This Week in Podcasts


Back in June, I decided that I was going to start a semi-regular series about my recent podcast discoveries. Semi-regular became not-at-all-regular, as that one post and this one are the only two in the series so far. But I’m on a new blogging kick, so I thought it was time to resurrect it and try and make it something I write a little more often. So, on with the recommendations.

Bag Man is a seven-part series from MSNBC, presented by Rachel Maddow. It tells the story of Spiro Agnew, Richard Nixon’s first vice-president, who found himself under criminal investigation, and as a result, became the first vice-president to resign office. It’s a story that I was tangentially familiar with, as I think many people may be, as it’s inextricably linked with Watergate. But I was not at all familiar with the details, and this is a well-researched and well-presented podcast that is a must-listen for anyone who is interested in American politics.

Mark Kermode’s new (ish) podcast, Kermode on Film, is everything you would expect from someone as intelligent and knowledgeable about film as the nation’s favourite film critic. The best thing about the podcast is that each episode offers something different. Once a month, an episode is dedicated to the show that Kermode does at the BFI Southbank (which I attend as often as I can – I even make a fleeting appearance in episode 2!), featuring guests and general film chat. Other episodes finds him out on location, at famous film spots, including the alley from Peeping Tom, and the streets of Belfast from Good Vibrations. All in all, the perfect podcast for film fans.

I’ve been listening to The Daily from The New York Times, though I find it hard to commit to listening to it each day – the episodes are piling up! I definitely recommend it though; I recently listened to one about what happens when you enable location services through apps on your phone, and how that information is sold. It’s scary stuff!

Finally, I’ve been dipping into Dan Snow’s History Hit. Although my usual method of listening to podcasts is to go right back to the start and listen from the first episode, but with this I have just been cherry-picking episodes that I think will be most interesting to me. I recently listened to an interview with Charles Spencer about his biography of Charles II; and another one about genetics and history with Adam Rutherford.


Bag Man
iTunes | Acast

Kermode on Film
iTunes | Acast

The Daily
iTunes | Acast

Dan Snow’s History Hit
iTunes | Acast

Looking Back ~ January 2017

Who can believe that the first month of the year has come and gone already? Of course anyone with a basic understanding of how time works probably can believe it, but January always feels like a challenge, and getting through it is something that has to be ticked off, instead of enjoyed.

Whatever else has happened personally, January 2017 will always be the month when I was scared to turn on the news. Unbelievably, as I write this, it’s been nine days since the inauguration, and each new day just brings more terrifying developments. I can’t imagine what the next four years will bring.

But to forget about the macro, and concentrate on the micro, January was a fairly uneventful month, as the long first month of the year tends to be. I spent the first weekend of the month working at an event at Alexandra Palace, where I managed to grab a photo with Evy Lynch, also known as Harry Potter’s Luna Lovegood. I try not to be a total loser, but inevitably from time to time it spills out, but luckily she was happy enough to let me take a photo with her. (In the writing of this, I’ve decided not to share the photo here. It’s on my Instagram if anyone cares enough to take a look!)

Pizza Express Prosecco

I toddled along to Pizza Express to try out their Ultimate Comforts menu, review can be found here; I also went to The Den at 23 in Colchester so my friend Hannah could try their Quarter Pounder Cheeze Burger, which is apparently a vegan version of a Big Mac. I didn’t have it, opting for the hot dog instead, but Hannah gave it a massive thumbs up.

Vegan hotdog

And finally, as ever with a monthly round-up post, I should mention another Mark Kermode in 3D has been and gone with myself and my buddies in the audience. He’s booked in for another year there, so no doubt you’ll hear me mention it a lot again, though I think my attempts to attend them all will once more be stymied. January’s saw two top guests; Anna Smith, president of the Critics’ Circle and film critic, and none other than Mark Gatiss, who was on top form, very funny and engaging.

Mark Kermode BFI Southbank

Fun to Come in February

• Another MK3D at the BFI Southbank

• The wedding of a very dear friend from school 

• Hopefully another weekend with my niece and great-niece

34 Before 34 ~ Go to Liverpool

It’s been such a long time since I did a post on here that wasn’t books, photo an hour, or monthly round up related! It’s also been a while since I updated you on my 34 Before 34 progress, so that’s what you are getting now.

I popped ‘Go to Liverpool’ on my list because I’ve always wanted to visit the city, and I was hoping this would provide the impetus to do so. In my head, I was going back to Edinburgh this year, because I enjoyed my time there so much last year, and I had only managed to stay for a couple of days. But then, in the event, I didn’t go, because the radio event that I had attended last year wasn’t on this year. So I thought, rather than go back to somewhere I only went a year ago, I’ll actually go to Liverpool!

I went for three nights; for two nights I stayed in university accommodation, as it’s cheap and functional! I then booked a hotel room in a Travelodge for the last night, because it was the only night that was cheaper than the university room, and it was a little closer to the train station for my return trip. I always do these kinds of trips on a budget – they aren’t about luxury hotels or expensive travel, and this time, as with Edinburgh, I was more than satisfied with my accommodation.

The weather was appalling for the most part; I stepped off the train into the most ridiculous rain! But of course, I didn’t go to the north of England in August for the weather, so I just made the best of it (this included buying an umbrella from Poundland!). Tate LiverpoolTate Liverpool

As my dad works for Tate Britain it would have been remiss of me to go all the way to Liverpool and not visit Tate Liverpool. He got me a ticket for the Francis Bacon Invisible Rooms exhibition that is currently on display there, so I went along on Sunday morning for a look around. It’s not entirely my cup of tea, if I’m honest; I can appreciate the genius without entirely getting it. But there was a Maria Lassnig exhibition on at the same time, and I quite enjoyed that. And Tate Liverpool is in a really love part of the city, on the Albert Dock, so it was nice to spend some time down there. It would have been even nicer if the sun had been shining!

Liver Building Liverpool

Waterstones Liverpool Paperback Writer

Kernaghan Books Liverpool

Albert Dock Liverpool

Albert Dock LiverpoolRailway Offices LiverpoolKermode Award

I managed to find the Kermode Award that I knew was at the Museum of Liverpool – it was tucked around a corner, but I found it! It’s part of the Reel Stories exhibition there that celebrates film in Liverpool.

Liverpool Bluecoat Centre

Liverpool Albert Dock

Albert Dock Liverpool

Albert Dock Liverpool



Liverpool Maritime Museum Mauretania

Liverpool Maritime Museum TitanicI almost didn’t go to the Maritime Museum, because I didn’t think it was going to be up my street.

But then I realised that Liverpool has a Titanic connection, and found out that there was an exhibition at the museum. I’m really pleased that I did go in the end, because it was a highlight of my weekend! The Titanic exhibition was interesting, and I also loved what I learned about the Lusitania, something I knew absolutely nothing about prior to this. It’s well worth a visit.


I had to get an idiotic selfie with The Beatles!

Liverpool Beatles Statue

Liverpool Albert Dock


I had a really great weekend, despite the weather, and I would love to go back some time. I think what I love most about the city is the mix of new and old architecture – it manages to feel modern and classic at the same time.

9. Visit Liverpool


Looking back ~ July 2016

One day before the end of August, and here I am recapping July. I was tempted to miss it out, but I actually had a lot of fun in July, and I didn’t want for it not to be documented!

I began the month by taking a holiday to Camber Sands with my best friends. As I so often say on here, we are so rarely all together, but there are a couple of times a year when we try really hard to be all in the same place. One is a Christmas date, and the other is a weekend in East Sussex, where my friend’s mum has a caravan. Freebie holiday with my favourite people – there’s nothing not to love!


We got fake tattoos, we played Pass the Pigs, we went to the beach, we played Cards Against Humanity, and we generally had a lovely weekend.

My dad turned 70 and had a party, so I got to see all my family. And if it’s difficult to get my four friends and me in the same room more than twice a year, it’s actually impossible to get my entire family – all 25 of us – in the same room more than once every couple of years. So that was nice.


This is just my siblings and my dad – the photo of all of us contains too many children for me to comfortably upload it onto my blog. But this is one of my favourite photos of the year!

I went to Bedford for the Bedford River Festival in July – my brother and sister-in-law live there, so Hannah and I drove up to see them and take part in the festivities. It was a very busy and hot day; I had fun, but I was glad to get home!

Bedford River FestivalI also headed along to the BFI Southbank for yet another Mark Kermode Live in 3D. It feels like such a long time ago, because there was no August date, so I feel like I’ve been waiting forever! This time we were treated to Hadley Freeman and David Arnold as guests, as well as a special video message from Jordan Vogt-Roberts, especially for us!

Mark Kermode BFI

And last, but by no means least, I went to YALC, which is the Young Adult Literary Convention. I had planned a full post on this, and I still hope to do it, but in the meantime here’s what went down: I met up with my friend Chloe, and we saw two panels, one with Simon Mayo as a panellist, talking about revolution in YA fiction, and one with him as the moderator, with panellists talking about music in YA literature. Then afterwards, I met him, he signed my book, and was as charming as ever. Yay for YALC!

YALC Simon MayoSo, that, in a nutshell, was July. See what I mean about not wanting to miss this one out? Usually I have to scour my Instagram looking for fun things I did, but this month was all about the fun!

I’ll be back soon (probably in a couple of weeks, knowing my track record), to round up August!