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".