There aren’t many talents which I would proudly ‘fess up to owning, but if I had to name one (and SERIOUSLY girls, we need to get better at this self-respect thing) it is my ability to transform a ‘friend crush’ – a girl or guy you platonically worship, but can’t imagine ever feeling the same about you – into an actual, IRL friend.

One week I’m swooning over THE coolest beb I’ve ever met: a girl who guts and dices enough chickens for 70 people every night* while sporting the BEST eyeliner I have ever seen, for example; the next, discussing Bumble and chatting about what it’s like being a ‘girls’ girl’ in such a macho world. *It’s ok, she’s a chef.

One of the nicest – and most important, I think – features of friend crushes is that they tend to be people that in your day to day life you may not come across or have a chance to befriend. You assume that, because you didn’t grow up with them and or you’re not in their ‘set’, you’ve no chance. Well, I’ve news for you: if someone who grew up with square parents in the squarest suburb of suburbs, watching Newsnight only and with a radio tuned solely to Classic FM or Radio 4 can do it, anyone can.

All it takes is confidence, and the following tricks of the trade…

Say what you think of them

…but don’t overdo it, for god’s sake: there’s reasonable admiration, and there’s kissing the sticky floor they walk on. No one with a heart is going to reject a little bit of basic-level crushing, but don’t go too intense. Just tell them what you admire about them, whether it’s the clothes they wear or their band or their sporting prowess or whatever. Be specific (“You really bring the music to life”) and ask a question (“are your family musical too?”). If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from journalism, it’s that most people like talking about themselves… and by extension, they like a willing listener

Be lighthearted

The temptation is probably to be a bit self-deprecating here – say “omg I can’t even run 500m” or “love your outfit! I hate all my clothes” – but don’t do that. It’s not good for the mind. You’re ace. Crack a joke, though, if you fancy; tell an anecdote if you don’t, or make a relevant reference to something they may have heard of. E.g. “OMG, did you see Adele’s speech about Beyonce at the Grammy’s? What a dreamboat.” etc etc. There you go, easy.

Ask them for a favour

It could be advice (how to cook an aubergine) or it could be something practical. It’s a reason to be in touch again, and of course it’s another compliment for them to be asked. Asking my friend crush Rachel if I could borrow the notes from a series of lessons I’d missed, because her handwriting was neat and she was bloody smart, allowed me to take her for coffee as a thank you. The rest is ten years of close friendship (and exam results that without her, I probably wouldn’t have got).

Be honest

My first friend crush, Emma, was in year four. I was lonely, unhappy with the fickle, cliquey friends I had at school, while at home my parents were on the brink of divorce. One afternoon during PHSE, my form teacher had a quiet chat with each one of us to see how we were and if there was anything that would make our lives better at school. I told her I’d like to be friends with Emma – and she went and TOLD EMMA.

To my great surprise though (Emma being prettier and funnier and cooler than me at the time, I thought) Emma agreed enthusiastically. We played on stilts all the next playtime, and many years later we’re still great mates (with more practical shoes). Of course, I no longer have a teacher to play messenger between me and my crush, but the value of simple honesty as displayed by my 8-year-old self has stuck with me and now, when I think I’d like to be someone’s friends, I’m pretty open about it: “Can we stay in touch”, “Do you fancy hanging out sometime” – even, if the right moment appears and I’m feeling brave and can make a bit of a joke out of it, “do you want to be friends?”

Use social media

What are Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook for if not communicating with people who aren’t yet IRL friends? Add them, follow them and like them – not incessantly, obvs, but enough to suggest a genuine interest in their life and happenings. Use the comments box: it takes a thumb twitch to like a gram or post, but it takes thought to comment on it. If they’re raving about somewhere you too love or want to go to, agree with them. It all prepares the ground for suggesting an actual meeting – and from there the only way is bosom buds, obviously.

Do them a favour

Perhaps you know someone who could help them in their chosen career, or with a project they’re working on.  Perhaps you’ve seen something – an article, a concert, a gig, a talk – that you think they might be interested in. This is about being friendly but it’s also about testing the water. How they respond should give you a fairly good idea of how likely your chance of success is, and thus whether you should keep trying or move on to pal pastures new.

Be friendly

Blindingly obvious, I know – but it’s easy to forget, you’ve got a lot on your plate. No one’s epitaph reads, “Here lies Ellie. She was lit”; people are remembered for being thoughtful, kind and genuine – qualities that, funnily enough, we’re all capable of whether we’re climate change activists, ‘influencers’ or just teenagers with squad goals.

Be yourself

If you want them to be your friend, there is literally no point being anyone else. That’s just common sense.

@finney_clare

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Often, childhood friendships disintegrate into nothingness. It’s no one’s fault, there’s no huge fight or grand betrayal – but the friendships that once were the most comfortable things in the world start to feel too tight, like the favourite shoes you bought years ago and now are two sizes too small.

‘It’s natural,’ your mum tells you. ‘People outgrow each other,’ your dad says. And they’re right, of course. Some friendships don’t last.

But some do.

These friendships, the ones that started in sandpits when some kid looked at you and didn’t immediately smash your sandcastle with their foot? They’re pretty damn special. So while it might be hard to keep up childhood friendships once you stop seeing each other every day at school or when you actually have to arrange to get together rather than being able to rely on your mums to sort it out, there are a lot of reasons you should hang in there and go the distance with a longterm friendship. For example…

1. They can always help unpack the dishwasher in your house, because they know where everything goes better than you do.

2. You have permanent and inalienable rights to their wardrobe.

3. And they won’t get too cross if you spill on their best top, because, let’s be honest, they’ve done the exact same thing to you.

4. You don’t have to explain your weird Uncle Frederick to them because they know your weird Uncle Frederick. In fact, they sat next to him last year at your birthday dinner and had a nice chat about the Romans.

5. They will be honest and tell you that no, you won’t suit a fringe.

6. And they’ll be sympathetic when you ignore them and get the fringe anyway, and end up completely hating it.

7. You can call them to ask them the name of your primary school librarian.

8. And if they don’t know the answer, at least they’ll be able to share in your frustration.

9. Let’s be honest, who remembers their sixth birthday? You never know, your long-term BFF might.

10. You can sit with them in silence for ages without ever being uncomfortable.

11. And you can be as weird as you like, without worrying that they’re going to stop being your friend.

12. Because these are people who’ve probably seen you pee your pants. At least once.

13. They never forget your birthday because it’s seared into their memory as deeply as their own.

14. You have childhood photos of each other that you can make into pretty collages. 

15. Or use for blackmail.

16. They know the name of your childhood toy.

17. And that you still like to cuddle it when you’re ill or sad.

18. They won’t judge you for what subjects you choose in school, what career you aspire to or what grades you get – they knew you long before any of these things even mattered.

19. And maybe most importantly? Because they’ve loved you at every stage of your life; when you were missing your two front teeth or you couldn’t tie your shoes. They’ve loved you when you couldn’t even spell your own name, let alone write it down. They’ve loved you when you called them crying at 2am or when you’ve given them a hideous cold by sneezing in their face accidentally.

Long-term friendships don’t always work out, but when they do they’re amazing. If you’re lucky enough to get the chance, maybe you should give them a try.

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Image: Hailey Hamilton

Grab a snack and maybe a blanket and gather round; I’m going to tell you a story. When I was a tiny, innocent child who didn’t swear too much and internally eye roll at every person who didn’t walk at exactly my speed, my mum enrolled me in ballet classes. I had silky little ballet shoes that I accidentally ruined when I wore them in the garden, a baby blue leotard, a matching hair band and white tights. Cute.

I went to classes with other tiny dancers and then eventually not-so-tiny dancers. I took exams judged by unnecessarily scary old ladies, performed in shows and eventually worked my way up to the Holy Grail: pointe shoes. And do you know what I did next? I quit.

I spent years and years dreaming of the day I could get my pointe shoes and then I just quit a few months later! But it wasn’t because I fell out of love with ballet. It was because I’d starting hanging around with some boys I thought were cool (they weren’t) and they started turning up outside my classes and looking through the windows. I was embarrassed and I thought ballet wasn’t cool enough (it is) so gave in and I quit. And, sweet lawwwdy, I regret it.

I spend literally hours watching ballet documentaries and behind the scenes clips on YouTube, wishing I’d carried on. I daydream that it’s me gracefully sweeping across the stage in a single leap or defying gravity on the tips of my toes. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t destined to be the next Misty Copeland, but at least I could have been twirling and jumping around without a care in the world instead of hanging around with those boys who I soon learned were NOT worth ditching ballet for.

Are you thinking of giving up your hobby? Don’t regret it like me! Ask yourself these questions first:

Are you doing it for you?

As is very clear from my heartbreaking saga, I didn’t quit ballet for me. I quit it because of some gross boys who were taking the mickey outside the window. (And I still wanted to impress them for some reason?) Don’t let anyone make the decision for you. If you love it, carry on!

Could you take a few weeks off first to see if you miss it?

I pretty much dived straight in and decided I was absolutely quitting for good. V. dramatic really. So, instead of slamming the door shut like me, try taking a few weeks off. They do say absence makes the heart grow fonder after all. If, after a few weeks, you’re missing it like crazy then it’s a definite sign that it’s something you should keep in your life. And if you don’t miss it? Maybe it’s time to move on.

Do you still enjoy it?

Not every story is like mine. Some people feel like a brand new person when they don’t have the pressure of, say, swimming laps at 6am on a Saturday or passing a graded music exam. But some people give up a hobby in the heat of a stressful moment and wish they hadn’t, so think about the last three or six months, have you mostly enjoyed it or has the fun drained right out of it? There’s a big difference between the two, so take some time over it, it’s worth it.

Has someone made you feel bad about it?

It doesn’t matter if it’s a boy, your best mate, your dad, your sister, or a total stranger; if they’re making you feel bad about your love of dancing/singing/painting/playing the nose flute then they’re being super uncool. Remember: if you love something, someone else’s totally unwelcome opinion shouldn’t change that. So, take a step back and think, ‘am I going to allow this person to make me feel bad about this thing that I love?’ Then let the answer be a big, fat NO.

Could you change one thing?

It’s not always the actual hobby that’s putting you off; sometimes it’s the environment or the people. If your violin teacher is killing you with boredom or you’re in a choir with group of people you don’t click with, try swapping that one thing before giving it up altogether.

Are you putting too much pressure on yourself?

Quite often, our hobbies come with a side order of goals and targets. It could be selling a certain number of handcrafted bracelets every month, winning gold in a race or bagging a prize in a photography competition. These added extras can turn our hobbies from something you do to unwind into a task. Added on top of homework, exams and a social life, your hobby can start to feel like another chore on a long list. Do you need to win every competition and every medal or can you step back from all that stuff for a while and get back to the fun place you started out from?

@SophieBenson_

1. Are they walking towards me?

2. Does my breath smell?

3. Why did I have a tuna sandwich for lunch?

4. Why did I have a tuna sandwich ever? Tuna is the kryptonite of romance.

5. My arms feel weird.

6. Should I cross them?

7. Or just leave them by my sides?

8. Oh my god, what do I normally do with my arms?! WHY IS THIS SO HARD.

9. What should I say?

10. “Hey!”? Nope. Too American.

11. “Hi”? Too simple.

12. “Howdy?” Wait, am I suddenly in a 50s Western film?

13. Maybe I’ll just nod. Nodding says, “I acknowledge you exist, but your presence doesn’t make me want to run away to Spain with you and tattoo your name on my bicep or anything.” Nodding is cool. Right?

14. Right?!

15. Oh my god, they’re coming! No, no no – they’re right here.

16. “G’day partner, do your arms ever feel weird?”

17. Nailed it.

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Image: Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging

You know when you wait ages for a bus and then three come along all at once? Well, that’s how becoming a teen felt for me.

I had found primary school easy. I had lots of friends, exams were a breeze and I never really thought about how I looked. But then lots of things came along all at once.

My parents had never got on well, but suddenly they were fighting so much more. I had my first crush, but he didn’t like me back. I started my period, but had a lot of painful cramps. My friends were arguing and taking time off school to go to the park. And to top it all off, I was finding it really difficult that everyone else in my class — not to mention everyone else on the planet — seemed to have big boobs and mine felt tiny in comparison.

So much had happened in one go that I didn’t know how to deal with it. It’s easy to pick up one or two Maltesers when they’ve fallen out of the packet, isn’t it? But what about when the whole packet falls on the floor? Well, you either start picking them up… or you don’t pick them up at all.

That’s what I did. Instead of coping with one thing at a time, I felt really overwhelmed. It was like a big, sad cloud was following me around and raining on me all of the time. I tried to hide it and pretend my parents breaking up wasn’t a big deal really or I didn’t even want to have boobs and look like the girls in the magazines. But deep down I was overwhelmed. And the worst part was that I thought other people could tell. This meant I did less and less. I didn’t want to socialise with my friends or get dressed up because I thought I was just a quiet, sad girl to them.

I didn’t really know where these feelings were coming from, either. I thought everyone else was dealing with things a lot better than me — and that I should be happy. After all, I got good grades, I had friends, I had a mum who was just absolutely ace. All I really needed at the time was someone to tell me that it’s ok to feel sad and confused sometimes when you hit your teens. Worrying about your body when it’s going through puberty and changing so much is really natural. Getting sad about your parents arguing would probably even make Beyoncé want a good cry. And feeling unsettled when friends were falling out and crushes wouldn’t text back? Well, that was something everyone was going through too.

But it felt like just me.

One day I remember feeling so trapped and sad that I just ran outside to get away from everything. As simple as that. I ran and I kept running. And suddenly my heart was beating faster, I could feel the wind against my face, I was breathing normally, I was holding my head up high, I wasn’t caring about how my body looked. I felt free.

More importantly, I felt happy.

Happy that I could make a decision to get outside when it felt like life was too much, that I could make my body work for me, that I could feel a surge of happy exercise endorphins in my blood and that I could breathe free and easy rather than feeling panicky and nervous.

I’d always loved to exercise when I was growing up. But PE lessons had sucked all of the fun out of running and climbing and dancing around — all of the things I loved when I was young. Team sports felt so boring and fake to me. But discovering running for myself felt like I had opened up a brand new world.

From then on, anytime a sad or nervous or “I’m rubbish!” feeling came along, I’d decide not to let it take over. Instead, I put on my trainers and went outside. Taking some time out of each day to do something for me, how I wanted to do it, in the way I wanted to do it felt really good. It didn’t stop the sad feelings, it didn’t make my parents get back together or magically grow me a huge pair of boobs to make all of the other girls in my class jealous. But it made things feel easier, happier and somehow just a little bit lighter. Because I was proving to myself that I was stronger than my sad thoughts.

It doesn’t always work, though. Sometimes I don’t go running. Sometimes I still sit inside and forget how nice it feels. Sometimes lots of sad feelings still come along. But that’s a natural part of being me.

And years later, I still run and it’s still the best medicine for when I’m feeling sad and when things get too overwhelming. I’ve not trained for a marathon, I don’t spend a lot of my money on fancy running clothes or run a lot of races for charity. But I do feel like I have a secret weapon for whenever life gets a bit too much.

@BeccaCaddy

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Image: Manjit Thapp

It is one thing to dislike your brother’s girlfriend when you’ve never been that close to him; when you’ve always felt he frankly needs bringing down a peg – or 10 – and suspect she will do the job nicely.

But it’s another when you’ve been best friends since the year you both existed on planet Earth. Try as you might, it is almost impossible to reconcile him being your awesome brother with him going out with the world’s greatest allergen; someone whose speech, looks and mannerisms leave you basically choking on your anger. But you have to, if you’re going to make sure your relationship with your brother is doesn’t go up in flames.

We know the best case scenario – that the scales fall from his eyes and he can see her for what she really is – and we also know, obviously, the worst-case scenario: brother marries the awful girlfriend, and you are stuck with her forever. If they get married, you having made it obvious you don’t like them “will make it awkward,” advises Francis – a girl in that exact sitch. “No one’s going to break up with their gf because their sister doesn’t like them.”

The alternative, she points out, is to wear your heart on your sleeve and be grumpy “forever” – or at least for 11.3 years, the average time a marriage lasts in the UK.

The second best case scenario would be to eventually like her. This, apparently, is what will happen if the bae sticks around long enough to prove she loves your brother; a man whose loveableness you do at least have to agree upon. This is your starting point. “It’s taken three years and two months,” says Emily, another survivor of the terrible-sibling-partner curse. “But I would say we are pretty much friends. She’s still a lunatic, but a more… endearing one these days.”

By focusing on their love of your bro or sis, rather than their terrible laugh/idiocy/ear-bleeding vowel sounds/other, you should find some common ground in which you can start planting. Funny, embarrassing or stupid stories about your sibling, and stories of your sibling having your back/picking up the pieces for you are all good seeds here.

The benefits of this tactic are: 1, it reminds your sibling how close you are and how much you share, and 2. It shows them that, without seeming clingy or overprotective. The message is, if she wants to get with your brother, she gotta be your friend.

‘But what if I can’t do that?!’, I hear you cry – I hear myself cry, actually, because mate: I hear you. I’m in that situation. God knows I’ve tried to like her. I’ve asked questions, initiated conversations, recommended restaurants for her birthday and even helped my bro choose her Christmas presents. But there’s only so far you can put yourself out for someone when you’re receiving the IRL equivalent of two grey WhatsApp ticks. When that happens and you feel the rage bubbling up inside you, there is only one vent: your bff, or, if they’re on the same page (do suss that bit out first) another sibling or parent. In Natalie’s case, this was her mum.

“When we realised neither of us liked her, it made it so much more bearable. We could give each other ‘looks’ across the table when she said something, and vent in whispers in the kitchen when we were clearing plates.” Not only are your ‘rents likely to be on your wavelength, they have perspective: they know from, well, life, that young relationships are unlikely to last. They’ll be a willing listener (and even add their two penny’s worth, if they agree) but they’ll also provide reassurance. They aren’t really going to be triggered by some upstart snogging their child: they know them, in a way only a parent can, and they’ve also been there, dumped that, when they were growing up. Chances are, it’s only a matter of time.

Natalie’s mum was proved right – as 99.9 times out of 100 mums will be. The relationship died, and now her bro is going out with the girl we all want our brothers to go out with: the sister she always wanted. But even when this happens, try and resist telling them “I never liked him/her anyway”, unless they invite you to. I know it’s tempting, but not only would it be super awks if they got back together.

If, however, the relationship thrives – well, soz but the same rules apply. Vent to your bff/mum/dad/whatever by all means, but under no circumstances tell your sibling. It’ll sour the bond between you (to say the least) and far from encouraging them not to date your nemesis, your disapproval might just egg them on. You don’t have to be around them that often, after all, and the one thing you can count on is that you’ll always be their sister. Nurture your relationship – stay in tune with their life, keep the in-jokes flowing (enough to remind them who’s family, not so much it’s obvious to everyone you’re excluding her) and schedule quality time together. I reckon you’ll find that, like a dull headache on a fun, busy day, you’ll suddenly realise Ms or Mr Terrible hasn’t been bothering you for a while.

Here’s hoping, anyway. If not, I’m as buggered as you are, and will follow my friend Francis’ emergency advice – after five long years of sister-in-law pain: “if all else fails, buy passive-aggressive Christmas and birthday presents.” Ouch.

@incogellen 

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Like Lyme Disease, lupus has been getting an increasing amount of press lately, mostly due to Selena Gomez’s diagnosis. With the singer having to cancel her world tour last year because of the condition, then taking some time out from public life to deal with its side effects, what actually *is* lupus?

Well, it’s an illness of the immune system that currently (and sadly) can’t be cured, putting all of the sufferer’s major organs at risk of damage. It’s caused when your immune system produces too many antibodies, meaning your white blood cells won’t just get rid of infection as they are designed to do, but will also attack your organs.

Sounds scary, right? But – in most cases – lupus can be kept under control. Read on for more info on symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of the autoimmune disease.

What are the symptoms of lupus?

Most people with lupus will experience extreme tiredness that seems impossible to shift with rest, as well as joint and muscle pain. Additional symptoms can vary dramatically from person to person, because some forms of lupus are very mild, while others are life-threatening. These include headaches, rashes, mouth ulcers, hair loss, anaemia and even depression.

How is it diagnosed?

Lupus diagnosis isn’t easy, as it can often be mistaken for other conditions, due to its wide-ranging symptoms. Blood tests can confirm a lupus diagnosis.

Is lupus contagious?

Nope, lupus isn’t contagious, though your genes seem to play a factor in whether or not you get lupus and how severe it is. Lupus is more common in women than in men and a family history of autoimmune conditions (like arthritis, MS and diabetes) could make you more likely to suffer from it.

How do you treat lupus?

While there is currently no cure for lupus, there are medications available to manage the disease, with exact treatment varying from patient to patient. Anti-inflammatories are often prescribed and sufferers should make sure they get plenty of rest and take time out when necessary – as Selena did.

Where can I find out more information on lupus?

Lupus UK has lots of info and October is always Lupus Awareness Month in the UK, where you can get involved in sponsored walks, lunches and even just representing by wearing the colour purple. If you think you might be suffering from lupus, make sure you seek medical advice from your GP.

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Cartwheels, leotards, THE SPLITS – gymnastics might sound like the most terrifying activity you could ever attempt on your period, but for those of us who love it and don’t want our bodies to hold us back (like, evereverever) you can totally still participate in gym. Yep, even if you’re bleeding.

How, you shriek? What if my pad looks massive and slides out of place, how the heck do I even attach it because I can’t use wings, or what if my tampon string hangs out in the middle of a backbend? The period terror is real.

Well don’t fret, back-flipping dreamers. One of team betty actually used to be a fancy pants gymnast and has a few helpful tips for you…

Double up

If you’re a bit of a pro, you’re probably used to whipping off all your underwear before you slip into your leotard – after all, knickers on show underneath your super glitzy competition outfit is not the one. But if you’re on your period, an extra layer between your vagina and your costume could be the difference between a flawless floor routine and one that’s accessorised with blood. Just try high-cut knickers if you’re worried about flashing and go for a pair that’s the same colour as your leotard.

Prep your pants

If you think you might-maybe-possibly-a-tiny-bit be about to come on your period, prep those knickers! Use those high-cut undies to the max and make sure you stick in a panty liner – even if the chances of you coming on are literally 1%. You can’t be too careful, especially if your feet are going behind your head at any point.

Try tampons

Never tried using tampons before? Well, this might be the perfect time to give them a go. Ask your mum to pick some up from the supermarket or pop to the shops after school then block out some bathroom time to perfect your technique. Chances are you probably won’t nail it the first time, the second, probably even the third time, but if you stay super relaxed you might be able to slide it in just fine. All you need to think about come competition time is tucking in your string and smiling!

You do you

No matter how much you want to compete or take part in your fave weekend club, if you’re not feeling up to it just stay at home! There’s absolutely no shame in looking after yourself and giving your body what it needs to get through your time of the month, whether you’re suffering from cramps, headaches or you’re just tired out. Period.

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Disclaimer: I have always loved (loved, LOVED) my grandparents. Blessed with an IRL Santa Claus and the working class answer to Mary Berry, I have never once suffered that foreboding sense of gloom some of my peers confess to feeling upon being told they’re off to the ageds for lunch.

From the age of 0 to an age well beyond what is deemed to be cool, our lives as grandchildren were a halcyon dream of homemade forts, homemade swords and homemade dolls houses interspersed with homemade millionaire’s shortbread. Yet while not everyone’s forefathers can be as legit as ours have been, there will always be some merit in hanging out with them — if only for the brownie points, and actual brownies.

For one thing there’s the food. Sure, it might not be home baking, but if your grandparents are anything like my grandparents, you’ll never go hungry. Set free from the burden of parental responsibility for your teeth/mind/waistline, they will quite happily cave to your various cravings and desires.

If they’re good cooks, you can learn from them: many a happy hour I’ve spent watching my grandmother crumble pastry, knead bread, whip up a meringue and reduce a chicken carcass to rich, hearty stock. All that I have learnt in the way of using (and reusing) leftovers or in successful cake baking, I have leant at her apron strings while sucking on chocolate eclairs, mint crumbles or some other exotic sweet to be found in Marks and Spencer’s.

Yet the lessons to be learnt from your elders can (and, in the case of those grandparents who prefer their meat cremated and their vegetables soggy) should extend far beyond the kitchen walls.

There’s the art of saving: of making and mending and other techniques which, in our post war age of consumerism, are at serious risk of dying out. Some work better than others: my grandma’s insistence on storing her money under a mattress has its flaws, for example, but if you can master some of the arts of darning, wiring, hemming, patchwork quilting and bargain hunting you’ll be literally quids in.

Not only are they well worth learning, they can prove a fairly entertaining bonding exercise. My cack handed attempts to darn moth holes in my jumpers may not make my grandma proud, but they certainly make her crease up. Next month, my grandad is teaching me how to make elderflower wine with his ancient wine making kit. Coming as they do from an age pre-internet – pre-mobile phone, even – our grandparents capacity for survival, self-sufficiency and entertainment is boundless in comparison to our own goldfish brains. Even if you don’t learn how to make your own lipstick from beetroot juice, those are some pretty solid life lessons right there.

Then of course there’s the stories: stories of childhood escapades, first jobs, first loves and — a classic — how your grandparents got together, pre-internet! How, Where, Why etc. In my case, my grandad’s father was a landlord, my grandma’s father was a drunk, and romance blossomed over many years of her rocking up at the pub to persuade him to come home. Bear that in mind next time you assume things were sweeter back then.

In all seriousness, though, your g’folks are a gold mine of tales just waiting for you to spare the time and the patience. Listen closely. They won’t always be in the mood to tell you — and you will, on occasion, have to suffer laments on Sainsbury’s price of washing powder while they warm up — but stay with them. Not only are these nuggets the footnotes of history, they are your own family glue.

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

Image: Amber Griffin

What was life before Cameron Dallas? We’re sure it had less meaning, but thankfully this beautiful being graced the world with his presence on 8 September 1994, and now he’s celebrating his 23rd birthday. Happy birthday, Cam!

In celebration of this blessed event, let’s check out 11 times we wished we were Mr Dallas’ girlfriend – and yeah, it was pretty hard to narrow it down to just 11 times…

1. When he woke up like this

GOOD MORNING 😊🤘🏽

A post shared by Cameron Dallas (@camerondallas) on

Beyoncé isn’t the only one who’s #flawless.

2. When he cuddled up to the cutest doggo ever

Puppy Rottweiler 😍

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Two sets of puppy dog eyes right there.

3. When he rocked the cover of Rollacoaster

Justin killed this cover @rollacoastermagazine @justinrcampbell @tommyhilfiger @morgaanp @patriciamoraleshair

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Yes, he even makes the corner of the dirty kitchen look good.

4. When he bottle-fed a tiny baby monkey

SOMEONE CHECK BOTTLE FEED A MONKEY OFF MY BUCKET LIST

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BRB, ovaries just exploded.

5. When he worked out shirtless and shared it on Instagram

So thoughtful. So fit.

6. Every time we watch his Netflix series, Chasing Cameron

It’s like a window to his soul.

7. When he caught feels

Hiii

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So here for those.

8. When he posted selfies with his mum

Taking my mom to Milan 😊 @ginabina77

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Gina brought him up RIGHT.

9. When he got all philosophical about *~lUrVe~*

We’re right here, Cameron!

10. When this was his off-duty vibe

Look at that smize.

11. When he stole the show in Charli XCX’s Boys music video

We’ll be busy dreaming ’bout Cam.

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

In Partnership With Girlguiding

Deflated because you think your summer adventures are over? Well, back to school doesn’t have to be blehhh – not if you plan on becoming a Guide this term (hint: you deffo should).

If you love nothing more than whipping on your waterproof trousers to hike up a mountain or shuffling into a wetsuit to take on the waves, the GGs are your spirit sisters.

Don’t believe us? Here’s a list of crazy-cool activities you can get your teeth into if you sign up to Girlguiding

Abseiling

Always wanted to star in your own superhero movie? Um, so have we. Abseiling allows you become spiderwoman for the day taking on the great outdoors as you climb, jump and slide down rocky caves and mountains like a pro. With the help of a harness obvs. This adrenaline pumping sport will make you feel invincible. Where do we sign up?

Ice climbing

Yeah, you read it right. Ice-climbing is a thing. Ideal for the braaaavest of betty babes, this activity will have you climbing across frozen waterfalls, cliffs and rock slabs covered with ice. So grab your coolest gang and make a date.

Archery

The Hunger Games’ Katniss Everdeen is one kick-ass gal. And she and her trusty bow and arrow have got us totally inspired to take up archery this autumn. This sport will equip you with the focus and strength of our fave film heroin. What’s not to love?

Horse riding

Move out the way Prince Charming, we’re coming through. It’s time to jump on board your noble steed and gallop of into the sunset. This is by far the funnest way to take in the great outdoors. Plus horses are soooo cute.

Zorbing

It’s not everyday you get to bounce about in a giant hamster ball with all your buds. Bounding down hills or bobbing along your local lake zorbing will be a barrel of laughs for you and your mates.

Surfing

Surely I can’t be the only person who’s always dreamt of being a surfer girl? Effortless beach hair, sunsets, glowing skin. It’s about time we embraced some of Britain’s beaut beaches and got our board on. Cornwall is the new California, guys!

White-water rafting

So picture this: you and your gang taking on the elements. Get your heart racing as you battle some serious rapids that would make even Moana flinch. Surely this is any thrill seeking sister’s perfect Saturday.

Want to get involved? Click here to learn even more about what Girlguiding has to offer.

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

You might have heard of Lyme disease if you know a sufferer or regularly tune in to The Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills (Yolanda Hadid has it, as do two of her model children, Bella and Anwar). But, with Lyme not often talked about or fully understood in the UK, what actually IS it?

In short, it’s an infectious disease which is transmitted when an infected tick (a tiny blood-sucking bug) bites you, which probably won’t hurt at all. It’s what happens later that can prove harmful and manifest itself as Lyme disease.

Here are a few things you should know if you’re worried about contracting Lyme disease, or if you just want to be more clued up on the condition.

What are the symptoms?

A large red rash, often in circular ‘bull’s eye’ formations. Severe headaches coupled with a stiff neck. Joint pain and swelling (particularly in the knees) and ‘drooping’ of one or both sides of the face.

How is it diagnosed?

The above symptoms would generally show between two and 30 days after a tick bite, though initial blood tests will often come back negative for Lyme disease, with the antibodies doctors are looking for sometimes not detectable for weeks or even months. This can mean many sufferers are left with undiagnosed and untreated Lyme disease for quite some time, which can be frustrating, especially if symptoms are present.

How do you treat it?

The good news is that – if diagnosed early – Lyme disease can be curable with antibiotics. The bad news is that many people presenting symptoms aren’t tested for the disease due to a lack of knowledge around it. They can often be misdiagnosed or even stay undiagnosed for a long time, and by then they may have developed additional ailments because of the Lyme disease, all of which will require their own treatments.

Is Lyme disease contagious?

Chill, girl. There is no evidence of Lyme disease being transmitted from person to person.

How can I stop myself getting it?

The best ways to prevent Lyme disease are by avoiding walking through areas where ticks might live, covering up your skin if you’re playing in the woods or by using repellents containing the active ingredients DEET and Picaridine. Make sure you check your skin for ticks when you get home if you have been out in the countryside and, if you find any, make sure they are properly removed with a special tool like the O’Tom Tick Twister.

Where can I find out more info on Lyme disease?

The charity Lyme Disease Action has loads of info on their website if you want to know more and you can, of course, speak to your doctor if you’re concerned you might have it.

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.