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


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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)

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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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