My Not So Secret Diary

Online Games

Online Games playing social games Avakin and writing for my blog My Not So Secret Diary by Claire Hatwell
When I was younger I had a games console like most of my friends and would think nothing of saving up for a new game every now and then. It seemed to be something that was almost part of the furniture, most people had one of some sort and the paraphernalia that went with it, like the boxes of games. We used to trade them in and there was a large second hand market for them. It’s interesting how things change, and a lot of that seems to be different now, because in recent years a lot of games seem to have become digital downloads, and games shops on the high street have lessened. But then, when I think about it, it really isn’t so different to how I’ve moved over to a Kindle, not only because of the convenience, but because I feel better not stacking up books that I probably won’t read again, except for the odd few special ones.

My middle son has a PC and is quite into gaming and coding, he always has been. For him a lot of the interest of computers is what he can make them do. He likes nothing more than to wire something unusual up, we have various weather stations and radio aerials all over the house that lead back to his bedroom. It’s a hobby that has grown with him, and in the lockdown he’s added to his interest by studying for various licenses to enhance his hobbies.

My daughter on the other hand only uses a computer for photography or design work, as she’s an art student. Instead she plays a lot of online games on her phone. At first it worried me a bit, because she spends a lot of time on her phone anyway, and it’s not that I don’t trust her, or think she’s talking to people she shouldn’t be, it’s just easy to forget she is doing something different from time to time. You see her phone is everything to her, she even reads books on it, so it’s not all bad! Sometimes she spends money on her game, it’s a role play game, rather than a pay to win game so I don’t mind too much. She also chats with other players and has made a lot of connections this way. I found it hard at first because I wondered who she was befriending, but she assures me that she and the people she talks to, don’t even share their real names. They have an idea of the region in which they each live, and although they only communicate via the game, it seems that they are making quite genuine friendships.

It’s funny to see the ways in which our communication with each other evolves, but Katie enjoys her game and the associations she has with others. It doesn’t matter where they live, or how old they are. It doesn’t matter their background or lifestyle. While they are playing their game and chatting they can be who they want to be, without harm to others. There have been times when comments from others that are unnecessary get removed, and players can report anything they feel to the moderators who also patrol the game.

I guess it just shows the way the world is changing and in this day and age it’s nice to know that we have different ways to build connections with others, especially when we still can’t go out or meet others in the same way that we used to. Over lockdown the hashtag for this particular game has been #playaparttogether - I like message it reinforces, that while we can’t be with other people in the same way we are used to, we can still communicate, we can still talk, we can still play.

Take care everyone.
Claire x


Covid Drinking Rises

Covid Drinking Rises in lockdown in the UK, writing for my blog My Not So Secret Diary by Claire Hatwell
This is an eye opener!

Almost half of those in the UK are drinking more due to the covid 19 pandemic.
I wish alcohol wasn’t seen as such a coping mechanism. Coming to rely on it really opens another can of worms in the long run!

All Lives Matter

All Lives Matter #blackouttuesday #justiceforgeorge something needs to change. My Not So Secret Diary blog by Claire Hatwell
I doubt there is a person in the world who hasn’t heard of the tragic passing of George Floyd. It is so terribly sad and I can’t believe we live in a world where such a thing could happen. I don’t know the full extent of the story, but truth be told, I’m not sure that anyone will know the truth except for those that were actually there at the time. From my understanding when Mr Floyd tried to buy something it was noticed that the money he was using was counterfeit. Did he know that? I’ve been given money once or twice that wasn’t real. If he didn’t know then this is an even worse injustice.

There are so many ifs and buts about the whole thing, and it makes me so sad to think about it. Did Mr Floyd do anything wrong intentionally? People are surely allowed to make mistakes? Did he resist arrest? From the sound of it, there is security footage to show that he didn’t. What about the fact that four men restrained him, even continuing after he became unresponsive. Was that really necessary? What if the police officers had been black? Or George white? Would the outcry be the same then? Given the amount concerned was $20, is the response that the poor man had even remotely justified? I don’t see how it can be right.

Wherever we look there is inequality in the world around us, and I just don’t understand it. The message of the day seems to be to turn the internet black with the hashtag #blackouttuesday, showing that black lives matter, and while I agree, I really think we should be remembering that all lives matter. No one should hold any more value than any one else, regardless of their colour, gender, race, sexual orientation or background. The fact that some are more privileged by something out of their control doesn’t sit well with me, and I don’t understand why it would be. We are all people after all.

I don’t think anyone really escapes prejudice. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are, it could be you are a woman, or an ethnic minority, or have a disability, are overweight or underweight, or maybe a teenage mum like I was. There are plenty of people who will jump in and try to align you with others like you, even when you aren’t like them. We should see and be seen as individuals, the unique, amazing and interesting people we all are in some way or another.

The only problem I have is when someone tries to force their ideas or beliefs on to me. I’m generally curious of what and why and how people think and of why they do the things they do, and as long as it isn’t pushed on to me and doesn’t affect the way I live, I am happy for them to carry on. I think personally that diversity makes the world the colourful and interesting place it is. If we were all the same wouldn’t it just be boring?

I do feel that the tides have changed in some ways though. There are some who look for injustice where there is none, to get attention or cause a problem, maybe sometimes to incite acts of violence. But where does that violence get us? Surely when innocent people get caught in the crossfire, instead of making our point, we are instead just as bad as the ones who caused the problem in the first place?

It’s important to remember that, otherwise in all our attempts to make things fair instead we alienate other groups. It’s almost impossible for things to be balanced when those in power aren’t open minded, and I am pleased that Twitter has resorted to removing inappropriate comments, that do nothing but escalate the situation. We should all be working towards a fairer society for everyone.

Equality for all, fairness for all, justice for all. We all matter.

Much love to you all.
Claire x



Unloading my thoughts for mental health and sobriety me with my son during lockdown writing for my blog My Not So Secret Diary by Claire Hatwell
Isn’t it funny how times change? At the beginning of the year we would never have dreamed that there would be a worldwide pandemic, that the majority of the world would be under lockdown and people would hardly leave their homes for months.

I had so many good intentions going into lockdown. I was really going to make the most of the time. I’d decided I’d run every morning, that I’d beat all my fitness targets and even Katie was keen to do some sort of fitness each day but to be honest, as time has gone on, we’ve gone out less and less. It’s hard to get motivated and safer to stay in. I don’t know where the time has gone.

The problem is, that I find it harder and harder to go out now. I’m not sure what it’ll be like when it’s time to go back to work properly! It’s just safe at home and I don’t just mean safe from the virus, I mean safe in my head. It’s easy not to push yourself and I guess at the moment, it’s easier to stay in. At least it is for me.

I’ve always found it hard to change my plans to cope with things being thrown at me unexpectedly. It’s a coping strategy but sometimes it probably doesn’t help. Lee calls me a creature of habit, but I know sometimes I can be a bit extreme. The other day was a prime example. After work I decided that the next day we’d go for a walk at a beach as we’re allowed a little further now. The weather was so nice and hot that I assumed it would be the following day, and it wasn’t. I suppose I romanticised the idea of the beach, going in the sea, being in the sun, and when the weather didn’t match up to that, it kind of ruined it. Instead of being fun like it was supposed to be, going out just felt like another thing to do. Then I received an email about something I needed to do for work by the next day and that just added to it. Putting on top of that all the things around the house that I feel need to be done, and the little three year old following me around because he won’t let me out of his sight in case I disappear and go to work again like I did the day before… it’s all a bit busy.

Sometimes my head feels full and it is really hard to think straight. It’s like I have so much much to think about that I can’t see the wood for the trees. It makes me feel so muddled that I don’t know where to start, and then I end up going around in circles and don’t really finish anything properly. The only thing that I find that helps me unload a little is to write everything down. It doesn’t get anything done but by having a list, or several post it notes, like I often have on my desk, gives me something visual to work through and to knock down. Seeing the list helps me notice what I have done, rather than just what I have to do, and it helps, although I’ll be honest having a busy brain is tiring.

Logically nothing is that bad or that demanding, I just feel it more sometimes, and it can be one extra thing that sends me spinning. Some days are harder than others with my anxiety and it can be the most stupid thing that upsets the balance. You’d think that at the moment with the removal of pressure for so many things due to the lockdown that I would be better. Some days I am, but I think structure helps me out a fair bit. The lack of it gives me more reason to worry, partly because I am out of routine. I find myself doing the same things, and I sometimes wonder what the point is, but without these little things, where would we be? At least, by writing myself notes, I make myself slow down, I keep myself focused for a minute and that helps calm me. I suppose, that’s another reason why writing helps!

While I’m enjoying having less demands on me, and on the kids, and being able to enjoy a slower pace of life, in some ways I think it’ll be nice when things get back to normal a little more. Routines help me keep things running smoothly. Is anyone else a creature of habit like me?

Take care.
Claire x