Eight Of The Podcasts I’m Obsessed With (Plus Your Chance To WIN A Radio To Listen To Them On!)

I’ve started to wonder what I actually did before I discovered podcasts; they now accompany me to the gym, on the tube, in the bath and even in my office while I’m snapping away or planning content. They provide such a great way to discover stories, learn, indulge your passions or even just have a giggle – so it’s no surprise they’re seeing a resurgence in popularity and are undoubtedly the hottest form of media right now. Since I got my Hepburn MK II VQ radio I’ve probably listened to more podcasts than is probably healthy, but it definitely beats listening to the same Spotify playlist on repeat or the drivel that happens to be on the radio past about midday. One of the main topics of conversation with my mates is now which podcasts we’ve been listening to or what recommendations we’ve got for each other, which sure beats chat about Big Brother or Love Island in my opinion! If you’ve yet to discover the amazing world of podcasts, then pop over here and read my info for beginners, and then pop back and take note of the eight shows I think you need to know about right now… Headphones at the ready.

Talking Crime: A True Crime Podcast
This started life as a narrative to the Jonbenet Ramsay documentary that was on in the States last year (if you haven’t watched it, google it – it’s one of the best things I’ve ever watched,) and as someone that’s been obsessed with the case since I was a little girl it was the perfect intro. The two friends that host this podcast basically watch true crime documentaries and in the ad breaks discuss what they’ve just seen, their own theories and how their viewpoints evolve. They’ve watched everything from the Amanda Knox Netflix doc, to The Staircase which features the Kathleen Peterson case (more on that below) and O.J Simpson; it’s the best way to pass an hour in the evening. I love how you have to watch the programmes yourself and then listen to their thoughts, bridging a very clever gap between telly and podcasts. They’re very funny, making something that could’ve been heavy into one of my fave podcasts of the moment.

Stuff You Should Know
Quite hard going and not one I binge listen to, Stuff You Should Know covers some really interesting topics and makes them far easier to understand – even if the hosts are a tad annoying. They’ve covered everything from clowns, spiders, tea, Stonehenge, perfume, colour, oceans, passports, police dogs, alcoholism and dreams; with over 200 episodes to choose from there’s sure to be something to tickle your fancy. I’ve taken to listening to episodes of this in the car when I know I can’t be distracted by my phone or making cups of tea, and although they’re not exactly easy listening I do learn a lot more about stuff I would’ve never bothered to research!

Buffering The Vampire Slayer
I grew up on Buffy and can probably attribute 50% off my kick-ass attitude to watching her beat the crap out of every demon that came at her, without barely breaking a sweat. She’s a feminist icon of a generation and I hope the love for Sunnydale never wanes. Buffering The Vampire Slayer is for hardcore fans of the show, as the two hosts dissect each episode in turn and discuss the funny anecdotes and odd characters – as well as pointing out elements that will become more important as the series continues. It’s a great way to revisit the show and it instantly brings back memories of those key moments that left you weeping, laughing or hiding behind the sofa. A must-listen for any Buffy fans, or those that want to discover this iconic teen show.

Beyond Reasonable Doubt
I’d heard about the Michael and Kathleen Peterson case on another podcast, which focused on ‘Owl Theory’ and the fact that Michael was wrongly accused of his wife’s murder when in fact an owl was responsible for attacking her. This BBC Radio Five Live production is fast paced and thorough, taking you through the details of the relatively unknown case (which involves Kathleen being found at the bottom of a staircase) and presenting the facts for you to make up your own mind; it speaks to many of the key people and delves into elements that aren’t covered by other productions, giving you short and snappy episodes which leave me wanting more. A great intro if you’re new to podcasts too.

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I fully accredit this discovery to Kirsty from Fashion For Lunch who kept encouraging me to listen to their wild and wacky stories; it’s now something that I always turn to when I need a podcast hit and I don’t know what I fancy. Although stories of the internet underpin every episode, the hosts cover everything from medical mysteries and dating dilemmas, to internet scams and current affairs. One of their most recent double episode stories that started off as an Indian call centre scam evolved into a tense mystery that my fiance and I listened to in tandem in the gym so we could discuss immediately together afterwards; if that’s not podcast gold then I don’t know what is!

Someone Knows Something
I’d definitely recommend skipping season one of this and delving straight into season two, which covers the disappearance of Sheryl Sheppard after her New Years Eve engagement which was broadcast on television in 1997. Her body was never found, but there’s one very clear suspect that is incriminated by basically everyone that knew him – even if the police couldn’t prove it. This addictive show looks back at the case and analyses the television footage, partnering up with her mother in an attempt to resolve it once and for all; after you’ve become so immersed in the story, they even manage to speak to the main suspect to keep you on the edge of your metaphorical seat. I actually started to go to the gym more regularly so I could listen to this uninterrupted, which is podcast commitment at the highest level.

Let’s Discuss
Hosted by Ella from Coco’s Tea Party and Monica from The Elgin Avenue, Let’s Discuss is basically two friends chatting about issues that impact women in their twenties and beyond: money, heartbreak, organisation, travel, comparison, social media and much more. It’s really easy listening and essentially blog posts in audio form; they give some really useful tips and tidbits of advice, even if they do come across like two of the most perfect creatures to ever grace this earth. (Ella says her idea of relaxation is organising her closet!) If you love their blogs you’ll love their podcast, but even if they’re new to you it’s worth listening to for a sprinkling of inspo and a touch of motivation.

Made Online
I couldn’t cover off my favourite podcasts without including my own! When I started Made Online I had no idea what to expect and if it would be any good, but thankfully the response has been incredible and I’m overwhelmed with the support I’ve been shown. The overarching idea is that I speak to those that have made their life changing career, moment or business online and get them to share their story (and secrets.) So far I’ve spoken with Sara Tasker from Me & Orla, Jane Cunningham from British Beauty Blogger, Millie Kendall from BeautyMart, the founders of Spectrum Collections, the women who grew Harrods’ Instagram to one million followers, authors Grace Victory and Emily Clarkson, as well as some incredible bloggers. Right now there are ten episodes to enjoy and I have some amazing guests lined up in the coming months, so make sure you subscribe to listen first!

If you want to immerse yourself in the world of podcasts, then have I got a treat for you… I’ve teamed up with VQ (who make some incredible Bluetooth enabled radios) to offer one reader their very own choice of VQ radio, so they can listen to some of my podcast recommendations in the comfort of their own home. Whether you choose to do so in the bath, while doing the washing up or cosy in bed is up to you! All you have to do is enter via the widget below. Good luck and happy listening!

(PS: Got any other awesome podcast recommendations? Leave them in the comments below!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Read my post on podcasts (which covers the basics, how to listen and an intro into Made Online) here for more info! The VQ Retro Mini radio starts at £69.99 and is available via their website, or from major electrical retailers.

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Five Great Budget Beauty Buys To Pick Up This Week

All I want to do right now is cuddle up in a blanket with an endless supply of tea; I feel like I’ve hit a major road block in my mind and all the inspo has evaporated along with the new launches and beauty goodness I’m used to seeing land on my desk. This time of year is tricky, as we all seem to get lethargic and struggle to find the motivation to keep going, not helped by it being the quietest period in the fashion and beauty calendar and the fact that most are sunning themselves somewhere altogether more exotic. But alas, I’ve managed to pull myself together for long enough to bring you a small edit of five fab budget beauty buys I can’t recommend enough – and I know you’ll just want to rush out and buy this weekend. You’re welcome. (PS: send more tea.)

MUA ‘Fire Vixen’ Eyeshadow Palette (£5.00)
Can you believe there’s an Urban Decay Naked Heat dupe already? (Read my full review and feature on it here if you fancy.) It was only a matter of time, but I’m surprised its come from MUA rather than another of our fave budget brands – they’ve lost their crown over the years, but perhaps this is the first of many more interesting things to come? The ‘Fire Vixen’ palette contains many of the warm red tones seen in Naked Heat, alongside some beaut nudes and metallics, but the price tag means many more of you will be tempted I’m sure to give them a go; one of the main pieces of feedback I’ve heard is that £39.50 is a lot if you’re not sure you’ll wear the shades, so a fiver seems like pocket change in comparison. You’ll be surprised at how much red tones suit every skin tone, so give it a go!

NYX Tame & Frame Brow Pomade (£6.00)
I’m all about a power brow, but it’s hard to find a decent brow cream that doesn’t cost a fortune; step in the Tame & Frame Pomade that’s richly pigmented and easy to apply, creating clean lines and filling in gaps with ease. I’ve been applying with an angled brush and creating a strong arch without a problem, but you can also dab on with a rounder brush if you’re lucky enough to have a fuller brow than me. You do need to layer it if you like a striking finish, but it’s comparable to similar products that are twice the price and also available in five shades.

Botanics Organic Super Balm (£7.99)
My favourite find from the last few weeks, this 93% organic multi-purpose balm contains olive fruit oil, sweet almond oil, beeswax, shea butter and jojoba seed oil for a super nourishing and natural hit of goodness. It’s non-greasy and lightweight, making it great for use as a lip balm or brow tamer, as well as helping to soothe away dry patches of skin; I’m also loving it on the top of cheekbones and under the brow arch for a little subtle radiance too. It can be so tricky to find a decent balm on the high street (they’re good for so many things!) but I think Botanics have solved my balm dilemmas for the foreseeable!

The Ordinary Serum Foundation (£5.70)
One of the most hyped up launches of the last few months, this vegan oil-free formula is available in 21 shades with a huge range of undertones to ensure you get the perfect match. The texture is incredibly runny and lightweight, but when applied the strong pigment provides a decent amount of coverage while keeping the skin radiant. I can’t believe how great it is for the price, and this comes from a major foundation snob whose current faves include Giorgio Armarni and YSL! I also love the heavier ‘Coverage Foundation’ for days when I need or want a harder working base, but this is a winner for the price.

Rimmel London Radiance Brick (£5.99)
You can’t beat a little Rimmel, especially during holiday season when you’re more likely to smash your powder based products in your case or hand luggage! This brick brings together three individual shades for a glowing finish and a subtle shimmer, which looks fab when buffed into skin using a fluffy brush. It’s such a little gem that adds a multi-tonal warmth to skin, without the orange undertones or harsh lines that some bronzers can leave behind. Stock up while you can and use all year long to add warmth to your sun-parched skin.

Have you tried any of these budget beauty buys? Which will you be rushing out to buy this weekend?

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At Last a Face Oil for Acne Prone Complexions

Sunday Riley U.F.O Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil Review

Did I initially dabble with Sunday Riley products because of the Sunday moniker? Most definitely but after a few applications of certain key products, I quickly became hooked and the seemingly novel-to-me name factor, was no longer a selling point. As much as shilling over close to a hundred pounds for one skincare product leaves me feeling cold, I’d only be lying to myself and you, if I didn’t confess that in certain instances it has been worth it. If you have acne prone skin like myself, you know that finding products that deliver without further irritation is an endless battle, so when one comes along, you do tend to be loyal. Sunday Riley U.F.O Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil makes my skin rejoice and my bank balance weep but despite the mixed emotions, it is something I wholeheartedly recommend to anyone suffering from problematic skin.

I love face oils and have for a long time but I know some fellow oily/blemish prone readers, occasionally avoid such medium through fear of blocked pores and of course further pimples. If this is in any way a concern for you, then Sunday Riley U.F.O Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil may be the product you’ve been crying out for. It has been formulated with problem complexions firmly in mind and is of course non-comedogenic (basically it won’t clog your pores), all the while being an all singing and dancing skincare solution.

Sunday Riley U.F.O Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil Review

Typically, most face oils main purpose and propriety claim are to nourish and moisturise the skin; Sunday Riley U.F.O Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil of course does just this, relying on gentle milk thistle and cucumber seed. Great but like I said not entirely out the norm, what sets Sunday Riley U.F.O Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil aside is that it fully caters to blemish prone complexions: it soothes and calms inflamed and irritated skin (chamomile and liquorice extract to the rescue in this instance), using salicylic acid it gently, clears exfoliates and re-balances, and to heal and prevent both future and existing breakouts there is of course a dash of the natural antiseptic tea tree oil in the mix too. If that is not enough with continued use it can help to soften the appearance of fine lines – a wonder oil if ever there was one.

When I first received my bottle of Sunday Riley U.F.O Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil, I was a little apprehensive at first, it did seem to offer too much of a good thing but I was happily proven wrong. As someone with oily skin, my complexion is easily overwhelmed and sometimes standard oils -and moisturisers for that matter – don’t fully absorb, leading the way to blocked pores and break outs; I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly my skin laps this green concoction up and truly, how instantaneous the results were. I can’t say that I have found Sunday Riley U.F.O Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil to be all that wondrous at preventing breakouts but then again my skin is not exactly predictable, however I have found that when a blemish rears its ugly head it quickly disappears (scar free may I add) after a few uses of the U.F.O oil. In the last few months (I began reaching for this around mid-April), my complexion is more balanced and not at the mercy of excessive sebum – even in the most humid of conditions, which is nothing short of miraculous.
Sunday Riley U.F.O Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil Review

I’ve openly stated before I’m not the best at exfoliating and as such my skin can often look dull; the introduction of Sunday Riley U.F.O Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil to my routine has quickly resolved this issue as it gently (and regularly), removes dead skin cells thanks to the presence of salicylic acid.
Sunday Riley U.F.O Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil is a treatment product and as such not something that requires you to apply it daily or even weekly, which sure takes the sting out of the price. The idea is that you only apply if and when needed, at to prevent skin purging you shouldn’t apply anymore than three times a week when first trailing the oil. I have found that if I use the U.F.O as and when needed (but always at least once a week), in conjunction with the Sunday Riley Martian Melting Toner daily (full review here), my skin is at its best without the need of medical intervention which is all I have ever really wanted.
Sunday Riley U.F.O Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil £68 via Space.NK – link.

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Stuff In My Bathroom I’m Loving Right Now (Eight Of My Fave Pampering Treats With The Best Fragrances!)

Although I wanted to spend my summer sat outside sipping on glasses of pink tinted wine, the severe lack of sun and abundance of rain has meant you’re more likely to find me soaking in a bath with a good book. I can only but hope the weather perks up towards the end of the summer (hello October wedding!) but in the meantime my priority is definitely a little pampering in my newly decorated bathroom. There may not be a huge number of new products landing in stores, but there are some great firm favourites and recent discoveries that have left my home filled with beautiful scents and my body buffed and pampered. If you need a little TLC or just an excuse to pick up some new treats, here’s all the stuff I’m loving right now and are firm faves on my bathroom shelf.

Clarins SOS Comfort Nourishing Balm Mask (£26.40)
This really rich creamy balm is infused with essential fatty acids, alongside a blend of mango oil and kernel butter to plump and moisturise your skin. Applied all over the face and left for around ten minutes, it’s a great treat when you want your skin to look and feel fab ahead of a big day or night out; I adore the texture and the delicate scent, as well as the fact it doesn’t leave my skin feeling tight. I’ve been using it as a morning pick-me-up when I know I’m tired and it’s showing on my skin, and even as a pre-wedding treatment when I need my skin to stay hydrated and radiant all day long. I’m not normally down with masks that you use in the morning, but this is an absolute gem that I’m using up far too quickly.

Ren Anti-Fatigue Kelp & Magnesium Salt Body Scrub (£26.00)
Oh Ren, you know how to keep a girl feeling fabulous. I adore the Ren skincare products, but I’ve not really dabbled much in their body care until this amazing new range landed on my desk. Not only do they have this super rich and hardworking salt scrub to buff away dryness and leave skin smoothly polished, but there’s a bath oil, body wash and body cream too. All the formulas are enriched with Atlantic Kelp Extract and Microalgae Oil to help replenish skin with moisture and essential minerals, as well as being infused with REN’s Anti-Fatigue blend of essential oils to refresh and de-stress body and mind. This is great to use on legs after a long day walking around the city, letting the scrub fall into the water to surround you with the relaxing scent too.

Being by Sanctuary Spa Cloudberry & Lychee Blossom Body Wash (£6.00)
Our bathroom is usually stocked high with bottles of Dove (or whatever lands on my desk!) but sometimes you need to keep your morning shower a little bit out of the ordinary. This new brand from Sanctuary is pushing the limits of the industry and celebrating all forms of beauty, while adding a touch of sass to their products – this is no different. I love the funny little fruity face on the bottle, but the scent inside is all kinds of juicy and delicious; there’s nothing spectacular about this body wash, but sometimes it just needs to be tasty and fun.

Ecoya Guava & Lychee Sorbet Candle (£39.00)
Possibly the most beautifully scented candle I’ve ever had the pleasure of breathing in, this smells like summer in the most tropical way. With layers of delicious guava nectar interwoven with sweet lychee and underpinned by berries, this soy hand poured candle is utterly stunning – even before it’s been lit. It’s the perfect bathroom scent if you want something uplifting and energizing, while the natural waxes and lead-free cotton wicks ensure a healthy approach to home scent. It’s really good value too, considering the 80 hour burn time (up to double what you’d usually get,) and there’s even a mini version if you want to take it away with you.

Decleor Micellar Oil Cleanser (£26.00)
Since I’ve moved I’ve discovered some real gems lurking in the back of my bathroom cabinet, and this is one of them. Decleor isn’t a brand I’ve really had much time for over the last few years, feeling like it was a little outdated and not really for me, but this has broken down that barrier and left me wanting more. The combination of oil and water in this cleanser work deep into pores to dissolve and disperse dirt and impurities; with only a few pumps massaged onto dry skin, makeup is broken down and easily washed away with a damp warm flannel. Ingredients include Sweet Almond Oil Vegetal Squalene (derived from Olive Oil), rich in essential fatty acids to help strengthen and soothe the skin while maintaining optimal hydration levels. It isn’t greasy and doesn’t leave any residue, nor does it irritate or sting around the eyes – it smells really fresh and leaves my skin super clean.

Klorane Soothing & Anti-Irritating Peony Shampoo / Conditioner (£10.00)
Peonies aren’t just for Instagram shots and flatlays you know – they’re also a great ingredient in beauty products, thanks to their soothing and anti-irritating qualities. Klorane is a French pharmacy hair care brand that I’m utterly in love with (try their dry shampoo, it’s the best ever!) and this is their latest addition. Specifically formulated for sensitive scalps and dandruff, the Peony shampoo and conditioner claims to bring instant comfort to scalps that are feeling tight and itchy. The super lightweight gel-like formula helps to maintain an optimal scalp balance and 24-hour comfort, as well as hair that’s soft and tangle free. Although I don’t have an irritated scalp, I love the scent and the soothing properties it offers – as well as the super light gel conditioner formula that doesn’t weigh my hair down.

Miss Patisserie Mango Bath Slab (£5.00)
This vegan brand are shaking up beauty just a little bit, adding in super cool scents and interesting textures – and this Mango Bath Slab is the perfect example of what they have to offer. Although it doesn’t smell overtly sweet like you may expect, the brightly coloured bricks can be broken off and dropped into your bath for a little somethin somethin. The only issue becomes how to store it until next bath time…!

Jo Malone London Pomegranate Noir Bath Oil (£58.00)
Sometimes the classics are the best. I’ve got so many gorgeous Jo Malone bath oils (I’m not sure if its the bottle or the scent I love more to be honest,) but recently I’ve been opting for the classic rich and elegant fragrance that is Pomegranate Noir. If you’re not familiar with it, then Jo Malone describe it as: “Ruby-rich juices of Pomegranate, Raspberry and Plum are spiked with Pink Pepper and laced with Casablanca Lily and Spicy Woods.” Sounds dreamy right? I love adding a few drops of this to a steaming bath and breathing in the aroma – because we all need a touch of luxury every now and then.

Which would you love to have in your bathroom this summer?

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