8 Cool Things I've Stumbled Across Lately

I’ve been trying to live more simply and be more open to trying new things recently. And to do things for fun, rather than trying to be as productive as possible.

In doing so, I’ve stumbled across a few things I thought were pretty cool and wanted to share them.

Bournemouth beach

I went to visit my Dad and Grandad in Bournemouth last week and was reminded just how cool Bournemouth beach is.

It looks amazing, is clean and stretches for miles.

I loved running by the beach in the morning and was inspired to run my first 5 miles since, well, a long time. I took a book down one afternoon, rented a deckchair and sat a few metres from the waves. It’s also really nice to sit in one of the many benches on the cliff and just take in the ocean and surroundings. The weather was amazing too which helped 😉

Check out the beach and my reading view:

Bournemouth Beach

My Reading View

HeadSpace App V2

Headspace is easily my favourite app at the moment.

Just over a week ago they launched V2 of their app and it’s fantastic. At first, I went through what most people go through when something you use gets a big overhaul. It felt uncomfortable. I couldn’t work out a few things. I started to wonder if I would like the new version as much as the original version. But, within a few minutes, I was super impressed.

I just love it. It has helped me establish meditation as a daily habit and is doing me a world of good. The new version looks lovely and works brilliantly. My hat goes off to them. I can’t wait to try some of the new content over the coming weeks.

Headspace

The Martian by Andy Weir

I got wind of this book from Brad Feld. It was good timing as I was looking for a fiction book to get stuck into.

I’m only a quarter way through and it’s awesome. It gets right into the action from the first page and it’s been gripping every page since. I love the way it’s written too. It’s so easy to read and I haven’t once felt bored. It’s the first time in a while I really look forward to sitting down with a book.

Below is the book description from Amazon:

I’m stranded on Mars.
I have no way to communicate with Earth.
I’m in a Habitat designed to last 31 days.
If the Oxygenator breaks down, I’ll suffocate. If the Water Reclaimer breaks down, I’ll die of thirst. If the Hab breaches, I’ll just kind of explode. If none of those things happen, I’ll eventually run out of food and starve to death.
So yeah. I’m screwed.

If you like to read fiction, I seriously recommend reading The Martian (and I’m only a quarter way through!).

The Martian

The film, Chef (and going to the cinema by yourself on a weekday afternoon)

I went to watch Chef yesterday and wow, it was brilliant.

It was recommended by a friend. I must admit the description didn’t seem particularly interesting, but hey, I had yesterday afternoon free – so I thought screw it, I’ll go watch it. By myself. On a weekday afternoon. 😉

It’s the best film I’ve watched in a long time. It’s funny, the characters are good and it just felt really great to watch.

Check out the trailer below:

Cooking Brunch for Friends

We have no idea how to do brunch in England. It’s either a late breakfast or an early lunch.

Now, the Danish, they know how to do brunch. They literally stick a variety of breakfasts and lunches on the same plate. Ella and I experienced this first hand in Copenhagen a few months ago and were blown away.

We had a few friends over on Sunday, so I decided to recreate it (for the second time, the first was a birthday meal for Ella).

It went down a treat.

We had choc chip pancakes, bacon, maple syrup, scrambled egg, carrot cake, toast, crackers, cheese, fruit, greek yoghurt with granola & honey and orange juice (about as non-Paleo as you can get!).

I love making and eating this, it’s a real treat. I also love having friends round and cooking for a group of people – I need to do that more often. It’s great to spend time with good friends and cooking for a group of people always pushes my cooking along.

Brunch, Copenhagen Style:

brunch

8Tracks

I have three Sonos’s throughout the house, so there is always something playing around us. I used to only use spotify to play music, but lately I have been using 8tracks a lot (its integrated into Sonos’s music services).

It’s a music service where you choose tracklists by mood or by artist. I’ve been listening to a lot of hip hop and jazz through it. Half of the time I have no idea what I’m listening too and I’m starting to prefer to listen to music like this (rather than listening to specific albums). I’m discovering more new artists and songs that way.

The other day I was listening to an acoustic / cover track list and it played Beyonce’s Drunk in Love, covered by Ed Sheeran. Cool song.

You can use it on the web or via their mobile app, check it out.

And here is that cover:

Brooklyn WordPress Theme.

I love WordPress. Gone are the days of needing web development experience to be able to publish content.

What’s even better is the quality of some of the wordpress themes available. It’s now easier than ever to create beautiful looking websites with very limited web development experience.

Brooklyn is the best I’ve seen.

My brother is a magic performer and wanted a better web presence. So I started looking around and found Brooklyn. It sounded amazing, so I bought it and within probably half a day we had a good looking website up for him.

The content management system is really powerful and flexible. You have a lot of choice over how to structure the pages and there is a ton of prebuilt styles to make everything easy on the eye.

He’s had several web enquiries since launching it a few weeks ago too. Nice. 🙂

Luke Clough

DuoLingo App

I’ve been learning french for the past few weeks and have been using DuoLingo, alongside some audio lessons.

I’m really impressed with it. It’s easy to get into it and introduces a new language to you in a very effective way.

It has categories (phrases, clothing, food, animals, adjectives, possessions, plurals etc.) and you have to work through things in a certain order. Each category has a number of lessons, consisting of 20 questions and you can only move onto a new lesson if you don’t lose your 3 lives (getting 17 out of 20 right). You get XP and rewards for completing lessons and you can also go back and take a refresher lesson for each category at any time.

Everything about the app is just built very well. It looks great. It’s easy to get into. It’s easy to use. You learn things well. It makes you want to progress and use it often.

I think it’s more geared towards reading and writing than speaking, so I would recommend pairing it with an audio program. But, if you want to learn a new language, I think it’s a must have.

You can use it on the web and mobile, and it’s free!

duolingo

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