Diet Coke Has Us in a Chokehold ~ Catch Up with this Week’s Hot In The Office

From weekend plans to the things we could never give up - peanut M&Ms? We’d cease to exist without them - catch up on all the weekly randomness that is Hot In The Office!


21 Adorable Ways to Decorate Your Baby’s Nursery

Here’s 21 fun and functional nursery and playroom ideas to help you create a joyful space for you and your little one to share. 

Decorating your little one’s nursery or playroom is possibly the crème de la crème of interior jobs to have on your to-do list but deciding on a theme for your baby’s first home or committing to a colour? The pressure is on! 

If you’re lacking in the inspiration department, allow the following decor ideas, modern colour schemes and creative murals to ease you into the decorating process. Here’s 21 fun and functional nursery and playroom ideas to help you create a joyful space for you and your little one to share. 

1. For a neutral space that’s still cosy enough to see you through the bleary-eyed night feeds, try combining secondhand finds and wood accents with modern touches and calming tones a la No Sixty Eight. Dreamy! 

Via @nosixtyeight

2. The tiny kitchen, our ovaries just exploded. 

Via @home.with.nicci

3. A little commotion for the gingham canopy please. 

Via @home.with.nicci

4. This rainbow safari room is pure serotonin for the soul. 

Via @hannahfgale

5. Pastels not your vibe? Why not go for dark and moody walls balanced out with lighter furnishings. 

Via @little_savage_life

6. Little Ottilie’s bedroom is a certified Pinterest dream. 

Via @ZoeSugg

7. That home library and wallpaper combo. Divine. 

Via @lola.valerie

8. The *hold* Liberty wallpaper has on us. 

Via @bornandbred studio / Photo credit: @annastathakiphoto

9. If you’re familiar with Farrow and Ball’s Setting Plaster paint, you’ll love this understated wallpaper

Via @highfidelityhome / Photo credit: @annastathakiphoto

10. Since you’ll be spending a lot of time in your little one’s room, you may as well make it an inviting space that feels like a continuation of your home and interior style. 

Via @careyushome

11. Cosy with whimsical details aplenty. 

Via @home.with.nicci

12. The calm in the chaos, this warm and inviting playroom combines neutral tones with wooden toys for a beautifully serene space. 

Via @sammiesvictorianhome

13. The cloud wall is everything. 

Via @helenahomestyle

14. *Adds to moodboard* 

Via @uls_andthekids

15. If wallpaper’s not your thing, wood panelling is a great alternative for adding visual interest to a playroom. 

Via @helenahomestyle

16. This bed will be a core childhood memory. 

Via @home.with.nicci

17. Earthy tones aplenty in this boho bedroom of dreams. 

Via @fraeullein_jasmin

18. Let the wall art do all the work for you. 

Via @louisewiberg

19. That Sulking Room Pink aesthetic is *chef’s kiss* 

Via @raising.seb.and.evie

20. A pop of yellow. Love!

Via @kristinstoylen

21. The Kelly green walls, the crib, the croc mat, The House that Lars Built proves that going big and bold really does pay off when it comes to your little one’s space. Note to self: don’t hold back on fun. 

Via @houselarsbuilt


The Autumn Wardrobe Must-Haves You Need to Lead Your Comfiest Life

From turtlenecks to slippers, Ugg Ultra Minis (IYKYK) to ribbed flares, prepare to level up your new-in wardrobe. 

All the products on this page have been selected by our editorial team however some are ad-affiliate links.

October is officially within touching distance, and if you’re having an existential crisis about the seemingly quickening passing of time then you’re not alone. It seems a mere second ago we were enjoying a beachside Aperol and suddenly our ASOS search history includes boots, tights and knitwear. And whilst the lack of vitamin D is an immediate cause for concern, it’s worth focusing on the positives- namely that cosy season dressing is most certainly superior to that of summer…

The self-inflicted need to fake tan your legs every time you want to rock bare legs- consider it gone. The era of leggings and joggers is here. The societal pressure to have shaved arm pits before wearing a strappy top- it’s a thing of the past. It’s long sleeved szn and embracing your inner hedgehog (or similarly cute nocturnal creature) is the only way to make it through. From turtlenecks to slippers, Ugg Ultra Minis (IYKYK) to ribbed flares, prepare to level up your new-in wardrobe. 

So settle in, light a candle and assume your relaxation stations.

Zoe’s Picks…

A couple of staple pieces I love in my wardrobe for this time of year are a good pair of boots, these from Arket look SO comfy! I also love a pair of pleather trousers as they’re so weather appropriate and cosy when it’s cold. A hat is of course a must, I have a nice collection of these from Arket and they last really well. A nice hoody to throw on under a coat or jacket is also something I love having in my wardrobe!

*Arket, Mohair Beanie, £45 
*Arket, Faux Fur Leather Boots, £199 
*Arket, Oversized Alpaca Blend Hoodie, £79 
*H&M, Imitation leather trousers, £24.99 

Darcey’s Picks…

I looooove this season and all the comfy clothes you can wear. You really cannot go wrong with a comfy co-ord for at home and I love this one from Boux Avenue, it’s giving elevated comfort, something you wouldn’t mind your Deliveroo driver catching you in. Future Self tracksuits are the G.O.A.T too, honestly I live in this tracksuit and it looks so good day to day. Mini UGGs are an essential too this time of year, basically wearing slippers at all times, perfection!

*Boux Avenue, Maya ribbed cami top – Grey Marl Mix, £22 
*Boux Avenue, Maya ribbed flare trousers – Grey Marl Mix, £25 
*Future Self, Capsule Hoodie in Oatmeal, £65 
*Future Self, Capsule Joggers in Oatmeal, £50 
*UGG, Classic Mini II Boot, £155 

Maddie’s Picks…

For me, a comfy outfit always starts with underwear. You can be wearing the snuggliest garms but have an underwire or tight knicker digging in and it’s just letting the whole thing down. The Underdays everyday brief and boux avenue bralette are my go to when I want the ultimate comfort. Everyday is rest day for me which is why the GymShark joggers are a staple and you can’t beat a thick pair of socks and fluffy slipper combo to really feel like autumn has truly begun.

*Boux Avenue, Ribbed lounge scallop bralette – Cream, £18
Underdays, The Everyday Brief, £18
*Future Self, Capsule Collection Unisex Socks, £10
*The White Company, Suede Mules, £45

Danielle’s Picks…

Bring on the season of snuggle! I cross my fingers and pray for rainy days come September so I can roll around my house in the comfiest of clothing. These Adanola leggings look so snug and I’d pair them with this sweatshirt from the new Future Self collection, I’ve felt how soft this bad boy and I WILL be snapping it up. On the feet, we’re going with glorious cashmere blend socks and these fuzzy sandal slippers (both of which I’d wear out to the shops). And finishing off my haul with the blanket I can drag around my house with me, Maleficent style!

*Adanola, Soft Ultimate Leggings – Grey Marl, £42.99 
*Arket, Recycled Cashmere Blend Socks, £25 
*Future Self, You Look Nice Today Sweatshirt in Desert Sage, £55 
*H&M, Slippers, £19.99 
*H&M, Soft wool-blend blanket, £24.99 

Liv’s Picks…

Autumn is my favourite season of the year. I love layering and comfy cosy fits so its just perfect perfect perfect. I’ve gone for a relaxed outfit that can be worn both in and outside the house, I like to think of these outfits as outdoor pyjamas. I love these style leggings as they feel a bit different and bring a little more to an outfit than the usual tight fitting ones, which would also work well with this outfit. The cashmere socks inside the birkenstock’s is just a cosy dream waiting to happen.

*Boux Avenue, Cashmere blend socks in a box – Blue, £18 
*H&M, Knitted jumper, £17.99 
*H&M, Flared leggings, £12.99 
Birkenstock, Boston Shearling Suede Leather, £160 

Lily’s Picks…

Entering the cosy season means loungewear is a staple! I never usually cared for house shoes or full blown fleece sets, however, ever since lockdown I am a sucker for them… I LIVE in all things oversized and my hibernation began the minute it turned cool this August (don’t hate me). I can’t wait to start getting more cosy comfort loungewear to chillax in bingeing Harry Potter and curl up with a coffee and a good book!

*Urban Outfitters, Out From Under Pointelle Floral Lounge Shorts, £18
*Urban Outfitters, Out From Under Floral Pointelle Lounge Top, £32
*H&M, Garter-stitched knitted cardigan, £19.99
*Future Self, Capsule Joggers in Mineral Grey, £50
*Boux Avenue, Ribbed seamless lounge bralette – Blue Mix, £16

Lareese’s Picks…

I never thought I’d reach the age when I start wearing house shoes, alas here we are! I’m not talking about slippers, they’re for another occasion altogether, I’m talking indoor house shoes the ultimate loungewear must-have if you ask me. Like slippers but for more formal occasions, ha. Ok, you get the gist. I take my autumn comforts seriously as you can probably tell. Once September’s been and gone, it’s pjs, chunky knits and loungewear until spring babes. Hibernation mode: activated.

*Boux Avenue, Large heart pyjamas in a bag, £30 
*ASOS, ASOS DESIGN chunky slippers in brown checkerboard faux fur, £18
*Future Self, Capsule Collection Unisex Socks, £10
*H&M, Rib-knit dress, £27.99

Charlotte’s Picks…

Being comfortable is my jam. Yes I love an inappropriate cowboy boot or mini skirt as much as the next person, but if it’s not comfortable then it’s not making the cut. I’m ready to spend the autumn season indoors appreciating some well overdue ‘me’ time and these Mango PJs are absolutely going to help me do that whilst still feeling somewhat stylish. J’adore! And I know what you’re thinking, this Ganni t-shirt is pretty expensive, and you would be right, but the amount I wear a graphic or oversized tee makes me feel it’s kinda justifiable? It’s just so perfect!

*H&M, Seamless stirrup leggings, £17.99 
*& Other Stories, Wide Collar Knit Jumper, £95 
*Mango, Check cotton pyjama shirt, £35.99
*Mango, Check cotton pyjama trousers, £35.99 


Everything You Need To Know About Gut Feelings and Why We Get Them

An unexplained knot in your stomach or the niggling feeling that tells you something isn’t right, usually, your first instinct is correct, and more often than not our bodies know before our conscious brains that something is awry.

Your instincts know. As much as you may try to push through red flags, an unexplained knot in your stomach or the niggling feeling that tells you something isn’t right, usually your first instinct is correct, and more often than not our bodies know before our conscious brains that something is awry. And whilst these feelings might be explained away by some as nothing more than a placebo, it turns out gut feelings are a very real indicator that something is up…

“The body has a very distinct emotional intelligence,” says Selda Goodwin, a practitioner in psychic healing. “When we tune in, bring our attention more inwardly, we begin to see, feel and hear our body talking.

The gut is physically located inside the deepest part of our digestive system and is referred to as the second brain. Selda Goodwin

“You know when you get a funny feeling inside your belly? Either butterflies over a newfound lust, or a sinking feeling when you suspect something isn’t right? That’s your gut feeling.  And the really important part of this powerful ability we have as humans, is to listen to it. The gut begins in the mouth and ends at ‘the other end’ of us. It is physically located inside the deepest part of our digestive system and is referred to as the second brain. The first is our mind and brain and the second our emotional one. I believe the gut is our first and far more powerful than we realise.”

Turns out ‘gut instinct’ can be scientifically explained thanks to the ‘gut brain axis’ – the direct connection between the gut and the brain – but half (47%) of participants in a study by Yakult didn’t know that there’s actual science at work, says Psychologist Dr Aria.

The research from Yakult shows that two thirds (63%) trust their gut so much that they always or often follow their gut instinct, while three-quarters (75%) of women report feeling emotions like love, happiness and fear in the gut (vs 61% of men). 

“There is a close relationship between the brain and the gut through a complex communication network, known as the ‘gut-brain axis’. The two appear to communicate on a regular basis, through the direct physical connection of the vagus nerve and through chemical messengers called neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin.

“These important brain chemicals are often described as ‘happiness’ or ‘feel-good’ hormones since they influence our mood and emotions.

Fascinatingly, neurotransmitters are also produced by gut cells and the trillions of microbes that live in our gut, known as the gut microbiota. They help produce these neurotransmitters and it is estimated that more than 90% of the serotonin in our body is produced within the gut.

Selda Goodwin

The mind-body connection is a theory that is being explored now more than ever, with new research continually being conducted to understand the link between symptoms and sensations within the body, how these can be created by the brain and the implications that come from a system so interconnected. In short, the mind-body connection is the link between a person’s thoughts, attitudes, and behaviours and their physical health, and allows doctors and individuals to make healthcare decisions with an approach that includes mind, body and spirit. 

A 2013 study focused on where people experience different emotions in the body led to the first ‘map’ that illustrated the links between our emotions and our body sensations. The Finnish research team that conducted the study induced different emotions in 701 participants and then asked them to colour in a body map on where they felt increasing or decreasing activity. 

“Most basic emotions were associated with sensations of elevated activity in the upper chest area, likely corresponding to changes in breathing and heart rate. Similarly, sensations in the head area were shared across all emotions, reflecting probably both physiological changes in the facial area […] as well as the felt changes in the contents of mind triggered by the emotional events.” In short, emotions equate to physical sensations, and that of the gut feeling is no different. 

“In my opinion, we are wired to understand the body and mind connection. it’s just a matter of trusting and listening to ourselves more,” says psychic healing practitioner, Selda

So next time you get that sinking feeling in your stomach or a sense of anxiety you can’t quite shake, your body is more than likely trying to tell you something…


The Gender Pain Gap: The Myth & Misdiagnosis of Women’s Bodies

"I was told to lose weight, stop drinking, and to try not to pay so much attention to my body. I began to internalise the idea that I must be exaggerating my pain, or even making it up."

This is a guest post written by Dr Elinor Cleghorn, a writer and researcher specialising in histories of women’s health. She has written for publications including New Scientist, Vogue online, The Wall Street Journal, BBC History Extra and Woman & Home. She has also appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, and on numerous podcasts including Goop.

I was in my early twenties when the pain began. I had just finished university, and I was living with my closest friends in London and working at my first full-time job. My life was just beginning. But deep down, I knew that my body was trying to tell me that something was wrong. I had experienced pain before – the numbing cramps that came with the first day of my period, the sharp sting of a UTI, the occasional blinding fog of a migraine and even the agony of a kidney infection.

I went to see my GP and tried to explain how I had been feeling. I was desperately hoping for an explanation, but instead, the doctor just shrugged. “It’s probably just your hormones”, he sighed, his eyes on the clock. Elinor Cleghorn

But this pain was different. It gripped my knees and my ankles and gnawed at my hips. Sometimes my wrists throbbed, and my fingers swelled up. I missed days of work when the pain got so bad that I couldn’t walk. On a visit home, I went to see my GP and tried to explain how I had been feeling. I was desperately hoping for an explanation, but instead, the doctor just shrugged. “It’s probably just your hormones”, he sighed, his eyes on the clock. 

            Over the years, my pain continued. It wasn’t always there – there were months when my body felt calm, and the aches were a distant memory. Then the pain would return, more vivid and severe than before. But every time I went to see a doctor in search of answers, I felt like I was being ignored and disbelieved. I was never referred to a specialist or offered any diagnostic tests. My doctors made me feel like my pain was either ‘all in my mind’, or that it was something I just had to learn to live with. I was told my pain was probably anxiety, stress, or the result of my lifestyle.

I was told to lose weight, stop drinking, and to try not to pay so much attention to my body. I began to internalise the idea that I must be exaggerating my pain, or even making it up. I accepted what my doctors were telling me, because I had been conditioned to believe that medical professionals always knew best. 

Elinor Cleghorn

            Fast forward ten years, and the cause of my pain was finally revealed. After a complicated pregnancy, I suffered a life-threatening heart condition. I was diagnosed in hospital with a chronic disease called Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. Lupus is an autoimmune condition, and it is caused by my own immune system attacking my otherwise healthy cells, tissues and organs.

My new consultant explained that I had probably had lupus since my late teens, and that the pain I had experienced throughout my twenties was very likely caused by my underlying disease.Elinor Cleghorn

One of the most common symptoms of lupus is pain – especially joint pain. My new consultant explained that I had probably had lupus since my late teens, and that the pain I had experienced throughout my twenties was very likely caused by my underlying disease. My diagnosis was frightening, and confusing, but it was also a relief. My hunch that something was going on in my body had been correct. My doctors had been wrong to make me feel like the only place my pain existed was in my imagination. 

As I came to terms with my diagnosis and my disease, I learned that 90% of people who suffer from lupus are women. But none of my doctors knew exactly why. I found out that lupus can take an average of around 6 years to be diagnosed, because its symptoms – including chronic pain – are frequently dismissed or misdiagnosed.

When it comes to chronic pain, especially in women, damaging gender stereotypes can directly affect how real, serious, and deserving of medical attention our pain is deemed to be. I had fallen, like so many women, into what is known as the ‘Gender Pain Gap.’ 

Elinor Cleghorn

Over the last few decades, awareness has been growing around the ways that female pain is taken less seriously by medical and health professionals than male pain. The gender pain gap widens for Black, Asian and ethnically diverse women who face statistically more medical dismissal than white women. The ingrained misbelief that women are irrational or attention-seeking when we speak up about being in pain can pose serious obstacles when we seek care and treatment for our health conditions. When our symptoms are written-off as either the ‘normal’ consequences of being a woman, and blamed on our hormones or our menstrual cycles, the real causes of our pain risk going undiagnosed. When our pain is assumed to be all in our minds rather than in our bodies, we struggle to have the reality of our pain recognised. 

Often, women must endure these diagnostic delays because of gendered misbeliefs about the causes of their pain.Elinor Cleghorn

Lupus, like many chronic diseases that predominantly affect women, is poorly understood, difficult to treat, and incurable. Endometriosis, an inflammatory disease caused when tissue similar to that which lines the uterus grows in other places in the body, can cause debilitating pain – and it can take up to 12 years to be diagnosed. Around the world, women make up nearly 80% of sufferers of autoimmune diseases, and many of these diseases cause excruciating pain. Often, women must endure these diagnostic delays because of gendered misbeliefs about the causes of their pain. So, why does medicine still misunderstand, misdiagnose, and mistreat so much of women’s pain? 

The assumption that a woman is not to be trusted when she says she is in pain has been ingrained into medicine since its earliest beginnings. The first medical theories about women, laid down in ancient Greece, were written by male doctors who held the belief that women were inferior to men – and that their illnesses and diseases were always related to whether they were bearing children. Some even believed that women’s uteruses could wander around their bodies if they were not having marital sex or getting pregnant!  Sexist social and cultural attitudes towards women’s bodies, minds, emotions and behaviours continued to be woven into medical knowledge as it progressed over the centuries. Until the late 19th century, mainstream medicine was dominated by men, who promoted the idea that women’s bodies were weak, defective, and beyond their own control. 

When a health professional assumes that our pain must be emotional rather than physical, or when our unexplained symptoms are written off as stress, anxiety, or simply the result of having a female body, the legacy of medicine’s historic gender trouble is alive-and-well. Elinor Cleghorn

Women’s pain, normalised because of menstruation and childbearing, has long been viewed as something all women have to live with. Throughout history, women who complained about being in pain – especially when the cause wasn’t immediately clear –were perceived as being anxious, highly-strung, or overly sensitive. During the 19th century, women who were unwell and in pain were often diagnosed with Hysteria – a catch-all diagnosis for unexplained illnesses that were blamed on women’s unruly emotions. Fingers crossed, we’re not going to be diagnosed with Hysteria or a ‘wandering womb’ today! But these antiquated and sexist medical ideas have cast a long shadow. When a health professional assumes that our pain must be emotional rather than physical, or when our unexplained symptoms are written off as stress, anxiety, or simply the result of having a female body, the legacy of medicine’s historic gender trouble is alive-and-well. 

Learning about the origins of the Gender Pain Gap can help us understand that medical gender bias is systemic, historical, and never our fault. As public awareness grows around the disparities that women face in medical care and treatment, much-needed change is finally on the horizon. More and more women are being empowered to speak up about their experiences of pain and ill-health. Online, there are growing communities where unwell women can connect, share resources, and support each other. Throughout history, women have been shamed into silence about their bodies and pain. But by sharing our stories, and finding our voices, we can begin to advocate for ourselves, and for others. Over the last few years, many issues in medicine’s treatment of women’s pain have been brought to the fore by campaigners and activists who are fighting to place our health needs high on the agenda.

From debates in the national media about the pain that can be caused by gynaecological procedures such as IUD insertion, to increasing awareness around the diagnostic delays impacting sufferers of Endometriosis, change is being forged by women courageously speaking up about their bodies, and their pain. 

Elinor Cleghorn

I know only too well how demoralising it can be if you are suffering from pain and struggling to find answers. It can be incredibly frustrating and upsetting to feel like your pain is being side-lined, but there are ways to advocate for yourself. You might want to keep a diary of your symptoms to present to your doctor, where you note the frequency and severity of your pain over time. It can help to take a trusted friend with you to a doctor’s appointment if you find those encounters difficult or traumatic. Although you might feel intimidated, you can always ask questions of your doctor or healthcare provider or ask them to write down what has been said to you during your appointment. But above all, always remember that your body is your own, and that you are the best narrator of what is happening to it, and how it feels.  As medicine faces up to and continues to address its failures around women’s pain, we can look towards a future where gender biases no longer impact our health. But until then, we can keep speaking up, and keep hoping that medicine will learn to listen. 

Dr Elinor Cleghorn’s first book, Unwell Women: A Journey Through Medicine and Myth in a Man-Made World, is out now in paperback. 

*This article contains an ad-affiliate link


Every Pair of Autumn Boots Worthy of Your Attention

From ASOS to Urban Outfitters, Public Desire to Arket, this is your sign to stomp your way into autumn like you mean it.

BBC Weather, hit us with your worst, we’ve come prepared…

The season for saving money is most definitely upon us, as terrifying headlines about the cost of living crisis continue to make us opt for the bus over an Uber home. But if there’s one purchase you can justify as both fun and essential this season, consider it a pair of autumn boots. 

As the weather changes and the chances of being caught in an unexpected thunder storm increase seemingly daily, footwear that you can rely on is surely a necessity for both arriving to work with dry feet and nailing that Emma Chamberlain-esque femme/masc style contrast we love so much.

From ASOS to Urban Outfitters, Public Desire to Arket, this is your sign to stomp your way into autumn like you mean it.

*This post contains ad-affiliate links


PSL in Book Form: The Sweater Weather Reads You Need This Season 

3-2-1, let there be candlelight and dark academia. Hot sad girl autumn is here and *these* are the books you’ll want on your TBR (To Be Read) pile for the occasion. 

Dark academia? Say no more, bestie. 

As August slips away into a moment of time and the trees strip off into their golden, barely-there ‘fits, our reading tastes get their very own hygge treatment as we begin swapping beach reads for fireside fiction and something a little more When Harry Met Sally

Whether you’re looking for a romance novel to soothe your soul, a dose of magical realism or a hair-raising thriller, this lot will gladly hold you hostage in your reading nook on a rainy day. Plans that require going outside to be with people instead of books? Urgh, we don’t know them. 

3-2-1, let there be candlelight and dark academia. Hot sad girl autumn is here and *these* are the books you’ll want on your TBR (To Be Read) pile for the occasion. 

Autumn by Ali Smith

Right at the top of the list of books you’d like you receive as a gift this season. In the first instalment of her seasonal quartet, Ali Smith delivers a poignant and dreamlike exploration of how we experience time. 

Set against the aftermath of the Brexit-vote, the narrative follows a 32-year-old woman named Elisabeth and her mother’s neighbour Daniel Gluck, a 101-year-old man at the end of his life. It goes back and forth in time, switching between present day and flashbacks to her childhood and adolescence, where we learn how Elisabeth (with an S) becomes lifelong friends with this man. 

Imaginative, timely and unexpectedly funny, it’s a novel that you’ll want to re-read as soon as you close the cover. 

The Secret History by Donna Tartt 

Hailed as a modern classic and a book you’ll force your friends to read, Donna Tartt’s The Secret History is a compulsive, haunting and atmospheric thriller, perfectly matched for the moody autumn months. As long as you understand that you do not consume literature, it consumes you, you and this book will get along just fine. 

Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality their lives are changed profoundly and forever.

Ordinary Monsters by J M Miro

For fans of Stranger Things, Harry Potter and books set in the Victorian era, this beautiful brick (she’s a thick one at nearly 700 pages) will have you in a chokehold. The first in Miro’s dark fantasy trilogy introduces the Talents – a group of orphaned, supernaturally gifted children charged with the salvation of an entire world. 

1882. North of Edinburgh, on the edge of an isolated loch, lies an institution of crumbling stone, where a strange doctor collects orphans with unusual abilities. In London, two children with such powers are hunted by a figure of darkness – a man made of smoke.

Charlie Ovid discovers a gift for healing himself through a brutal upbringing in Mississippi, while Marlowe, a foundling from a railway freight, glows with a strange bluish light. When two grizzled detectives are recruited to escort them north to safety, they are confronted by a sinister, dangerous force that threatens to upend the world as they know it.

What follows is a journey from the gaslit streets of London to the lochs of Scotland, where other gifted children – the Talents – have been gathered at Cairndale Institute, and the realms of the dead and the living collide. As secrets within the Institute unfurl, Marlowe, Charlie and the rest of the Talents will discover the truth about their abilities and the nature of the force that is stalking them: that the worst monsters sometimes come bearing the sweetest gifts.

With immaculate worldbuilding, nuanced villains and all the X Men vibes, Ordinary Monsters is a binge worthy read, despite its heinous size. 

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak 

Another weighty tome for your autumn tbr pile. The Book Thief is a tragic and beautiful story set in Nazi Germany during World War II. Narrated by Death itself, it centres around nine-year-old Liesel’s coming of age as she arrives at the home of her new foster parents following the death of her younger brother and the arrest of her communist father. At her brother’s burial, she discovers a book left behind by one of the gravediggers and so begins her vocation as the eponymous book thief. As the situation in Germany worsens, her foster parents hide a young Jewish man named Max Vandenburg in their basement. It is here, with the help of her kind-hearted foster father Hans that Liesel learns to read. Meanwhile she befriends Max who writes stories about their friendship – cue the tears. A book that’ll give you emotional damage and change your life on the same page? This one. 

The House of Fortune by Jessie Burton

In the coming-of-age sequel to former Waterstones Book of the Year The Miniaturist, Jessie Burton crafts another exquisite story of family and fate set in early 18th-century Amsterdam, 18 years after the events of the first book. 

Thea Brandt is about to turn eighteen and she can’t wait to become an adult. Walter, her true love, awaits Thea at the city’s theatre. But at home on the Herengracht things are tense. Her father Otto and Aunt Nella bicker incessantly and are selling furniture so the family can eat. And, on her birthday, the day her mother Marin died, secrets from Thea’s past threaten to eclipse the present. Nella is feeling a prickling sensation in her neck, which recalls the miniaturist who toyed with her life all those years ago . . .

If you loved The Miniaturist, you’re guaranteed to enjoy returning to the Brandt household in this atmospheric follow up. 

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern 

No plot, just vibes. From the best-selling author of The Night Circus – fyi, also one to add to your autumn reading list – The Starless Sea is a book so good, you’d sell your grandmother to read it again for the first time. 

An ode to reading and storytelling, it follows main character Zachary as he finds a book in his college library that, oddly enough, is all about his own childhood. He stumbles through a hidden doorway that leads him into a labyrinth of tunnels, stories, ballrooms and honey-soaked shores hidden under the earth – the starless sea. 

For anyone who loved the whimsical lyrical writing style of The Night Circus, consider this cocktail of magic, mystery and dark academia a must-read this season. Booking a bee key sword tattoo as we speak!

Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen

Fans of magical realism will LOVE this enchanting tale of lost souls, lonely strangers, secrets that shape us, and how the right flock can guide you home… 

Right off the coast of South Carolina, on Mallow Island, The Dellawisp sits—a stunning old cobblestone building shaped like a horseshoe, and named after the tiny turquoise birds who inhabit the island. 

When Zoey comes to claim her deceased mother’s apartment on an island outside of Charleston she meets her quirky and secretive neighbours, including a girl on the run, two estranged middle-aged sisters, a lonely chef, a legendary writer, and three ghosts. Each with their own story. Each with their own longings. Each whose ending isn’t yet written.

With fully developed characters and a beautiful sense of place, this feel-good story will be a welcome rainy day read. Five whimsical stars. 

If We Were Villains – M.L. Rio 

Top of the list of books TikTok convinced us to read. 

The Secret History meets Shakespearean drama, If We Were Villains follows seven Shakespeare-obsessed students, all attending an elite theatre school. They’ve always been best friends but in the fourth year, rivalries have started, and things go from bad to worse real quick when one of the students ends up dead… 

What really happened that night and why is Oliver in prison for 10 years? Did he do it, or were one of the other six morally grey actors responsible? 

If you’re after a happy ending, ma’am, respectfully keep it moving. Expect flawed characters that you want to punch for 90% of the time – this is dark academia at its very best.

The Atlas Paradox by Olivie Blake 

The author responsible for the viral sensation that is The Atlas Six is back with the long-awaited sequel and it’s set to be electrifying. The things we would do to get an early copy of this book and not one of them is holy. 

Inside the Alexandrian Society (a secret society of magical academicians), alliances will be tested, hearts will be broken. All must pick a side…

Who’s excited?! Released October 25. 

A Certain Hunger by Chelsea G. Summers 

A food writer turned cannibal serial killer, who’s eaten her past lovers? Chelsea G. Summers, you have our attention. A Certain Hunger is an absolute banquet of suspense and feminine rage, following the main character, Dorothy Daniels, as she looks back on the heinous crimes that landed her in prison. Read: turning hot men into gourmet meals. Care to see the dessert menu? 

NB: we fully advise checking the content warnings for this one because the gore and body horror is a lot. E.g. chapter 13 will make you nil by mouth by choice. 

All the books on this page have been selected by our editorial team however it does include ad-affiliate links.


WIN: The Beauty Advent Calendar to End All Beauty Advent Calendars

The first Beauty Advent Calendar from Sunday Times Style is here, and features 25 premium Style selected and approved brands and products worth over a whopping £800!

The time to hold onto summer is no more as we officially declare the socially acceptable time to start thinking about the C word as … now. We’re not suggesting you add Mariah to your daily listening rotation or buy your wrapping paper quite yet, but the whisperings of the most magical time of the year are beginning, and quite frankly, we couldn’t be more excited…

Whether you’re already looking at festive sharing dishes on Pinterest or need a little helping hand to get into the spirit of things, one thing sure to get you buzzing for the month of December is the announcement of luxe advent calendars coming from all directions. The crème de la crème though, we hear you ask? Introducing, the Sunday Times Style Beauty Advent Calendar in collaboration with the geniuses at Latest in Beauty!

The first Beauty Advent Calendar from Sunday Times Style and Latest in Beauty is here, and features 25 premium Style selected and approved brands and products worth over a whopping £800! The calendar features an almost ALL full-sized line up (we’re talking 21 of the 25 products), with brands including Nails.INC, Fenty Beauty, Kate Somerville and OUAI to name a few.

If you fancy being in with a chance of winning your very own Sunday Times Style Latest in Beauty Advent Calendar and giving your December a boost of daily pampering, simply head to the Zoella Instagram and like and comment on our post showcasing the contents of this festive dreamboat. The calendar is available to buy from the 1st of October exclusively at Latest in Beauty, but as you can imagine the demand is HUGE, so make sure to sign up to their waitlist so you don’t miss out.

Consider this the beauty advent calendar to end all beauty advent calendars….


Let’s Catch Up with Hot In The Office!

This week, the team’s also throwing it back to the cartoons that live in our heads rent free, to the all-important question of what we’re ‘aving for our tea.


How to Squirt: A Beginner’s Guide 

Are you ready to learn more about squirting? Then this guide by School of Squirt is for you....

This is an article from School of Squirt, for content pitches please email

There are many questions around the topic of squirting. For example: What is squirting? Can everyone squirt? How do I make squirt?

But perhaps one of the most asked questions on the topic, and one of the most controversial, is: “Is squirting real?” You’ll be glad to know that squirting is very real and, for many, it’s very possible to achieve.

Are you ready to learn more about squirting? Then keep reading!

What is Squirting?

In technical terms, squirting is defined as “the discharge of a noticeable amount of fluid from the urethra.” This occurs after a variable time of sexual stimulation, and it’s often linked to g-spot stimulation.

Is Squirting Real?

The short answer? Yes.

Now for the long answer: Squirting is a real, scientifically confirmed phenomena. It occurs when a gush of liquid flows from the urethra during sexual excitation, and it may or may not occur at the same time as an orgasm.

The confusion doesn’t seem to be around whether squirting is real or not. Instead, it seems to be based around the definition of squirting and exactly what squirting isFor years, it’s been believed that the fluid associated with squirting is urine. That is, someone who squirts is actually urinating during sexual stimulation.

A particular protein which is associated with male ejaculation, Prostate-specific antigen (PSA), is also found in the fluid produced from squirting.

The real composition of squirting fluid is more complicated than that, however. It’s true that the fluid associated with squirting does come from the bladder. In addition, it contains urea, creatinine, and uric acid, all of which are found in urine. But that’s not the only thing found in the fluids. In fact, a particular protein which is associated with male ejaculation, Prostate-specific antigen (PSA), is also found in the fluid produced from squirting.

This protein is believed to come not from the urethra, but from the Skene’s gland. The Skene’s gland (or more accurately, Skene’s glands) are glands located on the anterior wall of the vagina, near the base of the urethra’s opening. It’s believed that the Skene’s gland releases its own fluids at the same time as the bladder. This is what marks the difference between someone urinating vs squirting.

Myths Associated with Squirting

There are a lot of misconceptions about squirting, especially due to how it’s portrayed in pornography. But we’re here to clear up the confusion!

Myth #1: Squirting is Fake

Covered briefly above in the section on “Is Squirting Real?” But there’s no doubt that this myth requires further discussion. The most common association that many have with squirting is what they’ve seen in pornography. Just as with anything else portrayed in pornography, though, squirting is dramatized.

In pornography, they often have torrential, gushing that seems to go on forever. They will also often convey the fact that they’re having an intense orgasm at the same time.

It helps if you think of squirting in pornography the same way you think of orgasms. You know orgasms are real, but they’re overplayed.

It’s true that the amount of squirting which happens will vary from person to person, and even from session to session. But let’s get one thing clear: The squirting that’s portrayed in pornography is often far from reality. It helps if you think of squirting in pornography the same way you think of orgasms. You know orgasms are real, but they’re overplayed. The same can be said for squirting, but this shouldn’t discourage you from it.

Myth #2: Only a “certain type” of person can squirt

It’s true that pornography has seriously altered the way we view sex. A particular way in which it is done so is by portraying a certain image of a person who can squirt.

Squirting is often thought to be a rare phenomena, and one that only ‘experienced’ people can achieve. The truth is that just about anyone can squirt under the right circumstances.

Myth #3: Squirting = Orgasm

It’s commonly thought that squirting = orgasm. But as many squirters will tell you, that’s not always the case.

Is it possible to squirt and orgasm simultaneously? Of course! It’s not a requirement that you orgasm at the same time as you squirt, however. In fact, many people can squirt multiple times before they reach climax. 

There are things you can do to increase the chances of having a squirting orgasm, though it’s never guaranteed. A few tips include:

  • Stimulating the clitoris
  • Practice edging
  • Use a sex toy

Myth #4: Squirting can only occur with g-spot stimulation

There’s no doubt that for many g-spot stimulation is the easiest way to squirt. It’s not the only way, however. The g-spot is the fleshy nub located towards the opening of the vagina. When you are aroused, the g-spot will fill with blood and seemingly grow larger.

Why? Because the g-spot is actually thought to be an extension of the clitoris.

When we speak of the clitoris, we’re referring to the small, spongy structure at the top of the vulva. This is only just a small part of the clitoris, though, as the majority of it is internal. In some cases, you may even be able to squirt with nipple stimulation or anal intercourse.

How to Make Yourself Squirt

Are you interested in learning how to squirt on your own? Then you’ve come to the right place!

Try and relax

It’s easy to become distracted by your usual day-to-day responsibilities. But for a successful squirting session, you’ll need to shut off your racing mind and embrace the calm.

What this looks like, and how it’s done, will vary from woman to woman. A few tips you may want to try:

  • Take a few deep breaths. While lying down comfortably, breathe in for seven seconds. Hold your breath for four seconds, and then slowly exhale for eight seconds. This pattern of breathing is intentional, which means you’ll have to steady your mind to focus.
  • Play a lowkey playlist. When you need to calm your thoughts and clear your mind from all other outside distractions, music can help. Just put your favorite playlist on repeat.
  • Practice aromatherapy. Lavender and vanilla are popular choices when it comes to aromatherapy blends. You can diffuse them, or even just use a scented plug-in or room spray.

Only once you’ve brought yourself to a more relaxed state are you ready to move on.

Explore Yourself Freely

Take the time to explore yourself freely. This means touching your most sensitive spots and finding what you like and what you don’t like.

Are you not sure how to start? Why not begin with the erogenous zones? These include:

  1. Lips
  2. Ears
  3. Neck
  4. Lower back/buttocks
  5. Breasts
  6. Inner thighs
  7. Clitoris

It may feel weird at first as you explore your body. This is especially true for spots you might not otherwise think of as erotic (like your ears and neck). But by taking the time to acquaint yourself with your body, you set yourself up for success.

Find the Sweet Spot

When it comes to squirting, focus on two key areas: the clitoris, and the g-spot. The clitoris is easy enough to locate, but what about the g-spot? That can be a bit trickier.

One tip for making your exploration easier? Wait until you’re fully aroused. The g-spot engorges when you’re aroused, so this will make it much easier to find. Once you’ve found your g-spot, you can begin to learn what you like. Stimulate it with your fingers by making a ‘come hither’ motion. Or use a vibrator or dildo.

Don’t Stop!

The majority of squirting fluids come from the bladder, so it can feel as if you urgently need to pee when you’re close to squirting. This is because the bladder fills up when it’s sent signals from the Skene’s gland that you’re close to ejaculation.

The good news? It’s not urine. So if you feel like you’re on the verge of peeing, keep going. Just be sure to empty your bladder right before your session and you should be good to go!

Practice Makes Perfect

It’s not uncommon to require multiple sessions before you’re finally able to squirt. And that’s okay. The more you practice, the ‘better’ and more comfortable you’ll get. This is because you’ll become more attuned with your body. This also means that, should you ever want to squirt with your partner, you’ll be better able to guide them.

Frequently Asked Questions About Squirting

While we’ve covered some of the common myths about squirting, there are still a lot of questions on the topic. Let’s tackle a few of those FAQs now.

Can Everyone Squirt?

The quick answer to whether all women are physically able to squirt is yes. The answer is a bit more complicated than just having the right physical parts, though.

Whether one can squirt or not is about more than just your ability to do so. If you’re not in the right mental space, then it’s unlikely to happen.

Why Does it Feel Like I Need to Pee?

A common concern of people who are just about to squirt, and the reason that many hold back, is the intense feeling of needing to pee. The good news? Squirting is not urination (though a small bit of diluted pee may be mixed in from time to time). So the next time you feel like you need to dash off in the middle of your lovemaking session, just let go.

Can I Get ‘Better’ At Squirting?

Kegel exercises may be the answer. Kegel exercises are exercises that strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. With stronger pelvic muscles, you may be able to control your ability to climax and to squirt. In fact, a strong pelvic floor can even mean more intense orgasms.

Squirting Troubleshooting

Let’s look at some common issues you may be experiencing and how you can overcome them.

I Don’t Enjoy G-spot Stimulation…

For many, g-spot stimulation can feel odd at first. After all, it’s an often overlooked spot. And while many will come to love g-spot stimulation, still others may continue to feel odd about it.

The good news is, g-spot stimulation isn’t necessarily required for squirting. It may be easier for most to squirt from direct stimulation of the g-spot, but it’s also possible via other avenues.

Remember that the g-spot is an inner extension of the clitoris. As such, it may be possible to squirt from clitoral stimulation.

I Cannot Overcome My Fear of Peeing

It’s true that, as you near the verge of squirting, you may feel an intense urge to urinate. This can cause a significant mental block for some as they fear “letting go.”

What can you do?

  • Move to the bathroom. The shower or bathtub is a great place to get used to squirting if your greatest hangup is the potential mess. This is especially true if you fear that you’ll pee instead of squirt.
  • Prepare your environment. Does the bathroom sound unappealing? Then maybe you would be more comfortable with the idea of squirting if you first ‘prepared’ the environment. Put down some towels, and remove anything that may be harmed from getting wet.

The most important thing you can do? Be patient. It may take you several sessions to finally let go, and that’s okay.

It Takes Me a Long Time to Squirt

Patience is key when it comes to trying to squirt, especially if it’s your first time. However, you may feel self-conscious about how long it takes her to finally get there.

There are steps you can take to hasten the process, though there’s no guarantee. Everyone is different so it may just be that you take longer than most.

Anyway, on to the tips!

  • Practise kegels. One thing you can do to improve your chances (and speed) of squirting is kegel exercises. These exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. They can be done anywhere, anytime.
  • Try new positions. Perhaps your current positions aren’t hitting your g-spot at just the right angle. That’s okay because there’s plenty more to try!
  • Go back to the basics. A common issue, and one that’s easy to resolve, is that your foreplay and warm-up sessions just aren’t as long as they should be. So go back to the basics and take it slow.

To reiterate what we’ve stated throughout the article: Squirting is real and possible for most to achieve!