Inspire

Things I’ve loved in 2015

I can’t believe it’s already the month of November and with the end of the year looming, I have started pondering the things have had an impact on my life this year.Things I'm loving in 2015

In no particular order:

Khan Academy

This not-for-profit organization was set up by Sal Khan and brings free education to the world. Their tagline is ‘For free. For everyone. Forever.’ The original idea came when Sal Khan started remotely tutoring his cousin who lived in a different state by producing youtube videos explaining various subjects. Increasing numbers of people started watching his youtube tutorials and eventually, it grew into the online Khan academy. Watch Sal’s TED Talk to find out how he got started his TED talk.

My Kindle

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I am a fairly late comer to the world of kindles. I bought myself one a few years back but our love affair didn’t get off to a very promising start. I then received an upgrade from my Dad last Christmas, a paperwhite kindle and we have been inseparable ever since. I still love the feel of a real book in my hands, however, the convenience and size of the kindle have made it a real winner for me. I love being able to read in bed without disturbing my other half.

Evernote

This website/application was mentioned on several blogs that I follow and was praised many times on Tim Ferriss’ podcast. It’s a notes app that allows you to organize yourself, your notes and helps you to start living a paperless existence. There is a premium version, however, I have found that the free version offers me everything I need. It’s online and can be accessed from any of your devices. I scan much of my paperwork via ‘scannable’ on my ipad and save it into one of the notebooks that I’ve created in my evernote. Check it out!

Podcasts

I have also just discovered podcasts – yes, I’m a true dinosaur of tech, I know – and what a great discovery they have been. They keep me company when I’m emptying the dishwasher, hanging up the laundry, going for a run, keeping the family sane on our many long distance car journeys. One of my particular favourites is the Tim Ferriss podcast. He attempts to deconstruct world class players during his fascinating interviews. The breadth and diversity of his interviewees is what makes his podcasts so very appealing. He speaks to the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ed Cooke (former memory champion), Brené Brown, Tony Robbins (motivational speaker), Sam Harris, Josh Waitzin (chess prodigee, inspiration for the film Searching for Bobby Fisher), Wim Hof (aka the Ice Man). There is something there for everyone.

We also have some fun podcasts for the children including the Puffin podcast and The Story Time. We are on the lookout for more so do let me know if you have any suggestions for fun and entertaining children’s podcasts!

Audible

I LOVE reading books and I have discovered that I also love listening to books. There are some amazing story tellers out there who succeed in drawing you into the story and bringing a story to life.

This year I took out an audible membership – fairly inexpensive and entitles you to one credit a month. Sometimes I purchase some extra credits for long car journeys so that the whole family can share in the experience. The children really enjoyed listening to The Magic Faraway Tree. Some of my favourites this year have been The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and Richard Branson’s The Virgin Way. My husband has particularly loved Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. He seems to listen to it in loop!

TomTom

My husband LOVES maps, google itineraries, print-outs, written directions, etc, however, after getting lost one too many times, I forced my husband to capitulate and we invested in a Tomtom. Yes, it would appear that this is the year that we finally catch up with the rest of the world!! GPS is hardly anything new and most people have been using it for years… It has certainly been life-changing for us. For a little under €100, we can finally get from A to B without me shuffling papers backwards and forwards, craning my neck to see the names of streets as we whizz past and there has also been less conversations peppered with choice words in the car!! Even my husband is a convert. Hurray for TomTom and marital bliss!!

Online learning – Coursera

This is another (mostly) free online learning platform which opens up learning to the world. I signed up for the course ‘Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subject’. Another great free resource on the interweb.

Spotify

Spotify, I hear you say, who hasn’t heard of Spotify?? Again, it took me a few years to jump on the bandwagon. The whole family loves it and my 8 year old son takes it to a whole new level. He loves music and spends lots of time monopolizing Spotify and creating many many of his own playlists. We tried out the premium version when there was a special offer, however, we’re back to the regular version and we’re more than happy with that.

Memrise

I previously mentioned Ed Cooke in my podcast section – remember? The former memory champion? He was interviewed by Tim Ferriss and I thoroughly recommend you check out that particular podcast. He is a very entertaining man to listen to. Well Mr Cooke decided to bring memory workouts to the masses and created an app called Memrise. It’s a really fun app that helps you learn more or less any subject you are interested in through the use of mnemonics. It keeps a log of your results, prompts you to keep learning, refreshing and practicing.

Is there anything that has made a big impact on your life this year?

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