunteer or to get more information, you can go to www.STARTworld.org. Thank you so much to the team at START for having me that day.

So many of you may also know me as a TV and Radio presenter across Arabia, Asia and Australia. I am basically just one side of the brain. Whether it be the performing arts or the visual arts! Just don’t ask me to do math off the top of my head.

Here’s my work:

And a little about my broadcasting career:

Simone Heng is a Singapore-born Australian TV and radio presenter based between Perth, Dubai and Singapore. She can currently be heard on Mix 94.5 in Western Australia, part of the Southern Cross Austereo Network. At just 29, Simone has worked as a broadcaster in Australia, South East Asia and the Middle East. She has a loyal following in both Singapore and Dubai, the latter of which she is a household name in, having single-handedly parlayed a radio gig with the city’s number one station into a successful lifestyle brand extending over TV, radio, print and online mediums. A brand endorser for Dove in the Gulf and formerly Ponds Arabia, Simone was not only the only Australian product endorser in the Arab market but also the only East Asian female.

In 2008, Simone was discovered by Virgin Radio International and offered a package to move to Dubai and join their cosmopolitan line up. For over half a decade she produced, edited and hosted The Lowdown, the highest-rating English radio show in the lunchtime time belt on Dubai’s leading English radio station, 104.4 Virgin Radio. A seasoned TV presenter, working across Asia and Australia since 2005, within 8 weeks of moving to the UAE Simone successfully became the host of “Dubai 101″ on Dubai One TV, which she fronted for 2 seasons until the end of 2010 to audiences from Saudi Arabia to Morocco. By 2013, Simone was showing global audiences her favourite places in Dubai, handpicked by CNN to host on CNN International’s “CNN Go.”

She has interviewed personalities from the world of film, fashion, music and sport, across TV, radio and print, including: Naomi Campbell, Adriana Lima, Leona Lewis, Donna Karan, Gerard Butler, Kim, Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian, Lewis Hamilton, Mikka Hakkinen, Omar Sharif, Amitabh Bachchan, the Stereophonics, Dannii Minogue, John Rocha, Christopher Lambert, Nicole Scherzinger, Empire of the Sun, Catherine Malandrino, Christian Siriano, Westlife, INXS and many more.

Simone was nominated for the Personality of the Year award four years in a row in the 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 Best in Dubai Awards. In 2010 she was named the 18th hottest woman in radio according to a global poll on www.popcrunch.com. In 2012, 2011 and 2010 she was featured in the city’s list of the most influential professionals as part of the Ahlan! Hot 100. She was one of 6 best-dressed women chosen from the country by Chanel HQ in Paris to represent them as part of the global Chanel Numeros Prives and their Little Black Jacket exhibition, which toured the globe. In 2013, she was chosen as a judge of the Jaguar Style Stakes (fashions on the field) for the world’s most expensive horse race, The Dubai World Cup.

She was also the MC of choice for the launch of the world’s tallest hotel, The JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, where her flawless MC skills were displayed for a global audience, garnering her credits in international publications like The Hollywood Reporter and TheDailyMail.co.uk. She now flies between Singapore, Dubai and Australia to host various events for global brands.

Prior to her work in the Middle East, Simone was based between South East Asia and Western Australia for four years. She was made the first face of the Home Box Office network at just 22. From 2006 to 2008 Simone fronted HBO Asia’s movie show HBO Central with daily exposure to 300 million cable subscribers across the continent. In 2007 she became the first Asian face on Channel 9 Perth’s decade-long travel series “Postcards WA.”

Simone has a Communications and Cultural Studies degree from Curtin University in Australia (where she graduated in the course’s top 10%). A year-long scholarship at 17 to Switzerland means that in addition to understanding Mandarin, Simone can also speak German and Swiss.

More than just a pretty face, Simone is a fully rounded content creator for print, online, radio and TV, Simone can shoot with a Sony F3, Canon 7D and edit on Adobe Premiere. For radio she is trained on Dalet, Maestro and Master Controller software and can edit on Vox Pro and Cool Edit.

You can find out more at www.simoneheng.com

A few months ago, even before I moved back to Perth, an acquaintance of mine Buffi Jashanmal contacted me about the launch of her new book “Make It, Own It, Rock It.” Buffi is a woman after my own heart, with many passions and a love of TV. She was a contestant on Season 10 of “Project Runway” (crazy to think that show is a decade old)!

I was so happy when Buffi returned to Dubai and was promoting her love of DIY. I love that more and more people in the UAE community, promoting hand making amongst all that crazy consumerism.

I was recently back in Dubai for my Dove endorsement and stopped by Buffi’s book launch to chat and she kindly offered me a copy of this amazing book. It’s complete with patterns and directions for you to make, customise and style up your DIY dresses.

You can purchase a copy of Buffi’s book wherever in the world you are on Amazon here.

Lucky readers in the UAE can win a signed copy by completing the following steps:

1) Follow this blog on Pinterest.

2) Follow this blog on Instagram.

3) Follow this blog on Twitter.

4) Follow this blog on Facebook.

When you’ve done that, simply write your name and email in the comments section below. Competition closes on the 16th of March 2014.

C.Wonder launched in the Middle East. The Mall of Emirates store in Dubai is the very first C.Wonder store outside the United States. For my US readers, you’re probably quite familiar with the brand, but for those who aren’t it’s a wonderful fun brand. Think bright colours, bespoke monogram home accessories and layered jewellery.

I was asked to be a celebrity stylist at the event and it was my first time working one on one with VIP customers. I absolutely loved the interaction. The creator of C.Wonder, fashion billionaire, Chris Burch (yes, his famous sirname may be familiar to fashionistas) also flew over from New York for the launch and was a hugely charismatic character.

We had a wheel of wonder giving away prizes, lolly cart and styling sessions with me and fellow fashion blogger Teresa Karpinska. Check the fun below:

You can find out more about C.Wonder in Dubai by following them on Twitter and Facebook.

 

Before you start reading this post, I want you to press play on this video. I basically had this in my head for the couple of hours it took me to make this project. It’s a viral track introduced to me by none other than Riz Khan!

Now that’s out of the way let’s take a look at this awesome bag by BCBG which I found while getting fitted for the Emirates Woman Awards 2013.

Here is my version:

 

All you need to create this is: A sewing machine (or you can hand sew this), an envelope clutch to use as a pattern, sewing scissors, black felt, tailors chalk, white embroidery thread, black thread and an embroidery needle.

Begin by using the envelope clutch to trace your pattern:

I traced twice the shape of the body of the clutch to reinforce the felt:

From here pin the rectangular flap over the longer piece of felt and sew together:

From here, fold the clutch in half and sew the side seams. The great thing about felt is that you don’t need to hem or secure raw edges.

Now the fun part! Making the ears:

Cut them:

Mark and back stitch them:

Trace the fox face and back stitch as above:

Hand stitch the fox ears on:

Thanks so much to the amazing Mica Nelson for these pictures in Northbridge.

Watch: Marc Jacobs, Shorts from Polkadot Vintage Market Perth and top from Good Sammies in Subiaco.