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Menstruation. Oh joy, Aunt Flow has come for her monthly visit. A woman’s period: a time of both relief (we’re not up the duff), and a rollercoaster of hormonal fluctuations enough to make your head spin. Cramps, moodiness, acne, bloating and cravings are all a girl’s most common monthly intruders.

As a teenager or twenty-something, a girl may be lucky enough to have got a handle on her period, but many women’s cycles are not regular, or they forget what day of the month it is when their period is due, and their busy lives are rudely interrupted when “the painters come in”. It can be difficult for partners to see their loved one suffering, but there are things that can make life just a little bit better during a girl’s time-of-the-month, whether that’s providing a steady supply of comfort-food or other goodies, or helping plan for that dreaded time using an app…

Cohorted 1

Most of us have heard of Birchbox – the international company that sends tailored boxes of cosmetic goodies each month to subscribers. However, there are other alternatives such as the up-market ‘Cohorted’ box. I received the February edition, and for £35, a ‘black edition’ box (including free delivery) did not disappoint, considering the quality and value of the makeup samples. Included in the five products were my favourites: a bronze Clarins eye-pencil (worth £15), a Kure Bazaar nail polish (worth £15) – very long-wearing, and a gorgeous eye-palette that lasts all day without smudging. Other month’s boxes have featured Gucci and Molton Brown products (drool…) £35 a month (including free delivery) might sound like a lot, but the subscription is flexible and can be cancelled any time. At the end of the day, a girl’s period is a rough time, and she could do with a little pampering!

Being pampered when a lady is on her period is fab, but forewarned is forearmed, and different apps have been created to help us ladies plan for and deal with our cycles. ‘Clue’ is the ‘top rated free menstrual tracking app by the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology’, according to Play Store. This app does what it says on the tin, but what makes it so unique is its customisability. ‘Clue’ requires users to input data regarding their cycle, but also lets them pick which daily ‘tracking options’ they want to see, including heaviness of flow, moodiness, cravings, skin condition, cramping, energy levels, sleep, sociability, exercise levels and sex drive among others. You don’t have to provide data every day, but if you do (once you’ve completed a full cycle), the app can help you predict your hormonal fluctuations, and send you an alert ahead of time. Another bonus feature that I found particularly reassuring, is the reminder system that can be tailored to alert you to take your contraception. The unique customisability of this efficient German-designed app is a reassuring and supportively adaptive presence that can help us ladies be forewarned of our monthly hormonal gremlins.

Periods can be disruptive and frankly miserable times. But a little bit of pampering can improve our experiences considerably, and maybe we won’t be looking forward to our monthly visitors, but at least it won’t be a time to dread!

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