Favourite things: June

June was a shambolic month for my country, but a freaking fabulous month as far as my personal life is concerned. So, I'm kind of conflicted as I attempt to write this little pre-favourites summary of the last few weeks. I don't know whether to victory dance about the fact that I've spent most of June being a creative little powerhouse/Girl Boss or whether to sob into my pillow because England has just been so bloody stupid. I think I'll be mourning the loss of the EU for all of the foreseeable future, to be honest. But I'm also quietly proud of myself for all of the hours I've directed at creating content this month.

Despite my mixed emotions, the show must go on. So here are some of my favourite things from the rather bewildering month that was June. Let's go.

A letter to my future daughter

Dear Future Daughter,

Erm, Hi. Mum here. Or at least the younger, slightly cooler version of the Mum you know, who tweets about political freedom and actually knows the words to the songs they play in clubs. As I write this, I'm 19 years old and you are but a twinkle in my eye. Well, to be honest, at the moment the idea of having children makes me a little bit nauseous. But I also know that it's highly likely that one day I'll willingly bring sleepless nights and countless nappy changes upon myself, even though right now I can't even commit to finishing a book. If I do choose to go through nine whole months of pregnancy and the agony of childbirth, I know that you'll be worth every second. I know that I'll love you more than I thought it was possible to love anything, ever.

Things to do in the summer before uni

So, you've just finished Sixth Form. Huzzah! You're officially no longer a child who requires the constant guidance of elders nor somebody to cook your every meal for you. Welcome to the world of being a secure, responsible adult.

Just kidding. We all know that come September you'll be getting so drunk that you'll need to be  carried across campus in your tiger onesie whilst proclaiming the university pride you've acquired after two days. We also know that you'll be heading home on a regular basis for your Mum's roast potatoes. So, huzzah for being an awkward mix between incompetent child and free woman, instead! For those of you that can see Fresher's Week on the horizon of this mammoth stretch of freedom, I decided to compile a list of things that you should do this summer in preparation for what is probably the biggest lifestyle change you've faced to date. That sounded very ominous, didn't it? Sorry, I didn't mean to make you crap your pants any more than you already are. If you're not heading off to university in a few months, then feel free to read on anyway and laugh about the fact that you're not willingly entering into thousand pounds worth of debt and so will probably be able to afford Heinz instead of own brand baked beans in the coming years. You're one lucky devil.

What a day in the life of a blogger really looks like

When seeing it through a rose-tinted filter, blogging for money can look like just about the easiest job in the world. And listen, I'm not suggesting that what I've got going on at the moment isn't a pretty decent setup. I'm doing something that I love whilst simultaneously getting a little bit of income on the side of studying for my BA. Honestly, I feel more content than I ever have. So don't think for a single second that I'm complaining. But I can also tell you that this isn't all brunch dates with Benefit giving you free boxes of every brow product they stock, in the same manner that Indian takeaways give away mints with the bill. It's more like 'I haven't washed my hair in a week, but at least I've replied to all of my emails'.

So, just in case you have somehow been fooled by the Instagram flatlays, here's what a day in the life of a not quite professional blogger really looks like. FYI, not like the picture below. That just matches my colour scheme nicely.

Tea and politics

Guys, I've had a warm beverage based revelation that is about to blow your mind: choice in tea is very much like political persuasion. Stick with me here. What I mean is, that if you have parents that always have and always will vote Labour, you're highly likely to do the exact same. And if you have parents that buy the same 50 pack of teabags from Tesco every month, you're very likely to argue that those teabags are the best teabags in all the land. I have a Nan that drinks PG and a Mum that drinks PG and so, rather predictably, when I was thrown into the wild abyss of shopping for myself at uni, I picked up a big ol' saver pack of PG.

If you're sitting reading this post thinking something along the lines of "Jesus Christ, it's just tea, Beth. It's really not that deep." then I can only assume that you were not brought up in Britain, where tea has a holy status. We're a small island, okay. Enjoying tea is all we have!

My summer skincare routine

When I planned this post a few weeks ago, I had it in my mind that the opening sentence would be something like "I've finally mastered my summer skincare routine. Rejoice with me, my internet chums!"

Well, today I woke up with a solid 1 million gigantic spots on my face. So, there's the universe doing its magic. But please don't take that as a sign of the fact that this routine doesn't do its job. Take it as proof that PMS is the devil and shake your fist at it with me instead. I swear that this little formula is what has been saving me throughout the warm(ish) months so far, which is the hardest time of the year on my skin since I'm so insanely sensitive to heat.

Before we get started, I'll warn you that you're about to see a lot of Lush. It smells amazing and I'm an addict, okay? Okay, Let's go.

Lessons my Dad has taught me

Your father seems like a top notch guy, he really does, but can we stop with this "I have the best Dad in the world" nonsnse. You're deluding yourselves, my internet chums. I can't blame you (that's what shared DNA does to people - makes them crazy and adamant that their genetic material is somehow superior) but clearly you've never met the Ed Austin. Because if you did know him, you would see that he is, in fact, the greatest Dad to ever exist. He's a parent and a best friend all in one. He's the first person I go to when I'm sad, knowing that he will give me the advice I need to hear. He's the first person I scream down the phone to when I've had any kind of success knowing that, even if he’s at his desk at work, he will celebrate with me. He’s also my teacher. Without him, I dread to think about the kind of boring, socially unaware person I would be.

I think he might be my favourite human.

Things to make time for with your partner

I feel a little bit stupid sitting here, preparing to share relationship advice with the world web which, let's face it, has a wealth of information created by people 100x more qualified to do this than me. I can practically hear your cries already: "She thinks because she's been with her boyfriend for 2 years that she's suddenly Patti Stanger?" Except you probably didn't know that I had actually been with my boyfriend for 2 years nor who Patti Stanger is unless you're a crappy TV extraordinaire like myself. So, maybe I should just get over this weird self-doubt thing. It ain't pretty on me, anyway.

Over the time I've spent with my boyfriend, I've come to recognise which of our relationship habits are toxic and which ones make us stronger. We try (and occasionally fail) to avoid the toxic ones which we both know will only lead to arguments and then eventually one of us saying something like "can we be friends again?" a few hours later. We also try to embrace the habits that remind us just how in love we are, making time for each other to do things which make us both smile. As far as I can tell, most people are novices at this thing called 'love' but I thought I would share my thoughts anyway.

Sleeping advice from someone who is always tired

Right now, a good night's sleep sounds like a thing of pure fantasy. I can't imagine getting out of bed and not needing some kind of major caffeine kick to help me remember to put concealer on my ever-growing dark circles. And no, these aren't the kind of 'designer' eye bags that career girls get when they've stayed up all night preparing a press release. These are the 'just one more episode of Jane the Virgin' Primark sale section bags with broken zips.

I'm a mess.

The thing is, I do know how to have a great night's sleep. Seriously, I do. I'm just too bloody stupid to take my own 10/10 advice. There was a time in my life (dreamy music begins to play) whilst I was still living at uni that I would get a solid 8 hours a night, did yoga before bed and was able to fall into a deep sleep even with a very noisy neighbour. I woke up at 7am, for Christ's sake! I promise I will start to implement some of these tips into my life again soon. But not tonight because I'm going out. God help me.

How to pretend that you're (even more of) a proper adult

As I've said before, I find it endlessly bemusing that people view me as an adult. Right now I'm laying in bed in PJs at 2pm on a Thursday, with more chips on my nails than varnish. Frankly, I'm a mess. But regardless of how many times I tell the universe that, they still think I'm capable of handling things like cooking for myself, paying rent or any kind of social interaction that involves alcohol. History (and the prosecco vomit stain on our living room floor) dictates that this is clearly not the case.

I could probably put a little bit more effort into learning how to successfully navigating semi-adult life. Or I could put that energy into pretending that I've already achieved peak levels of adultness. I choose the later. If, like me, you want to avoid your problems whilst simultaneously looking like you read The Daily Telegraph in your bed on a Sunday with a fresh cup of coffee from your cafetiere, keep reading.

Thoughts you have during a UTI

You never know what you've got until it's gone. And in this case, what's gone is my ability to sit on the toilet without feeling like my urinary tract is plotting to kill me, one piss at a time. I'm talking about UTIs, my chums. If you've had one before, you probably just felt compelled to drink a whole liter of water and maybe even experienced phantom vaginal spasms. Sorry 'bout that. If you've never had one, I hate you a little bit. Okay, I don't hate you. I'm just bitter that you've been blessed by the Gods of the Urethra. You must have done something right.

Why we need to change the definition of sex

Recently, I've been thinking a lot about sex. And I don't mean that I've been having fantasies that include Louis Theroux and some melted, fairly traded chocolate. Although, I can totally understand why you would think that was the case. What I mean is that I've been in a contemplative, borderline revelatory state for the past couple of days that concluded in me shouting "We need to redefine sex!" I watched some videos. I started reading a book called "Vagina". I thought long and hard (lol) and now I'm ready to share those thoughts. In the wise words of the classical philosophers Salt-N-Pepa, "let's talk about sex, baby".

Girl Love #4

Happy Friday, chums. This post is brought to you from the relative comfort of my bed whilst I clutch a hot water bottle to my crotch and wonder why, why UTIs are even a thing? But the show must go on. And by 'show', I mean that I must somehow muster up the energy to type whilst simultaneously sipping on my lemon and liquorice tea. I know, woe is legit me.

Maybe having a crotch that feels like the fiery pits of hell hasn't been all bad now that I think about it. Since I've been pretty immobile for the last few days, and obviously haven't used that time to do anything productive because it's me, I've been finding a lot of amazing stuff online. Let's call it 'research'. For those of you that aren't familiar with this little series of mine, it's all about introducing you to some of the amazing and inspiring women I've stumbled upon throughout my internet travels.

Hold onto your bonnets ladies, because this one's a corker. You're gonna love them.

Things I'll (probably) never blog about

Listen guys, I'm making no promises here. So, when I'm famous for my quick wit and genius analogies, please don't bring up this blog post in a Twitter feud. I shall probably block you, because 'I don't talk to the kind of losers that read the rubbish I wrote in the dark days of 2016'. The chances are, I will never write any posts on these topics. Then again, the chances were that I would grow up to be a massive Tory supporter due to the constituency I live in, but hey, life likes a little bit of a plot twist every now and then.

New series: Half-formed thoughts

As a creative, I often find that I have too many ideas in my head and nowhere to put them. Obviously I've found some relatively effective solutions (blogging about everything from periods to saving the world), but the problem with turning thoughts into words is that it necessitates them being coherent and substantial. And trust me, the ideas that I jot down at 2am after I've had a dream about a world in which cystitis does not exist are not substantial enough to fill a whole page. Those are the ones that don't make the cut. Naturally, this means that I think about them almost obsessively, since I have no way to get them out of my system. It's very problematic. 

So, I guess this new series is a (hopefully entertaining) mix between "blog posts that didn't make the cut" and therapy. This is where you will find my half-formed thoughts on topics that got me passionate. Not quite passionate enough to research them for three days and then write a 1,000 piece about them. But passionate enough that I just couldn't bring myself to delete them from my ideas list. Enjoy.

15 things to be happy about

I had to metaphorically slap myself in the face this morning. Not just a little 'stop being silly, you!' kind of slap, but a full on 'snap the F out of it, you miserable, privilege twat' kind of slap. Obviously, I would rather not talk about what a miserable, privileged twat I can be. But, as much as this is a little corner of the internet dedicated to positivity, it is even more so a little corner of the internet dedicated to honesty. So, there you have it: I can be a complete and total, miserable, privileged twat on occasion.

I think moaning is kind of in our DNA as human beings, so I won't be too hard on myself, but I'm still trying to remember how grateful I should be on a daily basis. I've been working on deprogramming myself and trying to focus on the positive (like the fact that I have clean bedsheets on and feel like an actual queen because of it). Which is what inspired this list of 15 things that everybody should be happy about. Whether you're just feeling like I was this morning and need a kick up the butt to remind you how great life is, or you're dealing with some real issues and need something to make you smile, I hope some of these happy thoughts can help with both of those things.

How to save the world (whilst helping yourself)

You all know that I'm a massive bloody hippy. So, it probably won't come as a surprise to you that a big bit of my brain space is taken up with thinking about the human race's negative impact on a planet we share with millions of other species. This morning, Instagram informed me that today is World Environment Day, and even though I didn't really know that was a thing, I did know that it was the perfect opportunity for me to get my metaphorical placards out. It also got me to thinking: We've known about global warming and a plethora of other environmental issues for years now, what exactly needs to be said to prompt people to make the simple changes that all add up to help save our beautiful planet? And then I remembered, we're humans. We're all innately immune to making a change unless we can see it directly improving our lives. I mean, saving the planet will improve our lives, but that's a rather long term consideration for selfish beings like us. So, here are six super easy ways you can help to make our earth happy again, whilst simultaneously improving your life. You're welcome.

Things you say because of internalised sexism

Wasn't the world a simpler place before we knew all about our privilege and our misfortunes? I miss being young enough to not have experienced everyday sexism and to believe that the worst thing anybody could face in life was having to do a poster on French prepositions for homework. Those were the days. Alas, there comes a point in every destined feminist's life when they must become enlightened and emerge from the placenta of cosy ignorance.

I like to think of this enlightenment as coming in three phases. The first phase is characterised by the fact that you get very, very angry about things that you previously thought were just features of everyday modern life - catcalling, pay differences, the definitive difference between the word "slut" and the word "stud". You'll want to tell the world just how messed up it really is (and you probably will, via the medium of Twitter). The second phase is when you recognise your privilege and become hyper aware of it, trying to keep it in check at every opportunity. Granted you may have to deal with a man shouting "nice tits" at you in the street (pretty crappy, I'm sure we can all agree), but at least you don't have to consider the possibility of FGM, sex-selective abortions, having no access to sanitary products or a plethora of other feminist issues that don't even touch the UK. And finally, the phase that makes you go, "holy shit, I have so much internalised misogyny that I want to throw up". You start to wonder whether you can even call yourself a feminist when a mere three years ago you were still busy pretending that black was your favourite colour, when it was actually pink. Yikes.

"Blogging isn't a real job"

Ah, the internet. Everyone loves it until someone starts using it to make money and then suddenly it’s the worst thing that’s happened to society since women were allowed to get jobs and support themselves instead of cleaning the kitchen floor. Woe is us. The world is going to hell in a handbasket because you no longer need to have classical training and a middle class upbringing in order to make money through sharing your opinion. We may as well just call it quits now, folks. All morals have officially been lost.

Lol. Just kidding. I’m a big fan of the internet. I think my use of the abbreviation “lol” proves that pretty well, don’t you? In fact, one day I hope to make my living (or some of it) doing something in the misty realms of social media and blogging. Maybe even Youtube, if I get off my arse and start a channel one of these days. And as far as I’m concerned, people making money online deserve as hearty a pat on the back as anyone. Whether they’re blogging, vlogging, promoting using Instagram or video stripping, I have just one thing to say to them: Bravo for contributing to the economy, my chum! We all know it could use all the help it can get. 

Listen, I know everybody likes to complain about change* (*read as: progress). Traditional work ethic blah blah hard working people blah. But I’m going to waste my precious time debunking three of the arguments against people using the internet to make money. I’m sure you won’t listen since I have neither classical training nor a middle class upbringing, but it’s worth a shot.