Every month or so, I start eating like an uncontrollable beast who has just awoken from 100 years in hibernation. 

I’m talking second breakfasts, constant inter-meal snacking and supersize dinners with all the trimmings (and by trimmings, I mean chips). And I can’t lie, I start to freak out. I worry that this ravenous hunger will never leave me and that if I continue to eat at this rate, I’m destined for a future as the world’s largest woman.

But then… then I get that pang; that little twitch in my lower abdomen giving me a head’s up that my period is on its way. And suddenly I remember that this always happens, that a few days before my period I am always hit with the most unquenchable hunger. Then I chill the hell out.

Me Want Food 30 Rock gif

You see we’ve all heard of pregnancy cravings (which seem to involve eating pickles with everything), but we rarely talk about period cravings – even though many women encounter them on a monthly basis. As well as just wanting to eat EV-ER-Y-THING for a time, I also get really seriously into cheese. And chocolate. Toasties, cheese on toast, thick chocolate milkshakes and really dense, sticky brownies are my go-to treats – things I usually eat as occasional treats suddenly become essential parts of my diet.

And it’s not just me. I asked around my friends, and everyone agreed that their eating habits changed around the time of their period. Unsurprisingly, chocolate featured pretty highly on a lot of people’s period craving charts, but some of the foods were a bit more leftfield. Not one but two people got back to me saying they craved all things tomato – from plain old tinned tomatoes to baked beans and even tomato & basil pasta sauce straight out the jar – while another friend said she became a crazed carnivore, always fancying loads of bacon, sausages, steak and, I quote, ‘ALL THE CHICKEN.’

But what do these cravings MEAN? Is there any rhyme or reason to them, or are they all just random? And are there any dietary dos or don’ts we should know about? To find out, I spoke to Gaynor Bussell, a dietician and registered nutritionist specialising in women’s health.

First up, Gaynor confirmed that period – or PMS – cravings are totally normal. She explained: ‘Cravings can be one of the symptoms of PMS, and due to changing hormone levels this can happen from two weeks before the period (known as the luteal phase) to the time when the period really gets underway (which could take a few days from when it first starts). Calorie requirements increase for many during this time of the month, and so there is an increase in hunger which may drive cravings.’ Phew.

Mindy Project McDonalds gif

So the hunger is normal, but what about our food choices? ‘Nobody really knows why certain foods are craved and cravings do vary, with some preferring savoury while some crave any carbs,’ Gaynor explained. But when it comes to chocolate, Gaynor told me it’s all about that feel-good feeling: ‘Chocolate has always been associated with comfort, regardless of PMS. This time of the month is associated with increased depression and anxiety so comfort food may be craved.’

Finally, I asked Gaynor for her period dietary tips. Unsurprisingly, seeing as she’s a nutritionist, chips and chocolate brownies didn’t feature too highly. Instead, she advised: ‘A healthy diet throughout the month has been associated with less PMS symptoms. Being generally active too can help reduce symptoms. It is also believed that having regular meals throughout the day that that are made up of low energy release carbs, such as pasta, seedy bread and oats, can help even out swings in blood sugars and hence avert cravings. And in general, you should avoid consuming too much junk food – especially foods and drinks that give you quick energy/sugar boosts which may be followed by crashing lows. These are known perpetrators of PMS.’

So, as ever, it seems that a healthy, active lifestyle with the odd treat is the way to go. I’ll try to remember that next time I’m dunking chips in a chocolate milkshake with a side of double-cheeseburger…

@MissSisiG

Image: Manjit Thapp

PMS stands for Premenstrual Syndrome.

It’s also sometimes known as Premenstrual Tension (PMT), the monthly blues, or The Bit Before Your Period Starts When You Feel Like You Want to Hide Under Your Duvet with Three Packets of Oreos and Shout at Everyone. But that’s less catchy.

Give it to me straight

People experience PMS in different ways, and 25% of women don’t experience PMS at all. With any luck you’ll be one of those people – but if you’re not, here is the rollcall of things that you might find you experience for a day or two before your period.

Physically, PMS might make you feel a little bloated, tired or achey. Some people have headaches or backache, some get a few cramps before their period actually arrives. Others notice they’re more clumsy (mind that lamp!). You might find your skin gets a little spotty, or your fringe does that annoying flicky thing you hate.

TLDR? Here’s the important stuff:
  • PMS stands for premenstrual syndrome, and it generally affects three in four women. That’s lots of us. Hiya.
  • Emotionally, it might make you more irritable, anxious or weepy. Physically, PMS might cause bloating, acne, headaches, backache or sore breasts – but hopefully not all at once.
  • Exercise and a healthy diet can both help decrease PMS symptoms. But if you’re really struggling, a chat to your GP might give you more options.

Emotionally, you might find yourself feeling a little… fragile. This could mean that you’re more irritable, anxious, weepy and/or prone to slamming doors. One minute you might be on top of the world, the next you could feel like the world is getting on top of you. Or it might just be a general feeling that everything is a little… blarrgh.

A bit… arrghh.

Basically, all the fun stuff. But you probably won’t have all these symptoms; most people just experience a few.

Who can I blame?

Don’t shout, but nobody knows exactly what causes PMS. It’s thought to be something to do with the changing levels of hormones in your menstrual cycle, which can throw everything… off. A little.  

The most important thing to know is that you’re not just being a drama queen – PMS is very real, and you’re definitely not alone.

PMS Treatment: How do I make it go away?

While there’s not much you can do to prevent PMS, there are lots of ways you can help yourself feel better.

Eating a balanced, varied diet with lots of fresh fruit and veg could help ease those symptoms. PMS might make you feel like face-planting a bucket of KFC, but too much salt or fatty, processed foods can actually make things worse (don’t get us started on the unfairness).

And while it might be the last thing you feel like doing, regular exercise can also help keep PMS in check, as well as generally making you feel more like a queen. That could be a run, a fierce game of hockey, a nice long walk with a favourite playlist or just punching a pillow quite hard.   

As time goes on you’ll find your own, personal ways to beat the premenstrual blues – but some of our favourites are: weeping along to a sad film, having a one-woman dance party, learning to cartwheel, giving yourself a craft project or watching videos of unlikely animal friendships. For more inspiration, visit Weepy Girls’ Corner.

NOTHING. IS. WORKING.

Be kind to yourself, and remember that some people suffer more than others – and it won’t last forever. But if PMS is still having a big impact on your life, it might be a good idea to head to your GP for about what will work best for you.

There’s only so much those poor pillows can take.

Image: Hailey Hamilton

Whether you’ve been dreading it or totally desperate for it to arrive, your first period can feel like a leap into the great unknown.

Will it arrive drip by drip, or all at once in a river? Will I look different? WILL EVERYONE KNOW?

Unfortunately there’s no period crystal ball to tell you exactly when it will happen, or where you’ll be when it does (please not assembly). And like your first day of school or your first ever burrito, everyone’s first period will be memorable in a different way.

But here are some things you can expect.

Will I feel it?

Probably not. You might feel some wetness or stickiness in your pants, or maybe some slight cramps in your tummy – but there is no specific ‘bleeding feeling’ that announces your period is in town. Chances are you won’t notice at all until you next go to the loo.

What colour will it be?

This will be different for everyone too – but we can promise you this much: it won’t be blue.

Nobody really knows why olden days sanitary towel companies decided that bright blue liquid would be less scary than the real deal, but you can live safe in the knowledge that your monthly visitor won’t be a raspberry Slush Puppy.

More surprisingly, period blood doesn’t often look like the bright red blood you see when you fall over and cut your knee either. For some that first appearance will be a pink-ish colour, while many people’s first period is often closer to brown than red – which can come as a bit of a surprise. Fact: you will not be the first person to wonder if they pooed themselves without noticing.

Seriously.

Whatever the shade, don’t panic. Your reproductive system is just getting into the swing of things, and the colour will often become more red over time. But it will never, ever be blue.

How much blood will there be?

The amount will be different for everyone too. It could be a sticky discharge that only lasts a day or two, or ‘spotting’, which means bleeding lightly on and off for a few days. And some people’s first period might be quite heavy – but don’t panic, that doesn’t mean it will be heavy forever.

Your first few periods might be feel like a whole variety pack of changes, but things should settle down into a more predictable routine.

TL;DR? Here's the important stuff:
  • At least at the beginning, period blood will probably be more brown than red – but everyone is different.
  • Some people will have a sticky discharge the first time, others will have light, on-off bleeding and some might bleed quite a lot.
  • Your first period can last from anywhere between one and 10 days, and might not arrive again for a while.
  • You can celebrate however you like (we recommend a dance party).

How long will it last?

Your first period can last from anywhere between one and 10 days, and it’s also pretty common to have your first period and then not bleed again for a few months. Helpful, we know.

For the first year or so your periods might be a bit all over the place while your body finds its natural rhythm, but things should settle down into a fairly predictable pattern.

Will everyone know?

Nope.

Promise?

Honestly. You might feel like you’re walking around with a neon flashing ‘PERIOD! PERIOD!’ arrow above your head, but the truth is you look exactly the same as you did the day before. Nobody will know unless you choose to tell them. Or send out party invites.

But if you’re ready, it is a good idea to talk to an adult you trust. They can help you to get all the supplies you need – whether it’s pads, tampons, cuddles or a really big burrito.

Image: Emma Block

Because until Unicode releases a pad emoji, we’re going to have to improvise…

Crystal ball, crystal ball, when will my fallopian tubes release an egg and fall? The calendar says I’m definitely due, but when will it happen? It’s up to you!

Unamused emoji

Hnnnngh. I’m bloated, I’m farty, and my makeup keeps sliding off of my face. I am going about life with the grace of an elderly widow who hits dogs with her walking stick for fun.

Crying emoji

It is eight in the morning and I am crying at that Gumtree advert where the man buys his daughter a piano.

Flushed face emoji

Oh, god. There’s a sudden warm, damp feeling in my knickers, and it’s definitely not wee. At least, I hope it’s not wee.

Please don’t be wee.

Expressionless face emoji

Ok, while I AM relieved that I haven’t wee’d myself in the middle of class, I do have my period, and I somehow don’t have a tampon or a pad. WHY does this always happen to me? I’m practically tripping over tampons 90% of the time, and now I actually need one, they are nowhere to be found.

Ogre emoji

There is so much blood in my life right now that I feel like I’ve just performed a pagan slaughter. I change my pad, and ten seconds later, I’m changing it again. I am the red troll, and should be sent to live in a cave where I can just bleed and bleed forever.

Dark blue moon emoji

I don’t know if it’s true that women’s period cycles are linked to the moon, but I feel very attuned to nature now. It is possible that I am maybe a witch.

Donut emoji

You know how most people have a bit of bread with their soup? Is it possible to apply the same logic to donuts with your ice cream? Are donuts an acceptable side dish? If I eat everything in my house, will this horror eventually end?

Bunny women emoji

Turns out my best mate is on her period too! Call me Justin Timberlake because I am NSYNC.

Half moon emoji

My period appears to be at least half over. Am now changing my pad three times a day, as opposed to eight.

praise hands emoji

Oh my god, is it over? Already? I thought I had at least two days left. YES MATE!😓

False alarm. My period is back. Cancel Tuesday.

@Czaroline

Breasts can be mysterious creatures. Like supporting characters from Alice in Wonderland, one day they can feel tiny, the next they feel huge. One day they look like twins, the next they barely feel like friends. Sometimes they’re like your own personal set of cushions – and sometimes, they hurt.

Curiouser and curiouser.

Why is this happening?

A lot of people find that their boobs are a bit sore, achy or tender in the lead up to their period. It can be a warm-up act before the main event, like the other symptoms of PMS.

While the exact cause is unknown (helpful, science) it’s thought be due to the changing levels of your hormones at that point in your cycle. Just before your period, your progesterone production peaks and your breast lobules (milk ducts, although ‘lobules’ is much more fun to say) might expand. As they swell, your nerves may have to stretch themselves a bit longer than normal, which could make your breasts feel a little on the tender side.

If you haven’t started your period yet, don’t panic if you have a tingling sensation or an aching in your chest, this is probably just your breast buds developing. Woo-hoo!

How long will it last?

Most women find that their breasts start feeling a little sore one to three days before their period starts, and generally go back to normal by the time they finish riding the crimson wave.

TL;DR? Here's the important stuff:
  • Breathe, it’s actually super common. More common than perfectly symmetrical breasts, in fact.
  • During puberty, it’s likely that one will develop faster than the other. They’ll probably continue to grow at different speeds throughout your teenage years, and most adult women still have one that is bigger than the other.
  • This shouldn’t affect your life in any way other than making bras shopping a bit more of a puzzle. But always buy the size that fits your bigger side, as a general rule of thumb. Or boob.

Is there anything I can do to ease the ache?

Some people find that cutting back on salt, sugar, caffeine and dairy helps, so you could give that a go if your boobs are being a real pain in the… er, chest. Comfort-wise, you may find that wearing a good supportive bra, such as a sports bra, helps to minimise the aching, and it will stop things jiggling about any more than is strictly necessary.

Lots of women say that regular exercise helps to fight their menstrual aches and pains. If you find running is a sore-boob nightmare (bounce factor), why not try cycling or walking? After all, you’re already wearing a sports bra.

If your boobs are super painful and playing on your mind, don’t panic. But do step away from Google. Over-the-counter painkillers might help (ask an adult and always follow the packet instructions), or just try giving your boobs a few days while your period finishes.

If they’re still feeling really sore, or if you just want to check what’s what, maybe head to your GP for a chat.

So I’m not dying?

Almost definitely not. You’re just going through the rabbit-hole of puberty. But hey, at least there’s cake.

 

I’m not a crier. I mean, sure I cry, I’m not a complete robot. But I’m not one of those people who cries every day. I probably cry, on average, once every two to three weeks.

I’m quite a specific crier: I don’t cry from pain, I don’t cry in movies that I’m supposed to (honestly, I’ve remained resolutely dry-eyed in The Notebook like, 10 times but I did openly weep in Cinderella) and I absolutely loathe crying in front of people.

Because of this, I’m quite good at delaying my crying. I know from experience that I can feel a cry coming on, sit in the tube for half an hour, walk the twenty minutes home, open the front door, shout hello to my housemates, scramble upstairs and the minute I cross over the threshold into my room – that’s when the tears will come.

This tactic means that I can generally stave off my tears until I’m in one of my trusty crying places:

In the shower

This is a practical option because a) no one can hear me, b) I don’t have to wash my face afterwards and c) for some reason, when I cry, I sweat a lot too. It’s like my sweat glands feel left out and want to get in on the action, so in addition to being snotty and teary, I also have the added benefit of looking like I’ve just been on a harder than average jog. The shower fixes all that in one.

In the bath

The reasons are all the same, but the bath has the added benefit of bubbles and candles and a John Mayer album if I want a nice romantic cry.

In my bed

Once every six months, when I can’t fall asleep I will let my imagination roam so far into the deep recesses of my brain that I will imagine how it would feel if someone in my family died. I know it’s morbid, but if I let my mind wander at night without any leash, this is where it ends up. The crying makes my eyes sleepy and the next day I’m always extra nice to my family. So, I guess that’s a silver lining?

To my dog, Bella

Bella is a 13-year-old border collie who has gone grey around her nose and her muzzle. She has arthritis so she can’t jump up on my bed like she used to, but I don’t mind sitting on the floor to talk to her because she’s still the best listener in the world. Bellsie is the most loyal of dogs, who only gets mildly annoyed when I throw my arms around her and tell her how much I love her.

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(This is Bella)

In the cinema

As previously mentioned, I don’t like crying in front of people, but I don’t mind crying near them so long as we are in a completely dark room and no one is looking at me. I cry in films all the time, sometimes for reasons I can’t explain. I am an expert at the discreet eye-dab, the subtle wiping of nose on the sleeve, the silent sort of weeping where your eyes just won’t stop leaking. Plus, the cinema always involves excellent snacks, so they’ll cheer you right up.

On the floor

I once knew a girl that would only talk about her feelings if she was sitting under the dining room table. This is kind of how I feel about crying. In my opinion, crying is best done on the floor, where you can wail and weep and be in the foetal position or child’s pose (the two best crying positions) in a matter of milliseconds.

To my mum

My mum is the only person in the world who has the ability to make me burst into tears by just saying ‘Hi darling, how are you?’ I am a terrible liar. I can’t lie to my dentist about how often I floss or even to street fundraisers (once I ended up actually cancelling my credit card rather than just coming up with a reason why I couldn’t donate to Greenpeace). But I especially can’t lie to my mum. She smells my lies. I’m be part way through saying, ‘Oh, things are fi-” and my voice will wobble involuntarily and before I know it I am sitting on the floor blubbering.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with have a good cry, and anyone who tells you otherwise is either a liar or has never seen any of the John Lewis Christmas ads. Embrace your cry.

After all, it’s what Weepy Girls’ Corner was made for.  

Image: Manjit Thapp

Some traditions are practised by millions of people, and timed to coincide with national, global or religious holidays or events.

For example, many Westerners like to put a pine tree in their house during December, and cover it with tiny light bulbs and slightly stale foil-wrapped chocolates. Your school might put on a show at the end of term where the teachers attempt to be hilarious, and the least funny one is made to wear a wig in order to make up for their lack of natural humour. I’ve just started my own personal tradition where I sprain my ankle quite badly around the beginning of November. (It usually comes straight after another once-a-year tradition, the one week in which I get really enthusiastic about running.)

As well as sticking up trees in our houses, finding pointy needles in our socks or getting badly scratched whenever we have to reach for the power point when we want to turn the lights on, there are plenty of familiar festive traditions that you might enjoy experiencing with your friends and family. There’s eating lebkuchen at a German Christmas market! Watching Elf! Guessing who has got you for Secret Santa, until a po-faced pal says “SHUT UP! IT’S CALLED SECRET!” which is pointless because the rest of you have already made the necessary deductions and seen her in Claire’s buying a phone case while asking “and do you have those stick on crystals? I need to spell out ‘GEMMA’.”

My tradition is that I always have a Christmas period. Obviously, yes, everyone experiences ‘the Christmas period’ on some level – but I have proper festive menses. Regardless of what my cycle is doing during the rest of the year, the planets align with my uterine lining and ensure that I am cramping like crazy by December 24. The blood is more keen to get out of my body than Santa getting down a chimney, and although I want to make a cheap joke about filling my stocking, I will say that I’ve lost many pairs of tights in the struggle. Yo, ho, ho.

However, in some ways, getting the gift that won’t stop giving is a pretty good festive present. Partly because Christmas is a holiday in which reality is suspended; to some extent, we’re all expected to behave like the Cookie Monster, dealing with the news of an international cookie shortage, and then winning the Cookie Lottery. Nobody will even notice if you cry at the sight of a broken phone charger, or shout furiously at a chair – it’s Christmas, innit?!

Here’s how to make the most of your Christmas period:

1. Do your hormones have you wishing to eat every single thing in your eye line that doesn’t taste of poison? It’s time to get stuck in! You can eat chocolate by the metre! You can put gravy on a sandwich! You can snack between snacks! Almost every food item that enters your house in December is delicious and comforting, as if it was designed to deal with the extreme hunger that sometimes accompanies the beginning of your period

2. Feel a bit bloated? Need to lie on the sofa with your jeans unzipped for an hour or three? It’s pretty much the law for everyone to do this anyway until January 5th.

3. Sometimes we all need a cry for no reason, or rather, the reason is so specific and complicated that you don’t want to explain it to your well meaning but nosy little sister. In December, you can shut down all annoying enquiries by saying “I was just thinking about The Snowman, and that bit when he melted.”

4. Christmas is a time for family, and sometimes that includes your annoying Uncle Dan who has endless, epic dinner time monologues about That Time He Was Almost A Roadie For U2. If you’ve got your period, you don’t have to sit through it politely – just tell your Mum (or a sympathetic family member) that you’re feeling dodgy and you need to go for a quiet lie down in a place free from chatty relatives.

5. On the first couple of days of a particularly heavy period, you might want to do everything you can to avoid leaving the house. At Christmas time, no one leaves the house unless it has caught fire. Just make sure you’re careful when lighting candles, and that your pyjamas aren’t too flammable. Then you can stay in your cosy nest without having to justify anything to anyone.

@NotRollergirl

We’ve all seen the adverts. We know that periods and PMS shouldn’t stop us from wearing white playsuits, or going swimming, or playing sport at a professional level, or chartering a rocket to the moon. But every person and every period is different, and for every month where someone feels unstoppable, there will be another person who wants to stop the world and get off for a bit.

During your period, you’re allowed to do anything, everything – and nothing. Here’s how to do nothing in a nourishing way, if that’s the mood you’re in.

Practise the art of self-love

During your period, it’s totally normal not to feel like your best self. However, it can be hard to avoid falling into a spiral of self doubt and negative thoughts. If you’re in a pit of PMS depression or feeling spotty, achy and bloated you don’t feel like a confident go-getter – you’re using all of your energy on going to the loo every twenty minutes. So a bit of mindfulness doesn’t go amiss.

You don’t need to overthink it; just try to catch your thoughts if you’re thinking negatively about yourself. Think “I love Me, I am doing everything in my power to take care of Me, and I am doing an awesome job.” Be your own best babysitter, and treat yourself as kindly and tenderly as you can. This means that you’ll feel super strong, confident and ready to do great things when your hormones calm down.

Eat your chocolate biscuits from a silver platter

With the caveat that periods are much easier to deal with if you fill yourself with vegetables and vitamins, sometimes the only thing that makes us feel better is to eat so much junk food that we start to wonder whether it’s worth camping out on a petrol station forecourt in order to be close to a shop that sells nothing but Doritos and Jelly Babies.

The trouble with junk food is that sometimes, as the name suggests, eating it can make you feel even more rubbish. But you can avoid this by making an occasion out of it. Put the crisps in the prettiest bowl you can find, instead of just shoving your head inside the bag. Arrange the cupcakes on a china plate. This makes your period wallow feel like a special occasion, and you are less likely to end up covered in crumbs. No matter where your cycle is at, being covered in Monster Munch dust just isn’t good for the soul.

Channel Winnie the Pooh

Winnie is a wise bear, and knows the value of ‘stoutness exercises’ – this means that if your tummy feels round and uncomfortable, some very gentle movement can make all the difference and help you to feel a little less like you’re being possessed by a sentient volleyball that’s about to burst out of you, uterus first.

But importantly, Winnie bear-ly (#sorrynotsorry) breaks a sweat, and sticks to his comfort zone. This isn’t about feeling the burn so much as getting slightly warm and then stopping to open a window. If you can face it, a tiny bit of exercise will relieve any cramps, and give you a bit of a break from your sofa-and-bed-based routine.

Have an Ultimate Bath

If you’re prepared to put the effort in, washing yourself can be an art, and one of the most rewarding activities there is. It’s only a matter of time before a TV commissioner capitalises on this and everyone sits down each week to watch The Great British Bathe Off.

For now, focus any energy that you have on upping your bathtime game. Find the nicest scent you can. If you’re so inclined, many essential oils are thought to have properties that ease your menses cramps, including lavender, clary sage, rose, peppermint and cinnamon (if it smells nice, it has probably, at some point in history been used to cheer someone up during their period) but the posh bubble bath you got for Christmas will definitely do the trick too.

Spend time getting the temperature right. Sometimes the body feels warmer during menstruation, so you might be more comfortable if your bath is on the cool side. When the bath has been run, make a peppermint tea, put a classical station on if you have a bathroom radio, and wallow away. When you get out, you’ll feel like Venus rising from a clam shell, if Venus was Beyonce.

Sleep where you fall

Fact: you’re not lazy – periods are tiring. As your oestrogen levels plummet, you might find that your iron levels drop too. Making sure that you get plenty of vitamins and eating iron-rich foods will help you get back to normal, but during the first couple of days, the best thing you can do for your body is to give it the sleep it craves. If you can’t keep your eyes open, it’s fine to have a nap. Unless you’re in the middle of crossing a road. Or using scissors.

If you know that you tend to get sleepy at the start of your period, try to give people a heads-up so you’ve got the time and space to get your head down. If your body wants extra rest, the smartest thing you can do is listen to it.

@NotRollergirl

Image: Laura Callaghan

People just love to tell you to cheer up when you’re feeling sad, don’t they?

“It’ll be ok!” they say, as you’re crying into your bowl of cereal because your period cramps make it feel like you’re being gutted alive. Or “you’ll make new friends, don’t sweat it!” when your parents move you to a new school, tear you away from your BFFs and fail to understand the sheer terror of eating lunch alone.

*Shudder*.

But whether you’re feeling weepy because of hormones or friends or the fact your crush isn’t smiling back, we have a ready-made solution for you: put on a good film.

Really. Finding a film that’ll let you cry your eyes out and then help you to see the good in the world again, will sort you right out. We’re never going to tell you to magically cheer up (because we know life doesn’t work like that), but instead we recommend wallowing in the weepiness for a while. Just long enough to kick you back into gear and help you maybe, just maybe, realise things aren’t actually that bad.

So we’ve collected together seven of our favourite films to watch when you’re down, angsty or feel like you just don’t fit in with everyone else. They’ll help you weep, wallow, and then see just a little, teeny-tiny bit of hope in the middle of all that bad stuff.

Fetch the popcorn! And the tissues. 

1. Inside Out

This brilliantly funny movie is all about a girl who is struggling with all of the rubbish life throws at you sometimes. Sound familiar? She has to deal with her parents, moving school and how hard it feels to miss old mates.

It’s not going to pretend that life is a magical fairytale like a lot of old school Disney movies – there’s no prince charming here, sorry. But what it will do is give you a brand new way to look at stuff… like maybe sadness is just normal and not always a bad thing? Yep, it’s a deep one. But there’s also lots of colour and silliness too; it’s a Pixar movie, after all.

2. Mean Girls

Mean Girls is a true high school classic. In centuries to come it’ll be considered one of the most iconic movies of our generation, probably.

It’s so good because everyone can relate to it. The main character finds herself in a new school where she doesn’t fit in with the cool girls. In fact, she finds it hard to fit in with most groups.

She goes on a journey to find out who her friends really are, which involves dressing up, lots of gossip and plenty of LOL-worthy moments. If you’ve ever felt like you don’t fit in no matter how much you do, then this one is for you.

3. The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid is one of those Disney classics that you can watch about 10,000 times without getting bored – especially if you like a good singalong. Which is another failsafe way to cure that down-in-the-dumps feeling by the way. We’ve heard.

If you’ve never seen it before (wow what? Get it now, now, now) you’re in for a real treat. Well, a sad treat in many ways. As it’s about a mermaid who falls in love with a human. Sounds sweet, right? Wrong. Because one has legs and the other has a tail. Isn’t life just so unfair sometimes?

Ideal medicine for your bad mood, you can cry, you’ll probably get angry, but then you learn a lot. Pay attention to the singing lobster, guys. That’s a good rule for life generally.

4. Zootopia

Ever wonder what a HUGE city run entirely by animals would love like? Well, enter Zootopia. It’s a film all about the way animals get on with each other and the main character is a fearless bunny. She’s got big dreams. Big ambitions. Big hopes. But she’s a teeny tiny bunny in a place where polar bears and tigers rule, so she has to adapt and use her bunny strength and bunny powers.

Zootopia has highs and lows, but the main take-home message is to do what you can with what you have, and stay strong. Which is something we all need to be reminded of from time to time, right? You fearless bunny, you.

5. Twilight

If you think your problems are bad, then take a look at Bella’s. She’s a bit of a misfit who falls in love with a boy – been there – but he’s a vampire and could very easily just eat her at any moment. Ouch.

True, Twilight isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But it is a love story that’s also full of fantasy and feels like a modern take on a quirky fairy tale. It’s also full of eye candy and some of the big fight scenes will make all of your problems and emotions melt away. Promise.

6. My Girl

This one should come with a warning. It’s only if you want a good cry. A really good cry. It should not be viewed by those not looking for a good cry. Are we clear on this?

Okay, now that’s out of the way we’re onto the beauty of My Girl. It’s an older movie, but it’s a classic because it’s all about love and heartbreak and growing up, and now confusing and complicated all of those things can be. Which is just as true now as it was in 1991.

7. Frozen

In case you were living in an underground bunker for all of 2014 and don’t already know… Frozen is the story of two sisters, Elsa and Anna. They love each other a lot, but one has an icy secret that means she feels really out of place all the live-long day. Fair enough, we can’t all do the amazing things Elsa can, but that feeling is oh-so familiar.

For an animated musical it can get seriously emotional at times, but there’s also a talking snowman. And a very useful reminder that when life gets you down, you should, you know, let it go…

@BeccaCaddy

Image: Inside Out / Disney

To celebrate London Fashion Week, we managed to get ten minutes between shoots with model Vicky Cain to ask her about her life as a model.

We talk about how she got into modelling, the best and worst parts of being a model, what it’s like working when you’re on your period, and whether she’s ever accidentally bled on any of those incredible clothes.

Kylie Jenner has been making headlines this week.

Or, her chest has. A few curious fans wondered if Kylie’s boobs were looking bigger than normal

Within the hour, some tabloids were asking the same question – with their traditional class and sensitivity…

But when Kylie took to Twitter to dispel the rumours, her explanation had girls across the world nodding in solidarity.

Nope, she didn’t spend thousands of dollars on a boob job – she was just on her period, folks. Jog on, nothing to see here! You might say ‘TMI’ Kyles, but we say Just The Right Amount of Information. JTRAOI. Ok, that’ll never catch on.

This isn’t the first time that Kylie has had to talk about her boobs either. In September 2015 Kylie shot down more rumours that she’d had cosmtic surgery. “No, people – I haven’t gotten breast implants!” she wrote on her website. “Everyone is obsessed with that. Truth is, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve gained 15 pounds and my body has changed; I’ve definitely filled out.”

Truth is, girls’ bodies do change. Jeans that are loose one week can be impossibly tight the next. Bras that fit perfectly in the shop can struggle to contain your nipples when your period comes a-callin’.

Bodies aren’t static, like Barbie dolls or Donald Drumpf’s hair. They change. A lot. And it’s perfectly natural when they do.

So cheers Kylie, for letting girls everywhere know that even the Jenners have to deal with periods. And best of luck riding the crimson wave!

Holler if you want to borrow a hot water bottle, k?

Image: Getty/Katie Edmunds

Fu Yuanhui became one of our Olympic sheroes last month when, after representing China in the Women’s Swimming 4 x 100m relay, she told an interviewer:

“I don’t think I performed very well today. I feel I let my teammates down.”

They came fourth. In the WORLD. She then explained:

“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.”

Mike drop.

Fu’s candour was particularly brave, because while periods can still be a bit of taboo here in the UK, in China, they’re reeeally reeeally taboo. As in, prime-time commercials for sanitary products have been banned in China because they’re considered “vulgar” and “disgusting”.

The vast majority of women in China also still use pads, partly because of the persisting belief that women who use tampons are no longer virgins (we promise this isn’t true). Sex education in China is scarce and unregulated, which can lead to misunderstandings about the female reproductive system, a high rate of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, as well as many women avoiding tampons because they’re not sure how to insert them properly.

It’s estimated that tampons make up a minuscule 0.03% of the sanitary market, and while Chinese manufacturers produced 85 billion sanitary pads last year, not a single one of them made tampons.

Of course, pad popularity itself isn’t a bad thing; pads are comfy and easy to use and are excellent for mopping up your spilled Frappuccino – but they don’t work for every single situation. Such as, to pluck a random example out of the air, swimming.

Which we imagine would be kinda annoying if you’re an Olympic swimmer. Yeah.

Fu’s statement is so important in a worldwide context because it made people everywhere (yours truly included) pause and say: “oh yeahhhh, I never thought of athletes having periods!”

After all, we’re used to thinking of these people as super humans whose bodies can do things that ours couldn’t even begin to fathom – so it’s easy to assume the rules of nature that apply to us shouldn’t apply to them. But of course, as Fu reminded us, they do.

And just as significantly, a Chinese Olympian speaking openly about her period might finally spark a conversation within China about female reproduction, and trigger some really positive change for girls and women in the country.

All that, and an Olympic medal.

Fu, you’re our shero.

Image: Getty