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.

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

Image: Hailey Hamilton

I was nine when I started my first period. Nine.

I was so young I was still making up dance routines in the playground and absent-mindedly picking my nose in public, but then one day the puberty gods decided I would be plucked from my innocent childhood and made to menstruate.

It was a weekend. I was sat on the upstairs loo while my mum hung out washing on the landing. I wiped after doing my business and there it was on the tissue: blood.

It wasn’t bright red like the normal blood I’d seen when I’d fallen over and grazed my knees. This was darker and definitely not wee, so it had to be my period. I pulled up my knickers, flushed the chain and walked out of the bathroom. “Mum, I think I’ve started my period,” I announced.

My mum did what any normal mum would do when a nine-year-old announces she’s bleeding from her vagina: she freaked out. Dropping the bed sheet she was folding, she hopped from one foot to another, spluttering, “OK… um… right… OK… um”. I shrugged, walked past coolly and reassured: “It’s alright, mum. I know what to do.”

I was too young to have had sex education at school, but luckily my mum had been spotting signs that my period was on the hormonal horizon. While she may have been useless on the day (bless her), she’d been super organised beforehand and prepared me for aunt Flo’s imminent arrival.

She later told me she’d noticed a white discharge appearing in my knickers when she did the washing, which is a sure sign your first period is about to start. (BTW: regular discharge is totally normal and part of a woman’s monthly cycle. It’s not gross and is nothing to be ashamed of. Find out more about it here.)

So when my period came, my mum had already given me “the talk”. She had put sanitary towels in my knicker drawer and performed an extremely detailed demonstration of how to stick a white-winged sanitary pad into the gusset of my age 9-10 knickers.

By the time I went back to school on Monday, I was a period pro. I skipped into the school playground with a packet of Always tucked away inside my backpack and that was that. The world kept turning and nothing really changed.

After a phone call from my mum, the school made a few changes to accommodate the “more mature” girls in my class (which is code for “those with boobs”). We got changed in the toilets for PE instead of the classroom, we could go to the loo in the middle of a lesson and we knew where the secret stash of sanitary products were.

People feel sorry for me for having “grown up so fast”, but in reality I was remarkably unfazed by the arrival of aunt Flo.

Puberty is a slow and steady experience for girls, unlike boys who seem to sprout overnight and get reaaaaally deeeeeep vooooooices all of a sudden. So I was used to “growing up”. I had boobs – not budding nipples but actual breasts that needed a bra – and had discovered my first pubes a year before.

Maybe I was too young to feel that shame and embarrassment that a lot of girls feel when they start their period. I was more interested in cartoons than how I looked, what boys thought of me or what was happening to my body. If anything I’m happy that I started so young, it meant that when my friends started I was a dab hand and could help them out.

Periods aren’t always easy, of course: sometimes you leak blood onto bed sheets or your pants (which is really easy to wash with cold water), the pain can be excruciating (hot water bottles are your friend) and it makes swimming awkward (you can still go, just wear a tampon and change it when you get out – you don’t want a wet string dripping in your undies).

I’d recommend using a period tracker app to log pain, flow and moods, so you know what is normal for your body. That way if you are worried or notice anything unusual speak to an adult you trust. The most powerful thing you can do for your health as a woman is get to know yourself.

But for the most part, you, like the other half of the population who menstruate, will be just fine. And if a nine-year-old can do it, I’m sure you can too.

@Brogan_Driscoll

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. 

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.

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: Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging

We’re taught it at school more than we are trigonometry and the Tudors. If someone is constantly picking on you, taking the mick or harassing you, it means they fancy the pants off you. They really, REALLY like you. Like, LIKE-like you. Right?

No. Absolutely not.

This myth has been drilled into us since the dawn of time itself, and though it may seem harmless, believing that abusive behaviour is actually a sign that someone loves you can really damage your future relationships.

But what counts as being horrible?

When someone fancies you, they treat you well. They do not:

1. Physically hurt you. Ever.

Do they flick you when they sit next to you in class? Push you over on the school field? Pull your hair? Trip you up? All for a laugh? It does not mean they fancy you.

2. Call you names.

Did you embarrass yourself one time and earn a less-than-lovely nickname? Do they not let you forget it, and insist on banging on for a laugh for their mates? It does not mean they fancy you.

3. Repeatedly annoy you when you asked them to stop.

A light bit of banter is fine – you don’t take yourself seriously and can take a joke. But after a while it gets tiresome, so you ask them to stop. They don’t. In fact, they do it more. It does not mean they fancy you.

4. Touch you, or have you touch them, without your consent.

Wolf whistling is not a compliment and nor is touching your bum without asking. The latter is, in fact, sexual assault. They might try and dare you to kiss them or might put their arm around you affectionately when really they want to try and touch your boob. Any form of sexual contact without your consent is sexual assault. It does not mean they fancy you*.

5. Steal your stuff. 

Ever walked away from your bag or phone and come back to find it missing? Yep, great joke guys. You can give it back now. If they don’t – even if they run off with your stuff and throw it in a bin for you to find – it does not mean they fancy you.

Of course, it’s still possible they DO fancy you despite all this douchebaggery – but that’s kind of irrelevant because either way, you deserve someone who actually treats you well.

Ok. Got it. So how do I know if someone does fancy me?!

Easy. They’re nice to you! For example…

1. They compliment you without being unnecessarily sexual or gross.

2. They make an effort to spend time with you.

3. They’re super interested in what you do and what you say.

4. They want to talk to you for ages and never seem to need to be anywhere else.

5. They ask you out. Politely.

6. They laugh at your (even rubbish) jokes.

7. They blush when they see you – adorable.

8. They support you when you need it.

*any other nice stuff that makes you feel warm and gushy and comfortable and confident*

That seems fair…

Yup! There’s a big difference between some jokey, flirty banter and straight up horribleness. Don’t feel like you have to play along. If the behaviour carries on when you tell them to stop, please tell someone. You’re worth more than that, you beautiful, strong, lovely angelic human.

ps. What’s that * there for?

Ah, yes. Crushes are fun but sexual assault and abuse of your consent is super serious. If you think you’ve been assaulted or are worried about someone’s behaviour towards you then there are loads of people out there you can talk to. Don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed. Talk to a teacher, your parents/guardians, your doctor, or any adult you trust. If you don’t want to talk to someone you know then you can always speak to Childline or The Mix.

@louisejonesetc

1. You promise to message and meet up all the time.

text-ok

2. You judge each other’s uniform.

Total idiot gif

3. They quickly find new friends and you get protective. How dare they.

Big Brother 'who is she?' gif

4. You stalk everyone involved in any second of your spare time.

Modern Family stalk gif

5. You debate joining a sports team just so you can go to their school and fight the new friends.

What team gif

6. Your best friend starts to change and you don’t like it. At all. You agreed Snapchat filters were overrated and now look! She’s wearing a flower crown!

Shady Real Housewives gif

7. The “Do you mind if so-and-so comes?” texts start to roll in and encroach on your BFF time.

She doesn't even go here gif

8. Your parents start to ask why you haven’t mentioned your best friend in ages.

fine I don't know gif

9. But then, suddenly, they turn up in your Facebook messages when something goes wrong. They need you and only you.

Best friend back

10. And you realise that no matter where you are, how you’ve changed, and what you’re doing, that’s just life and you’ll always be each other’s number one.

Flying hug gif

10a. (Fine, and the new friends are actually ok…)

Easy A screaming gif

@louisejonesetc

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. 

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.

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. 

STEM is a little word, with big importance. It stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and it’s used to group together all those subjects that look at the physical, technical way that the world works. We all start off studying them in their simplest forms, though loads of us give up STEM along the way for more flowery subjects – and by ‘us’, we mean girls.

But perhaps more of us need to give STEM a second thought. And a third, and a fourth. Here’s why.

…because STEM subjects are fascinating

STEM can take you from the depths of the ocean to the furthest known galaxy – and everywhere in between. You can study the power of the sun, the movement of the planets, the algorithms of love, the beating of the heart, the ways in which prosthetics can replace limbs and organs, or the real secrets behind the most popular Instagram posts. Yes, really: that’s maths for you.

microscope

“Physics was always a subject that I enjoyed – but when we got onto the more advanced subjects, everything opened up and became so much more interesting. I also realised that I loved the applied maths and the experimental side of physics,” says physicist Dr Charlotte Buckley.

“I loved my degree. Studying everything from quantum mechanics or the behaviour of light, up to the formation of stars, galaxies and the universe was incredibly rewarding.”

…because they make the world go round. Literally.

We don’t need to tell you how big a role technology has these days. Google, Facebook, Apple and Twitter basically own us – and if you can’t beat them, work for them. Or at least understand how they work.

Mathematics is, basically, problem solving. It’s the foundation of spaceships, of hydrology (that’s all things water, the reason you can have a shower each day), of architecture, accountancy – even democracy. What is voting but a numbers game? Scientists find cures for disease, contribute toward the making of everything from food to shampoo to cleaning products, and explore the universe.

space

Engineering, meanwhile, is not just building bridges or working on oil rigs. “It can often have connotations of greasy overalls and spanners, but in fact [engineering] is a huge world of professions influencing the world that we live in,” says Vicki Greenwood, a chartered civil engineer and a construction project manager.

Engineering graduate Milly Belcher designed a simulated human jaw at Bristol uni to test new, chewable medicines; then, interning at Dyson, she found herself “designing, testing and evaluating products that, stereotypically, are used by women” – though ironically, the majority of her the workforce were male. Sigh. 

…because they need more women

Dyson is no exception. The numbers are scary, especially when you consider how important STEM subjects are to everything we do every day. Only 9% of the engineering workforce is female. Just 20% of A Level physics students are female, and only 14.4% of the science, tech, engineering and maths (STEM) workforce in the UK is female.

“Women represent half the workforce,” Vicki continues. “STEM subjects lead to careers that have a direct influence on our world. The world is losing a lot of innovative thinkers by not factoring in the female population.” And it has a real cost: “A balanced team will usually be more creative and have a more enjoyable and caring working environment, in my experience,” says Vicki, and indeed companies are shown to be 15% more likely to perform better if they are gender diverse.

goggles

At school and at university, girls studying STEM are “in the minority,” says Milly. “You stand out.” Indeed, at her all-girls school, engineering was not even discussed as a possibility. “My friend and I were the first people from school to study Engineering at university, so application and career advice were limited. Later, at Dyson, she noticed her male colleagues struggle with making products like hairdryers user-friendly – “for example getting a feel for something like the weight of the product: it is difficult for men to contextualise what it feels like for a woman to use. I think that women can sometimes provide an insight that men may not have even considered.” 

…because studying STEM subjects does not make you a nerd

On the contrary, says Milly, “the majority of girls I met on my course were the opposite. They chose engineering because they enjoyed science and maths, but wanted to see a more practical, more creative side to those subjects. Outside of their studies they were heavily involved in sports, charity, etc – and had rich social lives.”

geeky

“There is a very classic image of a woman physicist, which just isn’t true,” Charlotte agrees. “I have heard inspirational lectures from incredible women who have had to fight tooth and nail to get to the top of their profession.” The idea that everyone is super nerdy and can’t socialise is, she says (and I can second it, having seen her on a dance floor) totally not true.

…because they are NOT ‘men’s subjects’

Why do so few women go into STEM subjects? “Maybe young men are more confident in themselves and don’t mind taking on such ‘risky’ subjects, whereas girls are more likely to choose something they feel confident in,” Charlotte suggests.

i-believe-in-science

Of course there’s a perception that they are super hard – and we’re not saying it isn’t true. But that doesn’t make them ‘male’ any more than, er, cooking a soufflé is a female domain.

“There was one eccentric maths teacher who used to say ‘Girls should be in home economics’,” Charlotte laughs, “but I don’t think he was serious, and the three girls in the class would then get the best marks!” As she continued through university, “it became obvious that each person had different strengths in different areas, both technical and theoretical… I can’t really think of anything during my degree which I thought of as ‘male’ traits and ‘female’ traits.

…and it’s empowering stuff to know

After all, as the name suggests, everything starts with STEM.

science-everything

Check out STEMnet to find out more about the cool opportunities out there.

@finney_clare

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

Image: Hailey Hamilton

Do you know what lacrosse is? Do you still regard the male sex with an element of suspicion, and/or bafflement? Was your first kiss yesterday? Why then, you may be a surviving member of an all-girls’ school! Your struggle is real. Single sex schools can feel like the worst, so here’s everything you know if you went to one. (We feel you.)

Non-uniform days are no less stressful than if boys were there

Thought the lack of boys would make own clothes easier? Think again. You girls are your own (and everyone else’s) worse critics. You’ll spend weeks deciding on each element of your outfit and checking and double checking it with your fam. Wearing the same top as someone else will result in a wordless fight to death over who wore it best, to be judged on Insta later. Those who got away with wearing the most make up unnoticed will almost certainly win.

Make up is not allowed. Yes, Jade, mascara does count as make up

So does blusher. Jade, for pity’s sake, go to the bathroom and Wash. It. Off. Jade never quite got this rule – but she never stopped trying, bless her, and to this day I do not know if her eyes were really that large, or if she finally cracked and got permanent mascara.

There will be some gratuitous displays of wealth…

…and there will be girls desperate to hide how hard their parents are working to send them there, whose trainers are unbranded and whose hair is un-Brazilian blow-dried. All of you have a right to be there, and to be treated with respect…

…but girl, oh girl, there will be bitches

Both amongst your enemies, and amongst your dearest friends. They will bitch about ANYTHING, from clothes to cleverness, the way someone walks to their weight. You will try to resist them. You will, I’m sorry to say, almost fall short – because it’s insidious, this whispering and gossiping, and it will defy any attempts to avoid it. Do try, obviously – but if you fall short, don’t be too hard on yourself. You’ll grow out of it eventually, and so will (most) of your (true) friends.

Mealtimes are a nightmare

The majority of eating disorders sufferers are female and in the 14 to 25 range. I don’t need to tell you to do the math – if your school is anything like mine, you will know this simply from looking round your dining room at lunchtime. If a friend is suffering, betty has some advice as to how you could help.

Half the class has PMT at the same time…

Oh, the magic of menstrual syncing.

Swimming lessons will only have a 20 per cent attendance rate

See above.

TMI is your default setting

In fact, it’s weirder for you not to be able to discuss what shade of tampon you’re wearing and whether you’ve succeeded in avoiding weeing on the string part.

You only signed up to [insert extra-curricular activity undertaken with the local boys school here] because you wanted to meet the boys school

School plays, Combined Cadet Force, Duke of Edinburgh, volunteering at the old people’s home, choir, charity bag packing: you name it, and if it involved boys, you’re there.

You put make up on for the journey home

Obviously. There will be boys on the number 29.

That feeling when one of the 29 boys catches your eye

And unless it’s your brother, you’ve literally nothing to say.

Subjects are genderless

Who says physics is more or less ‘girly’ than english? No sis in your school – and that’s the legit thing about it. The concept of not being able to do something just because you’re a girl is beyond your conception.

When school is bad, it’s v unbearable…

But when it’s good it’s one of the most woke places you could be.

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

Image: Hailey Hamilton

1. Five more minutes of TV and then I’ll start my homework

[Five minutes later…]

2. Damn, that went fast.

3. OK, another five minutes and I’ll go get my schoolbag.

[Another five minutes later…]

4. Is it scientifically possible to be glued to the sofa?

5. Like, this might be a genuine condition. I can’t move. Could I get a doctor’s note and not have to do my homework?

6. I’ll Google it.

7. Crap, left my phone in my schoolbag. Plan B…

8. “MUUUUMMM! CAN YOU GET MY SCHOOLBAG?”

9. Why is she ignoring me? It’s like she wants me to fail.

10. Maybe if I flick the channel I’ll find something as dull as double chemistry. That counts as homework, right?

11. The Big Bang Theory is basically science. That’ll do.

[Thirty minutes later…]

12. Just one more episode…

13. If Sheldon can track his bowel movements and still find a girlfriend then why am I single?

14. Maybe I’ll start tracking my bowel movements.

15. No, that would be gross.

16. Now I need to pee.

17. Picked up my schoolbag on the way back from the toilet because I’m a multi-tasking GENIUSSS.

18. *opens laptop* I’ll just check Facebook…

19. Wait, there’s a picture of Megan and Ollie kissing at the ice rink. Are they DATING?!

20. I can’t believe she didn’t tell me.

21. OMG I just tagged myself in their photo. Right on his mouth. DE-TAG DE-TAG.

22. Like, how did I even manage that?

23. I’ll never be able to show my face at school again.

24. Maybe I’ll run away to Japan and set up a cat cafe.

25. I could become a professional cat vlogger. Cat-ogger? A clogger?

26. Must come up with a better name.

27. Taylor Swift has good cat videos. I’ll just check her Instagram for research…

28. Her cats are travelling by private jet while I’m forced to sit at home doing algebra.

29. I wish I was a cat. Cats are so sassy.

30. If I was a cat I’d sit on my bed all day glaring at my human until it petted me.

31. But instead I’ve got homework to do. Where’s the justice?

32. I really should do my homework…

33. Just five more minutes.

Taylor Swift bored

@SusannaLazarus

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

Image: Hailey Hamilton

I started trombone lessons in primary school.

I was so proud to play such a shiny, golden instrument that nearly measured the same height as me and played a loud, fat noise. I’d carry the big, black case onto my school bus and my classmates would eye it up, full of intrigue and admiration. Well, they actually didn’t even bat an eyelid, but I felt super important anyway, like a child protégé.

Then, high school happened.

Now, I know that the trombone isn’t exactly the sexiest instrument out there, but it’s a ruddy important one in any jazz band or orchestra. That didn’t stop older kids from shouting out ‘Are you carrying a coffin?’ in the corridor, and it didn’t make swapping lunchtime gossiping for music lessons any easier.

I soon gave in to the jibes and my weakness for playground fun, and packed it in – leaving my forgotten trombone to collect dust in our attic. Well over a decade later, I often look back and think about what a cotton-headed ninny-muggins I was for not realising what a wonderful opportunity I had with those music lessons.

Playing an instrument is the surest way of being cool. Think about it. Would Ed Sheeran have reached PHWOAR status without the aid of his guitar? Would Taylor Swift have world domination if she never picked up her first guitar? Would HAIM bass-face be a thing without the bass? Of course not. They’d probably be doing cold-calling insurance sales.

And it’s not just the famous rock and pop folks either.

Imagine playing in an orchestra while precious ballerinas perform Swan Lake, prancing along the stage that’s just above your little star-filled head. Oh jeez, imagine being the harp player. I ALWAYS fixate on the harp player and think ‘that has to be the coolest job in the world, even cooler than being an Ice Cream Taster’.

If classical music isn’t your thing, picture yourself getting jazzy in a brass band at a cool club in London, like something out of a Fitzgerald novel. I recently had a fantastically fun Saturday at a Brixton dancing spot where a brass band played their own interpretations of modern hits from the likes of Kanye West to Daft Punk. It was hard to tell who was having more of a blast – the crowd or the band.

And you could even be in the band that plays on Strictly Come Dancing, or is that just a dream that belongs to me and a few dozen other elderly Charleston fanatics with a bad taste in TV?

Sure, it can be tough to practice an instrument while you’re still at school, for a variety of reasons. It can be nerve-wracking playing in front of other pupils, frustrating using your spare time to perfect the latest piece and hard to accept that some people who don’t share your musical flair (and who are most probably jealous of your talent) can be a bit mean.

But if you do enjoy it, try to forget everything else and just do it.

You won’t ever regret spending ‘too much time’ at band practice when you end up rocking Wembley stage! It’s no secret that Taylor faced the haters while growing up, but instead of giving in, she took the ultimate revenge by turning it all into pure pop magic material in hits like Mean.

Last Christmas, my lovely mum gave me a guitar. I was over the moon and vowed to practice as often as I could. Within months I could play David Bowie’s Heroes, Taylor Swift’s All Too Well and Elvis Presley’s Can’t Help Falling in Love. It’s hard to describe how wonderful it is to be able to play some of my favourite songs, regardless of how completely out of time and tune I perform them. But I imagine it’s similar to how Billy Elliot feels when he’s dancing, like electricity.

And that’s why learning to play an instrument is absolutely rocks.

@hlouiser89

Image: Getty

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. 

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. 

Boobs are great; we all know that, but they have a tendency to get in the way. The bigger they are, the more complicated they are to dress, or indeed work out with. You’re nodding aren’t you? And thinking about your thrice weekly P.E. struggles with those double Es?

Well, big-boobed babes, you’re not alone. We feel you, which is why we’ve compiled all the things you’ll only know if you’ve ever done P.E. with a pair of juicy mangos…

The most important part of your back to school shopping is finding a supportive sports bra

For other girls it’s the perfect pencil case, but for you it’s all about the correct boulder holder to see you through hockey trials.

And God forbid you forget to pack it

Especially on the day when Mrs Lamont decides you’re doing sprints. OUCH.

Skipping is basically a no-no

Sports bra or no sports bra, black eyes are pretty much inevitable.

In fact, any form of jumping is less than ideal

Like, seriously, if you were meant to do the high jump you would not have been #blessed with this chest.

You’ve been known to double up on bras when it’s a particularly athletic day

It also makes you doubly sweaty, but that’s a fairly small price to pay for minimal movement on the running track.

Then when you do play, you spend the whole match tugging on the bottom of your T-shirt

You know you should embrace your bosoms, but if you could just stop them from moving AT ALL for an hour, that would be great.

Despite your lack of skills, they act as a great source of protection

There’s got to be some perks, right?

And once games is over, the girls ask you a million questions in the changing room

“Like, did you just wake up with them one day?”

When you really think about it, you’d miss them if you didn’t have ’em

How could you channel your inner Victoria’s Secret Angel in the gym if you didn’t have the boobs of one?

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