Thursday, 26 April 2018

Body (in)security.

The road to body positivity and self-love isn't a smooth one. Recovery is not linear. We are our own worst critics. When you hate what you see before you, remember how far you've come and how much you've left behind you. 

I go through phases of disliking all the little parts of me. Then a little while (sometimes, mere hours) later, I love myself and my body so hard, it almost hurts. 

(Photo: Erin Veness)

I hate how broad I am across my ribs. From the front I look fairly slim, my waist nips in beautifully and I love love love that - but from the side, I'm big. Awkwardly so.

I've decorated my ribs a little over the years, with words and flowers. I love breathing in deeply, placing my hands just at the bottom of the rib cage, and feeling my lungs inflate and the bones holding them in; strong, almost impenetrable. Almost.


Circus Abyssinia: Ethiopian Dreams @ Underbelly, 25/04/2018; a review.

I must confess, I've come in and out of London so many times over the years, and seen the enormous purple Underbelly as I've gone through Waterloo and across the bridge into Charing Cross...but I've never, ever actually been to the festival.

Well, I can tick that box now. I went to see Circus Abyssinia: Ethiopian Dreams in The Belly theatre yesterday evening, and all I can say is...WHAT!??

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Recent Reads: The 14th and 15th of 2018.

I am so happy not to be keeping to a Reading Schedule any more. It's opened me up to any and all forms of lit - as you'll see in the next few of these posts!

Now, here's what I read recently...

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

'Chicago', 23/04/2018; A review.

Last night I went to see what has been one of my favourite musicals for many years; the dazzling, scandalous 'Chicago', at the Phoenix Theatre in London's West End!
I've always loved Chicago...despite never having seen it performed live. You could say its reputation precedes it – but I've also seen a few of its musical numbers performed by local theatre companies ('The Cell Block Tango' in particular has been done to death, but I'll always love it!) and of course I've seen the film a few times, too. 

How To: Travel AND do good! *

Travelling is one of the best ways to soothe the soul. It lets you take a break from your regular life and see what else is out there. Meeting new people and learning about certain cultures and sights is a real joy...but sometimes it can feel a bit selfish. 

Tourism is usually good for people as it gives economies a boost and offers new experience, but it can be bad for the environment and some travellers may fail to see the bigger picture. So while Jeeps crowd around the same animal in a nature reserve or boats follow whales just wanting to breed in peace, are there any ways that you can make your travel experience good for everyone?

Image Credit: Stock Snap

The Joy of...dress.

Confession: I do not enjoy clothes shopping. Nope. Not at all. I hardly ever find things that I like in the usual high street shops - plus in those places, I can vary drastically in size. Seriously, I'll be a size L in Topshop, then M in Zara, and often S in New Look. Then don't even get me started on H&M. I mean, I love some of their stuff (although it can be a bit...Hit and Miss!) but then it's a bit bloody odd to go from size 10 to 14 some time between 2 different outfits...? 

There are very few stores I'll happily and confidently go into, knowing I can count on finding gorgeous, flattering clothing within them. And one of those places has to be the utterly divine JOY

(Photo: Paris Tate)

Here are a few reasons why I love shopping in JOY whenever I'm in London, or the Brighton Lanes...

Sunday, 22 April 2018


My name's Grace. 

Instead of telling people I'm 24, for some reason I now say I'm nearly 25; my love for my brain and my body is limitless, I never used to like the middle finger gesture, making me vegan hot dogs with fake cheese topping is the way to my heart, I often wonder what it's like to be a fashion blogger, managing Instagram accounts is my calling and maybe ultimate purpose in life, I burn palo santo in my bedroom, handwriting will always be important to me, the fuzz on my head still looks awesome, I wear a watch now, I'm awaiting a date for face reconstruction surgery, in winter months I often forget how much I love the sunshine, then it reappears and I'm reminded how it makes my skin sing. 

(Photo: Erin Veness)

I'm officially The Brain Tumour Charity's first ever Influencer of the Year, btw.
Thank you so much to everyone who voted for me!

Friday, 20 April 2018

Grace answers; 2.

I once said it would be really cool to be on the same level of celebrity as the major UK YouTubers, if only so I could be on a late train home, slightly tipsy following a book event most likely, and just throw a tweet out there saying ‘ask me anything!’ followed by a home-made hashtag – and immediately get 100+ replies from fans and followers asking me silly, quirky and insightful things.

Having said that, I imagine if I had that level of fame it would stress me out no end on social media. I have trouble being careful even these days...

Well, last night I thought I’d experiment with a Q+A post again, so I threw a tweet out…

The Writer's Escape to the South West! *

The South West is a dream landscape for writers. With the rugged moors, long cliffs and beaches reaching out into the explosive ocean. It’s no wonder that Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes fell in love with Devon, or that William Golding found inspiration in Cornwall. These places are made for writers with all the drama of the landscape and the tiny villages dotted through it.

(Image via  Kaboompics)

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

'Bat Out of Hell', 17/04/2018; a review.

On Tuesday 17th of April 2018, I saw – well, 'witnessed' somehow seems a more appropriate term in this case – 'Bat Out of Hell'. 
Jim Steinman's stunning musical featuring Meat Loaf's greatest hits has made its official - and very triumphant - return to London's West End. After its successful spell in the Coliseum last year, the show is now filling the historic Dominion Theatre with its electrifying energy and operatic sounds. 

'Bat Out of Hell went on to become one of the most successful and iconic rock albums of all time; but it was originally written as a musical. 40 years after its release, Jim Steinmans exhilarating tale of star-crossed lovers ‘changed the way musicals are staged forever’ (North West End) as a boundary-pushing spectacle featuring thrilling performances of legendary hits by Jim Steinman and Meat Loaf.'

5 must-see Unesco World Heritage Sites! *

I’ve said it before and will keep saying it forever – travelling is wonderful, and benefits everyone. A change of climate is great for your overall health and discovering new cultures will broaden your horizons.

Now, if you have visited pretty much all the obvious holiday destinations, and would like to see more of the amazing world that is all around, you might want to create a bucket list of World Heritage Sites you’d like to see. Below, you can find some inspiration to create your own itinerary.

(Image via Pexels)

Monday, 16 April 2018

My busy brain.

Yes, you all know about my brain. Like, the many ways in which it misbehaves and wrongly welcomes in potentially dangerous strangers...? Yeah, it's quite silly like that. But something else you may not have known is: it's busy

(Photo: Erin Veness)

Saturday, 14 April 2018

How To: get a tattoo. (The Olive Fox archive)

I love every single one of my tattoos. I currently have 13 and am nowhere near done, because oh my gosh I have so many ideas and that thing they say when you get your first tatt is true - it opens the floodgates and suddenly you want MORE, MORE, MORE! 

Now, in my experience, I've found that there are certain things that need to happen when you are prepping for and then getting a tattoo. I would like to take this opportunity to educate y'all and hopefully help you avoid any discomfort* if you ever wish to get inked! 

(Photo: Erin Veness)

*cannot promise to avoid all discomfort. Tattoos hurt. I can't help with that, lol. 

Friday, 13 April 2018

'Rose's Dress of Dreams', by Katherine Woodfine: The Blog Tour.

My lovely readers, I am very excited about this post. It's a bit of a dream come true. That is because the wonderful, one and only Katherine Woodfine will be guest-starring! 

Her Little Gems book with Barrington Stoke'Rose's Dress of Dreams', was recently published, and I will tell you now, it's a treat. 

Thanks so much for being on my blog, Katherine! I loved 'Rose's Dress of Dreams' and know quite a few others who will love it, too.​ ​

Thank you for having me – I’m delighted to be here! I’m so pleased you enjoyed making Rose’s acquaintance :)

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Why everyone should travel. *

There are so many benefits to travelling. You can meet new people, discover different cultures and experience some amazing food (or coffee, in my case).

Exploring new places also gives you a new level of understanding and helps you see what a small role you have in the world...I mean, y’know, in the best way possible. It opens your mind and improves your perspective on things.

Mama Latter always likes to comment on that kind of thing when we’re flying off on holiday. We’ll be in Gatwick North Terminal; grabbing coffee at Pret, selecting a perfect vegan breakfast pot in EAT, or just sitting on the ground floor waiting for our gate number, and she’ll look around at all the people crammed into a single space, each one going somewhere different, somewhere new or very familiar, and she’ll say wistfully: ‘it really makes you think just how many people there are in the world...’
This of course has become such a common occurrence that we now say it for her before she gets the chance. It’s a Mama-ism!

Orpheus and Eurydice; Tom de Freston and Kiran Millwood Hargrave.

Beautiful readers, I have the most exciting post for you, featuring two of my absolute favourite artistic humans (who you've no doubt seen me chattering with all over social platforms and selfie-ing with at events for a while now)...
I'm so thrilled to be seeing these beauties this evening, and at the same time revisiting one of my favourite office spaces of all time, ever - Lush HQ in Soho! 
That's right, this SOLD OUT exhibit event is going to happen tonight, and you can expect more content on here about it afterwards. For now, here are all the gorgeous details... 

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Same scar.

(Photo: Erin Veness)

   Grey jacket, ruddy skin, uneven bristles littering each cheek. Salt and pepper, chalk and cheese.
   ''ey, we’ve got the same scar, you and me,' is his opening line.

   I sit back and look up. 'Have we?' I ask politely.
   'Yah, look.' He pulls back his knitted beanie (also grey) and traces a visible line, white and clear, cutting through the deep pink from his forehead down in front of his ear. The opposite side to mine, but shockingly similar. It just doesn’t go back quite as far. It’s that little bit quieter. 'How’d you get yours, then?'
   I smile, feeling the warmth mixed with desperate curiosity in his words. 'Brain surgery. You?'
   'Ah, fair, whoa. Got mine from an accident. Smashed me head in,' he grins a little lopsidedly, then raises a hand.
   'You have a great life won’t you – god bless ya,' and he walks away, touching his lips with his dry fingers and blowing me a kiss. 
   I automatically return it. Because I’ve made a friend, in what must be the strangest but also most intimate way. 

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

How To: boost your confidence. *

Image Source

Monday, 9 April 2018

Guest Lecturing, Take 2.

When I was 17, full of feelings and desperate for an outlet, I created a blog - between lessons at college. It was my own tiny space on the internet, where I could go in good times and bad. I would never have believed you if you'd tapped me on the shoulder and told me where it would take me someday. In fact, I'm glad nobody suddenly apparated before me and told me this right then because, knowing teenage me, I'd probably have been terrified and deleted before I'd even written my first post about the boy I fancied in Drama class. 

As you all know - well, I assume so because I go on about it quite a bit - I have been an occasional Guest Lecturer at the University of Winchester (my alma mater) for about 2 years now. 

February 2016, I was asked by my ex-lecturers (and good pals) to speak in a Creative Writing seminar about my writing journey and creative work post-graduation. I was 1 of 3 successful (that would have been in quote marks because I'm not sure you could call me that, but the other 2 who spoke were very, very successful so I can't devalue them, y'know?) graduates, and I was so thrilled and honoured to have the chance to talk to the students about my writing...and my blog. I then was asked to return and give actual, full seminars in October 2016. 

(Photo: Erin Veness)
(obvs my 'cool lecturer' pose)

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Saint Jean Cap Ferrat: 'The Hidden Gem Of The French Riviera'. *

The Riviera is an area of France often known for being a playground for the rich and famous. It’s true that you do get a lot of people with money and massive yachts out there, and a lot of the resorts in the area have since lost a lot of their charm and originality because they’ve been updated with expensive shopping districts and fancy new bars and restaurants. That’s not to say that those places aren’t worth visiting, they’re still f*cking beautiful - but if you’re looking for something with a bit more character, you might wanna opt for Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, a small wooded peninsula off the coast. These are just some of the many reasons you should add it to your bucket list... 

Friday, 6 April 2018

Pet peeves and/or hates.

Hey, wanna know more about me? Of course you do, why else would you be here, in my specific space reserved for painfully pouring out my entire life?
Well, I've decided it's time to share with you all a few of my pet peeves - which, on reflection, are really more like pet hates...I'll try and separate the two. 

(Photo: Erin Veness)

  • Loud hand dryers.
    (pet peeve)

    Yeah, so I'm starting with what I know may be a weird one. I will often use public toilets and then, after washing my hands, avoid using the automatic dryers in favour of moistening my jumper or jeans with my wet hands. Why? Because I genuinely jump out of my inky skin when a loud gust of air hits my hands and howls in my ears.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Recent Reads #11; the 11th and 13th of 2018.

* Yes, I am aware that this title may be confusing. Let me clear this up: the wonderfully magical YA 'Out of the Blue' by Sophie Cameron was my 12th read of 2018, and I devoted a whole post to it (with a review from me, and an interview with the author) last week. Okay? Cool. We good. Onwards! *

King Coo, by Adam Stower (published with David Fickling Books).
BEN POLE is on the run from his arch-enemy MONTY GRABBE when he discovers a forest with rope swings, water slides, Herbert the wombat, and best of all KING COO.

Yes, I was sent a copy of this (delightful, short 'n' sweet) Middle Grade novel, but that in no way affects my opinion of it. And my opinion is: it's GREAT. 

Monday, 2 April 2018

Instagram Honesty (2).

I love social media; it's ingenious and brilliant and constantly surprising. 
It's also terrible, and at times I absolutely despise it. But don't we all, sometimes? I certainly know a lot of people who properly hate social media, some of whom have deliberately deleted any trace of themselves on every platform. 

But then at the same time, I know folks who have made a career out of social media. This includes me. New job titles have come into being in the past few years, at major companies everywhere, thanks to the major influence of social media. Right there, that's a job title I've come to know well recently  'influencer'. It sounded mad when I first heard it, but now I am totally into it. 

And of course, so many of us have found friends, discovered new favourite things and been inspired endlessly. Whether it's coming across individuals and movements we wouldn't have known about had it not been for Twitter; kinks and fan fic we'd never thought to search for were it not for Tumblr; 5* cafes and gadgets for sale courtesy of Facey B, and of course there is always an abundance of beautiful foods and quirky outfits to be seen on Instagram. 

Instagram is a happy place full of photos; its users share snapshots of their lives for all to see. The thing is with Instagram these days,'s full of fibs. I catch them so often, little tricks of the light and selective crops that may suggest the photographer has a better situation or sunnier disposition than they actually do offline. Smoke and mirrors, flips and filters. I'm not judging though because, shock horror...I do it, too. 

I am now going to embed a few of my recent Instagram posts, and give you some background on each of them that won't have seen before. The things I wouldn't have let you see.

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