TEAM ZOELLA JANUARY 31, 2021

Weekly Wants: Things Keeping Us Sane in Lockdown 3.0

This week's edit of team picks focus on the little things in our mini toolkits of self lurve that help us switch off when your laptop closes at 6pm or before the groundhog day stresses kick in.

Almost 12 months of restrictions and lockdowns later, we can feel sure in saying that if your current vices are looking something like Bridgerton, Deliveroo and scrolling TikTok at any given opportunity then you’re certainly not alone. Did someone say round 5 of that spoon scene?

Here’s to putting well-being at the top of your daily to-do list. Anyone for a slice of banana bread?

Despite what has truly felt like a never-ending slog at times, focusing inward and prioritising self-soothing, comfort and peace is always a good idea for keeping your mental health in check at a time of real vulnerability. This week’s edit of team picks focus on the little things in our mini toolkits of self lurve that help us switch off when your laptop closes at 6pm or before the groundhog day stresses kick in.

From books to beauty, crafts to coffee, running to reading and all the binge-worthy tv we can’t get enough of, it’s safe to say we know the things that always have our back in moments of panic or boredom during lockdown 3.0. Here’s to putting well-being at the top of your daily to-do list. Anyone for a slice of banana bread?

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TEAM ZOELLA JANUARY 30, 2021

15 Legendary Movies That Are Already Classics

From iconic scenes we know off by heart to the soundtracks we find ourselves humming in the shower for no apparent reason, these are the cinematic gems that rank comfortably alongside their older filmmaking greats.

There’s no time like the present to binge the classic movies you’ve missed out on over the years and when we say classic, we mean the films that are so universally precious, they don’t even need to have 20 wise years behind them to contend with the Casablancas of the cinematic universe.

Next time someone says, “I carried a watermelon” the pop-culture reference will not be wasted on you.

From iconic scenes we know off by heart to the soundtracks we find ourselves humming in the shower for no apparent reason, these are the cinematic gems that rank comfortably alongside their older filmmaking greats.

So, sweatpants on, popcorn within reach (but strategically closer to you than anyone else), let’s get into our list of the modern classics everyone should watch, so that next time someone says, “I carried a watermelon” the pop-culture reference will not be wasted on you.

1 Titanic (1997)

It introduced many of us to the beautiful fresh curtain-faced Leonardo DiCaprio and gifted us with the kind of quotes that were always destined to become memes. It’s been 84 years alas, no one has drawn me like one of their French girls.

2 E.T. (1982)

Who knew a homesick alien could be such a master of emotional manipulation. This tender Spielberg family classic is movie magic done right. Even those with the most stoic of upper lips don’t stand a chance.

3 Mean Girls (2004)

It’s not like a regular high school movie, it’s a cool high school movie. Where would we be without The Plastics, you go Glen Coco, that is so fetch and you can’t sit with us? Seventeen years after its release and we’re still quoting Tina Fey’s whipsmart script like it’s an Olympic sport.

4 Pulp Fiction (1994)

Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta make for one iconic duo in this Quentin Tarantino action-packed joyride.

5 Black Panther (2018)

Starring Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o and Danai Gurira, Blank Panther was Marvel’s first black superhero movie and a masterful exploration of black identity, culture, tradition and most importantly, joy.

6 Dirty Dancing (1987)

Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze take to the dancefloor in the timeless cult movie that gave us the lines, “nobody puts Baby in the corner” and “I carried a watermelon.”

7 Grease (1978)

We’re not going to sugar coat it, there’s A LOT of problematic things about this movie and it hasn’t aged well but nothing gets us monopolising the mic quite like the intro to Summer Nights.

8 Mary Poppins (1964)

The iconic Julie Andrews plays the titular supercalifragilisticexpialidocious nanny with the bottomless carpet handbag and the flying umbrella in this charming feel-good Disney musical. We’re still thoroughly disappointed we can’t jump inside a pavement chalk drawing in real life. That would have come in VERY handy last year.

9 The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

It’s hard to believe this bona fide classic was a box office dud during its initial run in 1994. Now, the Stephen King prison drama adaptation has cemented itself as a modern classic and often tops perennial GOAT lists. How’s that for redemption!

10 WALL-E (2008)

Arguably one of Pixar’s greatest and most ambitious creations (we said what we said), WALL-E is so much more than a sci-fi rom-com about a goofy, lonely loveable robot. You’ll see.

11 The Bodyguard (1992)

Starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner, The Bodyguard follows a former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard who is hired to protect global superstar, Rachel Marron, from an obsessive stalker. The Bodyguard holds the title of the greatest selling soundtrack of all time, thanks to a little anthem called, ‘I Will Always Love You’.

12 Notting Hill (1999)

With Richard Curtis, Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant at the helm, Notting Hill will always hold up as pure rom-com gold. “I’m just a girl, standing in front of a guy, asking him to love her.” Ooof, it’s like a weighted blanket in movie form.

13 Back to the Future (1985)

This comedy sci-fi was the ultimate ‘80s movie and in 2021, Marty Mcfly’s charm endures.

14 Call Me By Your Name (2017)

Timothee Chalamet is unmissable in this sun-soaked, gorgeously-shot adaptation of Andre Aciman’s captivating story of first love and desire.

15 Love Actually (2003)

All these years later and the necklace scene still burns. Alexa, play Joni Mitchell.

What must-see modern movie classics are you forever pushing on your pals?

TEAM ZOELLA JANUARY 29, 2021

Spotlight on Chronic Illness – Learning about PCOS & Endometriosis

In this blog post, we shine a light on these under-discussed conditions, their symptoms and the treatment options available.

It is estimated that 1 in 10 people in the UK are currently living with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and Endometriosis. Despite how common both these chronic health conditions are, there’s still a lot of misinformation and stigma surrounding their symptoms and causes.

Many people are misdiagnosed for years, feeling isolated, depressed, ashamed and disconnected from their bodies.

Wrongfully, they’re also often disregarded as not being a serious health issue due to lack of awareness among GPs, leaving many people misdiagnosed for years and feeling isolated, depressed, ashamed and disconnected from their bodies.

In this blog post, we shine a light on these under-discussed conditions, their symptoms and the treatment options available.

What is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a common condition caused by an imbalance of hormones including insulin and excess androgen (referred to as the ‘male’ hormones but these are present in all identities and vital for everyone’s normal reproductive function).

This hormonal imbalance affects how a person’s ovaries function, disrupting ovulation and the menstrual cycle. Each month, the ovaries make and release an egg as part of a healthy menstrual cycle. With PCOS, the high levels of insulin cause the ovaries to produce too much testosterone which interferes with the development of the follicles (the sacs in the ovaries where the eggs develop) and prevents ovulation from taking place as it should.

Symptoms

According to the NHS, more than half of the people affected by PCOS do not experience any symptoms but if they do, these become apparent during late teens / early 20s and can include:

  • Irregular or infrequent periods
  • Skin conditions such as oily skin or acne
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Difficulty conceiving due to irregular ovulation
  • Excessive facial and body hair due to excess androgen (hirsutism)
  • Thinning hair loss on the scalp
  • Darkening of the skin particularly around the neck, groin and underneath the breasts

What causes PCOS?

The cause of PCOS is unknown however it is thought to be passed down genetically in families.

Treatment & Diagnosis

PCOS can go undetected for a long time because symptoms can vary from person to person and in some cases, there are no symptoms at all.

A diagnosis is usually made based on symptoms (often irregular or infrequent periods), blood tests and scans. Once diagnosed, you may be treated by your GP or referred to a specialist gynaecologist or endocrinologist to discuss how to best manage your symptoms, the recommended lifestyle changes and any necessary medication that might be right for you.

Although there’s no cure for PCOS, it can be kept in check with symptom-based treatment.

Although there’s no cure for PCOS, it can be kept in check with symptom-based treatment. It can often be treated with birth control pills because they contain hormones that address some of the common symptoms, but everyone’s course of treatment will vary, depending on their individual health risks.

Many people with PCOS manage their symptoms without medical intervention by exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

What is Endometriosis

Endometriosis is the name given to the chronic and often debilitating condition where cells similar to those found in the lining of the womb grow outside of the uterus, such as the ovaries and the fallopian tubes.

These cells react to the menstrual cycle in the same way as those in the womb, shedding and breaking down each month, however, there is no way for this blood to leave the body which can cause inflammation, pain and the formation of scar tissue.

Symptoms

As with PCOS, the symptoms of Endo can vary from person to person. Some people experience mild symptoms, but others have moderate or severe symptoms.

According to the NHS, the main symptoms include:

  • Pain during or after sex
  • Pelvic or lower back pain
  • Severe period pain
  • Pain when passing urine
  • Discomfort with bowel movements
  • Constipation, diarrhoea, nausea or blood in your urine
  • Difficulty getting pregnant
  • Heavy periods
  • Bloating – known as ‘Endo’ belly

What causes Endo?

As with PCOS, the exact cause is unknown but theories do exist. The main one being ‘retrograde menstruation’ whereby the blood flows up the fallopian tubes and embeds itself in the pelvis rather than leaving the body as a period.

Treatment & Diagnosis

Getting a diagnosis can be a lengthy process (7.5 years on average) because the symptoms are similar to other common conditions. It’s classified into one of four stages of severity (I being minimal, IV being severe).

Tests to check for physical signs of Endo include a pelvic exam, ultrasound or MRI.

Tests to check for physical signs of Endo include a pelvic exam, ultrasound or MRI. In some cases, your doctor may refer you for a laparoscopy – an operation in which a camera is inserted into the pelvis via a small incision near the navel. If they see signs of endometriosis they can diagnose the condition and take a biopsy of the tissue for further testing. This is the most definitive way of diagnosing Endo. The surgeon can also perform excision surgery to treat Endo as part of the same diagnosis procedure which can relieve pelvic pain.

Currently, there’s no cure for endometriosis. However, symptom-based treatment can be given to help ease the severity of the pain, slow the growth of the endometriosis tissue and improve the quality of life for the person living with the condition.

When discussing treatment options with your GP, there are several things to consider. Your age, severity of your symptoms, whether you’re planning to start a family and how you feel about surgery.

Treatment usually includes pain relief (for mild cases), hormone medicines and contraceptives or surgery. Your doctor may recommend hormone therapy in combination with pain relief if you’re not trying to conceive.

Hormone-based treatment can include the combined contraceptive pill, patches and vaginal rings to help control the hormones responsible for the growth of endometrial tissue each month.

Hormone-based treatment can include the combined contraceptive pill, patches and vaginal rings to help control the hormones responsible for the growth of endometrial tissue each month. The contraceptive implant, contraceptive injection and Intrauterine Device (IUD) can also inhibit ovulation and the growth of the tissue, which may relieve some of the symptoms.

For those trying to conceive, your doctor may prescribe a gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) to stop the body from making the hormones responsible for ovulation, lower oestrogen and prevent menstruation. This artificial menopause causes the endometrial tissue to shrink. When you stop taking the medicine, your menstrual cycle returns but you have a better chance of conceiving. Both PCOS and Endo desperately need more awareness and funding so that those affected can get the appropriate help, support and treatment.

It’s not in your head, painful, debilitating periods are not normal, your health condition is real and chronic pain deserves validation.

We caught up with Michelle Dinnes who suffers from Endometriosis to understand more about her journey to diagnoses and what her life looks like now…

What first made you aware that you might have endometriosis?

The pain was extreme, I remember phoning my mum on way to the hospital in tears saying I would rather throw myself in front of a car than deal with this pain. Michelle Dinnes

It was the first day of my period in April 2015, I always got lower back pain in the first day or so and just took a few paracetamol to settle it down, I didn’t have any on me while at work and the pain started to become stronger and stronger to a point where I had to leave work and go to the walk-in centre at the hospital. The pain was extreme, I remember phoning my mum on way to the hospital in tears saying I would rather throw myself in front of a car than deal with this pain. I would class that pain as an 8-9 out of 10, for 90 minutes I sat in the hospital wanting to scream because the lower back and stomach pain was so intense it felt like someone had hold of my insides and my spine and was twisting. 

Endometriosis has got one of the worst diagnosis records – how long did it take to get a diagnosis?

I have had an awful and not uncommon experience to get diagnosed, after my hospital appointment for my first symptoms I thought okay maybe it was a bad period but when it happened again the month after so I called my GP for an appointment. My appointment went well and I was referred to gynaecology, I went on to have an internal and external scan which showed clear (very normal for endometriosis), I had blood tests done that came back clear. I can’t remember when this was but I have a feeling it was April 2016 I was offered a procedure called a laparoscopy, this is a minor procedure that is done under anaesthetic to have a camera inserted to detect if there is any endometriosis, as I never had an operation I was apprehensive so asked if I could think about it, this was okay and had 6 weeks to decide.

A year later a friend told me about her endometriosis, so many of her symptoms were similar to mine so I decided to start the whole process againMichelle Dinnes

2 weeks later I made the call to agree to the procedure only to be told I was not on the hospital system, I was so upset and just gave up. A year later a friend told me about her endometriosis, so many of her symptoms were similar to mine so I decided to start the whole process again, this time with a very unhelpful gynaecologist. I had the scans etc only to be told there was nothing wrong and the gynaecologist didn’t believe my symptoms and didn’t want to help any further, I argued my way into having further tests however they all came back clear.

In October 2018 I had a scan of my bladder due to what I believed were constant UTI’s (turns out now that it was just due to my endo) there they found a small 5cm cyst on my right ovary. December 2018 I had another gynaecology appointment, this is where my gynaecologist told me there is nothing wrong with me and period pains are normal, painful sex is normal and cramps between period are normal (I am just going to add NONE of this is NORMAL) after telling her over and over that I suspect I have endometriosis she was refusing to put me forward for the procedure, this argument turned into a full-on screaming match which I then won, I was put in for the procedure and on 11th June 2019, I was officially diagnosed with endometriosis and adenomyosis. 

Tell us a bit about the post-diagnosis process – did you have a positive experience with your GP / gynaecologist?

Since being diagnosed though things haven’t been much better, I have had every symptom possible now occur, I had to eventually seek and pay for private help as 14 months after my diagnosis I had not been seen and I was becoming worse. I found a lovely male gynaecologist who told me exactly what I was entitled to and my options. October 2020 comes and I see my NHS gynaecologist who told me she would not put me forward to have the endometriosis removed (this is only temporary as endo grows back) and she would only help further after a year of trying for children, wrote me a prescription for folic acid, discharged me and sent me on my way.

I am now booked in for an MRI scan to see where the endo has spread and when possible I will have the operation to have the current endo removed to try to conceiveMichelle Dinnes

Now endometriosis is well known for causing infertility and me and my partner are not yet ready for children so that was a big slap in the face, from then I contacted my GP and told them I wanted an appointment with the gynaecologist I saw privately as he does NHS appointments, took 3 wrong attempts but eventually I got an appointment with that gynaecologist, after seeing him I am now booked in for an MRI scan to see where the endo has spread and when possible I will have the operation to have the current endo removed to try to conceive once my partner and I are married.

Endo belly is just one painful reality of living with endometriosis, how do you manage your symptoms? (Treatment, lifestyle) managing symptoms can be a difficult one especially since some days I can take a few painkillers and rest and then there are days where I am in bed with 2 hot water bottles taking the strongest painkillers I have as often as is allowed to try and keep the pain at bay. The best thing is just listening to my body, I need to rest, I need my hot water bottles and my painkillers.

What is a typical day in the life of someone living with this condition?

I could go deep into this but based on my own experiences every day is different, I am very fortunate that some days I can go about my day and get on with things as if nothing is wrong, more often than not though that isn’t the case. Most days I am going about my day with my stomach cramping up, I am tired from the fatigue and the brain fog is awful. Most my days are spent being uncomfortable, in some sort of pain and being tired however somewhere along the way its become my normal and I just get on with it, keeping in mind these are the better days. The bad days are where I am in bed or on the sofa in so much pain I don’t know what to do with myself and using hot water bottles and pain killers.

What’s the biggest misconception about Endo?

There are a few but the most common one would be that a hysterectomy is a cure, there is no cure for endometriosis. Some people are lucky and have experienced less or no symptoms after having one then there are the ones who aren’t so lucky and still have all the symptoms. Endometriosis can occur anywhere in the body and no just the uterus therefore removing the uterus does not cure it.

Another misconception is that having a baby will cure itMichelle Dinnes

Another misconception is that having a baby will cure it, some people have found that their symptoms have become easier after having a baby and then there’s some who have not been as fortunate, I have actually had 2 people at work tell me their friends cured there’s by having a baby, I’ve even had a gynaecologist tell me this which honestly shocked me that they are giving such hugely false information.

How has Endo affected your mental health as well as your physical health?

I have had depression and anxiety since a young age but feel the endometriosis has contributed to this, sometimes I will sink into my depression when things with my endometriosis are bad, I find it affects my anxiety more so though as when I try explaining things to people I start wondering if they think I’m lying or exaggerating or especially when I’ve had to call in sick for work that they don’t believe I am as bad as I say.

What’s the hardest thing about having an invisible, often misunderstood condition?

The hardest thing is the doubt it puts in your mind, you have to talk to people about it, you have to explain it to your managers at work and I could look fine but be in extreme pain and there’s me saying I need to go home from work. There’s trying to explain to medical professionals what you’re going through and not knowing exactly what words to use or what exactly to say to get through to them how it is. The worst thing is people having the misconceptions so just shrug it off like oh well it’ll be fine once you’ve had children, or the yeah I get really painful periods too. No one can really understand conditions until they have it or they can see it.

What do you think needs to be done to drive awareness, education and change?

Conditions such as mine should be taught in sex education at school because I did not know anything about any conditions until I started realising what I had, we should not go through life thinking that painful periods, heavy periods etc are normal.

What does having Endo mean to you?

It means spending a lot of my time getting the right medical care, most of my journey has been me telling doctors and gynaecologists what I need and then has been a fight to get it. Endometriosis is spending most of your life in pain and just having to learn to live with it. I hope I’ve answered that questions correctly, that was kind of a hard one.

What’s your go-to self-care ritual?

Personally, I have found regular exercise has helped me as well as eating healthier and cutting out meat and dairy. Having a chronic illness isn’t just about having days where you relax and do nothing is about listening to your body and trying new things until you find something that helps you.

Something you’d like all Endo warriors to know…

Endo warriors/sisters you are not alone, we are all in this together and we are all here for each other. Some days we feel like we want to give up or can’t keep going but we have got through it this far and that shows how extremely strong we are, we can keep going we have got this!

TEAM ZOELLA JANUARY 28, 2021

The Essential Items Every Wardrobe Needs

In the spirit of Kate Nash and the importance of strong foundations, the skeleton of your wardrobe is where it’s at for guaranteeing you never have another ‘I have nothing to wear’ moment again.

In the spirit of Kate Nash and the importance of strong foundations, the skeleton of your wardrobe is where it’s at for guaranteeing you never have another ‘I have nothing to wear’ moment again. And whilst it might seem boring to invest in the neutral, plainer items that don’t thrill you as much as a funky leopard print number, nailing the basics gives you the option to switch in trend-led items quicker than you can press ‘add to cart’- now that’s savvy shopping if we ever did see it!

Depending on your individual style preferences, the exact essentials you opt for may differ, but regardless, your basic items will serve to compliment your personal style as it grows both through trends and general lifestyle changes.


Depending on your individual style preferences, the exact essentials you opt for may differ, but regardless, your basic items will serve to compliment your personal style as it grows both through trends and general lifestyle changes. Not only will nailing your wardrobe essentials help you to get dressed more efficiently on a busy morning (oh for the days when we used to leave the house), but it will also help you cut down on the £40 here and £60 there high-street orders that happen every once in a while but never seem to add much va-va-voom to your rail …


It really is as simple as that! Jeans that hug you perfectly, classic tops that can be layered or worn alone all year round, timeless outerwear in the form of a trench or leather jacket, white shirts that can be dressed up or down, ankle boots, trainers and heels you know you won’t need to buy Compeed for, and you’re well on your way to capsule wardrobe perfection!

Blazers

White Shirt

Neutral Trousers

Coats

Jeans

Layering Tops

Shoes

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TEAM ZOELLA JANUARY 27, 2021

Come On In, The Water’s Lovely! The Benefits Of Winter Swimming

With more and more people stoically dipping their toes into the hobby, we thought we’d look into the key benefits of bracing an outdoor dip.

Whilst submerging yourself in 10-degree water might not be everyone’s idea of winter fun, cold water swimming has surged in popularity during the pandemic so much so, it’s become something of a lockdown cliché with everyone wanting a bit of this natural high.

Water, particularly the sea, has a way of reminding us that we’re all part of something much bigger than us

For many people, cold water swimming has provided a sense of solace and escapism during a time when everything on land went a tad tits up. Water, particularly the sea, has a way of reminding us that we’re all part of something much bigger than us and that whatever personal challenges are ahead of us or behind us, it’s comforting to know the existential problems we face are quite literally a drop in the ocean.

With more and more people stoically dipping their toes into the hobby, we thought we’d look into the key benefits of bracing an outdoor dip.

It’s group therapy

Whether you’re wild swimming in lakes, sea swimming or putting in the lengths at your local lido, there’s a great sense of community and camaraderie amongst cold water swimmers.

The aim here is to tend to your wellbeing and enjoy the profound effect that swimming outdoors has on your mental health.

You’re all there for your own reasons but you’re all rooting for one another and that shared experience can be transformative for your mind, body and soul. No one’s interested in competitive swimming or smashing PBs, the aim here is to tend to your wellbeing and enjoy the profound effect that swimming outdoors has on your mental health. That’s it. Bottom line.

From letting go of your inhibitions and dicking about with your pals for a few minutes to sinking a cup of tea on the beach in that blissful post-swim euphoria, a lot of the benefits of winter swimming happen outside the water as much as in it.

The mental calm & clarity

Being in the water, particularly when it’s cold, fosters here-and-now-thinking because your brain has limited bandwidth to think about anything other than the sensation of the cold water and its natural stress response. It anchors you in the moment and offers mental clarity as well as physical weightlessness, which is why it’s arguably one of the best ways to switch off, de-stress and enjoy a 10/10 digital detox. So, to summarise, blue views should be available on prescription.

Image Credit: @LareeseCraig

It’s great for your circulation

Swimming in cold water causes our heart to pump more blood to our organs, increasing blood flow throughout the body, flushing out toxins and improving circulation.

It boosts your immune system

The initial shock of entering the water kick starts the body’s stress reaction, triggering an increase in white blood cells and boosting your immune system. On regularly immersing yourself in cold water, your body becomes even better at activating that shock defence.

The blue buzz is electric

There’s one consistent and indescribable benefit you’ll hear every cold water swimming evangelist waxing lyrical about and that’s the great buzz.

For many, the feeling of being in contact with the water can evoke memories of free-spirited days spent on the beach as a child, for others it can offer relief from emotional or physical trauma and pain, either way you don’t need to be the next Wim Hof ice man to believe that the blue mind hype is real.

Betty Lewis-Griffiths, a trainee breath facilitator and Brighton mermaid, started sea swimming regularly last year and never stopped. It’s since become her go-to energy shaker, offering her year-round equilibrium, joy and peace.

Coldwater swimming helps me feel grounded because what better way than connecting with the elements than being in them! In the same way that a walk in the woods is soothing and gives you a fresh lease of life, cold water swimming injects me with life and I feel like I can do anything afterwards (once I’ve warmed up!). It makes me feel all the emotions. There isn’t anything that compares. I feel alive, at peace, grateful, full of love and deeply connected to nature. When you’re swimming in the sea into the horizon with the sun setting, there is no other feeling like it and everything else just melts away for those moments.

Betty Lewis-Griffiths

Well, that’s us sold!

Image Credit: @LareeseCraig

The mental challenge is exhilarating

It’s cold water. Of course it will be chilly but that’s as bad as it gets, right? Once you break through that mental wall, you can quite matter of fact about the idea of willingly getting your body in the water for a few minutes, which then unlocks this huge sense of achievement and fulfilment once you’ve proved to yourself that you’re resilient and capable of pushing through discomfort.

How to stay safe when cold water swimming

Chilly water swimming can be restorative, healing, invigorating, joyful and everything in between but it is not without its risks, especially if you’re trying it for the first time.

Knowing your limits, staying safe, understanding the hazards and preparing with layers, a hot water bottle, a woolly hat, neoprene booties and a steaming flask of tea is key.

Acclimatise to the temperature gradually by easing your body in slowly and in a controlled manner

Avoid jumping or diving into the water as this can cause cold water shock and gasping of breath. Acclimatise to the temperature gradually by easing your body in slowly and in a controlled manner, always allow your breathing to settle before swimming and stay in the shallows where you can touch the floor or get out if you need to.

Everyone’s cold tolerance and swimming ability is different, depending on how much sleep you’ve had, what you’ve eaten that day, stress and recent acclimatisation, so don’t compete with what other people can endure. Stay in your lane!

Always check tide times and conditions ahead of swimming – the sea will dictate if you can swim or not. Sometimes wave bathing on the shoreline (or pilcharding as it’s known locally) is just as exhilarating as a full swim.

If you get into difficulty in the water, remember the ‘float to live’ survival advice – fight your instincts to flap in the water, get onto your back, extend your arms and legs into a star fish position until you can control your breath before calling for help or swimming to safety, if possible.

Image Credit: @LareeseCraig

How to warm up after your swim

Afterdrop refers to the physiological response to being in cold water. When you swim, your body shuts down circulation to your skin and pools warm blood in your core to help you stay in the water for longer. As you emerge from the water and start to warm up, blood starts to recirculate and your core temperature drops which can lead to shivering, hyperthermia and dizziness.

Throw on lots of layers promptly including a hat and gloves and heat your core with a hot drink and a sugary snack.

Your body temperature will continue to drop for up to 10 minutes once you’re out the water so, dry off by patting your skin rather than rubbing, throw on lots of layers promptly including a hat and gloves and heat your core with a hot drink and a sugary snack. Lots of experienced cold water swimmers also swear by Haramaki, a traditional Japanese core-warmer.

To minimise the risk of afterdrop, remove wet layers asap, get dressed immediately and, as tempting as it is, resist the urge to jump straight under a hot shower when you’re home as this can draw the warm blood away from your core at speed, leading to rapid-cooling as your body temperature and blood pressure drops.

If you have a heart condition or asthma, it’s best to sit this one out and get back in when summer rolls around.

Will you be getting your cold water fix this winter?

TEAM ZOELLA JANUARY 26, 2021

13 Questions With Mark Ferris

A total sweetheart who makes content that guarantees to draw a smile, few online content creators are as charismatic and engaging as Mark Ferris. We caught up about how he's managed to stay so motivated over three lockdowns and find out what he's currently working on...

First of all, Happy New Year! What are you looking to get out of 2021?

HAPPY NEW YEAR! I’m just hoping that this year we can get back to normality and that I get to see my friends more.
And that everyone stays safe💘

Can you talk us through your career online and how it’s evolved?

Well, I started off filming fun challenges on my channel 5 years ago and to this day I still love doing exactly that. I don’t think my channel has really evolved. However, me as a person has! I’m definitely more open & honest & carefree!

Can you tell us a bit more about what content you create and upload on which platform?

I think when I first started I was very ‘challenge’ heavy content-wise on YouTube, then I went down the more chilled sit-down type of videos advice/story times/q&as, then I moved on to vlogs, and now I focus more on the challenges again because they keep me the most active and I love them. I’ve also started to daily vlog (sort of) on Instagram more! I just find the immediate connection I can have with viewers just amazing!

What are your top tips for staying motivated during the pandemic?

DONT PUT PRESSURE ON YOURSELF!
Remember that we’re all going through it together and reach out for help if you need it.
I always recommend getting up earlier than your alarm goes off! Make a little to-do list the night before. Get as much fresh air as you can. Focus on the hobbies and things that make you happy and inspired. And if you feel up to it; try something new🥲

A lot of our audience will know that you are Zoe’s best friend, how have you two managed your friendship this year without being able to see each other in the same way?

We text endlessly haha! We’re always sending each other something that’s funny or something that reminds us of each other. Obviously, we’ll do check-ins with each other to see how we’re getting on. We like to recommend each other shows & movies and we often send clips from our videos together to lol at haha! Also a LOT of voice notes!

What would you say is your biggest achievement to date?

I think the fact that I accomplished what I set out to be after Uni! Never did I think I’d meet the friends I have and get the most perfect audience! It’s insane & cringe but I’m definitely living my dream!

What are you currently working on?

My mental health haha! Making sure I’m putting me first in situations & looking after myself! Also, fingers crossed a couple of things come true for this summer which I can’t mention yet- SORRY

Who are some of your favourite follows online?

I love being nosey with my friends obvs and seeing what they’re up too! OBSESSED with interior design & life hack pages!

If you weren’t an online content creator what do you think you’d be doing for a living?

I’d love to be a party planner organiser! For sure! Just sitting down with people and organising parties and events! There’s still time 😉

What do you always carry with you?

My inhaler, anti-bac, lip balm and some sort of fragrance😂

What does your perfect weekend look like?

It used to be pre-drinks with mates and hit the clubs haha, now it’s a cosy bath, Netflix and takeaway and a new set of jams

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

Fully loaded Nachos! Key to my heart!

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

There is only one of you & that’s pretty special!

Follow Mark on Instagram here and subscribe to his YouTube channel here.

TEAM ZOELLA JANUARY 25, 2021

Here, Have 8 Green Smoothie Recipes That Aren’t Disgusting

To rescue you from a few dingy smoothie fails and power up your morning right, here’s some reliable and surprisingly drinkable recipes to get your energy levels pumped in lockdown 3.

Not ya typical hardcore green smoothie evangelist? Then you’ve landed in the right place. This is a post dedicated to those who, in an ideal world, would rather be tucking into a pastry all day, every day. Ain’t nobody got time for gritty Grinch juice that looks and tastes a lot like something Monty Don would decant from his wellies after wading in waist-high pond water at Longmeadow all day.

Whilst we’re under no illusion that green smoothies can measure up to the breakfast greats and the millennial catnip that is cloud eggs & avocado on toast – life is about balance and fuelling our bodies with the good stuff is all part and parcel of adulting.

In our experience, chucking seven different green varieties of your five a day into a blender and seeing what comes out the other side rarely ends well so, to rescue you from a few dingy smoothie fails and power up your morning right, here’s some reliable and surprisingly drinkable recipes to get your energy levels pumped in lockdown 3.

TEAM ZOELLA JANUARY 24, 2021

Weekly Wants: New In Items We’re Loving

We're clinging onto everything that feels normal and comforting and sometimes that comes in the form of an online order delivered straight to your door.

We might still be hibernating in lockdown 3.0 but a little scroll of ASOS never hurt anyone, right?! A new year means new trends and new intentions, so a haul that dips into the latest lust-worthy items or a couple of old favourites (yes we STILL can’t stop buying loungewear) might be just the ticket for brightening up this dull ol’ month.

No matter the circumstances, there can still be happiness found in putting on an outfit you feel 10/10 in, blow-drying your hair and drinking some bubbles on the weekend.

Lockdown has shown us the items we really can’t live without and the small joys that can come from indulging in some retail therapy every now and again. No matter the circumstances, there can still be happiness found in putting on an outfit you feel 10/10 in, blow-drying your hair and drinking some bubbles on the weekend- we refuse to give up the feel-good rush that signifies the end of the working week and time to relax, albeit it still sat on the sofa. And why not spice up with the day with a brief interaction with your DPD driver and faux haul unboxing with your flatmate or unwilling S/O?!

We’re clinging onto everything that feels normal and comforting and sometimes that comes in the form of an online order delivered straight to your door.

Shop the post

*This post contains ad-affiliate links

TEAM ZOELLA JANUARY 23, 2021

12 Newsletters -Actually- Worth Opening

In a bid to declutter your inbox and make it an all-together more inviting place to hang out, here’s a few newsletters that are actually worth opening.

It’s 7.15am on a Monday and the haunting chimes of your email alerts have already started hissing at you through your pillow slip. What could be so urgent about 25% off the moth traps I didn’t ask for? Get off my arse already!

In the era of social media, news really is everywhere and trying to play catch up is nigh on impossible.

In the era of social media, news really is everywhere and trying to play catch up is nigh on impossible. Our attention is forever pushed from pillar to Instagram post, which means the contents of a long-form newsletter needs to be a sweet ‘n’ superior anomaly if it’s going to stand half a chance of vibing with our eyeballs. Time really is a precious and fleet-footed beast, Mailchimp.

In a bid to declutter your inbox and make it an all-together more inviting place to hang out, here’s a few newsletters that are actually worth opening.

Off the Shelf

If you’re a keen #Bookstagramer with a teetering TBR pile, you’ll be all too familiar with the conundrum of deciding which book to plant your nose in next. Enter Off the Shelf, your friendly neighbourhood bibliophile who comes bearing gifts. Well, recommendations – which is basically the same thing. From best-selling debuts to beloved classics, this is one 5-minute read you won’t mind landing in your inbox.

Subscribe here! 

Girls’ Night In

A cosy corner of the internet dedicated to celebrating the joys of staying in? Take ALL our data. Every Friday, you’ll receive tips on everything from mental health to relationships, book recommendations and playlists. So, if a chill night on the sofa with a glass of wine and a face mask sounds a lot like you, this is the babin’ bulletin for you.

Subscribe here!

Who What Wear

Image Credit: Monikh via WWW

Your daily dose of trends, it-bags, influencer-approved advice, sale alerts and beauty on demand. No junk, just style you’ll want to bookmark forevs. Sign us up.

Subscribe here!

The Cramm

The Cramm prides themselves on being a news cheatsheet to the world by giving you daily morning updates straight to your inbox. The information is concise, straight to the point, and still manages to be humorous. Started by teen Olivia Seltzer, The Cramm claims to be for Gen Z but the Millenials in Team Z find it just as useful! Click below to ‘start your day off with a cup of Cramm’.

Subscribe here!

Well-Read Black Girl

Image Credit: KOLIN MENDEZ PHOTOGRAPHY via Well-Read Black Girl

Created by Glory Edim, WRBG is an online community and book-loving sisterhood on a mission to empower the narratives of black writers and celebrate their achievements in the literary world.

Subscribe here!

The Hyphen by Emma Gannon

Join multi-hyphenate Emma Gannon every month in her chatty column-style piece, as she shares what’s been on her radar that week. From highly-recommended books to conversation snippets from her podcast, it’s like having a wee natter with a pal.

Subscribe here!

Monday Vibes

Let us alert you to this positive-vibes-only club, packed with humble and heartfelt advice, mental wellness tips, peachy mantras & Science-backed resources. Created by self-love evangelist, Elizabeth Su, this personal growth newsletter gives you the mental and emotional boost you need to make it through Monday and all the other days, for that matter.

Subscribe here!

Alexandra Fullerton

After two decades in the fashion industry, Alex has all the insider intel. Her monthly newsletter is a mix of features, secret styling tips, new brands to have on your radar, product launches, a selection of buys that are worth their place in your wardrobe and her specialist subject, shoes. In short, when it comes to getting dressed, she knows her stuff.

Subscribe here!

Poem-a-Day

From the canonical to the contemporary greats, a Poem-a-Day is the new apple a day. You heard it heard first.

Subscribe here!

Into the Gloss

Into the Gloss is the editorial arm of cult brand Glossier. Founded by Emily Weiss in 2010, ITG explores what beauty means to women today. From interviews with everyone from Kim Kardashian to Lily Aldridge, product reviews and Glossier launches, this is the very best of beauty news delivered straight to your inbox on a weekly basis.

Subscribe here!

& Other Stories

No one likes a frenzy of promotions clogging up their inbox but there are a few rare unicorns among us and this is one of them. Enjoy early access to sales and be the first to know about their covetable designer collaborations and new drops. Newbie subs also get 10% off one purchase which makes giving up your email address 100% worth it IMHO.

Subscribe here!

Tiny Spells

A witchy self-care email? Make room on the broom, sisters. This twice-weekly digest contains spellbinding snippets, small acts of self-care and gentle goals to help you look out for number one.

Subscribe here!

TEAM ZOELLA JANUARY 22, 2021

What to Do If You’re a Victim of Revenge Porn

Whether you’ve been a victim of revenge porn or you’re here to read up on your rights so you know exactly how to handle yourself, this blog post details everything you need to know.

Since the advent of social media, online dating and instant messaging, sending and receiving videos and pictures has become an intrinsic part of how we live our lives. Sharing videos and photos has never been easier nor more instant, and whilst modern technology has its benefits, it undoubtedly has an ugly side too, cyberbullying, upskirting, sextortion and revenge porn to name a few.

Once someone you’ve been intimate with has a nude or semi-naked photo or video of you, it’s increasingly difficult to control where it ends up, especially if that relationship breaks down or ends on less than amicable terms.

The BBC recently reported a surge in cases, with campaigners suggesting the crime has been exacerbated by lockdown.

Revenge porn – the act of distributing non-consensual sexual material on the internet – can have devastating and far-reaching effects on the victim’s mental health. Since legislation in 2015, it has been illegal to share such content both online and offline, however, the BBC recently reported a surge in cases, with campaigners suggesting the crime has been exacerbated by lockdown.

The dedicated Revenge Porn Helpline reported a record number of calls in August 2020 with two-thirds of reported cases involving women, whilst research by domestic violence charity Refuge showed that one in seven young women have been threatened with sharing intimate photos or film without their consent. Lisa King, director of communications and external affairs at Refuge said, “Threatening to share intimate images isn’t yet a crime which means millions of women have been controlled and coerced by their abusers and are made to live with the fear that this may happen to them.” Refuge is now calling on the government to change legislation to give victims the protection they need.

All of this is evidence enough that revenge porn is shockingly common and we still need to keep the conversation going to drive further legislation and awareness of this appalling crime.

This is image-based sexual abuse not a bit of kinky fun and private images should stay private. Whether you’ve been a victim of revenge porn or you’re here to read up on your rights so you know exactly how to handle yourself, this blog post details everything you need to know.

What exactly is revenge porn?

Revenge porn, also known as intimate image abuse and non-consensual pornography, refers to the sharing of private intimate content, either videos or photos, without consent and with the intent to cause distress. It applies both online and offline and includes showing someone a physical or electronic image, uploading it to the internet or sharing via text message, email or other instant messaging apps. Most victims are women but it’s a crime that affects every gender identity.

Most victims are women but it’s a crime that affects every gender identity.

Sexual material or intimate content doesn’t just refer to explicit images or footage showing genitals but anything the person would consider to be sexual, including posing in a sexually provocative way or performing a sex act.

What does the law say about revenge porn?

In England, Wales and Scotland revenge porn was made a criminal offence under the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015. If you are found guilty of the offence, you could be prosecuted and sentenced for up to two years in prison.

As part of a new Law Commission review around online abuse, revenge porn victims could also be granted anonymity, so they can no longer be named publicly. Currently, revenge porn is classified as a communications crime meaning victims are not granted the same automatic anonymity as victims of sexual abuse. It will also review whether cyber-flashing and deepfake pornography (when an individual’s face is superimposed onto pornographic content and made to look and sound realistic) should be criminalised. The ministry of justice is due to report back later this year.

What to do if you’re a victim of revenge porn…

Report it

If someone has shared a private sexual video or image of you without your consent, you can report this to the police by dialling 101, if it’s an emergency and you’re in immediate danger, dial 999.

You can also reach out to The Revenge Porn Helpline – the UK’s only service dedicated to supporting adults who have been the victim of intimate image abuse.

You can also reach out to The Revenge Porn Helpline – the UK’s only service dedicated to supporting adults who have been the victim of intimate image abuse. The dedicated helpline was established in 2015 alongside the legislation that made sharing intimate photos and videos without consent a criminal offence. Their committed team of helpline practitioners give 1-1 confidential advice and support on everything from social media community guidelines, content removal and what evidence you need to gather when reporting the crime to the authorities as well as legal advice. They can also give confidential advice on upskirting, threats to share intimate images and webcam blackmail (sextortion).

Due to current covid-19 restrictions, The Revenge Porn Helpline is operating an email-only service, open Monday – Friday 10am-4pm. Reach out here: [email protected]

Keep all the evidence

Always take screenshots or print hard copies of the content where it’s been shared/posted (social media, website, email) or any communication threatening to share said content. Once you’ve reported the intimate content for violating community guidelines, social media sites can take it down pretty quickly. Make sure you’ve always got the proof.

Tell your friends & family

While this egregious crime might make you feel like hiding away, this is absolutely not your fault and you definitely don’t deserve to carry the burden. Someone did a sh*tty very illegal thing to you. They violated your body and your trust and that’s on them.

Someone did a sh*tty very illegal thing to you. They violated your body and your trust and that’s on them.

Opening up to your close friends and family about what’s happened to you and explaining that you’ve been a victim of internet crime (let’s call it what it is) will help alleviate the humiliation and prepare them, should they see the content on the internet or social media unexpectedly. It’ll also help give them the heads up, so they can be there for you and respond sensitively.

Get ongoing help & support

Remember to focus on the things you can control in this situation, know your legal rights and be compassionate towards yourself. The only person you or anyone else should be judging is the perpetrator. If you’re struggling with your mental health or find yourself internalising feelings of shame or accountability, consider speaking to a therapist who specialises in sexual trauma. You’re not alone.

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