Remembering our Wedding day…

9th March, 2000 – our church wedding day in Manila, Philippines. It was our second wedding actually as we got married in civil ceremony in London in July 1999. We really planned our wedding in Manila as my family and relatives were mostly there. My relatives and friends came all the way from USA, Germany, Canada, UK, Cebu, Pangasinan. It was indeed a grand reunion of people closest to our hearts. Garry’s brother, Bob, came from London. That’s his first time in Asia and he had a blast.

I remember flying to Philippines twice in three months whilst planning our church wedding. I even spent Christmas with my family there and had a brilliant time. I don’t know how I managed to put an international entourage. All my best friends from childhood who are now in America, to High School, to College, were there. Out priest was the brother of my High School bestfriend. It was so special. But I guess when you know you have found the right person you want to be with for the rest of your life, suddenly everything seems to be easy.

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I was a beautiful bride, if I may say so. Ehem! Haha  My good friends made me look so beautiful in that beaded Indian silk gown, designed by my lovely friend. My make-up was just perfect as it wasn’t too dark, and it was very appropriate for a blooming bride.

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My parents were still around during our wedding day. My dad passed away in 2003, three years after my wedding. My Mommy passed away in 2012. Mommy was able to visit us in the UK, when I was due to give birth. She was able to enjoy her granddaughter, who was born in 2002.

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To my super loving husband who made me feel special all these years, I love you. I have no regrets after 16 years of being married to you. No one can ever replace you in my heart. Most of all, we were blessed with a beautiful daughter.

Happy 16th Wedding Anniversary, Garry!  ❤

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Remembering my Mum on Mother’s Day…

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Missing you everyday, Mommy.  I am very proud to be your daughter.  Rest in Peace. xxx

FitSteps fun…

I’m very proud of my FitSteppers. I have the best ones in class and they are all really lovely. Thank you so much everyone. I’m loving every moment teaching you FitSteps. Some routines can be challenging but they are all good. So keeeeeeep dancing! 😀

My classes are every Wednesday at 7:15pm, and every Friday at 11am, Brickhill Community Centre, Avon Crive, Bedford. See you there! 😀

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FitSteps FAB is coming…

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New Year started with a bang! FitSteps training with the pros, Ian Waite and Natalie Lowe!  What more can I ask for? I had a great time learning the new FitSteps FAB that will be launched in March 2016.

FitSteps dance, not part of creative arts?

I was embarrassed when I advertised my Dance FitSteps on Creative Bedfordshire group on Facebook as I ended up asking myself, ‘FitSteps is not creative?’ The moment my Ad was posted, someone said that dance fitness is not part of creative arts, and that FitSteps has got no cultural potential or possibilities.

I was shocked by that reply that FitSteps is not part of creative arts. First, it’s obviously a dance fitness. It is a ballroom and Latin dance based dance workout. Dance is a major form of creative arts as it is self-expression, not just merely doing movements. It’s common knowledge that dance is part of creative arts, so as drama, so as singing.

This group did not specify what kind of creative arts they are talking about. You probably meant – crafts, pottery, painting, etc – but they were not even mentioned in the description. You need to be specific so you don’t mislead people.

Cultural potential/possibilities. Ok, let’s see. FitSteps is based on ballroom and Latin dance. Now when you hear Latin, that is not obviously of English heritage. So there is culture already just from the word LATIN. All ballroom dance came from different parts of the world. Tango originated from Argentina, Rumba originated from Cuba, Salsa originated from New York with strong influences from Latin America, Waltz originated from Vienna, Quickstep was actually danced first in the Caribbean before developed in New York, Jive originated from African-Americans in the USA, etc etc etc. So do not even start with me about cultural opportunities when it comes to dance. My Italian friends’ son is based now in Canada as a Principal dancer in the Canadian Ballet Company. I came to Europe because of my dancing/singing/acting ability, hired all the way from Philippines to do a musical, so do not even underestimate dance per se not being creative enough. All forms of dances are creative arts whether ballet, modern, contemporary, hip hop, tap, ballroom, FitSteps, Zumba.

Maybe you just need a better exposure to improve your ignorance about creative arts.

 

Open letter to Open Mic UK

I have been observing Open Mic UK singing competition since my student, Elise De Wit, made it to the Grand Finals of Open Mic 2013 in Birmingham, without fighting for a position through wildcard voting. I have raised eyebrows so many times in this competition esp when I see people getting through to the next round, with no voice, who sing flat, no performance, no personality, except a guitar or a piano, and the judges would always say, ‘we want them to perform as it is not just about the singing.’

This year, I had two students in the 16 below category, and they both sang brilliantly in the Regional finals. Michael Cotter is only 14 years old and the only boy who sang amazingly in that category, and didn’t get through to the Area finals. His version of Sia’s ‘Chandelier’ gave a lot of people goosebumps as his voice was flawless. Ok not the pop voice but no one his age has ever done such style. Unfortunately, the judges didn’t see that at all. Even the presenter himself, gave an amazing comment to Michael. Having all men panel of judges didn’t see that at all. But what really annoyed me was seeing like four people who didn’t deserve to get through. One sang ‘Quiet’ from Matilda musical, totally flat, out of tune and got through? And I was right as when I saw the same kid during the Area finals, she was absolutely out of tune! I was so furious that she got through and Michael didn’t! What were you thinking judges? One played ukelele, whispered, and got through? Geeeez!

Now my other student, Mea Ellease, was absolutely nervous during the Regional finals. That’s for sure. She fought back when she won the wildcard voting. She sang ‘Love You I Do’ by Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls). Now if the judges were fair enough to notice that massive change in her performance and amazing rendition, and self-confidence, she would have gotten a place at the Grand Finals which was totally well deserved.  Yes, I understand about what you’re looking for, a style. What style? Whining? Play guitar and scream at the microphone? Is that what singing is to you? No control, no performance, nothing! You should have at least acknowledged the change in Mea. That girl who sang Ariana Grande’s ‘One Last Time’, she was horrendous! She couldn’t hit any of the high notes, cracking, and looked liked she was going to bed with that denim long sleeved shirt. What were you thinking?  Oh yes, she was giving the performance, but can’t SING!

I will no longer let my students join this competition as it is obvious that there is something political going on with your judging. Absolutely disgusted by what I have witnessed.

Your wildcard voting charges £1 per text, XFactor charges 35p. And lastly, get a female judge in the panel.

 

My FitSteps journey…

FITSTEPS, a dance exercise based on ballroom and latin dance. Ian Waite and Natalie Lowe of STRICTLY COME DANCING started this dance workout. Ballroom has been a favourite in the UK and everyone just loves FitSteps. I am a massive fan of ballroom dancing. Since I was a child, I was exposed to this style as my Mom, uncles and aunties, cousins, knew Cha Cha, Salsa, Tango. I learned the basics from them. So when I heard about FitSteps, I went to do a class and tried this dance workout. I totally loved it!

I passed my instructor’s training two months ago and now I am ready to start my classes. After learning the routines, I finally found the right venues for my classes. I am so excited to teach it!

I have covered Aerobics classes when I was in my early 20s, but I never really enjoyed it that time as my first love was to perform on stage. My focus that time was to be on stage, and not to teach. Who wants to teach when you’re very young. Of course, you want to explore and do better. But now that I have found my love in teaching, since I became a mother, I am having an amazing time. I guess as we age, we change too. I had to give up performing to be there for my  daughter. I didn’t want to be like those mothers who see their kids one hour a day or just on weekends because they’re  on tour with a show. NO! I am happy to be free from doing 8 shows a week. Doing that for many years made my brain dead. I became a changed person since being free from the theatre world. I still love to sing once in a while but not to do it full time.

My FitSteps is going to be fantastic! I am very passionate about it.

So my friends and to all ballroom and latin dance lovers, please come to me FitSteps dance workout.

My FitSteps Classes in Bedford:

Wednesday at 7:15pm – 8:15pm  and  Friday at 11am – 12pm, Brickhill Community Centre, Avon Drive, Bedford, Bedfordshire.

See you there!

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RACE FOR LIFE 2015

My first time to join RACE FOR LIFE this year and it was amazing! I ran 5K and I had the most wonderful time. Meeting people fighting cancer, people who lost their loved ones with cancer, and people simply supporting Cancer Research UK. Thank you to all my amazing friends who sponsored me. I raised £115 in total. I exceeded my target which was £100. Great day indeed! xx

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That’s what friends are for?

I have questioned the definition of ‘FRIENDSHIP’ since I have been treated unfairly, used for their own convenience, been talked about unjustly, and been bossed around constantly.

I am not perfect myself. I made a lot of mistakes in my life. Pleasing wrong people was one of my mistakes. I used to tolerate how they made me feel but then I’ve learned to fight. I’ve learned how to defend myself. I remember posting this Four Phantoms with Nicole Scherzinger on Facebook singing at the Royal Variety Show here in the UK, the next thing I knew, I was being belittled by an old colleague for appreciating it. That these celebrities are taking away theatre jobs from trained musical people. Yep, and I’m the one with a ‘small mind’?

I made myself proud the moment I stood up for myself after being trapped in a ‘one way friendship’ for years and from being looked down on by someone who always thought of herself ‘superior’. All these years I never felt inspired by her. Every time I called her, there were no praises or sympathy for me whether good or bad news. My husband always warned me about her, but I never listened and kept pleasing her instead.

True FRIENDS support each other, happy for each other. You don’t stab them in the back.

I knew I was not really being considered their friends when my daughter was not asked by her godmothers to be a flower girl. I was hurt by that snobbish gesture. Yes, I felt that we’re not friends at all because friends don’t do that. I felt that my daughter was not good enough for them. But we still went to that wedding even if it was kinda expensive for us. We paid for the present we were asked to sponsor. We were there to wish the couple. I still kept good friendship with them after that. Forgiveness is always practiced in my heart. Whenever they needed shelter in the UK whilst doing a show, they were welcome in my house. I still treated them nice.

I worked so hard to be good in what I do now. People trust and respect me in Bedford. I’m so proud of what I have achieved outside the performing world. I’m proud of doing fitness too, exercising to look after my health, not for vanity. I have a beautiful man who looks at me everyday like I’m the most beautiful woman in the world, who compliments me a lot, who shows his love unconditionally, and interesting to talk to. I have an intelligent and talented daughter. I love being in England. What more can I ask for?

I am not blaming social networks for falling out with a friend. Reconnecting with people you haven’t seen for many years is the hardest thing to do, but in this day and age we have the social networks that make it so easy to send messages to anyone. Scary to be honest. Everything in writing, less talking. And it allowed everybody to cross the line and DISRESPECT others. No matter how good your intention is, it will always be misinterpreted in writing. Sending a prayer is not considered a ‘chain letter’. A chain letter is something with a threat in the end if you don’t forward it to someone, but a prayer is a prayer. And even if you’re not religious to appreciate it, someone remembered you and prayed for you, and it doesn’t require a RUDE reply! If you treat your friend a friend, respect them, be kind with your words, inspire and support them.

The worst for me was finding out that my FULL name, Viven Mercado Noakes, was mentioned on her status, without me knowing it. Thanks to a few concerned friends who told me about it. You guys are my real friends. If she can do it to me, even as godmother of her daughter, then she can do it to anyone, remember that. She knew I have already removed her, so why do such thing to hurt me? Of course, to let the public know that I am the bad person and for her to get sympathy from people who dislike me. Their comments were viewed by thousands of people. You call them friends?

In this case, I’m not proud to have worked with such people.

I rest my case.

Goodbye Mum Jean…

 

Exactly one month after Grandad Ray left us, our beloved Mum/Nanny Jean joined him in heaven.

It was a lovely send off for Mum Jean last 4th December 2014 at the Breakspear Crematorium in Ruislip. Very simple but meaningful.
Thank you to all the relatives of Mum, who flew all the way from Ireland, travelled from Linconshire, and friends from London. So lovely to see you all.

Once again, we would like to thank all our friends who sent their condolences (for the second time), through my facebook posts, emails, text messages and cards. Reading your kind and inspiring words in times like this surely gave us more strength, love and light, knowing that we have such good friends around us. May you all continue to be a blessing to others and receive more blessings that you deserve. THANK YOU!

Mum, thank you for being such a loving mother-in-law. You have been my second mother for the last 16 years and I truly felt your care. Alyanna will miss her sweet and always fun to be with Nanny. She didn’t expect you to join Grandad so soon as she’s so looking forward to spending time with you this Christmas. Thank you for loving your only ‘apo’ so much.
Bob and Garry are very lucky to have you as their mother. You raised them both with so much love, care, and respect for you, and I have seen that. Your boys love you very much. Thank you Mum for everything. Rest in Peace.

Eternal rest grant unto Jean Banes’ soul O Lord,
And let your perpetual light shine upon her.
May her soul rest in peace.

We lift up to you O Lord our grief and sorrow, confident that you will change our mourning to rejoicing that our beloved Jean now rests in your peace. Amen

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