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

@NotRollergirl

Image: Kate Forster

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’re totally cool with having periods and don’t let them affect your day-to-day, but somehow – no matter how much you trust your tampons and pads – wearing white when it’s that time of the month turns you into a nervous wreck.

Sure, you want to be like the lady in the adverts who rollerblades in her white jeans while on her period with not a leak in sight, but you know you’re not that girl. Or are you? Here are all the self-doubting thoughts you have when you ‘dare’ to wear white on your period.

1. OK, I’m definitely not wearing white today

You’re in full flow, you’re cramping hard and the last thing you need is to be thinking about visible leaks.

2. But those new jeans in my wardrobe are so comfy and cute…

Surely your tampon won’t let you down… will it?

3. I am a strong, confident woman, capable of knowing when she needs to change her tampon

The jeans are going on and you are going to WORK THEM, girl.

4. I’m just gonna go to the bathroom one last time before I leave the house

Yes, you’ve already changed your tampon twice in an hour, but you can never be too careful.

5. OMG, what if I stand up to get off the bus and there’s a puddle of blood?!

You’ll be a laughing stock and probably owe the bus company more than a year’s pocket money to clean their seat.

6. Why do all these shops not have customer bathrooms?!

You’re 100% gonna leak before you can find a loo. STRESSFUL.

7. Maybe I should just buy another outfit and change into it

You already owe your sister a three-figure sum this month, but surely she’ll understand, because PERIODS.

8. Nothing looks good. NOTHING.

The world is so cruel. Why do you even get periods again?

9. I should probably change my tampon again

Which means you’re going to have to go to a restaurant to find a toilet, which means you might as well eat while you’re there… McDonald’s counts as a restaurant, right?

10. I MADE IT!

You’re home, the red sea has not formed in your underwear, and even your cramps have subsided. Maybe you’ll wear white again tomorrow; it’s not so bad, after all.

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

There comes a point in everyone’s life when they first encounter the idea of their body being a series of ‘problem areas’ or obstacles to overcome, fix and change.. For the first few years of life, most of us are lucky enough to see our bodies for what they do rather than what they look like. We climb trees, feel our arms slice through water as we swim, and eat when we’re hungry. That changes though. I remember reading the word cellulite in a magazine while I was waiting to see my GP when I was about twelve. ‘How To Get Rid Of Unsightly Cellulite’, the headline read in big black letters. ‘Unsightly’ was in bold.

As soon as I found out what cellulite was, I couldn’t stop noticing it. Roaring red circles around the thighs of celebrities on beaches that showed a hint of it, across three or four pages of a gossip magazine’s ‘summer body special’. These images of models and actresses with cellulite, taken without their permission as they tried to enjoy a holiday didn’t make me feel better about my body – but I couldn’t stop reading them.

I pinched the flesh on my thighs and felt disgusted at the sight of the soft dimples that appeared under my skin. I wouldn’t wear shorts, skirts or dresses without opaque tights and the thought of going swimming made fluttery waves of panic course through my body. The concept of going bare-legged anywhere was just a no-go.

Hours of research went into what food to eat and avoid, what body brushes to stimulate circulation to buy, and I compared myself to other girls whose legs remained smooth when they sat down. This went on for a few years, and so too did the hope that I would finally get rid of it and feel free to dress however I wanted.

The thing is though, cellulite isn’t a ‘problem’ that you can tackle for all eternity with expensive products, following a strict diet and drinking water 24/7. Instead, there are ways to stop caring about it, and I highly recommend you take that route instead.

So, what is cellulite exactly?

The connective tissue in your body that separates the fat cells from the skin is made up of a substance called collagen. This tissue has a honeycomb-like structure (yum), and sometimes the bands of collagen can be weaker in some areas – these are the areas you might see a dimpled effect. You’re more likely to see it around your hips and thighs, but some people get it on their stomach or arms too.

Why do some people have it while others don’t?

Let’s be real here. Countless advertisements from the beauty industry tell us that cellulite is a specialised condition that you need to spend lots of money on to get rid of. During the summer you’ll notice there will be a push to sell creams, lotions and treatments that apparently get rid of cellulite for good – you can’t possibly go to the beach with less-than-perfect thighs, apparently.

What they don’t say is that 90% of women have it or will develop it in their lifetimes. That’s nine out of ten women, of all shapes and size and all walks of life. Like stretch marks, it’s just your body changing and developing as you grow and live in the world. Some people are more genetically predisposed to it, and it doesn’t have anything to do with how much you weigh or whether you exercise often or not. It just happens!

Mythbusting time!

Many ‘cellulite-eliminating’ products do so apparently by getting rid of ‘toxins’ from the body. By taking the supplement or slathering on the lotion, these toxins that cause cellulite are apparently removed. This is a complete lie with ZERO scientific evidence to back it up.

Creams that contain caffeine are marketed as a way to achieve Barbie-smooth skin, but any effect they have is totally temporary until you stop using them. Be sceptical about workout gear that claims to reduce the appearance of cellulite. This marketing gimmick will just leave you out of money with only a pair of overpriced leggings to show for it.

Much like bogus detox diets, these products just play on your fears and insecurities in order to get you to fork out your hard-earned money.

Being kind to yourself

Now more than ever we can see a diverse range of bodies represented in the public eye. The power of social media means that people are now seeing themselves represented. Instead of discussing ways to minimise ‘imperfections’ and desperately trying to fit into one single acceptable standard of beauty, people are celebrating and redefining what beauty really is.

The only reason we see things like cellulite as a problem is because we’re sold the idea that it is. Companies have successfully marketed a perfectly normal and common genetic trait as a gross eyesore to be body-brushed and exfoliated away. Thoughts like this can make something as fun and carefree as a trip to the beach turn into a spiral of anxiety.

It’s important to remember that your body is the only one you’ll ever have, and you should look after it. Think about all the cool stuff you could do with the time you might have spent being angry at yourself for something you really can’t control. You could learn a language, make a Victoria sponge cake or finally perfect your winged liner. It’s a good idea to counteract negative thoughts about your body the best you can.

Ask yourself, ‘would I tell my best friend she shouldn’t wear that cute swimsuit because of how her body naturally stores fat?’ Whether it’s cellulite or thigh gaps, there will always be a new part of your body that you’ll be told to fix, smooth or scrub. None of it matters. Eat good meals when you’re hungry, drink lots of water and be kind to yourself.

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

Finally, FINALLY, it’s here: beach season. Let’s face it, a sun-soaked summer is anything but guaranteed in the UK, so the second we get the opportunity to hit the beach, we’re all over it. Sunbathing, swimming, snorkelling, sandcastles! (Does everything you do at the beach begin with an ‘S’?) A day in the sand feels like escaping real life for a bit and living in an alternative, way more glamorous universe.

It’s also a prime location for some serious people watching. It has universal appeal, so you’re never short on people to peek at over the top of your sunglasses as you give them names and make up their whole life story. It doesn’t matter whether you’re going to Blackpool or Barbados; these are the people you’ll see at every beach, without fail:

The Dad in Speedos

No easing you in here. We’re diving straight in with the inevitable dad in Speedos. He bought those Speedos in 1981 and brings them back out every summer, almost ceremonially, alongside an annual declaration that he still has the waistline of a 20-year-old (he doesn’t). It’s extremely likely that Speedo Dad has a wetsuit’s worth of body hair, so he might not be identifiable until he’s very close by but once seen, he cannot be unseen. If in doubt, look for his kids, desperately edging their towels away from him as they google ‘can you divorce your parents?’

The Instagrammer

The Instagrammer isn’t here to have fun. They are strictly here for the likes and they view everything in squares. They are most commonly found looking wistfully out to sea while their slightly flustered looking boyfriend/girlfriend/Mum/Dad/best friend takes 80 ‘candid’ shots. You may also see them setting out their book, towel and sunglasses in a pleasing arrangement, flexing, scrawling messages in the sand and taking pictures of their legs (or are they hot dogs?).

The girl who was born at the beach

I mean, literally, she might have actually been born here. She is at one with the sea and sand. She has that alluring ‘healthy glow’, she looks like she’s never worn anything but a bikini and she emerges gracefully from the sea like a vintage Bond girl. And you just know she can surf with zero effort. You could be jealous but really you want to be her best friend and learn her secrets.

The panicked parents

They dreamt of a lazy day on the beach, reading books while their angelic children made sandcastles within their immediate field of vision. What they got was three kids running in completely different directions down the beach and into the path of varying degrees of danger. They’re loaded up with what looks like five weeks’ worth of supplies and the whole day is a cycle of sun cream reapplication to tiny, wriggling limbs. Oh and they definitely have one of those half tents that take 45 minutes and three arguments to put up.

The semi-naked lady

There are two types of semi-naked lady but they are both over 60 and both brimming with confidence. The first is the one who goes topless on a very definitely not-topless beach and the second is the one who gets changed right there in the middle of the beach with precisely zero dramas. They don’t care who’s looking, they don’t care whether they block out the sun with their huge boobs and they definitely don’t care that the lifeguard is giving them stink eye. The semi-naked lady is kind of a hero.

The sun cream fiend

The sun cream fiend emerges from the shadows and squints at the sun with fear in their eyes. Having established that the sun is a definite threat to their ghostly white skin, they spend the next 20 minutes covering every single millimetre of themselves in sun cream. And not just a normal layer of sun cream – it’s like they’re buttering bread. Sun and fun don’t really go in the same sentence for this person but they’re trying anyway, so full marks for effort. P.S. This is me, come and say hello!

The red lobster

This person has thrown caution (and sun cream) to the wind. They got burnt on day one of their holiday after some overzealous tanning oil application and a badly timed sun lounger nap. But did they let it ruin their holiday? No they did not. There they are, sprawled out, ignoring all sensible advice, slowly turning a deeper shade of lobster. They wear their painfully pink skin like a suit of armour with an air of “well, it can’t get any worse!” defiance. You kiiiind of respect their temerity but at the same time, you don’t want to be there when the peeling starts. No one wants to be there when the peeling starts.

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: Southern Comfort

Growing up in front of an audience throws up a lot of challenges. One of the biggest is feeling the pressure to share only the best, most photo-worthy moments and to live the perfect life to match. Great grades, flawless make-up, a beautifully curated Instagram – it’s easy to feel the heavy weight of expectation when it seems like all eyes are on you.

The pressure ramps up further when there’s an endless stream of perfection out there to compare yourself to, whether it’s the girl who goes to the gym five times a week or the food blogger who cooks meals that look way too beautiful to eat. All this makes it pretty difficult to deal with the reality that we can’t be absolutely amazing at everything in life.

But, I’m here with good news! Being bad at stuff is actually kind of…great. And I’m going to prove it with yoga. Well, a story about yoga anyway.

Earlier this year, I decided that I was going to start doing yoga every weekday morning; my imagination buzzing with images of me upside down, contorted in impossible looking angles, probably wearing some kind of amazing leopard print yoga gear that would show off my enviably defined abs. But then I did my first session and those visions were quickly melted away by the reality that my spine seems to be made out of solid steel.

Still, I’d made a promise to myself, so I carried on each day and here I am two months later with my legs over my shoulders. Oh wait, no, I can barely touch my toes. But the thing is, I don’t care even the slightest bit. I don’t care because I committed to doing something for myself and I stuck to it. No pressure, no Instagram posts, no comparisons, just me and my mat for half an hour every day.

Each morning, I watch as the woman on my app swoops into position. She bends from the hip, gracefully and effortlessly folding in half like origami. Meanwhile, I resemble a handful of broken twigs; all odd angles and jutting limbs. While she rests her head by her ankles, my arms dangle in the general direction of my toes.

I creak into half moon pose, ease into something that looks a bit like downward-facing dog and let out involuntary squeaks as I try and hold the plank. I am definitively un-graceful and what I do can certainly not be described as a ‘flow’ but I’m there doing it and I feel transformed afterwards: clear headed and ready for the day.

Every now and then I’ll notice a little improvement; I get an inch further into a stretch, or I hold a pose for longer without wobbling. It’s encouraging and there’s no doubt that it feels like a huge reward for my consistency but make no mistake, I’m still really bad at yoga.

I’ve been bad at plenty of stuff before – gymnastics, running, shot put – and it’s always made me want to quit. “What’s the point in carrying on if I’m not immediately brilliant? Gold medals or nothing, mate”, I’d think. But this time it’s different because I’ve taken perfection out of the equation. I’ve relieved myself of that pressure and given myself the headspace to just do something with absolutely zero expectations – and I think you should do it too.

It doesn’t matter if your portrait of Adele looks more like Tom Cruise or if your signature dish is slightly-too-hard pasta in a questionable sauce. It doesn’t matter if you knit wonky scarves or belly flop into the pool. All that matters is that you love it and you’re doing it.

And whether you decide to share it or not is completely up to you. Not everything you do needs to be for public consumption. It’s totally fine to sew skirts with wonky hems or paint blurry landscapes without ever showing a single soul. Give yourself permission to tuck yourself away and spend a few hours doing your thing without the pressure of wondering how many likes you might get or what other people might think.

On the flipside, never – and I mean never – be afraid to share the fruits of your labour if that’s what you want to do. Be proud of the fact that you’re doing something for no other reason than you love doing it. In my experience, when I’ve talked about my absent yoga skills, I’ve received nothing but words of encouragement from people who understand that it’s about the practice, the dedication to myself and ultimately, the enjoyment.

So grab your paints, lace up your trainers or hit the mat because life’s not about perfection, it’s about having fun.

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: Sisters

You’ve been counting down to your fortnight in Florida for weeks. Your jazziest bikinis are packed and you’ve primed your mum in the art of taking a good Instagram photo. So why, oh why, does your period have to come just as you’re about to jet off?

While you’d rather be surfing any wave other than the crimson one, rest assured it’s happened to us all at some point, and these are all the things you know if you’ve had your period on holiday…

It always arrives unexpectedly

You weren’t supposed to come on for another eight days, but somehow that little sadist decided to arrive early, landing on exactly the morning you’re getting on a flight to paradise. This was not part of the plan.

Your handbag full of tampons being searched is the most cringe thing ever

It’s like airport security want to embarrass you in front of all the fit groups of boys.

Plane paranoia is real

A nine-hour flight = how many tampon changes?! And there’s nothing like the fear of falling asleep only to wake up having bled through your trousers, and onto the seat, then having to work out how to get to the bathroom without everyone seeing the big red stain on your bum. It’s never actually happened to you, but y’know, it could.

White swimwear is a no-go

You bought it to enhance your tan and had visions of yourself running down the beach like a Victoria’s Secret Angel. However, the minute your period arrives, that white bikini is banished to the bottom of your suitcase. Sigh. Maybe next year.

Tampon strings are the enemy

Sure, you’re forever grateful to the inventor of tampons for enabling you to hit the pool on your period, but why do the strings have such a habit of popping out the side of your swimsuit? And then there was that time you decided to trim it with scissors and almost ended up in A&E. Never again.

You’re fearful of diving and cannonballs

Ever since your friend told you about their cousin’s tampon shooting out when they jumped into a swimming pool, you’ve always used the ladder, as boring as that may be.

Cramps are somehow always worse in the heat

“WHO IS USING MY UTERUS AS A STRESS BALL?!”

But holidays do seem to make your period go away faster

Time flies when you’re having fun!

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

It is a little-known fact that along with periods, boobs, body hair and mood swings, an important part of puberty is thinking “I might get a fringe.”

One day you’ll be fine with your hairstyle; it’s healthy, it looks ok, it behaves when you straighten it OR curl it (you lucky thing, you) – but then… suddenly… BAM. “I MIGHT GET A FRINGE.”

And that’s great! Change is good! Fringes are nice! But with a fringe comes great responsibility. Some people get hamsters to learn about being a responsible human being; other people get a fringe. And I, personally, would argue that looking after a fringe is way more complicated and stressful and educational than looking after a hamster.

The difference between looking after a hamster and looking after a fringe is that you can’t grow out a hamster, more’s the pity. You can, however, grow out a fringe.

Said to the hairdresser that you loved it but really wanted to punch the mirror in the face? No problem. Can’t deal with it growing so fast and blinding you? No problem. Spend your evenings scraping it back with an old alice band you found in the back of your wardrobe so you can slather your forehead with various creams and gels to kill all the spots your greasy fringe has given you as a present? No problem. Grow it out! It’s like your fringe never existed. Easy. Right?

I had a fringe once.  Multiple times, actually. Sadly, there is currently no cure for the condition of forgetting how much you hated your fringe and getting one cut in again and again and again.

When I finally hit the growing-out stage of my first fringe saga, at 13 years old, I had to experience the trauma of trying out different ways to tame it as I killed it off. I scraped it back, half-heartedly turned it into a side fringe (with lots of hairspray), and even tried having a middle parting to turn my fringe into curtains. Middle partings were super uncool in those days, but my choices were limited.

I stuck to the side fringe, but some bits were flyaway and awkward, and one evening I finally snapped. I grabbed the nail scissors from my mum’s wardrobe and took a deep breath.

Snip… snip… *stare*… snip… snipsnipsnip. There! Gone. That’s better. I fluffed my hair about until the slight bald patch I’d now created had been covered. It was only a small round bit in the middle of my hairline in the middle of my forehead. No problem!

Except. You know when you grow grass? Or cress, in primary school? You plant the little seeds and then the grass grows slowly and is fluffy and quite cute? Well, can you now imagine that in the middle of your head, please? Yes, smack bang in the middle. A 10p’s worth of sticky-up, fresh, fluffy grass.

THAT WAS MY HEAD.

BECAUSE, LITTLE LOUISE, HAIR GROWS BACK. YOU FOOL.

It was a nightmare. I slowly began my transformation into one of those troll dolls from the 90s, and there was nothing I could do about it. Because, as I preached just a few paragraphs ago, you’ve just gotta grow it out.

At first it wasn’t too bad. I could shift my hair about and cover it up, just as I did with the bald patch in the first place.

“Louise, you’ve moved your parting right over.”

“Yes. Yes I have. I now have a severe side parting.”

“It’s a bit extreme, most of your hair is now over your fa-“

“GOD, MUM, JUST LET ME LIVE.”

When that was no longer of any use, when the hair-grass started growing further and further upwards with horrendous pride and confidence, I had to take drastic measures.

I pulled. And pulled. And yanked on my little troll fringe as hard as I could, and slapped it backwards in place with a clip. Not a subtle hairgrip, but a MASSIVE PROPER CLIP. It may as well have had a sign saying, “LOOK AT ME, THE INFAMOUS TROLL FRINGE,” complete with a musical fanfare.

I wish there was a good ending to this story. I wish I found a secret trick or a silver lining to cutting a chunk of your hair out. Alas, no. All I have is a simple lesson. Ahem: DON’T CUT YOUR OWN FRINGE. EVER. IN EVER OF ALL EVERS EVER.

The troll fringe grew out, of course. I worked that fanfare clip with all the dignity I had left. Eventually the clip worked its way back along my head and the troll fringe evolved into a troll quiff.

So yes, sometimes in life you do silly things, and sometimes you are full of regret… but all of those times come with lessons and (hair) growth. And that’s never, ever a bad thing.

@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. 

Image: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

At 5ft 10, I am the same height as Taylor Swift. I like this fact because it’s surely some sort of sign that my dream of duetting All Too Well with her live on stage is going to come true. It also makes me feel a bit better about being ‘the tall girl’ in my friendship group.

Taylor’s not the only talented, successful, fierce as hell long-limbed lioness either. Tennis champion Serena Williams is 6ft 1 and Game of Thrones Brienne of Tarth (IRL name, Gwendoline Christie) is a tremendous 6ft 3.

But the reality of being a tall girl at school or college is a different story to commanding Wembley stage, Wimbledon centre court or the battlefields of Westeros.

I felt clumsy and clunky walking through the corridors, like a discombobulated giraffe wobbling down the catwalk behind a squad of cute, nimble meerkats. It was even worse with my friendship group at home, I swear none of them grew over 5ft 5 while I continued to shoot up like Jack’s troublesome beanstalk.

If you’re in the Tall Club, you might recognise some of the same experiences that I had:

Shoe shopping is an absolute nightmare

Chances are, you have some big old feet at the end of those powerful, endless limbs. The problem is, ballet pumps and strappy sandals don’t look so dainty in size 8 or 9. Rather than asking ‘do I like these shoes?’ when out shopping, the real question is ‘do they look like Sideshow Bob’s clodhoppers?’. Oh well, androgynous styles are much cooler anyway.

All jeans are ‘ankle grazers’

I used to be too scared to wander into the Tall section with the older giraffe herd. Up until the point when I realised that this was absolutely ridiculous of me, I was relegated to regular leg lengths. Flared, skinny, bootcut, straight – none of them ever made it past my cold ankles. It’s quite lucky then, that Kate Moss is a total advocate for the ankle grazer (and she’s only 5ft 7!).

Shorter friends complain about being petite

My much shorter best friend once demanded we leave a party early because she felt too small. Did she not realise how often I feel like a telephone pole standing out like an eyesore in a field of pretty poppies, or a dog-bitten Barbie in a toy box of Polly Pockets? But at least I learnt that short girls have their problems too.

‘You’re the same height as a top model!’ is not a compliment

Oh, really? Does Gigi Hadid also have this warm layer of puppy fat, relentlessly shiny forehead and man hands? Does Gigi feel the need to hunch over like Quasimodo when she’s around her friends just to fit in? I might be tall but I’m not blind. Anyway, I’d much rather be compared to a rocket scientist or a sports champion thank you very much.

Borrowing and sharing clothes is out of the question

Your friends swap clothes more times than Kanye and Kim swap saliva (eww, sorry!). But there’s no way that you’re going to fit into that cute floral jumpsuit that your BFF bought in the Topshop Petite section. It’s just the same old wardrobe for tall gals, while everyone else has the lolz and bantz of clothes swapping fun. Oh well, at least there won’t be any arguments about unexplained stains or rips.

Group photos are a painful experience

Usually, I use every trick in the tall girl’s book to try not to stick out like a sore thumb in photos: bending the knee, tilting the head, sitting down, wishing to be invisible. At least by pulling a silly pose, it can actually make you look like the most fun person in the photo.

Other tall girls make the best allies

Luckily, I ended up befriending two equally tall girls during my time at school. We borrowed each other’s clothes, walked around in a group without bending our knees or heads and shared tips on where to buy skirts that actually reached the knee. It was a blessing, and the first wide-stride step towards accepting my tall girl credentials.

Now in my twenties, I love being tall. I admit, I still have my off-days where I just want to blend it – but don’t we all? Even Taylor probably has body hang-ups but that’s not enough to stop her from being one of the biggest (and tallest) popstars on the planet.

It’s all about just owning it: having a snazzy sock collection to decorate ostentatious ankles with; not being scared to wear the highest of heels that will intimidate any badly-behaved guy; and strutting like a proud flamingo.

Those size 8 boots were made for walking, so do it with your head held high and everyone looking up at you.

@hlouiser89

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

First thing’s first, despite the title of this article there’s absolutely no need to do anything to your pubic hair unless you want to. There are zero health benefits to removing your lady fuzz – it simply comes down to personal preference. Some girls get rid of all of it, some give theirs a little trim now and then, and some let theirs grow wild and free. It’s entirely up to you, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

But if you do decide to do some landscape gardening, there are some things you need to know. Your pubic hair is usually coarser than your leg and underarm hair, and the area is likely to get hotter and sweatier than other parts of your body – all of which can affect which hair-removal method is right for you. Here are your options…

Shaving

Shaving is a cheap, fuss-free way of tidying up your lady garden, but to do the job right you’ll need a good set of tools including scissors, a decent razor and shaving gel or cream. If you’ve got sensitive skin you might want to invest in a post-shave balm, too.

Pros: Quick, easy and cheap.

Cons: Hair grows back in a couple of days, regrowth can be itchy as hell, razor rash isn’t pretty.

Pro-tip: Trim the public hair so it’s around 1-2mm long, then gently exfoliate the area before shaving to remove the top layer of dead skin cells. Apply a good layer of shaving cream then shave along with your body’s natural curves – a razor with a pivoting head is good for this. Change the blade after a few uses to keep bacteria at bay and ensure your shaves are as smooth as possible.

Depilatories

Depilatory creams work by breaking down the keratin structure of each hair, essentially dissolving the base of the hairs until they’re weak enough to be broken off when they’re wiped away. Apply the cream, wait, then rinse. Voila!

Pros: Easy to use and the results can last up to two weeks.

Cons: Usually quite smelly, sometimes a bit pricey and not everyone gets long-lasting results.

Pro-tip: Follow the instructions on the packaging carefully. You’re basically putting a whole heap of chemicals on your skin, and while they’ve obviously been safety-tested it’s always possible you might have a reaction. Also, if you’re getting rid of everything (and we mean everything), choose a cream specially formulated for the bikini area – not all creams are suitable for your most sensitive bits.

Epilators

An epilator is a handheld device that looks like an electric razor, but definitely isn’t. Instead of cutting the hair at the root, dozens of electronic tweezers on the device pluck each individual hair clean out of the skin.

Pros: Long-lasting results, if you’ve got your own it’s easy to do touch-ups whenever it suits you.

Cons: Painful, epilators can be expensive.

Pro-tip: We’re not going to beat around the bush (ha, bush), epilating your bikini line can be super painful and can result in quite a lot of irritation, so it’s not for the faint-hearted. We wouldn’t recommend buying one without trying epilating first, so you might want to borrow one from a mate or family member to start with (make sure you sanitise it before using it). Numb the area with ice before you start (freezer blocks work a treat) and pull the skin taught as you go. And take deep breaths!

Waxing

Everyone from Gwyneth Paltrow to Kim Kardashian advocates the virtues of waxing, mainly because of its long-lasting results. It works like epilating, by removing the hair from the root. The main difference is that it’s a lot quicker – a few rips and you’re done. Plus, repeated waxing means the hair thins down over time, so it becomes more comfortable. There are a few options:

1. Specially-formulated waxing strips, which you simply apply to the area then remove.
2. Hot wax, which is applied in a thin layer over the area then pulled off with a strip of cloth.
3. Hot wax which is applied to the area and then pulled off directly once it’s cooled.

Pros: Long-lasting results, not too expensive, all over quickly if you get it done by a pro.

Cons: Can be painful, you’ll have to wait for regrowth before waxing again, messy if you’re doing it yourself.

Pro-tip: If you’re a first time waxer, definitely go to a salon. You don’t want to end up sitting in your bathroom with a crotch covered in wax, unable to finish the job yourself! If you’ve got a bit of waxing experience (maybe you’ve done your legs before), start off with ready-prepared waxing strips specially formulated for the bikini zone – they’re usually pretty failsafe. Whether you go to a salon or try DIY, pop an ibuprofen half an hour before waxing to help keep the discomfort to a minimum.

Laser hair removal

Laser is a newish type of hair removal that uses a strong beam of light to penetrate the skin to destroy the hair follicle. It sounds a bit terrifying but it’s relatively painless – it feels a bit like having a rubber band gently pinged against your skin. It works best on darker, coarse hair, and it takes a few sessions to properly kill the hair off (usually around six, depending on the amount of hair you want removed). Once it’s dead, though, it’s probably never coming back.

Pros: Almost permanent results.

Cons: Very pricey, not suitable for everyone.

Pro-tip: Before you commit to anything, go for a consultation with a reputable clinic – they’ll be able to tell you whether you’re a good candidate for laser. And remember, the results are usually permanent so think carefully before opting for a completely stripped-back Hollywood. You never know what bikini hair trends will make a comeback, so you might want to leave something to play with in the future.

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: Kate Borrill

1. Did I just…?

2. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No.

3. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

4. Unlike it immediately!

5. Oh my god! I re-liked it! HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE?!

6. My life is officially over.

7. Will they still get a notification that I liked the photo?

8. Will it say which photo I liked?!

9. WHY, OH WHY, DID IT HAVE TO BE THE PHOTO WITH THEIR EX?! Do the internet gods have no mercy?

10. I should text Jo and tell her to like and then unlike one of my photos and see what happens.

11. Why won’t Jo text me back?!

12. Urgh and because we don’t even follow each other on Instagram they’ll know I stalked them.

13. And that I trawled through the bazillion Alex Joneses and found the Alex Jones (by the way, thanks for having such a generic name) and that I then proceeded to go through SEVENTY EIGHT WEEKS of Instagram posts.

14. Is it possible they’ll find it flattering?

15. No. Probably not.

16. Maybe I should delete my Instagram account.

17. ORRRR I could move to Latvia! No one knows me in Latvia.

18. I wonder how much flights to Latvia are?

19. What’s the capital of Latvia…

20. Riga? Huh, I wouldn’t have guessed that.

21. I should move to Riga.

22. But then I’d never see Alex again and we would never fall in love.

23. Maybe I’ll just have another look.

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. 

Ergh, blushing. That dreaded phrase “You’ve gone red!” litters so many people’s teenage years and then some (sorry guys, it’s not going to stop after you’ve nailed puberty). It’s the most annoying song on the adolescence album, even including the “No, you’re not old enough” and “Can I see some ID please?” party (pooper) anthems.

As the old, slightly sinister, saying goes; Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer – so that’s what we’re going to do right now.

Let’s find out what blushing actually is, why we do it and whether or not there’s any way we can take back some control next time it turns up to the party, like a bully, and tells everyone who you fancy.

So, what actually is blushing?

Here’s what the NHS website tells us: ‘…blushing occurs when a strong emotional trigger stimulates the nervous system, resulting in the widening of the blood vessels in the face. This increases the flow of blood into the blood vessels just underneath the skin, causing your face to turn red.’ The website also states that blushing doesn’t just occur in the face, but can also make your neck, upper chest and ears scarlet.

Cool. So, essentially, blushing occurs because  ‘strong emotional triggers’ just happen to widen blood vessels, which happen to increase the flow of blood to our faces (right where our eyes are, so people can really see it – again, cool), and blood happens to be red. Not see-through, or even a very subtle pastel shade. Red. So it just happens to be very obvious when we blush, particularly for people with pale skin.

What the experts say…

So what counts as a ‘strong emotional trigger’, and is there any way we can stop them?

The short answer is no. Of course we can’t. Although we can pretend to the outside world that everything’s fine, trying to make our nervous system believe that we’re feeling chilled when we’re not just isn’t possible.

However, there is hope. You know how sometimes you’re blushing a little, then someone points it out and somehow that makes it worse? Well, a 2009 study suggests that a fear of blushing exists, which makes us all have an even worse time when it happens. But findings from the same study also showed that, although the person blushing is having a negative reaction to it, people generally do not react with negative judgement when they see someone blush.

So in other words, the only person that really cares when you’re blushing is you.

Another study from 2014 showed that ‘children reported more fear of blushing than adults’. Which tells us that, although we may not grow out of blushing, something clearly happens as we get older to stop us caring so much. Maybe it’s the fact that being a teenager is incredibly difficult, and there are way more opportunities for blushing to attack.

How to deal

Now we know what blushing is, why we do it and what other people are thinking when it happens, let’s make it all a little less painful. We may not be able to stop it happening completely but, like macaroni cheese for breakfast, lunch and dinner on a bad period day, there’s always a way we can relieve the stress a little.

Number one; remember the research. The majority of people are not judging you when you blush – because who would? Who takes pleasure out of someone else’s social discomfort? No one whose judgement we care to accept. Next!

Beat blush at its own game

It may seem like a silly tip, but if you can convince yourself that people can’t see you blush it may help the situation pass by a little quicker. One way to do this is to, ironically, wear blusher. At least, this worked for me and a bunch of friends at college, who all noticed a difference in the number of people noticing our blushing because our cheeks were already flush with Bourjois Rose D’Or.

Own it

Remember all the great women whose embarrassing moments – and their unapologetic honesty in those times – have made people absolutely adore them; Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Schumer, Lena Dunham, your friends, you. Try to embrace it. It’ll happen anyway. When you think about it, embarrassing moments are actually amazing. They make for hilarious stories and memorable life experiences.

In his famous book The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, Charles Darwin describes blushing as ‘the most peculiar and most human of all expressions’. But really, it’s the most human of all expressions.

We blush because we’re human, and to be human is to feel a load of things; embarrassment, attraction, awkwardness, guilt, panic. It’s not easy, but it is normal and we all do it. To blush is to feel emotion in its truest, no-hiding-it sense. So just try to ride the wave – and think of all the great anecdotes.

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