When was the last time you made yourself something really nice to eat? Not for your partner or the kids, for just you. Can't remember? Neither could I. Now I cook a lot. Most nights a make some yummy meals for Sean and myself, but I don't if I'm just feeding me. If Sean's out I'll make a sandwich or some Supernoodles, who wants to go through all the effort of creating a fantastic meal just for themselves, am I right? But I've thought about that a lot lately and I don't think its a good way of thinking.

It makes me really happy to cook for Sean. I want him to eat well and I want him to enjoy his food. Maybe its a female thing? A motherly instinct? I can't be sure but one thing I do know is that I don't take that same care for myself when I'm eating alone. Its silly when I think about it because if I was single I couldn't live on a diet of crisp sandwiches and sausage rolls (although wouldn't that be fab). So why don't I treat myself to good food?



Well I want that to stop. I'm on a mission to take care of myself this year, in all sorts or ways. I want to eat healthier, do more exercise and keep working on my metal health. I'm in a good place right now but its very easy for all that to slip away. So how am I going to practise this self care? There are so many ways of showing yourself love, from physically pampering yourself to recognising and dismissing bad thoughts when they appear. One of the ways I'm going to start working on self love is by making myself, and just myself nice food. The meals don't always have to be healthy, the afternoon tea I made myself was far from it but my god it felt good to indulge. It felt good to make something delicious, something a bit special, something I've always viewed as a treat, just for me. 

I love a good afternoon tea, like I said they are special, but I think special meals should be a more regular thing. I want to make myself feel special, I want to make myself feel loved. I can't just rely on those around me to show me love, I need to show myself some love. I want to love my body, my mind, I want to be a good person, and I want to be successful. I think all that needs to start by doing simple, kind things for myself. 



"There's nothing a good cuppa can't fix"

They say a cup of tea can make everything better and whilst I know deep down thats not true, I can't help but feel there's something behind the saying. Sipping away on a cup of tea allows you a few minutes to just stop, relax, and enjoy. It wont change anything but the act of creating your perfect cuppa and taking some time to unwind is one very small thing you can do to show yourself some kindness. 

A few months back I was kindly sent some tea to try by Adagio Tea*, a small artisan tea company. I was delighted to accept the bundle as I knew it meant I would have to make more time to sit, and drink, and chill whilst trying out the various flavours. Adagio Tea stock a rang of teas from Green to Oolnong to Matcha and more, they even sell decaffeinated teas for anyone wanting to lower their caffeine intake but not give up their daily tea fix. I've still not even put a dent in my box of goodies but the teas I have tried so far have been delicious. My favourite has to be the Earl Grey Lavender, but there's no surprise there.



Its taken me a long time to realise it, but it really is the little things in life that make us happy. Even the smallest of things like having 5 minutes to enjoy a tasty cuppa or creating a lovely meal for yourself are easy ways to practise self love and thats something I want to focus on a lot in the coming months. 

If you love tea like I do, head over to my Instagram now for a chance to win an IngenuiTEA Infuser, Glass Mug, and a range of sampler sets!

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* This post contains gifted items however all opinions are my own and I would never promote anything I didn't 100% believe in.

SELF LOVE & AFTERNOON TEA


Erm so I guess its Summer?! How is it May already please? I have no clue where the year has gone! I'm sure it was only last month that the UK stopped still because of the horrendous snow? The snow that just kept coming and coming but nope now its 20+ degreess, fab. So its time to stuff away those jumpers (for now) and whip out your snazzy Summer dresses! 

Its been so long since I wore anything other than jeans and a baggy jumper that I really can't remember what I even wear when the suns out. Honestly, my style staples are black and black and more black, so how am I going to dress for this warm weather? Well I think a little shopping spree is in order and it would only be fair to share my favourite summer style pieces with you all!

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

                   

So those are some of my fave summer pieces you can pick up right now! I can already hear my debit card crying and I haven't even purchased anything yet!

Which are you favourite pieces?

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THE SUMMER STYLE PIECES YOU NEED!

I did it! I finally did it! After months of wanting to plan a meet up for local Birmingham bloggers I finally set a date, booked a room, and met some lovely ladies. I'd been thinking about setting something up for quite some time really. I've been blogging for over 5 years now and although I'd made some great blogging friends throughout the UK, I'd still hardly met anyone from the Midlands which was a shame.



I always see bloggers and vloggers meeting up for coffee and photoshoots and to be honest I wanted in on that kind of friendship. Like I've said previously, not many of my friends know I blog and I'm quite happy to keep it that way as I don't think they'd really understand it anyway. But as I've kept my blog quiet I've also managed to partly alienate myself from local bloggers which is sad. So with that in mind I wanted to get a load of us together! 

I do occasionally meet bloggers at events around the Midlands which is always fun, but at the same time the events are always so busy with constantly taking photos and promoting things on social media, you don't get time to really talk to people, to really connect. Along with that there are a lot of bloggers who don't really blog about 'things' and don't get invited to events because it's not relevant to them, and I'd never get to meet these people if not at a casual meet up like this. So I planned my little event.


From left to right Giovana, Gemela, Shona, Jess.

It wasn't without difficulty to be honest. I was nervous for weeks that nobody would turn up/ too many people would turn up/ the room I booked wouldn't be right. I worried a lot basically, but I persisted. In the end I booked a little room at Cherry Reds in Birmingham on the advise of the lovely Ting and it was just right. Four fab bloggers/ bloggers-to-be turned up, and although four was quite a few less than had said they were coming, it was a nice amount of people. We all managed to have a good chat over a cup of tea or two and it was just really great to sit and talk to creative people for a few hours.

Along with just generally having a really nice time I also managed to tick off one of my blogging goals for 2018 and work towards overcoming my anxiety - something I will talk about again soon. I'm really really glad I plucked up the courage to put on the event and I can't wait to organise another!

Thanks again to everyone who came along! x



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I HOSTED MY FIRST BLOGGER MEETUP!

Do you have that one outfit that you know is pretty fucking basic but you love it and feel banging in it anyway? Well this is that outfit for me. The black jeans, leather jacket, converse, band tee combo is my go to look when I can't be arsed but I still want to look kind of put together, and I think it works. This is probably the universal basic bitch outfit but I literally don't care. 


I wasn't actually planning on taking any style photos the day I wore this outfit. I know it isn't anything special, but I felt great, the lighting was pretty decent and my surroundings were kind of cute too. These photos were actually taken on a day out to Lichfield with my mom who stepped up to be my photographer for the afternoon and considering these pics were taken on my phone by a woman who still isn't really sure how to use it, I don't think they are half bad! They were also never meant for my blog either, I only really wanted some photos for Instagram but I thought I might as well share them here too, thats why they are square!

- Shop The Post -
         

I pretty much always plan my outfit shoots, I'm not really fun or spontaneous enough to take daily outfit snaps and I wear the same comfy clothes over and over again if I'm honest. I know this outfit and the photos aren't going to blow anyones mind but I kind of like how raw they are. This is an actual real outfit that I would wear day to day and although the quality isn't really up to my usual standard I might start taking outfit snaps like this more regularly. What do you guys think?


Also just a little side note, how fucking cute is my new silver backpack, please? I won it at a Brum Bloggers Accessorize event a couple of weeks ago and it is literally my new favourite bag. I'd been eyeing it up all night to be honest, so when I was given the choice of any non leather bag in the shop (yep I almost cried) I decided to take this little metallic beauty home with me. It's already been on quite a few day trips and bike rides so I know I'm going to get a lot of use out of it this summer!

Do you have a 'go to' basic bitch outfit?

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BASIC BITCH OUTFIT


Last week I popped down to the brand spanking new Dirty Martini in Birmingham City Centre. I wasn't able to make it to the opening night the previous week and so I was very excited to see what it was like - I wasn't disappointed. The decor was a combination of sleek city sophistication mixed in with fun pops of colour and the occasional neon light. But I wasn't there to ooh and ahh over the interiors, I was there to make some cocktails!

Throughout my years I have sampled my fair share of cocktails, mostly Mojito's, Sex On The Beach's, you know the usual. I'd also never really tried my hand at making my own other than throwing together a mix of spirits in the hope that it would get me drunk and not taste too horrendous at the same time. It's fair to say I'm a complete novice when it comes to cocktail making and so when I was asked to participate in a class I jumped at the chance.


The class started with popping us behind the bar and giving us a run down of what's what. I'd not been behind a bar before so I was actually quite surprised at just how much is going on over there. Between tiny sinks, ice, chopped fruits, and various utensils there was still enough room to make some fab drinks, and that's exactly what we would be doing next.

The first cocktail we made was called 'Grace's Secret' and no it's not named after me unfortunatly, it is one of three Peaky Blinders cocktails made especially for the Birmingham branch of Dirty Martini. You can't get these cocktails anywhere else, and they are only available until the 31st of May! Grace's Secret is a beautiful blend of Langley's Old Tom Gin, Briottet Creme De Fraise, and Lillet Blanc, these are mixed up with rose syrup, lemon juice, egg white, and delicious fresh strawberries. In between throwing various ingredients around and spilling most of the booze I actually managed to make a very tasty cocktail, one of the tastiest I've probably had in a long while. Although I'm no expert when it comes to drinks, I'd give it a firm 5/5!


The second cocktail we were to make was 'The Tommy Shelby' which is another exclusive Peaky Blinders cocktail. This snazzy little drink includes the staple Langley's Old Tom Gin, Courvoisier VS Cognac, Bold Aperitif, Belsazer Vermouth mixed in with peach syrup, lemon juice, egg white, and a dash of Dandelion and Burdock Bitters. I mostly avoided spilling the ingredients this time and I even managed to shake it up reasonable well too, although I could not do this for a living! It is bloody hard work mixing up cocktails and I take my hat off to the bartenders that do this night after night! So what did I think of The Tommy Shelby? Delicious! Really really tasty and a close second to the previous pink beauty.


We didn't get chance to try 'The Garrison' which is the last of the three Peaky Blinders drinks, but it has the same Langley's Old Tom Gin as a base so I have no doubt it tastes just a good as the others - as for the rest of the menu, well there are loads of other drinks, and even nibbles too, so I guess I'll just have to pop back and try them all another time!

What is your all time favourite cocktail?


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* The cocktail masterclass was complimentary however all opinions are my own.

COCKTAIL MASTERCLASS AT THE NEW BIRMINGHAM DIRTY MARTINI


Wow! 5 years! Where has the time gone? It's been 5 whole years since I started this little blog and what a good few years it's been. Since setting up my blogspot all those years ago I've gained friends, skills, and so much confidence. The world of blogging has its ups and down but the good far outweighs the bad and I can honestly say this is the best hobby I have ever ever had!

So why did I even start blogging? Well a mixture of reasons really. I was finishing off with my A levels and I had nothing to work on or look forward too. My education was finished as far as I was concerned and I wouldn't have a reason to create anything anymore. I loved being at college and the thought of just mindlessly drifting into the world of work scared the life out of me! Would I have a reason to take photos anymore? Would I even want to? So that was the kick up the bum I needed to get something set up.

I was reading blogs well before this time though. Some I still read religiously, others not so much, but I'd gained inspiration from them all. When I started blogging 'influencers' weren't a thing. I followed girls who loved to write, girls who loved to take photos, and girls who could style up a bin bag if they wanted to. Everyone had a passion for what they did and I wanted a slice of that. I never picked a niche, if you read this blog post you'll know that I'm not a fan of just picking one thing and I'm so glad I made that choice. Maybe I could have specialised in something and that would have made my blog more popular but at the end of the day this is my diary, my life, and I want to record everything.

So where do I see my little space in the future? Blogging is changing so so much. It's no longer about doing what you love and more about making everything perfect. Maybe thats a bad thing? I don't know, but I do know there will always be a place for old school bloggers like me and there will always be space for new bloggers too! I never want to give up blogging and as long as I have the time gracebee.co.uk will always be where I come to share my thoughts, my feelings, and my life in general.

Thank you so so much to everyone who has read my blog, left comments and just generally supported me in the last 5 years. It's been a blast! Here's to the next 5!


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5 YEARS OF BLOGGING!


I feel like I've been blogging forever - in a good way. It's been the best hobby I've ever had and the only one I've really stuck at. Through blogging I've made friends, developed my communication skills, worked with some great brands, and pushed myself to attend events alone. It's been a major factor in who I am today. 

I definitely don't plan to give it up anytime soon and so I thought I should probably set out some goals for the next year at least. I love blogging and I want my blog/ social channels to develop with me. 

So here are my aims...

- Talk to more bloggers and make more local blogging friends
- Finally hit the big 2000 over on my Instagram account
- Start posting weekly youtube videos
- Get a sponsored job - controversial I know!
- Attend at least one blog related event each month
- Hit 500 Bloglovin followers
- Create a new outfit of the day post once a month
- Post every day on Instagram
- Work on some collaboration posts with other like minded bloggers
- Finally organise the blogger meetup I've been talking about since forever!
- Start to open up and write about my thoughts and feelings more
- Try to vlog more
- Encourage engagement on all of my platforms and get at least one genuine, non spammy comment on new content 
- Attend a London blog event completely 100% on my own
- Meet more bloggers in the real world and not just through a screen
- Work with 3 new brands this year
- Actually complete blogmas this time! I know it's still a long way off but I'm going to plan ahead
- Reach 2000 followers on my Twitter account.
- Attend a blog event in a new city
- Hold a giveaway on my Instagram account
- Work with a plus sized clothing brand
- Hit 150 followers over on my Youtube channel
- Write more blog posts than I did last year. I wrote 91 posts in 2017 so it would be nice to write 100 this year!
- Create a lookbook video for my Youtube channel
- Link my blog to my Instagram account. This might seem silly but very few people know I blog so it really would be a big step for me
- Start scheduling tweets regularly
- Order some new business cards with my new logo on
- Create a facebook page for my blog. 

So those are the goals I plan to work on in the next year! I know to many more established bloggers these aims must seem trivial but to me they are things I would really like to accomplish!

Do you have any blogging related goals at the moment? I'd love to hear them!


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SOME BLOGGING GOALS

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