TEAM ZOELLA MAY 31, 2020

Weekly Wants: Never Fully Dressed Takeover

We're super excited to be teaming up with one of our favourite brands; Never Fully Dressed for a Weekly Wants takeover AND a giveaway.

We’re super excited to be teaming up with one of our favourite brands; Never Fully Dressed for a Weekly Wants takeover AND a giveaway. NFD pride themselves on how versatile their garments can be so we put them to the test, each styling an outfit of our own.

If you fancy snapping up some Never Fully Dressed pieces you’re in luck as we’re giving away a £500 voucher over on our Instagram, click here to enter!

Enter our £500 Never Fully Dressed giveaway on Instagram here!

TEAM ZOELLA MAY 30, 2020

Good Vibrations! An Introduction To Crystal Healing & Manifesting Your Goals

Praised for their innumerable cosmic health benefits, crystals have become the trendiest stone to have in your handbag and your home. In short dear reader, they rock.

Never mind sexual healing, crystal healing is where it’s at! The holistic therapy is having a moment and let’s just say, we’re definitely attracted to the good vibrations.

We’re definitely attracted to the good vibrations.

Praised for their innumerable cosmic health benefits, crystals have become the trendiest stone to have in your handbag and your home. In short dear reader, they rock.

Here, we explore the natural superpower of those otherworldly stones and how to make the most of their healing energy.

Energy vampires, you can’t sit with us…

History and origins

Ancient civilisations used crystals as protective talisman and peace offerings. The ancient Egyptians used crystals like lapis lazuli, carnelian, turquoise, clear quartz, and emerald in their amulets and jewellery for health and protection, whilst jade was the favoured stone in Ancient China and is still revered today.

In the Renaissance period in Europe, healing crystals and precious stones were used alongside herbal remedies to heal the sick. So in terms of historical healing power, they go way back.

What is crystal healing?

When worn close to the skin or placed throughout your home on your windowsill and bedside table, crystals can act as a channel for healing, drawing out negative energy and cleansing your chakras by inviting positivity and mindfulness into your life.

A beginner’s guide to essential crystals

Each crystal has its own unique energetic properties and vibrational power according to its shape, colour and mineral content.

Amethyst – enhances intuition, calms the mind and encourages us to tap into the higher planes of existence.

Clear quartz – known as the master healer, it regulates energy and aids concentration and awareness.

Rose quartz – known as the ‘love crystal’, it’s used to promote emotional wellbeing, self-love and compassion. Use it to balance your heart chakra, protect relationships and encourage connection.

Iron pyrite – deters negative energy and boosts self-worth.

Tiger’s eye – the stone of sun and earth focuses the mind and promotes mental clarity.

Jade – a symbol of serenity and purity, it soothes the mind and encourages harmony.

Citrine – associated with creativity and personal power, citrine is considered one of the most powerful stones for manifestation. Citrine also promotes motivation and optimism.

Selenite – Instils deep peace and clarity of thought.

Choosing your crystals

Once you know the basics, let your intuition guide you. Crystal experts say you don’t choose the crystal, it chooses you, so listen to your gut. When you’re drawn to a certain stone, it means it resonates with your healing needs.

How to cleanse your crystals

To get the most out of your crystals, you will need to charge and remove any stale or congested energy once a week. There are a few different ways to cleanse them:

  • Return them to the earth (soil) to recharge for a week
  • Burn a smudge stick to purify the air around them
  • Leave them to charge in the moonlight for three days before and three days after a full moon, this is when the moon is at its brightest and most powerful
  • Cleanse them with salt water to purify negative energy (not suitable for stones that can’t get wet such as amber and turquoise).

Manifest your goals

Thoughts create vibrations and vibrations = energy. Contemplate your intentions, connect with your goals and explore the areas of your life that you want to nurture.

Command your crystals

Once you have your crystals, it’s important to give them a purpose. They want to be used! Hold your crystals in your hand and reflect on the earth, your life and what makes you happy. Aloud or in your head (whatever you’re most comfortable with) say, ‘I command this crystal to hold the intention of…’ and choose three intentions. Finish the ritual by saying thank you. The crystals are now energised with your intentions and goals.

Best of healing beauty

If you’re looking for a way to incorporate crystal healing into your life that doesn’t involve carrying a lump of rose quartz in your pocket, get your cosmic fix with our edit of gemstone infused beauty & lifestyle products. Cleanse your chakras and your pores!

*This post contains ad-affiliate links

TEAM ZOELLA MAY 29, 2020

The Art Of Self-Portrait: How To Shoot Photos Of Yourself

There’s no denying that self-portraiture takes time and patience but it’s a great way to get creative with your photography and challenge yourself.

There’s no denying that self-portraiture takes time and patience but it’s a great way to get creative with your photography and challenge yourself.

Despite the softening of lockdown measures, many of us are still restricted to shooting and styling our own content from home or whilst out on our socially-distanced walks, so now’s a good opportunity to build your confidence and get familiar with shooting self-portrait.

We’ve pulled together a few fail-safe tips to help you capture your best self(ie). Ready for your close-up?

Tool-kit essentials

To get the best results, use a tripod (camera or phone) with wireless remote shutter or self-timer, shop our top pick here. If you haven’t got a tripod, you can also use the front-facing camera on your phone on self-timer mode, propped up against a bookshelf or a ledge. Use burst mode and move slowly to get a variety of angles/poses to choose from.

You can also try using the portrait mode on iPhone, or a low F-Stop (4 – 5.6) to achieve a lovely blurry background in your photos.

Shoot with natural light

When shooting indoors, position yourself by a window, ideally with the light source directly in front of you. If you’re outside avoid harsh direct sunlight and instead head for shade or wait for some cloud cover to avoid squinting into the sun.

If you’re shooting around your house, find some interesting shadows on walls and experiment with their shapes. Wine glass and flower shadows always make for a great photo.

Golden hour is every photographer’s dream – if you’re after that beautiful soft dreamlike glow, get outside with your camera a few hours before sunset. It’s basically magic.

Focus on a feature

You don’t always have to get your whole body in frame when you’re shooting self-portrait. The real beauty of self-portrait is in capturing your true ‘self’ and our hands and eyes are the best storytellers.

Try standing relatively close to the camera and reaching out a hand towards the lens for an arty editorial vibe or shoot a close up of your eye looking straight into the lens. You can then make a 9 x9 collage of your self-portrait best bits – a little bit of you in each square.

Another tip is to place a small mirror on the bed and capture a detail such as a necklace or a frilly sleeve.

Use props

Awkward hands? No problem. If you’re finding it hard to know what to do with your hands in your photos, holding a prop can help keep them occupied. Magazines, a bag, a bouquet of flowers, a cup of coffee or a beauty product – the world’s your oyster.

Top tip: never underestimate the power of a plain white sheet, a backdrop stand and a tripod, my friends. If you haven’t got an abundance of plain walls in your home, this is a great alternative and it just so happens to look very fashun editorial, too.

You can use all kinds of items around your home for backdrops and setting props. Here’s a few of our go-tos:

  • Plain walls
  • Curtains
  • Bed sheets
  • Plants / dried flowers
  • Vases
  • Chair / stool
  • Books

Shoot nice and early

Lockdown or not, shooting at peak time with lots of people and busy streets to navigate can be tricky. Make your life easier by shooting first thing in the morning or later in the evening during golden hour. Quiet locations often make for the best spots for self-portraiture. Go and explore and enjoy the calm before the rest of the world wakes up.

Consider the colours of your photos

What colours will you be wearing and how will these complement or contrast your backdrop? Wearing a bright orange raincoat in a green forest setting can look much more effective than wearing brown or green in the same setting, for example.

Shoot your reflection

Shooting directly into a mirror to capture your reflection can create a beautiful self-portrait. It also looks pretty cool to have your camera or phone in shot. Experiment with other reflective surfaces like puddles and windows, or use natural light to shoot your shadow form.

Image Credit: Pinterest

Try black and white

Removing colour from your self-portrait will dial up the drama in your composition and heighten mood and emotion. It’s particularly effective when you have a photo with a strong contrast of light and dark. If you think about wedding photography, for example, the white of the bride’s dress pops when set against a dense forest or a dark and atmospheric church venue. Play with the contrast and shadow in post-production when you’re editing to make the black and white edit really stand out.

Play with angles

Self-portrait doesn’t always have to mean shooting front-on at eye level. Change the perspective by shooting from above or below and start to create a visual story.

Top tip: Put your phone on self-timer and tape a cereal box to your ceiling to hold your phone for the perfect from above photo. Et voila!

Add texture and character to your photos

Images captured on a film camera have a beautiful raw texture, but you don’t need to be a film photography whizz to achieve that retro look in your photos. Whether your portraits are colourful or B&W, you can recreate the nostalgic film effect by adding grain (it might be under ‘texture’ or ‘detail’ in your editing app). You can also play with saturation to make your self-portrait to look less vibrant and more tonal and timeworn. Try shooting through sheer fabric and lace to create hazy, ethereal self-portraits, too!

Image Credit: Whitley Isa

Don’t be afraid of movement

Your self-portrait doesn’t always have to be perfectly sharp and in focus – sometimes blur and movement make for the best photos. Bring on the bloopers!

Maximise your shoot

Since you’ve got your camera and tripod all set up, utilise this time to capture multiple looks or visuals in one session.

Editing

There are a variety of editing apps ready to download and use from your phone. From fixing skewed images, creating vignette, sharpening and brightening, the best way to get to know what each of the editing tools does is by having a play around. You can also find a preset you love and use it to help curate your Instagram feed with beautiful cohesive imagery.

Here are a few of our favourite editing apps:

Lightroom
VSCO
Snapseed
A Color Story

Curate your unique visual story

After you’ve shot and edited your self-portrait, you might want to share it on your Instagram feed, stories or your Pinterest board. You can craft your own unique visual story by experimenting with hundreds of creative templates, custom brushes, fonts and layouts using Template app. From film strips to paint splashes and worn scrapbooks, elevate your portraits with a cohesive aesthetic and design.

Image Credit: Pinterest

Are you going to have a go at shooting self-portrait? Let us know how you get on!

TEAM ZOELLA MAY 28, 2020

The Bougie Vegan Bourbon & Oreo Brownie Recipe You Need To Make ASAP

Oreo, good. Bourbon, good. Brownies, GOOD. It’s a triple threat situation and we want it in and around our mouths quicker than you can say Bruce Bogtrotter.

Oreo, good. Bourbon, good. Brownies, GOOD. It’s a triple threat situation and we want it in and around our mouths quicker than you can say Bruce Bogtrotter.

Double up on your batches, betches!

Dunking biscuits in tea? Yawn! This Bourbon and Oreo brownie hybrid is the only way to eat the nation’s favourite biccies. So double up on your batches, betches – lockdown pudding just levelled up.

SERVES 8
PREP: 30 MINS COOK: 30 MINS
EASY

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees, then create a bain-marie by filling a small saucepan halfway with water to simmer.

Place a heatproof bowl on top of the saucepan, making sure the bottom isn’t touching the water, then break up your chocolate into the bowl and let it melt over a low heat.

Whilst the chocolate is melting, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and cocoa into a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.

Add the oil, milk and vanilla into the dry mix and whisk until just combined, then pour in the melted chocolate.

Crumble in a few biscuits, mix again until just combined making sure there is no dry mix around the sides or bottom of the bowl then pour into a lined tin.

Scatter the remaining Bourbon and Oreo biscuits over the top. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let the brownie cool completely before removing from the tin and cutting into thick glorious slices. Serve/ smash the whole lot. This is lockdown guys, we’re stepping it up.

TEAM ZOELLA MAY 27, 2020

How To Be A Good Houseplant Mum

Suffice to say, the houseplant trend is going nowhere fast and we’re mighty glad about that because, well, life is better with plants.

Suffice to say, the houseplant trend is going nowhere fast and we’re mighty glad about that because, well, life is better with plants.
They make our homes brighter and greener and our air cleaner just by existing, and all we have to do is just, you know, keep them alive. Easier said than done!

With so many glorious types to choose from, you’re bound to come across some species that are slightly trickier to care for than your average low maintenance succulent. Boston ferns, what did we ever do to you?

If, like us, you’re a serial plant slayer, here’s your chance to turn a new leaf and be the good plant mum you were always destined to be. Here’s our essential guide to caring for your precious leaf babies.

Overwatering is just as bad as under-watering

The biggest plant crime = Overwatering. Killing them with kindness until they die a slow root rot death. Sound familiar?

Every plant has different water requirements – succulents like to get bone dry between each watering while ferns prefer permanently moist soil conditions, so get to know your plant’s individual needs and tailor your care for each of them.

You can check if your plant needs watering by placing your fingertip into the top 2 inches of soil. If it’s dry and crumbly, it’s definitely time for a good shower. You can also invest in a probe tool to measure the soil condition accurately or simply pick up the plant and weigh it by hand. If it feels light, it needs a drink! Purchase your probe tool here.

Find its happy place

Try shuffling your plants around the house to find the best light to suit their needs. You might picture your plant trailing a bookshelf somewhere, or hanging in a windowless bathroom, but you’ll have to get used to letting your plant dictate where it wants to put down roots. Like an unruly toddler, they know their own mind. Make your peace with that.

Make sure there’s enough light

Some plants love strong direct sun, while others will be happiest with bright morning light and some shade. But what does all that actually mean?

Direct sun means ideally within 2ft of a south-facing window, while bright indirect light is 4-5ft away from an east or west-facing window. If your plant becomes ‘leggy’, stops growing, or the leaves turn yellow, it’s likely not getting enough light. And if your plant’s leaves are browning, curling or appear dry and brittle, then they’re getting too much of a good thing.

Pay attention to any changes

If your plant isn’t a happy bunny, it will soon let you know. Keep an eye on the leaves, feel the soil, check how much sun it’s getting – it’s a full time job but if you care for them properly, you’ll be able to enjoy them in your home for longer.

Beware of heaters and draughts

Keep your plants away from radiators, doors and draughty windows. House plants don’t like to be too cold or too hot, they’re like Goldilocks. They want their conditions to be ‘just right’.

Give them a snack

To top up their soil nutrients, pamper your plants with a healthy dose of fertiliser throughout growing season (March – September). You can buy houseplant food from most supermarkets and garden centres.

Adapt with the seasons

Scale back your feeding and watering in the Winter months. Much like humans, plants slow down in the colder months when they’re no longer actively growing.

Keep the dust away

Dust can block light and harbour insects. Keep leafy plants clean and dust-free by using a damp cloth and gently removing the dust or place the whole plant in the shower and rinse. This is a good way to remove pests such as spider mites and mealybugs. If your plant has an ongoing problem with pests, quarantine the plant, buy a spray treatment and continue to use regularly until the bugs are gone. Purchase your spray treatment here.

Repot when necessary

Most houseplants will come already potted with drainage holes and as a general rule of thumb, this will keep them happy for a year or two. Some variations such as Ficus, Peace Lily and Ferns prefer to be slightly pot-bound but even they will need re-potting eventually.

There’s a few tell-tale signs of a root bound plant to look out for. One of the most obvious signs is roots growing through the drainage holes at the bottom. Turn the pot over and inspect the bottom, you may need to gently remove the pot to get a closer look. If you see a mass of pale roots in the shape of the pot wrapped around the plant, it’s time for action. Give the plant a good watering the day before repotting to reduce stress and make the root workable.

Mist with caution

Aha, misting – the most controversial topic among plant parents! Certain houseplants enjoy a gentle misting but take heed, it’s not suitable for all types. Some are susceptible to bacterial and fungal infections when their foliage is exposed to too much water but tropical houseplants such as Palms and Ferns love high humidity and will thrive with a light morning mist.

The air in our homes is generally dry, so misting is a simple and effective way to boost humidity. You can also group several plants together in close proximity to increase air moisture.

Avoid a soggy bottom

Plants hate having wet feet, which is why most pots have drainage holes to prevent root rot. If in doubt, water your plants in the shower like one big drunken forest orgy. After you’ve given them a good drink, leave them to drain for at least an hour before popping them back in their pots.

Keep your plants hydrated while you’re away

If you’re going on holiday and haven’t nominated a family member to keep an eye on your beloved plant babies, these self-watering globes ensure your plant takes water gradually and only when needed for up to two weeks. Genius!

Plants for beginners

These easy-going plants are a good entry point for any first-time plant mums.

Golden Pothos (Epipremnum Aureum)
Snake plant (Mother-in-Law’s Tongue)
Cacti
Succulents
Spider plant (Chlorophytum)
Dracaena

What’s your favourite house plant? Let us know in the comments below!

TEAM ZOELLA MAY 26, 2020

13 Questions With Gina Martin

Gina Martin is most commonly known for being the girl that made upskirting illegal, but her talents haven't stopped there. Find out what she's working on now and what activism looks like in lockdown.

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

I’ve actually only just got into some sort of groove. I was positive for the first two weeks and then coronavirus affected my family and I basically didn’t move from my bed or the sofa for a month. I was overwhelmed. I still am, but now I’m getting back to work (at my little corner desk) and managing to get moving each day with a walk or a workout. It’s still ups and downs though… and I still haven’t put jeans on yet!

Tell us about some of the work you do

I work as a writer, broadcaster and campaigner. I do a lot of speaking at events and with industries – truth to power stuff on gender equality and pushing against the establishment – and I contribute to BBC Radio 5 Live with my slot Gina’s Gamechangers. I’m also an ambassador for UN WomenUK. I work to show ordinary people like me that you can change things if you feel injustice. The main issues I talk around are gender equality, white privilege and human rights. I want to make politics and the conversation around it more accessible to people because it’s so bloody complex and gatekept.

A lot of people will know you as being the woman who got upskirting made illegal, how did it all come about?

Ah yes! I am the upskirting girl and proud of it! I was working in an ad agency in London when I was upskirted in 2017 at British Summertime Festival and after handing the guys, and the picture, into the police I was told there was nothing I could do. So, I launched a two-year legal battle with the Government and my lawyer Ryan and we changed the law in April 2019.

We love your book Be the Change, tell us all about it!

When I first thought about kicking up a stink about upskirting not being a Sexual Offence I googled “how do you change a law?” And literally nothing came up (surprise, surprise!). I realised I was going to have to figure it out on my own and thankfully I managed to, but everything you read on politics and law and campaigning is so dry and complex and full of jargon. So, I decided to write the book I had needed back at the beginning when I had no idea what I was doing. I packed it full of all the things I learnt – everything from using social media for campaigns to public speaking to doing TV interviews to writing a press release. It’s all in there. And it’s all accessibly written and easy to understand! Order Be the Change here.

What was it like to write a book and do you have any advice for someone who wants to write one?

It was amazing but stressful – I was on a tight deadline. I wrote my book in two months as the law was about to change and I was encouraged to release it right after that happened. That worked out though as I was able to write it fairly fast as I was basically collating all this info I’d learnt in the last few years! My advice for a non-fiction book would be to;

A) Create a really single-minded and clear angle for it

B) Don’t try and write like you think you should – you’ll do this without noticing – but allow your tone of voice to shine through.

C) My friend Sam said to me “just get the paint on the wall and perfect it after!” And she’s right; just get the words down! You’ll have time to go over it two or three times and make it better, but the scariest thing is a blank page.

Tell us about your work with UN Women UK

I’ve looked up to them for a long time. They really wanted to work with individuals who not only cared about an issue but were already doing the work to change it. I met Claire Barnett, the Executive Director and we clicked straight away. Since then it’s basically like a big round- table where the ambassadors (me and others) learn about the work UN WomenUK are doing, consult, throw around ideas to help develop projects and then support their mission through our networks and our platforms.

For Instance, they’re launching a digital Everyday Allyship Platform which I’m really excited about, and I’m writing a piece for them and discussing how I could support it with Claire. It’s a very open and honest discourse which I love because that’s hard to find – even in this work!

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

It was, of course, changing the law. But not even because I achieved it, just because it made me so hopeful to think “so, someone who has zero political or legal experience and scraped by in school can change the law?!” It made things feel possible. That or when Annie Lennox emailed me to tell me she loves my work and then I met her and she gave me the biggest cuddle and took me over to meet her team. I literally almost wet myself I was so happy.

What are you currently working on?

Coronavirus has meant I’ve shifted my perspective a bit. I was putting a lot of energy into being on the ground with people, in rooms, speaking, having discussions and now I obviously can’t do that the same way. I’m working on some broadcast opportunities which will look at ordinary people who are pushing to change things which is very exciting.

Right now though I’m most excited about the podcast I’ve launched with my sister Stevie who is a comedian and journalist. It’s called Might Delete Later and it dives into people social media timelines like we do family photo albums, looking at embarrassing posts, big regrets and proud moments. Plus, it asks us to really think about our relationship with social media. It’s been such a joy to have a laugh and work on something where I can be silly Gina not only Gina Martin the Activist!

Who are some of your current favourite follows online?

God, how long do you have!? For learning, I love @rachel.cargle, @munroebergdorf, @mikaelaloach, @jamie_windust @ajabarber, For beautiful words, I love @charlycox1 and @quotesbychristie. For art, I adore @kellyannalondon @hillergoodspeed @weewaaz and for fashion or beauty, I go to @emilisindlev @katiejanehughes @rowisingh. There are about 10,000 more but I’ll stop myself.

What do you always carry with you?

My phone, but after that probably Weleda Skin food, Fenty beauty concealer and Ardell Stroke-A-Brow because I always have dry lips, a hormonal spot goatee and I like my brows to be bushy!

What does your perfect weekend look like?

Oh, what a gorgeous question. Well, it would start with the world being free from Coronavirus. And then my perfect weekend would be my parents and sister coming to stay. We’d wake up late, have coffee and then walk to our favourite tiny cafe and have brekkie. Maybe then we’d all go for a family walk to the park and sit in the sun, before heading home to hang around the house eating nibble bits and have naps. After, we woke up and got ready we’d go out for some red wine at a nice cosy bar and finish the day having Italian at Circolo Popolare! On the Sunday we’d wander around London for hours, grabbing food at a food market and come home to watch a movie and all get takeaway together. I’d kill to have that time with my family. We talk for hours upon hours.

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

Pasta. Not even a doubt in my mind. Any pasta. All Pasta. Pasta for brekkie, lunch and dinner. With Garlic bread. Am I allowed to add a backup and say Mexican? Because I have to give that an honourable mention – but pasta has my heart. Going to go and cook some right this second.

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

Look at your experience from the bottom up, not the top down. On everything. From where you are in the world; your rights, your privileges to personal things like your achievements and your successes. Realise you have an obligation: to do your best for other people. They need you. We all need each other. Oh, and no one can tell you you’re not the right person to make the world a better place.

Follow Gina Martin on Instagram here!

TEAM ZOELLA MAY 25, 2020

5 Of Our Favourite News Stories From Last Week

From Meryl Streep reading James and the Giant Peach to a virtual anniversary one couple will never forget, find five of our favourite news stories from last week.

Teacher’s Pets

Teacher’s like Ingeborg Meinster-Van der Duin from the Dr. H.Bavinck school in Haarlem are truly one of a kind. After missing her students so much during lockdown she decided to knit little dolls that represented each of them. From their hair colour down to their freckles, each doll is adorable, we wish we had a teacher like her.

Gaza Girl

Fajr Hmaid is a 13-year-old girl living in a shack on the Gaza strip who has taken it upon herself to start teaching young children in her area. She claims it is her dream to become a teacher and has boldly and bravely decided to help those who have been affected by schools shutting in March. She teaches English, Arabic and Math to a group of pupils that have grown from a handful to 15!

New York, New York

If you can’t visit your favourite city in the world due to the Coronavirus than make like Ed and Barbra Higgins from Norfolk and bring the city to you! The couple’s 50th Anniversary trip to the big apple was made virtual by friends and family complete with a full itinerary on the day they were supposed to fly, afternoon tea delivered to their door and virtual walking tours for all the sights they were supposed to see!

Baby Planet

Scientists have new images that suggest they could be evidence of the birth of a new planet. The European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope has observed a swirling dense disk of dust and gas with a spiralling twist seen inside. The findings could help scientists understand lots more about this universe of ours and how exoplanets come to be.

Roald Dahl Delights

Enjoy star-studded readings of Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach on YouTube! Hilarious award-winning filmmaker Taika Waititi has put together one of the most impressive casts we’ve seen -Meryl Streep included- to read the fantastic book and raise money for Partners In Health, who deliver health care to the world’s poorest places. Find 5 episodes here.

TEAM ZOELLA MAY 24, 2020

Weekly Wants: Go-To Beauty Products

Getting ready for a night out feels like a lifetime ago but that won't stop us going from 0 to 100 just for a video call with our mates.

This week the team are talking through their current go-to beauty products! From skincare to setting spray, we’ve definitely switched up what we’re reaching for, now the temperatures are rising, swapping full coverage for fake tan! Getting ready for a night out feels like a lifetime ago but that won’t stop us going from 0 to 100 just for a video call with our mates. Hands up who can’t wait for their big beauty reveal post lockdown!

Shop the post

*This post contains ad-affiliate links

TEAM ZOELLA MAY 23, 2020

Little Acts Of Kindness To Make Someone’s Day During Lockdown

It feels a lot like the world is upside down at the moment but one thing that prevails at a time like this is kindness.

It feels a lot like the world is upside down at the moment but one thing that prevails at a time like this is kindness. People are coming together, helping their elderly neighbours, making the lockdown birthday one to remember and finding new ways to stay connected, albeit from a distance.

The smallest acts of kindness and selfless good deeds can offer a much-needed pick-me-up and morale boost.

As we face further time away from our loved ones, plenty of us will be feeling like there is no end in sight, which is why the smallest acts of kindness and selfless good deeds can offer a much-needed pick-me-up and morale boost.

Though we can’t be together physically, we can show one another we’re all in this together! Here’s a few ideas to help spread a bit of joy during lockdown.

A sweet delivery

Many small and local independent businesses are still operating and now’s a great time to support them. Order some sweet treats from a bakery near you and have it delivered to your nearest and dearest. Doorstep doughnuts will make the world a brighter place!

Small card deliveries

Receiving a bit of positive post will brighten up someone’s day no end and nothing shows them you’re thinking of them quite like a beautiful hand-written note. Papier have got some blooming lovely designs, or you could always get creative and make your own.

Shop Papier

Shop Thortful

All Paper Everything also offer these plantable seeded cards – simply tear them up, pop the pieces in some soil, water and watch the wildflowers grow from your greeting card. Gifts don’t get more wholesome than that. Shop them here.

Create an ‘at home picnic’

Lay on the sandwiches, cakes and strawbs and roll out the picnic blanket in the lounge or better yet, sit on a rug – who says you can’t have a date from home? It might not be quite the same as soaking up the rays in the countryside but it’s a close second best. Plus, you haven’t got to drive anywhere so ya know, bottomless prosecco it is! (And you’ve got the added luxury of having a loo break whenever you need it, every cloud).

Make a collaborative playlist with your family

We may not be able to boogie on down together for a while but that won’t stop us from turning up the volume and pumping out the tunes. With families and friends forced to spend time apart, creating a collaborative playlist is a fun way to get everyone together from afar and discover different music tastes.

With families and friends forced to spend time apart, creating a collaborative playlist is a fun way to get everyone together

Feel free to use our team Zoella playlist template complete with daily prompts or make your own family version! From songs you loved as a teen to your guilty-pleasure jingles, you’ll have one hell of a playlist by the end of it.

Surprise zoom calls

Staying connected during lockdown not only breaks up the day but keeps your MH in check, too. Call a friend to see how they’re getting on, communicate, chat, laugh, cry – going through the motions together sure does help.

Make the pub come to you

Missing heading to your local watering hole with your pals? Turn your kitchen into a makeshift boozer with a blackboard drinks menu and pork scratchings. Invite your friends over for a virtual pub quiz and order the kebabs in. Pornstar Quarantini, anyone?

Letterbox flowers

A posy of positivity is exactly what we all need in our lives right now, especially for many of those of us who are missing the great outdoors. Bring a touch of nature to their home with some colourful scented blooms, just because! Shop Bloom & Wild.

And if house plants are more their thing, boost their happiness at home with a little leafy subscription. Shop Bloombox Club.

Cook a meal for a neighbour

Drop a homecooked meal to an elderly or vulnerable neighbour who might be struggling to get to the shops. Let them know you’re thinking of them and ask them if you can do anything to make their life easier. Even if they’re all set, the thought and the conversation will go a long way at a time like this.

A birthday treasure hunt

Lockdown birthdays don’t have to suck! Make the most of your house mate, S.O. or family member’s special day by organising a treasure hunt around the house, leaving clues to lead them to their birthday gift. If someone is self-isolating on their own on their birthday, you can do it virtually with clues that lead them from one FaceTime call to another. Get imaginative!

You could also get everyone to record a happy birthday video message and edit them all together, so they still have a way of seeing everyone they love on their birthday morning. Shop Marks & Spencer Happy Birthday Box here.

How are you practising kindness during lockdown? We’d love to hear your stories!

TEAM ZOELLA MAY 22, 2020

Blooms Made To Last: The Art Of Pressing Flowers

Whether it’s a single red rose from an important anniversary, a peony from your lockdown birthday bouquet or cow parsley stems foraged from your daily quarantine walk, this is one way to ensure your floral stories will last and last.

What better way to enjoy the beauty of flowers for years to come than by pressing and preserving them?

This is one way to ensure your floral stories will last and last.

Whether it’s a single red rose from an important anniversary, a peony from your lockdown birthday bouquet or cow parsley stems foraged from your daily quarantine walk, this is one way to ensure your floral stories will last and last.

Whilst we’re still spending a lot of time at home, this is a great way to switch off, step away from the laptop and relax with a bit of botanical meditation. Let the digital detox commence.

Choosing the right blooms

For the most colourful print, pick a flower when it’s freshly bloomed. The flower’s colour will fade as it dries so go for the most vibrant blooms if you can

Harvest flowers when they’re dry and free of moisture – damp plants are prone to mould so get them after the morning dew has dried and before the evening dew returns.

Avoid any flowers with tears or blemishes. If you’re picking them from a garden, make sure they’re free of any little bugs too.

You can also pick sentimental flowers that tell a story.

Flowers with flat buds such as roses, pansies and daisies are easier to press but if the bud is globe-shaped, cut it in half. You can also pick sentimental flowers that tell a story.

If you’re using a bulkier flower, use extra paper and card to ensure every part of the flower is being directly pressed.

Head into the woods and use fern leaves or dried grasses as well as fresh flowers – they look lovely when pressed.

Pressing Techniques

The book method

The easiest way to press flowers at home is to use a heavy book, preferably one you’re not too precious about as it might get slightly damaged or wrinkled in the pressing process.

First start by removing any low leaves from your flower. Then, place each flower between two pieces of absorbent paper (parchment paper works well) and slot them into the pages of your book. If you have multiple flowers to press, just ensure you spread these out in the book to avoid transferring moisture from one flower to another. Close the book and place a stack of books or a weighty object on top to apply pressure against the pages.

Change the blotting pages either side of the flower every three days to help prevent browning. After two – three weeks, your flowers will be pressed. Use tweezers to gently peel your flowers from the book.

The microwave method

Fold a regular piece of paper in half, position your fresh flowers on one side of the folded paper along with any leaves if you’re using foliage, too. Once your flowers are laying nice and flat, take a sheet of kitchen roll and gently place it on top of your flowers, then fold the other side of the paper over the paper towel. Place it in the microwave with a heavy casserole dish on top and heat for 30 – 60 seconds. Gently remove the paper towel and carefully lift your flowers off the paper. You can also use a piece of folded parchment paper instead – no kitchen roll required.

The iron method

Place your flowers between two sheets of paper and place a heavy book on top to flatten.

Empty your iron of water, you won’t want any moisture to spoil the flowers.

Iron the paper on low for 15 seconds and leave to cool for a minute before turning over to do the other side. Repeat the process again, then lift the paper to check the flowers are flat and stiff.

The silica gel method

Yep, you know those little sachets you get with new bags and shoes, they’ll come in very handy when you’re pressing blooms. It’s also available from craft shops if you need it in larger quantities.

Empty half your silica into a bowl and lay your flowers on top. Carefully cover your flowers with the remaining silica gel. Leave them undisturbed for a week before gently dusting them off. Enjoy!

Now that you’ve pressed your flowers, you can create a bespoke botanical glass photo frame or use them to decorate your very own greeting cards.

Why not make several smaller memory frames to gift to your friends and family? You could even pop in a sentimental photograph from a wedding day, for example, with a few flowers that featured in the bridal bouquet.

Have you made any botanical creations with your dried flowers? Let us know in the comments below!

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