5 Tips to Help You Keep Your Relationship Sweet

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Being in a relationship can be the best thing in the world. You always have someone to share good news with, you automatically have a date to every wedding and party, you know you're going to be kissing someone at midnight on New Year's Eve instead of throwing back a shot and you have someone to clap for you when you don't feel like you can clap for yourself. While all of that is great, it's sad but true that all too easily, a relationship can go sour and, if not dealt with properly, the bitterness can lead to a break up. Having been in a relationship where this happened before, having bounced around the casual dating scene for 18 months or so and to now being in a committed relationship again that is (so far) so good, I have 5 tips for you that can help you to keep your own relationship pretty sweet. 

Communicate
I can not stress this enough! Without communication, it is so easy for the entire relationship to break down- and so quickly too. I never really used to speak up before, but I am so vocal in my relationship now. If he's pissed me off, he's gonna know about it. If he makes me happy, I make sure to tell him. Communication helps you to vocalise any problems and to deal with them more efficiently. Holding something inside and bottling up is only going to lead to a bigger explosion later down the line. Communication doesn't just have to be for bad things though, it is healthy to communicate positivity too! Don't you love it when someone makes you feel appreciated? Well, it's likely that your partner loves to feel appreciated too! Compliment them, send them cute messages out of the blue, show them gratitude when it's deserved...communication is key to any successful relationship, there's no doubt about it. 


"Maybe a relationship is just two idiots who don't know a damn thing except the fact that they're willing to figure it out together"


Keep your relationship your relationship- don't let people interfere!
You'll probably find that more often than not, any discord in a relationship is due to other people getting involved. You've heard this from someone, they've been told something by someone else, your friend doesn't like how he treats you and his mates girlfriend would never make him do the washing, so why do you?

Listen. Don't let anyone else interfere. If the two of you are happy then that is all that matters. Don't let other people tell you how they think your relationship should be. Don't let other people try and sow seed's of doubt between the two of you. As much as you can, try to keep people out of your relationship. And on that note, try and keep social media out of your relationship too! I'm not saying hide your relationship from the online world, although you can if you like. No, I mean don't compare your relationship to a relationship you see online. Don't try and live up to the ridiculous expectations that we see being set online. Your relationship is yours and it's going to go how you want it to. Don't let other people or social media tell you otherwise!

It's between you and your partner, and if the two of you are happy and content with how things are then no one else, and nothing else, matters. 




Honesty is the best policy
Similar to communicate, but always be honest with each other. If you're mad, make sure that they know. If you've messed up, let them know. Be honest about your feelings, because if you lie once, you'll feel comfortable enough to lie again and again (and I'm not talking about little white lies like "I didn't eat the last packet of Dairylea dunkers babe"...). Being honest with each other will mean that there is a good element of trust between you (something a relationship absolutely cannot work without!) and this means that, in the grand scheme of things, you two will be happier together. 


"Relationships aren't for getting things, they're for giving things. Don't fall in love to make yourself happy, fall in love to make the person you fall in love with happy"


Live your own lives
In a relationship, of course you're going to want to be side by side for the vast majority of the time. However, it is important to maintain a life outside of your relationship- don't ditch your friends for a relationship, don't drop hobbies and extracurricular activities and, if you're at school, don't stop attending after school clubs or let your grades slide. It's great to do stuff together, but it's important to do stuff alone too. Even if it's just once a week, make sure you spend some time doing something with friends or family without your partner! A little separation can be very healthy! 


Have fun!
More important than almost anything else is to make sure you two have fun together! Don't get set into boring routines, shake things up! Keep going on date nights, surprise each other with small gifts or surprise days out, tell each other jokes and make each other laugh. Sure, sitting in front of the TV to binge watch Netflix is good once or twice a week, but every night is going to get boring eventually! Keep things exciting and have fun, and you two are guaranteed to be happy for a very long time to come!

Don't forget that a lot of this advice is applicable to friendships and family relationships too, not just romantic ones! It's important to keep all of your relationships healthy if you want them to be longlasting, and the tips above are great ways to ensure that happens! What advice would you give to help keep a relationship sweet? Feel free to share yours in the comments below!

Love from,
Florence Grace

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Moving Out, Starting a New Job and All the Bits In Between!

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The last three or four weeks have been crazy. I mean, a real whirlwind of drama, excitement, nerves, stress, more excitement, a lot of work and some big surprises. I've been tweeting a little bit about what's been going on, but not giving away too many specifics so I thought I would treat you all to a bit of an update from me!





Last month, after turning 21 I wrote a blog post about how being 21 had been the 'ultimate glow up', and I concluded the post with a final paragraph that read:


"I am living for being 22. I'm ready for more of everything; more success and more blessings, more opportunities and more good fortune, more love and more happiness. In fact, I'm ready for an overflow of it all. If 22 is half as good as 21 was, I know it's going to be a great year."

Well, I'm happy to report that the first month of being 22 has been incredible. If the rest of the next year is anywhere near as good as the last month has been I'm going to be one happy lady. So. Where do I start?


New opportunities
November saw me landing myself an incredible presenting job at work. I hadn't done any presenting work for a year, so I was beyond excited. However, while I've done live TV work, pre-recorded TV work and radio work too, this was something I had very minimal experience with- presenting in front of a live audience of 1,000 people at a time, six times over!

It was for a scheme we get involved with at work, Safe Drive Stay Alive, a show that promotes safe driving and the damage dangerous driving can do to sixth form students across the country. I was the host for the six shows in Buckingham and it was one of the best things I've ever done- not to mention one of the greatest achievements of my career so far. I was terrified, there's no doubt about it, but I absolutely smashed it. People told me I was a natural, that I was a superstar, that I owned the stage- and to be honest, I really just felt so comfortable and at home doing what I was doing! If the compliments from the audience weren't evidence enough, I know I must have been good at what I was doing because I've been invited back to do it all again next year! I already can't wait.

Better still, following my success presenting these shows, my place of work have now decided they'd like to utilise my presenting skills and have offered me two more amazing presenting opportunities to be completed over the next six months. I won't speak too much about them until everything is 100% confirmed but I am so excited about them!




Starting a new job
Some of you will know and some of you won't that my permanent job as a Communications Officer is only 2 days a week, and recently I have been doing overtime in another role that had me working full time hours. In October, this overtime stopped so I had a lot of free time.

Well, that's not the case anymore, because I landed myself a new job as a Social Media Assistant for a photographer in a town not too far from mine! I've been doing this for three weeks now, twice a week, and I absolutely love it. I'm being given the chance to utilise my skills, develop skills I haven't used for a while and learn totally new ones- for example, I've been assisting my boss in building her new website from scratch, something I've never done before! My boss is lovely, so laid back and fun to work with and we both have a passion for photography (if anyone remembers, I was going to study it at uni!) so we get on really well and I absolutely love working with her.

In addition to this, I've taken on some overtime on my one free day a week in a totally different role in a completely different location/team for the company I already work for which is exciting! I'm learning brand new skills which means I'm now more valuable to the company and can work across more departments should they need me. With my expansive skill base I'm a better asset and hopefully more opportunities will open themselves up to me, thanks to my hard work!

I'm super happy to be back working 5 days a week again, and all this extra income is particularly good because...


Moving Out
... I'm moving out! Finally! How many times on this blog have I written about wanting to move out, about one of my goals being to save enough money to move out and it's never happened. Now, finally, for real it's happening.

Okay, so it's a little spontaneous and totally unplanned- I'm kind of having to move out through no choice of my own, but I'm so excited about it. Me and Jonny have decided to move out together, which might seem a little sudden given that we've only been together for three months but we spend almost every night together anyway, and if I moved out alone, I'd just have him stay over every night anyway- because why wouldn't I? So we may as well take the plunge together! (Yolo and all that...) Neither of us have lived away from home before, so the entire process is brand new to us, but we managed to secure the house we want to rent yesterday, so it's all go, go, go now! We're hoping to be moved in within the first week of January so it will be a lovely start to 2018- and to the rest of our lives together (unless he leaves socks on top of the wash basket rather than inside the wash basket one more time...)

There's so much to do, and so much to buy. I didn't even realise until I made a list, so we didn't forget small essentials like dishcloths, bleach, loo roll and so on! I'm nervous, I'm a little unprepared but I'm so excited!




And some added extras...
There's been some other small things that have happened that have made me super happy in the last month! Mine and Jonny's friends had their baby, which made us incredibly broody- an amazing feat considering we were both anti-baby not long before that! As I wrote earlier this year, my feelings towards starting a family changed and I decided kids were just not for me. It seems like this mindset might have changed now but I can confidently say that I still won't be having kids for at least another 5 years minimum. For real. But there is no denying their baby is super cute...

I've been putting some thought into Love from... magazine. I don't want to quit or give up, but I have kind of lost direction with it and now that I'm moving out I need to rethink about funding and money and so on. I've been taking a break but after some words of encouragement and support from regular readers, I think I've begun to put plans in place for a nice big come back in 2018, which I'm excited about. I still have a few copies of the latest issue left, so if you'd like a copy, you can get one here: lovefrommag.bigcartel.com



I've learnt to cook (about time, right?)! Kind of. Okay, so I've gone from cooking absolutely nothing to being able to make a bloody lasagne!!! (Not as hard as I thought, you know!). I was also incredibly proud of myself because I managed to make my own scrambled egg too! I know it's so simple and most people have probably been able to make it since they were about 6 but as someone who is a bit of a culinary disaster, I was pretty impressed with myself!

I've also been working hard- and succeeding- in getting over my commitment issues, relationship wise. Jonny makes me so happy and so comfortable that there's no way I can feel anything other than 100% relaxed about life with him. What happens, happens but I feel a lot better about planning for a long term future now. Exciting, right?!

Finally, I'm tying up so loose ends. I'm not going to go into too much detail about it but I'm resolving conflicts, putting an end to pointless dramas and completing any unfinished business so that I can go into 2018 with a completely clean conscious, no stress or worries and totally 100% happy with life. Boy, that feels good to say!



So there we go...more of a lengthy life update than a little one, and definitely a lot of bragging about how fantastic my life is right now (sorry guys!) but I just wanted to share with you all!

Feel free to share all the exciting things going on in your life right now with me in the comments below, or drop me a message- I want to hear about it all!

Love from,

Florence Grace
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3 Ways to Give Back this Christmas

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Christmas is often nicknamed "the season of giving".

A lot of us are incredibly spoilt at Christmas time, receiving lavish gifts from our friends and family. We gorge on all of the festive food, spend time making happy memories with the our nearest and dearest and have an all round lovely time. Most people would argue that Christmas is the best time of the year.

Sadly, not everyone is so fortunate. Many children wake up with nothing on Christmas Day. Many people wake up on the street, with no roof over their head and no food in their bellies. Many people, particularly the elderly, spend the day alone.


So what can you do about this? 


You can give back! At one of the most charitable times of year, now is a better time than ever to have a look at how you can give back to those that truly need it most. Here are some ideas of things you can do...

Donate Toys to Disadvantaged Children
My towns local radio station runs a 'Toy Appeal' every year, where they ask members of the public to bring in gifts to be given out to disadvantaged children at Christmas. These children might be in care, they might be in hospital, they might be sick or from abusive backgrounds. If you're from Buckinghamshire, donating to the Mix 96 Toy Appeal can really help, and there are several drop off points across the county. You can find out more information here: https://www.mix96.co.uk/toyappeal.php

If you're outside of Bucks, have a quick look on Google to see if there's something similar going on in your area. My place of work is hosting their own toy collection, why don't you see if yours is too? If it isn't, why don't you start one? Ask around at your local hospital and children's charities and see if they would appreciate the donations. If they would, start up your own collection! No child should wake up to nothing on Christmas Day- just one gift could make all the difference.




Help the Homeless and Disadvantaged
Crisis, the national charity for homeless people, released information that for just £26.08 this Christmas, you can...

- Provide a homeless person with a Christmas dinner
- Advice on things such as housing and finances
- Healthcare that includes a number of screenings
- Dental treatment, eye tests and glasses
- Hairdressing and massage treatments
- Internet cafes, IT workshops, learning and skills workshops
- Specialist centres for people sleeping rough, women and people with dependency issues
- Access to Crisis' year round services for training and support.

When you read that long list, £26.08 really doesn't seem that much in the grand scheme of things. Give up some of the expensive Christmas food and drink, or maybe buy less presents for people, and spare £26.08 to help a homeless person find their feet and get their life back on track.

If you want more information, you can find more here: Reserve a Place at Crisis at Christmas




There are plenty of other charities that will help the homeless and others who are disadvantaged in terms of being unable to afford food or shelter in similar ways this Christmas, including Step By Step, CentrePoint and FareShare. A lot of big chain supermarkets have year round collections of food, such as Tesco, but if you really can't find anything just have a quick look on Google- there's guaranteed to be something close by.

Volunteer on Christmas Day
Be it by spending time with a lonely, housebound elderly relative, friend, neighbour or stranger, or helping out at a charitable Christmas meal at your local church, find out where and when you can volunteer on Christmas Day to help make someone else's Christmas just that little bit more special.

A lot of churches host Christmas meals for the homeless and the disadvantaged, and they're always looking for volunteers to help out, be that with bringing food, preparing it or serving it up, or just being their to speak to people and celebrate the day with them. Again, Google really comes in handy for finding out what's going on near to you, but ask at your local church, youth centres, charities and so on to see if anything is going on that you can get involved with.




If there isn't, why not run something yourself? Get your friends and family on board and host Christmas dinner at your local church for the homeless (or similar). Not only will you be making someone else's day, but you'll be able to have fun whilst you do it!


Of course, there's so many other things you can do to give back this Christmas- purchase an animal, such as a cow or a goat for a family in a poverty-stricken country for some of your friends and family, send a shoebox of toys to children in countries like Libya, Syria and so on, participate in sponsored events such as Christmas Jumper Day...the list goes on!

I am always incredibly spoilt at Christmas, I can't deny it. I also love celebrating from mid-November to December 26th, eating too much food, watching all the films, singing the songs and wearing comical Christmas jumpers! It breaks my heart when I think about people who don't get to have a Christmas as magical as mine always are- this year I'm going to be donating to two different charities for children to give them presents and will be reserving a spot at Crisis for a homeless person, as well as encouraging my friends and family to as well.

How will you give back this Christmas? Let me know in the comments below!

Love from,

Florence Grace
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GIRL POWER INSPO

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Anyone who knows me well enough will know that I am allllll about that girl power. I would consider myself to be a strong, independent woman and I constantly encourage the other women in my life to be, too. Being strong, being independent, being bold and fighting for your place in a world that is dominated by male privilege and misogyny can be very challenging, but it's a lot easier when there are some fantastic female role models to look up to. Here are some of my favourite women to look to for girl power, inspiration and motivation in every aspect of my life.

Maya Jama


Image result for maya jama

I have been looking up to Maya Jama since I first met her when I was working on a TV show for 4Music two years ago. She was bubbly, friendly and even invited herself to sit on my lap at one point! Since then I have been looking up to her on social media, following her as she grows from strength to strength in terms of her career. Some of the moves she's made in 2017 have been absolutely incredible, from landing herself a prime time TV slot, getting involved in her own podcast, working on 1Xtra, hosting the upcoming MOBO Awards, giving a TED Talk and so much more. The best part is, throughout it all she has remained humble and down to earth, all of the time. Her career is basically my dream career, and if you need some get up and go inspo then you should definitely check her out- it's impossible not to be inspired by all that she is doing!


Anne-Marie




Anne-Marie features on my blog all of the time- I honestly love her so much. She isn't just an amazing singer but she speaks up about mental health, body positivity and is a huge fashion icon too. Her style is so cool, she isn't scared to stand out from the crowd, she isn't afraid to post photos without makeup on or where she might not be perceived as looking "perfect". She's honest, she's straight talking and her attitude towards loving yourself (something I'm big on!) is admirable. If you need a celebrity- someone who is pressured to be consistently 'perfect'- to encourage you to love yourself, look no further than Anne-Marie. And check out her music while you're at it, because it's just great. I love her, okay?


Megan Crabbe (AKA BodyPosiPanda)

Image result for bodyposipanda


Sometimes loving yourself is just so damn hard. Thankfully, Megan is here to make that a little bit easier. I originally found Megan on Instagram shaking her booty in nothing but her underwear. She wasn't a size 6, she had 'wobbly' bits (don't we all!), she wasn't wearing sexy underwear. She was just being herself, natural and comfortable and she looked amazing doing so, with a huge smile on her face. She's since gone on to release a book all about body positivity and her self-love journey, appeared on TV and chat shows and, more recently, launched her own YouTube channel. Her first video about reclaiming the word 'fat' is really worth watching. Her Instagram is full of honest photos, with her showing her tummy before and after eating, showing photos from a professional photo shoot and then recreating them at home and more, all to encourage girls (and boys!) to love and appreciate themselves just the way they are. Happiness is key and this is really what Megan promotes.


Grace Victory


Similar to Megan, Grace is a huge advocate of body positivity and mental health issues. Having battled with her own issues, including eating disorders, Grace has a brutally honest blog and YouTube channel that I have been following for a while now. She discusses all the typical things you'd find of a fashion blogger, but for fat people and it is brilliant. Her style is out of this world, she always looks great and she oozes confidence. If it's fashion inspo you're after, or a confidence boost, look to Grace because she can definitely assist! This year saw the release of her first book, No Filter, and that title really does sum Grace and her career up. She's open and blunt, she'll speak out on her large platform about issues others might choose to shy away from, and that really is admirable.


Vix Meldrew



Vix is one of my fave bloggers ever, and one of the first bloggers I ever followed too! Watching her blog- and, ultimately, her career- grow from strength to strength over the last couple of years has been so lovely and I honestly feel so happy every time I see her achieve something else. She's made me feel better about sex (and lack of it), about my body, about my mind, about the way I perceive myself and how I feel about dating and relationships. Her blog posts make me laugh, her blog posts make me cry and honestly, I think if you take a few minutes of your day to read her posts, you'll fall in love with her work too! She's had an amazing year being on TV, branching out into stand up comedy and working on her book and I can't wait to see what she does next- her work ethic is so inspiring. 


These are just a teeny tiny handful of some of the lovely ladies that I look to for some major girl power inspo at the moment- which gals are you loving? Let me know in the comments below! 

Love from,

Florence Grace
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3 Tips to Help You Get Over A Bad Relationship When Starting a New One

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Relationships can be hard, can't they?

Finding the ideal partner is hard enough for a start! Finding someone you want to invest your time into, spend your forseeable future with, build a life with- you've got to make sure you find the right guy or girl! But then there's other problems to overcome- small fights, big fights, making compromises, insecurities to get over, anxieties, disagreements and everything in between.



Do you know what makes all of this 10 times harder?

Coming from a bad relationship into a good one. 

It's no secret that almost two years ago, I was coming out of a toxic and abusive six year relationship that absolutely destroyed me. It affected me so badly in fact, that I vowed never to have a relationship again. I wouldn't let anyone in again, I wouldn't bother to invest time or effort, or any part of myself into another person ever again. I didn't want to go through the heartbreak, the pain, the hurt. I was struggling so much that I knew when I eventually got over it- if I ever got over it- I would never be strong enough to go through it a second time. So, easy way out was just to steer clear of boys, love and serious relationships forever more. I'd be like that meme floating around on social media, the glamorous single aunty that showed up at family affairs slightly drunk with lavish gifts for everyone. I'd be a bit like Samantha from SITC (I think I've posted about that before...) and you know what? I was totally okay with that.

Until I met my current boyfriend. For the first time in almost two years I found someone that I wanted to be with. I wanted to share my life with this guy, put in the effort and the time for this guy, open up to him and let him get to know me. And guess what the best part about it was? He wasn't a total asshole!


"You only really get over somebody when you find somebody else you care about more"


You know what did suck?

I couldn't forget my bad relationship.

And I don't mean that as if to say I wasn't over my ex- because believe me, I completely was.

No, it was the fact that I was so used to being treated like crap, to being with a man that couldn't prioritise me, put me first, give me the love and attention that I deserved and treat me right...so much so that whenever this new guy treated me in the exact way I wanted and deserved to be, I freaked out. I had no idea how to react, how to take it, how to respond. My mind just couldn't process it! I actually tried to cut him off multiple times because I just didn't think I could deal with dating, let alone a relationship again. I had a break down at work, I had so many panicked phone calls to my girlfriends and my sister- I was an absolute mess with no idea how to process the feeling of falling in love again. I needed constant support from my closest girlfriends to help me through, and somehow I managed to do it. And guess what? It's perfect.

I'm not saying it's easy. I freak out all the time that suddenly he might change, become everything I don't want him to be, hurt me the way I expect to be hurt. And he doesn't deserve that! To be honest, neither do I. We both deserve nothing but blissful happiness and comfortability with each other, and that's what I work towards giving him every single day.


"You can't have a proper relationship until you've had your heart broken"


Now I know I'm not the only girl to go through this- not only because I receive messages about getting over toxic partners and getting into new relationships on almost a weekly basis, but also because I see it online all the time too! No one wants to ruin a perfect, new relationship with memories of a previous, toxic one. So, what can you do to make sure this doesn't happen?

Take things slow

I can't stress this enough. Taking your time is so important. If it takes days, weeks, months or longer for your to be comfortable in a new relationship with someone, so be it! The right person will accept that and wait for with you. There is no shame in waiting to make things official, waiting to make the next move, take the next step. Go at a pace that you're comfortable with and you'll find it so much easier. If you rush into things, you might find yourself falling into bad habits, worrying about moving too quickly and a whole multitude of other things. Take as much time as you need and hopefully if your partner truly loves and cares about you, they'll respect the time and space you need and go at the pace that you're happy with.

Explain things fully to your partner

Or, at least in as much detail as you're comfortable with if you don't want to open up fully about your past experiences. You can expect your partner to be patient with you and understanding without an explanation but there's no denying that communication is key in any kind of relationship, and things will be easier for the both of you if you share even some detail on why you struggle with relationships, opening up, trusting etc. etc. Don't feel scared, embarrassed or ashamed, because your partner will (hopefully!) listen to you, reassure you and then take your feelings on board which will help them to understand your struggles. It will make everything a whole lot easier. It will also allow your partner the chance to be a little more conscientious about your feelings and the way they treat you. Do you panic when you don't hear from your partner for a whole day because your previous partner was unloyal? Opening up to your partner about this might encourage them to make sure they send you a text or two throughout the day, to make you feel more comfortable. It's as simple as that, but a little goes a long way.

Remember that your current partner is not your ex

This point is probably the most important one of all- but also, the most difficult. Your ex probably did some really terrible things to you. They may have dragged you through hell and back, time and time again. But guess what? Your current partner is not your ex. They aren't going to do the same things, and it's not fair to you or your partner for you to assume that they're going to hurt you in exactly the same way. It will cause you to feel automatically insecure without having any real reason to which will then cause feuds and arguments that are just unneccessary. Insecurities and doubts breed unhappiness so try not to implant them in your relationship from the get go just because of how you've been treated in the past. Easier said than done I know, but try to do this as best you can.

I'm incredibly lucky to have found a new guy who respects what I've been through and what kind of headspace I'm at and lets me take things at exactly the pace I need to. He understands that I panic and have mini breakdowns when I think about long term commitment and that it's not to do with him or anything he's done and I couldn't appreciate that more. That's the kind of person everyone deserves to be with. Everyone deserves to be blissfully happy in the end. Life is too short to feel anything other than that.

Love from,
Florence Grace
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The Ultimate Glow Up

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On Wednesday (1st November) I turned 22!

Eeeeeek. That sounds so old in my head! 21 seems like an age where it's still seen as acceptable to be a little wild, a little out of control, a bit of a party animal. 22- in my head, at least- sees so much older, so much more mature. I feel like I actually have to start being a responsible adult now, and like I need to start getting my shit together (for lack of better terminology!).

As with all birthdays, I did spend some time surrounding my 22nd birthday reflecting on the kind of year I'd had being 21, and the kind of things that being 21 had brought to me and my life. I feel like I say this most years, but I genuinely feel like 21 was my best year yet. Honestly, this year has shaped me like no other. When I was 20, life turned into a learning curve for me. I was experiencing things I wasn't used to, dealing with emotional turmoil that sent me to breaking point that I felt like I would never bounce back from and so, for the most part, being 20 was all about dealing with that. It was about recovery, it was about building myself up from the bottom and it was about rebuilding almost my entire life and starting over again.


"You've got to have the bad days so that you can love the good days more"


21 was the ultimate glow up. By the time I reached my 21st birthday, I was pretty much unrecognisable to most people. I mean, for the most part I physically looked the same (aside from the weight loss and the new found love for makeup and fashion), but as I person, I was totally different. I was better. I then spent the next 365 days in total bliss; I was happier than I've ever been, I had learnt to love myself and really was in such a good place, mentally, physically and emotionally. My life was at it's peak and was honestly the best it had ever been.

I achieved so much whilst I was 21 too. Not only did I accomplish so many 'small' achievements myself, like learning to love myself completely, or reaching inner peace with demons I had been battling for some time, but I also achieved some bigger things too- I landed my first 'proper' job and kickstarted my brand new career as a Communications Officer. I did more work with 4Music. I began working in collaboration with one of my favourite brands of all time, Elegant Touch. I had more freelance work, brand collaborations and sponsored posts on my blog than ever before. I interviewed Radio 1 DJ Gemma Cairney for my little magazine, Love from... magazine. Finally, I finished off being 21 by speaking at an event as a 'successful business woman', alongside one of my heros, Remel London. This was such a huge achievement for me and I felt so honoured.



So yeah...21 was pretty great. It was the exact kind of year I needed, because it was all about me. Every damn day was about me. Doing what I needed to do, doing things that benefited no one but me. 21 was my year of being selfish. 21 was the year I made myself happy. And I honestly think that the end result by 22 was incredible. I really am the best version of myself that I have ever been- and I think the fact that in the last couple of weeks leading up to my 22nd birthday I heard on almost a daily basis that I was 'glowing' and 'gleaming' with happiness speaks volumes.


 


"You lose a lot of people when you're focusing on yourself. Don't feel sorry for evolving"


Of course, there were other highlights that contributed to my ultimate glow up while I was 21. One of these is definitely due to the fact that I cut off so many people. And I mean, loads. Some of them not all by my choice, but all of them turned out to be for the better. I actually cut off almost everyone I had previously considered a 'best friend' when I realised I was just surrounded by so much toxicity. The people you surround yourself with really do matter- in fact, studies suggest you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with! So it's always important to make sure you're surrounded by nothing but the best, and I have to give some credit to the fact that I'm so God damn happy all of the time to my friends. I've still got my ride or die girls, Poppy, Abs and Bobbie, as well as my other brilliant pals, Lauren, Dee, Tiff and Cal. But now, I have some brand new people in my life as well- I don't need to list them all out, because they know who they are. But I can confidently say that I'm currently surrounded by the most wonderful, lovely, considerate, mature, thoughtful and just generally great people I have ever had in my life and I feel incredibly fortunate. 




"Become so filled with happiness that it heals every part of you"


My career is going great. All my writing, my blogging, my Communications job- it's all just going pretty much exactly where I want it too. I've also got some exciting projects on the horizon for 22 so that's all to come, which I'm really looking forward to. There's going to be two brand new ventures from me if all goes to plan, as well as the revival of some old projects and continual progression and growth of my business and my magazine. I really can't wait to see where it all goes- honestly, I just want nothing but endless success.

I'm so full of self confidence and self love and this really has had a huge impact on my life too. Life is so much better when you're not counting calories the way I did, when you're not stressing over how much exercise you need to do, about 'good' and 'bad' foods. Life is 10x better when you just embrace yourself for exactly who you are, eat what you want to when you want to, exercise if and when you want to, make choices that are the best for you and no one else and stop comparing yourself to other people. Learn to love yourself and watch how your life changes.

Finally, I fell in love again. I won't apologise for being 'cringey' or 'cheesy' because it is absolutely true that my boyfriend brings out the best in me. He really helps bring out the best version of myself and the fact that everyone else can see this too means a lot to me. An old school friend commented on a photo of the two of us saying I was really glowing with happiness, and it's true. He makes me happier than I thought I could ever be. 





"Celebrate your personal victories, because no one else understands what it took to accomplish them"

I've been through a lot of shit up until now. Some things I've spoken about publicly, others I haven't. But life hasn't always been the best to me. It's not always been an easy ride, and more than once I felt like I had hit absolutely rock bottom but that that was it- that was my lot and I had to live with it. 

I was wrong. I was so, so wrong. Life can always get better, but for me I found that the only way it was going to happen was if that change started with me. You can rely on friends and family, teachers and therapists, even strangers for help. And for the most part, they will help. But ultimately, the change needs to come from within. You need to want more for yourself, you need to try for yourself, you need to like, if not love yourself. . I don't speak for everyone, of course, but I think acknowledging that change needs to begin from within is a pretty solid start for anyone. 

I'm living my best life right now. I feel like I've gone through the ultimate glow up. The sad little teenager who hated herself, was full of insecurities and self doubt, felt unloved, worthless and unwanted is nothing more than a sad memory. The woman I am now is everything she wanted to be- everything she should have been. I'm happy, I'm confident, I'm driven and ambitious. I'm successful and secure in the person that I am and in my capabilities. 

I wish I could go back in time and make everything better for the sad, broken version of myself. I would change so many things for her, tell her to make so many different choices- 


- and yet, every choice I have made up to this point and brought me to the point I am at today. Sometimes, you have to go through some shit to get to the good stuff. Star's need darkness so that they can shine, and that's exactly what I am- a star. I needed all the dark times, the low points, the negative experiences to really blossom into the person I am today. While my journey to this point may not have been an entirely happy one, I don't regret it and I wouldn't change it, because it's made me the person I am today, it's brought to me the people I am surrounded with and it's taken me to the point that I'm at now. An incredibly happy one. 

I am living for being 22. I'm ready for more of everything; more success and more blessings, more opportunities and more good fortune, more love and more happiness. In fact, I'm ready for an overflow of it all. If 22 is half as good as 21 was, I know it's going to be a great year. 

Love from,
Florence Grace

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A Stay At The Manor*

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Last weekend, my boyfriend and I were invited to spend the night at The Manor Country House and Hotel. The hotel is located in Oxfordshire, just a short drive away from Bicester Village, which is pretty handy if you're looking for a mini weekend break that involves luxury shopping and a luxury stay! I was incredibly excited to have been asked along to do a review- it's probably one of the most exciting opportunities to have come out of my blog and is definitely not something I'd done before. Prior to our arrival we were told we'd be staying in the Chapel Suite and be receiving a complimentary dinner and breakfast. I honestly couldn't wait. 

I suppose from the name 'The Manor', and from the brief look at the website, we should have known how posh the hotel would be, but I'm honestly not sure anything could have really prepared us. As we drove up the long, tree lined gravel drive towards what looked like a miniature stone castle, we honestly couldn't believe our eyes. Was this really where we would be staying?! I was suddenly glad I hadn't put my huge hoop earrings in, but my boyfriend did panic about his choice of Nike trainers...


       Inside The Manor

The entrance hall was incredible, with a gorgeous open fire. We were greeted straight away with a friendly smile and I was impressed when the receptionist knew who I as without me having to introduce myself! She walked us to our suite (something else that impressed me!) whilst pointing out where the bar was and the restaurant, reminding us what time our booking was for- which was very handy! 

The interior throughout the hotel was fitting with the exterior of the building! What looked like an old castle from the outside was adequately decorated inside- thick red carpets, ornate mirrors, large paintings and mirrors in golden frames, stuffed animals and deer antlers on the walls- it was all very regal, very grand and so unlike anywhere else I've ever stayed. 

When we reached our suite, we were handed a key- not a key card like in an ordinary hotel, an actual key, attached to a wooden keyring with our door number on. I love small, intricate touches like this and I think it really added to the feeling of The Manor! Having an electric keycard on the door would have ruined the fact that our front door was  heavy wooden one with a metal latch! 
       
      Our Suite

I tend to be a little over dramatic at the best of times, but let me tell you that I am being absolutely accurate when I say that the suite was absolutely unreal. The main room was generously sized with a desk, a chest of drawers, two large mirrors, a large TV, a sofa and- my favourite thing of all- a four poster bed. I was so excited as I have wanted my own four poster bed my entire life, so getting to sleep in one in a manor house that looked like a miniature castle really did make me feel like a princess! 

The bathroom was almost as large as the main room, with a large cupboard-wardrobe with dressing gowns and slippers, a full length mirror, heated towel rails, a decent sized shower and great lighting for selfies! (Always important, right?)

The only thing I would say was "wrong" (hardly) with the room was that even with the lights on, it was quite dingy- as it gets dark quite early at the moment, we were straining our eyes a little and it was quite tricky to get any high quality photos to show you guys just how brilliant our room really was...I guess you'll have to book a night there to find out for yourself, hey!






         Dinner at The Manor

Dinner at The Manor was something else. Let's start with the layout of the table because there was so much cutlery- I actually said to my boyfriend "thank God I have watched The Princess Diaries so many times and know what most of this is for!". See, pretending to be a Princess my whole life has come in handy!

We were provided with a set menu, with starters, mains and desserts and three different options in each category to choose from. There was also a complimentary basket of bread to snack on while we waited. In all honesty, the starters weren't really my boyfriend and I's kind of thing- we both despise almost all vegetables and the options were:

- Raw Sweet Potato Noodles with marinated wild mushrooms, sweet mino sauce and micro herbs
- Chicken Broth with chicken julienne sliced vegetables and homemade pasta
- Smoked Duck with carrot puree and fig relish

Aside from the fact that we didn't know what all the ingredients were (what the heck is a micro herb?!), as far as we could tell there were vegetables in every dish. I settled for the noodles and my boyfriend went for the broth. It was pretty amusing watching him gag over the vegetables he was given, but my noodles were actually a lot nicer than I expected! It was - essentially- like a cold Chinese dish, so I was happy! 

I can confidently say that the main course was a lot nicer! The options here were:

- Pan Seared Venison with celerlac, beetroot and braised venison bon bon
- Pan Seared Sea Trout with creamed potato, peach and pea puree
- Quinoa with caramelized cauliflower puree, onion textures and braised fennel

As soon as we looked at the menu, we knew what we were getting; the venison! And boy oh boy was that a good decision! I think that it was probably without a doubt one of the nicest pieces of meat I had ever eaten. I'd never tried venison before so was worried I wouldn't be a fan, but it was absolutely gorgeous, and both my boyfriend and I really enjoyed the meal.






Dessert was a lot more tricky to try and choose, as all three dishes sounded incredible: 

- Strawberry Brulee with strawberry sponge, gel, mint meringue and jasmine ice cream
- Chocolate brownie with popcorn ice cream 
- Sticky Toffee Pudding with toffee sauce, chocolate soil and vanilla ice cream

My boyfriend chose the brownie whilst I opted for the sticky toffee pudding and both dishes were honestly incredible. My boyfriend said how the brownie was pretty much melting in his mouth, and my sticky toffee pudding was just dreamy. 

The setting for the meal was lovely- the room had incredibly high ceilings and a large chandelier lighting the room. However, I would say again it was a little dingy and so we were often struggling to see things, but this was a very minor point. They had a great 70's playlist playing too which created quite a romantic atmosphere! 

After dinner, we went to the bar for a bit, were the lovely Lucas served us for about an hour and a half. He was an absolute star, chatting away about the hotel, about his work there, about the alcohol behind the bar (there was a bottle worth over £2,000 on display!) and just about his life- he was really, really lovely and I'm very glad we got to meet him! 

Our night in the suite was very comfortable- the bed was absolutely amazing, the room was very sound proof so we weren't disturbed by outside noises and we both had a great nights sleep!


         Breakfast at The Manor

Although I used to say that without a doubt dinner was my favourite meal of the day, one thing I absolutely love doing is going out for breakfast! Breakfast and brunh dates are just the best and I will never turn one of those down- and now I actually think I'd rather go out for breakfast than dinner sometimes!

Breakfast at The Manor did not disappoint. Obviously- after everything else being so brilliant, why would it have?

There was a buffet of non cooked breakfast, cereals and fruit, toast and juices etc. which was eat as much as you like- you could just go up and help yourself. However, neither me nor my boyfriend chose to use this as there was actually quite an extensive, delicious sounding menu full of cooked breakfast options! 



First of all, can we appreciate how cute it is that the menu says 'good morning!'? Like I said earlier on in the post, I really do appreciate small touches like that! 

I was so spoilt for choice and found it quite hard but eventually settled for a classic full English, 'The Manor Breakfast' minus the black pudding! When it came, you could tell the eggs were fresh and of an excellent quality because the yolks were quite large and very, very orange! 




I do wish I'd maybe broken out my comfort zone and tried something that I wouldn't have usually had, but I guess that just means I'll have to make a trip back in order to try something else, doesn't it! 

Luckily in the light of the morning, the dining room was lit much better and so I could get a good photo of our food (hashtag blogger problems).

After breakfast, we decided to take a nice walk around the large gardens, which housed an outdoor pool, tennis courts and a croquet lawn (pitch? arena? What is the terminology here?!) and even a secret garden which really felt like I was walking straight into the settings of The Secret Garden book. The gardens were gorgeous, even if the weather was a little grey and drizzly- I can only imagine how lovely it must be to take a stroll around the grounds in the summer! It would definitely be a brilliant spot for a blog-based photo shoot and a wedding! 






I was really sad when it was time to check out! Our stay at The Manor was actually the final part of our nine day holiday, and it was such a fabulous way to round off our break away- neither of us wanted to go! We truly had been treated like royalty, living in the lap of luxury for the weekend and we were sad to be going back to reality. We have definitely said we will return for another trip though, because it really was such an excellent hotel.

There are a lot of great deals at the hotel, particularly over the course of Christmas and New Year! My boyfriend and I have already had a quick look at them, and I highly recommend you do too! It might seem a little costly but for a special occasion and for the service you receive it really is worth it- I promise. And to appeal to any bloggers, it is such an Instagrammable place- you'll be able to create at least a weeks worth of content here!

Thank you so much to The Manor for their hospitality over the weekend and for being so accommodating of me and my boyfriend- I am truly grateful and I really do hope to be back soon!

What do you think of The Manor? Have I tempted you into visiting for a weekend break?

Love from,
Florence Grace

This trip was gifted to me by The Manor Hotel in exchange for a review but all thoughts and opinions are my own. For more info on sponsored content, please read my disclaimer at the top of the page.
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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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