TEAM ZOELLA DECEMBER 30, 2020

December Book Club 2020: Finding Love At The Christmas Market by Jo Thomas

We hope you enjoyed this literary hug as much as we did. Scroll through the team’s reviews to see what we thought of Jo Thomas’ festive treat…

We’ve spent the best part of the holidays curled up with a glass of Glühwein in one hand and our last 2020 book club read, Finding Love At The Christmas Market, in the other.

It’s been quite the rocky year, so we thought we’d round it off with a warm, uplifting and life-affirming tale to soothe our souls well into the New Year.

We hope you enjoyed this literary hug as much as we did. Scroll through the team’s reviews to see what we thought of Jo Thomas’ festive treat…

Residential-home caterer Connie has had one online-dating disaster too many. Hurt in the past and with her son to consider, now she’s feeling hesitant. Then one of Connie’s residents sets her up on a date at a beautiful German Christmas market – with the promise she’ll take a mini-bus full of pensioners along with her…

Amongst the twinkling lights and smell of warm gingerbread in the old market square, Connie heads off on her date with a checklist of potential partner must-haves. Baker Henrich ticks all the boxes, but when Connie meets Henrich’s rival William, she starts to wonder if ticking boxes is the answer.

Will Connie’s wish for love this Christmas come true, and if so – with who?

TEAM ZOELLA DECEMBER 28, 2020

The Zoella Team’s Top 5 For 2020

From our favourite lockdown tv to the song that got us through it and the lockdown purchase we couldn't function without, here’s the team’s best bits from the quickest, slow year that’s ever been.

We can’t pretend we’re not glad to see the back of 2020 but rather than dwelling on all the bad, bad, double bad bits, we’re looking back on this year’s highlights and all the sparkly silver linings that helped us weather the shitstorm.

From our favourite lockdown tv to the song that got us through it and the lockdown purchase we couldn’t function without, here’s the team’s best bits from the quickest, slow year that’s ever been. Thank you, next 2020!

Zoe says…

TV series/ Movie:

One tv show that I think wins my affection the most, however, was Normal PeopleZoe

This year my TV got an awful lot more loving than usual. I had something on most evenings, even if it was just in the background. One tv show that I think wins my affection the most, however, was Normal People. The BBC adaptation of Sally Rooney’s novel was just pure…chefs kiss. The acting, the cast, the FEEEELLS when you were watching it. When the final episode finished Alfie and I just sat in silence and tears just rolled down my face. It really got me right in the heart and even writing this now I want to re-watch it! Beautifully done.

Lockdown purchase:

This was an easy one for me, my yellow Nintendo DS and Animal Crossing. Just as lockdown happened, Alfie had purchased me a DS and told me that he thought I’d enjoy playing animal crossing. I didn’t know much about it besides the fact that Alfie had played the previous version before and I knew the characters were cute animals that made weird noises. A group of 6 of us all bought a DS, downloaded animal crossing and started playing at the same time. We all got SO into it, it consumed all our evenings comparing what fish or bugs we’d caught or what our islands looked like. We even created a WhatsApp group where we talked about it, spent endless hours on group calls talking about it and it will honestly be such a huge highlight for me when I look back at 2020. None of us really play it anymore or certainly not to the extent we were, but we still use the group chat, that will now always be called “AC IS A WAY OF LIFE”

Memory:

This was hard as I have 2 memories that stick out for me. The first being my 30th birthday. Although not the one I had planned, and one I certainly won’t ever forget (5 days into the first national lockdown) Alfie made it so special and I had the best day even though I wasn’t able to spend it with any friends or family.

I remember feeling so lucky to spend time with people in this way and it was hilarious and crazy!Zoe

There was also one particular evening where we were allowed to have up to 6 people in the garden as lockdown was easing. We’d been on a walk with friends and even though it was so cold, and so rainy, everyone came back to the garden and we made a very makeshift gazebo with tarpaulin, a lot of random garden things to weigh it down and keep it on and used outdoor heaters and fairy lights to try and make it cosy. We all ordered a Wagamama and wrapped up in blankets and just had the best time. I remember feeling so lucky to spend time with people in this way and it was hilarious and crazy!

Song that got you through it:

My most played songs of 2020 were Mungo Jerry – In the Summertime and Bob Marley – Three Little Birds. I played both these songs over and over when I was spending time in the garden in the sun and they always put me in the best mood.

New discovery:

Alfie and I discovered a bit more of a love for cooking from scratch. We subscribed to Gousto just before lockdown as we told ourselves we would learn to cook proper meals in 2020, and when we were eventually faced with limited online shopping slots and only really going to the shop on very few occasions for food, it was such a joy to take that time out in the evenings to make something together. We were never really the cooking from scratch type of couple but it was so enjoyable and I learnt to cook so many new meals this year because of it!

Maddie Says…

TV series/ Movie:

I became really engrossed in the 6 part miniseries ‘The Undoing’ which launched on Sky Atlantic this year. It’s a gripping “Who done it” starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant who are absolutely brilliant in it. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone but trust me, you will want to binge-watch the entire thing in one go to find out what happened and who you can believe. I also started the Crown for the first time, I know I’m terribly behind the times but have really loved watching that too, it’s far more scandalous than I imagined it would be.

Lockdown purchase:

My collective lockdown purchases have all been either house or baby-related things. I can’t remember the last time I bought something that wasn’t a really practical buy ie a hoover or lightbulbs! Researching our first pram was quite a fun experience though, I thought it would be really overwhelming with all the choice but for once I was quite decisive!

Memory:

Picking a favourite memory is impossible but all of my favourite memories of this year revolve around finding out that I’m having a baby. That first positive test, breaking the news to my husband, hearing the heartbeat for the first time, telling our friends and family, feeling her kicks….the list goes on but it’s definitely been my biggest highlight of 2020.

Song that got you through it:

This is a bit of a weird one but I’m going to go with Meat Loaf – Life is a lemon (and I want my money back). There’s something about that song that I can’t help sing/yell along with, it’s incredibly cathartic and appropriate for this year! I also have to say that I’ve found a new appreciation for Harry Styles.

New discovery:

I’ve discovered so many independent brands, a lot of which were born out of lockdown which I think is incredible. Maddie

A big change for me this year has been a massive shift to shopping small where possible. I’ve discovered so many independent brands, a lot of which were born out of lockdown which I think is incredible. It’s been a really hard year for retail generally but I imagine that it hits even harder when it’s your own shop or business that’s bearing the brunt of an economic downturn. I definitely want to continue to make a concerted effort to shop more locally and support small businesses going forward.

Lareese Says…

TV series/ Movie:

Oh, this is a tough one but I was absolutely obsessed with Normal People, like OBSESSED. I just thought it was utterly brilliant and so beautifully done. I still think about Connell’s chain before I go to sleep at night. I also loved Little Fires Everywhere, The Queen’s Gambit, The Crown Season 4 and Emily In Paris. I mean, we’ve been spoilt rotten where TV’s concerned this year but Normal People still takes the top spot. Film-wise – I’m going to go out on a limb here and say Roald & Beatrix: The Tail of the Curious Mouse. At the time of writing, I haven’t even seen it yet but I just know it’s going to be my favourite film of this year. Enola Holmes was also a 10/10 movie to come out of 2020 – all the cosy nostalgia.

Lockdown purchase:

It was a real labour of love but it also gave us something to throw all our time and energy during those long lockdown months.Lareese

Our bloody hallway! We have been renovating it since March and have now finally got to a point that feels close to completion. After seeing it in so many various states of undress and putting a ridiculous amount of hours and weekends into stripping wallpaper, prepping the walls and stripping the bannisters (that was painful), it feels like such a grown-up accomplishment to finally have a stair runner down. It was a real labour of love but it also gave us something to throw all our time and energy (and money tbh) during those long lockdown months. It’s beans on toast for the rest of forever now haha but it was worth it and hopefully, we’ve saved the next future owners a whole lot of hassle and blisters.

Memory:

I think it was my birthday back in February, ya know – just the sheer normality of going out for a bog-standard meal with my mum, dad, sister, boyfriend and my niece and nephew and having absolutely no idea how extraordinary doing something that normal would become in the months that followed. Soppy right? But it’s so true. I remember coming home after that meal and watching a cosy film tucked up in bed and just feeling like my heart was fit to burst. Little did I know that the events of 2020 would make me feel even more grateful for who and what I have in my life. Blimey, pass the tissues – we did it guys, we made it through TOGETHER.

Song that got you through it:

Can I vote for Taylor Swift’s whole album please? Folklore definitely provided me with some much-needed escapism. I love the whole fairytale, the story-telling direction she’s taken with her music. Another song that got a serious amount of plays this year and was top of my Spotify Wrapped was Fleetwood Mac Everywhere. That intro! It gives me such a pick-me-up whenever I hear it.

New discovery:

I fell back in love with the water this year and found a new level of appreciation for where I live. Lareese

Definitely swimming. I fell back in love with the water this year and found a new level of appreciation for where I live. Lockdown completely highlighted how lucky we are to have the sea on our doorstep here in Brighton and I went sea swimming right up until November. I don’t think I’m quite brave enough to keep at it all through Winter – I’m definitely more of a fair-weather swimmer but as soon as I don’t need a woolly hat to do my breaststroke, I’ll be back in there like swimwear.

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Danielle Says…

TV series/ Movie:

I have consumed a crapload of content this year, I’m sure everyone has so it’s so hard to think of my favourite. Let’s go with the Queen’s Gambit! These days every series I watch is set up for the second with a frustrating cliff hanger that ties up just enough to keep me hanging on for the next, nothing seems to just end which is one of the many reasons I loved QG as it was a perfect story all wrapped up and delivered. I loved the vibe, the music, the fashion, the characters and its ability to stray from the path of where I thought it was heading. It was a brilliant escape and now I’m a massive Anya Taylor-Joy fan girl.

Lockdown purchase:

Ummm we bought a house? I’m not sure if that counts but it’s definitely my most exciting purchase of the year! After the first lockdown we knew we needed more space and set out finding a new place to rent but the market was just heaving and unfortunately having a dog usually puts you behind others looking, so we decided it was time to buy instead. I’m yet to move in or as I’m writing this so fingers crossed it all went smoothly!

Memory:

On the day itself we had a Zoom open all day for people to drop in and have a pint, it was so much fun!Danielle

My best memories of this year come from making the effort during the height of lockdown. It was my birthday, my partner Harry’s birthday and my hen-do all within a few weeks and they were some of the BEST times I’ve had due to the extra care and attention that went into them. Not to toot my own horn but I created a pub in my kitchen for Harry that I really enjoyed researching and putting together, on the day itself we had a Zoom open all day for people to drop in and have a pint, it was so much fun!

Song that got you through it:

I’ve always loved how This American Life podcast handles significant events, it was so interesting to hear so many COVID and election storiesDanielle

I actually don’t listen to a ton of music I’m more of a podcast or book person so a couple of things that I’ve loved is audible and rediscovering my love of listening to the Harry Potter books before I go to sleep. The Off-Menu podcast which is always hilarious and I’ve always loved how This American Life podcast handles significant events, it was so interesting to hear so many COVID and election stories from across the pond.

New discovery:

I really haven’t picked up a new hobby even though I think that was one of my new year’s resolutions last Jan! Most recently I think my discovery is Twitch, which I never thought I’d say. I love that I can pop on someone or a group of people playing a game and leave it for a few hours instead of constantly picking up my phone thinking what should I put on now. I won’t go into specifics about who I’m loving HA but watching people play Among Us is probs my fave.

Holly Says…

TV Series/Movie:

I started watching The Vampire Diaries in Lockdown and I am obsessed. My Tik Tok explore page is literally all Damon Salvatore now. I couldn’t guess what was going to happen from episode to episode and the character development is also great. The people that start off as the bad guys, you grow to love. And I haven’t actually watched the ending because I couldn’t finish it in time before it was taken off of Netflix, but I know what happens and it makes my heart happy.

Lockdown Purchase:

I did go a bit tie-die crazy though and I now have about 15 clothing items which are multicoloured. Roll on next summer!Holly

I actually didn’t make too many lockdown purchases. I got the little things to help get through it, crafts, tie-dye kit and tracksuits but that’s it. I got so bored at so many points so all these little things occupied my mind a bit. I did go a bit tie-die crazy though and I now have about 15 clothing items which are multicoloured. Roll on next summer!

Memory:

I can’t say any great memories really sprung to mind. I had a couple of highlights, seeing my best friends for the first time in 9 months was GREAT and spending quality time with my family over lockdown was nice. But I think my absolute favourite was going to the comedy shows at the Warren outdoor theatre in Brighton. They had a different show on every day and I think it was the closest to normal I’ve felt in a while. I miss live entertainment!

Song that got you through it:

I’ve rediscovered my actual LOVE for One Direction. It reminds me of better times so I’ve been listening to them on repeat. The Take Me Home album specifically and even more specifically, She’d Not Afraid – I’m thinking of getting it tattooed on me because I’m a basic bitch and proud.

New Discovery:

At the beginning of the year, I fully didn’t get the hype of Tik Tok but let me tell you I am converted. I’m not joking when I say I spend all of my spare time scrolling my for you page. I go to bed at night and have the dances in my head and sometimes I find myself scrolling and I don’t even know how I got there. Has it been 5 mins or 5 hours? I just wish I was better at dancing so I could actually do my own…

Darcey Says…

TV series/ Movie:

I think 2020 was the year of bingeing alllll the series on Netflix. I actually discovered Friends this year properly in the first lockdown, and watched it through TWICE. Yes, that is really how much time I had on my hands. I became obsessed with Friends and finally understood the hype! I also binge-watched all of Modern Family again too. But, my favourite new series has to be hands down Normal People and The Queens Gambit, both series were absolutely remarkable. I was obsessed with both leading ladies and how perfectly both storylines were done. If I had to pick one, I think it would be Queens Gambit in first place. Maybe I’ll take up Chess in 2021?

Lockdown purchase:

I did however in lockdown buy myself a proper desk set-up in my bedroom for my new WFH lifeDarcey

I can’t say that I really bought anything crazy in lockdown, I kind of had the mindset that if I can’t go anywhere then what’s the point in indulging in new things, especially makeup and clothes etc. I did however in lockdown buy myself a proper desk set-up in my bedroom for my new WFH life, although it was only a desk and some shelving, it actually made my room feel super zen and I think it has massively helped with dividing up my work/personal life while spending so much time at home.

Memory:

My 2020 most definitely isn’t filled with many happy memories, it has been a really tough year and I am truly ready to wave goodbye to 2020. This year was going to be tough for me either with or without Covid, with my Mum falling Ill back in June. I think moments like this do make you realise how precious life is and how important it is to live life to the full. So although this was not a happy memory, this one really stands out for me. 2020 did give me the opportunity to spend more time with my family and that I am grateful for. I did, however, enjoy getting outside more once lockdown was lifted, going on bike rides with friends and enjoying the sunshine probably more than most summers as I think I appreciated that little extra bit of freedom so much.

Song that got you through it:

I spent a lot of 2020 listening to Fleetwood Mac, I grew up listening to their music and find it really soothing. They actually were my Spotify Unwrapped top artist this year, so that shows how much I listened to them! I think I listened to Dreams the most though, or Rhiannon, very close between the two.

New discovery:

I wouldn’t necessarily say this was a new discovery, but I do think my love for it grew exceptionally in Lockdown. I am obsessed with house plants, I think I have roughly 17 in my bedroom alone… But what I really enjoyed throughout lockdown and 2020, in general, is looking after them all, I think it’s really good for my mental health and it’s nice when you actually keep them alive haha!

Charlotte Says…

TV series/ Movie:

I wish I could say something more profound but I found a lot of comfort in watching Selling Sunset during a difficult part of lockdown for me. It’s kinda trashy but I found getting a peek into the real estate world so interesting, as well as the dynamic between the girls and the LA lifestyle- plus there were a LOT of episodes to binge! Other than that, the 1D film ‘This Is Us’ ALWAYS cheers me up no matter the circumstance.

Lockdown purchase:

A TV for my room! Seems extravagant but it made the second lockdown so much more bearable and I love being able to catch up on vlogs on the big screen.

Memory:

It sounds bizarre but I feel nostalgic and comforted looking back at the first 3 weeks of lockdown in March.Charlotte

2020 is really hard to reflect on for me, to be honest- it feels a bit too raw to relive how hard it’s been. It sounds bizarre but I feel nostalgic and comforted looking back at the first 3 weeks of lockdown in March. After that point, I had a really tricky time with my health that changed the whole experience, both those initial weeks of spending time with my mum and sister, baking banana bread, learning TikTok dances, watching Tiger King, reading in the bath and not feeling guilty about it felt really safe and reassuring for me. I guess the naivety of not knowing what was to come made me a lot more relaxed during those initial weeks.

If I forget the surrounding circumstances, seeing The 1975 in February at The O2 before Covid took over was magical.

Song that got you through it:

Peace by Taylor Swift really does sound like peace.

New discovery:

Making One Direction TikToks was such a WELCOME distraction! I’ve also really had to prioritise my mental health and have found yoga/breathing/meditation to be so helpful and practices I will continue for the long haul!

What are your top 5 things from 2020? Let us know in the comments!

TEAM ZOELLA DECEMBER 27, 2020

13 Wholesome Reads To See You Through The Holidays

Grab a mince pie and a mulled wine, here’s a holly jolly round-up of festive stories to tuck into over the holiday season.

When it comes to season’s reading, we want it fluffy, we want it sickeningly sentimental and we want it to make us feel positively merry and bright.

For the record, that’s no mention of pandemics, problematic relationships, murders or visceral dread. Give us comforting plots, twee characters, Yuletide reflection and blissfully unrealistic romances.

Grab a mince pie and a mulled wine, here’s a holly jolly round-up of festive stories to tuck into over the holiday season.

1. Dash & Lily’s Book Of Dares – Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

You may have already binged the new Netflix original series but if you haven’t, definitely read this collaborative novel first.

Set during the Christmas season in New York, this light-hearted novel tells the story of two book nerds, Dash & Lily. Lily leaves a red notebook full of challenges on her favourite book shop shelf and, as serendipity would have it, Dash is the first guy to discover it. They pass the red moleskin between them consisting of dreams, desires and dares for the other one to do, but will their in-person selves connect as well as their notebook versions?

2. Finding Love At The Christmas Market – Jo Thomas

Kicking off the must-read festive canon with this hug of a book and our very own book club pick for this month. We’ll be living vicariously through Jo Thomas’s sparkling imagination and hoping we can tuck into a gigantic Bratwurst at a bustling Christmas market in 2021. Not a euphemism, you filthy animals.

3. Christmas Stories – Everyman’s Library Pocket Classics

Perfect for those nights you want to dip in and out of your reading in-between nap-taking and present-wrapping, this collection of classic short stories is imbued with Christmas spirit and fanciful flights of the imagination.

4. Mr Dickens and His Carol – Samantha Silva

A companion novel based on the man who created the most famous Christmas story ever written. This festive imagining explores the conception of A Christmas Carol, as Dickens goes on a Scrooge-like journey through Christmases past and present to get some much-needed inspiration for his now-legendary moral fable.

5. Seven Days Of Us – Francesca Hornak

Fans of Love Actually and The Family Stone will LOVE this warm, life-affirming tale.

It’s the holiday season and the Birch family are forced to spend a week in quarantine together after the eldest daughter, Olivia, returns home from treating an epidemic abroad. Locked down and forced into one another’s immediate orbits, not much can stay hidden for long.

We know we said no mention of ‘P’ who should not be named but this one seemed too good to miss.

6. A Maigret Christmas: And Other Stories – Georges Simenon, David Coward

From the celebrated creator of Inspector Maigret, comes a short and sweet selection of heart-tugging seasonal stories, all set in Paris at Christmas. At 224 pages, it’s crying out to be stuffed into a stocking this December.

7. The Snow Ball – Brigid Brophy, Eley Williams

Who knows if we’ll be allowed to ring in the New Year in the old boozer together, garbling the words to Auld Lange Syne through passionate beer burps, but at least we have a bookish invitation to this 18th century costume Snow Ball. Glitter, scandal and utterly seductive prose – no lockdown caveat needed.

Dress code – your best pjs, venue – the grand sofa. This could catch on! New Year’s Eve escapism at its fictional finest!

8. A Treasury Of African American Christmas Stories – Bettye Collier-Thomas

Written between 1880 and 1953, this landmark collection of historical works written by African-American journalists, activists and visionaries will inspire and educate you. An important and strikingly current piece of the Christmas canon that celebrates the black storytelling tradition that flourished after the civil war.

9. The Twelve Dates of Christmas – Jenny Bayliss

Twelve festive dates with the area’s most eligible men? So, this is Christmas! Will we forget where we are and violently shake our head at the protagonist if she has non-socially distanced sexual intercourse, yes, yes, we will.

10. Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café – Jessica Redland

At this point, we’d like to personally congratulate Jessica Redland for coming up with the most comforting Hallmark-esque book title ever. Parlour games are over folks, Jess wins at Christmas.

Reading Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café is as wholesome as it sounds. So, grab a brew and a blanket and unwrap this literary gift, page by page.

11. One Day In December – Josie Silver

A whirlwind meet-cute through a misted-up bus window one snowy December is just what we need to be reading about this Yuletide. Petition to make it a Netflix rom-com asap!

12. Little Women – Louisa May Alcott

Christmas won’t be Christmas without the March sisters. Curl up fireside with one of the most endearing classics every written.

13. A Boy Called Christmas – Matt Haig

Magical for all ages, Matt Haig’s Christmas story revives the spirit of the season with a sleigh-load of humour & festive wonder.

TEAM ZOELLA DECEMBER 24, 2020

Feeling Anxious, Stressed & Distracted? Avoid Festive Burnout By Doing A Digital Detox This Christmas

Here’s some helpful tips for reducing your screen-time over the next few weeks. We hope you have a very merry and mindful Christmas.

With Christmas just a few days away, you might be thinking about how you can make the most of the holiday, whether you’re spending it alone or with family this year.

The festive period is the perfect time to switch off, put down your devices and be present with yourself and your loved ones, sharing in conversation, catching up on 2020 and rediscovering the magic of the holiday spirit, without the distraction of Instagram proposals, puppies, presents and the parlour games that are 10 X better than the ones you’re playing.

Taking a digital break can be an essential part of looking after your mental wellbeing over the Christmas period, particularly if you’re struggling with loneliness, low self-esteem or that little thief of joy – comparison culture.

By stepping away from the digital world, you can reconnect not only with the real world but with yourself and the things that matter to you. Here’s some helpful tips for reducing your screen-time over the next few weeks. We hope you have a very merry and mindful Christmas.

1 Make going online a conscious decision

If going cold turkey feels like too much of a giant leap, you can try having allocated social media times to check-in

If going cold turkey feels like too much of a giant leap, you can try having allocated social media times to check-in and respond to messages or catch up with everyone’s news, for example, 15 minutes a day. You’ll still be removing yourself from the relentless notifications, mindless scrolling and streams of content – this way, you can set some boundaries online and check-in when you’re prepared to, that way digital consumption and connectivity is on your terms.

2 Let your friends, family and followers know, you’re having some time off

Enjoying a 2-week hiatus from Instagram? We don’t bloody blame you. Much like shutting up shop or closing the office for the holidays, telling the people who need to know that you’ll be digitally unavailable is a great way to manage expectations.

3 Delete the apps

The temptation is real, and our thumbs clearly have a memory of their own. Save yourself the workout and delete your most-tapped apps from your phone altogether. Out of sight, out of mind. See ya Slack, in a bit Insta.

4 Make it work for you

Breaking up with all your digital devices might be a tad too ambitious for some, particularly if you rely on digital communication for work. If this is you, focus on practising some sustainable work-life balance habits instead. Whether that’s making sure you clock off by a certain time, taking regular screen breaks or having social media-free evenings, you don’t’ have to aim for to total disconnectedness to enjoy the benefits of a digital break.

5 Find other ways to connect

You might wrestle with the temptation to scroll into oblivion or send a quick email but positive distraction is a great way to break that unconscious cycle of digital addiction.

Use this extra time to fill your days with wholesome simple pleasures.

Whether you get stuck into a puzzle, start a gratitude journal, get lost in the fictional world or tune into the everyday magic of the real one, use this extra time to fill your days with wholesome simple pleasures. Forest bathing, walking with a coffee or enjoying an evening stretch with your favourite candle flickering away, or even eating at your favourite restaurant without the pressure to document every course on Stories.

6 Switch your screen to greyscale

When it comes to bright colours, we’re like moths to a flame. By turning your phone to greyscale in settings, you’ll be less distracted by pretty colourways. To change your colour filter settings go to: settings>accessibility>display & text size> colour filters > greyscale. Hello monochrome apps, we don’t want to open you at all.

7 Tune into your needs

A digital break should feel nourishing, not exhausting, so make the most of it by engaging in one activity at a time. Multi-tasking is often seen as the pinnacle of productivity, but it has quite the opposite effect on our concentration span. If you’re not going 100% screen-free with your digital break, try to adopt the one-screen rule. Concentrate on one type of tech at a time, rather than watching The Crown while replying to the girls’ WhatsApp group and shopping online for Christmas presents. We’ve all been there.

There’s a reason why it’s called the art of doing nothing – sometimes, it takes a certain type of skill, awareness and inner-peace to be comfortable with your thoughts and feelings.

Equally, you don’t need to fill your tech-free days with plans if stillness is what you crave. When was the last time you remember being truly stare-into-space bored? Lean into it and be in the moment. There’s a reason why it’s called the art of doing nothing – sometimes, it takes a certain type of skill, awareness and inner-peace to be comfortable with your thoughts and feelings.

Ultimately, taking regular digital breaks and reclaiming some of the control over how we let tech into our lives will enable us to have a healthier relationship with our devices.

Will you be stepping into Christmas and away from the screens this year? Enjoy the mental clarity!

TEAM ZOELLA DECEMBER 23, 2020

The Power of Getting Dressed in a Year When We Didn’t Really Have To

To celebrate the transformative power of dressing for you, we’re rounding up the mood-boosting pieces that continue to get us out of bed and into our Sunday best.

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Fashion is about feeling great and there’s no doubt that what we wear has a unique ability to control our mood and emotions.

We were left feeling some sort of blazer bereavement for the superior version of us that once thrived in trousers with a top button and commutable shoes.

In these trying times of heightened anxiety, never before have we relied on our clothes quite so much to get us through life. Sure, the Zoom shirt up top, weathered PJ bottoms below deck (or desk) had its moment and even sparked unadulterated comfort and joy at first, but after a few weeks of back-to-back Mufti Days, the novelty truly waned. We were left feeling some sort of blazer bereavement for the superior version of us that once thrived in trousers with a top button and commutable shoes.

The profoundly familiar routine of getting dressed each morning suddenly became an extraordinary pandemic-funk-busting pleasure. The day we were reunited with jeans felt like a momentous occasion in the lockdown timeline because well, we weren’t just reaching for our jeans, were we?

We had been blindsided by the allure of the delightfully slobbish, bra-less life and we were reaching for the part of us that felt vaguely human and unscathed. Not the all-out polished level of style stardom that leaves the DPD driver thinking he’s got the wrong house but the trusty sartorial armour that made us feel innately like our old, pre-pandemic selves.

We wanted to remember the nondescript but quietly fulfilling practice of dressing for ourselves; of fumbling over buttons in the morning and fastening jackets on our way to the office, or hurriedly applying lipstick on a jam-packed train – all the visible, tangible, physical reminders of feeling useful and prepared for the day ahead. We were looking for connection.

Choosing what to clothe our bodies with each day became a revolutionary act of self-care in a year when we were stripped of pretty much every other joyful possibility.

Choosing what to clothe our bodies with each day became a revolutionary act of self-care in a year when we were stripped of pretty much every other joyful possibility. Travel, hugs, togetherness – it was all rationed but getting out of bed every day and deciding what to wear for another 24/7 shift in the living room was one way to raise our socially-distanced spirits. We learned how to turn up for ourselves when it felt like the rest of the world physically couldn’t.

Fashion phycologists call it ‘enclothed cognition’, essentially confirming what we already knew to be true: getting dressed makes us feel good and what we wear has an indisputable impact on our wellbeing and productivity.

The outfit of the day trend is no longer cast aside as Instagram frivolity or vanity but the ultimate 2020 antidote. Whether you found comfort in the soft neck of a warm knit, in the coats and the beanies you threw on for a blustery walk with a friend, or in the swathes of loungewear that rescued you from the vice-like grip of your wizened PJs, getting dressed has proved itself as a fundamental act of self-preservation and escapism.

To celebrate the transformative power of dressing for you, we’re rounding up the mood-boosting pieces that continue to get us out of bed and into our Sunday best. From the at-home essentials to the party pants that made us feel like we could take on the world (however frightful it looked outside), here’s enough feel-good fashion to fuel your positivity tank all the way to 2021.

Shop Very womenswear here!

Top Tier Comfort Dressing

Glamorised PJs, marry us. For those days when self-care is the only goal you need to achieve, effortless loungewear sets and comfy casuals are in your corner.

Wardrobe Essentials

From duvet coats and trusty workwear staples and riding boots for all British weather eventualities, Very gets those timeless, practical yet stylish wardrobe must-haves very right. This is the capsule wardrobe you can rely on when you’re in the kind of coffee-deprived morning funk that leaves you putting your knickers on inside out. Twice.

Work Out, Feel Fab!

Resisting the snooze button is easier said than done when it’s still dark at 7am but getting up and at ‘em can do wonderful things for the always-tired girl. Whether you’re starting your day with a slow flow of downward dog or heading out for a lunchtime power walk, start as you mean to go on with work out wear that inspires positivity and productivity. Go get them mood-boosting endorphins.

Everyday Denim

Never under estimate the life-changing magic of a good pair of jeans. Nothing says, ‘come at me world’ more so than some hardworking denim, whether it’s an oversized jean jacket, a pair of straight leg jeans or a shirt dress with all the laid-back cool girl appeal, denim offers endless styling opportunities that oscillate effortlessly between smart and casual. If you gravitate towards a neutral palette or you’re a minimalist at heart, your basic blues will make day-to-day dressing infinitely easier.

The WFH Home Staples

The working from home uniform brief is a tough one to answer but Very does it with aplomb. It needs to be put-together enough to repel the duvet mindset, presentable enough for Zoom but comfortable enough that it doesn’t leave footprints in your skin if you’re sitting down for long periods of time. Here are the pieces that get us through the 9-5 on the daily.

The Pick-Me-Up Pieces

These are the kind of soul-lifting, happy, shiny pieces that make you walk a little taller, speak a little louder and smile a little wider. So what if you’re riding the bus in head-to-toe sequins! Like Vitamin D in outfit form they’ll have you living your best life without inhibition, no diggity, no doubt.

We hope this post has inspired you to climb into your happiest glad rags. What feel-good style essentials do you reach for when you want to harness the power of getting dressed?

Shop Very womenswear here!

AD | This post is a paid-for advertorial with Very.

TEAM ZOELLA DECEMBER 22, 2020

13 Questions Namrata Kamdar Founder at Plenaire

Namrata Kamdar started her skincare brand Plenaire after suffering from burnout and a bout of post-natal depression. Her products were created out of a genuine need to develop safe, effective, and pleasurable alternatives for young women to care for their skin.

First of all, how are you and how are you coping in 2020?

Well, thank you so much for asking. As hard as this year has been, we have so much to be grateful for as a young business. We are ever grateful for the support of our retailer partners, beauty press, collaborators and the lovely independent beauty community online. Grateful for creators like Zoe that are supportive of what we are trying to do, and are generous with their platforms. 

Sustainability, wellness, mental health, and well being have been the focus in beauty now more than ever.

No one could have been prepared for a global pandemic, but so many of the themes we developed Plenaire around – sustainability, wellness, mental health, and well being have been the focus in beauty now more than ever. Throughout 2020, we have been seeing a really healthy uplift in sales with significant growth of engagement and sharing online, despite the fact that physical interactions between people have been limited. 

Plenaire has been stocked at a lot of special places too, and I feel like that’s important, whether you discover the brand online or in a boutique, it needs to feel really curated, and also in line with our overall ethos. 

We are lucky enough to have created some really great collaborations and partnerships. We launched at one of the most beautiful stores in the world- Liberty’s; presented at the sustainable brands section at London Fashion Week and next year, we will be launching at Credo in San Francisco, as our first large retail partnership, outside the UK. 

Can you tell us about what inspired you to create Plenaire?

During my late thirties, I experienced a stress-related burnout and a bout of post-natal depression and I took time off to work on myself. My own subsequent journey with mental health and what I learned during recovery from burnout coupled with the desire to lead a more balanced life was the impetus for me to create Plenaire.

Plenaire is from the French expression for “in the open air”, having the qualities of natural air and light. Holistically it is derived from the 1840 painting technique “en plein air”; emphasizing direct observation of nature, over a narrative and stylized depiction. We want to help young women everywhere take pleasure in their skincare again with our range of clean, sustainably designed products that meet everyday skincare needs but that also encourage emotional well-being and self-care.

Our business is built on a desire to do as little harm to the environment, animals or the planet as we can

Plenaire formulations were created out of a genuine need to develop safe, effective, and pleasurable alternatives for young women to care for their skin. Our business is built on a desire to do as little harm to the environment, animals or the planet as we can – not only because this feels like the right thing to do – but because this absolutely reflects the way our core consumer is shopping and making his or her choices today. Being an ingredient transparent brand is also a priority – we realise that our customer is so well informed, we need to ensure that we are sharing what we put in our formulas and also why, openly with her. 

Plenaire began from this foundational understanding- the intent to build a product range that would best meet the needs of younger people both functionally with honest credentials but also emotionally- bringing a texture to it that was not just limited to its rational benefit; the somewhat narrow historical role of skincare, but that pushed these boundaries to create a conversation about the bigger issues that matter to them. 

What was the journey like for starting a skincare business?

We did our research. I’m not an entrepreneur the way people wake up and have a great idea and just get started… On the other hand, you can do too much research and make decisions by committee like they do in large companies, and that’s not always right for a small company either. We’re always learning from our customer proposition as we go.  We started by doing a blended research and ethnography piece – going into people’s homes, speaking to parents and girls as young as 15. As a parent, I also see parenting changing, and this feeds into our learnings.

During our research, it became evident that cultural beauty narratives for younger people have most definitely evolved. The everyday products that are marketed to young people as they come of age, we heard from them, felt sort of generic, a bit bland. Many people we spoke to said they felt patronized, and that high street brands were offering pretty basic ingredients and childish ideologies. Beauty myths or overly scientific jargon even, that were hard to believe and felt phoney. Being positioned as either rationally “problem-solution” or just about external appearances felt dated and irrelevant. 

Secondly, we understood that mental health and well-being, particularly when linked to beauty and appearance were still a clear opportunity. With Plenaire we could see white space where beauty is no longer just about vanity, but about self-expression; not always about a desire for affirmation, but playing a central role in self-care.

I read somewhere once that “great brands reflect shifts in popular culture” – that’s the point, nothing stands still, so Plenaire is a reflection of how things in beauty have changed and the objective is to appeal to the next generation of informed skincare consumers.  

Talk us through what your day looks like at Plenaire?

I love every aspect of this business from the crackle of the brown tissue when I pack an order, to pitching our business to a beautiful new retailer to trying out new textures, to writing a formulation or fragrance brief to solving a really complicated supply chain issue with our contract manufacturer, or working alongside a photographer to create a new brief. Every day is different and I have the freedom to structure it the way that I want, which is hugely appealing. 

I wanted to experiment, to deeply enjoy every aspect and most importantly have complete autonomy over my time

We’re taking small steps, as I’m not trying to pursue the high-stress life I had when I worked at a large company. I wanted to be at home after 20 years of working in an office. I wanted to experiment, to deeply enjoy every aspect and most importantly have complete autonomy over my time, my ideas and my life than be leashed to a team that I didn’t think I really needed. I knew it was going to be a solo journey and that actually delighted me. My garden, my kitchen and my office became the perfect safe haven to create.

If I suddenly want to scale it up really fast, I’ll ask myself – is this the life I want? I get my energy from people who say they love our products, love our design aesthetic working with our creative collaborators. We’re trying to create a brand culture that’s not top-down, it’s much more open, hence engaging with collaborators. 

What would you say is Plenaire’s mission statement?

It is true that our business objective is to “recreate the classic coming of age skincare rituals with a capsule collection of 8 products at launch”.  But it’s more than just that. Plenaire is part of creating a bigger conversation with people of all ages to stop, think and perhaps change direction a bit. 

Plenaire aims to explore previously unexplored narratives by building a route into wellbeing via your daily skincare routine. 

We wanted to open a new chapter, rather than focusing on the current competitive offer.

From the beginning, our approach was to try and be radically different from other beauty brands. We wanted to open a new chapter, rather than focusing on the current competitive offer. Instead, we chose to simply observe the bigger sociological and cultural shifts with young women and men today. By simply listening to them. What we have created is as a direct result of talking to them about their daily lives, anxieties and of course, their relationship with skincare and beauty.

What are your top rules for finding the right skincare routine?

I have very few rules about beauty. I’m a very intuitive person – and am pretty moods based when it comes to beauty, sometimes you crave minimal: purity and plain textures, but then sometimes you want something that’s more special and exciting, just like with food. 

Overall the use of gentle sulphate free cleanser or micellar, an effective sunscreen and regular weekly exfoliation is important. At night it’s all about recovery, adding back hydration, of course, manual massage with an oil-based cleanser is great at night as well, and an addition of a light serum or cream. 

I don’t have too many rules but one is staying away from makeup wipes!

Finding an efficient, occlusive cleanser and makeup remover is also key, once you start wearing makeup regularly. I don’t have too many rules but one is staying away from makeup wipes! With Plenaire we have created hemp and bamboo flannel that do an amazing job of makeup removal as well as make the perfect partner for removal of Skin Frosting and Tripler. 

The only other rule I have would be when you are doing your skincare, make sure you are making that time special for yourself, somehow. Maybe light a candle, play some music and take time to focus on yourself. With Plenaire, it’s much more than just about how you look, it’s always going to be about how these moments make you feel, and that’s an investment in yourself in a completely different way.

What are some of your most used Plenaire products?

I have to say that I love all of them, it’s pretty hard to choose. But if I had to pick a few it would be Plenaire Rose Jelly and our Tripler Paste. We have tried to create water-efficient technologies and we don’t use traditional cleansing agents like sulphates in our products so they are really gentle and perfect for sensitive and delicate skin, during pregnancy and anytime you want to pamper yourself with something innocent yet luxurious. With Rose Jelly it contains really classical ingredients like rosewater and sugar – a natural antiseptic. Tripler has the effect of clay and salicylic acid which gives you a really deep, satisfying, detoxifying clean. It’s a 3 in 1 that treats like a mask, foams like a wash and also lightly polishes skin at the same time. Skin Frosting is an indulgent cocooning product that leaves your skin feeling plump and pampered. 

What would you say is your biggest achievement to date?

Through my own journey with mental health I have learned that through your own choices, you can really create options for yourself and the life you want to live.

My biggest achievement to date is evolving into a human being that worries less about what other people think. For a long time, I felt I needed to fit into a norm or a standard to be appreciated or accepted. With the move into entrepreneurship, I have left those feelings safely behind to feel free to create something that I love and that has meaning for me. It’s important to be aware that everyone has feelings of wanting to be accepted and to fit in but also to find the balance between that and being able to assert your own creativity and individuality. Through my own journey with mental health I have learned that through your own choices, you can really create options for yourself and the life you want to live. 

What are you currently working on?

Right now I am working on the next set of product launches for Plenaire, extending our retail network and also developing marketing outputs for our upcoming crowdfunding campaign with Seedrs. 

What do you always carry with you?

Here’s what is in my bag right now: A Fleurose mask, a Dr Bonners peppermint oil hand sanitizer, hand cream from Nursem, my keys, my phone, Dr Paw Paw raspberry lip balm, and a mini bottle of perfume called Tropica by Maya Njie. Headphones, Extra Bubblemint, my Monzo debit card, some old instax pictures of my two kids from our trip to Paris last year.

What does your perfect weekend look like?

My perfect weekend would begin with a productive Friday morning. An early start to the weekend Friday night- maybe a great TV show, Netflix and some takeaway. Saturday is a lie-in, freshly brewed coffee in bed. Then, a run or a workout. 2pm with friends or family over a meal or late brunch. My husband and I love foreign films and we miss our trips to the Curzon Cinema followed by dimsum in Chinatown- hopefully, we can get back to doing some of those things.

I love spending time in cafes or finding new ingredients to cook with- so some sort of creative food shopping. Sunday is a pyjama day, with some cooking, planning for the week ahead and organising to get to Monday in a relaxed way.  

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

That’s a super hard one. I went to grad school in Austin, Texas and I do miss all the Mexican food. If I could only eat one meal again it would be the Enchiladas Mole and the Shrimp Flautas Verde, followed by the Tres Leches Cake at Fonda San Miguel in Austin. For me, Mexican food is like comfort and reminds me of my childhood. 

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

Don’t be afraid to change or take risks- while staying safe in the safe zone might feel reassuring, it sometimes prevents you from growing in ways you need to. Change can be uncomfortable, but being open to change is key. 

Vulnerability and sharing weaknesses is healthy and allows creativity to flourish

Stay open-minded about people and ideas – you never know what is waiting around the corner for you and staying open and curious, is an essential part of disruptive thinking. Vulnerability and sharing weaknesses is healthy and allows creativity to flourish – be vulnerable and lead by example, so your team will too. 

Above all, be kind to yourself. As women we are sometimes tougher on ourselves than anyone else- and there is a direct link between perfectionism, comparisons and poor mental health. Developing a daily habit of taking just five minutes a day to focus on your breath, or to do something kind for yourself from a young age, is essential in looking after your mental health and well being. 

Check out the Plenaire website here and follow them on Instagram here!

TEAM ZOELLA DECEMBER 21, 2020

Seriously Good Boxing Day Stuffed Pasta

Loaded with next-day turkey, tart cranberry sauce, crumbly stuffing and creamy brie, this is the crème de la crème of holiday comfort food.

If you’ve had your fill of moist-maker turkey sarnies over the years, these stuffed pasta shells are a lip-smacking alternative for using up those Christmas Day leftovers.

Enjoy that sweet languid Boxing Day pace with a bowl of carbs & Christmas movies on repeat.

Loaded with next-day turkey, tart cranberry sauce, crumbly stuffing and creamy brie, this is the crème de la crème of holiday comfort food. Gather the family round for Christmas Day take II or settle in front of the tv and enjoy that sweet languid Boxing Day pace with a bowl of carbs & Christmas movies on repeat.

The more festive scraps, the merrier so if you’ve got any ham, sprouts, pigs in blankets and cheeseboard cheese leftover, throw them in for good measure.

SERVES 6-8
PREP: 45 MINS COOK: 35 MINS
MEDIUM
  1. Add the pasta to a pan of boiling salted water and simmer according to packet instructions.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a splash of oil in a pan on medium to high heat and cook off two cloves of crushed garlic.
  3. Add the double cream and 100ml of the pasta water and stir regularly until the sauce has thickened.
  4. Stir half your sauce in with your leftover stuffing and pour the other had in the base of an over proof dish.
  5. Pipe or spoon the stuffing sauce mix into your cooked jumbo pasta shells and place on the bed of sauce in your dish.
  6. It’s now time to add in your other Christmas leftovers, we went for strips of turkey, lashings of bread sauce, dollops of cranberry sauce and chunks of brie. You could also top the pasta with breadcrumbs or sage leaves for a nice crunch.
  7. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes at 190 degrees until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese looks golden. Then, load up your plate and get stuffed!
TEAM ZOELLA DECEMBER 20, 2020

Weekly Wants: NYE Outfits

What will you be wearing to see in the New Year? Whether it's slippers or sparkle, we hope you can find some pockets of happiness to see you through.

Helloooo to the potentially most overhyped night of the year in which we all hope to have the time of our lives but quite often settle for a distinctly average evening in which we’re more worried about what everyone else is doing that’s more fun than us. Ahh yes, New Year’s Eve. Now more than ever we’re ready to say good riddance to the past 365 days and welcome in the new year with some fresh optimism for 2021, with the hope of health and contentment for the next chapter of our lives. Perhaps this NYE won’t be so bad in the end.

We’ve learnt what makes us happy, what makes us anxious, the small parts of our routines we can’t go without, the people that feel like total peace, the memories we hold dear and the plans for the rest of our lives that are bursting at the seams. Regardless of our lack of plans, there’s something to be said for wearing something special whilst sipping on some bubbles and taking a positive attitude into the new year- after all, anything but loungewear feels like a treat these days!

What will you be wearing to see in the New Year? Whether it’s slippers or sparkle, we hope you can find some pockets of happiness to see you through.

TEAM ZOELLA DECEMBER 19, 2020

10 Christmas Parlour Games You Can Play That Aren’t Charades

If you’ve got the family over this Christmas and you don’t want to settle on another game of charades, these are the pen and paper parlour games to keep you entertained well past the Queen’s speech.

There’s only one way to avoid that post-turkey lull and that’s with forced family participation. If you’ve got the family over this Christmas and you don’t want to settle on another game of charades, these are the pen and paper parlour games to keep you entertained well past the Queen’s speech.

Ibble Dibble

Talking of the Queen, you may have seen this raucous drinking game on season 4 of The Crown in that excruciating scene when the Iron Lady, played by the wickedly talented Gillian Anderson, is called to ibble-dibble with the royals. Spoiler alert: she doesn’t do party games.

An ibble-dibble is a player and a dibble-ibble is the name of a mark you stamp on your face with a blackened cork

The premise of the drinking game is to say the tongue-twister without fluffing it up. If you hesitate or trip over your words, you drink. An ibble-dibble is a player and a dibble-ibble is the name of a mark you stamp on your face with a blackened cork when you get the gibberish saying wrong.

All participating ibble-dibbles (that’s players, remember) must grab their tipple of choice and gather in a circle. One player assigns a number to each person. If you get number 7, you’ll henceforth be known as number 7 ibble dibble. Once everyone has a number, someone will need to light the end of the cork to blacken it and blow it out. Then the nonsensical game can begin!

The first player will begin by stating their number and the number of dibble-ibbles (none to start with), followed by the ibble-dibble they’re calling and the number of dibble-ibbles they have. It’ll go something like this, “Number 7 ibble-dibble with no dibble-ibbles calling number 3 ibble-dibble with no dibble-ibbles.”

As the game progresses, you’ll not only have to remember the who’s who of ibble-dibbles but you’ll have to keep an eye on their dibble-ibbles, too. If a player fluffs up their words or hesitates, they receive a dibble-ibble on their face. They must then take a sip of their drink and try again.

When do you call it a night and just drink in a circle instead? Once everyone’s had enough and grandpa ibble dibble’s catching Zs in the chair.

Empire

Each person needs to think of a celebrity or character. For each game, you’ll need a leader, this person will leave the room and everyone else will take it in turns to go and secretly tell the game leader who they are. The game leader will then write all the names down and throw in three wildcards. They then return to the room and read out the list three times, including the wildcards. The person to the left of the leader then kicks off the game by picking any person (not the game leader) and matching them with a celebrity / character. For example, “Dad, are you Boris Johnson?”. If you’re right, you join up with that person, secretly share your name with them and form a little team. The next turn belongs to the person who was asked, whether the guess was right or wrong. You keep going until the teams get bigger and eventually, there’s one player left. They win the game.

Christmas Cluedo

Everyone is trying to kill another person, so trust no-one. Each player writes their name on a piece of paper plus one festive object in the house on another piece of paper. Make sure it’s an object you can actually pick up, no dogs dressed as reindeer or Christmas trees. You have been warned.

They then give their person and object to their killer so they can continue sleighing the Christmas Day proceedings.

Each person takes a name out of a bag and an object (if you pick yourself or another name instead of an object, keep going). You need to pass the person you draw the Christmas object you draw and if they take it without realising, they die. They then give their person and object to their killer so they can continue sleighing the Christmas Day proceedings.

Who Am I?

Is it even Christmas Day if you’re not trying to attach a Post-it note to your impossibly clammy forehead? The Christmas jumper and turkey sweats always make you come unstuck, eh.

This game is super simple – every player writes the name of a famous person onto a sticky note and puts it on another player’s head. Keep going round until everyone has a name. You all take it in turns to guess who you are by asking the other players yes / no questions about who you are. If you get a ‘yes’ you keep on asking questions, if you get a ‘no’, the next player takes their turn. Keep going until everyone has guessed who they are – and take particular delight in the person who ended up with Olaf.

Heads Up

Heads Up is a charades style app, displaying words that your audience have to explain or act out to you. Simply hold your device with your screen facing your audience, start the timer and off you GO. When you get an answer right, simply tilt your head down to move onto the next round, to pass tilt your head up. The more inebriated you are, the funnier it gets.

Human Christmas Tree

Separate into teams with one person in each group playing the human Christmas tree. Each team then has just one minute to transform their human into a winning Christmas tree using wrapping paper, tape, decorations and whatever else they can find tbh. May the best human spruce win.

Message Under A Plate

Before your guests sit down for dinner, prepare slips of paper with weird or wildly inappropriate dinner table phrases under each plate. The objective? To casually slip your random sentence into conversation over dinner without getting caught out. If a player guesses wrong, they’re out. Whoever drops their message under a plate without getting caught will be the winner/s.

The Name Game

A quick-fire game similar to who am I and charades. Rip up bits of paper and write three famous (fictional or real) people on separate pieces of paper. Once everyone has finished, fold up the pieces of paper and place in a bowl. Split into two teams.

The first person from team one chooses a piece of paper from the bowl and has one minute to describe as many people to the rest of the team without using their name. When the team call out the correct name, the person puts that piece of paper to the side and takes another piece of paper out the bowl. At the end of the minute, they count up how many names they got right, and the next team go.

You can also add on a 4th round like Zoe and act out the people under a blanket!

The second round is to describe the people on the paper using just one word, then the final round is to act it out using charades. A different person from each team should take the lead on each round. Whichever team has the most amount of points after the three rounds wins. You can also add on a 4th round like Zoe and act out the people under a blanket! As the rounds go on people tend to remember everyone in the bowl so it’s not as hard as it might seem.

Pictionary

Just like the name game, only this time you draw what you see. Split into two teams again and designate a team artist each, this person is responsible for drawing the word on a big piece of paper for the rest of their team mates to guess. When the team get it right, the person drawing takes another piece of paper from the bowl and draws the next object. When one minute it up, they count how many words they got right and the next team have their go. The team who draw the most correct words within the time limit wins.

Read My Lips

Write down a series of words or phrases on slips of paper, fold them up and mix them in a hat or bowl. You can split up into two teams to compete or play as a single group. One person from each team puts headphones on with loud music so they can’t hear what’s going on in the room. The rest of their team draw a phrase from the bowl and say it aloud while the team mate with the headphones on has to guess what they’re saying. The teams can either play in two-minute intervals or draw a certain number of pieces of paper each. The team or person (if playing in a single group) who has the most correct answers is the winner. If you’re having a virtual family Christmas, you can play a version of this on Zoom simply by muting the player and guessing what they’re saying.

Do your family play parlour games on Christmas Day? Let us know your traditions in the comments below!

TEAM ZOELLA DECEMBER 18, 2020

Between You And Me: Answering Your Problems Part 11

Whether you’re dealing with festive family fallouts, struggling to stay motivated in this last leg of 2020 or feeling a little lost in your relationship, we’ve got your back.

It’s the final part of our Between You And Me problem series for 2020 and what a roller-coaster of emotion it’s been. Now with Christmas just around the corner and Covid-19 restrictions still in place, we know a lot of you will be feeling overwhelmed and struggling to see the light at the end of a very long, dark, socially distanced tunnel. Whether you’re dealing with festive family fallouts, struggling to stay motivated in this last leg of 2020 or feeling a little lost in your relationship, we’ve got your back.

Christmas may look a little different this year but with family bubbles and baubles, we can get through it and start looking to the future again. Team Zoella would like to thank everyone who has written in with their problems and opened up to us in confidence in what has been an incredibly challenging and unprecedented 12 months. Virtual hugs to you all -remember you are more resilient than you know and this year is all the proof you need. Better days are coming.

We will be back and ready to lean on in 2021. In the meantime, please be gentle with yourself. Reach out to friends, family and mental health professionals if you feel vulnerable. You might feel alone but you’re not on your own.

Here’s BYAM: Your Problems Answered Part 11…

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