Wednesday, 23 May 2018

5 more podcasts for 30-something women

I wrote a little while ago about my five favourite podcasts for 30-something women, which generated such a great response with recommendations and suggestions flying in from all angles, I thought I would give an update. These are some of my more recent finds that have quickly become firm favourites.

1. The High Low by Dolly Alderton and Pandora Sykes

Since my last post, the most notable mention has to be this one. So many of you recommended The High Low, and it is now my absolute go-to listen! Pandora and Dolly eloquently discuss topical issues - both high and low brow - in a honest and though-provoking sixty minute(ish) episode. It is everything I love, in podcast form! New favourite words include 'zeitgeist', 'hackneyed' and 'reductive'. Oh and 'hirsute' - I feel like I've swallowed a thesaurus. Not in Joey Tribbiani way.

2.  Happy Place by Fearne Cotton

When I heard that Fearne - my hair idol - was hosting a podcast about happiness, joy and all things life-affirming, I knew I must give it a listen. She chats with celebrity guests about their lives and what makes them happy with sincerity and humour. A really easy listen and one that helps me to reassess, even in small ways, what life is all about and how I should be taking time to concentrate on my wellbeing. The Dawn French episode is fab.

3. Love Stories by Dolly Alderton

That's right, it's my new obsession love idol Dolly, of High Low fame! A few months ago I heard through the social media grapevine she had written a book... which I immediately purchased, devoured and then subsequently booked tickets to meet her at a book signing in Guildford Waterstones. Like any rational human being. Cough. Anyway, this podcast is fab - Dolly chats all things love, relationships and laughter with interesting guests. Fave so far? Ruby Tandoh and Ruth Jones.

4. Table Manners by Jessie Ware and Mum

Another strong, funny and articulate woman - no, women - talking with engaging celebrity folk over dinner. I really love the concept of this; Jessie and her Mum cook a meal for their guest and they discuss both the food and provide a chatty interview. The relationship between the two hosts is warm and funny, which immediately puts the guests at ease. I particularly loved the Stacey Dooley and Sandi Toksvig episodes.

5. Late Night Woman's Hour

I mentioned my love for Woman's Hour in my previous post, but this time I bring you it's - dare I say it - younger, cooler offspring. Hosted by Lauren Laverne, they discuss all things topical with a focus on the female experience. With recent episodes discussing the spread of the #blessed phenomena and the gender politics behind women's hair, it is timely, relevant and insightful.

Monday, 14 May 2018

Lisbon: a three day photo diary

Back in October of last year - seven months ago, bliiiimey - we visited Lisbon for a long weekend. We did what comes naturally to us; we ate and drank our way around the city, interspersing our epicurean adventure with spots of culture and history. 

Here's how we spent three perfect days in the Portuguese capital...

Day one
Having arrived late on Wednesday night, we checked in to our Air BnB and got an early night, ready for a full day of exploring ahead of us. Our apartment was in a great location, and provided the perfect sanctuary away from the tourist hub of central Lisbon. When Thursday morning arrived, we started with a coffee and breakfast from Mercearia da Mila before a fairly aimless stroll, ending up in the main square; Praca do Comercio. We stopped for a glass of vinho verde - a local green wine - in the sunshine and watched the world go by for a little while. We made tracks towards our lunch spot, the Time Out Market where we shared local meats and cheese with a couple of beers... and some sushi for good measure! Later we hopped in an Uber to the Jeronimos Monastery for a dose of culture. It was such a beautiful, hugely impressive sight and definitely sated our need for incredible architecture and history. We walked a few hundred metres down the road to Pasteis de Belem and finally understood what the hype was all about. My advice to you would be - eat as many pasteis de nata as you possibly can. And then take a packet home with you. Dinner was at Pharmacia; an old pharmacy-meets-museum-meets restaurant. What a day!

Day two
We started with breakfast at Heim Cafe (the french toast was amazing) before another morning of mooching and exploring. We had booked an afternoon Food Tour with WithLocals (the 10 tastings tour at around 34 euro each) and we met our guide Ana Paula for an afternoon of local cuisine and culture. She talked us through local history and took us to see the important sights, giving us that insider information that you'd expect with a WithLocals tour. It was just us - the four of us plus Ana Paula - on our tour, meaning that she was able to tailor the afternoon to exactly what we fancied. The boys went to see a Sporting Lisbon football match in the evening, whist Kat and I went for a few drinks before meeting them for dinner out in the sticks somewhere! 

Day three
We had planned on visiting the fairytale-esque Pena Palace, but we decided to take it easy and spend our final day mooching and soaking it all up. We were advised that there is a fairly straightforward train then bus journey to Pena, or if there were a few of you taking an Uber might be cheaper. Whilst it looks incredible we didn't want to spend much of our final day travelling, so stayed local. We headed to the LX Factory in the morning, where we had breakfast at Wish. The idea is a great one; an old fabric plant converted in to a series of restaurants, shops and bars - it has a real hipster vibe. We headed back to the centre and to Carmo Convent - something I had been desperate to see! I am a real sucker for impressive architecture... the older the better. We then went to the bar directly behind the Convent for a glass of wine overlooking the Santa Justa Lift. Pro tip: you are able to get to the viewpoint here without queuing (and paying) for the lift! Lunch saw us stopping at Bairro do Avillez for some seriously tasty small plates in the most beautiful setting. We walked to Park Bar for rooftop drinks in the sunshine - it was scorchio - before Kat and I hunted down Lisbon's #1 gelato at Nannarella. We stayed local for dinner, and naturally had the best meal of the trip. How does that always happen?! You must find Santa Pausa (link) for some of the best food we found - the octopus was next level deliciousness. 

And that, my friends, is a wrap! We flew back home early the next morning, with me suffering from the worst end of holiday blues - as ever. 

When can I go back?

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