If you have moles you’ve probably heard that changes to them can mean that there’s an underlying issue, but what exactly are you looking for when you check them yourself, and when do you need to seek professional help?

We asked Dr Anjali Mahto, consultant dermatologist and British Skin Foundation spokesperson, for her advice so you can be armed with the best info on how to keep your moles – and skin – safe.

Should I get my moles checked if they’ve always been there and haven’t changed shape or colour?

“It’s still worth checking them regularly just in case. The better you know your moles, the more likely you are to notice if there’s a change in the future.”

How often do I need to get my moles checked?

“Most dermatologists recommend you self-exam your skin on a monthly basis. The purpose of this is to detect unusual growths or changes early. The ideal time is probably after a bath or shower and should be carried out in a well-lit room with the aid of a full-length mirror.

“It is important to look closely at the entire body, including the scalp, buttocks and genitalia, palms and soles including the spaces between the fingers and toes. It may be helpful to seek assistance from a trusted individual to examine the hard-to-see areas.”

What could changes to my moles mean?

“Changes to a mole could mean skin cancer, so it’s always best to get it checked, rather than ignore it.”

What changes to my moles should I be looking out for?

“The acronym ABCDE can be extremely helpful in evaluating moles. If a mole shows any of these features, you should go and see your doctor:

Asymmetry: one half of the mole is different to the other

Border: irregular, scalloped or poorly defined edge

Colour: uneven colour or variable colours within a mole

Diameter: the mole is bigger than 6mm in size

Evolving: the mole is changing in its size, shape or colour

“Other signs to look out for include any new moles, a mole that looks significantly different to the others (known as the ‘ugly duckling’ sign), or any skin lesion that bleeds or fails to heal.

“The most important thing is to seek medical advice early. Any concerns should prompt a visit to a dermatologist, who will perform a full skin examination, and may go on to either remove a mole or take a sample or biopsy of any unusual growths or patches on the skin.”

Should I be using extra special sunscreen if I have moles?

“If you have very fair skin I would always recommend you use at least SPF30 or higher alongside other precautions, such as protective clothing and seeking shade between 11am-3pm, when the sun is strongest.

“Don’t forget to apply plenty of sunscreen at least 15 to 30 minutes before going outside. You’ll need to reapply at least every two hours or after swimming/sweating. Make sure you cover every area, as eyelids, feet, backs of legs, ears and lips can sometimes be forgotten!”

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Image: Katie Edmunds

Look. We need to talk. I don’t really know how to say this so I’m just going to come out with it. Here goes… Summer is ending soon. I know it only feels like five minutes since term ended and you bought your new sandals but what can I say? Mother Nature doesn’t care about days at the beach and barbecues. She’s on a tight schedule.

Thanks to school, college and uni schedules, the end of summer always comes with a side order of existential dread. It feels like you’re on the clock, counting down the last of the sunny days until you have to buy loads of folders and put your uniform back on.

But we’re here armed with good news. It doesn’t have to be like this! It’s time to beat the end-of-summer blues once and for all and we have a plan…

Map out next summer’s road trip. Right now.

If the thought of autumn is killing your mood, just go ahead and skip straight to next summer! Forget rainy days and frozen mornings, grab your mates, a laptop and google maps and get working on next summer’s road trip. Think sandy beaches, camping spots by a lake and maybe a cool city for a dose of culture. Next summer will start to look pretty sweet, pretty soon and you’ll forget all about the (whisper it) three seasons in between now and then.

Start getting excited for Halloween

The thing about summer is that it’s kind of occasion-free. Sure, there’s sunshine and long days but autumn and winter are where it’s at when it comes to the big dates in the calendar and, as we all know, Halloween is the best one. It’s never too early to start planning your costume, so get on that ASAP because 1. It’s something major to look forward to and 2. It means you can claim the best one before anyone else tries to step on your costume territory.

Work on a new goal

Summer is the worst time to be productive or ambitious because going out and walking/sitting/running/lying/anything-ing in the sun is always the most attractive option compared with, well, literally anything else. (Thanks, people who decided to put exams in summer.) So when the temperatures start to drop and going outside looks a little less tempting, it’s the perfect time to set yourself a new goal. Learn a new language, go to a weekly yoga class, learn to cook a killer signature dish; whatever it is you’ll find it way easier to stay focused and, as an added bonus, you’ll be so distracted by your new skills that you won’t even think about that once-dreaded switch from August to September.

Try out a fresh look

Hot weather dressing is mostly about choosing the thing that makes you sweat the least. Autumn is when personal style can really kick in; choosing your outfit becomes less about ventilation and more about fashion. You can go to town with layers, colours and textures and mix up as many influences as you want, so use it as an excuse to style up a whole new look. I guarantee you won’t miss that summer dress one little bit.

Plan the best autumn ever

We all have a habit of making loads of plans over the summer holidays and then going into hibernation mode the second it’s over, so it kind of feels like our social lives end when summer does. The answer? Make more plans! In fact, you may as well go right ahead and plan the best autumn ever. Schedule in home cinema marathons, day trips, fun new exercise classes, volunteering, shopping trips and crafternoons with plenty of cake (probably more cake than crafting if we’re being honest here). You’ll have a whole host of stuff to look forward to and you’ll beat that ‘fun-ends-here’ feeling that comes around every year.

Pamper yourself

After a season of sun, salty sea and sun cream, your skin and hair can start feeling pretty tired out. UV rays might be good for the soul but they leave everything else in need of some end-of-season rehab. So treat yourself to a mammoth pamper session. A gentle exfoliant will do wonders for dry skin; a clay mask will help sort out those pesky oily patches (cheers, sun cream); a hair mask will sort dried ends right out and a nourishing, natural body lotion or body oil will leave you feeling like a silky smooth mermaid. You’ll be feeling blissed out in no time.

We can already feel those blues just melting away. And anyway, there are only, like, 270 days until next summer…

@SophieBenson_

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Image: Hailey Hamilton

Six weeks of summer holidays are undeniably amazing, but when the sunshine gets swapped for rainy days, all of your friends are busy and your wifi goes down (oh gahd send help), you’re gonna need a few back-up plans to fill your time.

That’s when this lot comes in, because we’ve tracked down a whole bunch of seriously cute and cool summer-inspired DIYs that’ll make you wanna grab your pencils, paints and PVA glue to get creative.

From cute deco bits for your bedroom to the ultimate must-have party pieces, here are 13 cute af projects to get stuck in to over the summer.

1. Painted pebble cactus

According to the internet, a cactus is the only accessory you need to make your bedroom instantly win ten Instagram points. Unfortunately, plants are super-easy to accidentally forget about IRL and one day you’ll probably come home to find a withered looking brown thing sitting where your cactus used to be. Agh.

That’s why this painted pebble cactus pot is just about the cleverest thing we’ve seen all day. Not only is it super easy and cheap to recreate, but it’ll look amazing on your shelves.

Get the full tutorial for this one HERE.

2. Flower monogram

Yeah we KNOW we’re supposed to be outside and breathing in the fresh air when the weather is awesome, but how about we compromise and bring some summer garden vibes inside instead?

Designed to perfectly match your dream colour scheme, you can pick and choose your fave fake flowers and work them into the shape of whatever you want within a pretty frame. Your initials are a pretty cool way to customise things, too.

Get the full tutorial for this one HERE.

3. Pop tart pillows

If it was acceptable, we’d scoff pop tarts for every single meal of the day. But seeing as it would probably make our internal organs hate us a little bit, we’ll settle for this unbelievably cool no-sew pillow version to snuggle up to.

You don’t even need to be skilled with a needle and thread. Just get sticky with some fabric glue and the bright, colour pop rainbow pom poms will make it look instantly summery and Pinterest-worthy.

Get the full tutorial for this one HERE.

4. Woven wall hanging

Um, how obsessed are you with these beautiful boho wall hangings? They’re pretty much an essential if you want to channel the biggest bloggers this summer – but rather than spending a fortune at Urban Outfitters, you should make your own for something totally unique (and loads cheaper).

It might look impressive but it’s actually really simple to create once you get into the swing of weaving and the more you make, the fancier your designs will become. They make amazing prezzies, too.

Get the full tutorial for this one HERE.

5. Doughnut hat

You’ve probably seen those floppy hats that all the celebs are wearing this summer? Sure, they might look romantic and all kinds of sophisticated, but we’d definitely rather be rocking this giant doughnut-inspired version by the pool.

You can pick up a plain floppy hat for just a few pounds, and a coat of pale pink fabric paint followed by some sprinkle detail will create the cutest summer accessory ever. ‘Scuse us while we go and make this ASAP.

Get the full tutorial for this one HERE.

6. Galaxy ice cream

Having all of your pals over to make some big summer plans and watch some classic beach movies? Up your snacking game to new levels of amazing with this insaaanely cool galaxy-inspired ice cream.

With just three ingredients and five minutes prep time for swirls of bright blue, pink and turquoise – plus a healthy dose of edible glitter – we’re not sure whether we wanna photograph it or eat it.

Get the full tutorial for this one HERE.

7. Watermelon drinks jars

Everyone knows that, for some reason, drinks always taste a whole better if they’re in a mason jar, but give your juices and smoothies the aesthetic they deserve with these homemade fruity watermelon DIYs.

They look like something straight off the shelf but all you need to make ‘em is some pink paint, a steady hand and some green string to finish off the final effect. Complete the summer vibes by playing Beyonce ‘Drunk In Love’ for the watermelon lyrics.

 

Get the full tutorial for this one HERE.

8. Cut-out leaf bunting

Palm leaves are the must-have print this summer, but adding a whole new pattern into your bedroom can mean splashing the cash for a drastic makeover. This dreamy DIY bunting is a way easier alternative if you’re obsessed with the palm print trend.

There’s even templates for the leaves so all you need is a selection of green card and a steady hand with the scissors. Hang the finished result above your bed, along your walls, or outside to add a tropical touch to your summer parties.

Get the full tutorial for this one HERE.

9. Chill out tent

Of all of our summer-inspired DIYs here, this one is probably the most complicated and, heads up, you might need an extra pair of adult hands to help you out with the basic wooden frame structure.

Once you’ve roped in someone responsible to tackle the hole drilling, it’s down to you to choose a bold and beautiful fabric to construct your chill tent with. Grab a sleeping bag, an endless supply of popcorn, a whole load of cushions and you’ve got the dream back garden set up right there. SO CUTE.

Get the full tutorial for this one HERE.

10. Unicorn party piñata

This rainbow-coloured unicorn piñata is so flippin’ cute that we want to put him in our pocket forever, and the best part is that he’s SUPER easy to construct for a special summer treat. Pick your favourite pastel shades for the tissue paper tail and go crazy with the glitter for his unicorn horn.

Let’s just kiiinda ignore the fact that you need to bash him to unleash the goodies, because he’s way too adorable for that part.

Get the full tutorial for this one HERE.

11. Macrame hanging planters

Seeing as you’re gonna get crafty to create some of these amazing ideas, you might as well teach yourself a new skill while you’re at it. Become a macrame pro and master these hanging fabric planters for some extra splashes of colour in your room.

They might look complicated, but it’s basically just all about using knots to create a pretty simple shape that your succulents can sit in. It’s no exaggeration to say they look SO COOL.

Get the full tutorial for this one HERE.

12. Teeny tiny s’mores pots

Building a giant bonfire to create some delicious melty, marshmallowy chocolatey goodness might seem like a good idea to us, but for some reason our parents aren’t so keen. Hmm. Luckily these genius miniature versions are much safer and more manageable.

Once you’ve set them up, arm your pals with a plate of crackers, marshmallows and chocolate to build (and cook) the ultimate midnight snack. Add some garden chairs and blankets to the scene and you’ll feel like you’re in a film, trust us.

Get the full tutorial for this one HERE.

13. Build your own photobooth

And last but definitely not least, make sure that your summer party is transformed into Instagram goals by creating the perfect photobooth for your squad. All you have to do is mix and match pastel shades with strips of fabric tied to a length of rope.

Add in your own glitter banner, tie on a few pom poms, draw your own funny props and get the Polaroid camera out. Then, tie the whole thing between two trees to create summer memories that you and your besties will never forget.

Get the full tutorial for this one HERE.

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. 

Whether you’re all about a subtle touch of shimmer or prefer to turn yourself into a human disco ball, summer is the perfect excuse to get glittery. When the sun comes out it’s time to ditch the matte look and channel every single mermaid and unicorn out there to cover your life in sparkle.

Looking for some inspo to take your glitter look to the next level? Perfect for hitting your first music festival, a party with your pals or just sitting in your pyjamas and eating snacks while being the sparkly princess that you are, these are 10 amazing ways to style up your summer glitter.

1. Glitter Parting

Don’t think that glitter has to just stay in your make up look. A cute, quirky hairstyle plus a healthy injection of pastel glitter is pretty much the perfect combo. For the ultimate festival vibes, try sprinkling a load of sparkle onto your roots, teamed with a half up-do or girly space buns. Not only does it look awesome, but it also means no one will notice that you haven’t washed your hair. Goals.

2. Around The Eyes

Maybe the most classic of the whole bunch, any festival expert knows that the first place to add a ‘lil bit of lustre to your beauty look is your eyes. Using eyelash glue, Vaseline or hair gel, you can add a glittery halo to your eyebrow bone and down to your cheekbones. Who needs highlighter when you can use actual sparkle instead?

3. Glitter Freckles

Um, have you ever heard of anything cuter than glitter freckles? A little bit less dramatic but definitely no less awesome, adding a dusting of glitz across the bridge of your nose basically turns your beautiful face into its very own sparkly galaxy. Like normal freckles weren’t lovely enough all by themselves, this beauty trend takes things to the next level of adorable.

4. Cover Up Your Tiredness

Too many nights spent staying up binge-watching YouTube and refusing to put down your favourite book? Yep, same – but put down that concealer and turn to your sparkly saviour instead. Why bother using regular make up to hide your tired eyes when you could highlight, illuminate and brighten to the max instead. An awesome take on festival make up, we’re seriously obsessed with this look.

5. Glitter Lips

Okay, so this one maybe won’t work too well if you’re passionate about snacking. Pizza and glitter aren’t a great combo, but when you’re heading out to a party for a couple of hours, glitter lips are a ridiculously cool idea. Apply your favourite cream lipstick formula and use your finger to press the glitter into place. Alternatively, you could just add a teeny tiny touch of sparkle to your cupids bow for a more subtle, pretty version.

6. Glitter Braids

Braids make the perfect summer hairstyle all by themselves, but glitter braids are totally a thing and we could not be happier about it. Simple plaits, fancy Pinterest styles or fishtail braids all look mega with an extra sprinkle of sparkle, but the best part is that they sometimes look even better when they’re a little messy – a result for those of us who are a bit cack-handed with hair.

7. Mermaid gems

Ready to crank your summer glitter up to the next level? Say hello to glitter’s older, edgier sister – mermaid gems. Usually sold together in a rainbow of your favourite pastel shades, add them along your brow bone, across your forehead, against your cheeks and even down onto your collar bones for a final look that even Ariel would be jealous of. Trust us, there’s no such thing as OTT with these.

8. Glitter collar bones

Oh we feel ya. You’ve spent hours getting that make up look perfect, you’ve washed and dried your hair which is basically a workout in itself, and you just don’t wanna risk messing up the final result with a load of glitter. That doesn’t mean you have to miss out, though. Rock a strapless Bardot top and take the shine down onto your collar bones and shoulders instead. Even a super-metallic highlighter on its own looks awesome like this. We LOVE.

9. Glitter liner

Mastered the art of the cat flick? Okay, you’re doing better than us, but why stick to boring old black when you could swap it for something gorgeous, glittery and eye-catching? If you’re super-patient, try using teeny tiny pieces of (eye safe) glitter to build the line on your lid or below your lashes. If you’re like us and want the easy option, glitter eyeliner is about to become your new best friend. It looks SO GOOD.

10. Glitter eyeshadow

And last but not least, you definitely can’t go wrong with some glitter eyeshadow. If you’re after some beauty tips, wet your brush before you pack on the product to make sure it packs a punch, and do your eyes first so that you can wipe away any fallout. Don’t worry too much though – a little bit of extra sparkle falling down onto your cheekbones could be a pretty cute final result.

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. 

Plaid has never been our colour, pattern or style. Yet, there we are, Monday to Friday, dressed like a little Scotsman in an oversized kilt. With a blazer, some ‘smart’ shoes (which frankly, are just plain ugly unless your mum is cooler than mine) and a just-about-acceptable school bag. Not in summer though. Finally, we’re freeeeeeee! Here’s why not wearing school uniform is one of the best things about the summer holidays…

You can express yo’self…

Whether you’re more My Chemical Romance or Malibu Barbie, you can wear your style with pride, without getting told off by your grumpy headteacher.

…And not look like every other person in the room

This is not Despicable Me. We are not in Gru’s lab, and we are not Minions. (Even though they are freaking cute).

You can even experiment with your look

Want to dye your hair peachy blonde or try a fierce plum pout? The holidays are the best time to play around with your style because you can actually see what works in the safe haven of your bedroom. Grab the Colour Switch lippie from this month’s bettybox and try all the shades under the sun before you step out to reveal your brand new vibe.

You’ll actually have clothes to wear in the morning

We’ve all experienced the wait by the tumble dryer in the morning, in hope of a nice, crease free white shirt. Your wardrobe is full of possibilities when uniform isn’t a thing!

You can rock the cutest accessories

Since when is a tie a must-have accessory? FYI teachers, it isn’t. We’ll be flashing about the Stylondon henna tattoo from this month’s bettybox instead, thanks.

Your legs can actually breathe…

The combo of an oversized skirt and knee-high socks mean our legs never actually see the light of day during term time.

…And your arms can wave wild and free too

No constricting blazer holding you back from dancing to the summer bangers. Result!

Stylondon henna tattoo and Saturated Colour, Colour Switch lipstick are available in August’s bettybox. If you haven’t subscribed already, don’t worry! You can sign up for a bettybox here.

Summer is a bit like Marmite – you get people who love it and people who hate it, and if you fall into the latter category everyone else thinks there’s something wrong with you. Sure, the promise of long days and warm sunshine sound good in theory, but if you’re not keen on summer (and you’re not alone) then you know the real truth.

1. You’re sweaty. All the time.

Your forehead gets so shiny it basically becomes a mirror and your hair ends up hanging greasily around your face because, just like you, it’s wilting in the heat. And when you try to embrace summer fashion… BAM. Sweat patches. Ugh.

2. Bugs are trying to eat you.

The simple act of hanging out in the park with your friends becomes a survival exercise thanks to all the bees and wasps that want a piece of you.

View post on imgur.com

3. Sleep? Good luck with that.

Sleeping without a blanket on top of you feels weird, and fans are useless and noisy. And when you do finally fall into a sweaty slumber the sun’s coming up, ready to turn your bedroom into an oven again.

4. Your family is constantly in your face.

No matter how much you love your family, having them in your business 24/7 is stressful and tedious, especially when your mum won’t let you lie in ‘because it’s such a beautiful day outside’, or you’re expected to entertain your siblings. And family holidays? They’re great until you’re trapped in a car together for hours on end.

5. The weather is always wrong somehow.

You’ll spend days flopping around in the heat with nothing to do, but as soon as you plan something it’ll start chucking it down, so you daren’t go anywhere without sun cream and an umbrella, and possibly a spare pair of shoes (because flip flops in the rain are not the one) – and who can be bothered with all of that?

MRW I get caught in the rain and remember that California is dying because they don’t have any.

6. You are literally burning.

Sunscreen is important, and really, you should wear it every day regardless of the season, at least on your face. But it takes on a whole new level during summer, when the sun is literally trying to cook you. No matter how high the SPF and how frequently you slap it on, you always end up with a red nose and pink bits on your back that you can’t quite reach.

7. Pollen. Everywhere.

Summer’s great if you love sneezing and looking like you’re always crying. Which you probably are on the inside, because hayfever is the worst.

8. Summer fashion ain’t for everyone.

Summer clothes can be really fun and cute, and a breezy sundress is a godsend when the temperature rockets, but exposing pale legs or manoeuvring big boobs into a vest top can be hella stressful. And no-one’s really about the crop-top trend. Roll on jumper weather.

9. It gets boring.

You start the summer holidays excited at the prospect of six long carefree weeks to do whatever you want and you’ve probably got a few fun plans lined up. But three weeks in you’ve done pretty much everything at least twice and all you can muster is another Netflix marathon.

10. There’s so much PRESSURE.

Instagram and Facebook are full of stories and photos of people doing cool stuff, and every day is a day closer to the end of the holidays, so you get major FOMO and panic that you’re not having enough fun. But you can’t be bothered to do anything, so you just keep scrolling through Facebook, which just makes it worse. Ugh, summer!

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: Twilight

Going away without your parents for the first time is weird.

My first experience was a weekend away with the Brownies. We shared a large room in an old house, somewhere wet and cold in North Yorkshire.

It was also my birthday, something I’d been excited to celebrate with my new friends. That was until I overheard a girl whispering, ‘I could never spend my birthday away from my family’.

I felt a sudden pang of guilt and panic. I counted down the hours to getting home, snuggling on the sofa with a cup of tea and birthday cake, and watching Coronation Street with my mum and the dog.

Even writing that now makes me wonder why I ever left home again. But I did. I went to Spain with my new high school friend’s family, and rode the emotional rollercoaster all over again.

Whether it’s a school trip, a holiday with a friend’s family or a summer camp adventure – it’s likely that you’ll travel through a similar journey of the following highs and lows.

I can’t wait to get rid of the ‘rents for a whole week

Finally, I can shake off my parents and be the strong, independent woman that I am. No more sad camping trips in the rain and sharing a tent with my annoying brothers. And no more stupid games like rounders or Scrabble. This is my moment to be a proper grown up who sunbathes, acts aloof behind giant sunglasses and wears a two-piece swimsuit.

Mum please stop crying, I’ll see you in a few days

She is SO embarrassing. Why can’t she be a cool mum, instead of a regular mum? I hope Hayley didn’t see her squeezing Mr Teddy into my hand luggage. She needs to know that I’m totally mature.

I want my mum!

*Sobs while clutching onto Mr Teddy*

Why would she let me go through such a dangerous journey of passport checks, turbulence and lost luggage without her? Why did she send me off on my own? Why hasn’t she replied to my WhatsApp messages? Will she get on the next flight out here? Or has she already got used to life without me?

This. Is. So. Cool.

So last night’s drama was a blip. Today I made friends with six other girls and they all have belly button piercings. We discussed the importance of feminism and listened to Lorde while chilling in the sun. These are my kind of people, this is my type of holiday.

Oh great, my period has come along too

What brilliant timing! Thank you, life! Period blood polka-dots are the perfect pattern for my yellow bikini anyway. And I’m sure tummy cramps won’t be totally unbearable in this heat… Thank you mum for packing the maxi pads and super tampons! Can I get my period deported?

My family NEVER has this much fun on holiday

We walked around the local village today. Usually, I would have to wait around the souvenir shop for an hour while my mum stocks up on incense sticks and magnets for her friends. But here, we were allowed to go off on our own for a full hour! We got a cola at the cafe, bought friendship bands and stalked Hayley’s crush on Instagram.

I wish my brothers were here

We went kayaking today and it reminded me of the time my brother tipped mum from a boat into the lake. He sacrificed two weeks’ pocket money for that comedy gold moment.

And I got quite sunburnt today because I’m incapable of putting on sun lotion without my mum repeatedly telling me to do it. I wonder if the girls fancy a game of rounders. Oh no, maybe I do miss my family?

I never want to leave

I cannot be expected to go back to my normal life. I want to go swimming with these girls every day and have midnight feasts through fits of giggles with them every night. No one can tear me apart from my holiday crush, even though I have barely said two words to him – I won’t let them!

Take me home, now!

Hayley is so annoying. In fact, everybody here is so annoying. Even my crush is annoying. I’m going to give my mum the biggest hug ever at the airport and get the Scrabble board out when we get home.

NONONO, why is it all over?!

Mum’s shouting at me for getting sunburnt, school starts again next week and my brothers are ignoring me for not getting them a present. Bring on next year!

@hlouiser89

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. 

School’s out! Six weeks of freedom. No more lessons. No more uniforms. No more trying to hide in the toilets when you see your crush coming towards you because you’ve got the world’s biggest spot.

Now’s the time to laze around in the garden, sunbathe at the pool and cruise along the seafront in a convertible sports car. (Except if you’re chilling in the garden, your parents will nag you to tidy your room 263 times a day. Also, the whole of the UK only has 4.5 outdoor lidos and cruising the seafront in a convertible sports car only happens in American teen movies.)

There’s also this: although the break from school or college is fab, by the time you go back in September you’ll have forgotten everything you’ve learnt – and that means weeks or months trying to get back up to speed before coursework and exams kick in.

But there are things that can help. Eight things to be precise. Pick-and-choose activities as you go along or make a plan for what you’d like to achieve (colour coded timetable anyone?) because a couple of hours each week can make a big difference. Come September, the return to class won’t be such a shock to the system. It won’t make your PMS spots disappear though, sorry.

Take your cue from school

Let’s start with the basics. Boring, I know. But the best place to start is your school. That’s if you’re not already reading this from the side of one of Britain’s 4.5 lidos.

Do your homework: if you’ve been set tasks to complete over the holidays, then actually doing them will tick the box for mental activity, plus give you the satisfaction of being able to hand them in when you go back. No ‘dog ate my homework’ excuses required.

Ask your teachers: it may sometimes be hard to believe, but those people at the front of the classroom are experts in the stuff they tell you. They have certificates and everything! Pick their brains for advice. What one thing do they suggest would be useful to keep the subject fresh in your mind?

Visit the websites

The Internet is full of amazing things. Instagram. ASOS. Videos of cats. It also contains loads of useful resources to support your learning. Check them out during the holidays then return to the same sites for help when you’re revising. You’ll thank me for that tip, honestly.

For subject specific sites, there are webpages dedicated to all the subjects, with lots of interactive options. I wish I’d known about Study Maths! BBC Bitesize: every subject at every educational level is covered here, appropriate to wherever in the UK that you live. Bookmark it now!

Get the apps

As well as websites, there are many apps out there dedicated to helping you learn. Anyone would think education is important or something! Two brilliant ones are:

TED: Ted Talks cover every topic under the sun and they get the best people in each field to share their thoughts under the banner ‘Ideas worth spreading’. Warning: it’s a completely fascinating time suck. You may spend the whole of August watching talks.

Memrise: this app contains tons of courses to help you remember stuff. The language ones are particularly useful for keeping up knowledge of vocab. Repeat after me: ‘i bastoncini cinesi’*

Watch the videos

This is the moment when I tell you that YouTube is an educational resource. Yes really. If there’s something that you’ve never quite understood no matter how many times it was explained in class, get on YouTube and you’re sure to find an alternative perspective that might help it to make sense. It’s like having Professor Brian Cox as your own personal physics teacher.

BBC I-Player, Netflix and Amazon are full of documentaries that feature the best minds and important concepts so have a browse to see what’s available. Look for relevant films too. Of course The Devil Wears Prada totally counts as revision for Textiles.

Read the books

Go old school while you’re not at school and read real books. They don’t have to be course related, although the hols might be a good time to actually plough through any that you’ve skipped or skim read. Just reading *anything* is good for your brain!

Go to the library: as well as being able to borrow books for free, lots of local libraries offer summer reading challenges with events and rewards. Or join a book club: there are loads of these around, including ones dedicated to teens such as Zoella’s collaboration with WH Smith and the online one offered by the Guardian newspaper.

Have a break

Because it’s worth a reminder: holidays are for having a break. You’ll learn better in September if you go back rested and refreshed – but you can keep your mind active over the time off too.

*Chopsticks in Italian.

@rae_ritchie_

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: St. Trinian’s

Whether the old saying about having more fun is true or not, being blonde is great, hence why so many of us hit the bleach to achieve peak flaxen locks. Who doesn’t want to channel their inner Elle Woods every once in a while?

But, if you’ve dabbled with the lighter side of life, you’ll already know that bleached hair is high maintenance – all those root touch-ups and purple shampoos cost time and money. Add in the summer threats of drying UV rays, chlorinated swimming pools and salty, sandy beaches, and the hours spent between the shower and salon basically triple.

Here are all the things you know if you’ve ever had bleached hair in summer…

Walking out of the salon with a fresh head of bleach is a dream

The way the sun bounces off your tresses? Like something out of a shampoo ad, seriously.

And all your new holiday clothes look SO GOOD now your pesky roots are gone

Your selfie game is gonna be on fire all week long.

But you know you’re going to need to take drastic action to protect your new ’do on vacay

*Packs heat defence spray, five conditioning treatments and an ill-advised baseball cap*

The trouble starts the minute you get off the plane

Monica was right, it IS the humidity, and it will hit you 10 times harder if you’re sporting a full head of faux ice blonde.

But you manage to get things back under control…

You hit the beach looking and feeling like C.J. Parker in Baywatch, thanks to a clever leave-in conditioner and a top-knot that’s just the right side of messy. Phew.

…until you get in the sea

You had visions of natural, surfer girl waves. What you got was crispy curls with a side of seaweed.

Brushing your hair really isn’t an option

The only way to get those new knots out is to hop in the shower, use an entire bottle of conditioner and try not to cry with the pain your comb is causing. Side note: remember to de-fuzz the plughole. Nobody likes picking up someone else’s literal cast-offs.

Don’t even think about blow-drying it

Adding more heat into the equation? ARE YOU CRAZY?! You’re just asking for frizz, now.

And no amount of sun-specific shampoos can save you from your hotel pool

At least you know it’s REALLY clean if the chlorine is also strong enough to turn your hair green.

But there is one weird, kinda gross solution

If it’s happened to you before, you’ll know that washing your barnet in ketchup is one of the only ways to neutralise the green tones until you can get to the salon. Mmm, Heinz.

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: Legally Blonde

You will apply it too late

This is, by any means, a piece of advice — you really shouldn’t do this — but if you’re anything like me, the moment SPF flits across your mind will be the moment someone says helpfully, “you’re looking a little bit red on your face, love. D’you want some cream?”

You will apply too little

Leaving four perfect little finger lines where you slapped it onto your back, moved your hand around a bit, then got distracted by a beach ball game.

You will apply too much

Leaving you wandering around like Casper the Friendly Ghost, holding out your sticky paws and asking “suncream anyone? Anyone for some some cream?” in attempt to literally palm the stuff off on your mates.

It will get on your favourite top

Leaving a greasy, blotchy, sunproof souvenir of Tenerife ’17 you neither wanted nor needed.

Someone will slip on it

Because it is, let’s face it, nigh on impossible to succeed in the thorough application of suncream without leaving a little oil slick around where you’ve creamed your feet.

The spray nozzle will clog up

Either it will spurt out in unexpected directions (probably into your eye), or it won’t spurt at all; it will just dribble feebly down the sides of the bottle. This means that in order to access the cream, you’ll have to open it — but you can’t do that because it’s too greasy, and you can’t wash it off because it’s waterproof suncream, so in the end you just have to resign to creaming up, splurty dribble by splurty dribble, until the sun goes behind a cloud and the whole sorry exercise comes to nought.

Somebody will have the smart remarkably stupid idea of writing their/their crushes initials in suncream on their chest

Not that this doesn’t work guys — it really does, and all too well — but the burning pain slash shame of having CF 4 PT tattooed across your torso will almost certainly outlive its comedic value.

It will get in your eyes

Think you’ve washed the bugger off? Well think again, maestro! Because you can bet your bottom Euro that the moment you go to scratch your eye will be the moment a searingly painful droplet of SPF 30 will appear out of nowhere and leave you in an unreasonable amount of pain.

You’ll be covered with sand

Sand on your hands, sand behind your knees, sand in your bikini, sand in your ears: where there’s suncream, there’s sand, just as where there are picnics, there are flying, stinging creatures. It’s just one of those things.

You’ll taste it

A faint, sour tang of SPF in every post-application mouthful or sip.

You’ll leave an oil slick in the pool when you dive in

Rendering it slightly less attractive for all other users, to whom you feel compelled to point out it’s suncream, not your own sweat and dirt. Then, when you get out, it gets out, running into your eyes/mouth again.

After the pool, you’ll have to re-apply it

And you’re back to #1 again. *face palm*

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

Image: Katie Edmunds

Finally, FINALLY, it’s here: beach season. Let’s face it, a sun-soaked summer is anything but guaranteed in the UK, so the second we get the opportunity to hit the beach, we’re all over it. Sunbathing, swimming, snorkelling, sandcastles! (Does everything you do at the beach begin with an ‘S’?) A day in the sand feels like escaping real life for a bit and living in an alternative, way more glamorous universe.

It’s also a prime location for some serious people watching. It has universal appeal, so you’re never short on people to peek at over the top of your sunglasses as you give them names and make up their whole life story. It doesn’t matter whether you’re going to Blackpool or Barbados; these are the people you’ll see at every beach, without fail:

The Dad in Speedos

No easing you in here. We’re diving straight in with the inevitable dad in Speedos. He bought those Speedos in 1981 and brings them back out every summer, almost ceremonially, alongside an annual declaration that he still has the waistline of a 20-year-old (he doesn’t). It’s extremely likely that Speedo Dad has a wetsuit’s worth of body hair, so he might not be identifiable until he’s very close by but once seen, he cannot be unseen. If in doubt, look for his kids, desperately edging their towels away from him as they google ‘can you divorce your parents?’

The Instagrammer

The Instagrammer isn’t here to have fun. They are strictly here for the likes and they view everything in squares. They are most commonly found looking wistfully out to sea while their slightly flustered looking boyfriend/girlfriend/Mum/Dad/best friend takes 80 ‘candid’ shots. You may also see them setting out their book, towel and sunglasses in a pleasing arrangement, flexing, scrawling messages in the sand and taking pictures of their legs (or are they hot dogs?).

The girl who was born at the beach

I mean, literally, she might have actually been born here. She is at one with the sea and sand. She has that alluring ‘healthy glow’, she looks like she’s never worn anything but a bikini and she emerges gracefully from the sea like a vintage Bond girl. And you just know she can surf with zero effort. You could be jealous but really you want to be her best friend and learn her secrets.

The panicked parents

They dreamt of a lazy day on the beach, reading books while their angelic children made sandcastles within their immediate field of vision. What they got was three kids running in completely different directions down the beach and into the path of varying degrees of danger. They’re loaded up with what looks like five weeks’ worth of supplies and the whole day is a cycle of sun cream reapplication to tiny, wriggling limbs. Oh and they definitely have one of those half tents that take 45 minutes and three arguments to put up.

The semi-naked lady

There are two types of semi-naked lady but they are both over 60 and both brimming with confidence. The first is the one who goes topless on a very definitely not-topless beach and the second is the one who gets changed right there in the middle of the beach with precisely zero dramas. They don’t care who’s looking, they don’t care whether they block out the sun with their huge boobs and they definitely don’t care that the lifeguard is giving them stink eye. The semi-naked lady is kind of a hero.

The sun cream fiend

The sun cream fiend emerges from the shadows and squints at the sun with fear in their eyes. Having established that the sun is a definite threat to their ghostly white skin, they spend the next 20 minutes covering every single millimetre of themselves in sun cream. And not just a normal layer of sun cream – it’s like they’re buttering bread. Sun and fun don’t really go in the same sentence for this person but they’re trying anyway, so full marks for effort. P.S. This is me, come and say hello!

The red lobster

This person has thrown caution (and sun cream) to the wind. They got burnt on day one of their holiday after some overzealous tanning oil application and a badly timed sun lounger nap. But did they let it ruin their holiday? No they did not. There they are, sprawled out, ignoring all sensible advice, slowly turning a deeper shade of lobster. They wear their painfully pink skin like a suit of armour with an air of “well, it can’t get any worse!” defiance. You kiiiind of respect their temerity but at the same time, you don’t want to be there when the peeling starts. No one wants to be there when the peeling starts.

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: Southern Comfort

You’ve been counting down to your fortnight in Florida for weeks. Your jazziest bikinis are packed and you’ve primed your mum in the art of taking a good Instagram photo. So why, oh why, does your period have to come just as you’re about to jet off?

While you’d rather be surfing any wave other than the crimson one, rest assured it’s happened to us all at some point, and these are all the things you know if you’ve had your period on holiday…

It always arrives unexpectedly

You weren’t supposed to come on for another eight days, but somehow that little sadist decided to arrive early, landing on exactly the morning you’re getting on a flight to paradise. This was not part of the plan.

Your handbag full of tampons being searched is the most cringe thing ever

It’s like airport security want to embarrass you in front of all the fit groups of boys.

Plane paranoia is real

A nine-hour flight = how many tampon changes?! And there’s nothing like the fear of falling asleep only to wake up having bled through your trousers, and onto the seat, then having to work out how to get to the bathroom without everyone seeing the big red stain on your bum. It’s never actually happened to you, but y’know, it could.

White swimwear is a no-go

You bought it to enhance your tan and had visions of yourself running down the beach like a Victoria’s Secret Angel. However, the minute your period arrives, that white bikini is banished to the bottom of your suitcase. Sigh. Maybe next year.

Tampon strings are the enemy

Sure, you’re forever grateful to the inventor of tampons for enabling you to hit the pool on your period, but why do the strings have such a habit of popping out the side of your swimsuit? And then there was that time you decided to trim it with scissors and almost ended up in A&E. Never again.

You’re fearful of diving and cannonballs

Ever since your friend told you about their cousin’s tampon shooting out when they jumped into a swimming pool, you’ve always used the ladder, as boring as that may be.

Cramps are somehow always worse in the heat

“WHO IS USING MY UTERUS AS A STRESS BALL?!”

But holidays do seem to make your period go away faster

Time flies when you’re having fun!

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