TEAM ZOELLA APRIL 30, 2021

Snog, Marry, Avoid: Skincare!

From the essentials, we reach for on a daily basis to the faux pas we made so you don’t have to (you live and you learn), here’s a look at the products we would peck, march down the aisle and avoid like an ex in a pub garden.

Skincare marketing, it knows how to play us.

We’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve been fooled by bells and whistles, wild claims and TikTok hype but amongst the overrated formulas and viral regrets we’ve also discovered our fair share of keepers and MVPs along the way.

From the essentials, we reach for on a daily basis to the faux pas we made so you don’t have to (you live and you learn), here’s a look at the products we would peck, march down the aisle and avoid like an ex in a pub garden.

Charlotte says…

Snog: Mario Badescu Facial Spray With Aloe, Herbs And Rosewater

Ahhh this spritz is honestly such a joy to use and one of my favourite parts of my skincare routine. It smells absolutely divine and is both lovely in the morning when you need something refreshing to wake your skin up as well as in the evening when you’re super tired and want something quick to sort your complexion out. I have oily skin and I find this moisturises and hydrates it whilst keeping it matte, in addition to creating a lovely clean base for the rest of my skincare routine. It’s super affordable, lasts ages and is always something I repurchase immediately when I run out! Shop it here.

Marry: Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel

Now if you’re going to get married then it’s worth investing in something special and that can always be relied on, and that’s exactly how I feel about this cleanser. It’s not a product I always have stocked up on, purely because of the price, but every time I use it I’m reminded that literally no other cleanser compares. The scent is super calming (can you tell I love rose water?) and ingredients such as chamomile and pumpkin enzymes are always soaked up by my skin in an instant. A great one for removing every tiny last scrap of make-up and balancing the complexion- it would be my desert island cleanser for sure! Shop it here.

Avoid: The Body Shop Tea Tree Foaming Cleanser

Now I always hear wonderful things about The Body Shop skincare but I bought this cleanser in a bit of a rush one day and let’s just say foaming washes are not for me. Despite having oily skin and wanting something to mattify that, this product sucked all the life out of my skin along with the sebum and in general left my complexion feeling super tight and in need of a heavy moisturiser. Tea tree is quite a drying ingredient so this is probably where I went wrong- I reckon it would be great for targeted areas of my skin but not all over! Shop it here.

Lareese says…

Snog: Glossier Futuredew

This is a fairly new discovery for me but as someone who loves dewy skin, I knew this product would be a bit of me. It’s an oil serum hybrid packed with powerful plant extracts to make your skin beam. The light-reflecting formula feels quite rich initially but once applied, it’s weightless on the skin and absorbs beautifully without any tackiness. I put it all over my face as the last step in my skincare for a pop of all-over radiance. If you don’t want that high octane editorial glow, you can dab it on the high points of your face for a lit-from-within glossy complexion. It’s glass skin in a bottle! Shop it here.

Marry: Anything from ROWSE tbh.

I particularly love their floral waters and avocado oil. Everything they do is clean, green and plant-based. Their whole philosophy and approach to skincare is inspired by a deep respect for the environment and a commitment to raw, organic, cruelty-free beauty. It’s a wonderful collection of products that not only feel great to use ethically but are effective and look the part on your bathroom shelfie, too (but not at the expense of the environment). Shop it here.

Avoid: Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum

Purely for the hefty price tag! If you’ve got dehydrated skin, chances are you’re going to need more than this serum to make a difference and when there are so many more affordable hyaluronic acids on the market that are just as effective (if not more) then you really don’t need to fork out for this trendy bottle. Shop it here.

Danielle says…

Snog: Dermatica treatment for Rosacea

I’ve struggled with redness for probably the last 5-7 years (used to have perfect skin, soak it up while it lasts gals) and I’ve tried so many different products that aim to help with redness including niacinamide, azaelic acid, vitamin C, green pastes etc. And although I think my skin is in a good place texture and glow wise I can’t seem to shift the underlying redness. I’ve known I should probably just bite the bullet and go and see a dermatologist but that was just added to the long list of things I keep putting off until I looked into Dermatica which is prescription skincare done online, hallelujah. I answered questions about my skin and general medical health uploaded some photos and was sent my prescription of Ivermectin 1%/ Metronidazole 0.75%/ Niacinamide 4%. It’s a nightly treatment I pop on after cleanser that I think is really making a difference to my skin, I’m interested to see what it can do for me long-term which is why it’s just a snog! They also have treatments for melasma, acne and hyperpigmentation if, like me, you CBA to go to a dermatologist. Shop it here.

Marry: Glow Recipe

This is so hard because I genuinely love skincare but my routine does change over time and I’m not using anything at the moment I was using a year ago. I tend to gradually change products then by whole new routines so I’m going to cheat and marry a whole brand which is Glow Recipe. I just love the products I run out of some things and pick up others but I finish everything I buy from this brand I know no matter what I buy I’m going to like it. Over the past year or two I’ve tried: The Banana Soufflé Moisture Cream, The Avocado Melt Sleeping Mask, The Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask, The Watermelon Mist and I’ve just finished The Pineapple-C Bright Serum. I’ve loved them all and will definitely be picking up more in the future. Shop it here.

Avoid: Dr Jart Cicapair Colour Correcting Cream

If you’ve read The Team’s “TikTok Made Me Buy It” List then you’ll know all about my disappointment with the Dr Jart Cicapair colour correcting cream! It was kind of billed to me as a skincare product but when you apply it, it becomes more of a tinted moisturiser / light foundation? I’ll admit it looked to help neutralise redness but it kind of just made my skin look dry and pasty. So many people rave about this product so even though I’m avoiding it doesn’t mean everyone should, which is also something to remember for ALL skincare, what works for one person might not work for another, take recommendations with a grain of salt and get yourself some samples! Shop it here.

Darcey says…

Snog: THE ORDINARY Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG

It’s taken me a while to find a really effective eye serum. I’ve tried so, so, so many brands, but the best one I have found so far is The Ordinary Caffeine Solution. I love the texture of it, it’s has a watery texture and is very cooling when you apply it to the eyes. It has EGCG in it which is in green tea, so it’s anti-inflammatory (great for puffy eyes) and antioxidants (great for dark circles). Also, it’s so cheap, £5.80 to be precise. The Ordinary are pretty ethical as well, so it’s a good all-rounder. Shop it here.

Marry: Clinique Moisture Surge

This moisturiser I ALWAYS find myself going back to, it’s such a lovely moisturiser for the morning. It’s very light and feels super refreshing. It’s also oil-free which is good for someone like me who is super oily, so it helps me keep that at bay during the day. My skin always feels really hydrated when I use this, I only use it once a day as I opt for a thicker moisturiser in the evening. They also sell loads of different sizes in this product, even selling a teeny 25ml, so good if you want to test it out but not splash the cash straight away! Shop it here.

Avoid: CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser

I really liked this cleanser when I first started using it, but I found the longer I used it the tighter my skin felt after using it. In all honesty, it’s not the product as CeraVe is amazing and I now use the cream to foaming cleanser which I love. The issue was it was too strong for my skin, I think this product was taking too much oil and sebum from my face, but stripping me of all the natural oils my skin needs to stay hydrated and plump. I think if you have super, super oily skin, this will work well for you. But maybe it’s a once a day cleanser, not a twice a day one! Shop it here.

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*This post contains ad-affiliate links

TEAM ZOELLA APRIL 29, 2021

Sizzling Swimwear To Help You Feel Like the 10/10 You Are

Of course we're all naturally prepared for Hot Girl Summer because we are in fact Hot All Year Around, but if you fancy adding a little spice to your beach or pool life then a new bikini or swimsuit is all you need to conjure up flame emojis galore.

It’s been a longer, colder, more dreary winter than maybe any of us have ever experienced, but as the days tick by and the layers of knitwear slip away, swim season is finally within touching distance and god are we glad of it! Whether you’re a sea, lake or pool swimmer, there’s something totally exhilarating about the first submersion into the water below as your mind becomes focused and the day’s troubles melt away. And equally, if the contents of the British sea or a chlorinated pool don’t appeal, dipping a toe in and retreating to the sand or sun lounger offer equal magical, mindful benefits that life has been deprived of thanks to the panoramic and winter months. It’s time to seize the summer!

Of course we’re all naturally prepared for Hot Girl Summer because we are in fact Hot All Year Around, but if you fancy adding a little spice to your beach or pool life then a new bikini or swimsuit is all you need to conjure up flame emojis galore. Feeling comfortable in your swimwear is the goal, as walking around in essentially waterproof underwear is always going to be a bit of a confidence challenge, so finding a style and shape that work for you is key! From high waisted to thong bottoms, underwired to triangle tops and the classic all in one swimsuit there’s a lot of choice out there, but once you find your ‘thing’ you’re set for summer seasons aplenty. 

Bookmark your beachwear looks of choice and get ready for the impending heat (we’re looking at you!).

*This post contains ad-affiliate links

TEAM ZOELLA APRIL 28, 2021

We Tried: Smile Makers Collective Vibrators

If you came here for a good time and first hand (ahem) write-ups of what is essentially the opening chapter of a collection of masturbation memoirs, you’ve landed in the right spot.

Vibrators have enjoyed quite the glow up recently and for that we say AMEN.

Between the thumping bedside table rabbits and medieval looking bullets, it was was slim pickings back there for a while but now, our sex toys are finally as beautiful as they are effective. We can only hope their rumbling vibrations set off the machines at the airport because the world needs to see how pretty pleasure can be.

Step aside ears and ammunition, for the self-pleasure menu has evolved into an all you can eat buffet of slick and silent greatness with the likes of The Firefighter to The French Lover (it has a tongue) coming through with all the battery life, outrageous good looks and clitoral chivalry we need from our sex toys.

If this is the first you’re hearing of this iconic duo, you’re about to have the meet-cute of your life. They’re two proud members of the Smile Makers Collective and trust us when we say they are men of their word.

From oral sex simulators to vulva vibrators, there’s a toy for every kind of pleasure in the Smile Makers squad, so naturally we had to try them out because we take our jobs very seriously and what good is a section of the website dedicated to We Tried reviews if we’re not going to road test sex toys, for crying out loud.

If you came here for a good time and first hand (ahem) write-ups of what is essentially the opening chapter of a collection of masturbation memoirs, you’ve landed in the right spot. Carry on reading to find out what happened when six women were let loose with a bunch of vibrators…

The French Lover

If there’s one thing Smile Makers do very well, it’s tearing up trash taboos around self-pleasure, one vibrator at a time. All their products are pretty, playful, approachable (sorry, just over here making them sound like a soppy ol’ Labrador) and aesthetically superior, making masturbation something to celebrate and embrace on the daily.

Let’s just say he had me at bonjour.

After taking the quiz to figure out which toy was most compatible for me, I was coupled up with The French Lover and let’s just say he had me at bonjour. A sex toy with a tongue? I don’t care that the world has re-opened. Pub gardens can wait, I’m good here. Staying in, just me and my lady garden.

The French Lover has a sensual touch to mimic oral sex so if you’re not keen on vigorous, heavy-handed clit stimulation, you guys will hit it off right away. The vibrator is made of silicone with a soft top which, if you’re used to the targeted vibrations of a bullet for example, might take you by surprise but not necessarily in a bad way.

You can also use in tandem with an internal vibrator if, like me, you like the best of both worlds.

The best way I can describe the texture of the ‘tongue’ so to speak, is like one those battery-operated portable fans with the foam blades. The speed and pulsation modes enable you to tailor the pressure should you want a firmer smooch but clit-teasing is really The French Lover’s speciality. You can also use in tandem with an internal vibrator if, like me, you like the best of both worlds. Great for coupled sex and solo adventures alike, anyone would be blessed to have this in their life. It’s a right French fancy.

Top tip: go to town with the lube for a more realistic oral sex experience. Shop the French Lover here!

The Tennis Pro

Well if there’s ever a product I’ve looked forward to reviewing, this is it. I genuinely really enjoyed the whole process, from choosing the toy, to giving it a spin.

I did the quiz online to determine which one of the toys I wanted to try out. I tend to prefer penetrative sex and haven’t found my g-spot so the Tennis Pro was an obvious choice. It’s angled to target the g-spot and has different settings for how fast you want to vibrations.

The product comes with a great leaflet teaching you how to explore yourself and is really insightful. I was so excited to play a match with the Tennis Pro (hehe, see what I did) I was sure I was going to find my g-spot first time round. But after a few tries, no luck unfortunately.
Despite having not found my g-spot, it was still very enjoyable. And what a shame, I’ll have to keep trying.

I think the whole smile makers experience makes the idea of self pleasure less daunting and will definitely be purchasing from smile makers again.

I think the whole smile makers experience makes the idea of self pleasure less daunting and will definitely be purchasing from smile makers again. I always thought the idea of buying your friend a vibrator was weird but this is so pretty, I kind of understand it more now.

The packaging is discrete and I can say hands down this is the prettiest sex toy I’ve ever seen. Shop The Tennis Pro here.

The Firefighter

Hellooo Firefighter. I don’t know if this name is supposed to conjure up images of wet, wet, wet but my hopes were certainly high as this toy is unlike anything I’ve used before and its description definitely gets the pulse racing. Initially I have to say it took me a while to work out exactly the best position and pressure to apply as I’m normally a fan of clitoral stimulation exclusively and the focus this toy has on the labia too was a little different.

I really loved how many settings and rhythms there were whilst still being really quiet- maybe the quietest toy I own!

The toy has been designed to give some love to this area and create more intense, and potentially multiple orgasms. I enjoyed the vibration and pulsing here too but did still feel like the clitoris stimulation runs the show for me and this could have been more intense personally. Maybe it just takes some getting used to but I think I would have preferred the most intense vibration on the nose of the toy whereas it felt like it was mostly on the outer part which focuses on the labia.

Despite that, I really loved how many settings and rhythms there were and how each provided something a little different whilst still being really quiet- maybe the quietest toy I own! The material is SO silky smooth and really lovely to use against the skin too. I absolutely love the Smile Makers website and Instagram and how accessible their content is which makes the idea of trying something new feel exciting and not intimidating. The Firefighter lives on my bedside table and its pastel pink gorgeousness is something I’m more than happy to have out on display. We love to see it! Shop The Firefighter here.

The Billionaire

Where do I start, I was so excited to be reviewing a Smile Makers product, especially because I already owned the Firefighter which is a really, really good vibrator. What I particularly like about Smile Makers is they are super user friendly, fantastic for someones first sex toy as they aren’t intimidating at all. The packaging is super cute, the ethos behind the company is fabulous as well, I like that it’s all centred around the needs and desires of people with vulvas.

So I did the Smile Makers online quiz to determine what toy was best suited for me. I did want to try something out that offered clitoral and penetrative stimulation, so was pretty happy when I was recommended The Billionaire which does just that. The material is super smooth and feels really luxurious on the skin. This vibrator has some pretty intense vibration settings too, I was actually quite taken aback when I first turned it on ha!

I really wanted to find a toy which made me enjoy penetrative masturbation, but actually, I’ve come to the conclusion that the clitoris is where the sweet spot is for me and penetration can be left for sex.

After using the Firefighter for so long this was a nice change to experiment with something more clitoral focused and oh boy did it come through. I must admit I didn’t really use it for penetrative pleasure, I don’t particularly get that turned on by penetration when masturbating as I find penetration more pleasurable with another person. I really wanted to find a toy which made me enjoy penetrative masturbation, but actually, I’ve come to the conclusion that the clitoris is where the sweet spot is for me and penetration can be left for sex.

The power of this vibrator is INSANE. Like… I absolutely recommend it to anyone looking to buy a new vibrator. I have always struggled to hit climax with vibrators or any sex toys, it’s always felt good but I’ve never completely finished. Well… this, has changed the game. So 10/10 Smile Makers!

The French Lover

So, sex toy review didn’t think I’d ever be doing this for work but hey ho there we go! Even though this is anonymous I’m still feeling pretty vulnerable as I do genuinely want to share my experience with you and not just tell you about the speeds and features of my newly beloved French Lover.

When I first had a look at Smile Makers reinvented original collection I was definitely drawn to the Firefighter, I’m not sure why, I think the shape of it just looked like something that would fit nicely in the ol’ vulva and apply the majority of the pressure to the clitoris, however after taking their quick quiz to determine what would be right for me I ended up with The French Lover.

I believe this kind of hinged on how intense I liked my vibrations which I clicked ‘light’ but I wasn’t 100% sure on, as I didn’t know how severe I liked my vibes. The French Lover’s main aim is to mimic oral sex which is why it has a tongue-like shape to it. I can’t remember what I was expecting before trying out Frenchie, I don’t own a ton of sex toys but my most classically used is more like a hard shaft (lol) that I would mostly use on my clitoris, so I was excited to give something more gentle a try.

I always knew that there were lots of different pleasure points around the vulva but using this toy really helped me realise how great they can feel.

There are so many different places you can use the French Lover on to get a different sensation, I always knew that there were lots of different pleasure points around the vulva but using this toy really helped me realise how great they can feel. You get 4 different speeds with 2 pulsation modes so even though I was expecting the vibes to be light, the 4th speed is pretty intense! The tongue like top is not hard it’s kind of flappy which is great for fitting into different creases (lol again) however it can kind of unfurl itself and scrape but I think it’s just a case of getting used to it and how to move it around, having a lot of lubrication probably also helps to limit that.

What else can I say except I really enjoyed using this both on my own and with a partner and it definitely brought me some great orgasms. I actually think this is a really good starter toy if you’re looking to experiment or if you’re a seasoned pro looking for something quite light and casual. I haven’t managed to try this one in the bath but I think it would work really well in there too!

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*This post is not part of a paid promotion however it contains gifted products and ad-affiliate links

TEAM ZOELLA APRIL 27, 2021

13 Questions With Tiffany Salmon

We caught up with Tiffany Salmon, founder of Scientia Beauty to find out about starting a business, the importance of skincare and what her perfect weekend looks like!

First off, how are you and how is your 2021 going?

I’m good! I’m definitely feeling more positive now that the world is opening up again and I think everyone feels the same. We all seem to be taking things slower, enjoying the small moments, spending time in the sun and seeing our friends and family again.

Can you tell us about Scientia and the products you produce?

Results-driven and radiance-boosting, Scientia [see-en-cha] is here for the beauty junkies and skincare lovers. Made to battle tired, dull, stressed-out skin and offer supercharged and feel-good skincare that’s proven to balance, brighten and plump whatever your age.  

Blending innovation with accessibility, high performing ingredients with aesthetic. I can honestly say that Scientia uses some of the most premium actives in the skincare world, bringing the best of science and nature. We combine that with playful and luxurious packaging that acts as an expression of style, proving that serious skincare doesn’t have to equal stuffy or unrelatable. Focusing on making that beautiful packaging sustainable too, Scientia offers an indulgence experience without the waste.

You’ve also founded plenty of other beauty businesses, what drives you to create something new?

With each product we create, I always want to push to make it do more and work harder. I won’t just make something for the sake of it – it’s all about being creative to bring something new and exciting to the market. Whether that’s finding a new ingredient and getting lost in what I can turn it into, travelling the world (pre and hopefully post covid!) to discover new innovations, or meeting with my lab team to work out how to solve a specific skincare problem, creativity is key!

We love that Scientia has such a big focus on cruelty-free, vegan skincare. What would you say is the ethos of the brand?  

Apart from being vegan and cruelty-free, ingredients are so important to Scientia. Forget about the natural vs synthetic debate, we blend the best of beauty innovation in both nature and science. Our globally sourced glow-giving ingredients are chosen to do good and work hard, whether that’s tranexamic acid whipped up in a lab, or a locally farmed avocado fresh from the tree.

I also think the idea that skincare being self-care is a big part of the brand, and why I personally love skincare too. That act of sitting down and applying a carefully chosen routine each morning, the feeling you get when you see the results from your skincare. Investing in yourself – that’s self-care. From the results you get, to the aromatherapeutic blends, Scientia is all about feel-good rituals, giving you your glow from the inside out.

Plus, we have a big focus on sustainability too. Thoughtfully designed, formulated, marketed, manufactured and distributed all in the UK, we’re Leaping Bunny Certified cruelty free, Vegan Society approved and offer sustainable glass and FSC certified packaging printed with soy ink.

Why do you think it’s so important to look after your skin?  

Apart from the long term benefits to how your skin looks and feels, like I said before, skincare should really be treated as self-care.  I think it’s really important to treat your skincare routine as a ritual, making it a moment to switch off and focus on you, whether that’s 5 minutes or 50.  When you put time and dedication into anything, seeing those results and reaping the rewards really does feel great, especially when you’re working on yourself.

What is the process like for creating a new product?

I’m lucky that I work for my family business and that as a family we have the capability to do every step of the process in house, bringing a product to market very quickly.

 I could think of an idea over breakfast and by lunchtime I’m in the lab with my team whipping something up. Plus, since we’re fully vertically integrated, we do everything else in-house too, from packaging design to the actual fulfilment, quality control to the marketing. This means we can be totally absorbed in every step to make all our products perfect!

What are your top 3 tips for starting a business?

Not everything will always go to plan and that success doesn’t happen overnight. You’ve got to take the knock backs, learn from them and then carry on pushing forward to get to where you want to be.

Find your niche, what are you passionate about? Look for your area of the market, look at what competitors are doing, how can you do it better, give the consumer a reason to buy from you.

What are you currently working on?

We have an amazing new product launching for Scientia in just a matter of weeks! Our new Sunshine & Sea Aqua Tanning Serum is here to bring a little sunshine to your complexion… A blend of naturally derived tanning actives, skin-plumping hyaluronic acid and youth-boosting Shiitake Extract rich in Vitamin D, it’ll give skin a healthy dose of glow no matter how much (or little) sun you get this Summer!

Then, for the middle of this year we’ve got an incredible trilogy of products launching with some of my favourite ingredients ever. With a big focus on clarity and breakout-prone skin, I honestly can’t wait to share this one with you all, it’s been a real personal journey for me.

Who are some of your favourite follows online?

I simply love Michelle Driscoll (@michellemdriscoll), she has such an elegant and effortless style. With a timeless feel to both her interiors and personal style, she’s one of my favourite people to follow.

For interiors, I’m more than a little in love with House that Colour Built (@thehousethatcolourbuilt) it just couldn’t be more me! There’s something so joyful about colour, it can literally rewire the way your brain works, making you feel more positive,  confident and full of creative energy.

I’ve also followed Astrid Wilson (@astridwilson) for years and it’s been amazing to see her grow, especially since she did a collab with Rixo my favourite dress brand. Plus, is there anything cooler than a beautiful Scandi artist?

What does your perfect weekend look like?

For many years now, the weekends, especially Sundays have always been about taking a step back from daily life which can often feel quite hectic and sometimes utterly relentless, so taking time to completely switch off in preparation for another week is so important to me. It’s one of the reasons I created another of my brands, Soak Sunday, a sustainable, sensorial and indulgent bath and body care brand. I wanted to capture that emotion connected to a long, lazy, slow Sunday and bring back bath time as ritual to revere, whatever day of the week you indulge in it.

With weekends being all about family, I do love curling up in bed with the kids for an early morning snuggle, sitting down to cook breakfast together, going on a long walk with my dog Reggie, sinking into a hot bath with a face mask for some self-care. With busy schedules during the week, over the weekend I really savour and soak up those small special moments of family life. 

What do you always carry with you?

An obvious one nowadays, hand sanitiser! Apart from that and lip balm, I always have a water bottle to hand, since keeping hydrated is so important for your skin and overall health too.   

What would your last ever meal be?

Ooo that’s a tricky one! I’d pop to the Le Petit Maison in Mayfair for a long alfresco lunch. I love all their nibbley tapas bit, especially the tomato burrata, and maybe a cold Rose.

What is one positive piece of advice you could give to our audience?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Put yourself out there, even if it makes you feel a bit silly, because no-one knows absolutely everything and that’s the best way you learn. 

TEAM ZOELLA APRIL 26, 2021

Real & Relatable Pregnancy Tips as Told by Seasoned Mums

Whether you want the scoop on how to get a good night’s sleep, a remedy for morning sickness that actually works or the ins and outs of perineal massage (you’re about to get to know your vagina very well), these are the tips that’ll get you through pregnancy from your first trimester right up to your due date.

Hello and welcome. If you’ve landed here, there’s a good chance you’re either trying to conceive and currently having all the relentless ovulation window sex, very much pregnant (huge congrats!) and looking for all the tips you can get, or you’re on the home stretch and weeks away from welcoming your little one into the world and wondering what you need to pack in your hospital bag.

There’s a lot of widely available info out there, most of which you can get from a quick midnight Google panic-search, but we thought the most relatable advice would be best coming from those truth-telling internet pals who have been there, done it and got the kegel technique to prove it.

We took to Instagram to ask real parents what expectant mothers, or those trying for a baby (because we see you too), should know. Whether you want the scoop on how to get a good night’s sleep, a remedy for morning sickness that actually works or the ins and outs of perineal massage (you’re about to get to know your vagina very well), these are the tips that’ll get you through pregnancy from your first trimester right up to your due date.

Of all the suggestions that landed in our inbox, we have to say “a third arm” was a personal fave. Without further ado, let’s push on!

Take the guesswork out of fertility tracking

For anyone who is TTC (trying to conceive) and looking for a more advanced way to track fertility, the personalised Mira is an at-home lab-quality hormone tracking system that monitors LH levels throughout your cycle. It still requires peeing on a stick, there’s no getting away from that, but you then insert the wand into the analyzer and your fertility hormone concentration will sync with the Mira app, giving you accurate insight into your fertility window.

It’s particularly useful for anyone with irregular cycles or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) as some people with PCOS have an elevated LH baseline, which means standard ovulation prediction kits can give false positives and can’t identify the actual ovulation.

Trying for a baby doesn’t happen overnight for everyone

It’s a biggie no one really talks about but for the majority of people trying to conceive, it takes work. We’re talking on average, six months to a year of regular unprotected sex. Yep, it turns out, there’s a fair bit of trying involved in this trying for a baby malarky, after all. It’s a whole lot of joint sex calendars, fertile windows and peeing on a stick.

You’re not alone and we see you. It’s a wild journey and it is possible to feel utterly full for others and their good news whilst feeling desperately empty yourself.

One in seven couples have difficulty conceiving, so if that happens to be you and you’re dealing with negative pregnancy results and a lockdown baby boom thrown in for good measure, hold tight. You’re not alone and we see you. It’s a wild journey and it is possible to feel utterly full for others and their good news whilst feeling desperately empty yourself.

If you need to stop reading after this point for your own mental health, we welcome that kind of self-care. Reading about pregnancy and birth might not be what you need at this moment in time but equally, it might serve as a sign that things do work out, babies are born, pregnancies do happen and there is hope. Check in with yourself. How do you feel? You have permission to slope off at this point if it gets a little much.

Get yourself a pregnancy pillow like, right now

The pregnancy pillow hype is real. If you’re suffering from back pain, allow this humble sausage to work its magic. Made of pressure-relieving material, it will provide unique support around your belly, lower back, pelvis, knees and ankles throughout your pregnancy. This one comes highly recommended!

Wear flight socks

Relieve swollen ankles by wearing flight socks or stockings under your clothes. Genius. Nobody’s gonna know (said in TikTok voice).

Get yourself a decent sling for crying out loud

You wear your baby more than you realise and your back is going to need all the support it can get. We asked Maddie, our very own motherhood expert, for her carrier recommendations and she loves AmawrapBaby Bjorn and Ergobaby.

Pamper yourself, obviously

Take some time to unwind and let a prenatal massage help with the pains and strains of pregnancy.

Pregnancy massages may seem like a luxury but let’s not forget, you’re growing a human here. Your body is going through a lot of physical and emotional change and now is not the time to feel guilty about your chosen method of self-care. Book in a few massages and bloody well enjoy it. Milk it for all its worth – you deserve it.

And talking of massages…

From 32 weeks, you’ll need to start getting very familiar with the area between your vagina and your bum three to four times a week, otherwise known as the perineum. Perineal massage, or birth canal widening, has been clinically proven to help prepare the perineum for childbirth, making it more flexible so it can stretch easier during labour. We don’t think there will be any danger of you falling asleep in this massage but it’s gotta be done if you want to reduce the risk of tearing.

You can either do it yourself or get your partner to help if you feel comfortable. Nothing like a bit of hands-on bonding.

Perineal massage, or birth canal widening, has been clinically proven to help prepare the perineum for childbirth, making it more flexible so it can stretch easier during labour.

First, make sure you lubricate your perineum with oil to make the massage more comfortable. Take some deep breaths to help you relax and put your thumbs about 2.5cm to 4cm inside your vagina. Press down towards your bum and to the sides, resting your fingers on your perineum. You should feel a slight burning stretching sensation, hold this for a few minutes. Then gently massage the lower bit of your vagina using your thumbs upwards, outwards and in a U-shaped movement. Continue for two to three minutes. Can’t visualise it? Don’t fret. This video will demystify the process for you.

NB: If a partner is helping you out, they should use their index fingers instead of their thumbs.

Freeze your maternity pads

For postpartum pain relief, nothing offers more support down there than a soothing padsicle (frozen maternity pad FYI) smothered in aloe vera gel. It reduces swelling and encourages the healing process after vaginal birth.

Bodysuits are your best friend

Winnie the Pooh is cute but sometimes you don’t really fancy your bump crowning out of every t-shirt you own. Enter the bodysuit. Comfy, excellent coverage and supportive. A friend indeed.

Cabbage leaves to the rescue

It’s true what they say about the healing powers of a cold cabbage leaf. Keep them in the fridge and whack them over your boobs to help with pain and breast inflammation that may occur during breastfeeding. You can use red or green, but green is best if you don’t want to deal with stains or discolouration on your nursing bra.

When prepping your cabbage leaves, rinse thoroughly, pat dry, remove the stem and cut a slit down the middle. You want it to remain in one piece with a gap in the middle to wrap around your breasts without covering the nipples. Kind of like a nipple wig. You can keep them on there for a good 20 minutes or until they start getting warm. Cabbage soup, anyone?

Take prenatal vitamins

Eating a balanced diet of lean meat and leafy vegetables will ensure you get most of the vitamins and minerals you need but it’s difficult to get the recommended amount of folate (natural form of folic acid) from food alone. The NHS recommends you should take a 400 micrograms folic acid tablet every day from when you’re trying to conceive until you’re 12 weeks pregnant.

The NHS recommends you should take a 400 micrograms folic acid tablet every day from when you’re trying to conceive until you’re 12 weeks pregnant.

Taking a Vitamin D supplement to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body is also important to help your baby’s bones, teeth, kidneys, heart and nervous system to develop. If you’re pregnant, you should be taking a 10 microgram supplement of Vitamin D every day. Eating Vitamin D-rich foods such as oily fish, eggs and some breakfast cereals will also help you get your recommended daily intake but be aware of the foods to avoid too.

Liver is fortified with Vitamin D but should not be eaten whilst pregnant due to the high levels of Vitamin A which can be harmful to an unborn baby.

Keep a pregnancy diary

Make a scrapbook or keep a pregnancy diary for your baby to have when they’re older, full of all the memories and moments you’ll never want to forget from scans to cravings and things that were happening when they were the size of a pomegranate. Show them how they turned your world upside down in the best possible way. Got-to-go, there’s something huge in my eye all of a sudden.

Do your pelvic floor exercises

Strengthen your pelvic floor muscles by squeezing as though you’re stopping your flow whilst you’re going for a wee. Squeeze for three seconds, relax for three seconds and repeat 10 times, ideally every day. The best part? You can do your pelvic floor exercises (aka kegels) anywhere and no one will know. Queuing for coffee? Have a little squeeze. Waiting for your midwife appointment? Perfect time for a little tactical keg.

Try the NHS Squeezy app (£2.99) designed by chartered physiotherapists & the specialised strength and fitness programme, MAMMAWELL Method designed for pregnancy and postpartum bodies.

You can never have enough big black pants

After birth, you’ll be living in big black comfy pants, so stock up early doors.

And nursing bras!

SO many nursing bras. M&S came up trumps when it came to bras that make breastfeeding that little bit easier.

Orange peel is a precious friend

Carry a tub of orange peel in your handbag to sniff when you get waves of sickness – sure, you might get weird looks when you’re in the office, but the smell of orange peel and citrus fruits can help alleviate nausea so give ‘em hell kid. A lot of people also swear by ice lollies, ginger and chewing gum / mints too, so they might be worth a go if you’re looking for something a little more discreet.

Bananas before bed

Sounds like a charming children’s bedtime story but really though, eat bananas before bed. When you get those dreaded calf cramps in your third trimester, a banana knows what to do.

Mamo Mio for skincare

Expertly formulated to nourish and soothe growing bumps, the Mama Mio Tummy Rub Butter is packed full of natural plant-based goodness to increase skin elasticity and protect delicate sensitive skin. We’ve yet to meet a mum who doesn’t love this stuff.

You might feel like a stranger in your own body at the moment, so if whacking on a few creams makes you feel better about your stretch marks, then you do that.

The Mama Markstretch mark minimising cream is another cult product mums swear by. Whilst we believe no woman should feel ashamed of the marks she gained whilst making a home for her baby, it’s your skin and you shouldn’t feel a pressure to worship all your bodily changes either. Skin is skin – you’re entitled to love your stretch marks but just making your peace with them is valid, too. You might feel like a stranger in your own body at the moment, so if whacking on a few creams makes you feel better about your stretch marks, then you do that.

Try a belly band

Like a bra for your belly, these handy undergarments are cleverly designed to help the lower back and abdomen during pregnancy. This one from JoJo Mamaen Bebe is particularly good for supporting your bump and your back whilst working out but there are other styles to wear all day under your clothes.

Spritz your Bits

If we’re talking hospital bag essentials, you need Spritz your Bits in your life. This multi-award winning midwife developed spray can provide instant relief for sore bits both after birth and during pregnancy. It’s also particularly great for that first post-birth wee, so we hear! Store in the fridge for extra oomph. Your vagina, vulva and ya perineum (the whole gang basically) will thank you for it.

Hypnobirthing

To prepare for any kind of birth, look no further than the digital hypnobirthing pack by The Positive Birth Company. They’re on a mission to make hypnobirthing accessible and affordable for all, wherever you are and whenever you’re free. The antenatal program is priced at £39 and designed to empower women, birthing people and their partners to create positive birth experiences with lifelong benefits.

By the time you complete the course, you’ll feel more positive, confident and excited about giving birth, however it happens for you.

Learn all about the physiology of birth, how the uterus muscles work, delayed cord clamping, skin to skin, relaxation techniques and interventions including caesarean birth and induction. By the time you complete the course, you’ll feel more positive, confident and excited about giving birth, however it happens for you.

Try a TENS machine for pain relief in early labour

A TENS machine is a small, hand-held, battery-operated device, worn on the body to relieve back pain in early labour. It works by sending mild electrical pulses to the sticky pads on your lower back to distract you from the pain, though it’s not effective for everyone.

There’s no need to buy one, most chemists will hire them out and your hospital will usually have them, too.

TENS isn’t safe for everyone to use. Don’t use it without first seeking medical advice.

Use nipple covers for your belly button

Belly buttons get pretty extra in pregnancy but it’s nothing a nipple cover can’t sort. Stick a reusable silicone nipple cover over your belly button and voila – no more rubbing on irritating fabrics.

A water bottle with a straw and time markings

When you’ve got a million things to organise for the arrival of your tiny human, the simplest of things can be left off the list. Like a water bottle with a straw – great for pregnancy, labour and breastfeeding. The time markings on this one allows you to keep an eye on how much water you’re drinking, which comes in very handy once the baby is here. BF thirst is a whole other kind of thirst.

If you’re struggling to stay hydrated or you’re feeling nauseous, try a low-calorie squash instead.

Make a birthing playlist

Everyone’s got their power tracks to get them in the mood to push so girl, take it to the bridge and get that baby outta there. Whatever birth you’re having, a playlist of birthing bangers will be a welcome bit of ambient noise.

Take your birth plan with a pinch of salt

Whilst it’s good to have a plan, nature doesn’t always like to stick to it. Go with the flow as much as you can and be kind to yourself. Everyone has an idea of the dream birth scenario with no pain relief and plinky plonky music but every birth is different and however you end up bringing your baby into the world, that’ll be the right plan for you and your little one.

Sleep with something you’re going to give your new-born

Whether it’s a muslin or a cuddly toy, nothing will comfort them like the scent of their mama. No, you’re crying.

Don’t bother with maternity clothes

Stick to baggy one size jumpsuits and stretchy dresses that’ll serve you all the way through your pregnancy.

To get the most out of your jeans, use a hairband looped through the buttonhole for extra room. No top button, no problem!

Stretchy sports bras and bra extenders are a great alternative for those who don’t really want to splash out on pregnancy undies, too.

Mist your face

Pack a calming face mist or just fill up a spray bottle with water to spritz on your face whenever you want to cool down or freshen up during labour.

Pack a long cable for your phone

Hospital rooms were not designed with phone charging convenience in mind. Cheat the system by going long with your charging cable so you’ll always have enough juice to supply the family with baby spam. 

Make sure you have enough snacks

Forget the baby grows, do you have enough snacks to see you through? A mum’s gotta eat.

Batch cook freezer meals

Prep a few frozen dinners to see you through those first blurry weeks of motherhood. It’s one less thing to worry about and your future self will thank you for being organised.

Have you got any sage motherly advice or must-have products? Let us know in the comments below!

TEAM ZOELLA APRIL 25, 2021

Weekly Wants: Our Go-To Spring Accessories

Simpler looks offer the potential to add fun bags, jewellery, shoes and hats and can take a timeless outfit into 2021 trends in an instant. Great for the planet and our bank balance!

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed at the prospect of getting out of the house in ‘normal’ clothes (RIP our well-loved loungewear, gone but never forgotten) then staying simple with your ‘fit but adding 10/10 accessories might be the place to start for cool but effortless-looking attire. Jeans and a nice top never did us wrong before the pandemic, and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Simpler looks offer the potential to add fun bags, jewellery, shoes and hats and can take a timeless outfit into 2021 trends in an instant. Great for the planet and our bank balance!

Hair accessories are having a real moment of late, adding a 90s twist to your look and a playful, flirty addition that can be tied in with your make-up too for the ultimate in cool-girl chic. If you’re seeking a refresh on the classic accessory front then look no further than your sunnies collection- because you best believe a burst of heat will be hitting us in May (manifesting) and no one wants to be unprepared for beer garden season and golden hour photo opportunities. Add a funky pair of shoes- whether you’re a trainer, sandals or heels kinda gal- and get ready to sashay into town for Mojitos on tap and al fresco dining at every opportunity. Spring has got us feeling fabulous!

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TEAM ZOELLA APRIL 24, 2021

All the Reasons You Should Be Shopping at Bookshop.org

We all fall into idle habits here and there, regularly sourcing our reading material from cheap, goliath online retailers who can have your order signed, sealed and delivered before you’ve even blinked but there’s a whole other world of online booksellers we’re missing out on and Bookshop.org is one such gem.

If you’re a big reader, you’re probably familiar with all the niche quandaries that come with such a relaxing hobby. 

First there’s the problem that keeps us up at night, the nightmare that consumes our lives – we are of course talking about the devastating realisation that we’ll never get through all the books we want to read in our lifetime and there’s absolutely nothing we can do about it. Alexa, play R.E.M. 

Then there’s the small matter of our ever-growing TBR (to be read) pile which, come to think of it, isn’t so much of a pile as it is an interrogating high-rise reminder of how problematic we are as humans. Give us a calming, largely horizontal hobby and we will find a way to turn it into a stressful Goodreads vertical challenge but that’s a can of worms to crack open on another day. 

Which brings us to the third reading-related conundrum – the moral dilemma of where to purchase our beloved books. Fortunately, out of the three, this one’s a hell of a lot easier to solve, thanks to innovative profit-sharing booksellers like Bookshop.org

We all fall into idle habits here and there, regularly sourcing our reading material from cheap, goliath online retailers who can have your order signed, sealed and delivered before you’ve even blinked but there’s a whole other world of online booksellers we’re missing out on and Bookshop.org is one such gem.

Set up by Andy Hunter, the writer and co-founder of Literary Hub, the online bookshop is on a mission to make buying books easy and convenient for everyone but not at the expense of small and local independent booksellers. At the time of writing, Bookshop.org has generated £1,229,094.48 for local bookshops since its UK launch in November, providing an ethical and more transparent alternative for those who love the ease of shopping with Amazon. 

Nicole Vanderbilt, UK managing director at Bookshop.org, told the Guardian, “Our mission is to support indie bookshops precisely so that as many people as possible can continue to shop directly from them.

“We are in this to ensure that indie bookshops continue to exist and thrive in a world where consumers are increasingly buying online. There is simply nothing like the experience of shopping at an independent bookshop.”

It makes it easy to buy your treasured tomes at the click of a button whilst financially supporting local indie bookshops at the same time. That’s a recipe for a feel-good read right there!

If you need any more convincing to change up your book shopping habits, keep reading. 

It makes buying books a breeze

Whilst binging on blurbs, chatting in whispered tones with fellow bookworms and catching the whiff of a new-born paperback in a physical bookshop might be an unparalleled shopping experience, one doesn’t always have the time to lend to that kind of haul, especially when the most charming bookshops are usually off the beaten track. 

Shopping directly is undoubtedly always the best way to support your favourite booksellers, but Bookshop.org has created a close second best, making it possible to buy books online whilst continuing to support your favourite local bookshops from the comfort of your own home. Throughout the pandemic, it has also provided an essential storefront for booksellers who were forced to shut and did not have the resources to run their own ecommerce website. 

If you want to order a book online from one of your favourite local bookshops, you can find them on the map and Bookshop.org will ensure they receive the full profit from your order, so despite not stepping foot in store, you’ll be showing your local bookstore some serious love. 

There’s no fomo like book fomo but with all your reads in one handy place and delivered within two to three days, your only worry is finding a place for them all to live. 

It’s dedicated to supporting indie bookshops

How does it work? Indie bookshops can create their own virtual shopfront using Bookshop.org. All the partners who sell books using their platform will earn 30% of the cover price from each sale. When a sale is made but not attributed to a specific bookseller, 10% of the cover price goes into an earnings pool that will be evenly distributed among participating independent bookshops. 

You can discover rare reads & new voices

Bookshop.org champions authors from all over the globe, allowing you to discover stories you’ve never heard of before. Booksellers at indie bookshops help to get new authors and emerging voices out there into the hands of book lovers they wouldn’t have been able to reach otherwise. From armchair travel to International Booker Prize titles as well as curated reading lists from some household names such as Marian Keyes, you can broaden your horizons and give your TBR pile the shake up it needs. 

Bookstagrammers can turn their favourite hobby into a business

It supports anyone who advocates for books through their affiliate programme, which pays a 10% commission on every sale, and gives a matching 10% to indie bookshops. 

If you are an author, a website or magazine, have a book club (s/o to us – we’ll come back to that in a minute), an organisation that wants to recommend books, or even just a book-lover with an Instagram feed, you can sign up to be an affiliate, start your own shop, and be rewarded for your book addiction. You’re welcome. 

We’re a Bookshop.org partner!

The Zoella Book Club has joined Bookshop.org as one of their partners. So any book mentioned within our articles you’ll be able to shop in one convenient place. Not only will this make it easier for our lovely Book Club community to read along with us (or jump ahead if you’re keen) but it means that, alongside advocating for books & new authors, we can champion local independent bookshops, too. 

TEAM ZOELLA APRIL 23, 2021

We Tried: Modibodi Period Underwear

Show anyone with a vagina a pair of period pants and watch them reclaim their cycle.

Show anyone with a vagina a pair of period pants and watch them reclaim their cycle.

The period, pee and perspiration proof Modibodi undies keep whatever’s happening in our pants firmly under wraps, so we can go about our day with confidence and dignity, all whilst sparing the planet of needless plastic disposables.

From bladder leaks, discharge and little sly wees that sneak out mid-meme – it happens to the best of us – to blood, sweat and tears (probably, if our vaginas could cry), Modibodi has your back.

Modbodi garments fit like regular underwear and are made with their Australian patented breathable Modifer Technology ™ – a slim (3mm), absorbent, stain-resistant, odour fighting liner.

What’s more, a small percentage of every purchase made by a customer goes towards providing products for menstruators in need, through their Give a Pair initiative. So that’s you, the planet and a person in need, all benefiting from the impact of this humble reusable underwear. That’s the kind of feel-good flow we want in our lives.

Let’s not sugarcoat it, periods can be lame and painful, we hear you, but one thing they’re not is gross, and something tells us that bleeding freely into our pants is as unapologetic, sustainable and convenient as menstruation can get. Hey, bodies leak but your pants don’t have to!

Naturally, as a team of proud menstruators and chronic oversharers, we couldn’t wait to put the Modibodi underwear to the test and write about it on the internet for our We Tried series.

Read on to find out how we got on.

Shop Modibodi Here!

Lareese says…

I am here for period pants. Tell the world. Initially, I thought there’s absolutely no way anything is going to come close to my beloved menstrual cup but having tried them both and put each of them through their paces, I think they can’t really be pitted against each other like that. They both serve a purpose in my period arsenal.

I’ve got a bit of a rota going on with my reusable period wear. On day one, when I’m not quite f-l-o-w-i-n-g enough to fill my cup to the brim, the Light-Moderate Class Full Brief pants are first on the scene. They’re like an impeccably behaved toddler – so suspiciously quiet and sensible, I barely know they’re there. Then on days 5-7 (I’m a week-long period kinda gal, don’t hate me ’cause you ain’t me) when I’m lighter again but don’t want to risk taking my eye off the ball only for my period to get a second wind, they’re ideal for waving off my cycle.

Overnight, I don’t tend to be all that heavy but the Heavy-Overnight Classic Boy Short gave me all the comfort and reassurance that, come morning, once I had ya know stood up, I was safe to carry on with my day without having to cup my vagina in a race to save my pyjamas. Always a precarious journey to the loo that.

As a die hard tampon fan (before I jumped ship to reusables) one thing I did have to get used to was ‘the feeling’. With the cup you don’t feel anything, you just go about your day and empty it when it’s been 8-10 hours or so, usually in the shower. With the pants, you feel it coming babe, and that takes some getting used to. It’s revolutionary though because here you are, bleeding into your pants and just remaining absolutely chill about it. It goes against everything we’ve been conditioned to fear and dread as women, and that’s incredibly liberating. For so long, bleeding straight into our pants was the code red situation we were always trying to avoid but here we are rewriting that rulebook and I’ve gotta say, I stan primal periods.

I also want to add that I had a day of working from my bed in the Maxi 24 Hour Sleep Shorts, candle on, Classic Fm blaring, eating sushi in my period pants and I felt like a real badass woman haha, so I would recommend doing THAT for the real Modibodi magic.

I wish these products were available when I started my period. Other than the obvious sustainability benefits, it also just feels pretty cool to be more connected to the inner workings of my body. There’s something so cloak and dagger about disposables, from shoving tampons up your sleeve to spare the red-cheeked patriarchy to ripping sanitary towels out your pants every 4 hours just to replace it with a clean white but ironically toxic plastic duvet, it’s all a load of BS.

Something about doing your body laundry really appeals to me. Rinsing my period pants under the shower or emptying & boiling my menstrual cup, is not the chore I thought it would be. It’s quite therapeutic in a witchy way. It’s made me more in tune with my body and its natural quirks.

I’d be keen to test the period pants when we’re not in a lockdown because despite wearing them all day at home and even running round the park and hiking in them, I’d like to see if I’m plucky enough to wear them dusk till dawn on day 2/3, preferably in a pub garden when I let my guard down. That’ll be the real test.

I would say the sizing is a bit on the snug side but I wonder if that’s to offer the best protection against leakage in which case, I’ll take slightly snug all day long over menstrual panic. The initial up-front cost can feel like an investment when compared to your average box of tampons but when you weigh up how much you’ll save over the course of your menstruating years, it’s a great swap to make, both financially and environmentally.

I’m going to carry on using period pants on my lighter days alongside my cup for the heavier days and one things for sure, I’ll never be getting back with disposables. Bleed on, bitches, bleed on.

Holly says…

I didn’t have high expectations for these period pants but I was so wrong! Honestly, I am BAFFLED. WHERE does the blood go? I’ve used a mooncup for a few years now and thought it was well suited to me, didn’t really see the point of switching it up but thank goodness I did.

I have the typical textbook period. Once a month for 7 days. I usually start off quite heavy and it gets lighter after about the fourth day. I wore them on the lead up to my period to prevent leakage because you never know exactly when it’s going to come. And they were super comfy and I actually didn’t even realise when I had come on. Very different to sanitary pads where I was always so self-conscious and worried I would leak.

On the second day of my period, because I absolutely breezed through the first day, I thought I’d try again, when I’m usually the heaviest. This time I tried the sleep short style in skin colour. Again, I was sceptical because if I leaked you’d definitely see it on a skin coloured pair. But nope, nothing again! Absolutely flabbergasted.

They’re also quite pretty. The thought of period pants makes me think of the gross old pair at the back of your knicker draw, that you only grab when you’re really heavy, but these were actually really nice! I always feel like shit on my period but these were such a nice fit with a nice bit of lace detail, I felt substantially less gross than normal.

I do wonder how long they’ll last, as even after one wash they aren’t as comfy. They are also a higher price point than I would usually go for, so would hope they last a while. I can imagine you’d want new ones after about a year and in the interest of being eco friendly, you can keep the moon cup for literally years, so that’s worth considering.

I think going forward I’ll definitely be using a combination of the cup and the pants. Especially towards the end when you’re not super heavy, they’re just a lot more comfortable. I would recommend everyone trying them out for themselves!

Darcey says…

Well, well, well, when you think you can’t be swayed by another period product, here comes Modibodi! I honestly didn’t think I would get on with the period pants after using the cup for a while and overall enjoying the experience of using one. Before I start my review, I must add that I had started to face a couple of minor issues with the cup. I realised I actually have quite a low cervix, so this meant my cup would suction to it quite easily, which was fine as I could grab it, but not that comfortable to remove. I also started to find that on lighter days using a cup wasn’t ideal, so I was using sanitary towels again for those lighter last days of my period, which kind of went against being more sustainable by using a cup. But saying this, I still overall enjoy very much the experience of using a cup.

So let’s get into the Modibodi review! My period is bog-standard, I’m usually on for about 5 days, the first day is pretty light/medium, followed by a couple of days of heavy flow, then gradually it lessens as the next 2-3 days go by. I wore the period pants for a couple of days leading up to my period as I’m never 100% certain when I’ll come on, it’s not quite like clockwork yet after coming off the pill. When I did start my period, I was pretty surprised about how much these pants could hold! I had the shorts which are designed for a heavy flow and nightly use, they said they can be worn for 24 hours, so I put them to the test. On my heaviest day, I whacked those bad boys on in the morning and I left them on till the next morning when I showered and changed my underwear for a different pair. There was no leakage, no sense of sitting in your own period blood either, the blood just disappears?!

The shorts and the classic briefs are super comfy, I got a size 16 but actually think I could have gone up a size as they do seem to shrink ever so slightly in the wash, nothing major but something to keep in mind if ordering a pair. I have ordered some more of the lacy pairs to try out, but I expect they’ll be just as comfy! The amount of blood these pants can hold is extraordinary too, I would feel no fear wearing them all day out the house. My periods are medium/heavy, so wearing the heavy pants for the day worked perfectly for me. They are easy to wash and dry pretty quick as well considering how much liquid they can absorb. I really wish I had something like this as a teen as I think these are so great for someone who is just starting their periods too.

For me now, I’m in a pretty good routine of wearing my Modibodi pants for the most part of my period, especially while I’m still WFH. I use the cup for days I want to wear an outfit that requires smaller and seamless underwear and the cup will be great for Summer and getting in the sea etc. But actually, I’ve found myself a bit converted to the period pants, they are just really fabulous and super comfy, all-round great product for a more sustainable period!

Danielle says…

Up until last year, my period products were pretty limited, it’s something I didn’t think could get any better so I just kind of stuck with what I knew (tampons) occasionally leaking, running out, and generally hating my time of the month.

All of that changed when I started using a period cup, I couldn’t believe how much more it would hold and how it was so much less… messy for lack of a better word. I started to come round to the idea that all these products created for menstruation might ACTUALLY have been created to help me.

I know after the cup revelations that I wanted to try period underwear and that was for a few reasons. I haven’t ‘bled freely’ since I was a teenager so I was interested to see what that was like (spoiler alert, empowering but gross), I wanted to stop using something on the days at the start and the end of my period, and I wanted to have an extra layer of safety on heavy days when using the cup.

I was sent a classic brief shape and the night shorts and for my first trial period, I washed them both once after a day of wear to get the most use out of them and try them on every day of my period. The first day was fantastic as this is usually the day I’m fairly light but I’d still have to use something so it was so nice to just chuck them on and not worry about changing a product or ruining a pair of my knickers, I also kept them on through my first night knowing day 2 would be a lot heavier.

For day 2 I switched to the shorts and BOY do they soak up pretty much everything and anything. Where does it all go? They are basically magic. This is usually my heaviest day and it was so interesting to not have anything ‘inside me’ as it were. It was quite empowering, just feeling it all and understanding how often I was bleeding but it got to a point in the afternoon where I was over the feeling and wanted my precious cup back in.

I wore the shorts that night and had absolutely zero worries about leakage, I’ve seriously never worried less, blood getting out of that situation would be like escaping from Alkatraz, the combo is full-fucking-proof.

I decided to carry on the next day with my cup and briefs and it was heaven for pretty much the same reasons. It just feels so great to not have to worry I honestly would have been happy blasting out the house in white jeans. 13 year old me was rejoicing at the lack of fear my period held over me.

The final day I went back to just shorts and this may be one of the BEST times to wear period underwear. The final day where you have to wear something but you’re so over shoving something inside you and simply don’t want to carry on doing it. You can’t feel anything coming out of you and you don’t have to worry about making a mess. I’m so pleased I’ve got a routine with my period that I’m truly happy with and I urge you to break out of your comfort zone and invest in finding something other than the standard tampons because I guarantee you there are products out there you’ll love and will make your time of the month so much more enjoyable.

If your thinking about trying out period underwear go for it, grab one pair and experiment with wearing them on different days of your cycle to find out what you like and what you don’t. Consider this inspiration to head out the nest on your menstruation journey, fly my beauties!

Shop Modibodi Here!

*This article is not part of a paid promotion however we have worked with Modibodi previously and the products reviewed were AD – Gifted

TEAM ZOELLA APRIL 22, 2021

The Picnic Blanket Inspired Gingham Items You Need For Spring

If Miranda Priestly didn't deem florals groundbreaking for Spring, then we pose the second most wonderful print: gingham.

If Miranda Priestly didn’t deem florals groundbreaking for Spring, then we pose the second most wonderful print: gingham. Straight outta a British, cottagecore dream, gingham comes in many shapes, sizes and colour ways making it the ultimate evergreen trend during the Spring season. Triple points if you coordinate with your picnic blanket for all the outdoor socialising fun. 

Straight outta a British, cottagecore dream, gingham comes in many shapes, sizes and colour ways.

Pastel gingham had a real moment in 2020 as the iconic Sleeper Atlanta Dress took our Instagram feeds by storm, and this print’s timeless yet playful quirks make it a failsafe for those wanting to bridge out and add print or colour into their wardrobes. Checkerboard prints have made their way into homeware too, cementing that this easy breezy trend is here to stay for the season ahead. 

Primark has been the subject of Instagram Stories aplenty since shops reopened on the 12th April, and their selection of gingham delights is another reason to stick out those queues. Zara McDermott looked especially chic in this turquoise co-ord* from the icons at Primark HQ along with a ravishing selection of other £8 gingham goodies. Meet ya at the checkout!

*This post contains ad-affiliate links

TEAM ZOELLA APRIL 20, 2021

13 Questions with Daily Flame

We caught up with Verity and Kitty for the Daily Flame, an earth-conscious homeware brand that started at the beginning of the pandemic.

First off, how are you and how is your 2021 going?

Thank you for asking! We are good thanks…2021 has been a whirlwind so far. The last few months have been about finding our balance, as we’ve both spent the last 6-8 months trying to run Daily on top of our full-time jobs. Kit actually left her job in April to focus more time on the business, which has been a real gear change for us. It makes such a difference having dedicated time on Daily and it has allowed us to level up and get strategic, rather than constantly being reactive. We’ve got so many amazing products in the pipeline for 2021, and we can’t wait to share them with you.

Can you tell us about Daily Flame and the products you produce?

Daily is an earth-conscious homeware brand; we create and design products that are good for the home, mind and planet.

What inspired you to start your business?

We were both searching for the same high quality, conscious products and shopping experience that we couldn’t find elsewhere. Our mission is to create a community of like-minded people who are passionate about their home and planet too. The real progress happened when we started dedicating two hours a week to meet and discuss next steps… dividing tasks and coming back with our findings. That would be our biggest piece of advice to those wanting to start their own business… you need to religiously schedule time in, otherwise, it’s hard to make things happen!

A lot of businesses started during the pandemic, why do you think it was such a good time for a small business to boom?

For us, the extra time was everything! With socialising and commuting out the window, we had our evenings and weekends free to dedicate time to growing Daily alongside our full-time jobs, which we were fortunate enough to still have during the pandemic. With so many people sadly being made redundant or placed on furlough, they were also able to turn their hobbies into their own fully-fledged businesses, which we love because it has increased the breadth and uniqueness of products available to buy online. There was also a huge push to support small businesses in 2021. As a customer, it’s empowering to know that we have the power to vote with our money, and make a tangible impact on someone’s life by choosing to shop small where we can.

A lot of your products focus on the female form, why do you think this has become such a big trend?

For us, it’s about reclaiming our bodies, as well as encouraging women to break away from societal pressures and unrealistic, unachievable ‘ideals’ that are fed to us predominantly through the media. Our products are designed to help our customers embrace and accept themselves and all of their wonderful, beautiful quirks.

What is the process like for imagining a product and seeing it come to life?

We are constantly searching for inspiration, whether that’s from articles, magazines, pinterest, but also things we think and feel. For example, our (soon to launch) glassware collection was inspired by our desire to reconnect with loved ones this summer, after such a long time apart. Daily products are designed for and by our customers… so our next step is customer feedback. This often includes short polls and questionnaires on our IG stories – to get an idea of what our customers need and want before progressing any further.Once we have an idea that we are excited about and our customer needs, we research how we can create it in the most sustainable way. Then we test and re-test on small customer groups until we have a product we can be proud of.

What are your top 3 tips for starting a business?

Just start! Don’t worry about the finer details, don’t obsess over the little things… just get the ball rolling

Know your brand values and never falter from them

Stay focused on your brand, your ideas and your customers. It is so easy to feel inferior or compare yourself with other brands, but we firmly believe that there is space for everyone!

What are you currently working on?

In May we will be launching our upcycled glassware collection, with a major focus on reconnecting with your besties and loved ones after what has inevitably been a difficult year. Sneak peek coming so soon on @dailyflame__

Who are some of your favourite fellow small businesses?

There are SO many we love, but if we had to pick here are our top 3x…

Mood Good Jewellery

Als Place

Nii Hai

What does your perfect weekend look like?

Kit:  I love a movie night with our girl friends, long walks in the sun, going out for a nice meal or to the theatre and then I’m a sucker for a self care Sunday – bath, face mask and Gu Pud vibes all round. 

Vez: A yummmyy meal out on Friday (with a few glasses of red ofc)… a long walk on Sunday, with our pals heading over that evening for a roast!

What do you always carry with you?

Kit: Sweets! I have the most ridiculous sweet tooth, you could honestly find sweets in every single one of my bags. I just never know when I might need a sugar fix, you know?!

Vez: Water… that’s probably really boring and practical, but I always have a reusable water bottle on me.

What would your last ever meal be?

Kit: Oh this is hard! I’m not much of a foodie, but definitely a pudding gal.. I’d probably say a biiiig pizza with all the cheese, and then a chocolate fondant pud with mint choc chip ice cream.

Vez: Pad Thai and a mars ice cream… deeeeeelish!

What is one positive piece of advice you could give to our audience?

GO FOR IT – if this is the sign you need, whatever it is you’ve been putting off, waiting to do, too worried to begin, you can do it we totally believe in you!

Follow Daily Flame on Instagram here!

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