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14 March 2018

LIFE UPDATE: Friends, Freelancing and Figuring Life Out

It's fair to say, my last life update post went pretty bloody well.

If I may say so myself.

This months life update involves a couple less life mistakes and a couple more YOU GO GIRL(s)!

Because your gal is now, officially, a freelance writer!

*round of applause here pls*

My plan, when I moved to Australia, was always to get a second job on top of au pairing. Au pairing is perfect for me right now, I absolutely love my host family, I love where I live and, to be honest, I love not paying the extortionate rent.

All in all, it's a pretty sweet deal.

But with 4 days a week only working outside of school hours, I'm left with a lot of time to myself. And to be honest, I always thought I'd end up working in a restaurant or a cafe out here and hadn't considered looking into much else.

But then I thought - why shouldn't I. Why shouldn't I try my hand at landing something a little more up my street than waiting tables. So, after a bit of gentle persuasion from those around me, I decided to apply to become a freelance writer in Australia.

And, well, now I am one.

Yup, alongside my blog, I'm currently writing content for Lost at E Minor and Techly, but am also sub-editing other contributors work too and basically just being an all rounder for the real-deal editors where I can.

The BEST part of all this, is that with a couple of well-known Aussie publications under my belt, alongside the experience I've gained in the UK and through my blog, I can literally take my job on the road whilst I'm here. I'm not limited by a desk or by 'office hours'. I can work weekends and late nights, and I can take on as much or as little as I want to, because I'm also au pairing right now too.

So, that's basically the dream.

I cannot even describe how lucky I feel to have landed on my feet here. Obviously travelling is so important, but if you're like me and unsure of when you'll be going back to a more traditional lifestyle, it's also great if you can keep your C.V. going whilst on the road. Gaps in employment for travel aren't uncommon at all, and a lot of employers look favourably upon it, but this means I do have the both of best worlds, and the best part is it doesn't even feel like work because I enjoy it so much. (Cringe - don't hate me for that).

If you read my blog post about making new friends, you might have found out that this month I threw caution to the wind, and after a gentle prod from my host-mum, decided to seek out some other backpackers/au pairs who might want a new pal, (spoiler: me).

So I ignored basically all stranger danger warnings ever taught to me as a child, and decided to write a Facebook post on a couple of backpacker groups, asking if anyone wanted to do something that weekend.

It turns out, there are a LOT of lonely people in Sydney.

Which was a big relief, and made me feel a whole lot less tragic.

Eventually, I created a little Facebook chat for some of the girls who messaged me, and well, things just grew from there. A 20+ person beach bbq and never-ending fb chat later, and it's safe to say I definitely made some new friends. It was honestly a fantastic decision, and to be honest, one I was really apprehensive about. It's just taught me sometimes you need to swallow your pride and admit you don't have to be satisfied with being alone.

Which brings me to my last little life update of the month - FIGURING LIFE OUT.

As most of you know, I came to Australia with little to no plan, except knowing I had to be in England for March 2019 because I'd be flying out to work in Southeast Asia from then for 6 months (more on that later).

So basically, the world was my oyster.

I knew I wanted to spend a full year in Australia because you only get one of these Working Holiday Visas in your whole life, so I'd be an idiot not to make the most of that. But I wasn't sure where I was heading or how long I'd be in one place for.

Well, I can officially say I'm going to be living in Sydney until September. Yup, another 6 months in my new favourite city in the world.

I made the decision based on a number of factors, including my new job, my au pair family, and my ability to save. But I am so happy in my decision. I have some time off over the winter here to travel to the places not on my actual 'route' - aka Uluru and Perth - but I'll be dedicating the last 6 weeks of my time in Australia to actually, properly 'backpacking'.

Anyway. I've rambled on for far too long in this blog post.

Make sure you're keeping an eye on my Youtube channel, I post weekly travel vlogs AND sit-down videos.

Sorry this is the longest blog post in the world, you're all caught up on my life now!

Love, Alice x

Blogger Widgets

8 March 2018

A Letter to Every Woman I Know - International Women's Day 2018

I am surrounded by incredible women.

I walk past you in the street. I buy my groceries from you. I have meetings with you. I talk to you on the phone. I share your secrets. I share your blood. I am a product of a woman, and I am proud to identify as a woman.

I am proud to be a woman, and I urge you to be proud too.

Be proud enough to stick up for the 62 million women worldwide who are denied an education because they were born female.

Be proud enough to speak out about the sexual assault encountered by 1 in 3 women. 1 in 3 women have come forward. Speak out because 2 in 3 women haven't reported their assaults.

Be proud enough to raise awareness for the 1000 honour killings of young women which occur in India and Pakistan each year.

Be proud enough to raise your daughters to equalise the 32% of women who are in national parliaments worldwide.

Be proud enough to teach your daughter that they can be a beautician. Or a rocket scientist. Or a mechanic. Or a hairdresser. Because men outnumber women in science degrees 4:1.

Be proud enough to stick up for yourself and your wage. Because the gender pay gap will take a century to close.

Being proud does not mean burning your underwear and throwing yourself under horses. Being proud does not mean you cannot be a mother, or a bride, or excited about the next episode of Love Island. And being proud does not mean subjecting men to abuse.

It is using your voice and not being ashamed to do so. It is rising against the oppression of women internationally, not just in your town.

It is knowing you are fortunate enough to have freedom, and recognising that there are countries where women are not allowed to leave the house without a male.

It is fighting against the fact western society are supposed to be leaders in women's rights, and yet a rapist is in charge of the United States.

The women running through our bloodstreams fought a war which brought us votes, and taught us we could be anything we wanted to be. And now, it's our turn to fight for our own daughters.

Fight to allow them to walk down the street without holding their keys through her fingers. Fight to have her walk into a job and know she'll be paid the same as her male equivalent. Fight to watch her walk a red carpet and be asked about her passions, not her dress size.

Be proud enough to stand up for your gender without being embarrassed. And be confident enough to speak out about the oppression and discrimination which continues in every, single, country.

Be brave, and be proud. Don't be afraid to celebrate today.

Here's to strong women.

May we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.

19 February 2018

How to Meet People in A New Country

The title of this blog post is very generalised. Whether you've moved to a new 'country', or a new town, moving somewhere you don't know anyone is daunting. Moving away from people you love means finding a new support system, because the people around you are, in all honesty, what keeps you sane in life. They're the ones who stop you calling your ex at 3am and help you eat a tub of Ben and Jerry's during titanic, they look after you on nights out and stop you feeling 2/10 when you don't get a second date.

Basically, friends are life.

But without school, or college, or uni, how on earth do you meet people when you go to a new place? How do you naturally make conversation happen, so you find your people?

The truth is, it's difficult.

But if I've learnt anything from the time I literally leaned over a table in Italy because I heard four girls speaking English and half-begged them to take me under their wing, (the words 'I have no friends here' were mentioned at least twice), it's that you need to be brave.

Moving to the opposite side of the world? No problem. Making friends in said location? No thank YOU.

People have a fear of approaching those they don't know. It's a natural fear of rejection, but the truth is, if you're not being creepy and the people you're approaching are nice, then it'll be absolutely fine. And you've got to think, would you really want to be friends with the kind of people who do reject you?

All you really need to kick off a friendship group, is one key pal who has friends too. Most of my friends in Australia have been met through friends of friends. My best friend in Italy was also met through a friend. If you have someone to help you connect with people, making new friends can be easy.

BUT, what do you do when you literally don't have a single friend? Not one human being in the vicinity to depend on?

This is where, in my opinion, you use an equal measure of common sense, friendliness and technology. Facebook groups are your new best friend. There's honestly a Facebook group for everything these days. Write a friendly post saying you're new to the area and keen to go for drinks, honestly, like minded people will jump at this. Use your common sense to accept messages from people you would probably like to hang with, and filter the inevitable creepy ones too. And be brave enough to take the step and meet up with them. Lydia, the girl I'm running hand and hand with into the sea in this blog's photo - we met in a Starbucks after messaging on Facebook. Stranger danger is real, but if you're sensible, you can absolutely use it to your advantage.

If you've travelled to a new country as a backpacker, you might find meeting people face to face easier than online. Hostels are a great place to meet new people, you just need to be brave enough to talk to strangers over washing your underwear in the sink. Hostels are also great because there's a lot of individuals passing through all who have got the same desire to travel as you, and some hostels will have events for you to join in on if you want to - another ideal way to make friends!

The truth is, meeting people depends on two things, being brave and being friendly. Trying to make friends is so daunting, especially as an adult, you feel like you're being thrown into year 7 at school all over again. But if you put yourself out there, and manage a smile, you should be able to meet people even in the smallest of places.

I hope you've all had wonderful weekends!

Love, Alice x


10 February 2018

LIFE UPDATE: Snogging, Blogging and Missing Home

If you've been with me since almost the beginning of time, you might recall I used to write monthly 'life update' posts. These were essentially natters in a blog post based on my current life traumas, what I'm up to, the highs and lows of the month and just basically, any gossip I can feed you about myself and my current life situation.

The thing is, I started writing 'Life Updates' in 2013, when the internet was a much smaller place and the blogging world was far less saturated. I feel like in the last five years (omfg FIVE YEARS), the blogging world has shifted to predominantly makeup and beauty and dyou know what? That's all well and good, but what I'm best at, is writing a long old rambling lifestyle post.

The fear of people not reading what I had to say about ordinary old stuff like my first experience of real life cockroaches in the house put me off writing these types of blogs, but after a long old think, I've decided who bloody cares. Alice's Antics has always been a space on the internet for me to fill people in on my life, whatever form that may be. So whether it is a lifestyle update, or a travel post filled with fabulous artsy pictures (unlikely), or an outfit post, what matters, is that there is a post, and that I've loved writing every word.

That's what matters right?

It's almost been a month since my leaving party, where all of my favourite humans in the world gathered around me and got outrageously drunk on Happy Hour. I honestly didn't realise I had so many people I loved so much until they were all in one room, and seeing people from school, university and my job in France all in one place made my heart hurt a little (a lot). Knowing it's been a month, might be why this weekend for the first time I've missed my friends and family back in England. It's weird, because I don't think it's quite homesickness (yet), because I basically never want to move back to the UK and just want to spend my life moving from glorious beach to glorious beach. BUT, it does go to show that home is the people you love, because I miss all of their stories and late night wine sessions and sunday brunches. Sigh.

A week into being in Australia, I was with my new au pair pals, on a boat on the river overlooking the Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House (I actually have no idea what the river is called which runs under harbour bridge - is it a river? is it the sea?)???? It was a very surreal moment, surrounded by a lot of backpackers, an extortionate bar and fireworks over the harbour. Being crammed unceremoniously against people, you end up talking to those you're breathing in the same air as in. Which is why myself and my friend Gemma, found ourselves chatting to a group of guys as the fireworks lit up the sky. Very romantic, I know. Four hours later in a sweaty club however, when I may or may not (I did) have kissed one of the boys. He goes to add me on Facebook. And guess where he's from??? DORSET. My TINY, home county in the south of the UK. I travelled 10,000 miles and still end up snogging a boy from Dorset. Next time I will be insisting upon a full background check before getting within 5 feet of any man.

The biggest, most exciting moment of 2018 (except, ya know, jumping on a plane to Australia), came when after two years of lusting over it, I decided to splurge out and buy a Canon G7X Mark ii. For those of you who don't know, they're the holy grail of vlogging cameras, but are also used by a lot of influencers as photography cameras too, being compact but far better than an iphone. Which obviously means, Alice's Antics youtube channel is going to have far more content up on it in the near future. We're talking sitting down videos, travel vlogs, whatever I can come up with, I will gladly create for you my friends.

Despite the bout of homesickness (and actually, real sickness, I had a 24 hour virus which knocked the LIFE out of me), I am feeling so positive and excited for this year. I'm so ready to put out the content I want to put out and not what I think I should be, and I LOVE this style of writing, okay!? It may be a bit ramble-y and all over the place, but the first blog I ever loved was written by a uni girl friend Essex who talked about her love of Carbs and that one time she ordered a full Domino's just so she didn't have to go out to buy a tub of Ben and Jerry's. That's my kinda gal. That's the kinda blog posts I like.

We're finally through January so I hope the second month of the year brings you far more joy and far less of the 'bleurgh' feeling! Yes yes, it's Valentine's day this week but MORE IMPORTANTLY, it's Pancake day!

Let me know how you feel about these blog posts, I finally have a flare for writing again, thank goodness and welcome back writer Alice.

Love, Alice x


1 February 2018

The Life Changing Act of Deleting People on Facebook

It's September 2005. You've started at your new High School and oh my god you don't know anyone and why do the year 11's look so ginormous??? Surely you can never grow to that height??? You cling to the first person who catches your eye and awkwardly compliments your scoobie string keyring hanging from your Jane Norman shopping tote bag. So commences a few years of happy friendship, until eventually you grow apart and now, you're 23 and haven't spoken in, surely not, SEVEN years? But you were best pals once, right? So you can't actually delete each other on Facebook?

Social media, is a blessing and a curse. In fact, the whole topic of this blog post has been discussed tenfold on my group chat, because recently most of us have been feeling the impact of social media containing a lot of baggage. Meet someone on a night out in the girls toilet and drunkenly give her your Facebook? And then three months later you come across a tragic post on the loss of her pet gerbil, you think 'who is that' and yet completely forget to delete her. Or you join a new job and everyone jumps onto adding you in the first week, and low and behold a couple of months later you move on? We've all been there. 'What if I bump into them on the street', 'what if they notice'? Honestly, and I can't say really say this nicely enough, but who cares?

Facebook has been built to become a lot bigger than we are ourselves. Deleting someone on Facebook somehow means more to people than actually being cut out of eachothers lives. And it's this attitude which should almost force us to jump start, and question why. Why does it matter so much? Why is it a form of validation?

Facebook brings baggage and guilt which has never been accessible in this way before. Suddenly we know people's business when we don't even know their phone numbers. Loved ones deaths, new jobs, where they've gone on holiday. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has spent time browsing someone's facebook profile, clicking on their best friend, clicking on his girlfriend, and suddenly you're looking at her cousins girlfriends 2k11 holiday snaps. And that person you originally clicked on? You never even spoke to them at school anyway.

Deleting people on Facebook is not only necessary, but it's healthy. Go by the rule, if you wouldn't stop and talk to them on the street, you don't need to know their online business. Assess the relationship you have, however much you want to know what your ex-boyfriend/girlfriend is doing right now, is it really healthy to have them online?

You'll never really be able to cut people out of your life and move on whilst they're lingering in the back of your social media presence, and that is the new dimension to life we haven't quite grasped yet. Social media is a wonderful thing, but maintaining a healthy relationship with it is so important. It's way past the time to get rid of the social media baggage, it just took me this long to come to terms with how important it really is.

Love, Alice x

30 January 2018

How to Work Your Way Around the World

I've been here a week, settled in and figured it's now probably time to start writing some blog posts. This little internet space is going to stay lifestyle-y, but it will definitely have more of a travel vibe on it now (hence the header). It just makes so much sense for me to write about what I love, and what I' gave up my life back in England to do.

So back in August, I decided to leave my PR job in London, move back in with my parents, and spend a year saving up to travel for as long as possible around the world. Cue moving back home officially in September, and I realised living back with my parents in our Dorset town, wasn't necessarily the best option for me to save up money. So I started having a think, and low and behold, I applied for my current au pair position in Sydney, Australia.

The thing is, travelling the world doesn't mean you have to put a backpack on and get the next flight out of there. You need money, you need insurance, you need to buy the necessary things to go with you, and yes that does make it expensive. But do I have enough money to travel and do everything I want to do already in my bank account? Absolutely not, so the best option for me was to utilise the skills I have through past work experience and hopefully later using my degree, and apply for jobs which would allow me to work my way around my trip. Not only does this mean I have an income, it also is a way to make friends in similar positions, and also means that for the next couple of years, my C.V. (resumé won't just be completely empty).

For most people, Australia is the perfect place to begin your trip, because anyone between 18-30 is allowed to apply for a Working Holiday Visa, which entitles you to work rights in Australia for up to 12 months, so long as you don't stay with an employer for longer than six months. If you want to extend your stay in Australia to 24 months, you need to spend 3 months working 'the land', for 88 days. Although this is hard work, often outdoors in the sun all day, it is also perfect for people looking to save up money, as there doesn't happen to be too many bars or Starbucks in the outback. This is what I'm looking at doing after my 5 months with my current au pair family and although I'm a little apprehensive, I think it'll be well worth it in the long run. Getting my two years visa also means I can come back and work all over again.

New Zealand
New Zealand is a fair bit easier than its neighbour state when it comes to visas. Whilst you can only apply for a second year visa after spending time in NZ, you don't have to work the land, so to be honest, that is a HUGE plus for many people. Added to the fact NZ is one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

South East Asia
For those of you who don't know after my first year in Australia, I am volunteering in Thailand for 6 months. Obviously volunteering isn't paid, but across Asia there are fabulous 'workaway' opportunities, where backpackers can work in exchange for food/accommodation at various hostels. Workaway schemes are used across every continents as it provides mutual benefits. Another very popular method of earning money whilst travelling, is by investing in a TEFL (teaching english as a foreign language) course. English doesn't need to be your native language, but you do have to be extremely confident with it. This is both a monetary and time investment as you need to rack up the hours to become a teacher, but once you've passed, you can use this skill all over the world, and I know Vietnam in particular is a very place for backpacking-teachers.

If you're European, Europe is the perfect place to start your working-travels, because your EU status gives you working privileges. Essentially, you can work and live anywhere in Europe for an unrestricted time. If you're bilingual, this  is perfect for those wanting to continue careers in particular areas, as you can take on temp work to fund your way around different cities. If you aren't from Europe, each country has their own visa rules. Currently, the UK has a Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme, which applies to countries outside of Europe and allows certain individuals to work for up to 24 months. This could be perfect for anyone wanting to save up money whilst living abroad, much the reversal of what I've done by coming to Australia.

North America and Canada
So the bad news is, for 99% of countries, it's almost impossible to get working holiday permissions in America. The GOOD news is, Trump is President so why would you want to go there when you could go to Canada, aka one of the most beautiful unspoiled countries in the world, which allows you to stay and work for up to 24 months!?

China is a crazy country, beautiful and technological and, to a naive westerner like me, a little bit scary. Visas to work in China are possible, however, I'm under the impression it's much harder to work privately in China, for instance as an au pair, as the visa rules are extremely strict and can lead to imprisonment or deportation. Therefore, I'd advise using money previously saved from other countries to explore this amazing one in the safest possible way on a tourist visa.

In some continents, such as Europe, there is much the same rules regarding visa entry and working holidays. However, continents such as Indonesia and South America have a huge variety of regulations for working holiday visas. South America does have a fantastic reputation for 'working away' often in hostels in exchange for accommodation or food, or even house/pet sitting. In countries such as Sri Lanka and Bali, volunteering for up to a month is very common and often backpackers can use tips to assist in their funding. However, the huge variety of states and visas within these continents stopped me from writing about them in too much detail.

I hope you all have enjoyed the first step in Alice's Antics turning into a travel and lifestyle blog! I'm so excited for the next couple of years!

Love, Alice x

21 January 2018

My First Impressions of Australia

It's been 48 hours since I landed in Sydney. I've unpacked, had a barbecue, been to the beach, slept for 12 hours and eaten my first TimTam. Safe to say, I am very much in Australia.

I thought Australia would be pretty much a hotter version on Britain. And in some ways, it is. It's an English speaking country, everyone drives on the left and our dear old Queen is on the coins. However, some things I wasn't prepared for

1) 1cent and 2 cents don't exist
So if something costs $2.99, you actually pay $3.. and if something costs you $3.03.. you also pay $3. I'm SO glad I was told this on arrival, because I definitely would've thought I was being short changed (luckily being British, I would never have said anything anyway).

2) People Don't Wear Shoes (like, outside of the beach) 
Within a couple of hours of arriving, I thought it would be a good idea to scope out my new city. I live in the suburbs, about 20 minutes on the bus to the nearest glorious beach. So IMAGINE my surprise, when I came across approximately 9 people throughout my walk around the block, who weren't wearing shoes. People crossing the road, walking through the supermarket, drinking coffee. If you did that in Britain, somebody would show you to the nearest homeless shelter.

This explains itself. I kind of knew this about Australia because of the couple of Australians in my life, but the extent it reaches is pretty mad. I promise to never write the word 'sickie' as a noun for a good day.

4) Avocado is in Everything Ever
This is not a drill. And it's like life is teasing me because I found out I was allergic to it back in June. No-avo-Alice.

5) Border Control is Serious Business
Everyone is given a declaration card on the plane, unless you're me and missed that memo, and then you basically have to select anything you need to declare. Except in Australia, there's queuing and more queuing. There's different queues for different types of declarations. And then, even if you're not declaring anything, you still get searched 99% of the time by sniffer dogs. My first impression of Australia was a labrador sniffing around my suitcase.

It's safe to say I am loving Australia. After spending yesterday at the beach, I can absolutely see why people apply for their second year visa and end up moving out here. I'm so excited to start my new adventure in this beautiful country!

Love, Alice x

9 January 2018

Be Vocal, Be Proud, Be Strong | 2018 New Year Resolutions

I wanted to give some time to this before I posted it. I LOVE a good old new year resolutions post, but this year I wanted to give it a bit of thought before I leapt into the whole 'new year new me' thing which, let's face it, we all do. But 2017 was the year I learnt more than any, how your annual goals should be based on more than a gym membership and a fridge of greens. And for that reason, I really wanted to go into 2018 with resolutions which would make me feel warmer, stronger and a better person, rather than ones which would make me look great in a bikini.

#1 Speak Up
I'm going to speak up. I am one of those people who avoids confrontation like the plague. But not being a member of the LGBT+ community does not mean I should stand back and watch anyone be targeted silently. Being white doesn't mean I can't vocalise my disgust at racism. Luckily, over the last few years I've had fewer and fewer occasions where I haven't spoken up for what's right. But 'fewer' isn't good enough. From bitching about one of my friends, to somebody making a racist, sexist or homophobic comment, I won't be silent any more. And I hope I will never be silent again.

#2 Be Proud
2018 was a shitty year for many reasons, but the light in the darkness of all the sexual harassment and assault charges, was finally bringing the reality of being a woman to the eyes of the masses. Let's face it, 80% of people KNOW what women face daily, from those working in manual labour, to current film stars. But, in western culture, it is not being ignored. Last year, I wrote my dissertation on Women as Targets of ISIS Radicalisation, and whilst I feel like I've always been a feminist, it's a word I've sort of whispered in the background. There are family members who outright laugh at me when I get too defensive, or start to try and provoke a reaction out of me by saying something vulgar. And, to be quite honest, I'm done with this shit. I'm done with getting embarrassed when I get impassioned by standing up for what I believe in. I'm never going to go around burning my bra (for one, my breasts only have a few years of perkiness ahead of them and I don't want to speed up that process), but standing my ground and being proud of who I am and what I believe in, is a huge part of my 2018.

#3 Be Strong
Strength is subjective. But I believe the two resolutions above fall under the 'strength' category intrinsically. I'd love to continue that into every other aspect of my life. Strong beliefs, strong character and strong in person. Nurturing my body as well as my mind. Being strong doesn't necessarily mean constantly resilient, it is also about being open to new ideas, and listening to other people's contrasting opinions. That's something I learnt last year and want to continue into the new year. Strength can be found in the gym, and in our minds, and that's my overall theme of 2018. I want it to be the year of solidarity and strength.

What are your New Year Resolutions?

Love, Alice x


31 December 2017

2017, The Year of Change

If you've read Alice's Antics for a little while, you'll know that at the end of each year I like to do a couple of blog posts reflecting on and summarising the last 365 days, and what I feel has been central to the year. Last year was the year of Friendship, 2015 the year of Me, 2014 the year of Growing Up and 2013 the year of Travel. This year, it has been the year of Change.

I'm sure in years to come, there will be more monumental changes in my life. Children, marriage, engagements, moving in. But as far as I am concerned, this year has been the biggest 'oh my god what are you DOING' year of my life so far. The biggest roller coaster, sometimes literally having no idea where I'll be in the next couple of weeks. I went from University, to London life, to France, to Home and very soon it will be to Australia.

2017 had the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I graduated from university, finally feel like I'm the most confident, happy and free I've felt in years. My graduation was, without a doubt, the best day of my life so far. From waking up with my friends and donning our hats and gowns together, to sitting at a table overlooking the River Thames with my family and Alvaro, to sitting with my housemates until the early hours, dissecting our lives and how far we've come. At the time, I was in my London public relations job, secretly knowing I was about to hand in my notice but too terrified to let anyone know, but it lead to me quitting my job to move back home with my parents.

In September, I lost one of the most incredible people in my life, Dean. Who moved mountains and spread light and laughter and wisdom wherever he went. I think it's really easy when people die, to look back on them through beautiful rose tinted glasses, but the truth is, I couldn't say a bad word against the man who protested against and stood up for the LGBTQ+ community like nobody I've ever known. And still I am lucky enough to have memories sat on Weymouth beach eating sushi together, and walking through the 2012 Olympic Village in awe of our 16-year-old-lives. Yet despite the heartache and the giant hole in both the LGBTQ+ community, and what felt like the whole world, hundreds of people came together for a memorial concert featuring Years and Years in London, and despite everything, his close friends and family walked out of his funeral smiling through tears, drinking wine, singing Whitney and making new friends, I have no doubt Dean wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

2017 was here there and everywhere in the best and worst ways. One of my close friends announced she was ENGAGED (immediately we set up a joint pinterest board from our group chat), and then counter that with that week in March when my WHOLE university household got nits and we spent 7 days confined to our house, combing through each others hair. Or that time when I drunk too much red wine by myself and decided to cut my own hair. Luckily, most of the lower moments have been countered by things like my trip to Disneyland Paris in June, and my Harry Potter centred week in London. Even sitting around the table with my family at Christmas dinner, playing games and laughing until our stomachs hurt. Nits is a small price to pay for those kinds of moments.

In blogging life, I did exactly what I set out to do. I fell back in love with blogging. Okay, so maybe we didn't quite manage to do all of blogmas (yet again) but asking me to do 18 days of blogging straight this time last year would have made me laugh at you. Instead, I can't wait to get home and write. I love writing schedules, and thinking of what more exciting things are planned. We even stretched into Alice's Antics on Facebook, AND Alice's Antics on Youtube stepped up a notch, which I hope goes even further in 2018, as I blog and vlog my adventures.

2018 will be a first for me. It's going to be the first full year in my living memory, when I have no plans. No idea what to expect. It's one, giant, blank book, with a flight booked to Sydney on January 18th. Who knows where I'll be this time next year. Who even knows where I'll be for my 23rd birthday in June? It's simultaneously the most exciting and terrifying thought to have. But if 2017 was the year of change, let's make 2018 the year of action.

For the first time in seven years, I've decided to not go out this New Year, and instead will be sitting inside with a cheese board, champagne (ok, prosecco) and one of my best friends both in our pyjamas to see in the New Year. And I am SO excited for it, does that make me old?  Whatever you're doing this New Year, I hope you have a wonderful evening and see in a 2018 full of love, hope and excitement over the next 365 days!

Happy New Year!

Love, Alice x

(I've included some photo highlights of my year below as a 2017 for both you and myself)


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