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


So I've had a bit of an up and down few months. For the most part life is good, I'm happy, I have a good relationship, I'm healthy (most of the time), things are okay. But I've had a lot of down days recently too. Days when I'm feeling sad, I feel very very sad. It doesn't take a lot to upset me and I've cried a lot over literally nothing. I guess the post graduation depression is real and I'm feeling it. 

Well today I don't want to focus on that because for every bad day there are so many more good ones. And they don't even have to be amazing to be good, sometimes I'll just have this sudden realisation that I'm alive and I can do whatever I want. Sometimes I'll just have a sudden burst of confidence and motivation out of nowhere and believe me that's a rare thing when you are on a job hunt. I think not being in the right job is also affecting me at the moment. I know what I want, I just need an employer to give me a chance to show them I can do it! I'm trying to keep positive but its just so hard when all I see myself qualified for is unpaid internships. 

But again, that's not what I really wanted to talk about. I wanted to have a chat about the little wins in life. The tiny moments when you know you did well. For me lately these have mostly been anxiety related. I've wanted to give a kind of update on that front for a while because I really believe I've come so far. I'm sure I'll find the time to do that one day but right now I'll just tell you about some of my little wins lately.

One of the biggest things for me with my anxiety was going places on my own. I hate being alone and I really hate being alone on public transport. I'm not sure why it's such a problem for me but I just really dislike it. The last few months however I have made such an effort to spend time alone, catch busses and trains alone, and go to blogger events all on my own. It's still a scary experience when you've only got yourself to rely on but I'm sure I will get used to it eventually.

I've also started applying for jobs a lot more frequently. I'm super scared of rejection and I think that has put me off applying for jobs in the past but I'm getting to a point where I'm not so scared someone will turn me down. I've applied for jobs I'm probably underqualified for because what does it matter? They can only say no. I haven't lost anything and maybe one day someone will give me feedback on why I didn't make the cut.

I've also started saving for a mortgage. Houses are expensive, like really really expensive, and I'm not even sure where to start with buying a home if I'm honest. The whole thing is quite overwhelming and just generally scary but it's got to be done at some point so I might as well just bite the bullet and start my home owning journey. In January Sean and I set up our help to buy ISA's and although we've barely got 1/5 of our deposit together, its something.

My little wins might seem seriously little to some, but right now they are the only thing I've got. I feel like since leaving university I'm not really working towards anything in particular and that's not a great feeling. I'm working the same job I was 4 years ago and as a graduate I expected so much more. But my life is only just starting, I have to much more to learn, and see, and do, and I know that I'll find my happy place soon.


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LITTLE WINS

Happy Easter! I hope you are all having a fab Sunday eating lots of chocolate goodies! I'm not going to lie, I've already eaten most of my eggs as everyone made the mistake of giving them to me early, ooops. So with the chocolate long gone I thought I would treat myself to something that lasts a little bit longer, some gorgeous pastel pieces.

It doesn't seem like it, but Spring is on its way and with the warmer seasons comes lighter brighter clothing and accessories. Although I'm a big lover of mostly black outfits, I do love a pop of colour here and there and so I've rounded up some of my favourite pastel items you can buy right now.

- Pastels for Spring -
So what's on your Spring wishlist? Are you busting out the colours or are you sticking with your Winter wardrobe for now? I know I'll be wearing jumpers well into the Summer months but I'm holding out hope that I can start to wear some pretty pastels sometime soon!

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EASTER TREATS - PASTEL WISHLIST

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