Most people’s relationship with social media is a love-hate thing. All that glossy, flawless perfection can be annoying… but also totally addictive. Like Maltesers. And Blake Lively’s hair.

This is the genius of our latest illustrator crush, Jessie Cave. You might recognise her as Lavender Brown in Harry Potter – but since she stopped chasing Ron round Hogwarts, actor/comedian/artist Cave has been winning our hearts with her all-too-real cartoons, which focus on social media and the little details of friendships and relationships in the modern world.

Jessie gets that it’s completely fine to massively contradict ourselves and that it’s ok to question yourself. She knows life isn’t perfect, and neither are we.

That there are highs…

#flashbackdoodle

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And lows…

👊

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That we can make our lives look amazing…

Please come to my show next week. Jesus Christ – it's NEXT WEEK. #ilovedher 💋 #linkinprofile

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Without actually feeling like our lives actually are amazing.

saturday

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She gets that you can have a fear of missing out…

sunday

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While still being pleased you didn’t go…

saturday

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She understands that life can be hard…

📺 #lovesick

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And while finding love can be tricky…

#lovesick

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Break ups can be crappy…

20th

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Jessie gets that social media can all be bad for you…

✏️

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And sometimes, the best thing to do is to treat yo’self. 

2nd

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After all, no one is actually as perfect as they look on that little screen. Sometimes all you need to achieve in a day is eating a really good burrito.

You can see more of her beautiful illustrations on Instagram @jessiecave or you can grab a copy of her book, ‘Love Sick’ here

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Oh life, you fickle creature. One minute, you’re feeling on top of the world, the next you’ve fallen arse over tit at the Oscars while the whole world is watching on TV – or at least later on YouTube (sorry to bring that up again J. Law, it’s just such a great example). 

In the interests of unpicking perfection, we asked everyone at betty to give share their biggest life fails… and oh boy, they didn’t disappoint. So anytime you feel like you’ve screwed up at life, remember: we’ve probably done worse.

In fact, we definitely have.

I was doing a big race in the summer, running downhill and fell over a big rock. I went flying and landed with a thud and multiple injuries, one of which was a massive cut on my bum. I then had to wait for the medics, who made me lie on the floor while the guy stuck my bum back together, shouting to passers-by, ‘don’t worry, she’s just broken her bum’, while my friend took pictures.

“Having desperately wanted to play the Angel Gabriel in the my whole childhood (I went to a progressive primary school where all the boys had to be angels and the girls had to be shepherds, which I now appreciate was pretty cool but at the time I was mainly, shamefully, concerned with the amount of glitter on my costume), my dream eventually came true when I got to be Gabriel in a nativity play at high school. Aged 16. I wore a rather slinky cream satin bridesmaid’s dress with feathered wings, a majestic halo and a tonne of pearly highlighter. I felt amazing. But when the time came to make my entrance and tell Mary her big news, I managed to step on the trailing hem of my dress as I mounted the podium. I plunged headfirst through the curtain, managing to simultaneously yank down the top of my dress and reveal an eyeful of my celestial bodies to the assembled audience. The silence was only broken by the headteacher calling out “oh look, a fallen angel!” – to my knowledge the only joke she’d ever made. Really glad I handed her that special moment.”

The first time I dyed my hair red I was about 12 and had not factored in how thick my hair was when we bought only one box of dye. By the time she’d done my roots there was barely anything left for the rest of my hair. We hoped for the best, but I ended up with bright red roots, two inches of red, and pale brown hair until the ends. And I had to go to school for a day until we could re-dye it the next night. Everyone called me ‘period head’, because it looked like someone had had their period on my head (we had a bad grasp of biology back then).

“One summer Saturday when I was about 13, my friend and I decided that the only way to deal with the heat was to go to the local pool – and it turned out that my crush and his friend had the same idea. I was desperate to impress him, so I decided to jump off the highest diving platform to get his attention, even though I’m horrendously scared of heights. After crying and hyperventilating my way up the ladder, I summoned the courage to jump and immediately regretted it. The force of the passing air pushed my bikini top up around my chin, and as soon as I hit the water my bikini bottoms made a dash for my ankles. I ended up frantically trying to reclaim my wayward bikini while still underwater, and by the time I surfaced with everything back where it should be, I’d been under for so long that the lifeguard was about to jump in and rescue me. I hoped that my crush had missed the whole thing, but wasn’t that lucky – he spent the next umpteen years calling me “Jumping Boobs”. We never got together.”

I went to a fancypants dance school growing up and we used to compete in festivals a lot. I was quite self-conscious about how I looked compared to the others (I was tall and not as ‘delicate’, puberty hit me early) so never pushed myself for fear of looking silly, but decided to ‘screw it’ and really ‘go for it’ with a lift at the end of one dance. ‘Going for it’ ended up meaning ‘going flying for it’ as I slipped and crashed down on some others, bashing my knee black and blue in the process. I was so embarrassed, cried, and was glared at, but we still came first, so. No one saw anything, right?

“At my high school prom I wore a white dress with a lacy top and a pencil skirt sort of bottom. I looked nicceeeeee. I got talking to a gentleman who turned out to be a semi-professional ballroom dancer – and obviously, when he suggested he showed me some of his moves, I happily agreed. He wanted to do a flip, which basically required me to run at this relative stranger and dive headfirst towards the floor, trusting he would catch and flip me. Because I’m an idiot, I took off my heels and gamely ran at him, launching myself into the air, my arms above my head in dive position. He caught me (thank God) and we pulled the flip off with amazing precision. However, I hadn’t taken into account that my dress was actually quite tight and mid flip I heard a ”RIIIIIIIIIIIIP” (is a rip onomatopoeia? We’ll pretend it is). I  ripped my dress from the bottom all the way up to my bra strap. Somebody sourced some safety pins to pin it back together and I walked around for the rest of the night with half my bum hanging out.”

When I was in secondary school there was this bizarre trend for getting tiny little diamantes stuck on to your front teeth. (Yeah, don’t ask.) Anyway, me and my friends thought it was a great idea for doing it ourselves, rather than going to the so-called beauty experts who were doing it for a fiver in nail salons. So we bought the gems and some nail glue, carefully sticking them in place. Turns out we must have used too much glue or the wrong glue, because we were left with sparkly incisors for long after the look went out of fashion again. Safe to say neither our mums or our dentists were very happy with the new look.

Back when I was 18, I went on a snorkelling trip in Thailand despite being terrified of deep water. We spent a day island-hopping with 30 strangers – it was all going swimmingly (sorry, couldn’t resist) until I looked out at this great expanse of hazy, blue water and had a mini freakout. My imagination went into overdrive, horror scenes from Jaws flashed through my head and I panicked and frantically splashed back towards the boat. What I didn’t realise was that my baggy bikini bottoms had slipped down to my ankles at the exact moment I swam past all those people wearing snorkelling masks. So, to summarise: I made it back to the boat bare bottomed, everyone else got an eyeful and I had to spend the rest of the day surrounded by strangers who had just seen EVERYTHING.”

When I was 14, I wet myself from laughing so much while at the park with my friend and her dad that her dad had to carry my trousers home ON A STICK down the main road while I had a zipped-up hoodie wrapped round my waist like a skirt.

The first time I went to the hairdressers and asked for a real hairstyle – as opposed to a simple trim – I knew exactly what I wanted. I wanted sassy, grown up layers, I wanted hair that casually flicked around my face, that made me look at once meticulously put together and casual and fun. As a family, we did not have the money for hairdressers who are capable of this kind of nuance, so I took my example picture and my dreams to a place called Just Snips, that would cut your hair for three or four pounds. The hairdresser gave me layers. The hairdresser gave me exactly two layers. The bottom layer came down to just above my shoulders, it flicked out slightly at the bottom. The top layer was in line with my ear lobes. I have a lot of hair. A lot. The short, top layer doubled the size of my head. I looked like a mushroom cloud. Everyone needs to have a haircut that drives them to tears at least once in their life, and this was mine. I went back and got them to ‘fix it’ – but I ended up with hair flicking out every which way from my ears to my shoulders. High school got really fun for a while there.”

I fainted on the train in evening rush hour, knocking two other people to the ground, vomited on my own coat, a woman’s shoes and guys suitcase on wheels. Had to be carried off the train, (followed by most of the passengers from the carriage covering their noses) rolled in a blanket on the platform on Paddington station, and made to wait there for doctor to come. I still worry when I get back on that line how many people recognise me from that day and don’t say anything, but keep their distance…

It was back in the day when dark big and bushy brows (I am naturally born with these) were not yet in fashion. Overwhelmed and self-conscious, I decided to tame my brows a few days before starting university. My mum suggested a trip to the eyebrow threading lady followed by a swift home-bleaching session to “lighten” them up a little. This is something women from the Middle East commonly do – usually your hairdresser would dye your hair and eyebrows together. But we were going to do it at home and neither of us was sure how long bleach would need to take effect on eyebrows. It turned out 10 minutes was too long. When I wiped it off, I found yellow eyebrows. I had to colour my eyebrows in for weeks and made a unique impression at fresher’s week. I haven’t messed with my eyebrows or listened to my mum since.”

I fell down the gap on the tube the other week! I went straight down and had to be helped out by bemused strangers who kept telling me to “get out!” but I was dazed, and my leg got attached to the undercarriage of the train. I just kept saying, calmly, “I’m very tired, so sorry,” as they panicked that the train was going to pull off. One shoe fell off – one felt worse than two, somehow – and a kind (brave) stranger balanced on the edge of the platform to fish it out with a very long umbrella.

“Aged 18, and still riding an A* GCSE wave, I was so, so confident that I’d not only passed my English Literature exam but absolutely smashed it. And I mean confident – I mic dropped my biro. All summer I gloated, telling anyone who’d listen that I guess when I got that school poetry prize aged eight I should have known I had rhyming couplets running through my veins. When summer was over and results day rolled in, I sauntered up to the table to collect my grades – probably (I mean, I was) wearing a charity shop trilby and ripped jeans for the ‘starving artist’ vibe, Pulitzer Prize speech saved in the notes section on my phone. You’ve probably guessed by now that it did not go well. I got a U. Indignant, I paid to get the paper remarked. It was bumped up to an E. I ended up using my free periods to sit in on lessons with students in the year below me for a whole year and, thankfully, eventually passed with a boring old C. But the silver lining is: despite a lot of shattered pride and frustration, I grew a thick skin, which is how I was eventually able to become a paid writer. Stick that in your Tiger Tiger Burning Bright and smoke it, William Blake.”

Last year, I found myself starting a big new amazing job just a week after moving into my new flat. It was a pretty stressful time but I seemed to be holding it all together remarkably well. At least that’s what I thought… until the morning I sat on my peanut butter and strawberry jam bagel. I’d got into the habit of eating my breakfast in my bedroom while getting ready however, on this fateful morning I placed my breakfast on my bed… and then proceeded to sit on it. As the jam penetrated my PJ bottoms, I felt all of my calm and togetherness melt away, and realised that I was actually INCREDIBLY tired. Still, I did what any normal person would do under the circumstances, and took a picture of my jammy bum before whipping off my PJ bottoms, picking my bagel off the floor, and eating it. Yum.

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See. Told you we’d done worse.

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. 

There’s more pressure than ever on girls to have the ‘perfect’ body, and that’s not good for anyone.

In this video, Girlguiding ambassadors Alice P and Alice W talk about the different pressures girls face these days, how to fight the problem, and how girls can increase their confidence without having to worry about being perfect.

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 all know that no one’s life really looks like their Pinterest feed (except maybe Anne Hathaway’s). It’s a social media platform designed to trick even the least crafty among us into believing that we too can make the perfect adorable marshmallow snowmen, flawless ombre hanging macrame plant holder thingumies and bunting made of unicorn hair and fairy dust.

We believe, we try and we fail – because Pinterest is not real life. Let’s all chant it together: Pinterest is not real life. Here are a few people who learned that the hard way.

This person just wanted to make some delicious macaroons…

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But forgot the air them for a couple of hours, so ended up with what looks strangely like a map of the world made out of chocolate chip cookie.

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This person just wanted to make tiny tributes to Frosty the Snowman…

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And ended up with mutated-looking minions wearing top hats.

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 This optimistic fellow wanted to make a hypnotic Christmas swirl…

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And ended up with a green sludge that would make even the Cookie Monster take a pause.

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 This well-intentioned Harry Potter loving fan wanted to create a magical masterpiece…

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And ended up with something uglier than Voldemort’s face.

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These dramatical fails aren’t confined to the cooks and the bakers of this world, either. Despite looking like the mess left over after Spiderman defeats the Green Goblin, these stringy light things are apparently really hard to make.

One person was aiming for this…

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And ended up with something that looks like the mess of wiring behind the TV.

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 Another was going for this…

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And ended up with this. Hats off to them for going to the effort of hanging it up considering it looks like a crumpled milk bottle covered in string, which on second thoughts might actually be exactly what it is.

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Honestly, why do people keep trying to make these weird lights when they are obviously impossible? Why do we do this to ourselves?

This balloon string thing was meant to look like this…

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And instead looked like an old mop that your mum left to dry in the shower.

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So go forth and craft! After all, funny is better than perfect.

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. 

All images: pinterestfail.com

Girls in the UK are in the midst of a body confidence crisis, and the cult of ‘perfection’ isn’t helping. Our guest writer Adeola Gbakinro tells us how we can help change that. 

What is low body confidence? When I was younger I felt like I needed to fit in, I believed there were criteria I needed to meet. If I didn’t fit into those criteria, there was risk of ridicule, or even being bullied. The peer pressure from friends, the ‘ideal’ girl that we thought boys liked – it made me want to be ‘perfect’.

According to the Girls’ Attitudes Survey, published by Girlguiding, 49% of girls aged 11-16 fear people will criticise their body if someone takes their picture. I know all too well how this feels and just what a detrimental and lasting impact it can have on the happiness and mental wellbeing of a young woman. If an individual has a negative perception of their body, perhaps they feel they’re not ‘pretty enough’ or don’t look the ‘right way,’ then hearing one negative comment can increase this x 100.

I can’t help but think that if I’d had a safe place and time in school, to discuss the core issues and importance of positive body confidence, I would not have let the pressure around me sink in. I would have been better prepared to deal with the situations I faced and to challenge them.

In the Girls’ Attitudes Survey  75% of girls aged 11 – 21 told us they believe  women are judged more on their appearance than on their ability and 47% aged 11–21 said the way they look holds them back. One look at the media and you see thousands of airbrushed photos, portraying this ‘perfect’ image of a woman where she fits a particular size and shape, where the person she is and the things she achieves are rarely mentioned. 

It is so easy to compare yourself to everything you see in magazines and on billboards. Recognising that your own body doesn’t look anything like that can make you feel inadequate and it becomes increasingly harder to ‘be yourself.’

As a Girlguiding advocate, I believe this needs changing and the time is now!

Girlguiding is campaigning for compulsory Personal, Social and Health Education and Sex and Relationships Education to include body confidence and healthy relationships. We want girls to be confident in their bodies, from their school years through to adulthood, and we believe education can play a major part in this. By teaching body confidence in schools, girls can learn how to increase their self-esteem and learn how to value themselves.

Girls and young women need to be reassured that there is no perfect image. Their size, shape or height does not define how far they can reach in life.

We need to teach girls that they are awesome whatever their shape and size.

In Girlguiding, through resources such as our Think Resilient and Free Being Me badges, we inspire girls to be confident within themselves. But we know much still needs to be done and we believe it can start in school.

You can help us achieve this by signing the petition here.

Adeola Gbakinro, 20, is a member of the Girlguiding Advocate panel. The Advocate panel is made up of 18 girls and young women aged 14-25 who speak out and call for change.

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: Manjit Thapp

Ahh, Instagram. You big lying wizard, you.

While we know with our brains that all those super-groomed outfit shots, perfect bag spills and dreamy beach scenes aren’t exactly what they seem, sometimes it’s hard to believe it in your heart. Especially when you’ve taken 54 grainy mirror selfies, your mum won’t play photographer anymore and you’ve almost injured yourself falling off a chair trying to snap your breakfast.

The most important thing about Instagram is that things are never as they seem,” says photographer Kate Forster. “It is always reassuring to remember that people are not always where they say they are, the pictures may have been edited 10 times before posting, and that girl’s skin is probably not as flawless as you thought while you stared at your mid-month breakout though the camera lens!”

So in the interests of looking behind the lens, reminding ourselves that perfection is all just smoke and mirrors (and  filters), we asked six Instagram stars to spill the beans on one of their gorgeous photos.

From bloating and bad hair days to location fakery, here’s what was really going on IRL…

Pandora Sykes

Pandora Sykes

I adored this two piece velvet suit from Alice Archer, a designer I have worked with before, but it was slightly too small – and I had my period and was bloated, and was so scared of someone taking my picture from an angle.

I’d been taken to Paris by Chanel for their show which felt like a Big Deal, but I was worried they’d be really glossy and haughty. Imagine my relief when they encouraged me to undo my skirt at lunch, and order pasta? Things are rarely as they seem – whether it be a picture, or a posh designer.” @pandorasykes 

Kavita Cola  

Kavita Cola

In this image I was in glamorous Cannes during the Film Festival. Standing on the rooftop of the 3.14 Hotel, loving my back drop, my friend Annie and I had carefully picked a spot to take a couple of pictures of me in my dress, with my well invested, treasured (expensive) Leica camera. Directly behind Annie, there were two couples (two guys and two girls) in a raised jacuzzi, taunting and splashing their water from over the little rail. Every time we walked to the corner and Annie was about to take the photo they kept splashing us and laughing out load, which felt like taunting. In the end they had managed to soak Annie, soak the front of my dress, soak the left side of my hair and almost soaked my camera. I almost feel a little bit silly saying this now but at the time it really felt like bullying and I was quite upset.

Anyhow, I managed to get my winning shot in the end but left the scene looking like a drowned rat. Eek! #HatersGonnaHate.” @kavitacola

 Kristabel Plummer 

Kristabel Plummer

I was in Portugal for a friend’s wedding but also had a brand project that I needed to create content for. I only had one day where I could shoot the photos but it also happened to be raining and my photographer friend wanted to hurry up and go to the spa. Add to that I rarely see images of myself in a bikini, and you have a very insecure Kristabel indeed.  

The thing about social media is that you’re very often presented with one kind of body, especially when it comes to women in bikinis. I took loads of photos where I wasn’t happy with my stomach; in this one it looks a little bit more toned but still showcases a more straight-up-and-down figure. Not everyone has a Kardashian waist-to-hip ratio and that’s totally fine, we need to see more of it! Even though I wasn’t initially happy with the photos, I had to tell myself that just because we’re so used to seeing one kind of body on social media, it doesn’t make other bodies wrong. We need to reprogram our brains a bit with more diverse imagery. Also we’re in our heads so much, no one else usually sees that flaws that we do.” @iamkristabel

Kate Forster

Kate Forster Instagram image

Beds and duvets on Instagram tend to perform very well. If you’ve seen picture upon picture of legs, in beds with the morning newspaper and first flat white of the day, then you will know what I mean! I myself have indulged in a few Instagram ‘bed’ shots, but most of them haven’t been anywhere near a bed…

Take this snap for example. I was on holiday in a beautiful hotel in The Lake District. Don’t get me wrong, the bed was beautiful – but the lighting was not. I wanted that gorgeous white, exposed ‘Instagram light’, so to achieve this, the duvet was dragged out on to the balcony. My breakfast was by now freezing, the duvet strategically placed to hide the fake tan/makeup leakage and I tried desperately to contort my legs so they looked as lean and long as possible, not to mention my boyfriend hovering above me awkwardly with the camera. ‘Lazy’ morning, huh?” @misskatef

Ella Gregory 

cocosteaparty

I currently live at home with my parents, and my desk (AKA ‘home office’) is in the loft, which is otherwise used as a dumping ground for items that need to be thrown away. It’s not a very nice or glamorous place to work, and my desk is tiny and smushed between lots of old boxes and a sofa bed.

However, for this I styled up my desk with some books and other props to make it look more glossy, made a cup of coffee even though I don’t really drink it any more, and took about 54 photos of the scene until I got something that looked slick enough. I then edited all the colours to improve the lighting and make it more Instagrammable.” @cocosteaparty

Wendy H Gilmour 

Wendy H Gilmour

“Shooting this campaign for Sassoon, the truth is that I had to walk home with my coat over my head in the drizzle to stop my hair from frizzing and then crumple myself under my kitchen worktop to get the shots without ruining the ‘do’. I had it covered in concrete and it comes in very handy as a backdrop – I just can’t sit up straight! So glam.” @thankfifi

So what have we learned? Nothing is really perfect. And sometimes, you should just eat your breakfast while it’s still hot.

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. 

This month, we are Unpicking Perfection all over the place. We’ve taken on social media, mental health and now, we’re taking on clothes.

Asymmetrical hemlines, raw edges, diagonal ruffles… here’s a round up of clothes that are happy to be a little bit different.

Daring diagonals

Stripes are nice and all but they’re a bit been there, done that.

red-ruffle

Diagonal Frill, Berksha, £17.95

Proud patches

Sometimes, you’ve gotta put all the pieces you have together and make do with what you’ve got. These Gap dungarees prove that patchwork is a million percent cuter than regular denim.

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Patchwork Dungarees, GAP, £64.95

Curvy cable knit

This jumper looks a bit like it was knitted by a granny with a very short attention span – which is part of the reason we love it.

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Contrasting knit sweater, Mango, £19.99

Spectacular silver

It’s silver. Everything in silver is spectacular. Even if, in the case of this skirt, it looks a bit like when you misjudge how much tin foil you need and have to cobble bits together round a chicken.

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Silver skirt, Misguided, £18

Statement fringe

Hems are a total waste of time. Go footloose and fancy free with these fringe jeans from Topshop.

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Fringe Jeans, Topshop, £45

Vivacious velvet

It’s soft to touch, has a pretty ruffle and it’ll stay tucked in. This bodysuit is the life of the party.

leotard

Velvet Bodysuit, Berksha, £19.99

Elegant earrings

Want monogrammed earrings and also a bit of sparkle? Who says you have to choose?!

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Stud earrings, ASOS, £12

Splendid sequins

I mean, these speak for themselves. Who would want regular jeans when you could have some with sequins up one leg?

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Sequin jeans, Pull & Bear, £39.99

Nobody, that’s who. Perfectly imperfect fashion, we salute you.

I was fifteen when I was diagnosed with anorexia.

I had never kissed a boy, or a girl for that matter. I had never had a pint of beer or driven a car. Yet, somehow, I had decided to fight against the most basic of human instincts: that you eat to survive.

Anorexia is a difficult illness to explain because even when I was firmly in its suffocating grasp, I was aware that I was sick. Not in a hand-on-your-forehead, take-a-paracetamol, have-a-good-night’s-sleep sort of way. But sick in a Saturday-morning-weigh-ins, every-meal-dissolving-into-a-fight, missing-entire-weeks-of-school sort of way. In fact, I was the type of sick that would come to define the next few years of my life.

The only way I can attempt to explain my anorexia is to say I felt that I was both too much, and not enough. I was too loud and too enthusiastic. And also, not smart enough or pretty enough. I had no idea who I was or what I wanted to do with my life, and that frightened me.

All I knew was that I wanted to be perfect.

I felt like people had expectations of me – some real and some totally imagined – and I felt I could never meet them all. Somewhere along the way, I got confused. I forgot that my happiness was more important to anyone than the grades I got or the way I looked. Instead, I began hating myself for not being the Lily I thought people wanted me to be and so I took it out on my body. I wanted to shrink everything until I became invisible.

It wasn’t even so much about being thin – it was about what being thin represented. To me, being thin showed that I was the type of person that exercised, the type of person who ate salad, the type of person that always submitted her homework on time, and always made the honours classes. Somehow thin, to me, had come to mean clean and disciplined and healthy.

But of course, I wasn’t healthy at all. I was starving myself, I was depressed and I was falling behind at school because I no longer had the energy to raise my hand in class, to do my homework, to keep my eyes open while the teacher explained the fall of the Roman Empire (to do this day, I still don’t really know what went down back then).

The thinner I became, the more I hated myself. I pushed my friends and family away, convinced they couldn’t love a creature as awful as me. I felt like I’d trapped myself in a nightmare that I had quickly lost any control over and I was really, really scared.

Of course, I knew something was wrong. My family had tried to talk to me. My teachers had pulled me aside after class. My friends had asked if I was okay. I knew that all the things that were happening to my body were not the signs of a healthy 15-year-old, but part of me thought it would be arrogant to ask for help, to assume that this thing, whatever it was, was a serious mental illness. That a doctor would take one look at me and laugh and say, “What are you talking about? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with you.”

It wasn’t until I read a book about anorexia that I was able to finally able to ask for the help that I so desperately needed.

One night, I emerged from my room, crying. My mum was watching TV and I curled up next to her, ‘Mum,’ I said quietly, ‘I think there’s something wrong with me.’

I know those are the exact words I said because they are seared into my brain. After I uttered those words, my life took on a different trajectory.

There were years of therapy. And then some more therapy. There were anti-depressants. And then more anti-depressants.

There were screaming matches with my mum, who believed that my life should amount to more than knowing the calorie content of every food in the supermarket.

There were some appointments where both my parents, one of my brothers and his wife would turn up to support me and we had to nick some chairs from the room next door – because how many people are lucky enough to have four people who will turn up to what is, quite frankly, a long and harrowing doctors appointment?

There was a teacher who let me sit with him and talk about US politics when I wasn’t up to going to class. There were my friends who kept turning up, no matter how awfully I treated them, which is pretty much all I ever needed them to do.

None of these people needed me to be perfect; they just needed me to get well. And so I did.

Even so, it took years of therapy before I became even a shadow of my former self. Years before I accepted my personality and stopped confusing my weight and my self-worth, as if they were almost the same thing.

My desire to be perfect nearly ruined my entire life because I am so massively imperfect (so much so that I just had to ask a colleague if it was imperfect or unperfect). I am consistently seven minutes late. I knock over my water bottle at least once a day and every time my editor bursts out laughing. I get really obsessed with crafting projects and then abandon them three quarters of the way through.

And all that is fine, because it’s who I am. The most important thing I learnt from those years? That the moment you let go of trying to be perfect and you learn to forgive yourself for all the ways in which you screw up, you get to be happy.

Image: Hailey Hamilton

Get excited – we are declaring this a Presidential Election free Zone. No Hillz, no Trump. Instead, we’re talking about important things much closer to home: the latest emojis, Zayn’s mental health struggles and how much we love Emma Watson.

Here’s our weekly round-up of everything we’ve been reading, watching and loving this week.

Life is complete – we have a shrug emoji

iOS have announced the latest batch of emojis and there’s plenty to face-palm about. No seriously, they’ve added a face-palm. Also making their debut are the avocado, a female firefighter and for some bizarre reason, a hard boiled egg. So basically all the things a modern girl needs in 2016.

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Zayn opens up 

Since leaving One Direction (and simultaneously breaking ten million hearts), Zayn Malik has been pretty busy. He’s released a solo album, an autobiography, and has found love with Gigi Hadid (he even makes her Yorkshire puddings, sigh).

But in his new book, Zayn talks openly about his anxiety and reveals that while a member of 1D, he suffered from an eating disorder. “It was more down to losing track of, you know, actually eating, and being super busy and getting caught up with other things…” he explained to the Associated Press, though the day before the book was published he also posted this heartfelt note on Instagram. We’re glad you’re happy and healthy Zayn.

A photo posted by Zayn Malik (@zayn) on

We are #ForTheGirl

Sadly, 70% of girls aged 11-21 say that sexism has a negative impact on most areas for their life – and Girlguiding has decided to do something about it. The organisation has launched a new campaign, #ForTheGirl, which aims to create an equal future for girls and boys and empower girls to overcome the challenges and inequality they face. Sign us up!

Soggy bottoms forever

If you’re anything like us, your Wednesday night felt empty this week, void of Mel and Sue’s perfect puns and Paul and Mary’s soft buns. But this print from oh gosh Cindy will let us keep Mary in our hearts and on our walls forever. If you haven’t started a Christmas list yet, now’s time.

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Mary Berry, oh gosh Cindy, £9

Vagina, Vagina, Vagina

In a 2015 survey from the UK, 66% of women between the ages of 18 and 24 said they were embarrassed to use the word “vagina” — even with a doctor. The Legalize V campaign is trying to change all that with this hilarious video, which they shared on Facebook… only for Facebook to swiftly take it down again, citing “profane language.” Puh-lease.

So using the correct anatomical name for our lady parts is profane? Balls. Or rather, vagina. Vagina, vagina, vagina!

Emma Watson had a novel idea

Is it just us that thinks Emma Watson would be the ultimate BFF? She cares about human rights, she’s funny and smart AND she loves to read. So much so she’s starting a feminist book club. This week she hid copies of Maya Angelou’s ‘Mom and Me and Mom’ around the London Underground in collaboration with the Books on the Underground Project  with a special note from Emma inside! Race you to the tube.

betty is #UnpickingPerfection

For the month of November betty is tackling the idea of ‘perfection’. We firmly believe that perfection is overrated, potentially damaging and basically a big ol’ waste of time. Instead we are all about getting real on social media, spilling yoghurt on your top and spreading the message that flaws are fun and flawless is boring.

Read our imperfect articles, watch our imperfect videos and follow us on Twitter @bettycollective and Instagram @bettycollective to see more of #UnpickingPerfection this month.

That’s all! Have a lovely weekend, we’ll see you Monday.