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26 January 2015

Girls, Girls, Girls

Firstly, welcome to the new and improved Alice's Antics! It's a bit more chic, there's a drop down menu and I probably spent about 8 hours in front of my computer with a constant stream of coffee keeping me going. I really hope you like it!


This weekend, week, month, I'm putting in extra effort to spend more time with my girl friends. As part of my boy detox, it goes without saying more attention has been thrown upon staying in with my favourite ladies or putting on our dancing shoes and going out for us, not for the male attention. It's pretty hard if you're single not to go out and constantly have a wondering eye, but as of lately I'm finding it so much more refreshing to go out and not really care about dancing stupidly or indulging in a late night pizza feast when we get back. 

After a week of doing just this, on Saturday it was my gorgeous friend Lucy's 20th birthday and we had the ultimate girls day. London is infamous for its clubs and bars and we booked in at half twelve (the day starts young) to the world famous Ice Bar. A bar made entirely of ice.



After receiving our drinks (all in ice glasses!) the photo opportunities commenced. Armed with cameras and fuelled on excitement and a little bit of cocktail giddiness, we posed around all the ice, ice tables, ice sculptures, ice seats...




When our time was up, we had the big debate of 'food or shopping' first. But our growling stomachs won us over and we headed over to Soho, where The Banana Tree caught our eye. The birthday girl had been there before and was very eager to return, which was reason enough for us to all follow suit, we were definitely not disappointed!




I went for the Gaeng Keo Wan, essentially a prawn Thai green curry, and it was incredible! Unfortunately my eyes were too big for my stomach, but I definitely gave it a good go. None of us could face dessert, but the lovely waiters bought Lucy out a special birthday cake with a candle in it, so we all got to sing happy birthday to her! 

We left feeling very full, but of course, never too full for shopping! We wondered the streets of Soho before the pull of H&M, Topshop and French Connection dragged us into their lairs! 





Eventually the day had to come to an end, with all of us feeling exhausted. Bargains in hand (I can't wait to show you my French Connection coat), we clambered onto the tube and ended in Waterloo ready for our train home... and of course for some cake! 


I hope you like the new layout and you've all had wonderful weeks and weekends! 

Ciao for Now! 
x
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16 January 2015

Quinoa, Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash Burgers

There's a running joke in my family, I cannot cook. My parents would never ask me to step into the kitchen, if I ever offer to make anything they have to issue health hazard issues. I've never been a natural cook and I've never found any enjoyment in cooking whatsoever. However, with the new year and with starting university, I've realised I can't live my life offering washing up duties in exchange for being cooked for. So, in a bid to encourage my healthy life, I've recently taken more of an interest in cooking and this is a delicious, meal full of all the goodness in life! And if I can make it, you definitely can. 

To make 2 Large 'Burgers' You Need:
1 cube of vegetable stock
1 clove of Garlic
1/4 white onion
1 large sweet potato
1/2 butternut squash
1 cup of quinoa
1 tablespoon tahini
Coconut oil to fry
Coriander or herbs of your choice
Salt and pepper for seasoning


Firstly, bring 3 cups of water to boil on the hob and pour in the quinoa, after 5 minutes, add the vegetable stock for flavour before leaving to cook for another 15 minutes. Meanwhile, peel and chop your butternut squash and sweet potato and put into the oven on 200 degrees. Cook for 20 minutes, or until they soften up.

Whilst the quinoa and butternut squash/sweet potato are cooking, finely dice the onion and garlic and fry in the coconut oil until it turns translucent. Put to the side and wait for the rest to cook. Once everything is cooked, drain the quinoa and place on a plate to cool along with the sweet potato and butternut squash. Make sure you don't turn off the oven or you'll have to reheat it when you cook the burgers.


You should have less quinoa in yours, I was doing this all through trial and error, so over compensated a bit! Once all are cool enough, mash the sweet potato and butternut squash together in a large mixing bowl until there are no lumps. Add the onion and garlic, the coriander, the salt and pepper and the tahini to the mix and continue to mould together (I used my hands at this point)! Before finally putting in the quinoa to bind the ingredients.


Once everything is combined and the ingredients is fully mixed, separate the mixture into two balls and place onto the baking tray. Using your hand press down and create a thick burger shape before putting it in the oven on 180 degrees, for about 20 minutes. Half way through, flip over so it's cooked on both sides! It may need a little more time, the end result should be a slightly deeper orange colour and the texture will harden so they don't fall apart.

before
Once they're out leave to cool for a couple of minutes whilst you prepare a mixed leaf or rocket salad and finally your meal is complete! I had one for dinner last night and one for lunch today both with salads. Today I decided to put a bit of feta and olives into my salad and it tasted amazing! I think next time depending on healthy I'm feeling I will add some feta to the burgers for taste. 
 
This is the perfect meal if you're wanting to liven up a vegetarian or vegan diet, but as I mentioned it's completely up to interpretation! I hope you enjoyed my first ever recipe, if you'd told me a year ago I'd be writing a recipe post I would have laughed right at you! 



Have a lovely weekend!

Ciao for Now!
x
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13 January 2015

Being a Woman.

I am not a bra burning, non-shaving, statement feminist. I'm a feminist because I'm a woman, and I'm a woman who knows that men and women are not treated equally despite the laws and despite what plenty of men seem to think. There are some feminist arguments which I disagree with, at least to an extent. I think men and women are different, genetically and biologically we are obviously different, our metabolisms work in different ways and our bodies function differently, we are child baring and men are not, we have breasts and men do not. Because of these differences, men and women classically have different strengths, not all of the time. Not all of the time. But the problems begin, when these different strengths are weighed up against each other. The problems begin, when they are categorised into weaker and stronger, and from there, the problems don't stop. 

Assumption. Assumption is one of the root causes of inequality in the work place, assuming somebody cannot do something because of their gender. Assuming a woman will want to have children soon and thus hiring her would be a waste of money. Assuming just because somebody has breasts and a vagina it means they somehow, couldn't possibly have the same authority as a man in the work place. Surely she must have slept with somebody to get to where she is! Assuming, just because a man works in the arts he must be gay. Assuming, if a woman sleeps with multiple men she is a 'slut'. And then, the biggest assumption of all. Assuming, because of these laws on equality and voting, sexism doesn't exist.

There is an older man in my town who myself and my sister call the 'wolf man', he rides on his bike typically at the time we used to finish school and wolf whistles at every girl he passes. He'd wolf whistle at me, he'd wolf whistle at my friends, he'd wolf whistle at my sister. And I can remember this happening since I was in Year 9, since I was 13. In fact, since finishing school I'd forgotten he was still around until last week on my way to work, when 6 years later I was wolf whistled at by him once again.

I know and believe, both genders display their attraction to somebody. I am no stranger to following male models on instagram because they're attractive, I work in a busy restaurant and I've heard multiple tables of girls talk about a couple of the chefs. Physical attraction is inevitable from both genders, however, the difference is, it often feels with many men there is no limit on this physical attraction. All you need to do is be a woman, and that is enough. The female body is so sexualised by males, by the internet, by the porn industry, the lines of sexualisation are blurred, and thus every woman becomes a sexual object. And that thought process is disturbing. What's even more disturbing is how myself, my sister and 99.9% of my female friends were all taught growing up 'don't walk home alone at night', 'if you hear somebody walking behind you, cross the road', 'if you're ever worried, put your house keys between your fingers as a means of protection', 'never put your open drink on a bar', all things I thought everyone learnt. Until I recently talked to some of my male friends and found out they'd never had these conversations with their parents.

Source
Because I'm a woman, I'm scared to get onto a tube carriage which contains only men, I'd never pull over for a stranger to help them in the rain if I was alone in my car, I wouldn't go jogging early morning, meet a tinder date without telling somebody exactly where I am, get into a taxi alone without calling and saying to someone what the taxi looks like and where I am, I even took my hair down once because I was told by a friend a ponytail is a means to grab somebody from behind. These are all things I do (or don't do) in my every day life, without even thinking twice, I just know. 

I know, not every man is a threat. I've had boyfriends and been on dates and some of my best and closest friends are men. But every single one of us ladies has had an encounter of sexual harassment. I know wolf whistling or cat calling is strictly speaking 'harmless', but it is objectifying a woman in exactly the same way as taking un-consented photographs for sexual pleasure or even more serious sexual offences. 

I will never grasp or understand how men do not realise it is their grandmothers, mothers, daughters, sisters, their friends and their girlfriends and their wives and fiances. We know not every man is out their to cause trouble, we know not every man is out there to cause us harm. But we have to adapt and live our lives as if they are, and that in my opinion, is the most important thing we need to stop. Not just because it's not fair on women, it's not fair for us to be talked out by friends of going for a morning jog. But also because it's not fair on the majority of men who are harmless and don't have any ulterior motives. The problem is, not every man is a threat, but every woman has felt threatened. We know it's not all men, the point is, it should be no men.

Ciao for Now
x
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10 January 2015

Life Updates: New Year, New Term, New Mistakes

I've been so busy over the last couple of weeks with family, friends and writing letters to all of you lot (every single person who emailed me will receive a letter, I have a lot to write)! That I thought today I would just write a chilled out post and fill you in on my life and lack of love and all the wobbly bits in between. It's currently my last night before University starts tomorrow and I'm sat in my mum's best friends house with the log fire burning and the telly on, feeling unbelievably full from all the food which has been thrown as us since arriving. The perfect time to relax, open up my macbook and fill you all in on my life so far.


On New Years day, in my slightly worse for wear state I agreed with my lovely friend Charlotte to partake in dry January. Dry January is essentially not drinking alcohol for the whole month, something as a university student, does not come naturally to me. However I pledged my word and tried my hardest to stick it out, only to fail at lunch on January 2nd. You win some you lose some I suppose and although I did attempt to get back on the wagon, post work cocktails bought another fall in my dry January mountain climb. This probably, definitely, gives you an idea of the kind of person I am really. In the words of my mother, 'January is the month you need to drink through to survive'. 


Along side my newfound motto of drinking through January,  I will be back at university by the time this is published! Back to the real life Hogwarts to continue my studies and eventually get myself a degree. I'm actually a bit terrified of this term, with a house secured for the next year and a lot of payments to get through, I think there will be more time spent having wild nights in and less trips up to London. With uni also comes the work side of life, something I've managed to avoid for the last month of the holidays off. Another term, another life of late nights and eight hour stints in the library- all part of the university experience though. 

To commemorate leaving for university, my family and I went out for the first family meal out in over 18 months! Because of me being away, my sister being at school and my parents being at work and all of our conflicting lives, we haven't gone out to eat since I left for travelling in 2013! It was so lovely just to sit and chat and bond as a family before going off to Into the Woods. Unfortunately, Into the Woods was not any of our cups of tea... despite being a big fan of musicals and being really excited for the hype around the film, we were left completely and utterly disappointed. It didn't stop us leaving in high spirits though after a lovely evening as a family!

I hope you've all had lovely holidays and if you're going back to school or university, there return isn't too hard! I can't wait for those of you who emailed me to receive your letters! Next weeks post is going to be a big-un so I thought some light hearted chatting was exactly what the Doctor ordered.

Ciao for Now!
x
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7 January 2015

The Little Letter Idea

I love writing. Have you guessed by now? Be it the hundreds of short stories I write and keep to myself, the essays I have to hand in for university, the confines of my diary or the public life of Alice's Antics, I love writing. Because of this, I've had a little idea in the back of my mind for the last few weeks, and it was all thrown into the hands of fate when for Christmas, I received an Alice in Wonderland writing set from my mother. 

I have no doubt I get my writing habit from my mum, who has nailed it into me since a very young age the importance of thank you notes and birthday cards. When I was in Italy I received postcards and letters from home every month at least, even if I wasn't in constant contact with my family. And despite my love of the internet and all things technological, with the instant 24 hour contact we've gained, we've also lost so much in the way of hard copies. Real photographs, love letters, even books are printed less now due to the kindle. And so I've decided I want to put these cards to good use. I want to use them on you. 


I did this just under a year ago and had a phenomenal response considering our little kingdom. This time, however, I'm leaving it up to you whether you'd like to reply or not, I will leave my address at the bottom of each card as a means just in case! Obviously, if the response is on a scale to last year I will have to pick a certain amount of people. But if you don't make the 'letter list' I will let you know in email immediately. I also would love it if any replies were sent in cards also, I am doing a secret project for the New Year and I'd love it if they were as graphic as possible! There's no limit to where in the world you are, I will send you a card. The more varied the better.  It's really important you are comfortable with sending me an address to send the letters to. Please do not write them on this post as a comment, send me an email at: 

alicesantics@outlook.com


I cannot wait to hear from you all and get cracking on these! Not only is it something I'm so excited to start, it is just in time for the next term of university, which makes it the most perfect procrastination idea ever! 

Ciao for Now! 
x
7

2 January 2015

Farewell 2014, Welcome 2015

Good morning 2015! Where has the time gone? As is custom for every single blogger ever, I couldn't welcome in the new year without a review/resolution post. And so this is the two turned into one! What an absolute delight. Because it is a new year, I mainly want to focus on the resolutions and goals topic- I find no matter how many I read, I love hearing everyones aims for the new year even though I know a lot will be broken within weeks, it always inspires me. 

So, 2014. A brief look back includes moving to Italy for 6 months to work and live as an Au Pair, starting University, meeting new people and trying new things, still steadily losing pounds (in weight and in actual money, student life is very poor) and most importantly finding a bit of myself. Gap years are stereotypically the time teenagers branch out and grow up a bit more, and however much I cringe and dread to say it, I definitely realised a lot more about myself. And more importantly, I became comfortable with who I am, something which is definitely reflected in my 2015 resolutions! I welcomed the new year in with some of my best friends, surrounded by hundreds of people all in fancy dress at our local seaside town. Everyone gathers together in the square to count in the new year, and after a very late night/early morning, I can only feel a whole swarm of love towards my welcoming to 2015, I have little tiny feeling it'll be a good'un.


I like to think of 2015 as starting on the 2nd January rather than the first. Stupid, I know, but 99.9% of people are just too non-human to function on new years day and so nothing really kicks in until the 2nd. From then, your 'new year, new me' can begin (because let's face it, that's everyones resolution every year)! I am a big advocate of resolutions, I know they're a bit cheesy and most of us break them before even getting out of January, but setting goals and wiping the slate clean is the best bit about a new year. I'm not great at keeping new years resolutions, I know that, I've already broken dry January and we're only on the second day, but here are a few resolutions to get the ball rolling, hopefully this year they'll last!

Put more time and effort into my blog, this is a big one for me. I love blogging and I love writing and I am so happy with the pace at with Alice's Antics is growing, but I know the lifestyle blogs I have to contend with spend hours on posts and taking beautiful photographs to make their blogs beautiful. So one of my top aims of the year is to give Alice's Antics some TLC, give it a make over and spend more time on posts.

Spend time on myself, out of all my new years resolutions, this is the one I am most determined to keep. It may sound slightly selfish, but if you've been following my blogs recently I've put a lot of emphasis on happiness and self worth. I'm in absolutely no denial that towards the end of 2014 I became a bit of a serial dater, a lot of pointless outings and a lot of free drinks later and I'm in no better position to what I was. Having a 'man detox' for the first couple of months of the year is something I'm really keen to do, just because I want to establish who I am and be happy in myself before I take on anyone else.

Only buy coffee once a week, this is the new years resolution which will almost definitely be broken within days. I spend far too much money on coffee, in fact I'm pretty sure I keep Costa and Starbucks going. This year my resolution is to only buy coffee once a week. I'm too much of a coffee addict to limit myself to only drinking coffee on that day, I'm not sure how I'd survive, but I have coffee syrups (thanks to my lovely aunty as a christmas present) and a portable pug mug so I really have no excuse.

Eat better, exercise more, what a classic eh!? Every year I set myself this resolution, along with the rest of the world. For the last two years I've actually managed to stick to it a little bit, I've managed to lose a couple of stone and that is through diet change and exercise without a doubt. But this time, I want to be stricter with myself. Being at university does mean my funds are limited when it comes to food, but it also means my diet is completely and utterly under my control. If I don't buy unhealthy things, there won't be any to eat. We'll see how it goes, but I'm extremely determined and so far things have gone fairly well.

Monitor my spending, this won't be a shock to anyone in my real life. I am awful at saving money, quite simply appalling. But with deposits and bills and travelling to pay for, spending minimal money is top of the agenda. This hasn't gotten off to the greatest start, after going out for lunch today and buying myself 3 new pairs of underwear, but onwards and upwards for the rest of the year! At least I will be feeling sassy in my new undies whilst not spending money!

I'm so excited for what 2015 has in hold for me. Amongst essays, exams and the end of my year as a fresher, I have travelling, holiday-ing and moving into my new house with friends to look forward to. I want to thank everyone and anyone who has taken the time to read Alice's Antics in 2014. This time last year I was writing to a 3 people strong following, and now there's almost 500 of us with bloglovin' and blogger combined. So thank you thank you thank you, I hope all of you have the most wonderful of year!

Ciao for Now!
x
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