Tuesday, 21 January 2014



Insomnia is doing my head in. I've never been much of a sleeper, it isn't often that I have a proper lie in but having to get up at 4:30am because I can't sleep is an entirely different story. Never mind having bags under my eyes, I'm currently carrying suitcases under them!

My sleeping pattern started to go a little bit crazy a month or so ago but the last week and a half I've barely slept, the worst being for only 2 hours. I'm not really having any more trouble getting to sleep than usually but once I'm asleep I just can't stay asleep. My mam has this theory that it is "Christmas insomnia", she reckons that nobody sleeps well after Christmas and that's just the way it is. Well, I would totally take January blues, feeling more worn out that usually, a bit down. But TWO HOURS SLEEP A NIGHT. That my friends is a joke!

My mam also tells me it's because I need to adopt a more positive attitude towards my sleep or lack of. That is easier said than done when it feels like you have tried everything to make sleep easier. I have tried:

-Going to bed earlier
-Going to bed later
-Having a hot drink before bed
-Not having a hot drink before bed
-Eating more on an evening
-Eating less on an evening
-Showering before bed
-Not showering before bed    
-Dream catcher    
-New bedding
-New jarmies                         
-No jarmies    
-Relaxing music                  
-Getting up at silly o'clock    
-Staying in bed                   
-Cleaning/tidying my room
-Hot water bottle


Well, I'm currently trying to teach myself midnfulness so we'll see how that goes...

Hannah x

Changemakers Coaching Session One


On Thursday I had my first coaching session with Changemakers which I was oddly nervous about, I think it's just because I didn't particularly know what it would entail. All I knew before going to the session was that it is referred to as "conversations with purpose", which is a difficult one when you ramble on the way I usually do, I talk utter rubbish most of the time!

I was assured by Lizzie that not all coaching sessions would take the form of the interview style that Thursday's did because that was a little intense! Having said that, the session gave me a space to think about things I wouldn't usually and I suppose look at my life a different perspective which was nice.

I thought the fact that I found the first question difficult was not a good sign but things flowed nicely after I had a proper think about what I wanted to get out of coaching and what my intentions for the sessions would be. I've decided that I'd like to use the coaching sessions to make sense out of my current commitments, I'm a really busy person but it doesn't necessarily feel like my busy-ness is helping me make progress with anything to be honest. Already that is quite a big thing for me to admit to because I find it difficult to not be busy which is an absolutely ridiculous thing for a nineteen year old student to say. Revisiting this later on in the session when asked if I ever just relax I answered with "I did nothing once". ONCE. Well, that caused mild hilarity, what kind of person can pick out a single time they properly relaxed. I'm thinking that I need to work on this relaxing thing.

I'm quite a big thinker, most of the time this is a positive thing, a lot of people I know probably think I am a bit of a pessimist but I'd rather say I'm more of a realist. Having said this I like to find positive inspiration message, I have scrapbooks of inspiration, writing on my mirror and a Pintrest board of things to inspire me but when asked the question "what inspires you" I was a little bit stumped. I'd never tried to properly define what inspires me before but came up with mountains, particularly being on top of one. I suppose it is probably the vast nothingness that inspires me, the contentment I feel after tackling a challenge such as hiking up a mountain leaves me feeling like possibilities for the future are endless, it's nice to feel so free and open.

It's difficult to think about the things that have shaped my life when I'm only nineteen, if I'm honest it is still a little bit like play dough, every time something gets shaped another thing comes along and reshapes it. Noone has put me in the oven yet to set the way I am. Here we go though, I've given it a bash:

1) Moving out for university. Loads of people told me to stay living with my mam because she lives near uni but I really wanted to try it and I'm so glad that I have. It's nice to make friends with people that I probably wouldn't have before and generally have lighthearted relationships outside of the family home. I can't really describe how but it has definitely changed my relationship with my mam, I think in a good way.

2) Having a complex family. Complex is definitely a nice way to put it, it can be the most infuriating thing in the world, more often than not making me want to bash my head off a wall but it makes me more appreciative of other people's situations for which I am thankful for. It would be nice for the biggest problems to be chipped nail varnish or streaky fake tan but I'd like to think my mind is quite open to the big problems people face.

3) Constant contact with health services. Again constantly being in contact with health services is so annoying but it has made me reconsider the direction my future career will go in. Now, more than ever I'm aware of the barriers to accessing treatment and this is something I'd like to do work on in the future.

After all of this deep, meaningful chat I told Lizzie that the one thing she should know about me is that I love the Beckhams, see previous post!

Until next months coaching!

Hannah x

Monday, 20 January 2014

Team Juice Initial Meeting


Team Juice First Meeting
Sage Gateshead
Thursday 16th January 2014

Last Thursday marked the first meeting of Team Juice 2014, we talked Arts Award, empowerment and what we wanted to get out of the experience. Around the table were young people who have been involved with Juice in some way or another in the past, be it as a performer, volunteer, assistant or evaluator and now we've all came together to make Juice Festival 2014 even better than ever before.

Phase one of Team Juice is running from January - March 2014, our first job as a group was to come up with our aims and objectives in this initial phase.

-Make long term goals.
-Establish everyone's group roles and give them titles.
-Create an overall rold of the group as a collective.
-Achieve Silver Arts Award.
-Explore relationships with the venues associated with Juice Festival.
-Find out what each person wants to get out of the experience.

-Have fortnightly meetings.
-Speak to venues associated with Juice Festival and attend events hosted by them.
-BE VOCAL, if there are things you are passionate about getting involved with, let it be known.
-Familiarise ourselves with the staff at Juice Festival venues.
-Communicate with the rest of the group via Facebook group, email and mobile.
-Learn about what Arts Award is and how to achieve it.
-Make space for Arts Award one to one sessions.
-Create a network within each other.
-For us to chat to the new volunteers recruited by Juice and help them out with advice.

Following on from creating the initial aims and objectives we looked at what we as a group think is necessary for each stage of planning for the festival:

Stage One: January - March
-Evaluate Juice Festival 2013, share ideas and views.
-Decide on each person's role within the group.
-Brainstorm events we would like to take place or even lead on.
-Have social meet-ups to bond as a group

Stage Two: April - August
-Write the program for Juice Festival 2014, provide previews of events coming up in the festival.
-Contact venues to familiarise ourselves with the set-up in particular venues.
-Co-ordinate with Juice Festival partner schools to talk about what will be happening at Juice Festival 2014.
-Assist in recruiting volunteers for Juice Festival 2014, talk to universities and colleges about the opportunities open to them.

Stage Three: September - After the Festival
- Recruit "supervisor" roles for different venues to help with volunteers.
-Talk to existing groups about events they may be interested in attending.
-Send out information about events via email, social networking and programs.
-Collect feedback at events.

Keep reading for updates on where we're at with the planning of Juice Festival!

Hannah :)

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Finish What You've Started, Hannah


I have a confession: I am a terrible reader. I met up with some other writers the other day, most of them do English related courses, and people were talking about reading resilience. I really could do with an injection of reading resilience, I just stop reading books all of the time even when they're things I genuinely want to read. My bedroom is starting to get cluttered up with borrowed books that I intend to read and books that look like I've read because I've bought them second-hand at charity book shops, not to mention the ones on my Kindle that noone will actually see. I figure if I write this post on my "intended reads" I will actually read them. In theory.

So here are a few of them (definitely not all of them) in a non-specific order.

The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
I feel like The Great Gatsby is a book that most people have read and lots of people rave on about so think I should probably read it. It is on my Kindle and I feel like I started it then abandoned it. Whoops.

The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
The fact I haven't read The Bell Jar really surprises me, is that weird? I went to a discussion group about The Bell Jar and surprisingly managed to participate despite not having read the book. It's definitely a book that would interest me.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky
I have seen the film but not read the book. Shoot me down. I did try to read the book before I saw the film but then didn't have time to finish it so just stopped. I was enjoying it too.

Bodies - Susie Orbach
I was genuinely doing very well with this book, I promise! Then uni work took over so I couldn't concentrate on it (it's quite a heavy book) but it is SUCH A GOOD BOOK. I must finish it.

Thinking, Fast and Slow - Daniel Kahneman
I don't actually own this book, so this is kind of cheating, however I do look at it a lot. Does that count? Almost every time I'm in a book shop I think "I want to read that", because as you can see by the other books in the list I am slightly fascinated by the mind.

That little list will do for now, maybe I will blog about each one. We'll see.

Hannah x

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

"Thinking About Breast Enlargement?"


Tonight I was scrolling through my Twitter feed and came across the question "Thinking About Breast Enlargement?" accompanied with matching photograph. No person on Twitter I have since unfollowed funnily enough I was not thinking about breast enlargement but now I flaming well am! I tell you, 99% of the time I forget I even have breasts never mind thinking about doing anything to them and here I am suddenly thinking about surgery. This kind of thing really infuriates me, I think people would be so much happier about the way they looked if they weren't constantly bombared with ways to "fix" their imperfections.

That is all.

Kept this post small, like I'll be keeping other things.

Hannah x

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Coat Hanger Robots


We are the coat hanger robots of high-end designers, only as real as the wigs upon our heads. We're the ones they all envy as we strut back and forth painted the same shade of misery, for our smiles are saved for nightfall. We flash our dentist-white teeth to the wallets of business men in VIP areas as they pour us more glasses of bubbles. We tie back Alice's hair whilst she slumps over the toilet bowel because that could be our stupid mistake come next week and tomorrow it will be like it never happened because we live on fast-forward. No time for pause, stop or rewind just faster, faster, faster. We are the pin-pricked stomachs of the envious dressers, we are hard-faced steel robots who answer to the demands of anyone. You think we're all dead behind the eyes but we're not, we know what you think when you paint over our designer bags under our eyes or what us hide our coke-induced nose bleeds. 

This is not glamour. 

This is torture. 

But this is life.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014



Why can the media tell us we're fat but we can't tell each other?

January is the destroyer of self-esteem and it really annoys me. The festive period is such a nice time to be eating, drinking and being merry but then as soon as the bell chimes midnight on 1st January it all goes to pot. Come 1st January we are bombarded by adverts convincing us to shed those "extra pounds" and join the gym because it's January discount time...we all know we won't still be there in February but don't worry because you can slob about on your double discounted sofa that you got just in time for Christmas.

I will get to my point. Christmas is what, 7 days, from Christmas day to New Years Day. How much "damage" can really be done in festivities so short. Surely not so much that a radical diet MUST be started on 1st January. Yet everywhere I turn is another diet or weight-loss group or fitness regime or fat free yoghurt I should be living on. Well you know what, January does not mean I have to partake in this so stop shoving it down my throat! The media is telling me I am fat at every opportunity and they make a frighteningly convincing argument despite me still having breathing room in my size 8 skinny jeans. How is it they are allowed to tell all of us that we're fat yet it is a taboo subject in conversation, if someone says to you "I put on so much weight over Christmas" you wouldn't dare say back "Yeah, you have", the proper response is for some reason: "Yeah, me too". What is that all about?! I haven't put on a ton of weight so why on earth would I say it. Absolutely crazy. Sometimes I just wish people were more blunt, people tell me I should eat some pies (I don't like pie, just for the record, I got food poisoning from one once) but I wouldn't DREAM of telling someone to eat fewer pies.

The media though, they have the divine power to tell us to eat less pies.

I wish they didn't.

Hannah x

Friday, 3 January 2014

Just Like Heaven



I would like to share with you a radio play I wrote and got produced recently. Above all, Just Like Heaven is a story about friendship, patience and faith. Have a listen:

Performed by Jo Mousley and Ed MacArthur.

The Band: Alex Baker, Chris Brain, Tom Collingwood, Chris Noble and Tom Robinson.

Made by Matt Angove, John Arneson, Jessica Brown, Laura Clark, Porl Cooper, Alan Lane and Chris Noble with Harpit Bhegal, Becca Holloway, Megan Relph, Alice Woodcock and Hazel Naghi.

Commissioned by the Writing Squad and made by Slung Low, recorded at Holbeck Working Mens Club, Leeds on November 10th 2013 in 15 Minutes Live.

Hannah x