Happy Birthday, LFFG!

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My, how you've grown! To be honest, I can't believe I've only been doing this for a year...and at the same time, I can't believe it's been one whole year already! Blogging has quite literally changed my life, and helped to shape the person that I am today. Nothing I have done over the last year would have happened without my blog. So yes, now is my time to brag about the last year of my life, brag about my success via my blog but most importantly of all, be appreciative of every single person who has helped me get to where I am today- this is a bragging post and a thank you post too!

July 31st 2014- The birth of Love from, Florence Grace. 

My first ever blog post is so cringy, and quite different from the posts I do now...here you go. Go on. Read and laugh here!


August 2014.

- I got into the swing of blogging. August 2014 had my most blog posts to date, with a whopping 22 blog posts in one month!
- I discovered a few bloggers via twitter- the two first people I remember following are Hollie and Fi! They're still two of my most favourite bloggers to date!
- I wrote a lot of celebrity based, "gossipy" magazine style posts which people really seemed to like!

- I wrote a really hard piece for one of my friends on eating disorders. I was worried about how people would receive this piece but I needn't have been- it was shared across facebook, twitter and received so many compliments. It felt amazing to be helping people regarding such a relevant but difficult issue! To this day it is still my most viewed blog post. 

- I discovered Go Think Big and began applying for lots of media opportunities.

September 2014.

- I got my accepted into my first media event with Go Think Big- a lunch with journalist and editor (the first ever editor of London's 'The Metro'), Kenny Campbell. It was such an insightful session and I couldn't believe my luck!


- I bonded with the team at Go Think Big and they really took a shine to me- from then on, the media events kept rolling in! I got to meet the Art Director of Q Magazine, followed by a "Breaking into Journalism" session. It was all so exciting!

October 2014.

- Things really started to kick off now. Throughout October, Go Think Big awarded me places at the following events: A Discover Media Day with Carat Media (where I won a competition and received a Google chrome cast!), Grazia Does Social Media Insight Day, Channel 4 Inspiration Event, Insight into the world of Media at Starcom Mediavest, and a Kerrang Q and A. 

I got to meet Mandem on the Wall at Carat Media...
...and play with google glass!

The feedback I received from iProspect and Carat Media after blogging about my day with them! Was really overwhelming and I felt so proud.



                                       
                                          Attending my Channel 4 event!
- I was then contacted by Cision, a media intelligence company, about joining a list that allowed PR and Marketing professionals to approach me in regards to working with my blog and myself. This means I am now sent between 3 and 10 press releases on a daily basis- some I choose to work with and some I do not. It's very exciting being able to pick and choose haha! 

- To round off October in an excellent way, I was selected totally randomly with no warning thanks to a referral from someone at GTB for a work experience placement at Closer magazine. I could not believe my luck, and it was a great opportunity for me! 



- I did my first guest blogger post for Halloween! 


- And I hit 13,000 blog views at my 3 month milestone! 

- I also had my first blog advert hosted on a website in the USA with 3000 daily visitors for absolutely free, which was very lucky! 


- Boohoo sent me the birthday dress I had craved for so long but could not afford for free! 

- And to round the month off, I was recruited as a writer for Girls Talk London!!!



November 2014. 

- More media events, including Radio Networking Event, Getting into radio with Bauer Media, Developing Your Personal Brand, Journalism 101 with Empire Magazine and BBC Communications Event. 



- I started my radio show with my friend, Midweek Mayhem, and it was a real success! I loved being on air, it was such a great feeling!

- I got to help run Boohoo's help account on twitter which was bizarre but cool!

- I published my first piece for Girls Talk London.

- I got to meet my childhood heroin for the third time, novelist Jacqueline Wilson. I left her a very heartfelt letter...and she replied via email! She even read my blog! I cried with happiness, it was a very special moment for me. 


- I was asked by my radio station, Blink FM, to be a presenter at their up coming concert!


- I finished off November with an absolutely incredible opportunity...the chance to train to be a TV Presenter, with ex BBC Journalist Dekan Apajee and SBTV and Whats Up TV presenter Aaron Roach-Bridgeman. I have made some great connections, friends and opportunities from this course, and Youth Media Agency, who hosted the course, stay in touch with me today! 



December 2014.

- Midweek Mayhem was in full swing with Christmas shows.



- I was headhunted by 4music to be a video contributor! This was u n r e a l and is still something I do now, sending off required videos of really random things! To be spotted on the telly so often by friends and myself is a totally surreal feeling! 

- I attended another Go Think Big event, GTB does Digital, and got to meet one of my inspirations, Gemma Cairney from Radio 1!



- Rounding off December was one of my biggest achievements to date; becoming a columinst for local magazine, Vale Life. To know my writing was good enough to be printed in a magazine was absolutely incredible, and it's one of the things I am most proud of since starting this blog! 


- At the end of December, I left Midweek Mayhem due to professional differences...but it was not the end...

- I also began emailing Mummy Felstead, of MIC, when I needed some worldly advice! She's a wonderful lady and I'm very happy to be able to converse with her in my times of need! 





January 2015.

- I started my own radio show! Friday's with Florence Grace started as soon as 2015 did and it went down so well, I was totally in my element! Planning upcoming shows took up a huge portion of my January, and I was totally focused on this!




- I did some more video work with 4music, helping them with various campaigns for different programs. You can see me on face the fans with Charli XCX here.

- I helped my boyfriend to launch his business, Stoke Skate Company, using the audience I had built through blogging to help grow his own audience- the friends I made through blogging were oh so supportive and really helped both him and myself out!



- Nervously, I booked myself a place at my first ever bloggers event, hosted during London Fashion Week! It was Gossip Girl themed, so for the next few weeks, GG consumed my life!


- Back in November, my radio station had asked me to be a presenter at a concert in March. Polls now opened to build up excitement for the concert, and people were asked to vote for who they were most excited to see...guess who won with a whopping 257 votes? 


- January ended with the announcement of my stationery line! I started this as a sideline to my blog, in order to use my creative skills to design cute products I loved that linked back to my blog! 

February 2015.

- February started with the launch of my stationery line! 



- My first column was published! I cried when I held my first piece of published work in my hands, the feeling was unreal.


- I was headhunted to be "press" at a charity fashion show as part of London Fashion Week. The experience was totally amazing, I had never been to a fashion show before, let alone as press in the front row, receiving V.I.P treatment! It was such a good night! 



- I started a YouTube channel, to broaden my social media platforms and grow an audience! You can watch my first ever video here...

- I attended my first every bloggers event...it turned out to be a total flop, but I got to meet one of the first bloggers I ever followed on Twitter, the lovely Fi! 



March 2015.

- I was one of the presenters at the concert hosted by my radio station, and also in charge of stage door interviews. I was buzzing all night and had such a good time! My boyfriend also got to have his first ever stall to sell his products for his new business and did so well for himself, so it was a successful night for both of us! You can watch my vlog from the night here.



- My feminist side was stronger than ever, and I became a writer for Fem-tellectual!

Bit of an ironic post, I know...

- At the end of March I had the best day of my life so far, and got to go to The Sun's HQ to participate in a Q and A with the one and only Katie Hopkins! And I got to meet her! And yes...I did cry. She was amazing, she was lovely to me and I was over the moon!



April 2015.

- April was a bit of a quiet month for me! I had my Easter break from college so was out and about doing things with friends and family, so really it was just about blogging, my radio show and writing my column! I did have something exciting in the works for a future project though...

- I recorded my most exciting video for 4music, one for one of my favourite artists, Beyonce! I was supporting the Beyhive and explaining why we were the best fan group in the world! Unfortunately we didn't win, but it was still a cool thing to have taken part in!

May 2015.

- I appeared on 4music adverts and programs throughout May...almost every day I got a message saying "Did I just see you on TV screaming...?" Why yes. Yes, you did. You can watch the video here

- I was given the position of Vice Station Controller and Social Media Manager at Blink FM, which was an absolute honour.

- I was given the opportunity to broadcast my radio shows on Blink FM across Marlow FM too!

- I signed myself up to study an NCTJ Diploma in Magazine Journalism, studying long distance, for two reasons: 1, a lot of journalism jobs require an NCTJ Journalism qualification and prefer it over a journalism degree and 2...well, read my next point to see why I chose to specify in Magazine Journalism specifically!

- I also announced my exciting project that I had been working on...a magazine! That's right, Love from, Florence Grace was becoming a magazine, 'Love from...' magazine! I have always wanted my own magazine and to see this dream become a reality would be the best thing ever! 



June 2015. 

- I released 'Love from...' magazine! I cried when I got them, I was so happy, and after so much hard work, it was amazing to hold the finished product in my hand! 


- I bought my own domain name, so there was no longer 'blogspot' in my address! Love from, Florence Grace became www.lovefromflorencegrace.co.uk yay!

- I was approached via LinkedIn and asked to apply for a journalism job in my local town for a company I didn't know existed! I couldn't believe it and applied, feeling very positive!

- I participated in my college trade show, where I was able to promote both my blog and my magazine, and I made a few sales which was positive, as well as networking and getting my name out there! 


July 2015. 

- I continued making sales for Issue 1 of LFMag, as well as starting work on Issue 2! 

- I did not get the job, or even an interview for the job I was asked to apply for. I felt very down about myself and my blogging suffered, with very few posts being seen. However, I was accepted as a writer for another magazine, covering Relationships for Amor Magazine. 


- I got myself tickets to an exclusive V.I.P event at Topshop with Fleur de Force for the launch of her new Festival beauty range!




- I was then approached by someone from Youth Media Agency with a job vacancy in social media and blogging, which sounded perfect, so I applied. This time I was offered an interview, yay! Attending the interview was so nervewracking, as I was sure I was kidding myself and that I wasn't good enough, didn't have enough experience etc.. I went to the interview feeling very nervous and doubting my skills...but I got the job! So, just under a year worth of blogging paid off, as I am now in charge of the blog and social media for a clothes company in bloody London! I felt so accomplished and happy!!!! 


So there you have it, my first year of blogging and of creating "Love from, Florence Grace" as a brand! It's been an incredible year, just writing this post has reminded me of all the opportunities that I have had and how lucky I have been- incredibly, incredibly lucky. 

I'm so blessed that I now have a career in the field I love, my own magazine and radio show, the opportunity to have my writing published in not one, but two magazines, alongside everything else, but it really would not have been possible without everyone else. Without you, my readers, who motivate me and encourage me to keep writing. Without the people who contribute to my magazine, purchase my magazine and stationery, without the people who share my blog posts...well. None of this would be possible without you. I'd love to thank you all individually but this blog post would be never ending! Just know that I love and appreciate every single one of you, every single one. 

I'd also like to thanks Go Think Big, Youth Media Agency, Girls Talk London and 4Music for the incredible opportunities they have consistently provided me with over the last year. 

Here's to a second year thats just as successful as the last! I can't wait to see what's in store for me!

Love from,
Florence Grace 

I adore every single person who has supported me, read my blog, shared links and so on but ESPECIALLY big love and thanks to Hollie, Katy, Abbie, Ffion, Rachel, Sophie, Kayleigh, Hannah, Danielle, Vix, Tara, Lauren, Faye, Adele and Kirsty. Not only am I grateful to you all, but you all inspire me to be a better blogger too! Love you all xxx

All images used are my own.
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Inspirational women who may surprise you...

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We all have an inspiration in life; someone we look up to, admire, aspire to be like. Sometimes these are people we know, our parents, siblings, friends. Sometimes they're celebrities (because who doesn't want to be Beyonce, right?) However, it is my opinion that there are some women who would make excellent inspirational figures who sometimes get overlooked, for whatever reason. Here's my selection of women that I think need more recognition for being the inspirational figures that they are!

Nicki Minaj.

Yep, that's right. I think Nicki Minaj is an excellent role model who often gets overlooked- dare I say it- because she's black, open to being sexually confident and not a size 0. Yet you only have to scroll through her Twitter feed to see her fighting for equality within the music industry and for equal portrayal of blacks and white's within the media- the most recent example being her "spat" with Taylor Swift. She also speaks constantly about the importance of being an independent woman, yet for some reason never receives as much recognition as Beyonce. So here you go Nicki, here's that recognition now!


Marina Diamandis.

Marina, known as Marina and the Diamonds, never receives recognition for her incredible song lyrics defending women of all kinds- housewives, girls who want to be loved, girls who want to be single, girls who want to be successful and, most importantly, loving yourself for exactly who you are. She sings about how it's okay to dream big, not to let anyone bring you down, about learning to love yourself before someone else loves you, and about how it is okay to be sad sometimes. Listen to her albums, back to back, from 'The Family Jewels' to 'Electra Heart' to 'Froot' and you will go on an entire journey with Marina as she grows up, matures and finds out who she is with the help of her creative outlet; music. 


Khloe Kardashian.

Whilst Kim gets recognition for...well, everything, and Kourtney gets recognition for being the strong wife style figure and brilliant mother, Khloe often gets left behind. Yet we mustn't overlook her work within the transgender community, supporting transgender people and raising money at charitable events. Her strength when it comes to overcoming the abuse she has received for being "the fat Kardashian", "the ugly Kardashian" and the "adopted Kardashian". She's also an incredible business woman- or has been portrayed as one, anyway! But for me, it's her sheer strength to withstand the "haters" that makes her an inspiration to me. 


Katie Hopkins.

Yes, yes the woman you all love to hate. But look at her- she see's an opportunity, takes it, and turns it into success. Her fame began from applying for The Apprentice, despite hating TV shows like that, because she saw it as a business opportunity and took it. She saw the opportunity to prove to fat people that they could lose weight- and look at her success with that! Thousands of people have now joined her Eat Less, Move More group and have lost twice their body weight to reach a healthier weight and live a better lifestyle. And now the woman has her own TV show- so come on! You might hate her but she hasn't let any of the abuse she's received (and boy has she received it!) stop her from living her life and doing exactly what she wants, and she's gaining success every single day by doing so.


Barbie.

The woman is criticised over and over for having an unrealistic figure, and setting high standards for girls all over the world. Okay yes, no one could ever have a figure of her proportions. But has anyone ever researched Barbie? The woman has had a whopping 130 jobs over her 50 years of existence! And yes, whilst some of these were particularly feminine jobs, such as fashion designer, ballerina, flight attendant and boutique owner, she has had a series of "masculine" jobs too, way before women ever even thought they could do these jobs, including an astronaut, formula 1 driver, rap artist and even the president- before a women president had ever even made it into the presidential ballot. Amazing right? Barbie, breaking boundaries for women everywhere. Go Barbie!

On top of this, she's also a great friend, to everyone- even evil Racquel in Life in the Dreamhouse, who is nothing but nasty. So she has great personality traits too! So is it really such a bad thing for girls to want to grow up like Barbie? No, I don't think so.


Are there any women you feel are underrated but are actually great inspirations? Let me know in the comments below! 

Love from,
Florence Grace
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Education: What's the point?

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I was applying for a BBC Internship recently that meant I would be helping with popular childs TV program, Blue Peter. After lots of work experience and reaching education at a foundation diploma level, I was surprised when I read the following two statements in the job criteria:




For those who find the font too small, I'll just rewrite those out for you.

"Anyone with- or without- GCSE's or A levels is eligible to apply. In fact you may not even have a GCSE qualification in English and Maths (A-C) but you'll need to be able to work at this level"

"You are not eligible to apply if you already received or are currently working towards a Level 4 or equivalent qualification (i.e. degree or foundation degree, Level 4 apprenticeship) and above." 

Okay, okay so yes, at first this seems completely commendable. It shows that massive media corporations are willing to take on people who may not have had the opportunity to receive a good education, or may have diverted from the expected educational route. That's great and really commendable, as not everyone goes beyond GCSE's, for a whole multitude of reasons. Not everyone goes to university, or studies beyond compulsory education, and that is fine. 

What's not okay is that at the same time, they are penalising those who do choose to continue with further education! Myself, I did not attend university, but I have studied a level 4 foundation diploma...and thanks to my eagerness to further my education, I can now no longer apply for what would be an excellent job that, other than being over educated, I am totally qualified to do. 

It's not the first time I have seen this either- it is common on many media based applications, including the BBC, Sky and Channel 4. Sky and Channel 4's small print even goes as far as to say- in so many words- that it favours ethnic minorities and people with disabilities over anyone else who applies! 

I find this incredulous. Not because I am racist or discriminatory towards any kind of person, because I definitely am not. But to me, a job application should be based entirely on the experience you have and the quality of your application. If qualifications are needed, it should be based on those as well, but I understand that these are not always relevant. 

Why should somebody get a job over me because they have had less of an education than me? If I had paid for university, I would be fuming. If I had paid for further education to boost my employment chances, to see an application that stated what I have screenshot above, I would be beyond angry. So you're penalised for being educated? Wonderful. If this sort of thing does anything, it encourages people not to get a proper education because they know they can get a good job with a good company regardless!

I understand that this helps people who haven't had the chance to receive education beyond GCSE's, I do, and like I've said, I think that's great! But don't exclude those who have been able to get further education! If its about equal opportunities, then just make a basic application form and ask about experience that each applicant has had, qualities they possess and forget about qualifications altogether. That is more fair than excluding someone who has tried to better their opportunities! 

There we go. Rant over. I'd be interested to hear what you guys think- am I being unreasonable or is this unfair? Let me know in the comments below! 

Love from,
Florence Grace 



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#SayHerName

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Over the last week, our lives have been flooded with the news of the death of American civil right's Activist, Sandra 'Sandy' Bland- an incident that occurred three days after her conspicuous arrest, on July 13th. Upon release of Ms. Bland's mug-shot, images of her cell- the so called 'crime scene'-, controversial theories surrounding her death sprung up all over social media, and a movement began; #JusticeforSandraBland and #SayHerName to mention but a few. Whilst her death has been ruled officially as asphyxiation, many others have jumped to their own conclusions- murder. You can watch one example of a conspiracy video here.



Of course, like everyone else, I have an opinion of this case, but I have been hesitant to discuss it. As far as the facts I have seen go, from my own judgement, I have decided to believe that yes, she was already dead in her mug-shot and that yes, somehow, the police killed her. They can say she hung herself until they are blue in the face- there are just some facts that really don't add up.

But I'm not here to talk about the in's and out's of this heartbreaking incident. It's not my place to pass a judgement and decide that this happened and this didn't, and so on. I want to talk about the clear racial issue we seem to have and the fact that it is growing, rather than disappearing- especially amongst figures of authority; police officers. 

I may not necessarily suffer from racial inequality, but I feel my heart breaking every time I see one of these racial attacks in the form of police brutality splashed across every web page, every social media feed. Eric Garner, Michael Brown, now Sandy Bland, as well as countless others. As a white citizen, living in a house that my mother owns, with a two jobs, a good education and a happy relationship, I feel that I may have no place speaking about such matters. What do I know? From what have I suffered? 

Nothing.

Yet I want nothing more than to join forces with people who are trying to make a change. I want to help. God, how totally condescending of me.

But the year is 2015 and I can't even comprehend the fact that racism still exists. We seem almost to have taken a step backwards in terms of reaching equality. Whilst we made positive improvement from the 1920's onwards, gradually increasing the right's that black people could have and abolishing segregation within communities, racism seems to be making a come back...at an all time high. I can't help but notice that it seems to be a big issue in America at the moment, and over the last year, the number of black citizens who have lost their lives at the hands of police brutality, seemingly "just because" there was a "misunderstanding" or "miscommunication" is horrendous. 

The fact that such a phrase as "police brutality" even exists makes me sick. Abuse of power to abuse a citizen you're supposed to protect, help or quietly remove from the streets is disgusting. What the hell gives police officers the right to end a life, there and then, just because they can't control themselves; just because the citizen is black? Yes, as a police officer, you wear a badge that gives you a grade of authority, so yes, you must be obeyed. It's part of your job and it entails you to protect people, prevent crime and save lives. Being a police officer is a very commendable and selfless job. 

That is, until you start to abuse the power that comes with your title. 

Being "in charge" does not mean you can abuse people "below" you just because you feel like it. You can not take a bad day out on a citizen of colour just because you feel like it. You can't do something without thinking about it- if you're going to pull someone over, have good reason. If you're going to arrest someone, have valid reasoning. Most importantly of all, you can not kill someone, and end a life, just because you're "in charge", were having a "bad day" or didn't like the colour of their skin.

People look at police officers as role models. "The police don't like someone? Well they must have good reason, they're the police! We won't like them either!"
If the police set this example that racism is okay, that attacking people of colour is okay, that hurting them, abusing them and ignoring their cries for help is okay, this is going to penetrate itself into the minds of people everywhere who are watching. It's going to show people it's acceptable to do this, that people of colour are often criminals deserving of this, that people of colour are often in the wrong. It almost sets an example of white supremacy, and that disgusts me. I thought we were almost past this stage? Whilst racism still did exist, I was not aware it was still at large, and now it seems to be growing. I feel incredibly naive.

Police are supposed to protect you from the criminals of society, but how can you ask them for protection when they are the one's you need protecting from? In Sandy's case, Eric Garner's case and Michael Brown's case, nobody could protect them from the monsters, because the monsters were the protectors. It is now time for everybody to come together and make it known that we will protect them.

We will not stand for police brutality or racist attacks. We will not stand for people to be strangled, shot, punched, kicked, abused all because of the colour of their skin. The USA have a black president for goodness sake and still the police across the states are getting away with literally murder. How can this be? Why aren't they being stopped? Why aren't they being punished?

It all comes down to the badge, the position of authority they have- and just like in retail where the customer is always right, a person in the position of power is always right. Because how could they not be? Their actions must be justifiable because they know what they are doing!

It's got to end. Police brutality, racism and lack of punishment for these crimes (and when I say crimes I mean the crimes of the police force) has got to come to an end. I realise not all police officers are the same- but it seems to be a majority, consistently getting away with these murders of black citizens. It's disgusting, unacceptable, it's got to stop. 

A blog post won't change much, but I couldn't stay silent on this anymore. I wanted to make my feelings clear and try to get my voice heard. Maybe it will touch the hearts of others, maybe it will encourage others to also want to actively get involved in campaigning for equal rights for all. Maybe someone will read this post and inform me how I can help- because that's all I want to do right now. Join forces with someone, somewhere, and try my level best to bring an end to this all. 

I don't want to appear condescending. I don't want to appear a privileged white girl who knows of no struggles. Believe me, that's not how I am or want to be seen. Whilst my words may be jumbled and may not truly convey what it is that I am trying to say, I want to appear as what I am- a young woman who wants to help create a change. Equality is the key to a healthier society- everybody deserves to be treated the same. 

#BlackLivesMatter
#JusticeforSandraBland
#SayHerName

Love from,
Florence Grace

Sandra Bland. R.I.P

This post is 100% opinion based. I mean no offence with this post, it is based purely upon my own feelings regarding police brutality, racism and the justice system- especially in the USA. I do not intend to tarnish all police officers with the same brush- I know they are not all the same. If you are upset with this post please get in touch with me directly at florencegrace13@gmail.com


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The 'My Hogwarts Story' Tag!

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The lovely Danielle of Underland to Wonderland has created a fabulous new tag, the "My Hogwarts Story" tag, and she tagged me so that I can join in with it too! Whilst I'm not a massive Potterhead, I do adore all of the Harry Potter books, films and individual characters, so I think this is going to be a very interesting post...here we go!




Are you Pure Blood, Half Blood or Muggle Born?
Both of my parents encouraged me to believe in magic- Santa, fairies, dragons and the like, right from a young age, so I'm definitely a Pure Blood!

Which wand chose you? (what is it made of?)




Did you take an Owl, Cat, Toad or Rat with you?
Definitely a cat! Cute and cuddle-y, no slimeyness or long pink tails and no screeching!! Cats are definitely my preferred option! 


Where did the sorting hat place you?
Hmm, this is a tough one...it would either be Slytherin or Gryffindor, right in the centre of all the drama or action! However, I like to think that I'm not an evil person, so Gryffindor it is!


What house did you want to be in?
Slytherin, because I had a bit of a crush on Tom Felton who plays Draco!


Which lessons are your favourite and least favourite?
Defence Against The Dark Arts would definitely be my least favourite as my inner "nerd" would come out- I hate inconsistency with teachers and find it really affects my learning! And also, the teachers, excluding Lupin, have all been awful. My favourite would probably be the one Hagrid teaches, Care of Magical Creatures, as I love animals, especially mythical ones, and I love Hagrid!


The form your Patronus takes is...
Duh...a unicorn! The creature I love the most, beautiful, majestic, powerful...more realistically, in terms of me and my personality though, it would probably be a sloth.


When confronted with a Boggart, what does it look like to you?
Oh lord, so many things! Either a spider, slug or maybe a demon type character from your typical horror movie!


Do you partake in any school sports or magical hobbies?
Is there a student paper? If there is, I would be writing for that. As I want to be a radio presenter in the muggle world, maybe I'd be the commentator at Quidditch matches too!


If you have free time, where would you be hanging out?
Either with a bunch of friends in Hogsmeade or in the common room...boring, I know!


You are most likely to get a detention for what?
My short temper getting the best of me and casting a spell on someone I disliked intensely! 


What career do you want after leaving Hogwarts?
To be a journalist...and everyone despises that Rita anyway, so I could definitely replace her! 


This has been a really fun and definitely different tag to do! Thanks for making it up and sharing it with everyone, Danielle! To complete this tag, I'd like to choose:

Katy
Abbie
Kirsty
Rachel
Adele

And anyone else who reads this post and wants to join in! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Love from,
Florence Grace
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From blogging to vlogging and now interior design...of sorts! Gabriella Lindley is doing it all.

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So, youtuber Gabriella Lindley, better known by her user name Velvet Gh0st, has unveiled her secret project to her hundreds of thousands of subscribers...and guess what? It's not another bloody book.

Nope, the ambitious vlogger has teamed up with Primark to bring out her own adorable homeware range, which features a strong cat theme and is just totally irresistible!


I was thoroughly impressed by this pairing, not to mention overly excited about one of my favourite online stars and shops collaborating! Completely different to most other successful bloggers and vloggers, this project features nothing to do with fashion or beauty and is definitely not a book. In my opinion, this is more ambitious, more creative and more interesting than anything else I have seen some of my other favourite online stars produce. 

So I was more than a little confused when I saw the hate filled tweets and articles rolling in about what a horrific idea this all was. Apparently Primark are making a massive mistake with this collaboration for an abundance of reasons, claim anti-fans, including but not limited to the following: 

  • She promotes unhealthy weight loss.
  • She promotes self harm.
  • She forced people with self harm to hide it.
  • She's been a bully to Zoe (Zoella, a fellow Youtube sensation)
  • She's nasty to her fans.
  • She deletes tweets to look like a nice person.
  • She thinks she is a Kardashian.
  • She's narcissistic.
Come on! Really? A young woman does something successful and straight away is torn down for it? I honestly couldn't believe my eyes. 

Now, I'm no angel. I'm not saying I have never criticised a youtuber online, because I will put my hands up and admit that I have. I have criticised Zoella's novel online myself, saying how cheesy I think it is, how it's basically an autobiography and that I'm waiting for them to be made into equally cheesy films. However, I have never been nasty or rude about her, never torn her character apart or spoken negatively of her as a person in any way, and even wrote a post a while ago defending her choice to use a ghost writer for her novel.  The verbal abuse I was witnessing towards Gabby was appalling and on another level. People seem to forget that people with a "celebrity" status have feelings too, and this was evident here. 

So let's address the so called "issues" shall we? 

She promotes unhealthy weight loss. Which celebrity doesn't? We are forever having fad diets used by celebrities thrust into our faces as they try to sell their cheesy work out DVD, or their trainer tries to sell their story for a bit of extra cash. It's Gabby's job to share her life, and if that's how she's losing weight, you can't stop her. Look at people like Victoria Beckham who has regularly crash dieted, Khloe Kardashian who is potentially drowning her organs and damaging her body by going on liquid diets. Promoting unhealthy weight loss is not unheard of- if she has even done this- and should not prevent her from participating in exciting projects such as this. 


She promotes self harm. I have literally never seen this, but there's one particular screen shot drifting around the web. Do we know if this is her? Is this a real photo? Even if it is, it's hardly a promotion- in my opinion anyway. And hey, if it was real, she clearly has some issues going on, and I'm sure sending her hate and constantly putting her down is definitely going to make them better...not. 


She forced people with self harm to hide it. Again, never seen this. I've heard a rumour that she said people who self harm should do it where it can't be seen, but she isn't the first person with status to word something badly or say something wrong, and she won't be the last. 

She's been a bully to Zoe. The pair have supposedly fallen out. Big deal. Should that affect Gabby's professional life? No.


She's nasty to her fans. Have you seen how some celebs speak to their fans? How some celebs treat their fans? Again, a case of she won't be the first/last to do this, and even if it was intentional, look how her "fans" are treating her now! So let bygones be bygones? 


She deletes tweets to look like a nice person. Growing up, we all make mistakes. Gabby is just 21 years old. She's new to this industry. She's going to make mistakes. I see people do this sort of thing every day and receive nothing like Gabby has done. 


She thinks she is a Kardashian. Does she though? Does she really?

She's narcissistic. Yes, this word does tend to get thrown around when people actually admit to being happy with how they look. Let a woman be confident for goodness sake. 


As far as I'm aware, there's no need for the negativity that has been surrounding this new venture for Gabby and I admire her for not biting back at every single person sending her abuse, because I definitely wouldn't have been that calm about it! Whilst there will always be haters in every situation, no matter what, to begin to tear someone's character apart based vastly on rumours and a handful of screenshots is out of line- regardless of who they are, celebrity or ordinary person. You don't know what that person is going through, how they're feeling, how your 140 characters will affect them for the rest of the day, week, month or year. 

What we should be doing is celebrating that there is yet another successful woman among us, someone who started out making videos and writing and now has an interior design based project going on with a well established brand! No one can deny what a huge achievement that is, and what an inspiration she could- and probably will be- to other young people. Every time a woman gains success in this world, it's important to celebrate it, knowing what a struggle this could be elsewhere in the world, and that this wouldn't have been as easy 50 years ago. Women need to focus on raising each other up with kindness and compliments, not tearing each other down out of jealousy and spite. 

No one is perfect, everybody makes mistakes, and for the ones Gabby may or may not have made, well, I'm definitely not excusing them. But everyone makes mistakes and does things without thinking, more so in the world of social media. People need to learn to forgive and forget and just get on with their own lives. If you don't like her, don't follow her, don't subscribe, don't watch her videos- especially don't send her abuse. It reflects more about the kind of person you are than the kind of person that she is. 


Maybe I'm biased because I love Gabby, and I love Primark, but I think this collaboration is great, and as I said before, I'm just thrilled it's not a beauty line or a book!! I think Primark have made a good choice, as her flat always looks great in her videos, and she has a good target market to reach! Hopefully more online stars will take the more creative route and branch out when it comes to collaborations and merchandise...! I would definitely be more excited by projects like this rather than book...after book...after book. (Sorry Louise and Tanya, your books are still fabulous!)

For now, just remember that as the saying goes... if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all. 

Love from,
Florence Grace 

What do you think of this collaboration? Will you be investing? Let me know in the comments below!
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Do prisoners deserve an education?

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On Friday, the BBC published an article discussing the latest "scandalous" idea from infamous Conservative politician, Michael Gove. The idea? That the education prisoners receive must be "overhauled"- in short, improved, with the hope that a better education would lead to the prisoners becoming worthwhile contributors to society, rather than them just reoffending upon their release.

Now, usually, I think Michael Gove's views on education are utter rubbish. Whilst I was still at school, he talked about longer school days and less time off- and for a whole multitude of reasons, these idea's just seemed appalling. But I can't help thinking that a better education for prisoners is, in fact, a very good idea and definitely something that should be put into place as soon as possible.

Before you hear my own opinion, you may wish to read the original article here.


£145 million pounds is spent every year on prison education. This is a huge amount- and they receive it all for free! In my opinion, I think that this is totally unfair. But I still think it is important that prisoners receive an education of some kind, especially given that more than one in five prisoners have been found to need help with English and Maths- basic skills that should be taught from a young age, and that most of us take for granted to have as part of our everyday knowledge. However, to me, this statistic speaks volumes- if that large of an amount of criminals have education problems, does this mean that a large portion of criminals have not had the best education they could have received? Did a lack of proper education lead them to offend in the first place? And if so, will being given a better education whilst in prison prevent them from reoffending? I can't help but feel that yes, it will.


A lack of education can often lead to less job prospects, let alone professional career prospects, and Britain all to often sees young people hanging around the streets, getting in to trouble. Yet had these people had an education and gone on to college or university, gotten a good job and started a career, would they still have offended? In my opinion, the probability of it happening decreases dramatically.

But what can we do about the cost? Is it fair for tax payers to pay for a good education for criminals? No, it is not. I believe in a good education for them, but they have to pay. Be that their family paying for it for them whilst they're inside, or they have a student loan scheme similar to that of university, where they pay it back monthly once they use their new education to obtain a job.

Courses run by prisoners typically cost £250 a course, which is absolutely nothing compared to University fees (or the fees of the average prison stay, which racks up around £37,648!), so it's not much for family members to pay, or inmates themselves. This means that we would not have to wait until they had a job earning over £21,000 like university students, but rather they could pay it as soon as they started to work.

We already know that education prevents reoffending upon release. Prisoners who had decided to receive an education whilst inside were 7% less likely to reoffend than prisoners who didn't. Whilst this is only a small number, a better, more substantial education could definitely boost this number up. American prisons make sure that their inmates receive a good education, especially for younger inmates who should still be in school, and it is my own opinion that we should follow that example within our own prisons here in the UK.


Should the educated then be able to earn release? Michael Gove has suggested that prisoners can "earn" their release, and have reduced sentences if they work hard and earn qualifications. This idea is similar to a prison abroad I once read about, in New Zealand I believe, where for every book a prisoner reads and writes a review on, their sentence is reduced by a day or two. This is something I do not agree with. The prisoners still did a punishable offence, and so need to complete that punishment to understand that their actions will not be treated lightly and that what they did was indeed very, very wrong. However, if they have these qualifications when they leave prison at the end of their sentence, this is beneficial to them and to society, as they can then contribute rather than cause trouble, and hopefully choose not to reoffend again.

Most criminals are nothing but criminals and will go nowhere in life. This is a common belief among most people, but it is not true. I regularly work with prisoners who are coming to the end of their sentences, and so need to be reintroduced back into society, and all of them have aspirations. I've met aspiring musicians, people with business ideas, people who want careers in this, that and the other. And its all they will talk about with you- their big ideas, their future, the happiness they will feel when they are back with their families.

Obviously, I am not so naive to know that this isn't the case with all criminals. There are plenty who will go on to do nothing, just bum around and probably end up back inside again- and that is why they need an education. To try and prevent that, and to provide them with career goals and ambitions instead.


They don't deserve an education? Well no, maybe not. But they're going to be released at the end of their sentence either way- so wouldn't you rather that they were released with an education and less likely to offend? Or would you rather they came back into society ready to carry on with the life of crime? I know which option I prefer.

Obviously, this is a very broad debate that could go on and on and on, and it is very complex, with questions of morals and politics and so on. But from my point of view, an education to help someone, to prevent them from offending when they're going to be released (and they will be released) is nothing but a good idea. If it provides them with a better life and stops them from being a nuisance to society and a weight on the tax payers shoulders, if it protects us from them endangering us again in future, why not?

Love from,
Florence Grace

I would love to hear everyone else's views, ideas and opinions, so please leave them in the comments below! However, please do not be nasty or rude; I am happy to have "civil debates" but no arguing! :)
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I'm 19, I promise...!

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2015 has seen the start of the newest, cutest, squishiest trend...Disney's Tsum Tsum's!

Tsum's Tsum's are plush toys created by Disney that are tube like in length and shape, fuzzy and, of course, are popular Disney characters, including Princess Elsa, Woody, Buzz, Alice in Wonderland and loads more. All of them are super cute (although I find the 'people' one's a little freaky...!)

The name 'tsum tsum' is derived from the Japanese verb "tsumu" which means "to stack" because, as you can see from above, these cute lil' toys are designed to be stacked in a pyramid shape! They came in a variety of sizes, from teeny tiny palm sized plushies, to medium sized ones, to giant, squidgy, cuddly ones! 


Anyway, I started my own tsum tsum collection a couple of months ago, when my sister introduced them to me, and my first character was Marie, from Aristocats. Since then, she has been joined by Dumbo and Sven, from Frozen- both who are incredibly cute. 



Disney have been growing their range of tsum tsum's constantly which really excites me but also makes my bank account scream in terror. "You're 19! Nearly 20! You do not need to collect soft toys!!!!!"

Bank account, you are so wrong. How can I deny myself these adorable little creatures? Personally, I am only sticking to the mini range, as they sit nicely on top of my bed head, and at only £3 each, it doesn't really break the bank that much...

So as we get closer and closer to pay day, I decided to make a wishlist of the tsum tsum's I crave the most right now!!


Left to right, row by row.

Scrump from Lilo and Stitch (that's right! They made a toy...of a characters toy!)

Flounder from The Little Mermaid.

Captain Jumba from Lilo and Stitch.

Waldo the Lucky Rabbit from classic Disney shows.

Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh.

Hamm from Toy Story.

One of the aliens from Toy Story.

Figaro from Pinnochio.

Jiminy Cricket from Pinnochio.

Roo from Winnie the Pooh.

The Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland.

Cruella de Vil from 101 Dalmations (despite not liking the people ones, I love her crazy hair!)


I had tweeted that I wished there was a Cheshire Cat so was thrilled when I saw one listed...however, I think he could have been fuzzier and brighter, so I'm a little disappointed! My two utmost favourites are definitely Figaro and Jiminy Cricket...they are so cute! 

Have you started a tsum tsum collection? Who do you already have, and who do you want? 

If not, do you want to start a collection? Who will you start with? 

Let me know in the comments below!

Love from,
Florence Grace

Image 3 is my own.


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