Blackout.

I love the internet, but I love chocolate cake too… the difference between the two, is that I don’t spend 8 hours a day stuffing cake into my mouth (unless I’m feeling a bit emotional, and then it’s fine, OK!).

Why don’t I eat chocolate cake morning, noon and night? Well, simply because I know it’s bad for me. It’s all about moderation and I think the same goes for the internet.

These days we tend to live our lives as a projection of ourselves. What I mean by that is that it’s  really more of an interpretation than a reflection. This is why I feel its very important to leave in some of the negative parts of our lives in the vlogs, just like everyone we have down days, and it simply wouldn’t be fair for us to project a life that doesn’t include some of that.

blackout3

The main problem with being constantly shackled to our phones, is that in effect we’re only partially there… we’re distracted from what matters, the present moment.

Even when we adventure out for new experiences, we’re so busy trying to capture the experience, that we seldom actually live it. This is why my husband Stefan and I have decided to try something called ‘Blackout’.

The rules are simple and last from 7.00pm  (after Grayson goes down to bed) until the following morning.

Rule 1. No internet

Rule 2. No TV – but films / boxsets are ok

Rule 3. No cheating!

Our first Blackout felt really strange, we didn’t quite know what to do with ourselves at first, but then after an hour or so something strange happened… the sense of isolation gave way to a feeling of liberation. It felt refreshing… you feel free.

I had a comment from someone on my Youtube channel saying ‘Blackout sounds great but what if you’re alone with nobody to share them with?’ It’s a fair question, I think the internet is a paradox… it offers you validations and tells you that you’ll never be alone, it will give you everything you need aside from the things that really matter.

I spoke in my last post about the importance of creating moments but it’s these very moments that technology distracts you from by telling you there’s either nothing to see, or that if you if you reallymust go all hippy and experience it then at least capture it though a small screen so everyone else can not really experience it too.

I’d say Blackout is perfect for single people, as much of what you do in Blackout is for personal reflection anyway. It’s as simple as going for a short walk, baking a cake, putting pen to paper and writing a letter to someone who means a lot to you, sketching out a ‘to do’ list of things you want make, do or achieve over the next year or even just reading a book… These are all things that require just you… the person you really are buried under all that ego and distraction. So you see, you don’t need someone for Blackout, in fact it might be even better doing it alone.

Besides, remember Blackout might only be for an hour or so a week. See it as a protest to your own ego by walking away from it so a short while. This may all sound a bit ironic from someone who blogs and vlogs intimate parts of their lives and streams it out to thousands of people each week, but Blackout is not there to pull you off the internet all together, it’s simply there to remind you of the person you are without it. I also think that for someone who does expose a lot of their life online, it’s almost more important to consciously have a break from time to time.

Blackout is a peaceful, cathartic time. A time that I look forward to, it helps me switch off, recalibrate and wind down. Stef and I end up spending proper quality time together and chatting, building forts, reading to one another, writing things, playing guitar. The way things used to be, before this wonderful, yet simultaneously destructive thing called the internet really took off.

A viewer sent me a Tweet saying how her brother was annoyed that their whole family were trying Blackout, and I simply said to her, ‘your brother will probably never remember another evening he sat in front of his TV or laptop, but he’ll always remember that time his family built a fort together’!

So, that being said, I challenge all of you reading this to try Blackout one evening. It sounds silly I know, but I promise, you’ll love it. Even just for a couple of hours once a week.

You might surprise yourself.

Someone else recently said on Instagram ‘the internet- freedom of communication, or our own prison?’ and it’s a very interesting argument. For all it’s wonderful benefits has it made us lazy? Do we now put less effort into the things that matter? What do you think about it all?

Hannah xxx

 

 

50 Comments

  1. Hi Hannah,
    I’m a recently new follower of your blog and YouTube channel, love your family!
    I think your blackout idea is great, I feel like we’re far too dependent nowadays on technology and we lose out on so much by not focusing on people or our surroundings, but instead what’s happening on our phones! I hate seeing tables of people in restaurants and no one is speaking to each other because they all have phones in the hands!
    But at the same time, as a blogger myself, I can’t imagine life without the internet… I agree it’s everything in moderation! x

  2. Great post! Me and my husband have tried a blackout night and we ended up playing a board game and actually enjoying each other’s company, rather than just being on the laptop/phone and watching tv. A brilliant idea and one which we’ll continue to do 🙂 hope you’re having a good day!
    Nicola recently posted…The Weekend Edition #5My Profile

  3. This is such an awesome idea Hannah. I am defo going to try it 🙂

  4. I really love your little family and you are an inspiration.
    I really like your blog as well!
    So glad i found you!
    L xxx
    Lorna H recently posted…Summer GoalsMy Profile

  5. I think this is such a great idea! I know I definitely spend too much time on the internet and i thnk this would be great for my technology crazy family
    Bronwen Barton recently posted…My Skincare Must Haves at the moment…My Profile

  6. Hiya Hannah,
    Reading and seeing what Blackout night could be like, it seems quite relaxing and relieving. As I am in secondary school and struggling with school and other problems I can find that the internet brings even more down. Teens definitly spend to much time on the internet and I find myself constantly checking my phone and laptop. Honestly our society sounds desperate, desperate for reasurance that your life is good or comfort from pictures and texts even when we could source that from something other than a white screen.

    I was wondering though how it could work for me when I am in secondary school? I would love to try it.
    Thanks,
    Ellie xoxox

  7. Great pot!
    I think I experienced this from a different perspective recently as I am a very new blogger and suddenly I joined Twitter and Instagram and it was like a whole new world!!!!…and then I kept forgetting to tweet anything or take any pictures when anything interesting was happening!!!! But I have kinda come to the conclusion that that’s ok, and if I am in the moment and forget to take a photo then its not a big deal. I think its about creating that balance between the technology and being in the moment with your loved ones.
    Good luck with your blackout evenings….such a good idea.

    http://www.lauraevelynbee.co.uk

    • Sorry…that is meant to say Great post!

  8. Hi Hannah! I completely see what you mean about how time spent without the internet is time you remember. I think of how it makes me feel when I meet up with a friend and all they do is look at their phone. Sometimes we make our own families feel like that. I never use the internet at meals when I’m home, and I spend a couple of evenings a weeks just watching films with my parents, or reading. I also have a 20 bath a night where it’s just me and a book. I also write a blog (feel free to check it out!) and I am on most forms of social media, but I find the time spent without the internet is the time I really get to enjoy and remember x

  9. hi hannah i love you and ur my fav youtuber im 11 and it seems kida wired why im looking at u since you do loads of baby stuff im just really exited still im old enough to get a kid

  10. also blackout seems really cool and can u plz do a oand a vid soon plz i love qand as
    rose recently posted…Band Website Design: Why Your Band Needs a SiteMy Profile

  11. Hi Hannah, I just wanted to say how much I have enjoyed watching your vlogs each week. My daughter is six now and watching little Gracie brings me back to all those happy times that I had with lily when she was a baby and all their little mile stones that they get too! Gracie seems like such a happy and content child and that is evident from the wonderful environment that you and Stef are raising him in. I think that blackout night is such a great idea, nowadays everyone is so engrossed with what is happening on social media that we really forget to be present. Taking time out from the Internet and spending it with our family and friends is so important, be present and experience the moment and build those memories for us and our kids. its time that you will never get back. I will be doing blackout nights in my home and would encourage people to try it. I look forward to a Sunday evening when I can relax and unwind watching your vlogs, I always come away in a better mood. You and Stef are such a great couple and i wish you both the very best with everything that do, you are both very inspiring people.

  12. Lovely post Hannah, I have often thought about doing something like this too as I am always consumed in my laptop :L xx

    http://www.lifeinthefashionlanee.blogspot.co.uk

  13. Hannah,

    I love the idea of blackout and I can definitely see the benefits. I have yet to embrace it, but honestly, just talking about doing it and discovering the things i could do with my time has made me take a step back from my ‘online’ life and really think about what I want from my ‘real’ life. Just the idea of blackout has kind of re-focused my thinking and made me much more present in my own presence if that makes sense? Brilliant plan and I love this post xx

    NB x

  14. I aways wanted to do something like that, but didn’t know how, and now (thanks to you) I know. Thank you!!

  15. This is a really good idea! I always love going away for vacation even if it’s for the weekend and not having any cell service! It’s refreshing and you’re right, you won’t remember what you watched on tv or saw on the computer years from now, you’ll remember those moments with people, laughing and having fun!
    This was a great post! 🙂
    x
    Kenzie
    Behindhazeleyes06.blogspot.com

  16. This happened to us.. We were switching our broadband over & were told it would take 2 weeks we had already cancelled out other contract so we prepared our teenagers (& myself lol) for a 2 week blackout & surprisingly after about 4 days of I’m so bored they started to enjoy family nights movies & popcorn board games etc I was actually not looking forward to it coming back..(mind u I did have my mobile internet on my phone for emergencies ie.. Asos!

  17. I would love to do blackout nights! I actually don’t miss internet or my phone when I’m somewhere, if it’s vacation or just a day out with family or friends. I actually miss the days that internet and even mobile phones didn’t exist. As a kid I would love to go outside even if it wasn’t that sunny. I would play all day long even if it was by myself, because my imagination was so big and I loved it! Now we are constantly looking on our phones or ipads or browsing on the internet all day and all night. When I’m with my boyfriend it is very hard for him to actually be there with me because he is an absolute addict to technology and social media and it does irritate me at times. So black out nights sound like heaven to me 🙂

  18. Boa tarde Hannah!!!
    Vindo lhe conhecer através das amigas Pepa e Vi!!!
    Bem…já fui viciada em internet…hoje graças a Deus já consigo me controlar, entro nos dias em que realmente não tenho o que fazer, no momento em que filhos estão para a escola, a casa já está organizada e arrumada e eu já tenha cuidado de mim…e se não der por algum outro motivo…nem sinto falta…#fato.
    Seu post contém uma dica ótima e gostei do título: Blackout.
    Que essa semana que se inicia seja repleta de bençãos!!!
    Bjokas…da Bia!!!

  19. I am definitely going to try Blackout night with my boyfriend!

  20. I absolutely love this idea even though I’m a bit scared to try this and yes, I know it sounds pretty stupid. I am definitely going to try this sometime this week as I feel this would be so calming and so nice for me 🙂
    Migle recently posted…SOME THINGS I’VE LEARNED IN LIFE SO FARMy Profile

  21. I think this is a brilliant idea and so does my husband, but until the World Cup finished, there was no way I get his full attention all night! We are now planning our very first blackout night next week because of plans and work shifts etc, but I’m really interested to see how many times both of us reach or look for our phones…! Lovely post as always sweets!
    Katie x
    http://www.missenchanting.co.uk
    Katie Albury recently posted…HOTW #22…Brunch with My Little Bro…My Profile

  22. Love this blog post. I think this is such a great idea!
    Life is revolved around the internet now, people are on their phones at the dinner table and are searching for restaurants that provide wifi. We all need a little time out to spend with the people who we care about. This sounds like a great way to get your head out of a phone and speak to the person next to you 🙂 Great post!

  23. Love the blackout idea! I loved how you made a fort with stef a couple weeks ago in your vlog! so awesome, cant wait to do it myself:)
    Abigail recently posted…Blackberry PieMy Profile

  24. This is such a good idea, will definitely be doing this! xx

  25. Hey Hannah

    Absolutely LOVE the blackout idea. Especially with me having anxiety I find it a great way to wind down and I’m finding I even sleep better. It’s nice to shut off the world a bit and unwind, and I can’t wait to try it out with my boyfriend.

    Love reading your blog posts and watching your vlogs!

    Beth xx

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