5 Things You Didn’t Know About Me

Hey everyone, me again. In the near future you may notice things change around my blog. For a while now I’ve wanted to work with other people and companies, I’ve wanted to incorporate lifestyle posts on my blog. Naturally, I don’t like to share what I’m doing in my life but I think this will be an interesting experiment for me. I’ve been inspired by a lovely friend of mine who I think is a fabulous blogger.

I decided that you guys don’t really know much about me so I would share 5 things about myself, I was hoping in return you could each share one thing about yourselves – but you don’t have to.

I went to Coventry University

I still think the best thing about the University was the tutors in the English department. The books I studied were not just by British writers and that is part of the reason I loved my degree. The lecturers were fantastic because they were passionate about what they were teaching and that really came across. Being at University was one of the first times in my life I actually had an inkling of what it would mean to be independent, I started to develop my personal identity, so my time at Coventry University was incredibly valuable.

I’m a Pasthun – so I can speak Pashto

Not that I would want to hide it, but it is more obvious to people that I am a Muslim than it is that I am a Pashtun. For the most part, I’ve always struggled with my culture because I’m never really known what it should mean to me or how it should sit within my identity. According to Wikipedia “Pashtuns make up the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan”, but my Mother was born in Pakistan and so was my Grandmother. I believe my Grandmother’s mother was also born in Pakistan but after my Great Grandmother I don’t know what my family tree looks like and my Mother was never told either.

As a bonus point: I can also understand Hindi and Urdi, I could possibly have a very broken conversation with someone in Hindi if I really had to. Watching all those Indian movies as a child really did pay off!

I’ve never had any alcohol

It’s not permissible in my religion to drink alcohol, so yes I’m basically one of the very few people in my profession who doesn’t drink. It’s a conversation that people are equal parts fascinated and horrified by. I really don’t care to drink either. I like being in control of my body, I don’t care to use alcohol as stress relief so I don’t see any upsides to having a glass of wine.

I learnt the dance…

I learnt the we’re all in this together dance from High School Musical and can actually still perform it – don’t even ask me why or how. I will always ship Troy and Gabrielle and there is nothing you can do about it. Zac Efron was the heart throb when I was a young teen, what else did you expect?


My middle name starts with J

…And unless I’m legally obliged to tell you my full name, I will never tell you my full name, ha. Oopsy, you can guess all you like I will neither confirm nor deny. I just really dislike my middle name, it’s so redundant because I never use it, I wish I could just remove it but I’d have to change my name by deed poll and nobody has time for that.

So, there you are. You know 5 things about me that you never knew before! Is there anything that you weren’t expecting? Did you know these things about me already?

Now it’s your turn to spill the beans, what’s one thing about you that many people don’t know!

Theatre Review: Amadeus At The National Theatre


Adam Gillen, left, as Mozart and Lucian Msamati as Salieri in Amadeus at the Olivier. Photograph: Marc Brenner

London is a big place and I most definitely have not explored it all, but one of my absolute favourite areas in London is the Southbank. I love walking next to the water, the London Eye always looks beautiful, there are a million things going on including the book tables and random performers – even the Houses of Parliament looks beautiful from afar. And then there is the beautiful National Theatre that of late, I believe, has been pushing boundaries and allowing its stage to demonstrate the diversity of our nation.

The last play I saw at the National Theatre was Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom which Lucian Msamati also performed in. Last year I saw Msamati perform the role of Iago in the Iqbal Khan’s RSC Othello and he outdid himself, and with all due respect to Hugh Quarshie, who played Othello, he outdid him too.

The Synopsis: Amadeus

Amadeus tells the story of the supposed rivalry between classic musicians Antonio Salieri and child prodigy Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The narrative is dictated to us in retrospect as an elderly Sallieri sits on stage in a wheelchair, bundled up in a robe. Even in his final moments, Salieri is jealous of the memories that remind him of the young and buoyant Mozart and is terribly troubled by his actions in Mozart’s untimely death at 35. Their relationship was filled with envy and deception and most of this hostility was driven by Salieri’s burning rage because child prodigy Mozart was simply better than he. Having devoted his entire life to God, the talented Mozart threatens the position and name Salieri has created for himself, the story develops as Salieri feels wronged by God for allowing Mozart to be talented in this way.

I didn’t know much about the story when I walked into the theatre. Initially I was excited but the monologue by Msamati felt long and because I didn’t understand the story I wasn’t invested in his character until much later. The staging was beautiful, simple enough but effective. I loved the involvement of the onstage orchestra within the show, their movements reiterated the actors’ actions. In one scene where Salieri strikes a bargain with God to live virtuously, the onstage orchestra bow their heads in silent prayer. I loved that the audience felt invested in the show, collectively we all laughed and clapped and at points towards the end of the play there were moments where I genuinely felt torn and emotional.

Mozart and Amadeus

For me, the most exciting, exhausting, but thrilling part of the play was to watch Adam Gillen as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Gillen’s role within this play is so demanding, complex and in your face I wonder how he doesn’t feel like he has run a marathon at the end of the show and I wonder if he will modify the role as the season progresses. Gillen’s role as a childish Mozart was in your face, unapologetic, a role that pushes the audience to decide whether the bad that is happening to the character is deserved or not. But this changes drastically in Act 2: Gillen’s character is burdened and we watch as he slowly crumbles. It was painful to watch this passionate genius be shunned and denied again and again. I felt helpless and I knew I was watching a play.

Similarly Msamati’s role as Salieri reminded me of his role at the RSC as Iago, both characters obsessed and emotionally complex. Maybe Salieri had a little more humanity in him than Iago. Msamati’s role starts off light-heartedly, but we see him develop and embrace a darkness from within, a rage and  jealousy that consumes him and Msamati played this role unashamedly, allowing the audience space to empathise with his battle of feeling mediocre but also to spite him for his actions.

I loved it all, but for me the two main characters made the show a phenomenon, this show is a must see. Mozart’s madness is mesmerising, forceful and sad. The 20-piece Southbank Sinfonia on stage as part was exciting, an experience you can’t get from being at the cinema or watching Netflix.

There is no need to miss out because Amadeus is being broadcast live to cinemas on 2 February 2017 (my birthday!) to over 680 screens in the UK as part of the excellent NT Live, so check your local listings on www.ntlive.com. You can also book your tickets here. 

Thank you to Theatre Bloggers and the National Theatre for the invite to review this play.

Q&A with Stealing Snow author Danielle Paige

Stealing Snow

Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige
Published by: Bloomsbury
Format: Paperback 
Source: Review copy, Buy on Waterstones, Book Depository 

Synopsis: First kisses sometimes wake slumbering princesses, undo spells, and spark happily ever afters. Mine broke Bale. Seventeen-year-old Snow has spent her life locked in Whittaker Psychiatric—but she isn’t crazy. And that’s not the worst of it. Her very first kiss proves anything but innocent…when Bale, her only love, turns violent.

Hey guys! I have a treat for you. I interviewed Stealing Snow author Danielle Paige about her new book Danielle Paige. I made sure every question I asked meant something and the wonderful Danielle answered thoughtfully. I also have an exclusive extract for you guys too! Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the tour too.

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I’m 23 year old. I feel like I need to state my age before I tell you: I’ve never been to the beach. So last weekend I thought, well I’m an adult and I’m allowed to make decisions about my life. So I bought a ticket to Brighton from London and got myself to Kings Cross station to start my journey out of London.

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I got a new job, moved to London and now I rent my own place


Hey team. How are you all? I’ve been a little absent on my blog for a while and that is down to a few key things. Big changes.

  • I moved cities, I’m now living in London – I still don’t know if this makes me a Londoner
  • I moved out of my family home for the first time in my entire life
  • I got a new job and it’s kind of a big deal

More on the job at a later date. As you can see, some of the biggest changes that we go through in life are listed above, short to getting married I have literally picked up my entire life and given it a new postcode.

It’s been a wonderful, stressful, brilliant experience. Unpacking boxes, shopping for ‘work clothes’, having to cook for myself (i’m a terrible cook), paying rent, getting lost on the tube almost every other day, being in a professional role with more responsibility and familiarising myself with my new location has all been overwhelming and exciting.

Before I moved to London, I was here all the time. I was here on weekends for events, the odd month or week internship, book launches, meeting with friends for coffees and now that I’m in London I feel like my entire relationship with the city has changed. I no longer rush to Euston station at the end of an event, or leg it for the last train, London is now my new home and this is daunting and glorious all at the same time.

My weekends are filled with trips around the Southbank, coffees with friends, exploring the area I live in, going to Museums or trips to Harrods where I gawk at the old style luxurious shopping experience and buy nothing because I cannot afford anything there. I have a whole city to explore on my mark, get set… go!

*This month I will be taking part in #Blogtober. Simply put, each day something new will appear on my blog, a poem, a short story, an essay, rants, things I do on the weekend or pictures I’ve taken as I explore London. That is my promise to you!

Book Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder by Marissa MeyerCinder by Marissa Meyer 
Published by: Puffin
Format: Paperback 
Source: Bought, Buy on Waterstones, Book Depository 
Goodreads: 4.14
Synopsis: Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

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Book review: A Court of Mist And Fury by Sarah J. Maas

a court of mist and furyA Court of Mist And Fury by Sarah J. Maas
Published by: Bloomsbury
Format: Paperback
Source: Borrowed, Buy on WaterstonesAmazon
Goodreads rating: 4.77

Synopsis: Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people. Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

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Book review: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
Published by: Bloomsbury
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought, Buy on Waterstones, Book Depository
Goodreads rating: 4.42

Synopsis: When a letter arrives for unhappy but ordinary Harry Potter, a decade-old secret is revealed to him that apparently he’s the last to know. His parents were wizards, killed by a Dark Lord’s curse when Harry was just a baby, and which he somehow survived. Leaving his unsympathetic aunt and uncle for Hogwarts, a wizarding school brimming with ghosts and enchantments, Harry stumbles upon a sinister mystery when he finds a three-headed dog guarding a room on the third floor. Then he hears of a missing stone with astonishing powers which could be valuable, dangerous – or both.

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Book review: I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

I Am Malala book coverI Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
Published by: Little Brown
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought, Buy on Waterstones, Book Depository
Goodreads rating: 4.03

Synopsis: When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education.

On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive.

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Storm Sisters Author Mintie Das Answers My Questions

Storm Sisters by Mintie DasStorm Sister by Mintie Das
Published by: Bastei Entertainment
Release date: 30th June 2016
Format: ebook
Source: Blogger copy, Buy on Amazon
Goodreads rating: 3.05

I had the amazing opportunity to ask Mintie Das the author of Storm Sisters some questions. I loved all her answers! This Q&A is about pirates, complex characters, violence against women, metaphors and freedom. 

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