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30 July 2014

A Little Holiday in France

After the extremely heavy subject of the last post, I thought today I would tell you all about my recent trip to the South of France and share a few pictures. On July 17th, I went to Grasse, a town just outside of Cannes with one of my best friends, Molly, her family and two of her brothers friends. After a 12:30am 'start' to get to the airport, a 6am flight and a taxi journey from a friendly Frenchman with a goatee and braces, we arrived at the villa. 




For the first few days we didn't really leave the villa apart from to go to the Supermarket. Instead we relaxed by the pool, attempted to improve our hand-eye coordination with tennis, read in the sun, swam, ate some amazing food and drunk one too many alcoholic beverages. This was completely perfect for us all as we just wanted to relax and enjoy the beautiful weather. But on the Sunday we did end up going off to Grasse, a local town famous for its perfumery and incredible views.




(Yup, Molly's 17 year old brother is grabbing at his crotch...)

The final days and nights were spent playing card games, dancing, smoking cigars and turning the nights to early mornings, I'm sure Molly's parents would say 'too late' if I'm completely honest. On our last day at the villa we went into Cannes and took a walk around the marina, oggling at multi-milionaires on their giant boats and secretly hoping we'd all be invited on board.





On the final night, due to Molly's aunt accidentally double booking our stay with somebody elses, we all packed up and headed to a hotel in a nearby village. When we were told the hotel was in a small town I didn't really know what to expect, but it was such a lovely hotel. Our bedroom had views for absolutely miles and we discovered some incredible viewing points, one which we visited late at night and words literally can't explain how beautiful the thousands of lights looked below, but one of the boys, Robert, managed to capture a photo which should at least give you an idea.








It was such a lovely week away and after not holidaying with 'adults' in 3 years, I actually quite enjoyed having people there who looked out for us and made sure we ate properly and drank enough water and all the bits you forget and neglect when you're away with friends or alone! I hope you've all had a lovely week so far! 

Ciao for Now! 
x
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27 July 2014

The Controversial Topic Series: Porn

Today's post is the start of my new monthly posts 'The Controversial Topic Series', I decided to create it as I've just found bloggers don't really use their blogs to discuss meaty subjects, instead we all focus on clothes and beauty and films and books. But really, who's in a better position to write about these things than a member of your own generation? I know full well how risky this is, writing about things people tread carefully around, but I thought it was time to unleash my own mind, hoping and praying you all have the sense to understand these are all my own views and opinions. How boring would the world be if we all thought the same thing? Always feel free to write your own opinion and views in the comments, but if I see any which are offensive to others, I will be deleting them. So here we go. Wish me luck.


How many of you read the title of this post and sniggered a little bit? Of all the controversies out there, pornography is probably not one of those subjects which comes to mind straight away... but being one of the most searched for word on the internet and having viral videos such as '2 Girls 1 Cup', porn is one of the most current topics of today. Most of my readers are 16 or older and I'm not naive in knowing, boy or girl, man or woman, you've probably come across some kind of adult video in your life. Whether it's from viral videos as mentioned, a celebrity sex tape or simply on your own accord, most of us have seen at least a snippet of a porn film. And why wouldn't we? With over 2 billion searches daily, it is the Internets biggest money maker and it is completely readily available as and when you want it.

The internet has created some incredible things, I am a fully fledged, self confessed internet human, but with the ability to online shop and Facebook stalk your ex's new girlfriend, also comes the availability of porn online. At the click of the button, simply by typing in the wrong word or misspelling something (horn? corn?) you can find millions and millions of results. And this is where the problem is beginning. Where once an adolescent boy might hide a playboy mag under his bed, now, with the use of ipads and android phones and laptops, you can google whatever you want to.



What I find most disturbing is the variety of videos available on sites like Pornhub. I'm a 19 year old girl, by no means a prude, but the fact there's the option to view 'teens' (I shudder to think about the kind of people who view those videos and what they are actually searching for) and 'gang bangs', concerns me. If you search deeper into the dark side of the internet there are ways to view beastiality, objectum sexuality, things I've never ever heard of but hey, because I have Google at my finger tips I now know a whole lot about both topics I definitely didn't want or need. If you dig deep enough, there's no doubt you'll come across underage pornography too. Once upon a time, if someone had a sexual inclination towards something a bit 'out of the ordinary' there would be no way to access it, unless they were to go out and actively do it themselves. Now though, with so much accessible, not only are people able to view whatever they like, they can also stimulate the inclination. Something which may have crossed a mind but then would've hopefully been pushed aside, can now be fueled any time someone sits down to a computer. In fact, it can be fueled anytime, anywhere. And what is that doing to the younger adolescents who, aged 13 or 14 go onto these sites and find videos of sexual violence, of men and women putting things into place and doing things to each other which, despite the noise coming from them, clearly can't be enjoyable. As you get older, 99% of people realise sex is nothing like porn, it's often awkward, most people's legs definitely don't bend like playdough and very few people have the ability or want to go at it for that long. But when you're younger, and impressionable, there are always going to be the 2 or 3 percent of people who will find it hard to differentiate fantasy from reality. Which, of course, creates problems for future sexual relations.

I love the internet, I think it's incredible and the way technology is moving absolutely blows my mind. But it's so easy to forget the negative sides. Sex has gone from intercourse between two people, to a lone person sat in the dark with a wifi connection and their right hand. I'm not saying ban porn, and I know the amount of money it makes (over £6000 per second) will mean no government would ever ban it anyway. But maybe people should start to be a bit aware of where else there is to go from here. The more diverse videos there are, the more people expect and want from the porn industry, and with non-consent and sexual aggression the most watched videos out there... where else is there to go from here?

Hopefully this has given your Sunday some food for thought. 
Wednesday will be back to normal for another month, Disney, ice cream and Leonardo Di Caprio here I come!
Ciao for now!
 x

*I will be writing about women's exploitation in the porn industry during my feminism post, but if I'd written about it in this one, we would have been here all day*
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23 July 2014

The Happiness Folder (Again)

A long long time ago, back when I was preaching to a solid 3 followers, I wrote a post which I can't help but feel was a bit underrated. I wrote it at a time when the main people reading my blog were Facebook friends and my mum, but every time somebody new is introduced to my happiness folder, they are always in a state of both wonder and amusement. So I thought I would privatise my old post and re-introduce the Happiness Folder for the second time. 


I am one of those people who generally veers between two extremes, either I'm extremely happy, or I'm extremely... not. Last year for the purpose of those days when I was feeling a bit crap, I created a folder on my bookmarks bar. Otherwise known as The Happiness Folder. The idea behind it is pretty simple, every time I see something which makes me smile or laugh or generally just lift my spirits, I bookmark the link and save it to this folder. Over the past year I've collected about 20 links, (although this is a culled number) and today I thought I'd share with you some of my favourites from the collection. So grab a cuppa and have a sit down, because if all goes to plan you'll be feeling all tingly and wonderful after this blog post. 



4) A Man Filmed Heaven

5) Man Interviews His Guinea-Pig 

6) Slow Loris With an Umbrella

7) Rainy Mood (for when you need to calm down)

8) The Wedding Speech -if you haven't seen this, you need to.


9) For When You Run Out of Human Faith

10) The Best Father/Son Duet Ever in the World

I think everyone should have a Happiness Folder, but if you don't want to go through it all, feel free to have a look at these 10 links. They're my absolute favourites and never fail to cheer me up! Who doesn't want to see a baby elephant in water?

I hope you're all having a lovely week! Today is my final full day in France, it's all very sad. I definitely need to watch these.

Ciao for Now!
x

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20 July 2014

The Week in Pinterest

For those of you who don't know, I am a Pinterest addict. A self confessed one. Pinterest is what I would call Tumblr for angsty adults as opposed to angsty teens, and involves flicking through various pictures and pinning them to your according self made 'boards'. I have a grand total of 10 boards which is pretty low compared to a lot of people, but I spend hours on the site, it's perfect for procrastination. So I thought I would share some of my favourite pictures of the week. 

Places I Want To Go

Clothes I Want To Buy (but would never suit me ever)

Food I Want to Eat

Things I Want To Make

The Wedding I'd Love to (One Day) Have

I could go on forever, decor boards, summer boards, health boards... but this is a little insight into my Pinterest life. The pictures are just all so pretty! If you don't have it then I definitely recommend having a peak, you'll be addicted in no time. Sorry for the informal short-ish posts over the last week. I'm in Cannes at the moment but as soon as I'm back I'm going to crack on with the first 'Controversial Topic' post. Which will have a bit more depth to it all! 

Ciao for Now!
x

(MY PINTEREST)
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16 July 2014

The Art of Appreciation

I will be the first to admit, I've been very lucky in life. My family's definitely had some extreme ups and downs, but at the end of the day we've stuck by each other and I know no matter what happens, I have a support system in the shape of my family. This is more than a lot of people have, and even though they can annoy me no end, I'm extremely lucky these people care 'too' much.

Particularly over the last couple of years, me and my sister have had a lot of support from our parents, be it paying for various things or helping us with future plans. It's not always been a smooth ride, but it hasn't gone unnoticed by me or Sarah and we both know how much are parents have given up and would give up to ensure the best possible future for the two of us. So on Tuesday, 48 hours before I was off to France and 24 hours before Sarah was off to Greece, we decided to pop into town and pick up some bits as a little surprise for our Mum. Baring in mind both of us are about to go on holiday, we couldn't splash out on a meal for the family or anything half as elaborate as both my parents deserve, but a nice bottle of Prosecco, a bunch of flowers and a bag from a new shop Mum's had her eye on went a long way and she definitely appreciated the gesture.



The point is, you don't need to necessarily do something wild or have any grand gesture to show the people around you how you feel. But every so often it is nice to take a moment and let them know you appreciate what they're doing, not just on the allocated days of the year. So maybe take your time to thank and show some lovin' to the guys and gals who rule your life. Parents, friends, partners, it's sometimes just worth surprising them. We sat outside in the slightly-chilly British evening sun and cracked open the bottle (and then some)!


Ciao for Now!
x
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14 July 2014

The Controversial Topic Series

Do you ever have those weeks where literally you are just so busy constantly, you wonder how on earth you have time to breathe? Last week was like that for me. I've been so busy catching up with people and visiting family, knowing I'm off again this Thursday, I just didn't have time to write my weekend post. But here it is, albeit a day late. Better late than never though! And as I sat down to my laptop (for the first time in 3 days might I add, just to give you an idea of exactly how busy my life is- no laptop time!), I've realised I actually have 3 posts to write and draft ready to be published whilst I'm away. So it looks like I will be having some laptop time in the upcoming days after all, I couldn't abandon you all for too long, could I! 

The title of this post may come across as a bit confusing. But it's just an idea I wanted to run by my lovely minions. There are so many bloggers out there and we all write about lifestyle or fashion or beauty or travelling, all of which is fantastic. But I think it's pretty rare for blogs with a following to discuss topics with much 'depth' to them. Don't get me wrong, my passion and love for Disney movies is never going to vanish, but there are so many things in the world which rustle my jimmies, and I'd quite like to share them with you and strike up a bit of debate, if this all makes sense? I'm not particularly black or white about most areas of life, I think there's always a grey which people neglect to notice and in all honesty, I created this little space for me to write down my thoughts and life feelings, so I should probably (definitely) just go with my gut on this one. 


The idea is about once a month, maybe twice, to write a post about things lifestyle bloggers don't usually talk about. It could be anything from abortion to anti-Islam, even to sexuality (although I don't think sexuality should be controversial at all). You can send me ideas through comments and emails throughout the series, and I will compile a list of things to write about and discuss. I'm just a bit bored of seeing 40 year old men discuss the same opinion in different ways, so let's unleash my 19 year old brain onto the world wide web instead.

I hope you've all had a wonderful weekend! You will see me next on Wednesday as per usual! 
Ciao for Now! 
x
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9 July 2014

Life Update: England, Cannes and Future Plans

Now I'm officially home, I should probably stop going on about it. I've written a couple of blog posts about my au pairing abroad experience and coming home, but I haven't really written much about it in a narrative content. So I thought I'd fill you in, then we are done with it forever, hooray! Thursday was my final night with my host family, so they took me out for dinner and we went to the most amazing sea food restaurant, with a 7 course menu. I wish I'd taken photo's, but pictures probably wouldn't have done the courses justice. They were all miniature sizes and oh my, they were delicious! My host dad also ordered a bottle of champagne and it made me feel a bit emotional, but somehow throughout the whole 'leaving Italy' process, I managed not to cry at all. Which, if you know me, is a small miracle. On the Friday after saying goodbye to friends and picking Edoardo up from school for the final time, I said my goodbyes (and was presented with a Burberry make up bag as a farewell gift- completely amazing) to my host mum and Edoardo, and then Lorenzo drove me to the hotel I was staying at pre-flight. Once settled in my room I made the quick decision to make the most of my final night in Italy. I had a shower, shaved, exfoliated, moisturised, face masked and then, for the first time ever, I ordered room service. I was such an excitable little bean when it arrived, the man must have thought I was a nutter! I then settled down with my tiramisu and watched Mulan. Before going to bed and waking up at 4am ready to catch my flight to England. And here I am. Returned, well fed and missing gelato. 

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Although I'm looking forward to spending the majority of the summer in England, I am off in almost a week to Cannes with one of my best friends and her family. We're staying in a villa near Grasse and I am so excited I can hardly wait! I know you're probably sat reading this thinking 'Oh Alice, you jetsetter you', but I haven't actually been on a real vacation, relaxing, holiday for about 3 years. Anyone who has been travelling will tell you it's a very different experience to holiday-ing, they're both fantastic, but both very very different. And whilst I was in Italy, despite what you may have thought whilst reading my blog, I was working so the chance to explore, let alone sunbathe was very limited with only one day off a week. Which means my French week will definitely be made the most of! I'll be taking my camera with me so you can all catch up on my little holiday once I'm home. 

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Finally, I thought I'd give you some insight as to my plans for the summer (and maybe even after). Some of you may know I'm off to university in September, just outside of London. I've put my deposit down for my accommodation and have even been given my room and am in the process of setting up my student account, so it's all very real and all very adult-y and confusing. Who knew the day would come when I'd be a regular in the bank? Unfortunately before my next adventure of university, I've got two months of unemployed-ness to 'look forward to'. But I know I'll be extremely bored so right now I'm job hunting. Job hunting is one of those things you know you need to do, and there is a part of you that wants to do it, but at the back of your mind there are so many reasons you don't want a job, you just keep putting off the hunt for longer and longer. I don't want to spend my summer pieing off my mum and dad, in fact, they wouldn't let me, but going back to actual work fills me with dread. Are there any jobs out there which require people to stare at their laptops all day and not move a muscle? I'm fully qualified. 

I hope you've all had wonderful weekends!
Ciao for now! 
x
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6 July 2014

There's No Place Like Home


I've always known I wouldn't stay in one place. I've never been a home body, I was never the child who clung to their mum in the playground or begged them not to leave for work. When people ask my parents if they're prepared for me to fly the nest, they say they've had years to prepare for it. They tell the story of how when I was 2, my 'uncle' (mum's childhood best friends husband) was visiting, and I gathered my toys together and asked him to take me back to Luton to see his twin daughters, my own childhood best friends. As a two year old my parents waved us off and waited, expecting Sean to turn the car round any minute with a screaming toddler crying for her mummy. But I sat in the car, and sung nursery rhymes the whole way down the motorway. Staying put just wasn't for me.

It's only now I'm a bit older, I really appreciate home. Not just home as in the house I live, the town I grew up in or the people I love, but England itself. I love Pimms, I love how we barbeque in the rain, I love the Wimbledon hype and the pebble beaches and I really love our cake (nobody does cake like the British). I arrived back in England after 6 months abroad at 8am and despite being extremely sad to leave Edoardo behind, I really am happy to have returned. I've always been so focused on leaving my little Dorset town, I never thought about what it would feel like to come back. After living alone I am definitely enjoying the simplicity's of a dish washer, not doing my own washing (although I'm sure I'll be roped into it again after the novelty of having me back has worn off), and not needing to cook. It was only a matter of time before I burnt my old apartment building down. 

I'm sure at some point the rosy life of the returned prodigal child will take a turn, but for the moment everything is looking lovely. And for the first time in a long old time, I'm excited for a classic British summer and just staying put, something I never thought 'd hear myself say. Italy, it's been a pleasure, but oh me oh my, it's truly lovely to be home. Here are some pictures of my first Sunday back home.











Ciao for Now!
x
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2 July 2014

How To Live Abroad (and Survive)

As a nineteen year old, there aren't many things in life I could honestly say I'm 'proud' of. I've never really been a bad student but I've never been outstanding either, I've never saved a life or won an award. But, as a girl who didn't know how to use a washing machine or iron a shirt, as somebody who only knew the word 'Ciao' in January and for a person who has such bad money managing skills her mum had to hide her tips to save up. I can finally say I am proud of something. And that, is plucking up the courage as an eighteen year old small town girl, to up and move to a brand new country, with zero friends, zero knowledge of the language, and almost-zero life skills. Well done me. But this Italian adventure is very nearly at a close, and so I've decided, to give you my top life tips on how to live abroad.


1) Learn 'yes' and 'no' in the country's language. You can pretty much get through any awkward conversation just by nodding or shaking depending on the tone of the other person. (The only time this failed massively for me was in my second week when I wanted to buy a little slice of I'm-moved-in-and-unpacked-cake and ended up buying the whole cake. I ended up taking it to my host family and awkwardly explaining why I had a whole chocolate tart in my bag).

2) If somebody finds out you speak English, 99% of the time people will try to practice their English on you. Don't let them. 

3) Spend at least 5 seconds longer when crossing the road, the little 'Stop Look Go' hedgehogs can't help us Brit's when we're not on our own turf. 

4) Realise and understand, public transport is crap in every country. The sooner you stop giving it the benefit of the doubt, the better.

5) When it's the World Cup, don't speak in any language other than the country you're in. Or just avoid talking at all.

6) There are some weird customs and weird traditions around, but any time you start to judge them, remember English people gather together, build a life size man and throw him onto a bonfire once a year.

7) The Happy Birthday song is the same tune everywhere, don't you worry.

8) If you're living alone, there will come a time when the bathroom needs to be cleaned. Do it sooner rather than later. You'll hate your past self if you leave it too long.

9) The same goes for cleaning your apartment.

10) And doing the washing up.

11) If you're in Italy, you get free food when you buy drinks. Never question this. Never ever. Embrace it. 


12) Figure out how people greet each other where you are to avoid any awkward scenario's, there have been one too many 'hand shake, no, kiss, no, hug, no, WHAT IS HAPPENING' moments.

13) Socialise. Get. Outside. Meet. People. 

14) Don't be afraid of getting something wrong or sounding stupid, how were you supposed to know the pronunciation of blahblah word. Get over it, people really just don't care, at least you're trying.

15) Learn the emergency phone numbers. Something I never bothered to do here. But have now realised how stupid that was.

16) There will be food and drink which doesn't exist in the supermarkets, Pimms? Nope. Doritio's? Nope. Marmite? Definitely not. But then you'll discover delights such as Twonky bars and Nutella/Ice tea all-in-one's and all will be forgiven.

17) A lot of European countries 'free-pour', aka 3 cocktails in Oceana = 1 cocktail in a European Bar. BEWARE. You will end up on your bathroom floor. Probably more than once. 

18) Home sickness is a thing, but then you realise you are abroad. And it's probably hot. Or you're ski-ing. (The only reason I can think of for not moving abroad to a hot country). And you're having way more fun than everyone back home.

19) Don't limit yourself to friends who can only speak your language, meeting local people your age genuinely helps you to learn the language. Even though your brain will start to hurt sometimes.

20) Whatever the problem, ice cream will fix it.

Ok so I admit, the final one isn't actually technically a life hack for living abroad. I followed this rule even in England, but nobody does ice cream like Italian's. I hope you've enjoyed this post. I'm sorry I didn't put one out over the weekend, I had food poisoning, and ended up spending my last weekend in Italy, in bed. Feeling very sorry for myself. This weekend I will try to get one out but I arrive home on Saturday, so may be a bit busy! If not, I will grace you all with my presence again next Wednesday as per! I hope your weekends were far better than mine!

Ciao for Now! 
x
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