Thursday, 27 February 2014

13 Questions with...Adele Silva

She played the role of Kelly Windsor in ITV Emmerdale from 1993. Since her final departure from the soap in 2011, she has done more television work as well as touring the UK with the theatre production 51 Shades of Maggie. She's also a proud supporter of Alzheimer's Society, a membership organisation, which works to improve the quality of life of people affected by dementia in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The new programme 'Dementia Friends' has been launched and she will be training to become a Dementia Friends Champion. People with dementia sometimes need a helping hand to go about their daily lives and feel included in their local community. Dementia Friends is giving people an understanding of dementia and the small things they can do that can make a difference to people living with dementia - from helping someone find the right bus to spreading the word about dementia. I got the chance to discuss this topic further. Here are 13 Questions with...Adele Silva!

1. Hello Adele! You’re a huge supporter of Alzheimer’s Society – please tell us a bit about this charity and its aims.
Adele: Alzheimer’s Society is the leading support and research charity for people living with dementia. They not only support people diagnosed with the condition but also their families and carers, too. There are 800,000 people with dementia in the UK,with numbers set to rise to one million by 2021, so it’ll affect us all in some way at some point in our lives so it’s vital that we fight dementia now. The Society has a fantastic network of local services which provide support and advice for people living with dementia. They also invest millions of pounds in research to improve treatment for people today, and search for a cure tomorrow.

2. What made you want to get involved with this particular charity?
Adele: It’s personally affected members of my family and I ignorantly thought dementia only affected ‘older’ people so I want to get the message out there to all age groups and make as many people as possible aware of the condition. Not many people know that there are as many as 17,000 people under the age of 65 living with dementia in the UK.

3. Do you have any top tips or fundraising ideas for anyone who wants to raise money for Alzheimer’s Society?
Adele: I’ve been fortunate enough to take part in a few game shows for Alzheimer’s Society, donating the prize money to help the charity, but you can also raise funds in a number of ways. Sign up to a run, climb a mountain or even host a bake sale and get your friends involved.  

4. Everyone hears about ‘dementia’. You, however, have already turned your understanding into action by becoming a Dementia Friend. Please outline what a Dementia Friend is and what they do?
Adele: Less than half of people feel they have a good understanding of dementia and yet 42 per cent of us know, or have known, someone affected by dementia. Dementia Friends is about giving more people an understanding of the condition and the small things that could make a difference to people living in their community. Being a Dementia Friend is about turning understanding into action. From giving a helping hand to someone struggling to find the right bus, to volunteering in your local community, to encouraging someone else to become a Dementia Friend, no action is too big or too small.  

Adele with Jamie Anderson 
training to be a Dementia Champion.
5. You will be visiting Alzheimer's Society soon to go on a training session to become a Dementia Friends Champion! (This is very inspiring!) Can you tell us a bit more about what a Dementia Friends Champion does and what made you want to train to become one?
Adele: A Dementia Friends Champion is a volunteer who encourages others to make a positive difference to people living with dementia in their community. They do this by giving them information about the personal impact of dementia, and what they can do to help. I’ve seen how members of my family with dementia have benefited from the kind actions of strangers so see it as a very worthy cause.

6. How would you encourage others to also get involved and become a Dementia Friend?
Adele: It’s not just about giving something back it’s also hugely rewarding. All you need to do is register to go on a Dementia Friend information session, which would only take about an hour of your time. As part of the session you will be asked to commit to taking action that will help make a difference to the life of someone with dementia. You could even go one step further and train to become a Dementia Friends Champion, like me, and deliver your own Dementia Friends sessions to your friends and family or in your local community.

7. You played Kelly in ITV Emmerdale for many years - would you ever consider returning to Emmerdale and reprising the role of Kelly?

Adele: I always say never say never. The character still has links to the village so it is a possibility but not at the moment.

8. Do you have any plans to return to British television any time soon?
Adele: Being a jobbing actress involves all aspects of stage and screen work so as long as I’m doing that I’m happy whether that’s theatre, television or film.

9. Last year, in 2013, you toured the UK with 51 Shades of Maggie. What made you want to become a stage actress?
Adele: It was a role that came up and with it being a one woman show it was a real challenge but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

10. Do you hope to continue doing theatre?
Adele: As long as I’m working, I’m happy playing different and challenging roles. If I get the chance to do that again on stage, keep them coming!

11. If you could invite three famous people/celebrities to a dinner party, who would they be and why?
Adele: Let's go with Roald Dahl as he was one of my favourite authors, David Walliams, an all-round entertainer, and Ellie Goulding for the music.

12. If you weren’t an actress, what would be your alternative career option?
Adele: Something to do with psychology – I’m interested in what makes people tick.

13. Do you have a message for everyone reading?
Adele: Sign up as a Dementia Friend or Champion! Go to and register.

Don't forget, you can learn more about Dementia Friends and how to become a Friend or even a Champion! Visit for more details on this amazing programme. You can also learn about other ways in which you can help by clicking here! It was great to interview Adele. Follow her on Twitter!

Thank you for reading!
- Adam 

Friday, 14 February 2014

13 Questions with...Sarah Harding

Photo credit to LOOK Magazine / Harry Johnson.

She's a British singer, song-writer, actress, model and dancer. She rose to fame in 2002 when she auditioned to be on the ITV series Popstars: The Rivals in front of a panel of celebrity judges, including Spice Girl Geri Halliwell. She was then crowned a winner and was to be part of British girl group, Girls Aloud for the next ten successful years. Since then, the band have achieved twenty consecutive top-ten singles (including four number!), six platinum studio albums (with two of them reaching number one on the UK charts) AND 5 BRIT Award nominations. 
During the band's break, she embarked on her acting career which included a role in St. Trinian's 2: The Legend Of Fitton's Gold. In 2012, she reunited with Girls Aloud and in 2013 they toured the UK to celebrate the band's tenth anniversary. She recently has become a supporter of Coming Home charity. Here are 13 Questions with...Sarah Harding!

Sarah showing her support at a recent
Coming Home charity event.
Photo credit to Girls Aloud Media.
1. Hello Sarah! So you're a supporter of the 'Coming Home' charity. Please tell us a bit about the charity and its aims. 
Sarah: The charity is aiming to raise money to fund rehousing and resettlement of our brave boys who've returned from war, particularly Afghanistan. The funds assist with adapting houses to suit wounded servicemen and women as well as offering general housing advice. They also provide shared ownership schemes to assist financially with the purchase of a house.

2. What made you want to get involved in this charity?
Sarah: Why wouldn’t I?! Our Armed Forces protect us and risk their lives to keep us safe. I am in a privileged position because of my profile to raise awareness of this charity. Men and women are returning from Afghanistan badly wounded because of the type of warfare they encounter so it's my honour to help.

3. Specially adapted homes cost £150,000 to £300,000, depending on location. How would you encourage people to get involved with this charity?
Sarah: They could organise a fundraising event, or there are a number of ways to donate, either through the website or buying the Coming Home weekly lottery ticket; you never know you might even win!
Photo credit to Girls Aloud Media.

4. What are your top tips on fundraising? Have you ever come across any exciting ways to fundraise? 
Sarah: I donated a 'tea with Sarah Harding' as an auction prize and I had the pleasure of meeting one of my fans whose generous parents bought this gift. There are so many good causes out there you just have to get repeating the message that these braves boys and girls need our help. I think setting yourself a personal challenge like a 10km run of marathon is a great way to fundraise too!

5. Have you met any inspirational servicemen who need help from this charity? 
Sarah: I've met lots. I was invited to the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital in Birmingham last year for a private visit and I met several young men who were multiple amputees, it was a very humbling experience. I also met a really nice young soldier, Michael Swain, at the launch of Coming Home's lottery, who has gone on to set up his own gym. Very inspirational.

6. How long have you been supporting the Coming Home Campaign?
Sarah: I've been supporting the charity for nearly a year and it is an honour to do so. 

7. You helped launch the Coming Home  Lottery  in October 2013 and you also attended a press conference in April 2013. How did you feel attending these events to support this campaign?
Sarah: When you meet the soldiers who have suffered it really is an experience because they are so positive and amazingly strong, so it was great to offer my support.

8. You've had a lot of amazing opportunities in your time. What do you hope to achieve this year that you haven't already?
Sarah: I'm working very hard of my solo material and I'm looking forward to performing live during 2014.
A photo I took of Sarah when she was on the
Girls Aloud: TEN Tour last year. I had a blast!

9. Do you have any plans on releasing any solo music?
Sarah: Lots! I'm in the studio most days and the tracks are nearly ready. Watch this space! 

10. Do you have any 'good advice' for aspiring singers? 
Sarah: Work hard, never give up. If you have a dream then follow it, it's a very competitive industry but don't let that put you off.

11. What has been the highlight of your whole career? 
Sarah: Winning the Brit award...about time!

12. If you could invite any three celebrities/famous people to attend a dinner party, who would they be?
Sarah: Marilyn Monroe, Elvis and Liam Gallagher...what a party!

13. Do you have a message for all of your Hardcores?

Sarah: I can't wait to be back on tour! heard it here first - Sarah is keen to go back on tour! Thank you to Sarah for the lovely interview. Don't forget to support Coming Home charity by clicking here! You can keep up to date with Sarah by following her tweets on Twitter for updates on her new music and other projects.

Thank you for reading!

- Adam!  

Thursday, 13 February 2014

13 More Questions with...Liz McClarnon

Liz McClarnon - FashionWorld

Liz McClarnon - FashionWorld
As my thirteenth blog post, I have decided to do a very special interview. She was the first person I ever wanted to interview. It took me about two years but in July 2013, I finally got the chance to interview her. She's always been so lovely to me. She's a member of British girl band Atomic Kitten and has had two number one albums and three number one singles! The band released their last single, 'Anyone Who Had A Heart', in 2008. Then, the band took a break to work on solo projects. In 2013, Atomic Kitten reunited for ITV The Big Reunion, toured the nation twice on two successful UK tours AND they released the official ITV Text Santa single of 2013 with The Big Reunion, 'I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday'. I am so lucky and blessed to have gotten the chance to speak with her again. Here are 13 More Questions with...Liz McClarnon!

1. Hello Liz! It's great to have Atomic Kitten back! How do you feel about being back in the band?
Liz: It's crazy. If you'd have told me this would happen I'd start laughing. Towards the end the band got quite hard to be in but all those old feelings are gone and it's like we're brand new people. 

2. What did you miss the most?
Liz: I'm so glad to have a second chance with our friendships more than anything else.

3. How is it different this time round than it was back when you were first together?
Liz: Like I said, our friendships feel like they're based on something real. We understand it was OK to feel confused years ago, we were young.

4. How did you feel when you were first approached to reunite for ITV The Big Reunion?
Liz: I felt afraid to be honest. I was scared to be out there again in the band, it's so different to my life now. I knew though that we'd have to do things differently. For our own sanity.
Atomic Kitten - ITV The Big Reunion.

5. In 2013, you toured the nation twice in The Big Reunion Tour and The Big Reunion Christmas Party Tour. How did you feel being back on the road again? 
Liz: It was absolutely brilliant!! I loved it so, so much! There is nothing like the feeling of being on stage in front of huge crowds. Nothing will EVER match it!

6. Would you like to record new music as a band again? 
Liz: We've talked about it. We like the idea of it but we haven't found anything that's for us.

7. What is your favourite Atomic Kitten song and why?
Liz: It might be selfish to say but "Someone Like Me" was written in minutes and it was from my heart so I do like to sing it. But it's amazing to hear everyone sing Whole again with us. So either of those for me. 

8. You recently took a cookery course at Ashburton! How was the course?

Liz: It was pretty tough! hardcore! It was an advanced course so the recipes were extremely complicated.

9. Have you learnt any new recipes?
Liz: I have 2 huge folders full of notes. But it gave me so much confidence in my cooking. I'm ready for anything now!
Liz McClarnon - FashionWorld

10. If you could each invite a celebrity guest to a dinner party, who would it be and why?
Liz: Dolly Parton - I want to sing with her, I want to pick her brain about country music and writing.

11. If you could each pick a highlight of your career, what would it be?
Liz: Writing in Nashville and getting to know some great people out there. It was always nice to be invited to Buckingham palace too! ;)

12. What do each of you really hope to achieve in 2014? 

Liz: Open a restaurant. Go back to Nashville to write. Think about having a baby. Be in a film (not in that order).

13. Finally, do you have a message for your fans and supporters?

Liz: To all of you that have supported us from day one, I've never known more loyal people and I thank you so much for the words of support, the cheering, the faith and love you've shown us! I'm here for you as you have been for us.To all of you just getting to know more about Atomic Kitten through The Big Reunion. Hello! ;) I hope to see much more of you and thank you for watching.x

Thank you to Liz! Follow her tweets on Twitter (where she once said I was like having 'the best boyfriend in the world'!) to keep up to date on her amazing journey. Visit her official website or her FashionWorld page to see her newly launched swimwear collection. 

"Everything in this range has clever features to smooth, support and flatter your figure, so you look great and feel confident in your swimwear. Look out for my handpicked collection with bright prints that will make a statement!"
- Liz on her new swimwear. 

Thank you for reading!

Friday, 7 February 2014

13 Questions with...Heidi Range

Heidi Range
She joined British girl band the Sugababes in 2001. Since then, they have released six number one singles and two number one studio albums. In 2012, she appeared in series six of ITV Dancing On Ice and in 2013, she competed in Celebrity MasterChef! Now, she is embarking on a whole new adventure and is currently touring the UK with the theatre production 'Happy Days: A New Musical'. Here are 13 Questions with...Heidi Range!

1. Hello Heidi! You're now in theatre! How does it feel to be playing the role of Pinky Tuscadero in Happy Days: A New Musical?
Heidi: It's great! She's such a fun character to play and I love the song that I get - I get to sing quite a few numbers that show different styles of singing. So that's really nice to be able to show all the different styles I can do and I get to dance as well so it's great.

2. What is the musical about and what does Pinky get up to?
The focal point is Arnold's diner, which was the focal point in the TV show, and the storyline is saving Arnold's diner from demolition. Pinky has been travelling round the country and she comes back in town to help try save the diner.

3. How do you feel about touring the UK with this production?
I'm really excited! I've had like, about a year at home, I've been moving house and getting settled and everything and now I'm ready to get back out there and it's just so nice performing every night again. You know, I love singing and getting that buzz every night is such a joy.

Heidi as Pinky in Happy Days,
which is currently tourng the UK.
4.  So, are you settled in alright then? Heidi: Yes! Yes, I've settled really well. We're in a different city every week so that keeps it really fresh because you're discovering new places and, you know it keeps it fun.

5. W
hy did you decide you wanted become a stage actress?
Heidi: Erm, well I've done theatre before. I'd done it before Sugababes. I'd don't a few shows then, although that was quite a long time ago! So, it's something that I've always wanted to do again in the future and it was just waiting for the right role and the right role, really. So, I was a fan of Happy Days and I loved the songs and the character so it was just the right one to go for.

6. Who inspired you to be the woman you are today?
Heidi: I guess my mum. You know - I think my mum and my nan. They're the strong female figures in my life and yeah, I'd say my mum.

7. You're a great singer - have you ever considered recording any solo material and releasing your very own album?
Thank you. Er...not at the moment, no. It's not something that I think I might never do, but at the moment theatre's more what I'm interested in. Theatre and TV. Cos I've been so lucky to have know, recorded albums and it's just nice doing different things.

8. In 2012, you were in series 6 of ITV Dancing On Ice - how did it feel to learn how to skate and what was the whole experience like for you?
It was pretty scary! Cos it's quite a dangerous sport, actually, when you're up in them lifts and stuff. But it was great to learn a new skill! It was totally different to anything I've ever done and now I can ice skate backwards! So that's nice! (Laughs)

Heidi Range at the Happy Days: A New Musical
press night in January 2014.
9. In 2013, you took part in Celebrity MasterChef! What is your favourite recipe?
Well, my favourite thing to cook...I cook a really lovely seafood curry. It's like a fat-free seafood curry so that's my favourite one to do cos I can eat as much of it as I like and I don't feel bad

10. If you could invite 3 famous/celebrity guests to a dinner party, who would they be?
Ooh...3? Erm, I think I would have...dead or alive is it?
Me: It's completely up to you!
Heidi: Ooh - I'd have Frank Sinatra, erm...I would have Peter Kay and I would have Madonna!

11. What do you hope to achieve (that you haven't already) this year?
Heidi: I think this year I just really wanna enjoy the theatre world. Do more stage shows. I'd like to be on the West End - that would be a goal, yeah.

12. What has been the highlight of your career?
Heidi: I don't think I've got one highlight. I've been so lucky to have done so many different things and travelled to so many different countries, performed on different know, I'm so lucky, it's all really been a highlight. I guess we performed at Nelson Mandela's 90th birthday which was amazing. We were the first girl band to play the main stage at Glastonbury - that was a highlight. We sang with James Brown - that was amazing...just so many things.

13. What message would you like to give to all of your fans?
Heidi: Just thank you for their support. I'm so lucky to have done everything I've done so far and I just hope that they like what I do in the future and come and watch the show! (Laughs)
I had the best time talking to Heidi. I can't wait to see Heidi again as Pinky in Happy Days: A New Musical in the summer! 

Me and Heidi Range at the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards 2008!
That was a dream come true...and yes, that is Josh Peck's head.

Book tickets to see Heidi in Happy Days - I can't wait to see it this summer! Thank you to Target LIVE and Heidi Range! Scroll down for a chance to win tickets.

"Join your favourite '50's family, the Cunninghams and the rest of the gang – Potsie, Ralph Malph, Joanie and Chachi as they battle to save their beloved diner Arnold's from demolition. In a race against time, can everyone's favourite hero 'The Fonz' save the day?

Happy Days – A New Musical is written by Garry Marshall, the legendary creator of the television series. Garry is also the director of many world-wide smash-hit films including Pretty Woman, Beaches and The Princess Diaries 1&2. It includes 21 original songs by Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe award-winning Hall of Fame Songwriter, Paul Williams (Bugsy Malone, Evergreen, Rainy Days and Mondays). The show also contains the much-loved Happy Days theme song from the TV show.

Starring pop star HEIDI RANGE as Pinky Tuscadero, CHERYL BAKER as Mrs Cunningham and BEN FREEMAN as the legendary Fonz, Happy Days – A New Musical is a hilarious feel-good musical that is guaranteed to have you rockin' and rollin' all week long!"

Visit the official Happy Days: A New Musical website here!
Heidi and the cast of Happy Days.

WIN tickets to see Heidi Range as Pinky in Happy Days! 

In partnership with Target LIVE, I am giving you the chance to win one of three pairs of tickets to see Happy Days: A New Musical in a venue of your choice!

To enter, tweet me @adamiqbal with the hash tag #HappyDaysWithAdam telling me which date and venue you would like to attend and you could be in with a chance of winning! Tweets must be tweeted before Thursday 13 February 2014.

Good luck!

- Adam