Daily life

2014 in Review – A BIG Thank You!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

I just want to say a very BIG Thank You to everyone who has visited, enjoyed and has gained something from my blog this year. You’ve all been great! 🙂
I hope you all have an awesome New Year filled with love, happiness and hope.

In sha’ Allah, I will be back in 2015 with more fresher content, which I’m sure everyone will be able to benefit from.
See ya then!

Until then…

Najmah

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,000 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 17 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Daily life, Festive, Religion

It’s Halloween…

Hey hey! 🙂

Halloween is just around the corner now and many of you will have planned parties or have been invited out by friends to celebrate – by dressing up in different/odd/strange costumes imaginable, to party till late or even trick-or-treating; but as I’m a Muslim, I don’t celebrate it. So I’ll be settling down to watch one of many movies. Sounds boring, you’re probably thinking, but it is not at all boring because I absolutely LOVE watching horror movies! This has become a tradition for me of some sorts.

Even though I don’t celebrate it, I decided to blog and share with you guys these five halloween movies which I have watched and enjoyed.


 Halloween  (1978)

Halloween_cover


The Shining
The Shining


Ringu (Japanese Version)


World War Z


Sleepy Hollow


If you are celebrating Halloween completely different this year than the norm, I would love to know so do leave a comment.

And if you do decide to watch any of these movies from above, or if you have seen them already; let me know what you thought about them.

Until next time…

Najmah

Daily life, Quote of the day

Quote of the Day

Hey hey!

Here was the situation this morning; I woke up to find it pouring down with rain (what else can be expected from the British weather!) The first thought I had was I don’t want to get up I would rather stay here in my warm bed; it’s going to be a horrible day. I’m sure many of you have felt like this at some point in your lives – whether going to school or to work.

So I had a dentist appointment today and I hate, absolutely HATE going to the dentists, I have a serious bout of dental phobia. I was going to make up an excuse and reschedule it for another day. But then I realised, why was I making the weather an obstacle for myself. It wasn’t going harm me, just get me a little wet which an umbrella could sort out; so I went and I hated it but the important point is that I didn’t make any changes to my plans and got everything done.

Would you let an opportunity slip by? Lets say you had an interview, which could either make or break your career, would you give it a miss just because it was raining?

I wouldn’t!

Until next time…

Najmah

Interview, Profile

Interview: Catherine Hancock – Freelance Multimedia Reporter at Worksop Guardian Newspaper

Catherine Hancock

Going from working part-time at Costa Coffee to finally getting her dream job in journalism. Catherine Hancock reveals all how she became to be the Freelance Multimedia Reporter at the Worksop Guardian Newspaper and emphasises the importance of having a blog.

Tell us a bit about yourself, your background. 

I’m 23-years-old and I’ve lived in Nottingham all my life.

I have always wanted to write in one way or another. I think it runs in the family because my dad is a writer!

As a child I never really had any confidence in my ability at school. For example I had to take my maths GCSE a whole FIVE times!

Maths wasn’t for me, but I always did well in English. Despite this, after school I decided to go onto college and study English Language, Geography and Media.

At the time, I kind of tried to push the idea of Uni to the back of my head, because I knew I wanted to go, but I wasn’t sure I would get the grades I needed to get in. I applied to go to Uni anyway and I went to the University of Chester to study a journalism degree.

They were truly the best three years of my life. I did work experience at the Liverpool Echo and Chester Chronicle whilst I was there.

When I graduated, I moved back home and thought it wouldn’t be too long to find a journalism job.

I was wrong. The first problem was that my degree wasn’t accredited by the NCTJ so, I decided to teach them myself from home because it was the cheapest option.

Then I was told I wasn’t experienced enough, so I spent over a year doing various free work for companies such as the Nottingham Post, Leicester Mercury, Wannabe Hacks, Journograds and the Newark Advertiser.

I did all this whilst working part-time at Costa Coffee and studying.

I eventually got to my dream job though.

What one word would you use to describe yourself?

Driven (I was going to say determined but I think that can sound a bit aggressive sometimes).

How did you keep yourself motivated, when you were faced with rejections?

I have always wanted to be a journalist so there was no chance of me ever giving up because there is nothing else I want to do.

I’m a Taurus so can be quite stubborn sometimes!

After job rejections I would always get feedback on the interviews which helped a lot.

I carried on writing and kept getting work published, which gave me the confidence that I could write and everything is about timing.

If you’re not ready then it won’t happen.

Tell us about your current job? 

I’m a full time freelance multimedia reporter at a weekly newspaper called the Worksop Guardian, which is owned by Johnston Press.

I write all kinds of stories from charity events, court stories to council stories.

I don’t just write stories though, I have to make videos, update the website frequently, update the social media sites and occasionally have to do the odd review!

What do you like most about your job?, What do you like least?

There is a lot I love about my job and I could go on forever, but I won’t!

I love going out and meeting all different types of people.

It’s just the best feeling in the world, talking to people who you wouldn’t perhaps get the chance to talk to in everyday life.

There is also no better feeling than seeing the end product when the newspaper comes out and seeing your name in print, I’m not sure that feeling will get old anytime soon.

Oh and the occasional freebie too – I’m off on a press trip to Poland in a couple of weeks time!

I least like the fact that I’m freelance. Even though I work full time like everyone else, you don’t get the same benefits or security as the fully employed people.

Unfortunately more and more reporters are being employed as freelance these days because it tends to be cheaper – but I’m just so pleased I have a job.

What has been the happiest day of your life?

The happiest day of my life was graduating.

I graduated in Chester Cathedral on Halloween and it was incredible.

It was so nice to celebrate everyone’s achievements together with their family and friends.

I never thought I would graduate or get a degree, so it was an emotional day and one that I will never forget.

What do you hope to achieve in the next 5 years?

Naive me would say in five years time I would love to be working at a national, but I think that is probably more of a ten year dream.

The next best thing would be working at a daily newspaper in a big city like Manchester (I’m not sure I could ever afford London).

What would you advise someone who is wanting to embark on becoming a journalist?

First an foremost get two of the most important things you need to be a journalist – the NCTJs and a driving licence.

If you look at job descriptions for trainee journalists it is so rare for companies not to mention that candidates should have their NCTJs.

If it isn’t on the job description they will more than likely bring it up in the interview.

The NCTJ exams show that you can write a court story that is legally safe, you understand how the government and local councils work and that you can write news stories up to the standard of a journalist.

Driving speaks for itself. As a journalist you need to be able to get out of the office at the drop of a hat.

If you have both of these things and a bit of experience, then I don’t see why someone can’t at least get a job interview.

Get as much work experience as you can. Do it once a week at the same newspaper, if you can.

This way you familiarise yourself with the team, get the chance to build up great contacts and you will get to hear of any vacancies that may arise in the company before everyone else.

I think weeklies are a good training ground because the teams are smaller and there is less chance of you being forgotten about.

During your work experience make sure you have a good at everything and not just writing for the newspaper.

Have a go at making a video, updating the website and social media sites.

Also get a blog! I cannot stress enough how important having a blog is for someone who wants a career in journalism.

I didn’t have a blog until about a year ago, I thought they were a bit pointless.

This changed when I went for an interview at the Nottingham Post and the editor told me I needed to get a blog and update it regularly, because that is what my competition was doing.

I took his advice and have never looked back since.

It has given me a lot of different opportunities. So PLEASE get a blog!

Catherine Hancock is a writer, blogger and a journalist. You can follow her on Twitter @catherineha1991 and Instagram @catherinehancock91. Her blog can be found on catherinescolumn.com.

Daily life, Quote of the day

Quote of the Day: Friendship

Hey hey!

It will be a quick post about friendship today. I’ve just had a lovely dinner out with my friends from work tonight and it just made me think about how important my friends are to me. I’m sure you all would agree; without any friends, life would become quite lonely really, a very boring place.

Here are some of my favourite quotes about friendship, I’d like to share!

A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.
― Elbert Hubbard

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.’
― C.S. Lewis

If you have good friends, no matter how much life is sucking , they can make you laugh.
― P.C. Cast

So ask yourself, how important are your friends to you?

Najmah

Book Reviews, Reviews

Book Review: The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

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I used to be able to finish one to two books a day. Nowadays due to work and other responsibilities I’m not able to read as much as I would love to. So when I saw this book at the library, I just picked it up thinking it would be something different to what I usually go for. I had no idea who the author was, I just skimmed through the blurb and contemplated whether I really would be able to get into a typical dry love story like this.

The blurb went like this: ‘When the Countess Ellen Olenska returns from Europe, fleeing her brutish husband, her rebellious independence and passionate awareness of life stir the educated sensitivity of Newland Archer, already engaged to be married to the Countess’s cousin May Welland, “that terrifying product of the social system he belonged to and believed in, the young girl who knew nothing and expected everything.” As the drama unfolds, Edith Wharton’s sharp ironic wit and Jamesian mastery of form create a disturbingly accurate picture of men and women caught in a society that denies humanity while desperately defending “civilisation”.’

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton is not your typical love triangle, so you will not enjoy it if you’re expecting a cute, happy story. I was pleasantly surprised and right from the onset I became engrossed, I just couldn’t put the book down.


Based in upper-class New York City in the 1870s, in a society where people “dreaded scandal more than disease.” In ways still relevant and relatable today. Before I go on, I have to mention that reading about New York City reminded me of Gossip Girl, it used to be my favourite show and this book was actually mentioned in the show. Back to the story, we are introduced into Newland Archer’s world, who is seemingly happily engaged to the traditional May Welland. But his world soon turns upside down, when the mysterious Countess Ellen Olenska (who is also May’s cousin) returns back to New York from Europe, after a unhappy marriage. Ellen is complete opposite to May; unconventional and emotional and Archer falls deeply in love with her. Yearning for the freedom to be with her makes him question the society they live in. Ultimately Archer has to make a decision that will fulfil his life or destroy it.


I have to applaud Wharton’s writing; she has perfectly portrayed Archer’s inner turmoil and struggles between his desire to be with Countess Ellen Olenska, which he can only dream of and his duty towards his wife. I actually began to empathise with his character, in some parts actively hoping/wishing he would leave May and go to Ellen. It made me think about the society we live in, where if there was someone stuck in the same position as Archer today; I don’t think he/she would think twice or make the sacrifice at all – he/she would leave the person and be with the one they love. I guess times have changed a lot!


During the course of reading the book, I discovered there was a film adaptation of the book made in 1993, starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer and Winona Ryder. I don’t know why I didn’t just google it at the beginning but good thing I didn’t, it is always best to read the book first. So I still need to watch it, which should be great!


This book had pretty much taken over my life for the last month, so finding another book just as good as this will not be easy. Overall, I really enjoyed reading The Age of Innocence, Wharton’s writing kept me gripped and interested all the way through. I would recommend anyone to give it a try and you’ll be surprised like I was.