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The Podcasts I’m Recommending To My Mates

The Podcasts I’m Recommending To My Mates

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…

Love Stories – Dolly Alderton

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.

Happy Place – Fearne Cotton 

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.

Table Manners – Jessie Ware & her Mum, Lennie

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).

Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations – Oprah “This Woman Can Do No Wrong” Winfrey

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…

Ctrl Alt Delete – Emma Gannon

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.

How to Own the Room – Viv Groskop

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.

Goal Digger – Jenna Kutcher

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…)

The Guilty Feminist

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…

The Blindboy Podcast – Blindboy from The Rubberbandits

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.

About Race – Reni Eddo-Lodge

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.

The High Low – Dolly Alderton & Pandora Sykes

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.

Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness – JVN

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…

Criminal – Phoebe Judge

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 – Wondery 

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.

In The Dark – APM Reports

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.

Root of Evil – TNT

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.

Surviving February: 6 Actions to Take When You’re Ready to Make a Change

Surviving February: 6 Actions to Take When You’re Ready to Make a Change

Hello friends. It’s been two weeks too long since I’ve visited this wee corner of my life and while it wasn’t something I had intended on doing, it just felt right to ease myself in to 2018 rather than going in guns blazing. I feel like January is the month for ideas but February is the month to start actioning them. January is a time to give our dreams the wiggle room to grow, to ruminate on those thoughts that have been niggling in the back of our minds, slowly pushing to the forefront so we can give them our full attention. It’s a time for reflection, reflecting on where we are and where we want to be. Mostly, it’s a time to spend dark evenings curled up by the fire with empty pages spread out before us to capture all the wild and messy daydreams that tumble from our sleepy brains. Those blank spaces can provide us with more energy during the winter months than any fire can.

Most of our fantasies may be fantastical in the darkness of winter, most may never see the light of Spring but there might be just one that could slip through the cracks. One good idea is enough to eclipse all others and while it might take a little longer to see the idea become more than just that, there is nothing quite like the feeling of that lightbulb moment. So while I might have been a little absent on the blog, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about the words I write here and the content that I share. I’ve been mulling and mulling about where I would like to see this space go, how I can push myself further creatively and go beyond writing as a hobby. The winter nights are for nothing but for imagining a fresh start in the Spring, am I right?

Now that we’re in February we would be forgiven for thinking that Spring is on our doorstep but sometimes the shortest month can feel like the longest. What’s good is that we still have time to plan ahead and start making sense of the scattering of possibilities that have been swimming in our head all winter. There is still a whole month of stillness left before Spring arrives and our bodies bend towards the sun and in to distraction. So I’m telling you to utilise these last dark hours and use the opportunity to focus on what you truly want for the rest of your year because you’re capable of anything and now is the moment to push yourself further.

Is there an idea that you have been secretly coveting? Do you get butterflies when you think about it but quickly convince yourself that it’s not possible before getting too carried away? Let February be the month of shutting the fearful voices out and embracing the butterflies. Let it be the month for ACTION. The best ideas are those that make you feel sick to your stomach and if it’s all you can think about then the scariest possibility would be to deny yourself the chance to step in to the light of a new opportunity.

Of course this is all easier said than done and it you would be perfectly understood for crawling under the covers until the bluebells start showing their wee heads but you would only be doing your dreams a disservice. Choose to surround yourself with positive reinforcements that will only encourage you further. In case you’re in need of a little inspiration, I’ve listed some of the actions I take when I need help in making a step towards a change. Right now I have a notebook of scribbles that might turn in to something and that in itself is pretty exciting. Let’s go February.

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6 Actions To Take When You’re Read to Make a Change

Listen

Podcasts are all the rage right now of course and one that I keep going back to for guidance when I need it most is Hashtag Authentic by Sara Tasker. It’s a podcast mainly aimed at creatives but there is a huge range of topics that are incredibly useful depending on where you feel you need the most direction. Another great one is Magic Lessons with Elizabeth Gilbert (she of Eat, Pray, Love fame) which is a friggin’ joy to listen to in a bath on a winter’s night. I find myself just roaring out in unison with Elizabeth and her guests and feel ready to take on the world after an episode. Right after I dry my hair and moisturise of course.

Watch

‘In to the Wild’ is a movie I re-watch during the moments when I’m in need of a good kick up the ass. It never fails to bring a bit more perspective to any tough choice I’m currently having to make. Also the soundtrack is off the charts (Eddie Vedder you absolute LEGEND).

Read

There are enough motivational books out there to shake an insecure stick at but you don’t always have to stroll to the self-help aisle in order to feel inspired. One of my favourite books that I can rely on for some self-reflection is Walden by Henry Thoreau which I first read while I was in Africa for the first time. It was the reason why I fell in love with the natural world (second was David Attenborough) but mostly it engrained in me a sense that we have more power over our choices in life than we give ourselves credit for, one of the most important lessons I’ve ever learned. If you’ve already read Walden then anything written by Brené Brown is sheer inspirational gold dust. The woman is a motivational wizard. 

Do

While February can still invoke the temptation to hibernate and stay under the covers, the ever-so-slightly brighter mornings and evenings are the perfect encouragement to brave the fresh air and start wakening yourself up again. At some point this month try and take yourself on one of your favourite walks alone, preferably somewhere that’s close to any water source be it a river, lake, sea or puddle (NB: puddles may not encourage that much inspiration). Leave the headphones behind so you’re not creating a barrier between yourself and the world around you. Walk at your own pace, listen out for new sounds that you would normally ignore and look for signs of Spring. While focusing on your surroundings you’ll be surprised at the amount of new ideas that will pop in to your head and those moments of clarity will embolden you further when making decisions that might have seemed scarier while sitting at home.

Write/Draw

Some people are good with their words and others need the visuals in order to map out their plans. I’m a bit of both so when it comes to the blog, I have a notebook full of potential blog posts, ideal locations for photos, people who I would love to interview. These notes could be a list broken down in to categories (just call me Monica Gellar) and others are mapped as a brain storm with offshoots when my head is buzzing with too many thoughts that I need to see the bigger picture. These notes can sometimes be a load of nonsense but it is such a good feeling to see my ideas streaming from my pen and trying to put them all together.

Attend

If you’re planning on making a leap or big decision then you need all the encouragement you can get from peers who have made the jump before you. Networking is a Generation Z term that has been beaten to death but making connections with people who are in your field or are related to the choice you’re about to making is more rewarding than any other action I’ve listed above. Finding your tribe (that’s right, I said it) can be tricky but there are resources out there to help you find it. I’ve found Instagram to be a huge source of inspiration and I have created friendships (both online and offline) that have helped made this blog what it is. It’s how I found out about the Assembly Gatherings, a seasonal event run by Mel Wiggins that acts as a haven for creative women seeking inspiration. It’s where I found my tribe (said it again) and it’s an environment in which I can connect with like-minded women, bounce ideas off them and bask in encouraging words. By immersing ourselves in knowledge through gatherings, workshops or classes we are dipping our toes further in to our own potential. Want to start a blog? Connect with other bloggers. Want to start your own business? Search for similar local small businesses and find out how they did it. Allow yourself to be guided by those who you believe are on the path you want to be on and get climbing.