Blogging
2020 is already a year for the history books, and we are only 6 months in. There are a lot of things happening around us right now, and whilst it might seem very doom and gloom, I think many of us can already see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

This year is going to be a year of big changes. Millions of us have already seen our lives turned upside down because of the pandemic, and now we have more change on the way due to the massive surge in support for the Black Lives Matter movement. But these events have accidentally caused a mini-revolution within the online world, I believe they've triggered the demise of the influencer.


Photograph of a computer screen showing the definition of an influencer
 Definition of an influencer 

Influencers will always be around, the very definition of an influencer is ''a person or thing that influences another'' so for that reason we will always have an influencer of some sort. However, the influencer as we know them are running the risk of extinction, and I'm not mad about it.

Instagram is full of the typical influencer, you know the 'do it for the gram' crowd, and if I'm honest I've fallen into this category myself one too many times. We've all taken a photo, or shared some content purely because we knew it would get likes. I mean I still do it, I'll spend hours getting ready just to take a couple of cute shots and whilst there is absolutely nothing wrong with this, I think the world is starting to getting bored of it. My generation, in particular, is getting tired of empty Instagram posts and a lot of us have already abandoned celebrity culture for this exact reason.


Photograph of a phone screen showing the instagram page of Stephanie Yeboah
Stephanie Yeboah

I've followed bloggers and influencers for years on many different platforms, and whilst my favourites have changed over time, there are certain people I have always kept around. I didn't realise the reason for this until last week when it hit me that some of the 'influencers' I've followed the longest are the ones with a voice. People such as Stephanie Yeboah, Grace Victory, Leanne Woodful, they've all spoke up on important issues, and I've always admired them for that, whether I realised it or not.

This certain type of influencer offers the world so much more than a pretty face. They share important information and opinions, they unapologetically advocate for change, and they give us hope of a better world. As much as these women can influence others to purchase the latest skincare products, they also have the power to inspire a revolution, and that is what I believe my generation is now looking for.

So how are current events causing the demise of the current top influencers? I think it's been very clear over the last couple of weeks just how fragile this industry is, and how shallow some of the most popular influencers are. With the murder of George Floyd and the disgust that followed both on and offline, it was obvious that many of us looked to our favourite influencers to speak up. And many of them did. Our feeds were filled with information and acts of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, but disappointingly many influencers chose to stay silent.

Photograph of a phone screen showing the instagram page of Grace Victory
Grace Victory

Influencers with huge followings seemed to ignore the disgusting acts of police brutality and everyday racism that was being shown on all platforms, and this simply wasn't good enough. Staying silent when the most important civil rights movement of our generation is battling on around us is not good enough. If you're not using your voice for good, what are you using it for?

I think maybe some influencers, especially those with a smaller following may have felt they didn't have anything of value to add to the conversation, especially after the controversy around the black square on Instagram. But I also think more and more of us are waking up to the fact that with a following of any kind comes responsibility, and it is our job to at the very least amplify voices of change, which in this case was the Black community.


Photograph of a phone screen showing the instagram page of Leanne Woodfull
Leanne Woodfull

"Influencers" won't be going anywhere just yet, but influencers, as we know them, will soon find themselves dying out if they don't shape up and find a voice. People are tired of nothing but empty Instagram posts and they are tired of influencers, especially those with a large following, staying silent on important issues. In the coming weeks and months, we are going to see a surge of people looking for leaders and I'm not sorry to say if that if you're not with the movement publically, your silence suggests you're against it.

The way is currently being paved for influencers who have the power to change things for the better, and that is something I can get behind.


While you're here, have you had a chance to donate to the Black Minds Matter fund? The fund aims to provide mental health services for Black people in need. If you would like to make a donation you can do so on the Black Minds Matter Go Fund Me page.

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Birmingham, UK

WHY THE DAYS OF THE 'INFLUENCER' ARE NUMBERED

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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Birmingham, UK

I HOSTED MY FIRST BLOGGER MEETUP!


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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Birmingham, UK

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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Birmingham, UK

SOME BLOGGING GOALS


Lately I've had a few people ask me how to start their own blog. I've always been quite flattered but I'm never really sure what to tell them. I'm not an expert, I just love what I do; but I thought I would put together a handy little guide for anyone wanting to take the plunge into the blogging world.

I imagine starting a blog in 2018 is quite daunting. I created my little blog wayyyy back in 2013 when professional blogging was just coming to light. I didn't know you could make money really, and huge influencers with millions of followers just wasn't a thing. I started my blog as a hobby but it's a whole new ball game now.

So where to start now? Well I guess there's a hundred ways to go about starting a blog but here is my take on things. This is how I would recommend getting things going if you are just starting out in the wonderful blogging world.

Just Do It - Thats right, just go and create an account on a site that allows you to blog. I've always used Blogger but I've heard great things about Wordpress. Not sure which one to go for? Do a tiny bit of research to see what each site offers. Still not sure, just pick one, you can swap later if you really really want. Not sure how easy it is though.

Pick a Name - A lot of people say this is one of the hardest things about starting a blog. What the hell do I call my little space on the internet?! Believe me I spent a very long time trying to name my blog. Well here's the thing, you can change it whenever you want. I changed my blog name about a year after I started it and I'm really glad I did. 'Grace, that doesn't help me right now' I here you say, well okay why not just go for your actual name or a variation of that? It's the one thing in your life that probably won't change.


Pick a Niche - Fuck this. I see this on every 'Start a blog' guide and I think it's bullshit. Maybe you want to start a beauty blog, or a blog about shoes, great - go for it. This advice is perfect for you if you know exactly what you want to blog about but if you just want to express yourself and share your life ignore this. To me blogging is my online diary, my scrapbook, and it will never fit into one category. 

Equipment - Do you have a camera phone and access to the internet? Fantastic! You have enough equipment to start a blog! When I first started out, my DSLR was broken and my laptop was slow as hell but it didn't matter. I wanted to blog so I did. My photos weren't the best and the format of my blog was shite but I was blogging and loving it! You can pick equipment up as you feel you need it, but don't be put off by not having any at the start. The creative quality of your blog posts will matter a lot more than having a £500 camera to take photos with. 

If you want to see what I use now, 5 years on from starting my blog, I popped together a little list of blogging equipment I currently use. Bare in mind that I also took a photography course and built my equipment up over quite a few years. You might not ever need a 18 - 200mm lens, but I do. Always do your research before investing in expensive tech and if you are after a bit of advice on what equipment to buy don't be afraid to pop me an email or ask over on Twitter!

Social Media - For me an extension of my blog is my social media accounts. I use them to share to blog posts, connect with other bloggers and much more. I created my Twitter account a year after creating my blog and I started Instagram about a year after that. I also have a snapchat account I never use and a Youtube channel I try to make time for when I can. You don't have to use every platform but I would recommend using at least Twitter and Instagram. I would also suggest keeping your handles (social media usernames) the same as your blog. 


Your First Post - So you are all set up, what now? Its time to start blogging! What should your very first blog post be about? Well anything really. For me I started with a very very short post about me and why I wanted to start blogging. If that isn't your cup of tea why not do a 50 facts about your style post? Unfortunatly I can't help you out too much here, this is your new baby and only you know what you want to do with it.

Optional Extras - Have you got the blogging thing down and want to take it further? Okay lets look at some extras. You could learn how to edit. Even if you are still using your phone to take photos thats fine. There are loads of free apps out there to edit you phone photos, my favourites are Facetune and VSCO. You could also work on your Instagram theme. Its not that important but you'll probably attract a few new followers if your photographs look great together or consist of similar colours/ shades. If you've settled on a blog name you love, why not buy a personal URL? There is nothing wrong with having .blogspot at the end of your URL but its just a nice touch to have something short and sweet and your own!

So that is it, my ultimate guide to starting your very own blog! I would love to know if you take any of this advice before creating your own blog. Also if you are a current blogger please let me know if you think there is something I've left out, I want this to be a complete guide!

Thanks for reading!


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Birmingham, UK

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO STARTING A BLOG

You don't really need a lot to start blogging, a camera phone and an internet connection will do. Thats all I had when I started my beautiful little blog way back in 2013! But if you have a taste for tech or just want to build up your equipment list, here are the things I use and what I would recommend buying.



- Laptop -

MacBook Pro - The only thing I really use to write and put together blog posts now is my MacBook. I've occasionally written posts on my iPad but nothing beats actually typing on keys. I also edit my photos and videos on my MacBook too, which I can't do on anything else I own. I love my MacBook Pro but it is very expensive at not something you need to own as a blogger. There are many other cheaper laptops out there that will do pretty much the same as a MacBook just without the price tag. 


- Cameras -

Canon G5X - This is now my main blogging/ vlogging camera. You've probably seen me and lots of other bloggers go on about it because its just great. Its lightweight, fairly compact, works well in low light, and importantly for me it has a viewfinder. You won't get the same quality images as you would with a DSLR but if you want something you can take on the go with you this is perfect. Its another expensive piece of kit however, coming in at around £600. That being said I think a good quality compact camera is a necessity for a long term blogger.

Nikon D5300 - This is my second DSLR, and the camera that carried me through my HND. Its a great lower end DSLR and great for someone just starting out in photography that doesn't want to spend thousands. If I want to take some really high quality, crisp photographs for my blog this is the camera I reach for. Although I can take some great shots with this camera, its big, bulky, heavy, and I can't just point and shoot with it. I would recommend a lower end DSLR camera like this one for bloggers who want quality photographs and don't mind lugging a big camera around.

iPhone Camera - Yes I still use my phone from time to time. I take a lot of photographs for my Instagram using my phone and on days I don't have a camera, my iPhone will do the job. 


Fujifilm Instax Mini - Every now and then I also include images taken on my Instax mini camera on the blog. The quality of the images obviously aren't great, and the refills are fairly expensive to buy too. That being said I do love using my Instax, it is not however something I would advise investing in for blogging.


- Lenses - 

Nikon 18 - 55mm Kit Lens - I'm pretty sure this lens comes as standard with most Nikon Cameras. Its an okay lens for just starting out, but not something I would really go out and buy if I was to break my current one. I only use it from time to time, and its not something I would recommend investing in.

Tamron 18 - 200mm Lens - This is one of the best all round lenses I have come across. You can just about take selfies on it if you want and the zoom is just incredible. For me this is my travel lens, or it would be if I still took my DSLR on holiday. If you are looking for a lens that you can just leave on your camera all the time this is it. Nikon does its own 18 - 200mm lens that costs around £300 more than this one, so I'll let you decide which one you'd prefer.

Nikon 50mm Lens - So this is probably my favourite lens, and the one I've used the most in the last year. It is perfect for outfit photos as it allows you to create that nice blurry background you'll see a lot. There is no zoom on this lens however so that is something to bare in mind. I would absolutely 100% recommend investing in this lens if you plan to take a lot of outfit photos.

- Software & Apps -

Photoshop - Pretty standard, I think most bloggers have photoshop now but its something I couldn't blog without anymore. I don't edit my photos to excess but I do like to play around with the colours and filters a lot. I pay for photoshop monthly to make it more affordable as it can cost quite a lot to just buy. I'd probably recommend investing in photoshop once you are confident taking photographs.

iMovie - Just the video editing software that comes with my MacBook but so far it does everything I need it so. I'm sure its fairly basic but as I don't make videos all the often I don't want to spent money on a better software.

Facetune App - I mostly use this app for its 'whiten' tool which, you guessed it, makes things whiter. I think the tool was created to whiten teeth but I use it on pretty much everything I want to look whiter.

VSCO App - A lot of bloggers and Instagrammers use this App because its just great. There is a lot you can do on there, however I only use it to apply one filter to my images before I upload them to Instagram. I always use the same filter so my images are consistent, HB1 if you must know.

Light Meter App - Pretty sure I'm exposing myself in some way by admitting I still use a light meter when I take photographs. Well I do and it means the lighting is usually correct. If you use a DSLR or any other camera you can use manually I'd recommend getting this free App. Just takes the guessing out of things and can make a shoot go a lot smoother.

- Props -

I also use a range of props including mirrors, plates, magazines, white paper and marble slabs. The right prop in a product shoot can make it look just that much more professional. You don't need to run out and buy these however, most of the things I use can be found dotted around my house anyway! 


So that is pretty much everything I use to keep this little blog running! Like I said, you don't need a lot to start a blog, but good equipment does help. I would love to know what items you need for your own blog!


Thanks for reading!


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Birmingham, UK

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