Ears and eyes ~ August

This is the first of a monthly post on the things that have been feeding my eyes and ears with inspiration over the past month - audiobooks, podcasts, music, films, books, programmes, talks and anything else that has floated my boat. 

I've recently been inspired into the world of podcasts - I know right, where have I been?! I used to listen to record label podcasts but it was when I had a crap phone and a basic data plan so I just gave up in favour of being able to store more than 10 photos. But with a much better phone and a realistic data plan I am now discovering how far the podcast world has come and kicking myself for mindlessly listening to generic Spotify playlists when I could have had such a wealth of free inspiration in my earlobes. I have since been binging on the below podcasts and the dog is finding his walks are getting earlier and longer and the house is cleaned in a much cheerier fashion.

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As I cannot be trusted with anything, I recently stood on my old kindle and lost my beloved earphones. Forever looking for the silver lining, I thought that at least I could upgrade and have some new fancy things but in the end I straight out replaced both (except the new Kindle is an updated version with a fancy touch screen) which is testament to them. I tend to use my Kindle just for fiction and then have non fiction books in a hard copy and I definitely prefer to listen to podcasts and audio books on earphones - especially while commuting or cleaning. I adore my Bose Soundsport which are also great for the gym. 

So below are my recommendations for the month, this is probably going to be the biggest month/list considering I'm backdating it. 

Podcasts

Heavyweight - this podcast is so addictive. The first series sees author & humorist Jonathan Goldstein help his friends and family face their biggest regrets and connect with the people that were involved. It's thought provoking and touching while also delivered with great humour. 

Invisibilia - this is a fascinating podcast about all the invisible forces that control how we behave presented beautifully by Lulu Miller (ex Radiolab), writer Hannah Miller and Alex Spiegel (ex This American Life). Everything about our behaviour is questioned from whether personality is real to why we feel certain emotions and senses.

Where Should We Begin? - wham! This podcast is incredible. Esther Perel is one of the worlds leading relationship experts and in this podcast we sit in on anonymous but real couple therapy sessions. Each episode gives inspiration on how we can understand one another, whether it be a partner, family member or friend.  

Magic Lessons - Elizabeth Gilbert is a well known writer and in her book Big Magic (which I talk about below) she talks about how we are all creative (whether that be how you deliver a pitch, manage parenthood or write a book) and how we can unlock the creativity in us. Having finished the book she felt she wanted to carry on inspiring people and in this podcast she coaches people from all walks of life that are currently experiencing a creative block or need to get over a creative hurdle. She is full of wisdom and listening to the podcast alone has inspired me to launch a project I've had in my head for years! 

CTRL ALT DEL - this podcast, presented wonderfully by Emma Gannon, is essentially interviews with amazing people about their relationship with the internet/social media. The guests are all incredible and the podcast has seen actresses, authors, bloggers, social media superstars and other absolute bosses. My absolute favourite episode is this one with Lucy Sheridan (who I talk about below). Lucy has such a clear, concise way of communicating and the episode is full of great advice, affirming statements and YES! moments. 

Books

Big magic - Elizabeth Gilbert I appear to have been living under a rock as have totally missed this raves about this book. Having recently been inspired into the world of non-fiction by lovely Donna at Wild Woman it became clear I needed to get myself familiar with Elizabeths work. Life changing stuff without being preachy or sensationalist - it's funny, warm and giving (just as Elizabeth is on her podcast above). An absolute must have. 

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Playing Big - Tara Mohr recommended by Lucy Sheridan on a podcast, I bought this as an audio book as well as a hard copy as a reference for the practices. This book is remarkable - encouraging the reader to be the best version of their biggest self by being compassionate to yourself, recognising what is holding you back and how to deal with your inner critic. Don't hesitate, buy buy buy. 

Eleanor Elephant is Completely Fine The only fiction book in my list this month and actually I read it earlier this year but needs to be mentioned - I think by now most people have read this book but if not its a must. Eleanor Oliphant is a character you don't warm to at first but then as your hear more of her story you open your heart to her and all the other people in the world you've made a judgement about. The kick up the bum we all need to be more accepting and understanding. 

First We Make the Beast Beautiful - Sarah Wilson this book has been incredibly comforting and then at times I've just had to put it down and step away for half an hour! I have made endless notes and flagged up loads of quotes - moments of 'oh my god, its not just me?!'. This book isn't about how to 'cure' anxiety but more about how to manage it and that celebrates you as a person because you live with it. 

Music

Julie Byrne - Not Even Happiness when I've had a tiring day or just felt overwhelmed I put this album on, as soon as the vocals open on Follow My Voice I instantly feel calmer. Julies voice is like a beautiful amber honey. I can't get enough of it. 

Blood Orange - Negro Swan Dev Hynes is an Essex guy who has previously worked with Solange (queen) and FKA Twigs. His music is pop r'n'b and I love this album - particularly the smooth synths and sax.

Charlotte Day Wilson Charlottes soulful voice is definitely a favourite at the moment. In particular I love After All.

Santigold YES! I'm not all about quiet, slow music here at Retr~eat! Some empowering bangers on this album. I first heard it on the overground and couldn't stop my leg tapping to the extent someone came over and said thanks for making them smile on a gloomy day. 

My gym playlist this is a work in progress but I've been adding some cheery, mostly vocal led drum'n'bass tracks that will get you moving! 

People/sites/blogs

Dana Falsetti I came across Dana though this Elizabeth Suzann article and her voice really spoke to me. I really identified when she talked about dressing in clothes she feels comfortable in instead of wearing things that are 'flattering' which implies that you are trying to please everyone but yourself or that your figure needs changing.

Lucy Sheridan arrrrgggghhh, where do I start on this womans amazingness? Go binge on her youtube vids or the podcasts she's been on RIGHT now. Lucy is the worlds only comparison coach and speaks so much wisdom with so much generosity it makes you want to spread her words everywhere. I honestly feel like I am a more confident person for finding Lucy's work - I have improved my communication and found my voice to question things in the right way. Wholeheartedly recommend the CTRL ALT DEL episode mentioned above and also the One Girl Band podcast.

Darius Foroux I just really enjoy the articles Darius writes. I loved this: "So when you become a better writer, you’ll also become a better thinker. How does one become a better writer? By writing more." It's so true, I am a terrible writer but I've found since I've been journalling a lot I've been opening my mind up more and questioning things. I've found my conversations are richer for it. 

Formally Emma Gutteridge