My top picks for swimwear & beachwear thats available for all. Featuring sizes 6-26.
29 March 2016 | London, UK
During London Fashion Week, I was lucky enough to be invited for a complimentary stay at the ME London Hotel. I've done some work there before so I knew I was about to embark on pure class and luxury and as you can image, I couldn't wait to check in.
Upon my arrival I was greeted with water, champagne and chocolate.. I knew in that very moment, I would be looked after.
The decor, the view, the size of the worlds comfiest bed, were all simply wonderful. The marble detail in the bathroom was my absolute favourite (blogger problems). Everything was super modern and fancy. From the light up wardrobes to the changeable colour system throughout the suite (girl if you want pink lights, girl you got them). To the giant shower heads & the most perfect scrambled eggs. My 3 night stay was comfortable, relaxing and plush.
I enjoyed lounging on my very own sofa, whilst flicking through the Freeview TV and radio channels. As you can imagine, LFW was hella stressful so being able to watch the world go by from my view over The Strand, whilst treating myself to a pamper evening.. Well, it was just fab!
Everything you need the ME seems to have. A hairdryer, an iron, 24hr room service, free wifi, bath robes, a playstation (no joke) and even a pet service (you can bring all your furry friends). Situated on The Strand, its the perfect location for shopping days in Covent Garden, drinks and shenanigans in Soho & romantic walks along the river.
The ME London also holds first class eats including STK & Radio Bar, imagine mini burgers and mac n cheese and all the cocktails you could ever want. Room service is also out of this world. I ordered a chicken caesar salad as soon as I arrived and it was delicious. The croutons were toasted perfectly & of course, all washed down with an ice cold diet coke.
With cutting edge style and contemporary rooms, its a fantastic stay for any professional.
24 March 2016 | London, UK
Its no secret that I've suffered with self harm, I've spoken about it before but if I'm honest, out of all the mental health problems I have had, talking about this one, is the hardest. It might be because its still very taboo and not many people understand it. Or it might be the shame and stigma that comes with hurting yourself, but today I wanted to talk about it, but from a different angle.
I can spot SH a mile away. Due to training I've had when I worked in a children's home and going through it myself, the signs for me are usually easy to see. I am however aware that for most people, thats not the case so I wanted to give some insight into 'The Signs Of Self Harm'.
1. Keeping Covered Up: I spotted a kid in my care wearing a long sleeved top, when usually (I'm talking everyday) he wore short sleeved tops, so I took him to the side and asked him if he had self harmed and he had. My gut instinct told me so and his change in clothing did to. Self harmers may try to hide what they've done by covering up - even when its warm.
2. Unexplained marks, cuts, bruises, burns & hair loss: If you didn't know, self harm isn't just cutting of the wrists, it comes in lots of different forms. Using lighters to burn yourself, pulling out your hair and eyelashes, beating yourself with an object to name a few.
3. Low Mood & Little Self Esteem: These two signs can mean a heap of things, but they manifest around self injurious behaviour in particular. Self harmers usually struggle to like who they are, hence why they take out their frustration, feelings and pain on themselves. A multitude of emotions occur when someone is considering SH or has recently SH'd. Its a confusing and a very lonely place to be.
4. Overeating and/or Under-eating: A change in eating habits and weight is a big sign that something is wrong. It usually indicates depression or some other form of mental illness (obv it can also mean physical illness too). Sometimes feeling out of control can lead to under-eating, and due to the shame and guilt, self harm may occur. It can also work the other way round, with over-eating and weight gain.
5. Substance Misuse: Self harm falls under self injurious behaviour which can be displayed in lots of different ways, including the not so obvious ways. Alcohol and drugs are two that can often be tied up in the web of behaviours that surround self harm. Lack of self esteem, escapism & feeling lonely can lead someone to think there is solitude in a bottle of vodka or some cocaine.
(common in people with autism but can be displayed in mental health)
6. Self Destructive & Dangerous Behaviour: From having unsafe sex to joy riding. If the intent to cause harm is there, it is classed as self harm. However, being self destructive may be a sign of self harm in the more well know ways such as cutting or burning. Like I said previously in this post, there are so many factors to self harm and why someone is doing it, or thinking of doing it. It is a release a lot of the time and it can be to feel a pain thats different to the emotional pain they're experiencing.
I hope this post has helped raise awareness and to open your eyes to how complex self harm can be. If you'd like a follow up post on why someone self harms etc, then please let me know.
Obviously what I have spoken about doesn't always mean someone is self harming or thinking of self harming. Some of these signs can sometimes just be hormones, growing up and pushing the boundaries, but I feel its important to be aware.
Please note that SH comes in many different forms and self harmers will often hide their scars and marks. Im not a professional, so for more information please click the relevant links below.
It Gets Better...
16 March 2016 | New York, NY, USA
New York is probably my favourite city.. ever. If I could live there for a few years I would. I love everything about it and whenever I go back, I feel at home. A few weeks ago I decided I needed a break, and if I want a break, I have to leave the country. Escapism, wanderlust & all that.
I hunted for flights and when I found some for £350, I instantly booked them. I decided I needed to go alone. I wanted to experience travelling by myself anyway, and in a city I feel so at home, it was the perfect opportunity. I have friends there who I plan to meet up with, but in all honestly, I'm looking forward to being able to do whatever I want, when I want. Sometimes we have to be a little selfish don't we?
I plan to see a show, walk for miles and have brunch in the most wonderful places. Spend too much money in Sephora, watch trashy shows when I can't sleep & wake up early to see the sunrise.
A few people have asked me if I'm scared, and the honest answer is, not at all. I genuinely cannot wait! I've been looking forward to this trip for a while and now that its here, I could wet myself with excitement.
Im going for five days, which I think is enough. Its my 4th time visiting NYC, so I won't be doing lots of touristy stuff. I fly tomorrow and my bags are all packed..
If you have any recommendations for things to do, places to see, food to eat, then feel free to comment below.
See you on the other side x
7 March 2016 | Kos, Greece
I've always loved travelling but for the past few years, its actually become a big part of my life. Financially I'm able to (I spend money on experiences rather than things), and being self employed, I can usually (not always) jet off whenever I feel like. Escapism and wanderlust are two feelings that most definitely need taking care of.
Whether its a Europe city break (which I need to do more of) a flight to pure sunshine or a last minute trip to NYC, I'm unable to sit still for too long.
Im visiting a different country every month until September, and although a few of those are press trips, the majority are not. Im obviously not made of money and I have bills to pay like everyone else, so I thought I'd share with you, my secrets of how I am able to travel so much.
Look For Deals
If I get the travel bug or I become obsessed with visiting a certain place, I look everywhere for a deal. Whether that be Wowcher, Groupon, Booking or Skyscanner, If I can get a bargain I will. Wowcher is great for flights and hotels all over the world. Thailand, Las Vegas & Amsterdam are just a select number of places I have seen on there recently. Obviously some terms apply, such as flying on specific dates, but theres no harm in looking! Skyscanner is the site I use to book flights to NYC. You've all probably heard of it, but it searches for the lowest fares available, instead of you doing it yourself on lots of different websites. I fly to New York in two weeks and I paid £350!
Book During Sales
Travel companies have sales just like ASOS & Boohoo babes. Easyjet, BA, Virgin, Ryanair.. they all do them. Whether its the January Sales, Black Friday or some Easter Deals etc, its always worth having a gander. During the pre Christmas sales I booked return flights to Paris for two, for £90!
There are so many travel apps out there, its hard to keep track. One of my favourite apps EVER is 'Hotel Tonight'. You can book beautiful hotels all over the world at discounted rates, including London, NYC & Berlin. Its super easy to use but is only really for last minute bookings, you can book up to a week in advance (discount code below). Another app which is great for affordable accommodation is AirBnb. Hotels are usually super pricy so renting someones apartment is often much cheaper - especially if you're planning to go away with a group of friends.
Stick To Europe
I know Europe can be a little pricey at times but its usually only the price of living (food & drink mainly), flights and hotels can actually be quite affordable. Budgeting and being strict with unnecessary spending can enable a pretty cheap break. Being in the UK allows us to travel throughout Europe fuss free - its basically like an extended back garden. You can get return flights to Malta for £30 & last minute package deals to Spain for a week can be around £300.
Ditch The Package (sometimes)
I think it all depends on the time of year, the destination and simply your requirements, but sometimes ditching package holidays can save you some pennies. Lowcostholidays, OnTheBeach & TravelSupermarket are some of the top 3 websites for amazing deals. Obviously Thomson & Thomas Cook are wonderful, but they can sometimes be quite expensive as the flights and hotels are booked as a package, through the same travel agents. I've used Lowcostholidays for holidays to Turkey and Tenerife and loved them both.
For those sunshine beach holidays, I always go all inclusive, which means that when you book your holiday, food and drink is included. So once you've paid off your holiday, you don't really have to worry about anything else. Obviously a bit of spending money is required, but you don't need a lot. Spending 10 days in Mexico and having to pay for food would become very pricy. Book all inclusive, pay off everything over however many months and once you finally get to pure sunshine - you won't have any nasty surprises ;)
Get £15 off bookings through the app Hotel Tonight using code 'GVICTORY'.
6 March 2016 | Bournemouth, UK
Sooooo.. I've gone back to therapy.
I believe I told you guys in January this year that I had started again and during a session a few weeks ago, a post idea came to me (random). I've never really seen any posts on therapy or counselling. There are many posts and conversations on mental health such as depression, anxiety and disordered eating, but I feel like getting help and going through therapy, isn't really talked about.
I thought I'd talk a bit about my experiences today.
I first went to therapy back in 2012 which seems like decades ago. Primarily I went to my doctor with eating issues, depression and generally feeling like I didn't want to live anymore. I was then referred to a team called 'Healthy Minds' who were there to make a decision about what help I would benefit from most. This process took 2 months but it was decided that seeing a psychiatrist would be best. I then started fortnightly sessions in late Feb, sometimes alone, sometimes in a group, at a mental health unit not too far from where I lived. Im not sure why (probably because I was so mentally f****ed up), but I don't remember much from my sessions. I didn't enjoy them. I didn't really feel like they were working and I didn't participate much during the group chats. I eventually stopped turning up to my sessions & in the summer, I was discharged.
During therapy and for the years after, I decided that I needed to embark on a journey of understanding my issues myself. My psychiatrist diagnosed with me various different problems and I guess because of that, I realised that I wasn't crazy and that I could work on improving my health. I read books, I stopped watching TV and going online, I exercised, I ate well, I spoke about my feelings and I ended a toxic relationship. I put myself first and after a while (I don't really remember the catalyst moment) I began to feel better. A lot of my issues stemmed from 'I don't feel good enough' and when I realised my worth and I started to love myself, life became easier.
Fast forward to January 2016 and I've sort of relapsed. I won't go into details as to why, but lets just say I've been healthier and happier both mentally & physically. I felt a bit wobbly back in October and its spiralled ever since. Some days are better than others. Some days I feel everything, other days I don't feel anything at all.
During 2015 a lot changed. I left my care job to become a full-time blogger. I moved from my hometown to South West London. I suddenly became ridiculously busy and in demand that I forgot how to take care of myself. Work came before everything and after a 12 hour photoshoot the last thing I wanted to do was cook, so I'd order a pizza. I never had time to myself. I never made time for myself. I guess I lost who I worked so hard to become and now I'm here.
Around 8 months ago my new GP referred me to my local wellbeing service to attend a group workshop, to decide what help I felt like I needed. This intrigued me and made me feel like I was being taken seriously and that I would have a say in how I would move forward. There were lots of options depending on what issues you had, it was actually a little overwhelming. I booked myself onto a few courses such as 'stress management' and 'mindful exercise' but with my insane schedule, they just didn't happen. Then in November I received a letter through the door saying I could start weekly therapy sessions and they are still on going now. Originally it was 12 sessions, but my therapist has recently upped them to 26. Im working on the following issues;
Im making progress, although I find the sessions painful and emotionally draining, I'm determined to keep going and not give up. We speak about everything, but my childhood memories are the most hard.
A possible diagnosis
An understanding of what you're feeling and why
Coping mechanisms to help manage your feelings/problems/issues
Someone to talk to
Someone who listens to you (they are paid to listen, remember that)
Not feeling guilty for crying
Being able to see things differently
Finally seeing the light at the end of a very dark tunnel
Constantly feeling like shit (Im emotional all the time because of how vulnerable I feel)
Friends and family not really 'getting it'
You not really 'getting it'
Feeling like you're not making progress
Feeling like you're slightly crazy (me, before every sessions, sometimes after lol)
Your therapist saying something that makes you want to punch her in the face
Feeling guilty for crying
Obviously this post is only about my experiences, opinions and thoughts but I hope it helps some of you. Therapy a few years ago didn't work for me, but now it does. I think we have to be proactive in getting help ourselves and being able to identify when something is and isn't working, which isn't always easy when we are mentally unstable.
4 March 2016 | London, UK
Sunday Riley is still a brand that seems to be on everyones lips. Although the hype has slightly died down now, I still often see SR products pop up in monthly favourites videos & skincare routines. I guess you could say they are a newish brand that has taken the beauty world by storm.
Whilst browsing Sephora in NYC back in November, I spotted a little Sunday Riley stand and thought 'girl you're in New Frigging York! Its time to treat yoself', so thats what I did. I liked the sound of the Ceramic Slip Cleanser so off to the tills I went. (with $500 worth of other stuff too, kill me now.) Who am I?
I've been using this most days for the last two months and yup, I love it, just like I knew I would. It melts away my face, including eye makeup and makes my skin feel super clean and fresh. I often get congestion and makeup that gathers around my nose and I love that this breaks it down without much effort or fuss.
The smell and texture is my favourite! Enriched with French Green Clay & black pepper, it exfoliates the skin without being too harsh. After use my face feels firm, plump and fresh. The consistency is milky and totes luxe. The essential oils add a little 'ahhhhh' feeling after a long day too. Perf!
Coming in at £35, I think the price is actually pretty reasonable, compared to other Sunday Riley products. I genuinely adore this and love that it makes my skin look brighter and clearer.
Since buying this I have also bought some other SR bits too, so keep an eye on the blog for reviews.
2 March 2016 | London, UK
(Taken at the ME London Hotel)
So at last, LFW is well and truly over & all the hype, tweets and outfit posts are completely done with. I don't want to sound like a
Negative Nancy but after attending the last 2 seasons of LFW, I can confirm that for many reasons, its just not my thing.
Back in September I went to LFW for the very first time. I was working for The BBC (well proud) so although I had a purpose being at shows, behind the scenes and immersed in the entire fashion week culture, I felt overwhelmed, in the way & judged. This season (just gone) I felt the exact same, if not worse.
Im not into high end fashion and I get that high street fashion stems from catwalk trends, but I'm just not interested. The lack of diversity probably pays a huge factor into me thinking 'blah' when it comes to fashion week. Black models are still limited and models bigger than a size 8 are basically unheard of. Watching the same sizes & the same race walk up and down the catwalk left me feeling uninspired and slightly annoyed. I guess being a size 16 means that I'm too fat for fashion anyway. At a show this season myself and plus size blogger Callie Thorpe, were moved from front row (which were our allocated seats) and hidden out of frame from the photographers. Too fat to be seen on front row? Were the brand embarrassed? Who knows, but I got a sickening feeling that because we didn't fit the 'ideal beauty' we were moved to a place that wouldn't cause offence. (F*** YOU THOUGH)!
Personal style and having fun with fashion is what I'm all about. I wear what I like, what I think looks good on me and what I'm comfortable in. Yet I feel like I have to change my style in order to 'fit in' during the fashion seasons. Nowadays you have to have half a dozen designer bags, impeccable style and a personal photographer. The pressures of blogging eh?
It feels like everyone around me is in competition. Who can go to the most shows? Who gets front row? Who wears the best outfit? Who's staying in the most luxe hotel? I could go on..
Theres a constant sense of entitlement that for me, (a person who scoffs humble pie every week and still enjoys coco pops) its all just too much. I honestly can't bare it.
I understand some of you may be thinking (Grace, suck it up. You went to LFW & I would kill to go) but honestly, its not as glamorous and amazing as it may seem. Bloggers, the press, whoever, have a wonderful way of dressing up stuff that is actually pretty meh. The whole event makes me feel tired, deflated and super stressed. Do I have enough content? Do I look 'fashionable' enough in this outfit? Have I charged my camera? (f**k no I haven't). Will I know anyone? Do I have to eat that kale and quinoa salad, because all I want is a god damn McDonalds? Maybe its me who puts all this pressure on myself but nonetheless, the pressure is there.
Of course, If I was actually working for a brand at LFW, I imagine I would have a wonderful time, but for the most part, being there to be there is just a waste of time. I guess I feel like I have to go because I'm a blogger and I should grab opportunities like this with both hands, but if I'm honest with myself. I would rather be at home, making videos or writing posts, seeing my friends or drowning in meatballs and cushions at IKEA.
All in all, I feel like I don't have a place at fashion week and I'm okay with that. I don't particularly enjoy it and the vibe is too 'I'm the best person in the room, you should bow down to me'. I don't support a place that doesn't appreciate body and race diversity and I'm just over doing things because people expect me to.
What are your thoughts on London Fashion Week?
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