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Emma Benney

Fireside Listening


It may sound a little obvious but we all need to take a little more care of ourselves. Give ourselves a more downtime and rest those eyes. Technology plays a big part in our lives, now more so than ever, but rather than spending hours on social networks or reading the news, why not tune into something else that gives your busy minds another focus, a calming or uplifting one.

We love a good audio book or podcast and as the winter months draw in we’ve picked a few of our favourites, designed to make you laugh, cry, and everything in between.

Tunnel 29: Ok so we know you may well have already had a listen but if you haven’t, this one is an incredible story, with intrigue, history and perfect for when you need to a little reminder of what people have been through. It will make your day seem pretty good. It’s an extraordinary, true story, told by Helena Merriman, of a man and his friends, who dug a tunnel right under the Berlin Wall to help friends, family and strangers escape. Gripping throughout!

Hunting Party Audiobook by Lucy Foley: Sometimes you listen to an audiobook and the actors voicing the characters are just not right and it can be so distracting. They got it spot on with this one. Really helped to bring to life an already brilliant story. I can’t wait to get stuck in to her next book, The Guest List.

Giles Coren – Has no idea podcast: Love him or hate him, Giles’ podcast is always entertaining and about real life … no matter how dull. we can all relate and it never fails to amuse me.

Off Menu: Primarily it will make you laugh, but you’ll also get some great cooking and restaurant recommendations, and an insight into the lives of some interesting comedians/actors/personalities – plus Terri Hatcher name drops Scarlet in her episode!

Dispatch to a Friend: Something to give you a warm, fuzzy feeling with tales of friendship, and a glimpse of life on the other side of the world (for those based in the UK). It’s humorous, gentle, uplifting and sometimes a little emotional. We can relate!

Holly Tucker’s (founder of NOTHS) ‘Love What You Do’ : Conversations of inspiration with business founders. We particularly loved the episodes with Alistair Hall and Kirsty Telford of Hoxton Street Monster Supplies/Ministry of Stories (charity which inspires young writers, very cool), and Sir Tim Smit.

Song Exploder: This is a podcast that goes behind the scenes of songwriting. Musicians take apart their songs and explain the initial inspiration, first demos and final production touches that make the song what it is. Artists interviewed include some of our faves, Phoebe Bridgers, Michael Kiwanuka, Fleet Foxes and The National.

We’d love to hear what your fireside listening recommendations are and we hope you enjoy ours.

No time like the present

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If you are anything like us, you’re reading this whilst keeping one eye on the family, the dog or something cooking on the stove. It’s life, a constant juggling act, multi-tasking and just doing too much at once. It’s not ideal but often necessary.

But picture this… time for yourself, time to practice being fully present and engaged in the moment, aware of your thoughts and feelings without distraction: mindfulness.  

We all want to feel more calm, less stressed, improve our ability to cope and just be kinder to ourselves. Right now it’s never been more important. So, how do we become more mindful?  Let’s keep it simple, and focus on the things we can do with ease. Here’s our top tips to bring a little more mindfulness into your day.

1. Breathe

Anywhere… just take a few deep breaths for a couple of minutes. Pranayama (or ‘breathing exercises’) is a powerful stress-reducing activity. We recommend sitting in a chair or on the floor with crossed legs and a straight spine. Breathe in, breathe out and calm your mind. 

2. Stretch

Take five minutes to stretch. When you stretch you activate your blood circulation which has a calming effect on the nervous system. Your body will thank you for it.  

3. Walk

Walking is one of the most effective ways of bringing clarity to the mind and eliminating the stresses and strains accumulated throughout the day. Take deep breaths and take your time.

4. Eat 

How often do we eat with awareness, taking time to chew our food, soaking up the entire sensory experience of eating a meal. It’s not just the taste or the aromas, it’s also the people we are with. Make time to do this and see how it makes you feel and how it changes the experience of eating.

5. Digital Detox

Take a step back from technology. It’s hard as it has become such an important part of the daily routine. Perhaps start with giving yourself a digital curfew to help calm the mind before bedtime.  Airplane mode is your friend.

6. Daydream

When was the last time you just sat and let your mind wander? Allow yourself to daydream every now and then, the benefits are quite something. Daydreaming helps boost your creativity, gives you greater focus, concentration and can improve your memory.

Now is the time for a little more self care. Every second counts.