TEAM ZOELLA JUNE 19, 2020

Life In the Slow Fashion Lane: In Conversation With Charlotte Instone | Know The Origin

We sat down with Charlotte Instone to find out the story behind her ethical fair trade fashion brand, Know The Origin, and to get her expert tips on how we, as consumers, can strive to do better and shop smarter - and slower - than ever before.

Zero waste, transparency, sustainability – we’re all familiar with this terminology but how can we actually learn to adopt a cleaner, greener lifestyle and create positive change in our lives, particularly when it comes to fast fashion?

We sat down with Charlotte Instone to find out the story behind her ethical fair trade fashion brand, Know The Origin, and to get her expert tips on how we, as consumers, can strive to do better and shop smarter – and slower – than ever before.

W​hat’s the story behind Know The Origin and what inspired you to start your own ethical marketplace?

When I was studying Fashion Buying and Merchandising at London College of Fashion I had, like most people, heard of ethical fashion. Whilst in my second year of university, the Rana Plaza garment factory collapsed, killing over 1100 people and injuring thousands more. The factory was making clothes for a lot of high street retailers.

Currently, 61% of brands don’t know where their clothes are made and 93% don’t know where fabrics come from. When I graduated, I launched with a small Fairtrade and organic range made by women’s cooperatives and producers in India. We wanted everyone to be able to know and love where their clothes had come from because until you know the origin, you can’t really know if it’s truly ethical or not. I’ve become aware of so many epic ethical brands that people needed to know about. So, last year, 75+ ethical brands joined Know The Origin, to create an online home for sustainable brands.

What are some of your favourite ethical brands stocked at ​Know The Origin​ and how do you go about selecting them?

It’s impossible to choose my favourite brand’ from socks that give a pair to the homeless for every one sold, to candles that proceeds support women affected by domestic violence to reusable wipes that save thousands of pieces of plastic from being used.

We are always on the lookout for new brands, and throughout the year we build up an amazing database of brands that we have slowly been adding to. Our criteria is first and foremost, sustainability, we have a strict guideline to the minimum requirements we have for brands to get on our platform, including things like no synthetic fabrics are used, all brands must be transparent about their supply chain, and all products are plastic-free. In September, we will launch our standard, so you will be able to see from fair and safe working conditions to eco-friendly materials to equality and modern slavery prevention, how different brands equate.

We are passionate as a team to ensure diversity and inclusion is at the core of our mission, so within these new standards, our equality standard will ensure that brands are giving evidence to how they are employing non-discriminatory practices. For our own label, we want to help lead the charge, by continuing to use equally diverse models that represent the human race and we will continue to work with factories and certifications that are pioneering new ways of addressing discrimination.⁠ We will also actively use our panel discussions to bring wider conversations and voices to discuss racism and injustice. ⁠

How can we as consumers do more to ensure our wardrobes are more considered?

I think remembering to pause before buying! The fast fashion world has encouraged us to impulse buy and follow our ‘sales eyes’ and it’s making us mindless consumers. The next time you are shopping, pause to remember that the product you’re holding has been through so many peoples hands, it has a huge environmental impact. Ask yourself if your going to wear this atleast 30 times. Ask the store who made it? Seek brands that show you transparency around certifications such as GOTS organic, Fairtrade etc. Slowing down when shopping is not about feeling guilty, but about remaining aware of the realities and being conscious of how your money can be used positively!

How important is traceability and transparency in what you do at Know The Origin?

Without transparency, there is no accountability or real meaningful change in the fashion industry. In our own label and the brands we work with, it has to be a core part of what we do. On our new site from September, you will be able to see from farm to factory the full story of our supply chain. ​No brand is perfect, and there is always more to be doing, but transparency helps track that.

For anyone overwhelmed with where to start with living a more sustainable lifestyle, what are your top fail-safe tips and practical solutions. Where does one begin?

I would begin at just recognising your everyday shopping habits, how much plastic you are using and checking the labels of your fashion garments. Do you know where that garment was made and the environmental impact of the material? Asking questions is very important and will reveal a lot about how much we do not know about the origins of that garment or product. Also, do some research and use the resources you have access to. For example, question how long it takes for plastic to biodegrade, because it’s easy to think that if plastic is recyclable it is okay, but plastic items can take up to 1000 years to decompose.

Your go-to eco-friendly swaps…

My absolute favourite are the Know The Origin reusable face wipes, which are an easy eco-friendly swap of cotton pads. Cotton is one of the thirstiest fibres, needing 2700 litres of water to produce one t-shirt. So, instead of throwing away your wipes or cotton pads, you can use your make-up remover on these reusable face wipes, pop them in the wash with the rest of your clothes and they come out clean and ready to use again and again.

One thing you’d never be caught buying?

I often get aggravated in a supermarket seeing people put fruit and vegetables in multiple plastic bags.. It can become an easy habit to reuse bags from home or pop them in a produce bag, made out of organic cotton and not plastic. I’m excited for the day when supermarket’s stop giving out plastic bags.

What are the things we need to consider when we’re buying clothes?

There are so many certifications out there so it can sometimes be confusing to what you should be looking for. One must is that you need to avoid buying clothes made out of synthetic fabrics, such as Polyester, Acrylic and Nylon. They have a very high environmental impact, omitting around 3 times the amount of Greenhouse emission as cotton. They also shed microplastics, which end up in our landfills and oceans, damaging our ecosystems and marine life.

What are the easiest ways a consumer can get caught out when trying to shop sustainably?

We are noticing a rise of brands that are strategically and deliberately repeating stories and jargon, as a way to look more transparent or ethical than they really are. Whilst, most brands publish little information about their efforts, if any, to improve pay and achieve living wages in the supply chain. Hardly any brands disclose their approach to achieving the payment of living wages to workers in the supply chain or about their purchasing practices.

I wrote a recent blog on how transparency isn’t the same as being ethical, focusing on the controversy of H&M being ranked first on Fashion Revolution’s Transparency Index. H&M or other brands might be transparent but that doesn’t mean their products are at all sustainable, child labour free, human trafficking free or add anything back into the communities they deplete from.

Are there any sustainability books /guides that come recommended by you?

How to give up plastic by Will McCallum is an amazing guide to how we can cut out plastic in our day to day life. Also, Lauren Bravo’s ‘how to break up with fast fashion’ is an honest and relatable depiction of how tough it is to go against the normality of shopping fast fashion, high street brands but loving clothes you already own and changing your shopping habits.

Image Credit : @rebecca_altman via Twitter

Essential viewing… your top fashion documentaries to watch?

Machines by director Rahul Jain creates a dizzying fly-on-the-wall experience of a fabric factory in India. This rare insight into sweatshop conditions is filmed stunningly with sweeping images of factory conditions mixed with powerful commentaries from the men (and boys) who work there. A brutally honest documentary that still gives me chills. Also, The True Cost, is a great documentary that follows the journey of our highstreet clothing, it highlights the people who make our clothes and the impact the fashion industry is having on communities and the environment globally. This film is filled with so many golden moments this is pretty much impossible to choose. The amazing Vandana Shiva bringing home the impact of pesticides on cotton farmers in India is definitely something that sticks with you.

We love Lucy & Yak, you collaborated with them last year – how did that come about and are you hoping to do any more collaborations this year?

It was amazing to collaborate with Lucy & Yak last Christmas, so many of our ethics and values aligned and our collection of ethical products definitely complemented each other. I actually met Lucy and Chris whilst we were in Brighton doing a pop-up shop, and we just thought it would be a great idea to join forces. We have huge plans for this year, watch this space on our gram.

Who inspires you in your line of work?

The countless brands that have gone before, the ones your heard of the ones that didn’t make it. They have all pioneered and paved a way to create a space where people freely talk about sustainable fashion.

What’s the biggest change you’d like to see happen within the fashion industry?

That the fast fashion brands will have to alter their business practices to not produce cheap, throwaway garments, but good quality garments that are made without child labour, modern slavery, environmental damage, to name a few. This will only shift, through people demanding more from brands.

What’s next for Know The Origin?

This year we’ve raised investment to grow. We are currently rebranding and building a new custom website to launch in September. We’re signing up for great certifications like 1% for the planet, B-corp. We are growing our team from three to ten, shifting the brand selection to big sustainable brands offering shoes, denim etc, all the items you will love. We are super excited to help grow and shape the sustainable space, whilst continuing to speak up about the things we care about.

TEAM ZOELLA JUNE 18, 2020

Expert Advice For Looking After Your Hair In Lockdown

Day 507 of lockdown: you think you remember brushing your hair in a previous life and you’ve thought about dyeing your hair pink every single day since March 23rd.

Day 507 of lockdown: you think you remember brushing your hair in a previous life and you’ve thought about dyeing your hair pink every single day since March 23rd.

In a game of lockdown hair bingo, we’ve all got a full house at this point but what if 2020 doesn’t have to be the year our hair game fell to sh*t, what if this year was the best hair year of our lives.

With our dear friend and industry expert Samantha Cusick’s help, we can make it happen! From removing extensions safely to reclaiming your edges and maintaining your blonde, here’s how to get your lockdown hair in tip top condition.

Let’s talk extensions! What should people be doing with theirs at the moment?

If you have extensions, they are more than likely to be rapidly approaching removal time or have been in longer than is recommended.

At Samantha Cusick London we do tape extensions and now we have been closed for going on 3 months we have been recommending clients remove them to avoid any damage. We reached out to all our clients and shared a video on how to remove them, you can find it here. as well as a link to order the remover here.

If you are worried about removing your extensions, my advice would be to contact your salon/hairdresser and ask them how to safely remove them at home.

A lot of our blonde friends are struggling to keep their hair looking fresh, what would your advice be to them?

There is no way around it BLONDE HAIR IS A COMMITMENT and requires maintenance to keep it on point. My advice would be to;

Use the right shampoo

Ash blondes listen up! The easiest way to banish brassy tones is to wash your hair with a purple shampoo. These can look quite scary but the violet pigments neutralise the unwanted warmth. Platinum blondes and those addicted to ash tones should use a silver shampoo every time you wash your hair, for Neutral creamy toned blondes once a week is enough! I love the Blondage range from Redken.

On the days you don’t use purple shampoo make sure the one you do use is sulphate free. Sulphates (Sodium Laureth Sulphate specifically) strip the natural oils and pigments from the hair which drastically accelerates colour fade. By using Sulphate free shampoos you increase the moisture retention in the hair and keep your colour for longer, a major win for blondes! I always recommend the Davines Oi range, it makes my hair feel amazing and smell heavenly.

Treat & Condition

Blondes you need to condition your locks like its a religion! Moisture rich conditioners every time you wash and treatment masks AT LEAST once a week! You can make it easy and find one that’s a daily conditioner but doubles up as a mask if you leave it on longer!

I love this Davines silver alchemic conditioner for this reason as it brightens and repairs blonde hair. If you’re all purpled out with your shampoo or it looks a bit scary nothing beats Davines – Oi Conditioner! It’s packed with oil and moisture!

If you’re on a budget don’t worry there’s a backup…. Coconut Oil! Twist into dry hair and leave overnight or as long as you’ve got! Shampoo and condition and Voila Shiney Hair!

Leave in goodness

We all have that moment (especially blondes) when you’ve washed your hair and just stare at the hairbrush with true hate. Make it easier on your self with a leave-in conditioner, R+Co Centerpiece All-In-One Elixir Spray is a personal fave!

Adding an oil to your hair care routine is essential. Blonde hair often lacks lustre and shine but using oil in hair when it is wet and after when it’s dry will solve those issues fast. The Kardashian’s hair guru Jen Atkin launched her product line – The Ouai with a killer oil in the collection! Also, Olaplex has released No7 hair bonding oil which is beyond amazing! If you’re feeling a bit flush and want to really treat your locks Gisou Honey Infused Hair Oil by NEGIN MIRSALEHI is ridiculously amazing and rebuilds and repairs hair from the core. #Want.

Heat Styling

The damage that heat styling can you do to our tresses is real, but did you know that it can also dramatically fade out our colour?

GHD has reigned in the world of heat styling and rightly so. They continue to develop new technology and innovative stylers. There latest offering being the new Platinum + Irons that has their Tri-Zone technology that uses three sensors in each plate, ensuring the optimum temperature for styling hair is consistently maintained across the entire plate, reducing hair breakage, increasing shine and is proven to be kinder to your hair colour.

What are your top tips for hair brushing and how often should we be doing it?

When brushing your hair always brush from the ends of your hair up towards the roots. Never go straight in at the root and drag the brush through to the ends you’ll cause loads of damage.

When your hair is wet it’s at it’s most vulnerable so take extra care when brushing. I always recommend using Tangle Teezers on wet hair as they are so much kinder and really limit breakage. When brushing dry hair, the same technique applies of brushing from the ends up towards the roots but I prefer to use a soft bristle brush like my Mason and Pierson, it smooths the hair and the bristles help distribute oils in the hair too.

How can we use this unique time to give our hair some love and just let it be for a while?

While we have more time at home I have made sure that at least once per week I have done my full Olaplex routine from step 3 though to 7 and my hair has never been so healthy!

I made a little video while in lockdown of how to get the most out of the Olaplex at-home routine that you might find useful!

What’s the best way to treat our scalps especially now the sun is out?

Whenever my scalp starts to feel tight or itchy, I always use the Sachajuan Scalp Treatment it immediately soothes it and doesn’t leave and signs of it being in the hair which is amazing!

If you’re in and out the sun a lot, there really is no better way to protect your hair and scalp against UV rays than by wearing a hat! Your scalp can burn so easily and then turn flakey which is not a cute look!

What scissors should I trim my hair with?

NONE! Wait for your hairdresser and their scissors. Cutting your own hair is not a good idea a ’trim’ can quickly turn in to an oh god its longer on one side than the other, Joe exotic mullet nightmare.

For those of us tempted by the box dyes, should we go for it?

Box dyes are so unpredictable and often contain metallic salts that cause chemical reactions when you next get you hair done in the salon, causing irreparable damage. When you have your hair coloured professionally, we are able to mix bespoke formulas to your hair’s specific needs, where as box dyes try to be ‘one size fits all’ so are often way to strong, causing hair to over process, break and go too dark!

Home lightening kits are arguably worse and result in patchy colour and turn hair orange. As a colourist I am constantly having to rectify DIY colour and see the damage they do so I urge you to wait for your salon to reopen and not wonder down the haircare isle when doing your food shop!

What are the best products to use after doing my living room workout and I don’t want to wash my hair?

Definitely dry shampoo, my favourites are:

Batiste Dry Shampoo – Can be quite powdery but on this extra oily days it’s perfect!

R+Co Death Valley – Smells amazing and works.

Orbie dry shampoo – when I am feeling fancy treat myself to this. Its so good and doubles as a great texture spray too.

HAIR BY SAM MCKNIGHT  Lazy Girl Dry Shampoo – THE CUTEST PACKAGING!

TEAM ZOELLA JUNE 17, 2020

Father’s Day Gift Ideas For Every Type of Dad

If this year’s Father’s Day has crept up on you rather unexpectedly, we hope this handy guide gives you some inspiration if another year of pyjamas and shortbread isn’t quite cutting it.

Father’s Day: also known as the annual celebration in which every child struggles to find an appropriate gift for that certain hard to buy for someone.

If this year’s Father’s Day has crept up on you rather unexpectedly (understandably given that April felt so slow, May vanished in front of our eyes and June feels like it only started yesterday), we hope this handy guide gives you some inspiration if another year of pyjamas and shortbread isn’t quite cutting it.

A socially distanced celebration might mean this year feels different to the last, but the thought of belated Father’s Day BBQs and afternoon tea is enough to keep us going for now!

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TEAM ZOELLA JUNE 16, 2020

Cervical Screening Awareness Week Q&A: Dismantling The Fear of the Smear

Cervical screening rates are at their lowest in two decades, and while it is your choice whether to attend or opt-out of your smear test, we hope with the hub of information we provide, you can make the best decision for you and your health.

Dropping your underwear and clambering into stirrups is hardly the picture of elegance but a few minutes of embarrassment could be your best protection against cervical cancer.

Cervical screening rates are at their lowest in two decades, and while it is your choice whether to attend or opt-out of your smear test, we hope with the hub of information we provide, you can make the best decision for you and your health.

If you’re due a cervical screening test and you’re wondering whether to attend your appointment due to Covid-19, or you’re pondering all the most important questions like, should you take your shoes off and where do you put your pants? – then you’re in the right place.

We sat down with Nurse Jenny to get to the bottom of our burning questions! Here’s everything you need to know about cervical screening.

What is the latest advice for anyone who is due their smear test but is unsure whether to attend due to Covid-19?

Please attend your cervical screening appointment. The cervical screening programme in England is now sending out invitations and many GP surgeries are now opening their doors, but you will find that your appointment will seem a little different than before. Surgeries are putting safety measures into place, so please be reassured that it is for your best interest that we are being cautious. Find the latest information from Jo’s Trust here.

How old do you need to be to have a cervical screening test?

The screening programme is for anyone with a cervix from 24.5 years to 64 years

Why are smear tests important?

A cervical screen is important because it can pick up any abnormal cells before they develop into cervical cancer. If you have had HPV or cell changes, then it is even more important to have your cervical screen.

When is the best time to have a smear test?

If you are on any form of contraception, it really does not matter when you have your cervical screen, as long as you are not bleeding. However, if you are not using contraception, then the best time for a cervical screen is mid cycle, so 12-14 days after the first day of your period.

Check out Zoe’s video where Jenny talks Zoe through the process step-by-step so you know what to expect.

Will I need to undress to have the test?

You will need to take your trousers and underwear off for your cervical screen.

What are the best clothes to wear for comfort and ease?

A skirt is a good idea as then you can use this for a bit of modesty. We do provide a modesty paper sheet, to cover your tummy.

Does a smear test hurt?

It should not hurt, but for some people, it can be uncomfortable. Your health care professional should have a wide range of speculum, which are inserted into your vagina. If the size chosen is uncomfortable, your HCP can use a smaller size.

Is bleeding after a smear test normal?

Yes, bleeding is often very normal and should only last a short while. Sometimes, if you have been on the contraceptive pill for a long time, bleeding can occur. This is because the oestrogen hormone in the pill can make the cervix bleed easily. It is ok for this to happen, but may also mean you need to change your contraception.

How long does it take to receive results?

In most parts of the country the results are taking about 2 weeks.

What is HPV?

Human Papillomavirus or HPV is the cause of about 99% of cervical cancers. HPV is a virus which is transmitted through sexual contact. It is a common virus, as common as a cough or cold, and in the majority of people, our immune system clears it naturally.

What does it mean if your results say you have ‘abnormal cells’?

This means that a strain of the HPV has been found in some of the cervical cells, which have caused some changes in the nucleus of the cell. There are well over a hundred different strains of the HPV virus. If we do not treat these abnormal cells, then they can develop into cervical cancer after several years.

What is the most common reason for missing a smear test?

Scared of the results, anxiety. Anxiety of undressing in front of a stranger. What is going to happen, pain, time. There is a whole host of reasons.

What can we do to dismantle the fear?

We can try and build a rapport with people. Explain the procedure. Show the speculum and different sizes. Let them insert the speculum themselves. Explain a smear test only takes seconds to perform.

How often should you have a smear test?

Every 3 years from 24.5-49yrs and every 5 years from 50 – 64 years. If there are any abnormal cells found, then people will be asked to attend more frequently (6months – 1 year).

If I have not had sex, do I still need to have a cervical screening?

It depends on what is meant by sex. If someone has a partner, HPV can live on sex toys and skin, so by having foreplay this can pass the HPV from one person to another.

Do I still need screening if I have had the HPV vaccination?

Yes. The Gardasil/ Cervarix vaccinations only cover 2 strains of the HPV, so as there are over 40 strains which can contribute/cause cervical cancer, then you definitely still need to attend cervical screening.

Do I still need screening if I have changed my gender?

If you have a cervix, then yes you definitely need to have a cervical screen.

TEAM ZOELLA JUNE 15, 2020

5 Of Our Favourite Stories From Last Week

Another round of fresh news stories from last week to put a smile on your face!

Reni Eddo-Lodge Tops Chart

For the first time in history Reni is the first and only Black woman to top Britain’s non-fictions book bestseller chart. The Zoella Book Club along with so many others have recently purchased the book to read this month to further their education with racism and white privilege.

Queen to Carers

The Queen joined us all in the virtual world and hoped on a video call to care workers via the carers trust charity to mark the beginning of carers week. Apparently formal protocol was still in place as The Queen was the last to enter the call and the first to leave. Participants said she was quite formal in the way she speaks but were struck by how warm she was.

Deep Ocean Deep Space

Astronaut and oceanographer Kathy Sullivan became the first person to reach both the deepest part of the ocean as well as visiting space! Kathy joined the ‘Ring of Fire’ Expedition to travel to Challenger Deep which is a whopping 10,902 to 10,929 metres deep.

Chelsea Donation

The Chelsea Women’s football team are donating their prize of £100,000 for winning the Women’s Super League title to domestic abuse charity Refuge. The donation will go towards women and children experiencing abuse during the Coronavirus pandemic as the team are proud to support those in need during this hard time.

Over £1M for BLM

Black Lives Matter UK has been flooded with donations over the past few weeks leading to over £1M. This also includes charities that are supporting mental health like Black Minds Matter. The funds will go towards a number of aims including advocacy to effect changes in the law, developing and distributing educational resources, healing practices in black communities, police monitoring, strategies for the abolition of the police and supporting the United Family and Friends Campaign to help friends and loved ones of people killed by British police to access justice.

TEAM ZOELLA JUNE 14, 2020

Weekly Wants: Bermuda Shorts

With the structure of a chino and midi style length, Bermuda shorts are the perfect smart/casj item to take you from work to play mode on a summer Friday when a G&T and Zoom quiz with the girls is calling your name.

With the structure of a chino and midi style length, Bermuda shorts are the perfect smart/casj item to take you from work to play mode on a summer Friday when a G&T and Zoom quiz with the girls is calling your name.

Whether you keep things dressed up with a silk cami or matching blazer, or opt for a slogan tee or thin cardi, prepare for your summer wardrobe glow up thanks to these simple but sophisticated styling essentials.

Shop The Post

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TEAM ZOELLA JUNE 13, 2020

8 Ways To Bring Your Virtual Party A Game In Lockdown

If Harry Potter trivia is no longer your idea a perfect night in, then maybe this lot will be more in your wheelhouse. From virtual wine tours, to digi book clubs and hen dos, here's how to make the party come to you during lockdown.

There’s nothing like a virtual pub quiz to remind you of how little you know about the lives of Postman Pat and Dolly Parton, is there?

Joining a virtual quiz with your mates, relatives and colleagues is the new Netflix and Chill. You take the Brady Bunch style photo of all your people squished into little rectangular boxes, all pulling some kind of face that strikes a balance between hey look how candid I am and I’m definitely not using this convenient interval to Google the answers, you tally your points and declare a worthy cheater, sorry, winner. WINNER.

The humble quiz has been the ultimate team building pick-me-up during lockdown and it’s spared many of us from tying balloons to our houses and setting off Carl Fredricksen style but there can be too much of a good thing, and even the quizmeister needs a breather from picture rounds and ditloids.

So, if Harry Potter trivia is no longer your idea a perfect night in, then maybe this lot will be more in your wheelhouse. From virtual wine tours, to digi book clubs and hen dos, here’s how to make the party come to you during lockdown.

1. Throw a hen party

If the bride can’t go on her hen weekend, the hen weekend will come to her!

The maid of honour can arrange for a little doorstep delivery for each member of the hen party, packed with all the usual paraphernalia and d*ck-orations one would expect at a hen party. Lockdown or not, no bride gets to escape the cheap penis necklace gags. It’s a rite of passage.

The memory round – ahead of the party, each of the hens give the maid of honour a memory they have. The MOH will then read out each of the memories, if the bride-to-be matches the memory with the person correctly, they have to do a shot. If she gets it wrong, the bride takes a shot. You can also do the same with facts to see how well the bride knows her hen party.

The most likely round – the MOH reads out various statements and the bride nominates the member of the group most likely to fit that scenario. They then have to take a shot (or a generous swig of their drink if they’re already too drunk at this point) i.e. most likely to get fired.

Play ‘Cock or What?’ – So you think you know your schlongs? As the name suggests, this game asks you to guess which images are the real d*cks in the line up and which ones are just perfectly innocent thumbs. Download the digital file, share your screen – and your penises – with the girls and let the crowd go wild!

2. Plan a date night

Whether you’re single and interested in dating during lockdown or in a long-distance relationship and missing your partner in crime, you can still have those date night fireworks in the online world, whatever your relationship status.

Play a game of 20 questions. Get to know your date real quick with 20 pre-planned questions, go DEEP or keep it fun and frivolous. You set the agenda, girl!

Why not play takeaway roulette to change it up a bit and get to know one another if you’re newly dating. Exchange addresses, order each other’s grub and see what ends up on your doorstep.

For the long-distance lovers, this is the perfect time to plan your ideal vacation. So when we’re free to travel and get as much sand in our butt cracks as humanly possible, you will be ready and raring to go. And when that time comes, we will never bemoan such a glorious ‘n’ gritty sensation again. Open the spreadsheets, save a collection of all the hotels and restaurants on Instagram you want to visit, plan it all.

Watch a film together via Netflix Party – a Google chrome extension that allows you to watch films and TV shows together online so you can chat and react in real time. Plan a double date with another couple, do a TikTok dance off or ya know, just have phone sex. If it ain’t broke!

3. Throw a birthday surprise

Make their lockdown birthday their best bday yet with a virtual happy hour with all your bezzie mates in tow. Get the birthday girl / boy to join the video meeting a little later than everyone else so you can warm up your vocals and sing happy birthday when they arrive.

Pick a theme, send a e-invites or go one better and send paper invites to the virtual celebration in the post. Get a birthday cake delivered from a local bakery and some balloons – anything to make them smile on their special day. Just because you can’t pop a bottle in person, doesn’t mean you can’t throw one hell of a popping party online!

4. Try an escape room

An escape room… online? We know, it’s different but it’s GOOD different! Lose yourself at Hogwarts or if CSI is more your jam, solve the mystery of a murder at 30,000ft in the air. Get ready to put your heads together, uncover the clues & gather your evidence – ain’t no party like an adrenalin party.

Harry Potter Digital Escape Room

Digital Police Investigation

The Panic Room Online

Know Escape Online Escape Rooms

5. Host a book club

Don’t let quarantine get in the way of a good ol’ book! Just because you can’t meet up with your bookish bezzies IRL doesn’t mean you have to miss out on discussing your latest book club read. Go digital with your discussions, invite all your fellow bookworms on a video call and mull over those juicy plot twists together. Pick a host to prepare some questions ahead of your chat to keep the conversation flowing et voila! PS a bowl of snacks and a decent wine is compulsory prep.

6. Do a virtual cook-a-long

Every friendship group has a Monica Geller, right? For all those of us living miles apart from our squad and unable to reunite over brunch and Aperol Spritz in the garden any time soon, a virtual cook-a-long is the next best thing.

Choose a head chef and a recipe, order your ingredients, set a time and date and away you go! Pin the head chef to the video chat so they can guide you through step-by-step. When it’s ready, you can all sit down and tuck in together – CUTE!

7. Hold a crafternoon

Missing your craft club? Get your usual members together and host a virtual crafternoon! Choose a craft project, order your supplies and set a date and time that suits everyone. From DIY rainbow wall hangings to paper flower crowns or watercolour painting, pour yourself a cuppa – or something stronger – and get crafty. Spending time together, albeit virtually, and doing something creative can be a great stress reliever. Leave your phone in another room and switch off properly. Tend to your wellbeing!

8. Try wine tasting

Happy hour just got sophisticated. Gather your thirstiest friends, family or colleagues online and raise a glass (or ten) together. Sniff, swirl and sip along as your guide talks you through perfect pairing wines and the trophy winners. It’s a great way to celebrate special occasions from home and try wines you’ve never tasted before. Cheers to that!

What’s been your virtual party highlight of lockdown? Let us know in the comments!

TEAM ZOELLA JUNE 13, 2020

4 Veggie Brekkie Ideas To Lure You Out Of Bed

No bacon, no problem. Start your day right with these veggie breakfast ideas. Whether you’re hungry for a hearty feast or digging something sweet and indulgent, there’s plenty of veggie nosh for every mood.

No bacon, no problem. Start your day right with these veggie breakfast ideas. Whether you’re hungry for a hearty feast or digging something sweet and indulgent, there’s plenty of veggie nosh for every mood. Think classic egg-based dishes bagels loaded with smoked salmon and cream cheese and fluffy American pancakes. Shake up your morning routine with our favourite vegetarian brekkies.

The full veggie breakfast works

Scrambled, poached or fried, however you like your eggs in the morning, tucking into a protein packed meat-free brekkie with all the trimmings is a great way to start your day and keep you energised right through till lunch.

Load up with crunchy toasted sourdough, griddled halloumi, sliced avocado, grilled toms on the vine, baked beans and a drizzle of balsamic glaze. This is peak veggie breakfast stuff – don’t hold back. Feel free to add tofu or veggie sausages into the mix if you fancy a meat-free spin on the traditional English breakfast.

SERVES 4
PREP: 20 HRS COOK: 20 HRS
EASY

For your halloumi, cut the block up into 1cm thick slices and place on a griddle pan over medium to high heat. Cook on each side for a few minutes or until they look golden brown. Make sure you don’t move the halloumi around too much as you’ll want to get those lovely charred lines across your slices.

Smash your avocados with salt, pepper, olive oil and chilli flakes.

Place your vine tomatoes on a baking tray, drizzle with oil, salt and pepper. Pop them in the oven at 180° for 15-20 minutes. Drizzle them with balsamic glaze when you plate them up for added depth and flavour.

Heat a knob of butter in a pan and add your (clean) spinach. Keep stirring to avoid the bottom layer from burning and when all of it is wilted drain it using a sieve. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Toasted bagels

Nothing says good morning like layers of smoked salmon sandwiched between a crunchy bagel smothered in cream cheese and washed down with a fresh glass of OJ – it’s the breakfast of champs.

Pancake stack

Craving somethin’ sweet? Pancakes are always a good idea for breakfast or brunch, especially when they’re the thick, fluffy American kind.

Swap the crispy maple bacon for banana and Nutella or load up your stack with fresh berries and a dollop of Greek yogurt. There is no moderation when it comes to P Cakes.

Healthy breakfast smoothie

For those busy mornings when you need something fuss-free and convenient, blend your favourite fruit and a handful of super greens to make an easy and nutritious breakfast smoothie. You can use water, coconut water or milk (oat milk is particularly yummy in a breakfast smoothie) to get it to your desired consistency. Pop a fresh strawberry on top and garnish with flaked almonds for a bit of texture. Easy!

The grazing table of dreams

You may have seen that we’re huge fans of a grazing table around here, so it comes as no surprise that one of our favourite ways to enjoy a veggie breakfast is by laying on a spread outside so our guests can dig in and help themselves to whatever they fancy. Beans and avo on toast with a side of fruit topped pancakes. Sure, sure – go wild.

What’s your go-to veggie breakfast?

TEAM ZOELLA JUNE 12, 2020

20 Things To Do In June

We still can’t hug one another (boooo) but we can make it through knowing there is hope on the horizon. Now that the lockdown restrictions have been eased, we’ve compiled a list of things you can do to make sure June is a month filled with good vibes, personal growth and precious mems.

It’s crazy to think we’re now on week 11 of lockdown here in the UK. We’ve celebrated Mother’s Day, Easter weekend, bank holidays and big birthdays, all through the medium of Zoom but now we’re slowly dipping our toes back into normality – the warped 2020 version of it anyway!

We’re getting outside more and seeing small groups of friends in our gardens and on beach walks, we’re catching up with our parents IRL again and ordering our favourite takeaways. How bloody glorious. Who knew a McDonald’s reunion would be so emosh?

We still can’t hug one another (boooo) but we can make it through this last hurdle knowing there is hope and on the horizon. Now that the lockdown restrictions have been eased, we’ve compiled a list of things you can do to make sure June is a month filled with good vibes, personal growth and precious mems.

1 Read a book outside in the sunshine and while away the hours, chapter by chapter. Take some time for you.

2 Take a dip in the sea and spend some time around water. It’s undeniably good for the soul!

3 Roll out a picnic blanket and lay on the snacks. There is no such thing as too many pork pies.

4 And if the weather’s not up to it, have a magic carpet picnic instead.

5 Watch 13th on Netflix – consider it vital viewing.

6 Order some flowers from you to YOU to support a local florist.

7 Have a fancy schmancy date night. Show me the cheese and wine.

8 Throw a mini birthday gathering in your garden. Rosé comes heavily recommended.

9 Make a Summer playlist full of all your favourite mood-boosting hits. Tear-jerking ballads are banned.

10 Find new routes to go walking, The prettier the trail, the more steps you’ll do!

11 Dream about the first place you’re going to travel when all this is over.

12 Tie dye an item of clothing like the lockdown cliché that you are.

13 Catch a Summer sunset and bank it for all the ones we missed in April & May.

14 Do your hair all nice for that virtual date night. Long distance lovers, we salute you.

15 Spend the day in pjs, surrounded by books and coffee. Bliss!

16 Spot the wildflowers blooming when out on your walks.

17 Have a family bbq to celebrate Father’s Day and being able to see each other again yay!

18 And immediately fall back into squabbling with your siblings again like no time has past, “No that is MY sausage!”

19 Put on your best clothes and a happy face. Dress up for YOU.

20 Enjoy line-drying your washing. Channel your inner Marianne (Normal People fans, you know).

*Images shot by our lovely Lareese, find her on Instagram here.

What will you be getting up to this June? Let us know in the comments!

TEAM ZOELLA JUNE 11, 2020

Beaut Bikinis & Smoking Swimsuits For Summer

Whilst our Ibiza pool parties are on pause and the closest thing to a water park excursion looks like a lopsided paddling pool in the back garden, you don't need to abandon your warm-weather looks completely!

Whilst our Ibiza pool parties are on pause and the closest thing to a water park excursion looks like a lopsided paddling pool in the back garden, you don’t need to abandon your warm weather looks completely!

The process of finding swimwear that ticks all the boxes (comfortable? Practical? Stylish? Won’t give dodgy tan lines?) can feel like a challenge- but never fear- we’ve done the hard work for you!

Padded or non-padded, high waisted or thong, one-piece or mix and match, bandeau or big boob proof, there’s something for everyone. From budget to investment swimwear looks, they’re all you need to nail your beach/back garden/lido/park/balcony tanning and swimming look.

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