How having an adventurous spirit and ‘can do’ attitude opens up your world to endless opportunities

Speaking to the host of The Midlife Manifesto podcast – Lesley Ellis

Hi, how are you all doing? Hopefully ok as we enter our 3rd week of ‘staying at home’ in the UK. I do think that despite the horrific numbers, there has a been a significant shift in acceptance this week and a boost in creativity as people look for enjoyable, productive and different ways to filling their time. Creative thinking is not just about crafting, painting or writing etc, it can also be about finding solutions to problems and trying something new when your planned path hits a big fork in the road.

I hope that the positive out of all this is that we will remember and continue the ‘new’ things we did, whether that be spending time doing family quizzes on Zoom, camping in the garden, cooking new dishes or just not being as hung up on ‘routine’ as we normally are.  It’s been a joy to see so many photos or posts of people finding inventive ways to pass the time and simply ‘have fun’ – since when has that ever been on the list of normal life? And yet now we are prioritising exactly that, which HAS to be a real plus point in all of this.

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My daughter made us all swap clothes for ‘clap for carers’ this week and we’re going to continue every Thursday, I’m in her swimming gear in case you are wondering!

Which brings me nicely on to my Blog interview today, with my lovely friend, Lesley Ellis. I know Lesley through a mutual friend and have always been drawn to her infectious smile, unusual stories and adventurous spirit. When I caught up with her last year, she was considering doing a podcast and so I told her to go for it and put her in touch with Alex the producer at ABS Media who I knew did Two Norther Lasses podcast.

Over the last few months, she’s been interviewing her guests, getting everything ready and finally The Midlife Manifesto, with Lesley and friends has been launched into the podcast world! Woohoo!

I wanted to talk to Lesley about how she got to this point, tap into her enthusiastic approach to life and discover what we can learn from her ‘yes I can do that’ attitude, so here we go…

  • Lesley please introduce yourself, because you’re not just a Podcaster, are you?

(laughs) No there’s a few things, so I’m a Property Investor, the TV Mum from BBC’s ‘Back in Time for Tea’ series (2018), wife to Jonny and Mum of 3 (and 2 dogs!) and now a Podcast Host!

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Lesley and her family, all dressed up for BBC’s ‘Back in time for tea’ 

  • Tell me why you wanted to launch a Podcast

Note: Just to explain, the ‘Back in Time for Tea’ series with the Ellis’s and hosted by Sarah Cox was all about ‘going back in time’, quite literally for several months  – their house was changed several times to fit the era and they ‘lived’ the life a family at that time, meals, dress, work, occasions, everything! It was really popular; such an interesting series and Lesley was involved in a lot of the publicity surrounding the show. To hear more about this, listen to Lesley’s interview with Two Northern Lasses here.

When I was involved in all the BITFT promotion, we did a lot of radio interviews and I really enjoyed doing them. I made some good connections and people kept asking me to come back to talk about other things such as the cleaning products I make for myself and also another passion of mine, cycling (Lesley is a member of the Queensbury Queens of the Mountain Cycling Club).

I found the TV Live interviews terrifying, but radio is my happy place. When I was younger, I was in a band called The Groove and spent time in the studio, so radio feels nostalgic and more natural to me.

As for the topic for the podcast, I literally woke up one morning and the idea was right there, already fully formed. We both then spoke about Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic theory coming into play here!

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I wanted to create a podcast that was all about sharing women’s inspirational stories linked to the midlife stage to get across that this can be such a positive time in your life, not necessarily the negative portrayal sometimes in the media. Now more than ever there are huge opportunities out there for women to really go for it, whether that be to change your career, start a business, take on a challenge, move to another country etc, the list is endless and I want to dispel the myth that it’s all down hill from your 40’s and 50’s and encourage my listeners by hearing these transformational stories.

I sent my idea out to friends on FB asking who would be interested in sharing their stories and hey presto, many replied so I now had to do it!

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What has your experience been like of doing the interviews so far?

Way more than I imagined, I’ve been blown away and sometimes moved to tears! I’m surprised how vulnerable people have been prepared to be, it’s been amazing. I suggested it was probably because they are friends and so she has that deeper level of connection and trusted her to be able to tell the story in the right way.

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Little Lesley,  with the same twinkle in her eye as she does now!

Growing up, who influenced you? Who do you think nurtured your adventurous spirit?

I hold myself back and procrastinate a lot (I’m in shock at this point!). When I was little, I was a real introvert and liked to be on my own. I played piano from age 4 and would spend hours at Pudsey library reading books. From age 5 I wrote poems and made tunes up in my head. My Dad was a musician too playing piano and guitar, but he never quite lived up his potential and became a credit controller instead, maybe that spurred me on?

At age 10 I also had a good friend who was like Bonnie Langford, really outgoing and confident and I think she rubbed off on me and brought me out of myself. These days I’m more an extrovert (ENFP on the Myers Briggs scale), (since Corona isolation I’ve spoken to Lesley and she’s finding it hard to not be out and around lots of people as I think many extroverts are).

The next conversation follows on from discussions we’ve had in the past!

Why do you consider yourself not creative? And do you accept after reading Big Magic and our conversations that actually you are?

Because I can’t draw for toffee! I suppose I see that as a bit of a failing because I was good at all subjects at school other than art – teachers and my parents reinforced the idea that art was not for me and I couldn’t do it! (inward sigh, teachers and parents have so much to answer for in this area!).

I’m also a perfectionist and if anything hit a hurdle and didn’t look good in my eyes, I’d stop doing it!

We then talked about my theory of ‘process not perfectionism’ and also that Lesley is actually very creative because she used to write songs, still sings and loves music, cooks, bakes (even had her own catering business at one point!), used to like icing biscuits (how is that not art in itself?) and now of course does the podcast, creating all the interviews and marketing materials for it! – CASE CLOSED, and let this be a lesson to everybody who thinks they are not creative!

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Pure artistic talent right there! Lesley’s iced biscuits and buns!

What other hobbies do you do in your spare time?

I normally cycle with the club, but I’ve been injured since Summer. They’re a great bunch and we do all kinds of challenges such as the Newcastle to Edinburgh, coast to castles route. I would like to start song-writing again too.

How do you talk to yourself? Is there an inner critic in there?

I’m much better as I’ve got older and become more interested in self-development, I’m more self-aware now. I believe the biggest value we can have is kindness, so I’ve decided to turn that inwards. When I was younger it was a lot different, I remember going on a social marketing 3-day course and walking into a big room where everyone was chatting and I was so shy, my internal dialogue was awful, i.e., ‘What’s wrong with you? Why are you so pathetic?’ and so I tried to change it to ‘ok this is not your comfort zone but smile and go and sit in that corner!’.

Do you have any self-care rituals you practice regularly?

I do but I’m inconsistent! In an ideal world, I’d get up early, write in journal, meditate and go on my indoor bike. I’m also a migraine sufferer and so I should follow my routine to help that such as drink water first thing, take supplements and drink celery juice – I try but I’m a bit rubbish at it!

Your children are growing up fast ( ages 16,18 & 20) and will embark on working life soon, what advice do you give to them?

I’ve always said open as many doors as possible, G.C.S.Es are just the way to get to ‘A’ Levels, then ‘A’ levels are to just open the door to Uni, after Uni, that route finishes and it’s all about creating as many opportunities as possible and keeping your options open. I want them to follow their heart, do something they love, that lights you up and makes a difference to yourself, helps you grow and don’t let life get in the way.

And finally, Lesley, what advice would you give to your younger self?

I’d tell myself to not settle for 2nd best, I’m capable of doing anything I want to do, fate does not dictate where you end up, you need that relentless energy to get up and try again. Failure is just a sign to get up and carry on. You can follow signs from the universe, but you also must have the commitment to carry on and not stop.

Fantastic advice I’d say!  And with that I have absolutely no doubt that The Midlife Manifesto is going to be a huge success!

I’ve been lucky enough to be one of Lesley’s guests, talking about how past tricky life experiences don’t have to define you. I too was one of the guests who had to take a deep breath and get vulnerable but I knew my story could help others and so it was a no-brainer to share it! Lesley was of course the hostess with the mostess and despite difficult topics, made it thoroughly enjoyable!

Lesley launched my episode on Friday last week, click here for the link and check out all her other fascinating, heart-warming, amazing conversations with her other friends too. This podcast is definitely one to add to your list!

So following this, and the live Facebook interview I did with Suzy Walker, Editor in Chief at Psychologies magazine, all about how creativity can get us through crisis times (click here if you missed it), it has been a very memorable and rewarding week!

Following these amazing experiences, the ideas hotel / big magic in my head has been well and truly open for business, and sleep has gone out of the window! But I do have a whole host of new things I want to do to support people on their creative journeys and with now just 18, YES 18 days to go until my treatment finishes, I can’t tell you how excited I am to be soon kicking chemo side effects to the curb, getting my full energy back (fingers crossed) and cracking on with some fab new projects…watch this space!

Until next time, stay at home, stay safe, get creating and please share with me either in the comments below or via #seekingsparklesofjoy on Instagram.

This is the hashtag I’ve created to help us look for the positives during this tough time, on both of my Instagram accounts: @thecuriouscreativeclub and @soothedbynature (perfect for a daily dose of nature, which we could all do with right now!) and I’d love you to join in and share lots of happy posts.

Take care,

Juliet, The Curious Creative x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chatting to Suzy Walker, Editor of Psychologies Magazine about why creative activities are so good for you in these uncertain times

Hi everyone, today I’m excited to tell you that I had the huge privilege of speaking to the brilliant Suzy Walker, Editor of Psychologies magazine about all aspects of creativity and its benefits via a live video on their Facebook page and group – Psychologies Connected Community.

Click here to watch!

As you know I’m a massive fan of the magazine so it was fabulous to have the opportunity to do this today, as we all find new ways of connecting in these scary times.

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The best treat you can order to land on your doorstep right now!

As well as the magazine’s own Facebook page, they have re-launched Psychologies Connected Community which is a great source of inspiring content; from live videos every day with experts, to bloggers and members sharing their creative skills, thoughts and ideas to help us all get through these unprecedented times, I highly recommend joining.

In that vain, I thought it would be a good time to share some previous Blog posts of mine that will help both you and your families get creative during this time at home and even more so through the Easter holidays.

There’s so many things out there to try, what have you got to lose? Making Easter cards for friends and family who you can’t visit at the moment would be a simple way to start and brighten their day at the same time. Many artists and creatives are doing free tutorials on You Tube now if you want to try some new techniques.

Plus, it doesn’t have to cost lots of money, if any, and it’s something that the whole family can enjoy doing together with less competitiveness than say sports activities and board games (if your children and husband are like mine!)

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Remember process not perfection! I loved doing these doodle pieces just as much as a big painting!

Taking part in creative activities is so beneficial to your mental well-being, just taking time to solely focus on what you are doing, get in the ‘flow’ state and away from the constant news bombardment, is such a welcome relief to what is going on in the world, I guarantee you will feel calmer and happier for doing it.

So here are my links below under the topics of their main theme, to help you get started on your creative journey;

The ‘why’ it’s so good for you selection

Why creativity is crucial for mental health

Glow with the flow…

It’s never too late to pick up a pen, a needle, a paintbrush, … your dream.

Underneath fear lies great opportunities

The ‘how’ to encourage ideas to flow

Looking for the lightbulbs…

How Photography can lead to creative joy

Spring into the Seasons and feel that creativity surge

Why Curiosity is key for me…

Special places = Special writing

Keep Calm and Create!

What’s the occasion? How to make the most of it!

A little poetry practice, to soothe the soul…

The ‘what’ creative activities to do with your children

Creative Country Walks; How to get the kids more interested

Getting creative with the kids

These are just a small selection so do also browse at your leisure through past posts for further inspiration on  The Blog or The Home pages too.

Further resources

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Don’t forget you can also find lots of inspiration on my resource page – The Curious Cave, filled with books, magazines, podcasts, creative groups and lots of social connections

I hope you find these useful and inspires you to give something new a try. We’ve never had such a gift of time to slow down a little, reassess how we spend our time and just have a go at doing things differently. Do let me know how you get on in the comments and share any pictures on my Facebook Page too.

I hope that one positive that comes out of this, is that we all understand the power and difference to your life, taking part in creative activities can make and it becomes something we do as a natural part of our lives equal to physical activities – then my work will be done!

Keep calm, stay home and create…

Keeping curious and safe…

Juliet, The Curious Creative x

Ps I also work with Psychologies as one of their 25 Real Eco panel members, testing environmentally products for the magazine. It’s a really interesting project to challenge how we choose everyday items and make sure that we do consider taking care of the planet in our choices. Click here for more information.

 

 

 

 

Connecting with shared conversations

Main image courtesy of Alex Mullen, podcast producer, owner of Abs media UK Ltd

This week’s Blog is all about starting a podcast yourself, digging into the knowledge of the Two Northern Lasses, who started their very own last year.

But first I wanted to just check in and see how everyone is doing? How’s it all going?

Have you joined any of the millions of creative projects out there online currently? Or is it all too much and making you feel overwhelmed / guilty that you haven’t got the time to add that to the list of getting through this; working from home, playing teacher as best you can and keeping up with the constant washing and cooking / feeding – is it me or is everyone actually eating like food is about to disappear and they are in survival mode?

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I have to say my daughter’s brownies were delicious though!

Of course, having a little peace time (preferably in a nice quiet room away from tasks and dare I say it the rest of your house-hold!) to either just chill or read or doodle a little can make all the difference in helping you to get through these tough times BUT only if it helps rather than just adding to your ever-growing ‘to-do list’ ! We all don’t need this extra pressure!

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I have a bit of a doodling addiction!

I’ve found it really interesting getting my subscriptions through of various magazines over recent days, some of which haven’t even mentioned corona virus yet due to the lead times they have but Writing Magazine’s Editor Jonathan Telfer does and I found his opening letter refreshing.

I’d anticipated him to say now is the chance to get on with your book and writing projects, as many online writing businesses or social accounts are saying but no, instead he took a more intuitive approach and recognised that now might not be the right time with what is going on and how we are all feeling.

He says,

‘We’re all stressed, we’re all under pressure. If writing helps, and it may well do, all the better, but don’t beat yourself up about achieving some kind of target. All you need right now is to get through this.’

Sound advice I agree with, cut yourself some slack in these difficult times!

I’m also finding it interesting that I’m getting bombarded from well-meaning friends with creative projects, exercise programmes or quotes around keeping going.

I can’t keep up with all the messages and links I’m being sent but I actually feel like I‘m at a bit of an advantage in all of this – I worked out long ago how to keep myself entertained and busy since being in isolation on treatment anyway, and whilst I am really missing my nature walks, the rest of this, i.e not going to shops, cinemas, leisure centres, concerts, creative groups, supermarkets, anywhere public basically, I’ve learned to cope with.

However, that’s not to say I won’t be going wild after all this is over, but it is going to be so strange when I am allowed fully back into the big wide world!

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The kids are appreciating the simple things, even just a walk up the lane by our house

It just goes to show that people are realising how difficult this is over the long term, and  it’s giving people an insight into what living with cancer, auto-immune diseases and life-limiting conditions is like, which on one hand is a good thing to bring more kindness and understanding to what some people have to go through and also not taking ‘normal’ life for granted moving forward.

Connecting with conversations…

Two Northern Lasses

And now to the rest of this Blog, chatting to the lovely Michelle and Jayne, aka the Two Northern Lasses, hosts of the very same podcast, following on from my Blog last week all about my top podcast recommendations.

I originally met Michelle and Jayne though our Wow Wednesdays local accountability group, in-fact Michelle came along to the very first one back in June last year!

Funnily enough, they both often mention in meetings that they don’t see themselves as creative personally, despite being involved in businesses that require many creative skills I think!

Jayne owns Flex Marketing managing all the things that most people associate with being in marketing and more recently is about to launch The Flex Collective, a flexible and collaborative working space in a local village south of Huddersfield – which will be much needed when social distancing finally ends!

And Michelle has developed My SMART App, helping small businesses to create content for social media. She’s also a growth consultant, helping businesses with their sales and marketing.

Since joining Wow, they’ve also come together to start the podcast, Two Northern Lasses which again I think in itself is a creative project; planning their brand for it, the theme, their guests and the questions and style of interviews; creativity plays a part in all of these aspects.

So, I decided to ask them, as very busy business women, what made them decide to take the leap into the podcasting world?

1) So, Jayne and Michelle, what made you want to do a podcast in the first place?

Jayne – Michelle did! We’ve both gone from corporate careers to self-employed/entrepreneurship and over the course of 2019 met people who genuinely want to support each other out in all kinds of businesses.  With our combined skills in sales/strategy and marketing we felt we could do this too and thought a podcast would be a good way to get this out to an ever increasing audience and enable us to help people that we wouldn’t necessarily meet on the networking circuit.

Michelle – I’d been listening to lots of podcasts, mainly US ones,  the business type ones were all a bit too serious, I was looking for something that had bit of humour, genius me thought – I can do that, let’s rope Jayne in, she likes a laugh!

2) How did you decide the topic you would cover?

Jayne – Business was the obvious choice but we wanted to get across that real people with real lives and a sense of humour exist in business too. We set out to inspire people who either were or wanted to be self-employed in a kind of ‘if we can do It, you can too’ type message.

Since then it has evolved into being more about careers in general and our overall message is now really, ‘Go do what you want and if you get it wrong or you want to change things then that is ok and you should do it’.

Michelle – After the first 3 episodes we wanted to settle on a format, so we split into 3 segments – starting with a chat between the 2 of us, then into a chat with a guest – finishing with the ‘Our Moments’ game.

What we’ve found now having talked to our listeners is that they like the fun bits but also like the stories and the reality that change can often be good even if not planned?

3) How did you come up with the name?

 When Michelle originally came up with the idea, she wanted to call it Two Yorkshire Lasses until Jayne pointed out that even though she had lived in Yorkshire for over 25 years, she originally comes from Darwen in Lancashire so we switched Yorkshire to Northern.  A lot of people might not be able to tell the differences between a Yorkshire and Lancashire accent but there are definitely quite a few (although Jayne’s is a bit of a mix of the two now) but we are confident we both are definitely Northern!

4) Was it daunting starting out?

Jayne – We were both really nervous when we did the first recording as it wasn’t something either of us had done before and we obviously had no idea whether people would want to listen to us waffling on but once we realised that it was just a chat that happened to be recorded (and that if we messed up it could be edited) we soon settled in and we actually say this now to our guests who might be nervous about coming on.  When we put the first few out we were also sitting watching the listener numbers (actually we still do!)

Michelle – as above, not nervous at all now and just really enjoy it.

5) What’s your favourite thing about doing it?

Jayne – We have a really good laugh recording it and getting feedback from people is really heart warming  – we all suffer from imposter syndrome so to have people say they love listening to us is amazing.  My favourite thing is when people say they feel like they are in the room with us and want to join in – I love that!

Michelle – We get lots of lovely texts, the ones we get from ‘strangers’ are the best as we know it’s not family and friends.

6) What’s the most surprising thing you’ve discovered by doing the podcast – that can be something you’ve learned about yourself or one of your guests, or both.

Jayne – I suppose for me personally I have discovered that I can actually engage with strangers.  I am actually quite a shy person so I don’t do this normally unless I am drunk and then you can’t get rid of me so when we have had guests that I haven’t known beforehand I have worried that I wouldn’t have much to say.  It may be because of the type of guest we get on, they are very much like us in mindset etc.

Michelle – I always fancied being a radio presenter although never pursued, I suppose this is the nearest thing to it in my world.

7) What advice would you give to anyone starting out and wanting to do their own podcast?

Jayne – Just get on with it – what have you got to lose?

Practically though, there are groups on Facebook and LinkedIn that help each other out – we got a producer straight off but a lot of people don’t do this, there are loads of ways to record and put the podcast out there, it is just finding what is right for you.  Neither of us are massively techy so Producer Alex is the way to go for us – he is part of our team 100%!

Michelle – for us it’s a hobby but as Jayne says Alex does the techie bit and there are loads of forums/groups with other podcasters/producers willing to advise.   Some like to record a whole series before releasing, we just jumped right in and released the 3 episodes we’d recorded in a few hours.  We are fortunate that between us Jayne and I have the skills to put it out on social media too, so we have very little overheads.

So, there you have it, if being a radio presenter or having your own show has ever been your dream or if you just love talking to people and digging deep into interesting lives and stories, starting a podcast is an exciting thing to try!

It’s something myself and Clair, my ‘Wow Wednesday’ partner keep thinking about and following the Two Northern Lasses and hearing how much fun they have, makes it even more appealing.

My friend Lesley Ellis has just started hers and I’ve been lucky enough to be interviewed on both hers, The Midlife Manifesto (which launched last week, my episode will be on later) and Two Northern Lasses and although a little nerve-wracking, was mostly a fun experience once I’d nailed my ‘erms’ which I realise I use a lot!

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I’ll keep you posted when these episodes are out but in the meantime add them both to your podcast list because they are great fun and inspiring listens! And yes I am biased!

I also just wanted to say a quick Thank You to everyone reading this Blog, I’m aware I’ve collected quite a few new readers in the last few weeks via some Facebook Groups where I’ve been sharing the links and I really appreciate everyone who takes the time to read my posts and it means the world to me when someone follows, comments or shares!

I am now on countdown to my last Chemo session which feels amazing so long as CV stays away! From the launch of this post, I have 24 days left to go to that last session, hopefully on the 1st of May, I’m crossing literally everything!

Until next time, stay home and stay safe as always…

Juliet, The Curious Creative x

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Ps For those who are bored on lock-down and do actually want a creative challenge, The 30 Day Sketchbook Challenge recently started on Facebook and is running all April, just search and either catch up or just join in as and when you want to.

And Writers online always have their coffee break challenges going on, a great source of quick inspiration for creating stories

PPs For anyone wanting to read about my Chemo journey, here are the links:

Heading into un-chartered waters…

The results are in….

 

 

 

 

Podcast yourself happy with my top 13 recommendations

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Focusing on the little things to get me through these 12 weeks! Sunshine and ice-creams help!

Hi everyone, how are you all doing?

We are heading into week 2 of ‘stay home stay safe’ in the UK and I vary from being completely fine with it (being one of the ones who have to stay home for 12 weeks) during the day but then at night my brain goes into total overdrive and I just want to run away to the seaside!

So, I have to keep having words with myself and I have a very specific deadline to just get to and get through – the 1st of May, which fingers crossed, will be my last treatment day!

Anyway, as many of you will have a lot of time to fill, this week I thought I’d write about podcasts, which for anyone new to listening to these, can be a game changer in terms of entertainment, knowledge and so much more.

For those uninitiated, a podcast is simply a digital audio file that you can listen to from your phone or computer and is typically a series of episodes. Think of it as someone hosting their very own radio interviews or talk-show on a subject that is of interest to them.

IMG_2164                    Gabrielle Treanor, mindfulness and overthinkers' coach - From ...

I think I first started listening to them a few years ago when I came across Gabrielle Treanor on Instagram and she’d started doing one called Pressing Pause all about helping over-thinkers (i.e me) and I found her fairly short but interesting podcasts both manageable and thought-provoking.

I asked her recently a question for this Blog; What is your favourite thing about doing the Podcast and what have you learned about yourself from doing it?

This was Gabrielle’s response:

‘My favourite thing about doing my podcast is its intimate nature. When I record it, I imagine I’m talking to one person sat on my couch with me. I feel a connection when I listen to podcasts because it’s a lone voice talking to me and I hope that those who listen to my podcast feel the same.

What I’ve learned about myself is that I have a calming voice! I had no idea until I launched the podcast and the feedback that keeps coming back to me is that the sound of my voice, as well as what I actually say, helps listeners to feel calmer. Which surprises me but I’m very grateful for it!’

This is spot on regarding her voice, definitely one of the most calming ones out there in podcast land! I also like what she says about the personal nature of podcasts, especially when it is just one host. The more skilled the host, I find it really feels like a conversation between just you and them.

Having being hooked on to Gabrielle’s podcast, I soon started searching for more, and before I knew it I had a whole playlist on my phone that I’d subscribed to and could listen to at any time, for free – shock!.

I am someone who hates the monotony of house work and even more so at this point, I mean really, all the family home constantly accessing the fridge and cupboards and leaving a trail of crumbs that any rat would think was a 3-course feast? What is even the point of wiping surfaces down 10 times a day?

Now don’t get me wrong, I still don’t love it, but at least if I can listen to a podcast episode at the same time, I at least feel like I’m learning something or having a chuckle at some of the interviews. These menial tasks then don’t feel like such a waste of time and totally appeal to my multi-tasking, multi-hyphen brain.

Similarly, I actually enjoy driving, but when you do as many trips as we do in a week with the kids activities in ‘normal’ life, then again it becomes dead time that is a large chunk of your day, so now I listen to podcasts instead on my drives, to make the best use of the time.

I’m now known as a bit of a podcast addict, and it’s why I list my favourites over on The Curious Cave resource section of my website, but more on that later.

And it’s not just me, the podcast industry has doubled over the last five years, with a staggering over 800,000 podcasts now available in 100 languages and over 30 million episodes available to listen to according to @podbible. It is literally one giant library of entertainment.

 

According to thepodcasthost.com, 11% of the UK listen to an average of up to 7 podcasts per week and this is set to continue to grow.

Also, there is a slightly higher split between men, 56% and women listeners – 44% and unsurprisingly, younger people listen a lot more, perhaps being more comfortable with the technology (not that it is at all difficult). I think it will be interesting to see the take up during this unprecedented time when people are looking for new things to do.

I’m normally not that great at introducing new habits into my daily routine, but podcasts seem to be quenching my thirst for knowledge and have slotted into my life perfectly.

So, for those wanting to have a listen, what are the benefits?

  • Virtually anyone can access them free from their smart phones, via the likes of Apple, Spotify, Stitcher and many more, just search for the titles of the podcast on your podcast ap,
  • Podcasts can be general and funny or very niche and unique, so there will always be one that appeals to your own particular interests
  • It’s like listening into a conversation between friends, so feels very sociable and you feel yourself nodding along or joining in the conversation via links with the show-notes afterwards or their social media platforms
  • Learning something new is good for the brain and they can often support your work, so for small creative businesses for example, there are a whole host of interesting podcasts available offering advice, support, coaching and conversations with others who have been there and done it
  • They make everyday tasks way more interesting, from walking the dog to that big pile of ironing!
  • They can be fun and entertaining too; comedy podcasts are the most listened to and we could all do with a little bit of that right now!
  • They’re great company when doing creative work at home on your own, when painting for example or even whilst just relaxing in the bath!

They are now so popular, magazines have started creating their own recommendation pages of what to listen to and new launches, just like they do for books. Psychologies Magazine produce their own podcasts and have also started a feature page this month and Good Housekeeping do too, so look out for ones they recommend if you are unsure where to begin.

As you can imagine I’ve amassed several favourites by now, so below are my Top 5 (I’ve deliberately made it a mixture of subjects) and then some more I’m really enjoying in no particular order!

My Top Podcasts to listen to

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  • Conversations of InspirationHolly Tucker, if you’ve been reading for a while, you’ll know I ‘m a huge fan of Holly’s, the woman who set up ‘Not on the High-street’ and later Holly & Co. What she doesn’t know about starting a small business is not worth knowing and, in her podcast,, she interviews big names such as Mark Constantine from Lush and Emma Bridgewater, amongst many, many others, about their Journey to where they are today. Her infectious enthusiasm for supporting small businesses in this country is what makes this podcast and why she earned an MBE for her work! A must listen for anyone wanting to start their own business.

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  • Feel Better, Live More – Dr Rangan Chatterje, Dr Rangan is a no-nonsense GP who made his name starring in the TV series, Doctor in the House. He’s on a quest to make health and well-being far less complicated and to give us back control to improve our lives armed with the knowledge he shares and from the experts he interviews. His style is very engaging and there is always something to take home from each episode and at the moment he has some strong episodes on dealing with anxiety around Covid-19

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  • Table Manners – Jessie Ware and her Mum Lennie, this is a hilarious podcast perfect for lifting your spirits! They cook a meal, at home in their kitchen for celebrity guests and talk about their food memories amongst other things. Their mother/daughter relationship is full of banter and it’s great fun to listen to. Also, they are now the first hosts to create a book from their podcast, full of recipes they’ve made on the show.

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  • The Great Indoors – Sophie Robinson and Kate Watson-Smythe, if you’re into interiors then this is the podcast for you. Sophie and Kate have quite different tastes and so you get that jovial competitive feel throughout as they talk about new trends, projects they’re doing in their own houses, design crimes and answer listeners queries on how to make the best of their home spaces. It’s an easy listen and good to be ahead of upcoming trends.

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  • Happy Place – Fearne Cotton, Fearne delves into the subject of happiness through chatting to inspiring individuals who have either made a change in their own lives or who help people every day to find a different way of looking at life. It’s always a fascinating conversation and warm familiar style makes her guests feel comfortable whilst asking deep and sometimes difficult questions.

Please bear in mind the ones below are mainly linked to creativity, business, psychology and well-being as these are my main interests in relation to what I do;

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  • Pressing Pause – Gabrielle Treanor, as I described above, a little bit of calm and support for the over-thinkers of this world! Gabrielle has the most soothing voice and you can’t help but feel calmer afterwards! She also runs lots of coaching programmes to support people further and regularly shares tips on Instagram too. A great way to just take a pause in your day with a cuppa and breathe!

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  • Happier – Gretchin Ruben, Gretchin wrote the Happiness Project and created The Four Tendencies framework (for anyone who hasn’t tried this, take the quiz here). She does this podcast with her sister Elizabeth Craft and shares lots of tips and tactics to create a happier life. There are some good nuggets of advice in these episodes!

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  • Creatively Human – Ruth Poundwhite, Creatively Human is a podcast for online business owners and creatives, with conversations that dive deep into why choose this line of work, the challenges faced and the wins. Ruth also does some solo episodes sharing her experience of online business, creativity and entrepreneurship. I always come away with some interesting learnings when I listen to her episodes.

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  • Two Northern Lasses – Michelle Cowan and Jayne Adamson, hosted by 2 of our very own WOW ladies, together they interview local business people to learn about their career journeys, how they came to run their own business and how they juggle it all. It’s an honest, funny and inspiring podcast with a fun random question section at the end.

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  • How did we get here? – Claudia Winkleman and Professor Tanya Byron, one of my new favourites, they bring guests in, from the general public with specific issues to help them move forward through a coaching session, I’m a big fan of Claudia and I find their episodes fascinating!

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  • Dreaming and Doing – Nicky Raby, Nicky is the epitome of a multi-hyhphen business woman, juggling everything and raising two very young children. She shares her tips and expertise regularly in short episodes in a very realistic way and with lots of humour, she also does some brilliant stories on Instagram.

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  • Ctrl Al Delete – Emma Gannon, author of the Multi-hyphen method. Her WEBBY-nominated podcast is an insight into people who’ve looked at their interests to shape the work they do, and it won Best Business Podcast at the Vuelio Awards in 2019.

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  • Finally, I could not, not have Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations, on this list. This is Oprah’s personal selection of interviews with thought-leaders, best-selling authors, spiritual luminaries, as well as health and wellness experts. All designed to light you up, guide you through life’s big questions and help bring you one step closer to your best self. I’ve been completely wowed by this podcast on several occasions!

So, if these subjects float your boat, this should give you a good starting point and I’d love to know your thoughts on these and any others you would recommend to add to my ever-growing list!

I find the world of podcasting really interesting and so I’m going to do a few Blogs about podcasts.

Next week, I’ll be looking at what it’s like to launch your own podcast with insights from Michelle and Jayne on how they’ve found it and what they love about creating episodes for their Two Northern Lasses podcast.

Image may contain: 1 person, possible text that says 'The Midlife Manifesto Podcast WITH LESLEY & FRIENDS'

Also, next week, on April the 3rd is the launch of my friend Lesley’s brand-new podcast – The Midlife Manifesto which I was interviewed for a few week’s back. Lesley has interviewed a lot of her friends about a whole host of topics but mainly it’s about sharing interesting life stories and I know it’s going to be great, so do add this to your list too when it launches!

Lesley has such an interesting take on life that I also interviewed her for the Blog and that will come in a few weeks’ time too.

To me, podcasting is another great creative outlet, essentially creating your very own radio show and it’s something myself and Clair (my partner in WOW Wednesdays) have thought about doing, if we can fit it in amongst all the other creative things we do! But for now, we’ll just keep enjoying listening and hope you do too!

Until next time…stay home, stay safe and entertain yourself with podcasts!

Juliet, The Curious Creative x

P.s Whilst we are all staying safe at home, don’t forget to join in on my Instagram  challenge, #seekingsparklesofjoy so we can all keep focusing on the little things that light us up!

PP.s If you enjoy my Blog posts please do leave a comment, I’d really appreciate it at this moment in time whilst on full lockdown! Thank you xx

 

 

Cherish those home comforts…

Hi everyone, how are you all doing? Hope you are hanging in there in these very difficult and challenging times.

This week, as part of the 1.5m people in the ‘at risk’ group in the UK, I’m trying to get used to the fact that the country walks that I’ve come to love are temporarily out of the window for me, and instead of going on a downward spiral of what I can’t do because of this damned virus, as usual I try to go the opposite way, this time focusing on what I love about my home and why actually being isolated here is no great shakes in the grand scheme of things.

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The hubs has recently built a pergola too and with the nicer weather, at least I can get out into the garden…

The Comfort of Home

So, above is the post I wrote for the Yorkshire Writers Lunch Blog yesterday – just one of the many creative groups I can’t go to at the moment and if you’re a lover of stories, you will find plenty of local talent here to keep you entertained over the coming weeks.

And perhaps it will also inspire you to have a go at writing a few of your own too, I can’t think of many better ways to pass the time.

Next week I’m writing all about podcasts, a passion of mine that has truly become part of my life, like books only listening instead! There are so many interesting human stories and experiences out there to hear and I’ll be sharing some of my favourite podcasts as well as finding out how people go about starting one of their own.

Until then, please take care, stay in your beloved homes, and keep talking.

Juliet, The Curious Creative x