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13 December 2017

The Pressure of Life After University | Blogmas Day 13


University. I feel like it passed in a blur and now it's just one giant, nostalgic, part of my life which has come to an end. It still hurts my brain when I think the best three years of my life (so far) are at an end, I can hardly believe it myself, and it's now been over 6 months since I sat my final exam and said goodbye to life as a Politics student.

Getting a degree, holds a lot of pressure. Not just the pressure of obtaining the degree in the first place, but then actually finding a job where you'll use it. Every single person I know has heard the words 'but how does that relate to your degree' when they tell friends and family what they're doing now. I completely understand the thinking, it's a lot of debt for something you won't use, but the actuality of having the degree in the first place is what often opens the doors for them, whether it's related to the subject they studied or not. The truth is, I probably won't end up in Politics, but I loved studying it, and the discipline and time spent earning my degree is what landed me my job in PR after University.

But now, I'm back home working in a coffee shop, saving up to go away in the New Year. So where does that leave me? The issue is, people often equate a degree to being some sort of stepping stone to having your life figured out, to having it sorted. It's a lot of money to spend to end up working in Starbucks, yes, you're right, but that time spent working in Starbucks, isn't the be all and all. It's a month, or a year of your life, and that's it.

So why am I absolutely mortified any time somebody I went to school with enters the coffee shop I work in? Why do I blush and stutter about how I'm only working here whilst I save up money to go to Australia? There is absolutely nothing wrong with working in a coffee shop, I fully believe anyone who has a job, whatever that may be, is lucky to be employed in the first place. But the pressure and stigma I put on myself, is different. And I hugely think that's because of the pressure of 'succeeding' within a year of graduating from university.

The truth is, life after university is not always graduate schemes in London and £28k salary jobs. It's figuring out what you want to do, it's trial and error and finding out you love one area and hate another. It's living and working at home whilst you decide what new path you want to take. Getting a degree makes you no different to the other millions of people out there, you'll still feel lost, you'll still feel stressed and finding your footing is probably 100x harder because you have people breathing down your neck about that debt. Degree or no degree, we're all still just trying to figure out what makes us happy, and those of us that did go to university just have to do that 3 years later than everyone else.

I'm really feeling the pressure of life after university at the moment, how do you feel about it if you did go? What do you think on the subject if you didn't?

Love, Alice x


VLOGMAS

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12 December 2017

25 Blogmas Post Ideas | Blogmas Day 12


Christmas is, as we all know, the time for sharing. And I've somehow spent the last 4 years avoiding any form of post which offers a guide on how to prevent bloggers block. Probably because usually, I'm the one searching for the help. But 2017 has been my most successful Blogmas yet, and I thought I'd share some post ideas for anyone who needs a kick of inspiration. Blogging everyday is hard when you're not used to it and sometimes it just takes a glimmer of imagination to bring you back down to blogging your heart out. So here are 25 post suggestions to help!

1. A christmas gift guide
2. Christmas party outfits
3. A festive recipe
4. Your favourite childhood
5. Favourite blogmas/vlogmas
6. Things I Love About the Season
7. Being Single/in a Relationship Over Christmas
8. The Peaks and Pits of the Year (a personal favourite of mine)
9. A Christmas Twist on a Classic Cocktail
10. DIY Gift Ideas
11. Sharing Your Favourite Christmas Memory
12. A Where-to-Go Shopping Guide for Christmas Presents
13. Attempt to Make a Gingerbread House
14. Staying Healthy Over the Christmas Period
15. A Christmas Through the Years photo-based post
16. Christmas in ***** (your closest well known city)
17. Elf on the Shelf Ideas
18. Sharing Your Family's Christmas Traditions
19. The Best/Worst Christmas Presents You've Ever Received
20. Secret Santa Gift Guide
21. How to do Christmas on a Budget
22. A Christmas Markets Day-in-the-Life
23. A Guide to the Boxing Day Sales
24. December Bucket List
25. How You've Decorated Your Home this Season

I am LOVING blogging every day at the moment! Even if the posts are going up later and later every day... I hope you're all enjoying getting into the Christmas spirit - it's less than 2 weeks left!

Love, Alice x

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11 December 2017

The Look What I Did List 2017 | Blogmas Day 11


If you've been reading this little internet space for at least a year, you'll know over on Alice's Antics, we like to spice life up from the ordinary New Year Resolutions lists (although I do enjoy one of those too - all lists are welcome here) and instead, write a reflection on the year gone by.

1. I GRADUATED from University. The biggest of them all. I am now a graduate. Alice Dodd the graduate. How did that happen? I'm not even sure, but it did definitely happen, I have the paper to prove it, and I am SO proud of myself.

2. I won a university award for my role as Head of Marketing for the student radio station. I never ever thought I'd win any kind of awards at university, but in March this year I won one for my time at Insanity Radio, there may have been tears...

3. I GOT a London job straight out of university.  This remains one of the things I'm proudest of this year, because despite everything, my hard work paid off and I managed to defy the statistics and land a job in PR within a week of finishing my final year exams and exactly where I thought I wanted to be.

4. ....And then I quit said London job and moved back home. I'm going to say it, I actually think this is the bravest life choice I've ever made. It was terrifying and felt a lot like admitting defeat, but it's already turning out to be for the greater good.

5. I made some incredible new friends. Every year I'm astounded at how I've met such fantastic people who didn't exist in my life before now. In my current job and my job in France, I've come across people who I genuinely consider some of my close friends and that is spectacular.

This year has been an absolute rollercoaster, but also a first time EVER because guess who kept all of her New Years Resolutions from the beginning of the year???? Dat me.

Not only did I get a 2.1 and I now read more than ever before, I also went to Paris for the first time ever, said no to being in the rabbit run of life and have fallen back in love with Alice's Antics. So all in all, we could say this has been a very successful year. I love seeing it all written it out like this because sometimes it's so easy to lose sight and put your year down to whether you're 6 stone lighter or have run a marathon.

Turns out, 2017 was a treat.

And we're one year closer to getting rid of Donald Trump.

Love, Alice x


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10 December 2017

My Favourite Christmas Jumpers | Blogmas Day 10


It's not really Christmas time until you start seeing people wandering the streets in the most ugly, festive jumpers they can find. Rooting around in the back of your wardrobe to find a trusty old Primark one for 2014, or searching the shops for the one, I'm here to help make the search that much easier. Light up, extra parts, so bright they make your eyes hurt, to the easy, cosy ones. I've got a wide old selection.



I had to sneak in that little dog one because, let's face it, the only thing better than Christmas jumpers is Christmas jumpers for dogs.

Love, Alice x

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My Top Blogmas and Vlogmas This December | Blogmas Day 9


December is a busy old month for bloggers and vloggers. Gone is any kind of schedule and instead your schedule consists of EVERY SINGLE DAY. And if you weren't sure, it is quite a lot of work. Hence my week of vlogmas isn't even up yet (it will be soon I promise)!

I thought I'd fill you in on who I'm first to click on in my Youtube sub box, and whose tweets I'm anxiously awaiting to declare their latest blogmas post is out. 

VLOGMAS

All hail the queen of vlogmas. I am 22 and I will never be embarrassed to say, I am slightly in love with Zoe Sugg. As a business woman, as a vlogger, she is an online queen and to be honest, I fully appreciate why. Vlogmas is where she really shines, and every single day I am so excited to finish work and catch up with her daily vlogs, they're beautifully shot and so festive, vlogmas with Zoe is pretty much a part of my December routine now.  

Niomi makes me feel so good about myself, she's such a ray of light. Her vlogmas has proven no different to her usual light content and it's fab to snuggle down with. 

Alisha is the only American Youtuber I watch so consistently and is also the only American vlogmass-er (is that a word), which gives me such an insight into the over the pond attitude to the festive season! Her vlogs are snappy and bright and I highly recommend heading over to her channel.

Author and mother, Giovanna Fletcher is the ultimate feel good vlogger. Married to Tom Fletcher and the subject of the wedding speech to end all wedding speeches, Giovanna's life on Youtube makes my heart warm. Two adorable children, and absolute couple goals parents, there's literally nothing to dislike.

BLOGMAS

Amy's blogmas is fab if you're into beauty and fashion. Delivering gift guides and Christmas makeup, it's such a beautiful blog and I officially knew it would be on this list when Amy publishes a day at Blenheim Palace, one of my favourite places in the world. The perfect blog to read through for hours.

Jess writes such a refreshing blog with so much innovation in her posts! From silly winter sweaters (a personal fave) to some of her older posts, Jess of Earth is so a chilled, chatty blog, I've been loving keeping up to date with her blogmases! 

If you know me, and you know Harry Potter, you'll understand immediately what first drew my attention to Victoria's blog. Her content is amazing and the type which makes  you want to up your own game and proving you don't need to be a big time blogger to create great content. The instructions on how to make a Mickey Mouse wreath is one of my favourite blogmas's EVER. 

To be completely honest, a huge part in the appeal I find in reading CaityLoux is how much Caitlyn reminds me of myself and my own style of blogging. Caitlyn doesn't fit into any category, from talking about Orgasms to being 18 and Sober, her blogs are raw and honest and a huge breath of fresh air, and her blogmas follows suit too. 


I hope this gives you some evening inspiration! My taste is so hugely varied, I also read a lot of blogs throughout December which don't post blogmas, but I wanted to give a huge shout out to everyone who does because it is such hard work. Do you watch/read anyone not on this list who you want to recommend?? I'm always on the look out for more material! 

Love, Alice x 


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8 December 2017

10 Secret Santa Gifts For Under £10 | Blogmas Day 8


Almost anyone with a job will know, the best thing about Christmas, is the Christmas parties. Getting sloshed with your colleagues is almost never worth the day-after sheepish looks across the office, or the panic flashbacks in your morning shower. And with Christmas parties, comes Secret Santa, what a classic. Luckily for all of us on the receiving end of Secret Santa gifts this year, stores seemed to have upped their game for presents under £10. So I had a little nose around to see what I could come up with to fill your secret santa gift needs. 




Don't try telling me that iridescent flask isn't one of the best things you've seen? Never mind the Bath PUG. Whether you have your Aunt Lesley in family Secret Santa or Tom from Accounts in your work one, it's always a chance to show your sense of humour and simultaneously not get something which will be thrown away the next day.

I'll be back tomorrow with another blogmas, make sure you're keeping up this month with the new blog posts every day!

Love, Alice x


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7 December 2017

My Thoughts and Feelings on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child | Blogmas Day 7


If you somehow missed it being plastered all over my social media (if  you’re not following me, why not!?!?!), this week I went up to London to watch Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. We bought tickets back in November 2016, and they’re notorious for being gold dust. Being the huge Harry Potter nerd that I am, I couldn’t have been more excited. The night before, I lay awake in anticipation for the next morning, like a child waking up on Christmas Day.

The Palace theatre itself is breathtaking. Huge marble steps take you up towards the balcony and dress circle, the stage and seats a monumental compared to many of the smaller theatres found in the West End. In itself, the theatre seems to be made for a show like Harry Potter, with an essence of magic within its walls for all those passing through its doors.

The play is split into two parts, part 1 and part 2. And whilst there is a lot of scepticism surrounding the exploitation of fans, having watched it, there is no way to contain what is in essence a spin off book, into one show. Not unless you wanted it to be 4 hours in itself, in which case you’d still be looking at prices of £100 and up. The break between the shows, which we watched in the same day, gave us time to talk about what we’d seen and how ABSOLUTELY MAGICAL IT IS because let me tell you, the stage effects are literally out of this world. 

Growing up, my mum worked in the theatre and her best friend worked in film, which meant I was exposed to a lot of behind the scenes things. I would watch performances when I was 9 and know how they made people disappear, or watch a show at 15 and roll my eyes at people gasping. The Cursed Child blew my mind. People were disappearing and reappearing, shooting up telephones and disappearing from their beds. Even if you hated Harry Potter, had no interest in the theatre and loathed every aspect of the play, I don’t know how you couldn’t walk away with huge respect for the cast and crew for pulling off a performance which, whilst you were in it, made you forget you were in the muggle world. 

Whilst it was fantastic in all of this, there were elements which I was let down by. The first mistake I made was not reading the book of the script, thinking it would spoil what I was waiting for. I went into the theatre completely blind to what was about to happen, but knowing JK Rowling cowrote the script and the plot, I figured I was in safe hands. However, The Cursed Child isn’t, as is widely advertised, the next chapter of Harry Potters life. It’s a new chapter of Albus Severus (Harrys middle child who we meet in the final chapter of the seventh book), which would have been absolutely fine with me, if it wasn’t for the fact it was advertised as being an extension of Harry. Whilst Harry, Ron and Hermione are all heavily featured, as are many of the original characters, it revolves around Albus Severus and Scorpius Malfoy. I can’t comment on the plot too much without giving away spoilers, but I felt like it went full circle and ended almost exactly as it started, which I’ve never been a huge fan of in any medium. This, though, also added to the lack of ‘the next chapter of Harry Potter’ because the majority performance takes place in a very short space of time rather than giving an insight into the new, 36 year old Harry and his life and love and troubles. Which is, admittedly, what I expected and hoped for. 

To enjoy the play in its entirety, you need to approach it from a completely isolated perspective. Completely independent from the film and the book, there is no overlap of music, (although of course there are references and quotes from the books). And it is vital to remember it is a play, another dimension to the Harry Potter world, rather than the sequel we all hoped and dreamed for. The final three Harry Potter books are extremely dark, yet whilst the tones of the plot are dark in themselves, the play is light and funny, and I would argue, is more directed at a younger audience. There’s a lot of laugh out loud moments and some dry humour, but again, as it’s a stage performance, characters have been exaggerated and I found the character of Ron was purely there for comedic purposes with slapstick jokes which to me, undervalued the personality of the character.

I would, without a shadow of a doubt, go and watch it again. I actually think, now I know what to expect, it’ll be better the next time around because there will be no disappointments. The actors carry the weight of the show incredibly, and put on outstanding performances in both halves, particularly Scorpius Malfoy (Samuel Blenkin) who, as I was walking out with the crowds from the theatre, was widely renowned as a favourite. A huge feat for a new character in the most popular book series of all times. 

If you have tickets, go in open minded and a little detached from the original Harry Potter world you know from the books or films. It’s a fantastic piece of theatre, but approaching it with the view of it being completely independent will, I think, make you enjoy the performances even more. It was visually spectacular and bought the little bit of magic most of us need after so long without the magical world. The commotion made around the play is not unwarranted, undoubtedly, the show will continue to sell out for months if not years to come. It seems no matter what form JK Rowling turns her hand to, there are millions of people so attached to this world, we will always come back, anxiously awaiting Hogwarts to welcome us home. 

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6 December 2017

Why Self-Care Is Not Found in Green Smoothies (and where to find it) | Blogmas Day 6


I've been having a long old think recently. The kind that makes you reflect on your life, quit your job and travel the world - oh, wait.

Self care is one of those things which carries a bit of a taboo. Think self-care, and you might picture a Kayla Itsines workout, abs of steel and a green smoothie in a perfectly manicured hand. Self care might sound like the kind of thing you find at a yoga session or at a retreat in Bali.

Some people do have the luxury of living these lives, but for most of us, it's not realistic. Self-care is about not comparing yourself to other people and how they care for themselves, and figuring out how to do you. Finding your own comfort zone, discovering what you can do, what you can't do, and what you'd love to be able to do.

Eating healthily and exercising regularly is going to make you feel better, of course it is. But actually finding the mindset to go to the gym? That is part of your self-care regime. Figuring out celery and kale itself isn't going to make you feel like a 10/10, is also part of your self-care regime. Self-care might be found losing yourself in a paint brush and canvas, it might be found taking your dog for a walk, or it might be found in writing. It almost definitely won't be found in Instagram stalking your favourite influencers and comparing their lives to yours.

It's so easy to look at someone and think they're happy. It's even easier for people to create that persona online, and publishing a post of your green smoothie doesn't mean everything's going great in life, it doesn't mean that person isn't having a bad day.

The truth is, you might just need a break. You might just need to sit down in front of a film with a huge tub of Ben and Jerry's. You might even need to admit you have to give up and leave whatever you're doing for a little while, because it's for the greater good, and those are the real things which lead to self-care.

There's only so long you can persuade yourself materialistic things are making life okay, before you have to have some time to reflect on what's going on within. Social media has made false impressions 100x harder, and it's so easy to look at the life of everyone around you through a lens of Facebook and forget they, like you, only post the highlights of their days, weeks and months.

So put down your green smoothie, and get yourself a cup of tea. Think, write, draw, paint, do whatever you can to discover what you really need to do to care for yourself, it might take days, it might take months, but it'll be an even slower process if you think you can find it in kale.

Love, Alice x

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5 December 2017

The Christmas Tag | Blogmas Day 5


1. What is your favourite Christmas Movie?
Definitely Home Alone! The soundtrack is so festive and one of my earliest memories is watching it for the first time at my Aunty's and being terrified of the part when the burglar has his head caught on fire! I also love Nativity!, but Home Alone has to be my all time favourite.

2. When do you open your presents?
We open all of our presents on Christmas morning, and always have. This year though my sister is working until the afternoon, so I'm sure we'll wait until she's back for us to open them all together!

3. Do you have a favourite Christmas memory?
One of my favourite days ever was a day in the December of my second year at university, when my housemates and I spent the day at the Harry Potter Studio Tours, and then came home to our other housemate who had made a full Christmas dinner for us (he couldn't make it to the Harry Potter tour)! And we then played articulate and drank wine until the early morning and it was honestly just the best day from start to finish.

4. Favourite festive food? 
To be honest, it's a year round food for me, but baked camembert has to be my favourite festive food - and stuffing when it comes to roast dinners!

5. What's the best Christmas gift you've received? 
Two years ago we got Elviswho was a Christmas present for all of us, so I would be a terrible person if I didn't mention him!!

6. Favourite Christmas scent? 
If I say the wintery smell of like cinnamon and winter spices etc does that make sense? Will people think I've lost my mind? 

7. Do you have Christmas Eve traditions? 
We used to go to the cinema and watch a festive film every Christmas Eve, but for the last few years either myself or my sister have been working. We usually have picky food and watch a festive film in front of the fire when everyone's back home.

8. What tops your Christmas tree?
A star! Although it broke last year... so it looks like we'll be investing in a new one!

9. Where do you spend Christmas?
It varies! Either at home or at a family members, we've only ever spent about 3 Christmases alone as a family of 4 though, and I have to say, I much prefer the bigger the better kind! Being surrounded by family is what counts the most though.

10. What's the best thing about Christmas for you?
The cheer! No matter where you go in the build up for Christmas, people are feeling festive, there's little things going on to prepare and I just feel like there's this unspoken consensus of like 'yes it's Christmas'. I LOVE it. 



Love, Alice x

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