International Day of the Girl

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Since 2012, we have been marking the 11th October as the International Day of the Girl. It makes sense, when we have an International Women’s Day, to have one for girls too, and the day aims to “focus on the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting girls’ empowerment and the fulfilment of human rights.” Each International Day of the Girl comes with its own theme or focus, and this year it’s With Her: A Skilled GirlForce.

There’s absolutely no denying that there is lack of equality in the workplace for women. Of course it varies from job to job, but generally speaking women are paid less, pitted against each other, have men selected over them time and time again and have frequently less opportunities to pursue their dream career or advance in their current career than men do.

The United Nations said that “Of the 1 billion young people – including 600 million adolescent girls – that will enter the workforce in the next decade, more than 90% of those living in developing countries will work in the informal sector, where low or no pay and exploitation are common.”

They also stated that, of the quarter of young people who are currently not employed, in training or in education, most of them are female. It’s a sickening statistic that in 2018, women are still struggling to get the same opportunities as men.

Of course, there are a number of reasons for this; some women are expected to be caregivers and therefore can’t go to work or school because they’re looking after siblings, parents, their own children or other relatives. Some can’t get a job because they didn’t perform well at school. Some women are struggling with mental health problems, some have had their confidence knocked at school and don’t feel like they can achieve anything now. In developing countries, young girls are being married off from sickeningly young ages and expected just to be a wife. Their education isn’t supported, they’re raped multiple times a day, expected to carry babies before their bodies are even fully developed – and so education, and as a result, work, takes a back seat.

And there’s still people who sit there and proudly declare that they’re not a feminist.

We need days like International Day of the Girl to remind people exactly why feminism is so important. It’s not about hating men; it’s not about being more important than men. It’s about making sure that women – and girls – have the same opportunities provided to them as men and boys. That at school, girls don’t feel inadequate compared to their fellow boy students. That when trying to get a job, women don’t feel like they’re being treated as lesser than their male colleagues and competitors. And even if you've never experienced this kind of discrimination or struggle, it doesn't mean it doesn't exist and that therefore feminism is unnecessary - feminism goes beyond you, it's important worldwide for women.

Sometimes, yes, a man genuinely does deserve the job more than a woman. He has more qualifications, more experience, more achievements.

But that’s partially where the problem lies – he had more to offer. More that he had the chance to obtain that a large number of girls and young women do not.

Growing up, I’ve always been incredibly fierce, stubborn and independent. I have always gone after exactly what I wanted, with the full support of my parents behind me.

When I wanted to join judo, they were right behind me. I fought a couple of girls, but mostly I was fighting boys. As I got older – and heavier – I was fighting men, literally throwing them over my shoulder across the mat. When I moved up a group to match my age/weight, I was put in a group of men. I was the only girl, but did I let that stop me? No. I won trophies, I won 5 medals, I fought at the Bucks Youth Games representing this county. I was really good at what I did.

When I took up guitar – and then bass guitar too – my parents didn’t stop me. My dear old mum carried my two guitars to school every week (plus pushed a pushchair and sometimes had my sisters saxophone too!) and allowed me to join every band and group going. I performed at the Royal Albert Hall on numerous occasions, I performed at (and won!) the Music For Youth Festival with my school’s jazz band twice. I performed on TV for a kids programme about young children with musical talents. And when I was taking my guitar lessons, just me and one boy who’s Dad played guitar, I surpassed his grades and smashed my own with higher levels and went on to win my schools Music Trophy for my contribution to music at the school.

I aced swimming classes, I attempted ballet lessons and street dance classes, I was cast in school plays, I was in the local paper representing my school more times than I can count, I’ve won awards and certificates and trophies – I’ve been an obnoxious over-achiever my whole life and as a result have been able to build a very successful future for myself (so far, anyway!)

I was confident in myself, independent and strong, because I’d always been fortunate enough to have a support system around me that believed in me, and made me believe in myself. Whether I was throwing boys over my shoulder, beating their grades or just sassing them in the playground at school, growing up I’ve always made sure I was better than the boys – and no one, least of all a boy, was going to stop me from getting what I wanted and being the best.

This won’t be the same for every girl though, far from it. I’m privileged to have achieved this. My parents supported me and all my ambitions no matter what. Whether I wanted to be a singer, an author, a zoologist, a radio DJ, a photographer, a journalist… it doesn’t matter, they supported me in any way they could. They paid for classes, courses, offered encouragement and help. I was really lucky.

But not all girls are this lucky. Not everyone has supportive parents like mine, and not everyone has the motivation to get through school without supportive parents or family members. Not everyone is pushed to achieve, and not everyone has the same doors opened to them as a result of this. That’s what we need to be focusing on this International Day of the Girl, and every day going forward.

The UN have pledged to spend this October 11th – and every day for the next year – “bringing together partners and stakeholders to advocate for, draw attention and investments to, the most pressing needs and opportunities for girls to attain skills for employability”

We need to help girls and young women as much as we can. We need to help them see their own brilliance, their own strength. We need to encourage them and support them when they might not be getting that encouragement or strength from anywhere else. We need to be building them up, boosting their confidence and empowering them to the point where they feel comfortable going after the same opportunities boys and men do.

On this International Day of the Girl, let’s take a moment to think about how fortunate we might be, and think about those who might be less fortunate than us. Let’s also spend some time thinking about what we can do to help those in need. Could you donate to a charity, get involved with a local school to do some work with female students? Could you make up some care packages to send to girls in developing countries, give a sister, niece or even a daughter some advice?

Women are strong on their own, but we’re even stronger when we come together. Female empowerment is quite unbreakable and definitely a force to be reckoned with. In a world that’s so determined to break us down, let’s fight back and make sure we’re standing up to it instead!

We don’t just need to encourage girls to chase a future bigger and brighter than they could imagine – we need to pave the way for them too.

Love from,
Florence Grace

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We don't like fat women being confident.

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We don't like fat women being confident.

It's not a question, it's not an opinion, it's true. When fat women become visible to us, when fat women have their voices heard, we are appalled.

"How dare this fat woman upload a selfie to Instagram in her bikini? She's promoting obesity! Think about her followers! How disgusting, she's so unhealthy, she needs to diet"

I mean, wow. Telling anyone they need to diet is never really a polite thing to do as it is, but when it's done on social media, under a photo a fat woman has uploaded because she thinks she looks great, it's just ten times more venomous.

This is not an "unpopular opinion" by any means, and is not an uncommon post either. I see at least one tweet a day that looks like this.

Of course, the discussion of visible fat women and body positivity has really become more prominent since Tess Holliday made it onto this month's cover of Cosmopolitan magazine - and, in my opinion, she looks great. I don't actually like Tess all too much - there was some scandal a while back about her taking money she was supposed to have raised for charity blah blah, and so I've never followed her or anything like that, so I am totally not biased towards her at all. Regardless, I've never given her weight a second thought.

Once people saw the Cosmo cover, we got what you always get when fat women become visible in mainstream media - nasty, critical people fat shaming but disguising it as being "concerned about health". Because that's what always happens, isn't it? We see a fat woman being given a platform and people immediately become concerned with her "health" - when really, they just can't stand seeing someone who isn't typically attractive on a poster, a billboard, a magazine cover. I think Em Clarkson summed it up best in her blog post when she made the comparison between smoking and obesity; we put smokers, drinkers, even drug addicts on the cover of magazines and at the forefront of ad campaigns and no one bats an eyelid, because they're slim, pretty, desirable. Yet put a fat woman in the same position and suddenly everyone is concerned about health - and everyone just so happens to be a health expert, too. It could almost be funny if people weren't so nasty about it.

And it's definitely a problem specifically with women, too. Think about it - think about all the overweight and even "obese" men we see in mainstream media; James Corden, Michael McIntyre, Jonah Hill, Chris Moyles, DJ Khaled... the list goes on. All of these men are significantly overweight (although the likes of Michael and Jonah do fluctuate) and all have brilliant, successful careers that involve them being thrust into the limelight time and time again. Do we ever bat an eyelid? Demand to know their daily diet, question their health, tell them they're disgusting, overweight and a bad example to their fans? Do we hell. We do nothing but praise and support their careers with absolutely no questions asked.

It's undoubtedly an issue with fat women, as opposed to fat people. The world hates a confident woman, let alone a fat confident woman! Honestly, how dare someone love themselves and be bigger than a size 14? 

My favourite example of a "healthy fat woman" is Ashley Graham. A famous, gorgeous plus sized model, people often use her as the "acceptable" example of a plus size woman. Want to know why?

It's because she's sexy. In comparison with other plus sized girls, Ashley Graham's tummy is relatively flat in most of her photos. She has curves in all the right places and is sexy, desirable - and therefore, the perfect example of a plus sized woman we're more than happy to see on the cover of a magazine. She's big, but not too big. Society can accept that.

The other week a fantastic article was published via Huffington Post titled "Everything You Know About Obesity Is Wrong". After you've read this post, or maybe even right now, read this article, because it will enlighten you on so many things and blow your mind.

The article talked about how fat people are treated in society as well as in doctors surgeries, where one woman talked about an experience where she was congratulated for having an eating disorder as it meant she was losing weight. In a world where being thin seems to be the only goal for most, apparently having an eating disorder that makes you lose weight is totally okay.

The article also goes on to talk about how being skinny doesn't necessarily mean fit or, more importantly, healthy by any means, which is something I preach all the time. Skinny doesn't equal healthy by any means whatsoever, and we should never look at a skinny person and assume they're healthy in the same way we need to stop looking at fat people and assuming they're unhealthy. We need to stop judging a book by its cover. Skinny doesn't equal healthy. Skinny doesn't equal healthy. Skinny doesn't equal healthy!!!

Let's talk about that word promoting...
When we see a fat woman in the media, a lot of people suddenly get very upset. We see a lot of "She's promoting obesity!!! How dare she! Think of the young viewers who will see this!" I'm sorry, but unless she's wearing a sparkling banner and waving a flag over her head that says "Obesity is great, we should all be obese. Yay, obesity!", then she's not promoting obesity.

In the same way that the Kardashians don't promote plastic surgery just by getting a boob job when we see them on a magazine cover, in the same way that divorced celebs aren't promoting break ups, in the same way people who take drugs aren't promoting going out and doing a line of coke... a fat woman isn't promoting obesity by being fat.

When we talk about women promoting obesity, we reduce them to nothing more than their weight, their size, their physical appearance. We don't care about what they've achieved or why they're being given a mainstream platform - be it for business success, an important campaign or whatever else - we just care about what they look like. And, their health, apparently.

But where is their concern when a smoker is on the cover of a mag, in a movie, in an advert? Where is their concern when an abuser is cast in a TV series or film? Where is their concern when a drug addict is being interviewed? Somehow this concern just magically disappears...until a fat woman appears, and then suddenly these health activists are out in full force! And again, these health activists never appear when there's an obese man around... only when there's a fat woman. Amazing, isn't it?

And let's talk about the NHS...
One thing that comes up time and time again when a fat woman is being seen in mainstream media is the topic of the NHS, and how much this singular fat person must be costing the NHS. According to a BBC article from 29th April 2018, obesity costs the NHS around £6.1bn a year. That's obviously a huge figure and one that people love to push at obese people, reminding them of their cost to the tax payer. But let's throw a few more facts out there, because whilst obesity is costing £6.1bn...

  • According to this article in The Independent, in 2015 the government provided funding of £150 million for young people with eating disorders. 
  • The same article cited that obesity costs the NHS around £6.1bn a year, eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia cost more than £15bn a year.
  • According to this article from 2017, the NHS spend anything from £2bn to £6bn a year on smoking related diseases. The article also goes on to explain that tax payers don't just foot the NHS fees either - tax money is spent sweeping up cigarette butts from the streets and also on the fire brigade, putting out fires that are started by cigarettes.
  • This article in The Guardian shared the stats that claimed the NHS spend £3.5bn on alcohol-related conditions and an additional £3.4m writing out 195,000 prescriptions for alcohol-related conditions.
  • An NHS stats sheet shared that in 2015/2016 there were 15,074 hospital admissions with a primary diagnosis of poisoning by illicit drugs whereas in 2016/2017 there were 10,705 admissions with obesity recorded as the main cause.

Take a look at those stats... and it's still only fat women you want to get mad at? So what if we have a celeb who smokes promoting products and talking about their successful life, we don't because they're thin! Who cares if she costs the NHS up to £6bn a year and wastes fire services time? She's thin! It's okay! 

Put a fat woman in that same position and suddenly people want to talk about the cost to the NHS and the tax payer. Okay then! People are so concerned about how much these obese women are costing, but look how much is spent on people who are anorexic and bulimic? Disorders that often (but by no means always - they can happen to ANYONE) lead you to being dangerously thin...yet we don't care when someone slim graces a magazine cover because the world has told us that to be thin is to be desirable. That being thin is the end goal. It's a disgusting message to preach and it's sad. Very, very sad.

It's also worth noting that not all obese people end up going to hospital for all the obesity-related illnesses you can think of. When I was 17-21 I was classed as obese because of my height to weight ratio and in those four years never had a problem other than eczema - a health problem I've had since birth. When you're obese your risk of getting certain illnesses and diseases is increased, but it's not a certainty.

Fat women aren't being glorified - they're being celebrated!
Finally, we are starting to celebrate fat women. Pretty Little Thing just collaborated with Ashley Graham to bring out a collection that goes from size 4-24, Nasty Gal just expanded their clothing range to include a range of bigger sizes and to be more inclusive, Tess Halliday has been on the cover of Cosmo. The world is changing, and whilst a lot of people still aren't being very receptive to it, enough of us are for brands to be paying attention. Fat women are being given the same platforms and opportunities thin women are and I am here for it - but there's no denying that there's still a long way to go.

We're not asking for obesity to be promoted. We're not asking for everyone to live their life with the aim of being a size 28. We're just asking that you let these women live their lives the way anyone else is allowed to live theirs - without comment, without criticism and without judgement. Let them post photos of themselves and be confident without being screenshot and mocked on Twitter. Let them wear bikinis to the beach without making a bitchy comment. Let them eat a burger without you lecturing them about their health or their diet. 

Fat women - and fat people, for that matter - deserve to live their life without constantly being judged, being the subject of bullying and abuse. They deserve to do exactly as they please they way everyone else does without being questioned by masses of trolls on social media, without having to answer to people pretending to be concerned with their health.

It's time more of us were more body positive and also embraced more women who are confident, no matter their size. Let's not drag them down, try and belittle them, just because they might be more confident than us. Let's not drag fat women down because they're doing what we've been told over and over only a thin woman can do. Let's celebrate them instead! Let's celebrate all women, of course - but let's make sure that "all women" includes fat women too!

Love from,
Florence Grace

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Body Positivity, Self Love and Weight Loss

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It's no secret that I'm a huge advocate of body positivity and self love.

What that means is that I celebrate people with bodies of all shapes and sizes, I don't hate or discriminate against people of a certain size and I encourage people to do the same. I also encourage people, particularly women, to learn their value and worth and fall in love with themselves for who they are and the traits they possess, rather than based solely on physical appearance.

However, it's no secret that I have spent a lot of this year documenting a weight loss journey. It started in March, ended in July and then restarted again this month. Understandably I receive a lot of questions about how I can advocate body positivity and self love whilst actively losing weight and sharing my progress on social media, so I thought I'd use this space to explain it in more detail than anyone cares to read in an Instagram caption.


Am I trying to lose weight?
Yes, I am. However, I'm not trying to be set size or weight - in fact, I don't weight or measure myself at all because I think it's unhealthy. Our bodies change every single day, women's bodies change at every point of their hormonal cycle, you're slimmer and lighter in the morning than you are before you go to bed... there's all sorts of variances that can affect the number on the scales or the tape measure.

Instead, I go by how I feel, physically, emotionally and mentally, and also simply how I look in photos and in the mirror. I also go by how my clothes fit.

Why am I trying to lose weight?
Back in January, I had a really low point. I mean, really bad. I lost all motivation for anything, I did absolutely no exercise, I didn't want to see anyone, I binge ate... it was a really hard time for me. I ended up putting on a lot of weight which resulted in none of my clothes fitting comfortably and something new. Eczema.

I've had eczema my whole life, but only on my joints (inner elbows, wrists, back of knee) when it gets hot. That's normal for me. However 2018 brought a whole new bout of eczema to my life - big, sore, angry red patches that were bigger than any patches of eczema I'd had before, in places I hadn't had before either, such as between my thighs, on my boobs, on my feet and other places. I was honestly so stressed about this because it had never happened before - and the stress meant the eczema was getting worse.

I used steroid cream, I used a moisturiser that went viral and claimed to "clear up" psoriasis, I used other over the counter creams for eczema and nothing worked. So of course I turned to Dr Google, who recommended that a change in diet - specifically, cutting out dairy - could sometimes help. I also read that a change in lifestyle could also help. I didn't want to cut out dairy (I bloody love cheese!) and so I decided to get fitter and eat better. The eating better was not a problem but the exercise I just couldn't deal with. I bloody hated it.

The final straw came in March when I was still covered in eczema and my wonderful boyfriend wanted to take me out on a date. I went to get changed into something nice and discovered that literally none of my clothes in my wardrobe fit me. I had a breakdown, literally sobbing my heart out into his arms because I just felt so awful about myself - and I realised I had hit rock bottom.

"I still had Dominos on almost a weekly basis, and a McDonald's too... and for the most part, ate exactly what I wanted"

So what did I do?
Monday came around (Monday's are always great for fresh starts, aren't they?) and I took my before photo and put a plan in place. I hate dieting, I don't like calorie counting and don't like weight loss plans either. Using guidance from my Mum, who is a qualified nutritionist and PT, I decided to eat around 1,800 calories a day (instead of the approx 2,500+ I was eating) and walk 10,000 steps a day, every day - which seemed mammoth to me but I knew my Mum did it, and so did several other people, so I could too.

I still had Dominos on almost a weekly basis, and a McDonald's too (lol) and for the most part, ate exactly what I wanted. I just controlled my portion sizes a bit more and exercised.

In addition to the 10,000 steps I begun doing this mini seven minute workout in the morning before work by a fitness instructor called Lucy Wyndham-Read, which claimed to reduce your waistline/belly by two inches in just seven days! It seemed to have worked for a blogger I followed, Sophie, so I chose to give it a go - and guess what? It worked!

I didn't do the workouts religiously for seven days as Lucy instructs - I usually did them on weekdays then didn't do them at the weekend, but I still got the results I wanted. I was soon fitting back into my clothes, with some even being a little looser than before, and best of all? My eczema cleared up. I was absolutely over the moon.

I've no idea how many inches or how much weight I loss, because I didn't count. But the proof is in my before and after pictures, taken approximately three months apart.

Then what happened?
I went on holiday, came back and kind of fell out of my habit of exercising every day and doing 10,000 steps. We were eating pasta and pizza for quick and easy meals most days.
 Weight started to creep back on without me noticing and then my clothes began to get tight. Suddenly, I found eczema creeping back up again, in the same places as before. "No", I thought to myself, "not again!" and so I've jumped back into exactly what I was doing before. This time, Jonny is doing it with me!

We eat better than ever before, trying new foods and recipes, eating more fruit and vegetable and just generally living better. He does 7,500 steps a day and I do 10,000 - which means we go for nice walk together most evenings. We also attend my mums circuit class once a week which I honestly thought I'd despise (I hate exercising in front of people!) but turned out to love. I actually look forward to going each week, which seems crazy to me!

I'm starting to get fitter and stronger - I am definitely significantly less breathless when I go for a walk which is amazing, I feel better within myself and my eczema is clearing up again, which is great!

Why share my journey?
I share my journey online via my Instagram page and also a private food-only Instagram page for two reasons. One is to hold myself accountable, so I can see if I'm starting to eat nothing but pasta every day again and the other reason is to help people.

I share my journey to present myself as living proof that it really is possible to eat exactly what you want to and stay at the weight/shape you want to be if you exercise in proportion to what you eat! Obviously, not everyone is bothered by this or interested in it - but I know from the comments I get and the DM's I receive on a very regular basis that enough people are interested for it to be worthwhile for me to share my journey and experiences.

Better still, my journey isn't coming from someone who is already slim and losing weight. It's not coming from someone who is plus sized and losing weight. It's coming from someone who is comfortably midsized, a size that a lot of people can relate to, and so I feel like this is part of the reasons so many people find my posts helpful - I have a relatable body size and go through relatable struggles, which helps them with their own.

Losing weight for the sake of my personal health and wellbeing does not mean that I am not body positive. I don't care what size a person is - and if it didn't have such a negative effect on my physical health, I wouldn't care about my size either! If you're fit, healthy and above all else happy, that's all that matters! Even when I'm trying to lose weight, my opinion on body positivity and inclusivity when it comes to people of all sizes does not change.

Losing weight doesn't mean I don't love myself either. I loved myself at the start of this year (not in January when I was at my lowest, but from February) when I was bigger and I love myself now, when I'm smaller - because self love is more than just how you look physically. Self love is about embracing every part of you, is about learning to love yourself no matter what society tells you about yourself - and this is something I try to shout from the rooftops everyday. Everyone is worthy of being loved and everyone deserves to love themselves, no matter what.

Wow, I think my fingers are ready to fall off after all that. I hope it's cleared some things up and answered some of the questions I receive on a regular basis! If you're interested in my food/fitness page, you can follow it here and don't forget to follow my ordinary Insta here too!

What do you think about weight loss? Have you struggled with it, does it affect how you feel about yourself? Let's chat about it.

Love from,
Florence Grace

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Why I Don't Fit Into The Blogosphere


I've been blogging for over four years now and I must say it's become abundantly clear that I just don't fit into the blogosphere. Never have done, probably never will do.

This isn't a bad thing, by the way. Let me explain.

I get on with a tonne of bloggers. I have more friends online than in real life, let me tell you that now! I have regular conversations with them and really have some very close friends, all who I've met through blogging. When I say I don't fit into the blogosphere, it's not about the people or how I'm treated - because for the most part, the people are great! Absolute gems. The problem actually lies with me.

I'm just not 'blogger material', you see? I wear skimpy clothes and giant hoop earrings, I go to clubs, festivals, wild gigs that end in huge mosh pits... I listen predominantly to R&B, rap and dance music, I share every single detail of my life online and don't have an Instagram theme by any means. I went to an all girls grammar school and have a number of qualifications under my belt - I'm educated and well spoken - yet to some extent, I can be regarded as a "chav" with the words I use, the music I like and the way in which I dress. I haven't started blogging and allowed myself to be moulded by the industry so that I fit in. I've defined my own path.

How many "chavvy" bloggers do you know?  How many bloggers do you know that are like me?

I don't know any. In my four years of blogging I don't think I've come across one blogger who I've thought "wow, she dresses like me!" or "Yessss, can so relate to her music taste" or "omg YES look at the realness she's sharing right now, her writing is just like mine!" and for so long I've thought that was a hugely negative thing. I stick out like a sore thumb when comparing other bloggers to me.

But - and this is not something I say often - I think I might be wrong. The fact that I don't relate to anyone else in the industry, the fact that I haven't found anyone remotely like me is surely only a good thing, no? I have a USP - a unique selling point. I'm different, I stand out. There is literally no one in the industry like me.

If you come across my blog or my social media platforms, you're not going to see what you'd see on an ordinary blogger's pages. I really am completely different. 

This is really something I want to be able to celebrate more.

"There is literally no one in the 
industry like me"

No, you might not catch me eating a perfectly iced cake outside Peggy Porschen's or posing in front of that neon sign at Tonight Josephine's but you will see me flaunting my curves at every occasion and getting real about body positivity and self love. You will see the delicious foods I eat (usually a Dominos!), you'll see me fighting for feminism and trying to educate people on important topics like racism and sexism. You'll see the wonderful places I travel to and plenty to do with my gorgeous boyfriend. 

There will rarely be cute, candid photos and there certainly won't be any staged photos - there will only be real life, in the moment snapshots that enable me to curate a feed of memories I can look back on and reminisce over. My tweets will be mouthy, opinionated but honest. I will always be real and speak my mind - it's just how I am, and this comes through on my social media feeds, something I rarely see across the feeds of some of the most successful bloggers.

I feel like I'm truly one of a kind, and I don't think that's anything to be ashamed of.

I'm not like other bloggers - I'm me. And it's time I stopped seeing that as a negative when it comes to blogging, and worked with it instead. I always look to others for inspiration and fail to find it - maybe it's about time I paved the way and tried to inspire others instead.

Love from,
Florence Grace

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The Muller Light Yogurt Scandal


Slimming World. 

Those two words really make me cringe. It's 2018 and people are still buying into what I believe to be one of the biggest diet scams to exist. Group weigh in sessions? Classing foods as "syns" (read: sins, ie bad)? Giving out leaflets that advise you not to hang out with overweight friends? Yeah, it's a no from me. 

Slimming World has always been a fairly tenacious subject in the press, but there's been another blow up recently, when the company announced that Muller Light yoghurts would no longer be "syn free" and would now contain 1 syn. The nutritional content of the yoghurt hasn't changed at all - it contains exactly what it did before - so how is this yogurt now magically a "syn"? Nothing has changed, nothing at all, and it literally proves that Slimming World make this stuff up as they go along. And yet people are still buying into it. As someone who has struggled with food and body image for so much of her life, it makes me so sad that people are actually paying to be told to act in a way that my brain made me act when I was at one of my lowest points in life.

Mark my words, Slimming World will be pushing their own "syn free" yogurt to replace this Muller Light yogurt soon... 

Because it's all a marketing scam.

Paying to go and get shamed into eating less, calling foods "syns" and being told to only eat X amount of them - it's disgusting. And whilst it might be a quick fix in the short term, it's not going to work in the long term. There is nothing healthy about categorising foods into "bad" and "good", into "syns" and "free". There is nothing good about having a group weigh in, being made to feel like you're not doing it right if you don't lose as much as someone else. It actually amazes me that it's 2018 and people are still buying into this. And it's not just Slimming World, either. Weight Watchers, Herbalife, Jane's Plan, Cambridge... they're all marketing scams! It's the diet industry's way of making money off you

There is a proven way to lose weight/maintain a healthy weight and lead a healthy lifestyle, and it doesn't involve paying a company to tell you what you can and can't eat. It's called a balance diet and exercise. 

Seriously! All you have to do is eat well, and move often. Eat what you like, when you like. If you're conscious about weight, make sure when you eat a bit more, you exercise a bit more! Do it all in proportion, if you're trying to lose weight. If you're just aiming for a healthy lifestyle, eating a full, balanced diet and exercising around three times a week should be enough. 

Of course, it depends on every individual situation and lifestyle - but I can tell you now, Slimming World isn't the healthy answer for anyone. Calling food 'syns' and limiting how many 'syns' you can have in a week encourages guilt and shame around food, just like the rest of the dieting industry - and Slimming World (and all the other diet plans/groups) are no exception to that. There's nothing healthy about constantly counting how many "syns" something has, and as qualified nutritionist, Rhiannon Lambert said in her piece for the Independent:

"An obsession over which foods are good and bad is an impossible, rule-driven way of eating that is familiar to so many eating disordered people, a behaviour that I see in my clinic every single day... diet culture is seen everywhere, from restaurant menus to supermarkets, and I believe that if we perceive what we eat as good or bad, it is often an extension of how we see ourselves"

And that's the tea, sis.

But what do Slimming World say?
And whilst Slimming World often argue that the word "syn" is short for "synergy" and relates directly to nutrition and food, you know as well as I do that they've nicknamed 'bad' foods "syns" because of the delightful play on words it has. They want you to feel bad for eating a chocolate bar because then you keep going back to the groups for "help" and "advice", and they make their money. They want you to keep avoiding "normal" foods so they can offer you a branded Slimming World alternative - and again, that's how they make their money. 

I mean, kudos to those who have used Slimming World and have lost weight and now feel happy and content in their life. I have a number of friends who have used Slimming World and look fantastic! I always tell them how proud I am of them, because I know how far they've come, and it's so important to support your friends. But that doesn't change my feelings towards the company and I'm always very open about that. Whilst I've been tempted a couple of times in the past to join, I never have - and I never would. It just doesn't sit right with me, paying a corporation to tell me what foods I can and can't eat.

I've managed to lose weight, a considerable amount of weight, simply by having a more balanced diet, drinking more water and exercising more. I walk 10,000 steps a day, and I have an 8-hour a day office job where I'm glued to a desk - if I can do that, anyone can. If you're aiming to lose weight, then pay attention to the nutritional advice for what you're eating. Look at fat content, research how many calories you need to consume - because eating too much or not enough both have a negative impact on your weight! - and make sure you're having enough of each food group. Don't cut carbs, don't cut sugar - eat everything in moderation. That, or exercise in proportion to how much you eat. I'm not a health professional but both my Mum and my Dad's girlfriend are personal trainers, so I think I have some clue with what I'm talking about. 

The diet industry is toxic. 

From the way gym's target us in the New Year about getting a "bikini body" to the way health stores stock meal replacement shakes, from pushing a slim, size zero ideal body type to us in mainstream media, to promoting plans like Slimming World. It's all toxic and it's all to make money from us. Every time we feel bad about ourselves and buy into any element of the diet industry, we're lining some fat cat's pockets who, in truth, does not give a stuff about how anyone feels, anyone's health or dieting. They're in it for the cash and nothing else. 

Love yourself at all shapes and sizes. Enjoy all the food you want to enjoy, exercise because it's fun or because it makes you feel good, not just because you want to be slim. Skinny doesn't equal happy or healthy, so make sure you feel happy and healthy, no matter what size you are. 

Slimming World, Weight Watchers, Cambridge, Jane's Plan and everything else can all get in the bin - and I hope that this Muller Light yogurt scandal opens a few more people's eyes to how much of a scam the diet industry is. Go enjoy your yogurts, hun! 

Love from,
Florence Grace

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Take a diss and turn it into discourse


"Take a diss and turn it into discourse that will encourage us all to see beyond desirability"

The above quote is one of my favourites, and comes from one of my all time icons and absolute queen, The Slumflower - aka, Chidera Eggerue. Founder of the #SAGGYBOOBSMATTER movement and writer of bestselling book What A Time To Be Alone, this absolute girl boss has honestly changed my life so much, and has had such a huge impact on so many other women too. She teaches us to love ourselves, to know our worth and to be more than just a desirable object. She might be young, but she is wise beyond her years and is honestly going to change the world - I just know it. 

Taking a diss and turning it into discourse is something that I have unknowingly lived by for the last four years - that is, since I've been blogging and creating content on the internet. As someone who has been bullied a lot, on more than one occasion I have used this nastiness to create content online and open up a discussion to try and bring about change. Some of the topics for which I have done this include domestic violence, eating disorders, body positivity, self love and boobs. 

Body positivity and self love are two topics I'm really passionate about, and if people try and tear me down, aka diss me, I turn it into a very open and public conversation online, aka discourse. When people call me fat, I create content about it. When people troll me online about my looks and body, I create content about it. When people make fun of my boobs, I make content about it. Turning a diss into discourse not only works, but has helped me to establish my passions, what I'm good at and helped me to build a career from it too. 

"I have used this nastiness to create content online and open up a discussion to try and bring about change"

It's funny that my looks are the first thing people go to when they want to insult me - they are so quick to tell me I'm fat or ugly, that my boobs are saggy or that I just generally look gross. And whilst it can be upsetting at the time, when I turn that hurt into words and share it on my Instagram, or on here, it turns out to be some of my most popular and successful content that opens up conversation with dozens of women. Women who have been through what I've been through, or maybe still are. Women who want to learn how to ignore the trolls, learn to love themselves and accept their bodies. The pain I go through, the hurt I deal with, I turn into love and compassion and use it to fuel me to help others. I think that's really something, even if I do say so myself. 

I think more of us need to take these words from Chidera on board and turn disses into discourse. Opening up conversations about otherwise taboo subjects - like boobs - really does help to implement positive change and is something that we should all try to play a part in. I for one, will definitely continue to turn my disses into discourse to help to educate and encourage women - and men! - everywhere, of all ages, to embrace the skin they're in and learn to love themselves. 

Love from,
Florence Grace

It's not me, it's you.


People can be right pricks, can't they?

It's not often we don't take the blame for a relationship breakdown, be those friendships or romantic relationships. We often tell people it's us, not them. That we're sorry things turned out this way. That we should have tried harder, that we could have done more, that we will regret this. Never do we turn around and say "actually, it's not me, it's you". Because sometimes, the other person really just is a piece of shit and there's not much that can be done about that.

This is something I'm going through at the moment. On some days, I'm having a pretty hard time.

In the last twelve months I have had to cut off two people who I considered to be lifelong best buddies, three relatively close friends and a dozen of other distant pals in order to protect my inner peace (lol) and my bloody happiness. And whilst to them, it might seem as if I did this ruthlessly, I've been pretty cut up about it ever since. Dare I say it, I even miss them sometimes!Obviously it's the "best friends" which have affected me the most, and on numerous occasions I've considered reaching out to make amends, just because I miss them. I thought about apologising for what happened, being the "bigger person" and putting things right.

And then I gave myself a firm talking to. 

Because do you know what? It wasn't me at all. I didn't need to apologise for anything, I didn't need to feel sorry for what went down, because it wasn't me, it was them. It was them who upset me, them who pushed me so far I had no choice but to cut them off, them who stabbed me in the back, played me for a fool and tried to ruin my happiness. Why should I apologise for their shoddy behaviour?

You only get one chance at life, and you have no guarantee how long that chance is going to be. For that reason, it's important that you only surround yourself with the best people, the best surrounding, that life has to offer. If someone is making you unhappy, creating a toxic environment for you to be in, causing you any kind of suffering, you have to just cut them off. And no, you might not get closure, but you can sit there and feel reassured in the fact that "it's not me, it's you".

Life is too short to spend it with shit people - nasty people, toxic people, selfish people. They say you are made up of the five people you spend most of your time hadn't you better choose those five people wisely?

This is a message we all need to pay more attention to.

We really need to stop spending so much time pining after people who are no good for us, trying to keep relationships and friendships going that are only dragging us down and draining us. Most importantly of all, we need to stop shouldering the blame for every single relationship or friendship that goes wrong.

Of course, sometimes it might be your fault and you might have to hold yourself accountable - this happens! But there is no need to shoulder the blame if it genuinely was the other person's fault and you're just too scared to tell them so. Don't fret over what you could have done better, what you should have done to be better and so on - sometimes, people are just shitty and there's not much else you can do about it - just explain to them that "it's not me, it's you" and leave them to deal with themselves whilst you walk away with a clear mind.

Say it with me: It's not me, it's you.

Love from,
Florence Grace

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Four Years of Love from, Florence Grace!

Four years is a long time, don't you think?

I'm nowhere near the same person I was four years ago. I'm not friends with the same people, I'm not dating the same person, I'm not in the same job. Everything is completely different, and when I look back on the last four years of my life, I can't help but to think about how everything would be even more different had I not started my little blog - four years ago to the day.

Four years ago, I was sat anxiously waiting for my A Level results, I was deciding if I was going to go to the university that accepted me or not, I was wondering if photography was really the career I wanted to pursue - in short, I was totally lost. Until I started my blog and began to create my own career. Blogging helped me to find my way, find myself and totally change my life and I find that totally mind blowing. 

I've been looking back through my Facebook page, right to my first year of blogging, and there's so many exciting things I have been able to do through my blog, and thanks to my blog - some of which I'd actually forgotten about! I became a published columnist within three months of starting my blog. I was headhunted to complete an internship with Closer magazine. I worked with Carat Media and won a Google Chrome Cast for my outstanding project skills. I have written for more websites than I can even count, I have trained to be a TV presenter with a BBC journalist, I have appeared on several 4Music TV shows, I've presented concerts and conferences, I've sat in the front row at a fashion show to document it for my blog. I met Gemma Cairney from Radio 1 and Kenny Campbell from the Metro, I set up my own mini stationery business, I landed myself several social media manager roles before turning it into a freelance career, launched my own magazine and finally landed myself a role back in radio again.

All of this stemming from my blog. All of these opportunities presenting themselves to me because I took a little corner of the internet, made it my own and said to people "hey, look what I can do". My blog has been proof of my talent, my skills. It's backed me up when I've told people what I'm good at. My blog has provided help to others, it's provided help for me. I absolutely adore it and can't even begin to imagine where I'd be without it - probably still working in a retail job I hated wondering what I was going to do with my life.

Four years ago today I stepped into a radio studio for the first time, sitting behind a mic and presenting my own show - finally taking a step towards my dream job. I kick started my blog and reignited my love of writing. From July 31st 2014 I have been working damn hard every single day to create the dream career for myself.

Now, four years later, I'm back working in radio which I absolutely love, I've turned my magazine into a monthly magazine and my writing has developed hugely from my first post (which you can read here). I've found my niche, I'm doing what I love and it's all thanks to my little blog. Love from, Florence Grace has become a brand and I am so pleased. It really feels like a dream come true. 

I love that four years ago, it started with a radio show, and that after some time away from it I managed to find my way back to radio - because, essentially, that's why I started my blog; to pursue my dream of being a presenter. It just so happens I found a lot of other things I was good at and enjoyed doing along the way.

I have no idea what's next for me. I want to develop Love from... magazine further, I really want to write a book and have had it down as a new year resolution for the last two years now (lol) and I would love to start a podcast soon too. I want to keep expanding my content creation services, I want to learn to DJ and of course, eventually, end up with my own radio show (or at least co hosting). That's the end goal.

But what do I know? Every year is totally different and always random opportunities I never expect and couldn't even dream of fall into my lap. I'm not going to plan anything - I know God has a plan for me and I'm going to put in the work whilst trusting the process!!

Thank you so much to everyone who has supported me since day one - so much of what I do, and have done previously, would not have been possible without your continuous support, and I am always so grateful for that. Here's to another super successful year, hey?

Love from,
Florence Grace

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Skinny Doesn't Equal Happy


Recently I started a new weekly Q and A series on Instagram all about body positivity and self love. A lot of the questions I get really stick with me, and I feel like I need to dedicate more than just one tiny snippet of Instagram story to the answer. A great example of this is this question here:

For me, this had one very obvious and simple answer that I had to share with everyone - skinny doesn't equal happy. Plain and simple.

(Disclaimer, before we really get into it: This isn't me saying skinny people can't be happy - this is me saying that if you work so hard to get skinny it doesn't mean it's going to make you happy. Hope that makes sense)

Really, there's so much more to speak about when it comes to weight and self love. It's all well and good me sitting there telling people that skinny doesn't equal happy but that's not going to be very helpful for them when they want to resolve their issue of having no confidence. This isn't the first time I've had a question like this and I'm sure it won't be the last - so let me talk about this in a bit more depth.

Your weight does not define you
You could be a size 0 or a size 20 and I can tell you now that your weight absolutely does not define you. When you're dead and gone, no one is going to remember you for your size or your weight. They'll remember you for the things you achieved, they way you treated people and how you made them feel.

There is so much more to a person than their weight and their clothes size and yet we spend such a huge portion of our time focusing on it. When I look back on my teenage years I feel truly sad that, from what I remember, almost all of my time was spent skipping whatever meals I could, eating as little as possible and doing anything I could to try and be skinnier, smaller, prettier. Honestly, doesn't that just break your heart? I bet for many of you reading this, you'll feel much the same. How much of your life have you spent trying to make yourself smaller, missing out on a takeaway with friends, skipping nights out to go to the gym? Probably a bigger portion than you'd like to admit.

And how much of that time were you happy? Because I can only speak for myself, but I was miserable. Utterly miserable. At my slimmest, I was trapped in an abusive relationship and even self harming at one point. I was always sad that I didn't think I looked as pretty or as skinny as my friends (I did, but I just didn't see it). I was sad that I didn't look how I thought I should look - and the sadder I got, the more I tortured myself over it and the worse I felt.

At my skinniest, my heaviest and where I am now

Fast forward seven years later to where I am today. I'm not the skinniest I've ever been and I'm not the biggest I've ever been. I'm comfortably sat in the middle somewhere, curvy with thick thighs, a lil' chubby belly and full of nothing but love for myself. I never turn down a take away, I never go to the gym, I walk as much as I can to get some form of fitness in and occasionally do a mini workout in the morning before work. I've found a balance that works for me and I'm so happy. Life gets so much better when you're focusing on all the good things, the exciting things - and not how many calories you're eating every day.

Confidence comes from within
If you're losing weight and not feeling confident, if you're gaining weight and not feeling confident, if you're dying your hair, getting surgery, trying new makeup looks, buying new clothes and still not feeling confident then you must be able to work this out for yourself - but let me tell you anyway.

Confidence requires a change of mindset and a change of attitude, both of which come from within you. No one else can make you feel more confident. No one can give you a pill or some medicine that miraculously makes you feel more confident in yourself. It's a character trait that you have to practice and work at every single day.

You can make any kind of alteration to your body that you like but if you haven't already changed the way you feel about yourself from within, you're still never going to feel confident - or happy, for that matter. You need to stop linking your physical appearance to how you feel about yourself as a person, because there really is no correlation. It doesn't matter if you're fat or thin, big boobs or small, brunette or blonde, you're always worthy of being valued, being loved and being respected. Until you can reset the way you think and learn this lesson, you won't ever feel confident or happy with yourself, no matter how you look.

Embrace the body you're in
You need to learn to love you whilst realising that the concept of "you" is ever fluctuating. Your body changes all the time - when you're pregnant, when you're on your period, when you're older, when you go through puberty, when you eat more and move less, when you eat less and move more... your body is always going through changes. And you won't ever be able to embrace that or feel comfortable with it until you learn to love your body no matter what. 

Your body works 24/7, from the moment you're conceived and begin to grow up until the day you day. You're always breathing, your blood is always flowing, your brain is always keeping you alive. Your body is capable of incredible things, your mind can invent amazing ideas, your hands can write words that can change the world... why are you pinning your worth and self love onto how you look? It just seems so small in comparison to everything else about your body.

Once you begin to love yourself, nothing else will matter. You won't care when you gain a few pounds, you won't celebrate when you lose a few. You won't care if your boobs aren't the perkiest, if your bum isn't the roundest, if you have a thigh gap or not. You'll eat on your own terms, choosing what you want when you want it. No matter what, you'll feel beautiful, happy and comfortable in your body. You'll truly only begin to live your best life when you love your life and everything in it - including yourself!

And finally...

Skinny doesn't equal happy
If you're still pinning your weight to your happiness, you need to stop.

Skinniness doesn't equate to happiness, and I just can't express this enough. True happiness can not be tied to your physical appearance, because it only really comes from within.What really makes you happy? Puppies, the beach, good food, your favourite cocktail, ice cream, rain falling whilst you're tucked up in bed, hearing your favourite song, Fridays? Make a list, and then go out of your way to experience more of what makes you truly happy.

Your body shouldn't be what makes you happy but you should be happy with it and in it - no matter what it looks like. It's an amazing thing and you need to remind yourself of that every single day. 

Of course there will be ups and downs, highs and lows. Some days you will feel frustrated when you flick through a magazine and don't see any bodies that look like yours. But it's okay. The media has pushed the same, tiny bodies on us for years and it is only going to continue (although we can do all we can to try and change this). But this is what I'm saying - self love, body positivity and confidence all take practice and are things you need to work at every single day. They don't usually come naturally, because we're only ever told to be one thing, one thing that counts:


There's so much more to life than being skinny, and if you're feeling unhappy, being skinny will not change that. Self love, body positivity and confidence all come from within. Start working at it now and you'll get there eventually - I promise.

Love from,
Florence Grace

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Men Need To Do Better

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*Trigger Warning. This post discusses sexual assault, sexual abuse and rape*

As someone who has been a victim of abuse and a victim of rape/sexual abuse previously, I get a bit anxious around men I don't know. One of the worst things I have to do in life is get into a lift by myself, with no one I know, and every other person in the lift being a male. My palms get sweaty and clammy, my chest gets tight, I feel sick and generally unsafe. When I step out of the lift, it's like coming up for air after being held down under water for almost too long.

It only happens when I don't know anyone else. If I'm in a lift with Jonny, with my friends or even with a male colleague, I'm totally fine. But if I know no one else in that lift, and am the only woman present, my mind tells me that I am not safe.

Lifts are the worst. However, I get a little anxious walking past groups of men, or in front of men (one or more) or walking past men in clubs. In fact, in Ibiza a man tried to grab me whilst I was walking past him holding Jonny's hand and then tried to block my path. I got frustrated and asked him to move. He laughed, and moved closer towards me - so I used every ounce of force and strength I had behind me and elbowed him right in the ribs. My elbow killed after, so I hope I cracked a rib to make it worth it!

No one fucks with me.

So you can only imagine my surprise when I was assaulted by a man in broad daylight on Saturday morning, and my greater surprise at the fact I did nothing to defend myself. Absolutely nothing.

I'm feisty - everyone knows it. I'm all talk, but that's because my talk is enough to get people to leave me alone. If someone touches me, and I don't like it, I will often say something along the lines of "touch me again and I'll break your fingers". I absolutely never would - I don't think I'd even know how to break someones fingers! - but it warns people enough to make them stay away from me, and people don't often try it on a second time after that. I can stand my ground, hold my own - verbally, anyway. When I was single, and actually, even now, guys call me a bitch because of it. When I was single, they often told me I'd end up alone if I didn't act "friendlier".

Good. I'd rather end up alone than be touched up without my consent by a creep like you.

So what happened to me this weekend?

I'm mad at myself for not being my normal feisty self on Saturday morning. I'm mad for not punching him in the balls, spitting verbal abuse that would cut his soul in two, leave him hurt and upset the way he left me.

I just don't know what happened. My mind didn't know how to compute the situation.

There was me, walking out of Brixton train station at about 9:30am. There was a tonne of people around, the sun was shining, I was walking along with my headphones in, minding my own business, when a man stepped in front of me and tried to grab me. I gave him a look and said, quite firmly, "no". He laughed and tried to grab me again, I sidestepped him and he sidestepped with me. His friend sat on a bike, watching it all unfold. "I'm not interested", I said. Suddenly, his smile dropped. "You're a bitch" he screamed in my face, "a fucking bitch. You're ugly, I wouldn't touch you if somebody paid me. You're fat and you look like shit".

I know. Ego so fragile, right?

He carried on screaming at me, whilst I stood at traffic lights, waiting to cross the road - I literally could not escape him. People stared, but walked past. One woman, a foreign lady who couldn't speak much English, was stood waiting to cross with me. "He's crazy, a drughead, don't listen to him" she said. I nodded, still frozen in shock and unable to speak. Then, when I crossed the road and walked around the corner, away from him, I burst into tears.

"But more important than telling women to be so careful - for just doing simple things like walking down the bloody road - I want to tell men to do better"

Normally, in any other moment, I would have made a cutting remark, sworn at him and probably told him to fuck off and suck my dick (like the eloquent lady my mother taught me to be...). But I just couldn't deal with it. I've been attacked by men when drunk, when in a nightclub or at a party, when walking home alone after a night out... but never in broad daylight, surrounded by literally hundreds of people who wouldn't step in and help. I write about this stuff happening all the time, try to raise awareness of how important it is that women protect themselves on the streets, but it never happened to me in an ordinary daytime situation and my brain just didn't know what to do. I quite literally froze.

I'm kicking myself now because I feel like I acted like a baby. I didn't fight back like I normally would have done. He will have gone back to his mates and had a laugh about the girl he verbally abused "for fun". It won't mean anything to him at all - but it means everything to me.

He tried to assault me on a route I use on a very regular occasion - what if I see him again? What if it happens again? He's ruined a route I once believed to be safe, to take me to work. What am I supposed to do now?

There isn't much point to this blog post, other than once again I want to tell women to be so, so careful. I was surrounded by people, in broad daylight, and this still happened. But more important than telling women to be so careful - for just doing simple things like walking down the bloody road - I want to tell men to do better.

Don't speak to a woman on the street if she has headphones in, if she doesn't know you, if she's walking alone and you're in a group, if you're trying to make a move on her. Don't make women feel unsafe as they do ordinary, day to day things. Don't move to a woman trying to hook up and then turn on her when she says no. Don't let your fragile, male ego make you turn into a monster when a woman rejects your advances. Just don't do it!

"It won't mean anything to him at all - but it means everything to me"

And for the men who might sit there and say "not all men" or "that's not me". Great, I'm glad to hear it. But is it your friends? Your brother? Your dad, cousin, uncle, colleague? Have you seen men you know act like this towards women before? Catcalling women as they walk past, grabbing women inappropriately in a club, forcing women to go home with them because they bought them a drink?

Hold yourself accountable. Step in, hold them back, educate them and inform them. If you know what's right and what's not, make sure the men you know do, too. Don't sit back and watch them intimidate, abuse and assault another woman, because that honestly makes you just as bad as the one doing it in the first place.

I'll watch my back at all times because I know that I'm never 100% safe - even if I'm walking along with a man by my side. I hope one day, this can change.

Love from,
Florence Grace

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Bullying and Online Trolls: My Story and What I've Learned


Bullying is something I have spoken about a couple of times on my blog before because it really is a topic quite close to my heart. However, I'm taking the time to discuss it with you all again because it's an issue that remains as relevant as ever.

I have been bullied quite a few times in my life - I was bullied for a short time at primary school, an even shorter time in my first year at secondary school which actually involved the bully being removed from my form and then I was bullied online from Year 10 to Year 13 and throughout my first year at college, resulting in about 5 years of bullying.

I thought it was over when it died down in about 2016 but over the last year it's begun to start up again - and it's only since this most recent bout of bullying that I've begun to really notice something; the bullying begins when I become more successful.

Just having a lil' laugh in the face of the haters who have tried to bring me down

When the online bullying started in Year 10, I had just got myself into my first proper relationship, one of the few serious relationships in the year group at school, and the bullying began. When I started college, I started my blog and began to do some really cool things, like working with Channel 4 and 4Music and getting my own radio show. The bullying got worse, with people slating my work, telling me I wasn't going to get anywhere (lol) and needed to quit writing (even bigger lol).

At one stage I even got the police involved because I just couldn't deal with it anymore, but the police told me until they caused me physical harm they couldn't intervene. Sigh.

Fast Forward to 2018 where my life is the absolute best it's ever been. I'm in an amazing career, on a great wage. I live in a beautiful home with the love of my life. I'm getting the chance to travel the world. My business is taking off and becomes more and more successful all the time, I'm more confident in myself than I've ever been and really living my best life and do you know what?

People can't stand it.

I've brought it up a couple of times already, but a nasty photo of me was made and circulated around the town I live in. I've had people who I believed would be life long friends write nasty, indirect snapchats about me and behave so nastily I've had to cut them off altogether. I've had people cut me off, for no reason. I had a twitter account set up that only followed me and responded to all my tweets for a while with nasty comments, telling me my boobs were saggy, that I was fat and so on. And then almost two weeks ago, there was this:

An account was set up on Instagram with, what I can only assume, was the sole intent of writing nasty comments on my photos, because they had no posts on their account and no followers and then went back through 92 photos and videos on my Instagram feed in less than five minutes to post five nasty comments before I blocked them.

Once the initial hurt and upset dissolved, the comments are quite humorous. Taking jibes at my weight clearly because they know I've just lost weight and am proud of how good I look right now. On one photo their best insult was "tin foil". Literally lol. 

Commenting no my boyfriends appearance however, is something I won't tolerate. Ever. I am very open and share most of my life online, including the people in it. Say all you like about me - I've probably heard it all before - but comment on my loved ones and it's over for you. I didn't care what this troll was saying about me, but to say such nasty things about my boyfriend was just completely out of line. 

"When you try to come for me, I keep on flourishing"

Bullying is still a huge issue that needs to be properly tackled - and yet it's something we don't seem capable of tackling very well. The number of bullies and trolls is growing, and the number of people becoming depressed, ill or even ending their life over it is growing with them. Bullies caused me to self harm, caused me to develop odd eating behaviours, dragged my self esteem down to below zero and made me feel worthless. This, in part, lead to me becoming a victim in a violent relationship. In short, bullies and online trolls absolutely ruined my life. 

But I got through it. I'm one of the lucky ones. It wasn't easy, but I made it - and so now I'm going to share with you some of the things that I learnt, in the hopes that if you're being bullied too, they might help you.

Bullies are never happier than you

People aren't bullying you because you're sad, or because you're having a rubbish time. People are bullying you because you make them feel uncomfortable or insecure or vulnerable about their own lives. Look at how many celebrities deal with online bullies and trolls every day, simply for living a lavish life that they earned that these bullies and trolls can't obtain. In my case, as I've already said, my life is currently the best it's ever been and I'm very open about this online. Bullies and trolls can't stand to see this, because they don't want people to have things they don't have, and so I've seen a rise in bullying and nastiness directed towards me.

Bullies are very sad, lonely and bitter people. People who think their life hasn't gone quite according to plan. People who think they deserve better. People who don't have a loving partner, or a nice home, or a caring family. Bullies are always worse off than you, and that's why they try to drag you down to their level - so that they can feel better. It doesn't excuse their behaviour at all but it definitely is worth remembering how good your life must be for someone to work so hard at trying to get to you over it. 

Most bullies and "anonymous trolls" are people you know

Or, even worse, people you considered friends. Anonymous trolls are always someone you know, someone close to you - hence why they know so much about you and know exactly what to say to hurt you the most. I once found out my entire circle of friends were writing incredibly nasty things about me on Twitter, because they knew that at the time, I didn't have Twitter. When I did join Twitter, what felt like my entire year group all tweeted the hashtag #TheDownfallOfTwitter - because they no longer had a safe space to bitch about me where I couldn't see. 

When this kind of thing happens, there's not a lot you can do. I'm 22 now and if there's one thing I can tell you about friendships, it's that they are incredibly fickle. I wish that growing up, I had kept a very small, select circle around me, rather than being friends with everyone when many of them were stabbing me in the back.

This point does link back to the first - people want to see you do well, but never better than them. If you can excel at something and a friend can't, this can turn them into a bitter, nasty bully - this has happened to me on numerous occasions, and it hurts a lot. Your friends are supposed to be your cheerleaders, are supposed to clap when you win! But sometimes your successes reveal the true colours of people you believe are your "friends". 

This is not anything to do with you - it's a reflection of the kind of person they were to begin with, and you're definitely better off without someone like that in your life. 

No reaction is the best reaction

Now obviously this seems a bit hypocritical, as I'm dedicating a whole post to bullies and trolls, but as a general rule of thumb, I've found that no reaction is the best reaction. I used to rise to the bait everytime it was offered, respond with fury to every nasty comment and mean post I saw about me, write my own indirect posts about people who wrote indirect posts about me. Really, this just added fuel to the fire. Bullies and trolls thrive off your reactions - it spurs them on to keep being nasty because they love knowing that they have power over you and your feelings. That they have the power to bring you down.

Don't give them that power. I'm now well trained in simply blocking and deleting. Of course, if the bullying is serious it should be reported. I got the police involved in the photo situation and it was swiftly nipped in the bud. But for nasty comments online, simply delete them and block the profile. It drives bullies and trolls absolutely crazy when they can't get to you. 

As I've mentioned, bullies are never happier than you. Imagine your life being so sad, so lonely, so miserable and bored within your own life that you have time to dedicate all your free time to visiting the profile of someone you apparently don't like - especially under the guise of a troll account - to leave nasty comments. Imagine. You've gotta pity them really. They just need a hug and some guidance in the right direction. They've obviously been through some shit that's left them feeling this way about other people, so pray for them, block and delete them and move on. 

And remember - if a hater keeps checking on you, that's not a hater, that's a fan.

Love from,
Florence Grace

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