1. Ohhhhh yeeeeaaah. Onesie on, under the covers, 15 minutes for a bedtime YouTube vid. #WINNING.

2. Urgh – should probs be doing something something super wellbeing-y instead shouldn’t I? Like writing in a gratitude journal, or meditating or something.

3. Well sorrynotsorry – my wellbeing is based on zoning out to makeup tutorials I’ll never be able to recreate.

4. What have you got for me then, Tanya Burr? An impossible 90s look with a brown lip that will make me look like I’ve just eaten a jar of peanut butter?

5. Mmmmm, peanut butter.

6. OK you’ve only got time for one, so think carefully. Do not waste it on something rubbish.

7. I wonder if T-Bear actually would be my wellbeing guru if I Snapchatted her about it enough times?

8. And also my personal eyebrow do-er. How can anybody be that good at eyebrows?

9. Why do they always recommend weird ‘How it’s made’ videos to me? I have literally never clicked on one. What even are they?  

15 minutes later 

10. Dammit!

11. OK that defo didn’t count as my actual choice. It was on The SCIENCE Channel for god’s sake, that’s basically homework.

12. OK, ONE more. But a useful one. Maybe a Niomi Smart ‘What I Eat in a Day?’  

13. Mmmm peanut butter.

14. Oh here – perfect. Zoella vlog about birth and Boxer dogs. Totally qualifies as useful since I may one day give birth. Or, even better, own a Boxer dog.

20 minutes later

15. Must convince mum to get us a Boxer dog.

16. Ok. Go to sleep.

17. BOXERS DOGS DRESSED AS FAST FOOD!  

5 minutes later

18. GO. TO. SLEEEEP.

19. BUT CATS DRESSED AS DOGS!

10 minutes later

20. How late is too late to WhatsApp the gang with this life-changing discovery?

21. It’s probs not even that late.

22. WHAT THE…?! OK. Turn it off.

23. Thing is… 11.37 isn’t a very round number to go to sleep on. I’ll just watch til 11.45. That way I’ll have been watching for a nice round hour, too. Which is way better for…. karma. And stuff.

24. Ooh prom outfit ideas. And prom is only seven months away so should probs already be planning anyway.

10 minutes into video

25. What was that Little Mix video about prom?

15 minutes of Little Mix videos later

26. God I wish I was in Little Mix. They’re so badass. And they seem such good friends. And they’re amazing at acapella…. Ooh!

25 minutes of Little Mix acapella compilations later

27. OMGI’msooootiiiiired.

28. Remember at the beginning when Perrie couldn’t dance? Should really rewatch their first video to truly appreciate how much she’s improved.

29. I can totally function on less than eight hours sleep. I bet Beyoncé only sleeps for like, five hours a night.

30. In fact, should probs go back through every Little Mix videos and develop some kind of comprehensive marking system to determine who’s the best member overall. Dance moves, vocals, hair flick, sassy strut etc.

45 minutes later

31. So Jesy. Jesy is queen.

32. Why has the screen gone weird?

33. Oh that’s right – because you’re watching with one eye.

34. Because the other one has given up and gone to sleep.  

35. Because it’s 01:10 in the morning.

36. If I was a YouTuber I wouldn’t need to go to sleep though, ‘cos I’d just be doing hauls for a living. Which can’t possibly be tiring.

37. Just how much do they make, do we think? Oh here we are: ‘World’s richest YouTube stars.’

5 minutes later

38. I could totes be the next Zoella.

Searches for ‘How to start a YouTube channel’

A gazillion minutes later…

39. How do they get the chocolatey glaze to look so shiny though? It’s like some weird delicious mirror…

40. GAR! It is 2.45am and you are watching cake-glazing videos.

41. You are literally going to die when your alarm goes off.

42. Wonder if I can legitimately ask for a bath full of chocolate glaze for my next birthday. Reckon mum might go for that. Waaay cheaper than a new phone.

Starts searching for ‘chocolate bath challenge’ vids

43. Four and a half hours sleep is totally doable for tomorrow. Beyonce’s clearly weak.

44. Oh my god, you have actually lost it. Turn it off. Turn. It. OFF.

45. OK. OK. Turning… it… DOGS AND CATS DRESSED AS LITTLE MIX!!

@LucindaEverett

Ok, ok… *almost* as satisfying. But in the long run far better for your face. 

1. Seeing your food coming in a restaurant.

2. Your fave artist dropping a surprise new album.

3. Finding a fiver in your pocket.

4. Finding a tenner in your pocket.

5. Your cold clearing up for a solid 30 seconds so you can actually taste your food.

6. Waking up in a panic then realising it’s the weekend.

7. Stepping on really crunchy leaves.

8. Your phone dutifully staying on 1% battery until you get home.

9. Two chocolate bars falling out of the vending machine.

10. Finding free public WiFi.

11. Tweezing out an ingrown hair.

12. Your favourite TV series being renewed for another season.

13. The person you fancy texting back STRAIGHT AWAY?!

14. Having a really good poo.

15. Getting bettybox through the post! *ahem*

16. 7 Chicken McNuggets.

17. 7 Mini Jaffa Cakes.

18. Finishing your shower just as the hot water runs out.   

19. All your TV shows scheduling perfectly one after the other in the evening.

20. Everyone around the table saying ‘yes’ to seeing the dessert menu.

21. The dog trotting towards you so you don’t have to make the first ‘can I pet your dog please’ move.

22. Seeing a dog.

23. Dogs.

24. Snow day at school.

25. Finding a secluded spot and finally pulling your tights back up.

26. Getting the window seat on a train/plane.

27. Peeling off dried glue on your hands.

28. Bubble wrap. Obv.

@louisejonesetc

Image: Getty

1. I wish I was asleep.

2. If I fall asleep now, I will get seven and a half hours’ sleep.

3. I have never been this tired in my whole life.

4. Actually, no one in the history of the world has ever been this tired.

5. Apart from Obama. But he is the only exception.

6. Oh and Beyonce. Honestly, where does she get her energy from?!

7. Somewhere fancy, probably. Designer energy!

8. Ok I’m going to count sheep. That’s a thing, right?

9. I wonder why it’s sheep?

10. Are sheep notoriously good sleepers?

11. Why isn’t it sloths?

12. Or pandas?

13. Or tortoises?

14. Or my brother?

15. I wonder if he’s asleep, maybe he wants to watch an episode of Stranger Things with me.

16. No. I was sleeping.

17. Or, trying to sleep.

18. If I fall asleep now, I will get seven hours and 13 minutes’ sleep.

19. What about milk? Warm milk is totally a thing.

20. But then I have to get out bed, which will probably make me even more awake.

21. And it’s warm and cosy in here.

22. Is it weird that we drink another animal’s milk?

23. It is weird. Maybe I’ll start drinking soy.

24. But it’s an extra 50p to get a soy hot chocolate, which seems excessive.

25. Money is weird. Like, the metal of the coin isn’t worth 50p, but we perceive that it’s worth 50p.

26. What if we just all decided it was now worth 60p? Can we do that?

27. Maybe I should start a petition for it on change.org

28. Maybe it will make up for the fact I am going to fail my Citizenship test in the morning.

29. If I fall asleep now, I will get six hours and 42 minutes’ sleep.

30. I know! I’ll listen to a soundtrack of the ocean. Oceans are relaxing.

31. Excellent, Spotify even has a playlist of ocean sounds.

32. This is totally working. I feel relaxed and warm.

33. ………

34. ………

35. Oh for god’s sake, now I need to pee.

Image: Manjit Thapp

1. I wonder if these will be the trousers that change my life forever.

2. Why is it always so hot in here? Is it just the body heat generated by changing in and out of clothes, or have I accidentally signed up for, like… Bikram shopping?

3. These are probably not the trousers that will change my life forever.

4. I’ll stand on tiptoes though, just to be sure.

5. Nope.

6. Saved myself £24.99! I am a financial wizard. I’ll probably have a three-bedroom house by the time I’m 20.

7. Could I class changing in and out of clothes I definitely don’t want as ‘exercise’? It feels like cardio.

8. This mirror is probably wrong. I will open the curtain and look at the mirror in the cubicle opposite, just to be sure.

9. Mirrors should be banned.

10. Why can’t I get this thing off? Has it shrunk in the tropical humidity? Why don’t they realise that we’re never going to buy things if we feel like a puddle in a jumpsui– hang on, am I… stuck?

11. It’s fine, I’m not stuck. Deep breaths.

12. Was that a seam ripping? Ok, shallow breaths.

13. I’m stuck.

14. They will have to call firemen to cut me out. It’ll be in the newspaper. ‘LOCAL GIRL STUCK IN JUMPSUIT, LAUGHED AT BY ASSEMBLED CROWDS’.

15. Ok, if I just slightly dislocate my shoulder and do a kind of wiggly dance…

16. Free! I am free! Sweet freedom! I will never take my limbs for granted again.

17. Do I want to buy it though? Did it look sassy before I got stuck? I think it did. Maybe I should put it back on again.

18. This is fantastic lighting for squeezing spots. I should save them all up especially.

19. I wonder if anyone has ever died in here?

20. Tell you what’s still alive and well though – my KILLER sense of personal style.

21. If I just stayed very still and quiet, could I get locked into the shop and spend all night trying on the clothes?

22. But why would I want to do that, when this is such sweaty hell?

23. Films. It is because films make trying on clothes look like fun.

24. BUT WAIT, this isn’t a skirt at all! It’s a top!

25. It’s a nice top too. Imagine how good it would look if I wasn’t wearing it with emoji socks, pants and a hoodie tied round my waist instead of a skirt.

26. I think this might be the top that changes my life forever.

Image: Sisters

I’ve got a real love-hate relationship with group chats.

On the one hand, no one really has the time or patience to manually copy and paste the same sentence into a gazillion separate messages. We’re not about that. It’s way easier to moan on mass and gather important outfit info in a single shared conversation where, in theory, everyone reads and responds to texts with an suitably lol emoji at the drop of a notification.

But, we all know that’s not quite how it goes, is it?

Group chats are brilliantly chaotic at the best of times. If you’re anything like me and have roughly 19 on the go (and by that I mean 19 that exist but two that are actually ever in use), you might have noticed that they all follow pretty much the same pattern before fizzling out.

If they were all boiled down to seven stages, this would be it. Sound familiar?

1. The name game

What’s in a name, you ask? So. Much. Pressure. I’m pretty sure when Shakespeare threw that line into Romeo and Juliet, he wasn’t thinking about the stress of inviting a bunch of people into a convo and then having to decide whether to name it or not. But it’s about as stressful as what the star-crossed lovers were dealing with*. Kind of.

Obvs, it’s not the end of the world if you don’t name your group chat. But for the sake of knowing which chat is which and avoiding that tragically awkward thing of sending the wrong message to the wrong group, a named chat can be the saving grace you didn’t see coming.

*maybe don’t cite this in your English homework.

2. Who’s missing?

Working out who to include in a group chat is normally straight forward enough. But when it comes to those irregular chats, the ones with a specific purpose outside of your day-to-day gab, there’s always that minor panic of not including someone. After all, no one likes to be left out.

missing-kevin

Saying that though, once I panicked a bit too much about not inviting every single person I knew to a conversation and accidentally added the friend whose surprise birthday we were planning. Safe to say it didn’t remain a surprise.

3. Awkward side commentary

There comes a time in every group chat when someone goes rogue. They’ll say something that you’re not happy about, that doesn’t make sense or that really needs some thought.

So you end up having separate conversation with your BFF to talk about what’s been said, which then becomes a live commentary on what is (or isn’t) spoken about.  Then you end up chatting about a load of completely unrelated things and forget about the group chat you were originally meant to be paying attention to.  Which leads us swiftly on to…

4. The dreaded ‘delivered, read, no response’ fiasco

On a scale from one to annoying, this HAS to be at the top of everyone’s list of blood-boiling, forehead-vein-popping pet hates.

Don’t get me wrong, I totally get it. Sometimes we’re on our phones and then it rings/dinner’s ready/Netflix crashes/you fall asleep. The messages we were meant to reply to are then forgotten, leaving our friends with nothing more than two blue ticks and zero idea whether we’re okay with going as the Seven Dwarf to that fancy dress party. But still, it drives everyone crazy.

5. ‘Oh. Okay. Bye then’

You unlock your phone and open your app. You check into the group conversation to see how many people read your last message because as we mentioned earlier, people forget/get busy/don’t respond. Then you see the five words no group chatter is ever emotionally ready to read…

‘Jessie has left the conversation’.

giphynn

They’ve left. Like, gone. Without so much of a ‘bye guys’.

Sometimes it’s an accident and they have to awkwardly ask to be re-invited. But it never looks like an accident, does it? Oh, no. The rest of you are left scratching your heads wondering what on earth you might’ve done to annoy Jessie so much. 

6. Get a room

Ok, this might be what annoyed Jessie so much. There’s a time and a place to talk about the things that only really relate to a single person, my friends, and that’s in one of those old school one-to-one ‘conversations’.

giphy-3

But eventually, inevitably, someone in every group chat will direct a question an individual rather than the whole group. Next thing you know they’re 58 notifications deep into a conversation that no one else can jump into. Take it outside, people.

7. Stalemate

If you’re lucky, by this time the whole reason for starting a group chat in the first place will have been resolved. You’ll all know what you’re wearing to that fancy dress party, the surprise birthday will be planned and that thing you needed to moan about will have received a hearty amount of support.

But then everyone runs out of things to say because questions have been answered and you’re left in GCL (group chat limbo). As other conversations overtake, it’s no longer at the top of your screen and your pocket pals are left in the wilderness.

At least, that’s until the next group chat is created. See number 1.

@JazKopotsha

Image: Hailey Hamilton

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.

Image: Southern Comfort

How do you spend your Saturday nights in? Reading? Painting? Cooking up a storm, just for you, and Skyping your lonely Canadian auntie? Or do you, like me, spend them on the sofa, refreshing Insta and mooning mournfully over photos of your friends at some lit party while sinking a family size pack of Twirl bites? If it’s the latter, then listen up lady: you’ve a lesson to learn — one which I am (obvs) still learning, and has taken my confidantes in this matter (bff’s Katie and Sophie) the best part of 20 years to master.

It is making time for yourself on a Saturday night: that time when, according to the laws of the universe, aka socials, you should either be hanging out with your mates, or on a date night with bae. It is writing ‘ME’ (or myself, or I) in your diary — and enjoying it, whether that’s through a film, a book, a bath or a long neglected talent like piano or painting. And if you too find this scary AF, I strongly recommend the following tips.

Switch off your phone

Or at LEAST put it in another room. The first step to enjoying time by yourself is to BE by yourself, as opposed to looking through a tiny, greasy window into the lives of others. Soon as you hit Insta or any group whatsapp chat you’re on the slippery slope toward painful (and false) comparisons, and bitter self-loathing

Express yo’self

Don’t just hit the internet automatically, as if there’s nothing else you could possibly do of an evening. What are you interested in? What are you good at, or do you enjoy doing that you perhaps haven’t done in a while? Sophie, who has been nailing Saturday nights in for a good number of years now, says “the risk of back to back social appointments, is that I don’t make time to feed my interests: the things that make me, well, me and fuel satisfying conversation” — like, in her case, drawing or curling up and reading. A Saturday night spent doing those things you’ve always loved — playing an instrument, writing a story, making cards — will enrich you in a way falling into a Youtube shaped black hole of cat videos is unlikely to do.

Plan Stan

Consider your night in, not as a burden, but as a gift of four or five hours of free time you’ve granted yourself. Put it in your diary, and plan it as a fixed date, says Katie — just as your would an evening with friends. As Sophie warns, “an urgent scouring of Netflix or iPlayer in the hope of finding something to fit the bill” all too often ends in a disappointment after a string of half-watched films and documentaries. What’s on your ‘to watch’ list? What was that book your bff recommended last week? “A really good, nourishing evening — one where I would delight and relish in it, and have not a shred of FOMO, would be to absorb myself in the things I love and that nourish me,” Sophie continues. That invariably demands thinking ahead.

Feed yourself

Just as important as nourishing your sense of self is nourishing your body. Cook a dish you love, or have wanted to cook for ages — or if cooking isn’t your vibe, nicely ask your parent to cook or order one of your favourite things. Have dessert, or at the very least some kind of treat, and make Saturday night in a real occasion as opposed to something that happened by default. No one can ever truly regret an evening that ended in zillionaire cheesecake from GU.

Refresh yourself

Have a bath, change your duvet and pull on your favourite pyjamas for a feeling of indulgent luxury that won’t cost you a penny. Don’t skulk in your bedroom too early though, warns Katie — you’ll feel like you’re hiding from the world. “I make a point to hang out in the sitting room. If I were to hang out in my room as if I were ill or something, I’d start to feel sorry for myself.” You don’t have to dress up for the occasion, but equally you don’t have to treat yourself like you’ve got the flu.

Share the love

A weekend night in is the perfect chance to catch up with a friend in another time zone — or even an elderly grandparent whose every Saturday night is a night in, and would relish a quick chat with you.

Take pride

A night in is nothing to be ashamed of: we all have them, and if we are to retain a sense of identity (see 1) we all need them. Katie tells me when she is having a Saturday night in, and what she is going to do. She’ll have a documentary lined up that she’s been wanting to watch for ages, or a book she’s just getting into, and she’ll be really excited about it — to the point that I’m invariably left wishing I had made such lovely plans for myself, too.

Have faith in yourself, and in your friends

I promise they will still be there for you come Monday morning. Own your Saturday night. Share it with them with as much enthusiasm as you would a night out, or on holiday. No one can laugh at you for cooking paella, stencilling your cousin a birthday card and watching a documentary about elephants on a weekend. Or at least, they can — but the joke’s on them, not you.

Easy like Sunday morning

Not going out means not being knackered on Sunday morning. Not being knackered on Sunday morning opens up a whole new world of eating, drinking and exercising possibilities which a less sprightly, Saturday-night-out you would have slept right through. Get that run in, book a tennis court before 12, or make coffee plans so you’ve done something social that weekend. Alternatively, make the most of the lie in and back yourself a sweet 16 hour sleep.

@clare_finney

Image: Hailey Hamilton

CRAP.

I mean, obviously that’s great. So great. For her. Couldn’t be more chuffed, obviously, because we’re basically the same person. Sisters from another mister. Soul mates. But…

CRAP. This is a disaster. I’m basically never going to see her again.

I’m going to die alone. Alone, old and friendless, after a life of solo Harry Potter marathons with no one even to share a tub of Phish Food with when Sirius dies.

Still, it’s early days. Could all be over by Christmas. After all, she’s never been entirely sold on his eyebrows, and they’re only going to grow closer together as time goes by…

Jeez, what am I saying?! I’m a MONSTER! This. Is. Good. News. In fact, it’s such good news I am going to Whatsapp her right now and INSIST we go to the cinema together, the three of us, so I can get to know him. If you can’t break ‘em, join ‘em, that’s what I say….

Or dinner. Yes maybe dinner is safer. Then I don’t have to listen to them making out halfway through Wonderwoman while I sit there trying to mask the sound of lip-on-lip action with my own aggressive munching on single-portion popcorn crying my own quiet tears…Oh GAD.

Woooahh, hang on. Why am I so stressed? It’s 2017. There is an all-female superhero on our movie screens. I’m not going to let a man, or the absence of a man, stand in the way of my own happiness. I’m an unconquerable warrior. I am Diana, princess of…

I. Am. So. ALOOOOOOONE.

Wait, maybe Bex’s bae has friends! Man friends! He could set me up with one of them, and then we can double date, and all make out in the cinema together!

I mean, not in that way, obvs. Five rows apart at least.

Joint weddings – are they a thing?

I’m going to ask her to ask him, for real. Let’s get this ball rolling. What’s that quote grandma says, about doors closing and windows opening? Just goes to show you.

Might look a bit desperate though, asking out the blue like that. Should probably get to know him before treating him like some kind of man vending machine.

Mmm, man vending machine. Why has nobody invented one of those yet?

They’ve probs got them in Japan, tbf. Maybe I should move there.

Wait, what if he hates me?

What if I hate HIM?

This is the beginning of the end. It starts with plastering couple selfies over Insta, and it ends in me peering through a church window at their nuptials, having been cancelled for revealing my true feelings ten years previously.

Damn! She’s just whatsapped me, demanding to see my face in Starbucks asap. Is it because she can hear my thoughts? Oh. No. She wants some girl time. Some friend time. Some ‘me and her’ time.

I am an idiot. THIS ships’s for life – boy or no boy.

@clare_finney

Image: Mean Girls

1. Is this a joke? This is a joke right?

2. Maybe if I disconnect and reconnect it will work?

3. This is the worst day of my life.

4. If I keep refreshing the page, the internet will realise how much I love it and it will come back to me.

5. What did people even do before the internet existed? Play with… marbles.

6. How do you even play with marbles?

7. What if I turn to router off and on again?

8. I wonder if I could guess our next door neighbour’s Wi-Fi password.

9. asgT52zestylimes? Argh. Not that.

10. Password1? Damn, it’s not that either.

11. Why didn’t we just have a blackout instead? I don’t even need lights that much. Anything would be preferable to this.

12. Isn’t the internet like, a basic human right?

13. I’ll google it.

14. Crap. I can’t.

15. I wonder if I could use this to get out of doing my homework…

16. How much data do I have left on my phone?

17. How annoyed will my parents be if I go over my limit again?

18. Maybe it will be worth getting groun-

19. OH MY GOD IT’S BACK!!!! HELLO SWEET INTERNET.

20. That was the longest two minutes in the history of the world.

Image: Katie Edmunds

After over a decade of your parents feeding you night after night, the time has come to put your money where their mouth is and cook them a meal. You know where the oven is: you’ve seen things go in and out of it, and the hob looks easy enough. It’s all just button pushing really, and your phone can testify to your tekkers in that department. In fact, come to think of it, you’re not entirely sure what all the fuss is about. How hard can this cooking lark be?

Simultaneous equations

Forget cookery books: if being a phone addict has taught you anything, it’s that the answer to all life’s questions lie in the internet – and that includes recipes. You google ‘family cooking’ (or should, if you haven’t already) and up comes Jamie Oliver. There are family favourites, recipes for feeding a crowd, healthy meals, veggie dishes… jeez, who knew there was so much you could do with food? As you click through them all, your brain sizzles on a low heat with the effort of recalling all your fam’s likes and dislikes and, bearing in mind what’s already in the fridge, calculating the budget of each dish. You feel the first twinge of regret for your offer. You’ve an essay to write, three Pretty Little Liars eps to catch up on before bed time, and you’d give anything right now for your dad’s chicken kiev. Six hours of deep-sea internet diving later, you surface triumphantly with a recipe for Pukka yellow chicken… only to remember spicy food gives your stepmum the shits.

One potato, two potato

Fish cakes it is! Looks lush and seems, from the number of steps involved, pretty simple. Now you just need to adjust whatever quantity the recipe says it serves with the number of people in your family. Why, oh why, didn’t I listen in Maths? Gah. With potatoes it should be simple – if 300g serve 4 people, 600g serve 8 etc – but things grow a little more complicated when it comes to grams of smoked haddock fillets. What do you do with the leftover third of a fish? Or the mountain of parsley you end up buying because you misread 15g as 150g and you’ve basically bought a tree?

Stick it to me baby

A word of warning here for anyone planning to take this stuff literally and actually cook fish cakes: raw smoked fish smells pretty savage. As will your hands after you’ve reduced five of them to flakes and mixed them with that mound of potato it took you half your lifetime to peel, cube and mash. The fishy mash will stick to your fingers. The parsley will stick to your fingers. Your hair will fall in your eyes, you’ll go to brush it away – and it, too, will stick to your fingers. OMG, please try to resist the temptation at this point to pick up your phone. It’s true of fishcakes, but in any recipe there will come a point when all you can see is vegetable peel before you, oil slicks behind you and mess everywhere else — and that’s before your eyes cloud over with the mist of onion tears.

Help! I need somebody

And not just anybody. Trust me when I tell you that at a certain moment in the proceedings, you will need your parents, AS to the P. Maybe your onion is burned; maybe your fish cakes are soggy AF; maybe you’ve broken a glass into the mix (if you do this, ABORT ABORT. There’s no going back from that) or forgotten to add a vital ingredient. Whatever it is, when you realise you’re facing less of a cook up, more of a cock up royale, it’s okay to call mum or dad.

Dishing up

Your doting parents are gunning for your first dinner to be the GOAT, your siblings may have other ideas – but so long as your brace yourself for a solid trashing, the only way is up. It’s a great feeling, feeding people – particularly those you love. It’s the fastest way to anyone’s heart, and great practice for when you’re flying free. However not okay your first experience was, trust and believe me when I say, you WILL get better – and you’ll learn to, if not love it, at least be able to put something edible together one day. You hope.

@clare_finney

Image: Hailey Hamilton

1. Yaaawn, this is a dull day. Why did I even– ERMAGHAD, there’s a photo booth! Everyone’s favourite tiny curtained fun palace! Brace yourself, Instagram – we’re going old school.

2. Urgh, the queue so long. Why is everyone so slow. Can I be bothered to wait? Hahaha of course I can. It’s a photo booth.

3. Ok, the first photo is a little bit like the first pancake – it’s always going to be the worst. Just do your best adorable smile and hope for the best.

*FLASH*

4. Oh my god, why is the flash so bright?! I’m almost definitely going to be closing my eyes in that one. Alright, just gotta get past it and hope that the rest of them are good enough that no one notices the first dodgy one. Can’t peak too early.

5. Right, the classic funny face shot. I’m going to just stick out my tongue and make my eyes really wide: it’s timeless, it’s simple, it’s chic. Perfect. Except… Emily better be pulling a face. This better not be another one of those photos of the load of us looking like idiots and she’s just standing there smiling and looking impossibly hot. I’m just gonna glance over at her really quickly to make sure she’s rea–– *FLASH*

6. Oh ffs. You’ve got to be joking, that one’s going to be awful too. Ok, regroup, you’ve only got a few seconds left and it’s time for the candid laughing one – cue the awkward laughter! AHAHAHA. Why isn’t the photo taking, is the machine broken? AHAHAHA. This is a little weird now, just sitting here with my mouth hanging open and trying to look gleeful. Did a bug just fly into my mouth? I swear it my tongue tastes sort of bug-y. Ew. Ew. Ew. *FLASH*

7. Brilliant. Another disaster of a photo. Now the entire thing now hinges on the kiss on the cheek photo. I know Emily is going to want to be the one who has her cheek kissed but this is desperate times. I need this to be a good photo and everyone knows that the kissee always looks better than the kisser. I’m going to wait her out.

Yep, waiting her out. Stillllllllll waiting. Oh my god, is she really not going to do it? We need a kissing photo, a kissing photo is key to every single photo booth collage! Screw it, I’m going in. Wait, do I actually kiss her cheek or do I just sort of, er, hover near it. I think I kiss it. Yep I’m kissing.

Still kissing. They should really speed up how long you have to wait between photos because I’m pretty sure I’ve got saliva all over her chee–– *FLASH*

8. And it’s over. Incoming: a series of awful photos where I look like a hideous swamp monster who has never interacted with technology before. I don’t even know why we’re bothering to wait for them to print, I’m just going to beg Emily to throw them out because I am incapable of taking a decent photograph.

9. Hey, these are actually really cute! Is it just me, or are we… total babes? God bless the blinding flash and its ability to give everyone clear skin and shiny hair! Why does anyone bother eating healthily and drinking water and using deep conditioner when you can just pay £4 for photo booth pics and achieve the same effect?!

10. We should probably do another one so we have a set each, it’s just good sense really, isn’t it?

@LilyPeschardt

Image: Getty

Today is one of my favourite days of the year. It’s one of the lesser-known holidays – it doesn’t get the glory of Easter or Halloween, but it’s just as fun. It’s one of the unsung heroes, like National Chocolate-Covered Raisins Day or Inspire your Heart with Art Day, both of which also sound like very good holidays and Theresa May, if you’re reading this, I think they should all get us the day off school.

But anyway. Today is National Random Acts of Kindness Day, so we’ve put together a list of little, easy ways you can help spread love and cheer today.

1. Give someone a seat on the bus, even if they don’t look like they need it. Everyone likes a sit-down.

2. Pay for the person behind you’s coffee – or look out for independent coffee shops that let you buy coffees in advance, for someone who can’t afford one.

3. Bake your best friend a cake in their favourite flavour.

4. Write your parents a thank you note for doing approximately 1067 loads of washing for you over the years.

5. Email your favourite author telling them why you love their book so much.

6. Give your grandparents a call.

7. Or talk to any elderly person – you might just make their day.

8. Leave a nice note in a library book for the next person who reads it.

9. Compliment someone, and not just on something obvious like their hair.

10. Print out one your favourite poems and leave it on the bus for someone to find.

11. Help someone carry their bags to the car at the supermarket.

12. Ask someone sleeping rough what they’d like to eat for lunch, and buy it for them.

13. Start a conversation with someone at school who doesn’t have many friends.

14. Loudly applaud a busker, and tell everyone nearby that you think they’re going to make it big one day.

15. Set your alarm a little earlier and bring everyone a cup of tea in bed.