Posts Tagged ‘gretchen rubin’

5 podcasts to download today (part 2)

Oh podcasts, listening to you keeps me company as I drive the M3 to work. Those long journeys can be so dull, but since listening to podcasts and audio books it’s changed my life. Before I’d listen to the radio or music and I’d be constantly flicking or waiting until the next song and time would drag. Nowadays I can be happily listening to a podcast, only to be disappointed when I arrive at work and have to turn it off.

So this post is a follow up to the first, with 5 more podcasts to download and listen to today. The best part? There are even more podcasts I love and I feel like some kind of addictive collector, asking people and seeking new listens all the time!

5 podcasts to download today - featuring Elise Gets Crafty, Blogtacular, Pomcast, Mortified and Adam Buxton. This Little Space of Mine

My Dad Wrote a Porno

The title is a giveaway, but this podcast is definitely not for everyone. Also be prepared to laugh a lot and wretch at some of the details. The premise of this podcast is that Jamie Morton found out his dad wrote an erotic novel about the adventures of Belinda Blumenthal and how she succeeds in the world of ‘business’. Jamie is sharing the story chapter by chapter with friends James Cooper and Alice Levine. It is a highlight of my week and now the 2nd series has finished my Monday just isn’t the same!

Find out more and listen to the podcast here.


I love Gretchen Ruben, I’ve read her books and back in the summer I was delighted to find she has a podcast (in fact she’s had it for quite a while!) with her sister, Elizabeth Craft. The podcast is all about about how to be happier, with every day steps and practical tips from a wealth of sources, that we can all learn something from. Episodes are around 40 minutes and there’s something really comfy about this podcast; I love the insight Gretchen and Elizabeth give us into their lives and I completely and utterly binged on the podcast when I first found it.

Find out more and listen to the podcast here.

Switched on Pop

This podcast is all about pop – or popular music – and the ins and outs of a song and what makes it a hit (or not). Hosted by Nate Sloan and Charlie Harding, these two know their stuff and I’ve found it really interesting to hear them talk about and break down the composition and lyrics of songs I’ve probably listened to hundreds of times and never really thought about. They reference on their website how they help listeners find “a-ha” moments in the music and it’s so true! Episodes have included Taylor Swift, Adele, Drake, Sia and so many more. Great podcast if you love your pop music as much as I do!

Find out more and listen to the podcast here.

Ctrl Alt Delete

From the book with the same name, Ctrl Alt Delete is hosted by writer Emma Gannon. A new listen for me, Emma interviews guests who have stories to tell about growing up online and how the internet and social media plays a part in their lives. Emma always comes across as friendly and you feel like you’re in the room when she’s interviewing guests. I find listening to Ctrl Alt Delete always inspires me to keep doing what I’m doing, and to not be afraid to be me. The episodes with Elizabeth Gilbert, Dawn O’Porter and Mara Wilson have been three highlights so far so far.

Find out more and listen to the podcast here.

A Playful Day

Last but by no means least comes A Playful Day, my weekly hug from creative pal Kate. Kate explores a specific subject area and how it links to creativity in each season of her podcast, with the latest being family. It’s an emotive listen at times, but one that warms my heart and makes me feel less alone when the chips are down and inspires to make and challenge myself creatively when the chips are up (is that a thing? it should be). You know you enjoy a podcast when you look forward to the next episode; A Playful Day fits that bill.

Find out more and listen to the podcast here.

So what are you listening to? If you have a podcast you’re loving, let me know!

Thanks for reading.

Leanne x

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Photo credit: DTTSP

The year in books – a summer update

As I get back into the swing of blogging I thought now was as good a time as any to update you on my challenge to read at least one book a month this year – joining in with Circle of Pine Tree’s the year in books. For regular readers I’d previously mentioned having a lull in my reading, but over the summer the book worm in me woke up and I’ve loved reading. I’d imagine this might be down to book choices; there’s nothing better than getting engrossed in a book and then only being able to think of the story in those moments where you can’t read.

Over the summer I also hit 15 books read this year so far, so I’m really chuffed I’ve been able to meet my goal. It hasn’t felt like a tough goal, but more a prompt to encourage me to read. The funny thing is when I talk to other people about reading the general message that comes through is how much they’d like to read more. And how they loved reading as a child. Isn’t it funny? So many of us want to read, but yet making time for it doesn’t seem to happen.

So I’ll use this post to recap on what I’ve read over the summer. It’s become a bit of a lengthy post, so if you prefer to just go with the headlines I’ve read the following over the summer. Oh, and I read my first Bill Bryson book and now I think I’m hooked!

  • Better than Before – Gretchen Rubin
  • The Versions of Us – Laura Barnett
  • Mary Poppins Opens the Door – P.L. Travers
  • Notes from a Small Island – Bill Bryson
  • The BFG – Roald Dahl
  • At Home – Bill Bryson

Below is also my book choice for September – though I’d imagine I’ll finish it in the coming days!

The year in books - a summer update. This Little Space of Mine

September’s book choice

This month I’m reading Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith. Recommended to me by family, I was dubious about whether this was my kind of read. A feeling reinforced when the first chapter talks about the murder of a cat (don’t worry, that’s not giving anything away). Fast forwarded a few chapters and I’m hooked on this crime thriller. A real page turner, I’m looking forward to watching the film of it once finished. Have you read Child 44?

Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin

I so wanted to enjoy this; I loved The Happiness Project and the Happier podcast is a regular listen, but this pained me to read. I couldn’t wait to finish it. While it definitely had some interesting points that I know I’ve already started putting into practice, I felt irritated at times and finished the book feeling like it could’ve been half the size and still added the same value. The Happiness Project had a magic and a structure to it, something I can relate to, that Better than Before was missing. Having said that, I’m not sure I’m going to absorb Gretchen’s words in book form and I’m pretty sure the Happier podcast is a better medium to reach me.

The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett

Described as “One Day meets Sliding Doors” I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The Versions of Us tells three different versions of a couple who met in the 50’s and, while sometimes it got a bit tricky flicking from one version to the next, I enjoyed the sentiment and finished the book thinking about moments in my own life and which path they could’ve led me down. I’d say this is an easy read; there are moments when it perhaps drags a little, but I loved the characters and learning their story, so certainly didn’t bother me. A fab read I’d recommend to others.

Mary Poppins Opens the Door by P.L. Travers

I haven’t continued with the Mary Poppins collection since March, so thought I’d squeeze in the third story before our holiday. I’ve got to say that I’m still in two minds as to how I feel about the stories; one minute it feels cold with the chapters a collection of short stories instead of one flowing story, and the next there’s a warmth and I smile at the words and the sentiment behind them. In terms of children’s books, I was all about Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton so this is definitely taking me out of my comfort zone. I’ll continue on with books 4, 5 and 6 soon and let you know how I feel! Have you read them? Would love to know your opinion.

Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson

I’ll never forget a family holiday where my Dad read one of Bill Bryson’s books and laughed his way through it; I knew it must have been good but it’s only now that I’ve finally started reading his books. Notes from a Small Island is his story of a tour around Britain one final time before he and his family moved back to the US. It was written in 1995, so it’s safe to say a lot has changed! I found the book fascinating and couldn’t put it down; I was only 9 when it was written and boy oh boy did the Briton feel like a different place to what it is today. I kept thinking how much I’d love it if he did a follow up… turns out The Road to Little Dribbling was published earlier this year. It’s high on my reading list now.

The BFG by Roald Dahl

Knowing we’d see the film soon, I packed this in my suitcase and devoured it in a day. Absolutely loved every single minute of it, I re-read it The BFG with a smile on my face and remembered just why I loved Roald Dahl so much as a kid. We’ve since seen the film and it didn’t disappoint. I’d heard mixed reviews, but ignore them. The film was beautiful to watch and true to the story and I couldn’t have asked for more. I’m thinking of reading George’s Marvellous Medicine for my next Roald Dahl re-read.

At Home by Bill Bryson

Described as “A short history of private life” I was a bit worried that this wasn’t my kind of read; it’s essentially a history book – would it hold my attention? A thousand times yes. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this and all the nuggets of information Bill Bryson gave us. Kudos for how At Home is structured, each dedicated to a room in the home, and for all the elements included – from food, to education, to our relationships and even bugs and animals, this book covers all those every day items we all take for granted. Loved it!

Have you read anything you loved recently? I hope my monthly posts on what I’m reading are inspiring you to read more. Don’t forget to catch the #theyearinbooks hashtag over on Instagram!

Leanne x

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The year in books – July 2016

As we approach the end of June I thought I’d reflect on what I’ve read this month. Back at the end of 2015 I set myself a goal to read at least one book a month – joining in with Circle of Pine Tree’s the year in books. I love reading and loved it growing up, but as an adult I so rarely make the time for it in my life that it deserves. I figured that if I was accountable to others, or able to join in with people on social media, it might encourage me to shoot for one read a month. A book a month wouldn’t be a lot to some, but to me to get into that regular routine is so important.

My reading has slowed a bit since the winter months, but I’m still reaching my one a month target. I do find that as my reading time is mainly just before I go to sleep, I do benefit from having a read on a Saturday/Sunday morning to help me get stuck into a book – otherwise it’s a bit disconnected and I’ll read no more than about five pages before I’m asleep! When do you find is the best time to read?

The year in books - July 2016 - This Little Space of Mine

So before I talk about Better than Before, here’s how I got on with June’s read.

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

I steamed through The Happiness Project in the space of a week, which is always testament to how much I enjoyed it. Yes, I’d re-read it, but this time I feel like I took so much more from it and will keep with me some of the guiding points. When I read it in 2012 I’d put post-it notes throughout and most of these were around friendship and buying happiness, yet this time round what grabbed me more was about enjoying passions, relationships and handling day to day tasks. Four years on and I’m now a homeowner in a long standing relationship, so it’s good that I can still relate and take something from this read. It’s written in an easy-read kind of way which makes it accessible to all and I like the little honest snippets into her life and family. I liked it so much I ordered her newest book, Better than Before

July’s book choice

I’ve already made a start on this, but July’s read is going to be Gretchen Rubin’s Better than Before. This book is all about forming habits to have a better life and I’m hoping it’ll help me eat better and plan my meals more successfully. I’m so much more likely to eat better if I plan ahead and get myself organised, but I’ve tried and failed on many occasions to do it. Hoping Gretchen will save the day!

Have you read anything you loved recently? I hope my monthly posts on what I’m reading are inspiring you to read more. Don’t forget to catch the #theyearinbooks hashtag over on Instagram! I’ll be taking the month out in August, but plan to be back in blog land in September with a review and update of what I’ve been reading. No doubt I’ll be sharing on Instagram too!

Leanne x

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The year in books – June 2016

Hello, I hope you had a good bank holiday weekend! Today marks the last day of May, so I thought I’d catch up on what I’ve been reading this month and what I plan to read next, all part of my 2016 goal to read at least one book a month, as part of Circle of Pine Tree’s the year in books.

I’m about the enter the sixth month of the challenge and I’ve noticed that my reading has slowed down in recent months. Probably because I’ve been reading ‘bigger’ books that take a little longer, but perhaps it’s also a seasonal change? Do you read more/less in the summer? It certainly makes sense that I’d read more in the cold months; though I’m looking forward to Greece in August – I always love reading lots when I’m on holiday and can fully relax.

The year in books - July 2016 - This Little Space of Mine

Before I talk about The Happiness Project, my choice for June, here’s how I got on with May’s read.

The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell

Another read I thoroughly enjoyed. The Year of Living Danishly, had my laugh, learn and stop for a moment to think about what’s important. The insight into Danish life is detailed and well-researched and I felt like I really learned something; there were several moments where I’d say to Stu “Did you know Danes…” to which he’d usually respond with you “you and that book”. While I’m not about to jump ship to live in Denmark, it’s certainly made me more hungry to visit there and I loved Helen Russell’s approach and raw honesty about the changes she and her husband were making in their life. There’s a quote on the back page which referenced the story being poignant and I certainly agree; those last couple of chapters are thought provoking and very sweet. Highly recommend this book.

June’s book choice

Having loved The Year of Living Danishly, as well as listening to the Happier podcast with Gretchen Ruben and Elizabeth Craft this past month, I’ve decided to re-read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin in June.

I first read The Happiness Project in 2012 when, looking back I’d suggest I was quite unhappy. Fast forward four years and, with the exception of recent events, I feel happy and content in my life and with the people in it. I thought it would therefore make for an interesting contrast – perhaps it’ll change my opinion on the book? All I know is that I thoroughly enjoyed it the first time round and took a lot from it – probably more than I realise – so definitely nothing to lose by re-reading. When I picked it up again the other day I noticed a lot of post it notes I stuck in it; clearly there were some bits and pieces I wanted to hold onto, so I’m curious to see what they were.

Have you read anything you loved recently? I hope my monthly posts on what I’m reading are inspiring you to read more. Don’t forget to catch the #theyearinbooks hashtag over on Instagram!

Leanne x

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