A little bit of what I'm up to and into at the minute.

  • The future of web browsing, the history of print and the dreamiest medium format camera

    This month, I’ve been been blown away by Arc, a brilliant new web browser that has made web-based work (so much of what I do these days) so much more enjoyable. I’m so impressed by what a game-changer it has been; a breath of fresh air in a very staid space. This video is a bit long, but fun and a nice introduction to how it’s different to the Chrome, Safaris and Firefoxes of the world.

    Song Exploder: I have been listening to – and recommending – this brillant podcast for a decade now. I still remember that first episode breaking down a song I adored, The Postal Service’s The District Sleeps Alone Tonight and how magic the whole concept was. They’ve released an updated version to celebrate tuning 10.

    Speaking of podcasts, I’ve been enjoying getting stuck into the Print is Dead (Long Live Print) podcast.

    Waist-level shooting, a more mindful approach to taking photographs and ASMR-level sounds: Really enjoyed drooling over Becca Farsace’s review of Hasselblad’s new $8,199 camera.

    Reading: The Thursday Murder Club series by Richard Osman. Every now and then, Ben and I will have a two-person book club – usually, it when there’s a new Robert Harris book out. But we’ve recently both started reading the Thursday Murder Club series and it’s been great fun.

    Watching: Downton Abbey. With The Gilded Age over for another season and Bridgerton some months off, I was still craving a period drama fix so decided to give Downton a shot for time ever. Written by the same person as The Gilded Age, it’s been like finding a new favourite author and discovering there are seven more books to read. In other words, a total treat.

  • Science-backed baby music, fun mobile puzzle games and more mythological reads

    Science-backed baby music, fun mobile puzzle games and more mythological reads

    Imogen Heap’s Happy Song is often played multiple times on car journeys, so I was fascinated to discover it was developed as a collaboration between Heap and developmental and music psychologists.

    I took my very first winter sea dip a few days ago, and it was glorious. We inadvertently joined the Gentle Swimmers group, who meet weekly at The Big Beach in Salthill, and the atmosphere was brilliant.

    Still loving Puzzmo, a collection of simple and fun daily puzzle games that change every day. I’m especially fond of Really Bad Chess, Flipart and Spelltower.

    Recent TV I enjoyed: Lessons in Chemistry, The Gilded Age and still trying to finish off For All Mankind.

    Recent books I loved: Kaikeyi by Vaishnavi Patel, North Woods by Daniel Mason and Stone Blind by Natalie Haynes.

    Recipes I’m enjoying: Air fryer fish tacos, Lou’s energy balls (so handy to have in the freezer and pop in a lunch box) and this habanero hot sauce that Ben made.

  • Addictive audio stories, costume planning, spooky shoots and a cool camera-friendly handbag

    Addictive audio stories, costume planning, spooky shoots and a cool camera-friendly handbag

    I hadn’t listened to a ton of fiction podcasts, but BBC’s People Who Knew Me changed that. Featuring the voice talents of Rosamund Pike and Hugh Laurie, it’s a tense 10-episode audio drama that’s so compelling I’d find myself just standing outside my house at the end of a walk to get to the end of an episode. I’m now playing catch up on the hugely successful and intriguing Case 63, a fun sci-fi mystery featuring Juliane Moore and Oscar Isaac, and loving it so far.

    Did you know that the latest iOS update helps you decipher laundry labels? So handy.

    My buddy Clodagh has been wearing this slouchy cross-body black leather bag our last few meet ups and I love it. Turns out, it fits my wee Fuji XT-30 perfectly! I still love the look of Peak Design’s dedicated Everyday Sling camera bag, but this feels more versatile.

    Loved working on a spooky Halloween shoot with Grá Chocolates, complete with dry ice.

    I was hooked just a few sentences into the preface of Your Face Belongs to Us the new book from New York Times journalist Kashmir Hill all about the worrying rise of facial recognition technology, and what it means for the future of privacy. You can get a feel for it in this interview she gave The Verge.

    Perhaps all this scary future stuff is why I’m burrowing ever deeper into historical fiction. But if you’re looking for a rosy depiction of the past, you’re unlikely to find it in Small Pleasures by Clare Chambers. It is however, a beautifully drawn and tender tome.

    We’re pulling together Ari’s Halloween costume and someone recommend natural dyeing company Apple Oaks Fibre Works, who I had never come across before. We got some beautifully soft felt, which will hopefully become wings. Based in Co. Clare, I also love the look of these cosy and colourful socks.

  • New-to-me novellas, learning about Latina legends and kicking off Ada’s adventures in food

    Loved getting lost in the fun noir detective story that was Even Though I Knew the End. Filled with magic, mystery and tenderness.

    I devoured Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For it on Netflix. A fascinating and inspiring look at Hollywood history through a Latina lens.

    It’s oyster season, and we started a fun shoot with the ever-brilliant Jess from Kai by tucking into some oysters at the Galway market and I’m still hankering for more.

    For tech updates, I’m really enjoying Installer, a new weekly newsletter from The Verge.

    Ada started weaning this month (how! so soon! where’s my baby! etc), so we ordered a big box from Galway-based Green Earth Organics and it reminded me how grateful I am to have such wonderful local business right on our doorstop. If you’re in the area, they have a weekly farm shop on Saturdays too.

  • Podcasts, presents and open-source exploring

    Podcasts, presents and open-source exploring

    Updated 19th July 2023 from my home in Galway, Ireland.

    🎧 Listening to two lovely new-to-me podcasts, Poetry Unbound  Ffern’s As the Season Turns, both rich and immersive, they’ve been perfect accompaniments to Ada’s contact naps in the Boba.

    📷 It was my birthday this month, and I got a very special gift of a Fuji XT-30 ii. One of the most fun discoveries as I’m getting to know it is all the community-created film simulation “recipes” that you can program into the camera. It creates fun, easy-to-share jpegs (I still shoot RAW, just in case). Fuji X Weekly has a great selection. 

    🎵 Have Gemma Hayes’ new track on repeat.

    🍓 We gave the viral strawberry clusters recipe doing the rounds on TikTok a go at the weekend and can confirm they are indeed delicious. 

    💻 We’ve been dabbling with using open-source, self-hosted web apps for some of our more regular digital tools and I can see it being something we get into more and more. Ben has set up FreshRSS, we’re hoping to give the recipe app Mealie a shot (though we have been using AnyList for years and do like it) and I’m very intrigued by PhotoPrism.

    🎉 ‘Tis the season of kid birthday parties. Irish eco toy store Jiminy is our go-to for pressies  – recent faves include this bubble kit, a cute solar-powered nightlight, and their organic scented playdough is always a winner (and lasts ages).

  • Zelda, Simplicity Parenting and searching for the perfect family wiki

    Zelda, Simplicity Parenting and searching for the perfect family wiki

    Updated May 18th 2023 from my home in Galway, Ireland

    🕹️Digging into The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, which came out this month – it being timed with my maternity leave is quite the sweet gift!

    💾 Testing out Craft. We’ve been looking for a family wiki of sorts; a place to track everything from essential info (PPS numbers, vaccines etc), plan trips and allow Ben and I to collaborate on family stuff asynchronously. For a long time we used Notion, but the iOS experience was a bit too sluggish. We went back to Notes, but it do didn’t quite as much as we needed so now we’re giving Craft a shot. It was initially built for Mac and iOS, so really enjoying the speedy experience.

    📚 Ada is two months old, and lots of nap time is spent reading. Some recent faves:

    This page was inspired by Derek Sivers