December 19, 2017


Queen Victoria, perhaps England’s most interesting monarch, lead an extraordinary life throughout her remarkable reign that began at eighteen and ended sixty-three years later, in an era that was constantly changing. Widowed at 42 when her beloved Albert died, Victoria went into deep mourning and at her death, it was said that the sun never set on the British Empire.

An amazing true story has come to light relating to a period in the latter part of Queen Victoria’s life and is now the subject of a delightful film. “Victoria & Abdul” explores the roles of companionship and loyalty in the relationship between Her Majesty and Abdul Karim, a young clerk, who travels from India to participate in the Queen’s Golden Jubilee and, much to his surprise, finds favour with the Queen herself. As the Queen questions the constrictions of her long-held position, the two forge an unlikely and devoted alliance with a loyalty to one another that the Queen’s inner circle attempts to destroy.

victoria and abdul

As the friendship deepens, the Queen begins to see a changing world through new eyes and joyfully reclaims her humanity. The film is a charming portrayal of one of histories most unlikely friendships and beautifully depicts an unusual bond between two people from opposite worlds.

Directed by Stephen Frears, this emotional film stars the glorious Academy Award® winner Judi Dench and Ali Fazal in the title roles, with excellent performances from Eddie Izzard, Addel Akhtar and Michael Gambon.

Running for 1hr 52 mins, “Victoria & Abdul” is now available on Blu-rayTM, DVD & Digital

Sandra Tiltman



August 5, 2016


Sandra Tillman at Festival announcement

Sandra Tillman at Festival announcement

One of the most significant showcases of Indian arts and culture ever staged in Australia will be taking place between August and November 2016. From the classical to the contemporary and involving world class performers, the Confluence Festival of India will enthrall audiences in seven cities, promoting cultural bonds, tourism and business opportunities between Australia and India.

DSC09670 (1)The festival will begin in Sydney on 17 August with performances by India’s best-loved Odissi dancer, Sujata Mohapatra, followed by “The Wedding Album”, a contemporary Indian play performed in English, on 3 September.

Collaboration with Australian artists is a key component of the Festival, such as a joint performance by the Indian spiritual music group Sonam Kaira & The Sufi Gospel Project and Australian musician Ashlee Clement along with a didgeridoo player.

No event featuring India and Australia would be complete without cricket. Cricket Connections is a multimedia narration of the unique thread that binds the two nations.

The Bollywood Workshop is sure to be a popular event amongst dance enthusiasts

Festival events will also occur in Adelaide, Alice Springs, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne and Perth. See http://www.confluencefoi.com

Sandra Tiltman     Photos: John Pond


June 1, 2013

24 Karat Gold Afternoon Tea 2 medOne of the highlights of a visit to London is enjoying an elegant Afternoon Tea in beautiful surroundings and now one of London’s finest hotels, 51 Buckingham Gate, Taj Suites and Residences is offering what could possibly be the most memorable afternoon tea ever.

With Luxor Champagne, the hotel has created a 24 Carat Gold Afternoon Tea, which includes edible gold.  Afternoon Tea aficionados can expect a dining experience of unparalleled opulence.

51 Buckingham Gate, Taj Suites and Residences is a five star hotel which exudes luxury in prestigious surroundings.  Conveniently located just minutes away from Buckingham Palace, the hotel is close to many of the attractions that Australian’s travel half way around the world to see, such as the famous shopping areas of Bond and Oxford Streets, Mayfair, the West End theatres and St James’s Park.

The 24 Carat Gold Afternoon Tea includes a Gold Leaf Jelly, White Chocolate Delight with Gold Leaf and Strawberry Tart with Gold Flakes and is accompanied by a selection of scones and delicate finger sandwiches.  Inspired by Luxor, Executive Chef Vikas Milhoutra, has created a series of decadent delights, also made with edible gold.

27652059-H1-51 Entrance RHS High (2)The afternoon tea features a half bottle of Luxor Pure Gold 24K Brut Champagne, which includes flakes of 24 Carat Gold and is one of the world’s most prestigious and rare sparkling wines.  Produced in the Champagne region, Luxor was created due to founder Jean-Christophe Rousseau’s fascination with gold, and his desire to marry one of the most coveted treasures in history with the most luxurious of drinks. This exclusive Brut is a blend of 90% Pinot Noir, 7% Chardonnay and 3% Pinot Meunier.

The 24 Carat Gold Afternoon Tea is available at an introductory price of £99 (AUD$154) for two.  Booking is required with a 24 hour notice.

If you are planning a visit to London, this sounds like an afternoon tea that is not to be missed, so make sure you leave some spare time on your itinerary.

51 Buckingham Gate consists of three individually designed buildings: Kings, Falconers and Minsters. The buildings have been beautifully restored and ’51’ now offers 86 elegant suites, each with their own separate kitchen and living area.  Why not spoil yourself and spend a few nights in this historic hotel.

Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces is part of the Tata Group, India’s premier business house.  For over a century, The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai, their iconic flagship has set a benchmark for fine living with exquisite refinement, inventiveness and warmth.    Sandra Tiltman