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'Just Because You Haven't Found Yourself, it Doesn't Mean You're Lost'


I’m currently sat in a french coffee shop, named The French Coffee shop, with my two best friends in France, in complete and utter silence. It’s our day off, and the world is passing slowly by as we read our books, or in my case, write my blog. 

After nearly four years of writing a blog, I’m sure it’s become apparent the last month or so I’ve wanted to give myself a break. The terrible wifi and working 6 days a week is certainly a contributing factor, but the lifestyle I have out here means the upkeep of writing a blog would stop me from doing other things, so I thought I’d have a break.. 322 blog posts later, I think I deserve a break.

 But today, sat here in my favourite seat in my favourite coffee shop, I’ve decided I want to write. I have something to write about. 

And it starts, with myself. I’m currently studying for a degree in a discipline I don’t want to go into, I have thousands of pounds worth of student debt, I’m writing a blog when I should be reading up for my dissertation, I’d love to lose a couple of pounds and I don’t even know what men are anymore. In fact, the only thing I really know about my future is that I want a dog. And all of this, should equate to me feeling confused, angst and inexplicably lost.

Yet I am the happiest, most confident and most self assured I have ever been.

Stepping out of your comfort zone does a lot for a person. It makes you evaluate your friend choices, your love choices and your life choices. The phrase ‘finding yourself’ is thrown around a lot, and I understand why. There’s a lot of trial and error, and people always feel the need to justify others behaviour with a reason. In your twenties, it’s because you’re finding yourself, in your forties, it’s a midlife-crisis. 


But there is a point to it all. That road of uncertainty, where you collect memories and moments, visiting places hard to get to and making decisions you probably (definitely) shouldn't have made, don't make you any less of a human being to the person sat in their 9-5 job, or the person with their own house aged 23. It's just a different life path, and it took me a very long time to realise that that is completely and utterly okay. 

The road to becoming this self assured human is not easy, and it’s something I’m still learning about, every single day. But part of extending your comfort zone is learning about the things that matter. It’s prioritising what you should be losing sleep over versus what you can learn to live with. It’s realising calling your mum doesn’t make you dependent, and knowing not everybody has to like you for you to still be a good person. It’s realising the phrase ‘forever alone’ is probably the stupidest phrase in existence, even when you’re at your loneliest, and learning being happier means letting yourself be unhappy. And it’s being safe in the knowledge that whether you are in your 20s, 30s or 40s, just because you haven’t found yourself, it does not mean you are lost. 

Ciao for Now!
x

Life Update: Sun, Sea and Still at University


I should probably apologise profusely for my lack of internet contact. If you follow me on twitter or instagram (shameless, shameless plug there), you'll know I'm still very much alive. But admittedly, blogging has been put to the back of my life agenda. It's appalling, I know, and considering I lived in Italy and still managed to maintain a blog, I don't really have any excuse. But working 6 days a week means my days off are filled with excursions and days out and drinking lunches. The good news is, this is only the first blog post this weekend! (Hooray)! Tomorrow I will also bring you a new post, which is less-diary and more life confessional. A list or a bit of insight into my thoughts and feelings on something more substantial than how much ice cream I managed to consume in one day (alot). 

The title of this blog post should really be 'sunburn' instead of 'sun' because yesterday, I managed to lobster myself up. A rookie mistake of the old, 'make sure you reapply suncream post-sea swim'. 


Having never really been one to burn, it was a bit of a shock to the system and lead to actual sickness. That's right, ya girl Alice got sunstroke. 

Which has, admittedly, lead to me not quite living the French dream for the last 24 hours.

And despite being tempted to remain in France forever and never face the Brexit music, I have actually managed to get through my second year of uni. If you've followed this little internet space over the last 12 months, I'm sure you're fully aware my second year was far from ideal, so to have got through my exams with a high 2:1, I was absolutely over the moon. Royal Holloway, I am coming back for you. Filthy legs and all. 


Starting a new job has been tough, not because anyone or anything has made it tough, but because it's nervewracking anyway. Add to that a foreign place, with no familiar faces and a job with tasks you've never actually done before in your life (changing 15kg gas bottles, for instance), I'm not ashamed to say it's been tough at times.

So here's a reminder of things I couldn't do which I can now, thanks to spending the first month here: 
1) I can cycle uphill without stopping (blaming this original inability on the foot break and lack of muscle).
2) I can lift and change gas bottles. Easier said than done.
3) I've woken up at 7:30 to do workouts. A couple of times.
4) I can eat more ice cream than I thought was physically possible for a human.
5) I can speak far better French than I originally thought. 
6) I can put up with and get rid of spiders.
7) I can light a gas over with a lighter without flinching. 
8) I can work through all hangovers. 
9) I can fix lightbulbs, sinks and get under a mobile home without thinking twice about it. 
10) I can drink red wine and enjoy it. For the first time in my life. 

Some of these are clearly more useful than others. But there we go, if your freezer breaks and you need ice cream eating up, you know where to find me. 

Ciao for Now!
x

Life Update: Bonjour, Mes Amis


When I started Alice's Antics back in 2k13, I was writing largely for my friends and family back home in England whilst I embarked on my gap yah. 3 years of writing later and if you have been a keen follower of this little internet space for a while, you may recognise the title. My 'Life Update' series was how I checked in with everyone to reassure them I hadn't burned down my apartment or been fired for too much vino. And so I thought I'd restart them. Not too often, as you may have been able to tell my regemented 3x a week posting has gone to pot over the last two weeks, but just every now and then a little blog post to catch you all up on what I've been doing.

It all, really, boils down to one thing, France.

On June 6th, I packed up my life and headed off to the South of France for 3 months. And after the coldest overnight ferry of my life (why do they put the aircon on???? anyone????) 3 trains and a short car ride, I'd made it to my destination.

I'm spending the summer working as a holiday courier for a family holiday company, think Eurocamp or Canvas holidays but only for France. I'm not going to reveal the company because I'd rather my blog wasn't found by big bosses, but I'll report back at the end of the season all of my feelings. It's a bit like a more wholesome version of going out to do a season in Zante. Except we probably work more- and in the day.

If you read my last blog post, you've probably clocked on I've just turned 21. I am officially an adult in every country in the world ever.

Terrifying.

What was even more terrifying, was the prospect of spending it potentially alone, with no friends, in a foriegn country.


How wrong I was. I was extremely lucky to be thrown into a group of people I got on extremely well with, largely due to our ability to bond over alcoholic evenings. Which is precisely how we spent my 21st, someone (me) may have forgotten to buy coal for the group barbecue, so instead it was all cooked in ovens. The group made it their mission for me to be suitably inebriated, but I was very well looked after and some may say too much Jungle Juice was consumed...

Since then my life has been spent essentially eating icecream, lazing by the pool on days off (or after work) and meandering around the towns. The company has several sites across France and I've been lucky enough to explore a few of them before finally being settled in the Vendee. 

Today I spent my day off exploring the town I'll be living in for the season, catching ferry taxis, eating FroYo and people watching from the beach bar- I promise, I don't just drink my lifeaway.  I

I hope this isn't too chatty, I know diary entries are a bit of an acquired taste but I promise not to make them too regular! 

Ciao for Now! 
x

21 Lessons in 21 Years


On Wednesday, I made it across the final stepping stone into adulthood, turning 21. In Britain, the age isn’t celebrated the same way an 18th is, but there’s still recognition that at 21, you’re there. You may not know how to get tax back and you might still accidentally put dishwasher powder in the washing machine. But no matter where you go, throughout the whole world, you are recognised as an adult.

And that, is pretty bloody terrifying. 

So I thought I would rack up a list, as I sit here 21 years and 4 days under my belt, and discuss the life lessons I’ve learnt in my time walking around on this planet. Some are lessons, some are tips and some I wish I’d known just that little bit earlier.



1) Having more than one best friend is a thing. You can have as many best friends as you like. Be your own best friend. But never disregard the power of having people outside of yourself to talk to and share things with. 



2) Don’t be ashamed to stay in instead of going out. I’m saying this to partially convince myself, as right now I’m sat alone in France whilst all of my friends have gone on a night out. I just wanted a warm shower and a good night sleep, and this gal ain’t afraid to say it. 


3) Ginger tea can cure everything (basically). Period pains, check. Sickness, check. Stomach ache, check. Drink ginger tea. It’s tasty and is basically a natural relief for everything ever. If all else fails, eat a ginger nut biscuit. 

4) People can be mean. Adults are better at hiding it, but it’s not just a child/teen thing. The sooner you realise this is the sooner you realise you can’t please everyones, and so begins the life epiphany of becoming your own person.

5) The sooner you find a shot you like, the better. People like buying other people shots. It’s a thing. Not as expensive as a drink but still saying ‘look how nice I am’. When they ask you what you want, have an answer ready, you don’t want to be on the bathroom floor smelling of sambuca more than once in your life.

6) Take a breath and count to 10. If you’re angry, if you’re sad, if you’re in an exam. Take a split second to shut everything out and see where your brain is in 10 seconds time. 

7) Cutting a bagel in half equally and accurately is an unparalleled talent. It's likely you've peaked. 

8) Parents are individuals, not just Mum and Dad. This is something I’ve recently been coming to terms with as my sister and I get older. I’ve been starting to see them less as Mum and Dad and more as (their names) Carol and Derek. They had lives before us, before each other and it’s so easy to forget, when being shouted at for missing the washing basket. But the sooner you realise it the better. 

9) Experiences > Stuff. I’ve said this time and time again, and yet here I am still up to my eyes in my overdraft. But seriously, put down the new phone and buy yourself a week away in a place you’ve never been before.

10) Duck tape is actually called Duct Tape. 

11) Your instincts are almost always right. That niggling feeling in your stomach or the little voice at the back of your head, they’re almost always right. Go with your gut whenever possible. 

12) Learn to understand what makes you happy, does not make everyone happy. It’s easy when you’ve left school to boggle at everyone else’s life choices through the lens of social media. Questioning why he got marries, and she had a baby. Just let them be happy. Not everyone wants to explore the world, understand it and let it go. 

13) Similarly, never judge your own life progress through other people. Different things happen at different times for everybody. Stop freaking out.

14) Drink water. Sometimes it’s even better than ginger tea. 

15) Despite what you might think, school matters. Obviously this list is slightly subjective to me, as somebody who chose to study a degree, academia has always been important. But everyday I experience a new reason for using what I learnt in school. Whether it’s writing my GCSE results in job applications (yes, that is a thing), using that minimal bit of French, ‘ou est la gare?’ or making sure you haven’t been short changed when you’re already poor enough as it is (hey, student life).

16) Everyone has time to read. Those 30 minutes you spend scrolling down Kayla Itsines instagram could easily be spent immersed in a book, we both know it.

17) Writing a diary was the best life choice ever (even before Alice’s Antics). Next April, I will have been writing a diary for 10 years. Not only is it reflective and therapeutic and all the deep jazz, it’s also hilarious to read back. I will never not laugh at 13 year old Alice’s words ‘Me and Emma went fitty hunting today. We hung around JJB Sport.’ Reallyyyyy cool Alice. 

18) There are few things Google Imaging Leonardo DiCaprio can’t help. If you’ve done so and aren’t any better, seek medical attention. (This also goes for ice cream). 

19) Listening to an audio book helps to clear your mind. I haven’t written much about this on Alice’s Antics as it’s not something I discuss online or much in real life, but at nighttime I’m rather prone to panic attacks. And I’m convinced they occur less frequently on nights when I listen to my audio book before I go to sleep. I don’t know if it’s the power of knowing I’ve listened to an audiobook, and associating it with being more peaceful, but I’ve noticed a real difference. 

20) Never trust a human who does any of the following: 
  - Squirts toothpaste onto the toothbrush without wetting it
  - Applies soap directly onto dry hands
  - Wraps their mouth around the whole water bottle top when drinking
  - Wears socks in bed 


21) Dogs are better than cats. Dog people are (generally) better than cat people.

So that's it, 21 years of wisdom narrowed down to 21 bullets.

I hope you all have wonderful weeks and had cracking weekends! I have successfully made it to France, enjoyed a cracking 21st and am embarking on the next 3 months of my life on the West Coast.

Ciao for Now!
x

A Second Year Summary


NB: Apologies this post isn't on a Monday, but I'm travelling for 12 hours tomorrow and didn't want to skip a day of blogging.

In the summer of 2014, I went on a date. I was about to start my first year at university, and the boy sat opposite me was embarking on his third and final year.

'Just make sure you make the most of every minute, because it goes by unbelievably quickly.' He'd said. And I, being me, had to use all my self restraint not to roll my eyes so far they'd disappear into the back of my head.

The truth is, I never really appreciated, until I became a student myself, just how true that saying is. I feel like I blinked in Freshers week and woke up on June 6th. And now all I can think about is dissertations and becoming a part of the working world.


 

In September, I moved in with my 4 best friends from my flat last year, and Charlotte who'd lived in the flat above but had essentially become a surrogate member of our flat anyway.

Throughout the year, all of us watched as some of our friends began to fall out with housemates. Fighting over bills, hygiene or just realising they weren't who they thought. But as me and Sophie were discussing over the weekend, we'd never had so much as a domestic. The most dramatic our house got was whose turn is it to buy bin bags.

First term particularly was hard, losing Lenny. among other Dorset-based things meant I definitely appreciated all of the cups of tea and support I was given.

Which also leads me on to the rock of my second year, someone I am sure most regular readers will be familiar with, the gorgeous Saffron.


I could go on and on and on about reasons Saffron was amazing this year, but primarily it all boils down to her unfaltering friendship. From dissecting dates to West End trips, to saving lives, this year has blurred the lines between friendship and relationship (not literally- but it's only in true friend love you can spoon before sleeping and light candles for nonsexual purposes). Even more wonderful, is that through Saffron I am moving into the arms of her friends, and am becoming a member of 25, with 5 brand new housemates. I'd always been friends with them, but during my broken foot life saga, the girls of 25 stood up (because I couldn't) and put me back together on many occasions.


I wrote in my First Year Summary,  about the importance of doing things extracurricular. And although I don't want to write loads and loads and loads, the girls and guys I've met through football, Enactus, and my job have made this year fly by. I went to football tryouts, I managed to be part of recruiting some absolutely amazing new first years to take on committee positions in Enactus and the trauma of having to stage a 'coup' for a rubbish supervisor, meant the girls I worked with became more like family.




The boys above, Elliot and Alvaro, get a special mention for making my second year a better place. If it wasn't for their hospitality of wine-drunk antics, motivation to make Enactus more successful, and reliance on 'throwing shapes' at the Students Union, I'm 100% sure my second year would have been much darker. They also have spent the last year attempting to get onto Alice's Antics, including quoting my blog to friends, so it's about time they got a real mention.

In fact, here's another picture of us last night (when writing this) at our summer ball.


This year has been far harder than I ever thought possible. Physically (obvs), mentally and academically it's probably been one of the hardest 10 months of my academic life. But looking back at these photos makes every single bit of it worth it.

This blog post, if you couldn't tell, is mainly for my own recollection, but I thought it would be nice to share it regardless. I also made a second year video, here.  The lows were very low, but the highs of this year have been some of my favourite days of my (almost) 21 years pattering about the world.











Although this will be posted on June 6th, I'm writing this on June 4th, the day after our summer ball. And what a way to end! I'm so excited for third year, and I have to eat my words, because my date was 100% right. It goes in the blink of an eye.

Ciao for Now!
x