It’s International Day of the Girl! So to celebrate how amazing we are (betty pretty much does this every single minute of the day anyway guys, we’ve got you) we’re meeting some seriously inspirational babes.

Because when girls work together, great things happen. End of. Thanks to Instagram, YouTube and Twitter, girls with strong (and shared) belief systems are joining forces now more than ever. Together they are building safe, supportive spaces for creative production that encourage, above all else, honest conversation. Introducing gal-dem!

The multi-medium London-based troop launched in 2015 and help WoC (women of colour) build careers in the media, as well as diversify the faces, voices and experiences of the women we currently see in magazines. They talk about loads of interesting topics from race, to representation, to gender and are keen to kick off convos that aren’t really happening in the creative industries, heck, the world.

Hannah Gooding is their lifestyle editor (not to mention our new career crush) and is totally waving the flag for female inclusivity. She realised that waiting around for publications to feature women like herself just wasn’t an option any longer: “We noticed a lack of representation of ourselves in the media, and as they say, if you want something done, do it yourself. If you want to do something exceptionally, get your best girls on board to support.”

With issue 1 sold out and issue 2 available now for pre-order, we caught up with the incredible collective to talk about the power of female friendship, the importance of finding a voice and naturally, periods.

So, what actually is gal-dem?

“gal-dem is both a magazine and an online platform run collectively by women of colour for all to explore.”

Why did you decide to start gal-dem?

“We noticed a lack of representation of women like ourselves – women of colour – in the media, and as they say, if you want something done, go do it yourself! So we came together as a female collective just under two years ago, and did just that. Some of us knew each other through high-school or university, but mostly we came together through the weird and wonderful world-wide web. Online communities can be so powerful, a great way of coming together and sending out a clear message.”

What kind of stuff can we expect to find in the magazine?

“Interviews, illustrations, photography, opinion pieces, and an exclusive announcement from a childhood fave.”

What is it like to work alongside your bffs?

“It’s a massive ball of energy actually. We are always thinking of the next step. In the last year we’ve got our own radio station, club night, and now we have finally moved into a dedicated office space, so there’s so much more to come! We are actually made up of lots of contributors – it’s getting pretty tricky to count – but that’s what is so great about being a collective, it’s a community we support each other in an online and offline capacity.

“Working with your bffs is so rewarding. We can always rely on the gal-dem to listen to our rants, like all our posts on instagram, and generally gass us up every hour of the day.”

Do you think the fact you’re united in your mission is what makes you so successful?

“Yes, but the collective power of talented women comes tops. We just tapped into something that was needed and people were drawn to that.”

Why do you think periods still come with a stigma attached?

“Because men control the media and they don’t like talking about what they don’t understand. I have so many male friends that have had no idea how the menstrual cycle works, but I know how their anatomy works. It requires research, it requires time and understanding to be able to write or talk about periods – which unfortunately, isn’t always happening.”

Do you think this is the same for negative associations we sometimes see about the female body?

“Yes. If we’re too busy hating ourselves, we can’t take over the world. So stop, breathe and put your powers into practice. Oh, and don’t read magazines that tell you to be something you are not.”

Does social media help or hinder us when it comes to self-love?

“It’s a double-edged sword, definitely. Selfies can really boost self-esteem, but seeing everyone’s best side on social media can make you think that you should actually look like filters in real life.”

If you could say one thing to your 14-year-old self, what would it be?

“Stop plucking your eyebrows! And don’t feel disgusted by your own menstruation.”

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. 

Let’s talk about boys. Honestly, sometimes it can feel like they’re on a totally different planet but, the older I get, the more I appreciate the loyal, funny, caring (and occasionally totally stupid) guys in my life.

My first ever best friends were both boys, so I guess I had a bit of a head start. As soon as you start school though, the gender stereotypes kick in hard. You’re told “girls do this”, “boys do that”, and so neat little same-sex friendship circles form around netball vs. football, dance vs. cricket (what a load of BS, we know).

By the time you’re a teenager, those separate groups are pretty well established – and then being just good friends with a boy gets reeeeally complicated by silly gossip, hormones, and unfortunate crushes.

But the thing about boys is they’re not actually as different from us as they might sometimes seem. Forget pretty much all rom-coms, and the rubbish you’ve been told about how boys and girls can never really be “just good friends”. They totally can, and why the hell shouldn’t they?

Having boy friends in your life is great. Variety is the spice of life, and befriending a boy can be a really fun way of mixing up your hobbies and conversations – while also sticking two fingers up at the stereotypes that say boys can’t be sensitive and girls can’t be adventurous.

“Male and female friends make you think and feel differently about yourself – not just about how attractive you are, but about how sporty you are, how clever you are, how good you are at chatting about music, and so on,” explains Dr Angharad Rudkin, a Clinical Psychologist from the University of Southampton.

Of course, boy mates can also offer a valuable insight into the inner workings of the opposite sex, and they’ll often have a different perspective from your girlfriends on life’s dilemmas. In short, a good boyfriend will support you, make you laugh, and offer advice just as much as any girlfriend.

When I was at school, I had two main things in common with most of my best boy friends: we liked a lot of the same music, and we were really good at maths. It really doesn’t take anything more profound than that to strike up a conversation and find that you actually quite like each other.

In fact, those annoying boy-girl seating plans your teacher insists on can actually be really handy when it comes to making friends with boys. If you’re stuck with each other for the whole term anyway, you might as well make the best of it and see if there’s any common ground.

You’re not going to hit it off with every guy you’re forced to sit next to in class (just like you wouldn’t with every girl) but give them a chance. I promise they’re not all as weird and immature as each other!

The school gossip mill can be tricky though, when it comes to maintaining your friendship with a boy. Just because you’re both mature enough to like and respect each other as friends, doesn’t mean everyone else is mature enough not to start stupid rumours about you.

It would be too easy to say: “just ignore them” – although that is also solid advice. The best thing you can do is be open and honest with each other, to make sure you both know where you stand.

“Talk with your friends if you feel things are starting to get a bit different with your relationships – chatting about it is so much easier than trying to guess what the other is thinking,” says Dr Rudkin.

Sometimes that might mean making awkward confessions like: “I’ve developed a bit of a crush on you, but I don’t want this to affect our friendship” – because, guess what, hormones and your blossoming sexuality will do that to you. But mostly it just means being able to say: “Hey, we’re mates, right? I know people are gossiping, but that shouldn’t stop us hanging out together.”

Obviously, it’s also important to choose your boy mates carefully, just like you would any other friends. Make sure they’re respectful – not just to you, but to all the girls in your class – and don’t make you feel bad about yourself.

Hanging out in groups can ease the pressure too. If you and some mates are going to see a band he loves, or grabbing dinner together before the school disco, invite him to come along too. Mixed friendship groups can have a really nice, chilled out dynamic, and you won’t feel quite so awkward as you might do about hanging out one-on-one.

At the end of the day though, Dr Rudkin says: “Just do what feels right for you, and take each person as they are, regardless of their gender. If they make you feel good about yourself and positive about the future, and if they make you more of the person you really want to be, then it’s a good friendship.”

I love all of my girl and boy friends to bits, and they each bring totally different things to my life. With the girls it might be nights in, catching up and watching Pitch Perfect; discussing feminism over dinner; shivering together at a football match; or heading off for a weekend away together.

But there’s also that one guy who’s forever inviting groups of us over for wonderful dinners, or dropping everything to help me out of a tricky spot. There’s the boyfriend who I have endless deep and meaningful conversations with, and who’ll always come to me first for advice. And the mate who’s just as likely to take me trampolining, or on a photography tour round London, as he is to spend hours watching Ru Paul’s Drag Race with me.

I just couldn’t imagine life without any of them.

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. 

At first you think you’re going mental. This is the stuff of Housewives, Pretty Little Liars, Enid Blyton books about boarding school. People do not steal people IRL –  I mean, they sometimes do in a criminal sense, but not in this way: this slow, insidious abduction of a friend’s affection, attention and lols. As kleptomania starts with the odd lip balm, friendship stealing begins by sharing coloured pens in geography, sniggering over penis diagrams in biology, swapping notes — just low key, friendly stuff. Yet you can’t dismiss that nagging feeling that something, something, is not right.

She’s stopped Snapchatting you. Sure, you see her story, but the personal snaps of her cat attacking Cole Sprouse on the telly? They’ve disappeared, along with your privileged two-second reply rate and tags in memes. The connection’s failing — and you assume at first the problem’s your end. You shift position, reach a bit higher, like you do when your signal’s dying. You make an effort at asking questions, bring up the funny times you’ve shared and lend her your joggers. Then it hits you: you are being, slowly but surely, acquaintance-zoned.

It’s a shitty feeling. I’m not going to pretend otherwise — but we have all been there and, if we’ve not been, we will be at one point. This is no fluffy platitude: I offer it as evidence that no one, but NO ONE, is worth any more or any less than you. Just as you are being robbed, so you will one day be robbed, by someone who wants you so badly they’ll take you away from someone else. Indeed, I’m prepared to bet that one day you too will see someone you want to ‘steal.’

And believe me, you’ll steal her. Because the thing with friendship stealing is, there is no such thing. Better to call it friendship recycling. Someone might steal your bff, but if she’s allowing herself to be taken, why hold on to her? If she was fully committed to you, she’d be more mindful of the hurt her neglect is causing — or maybe she would welcome you into her new friendship glow. Don’t write her off too soon — we can all get sidetracked now and again, especially by something as new and shiny as a friend-in-waiting — but equally don’t bend over yourself to please her. Instead, try exploring new pal-stures: finding friends who recognise your value and are ready to earn it. Your old bff will be back the moment she sees you don’t need her so much any more — of that, I am 95 per cent sure.

Neediness is unattractive in anyone, unless it’s your literal baby. Relationships which become too dependent, be they platonic or romantic, are hard to maintain. They become stifling. It is probably more healthy for bffs to ebb and flow, growing away from each other, making new friends and — hopefully —growing together again as more rounded people. Bees fly a long way from their queen, but what they bring back with them makes both her and the hive stronger. Unlike the bees, though, you won’t die if in the end you do lose each other and decide to move on.

So think twice before complaining – not least because nothing sounds more petty than ‘she’s stealing my best friend’, however legit the feeling is.  Seize the chance to make new mates for yourself, or invest in some fledgling friendships that could grow. Don’t compete with your mate’s new girl: smile, and enjoy sitting with new people. If nothing else, it’s good practice for university and the workplace. In the words of my grandmother, who at 81 has some friendships under her belt: make new friends, keep the old — one is silver, the other gold.

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. 

‘Ah, your teens’, older relatives sigh nostalgically. ‘The best years of your life. All that free time and no responsibilities. Make the most of them!’

How often do you hear words like this? Adults seem to love telling younger people how lucky they are to not yet have hit twenty. They conveniently forget that you have responsibilities and pressures: homework, exams, volunteering, a job, chores, maybe more.

They also forget that you may have time but you don’t have money. Wouldn’t it be easy to make the most of our teens if we had an unlimited budget! Imagine the days out, weekends away, good deeds, shopping trips and salon visits if we had more than £4.17 in our purses?!

But even if you’re brassic, it’s still possible to enjoy some of life’s luxuries. Here’s how to live like a queen and stretch those pennies to create your own teen luxe lifestyle…

Make your own luxury list

Unless you’re actually Victoria Beckham or Kim Kardashian (hi girls), you’ll probably have to make some compromises around luxury. We can’t all have everything all of the time – and in fact even the biggest indulgence would lose its appeal if we did (although totes willing to test that theory out if anyone wants to fund the experiment?!).

Instead we have to make choices about our priorities: what treat would you love the most?

Obviously there’s no point wishing for a top of the range sports car if you can’t drive anyway, so focus on what is actually in the realm of achievable. Think about your life already: what would you do more of or buy more of if you could?

Start a luxury list based on this. Perhaps it’s a bottle of designer perfume or a new album every month. Write your ideas down. Rather than wanting everything, you’ll (hopefully) begin to see a pattern emerging of what would really make a difference to you.

Keep this list handy before your birthday and Christmas and drop some hints. If you’re lucky enough to be asked what you’d like, you’ll have some ideas rather than the usual total mind blank. Plus it gives you some ideas if you get given money.

Also dig out your childhood piggy bank. Literally save your pennies as well as the odd pound or the fiver you find in your old coat pocket (those discoveries do happen to someone, don’t they? Or is it a complete myth that we ever find money in our clothes or down the sofa?).

It’s amazing how little contributions to our money box can build up. But there are other ways to bring a little luxury into your life too…

Bedroom

Unless we figure out the magical spell for creating tickets (Glasto, New York, Ibiza incase anyone can hear us), our teen years usually mean a fair amount of time in our bedroom – so make it as luxurious as possible.

An Instagramable interior isn’t far from reach. Start with cleaning and tidying your space, so it’s somewhere that you and your mates want to hang out. Get a plant and a nice scented candle, use your bedside lamp not the overhead light and squish up your pillows even if you have to flatten them again to get to sleep!

Talking of beds, if your idea of luxury is a long lie-in (and whose isn’t?!), change your sheets.  Honestly there’s nothing more luxurious than sleeping in clean sheets. You’ll feel like an influencer in the latest boutique hotel.

Eating out

It’s not just fast food places that offer pocket money prices. If you and your friends fancy eating out somewhere but you’re worried about cost, try these tricks:

Meet for lunch or even breakfast. Many places have special midday offers or cheaper options earlier in the day.

Order tap water. It’s free and if you’re having food then you needn’t feel like a cheapskate.

If the main courses are a bit pricey, order a starter and a side dish. Just remember to ask for it to come at the same time as others’ mains!

Shopping

Visit your local market. It’s not just for people with wheelie trollies or fruit and veg sold by someone shouting things you can’t decipher (‘Half a pound a pound…..’ Uh?).

Markets are great places full of hidden luxuries. You’ll nearly always find a stall selling makeup and haircare, as well as one stocked with chocolates and sweets. At mine, you can even buy last month’s magazines for just £1! Check your nearest one out and see what you uncover.

Fashion

Try cultivating your own ‘look’. If you become known for a particular style or accessory, you don’t need to spend money chasing every new trend – you can just carry on sporting your trilby or using your distinctive backpack until it wears out (or you get bored). This frees up cash to spend on the luxuries you really want!

Beauty

Trade beauty treatments. Rope your friend, your mum or sister in and swap manis and pedis. Even if you’re a bit ropey to begin with, you’ll soon improve! Make it a regular appointment in your month and light some candles. Who needs a salon anyways?

Warning: this is not encouragement to cut your own fringe.

Make a chore a treat

Sooner or later, we all get periods. Why not make this feel more luxurious? Sign up to bettybox and turn the time of the month into the time of a treat too!

See, being brassic isn’t *that* bad after all…

Today marks the 65th year that the Queen has been the Queen. And to think, we thought committing to all six seasons of Game of Thrones was a big ask.

Queen Elizabeth II is the longest reigning monarch, and therefore the first ever to reach her Sapphire Jubilee (apparently sapphires beat diamonds in this equation, which is confusing but we’ll go with it). And for all the pearls and the tiaras and the castles and the being-90, the Queen seems like someone we wouldn’t mind being mates with.

So in honour of this day, we thought we’d take a moment out of our day to reflect on some of the moments Her Majesty was not just the Queen, but a total queeeeeen.

The time she got excited… by cows

The time she was a badass in white gloves

queen-with-gun

The time she served up pure old Hollywood

The time she met the Spice Girls and loved it

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 01: The Queen At The Royal Command Performance At The Victoria Palace Theatre On 1st December 1997 Shaking Hands With Pop Star Geri Halliwell (ginger Spice) From The Pop Band The Spice Girls (Photo by Tim Graham Picture Library/Getty Images)

The time she was everyone’s strict Granny

The time she casually changed a tyre on an ambulance in WW2

queen-in-war

The time she trolled the Obamas

One of the many times her outfit was #goals

Literally everything about this photo

queen-on-horse

When she was graceful as a real life Mary Poppins

Queen In Turkey

And let’s never forget, the time she was the ultimate Bond girl

Yaaas, Queen.

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.