TEAM ZOELLA APRIL 30, 2020

Team Zoella’s 30 Day Quarantine Playlist

Nothing unites us more than music at a time like this, so we thought we’d set about making a collaborative playlist full of the team’s favourite beats to help us stay connected during lockdown.

Nothing unites us more than music at a time like this, so we thought we’d set about making a collaborative playlist full of the team’s favourite beats to help us stay connected during lockdown. For each of the 30 days, we had a new prompt to inspire our song selection, from our ultimate road trip tracks to our trusty karaoke belters. We might not be able to shake our tail feathers in person for a while but when the going gets tough, the power of this playlist is certainly going to keep our spirits up and our toes tapping all the way through lockdown.

Fancy making your own bumper playlist? Share our 30-day song challenge template with your friends and family and start adding a song a day to your own collaborative playlist on Spotify. Don’t forget to tag us in your Instagram stories so we can see what songs you’re social dis-dancing to!

“My music taste is certainly eclectic let’s say, having been heavily influenced by my dads favourite artists over the years my choices definitely diversified our playlist from an era point of view. I’m definitely not a chart hits kind of person, I like what I like and usually, that’s not what’s making the no1 spot which made this playlist selection perfect for me. It was also a chance to think about genres you don’t usually dip into ie the 90s or school disco songs (Mambo no5 was mine which is probably revealing my age as that will no doubt mean nothing to some people!) We’ve ended up with a corker of a playlist and it’s definitely one I won’t get bored of quickly.” Maddie

“I had so much fun adding music to this playlist daily! I absolutely love listening to music and have such a large number of genres that I listen too and it was really interesting to see what genres I’d go-to for what prompts. Songs can bring back so many memories as well, so it felt like my own little time machine every day taking me back to some time in my life when that certain song played a big part in my life. My favourite days were any that I could involve Lana Del Rey as she is one of my all-time faves. I found some prompts so hard too like “song you know every word to” and “favourite song from the 90’s” as I had so many choices, I spent a good 10 minutes every morning making my final song decision haha! Now I can’t wait to whack on this playlist daily, it’s so good!Darcey

I never consider myself a music person as I’ll always choose to listen to a podcast or audiobook over music but compiling this was SO much fun and really brought back a lot of joy! It’s crazy how much a certain song can bring back all the memories from a specific occasion. My favourites were a song from a band you wish were still together, luckily I was able to see The Maccabees before they split up for a final time but my heart aches knowing I won’t be able to see them again. I loved the song you know the words to as I could pretty much take my pick from any Kanye West song ha! My final favourite was the song that reminds you of summer. What a load of bangers! They suited the warm weather we’ve been having perfectly.Danielle

“I absolutely loved adding to the team playlist every day – it was so satisfying to pick a song to suit a theme and really made me think about the kind of music I’m into – the playlist has pretty much confirmed what I always knew, that I’m a sucker for the 70s and 80s. We all know music is profoundly linked to personal memories and hearing some of the songs the rest of the team popped in there was such a throwback! I’ll forever associate Celine Dion’s Because You Loved Me and ABBA’s Dancing Queen with my nan, Cotton Eye Joe with the primary school disco and Panda Pops, Avril Lavigne’s Complicated with young love and Eva Cassidy’s Songbird with my mum. I just love the golden oldies!Lareese

“I LOVED contributing to this playlist. I really enjoyed revisiting albums or artists that I had got out of the habit of listening to, as well as finding new music through listening to the team’s picks too. I’m very dedicated to supporting certain artists so I don’t tend to have much variety in my playlists (I could honestly listen to only One Direction, Shawn Mendes, Taylor Swift and The 1975 for the rest of time and be quite happy about it) but this challenge really pushed me to think outside the box and reminded me of some old and forgotten favourite tunes. I’m going to think of some new prompts so I can add to other playlists with friends and family as the weeks go on! Charlotte

Having done one of these with my gal pals, I knew with a new month around the corner it would be the perfect thing to create and get others involved in and it was SO MUCH FUN. The one thing I loved about making a collaborative playlist with family/friends/colleagues was that you discover and remember songs you’d forgotten about and the range of tastes and music choices make for a really fabulous playlist! I also loved having it be a part of my daily routine and there always being something for us all to natter about. I actually think I’ll miss having a daily music prompt, at least we now have an epic playlist we can all listen to on repeat! I hope you enjoy the music we all put together through April!Zoe

Listen to the Team Zoella 30 day playlist here!

TEAM ZOELLA APRIL 29, 2020

8 Home Workouts You Can Do From Your Living Room

Working out, for some of us, provides the very foundations of self-care. We move to make our bodies and our minds feel good; to release the negative energy that sits on our chests late at night, like bleeding a radiator and releasing the trapped air.

Before we get into this, let’s just add a caveat right here fellas: you don’t need to come out of this better than you went in. You don’t need a lockdown glow up so fire you’ll torch a hole in your water bottle just by holding it, so put that thought to bed right now. You are already worthy of a hundred flame emojis. Trust us.

Release the negative energy that sits on our chests late at night, like bleeding a radiator

Working out, for some of us, provides the very foundations of self-care. We move to make our bodies and our minds feel good; to release the negative energy that sits on our chests late at night, like bleeding a radiator and releasing the trapped air. That’s what we’re getting at here, not the toxic narrative that suggests abs are the silver lining to a cloudy pandemic, if you’ll allow us the understatement of 2020.

We need to feel like we’re part of something bigger than these four walls. We need to know that we’re not alone and to salvage the familiar tropes of normality that carry on around us – the Instagram outfits, the Tik Tok dances and the sweaty comradery of a gym class. Who knew missing burpees was a thing!

We want to figure out how to belong in this new version of the world

We need to feel connected – to other people, yes, but also to ourselves. We want to figure out how to belong in this new version of the world, however temporary it may be.

And what belonging to that world means will look different to everyone. Some will read, some will write, some will curl up and sleep, all of which are perfectly adequate tales of survival.

You’ll determine what feels right for you – guilt doesn’t live here – but some of us will feel an uncontrollable need to move our tushies sorry in advance to the neighbours directly below us

With our routines out of whack, finding a home workout you love is one way we can keep a check on our mental and physical wellbeing. So, whether you fancy HIIT, a yoga class or a savage Les Mills program, here’s a run-down of the best virtual work outs you can do from home.

For the fun: The Body Coach

Join Joe Wicks as he puts the nation through their paces with his P.E classes. FYI: It might be aimed at kids but if you do it properly, it is gruelling stuff. As well as his daily 30 minute P.E classes, he has a whole range of other workouts on his YouTube channel, from fat burning cardio sessions to legs, bums & tums. Find him on YouTube here.

Cost: Free

For the zen: Yoga With Adriene

If ever there were a time to hold your soles up to the moon in Happy Baby pose and say namaste, it’s now. Adriene makes yoga approachable for all levels with her virtual sessions, all of which are available to watch on her YouTube channel for free. With a library of over 500 videos from gentle flow to gut health, stress and mediation for self-love, you’re bound to find something that eases your body and your mind. Find her on YouTube here.

Cost: Free

For the core: Sinead Trains

Sinead hosts live ab blasts every Tuesday and Thursday at 8am. Expect 20 minutes of side planks, Russian twists, slow controlled bicycles and leg raises, you know, all the stuff that makes your belly button burn. In a good way. Find her on Instagram here.

Cost: Free

For the buzz: Les Mills

Ever done a body combat, body balance or body pump class at the gym before? Then chances are, you’ve done a Les Mills program. Get access to over 800 Les Mills workouts on demand from post-partum exercises to dance fitness and mindfulness practices, there’s something for everyone. Check them our here.

Cost: Currently free until 30th April – £11.95 per month with a 14 day free trial.

For the sweat: Psycle London

Missing your barre class? You can find plenty of workouts designed to sculpt, tone and lengthen over on Psycle London’s Instagram page. Just head to their IGTV for all sorts of savage sequences to power up your home workout. Find them on Instagram here.

Cost: Free

For the butt and legs: Ciara London

Ciara Madden AKA Ciara London is one of the UK’s leading female-only personal trainers. Having worked with the likes of Maya Jama and Neelam Gill, she certainly knows a thing or two about crafting the killer workout for those booty gains. Join the squad and feel the burn! Find them here.

Cost: £15 a month subscription for 6 classes a week

For the bedroom friendly workout: MadFit

If you’re a fan of the #noequipment workout, Maddie’s your girl. Her home workouts are mat-based and keep things super simple and accessible, so you can get your full body routine done and dusted in 20 mins flat. Find Maddie on YouTube here.

Cost: Free

For the posture: Heartcore

Join Heartcore for a holistic approach to fitness that combines the fundamental mind-body principles of Pilates with athletic conditioning. You can enjoy live adaptations of the signature Heartcore classes from Barre, Ritual, Vinyasa Flow, HIIT and more! If you’re working from home, your back will LOVE this. Find them here.

Cost: £5 per class

What are your go-to workouts to do from home?

TEAM ZOELLA APRIL 28, 2020

Read The Magpie Society: One For Sorrow Prologue

"The Magpie Society - One For Sorrow", a new YA Gothic Thriller fiction series written by Zoe Sugg & Amy McCulloch, to be released on the 29th October 2020. Read the prologue now...

Prologue

The night she died, all our phones were turned off.

The police didn’t believe us.

Kids don’t go anywhere without their mobile phones, they said. You expect us to believe you weren’t Snap- facing or Insta-booking or whatever it is you kids do these days at your end-of-term party? That not a single person took a selfie or boomerang or video?

We all had the same answer: No.

They checked our phones anyway. Logged into our clouds. But there was nothing to find.

The detectives discovered a scrap of paper at the scene. It was one of the posters that had been stapled to the driftwood gate marking the entrance to the stairs down to the beach. It read in big, bold letters: NO PHONES, NO CAMERAS, NO SOCIAL MEDIA, NO EXCEPTIONS.

As if anyone at the party needed a reminder.

Because that was the whole point: we’d wanted a chance to switch off. To have a party that didn’t get documented, to dance away the night in blissful anonymity, to have memories that couldn’t be fact- checked by photographs and videos. No one broke the rules. No one wanted to. We all had eagle eyes when it came to spotting the telltale glow of a smartphone screen, or the glint of light off a camera lens.

Some of us might break a law or two, if we felt compelled. But disobey the rules of our end-of-term party? No one would dare.

The police officer rolled his eyes as he interrogated us one by one. You mean to say you all followed these rules? I don’t believe you.

But we had nothing to show him. That was the truth. So he asked us to tell him instead.

The beach was alive that night. The bonfire was lit, the flames leaping up into the sky. Some of the logs flashed green as they burned, choked with salt from the sea. As the party-goers danced on the beach, their shadows stretched up to the chalk cliffs looming over the horseshoe bay, so that it looked as if the cliffs were moving. Waves crashed in the distance, the low tide leaving the sand littered with seaweed and shells, debris from the ocean. The summer evening was warm, the start of another British heatwave. And of course it was rammed with us. Out of uniform, it was harder to tell who was who. Ironic, wasn’t it? That a uniform designed to make us all look the same actually became a blank canvas on which we could showcase our individuality. Now, in our normal clothes, we looked like regular teens.

But we weren’t.

We were Illumen Hall students.

That’s what made this party different. At other times of the year, students from nearby schools would come to our events – our All Hallows’ Eve night was legendary, and if you missed Festivus Extravaganza you might as well say goodbye to any semblance of a social life.

But the end-of-term beach party was ours. We lived together for the whole year and, whether you enjoyed your time or not, separating for the summer suffused everyone with a sense of melancholy. No matter how hard you tried to avoid it, if you were one of the six hundred chosen few who attended Illumen Hall, you were woven into the fabric of its existence. Summer was a rending,  a two-month-long enforced separation tearing us apart. This party was the reinforcement. A final memory to sustain us as friends, separated by the miles. Then, when we came back in September, we could pick up where we’d left off.

The smell of charcoal permeated the air, the logs snapping and cracking with the heat, sending up blisters of embers into the rapidly darkening sky. Combined with low house beats and swaying bodies, it was intoxicating – or maybe that was just the copious amounts of alcohol in our paper cups.

The tide crept in as the hour grew later, until the bay was almost cut off and the only way out was back up the rough-hewn steps cut into the cliff face. It was all beautiful: us, the sand, the waves and the fire.

It was too good to last.

A blood-curdling scream sliced through the music.

One by one the crowd of writhing bodies froze.

But then there was a surge, a ripple of panic that leaped from person to person. The screaming continued overhead, the music snapped off, and we rushed as one down towards the water.

The screaming was coming from the ocean. The sun had just disappeared from the horizon but there was enough ambient light still to see.

A girl’s body on the sand, waves lapping at the soles of her feet. She was lying on her front, but her head was tilted to one side, her lips tinged an unnatural blue.

Pale skin, blue lips, tangled  strands  of  hair,  twisted limbs.

And, on her back, an elaborate tattoo of a magpie, every detail intricately laid out across her shoulder blades, which jutted on either side of her spine, sharp  as knives. The bird’s wings stretched so that the edges of the feathers curled across on to her collarbone, and the tail feathers disappeared beneath the edge of her halter top.

A voice. ‘Go back to town and call the police. She’s dead.’

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TEAM ZOELLA APRIL 28, 2020

13 Questions With Melanie Murphy

Melanie Murphy is an award-winning creator and novelist who champions self-growth, optimism, education and celebrating the little things in life. Find out how she's getting on in Lockdown...

First of all, how are you and how are you coping in lockdown?

I’m doing my best to keep super busy and to embrace the time with my new husband! As a coping mechanism, we’re treating it as an ‘extended honeymoon’, seeing as our real honeymoon couldn’t go ahead! ‘Homey moon’ time has been a lovely way to look at it. I avoid overdosing on the news and fill my days with creating content, writing my next novel, baking, walks and Netflix! When something is out of my control, I get through by shifting my focus to things that are in my control, and how I spend my time is (thankfully) up to me, because I work from home!

Congratulations on the news of your pregnancy! How are you handling such an important time in your life?

Thank you! At first, I was super upset that I had to announce the pregnancy virtually to most of my friends and family, and then I cried even more tears when I realised I’d have to cancel many plans that I had for the last of my childless days on this planet because I can’t go visit friends etc! So far, four months of my pregnancy have been lived out at home, with no celebrating, and while it’s not what I’d anticipated, it’s probably a really great time to be chilling and relaxing! I’ve felt little to no stress as my calendar is much clearer than usual, and I can only assume that’s really good for me at this crucial time! Always trying to see the positive.

You are one of our favourite people to follow on social media, can you tell us what you are all about?

That’s so lovely to hear! I’m all about self-growth, celebrating the little things in life, education, optimism and community! I love to share the good and the bad with my audience and I cover everything from food and sex to love and beauty and fitness…nothing is off limits across my platforms! I consider my social media accounts to be extensions of me and along with making memories for my future self, I’m always trying to create content that’ll either inspire or educate (I have a teaching degree!), that’ll entertain, distract, motivate…I just want my corner of the internet to leave people feeling better, feeling seen, and for my books to provide comfort and escapism!

Your debut novel ‘If only’ came out last year, can you tell us more about it?

If Only is about a mess of a woman named Erin who takes a trip home to Ireland, to visit her beloved grandmother to escape reality after calling off her wedding. While there, she receives a magical family heirloom that offers her glimpses into parallel versions of her life! I’ve always been a ‘what if?’ type of person and I’ve often wondered how my life might look had I made different choices…so I really wanted to explore this through an uplifting story that hits on the importance of being present in the moment.

What was it like to write a book and get it published?

I’d already written and published a book for young adults called ‘Fully Functioning Human (Almost): Living in an Online/Offline World’ which went on to be a bestseller in Ireland and was featured on state exam papers (truly my biggest life flex!), but my experience with the novel was completely different and was much more positive. As I explained in a writing q&a, I didn’t actually enjoy writing FFHA as it was rather heavy and I had to delve into difficult memories, such as my times with eating disorders, serious online trolling, depression, a miscarriage…it was A LOT. I wrote it for my viewers, I could cover a lot more in a book than in a ten to fifteen-minute video, and ultimately I’m glad that I finished it and that it was well-received.

However, I’ve wanted to be a novelist since I was a child and I only agreed to publish FFHA if my publisher would consider my fiction ideas (if I proved myself, of course!), and they agreed! Writing ‘If Only’ and watching it reach people all around the world has been one of the most satisfying experiences of my entire life. It’s had a big surge of ebook sales during lockdown thanks to a BookBub promotion and I’m so glad it’s reaching new audiences who don’t already follow me!

Are you currently working on anything exciting?

A podcast with Spotify! However, it has been put on hold due to the quarantine, of course. Also, my second novel is due to my publisher later this year and I’m really hoping to finish a first draft before my baby is born! So in 2020, I’ll be birthing a word baby AND a human baby! I’m kind of sad that I can’t work on any bigger projects for YouTube (like my short film ‘Choice’ or my mini-documentary ‘Is Social Media Making You Lonely?) as I love challenging myself and trying new things, but I’m moving into new phase of life and I’ve decided to focus on regular lifestyle content and writing, career-wise, for now. Those things make me really happy. I do have plans to turn my successful limited edition ‘Me Time’ journal collection (all sold out!) into an app, but that’s going to take some time! I need to find the right team first.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

There have been so many! The books, the travel, the events, the people – I’ve adored the past seven years. Best of my life, really. I’ve somehow won a few awards too, and for someone who didn’t win a single decent medal as a kid, that’s been pretty amazing, haha!

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

You don’t know everything and you never will, so quit thinking that you know how things will pan out and just BE. In five years you’ll be a different person and you’ll like yourself a whole lot more. Just relax, have fun, don’t take life so seriously.

Who are your current favourite follows online?

Right now I’m all about that pregnancy and baby content, haha! Makes me so excited for my future. And the more body-positive they are, the better! Iskra, Ashley Graham, Anna Saccone (my original inspiration for starting YouTube!)…I also follow a lot of authors and really love seeing writers I love succeed! Beth O’ Leary, author of ‘The Flatshare’ and ‘The Switch’, is such a sweetheart, and her Instagram posts inspire me.

What do you always carry with you?

My Hedwig wallet with a little photo of my husband inside, my phone (of course!), ANY kind of lip balm and hand cream, because all of this lockdown hand-washing has my hands crustier than sourdough toast!

What does your perfect weekend look like?

A lie-in, some sexy time, a bath, a BIG brunch, a long walk in the sun, a few hours with a good book, baking, pasta and an old movie I’ve already seen, but one I adore! Fire lit, pets around me, virgin mojito. Heaven.

If you could only eat one more meal what would it be?

Pasta carbonara! Being gluten-intolerant doesn’t help…neither does the fact that dairy can mess up my skin…but it’s just SO GOOD.

If you could give one positive message to our followers what would it be?

When things are hard, count your blessings instead of your problems. Gratitude has changed my life and it takes seconds to moments each day to practice it! One tip I use a lot is to tackle negative thoughts with the word. BUT. “I’ve failed, I’m a failure…BUT, everyone fails sometimes.”

TEAM ZOELLA APRIL 27, 2020

7 Things That Made Us Cry Happy Tears Last Week

Our weekly edit of the good news stories we spotted last week.

Carer’s kindness goes viral

When a carer noticed British war veteran, Ken Bembow, had been sleeping with a framed photograph of his late wife close to his heart each night, she decided to surprise him with a very special present.

Kia Mariah Tobin, one of the caregivers at Thistleton Lodge in Preston, presented Ken with a personalised photo pillow of his beloved wife and, naturally, he broke down in happy tears along with the rest of us when we viewed the footage.

Speaking on Good Morning Britain, Ken said it was, “the most precious thing anyone could wish for.” He went on to explain that he had been married to his wife, Aida, for 71 years before her passing just six months ago and described her as, “the best little woman in the world”.

Have you ever seen anything more wholesome? We can’t stop the salty tears from falling.

Running for heroes

Run For Heroes is the latest challenge taking over social media to raise funds for the NHS workers fighting Covid-19. Participants are encouraged to run 5km, donate £5 and nominate 5 others to complete the challenge for a good cause. A whole host of celebs have put the miles in, including Ellie Goulding, Oliver Proudlock, Jessica Ennis-Hill and Jimmy Carr and the fundraiser is now just a few sweaty jogs away from its £5million target. What a fantastic example of community spirit and the power of social media.

Princess Sofia volunteers alongside hospital workers

Princess Sofia of Sweden is joining the frontline efforts to help fight the pandemic. The 35-year-old royal started working at Sophiahemmet Hospital after completing an intensive online training program. Though Sofia won’t be working directly with patients, she will be assisting doctors and nurses with non-medical tasks such as cleaning and housekeeping. On the Royal Instagram account she shares with her husband, Prince Carl Philip, Sofia said, “To have an opportunity to help at this difficult time is extremely rewards. Thank You.”

Prince Louis turns two!

As Kensington Palace celebrated Louis’ 2nd birthday, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge treated us to a few precious snaps of their little prince enjoying a spot of finger painting and obviously, they are beyond adorable.

In the series of adorable snaps captured by Kate, Louis looks as cheeky as ever covered in paint, alongside the caption Instagram vs Reality. How else do you celebrate turning two in lockdown other than putting on your favourite blue check shirt and going to town on the crafts! Toddlers will be toddlers.

Humans getting creative during lockdown

This endearing compilation video of roof culture during quarantine in NYC from Jeremy Cohen on Twitter made us all get something in our eye. The footage shows people shadow boxing, skipping, painting, flying a kite (we really felt that one) and even walking their dogs on their rooftops as they make the most of what outdoor space they have. Videos of humans just doing sh*t to get by – we can’t get enough of them.

Charlize Theron launches campaign against domestic violence

As domestic abuse continues to rise during lockdown, Charlize Theron is using her platform to support the global fight against gender-based violence amid the Covid-19 crisis.

In partnership with the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project (CTAOP), the actress is committing $1million to Covid-19 relief efforts, with half a million specifically dedicated to supporting women against domestic violence.

Taking to Instagram, Theron shared the details of her #TogetherForHer campaign and urged others to show their support.

“During this unprecedented global crisis, we are being told to shelter in the safety of our homes – but what if our homes aren’t safe? For the millions of women and children around the world sheltering with their abuser, home can be dangerous. That’s why in support of the global fight against domestic violence during the #covid19 crisis, @ctaop and I are joining forces with CARE and the Entertainment Industry Foundation in standing #TogetherForHer. My team is committing $1 million to COVID relief efforts, with $500,000 specifically designated towards our Together For Her campaign, supporting women against domestic violence through the provision of funds and resources to trusted domestic violence shelters around the world.
Our rallying cry is this: Please join us in showing women experiencing domestic violence that they are not alone – we are behind them, with them, for them, #TogetherForHer”

An incredible sight

Thanks to the drop in air pollution caused by the coronavirus lockdown, some people in northern India are seeing the view of the Himalayan mountain range for the first time in their lives. Those living in northern Punjab have shared pictures from their rooftops of the amazing view which has not been seen for decades due to pollution. Some good news in all this craziness: nature is healing!

TEAM ZOELLA APRIL 26, 2020

Weekly Wants: Our Daily Walk Attire

Those sweet 60 minutes of outdoor freedom per day- who knew we could be so excited by the prospect of stretching our legs!

Those sweet 60 minutes of outdoor freedom per day- who knew we could be so excited by the prospect of stretching our legs! Whether you’re a loungewear lover or an advocate for getting dressed up, there’s something to be said for putting on an outfit that makes you feel comfortable and confident in times of need. From leggings to denim, bucket hats to gold hoops, this weeks selection has something for everyone.

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TEAM ZOELLA APRIL 25, 2020

Our First Weekend Of Freedom…

We’re daydreaming about life after lockdown and that first weekend of freedom; the first real-life hug with mum, the first cold pint, eating at our favourite restaurants again, seeing our colleagues every day as we head back to the office, watching the football or jumping on a plane.

No one’s certain when the coronavirus outbreak measures will be relaxed or officially lifted but at a time like this, a little reverie can go a long way in helping us stay positive and to remind us that however heavy this pandemic feels on our hearts and our minds at the moment, it is temporary and we will get through it. This too shall pass!

Until then, we’re daydreaming about life after lockdown and that first weekend of freedom; the first real-life hug with mum, the first cold pint, eating at our favourite restaurants again, seeing our colleagues every day as we head back to the office, watching the football or jumping on a plane. What are you looking forward to once all this is over?

Darcey says…

I can’t even begin to explain how excited I am for this first weekend! I will be definitely using a large wedge of this time seeing family that I haven’t been able to see since lockdown. My dad also recently got a new puppy and I’ve been desperately waiting to meet it.

I will be most definitely going for brunch, oh how I’ve missed fancy smashed avocado on toast and an oat latte in a crowded cafe. I need to visit a beer garden too and have that first cold pint. Even if it’s raining, I don’t care, I’ll be there.

I, of course, want to see all of my friends, I feel a big night out pending, I think the whole of Brighton will be out that weekend! I will be eating a Nandos at some point too, that’s for sure, a Zizi’s as well.

I have missed going to restaurants a lot, my bank account probably doesn’t feel the same!

Danielle says…

I’m a bit of a realist so when I think about my first weekend of freedom I’m fully aware it won’t be business as usual with every pub, club and restaurant flinging open its doors and guiding me in, however for the sake of fun I’m going to approach this as if I can do whatever the hell I want! For starters, I’ll definitely be seeing my immediate family and having all the snuggles and cuddles I possibly can. I honestly think I’ll probably cry a lot, for some reason I can just imagine it all being very emotional. I’m about to miss out on my hen-do with all my friends so having a night out dancing with all of them is mandatory and I’ll probably be hungover for a week after. In an ideal world, a meal at Flat Iron would be in there, it’s my favourite restaurant and the thing I’ve been craving the most! We were also supposed to go to Cornwall for the Easter holiday so I can’t wait to head there as soon as we can and see all my family, eat fish and chips, breathe in cornish air, and play cards in pubs. Lastly, I cant wait for my dog Milo to see all his doggie friends and have a proper play as I’m sure he’s just as bored as we are!

Maddie says…

Like everyone else, I’m really missing my friends and family the most right now. We’re so lucky that we have the technology to be able to facetime and call loved ones but nothing beats a big bear hug with your favourite people. I’m currently in lockdown with my husband as well as my parents because we’re living with them at the moment while our house is being built but I can’t wait to hug everyone else that I love the second we’re allowed to, especially my little nieces. As soon as possible we will head down to Cornwall to see our family there and spend some time with them as we really missed not being able to go down there at Easter. I love going out for brunch so I’d also make sure I schedule a brunch date with all of my best friends, I think that will be the moment that life will start to feel normal again.

Zoe says…

Probably echoing everyone else here, but the first thing I want to do is embrace and squeeze everyone I love. I’m a very tactile person, so have really missed that interaction with the people I’m closest to. One thing isolation has also taught me was that as much as I’m a “home comforts” kind of girl, and have spent so long feeling anxious of restaurants and social spaces and turning things down (although not so much in recent years), I don’t think I’ll ever take them for granted again. I’ve never been so excited to “nip out for breakfast” or “meet in a pub garden” or “go out for dinner” or even wander through the streets of London! (I KNOW, WHO EVEN AM I?). It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Wagamama, and I’m not going to lie…i’ve thought about their katsu curry almost every day, so I know exactly where I’ll be going the minute they re-open their doors. I’ve also missed the beach so much! It’s not within walking distance for me, so hasn’t been somewhere I can go on my daily exercise and on some of the more sunny days, I’ve really wished I could go. I can’t wait to go on my first picnic of the year, and watch the sunset from devils dyke! I think I can just about squeeze all those things into one weekend right? 😉

Charlotte says…

WHAT a weekend this will be- so many people to see and places to be! I feel like for me it’s going to be centred almost entirely around eating, drinking and seeing as many familiar faces as I can squeeze into 48 hours. I’m used to being in a long-distance relationship with my boyf but we’ve never been longer than about a month without seeing each other so lockdown has felt like an eternity at times. I can’t wait to put on an outfit that makes me feel 10/10, go for a walk and sit down in a public place just because I CAN, pop some Prosecco on the beach and overindulge on everything delicious. I feel like we need an honorary Bank Holiday to fit everything in tbh …

Lareese says…

I think I’ll be keeping things really simple making up for lost time by jumping straight in the car and going to see my family and friends. I have a young niece and nephew that I see every week without fail so I’ve missed getting in my regular cuddles with them. Maybe a nice pub lunch in the sunshine or a walk along the beach with an ice cream in hand. I sense my friends are going to want to mark the occasion with some kind of boozy shindig to celebrate too. I can already feel the hangover coming on! I might also start working on our hallway renovation… but don’t hold me to that. I’m a slow renovator.

TEAM ZOELLA APRIL 24, 2020

We Tried: Self Isolation Beauty Experiments

We might not be able to see our beloved hairdressers or indulge in a gel manicure for now but good maintenance CAN be done from the comfort of our own homes thanks to these DIY beauty hacks.

Anyone with roots down to their ear lobes and brows with their own postcode right now, say aye! At this point, we’re all looking pretty feral but hey, we’re in this together and we’re still sassy and fabulous, albeit a bit bushy ‘n’ rugged.

We might not be able to see our beloved hairdressers or indulge in a gel manicure for now but good maintenance CAN be done from the comfort of our own homes thanks to these DIY beauty hacks. From avocado face masks to bouncy blow dries, here’s the do-it-yourself beauty we’re trying out during lockdown.

Charlotte: At-home facial

My skin has been looking, shall we say, a little lacklustre since lockdown began, so a thorough pamper was definitely needed to add some life back into my complexion. I started my ‘at home facial’ by cleansing with my trusty Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser. The formula is super gentle and has a lovely cooling effect which was great to prep the skin. I then boiled the kettle and filled my sink with the hot water and some sprigs of parsley which is great for the skin as it acts as a natural astringent to draw toxins and impurities out of pores. I let the steam do its thing for about 10 minutes and when you come to lift your head up you feel cleansed and pampered to the max- sauna style! Whilst my skin was damp and my pores open, I lightly exfoliated with the Origins GinZing Scrub Cleanser to combat dry patches and remove any dirt that has been drawn out and now sitting at a surface level of the skin. Finally, I spritzed my skin generously with the Mario Badescu Rosewater Facial Spritz (so refreshing!) and let my skin soak up its toning and balancing goodness. I feel like I’ve finally found an ‘at home’ routine that gives my skin a deep cleanse reminiscent of a spa-worthy facial!

Lareese: Homemade face mask

My skin is either on its best behaviour like a sweet Royal tot or the devil child, there is no in-between right now. In a bid to keep it on my side during lockdown, I, like the rest of the nation, have turned into a serial face masker. I’ve never attempted to make a homemade formula before so I was intrigued to see if this was going to actually work or just cost me a small fortune in avos and honey. First thing’s first, it can get a little messy so slip into some PJs or clothes you don’t mind getting a bit mucky and wrap a towel around your hair. The good thing about this mask is that it’s made using all-natural ingredients straight from your kitchen, so it’s nice to know exactly what you’re putting on your skin. Avocados are packed with moisturising Vitamin E, healthy fats and antioxidants while the clarifying properties in honey and lemon work to brighten the skin. I made this mask in 5 minutes using a teaspoon of fresh lemon, 2 tablespoons of honey (I used the squeezy kind but I hear the raw stuff is better for your skin) and 1/2 a crushed avo. Mix it all together in a bowl and apply it with your fingers or if you want a spa-like experience, use a brush. Much zen! I left it on for 15 minutes and removed with warm water and a flannel. If you’re particularly prone to breakouts you can try adding a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar too, and if you fancy making an exfoliating mask, simply add some rolled oats. It’s a great natural mask that can be tailored for your needs and it definitely made my dull complexion brighter. Verdict: will be doing on a weekly basis.

Danielle: Revlon one step blow-dry

I’ve actually hated my hair for possibly the last year. It’s the last thing I think about and I much prefer making an effort with my makeup and clothes and worrying about hair last. I think it’s because I had it cut short about a year ago and it just didn’t suit me as I wanted it to. However, it’s grown much longer and I finally decided to pop a new hair tool on my birthday wish list after seeing it go somewhat viral on Tik Tok classic me. Luckily my Amazon wish was fulfilled by my sister and I got to try out the Revlon one-step hair dryer and volumiser. The product is billed as a wet to dry tool that gives you an at-home blow-dry look quickly, basically all of the components to bring music to my lazy girl ears. I absolutely do not try and give myself the at-home blow-dry look myself, I don’t even own a barrel brush so I was worried I wouldn’t understand how to use it but that couldn’t have been further from the truth! It’s super easy to use and I can style my hair from soaking wet to sleek sassy and bouncy within about twenty minutes. I actually look forward to doing my hair now and LOVE the results, I even ended up getting on for my Mum because I’m such a believer. 10/10 would highly recommend!

Darcey: Skincare and jade roller

I love experimenting with new skincare products and finding the best options for me, price-wise and effectiveness wise! About a month ago I bought some of the CeraVe products as I had seen a looooot about them online and every skincare guru I followed was talking about them. I decided to try out their foaming cleanser, moisturising lotion and eye repair cream. I’ve also always wanted to dabble in using a jade roller so purchased one from Revolution and thought I’d give that a go too. I introduced every product one by one, to reduce the risk of breaking out and then having no idea which product my skin didn’t like. After a month of using all the products (more around three weeks for the moisturiser and cleanser) I have really been enjoying them. The cleanser is great and foams which I really missed from my old cleanser, my skin has been way less oily too which is great! But one thing that really stands out is how much it has reduced the redness on my face, more than likely due to the niacinamide in it. I was already using some in my skincare but I think this extra push has really made a difference. The CeraVe moisturiser is lovely and really conditions the skin, I have only been using it in the evening but I wake up with a lovely glow. Now with the eye cream, I’m unsure how much it has helped with my dark circles. I’ve not been sleeping as great so it’s hard to tell if the product is working but my lack of sleep isn’t helping haha! But it definitely has helped my under eye feel more moisturised and soft. Lastly, but by no means least is the jade roller. This is by far my favourite product! I can spot from looking at my before and after picture that it has really helped de-puff my face. I have been using it morning and night religiously for a month and I’m super impressed with the results! It may only be small, but I can definitely notice somewhat of a difference.

Maddie: Foot mask

Quick disclaimer, this is not a glamorous process and I am about to speak about my feet. You have been warned. This foot peeling product has been sitting in my cupboard collecting dust ever since my mum brought it back from her trip to Japan last year. I’d heard about them but it just made me feel a bit grossed out to tell you the truth and I was quite sceptical about the whole thing in general. It also requires a lot of time which isn’t something I had to spare in abundance…until now. Inside the pack were two little plastic slippers for want of a better reference. You peel them open, pop your freshly washed feet in and wait for at least 90minutes. Once I removed the socks I immediately washed my feet thoroughly as instructed and went about my day as normal not seeing any immediate effects whatsoever. I was convinced it wasn’t going to work until the next day after getting out of the shower I noticed my skin on my feet was starting to peel. The hardest thing was not being tempted to scrub my feet once I started to notice this, they specifically say you should wait for the skin to peel away naturally. It’s been a week now and I have to say I’m so impressed, my feet feel so smooth and soft with no hard skin left at all. I would definitely do it again and highly recommend it as a treatment to get your feet ready for sandal season.

Will you be trying any isolation beauty experiments?

TEAM ZOELLA APRIL 23, 2020

The Fuss-Free Recipes To Make In Lockdown

As we face a long haul in isolation, now seems like a good time to test out some new recipes, because there are only so many nights of beans on toast a girl can handle.

As we face a long haul in isolation, now seems like a good time to test out some new recipes, because there are only so many nights of beans on toast a girl can handle. From the simple store cupboard staples to the ultimate comfort food, here’s what we’re going to whip up in the kitchen while we’re on lockdown.

What recipes have you loved whipping up in the kitchen during lockdown?

TEAM ZOELLA APRIL 22, 2020

The Little Steps We Can All Make To Honour Earth Day, Every Day

Today might be called ‘Earth Day’ but in truth, every day is Earth Day when there’s a planet to protect.

Today might be called ‘Earth Day’ but in truth, every day is Earth Day when there’s a planet to protect. First launched in 1970 as a way to teach environmental awareness, the annual celebration and call to action is now in its 50th year and thought to be the largest secular observance in the world.

We spoke to some of our favourite slow living influencers to get their best advice on how we can lead a more conscious lifestyle. Now, as nature seems especially far away and rationed for our daily walks, Earth Day is a timely reminder to look at the ways we live our lives and consider the alternatives. Whether it’s switching to a reusable coffee cup or buying organic produce, we can all change our habits for the better and find little ways to make a big difference.

Fiona – @Fionaannal

What are your top tips for anyone trying to become more sustainable during the current climate?

When supermarket trips are limited, and popping out for the odd box of eggs or bag of spinach isn’t essential, I believe it’s now more important than ever to carefully plan our meals. By thinking ahead, it will also make less waste (refuge collection may be reduced at this time so this will also help limit excess odours from food waste). Be considered with your choice of ingredients: if your recipe calls for half an aubergine, plan another meal for the next day to use up the other half, thus making another meal and again, generating less waste.

With that in mind, my next tip would be to make full use of your freezer! Be mindful of what can be frozen. Also be sure to divide any leftovers into portions (use foodbags, old takeaway tubs, Tupperware boxes), label with contents and the date, I write directly on with a sharpie. A quick google search will help with freezing times but they should see you through lockdown! Again, pay special heed to use-by dates on your fresh produce and use these first. It’s worth remembering that best before dates are for guidance – dried apricots that were best before July 2019, are still going in my porridge! 

What is your go-to sustainably sourced recipe?

Welfare standards in the UK mean that British beef is produced to the highest quality

We’re fortunate here in the UK to have access to some of the best and most environmentally sustainable beef in the world. Welfare standards in the UK mean that British beef is produced to the highest quality and farmed environmentally given the predominately grass-fed nature of their rearing. 

A family favourite in our house is a slow-cooked British beef casserole with cheese and chive dumplings, seasonal veg and potatoes. 

What is the best bit of eco-friendly advice you’ve ever had?

To recycle. It’s attainable for all. Local councils will have recycling bins and collections. I know that some councils have closed these facilities for the time being (ours have) but most recycling can be rinsed out, squashed and flattened and although these acts may take a little bit of time (which some of us have in abundance just now!)

I think it’s also a really important life lesson for our children to see us recycle too

I still believe it’s important if we can continue to do our bit. By making our recycling as small as possible, it takes up less room until our recycling centres open again. I think it’s also a really important life lesson for our children to see us recycle too, even at times of huge change: it becomes an integral part of our everyday life.

What is your top swap for people to make in their everyday lives?

It’s a super simple one – ditch the one use wipes in favour of cloths that can be washed with your clothes washing! Wipes may be harder to come by just now, and are an extra added expense – nows the time to switch!  

Find Fiona on Instagram here.

Katrien – @Growingwildthings

What are your top tips for anyone trying to become more sustainable during the current climate?

Reduce & Re-use! • Whenever you are at the point of buying something, {whether in a shop or online}, make it a point to ask yourself: “Do I really need this?”… If the answer is “Yes”, then ask yourself “Is this the most sustainable option?” Very often we convince ourselves that we “need” this or that… but if we push ourselves to make conscious decisions about what we purchase, then that can make a huge difference for the future of our beautiful planet, and our budgets as well.

What is your go-to sustainably sourced recipe?

Oh that’s an easy one! Stinging nettle soup with coconut cream! All throughout the growing season, I collect the tender tips of the stinging nettles that grow in abundance around our windy farmhouse.

Stinging beetles are a true superfood, packed with nutrients such as iron and calcium

Stinging nettles are a true superfood, packed with nutrients such as iron and calcium, and you can use them in any dish that you would otherwise use spinach for. I mostly store them dried in glass jars to be used for the rest of the year in fresh pasta dishes, nettle frittatas, and our go-to coconut-nettle soup!

What is the best bit of eco-friendly advice you’ve ever had?

“Use what you have!” Whether it comes to basic needs or luxury goods, to make do with what we have is always going to be our most sustainable choice! And if we really can’t avoid getting something new, then we make an effort to choose wisely, and to make it last…

What is your top swap for people to make in their everyday lives?

People often tend to forget that there is incredible potential for change in the little things. A few years ago we took the decision not to buy anything that was designed for single-use, and ever since we have been using easy to find, sustainable options.

At first glance they are nothing but small gestures in our everyday life

Personally I love washing and ironing our stacks of thrifted {often beautifully embroidered} cloth napkins and handkerchiefs, going to the grocery shop armed with our re-usable mesh drawstring bags for vegetables or other unpackaged foods such as nuts or pasta, or wrapping that freshly cut homemade rye bread in a piece of beeswax wrap… At first glance they are nothing but small gestures in our everyday life; little things that bring me great joy, but in the long run they become part of an enormous shift!

Melanie – @Geoffreyandgrace

What are your top tips for anyone trying to become more sustainable during the current climate?

One way to become more sustainable is to reuse and restore things, and make the most out of things we already own. Really wear out things and remember items can always be repaired.

Instead of buying something new, you can always get creative and try to make what you need from scratch.

Currently, we all have a bit more time at home on our hands, which provides us with the perfect opportunity for a spot of DIY and to have a go at fixing something. Instead of buying something new, you can always get creative and try to make what you need from scratch.

With the surge in panic buying we have all had to get skilled at making the most of what we have when it comes to using up cooking ingredients, and that “make do and mend” mindset is very useful when living more sustainably and can be applied to all aspects of our lifestyle. 

What is your go-to sustainably sourced recipe?

One of my favourite things to cook is a vegetable goulash in our slow cooker. All the ingredients for the goulash are fresh vegetables from our local greengrocer, who in turn uses local farms. This way there is no packaging waste and because everything is locally sourced there is minimal transportation. Especially at the moment when many of us are busy homeschooling, it’s wonderful to get to teatime and know that all the hard work has been done and the goulash has been slowly getting tastier all day.

What is the best bit of eco-friendly advice you’ve ever had?

To be empowered by the small daily changes we can make to our lives. The little things we do as individuals can add up to make a big difference. There are lots of simple everyday changes we can make that don’t take a big commitment of our time or resources. Things like walking the kids to school instead of driving, making sure we stop using single-use plastics or swapping our deodorant for an eco-friendly alternative.

What is your top swap for people to make in their everyday lives?

Really think about the things you buy. We can drastically reduce how much we consume if we buy less and choose well. By becoming a conscious consumer you can aim to buy things that are well-made and therefore will last longer. Especially when it comes to clothes and fashion, try to avoid trend-driven items, that you are likely to go off when they go out of style. 

By understanding that resources are finite and that our actions have consequences, for everyone and our planet’s well-being

As consumers, we need to ask the important questions, like “How can this piece of clothing be made at such a low cost?” and “Do I really need another pair of shoes?” By understanding that resources are finite and that our actions have consequences, for everyone and our planet’s well-being, the context of how we buy things is suddenly very different, and of course, influences the choices we make as consumers. 

You can find more details on sustainable living in my new book Seeking Slow.

Find Melanie on Instagram here.

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