If you hate winter, or even if you’re not immune to the charms of the season, you might find yourself feeling a little low around this time of year. Short, damp days and dark, cold nights will do that to a girl.

However, beyond the winter blues, you might have heard of something called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Yep, it’s really known as SAD, which might be the most appropriate name for a condition EVER.

Some of us are definitely guilty of throwing the term around without a diagnosis, using it to describe the winter grumps, but what actually is SAD? Do you really have it? And, if you do, how can you help shift it before spring? Read on to find out…

What is seasonal affective disorder?

SAD is a form of depression that is affected by the seasons. It generally occurs in the winter months, improves or completely disappears in spring and summer, and can often return again the next autumn/winter.

What causes SAD?

It’s thought that the reduced hours of sunlight in autumn and winter mean that the body can’t produce as much serotonin, which is a mood-affecting hormone, and lower levels can lead to feelings of depression. In addition to this, the lack of sunlight may result in your body producing more melatonin, a hormone that makes you tired. Not a great combination.

What are the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder?

As with other forms of depression, SAD’s symptoms include regular low moods and irritability, a lack of energy, sleeping a lot more than usual and a loss of interest in activities you usually enjoy. You might also experience major carbohydrate cravings as your body tries to look for serotonin elsewhere.

How is it diagnosed?

SAD is tricky to diagnose due to its similarities to other types of depression. Generally your doctor will carry out a psychological assessment by asking you questions about your mood, recent behaviour and lifestyle. Sometimes they will also carry out a physical examination, but usually a SAD diagnosis can only truly be confirmed if you present the same symptoms at the same time of year, for two or more years in a row.

How do you treat SAD?

Depending on your symptoms, your doctor will most likely prescribe cognitive behavioural therapy, antidepressants or light therapy as treatment, after investigating how severe your SAD is. These methods of treatment can often be used together to achieve the best results.

Out with your doctor’s prescriptions, getting as much natural sunlight as possible, exercising regularly and eating healthily may all improve your mood and help manage your SAD symptoms.

Where can I find out more information on SAD?

The Seasonal Affective Disorder Association and the NHS both have loads of information available on SAD. As always, if you think you may be suffering, speak to your doctor and they will prescribe the most effective method of treatment for you. There’s no need to suffer alone.

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Image: Amber Griffin

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.


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Image: Manjit Thapp

The realisation that your parents are actual people can be horrifying.

It’s like seeing one of your teachers outside of school, or Matthew Perry playing a character that isn’t Chandler.

You get used to seeing your parents in certain, parenty roles and it’s hard to wrap your head around the fact that they exist outside of that realm; that they forget birthdays, that they send needy messages, that they feel fat some days, that they fall in love.

That they fall out of love.

And they also go through break ups.

For some people, when their parents break up, it can feel like their entire world is crumbling around them. As though the stable life they have always known has been blown apart.

For others it can feel like an enormous relief, an end to an unhappy household and parents who fight all the time.

But even if you expect it to happen, even if you knew it was coming, it can still hurt like hell.

I was seventeen when my parents broke up and I didn’t see it coming.

I was wrapped up in my own life. I was taking my final exams, I was navigating my way through my own, very intense relationship, I was trying to decide what I wanted to study at university. I didn’t notice the other things that were going on in our house.

I didn’t see that my parents were hardly talking anymore. I clocked that my mum was crying a lot, but I put that down to her becoming more emotional as she got older. I was aware that my dad was coming into my room more often to hang out, but I thought it was because he was worried about me going away to university next year and having an ‘empty nest’.

But when they finally told me, I felt the pieces click into place. I felt stupid and self-absorbed and confused. I had no idea what to say or what to do or how to act.

I mistakenly thought that because my parents had survived four children, five different cities and 30 years of marriage, that they were somehow immune from divorce.

When dad moved out, my boyfriend helped me pack all my dad’s clothes into big black bin bags and stuff them in the back of my car. We counted up all the spare change in his top drawer, separated it into different currencies and took it to the bank. We made cookies with my new Christmas-shaped cookie cutters.

I remember holding my mother as she cried and realising that I had never been the one doing the holding, I was always the one being held. My mother had spent her whole life taking care of me, and now I decided it was time for me to take care of her. And sometimes, she’d let me.

I would go to the supermarket and return armed with what I considered precisely the amount of chocolate to cure her broken heart. We would lie curled on the sofa watching films and she would fall asleep resting her head on my shoulder. When the film was over I would carefully nudge her awake and tell her ‘it’s bedtime,’ while I turned off the lights in the living room.

My parents got back together in the end, so I guess I was luckier than most. Now, they hold hands like teenagers who can’t bear the idea of being apart.

And sure, it was a crappy, emotional, chocolate-filled time but I learned a lot from the experience. The thing that stuck with me the most was that sometimes adults will act like teenagers and sometimes teenagers will act like adults. After all, we’re all just people in the end.

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

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.

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We all know that 2016 wasn’t a great year for Celebville. We lost so many talented actors, musicians and icons that it became hard to pay tribute to each of them in a meaningful way we so wanted to. But thankfully artist Martin Bruckner, the man behind the gorgeous blog Spaghetti Toes, found a way to say goodbye to some of those dearly departed famouses with his beautiful illustrations.

Grab your tissues, Weepy Girls, because a serious snot fest awaits.

Carrie Fisher 

Carrie Fisher is best known for her role as Princess Leia in Star Wars, but she was so, so, so much more than that. She was a fierce feminist, an open and honest ambassador for mental health and a hilarious writer with zero patience for BS. Carrie was a star in every sense of the word.

“I haven’t ever changed who I am. I’ve just gotten more accepting of it. Being happy isn’t getting what you want, it’s wanting what you have.” – Carrie Fisher


Debbie Reynolds 

The day after Carrie Fisher passed away, her mother, Debbie Reynolds suffered from a fatal stroke. Debbie Reynolds was a star in her own right, appearing in legendary 1950s musical Singing in the Rain (you know – the one with the rain). Her son was quoted as saying, “She wanted to be with Carrie.” SOB.

“I’m not a morning person. I’m barely an afternoon person.” – Debbie Reynolds


George Michael

Christmas Day turned teary for thousands when we heard that George Michael, lead singer of 80s band Wham! and solo pop icon, had passed away aged just 53. In addition to being an incredible musician who sold over 100 million records worldwide, he was an active LGBT rights campaigner, an HIV/AIDS fundraiser and a secret philanthropist who gave away millions of his own money to good causes. This last Christmas, we gave him our hearts.

“I’ve achieved what every artist wants, which is that some of their work will outlive them.” – George Michael


David Bowie

David Bowie was one of the world’s best selling artists, before (and after) he died of cancer in January 2016. One of the first global artists to experiment boldly with cross-dressing and sexual fluidity who reinvented himself constantly to keep the world on its toes, Bowie was a trailblazer in both his sound and his attitude. The musical world is a poorer place without him.

“I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.” – David Bowie


Gene Wilder

Best known for his role in our fave Sunday afternoon sing-along, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate FactoryGene Wilder was a genius comedy actor (check out The Producers and Blazing Saddles if you’ve never seen them) – and also an incredible writer who penned three novels. When he passed away, Coldplay performed a rendition of the Willy Wonka track Pure Imagination as a tribute to the late actor, and we all wished extra hard for a golden ticket in our Dairy Milk.

“I trust if your life is right, the right things will happen at the right time.” – Gene Wilder


Muhammad Ali

Boxer Muhammad Ali was arguably (and plenty of people have argued it) the best athlete of the 20th Century. To this day, he remains the only three-time lineal heavyweight champion – but Ali was almost as notorious for his poetic verbal punches, his quotable interviews, and his devotion to the Civil Rights Movement. A heavyweight inside and outside the ring.

“Live everyday as if it were your last, because someday you’re going to be right.” – Muhammad Ali


Alan Rickman

Alan Rickman, you beautiful hooked-nose hero of a man. Best known these days for his role as Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films, Alan Rickman was also an actor who could make us laugh, cry and want to read everything Jane Austen ever wrote. As Snape he taught us the true meaning of frenemies, and he will be sorely missed. Always.

“If you could build a house on a trampoline, that would suit me fine.” – Alan Rickman


Crying yet? Let’s all give Spaghetti Toes a follow, and keep 2016’s lost legends alive by loving their work. Bedroom disco and movie night, anyone?

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: Martin Bruckner

Feeling blue? It might help to wear your heart on your sleeve. Or your top. Or your hat.

As well as being the speediest, trendiest way to perk up your jacket/scarf/jumper/bag, there are loads of cute pin badges out there right now that seem to speak right to our soul. From weepy elephants and sad ghosts for the days you just want to wallow, to fiesty fighting talk for when you need boosting back up again, we’ve found 10 of our very favourites…


The importance of wearing Ernest

Sad elephant pin badge

Ernest the elephant packed his trunk, and ran away to the bathroom for a good ol’ cry.

Ernest the sad elephant pin, £6, Etsy/KatieAbeyDesign


Dancing on your own

Sad songs lapel pin

Because we all love a weepy ballad on a Sunday night, right?

Sad songs pin, $6, Stay Home Club


Wednesday we’re in love

Wednesday Addams pin

Let your goth flag fly with Wednesday, every day of the week.

Wednesday Addams pin, £6, Punky Pins


What Would Cher Do?

Ugh as if

Sometimes it’s better to Cher than it is to care.

Clueless As If brooch, £4, Oh Gosh Cindy


Top banana!

dead banana pin

Be gentle – some of us bruise easily.

Dead banana pin, £6, Etsy/doodlesbyben


A cute Akita

Look at his little face! Now tell me you don’t feel a little bit better.

Akita brooch, £9, Fy

Boo hoo

Sad ghost pin

Wear this to all your usual haunts.

Sad ghost enamel pin, £6, The Sad Ghost Club

Pin, punch

Boom pin

Ready to shake it off and rise back up? There’s a pin for that.

Boom pin, £10, Fy

Uh, uh, uh, uh, stayin’

alive pin

Yeah you are!

Alive pin, £7, Fy


Simply riveting

Rosie the Riveter pin

Our favourite 1940s feminist icon gets a purrfect makeover.

Feminist cat pin, £6, Punky Pins

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 are five years into the Syrian civil war, with no end in sight. Every day there is a horrific new story to come to terms with. This week alone, Donald Trump Jnr compared Syrian refugees to Skittles in a appalling attempt to encourage US citizens to fear Syrian refugees, the ceasefire that was so painstakingly negotiated collapsed and an unknown amount of people have lost their lives.

Sometimes it can be difficult to remember how much good there is in the world. But amidst all the brutality, there are reasons to hope.

Six-year-old Alex is one of them.

If you want to learn more about the Syrian civil war, check out this video from Vox that explains the causes of the conflict and the key players.

If you want to donate, there are loads of organisations to choose from such as Save The Children  and UNICEF.

Alex, you might be small, but your heart certainly isn’t.

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. 

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.


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…


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: Inside Out / Disney

The findings from the latest Good Childhood Report – which gathers informations about the wellbeing of children from 15 different countries, across four separate continents – are in. And sadly, they don’t look amazing.

Team GB might have excelled at the Olympics, but it looks like the nation is far from golden when it comes to raising happy, confident children – especially girls. Out of the 15 countries that are ranked in the Good Childhood Report, England came in last.

The report revealed that one in seven girls said they weren’t happy with their lives overall, while a third don’t feel happy with the way they look. While this might come as a shock to adults, for anyone who’s been in high school recently, it probably won’t come as much of a surprise.

One of the girls involved in the study explained:

“We’re expected to be perfect, like Barbie dolls or something and if we don’t then we get bullied.”

In fact, girls have become less happy with their lives and the way they look over the last five years. Another teenage girl said:

“There are so many things that are difficult about being a young person. There are so many pressures from your friends, from your family. You don’t know who you are going to be, you are trying to find who you are in a certain way.”

We all know what she means, don’t we? The Instagram stars that seem to have their whole lives sorted aged 15; all those advertising campaigns full of models with wide eyes, tiny waists and symmetrical features; the interrogation from family members who demand to know what you want to do with the rest of your life before you’ve even worked out what subjects you’re taking for your GCSEs.

Boys aren’t immune to the pressures of modern life either; despite being happier than girls overall, one in nine boys is unhappy with their lives and one in five is unhappy with the way they look.

But the sort-of-good news for boys is that those numbers haven’t changed that much over five years. Obviously, it would be better if everyone was happy and skipping and singing the Friends theme song at all times, but at least that’s something. For boys.

So what’s the reason for the gap?

Excellent question. It’s not entirely clear why this happiness gap exists but one theory is that emotional bullying, such as being called names or people posting nasty stuff on your Instagram, is twice as common as physical bullying.

And in news that will probably not come as a surprise to anyone, girls are more likely to be victims of emotional bullying, while boys are more likely to be physically bullied.

One of the girls in the study explained:

“There is a lot of pressure to look good, you get called names no matter what, people always say stuff behind your back, boys always call you ugly if you have spots, or a slag if you wear makeup.”

Also, girls also tend to spend more time on social media, which can have a negative impact on mental health. It’s true, you can even ask Biebs.

Reasons to be cheerful

But let’s look beyond the gloom to some bright spots on the horizon, shall we?

There are so many great body-positive campaigns happening right now putting the spotlight on people of colour, disabled people and girls’ rights to their own bodies. From L’Oreal’s True Match campaign that celebrates skintone diversity, to #SREnow’s initiative to provide information about sex and relationships at schools, to the Maltesers advert that featured a woman with cerebral palsy getting real about her sex life.

Hopefully now that the media is (slowly) moving towards more diverse representations of girls and women, we might see a new wave of body positivity that will, in time, turn the tide. And fingers crossed when the next Good Childhood Report is released in 2017, girls in the UK might be feeling a little bit happier.

And by the way…

Your mental health is so important. If you feel so unhappy about anything that it is making life difficult, there’s a lot of help available out there. You can talk to a teacher, a parent, guardian or relative, or you can visit the Childline site for more information.

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