A while back you may remember that I was seeking out some good podcasts to listen to, but after trying a few here and there, I just couldn’t find one that hooked me. Low and behold, sleepless nights and browsing psychology articles online, I stumbled upon the fantabulous Modern Love podcast series. Who doesn’t enjoy a good love story amirrighhhttt? Especially the ones that end in heartbreak and leave you hating life. WHAT’S EVEN BETTER? THE ONES BASED ON REAL LIFE!! REAL LIFE PPL!! Not made up hooplaaas that Hollywood chucks at us.
My own modern love story coincided with me listening to these podcasts oddly enough- so there must be something to it eh. The podcast covers stories sent in by people and are based on lessons learned in love, loss and redemption. It’s seriously moving stuff and I became an instant fan, taking the time out to listen to it wherever possible, be it during solo food fests, on an airplane, gymming or my daily bus grind.
Here are my top 7 that I would highly recommend to get you started, and that you need to listen to ASAP if you know what’s good for you:
1. ‘To Fall In Love, Do This’ | Episode 30
This is the first one I listened to, late at night a couple of months ago when I was having trouble sleeping. I tried it out on a first date too, and it’s a great way to park any initial nerves to the side and get to know someone on a deeper level. It’s also fun to do, and a bit of like a game. It’s based on Arthur Aron’s famous study about creating inter-personal closeness between two strangers in a lab setting, or as the media promoted it, ’36 questions to make anyone fall in love’ or ‘creating love in the lab’. I’m a huge fan of social psychology so this was right up my street.
2. ‘A Millennial’s Guide to Kissing’ | Episode 10
I listened to this on my way to Edinburgh, and it’s a must listen, especially if you’re a millennial. The story is about how love in today’s fleeting world of instant gratification is like a short ride on a plane… I loved this one – think I will give it another listen!
3. ‘The End of Small Talk’ | Episode 59
This is another brilliant one and talks about moving beyond small talk when it comes to dating or meeting people and getting to the real questions we want to ask someone.
4. ‘Kept Together By The Bars Between Us’ | Episode 35
This is the most strangely romantic and incredibly gripping story that I’ve ever come across, and I certainly would not have come across it had I not stumbled across this podcast. I was listening to it whilst walking uphill on the treadmill at the gym and was gasping and making all sorts of dramatic faces as the story went on. It’s a story about a woman who falls in love with a convicted murderer… and my god it is incredible.
5. ‘Flowergate’ | Episode 76
This is a story about a flower delivery gone wrong, very very wrong. And it’s so tragic because it is such an easy mistake to make. This really had me teary on the train back home from Edinburgh. And I rarely cry #coldasice here ppl.
6. ‘Just friends? Let me read between the lines’ | Episode 28
This is absolutely brilliant, told with so much humour for what is a heart-rendering story. I was laughing out loud at so many points but it cut me deep at the same time too. Again, something everyone can relate to: dating someone, falling head over heels for them, and then it not working out. How to get over them? Well don’t do these things…
7. ‘Friends without benefits’ | Episode 19
This is a story of friendship and love never reciprocated. It’s told so well and it’s so moving, I can’t imagine anyone who would not be able to relate to it. Unrequited love is the hardest, but what’s even harder is when it eventually happens, but doesn’t live up to your expectations. I listened to this whilst I was drawing and really had to take a moment and just fully focus on listening to it, because it really makes you stop and appreciate the intensity of the emotion that comes with falling in love with someone and pining for them for years.
I’ve learnt so much from these podcasts and because they are stories submitted by real people and of real experiences, there’s something in all of them that’s not only easy to relate to, but of value – something you can really take away and apply or consider in your own life. There’s more commonality to human experience then we may immediately realise, and these podcasts really show that you are not alone in what you may be feeling or going through.
Let me know if you start listening to them – I would love to know what you think and which your favourites are!
To the boy in the blue shirt / fresh in my memory / and my heart. / Don’t tell me your words mean a thing / if you’re just going to stop and start. / Like traffic lights / red and green / you move / back and forth / unsure / murky / like dreams. / Like nothing / is ever / what it seems. / You and me / it’s still all blue / misty / and in-between.
Another interesting month of lots of turning points… but here are the main ‘cultural’ highlights, as opposed to me contemplating upon the woes of existence (lol).
Also a huge thank you to everyone who reached out to me this month, just for a chat or to see how I was doing or to just let me know that they were thinking of me – it always takes me by surprise and makes me feel so grateful to know that I have so many wonderful people in my life ❤
Bopping to loads of stuff at the moment:
The Weeknd – Starboy – such a good album! Late on the scene.
Rihanna – her Antialbum – again, late on the scene I know.
Paris & Simo – been listening to ‘Keep Me Close’– good track for the gym.
Yo Trane – his album Late Night Drive – easy R&B listening I would say.
Bruno Mars – 24k Magic album – this is obvs good.
Ariana Grande – all albums on shuffle during a girls’ weekend in the Cotswolds (more below).
Tove Lo – ‘Habits (Stay High)’ – such a good song for when you feel like shite!
Tone Stith – still listening to his stuff.
Tori Kelly – Unbreakable Smile album – for dem melancholy days.
Jessie Ware – Tough Lovealbum – melancholy days +++.
Currently awaiting DVSN‘s new album Morning After to drop. Their marketing is such a tease omg! They always release little trailers of their stuff excruciatingly slowly. I have also been continuing to listen to the Modern Love podcasts that I mentioned in my musings post last month. I will also be checking out some of these podcasts soon. Arianna Huffington shared them on her Facebook page, and I really like a lot of the stuff on her Thrive website so thought it would be interesting to give a few of these a listen.
I haven’t had time to do much reading this month beyond the Lonely PlanetEdinburgh Pocket Guide on my Kindle lol. However, I was gifted two very special books by people – one, a beautiful notebook-style of Tyler Knott Gregson’s poetry by an old university friend – if you haven’t heard of him you MUST go and check out his Instagram RIGHT NOW. He shares a lot of his stuff on there, but the best stuff is his Typewriter Series, so look through and read those ❤ .
The other was an old, beautifully bound Victorian book of Robert Browning’s poetry, gifted to me by someone who entered my life for a brief period of time. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet but plan on making some time to do so soon. If you know me, you know how much I treasure gifts, especially thoughtful ones like these. So thank you both – you know who you are – these put more than a real smile on my face, which is especially significant in what was another weird up and down month for me.
Literally had the most amazing time on my first ever solo trip! I fell in love with the place on pretty much the first day. I had the wonderful opportunity to stay at my friend’s flat (she literally lives 2 mins from the Royal Mile), which made it super easy for me to explore the city. The trip was super chilled and I loved my routine of of getting up early, going to a nice cafe, planning my day with a cup of coffee (americano with hot skimmed milk is my go to if you were wondering), exploring and eating (woo!), and then meeting up with my friend for dinner after she got back from work. Old uni friend also made the effort to visit me on the second day, and we had a great time traipsing about the quaint cobbled streets of Edinburgh, sitting inside the window of a lovely cafe and exploring one of the most beautiful second-hand (Victorian!) bookshops.
I managed to squeeze a lot in in a few days, with the help of the super helpful guidebook. I did all the standard stuff: Edinburgh Castle, Royal Mile, Scottish Parliament, Holyrood Palace (although I didn’t get to climb up Arthur’s Seat because it started raining like mad but saw it from afar 😀 ), Princes Street Gardens, National Museum of Scotland, Scottish National Gallery etc. But I also – got super lucky – managed to catch a preview of a Fringe comedy. It was hilarious (I always get picked on in comedy shows, and as per usual, was picked on in the crowd!). Nazeem Hussain is the name, and lots of like brown/Muslim/Asian jokes in the context of living in Australia and having been on the show ‘I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!’ ensued. It was really lovely because he came out after the show and found me outside to talk to me and my friend Zhuo’er. We also managed to catch a preview of The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo – which was quite the experience! It’s this huge showcase of performers from across the world. I would defo recommend it if you ever have the chance to see it – but don’t be stupid like me – make sure you wear a coat and not just a thin hoodie like I did! I also visited the main cafes that J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter, which was lovely experience for me as an uber Potter fan, although I keep my fandom for most things low-key.
It was honestly the best place to for me to do my first ever solo trip, coz if you know me, then you know how useless I am at geography and directions and just navigating the basics of day-to-day life. I absolutely love Edinburgh; I found it to be the most romantic city, Scottish accents are actually super cute/sexy and the art scene is just <3. The trip will always be special to me and have a nostalgic feel to it, as I was getting to know someone new, and vice-versa, and learning and discovering things about myself that I had never really contemplated deeply before. All-in-all, one of my favourite trips to date and I can’t wait to go back again.
Girls weekend trip – long overdue. Booked a super-nice hotel and made the most of it by exploring the grounds and staying in. Lots of games, food and catching up ❤
Attended a friend’s wedding and then ended up exploring the city the next day because my friend’s car broke down. It’s not too shabby.
As you can see, been less anti-social this month, so yeh.
Game of Thrones
Obvs. Literally my love for Little Finger will never die. NEVERRR. The best part of GoT? Discussing it with people after you’ve watched it WHO HAVE ALSO WATCHED IT AT AN APPROPRIATE TIME AND NOT COMPLAINING ABOUT GODDAMN SPOILERS. WATCH IT ON TIME PPL OR GO AWAY.
Watched it in the cinema for its 20th anniversary. Still made me cry at the end which took me by surprise ngl. Still love the movie. Literally has everything a great movie should have – art, romance, psychology, water, Victorian values, a tragic ending.
Side-note: don’t watch a movie where the main character’s name has the same name as the person you are dating and * also * watching the movie with. Heh heh. Just don’t. LOOL. Hard to keep a straight face at certain scenes. Legit, I’m so immature sometimes. But that’s meeee.
Literally spent so much money on eating out this month I’m scared to look at my bank statements : / / /
Here are some visuals.
P.S. developed a love of egg tarts this month, not sure if it’s because food in Edinburgh tastes better than in the South, but I never really liked them before and now I’m kinda crazy for them. Tbh I like anything egg-related so it’s not too surprising.
P.S.S. Also had McDonald’s far too many times. I’m trying to squish this out of my memory. Anyone else realise how salty the stuff is? No wonder it’s soooo addictive ergh. I LOVE SALT.
HONESTLY ATE SO MUCH JUNK THIS MONTH WANNA CRY.
But I won’t.
I’ve had a number of things to be inspired by this month. Check out my attempts at poetic expression here:
Physical, mental, everything. “Health is wealth” as they say. Dunno if this is a random line from an old Bollywood movie or whatever, but this is what my main focus needs to be right now. So that means eating healthy, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, getting enough down time, spending time with family and friends and those who add value to my life, and of course, more time at my favourite coffee shop ❤ Being unwell has meant that I haven’t been able to always navigate my relationships or myself around others as I normally would. Which has been a real shame. Those who knew me before I got unwell and then after, can certainly tell the difference in me as a person. I am getting better and I intend to make a full recovery, but it’s an ongoing struggle.
Also side-note: things don’t always work out when you meet someone new, especially when you’re trying to navigate aforementioned issues, and it can be upsetting but you just have to get over it. Squash yo feelings. I’m like a pro at that and it gets you through stuff peeps that’s all I’m saying. #lifeadvice
One of my key areas of focus as of recently. My art is a reflection of myself, my feelings, thoughts, my life events, etc. so many things. I used to worry that if anyone saw it they could see exactly what I was thinking, and the thought of that sort of terrified me. But now, I’m like – meh. People should be able to see or tell what you’re feeling. Art is expression. Otherwise, it’s sort of deadpan really. I’ve connected with so many people by sharing my art and now feel so much more confident about it; just looking through the pieces I’ve worked on this year, I can already see huge improvements in my style and technique. Which makes me 😀
I’ve also got my first commission for a friend – so excited to start on painting that!! Just ordered the canvas – going to be the biggest piece I’ve done to date. Hoping to finish that by the end of next week, so will share on social/next month blog’s post.
Hope August has been a good month for you – where is this year going!?! MAKE IT STAP.