From jumpsuits to dresses and shorts to crop tops, Terry toweling is a surprisingly versatile material that thanks to brands like Jaded and Skims have taken over our Insta feeds and bridged the gap between comfort and cool.
New summer trend alert! If you were still feeling a little sceptical about leaving loungewear and the comfort of elasticated waistbands behind, never fear, Terry towelling is here to save the day. Praise be! This comfy yet chic trend is everything you need on a day when you really cba but still want to look somewhat put together, and can be both dressed up and dressed down to suit your every post lockdown need.
From jumpsuits to dresses and shorts to crop tops, Terry toweling is a surprisingly versatile material that thanks to brands like Jaded and Skims have taken over our Insta feeds and bridged the gap between comfort and cool. Whether it’s to throw on after a dip in the sea or with a high pony for bottomless brunch, all things Terry towelling heaven won’t be one you regret adding to basket.
Okay, I flipping love this trend! I actually already own a Terry towelling co-ord that I ordered a few years ago so managed to find a great dupe on ASOS! It’s comfortable to wear, not as thick or warm as you might think. Would wear this with chunky trainers, some sunnies and then also found this tote which could be overkill with the outfit, but a nice little nod with something else.
I love the plush terry cloth fabric, especially for carefree summer days down the beach or by the pool. In fact, I just snapped up this blue terry cloth playsuit from Mango and have worn it to death ever since. It’s so easy to throw on with trainers or sandals, a tote bag and sunnies and head out for the day.
I love the look of these rompers for summer, unsure on whether I’ll look like a giant baby but I’m sure id still rock it in my garden. I’d love to pop this on for a beach day or down to my local lido with a swimming cosi, sandals, classic beach tote and of course a chunky gold necklace.
I love this trend, especially for unpredictable British Weather. This Co-ord would be perfect for a long day at the beach. Chuck the shorts on when you’ve just been for a dip and want to cover up a bit more. Then as it gets into the evening, perhaps having a cheeky BBQ, chuck on the jumper. Paired with some sexy, comfortable, practical crocs and you’re all set for a day at the seaside.
I honestly couldn’t possibly love this trend more! I have a pair of Terry towelling shorts from a Warehouse X Shrimps collab a couple of years ago and they’ve truly been one of my most ever worn summer items so I’m absolutely on board with adding more of this texture to my wardrobe. I’ve gone for a warm colour palette that makes me think of holidays and some little sandals I think are perfect for a day out shopping or brunch with the girls. No look is complete without a tote bag IMO and I love this one from ASOS so much!
I love this trend so much! Towelling is so versatile, it’s great for the beach too and looks super cute. I’ve styled two outfits with the same accessories because I loved both so much. This lilac playsuit is so cool and paired with white trainers is such a laid back look. Also obsessed with these yellow towelling shorts from Collusion paired with this floral bralet from Monki!
As well as providing truly endless entertainment, the explosion in popularity of the app since lockdown first began has seen it take centre stage as the place to find all things new, innovative, novel and one of a kind when it comes to hacks and new products and brands.
There are endless reasons to love a daily (read: hourly) scroll on TikTok, from the animal videos that make you teary to the trending dances that seem easy but couldn’t be further from the truth, it’s a hub of feel-good (take that with a pinch of salt as with any social media platform) and many of us would have felt a whole lot more isolated throughout 2020 without it.
Small business TikTok has seen new brands go from zero to hero quicker than Hercules himself.
As well as providing truly endless entertainment, the explosion in popularity of the app since lockdown first began has seen it take centre stage as the place to find all things new, innovative, novel and one of a kind when it comes to hacks and new products and brands. Small business TikTok is one such facet of the app that has seen new brands go from zero to hero quicker than Hercules himself, with the humble For You Page helping give exposure and love to Gen Z businesses taking the world by storm.
Keep reading for the lowdown on the small business beauties worth adding to your saved folder …
Founded by London style blogger Jodie Marriott-Baker, Carb Club is the ultimate gift for a foodie friend or pasta lover that wants to add a little bit of spice to their kitchenware. Carb Club’s collection of colourful bowls took Tiktok by storm earlier this year, with the initial launch selling out in just 17 minutes! These coveted carb lovers dream designs are hand-painted in London, and have the option to be personalised too if you’re lucky enough to secure an order. With mugs potentially joining the lineup of products for the next drop too, we see big and bright things for Carb Club’s future.
If amassing 52 million likes (yes you read that correctly) wasn’t enough, perhaps their features in Forbes and Buzzfeed, in combination with their highly sought after designs are enough to cement DBL Jewelry as a key player in the affordable jewellery market is. At just aged 19, Liv Portillo (founder of the brand) says “free, organic social media marketing on Instagram and TikTok at the height of the pandemic helped catapult her sales”. Give them a follow for peak hot girl summer accessories.
With almost half a million followers on TikTok, the name Brownie God really does speak for itself as to why the business has catapulted to success with their indulgent, personalised and unique brownie designs. The business started from humble beginnings, selling handmade brownies at a market stall in St. Pauls, London which now seems a far cry from their international following of thousands and engaged community who just freaking love brownies!
Maximalist interior lovers, this one’s for you! Selling funky prints, stickers, homeware and stationery, Prints by GG encapsulates everything bold, bright and beautiful about shopping small and the individuality of products that can be found on TIkTok. The brand is a one-woman show founded by Georgia who lost her job during the pandemic and turned to her love of art and design to see her through. Her mantra trinket dishes are true hot girl bedside table vibes, and with over 1 million TikTok likes in total, it’s not hard to see why the brand has gained such huge popularity.
Lucy discovered a gap in the market when she was on her way to meet her bestie post lockdown 1.0 for a vino in the sun! By the time she got there, her wine was warm and she couldn’t find a product available that kept her 750 ml beverages chilled that also looked great, and so Partner in Wine was born. As well as bottles you can also pick up tumblers in an array of amazing colours as well as their latest launch – a 550ml insulated cup with a straw, perfect for your iced coffee. The Partner in Wine TikTok account is great for seeing BTS content and the product in use, but you can also see loads of great wine recommendations and of course hilarious vids.
Our love for handmade, small scale bespoke fashion is no secret and Sherbet Lemons have nailed much sought after trendy styles but with sustainable roots- what’s not to love?! With everything from hot pants, to halter necks and scrunchies to cycling shorts, it’s a one stop shop for outfits that really do the talking. In need of a Pride look? Sherbet Lemons have got your back.
Founded by 26-year-old Liverpudlian Allie Davies, Allie Josie Studio makes handmade home accessories for a “groovy, happy home”. Punch needling is the name of the game here, offering adorably retro wall art and coasters that draw on 70s influences and feel-good quotes. Perfect for a pal moving home or to brighten up a sparse looking shelf or wall.
A true one of a kind product that only TikTok could blow up, the Contour Cube is designed to “contour and sculpt your face, tighten pores, de-puff eye bags and add radiance to your skin”. Created, patented and produced in Australia, the Contour Cube is a unique and intriguing innovation that has us questioning if we’ve been doing skincare wrong all this time.
Currently sold out due to their popularity Alexander Row handbags are beautifully crafted by Rowanne. Structured bags with silver hardware, these beauties go with every outfit. Rowanne packages them up herself with a branded dust bag and a gorgeous navy luxury box. The first collection is now sold out but you can find sneak peeks of what’s to come in the second as well as outfit ideas and satisfying packing videos on TikTok.
Mama Claudia was started by, well, a mum called Claudia who wanted to provide other parents with good quality baby essentials at a great value. Her pastel silicone weaning selection is both adorable and genius so we know exactly where to go when our babies are done with the bottle. All run from her hometown of Portadown in Northern Ireland Claudia’s TikTok is packed full of product demos, packaging videos and brilliant baby content.
Between You and Me: Your Problems Answered Part 17
From losing your virginity and being more accessible to finding out your boyfriends OnlyFans bill, we're back with our big sister advice.
This month we asked for your summer-loving woes and you didn’t disappoint with some good old juicy stories. From losing your virginity and being more accessible to finding out your boyfriends OnlyFans bill, we’re back with our big sister advice that absolutely should be taken with a grain of salt because hey, we’re not trained therapists, just a bunch of women who want to listen and help.
Hi anon! First things first, it sounds like you have a fair bit of dating experience which I think is really positive when looking for ‘the one’ or a long term partner because you truly know what you’re seeking from a romantic relationship, so you have a great foundation there already! However, because you have this experience it also might feel like you inherently ‘know’ what’s out there, what to expect from guys and have written yourself a version of the future which hasn’t even happened yet. You didn’t mention how you’re meeting your dates but if it’s via dating apps then I think the issue of age is one that can be quite easily resolved by adjusting your preferences and only agreeing to meet men of a similar age. Alternatively, do you have any friends in relationships who’s boyfriends might have single friends that could work as potential dates? Working with your existing pool of contacts in the city might mean you’re more likely to find someone at the same stage in life as you and could reduce the chance of any more non starters ruled out because of age.
I know that where you live can absolutely have an impact on your dating life, as for example I’m fully aware that if I were to date in my family home town the options would be severely limited, but I guess I’m wondering if you feel it would make enough of a difference to consider uprooting your life entirely? If you’re itching for a change in general (it sounds like this could be the case as you mentioned coming to the UK which really would be a dramatic change in the course of your future) then I don’t think moving is a terrible idea, I’d just be sceptical of doing so purely on the basis of dating. If you think it would enhance your life in other ways too (work, friends, life experiences) then I think it’s absolutely worth a shot, but don’t turn your world on its head purely on the basis of finding a partner- I’m a firm believer that the universe times everything as it’s meant to be and maybe things are in the works that you just don’t know of yet.
Keep positive, hopeful and most importantly confident in yourself and be safe in the knowledge that things WILL work out. Don’t lose hope and don’t rule things out just because it feels like you know better- sometimes the universe works in mysterious ways.
Thanks for writing in, especially from across the pond! I’m glad you included the information about where you’re from in your question as I think it’s the most important bit. To decide that there are no suitable romantic prospects in an entire state that you’re about to move to sounds like a huge generalisation but I’m sure you already know that. It seems like you’re worrying about it and writing it off before you’ve even got there which isn’t the best state of mind to be in. A lot of people will tell you the universe hands back the energy you’re giving it, and if you keep thinking there are no potential partners for you I don’t think one will magically come along. I think the most important thing is to move somewhere that makes you happy, forget about relationships and finding a partner and just focus on where you feel comfortable and inspired, where you can make friends that you have fun with, your vibe attracts your tribe and all that! I know New York is a lot more modern and fast-paced than Utah/Salt Lake City so maybe now is the time to decide if you should get used to where you are or make the move for happiness somewhere else?
Either way, don’t write off every prospect you never know what’s around the corner!
Hello my love,
Thanks for sending in your question, I can imagine that’s tough to open up about. Firstly, I don’t think fancying older men is odd (I mean it depends how old we’re talking) but each to their own. There is definitely some people more than double my age that I would like to go on a date with or more…
There is also absolutely nothing wrong with not having done more than kiss before. I have friends that are almost 30 and have never even kissed somebody. They just haven’t found the right person they want to be intimate with, the important thing is to wait until it’s right for you. There is no right or wrong time.
To answer – how to tell them, I genuinely don’t think it needs to be a big deal. Just meet up with someone with the intention of having fun, if it comes up in conversation naturally then mention it. Then if it comes to the point where you’ve found someone you want to sleep with, hopefully, you feel comfortable enough to share your past. I do think it’s important to be honest beforehand just so whoever you’re with knows to be gentle, but it’s also not something you have to share with just anyone.
Generally speaking, any decent human being wouldn’t judge you for being a virgin. In my experience, boys under 30 tend to be not that emotionally mature so I think they would probably be a bit weirder about it. Older people understand that everyone’s life experience is different, and that’s OK!
The main thing is don’t pressure yourself either way. You like who you like. And for the right person, how experienced you are won’t matter.
Sending you lots of positivity and luck, go get ’em!
Hey anon! Firstly, absolutely nothing wrong with being a virgin at 21, we all do things at different points in our life, I have friends who are the same age as me (23) who haven’t had sex yet and that is okay. I said this in another answer, but virginity means different things for different people and there shouldn’t be this societal pressure to lose it. Losing your virginity can be nerve-wracking, but honestly, there isn’t anything to be nervous about, those nerves will go when you know it’s the right moment for it to happen. I think the build-up if anything brings on the nerves, the “when will it happen” jitters.
Secondly dating older men also is fine if the relationship is consensual and you are both happy within that relationship. Obviously, you are 21, an adult, you can make decisions for yourself, but I’d be interested to know why you like older men. As I think if it’s a case of seeing them as more mature, that is not always the reality. I’ve dated guys who are the same age as me who have been super respectful and mature, I’ve dated guys who are like 7-8 years older than me, who have not been respectful with their actions and behaved childishly if I’m honest. I just wanted to put this out there in case you were kind of in the mindset of the older the more mature, as some people never grow up ha! But absolutely I see nothing wrong with dating older men, we all find different people attractive.
When it comes to dating older men and being a virgin, I honestly don’t think that matters at all. Mature men won’t care that you are a virgin or see it as an issue, if they ask you then you can tell them if you feel comfortable in doing so, if they act weird about it, see ya later! There’s no wrong or right answer to when you lose it, or who you lose it to. As long as you feel happy and comfortable with your decision, that is all that matters. Best of luck with everything! Xx
Thank you so much for writing in, especially about a subject that could be affecting a lot of relationships these days! Firstly let me say you are absolutely enough, and no one – especially your partner – should make you feel like that.
Secondly, if I was in your situation I have to say I’d be absolutely fuming. I think if I knew if/how much my partner spent on OnlyFans I’d have to just deal with those uncomfortable feelings because essentially there’s nothing wrong with your partner consuming pornographic content especially when it means sex workers are getting paid. You have to trust that your partner is consuming the content responsibly and obviously it crosses a line if they’re messaging someone one on one.
However, in your case, I think subscribing to someone you both know is really inappropriate, it’s no longer a stranger on the internet, the line is crossed. The part of your story I find most upsetting is that when you confronted him he tried to minimize it, act like it wasn’t a big deal and after you told him it was, he ‘didn’t understand’ why it would make you feel shit.
I think if the shoe was on the other foot and you were soliciting dick pics from one of his old school mates he’d have an issue! The fact that you were also lending him money during this time makes my blood boil. Make sure you’re only ever lending and never straight up giving a boyfriend money. If he’s stopped and you’ve both agreed to move past it then that’s what you need to do. Maybe you just need to have one more conversation about why you found it so upsetting and also get a sincere apology from him? I’ll finish by saying this is a bit of a red flag, maybe not breakup worthy but don’t forget it in a hurry and stay alert for any other bad behaviour that makes you feel less than. Hope you feel better lovely! xxx
There’s a lot to unpack here! Firstly, I want to say that I don’t blame you for feeling hurt still, it’s a really shitty thing for your boyfriend to have done. I wouldn’t mind my boyfriend using OnlyFans, because I see it as a more ethical platform then say PornHub, sex workers get paid and it’s a safe environment for them. However, there’s a line and there sure as hell is boundaries to who you subscribe to on OnlyFans. People you went to school with and who was a close friend of yours? Firm no, absolutely overstepping the boundaries. Not only does this make you uncomfortable, I bet it made the other women uncomfortable too, especially because he paid for extra photos.
Being curious too just seems like a strange thing to say, so basically, you’ve always wanted to see these women naked, so you took the first chance you got? Like there’s a difference between using OnlyFans for sexual pleasure and using it to see women you went to school with naked you know? I’d also be surprised if he didn’t realise the £100 leaving his account like if he’s strapped for cash, £100 is a LOT to just leave your account unnoticed. I think the issue is, he has deleted the app, which is good of him to have done, to me it seems he realised he messed up and has made it right. However, you are still hurt and that’s an issue as this feeling will fester. I want you to know straight up, this has nothing to do with you or how attractive he finds you; you are always enough. But if you are with someone who makes you feel as if you aren’t enough, that’s an issue.
The problem is if you have said you have forgiven him, then rehashing it might cause more issues because he will probably be thinking “well I thought we resolved this, why is this coming up again?”. I think you either must decide to let it go and move past it, or if you can’t move past it, think about if this relationship can move forward with you holding this grudge. I think in the future if you face any other issues that really hurt you, be super vocal and let him know how much he has upset you, honesty is always the best to try and move on.
You are always enough and if he doesn’t see it, well his bloody loss! Sending you lots of love and best of luck with everything in the future Xx
Hello anon! Thank you for writing in on such a vulnerable subject which I would disagree with you on and say is not weird at all- it’s something so, so many people will relate to and will have worried about previously so you’re absolutely not alone in this feeling.
I think it’s really natural to only want your first sexual experiences to be with someone you connect with, but as Darcey says I don’t think this necessarily has to mean relationship status. It might be that you date someone for a few weeks, get along with them really well and it naturally leads to something more intimate together. You might not be able to imagine that you could feel this way with someone fairly soon into meeting them but I’d say don’t rule out the possibility that this is how things might unfold for you. If however as you said you really do want your first time to be with someone that you end up being with afterwards, then the next natural step feels like putting yourself out there a bit and getting the wheels in motion for this to happen. Dating is a different experience for everyone, but I’d say downloading some apps and getting chatting to people is probably the easiest way to build a bit of confidence and get in the headspace for romance! You can take this at whatever pace you like, whether it be just seeing what’s out there for a while and having some casual chats, or diving in the deep end and arranging an IRL date straight away- I think you’ll know what feels most natural and right for you.
Ultimately I think this is something so many people experience and in the end, things tend to fall into place naturally, but I can definitely understand the sense of urgency and wanting to get the ball rolling- you and me both sister! Get yourself some cute date outfits in your repertoire, practice a killer make-up look you feel good in and most importantly feel confident and content in yourself as you start this process. It will be so fun and I can’t wait for you to hopefully update us at some point with the happy ending!
Enjoy hot girl summer!
Hey anon! This is such a good question and I think something a lot of people will be pondering post lockdown. Whether you have sexual experience or not, it sometimes can be difficult to pinpoint if you are wanting something casual or serious. I think for you because this isn’t just about dating this is about your first sexual experiences, there’s more to consider. I think if you are saying from the offset, you don’t think you could have sex for the first time with someone and it be casual, take that feeling at face value.
I think if you are hoping for a deeper connection with someone to sleep with for the first time you should try and seek that. I know you said someone you are in a relationship with, but actually even it being with someone you know and trust can be just as fulfilling. Also, you don’t have to jump into sleeping with someone straight away, you can always casually date, do some bits and bobs here if you know what I mean haa, and if the right moment arises with the right person, then go for it! At the end of the day (in my personal opinion) virginity is a bit of a social construct which was created in order to keep women as something that can be ‘owned’, because virginity means so many different things to different people, it’s not just vagina and penis penetration. I think the pressure of losing your virginity can make the experience so intense that you end up not enjoying the experience or feeling regret after due to societal ‘norms’ of how it should happen and when.
I think get yourself out there on the dating scene, Hinge and Tinder fired up, start lining up some dates and see what happens? There really is no wrong or right answer to whether you should keep things casual or serious. I do think try and have somewhat of an idea going into it, as it’s good to be open about what you want early on. Even if that’s saying “I want to date and see what happens, but my end goal is a relationship” or “I am looking for something more casual but open to seeing what happens” as long as someone knows roughly what you are after, dating someone on the same page as you is waaaaay easier, saves all the “what is this, what are we” drama down the line. I think enjoy meeting new people and enjoy the moment! Hope you have the best Summer! Xx
Heya love! Great question, I think ‘being accessible’ can mean a few things, but I think of it like the lottery “You’ve got to be in it to win it” which is to say if you want to meet someone at a bar and have an amazing conversation then you need to be at said bar. If you want to meet someone whilst you’re running out for coffee you need to be present and out there and not on your phone. So my best advice is just to say yes to life, go out with friends, get out the house, hit the gym or an exercise class, pick up a new hobby if there’s something you’ve been wanting to try! BUT, and here’s the hard part, try to completely forget about meeting a partner. Don’t do these things desperately searching for a man, they can smell it on you. The most attractive you can be is when you’re just living your life happily, I guarantee as soon as you stop thinking about trying to find a boyfriend they’ll all start to swarm. I WISH someone had given me this advice when I was younger as I remember being so consumed by boys instead of just enjoying the moments with my friends for what they were. The nights I was having the most fun were always the nights people asked for my number. I’ll stop rambling now, just get out there and focus on fun!
Hello lovely person,
Well, I guess there are 2 ways to look at the term ‘accessible’. You need to be physically out there, meeting people, going new places and confident in talking to new people. On the other, much scarier hand, you need to be emotionally ready to be in a relationship and willing to open up to somebody.
I’m by no means an expert, but from my experience, actually physically meeting people is the easy part. My top tips would be to put on an outfit that you feel confident in and go out with the intention of making new friends. Not everything has to be so serious looking at it like you’re going to find the love of your life. Making great new friends can be just as fulfilling as being in a relationship.
I think now is also the perfect time to put yourself out there and meet new people. Everyone is desperate to socialise after a year of not meeting anyone new. I know it’s scary but most people will be receptive. I know personally if someone came up to me wanting to be my friend I’d welcome them with open arms.
The much harder part is making sure you’re actually emotionally ready for a relationship. Letting someone in is HARD especially if you’ve not been in a relationship for a little while. I really think you have to be happy with yourself before getting into a relationship. It’s so easy to get carried away when you are dating someone that you forget what you really want in a partner. Work on yourself and make sure you’re in a good place, you should be content being alone. A partner should add to the happiness rather than be the basis for it.
I’m also a strong believer that if you’re desperate for a partner, you’ll end up settling which is never good. You deserve to be with the perfect person so don’t rush it.
Hot Weather Heroes for When It’s too Hot for Clothes
The Tesco fridges are ransacked of Pornstar Martini cans, your skin is constantly sticky with SPF and the faint 'it's coming home' chants can be heard far and wide from pubs up and down the country- yep, you guessed it, the heatwave is HERE!
The Tesco fridges are ransacked of Pornstar Martini cans, your skin is constantly sticky with SPF and the faint ‘it’s coming home’ chants can be heard far and wide from pubs up and down the country- yep, you guessed it, the heatwave is HERE! After possibly the longest winter of all time in which you’d be forgiven for entirely forgetting what a full dose of Vitamin D felt like, the sun is out and it feels bloomin’ fantastic. There’s nothing like a forecast of pure sunshine and good vibes to make you realise the U.K. ain’t half bad after all, and you best believe we’ll be soaking up every last bit of sunshine and pub garden Pimms we can get our paws on.
In these desperate times cotton, linen and easy breezy fabrics are your BFFs.
We know what you’re thinking- what could there possibly be to complain about in this sun soaked scenario? We hear you, and the answer: getting dressed. Everything is hot, so very hot, and if wearing nada was a possibility it would probably still be too warm. In these desperate times cotton, linen and easy breezy fabrics are your BFFs, along with white t-shirts you can be 200% sure your inevitable sweat marks aren’t showing through and smock dresses that essentially feel like a ginormous tent billowing in the wind. Dressing practically for these unusually pleasant conditions is the priority, but there’s also no time like a heatwave to rock a bold print you might normally shy away from or to expose a little extra skin (if you feel comfortable) to lap up the rays and add some colour to those limbs.
Add a bucket hat and your fave sunnies and you’re officially picnic/beach/beer garden/mini golf ready!
18 Of The UK’s Best Airbnbs & Boutique Stays To Add To Your Wishlist Immediately
Sure, we can’t wait for the day we can take off to the Med for a week at a moment’s notice but for now, these locations will cure the holiday hangover nicely.
With holidaying abroad up in the air and most of us feeling reluctant to make any kind of far-flung travel plans until the green list is officially popping, it looks like UK staycations are still the one.
For those hankering for a room with a sea view or a staycation beyond your trad hotel, we’re here to help you with your search. From cosy handmade cabins to quirky regal residences and bougie apartments for your girls’ weekend away, the UK has plenty of cool accommodation and unforgettable weekend breaks going for it.
Sure, we can’t wait for the day we can take off to the Med for a week at a moment’s notice but for now, these locations will cure the holiday hangover nicely.
Take a scroll to see what cosy cottagecore cabins, barns, gypsy wagons, treehouses and blissful escapes take your fancy – and join us in never underestimating the UK ‘holistay’ ever again.
Isle of Anglesey, Wales
Surrounded by hundreds of acres of estate farm and parkland, this rural bolthole is ideal for wildlife lovers, walkers, families, friends and adventure-seekers looking for a 10/10 peaceful outdoorsy getaway. Book it through Airbnb here!
You know it’s a good spot if it’s been featured on The Crown. This impressive fully catered lodge is steeped in history and even played host to Queen Victoria back in the day. Overlooking the breathtaking Cairngorms National Park, it’s the perfect place to switch off and embrace the wild beauty of Mother Nature. Book it through Fish & Pips here.
Tucked away in a secluded plot in the New Forest, you’ll be spoilt for choice for woodland walks and country pubs at this place. Boasting beautiful grounds, rustic interiors, shared tennis courts, a sleigh bed for a restful night’s kip and a charming terrace for you to enjoy breakfast al fresco or balmy sundowners, it’s the perfect post-lockdown escape. Ah, and breathe! Book it through Airbnb here.
With September availability still going strong, why not reserve this bohemian beauty for a weekend by the beautiful briny sea? Just a stone’s throw away from the Old Town and the beach and featuring thoughtful details such as a meditation corner and board games, the immaculate townhouse has everything you need for a relaxing British holiday. Book it through Airbnb here!
If you’re after something a bit different, this handcrafted gypsy wagon will steal your heart. Think wood-fired showers, stunning mountain views, birdsong, a natural plunge pool and plenty of cosy reading nooks. A truly beautiful slice of Wales that lends itself wonderfully to a digital detox or a romantic couple’s hideaway. Book it through Airbnb here!
A rural retreat set in a peaceful barn conversion. Enjoy a daily doorstep delivery of fresh eggs, a charcoal bbq, homemade treats waiting for you on arrival and beautiful views of the Shropshire countryside. Hikers will be in their element here. Book it through Airbnb here!
A must-stay for any book lovers, this beautiful apartment was home to Jane Austen between 1801 and 1805 when she was writing her unfinished novella ‘The Watsons’. With rustic stone floors, original Georgian panelling, a Louis IV bed and shelves teeming with artwork and curious objects, the eclectic and thoughtful interiors have their very own story to tell. Just a 10 minute promenade down Great Pulteney Street into town, it’s ideal for anyone looking to explore the city on foot but equally great for those who’d sooner spend their whole stay curled up indoors with a good book. We’re sure the previous owner would absolutely stan. Book it through Airbnb here!
After the year we’ve had, why on earth wouldn’t you want to make like Mary Queen of Scot’s and stay in her castle chamber, for crying out loud? On arrival, you’ll have a tour of Neidpath castle and then you’re free to explore every nook and cranny privately throughout your stay before retiring to your regal boudoir for a glass of wine by the open fire and nodding off in the antique four-poster bed.
Enjoy a relaxing soak in the roll top bath overlooking the spectacular River Tweed and tuck into a lip-smacking continental breakfast the next morning whilst deer-spotting from the bedroom window. And if you really want to dine like Kings and Queens, dinner can also be booked in advance. Whether you’re a history buff or simply hankering to stay in a fairy tale castle in Scotland, bucket list Airbnbs don’t get more magical than this. Book it through Airbnb here.
Blaenau Ffestiniog, Wales
Located in Snowdonia National Park and surrounded by waterfalls, mountains and woolly neighbours aplenty, this romantic 17th century Welsh longhouse would make for an unforgettable staycation. Book it through Airbnb here!
Get back to nature with this countryside bolthole, nestled in 400 rolling acres of countryside. From magical treehouses to hideaway huts complete with your very own paddle boat and private lake to float around on, The Fish is the ultimate rustic woodland retreat. You may have to wait patiently until next year to catch this Fish but it’ll be worth the wait. Book The Fish here.
Located on a 5000 acre country estate, this seriously bougie (and pet-friendly) barn conversion has been kitted out with all the luxuries you could ever need. Roam the remarkable Wilderness Reserve on two wheels on your very own Pashley bicycles stocked in each property, have a paddle on the lake and learn about the natural inhabitants with the ranger. This is the ultimate in countryside living. Book through Fish & Pips here.
Located in the former home of 50s piano legend Russ Conway, this Art Deco guesthouse by the sea ticks all the staycation boxes. Just a 15 minute saunter from Broadstairs town and three stunning Blue Flag Beaches pretty much on the doorstep, it’s well placed for exploring the coast, though the tropical garden with large patio area makes sunbathing with a cold one just as appealing. Book through Airbnb here.
Upper Wye Valley, Wales
Escape city life and recharge with Mother Nature at this cosy hillside hideaway surrounded by bird song, ducks and Shetland ponies. If babbling brooks, cosy log burners and valley views resonate with. Book it through Airbnb here!
A calming olde worlde home in the heart of Margate, flooded with natural light and lovingly restored. Situated in the picturesque Hawley Square, it’s within easy walking distance of the Old Town, the seafront, eateries and coffee shops. You’ll be very at home in this peaceful seaside sanctuary. Book it through Airbnb here!
Little Sodbury, Gloucestershire
Sandwiched between Bath and the Cotswolds and set in its own private woodland, camping and glamping doesn’t get much better than the Dome on Woodcock Farm. It’s the arboreal off-grid retreat everyone needs after a lifetime of lockdown. Book it through Airbnb here.
A quiet and secluded location on the southern edge of The Broads National Park with stunning views over the fields, perfect for spotting wildlife and watching the sunset. Leaving could be a problem. Book it through Airbnb here.
Dolphin watching from your balcony, what’s not to love? We challenge you to find better sea views in the whole of New Quay. Book it through Airbnb here.
Full of Georgian charm and set within 800 acres of sprawling woodland with a deer park, a working farm and beautiful manicured gardens for a backdrop, The Newt invites you to indulge in the slower pace of life. Truly one of the best places to stay in the country. Book it through Fish & Pips here!
We discovered Jillian from @Queensofeve when researching our intimate health articles on zoella.com and fell in love with her mission to destigmatize vaginal and vulva health through sharing her experiences and shining a light on those that aren't discussed enough.
First off, how are you, and how is your 2021 going?
I’m doing well thank you! There have certainly been some challenging times but I’m feeling much more positive now restrictions have begun to ease more. I’m loving all the time I’m getting to spend with my friends who I’ve been separated from during the pandemic, you really take things for granted until they are taken away from you. Also loving this sunny weather! I really hope it stays.
Can you tell us about the work you do online?
I primarily run my Instagram page Queens of Eve where I aim to empower, embrace, and educate on intimate health. Specifically vulval health, and the medical bias we experience as women (it’s so interesting to learn about the history of women’s health, however also quite enraging!).
I share my own experiences as I suffer with several gynaecological conditions and Queens of Eve has become not just my own space to share my pain, but an online community of fellow sufferers or simply people who are interested in knowing more about my journey.
Throughout my time running my page I have learnt so much about other gynae conditions that I don’t personally suffer with (such as Endometriosis) so I also try my best to raise awareness on those topics too! I’m really happy that by speaking up it has shown to a lot of people that these topics should not be taboo, and I hope it’s encouraging others to go and seek the medical help they may need or talk openly to their own friends & family about vaginal & vulval issues.
Would you be able to share your personal story with intimate health?
Of course! I’ll give a brief summary as I tried to write my own blog post about this once and it exceeded 7 pages or so (yikes). I believe I’ve always had some degree of vulval pain/irritation even as a child, which I think could be closely linked to my allergens. However it wasn’t until I was sexually active that the relentless issues began.
It started with recurring thrush infections that even left the doctors baffled as to why I kept getting them so often, and then in around 2014/15 I started to experience tearing with sex, literally every single time I tried. Alongside this my vaginal discharge changed to become really heavy and watery which was incredibly distressing and embarrassing for me to cope with. With both of these issues combined I didn’t want anyone to touch me, I felt disgusting and was in constant pain because I had to wear a night pad every single day.
My skin became even worse as it was constantly wet and then had the addition of a sanitary towel tightly pressed against it day in day out (the discharge was so heavy I had no choice but to wear thick protection) and it would feel like mini papercuts around my vulva even just walking around or exercising.
It took 4 years for professionals to discover the discharge issue was caused by a cervical ectropion, and after undergoing two different minor surgeries in 2018 to remove it I can confirm that issue is resolved (as well as stopping contraception). Unfortunately, the answer behind why my skin is so prone to tearing is still something I am on a journey to discovering. I have been passed around multiple departments, sexual health, dermatology, gynaecology but so far no one can figure out what my problem is exactly. My current gynae is amazing and was one of the first people who really took time with me to listen to my worries, reassure me and do her best to help. She diagnosed me with vulvodynia (explains the daily pain/nerve pain) and possible vulval dermatitis.
Why do you think it’s so important we de-stigmatize and educate people on intimate health?
I think by openly talking about these issues it shows others that it’s nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about, because it’s very common and nine times out of ten someone else will be in a very similar position to you. It also helps others to identify whether they could have a more serious problem. For so many years women and vulva owners have been very oppressed when it comes to sex, sexual/intimate health and were perceived as ‘hysterical’ when coming forwards with vaginal/vulval symptoms. In fact, the word ‘uterus’ comes from the Greek word ‘hystera’ meaning hysteria! Similarly this word ‘hysterectomy’ which is a medical procedure also derives from the same background. Unfortunately even today, many people are dismissed by medical professionals and told their issues are in their heads, something I have also personally experienced.
In addition to this, women or people with vaginas could be causing themselves further harm by not being aware of key things to avoid. This is not helped by some brands within the feminine hygiene industry. Things like believing a vagina ‘smells bad’ and then going on to be self conscious by over washing and using harmful soaps/deodorants/wipes thinking that this is helping them, when in fact it is hurting them through a higher risk of contracting infection, which in turn can then make you smell worse!
What are some of the most common misconceptions you see online when it comes to intimate health?
Oooh so many! My BIGGEST gripe which I’m sure anyone who follows me will know is the misconception that your vagina should smell like a rose. We have a naturally acidic pH which will give off a slightly tangy/musty odour but that is normal! All of these wash products that contain fragrance, deodorants (such a weird concept to me that these exist) wipes, and now a new ‘odour eliminating gel’ are all so dangerous because not only do they heighten an already very common insecurity, they actually CAUSE bad odour through the contraction of infections like bacterial vaginosis. Not to mention the ingredients cause irritation and pain, especially for those of us with pre-existing health conditions.
Absolutely nothing should be inserted up into the vaginal canal apart from a tampon/menstrual cup or any approved medical treatments like pessary tablets for thrush.
There’s also a misconception around Endometriosis, firstly there is no cure, so any information or products out there claiming to cure the condition are extremely false. It’s also NOT the same as the endometrium (tissue that makes up the lining of the womb) . It’s tissue similar to the endometrium, but really important to know that it is not the same!
It’s usually hard for women & vagina owners to get a diagnosis, do you have any tips to help people feel more confident?
I completely can relate to this, especially as I don’t really have a diagnosis for my tearing. It can feel so frustrating, tiring and isolating having to constantly repeat yourself to different doctors and to sometimes be easily dismissed. Although it’s so hard to keep motivated and hopeful, my biggest tip would be persistence. You have got to just keep pushing and fighting until you are taken seriously, which really shouldn’t be the case but unfortunately it is.
Also the fact that you know your own body best. If you aren’t confident about advice a doctor has provided, seek a second opinion. If I went by some of the first advice I have been given in my past then I would have made myself a lot worse, but I knew in myself that the issues I was experiencing were more than what I was being told.
Secondly, sexual health clinics are amazing. I have found them so much easier to get appointments within in comparison to GP appointments and they still have the power to be able to refer you to gynaecologists. I was referred to my current gynaecologist through my local sexual health clinic!
What do you hope to achieve in the next few years with Queens of Eve?
I have so many ideas up my sleeve but unfortunately a lot are subject to cost, I don’t have the budget to get started at present so most of these ideas are something I aspire to reach in the future! I would absolutely love to write a book, or e-books on my own story but also covering different ‘taboo’ topics to help destigmatize and empower people to embrace vaginal health.
I’m currently working on my own blog website, something I have had in the past but was never happy with so am taking the time to get it right. I would love to have something similar to Mumsnet but for younger women and covering topics like day to day vaginal health, discharge, periods, conditions and not just about pregnancy and motherhood, my audience is definitely a younger bracket and I don’t see anything quite like this online yet so hopefully I can fill that gap!
For now I am just focusing on growing my platform so that my exposure increases and to help as many women as I can. I’m so pleased with how positive and lovely everyone is and want that to continue.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on my blog website behind the scenes, there’s a lot of work to do for a one woman band with a full time job! I love it though because it’s something I’m truly passionate about. I signed up to a couple of courses at the center for women’s fitness which I need to finish as well, focusing on pelvic floor exercises and myofascial release.
I’m also continuously working on my own social media content, Instagram, TikTok (I feel far too old for this platform at times and it shows haha) and I also have a private Facebook support group & page. I’ve done a couple of podcasts with some lovely ladies, blog posts for the Just Girl project & have hosted some of my own virtual events. Now that COVID restrictions have eased more I may be planning some in person events/meet-ups so watch this space….
Who are some of your current favourite follows?
Can I say Zoella? I don’t know if that’s cheesy but it’s true! I’m so happy that sex, women’s health etc are topics that are being covered by larger platforms so thank you so much.
I love @samtalkssex who co-owns the sex toy retailer Jo Divine. I did a live with Sam & she is so knowledgeable and equally passionate about ingredient safety and I just think she is fabulous and really confident in talking about sex which I find really inspiring!
@drjengunter is INCREDIBLE. I have her book ‘The vagina bible’ and encourage anyone and everyone to read it. She also has her own blog ‘the vajenda’ where she covers vaginal myths, calls out awful products, answers the questions that everyone wants the answers to.
There are so many and I don’t want to leave people out but I’ve also connected with so many amazing people who share similar problems to myself, some of whom I’m excited to meet in person soon! @sugardancegang and @klairedoyleart are two very special ladies that I met through Queens of Eve. We’re having a meet up next month and I can’t wait! Beckie sells her own gorgeous handmade marble candles at Sugar dance gang inspired by film & tv characters, and Claire is such a talented artist who has also done some empowering female body pieces.
What does your perfect weekend look like?
I would say a really peaceful secluded getaway, those tree house lodges you can stay in are right up my street. Lots of scenery, relaxation and having that time to unwind as I’m always so busy. I also love nothing more than going out for dinner, so a lovely evening meal with a few gin and tonics wouldn’t go amiss either! Does anyone have a sausage dog I could take with me? They are my dream.
What do you always carry with you?
Sadly, my phone. I definitely spend way too much time on it but in fairness, my social media channels are what I work on the most so I struggle to put it down. I also always have a little emergency bag in my handbag, full of different medications I may need, tampons, liners, a bit of lip balm, spare contact lenses and sometimes even a spare pair of pants. You just never know when you will need them!
What would your last ever meal be?
Sushi hands down. I think sushi is the only thing I could happily eat for breakfast lunch and dinner. Smothered in soy sauce of course.
What is one positive piece of advice you could give to our audience?
I would say, given the last year and other things I’ve had to go through recently, to just live your life like it’s your last day, every day. There is no time to be unhappy, whatever that may be, try and cut it out. Don’t feel guilty in putting yourself first, you are important and your happiness even more so. As my mum always says, you aren’t here for a long time, you’re here for a good time, so if you want to do that thing you’ve been putting off for whatever reason, just DO IT.
Mental Health During Pregnancy: Looking Out For You
From conception to birth, looking after your baby is a full-time job but this is your reminder to tend to your own heart and disregard any shame or guilt around getting the necessary professional help and peer-to-peer support you need...
Preparing to have a baby is an exciting time but also a challenging one and not every parent-to-be will feel overcome with joy throughout the experience. Becoming a parent is a profound life event and it’s completely natural to have periods of low mood and overwhelming emotion, particularly if it’s your first baby.
The pandemic has amplified feelings of isolation and anxiety amongst new and expectant parents, so it’s never been more important to be honest about how you’re feeling and be kind to yourself.
One in five people have maternal mental health problems during pregnancy and up to a year after birth and it can affect both expectant mothers and people and their partners.
From conception to birth, looking after your baby is a full-time job but this is your reminder to tend to your own heart and disregard any shame or guilt around getting the necessary professional help and peer-to-peer support you need, particularly if your mental health is being compromised.
Here’s everything you need to know about looking after your perinatal mental health during and after pregnancy.
What is perinatal mental health?
‘Perinatal’ refers to the time between conception up to three years after giving birth. Effectively, any mental wellbeing difficulties associated with pregnancy, birth and beyond can be defined as perinatal mental health conditions.
It is less known that people experience depression while they are pregnant.
Common perinatal problems include perinatal depression, perinatal anxiety, perinatal OCD, postpartum psychosis and p¬ostpartum PTSD. Whilst most people are aware of postnatal depression (PND) it is less known that people experience depression while they are pregnant. Prenatal or antenatal depression can be caused by nausea or trauma from a miscarriage or stillbirth in a previous pregnancy.
The baby blues differs from PND. It refers to the brief period of low mood following the birth when new parents are sleep deprived and adapting to the demands of parenthood. Though it can feel exhausting and emotional at the time, hormones are usually to blame and it passes within a few days. Postnatal depression, however, is a deeper, long-term depression that usually develops within six weeks of giving birth and can come on suddenly or over time.
Trust yourself and listen to your intuition – if what you’re feeling is beyond your norm or you’re struggling to cope, don’t hesitate to speak to your GP or midwife straight away.
Recognising the symptoms & how you might be feeling
If you’re experiencing perinatal depression, you may be feeling some of the following symptoms:
Tearful Agitated or irritable Isolated and alone Lacking self-confidence and self-esteem A sense of hopelessness Feeling on edge Recurring worrying thoughts A sense of dread Insomnia Panic
Reduced appetite Lack of interest in sex and intimacy Feeling disconnected from the world around you (derealisation, a type of dissociation) Finding no pleasure in the things you would usually enjoy Numb Feeling a sense of detachment from your baby / your partner Suicidal thoughts Fear of being alone with baby
If you are going through perinatal depression, you may be offered various types of treatment but the core options are usually short-term talking therapy including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or interpersonal therapy (IPT), and medication.
Your midwife will be able to help make a support plan for you if you’re concerned about how pregnancy will affect your mental health.
The medication prescribed is most likely to be an antidepressant. If you have reservations about taking medication whilst pregnant or breastfeeding / chestfeeding, talk to a healthcare professional as early on as you can to discuss your options and make an informed decision about which treatment is right for you, your mental health and your baby. Your GP will be able to advise you on taking a different type or medication or changing the dose. Your midwife will also be able to help make a support plan for you if you’re concerned about how pregnancy will affect your mental health.
Managing your mental health
It’s easy to forget the self-care basics when you’re doing your best to grow and look after a tiny human so try to be realistic about what you can achieve day-to-day. Even eating regular healthy meals, keeping physically active and getting showered and dressed every day can make the world of difference to your emotional and physical wellbeing.
Learn to say yes to offers to help with shopping, child-care and housework, you can’t do it all and no one expects you to.
Get a good quality night’s sleep whenever you can, limit screen time, avoid caffeinated drinks and wind down at least an hour before bed to recharge properly. Learn to say yes to offers to help with shopping, child-care and housework, you can’t do it all and no one expects you to. Being a new parent can be lonely business so connecting with other parents can be all the reassurance you need that you’re not the only one. Spend time with people who support you wholeheartedly without judgement and try not to take on any extra stresses such as moving house or changing jobs unless you absolutely have to.
You don’t need to be a perfect parent who gets it right every single time and soldiers on without anyone to lean on. Everyone is muddling through for the first few years and plenty of new parents will share and validate your experience. There is no shame in asking for help. A healthy parent – who priorities their mental health – is a healthy baby. Talking about how you’re feeling with the people that understand both the positives and the negatives of what you’re going through will give you the space and self-compassion to be honest.
Hypnobirthing and breathing techniques
Many expectant parents find hypnobirthing is a great way for them to relax and enjoy pregnancy more by learning about ways to manage pain and fear through self-hypnosis, breathwork, deep relaxation and guided visualisation. Essentially, it’s intuitive or mindful birthing under another name.
It provides a toolkit for pregnancy and gives the birthing person and their partner the self-trust and confidence they need in order to feel in control and more prepared for the birth. Often partners can feel helpless during the birth but hypnobirthing has been developed with your birth partner in mind to give them an active role during labour.
You can find a whole range of virtual hypnobirthing courses, apps, audiobooks and podcasts, so do your research and go with whatever feels appropriate for you.
For more maternal mental health support, check our list of resources below…
This week the team are sharing the essential (yes Monopoly Deal IS essential) items that we refuse to pack a bag without, both as a reminder for our future holiday going selves and to inspire your own travel bag contents this summer.
It’s vaxxed girl summer everyone and you know what that means? Travel! Within the confines of our country! But travel nonetheless! It might not be the meandering streets of Mykonos or the botanical beauty of Bali, but when you’re in great company, escaping the confines of your day to day and there’s a wee bit of sunshine involved (please Met Office) then who cares the destination, you’re on holiday baby!
Before a staycation might have felt like a last resort, it’s not something we’ll ever take for granted again.
Gratitude and appreciating the small moments of joy in life has been a common theme in the past year or so, and we’re sure you can agree that whilst before a staycation might have felt like a last resort, it’s not something we’ll ever take for granted again. Whether it be The Lake District, Margate, The New Forest, Cardiff, Brighton (our personal favourite) or The Cotswolds, there’s beauty to be found in the big sights and the small, undiscovered experiences and memories that only the U.K has to offer. Wholesome times ahead, people!
And with the endless smiles and photos to come is the also endless organising, packing, repacking and worrying you’ve forgotten something that is universal to every trip away from home. This week the team are sharing the essential (yes Monopoly Deal IS essential) items that we refuse to pack a bag without, both as a reminder for our future holiday going selves and to inspire your own travel bag contents this summer.
What’s a non-negotiable item you would absolutely turn the car around if you forget? Snap if you also said the snack supply.
I’ve just got back from a staycation in Suffolk so this has come at the perfect time! Most of the things I took weren’t totally out of the ordinary but I do feel like depending on the type of staycation you’re going on, being able to drive allows you that little bit more space for some home comforts that you’d usually leave behind! I think having cosy joggers with a matching top is good, because if the weather drops in the evening, it works, but also looks great as an out-and-about outfit too. SPF! Just because you’re staying in the UK, don’t forget it! Chunky, comfy slip-on shoes! Qwirkle cubes is also a great game to play with friends and family too!
SPF is always the first thing I’ll pack for a staycation, whatever time of year. This La Roche Posay one is my ultimate go-to, nothing else compares to it. The rest of my bag is usually filled with a mixture of swimwear (because if there’s water of any kind, you bet I’ll be getting in it), a good book, a camera, a nice face mask to do in the evening before getting ready to go out and some sort of cosy layers I can chuck on in the evening.
GET ME ON A TRAIN/IN A CAR/WALKING TO A DREAMY UK LOCATION STAT. As you can tell I feel extremely excited at the prospect of a home away from home trip this year and honestly I always love exploring the U.K. so it will still feel like such a treat! I’ve got a trip booked to Penzance in August and my Instagram saved folder is already packed with things to do and general wanderlust.
My staycation picks are kind of predictable, but what can I say, it’s good to be prepared! Tech is always a must in my ‘don’t forget’ pile and headphones and a portable charger are up there as two of the most essential items, especially during a long car journey. I’m manifesting a summer of sun, sun, sun so of course a cute new bikini is coming with me, along with SPF which of course I wear (mostly) all year round. Finally, are you even human if you don’t leave the house with a tote bag? Didn’t think so.
I just came back from a little staycay in Cornwall and it actually felt like I’d flown to another country after being in my own boring house for so long! Honestly if you’re stressing about booking a holiday abroad just save yourself the anxiety and find something fun to do in your home country, I guarantee it’ll be just as exciting. I bought these super chic white trousers with me and felt like a millionaire in them, I’m usually such a jeans wearer and have trouble finding trousers I like that fit me. Throw in a classic white shirt resort shirt you can wear with said trousers, jeans, midi skirt, or over swimwear! Never go anywhere without my trusty Monopoly Deal, and some sunnies, these hexagonal Ray-Bans are fun. I also came across this cold cream which can be both a cleanser and a mask that sounds dreamy for sunkissed skin. Pack it all up in this lovely green holdall from OB!
The girl guide in me really comes out when packing for a staycation. Most of my weekends away involve my uni friends who can be a bit wild so there’s no choice but to be prepared for every eventuality. And who knows what’s going to happen with British weather. We could need boots, we could need bikinis. Staycations also mean driving so I mean you need snacks and an eye mask for naps right?
I’m so here for the Summer UK staycations! It’s sad to not be able to travel abroad, but this traffic light system is proving… unreliable to say the least. I have a holiday booked for Broadstairs in July which I’m super excited for so these are some of the things I’ll be bringing with me. Number one, I never go anywhere without my La Roche Posay Anthelios SPF, it’s so good and lightweight! A large tote bag is your best friend on holiday, especially if you are heading to the beach and are like me and pack EVERYTHING you could possibly need. I always bring a face mask too, in case you are wanting an impromptu pamper night, also good for the skin when wearing so much sunscreen. Bikini packed of course (fingers crossed for sun ha) and some funky sunnies!
All The Gear, No Idea! A Guide to Camping for Beginners
Like most outdoor activities, the key to a good camping experience is all in the planning. If it’s your first time in a tent and you’re wondering what you need to pack for when you’re out in the elements and at one with nature, we’ve got you covered.
Planning a getaway closer to home has never felt more like a treat as we trade in our resistance bands (we used them a grand total of: never) and threadbare pjs for the thrill of the open road and the great outdoors. Ah, we’ve missed you fresh air and freedom.
The key to a good camping experience is all in the planning.
With the promise of a heatwave on the way (finally. What time do you call this?!) and staycations going nowhere for 2021, you might be thinking about making the most of summer by pitching up in a secluded spot and heading away on a cheap and cheerful camping holi-stay.
Like most outdoor activities, the key to a good camping experience is all in the planning. If it’s your first time in a tent and you’re wondering what you need to pack for when you’re out in the elements and at one with nature, we’ve got you covered.
Here’s a post created with first-time happy campers in mind.
Decide on your vibe
There is more than one way to camp, so the first thing to do ahead of your adventure is decide what kind of camping trip you’re after. Are you down for going back to basics, living off-grid and pitching up in the wild for a while, or is kicking back on a campsite more your cup of tea? If you’re new to camping, you’ll probably be more at ease finding a campsite with amenities to make your first experience straightforward and stress-free. With campsites all over the country from the woodlands to the coast, you’ll have plenty of cool backdrops to choose from. It’s also worth considering whether you need the campsite to be child-friendly or dog-friendly as this might determine where you can stay.
These websites are a great place to start your campsite search:
Fledgling campers often overlook the sleeping bags but one thing you can’t skimp on when it comes to camping is a good night’s sleep. Even in the balmy summer months, it gets very cold at night so be sure to check the season and temperature rating on your sleeping bag to see if it’s right for when you’re planning to go away. Better yet, put it to the test in the garden to see if it keeps you warm enough. Pick a decent bag – and a sleeping mat to boot to add another layer between you and the ground – and your camping experience will be transformed.
Have a tent rehearsal
Get familiar with your gear! Always practice pitching your tent in your garden ahead of your trip, that way you won’t be caught out when it comes to putting your tent up and taking it down at the campsite. Better to come across a repair job at home than when you’re in the middle of a field surrounded by seasoned campers – a bit of planning goes a long way. In fact, camping out in your garden for a night is a great way to see if the outdoorsy life is for you. Plus, home will always have the best facilities. Ease yourself in gently!
Setting up at the campsite
Arrive nice and early to bag yourself a great spot and pitch your tent while it’s still daytime. Trying to assemble a tent in the darkness is only good for comedy, nothing else.
When you’re ready to settle, look for relatively high-level ground, free from any debris that could damage the tent. Pitching up under the trees amongst the dappled light might sound like the pinnacle of cottagecore dreams but not only are you a target for lightning strikes, the tree sap will make it a nightmare to clean. Opt for a shady spot you can hang out in during the heat of the day and save yourself a sticky situation.
Cook on a camping stove
A lot of campsites don’t allow campfires, but a stove can be just as fun and practical. Set it up away from your tent, out the wind and make sure you stock up on plenty of gas. More than you could ever need. You can pick up a camping stove for quite a fair price these days, and we think you could make a slap-up meal with this double burner from Millets!
Some campsites have washing facilities to clean your dishes but check ahead so you can pack a washing up bowl and cloths if this isn’t the case.
Save any sachets of salt, pepper and sugar from takeaways and decant any oils and condiments into smaller jars and bottles to make them easier to transport.
If your campsite does allow fires, ensure you’re building yours in a designated area, at least five metres away from your vehicle, tent or the surrounding hedgerows.
Plan your meals
Check ahead before travelling to see if your campsite allows campfires and plan what you’re going to cook each night to save you the time and hassle of figuring it out when you’re there, particularly if you’re in a big group and have many mouths to feed. Do a big food shop a few days before to ensure all your grub stays nice and fresh and you’re not stuck snacking on noodles for three days straight.
If all else fails, scope out the local area ahead of travelling to see how far away the local shops and pubs are if things don’t go to plan.
Check how far away the water supply is
It’s a good idea to check the distance to the nearest water source since you’ll be needing to make several trips a day for drinking, cooking and cleaning. You probably won’t fancy lugging a five-gallon container half-way across the campsite after a full day of rounders.
When you’re doing your dishes, have a bowl with warm soapy water for washing and a bowl with clean water for rinsing and ensure you dispose of the dirty water responsibly in approved places.
Size up with your tent
Avoid a crowded tent by going up a size. A general rule of thumb is to opt for a tent that sleeps two more people than you need, so if two of you are camping go for a 4-person tent. This will allow room for backpacks, sleeping bags and all the other bits and bobs holidaying humans take away with them for no apparent reason. A head-height tent also makes camping life that little bit more comfortable for families.
If you’re not sure the camping life will be for you, it’s worth asking a very kind outdoorsy friend if you can borrow their tent rather than fork out for a spenny yurt. Alternatively, to ease yourself into camping, you can always choose to stay in a pre-pitched bell tent to save you the hassle of pitching.
Pack plenty of layers
Fleeces, blankets, rain suits, waterproofs, thick socks – bring it all and cover all bases with a layer for every eventuality. It’s UK camping, who knows what weather you’re going to end up with.
Foldable chairs / loungers are a must
Did you even go camping if you didn’t sit in a chair that was more flexible than you’ll ever be? Sitting on the grass is lovely ‘n’ whimsical for a short while but the most seasoned campers know that a foldable chair is your best chance of a comfortable campfire seat, just in time for s’mores o’clock. Some campsites will provide picnic tables but you can’t really pick that up and plonk it next to the fire.
Leave no trace
It seems like an obvious point to make but we can all lose track of what we did with our crisp packet when we’re invested in a game of Uno. Always put your rubbish away in a secure bin each evening or in your car away from curious critters. When you’re ready to head home, make sure you leave your pitch as tidy as it was when you arrived, or better than when you rocked up. That means clearing your rubbish and taking it home with you or putting it in the bins provided on site, dowsing your fire properly and packing up all your gear. After all, the great outdoors is only great if we look after it.
Make a checklist of essentials
Never underestimate the power of a checklist. They’re great for making sure you don’t leave anything at home from utensils to spare pegs, pillows and… toilet paper.
Here’s a few handy things to add to yours:
Spare tent pegs Mallet Sleeping mat/air bed + pump Pillows Water carrier Bin bags Torch Camping table for mealtimes Bottle opener Cutlery Tin opener Chopping board Matches SPF Toilet roll Hand sanitiser Insect repellent First aid kit Washing up bowls + cloths Biodegradable soap Tea towels
Cool bag / box Towels Toiletries Toothbrush Toothpaste Shampoo Thermos flask Pocket knife Tinfoil Cooking oil Tea/coffee Milk Beer/wine Glasses Paper towels Condiments Newspapers (for the campfire) Gaffer tape for repairs Earplugs Suitable footwear Spare underwear and socks
The Fashion Rentals & Made To Order Brands Your Wardrobe Will Want to Commission ASAP
Alongside shopping second hand, these alternatives to shopping cheap and oftentimes poorly made clothes mean you can consume fashion and switch up your wardrobe without the environmental or human rights impact that is inescapable in fast fashion.
We love it even though we shouldn’t. It’s the equivalent of the final Jäger Bomb you know you should say no to, the quick walk in the sun without SPF you tell yourself will definitely be fine, the slightly soggy looking veg that’s got lost in the back of the fridge. That’s right, we’re talking about fast fashion, which can oftentimes feel like going against everything you know better than but still lures you in regardless. And in moderation, all of these things are fine, they serve a purpose and they are necessary (not so much the Jäger Bomb). But perhaps as our priorities change and the impact we leave on our planet becomes more pressing, the need for alternatives becomes necessary too- because stopping shopping altogether isn’t going to happen, but lessening our impact on the environment and embracing slow fashion absolutely can.
Ultimately, the appeal of fast fashion is the low price, making it achievable to keep up with ever-quickening trends without breaking the bank.
To put it into context, “textile production contributes more to climate change than international aviation and shipping combined”. Sadly, as much as we painstakingly separate our recycling and take the bus instead of hopping in the car, if we continue shopping from brands that turnover clothing lines at super speed and encourage a throwaway attitude to clothing consumption, we will never get to the root of climate crisis. Ultimately, the appeal of fast fashion is the low price, making it achievable to keep up with ever-quickening trends without breaking the bank and social media, especially our dear toxic friend Instagram, which absolutely plays a role in fuelling this disposable mentality. Research shows “one in three young women, the biggest segment of consumers, consider garments worn once or twice to be old”- a mindset often bolstered by the fear of outfit repeating on the grid.
Sounds bad, huh? We have a solution. Rental fashion and made-to-order garments are here to help, offering a way to look 10/10 stylish but without the same guilt, and they’re taking the fashion world by storm. Alongside shopping second hand, these alternatives to shopping cheap and oftentimes poorly made clothes mean you can consume fashion and switch up your wardrobe without the environmental or human rights impact that is inescapable in fast fashion.
So, let’s break them down…
What is rental fashion?
The world of rental fashion gained popularity stateside mainly thanks to the website Rent the Runway, which changed the way consumers thought about shopping forever, and the concept has slowly trickled across to the UK, becoming notably popular during lockdown 1 of 2020.
Different rental platforms operate in different ways, but their purpose remains the same: to allow shoppers to rent designer clothing items or accessories for a set time period and at a fraction of the price. Some websites operate on a peer-to-peer basis in which individual shoppers offer items from their wardrobes to independent renters, whereas other business models authenticate stock from brands and hold and manage the process of cleaning, sending and returning themselves.
How it works…
The cost of renting depends on the garment, seller and how long you hire the item for, however it always works out at a fraction of the RRP meaning you can get your hands on coveted brands without denting your bank balance. Peer-to-peer rental service Hurr says items are normally available for 20% of the RRP and include brands such as Rixo, Ganni, Shrimps, Stine Goya and Realisation Par- some of the coolest, chicest names in the biz! Peer-to-peer services are responsible for accepting, posting and generally handling the renting process from start to finish, however some businesses include a concierge service for an additional cost in which lenders can pass on these responsibilities.
Rental platforms such as OnLoan and My Wardrobe HQ operate on a subscription basis, allowing renters to pay a flat rate each month to rent a set number of items on a regular basis- one that might be especially appealing to the social butterflies or serial wedding attendees of the world. The surge in popularity of rental fashion means there will almost definitely be a service and format that works for you.
Founded in 2017 and dubbed “the Airbnb of fashion” (Forbes), Hurr is a peer-to-peer service including clothes and accessories allowing you to “get your kicks from the latest luxury trends and pieces, without burning a hole in their pocket or the planet.” Hurr offers £5 damage protection to give renters peace of mind (which covers repairs such as broken zips, missing beads and stain removal) up to a maximum repair cost of £50 per rental, which may be appealing for nervous first-time renters. Hurr includes plus-size rental, bridalwear, sunglasses, bags, shoes and hair accessories, making it a perfect one-stop-shop for all your wedding or holiday needs.
Founded by wonder woman Georgie Hyatt (a previous trend forecaster FYI) and her partner, Rotaro stocks ultra-cool mid-luxury sector brands with a retail value of around £100-£1200. If you’re renting for the planet then Rotaro is the one for you, as the platform offers biodegradable packaging, eco-friendly laundering and repair and they plant a tree with every order! Including brands such as Jacquemus, Cinta The Label, Sister Jane, Cult Gaia and House of Sunny, Rotaro offers dreamy pieces for as little as £15 for a four-day loan.
The first social rental app of its kind, By Rotation is peer-to-peer rental done right. Founder Eshita Kabra-Davies says, “it’s really up to our users to decide what’s trending on the app. This has created a much more democratic approach to luxury fashion.” something we adore! Eshita was inspired to start By Rotation after witnessing first-hand the effects of textile waste whilst on her honeymoon to her motherland Rajasthan, India. The platform doesn’t purchase any inventory themselves so are entirely sustainable, solely stocking items from independent lenders including brands such as Molby The Label, Realisation Par, Loewe, Coach and Paloma Wool.
OnLoan is “Your dip-in-dip-out rental wardrobe” on a membership basis. Renters can receive 2 items a month for £69 (items worth an average of £500) or 4 items for £99 (items worth an average of £1000). The site also offers Capsules- monthly wardrobe updates for either 3 or 6 months which can save you even more money if you’re a regular renter. The platform works directly with brands on a wholesale basis featuring current and past season stock, adding longevity to the life cycle of existing garments that would otherwise be wasted.
Fashion renting ticks endless boxes for style lovers looking to switch up their wardrobe or wear something new without the long term investment, but what if you are looking for something to treasure forever that doesn’t break the bank or kill the planet? Enter: made to order brands. Producing garments only when they are ordered is the premise, and the concept makes so much sense in a world striving for less waste. The concept feels entirely alien to ASOS Premier Delivery or the ability to browse a sale rack of 20 duplicate items in every size, and the novelty of really considering the purchase is all part of the appeal.
Buying from a made to order brand is undoubtedly far more of a financial investment than shopping fast fashion, but with your receipt comes the promise of fairer working conditions, a lower environmental impact, less waste and exploitation and a piece truly made with love. The risk of overproduction is eliminated, and many times such brands make the most of dead stock too to further help patch up the damage fast fashion can cause.
If that wasn’t reason enough to be head over heels for made to order shopping, many of these small businesses are run by independent female entrepreneurs meaning buying their garments contributes to their success and supports them financially as opposed to the big corporations. We love to see it!
We love everything By Megan Crosby stands for and her deliciously bright, bold and fun prints have gained her a cult following across Instagram – snapping up an order is seriously sought after. Including dresses, bodysuits, co-ords, face masks, blouses and flares, creating a playful wardrobe that does good and looks good has never been easier. If you love statement, maximalist dressing, BMC is for you. “Together we can dress bright, make better shopping decisions and buy fashion with a clear conscience.”
Whimsical and feminine with a funky twist, Molby the Label know their strengths and run with it. Their signature midi dresses are all over the ‘gram, and for good reason too. Molby also stocks matching oversized hair bows, confirming their status as a go-to for a put together, cool girl ‘fit.
As seen in Grazia, Peggy’s Room is the ultimate nod to nostalgia. “Effortlessly feminine with a badass rock-chic edge, Peggy’s Room is for the free-spirited muse who seeks adventure and lives life on her own terms.” We couldn’t have put it better ourselves. Designed and handmade in founder Suzanne’s home studio in Kent, all fabrics are sourced locally and are washed at least twice to give them that ultra-soft, vintage feel.
With Love Evie celebrates the joy that can be found in outfit repeating – a mission we can truly get behind. If your favourite colour is red, then this is the shop for you, as the gorgeous hues of red gingham look like a British summertime dream. Perfect for picnics, pub gardens and staycations, With Love Evie ensures being comfortable and confident comes hand in hand.
Did someone say oversized collars in fun prints? We’re sold. This slow and conscious made-to-order brand merges masculine, boxy shapes with ultra feminine prints, creating the perfect balance between the two and items you can truly wear until the end of time. If that wasn’t enough to grab your attention, Mia sells matching scrunchies too.
Taking inspiration from the vibrant colours and the flowing shapes of nature (in particular the beautiful Dorset where founder Jana lives), her garments are fun and flirty with collars and bows so big Harry Styles would have a field day flicking through a JanaM THE LABEL rail. This is another one for gingham lovers out there, as Jana really celebrates the beauty of this simple yet classic print.
The home of shirred goodness & dreamy puffed sleeves, it doesn’t get better than Olivia Rose the Label. Loved by some of Instagram’s chicest ladies and Holly Willoughby herself (yes you read that correctly), this slow fashion brand offers unique and elegant designs you won’t find in the shops – it’s cottagecore on a hanger.
Ultra fun and with one-of-a-kind designs, this handmade to order, premium knitwear brand “aims to support slow fashion, fair manufacturing, sustainable materials, and women’s economic independence”. We love the cherry designs endlessly.
Made to order crochet clothing and accessories, Hooked Apparel uses 100% cotton in their bold, bespoke fashion. Perfect for festivals, Pride or simply those who love sporting a colourful wardrobe, Hooked are out here shaking up the world of crochet, one stitch at a time. The brand is only just over 12 months old, however with over 30,000 Instagram followers, it’s clear they have amassed a strong fanbase.
As seen in British Vogue, Elle & The independent, Before July is well known in the made to order world for nailing timeless statement pieces that can be worn season after season. Designing 1-2 collections per year & hand-making every piece to order in their UK studio, Before July is your one-stop-shop for block colour dreaminess in classic, flirty shapes.
Cawley Studio celebrates quality craftsmanship, hand smocking, natural fabrics and uses 100% natural materials in their classic designs ethically made in East London. Adopting a more neutral colour palette than many other made to order brands prominent on Instagram, Cawley Studio is one for lovers of classic simplicity.
Chalsie Joan offers “eclectic, vintage-inspired pieces that follow a subtle modern air of contemporary design” handmade in the West Midlands. Her designs have an air of Parisian chic to them, and you just know they would fit right in during an afternoon at the Louvre or coffee against the Eiffel Tower backdrop.
Born out of a love for “beautiful dresses, timeless vintage patterns and magical prints”, Mary Benson has made its way onto red carpets and between the pages of Glamour and The Independent, cementing them as the best of the best for dreamy, extra designs you will automatically feel 10/10 glamorous in.
These limited edition gender-neutral garments responsibly made to order in London are everything it means to look effortlessly put together. Created in a range of fresh, fun and funky prints, they’re statement whilst being neutral enough to wear on repeat and still rack up the compliments from admiring outsiders. We’re obsessed.
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