1. You promise to message and meet up all the time.

text-ok

2. You judge each other’s uniform.

Total idiot gif

3. They quickly find new friends and you get protective. How dare they.

Big Brother 'who is she?' gif

4. You stalk everyone involved in any second of your spare time.

Modern Family stalk gif

5. You debate joining a sports team just so you can go to their school and fight the new friends.

What team gif

6. Your best friend starts to change and you don’t like it. At all. You agreed Snapchat filters were overrated and now look! She’s wearing a flower crown!

Shady Real Housewives gif

7. The “Do you mind if so-and-so comes?” texts start to roll in and encroach on your BFF time.

She doesn't even go here gif

8. Your parents start to ask why you haven’t mentioned your best friend in ages.

fine I don't know gif

9. But then, suddenly, they turn up in your Facebook messages when something goes wrong. They need you and only you.

Best friend back

10. And you realise that no matter where you are, how you’ve changed, and what you’re doing, that’s just life and you’ll always be each other’s number one.

Flying hug gif

10a. (Fine, and the new friends are actually ok…)

Easy A screaming gif

@louisejonesetc

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Cartwheels, leotards, THE SPLITS – gymnastics might sound like the most terrifying activity you could ever attempt on your period, but for those of us who love it and don’t want our bodies to hold us back (like, evereverever) you can totally still participate in gym. Yep, even if you’re bleeding.

How, you shriek? What if my pad looks massive and slides out of place, how the heck do I even attach it because I can’t use wings, or what if my tampon string hangs out in the middle of a backbend? The period terror is real.

Well don’t fret, back-flipping dreamers. One of team betty actually used to be a fancy pants gymnast and has a few helpful tips for you…

Double up

If you’re a bit of a pro, you’re probably used to whipping off all your underwear before you slip into your leotard – after all, knickers on show underneath your super glitzy competition outfit is not the one. But if you’re on your period, an extra layer between your vagina and your costume could be the difference between a flawless floor routine and one that’s accessorised with blood. Just try high-cut knickers if you’re worried about flashing and go for a pair that’s the same colour as your leotard.

Prep your pants

If you think you might-maybe-possibly-a-tiny-bit be about to come on your period, prep those knickers! Use those high-cut undies to the max and make sure you stick in a panty liner – even if the chances of you coming on are literally 1%. You can’t be too careful, especially if your feet are going behind your head at any point.

Try tampons

Never tried using tampons before? Well, this might be the perfect time to give them a go. Ask your mum to pick some up from the supermarket or pop to the shops after school then block out some bathroom time to perfect your technique. Chances are you probably won’t nail it the first time, the second, probably even the third time, but if you stay super relaxed you might be able to slide it in just fine. All you need to think about come competition time is tucking in your string and smiling!

You do you

No matter how much you want to compete or take part in your fave weekend club, if you’re not feeling up to it just stay at home! There’s absolutely no shame in looking after yourself and giving your body what it needs to get through your time of the month, whether you’re suffering from cramps, headaches or you’re just tired out. Period.

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

You know your period? That friend that shows up every month, whether you want it to or not, and stays for about a week. It may eat you out of house and home, or occasionally make you want to curl up and die, but it isn’t unfamiliar. From the first telltale cramp to that final uncomfortable tampon, you know your period inside-out.

Or do you? Unsurprisingly, periods are complicated business, scientifically and historically speaking. So sit back and let us hit you with some AMAZING PERIOD FACTS.

Sitting comfortably? Well, just wait.

1. You can get your PERIOD in your NOSE

Okay, well, you probably won’t, but it’s called ‘vicarious menstruation‘ and it involves bleeding from somewhere that isn’t your uterus. Women have bled from their eyes, noses and even lungs during their periods, and it occurs because your blood capillaries all over your body soften during menstruation, and sometimes allow blood to come out. It’s okay, it’s very, very rare.

2. Periods are more painful in the cold

Cold weather can also make your period last longer and be heavier. Hooray for living on an island stuck between the Atlantic and the chilly North Sea! Let’s all move to Spain!

3. You sound uglier during your moon time

NB: This is not us dissing you, this is science. Researchers tested the same women’s voices at different times of the month, and participants could identify not only when the women were on their period – purely from listening to their voices – but also that they sounded ‘less attractive’ when they were.

4. Periods can make you stupidererer

Researchers at the University of Bath have found that women’s cognitive abilities actually take a slight dive during menstruation. Here’s the link to the study so you can send it to your teacher next time they say you’re less than stellar.

5. Humans, humpback whales and elephants are the only animals that go through menopause

Hey, Moby Dick and Dumbo! Menopause REPRESENT!

6. But only the macaque monkey has anything close to a human menstrual cycle, at 29 days

So remember to fistbump the next macaque monkey you see!

7. You don’t bleed as much as you think you do

Yes, although on bad days it can feel like a gory horror movie in your underpants, you actually only lose about a cup of blood per period. The rest of it is bits of your uterine lining and (sorry) mucus.

8. Some women have longer cycles than others because their eggs are lazy

Well, not lazy, but some people’s cycles take 31 days because, after ovulation, their eggs take the scenic route travelling down the fallopian tubes to the uterus.

9. Those clots? They’re made by CONTRACTIONS

Yes, contractions like labour contractions. When you have period cramps, your uterus contracts. When this happens very frequently it can stop your blood from thinning out before it comes out, resulting in clots. (Don’t worry, a few 5p-sized clots a day is totally normal.)

10. In fact, your body mimics pregnancy symptoms in the run-up to your period

Cramping, nausea, tiredness, bloating, abdominal pain, bad moods, sensitive breasts and out-of-control appetites. The symptoms of PMS are astonishingly close to those of early pregnancy, so basically a) give yourself a break if your period is on its way, and b) be nice to a pregnant lady today.

11. And, talking of pregnancy, you can get pregnant during your period

Sperm can live for up to five days in the vagina, so if you ovulate soon after your period, you could technically get pregnant. Although it’s unlikely. Store away that info for if/when you need it.

12. In fact, in the Middle Ages, people thought that red-haired people were conceived during a period

Which makes a wonky sort of sense, so long as you don’t think about it too hard.

fred and george weasley

13. Girls used to start menstruating at 16

Even as relatively recently as the 1800s, girls didn’t get their periods until they were well into their teens. Today, whereas, the average age to reach puberty is 12 – better nutrition and more stress are to blame, says science.

14. Menstrual blood used to cure everything from headaches to warts

At least people thought it did in Olden Times. Menstrual blood was used as medicine for a number of conditions, including leprosy, plague, and DEMONIC POSSESSION. It was also used in love charms, but you shouldn’t probably try this at home. If only because it’d be so messy.

15. Women used to menstruate during the new moon

In really Olden Times there was no artificial lighting, and some scientists believe that women originally ovulated when the moon was full, and started menstruating when it was new.

16. Some scientists also think that artificial lights influence women’s periods

Scientists have proved that using artificial lights during the night can shorten menstrual cycles, so who knows what effect everyday lighting has had across the world.

17. There is a Disney movie about your period

In 1946, Walt Disney made an educational animated film called The Story of Menstruation. It’s not cute and it doesn’t feature any snowmen – but it is thought to be the first film to ever use the word “vagina”, so that’s nice.

18. Retail fever hits you two weeks before your period, says science

In a study at the University of Hertfordshire, scientists found that women were more likely to go shopping 10 days before their period started than at any other time of the month. So now you know when to lock up your wallet.

19. Under 18? Got irregular periods? Don’t worry, it’s normal

It’s just your body settling into its rhythm.

And finally…

20. “Tampon” is French for “plug”

Ahhh, Fronshe. Zer language of larve. So romantique.

@orbyn

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Katie Edmunds

Ahh jealousy: the green-eyed monster – the “ulcer of the soul” according to Socrates, a philosopher, poet and all-round ancient wise guy.

The fact that Socrates was born in circa 470 BC in Athens gives you some idea of just how old and stubborn this monster is. It is universal. And when our old pal William Shakespeare first coined the phrase ‘the green-eyed monster’ in Othello, he added “it mocks the meat it feeds on” – that is: you. Ouch.

Basically, there are no winners in jealousy; nothing to be gained. The object of your envy continues to ace life/love/work/the whole shebang, while you just flail around and feel bad about yourself. 

So is there way to prevent it? Or, when that queasy green feeling hits the pit of your stomach, make it disappear? Well, one thing that’s really important to remember when it comes to envy is that you are not alone: we’ve all felt it, and lots of us have even lost friends over it. But, from the best of my experience and those whose brains I have picked, here’s my best advice for keeping the monster at bay.

Say your congrats immediately 

Celebrate with them, whatever it is you’re obsessing over. As with any task in life, the longer you leave it the harder it is. You’ll start to look bitter, then you’ll feel more bitter, fearing that people might think that you’re bitter – and so on and so on into a green hole of ill feeling and pain.

Go the extra mile

If you can bear to meet the new boyfriend/girlfriend you’re so jealous of, then do it – they might make a great mate. They might have great mates. Likewise, if a celebration’s in order, be the one to send a card, or organise a surprise party. You’ll feel good about yourself, and they’ll love you for it. You know that saying, fake it ’til you make it? It’s the same with emotions. Act like you’re thrilled for them and have no jealousy whatsoever and pretty soon you’ll start to feel that way, too.

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em… 

One of the bestselling self-help books of all time is The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. It does exactly what it says on the cover, looking at everything from time management to ambition to healthy eating habits, and gives advice on how we can do them ourselves. Look beyond the success of the person you envy to the habits they have instead – and steal those habits. Maybe they’re early risers. Maybe they keep a to-do list. Look, listen and copy. Success rarely happens by chance. 

…or don’t join em. At all. 

Climb your own mountain! Whatever the object of your envy is doing – be it a sport, an instrument or an essay title – do something else. If it’s their wardrobe you’re loving so much, find your own style instead; open your eyes to other potential crushes; play a new tune. You won’t have time to worry about their victories if you’re working towards your ones, and your friendship will be stronger for it. Not everyone can be Serena and Venus Williams, so quit trying. 

Count your achievements

Actually don’t just count them – write them down, and reflect on each one. Yep, this is a bit immodest, but hey – no one’s looking, and the main source of jealousy is insecurity about your own worth. As any genuine interview with any celebrity will ever tell you, we all feel insecure now and again. If quietly listing your own successes is a way to fight that, then go for it: it’s only arrogance if you go trumpeting that list in people’s faces. Look at the list every morning until the envy is gone – and if you need to, listen to I Am What I Am while you do it and channel the fierceness of a five drag queens.

There you go. Better now?

@finney_clare 

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

“You don’t want to get too big, though, and start to look masculine”, was one of the completely unwelcome responses I received around three years ago when I was discussing having recently started lifting weights.

It’s odd how people take ownership of your body, isn’t it? How strangers hold very defined expectations and assume you’ll stick to them so that you remain acceptable in their eyes.

As women and girls, we are the recipients of a barrage of expectations and I often felt heavy with it. I was tired of feeling ‘less than’ or ‘not good enough’ and something needed to change. So I joined a gym and I got a personal trainer and I started lifting weights.

Girl power

For the first time in my life, I began to feel powerful. I started light and before long, weights that seemed impossible to lift in those first few weeks began to feel easy. My posture improved and I stood up tall for the first time in my life. I even started to stride into the men-centric weights room without a second thought.

With every extra kilogram I could lift, I gained an extra level of appreciation for what my body could do. It wasn’t just there for hanging clothes on or looking nice, it could shift big hunks of metal off the floor. That in turn meant I could lug my suitcase onto luggage racks without any help, carry the heaviest bags of shopping and, essentially, handle my own business. No assistance needed, thanks, me and my muscles have got this covered.

So if gaining strength did all that and more for me, why do people still insist it’s so terribly unladylike? Unfortunately it’s all to do with gender stereotypes. The ones society is supposedly leaving in its wake.

While I’d love to tell you that everyone thinks that girls and women can be whatever they want to be, some people don’t. Those people think all women should be dainty and delicate. They believe in outdated forms of masculinity and femininity and, in their eyes, strength and muscles are inherently masculine. Pfft.

I have a few things to say to those people and I’m not alone. For every misinformed, shouty, sexist internet person shouting about how muscles are for men, you’ll find a totally cool woman who knows that strength, health and fitness are for everyone, actually.

Girl gains

Enter: GirlGains. GirlGains started life as a hashtag, launched by three inspiring women; Zanna Van Dijk, Tally Rye and Victoria Spence. But it soon blossomed into something bigger as girls identified with the message of strength, capability and confidence that came with it. The GirlGains hashtag quickly passed the 50,000 post mark and transformed into a community backed up by monthly events.

The success of the movement is testament to just how many women and girls are feeling the benefit of strength training, not just physically but mentally and socially too. I asked the GirlGains founders about why it’s just so great:

“One of our favourite forms of exercise is lifting weights. Not only does it have a multitude of health benefits, including increasing bone density (especially important for us ladies), but it makes us feel empowered. There is nothing better than lifting a challenging weight and pushing your body to become stronger than ever before!”

It’s not about getting that perfect body or punishing yourself with hours on the treadmill, it’s about challenging yourself, testing your limits and finding a new found sense of positivity and determination.

If I’m ever feeling down, I know I can go to the gym and remind myself exactly how strong I am. I might turn up feeling stressed, useless or a bit lost but I’ll leave feeling accomplished and powerful.

And as for those ‘manly’ muscles? Well, I’m no Arnold Schwarzenegger but I do have a sly flex in the mirror every so often and I love that my biceps look defined and that my shoulders look strong. There’s no shame in building muscle; your body is yours to make exactly what you want of it.

Feeling inspired to start lifting weights? Follow these tips…

Start light

As tempting as it is, don’t try and lift the equivalent of your own body weight over your head on the first try! It can be frustrating when the person next to you is throwing 100kg around like it’s nothing but take your time and build up sensibly.

Get advice

It’s all too easy to injure yourself if you don’t practice proper form, so make sure you get some advice before you start. Luckily, this doesn’t have to mean shelling out for a personal trainer. Take advantage of free taster sessions, get a few pointers from a professional who works at your gym, ask a PE teacher or check out some YouTube videos and practice with no weight first.

Use a mirror

Seriously. Mirrors aren’t just for bros to check out their biceps in or for post-workout selfies, they’re there so you can make sure you’re using the correct technique. Find a spot in front of a mirror and watch out for anything you need to improve.

Don’t overdo it

Muscles need rest as much as they need training. Don’t go overboard and start lifting weights seven days a week. Make sure your schedule includes enough rest days, too.

Ready to go? Here’s to girls with muscles!

@SophieBenson

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Bring It On

If you have moles you’ve probably heard that changes to them can mean that there’s an underlying issue, but what exactly are you looking for when you check them yourself, and when do you need to seek professional help?

We asked Dr Anjali Mahto, consultant dermatologist and British Skin Foundation spokesperson, for her advice so you can be armed with the best info on how to keep your moles – and skin – safe.

Should I get my moles checked if they’ve always been there and haven’t changed shape or colour?

“It’s still worth checking them regularly just in case. The better you know your moles, the more likely you are to notice if there’s a change in the future.”

How often do I need to get my moles checked?

“Most dermatologists recommend you self-exam your skin on a monthly basis. The purpose of this is to detect unusual growths or changes early. The ideal time is probably after a bath or shower and should be carried out in a well-lit room with the aid of a full-length mirror.

“It is important to look closely at the entire body, including the scalp, buttocks and genitalia, palms and soles including the spaces between the fingers and toes. It may be helpful to seek assistance from a trusted individual to examine the hard-to-see areas.”

What could changes to my moles mean?

“Changes to a mole could mean skin cancer, so it’s always best to get it checked, rather than ignore it.”

What changes to my moles should I be looking out for?

“The acronym ABCDE can be extremely helpful in evaluating moles. If a mole shows any of these features, you should go and see your doctor:

Asymmetry: one half of the mole is different to the other

Border: irregular, scalloped or poorly defined edge

Colour: uneven colour or variable colours within a mole

Diameter: the mole is bigger than 6mm in size

Evolving: the mole is changing in its size, shape or colour

“Other signs to look out for include any new moles, a mole that looks significantly different to the others (known as the ‘ugly duckling’ sign), or any skin lesion that bleeds or fails to heal.

“The most important thing is to seek medical advice early. Any concerns should prompt a visit to a dermatologist, who will perform a full skin examination, and may go on to either remove a mole or take a sample or biopsy of any unusual growths or patches on the skin.”

Should I be using extra special sunscreen if I have moles?

“If you have very fair skin I would always recommend you use at least SPF30 or higher alongside other precautions, such as protective clothing and seeking shade between 11am-3pm, when the sun is strongest.

“Don’t forget to apply plenty of sunscreen at least 15 to 30 minutes before going outside. You’ll need to reapply at least every two hours or after swimming/sweating. Make sure you cover every area, as eyelids, feet, backs of legs, ears and lips can sometimes be forgotten!”

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Katie Edmunds

To tongue or not to tongue? That is the question… 

1. It’s totally going to happen isn’t it? I mean, why else would we both have left the main party (especially when the pizzas are about to arrive) to go for a ‘nice refreshing walk’ around this garden?

2. I mean what are we, 70? What teenager turns down Domino’s in favour of a ‘bit of fresh air’? 

3. And why did we both pick this ridiculously romantic cherry blossom tree to sit under? Eh? Even though this long grass could easily be hiding piles of dog poo. 

4. Actually that IS a worry….

5. WHEVS, I am about to have my first ever kiss! Under a CHERRY BLOSSOM TREE! Am pretty much a Jane Austen character.

6. Not that they ever kiss, actually. So rubbish for them. Bet sometimes all they wanted was to snog each other’s faces off.

7. Well don’t worry, Lizzie Bennett. This one’s for you! And it’s going to be the most romantic-novel-worthy kiss anyone’s ever seen.

8. Oh god, I hope no one sees.

9. Unless I’ve completely got the wrong end of the snog stick and they don’t want to kiss me at all? I mean, maybe we really have come out here to enjoy the air.

10. But then why would we have stopped talking and just been smiling awkwardly at each other for the last three minutes? And why would they be staring at me like that?

11. OH CRAP HAVE I GOT A BOGEY.  

12. Quick check: nope. All clear. And that was mega subtle bogey checking, too. Go me. Nailed it. Figuratively and literally.

13. So if it’s not bogey-related then this silent staring thing is clearly the beginnings of my first. Ever. Kiss. Eeeeeeee!

14. Um…. how does it start exactly? Do I just lean in and close my eyes and pout?

15. But then if they’re not into it I’ll just be left hanging there like some weird unconscious duck. And anyway, why can’t I make the fist move?

16. Nonononononononono I do NOT want to make the first move. What would I even do? Lunge at them? I may not know much about kissing but I know that THAT’S not cool.

17. Mmmm, maybe I could be like, “I’d really like to kiss you right now”…

18. Ugh no.

19. “I really like your lips”?

20. NOPE. You are not a stalker-slash-serial-killer.

21. Uhmmmmm…

22. WAIT! They’re doing the unconscious duck! They’re doing the unconscious duck! How long have they been doing that for?

23. Doesn’t matter! Don’t leave them hanging just KISS THEM you moron!

24. Oh god but what if I get it totally wrong?! What if I miss and kiss their chin or their nose or something? Is that… a thing? A sexy thing?

25. Ok. I’m going in.

26. Eyes open? Eyes closed? Eyes open? Eyes closed?!

27. And do I need to hold my breath, do we think? Can you kiss and breathe at the same time?

28. Better take an extra deep one, just in case.

29. Ok, Ok, they’ve been there for ages now, just go for it. Eyes closed, deep breath and…

30. NOSE CLASH! Noooooo! Kill me now.

31. Oh it’s ok, they’re laughing.

32. Laugh too, you idiot.

33. But now I’ve lost all my air! I am going to suffocate and die kissing! Although, not a bad way to go. In the grand scheme of things.

34. Oooh, they’ve got really soft lips. And they taste of Haribo. WHY did I go for the garlic bread over the Haribo at snack table? WHY?

35. Tbh if they don’t like garlic bread then they’re probably not worth kissing anyway.

36. Do I open my mouth? What if I accidentally drool on them? Or our teeth smash together?

37. Ok, they’re opening theirs. Better give this a go.

38. WOAH there with the tongue! Too much too much too much too- thank you! That’s better. 

40. Much better.

41. What do I do with my hands? Maybe stroke their face? No, that is their eye. You’ve poked them right in the eye. Nice one. 

42. I wonder what this looks like from the outside? I bet we look totally grown up and experienced. I bet they look gorgeous. Maybe I’ll just have a little peek. I mean, I really ought to take a mental picture of the person I had my first kiss with. Just open my eyes a crack. Just to –

43. GAHH! They’re looking right at me. Like a frog.

44. And good, now we’re just staring at each other.

45. This is SO. AWKWARD.

46. And you’re still looking.

47. You’ve been looking at them for basically about 45 minutes by now.

48. SHUT YOUR EYES. SHUT THEM. FOR THE LOVE OF BEYONCE, SHUT. THEM. NOW. 

49. There you go. Just keep kissing. Just keep kissing. It’s all good. 

50. Wow we’ve been kissing for aaaaaagggges now. How long do we need to carry on for it to count as a proper snog? Like, officially? I reckon at least 2 minutes. And I mean we must have done, what, one and a half minutes AT LEAST. Maybe I should do a countdown. 30. 29. 28

51. OK well now you’re just opening and closing your mouth in time with your inner counting.

52. Just enjoooy it.

53. But now I’m all red and spitty and… to be quite honest… my jaw’s getting tired. You know what? I think that’s enough to qualify as a proper first kiss. I’m out. Final peck, pulling away… eyes open.

54. And there we go! My first kiss! Completed! Tick! 

55. I mean it wasn’t great and it was a bit weird and awks. But hey! It wasn’t that bad!

56. And appazza it only gets better with practice. 

57. Practice, they say… Practice…

58. I’m going in again, aren’t I?

59. Yes, yes I am. Pizza can wait.

@LucindaEverett

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Look. We need to talk. I don’t really know how to say this so I’m just going to come out with it. Here goes… Summer is ending soon. I know it only feels like five minutes since term ended and you bought your new sandals but what can I say? Mother Nature doesn’t care about days at the beach and barbecues. She’s on a tight schedule.

Thanks to school, college and uni schedules, the end of summer always comes with a side order of existential dread. It feels like you’re on the clock, counting down the last of the sunny days until you have to buy loads of folders and put your uniform back on.

But we’re here armed with good news. It doesn’t have to be like this! It’s time to beat the end-of-summer blues once and for all and we have a plan…

Map out next summer’s road trip. Right now.

If the thought of autumn is killing your mood, just go ahead and skip straight to next summer! Forget rainy days and frozen mornings, grab your mates, a laptop and google maps and get working on next summer’s road trip. Think sandy beaches, camping spots by a lake and maybe a cool city for a dose of culture. Next summer will start to look pretty sweet, pretty soon and you’ll forget all about the (whisper it) three seasons in between now and then.

Start getting excited for Halloween

The thing about summer is that it’s kind of occasion-free. Sure, there’s sunshine and long days but autumn and winter are where it’s at when it comes to the big dates in the calendar and, as we all know, Halloween is the best one. It’s never too early to start planning your costume, so get on that ASAP because 1. It’s something major to look forward to and 2. It means you can claim the best one before anyone else tries to step on your costume territory.

Work on a new goal

Summer is the worst time to be productive or ambitious because going out and walking/sitting/running/lying/anything-ing in the sun is always the most attractive option compared with, well, literally anything else. (Thanks, people who decided to put exams in summer.) So when the temperatures start to drop and going outside looks a little less tempting, it’s the perfect time to set yourself a new goal. Learn a new language, go to a weekly yoga class, learn to cook a killer signature dish; whatever it is you’ll find it way easier to stay focused and, as an added bonus, you’ll be so distracted by your new skills that you won’t even think about that once-dreaded switch from August to September.

Try out a fresh look

Hot weather dressing is mostly about choosing the thing that makes you sweat the least. Autumn is when personal style can really kick in; choosing your outfit becomes less about ventilation and more about fashion. You can go to town with layers, colours and textures and mix up as many influences as you want, so use it as an excuse to style up a whole new look. I guarantee you won’t miss that summer dress one little bit.

Plan the best autumn ever

We all have a habit of making loads of plans over the summer holidays and then going into hibernation mode the second it’s over, so it kind of feels like our social lives end when summer does. The answer? Make more plans! In fact, you may as well go right ahead and plan the best autumn ever. Schedule in home cinema marathons, day trips, fun new exercise classes, volunteering, shopping trips and crafternoons with plenty of cake (probably more cake than crafting if we’re being honest here). You’ll have a whole host of stuff to look forward to and you’ll beat that ‘fun-ends-here’ feeling that comes around every year.

Pamper yourself

After a season of sun, salty sea and sun cream, your skin and hair can start feeling pretty tired out. UV rays might be good for the soul but they leave everything else in need of some end-of-season rehab. So treat yourself to a mammoth pamper session. A gentle exfoliant will do wonders for dry skin; a clay mask will help sort out those pesky oily patches (cheers, sun cream); a hair mask will sort dried ends right out and a nourishing, natural body lotion or body oil will leave you feeling like a silky smooth mermaid. You’ll be feeling blissed out in no time.

We can already feel those blues just melting away. And anyway, there are only, like, 270 days until next summer…

@SophieBenson_

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome.

Image: Hailey Hamilton

You may have heard of TSS, but do you know what the heck we’re really talking about? Sure, there are sooo many acronyms to remember but here’s one that shouldn’t be confused with TB (eww, those jabs), TTC (time travel capsule anyone?), or TGIF (surely this one doesn’t need explaining).

TSS is seriously serious though, so it’s time you learnt everything there is to know. Test your super-knowledge by taking the quiz!

So what does TSS stand for?

TSS is known as a “systemic infection.” In a nutshell, this means it affects…

But what even happens?

A super-absorbent tampon that’s left in for a long time, creates the perfect cosy situ for bacteria growth and TSS. Is this true?

One of these is NOT a typical symptom of TSS. Can you spot it?

You can die from TSS. True or false?

If you think that you have TSS, what should you do?

You should never-ever leave a tampon in for longer than…

How many cases of TSS do you reckon are linked to tampon use?

What can reduce the risk of TSS?

Toxic Shock Syndrome is mega serious, but it’s also rare. Fact or fib?

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

School’s out! A fortnight of festive freedom! Think of all the things you will DO – the people you could see, the places you could go, the ambitious but satisfying projects you could undertake, the hours you could spend doing something wholesome and outdoorsy, like carol singing or tobogganing or skating on a frozen lake (because obviously your imaginary Christmas holiday takes place in a movie adaptation of a Dickens novel).

You could do all those things, but obviously you won’t. Because you’ll be asleep.

Mmmm, sleep. The greatest gift of all.’Tis the season for a lie-in, fa la la la la, la la zz zzzzzz. After you’ve spent the whole year getting up at basically the crack of dawn to achieve all that stuff you’ve achieved, and staying up late to keep up your social media presence in case people start to worry you’ve been kidnapped, all you really want for Christmas is a big, giant nap.

And here’s the good news: you deserve one. You need one, in fact. No matter how much your parents mutter about ‘lazy teenagers’, tut when you emerge at lunchtime in your pyjamas or nag you to get up and go for a 10-mile Boxing Day walk with them before handwriting 20 thank-you letters to your relatives. The truth is that in your teen years, a good night’s sleep becomes more important than ever before… but, and here’s the unfair bit, it’s also harder to actually get.

How many Zs are we talking?

Studies have suggested that between the ages of 10 and 20, we should be clocking up at least nine hours’ sleep a night. That’s an hour or two more than your parents need, and six hours more than Margaret Thatcher supposedly used to get (which explains some things). But even more interestingly, the pattern of sleep gets thrown off during adolescence – typically meaning that teen brains want to go to sleep later, but also sleep for longer in the morning. Sound familiar? Turns out it isn’t your habit of falling into a YouTube rabbit hole at midnight that’s to blame; it’s your BRAIN. And your habit of falling into a YouTube rabbit hole at midnight. A bit.

Mm sure, but why?

Science is helpfully vague on that question. “There must be an evolutionary reason why this happens,” says Neil Stanley, a sleep researcher at the University of East Anglia, who thinks that the culprit could be – what else? – hormones. “If sleep is important for memory and learning, and dealing with emotions, and repair and recuperation, then teenage years have an awful lot of that,” he told the BBC

During puberty your circadian rhythms (the ones that control sleeping and waking) are ‘reset’, a bit like turning a phone off and on again. Except that your phone usually wakes up faster and more alert, whereas you end up wanting to crawl into a burrow and hibernate until adulthood.

So how do I catch more than 40 winks?

You probably know plenty of the tricks – hot drinks before bed, a relaxing bath, switching off your devices early and banishing them from your bedroom (here’s our handy video) – but do you actually do them?

Thought not. Well, that’s a good place to start. Especially the devices one, which we KNOW is about as appealing as sleeping without oxygen in the room…. but all that scrolling can send your mind into overdrive when it should be winding down. Plus a recent study found that the blue light your phone gives off can mess up your natural sleep cycle, by suppressing the sleepy hormone melatonin and ‘fooling’ the brain into thinking it is daytime. Old-style alarm clocks might be due a revival, guys.

There are also bigger plans afoot in society to help teens get the start they really need, including recent recommendations that high schools should start and finish later, so everyone can have a good lie-in without feeling guilty about it. Some early research has suggested that later starts not only help you get more sleep, but also help reduce feelings of depression and irritability. So an extra hour’s kip might be good for more than just staying awake during Monday morning double maths.

Yawn. Are you finished yet?

Almost. While schools catch up and (hopefully) change their timetables, you can look after yourself by making sure you get as much sleep as you can, when you can. And if anyone tries to call you lazy, show them this article.

Although you really should write your thank-you letters. Sorry.

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Amber Griffin

Fat-shaming has long been addressed by us mere mortals and famous types alike, and calling someone ‘too fat’ has been socially unacceptable for as long as you can remember, right? Yet, somehow, commenting on people being ‘too skinny’ isn’t deemed nearly as offensive.

Well, guess what: it’s the same thing. Body-shaming for any reason can be hurtful and derogatory, as these nine ladies who have spoken out on skinny-shaming know…

“Calling someone fat is seen as an insult, but calling someone out to be too skinny… is apparently acceptable? I think commenting on anybody’s weight is unacceptable. Who are you to judge someone by the size of them?”

Zoella dedicates an entire blog post “Why Are You So Skinny?” to the issue of skinny-shaming, which she has faced throughout her life.

“Now… everyone go look in the mirror at their beautiful body, and love that s**t #thickgirlswinning #skinnygirlswinning #weallwinning.”

After comedian Julie Klausner sent mean tweets about Zendaya’s slight frame, the actress schooled her in the art of accepting everyone, no matter what size they are.

“I’m constantly criticised for being too skinny. I’m trying to gain weight but my body won’t let it happen. What people don’t understand is that calling someone too skinny is the same as calling someone too fat, it’s not a nice feeling.”

Kendall Jenner speaks out about her own experiences of skinny-shaming, which – as she points out – can be just as hurtful as fat-shaming.

“This whole thing happened and I’m constantly having to justify myself. I’m very healthy and I always have been. On one hand, it’s upsetting. On the other hand, it’s just boring. Why do women always get pointed at for their bodies?”

Lily James responds to criticism about her small – corseted – waist in Cinderella.

“They said that I was too skinny and my boobs were too small… After they asked me here, in Israel, if I have eating disorders and why am I so skinny – they said my head was too big and my body was like a broomstick – I can take anything. It’s just empty talk.”

Wonder Woman Gal Gadot won’t let the skinny-shaming words get to her.

“I’ve seen articles or comments that have addressed my weight, or ‘caving to pressure to be thin.’ Keeping weight on is a struggle for me – especially when I’m under stress, and especially as I’ve gotten older. That’s the way my genes have decided to go, and things will change as time goes on, as does everything.”

Emma Stone knows that skinny isn’t always a choice, so people should think before they comment on it.

“I need to remember the date today!! Never would I have ever thought I would be in the media for being “too skinny”. What on earth?!?! First I’m too fat and now I’m too skinny. I love this game!!”

Khloe Kardashian responds to the media’s reports on her weight loss with a healthy dose of sarcasm.

“We live in a day and age where people make it IMPOSSIBLE for women, men, anyone to embrace themselves exactly how they are. Diversity is sexy! Loving yourself is sexy! You know what is NOT sexy? Misogyny, objectifying, labelling, comparing and body shaming!”

Ariana Grande hits back at someone who called her a “stick” on Instagram.

“Everyone says they want the ‘perfect body’ and have so many body goals, but when a girl is just a bit too skinny in your eyes, she gets judged. It isn’t your fault that you think like this. The media have told us that this size is too thin and this size is too big. That one roll of back fat is disgusting and not having a thigh gap (it’s OK for your thighs to touch) means you’re ugly. There is so, so, so, so much more to life than having the ‘perfect body’. Every young person needs to understand that.”

Cheryl – herself a victim of skinny-shaming – tells it like it is.

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Katie Edmunds

When I was 13, I used to go to school with a giant carrier bag with all my books in it, and a teeny tiny handbag. We all did it, it was the ‘cool thing to do’, and the rest of the year group followed suit. I sh*t you not. Looking back, it’s totally ridiculous—just take a bigger bag! But it mattered, and the type of carrier bag mattered (Jane Norman or River Island, obvs—no Tesco riff raff)… until the following year, when we all got square black Warehouse bags.

While this is, of course, hilarious, there’s a lesson to be learned here: what’s popular is so fleeting, and often so laughable in hindsight (sometimes bordering on flat-out ridiculous) it questions the very essence of what it means to conform, and why we want to do it in the first place. In essence, it’s governed peer pressure and, more broadly speaking, social expectations.

Now you might be thinking “I take my Herschel rucksack to school because it’s awesome, and I like it, not because my friends do” and that may well be true, but there’s no doubting that we’re all affected by our surroundings (it’s got a technical term, socialisation—sort of like the whole nature/nurture thing)—and if it can affect which bag we take to school. How much else is it affecting, too? What about the way you talk (that ‘voice’ you do with your mates, or the inside jokes you have) or even the way that you treat other people?

I often take pride in the fact I was a ‘nice’ girl at school; that I had friends in different groups and generally got on with most people. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t see girls—and admittedly sometimes friends—doing things I didn’t like. I had a friend who constantly ripped into a girl in our year. At the time it was easy to think ‘she’s just joking, everyone takes the piss out of everyone, it’s not really bullying… is it?’ well, yes, it is. While I wouldn’t say I was ‘peer pressured’ into allowing such behaviour, in a way I was. I wouldn’t treat somebody like that, so why didn’t I think to mention it made me uncomfortable? When does not saying something become as bad as actively joining in?

We’ve all heard the ‘good samaritan’ story, but there’s a deeper significance here: peer pressure, or rather social conformity, affects us in ways we probably don’t even realise. No one wants to look like they’re being boring, or awkward, or making a fuss over nothing.

When we were younger, it was quite normal to call something rubbish or boring ‘gay’—I didn’t even consider the implications of that until I was much older, and feel utterly ashamed that it was said so whimsically. But everyone said it, and we didn’t actually mean anything homophobic by it, so it just sort of… happened. I didn’t even think about it.

And that’s the point, peer pressure and conformity isn’t just about being pressured into smoking, or having sex when you’re not ready to, or doing drugs, as your token PSHE lesson on ‘just saying no’ would lead you to believe. It’s important to think about what you’re doing and the reasons behind it—and stand up for how you truly feel and think is right.

If you’ve got butterflies in your stomach, or you feel awkward when a friend does something you don’t agree with, say something. It doesn’t have to be confrontational, it could be as simple as ‘I don’t really feel comfortable with that, so I’m not going to do it’, or it could be a case of simply walking away… or it could be that really, you shouldn’t be friends with them at all.

As I’ve gotten older, our group has become much smaller (the one that constantly ripped that girl in the playground? Shock, we don’t see her anymore. Turns out she’s not a very nice person) but it’s much tighter and we are all significantly happier for it.

While it doesn’t always have to go as far as not being friends with that person, it’s important to have the confidence to speak your mind, stand firm in your opinions and only do and say what you think is right, and be with people that even if they don’t always agree, respect your views.

It’s all about having confidence in yourself—and what’s cooler than being confident and comfortable in your own skin? Be the girl that doesn’t give a crap if they (or anyone else, for that matter) wants to take a teeny tiny handbag and a carrier bag to school… even if everyone’s taking Herschels.

@EllieCostigan

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Mean Girls