TEAM ZOELLA JUNE 30, 2022

Category Is: Horror! 50 Flatmate Stories That’ll Make You Want to Live Alone Forever 

From horrendous hygiene to twisted toilet habits, here’s some DISGUSTIN’ anecdotes that’ll make you thankful for that housemate doing a naked lunge in the lounge.

If luck’s on your side, living with strangers turns out to be the best serendipitous experience ever. You’re thrown together and as fate would have it, you’re inseparable, these are your people. You are the chosen ones, living your best Everything I Know About Love lives. 

But for the poor unfortunate souls cooped up with the flatmate who will no doubt be the subject of a viral docu-series in years to come, home isn’t always sweet

Whether you’ve lived in halls and survived to tell the tale, shared a house or you’re *still* trying to lose the gaming addict housemate who ordered adult nappies to the gaff so he didn’t have to use the toilet… chances are you’ll be able to relate to a few of these hardcore horror stories. 

From horrendous hygiene to twisted toilet habits, here’s some DISGUSTIN’ anecdotes that’ll make you thankful for that housemate doing a naked lunge in the lounge. You might want to give Spare Room a wide berth after reading this lot. In a bit, roomie! 

1.     I had one who would steal people’s dishes if they hadn’t washed theirs up within the hour. He’d wash them up, then hide them under his bed in his room. We just noticed things disappearing slowly. SO WEIRD. I almost invoiced him for my stolen plates.

2.     Mine was so drunk he forgot to turn off the tap and caused a flood at the neighbours.

3.     Found litres of piss in bottles in their room – the bathroom was right next to their room.

Refused to buy hand soap and toilet roll because she ‘didn’t use it’ a week later she got pink eye.

5.     Flatmate going through the packaging in a bin to snoop on the beauty products I bought. Then copying all the food and beauty products I used!

6.     We had a lodger who hid a snake in her room.

7.     One had sex in the kitchen with people in the house.

8.     She decided she was doing a season in Ibiza so sublet her room on Airbnb for £25 a night. Broke the news to us by saying we have a 40yo man from Sri Lanka coming to stay with us…

9.     I had one who became BFFs with my bf’s ex which was fun… she would always come over and hang out in the room next to my bedroom. So odd!

10.  Stalked a professional footballer and terminated our apartment when we asked her to stop.

11.  Came home one night to find the whole flat ankle-deep in glitter…

12.  Lived with all boys, shower got blocked from too much jizz (which isn’t’ water-soluble).

13.  My uni flatmate threw her spaghetti at the wall to see if it was cooked. Unnecessary. 

14.  ALWAYS flossed teeth in the living room. Bits pinged everywhere!

15.  My ex housemate got so drunk she shat herself on MY SOFA and went to bed without cleaning.

16.  Set the corridor on fire at uni in the middle of the night. Woke up to ‘fire’! Got put out quickly though.

17.  A girl I used to live with flushed leftover food down the loo.

Someone made a hole in their milk and put a combination lock through it. 

19.  The guy that refused to use bedding as it was more ‘hygenic’ (his words) to sleep directly on the mattress, which you could smell from the outside of his room with the door closed…

20.  The girl who told us she could smell carbon monoxide leaking in our kitchen. She kept calling out the engineers who obviously couldn’t find any and left it to us to pay for it / deal with it. 

21.  The girl who stored rubbish behind all her furniture. We didn’t find it until after she’d moved out and the letting agent had to investigate her room.

22.  A guy went on an absolute bender and broke all of our kitchen chairs alone in the middle of the night, woke up in the middle of all the smashed wood with no memory of it.

Caught my old flatmate cooking hotdogs by boiling them in the shared kettle. I had a ‘bedroom kettle’ after that.

24.  Put laundry in the washer/dryer for 9 hours when they work from home and I don’t.

25.  We lived with this girl who had a wild bender with two blokes. The following morning, I was in the kitchen making myself a cup of tea when out pops this bloke from my friend’s room (she was away at the time). He waltzed into the kitchen and even asked for a coffee. I was like, erm hello who are you and why are you in my friend’s room? He continued to tell me how he’d shagged the girl all over the place. She had her own filthy room so obviously chose to pretend G’s room was hers! I had to break it to G but the girl denied it. From that day forward the battle was on to get her out. I also caught her out in London wearing my jeans!

26.  Uni flatmate hoarded old takeaways in bin bags in his room. THE SMELL.

27.  My flatmate screamed in her sleep and told our landlord someone kidnapped her. I was terrified, she had the Samara vibe with her hair and would stand in the hallway. She also slept with her coat on. I didn’t even ask…

28.  Uni flatmate never washed his baking tray. Just dipped it in water to rinse off. He cooked pizza and chicken nuggets on that tray pretty much every night for a year.

29.  They blocked the loo so pooped in a bag. I left the house share after that.

30.  Came home to find my two flatmates in the heat of a bowel movement. One was squatting over the glass oven door shitting. The other one was underneath watching…

Walked in on him with a girl in my living room. He texted me to join them. I didn’t respond. He moved out the next day without saying anything.

32.  She kept accusing me of eating her Super Noodles even though I wasn’t. When I was out with friends, she would text me saying ‘stop eating my Super Noodles’. Even if I was, it was like 50p a pack. Come on!

33.  We lived with a French/English duo (couple) in a two-bed flat in London for a year. Started out okay, but it was clear within the first fortnight it was going to be awful. Regularly left washing in the machine then hung out days later just thrown on the clothes aired in a heap – proceeded to complain nothing ever dried in the flat. Up at 5am running through the hall before slamming the door to go to CrossFit. We went away for a few days, came home to every plate/bowl/cutlery dirty on the bench. Put a carpet cutting in the washing machine and clogged it. I had to buy a new one as it was not repairable. Never cleaned at all and stole all the teaspoons and left them at work/on the train or whatever. 

34.  The time I came back from a trip and found stains on my actual mattress and pillow case after stripping my bedding because I knew she was letting people sleep in my room and lying about it- in the summer of 2020 pandemic madness no less.

35.  That time she denied me of a desk when I had to work from home during the pandemic because it didn’t go with her living room aesthetic.

36.  I went to pick up a prescription for my old housemate who had been in hospital despite being unwell myself, only to come back and find her getting ready to go to a house party, during lockdown. The audacity. 

37.  I lived with a guy who had a different woman round every night. And a girlfriend…

38.  Housemate bought her dog round while on its period. Leaked all over the house and she didn’t care.

39.  I lived with someone addicted to cereal. At one point they had 32 boxes. Took up the whole kitchen!

40.  Moved in with two uni mates who turned out to be a secret couple and ket addicts. House was like a squat. I tried to confront them about cleaning and he started fingering her until I left. They also dropped a bottle of voddy on the floor and licked it off so it didn’t go to waste. 

Night one of freshers, treated myself to a one night stand. Turned out to be my new uni flatmate.

42.  He once came home at 3am with his boss who wanted to order coke and prostitutes to our house.

43.  He stripped and settled down to sleep on the doorstep after he lost his key on a night out.

44.  Mid-revision everyone was stressed, my flatmate blocked the loo and it started flooding shitty water. She walked out the house and didn’t tell us anything. We only realised when we needed a wee. We spent hours clearing up her literal shit. Turns out she didn’t like “talking about poo.”

45.  My flatmate urinated in her flatmate’s shampoo because she flirted with her bf.

46.  Left pulled pork in his slow cooker for MONTHS. Mould was growing out from under the lid. I’m incredibly stubborn and forbade my boyfriend from cleaning it, it wasn’t ours to clean. We insisted they clean it and still nothing. Eventually, the landlords were selling the flat and so we had some viewings – unsuitable for a rotting slow cooker, almost resembling their bedroom. The viewings prompted them to clean their room and I decided to put the slow cooker in their room as a not so subtle hint. This didn’t result in the slow cooker being cleaned, but placed at the end of the bed and covered in a Blanket and teddies like some sick end table.

47.  One of my housemate’s friends ate our goldfish.

I once had a flatmate who used to steal my clothes from the washing machine and then wear them around the house without any shame.

49.  We had a live-in landlord. She was the WORST. We left after three months. She wouldn’t let us have the heating on, so I’d sit with a coat and gloves in bed working whilst seeing my breath, and she would pretend the wifi was down for some reason but in reality she just didn’t want us to have the password. The usual passive aggressive notes would be left around the flat, accusing us of tampering with the boiler because the prices had gone up. If we left anything unwashed in the kitchen whilst we were eating, we’d get a knock on the door telling us there would be ants if we didn’t go and wash up right away. All in all, a horrible experience and I never wanted to leave my room for fear of bumping into her

50.  Context: we’re 8 people living on the 2nd and 3th floor of a big house) woke up early to go to uni, walked out of my room and the floor had blood splatters and smears all over. Got super scared but also concerned for my flatmates. Followed the blood downstairs. There were drops and bigger stains on the stairs all the way to the ground floor but there were also some leading into our shared kitchen. On the (white!) kitchen floor, there was a really big puddle of blood and more smeared blood all over. And also (plot twist) an extinguisher in the middle of all of it, which really gave me the creeps. All my flatmates were still asleep, so I woke them up to check on them and it wasn’t until we knocked on the last door that we found the bleeding one. He was deep asleep in his bed, partly also soaked in blood. Apparently he got in a drunk fight with a bike (no human involved) and injured his foot and hand.. not broken or anything just a very bloody mess.

TEAM ZOELLA JUNE 29, 2022

Let’s Talk Nudes, But Not as You Know Them

Libby’s art aims to change the narrative surrounding nudity, creating a raw and realistic portrayal of the human body. 

The female gaze: A feminist theory term representing the gaze of the female spectator, character or director of an artistic work. The female gaze is not about banning sex, desire and fantasies, but about showing that these can exist without objectification.

Image Credit: Libby Cooper

Meet Libby Cooper, 19-year-old nude photographer and creator of the Born To Be Nude project- a series dedicated to creating a safe space to celebrate nudity without being sexualised. Libby’s art aims to change the narrative surrounding nudity, creating a raw and realistic portrayal of the human body. 

As well as taking inspiration from renaissance imagery, Libby strives to reclaim it with a female gaze and works mostly within nature, partly because of its unpredictability- the natural lighting and the adventure of finding locations are some of the many joys in her process.

“Before I was a nude photographer, I was a music photographer capturing gigs and festivals, and then all of a sudden we were in a lockdown. There were no festivals or gigs to photograph and I felt so low and creatively unfulfilled. No matter what I tried to create at home nothing was the same as going out and working with other people. So I decided to start planning a project as soon as I could get out of lockdown and work with people again, thus came my project Born To Be Nude. I knew I really wanted to create something unusual and completely different to the work I had previously made. The first nude shoot I did was in Morden Hall park, with an incredible woman named Dami. After that shoot I never looked back at music photography- the passion I felt for the work I had just created was unlike any I had felt before. 

“A big part of photographing models nude is having an understanding that being naked on camera is one of the most vulnerable states you can be in, so it’s important to treat it as such. I often leave my shoots having made a new friend, which is something I absolutely love about my job. 

“I mostly find my subjects by sharing a call out for something quite random like “looking for a model, happy to photograph nude with snails”, or “I am also looking for someone with pet snails” and people will message you from there! If people have a particular idea in mind and they want my help capturing it, there’s also the option to book a shoot via my website.

“Finding a suitable location is one of the hardest things about the series- it needs to be quiet and secluded and yet also have gorgeous scenery! Often we will go really early in the morning or visit a quieter place in general. The earliest I have gotten up for a nude shoot so far is 4am (a nude shoot in Lewes on a walking path). I have had dog walkers walk through in a few shoots, but people don’t seem to care. Either they’re curious and want to know what you’re making, or are so British that they pretend they haven’t seen anything! 

“I’ve had such a mixture of feedback from the Born To Be Nude project, but definitely more positive! I was not expecting this project to grow into what it has, and I still can’t believe it. I get such incredibly kind messages and opportunities, just like this one! I also get the odd message from an incel or two, which I have learnt to laugh at! 

“My friend Ciara was the first person to point out that my photographs present nudity without sexualising it. It blew my mind- that something I had created had resonated with someone beyond what I saw as myself. From there I’ve found more meaning in my work, and I feel as though I grew as a photographer. For me, a lot of this comes down to my intentions. Because of how I conduct the shoots, the intent actualises itself, as I’m photographing the model through the viewpoint of celebrating all different types of bodies! I want the models to see themselves presented in a comfortable, natural, and serene context, and from a perspective they might not usually see. 

“I am heavily inspired by renaissance imagery, however I aim to reclaim it through a female gaze. I am also heavily inspired by nature, which I think resonates in my work. 

“Covid impacted my work in the best way imaginable, I found my style, and the work I truly love to create. Whilst it was one of the hardest and unhappiest periods of my life, I will always be grateful that it gave me a moment to stop and realise that I didn’t love music photography. 

“The most annoying part of being a nude photographer is the online censorship- it’s extremely unfair. I actually recently lost my account due to ‘violating community guidelines’, even though I always make sure to censor correctly, as I want my work to be shared!

I feel as though there should either be no censorship, or everyone has to follow this censorship, not just women.”

You can find Liberty on Instagram at @shotbyliberty or view more of her work on her website www.shotbyliberty.com

TEAM ZOELLA JUNE 28, 2022

50 People On the Signature Scents They’ll Never Stray From and Why

Your choice of scent is one that those around you will come to associate with you, helping you make lasting first impressions and even acquire compliments aplenty- without sounding dramatic, it’s worth the trials and tribulations of finding ‘the one’ in the world of fragrance.

Choosing a fragrance- perhaps one of the most personal selections you can make when it comes to stepping out of the door and presenting yourself in a way that feels like ‘you’. Arguably more memorable than your outfit choice or new red lip, a fragrance reaches everyone around you differently, leaving a lasting impression and even triggering old memories upon smelling it again- it’s safe to say, scent matters.

Signature scent: a fragrance one always wears, so much so that it comes to represent them.

Perfume is as personal as it gets and technically speaking, this is proven to be true too. Did you know that your unique skin chemistry mixes with the top, middle/heart, and base notes of every scent, meaning that the same perfume can smell different from person to person? 

Your choice of scent is one that those around you will come to associate with you, helping you make lasting first impressions and even acquire compliments aplenty- without sounding dramatic, it’s worth the trials and tribulations of finding ‘the one’ in the world of fragrance.

If you have the tendency to flit between a selection of scents without ever finding one you’re always drawn back to, may we suggest you keep reading to discover 50 perfumes that have held the top spot in the hearts of many and thus secured their ‘Signature Scent’ kudos – no mean feat! 

  1. Le Labo, Santal 33 – it makes me feel like the rich aunt I aspire to be.
  1. Jo Malone, Honeysuckle & Davana – I’d been searching for a signature scent for a while and I picked this one up at the airport and I have to say, I’m already in love! I think I’ll be married to this one for a while.
  1. Chloe, Roses De Chloe – it’s super long-wearing and rose is one of my favourite scents! I honestly think I’ll wear it forever.
  1. Jo Malone, English Pear and Freesia – because it reminds me of my wedding day.
  1. Chanel, Coco Mademoiselle – it was my first Chanel perfume and I’ve been hooked ever since!
  1. Chanel, Allure – I have this indescribable feeling that it somehow smells like my personality. Daft I’m sure, but it’s as good enough a reason as any. 
  1. Frederic Malle, Portrait of a Lady – Because it’s dramatic, a bit chaotic and you don’t forget it easily.
  1. Hugo Boss, Red – it’s the perfect balance between feminine and masculine.
  1. Coach, Woman Eau de Parfum – it reminds me of a beautiful time of my life. 
  1. Jo Malone, Wood, Sage and Sea Salt – because Sandalwood.
  1. Jennifer Lopez, Live Eau de Parfum – it always reminds me of the summer when I’d just graduated and was just living my best life stress-free! Done with education not yet ready to worry about work.
  1. Floral Street, Arizona Bloom – it reminds me of summer. 
  1. Yves Saint Laurent, Libre – it’s a memorable scent and I’ve had some of my best memories wearing it! Keep it for special occasions and nights out.
  1. Lush, Fairy Dust – it puts me in a good mood and I feel fresh wearing it.
  1. Gucci, Bloom – it’s classy, fresh, smells like flowers and I’m not sure why but I feel like it fits my personality.
  1. Marc Jacobs, Daisy – because it’s a classic!
  1. Twilly d’Hermès Eau de Parfum – not too strong, not too sweet, just perfect!
  1. Lancôme – Trésor Midnight Rose – it was my first ‘grown-up’ perfume and I’ve been wearing it ever since.
  1. One Direction, That Moment – simply because it’s the only perfume I’ve used in 5+ years.
  1. Yves Saint Laurent, Black Opium – best smell in the world! 
  1. Litoralle Aromatica, Isola Rosa – I’m drawn to hazy rose scents, this one is fresh and a little bit sweet too – it makes me think of the phrase ‘life through rose tinted spectacles’. I used to think it was a negative thing, an insult even, but I think it can be a very magic lens to experience things through. I think when you’re a grown up that rosy lens fades sometimes and when you find it, you just want to hold on to that way of seeing things.
  1. Dolce and Gabbana, Light Blue – I love citrus and woody scents so I can’t get enough of this one!
  1. Mugler, Angel – smells like my favourite memories with my mum. 
  1. Taylor Swift, Wonderstruck – it’s so perfect for every day but it’s been discontinued.
  1. Glossier, You – simple, clean, fresh, sexy.
  1. Chanel, Coco Mademoiselle – perfect for every occasion and doesn’t give me a headache.
  1. Guess, Seductive – you can wear it for every occasion and outing!
  1. Yves Saint Laurent, Cinema – I bought my first bottle on holiday when I was 15 and now it smells like sunshine to me.
  1. Billie Eilish, Eilish Eau De Parfum– it’s really sweet and the scent stays on me for hours and hours.
  1. Jo Malone, Peony and Blush Suede – the scent is discreet yet amazing.
  1. Aerin, Amber Musk – my wedding perfume.
  1. Yves Saint Laurent, Black Opium – it makes me feel confident.
  1. Chanel, Chance – for some reason it must just work for me, I always get compliments.
  1. Dior, Miss Dior – it’s a soft but sweet floral scent that reminds me of cottages and fresh flower picking.
  1. Zara, Gardenia – just so lovely and a nice balance of vanilla and floral.
  1. Dolce and Gabanna, Light Blue – it reminds me of summers when I was a teenager.
  1. Glossier, You – it’s not an overwhelming scent and is so neutral that everyone loves it.
  1. Joop-Le Bain – because it smells like a warm and cosy day during winter.
  1. Giorgio Armani, Si – it works during all seasons and I get so many compliments when I wear it.
  1. Lancôme, Poême – I love its uniqueness and I don’t know anyone else that wears it.
  1. Armani, Si Passion – it reminds me of good memories and was a gift from my aunt.
  1. Bath and Body Works, Gingham – the scent just represents me!
  1. Lush, Lord of Misrule – the perfect balance of sweet and spicy.
  1. Lancôme, La Vie Est Belle Eau de Parfum – warm without being a ‘winter’ scent.
  1. Victoria’s Secret, Bombshell – makes me feel sexy and feminine.
  1. Jo Malone, Cardamom and Mimosa – the scent brings me so much joy!
  1. Lancôme,  La Vie Est Belle Eau de Parfum – a gift from my mum. Three generations have bonded over this perfume, my daughter will be the fourth. 
  1.  Le Labo, Another 13 – hypnotic and lasts till the next day.
  1. Maison Margiela, Replica By The Fireplace – it smells expensive and sophisticated but is perfect for day and night. The only scent I take on trips with me!
  1. BYREDO, Slow Dance – romantic, sexy and hypnotic- what’s not to love?!

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TEAM ZOELLA JUNE 27, 2022

10 Easy Summer Pasta Recipes That Truly Slap 

Here’s 10 delicious summer pasta recipes that would make Love Island’s Davide say ‘ashtag bellissima! 

Gorgeous, gorgeous girls eat carbs all summer long and live every day like it’s their Positano last. 

June had us all thinking summer had got lost in the Hermes post but now we’ve had at least two whole consecutive days of sunshine (no one make any sudden movements), it’s time to dust off the salad tongs, jet wash the patio and nip round to the neighbours to warn them about the gathering that will no doubt start off as a civilised al fresco dinner with friends but descend into open air, rose-fuelled karaoke chaos within the hour.   

That’s right, cold pasta salad season *will* go ahead because this is our Italian vinaigrette era and we will die on this hill of spaghetti strap dresses, bandanas and parmesan whether summer sticks around or not.  

Here’s 10 delicious summer pasta recipes that would make Love Island’s Davide say ‘ashtag bellissima! 

1. Spicy Tomato Pasta

Budget-friendly dinners don’t get better than this. Cooking up easy, £1 dinners is this girl’s speciality, and we’re glad about it because these Love On Tour tickets won’t fund themselves. 

SERVES 4
PREP: COOK:
EASY
  1. Boil your pasta. In a large frying pan, sauté the onion until soft, then add in the tomato puree, chilli flakes, paprika and garlic.
  2. Add the cream cheese and some leftover pasta water to loosen the sauce.
  3. Season with salt and pepper and add in some grated parmesan.
  4. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce, combine and garnish with fresh parsley.

Recipe via @dishesbydaisy

2. Life-Changing Vegan Summer Pasta Salad

Eating plant-based doesn’t have to be complicated. This summer pasta salad is perfect for throwing together for BBQ season or an easy weekday meal, tied together with a simple and refreshing summer vinaigrette. 

SERVES
PREP: COOK:
EASY
  1. Boil your pasta. Drain and add to a wooden serving bowl for ultimate al fresco vibes.
  2. Add all your summer pasta salad ingredients into the bowl with the pasta.
  3. Prepare your dressing, give it a little stir then pour over the top of the pasta salad and give it a toss. Et voila!

Recipe via @healthygirlkitchen

3. Creamy Nando’s Pasta

Is lemon and herb an ick? Asking for a friend. Fortunately, this one’s made with medium in any case…

SERVES
PREP: COOK:
EASY
  1. Start out by boiling your pasta.
  2. In a large saucepan, sauté your onion and red pepper until soft.
  3. Add in your cream cheese, paprika, garlic powder, tomato puree and Nando’s sauce.
  4. Add in a bit of leftover pasta water to loosen the sauce and cook for a few minutes.
  5. Add in your cooked pasta and stir until covered. Top with crispy pan-fried halloumi and fresh parsley.

Recipe via @dishesbydaisy

4. Italian Pasta Salad

When your bank balance won’t stretch to Positano, you make Positano come to you. 

SERVES
PREP: COOK:
EASY

Once your cooked pasta has cooled, add the salad ingredients, herbs and dressing in a big bowl and dig in. They call it dolce far niente.

Recipe via @wellnessbykay

5. Summer Pasta Salad

Tonight’s forecast: a Call Me By Your Name dinner in the garden with a goblet of Aperol Spritz. 

SERVES
PREP: COOK:
EASY
  1. Chop all your ingredients and boil your pasta.
  2. In a food blender, blitz your olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, honey, fresh parsley and salt to make the delicious summer dressing.
  3. In a bowl, combine all your chopped ingredients and turkey with the pasta.
  4. Pour over the dressing and toss together.

Recipe via @simplelifepleasures

6. Rose Wine Pasta 

Pasta with an entire bottle of rose wine… sorry, Ma’am, have you always been psychic?

SERVES
PREP: COOK:
EASY
  1. Add a knob of butter to your pan, followed by a generous measure of olive oil.
  2. Sauté your cherry tomatoes, garlic, butter and olive oil until fragrant.
  3. Go in with your bottle of rose (yes, this recipe demands one *whole* bottle, we don’t make the rules but we will gladly follow them. Just maybe stick to the chicken wine (IYKYK) over Whispering Angel £££).
  4. Bring that to a boil and season liberally with salt.
  5. Cook your pasta of choice for 2 minutes in boiling water, then add it to your rose sauce.
  6. Let that boil. When most of the wine has evaporated, the pasta will be done cooking.
  7. To finish, top with some crispy prosciutto breadcrumbs – add some pieces of prosciutto into an air fryer until crisp, then pulse in the food processor to make breadcrumbs.

Recipe via @thehungerdiaries   

7. Spicy Aubergine & Nduja Rigatoni 

@mobkitchen

Spicy Aubergine & ‘Nduja Rigatoni. Perfect zingy banger for summer. #foryou #recipesoftiktok #tiktokkitchen #learnontiktok #pasta

♬ original sound – Mob

If fresh and summary is what you’re craving, this pasta dish garnished with refreshing mint and lemon juice will have you salivating quicker than you can say Davide. 

SERVES
PREP: COOK:
EASY
  1. Start by dicing your aubergine and boiling your pasta in salted water.
  2. Fry your aubergine in a hot pan, only adding the oil once it’s slightly browned.
  3. Add in your ‘Nduja and a bit of pasta water to loosen it up.
  4. Go in with your oregano and a bit more olive oil.
  5. Add your rigatoni into the aubergine sauce and give it a shake.
  6. Add in another ladle of starchy pasta water.
  7. Garnish with fresh mint and a big squeeze of lemon juice and give it another shake.
  8. Plate up, add more fresh mint and a sprinkling of pecorino cheese.

Recipe via @mobkitchen

8. No Cheese Creamy Summer Pasta

@katcancook

Save this recipe! I’ve been making this pasta for 10 years & it slaps. Questions?! #pastatiktok #glutenfree #dairyfree #healthypasta #summerrecipe

♬ Sunny Day – Ted Fresco

No cheese, no cream, no houmous… What is this witchcraft? This creamy pasta dish is made with yellow cherry tomatoes

SERVES
PREP: COOK:
EASY

  1. Add the yellow cherry tomatoes, fresh oregano, garlic (skin on), olive oil, salt and pepper to a roasting dish.
  2. Roast all this at 150°C for an hour and a half.
  3. Peel the garlic gloves, add all your roasted ingredients to a saucepan with some water and coconut milk.
  4. Blend it up until creamy, toss with your choice of pasta and dig in!

Recipe via @katcancook

9. Summer Staple Rainbow Pasta Salad

POV: it’s 24 degrees. Fleetwood Mac’s Gypsy comes on the radio, your garden furniture has just been delivered and you’ve had a productive morning making a lethal rum punch. Cue the impromptu BBQ with pals and a pasta dish to soak up the good times. 

SERVES
PREP: COOK:
EASY
  1. Simply combine all your ingredients once chopped, toss with your dressing and serve cold for an easy and iconic pasta dish.

Recipe via @kroger  

10. Tortellini Caprese Salad

Made with cheese stuffed tortellini, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, asparagus and balsamic glaze, this cold Caprese pasta salad is the perfect summer side dish for your next picnic or garden gathering. 

SERVES
PREP: COOK:
EASY
  1. Sauté the asparagus in a large pan with 1 tbsp of olive oil, salt and pepper.
  2. Cook for around 10 minutes, then chop into bite size chunks.
  3. Boil the tortellini according to packet instructions, drain and allow to cool.
  4. Add cooled tortellini and asparagus to a large mixing bowl with the tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, remaining olive oil, balsamic glaze and Italian seasoning.
  5. Toss to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Place in the fridge for one hour before serving.

Recipe via @wellnessbykay

TEAM ZOELLA JUNE 26, 2022

Make A GOLD Statement With These Gorgeous Jewellery Picks

Add in a flirty, colourful hoop here and there, but if there's one thing that will never let you down in moments of an outfit feeling incomplete, it's a classic gold jewel...

5 minutes to leave. A spritz of perfume, a slick of a well loved lipstick and a last minute fastening of that necklace- jewellery is so often a last minute addition to our outfits, but more often than not is integral in taking your look from incomplete to effortlessly chic with a few small tweaks. 

And whilst jewellery might feel like one of the most classic styling tools of all, 2022 has shown that even the most traditional of accessories can have its moment in the world of micro trends. From dopamine dressing trickling down into colourful beaded necklaces, to hands adorned with chunky resin rings aplenty, there are more ways than one to be influenced in expanding your jewellery collection with some seriously fun, Y2K inspired newbies. But if timelessness is more your thing, and your photo might appear next to the word ‘classic’ in the dictionary, may we present the creme de la creme of gold jewellery sure to match your style for a lifetime.

Add in a flirty, colourful hoop here and there, but if there’s one thing that will never let you down in moments of an outfit feeling incomplete, it’s a classic gold jewel…

*This post contains ad-affiliate links

TEAM ZOELLA JUNE 25, 2022

30 Ways to Excel at Self-Care That Aren’t Champagne & Bubble Baths

We’re officially prescribing boring but necessary habits that improve your mental and physical wellbeing tenfold. Hot girl summer, more like self-care summer. 

As much as an excessively bubbly bubble bath and face mask can be all you need to solve the minor hiccups in your week, it’s worth remembering that self-care, at its core, is far more than a glass of wine on a Wednesday to keep you ticking over. Self-care is the boring, menial, adult things you don’t want to do but that actually make the biggest difference to your wellbeing and mental clarity. It’s keeping yourself afloat so you don’t reach the feeling of drowning nearly as often. It’s taking things back to basics and treating yourself like you would a five-year-old version of yourself. It’s difficult, and at times it can feel relentless to have to constantly show up for yourself when you’ve perhaps spent a lifetime pushing your needs to the bottom of the pile, but in the year 2022, we’re here to remind you that being your own number 1 priority is cool, and should never be overlooked.

So as much as spending £20 in Lush and hoping your problems will drain down the plughole, along with the remnants of a glittery bath bomb might be your traditional MO, we’re officially prescribing boring but necessary habits that improve your mental and physical wellbeing tenfold. Hot girl summer, more like self-care summer. 

  1. Make sure to drink enough water- imagine yourself as a plant that is deserving of care and attention.
  2. Take your medication on time.
  3. Set limits on your social media use (especially first thing at night and last thing before bed) and actually stick to it.
  4. Keep your cupboards and freezer stocked to a minimum with long-life food in case of hunger or hungover emergencies. A can of Heinz tomato soup is a pantry essential you will forever be grateful for.
  5. Wash your bedsheets in time for Sunday evening.
  6. Curate your Instagram feed to serve positive vibes only.
  7. Make doctor’s appointments when you need them. You deserve medical care!
  8. Do the dishes before your baked beans cement to the plate.
  9. Avoid alcohol on the days you know it won’t serve you.
  10. Get fresh air every day- even if that just means sticking your head out the window.
  11. Get changed out of your pyjamas even if you’re staying at home- this can include fresh loungewear or comfy clothes!
  12. Remember a sprinkling of veg in your week helps keep your brain ticking.
  13. Shake off nervous energy to your favourite tunes.
  14. Go to bed when you’re tired, not when you’ve run out of things to look at on the Internet.
  15. Soak up the sun on the few and far occasions in which it shows itself. Vitamin D is so healing!
  16. Going for your smear test when the reminder comes through.
  17. Set a 10-minute timer and complete as many small jobs as you can in times of overwhelm.
  18. Pick up the phone and ask for help when you need it.
  19. Make double portions and freeze your favourite meals so you always have a stash.
  20. Don’t spend beyond your means, especially when you’re feeling emotional.
  21. Empty the bins on time for the weekly collection.
  22. Show yourself compassion when you’re feeling low- treat yourself like you would a friend.
  23. Have breakfast. 
  24. Understand when you are self-sabotaging or getting in your own way and holding yourself accountable.
  25. Complete boring, life admin tasks on time- don’t make things harder for your future self and pay that council tax girlfriend!
  26. Reach for a book instead of your phone in times of high anxiety.
  27. Take your make-up off at the end of the day.
  28. High-five yourself in the mirror and recognise that you’re doing your best.
  29. Buy the reduced flowers.
  30. Learn how to stop ruminating and rein in catastrophic thinking. 
TEAM ZOELLA JUNE 24, 2022

“How Do I Tell My Friends I Have Social Anxiety Around Them?” This Month’s Between You & Me

In this month’s Between You And Me, Team Zoella are giving their sage advice on how to let your friends know you’re struggling in group settings, chatting about self-pleasure, dealing with changes after having a baby and what it means if you’re thinking about your ex in the run-up to your wedding.

After the unprecedented chaos of the last two years – most of which was spent in and out of lockdown, social distancing and working remotely – many of us couldn’t wait to re-enter society and dance in a drunken circle, draped over our bezzie pals again but whilst some of us found returning to normal exhilarating after being cooped up for so long, others felt anxious about jumping straight back into social gatherings and face-to-face interaction again. 

Whether you were familiar with social anxiety pre-pandemic, or these feelings are totally new and unexpected, opening up to your friends can be a scary step. In this month’s Between You And Me, Team Zoella are giving their sage advice on how to let your friends know you’re struggling in group settings so that you can get the reassurance, love and support you need. 

In other news, we’ll be chatting about self-pleasure when you’re in a long-term relationship (let us introduce you to our S.O Evii), dealing with changes in your relationship after having a baby and what it means if you’re thinking about your ex in the run-up to your wedding. 

Here’s what’s going down in this month’s BYAM!

Lareese says…

I feel very passionate about the sheer lack of education around the contraceptive pill. Having been on it since I was 14 to ‘help’ with my periods, with very little (translation: no) conversation around the possible long-term side effects and the fact that I wouldn’t ovulate for over a decade, I just think the burden has fallen on us for far too long. Why should the responsibility fall on us women to take birth control simply because it’s convenient for them, or assumed that we’ll have it covered if we’re sexually active? If you were considering going on the pill before you started seeing this guy, then fine, look at your options and make the fully-informed decision that’s best for you and your body, but it sounds a lot like this is something he’s pushing on you so that he can have more casual sex with less pregnancy-related risks. If he’s into you and wants to see more of you, then he’ll wrap up! Simple as. Don’t waste your time on someone who is THIS comfortable giving you an ultimatum and dictates what you should do with your body, particularly when you’re not keen on the idea of going on the pill anyway! x

Darcey says…

If going on the pill is something you have never considered before seeing this guy, I wouldn’t do it. I don’t think it’s right that he has even suggested this to you, I think it shows quite a lack of respect. It sounds (and apologies if I’m wrong) that this is quite a casual relationship so far, seeing each other after nights out and hooking up? But maybe ask yourself if you are hoping for something a bit more serious and considering doing this so you can see him more? To me, it sounds like he wants you to go on the pill so he can continue to have sex with you, with less risk, or even because he just doesn’t like the feel of condoms (we’ve all heard that before, never seems to stop them finishing though does it ha!), but I think to ask something like this from someone you aren’t willing to give any major commitment too is quite outrageous tbh. I appreciate in a more serious relationship you may both want to have an open discussion about the different types of contraception that could suit you both, but for something more casual he doesn’t have the right to even broach the subject in my opinion.

Charlotte says…

On the surface this is a worry- no one wants to still be thinking about their ex when in a new relationship, but I do think there’s something about the commitment of marriage that can cause people to panic and start re-evaluating their life choices up till now. You’re essentially signing up to forever with someone, and yes there is the option of divorce and it’s more socially acceptable than ever to do so, but ultimately no one really wants that to be the case and so naturally I’m assuming the past few years of your ‘single’ life start flashing before your eyes.

Maddie says…

There is so much more information I need to know but I’m going to try and speak to you as i would a close friend confiding in me. Having cold feet is extremely common ahead of such a big event and this could be your brain coming up with excuses not to go through with the wedding just because it’s such a big commitment. It is also possible to love two people at the same time in different ways and maybe that’s ok if you can fully separate them in your mind. However, if you truly do feel like you’re still in love with your ex, more so than the man you’re about to marry, then please don’t go through with the wedding just because you’re afraid of the repercussions and fall out. You only get one shot at life and time really is so precious, if you feel like you’re with the wrong person then you have to be honest with your fiance and yourself. Look at it this way, if your future husband was having these thoughts and feelings about an ex so close to the wedding, how would you feel? Do you think you would still want to get married? Hopefully, the answer to that question is the answer you’re looking for.

Liv says…

This can be a tricky one, especially as it’s having to be vulnerable and maybe even put yourself in a situation that might trigger your anxiety. If it was me in this situation I wouldn’t try and tell everyone at once, take it slow and maybe speak to your closest friend first. Once you see their reaction you may feel more confident to speak to more and if not that friend might be able to tell others for you.

When you go to have the conversation, make sure you’re in a nice environment and you feel safe. Be as honest as you can with your friends and be ready to explain what social anxiety is and what effect it has on you. Mental health isn’t a one-size-fits-all so sometimes it needs a little explaining so people know how to help you. I hope it goes well!

Charlotte says…

Hi anon! Anxiety, whether simply as an emotion or mental illness diagnosis, can be really difficult to deal with, so I’m really sorry you’ve been having a hard time experiencing this. Social anxiety in particular is something that’s quite difficult to explain to those who haven’t experienced it, and struggling with it around those close to you can be even more confusing. It’s easy to start questioning why you’re feeling anxious around friends and family you love, and why you don’t want to hang out with them even though you know they love and support you.

That’s the difficult part of mental illness- it can manifest in ‘non socially acceptable’ ways, making you question certain truths, behave differently to your normal self and stop doing the things you love. Have you ever been in therapy? I know CBT in particular is a really useful approach for anxiety and it may be able to provide you with some tangible ways of dealing with anxious thoughts in social situations.

I would also suggest trying to open up to your friends about how you’re feeling and making them aware of what’s going on for you. That way you can be vulnerable and reach out when needed in the moments you’re struggling knowing that they understand what’s going on. For example if you cancel plans last minute or suddenly seem withdrawn in a social setting, they’re far more able to help you than if you keep yourself closed off from their care. Best of luck and know that you are and will be okay!

Danielle says…

For me, self-love doesn’t mean lighting candles on a night-in alone and going at it for a while feeling sexy. Well sometimes it does, but most of the time it’s me getting an orgasm in when I can a few times a week to reset and let those endorphins flow, letting the power of the O work its magic! My partner and I have been together for 6 years and we’re both fine with the other having their solo time but it’s still not something we’re massively open about, for instance, I don’t really want to know when he’s doing it and I’d be pretty embarazzd if he knew when I was!

We live together and he works from home so it’s pretty tricky to find that alone time to bash one out (save the long sessions for when he’s fully out of the house!) but you’ve just got to get into the routine of taking your opportunities when you can. For me it’s habitual like going to the gym or meditating, I don’t even have to be super in the mood to think ‘hmm might have a wank’ I just go for it. Find what works for you and the confidence to go at it alone will certainly grow. Here’s an article we wrote about finding the right sex toy for you which I would definitely suggest getting for some solo play!

Lareese says…

Let the vulva see the vibes. My only advice is bloody well do it. Find the time. It’s not a case of them vs our sex toys/hand – to hell with the narrative that suggests your other half is less than if we want to introduce toys or still masturbate. PERLEASEEE. There are SO many options out there for coupled fun and solo play alike, so whether you try mutual masturbation (getting off in front of each other) or have them do it on your behalf, there are plenty of options to see what works for you. Whether you’re in a long-term relationship or not, touching your body is nothing to be ashamed of, and I really don’t see why it’s any different from any other form of self-care. Penetrative sex isn’t for everyone (something like 70% of women can only reach orgasm from clitoral stimulation), so if you’re in a heterosexual relationship, this can be a great way to ensure you’re just as satisfied as him. It’s up to you what self-love looks like, whether you want it to be something you do purely with and for yourself, or together, but either way, it’s nothing you should feel guilty or ashamed about, however long you’ve been with a partner. It’s just a wank, it’s not that deep. Wishing you love and all the orgasms this world has to give x

Maddie says…

Firstly congratulations on your new arrival and secondly well done for getting through the 4th trimester! I know from experience it can be completely relentless at times and you’re a ball of hormonal emotions from having just given birth which makes everything just a little bit (a lot) more tense. When you’re a first-time parent everything is so new, you can feel insecure about the smallest things and more often than not you’re getting next to no sleep which can turn the smallest passing comment into world war 3. Your priorities have also shifted which takes some adjustment as well as working out your new roles and how to divide your home life, it’s a constant juggling act. I hope it reassures you to know that pretty much everyone I know who has had children has been through this and with time and a good dose of communication and showing appreciation for your partner, things will return to normal. It’s still such early days and for things to be different is to be expected. When you feel ready, make time for each other again and don’t forget to prioritise the things that made you enjoy being together before any babies arrived.

Danielle says…

So I’ve not had a baby which means I don’t have much incredible advice to give for this part of your life but just know that I really do feel for you and even though you’re probably so happy and in love with your new little one, it’s also really f*cking hard. Everything is new, there’s this thing you have to look after and worry about constantly, trying to keep them fed and clean and suddenly having no time for yourselves. On top of that, I genuinely believe the sleep deprivation from midnight wake-ups changes the fabric of we are as people! Small insignificant issues that usually wouldn’t become a big deal turn into massive fights with each of you blaming the other.

Rely on your support system as much as you can, try and get a night with just you and your partner alone so you can reconnect and remember why you’re together in the first place. Make sure you stay super honest and open with your partner, apologise when you need to and ask for the same compassion back when you deserve it. Remember you’re a team, you’re in it together not against each other, and I’m sure it will get easier at some point especially when you can sleep through the night and feel refreshed the next day!

Darcey says…

I know this feeling all too well! I felt for years like something was lacking (even sometimes still now) cause guys very rarely approached me and it used to really get me down so I totally can empathise with how you are feeling!

I think it’s really important to remember that absolutely nothing is wrong with you, I think society and the movies we watched as children, the music we listened to, basically everything we consume as humans (and mainly as women) is that men chase women, so if we aren’t being hounded at the club by multiple guys like all the women in the music videos something must be wrong.

I think if you are wanting to start meeting guys and talking to new people, put yourself out there for sure! Approach that guy in the club that you fancy, message that guy on the dating app, honestly the worst thing that could happen is they say they aren’t interested and that’s okay too! The more you do it, the more your confidence will grow for sure.

Liv says…

I would like to start this by saying that you are not the problem. It can definitely make you feel like you are but there can be SO many reasons why they aren’t. And please don’t feel like you need to change anything about yourself to get anyone to make the first move.

Also, who says that the guy should be the one to make the first move? I get that it could be flattering but personally, I would feel way more empowered if I made the first move. Go get yourself out there and make things happen for you.

TEAM ZOELLA JUNE 23, 2022

4 Summer Outfits to Buy and Wear Now

From Saturday afternoons in the beer garden to European getaways, Sunday brunch in the sun to running errands in your sunnies and bare skin, keep scrolling for Team Zoella's current warm-weather wardrobe obsessions and get ready to be inspired.

England- you’re bloody beautiful in the sunshine.

It might have taken a hot (read: wet) second to get rolling, but summer is well and truly here, and who else is feeling all the more joyful for it?! Whether you’re most excited for the festivals and live music that are filling your calendar as the weeks go on, or for the chance to rock bare legs on a daily basis, dressing for the summer months offers the chance for some well-needed laid-back, fun and easygoing styling that has you wondering if moving to warmer climates for good is a serious possibility…

From Saturday afternoons in the beer garden to European getaways, Sunday brunch in the sun to running errands in your sunnies and bare skin, keep scrolling for Team Zoella’s current warm-weather wardrobe obsessions and get ready to be inspired.

Summer, you can stay.

Beer Garden Ready

Who doesn’t love a British beer garden in the summer?! Almost as top tier as a Sunday roast and bank holiday booze up, the humble beer garden holds a special place in my heart during the warmer months of the year when Pimms and Aperol are top of the menu, and I take dressing for such events very seriously. With the potential to transition from daytime to evening soirees without you quite realising, I like to go by the rule that you can never be overdressed for such occasions. This look is on the whole pretty casual thanks to the denim dungaree shorts, but with a little bit of spice thrown into the mix with the heeled boots and crop top to add some flirtatious fun- we love to see it.

Nasty Gal, Short Dungarees, £49
Nasty Gal, Western Slogan Fitted Graphic T-Shirt, £16
Nasty Gal, Faux Suede Cowboy Boots, £75
Orelia, Metal Sun Charm Necklace, £28

Sunny Brunch Special

Despite constantly spilling food and drink over myself I am drawn to white in the summer like a pig in sh*t! Love this oversized shirt with a blue floral print and think it would look great over a mini skirt. Nothing says summer like a straw bag, great for brunch and also the beach, all topped off with a pair of sunglasses, the & Other Stories ones are always on trend and really great quality.

H&M, Oversized resort shirt, £12.99
H&M, Short linen-blend skirt, £17.99
Arket, Straw Bucket Tote, £89
& Other Stories, Squared Sunglasses, £27

Holiday Mode: Activated

I love this knit dress for a throw-on beach cover-up paired with comfy Birkies, a crochet head scarf and sunnies. It’s a piece that could easily translate to casual evening wear, styled with a satin slip underneath and heeled sandals and a slick bun. Now just stick me on a plane to Positano, please!

Mango, Knit cotton-blend dress, £59.99
Birkenstock, Boston Soft Footbed Suede Leather, £120
& Other Stories, Crocheted Head Scarf, £27
& Other Stories, Angular Cat Eye Sunglasses, £23

Errand Running Chic

I’ve gone for a causal, running errands with an iced coffee kinda lewk. You can’t go wrong with a basic UO top, facts! Paired with some jeans and Birkenstocks and you are giving off cool girl vibes all day. I’ve added a pair of sunnies to complete the look, these ones from Mango look so expensive but are an actual bargain!

Urban Outfitters, UO Josie Recycled Ribbed V-Neck Vest, £20
H&M, Wide High Jeans, £24.99
Schuh, BIRKENSTOCK black arizona sandals, £65
Mango, Acetate frame sunglasses, £17.99

TEAM ZOELLA JUNE 22, 2022

Vacation Vibes! How to Turn up the Heat on Holiday 

Whether you’ve already got your summer holiday in the works or you’re grabbing a quick romantic weekend away, here’s 8 ways to spice things up on holiday. 

Vacations are synonymous with relaxation. There’s nothing quite like the promise of warm weather you can trust, Aperol Spritz and a packet of Lay’s on the balcony to soothe the soul and revive the ol’ libido; a paradise far away, where the most you’ve got on your agenda is securing a sun lounger by 7am and remembering to top up your SPF. Everything is perfect, perfect, perfect. 

Your skin is aglow with Vitamin D, your legs are smoother than the belly of a mackerel and you’re in your Lake Como era, such is the power of being pulled away from the routine of Microsoft Teams, dirty dishes and 7am alarms.

And then there’s the sex. 

The hot holiday nooky. Whether you’re coupled up or riding solo, there’s just something about vacay sex to the soundtrack of swaying palm trees and ocean waves that just hits different but if, like us, it feels like a hundred years since you’ve stepped foot on a plane (*cries in French*) and let go of your inhibitions, let these tips refresh your memory. 

Whether you’ve already got your summer holiday in the works or you’re grabbing a quick romantic weekend away, here’s 8 ways to spice things up on holiday. 

1.     Consider the destination 

Think a carefree Elizabeth Gilbert sucking on spaghetti in Eat Pray Love, Elio and Oliver’s sunset dip at Spiaggia Giamaica, the rain scene in Midnight in Paris and Marianne’s rustic Italian villa in Normal People, the charm of a sumptuous destination a world away from the daily grind can do a lot for our senses. They don’t call it wanderlust for nothing! From balmy Balearic escapes to little-known Greek islands and a week under the Tuscan sun, if the romance factor is important to you, let the location lead the way and serve as the ultimate aperitivo to your one-on-one time. Your room with a view awaits! 

2.     Do a digital detox 

If it means locking your phone in the safe and forgetting it exists for a week then so be it, boo. Whilst you don’t need to go quite as tough-love as that, allocating set times for you to check emails (if you really must) is important for setting boundaries and allowing yourself time to rejuvenate. You didn’t come all this way to work remotely, after all. If your mind is still in work mode then you may as well be sitting hunched over your office chair with 117 tabs open, chasing invoices and wondering whether to sign off with one kiss or none. Out Of Office isn’t just an email signature, it’s a state of mind. Get the rest and rejuvenation you’ve paid for. 

3.     Connect with your body 

The hold tan lines have on us, eh. There’s nothing like catching a glimpse of yourself in the hotel bathroom mirror – after that *elite* shower you take at the end of the day before heading out to dinner – to make you realise that yes, yes, you are indeed a thousand fire emojis. You’re moisturised, you’re relaxed, you’re glowing. Your body is a bloody wonderland. Now, touch me. 

4.     Make the most of uninterrupted you time 

That little do not disturb sign they give you? Wear it out. And if you’re in an Airbnb, then wear the apartment out instead. Travelling with little ones is tricky but if you get a window of time to focus on you and your S.O, then don’t sleep on it. Claim it for all its worth. You deserve all the gelato and orgasms this world has to give. 

“Make time for your pleasure when you’re on holiday and slow down the pace of your solo or partnered sex session. You could spend more time focusing on foreplay, or try edging techniques to prolong and intensify your pleasure and orgasm. Holidays are the ideal time to focus on your pleasure, whether going solo or spending time with a partner. Being away from the distractions of everyday life allows you to carve out valuable time to relax, spend quality time together with a partner, and explore your sexuality without feeling rushed or worried about being disturbed. 

“There’s also nothing more exciting than being in a new environment and making the most of the privacy of a hotel room! So whether you’re looking to try something new with a partner or test out a new toy, a holiday away is the time to do it,” SheSpot Founders Holly and Kalila add. 

5.     Let go of the pressure 

Vacay sex is only fun if you’re relaxed. If you get hung up about how much sex you’re having or not having, it quickly becomes a chore and that’s not what you signed up for. Go with the flow and let your sex drive lead the way.

Intimacy and connection isn’t just limited to sexual intercourse, it can be laughing, having great conversation, candlelit dinners, being playful, sightseeing (oi oi) rediscovering one another and prioritising one another’s needs. If an AM to PM shagathon is your M.O, then we fully support that, but you can certainly feel the love in other ways. Ever played a game of Rummy on the balcony with a bottle of Bintang in hand? Or temporarily adopted a stray cat for a week? We rest our case. 

6.     Try something new

Is there something in the water out here, or is he just tanned and delivering a pina colada to your sun lounger without needing to be asked? Whatever the reason, don’t overthink it. Ride that wave. Hammer the headboard, lube up, have sex on every available surface, introduce toys, try different positions, experiment with roleplay and order oysters to the room. Leave the missionary at the door and take your sweet time – there’s nowhere you need to be but here. Cue the massage oil and the playlist of bedrock hits

Holly and Kalila also suggest branching out! “Our top tip for self sessions – make time for it! There’s nothing worse than being in a hurry or being worried about interruptions when you’re getting in the mood. You may want to try using a new vibrator (we’d always recommend using a water-based lube too for extra pleasure) and why not dip into a sexy story or explore some female-focused ethical porn. Cheeky tip: If the temperatures are soaring it’s the perfect time to experiment  with temperature play – trace an ice cube over your body focusing on your erogenous zones (think nipples, neck, intimate area) for the ultimate cool down.”

Need help getting into the holiday mood? Why not turn your hotel room into a self-love spa. “Pack your favourite mood-setting treats to help you unwind, feel present and maximise your pleasure emotionally and physically. We’re loving Ilapothecary’s Feminine Happy Oil to nourish the whole body, followed by a few steamy stories from the Ferly sexual wellness app,” Holly and Kalila add. 

7.     Pack it like it’s hot

To hell with the oversized hat you’ll never wear, when it comes to precious suitcase space, lingerie reserved for special occasions and pleasure toys are worth their weight in gold. Dig out all the ‘fits that make you feel your best, whether that’s bright colours, spaghetti strap dresses or 17 bikinis. Yes, you’re only going for 4 days, what of it? Pack all the usual suspects like SPF and your beach reads but ensure you’ve got a dedicated quadrant for all your kink. 

Talking of which, this isn’t the time to be faffing around with AAs, so leave your battery-powered pleasure toys behind. That said, rechargeables carry their very own risk – forgetting to pack your charger is just as much of a buzzkill, especially if you’ve run down your favourite toy to avoid any awkward encounters with security. Consider this your sign to locate your USB charger and dear lord, PACK IT.   

If you’re worried about TSA fondling your goods in front of an audience, let us introduce you to this avocado-shaped muse. *Camera pans to Evii* With her portable jewellery tray charging base and discreet speaker-like design, the Evvii by premium toy brand Biird is the perfect, approachable toy to bring away with you and offers peace of mind if you are picked out of the line. 

The SheSpot ladies would be inclined to agree! “Not only does it tick the waterproof and rechargeable boxes, its gorgeously discrete design means it’s barely recognisable as a toy, so perfect for gliding through security with zero embarrassment! 

“Instead of packing your toys loosely in your bag we recommend popping them in a travel pouch to keep them discreet, concealed and clean! After all, you don’t want a toy destined for your intimate area to be nestled up by your shoes. Most premium vibrators come with a dedicated toy bag (we’re loving the Evii vibrator’s cute drawstring bag), and if you’re looking to travel with all your favourite sexual wellness products then the exclusively designed, organic cotton SheSpot x Zoella Pleasure Pouch is the perfect solution to keep them concealed for your eyes only. 

“Don’t forget to clean your sex toys after use. Most waterproof toys can simply be   washed in warm water, but you may want to buy a sex toy cleaner for added hygiene.” 

If you want everything from your lube to your massage oil taken care of, snap up a SheSpot X Zoella box for the ultimate travel companion. Travelling for pleasure never felt so good.

“Lube plays an amazing role in heightening pleasure and sensitivity when used during solo play and partnered sex. You might be getting it on more frequently when you’re away on holiday and lube is a must to reduce any dryness and discomfort you may experience. If you’re planning on flying, opt for a lube 100ml or less to drop into your liquids bag,” Holly and Kalila add. 

Travelling with sex toys is always daunting, thanks to horror stories of TSA airing the contents of your vibrating carry-on bag in front of frustrated / thoroughly entertained holidaymakers. No one wants to be *that* girl. 

Holly and Kalila say, “It’s worth saying from the outset, there’s no shame in packing for pleasure – so if you want to bring along your favourite toys and products you absolutely should! If you’re packing light (and particularly if you don’t want to fork out for hold luggage!), leave your larger toys at home and opt for a smaller (but powerful) vibrator which can slip discreetly in your bag, reducing the risk of any awkward encounters at airport security.

Make sure to turn your toys off to prevent any unwanted buzzing in your bag. If your vibe is battery-operated, simply remove the batteries, and if your toy is USB rechargeable then you could run down the charge before you travel. Vibrators can be taken through most airports in both cabin baggage and checked-in baggage, so there’s no need to worry about restrictions when flying. Do check any specific country restrictions if you have any concerns though.”

Most airlines allow all kinds of sex toys in both carry-on and checked bags, as long as they’re not flagged as a weapon / self-defence, which means there’s a real grey area for handcuffs, ropes, impact toys and BDSM gear. It’s worth erring on the side of caution and only packing what would be deemed non-threatening by security standards and an uninitiated eye. 

Always check country regulations as sex toys are illegal and considered pornographic materials in India, Saudi Arabia, the Maldives, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Alabama (USA) and the United Arab Emirates. If you’d rather not get arrested or fined, leave your tech in your bedside drawer if you’re travelling to any of those places or your hot holiday away might end on a rather sour note. No bueno! 

8. Think twice about diving in!

Whether it’s a hot tub, the beach or a secluded bay, the potential for getting wet ‘n’ wild is everywhere when you’re on holiday. But whilst hanging out in any body of water might sound hot, underwater sex isn’t exactly germ-free. It comes with its fair share of risks, namely friction, vaginal tearing, UTIs and washing away all of your natural lubrication. Chlorine’s also a total savage because it can irritate your vagina’s delicate pH. BV does not a hot holiday make, so maybe ditch the pool sex. Given that it’s pretty tricky to use protection in water, you’re also at higher risk of getting an STI, so all things considered is the buoyancy worth the risk? You make the call. If the water really speaks to your soul in a big Piscerian way, maybe make out in the ocean and then take it back to your room or the shower. The build up to the main event will not disappoint. 

TEAM ZOELLA JUNE 21, 2022

Meet Quanna: The Sexual Wellness Brand Powered by CBD 

The idea for Quanna was dreamt up in the middle of the pandemic, a time of much challenge, when our sexual wellness was quite frankly sending out an SOS. 

The idea for Quanna was dreamt up in the middle of the pandemic, a time of much challenge, when our sexual wellness was quite frankly sending out an SOS.  

It was the worst of times for our mental and physical well-being but it was also a period of great reflection and revaluation of what really matters. Health, be it mental, emotional, physical or intimate, really is wealth.

All too often, sexual wellness is overlooked as an integral part of how we experience contentment and happiness but Quanna – the UK’s first CBD-based sexual wellness and self-care company – is on the case to make it a priority in everyone’s lives, not only by creating a premium self-care brand but by striving to break down taboos around sexuality and intimacy and cultivating a pleasure-positive community.

The lovechild of a gynaecologist and a beauty wellness influencer, Quanna is a serendipitous merging of sexual wellness and the powers of CBD. Here we spoke to Founders, Kate Tikhomirova and Dr. Dmitry Loktiono, to find out more about their brand story, their mission and why we should be making more room for pleasure (and lube) in our lives! 

Psst! As part of the SheSpot X Zoella edit, you can get your hands on their legendary all-natural lubricant ‘Oomf’ infused with CBD to heighten pleasure. Not all lubes are created equal and this one happens to pair perfectly with the Evii IYKYK. Place your order now to secure your box when it’s back in stock!

Q:  Tell us about your brand story. Why did you decide to launch Quanna and how did the idea come about for you two to join forces? 

To start off, we’re Dr. Dmitry Loktionov and Kate Tikhomirova, long time friends and founders of Quanna. Dr. Dmitry is trained in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, as well as a member of the Holistic and Complementary Practitioners (AHCP,UK) and I’m Kate Tikhomirova, graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science and have worked in the beauty and lifestyle influencer space for a couple of years now. The groundwork for Quanna began from plenty of London lockdown conversations; we both have an avid interest in holistic and plant medicine practices and love the occasional TMI moments. Essentially, it was the culmination of these convos that led us to begin our Quanna journey. The post-pandemic haze had us all in self-reflection and evaluating our priorities, especially in terms of the relationships we keep with others as well as ourselves. We realised with our respective expertise, we could help rekindle that sense of intimacy that was lost after such a prevalent time of disconnect. 

A thing we noted is, as a whole, we’ve all progressively become more comfortable in talking about sex nowadays in all its passionate, and sometimes awkward glory (which is amazing), but a silent majority of us don’t mention our experiences with painful and uncomfortable sex. That’s a big disconnect. It’s not really an easy thing to bring up and even less to resolve with aisles of intimate products that have contradicting ingredients lists that one wouldn’t even put on their face, much less your intimate parts. With Dmitry’s medical background that led the formulation and Kate’s branding and marketing experience that helped shape the face of the brand, we saw an opportunity to join forces to launch Quanna – a company championing CBD within sexual wellness. Through creating quality intimate-care products that honour pleasure inclusivity, we hope to encourage a community to be fearless in the face of stigmas. 

Q: What does consciously-formulated actually mean? Can you tell us about the ingredients in your products and your approach to sustainability?

Consciously-formulated means our Oomf lubricant’s ingredients are formulated with a gynaecologist’s keen eye and is backed by gynaecologists. Plenty of personal lubricants in the market right now contradict the meaning of intimate in “intimate care” with nasty ingredients that can actually cause more harm. Ingredients like petroleum, parabens, glycerin, benzocaine, and even drying agents like alcohol and fragrances add discomfort, irritation, and increased risk of infections. Oomf is manufactured in the UK using only the highest quality natural ingredients blended with organically grown premium CBD and more importantly it has no harmful additives. Oomf lubricant is pH balanced and enriched with a prebiotic which encourages the development of a healthy microflora and keeps infections at bay.

In terms of sustainability, Quanna understands that we live in a world where we are all consumers and most of us make purchases on a daily basis, which makes sustainable packaging vital in all practices. Quanna’s Oomf lubricant is packaged as two discrete recyclable product options, the 10 pack Oomf single use sheets being one that is light and portable and designed for the on-the-go lifestyle. The snap sheet has been created with the latest technology, the film being 100% recyclable and made out of 75% post consumer recycled plastic. We look forward to contributing more in the renewability space as we grow.

Q:  What gets you out of bed every day? What gets you excited for another day at Quanna HQ?

As a small business with a team of four, we’ve all sort of become these jacks of all trades to contend with the progress of Quanna. At this stage, you’re handling such a variety of creative, logistic, financial, etc. types of decisions on a daily basis that quite frankly it can get overwhelming. But, the stage we’re in is also strangely exciting, because we can seize this opportunity to be radically innovative and resourceful with our marketing approaches and sustainability efforts. We’re basically throwing the metaphorical pasta on the wall and seeing if it sticks. There is this feeling of being at the precipice of something great and that encourages us all to forge on and give it our best. It’s thrilling to say the least. 

Q: Oomf features in our Shespot X Zoella box, can you tell us more about this particular product, how it was formulated and why you thought it was important for lubricant, specifically CBD lube, to be part of your product offering?

Last September, we launched the UK’s first all natural, CBD powered water-based lubricant, Oomf. We’re excited to showcase Oomf through the Shespot X Zoella box, because we intend to bring the *oomf* back into everyone’s lives. Whether that be through a transcendent journey of self-exploration, reconnecting with your partner, or finally feeling that pleasure is accessible to you again. Oomf garners the powerful healing properties of CBD to ease discomfort, promote pelvic relaxation and increase pleasure sensation. 

The difference with Oomf is in the details. While there are other lubricants on the market, there are few, if any, created by a doctor. There are lots of lubes that say they are water-based lubricants, then you see they have added hemp or CBD oil which is completely wrong. You cannot have a water-based lubricant with oil inside. We deliberately sourced a water-soluble formula so that it dissolves within our lubricant which means you get the full benefits even with a small drop. Oomf’s water-based formula means better (higher bioavailability) and faster absorption rate of CBD for more immediate results. 

Q: Creating premium, consciously-formulated products is only part of your mission. Can you tell us about the work you’re doing to de-stigmatise sensuality and intimate care, and close the pleasure gap? 

Our work to reclaim sensuality and to de-stigmatize intimate care is an ongoing feat. Firstly, how we create an impact is by backing up our words with actions. For instance, we’ve recently teamed up with our friends at FEWE to properly address the unsettling censorship over women’s concerns related to menopause, pelvic pain, postpartum health, menstrual health, sexual wellness and breastfeeding. If websites like Meta continue to flag these types of conversations, they’re essentially conveying that there is something inherently shameful about them, which is ridiculous. Language restriction online surrounding the word ‘Vagina’ or ‘Vulva’ makes searchability for educational platforms like ourselves more difficult and denies the opportunity for women and gender minorities to learn and talk openly about their bodies. Which is why we challenge the taboos head on with our peers who are fighting the good fight.

We also listen to what topics our #FindYourOomf community wants us to broach and provide the resources for all uncovered sex, relationship, and intimate-health topics. We’ve launched The Qurious Club, an educational platform that is thought provoking and a definite conversation starter, aimed to provide guidance and support to our readers. We have an excellent expert series where we speak with diverse trailblazers in their respective fields of psychology, sexual education, and more to address those uncomfortable conversations that we all are thinking about. Our efforts to close the pleasure gap can be surmised by one of our experts, Jessica Megan, who covers the subject, “The nature of our approach to female pleasure has been shoddy to say the least. We treat female pleasure as secondary to everything else. We have grown into a society that nurtures how good we look when we have sex instead of whether that position feels good.” Quanna echoes that sentiment exactly, for too long women have been playing catch-up when it comes to sex, and the way to close that gap is through transforming the way we culturally talk about sexual pleasure as well as providing an effective means to equal gratification… *cough cough* personal lubricant. There’s nothing off the table for us to start a dialogue about and hopefully we do the work where our community knows that taboos no longer need to have room to intimidate anyone into silence

Q: Why might somebody want to use lube and what are the benefits? 

Honestly, everyone can benefit from using lube. During sexual stimulation, your blood vessels dilate so more blood flow goes to the genital area, and that blood rush prompts various vaginal glands and mucous cells to secrete fluids that make sex easier and more enjoyable for both people involved. But, sometimes even when you’re turned on, it takes awhile for your body to get on the same page as your mind which is where a personal lubricant comes in handy for the magical trifecta: more time for foreplay, no time for friction, and ample time for fun. Lube ensures everyone is having a discomfort-free time, and shows that you are a considerate partner, because not only does a personal lubricant intensify sensations, it can protect you from an infection and even an unplanned pregnancy. Lube reduces the friction of condoms, making them less likely to break, and it reduces microscopic tears through which STI pathogens could enter the body. Something else to note: There is no naturally produced lubricant in your butt, so lube makes anal play possible and more enjoyable (instead of dry and painful).

Q: What should you look for in a quality lubricant?

Initially, you need to discern what type of lubricant you are looking for: water-based, silicone-based, or oil-based. The main ingredient is everything in terms of experience and safety during sex. Water-based lubricants, as the name implies, are made with water and are known as the “versatile”and most interchanging lube because it can be used in practically any activity you can think of — even ones involving silicone toys. In general, these are a good universal choice because, unlike oil-based lubes, they won’t damage latex safe-sex barriers like external condoms and dental dams. They also won’t degrade internal condoms, which are typically made of polyurethane (a type of plastic) or nitrile (a type of rubber). Water-based is also usually the best option as a natural lube because more water-based lubricants in the market are being formulated with vegan-friendly and hypoallergenic ingredients such as aloe vera. 

Silicone-based lubricants have a much thicker consistency, are more slippery, and tend to last longer than a water-based lubricant. They are also one of the best lubes for anal sex, where there is no natural lubrication working in your favour. You may feel some residue from the lube if you don’t wash it off completely, but you don’t need to worry about silicone-based lubes weakening latex, nitrile, and polyurethane condoms.The one time you should never use silicone lube is when you’re using silicone sex toys. Silicone lubes will break down sex toys and when this happens, your toys become less sanitary, because it creates abrasions in the silicone where bacteria can grow.

Oil based lubricants can be the gift that keeps you going, going, and going due to its consistency. Oil-based lubes can double for a sexy and fun massage time. But the downside comes if you’re using a latex condom. This type of lube increases the chances of a ripped or torn condom, defeating the condom’s purpose – and your good time in the process. Oil-based lubricants are also associated with higher rates of Candida, a type of fungus that’s responsible for yeast infections. 

Q: Why do you think using lube is still so stigmatised, especially when 2/3 people experience vaginal dryness?

Because of exactly that, the notion that lube’s sole purpose is to relieve vaginal dryness. In a culture where female pleasure is often considered little more than an afterthought, this isn’t all that surprising – nor is it shocking that there would be stigma around a product that is largely intended to make sex more pleasurable and comfortable for women. Some women are too embarrassed to request it because they’ve been conditioned to believe in the ageist slander against using lube, while some men feel that if their partner isn’t producing enough natural lubrication, there’s something wrong with the relationship, or with their own performance. Lube may seem like you’re admitting defeat. 

This cultural aversion to lube is a problem for many reasons, chief among them is that a lot of couples could actually benefit greatly from it. While we tend to think of vaginal dryness as something only the sexually disinterested and premenopausal experience, not all vaginas self-lubricate the same amount, and vaginal dryness is extremely common and for an incredibly wide variety of reasons.

Q: What is CBD and how can it improve your sex life? 

CBD is one of many cannabinoids (compounds) in the cannabis plant. Researchers have been looking at the possible therapeutic uses of CBD. Two of the compounds in marijuana are delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and CBD. These compounds have different effects. Until recently, THC was the best-known compound in cannabis. It is the most active constituent, and it has a psychological effect. CBD, in contrast, is not psychoactive. It does not change a person’s state of mind when they use it. However, it may produce significant changes in the body, and it is showing some significant medical benefits.

Our endocannabinoid system has been crucial in discovering the benefits of CBD, specifically how it supports your sexual wellness. Our endocannabinoid system plays a part in how we manage stress, blood circulation, pain and anxiety. We have a series of receptors throughout our bodies including the male and female reproductive systems. CBD is thought to interact with these receptors giving them signals. This could mean increased blood flow, enhanced sensitivity, reduced anxiety or pain sensitivity, meaning a better bedroom experience for all involved.

Q: What’s the biggest misconception about lubricant and CBD?

That using a personal lubricant means there’s a sexual dysfunction or that something’s “broken”. First off, there is this general assumption that vaginal dryness only affects menopausal women, which is not true. Almost anyone of any age can experience vaginal dryness due to varying reasons such as using harsh hygiene products, drug treatments like allergy and cold medications, some antidepressants, hormonal changes due to breastfeeding, taking a contraceptive pill or having chemotherapy, the list can go on. 

A stigma also exists when it comes to cannabis-based products. It can be difficult for people to discuss their use even when it comes to pain relief, simply due to this assumed scandal-like view of it. Whether it be because it’s seen to be of use just for sick people, confused for THC’s reputation, or that it’s a passing trend.

Q:  What’s the best thing about working in the sexual wellness space?

The ability to be disruptive in a field that has for far too long dismissed women and gender minorities. Early on, sex education is centered on learning that boys have erections and ejaculations, while girls have periods and unwanted pregnancies. This kind of thinking doesn’t open the door to a healthy sex life – for anyone. That is until now, where we and many other budding sexual wellness brands are actively working towards getting women’s sexual pleasure and education into mainstream consciousness. The best thing about working in this space is that we are taking part in this evolving cultural shift. The convergence of sexual wellness into the larger wellness industry is revving up excitement for the future of women’s health.

Q:  And the worst…. 

The stigma that follows you even into the board meetings. Sex is a no-go for most investors, as well as for pretty much all institutional funding. Which definitely throws a wrench into things. It’s not just funding though; it also expands to services, payment processors, technology platforms, and the basis of why social media platforms ban sexual wellness companies from advertising. But when we shift the focus to wellness, it moves the discussion from vice to health, and investors can understand that. As we destigmatize for the public, we destigmatize for investors.

Q:  What changes would you like to see happen in the sexual wellness space to help combat the pleasure gap and de-stigmatise female pleasure more specifically?

A primary goal is to establish sexual wellness as a real, essential function in living a healthy and fulfilling life. Due to poor sexual education either from schooling or even the lack of guidance from primary physicians, many of us have disregarded this portion of our lives. This is why every topic we discuss in The Qurious Club is sourced from the intention of listening to what our customers and community want to know, the uncomfortable and beautiful realities of the before, during, and after intimate moments as well as how our range of growing products can help elevate each of those experiences. Where there is concern over sex, sexual identity, or sexual dysfunction, you can rely on Quanna to examine and educate. 

Q:  What does sexual wellness mean to you?

I would go with Quanna’s fundamental belief that sexual wellness is a state of body/mind that enables you to enjoy and explore sex on your own terms and in your own time. I believe this definition of sexual wellness to be empowering because it underlines the fact that it’s not so much concerned with gratifying someone else, but instead gettiing more in-tune with who you are emotionally, physically, and spiritually. How do you explore that side of you and what are your desires? 

Q:  What’s next for Quanna?

We are currently selling direct via our website and via selected retailers like Selfridges, Molecule, Unfabled, and boutique pharmacies across London, but in 2022 we have a lot of exciting plans to expand into Europe and also to the US along with increasing our product range. Being a start-up is both terrifying, but absolutely thrilling and it’s through the support of our community that 2022 is looking to be a good year to stay qurious with Quanna. Our vision is that Quanna will help to bring about a new wave of sexual literacy that goes beyond performance and bring about a more sex-positive world.

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