Category: Life


Lord of the Flies, Theatr Clwyd

Theatr Clwyd and Cardiff’s Sherman theatre’s joint production of William Golding’s classic novel isn’t perfect, but it’s still very good. The haunting story of a bunch of children stranded on a remote island, forced into a fight for survival against each other, is brought to life beautifully via an imaginative set and stunning visuals.

The play boasts a strong cast, lead by Lola Adaja as Ralph, who is brilliant in the role, torn between her friendship with Piggy and the alluring popularity of Jack and her followers. Ralph is very much trapped between the voice of reason (Piggy) and the voice of rebellion (Jack) and it is captivating to watch her struggle play out. There are stand-out performances from Lowri and Mari Izzard as twins Sam and Eric. Both perform with a presence that leaves you believing every word they say. Gina Fillingham also shows her comic timing as Piggy and produces several comicly poignant moments. Unfortunately her demise did seem a bit of an anti-climax, and didn’t quite feel as tragic as it should.

Rarely do I see a play that has me transfixed to the end, but this was one of them. Regardless of its faults, I was transported to that island and remained there until the end. The soft lapping of the shore during the interval reminded us of the ticking time bomb we had temporarily left. Having read the book some years ago, I was keen to see the action play out on stage. Unfortunately there were a few moments that didn’t quite hit the mark. However, the revelation of the true identity of the ‘beast’ is a particularly chilling moment (cued by a dramatic clap of thunder). The death of Simon is also shocking, especially as the gang try to convince themselves of their innocence immediately afterwards.

What is most disturbing about the play is its ambiguous ending. As the Naval Officer arrives and alludes to the children’s problem as game play, the thought of the whole event being a imaginative game that went horribly wrong stops the the heart.

But it is in the ending that the problem lies. For a play that has been gender swapped, that is littered with strong female roles, it’s a bit jarring that the Naval Officer, played by a man, conveniently arrives to fix the problem in the last five minutes.

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The summer is over. The jumpers are out and the kettle is working overtime. In school, we’ve re-arranged the classroom, sourced some new equipment and settled into some new routines with a fresh bunch of children. The summer is a distant memory.

I like this time of year. I love any excuse to have a shift around and get the classroom looking fresh, and September is perfect for all of that. We’ve evaluated every aspect of our day and practice, and tweaked anything that didn’t work. We’re jumping on the latest trend of milk as a continuous provision area, which the children can access at any point throughout the day. Of course, it has had its teething problems but on the whole it seems to be working out well. It’s freed up more time for us to use with focus tasks and provision area activities.

Another reason I like September is the chance to meet your new class. So far, they’ve shown themselves to be a well-mannered and fun bunch, and I’m looking to getting stuck into our topic, ‘Famous Faces’, this term. The children shared some fantastic ideas for who we could study (ranging from Neil Armstrong, Ariana Grande and Florence Nightingale…..to the local binman). I’m keen to move away from the traditional figures of study. When I was in primary school I can only remember learning about Florence Nightingale and Emmeline Pankhurst in terms of significant women in history. I want to provide opportunities for the children to learn about a range of famous people, of different genders, race, and abilities. I remember thinking as a child how weird it was that only men seemed to do anything important. I want my class to know that this is absolutely not the case, as I started to learn in secondary school.

Of course September isn’t easy. Our first week back has already been a rollercoaster, from the joy of seeing everyone after the break, to the excitement of the new start, to the hideous anxiety of looking at the calendar for the next term! By Thursday I had managed to convince myself that I can handle the demands the autumn term makes as they arrive, and that over-thinking and over-prepping weeks in advance is unnecessary and draining. Whether or not this continues, we shall see.

What I definitely hope for this year is a year of calm enjoyment. I do believe that whatever I’m feeling effects the children, and as the pressures of the job don’t seem to be easing any time soon, I need to take control of my responses to those pressures and ensure that I approach every challenge with cool composure. I mostly want to show them the spectrum of ability and talent within the world, and have a lot of fun doing it. I’ll get back to you in July!

This summer I tasked myself with a secret mission. Well, several, actually, but first and foremost I wanted to do the impossible and unwind. I’m not very good at relaxing. I used to be, but I seem to have picked up an annoying habit of filling any ‘empty’ time with jobs. (This is not evident in the current state of my flat….or classroom.) I wanted to make the most of my time off, as I know, (and have been reminded many times this summer!) that I am very bloody lucky to have it. Secondly, I wanted to learn to become my own best friend. I can be hard on myself and I’m working on a bit of self-forgiveness and care. On the back of my travels last year, I wanted to continue exploring and take myself off to somewhere I hadn’t been before (…..in the UK. I’m not financially sound enough to stretch to over-seas travel this year).  I spent the weeks building up to 20th July making sure I had a balance of fun, pre-planned activities but also time at home, to recuperate and breathe. I think I’ve been quite successful in having a holiday that has included the compulsory theatre trips, catch ups with friends, lots of yoga, gym visits, handiwork around the flat, a re-write of a story I wrote three years ago, family time, some amazing food and plenty of laughing. Here are some of the things I learnt.

  • I can drive – OK, I may have passed my test five years ago but I’ve not had much practise at long distance driving and the terrifying motorways. I drove to Cambridge and Cardiff this summer and lived to tell the tale.
  • Comparing yourself to others is a no-no – I am guilty of this. It’s a bad habit. I look at Instagram and I can’t help but think ‘God, why can’t I have that?’ (this is usually directed at someone’s abs) but I am working on not doing this. We never put the negatives on social media, so everything is filtered. Also, I’m very fortunate in my own life, so I should take more time to appreciate all the cool things I get to do and the awesome people I spend my time with.
  • It’s OK to remember the past, but more important to focus on the future – Alright, I know, this one is cheese on toast, but it’s still important. Another guilty trait of mine is being over-nostalgic or dwelling over things that have happened ages ago. I’ve definitely learnt this summer that we move away from places and people as we get older, and that’s OK. It’s not necessarily a reason to be sad. It should be a chance to appreciate the good times spent and then move on. Go. Get over it. Run into the next phase of your life. (Parmesan everywhere!).
  • I’m brave – This summer I spent a week in Cambridge alone. It was awesome. I saw lots of sights, went to a hot yoga class, met some interesting people, bought some cool things – totally took myself out of my comfort zone – and thought nothing of it until I got home. That whole trip would not have happened a few years ago. This ticks the ‘unwind’ box too as I spent plenty of time in parks, reading a book in the sunshine. Bliss.
  • Seeing theatre is improved when you go in unprepared – I saw booked a few shows at the last minute this summer, without knowing much about them beforehand. Watching shows first-hand with no prior impressions or knowledge gives for a more goose-bumpy (new word) experience.
  • And finally, time out is important, but it’s also important to get back on the treadmill. This last week has been difficult as I’ve been itching to get back to school. We get a lot of flak for our holidays but, honestly, they are needed. It can get so intense that it’s easy to start doubting yourself. I think most teachers will agree that once they’ve taken themselves out of that pressurised environment, where both adult and children’s emotions are stretched, and taken time to relax, we start to feel that excitement again. I’m really looking forward to going back tomorrow, with a new class, and getting back into the swing of things.

So there we go, self-indulgent, cheesey summer post done. To all the teachers, good luck for tomorrow. I’ve made a habit of reminding myself this time of year that it’s important for the children to learn, but it’s equally (if not more) important that they have fun, happy, meaningful experiences.  Let’s start September with a smile and positivity.

Saturday was an important day. My childhood best-friend got married. Not only was it lovely to see so many people beaming with happiness, but it provided a very rare opportunity for me to catch up with some of my old friends.

See, we used to be very close. We were there for each other through every barmy relationship and drama-filled argument during our teens and into our early twenties. But then something happened. Our hub, the heart of our friendship, the place we all met, was closed down and demolished. Since then, due to several unavoidable reasons, we don’t get to see each other much.

Anyway, we talked, we laughed, we danced, and I left feeling wholly satisfied with the reunion. My worry has always been that we would become ‘Online friends’. You know the kind. The kind who you never actually see because they are so conveniently available at the touch of a button. We kept in touch on Whatsapp and Facebook and Instagram, but the time between actually physically seeing each other became longer and longer. As I’ve said before, that is my biggest worry about social media. It is too convenient. More convenient than actually socialising. And it dawned on me that the reason I was so satisfied was because I was actually spending time with these people.

It’s not just friendships I worry about. I’m increasingly scared of the impact my phone is having on my life. It might sound dramatic but quite often I’m hit with this overwhelming feeling of not being in control because, either, my phone is a cacophony of notifications, or I’m checking it every two minutes wondering why I’m not getting any notifications. This was the reason I deactivated my Facebook account and now I worry that that wasn’t enough. I’m finding the urge to check my phone creeping up on me more and more. During a meditation in yoga today, I found myself wondering if I’d had any responses from the texts I’d sent prior to the session. Well….what was the point in meditating?

Don’t get me wrong, I know there are plenty of pluses to social media, but for this little guy it’s becoming a bit unbearable. It’s handy to keep in touch with people who live far away, but I think it’s detrimental to relationships with those who are close enough to visit. It can be beneficial in other ways. For example, through Instagram I was able to contact a yoga studio whilst staying in Cambridge last week and I was able to try to classes I’d never have tried at home. So I appreciate the opportunities it can promote. But on the flip side, I’m finding myself scrolling through pictures of various models and actors and yoga practitioners and doing something I am totally against doing – I’m comparing myself to them, and not coming out well on the other side.

I’ve also, on several occasions, found images relating to topics I’ve just been discussing with my friends popping up on my news feed. It could just be coincidence or a harmless bit of customisation but, to this paranoid person, it’s scary. A few weeks ago I was having nightmares about my teeth falling out (I know!) and low and behold, my Instagram feed was full of teeth. Freaky.

I remember feeling the same angst last year. So much so that I bought an alarm clock specifically so I could leave my phone in the living room overnight and not be tempted to look at it first or last thing. A small step, but an important one. It worked for some time but, without even noticing, the phone has crept back into the bedroom. In Matt Haig’s book, Notes on a Nervous Planet, he writes an interesting chapter on how our phones can rule us and have a negative impact on our mental health. What Haig says is highly relatable and my goal for the summer is to follow his advice and step away from the phone.

So, if I haven’t liked a tweet, answered a whatsapp message or double-tapped your Instagram post, please don’t be offended. I’m still here but I’m unplugging myself and holidaying in the real world. Hey, why not join me for a cup of tea instead?

So, one thing that is guaranteed to send me into a hulk-like rampage is a bit of casual everyday sexism.  In either direction, I bloody hate it. Why do we put ourselves into little boxes of who is more capable of doing what based on what’s in our pants? Anyway, just for you lucky, lucky people,  I’ve built up a few little quotes that have made me wince recently, finishing with what we will call ‘the canal calamity’, which tipped me over the edge this week.

  1. ‘Oh, the men are going to sit in the living room’ – OK, it doesn’t happen very often, but when it does it bugs me. I’ve been at many parties (both family and friends) where, at some point during the evening, we’re expected to split off into our genders. Why? I don’t want to sit with the men! I want to talk to everyone! Is this a party or some sort of cult?
  2. ‘Is that a girl bracelet?’ – No. it’s just a bracelet. From Topman.
  3. ‘Boys, boys, boys’ – anonymous and lovely family member says with mock-disgust to tease my 3 year old male cousin. Yes, she’s joking and there’s certainly no malice, but it happens often and prompts him to retaliate with ‘girls, girls, girls’. I know they’re playing, but I think it sets up an unnecessary divide in his thinking.
  4. ‘Oh and for God’s sake don’t be one of these teachers who let’s boys dress up as girls’. Thanks for that advice, anonymous-family member number 2 but I think I’ll ignore that comment. I was talking about setting up a fancy dress area in my classroom with a variety of costumes for the children to try. I don’t know why a boy wearing a dress seems to be the stuff of nighmares for people of a certain generation, particularly as the person making the comment is never going to step foot in my classroom, so this was pretty enraging. No mention of girls dressing as boys either. I assume that’s allowed but boys lowering themselves into any shade of femininity is clearly too awful.
  5. ‘Girls books here, boys books there’ – Oh, this was a good one. Picture the scene. Summer School, 2016. I was helping out in a rural school, organising activities for a handful of children during the school holidays. Passing through the library one day I was bloody horrified to see someone had taken the trouble of organising ALL of the books into a *shudders* colour co-ordinated and clearly labelled girls and boys shelves. Absolutely hideous. Just let the children choose which books they want to read! Fostering a passion for reading is far more important than boxing them up and controlling what they read. Needless to say, I’ve not darkened their doorway again.
  6. ‘You’ll be alright, Sweetheart. You’ve got a man on board.’ – A bunch of us hired a canal boat for a pleasant trip through Llangollen and over the aqueduct. Captain S, experienced, award winning sailor was in charge of the whole business (as the rest of us were ensuring we drank all of the prosecco, in case the weight of the bottles caused the boat to sink.) At one point, I could hear Captain S having the whole driving process explained to her by a bloke who was walking along side the canal. When I popped my head above deck to see who this mansplainer was, he actually said the above line to Captain S. Little did he know that I didn’t have a clue how to drive the thing, and Captain S was a pro. Yes, I have a penis. Doesn’t mean I can drive a boat.
  7. ‘You’ve got a man with you!’ – To add insult to injury it happened again! We’d just travelled over the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and we were mooring up to have some food. Two of my friends (female, for the sake of this story), were hammering in a peg and a ridiculous bloke with a stupid hat and a fag in his mouth sailed past and said ‘You’ve got a man there, ladies!’ in a way that suggested I should be the one using the hammer. I’d already had my go on the other peg! We’re all capable of using a sodding hammer. Look, we can all raise two fingers up to you too. Thankfully, my friends resisted the urge to launch the hammer at his ignorant face.

So that’s the latest rant from RebelliousG. One sure way to fire me up is to assume myself or my friends are incapable (or more capable) of doing something just because of our gender. So stop it.

Christmas has arrived in Blwyddyn Un.

On the first of December, our elf arrived with instructions to ‘Christmas-up’ the classroom, and the festive season erupted into our classroom.

So far, we’ve built a toy workshop in the role play, rescued snowmen from a tuff spot and written letters for Father Christmas. It feels like Christmas has been a long time coming, with concert rehearsals being in full swing for three or four weeks now.

Speaking of concerts, we had our first full run through today. The children are working hard at learning their lines and remembering where they need to stand but I think we’ll all be breathing a sigh of relief next Monday after the final performance. I think that is when the Christmas fun will really begin, when all the official business is done and the concerts have finished and we can all relax.

I was thinking about a very special part of the job. It’s lovely to spend Christmas with children. It’s easy to forget how magical Christmas is for children and seeing their excitement every day is bringing back memories from my own childhood. I think that being in the classroom, no matter how rubbish your feeling, can have such an uplifting effect, especially at Christmas. The children’s excitement and wonder at Christmas is infectious. It’s lovely to share their joy when they come in to see which challenge the elf has set them, or listen to their questions for Father Christmas.

No matter how stressful it gets, how exhausted we are or how much we complain, it’s definitely a perk of the job to share the children’s magical memories of the season.

Bleak November

 

Tis the season to be…utterly miserable!

I bloody love Christmas. It’s one of my favourite times of the year and getting to experience it in a school adds something extra special.

However, this time of year I get faced with the same old barrier. It’s bleak November. On the precipice of Christmas season, I just can’t help getting anxious and miserable. I know I’m not alone but for some reason my body just decides it hates this time of year and goes into over-drive. I’m over-anxious, restless, tired and I end up dealing with the same horrible symptoms no matter how much I prepare. I tried to write about it last year, but once I’d finally hauled myself out of the pit I found revisiting it too upsetting. After a tough weekend, I was close to finishing the post I started twelve months ago but, I’ve had a word with myself, and I’m not prepared to dwell. Perhaps one day I’ll publish it but for now I’m off to get cosy, eat chocolate and watch Ab Fab. Message of the week – Put self-care at the top of the list.

This week blwyddyn un stepped into 2017. That’s right, we have Seesaw.

For those of you unfamiliar, Seesaw is an app designed to make it easier for pupils to share their work with their teacher and their parents. It’s a bit like Facebook for the classroom. I’ve heard whisperings of Seesaw for a few months but it was following a very inspirational ICT course that we, as a staff, decided to bite the digital bullet.

I was nervous at first. I can be a bit of a technophobe and I’m always cautious of over-complicating matters in the classroom, particularly as one lesson generates so much paperwork and admin already, but I can honestly say after the first week of having it in our classroom, Seesaw is a success.

I started off with a class demonstration on Tuesday morning, taking the time to explain and model how children can access the software. The children were in awe as I told them we were going to start using a very special new app and they were immediately enthused when they saw how easy it was to use. Seesaw works by scanning a QR code, which I’d placed in several spots around the classroom to ease congestion. The children can then select their name and add a photograph of their work to their own personal profile. This is automatically shared with the teacher, who can approve posts for those already panicking. A notification can also be sent to a parent’s device once their child uploads a piece of work. There’s also an option to annotate with a caption or recording, giving the children a change to explain their work.

It’s not just a great way of sharing work between student-teacher-parent, but it’s also a good form of reflection and evaluation. We’ve already found ourselves taking the time at the end of the day to scroll through Seesaw and share the uploads from the day. This then gives the children a chance to talk about their work and discuss how they feel about it. As a teacher, I can also comment on pieces of work, similar to comments on social media, but the voice record feature is a great tool to cut down on marking time, allowing me to make clear reflective comments as I would if the child was standing next to me. Parents can also get involved with this, but as we continue to train the children and ourselves on how to use the app, for the time being Seesaw is only being used in-house.

A huge perk is that it’s simple to use. The children are already familiar with uploading work after just a week of getting to grips with the app. It’s also proving very useful in the challenge areas as the children are able to take pictures of their independent tasks, which I can then see at the end of the day. For example, today I asked them to build animal enclosures in the construction area, thinking carefully about measuring out the areas so they were big enough for the animal. It can be a struggle for me to see all of the children’s challenge area work as I’m often pre-occupied with the focus tasks, but today it was lovely to see the children uploading their work proudly to Seesaw which gave me a change to look at it and appraise after school. The children love it and, although I was tentative at first, I’m already pretty confident that seesaw will have a positive impact on the learning in Blwyddyn Un.

I’m conscious not to make these posts all about me. I know that that is sort of the point of some blog posts but I do try to steer the content away from myself whenever I can. Trouble is, I am all I know at the moment, so it makes it quite difficult, particularly when I’m in need of a good vent. Blogging is cathartic. Yesterday, I read something that was such a blatant massaging of the writer’s ego that it made me audibly shudder and make noises I was even embarrassed to make in an empty flat. I really hope this blog is never seen as self-indulgent, because that’s not my intention, but for the time being you’ll have to put up with the ramblings about half-written stories, experimental classroom content and rants about EastEnders until my life takes a more adventurous turn.

Anyway, last week was half term. A chance for a much needed recharging of the batteries before it’s full throttle into killer Christmas season (which, of course, I secretly love). By the end of half term my mind was typically racing and I was crawling towards that Friday finish. The problem with this job (and, I’m sure, many other jobs) is that you can never drop the ball. It’s impossible to switch off. I’ve spoken to teachers who say that feeling of unrest doesn’t leave you until well into retirement. You’re constantly feeling like you need to be doing something and the guilt that follows a duvet day is unreal. It’s one thing I’ve struggled with, as I appear to have lost the ability to relax. I was always a bit tightly strung but since starting the PGCE, it’s just been impossible to chill. Even on a Spanish beach, drink in one hand, book in the other, I had to take frequent breaks to go for a walk, check my emails or just do something! It’s relentless. And dangerous. Because, along with every other member of staff and the children, I was ready for a break.

Now for someone who enjoys being active, it’s not necessarily a bad thing (at the moment, but I’m sure in a few years’ time I’ll feel very different). I’m so precious about the time I have ‘off’ that I’ve started making a list of all the things I want to achieve over the holiday (that’s right. I’m setting myself targets. Welcome to the system.) On the list last week was; a blog post, work on a new story, edit an old story and another little project which I’m not going to talk about yet, but have been meaning to do for a long time. All little jobs that I’m sure mean nothing to anyone else but they’re important to me because, as I’ve said before, I’m finding it hard to express myself at this stage in my life, so I wanted to take advantage of the break from work to explore my ideas.

Guess what. Very little of it happened.

It’s frustrating because I know I am to blame. I make the choice. But a contributing factor is the many online distractions. I’ve ranted about the online world before and I don’t want to run at it with a pitchfork because, obviously, it provides a lot of support for people, including myself. It’s bloody hardwork though, when you’ve got an idea, but you can’t quite pin it down because your phone is buzzing, or an email comes through, or you find yourself scrolling through Instagram without even remembering opening the app. I’ve heard interviews about the online world being an addictive space and I believe that is true. I can’t help opening up these apps in the hope that something will interest me or that someone has got in touch, when 9 times out of 10 those things don’t happen. So instead it’s just a big waste of time.  Time where I could have been writing.

I worry that it’s not just my written work that is suffering. I’m craving a book that I can be absorbed into. A world where I can just sink in and forget the real world. I’m a constant reader but, even with something I’m so passionate about, I’ll gladly interrupt my reading to reply to a whatsapp or a snapchat or check my twitter. I hold stories so highly yet I’ll stop to check my phone. What the hell is that all about?

At times I feel like I’m losing the ability to connect. I’ll choose the saddest film, because I want to feel sad. Just to know I’ve felt something. But lately, I’ll find I’m bored after ten minutes and reading old whatsapp messages. I’m desperate for a new TV series that will absorb me and distract me from my smartphone, but after watching introductory episodes of lots of programmes, I just can’t get into anything. I long for the days when I was obsessed with Doctor Who, Torchwood, Lost…..this was about ten years ago when I didn’t have the access to the internet that I have today. I used to just sit and binge and enjoy and feel. I worry that I can’t do that anymore. Nowadays I’m checking Twitter during ad breaks of American Horror Story to see how everyone else feels about the episode. Who cares?

A safe retreat from all this is the theatre. The theatre is different. That is a space where I can immerse myself and I can connect. And, what a coincidence – phones are not permitted.

I’ve heard of people going unplugged and I think there’s a lot to be said for it. It’s a brave thing to do in this era where we’re so dependent on technology but I’m sure it would be good for the mind and the soul. I long for a quiet space, physically or mentally, where I can just sit and think and write and flow, but I’m struggling to see where that would fit into my life at the moment. My goal for next year is to figure it out, express myself and find the time to be unplugged.

Image result for nightmare gif waking up

Things are taking a suitably nightmarish turn in ChezG, just in time for Halloween. Like everyone, I’ve experienced the disorientating cold-sweat of a bad dream on many occasions. Sleep paralysis has trapped me beneath my duvet several times too. But over the last few weeks, I’m finding myself regularly trying to shake off a nightmare, and spending the following day in a sleep deprived mind-fog.

It happened again last night. Having lay awake for a few hours I drifted off at about 2.30am but by 3 o’clock I was jolted awake by a racing heart, soaked forehead and thoughts of ‘YOU WILL NEVER SLEEP AGAIN’ drumming in my ears.

It’s hideous.

I’ve got two recurring nightmares that stalk me in my sleep quite often. The first is that my teeth have fallen out (I’ve been told that this is an indicator that I’m either going to come into money or that I’m pregnant. No further evidence for either yet). I’m sure this is a pretty standard nightmare but it always sends me rushing into the bathroom to frantically check my gums. The second is that I’m back in the part-time job that accompanied my Uni days. I’m trapped behind the till, forced to face the mundanity of scowling customers and scanning milk. The incessant call of the petrol pumps. The constantly broken lottery machine. I’m forced to relive a time when my only entertainment for eight hours was a never ending production line of ill manners, reduced pasties and body odour. *shudders*. I know it’s hardly the stuff of a Stephen King novel but I will always remember it as my personal hell.

The recurring nightmares are bad enough but I’ve built up enough a resistance to shake them off after a few minutes of feeling very sorry for myself. But this recent barrage of horror stories created by my own mind, is proving a little more difficult to get over. I’ve had allsorts over the last few weeks – from the death of family members to spooky intruders in the flat – but, sometimes, it not so much the content of the dream but my body’s response to it. That sicky feeling, where you’re not sure what is real and what isn’t, is horrible and impossible to identify in those jolting first few moments after a dream, making it very hard to talk any sense into yourself. Last week I actually woke up shouting, which is alarming in itself when you’re ripped out of sleep by the sound of your own voice. A few times, like last night, I’ve had such an adrenaline rush that I’ve just been totally unable to get back off to sleep, which, although it’s frustrating, I can cope with during holidays but during term time, I panic I’ll be tired for school and then can’t recover the next day because I’m in work. It just ramps up into a vicious anxiety circle. I’ve spent several days over the last few weeks feeling emotional and exhausted because, like anyone, I really bloody value my sleep!

So what is causing it? I’ll admit my bedtime reading hasn’t been the most pleasant recently.  I’ve had American Psycho, Carrie and some very graphic Torchwood novels in the last few weeks but I’ve always been able to cope with anything I read before. I’ll often leave the TV to send me to sleep but it’s always with a light comedy (typically French and Saunders) or a Disney film. I’ve even taken solace in Desert Island Discs! I’ve found the internet is the worst pre-bed activity, because whether it’s twitter or Instagram or BBC news, whatever I read seems to buzz around my brain for the rest of the night. It’s a horrible feeling that I just can’t come down from. A theory from a friend is that heat can trigger nightmares, which is tricky as hot water bottle season is in full swing. I suppose it could be a combination of things. Either way, I’m spending Halloween Eve exhausted, looking hideous and dreading going to bed. Great.