TEAM ZOELLA SEPTEMBER 19, 2020

Weekly Wants – Winter Coat Wishlist

As the most visible part of your outfit for months at a time, finding the perfect outerwear pick that bridges versatility, style, comfort and practicality can be somewhat of a challenge.

Whilst we love a bare leg and shorts combo as much as the next person, there’s something about the clock striking 12:00 on August 31st that takes our minds fully into autumn/winter mode and ready to embrace all things cosy dressing. As the most visible part of your outfit for months at a time, finding the perfect outerwear pick that bridges versatility, style, comfort and practicality can be somewhat of a challenge. If you’re feeling overwhelmed in the quest for the perfect buy, consider the other items in your wardrobe and work around the basic colour palette, style and silhouette of the hero items you wear on rotation to narrow down the hunt for ‘the one’.

Be it a classic Parisian trench, statement puffer, longline wool blend or a staple leather jacket, this is the fashion purchase of the year that might just benefit from an extra splurge.

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TEAM ZOELLA SEPTEMBER 19, 2020

Between You And Me: Answering Your Problems Part 8

This month, we’re discussing how to ride solo after a breakup, pushing through those frustrating creative blocks and presentation anxiety, aka Glossophobia. It’s a thing that affects around a whopping 75% of us!

We’re back for another juicy round of Between You & Me, the feature dedicated to helping you navigate life’s many, many predicaments.

This month, we’re discussing how to ride solo after a breakup, pushing through those frustrating creative blocks and presentation anxiety, aka Glossophobia. It’s a thing that affects around a whopping 75% of us!

We’re also tackling social distancing dating dilemmas, coming out to the grandparents, how to be there for a bezzie pal with cold feet and losing friends to serious relationships.

Is life serving you one too many lemons at the mo? Send your problems to [email protected] and we’ll do our best to answer them next time round.

Until then, grab yourself a brew & settle down with us, your in-house agony aunts!

TEAM ZOELLA SEPTEMBER 18, 2020

How To Bring Back Saturday Night In

Here’s a thought, now we’ve experimented with the whole sh*tshow that is trying-to-go-out-in-the-middle-of-a-pandemic thing, shall we all just, stop pretending we like going out now? Yes, let’s.

Here’s a thought, now we’ve experimented with the whole sh*tshow that is trying-to-go-out-in-the-middle-of-a-pandemic thing, shall we all just, stop pretending we like going out now? Yes, let’s.

No one wants to be there – stuck in the middle of a table that’s slightly too small to accommodate six people; a table where only the loudest, deepest voices will carry across the rowdy abyss. Everyone’s petrified to dance in their own personal space, frightened to stand and waiting for the drinks to arrive via an app that doesn’t actually seem to work.

After three long hours of waiting for the elusive alcoholic bevs to appear, you’re sober, everyone else has disappeared and you’re the only thirsty fool waiting on your flat arsed prosecco to arrive because you paid a frugal £7.50 for the privilege and you are going to feel those piss-poor bubbles touch that lil’ dangly thing that swings in the back of ya throat if it’s the last thing you do.

Why on earth would we trade our v. comfortable chairs, our cheap plonk and our free cloakrooms for one-in-one out queues and music so loud, it makes us feel like we need to do a little poo. Ever so slightly. Must be those reverberations.

For all those times when going out-out requires way too much effort, there’s a silver lining in the shape of a cheap and cheerful night in, lazing around in your pjs with your best gal pals. No faffing with taxis, heels and hangovers – all dependent on how much Prosecco is a’ flowing, of course – just a stand-up bunch of slipper-clad lasses and their best singing voices at the ready.

We’ve come up with a few ideas to inspire the ultimate girls night in. Face masks and cucumber slices at the ready, let’s raise a glass (and the roof) to a cosy night in hanging with the tribe!

Have a movie marathon

Binge-watch your favourite box sets or pop on a rom-com. You can’t go far wrong with Friends re-runs and easy-viewing classics with a bit of a floppy-haired Hugh Grant thrown in for good measure. The best ideas are often the simplest.

Zen out

If there’s one thing that screams girls’ night in, it’s a squad sat around in creepy sheet masks with cut out holes for eyes, followed by several failed attempts to get a c-u-t-e group Boomerang, before you all give up and settle for the best of a bad bunch #doitforthememories. Hydrating your pores whilst simultaneously drinking Prosecco? That’s how we roll.

And the pampering doesn’t have to end there. Pick out the best nail artist and CEO of doing French plaits among you and set up a little pop-up salon in your living room – manicures, sheet masks, bubbles…what more could a gal want in life?

Twinning!

Matching PJs… too sassy? Never. Who said co-ordinated sets are strictly reserved for hen dos and bridal parties.

Snack Attack

No G.N.I is truly complete without a dedicated table of snacks. Sweet snacks, savoury snacks, healthy snacks – every kind of snack that ever lived. Sweet popcorn always goes down well on girls’ night. You could even go the extra mile and make your own DIY boxes, too, old school movie theatre style.

BYO Game

Usually, it’s bring your own booze but you know, bubbles are a given. A nice idea for a low-key girls’ night is to have everyone bring their favourite game, from Linkee to Monopoly – roll on the good times!

Ready, Steady, Bake

You can never have too many sweet treats on offer at Ladies night. Channel your inner Mary Berry, apron up and get your bake on. Whether you’re in the mood for a zesty lemon drizzle, creamy red velvet cupcakes or a classic Victoria sponge, nothing brings people together quite like bonding over cake. Pals that bake together, stay together! FACT.

A little tipple

A night in is the perfect excuse to dust off the the more interesting bottles of liqueur in your stash and try your hand at mixology, the more fruity, pink and sparkly the better!

Shake it off

Picture that epic sleepover in 13 Going On 30 when they’re all gathered round the bed belting out Pat Benatar’s Love Is A Battlefield. It’s iconic, right? So naturally, recreating it in your own living room is really the only thing that makes sense. Pump up the ultimate girl power anthems and dance like no one’s watching. It beats a sticky dance floor at midnight, hands down!

See, staying in IS the new going out! We hope you have fun planning your ultimate girls night in.

Let us know what you get up to in the comments below.

TEAM ZOELLA SEPTEMBER 17, 2020

24 Seriously Stylish ‘In-Between’ Days Clothes For The New Season

Are you feeling ready for Autumn, but the weather forecast screams heatwave, whilst also already dreaming of your Christmas morning bucks fizz and mince pie? Same.

Are you feeling ready for Autumn, but the weather forecast screams heatwave, whilst also already dreaming of your Christmas morning bucks fizz and mince pie? Same. The transition from one season to another can be a tricky styling situ, with plenty of ‘can I get away without a coat’ dances at the door as you deliberate your outfit choice for the 24035th time before leaving the house …

To get the most out of your wardrobe all year round, layering, layering and layering some more is the most effective way to get more bang for your buck and utilise the pieces you know and love. Intersperse with new trend items or a few ‘must-have’ pieces that you simply can’t leave behind and you’re well on your way to nailing the midseason fashion period.

Go bare legs with a jumper, sandals but with dungarees and tee shirts with boots and enjoy the few occasions in a year that all your favourite pieces work together.

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TEAM ZOELLA SEPTEMBER 16, 2020

Let’s Talk About Female Pleasure: A Beginner’s Guide to Masturbation

Women like to masturbate. There, the secret’s out. Burn us at the stake. And you know what, some of us even watch porn. Audible gasp. For some reason, female self-pleasure doesn’t seem to get the same air time as male self-pleasure.

Women like to masturbate. There, the secret’s out. Burn us at the stake. And you know what, some of us even watch porn. Audible gasp. For some reason, female self-pleasure doesn’t seem to get the same air time as male self-pleasure.

Guys talk openly about tugging on their dicks on the daily and it’s a celebration of manhood, a cumming of age tale; but we talk about stroking our ‘flower’ and that’s taboo? Well, we don’t need to be Samantha Jones to call BS on that school of thought.

Female sexual wellbeing and gratification is a big beautiful deal and there is zero shame in wanting to experience that American Pie moment for yourself. If someone else can’t get you there, (hell even if they can get you there), touching yourself on the regular feels good and there’s no need to pussyfoot around that.

Flicking your bean, Jilling off, downstairs DJ-ing – whatever masturbation moniker you like to use is absolutely none of our business. As long as it gets you the euphoric orgasm you deserve once in a while!

So, whether you’re stuck in a rut and looking to try something different or wondering how to go solo with your sexual pleasure, here’s a beginner’s guide to masturbation. Because no one else can do you like you do you.
Get out of your head and into your body

Easier said than done because let’s face it, the mind wanders onto ALL sorts when you’re trying to get in the mood. How many corgies DOES the Queen have? Why does tumbleweed tumble? So. Many. Mental. Blocks. In those moments, breathe through it, close your eyes and try to reconnect with your body. Put your phone on silent to eliminate any distractions. Take a bath to unwind, pick somewhere comfortable and zero in on the sensations. Mindfulness is your bezzie pal.

Let go of any pressure

We’re just gonna put it out there: the first time you masturbate, you probably won’t come and that’s more than ok. It’ll take some time to perfect your masturbation tekkers but you can still have plenty of feel-good fun in the meantime. Masturbation doesn’t have to be another thing you need to fail or accomplish. Just enjoy the ride!

Take your sweet time

Contrary to what most tv shows will have you believe, a very small minority of women actually climax from foreplay-less, P in the V sex – that is penetrative sex. Bish, bash, bosh, cue the mutual orgasm. Oh, PER-LEASE.
We can’t go from zero to hero without an adequate warm-up, people. We need the intimate build-up if we’re to go full-on WAP mode. Nearly all our nerve endings are in the clitoris, suffice to say, that little hood is worthy of your full attention if you want to make it to that grand finale. Ain’t no hood like a clitoral hood.

Get in touch with your turn-ons

Whilst the vagina is pretty fundamental in all this, you don’t have to spend all your time there. Nipple stimulation and light strokes across your inner thighs, the nape of your neck or your belly can be just as arousing. Find out what makes you tick and do more of that. Knowledge is your superpower.

Make it a moment

Self-pleasure is the purest form of ‘you’ time, so don’t rush through it. It’s all in the build-up! Put as much care and thought into it as if you were getting ready for a date. Put on the slow jams, light the candles, pour yourself a glass of wine, moisturise your body, buy the silky overpriced pants. You’re worth it.

Try an A.M. session

Some people work out in the morning, some people eat porridge and some people touch themselves mmmk. We’re all wired differently and if a pre-work wank makes you tick, then you go get it girl. Nothing sets you up for the day like an A.M. session. Good MORNING, Britain.

Have fun!

Introducing a few playthings into the mix is a great way to shake up your masturbating technique. Personal massagers (aka sex toys), porn, certain positions, pillow humping, getting friendly with the showerhead – get to know the root to your orgasm like the back of your hand. The more familiar you get with the inner workings of your body, the better sex you will have. Period.

Make sure you’ve got time on your hands, literally

There’s no greater buzzkill than the food shop turning up before you’ve had a chance to hit the fanny jackpot. But hey, if a danger wank works for you, carry on. You do you!

TEAM ZOELLA SEPTEMBER 15, 2020

13 Questions With Molly Masters, Founder at Books That Matter

We caught up with Molly Masters from Books That Matter - the UK’s leading and largest book subscription box - to find out how much her business has grown through 2020, and what the team are currently working on.

First off, how are you and how have you been coping in 2020?

2020 has been such a rollercoaster, but in my personal and professional life, it’s been a generous year for me, so I’m feeling very grateful. It sounds cheesy, but I’m enormously fortunate that my family and loved ones are safe, happy and healthy, so I’ve been waking up with gratitude for that every single day. My book subscription box business, Books That Matter, actually ​quadrupled in size which was astounding, and it has been amazing to watch my business baby continue to take such big strides!

Personally, I was actually shielding from March to early August because I have a chronic respiratory disease, so that was a bit of a wild ride, especially with Books That Matter growing exponentially at the same time, my whole life felt like a bit of a whirlwind. But, I was able to be in my lovely little home in Bristol with my partner, my cats and my books, and my lovely team on Zoom, so I learned to roll with it pretty quickly. I think, if anything, 2020 has taught me much more resilience than I knew I had, I’ve had to trust my instincts when it has come to the business growing, taking a few more risks with how we work, throwing the rule book out the window when it came to our schedule.

We started this year with around 800 subscribers and now that’s more than quadrupled, so the systems and ways of working changed so dramatically with that steep incline, but we’ve learned, grown and we’ve moved – my team and I say that all the time: “​we MOVE!”​

Tell us about Books That Matter and how you came to be?

So, Books That Matter was actually born when I was in my second year of university. I’ve always loved women’s writing, feminism, and feeling empowered by new characters, powerful protagonists and sharing reading experiences with other women. I was the first in my family to go to university and was aided by amazing grants at the University of Sussex for working-class students, and I loved every minute of it. I really envisaged myself going into academic teaching, but the cost of doing so was too high for me to manage, I was already working three jobs in my undergrad, I couldn’t see myself doing it and mentally being able to cope. Whilst I felt like my world was spiralling – I’m such a planner, I’d had this journey in my head for ages and I felt a huge block in not knowing what I was doing next after uni – I threw myself into more reading, and with the question of accessibility in the front of my mind, I started to think about all the other women who might not be able to access this amazing literature I’d discovered at uni because they can’t afford it, or they don’t know where to find it.

A lot of literature is shrouded in elitism and that has to change! So, I decided to work on bringing women’s writing to a platform that was accessible, affordable, and exciting – and Books That Matter was brought to life! I took the idea to a local entrepreneurship competition, completed all the workshops and business-related tasks with no business experience (up against lots of business students!), and became the first female winner of the £10,000 investment prize, and was able to start up Books That Matter from there! I’m now 23, running the UK’s leading and largest book subscription box, a winner of Female Start-Up of the Year, and a finalist for the Great British Entrepreneur Awards, also running a team of eight, and loving every second of it!

What can people expect from a Books That Matter subscription box?

Our boxes are glorious monthly parcels of empowerment and inspiration. At £17 each, each themed box includes one piece of fiction by a female or non-binary author, and at least 3 gifts from independent female creatives and ethical businesses, as well as a beautifully illustrated bookmark and a 12-page magazine containing author interviews and themed content from recipes to nail art. Our themes have ranged from Black Women’s History Month, self-care, Greek goddesses, witchcraft, to collaborations with the Women’s Prize for Fiction, and most recently, Penguin Random House and Elif Shafak.

Our boxes are always made with sustainable materials, and we work directly with global publishers and small indie publishers too. Our promise is always to provide a platform for incredible writers, as well as independent female-run businesses; you won’t find any testers or tiny freebies in our boxes, only full-sized, quality, often exclusive and limited-edition products from diverse, ethical businesses. We always want for our boxes to be something exclusive and special for our subscribers, a reading experience you just can’t get anywhere else!

What have you got coming up in next month’s box?

Our next box theme is “Season of the Witch”, and we’ve curated a sparkling, celestial, witchy and wonderful box. We are fully embracing the Halloween season and including a gripping novel which is a reimagining of an iconic gothic tale with a feminist and LGBTQ+ spin. Last year we did a similar spellbinding theme, Witch Please, which was one of our bestsellers, and putting this box full of magic, wonder and witchcraft has been equally as exciting and festive. Inside, we’ll be including self-care products for the Autumn months, celestial stationery, hair accessories and more! In a year completely turned on its head, we really wanted to ground this box in the turn of the season to get us all feeling connected and magical. As October is also Black History Month, we have a wealth of content planned to celebrate and uplift that, and we’re continuing our pledge to launch quarterly Diversify Your Bookshelf packages which will be curated for anti-racist reading and supporting black and minority background authors.

You also have a podcast, can you tell us who you have coming up?

YES! We are so excited about the rebranding of our podcast and have recently relaunched it at Feminist in Progress. All of our bookish interviews are still there to be enjoyed, but we felt we wanted the podcast to be a more open space for things beyond the bookish, so we can start conversations on feminism and equality, which is hugely ingrained in our ethos. Our first guest on Feminist in Progress was the lovely Essie Dennis, but we also have upcoming interviews with Lisa Taddeo (author of Three Women), Jo Westwood (who is an amazing co-dependency coach encouraging women to live their very best, independent lives), and Bami, a new business friend I made while speaking at Facebook, she runs amazing Twerk After Work exercise classes through her business Bam Bam Boogie!

What has been your biggest achievement as a business?

Being able to work with such amazing women is honestly the biggest achievement I could ever ask for. I get to talk to my favourite authors, work with inspiring business owners and support their trade, get support from thought-leading mentors, collaborate with some huge organisations, and have built a team who I absolutely adore. There were a lot of times when I was packing boxes by hand in my tiny Bristol flat, in our outdoor storage unit, and feeling lonely in my first little office, that I felt like this would never become what I dreamed of, it just felt like my dreams were too big and the path to them far too hard. But there was always something in the back of my mind that ​believed in it all, and now I have the most supportive BTM family and the business I always dreamed of.

Being featured in places like Forbes, Stylist, the London Evening Standard, talking at Facebook, winning Female Start-Up of the Year, on top of all that is just incredible and I could never muster the words to say just how much it means to me. I grew up in an incredibly small town where people just don’t run their own businesses, especially women, and especially without any experience; so, to be doing all of this, it’s just the best thing I could have ever envisaged for my life. Plus, I earned enough to get two cats, so there’s that too! If there’s something else I’ve learned this year it’s that we as women definitely need to hype ourselves more, don’t be so humble all the time, celebrate ​every single win​, even if in this day in age it means dancing around your dining room in mismatched pyjamas! Celebrate yourself, and good things will happen.

Why do you think so many people turned to reading during the lockdown?

I think people like to think there’s a split here between people who genuinely just exhausted Netflix and Amazon Prime, and those who needed to escape, but really, anyone losing themselves in other narratives, be it on TV, podcasts, Youtube, or in a book, we’re all looking for a bit of escapism, aren’t we? I think books have brought a lot of people great comfort this year, and books really do have the ability to make us feel comforted, uplifted, empowered, and less alone.

Especially in the throws of lockdown, we all lost a little bit of our ordinary lives, and it perhaps can be supplemented by living vicariously through the travels, adventures, experiences and narratives of others through fiction. It’s been an enormous privilege to help a lot of people reconnect to their love of reading through lockdown, books are so important.

What are some of your team’s favourite reads of 2020?

This year has brought so many challenges, not just with lockdown, but with the civil rights movement of Black Lives Matter, and a lot of environmental disasters too; I think it’s been a wake-up call for a lot of people, and there’s such an amazing generation of people really pioneering new ways of thinking and supporting each other, and leading the way for how they want the world to look. So, we have enjoyed discussing a lot of very socially conscious novels like An American Marriage by Tayari Jones, Girl Woman Other by Bernadine Evaristo, and Queenie by Candice Carty Williams. But we’ve also been enjoying lighter novels that make us feel connected like Olive by Emma Gannon or fully submerge us in a new world like Women’s Prize winner Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell. If, like me, you often feel overwhelmed by the news, I’d recommend picking up a politically motivated or socially conscious novel, and learning that way.

What is the best thing about the book community?

The love, all the love! We have people in our community that have been with us since 2018 when we started, and that feels so heartwarming. We get the best messages and support and comments on a daily basis from subscribers and followers old and new, it really does make this a very fulfilling job to do. Knowing that you’re creating something each month that people genuinely count down the days to is just so wholesome; and our community form their own circles of online friendships, discussion groups, and we see so much of that in our Facebook group too. The book community is also a very forward-thinking and inclusive one, which is a great place to be. It’s a pleasure to be part of it, and a place where conversations are started.

Who are some of your favourite ‘bookstagram’ accounts on IG?

I learn a lot from the amazing MJ who runs @novelallure, she creates amazing graphics of books you should read, often themed by country or nationality, which helps to keep your bookshelf and TBR diverse! I also love the bookish aesthetics on @booksandpeonies, the inclusivity of @whatsallyreadnext and @bethsbookshelf, and the amazing bookshop photos on @sajdareads.

What are you currently working on as a team?

We are spinning a lot of plates at the moment, but we’re making it work! At the moment, we’re working hard on the launch of our second book subscription business, Brave Girls Book Club, which is the first book subscription box for young girls; empowering and inspiring them through female-led fiction and powerful protagonists! We’re also working on our bookshop takeovers each week on our socials, so our followers can see bookshop tours and engage in Q+As with independent bookstore owners and support them in these trying times!

Additionally, we’re hosting an online festival in September to celebrate our 2nd birthday, full of interviews on our Instagram Live with loads of amazing authors. On top of this, we’re also launching lots of new ready to ship gift boxes and merchandise too!

What books are you most excited about reading next year?

It has to be Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi, the author of Homegoing, I’m so hyped for it!

If you could recommend one book to our audience to read this year, what would it be?

This question made my brain hurt, and I so badly wanted to suggest 1,000,000,000 but the book I’m recommending to everyone at the moment is Untamed by Glennon Doyle. It’s a memoir by an incredibly powerful writer who talks of the transition of leaving her broken marriage for a new queer relationship, it’s incredibly moving and life-changing and really forces you to think about the choices and autonomy you have in your own life. We’re so often scared of change, but we need to embrace it more, especially big, radical, scary changes. Glennon captures it perfectly in this book.

Take a look at Books That Matter here, and follow them on Instagram here.

TEAM ZOELLA SEPTEMBER 14, 2020

8 Reasons To Get Excited About Autumn This Year

Change is in the air, Halloween is just around the corner and sweater weather is brewing away nicely in a wardrobe near you.

Autumn is categorically the best season. The end.

Change is in the air, Halloween is just around the corner and sweater weather is brewing away nicely in a wardrobe near you. We’re stalking our local pumpkin patch, checking for signs of Cinderella coach-worthy gourds and sprawling vines like some kind of PYO secret agent. Always ahead of the carve.

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True, the balmy Summer evenings spent getting gently merry in the park did serve us well when Boris Johnson and his shit show of stuttering doom got a little too much for us to bear, but let’s not dwell on that. Let’s welcome the fall equinox with open, socially distanced arms.

If you’re still mourning the long, languid Summer of 2020, here’s a few reasons to get excited about Autumn’s imminent toasty arrival.

It’s the most sensory season

Season of mists and mallow fruitfulness – John Keats was a wise, wise man. The crunch of leaves underfoot, the misty mornings, the colours of the trees, the whiff of smoke from a neighbour’s chimney – Autumn sure is a feast for the senses.

Sweater weather

Tell you what you won’t miss about Summer, seeing the sheen from your clammy upper lip in your field of vision before you’ve even left the house. Throw a mask into the mix and you’d be casually wringing your chin out to dry by 7am. No such hardships exist in Autumn. It’s all big, cosy, effortless combinations of layers, turtle necks, coats and boots. Sayonara, hay fever.

The food

As the evenings get darker and chillier, the food gets all hearty on us. Salads give way to mammoth cheese boards, hot soup and crusty rolls, country pub roasts and nostalgic puddings swimming with custard. Even your cup of tea somehow tastes better now that it’s accompanied with a blanket and a packet of Custard Creams. Miraculous.

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Great TV

Thanks to That Which Shall Not Be Named, lots of our favourite television shows and upcoming films were put on hold this year but there are still plenty of televisual treats to get stuck into. The Autumn line-up is already looking promising with Strictly Come Dancing, Emily in Paris starring Lily Collins, Riviera Season 3, The Undoing with Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant and Bridgerton – a nice fluffy period drama – all airing this fall. That’ll give us something worth staying in for.  

Slowing down

One of the best things about Autumn is the change of pace. Everything gets a tad slower, your friends and family are generally in agreement that a Saturday night in beats a Saturday night out freezing ya tits off at the taxi rank. The pressure to seize the day becomes permission to seize the duvet, and you can rest safe in the knowledge that everyone else is doing the very same thing: eating Twiglets and cinnamon rolls in their dressing gown.

All the good books

Curling up with a good book just feels better when it’s blowing a gale outside. Snug (and smug) as a bug in a rug.

Halloween

Who knows if it’s going to be all trick and none of the treat this year but that’s not to say that we can’t get our spook on for one of the best holidays of the year, even if we are just sat at home with the cat, like the world’s most tragic witch. Know that we will be knocking back the pumpkin punch and howling at the moon in spirit.

It’s zero effort

Everything rests up, including our well-manicured bikini line of July. Autumn, you marvellous, sexy orange tinted bastard – we’re ready for ya!

From sinking one too many PSLs to hunkering down with Netflix, what are you looking forward to the most this Autumn?

TEAM ZOELLA SEPTEMBER 13, 2020

Weekly Wants: Handbags For Every Mood

Whether you're a lover of a tote, mini, clutch or shoulder bag, there's no denying that having the right selection of handbags in your repertoire can take an outfit from zero to hero in an instant.

Whether you’re a lover of a tote, mini, clutch or shoulder bag, there’s no denying that having the right selection of handbags in your repertoire can take an outfit from zero to hero in an instant.

Curating the perfect picks to match your look makes nailing your personal style a breeze.

You’ll find a chic and cool selection of classic, black ‘goes with everything’ picks this week, as well as some fun and flirty additions for those occasions you want to really make a statement. Curating the perfect picks to match your look makes nailing your personal style a breeze. Unlike our other favourite accessory (the humble shoe) handbags are pretty darn reliable no matter the weather, and also don’t depend on you having a perfect pedicure making them a winner in our book!

Click through to see the handbags giving us major heart eyes right now.

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TEAM ZOELLA SEPTEMBER 12, 2020

The AW20 Trend Report: 10 Looks To Wear Now Summer’s Done & Dusted

Now, as Summer bows out for another year, we’re looking forward to switching up our wardrobes for the colder months ahead.We are so ready to be swaddled in acres of knitwear and coats that resemble dressing gowns.

We all had high, high hopes for a Summer of sartorial greatness this year, but 2020 had other ideas. Enter sweatpants.

Loungewear finally got the fashion promotion it deserves, and we spent the best part of six months getting all dressed up for the living room. And by dressed up, we mean, you know, dressed.

Now, as Summer bows out for another year, we’re looking forward to switching up our wardrobes for the colder months ahead. We are so ready to be swaddled in acres of knitwear and coats that resemble dressing gowns.

From Zoom friendly collars to jackets that’ll double up as a duvet, keep scrolling to see what’s what this Autumn / Winter.

1. Lilac

If, like us, you fell hard for lilac this Summer, then you’re in for some good news because our fave pastel hue is going nowhere for Autumn/Winter. Whether you opt for lavender accessories or go ham with a head-to-toe suit, a splash of lilac is bound to brighten up a grey Winter’s day.

Spotted at: Hugo Boss, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen, Acne

2. Duvet dressing

Just when you thought you were going to have to consciously uncouple your sweatpants ready to head back to office professionalism, duvet dressing saves the day. Our emotions are spared!

From full-length coats to gilets and puffer jackets, soft quilted layers mean you can enjoy home comforts wherever you are, even if you’re stuck on the dreaded commute. If ever there was an excuse to rock that just rolled out of bed look, it’s now. I woke up like this!

3. Fringing

Someone needs to let our wardrobe know that it’s about to get a set of bangs and there’s nothing it can do about it. Deconstructed pleats, trailing boho tassels and adorned shoulders are where it’s at. If it doesn’t move like a Gatsby party, we don’t wanna know. Whether you go all out with a floor length dress or dabble with detail on a blouse, there’s no better way to elevate your garms this season.

Spotted at: Prada, Bottega Veneta, Jil Sander, Givenchy, Hugo Boss, Salvatore Ferragamo

4. Coffee tones

All the usual toasty autumn shades unsurprisingly dominated the runway in all four of the fashion capitals for AW20 and we ain’t mad. From chocolate trousers to cappuccino shirts and caramel knitwear, dress like your favourite morning brew and you won’t go far wrong.

Spotted at: Rejina Pyo, Margaret Howell, Agnona

5. Turn up the volume

From XL balloon sleeves at Fendi to Simone Rocha’s head-turning cocoon silhouettes, let this be our sartorial reminder to take up as much space as we can, ladies. It’s our turn to be seen and heard.

Spotted at: JW Anderson, Alexander McQueen, Simone Rocha, Fendi, Chanel

6. Ride it out

You don’t need to own a show pony to get involved with this stable boy trend. Knee high riding boots, double breasted blazers & sleek tailoring is all it takes to give your autumn wardrobe a touch of the equestrian influence.

Spotted at: Self Portrait, Chanel, Hermes, Tory Burch

7. Sweater vests

That’s right, the humble Chandler Bing vest has some serious staying power, cementing itself as a major player this Autumn. Layer one over your favourite midi dresses or pair it with your suit trousers for a practical and chic not-quite-autumn-yet outfit. We suggest you start rifling through your dad’s wardrobe asap.

Spotted at: Lacoste, Marc Jacobs, Gucci, Prada, Christian Dior

8. The conference call collar

For those of us still working from home with a calendar full of video calls, you’ll know all about that dressing from waist up life.

A statement collar instantly makes it look like you’ve made an effort, even if your bottom half tells another story. All business up top, hedgehog pjs down below – they’ll never know.

Whether you go Peter Pan, pie crust or Broderie Anglaise, a look-at-me collar will ensure you’re camera ready.

Spotted at: Bottega Veneta, Gucci, Chloe

9. Hell for leather

Leather is always a key fabric at this time of year, so whether you opt for minimalist separates or a floor sweeping trench coat as seen at Burberry & Saint Laurent, this is one timeless trend that’ll last far beyond one season.

Spotted at: Burberry, Stella McCartney, Miu Miu, Saint Laurent

10 Stomping ground

Last year, we saw the arrival of chunky track sole shoes and boots (the uglier the better) and this year, the heavy-duty utilitarian style has stuck around. Best foot forward!

Spotted at: Ganni, Prada, Holzweiler, Dior

What trend will you be donning this autumn?

TEAM ZOELLA SEPTEMBER 11, 2020

Fireside Fiction: 16 Cosy Books To Curl Up With This Autumn

Let’s set the scene: the woody candles are flickering away, there’s a steaming mug of hot chocolate just within reach and you’ve got nowhere else to be but here, leaving butt cheek imprints on the seat of your favourite arm chair.

On a rainy Autumn day, there’s no better feeling than hibernating indoors away from the elements with a blanket over your knees and a good book to boot.

Let’s set the scene: the woody candles are flickering away, there’s a steaming mug of hot chocolate just within reach and you’ve got nowhere else to be but here, leaving butt cheek imprints on the seat of your favourite armchair.

You might break to gnaw on a chocolate Hobnob here and there, stretch your legs, sniff your paperback (we know you do it) but other than that, you don’t intend to move from this reading nook right here.

From seasonal must reads full of heart and poignant observations, to beloved classics with their crumbling manor houses and 10/10 heroines, these are the cosy books chilly autumn days & evenings were made for.

Autumn by Ali Smith

What better way to kick off the cosy reading list than with a book rooted in Autumn? The first of four seasonal novels by Scottish author, Ali Smith, Autumn is a beautiful and nuanced exploration of our relationship with time; how we experience it and how we narrate it. Buy Autumn here.

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

If you like your fiction heartfelt and fanciful, look no further than The Snow Child. Set in 1920s Alaska and based on the old Russian fairy tale, Snegurochka, it tells the story of a couple who create a child out of snow.

The next morning the snow child is gone, but they catch sight of an elusive, blonde-haired girl running through the trees. The little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and leaves blizzards in her wake. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who seems to have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in the Alaska wilderness, life and death are inextricable, and what they eventually learn about Faina changes their lives forever. Buy The Snow Child here.

Grand Union: Stories by Zadie Smith

If you don’t have time to sink your teeth into a novel then tuck into one of Zadie Smith’s incredible short stories from her book Grand Union. Mostly based in New York the book is packed full of 19 different narratives you might find yourself as an artist in ‘Downtown’ or a drag queen in ‘Miss Adele Amidst the Corsets’. Buy Grand Union here.

The Switch by Beth O’Leary

Like a comforting cup of tea in book form, The Switch is the warm and fuzzy tale we all need in these turbulent times (aka 2020 as a whole). Bursting with heart, warmth and unruly OAPs, it will have you howling with laughter one minute and welling up with happy tears the next. Buy The Switch here.

Some Kind of Wonderful by Giovanna Fletcher

When Lizzy finds herself unexpectedly single, her whole life is flipped upside down but through the heartbreak and tears, she sees an opportunity to discover who she really is. It’s a joyful reminder that happiness can be found where you least expect it. Buy Some Kind of Wonderful here.

Little Women by Louisa May Allcott

Hunker down for the night with Louisa May Allcott’s timeless and teary classic. The March sisters will fill your heart with warmth but also rip it out a tiny bit. Cryers, you have been warned. Buy Little Women here.

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck in a lift with isn’t something Alexa Monroe would normally do, but there’s something about Drew Nichols that’s too hard to resist…

If you’re looking for a feel-good rom-com you can read instead of watch, RSVP to The Wedding Date, asap. Buy The Wedding Date here.

The Binding by Bridget Collins

A richly imagined, genre-defying love story, laced with bookbinding magic and unforgettable characters. This is a booklover’s dream! PS look at that enchanting cover, it’s crying out to be top of your Autumn stack. Buy The Binding here.

Real Men Knit by Kwana Jackson

Nothing says cosy quite like knitting and in this adorable romance Jesse and his brother struggle after the loss of their mother Mama Joy and the knitting shop she has left behind. Whilst fighting to keep the store open Jesse finds himself becoming more and more attracted to one of his employees Kerry, didn’t we tell you this story was adorable? Buy Real Men Knit here.

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

On a beautifully restored barge on the Seine, Jean Perdu runs a bookshop; or rather a ‘literary apothecary’, for this bookseller possesses a rare gift for sensing which books will soothe the troubled souls of his customers. A delightful book you’ll want to savour cover to cover in one sitting rather than grabbing quick snatches here and there. Buy The Little Paris Bookshop here.

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

When the wind’s bleating against the windows, you can’t beat staying up way past midnight in the glow of your bedside lamp with a bit of Austen for company. This classic tale of romance and passion never gets old. Buy Pride & Prejudice here.

Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian

Weepie wartime fiction at its best. Plus, it brings back all the nostalgia of reading this at primary school. Evening made! Buy Goodnight Mister Tom here.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Blustery Autumn days were made for butterbeer, Quidditch and those dulcet Dumbledore utterances. Buy Harry Potter here.

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

Fall in love with chronically ill computer-obsessed Chloe Brown, as she creates a checklist to officially help her “get a life.” Throw in the perfect tattooed handyman artist and you’ve got yourself a bestseller from Talia Hibbert. Get comfy as you’ll want to gobble this one up in one sitting. Buy Get a Life, Chloe Brow here.

Grandmothers by Salley Vickers

Sometimes, we just need to indulge in an undemanding book and the latest novel from Salley Vickers fits the bill nicely. A tender portrait of the bond between grandmothers and their grandchildren, it’s the soothing Autumn read we all need right now. Buy Grandmothers here.

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

What even is Autumn without this du Maurier fireside treat? Atmospheric, gothic and oozing with suspense, whiling away the hours inside the eerie walls at Manderley House is time well spent indeed. Buy Rebecca here.

What’s top of your cosy reading list this season?

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