16 things I learnt in 2016

I'm writing this post with a pair of obnoxiously fluffy slippers on. My love is in the kitchen cooking what smells like it will be the best soup I've ever tasted. I can hear him singing along to Greek music. I hope that this evening is setting the tone for 2017 because, frankly, I would be utterly content if my next 365 days were just like this.

Looking back over 2016 I feel so bloody lucky. It has been a full year. At times it has been full of sadness and I have gaped at how cruel our world can be but, most of the time, it has been full of happiness and beautiful moments that I feel so thankful to have experienced. I am so intensely grateful to have been given this life. The universe blessed me with a loving (and bloody hilarious) family, friends that show me endless support and never stop helping me to grow, and every single one of you. You make me smile on a daily basis just by being here. Thank you.

2017 is going to be a good one, I can feel it. But before we start that love affair, I thought it was only right to thank 2016 for all of the lesson it's taught me.

Favourite things: December

We all knew that December was going to be a winner in the life of Beth. Gigantic cheese platters, twinkly lights and time with the people that I love all combined to make it the most perfect end to the year. It was a month full of moments. Happy little memories that will be constant reminders of just how lucky I am. 

Not only did I get Christmas day in all of its early morning, bucks fizzy glory, but I've had plenty of time to just breath. Would you believe that I haven't read a uni book in over three weeks? It's been bloody wonderful to focus my energy on being with the people that mean the most to me in the world. I ate churros with my boyfriend. My dad read our favourite festive book aloud to us. I played Lego with my sister. All beautiful moments.

But enough about the lovely sentimental stuff because, let's be honest, I enjoyed my fair share of materialistic bits and bobs this month too.

Women can't enjoy anything, not even Christmas

Being on social media over the past week has been exhausting. As I've found to be the case with most big holidays (see: Halloween), they bring out the misogyny in people. And as I've found to often be the case with Twitter, it gives such people a voice.

Since it's the season of goodwill and all that, you would think that Christmas would be a time for us feminists to turn down our anger dials, enjoy some stuffing balls and play Mario Kart. But, apparently not. If anything, it just seems to dredge up jealousy and rage from deep within people. Perhaps that jealousy and rage is always there, but Christmas just gives people an excuse to let it all loose in the direction of Michael Kors bags and Pandora rings.

Either way, the conclusion that I've come to is that women aren't allowed to enjoy things. I know that sounds seriously dramatic (typical female, am I right?) but the festive period really has proven this to me. As soon as women begin to enjoy anything - and I really mean anything - that thing, and the women, become the focus of ridicule. Memes circulate, men become consistently more angry about things as ridiculous as dog filters, and society makes a collective sigh that sounds something like "ugh, now none of us can enjoy that thing because women have had the audacity to take pleasure in it".

11 things to be happy about this Boxing Day

If you're a christmas lover (some would say 'festivities addict') like myself, then you probably woke up a little bit sad this morning knowing that the best day of the year was well and truly gone. I hope I'm not the only one that mourned for the loss of those Yorkshire Puddings. Granted, Boxing Day is still better than 99% of the rest of the year, but it's not quite Christmas, is it? As such, it can be very easy to dwell on the fact that there are a whole 365 days until the 25th of December comes around again. 

But with After Eights on tap and family around you, it's best to forget about what's lost and be grateful for Boxing Day. Frankly, it's bloody glorious. It just has to live in its older Brother's shadow, that's all.

It's Christmas!

Yep, you guessed right. This is a sly lil' scheduled post. Right now, I hope that I'm having my 11am nap after waking up insanely early and drinking Bucks Fizz to kick Christmas off. I hope that I'm snuggled up in my christmas jumper with the tree by my side. I hope that I can hear my sister shouting in the background about how much she loves all of her new toys.

But, of course, I couldn't miss the opportunity to wish you all the most wonderful Christmas. You are absolute angels. Every single one of you. You deserve a whole heap of festive cheer and happiness this christmas period and I truly hope you get it.

Today is the most magically day of the year, so forget about the real world. Laugh with your loved ones. Eat until your eyes bulge. Watch christmas TV that is simultaneously crappy and glorious. Embrace these blissful moments, because they are the ones that matter most.

2016 in Blog Posts

2016 has been the year of blogging for me. I've created content that I'm super proud of. I'm actually able to call blogging my part-time job now. And, most importantly, I feel like I've connected with you beautiful lot more than ever before.

Although I've always loved this little corner of the internet, it's been in the last twelve months that I've really grown into it. I've lost my online inhibitions and now talk about anything and everything I want to, from vaginas and periods to self-care and mistakes I've made. I'm as honest with my readers as I am with my loved ones, because I really do think of you all as friends. Blogging isn't just a hobby anymore, it's my passion. 

I am beyond excited to kick off 2017 and I promise you that Curly and Wordy is only going to get bigger and better. But before I get carried away telling you all of the plans I've got, I thought it would be nice to have a look back at some of my favourite blog posts from 2016.

8 ways to get into the Christmas spirit

With only four days to go until the big day, I have mixed emotions. On the one hand, I think I could literally burst from excitement in a splattering of mince pie leftovers and glitter. On the other, I just want time to slow down a bit because I know it will all be over way too soon. Either way, it's safe to say that I'm firmly in the Christmas spirit. To be fair though, I kind of have been since early November.

But I know that not everyone finds it so easy to slip into the tinsel lifestyle. Whether Christmas is a bit of a difficult time for you or you're not a festivities addict like me, I hope that you can find joy in some of these little moments.

How to give good advice

Okay, so the title of this blog post might be a bit much. It should probably be more like "how to give advice that might help someone, but also might not because everyone is different and it's not your responsibility to make sure that everyone in your life is happy at all times." But that's not very snappy. Nor is it going to help boost my SEO in any way, shape or form. So, 'good advice'. Let's stick with that.

My favourite things about Christmas

It’s no secret that I love Christmas. And not just in the “aw Christmas is my favourite time of year” way that literally everyone loves Christmas. I mean in the “I love Christmas so much that I would be willing to sacrifice Lush’s entire Halloween range if we could make the celebrations start in October” kind of way.  As soon as I get that first whiff of cinnamon or hear that first bell jingle, I turn into an even happier, even more glittery version of myself.

Christmas me is definitely my favourite version of me!

Now that I’m home from university (I am legit sitting right next to our Christmas tree as I type), I feel like the time has finally arrived to fully submerge myself in the festivities. So, it seemed only right to accompany that with a blog post about everything I love about this time of year.

The first ever Blogs and Books chat!

This is your 24 hour warning, ladies and gentlemen! Tomorrow is the official launch date of the Blogs and Books Twitter chat.

I for one have been happy dancing my way around the house all day getting those last minute preparations sorted and I hope that you are all just as excited as I am. I cannot wait to snuggle down with a hot chocolate (or maybe even a mulled wine, if I'm feeling spicy) and chat books with all of you wonderful people. So, be ready over on the @BlogsandBooks twitter page at 7pm GMT.

Dear Father Christmas,

It's been a while since I've sent you a letter, hasn't it? Probably about 11 years or so, actually. I'm sure it hasn't bothered you or anything since you must get a lot of these bad boys in December. But still, I thought I should probably say 'hello'. It seems kind of rude to expect you to keep delivering me presents without at least asking how you are, even though I do leave you a JD and Coke every Christmas Eve. What use is milk at keeping you warm?

So, how are you, Santa? Has it been a busy one? What's the toy of 2016? I bet you're just glad to be rid of all of those Elsa dolls from a couple of years ago.

Blogs and Books Club: Theme reveal!

As much as I absolutely adore Christmas, I've had another count down that's been getting me insanely excited this December. It's a pretty big day that I've been planning for months: the first ever Blogs and Books Club chat!

You can read more about this little online club of mine in the introduction post that I wrote, but let me give you a quick summary. Each month I decide on a theme and book ready to be devoured by you lot in preparation for our Twitter chat. I created the club for blogger babes that love to read, so I would also be super happy to check out any blog posts you write on that month's subjects! December's theme is, naturally, 'Festive Reading'. So, be ready on the 15th with a glass of mulled wine to talk about this month's book 'Let It Snow'. You can buy it on Amazon or I'm pretty sure you'll be able to find full online versions for free too. And even if you don't get the time to read it (trust me, I know, deadlines are a bitch), then you should definitely join in the chat anyway because they'll be lots of questions about reading at Christmas more generally.

Enough with this passion fueled rambling. Today I actually thought I would reveal to you the reading themes for the first three months of 2017! Drum role, please...

A gift guide for your feminist friends

If there's two things that I love in the world it's Christmas and feminism. I guess you could say that I'm team "more glitter, less patriarchy". So, the idea of bringing together my festive spirit and feminist angst in the form of one girl-celebrating gift guide made my heart sing. I'm all for supporting the online girl gang and this was my chance to showcase some absolutely badass independent shops, to people who I know will appreciate it - you lot.

Yes, you might still have to buy Auntie Mavis a candle. Yes, your brother is still getting a Lynx deodorant set. But my-oh-my are those feminist friends of yours in for a treat! We've got glitter, puns and ovaries galore here, girls. What's not to love?

Girlboss Guilt

In a world full of Instagram to-do list pictures, "rise and grind" tweets and Snapchats of people in the university library until 3am, not being perpetually productive can seem like a sin.

We've all been there: Laying in bed watching repeats of "How I Met Your Mother" and then suddenly contemplating all of the things that we could be doing in the space of a twenty minute episode. Your focus should be directly on whether Ted and Robin will or will not snog, but you get that lump in your stomach reminding you that twenty long minutes is enough time to brainstorm blog ideas or write an essay paragraph or schedule tweets. You know that you need to relax. But you also know that successful people work hard. And you want to be a successful person.

That my friends, is what I like to call "Girlboss Guilt".

10 things to be happy about in December

Tonight is the night that I well and truly get my elf on.

I've got Poundland fairy lights, sticky snowflakes and paper chains at the ready. My advent calender has been put in position. I even splashed out on some mince pies and have my Christmas playlist raring to go. By midnight, our flat is going to look like a cheap Santa's grotto with beans stuck to the work surfaces! And I'm pretty excited about it.

Since Christmas is right around the corner, you might not need that many more reasons to smile. But a series is a series. So, just in case you do need a little push in the festive direction, here are 10 things to be happy about in December!

Favourite Things: November

It’s getting pretty bloody magical out there, folks.

Right now, I’m sitting by my window with a cup of Maltesers white hot chocolate (no marshmallows, but I’ll survive) whilst a giant Christmas tree is being put up in the courtyard. To say I’m so excited I could dance for about an hour straight to Mariah Carey would be an understatement. Add in the fact that I know this is the last favourites post I’ll write before Christmas comes in all its twinkly glory and I’m fit to burst.

But, before I get ahead of myself, I should probably tell you about a few of the things that made me smile in November. It may be cold outside, but at least I have soap that smells good enough to eat and a bag with vaginas on it.

10 things I'm thankful for

Here in the UK we don't celebrate Thanksgiving. In fact, today has been pretty much like any other Thursday in the history of my life. Nothing special to report apart from the fact that I totally put Reese's Pieces in my porridge this morning to curb my PMS symptoms. But apart from that it's been entirely ordinary. Seeing all of these Instagram worthy table settings, giant plates full of carbohydrates and videos from the parades have made me seriously envious. I want to be eating until my eyes bulge and getting into arguments with family members over dinner about whether or not Trump should have won.

But apart form the drool-worthy food, I also think England should jump on board the thankfulness train. Everyone needs a little push to remember just how lucky they are, right? So, I've taken today as an excuse to do just that and broadcast it to the world (you lot) while I'm at it. Join me at my online table, make yourself a big ol' plate of food and don't forget to tell me what you're grateful for bellow!

What self-care really looks like

I feel very lucky to have landed in the little corner of the internet that I did. Every time I go on twitter I either see positive vibes flying at me from every corner of the globe, or people understandably angry about social issues that people should be angry about. It's the perfect mix. And thanks to being (virtually) surrounded by a butt load of badass feminists, I also went through most of my teenage years with the idea of self-love constantly bubbling away at the back of my brain. I slowly learnt how to take active rests in life. I learnt to love having small boobs, regardless of what the media tell me daily. I learnt about the power of a Lush bath.

And up until now, that's served me well. 

Recently though, I've realised that self-care isn't always buying yourself flowers and lighting candles. Sometimes it takes sacrifice. The idea that self-care can be a little bit painful is a weird one at first. But I'm talking long term self-care. I mean doing things that might be difficult right now because you know that, in the long run, it will make you happier or healthier. 

Blogarama stole my blog posts

My blog is my baby. Pretty much any time spent not doing uni work, eating or sleeping is dedicated to this little corner of the internet. Over the past year or so I've fully thrown myself into blog betterment. I've done courses. I've spent hours playing with my camera. I've even learnt a little bit about SEO. And yes, it is a boring as it sounds. So, I'm pretty protective when it comes to my content - a feeling I'm sure all of my fellow bloggers and artists will understand.

16 signs that you're a little bit of a hippie

As I write this post, I'm sat in leggings with a green tea by my side, psyching myself up for a yoga class I have in an hour. Like, an actually yoga class with actual people, not just a Youtube video in my bedroom. Never in my life have I lived up more to my hippie persona. I can't help it, guys. I just really like the taste of hoummous! And sometimes you need a good Gandhi quote to get you pumped for a 9am lecture. It's not like I use the word "namaste" on a daily basis or anything, but it pays to be a little bit 60s in 2016.

I know that I'm not alone. It starts with drinking almond milk and then suddenly you're in a downward dog sweating profusely because your naturally deodorant is failing you. If you know what I'm talking about, you'll definitely recognise these 16 signs that you're a teeny tiny bit of a massive bloody hippie.

How women are taught to hate each other

“I’m only friends with guys. I just can’t handle the bitchiness.”

During my school life I think I must have heard those words on at least a weekly basis. In fact, I probably said them once upon a time in my pre-feminist-enlightenment era. I’m glad to say that these days I don’t consider it to be ‘cool’ to hate on other women just because they’re women. In fact, if a fellow female says crap like that now (especially if they’re over the age of twelve) I can’t help but cringe.

Generally speaking, men don’t do this. If another male stresses them out they don’t give up on the whole of their sex because it’s “just way too much drama”. They have bromances, after all. Whereas all female friendships are apparently toxic and unbelievably bitchy.

Girl Love #6

A few weeks ago I spoke to you all about how I was planning on taking an 'active rest'. I felt a little bit lost and a little bit overwhelmed and the only logical thing to do seemed to be to take some time out. But I also know how not-like-me and restless I become when I don't feed my creativity in some way. So, even though I stopped blogging I decided to dedicate myself to exploring. I read books I hadn't had a chance to touch up until that point. I watched videos on topics I hadn't considered before. I started to journal again.

Basically, I just gave my brain some time to be, without forcing it to write publicly about being. Sure, I wasn't pushing out content on the daily and my views went down a bit. That's okay. I want (even need) writing to be fun or cathartic, or it isn't really worth doing in my eyes. Plus, whilst I was away I came up with some bloody exciting ideas to get things rolling again, like the Blogs and Books Club.

I have some amazing online presences to thank for helping me to shift my perspective and get back into a creative head space during my time off, which I thought called for another edition of 'Girl Love'.

Twitter is an echo chamber

When I went to sleep on Tuesday night, I fully believed that I would be waking up to see the first female elected as president of the United States of America. I was kind of viewing the possibility of Trump gaining power from a distance, like a horror movie you see on the shelves of Tesco that you know damn well you're never going to put in your DVD player. I really didn't think that "President Trump" would ever be a thing. After all, nobody wanted him to win.

And then I woke up. And he had won. And the whole world seemed a lot sadder than when I went to sleep.

Introducing: The Blogs and Books Club

Get your streamers, dancing shoes and suitably celebratory beverage at the ready my beauties, because today I've got some super exciting news to share with you! Let's all just pretend that the title of this blog post doesn't totally give it away in order to preserve my big reveal moment, okay?

For those of you that don't know, I'm pretty in love with books. So in love with them, in fact, that I'm willing to pay £9k a year just to study them and sit in big groups of people discussing them. That's basically the same financial commitment as having a baby! I mean, granted, I don't have to support my degree for the next 18 years of its life and give it constant emotional support, but it's still a pretty big deal. Which is why it's quite surprising that I've kept my blogging life and my bookish life relatively separate until now. I think mainly, I wanted to stay within my niche. But recently I realised, in a moment of divine inspiration, that life doesn't have to be lived within niches. I know, I know, it was all very profound.

Vogue, my body is not a trend

I feel like Vogue really want me to be celebrating right now. They want me to chuck on a turtle neck, grab myself a G+T and spend the rest of my evening rejoicing that, thank God the fashion bible itself has validated my body type. Thank God, my B cup boobs have finally been declared fashionable.

What a time it is to be alive for us small chested ladies! Doesn't it feel great to have your boobs validated through the criticism of every other body shape that exists? Screw you, random man on the internet that told me I looked like a ten-year-old boy. Screw you, woman at Costa five years ago that I overheard saying "real women have curves". Screw you, Penélope Cruz and your beautifully plump breasts. You and your cleavage are out. I am officially fashion.

This. This is why we still need feminism.

If there's one thing that's bound to propel you head first back into the blogging world after a creativity rut, it's witnessing three real-world events that all infuriate your feminist soul in equal measure. Who needs to brainstorm innovative post ideas when you've got so much patriarchal bullshit staring you right in the face just waiting to be ranted about, right?

To say that I'm angry right now would be to suggest that I'm not painfully used to seeing crap like this on a regular basis. However, as any of my fellow pro-equality hunnies can confirm, October has been a pretty exhausting month for us. We've all had to wave our feminist flags pretty damn hard. And by "wave our flags" I mean aggressively tweet and scoff at the idiocy with our friends over glasses of Merlot, because we all have busy lives to live alongside promoting our agendas. To be honest though, what's been most exhausting about these three recent events is that, even when obvious sexism is shoved right in all of our faces, there are people that continue to insist we "don't need feminism anymore". We got the vote. We can wear jeans. What more could be want?

As far as I'm concerned, people that think like that are beyond redemption. And I know that I'm fully preaching to the choir with this post, but I need to get the shit show that was the past month out of my brain and into the world.

This illustration is absolutely wonderful but I can't find a source! 
Please let me know in the comments if you know who's art this is so that I can credit them.

On taking an active rest

I've got my Lana Del Rey playlist humming away in the background, a big ol' cuppa by my side and some fake candles from IKEA doing their very best to create ambience. I'm in a sharing mood.

How I organise my life

Heading back to uni after four months of doing pretty much nothing but blogging, reading and watching Netflix was a bit of a shock to the system. Not only am I having to slowly get back into the routine of waking up before 8am (I kind of forgot that the morning existed), but I've had to get my planning hat back on. Gone are the days of lounging around watching Friends until I decided to write and take pictures for that day's post. This girl actually has to get crap done, and balancing blogging, uni work and time to breath is no easy feat.

As I said in my favourite's post, I used the start of the new academic year as a chance to try some different planning methods. And thank God I did because with so many essays due within the space of two weeks, I don't think I would've remained sane without my new bullet journal and wall charts. I think I might have become even more of a planning addict than I was before, which frankly I didn't think was possible. So, it seemed only right to share with you how I keep my shit together without having several minor breakdowns a day.

Quotes to get you through Monday

I swear a matter of minutes ago I was waking up and plodding along to the kitchen to make myself some badass chocolate and raspberry waffles to get this lazy Sunday off to a good start. And now you're telling me that it's time to write tomorrow's to-do list and mentally prepare to make a presentation to my Children's Lit seminar group at 10am on a Monday? Frankly, I'm not ready for the whole 'reality' thing again just yet. Can we please reverse back to that glorious breakfast of mine? 

I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling like Monday is coming around way too fast. We've all got more Netflix to watch. More blankets to snuggle in. More waffles to eat, goddammit! Alas, the space-time continuum doesn't care. I guess the show must go on. 

Being the stereotypical blogger that I am, the main way that I find the motivation to get my toasty little tush outside of my duvet burrito at the start of a new week is quotes. I love a good quote. So, I thought I would share with you some of my current favourites in the hopes that it will make you feel that little bit more girl bossy. 

12 things to be happy about in October

I kind of feel like this post is slightly redundant. My various wanders through the internet have informed me that most of you are pretty damn buzzed about October. You can't wait to put on your faux leather booties, grab a travel mug of tea and go out into autumn. I mean, I'm not going to pretend that I fully understand why you would want that after the glorious summer we've had here in the UK. But hey ho, I'm glad you're happy.

Still, even though I would rather be at the beach, there are a tonne of things that October (and the world in general) bring into our lives that we should be extremely happy about. For one thing, I'm sat writing this blog post with a mug of hot chocolate by my side. Now there's something you can't fully appreciate when it's a scorcher outside.

Favourite things: September

When I think about the fact that I wrote my last favourites post sitting on a balcony in Greece in 35°  heat whilst inhaling pita bread, it completely blows my mind. And it kind of makes me want to cry because as I write this one, I'm watching the heavens open over London from the comfy familiarity of my university library. I guess it's finally time to accept that summer is over and that reality does in fact still exist. 

However, even though September had the potential to be utterly soul destroying, it turned out to be not too shabby. Granted, I wasn't going to the beach every day and the olive oil back in England is very sub par. But I'm liking the fact that I'm back into my routines again. We all know that I love a good routine! It's nice to be heading off to lectures with a travel mug of tea in my hand. It's nice to be cooking for myself again. It's nice to be back with my girls. 

Yep, I'm feeling very content.

How I learnt what 'self-care' really is

If you've been around these parts for a while, you've probably realised that I'm pretty preachy when it comes to self-love. Thanks to growing up in the corner of the internet full of videos about body acceptance and tweets that tear patriarchal bullshit to shreds, I've become relatively immune to self-hatred in all of its many forms. Don't get me wrong, it's been a process. And I still look at the back of my thighs from time to time and wonder why I'm not BeyoncĂ©. Mostly though, I like to think I'm pretty spicy.

Today though, I want to talk about self-care. I guess I've kind of used the two terms interchangeably in the past because they're so interwoven in the way that we speak about confidence. Loving yourself is a form of self-care. Self-care is a result of self-love. You get the idea.

Tips for using your menstrual cup

They say that when you find the one, you just know. Granted, "they" are usually talking about the significant other that you're going to marry and start a family with, but I for one think that the same can be said of sanitary products.

Five months ago I started using the Mooncup and fell absolutely head over heels in love, as you may remember. I loved the fact that every time I used it I was doing good for the planet (yay for not going through the equivalent of 4 plastic bags with every sanitary towel) and I loved that I was doing good for my body too (yay for not polluting my vagina with the chemical cocktail found in conventional tampons and pads)! And want to hear something crazy? I don't even dread my period anymore. I mean, the cramps aren't that great, but the actual blood part is a piece of cake.

Now that I've gone through a fair few cycles with this bad boy by my side, I feel a lot more qualified to give you some advice on how to make your period as much of a breeze as possible with the help of a menstrual cup. Whether you've been converted and are already a worshipper of this majestic silicone creation or you're completely new to these parts, here's what I've learned over the past few months.

My Autumn essentials

Recently, I've been trying to fall in love with Autumn. Partly because I don't want to feel mildly grumpy for a quarter of the year, and partly because am I even really a blogger if I don't take a picture of my pumpkin spice latte?

So far, I think I've learnt to not detest it. I even wrote a post about why autumn ain't so bad and I kind of enjoyed the fact that I got to layer up a leather jacket and a cardi yesterday. Granted, after about 30 seconds of walking I was sweating my highlight off but, hey, you win some you lose some. I also decided to stock up on some "autumn essentials" over the past few weeks in attempts to make me a little bit more buzzed about harvest disappearing into the distance along with my tan. And I can confirm that when you've got shimmery burnt orange eyeshadow on your lids, it definitely makes the process a little bit easier. Perhaps because I don't want to cry it off.

A mustard faux leather jacket 

I actually bought this jacket right back at the beginning of summer (after I had very quickly forgotten what a student loan was). Aside from wearing the beauty to pick my boyfriend up from late shifts, it's pretty much stayed in my wardrobe since I first took it home because, well, bikinis don't usually require a biker jacket as an accessory. But now is its time to shine. I'm going to pair this baby with jeans, skirts, leggings whilst I'm on the way to gym. Basically, don't expect to see me outside of it for the next five months.

A university room tour

The day that I moved into my university accommodation, I knew that Second Year was going to slay. I have floor to ceiling windows and white walls (aka the blogger dream), plus I'm living with some of the most kickass girls that I know. It's all looking pretty damn peachy. Especially compared to last year which consisted of a bright blue feature wall, a bed that had been slept in by at least 20 different people over the years and one very noisy flatmate. Granted, I am paying an arm and a leg for the comparative luxury - all of my fellow London based students will feel that in their souls - but it's worth it for the good vibes it's feeding me. Isn't it crazy how much your environment can change your perspective?

Being a homebody at university

Okay, confession time: I hated Fresher's Week. Maybe 'hate' is a strong word, but I definitely didn't enjoy it. We all know that I'm a total homebody/would rather sit in my room with a cup of tea and a handful of new blog posts than go to a club with people I don't know, so I guess we could say that it just wasn't really my scene. Add in the fact that I got pretty homesick pretty quickly and you can imagine that my first experience of university life was relatively sub-par.

But I actually bloody love it these days. I just willingly completed my enrollment for second year with no kicking and screaming, so there's hope for us all. In case you're not a stereotypical 'oi oi lads, who wants to come for pres?" kind of student, this one is for you. I imagined that I was writing this list for little Fresher Beth whilst she was sat in her room getting ready for a night out and simultaneously assessing her possible excuses.

If you and Fresher Beth are on a similar wavelength, here's a PSA: University gets better. It's not all about nights out and drinking until you vom. You're going to find your people. You're going to love it. And here's why.

10 productive things to do when you can't function

The past few days have been a mixed bag of emotions. On the one hand, I've been all "Hello London, it's good to be back and see your beautiful lil face" whilst I fill my new uni room with all of the rose gold. On the other, getting back into the swing of independent living after almost 4 months of home-cooked dinners and having my boyfriend 5 minutes away has been a tad tricky.

I feel like all of my abilities to be a functioning human kind of wandered off throughout the summer, leaving me wondering what the hell I'm going to have for dinner and what exactly it is that I'm supposed to do with the next 24 hours of my life. Even though I know I'll get back into it soon enough, it's all just a bit up in the air at the moment. I feel like I have a billion and one things to do and all of the time in the world to do it, yet I just can't tick any of it off!

But it's me we're talking about here, guys. I can't spend my day doing absolutely nada except watching my planner slowly rot. I had to sit myself down and write a list of simple tasks that I know I can get done to make myself feel a smidge better about my productivity levels.

15 reasons that Autumn ain't so bad

In many respects, I'm a stereotypical lifestyle blogger (I have an Instagram theme, I own cacti, I bought peonies throughout the whole of summer). But, if there's one thing that I can safely say I don't share with 90% of the bloggersphere, it's the love of autumn. I'm sorry, okay? I feel like I'll probably alienate most of my audience by admitting that I tried a pumpkin spice latte last year and it wasn't even all that. Personally, I would much rather be on a beach with an iced tea and a book, instead of trudging through rainy London with soggy leaves stuck to my boots.

But hey, me wishing it would stay summer forever isn't going to stop the universe doing its thang. So, in an attempt to console myself, I decided to make a list of the reasons that autumn isn't quite as bad as I sometimes convince myself it is.

How to not be a broke student

These tips are not going to turn you into a millionaire student who can buy those giant bottles of vodka at clubs and get a Deliveroo every night. Meal planning and freezing your milk isn't going to turn you into Richard Branson, alright? Think more along the lines of not having to eat pot noodles on a regular basis/not needing to beg your mother to send you money because your student loan mysteriously vanished during Fresher's week.

I wasn't malnourished by the end of First Year and I even had some savings that I didn't spend on ASOS, so I consider myself to be nicely qualified to give you some money saving tips now that you're in control of your rent and weekly shop. Hopefully, they'll stop you from crying mid-term because you don't know how in God's name you're going to pay your overdraft.

10 Not-so-sexy facts about me

Yesterday morning I woke up feeling like the antithesis of a Girl Boss. My hair was kind of (majorly) greasy, I had more chips than polish on my nails and finding the motivation to blog was pretty much a myth. By 9:30am I was already on the verge of curling up into a blanket burrito and eating copious amounts of those spicy Walker's Mixup crisp whilst wallowing in self-pity. I think we can all quietly agree that it was not my finest moment.

But would you have known any of this via my Instagram page or blog? Would you have envisioned me in all of my greasy glory? Hell to the no. As far as all of you social media butterflies were aware, I was probably off slaying the day with a Lush face mask, a cup of coffee and relatively decent eyebrows whilst repeating motivational quotes in my head. When in actual fact, scrolling through any social media pages made me want to scream "She's already making a post-run smoothie bowl and I can't even leave my duvet without going into mourning? Why am I such a troll?"

Hence, this post was born. Sometimes it's good to break the colour coordinated perfectness and show the not-so-sexy side of your life. I don't want to be the reason that someone wonders why they're such a troll.

Girl Love #5

A few days ago, I woke up to a very rainy Greece. Not just drizzle, either. I'm talking full on thunder, lightning and the weather basically laughing in my face like "Ha. You thought you were going to go to the beach!" I'm pretty sure the swift change in climate was the universe attempting to prepare me for my return to England, but it was hard to be grateful when all I wanted to do was go for a swim.

Long story short, we were housebound for the whole day. I'd already done a Netflix binge this week (seriously, can we talk about Stranger Things?!), so I wasn't really feeling that. But since I didn't want to be a grump on one of my final days there, I decided to use my free time to visit some of my current favourite corners of the internet that always leave me feeling sparkly and inspired. The whole escapade prompted me to pick up this little series again, where I share with you some of the ladies that I think are currently killing it.

7 things that Greece do better

As you read this, I'm on my way back to England, probably crying into my crappy plane food.

I can't believe it's been a whole month since I touched down here in Greece. Universe, if you're listening, I would really appreciate if you could do something crazy and turn back time, because I'm totally not ready to leave yet! I have so many more gyros to eat, so many more beaches to visit and so many more books to get through without the constant distractions of uni and city life! 

Our last week here in Greece was spent tying off loose ends. We went for second visits to all of the places that we adored the first time around and we took journeys to say goodbye to the people that have been so lovely to us throughout our trip.  So, I don't really have many new anecdotes or pretty photographs to share with you. But my blogger brain would not allow me to fail in finishing this series. Naturally, that means a list post is on the cards. 

Now, don't get me wrong here, England does some things pretty fantastically (tea, rain, economies), but Greece definitely has its perks too. And lots of them. 

7 people you will meet at uni

Going to university is like being thrown into the deep end of humanity. You ain't in your small town secondary school anymore, my friend. This is one of those few times in your life that you will be regularly astounded by the density of life around you. I mean, granted, a large percentage of that life won't shut up about their gap year or take pleasure in singing university pride songs outside of your window at 2am. But still, it's nice to see what the world has to offer.

You're going to meet a lot of people during Fresher's Week. Most of them will pass by you in a blur of vodka and "fun facts". Some will be the reason you cry when your first insanely long university summer comes around. You're going to learn a lot about people (e.g. that some are absolute twats who have no regard for kitchen hygiene), so to save you some of the overwhelm, here's a little heads-up about who you're going to meet.

Some tips from the worst Fresher ever

To get this blog post rolling, I need you to imagine the epitome of a 'Fresher'. Really go for it. They could have a bottle of vodka in their hand or be dressed as a smurf or be leaving dishes on the side for just long enough that they start to grow their own eco system. Personally, I like to imagine my Fresher as one of those girls that enthusiastically chants the university pride song after being at the aforementioned university for a total of six hours, but you do you.

Now that you have that image in mind, you need to know that I'm not that person. Man, I would love to be a girl that says things like "just talk to everyone you meet" and "Tesco sell instant noodles for, like, 8p!" but that is just not the case. I am possibly the worst Fresher in the whole history of Freshers. During my first week of university I never surpassed tipsy, let alone threw up, and for most of the time I would rather have been snuggled in bed crying into a cup of tea about how much I missed my dogs. So, am I the right person to be giving Fresher's advice? Maybe bloody not, but I'm doing it anyway.

My holiday skin-care regime

When you take a makeup-free Instagram story and think “damn girl, your skin is glowing”, you know it’s time to write a blog post. If that kind of self-lovin’ lexicon falls out of your mouth before you can even think about it, I figure you’re doing something right and should share it with the world. 

I know, I know, I know. I only wrote about my summer skincare regime in June. But I like spending insane amounts of money so that I can have new things whilst on holiday, okay? It’s a problem. There’s just something so glorious about jetting off to another country and having a new cleanser to match your “hello world, I’m a re-born woman” attitude. To be fair, none of these products broke the bank. They’re probably collectively a lot kinder on my student loan than when I have to stock up on my usual Lush buys. Plus, they’ve kept my routine super simple so that I don’t have to spend hours toning before I put on my bikini and get down to the beach. I consider that a win. 

Favourite things: August

This favourite's post was a deceptive little bugger to write. Considering all of my recent adventures and the millions of things that I've fallen in love with throughout august, I thought I'd have it scheduled and be on my way to the beach within the hour. Yet here I am, in the same position I was this morning, compiling something that can loosely be defined as a "list" which suggests I've had the crappiest month of my life.

The problem is that the last 30 days have been too bloody wonderful. My favourite for the whole of August is, well, the whole of August. Narrowing down every second of this month into a post of individual items and experiences has proven a very difficult task. I also had to give up on the idea of a cute flatlay that encapsulated my favourite things because it's pretty impossible to put a sunset onto a sheet of white card. So, here's a picture of our toes instead.

Week three in Greece: Lazy days

If I close my eyes for long enough, will the fact that I head back to England in a week disappear? Because, honestly, I'm not sure I'll be able to survive without a constant supply of feta, 30° heat and posting braggy leg selfies with captions about how hard my Monday was. I've got so used to the whole "I'll just wake up at 11 and see where the day takes me" attitude that going back to uni may very well be the death of me. Oh well, at least I shall have a tan once I'm laid to rest.

So, yeah, week three shall forever be known as the week that Beth finally got a tan and stopped looking like she resided in some kind of gothic castle. I was starting to think that the day would never come, but lo and behold, I'm actually pretty brown now. I mean, I'm not as brown as my annoyingly Mediterranean boyfriend, but I'm getting there. It's all mainly thanks to the fact the last seven days were spent doing three activities: cocktails, pool, beach. And pretty much nothing else.

15 things to be happy about in September

I feel like it's pretty easy to get into a slump in September. Like, "goodbye sunshine and hello a seriously increased workload. Maybe I should just curl up into a blanket burrito and cry into my hot chocolate whilst watching Ru Paul's Drage Race right now because life is not looking peachy." Trust me, after having such an absolute babe of a month, the thought of September is not an exciting prospect for me either. And I'm not even one of those people that loves Autumn (soggy leaves stuck to my shoes and a slowly diminishing tan? No thanks.) so I can't say that pumpkin spice lattes are exactly a saving grace to the fact that summer is officially ending.

However, I'm determined. I'm absolutely bloody certain that September is going to be my bitch. I'm going to go back to uni, slay my lectures, stay hydrated and keep my little corner of the internet glowing. You just watch me. Yes, the sun may be disappearing, but there's still plenty more in this world to smile about.