Podcast episodes & blog posts recommendations – 2020
curated by Fiona Barrows
Wk 7-8 (Feb 10 – Feb 23):
Marian Keyes | How to Fail with Elizabeth Day
Marian Keyes is one of those people you would just love to be friends with, and that desire will only get stronger after listening to this episode. In it she talks to Elizabeth about depression, low self-esteem and her perceived “failure” to have children. It’s one of my favourite episodes of this podcast.
New Beginnings with An Yu | Literary Friction
A fantastic discussion about the theme of rejuvenation in novels, and why so many authors are attracted to the fertile ground of new beginnings. Octavia and Carrie are joined by An Yu, who’s debut novel Braised Pork covers the same thematic ground.
Rootbound with Alice Vincent | Gardens, weeds and words
Rootbound is top of my reading list, and in this episode Alice Vincent discusses her second book with Andrew, and talks about how nature helped her to knit her life, and herself, back together following a period of upheaval.
Tales of winter – our seasonal connection to storytelling and folklore | The Smallest Light
Such an interesting post about how humans have always turned to storytelling during the long, dark winter months.
Short and Sweet: The Temptation to Take Photographs | La Retour
A lovely, thoughtful blog post from Laura about how our experiences of things are changed by the desire to capture them.
Rewild & Slow | Creative Countryside
Part of Eleanor’s amazing community project, Rewild and Slow, this piece examines her own, changing, relationship with nature, the wild, and slow living.
Wk 5-6 (Jan 27 – Feb 9):
Solving the world’s problems through gardening | Permaculture for the future
The first episode of a new podcast from permaculture practitioner Josh that aims to share positive and impactful stories, and ways that each of us can live a more regenerative lifestyle.
We need to reclaim time to think in our lives if we are to do meaningful things | Living Adventurously with Alastair Humphreys
A brilliant new podcast on what it means to live adventurously. This episode is with Sophie Stephenson who left her dream job in Australia to move back to the UK. She talks about how we don’t give ourselves or each other the freedom to think without judgment or interruption, and how by doing so we can figure out what we really want.
Imposter syndrome and how to deal with it | Fearless Hustle Collective
Having had to recently deal with a severe bout of imposter syndrome I found this episode really reassuring and helpful. Anna talks through what it is, and how we can deal with it when it comes up.
How to be kinder to the planet by eating sustainably | Our Eco-friendly Life
The conversation on eating sustainably seems to have got rather stuck on simply eating less meat. Frances and Moe, a couple who are slowly renovating a house in France, share other ways you can eat more sustainably.
5 books to read if you are feeling lost after a career change | Giulia Writes
A great list of books from Giulia to turn to if you are currently feeling lost or unsatisfied in your career.
Why you should try forest bathing | Field & Nest
A lovely post from Emma on what the Japanese call shinrin-yoku, or ‘forest-bathing’. The mental-health benefits of spending time, quietly, in forests are numerous and there are even studies that show it has physical-health benefits as well.
Wk 1-4 (Jan 1 – Jan 26):
How to be indistractable in a chaotic world with Nir Eyal | Hashtag Authentic
A fantastic episode of Hashtag Authentic with the author of Indistractable, Nir Eyal. I read Indistractable over Christmas, so really enjoyed his conversation with Sara, diving deep into the science, research and future of our attention spans.
Advertising | Sustainababble
A new podcast discovery, and one that combines comedy with talk about the environment and sustainability. I particularly enjoyed this episode on advertising, its ability to sell people stuff they don’t want or need, and whether advertisers can use their powers for good rather than evil.
Wendy Cope | In writing with Hattie Crisell
An excellent new podcast of conversations with writers on how and why they write. This episode with legendary poet Wendy Cope at her home in Ely is my favourite so far.
My minimalist planning process and some tips for keeping planning simple | Jessica Rose Williams
A comprehensive post from Jessica on how she plans her days, weeks and months – and keeps it simple.
How to kickstart a writing habit | Our Storytime
Some great advice from Huma, if one of your intentions this year is to get into a regular writing habit.
Six Ways to Support Yourself This Winter (as experimented with by me…) | Growthfully
A lovely post from Sarah exploring how she has supported herself this winter, and as a result has not been as negatively affected by the long, dark days as she usually is.
Podcast episodes & blog posts recommendations – 2019
Wk 51 + 52:
Christmas with multiple cultural identities | Rabya Lomas
A lovely post about celebrating Christmas as a member of another faith, and what the festival means to Rabya and her family.
How I cope with the loss of my parents at Christmas | Flora Baker
For anyone who has lost a loved one Christmas could be a time of loneliness and pain rather than joy and merriment. Flora writes beautifully about how her own grief at losing both her parents has impacted her Christmases, and how she navigates her way through it.
Gingerbread Shadow Box with template | Twigg Studios
Such a clever, creative idea, and I bet it tastes delicious too! Would make a lovely project for the first week of the Christmas holidays.
The Christmas Chronicles | Nigel Slater
The perfect podcast to listen to while wrapping your presents! Winter-enthusiast Nigel Slater shares thoughts, memories and recipes to take you all the way through the holiday season.
40 ways to slow your holidays | The Slow Home Podcast with Brooke McAlary
An episode from last year, but one that is definitely still relevant. Some great advice on how to slow down your holidays.
Christmas Special with Rachel Khoo | The Great Indoors
A lovely episode of this interior design podcast. Cook and broadcaster Rachel Khoo has some great ideas on how to decorate your table for Christmas lunch.
Eating with Jay Rayner, Lara Williams and Michael Palin | The Waterstones Podcast
A fantastic episode about eating and the joys it can bring. Michael talks about food as a unifying experience, Jay about the life experiences that have shaped his tastes, and Lara about subverting the idea of appetite in her debut novel.
Jonathan Van Ness | Happy Place with Fearne Cotton
I always enjoy Fearne Cotton’s conversations on Happy Place, but this one is particularly compelling. Jonathan talks openly about being HIV positive, the stigma that is still attached to it, and how therapy has really helped him come to terms with both it, and his addictions.
Nature in a virtual space with Sara Tasker | Gardens, weeds and words
A really lovely episode. Sara talks about how nature has influenced her work and how it has helped her to create a community online.
The big planner post | Me & Orla
A great round-up from Sara of the best planners for 2020. Sara asks a number of different business owners which ones they use, and there are some great recommendations (I use the same one Sara does – The Full Focus Planner).
How to introduce minimalism to kids | Someday Slower
Some great advice from Beth on how to introduce minimalism to your kids, and why you shouldn’t be put off it, or think it’s not doable, because you have a family.
It’s not about the bread | Snapdragon Life
A lovely post from Jane about how her weekly bread making isn’t about the bread, but about making the bread. It’s about taking a small amount of time each week to make something that will sustain herself and her family, something away from consumerism and competition.
Lupinology (Wolves) with Bridgett vonHoldt | Ologies with Alie Ward
Ologies is a light-hearted, charming and occasionally exceptionally funny science podcast, with each episode focusing on a different -ology and featuring someone who has dedicated their professional life to understanding it. This is a great episode all about wolves, their behaviour and the myths that surround them.
Lyra’s Jordan – His Dark Materials | Dust Busters
A companion podcast to the new, and brilliant, BBC and HBO adaptation of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials. I like the dynamic of having someone who is obsessed with the series and knows the books inside out, and someone who is completely new to it.
Elizabeth Day. Learning to Say No. Dealing with Criticism. | In Good Company with Otegha Uwagba
I love listening to my favourite podcast hosts being interviewed on other podcasts! Otegha Uwagba and Elizabeth Day have a great conversation that ranges from feeling like an outsider at work, to major career changes, and how Elizabeth started saying no at work.
How to Make a 10×10 Capsule Wardrobe | The Anna Edit
A great, simple guide to creating a capsule wardrobe. It includes links to Anna’s own wardrobe edits, which are great for getting ideas from.
Five struggles in my business, and how I’m working through them | Simple & Season
So much of this blog post by Kayte Ferris resonates, and reading it instantly made me feel less alone. It’s so easy to look at someone on Instagram and think they have it all sorted, but as Kayte demonstrates we’re all working through our own struggles.
Navigating body image as a woman of south Asian heritage | Our Storytime
A beautiful piece from Huma Qureshi on how growing up in a culture of expectation can affect how you see yourself, and how she is working on having a kinder relationship with her own body.
Erland Copper | The Bloom Podcast
A brand new podcast (this is the only available episode) from one of my favourite independent magazines. Scottish musician Erland Copper talks about growing on Orkney and how the wildlife and landscape became part of his music.
Food into Words | The Allusionist
One of my long-time favourite podcasts The Allusionist has recently dedicated a whole season to food and words, all of which is fantastic. This episode is particularly good with food writers Felicity Cloake and Mimi Aye, and cookbook editor Rachel Greenhaus, discussing the art of translating flavours, experiences and actions into words.
George Alagiah | How To Fail with Elizabeth Day
One of those podcast episodes that you just want everyone to listen to. George Alagiah talks so gracefully about facing cancer, his self-perceived failures as a father, and the challenges of reporting from the front-line of a humanitarian crisis. It moved me to tears, more than once.
Tiny Changes You Can Make To Simplify Christmas | Jessica Rose Williams
With Christmas just around the corner, Jessica has shared a list of small steps you can take to have a simpler, more joyful, time this year.
When it feels like nothing you have to offer is unique or interesting | Kathryn Ho
A lovely, thoughtful post on how to navigate the fear of not having anything new or interesting to say, and to trust that you do.
10 Wonderful Things to Make, Do, and Celebrate in November | Hannah Bullivant
I love Hannah’s series of wonderful things to do every months, and while the end of November might be creeping up on us there is still time to tick a few things off this list.
Owning Our Own Stories | Living Your Truth
A lovely new podcast from Hira Sameer Ahmed about creativity and forging your own path. In this, the first episode, Hira shares her own story, what the phrase ‘living your truth out loud’ means to her, and how it inspired her to create this podcast. I love her belief in the power, for both ourselves and others, in owning our own stories and being who we really are.
Tiffany Francis on nature writing and the important role it plays in our current ecological times | Dialogues with Nature
Dialogues with Nature by Hanna Varga, is another new podcast, and it sits at the fertile intersection between creativity and nature. I particularly enjoyed this conversation with nature writer and illustrator Tiffany Francis about, among other things, how the current surge in nature writing relates to our environmental crisis.
A Cup of Tea with Bella Mackie
While not a typical podcast (you can only listen on the website), I’ve been enjoying these recorded conversations from tea company, Good and Proper. I’m a massive fan of Bella Mackie, and this was a great conversation about mental health and running.
What is wellbeing anyway? | Growthfully
A lovely post from Sarah Layton about that fickle feeling of wellbeing; what it actually is, what it looks like for her personally, and how it can be cultivated through our actions.
Build a better day with Kayte Ferris | Jen Carington
Build a Better Day is a new project from creative coach Jen Carrington, focusing on how we can all make our days work better for us. I particularly enjoyed this interview with Kayte Ferris on how removing the ‘should’ from her days have made them far more enjoyable, and productive.
Five Benefits of a Staycation | Vanilla Papers
Dee might live in Cairo in Egypt, but this post on the benefits of a staycation, not far from your home, is applicable wherever you live. I particularly love her argument that a trip across town, or trying a new restaurant, can give us the same sense of novelty as a full-blown, far-flung, holiday.
Ninebarrow in Dorset | Ramblings
Is there anything nicer than listening to people chatter as they walk? Especially when that person is Clare Balding?! This is a particularly lovely episode with two childhood friends who have formed a folk duo named after a hill in Dorset near where they grew up and now live, Ninebarrow.
Let’s talk about business burnout | Letters From A Hopeful Creative
I was so pleased to see this podcast back in my feed a couple of weeks ago. In this episode Jen and Sara talk about business burnout, and struggling to show up for your business when you are exhausted. They have some great advice, as always!
Slightly Foxed – But Still Desirable | The Slightly Foxed Podcast
I love this podcast from the team behind Slightly Foxed, a magazine for reading non-conformists, for people who love discovering the non-hyped, almost forgotten books that often languish unread on shelves. In this episode they chat with the owner of the world’s oldest antiquarian bookshop, Sotheran’s London.
Slow Living: The Reality | Field and Nest
A fantastic piece from Emma about what her life looks like away from Instagram, and how slow living is so much more than just an aesthetic. It’s a journey, and one with a destination that isn’t reached overnight.
Taking a break and looking inwards | Karolina Koziel
A lovely post about freeing yourself from the shoulds and musts in your head, and coming back to what is important. Karolina also has some great advice on how to understand what it is that is wearing your down, and where to focus your energies.
Natural Cleaning: Lavender Cream Cleaner | Little Birdie
A really simple recipe for a lovely sounding cream cleaner, with none of the hidden-nasties you find in the stuff you buy in the supermarket!
Gabrielle Treanor – Overthinking the past and ‘what-ifing’ the future | Being Heard with Karen Andrews
Gabrielle describes herself as ‘the over-thinkers coach’ and I really enjoyed this conversation between her and Karen. They discuss Gabrielle’s own journey from recognising the need to quieten her own mind, and freeing herself from the weight of over-worrying, to how she now spends less time fretting and more time enjoying her life. A must for any other over-thinkers out there!
Wendell Pierce | Desert Island Discs
One of my favourite ever episodes of Desert Island Discs (and I’ve listened to quite a few of them!). Wendell is an actor (he played Bunk in The Wire, among other roles), who grew up in a recently desecrated New Orleans. He talks movingly about his childhood, advice his father gave him, and Hurricane Katrina, and its devastating aftermath in which he helped to rebuild both his parents house and their community. It was one of the most affecting episodes I’ve listened to, and I can’t recommend it enough.
Can Slow Living Make Us Lonely | The Slow Home Podcast with Brooke Mcalary
As an introvert and someone keen to live a slower life, this episode really resonated with me. Brooke and listener Nancy discuss how they connect with like-minded folk, while still allowing for plenty of, very necessary, alone time.
Simple Beeswax Wraps | Snapdragon Life
I was shocked recently to find out how much these are to buy, and relieved when I found this simple recipe from Jane at Snapdragon Life. They are a great way to reduce your use of plastic in the kitchen, and seem very simple and easy to make.
How to write when you don’t feel like it | A Bookish Baker
I really enjoy Helen’s youtube videos detailing her writing process and planning methods. I found this one particularly useful as it’s a situation I often find myself in! Helen has some really great practical advice, along with some really supportive and encouraging words.
Second-hand clothing in East Africa: What the fast fashion industry doesn’t want you to know | Forage and Sustain
A fantastically detailed post on the realities of recycling clothing and the problems inherent in the system. Deanna Cook, a development professional who spent two years living in Tanzania, has seen first-hand what happens to our second-clothes and the affect they have on the countries they’re dumped on, so if you are still struggling to move away from fast-fashion and ease your guilt by telling yourself that at least you recycle, this might help you to see things differently.
Authors of the National Trust: Agatha Christie at Greenway | The National Trust Podcast
This podcast combines my two favourite things: reading and gardens! I grew up reading Agatha Christie’s Poirot and Miss Marple novels, and I adored this exploration of her peaceful family retreat in Devon, which she called ‘the loveliest place in the whole world’.
Becky Avery, Hazel & Blue | Small and Mighty Conversations
I love this podcast of conversations from Sam Burgess with small business owners, and particularly this episode with Becky from Hazel & Blue, who is featured in The Slow Living Guide. Becky chats about how she grew her business alongside her day-job, and how she made the decision to take the plunge and commit to Hazel & Blue full-time.
Jess Phillips MP | Table Manners with Jessie Ware
This is a brilliant episode of one of my favourite podcasts to listen to while cooking my supper. Jess Philips is on brilliant form, as always, and the conversation goes in all kinds of unexpected directions!
The Stories We Tell Ourselves | Giulia Writes
This is a beautiful piece from Giulia about the stories that we tell ourselves, and how we can get so caught up in them that can we lose sight of who we really are. I also love her prompt to question whether the stories we’re telling ourselves are actually serving the real us.
A Guide to Simplifying Creative Business | Jessica Rose Williams for 91 Magazine
This is a lovely counterbalance to the ‘hustle’ and ‘do-more’ streams of business advice out there. I really love Jessica’s guidance on how to streamline your business, by working out what works for you, focusing on purpose and joy, and carefully allocating your time.
Is your zero waste lifestyle hurting the planet? | Sarah Starrs
I read this post after Dora (@mamoradiary) shared a similar idea on her Instagram page, and then linked to this blog post. I think Sarah explains perfectly how while our individual choices are important, they can also divert our attention away from the things that really matter, and the actions that could have a much more positive impact on the planet.
Why We All Need To Slow Down When We Travel | Women Who Travel
I think most of us have felt the pressure to eat, see and do as much as possible on a trip, and often to the detriment of our enjoyment. This is a great conversation with Erika Owen, the author of “The Art of Flaneuring” and writer Laura Delarato on how and why we all need to slow down a bit when travelling. I love their argument that travel should be an opportunity to remove the noise, not add to it.
Unconditional Self-Acceptance | Courage and Spice
In this solo episode Sas Petherick explores the concept of unconditional self-acceptance, and what it means to fully accept and love ourselves. She examines it’s many benefits, and how we can begin to cultivate it. Essential listening for anyone struggling to accept themselves, just as they are.
Back to Black | Soul Music
Every episode of the beautiful podcast is a gem, but this one in particular moved me to tears. The title track from Amy Winehouse’s second album is one that many people have connected to, and one that has helped people through their own struggles and addictions.
Autumn Spice Biscuits | Harry and Frank
I will be making these super easy but delicious autumnal biscuits this weekend! Perfect for tucking into after a long afternoon walk in the golden countryside.
Another Post About Trees | Mamoradiary
Forest restoration is the best solution to climate change we currently have (aside from stopping the use of fossil fuels) and Dora has some excellent suggestions on how we all can support tree planting.
Creating for Creativity’s Sake | A Little Adventure
I really loved this post from Maria about the joy and value of faffing; of creating something simply for the pleasure of creating it, and not caring what other people might think.
Nikita Gill | Your Booked
In this episode Daisy Buchanan goes to Hampshire, to the home of poet, playwright and teller of stories, Nikita Gill. They talk about fairy tales, Greek mythology, and age-old fear of women who have a voice, and refuse to fit into the boxes society gives them. It includes a discussion of some of my favourite books, including Circe by Madeline Miller and The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter.
Inside One of the Mecca’s of Horticulture: Exploring RHS Wisley | The Plant-Based Podcast
Another new gardening podcast discovery this week! This is a great listen and I love the chat between the two hosts: Michael Perry and Ellen Mary. This episode is on RHS Wisley, a garden I’m desperate to visit. They talk to Peter Goodchild who is the leader of the Alpine team there, about the responsibility of taking care of trees that people travel for miles to visit.
Matchpoint Fabric and Sustainability | Love to Sew
A great conversation about sustainability in the textile industry, and how sewers can have a positive impact on the world. Matchpoint Fabric is a Canadian-based online stores that sources beautiful deadstock fabric and sustainable basics.
Six Writers Share Their Writing Routines and Mindset Tips | Rosie O’Neill
Having a strong, consistent writing routine is one of the most important tools a writer can have. In this lovely collaborative blog post, Rosie asks six writers what theirs looks like, and how they get in the right mindset to write.
Career Fulfilment: Answering the Question of What’s Next? | The Happy Side of 40
This blog post about how the figuring out “what’s next?”, what career fulfilment actually looks like for you, really resonated with me. So much of what’s written online is about about how to make your dreams a reality, yet so many of us don’t actually know what those dreams are.
Anxiety, depression, and how kitting helped slow me down | Josephine Brooks for Laine Magazine
Published on World Mental Health Day last week, Josephine writes about how knitting slows down both her heart and her head. She also explains how having a hobby has helped her reprioritise her life and focus on the things that matter.
Jessie Burton | The Sunday Salon
Having just finished, and adored, Jessie’s latest novel, The Confessions, I was so excited to see her name appear on this, one of my favourite book podcasts. Jessie talks openly about the anxiety and depression she suffered from after her first novel was published, and about her latest novel and where the inspiration for it came from.
Bringing the Outside In (side) | Growing Wild
A new podcast discovery. Loved the conversation in this episode with Pedal People, an amazing charity which takes elderly people with dementia, living in care homes in Brighton, out for adventures on Trishaws, allowing them to once again experience the pleasure of wind in their hair!
Using Patreon for your business with Aja Barber | What She Said
A brilliant conversation between Lucy and Aja Barber, a sustainable fashion consultant and writer about using Patreon for your business, and creating valuable content for it. They also chat about the ethics of Instagram and influencing, and it’s just a lovely conversation between two very inspiring people!
The powerful benefits of plants and herbs in your skincare | Fiona Brannigan | Firain Shop
Fiona is the passionate herbalist behind Miss Bees Balms, and in this guest blog post for the gorgeous Firain shop she talks about the advantages using skincare products made from natural ingredients.
A Guide to Foraging: What it is and how to do it | The Foraged Life
I love Rachel’s description of foraging as a “nature-based treasure hunt”! This is a useful post on how to honour and protect the environment and ecosystems when foraging, and how to keep yourself safe.
In defiance of a room of one’s own | Huma Quereshi, Our Storytime
A beautiful piece from Huma on why she chooses to write in coffee shops, rather than her own home. As she says “some distance from our daily lives in order to write productively is not necessarily a bad thing.”
Lessons Learnt From Taking Time Out | Hashtag Authentic | Sara Tasker
A lovely solo episode from Sara, talking about why she took some time out over the summer, and how resting has revitalised her and her creativity.
Camila Thurlow | How to Fail | Elizabeth Day
As an ex-Love Island contestant, this episode of one of my favourite podcasts is an unlikely recommendation perhaps, but we were blown away by how thoughtful and self-aware she is. Camila talks eloquantly about the pressure we put on ourselves to live up to other people’s expectations of who we are, and the importance of self-kindness.
Why We Sleep With Matthew Walker | Deliciously Ella
A brilliant episode on the underrated importance of sleep, the connection between sleep and our mental and physical health, and how to sleep better.
Anna Jones | Over-baked Squash Risotto
The return of squashes and pumpkins to farm shop shelves are one of the very best things about autumn. This is a delicious sounding recipe from one of the best seasonal cooks out there. I’ll be making it this weekend!
The Next Best Thing | Someday Slower
A beautifully written piece about how we spend so much time searching for the next best thing to buy that we miss out on so many magical moments.
An Ethical and Sustainable Knitwear Directory | Field & Nest
As soon as there is the slightest nip in the air, our thoughts turn to cosy knitwear. This is a fantastic edit of the best ethical and sustainable knitwear brands out there (a Babaa cardigan is currently top of our wish list).