Over the past few weeks I have spent a lot of my free time listening to Fearne Cotton’s podcast series called ‘Happy Place’. The series is made up of a selection of episodes where Fearne interviews a variety of people from big names to the unknown, but all special in their own right.
They discuss very openly with relevance to these individuals lives ambition, coping with stress and living, but ultimately it’s about how these people build their happy places. I only discovered this series after spotting Fearne’s Instagram post about the surprise extra but final episode – oops – and I’m very glad I found it in time.
From Dawn French describing how she skims through life grasping every bit of it that she can and talking about the beauty of writing in the countryside. To Paloma Faith expressing her amazing ability to focus on her own success and not look left or right to compare with others and admitting that she never really learnt to sing until she got famous. To Stephen Fry talking openly about mental health and the great work that the charity ‘Mind’ do daily. To Fearne’s Yoga instructor come brilliant friend, Zephyr Wildman, discussing losing somebody extremely close and how you overcome this so that you can carry on living.
All of the conversations had throughout the series are so interesting in different ways and Fearne directs the interviews with a confidence to pause a moment at the more poignant messages so that you’re constantly gripped and just want to continue listening to the next episode, and the next.
However, it wasn’t only the engrossment that I had to these chats that kept me hooked, it was also the act of actively unwinding and relaxing while listening. I realise that I’ve touched on this before but there’s something about being aware of stopping and listening that truly relaxes you.
One night last week I was feeling a bit stressed, a feeling that seems to crop up fairly frequently in the bustle of life, and I took myself upstairs to my room to chill out. Having discovered the podcast series that morning when I listened to most of Emma Willis’ interview, I chose another lady who I love and admire and decided to press play on Fearne’s interview with Dawn French.
While I lay on my bed getting comfortable and ready to listen to the entire show, I thought why not go down stairs and join my Mum who was fairly ill at this point and just laying, dozing on the sofa so I knew she wouldn’t mind my suggestion of turning off the television and just listening a while.
Admittedly, about five minutes in we were both snoring away at opposite corners of our comfy sofa and that is certainly no reflection on the series but rather how shattered we both were. But each time I woke up and listened to a bit more, I thought to myself how lovely that moment was. How lovely it was in this day and age to have the black box in the corner of the living room switched off. How lovely it was to feel that chilled out and just be listening. How lovely it was to be sharing this moment with my Mum. How very real but very moving each bit of the conversation I could hear was.
Granted I had to go back and listen to the episode in full realising that I’d in fact slept through most of it, but I did this in the middle of the day on one of my days off so sleep wasn’t as desperately needed as it was on the first day I heard it.
I’ve not yet listened to all episodes but the ones I have heard have been thoroughly enjoyable and I’d happily replay them all over again, picking up on things said that I’d not noticed previously.
There is a lot about loss and life being temporary. There is a lot about success, ambition and what drives these individuals. There is a lot about appreciation or letting go, not worrying too much about things that stress you out. All in all it’s a deeply insightful glimpse into life and it really makes you think.
If you’ve not already done so, go and listen. I just know you won’t regret it.