Thursday, 5 March 2015

Education and Entertainment Recommendations | The Small Desk

Whilst finishing my MA back in 2013 all I kept thinking about is how I wanted time to discover new things by myself; how I wanted to learn about everything and to broaden my horizons. For a while I just felt so tired after my MA, especially as I had worked full-time throughout it. I didn't do much other than slob out a lot of the time, plus my job wasn't secure and I kept having to apply for new jobs and go to interviews. Now that I've finished my MA and that my job is secure I feel more able to do what I so badly wanted to do and to educate myself and to do what I love.

I've written about purpose in another blog post and about the feeling of guilt if you do not feel as though you are working towards a purpose. Luckily I feel I am doing that a lot in my day job now and am starting to feel less guilty about enjoying myself and catching up on all those recommendations. I thought it might be nice for me to share my recommendations for educating and enjoying yourself outside of work!

1. Serial
This is the much talked about podcast about a real life murder case. It is narrated by a journalist who is thoroughly engaging. She is trying to work out whether or not the guy who is now locked up in jail for the murder is guilty. The trial took place in 1999. Whatever you do – if you want to listen to it – do NOT Google it. I did and I really regret it! To give you an idea of how addictive it is, I started listening to it on Monday night and I'm on episode 9. Listening to the podcast has also made me realise what a great idea podcasts are – late to the party, I know!

2. Mr Selfridge
My Masters degree focussed on the Parisian department store and how it was represented in art. I watched some of the TV adaptation of Zola's Ladies' Paradise but I have become far more addicted to Mr Selfridge. I watched it at first because of the link to my dissertation but am now in love with the characters, costume and storyline. It is on ITV every Sunday at 9pm GMT.

3. YouTube
Nothing new, I have been watching YouTubers now for the past two years or so. Some are more educational than others. These are my favourites at the moment:
Cut Video
Essie Button
In the Frow
Casey Neistat
Jacks Gap

4. Lorraine Pascale recipes
I don't know about you but I often get stuck in a rut with evening meals. Sometimes we have the same meals every week for about three or four weeks running. One evening I decided enough was enough and that I really wanted to be a bit more creative! I flicked through my random collection of recipe books and found that Lorraine Pascale's Fast, Fresh and Easy Food book. It has some great vegetarian and fish recipes. I made the spicy bean burgers and they were absolutely delicious! You need to have the pan very hot, but apart from that the recipe, amounts, instructions, everything, is perfect.

5. Ideal home on Pinterest
I've been building up this Pinterest board for a while now. Basically I am addicted to beautiful furniture and homeware, so in order to prevent myself from spending all my income on it I have a Pinterest board where I collect all the photos of the homeware and furniture I would like in my ideal home! I've been learning about a few classic designers such as Ercol through this process.

6. Twitter 
I love Twitter. You can follow such a diverse range of people, newspapers, blogs, authors and influencers. It is such a unique platform in this respect and I can't get enough of it. News breaks on Twitter first, so if you want to be the first to know, Twitter is your guy.

7. Travel planning
What is more fun and educational than planning a holiday? Every time I try and book a relaxing holiday I end up trying to fit in trips to galleries, museums and heritage sites – I can't help myself – I find the best way to learn is to travel.

8. Socialising
As I've mentioned in numerous blog posts I am really trying to be as sociable as possible (for me). Even if it means just having lunch with my colleagues in the work kitchen. The more sociable you are, the easier you will find it.

9. Storyville
There are seven episodes of Storyville up on BBC iPlayer right now. Sorry any non-Brits! Storyville is a series of documentaries looking at some really hard-hitting material. You can also buy some of these documentaries on DVD. Definitely worth looking up.

10. Photography
If you follow me on Instagram you may or may not have noticed that I'm trying really hard to get out there and take more photos and to really think more about composition. I have an A in A-level photography for God's sake, I need to up my game! It is my passion, and I have to remember what joy it gives me to take a good photograph.

That's all my recommendations for education type things and entertainment things for now. I hope you try some of them out and let me know if you have any recommendations too.

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