My Essential Kit

Other people's belongings fascinate me, I love to see inside of people's homes, bags, and fridges so I really appreciate when a blog I love shares their essential kit. It satisfies my voyeurism for a start but it's also really useful to see what other journalists or professional bloggers rely on. You've shown me yours; now I'll show you mine.

1. iPad Air. For a long time I just didn't get the iPad. I didn't understand the benefits of having something that my laptop could do better. But there are things that are so much better on the iPad, for instance, using Evernote and managing email. If you're on the road a lot, or work in journalism or a similar field then they're actually amazing pieces of kit. I still haven't realised the full potential of mine but it's made me more organised than I've ever been and I was surprised that I enjoyed writing on it too, to a degree. I have a fairly basic smartphone (a below £100 Nokia) but it has the option to allow internet tethering and being with Giff Gaff it means even if I can't get on wifi I can still use my iPad anywhere without it costing me anything. The cover I use is Foxnovo, for vanity purposes because it was the only one in my favourite design colour - orange. 

2. Headphones. I accidentally bought two pairs of these Sony MDRZX600 headphones so I have one in my office and the other set at home or in my bag. They're really useful for researching given that I often get my work done in cafes or the library and some research can lead me to old news reels or recorded interviews. These are also really great quality for music too, probably my favourite headphones I've had after many years of thinking I'd never leave Sennheiser behind. They're not the smallest set to take around with you, earbuds are probably more convenient for most people on the road, but lucky for me I have an enormous handbag. 

3. Manchester. Books on Manchester and cities are essential for what I do although not always carried around with me. Amongst my favourites and most useful are Manchester Pevsner (Clare Hartwell), Public Sculpture of Greater Manchester (Terry Wyke), and Manchester: An Architectural History (John J. Parkinson Bailey).

4. Nikon F-501. As you can see I'm a film photographer and I love it although I'm not quite confident enough to use it in low light. I'm really happy with the images that I can get on this camera but I wish I'd been better at keeping records of what film I'd used on each shoot. You can pick up this camera pretty cheaply but lenses are limited: many Nikkor lenses not working on it or simply that they're not being produced anymore. I have several film cameras but this is my favourite and all the photos on the site that I have taken have been with this. I'm looking to also get a digital equivalent just for convenience when I'm travelling for long periods of time, so I welcome suggestions from any other film fanatics for a decent high end compact that replicates the bokeh and vibrancy of analogue.

5. Dictaphone. This Olympus dictaphone is really useful. I know that I can probably use my phone or iPad for the same function but this is much more discrete has some great functions that help pick up sound in varying situations. The only issue is that I became reliant on its huge memory and never deleted anything until it was too late and it stopped recording part way through a talk by one of my icons - the artist William Mitchell. Doh.

6. Notebook. When it comes to taking notes I don't think I'll ever stray from a nice notebook. For a start I love buying them, to the point of obsession perhaps, but writing things down by hand just seems to help me absorb information. And not to mention there's no need to contend with autocorrect. This Rhodia notebook is my current stationery du jour, it's dotted paper (I can't stand lined) and whaddya know - it's orange. 

7.  USB drive. I have a confession. I've never really got into using USB drives. I'm pretty sure I had one as a nice keyring accessory without using it for a long time but I've started to use it for emergency back ups of travel documents. I also use Evernote for this but it's good ot have an offline option. My main use for USB drives is for photos. I work on a Macbook Air and it has no CD drive. I didn't realise that would be a problem at first but as I shoot film my images are all put on to a disc for me at the lab, and I was resorting to giving the disc to my boyfriend and getting him to transfer them over to me. Now I just drop off the USB drive along with my film and I'm ready to publish. 

I mentioned Evernote a few times and even though it's not a physical part of my kit it's just as important. It's actually another one of those things that I had for a long time and didn't really utilise but having read multiple articles by journalists saying they couldn't live without it, I gave it another try. It quickly syncs across devices and can be shared with other people. 

I have a second kit of essentials, my safety gear for when I go exploring new locations and find myself crawling through flooded caves, but perhaps that's best saved for another day.