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10 podcasts to improve your commute and brighten your day

I just love podcasts. I listen to them basically whenever I'm walking anywhere, and I've built up quite the list now. These 10 are my favourites.

A confession: I used to feel a bit embarrassed about listening to Woman's Hour. It used to have a old, fusty image - may be it still does a bit. This is completely unwarranted though. I must admit I do zone out occasionally if they have guests on that don't really interest me, but they cover such a broad range of topical subjects - from serious discussions on genital mutilation and rape to YouTube culture and guilty crushes - I'm listening intently again before long. It's presented by Jane Garvey or Jenni Murray (I much prefer Jane as I find her funny and down to earth). The speakers are inspirational, clever and interesting - it makes you feel real solidarity for your fellow woman!

Like the rest of the world, I find true crime fascinating, and I like this podcast because it covers UK crime. Sometimes the US judicial system/terminology can be so confusing I struggle to get into a lot of US true crime stuff (to be honest, the second series of Serial just went completely over my head!) so this one makes a bit more sense. It covers stories that you will definitely have heard of in the news, and stories that were a bit less high profile. Probably not one to listen to when you're walking home from the bus stop in the dark!

The hype is REAL - this one is can't-listen-on-public-transport-or-you'll-look-crazy funny. I'm sure you know the schpiel but in case you don't, Jamie Morton's dad (under his pen name, 'Rocky Flinstone') has written a series of erotic novels and Jamie reads them aloud with his friends James Cooper and Alice Levine, discussing it together as they go along. It is comedy GOLD - not only the erotic parts which will have you  c r i n g i n g to the max, the general dialogue and characters are so random you wonder what on earth goes on in Rocky's head. Stop what you're doing right now and download it.

My current favourite. this podcast is presented by Pandora Sykes and Dolly Alderton who discuss high and low culture, from Brexit and President Macron to National Sandwich Week and The Met Ball. What I like about this podcast is that Pandora and Dolly's opinions are always so well thought out and articulate - even if I don't agree, they're always interesting and give you a unique perspective. They are also pretty funny, sometimes unintentionally, as my personal highlight being when Pandora thought that R Kelly was a member of The Lighthouse Family - that had me chuckling on the bus.

Elis James and John Robins are two comedians who also DJ on Radio X, and this is the podcast of their Saturday show. This podcast has quite the cult following - regular listeners are called 'podcast devotees', and if you've gone back and listened to every podcast from the beginning (Guiiiiilty!) you're a 'retro one-er'. It's kind of like a club - there are in-jokes, regular features (Humblebrag of the Week is my personal fave) and much fun to be had. Listen if you liked the style of former podcasts by Russell Brand, Josh Widdecombe or Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington.

I love learning about America - I find the way that their society is in some ways similar to England yet in some ways so different fascinating. I like listening to different American accents and hearing stories that come from their holidays and traditions. You've probably heard of this podcast, as it's an oldie and a goodie - presented by Ira Glass it covers a different topic each time, then has different stories about that topic. So simple and it works so well. There's a huge back catalogue to listen to as well. 

This is a new podcast presented by blogger/YouTuber duo Lily Pebbles and Anna Gardner, who are two of my faves. They interview successful women in their homes, such as Jo Elvin, Terry De Gunzberg (founder of By Terry) and Lisa Eldridge. You can tell they've picked people they genuinely admire and want to talk to, as their enthusiasm shows through and makes the podcast a lovely listen. Hint - listen to this on the acast app as talk often turns to items in guests' homes and the app shows photos on the screen! 

Another blogger led podcast, Let's Discuss is the brainchild of Ella (from Coco's Tea Party ,one of my favourite blogs EVER) and Monica (The Elgin Avenue). They discuss a wide range of topics from relationships and fitness to food and blogging, and their chats are very relatable and easy to listen to. Feels like you're having a chat with your friends, basically. They've just finished one series, and I'm looking forward to the next. 

I found this gem through a local blogger Facebook group that I'm part of. Sara from Me & Orla presents the podcast, and it focuses on offering advice and tips for bloggers, instagrammers and generally creative people. Her guests are always people who I've never heard of but always end up searching for and following afterwards, and she offers genuinely helpful hints. I've used them to totally up my Instagram game! A must-listen if you're a blogger and/or feeling any way unispired. 

Last but definitely not least is this lovely, random little podcast, which in short, solves mysteries. Not Stranger Things style mysteries, but just weird little things that people who email her want to know; 'everyday msyteries'. For example, how tall is Jake Gyllenghall? Sounds like something you could just Google right? Apparently not - and the host Starlee Kine is so sweet and likeable, she makes it so much fun. There's only one series of this podcast, and I can't WAIT for it to return. Fingers crossed that it's soon.

P.S. I'm also partial to Limetown, Get It On, Oh Boy, Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People and Food Programme 


Little Kitchen Cookery School // Bristol

Long time, no blog, as we've been tres busy MOVING INTO OUR OWN FLAT. How bloody exciting. Also, it's stressful. Not really like a high powered, deadline at work kind of stress but more of a dull, tiring boring process - I don't think I ate a vegetable for a week.

But hey ho, we're in now and sure we still don't have a hot shower but all in all I am loving it.

Anyway, this blog post is not about moving but about a lovely blogging event I went to on Tuesday, at Little Kitchen in Brislington, Bristol.

I'd not heard of Little Kitchen before but I'm always interested in food-type situations, eating, cooking, foraging - I'm not picky. Little Kitchen is a cookery school that hold a variety of cookery classes including baking, chocolate workshops, different country's cuisines and even 'Magical Macarons'! (My husband would appreciate the spelling of this as he hates it when people spell it macaroons, which we all know is a totally different bakery item)

I arrived to find my station, complete with instagrammable name tile (how to get a blogger on side- give them something with their name on), and a glass of prosecco.

The first things we made were Vietnamese spring rolls, the type of cookery which looks daunting but is SUPER easy - like seriously takes minutes to put together - and look impressive AF. One to impress the in laws I think! These were served with a dipping sauce, which I couldn't eat as it contained fish, so they provided me with an alternative which was sweet seeing as I had completely forgot to mention I was vegetarian.

Next we hand rolled and decorated truffles (not as easy as it looks, especially as it was a particularly hot day) before packaging them in cellophane and ribbons which disguised my heavy handed chocolate piping a treat. Before I knew it it was 8:30pm and Rich was waiting for me outside - time flies when you're perfecting that ganache! 

Making something with your own hands is always really satisfying, and I went home feeling full and happy. Thanks Little Kitchen!


Now I'm 30, should I have to dress my age?

Topman denim jacket, Boohoo hoody, H&M skirt, Vans, Boohoo tights

Hoody Boohoo
Skirt H&M
Jacket Topman
Tights Boohoo

Sometimes when I get dressed in the morning, especially for work, I wonder if I have dressed 'too young' for my age. I'm 30, but I definitely don't feel it. I still like to know what's 'on trend' (even though that phrase makes me criinge), I still get excited about fashion and new things, and I feel like a lot of those things are aimed at people a lot younger than me. I see so many articles about having a uniform once you get to a certain age, or building a capsule wardrobe once you hit 30 but I just can't get on board. Sometimes I do crack out a pencil skirt, blouse and heels, but then some days I want to wear leggings and Adidas Superstars.

I really like the outfit above, but 'should I be wearing Vans?' 'should I be wearing a hoody with Vans?' 'do I look like Avril Lavigne in the Sk8r Boi video (oldest reference on earth)?' 'do people think I am trying to dress like a teenager?' were all thoughts that ran through my mind.

It annoys me really because why do I care what anyone thinks? As if it matters. There isn't some sort of dress code you need to start following when you hit a certain age. I'm not going to purchase a fleece and some Crocs (sorry Christopher Kane it's a no from me).

So I'm going to carry on wearing what I want to wear, and I'll probably carry on wondering if I look like an overgrown teenager, but then I'll have a word with myself and realise there are a lot more pressing problems in the world, so I'll just grab my tamogotchi and head to the Justin Bieber concert with my squad. #EYEBROWSONFLEEK


Do we have to LOVE our bodies?

I was listening to The High Low podcast the other week (an excellent listen which I would thoroughly recommend), and they got to the reader email part of the show, where listeners send in their problems/issues and hosts Pandora  and Dolly answer them. One of the questions was about not wanting to take selfies and the reply really got me thinking, as Dolly touched on something that I've been thinking about recently. She gave a very eloquent answer (listen to it here about 40 minutes in - it's the podcast titled 'The Meme that broke the internet and why we need to talk about periods') but to sum up the bit that i'm referring to, she asked whether we really have to LOVE our selves/our bodies, or whether the notion is problematic as it reduces women to defining themselves by their bodies and not their actions. 

This struck a chord with me as I couldn't agree more. I think this message often just creates the opposite effect. The more and more women are told they have to LOVE their bodies, be happy at any size etc. etc. it just drums home the fact that our bodies are the focus of everything; they are what we should define ourselves by, forget our personality or achievements or interests - if we don't LOVE our bodies and put all our efforts into LOVING our bodies then we are failures. 

Sure, I have days where I think I could lose a bit of weight or can't do up my jeans or eat A LOT of Nutella from the jar then feel bad. 99% of people do. But I don't define myself by it. In general I think my body is great - I have arms, legs and a head, it gets me around and I feel good about myself when I look in the mirror. I do think I'm lucky to have been brought up in a family who are happy in their own skin and never made body image the focus of their life, but I just want all women to realise that it's okay to feel just fine about yourself and your body most of the time. I'm not trying to bash anyone or belittle anyone who has body confidence issues AT ALL, but the message 'oh you should just love your body' - how is that helpful when women are bombarded on the daily with everything that suggests they should do the exact opposite?

The pressure we put on women to feel like they have to think about and talk about their body image 24/7 drives me crazy. If you hate your body - OMG just buy this deodorant/lipstick/pair of jeans and LOVE your body! If you do actually love your body - OMG why are you so up yourself what an arrogant witch! Focusing all your efforts into loving your self suggest women should constantly have to look inwardly for happiness, to focus on yourself ALL the time and ALWAYS put yourself first. But sometimes, you shouldn't put yourself first. Put your mum first, put your partner first, put your cat first. Let's talk about something else for a change. Be a kind person, enjoy yourself, live your life with integrity, and confidence will come as an added bonus.

That last bit turned into a bit of an Instagram quote which is not me at all, but I hope I've made my point. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject - do you agree?