Comic books featuring all of our favourite superheroes have been around for a long time. Since your parents were kids. Since your grandparents were kids, even!Although that doesn’t mean many of the stories, the characters, the superpowers and the badass things they do aren’t still great today.

Batman, for example, first cropped up in a comic book waaay back in 1939. Nineteen-thirty-goddam-nine. Since then, there have been a lot of comic books, movies, TV shows and other cool stuff made about him, starring him and celebrating him. But you may have noticed there are often far too many superhero dudes on our TVs and in our cinemas and jumping through our comic books. Which begs the question: Where are all the badass female superheroes?

Well, there are actually lots out there if you look carefully. And the good news is, more and more are appearing each day. They’re also representing more and more actual girls and women too, which is always a really good thing.

So if you’re already into comic books, can’t get enough of the new Supergirl show or need a helping of badass female superpowers in your life and don’t know where to start, then check out our list of favourite female superheroes who are totally #goals…

(And if you like superhero stories and comic books, there are so so so many more characters and stories for you to explore. This list is just the beginning.)

1. Rogue

If you’ve watched any of the X Men movies or TV shows, chances are you’ve come across Rogue before. She’s really different in some of the older comic books, but in the modern day films she’s a teen just like you, trying to get her head around regular teen stuff – like growing up and crushes. The problem is, when she touches people she sucks all of their energy out of them. Eek! Not great for a first kiss.

Rogue soon learns how to harness her powers and use them for good – she just needs to wear gloves at first a lot to stop her hurting anyone. We like her so much because we get to see how she learns to better use and understand her powers over time; a classic rise of a superhero story. BOOM!

Superpower: She can absorb powers, energy, memories and sometimes even skills via touch.

2. Gamora

Gamora is another classic comic book superhero who has recently appeared in a big movie. She was played by Zoe Saldana in Guardians of the Galaxy and her back story is she’s the green-skinned, adopted alien daughter of Thanos, a huge supervillain who is a massive deal in the world of The Avengers.

She naturally has some awesome superpowers, like enhanced strength, speed and durability. But she’s also trained in all of the martial arts you could imagine across all kinds of worlds. Why do we love her so much? Well, due to all her training she became known as “the deadliest woman in the whole galaxy”. What. A. Title.

Superpower: Super human strength, speed, agility and durability

3. Storm

Like Rogue, Storm is part of the X Men, which means fans of the films will be all too familiar with her awesome white hair and eye-changing abilities. Take a look at her back story and you’ll see she’s the daughter of a tribal princess from Kenya, but moved around a lot when she was growing up, finally settling with the X Men team.

We’re such huge Storm fans because she can control the ACTUAL weather. You may think that’s not that cool. Making it rain? Yeah, we get that everyday. But when you’re fighting big baddies being able to whip up a hurricane or throw a bolt of lightning is nothing short of amazing.

Superpower: She can control the weather. And also, just a small thing, she can fly.

4. Jessica Jones

Thanks to a recent Netflix adaptation, this little known superhero is one of our favourites. We love Jessica Jones so much because in many ways she’s a bit of an anti-superhero. She doesn’t really want to be out fighting crime or helping people that much – she’s a private investigator, and helping people just kind of… happens. Sometimes.

She also doesn’t have to wear silly (or cool, depending on your preference) costumes to fight crime either. She wears normal clothes and messes up a lot. Maybe she doesn’t sound like the best role model in the world, but we can relate to her very real, human story.

Superpower: Super human strength and endurance.

5. Supergirl

You’ve probably heard of Superman before, obvs. But, thanks to a new TV show all about Supergirl, she’s set to become even more popular than her big cousin.

Supergirl’s official name is Kara Zor-El and the back story is that she was sent to Earth from the doomed planet Krypton. Sound familiar? That’s because this is Superman’s back story too. The thing is, his little space pod thing got to Earth but Kara’s didn’t. Well, not until years later. Hence the reason he’s zooming around being all super for ages before she doesn’t turned up.

But we love her now she’s here, not least because her show is so refreshing when we’re all used to seeing Superman with the big ‘S’ on his chest. She has it too!

Superpower: All the super stuff, basically. We’re talking super strength, heat vision, speed, mostly invulnerable, x-ray vision, microscopic vision and more.

@BeccaCaddy

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. 

We all know social media has its good and bad points.

While it might be fun to follow your favourite supermodel or celebrity on Instagram, we need to remember to not let what we see negatively influence us. Not everyone has access to personal trainers, a glam squad or – let’s face it – a ridiculous gene pool, in the same way that not everyone has access to a private jet.

So when you’re a regular person (oh hi), a little self-preservation is key.

And with body confidence issues affecting girls as young as five – yep, FIVE – body image should be front and centre of that.

This is where our favourite body positive Instagram illustrators come in. They’ve put pen(cil) to paper to create some beautiful, diverse and inclusive artworks to remind you to love the skin you’re in.

If you’re gonna scroll, scroll smart.

@Pink_Bits

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Illustrations of “the bits we’re told to hide”. Whether the taboo is tampon string, body hair or amputation, no taboo is left untackled. Oh and we really love the way she syncs the background of each illustration with cute pastel shades.

@Frances_Cannon

I can't hear you or your unkind words. My head is full of fluff.

A post shared by Frances Cannon (@frances_cannon) on

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A window into the mind of the self-love guru – she is the founder of #SelfLoveClub after all – via beautifully-relatable line drawings, frankness around mental health and tattoo inspo just don’t tell your parents).

@justgirlproject

Oldie but a goodie. (@jessyscarpone) #justgirlproject * Want to purchase this print? Our online store is on its way! ❤️

A post shared by The Just, Girl. Project (@justgirlproject) on

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Inspirational quotes about body confidence alongside gorgeous illustrations of women of all shapes, sizes and skin colours.

@joannathangiah

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Brightly coloured, psychedelic, doll-like figures with oh-so sweary captions. We can’t get enough.

@TylerFeder

Precious Blooms now in the shop!! FYI the 5×7 is landscape and the 8.5×11 is portrait. Shop link in bio! 💐

A post shared by Tyler Feder | Roaring Softly (@tylerfeder) on

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A mix of food pics, the odd cat and beautiful illustrations. Think florals, body inclusivity, serene expressions.

@Moosekleenex

Cute pattern. #illustration

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Soft curves, mesmerizing videos of her work in action and illustrations of men too (so don’t be surprised by the odd penis).

@Marcelailustra

This illustration is dedicated to all of you who have Keratosis Pilaris. For those who do not know: this is a condition that develops when the skin produces too much of a protein called keratin, which can block the hair follicles and cause the appearance of bumps. Red and white lumps usually appear on the arms, thighs, cheeks and buttocks. Although very common, this condition often causes insecurity in many people – I myself have some mild keratosis on my butt and it bothers me. Today I know that this condition is just a detail among all the characteristics that make me who I am and the same applies to all of you. Love your whole body, including the red lumps of your skin – they exist because you are human and you are alive./ 🇧🇷 Essa ilustração é dedicada a todos vocês que tem Queratose Pilar. Para quem não sabe: essa é uma condição que se desenvolve quando a pele produz muito de uma proteína chamada queratina, o que pode bloquear os folículos capilares e provocar o aparecimento de inchaços. Os caroços vermelhos e brancos geralmente aparecem nos braços, nas coxas, nas bochechas e nas nádegas. Apesar de ser muito comum, essa condição costuma causar insegurança em muitas pessoas – eu mesma tenho um pouco de queratose leve no bumbum e me incomodava com isso. Hoje eu sei que essa condição é só um detalhe entre todas as características que me fazem ser quem sou e o mesmo se aplica para todas vocês. Ame seu corpo por inteiro, incluindo as bolinhas vermelhas da sua pele – elas existem porque você é humana e está viva💛🌼🌷🌺 #keratosispilaris #selfesteem #bodypositivity #bodypositive #bopowarrior #bopo #loveyourbody #loveyourself #selfesteem #selflove #queratosepilar #diversity

A post shared by Marcela S. (@marcelailustra) on

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Watercolour drawings offering acceptance of everything from body hair and stretch marks to medical skin conditions. Her message is clear: stop shaming women from showing their bodies.

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

The end of school is nigh, and all of a sudden you feel like you’ve got 100 decisions to make. What do I want to do with my life? Do I want to go to college, or uni, or do I want to get stuck straight into work? It’s easy to feel lost when you don’t know what you want to do, or how to get there.

But while you have literally your whole life to make up your mind, a little bit of good advice can go a long way. So with that in mind, in a series of interviews, we’re speaking to women who’ve ‘made it’, and asking their advice on how to follow in their footsteps.

This week, we speak to Rav Gill, head pastry chef at Llewelyn’s restaurant in Herne Hill.

Describe your typical day

I start at 6:30 in the morning and on a long day, I get a break about 4pm. I usually go to the gym or something—I feel like I should because I eat so much sugar! I honestly start my day with a cookie—then I come back for 5:30pm and work until 11pm. I am usually here all the time, I even moved down the road so I do actually live here!

What’s the best part of your job?

Tasting everything! And having creative freedom to use everything I have learned over the years to create something new. When you see people eating the food or they post a little thing saying how much they loved your food online, it’s so satisfying. Also, as a chef you can literally travel the world. I work at Llewelyn’s full-time, but I also freelance for different companies so I cook for VIPs and families on my days off. The money is finally nice—it does get good when you stick it out. You can also use your knowledge to be a recipe or food writer, or a food stylist too. There are so many different avenues you can go down.

Are there any bad parts?

Long hours, which means you don’t get to see your friends and family that often, and having a relationship is hard—unless they’re a chef, but you don’t want to date chefs, they’re all crazy! You become so close with your colleagues, though, which is nice. I now have friends all over the world, it’s awesome. You also get so many perks! I get to eat in lots of restaurants as I know everybody in the industry. Plus, you will never be out of a job. Everybody is looking for chefs, especially for pastry chefs—I know I’m plugging the pastry!

How did you become a pastry chef?

I actually did a psychology degree in Southampton, and I was meant to do a PhD, but last minute turned it down to be a chef. When I did my degree I just spent the whole time cooking for other people and I realised that was more what I wanted to do. I graduated, then worked in a chocolatier and saved up to go to Le Cordon Bleu in London, to train to be a pastry chef. Now I’m head pastry chef, but it took a lot of time and hard work.

Have you always loved cooking? Why pastry?

Yes, but I was so bad at it! Up until I was about 19. I do everything now, but I love pastry most—I like the finesse of it. I think because I have such a sweet tooth, I am so much more interested in it. Whenever I have a meal, I always obsess over what I’m going to have for dessert.

Wow, they are long shifts!

It’s quite typical to work around 80 hours a week—when you start out as a chef you have to know that your social life is gone. But I think a lot of restaurants are changing that now. At St John I only did 48 hours—it depends where you are. Generally the higher up you are, the longer the hours.

The Big Question: uni or no uni?

If you’re serious about doing it I would say so. You can’t really just pick it up, unless you’re willing to do loads of reading, because there’s so much precision. It can be quite scientific. There are three levels of diploma you can do: basic, intermediate and superior. You could get away with just doing basic because to be honest, no one is really looking at your CV—as long as you know the basics and have enthusiasm you should be fine! Enthusiasm is the most important thing.

What’s your favourite pud?

Anything with chocolate. My sweet tooth is SO big, there isn’t any dessert I don’t really like! Unless it’s savoury. I went to a super posh place recently and ordered the cheesecake, and it was actually just cheese. I was so disappointed.

If you could give one piece of advice to your 14-year-old self, what would it be?

I would tell myself to not be so fearful of following a creative path in life, and not to listen to my food tech teachers, who told me I was rubbish. They were wrong!

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. 

@EllieCostigan

Being sporty is hard, man. Unless you’re one of those girls whose ponytail does the perfect swish while running a 5k without breaking a single bead of sweat. Stomach cramps, sweaty fringes, big boobs and chafing thighs do not work in our favour. But even the world’s biggest female champions face the same hardships.

If you ever feel blue about having to go to PE while you’re on your period, or you constantly battle with a bloated tum while working out – take a look at these awesome sporty girls and prepare to be inspired.

1. Fu Yuanhui’s period-power statement

Fu Yuanhui might just be the coolest girl in sports RN. The 21-year-old Chinese swimmer was interviewed on live television after coming fourth in the 4x100m relay at Rio 2016.

Fu told the interviewer: ‘I don’t think I performed very well today. I feel I let my teammates down…It’s because my period came yesterday, so I felt particularly tired – but this isn’t an excuse, I still didn’t swim well enough.’

She instantly became the star of Rio, breaking the taboo of openly talking about menstrual cycles to an international audience. Because – shocker! – top athletes have periods too.

And why on earth shouldn’t Fu vocalise her experience? One can only imagine the tears of pain and frustration a boy would cry if he had to race with menstrual cramps.

Oh, and Fu went on to win a bronze medal in Rio *high five*

2. Paula Radcliffe’s roadside poo

Ever found yourself half way through a cross-country run at school and felt a sudden urge to use the loo? We’ve all been there – the panic, discomfort and embarrassment are all too real. But the chances are that you probably make it to the ground-floor bathroom just in time to do your business.

But not three-time London Marathon champion Paula Radcliffe MBE. The English long-distance running hero is testament to the saying ‘when you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go’.

With just five miles left to run in the London Marathon, Paula had stomach cramps and knew there was only one way to relieve them. She crouched down at the side of the road and did what she had to do. Paula ran on to win the marathon then endure some very awkward interviews.

We salute her for feeling the fear and doing it anyway, all in the name of ensuring a triple-champion title.

3. Serena Williams’s bare-naked bump

Must read article. Link in bio

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Serena Williams has been ranked ‘world’s number one tennis player’ eight times by the Women’s Tennis Association. EIGHT TIMES – and there’s me struggling to finish a lap limping around my local park on a Saturday morning.

She’s also a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and heads up the Serena Williams Fund, which creates equality through education and assists victims of violence.

So Serena Williams is basically Wonder Woman but with a racket instead of a lasso and shield, OK?

And here she is heavily pregnant, butt-naked on the front cover of Vanity Fair earlier this year, absolutely slaying it. This shot screams ‘LOOK HOW AWESOME ME AND MY BUMP ARE’. The whole shoot is beautiful and celebrates her fearlessness as a sports star, tenderness as a mum-to-be and pride in being a woman.

4. Sarah Attar runs for Saudi Arabia

Sarah Attar was one of the first two women to represent Saudi Arabia in the 2012 Olympics. Up until then, the Saudi Arabia Olympics Committee did not let women take part and represent their state in the world’s most famous sports competition.

Sarah was only 16 at the time and wasn’t asked to take part until the International Olympics Committee insisted on female participation at short notice.

Despite coming last in her heat (it’s not like she had a proper chance to train!), she went on to run the marathon in the Rio 2016 Olympics. Sarah made a huge step for female sports in Saudi Arabia and her story makes us feel a teeny bit guilty about using a tummy ache as an excuse not to go for a jog.

She also has a really arty travelling Instagram, which is worth checking out.

5. Jessica Ennis-Hill’s post-pregnancy comeback

Jessica Ennis-Hill is the British three-time world champion heptathlon hero who took gold in the London Olympics 2012 and became a national treasure.

Just to clarify what a heptathlon involves, it is a series of seven events that take place over two or three days. These events include high jump, javelin and various short running distances. Basically, you have to be a pretty well-rounded, incredible athlete to do it.

After London, Jess took some time out for the birth of her baby, Reggie. She returned to the Rio Olympics 2016 with a lot of expectations to defend her gold status, but walked away with silver.

Pregnancy does a lot of crazy but wonderful things to a woman’s body, and anyone who even attempts a heptathlon just over a year after giving birth and juggling motherhood with training, is a gold winner in our eyes. The whole nation probably agrees with that.

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/Katie Edmunds

 

The end of school is nigh, and all of a sudden you feel like you’ve got 100 decisions to make. What do I want to do with my life? Do I want to go to college, or uni, or do I want to get stuck straight into work? It’s easy to feel lost when you don’t know what you want to do, or how to get there.

But while you have literally your whole life to make up your mind, a little bit of good advice can go a long way. So with that in mind, in a series of interviews, we’re speaking to women who’ve ‘made it’, and asking their advice on how to follow in their footsteps.

This week, we speak to Joanna Masiewicz, a makeup artist who specialises in prosthetics and special effects.

How did you get into it?

I went to Delamont Academy, which covered everything from beauty, to fashion, to hair, but I chose to specialise in special effects and prosthetics. My school had an agency which helped me to develop contacts. Since then I have taken whatever has come my way, from theatre makeup (which includes everything from body painting to gender change and facial hair) to helping out on glitzy film shoots.

What’s the coolest part of your job?

If you love doing makeup, the job is just amazing in itself. I’m happy when I work, because I’m doing what I like, an even more so when everyone is happy with my work. I just love doing it, and that I get to meet so many people and travel to all different places.

What are the bad parts?

It can be really long hours but you do get used to it. In the beginning it’s really difficult, but you get to know the team and it becomes fun. And it’s not all the time, either – you might work really hard for a month, but then have a bit of a break before you do another job. So it’s not that bad really!

How is making prosthetics different to glam fashion make up?

It depends which project you are working on, but if you are in a workshop it’s life casting (so, making a piece for an actor). To do this you need to make a life cast first, and then you need to sculpt it, and fill it with either silicon or if it’s a big piece latex, then paint it. If you’re working on set, you might be applying the pieces to the actor, be it a mask or smaller pieces such as gems, or whatever. So it is completely different to traditional make up. If you work in fashion, you’re mainly required to do touch ups on a shoot, or it could be music videos.

The Big Question: uni, or no uni?

You don’t really need qualifications—no one is actually looking to see if you have a degree, it’s more about your skills, but it helps if someone can see that you’ve studied and what you’ve done. You’ll get more jobs if you’re qualified, particularly if you’ve been to a well-known school. I would say find a good school, for either a long or short course, that has an agency, which will help give you some contacts when you graduate. It depends on your personality, if you’re the sort of person who makes contacts easily and is confident to just put yourself out there and ask then great, but if you’re a bit unsure how to go about it it can be such a comfort.

What else should we do if we’re going to make it?

Practice! Even just on friends and family in your free time. Post things on Instagram or Facebook, where a lot of people will see what you’re doing—maybe someone will notice you! For prosthetics in particular, you need to be really hard working, and be a good team player. That’s probably the most important thing—you’re going to be in a workshop, so you’re going to be working with so many different people and everybody needs to be helpful to each other. Your attitude is really important—it’s not just about skills, it’s your work ethic. You need to learn how the industry works. You might be dealing with an actor and you need to know when to talk and when they don’t want you to! So it’s reading people’s behaviour and being able to deal with different people and situations.

Is it better to try and go freelance?

Being freelance is really good, because you can just work as much as you want, in your own time. It’s never boring, because there’s so much variety—you never know what job will come up. You could be laying in your bed one day, then get an email saying I need a makeup artist tomorrow somewhere seriously cool!

If you could give your 14-year-old-self any advice, what would it be?

Start early, don’t waste time and try to be disciplined, that helps a lot. Try to get into social networking – Facebook, Instagram – so people can see your work. Develop a strong work ethic and you’ll go far.

@EllieCostigan

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. 

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

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Hailey Hamilton

Dear 12-year-old Alice,

Hey, how are you?

I know that you’ve just started year 8, so the anxiety you’re feeling about how seating plans will affect your position in the class’s social hierarchy is being slightly eased by the fact that you’re no longer the lamest kids in the school.

What you won’t realise, yet, is that your successors are bolshy little tykes who will continue to challenge your authority until sixth form, when they take over the upper sixth sofas within seconds. Deal with it. By the time you’re my age (27 – I use the word “tykes” now), you’ll be actively hanging out with people three years younger than you and enjoying it, too.

I’m not here to tell you about your future or what homework you can totally get away with not doing (most of it, but you won’t properly take advantage of your nerdy reputation for at least a decade, soz).

Instead, I am travelling through time to tell you that, even though you hate PE, games, physical exertion, the social kudos that come with being good at hockey and the fact you just aren’t very good at sport, you will come to love it in 10 years. I know. Unbelievable, yet true.

This is because when you do exercise properly, your body releases endorphins. They’re a chemical substance released by your pituitary gland (that’s the same one in control of your hormones, which I know are giving you hell right now) that primarily exist to stop pain and induce euphoria – “a state of intense excitement and happiness”. Sounds pretty great right?

We both know that no PE class or hockey game has resulted in an endorphin rush. This is because 25 minutes of half-arsed jogging around with a stick barely raises your heart rate. Add in the fact that the changing rooms remain a hornet’s nest of underwear and boob-growth inspection (this is one of the many weird school things that never happens in adult life, promise), and you’re unlikely to ever experience a ‘runner’s high’.

But there’s a reason why all the cool girls love hockey and netball so much, and it’s not just because they’re really good at it. If you keep active enough for more than 20 minutes, that horrible ‘wall of pain’ your teacher keeps telling you about actually does disappear and instead you’re filled with the gleeful satisfaction of using your body properly.

Do you remember when you were younger and used to cycle around the cul-de-sac we lived on, really fast? Or roller skated to the end of the village? Or made up vigorous dance routines to Hey! Mickey and practiced them every afternoon for a week? They were doubly fun because of endorphins, because you got puffed out enough to encourage your body to release euphoric chemicals.

I know you will struggle to understand this, but I actively pay money to do an hour of exercise twice a week at lunchtime these days. I’ve been doing that for five years. I cycle several miles every day, too, even though there’s a 10-minute train I could take instead.

You know, even when I went on holiday with my friends (one of them is Anna Morris – yeah! From 8S! You become really good mates, hang out with her more) we actively did yoga for fun, in 36 degree heat. This is because exercise makes grown-up me feel happy and strong, rather than pathetic and miserable, which is how you feel after Games.

Please realise that you shouldn’t write off doing exercise because you’re not the best in the class at netball. You’re actually fiendishly competitive so it’s probably for the best that team sports aren’t your thing. Yoga hadn’t really hit the Home Counties by 2001 so you can’t do much with that, but get out on your bike more – I promise you will feel less angry and less scared after cycling properly for an hour.

It will be difficult at first. You’ll get out of breath and your mouth might taste like metal, but don’t give up.

Just slow down, maybe eat a Kitkat (exercising isn’t about losing weight or getting in shape, by the way – you, like all the girls in your year, look far more wonderful than you realise and don’t need to change, even though you will be made to feel like you should) and take a little break. Keep going. Push your bike up that hill if you fancy, one day you’ll cycle up there (I still push my bike up hills, I’m not trying to prove anything), and then you get to ride down really fast and it’s terrifying and fun all at once.

Dance. You’re not bad at it, and it is so much fun. Find music to dance to – check out David Bowie and those Kiss compilations you think you’re too cool to listen to, and throw your body around until you’re exhausted. It feels amazing. I still do it now.

Learn to listen to your body. I know it sounds as confusing and uncomfortable as progressive jazz music right now, but if you use it to do physical things that you find fun, you will feel it growing stronger. You will understand how to make your body work at a time when it feels like it is doing everything to conspire against you.

Have fun. Don’t be scared. Trust that making yourself properly sweaty feels so good that you won’t care how you look or smell (both fine). Buy some better trainers. Try running, but know that we will probably always hate it. Try team sport but know that Vincents are genetically programmed to not understand them. Do yoga. Breathe.

Don’t worry: you’re going to be just fine.

Love,

Alice

@alice_emily

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Image: Laura Callaghan 

We’ve mentioned volunteering quite a bit at betty, but we’ve never actually properly explained how to volunteer, or why you should in the first place.

So, here we are: betty’s guide to the wonderful world of volunteering!

I mean, why would I WANT to volunteer?

It’s a very good question. Why WOULD you want to volunteer when it takes up a lot of your time and you don’t even get paid for it? Well, here are just a few benefits we can think of:

– You’re supporting others or a cause in need
– You’ll make a bunch of cool friends
– You’ll learn loads of skills for free
– You can even get qualifications for free!
– You can learn a lot about yourself, what you love and what you’re good at
– You can even volunteer FROM HOME?!
– It looks bloody great on your CV
– It can even lead to a permanent job

Happy Wednesday! ☀️🌟✨

A post shared by Do-it.org (@doitvolunteering) on

That actually sounds cool. But is it super serious like a job?

Nope! It doesn’t have to be. Fair enough, you often have to formally dedicate a certain amount of hours when you volunteer, but that’s only so the charity or organisation can keep a track of who’s doing what when, and so they know just how dedicated you will be (very dedicated, because you are obviously awesome).

But because it’s voluntary work and therefore you aren’t getting paid for your time, you aren’t bound into a life or death contract. We promise. If you find the role isn’t for you, that’s totally ok. You can let them know and pull out.

That’s fair enough. So where can I find these volunteering roles?

Another very good question. It’s all well and good saying GO AND VOLUNTEER but, um, where do you start?! Thankfully, there are a couple of great websites that cater exactly to this need:

Do-it is a wonderfully simple platform to find the best volunteering opportunities for you. They allow you to filter your search down to even ‘volunteering from home’ opportunities (yeah, they exist, we told you!) and is a super easy website to use.

We love to share your volunteering stories to inspire others! Email hello@do-it.org to get involved ✌️

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vInspired is a charity helping 14 – 25 year olds get into volunteering. You can filter your search right down and, if you can’t find the thing you’re passionate about, they can even help you set up your own voluntary project! Pretty badass.

Volunteering Matters focuses more on the importance of volunteering in your local community to support the most vulnerable. Look at their Instagram – everyone’s having SUCH A GOOD TIME.

And here are some charities (and, um, search engines…) who are looking for brilliant young people like you…

The Mix is a charity supporting under 25s in the UK and a lot of their services rely on volunteers. As they’re passionate about peer-to-peer support, a lot of their opportunities are 16+ AND they offer those sweet, free qualifications. We’ve heard they get pizza in during their training sessions too. Just saying.

parkrun isn’t just for those who like running. The weekly, free, timed 5k runs all over the UK wouldn’t exist without volunteers. Literally – they organise the whole thing! There are a number of roles available, you’ll make a load of friends, and be so stupendously inspired by all the different people who take part.

Girlguiding offers volunteering opportunities for those still in school and beyond. Thought Girlguiding was old-fashioned and embarrassing? WRONG. Girlguiding has grown into a strong, feminist, modern movement and GOD we wish we could go back and join them.

Google. Apols for being basic, but you can always just search for opportunities in your local area. There will always be something available, from volunteering in schools to volunteering in parks and green spaces.

Also, don’t forget big events! Huge sporting events like the Olympics always rely on hundreds and hundreds of volunteers, so it’s always worth searching their official websites. It could be a once in a lifetime opportunity to be a part of something incredible.

I feel like you have something else to say…

YES. Sorry. I’m passionate, ok.

Volunteering doesn’t just stop at the end of your volunteering shift. When you’re a volunteer, you should just want to help and support people, causes, and organisations full stop. And opportunities could come at you at any moment.

After the tragedy of the fire at Grenfell Tower in London, hundreds and hundreds of people came out to volunteer their time and donate clothes, bedding, and toiletries etc to those affected. That included young people, too. We were pretty inspired and motivated (and emotional) at the video below of the human chain of teenagers volunteering to help.

We’re not saying you have to go out and volunteer after every tragedy like this – sometimes it can be dangerous, and you definitely shouldn’t wander down on your own without an adult – but often you can feel useless after something horrible happens, so it’s always worth seeing if there’s something you can do, however small, to help.

Alright, you’ve persuaded me. I’m going to volunteer!

YAAAAAAS. We’re proud of you. Go forth and do good. The world needs you.

@louisejonesetc

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There are many things the world needs more of – love, peace, peanut butter Magnums, tights that actually stay up – but one thing we have no shortage of whatsoever is motivational quotes. They’re everywhere. On our walls, on our fridges, decorating our notebooks and cluttering up our Instagram feeds. They are the hot air that powers Pinterest like a jet engine.

But of course, they’re not always helpful. There are only so many times you can be told to ‘be a unicorn!’ before you want to smash your phone screen with your non-existent horn – and of all the genuinely cool and inspiring things Audrey Hepburn did in her time on earth, that quote about believing in pink ain’t one of them.

So as your antidote to all the whimsical sunsets, we’ve dug up 13 truly awesome quotes from some truly awesome women. Go kick some ass today – like yourself, not a unicorn.

(The hooves would just be impractical.)

“Courage is like — it’s a habitus, a habit, a virtue: you get it by courageous acts. It’s like you learn to swim by swimming. You learn courage by couraging.”

Marie M. Daly, the first African-American woman to to earn a PhD in Chemistry

 

“However many roads you travel, I hope that you choose not to be a lady. I hope you will find some way to break the rules and make a little trouble out there.”

Nora Ephron, first lady of American screenwriting

 

“If I stop to kick every barking dog, I am not going to get where I’m going.”

Jackie Joyner-Kersee, who won three gold, one silver, and two bronze medals at four different Olympic Games.

 

“We can’t be feminine and be feminists and be successful? I want to be a f***ing feminist and wear a f***ing Peter Pan collar. So f***ing what?”

Zooey Deschanel, your fringe icon and all-round comedy babe

 

“Everyone’s got some greatness in them. You do. The girl over there does. That guy on the left has some. But in order to really mine it, you have to own it. You have to grab hold of it. You have to believe it.”

Shonda Rhimes, creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, from her book Year of Yes

 

“You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”

JK Rowling, everyone’s favourite dream auntie

 

“She refused to be bored chiefly because she wasn’t boring.”

Zelda Fitzgerald, Jazz Age legend, from her Collected Writings

 

“Be brave and fearless [enough] to know that even if you do make a wrong decision, you’re making it for a good reason.”

Adele. You know Adele.

 

“Because you don’t live near a bakery, doesn’t mean you have to go without cheesecake.”

Hedy Lamarr, 1940s movie star and inventor, who developed the radio wave system that led to the modern creation of wi-fi (thanks Hedy!)

 

“I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.”

Maya Angelou, author, poet and civil rights activist

 

“I say they should enjoy it while they can. You’ll be happy later to have taken pictures of yourself when you looked good. It’s human nature.”

Margaret Atwood, the Booker Prize-winning novellist, on (you guessed it) selfies

 

“One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world.”

Malala Yousafzai, female education activist and the youngest ever Nobel Prize winner.

What better motivation could you have before double Geography?

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Image: Getty

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.

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If you’re anything like us, getting up on a Monday morning can feel a bit like this:

hard

It’s cold and dark and the weekend really is over. But, the good news is that there are loads of reasons to get out of bed this morning. In fact, we’ve rounded up 21 of them.

1. Today might be the day your teacher gives you an A on your homework.

2. Or it might be the day that you hear your new favourite song.

3. Today might be the day you go the entire day without tripping on anything.

4. Or may be it’ll the day you only trip once.

5. Today might be the day Zoella retweets you.

6. Or the day you find out why it’s important to know what pi is.

7. It might be the day you find £20 on the floor.

8. Or the day you score the winning goal in football.

9. Today might be the day you take the perfect selfie.

10. It could even be the day you think of the PERFECT sarcastic reply in the moment, and not five hours later.

11. Today might be the day you get to the bus stop the exact moment the bus pulls up.

12. Or the day you finally talk to your crush.

13. It might be the day you have the best hair day of your life (so far).

14. Today might be the day that Barack Obama announces he’s becoming a teacher at your school.

15. Or it could be the day that your dog finally learns how to shake hands.

16. Maybe it will be the day that you find the bracelet you lost years ago.

17. Today might be the day that Beyoncé drops another surprise album.

18. Who knows, it might be the day that your teacher lets you go home half an hour early.

19. Hell, today might be the day you make a new BFF.

20. It might even be the day you find out you won the school science prize.

21. Or it might be the day Costa gives you a free hot chocolate. With marshmallows. And whipped cream.

See, there are loads of reasons to get out of bed this morning. We hope you’re now feeling a little less ‘meh’ and a little more like this little guy.

puppy-snoq

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Ready for your weekly weep-fest? Both Barack and Michelle Obama made their final speeches as First Lady and President this week and they are So. Damn. Beautiful.

Right now, the outgoing president and his wife are basically like sixth formers at the beginning of July. There are loads of farewell parties on the horizon. Everyone’s asking them what they’re going to do next. They’re having to say goodbye to the people they’re used to seeing everyday. And there are tears. Lots and lots of tears.

Michelle said farewell on Sunday. Unsurprisingly she choked up delivering this inspiring final speech as First Lady, and we’re not gonna lie, we did too.

Her main message?

“I want our young people to know that they matter, that they belong. So don’t be afraid — you hear me, young people? Don’t be afraid. Be focused. Be determined. Be hopeful. Be empowered. Empower yourselves with a good education, then get out there and use that education to build a country worthy of your boundless promise. Lead by example with hope, never fear. And know that I will be with you, rooting for you and working to support you for the rest of my life.”

She finished off her speech by saying:

“Being your First Lady has been the greatest honour of my life, and I hope I’ve made you proud.”

Oh Michelle. We’re not even American, but you made us so, so proud.

Then, in the early hours of this morning, Barack delivered his own farewell speech and woah, that man can talk. He had some really nice things to say about young people, too.

“Let me tell you, this generation coming up — unselfish, altruistic, creative, patriotic — I’ve seen you in every corner of the country. You believe in a fair, and just, and inclusive America; you know that constant change has been America’s hallmark, that it’s not something to fear but something to embrace, you are willing to carry this hard work of democracy forward. You’ll soon outnumber any of us, and I believe as a result the future is in good hands.”

“I am asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about change — but in yours.”

*blows nose loudly on tissue*

Let’s do the Obamas proud, team.

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.