One of my 2017 goals was to embrace the podcast.
You can read all of my commitments for the year here, but in particular today I wanted to share something that, quite frankly, I had been utterly missing out on. The podcast. When trying to explain to an elderly relative this week just what a podcast was, I was left stumped and so, a Google search later I give you: a digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or portable media player, typically available as a series, new instalments of which can be received by subscribers automatically. As if you didn’t know…
Sam, my other half, listens to podcasts persistently – ones about football, politics, he even downloads The Archers omnibus in a podcast-type-fashion. In the age of digital media, and as someone who emmerses herself in all kinds of online spheres, I was resisting. Who could say why – but I speculate pure laziness. To me, podcasts weren’t simple – where did you get them? Did you have to pay for them? How do you find one you like? The mind boggled.
And then one day, some time during the inevitable new year rejuvenation, I bit the bullet. Twitter, as it often does, came in dutifully helpful in my search for a starting point. One tweet was met with a flood of recommendations, from likeminded people who ticked the boxes right away.
And then comes the embarassing bit.
I had to Google ‘How to download a podcast’.
In my defence, I had created myself a folder on my phone called Apple, where I shoved all the apps that come built into your iPhone that I deemed useless. You know, Numbers and Stocks. And in there, I had hidden the little purple gem that was Podcasts. I like to think if I’d left the app sitting on my home screen, two and two would’ve got together and made four, but incidentally, they didn’t and I found my answer on Google, feeling like a 57 year old who just asked how to use the Sky box.
Once I’d fathommed the field of downloading, and that in fact podcasts are free (hurrah!), it was time to test some out. I thought I’d run through the first few I encountered, and what I made of them. All bar one are of a similar vein – mostly girl chat, for people of my age (I’m 28, not 57 for info). I’m still very much on the path to find some more, and to dabble in genres outside of lifestyle, so recommendations welcome. I’m a history nerd with a penchant for photography and pets for reference. Let’s begin!
Emma has been on my radar for sometime. A blogger, turned writer, this is Emma’s first podcast which is posted every Monday. The format takes on that of an interview, and in each episode Emma meets a new guest who ‘have unique stories to tell’. The podcast is a continuation of Emma’s book of the same name, where she talks about growing up online, and so she asks her guests to share their stories. Each interview focuses around how the internet and social media has impacted their lives. I scrolled right back to the first episode (April 2016), where Emma interviewed writer Elizabeth Gilbert. Incidentally, I’d ordered Gilbert’s book Big Magic that very day, so the coincidence was enough in itself to please me. So what did I think? I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Emma asking Elizabeth (is she Liz? I think she’s Liz) to discuss her work, her methods and social media use. Liz is such an insightful and inspirational person to hear talk, there is no way I couldn’t not have been enthralled, but I also appreciated Emma’s unique and well researched questions. The next episode is Zoella, which sparks great intrigue within me, as a blogger myself. And her guests vary from Dawn O’Porter who is all kinds of hilarious, to male guests such as marketing tycoon and editor Ryan Holiday. Every guest on the list jumps out at me, as a young creative, so if you think it might leap of the screen at you too, I’d highly recommend.
I know it’s early days to have favourites but I have fallen head over heels for the duo that is PanDolly, as they were when I first wrote this post. The girls have since gone on to launch The High Low, after Pandora left The sunday Time Style. Although a name change, the newly named podcast is just the same. I’ve followed both Pandora and Dolly on Twitter forever, and it seemed natural to give their podcast a go when recommended to me. The PanDolly Podcast was actually originally brought to us by The Sunday Times Style, who the girls both wrote for at the time (they’re both freelance journalists and all round creative whizzes). They describe their podcast as a popculture show that talks about everything from modern feminism to celebrity gaffes, as well as bitesized chunks of news and fashion recommendations to boot. The relationship between Pandora and Dolly is nothing short of hilarious, and I am in awe of their way with words (as I should be, they’re writers, right?). Incredibly quick witted and fantastically articulate, I, quite frankly, want these two to be my friends. The original podcast started in June 2016, and in my short time as a self appointed podcast connoisseur, I have listened to PanDolly/The High Low the most. Five stars for these two!
This is my wild card, that appealed to my inner history geek. Born out of the well known How Stuff Works podcast, this is the history segment that gives you the ‘greatest and strangest’. Holly and Tracy are easy to follow, giving you just enough information to make you want to go and Google more, without getting too heavy. The podcast started back in 2009 so there are too many episodes for me to start at the beginning, and as with history, there are only certain topics that jump out at me. I’ve had a scroll through and selected a few that seemed up my alley (including one about Elizabeth Bathory aka Bloody Mary, the Salem Witchtrials and the WW1 Christmas Truce). So far, I’ve only delved into The Disappearance of Judge Joseph Force Crater, and knowing nothing about it upfront, I was left interested and content that I’d learnt something new.
This one came recommended by my sister, and you might recognise the latter name there from such delights as Laguna Beach: The Real OC and The Hills. This podcast is a chatty, female frenzy where the girls (all around the 30 age mark) discuss relationships, wellness, business, sex and everything in between. The podcast is delivered each Monday, starting in August 2015 and is designed to “inspire women to stay true to who they are, loving the skin you’re in”. I’ll put my hands up and admit, I struggle with the girls’ accents. They are, what I deem, strong Californian accents and I do have a hard time telling them apart (I find this with Pandora and Dolly too, just they’re more West London than West Coast) – a downside of podcasts. But on the whole, it’s easy listening that will no doubt make you do a little lol. So far, it’s mostly touched on topics for more single girls, or those in shorter term relationships but I can most definitely find the humour, and no doubt there will be times when things are more geared towards my lifestyle.
This one is a more recent find, from someone I’ve admired over Twitter and Instagram for a while now. Hashtag Authentic is designed with online creatives in mind – bloggers, Instagrammers. Sara talks strategies and tips as well as invites relevant guests on – my favourite so far was her guest Sas Pethrick, who came on to talk about self doubt within creatives. I wrote about it here in fact, if you want to take a look. Sara is very real about the world on online followings and gives great insight into what might be going wrong for you and how you can improve your game. Her voice is also incredibly soothing, which is a always bonus.
And that sums it up – one week into January (although updated – Apr ’17) and I’m 99% certain I’ve found my new favourite thing.
Would you dabble in podcasts?
If you’ve landed here, you’re probably looking to find out more about Katherine-Louise. Run by me, Kat - put simply I'm a 30 year old who is decidedly normal. My blog is a destination for women just like me - the same interests and aspirations, working our way through the same twists and turns of life. Katherine-Louise is designed to inspire and inform; to give you a break from the norm as well identify with the beauty of routine. A fifteen minute recoup, or an hours vacation, it’s the go-to for Everyday-Joe’s, just like me, who want a few minutes off the radar.