HAPPY 2ND BIRTHDAY LFFG!

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On the 31st of July, 2014 I started a blog. I had no idea that two years later, my blog would have totally changed my life. 

My little space on the internet has opened doors to me that I never even imagined would be on the horizon for me, let alone at my finger tips, creating jobs for me, building me up a career, making me new friends! I can't even imagine what I would be doing now if I hadn't started my blog. I'd probably still be at university, thinking I wanted to be a photographer but wishing all the while I was working as a radio presenter (something I have done, thanks to my blog). I still can't believe I've been doing this for two years- where has the time actually gone?!

The last year hasn't been as busy for me as the previous one, as I started to work more hours so have had less time to attend events and opportunities, but I've still done a lot of exciting things, such as...



Attending a fancy bloggers event at London Fashion Week and coming home with bagfuls of goodies- I was completely and utterly spoilt! 


I then landed my first paid writing job! I was a bit worried about whether I could handle working on a freelance basis, but it actually works really well with my busy lifestyle and is such a handy way to make extra money when I don't have as many hours going at Topshop!



Working my first "proper" paid media job as the Social Media Manager for Young Britannia until December, putting on a fashion show and holding a swanky party for some pretty cool celebs during my time there! 





I then got to do what is possibly one of the coolest things I've done over the last two years...I was selected to participate in the first ever live 4Music TV show! If you've followed me from the start, you'll know that pretty early on in my blogging career, 4Music asked me to work with them. That included just making videos from home to be featured in shows. To go in to the live shows and meet Maya Jama and Will Best, and even to meet MIC's Ollie and Toff was amazing! I got to chat so much on live TV and made lots of friends there too, which was great! It's something I would never have dreamed of doing before!






I was fortunate enough to be able to attend Boohoo's Christmas Party too, thanks to my friend Kate! It was truly one of the best night's ever (even if I was conked out by 11), and I was beyond grateful to have been able to go! I made friends here, and saw some bloggers I already knew, and was also spoilt with an immense goody bag too!


I started the new year off with a double page spread in Amor Magazine, a story which was also featured on the cover of the magazine too, which absolutely thrilled me to bits! I love having my work published in magazines, the feeling of seeing my work on a printed page never gets old!


I got asked to write for the News Hub, a site where you can get paid depending on the popularity of your article! 


I single handedly built a website for my magazine, Love from... which was another achievement for me, as I am so backwards in the way of technology and that. It was launched with the fourth issue of the magazine and has been successfully running since then (no major hiccups yet...!)





I was honoured to be invited to the Make Up Revolution birthday party, which has honestly been one of the highlights of my year so far! I got to have a look at some brand new products, was given so many beauty products from the team and got to meet Scott Mills. It was honestly one of the best nights of my life and I am so hoping for an invite back next year! 






I became a Coconut Queen ambassador! This was really exciting because the brand make such incredible products and I genuinely love them all! My discount code is still valid, so don't forget to use "florencegrace20" if you purchase anything for a lovely 20% discount! 







I was fortunate enough to attend a work experience day with Channel 4 again, this time specialising in Journalism! It was a really informative day, I learn about a great place to study radio presenting and even about some jobs that I didn't know existed! I also made some great contacts and great friends at the event as well, which is always a bonus!



I was made the May Princess for my towns first May Fair thanks to my "hard work in the community". It was a lovely day and an absolute honour to represent my town thanks to the hard work I do on a daily basis! Also, I got to be a princess...what isn't cool about that?




My magazine turned one! I never imagines that I'd be able to run my own business, let alone run it for an entire year (and now, longer!), so it was a very special day for me! Running my own magazine is genuinely one of the best things that has come out of starting my blog, and one of the coolest too. 


Then, to finish the second year of blogging off, I landed myself another job, handling the blog and social media for beautstar.com. I was absolutely thrilled to get myself this position after leaving Young Britannia back in December, and it's been keeping me very busy every day! There's lots of exciting things in store for beautstar so make sure to follow their progress! 


And that's it! As I said, I definitely haven't done as much as last year, where I was attending a different event/opportunity pretty much every week, if not twice a week, but I feel that whilst I've done less this year, most of the things I've done have been  better...such as being on live TV and going to Make Up Revolution's birthday party! 

I'd just like to say a huge thank you to those of you who have supported me this year (and an even bigger thank you to those who have supported me from the start!). I couldn't run my blog without my readers, and I wouldn't get these opportunities without my blog, so it's thanks to you guys that I even get to do a fraction of the cool stuff that I do! Thank you so much! 

Happy 2nd birthday to my little space on the internet...let's see what the next year brings! 

Love from,
Florence Grace
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Becoming a vegetarian

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Yes, it's true. I have been considering becoming a vegetarian. (Gasp, shock, horror I know!)


I have been a meat eater for my entire life. It's how I was raised, I eat it almost every day, I adore bacon sandwiches and cheeseburgers, and I have never felt the urge to be a vegetarian. I have had to have a partial vegetarian diet in the past, due to the fact a guy I was dating and his family were vegetarian. I was over at his house almost every day sometimes, and it meant eating vegetable pizzas, having quorn mince instead of beef mince- and having lots and lots of cheese. Eventually, though, he started to eat meat and we didn't have to do this anymore. 

Now I've started this new healthy eating 'phase', I am eating salad, fruit and vegetable's almost every day. I have some animal products, such as some ham in my wrap, or a hard boiled egg for protein, but I'm wondering if I could cut these out for good? 


I don't think I'd miss the meat too much. Maybe I'd crave a bacon sandwich now and then, but if I can get over sugar cravings, I can get past bacon cravings, right?

It's smaller things I feel I would miss- pigs in blankets at Christmas, the cold meat dinner on boxing day, eggs, cheese (brie and halloumi!) and prawns. This is why I'd maybe be a pescatarian, so I could still eat fish and eggs. But I've seen what chickens have to go through to lay eggs for our consumption, and, just like all the other animal video's I've seen, it makes me feel sick to my stomach. 

I've always been a supporter of the "but we're supposed to eat meat!" team, but now I'm wondering if it's just healthier not too (as well as far more decent to animals who suffer for our satisfaction on a daily basis). It's not something I'm going to jump into, but it's something I'm definitely going to consider very seriously. Until then, I'm just going to try and cut down on my meat consumption generally and see how it goes.


Have you made the transition from meat eater to vegetarian or vegan? How did you find it? Let me know in the comments below!

Love from,
Florence Grace

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BRIGHTON!

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My apologies that today's post is so late, but I have only just got in from an amazing yet very long and draining day out to Brighton! Because it's late and I'm sure many of you won't want to read much at this time of night, I'm going to make this a very photo based post but let me chat a little bit about the day!

I had never been to Brighton before but everyone bigs it up and says how great it is, so I was beyond excited to go! My excitement only increased when in the morning I found out Sprinkle of Glitter was going to Brighton to see Zoella- although sadly, I didn't end up seeing them!

Whilst Brighton really was a lovely place with some adorable shops in the Lanes, a fab pier filled with fairground rides and some excellent eateries, I don't think it's as special as everyone makes out. I still had a perfect day with my mum, sister and best friend Alec, don't get me wrong, and I'd definitely go back again- it's just different from what I had expected.

Luckily it was a sunny day, so much so that I actually ended up burning my nose (again!), and it was just really nice to be somewhere new, exploring the shops and the area in general. Here's some of my favourite shots from the day for you to enjoy!














Have you been to Brighton before? Did you enjoy it?

Love from,
Florence Grace
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Am I okay?

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I think there must be something wrong with me, because this evening I had the urge to go for a run. Like, I actually wanted to go running! How weird, right? 

But you know, because I'm doing this whole get fit, get healthier thing, I made sure that I went. I got my work done, got into my Ivy Park gear and then went for it. I really, really went for it. Normally on my runs, I run and walk and run and walk and run and walk, using lamp posts as markers to stop and start at. However, today, I ran and walked and then ran. Yep, I only stopped once! 

I ran faster than normal too, really pushing myself. I put on some really fast, upbeat music, focused on the horizon and really sprinted- I have always been more of a short distance runner than a long distance one and I find sprinting so much easier. 

sexy reactions running run wonder woman

I also took a bottle of water along with me, something I don't normally do, and I'm wondering if keeping hydrated throughout the run actually helped me to run better than I normally do! 

When I got home my legs were shaking and aching and I was so out of breathe but I felt so proud because I'd done it. I hadn't had to force myself to go out, I had wanted too. I hadn't struggled too much with the run, it had been a nice evening to go out in- so yes, I was left feeling very happy. 

I get bored really easily, so I think mixing up my exercise routine is important. Some days I'll just walk, some days I'll do a Jillian Michael work out, other days I'll go for a run. Some days I might do two of those together! I have to keep changing it up otherwise it will quickly become a routine that feels like a chore. 

What exercises do you love and hate to do? Let me know in the comments below!

Love from,
Florence Grace

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THANKS GUYS!

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Back in April, I wrote a pretty gloomy post about how I'd discovered that the "views" stat on Google Blogger, the platform I use for my blog, were not accurate and that most of them were spam views or computer bot thingamajigs. I couldn't believe this. I believed I had well over 80,000 blog views until I had Google Analytics installed- an accurate statistics counter- and was told otherwise. It turned out that actually, I had only had around 4,000 page views. I couldn't believe it, that in 18 months, with so many people telling me they'd read my posts and shared them etc. that I could only have had 4,000 views instead of the 80,000 Blogger had told me. I also couldn't believe that Blogger was so inaccurate! It really put me off blogging, and made me feel like I would now never achieve my goal of reaching 100,000 blog views before the end of the year- something I had been lead to believe I'd achieve quite easily with Bloggers stats in mind. 

Anyway. 

I couldn't stop blogging because A) I love it and B) I'm trying to blog every day for 2016. SO I had a moan about it and then kind of...well. Forgot about it. I didn't want to think about my views (or lack of them), the fact that most of my readers only spent an average of 20 seconds on my blog at a time or that most of them weren't even from the UK. I just got on with blogging and didn't give it another thought. 

Until today. This morning, I saw someone write a tweet about Google Analytics and thought hey, it's been a while, maybe I'll check mine. And let me tell you, I'm so glad that I did because it made my Wednesday! 

My all time blog views now sit at 20,819. No where near the 80,000 I believed I had thanks to Blogger but a vast improvement from the mere 4,000 I had at the end of April! My session time has gone from an average of 21 seconds to 49 seconds, meaning people are staying on my blog for longer (although still not very long...but it's an improvement!). My readership from the UK has grown massively too. Overall, everything has just improved, which I am so happy about! 

Clearly, I've been doing something right to get you guys to read my blog posts more than before, although I don't feel like I've been doing anything differently! I am obviously not going to reach 100,000 views by 31st December as planned, but I see some light at the end of the tunnel that I might be able to reach 50,000 now! Fingers crossed hey!

I have a love hate relationship with Google Analytics, but today I most definitely love it! And I most definitely love all of you guys for continually reading my mashed up thoughts in this random space on the internet, so thank you to all of you- I appreciate it so much! 

Love from,
Florence Grace 

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A sad state of affairs.

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The world has become a truly horrible place. 

We'd heard of terrorist attacks before, and we acknowledged that they happened, but since the end of 2015 with the first major publicised ISIS attack in Paris, the world seems to have gone into a turmoil. Incidents began happening monthly, weekly and, now, daily. Daily. It's really beginning to make me feel uneasy. 

I just don't understand how so many people can be so cruel. How can so many people kill other innocent people with such ease? Have they no conscience? Do they not lie awake at night, racked with guilt at the things they have done, with no real explanation as to why they've done it? Do they genuinely believe what they're doing is right? 



When I go to bed each night, I genuinely wonder what I will wake up to tomorrow. Who will have been murdered, which country will have been ferociously attacked for no good reason? Who will we be grieving for? Because the grief seems to be never ending. 

World peace is an ambitious goal and one that I feel we genuinely will never achieve- at least not in my lifetime anyway! But the rate things are going, it seems almost a dream of an idea, not even a tangible thought. Bombs, bullets and blades are being thrown around left, right and centre and there is seemingly nothing we can do about it. It doesn't matter about your race, your religion, your gender, your sexual orientation; no one is safe from this. 

Where has all the love in the world gone? It seems to have run dry. Everyone is bitter, cynical, sarcastic. People fear for their lives when they travel, when they speak out, when they defend themselves and others. It's turning us into silent clones, scared to do anything should we suffer severe consequences for doing so. 

My thoughts are with every single person who has suffered this year, and who is still suffering. Believe me when I say that there are still good people in this world, even if it seems like there aren't- I am one of them. I hope we can begin to change things around and try to turn 2016 into more of a positive year, because I'm not sure how much sadness this world can take. It's a very sad state of affairs.

Love from,
Florence Grace
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One week later...

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It's been one week since I started my new 'diet' of eating healthy foods that I actually enjoy...and boy am I enjoying it! Who would have though that I would ever enjoy eating healthy foods, and yet here I am, having eaten more fruit and vegetables in the last week than I have done in the last, I don't know, six years or so! Anyway, as it's been one week, I thought I'd share my food diary with you so you could see what's been going on...

Monday.

Breakfast: Bowl of Coco Pops, glass of water. 
Lunch: 4 cream crackers with low fat margarine and ham, a handful of button mushrooms and some prawns with two glasses of water.
Dinner: Pitta Pizzas (one pitta bread with tomato pizza base sauce, three slices of mozzarella and three slices of pepperoni), two spoonfuls of home made potato salad and some ordinary salad consisting of lettuce, pepper, spring onions and cucumber. No chips! I also had one glass of a tropical fizzy drink from the fridge as it was a boiling day.

Tuesday.

Brunch: One tortilla wrap with mozzarella and pepperoni, a small grating of cheese, lettuce, pepper, spring onion and cucumber with two hard boiled eggs on the side and a glass of orange juice. 

Dinner: A BBQ chicken thigh, one BBQ sausage in white finger roll, side salad made up of lettuce, pepper, spring onion, tomato and cucumber and then two spoonfuls of home made potato salad. I also had a mini candyfloss flavoured ice lolly- when I say mini, I mean it was the size of my palm! 



Wednesday. 

Lunch: One pitta filled with ham, lettuce, cucumber and spring onion, a handful of button mushrooms, a handful of green grapes and an apple- my first apple in around 6 years! I also had some strawberry infused water which I had made myself at home. 

Dinner: Chicken salad with chicken breast, lettuce, tomato, spring onion, cucumber and pepper, home made potato salad, one pickled egg and two glasses of lemonade. I had some vienetta and a cookie for pudding as a bit of a treat!

Thursday.

Brunch: ? I can't remember!

Snack: Philadelphia breadstick pot thing (kind of like a dairylea dunker pot?) that came to just 120 calories! 

Dinner: Chilli in stand and stuff tacos with salad instead of rice. Ice cream for pudding. 

Friday.

Snack: Another Philadelphia breadstick pot. 

Dinner: A bit of a cheat day! I went out for dinner and had two plates of very stodgy Chinese food from the Chinese eat as much as you like buffet! It mainly consisted of egg fried rice, yo min noodles, king prawns, chicken, mushrooms and prawn crackers! 


Saturday.

Brunch: Salad (cucumber and lettuce) wrap with some ham and some yellow pepper sticks on the side. 

Dinner: It's terrible to say, but I had no dinner. My 'brunch' was quite late and then I went to a friends house for a night out with a lot of alcohol...so I racked up the calories that way.

Sunday.

Brunch: Chorizo and salad wrap with a slight sprinkling of cheese, one hard boiled egg and some yellow pepper sticks with a glass of orange juice and a glass of water.

Snack: Handful of strawberries. 

Dinner: Carbonara with three slices of part baked baguette and butter with an ice cream for pudding. I can sin on the weekend okay? 


Okay, so looking back on that I can already see how much my diet has improved this week- I've dramatically upped the intake of vegetables in my meals, and even had some fruit this week too! Usually I don't even have one piece in a week (I know, I know, how bad is that?). However, I can still see room for improvement- for example, I had three ice creams this week! I know it's been hot but I think one ice cream would maybe have sufficed! Obviously I had my cheat meal on Friday with my sisters but this was a one off treat. Sunday night's meal was very carb based but you are allowed an all carb meal in the week, so I'm not too worried about that. 

In terms of exercise, I haven't done a lot I won't lie. My mum and I despise people saying they don't have time to work out, but this week I have genuinely not had the time, I've had more work going on than ever before! However, this week it's my main focus, to continue with Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred and also to go for a run or two (although I find them so much harder without my sister running along side me, motivating me so we shall see how that goes!).

I'd also like to point out, a lot of days I'm having "brunch"/just two meals. This is because my shifts are awkward times e.g. 10-3 or 11-5 so I kind of miss the lunch period, as I don't get a break on shifts that are less than 6 hours. This leads me to have just brunch and dinner or brunch and dinner with a snack in between. 

Is there anything you'd add or take away from my current diet? Let me know in the comments below!

Love from,
Florence Grace 

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How social media is helping my weight loss

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This post is going to be a bit of a weird one. I'm going to sound more millennial and social media obsessed than ever before, but I'm always honest on my blog, and this was something that I wanted to share with you guys, so. Today I'm going to tell you guys how social media is helping my weight loss. 

We all know just how addicted I am to social media. Not only is it my job to post on social media but I also love to update my social media every minute of every day! Not only does it help me to promote my blog and magazine, it helps me to make new friends, stay connected with old friends and creates a digital diary, so I can look back in a years time using things like TimeHop to see what I was doing a year ago, two years ago and so on. 

My favourite social media site is Instagram, and it's Instagram that has been helping me to stay on track with my healthy eating and my get fit regime. Like many people, I'm obsessed with making my Instagram look pretty and "themed", although my theme is pretty boring- bright pictures, in focus, white borders. Anyway. A lot of people I follow post really great, arty shots of things they're eating and drinking, healthy or not, and this has started to provide me with inspiration to do the same on my feed. 

But here's the catch. I've been very open on my blog and on Twitter about my new healthy diet and my weight loss journey, so I can't be posting photo's of tubs of pick 'n' mix or dorito's and dip all the time, can I ? So because of my avid social media use mixed with my total honesty, I have to keep eating healthily in order to post photo's on Instagram. See what I mean? 






Of course, I want to be eating healthily to reach my target weight and boost my overall healthiness anyway, but Instagram is definitely helping me to stay on track. Every time I go to have an unhealthy snack, I just think "Do I really want to Instagram this? Whilst I'm moaning online about my body image?" and that stops me in my tracks. Of course, I do still have treats! At dinner with my Dad this week we had chicken salad, but I still had a cookie for a snack there and ice cream for pudding. I'm not depriving myself completely of anything sugary, that's for sure! 

It's also thanks to YouTube that I have been doing so well in my first week of trying to improve my habits too. I watched Velvet Gh0st's recent video about nine healthy snacks and they all looked so delicious that I felt totally inspired. I went out the next day and bought lots of healthy bits and pieces instead of crisps and chocolate in order to attempt some of her snacks/meals. Then from her video, there were several suggested videos in the side bar about healthy breakfasts, lunches and dinners and I watched about 15 of them, getting hundreds of new ideas I had never even thought about! 



And of course, there's the blogs, hundreds and hundreds of them writing about new recipes they're trying, healthy alternatives to unhealthy snacks. Even just people on Twitter making suggestions to me, like my friend Lydia who suggested frying tortilla's in 1 cal spray with some paprika to make a healthier version of dorito's, something I was really craving at the time. 

Social media generally has just been a great support system too. I have constant stream of encouragement from people when I write posts about my weight loss, when I post photo's, telling me if I look like I'm getting healthier, that the food I'm eating looks nice etc.! Without the encouragement and suggestions, my journey would definitely be a lot more difficult. 

So yes, it might sound totally bizarre and totally social media obsessed, but social media is definitely helping me with my weight loss journey! Of course, it can be damaging when a small portion of people write negatively about it, but the nicer people manage to outnumber the nasty. It's only been one week and I've already lost half an inch from my tummy just from improving my eating habits, so this week, I'm going to focus on increasing my exercise too. Here's hoping I continue to improve! 

Love from,
Florence Grace
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