5 Things I'm Happy About Right Now

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There's absolutely no denying that right now, life is pretty sweet for me.

I think a lot of people have noticed a change in my tone of voice when I write over the last year or so. In 2016, I was blogging every single day- there were a lot of posts about the heartbreak I was going through, about how miserable I was feeling and about some really low points I was going through, particularly near Christmas time. December 2016 was probably the lowest point I hit that year, and I couldn't even explain why. Whilst overall, 2016 was my year of self discovery, the year where I really began to love and appreciate the person I was, there was a lot of low points for me. A lot.

2017 has definitely seen a new side of me- in fact, I'd even go as far to say that it's seen a brand new version of me! I have had a truly spectacular year and if I thought I couldn't be happier than I was in 2016, I was wrong- 2017 me has reached new levels of happiness altogether. I made new friends, I worked harder on my business and freelance work than ever before, I met new people who are now some of my closest friends, I cut off toxic people who were dragging me down, I got a new job that's kickstarted an entirely new career for me and, now, I have a new relationship too.

I am so happy. I can barely express it in words just how elated I am with my life, how in love I am with my life. I was worried to keep harping on about it, but you guys told me you wanted to hear it- so here I am, telling you all 5 things I am super happy about right now!



My Career
I am so happy with where my work is at right now. My magazine is developing all the time- the latest issue just come out (cop one for yourself here: lovefrommag.bigcartel.com), I'm continuing to do really well in my 9-5 job, I've had some exciting writing opportunities recently, including getting to spend a weekend at a 4* hotel for a review, and have more lined up, I have a presenting gig coming up next month which I can't wait for, even if I am a little nervous... and to top it all off, this weekend I am going to be speaking at an event in London about my business- because I've been recognised as a successful business woman.

That really puts a huge smile on my face. That kind of recognition is unlike anything else! People have doubted me from day one. Sometimes I've just had to clap for my damn self when no one else would in order to keep on going with it all. The fact that it's paying off, with opportunities like this coming up, really makes it all worthwhile. I couldn't be happier about it!

I am so excited to be speaking about being a successful business woman- it's a huge step for my career, and also out of my comfort zone!


The People In My Life
I am honestly surrounded by the best people right now! People who support me, uplift me, are honest with me when they need to be and don't let me take any shit. Some of them have been around for years, some of them have been around for less time than that, but I still love and appreciate them all the same!

It is so important to surround yourself with good people. Negative people who bring toxicity and drama to your life just drag you down and really do have a damaging impact on your mental health- surround yourself with only the best of the best! I took some time to think about who I really needed in my life, who I wanted in my life, and while this year I have definitely made some losses, they're only short term! In the grand scheme of things, these choices are better for me, my mental health, my sanity and my happiness- truly!



My Plans
I've recently just come off of a nine day break, in which I stayed in Manchester for a weekend, Amsterdam for the week and then Bicester for the weekend with my boyfriend- those nine days made me incredibly happy. Especially my time in Amsterdam! It really is my favourite place in the world.

Now, I have a lot more plans coming up that I'm looking forward to- Makeup Revolution's Halloween Party, my birthday weekend with my pals (which I am so excited for!), my friends baby shower, my actual birthday, going to see Tom bloody Hanks in real life (kill me omg), baby Bobbie's first birthday, a presenting job I have coming up, my boyfriend's birthday, another friend of mine having a baby...and that's all just November!

In addition to all that I'm looking at endless mini breaks and holidays for next year, I'm seeing Anne-Marie next year, looking into more presenting gigs and so on. I am just so happy to be fortunate enough to be able to keep my life as busy and exciting as it has been/is!




I'm Seeing Tom Hanks
In less than two weeks, I will be in the centre of the front row at London Southbank Centre listening to my favourite person in the world, Tom Hanks, read from his book and give a talk. Tom Hanks. In person. In real life. In front of me. Did I mention it's also happening on my freaking birthday?!

Anyone who truly knows me will know that this really was a case of the stars aligning for me!! I am so excited I can barely breathe and I am absolutely determined to get him to notice me and say hi- or, better still, happy birthday! I will cry and cry and cry with happiness and would absolutely never ask anything else from life ever again. Ever. (Someone, somewhere please make this happen).



My boyfriend
Alright, alright- if you're opposed to a bit of cheese and a bit of cringe, stop reading now. You must have known this was coming right?

Obviously my boyfriend is making me very happy right now! He's honestly a God send and somehow still manages to surprise me every single day with just how bloody lovely he is. I've honestly never been treated so well or known someone to be so nice all of the time! He absolutely puts the biggest smile on my face every single day, without fail! It is quite a contrast to the way I've been treated previously and he genuinely doesn't get it when I get so emosh/happy over him doing things that he thinks are so simple and insignificant. But it just means so much to me to be treated the way he treats me, and I honestly don't think I've ever been so happy. (Cute, aren't I?)





Someone told me the other day that I am "glowing" with happiness nowadays- glowing! That really made me smile that not only has my life switched right up and made me so happy that I appear to be glowing, but also that other people are noticing too! I get a message almost every day from someone telling me how happy they are for me that my life has turned around or that I'm finally in a good place with the right people.

It means so much to me that people pay attention to me enough to notice changes in my life and in my happiness- it means even more when people leave me lovely messages and comments telling me just how happy they are for me. It's almost overwhelming.

Okay, enough from me- now I want to know what you're happy about right now! It could be anything, 5 things or 1, share them with me in the comments below! Let's all be happy together!

Love from,
Florence Grace
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SURVIVOR

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Earlier on this year, I wrote “I wish younger me had known that it was possible to be this happy all of the time”. Since then, my life has become even happier, if you can believe it! Yet earlier on this week, I shared a post with you that opened up about a time when my life wasn’t quite so happy.  A time when things were far bleaker, where I hit rock bottom and fully believed that that was as good as it was ever going to get for me.

I am a firm believer in the fact that your past does not define you, in any way, shape or form. Sure, it can influence who you are and the choices you make in life, but it doesn’t have to define you and your future, not at all. My past certainly influences the person I am today but it absolutely doesn’t define me. Rather, it has taught me a lesson I won’t ever forget. It taught me how to survive. Because even when I was at rock bottom, when I was torturing myself over the behaviour of others, when my parents were going through a divorce that was breaking my heart and I was being bullied at school by people I believed were my friends and I was being abused by someone who I thought loved me, I survived. I pulled myself through on my own. I made sure I achieved the grades I needed to get into university on my own. I made career choices, worked my butt off to get where I am today and pulled myself through all the hardships on my own. My past, if nothing else, made me a survivor. It taught me how to be strong, how to look after myself, to not let the nasty people in this world drag me down- and today, I am a far better person because of it.




I get called mouthy now. I get told I’m too big for my boots, that I have an attitude problem, that I have my walls built too high around me. Can anyone blame me? After everything I’ve been through, I spot one sign of trouble from someone and I’m out! It’s a defence mechanism that I developed at the age of 15 when my life first began to tilt upside down, and I have used ever since. My ‘mouthy-ness’ isn’t because I don’t care, or want to be a ‘bitch’- it’s because you’ve started to give me shit and I’m not prepared to deal with it, so I’m shutting it down in the only way I know how; by getting defensive, parring you off with some sort of savage comment and cutting you out of my life. It might sound brutal but it’s the way I am because of the things that have happened to me- my brain wants to protect me from everyone.

I don’t mind though. It means I don’t take shit, which means that I am only surrounded by the best people possible. It means no one messes with me, because I don’t give them the chance to. The people in my life are genuine, true friends who are deserving of being there. I couldn’t appreciate them more.

From the age of 15-20 I was bullied, I was abused and I was left with a broken home. Now, I’m 21, with a dream career that I love, alongside running my own business, an incredible group of friends around me who I absolutely love, a settled family home (give or take a few bust ups with my mum…) and an incredible boyfriend. I am happy almost all of the time, happier than I can ever remember feeling before in my life. I honestly couldn’t ask for much more.

I’m a survivor and I'm here to tell you that it always gets better. Life gets better. I can promise you that.

Love from,

Florence Grace
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Domestic Violence Awareness Month

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*Trigger warning. The following content discusses domestic abuse (physical, emotional, mental, sexual), self harm and eating disorders. If that content will trigger you, please do not read on*

I've never had a partner hit me. I've never had a partner kick me. I never had a partner leave me with a black eye, or a bruised face that I needed to cover up with makeup in a desperate attempt to look 'normal'.

What I have had has been far more subtle. Pushed in the stomach so hard I was sick, pinned to the bathroom wall by my throat, arms twisted up behind my back, 'restrained' on the floor, bruises on parts of my body that no one would see. Not once but twice, there ended up being a hole in the wall where my partner tried to scare me as though he was going to punch me, before veering off at the last second. I've had items of mine broken, a door slammed into my face, doors literally burst through because I'd locked myself away on the other side, resulting in the door being totally destroyed. Let's not even begin to speak about the emotional and psychological torment I endured either, plus other forms of abuse I really can't bring myself to address just yet. I suffered at the hands of someone I loved blindly for far too long, and for so long I believed that that was what love was. It didn't matter about this guys behaviour, because he loved me, right? For every bad month there was one good day that seemed to cancel it all out, make it all okay. This was how mature, serious relationships worked, right? There were bad times and you worked through them, but you stuck around for the good days because that was why you loved them and that made it all worth it. Right?

Wrong. 

Wrong, wrong, wrong.




       Being broken


Being in an abusive relationship is something I very rarely talk about. In fact, only four people in this entire world know the full extent of it. My parents know very, very brief details. It's just not something I felt I could share. In fact, I'm still not fully comfortable sharing it now- but it's definitely an important topic that needs discussing. Now that October is here, it's Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and so now seemed a good a time as ever to discuss something that has played a huge part in my life that really isn't discussed a lot. I've wanted to speak up for so long...

...But it feels almost embarrassing, you know? To sit there, with me being the tough, sassy, outgoing individual that I am, and have to confess to people that once upon a time, I let somebody break me. I let them grind me right down until I firmly believed I was nothing. I developed body dysmorphia and odd eating habits, I followed 'rules' to please my partner, I cut all my friends off, I even self harmed at one incredibly low point, I did as I was told. I let him break me.

And while obviously I haven't stayed broken, the scars of what I endured have stuck with me forever. My past doesn't define me, of course it doesn't, but it's always going to be a part of who I am. It plays a massive role in creating the person I am today, impacting upon my relationships with everyone, even if I don't want it to. It just happens.


         My support system

I think having a good support system is absolutely crucial, to all aspects of life really, but particularly if you're going through something like domestic violence. Even if the people you tell can't help, just being able to offload so you aren't carrying the burden alone can make you feel so much better. I tried to tell people before it got too bad, once or twice. Funnily enough, none of them believed me- needless to say, none of them are in my life now.

I distinctly remember showing a friend bruises on my thighs and him saying "You could have done those yourself, how do I know if it was him?", while another friend said "What do you want me to do about it?". Those people? They weren't my friends.

I'm fortunate enough that now I have the right people around me who dragged me through it. They didn't at the time, because I didn't tell them. But when they did know, they proved themselves to be the truest of friends.

Friends who cried because they had no idea what I'd gone through until I confessed. Friends who held me while I cried for hours on end because I thought I'd never be fixed. Friends who have listened to me time and time and time again, always giving me advice and reassurance that, while it might hurt now, in the end it will be okay. Friends who tolerate the fact that sometimes, I need a shot or five of vodka to numb my brain, because while alcohol certainly doesn't solve problems, it sure as hell makes them feel better. Friends who have supported my good decisions and drawn me away from my bad ones. Friends who have believed that I would get better. And I did. 



            Surviving


I'm one of the lucky ones, because for me, it has turned out okay. I managed to leave the relationship, I've managed to process what I've been through, work through it (for the most part) and fix myself. I was left feeling destroyed, unwanted and unlovable and now feel quite the opposite.

But that isn't the case for everyone.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and it's important that this is something we all observe, if even for a day. So often cases of domestic violence go unnoticed. People learn how to hide any physical injuries, abusers learn how to be secret about their violence- sometimes, the abuse can go on for years and years. Sometimes, it can end in death. It's absolutely not acceptable and it needs to stop.

It isn't just women who suffer, either. Domestic violence doesn't discriminate. A huge number of men also suffer in domestic violence cases, but so often they're afraid to speak out for fear of looking weak, or appearing to be less of a man. This simply isn't the case- domestic violence can happen to anyone- even children.





      What now?

Well...what now?

We need to talk about it more, that's for sure. I know growing up, I had no clue about domestic violence until I began reading about it quite frequently in Jacqueline Wilson books, and then in movies and TV shows like Hollyoaks as I got a bit older. It's not something that was discussed at home, or at school. It's not something anyone I knew openly spoke about- but I guess, why would we? We had no reason to.

Often, the domestic violence in pop culture is glamorized, spreading the message that this is love, that this behaviour is normal. We see people forgiving their abusers, being too afraid to speak up, and while this is definitely an accurate representation of real life situations, it also enforces the idea that that's all someone being abused can do- forgive and forget in silence.

Domestic violence can only thrive in silence. The more of a conversation there is about the topic, the more we will be able to pick up the signs of it, help those suffering through it, try and prevent it from happening at all. Everybody deserves to feel safe in their own home, man or woman, adult or child. It's taken me years before I've been able to say anything beyond my little safety net of trusted friends, and obviously if you aren't in a safe situation to speak about it, or don't feel comfortable doing so, then don't. But just know that you don't have to suffer in silence. There is always someone ready to help you, be that a friend, a colleague or a stranger at the end of a phone. You really aren't alone.

For so long I felt like I was alone. I let people disbelieve me, make me doubt myself. I was walked all over, tormented for far too long. Now I'm free, and I'm happy. I'm okay. Don't you think every man and woman in this world deserves the same?

Love from,

Florence Grace

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Making changes

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Alright, alright- don't act like you didn't know a post like this was coming!

If you follow me on social media, you'll know that recently I got myself a new boyfriend. Yep, for real. The ice queen with her stone cold heart who absolutely vowed to be single for another year at least actually cracked and somehow ended up with a boyfriend. For. Real.

I won't lie to you all, I'm pretty happy. In fact, I'm so unused to feeling the way that I feel that I sometimes wonder if I'm actually okay and if the way that I'm feeling is normal. My girlfriends are probably sick of getting my panicky messages at all hours of the day and night saying "but is this normal to feel like this?!" (always my messages are met with eyeroll emojis and reassurance that I'm absolutely fine. Sorry guys)

I just can't help it, you know? I was left so damaged and felt absolutely broken beyond repair after my last relationship that I just really can't get used to being with someone who actually treats me properly. It means that when he does something tiny, insignificant almost (like turning up at my house with cookie dough ice cream), it means so much more to me than it would anyone else because it's just not what I'm used to from anyone. A lot of people keep telling me how upsetting that is to hear, but I'm trying to look at it like a good thing- it just means that I can fully appreciate every single thing about my new boyfriend all of the time!

It's been a pretty scary experience, getting to know someone and deciding that I want to let them into my life and actually start a new relationship. There were so many times where I freaked out and wanted to run away, texting my friends typo-filled messages written in a blind panic about how I couldn't do this, how I had to cut him off because I couldn't cope with a relationship again and could feel myself getting attached, I couldn't let myself be hurt or ruined all over again. One time I got so worked up I had to leave work to go for a walk and call my sister in the middle of a melt down because "I just don't know how to do this". Being so happy, letting someone make me so happy, freaked me out big time. Like I said, I was- and sometimes still am- so unused to it.

Luckily, I have the best people around me who kept me fully grounded, verbally slapping me through the phone and telling me to get my shit together, reminding me that "he's not the same" and that I couldn't be alone forever (to which I would always protest, I won't be alone, I'll spend my life surrounded by cats...yep, my friends weren't buying in to that one). My friends are honestly great- they always pull me through everything that I try to run from when I freak out and I always end up okay. Thankfully, they helped me to realise every single time that it was okay to let someone else make you happy, to open up to someone even when you are totally terrified to do so- and so I ended up being overly happy with a new boyfriend who is nothing but absolutely lovely to me (and who tolerates my horrendous snoring- what a babe).


     Opening up

One of the hardest things I've had to deal with so far is opening up to this new person. After the colossal heartbreak I went through, I vowed to myself I wasn't ever going to open up to anyone again. I wouldn't make myself vulnerable to being hurt again because I just couldn't deal with the pain of it all. And while I absolutely tried my best to be closed up and, ultimately, unattached, guess what? Relationships are never going to work if you're like that. I've had to force myself to open up to this new guy, make myself completely vulnerable and just trust that he's not going to be like every other asshole I've encountered before now. It's incredibly hard- he's easy to be myself around and I'm totally comfortable around him, so that's not the problem at all. The problem is the internal battle I face every day when I go to open up and my brain tries to make me shut down as it goes into its defense mode. But hey, I'm taking baby steps and I'm getting there. It's difficult but it's absolutely worth it.


      Finding balance

Okay so I definitely forgot how time consuming being in a relationship is- and I mean that in only the best way. I'm so used to being by myself, doing what I want, when I want, going out every weekend and to the gym with Alex and seeing the girls for dinner dates all the time, coming home and writing, working in the days...now I somehow have to squeeze a boyfriend in to the equation too! Thankfully, my boyfriend is a lot of fun and always wants to go out and do stuff, which just means that I'm having to sacrifice, dare I say, 'less important' things, such as blogging and the gym, to spend the time I want to with him. I think so far, I've got the balance pretty spot on- I'm seeing the girls at least once or twice a week, squeezing in the gym where I can, writing while he watches football and still finding time to do so many fun things like going to the zoo, going to play mini golf, going shopping and booking weekends away...it all seems to be working fine for me, which is fab. Finding time and altering the balance in my life has definitely been such an easy change for me to make.

 
         Self-love

Yep, it goes without saying that loving myself has definitely had a positive impact on this new relationship. This isn't something that anyone else will really be able to comment on, as it's something only I really notice. When I was in a relationship before, I was so unhappy within myself and that, combined with a few other factors, made me incredibly insecure, bitter, tense and just generally not a great person to be with. Now, I am 100% confident within the person that I am, I love who I am and how I look and it's made me so much happier, which means I'm a better partner to have than I was before. A lot of people criticised me for being single for so long, telling me that I needed to "get back out there" and other such cliches, but I am so appreciative of taking time to just be by myself. It's really shaped the person I am and now that I've been genuinely happy on my own, I know that I can be genuinely happy with someone else too.


      Being happy

Obviously, the most important thing about being in a relationship is being happy, and that's definitely what I am- ecstatic, elated, overjoyed, every other word you could use to describe being absolutely over the moon happy. I honestly believed that I was the happiest I could ever be over the last 18 months or so. I spent so long working on myself, for myself, by myself, learning to completely love myself and embrace who I was and I was genuinely the happiest I've ever been. As you'll know from previous posts, so often I stopped and thought "I am genuinely at peak happiness. This is as good as it gets". I had great friends and family around me, started a new career that I love, my blog and magazine were taking off and I had some amazing opportunities... I honestly couldn't have been happier!

Except apparently I could be, because now I am! I'm at a new level of happy I have honestly never felt before and I love it. It terrifies me that one person can make me so God damn happy, because to have that power is quite a big thing! However, I'm trying not to worry about that too much and instead, I'm trying to just 100% enjoy feeling this way, all of the time. I am so bloody happy.






A while ago, I shared a quote in a blog post from my best friend Alex, who said "you need to start removing the bricks from this wall you've built up around yourself". What I didn't share with you guys is that she said this quote to me in relation to my new relationship, but what I can tell you is that it's advice I've definitely taken on board. It's important to be able to surround yourself with people who make you happy, and if that means I have to knock down this circle of protection I've surrounded myself with, then I'm more than prepared to do that. I had my time to discover who I was, to learn to appreciate the person I am while being by myself, and now I'm more than happy to share that person I've become with someone else who actually deserves to know her. (God, I really am cringey now aren't I? Bet you guys don't even recognise me...)

Don't worry though, guys. Sassy Flo who rants about fuckboys, preaches about loving yourself before you love anyone else and is all about girl power is still right here. I have a lot of life lessons to share about all of those  topics, so while I'm making a lot of changes in my life, the person I am and the things I write about aren't included in those! Hang in there...there'll be more sassy content coming soon.

Love from,
Florence Grace
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Why you should quit smoking *

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Quitting smoking is super hard. I'm not a smoker myself but I have watched one of my sisters try (and fail) numerous times to give up smoking, several friends and even my Dad. While some of them have been successful, others have not, and this is probably due to the fact that giving up smoking is just so hard. However, there are so many reasons why you should! If the health scares about cancer, lung disease and everything else aren't enough for you, how about the physical side effects of smoking? Smoking causes premature aging for one thing, excess wrinkles around your mouth for another. Here are some of the physical changes you'll notice in yourself if you quit smoking.

Better Skin
Changes in diet and in lifestyle can really have a huge impact on your skin, and this is no different when it comes to smoking. Smoking affects the collagen in your skin, and collagen helps the skin to stay flexible. When it becomes damaged by smoking, you end up looking a lot older than you are, and your skin begins to look tight and unattractive. Smokers can even find that sometimes, smoking leads to outbreaks of eczema on their hands. Give up smoking for good and you can be sure that your skin problems will begin to clear up and you'll look ten times better in no time!

Healthier Eyes
Smoking can cause dryness and redness in your eyes, due to the smoke causing irritation. You don't even have to smoke a lot to feel the effects of this. It can be combated by eating a lot of fruit and vegetables to make sure your body is getting a good amount of minerals and vitamins but really, it's ideal just to not smoke at all.



Brighter (and whiter!) Teeth
Nicotine is found in cigarettes, and it has the ability to turn your teeth and fingernails yellow if you smoke too much. Worse still, it can lead to gum disease and tooth loss too, which nobody wants! Giving up smoking means you can give your teeth a chance to become brighter and that also, your breath will smell better.

Revives Your Taste Buds
Smoking can really damage your tastebuds, which means smokers don't enjoy food as much. Giving up smoking means that you give your tastebuds the chance to revive themselves so that you can begin to fully enjoy food again!

If you really are serious about qutting smoking, it's a good idea to speak to your doctor or another kind of health advisor about it. People are four times more likely to give up smoking when they ask for the help of someone else, rather than when they do it alone. You don't have to go cold turkey either- there are some great tools you can use to help you quit, such as gum, Nicotine replacement patches and electronic cigarettes.

Have you given up smoking before? If you have any tips of your own, feel free to share them in the comments below.

Love from,
Florence Grace

This post is sponsored but as always, all views and opinions are my own. For more information on my sponsored content, please read my disclaimer at the top of my page. 
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Driving safely with Point S*

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My friend Alex and I go on a lot of road trips- and I mean, a lot. It doesn’t matter if we’re driving to
the shops, going on a day out or simply going for an emergency McFlurry at 10pm so we can have a
heart to heart in the corner of McDonalds; it’s safe to say that we drive a lot.

One thing neither of us is keen on is driving in the rain. In the past, Alex has actually been involved in a car accident due to the rain, and so driving in it makes us both a little bit wary. One of the things
that really panics us when we drive is aquaplaning. This is the technical term for what happens when
a lot of water gets between your tyres and the road and causes you to lose control of the car. This
isn’t just a super scary experience but it can be incredibly dangerous, resulting in damage to the car
and sometimes even serious accidents.




I have been in one aquaplaning incident that I remember, late at night when it was pouring with
rain. There was a mini flood we had to drive through and my mum ended up losing control of the car
for literally two seconds- but it felt like a lifetime. Although none of us were seriously hurt, I did get
whiplash from my seatbelt and a nasty bump on my head from smacking it against the window. It
was a terrifying experience and not one that I’m in a rush to relive any time soon. The tyres
however? Well, that’s another story. Aquaplaning can really damage them and while it’s better to
have damaged tyres than damaged people, it’s still a huge inconvenience to have to replace them.

One place that is really good to use if you’re looking to replace your tyres is Point S in Hertfordshire.
Point S collates the information of all sizes and brands of tyres available in Hertfordshire and the
surrounding areas, which is really useful, particularly if you need tyres quite quickly! The website is
really quite handy too, particularly if you’re like me and don’t have a clue about cars. If you don’t know what tyres you need, there is a function that allows you to search your registration
online and the page is actually able to tell you what tyres you need- amazing, right? You can also
enter your postcode on the site and it will tell you not only where your nearest fitting centre is, but
also where your nearest fitting centre with available tyres for your car is.




With Autumn closing in fast, there’s no denying that the weather is going to be getting a lot wetter
(although Summer hasn’t been too dry itself…) and so it’s important to remember to drive carefully,
particularly if there’s the chance you could end up aquaplaning. Make sure your tyres are in good
condition and if you need to replace them, consider using the services provided by Point S
Hertfordshire.

Love from,
Florence Grace

This post was written in collaboration with Point S Hertfordshire but all thoughts and opinions are my own. For more information on my collaborative posts, please read my disclaimer at the top of the
page.
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Visit the Piano Works! *

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I love drinking, I love live music and I love food. When The Piano Works in Farringdon got in touch with me and invited me to their venue for brunch, watching a live band and with bottomless alcohol, I could hardly say no!

I didn’t really have any idea what to expect. I had never been to a venue like this before- part club, part restaurant, with two live pianists in the centre of the room, with other musicians such as a trumpeter and a drummer joining in on occasion. The best thing is, all of the songs that are performed are by request of the guests! On each table there are some napkins and pens where you can write your name, a song and a special shout out if you have a message you want to share. If you’re feeling very generous, you can write an amount to tip the musicians, to get your song played sooner! Waiters come around to collect the napkins from your table and take them up to the musicians, who then learn the songs on the spot before performing them! It doesn’t have to just be piano-based music either, the musicians are very temporary and will play the likes of Beyonce and Drake as well as some classics. They can honestly learn and play anything.



 I’m definitely a brunch kinda girl, and always love a good brunch date! The brunch at The Piano Works is incredible. Literally incredible. Not only is there an extensive, utterly delicious range of food options, you get the choice of bottomless prosecco, bottomless Bloody Marys or two cocktails of your choice. Obviously I opted for bottomless prosecco- you’d be silly not to! Our waiter, whose name was Red, went above and beyond, and only let my glass get empty once- and when he did, he was so disappointed in himself and apologised profusely before filling my glass to the brim. It’s safe to say when I left the venue at 2pm I was definitely not sober!



The food was so, so good. I went for the fried breakfast and it was just delicious- the sausages were out of this world, and when I went for breakfast the following day at my local ‘spoons, the sausages just did not compare at all. I need to make a trip back just to try them again.

The Piano Works isn’t just open for brunch- you can attend for lunch, dinner or just to drink too, and from 9pm at night the floor opens up for people to dance, creating more of a party atmosphere! I’d definitely recommend booking well in advance though, as when I turned up for my booking at 12pm (which was the time the venue opened) the venue was already full!

I enjoyed my time at the Piano Works so much that I booked to go back in September as soon as I could! The service was brilliant, the food and drink was incredible and the whole experience was just faultless. I had such a good time with my friend Alex and can’t wait to return. Get me more of that bottomless prosecco…

Love from,
Florence Grace

My experience at The Piano Works was kindly gifted to me but all thoughts and opinions are my own. For more information on my collaborative posts please see my Disclaimer at the top of the page.
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Click For Therapy *

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Therapy is not something I have considered for myself, ever. I like to think that I'm a pretty strong individual. I don't suffer from depression or anxiety, or any other mental health issues as far as I'm aware. I've not always had a happy time in life but for the last two years I have been happier than I have ever been! I am surrounded by lovely people, have a good career, and am relatively successful. There's no way I could need therapy of any kind, for any reason.

Or...maybe there was.

It was first brought to my attention by two of my best friends that perhaps I needed to "speak to someone" about some issues I had been through when one day I had a completely random melt down during a BBQ, when I had previously been having the best day with them! It came out of the blue and I couldn't understand it, and of course when they suggested a therapist I said no straight away. Me? Need help? Need to talk to someone about my feelings? I don't think so!


"You need to start removing the bricks from this wall you've built up around yourself"


I don't really want to go into too much detail, because despite my blog being a very personal and open space, the things I've dealt with are not things I really want to share, for the meantime anyway. I've suffered a lot in a couple of different ways that have scarred me for life, and overcoming them has been far from easy. What I can tell you is that it's really damaged me emotionally and I now struggle to open up to anyone. Just this week my friend Alex said "You need to start removing the bricks from this wall you've built up around yourself"

And I know she's right.

That's why I was happy to find Click For Therapy, a website that allows you to find an ideal therapist for yourself in just a few minutes. Therapists often have a huge waiting list, and they're not always affordable either. This is where Click For Therapy comes in, helping you to source the most suitable therapist in the closest proximity to you. Now, you might think that this is what Google can do for you, but Click For Therapy is a lot more helpful. You can select specific types of therapists, rather than doing a general therapist search, and assess them for yourself very quickly.

Therapy isn't something I considered before, and is still something I feel dubious about now. However, it's a huge comfort to know that a site like Click For Therapy exists if I reach a low and feel like I really need to speak to a therapist about the issues I have been through. I'm always so reluctant to ask for help, but maybe now it's time to admit defeat. Sometimes you need some help, be it in the form of family, friends or a therapist, and there's no shame in that.

Love from,
Florence Grace

This post was written in collaboration with Click For Therapy but all thoughts and opinions are my own. For more information on my collaborative and sponsored posts please read the disclaimer at the top of my page. 
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A Mermaid's Tale- Review and Competition*

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2016 saw the rise in popularity of one of the best mythical creatures there is; unicorns. And while the unicorn trend was- and still is- hugely popular, 2017 saw the rise of another mythical creature that stole people's hearts; mermaids. There's mermaid blankets that look like a tail, mermaid pool floats, stationery, homeware and even makeup brushes. I love the mermaid trend, so when Strike Media asked me to review A Mermaid's Tale I obviously said yes! Better still...I have two digital copies to give away to you guys! But we will get to that in a minute...

There's no denying that A Mermaid's Tale is absolutely a kids film- however, I don't suppose this really matters if you're a big kid at heart like I am! The film depicts the tale of 12 year Ryan, a beautiful young girl raised by her dad. Her mother passed away when she was very young and the only other living family she has is a grumpy, estranged grandfather. When her grandfather gets sick, her dad and her move away from their own home to go and live with him, in an attempt to look after him. While Ryan initially dreads the thought of living with such a hard-hearted and miserable man, she soon comes to love the new town she calls home- particularly when she finds herself making friends with a mermaid! 

Love, friendship and family are all key themes in this film, but there is another, overriding theme that is an important lesson everyone could do with learning: forgiveness. Life is too short and too precious to hold a grudge over a silly argument, to cut ties with people who make small mistakes and to carry out petty acts of revenge. It's always better to forgive, let yourself heal and then learn to love and reconnect again. This film does a brilliant job at capturing that. 


Whether you're an adult or a child, the irresistable magic of this film will entice you to watch it again and again, and I can guarantee every time you reach the end credits, you'll be beaming from ear to ear. We all love a happy ending, don't we? 

Now, I mentioned that I had not one but two digital downloads available to give away to you guys as part of a fun competition! Everyone always does 'follows' and 'retweets' for competitions and I know that they're easy entries but I thought I'd do something a little different. I want you to comment on this post, tweet me or comment on the Instagram or Facebook post what your mermaid name would be for one entry. For TWO entries (that's right, you get a bonus entry here!) you can create a picture to show me what you'd look like as a mermaid! You can draw it, photoshop it, paint it, whatever you like! Send it to me via social media (@flomatthews_) or email it to me at florencegrace13@gmail.com As it's a kids film, you can get your kids, nieces or nephews to enter as well as yourself- this really is a film, and a competition, for everyone! 

The nitty gritty: Competition is open worldwide to people of all ages. Leaving a mermaid name comment grants you one entry, leaving a name and photo grants you two. Two winners will be selected at random by an online generator. Competition closes Friday 18th August 2017 at midnight. Winners will be contacted within 24 hours and then have a further 24 hours to respond before another winner is contacted. Good luck! 

Love from,
Florence Grace 

This post was written as part of a collaboration with Strike Media but all thoughts and views are my own. For more info on brand collaborations read the Disclaimer at the top of my page. 
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Fun Mom Dinner Review and Competition!*

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Fun Mom Dinner is a brand new film set for digital release on the 7th August- and I'm working in collaboration with Strike Media to give away two free digital copies of the film to you guys! 

Fun Mom Dinner has a pretty varied cast; some of the actors and actresses are really well known, such as Adam Levine from Maroon 5, Adam Scott and Toni Collette amongst many others, while some of the others I had literally never seen before. From the get go it does seem to have the appearance of a low budget movie that was possibly directed by a newbie to the industry but don't let that sway you guys! Stick with it until the very end because I can tell you now, you're in for a treat! With scenes of a sexual nature, drugs references, examples of bad parenting and some hilarious jokes, this movie is ideal for a girls night in- even more so if you're mums! 

Everyone knows just how gruelling parenting can be. It alters your relationship with your significant other, you lose out on 'me time', you end up with poo in places you never thought you'd have poo, your pelvic flaw goes to hell and you piss every time you sneeze... yup, parenting is no joke. And while it's definitely one of the most rewarding experiences in the world, theres no denying that it's always nice to have an evening to just be you. No babies, no husbnads, just you and your gal pals. Those nights are the best and that's what Fun Mom Dinner really embraces. 

The best thing is, it doesn't just show you the mum side of things- although the main bulk of the film is that. It also shows things from the dad side too, and all parents featured in the film have a different approach to parenting too. None of them are perfect, none of them are winning prizes for top parenting awards; it's all about embracing the way different people feel about parenting, and that it's okay to parent in your own way. It also demonstrates why it's so important to have a break away from parenting, and that a break away is okay!! 

This film had me giggling from start to finish, and I spent plenty of time drooling over Adam Levine as a sexy bartender. The film is a mash up of sex, booze and boys. If that doesn't sell the film to you, what will?

As I said, I'm working in collaboration with Strike Media, and I have two digital copies of the film, that was released today, to give away for free! All you have to do is retweet the tweet I will share with the link to this post in and follow me and Strike Media on Twitter (@flomatthews_ and @strike_media.

The nitty gritty... The competition will close on Friday the 11th August 2017 at midnight and the two winners will be randomly selected using an online generator. Winners will be contacted through social media and if there is no response within 24 hours, another winner will be selected. The film is rated 15 so all entrants must be 15 or over. 

Let me know if you've seen the movie, or plan to see it and what your thoughts are! If you're entering the competition... good luck!

Love from,
Florence Grace

This post was written in collaboration with Strike Media, who generously gifted me a free digital copy of the movie. However, as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. To find out more about sponsored content please read my Disclaimer at the top of the page. 
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National Pink Gin Day 2017!*

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Have you heard of Pink Gin Day?

Probably not! That would be because August 3rd 2017 is the first ever Pink Gin Day, an event that will be celebrated across the globe! The day has been created by Martin Edgerton Gill, founder of Edgerton Pink Gin, and will be celebrated all over the world by a number of bars and pubs who will be serving pink gin at a discounted price for all to enjoy!

I didn't even realise pink gin existed until I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Pink Gin Day press event on the 25th July with Alex. I don't particularly like gin but it was a party in an absolutely gorgeous venue (The Rose Lounge at the Sofital Hotel!), it was pink themed and you had to wear pink, so I was happy to attend- and I am so glad that I did!



The event was truly lovely. I got to meet the Martin Edgerton Gill himself, which was a bit of an honor to be honest! He was wearing a pink shirt, and was so sweet, kissing myself and Alex on the cheek, complimenting our outfits and chatting with us for a full five minutes about why pink was such a great colour. Aside from this, the event consisted of mingling with the other guests, drinking huge pink gin-based cocktails and listening to Martin tell the tale of how pink gin came to be. (Martin also introduced the tea bag to Britain...but that's another story for another time!).

Despite not being a gin drinker, I am happy to say that I absolutely love pink gin! I threw back two large cocktails with ease and can't wait to enjoy some of the pink gin that I was gifted at the event in celebration of the day today!



The pink gin was first launched in 2011 when Martin realised two different things. First of all, Bombay Sapphire, the most popular gin on the market at the time, was bright blue in the bottle, but when you poured it out, it was white. This was very disappointing! Secondly, pink was a far better colour than blue- something that Martin felt particularly strongly about  thanks to it being all of his daughters favourite colour! So what did he do? He decided to make a bright pink gin that retained its colour when poured from the bottle and didn't even fade when mixed with a tonic.

The gin is made from 15 different and unique botanicals, including pomegranate, which contributes to the bright pink colour of the drink. It also uses a botanical called Damiana, something no other gin used at the time Martin was creating Edgerton's Pink Gin. This botanical possesses a unique quality...it is well known for being an aphrodisiac!



This Pink Gin Day, make sure you celebrate at home or at a bar to the full extent! Wear something pink and try some delicious pink gin. If your local isn't celebrating the event, try making the Pink French 69 at home! All you need is 250ml of Edgerton Pink Gin, 125ml of simple syrup, 125ml of lemon juice, champagne and lemon twist. Stir the gin, syrup and lemon juice into a medium pitcher with ice before straining into champagne flutes and garnishing with lemon peel. Simple!

With pink being my favourite colour, I can't wait to celebrate Pink Gin Day 2017 and I hope you guys will join me in celebrating too! If you do, make sure to use the hashtag #PinkGinDay17 and tag @edgertonpinkgin

Feel free to tweet or Instagram me any snaps of your celebrations too! @flomatthews_

Happy Pink Gin Day!

Love from,
Florence Grace

This product was gifted to me by Edgerton Pink Gin but all views are my own. To find out more about my sponsored posts, read my disclaimer under the tab at the top of the page!
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Natural beauty with Clinique! *

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Not too long ago I worked on an exciting collaboration with Clinique all about their new skin care campaign. I was able to offer you guys the chance to get yourself  a free Clinique product and to tell you all about the fabulous free gift you could get if you spent a certain amount of money on Clinique products at Boots. Well, I'm back with another brilliant Clinique offer for you, and to tell you all about their latest campaign, how to create the No Makeup makeup look, an exciting collaboration with designer Jonathan Adler and how you can claim more freebies- thanks to me!

After receiving a fab skin care treatment for my last collaboration with Clinique, this time around I was fortunate enough to receive a makeover! I'm pretty rubbish at doing my own makeup- I can't do a cut crease or contour to save my life, I usually just slap on some sparkly eye stuff, make my face as glowy as I can and then think I'm good to go. However, Clinique advisor Beth took me into her safe hands, ready to do a 'no makeup makeover' on me. The aim of the makeover, in case it wasn't obvious, was to create a gorgeous, natural look that I could recreate everyday using very few products that made it look like I was almost wearing no makeup at all, literally just enhancing my natural features.



Beth sat me down ready to remove any makeup I was wearing- luckily, I had none on anyway, as I'm quite comfortable going out without any makeup on (because I'm a natural beauty, obviously...) so that saved her a job! She wanted to start with the base, so she used a product I had used at my previous Clinique appointment, the Clarifying Lotion, to get rid of all the dead skin cells and dirt from my face. I'm always fascinated by how much dirt comes off of my face, even when it looks totally clean! I mean, it's gross...but fascinating.

After this was a cream that she used as a base for the look which made my face soft and ready for a makeup, as well as creating a 'fresh' looking glow that looked healthy and nautral, and not too overboard. I believe this was the 'moisture surge', pictured above.

Next up was my foundation, which Beth got spot on, just by looking at me! Honstly, it was the perfect colour match to my skin tone. I was beyond impressed! The foundation glided on with Becca's fingertips so easily, and was very light and blendable, as well as buildable if I wanted thicker coverage- not that I needed it! One layer was just fine. She started from my nose and swept outwards to cover my face, then once she'd rubbed gently with her fingers she used a brush to blend it in and make sure there were no 'tide marks'.



One of the things I love about my Clinique experiences is that they always make them very hands on, so that you can learn while they do it! Beth always did half of my face and let me do the other half, so I could really get to grips with the look. 


Following the foundation was my favourite beauty product; highlighter! Anyone who knows me will know that I think you can never have too much of a glow! Beth didn't go overboard with the highlighter for this look, just did the 'Clinique C'  around my temple and cheekbone. It created a nice, dewy glow around my face. She drew the 'Clinique C' directly to my face with the Clinique chubby stick highlighter, then used her fingers to dap it in, although she said this could also be done with a brush, it is all a matter of personal preference.




Once the highlighter was applied, Beth used a subtle shade of blusher, just the smallest amount, to give me a natural, rosy and sunkissed look! 



After, the highlighter was the eye look. Beth gave me a couple of options (from the Jonathan Adler collection...but you'll just have to keep reading if you want to see those!). I went for a smoky brown colour that was quite subtle but had a nice shimmer to it. I let Beth apply this to both eyes, purely because I'm no good with eye makeup and I wanted to look pretty decent for the rest of the day! She also applied a little bit of highlighter to the inner corners of my eyes to make me look more 'awake'. (Believe me, after my sleepless nights that is definitely something I'm going to do more often!)


Following the eyeshadow was the lip look! There were three shades to choose from from the Jonathan Adler collection, all named after his favourite holiday locations. Despite it being a natural makeup look, I went for a vibrant pink shade called 'Palm Beach'. However, Beth managed to use her skills to make it look natural, using a small amount of colour on a tiny brush to paint my lips to make it look more like a rosy lip stain than a bright, shocking pink lipstick look. 


Finally, I needed to keep my look in place, so Beth spritzed me with some fixing spray to keep me looking naturally glowy, sunkissed and gorgeous all day! 


I felt beautiful by the time Beth was done with me! You can tell that she did her job well, because my beautiful natural no makeup look was so subtle that it didn't show up on camera! I literally look like I'm not wearing anything at all. The best I could get was this selfie in natural light that really caught the gorgeous glow from the highlighter! Other than that, I was so impressed. You couldn't tell I was wearing makeup yet my skin looked perfect, and I looked like I had a beautiful rosy glow about me! (Also, the products all smelt lush so my face smelt divine too...) This is definitely a look I will be recreating at home to make myself look naturally gorgeous.



Now for the fun part for you guys...the Jonathan Adler collaboration and the freebie for you guys! I hope you're ready for this collaboration because it is the most beautiful collaboration of beauty products I've ever seen! Brace yourself...3...2...1...



I know, I know...absolutely stunning, right?! Considering Jonathan Adler is a furniture designer, he's really come through with this makeup collaboration and I am so beyond impressed with it! Look at those lipstick cases, those brushes- I want them all! (Chloe who arranges the collaborations knew I'd love the brushes and told Beth to make sure she showed them to me...she was right! That girl knows me too well).

This is the most perfect summer collection from the shades of the makeup to the packaging itself, and while it all looks so luxurious it doesn't cost as much as you'd think either! This isn't all he's designed either...he's also collaborated with Clinque to design the free gift that you can receive if you purchase two Clinique products, as long as one of them is a foundation or skincare product! 


The makeup bag, designed by Jonathan Adler, comes with a chubby stick highlighter, a mascara, an eye makeup remover, a moisture surge cream (the same cream Beth applied before my foundation), some micellar cleansing wipes to use on your face and eyes and last but not least a gorgeous lipstick, with a casing that matches the makeup bag! It's all about that coordination you know! The best part about the lipstick is that there are two shades of lipstick for you to choose from, a plum colour or a pink colour- you decide! I went for the nudey-pink colour, as I feel this fits better with the natural beauty 'no makeup' look.

Better still is the 'step-up' gift offered by Clinique. If you purchase two items from Clinique, with one of them being a foundation or skin care product, you get the standard free gift mentioned above. However, if you purchase a third product, you also receieve either an 8-shade palette designed by Jonathan Adler worth £22 or full size travel smart night moisturiser worth £39. Amazing, right? 

And it doesn't stop there! You can also get yourself a freebie, as promised at the start of this post! Just head over to the Clinique counter in Boots, Aylesbury and then either quote 'LFFG Natural Beauty' or show them this blog post to receive a free foundation sample in your colour! You're welcome, kids. 

I would just like to say another massive thank you to Chloe, Beth and Clinique for allowing me to participate in this fab collaboration. Clinique are always a joy to work with and I am always treated like a Queen and spoilt rotten! If you take advantage of my code, let me know! And if you make any purchases and get your free gift, send me pictures, I'd love to see what you get! 

Will you be rocking the no-makeup makeup look this summer? Ler me know in the comments below!

Love from,
Florence Grace
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LFFG is three!

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My baby is three today!

And by my baby, I mean my blog. Duh.

Honestly though, I can’t believe that Love from, Florence Grace is three years old today. Three years ago today I made the decision to begin sharing my life online, opening up to strangers on the internet – and I can tell you now it was the best decision I have ever made.

My blog has brought me new friends. It has created employment opportunities for me. It has helped me to find myself, boost my confidence and become more comfortable in my own skin. I’ve done things I could never have imagined being accessible to me, I’ve met people I could only have dreamed of meeting, I’ve started my own business, I’ve entered into an entirely different career field than I was about to embark on this time three years ago, and have moulded my entire life around my blog and being a content creator.

I’ve found a new sense of self, a new identity through my blog. My dreams and goals have altered quite drastically, I want different things from life and have different views than I used to…and this is all thanks to my blog! I’ve discovered that I am completely career driven, that I have an interest in running my own company, that I’m more creative and ambitious than I ever even knew. I’ve learnt about self-love, about sex, about feminism from some truly great bloggers who cover all of those taboo topics that no one dares to talk about. I’m interested in politics- something I never, ever thought I would say! I’ve worked in TV, in Radio, in print media and digital media, as a content creator, a social media manager and now as a Communications Officer who runs her own magazine. All of this has stemmed from my blog. It really has changed me for the better.

As the years go on, I am gradually settling into a niche for myself. Those who have been here from the start will know I used to work very closely with a company called Go Think Big. They helped me really break into the media industry by creating the opportunity for me to work with Heat Magazine, Closer Magazine, Channel 4, 4Talent, the BBC, Kerrang! Magazine and radio station just to name a few. I used to go to an event with them once or twice a week, every week. I also worked with 4Music a lot, had my own radio show with Blink FM and attended other events, such as an LFW Fashion Show.

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Attending an LFW with two fab friends of mine xxxx

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Presenting my first solo radio show, Fridays with Florence Grace!

The second year of my blog saw me attending less events, although there was still some and also the closure of the radio station I volunteered at and so the end of my shows. However, I was still working with 4Music doing TV shows and I was doing something much better; I was working. Real, paid work. I worked for a clothing company as an interning Social Media Manager before taking on a paid freelance journalist role- a role I’m still in today- and also began properly running my magazine. So while I might have been attending less media events, it was because I didn’t have time, and also, I didn’t really need them anymore either! I had begun building a very solid, media-based career for myself!

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Spot me and spot the celebs... Maya Jama looks super pretty haha!

This brings us to the third year. I’m working all the time now, running my magazine, working as a freelance journalist and being a Communications Officer, all while running my lifestyle blog. Focusing on work more has meant that I’m creating less content for my blog, but of a higher standard and it really is paying off. This year I’ve been invited to review more products than I’ve ever been asked, been invited to the best events I’ve ever been invited to and, in the last few weeks, have been contacted by more PR companies than I have in the last three years! I work with Elegant Touch creating sponsored content (which is a dream come true!), I’ve worked with Paperchase, I’ve been to all of Makeup Revolutions events in the last two years, I’ve interviewed Radio 1 DJ Gemma Cairney for my magazine, I have been featured in The Metro, I’ve taken on more freelance work than ever before and in October, I’m going to be speaking at an event about running my own business- because at last my hard work has been recognised!!

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At the Glamour Beauty Festival courtesy of Elegant Touch this year!

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All of my magazines to date!

I haven’t won awards for my blog. I haven’t gone viral. I don’t have thousands of followers. But I know that my work makes a difference. My magazine makes a difference, my blog makes a difference. The articles I write make a difference. My words- the things I think, feel and say- make a difference.

I don’t force people to read my content. They do it anyway. And to me, that’s really something. 12 year old me never imagined she’d be here today. 18 year old me never imagined when she sat down and pressed publish on that first post that she’d be where she is today. And me? Well I’m constantly amazed at where I am today. I really am living in a dream come true and I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my whole life- all thanks to my blog. My baby.
Thank you to everyone who is a part of this journey. Who reads my blog posts, buys my magazines, supports my ventures, retweets and shares things. Most importantly, to those of you who have been my friend. Who have offered advice and support in the hard times, lifted me up and praised me in the good. You make all of this worthwhile.

It’s been the best, most diverse and interesting three years. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Love from,
Florence Grace
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