Sunday, 30 April 2017

What's Occurrin' - April 2017

April Monthly Round Up

It’s that time of the month again when I realise that all the things I promised I'd do have been crammed into the last week of the month after realising I'd forgotten all about them. One day I'll learn, but it’s unlikely to be any time soon. This is my April round-up:

Amazon Prime: The Fall
I managed to miss the entire 3rd season of this, despite tithe first two seasons being the best things I’ve watched forever so I decided, in order to refresh my tiny little brain, I’d re-watch Season 2 before starting on the latest episodes. This was part of my cunning plan in the hope that I when I DID get round to Season 3, I wouldn’t be all like: How many people are dead now? Is Jamie Dornan still a serial killer? Where’s that really annoying school girl gone? You know, that kind of thing. 

Anyway, I have successfully trawled my way back through Season 2, catching up with the murky and, quite frankly, sick world of the lovely Jamie Dornan, and the more organised life of Gillian Anderson, the detective stalking his every move. If you haven’t seen The Fall, and you like crime drama and Northern Irish accents, I highly recommend you check it out. Now, in fact. 

Movies: Copycat
OK, so I’ve seen this movie on more than one occasion and I love it but, as my hubby hadn’t seen it, I forced him to sit through it in the hope that he will, one day, become as obsessed with crime and stuff as I am. I'm still waiting. 

The basic premise is that Helen Hunt (Sigourney Weaver) testified against a rather scary looking Darrel Lee Cullum (brilliantly played by Harry Connick Jr) and gets him banged up. Fast forward a few years and Darrel manages to find himself a disciple on the outside to carry out a series of copycat murders to rival the great serial killers of the 20th Century.  He mirrors the MOs and signatures down to the last detail and it’s not long before homicide detective, MJ (Holly Hunter) is chasing him down to a thrilling conclusion.  The movie is from waaaay back in 1995 but, apart from the hair and some dodgy outfits, it has more than stood the test of time. It’s superb.

Books: Peter May - The Killing Room
This title is the third of Peter May's 'China Thriller' series and is, appropriately, set in Beijing and Shanghai. I've read a few of his earlier titles, which involve a different character and were set on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland, so I had a bit of knowledge of the author before picking this up.

Aside from the fact that May is a fellow Scot, I was interested in these books from a personal point of view. As my husband and his family are Chinese I find that, as a Westerner with little knowledge of the culture, I sometimes struggle to really understand it. I thought this volume, based on an American forensic pathologist who travels to China to work and has problems fitting in with the expectations of women in the east compared to her native USA, would be quite interesting. And it was.

The tale surrounds the discovery of some pretty gnarled body parts on a construction site and leads you through the murky world of abortion clinics and the pretty severe consequences of the Chinese Government’s one child policy, as well as their preference to baby boys over girls.

Music: Colbie Caillat - The Malibu Sessions
This is just as much of a shock to me as it is to anyone who knows how partial I am to my country music. It’s not like me to stray, but I saw Colbie Caillat supporting John Mayer way back in 2007 and I love her voice. I haven’t heard from her for years (or rather, I haven’t looked beyond the ‘Folk and Country’ genre on Apple Music…) so it was lovely to see she had some new stuff out.

The album is just as bubbly as the previous ones and she does have a knack of making you feel like you’re driving along the PCH in California, despite the fact that you’re actually stuck in the pouring rain on country road in North Wales.  I think we can all agree that takes quite some talent.

Podcast:  Sword and Scale
I honestly don’t know where to start with this, but it’s absolutely brilliant. If you, like me, love your true crime and aren’t horrified by listening to audio recordings of actual 911 emergency calls, or horrendous court proceedings, then this is the podcast for you. I discovered it through Buzzfeed (literally where I discover everything in life) and downloaded the first season to test it out. I was instantly hooked and, if I’m being honest, I haven’t slept *quite* the same for the past couple of weeks from being quite literally wide eyed in the middle of the night, marvelling at how sick the world is. Seriously. 
So far, I’ve explored the murky world of child abuse and abduction, what happens when lethal injections don’t quite go according to plan and, just last night, heard testimony from a man who shot and killed a stranger in a Florida cinema because he lobbed a bag of popcorn at him.  I don’t know about you lot, but I never go to the cinema without a loaded gun because, how would I deal with someone who threw popcorn at me if I didn’t???  This is clearly a case of self defence...  

What have you been up to in April?

Suz x

Monday, 24 April 2017

Why I Don't Follow Advice for Insomniacs

I've been an insomnia enthusiast for a few years now and it would appear that I'm not likely to lessen my dedication to it any time soon. When it first started, I just assumed it would eventually disappear and I'd revert back to sleeping through the night and feeling refreshed and ready to face the world each morning. Only, it didn't pass. It still hasn't.    
After a year of so of feeling absolutely dreadful and reading all sorts of advice and tips about how to cope with insomnia, I gave up. Nothing really seemed to work. All that advice about  not reading made me wonder what I was actually supposed to do instead; and the whole 'not thinking' thing, made me think more (I'm awkward like that).  In honour of many years spent considering my difficultly gettin' snoozy, I haven't really discovered things that DO work, but I have uncovered a list of things that have no impact whatsoever.  As a seasoned sleep deprived woman, I now laugh in the face of insomnia advice.  I can usually be found doing this in a somewhat maniacal fashion, on my own, very late at night.  

Why I Don't Follow Advice for Insomniacs

Drink Hot Milk:

Unless you're worried about a Vitamin D deficiency or have rickets, don't bother with it. Drink wine.  

I'm only half kidding.  Sometimes, a few drinks sends me to sleep and other times it disrupts me even more.  However, milk, Ovaltine, or any other milky drinks (White Russians aside) just upset my tiny bladder.  It's one thing being awake during the night; it's a whole other thing actually prising yourself out of bed, in the dark, trying not to break your toe on the edge of the bed as you fumble your way to the bathroom in desperate need of a pee.   

Don't Read Your Kindle:  
Why not? I bought it, so surely I should be getting my money's worth?  Apparently, though, the light will wake me up.  No, no, no!  The glare from a strobe light being shone in my face by the Spanish Inquisition will keep me awake. That dull light from that tiny little screen?  Don't make no difference, sister.  Read my Kindle, don't read my Kindle:  I'm still not sleeping.

Don't Watch TV:  
WHY? Can't I watch just a little bit?  I promise I'll keep the volume down so as not to disturb the sleeping people. PLEEEEEEEASE??? 

This is another one that doesn't really have any impact.  Unless, of course, I happen to catch a bit of The Apprentice or some other reality rubbish. They should prescribe THAT at the sleep clinic. Sometimes, the TV can take my mind off lying in the dark wondering why I'm still awake.  For a good while, in my early 20's, I tuned in to Sesame Street at stupid o'clock every morning and it was my saviour.  I still love you, Oscar the Grouch.   

How I look after a decent sleep

Warm Baths:   
Being cleaner doesn't make me any more tired.  I would love to know if I can read my Kindle in the bath before trying to sleep, or is it just in bed I shouldn't be using it?   I'm confused.  Either way, it don't work.  

Kalms/Night Nurse/Zonkital: 
Basically, any kind of herbal remedy I've tried (and there's been a few) have been entirely ineffective.  I take prescribed medication at night and that doesn't always work, so nothing else really has  a fighting chance.    

Being Tired: 
Tried it. Try it every night, mainly around 8pm when I think I could sleep for DAYS, and then I go to bed and BOOM....wide awake.  I can put in an 8 hour shift, drive to the leisure centre and swim 40 lengths, get home and make dinner, and I'm still twiddling my thumbs come 11pm.   

Clear your mind of all thoughts....  yeah, right.


Leave. Do it now.  I can't clear my head for long enough for meditation to stick. I'm all 'I wonder if the house is on fire" and 'what the hell was that odd noise that almost certainly sounded like an axe murderer??'

You know, normal everyday thoughts that invade your brain at the most inopportune moments and won't go away.  I've tried, but my brain's too active.  ALL THE TIME.   

Yoga/Gentle Exercise:   
Nope.  Nothing here, either.  Aside from the fact that I'm absolutely not bendy or flexible in any way, shape or form:  I just don't like it.  Yoga, that is. I don't much like other exercise, either, but I do it every day regardless because IT'S SUPPOSED TO MAKE ME TIRED.   

To be honest, I've spent years reading different points of view and advice, but generally find it doesn't make great deal of difference to me. The only thing that keeps me sane during the time I spend awake is listening to Audio books. They don't particularly help me sleep, but they do distract me from the nonsense that whizzes around my brain and DOES stop me sleeping.  Unfortunately, I'm now so reliant on them, I think I won't be able to sleep without them.  

Seriously, if my internet is down (and I live in Wales, so that's quite a common occurrence) I send myself into a state of panic if I think I'll have to go to bed without someone to read me a story...

I've amassed around 80 audio books in the past 5 years and, according to my stats page on the Audible app, I've listened continuously for 5 months.  Basically, after all that, I'm still knackered, but I have spent a fair bit of money and know a lot more stuff.   

Do you suffer from insomnia or have trouble sleeping?  How do you cope with it?

Suz x

This is not a sponsored post.    

Sunday, 16 April 2017

5 Fabulous Gin Cocktails for Easter Sunday

5 Fabulous Gin Cocktails for Easter Sunday

I used to hate Gin. I thought it smelled like bad perfume and would stare at my big sister and mum in wonder as they sipped it contentedly.  It wasn't until I moved to Wales, and sat in my new rented flat, away from all my friends and family, that I rooted out a bottle of Caorunn that I got as a leaving present and decided that, as everything around me was new and unknown, my drinks may as well be the same. That, and I couldn't recall which box I packed the kettle in.

Friday, 14 April 2017

5 Easter Adventures in North Wales

5 Easter Adventures in North Wales

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Things I Don't Understand: TV Edition

If you've ever read the blog before you'll be well aware that there are LOTS of things I don't understand. Seriously; it's quite worrying. Anyway, although I tend not to watch a great deal of TV, when I actually take time to sit down, I often spoil it for myself by making stupid observations. I'm fairly certain I'm not alone in this, but once I've noticed something, I find it difficult to stop concentrating on it. Just so you know, I don't go out of my way to notice these things.  It just kinda happens sometimes.