Life at the moment #2




Listening to...

Audio books. Whilst I usually spend my car journeys listening to the likes of Ella Eyer and Tove Lo, recently I've been making the most of my Audible subscription. I've been particularly gravitating towards anything and everything written (and preferably read by) Caitlin Moran. Not that that's exactly a revelation for anyone who knows me and my feminist agenda even slightly.

Reading...

Not that much in terms of tangible books, unfortunately. Since until recently I've been fully submerged in exams, I just haven't had the luxury of time to sit and get into a good book. I feel like I've been reading "The 100 year old man who climbed out of the window and disappeared" by Jonas Jonasson for about a year! I'm half way through it now and am absolutely head over heels for its written style. I'm looking forward to dedicating a whole day to reading some time soon, just like the good ol' days.

Loving...

Coconut oil. I've fully fallen for the hype and am practically using it on the entirety of my body. I won't go into any details here but you are guaranteed to see a more in-depth post in the near future because, frankly, I'm obsessed.

Drinking...

Yogi tea all day every day. I heard about these bad boy tea bags through health tube and couldn't resit picking up two packs in my local health store - Women's Balance and Choco chilli. You read that right - Choco Chilli. Chocolate and chilli in a tea! What will they think of next. Both of the flavours I picked up are absolutely glorious and I cannot stop boiling the kettle. Plus, on each tea bag tag is an inspirational quote which, as you can imagine, pulls in suckers like me.

Lucky because...

In a few days time I'll be heading off to Gran Canaria with my boyfriend for a week in the sun. A chance to explore somewhere new with one of my favourite people.

Holiday beauty haul

I fully commit to my holiday aesthetic. You know the one - Salty "untamed" hair, golden skin, general radiance. Obviously though, I'm too busy when I'm actually abroad to put any time into perfectly applying fake tans and salt sprays prior to running out of my apartment and right onto the beach. So I put all of my effort into achieving the aforementioned aesthetic whilst still in my bedroom in the UK. I invest in my skin and my hair for the sake of glorious holiday photos.

Over the past few weeks I have collected quite the stash of pre-holiday beauty treatments. I took a leap of faith and bought things I've never used before but hope will help me to feel like I'm made of silk.



LUSH Hair Doctor

Apparently this bad boy has been off the shelves for the past year and has just made a come back, although I can't boast that I was a first wave Hair Doctor user. The mix of seaweed and mud are supposed to work wonders on hair that's not in a good way, which should leave me hair flipping in the sun ready by next week. I've used half a pot already (long hair problems) and it made my whole head tingle - a surprisingly desirable feeling. It also diminished the itchy scalp issues I've been having recently and gave my hair a rather lovely boost.

LUSH Ultraband Facial Cleanser 

This stuff. This stuff is sent from the heavens above to bless our faces. I solemnly vow to never use any other, less natural cleanser, again. It is wondrous. Honestly, exam stress and eating badly has lead to a pretty awful skin situation over the past few months. Yet after a few days of using Ultraband I am  clear skinned and pretty much glowing. Very well done, LUSH. 

Coconut Oil 

You would have to have been hidden under a rock to not have heard just about every online beauty guru raving the benefits of coconut oil. And I've bought into the hype. I'm yet to see whether this has any effect on my hair/skin/nails but it certainly smells good.

Fake tan 

This doesn't smell like digestives! That's the most important thing about any fake tanning product. Since I'm pretty much a fake tan virgin I could not face jumping head first, so I stuck with a gradual tanner which does seem to have had a positive effect on my usually pasty complexion. I'm also loving the fact that it's forced me to have a more structured nighttime schedule, since I need to factor in dry time. 

Self love on the daily

Sometimes I hate society. Not just because I'm a teenager with lots of pent up angst, but because I actually worry (occasionally despair even) over what its doing to people and their mental states. Collectively as humans we tend to be a self-deprecating bunch. We don't like to say nice things about ourselves lest we sound "vain" or "self obsessed". Society has taught us to not whole heartedly and unashamedly love ourselves. We do not give our bodies, and certainly not our minds, the kind of care that I think's required for us to thrive. It's something we need to teach ourselves and to practice constantly.



Self love is the act of working on yourself every damn day. And here are some ways to do just that: 

Yoga 

Listen, I'm no yoga expert. I can't do crow pose. In fact, I haven't even perfected downward facing dog. But there is nothing better than waking up in the morning and connecting with your body. Even having only been regularly practicing for a few weeks, I already feel stronger. I take 30 minutes every day, alone, to focus on something that has no other purpose than improving myself.

Eat well 

Nourish ya self! You have your body for life, did you know that? Which is exactly why I try not to fill it with crap everyday. Granted, today I had McDonald's breakfast. But yesterday I had granola with almond milk and a butt tonne of fresh strawberries. I'm getting there.

Be rid of toxic relationships 

The people around you should elevate you. They should inspire you to better yourself and acknowledge your awesomeness. If the people that you surround yourself with don't do that, be rid of them.

Make yourself uncomfortable (sometimes)

Push your limits as often as you can, because stagnancy will slowly kill your creativity. I'm not saying jump out of an aeroplane, just do something that is at least a few steps outside of your comfort zone on the daily.

Let yourself be passionate 

Humans are not meant to be calm all of the time. We are energy wrapped in skin! Everybody needs to stop trying to be tepid and embrace the way their stomach lifts when the opportunity arises to talk about something they love. What the hell are we so scared of? Let your eyes sparkle, talk fast because you can't wait to get it all out, wear your soul on the outside. 

International Yoga Day

Today is the first ever International Yoga Day. And whilst a few months ago this would have been an utterly irrelevant fact to me, my recent obsession and regular practice of yoga means that I actually embraced it in a big way. 

As well as actually getting on my mat, I sat for a solid length of time just looking through blogs covered in crow poses and downward dog for inspiration. Which is what got me creating my latest yoga board. Naturally, I decided to share. 



(No pictures are my own) 


Travel wishlist #1: Spanish paradise

I've dedicated this summer holiday to exploring and living. I forced myself to smile through every shift of being a waitress and I have been on a complete spending ban for the last 4 months but it will all been worth it. Throughout June, July and August I am heading on three beyond exciting trips with some of my favourite people in the whole world. I can't contain myself! Gran Canaria, Amsterdam and V-Fest I'm coming for you.

I know, I know, I only just did a "yoga wishlist" but if holidays aren't an excuse for buying new things, then what are? Especially since I've tightened my purse strings so much in preparation for this exact moment. And I plan on savouring it. So here is post one of my three part travel wishlist series, starting with my Spanish beach holiday...













ASOS chunky cat eye sunglasses - £12 - ASOS // New Look super strapping bikini - Top £17.99, bottoms £9.99 - ASOS  // Missguided Tie-Due Plunge Playsuit - £30 - ASOS // ASOS coin wait belt - £15 - ASOS  // ASOS Faydell gladiator sandals - £35 - ASOS  // Fine arm cuffs - £5 - ASOS // Pom-pom bardot top - £22 - Topshop // MOTO bleach girlfriend shorts - £28 - Topshop // Boutique demi multi row coin necklace - £12 - Topshop // Missguided split front longline jersey - £18 - ASOS

Yoga wishlist

Those of you that follow me on Instagram will know that I have gone from completely ignorant about to completely obsessed with yoga in 0.2 seconds. As I said in my last post, it's all down to Yoga with Adriene on Youtube (and instagram and twitter) and her damn "supta baddha konasana". I reckon this is what drugs feel like but with more stretching and savasana.

And as is the case with drugs they tend to be all you can think about. I mean, I don't actually know if that's true, but it is what happens when you get hooked on deep breathing and triangle poses. They also make you want to spend all of your money (I'm way too deep in this drug analogy to get out now) much like my desire to spend my every last penny on yoga clothes and equipment. I've already bought a mat, some blocks and straps but I'm still yearning for all of these pretty, stretchy pieces of clothing...


Vassa Sports Bra - £22 - fabletics.co.uk // Corfu Capri - £54 - fabletics.co.uk  // Flow Yoga vest - £45 - Sweaty Betty  // Eco Yoga Mat - £40 - Sweaty Betty  // Chandrasana Yoga Leggings - £70 - Sweaty Betty  // Crisscross sports bra - £12 - Forever 21   // Elastic bra top - £35 - activestyle.co.uk  //  Rose Monochrome Strappy sports top - £6 - boohoo.com  // “Find what feels good” tank - $28 - shop.yogawithadriene.com 

"Find what feels good"

I want to feel strong. By "strong" I don't mean that I want to be able to lift insane weights, I mean that I want to feel like I have strength within my own body. I want to be able to wake up in the morning feeling physically ready to face the day and I want to go to bed feeling accomplished. Recently life's been the opposite - exhausted when I wake up and exhausted when I go to sleep.

So, I'm doing something about it: Yoga. I took seeing a "Yoga with Adriene" video in my Youtube suggestions as a modern-day sign. An internet omen, if you will.

Considering I found my inspiration on the internet, it only seems right to also document my coming experiences on this little corner of the world wide web too. I'm carving my Yoga goals into 2015's take on stone (my blog) and plan on keeping anyone who cares to listen up to date when I complete them.


Short term yoga goals: 

Complete "30 days of yoga with Adriene" and learn to "find what feels good"
Perfect the downward dog pose
Increase my flexibility through practicing daily



Let's consider that photo a long term goal, shall we?

Well done, Nigeria

This is a time for all feminists and all good human beings to rejoice - Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) has officially been outlawed in Nigeria! And about time too. This is a huge step towards getting this disgusting practice eradicated internationally and its importance cannot be overlooked in the grand scheme of helping women on a world-wide scale.

For those of you that don't know, FGM is the process whereby the outer female genitalia is cut and altered for religious, social or cultural reasons. Normally it occurs either as an attempt to ensure pre-marital chastity in women as it is thought to lower libido or simply because it's a tradition within the community which people feel the need to conform to. It has no health benefits. None. Just possible risks such as the inability to urinate, infection, birthing complications and new born deaths when it's practiced on infants. There's no term to describe it aside from "barbaric".

That's why Nigeria, statistically one of the top three countries in terms of numbers effected by the practice, has taken such a huge step in banning it. This is history being made. It's a step in the right direction towards creating societies all over the world that do not see women's bodies as dangerous. Societies that believe both women and men alike have the right to gain pleasure from sex. Societies that would rather put the safety of their females before the desire to keep them virginal until marriage.  So, well done Nigeria, I hope you are the spark that starts a revolution.

My mind at the moment: Wanderlust


I'm craving change. I'm craving caf├ęs in tiny towns in the middle of countries I've never been to before and scribbling my mind into notepads while I drink their crappy coffee. I want to breath in new cultures. I'm inspired by my own ability to stretch myself and push my own boundaries. I'm endlessly optimistic for the future. I want to see the sun set and rise again as many times as I can. I want to fill my house with fresh flowers and discover new things about my mind. Amazing days are here and even better days are coming.

Should Caitlyn Jenner be wearing army boots?

Hey, it's your girl Beth, forced to abandon my blogging schedule and post up an early morning rant on account of the ignorance that has been blessing my twitter feed.

Over the past 24 hours I have had to take many a calming breath in attempts to not verbally attack other twitter users who have been given a platform to spread their utter insensitivity to anything that doesn't fall into the bracket of patriotism. I have managed to refrain myself. I simply clicked the unfollow button and continued down my feed of otherwise positive, lovely people. But this morning, when I was almost certain I wouldn't see such ignorance again, it happened.

"Bruce Jenner isn't brave. A US Soldier who kills terrorists is brave!!!"

And I actually let out an audible scream of sheer annoyance. Being about the 50th tweet of its kind I have seen since Caitlyn Jenner's Vanity Fair cover was revealed I can say that it well and truly dampened my faith in humanity. Aside from the painfully Republican, Fox News watching, pro-gun poster wielding undertones that smacked me in the face when I first read such tweets, I have two major issues with them.



Let's tackle the simplest first. Can you just call Caitlyn by her name please? Bruce isn't her name anymore and I fail to see why that's so hard for you to grasp. It's like me calling you Ronald even though your name is George. Obviously me calling you Ronald would probably be an innocent mistake though and yours is purposeful ignorance against transgender issues. Refusing to use someone's preferred name or preferred pronouns honestly just makes you a bit of a twat. But don't worry there's a cure. Just teach yourself that: "It is not up to me how I refer to someone else." Let that sink it. Repeat it a few times. Live by it from now on.

Secondly, and even more infuriatingly, let's look at attempts to compare Caitlyn to someone in the military in terms of bravery. This is exactly the kind of thing that gets blindly patriotic people riled up. How very dare you use the word "brave" in front of anything not related to the army! But I'll let you in on a secret - Bravery comes in more than one package. It isn't always wrapped in a uniform with gun in hand. Sometimes "courageous" can mean going against social norms being fully aware that you will face a backlash of abuse for just wanting to be yourself. I'm not saying that soldiers aren't brave, please understand that. I'm just repeating one of my mantras in a different context - "One person's struggle does not invalidate another's". I kind of think that as an evolved species on this planet we should be able to accept that there's not one set mould that all bravery falls into.

The education system and why it sucks

I love the English language, I love reading, writing and I love philosophy. But my God, Sixth Form has tried its very best to change that. I appreciate the effort, but I can’t help but feel the UK’s education system pretty much sucks. It seems to thrive on making people hate learning and teaching people to be great at procrastination in order to not improve their long devision. By the time year 13 comes around I'd say that the one thing the majority of students have learnt is how to detest subjects that previously enthused them and got them excited about knowledge. And that's not okay.




I could write a book on the matter, but for now here are my main problems with my experience of the education system.

Memorise!

Every subject I have done at AS and A2 level have simply required me to be able to remember things. Not to learn them or to understand them, but to remember the words. I know that I have to write the sentence "William Blake was a social commentator" in order to fulfil A04 of my English Lit exam, but did we actually go into any amount of detail regarding Blake's views on society? Not really. Instead, the specification means that I'm required to memories a whole anthology of poetry since we're not allowed the book in the exam. Never mind actually internalising Blake's messages on poverty, religion and the corruption of nature, just make sure you can recite "The Chimney Sweeper" back to front. I think WJEC are also happily choosing to ignore the fact that William will be turning in his grave having his poems taught in such a way, considering he wrote the line “But to go to school in a summer morn, - O it drives all joy away!”

Homework

Listen, I wake up at 6am to be ready for school and there on time lest I get a late mark and a lecture. Then I'm told I have to do an hour a night's work on each subject I study. So I have to work until about 8pm every night just to get my homework done. Pardon? I understand it's not exactly slave labour, but I can't help but feel that since I'm doing homework to simply get through it, I would be better spending my time doing other things. Like exploring topics I take a real interest in and that excite me. The kind of thing that can make a person love learning. Crazy idea, I know.  

Favouritism

Not everybody wants to go to Oxbridge or become a doctor! Some of us like literature or art or languages and aren't predicted 4 A*. And that's okay. I still deserve a suitable amount of help on my UCAS application. I also deserve to be supported in my choice to pursue these subjects and not be bombarded with questions like "are you sure you don't want to take at least one subject that's a little more challenging? Perhaps, chemistry?" Well, if you want your school's science grade average to plummet, then I'd be more than willing to give it a go.

Irrelevance 

Let's just all agree that we haven't actually used any of our knowledge from GCSE maths since we dropped it. Trigonometry has not cropped up so far in my everyday life. Which leads me to ask the question - why was I being taught trig and not taxes? How come I had lesson after lesson on the Battle of Hastings but had to self-teach myself politics in order to vote in the general election? I know I'm young and I know I'm naive, but I think the lessons that actually help you in life are perhaps a bit more important than they're given credit for. 

Time out

Breaks from normal life are important. They give you a chance to take a step back and a breath so that you're better equipped for facing reality. I feel like I've been revising for my A2 exams constantly for the past 6 months. I feel like my whole life has been planning, writing, diagramming, stressing and cramming as much as is physically possible into my brain. Aside from tea breaks, it's been pretty full on. So as you can imagine, my 4 day break to The Lake District was a more than welcome chance to not touch a single piece of work. 

And I feel much better for it. I've sat in saunas and climbed enough hills (basically mountains) to feel as though I'm ready to dive head-first back into life. Spending time with my boyfriend and my family has probably made for some of the best experiences of 2015. If you haven't visited The Lake District, you should. It's simply stunning.