What could be more fun than giving gifts to your best friends, with an added element of mystery and intrigue? Well, if we’re talking about Secret Santa, there are moments when having a brace fitted, cleaning a toilet or doing maths homework for the whole class might beat the activity in the excitement stakes.

It’s stressful, it’s intense and it can cause enough friendship fury to lay out the whole of Taylor’s squad. Still, it’s also fabulously festive, and we love it as hard as we hate it. We wouldn’t be without it. Here’s the typical timeline of your standard Secret Santa draw…

Draw doom

Depending on how organised you are, you might decide to start Secret Santa proceedings the old fashioned way – by ripping a bit of notebook into pieces, carefully writing down everyone’s name (and someone will hold everything up by insisting that this can only be done with a cinnamon scented gel pen, and they’ve definitely got one in the bottom of their bag, actually why not wait until Monday because they’re going to buy one from WH Smith?) Alternatively, you’ll get an app, and half of you will fail to respond because the confirmation email will get stuck in your junk folder, and one of you will try to sign in through Facebook on someone else’s computer and accidentally join the draw as your Dad.

Guess who?

“So, who have you got for Secret Santa?” is a question that can be asked so innocently and casually that it’s perfectly normal to reply “I’ve got Jennifer, and I’m really annoyed because she’s a pain to buy for and doesn’t seem to like anything and…SECRET! It’s supposed to be a SECRET, how dare you trick me! Anyway, who have you got? Want to swap?”

In the run up to the big present presentation, everyone will buckle under the strain of their own giddy festive excitement, apart from one person who will irritatingly hold out, and say “la la la, I don’t care who has who, I’m not listening!” It’s probably Jennifer. She doesn’t seem to understand that absolutely everyone else has worked out who she is buying for using a very simple process of elimination. And because she was seen buying a personalised notebook and glittery name stickers.

Budget busting

You swear to a pocket money-friendly £10 limit, and spend hours working out exactly how to play the Boots three-for-two system in order to get maximum bang for your buck. Then one of the Santas lets slip that she’s gone “way over” because she found the perfect thing and couldn’t resist. Her Santee freaks out and has to do some emergency chores or dig deep into her piggy bank in order to make sure both gifts are equally extravagant. The day arrives, and it turns out the “perfect” gift is a 450 colour eyeshadow palette made up of different shades of sludgy brown.

Sneaky gifting

You never draw the person you really want to buy for, which is a problem that can be dealt with in two ways. You simply put up with it, and acknowledge that’s all part of the risk of deciding to take part in a Secret Santa exchange in the first place. Or, you buy a special secret gift for your BFF, and you can’t resist spilling the beans about it because you’re hoping they’ll get you something too. Which brings you all straight back to the budget problem, as well as making the other people in the group feel rubbish because they don’t get a ‘special’ present.

You try to rectify this by buying several boxes of stripy candy canes and distributing them around the group. Someone gets one stuck to their coat, someone else requires an emergency dental appointment and no-one can face eating anything minty until the following May.

Santa’s schedule

Getting everyone together to swap gifts is the most exciting part of Secret Santa, and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be straightforward. Only you can’t do it on the last day of term, because half of the group are in junior windband and spending the afternoon playing O Holy Night at an old people’s home. You can’t do it the weekend before Christmas, because someone has to go to Scotland to see their Nan. You can’t do it at registration because you’ve all got to go to a special assembly in which the sixth formers will dress in tinsel and do impressions of the Physics teacher. You can’t do it early, because someone got their Mum to order something on Etsy, it’s coming from Canada and delivery takes 2-12 weeks. So you end up swapping gifts on the bus, in the middle of a traffic jam, still swaddled in scarves and gloves.

Merry Christmas, everyone!


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

Despite using calendars and tracking apps, I’m not always absolutely sure when my menses is on the way. Sometimes it takes me by surprise. I’ll be out minding my own business and suddenly be aware of a… dampening.

You know, the curious, sticky sensation that makes you worry that not only has your period turned up by surprise, but it’s also making the sort of entrance that RuPaul might deem too flamboyant for Drag Race.

When that happens, here’s what’s going through my mind. And your mind. Probably.

1. Gosh, my bum feels sweaty! Maybe it’s these tights…

2. Or…

3. Oh no, oh no, oh no!

4. There must be PINTS of blood down there already. Enough to fill a milk bottle! Or a Coke bottle! How can I sneak out and deal with this?

5. Just going to check on the App store to see if there’s anything in teleportation.

6. They have an app that tells you, TO THE SECOND, when it’s going to stop raining, but not one that will magic me from my chair to the toilet. MODERN TECHNOLOGY IS POINTLESS.

7. When I get up, the force of the blood is going to lift me straight to the ceiling. Like I’m sitting on a bust fire hydrant. As if I’m starring in a remake of Do The Right Thing meets Carrie.

8. I’m wearing white pants. Why would I ever wear white pants? Why do I even own white pants?

9. I bet it’s all over my jeans.

10. I bet it’s over the chair.

11. How can I get period blood off a chair without anyone noticing? Will I have to break into the building at night with a tub of Vanish, and tights over my head?

12. I wonder if I can slide my hand under my bum and check how bad the damage is.

13. It’s got through! It’s happened! It’s… oh, it’s a bit of pink felt tip.

14. Maybe I could drop to my knees and silently roll across the floor, like an unseen ninja, and the force of my propelling body would stop the blood from gushing everywhere.

15. Or I’ll get stuck with my rear end in the air and give everyone a prolonged view of my blood-soaked crotch.

16. Can I slowly, slowly edge to the side of the room, and then scuttle out sideways like a crab? I think I can.

17. I don’t have any tampons on me. Or change for the machine. I could message someone when I’m there… but my phone has 8 per cent battery.

18. I guess I’ll just have to live in the toilet.

19. Right, up and clench, and clench. Channel the crab, the menstrual icon of the sea. You’re on a mission to the other side of the seabed, defending your pearls…. ah, no, that might be oysters.

20. This must be good for my bum, all the clenching. Maybe I’ll patent this technique as an exercise movement. I could be Instagram famous! The Period Power Workout!

21. Phew. Safe in the toilet. Now to face the mess, clean up, and… oh.

Just a sweaty bum after all, then.

Kermit the Frog screaming gif


Image: Kate Forster

Tampons. Perfectly practical items, with mysteriously magical properties. No matter how organised, tidy or careful you are, they have a tendency to escape their packaging and turn up under sofa cushions, in forgotten pockets and for me, once, in a vintage gilt lipstick case that had belonged to my Nan.

We can’t stop it from happening, so we must find the beauty and wonder in the unexpected – it’s like Blue Planet, if it all took place in a suburban high street chemist. Here are 11 times when we’ve all wondered “How did that get THERE?”

In the pockets of the slightly musty fleecy anorak you were about to take to the charity shop

You’re pretty sure you weren’t even having periods, last time you wore this. There is a photo of you taken in 2005 where you’ve accessorised it with a Bratz lunchbox and a grazed knee.

In the carrier bag that has been wrapped around another carrier bag that contains the exploding Thermos full of soup that you hoped to eat for lunch.

Urghh, it’s as if the universe wants you to eat sandwiches forever. On the plus side, having a random absorbency aid in the mix probably limited the damage you’ve done to your schoolbag.

In your bra

It’s a good idea in an emergency, and then a terrible idea when you forget until you get ready for bed and discover that the scratchy lace you’ve been moaning all day about is actually pointy cellophane.

In your trainers

Tampons are secret fitness fiends, and have a mysterious ability to roll into the toe of any sports shoe. We think it’s their passive-aggressive way of reminding us that a little exercise will ease the cramps.

In the book you’d put down somewhere and forgotten about

“This book is brilliant! I mustn’t lose my place. I just need a bookmark – but there are no receipts in my pocket. Not even a bit of tissue… oh, wait! I can use this tampon that’s been in my bra!”

In the middle of the floor of the bus

Everyone is looking at it. No-one is going to take responsibility for it. Someone is trying to edge it out of the way with their foot before a naughty boy spots it and yells “IS THAT YOURS? ARE YOU ON YOUR PERIOD?”

In the drawer where your family keeps old keys, screwdriver heads, bits of string and manuals for things that were thrown out three years ago

This drawer never, ever contains what you’re looking for, but it always has at least two tampons at the bottom, no matter how often you take them out and throw them away. It also contains an instruction manual for the tampons.

In the bag you ‘borrowed’ (without asking) from your sister

The only thing to do is to take a dignified breath, compose yourself and say “What do you mean, I stole your bag? I think what actually happened is that you stole my tampons.”

In your pencil case

But only when someone you fancy or are keen to befriend asks to borrow a highlighter. “Help yourself!” you say cheerfully, before spotting it and praying they assume it’s a novelty rubber.

In your wallet

“And will you be paying by cash, card or menstrual hygiene product?”

Under your heel

You’re pottering about in your bedroom, doing some relaxed admin, sighing at your floordrobe and putting socks in the washing basket to be productive. Suddenly there’s a twinge in your ankle and an unwelcome pressure on your sole, as you’re forced to grab the wall so that you don’t fall over. Less than two inches of cotton can, under the right circumstances, floor an entire human being.

This really should be used in a Bond film as a plot device.


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. 

It’s almost impossible to be funny and to be cool at the same time. Achieving either can take a bit of effort, but only one is genuinely life-enhancing. Cool can come and go in a moment, but funniness only gets funnier, as well as giving you the skills and resilience required to style out any situation.

I didn’t know this when I was at school, and I longed to be friends with the girls who laughed at me and my ridiculous mates. But we were learning to laugh at ourselves, and now I realise that we were having a much better time.

This is why it’s great to surround yourself with hilarious ‘weirdos’.

1. The school disco is a thousand times more fun

Sarah Baxter, since we turned 13 I must have been to a hundred weddings, gigs and parties, but I’ve never seen moves that were anywhere near as memorable as the crab dance you busted out at the Year 8 Christmas dance with the boys’ school. At first, I felt silly and self-conscious in my jeans and t-shirt, aware of the class monitor smouldering in the shadows, looking amazing in the Topshop velvet mini that my Mum had forbidden me from buying. But the second Sarah got on the floor, knees bent, hands out, and danced to the Spice Girls like she was under the sea, I was over my skirt envy and clutching my sides while making an odd honking sound.

The rest of us had a great time when we joined in with the crab dance, even though we weren’t dancing, just rolling on the floor laughing. It was the first genuine ROFL I’d ever experienced.

2. Your most embarrassing moments become your best material

It’s easy to treat school as a dangerous, potentially humiliating battle ground where you risk looking foolish every day. It’s harder – but definitely happier and better – to think “I am definitely going to do something stupid, shameful and embarrassing. Cringing never killed anyone, so I just need to think of it all as comic material.”

Like the time I turned up to Chemistry and realised that the lab coat I’d picked up from Lost Property was, in fact, a tablecloth. I thought about hiding in the toilets until the next lesson bell went, but instead I flung it around my shoulders like a cloak. My mates were mildly hysterical – and I had the first and last laugh.

3. Instead of flicking your hair in front of boys, you can get them to fall about laughing

For a long time, I thought that if you fancied someone, the best way to get their attention involved having big boobs, wearing lots of make up, and ignoring them, occasionally sneering and saying something sarcastic. That was until my friend Millie had a birthday party that was packed with boys, and they all seemed to be in love with her. How did she do it? How did she find the boys? Fit Josh explained while the class monitor stared at him with her mouth open. “Millie is the funniest person I have ever met! And she’s always talking about how hilarious her mates are! There’s no way I could miss this!”

4. You never need to worry about being caught out

As a grown up, I’ve met girls who were “cool” at school. Even though I envied them at the time, they’ve said that it was once of the most stressful experiences of their lives, much harder than sitting exams, going to university and enduring job interviews.

One anonymous friend told me “We all had to have the same haircuts – short and blonde on the top, long and dark on the bottom. I genuinely thought that if any of my friends caught me with a ladder in my tights, my life would be over. I don’t remember ever relaxing. I was secretly jealous of the girls who just seemed to mess about, the ones who didn’t care about being perfect.” Whereas I was so relaxed in my LOLlish nerdiness that I once kicked a pair of knickers out of my jeans on non-uniform day and said, without missing a beat, “they’re for when I wet myself laughing”. Boom.

5. Every day feels like you’re starring in a sitcom

Most of the great comedy writers work in teams, and say that nothing makes you more creative than collaboration. Well, when you’ve got pals who are always prepared to see the funny side, and you’re always one-upping each other’s one liners, you reach a point where you all feel funnier than the imaginary love child of Tina Fey and Amy Schumer. School isn’t always fun, but when seeing your mates brings you more laughs than a Simpsons triple bill, you almost look forward to your first Monday morning maths lesson.

So, if your chums make you chortle so hard that you’re in frequent need of resuscitation, it sounds like your billion dollar sitcom deal is right around the corner. But even if your funniness goes no further than the school gates, having friends who embrace silliness and joy is more valuable than having an ASOS code that gets you 90 per cent off. They say that laughter is the best medicine, and it always makes you feel better. No-one ever cured anything with cool. 


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: Getty

Some traditions are practised by millions of people, and timed to coincide with national, global or religious holidays or events.

For example, many Westerners like to put a pine tree in their house during December, and cover it with tiny light bulbs and slightly stale foil-wrapped chocolates. Your school might put on a show at the end of term where the teachers attempt to be hilarious, and the least funny one is made to wear a wig in order to make up for their lack of natural humour. I’ve just started my own personal tradition where I sprain my ankle quite badly around the beginning of November. (It usually comes straight after another once-a-year tradition, the one week in which I get really enthusiastic about running.)

As well as sticking up trees in our houses, finding pointy needles in our socks or getting badly scratched whenever we have to reach for the power point when we want to turn the lights on, there are plenty of familiar festive traditions that you might enjoy experiencing with your friends and family. There’s eating lebkuchen at a German Christmas market! Watching Elf! Guessing who has got you for Secret Santa, until a po-faced pal says “SHUT UP! IT’S CALLED SECRET!” which is pointless because the rest of you have already made the necessary deductions and seen her in Claire’s buying a phone case while asking “and do you have those stick on crystals? I need to spell out ‘GEMMA’.”

My tradition is that I always have a Christmas period. Obviously, yes, everyone experiences ‘the Christmas period’ on some level – but I have proper festive menses. Regardless of what my cycle is doing during the rest of the year, the planets align with my uterine lining and ensure that I am cramping like crazy by December 24. The blood is more keen to get out of my body than Santa getting down a chimney, and although I want to make a cheap joke about filling my stocking, I will say that I’ve lost many pairs of tights in the struggle. Yo, ho, ho.

However, in some ways, getting the gift that won’t stop giving is a pretty good festive present. Partly because Christmas is a holiday in which reality is suspended; to some extent, we’re all expected to behave like the Cookie Monster, dealing with the news of an international cookie shortage, and then winning the Cookie Lottery. Nobody will even notice if you cry at the sight of a broken phone charger, or shout furiously at a chair – it’s Christmas, innit?!

Here’s how to make the most of your Christmas period:

1. Do your hormones have you wishing to eat every single thing in your eye line that doesn’t taste of poison? It’s time to get stuck in! You can eat chocolate by the metre! You can put gravy on a sandwich! You can snack between snacks! Almost every food item that enters your house in December is delicious and comforting, as if it was designed to deal with the extreme hunger that sometimes accompanies the beginning of your period

2. Feel a bit bloated? Need to lie on the sofa with your jeans unzipped for an hour or three? It’s pretty much the law for everyone to do this anyway until January 5th.

3. Sometimes we all need a cry for no reason, or rather, the reason is so specific and complicated that you don’t want to explain it to your well meaning but nosy little sister. In December, you can shut down all annoying enquiries by saying “I was just thinking about The Snowman, and that bit when he melted.”

4. Christmas is a time for family, and sometimes that includes your annoying Uncle Dan who has endless, epic dinner time monologues about That Time He Was Almost A Roadie For U2. If you’ve got your period, you don’t have to sit through it politely – just tell your Mum (or a sympathetic family member) that you’re feeling dodgy and you need to go for a quiet lie down in a place free from chatty relatives.

5. On the first couple of days of a particularly heavy period, you might want to do everything you can to avoid leaving the house. At Christmas time, no one leaves the house unless it has caught fire. Just make sure you’re careful when lighting candles, and that your pyjamas aren’t too flammable. Then you can stay in your cosy nest without having to justify anything to anyone.


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. 

It’s a weird world for nerdy girls. In one way, it seems as though life has never been better. There are projects celebrating self declared nerds, like Amy Poehler’s Smart Girl ProgrammeKarlie Kloss has her own tech school where girls can learn to code, and academically, we’re excelling. Last year, in the US, a study found that more women were likely to have college degrees than men.

However, if you’re at school, whether you’re often at the top of the class or just feel passionately interested in a particular subject, there’s a chance that your nerdiness is not being supported. Have you ever wanted to ask a question or dig a little deeper, but worried about whether the other people in your class would think you were a bit, you know, keen? How many times have you known the answer, and felt nervous about putting your hand up? Do you ever wonder where all your nerdiness is getting you, and whether life might be easier if you kept your head down?

If you need inspiration and proof that one day, the geek will inherit the earth, you need to meet our Shero Anne Miller. Anne is one of few female ‘elves’ working on TV show QI, and at 29, one of the youngest. She started working on the show five years ago, and most impressively, she’s written the latest book of QI facts. If you’ve ever watched Stephen Fry on the show and been dazzled by his knowledge, it’s worth remembering that some of it comes from Anne.

She’s a big fan of the people on her team, but admits that the world of obscure facts and the world of television does get a bit male dominated. “To be honest, my lack of experience helped me a bit – when I first started trying to work in TV, it never occurred to me that I couldn’t. If I’d known more people in the industry and had them tell me about how hard it can be, it might have put me off!”

The newest series of QI has finally put a fabulously nerdy woman front and centre – Sandi Toksvig, we love you and we often wish that you were our surrogate auntie – so I talked to Anne about how to celebrate the nerdiness in your nature, and use it to pursue your dreams.

Firstly, how did you get your amazing job?

“After uni, I got onto a talent scheme in Edinburgh called The Network which led to a longer six month programme. I met amazing people and learned loads about TV in a short space of time, and as a result of that, I got a short contract job as a researcher on a different programme. When that ended, one of my mentors was able to put me in touch with people at QI, and I spent a day in the studio learning about how it was put together. I stayed in touch with the people I met, and impulsively sent them an unusual fact I found – ‘A vulture can safely swallow enough botulinum toxin to kill 300,000 guinea pigs.’ They loved it and asked me to send any more I found, so I used to email a few facts a week, which helped me to keep building the relationship with them.”

What’s your typical day in the office like?

“It’s research heavy, so we all sit with unusual books and bits of text and search out interesting facts to include on the show.

Often, we’re working with a particular theme – each series corresponds to a letter, and then the theme will begin with that letter so I know if I’m looking for facts about something specific. But sometimes random things will pop up – I’ll come across something weird about onions and file it away for when we get to O! As well as the main show, we have the podcast, No Such Thing As A Fish, the radio show The Museum Of Curiosity and a new TV show, No Such Thing As The News. And I just wrote the book, so it’s quite busy!”

Is this what you always wanted to do?

“Actually I wanted to be a neurosurgeon! I even changed my Highers [Scottish exams, like GCSEs] because I realised I hadn’t picked enough science to get into medical school. My parents helped me to persuade the school to do it, they were really supportive of me. I think I was lucky, and my family and school was quite unusual. I loved learning, I was good at it and I was surrounded by people who made me feel as though there was nothing I couldn’t do.”

Why did you change your mind?

“I still think that being a doctor is the very best thing you can do, but if I’m honest I wasn’t totally committed to it. I’d started to get curious about other things. I did politics at A level and I loved it, and that’s what I studied at university, and I think that if you’re going to be a doctor you need to be completely committed.”

Were you ever bullied for being clever or nerdy?

“I was really lucky, it didn’t really come up. I think I had one fight with one girl who deliberately tried to trip me in the corridor. My parents talked to the school and I really just wanted to leave it, so I tried smiling at her before she could say anything nasty, and she was nice to me for a whole day. What’s weird is that I thought she was singling me out, and years later I’ve discovered that she was horrible to everyone I knew! To be honest, it helped that I went to school in St Andrews, which is fairly remote. There just wasn’t the time or space for people to be that mean, if you really wanted to go out of your way to bully someone outside school you’d have to get on a bus and they only came once a day! When I was at school Facebook, Instagram and Twitter didn’t exist, and I think that made a huge difference. It would be much harder now.”

Were you popular?

“I had my own crew of creative people. We didn’t like the popular girls, and they didn’t like us, which was fine. There was no real rivalry, we just ignored each other. I remember thinking that I was really glad that I wasn’t popular because they all wore the same clothes and had the same haircut, and it looked like it was loads of effort. I didn’t want a side fringe!”

What would you tell your 13 year old self?

“‘Try everything’. I love my job, but I wouldn’t have found it if I wasn’t curious, and confident enough in my intelligence to keep giving different things a go. When you see a careers advisor or go to a careers fair, you don’t see the breadth of different inspiring jobs you can do, you only meet the people who work for companies who have paid for a stand! Sometimes the path isn’t obvious, and you have to make a way for yourself – if you want a job and it seems like the door is shut, try getting in through the window.”

Anne’s book, 1342 QI Facts To Leave You Flabbergasted, is out on 3 November. QI, hosted by Sandi Toksvig, is shown at 10PM on Fridays on BBC2.


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. 

It’s great to have goals. Dreams and ambitions are what light our paths, propel us forward and make sure we actually get out of bed in the morning instead of clutching a drool covered pillow and saying “You know what? I refuse to do this.”

We’re told that no self-respecting girl or woman lets herself rest until her better is best. Even the women who celebrate slackerdom, like Lena Dunham and Amy Schumer, achieve incredibly impressive things and work astonishingly hard. We’re told to embrace our flaws, but where do we start? Surely we’d be happier if we just stopped labelling flaws, and got on board with the fact that we’re not pretty pictures of womanhood, but human beings that fart, fall over and spill things?

The pursuit of perfection won’t make us happy, but finding a way to feel content about who we are just might. Here are some steps to start living a life unfiltered:

1. Wear something white and make a snack covered in ketchup, brown sauce, chocolate or gravy. You’re human, food is delicious and sometimes things are going to get spilled. Otherwise washing machine technologists would be out of a job. Otherwise you have to stick to see through foods, or spend every meal dressed as if you’ve volunteered to move the scenery for the sixth form production of Yerma, and that’s no fun.

2. Try to use one word a day that you avoid because you’re not entirely sure of its spelling, meaning or pronunciation. If you get it wrong, let someone correct you, and then you’ve learned something and don’t have to be afraid of the word any more. (And you can always blame autocorrect.)

3. Ladder your tights. Shrug your shoulders and if someone feels the need to point it out, say “And?” and stare them down until they leave. You’ve done tight wearing humans everywhere a favour, as they will never do it again.

4. Volunteer to do something – anything – where you have to speak to an audience, or read out loud. Afterwards, you will feel like a confidence ninja, no matter what comes out. Remember that a very experienced, distinguished radio broadcaster once started Radio Four’s highly respected Today programme with the words “Oh, ****!”

5. Challenge yourself to invent the silliest, least sexy dance in the history of time. Dress up in a really unflattering outfit, and as you move, spend a lot of time focusing on the parts of your body that you don’t love. If you can, record it and play it back. You’ll realise that laughing is always more fun than looking good, and that thing you hate is probably much better on camera than it is in your head.

6. Sing to yourself and don’t stop when someone else walks into the room. Ideally, pick a song where you’re not entirely sure what the words are because the lyrics you think you’ve heard don’t make any sense. This is how we learned that the song is called Cake By The Ocean, not Keep Billy Ocean.

7. Think of the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you, and draw a picture of it. If you’re feeling particularly confident, you could put it in a frame. You’ll either be impressed by your artistic skills or laugh so hard at your efforts that you’ll be able to appreciate every mistake has comedy value.

8. Turn your jumper inside out and see if anyone notices. If they do, say that it’s an homage to Chanel’s 2014 supermarket themed collection and the discussion about whether fashion is art or commerce. If you can do this and keep a straight face, you’ll know that you can style out every awkward moment forever more.

9. If you’re feeling brave, call your teacher “Mum” on purpose and see what happens. If that’s too daunting, call your Mum “Mr Brown” and see if she notices.


Image: Amber Griffin

We’ve all seen the adverts. We know that periods and PMS shouldn’t stop us from wearing white playsuits, or going swimming, or playing sport at a professional level, or chartering a rocket to the moon. But every person and every period is different, and for every month where someone feels unstoppable, there will be another person who wants to stop the world and get off for a bit.

During your period, you’re allowed to do anything, everything – and nothing. Here’s how to do nothing in a nourishing way, if that’s the mood you’re in.

Practise the art of self-love

During your period, it’s totally normal not to feel like your best self. However, it can be hard to avoid falling into a spiral of self doubt and negative thoughts. If you’re in a pit of PMS depression or feeling spotty, achy and bloated you don’t feel like a confident go-getter – you’re using all of your energy on going to the loo every twenty minutes. So a bit of mindfulness doesn’t go amiss.

You don’t need to overthink it; just try to catch your thoughts if you’re thinking negatively about yourself. Think “I love Me, I am doing everything in my power to take care of Me, and I am doing an awesome job.” Be your own best babysitter, and treat yourself as kindly and tenderly as you can. This means that you’ll feel super strong, confident and ready to do great things when your hormones calm down.

Eat your chocolate biscuits from a silver platter

With the caveat that periods are much easier to deal with if you fill yourself with vegetables and vitamins, sometimes the only thing that makes us feel better is to eat so much junk food that we start to wonder whether it’s worth camping out on a petrol station forecourt in order to be close to a shop that sells nothing but Doritos and Jelly Babies.

The trouble with junk food is that sometimes, as the name suggests, eating it can make you feel even more rubbish. But you can avoid this by making an occasion out of it. Put the crisps in the prettiest bowl you can find, instead of just shoving your head inside the bag. Arrange the cupcakes on a china plate. This makes your period wallow feel like a special occasion, and you are less likely to end up covered in crumbs. No matter where your cycle is at, being covered in Monster Munch dust just isn’t good for the soul.

Channel Winnie the Pooh

Winnie is a wise bear, and knows the value of ‘stoutness exercises’ – this means that if your tummy feels round and uncomfortable, some very gentle movement can make all the difference and help you to feel a little less like you’re being possessed by a sentient volleyball that’s about to burst out of you, uterus first.

But importantly, Winnie bear-ly (#sorrynotsorry) breaks a sweat, and sticks to his comfort zone. This isn’t about feeling the burn so much as getting slightly warm and then stopping to open a window. If you can face it, a tiny bit of exercise will relieve any cramps, and give you a bit of a break from your sofa-and-bed-based routine.

Have an Ultimate Bath

If you’re prepared to put the effort in, washing yourself can be an art, and one of the most rewarding activities there is. It’s only a matter of time before a TV commissioner capitalises on this and everyone sits down each week to watch The Great British Bathe Off.

For now, focus any energy that you have on upping your bathtime game. Find the nicest scent you can. If you’re so inclined, many essential oils are thought to have properties that ease your menses cramps, including lavender, clary sage, rose, peppermint and cinnamon (if it smells nice, it has probably, at some point in history been used to cheer someone up during their period) but the posh bubble bath you got for Christmas will definitely do the trick too.

Spend time getting the temperature right. Sometimes the body feels warmer during menstruation, so you might be more comfortable if your bath is on the cool side. When the bath has been run, make a peppermint tea, put a classical station on if you have a bathroom radio, and wallow away. When you get out, you’ll feel like Venus rising from a clam shell, if Venus was Beyonce.

Sleep where you fall

Fact: you’re not lazy – periods are tiring. As your oestrogen levels plummet, you might find that your iron levels drop too. Making sure that you get plenty of vitamins and eating iron-rich foods will help you get back to normal, but during the first couple of days, the best thing you can do for your body is to give it the sleep it craves. If you can’t keep your eyes open, it’s fine to have a nap. Unless you’re in the middle of crossing a road. Or using scissors.

If you know that you tend to get sleepy at the start of your period, try to give people a heads-up so you’ve got the time and space to get your head down. If your body wants extra rest, the smartest thing you can do is listen to it.


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: Laura Callaghan