TEAM ZOELLA JANUARY 23, 2020

The Team’s 2020 Beauty Bible

Like the adult equivalent of starting a new year at primary school armed with a fresh AF pencil case and immaculate pens, we want to start 2020 afresh and leave our grubby little makeup bags firmly in the 00s.

We’re all for streamlining our cosmetics and giving our tired beauty routines a makeover and what better time to begin than at the start of a spanking new decade!

From dipping our toes into the new releases, investing in a handful of cult faves and repurchasing the pedestal-worthy products we can’t live without, here’s the makeup the Zoella team will be reaching for this year.

Charlotte Says –

My 2020 makeup is a combo of newbies and some golden oldies. For foundation I never stray from my trusty Nars Sheer Glow in the shade ‘Mont Blanc’- when you’ve found ‘the one’, there’s no need for other options! Having said that, on days when I want a lighter coverage or need a quick complexion fix, I’ve been opting for the Lumene Instant Glow Beauty Serum. It gives you more glow than a disco ball and offers the perfect lit-from-within finish.

To set my base I’m sticking with two products I discovered in 2019 that I’m sure are going to be with me for the long haul- the Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder and the Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray. My makeup’s going nowhere with this trusty combo, setting my base in place without compromising on the glow I’ve worked hard (read: slapped on hurriedly after snoozing my alarm) to achieve.

Glossier is a brand I’ve had on my radar for such a long time, but as a full face kinda gal I wasn’t sold on their minimal approach to beauty. But! After visiting their pop-up in Covent Garden in December I was sold- the packaging, the aesthetic, the millennial pink- everything! I picked up the Lidstar sheer liquid shadow in the shade Lily and it’s a firm fave already- I want to try it in every colour!

It seems I’m very into colour at the moment, as this trusty Forever Flawless Constellation palette from Makeup Revolution is another one I can’t get enough of lately. Whether it’s for a full-on pink glistening lid or used with an angled brush for a bold winged liner, the possibilities are endless with this affordable offering.

If there’s one thing I’m sure will see me through 2020 and beyond, it’s big and bushy brows. Charlotte

If there’s one thing I’m sure will see me through 2020 and beyond, it’s big and bushy brows. I’m tempted by the idea of brow lamination, but until I pluck up the courage for that I’ll be sticking with my Hourglass Arch Brow Volumising Fiber Gel. Adding colour, texture and definition, it’s one I won’t be leaving the house without applying in 2020.

Lips wise I’m usually all about a nude, but so far this year I’ve been loving the look of a more stand out shade. The Gucci lipsticks (boujie I know- it was a gift, I’m not usually this cool) are super moisturising and long-wearing, plus the gorgeous packaging means it’s one you’ll want out on your dresser for all to see (all being, my cat). Drugstore wise I’ve been a long time fan of Revlon’s lip products so I think they’ll be seeing me well into this year and beyond. Their Ultra Matte HD Lipcolors set beautifully without drying out the lips!

Shop Charlotte’s Picks

Zoe Says –

A few favourites that constantly crop up for me that I’ve talked about many times before are the Chanel Cream Bronzer “Soleil Tan De Chanel” (a true makeup bag staple for me), The Fenty Beauty foundation (my go-to when I need a bit more coverage), The Bare Minerals mineral foundation (using this every day most days at the moment, I always go back to it, I just love it!) and the It Cosmetics CC+ Foundation which is a little lighter and is my summer staple for natural glowy skin.

Keeping with skin, I also know I will be reaching for the Iconic London “prep, set, glow” mist to set my makeup when the weather starts warming up. I also fell in love with the Vita Liberata beauty blur last year too, and I’m bringing this firmly into 2020 as for those no-makeup days, it just adds the perfect subtle tint with a healthy glow. I particularly like it for holidays! Something that has only recently become a favourite is the Urban Decay Stay Naked Correcting Concealer which has amazing coverage whilst also feeling light. Another new discovery that I’m really enjoying using is the Pat McGrath LABS chroma luxe Hi-Lite Creams which come in the cutest little tubes and make such a difference with just a teeny amount. Perfect for high impact highlighter.

Another new discovery that I’m really enjoying using is the Pat McGrath LABS chroma luxe Hi-Lite CreamsZoe

Moving swiftly onto eyes, two shadow palettes I’m reaching for a lot at the moment are the Nars “Wanted” mini eyeshadow palette and the Victoria Beckham Smoky Eye Brick in “Tweed”. The Stila Glitter & Glow Liquid Eye Shadows are also a real staple for me, I love them on their own or as a base. I’ve also been enjoying blending a kohl into my lash line and the Victoria Beckham Satin Kajal Liner in “Bordeaux”. Onto lips, and it’s no surprise that a matte liquid lip is my lip of choice.

My favourites are the Colourpop Cosmetics & Huda Beauty ones. During summer I like to mix it up a bit with something a bit more glossy and last year I fell in love with the Bare Minerals Gen Nude Lip Lacquers, my favourite shade being “Squad”. To keep my lips feeling nourished on days where I’m not wearing any lip product, I’ll reach for the Glossier Berry Balm Dotcom universal skin salve, smells delicious and does a fabulous job at keeping my lips hydrated.

Shop Zoe’s Picks

Danielle Says –

I’ve started 2020 trying to be as gorgeous and glowy as I can! Kicking things off with my Urban Decay all nighter foundation base (on top of fake tan obvs) then going in with a bit of Born This Way concealer by too faced to pick out my under eye, forehead, nose and chin.

I’ve started 2020 trying to be as gorgeous and glowy as I can!Danielle

I’ve been using this Becca Champagne Pop palette for highlight and blush along with a Charlotte Tilbury bronzer that is on its last legs and in no fit state to have its photo taken! I’ll then start ‘carving out’ my brows with ABH Dip Brow, and I’ll set that with Glossier Boy Brow.

I didn’t get too much makeup for Christmas but I did receive these adorable Soap & Glory minis from my bestie and they’ve been my go-to eye look so far this year. I’ll pop the gold straight on to the lid and pat it in with my ring finger then I’ll use the kohl liner to smoke it up near the lash line. Then I’ll apply lashings of whatever mascara I can find in my makeup bag, I’m ready to invest in a new Lash Sensational!

I’ll then either blast on a bit of Clarins Lip Oil to keep these puppies dry in the cold harsh Brighton winds or I’ll spice things up with a Revlon lippie in nude or red!

Shop Danielle’s Picks

Darcey Says –

My all-time favourite foundation (and I mean I’ve been using this bad boy in various shades for about 5 years now) is the Nars Sheer Glow foundation. It’s more of a full coverage foundation, but also very buildable so it’s great for day to night. Also, it’s a dewy one and not incredibly matte, which I find a lot of foundations can be.

I’ve recently started using the Laura Mercier setting powder and honestly, I didn’t realise just HOW good it is. Whether you are wanting to set or bake, it can do both, very well.

I am a die-hard fan of the Chanel Soleil Tan De Chanel Bronzer, it is insanely nice. Darcey

Now for bronzer, I am a die-hard fan of the Chanel Soleil Tan De Chanel Bronzer, it is insanely nice. Its a mousse, unlike the usual powder bronzer, so it’s super creamy and easy to apply. This bronzer also has a lovely glow and shimmer to it.

For my brows, I like to stick to a few old favs. I use the Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade (I use this more on nights out when I want a really defined brow) and the NYX tinted brow mascara. Both give a fluffy brow effect which I love!

This is another product I’ve stuck to for a few years now because it’s just so good! For my lashes, I use the Nars Climax mascara, mainly because it doesn’t clump! but it also makes your lashes look super long.

Last, but definitely not least, I love a Charlotte Tilbury lipstick. The matte lipsticks aren’t drying, and that’s all anyone wants in a matte lipstick! My current favourite colour is ‘Pillow Talk’, I believe it is the perfect nude lipstick.

Shop Darcey’s Picks

Lauren Says –

My 2020 makeup is a lot of the same but I’ve decided this is the year I tackle the ol’ cat-eye and get back into eyeliner! I usually rock quite a natural base so I think this will finally give my eyes that really nice ‘pop’.

For a bit of extra coverage, I mix in the concealer and this keeps my skin looking freshLauren

Speaking of base, I’m really happy with my combo of Madara’s CC Cream in Medium and Too Faced BTW Concealer in Almond – if I can get away with just the CC cream then I’ll stick to that, but for a bit of extra coverage, I mix in the concealer and this keeps my skin looking fresh whilst it’s still able to breathe.

I tend to wear bronzer all year round as I like having some warmth in my face; I use the Too Faced Dark Chocolate Bronzer all year round, with a light sweep in winter for something subtle and a heavier hand come summer for that bronze glow.

My eye-makeup hasn’t changed, still loving the BLEACH London Louder Powders (although sadly I think they’ve stopped making some booo) and Pacifica Stellar Gaze Mascara, but I picked up the E.L.F Ultra Precise Brow Pencil and E.L.F Intense Ink Eyeliner before Christmas and I LOVE THEM – I think the brown shade Brunette is a little warm but it applies just as good as the high-end alternatives, and because I’m still learning (and lazy) with liner, the chunky pen tip is so easy to use and quick when in a hurry (only minimal mistakes made so far!) – plus it’s cruelty-free and vegan which is a big win.

I’m usually low-key with lip colours so I’ve gone back to the Tata Harper Volumising Lip and Cheek Tint; it’s a love consistency and gives just a hint of colour so your lips still look natural – I’d love them to do a stick version as I’m not a fan of dipping my finger in through the day, but it’s great if you want a multi-purpose product that’s easy to work with.

Shop Lauren’s Picks

Lareese Says –

I swapped my usual eyebrow pencil for the Bobbi Brown Perfectly Defined Long-Wear Brow Pencil recently and I can report it’s worth the splurge. The colour Saddle is a great match for my brows and it stays put all day – even in the rain and on the odd occasion I’ve actually dragged myself to the gym. The slanted tip makes application easy and precise which is such a time saver in the morning.

It might be a new year but old habits die hard and I’ve been hoarding my mascara for longer than I care to admit. Lareese

It might be a new year but old habits die hard and I’ve been hoarding my mascara for longer than I care to admit. I was lucky enough to receive the By Terry Lash Expert Twist Mascara as a gift for Christmas and I’m so glad I accidentally discovered it. It’s buildable formula lifts, lengthens and volumises even the straightest of lashes without weighing them down with product. No clumps here.

I’ll do anything to avoid heavy, cakey foundations and this glow-in-a-bottle Flawless Filter from Charlotte Tilbury is anything but. A CC cream-cum-illuminator, it gives my complexion a healthy boost of colour and radiance whilst still maintaining that healthy, second-skin finish. It’s described as revolutionary and I can totally see why – it’s worth the hype for sure. She’s a keeper!

Soleil Tan De Chanel Bronzing Makeup Base is a new-to-me product and I now I’ve used it, I totally get the hype. It leaves my skin with a sun-kissed glow and unlike some bronzing or contouring products, it warms up my complexion without looking too heavy or ashy on the skin. The buildable cream formula transforms into a light powder on application, making it super easy to blend.

Shop Lareese’s Picks

TEAM ZOELLA JANUARY 22, 2020

Introducing: ‘Between You & Me’

Our new 'Between You & Me' write-in is a regular series dedicated to answering your personal problems in our best Oprah voice.

Like a modern-day Dear Deirdre column, only this time there are seven agony aunts putting in their two pennies worth.

When times are pretty sh*tty, we’ll wade in and give you our best pearls of wisdom, without the unsolicited advice – all in the hope that you’ll feel a little less alone in whatever you’re going through. Bottom line: Yes, you’re normal, no you’re not the only one, yes it’s ok to have problems and HELL YES it’s ok to ask for help.

Whether it’s friendship woes, marital struggles, grief, loneliness, body hang-ups, overbearing in-laws, problem-skin, stress or heartbreak, we all know a problem shared is a problem halved and we hope this space is somewhere you can show up, be open and honest and get the emotional back-up you need. Like a cracking pair of pants – we are here to hold you together, so lament and vent away!

If you’ve got a situation that prompts the question, ‘Am I the arsehole (AITA)?’ or ‘What would you do (WWYD)?’ we want to hear from you.

We can’t promise we’ll solve the issue but we’ll offer support in the best way we know how: by talking it out!

Remember to tell us if you wish to remain anonymous and change some names and places so no one figures you out.

If you’d like to get in touch with a problem with the Zoella team, please email – [email protected]

TEAM ZOELLA JANUARY 21, 2020

13 Questions With The Lean Machines

Say hello to John and Leon or as they're more commonly known; The Lean Machines!

What tips do you have for surviving January?

Many people put far too much pressure on January, maybe due to new year’s resolutions. Having a simple plan and realistic routine can really help you stick to your goal in the long term.

What’s been the highlight of your career so far?

The day we saw our book Eat Well, Move Better And Feel Awesome on the shelves instore

How would you describe your content and mission?

Our content has changed a lot recently since becoming fathers. It has always been about Fitness and Nutrition but more recently it’s become about the balance between training and our family life around it. Training is a small piece of the puzzle to a happy, healthy lifestyle and we try to educate and reassure people of that as much as possible

How did you get into working in the fitness world?

We both always had a love of movement, training and nutrition etc but alongside that, we also love helping people, so the two things married together to become PTs naturally.

What are you currently working on?

Lots of things. We launched our fitness retreats last year, the first was a great success and we are now finalising dates for this year. Expanding our online coaching as much as we can to help more people take control of their lives and break the yo-yo diet culture. Also spending as much time as possible creating content across all of TheLeanMachines platforms.

What is your biggest accomplishment in life?

Being able to wake up every morning and actively enjoy what we do.

What advice would you give to people looking to get fitter and concentrate on their physical health?

Break down your goal, start simple with small changes too many people go too hard too fast with it and naturally burn out.

What will you be reading, watching or listening to in 2020?

We’ve always got our heads in some book or listening to an audiobook. Everything from Harry Potter to anatomy and physiology books.

What advice would you give your younger selves?

L- Take more risks and trust your gut You’re doing just fine.

J – you’re doing just fine, don’t sweat the small stuff

If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life what would it be?

Oooo right now it would probably be a vegetable and halloumi chilli!

What do you always carry with you?

A camera and a pair of trainers

What are you most looking forward to in 2020?

There’s a lot of things, but not many we can share. So, all we will say is watch this space and keep your fingers crossed for us

Find The Lean Machines on Instagram, Youtube and their online shop.

TEAM ZOELLA JANUARY 20, 2020

The Biscoff Tiffin Recipe Every Vegan Needs In Their Repertoire

Everyone's favourite caramelised biscuit knows how to make a feast of veganuary.

First, there was the spread, now a no-bake Biscoff tiffin exists. What a time to be alive!

It’s a hassle-free dessert perfect for presenting to guests at a pot luck or tucking into during a juicy episode of Love Island – and yes you would be correct in thinking, it’s our type on paper.

Vegan or not, this melt in the mouth tiffin is the stuff of foodie dreams with a particularly impressive track record of pleasing the crowd. One of us lost a bra just by looking at it.

Taste it and your life will be forever better!

SERVES
PREP: COOK:
EASY
  • Mix together icing sugar and crushed biscuits
  • Mix the butter and Biscoff Spread
  • Pour the butter Biscoff mixture into the dry ingredients
  • Squash mixture into a lined and greased baking tin and chill for 30 minutes
  • Melt the milk and dark choc over a bowl of boiling water
  • Pour the melted chocolate on top of the set Biscoff base.
  • Whilst still melted, add extra toppings: melted white chocolate, melted Biscoff spread and swirl together using a cocktail stick or fork to create a marble effect.
  • Place halved Biscoff biscuits into the melted chocolate topping and crumble smaller pieces on too for extra crunch!
  • Put into the fridge to set – at least 1 hour, but the longer the better

What’s your favourite vegan dessert?

TEAM ZOELLA JANUARY 19, 2020

Weekly Wants: Styling a Shearling Coat

A cold and dark January has left us all reaching for the cosiest layers in our wardrobe and you can't get much warmer than a soft shearling coat.

Bundle up in a classic neutral biker jacket, go all out Shaun the sheep vibes with a full-length Narnia-esque number or maybe a subtle trim is more your signature style.

Here’s how we’re planning to wear the Winter weather trend!

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*This post contains affiliate links. For more information and to read our disclosure policy, please click here.

ZOE SUGG JANUARY 18, 2020

Zoe’s 2019 Book Reads

2019 was the year I told myself I would read more. Not just say I will read more, but ACTUALLY read more. Here is a run down of the 15 books I read last year, each with a rating out of 5...

I was that kid that looked forward to school holidays so I could read books back to back without any interruption

2019 was the year I told myself I would read more. Not just say I will read more, but ACTUALLY read more. I’ve always loved being submerged in a good book. I was that kid that looked forward to school holidays so I could read books back to back without any interruption. This year I finished 15 books, started the Zoella Book Club and I also bought myself a Kindle which helped me read a lot quicker. I was a little hesitant to purchase a kindle as I do love to flip the pages and have that satisfaction of finishing it, but having so many books in one place, being able to slip it in my bag for reading on the go and being able to hold it above my face in bed was life changing. Don’t even get me started on the fact you can adjust the font size, see the percentage of how much you’ve read as you go and adjust brightness too, basically…the kindle has changed my life. I actually read most of these on the kindle, but because of the office book club, I had lot’s of physical copies to feature in this photo! There really was no excuse not to read this year, so here is a mini run down of the books I read, and what I thought of them!

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman

“Meet Eleanor Oliphant: she struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding unnecessary human contact, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy. But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen, the three rescue one another from the lives of isolation that they had been living. Ultimately, it is Raymond’s big heart that will help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one. If she does, she’ll learn that she, too, is capable of finding friendship—and even love—after all”

This was the first book I read this year and it had been one I started at the end of 2018 and I was really dragging my heels about getting stuck into it. It’s quite a slow starting story, so it took me a while but once I was in, I was invested! Eleanor is the sort of character you really root for, and also so very different from any character I’ve read before. It’s a very heart warming story following Eleanor as she does things a little out of her comfort zone and in doing so, meeting new people and finding new lease of life. I read this book so long ago that I’m struggling to say anything else but I do remember being a little disappointed by the ending.

Rating: 3.5/5

My Sister The Serial Killer – Oyinkan Braithwaite

“When Korede’s dinner is interrupted one night by a distress call from her sister, Ayoola, she knows what’s expected of her: bleach, rubber gloves, nerves of steel and a strong stomach. This’ll be the third boyfriend Ayoola’s dispatched in, quote, self-defence and the third mess that her lethal little sibling has left Korede to clear away. She should probably go to the police for the good of the menfolk of Nigeria, but she loves her sister and, as they say, family always comes first. Until, that is, Ayoola starts dating the doctor where Korede works as a nurse. Korede’s long been in love with him, and isn’t prepared to see him wind up with a knife in his back: but to save one would mean sacrificing the other…”

If you prefer your crime reads to be a little less scary, then you will LOVE THIS

I read this at the beginning of the year after seeing so many rave reviews. I love me a thriller so opened the first page with excitement and bated breath expecting something really gritty with added humour. Although I DID enjoy this book, I wanted a little more. I think my imagination and love of horror and crime documentaries meant my thought process always went that little bit extra than the actual storyline and it fell a little flat for me. I did however love the dark humour, the characters, the overall plot and the fact that the story is very fast paced, I prefer when a book gets straight to the point. I also like that Oyinkan Braithwaite makes us question certain topics like social media and sisterhood. How far would you go for your sibling? Overall, I did enjoy this book, but it fell a little flat for me in the “thriller” sense and wanted something a little more twisted and dark but If you prefer your crime reads to be a little less scary, then you will LOVE THIS

Rating: 3.5/5

Normal People – Sally Rooney

“At school Connell and Marianne pretend not to know each other. He’s popular and well-adjusted, star of the school soccer team while she is lonely, proud, and intensely private. But when Connell comes to pick his mother up from her housekeeping job at Marianne’s house, a strange and indelible connection grows between the two teenagers—one they are determined to conceal. A year later, they’re both studying at Trinity College in Dublin. Marianne has found her feet in a new social world while Connell hangs at the sidelines, shy and uncertain. Throughout their years in college, Marianne and Connell circle one another, straying toward other people and possibilities but always magnetically, irresistibly drawn back together. Then, as she veers into self-destruction and he begins to search for meaning elsewhere, each must confront how far they are willing to go to save the other. Sally Rooney brings her brilliant psychological acuity and perfectly spare prose to a story that explores the subtleties of class, the electricity of first love, and the complex entanglements of family and friendship.”

I feel like Sally Rooney was everywhere in 2019 and everyone had a lot of great things to say about her and her writing style! I bought two of her books, and read normal people first. I really enjoyed the story, covering young love in a seriously realistic way, which at times I wasn’t sure if I liked because I always wanted the opposite to happen, but once I’d finished I decided I loved it, as it was so much more relatable and I ended up feeling more invested in them and their complex relationship.

Rating: 4/5

Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng

Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down.

“Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of long-held secrets and the ferocious pull of motherhood-and the danger of believing that planning and following the rules can avert disaster, or heartbreak.”

This book wasn’t the page turner I had anticipated after reading so many amazing reviews and it started out quite slow. The authors descriptions of the town, homes, relationships & characters were superb and I adored her writing style, although I do feel that some of my favourite characters weren’t as focused on and I would have loved a bit more depth to those (Moody for example). I usually prefer quite fast-paced, gripping storylines, and although this one felt a bit more subdued, I can still appreciate its real-ness, honesty and themes throughout, and it felt a bit like being a fly on the wall. I particularly liked the emphasis on mother-daughter relationships! Click here to see what the rest of the team thought!

Rating: 3/5

How Do You Like Me Now? – Holly Bourne

‘Turning thirty is like playing musical chairs. The music stops, and everyone just marries whoever they happen to be sitting on.’ 

Who the f*ck is Tori Bailey? There’s no doubt that Tori is winning the game of life. A straight-talking, bestselling author, she’s inspired millions of women around the world with her self-help memoir. And she has the perfect relationship to boot. But Tori Bailey has been living a lie.

Holly takes you on a very real journey through a relationship with her main charatcer Tori Bailey and her long term partner Tom, to the point where you feel like you’re experiencing the highs and lows with her. You get a real sense of the struggles and honesty and the personal journey that Tori takes both within herself and her career. There are very poignant and current subjects that Holly puts into the book too, my favourite being the relationship Tori has with her social media and the reality behind her posts and how she views other peoples posts. I hope there is a second book where we get to follow Tori in her next adventure!

Rating: 4/5

Angus, Thongs & Full Frontal Snogging – Louise Rennison

In this wildly funny journal of a year in the life of Georgia Nicolson, British author Louise Rennison has perfectly captured the soaring joys and bottomless angst of being a teenager. In the spirit of Bridget Jones’s Diary, this fresh, irreverent, and simply hilarious book will leave you laughing out loud. As Georgia would say, it’s “Fabbity fab fab!”

in our very first library session as a new tutor group, I whipped it out and was met with horrified gasps at the title. It was as if I’d pulled out 50 shades of grey

Does this book even need an intro or a review? If you’re a woman in your late twenties/early thirties you undoubtedly became very acquainted with Louise Rennison and her series of books back when you were a mere tween, exploring who you were attracted to and scribbling in your diary. I first read this book when I was 11 years old. It was my first read attending secondary school, and in our very first library session as a new tutor group, I whipped it out and was met with horrified gasps at the title. It was as if I’d pulled out 50 shades of grey. I remember my form tutor then pointing it out in front of everyone and me feeling very embarrassed. This book was and is just great! I re-read it as the publishers kindly re-sent me the entire series and I loved every second just as I did aged 11. It’s what got me into writing myself, and also scribbling every thought I had into a diary. One of the first books I wrote, aged 14 (which will never see the light of day) was called “Boys, Bums and The Family From Hell” and it was HUGELY inspired by Louise’s writing and story telling.

Rating: 4.5/5

Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Stuart Turton

“Tonight, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed… again. It is meant to be a celebration but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed. But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden – one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party – can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot. The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him ever escaping Blackheath…”

I didn’t have any expectations before reading this book and hadn’t read any reviews so went in completely blind (which I do think sometimes is the best way). VERY quickly, I was OBSESSED. I read it religiously every evening and any other chance I got, which is quite rare for me. The genre is totally up my street as it’s a murder mystery set in an old mansion where the day is played out 8 different times through 8 different characters to get to the bottom of it. I loved the complexity of Stu’s characters (you really do need to pay attention though as they switch and change throughout the book), the INSANE plot that plays out so perfectly that you’re almost annoyed at yourself that you can’t read quick enough to get to the end. I think this book is pure genius, thanks Stuart Turton! Click here to read what the rest of the Zoella team thought of the book!

Rating: 4.5/5

Reasons To Stay Alive – Matt Haig

Like nearly one in five people, Matt Haig suffers from depression. Reasons to Stay Alive is Matt’s inspiring account of how, minute by minute and day by day, he overcame the disease with the help of reading, writing, and the love of his parents and his girlfriend (and now-wife), Andrea. And eventually, he learned to appreciate life all the more for it

I follow Matt Haig on instagram and love so much of what he posts! I’ve read bits of quite a few of his books over the years, but never sat down to fully read one, so I thought I’d start with Reasons to Stay Alive, in which Matt shares his experience battling with severe anxiety and depression and the journey he goes on in order to triumph and live the life he wants. I absolutely LOVED this book. Matt describes anxiety and depression in such an easy to understand way. I found myself nodding furiously through this and it actually helped me in so many ways. Next on my list is “Notes on a nervous planet”.

Rating: 4.5/5

The Couple Next Door – Shari Lapena

Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all–a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately focuses on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story. Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they’ve kept for years. What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family–a chilling tale of deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist

Basically every ingredient for a book that I’m going to instantly fall in love with

OH HELLO FAST PACED WHO-DONE-IT. Basically every ingredient for a book that I’m going to instantly fall in love with. One of my highest rated books I’d read last year and it sadly wasn’t one we picked for the book club (although I wish we had). I actually only read it because I’d finished the book club pick for that month and wanted something else to move onto before next months book. My Mum was reading it and loving it, and so I was like “okay, I’m going to start that”. Had absolutely no expectation whatsoever but I don’t think I’ve ever got so invested in a storyline as quickly as I did with this. Shari’s writing style is so up my street, fast paced, gets straight to the point and you feel like you’re actually there! Since I love a thriller, this also got a huge tick for me, with suspense, questions, twists and turns throughout! I can’t wait to read another of her books! You have to read this.

Rating: 5/5

Where The Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens

“For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.”

This book has so many amazing reviews so my expectation was high (not always a good thing) and oh my, it did not disappoint. It’s a book that focuses largely on loneliness, fear and love with a sprinkling of utter determination and serious courage. I immediately fell in love with Kya as a character and Delia’s incredible descriptions of the marsh in which she lives and the creatures that she lives amongst really bought the vision of the book to life. She also includes some beautiful poetry which i thoroughly enjoyed reading throughout. Probably one of the most descriptive books i’ve read in a long time which I think, along with the storyline is why I enjoyed it so much. It’s quite an emotional rollercoaster and pulls on your heart strings in places but also has the added drama of the murder mystery thrown in too. (you know I love me a murder). I also really loved the end, i closed the book and felt so content (almost wanted to open it back at page one and start again). Click here to read what the rest of the Zoella team thought of the book!

Rating: 4.8/5

The Testaments – Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood’s sequel picks up the story more than fifteen years after Offred stepped into the unknown, with the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead. In this brilliant sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, acclaimed author Margaret Atwood answers the questions that have tantalized readers for decades.”

I became a huge Handmaids Tale fan after being sucked into the tv series around 4 months ago and binge watched the entire thing over about 2 weeks. I found the whole concept both harrowing and so very interesting (and edge-of-your-seat-gripping!) Having not read the original book, I still had a good understanding of it through watching the series (although I can hear you all shouting “YOU SHOULD STILL READ THE FIRST BOOK”, which I will one day) therefore reading “The Testaments” still made complete sense to me and I was able to follow this no problem. I thoroughly enjoyed this read! I loved having three different perspectives of the same thing, all organically tying up along the way. The way in which Margaret is able to express three very different characters made you almost forget she was writing them all. Although somewhat predictable, and you can definitely sense where the storyline is heading by about midway through, I also really enjoyed the ending. It was one of those books I could have easily read in one sitting if i’d had the time, you just want to keep turning the page to find out more! Click here to read what the rest of the Zoella team thought of the book!

Rating: 4.5/5

Nine Perfect Strangers – Liane Moriarty

Nine people gather at a remote health resort. Some are here to lose weight, some are here to get a reboot on life, some are here for reasons they can’t even admit to themselves. Amidst all of the luxury and pampering, the mindfulness and meditation, they know these ten days might involve some real work. But none of them could imagine just how challenging the next ten days are going to be“.

I’ve never read anything else by Liane Moriarty but i’m a HUGE fan of the show Big Little Lies (although never read the book) so I was super excited to read this. Set in a wellness retreat in Australia, run by a woman who had a near death experience, nine guests arrive for a break they most certainly won’t forget. I honestly had no idea where this story would go but was instantly drawn into Moriarty’s characters. When I knew she’d be telling the story from the perspective of nine different spa residents and two of the staff, so eleven points of view in total, I was worried i’d get a bit lost, but she did this SO well. I do agree with the others that this did feel a little slow paced at first and as a lover of twists, turns, thrillers and true crime, I thought it would be a little more gritty than it actually turned out to be. I don’t want to give away any spoilers so will leave it as vague as that, but I did feel the ending wasn’t quite how I’d have liked but overall I enjoyed the book and storyline! I like how real and complex the characters were and the overall journey we are taken on as readers to discover through them what really matters. I found Moriarty’s writing style so easy to get lost in and would love to read more of her books. Click here to read reviews from the rest of the team

Rating: 3.5/5

Our Stop – Laura Jane Williams

Nadia gets the 7.30 train every morning without fail. Well, except if she oversleeps or wakes up at her friend Emma’s after too much wine. Daniel really does get the 7.30 train every morning, which is easy because he hasn’t been able to sleep properly since his dad died. One morning, Nadia’s eye catches sight of a post in the daily paper: To the cute girl with the coffee stains on her dress. I’m the guy who’s always standing near the doors… Drink sometime? So begins a not-quite-romance of near-misses, true love, and the power of the written word

I could not put this down. I loved everything about it!

Laura had kindly sent this to me and my eyes were instantly drawn to the gorgeous front cover and the blurb. Since I’d been reading quite heavy literature this was the delightful chick-lit break I needed. I could not put this down. I loved everything about it, the characters, the story, Lauras incredible writing style, scene setting and characters. You know it’s good when you’re excited to get a moment to read it. MORE PLEASE LAURA!

Rating: 4.8/5

Twas The Night Shift Before Christmas – Adam Kay

“Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas is the hilarious, poignant and entertaining story of the life of a junior doctor at the most challenging time of the year. With twenty-five tales of intriguing, shocking and incredible Christmas incidents, the British public will finally appreciate the sacrifices made and the challenges faced by the unsung heroes of the NHS.”

I had already read and LOVED Adam’s first book “This is going to Hurt”, so I knew exactly what I was in for with this festive edition. It was an easy read-in-one-sitting book and I throughly enjoyed it. Adam writes with so much humour and description that he makes you laugh out loud and shed tears in equal measure with his stories. I personally would have loved for it to have been just a teeny bit longer as it was much shorter than I first anticipated, but that’s only because I think I could read thousands of pages of his diary entries and I just wanted more! Click here to see what the rest of the Zoella team thought!

Rating: 4/5

Becoming – Michelle Obama

In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.”

Not knowing much about Michelle Obama or the Obama’s in general, it was really insightful learning so much about their background and how they came to be POTUS and FLOTUS and the dynamic of them as a couple. Michelle writes beautifully (kind of hoping she will move into fiction as I can imagine her being so descriptive and her storytelling comes so naturally to her). I’m not hugely into/don’t know too much about American politics so there were definitely points during the book where I felt I had to push myself a little more but overall found it to be really interesting. Michelle is an incredible woman, with a humble background, oodles of knowledge, intelligence and great morals. I finished the book feeling inspired and empowered! Click here to read reviews from the rest of the Zoella team

Rating: 3.5/5

Have you read any of these? What are your thoughts? I’d also love to know if you have any Zoella Book Club suggestions or any tips for reading more?

TEAM ZOELLA JANUARY 18, 2020

12 Foolproof Ways To Battle Winter Hair And Frizz

Let us first start by saying frizzy hair isn't something that needs to be fixed. Your natural hair is beautiful just as it is and you should never shy away from showing it off - wild and wispy baby hairs 'n' all.

But for all those times you may want to keep your Winter hair in check and wear it slick and sleek, here are a few tips to help smooth things over.

Use a sulphate-free shampoo

Sulphate can strip the hair of its natural oils, try switching to a gentle sulphate-free shampoo to help your strands retain moisture and maintain a healthy scalp.

Get to know glycerin

So you’ve said see ya to sulphate already, what else can you do to help your mane stay sane?

Introduce a shampoo with glycerin in it – your hair LOVES it. This hero ingredient makes light work of frizz by hydrating the hair shaft from the inside out and forming a protective coating to prevent damage. Ta-da!

Love don’t rub

Rubbing your hair with a towel like Aladdin and the lamp? Guilty. Our hair is more prone to breakage when wet which means all that vigorous rubbing could be damaging the hair follicle and causing frizz. Wring out hair in the shower and ideally use a microfiber wrap to minimise breakage. If you do use a cotton towel, blot and dab gently instead of rubbing.

Never skip mask day

A deep conditioning once a week might seem like more body admin than you care to take responsibility for but treating your locks to a nourishing treatment once a week will help keep your hair feeling soft and hydrated, especially in the colder months.

Try making your own at home with 100% natural coconut oil. Simply run it through the length of your hair, avoiding the roots, tie it up in a scunchie and leave overnight. Pop a small hand towel over your pillow to protect your linen from any oil stains or sleep in a shower cap. Glamorous we know, but it does the trick!

Use a hair oil

Fight flyaways and unruly fuzz with a moisture-locking oil. Use a couple of pumps on damp hair before styling or use sparingly as a finishing product on dry hair to smooth mid-lengths and ends.

Never underestimate the toothbrush trick

Rather than dowsing your whole head with hairspray, spritz a clean toothbrush with a thin layer of lacquer and comb down the hair around your parting – those pesky baby hairs are relentless, but this will have them on their best behaviour. A spoolie brush or clean mascara wand would also work wonders.

Use a wide-tooth comb

Brushing wet hair is asking for trouble! Use a wide-tooth comb to gently separate any tangles after or during the shower once you’ve applied your conditioner, to help glide the comb through the length of your hair.

Sleep on a silk pillowcase

It might sound a little extra but sleeping on a silk pillowcase can help ease frizz come morning and reduce friction while you catch some precious Zs. It’s also said to help prevent premature fine lines and wrinkles – we’re converted!

Direct the airflow down when blow-drying

If you’re using a hair-dryer, direct the heat down the hair shaft using the nozzle attachment to reduce frizz. It’s tempting to rough dry it in every direction but the more care you take over the drying stage, the smoother your tresses will be. Top tip: finish blow-drying with a 20 second blast of cold air for a smoother finish.

Invest in a good hairdryer

Hairdryers with ionic technology break down the water molecules in the hair faster, meaning your hair dries quicker. The less time it takes to dry your hair = less heat damage. Simple!

Let your natural oils do their thing

Washing your hair every day will strip it of the natural oils that keep it healthy. Ditch the daily habit and let your oils work their magic. If you’re prone to oily hair, stretch time between washes with a good dry shampoo.

Keep on top of your trims

Visit your hairdressers once every two months for a healthy trim to keep those split ends at bay – they’re one of the worst culprits for causing frizz.

Shop The Post

Do you have some frizzy hair intel to share? Hit us with your top tip!

TEAM ZOELLA JANUARY 17, 2020

Ones To Watch In 2020

Calling all cinema aficionados and big screen buffs, this year is lining up to be one worth watching indeed.

We’ve got remakes, book-to-film adaptations, long-awaited sequels and plenty of Oscar bait to look forward to.

Without further ado, here’s a round-up of the most anticipated movies and TV you won’t want to miss this year. Popcorn kernels at the ready!

Films To Watch In 2020

Little Women

“Women, they have minds, and they have souls, as well as just hearts.” Greta Gerwig’s refreshing literary adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s coming-of-age classic brings the March sisters to life like never before. Jo, Beth, Amy and Meg are a squad to be reckoned with and, despite the odds being stacked against them, they learn to live life on their own terms. Meryl Streep is as iconic as ever, Saoirse Ronan is a triumph. Prepare to weep.

Out: In Cinemas NOW

James Bond – No Time To Die

Bond fans, this is the year your patience finally pays off. Daniel Craig returns to play 007 for his fifth and final time, if the rumours are true, alongside series regulars Naomie Harris, Rory Kinnear, Ben Whishaw and Ralph Fiennes.

Out: April 8, 2020

Dolittle

From the producer of Alice In Wonderland and Maleficent comes the new screen adaptation Doolittle. Based on the children’s book by Hugh Lofting, Robert Downey Jr. takes up the mantle as the physician that can talk to animals and it’s set to be excellent viewing.

Out: February 7, 2020

Black Widow

Starring Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, David Harbour and Rachel Weisz, it’s all power to the female in Marvel’s next era: Phase 4. With international spy and Avenger, Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow taking centre stage, we’re excited to finally find out a whole host of back-stories and revelations. Will Marvel fans get the closure they need? Time will tell.

Out: May 1, 2020

The Rhythm Section

If there’s a film with Jude Law in it, we’re there with bells on. A revenge thriller based on the Mark Burnell novel of the same name, The Rhythm Section follows the story of a plane crash survivor as she seeks to find the real truth behind the disaster that killed her family three years before. Expect Blake Lively as you’ve never seen her before.

Out: January 31, 2020

Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)

In the forthcoming Harley Quinn spin-off, Margot Robbie returns to her role alongside her all-female superhero gang as they come together to save a young girl (Cassandra Cain) from Gotham’s most narcissistic crime lord, Black Mask. As for Batman and co? They can eat dust. This is Harley Quinn’s time to shine.

Out: February 7, 2020

Legally Blonde 3

Our favourite lawyer is back with a third instalment just in time for Galentine’s Day celebrations. We don’t know any details about the plot or juicy courtroom deets but we know Reese Witherspoon will be there in all her bend and snap glory. Watch this space!

Out: February 14, 2020

Disney’s Mulan

A live-action version of Disney’s Mulan, what a time to be alive! Choosing our seats as we speak.

Out: March 27, 2020

Wonder Woman 1984

Gal Gadot returns to her role as the legendary Diana Prince /Wonder Woman in the second instalment (but definitely not a sequel, according to Patty Jenkins) of the superhero franchise. The action is set to take place in America, 70 years on from when the first film was set. There’s also a new villain in town with Kristen Wiig taking up the role as the shape-shifting felon, Cheetah. This is JUST the kind of girl / Gal power 2020 needs!

Out: June 5, 2020

Gretel & Hansel

Creepier than its previous adaptations, this modern version of the old Grimm fairy tale we all know is more than just breadcrumbs and gingerbread houses. Nothing says horror like a cannibalistic witch does it? We’ll be watching this one through our fingers.

Out: January 31, 2020

The Personal History of David Copperfield

Based on the cherished novel by Charles Dickens and starring Dev Patel as the iconic David Copperfield himself, this is the story of his life in Victorian England and his quest for family, friendship and romance. It’s already racked up 11 noms at the British Independent Film Awards including best actor for Patel.

Out: January 24, 2020

TV To Watch In 2020

Winter Love Island

Just when you thought January TV would pale in comparison to December’s all-you-can -watch buffet of The Holiday and Gavin and Stacey, ITV2 go and deliver a Winter Love Island. Okurrr!

Hosted by Laura Whitmore and narrated by the legendary Iain Stirling, the first Winter series has landed and this time round there’s twins, Rochelle Humes’ sister is in the villa and it’s relocated to South Africa. Cancelling all social plans for the next six weeks – our heads have officially been TURNED! We can’t wait to see how the series unfolds.

Currently on ITV2 at 9pm

Sex Education: Season 2

It’s official, the highly-anticipated TV series will be returning to Netflix for a second instalment of relatable high school drama. What can we expect? According to Netflix: “Otis must master his newly discovered sexual urges in order to progress with his girlfriend Ola whilst also dealing with his now strained relationship with Maeve. Meanwhile, Moordale Secondary is in the throes of a chlamydia outbreak, highlighting the need for better sex education at the school and new kids come to town who will challenge the status quo.” Couch potato mode: ON.

Expected: January 17, 2020

The Good Place Finale

We’re SO not ready to say goodbye to Eleanor Shellstrop and the gang but if Kristen Bell and Jameela Jamil’s hints are anything to go by, it’s going to be one beautiful but totes emosh ending Sniff

Expected: January 30, 2020

Killing Eve Season 3

After a banger of a season finale, the iconic duo that is Jodie Comer and Sandra Oh are back. Will Eve survive? What is Villanelle’s next move? We’re already way too invested in this and it hasn’t even started yet.

Expected: Spring 2020

Call The Midwife

Returning to our screens for its ninth series on BBC One, the much-loved cosy drama continues to reduce us to snotty tears with its emotional depth and compelling depiction of life, death and everything in between. We can’t think of a better bunch of characters we’d want to be stuck in the delivery room with.

Currently on BBC One

Normal People

Sally Rooney’s best-selling page-turner is heading to our TV screens in a gripping 12-part BBC drama this year and you bet we’re going to binge our way through it in one sitting.

Expected: Spring 2020

The Crown: Season 4

Things are about to get juicy in our favourite Royal epic. This season sounds like it’ll be the best yet with palace intruders, Thatcher feuds and Princess Diana’s much-anticipated debut. We’re on the edge of our seats already, ma’am.

Expected: Unconfirmed but expected to hit Netflix late 2020

Nine Perfect Strangers

Carrying on the book-to-film adaptations trend, Nine Perfect Strangers starring Nicole Kidman is hitting our screens this year. We read Liane Moriarty’s latest book in our Zoella Book Club but something tells us this series might make for marathon-worthy viewing. View our book club discussion here.

Expected: Late 2020

This Is Going To Hurt

Adam Kay’s best-selling memoir has been snapped up by the Beeb and boy are we glad about it. It sounds like the eight-part BBC2 series is set to be just as real and unvarnished but painfully funny as its paperback counterpart. In Kay’s own words, expect to “laugh, cry and vomit.”

Expected: TBD

Noughts and Crosses

First a dystopian YA novel by Malorie Blackman, now a six-part BBC series featuring none other than Stormzy himself. The rapper will be making a cameo appearance as newspaper editor Kolawale. What can we say? If Stormzy’s there, we are in there like swimwear tbh.

Expected: March 2020

TEAM ZOELLA JANUARY 16, 2020

Podcasts To Get You Through The Daily Grind

Have you discovered the power of the humble podcast yet?

The bitesize audio episodes have fast become one of the best forms of escapism, bringing us a little slice of happiness on our morning commutes, accompanying us through workouts, road trips and cleaning sessions and making the daily grind an all-together more bearable experience.

Covering a plethora of diverse subjects from the nitty-gritty to the downright hilarious – Sh**ged Married Annoyed, we’re looking right at ya – there’s a podcast out there that’ll scratch your itch.

From stand-out episodes, long-running favourites and new discoveries, here’s a run-down of the podcasts the Zoella team have been binging recently.

The Great Indoors

“I love listening to The Great Indoors with hosts Kate Watson-Smyth and Sophie Robinson. They’re brilliant together! They chat all things interiors, design crimes, trends and visit celebrity homes. You would think listening to something that usually relies so heavily on the visual wouldn’t work but it absolutely does. If you’re into interior design or need some inspiration for your home, it’s a great listen. I also find it weirdly therapeutic to listen to it when I’m driving or getting ready in the morning. I’m officially OLD.” Lareese

Potterless

“US comedian Michael Schubert gives a chapter by chapter review as he reads the entire Potter series for the first time. It’s highly addictive and very amusing. If you’re a Harry Potter fan who is looking for a new take on the books then look no further.” Maddie

Off Menu

“This podcast is brilliant but if you love food it will make you very hungry! Hilarious James Acaster and Ed Gamble have one guest on an episode to discuss their absolute favourite meal from starter through to dessert. They’re always hilarious and light-hearted making this the perfect pod to cheer up your morning commute.” Danielle

The Confidence Corner

“I love everything Callie Thorpe does (her smile is so infectious!) so when she released a podcast in 2019 I was all over it! Discussing everything from confidence, self-esteem, body positivity and health, she’s chatted with some amazing guests including Gina Martin, Lauren Mahon and Lucy Sheridan.” Charlotte

The MIMIBEE Podcast

“I absolutely love this podcast and Mimi Bouchard. She is so inspiring and motivating, she’s great to listen to when you are having a bad day. There are amazing guests who feature on this podcast who chat about topics like holistic health, relationships, fitness and body positivity. This podcast covers so many topics and is an all-rounder!” Darcey

This American Life

“Every episode of TAL centres on a subject and different people from all walks of life share their stories. You can go back and listen to any episode you fancy as they’ll still be as entertaining as when it first aired. My favourite episodes are Giant Pool of Money and No coincidence no story!” Danielle

The Receipts Podcast

“A new discovery for me but one that has me in stitches within minutes of putting it on. Fronted by three hilarious, honest and articulate women, the 60 minute plus episodes cover all things dating, relationships and love in the modern world. Think a no filter catch-up with your girlfriends!” Charlotte

PLT: Behind Closed Doors

I have only just started listening to this podcast, I came across it actually when they did an episode with Chessie King. As you can imagine, it was a great episode and very uplifting! This is another motivational and inspiring podcast, interviewing influencers (mainly) and finding out about their lives and challenges they’ve faced. I’m really enjoying it at the moment and look forward to seeing who they’ll interview next!

Heavyweight

I’m always singing this podcast’s praises, presented by Jonathan Goldstein, he helps one person every episode tackle something from their past that weighs heavy on them. It never ends how I originally think it’s going to go and it’s such a great little study into how different people remember things and let things affect them.

Mile Higher

Hosted by husband and wife duo Josh Thomas and Kendall Rae, their show is focused on True Crime and Conspiracy Theories but they also delve into many other topics including unexplained phenomena, metaphysics, futurism, ancient civilizations and news stories the “lamestream media” doesn’t cover. “I listen to this most evenings when Alfie and I go to bed. Kendall & Josh have such a great way of telling stories and are so passionate about what they’re talking about, my brain feels twice the size after listening to their podcast!” Zoe

Shagged, Married, Annoyed

“Chris & Rosie Ramsay, husband and wife duo, both hilariously in tune with one another and so very REAL. Each week they release a podcast in which they discuss life, relationships, arguments, annoyances, parenting, growing up and everything in between. Starting out with “what’s your beef” which give them both a chance to talk about something the other has done which has annoyed them, possibly one of my favourite features ever. Answering questions, dilemmas and reading stories submitted by members of the public (which are often so jaw dropping and make you cry with laughter) this hour of your day will leave you smiling from ear to ear! I actually look forward to Friday mornings so I can listen to it!” Zoe

What’s your favourite podcast?

TEAM ZOELLA JANUARY 15, 2020

Navigating New Friendships As An Adult

Making friends when you're a kid is easy. You ask them what their favourite colour is and if it's the same as yours then boom, you're in there.

Inseparable, pals for life, thick as thieves and eating chips and peas round each other’s houses. But when you’re a new mum, a grown woman, estranged or just geographically far away from childhood friends, it’s another story. Making new friends can be intimidating, you need common ground, shared experiences, a similar sense of humour, boundaries and ideally the same postcode.

There’s a different pressure that comes with making friends in later life.

There’s a different pressure that comes with making friends in later life. You’re a different person now than you were when you were stood in the playground; a five-year-old in pigtails clutching a Velcro book-bag and a doll that probably smelt like cherries.

Shouldn’t we have used our younger years to build up a reliable network of friends we can rely on so we’re not, well, here in this situation – standing in front of a woman in body combat and striking up a conversation about the pros and cons of natural deodorant.

Get yourself out there and find your tribe!

Life doesn’t keep us all on the same path – career-changes, family life and travel plans thrust us into new cities away from the safety blankets of our familiar social circles and suddenly we’re stripped, naked, vulnerable. And we’re expected to somehow show up and be approachable in this state? Send help.

“Do you want to be my friend,” isn’t a line you’re likely to feel comfortable asking but making new friends isn’t impossible. Here are a few ideas for breaking the ice, getting yourself out there and finding your tribe.

You’re not the only one

There’s a BIG loneliness epidemic out there and realising you’re not the only one to feel this way or be in a situation where you want to make friends is half the battle. In order to be emotionally and physically available for friendship, you need to be ok with the idea of making new friends and putting yourself out there. Once you’ve left the embarrassment, shame or anxiety at the door, you’ll be open with yourself and others. It takes one leap of faith!

Be confident

Why wouldn’t someone want to be your friend? Seriously. Sometimes our greatest fears are completely unfounded and exist only in our head. Make friends with yourself before you let anyone else in and you’ll be off to a cracking start.

Join a club

Rather than sitting and waiting for the opportunity to make friends come to you, be proactive and push yourself out of your comfort zone by speaking to others. Bonding over a shared hobby makes conversation flow easier, so why not join a local running, craft or book club. Something that involves an activity and invites genuine conversation takes the pressure off the making friends part.

Volunteer

Get involved with your local church community or give up a few hours of your time helping out at a food bank. You’ll be doing something for a great cause! It’s also a great way to diversify your friendships and build cross-generational relationships with people you wouldn’t otherwise get to speak to.

Join a gym class

There’s solidarity to come out of working out as a group – you’re in it together. Apart from being good for your mind and your body, joining a gym class can be a great place to meet likeminded people in a relaxed environment; the Dr that lives on your road, or the lady who owns your favourite florist.

Get chatting to your fellow members before or after the class and join in the social meet-ups (beer with the body pump crew, it’s all about balance) – making friends is easier when you don’t have to try hard and you’ll already have something in common right from the get-go if you’re attending the same class.

Organise a meet-up

For all its downfalls, social media is good for one thing in particular: community. If you find yourself chatting to the same faces on a regular basis in your DMs or commenting on one another’s lives, then the chances are you’ll get on like a house on fire IRL too. There’s no reason why your favourite virtual friendships can’t become part of your off-screen life. Create a group on Instagram, add in your favourite girls and arrange a blogger’s brunch, a picnic in the park or a kid-friendly activity for the local mums you follow. It just takes one person to make the first step and round up the troops.

The friendly follow-up

Unlike the circumstantial friendships you made in your youth, you can’t rely on in-jokes and memories with your new-found friends. If you’ve had an interesting conversation with someone, master the art of the friendly follow-up. Strike up the dialogue again, invite them to a gig or an event you’re going to or send them an article to something you’d think they’d love to read. It can be nerve-wracking to be the one pursuing the friendship but seeing if there are opportunities to reconnect can pay off.

Be yourself

The advantage of making new friends is that you already know what you’re looking for in a friendship and although you want to make a good impression, you also want them to see and enjoy spending time with the real you. The truest friendships are formed when both parties are open, honest and genuine.

Say yes to invitations

Get invited to go out for a dinner or see a show? Then go! It might seem intimidating at first but won’t make new friends by staying at home.

Bumble for friends

Like the dating app but for besties, Bumble BFF helps you expand your circle of amigos, just start building a profile to connect with potential friends nearby.

You can also join interest groups like Meetup.com to find people with similar hobbies and passions and do more of what you love. From aspiring authors, board-game enthusiasts or foodies, the online community can be an amazing space for finding your tribe and making meaningful connections.

What’s your best advice for making new friends this year?

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