I can hardly believe it’s already been a whole month since I shared my January favourites with you, but here we are at the end of February with more things to love! This month I’ve bought, listened to, been given, and tried out a few new things that I thought could be handy to share with you and maybe help you out, so here goes!
One of my most recent purchases is actually one of my absolute favourites. If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know that last week I bought a new monitor for my office at home, which means that I now have a dual-monitor setup. I have a similar setup at work with an Apple Thunderbolt Display and I love it - it helps me to be so much more productive when I can have my working space on one screen and relevant information or content on another. I had been wanting to improve my setup at home for a while but wasn’t sure whether I wanted a bigger laptop, an iMac, or another monitor to do that so I talked to my partner who knows way more about computers and is a lot more practical about it than I am, and he suggested the Dell Ultrasharp 27 Monitor. He has an older version of this screen and loves it so we looked at the specs and I was convinced, especially since it’s practically exactly the same as a Thunderbolt Display but for less than half the price! I bought it, plugged it straight into my Macbook Pro and I was off! I may have used it a few times to watch TV programmes, but I’ve also used it to be really productive too, I promise! The display is Quad HD, has a super thin bezel, and the colours are incredible. I have fallen in love with this screen, and with the setup I’ve got now, so I would 100% recommend this for you too if you’re looking to step into the world of dual-monitor setups with me!!
Now, you might not follow me on Instagram, but maybe you follow me on Twitter and have seen my weekly exclamations about how amazing Designlife is! If I could only recommend you one ‘favourite’ all year, it would be this podcast. Charli & Femke are not only incredible podcast hosts, but they are amazing people and inspirational designers too. I have the privilege of knowing both of these magical women and being around them & hearing about all of their projects is super motivational. Listening to Designlife is like the next best thing to being in the same room as them so if you want to be motivated, inspired and challenged then you should definitely give it a listen. Charli & Fem are both still learning and they’re travelling on their individual design journeys just like you and I, so listening to their podcast is just like talking to friends and working it all out together. In their 14 episodes so far, they have already tackled issues around clients, getting up early, side projects, being motivated, work/life balance and even more! I can’t get enough of Designlife, I can’t wait until it comes out every week so I can hear what Charli & Femke have been up to and what their thoughts are on a new topic each week. Give it a listen and I bet you’ll feel the same! You should let them know what you think on their Twitter and tag me too so I can see what you think!
So for the last couple of weeks I’ve been borrowing an Apple Watch to test it out, see how it works and see if it’s worth the pretty hefty price tag. I’m not going to lie, I’m still not yet convinced; however, I do think it’s pretty cool! I’m probably pretty biased about this because I basically fall in love with most Apple products so that may sway my judgement; however, I have noticed a few pretty handy features so far! Other than the fact that I don’t have to carry my phone around with me everywhere I go, which is pretty neat, the calendar, maps, health, notifications & music features have been my favourite so far! I can look down at my watch and not only tell the time, but also see the date which I always forget, and what is coming up next on my calendar. As you’ll know if you’ve read my post about time management, I’m pretty obsessed with my calendar and I basically plan everything on there so to have it so handy is awesome! This works well with the maps app, telling me when it’s time to leave to make it to the next thing, and then helping me get there! The health tracker calculates the exercise I’m doing getting from place to place and I’m updated with my latest notifications on the way. I can also use the music app to change what I’m listening to on my phone through my headphones while I walk there too! This is all without even touching my phone or my computer! It might not do anything super revolutionary that I’ve discovered yet, but it does make things slightly easier and that little bit faster - so for that, I’m in.. plus it just looks cool!
Zebra Sarasa pen
My next favourite was actually given to me in the coolest way possible and I felt like such a fan-girl, but I also don’t really care! At Webstock, Michael Lopp spoke about writing, and also discussed his venture to find the perfect pen. He explained the process that he went through to discover his favourite pen and his search to purchase them, and then offered one to people who came up to him afterwards and told him what they were going to write about. I went to get one of the pens but they were already all gone, so when I plucked up the courage to talk to Debbie Millman, another one of my Webstock heroes, I was telling her and she gave me the one that Michael had given to her! See why I felt like such a fan-girl now?! I did end up talking to Michael and telling him what I was writing about regardless, so that was cool, and I got a pen in the end! Which leads me to the pen itself! He wasn’t lying when he said he had found the perfect pen, because the Zebra Sarasa Clip 0.5 ink pen is pretty magical. It feels so nice on the paper and my writing looks so good! I’ve been trying not to use it too much because I don’t want it to run out but it’s just too nice! I can’t go back to using other pens anymore! I think I’m going to have to bulk order some from somewhere!
Last but not least is actually something I’ve been using for a long time but I can’t not mention because you need to be using it! Google Docs and Google Sheets are so good for writing blog posts or essays, taking notes, planning things and so much more! The best thing about them both is actually the collaboration tools that are available on both - several people can work on the same document at the same time, you can leave comments and suggestions, and it’s all saved in the cloud! This means that if you’re working on a group project you can all work on it together without crowding around one laptop, or if one person can’t make it to a meetup, they can still be a part of the process! You can also see who is making what changes and all work together! I introduced one of my groups to it last year and I’m pretty sure it changed their world so it must be good!
So those are just a few of my favourite things from February! I hope you enjoyed hearing about them; let me know if you end up trying any, and if you’ve had some favourite things this month! Also if there’s anything in particular you’d like to hear about - favourite books, music, podcasts etc - let me know that too!
Much love, Hollie! :D