Confession: I am not good in total silence.
If ever a quiet moment falls during a shared car ride I find myself frantically brainstorming conversation topics in the hope to resurrect sound again. Even in yoga I cling to the sounds around me when we’re supposed to be training our minds to be clear – I would not do well on a silent retreat at all.
Podcasts have been a huge saviour for me when I’m in need of something to fill the silence throughout the day. They are now the soundtrack to my daily life, as reliable as a conversation with friends. I’m not the only one tuning in either because around 6 million in the UK are now listening to podcasts each week which has led to everyone and their mother launching one (quite literally the case for Jessie Ware and her Mum). There is an overwhelming amount of series out there now and choosing one has become the equivalent to mindlessly scrolling through TV channels – which one do you choose?
To help make your choice a little easier, I’ve created a handy list of podcasts I’ve become dedicated to and have been begging my friends to listen to along with me. There’s one for pretty much any mood you’re in so all you need to do is listen and let me know which one is your favourite 🙂
If there’s any great ones that you think I missed out on then please share in the comments, I’m always on the look out for more!
When you feel like a break from all the Brexit crap and need to restore your faith in humanity…
Dolly launched this podcast alongside her memoir ‘Everything I Know About Love’ and it’s a beautiful collection of conversations with folk about the relationships that have made them. I recently listened to an episode she did with Stanley Tucci and had a wee happy cry in the middle of tidying my bedroom and have been bingeing the other episodes since.
This is a super popular podcast so you may already be a fan but for those few of you that haven’t listened to this one: it’s awesome. It’s filled with useful advice from experts who can help when you’re feeling blue and need to see the simple joy in everyday life. I always feel a little better about the world after listening so I highly recommend it to help get you through the current nightmare that is life in the UK.
I mentioned this one earlier and really it’s one of my favourites when I just need some simple conversation to chill out to. It’s a great one when I’m cooking because it kind of feels like I’m in the room with them as they’re taking about food. Jessie and her Mum are warm and familiar, it’s like sitting around the table with old friends ( I especially loved the episode with Nigella because she is a freakin’ goddess).
Of course Oprah would make a podcast, everything that comes out of her mouth feels pregnant with wisdom and understanding. This podcast is a brilliant one for the airplane when you’re anxiety is up a little and you need a soothing voice to keep you from thinking how mental it is that you’re 30000 feet above ground (or is that just me?). She has a great selection of guests from Gloria Steinem to Michelle Obama who all have such great advice for navigating the obstacles in life and how to learn from them.
When you need some advice from your girlfriends about work and how to succeed like the badass you know you can be…
Emma started this podcast after she released her book of the same name a few years ago and it’s still one of my favourites. She describes the podcast as a conversation with different guests about their relationship with the internet but each episode manages to empower me in managing my own career path with more authority. She’s had some pretty amazing women as guests across all 4 series who are so inspiring in their own fields and can act as your own mentor when you need it most.
As a woman with a strong Irish accent working for a global investment bank, it felt like this podcast was created just for me! I have to lead conference calls with seniors from all of the world as part of my job, many of whom speak English as a second language. I was terrified in the beginning because I was asked a few times to repeat myself which would only fluster me all the more and this podcast was super helpful at teaching me techniques in how to feel more confident within myself. I recommend the series to those of you who are struggling to have your voice heard in work and will teach to lead with more assuredness than you realised you even had.
I started reading Jenna’s blog a few years ago when I was trying to learn about marketing on Instagram and Pinterest and while she’s a complete guru in this area, her podcast is full of knowledge that will help you in all areas of life. I’m a fairly scatty person, in fact I would imagine that’s the first word people I know would use to describe me, and I struggle to maintain focus on personal and professional goals. Jenna provides such useful advice on how to apply these goals not just in business but also in relationships and mental health too. Word of warning, she is SUPER American in the cheeriest sense and for us Irish it can be hard to shake off the cynicism but I implore you to shake it off. Shake. Shake. Shake it off (please say you got the T-Swift reference…)
This show is like one of those brain hugs I get after an hours long conversation with my mates over a few glasses of wine on the rare Saturday we’re all free. The series covers a wide range of topics that prompt such insightful discussions; sexuality, the choice to not have children, how to handle criticism, what it means to be feminine. Each conversation is fascinating and feels like this wee secret safe space where opinions are expressed in a way that isn’t facilitated as often as it should be.
When you feel brave enough to learn about what’s going on in the big wide world…
If you’re familiar with the Irish anti-establishment rap duo The Rubberbandits (aye, those lads with the plastic bags over their heads), then I’m sure you would have heard of this podcast floating about. Blindboy, one half of The Rubberbandits, launched the podcast back in October 2017 and since then it has become one of the most popular podcasts in both Ireland and the UK. Blindboy has been described as a voice for his generation and by God the man is articulate. He has such a talent for condensing complex political issues in to what feels like a conversation down the pub (albeit a very eloquent stoner kind of one). His use of language and the huge range in topics that he covers (he’s fond of going on a bit of a tangent but it’s worth going along with it) means that just about anyone can listen and learn something. He also has Cillian Murphy on as a guest and I mean I would listen to him snore if I could.
This podcast could be described as an extension of Reni’s book, ‘Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race’ as she continues the important conversations around racism in modern society. At a time when the subject of white privilege is finally being discussed within mainstream media, I felt it was necessary for me, as a white person, to do the work and educate myself on what it means to benefit from white privilege. Despite only recently launching the podcast in March, the podcast has been a big hit and has helped bring the topic of racism in to the public conscience. She also recommends other podcasts from POC on her website which I found really helpful.
OK I know that I’ve already another of Dolly’s podcasts in the list but honestly this show is perfect when you need a bit of light briefing on what’s going on in current affairs. The hosts are a fast-talking whirlwind who go from talking about the Kardashians one minute to the Suffragette movement the next with an ease I thought only my own mates could manage. The pair are obviously friends because they seem to be able to talk about anything that comes to mind which makes for great listening. I’ve now taken to listening to the pair on my commute when I want to be kept informed but in a gentle way that won’t scare me too early in the day.
It’s no surprise that JVN was and still is a hairdresser because honestly it feels like I should have my head in a sink anytime I’m listening to him. He has been a breath of fresh (h)air in so many ways but the thing I love most about him is how interested he is in just about anything. He welcomes experts who have a wealth of knowledge in their field and is able to hold conversations in a way that allows for us regular folk to feel empowered and engaged with current events. He’ll also transform your vocabulary in a way you never imagined – can you believe?!
For when you want to listen to a true story that will either scare the bejaysus out of you or make you wonder if all people are secretly crazy…
Phoebe Judge has a voice so pacifying that it’s rare that I last more than a few minutes in to an episode before I’m lulled in to sleep. Which is weird because most of the stories that Phoebe narrates are definitely not for bedtime. This podcast is so addictive though and the stories are so bizarre it’s hard to believe they’re actually true. Definitely a good series to listen to on holiday!
Dr Death was one of the most popular true crime podcasts of last year and one that Andrew and I binged during a road trip. At the end of each episode we would turn to each other with mouths gaping and would just click on through to the next one to find out what happened next. A few words of advice though: if you already have a fear of doctors then you will definitely not feel great about them after this podcast.
I discovered this podcast while in Italy last year and instead of reading the book I took with me, I blasted through both series in the space of a week. Each series centres around two different true crime cases that highlight systemic problems within law enforcement and failures within the justice system in America. The reporting in both series is astounding with the first series winning the Peabody award back in 2016. It’s my favourite true crime series and the one I will always recommend to podcast newbies.
I wasn’t even going to share this one because honestly, the content can be so disturbing at times that even I have found myself having to pause for a little while to get a breather. The podcast might be unsettling at times but it is so fascinating especially since it involves one of America’s most famous unsolved murders. If your new to podcasts then I would maybe build up to this series but if you are already a true crime fan then this will definitely not disappoint.