4 Podcasts I’m Listening to Right Now

Which Podcast to listen to

I’m late to the podcast party. I didn’t start listening to podcasts until I started my job last year, when the long commutes to work began too.  Then, when I had dipped into a few and loved it, I immediately jumped on board the podcast fan ship!  (Figuratively speaking…)

So, I’ve decided to share a few podcasts I’m enjoying right now, rather than a ‘which podcasts to listen to‘ kinda post. I’ve not been listening to podcasts for a year yet and I’m dead certain there’s plenty more out there I’m yet to discover and love.

So this is more of a ‘podcasts I’m listening to now’ post, because I don’t want to rule out writing similar posts in the future!

1. Buffer – The Science of Social Media

Buffer the Science of Social Media podcast

After seizing every moment of the the weekend and making the most of it, when it comes to Monday mornings I feel a bit fuzzy, to say the least.  I want to get my mind back to being refocused for work, so I listen to Buffer’s the Science of Social Media podcast.  (I work as a Social Media & Content Executive).

Buffer of course provides many insights on social media and not just in podcast form.  However, the topics and discussions in these podcasts aren’t exactly groundbreaking, plus the hosts use the word “interesting” far too often for my liking.

But, in despite of feeling that they’re telling you how to suck eggs at times (“use hashtags”), little gems of information still reveal themselves, every now and then.  Mostly though, I listen because it gets me back into that social media frame of mind for the week ahead.

2.  Emma Gannon – Ctrl Alt Delete

Emma Gannon Ctrl Alt Delete podcast

I never thought I’d be the kind of person to binge-listen a podcast series (is that a saying?), but Emma Gannon’s Ctrl Alt Delete had me at hello.

Yes, it’s one of the most popular podcasts out there, but for good reason.  At first, I was pulled in by listening to all of the episodes featuring my favourite YouTubers.  But the way Emma talks about our generation, growing up online and how it’s changed our world, careers and life, I just have SO MUCH time for.

It’s so refreshing to hear about technology, blogging and social media in a positive light, rather than just doom and gloom.  Ctrl Alt Delete tops my podcast list for podcasts to listen to on most days.  Every Ctrl Alt Delete podcast inspires me in one way or another.

3.  At Home With…

Podcast to listen to

Lily and Anna’s rather new podcast series At Home With is a combination of Ctrl Alt Delete and Changing Rooms.  In a good way.

This is the first array into podcasting for the duo and I’ve got to say, they’ve not done too badly.  Similar to Emma’s Ctrl Alt Delete, they interview guest that have a background in digital brands, but also make up gurus and magazine editors too.  (Jo Elvin, Zoe Sugg and Liz Earle have all been guests so far.)

The twist is the interview actually takes place in the guest’s house.  So in between conversations about careers, fashion and the like, we’re taken around the guest’s home.  If you download a certain podcast app I can’t remember the name of now (blast!), you get to see pictures of the guest’s home too.  As I listen on my drive to work I obviously keep it to audio only…

4.  The Rough Guide to Everywhere

Rough_Guide_to_Everywhere

The Rough Guide to Everywhere is the first travel podcast I’ve seen and listened to out there.  (There’s a gap in the market people!)

I’m more of a Lonely Planet fan myself (I adore the writing style).  However, I do have a soft spot for Rough Guide.  (I owned a Rough Guide for Moscow, the first destination I travelled to in my gap year.)

Ultra-experienced and hard grafted travellers are interviewed on the podcasts about their most wild travelling experiences.  (Like when Ruby Wax hitchhiked somewhere and somewhere fell into jail.)  But the host Greg Dickinson also goes on his own experiences, like hiking his way out into the British countryside (far from any public transport station).  It’s definitely inspired me to take on more mini-adventures, between the big ones.

Other Notable Mentions…

Lily and Anna aren’t the only YouTuber stepping into the audioworld.  Estée Lalonde will soon release The Heart of It, a series where she’ll dicuss topics close to her, well, heart.

I was a big listener of My Dad Wrote A Porno for a while, which is hilarious, the title is exactly as it sounds.  I also occasionally dip into Women’s Hour and Desert Island Discs too (I loved Tom Hanks’!).

And there’s the four podcasts I’m listening to right now.  Once I’ve caught up with all of the above I’ll definitely have more time to listen to others.  So another post may be in the pipeline…

Do you love podcasts?  Tell me which ones you listen to in the comment section below!

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Bullet Journal: 6 month update!

Bullet Journal update

At the start of the year, I shared a few posts about my first ever venture into bullet journalling.  Now that I’m half way through year (and a bit) I wanted to give a quick bullet journal update on how it’s going, new pages and what I’ve learnt so far.

One of the things I have in the back of my mind when I start creating projects like this is being a middle child.  I’d read somewhere that one of the ‘traits’ of being a middle child was to create many different project ideas, but to often leave these unfinished.

WELL, I try to rebel against this (in the same way I do about being forgotten about!).  Although this is actually one of my purposes in starting a bullet journal; to not forget.  So I’m pleased to report not only has this project kept going, but its also helped me avoid leaving other ideas in the dust too.  Here’s how it’s gone so far…

Future Log

Bullet Journal update

At the start of year, I wasn’t sure how my future log was going to progress.  I thought I might have oh sooo many events happening that July through to December would need their own page!

It turns out that although I do have quite a few events going on, there’s still enough room on this double page spread.  I’m pretty pleased about that because it’s nice to have everything in one place and I’ll adopt this for next year too.  (I’ve been keeping only very important dates on this page, rather than day-to-day things like doctors appointments, reminders, etc.)

New Page Ideas:

TV Series Tracker

Bullet Journal TV series tracker page

Browsing through Pinterest for bullet journal page ideas, I was inspired by the idea of a TV Series Tracker page and damn, it’s been useful!  Admittedly I don’t have many TV series here, but I’ve found when I have jotted one down its really kept me motivated to finish the season.

As you can see I’ve finished The OA and the People Vs Oj Simpson, but I’ve got some catching up to do on Twin Peaks and Pokémon Indigo League.  (Ahem, don’t judge.)

Watch List

Some of you might remember if you read my Bullet Journal Set Up post that I have a ‘To Watch’ list in my weekly spreads.  Although this is helpful in reminding me to actually take some time to watch a film or TV series I want to, I was forgetting about some others that couldn’t fit in the small box.

Enter; the Ultimate Watch List!  I’ve created a page just to note down EVERYTHING I want to watch so none are forgotten about.  So if I do tick off my ‘To Watch’ list, I have another reference to fill it back up again.

Lists & Plans

Bullet Journal page ideas inspiration

Flat lay props?  Every month I have a free page directly opposite my monthly to-do list (another page that has been very helpful).  I fill these pages with a number of different lists, plans or notes.

So, in this example I wanted to keep track of different props I’ve seen blogger’s use in their flat lays.  The purpose?  So I can get better at mine. 😏  I’m also trying to rack my brain for ‘About Me’ video ideas for my YouTube channel and I’ve also used this space for Valentine Day card and gift ideas, workout plans and new bank account research.

Bullet journal update - exercise plan

What I’ve learnt so Far:

With this being my first ever bullet journal, I’ve definitely learnt some things I might like to change for next year’s.  I can ramble on, so I’ll keep things short and sweet in bullet points, also known as a favourable bullet journal format!

  • My weekly spreads look better when I use a ruler, instead of hand-drawing them. (Don’t be lazy!)
  • I need to start taking my bullet journal everywhere with me.  Inspiration can strike at any moment!
  • Next year, my bullet journal will replace my usual diary because of this.  There’ll be no more diary.
  • Yes, the Pikachu sticker has disappeared.  I don’t know where.  I’ll buy a label maker for next year’s bullet journal!  (I’ve always wanted one anyway…)Bullet Journal Weekly Spread Set-Up
  • Continue with coloured pencils for decoration, pencils do not run through the next page.
  • I need to choose a pen I know I can repurchase.  I’ve made the mistake this time of picking a pen I was given free at a conference.  When this runs out it actually horrifies me that my bullet journal might have TWO different pens!
  • I’ll start to decorate week days with highlighters instead of pencils, on the weekly spread pages, to save time.
  • I need to make more use of stickers and tape.  I have these, why don’t I use them?

Overall…

It’s safe to say, I’m still really loving and feeling the benefit of bullet journalling half a year later.  For next year I’m already excited about my bullet journal taking in/absorbing my usual planner diary and getting way more use.

Looking ahead, I’m hoping to film a comparison video when it comes to my first BuJo (I LOVE this abbreviation!) anniversary as a bullet journal update, but this won’t be until the new year.  Next year will also bring innovative bullet journal ideas, like page dividers and better designs.  I’m only just getting started…  😈

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My Reading Challenge 2017: 6-month update!

George Englund Marlon Brando the Naked Actor

I realise I’m late on giving an update on my Reading Challenge 2017 – my bad.  (See my latest blog post on why that is…)

Shamefully, I’ve only read a measly 3 books since my 3-month update.  (3! 😞 ) Disappointedly this makes my 6-month Reading Challenge update a rather short one.  (Hey, at least it’s a quick read, right?)

Nevertheless, I now must solider on and dive head first into a book at every possible opportunity.  I have some catching up to do…

My Reading Challenge 2017 (continues…)  📚

8. Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith
This book is partly to blame for slowing down my progress.  (I’m sorry Martin Cruz Smith, I just didn’t really enjoy it.)  It’s possibly my own fault as I bought the book on a nostalgic whim; I’ve been to Gorky Park in Moscow and I’d loved it.  I didn’t however discover a triple murder of the kind that opens this book.  My main problem was that the characters didn’t seem all that believable or, more importantly, Russian.  I was engrossed by and drank up every word of  Child 44’s Russian descriptions, the nature of its characters and settings, which is another reason that lead me to buy this book for the same enjoyment.  Sadly, this one didn’t have the same affect.

9. We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
Oh my god I loved this book.  I was entranced by the film, so when I saw this on offer in the Kindle store I downloaded it in a nanosecond.  Written from Eva’s perspective, a reluctant mother whose son grew up to murder seven fellow students in a high school massacre.  The film definitely holds up to the novel, both are brilliantly written, created and acted.  This has taken my top spot for best read so far this year, so much so I’ve even done some further reading into the questions section on Goodreads!

10. Marlon Brando: The Naked Actor by George Englund
A random charity shop purchase I’ve had lying around for a few years that needed reading.  I was initially put off by the superficial Jane Fonda signature on the front, covering Marlon’s chest: “George, I love your book. Jane Fonda.”  There’s a just as cringeworthy review from Kirk Douglas printed on the back too.  Hmm… crying out for recognition much?  Although if you look past these weird celebrity endorsements, George Englund writes about his past friend in quite a lovely way.  The collections of memories through his perspective reveals a little insight into Hollywood’s man of mystery – at times revealing he’s not so mysterious overall.  Yet, it still left me thinking of Marlon as a bit of an enigma.

10/25 books read ✔️

George Englund Marlon Brando the Naked Actor Reading Challenge 2017

I’m currently at 40% in my Reading Challenge 2017.  If I use the calculation I spoke about in my 3-month update, then I should have read 12 books by now!  (14 if I’m being honest with the fact this post is going out in the seventh month, not the sixth month June.)

Sadly, this means some big reads like Game of Thrones will have to wait further still until I’ve caught up, which is going to be extra hard with series 7 just days away!

Coming up: I have a few interesting reads planned though, including: Emma Cline, Cheryl Strayed, Emma Gannon and another Jon Ronson!

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Read a brilliant book lately?  Leave any recommendations in the comments below!

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Imperial Candles Review

Imperial Candles Chocolate Orange Review

In my Mother’s Day gift ideas post I promised an Imperial Candles review, et voila!  Just a bit of a back story to begin with; I’m not very into candles, which is why I gifted this to my mum, who is!

Imperial Candles are hand poured in the UK, but aren’t your typical smelly candle (explanation incoming).  Being a surprise candle, there’s an extra little something in the form of a jewellery gift, contained inside.

This was a completely new concept to me (like I said, candle novice) and considering the jewellery surprise can range anywhere between £10 and £2,000, I thought it would make a great gift idea!  (Happy Mother’s Day mum.)

Imperial Candles Review

Imperial Candles Review

I was sent the Chocolate Orange scented candle, which I initially imagined to bask our home in sweet yet exotic scents of a faraway chocolate orange land.  Sadly, this wasn’t necessarily the case. I mistook the scent for my brother’s e-cigarette before noticing a little glow by the fireplace!

Chocolate Orange wouldn’t be a scent I’d choose personally, so I don’t want to dwell on this too much; it just wasn’t to my taste.  Nor my mum’s, however we both agreed it was strongly scented!

There’s two wicks inside and it took a few afternoons to get down to the jewellery, which was a fair while.  In total an Imperial Candle has 120 hours worth of burn time, which, to a candle beginner like me, sounds like forever!

Imperial Candles Jewellery

Imperial Candles Review earrings

I chose earrings, as I know my mum wears this type of jewellery the most.  But if you want a lucky dip option to leave this as a complete surprise, then this is also an option!  (The choices are earrings, a ring or a necklace – you can also choose your ring size.)

The thought occurred to me; candles with jewellery inside – how does that work?!  My mum’s soon-to-be new jewels were wrapped in foil to protect them from the obvious (namely flames and wax).  When we spotted foil emerging from the wax we plucked it out of the candle like hidden treasure and pealed away the protective casing.  I’ve got to say, this bit was quite exciting!

The result was the pictured above and below circular earrings, encrusted with jewels that centre a mauve/purple stone.  Quite to my mum’s taste!

Imperial Candles earrings

Imperial Candles earrings

A little tag will tell you the value of your jewellery and if you’ve hit the jackpot!  My mum’s earrings came in at £20, so we weren’t so lucky in hitting the top value, nevertheless my mum was still pleased with her new pair of earrings.

Conclusion 🔥

It’s a shame I wasn’t a fan of the scent, however I didn’t want this to affect my Imperial Candles review.  Judging by the strength of the scent itself, it was noticeable to me just by walking in from work.

For that reason, I’m intrigued to reach out and try another scented candle from Imperial Candles in the future.  In particular Pure Cotton, Mango Peach and Peony Pomegranate tempt me, so who knows, maybe I am a candle person after all.

The scent and general aroma felt like a stress release and as for a chance to add to my jewellery collection, it makes it all the more exciting.

I was sent a candle to write an Imperial Candles review.  Although this was free, all opinions expressed here are my own (and my mum’s).

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My Reading Challenge 2017: 3-month update!

My Reading Challenge 2017

As we’re slowly sweeping into spring, I thought it was about time I give an update on my Reading Challenge 2017.

Just to give you a bit of background; last year was my first reading challenge ever!  (You can see how it went here.)  This year I set myself the goal of reading 25 books for my Reading Challenge 2017.   I thought instead of lumping you with a mammoth blog post at the end of the year, I’ve decided to divide it into four 3 month bitesize updates.

I hope this helps to give some inspiration to your next book purchase and add to your reading challenge 2017!  Let me know if it does…

My Reading Challenge 2017 (so far…) 📖

1. In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom by Yeonmi Park
This is an interesting read and one that divides reviews on Goodreads.  Yeonmi is a North Korean defector, who lived in the northern part of the country before she was trafficked into China.  Her journey is incredible, heartbreaking and unbelievable.  This is the part that is, of course, irrefutable.  The question whether she’s told the whole truth divides me (and others).  I can’t help but think there might be some deliberate haziness in places.  Regardless, an eye-opening read into North Korean life.

2.  Pretty Iconic: A Personal Look at the Beauty Products that Changed the World by Sali Hughes
I hope it’s not too inappropriate to go from North Korea to this.  I love Sali!  I’ve been following her since she started writing for the Guardian and I was lucky enough to get this signed by the lady herself at Stylist Live.  A lovely read, as usual, about outstanding beauty products interwoven around her life stories.  My only criticism is that a few descriptions were repeated within the book, but other than that; flawless.

3.  The Profession of Violence: The Rise and Fall of the Kray Twins by John George Pearson
Wow.  What an explosive biography.  As if the Krays need any introduction…  If east London’s most infamous set of twins has ever intrigued you then this is a must read.  John George Pearson was selected by the twins themself to write their biography, so I have no doubt everything within the two covers is credible.  I also loved how this was book was a window back in time to 50’s/60’s London.  A great read.

4.  So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson
I recently spoke about this book in my New Purchases Show & Tell series, so once again it’s slipped into another blog post of mine.  Way back when lashings and hangings were one of the first forms of public shaming, Jon explores public shaming how it is today; through social media.  The world’s gone digital and it now takes place on Twitter (and other social networks), with the potential to spread worldwide.  It’ll make you think twice before sending your next tweet!

5.  Norweigan Wood by Haruki Murakami
This was one of my Christmas presents from my sister and what a story to start for my first Murakami novel. The Beatles’ song Norwegian Wood takes main character Toru Watanabe back to when he first started university and memories of his first love Naoko.  Naoko was the girlfriend of his best friend, before he killed himself.  It’s hard to pinpoint what makes this book so special exactly, as it’s somewhat of a sad story that lingered after I read it.  Delicate, upsetting but quite enriching.

6.  Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Don’t judge me, this book is widely praised for being beautifully written and it is, it really is.  Why else would anyone read a book from the perspective of a man who’s in love with a 12 year old girl?  (I know, I know…)  The language is exhilarating, heady to read, like smelling a strong perfume – and it’s all written by a non-English speaker.  The best novel I’ve read so far this year.

7. The Spy by Paulo Coelho
This wasn’t a book I was particularly looking to read, or even knew it was published.  On offer in the Kindle store, I had previously read a book by Paulo Coelho a few years ago, which I thought was okay, so I went for it.  Good for me then that this was a surprisingly pleasant purchase. Written in the fictional perspective of Mata Hari, a famous dancer who was executed for espionage.  I highlighted sentences from this book for the first time ever on my Kindle because of parallel  conventions a woman like Mata faced, and still do even today.

7/25 books read ✔️

My Reading Challenge 2017

I worked out 25 divided by 12 makes 2.083 –  which means I’ll need to read 2.083 books a month to hit my goal of 25 books.  So far I think I’m on track!

There are some books out there, like the Game of Thrones series and The Count of Monte Cristo, that are still on my to-read list.  However, being such big books, I don’t want to slow up my progress just yet.  I may have to reserve these until the end of the year…

I do want to get back to some authors I love and haven’t read in a while though, particularly Ian McEwan!  So you might see less spontaneous Kindle bargains in the next update. That’s if I don’t cave into temptation of diving back into the Game of Thrones saga first…

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Which books have you been reading lately?  Leave me any of your recommendations below!

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