Yay! I found a natural deodorant that actually works!

Now, I know this isn't the most glamorous of topics, but I strive to make my corner of the internet as real as possible. Do I take flat lays? Yes. Do I talk about the fact that I am pretty prone to sweatiness? Apparently also yes. I've told you all before how this journey to find a decent natural deodorant has led me down many a stinky pathway. So even though this post isn't about a press trip to Cannes, I'm still pretty bloody excited to share it with you for the sake of armpits everywhere.

I started using Pitrok a few months back after falling down the conscious living online rabbit hole and finding out about the ingredients that are common in most antiperspirant. Knowing that the armpits house one of the highest concentrations of lymph nodes on the body, I decided that I wanted to avoid putting things like aluminium in that area. And since I already have a completely natural skin-care regime my deodorant seemed like the next place to start making some changes.

Coping and Creating

This morning I woke up convinced that today would be the day that my life got back to "normal". After spending 24 hours with a heavy chest and a lump in my throat, I thought that I would wake up and my routines would be restored. I was going to schedule tweets, write blog posts and get back to doing my job. It was what I was craving and what I thought I needed.

But as much as I want to be able to create, I simply can't do it. Despite the fact that I have a list about as long as my arm of posts that I want to write, doing so seems impossible following Monday's tragic events. Normal seems unattainable knowing about all of the lives that have been changed forever or lost. I'm not sure how, but I really believed (or maybe just hoped) that the start of a new day would mean an entirely new mindset. Instead, it just meant waking up to yet more stories of loss.

No seriously, register to vote.

Google Analytics tells me that the vast majority of my readers are between the ages of 18 and 24, which just so happens to also be the group of people least likely to vote in the UK's upcoming general election. So, if you are under the age of 25, living in the UK and eligible to vote, this one is just for you. You should feel very special.

I'm going to put it simply: Get your national insurance number, sit your arse down and register to vote. Now. You can even click straight off this page to do so. And if I'm willing to mess with my bounce rates then you know this has to be very important.


My realistic self-care routine

I think it's safe to say that 'wellness' is having a bit of a moment as far as the internet is concerned.  Yoga, meditation, chia seeds - you can log onto Instagram pretty confident that you're going to see at least one of them on your feed. Don't get me wrong, I love that the conversation about self-care has opened up so drastically in the past couple of years and it's great to see people trying to fight against the glorification of being busy. But, as with most 'trends', I can't help but feel that it doesn't represent much variety.

The truth is that "self-care" means something different to everyone. It's not a term that can only be used in regards to positive affirmations and overpriced green juice. Sometimes it looks more like binging on Netflix and whipping up some gourmet beans on toast. Unfortunately, with all of the Instagramable self-care that is floating around, it's easy to feel guilty that you're first instinct after a bad day isn't to downward dog.

My blogging journey

When I first started blogging I was 15-years-old and it was 2012. Yep, that was around the time of the American Apparel disco pants (and all of its cheaper, almost see-through alternatives), Jeffrey Campbell Lita boots and an online community who decided to dive all the way into pastel coloured hair. From that moment on, blogging kind of became a second home for me.

Before Curly and Wordy was born I was a fashion blogger. I know. Even I find it weird to think about. Just imagine lots of wishlist posts (wishing is all you can do when you're attempting to fund a blossoming eye for trends on £20 a month's worth of pocket money) and OOTDs which I shot on my iPhone 3GS using nothing but self-timer mode and patience. The reasons I decided to go in the direction of fashion were two-fold. Firstly, I genuinely believed that I was destined to be the next editor of British Vogue because, at the time, clothes were the way that I expressed myself creatively. And secondly, well, I thought that the only type of blogs were fashion and beauty blogs and I sure as hell knew that I couldn't do eyeliner.

Life update: I'm scared of losing my independence

When I jotted down this post idea in my blog planner, I had no idea that it would end up being as emotionally charged as it is. To be honest, I was expecting an extended version of "Lol when I'm at uni I'm a 20-year-old who is #bossing it in London, but when I'm back home I feel akin to a toddler who isn't even sure how to make herself pesto pasta without adult supervision". But, as it turns out, the dissonance between my home life and my uni life is a bit more of a problem than I even realised. Apparently, I have way more to say than I first expected. Oh, blogging, I'm endlessly impressed by your cathartic qualities.

So, to put it simply, I feel like I'm a different person when I'm at university. Or perhaps my perception of myself just changes, because although my core principles remain the same, I certainly feel different within myself. Mainly, I feel like the best (the most productive, the most active, the most independent) version of me when I'm at uni. I think it mainly relies on the routines that I've created for myself since starting uni. It's these daily habits that make me feel like I'm capable of not only being alone, but thriving alone. But the scary thing is that I think my routines have stopped being just that and started to be a part of my personality. They're no longer something that simply aids me, but something that I rely on.

Some complaints about complaining

Sometimes I feel like university isn’t actually about getting a degree, but more about complaining so much about getting your degree that people respect your hard work. If we’re not moaning about the 2,000 words we have due in by 2pm, we’re bitching about being broke or waving our timetables in everybody’s face whilst screaming “three 9ams in one week!”. In fact, I’m pretty sure that complaining about uni life makes up a solid 75% of our go-to conversation topics. Yes, we did willingly sign up for this experience. Yes, we are paying £9,000 a year to be a part of it. But no, apparently that isn’t going to stop us from trying to convince each other that it is the single most horrific thing in existence.

If you hadn’t figured it out yet from the tone of that sassy little opening paragraph, I’m kind of exhausted by all of the complaining. Not only am I bored of hearing it, but I’m also bored of being an active participant in it, be it around other uni students or just in general life. So, am I complaining about complaining? Well, actually, yes and I am fully aware of the irony. But I hope that this blog post has a bit more direction and purpose than most bitch sessions, because it’s a topic that I’ve been contemplating a lot recently and I think I’ve finally come to some conclusions. The kind of conclusions that are actually changing the way I live my life.  

How to survive exams with The UniBox

It's that time of the year when I can practically smell the stress as I walk through campus in the form of to-go coffees and dry shampoo because, seriously, who has the time to shower when you've got 3,000 words to write in 2 hours? The library is so full that I'm worried about its structural integrity, I haven't seen my flat mates in well over 48 hours and I'm struggling to understand why we actually pay to put ourselves through this. But, alas, deadline/exam season is well and truly upon us and there's no escaping it.

Luckily though, I've teamed up with The UniBox* this month to show you some of my sure-fire ways to survive cramming sessions, as well as to show off their glorious Exam Survival box. For those of you that don't know, The UniBox is a lifestyle subscription service created just for students. That means that if you sign up you can get a selection of gifts delivered to your doorstep every single month. Yep, it is pretty much like Christmas all year round but without having to deal with your aunt asking if you're still single. After having a look at some of their incredible boxes from past months, I just knew that I had to get my hands on this one, which has been created especially to keep you motivated and calm as those deadlines loom closer. So, today I'm going to share with you how you can incorporate this month's items into an exam-season routine like no other.

What Second year taught me

A few days ago I handed in my final essay for the second year of my BA in English Lit and experienced that exhilaration (and mild peril) that accompanies knowing I have four months ahead of me with no essays, no set routines, and no particularly academic goals. Clicking 'submit' on those last 2,500 words really made it hit home: I'm 2/3 of the way through my university life. I only have one year left of being in education, which is pretty much all I've known since I was 5 years old.

Adulthood? Nah, I'm alright thanks.

But it also got me thinking about just how much I've changed since I was that little Fresher. I feel like second year has been the year of personal growth and finally getting properly into the swing of independent living. I think I might have even got to grips with how much pasta is needed for one person which, frankly, is a miracle! So, since it is a tradition, I thought I would share with you all of the lessons that this academic year has taught me.

4 things that annoy me about blogging

As you've probably guessed by now, I'm pretty fond of blogging. I've been a member of the gang since I was a 14-year-old with but a Jeffery Campbell Lita boot shaped twinkle in my eye and a Look magazine in my school backpack. This side of the internet has provided me with more joy than I could ever have expected when I pressed publish on my first ever post on my first ever blog (it was a riveting read on how I would be mixing the stud and pastels trends of 2012 together that I will most definitely not be linking here). The point is, I've made friends, discovered passions within myself that I didn't even know existed and even created a part-time job for myself whilst I'm studying. I owe a lot to the world of blogging.

That being said, I don't mind admitting that aspects of it have slightly pissed me off in recent months. And by "slightly" I mean, "enough for me to writing a blog post about it instead of watching Jane the Virgin".

Girl Love #9

Some days I wake up and feel like I've hit the ground running. I get out of bed, pour myself a glass of cranberry juice (gotta keep that urinary tract in order, ladies) and am pretty much instantly ticking things off my to-do list. And you guys know how much of a thrill I get from ticking things off my to-do list. Other days...not so much.

Like yesterday, for example. It was rainy outside and my motivation was at a solid 0.8/10. So, I stayed in bed, watched Jane the Virgin and ate Quality Street until I only had the strawberry creams left. But I think it's safe to say that I needed it because I had the best night's sleep I've had in what feels like years. I think that I'm slowly but surely learning that my self-worth is not dependent on my productivity. I'm coming to terms with the fact that, not only are self-care days okay, but that they are completely necessary. It was bloody glorious to have a total lazy day and it's left me feeling pumped to face what I'm hoping will be a productive Friday.

Social media and my creativity

Since the beginning of the year and resolving that I would spend less time on my phone in 2017, I've been thinking a lot about the role that social media plays in my life. I've become acutely aware of just how rocky our relationship is. On the one hand, it's a huge part of my business and allows me to work from home whilst I'm studying. On the other, one of my favourite things to use it for is to watch people cutting sand in Instagram videos. It walks a weird and fine line between work and relaxation which can make getting pretty much anything - be it writing a blog post or actually switching off at the end of the day - that little bit more complicated.

Whilst it's great to feel like a tweet-scheduling powerhouse, I do find that the almost constant presence of social media in my life makes grasping hold of rare moments of creative inspiration even more difficult. Being the infuriatingly introspective person that I am, I've given a tonne of thought to why this might be and have pretty much concluded that the reasons are threefold.

Lube and why you need to check the label

Lube has got a pretty bad rep. Well, everything related to sex has a pretty bad rep in this society, but lube particularly so. I don’t know whether it’s because people think that women should be capable of being wet at the drop of a hat on a 24/7 basis or just because people get nervous talking about bodily functions. Either way, it carries with it a massive stigma that means a lot of people are embarrassed to buy it, let alone whip it out in the bedroom. For the sake of orgasms everywhere, that’s something that needs to stop.

If you’ve never used the stuff before, then forget what your pride is trying to tell you because it’s going to change your life. Or at least your sex life. Not only does extra slide make for a more pleasurable experience all round, but the lack of resistance makes it less likely that you will experience the pure fear of a broken condom. Plus, if you know what it feels like to have a bladder that is akin to the fiery pits of hell, you’ll be happy to know that a smoother experience can help to lower the chance of contracting a UTI. Win, win, win. 

5 ways I've updated my wardrobe without funding fast fashion

Once upon a time, in what feels like another life, I was a fashion blogger. Yep. A full on "weekly wishlist", "OOTD", "Trend alert!" kinda fashion blogger who prided herself on her ability to spot a Gucci dupe in any high street shop. My life revolved around trends and hanging around fashion week locations (the second best thing to actually being inside the shows themselves, as far as I was concerned) from the ages of about 14 to 17. It was a good time whilst it lasted and I'm still proud of a lot of the opportunities that I created through it, but it's safe to say that I've changed a tad. And that my adoration of fashion has simmered down considerably.

It's also got a lot less clear cut since discovering just how morally fucked up the fast fashion industry really is. As I discussed in my first post for Fashion Revolution Week, the lack of transparency surrounding the clothes that most of us are buying is pretty terrifying. Due to a distinct lack of supply chain information and an ever growing demand for the 52 seasons of style that the fast fashion industry accommodates, we don't really have a concept of how much damage our purchases are doing.

Fashion Revolution Week: How ethical is my wardrobe?

This week marks 4 years since the Rana Plaza Disaster, possibly the most powerful example of how much our society values convenience and a bargain over anything else. It was the day on which 1,138 garment factory workers died due to a building collapse, despite the fact that companies were warned to evacuate the premises. Of course, that would have meant losing profit. And there is nothing to fast fashion businesses more important than profit, not the lives of the people that make their clothes and not the environment that their harmful practices are killing.

Which is exactly why Fashion Revolution Week is so needed. It's a time for us to all come together and demand transparency within the fashion industry, by asking brands 'who made my clothes'? That means no more confusing labels, fake activism or supply chains that are impossible to track down.  All we're asking for is some honesty so that we know whether anybody has suffered for the clothes that we buy.

Earth Day: Small changes I've been making

Sometimes, I really hate humans. In fact, oftentimes I really hate humans. That's not to say that I don't have individuals I'm pretty fond of (Elizabeth Gilbert, Beyoncé, Bob Ross), but I have to admit that as a collective we're pretty shit. Once you've realized how much we value convenience (as in, more than we value the actual world that we live in), it's hard to not wonder when the hell we're going to get our sustainability act together. It's almost like we forget that we're not the only ones that live on this beautiful lil' planet.

The thing is, the habits that are scarily quickly killing our planet are completely unnecessary. But they are habits, which means it takes a little bit of focus to get yourself out of them. Personally, I think that the best way to do so is to scare /educate yourself. Watch documentaries, read articles and talk to people about everything that we're doing wrong and how we can make it right. Or at least more right.

Over the past few months, partially inspired by Ariel Bisset's video on sustainability and partially inspired by the ticking time bomb that was my conscience, I've been making some changes. Small changes that are pretty insignificant as far as my daily life is concerned, but changes that all add up to help reduce plastic pollution, the emission of greenhouse gasses and unnecessary consumption. So, since it's Earth Day, I thought I would share them with you.

Why I've started a Youtube channel

I've just done something so simultaneously scary and exciting that I might actually throw up any second now. So, just a warning before you decide to move along with this post: by the end, it could be puke filled.

By now you've probably figured out that I'm pretty keen on putting my opinions on the internet. Not in a Katie Hopkins kind of way, but in "aw I really like talking to people that share similar beliefs to me" kind of way. It's not just a case of having the opportunity to be creative and to get a bit of catharsis (although, that's great too), I just really appreciate the conversation that online content creation allows for. This little space that I've built has taught me an overwhelming amount about myself and the world and it's also given me the chance to share lessons I've learned which hopefully help you.

Instagram accounts that it's totally okay to unfollow

Let's be real, it's 'okay' to unfollow whoever you bloody well want to unfollow. It's just Instagram and it is well and truly not that deep. But, I would be lying if I told you that I haven't ever experienced "unfollow guilt" and the subsequent internal monologue regarding whether they'll actually notice it if I re-follow them. Like, will they think I was checking their profile and accidentally clicked unfollow and am totally chill or will they see right through my guilt laced re-follow?

The politics of social media is exhausting, but you do have the option to forgo it or, alternatively, stick the middle finger emoji up at it.

As I've said before, for the sake of my mental health I've really started monitoring the way that I use apps like Instagram. Mainly that's manifested in not spending so much of my life on them because it kind of leaves me feeling like I have a million voices shouting their opinions in my face at once. Or at least shouting what they had for brunch in my face. Recently though, I realised that in a "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" kinda way, I desperately need to get rid of accounts that don't bring me joy from my feed.

Giveaway: One day to go!

With only one day left in my Punky Pins X Mel Stringer giveaway, I thought a lil' reminder was in order! You could win the whole collection (8 pins worth a total of £56) in all of its body posi glory. Enter the giveaway here and keep your fingers crossed because I can't wait to send these beauties to one of you. Be sure to also run over to my twitter and Instagram for extra entries.

Good luck, angels!

A personality test read me like a book

For those of you that don't know me, I'm a bit of a Hamlet. Not in terms of having a life goal to avenge my father's murder, but in terms of being one of the most introspective bastards around. I spend a lot of my time thinking. Mainly, thinking about either the universe's conception or my place within it. So, as well as keeping me awake at night, that means that I put an absurd amount of energy into contemplating how I work. What makes me angry and why it makes me angry. Whether I'm an introvert, an extrovert or a mix of the two. Why I'm so incapable of working on uni group projects without having a near mental break down. That sorta thing.

So when I was introduced to the wonder of the Myers-Briggs personality test, my mind was mildly blown. "Wait, so these aren't just the kinds of things that you find in the back of tween magazines?!" It's not like I need an excuse to think more about my personality, but this gave me one and I'm pretty damn happy about it.

But seriously, I think learning to recognise your strengths and weaknesses is important. If you know that you're not good at the whole team work thing, then you know that you might need to focus on your breathing a bit more when you're doing a group project at work. You can learn to make the world work to your advantage, and what's not to love about that? So whilst this is a totally self-indulgent post in which I do my favourite thing (talk about me), I do find it genuinely amazing how accurate and helpful this little quiz can be.

Apparently, I'm type ENFJ-T, which sounds very scientific indeed, so I obviously innately trust it.

Tween magazines have improved, but they need to do better

When I was a youngster, getting a magazine felt like the single biggest treat in the world. Mainly I think it’s because they gave out free purple lip gloss and clumpy mascara that allowed me to morph into an MUA at every sleepover I attended, but I also liked finding out which member of the Zoey 101 cast I was via the medium of flow chart quizzes. Plus, I always felt like whipping a copy of Mizz out during break time would give me extra cool points (and I was a distinctly uncool kid, so I needed as many as I could get).

On a recent trip to buy an absurd amount of metallic stationary I came face to face with tween magazine nostalgia. It reminded me of just how dedicated I was to begging my parents to buy me one every time I walked past a corner shop. But aside from essentially asking my Dad to remortgage our house so that I could get stickers of S-Club Junior, I’m pretty sure that I would do anything that those pages told me. They were essentially my bible, which made me wonder whether they were teaching me the kinds of things that I would want to teach younger me given the opportunity.

Taxes, spirituality and how those two things are actually related

You don't need to tell me. I know that this post has the potential to be a rather bloody boring one. And if you clicked on it then I'm sure it was more a case of "why the hell is Beth writing about taxes?" than "wow, that sounds jolly enjoyable". Don't worry, I don't blame you.

I promise though, when I jotted this idea down on my monthly blog brainstorm, there was more thought behind it than just telling you about the fact that Hurray! It's time to get my shit together and learn how to fill out tax returns and...erm that sort of stuff. Nor has this turned into the type of blog that gives you hints and tips on how to be a blogger (and, ipso facto, how to not get the tax man knocking on your door because you've been busy sweeping business matters under the Instagrammable rug).

The truth is, that me figuring out how to manage my money isn't just a matter of practicality. This is a manifestation exercise, my chums.

The way that we talk about food

We all exist within a society that ceaselessly celebrates "thin" and condemns "fat" and, for most of us, we are participants in that culture whether we realise it or not. It's ingrained in the world that we've always known. It's in the language. It's in the media that surrounds us. And, perhaps most scarily, it's there in our brains every single time we think about eating. Food isn't just something that we need to survive anymore, but a complex factor of a goal orientated society.

Food has become a way of measuring our worth.

How to become a more sexual person

Over the past year I feel like I've really started tapping into my sexuality. Something shifted within me and I was able to begin ignoring the shame-filled rhetoric that has been drilled into me ever since those early biology lessons. Basically, I freed myself of everything that society tries to tell us repeatedly about sex and the female body. I embraced the sensual side of my personality and realised the power that it has.

Sex is powerful not just because it "sells" or because we think about it around 10 times a day on average, but because of how it can make you feel. When I talk about "sexuality", I'm not thinking of it as an exclusive club. You don't need to have had sex with more than ten people, less than ten people, or anyone at all for that matter, to be in tune with sexual energy. I feel like everybody is naturally drawn to it but the shame stops causes them to deny themselves. So, for me at least, this shift in perspective has meant thinking openly about sex as a form of self-care. I'm not suggesting that it's easy. This ain't a Lush bubble bath or a bar of chocolate. But when you finally realise that your sexuality is strong and natural and, most importantly, fun, it feels like a weight has been lifted.

I think one of the most important steps to reaching that point is the normalisation of sex-related conversation. That means online and off (it's time to say goodbye to all of the shamers in your circles). I've reached a point now where my life is filled with sex positivity and it is bloody glorious, so I decided to share some of my favourite creators to help you along on this journey with yourself.

4 ways that self help has changed my life

As I've said before, I'm a total self-help whore. No matter how many side-eye glances I get whilst reading something emblazoned with the words "The Law of Attraction" whilst on the tube, it's the book genre that I'm endlessly drawn to. I'm totally aware that it makes me sound like the kind of person that might have an extensive stamp collection on display in their spare room and/or carries an array of crystals in her bag, but I personally think that self-help has an unnecessarily narrow reputation. 

Honestly, I feel like everybody should be reading it. Sitting down with a bit of self-help and a cuppa is like having those late night chats where people open their soul up to you. What's not to love about learning life lessons without the life struggle part?

In my endless pursuit to encourage people to take a trip to the self-help isle of the book shop (you can wait until nobody's around if you want), today I thought I would share with you four of the most game changing lessons that I've learnt from four of the most badass self-help books I own.

Dreamy feminist pins by Punky Pins X Mel Stringer

As anybody who knows me is already fully aware, I adore wearing my feminism for the whole world to see. That means T-shirts with boobs on them, slogans that smash the patriarchy and brands that support women (instead of just pretending to). So, when I heard about the new Punky Pins X Mel Stringer collaboration in all of its body posi glory, I was more than a little excited*. 

If you haven't heard of these two absolute powerhouses yet, then your online feminist life isn't complete. Mel is an Australian based artist who creates self-love filled illustrations that don't shy away from nipplesfat or the fact that everybody has shit days. Basically, she's the antidote that we all need to the media's constant policing of the female body. Punky Pins are an equally badass brand who  make pins that are impossible not to fall in love with. I mean, who wouldn't want to have a "cuterus" on their denim jacket? Together they've created what can only be described as the most adorable way to remind yourself daily of how awesome you and your body are.

A letter to my future son

Dear Future Son,

I've always thought I'd be better at raising a baby girl, so I'm writing this letter in a state of panic that I might have messed you up in some irreversible way. It's not that I don't want a boy, I just feel like it's not my area of expertise. So, I hope that you don't hate me. In fact, I secretly hope that you're a massive Mummy's boy and always will be.

Now, at age 20, the prospect of Motherhood absolutely terrifies me. It just seems like a lot of pressure and I get a bit emotional thinking about how I'm going to create a decent essay, so I don't know how I'll deal with forming an actual human. But, hey, maybe one day I'll decide that I'm up to the challenge. If that day comes, I hope that I remember what it was like growing up. I hope that I can draw on everything my parents and my life have taught me, without becoming blinded by my love of you. I suppose this letter is a way of holding myself accountable and getting me to remember my core beliefs, even as motherhood inevitably changes me.

An ode to period tracking

A few days ago I found myself sitting with the nurse at my local doctor’s surgery, preparing to be reintroduced to my old friend the speculum. Like many of these kinds of appointments, I was being asked question after question regarding my body. Am I on the pill? Do I smoke? Have I ever been pregnant? Is there any chance that I’m pregnant now? When was my last period? How long is my average cycle? Can I list all of the noble gasses in the periodic table?

That sort of thing. 

5 natural (and cheap) skincare products that really work

If you had to do a double-take then I don't blame you but, yes, you are indeed reading a post on Curly and Wordy. And no, I haven't suddenly decided to switch directions and become a beauty blogger, even though I've done a whole two posts dedicated to cosmetics in the past week. There are hundreds of people that can do that job better than me. I mean, I don't even own a 'Silisponge' and I hear that that's a bit of a club requirement.

Sometimes though, it's nice to take a break from talking about feminism and self-reflection to discuss something that has changed your life in a tiny way. Sure, it's not going to solve the gender pay gap but it is pretty nice to feel pampered whilst you're fighting the patriarchy.

All of these products have been absolute game changers in my morning and evening regimens and I can safely say that my skin is in the best condition it has ever been. Whilst I think a lot of that has to do with ditching foundation 90% of the time, I also feel like these bad boys have a lot to be thanked for. Not only are they cruelty-free, but they're completely natural and work out to be lovely and cheap because of how long they all last. Yay for products that mean you can do good for your skin and the environment on a student budget!

On noticing that I've stopped learning

Today I came to a scary realisation: I don't think I've learnt a new skill for the past two years.

I mean, sure I've probably unconsciously absorbed lessons like "how to not piss off your lecturer" and "how to portion control spaghetti so that you haven't got enough to feed a small village", but since starting uni I don't think I've sat down and done something completely new. My whole life is so focused on honing the skills that I already have - the essay writing and the SEO tactics  - that I kind of forgot how fun it is to learn something without the intention of absolutely mastering it.

When I was 11 I was learning how to say my age in Spanish, what the footwork rule is in netball was and how to execute a decent looking train stitch all in the space of a week. The idea of that baffles me now! I've got lazy. There aren't really any teachers telling me what to learn and when to learn it anymore, so it's become easy to just stick to the stuff I know. And whilst that's a great thing as far as having to study algebraic equations is concerned, I can't help but feel like I'm slowly turning my brain to sludge. After all, I could be an expert harpist stuck in the body of a lifestyle blogger who has just never had the oppurtunity to express herself via the medium of perfectly tuned strings, ya know?

How cruel is my bathroom cupboard?

Back in January, I decided that 2017 was going to be the year I was a more conscious consumer. From what I put in my stomach to what I put on my face, I made it one of my New Year's resolutions to only support companies that deserve it. I'm aware of the power that my money has and I decided to stop giving that power to brands that perpetuate the mistreatment of people, animals or the environment.

Obviously, as exciting and liberating as that is, it's also a pretty daunting task. After a little bit of research I realized that years of mindless shopping would mean me having to throw out 80% of what I owned if I wanted a completely clean slate. But you're girl is a student who can't afford to replace everything she owns instantly with the ethical alternative. So, I've been taking baby steps in the hopes that by the end of the year that will add up to miles. As you guys know, I was inspired by Leena Norms to start with my makeup bag and found out that 72% of its contents was keeping bunnies hopping in fields as opposed to in cages. When the time comes that anything in that remaining 28% needs to be replaced, I'll hunt down an equally badass cruelty-free alternative. Goodbye to my favourite BB Cream, but hello to feeling guilt free whilst I get ready! 

Today I decided it was time to take another positive step in the cosmetics department and analyze my bathroom cupboard. That means everything from dry shampoo to shower gel to bath bombs has gone under the microscope. And by "microscope" I mean the app Cruelty Cutter and the website Logical Harmony

12 things that happen when you're obsessed with wellness blogs

Ask anybody that knows me and they'll probably tell you that I'm a "little bit of a hippie". As much as I may protest that fact (I wear jeans, dammit), I have to admit that even as I write this post I'm sat with a cup of fresh ginger tea and am diffusing lavender oil. I don't know how it happened, one day I just looked up and owned a Himalayan salt lamp! The truth is that I kind of fell into the online world of wellness and decided to stick around for a bit.

If you're anything like me and have found a passion for essential oils and pre-lecture yoga sequences thanks to the online sphere, I'm sure you'll recognise these 12 side effects of wellness addiction.

How you can download better sleep

I feel like 90% of my Bloglovin' feed these days revolves around sleep. Be it how to banish coffee after 4pm or the 75 bedtime meditation practices that you need in your life, one thing is clear: The bloggersphere is pretty bloody keen on getting the most out of their 8 hours. And so, being the contrary little bugger that I am, I didn't want to write this post.

I've been sitting on it for months now. "Sure, I'll tell all of my real-world friends about how my sleeping patterns have been utterly revolutionized, but I refuse to add to the online conversation. I refuse to be that blogger. And whilst I'm at it let me throw away all of my beautiful little cacti plants because I need to be, like, different."

Then I realized how full of crap and embarrassing I was being and this post was (finally) born. It's sensible, hopefully helpful to anybody else who struggles getting to sleep, and not at all #edgy. Enjoy!

Porn, feminism, and why it needs to be talked about

I like to think that watching porn is the sexual equivalent of peeing in the shower or picking your nose: Nobody talks about it, but most people do it. And if it did happen to come up in conversation, those people would act disgusted and wear a face that said something along the lines of "Porn? Oh darling no, I read Oscar Wilde and drink chai tea in my spare time". Perhaps it's a habit that develops a little later in life than the nose picking thing, but the point still stands. 64 million of us are logging onto Porn Hub every single day, but that's a statistic that polite society chooses to ignore. We're sticking it to the underside of the table, if you will.

I fear that this metaphor has got away from me, so I'm abandoning it now.

Podcasts are the baby sister of self-help

In yesterday's post I admitted that I'm a total self-help whore. Whether it's an explanation on the law of attraction or the memoir of someone who has lived a generally kickass life, I'm pretty much sold. Especially if it has an extremely Instagramable front cover (Sophia Amoruso and #GirlBoss I'm looking at you). It's an addiction, really.

But I'm also distinctly aware that self-help as a genre has a bit of a bad rep. It kind of screams "I just got a divorce and got made redundant and bought pleather leggings because I think they'll get me laid", doesn't it? So whilst I'm pretty keen on getting everybody I know to dive head first into all of my book recommendations, I know that probably ain't gonna happen any time soon. Which is why I want to introduce you to some of my favourite podcasts, the baby, but just as badass sister of self-help. They're little segments of inspiration that you don't have to to commit 7 hours of your life to.

How I've stuck to my New Year's resolutions

The start of 2017 was different. I entered into the New Year with a distinct sense of calm and no sassy Instagram post or pep talk about how I'm a total badass in sight. In a way that I'd never experienced before, I felt certain that the 365 that lay ahead of me were going to be bloody glorious. I didn't begin 2017 with a fighting attitude. I kind of just knew that this time we were working together.

I know what you're thinking: "Wow someone's been listening to one too many self-help books on the bus. I bet you drink soy lattes too!". Well, you wouldn't be wrong. Except about the soy latte thing because I get almond milk. But it's true that I'm officially a self-help book whore. As I've said before, I think that their bad rep is totally unjustified. Clearly the influence that they have in my life is working because, for possibly the first time ever, it's March and I haven't yet abandoned all of my 2017 goals. Cue the streamers and the conga line! To be honest, it's painfully obvious now why going into the year feeling like I'm about to start a fight with everything that is natural to me probably wasn't ever going to work. You live and you learn, I guess.

In what is simultaneously a public pat on the back and a reminder to myself that life is just dandy, I thought I would share how I've been continuously working towards my New Year's resolutions.

Girl Love #8

As I write this post I am still firmly riding the waves of International Women's Day and the Turn Passion into Pounds event combined. Seeing so many people come together to celebrate just how amazing women are has had me walking with a particular spring in my step over the past couple of days. Add in the fact that I can actually see the sun outside, and it's not hard to understand why my inspiration levels are at their peak.

Whilst I'm in this head space - which will hopefully last, erm, forever - it seemed only right to do another post for my Girl Love series. It's been a while, so I've got three absolutely badass business women to share with you to get your week off to a positive start. So, grab yourself a cuppa and be warned that you might just get hooked.

4 lessons from the "Turn Passion into Pounds" event

As someone who is building an online business, one of my biggest struggles has been not knowing who to go to with my questions. There's no office door that I can knock on for advice, because (apparently) I'm the boss. And, let's be honest, there's only so much that a girl can google! Whilst having the chance to work from the comfort of my room at uni is a total blessing, it can also be a lot of pressure. Sometimes I feel like I need my own personal guru to guide me through SEO, scheduled tweets and how to stay sane as someone who is self-employed.

So, when I was offered the opportunity to attend the "Turn Passion into Pounds" event at the British Library, I was basically already on the train there a week in advance to make sure that I wasn't late! It didn't even cross my mind to pass up the opportunity to hear from such a fabulous panel of powerful women. The event was hosted by Jessica Huie MBE who is the CEO of  Jessica Huie PR and Colour Blind Cards and Vicki Psarias, professional blogger and creator of Honest Mum. But the inspiration didn't end there. Also on the panel was Jo Morrell, co-founder of The Pool, Natasha Courtenay-Smith, journalist and author of "The Million Pound Blog" and publishing guru Alison Jones.

The whole evening was truly amazing, not just because it meant I was able to soak up every bit of advice from these absolute power houses, but because I got to talk to so many other amazing women. I met dress designers, social media experts, and writers, all of whom inspired me with their journeys and their persistence. Sitting on the train home, I felt nourished.

For those of you that weren't lucky enough to get tickets, I thought I would share with you the four biggest lessons I took away from the evening.
Natasha Courtenay-Smith
Jo Morell, co-founder of The Pool and former MD of Bauer Publishing, Natasha Courtenay-Smith, journalist and author of The Million Pound Blog and publishing guru, Alison Jones. - See more at: https://www.bl.uk/events/turn-your-passion-into-pounds-international-womens-day-event#sthash.zPEjbo36.dpuf
Jo Morell, co-founder of The Pool and former MD of Bauer Publishing, Natasha Courtenay-Smith, journalist and author of The Million Pound Blog and publishing guru, Alison Jones. - See more at: https://www.bl.uk/events/turn-your-passion-into-pounds-international-womens-day-event#sthash.zPEjbo36.dpuf

Lessons that I will teach my daughter

Today is one of those days that prompts me to think extra hard about just how amazing us women are. I am endlessly inspired by the power, creativity, compassion and persistence of each and every one of you. Being a part of the girl gang, being a part of the positive change, is how I know that the future is going to be beautiful. When I think about the fact that it's my friends - online and offline - that are going to be raising and paving the way for the next generation, I feel giddy. Together, we are going to create such badass, intersectional feminist babies! And I'm not just talking about forming them in our wombs. I'm talking about the policy makers, the teachers, the writers, the creators, the fighters that are forming a different world for our future girl bosses.

Blogs and Books Club: Letters to my Fanny

After hearing about “Letters to my Fanny” a few months ago, I just knew that it needed to be one of the books that we read for the Blogs and Books club. The author Cherry Healey – who has been involved with some bloody amazing lifestyle documentaries - says, “This book is a love letter, to my body”. And if there’s a piece of literature that has the ability to make me internally shout “yessssss” in a book shop louder than this one, I’m yet to find it. 

My Period Essentials

This post is brought to you from a little Sunday cocoon of comfort. I’ve got a constant stream of tea. I spent my morning watching the Tony Robbins documentary on Netflix. I’m already dreaming about the sweet chilli salmon pasta I have planned for dinner. Basically, aside from the fact that I have cramps that feel like they were birthed from the fiery pits of hell, this day is shaping up to be pretty lovely.

As I’ve spoken about before, I’ve come to terms with the whole “bleeding from my vagina once a month” thing. I would even go as far as saying that I love my period now. And whilst I know that a lot of that that was about mentally ridding myself of the negative stigma that society places on a woman’s bodily functions, I also believe that it had a lot to do with finding what works for my body. Over the past year that’s meant trying new menstrual related products and getting out of the mind set that ibuprofen is the only thing that can save me.

It’s been enlightening and unbelievably freeing, which is why I thought I would talk to you today about my period essentials in the hopes that it will encourage you to expand your menstrual horizons.

Feminism sells and brands know it

With the world in the state that it’s in right now, it’s not surprising that people are craving positive change. In the past year the power of prejudice has made itself even more clear. And while it’s pretty bloody terrifying, it’s made the world notice how important it is to continue talking about injustice when we see it. I feel like a lot of us have become more vocal about our beliefs and recognized that the “sweep it under the rug so as not to offend people” technique doesn’t get us very far.

We’re all wearing our metaphorical activist badges with pride.

How social media has redefined healthy relationships

If you’ve ever been around me whilst I’m scrolling through Twitter, in all likelihood you would have heard me shout the words “Jesus, is the bar really that low?” Usually, these outburst are sparked by a pair of matching Timberlands, an excessively large teddy bear or a print screen of someone texting their girlfriend to tell her that, if they don’t reply fast, it’s because they’re busy. All three of which tend to be placed in the area of the online universe that I hate the most: #RelationshipGoals. Because, why aspire to have a committed relationship built on mutual trust, respect and communication when you can have matching shoes, ammirite?

Now, that’s not to say that I wouldn’t be pretty bloody happy to spontaneously be given a giant teddy bear. But, I worry that we’re placing too much importance on the signs of affection that we can post about online. I realised recently whilst I was trying to get to sleep (obviously, because that’s when anything interesting comes into my brain) that social media has truly revolutionised the way that we experience relationships. That’s not always necessarily a bad thing. It means that people have access to information on how to form healthy bonds. It means that people have more ways to meet “the one”. It means that we have access to a tonne of platforms where we can digitally store our memories together for years to come. It’s all pretty cool. But I also worry that the internet has redefined what we view as being healthy in a relationship and that scares me. I feel like we’re often just sitting here, validating someone’s unfulfilling or unhealthy experience and telling the world that it’s normal or, if it matches their insta theme, #goals.

I give you permission

If there’s one thing that religiously listening to self-help podcasts and treating Elizabeth Gilbert as the Messiah has taught me, it’s that people are always looking for permission in their lives. They want their parents to approve of their career choice. They want to fit into what society deems as a “secure job”. They want their Snapchat followers to respect their grind. Basically, we all want a pat on the back and to be told that we’re doing a fab job.

But, if there’s one more thing that I’ve learnt throughout my self-love journey, it’s that successful people don’t ask for permission to be successful. They set their gaze firmly forwards and just start moving. Obviously, that’s more easily said than done. I for one still crave positive feedback. God knows how I’m going to cope when I’m at uni and don’t have lecturers to suck up to constantly! I’m a work in progress though. So, even though I’m not completely immune to it, I’m trying.