I’m not entirely sure how and when I got into podcasts. I wasn’t ever really interested listening to anything but music on the radio when I was younger but somehow I started listening to them. It may have been when I went to study in Japan, since I was really into the Adam and Joe podcast. I remember sitting on the bus each week on the way to my part time job trying hard not to laugh out loud at it. It really reminded me of home and was a real comfort when I felt homesick.

I guess I use podcasts in the same way now – to make me feel more at home. As you’ll see, I do listen to a lot of BBC podcasts, but that’s also because I hate having time in the day when I’m not working my brain. I’d like to be learning even when I’m out and about, and podcasts are the perfect way to do that. So, here are the podcasts that I listen to!

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First up is a little boring, perhaps. BBC Outlook is a 50 minute “true life story” podcast that’s put out every weekday except Friday. This is also the reason why I have 100 podcasts I’ve not listened to yet. They contain stories and interviews with really extraordinary people, from a Korean guy who used to be a North Korean spy to a Nigerian singer to a girl who was sex trafficked to America. Some of them look a little boring from the outside, and 50 minutes is a long time, but if you have a long commute or spend a lot of the time driving about, these are great in the background.

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Next up we have one of my favourites – the BBC Food Programme. These come out weekly and have roughly 30 minutes of programme about specific food areas. There was one about street food the other week and that just made me hungry…and the one about Irish cooking made me want to hop on a plane and get over there. As you may have guessed, I like food. So I love listening to things like this with all the latest food trends.

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Next up is more BBC with The listening project. In regional BBC centres over the country, the BBC set up recording booths for people to go in and just talk to people they know, and these podcasts contain snippets of the outcome. I’ve listened to 6 year old little girls interviewing their grannies about their past boyfriends, guys talking to their parents about being gay and the conversation that will stick with me the most – two nurses talking about what people do and say just before they die. Some of them make me laugh out loud, some make me cry in public. But I think more people should listen to this since it’ll make us all better people.

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Radio 4 Friday Night Comedy is my last BBC podcast and contains two comedy shows – The News Quiz and The Now Show. The News Quiz is hilarious… kind of like Have I Got News for You, but for radio and with Sandi Toksvig who is really amazing. The Now Show is a bit naff, even though it has a lot of great people on it like Hugh Dennis (the dad from Outnumbered). I bare with The Now Show weeks and just look forward to the weeks with The News Quiz.

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Lastly is a podcast channel which I only just found recently, and it’s my new favourite thing ever. You know that feeling where you have a favourite tv show and you’re looking forward to it all week? Well I have the same feeling with this – Fortnight on the Internets. As the name suggests, it only comes out every other week, but it’s well worth the wait. It has all the “news” from around the web – memes, YouTube videos, internet trends…basically all the things I love. I wouldn’t have known about the weird happenings with Pronunciation Guide or what Drake Hands are if I wasn’t a listener! There really isn’t another podcast out there like this – it’s amazing.

Now over to YOU! Do you listen to podcasts? If so, which ones! Let me fill up my phone with even more!!

Privat – An Exhibition


Last weekend I went to an art exhibition called Privat – one that looks into how we are losing privacy in this new technological era. It was a totally spontaneous visit with a friend but I had wanted to go to see this ever since I saw the very eye catching poster (above).

It starts off with scenes from family home movies and handwritten diaries, and goes on a journey right through to a massive wall filled with tiny moving squares of porn. It was really amazing, and I really did enjoy it, but for me it didn’t really go as deep, or reflect on my experience on the net enough. I wanted it to make me really think about what I post on the net – and as I’m not in any porn, and I’ve not been in any weird Swedish youtube soap drama (it was weird… I didn’t get that part) so none of the collections really touched home for me.

Recently, I’ve been close to a few people who really control what they put out online. One such friend restricts their facebook so that nothing aside from a few photos from 5 years ago are visible. Another person refuses to put personal data on there so that companies can’t collect that data. I am pretty much an open book and I wonder if that is a bad thing…

My first experience of the internet was on a school trip to a gadget show in London when I was about 14. Somehow I had managed to get into the “16+ area” and found myself at a computer playing the first version of Habbo Hotel. My mind was blown. I made a little character who looked like me, and was walking round as if in a computer game, talking to people in different areas of the room! When I finally got a computer a few years later, I was one of those teenagers who should have had more restrictions since I was chatting to boys way older than myself, sending them my mobile number and chatting with them. It could have gone so wrong, but I just felt it normal to do this.

Today, of course, I am not so bad. After a really nasty net stalker last year, I started watching what I say online – like, I wouldn’t do a geotag on anything, or at least not to show that I am out of the house. I cut down my Facebook friends list often, because I spend half my life going to some party or event, chatting with someone for an hour, adding them on facebook then never speaking to them again. All these strangers can see my non-stop facebook diarrhea.

I like to share random personal info – I like to be myself, even online. A friend saw my OK Cupid profile and said that it was a perfect representation of who I am. I’d like to think that people could see my facebook wall or blog or twitter and think the same thing. However, a guy I was speaking to online found my blog after just knowing my first name and job. I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing – good because it means my blog is easily found. But bad because it means that people can easily find “Sherbet” with only knowing a little bit about “Charlotte”.

As I said, the exhibition was good, but not really thought provoking enough for me. I want to question my online visibility more, but it’s hard when it’s the norm to post videos of your baby on Youtube for your millions of viewers, or to broadcast your thoughts when you’re feeling emo to all your Facebook friends.

If you are in Frankfurt, checkout the Privat exhibition (7 euros entry) -

Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt
Römerberg, D-60311 Frankfurt
Hours: Tue, Fri–Sun 10–7pm,
Wed–Thu 10–10pm

Info in English (also photo credit)

Info in German

Thoughts on Living Abroad


The other day, we were looking in a photo gallery/shop when I came across the photo above. It is of Meoto Iwa in Mie, where I used to live in Japan. Known as the “wedded rocks”, this popular destination was a short moped ride for me and I’d often go there to walk by the sea and collect my thoughts. In the summer I’d dip my feet in the water as it was the nearest beach to me.

I saw it and wanted to cry. I’ve not missed Japan in a long time, but just this sudden scene of a familiar place made me feel lost where I am right now.

On the whole, I love life here in Frankfurt. It is an awesome city to live in, I have loads of lovely friends and now with added boyfriend, things are going well.

But, of course, there are always hiccups.

Last week, I took over @WeAreFFM twitter feed, which has a different curator every week and posts lots of cool stuff about Frankfurt. It’s listed as an English and German feed so when I replied asking when the English was going to happen, they asked me to take it over for a week.

I was really excited. I spent a week beforehand planning out a different theme for each day and finding things to talk about. It started on the Sunday and I tweeted a few times while I was out and about, but it didn’t take long before negative comments started rolling in. “Why are you tweeting in English?” came first. Then, when I listed 4 or 5 different blogs about Frankfurt, I was accused by a few people of being spammy. I felt the need to stand up for myself and replied to each negative comment, but of course, this never works with “haters”.

Throughout the whole week, I’d say 2/3 of people were perfectly nice. However, many Frankfurt locals were just downright rude and wouldn’t accept that I was doing things a little differently to how they wanted it.

It got me thinking into whether this is actually a reflection on life in general – there are really separated groups here; the locals, the bankers, the teachers/au pairs, and the stragglers like myself, who work for a company here but don’t fit into the banking world. There are times when these groups mix – for example, at events such as Cafe Crawl, or by joining a language exchange group (known here as “round table” events).

But if you are a person who wants to break the mould and get out there then I think it’s pretty hard. Frankfurt is a place where few call home but many live, more of an international city than a German city and has an amazing mix of people from all over the world. And yet, we just stick to what we know here and socialise (if, at all) only with the people we see right in front of us, for the most part.

Though it comes with the job of being on a popular Twitter feed that there are going to be negative people. But I really thought that it would be a nice way to break out of the bubble and get under the skin of local culture. And I’m quite upset that Frankfurt wasn’t more welcoming towards me in return.

Nevertheless, I did make some great friends through the experience, and I have a hope to continue to speak with them and maybe spark up friendships for real there. I also have a few groups that invited me to join so maybe I can blog a little more about them at some point too. And at the end of the day, what doesn’t kill me only makes me stronger, right?!

My First Etsy Purchase


The thing with me is that I love nothing more than supporting small businesses. I flat out refuse to shop at Urban Outfitters because I know they steal the designs of independent designers. I avoid chains if I can and try to actively promote smaller shops through my blog.

So it’s pretty strange that I’ve never used Etsy before. I mean, I joined a long time ago, but I’ve always shied away from actually buying something on there. However, I took the first step into the world of Etsy!

I needed a backpack to use when I’m riding my bike – my Accessorize satchel hurts my back as I’m bend over my handle bar, and it doesn’t fit that much anyway. Etsy lead me to the wonderful Sheri. I looked over her shop and spent… I don’t even know how long – toooooo much time trying to decide between this llama print and a British print one. I settled for the llama because it is so undeniably cute! Sheri was so nice and gave me the print that it’s based on as well! It’s going up on my wall above my bed, I think. Llamas rule!

I hope people start using Etsy more. I walk through shops these days thinking that I could get everything I see from Etsy – and help people with their own businesses. I’m going to try hard to buy as much as possible from there from now on.

Kids These Days…

Here’s a ranty post I’ve been saving for a rainy day for a while. It may go off around the houses, and I have little idea where it’ll end up. But let’s go on this journey…

I love the internet. We got our first computer when I was 13 – a gift from my generous nanny. I loved it, and would spend most of my day on it. But the best time of day was at 6pm when the cheap rate started and I could spend 30 sweet minutes on the internet. Back in those days I loved drawing and I’ve spend hours on Devientart and Oekaki Central looking up pictures I wanted to study or copy the techniques of – then have all these windows opened and available offline for when my dad would shout “GET OFF THE INTERNET I NEED THE PHONE!!!!”

I then moved onto having my own website. I had a little space at Homestead.com (RIP), with a little chatbox and lots of pages about… I can’t even remember. It was probably lame as, and no one but my friends would go onto it. But I learnt simple HTML and taught myself how to make the internets a pretty place. Since that day, I’ve pretty much always had a space on the web to call my own.

Not only do I like having my own internet space, but I also love looking at other blogs and (as I have mentioned many times before) Youtube videos. I love tutorials, reviews, empties… the internet is such a powerful media for beauty right now. But I keep hitting the same problem over and over. I’ll find a great blog, or a great Youtube user and then realise that they are 19 or some crazy age like that, and then click out of it.

Now, I’m not agist or anything like that. It’s just, I’m 25 – hardly old – but I have a steady job, I work hard, I have student loans to pay off. I don’t want to be sat there listening to a 6th form student tell me how to spend my money. As Dove often says, “YOU DON’T KNOW MY LIFE!!!”

But where on earth are all these kids coming from?! With their apparent never-ending stream of pocket money or Saturday job wages, their better-than-I-can-afford flashy cameras, with their “pay me 100 pounds a month and I’ll advertise your blog a few times”.

I can see how, especially in certain areas of business, having a blog could boost your employment chances quite a bit, but this is pretty crazy, you must admit. I sound and feel so old when I say that things were just so much simpler back when I was younger – and this is only 10 years ago that I’m talking about!

I see it in my sisters, too. I complimented one sister (the 16 year old) on her mascara when I was back home last time, only to be told that it was from Chanel. The other sister (13 years old) is decked out in River Island and Topshop all the time. When I say “hey… isn’t this a bit much?” everyone in the world complains that they were all birthday presents, that they were gifts, that they were on offer. But the fact remains that Chanel, Topshop, River Island… none of these even entered the realm of what I could, or wanted to, possess when I was their ages. I went to a BBQ at my old upper school in the summer to embarrass the 16 year old sister and see old teachers. The field was full of the same geeky boys that I’d have seen back in my day, but also gorgeous girls in perfect make-up and amazing hair. How do they have time to look so good?! How can *I* look that good?!

On one hand, I am jealous that these girls have just grown up knowing more about looking good than I did – heck, when I was 13 the most stylish (in my eyes at least) was that I had the exact blue and yellow Adidas tracksuit as Sporty Spice did in the poster on my wall. But on the other hand I feel really sorry for these girls – they go through all that I did as a girl but with the added pressure to look amazing, even if it’s easier to do so these days.

Another (really awesome) blogger who wrote something similar (but less negative!!) on this is “How Does It Feel To Be...” Check her out, she’s pretty awesome.

Do you often feel the internet generation gap?

Online Music

Last week, the people in our office thought the world had come to an end. We didn’t know how we could go on, how we would be able to function in our daily lives with our loss. The German fun policing agency, GEMA, had stopped Grooveshark, the online music service. It was wonderful, you could (well, still can if you are outside Germany) listen to any music you like, for free, with no adverts cutting up your music. There were visual adverts on the page, but otherwise it was bother free, and completely legal.

It didn’t take long before the crying and slow rocking of my colleagues was unbearable and so I set about trying to find an alternative. Grooveshark itself mentioned Simfy.de.  So I went over to take a look.

Music-wise, it’s pretty good. It’s quite useless for Asian music but for Western stuff it’s pretty on the ball. There are some random artists and a small chart on the front page but it would be nice if there were more options to find artists if you don’t know quite what you want to listen to. But it’s quite good at recommending artists similar to ones you like, which is pretty nice.

The player it quite easy to use, and it’s easy to go round and make playlists. The player hides itself into the bottom of the page when not in use.

The part I like best is the radio feature. While Grooveshark itself was awesome, the radio on there was terrible. No matter what artist I chose, it seemed to want to plug the same random Russian pop to me, or it just didn’t remember that just because I was listening to j-pop, it didn’t mean that I wanted to listen to Berryz. No one ever wants to listen to Berryz. But on Simfy, I’ve not been disappointed yet. The only problem would be that it seems that as opposed to linking all songs and artists to the initial one you started the radio with, it links to the previous song (ie – above I started with Regina Spektor. They linked me to Vampire Weened, which is linked to Laura Marling, in linear links.) While not such a big problem, the other night when we had the radio on for a long time, it went on a tangent so big that we were laughing at the kinds of music it was bringing up.

I have joined the premium service so I can have Simfy on my iPhone too. It’s pretty good, but of course isn’t so kind on the battery. The basic service is good enough though and it’s a good replacement in our hearts for Grooveshark. Let’s hope GEMA doesn’t get its greasy hands on this one too.