Christmas lovers, this one's for you. Yesterday I visited Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park for the very first time and it was a Christmas dream come true. It can be a very busy place at a very busy time of year so I decided to compile my top ten tips and tricks to make the most of your visit. I hope this can be of use to anybody who is thinking of going - it is a wonderful place that I would recommend to anybody. Enjoy!♡
1. Pre-book your attractions
You can pre-book most attractions here and I would definitely recommend this. Not only will it save the queues, but it is a really good way to manage your money as you can clearly see what everything will add up to.
2. Set yourself a budget
In keeping with managing money, I would really recommend setting yourself a budget for the day. Although contactless payment is accepted in most places around the festive village, we withdrew cash beforehand so we knew exactly what we wanted to spend. Contrary to popular belief, Winter Wonderland is not actually *that* expensive - if you do it right. Entry is free. The markets are beautiful and there is a great variety of stalls - if you really wanted to save money, you could still have a lovely time walking around the markets with a hot chocolate spending only around £3. Food and drink might seem quite expensive, however it is exactly what you’d expect to spend at something like Winter Wonderland. For example, I had a really delicious waffle with chocolate, cream and banana which cost £6.50 - and it was WORTH it. Winter Wonderland is only really expensive if you visit multiple attractions and fairground rides - so setting a budget and deciding what you REALLY would like to be can make the day a lot cheaper and still really enjoyable.
3. Getting There
Winter Wonderland is held in Hyde Park, accessible by many different routes. The nearest tube stations are Hyde Park Corner, Green Park, Victoria, Marble Arch and Knightsbridge. We opted for Green Park as the walk through Green Park on a crisp winter day is beautiful. I would recommend avoiding Hyde Park Corner as it can be incredibly busy - the alternatives are all just a short walk away.
4. Magical Ice Kingdom
If you are struggling to decide which attractions you should book, I would recommend the Magical Ice Kingdom to anybody. This journey through the spectacular ice sculptures is like nothing I have ever seen before. We were in complete awe at the detail and precision, photographs do not do it justice. Narnia fans would especially love this! We booked our tickets in advance costing £23 for the two of us - and it was worth every single penny. You can select a time slot to ensure it is not too cosy to enjoy the art, which worked really well. There are photo opportunities all around which are really lovely, and quite reasonable prices. There is also an ice slide - I didn’t go on this as I believe it’s for little ones, but it looked SO much fun. This is a great option for all ages - just make sure you bring an extra layer for this attraction as it is icy cold...literally.
5. Festive Treats
One important piece of advice is don’t go to Winter Wonderland on a full stomach. The food stalls are incredible. German sausages, loaded fries and hog roasts for the savoury lovers; and waffles, crepes and churros for anyone with a sweet tooth, there is something for everyone to enjoy. There is also a veggie stall which did look delicious. I could have spent all day trying all of the festive treats so the food stalls are definitely something you do not want to miss.
6. Visit the Christmas Markets
Another thing you certainly won’t want to miss is the christmas market. It is a great size and there is something for everyone to enjoy. It is the perfect place for little gifts and souvenirs. If you’re not feeling festive enough yet, the christmas markets are the place to be.
7, These boots are made for walking...
Although there is a layer of flooring all around the festive village, you will almost certainly get muddy on this day out. As with any day in London, you will likely be walking a lot, so PLEASE listen to your Mumma and wear comfortable walking shoes!
8, School's out for Christmas
If this is an option for you, check the term dates for schools and visit Winter Wonderland before the Christmas holidays begin. We went the day before the schools broke up and it was just perfect. Enough people to feel the buzz of London, however no queues and no standing on each others toes. If it is possible to do so, this could make your experience just that little bit more magical.
9, Posing in a Winter Wonderland
Winter Wonderland is absolutely beautiful, so be sure to bring your camera. Every stall is festive and magical in its own way - I fell in love with the place and I am so glad I have photographs to look back on.
10. Explore London at Christmas
Whilst you have your camera out, make a day of it and go exploring around London. We went to Covent Garden, of course to see the iconic 55ft Christmas tree, and it looked beautiful. London is magical at Christmas time, so if you are visiting for the day I urge you to make the most of it.
Thank you so much for reading, and please do feel free to leave tips of your own in the comments below. I would love to hear your thoughts and whether you would recommend any other Christmas markets!
Have a very merry christmas,
♡ Childline is a free, private and confidential service offering support for any young person under the age of 19 in the UK, no matter how big or small their worries may be. It is also one of the best things I have ever been a part of in my life. ♡
Psychology has been a big part of my life for many years now. I studied it in my own time, at A Level and now at University. I have had dreams of achieving my doctorate ever since my love for the subject began. Part of being a psychologist is that you can never know anything; we theorise, we practice, but we can never know. But one thing I know for sure is that we are all put into this world for our own unique reasons; and I truly believe my reason is to help people. This is one of the main reasons that inspired me to become a Childline Counsellor.
A Typical Childline Shift
I like to help out as much as I can, however my typical Childine shift is every Monday morning and it is the best way to begin the week. There is no way to describe a “typical” shift because every shift is so incredibly different; but I can say that every single shift starts in the most warm and welcoming way. I volunteer in Nottingham and I happened to start at the same time we moved into the brand new base, and it is beautiful. The outside of the base is a gorgeous building surrounded by crisp autumn leaves and lots of delicious food places all around the area. Inside is a bright, colourful and comfy setting, with positive quotes all around the walls. Despite the difficult topics we can deal with on shift, the atmosphere is always so warm. I start my shift by making my cup of tea (fun fact - apparently 52% of Childline counsellors drink tea!) and then enter the counselling room to see some friendly faces, the other counsellors on shift, who are always so lovely and eager to hear about your week. We then all go through to the briefing room with the supervisor for that shift where we will all individually speak about how we are feeling, how our week has been and typically make sure we are all doing okay. I love this part of the shift because it is so clear that everybody genuinely really cares and appreciates one another. We will then go back through the counselling room and begin our shift supporting some incredible young people. The supervisors on shift could not be more supportive if they tried - they are AMAZING. If ever you have a situation where you are not quite sure how to best support a young person, they are right there by your side. At the end of the shift we will have one last discussion to talk about how the shift went and how we are feeling, making sure any worries we may have are left behind before we go home. The supervisors make you feel so valued and appreciated with the praise that they give; this part of the shift really means a lot. It is then home time and ready to start my week, already looking forward to this time next week -apparently it IS possible to enjoy Mondays!
Why I Love Childline
Not only do I love the experience of a shift at Childline, but I admire the organisation as a whole. Childline was founded in 1986 by Esther Rantzen and has helped improve the lives of so many young people ever since. I believe every single person who supports Childline in any way is amazing, but perhaps the most amazing people involved are the children themselves. With every single contact I take I am utterly blown away at the bravery, maturity and courage of young people today. Whenever you speak of being a Childline Counsellor people always say “wow, you must be strong!” - but really, it is the children who inspire this strength. There is nothing more heartwarming than a young person letting you know they managed to speak up about how they are feeling to that family member, or that teacher, or that friend. They booked their first doctors appointment, they attended therapy or they dressed the way they wanted to dress- whatever it is, they did THAT thing. That thing that was terrifying them when they first contacted Childline and now they found the strength to do it. It is absolutely amazing to hear, and I feel so grateful every single day that I get to be one of those people who they share their achievements with. I get to praise them, and support them and help them understand just even a glimpse of how incredible they are. These young people are our future; and I can tell you the future is strong.
I have only been at Childline for a few months and it has already had such a huge impact on me. I would encourage anybody over the age of 16 who would like to support Childline to have a look at their website to see if there are any opportunities near you. It is a wonderful experience that I would recommend to anybody. If you have any questions at all, please feel free to leave a comment or message me personally - I would love to have a chat with you about absolutely anything.
Thank you so much for reading, and please do feel free to leave any comments below. I would love to hear your thoughts and whether you have been apart of anything similar!
Phone: 0800 1111
Email or 1-2-1 chat: https://www.childline.org.uk
SUPPORT CHILDLINE/NSPCC THIS CHRISTMAS♡
The Case: Background
Joan Risch was born 12th May 1930 in Brooklyn, New York. Sadly, Risch endured a traumatic childhood. In 1939 at the age of nine years old, both Risch’s mother and father died in a house fire. Following their deaths, Risch shared that she was sexually abused by her parents in the first few years of her life. Despite this, Risch moved in with her auntie, excelled in school and later university, and led to live a typically normal, happy life. In 1961 she moved to Lincoln, Massachusetts with her husband, Martin Risch, and their two children Lillian (4) and David (2). Here, Risch was described as a loving housewife who was happy to stay at home to look after the children. Sadly only a few months after moving, October 24th 1961 turned out to be the last time Joan Risch was ever seen.
The Case: The Day of the Disapperance
October 24th 1961 started as any normal day for Joan Risch. Her husband left early to fly to New York for business, Risch and Lillian went to the dentist where she booked an appointment for the following week, and she was visited by the milkman, a newspaper delivery and a dry cleaning delivery. All visitors reported that there was nothing unusual about Joan Risch on that day. At around 12pm she took David upstairs to the master bedroom to nap. Meanwhile, Risch's close friend, Barbara, took her son over to Risch's house so that he could play with Lillian on the driveway. This was the last "normal" reported sighting of Joan Risch.
At 2pm Joan Risch took Lillian and her friend back to Barbara's house and left them in the garden without letting Barbara know. At 2:15pm Barbara noticed Risch running towards her car wearing a trench coat and holding a red object with her arms stretched out. Barbara's house had a very restrictive view of Risch's driveway so details could not be confirmed, however as Barbara believed Risch had the children she simply passed it off as a chasing game. This turned out to be the last ever confirmed sighting of Joan Risch. At 4pm Barbara realised the children were in her garden and returned Lillian to her home. Lillian immediately ran back outside saying “Mummy is gone and the kitchen is covered with red paint”. The kitchen was covered in blood, with a trail of blood from the master bedroom where David was sleeping to Risch's car on the driveway. The phone was ripped off the wall, the kitchen was trashed, and Risch's address book was open to the emergency contact page. As for Joan Risch, she was no where to be seen.
Unconfirmed sightings around the time of the disappearance all describe Risch to be clutching her stomach with blood dripping down her leg. The only other reported sighting was of an unfamiliar car on Risch's driveway on the day of the disappearance, a two-toned blue Sedan. Retrospectively, the milkman reported seeing this same car on the driveway five days prior to the disappearance.
This case is particularly fascinating for the huge variety of theories as to what happened to Joan Risch. Perhaps one of the most believed theories is that Joan Risch experienced implications during a home abortion and sadly died of trauma and blood loss. Abortion was illegal around the 1960s and very dangerous for the mother. Some doctors would secretly agree to the procedure, however any implications would result in the doctor immediately disposing the body to avoid the inevitable sentencing for abortion and manslaughter. Theorists suggest that the blue Sedan car belonged to a doctor who had arrived to carry out an abortion after Risch fell unexpectedly pregnant and did not want to tell her husband. The procedure may been carried out in in the master bedroom where implications may have began, hence the slight trail of blood, followed by a tragic turn of events by the time she entered the kitchen. Risch may have tried to call for help, resulting in the doctor ripping the phone off the wall. The doctor may have fled the scene and Risch bled to death whilst driving for help (which could explain Barbara's sighting of Risch running to her car carrying something red, potentially a bloody rag) or they may have disposed of Risch's body themselves. This theory could explain why suspected sightings of Risch describe her as clutching her stomach and wearing a trench coat; speculating she was hunched over in pain and trying to hide the blood.
Interestingly, a key part of this case is Martin Risch’s reports of four empty beer bottles in the home that he could not account for. In the 1960’s beer was often prescribed as a remedy to restore iron levels. It has been theorised that the doctor brought these beers in anticipation of some blood loss during the procedure, hence the empty bottles that Martin Risch could not explain. This can be supported further by the fact there were three unidentifiable finger prints in the home - supporting the idea that Risch was not alone and that these prints may have belonged to a doctor.
Despite this theory being so widely believed, there are certainly complications. The majority of accounts describing Joan Risch’s disappearance describe her blood loss as severe. In reality, police reports suggest that there was not actually enough blood to indicate any life threatening condition. Additionally, the blue Sedan car that many theorists insist belonged the the doctor was dismissed by investigators, claiming the car was most likely an unmarked police vehicle arriving after Barbara called for help at 4:30pm. The face validity of this theory is questionable too; descriptions of Risch on the day of her disappearance seem unrealistically calm and cheery for somebody who was planning an illegal and dangerous procedure. These arguments, as well as the notion that there were no reported signs of Risch being pregnant at the time, lead me to question this theory, encouraging research into a second theory - a staged disappearance
There are two perspectives to the theory that Risch staged her disappearance. Some argue she ran away because she was having an affair, whilst others argue she felt incredibly unfulfilled and ran away to begin a new life. Regardless of perspective, theorists agree that the bloody scene was intentionally created to keep everybody distracted on a complex goose chase. The affair theory proposes Joan Risch was having an affair with whomever owned the blue Sedan car and the three unidentifiable fingerprints. Martin Risch flying out of town may have been to perfect opportunity for Joan Risch to run away with her secret lover. This would explain why the milkman reported seeing the car five days prior to her disappearance as they may have been planning the logistics of this day. This theory is supported by the fact divorce was far from the norm in 1960s; one partner would have to provide evidence of the other committing an offence of cruelty, desertion, adultery, or incurable insanity. Thus, Risch may have felt she had no other choice but to stage an extravagant disappearance and run away. Alternatively, some believe Joan Risch felt so unfulfilled with her life that she simply decided to run away and start a new life. Growing up Risch adored literature; her degree was in literature and she had experienced various jobs that were all supporting her in her ultimate literature career. This all came to an end when Lillian was born and Risch became a house wife, and theorists believe Risch felt hugely unfulfilled by this and did not know what else to do. Critics could easily dispute this by the fact most reports described Risch as a happy housewife, however the fact Risch had moved around America 3-4 times since being with Martin Risch makes it questionable how well Risch’s neighbours and local friends really knew her. Additionally, records show that in the summer before Risch’s disappearance she had checked out 25 library books about staging a disappearance/murder, with the book “Into Thin Air” being eerily similar to Risch’s case. I personally question this "evidence" as I believe this could be explained by her love for literature and perhaps a genuine interest in crime novels, however it is certainly food for thought.
3. Self Inflicted Pain
With personal doubts on the staged theory, there is a final theory to discuss that proposes Joan Risch disappeared as a result of self inflicted pain. Regardless of whether her level of blood loss was intentional or unintentional, it may be possible that Joan Risch became disorientated and alarmed by her body's reaction and ran or drove away to get help. Due to the disorientation she may have got very lost and sadly died before help had been reached. This theory often gets rejected too, again due to the reports of her happy personality, however when considering Risch's traumatic childhood it seems possible that she may have been much lower than people perceived. A childhood emotional trauma therapist explained it is extremely common for individuals who experienced childhood trauma to live their adult life as a “false self”. I must emphasise that this is simply a theory as nobody is in a position to diagnose Risch, however it may be possible that this was Risch's unfortunate reality and it sadly became too much to cope with.
There remains an outstanding amount of theories about what happened to Joan Risch, however these were the theories that fascinated me the most. I personally am most inclined to believe the abortion theory however I am certainly not satisfied with the theory as it stands. I cannot dismiss the fact that Martin Risch consistently believed his wife was still alive; this leads me to believe there is a lot more to this case than any report suggests and that this theory is very much incomplete. I am fascinated by all the existing theories and as it stands I do not entirely agree with any of them, so I would love to discuss these and hear your thoughts and opinions too.
Thank you so much for reading, and please do feel free to leave any comments so we can discuss your thoughts below!
♡This blog post is going to have a slightly more informal tone than you may be used to on this blog. I would love for this post to provide genuine comfort and advice for those who may be feeling a little apprehensive about their big adventure moving to university. Enjoy!♡
I don't know about you, but before I went to university I found myself reading countless blog posts and watching endless youtube videos in order to feel somewhat prepared. Despite this, when I got to university there was definitely a few things I was not prepared for and really wish I knew before I went. So, I have decided to make a mini university survival guide, filled with tips and tricks to make this very, very strange time just that little bit simpler:
1. Keep your door open: If you are going to bring one thing to university, bring a door stop. It can be difficult trying to say hello to everyone whilst you are carrying your life down the corridor, but by keeping your door open it lets your flatmates know they are welcome to come in. It might also be worth bringing a box of sweets or baking some cakes - my flatmates really appreciated when I baked and decorated cupcakes throughout the year, so it could be a lovely way to introduce yourself.
2. You do not need to pack EVERYTHING: For the first term only pack your winter clothes; if you are going home for the Christmas holidays you can always pack some lighter clothes then. Also, many essentials will be available to buy when you are in the city. Save some room in the car and wait until you arrive before stocking up on toiletries.
3. Buy secondhand text books...and not all of them: University textbooks can costs £100s, however if you dig around you can buy secondhand versions for a fraction of the price. Also, appreciate the recommended in "recommended reading". You will not be examined directly from a certain textbook, so only buy the ones that suit your reading preferences the most.
4. Register with the university doctor ASAP: The first time you are properly ill whilst away from home can be quite upsetting. If you know are you registered with a doctor it really will help to make things that little bit easier.
5. Remember your key: I have been locked out from my halls. I have been to rescue my friends who are locked out and forgotten to take my key in the process, resulting in us both being locked out - have you ever heard of anything more "me"? So please, for the love of god, remember your key.
BONUS TIP (I hate to disrupt the power of 5 but i cannot leave this out!) If given the choice, choose a higher up fridge shelf and a room far away from the kitchen: This stops other people’s food spilling onto yours, and being away from the kitchen will make a HUGE difference to your peace and quiet.
1. Do not feel like you have to go out every single night: Just because something is going on every night doesn't mean you have to go out every night. Just because your flatmates are going out, doesn't mean you have to! I personally went out with my flatmates a few nights, a few chilled nights with my friend, Harriet, who I knew from home, and a night over at my boyfriend's campus. How many nights you attend is entirely up to you; at university peer pressure probably won't be as bad as you think - and if it is, you have plenty of time to meet other people who are more on your wavelength.
2. ALWAYS have an emergency £10 on you: Many universities are located directly in the city centre, meaning you can walk from place to place easily. If this is the case, please still keep an emergency £10 on you at all times. Keep it in your phone case or in a bag that you always take with you. This is still a new place for you (probably) and whether you lose your new friends, miss the last bus home or have a change of plans that need a taxi, you never know when you might just need some cash.
3. Check the society nights out: If drinking isn’t really your thing but you still want to get out and meet new people, have a good look at all the society events. During freshers week most societies will allow anyone and everyone to join, regardless of interest or membership, and will have a huge variety of events -trips to IKEA, buffet meals out, cinema trips, etc. This is a great way to meet new people who are just like you. (Side note: all of the sports/dance/music classes will have taster sessions during freshers. They are usually free and I would definitely encourage you to try them out. They can be SO much fun.)
Explore, Explore, Explore
The concept of moving away to a new place for university is certainly discussed a lot, however I do feel like the new opportunities to explore are often overlooked. Challenge yourself to find the hidden gems of a new city, places that aren’t signposted on all the maps. I am studying in Nottingham, and here are just a couple of examples of some hidden gems I discovered in my university city.
Pepper Rocks is a “secret hideaway” cocktail bar with retro decor, hot dogs & chicken wings and a dreamy cocktail menu. My sweet tooth was particularly attracted to the candy cocktails - cherry bakewells and drumstick lollies all round! The atmosphere of this bar makes you forget you are in a busy city at all, for you are hidden in a cosy (and safe) alleyway, surrounded by spinning vinyls, live music and all the paradise vibes. Intimate, yet perfectly lively. This was the first night out me and my closest university friends, Ella and Lydia, had as a trio and it was the perfect place to be.
I am a huge Disney lover so my heart burst with excitement when I discovered an Alice in Wonderland themed cafe. It is one of the most unique places I have seen. My friend, Rachel, and I actually got lost trying to find it because it is literally “down a rabbit hole”. The waiters/waitresses are all dressed as characters, as customers we are all given hats to wear, and all of the decor is wonderfully mad. I do believe there are character performances and sing-songs during weekends too. It is a place full of character - a little gem hidden in the big city.
So there you have it, my mini university survival guide! Thank you so much for reading - please leave any comments or questions you might have about university, or of course feel free to message me directly. I would love to chat to you and make sure you are good to go for your big adventure! And please remember, if university doesn't turn out to be the "time of your life" please don't worry. I really do like university, but I don't "time of my life" LOVE university, and that is completely okay. Look after yourself and always do what is best for you in that situation.♡
Hello and welcome to this instalment of my "sleep phenomenas" series. In this post I will be discussing the captivating experience of sleep paralysis.
The sleep phenomenom I am going to discuss in this post is sleep paralysis. This is an (often terrifying) experience whereby the self is in a state of consciousness yet unable to move or speak. This occurs during falling asleep or waking up, and can be explained by the brain waking up whilst the physical body remains in an atonic state (a state where the body's motor functions are relaxed to prevent sleepers from acting out their dreams). It is most likely to happen to young adults, especially those who suffer from sleep deprivation, stress/mental health disorders, or interestingly those who sleep on their back (this last one has definitely given me some experiences!)
Sleep paralysis is often accompanied by hallucinations; typically demonic, with people frequently reporting sensing or "seeing" a harmful presence in the room, such as a tall dark figure.
I personally have experienced sleep paralysis on numerous occasions, with hallucinations every single time. On the first occasion, whilst falling asleep I heard my wardrobe door opening. I ignored this, passing it off as a breeze, until a very ghost-like figure climbed from the wardrobe and stood at the end of my bed. I recall trying to scream for my dad (at this point I believed it to be a genuine person OR a ghost), which is when I realised I physically could not communicate - I tried running from my bed, however was paralysed.. After a short while I believed my dad had been into my room to comfort me - it wasn't until I saw "myself" standing at the end of my bed telling me that "this isn't over yet" that I realised the paralysis was still happening. I then believed I had finally managed to open my eyes and that I had woken up - until yet another hallucination of "myself" was in front of me warning me that it still wasn't over despite the original hallucination telling me it was. By the end of the paralysis I had seen a ghostly figure and about five or six figures stood next to each other that were identical to myself. This felt like it had lasted for ages, whilst in reality it had been only 10 minutes since I had attempted to fall asleep.
It's not all scary...
Despite the denomic stigma attached to sleep paralysis hallucinations, there has been reports of comforting or enjoyable experiences. These include hallucinations of a couple of cheery men with guitars serenading the sleeper, playing music that the individual described as pure joy. When the individual began to wake up, the singing men said "she is waking, it is time to go" and left them in a state of peace and serenity. I have also hallucinated Finn Balor's "Demon King" purely from speaking to my WWE-loving boyfriend; whilst this was vaguely in keeping with the demon theme, it was rather amusing knowing who "it" actutally was...you can certainly get some good stories to tell your friends!
For me personally, I am very easily able to explain my experiences. My first experience happened very close to moving up to university; my stress levels had obviously increased, and I was lacking sleep. I also had a stage of frequent sleep paralysis around the time of my exams - again, increased stress and decreased sleep. If you do ever experience it, please remember that it will only last a short period of time: it is harmless...and you probably just need a little more sleep!
Thank you so much for reading - please do feel free to leave any comments so we can discuss your thoughts and experiences below! This is one of the first posts of a mini series of sleep phenomenas: the next instalment will be discussing the eery phenomenon of "Night Terrors". In the mean time, if you would like to read my post about "Dream Symbolism and Recurring Dreams" please click the link below.
Hello and welcome to the first instalment of my "sleep phenomenas" series. In this post I will be discussing dream symbolism and recurring dreams.
Whilst the extent I believe that dreams have logical meaning is questionable, I cannot deny my huge interest in dream symbolism. This inspired me to put together a mini "dream bible" discussing some popular dreams symbols experienced by people all over the world, and how these dreams may relate to or explain some feelings in your waking life. I would love it if you commented or contacted me with any other dreams/symbols that you would like to understand more about - I have so much information that I would love to discuss with you guys. I hope you enjoy learning about the following examples of popular dream symbols:
1) Forgetting to prepare for an exam/presentation
Despite school days being left behind, many adults frequently experience dreams of forgetting to study for a test or failing an examination. This can be extremely anxiety inducing, which may feel unusual when examinations are completely irrelevant to your waking life. In actuality, this dream is a symbolic reminder that we may be living our lives in a constant state of self examination. It may be a subconscious alarm that you are being particularly critical on yourself at this time in your life, encouraging you to take a step back from endless self-examination and appreciate yourself for your present talents and achievements.
2) Cheating (on your partner & by your partner)
To dream that you are cheating on your partner, or that they are cheating on you, is frequently experienced by people all over the world. However, it is NOT an indication of cheating in waking life! To dream that you are cheating on your partner reflects self-betrayal; you may feel "cheated" in a situation where you compromised your beliefs or did not show the real you. Cheating dreams can also be nothing more than an exploration of your sexuality and passion. To dream that your partner is cheating on you reflects a fear of abandonment or a lack of self esteem; not necessarily within your relationship, but in any waking situation.
To dream that you are falling is another very popular dream symbol. I decided to discuss this symbol as last night I experienced a very vivid falling dream; in the dream I felt my ears popping from the pressure changes as I fell from an extreme height, and today my ears are actually very difficult to "unpop" - interesting! This dream can mean a number of things. You may be feeling overwhelmed and anxious in your waking life, or perhaps feeling worried about failing something. However, this dream can also have positive connotations; depending on how you felt during the fall, it may be a reminder for you to "let go" - a symbol of relief. Falling from great heights can represent a good period to start something new, and that you may be praised and promoted in your waking life (I have had a weekend of something very new and that I feel I was praised for, which fascinates me considering my dream experience last night.)
It is also common for people to experience recurring dreams; between 60-75% of adults experience recurring dreams, women more than men. Interestingly, most recurring dreams are shared universally. They are said to be like "scripts" in the mind and reflect an unresolved issue within your waking life. This issue may not be directly represented by your dream, and it may be worth looking into the symbolism further. For example:
I recently had a reader explain their experience with recurring labour/pregnancy dreams - this is infact one of the most popular recurring dreams around the world. If your recurring dream focuses on labour, it is an awareness that your current goals are very achievable but will require hard work to accomplish. This may explain why so many young adults experience this dream when going through transitional life periods such as working on university projects or starting new jobs. It is a positive dream, acting as a reminder that you are capable and to stay on top of things. To see an actual baby (or perhaps a baby animal) in your labour dream is a gentle reminder to look after yourself too. It is hinting that you wish to be nurtured a little more, so to care for yourself whilst you work for your goals. If your dream focuses on experiencing pregnancy as a whole, it is simply to say an aspect of yourself or life is developing; for this to be a recurring dream it may suggest you are growing as a person quite significantly.
I personally experienced a recurring dream every single night during the summer holidays when I left primary school, whereby I would always see or hear the same lady jumping off a bridge and dying. Whilst this was traumatic, it was simply my mind reflecting my fears of the "jump" between primary school and secondary school, as this dream ended when I began secondary school and realised it was a positive place. Interestingly, in my summer between leaving school and starting university, I experienced a very similar recurring dream where a young girl would tap my arm for help before also jumping to her death. This again was reflective of my fears of the "jump", and the young girl was a representation of my inner young self's anxieties about "growing up".
These are just some examples of dream meanings and recurring dreams that will always be open to interpretation. If you have anything at all that you would like to learn more about or to discuss further, please get in touch as I would love to talk about these with you - it fascinates me to no end.
Thank you so much for reading - please do feel free to leave any comments so we can discuss your thoughts and experiences below! This is one of the first posts of a mini series of sleep phenomenas: the next instalment will be discussing the eery phenomenon of "Night Terrors". In the meantime, if you would like to read my post about "Sleep Paralysis" please click the link below.
Elisa Lam was a 21 year old student originally from Vancouver, who in 2013 began her solo tour around America. Lam arrived in Los Angeles January 26th 2013 and checked into the Cecil Hotel in downtown LA. This was the last place Elisa Lam was ever to be seen; last captured by the hotel's CCTV footage on the evening of January 31st 2013.
Lam was originally sharing a hostel room with roommates however they soon after requested she was moved elsewhere due to her odd and disturbing behaviour. This behaviour is captured in the hotel surveillance footage whereby she acts very erratically and as if she is hiding from somebody (who does not appear to be there in reality) and later displays eery hand gestures (shown at 2:00).
It is widely speculated that Elisa Lam committed suicide following a bipolar psychotic episode. It was originally believed that Lam's unusual behaviour towards an "invisible" being was as a result of drug induced hallucinations, however toxicology reports found no trace of recreative drugs. However, this fact does not dispute this explanation. Lam relied on medication for her bipolar disorder; and blood tests showed that whilst Lam had taken her antidepressants around the time of her death, she had not taken her antipsychotics for a while. Studies have shown that without antipsychotics to balance the effects of the antidepressants, bipolar patients are vulnerable to an increased risk of mania, which can be expressed in the form of hallucinations and paranoia. The suicide theory interprets Lam's behaviour in the lift as a result of mania and suggests she may have climbed into the water tank to "escape" from someone or something she believed to be after her and drowned, leading to an accidental suicide.
However, critics of this theory raise doubts surrounding Lam's ability to reach the water tank alone. The Cecil Hotel is laid out in such a way that it is seemingly impossible to access the hotel roof (where the tanks were situated) without setting off any alarms or without a staff access card. This means for Lam to reach the water tanks by herself she would have needed an elaborate route plan, which does not make sense with the mania theory for she would not have been able to predict or plan for this situation. Additionally, it is sceptical how Lam would be able to lift a 20lb lid after climbing a 10ft ladder into the water tank, and then pull the 20lb lid back over the tank; especially as the autopsy results showed no signs of struggle or strain.
The implications of the suicide theory lead to a second theory that suggests Elisa Lam was murdered by a hotel staff member. The Cecil Hotel had a poor reputation due to high rates of crime, deaths and suicide. The theory argues that Lam was not hallucinating; rather there was a genuine individual chasing her, and one who knew the positioning of the cameras and therefore how to avoid being picked up by CCTV - knowledge only a staff member is likely to know. This would explain why Lam hides after checking outside the lift, and why the lift doors do not close as somebody may have been obstructing them. In addition, the CCTV footage had been tampered with before the police had access to it, for it had been slowed down and a minute of footage is entirely missing. This serious contamination of evidence leads to the theory that the hotel staff may have wanted to protect the perpetrator, and therefore adjusted the speed to make her behaviour appear "odd", and deleted the footage where the staff member(s) may have accidentally been picked up by CCTV. This also would explain how Lam reached the water tanks without setting off any alarms, and how the lid managed to be lifted back over the tank.
Despite this theory resolving many implications of the suicide theory, it is important to reinforce the fact the autopsy showed no signs of struggle or physical trauma. Arguably, this disputes the murder theory to quite a considerable extent. There also does not appear to be any clear motive for anybody to murder Elisa Lam. There is another theory that I will not go into in this post, however it aims to resolve this point by suggesting somebody may have been hired to murder Lam as a cover up for a failed drug trial for TB. This drug kit was coincidentally called "Lam Elisa", suggesting the murder may have been planned (or made up entirely) so that when people searched for those terms they would only find knowledge about a mystery murder as opposed to the failed drug trial. Whilst I personally do not believe this theory, there is a huge amount of evidence and theory to it, so I would be happy to discuss this with anybody or provide you with some literature if this is of particular interest to you.
3. Korean Elevator Game
Whilst the debate between suicide and murder surrounding the death of Elisa Lam is significant, there is also a host of paranormal explanations - one being that Lam was attempting the "Korean Elevator Game". This is a game whereby players follow a set of elevator rules to ultimately enter a second dimension filled with hatred and evil spirits. Some believe that Lam may have been interacting with a paranormal being in the elevator which could have possessed her mind leading her to her death, or that she was traumatised to the point of suicide whilst trying to escape this second dimension. Whilst I personally am very skeptical of a paranormal explanation, I decided I would include this theory as it is fascinating how closely linked the rules of the game and Lam's behaviour are - it is worth looking this up further for an interesting read.
There are many many more theories as to what happened to Elisa Lam, with a noticeably high amount of paranormal theories in this particular case. I personally am most inclined to believe it was a suicide, theorising that her solo tour may have been a very sad escape. Lam was very open about her struggles with mental health on her social media accounts (which I do believe can still be reviewed if anybody would like the links); therefore whether this was a psychotic episode or a case of depression heartbreakingly developing into suicidal thoughts, I do believe this is the most credible theory. I am more inclined to believe it was a planned suicide due to the striking similarities between this case and the movie "Dark Water". This 2005 horror movie shows the death of a young girl from drowning in a water tank on the rooftop of an apartment. In this movie footage of the girl in an elevator is remarkably significant, just as it is to the Lam case, and she is shown getting to the water tanks via a certain route that prevented setting off any alarms. Probably the most striking similarity is that the girl in the movie and Elisa Lam were wearing almost identical clothing around the time of their "deaths".
I believe the similarities are chilling, and whilst they may be a big coincidence, I do think the possibility that Elisa Lam was recreating this movie therefore resulting in her death should definitely be considered. However, I still am very very conflicted by a lot of theories and would LOVE to discuss your thoughts and opinions too, and perhaps discuss some of the other theories I didn't mention in this post.
Thank you so much for reading, and please do feel free to leave any comments so we can discuss your thoughts below!