School holidays are great. You don’t have to set alarms. You can wear anything you like. You can eat lunch whenever your hunger strikes you. But sometimes, every so often, they can get, um, a bit… er, dull.

I know! I know, it’s not what you’re meant to say. You’re meant to be grateful and thankful and brimming with holiday induced joy. But, well, sometimes you can end up sitting on the floor of your bedroom, completely out of episodes of Stranger Things to re-watch and with no idea what to do next.

Well, fear not! We have come up with some ideas for how to keep the boredom at bay.

1. Make face masks

Mrs Doubtfire

I’m not entirely sure what it is that I find so soothing about face masks, but pretty much as soon as I apply that first slather, I feel myself relax. You can do it on your own, pop some cucumber on your eyes and listen to soothing music or you can get together with a bunch of friends and experiment with different types. I particularly love this banana face mask. Plus, if any of it ends up in your mouth, it’s totally delicious.

2. Got some leftover bananas?

If you have any bananas left over after making your face mask, it’s NBD because you can make banana popsicles!

3. Learn the Parent Trap Handshake 

One rainy afternoon, my best friend Georgia and I decided we would learn the handshake from Parent Trap. Because I have very little coordination, it took a ridiculous amount of time, but it was totally worth it when we showed our routine off to all our friends at school the next week.

parent-trap

4. Or if you’re more musically inclined…

You could learn “Cups” from Pitch Perfect, which will have the same effect. (Amy can do it and I am immensely jealous).

5. Did someone say ‘sale’?

The high street is on its mid-season sale, so there are bargains to be had. One of our favourites is this dungaree dress from River Island that’s almost 50% off! [Insert Dad joke about that being because its missing 50% of the fabric here]

dungaree-dress

Black dungaree dress, River Island, was £38 now £20

6. Learn to face paint

Look, I’m not entirely sure when this life skill will come in useful but I promise you that if you learn how to paint your face so you look like Scar from the Lion King, a situation will arise. Halloween? Why not. A circus themed party? Sure. Next mufti day? I’m game if you are.

7. Get your pom-pom on

Pom-poms are great because they are so versatile. They look good in pretty much every scenario: on a headband, as bunting, as a key ring, in a nice bowl like apples… Plus, they’re super soothing to make – watch our handy video tutorial, have a Netflix marathon and pom the day away.

8. Marie Kondo your room

I wish I knew the words to describe the look I got in the betty offices when I said I didn’t know who Marie Kondo was. According to her Wikipedia, she’s a Japanese organising consultant and author. Lauren tells me that after she read Marie’s first book, ‘The Life-Changing Art of Tidying,’ she actually re-organised her wardrobe and it did, in fact, change her life. As someone who spends about five minutes every morning trying to locate the top I have in mind, I have to admit, I’m tempted.

9. Head to your local library

Holidays are always a great time to get on top of your reading list. If you’re feeling a little uninspired, why not check out Zoella’s new book club reads or some of our betty book reviews?

10. Or… get crafty with books

If you’re not that into reading or have got a lot of old books lying about, you could try some of these DIY projects that re-purpose old books into beautiful new accessories.

diy-inspiration-smashbook

11. Stage a tribute to Bey

What better way is there to spend your hols than learning all the words to Bey’s, ‘Hold Up’? Or, if you’re feeling really ambitious, why not try and get the whole Lemonade album down? Put on your yellow-est dress and get crackin’

Boredom, BE GONE. Bey-dom awaits!

School is officially back in session.

For the Hermiones of this world, this is amazing news. For everyone else, the disappointment is similar to when you remember that JK has said that she’ll never write another book about Harry *sob*.

Either way, to help you keep that summer holiday feeling alive a little while longer, we’ve put together a playlist of our favourite holiday tunes.

DNCE – Toothbrush

Baby, you don’t have to rush. When school goes back and the homework starts mounting up again it can be hard to hold onto that summer feeling. Thank god for Friday night sleepovers.

 

Madonna – Holiday

The lyrics say it all:

“If we took a holiday/ Took some time to celebrate/ Just one day out of life/ It would be, it would be so nice.” It WOULD be nice, wouldn’t it? Nicer than GCSE algebra.

 

Maggie Rogers –  Alaska

Maggie Rogers’ voice sounds like what we imagine a woodland elf might sound like. Let her beautiful voice sooth your back to school woes.  

 

Metronomy – Night Owl

This might be the weirdest video clip in the world but this song is perfect for the bus ride to school and reflecting on how many new freckles you picked up this summer. 

 

Justin Timberlake – Can’t Stop the Feeling

We know you’ve all heard it a thousand times but don’t tell us it doesn’t want to make you get up and dance. Ok, but you’re lying. Holidays might be over but JT isn’t going anywhere, which is a pretty good thing to dance about.

 

Closer – Chainsmokers ft Halsey

Arguably the song of the summer. We have had this song on repeat for the last few days and haven’t been able to resist the nodding dog head-bop that goes along with it.

 

Stooshe – Let it go

Nope, we’re not talking about the one sung by Elsa. The perfect song for when you’re getting ready for school or dancing around the field with your friends. 

 

Destiny’s Child – Survivor

You might be back at school, but like Queen Bey says, you’re a survivor. You’ve totally got this, girl.

Image: Getty

I was 12 and wearing cream Eeyore pyjamas when I got my first ever period.

I really loved them – comfy, cropped shorts with a frilly seam and a matching strappy top embroidered with my favourite moody A A Milne character. But even Disney wasn’t enough to keep adulthood away, and on a hot summer night during a family holiday in which I discovered my love of French petrol station hot dogs, it came.

Being 12 is so great, but it’s a time when everything changes, and that can be disorientating. That summer I’d just finished my first year at secondary school and it felt as if everyone expected me to behave both as a kid, and an adult. And that’s how I saw myself too.

On the adult days I practiced walking in heels on the driveway and couldn’t wait to start earning my own cash so I could buy my friends amazing birthday presents, instead of relying on my parents for a fiver every month.

On the kid days, I wanted to roll like a human sausage down every grassy hill I saw, and watch cartoons next to the biscuit tin after school.

Being 12 – and most of your teen years, let’s be honest – is an age when you’re on the cusp of adulthood, but then childhood sneaks in and pulls you back like an elastic band. You want to buy your favourite chocolate on the way home from school, but the law says you’re too young to earn money. You want to hang out all night with your friends but your parents have set a curfew.

You want to wear your favourite cream frilly pyjamas, but you get your first period.

Back to that morning in France. The story of my first period actually starts the day before, at a market near the villa my family and I were staying at. I was checking out the anklet options when a rush of nausea came over me really quickly, and I fainted. I was prone to fainting during my teens (something I eventually grew out of, though that doesn’t stop me carrying a packet of chocolate digestives everywhere I go ‘just in case’).

My Dad and stepmum – one by the arms, the other by the anklet-less ankles – picked me up like a table and carried me across the road while I wet myself, leaving a humiliating trickle of urine as we went. I was a human wee snail.

It sounds scary but, in reality, I came around about 30 seconds later. Other than the fact that my favourite denim miniskirt now smelt of wee, and my sister wouldn’t stop moaning about how the sarong stall was going to close any minute, I felt fine. My parents and I put the faint down to the hot weather and we all trotted back to the car.

The day continued as planned; we got back to the villa, jumped in the pool and my siblings and I proceeded to make up a water-based musical inspired by The Little Mermaid, complete with a crab dance that we still sometimes crack out at Christmas. The faint was forgotten.

Until the next day when I woke up and went to the loo as always. That’s when I pulled down my PJ bottoms and saw it; my period had soaked into the pyjamas and was all over my inner thighs, making them sticky (but not a spot on the white bed sheets – must have been beginner’s luck). There was a lot of it. Some was bright red, other patches were brown and dry. I was one of the first among my friends to get their period, and neither of my three sisters had started yet. I began to panic.

Without thinking, I whipped the PJs back on and wrapped a towel around my waist. Palms sweating, head spinning, I began racing – thighs glued together to keep the period in, using only my lower legs to move, like a cartoon – around the villa to find my stepmum. I’d seen her pack sanitary pads before we left but had no idea where she kept them… I mean, I’d never even owned pads before. Like a menzies detective, possibilities filled my mind. Did she keep them in her handbag? Knicker drawer? THE FRIDGE?!

After turning the cutlery drawer upside down and finding nothing, I turned to plan B: find an adult. I went to see my sunbathing sisters – chilled and enjoying their period-free lives – who told me that our parents had gone to the supermarket and didn’t know when they’d be back.

So I did the only logical thing I could think of. I grabbed a snack from the kitchen (Lays crisps, holiday staple), locked myself back in the bathroom and sat on the loo, waiting for my period to slowly drip into it. Like the olden days, when women simply had to sit on buckets until it stopped.

Now, I’ve never bungee-jumped off a 100ft bridge in the middle of a snowstorm wearing a short dress and no knickers, but I imagine the feeling when it’s over isn’t dissimilar to the relief I felt when I heard my parent’s keys in the door. I called for my stepmum and summoned her to my period throne.

She wasn’t scared. In fact, she was super calm. It was all going to be ok – she gave me a hug and a pad, and stroked my head while I cried about not being able to swim for the rest of the holiday.

Later that afternoon I’d held a welcome party for my period cravings by polishing off my third cheese and ham baguette, and was sat with my legs dangling in the nice cold pool. I felt like everything was going to be ok.

And it really was totally fine. Fine. When my brother pushed me into the pool, oblivious to the fact I was wearing the second sanitary towel of my life, the pool didn’t turn into tomato soup. The landlord didn’t try to kick us out the villa because I’d unsuccessfully flushed a sanitary towel down the loo (don’t try it, never try it). And I didn’t even leak through the white linen trousers I wore to get ice cream at lunch. I survived.

Now, when I’m expecting my period, I either sleep in black knickers so that I don’t stain another fabulous pajama set, or wear a pad to bed. What was the lesson my first ever period taught me? That there’s nothing that can’t be solved by switching your Eeyore pyjamas for the toy instead.

And always go to the sarong stall early.

Image: Katie Edmunds