Good morning! I’ve had this post in drafts for a while now as I’ve been a little scared to share it. But what’s the point in writing something if you never put it out there, so here goes…
When I first thought about writing this post I never intended it to be anything more than a quick chat about six podcasts I’m loving right now and nothing more. But as I’ve thought more about what I was actually going to write it, I started to reflect more on why I love podcasts so much and what they mean to me.
When my youngest daughter Ruby was around the age Arden is now, I was one big ball of overwhelm. I was finding life really tricky and I was scared of myself. That sounds so strange but I got to the point that I was so afraid of my body and what was going on inside it that I was frightened to leave the house with the kids in case it just stopped working. Let me explain.
Growing up, I was always aware of mental illness because my mum suffered on and off from bouts of depression and low mood that began after she had children. Now, like any mum, I have times when I am tired and impatient with the kids but I’ve always felt like I have my dad’s strong and sensible head, and I thought that I would be pretty safe on the old mental side of things.
Turns out, when you are breastfeeding your youngest for nearly a year and you have a six year old and four year old to care for, the mind does play tricks – and that steam you were once running on can run out.
At the time I had a monthly membership to a kids soft play centre and every week I’d take them after school to run off some steam. On one visit I ordered a large cappuccino and four finger KitKat – stick with me on this! I didn’t really drink coffee and as the three shot bucket, combined with the chocolate sugar rush, hit my bloodstream – bang. There I was, a 28-year-old mum of three in the middle of soft play shaking, struggling to breathe and thinking this was it, I was done for. I don’t really remember how I got out of there but I drove (whilst shaking like mad) to A&E where they couldn’t even take my blood pressure because I was moving so much. It was a horrific panic attack brought on by the caffeine and sugar hit, coupled with my anxiety. I got home and went straight to bed whilst my brother looked after the kids.
From that day on I was sure something was wrong and here started 8 months of constant anxiety. I was back and forward to the doctor for blood tests and kidney scans (I could feel a constant pain in my kidneys), but thankfully nothing ever showed up. My sleeping went to pot and I’d roam the house until 3 or 4am like a banshee. David was incredibly supportive and encouraged me to take up running and to speak to my doctor, whilst promising I would be ok and that he’d look after me. I did visit the doctor and we decided that medication wasn’t for me; the strong side of my brain was still there under all the fog and with time and a lot of support from David and my best friends I did get there. My sleeping began to return – and that was all thanks to podcasts! Desert Island Discs to be exact – every night I’d choose what personality I was going to learn about, plug myself in and listen to it as I drifted off to sleep. In the beginning I’d get to the end of one and head straight for another, but over time I was hearing less and less of them and that’s when my sleeping returned. I still listen to podcasts when I’m going to sleep, when I’m feeling stressed, when I’m alone in the car (almost never!) or simply to relax as a treat at the end of a long day.
Congratulations if you’re still with me – without further ado here are the six podcasts I currently listen to and love, and I hope now you understand why I love them so much!
1. Desert Island Discs – Where it all began and my saviour from long lonely nights! If you haven’t heard of DID (where have you been?) basically every week Kirsty Young interviews a celebrity or person of importance on their life story, career etc and they choose 8 tracks that they would bring to a desert island with them. Personal favourites are Billy Connelly, Jo Malone and most recently, Stella McCartney.
2. Table Manners with Jessie Ware – Table Manners is a little like DID as in each week singer Jessie Ware and her mum Lennie interview (which is more like just a chat) a celebrity at their home and cook them a meal. I love the guests they’ve had including Jay Rayner, Ed Sheeran and George Ezra and the banter between mum and daughter.
3. Is It Just Me? – Presented by my big-time-female-crush Jo Elvin (of Glamour fame) and James Williams, Is It Just Me always guarantees a laugh as they chat with personalities about everything under the sun from grief to clubbing. Maybe not one to listen to in the company of kids!
4. Get It On with Dawn O’Porter – This is a pretty old one that I’ve went back to re-listen to. Dawn (who is married to Irish actor Chris O’Dowd) interviews her friends about their style. If you’re even slightly interested in how people dress this is a great one for you.
5. Aly Talks: Build a creative business in a noisy world – I just love local whirlwind Aly Harte. She fills all my social media with her incredible artwork and her inspirational and strong messages. This year Aly has dipped her toe into podcasting about business and I for one have been loving it – meaningful and educational Aly has got it spot on!
6. The High Low – When I grow up I wouldn’t mind being as smart as presenters of The High Low, Pandora Sykes and Dolly Alderton. The weekly pop-culture podcast covers all sorts of topics from the current week so expect grown up discussions with a varied range of content.
7. How to Curate Your Life – This podcast by Lizzie Evans who owns a design and lifestyle store in London is great for creatives who want to learn and pick up some tips from other creatives. Lizzie has just announced she will be back with another season very soon which makes me very excited!