Favourite things: July

I thought it was best to write this post now, before I begin to pack my life into a suitcase for a month-long trip to Greece. That's right chums, the next instalment of "favourite things" will be brought to you from underneath the glorious greek sunshine. Hopefully, I'll be writing it on a beach with something resembling a tan and a cocktail by my side. I mean, that's highly unlikely since I'll have to cower in the shade 80% of the time, lest I look like a lobster, but pray for me.

I'm about to get carried away day dreaming about halloumi, so let me get my head back into the present. If I had to design my perfect month, July would be it. Summer finally decided to show up, I've been spending most of my days blogging or in the sunshine and I went for a lovely little trip to Brighton. And although I am very excited to be jetting off towards the sunshine in a week, I'm also very sad to see July go. It's treated me well.

How to make your period slightly more bearable

Disclaimer time: This post is indeed full of tips to make your period better, but I'm not suggesting for one second that it's going to make you want to happy dance the next time Aunt Flow decides to pop round for a week-long visit. If we're being honest, is there anything I could say that would make you less grumpy when you're, ya know, bleeding from your vagina? Probably not. I'm sure that even the most zen of yogis has been known to cry in her car because the shop didn't have the right kind of chocolate and she's pretty bloody sure that the man at the counter took one glance at her bloated tummy and assumed she was about 8 months pregnant. That's just the kind of thing that comes with the territory of being a woman.

But, although I can't promise that you'll want to hop on your bike in white linen shorts the next time you're on your period, after years of stained undies and cramps resembling the fiery pits of hell, I've got a few tips to make it considerably less horrific. You're welcome in advance.

period cramps

Everyone is problematic

The internet can be a scary place. Granted, it has brought us the wonder that is ASOS and many a funny dog video, but it's also kind of like a hate-minefield: One wrong click or one slightly misjudged tweet and boom your life is changed forever. We've all seen what people online can do to each other with the help of a hashtag and screenshots. The implications reach far beyond a matter of deleting social media accounts. Hate-campaigns can act as the stimulus for people losing their jobs, receiving abuse offline and a tonne of other real world consequences. Honestly, it's scary stuff.

Thoughts you have during summer

It's officially been summer here in the UK for over a month now, but I can't help feeling the weather has only just caught up with the calendar. Either way, I'm not complaining, because everything is just so much easier now that the sun is shining and England has decided to chill with the rain for a bit. Yesterday, I even got the chance to sunbathe! I know, I was just as astounded as you are. Of course, a rise in temperatures also means that bodies used to hoods and wooly socks go into a minor state of shock. Us Brits aren't used to this kind of weather, for god's sake! Everybody bulk buy plastic plates! This is a national state of emergency!

Whether or not you're in England and were invited over the weekend to drink Kopparberg in a beer garden, I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in some of these thoughts I have throughout the (admittedly short) summer period. I mean come on, how can anybody like flip flops?

ice cream by the pool

Reasons I'll delete you on Facebook

I like to think that I'm a pretty zen person. I'm annoyingly optimistic, I spend most of my time with a cup of tea in my hand (which makes it very hard to not be content with life), I even do yoga for God's sake! But, if there's one thing that has the capacity to make me angry with a side order of "I'm about to delete a bitch!", then it's Facebook.

Yes, I do scroll down my newsfeed on a daily basis. Yes, I do update my profile picture relatively regularly. Yes, I do enjoy the relics it drags up from Year 9 neon parties. But no, I will not waver when I say that it is hands down the single most frustrating social media platform out there. To be fair to Mark, it's not really Facebook's fault. It's more the fact that it gives a space within which people feel comfortable spouting utter crap confidently. I know that's basically the case with the whole of the internet. But Facebook just seems to attract the most anger inducing people around and scoop them all into one meme filled, minion-tastic mess.

I mean, I don't delete people regularly because 1. I for some reason think I'll one day confront them using my keyboard (spoiler alert: never gonna happen) and 2. I'm scared they're going to ask me about it in the street at some point. But, if I did ever take a deep breath and delete you, it would be for one of the following reasons.

The failures of sex education

Every few years throughout my life at school I would be sent home with a permission slip. A little piece of paper requesting that my parents declare that I was in fact allowed to be taught about my own anatomy in the form of mildly scaring sexual education lessons. When such slips were handed out by red-faced form tutors, I already knew what to expect: the separation of the boys and girls, an unqualified teacher telling us about periods who would rather be discussing trigonometry or The Battle of Hastings, and an anonymous question box. All in all, not a fun (or entirely educational, for that matter) experience.

I've spoken about the sucky education system in the UK and what we weren't taught about our periods previously but, frankly, I have enough anger towards the curriculum to fill way more than two posts. So, today I'm focusing on just how shitty the English (and assumedly many other Western countries') sexual education lessons really are. I've been through it. I've come out of the other side of it. I've had a few years to marinade in the lessons it tried to teach me. And I'm calling bullshit on all of it.

An interview with a 5-year-old

My little sister Lucie regularly astounds me. Not only can she remember each and every word to Air Guitar by McBusted (trust me, I've heard it whilst still half asleep at 7am), but she is single-handedly the most socially aware individual I know. She's always the first person in the room to realise that you're feeling a bit crappy and offer you a cuddle. She's 5!

As you probably guessed from my post "Lessons adults should learn from kids", I feel like kids have got the whole living life thing down to a tee. Which is why I decided to interview my scrumptious little pudding of a sister to see what else the untainted mind of a child can teach an oldie like me. Some of her answers kind of took my breath away and made me realise how simple life really can be when you forget everything society has taught you over the years.

Prepare for the bit where she talks about "fashion". You will cry.

Thoughts you have whilst taking a bath

There's a 90% chance that at any time, regardless of what I'm doing, I'll be  simultaneously day dreaming about having a bath. I may look like I'm typing up a blog post but trust me, in my mind I just plopped in an Experimenter and am already reading a book and exfoliating. Like, "sorry, what was that? I missed it because I was imagining slathering myself in coconut oil like a queen."

Guys, I know I'm an extreme case. I totally recognise that I have a slight problem when it comes to bubbles that smell good. My bank account tells me so at least once a week. But, thanks to the likes of Instagram, I know I'm not the only one who's in love with (addicted to) a good ol' bath. Which is why I'm pretty sure that, if you live within 2 hours of a Lush store/frequent any social media pages, you've experienced having some of these thoughts after dedicating a night to soaking away your troubles.

My least favourite Lush products

Conspiracy theory: Lush bury mildly addictive drugs into their bubble bars. I become utterly incapable of walking past one of their shops without going in. And despite the ever dwindling nature of my student loan, I still buy 50 different types of soap.

I mean, alternatively I could just lack all kinds of self-control when it comes to 1. glitter, 2. sweet smells and 3. baths. But I'm pretty sure it's the drug thing.

Basically, the point I'm trying to make here is that I'm a big fan of Lush. Sometimes I even call myself a Lushie, because I like the fact that I can be a part of a fandom without having to go to concerts full of 14-year-olds and can just sit in a mass of bubbles, drinking tea instead. I wholeheartedly support everything Lush are doing in regards to saving the planet and making me smell good, so this post isn't just me being a negative nancy (I wrote about my favourite products before, stop judging me!). I'm genuinely hoping that this will save you money and/or disappointment the next time you spend way too much money on bath products.

If I want to prove that I'm a proper blogger, this is where I point out that these opinions are totally subjective and that the products may very well work for you, right?

A tour of my body

Good evening ladies and gentlemen and welcome to tonight's Grand Tour! I hope you're all excited, because what you're about to witness is a truly once in a lifetime experience. Over the next half an hour, you will get a rare glimpse behind the Instagram filters and flattering poses, at a creature who has a natural habitat of blanket burritos. For one night only, we  have placed her in a well-lit arena for your viewing purposes, so that you can become acquainted with the body that stands before you. No enlarged pore or patch of cellulite will go amiss. Please keep your arms inside the cart at all times. Do not feed the Bethany, unless it is halloumi. 

This tour was brought to you by caffeine-fueled bravery.  

(FYI the words in italics totally need to be read in a ringmaster-esque voice. Are we on the same page? Cool.)

How to live a creative life and remain relatively sane

Living a creative life can be pretty scary. It's basically like saying "here, have a nice long look at the inside of my head and judge what you see." Pair that with a hearty dose of self-doubt and the inevitable questions from relatives who were so sure you'd be a lawyer, and the whole thing can be really bloody daunting.

You've probably figured out by now that I'm pretty free with my creativity. I'm wary of saying straight up that I'm a "creative person" because I think that the same can be said of anyone, whether or not they choose to express it. But I write a lot and my creative outlet is in one of the most public forms out there. And even though I absolutely adore having this little corner of the internet, getting to a place where I feel almost always creatively fulfilled and not that terrified of being honest was definitely a process.

I've progressed a lot over the last few months and have learnt how to express myself without in turn temporarily losing my sanity. So, for all of my creative hunnies out there (aka every human), here are some tips.

Lessons adults should learn from kids

I love kids. I really do. Mainly I love their ability to give zero fucks whilst simultaneously being the most caring kind of humans. I mean, they will 100% start singing Frozen at the top of their lungs whilst you're waiting in the queue at the bank. But you can also be damn sure that they'll be the first ones to sense when you've had a bad day, give you a cuddle and ask if you want to play with their Rainbow Rocks figure (aka their most valued possession). Honestly, I'm pretty sure that it all just starts to go downhill after like, 12 years old. Thanks, society. Yes, we can drink and are allowed to dictate our own bedtimes, but we're also awfully self-conscious whilst dancing. I can't whip nor can I Nae Nae, alright? I just want to be able to spin around until I'm dizzy and play air guitar.

God, I hate that I became so massively aware of what people expect of me as an 'adult'.

With that frustration in mind, I decided to write about the things that adults should learn from children. We really need to taka a leaf out of their books, if you ask me. So, here's a list of stuff you should do whether you're 5, 15 or 55. I promise it'll make life seem that little bit more like High School Musical.

4 apps for girl bosses

At the risk of ruining my hippie, quinoa-eating persona, I'm going to just come out and say it: I really like my phone. Condemn me as a mindless millennial (I meditate, okay?), but the truth is that my iPhone plays a pretty crucial role in keeping my life from becoming a big hot mess. Granted, it also plays a pretty crucial role in my procrastination based demise (Instagram, I'm looking at you). But that is beside the point of this post.

Today I thought I would share with you the apps that I use to keep my life from falling to pieces. I'm not suggesting that they will single-handedly lead to female world domination, but they certainly help me to keep myself organised, calm and generally Beyoncé-like on a daily basis.

My (realistic) morning routine

Back in may, I called bullshit on the 'evening routines' that had been filling up just about all of my social media pages.

The idea that someone could actually have mastered being an adult to the extent of having an hour of 'tech-free' time before bed in which they did meditation and moisturised their feet? Frankly, it baffled me. Whilst I don't doubt that there are certain, god-like people out there that have mastered such a polished evening routine, I ain't one of them. And (forgive me if I'm judging too soon, my chum), you probably aren't either.

So, now I'm back with another real life routine, which I hope will make you go "thank god, I'm not the only procrastination-prone, sleep lover in the world!" I thought I would share the morning breath segment of the day, to remind you that it's okay not to look like BeyoncĂ© as soon as you wake up. And that it's even more okay to skip the HIIT training you promised yourself you would do as you drifted off to sleep the night before.

15 more things to be happy about

Hands up if you're experiencing that almost mid-week, "I've forgotten what Friday feels like" slump. We've all been there. "My to-do list is currently as tall as me, my face has decided to become a garden for spots and, excuse me, but where did the sunshine go?"

It's way too easy to get caught up in all of the first world problems and forget that life is actually pretty damn wonderful. But as I said last month, I'm trying to combat the human tendency to complain and look on the bright side instead, despite the UK's gloomy weather right now. I think I might just have to make "things to be happy about" a series because 1. it keeps my inner privileged idiot in check and 2. it will also hopefully put a smile on your lovely faces.

Let's do this.

Thoughts you have whilst scrolling through Bloglovin'

Lifestyle bloggers really are their own breed of people.  The kind of people that make our Icecream choice based on whether or not the sprinkle colour matches our Instagram feeds. Then risk it melting whilst deleting photos to make room for the #SummerVibes. It's not to say that we don't live in the moment. We just really love the moment and want to take 50 pictures of it. And then write a blog post based on it.

As I said yesterday, I've been in the blogging game for a fair few years now. I dread to think how many miles of bloglovin' I've scrolled through. So, I'm pretty accustomed to the emotions that reoccur every time I click the explore page. If you're anything like me (aka addicted to the blogosphere) then you've probably had some of these thoughts too.

A to Z of Me

Sometimes, I forget that actual people read my blog. Actual people who oversleep and who cringe for five years after falling up the steps at a tube station and who are insanely nosey. A few days ago I had an epiphany and realised that, if you guys are in fact actual people, you are probably mildly interested in finding out who's behind these sarcastic blog posts that you've been reading.

Maybe not and you're shouting "shut up you performing monkey, I don't give a toss about your life!" but either way, this is happening because it took me way too long to come up with something about my life that links to every letter of the alphabet. I realised that all I do is read and blog and so I'm not interesting enough for this sort of thing.

Side note: Times like these I seriously wish that English people pronounced Z like American people do, because "A to Zee of Me" sounds at least 10x better. It rhymes, for god's sake! Anyway. Let's go.

Signs that you're a little bit Middle Class

Sometimes, I say things that are just so disgustingly middle class. Seriously, I even want to call myself a wanker. I mean, it's not like my parents are members of a country club or I wear chinos on a regular basis. But I am a rather avid fan of avocados. And I do say things like "avid fan". The town where I grew up absolutely screams "working class", but I was always considered the annoyingly posh kid at school. I'm somewhere in between a Louis Vuitton tote and a Primark carrier bag.

There are definitely aspects of my personality that would easily squash any illusions you had that I might holiday in the South of France, but I'm also fully aware of all of the traits that make me look like a bit of privileged twat. Hey, everyone can be a bit of a privilege at times, I have no shame. So, if you enjoy blog posts that make you go "wow I never realised I was such a tit" then this one's for you. Here are some signs that you're just a teeny, tiny bit middle class.

Positive thoughts to take into the month: July

Happy July, chums!

This blog post is brought to you from under a duvet, whilst I smile rather smugly about the fact that I just polished off a super sexy leftover pizza toastie in true Hannah Gale style. Just to rub it in a little bit more, last night I built a blanket fort with my favourite human and we ate Dominos and we drank Baileys and we talked about life. I don't think it gets much better, to be honest.

It's left me feeling all chill and completely ready to take on the month, as evidenced by the fact that I've already replied to every email in my inbox. Someone bow down to me, I am the new queen of having my shit together.  Hopefully, July has started as it means to go on, and I won't end up a hot mess who feels utterly overwhelmed  by the end of the week (aka me 24 hours ago).

Just in case you weren't able to welcome in July in such style (and let's be honest, you probs weren't), here is this month's instalment of positive thoughts to put a smile on your face. Warning: all of these are EU referendum based and if you don't care/can't bare hearing about it anymore then there's plenty of other positive thoughts from previous months that will work just as well for July.