New year, new me (for real this time!)

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I haven't sat down to write a blog post since November. Truth be told, I've barely even given my blog a second thought. It's just been sat here in my little corner of the internet, waiting to be used whilst it sits gathering dust.

It's kinda sad really, because once upon a time, blogging was my life. It was what I lived for. Now, I can't remember the last time I sat down to read a blog post, comment on a blog post or even attend a blogging event. All of my time and energy is put into Twitter and Instagram instead.

Instagram has long been my favourite platform to share content on, but after the 'bug' we all encountered the other day, hinting at what the future of Instagram could be, I realised what an error this was. I've heard some of my favourite bloggers, Vix and Lydia, talk about putting all your eggs in one basket and not neglecting your permanent blog for your potentially temporary Instagram profile but have never listened. Well, now I am.

My blog is back and so am I - and blogging is definitely going to be something I really focus on in 2019.

That's not all I'm going to be focusing on in 2019 either.

2018 was an absolutely incredible year for me - in fact, I'd go as far as to say it was the best year of my life. I thought 2017 was, what with finding Jonny, discovering self love and body positivity and getting my new job but in 2018 I seemed to do all of that but more so - as well as adding even more to the mix. 2018 saw me moving out with Jonny into our first home together. It saw me landing more freelance clients, getting back into the radio industry, landing two presenting gigs, making my magazine a monthly magazine, getting one of my biggest inspirations on the cover, landing my first full time job, loving myself absolutely and completely and helping others to do the same, travelling more, tripling my salary, becoming a published author and getting a pet cat.

Amazing, right?

That's not to say there weren't any low points - there absolutely were - but the high points definitely outweigh them quite dramatically. I cut off more 'friends' than I care to remember, dealt with a nasty bully, battle with my mental health at the start of the year... none of that was easy but everything that I did and achieved is more than enough to wipe those lows from my memory of 2018. Now, in 2019, I want to aim higher, achieve and receive even more.

Looking after me
In 2019, I plan on making myself even more of a priority. I want to:

- Pamper myself more. More baths, more facemasks, even little things like moisturising daily. You can beat a bit of R&R and it's definitely something I don't indulge in enough. My time is nearly always spent with someone else, so in 2019 'me time' is definitely going to become more of a thing!

- Keep track of my mental health and wellbeing. I want to keep track of this using something like a wellbeing planner, so I can monitor my highs and lows and find out what might cause them. I want to make sure I really protect my inner peace and mental stability in order to live my very best life.

- Exercise more. I am participating in RED January for Mind Charity (you can read more and donate here!) which means I will exercise every single day in January to raise money for Mind, a mental health charity. I will also be attending my mums circuit classes once a week, walking 10,000 steps a day minimum, and after January doing 3-4 workouts a week minimum. Exercise has so many benefits (not just weight loss) and I can't wait to start reaping the rewards of hard work.

- Look after my hair. It sounds so small but it's in seriously bad condition and I want it to be healthy and shiny, and most of all, to grow!! I guess this comes under pampering really...

I basically just want to continue on my journey of self love and continue to live my best life, really trying to just be better than I've been in previous days, weeks, months or years. Life is about continual growth and evolution and that's what I want to work on in 2019.

Working harder
In 2019, I want to push my limits and achieve even more than I did in 2018:

- I want to develop QUEEN Zine, a project I started at the end of 2018. I want to make sure I release it on a fortnightly basis and that it goes from strength to strength.

- I want to increase my salary. In 2018 I was able to triple my salary, and whilst I'm almost 100% certain that won't happen again this year, I would definitely like to see an increase; be that through my full time job or through my side hustles. And speaking of side hustles...

- I want to get creative. For the last couple of years, I've said that my resolution is to write a book and/or start a podcast. This year, I actually want to do one of those things.

- I want to land 2-3 presenting gigs.

- I want to begin publishing my work on websites, other blogs and in magazines again.

- I want to make sure I do at least one blog post a week - I refuse to just rely on Instagram for content anymore when it's clear that it might not be the best platform in the long term. I'm excited to fall back in love with blogging and to begin writing for me again.

In 2018, I saw a lot of the world with Jonny - we really got the travel bug! In 2019, we have a lot of trips planned already but I really just want to see as much of the world as possible!

- I want to go on a mini break/holiday at least once a month, even if that's just within the UK. Despite living here all my life, there's still so much of it - in fact, almost all of it! - that I haven't seen! We already have Scotland, Jersey, Mallorca, Malta and Ibiza planned so I'm open to more suggestions from you guys as to where we absolutely must go!

- I want to make sure I try the food that each place is known for wherever I go, rather than just sticking to my favourites, or foods that I know! "Safe foods" so to speak haha.

- I want to be a bit more adventurous with where I go. I've never strayed outside of Europe so even if I only book a holiday in 2019 for 2020 I want it to be somewhere outside of Europe!!! (America, Australia, South Africa, I'm looking at you!)

I also want to achieve a couple of other things that don't really fall into the previous categories...

- Open a LISA and save the maximum amount I can. I know it's limited so I also want to open another savings account to put money in. I'd like to have saved a minimum of £6,000 by 31st December 2019! Someone please hold me accountable for this.

- I want to host a girls meet up. Earlier in the year I did a post on insta about wanting to make my own girl gang for girls who felt like they didn't have any gal pals. It was half a joke, half not, buy so many people told me they wanted to join and do a meet up! So I definitely want to do that this year and get lots of girls together to help make friends!

- I want to think before I speak. I know only too well that I have a bark worse than my bite, my tongue can destroy people it's so sharp sometimes! I want to really take the time to think before I respond to something so I can act more rationally and say less things that I don't mean when I'm upset or angry. If you speak to me and I seem to take ages to reply, just know now that I'm thinking and processing before responding!

- Continue to be more 'woke' (lols) and help other people to be. All year long I have spoken very openly on social media about trans rights, sexism, racism, misogyny, the pay gap, rape and sexual assault, politics and everything else. I think I've been more open and honest about my feelings about it all in 2018 then any other year and I've had a lot of interesting discussions with people about it. I want to continue to do more of this in 2019!!!

Whew, I think that pretty much covers it to be honest. It sounds like a lot but when you consider that there is 365 days in a year, I feel like there is definitely opportunity to achieve most of the things on this list.

2018 has been amazing for me but I hope to continue growing, evolving, achieving and succeeding in 2019 whilst I live an even better life than the one I've lived this year.

Happy New Year everyone! I hope it brings you everything you want and more.

Love from,
Florence Grace

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Spilling the Tea With Francisca Rockey - Being a young black woman in Britain

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This week we’re spilling the tea with blogger Francisca Rockey. So far, we’ve chatted about the blogospheretaking a last minute gap yearhow we can work to save the world and dating. Today, in the final  post of the series, we’re talking about being a young black woman in Britain - and guys, the tea is piping hot. 

As a young black woman, what are your thoughts on racism in Britain? Is it getting better, worse?
Racism is prevalent in the UK. A lot of people will say “Britain is the least racist nation” but it really isn’t. If you genuinely think racism in Britain isn’t a thing then you’re either living under a rock or you are racist. Racism isn’t just shouting slurs at someone, its crossing the road when you see a black boy with their hood up walking towards you.

We’re seeing a rise in black and mixed race celebrities, such as grime artists and social influencers, with the likes of Stormzy, Oloni, Grace Victory and Kelechi Okafor all using their platforms and voices to try and bring about change and all being celebrated for it, yet racism is still rife on the streets. Do you think they’re having an impact on how black people are being treated on a day to day basis, or is it instead leading to a lot more cultural appropriation and fetishisation of these black celebs?
I think black and mixed race celebrities and social influencers are having a huge impact on how black people are being treated and are helping to dismiss cultural appropriation and fetishization. Kelechi regularly tweeting about the systematic racism towards black women and how opportunity is taken away from us, Stormzy has been very vocal about police brutality, knife crime and the Grenfell tower incident. All of these are things that people are fully aware of and turn a blind eye to but when people with such a huge following or social impact are openly discussing them, we are forced to face the facts and acknowledge the issues within our communities. It’s not just affecting me, your average Joe, its affecting everyone and that’s what their power highlights.

What struggles have you faced as a young black woman in Britain?
As a young black woman in Britain, I have faced being stereotyped and sexualised. There’s a stereotype of black woman that we are aggressive, angry and loud, I don’t fit the stereotype and because of that I have been called a bounty, Malteser, white girl and all sorts of slurs that essentially mean that I’m a white girl in a black girls body. I start by saying, I’m black. It might come as a surprise to some of you but I’m blackitty, black, black. I don’t conform to my stereotype and that doesn’t mean I’m not black, I am Francisca Rockey and not a stereotype. I went to a predominately white nursery, primary school, high school and sixth form, hence I have a lot of white friends. I’ve been surrounded by them so why wouldn’t I be friends with them? I have plenty of black friends too. I don’t braid my hair, wear weave or a wig, I have my natural hair out but I’m not less black than black girls who do have those hairstyles. People seem to have a stereotype of black people and when you don’t match their view of us as “ghetto”, you’re labelled as being a “sell out” or an “oreo”. I think people forget that no matter your race, you do not have to conform to how your race is represented. I am well-spoken and yes, I listen to “black music” and I also listen to “white music” and guess what? I’m still black.

Do you think Donald Trump’s racist attitude and behaviours are impacting the views of people in Britain?
Under Trump’s governance, America has become such a backward developed country. I think Trump’s attitude and behaviour has an enormous impact on the views of people in Britain. Trump believes immigrants are the reason for almost all of America’s problems, but the truth is, America is nothing without immigrants, just like Britain. The idea that immigration is a problem was used as a strong push to get people to vote to leave the EU.

Imagine what Britain would be without immigration? Of course they can’t let everyone live and work here but to say it’s a problem creates a negative view of immigrants who are already living in the UK. I’ve heard people say “immigrants are taking our jobs”… Now Dave, I don’t see you going to study medicine for 5 years to become a Doctor, those immigrants have and are qualified to do the job so they’re getting the job. I also hear “immigrants are taking over” we all enjoy a curry from your local Indian or Chinese - without said immigrants, all there’d be is fish and chips. Just to ruin your evening, fish and chips isn’t a British delicacy either. Fried fish was brought to Britain by Jewish immigrants from eastern Europe.

All in all, America belongs to the natives. Remember it was colonised by white men, they took something that wasn’t there’s. It never was and never will be a white country. Period.

There’s no denying that there is still an issue between the police of Britain and black people; namely their continual “random selections” for drug searches, car stops and of course the way they treat black “criminals” in comparison to white ones. Do you think this is an issue we will ever be able to resolve? How?
The way police in Britain treat black people in comparison to white people is disgusting and the only way to resolve the issue is for police to change their view of black people, particularly black men as “thugs”, “roadmen” and “criminals”. While holding this view of them, they’re unable to distinguish between the real criminals and a simple passer-by, their inability to do so will only increase hatred towards the police. Are they here to protect us or are they here to get rid of us by placing us in jail? I particularly hate how a black person can commit the same crime as a white person but if they claim that the white person has had a tough childhood and sufferers from mental health issues, they get away with it. Who hasn’t had a tough childhood? I don’t think any of our lives have been plain sailing and everyone has suffered or will suffer mentally at one point in their life. What makes white people so deserving of special treatment?

Who are the black people you think we need to be listening to in order to make sure we’re living in a society that’s equal and fair for all? Do we just need to listen to all black people? 
We should be listening to all black people. We are no greater than our neighbour and what I have to say is no less than what someone with a higher social impact, who’s older or a professional has to say. When society decides to listen to all our voices and acknowledge the issues that we are presenting them with then change can happen.

It's been a pleasure to spill the tea with Fran - she is so intelligent, genuine and honest, getting to hear her thoughts on some pretty current topics was so interesting. I hope you've all enjoyed my Spilling The Tea series, and if you'd like me to feature it again with someone else, let me know! 

Just a reminder that you can find Fran on Twitter at @franciscarockey or visit her blog over at

Love from,
Florence Grace

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Spilling the Tea With Francisca Rockey - Exploring the world of dating...

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This week we’re spilling the tea with blogger Francisca Rockey. So far, we’ve chatted about the blogosphere, taking a last minute gap year and how we canwork to save the world. Today, in the penultimate post of the series, we’re talking about boys and the tricky world of dating… it’s time to spill alllll the tea!

It’s 2018 and now it seems almost impossible to meet someone who isn’t just ‘dtf’ and actually wants a meaningful relationship. What do you think about the dating scene?
The dating scene in 2018 is all about online dating sites. Tinder is the go-to dating site it seems and every other guy is after a quick beat and delete (loooool we love that saying!!!) but there are some gems amongst the f*ckboys.

Do you think the bar is set too low for men to please women?
We see so many tweets saying “omg my man held the door for me 10/10 king ilysm!!!” I saw a tweet the other day that said, “when your other half cleans and then cooks whilst you’re out at meetings” and I thought to myself, are we REALLY praising guys for doing things that they should be doing anyway. The bar is very low. It makes women with high standards seem as though they’re asking for too much when, they just want to be treated properly.

How do you think social media has played a part in modern day dating?
Influencers like Tammy Hembrow and Olivia Bowen appear to have the perfect relationships. Their partners show them off, shower them with gifts and holidays and everything seems smitten. But the reality is, no one shows the cracks of being in a relationship and I feel that a lot of young girls are getting into relationships with these expectations. If you’re 16 and in school, there’s no reason why you should have a LV bag. You aren’t even earning an LV bag wage.

What’s your opinion on cheating… is it ever an honest mistake that can be forgotten or is it always a total no-no?
Where do I even being? To put it lightly, it’s disgusting. There’s no way to justify cheating on someone you supposedly love because if you really loved them, you wouldn’t do something that if they potentially find out, would break their heart. I don’t think there’s any situation that would make it an “honest mistake”, things like that don’t just happen, its premediated. You’ve been thinking about sleeping with someone else or simply talking to another person in a way
that your partner would disapprove of and now you’ve got the opportunity, you’re taking it. Simple as. To my future boyfriend or husband, cheat on me and I’ll leave, simple. Even if kids are in the question, send me that child support money and get out my house.

What kind of man are you looking for? (If you’re looking at all!)
I am looking for a man and I don’t think I’m asking for much at all. I want a man that’s smart (can’t date a dumbass), tall (someone to reach the top cupboard in the kitchen), funny, sporty/outdoorsy (I need a hiking, running and gym partner), financially stable, nice teeth, nice hands (groomed fingers and toenails) and childish (someone I can be goofy with).

Part 5 - the final part of the series - will be live tomorrow and we will be discussing being a black woman in Britain. It's an important finale, so make sure you're here for it!

In the meantime, follow Fran on Twitter at @franciscarockey and visit her blog at

Love from,
Florence Grace

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Spilling the Tea With Francisca Rockey - Saving the world!

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This week we're spilling the tea with blogger Francisca Rockey. So far, we've chatted about the blogosphere and taking a gap year. Today, we're talking all about the environment and how we can all do our part to save the world.

You describe yourself as an 'Environmentalist by day, blogger by night'. With that in mind, what do you think of the recent information shared that our planet may be totally unlivable in just 12 years time?

It's so sad to think that we have been damaging our planet for years and now we're close to an unlivable state, the government and big companies are finally trying to do something about it. If said governments and companies weren't going to be affected by the 1.5 degree increase in temperature then I doubt they would be intervening, but they're gaining something out of it, hence them wanting to prevent potentially losing business and tourism. I hope that hearing how little time we have to save our planet encourages people to make changes to their lifestyle.

As an environmentalist, what kind of actions do you take to preserve and protect the plant?
An environmentalist is a person who is concerned about protecting the environment. I am conscious of how my lifestyle impacts the environment. For example, even though I can drive, I often opt to use public transport or walk rather than driving everywhere. I use a reusable cup if I buy a drink from a cafe. Instead of chucking old clothes away, I bag them up for charity and send them to my local charity shop, or place them in a clear bag and pop them in a recycling bin so the materials can be reused. I'm far from perfect and there's a lot more I could be doing to preserve and protect the planet, but my actions will only make a small difference - if everyone played their part then we could force the change that needs to happen.

PSA - You can use plastic straws, disposable cups and plastic bags if you recycle/reuse them instead of chucking them in with regular waste.

What advice would you give to people who want to start making more of a change and 'do their part'? 
Track your habits for a week. How much plastic are you throwing away instead of recycling? How many ASOS orders are you making? Did you eat meat every day? Once you're aware of your habits, you can start tackling them. Wash your milk cartons out and put them in the recycling bin, do clothes swaps with friends or shop from your wardrobe instead of making multiple online purchases every week. Have a meat free day or a meat free week - if you can hack it, have a vegan day or week. It's really easy to just do your bit.

Part 4 of Spilling The Tea will be live tomorrow, and we'll be talking all about dating! It's gonna be a juicy one, so make sure you don't miss it! 

In the meantime, you can find Fran on Twitter at @franciscarockey and visit her blog at

Love from,
Florence Grace

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Spilling the Tea with Francisca Rockey - Taking a gap year

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Yesterday, we got to find out all about one of the sassiest, most 'real' bloggers around - Francisca Rockey. Today, we're finding out all about her decision to take a gap year...

You’re taking a gap year this year. What prompted that decision?
When I started my UCAS application back into 2017, taking a gap year seemed like my best
option, but seeing my friends apply for 2018 entry and being discouraged from deferring saw me applying for 2018 entry. I’ve spent most of the year umming and ahhing about whether going to university this year was for me and by the time results day rolled around, I had lost all excitement. No part of me wanted to go this year anymore. I felt like a balloon full of air and on that day, I was burst. A few days before heading off to Reading, I was sat with one of my close friends and we were having a chat about university and her decision to take a gap year and it was then that I realised, I wanted to take a gap year. Once I got back from Reading, I emailed all the relevant people and withdrew my application for 2018 and the rest is history.

How are you choosing to spend your gap year?
The typical “gap yah” is to travel for most of the year and come back a month or a few weeks before starting uni. Your girl is from a working-class background (this may come as a shock to some people as it’s believed that I come from a wealthy background) and my parents do not have the money to fund that so I’m working and saving until I can. I also want to volunteer for a few charities and organisations in and outside of the UK, take part in NCS but as a leader and work on my blog content.

Do you think there’s enough information out there for students who might want to take a gap year, particularly those who might make that decision last minute?
There’s a lot of resources for people who are taking a gap year and going travelling but there’s close to nothing for people who are taking a gap year to work, take a break or like myself, making the decision last minute. I am going to do a blog post about taking a gap year, how to plan, making the decision etc as I think I could help a lot of people who would like to take one but don’t know how to go about it or think they don’t have enough money to take one.

So what advice do you have any advice for students interested in taking a gap year?
If you’re thinking about it, DO IT. Don’t let any of your friends, family or teachers sway your
decision. After all, it’s you who has to live with the consequences of your decision, no one else and if you decide for someone else, you’re the one who spends the first year in uni or the year of your gap year unhappy. You lose nothing from taking a gap year, but you can lose something from going to uni straight away when you’re unsure.

What university will you be heading to in September and what will you be studying?
I have a post over on my blog about why I’m taking a gap year and in that I mentioned that I am reapplying and altering my course. (You can read that here!) The university that I will be heading to is yet to be confirmed as I am waiting for the Oxbridge application date to pass before I receive my offers. I will be studying earth and environmental sciences, geography and environmental science or environmental sciences, dependant on which uni I decide to go to.

Do you think your mind-set and attitude towards learning and university, and even just life in general, will be different when you go to university next September as opposed to the mind-set and attitude you may have had if you’d gone this September?
 Definitely! I have been on my gap year for 2 months now. Within those two months, I can already see a change in my mindset and attitude towards learning, university and life in general. I was mature before, but I’ve grown a lot over the last 2 months because I’ve
faced a lot of challenges that have made me have to grow up even more so than if I’d gone to university. For example, quitting a job within 2 weeks of starting it and having to find a new job almost immediately or facing unemployment for the first quarter of my gap year.

Part 3 of Spilling the Tea will be live tomorrow, and we'll be talking about being an environmentalist... make sure you don't miss it! 

In the meantime, find Fran on Twitter at @franciscarockey and visit her blog at

Love from,
Florence Grace

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Spilling the Tea with Francisca Rockey - Who's that girl?

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Photo by Jodie Mitchell
@jodiedcmitchell /

Who is Francisca Rockey?

One of my favourite women in the world is Francisca Rockey. Open, honest and full of sass, Fran keeps it real on social media, particularly Twitter, often confronting issues face on and forcing people to address what's really going on in a given situation. You might not have heard of her before, but you're about to get to know her now! We've got a big ol' interview with the lady herself, broken down into five segments and shared with you every day this week!

Spilling the tea on boys, bloggers and being a young black woman in Britain, you'd better take a seat and get comfy... you could be here for a while.

For those who might not have heard of you before, can you fill everyone in on who you are and what you do? 
I'm Francisca (pronounced Fran-sis-ca) Rockey, an 18 year old lifestyle blogger on a gap year. I'm African, born in Barnet, North London. I currently live in Luton but I'm in and out of London all the time! As well as being a blogger, I work full time juggling various jobs to fund my 2019 travel plans and to try and make sure I start uni in September with a bit of cash behind me!

Tell us three interesting facts about you!
I speak more than one language, I'm ambidextrous and I've never broken a bone!

When you're not working, what are we most likely to find you doing?
If I'm not blogging, I'm at the gym or spending time with friends, shopping or in bed until the late afternoon, binge watching Netflix and eating pizza for breakfast at 5pm. (A girl after our own hearts, hey!)

Who is your biggest inspiration?
My biggest inspiration is Dunola Oladapo. If you don't know Dunola, get to know! She is the founder of Luton Lights, a Girls 20 Ambassador and part of the #iWILL Fund Leaders Board Commonwealth Youth Peace Ambassadors Network. She's an inspiration to many because you can look at her and think "I can be something and I can do what she's doing. I don't need to be from a wealthy background or a posh town to get or take opportunities." Hard work gets you to where you want to be! Her Instagram is @dunola_ so go and check it out!

Do you have any words that you like to live by?
"Lux in tenebris" I have this tattooed on my ribs. It's a Latin phrase meaning "light in darkness", a phrase that has stuck with me and is something I now tell myself whenever anything goes wrong. The meaning behind my tattoo is very personal to me - about six months ago, I was going through a rough time, and during that time a lot of things happened, a lot that has changed me mentally. During this time, I discovered a German dramatist called Bertolt Brecht and one of his plays, Lux in Tenebris, The play is about a moralist who campaigns for the closure of brothels - that part is completely irrelevant to my tattoo but it's interesting!!

So let's find out about the blogger in you...

How did you get into blogging?
I started my blog in 2014 after months of reading Zoella's blog in admiration. On June 22nd 2014, I decided to start my own and it's the best decision I ever made.

What kinds of things do you write about?
I used to write about fashion, beauty, lifestyle and fitness but now I see myself as simply a lifestyle blogger. I think having such a wide variety of topics was too much, I wanted a niche, something that you can identify me by.

With blogging being such a huge marketing tool nowadays, particularly in the fashion and beauty industry, what role do you think it plays in the recently highlighted 'fast fashion' issue?
People see their favourite blogger sporting a new pair of wide leg jeans from ASOS and they swipe up or click on the affiliate link and buy them. Say someone has 50,000 followers, that's potentially 50,000 pairs of those jeans that are going to be bought, and when they sell out, the brand is going to mass produce to meet demand. I could talk about the issues with fast fashion all day but I think Stacey Dooley's latest documentary on BBC 3 iPlayer explains it perfectly and highlights the environmental impacts.

Do you think bloggers can create impactful change, be that through campaigns, social media movements etc., or do you think the industry is still struggling to be taken seriously? 
Bloggers can create impactful change. With all our following combined, if we all promote the same message, it will get across to a large audience who will go on to share it on their own socials. I do think there is an issue with campaigns and social media movements, being that bloggers will retweet posts on Twitter discussing problems such as police brutality, global warming and so on, but will make no further comment on it and just continue living their lives as though there aren't issues that need addressing.

For example, we all know that diversity is a huge issue in the blogging industry, and brands like Benefit send the same type of bloggers on every press trip and use the same faces for every campaign - white, skinny, tall and blonde, everything the Western world regards as the definition of beauty. When a blogger of colour is on said campaign, they're ignoring the fact that the brand doesn't promote diversity and so the brand gets away with having just one or two dark shades. It's 2018, there's no reason why brands can't develop shades for every skin tone - it's just down to them not caring and wanting to make their brand exclusive by keeping their 50 shades of beige.

As for the industry not being taken seriously, I think it starts with our community. When we start taking each other seriously, then the public will take us seriously. And by that, I mean if we spend less time tearing each other down for what we post on Instagram, what editing style we use or how much we promote on Twitter and more time lifting each other up, showing support and healping one another then readers will reciprocate that.

Part 2 of Spilling the Tea will be live tomorrow, and we'll be talking all about taking a gap year... make sure you don't miss it! 

In the mean time, find Fran on Twitter at @franciscarockey and visit her blog at

Love from,
Florence Grace

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22, you've been fun...


I dunnoooo about youuuuuu but I'm feeling twennytwoooooooo

Sorry guys - it's the last day I can sing that and mean it, because as of 3:29pm tomorrow, I will be turning 23. 23!! I can't cope, that just sounds so old to me.

Growing up I thought that by now I'd be married, own my own home and have at least one baby, probably with another on the way.




Can you imagine me with a baby right now? Jonny takes up enough of my time and energy as it is, let alone with a baby too...

But seriously, here I am at 23 and nothing about the life I'm living now is as I planned or expected - or, in some cases, even dreamed. Being 22 has been amazing for me. I've achieved so much - things I would never even have considered being within reaching distance for me. I've cut off some of the most toxic, poisonous people you could imagine and surrounded myself with only the best people in life. I've worked longer and harder, I've found peace with body image and self love and begun working on helping other women (and men!) to do the same.

Life has been treating me so well and some days I can barely believe it's all real - I really am fortunate enough to be leading a very, very good life and I almost feel like it must be a bit of a joke, and any day now someone's going to shout GOT YA! and announce to me that my life is a new series of the Truman Show and nothing that's happened is real.

The last twelve months have seriously flown by, and when I look back on them individually, my mind is blown by all the things I actually did. I really underestimate myself sometimes, but reflecting on the last year has shown me just how much I am capable of achieving, as long as I never stop believing in myself. Since my 22nd birthday last year, I have:

- Met my ultimate hero in life, Tom Hanks (albeit very briefly) and had him say 'Happy birthday!!!' to me, as well as sat and listened to him talk about life for a couple of hours... now that was a great way to start 22!
- Presented my first live gigs, six shows of 1,000 people at a time for Safe Drive, Stay Alive
- Presented the annual staff conference at work to the entire company, including the Managing Director
- Managed to get a promotion at work, upping my hours from 16 to 40 and almost tripling my salary
- Taken on more freelance clients and work
- Turned Love from... magazine into a monthly magazine
- Been to Ibiza, Barcelona, Bristol, Manchester and - as of tomorrow - Rome
- Met Anne-Marie (my hero, my idol)
- Saw Beyonce and Jay-Z (my Queen)
- Become the most confident and happy with myself than I've ever been in my whole life
- Begun working in the radio industry again, even getting to speak on air, and meet some incredible guests
- Starred in a music video for Blushes
- Became a bloody published author!!
- Started taking care of my body and regularly exercising, including doing a weekly workout class
- Moved into my own home with my boyfriend (major omg!!!) and just renewed the contract for another two years
- Celebrated my one year anniversary with Jonny

Wowza. I mean, I moved out of my family home and into my own home - crazier than that, it's a home I'm sharing with a boyfriend. Crazy. I thought 21 was the best year of my life but 22 was seriously good, and if every year can be as good as this one I'll be happy for the rest of my life!!

I'll be celebrating my birthday in Rome for a long weekend and I am so looking forward to alllll the pizza and pasta. Plus, I've wanted to go to Italy forever, so I am seriously excited. 23 is going to be another great year for me I hope - I'm not setting myself any major goals, because I find that now, when I just go with the flow, great things just tend to find their way to me... so let's hope that keeps on happening! However, I already have a couple of sick things planned and several holidays and gigs, so even if nothing else happens besides those, I know that it's going to be a good year.

As I step out of 22 and head into 23, I'm leaving behind all the shitty people I thought had a place in my life, I'm leaving behind toxic thinking regarding my body and weight and I'm leaving behind anything that doesn't bring me happiness and inner peace. No bad vibes over here please! More money, more success, more good health and even more good vibes please! Roll on being 23...

See ya on the flip side gang!

Love from,
Florence Grace

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No such thing as 'too much' love

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The other day, I shared a post on Facebook that really hit home with me. It said:

"My ex used to scold me for wanting affection & my current boyfriend just squatted down next to me to give me kisses JUST because he is getting in the shower. He goes out of his way every single day, SEVERAL times a day just to make sure I feel loved. I prayed about that & I got answers. ‬I always thought the problem was me, that I was just “needy”. No ladies that’s not the case, the person that God designed just for you is out there. Be patient."

I honestly related to this post so much - and I know I'm not the only girl, or even boy, who probably can. So I thought it was time to speak about this a little bit more. 

Some days, I feel needy. I've spoken about how my previous relationship was an unhealthy, abusive one, but whilst I try to suppress memories of what it was like, the other day I discovered a diary from 2013, full of pages that provided intense detail into the ins and outs of my relationship, including the abuse. Sentences such as "I don't know what he'll do next" and "He told me it didn't matter if he hurt me because I hurt myself" were two of many that felt like a punch in the chest as I read them. When trying to read a daily entry out loud to Jonny, I had to stop and turn away, my chest going so tight I could hardly breath. Day in, day out, I was writing the same thing. "He didn't text me today", "he lied about where he was", "he didn't want to see me today", "he cancelled plans with me today". It was heartbreaking to read, and as I was forced to think back on the relationship, I simply couldn't believe how much I had allowed myself to put up with. 

As a result, some days I feel needy. Asking for help, of any kind, feels needy. Wanting to spend time together, feels needy. Wanting to make plans for the future feels risky, uncertain, leaves me fearing I could be cancelled on at any second. It took me a very, very long time to learn that this isn't needy at all - it's called being in love, and it's what a real relationship looks like. 

The person you're with will be happy to hang out with you, to drop you a text, to build a relationship with you. They won't lie, they won't make excuses, they won't ignore you for days on end. They'll communicate, they'll be honest and trustworthy - everything a great partner should do and be.

It's no secret that I was more than a little bit scared when I started a relationship with Jonny last September. I had wall after wall after wall up to protect my stone cold heart - but he smashed through them all and melted me. 

He makes me see that in fact, I'm not needy. I love him the exact right amount, and he loves me. We cuddle all the time (seriously, it's almost all we do I swear!), I often find myself lingering in the doorway of the bathroom whilst he's showering and having a chat, and him me. He calls me all the time, at lunch, on his way home from work, on his way to picking me up. We tag each other in cute dog pictures and funny memes. He kisses me randomly, he kisses me when he's leaving, when he's home from work. I let him sleep on my chest like a big man-baby when he's tired, and baby him when he's sick or sleepy. He makes me hot water bottles when I have cramps, he drives me wherever I need, I make him sandwiches every night. He's never laid a finger on me in a violent way (other than we're pretending to be UFC fighters and he's trying to break free of my death grip) and I am confident he never would. 

He has shown me there is no such thing as "too much" love. 

There's no such thing as "too much" affection. 

I've loved before and been told it was too much, only to then be left feeling like it wasn't enough when he cheated on me. I was told I was clingy, needy, pathetic. I was told I "didn't need to be cuddled all the time", I was denied love and affection almost every day and, because it was my first relationship and I was so young, I just believed that was how it was meant to be. 

And when I came out the other side of that relationship, miserable, unhappy and feeling totally defeated, I vowed that "love" sucked and I wouldn't participate in it ever again. How wrong was I?

‬I always thought the problem was me, that I was just “needy”. No ladies that’s not the case, the person that God designed just for you is out there. Be patient.

I was patient. Patient for 18 months. 18 months of endless fuckboys, of having my feelings walked all over, of building up walls I never wanted broken down because I didn't want to get myself hurt ever again. I prayed to God for some kind of happy ending, and 18 months down the line, he gave it to me. Boy, did he give it to me. 

Jonny is the person who was designed just for me. He was never my type, I never planned to be interested and I certainly wasn't looking for a boyfriend...but it happened anyway. Aren't they always the best kind of relationships? 

Ladies (and gents!), be patient. If the person you're with makes you feel like you have to battle every single day for their love and affection, I'm telling you now, they're not for you. The right person will give you all the love and affection you want, and more, for free. No hassle, no stress, no need to ask or even beg for it. They will love you freely and will accept your love in return, no questions asked. That's the relationship you deserve to be in. Not one where you're always left to second guess. 

You're not the problem. You're not needy. You're not "too much". And the right person will agree with me on that. 

Love from,
Florence Grace

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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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