On Monday night I watched the film ‘The Circle’.


I had been forewarned that it was rubbish but I still had hope. Unfortunately the wooden acting, one dimensional characters and disjointed storyline scrubbed away that hope. At the end of the film I felt flat and gutted, because:

I’d read the book. Although admittedly not one of the best reads, I loved the premise of it. I really enjoyed the discussions it led to with my housemate, about how technology and our internet habits is changing the world we live in. We had got ourselves excited about watching the film together

  1. They didn’t even nearly stick to the book – it was shockingly bad. I only kept on watching because I wanted to see if they could somehow redeem themselves. They couldn’t. I lost almost two hours that night.
  2. Tom Hanks was in it and I LOVE Tom Hanks

However, I am grateful for the film for welcoming me back to my blog. I haven’t written a post for over two weeks!

I had attempted to write one early last week but the days ran past me. The few ideas I wrote down failed to ignite passion.

That was until watching the film reminded me that I hadn’t shared how my week with limited media/technology/internet and reading went.

Last month after reading ‘The Artist’s Way’, I challenged myself to deprivation week. Which you can read about in my post: – Could you go a week without reading and media? Here’s why I’m taking the challenge!

On the run up to the week I kept having dreams about how awful it would be. Waking up in cold sweats, reaching for my phone – okay it wasn’t that bad and I always sleep with my mobile across the other side of the room. But thoughts of doing the challenge did occupy most of my thoughts.

The night before I was due to start, I stayed up until midnight – getting as much media and text in me as I could handle. This was reminiscent of me at Christmas eating as much cheese as I could muster so I could be prepared for Veganuary. It worked – I didn’t miss cheese one bit!

I also prepared myself by logging out of all my social media accounts, deactivating Facebook, turning off my phone notifications for everything and putting most of my apps in a newly named folder! That’s the organised ex-PA in me!!



Noticed how much I say “I’ll Google that” – 4 times before 12.30pm! One such time was when I laddered my tights, which obviously led me to thinking about how tights were made and who was the first person to sell tights. “I’ll google that I thought” – Erm not this week you won’t love.

In the evening after being fed I realised I had nothing to do and so much time to do it in. I tidied my room which produced two bags of paper to throw away. I went to bed an hour earlier than usual.


I woke at 6.30am and didn’t groan that I was up at that time. As I didn’t have social media to distract me I was out of the door and on my way to work earlier than I usually am. I had to occasionally tear my eyes away from reading over someone’s shoulder or the many ads that occupy the underground.

In the evening I went to an event and got home pretty late so just called it a night. Noticed that I’m already sleeping better.


I went to the shopping centre after work to pick up a few presents. I decided to get my dinner in one of the food halls where they give you a device that lights up and buzzes to alert you when your food is ready. Sat waiting. Nothing to read. No music to listen to. No-one to text. I was a complete contrast to the guy sat next to me. Headphones on he was glued to his phone. Pushing aside the device to get into a more comfortable position. He didn’t notice when it started to light up. Eventually I had to tell him. Even if it wasn’t deprivation week that would not have happened to me – I love food too much!


I started to notice that I was leaving my phone in my bag more. My lovely housemate, who always has to endure whatever challenge I’m doing, was more than happy to spend an evening of deprivation with me. No TV or music or howling over silly YouTube videos. It was just two friends – laughing, joking, chatting and drinking. A perfect evening with no distractions.


I was worried about this day as I was heading up to Leeds which is a 2hr20min train journey. I usually spend it reading, listening to music or on my phone. The first 40mins went by in a flash as I did some writing – then came my neighbour – Miss SniffsALOT! I have really sensitive hearing so when I hear people chewing, sniffing or breathing too loud it’s like nails down a chalkboard! Aaaaah!! My insides churn! If I had my headphones with me I would have chucked in the towel to drown out her nostril orchestra performance. I was shouting at her (in my head) “Blow your fucking nose”. I tried to block it out with sleep – tried!

The Weekend

I stayed at a friend’s house on the Friday and then was at a hen party on the Saturday so music was involved. Come on it’s a party! Still no TV, internet or social media. On the train back to London I caught up on sleep – giving myself a smug smile that I had almost finished the week and that I had no neighbour to disturb me!

I learnt that:

  • taking a break worked wonders for my health and mindset. I was sleeping better. I wasn’t comparing myself to others on social media. I worried less about having to do things
  • I have been so reliant on technology/the internet
  • I do need to listen to music when I’m at work to drown at the constant conversations
  • being in my own thoughts isn’t too scary – I got used to ‘being’ with me. I have weird thoughts but I knew that anyway
  • I can do anything that I set my mind to and I am the one in control – not technology
  • the iPhone SE will still run out of battery even if it’s not being used – yay to my new phone
  • although I could have continued for another week how easy it is to stumble back into over use

A final word on The Circle. If you’re intrigued – I recommend the book. It would have worked better as a TV series so they could build up the suspense and show how little by little technology and the internet is replacing human connection. You only need to look on Facebook and Instagram to see how many ads have started to filter through. And a great proportion of people spend their time on Facebook sharing other people’s (who they don’t know) posts. Some days I have to scroll for a while before I see an actual status!

A final word on deprivation week. I highly recommend it. If you feel that it’s too extreme to do a week – try a day or two. If you feel it’s too extreme to cut everything out – cut just a few things out. Show technology, media and most importantly yourself – who’s boss!


Emma x

Instagram: @emmalouhalliday

p.s. Have you tried deprivation week or something similar? If so, how did you fare?

p.p.s If you’ve seen The Circle what did you think?

p.p.p.s Tom Hanks – I forgive you.