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Podcasts I can't live without

Before we start I should say I don't listen to LOADS of podcasts - I think not being an apple fanboy made me a bit late to the party - for a while it felt like they were only available on an i-something, but I've done some light listening over the years. A few blogging podcasts here, some public interest stuff there.......TAL of course! 

But when I started working from home during chemo (aircon and compromised immune systems do not mix!), I found it a bit lonely with just the sound of my typing for company (and the sound of Flash and Melle arguing as to who could howl loudest!) and I turned to podcasts to keep me company! 

So here are some of the ones I 've been loving. Also, my new meds have given me a lovely bout of insomnia, so I am in the market to widen my listening pool, so hit me up with your suggestions please. 

Mention podcasts near me and I will basically ram AKNF down your throat with such force I might end up being one of their serial killer subjects. But it's with good reason that I love this show so much. 1. Everyone has a bit of a morbid, dark side that's a bit fascinated by serial killers, don't they? (I now know it's not just me!) 2. It's hilarious. Like laugh out loud in inappropriate situations hilarious! Plus, the longer you listen the more you'll just have to know who the ex-boyfriend is! Trust me! Each episode covers a different killer and hot topics such as 90's TV presenters, eels in Chinese takeaways and most recently, pagers.
My friend Kim and I even went to one of the live show - Fan girls much? Basically. Start listening to this podcast! 

Anna Farris is Unqualified
"Not-so-great relationship advice from @annafaris & completely unqualified Hollywood types." What's not to love about celebs chatting about the most random things, taking part in crazy role plays and dishing out terrible advice to the members of the public who've called in! 

Generation Why
Another kind of morbid one - but not so much serial killers (although they do feature) more just unsolved mysteries.
The guys that present this one are kind of annoying in a 'we're going to make huge wide sweeping assumptions about this and pass it off an knowledge' way but the stuff they cover is fascinating and, well, we've established I like a podcast about a good bit of murder haven't we!

It's from the guys at This American Life and Serial (which I know we’re all listened to so I didn't include here) and follows the life of a guy in small town America. It's a series, like Serial, so you can binge listen to it - which I did over a weekend in the garden. It's compelling stuff and you'll not want it to end - just like Serial, you'll want to know more. And you’ll want to make a maze in your garden too! 

Right, now I've shared my podcast faves - what should I listen to next? 

The Good Life

In a move that would horrify my 21 year old self I've started enjoying the act of growing things. I can't quite bring myself to say gardening though, so lets just say growing things. At our last house we just had a yard, but it had raised planters that were awesome for growing things in. For the last few years in this house the garden has been in a bit of, well, lets call it a 'transitional state' and we've not really had much room for growing things. But we did lots of work last autumn and this spring and we've finally made some headway in sorting out the space and I've started doing some growing again! 

Over the winter I asked my dad to build me a raised planter to sit along the bottom of the garden and in April we finally got it in and full of mud, ready to do some planting! I've just realised I don't actually have any pics of the planter itself but I love it, so here it is just after we'd got back off holiday, full of plants and surrounded by puppies! 
I saw an Instagram post last summer about a company Rocket Gardens and their Constant Gardens -they send out plug plants throughout the year, ready for you to plant up, which is perfect for me as I'm not sure I'm cut out (or equipt) for growing plants from seeds! My Nan gave me some money for Christmas, so I put it to good use and ordered the Urban Constant Garden. 

With my plan, plants come 4 times a year and just this week I got my 3rd delivery and it reminded me that I've not written about it, or shared any photos!    

 As of this week we've got a bit of an overflowing garden - I might have misjudged the size of my planter somewhat (spacial awareness is not my greatest skill). Currently growing we have;

  • Beetroot
  • Carrots
  • Courgettes
  • 4 different types of lettuce and rocket
  • Leeks
  • Spinach and Chard
  • Cabbages
  • Tomatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Cucumbers
  • Celeriac
  • Celery
  • A variety of beans and peas (although the slugs love these so lots have been eaten!)
  • Peppers
  • Pumpkins
  • Cauliflower
  • Sprouts
  • Butternut Squash 
  • Swede
  • A selection of herbs
  • Rhubarb (from my grandads garden, via my mums)
  • Raspberries and blackberries that probably need another year to bed in!
  • Strawberries

It's taken a while for everything to grow, but we're finally able to start eating some of the bits growing. I fear we'll be eating chard and spinach for the rest of the summer because there is so much of it - it's kind of taking over. Salads have been transformed though because we just need to pop outside and cut some out of a planter - the rocket is so peppery its amazing! 
And I've just pulled up the first lot of carrots and planted another round of them!  
And in the near future we've got flowers on the pumpkin plants, tomatoes growing and going green, beans and peas starting to appear all over the place. Oh, and there are a few peppers appearing too! 
I just have to keep the slugs at bay - Our garden is permanently over run with slugs all year round, so I've turned into the person buying newky brown to put in my home made slug traps (yes, yes, I'm sure I shouldn't be killing slugs but at least I'm getting them drunk first) They ate so many of my beans and peas I've resorted to putting the most recent delivery of peas in hanging planters in the hope it takes the slugs too long to reach them! 
But there are also some plants in the ground that are in it for the long haul - leeks, sprouts, cabbages, broccoli and some squashes! I guess I just need to keep them alive long enough for us to be able to enjoy them.
I've really enjoyed getting the deliveries and figuring out what plants we're getting and will be growing, but I think next year I'll buy more of the veg we're more into and less of the ones that take up loads of space. The cabbages are huge and the chard is quite over bearing too! Maybe I'd pick the mini garden and just add in the things that we eat a lot of or I might just mix and match from their site because I have really enjoyed getting the plug plants. 

 Now, if you have any tips for keeping plants alive over the winter, will you let me have them? Please!

First Class Wankers

I’m kind of freaking out about the fact it’s been over a month since we returned from our trip and I’ve not mentioned it on here yet – but I’ve been a bit distracted by the return to work…..but it also means it’s been nearly two months since we left on our post treatment holiday. Gulp. Lets see how much I remember…..

It’s a trip I’m yet to decide whether it was the best or worst timed holiday ever. (Lets say 80% the best timed, 20% the worst.) Flying less than 24hrs after finishing radiotherapy might not have seemed like the ideal plan to some (including my onc team) but in a lot of ways it helped with the lost feeling I know a lot of people get when they finish treatment. I had something else, other than not having to go to the hospital to focus on. Namely being a first class wanker! Yup, that’s right, in case you didn't see it on Instagram, we jetted off on our trip first class! I'm sorry the pics on this post are so terrible. I felt really conspicuous taking pics in the lounge and on the plane - like I was the person that had never flown first class before!
Now Jim hates me telling people this as he thinks it’s better to let people think we paid full price for the flights, but we didn’t. We flew BA using airmiles accrued through Jim working away in India, on a companion voucher, which let us book first class flights out to Washington and business class flights back from New York (leaving us with just enough airmiles to rebook the first class round trip to Cali that we’d had to postpone - bring on Mammoth 2018!)

But enough of that – let’s get started on the first class travel aspect. Before we flew, I read a lot of people snubbing BA’s first class and business class offerings, but as someone who thought world traveller plus was lovely and gets excited with lounge access, I have just one thing to say to you – GET A BLOODY GRIP. You’re flying first class. You’re beyond lucky to have the means to do this (most of the reviews I read did it on airmiles too so they weren't even paying actual money) – stop being such a snob and enjoy it. Enjoy it for the stupid luxury it is. Because it is luxurious. So this isn't a review, more a look at how the other half live from the point of view of a cattle class flyer!
Lounge access at the airports has been one of the best things about Jim’s frequent flying – the free food and drink whilst you wait, charging points and comfy seating are a godsend, but the Concord Lounge at Heathrow was a whole step up from this. For one it felt decidedly un-hurried and airy compared to the business class lounge. And secondly, there was a guy bringing round champagne, Laurent-Perrier Grand Siecle to be precise, every time our glass got vaguely near empty. Plus, as wonderful as the all you can eat M&M's in the business class lounge are, they really don't compare to the sit down restaurant in the lounge, with private booths and a little dining menu. Jim was a little disappointed with his steak (he is super fussy), but my salmon was delicious!

The concord lounge has an Elmis spa attached to it with free treatments for First class flyers. I booked in for the firm up and fly facial which came with a chair massage - be warned - the chair is a bit aggressive. I thought it was going to swallow my legs whole at one point. But the massage was so relaxing and my face felt amazing afterwards.   
Once you get onto the the plane, the lighting becomes absolutely terrible so all my photos from here on out area bit more shoddy than before. I'm a truly terrible blogger! I blame the 'night flight' lighting. Okay!

First up, look at the space you get. For someone who thought the leg room in World Traveller Plus was lovely, this was a bit of a dream! Not to mention that we got a fab little Liberty amenities kit and some PJ's. The PJ's are such a great touch as it means when you get in to bed you're not in your travelling clothes so you arrive looking fresh! There's also an abundance of that Grand Siecle we had in the lounge on the plane!

Dinner on the plane is served at a table with a little table cloth, salt and pepper pots and butter dishes, along with proper cutlery. We didn't eat much on the flight because it was a night flight, and we'd made sure we ate in the lounge (Jim's thoughts are that no matter how nice the food on the plane sounds it's still heated in a microwave). I chose a mushroom dish for mains, and Jim had the lobster mac and cheese. Both were lovely and a massive step up from the plane fare I'm used to!
And then lets talk about the bed, with the duvet and the pillow and all the leg room to lay down and sleep. As we flew quite late, and had a 7 hour flight, we managed to take advantage of the bed. The cabin crew come and make the bed when you're ready for a nap, and even though we were flying with the sunlight, the Liberty kits have a lavender scented eye mask in them so sleeping is easy! I'll be honest, I busted the eye mask out a couple of other times on the trip and I might have pinched Jim's for further adventures!
I think I embarrassed myself a little asking the cabin crew for some water whilst waiting to change out of my PJ's, then telling her where I was sitting, like there weren't 12 of us in the cabin! I just didn't like to presume she knew who I was! She was lovely about it, but I felt a little like a complete first class noob! Which we all know I was, but they don't need to know that do they?

So, here was my first class experience - I thought it was really awesome. I know that I was really lucky to be able to travel first class, and I'm even luckier to already have another first class flight booked - San Fran here we come. But maybe next time I'll be able to get some better photos!