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.


Giveaway: 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.