Eight steps to becoming a proper blogger

Buy a cute apartment with wood floors and marble countertops 

Frankly, I don't care if you have to auction a close family member or sell your soul, you have to invest in an instagramable home. Yes, you may be at university and "need to eat", but let's be real, an apartment is the single most important photography prop you will ever buy. It's not like you can purchase vinyl roll outs that look just like pricey floorboards or make your own marble backdrops for your flat lays, is it?

Get a photographer boyfriend 

I mean, what if you need to spontaneously shoot OOTDs or get a picture of both sets of new acrylics? How do you expect your doctor/chef/teacher/football player/accountant to help you then, huh?

We need to talk about vaginas

I feel like over time, the people that I interact with online and myself have built a kind of cyber circle of trust. As far as I'm concerned, we're just friends, watching crappy TV together with a glass of the good stuff, talking about life and the universe. This mentality means that I'm pretty unrestrained when it comes to sharing online. Anyone that follows me on twitter will know that I essentially have keyboard diarrhoea. 140 character vomit. It's both a blessing and a curse, really.

But the point I'm trying to make is that this is a good vibes only zone. Before we get onto the topic at hand, consider this little corner of the internet somewhere that you can come for judgement free conversation, just as you would expect with your best friend.

Detoxifying relationships

I've done a hell of a lot of growing up over the last year. Moving away from home and into London has put things into perspective, some of which was hard to take at first, but all of which has benefitted me in the long run. It all comes down to not being a bus ride away from everybody in my life. I was forced to realise just how much effort it takes to keep relationships afloat. And when it takes so much energy, why would I waste that on people who don't replace it with positivity, support or love?

So in some ways my friendship circles have shrunk. I'm not trying to be one of those people you see on twitter who boast about how often they burn bridges or how easy they find it to cut people off. It's just the truth: Things change as you grow. But I haven't just lost friends ('lost' isn't the right word, but I can't quite find one more suitable), I've also been put into a position where I've had more choice. I've met so many amazing people who inspire me on a daily basis, and I now can't imagine my life without. I've re-learnt how to build friendships that are based on mutual support, not just who lives near me.

In a simpler way, I've also been in relationships (romantic or otherwise) for longer than ever before. I've had a lot of time to figure out how to fuck things up. And then how to fix them again. Granted, I'm still only 19 and I'm sure that when I'm 20, 30, 40 and beyond I'll scoff at my know-it-all past self. Still, it can't hurt to share what I've learnt.

My favourite ways to start the day

Since coming to university, I have been anything but a morning person. As anyone who read my "Thoughts you've definitely had during a 9am lecture" post will have figured out, dragging myself out of bed has become somewhat difficult since getting out of the school routine that I followed for 15 years of my life. My body just wants to stay in a blanket burrito. Forever.

Recently though, I've been really trying to become a morning person. I'm not at the point where I jump out of bed and go straight to the gym for an hour, or anything like that. But I've really enjoyed waking up that little bit earlier to take some time for myself, before the day's work begins. The way you start your day really does influence your outlook on the next 24 hours, so I thought I would share with you some of my favourite ways to spend the morning.

My favourite homemade face mask

We all know that I'm an avid Lush Face mask fan. Given the opportunity, I would probably sell my soul for a pot of Cupcake right now, but Satan is yet to make any offers. And my student bank account surely isn't in any state to help me out. So instead of making the deadly decision to have a browse on the Lush website, I had to rack the early teen memory shelves of my brains, in search of those homemade face mask recipes that came in so handy at sleepovers. 

With the help of the internet, many a tween magazine from back in the day and a fair few failed attempts, I've finally perfected my at-home mask skills. Not only does this one smell good, exfoliate and moisturise, it also uses ingredients that I always have in my kitchen. No activated charcoal or Aztec Clay in sight! What's not to love?  

25 thoughts you've definitely had in a 9am lecture

There are many positives to uni life (am exclusive diet of noodles and tea for five days straight, being able to hoard glasses in your room if you so desire, having the "I'm a poor student" excuse when you don't want to leave your bed) but 9am lectures have definitely tempted me to drop out once or twice. I didn't realise how lucky I was in first term when my earliest start was midday. How I long for those days now that I'm faced with having to wake up at 7am twice a week. Frankly, I'm not paying extortionate amounts of money for such tortures. 

But alas, most uni students will unfortunately understand the struggle that is the 9am. In the wise words of Troy Bolton and friends, "we're all in this together". So, feel free to gently nod whilst you read these 25 things that you have definitely thought when you have to drag yourself out of bed to sit in a cold lecture hall. 

Girl Love

It took me a long time to decide what I wanted to post for International Women's Day. I ended up going with something absolutely sodden with slightly angry feminist sarcasm. The kind of thing that can only be read whilst drinking red wine with your hair in a fun bun. But whilst I was brainstorming, an idea for a new blog series formed. "Girl Love".

I've decided to create a space dedicated to supporting other women in the amazing things that they do. Because one of the most important things in my life is showing love to my fellow females. There are so many amazing women out there that deserve your follow, be it because of their message, their business or the fact that they will inspire you to be a better person. I want this series to help you track some of these bosses down amidst an online sea of negativity.

This first instalment contains four women that totally inspire me. I'm talking about ladies that will make you feel simultaneously beautiful, ready to crush the patriarchy and like you're going to pee from laughing so hard, all through your phone screen! You're welcome.

Everything you're allowed to do on International Women's Day

Ladies, we're in luck. The day is finally upon us. International Women's Day has arrived. And you know what that means: A 24 hour slot in which you can do anything you so desire that would usually be frowned on by misogynists everywhere. To help you to decide how to spend this fleeting period of time, I've composed a list of everything you are officially allowed to do on March 8th every year. Choose wisely, my fellow females.

  • Sing - with gusto - to Flawless by BeyoncĂ©. Because not only did you wake up like this, you were born like this. Plus, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie successfully defines the term feminism for those of us still unashamedly ignorant and quite frankly, scared by the concept, mid song. 
  • Go to the shops without feeling compelled to wear a full face of makeup. Why not embrace the bare face? And whilst in the process, you can call yourself "beautiful" without being branded in return as "vain", despite the supposed hatred of girls that talk badly of their appearance. 
  • Go to shops wearing loads of makeup and not be called "image obsessed" or labelled as expressing your hatred of women through doing so. 
  • Not make anybody a sandwich. Unless you want to, obviously. 
  • Put the word "Feminist" in your Twitter bio/Facebook status/write it over your body for 24 hours without striking pure terror into many of the men that you associate yourself with. Feminists hate men, in case you were wondering why it would illicit such a response. 
  • Talk about football or gaming or DIY without receiving some kind of patronising reply from your fellow tweeters or male peers.
  • Wear blue and not pink. Or wear pink and not blue. Whatever, really. 
  • Not call other women ugly in order to heighten your own sense of self esteem and happiness within your body. 
  • Use your strong linguistic skills to verbally beat up the man that just wolf whistled you in the street. Or any man that feels the only reason they would be nice to you is in order to "get a bit", for that matter.
  • Be who you really are, regardless of sexual preference, appearance and whether your self-identity conforms with social expectations or not. 
  • But most importantly, remember that this day is exactly that - One day. Therefore all of the above are no longer applicable at the strike of 12:00 as the day shifts from 8th to 9th of March. It's a bit like a modern day Cinderella story except instead of losing a shoe, you lose all of your rights as a woman. But hey, at least we get to fall back into the comfort of conforming to social pressure, right?

Yes, is was extremely hard work having to exhibit such levels of sarcasm throughout an entire blog post. I need a nap. So, seriously now ladies, happy International Women's Day! May it be filled with female on female appreciation and eyeliner so sharp it could slice misogyny out of your life. But remember, as absolutely bloody fantastic as it is to have a day dedicated to reminding the world that we're all queens who deserve equal rights, there are still 364 days in which to wave your feminist flag. Remember to empower your fellow women and do what makes you happy all of the time, be that belting out BeyoncĂ© or watching the footie. 

How to read more

Over the past 6 months I've read more books than I thought was human possible. Granted, the main reason behind this is that I'm an English Lit student, so reading is kind of necessary, but I've also always had a hunger for the written word. Despite the fact that I now average 3 books a week (I know, my degree is insane), I can remember the days when I found it hard to make my way through my ever growing 'to-read' list. I feel like reading is a skill that comes with practice. Since starting uni, I've learnt a few ways to ensure that I finish all of my course material as well as having time to read books of my choosing.

Favourite Things: February

February was a pretty full on month. I handed in what felt like million assignments for uni and whizzed between London and my home town like a crazy person. I honestly feel like I didn't really stop for the whole 29 days. And as far as I can tell, March isn't going to be all that different. Not that I'm complaining. February enthused me. It left me more inspired to blog and to write than I have done in a long time. I may not have stopped moving for more than 30 seconds straight, but I enjoyed every minute of it. So, the 'Month of Love' lived up to its title after all.

Positive thoughts to take into the month: March

I'm really feeling this new blog series. It's got me all excited and inspired and is prompting all of the emotions within me that blogging should. Honestly, it's been on my mind pretty regularly throughout the month. I've been bookmarking pages left right and centre, and getting enthused by the prospect that I might be able to help to begin your month in the best way possible.

Maybe it was because I had this instalment in mind, or maybe I was just lucky, but I feel like February has been a month of constantly bumping into positivity during my online travels. So, grab a cup of coffee, snuggle down, and get absorbed into all of the good vibes.

Watch: How to age gracefully 

Once again I have found proof that Facebook isn't just a place for Mum's to post annoyingly frequently about their child's potty training successes. Instead, I found this: a video that actually made me cry at the end. Now, I can't guarantee that it will have that exact effect on you, but it will most certainly make you think about what you spend your time worrying about. As you go into March, try to remember that not everything is worth your energies.
Listen: Amanda Palmer's TED Talk, 'The Art of Asking' 

I originally heard this TED Talk over a year ago, and I can't believe I'm only sharing it with you now. It reminds me of a quote from one of my favourite books, "#Girlboss" by Sophia Amoruso - "If you’re frustrated because you’re not getting what you want, stop for a second: Have you actually flat-out asked for it? If you haven’t, stop complaining. You can’t expect the world to read your mind." And it's just so damn true! Re-watching this video inspired me to believe in the goodness of people in order to help me achieve my dreams. 

Bookmark: Emergency Compliment Generator 

As I said in this post, I love giving out strange compliments. Why say "your hair looks great!" when you could say "You are your parent's greatest accomplishment, unless they invented the spork"? I mean, really? The Emergency Compliment Generator is for those times when you need to tell someone how great they are, but can't find the words, or when you personally need a pick-me-up. And if you're really into it, you can even buy a print of your chosen words to hang in your work space or give to a friend.