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29 May 2015

Afternoon Tea with a View

Yesterday officially marked the end of myself and all my friends exams. My two lovely friends, Lizzie and Helly (Helena) have been waiting for weeks, watching whilst all of us finished our exams, anxiously awaiting the end of their own. And finally it has come. The end of our first year of University has arrived, we go on holiday next week and we are all on top of the world. So in high spirits, we decided to go on a trip to the local Windsor. Home of Windsor Castle, where the Queen often lives, and home to the best selection of high end shops outside of London. Afternoon tea was followed by shopping and we came home full of scones, champagne and sandwiches. Not a bad way to be eh. 



The scones were still warm, the champagne was A*, and the company and conversation was the sort only friends who know everything about each other can achieve.



Of course being in such a lovely place, there's always time for a couple of photos!




To finish it all off, we had a spot of Earl Grey (the best tea, in my opinion), to wash away the scones and sandwiches and jams of the afternoon! Windsor is the most beautiful town, if you're ever within the vicinity it is so worth the visit, and The Harte and Garter champagne afternoon tea is absolutely delightful! Afternoon tea is one of my favourite treats, it's so quintessentially British, and let's face it, everything is made better with real, bubbling champagne. 

Ciao for Now!
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26 May 2015

20 Lessons I Learnt Before 20

I'd be lying if I said it didn't scare me writing this post. I thought not wanting to turn older would come when I was 29, maybe 39, and the big 0 was next. It's not that I don't want to turn 20, I can't wait to hit my 20's and experience life on this whole new other side. But the twenties are scary. When you're 10 and you just hit double digits, you know that for the next 10 years you will spend 99% of them in education. You'll probably get your first kiss. You'll have your first drink, your first heart ache and your first job. Twenties are not about your firsts, but they are the years which define you more than any. Just as ten year old me is not the same as nineteen year old me, twenty year old me won't be the same as twenty nine year old me. Except this time, my whole life could be completely and utterly different, and that bloody terrifies me. 

Despite all of this scary nonsense, I try not to dwell on what could be and instead focus on what is happening and what I've learnt. So I thought I'd share some of these with you all.

1) Nothing is more embarrassing than when your parents tell you to not show off in front of your friends.

2) Siblings really do get closer as you get older.

3) There is always a group which attracts drama, try and stay out of it. Drama becomes far less appealing as you grow up, it just takes some longer than others to realise none of it matters. 

4) Never be afraid to smile at people on the street. It takes a while to realise but it's far better to be the person who smiled than the one who didn't smile back.

5) Never be embarrassed to admit you love reading. (Why was I always so mortified by this?)

6) Barry M eye liner will never look good.

7) It's okay to not do what people expect of you. Whether that's staying in instead of going out, choosing a different life path or deciding to go vegetarian. You know yourself far better than anyone.

8) Spend money on days out, travels, holidays and experiences. Not on unnecessary clothes you'll find months later in the back of your wardrobe.


9) Don't waste your time worrying over things you can't help. Panicking over the late bus that's meant to get you to school/work won't make it come any faster.

10) Boys do not get any easier. When you're 14 and you think things in your love life will perk up and be sorted by the time you're 18, do not count on it. They are confusing and annoying. 

11) In reference to number 10, women are not competition, they are your friends.

12) Don't under estimate your parents. It's so easy to forget they were your age once, try to remember they're human too.

13) Never say no to things you want to do, in fear of being judged. 

14) Health really is wealth, even though a lot of the time, health tastes like pond. (Green smoothie anyone?)

15) Distance yourself from toxic people. Sometimes you have to see them every day, but it doesn't mean they need to have an impact on your life. Don't let them, they don't deserve any part of you.

16) No matter how old you are, the school rule still stands. Mates before dates. Hoes before bros. However you want to phrase it, remember who was there first. If your significant other gives you grief about this, I can almost guarantee they are not worth it.


17) Try and get involved in a sport, the earlier the better. It saves weeks of pretending to enjoy the gym when you realise how important exercise actually is (it's not all lies).

18) Yes, drinking red wine might be deemed 'sexy' but it's not sexy when you're throwing up the next day because you don't like the stuff.

19) Every year is going to be the 'new you'. Stop setting impossible goals, work to be the person you want to be, but learn to embrace who you are right at that second too.

20) Sambuca is nobody's friend.

I hope you all had wonderful bank holidays! This post is actually of relevance as it's my 20th birthday in 2 weeks, and I will be tanning and lounging on a beach in Greece so thought I would put this up a bit before! Did any of you find a birthday a bit scary?

Ciao for Now!
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19 May 2015

A First Year Summary

[Super Important: My blog posts have not been posting to the Bloglovin platform, so if you follow me on there, it is unlikely you will have read my last 2 blog posts!]

I have just completed my first year of university. I feel like I blinked in Freshers week and woke up in May, with 9 months of studying under my belt. The thought of university in August filled me with terror, I was absolutely petrified of saying the wrong thing, not making friends, not enjoying my course or all of the above. To put it into perspective, I moved to Italy for 6 months in 2014, and I was more scared of moving 2 hours up the road to uni than to Parma. I know, I can't make any sense of it either.

I thought I'd do a look back post, potentially so that future, 3rd year me, can look back at this and reminisce. First year is all about plunging in head first, meeting as many people as you can, trying out every society going, attempting any and every sport and most essentially, playing harder than you work because it doesn't actually count towards your final degree in the UK (hooray)!






I pretty much won the flat lottery when it came to university. Everyone panics about being with bitchy girls, laddy guys who make a mess out of everything or the international students who you can't interact with. But as far as flats go, we did ridiculously well. As all of us took gap years, we all had an immediate connection and out of the 8 of us in the flat, 5 of us are living together next year too (so we must've liked each other a bit). 





Please note the swimming costumes in the above photo! I've always said, when I joined uni I wanted to throw myself into everything and anything. And I definitely think I did as best a job I could of that. I played Netball on the Olympic courts with the England Netball Team, I became the Marketing Director of Enactus Royal Holloway, I became a swimming surrogate member (essentially everyone knew me and I go to all the socials but I am a terrible swimmer so don't actually do the swimming part...). I even have a term time job at the late night coffee and bubble tea shop on campus. 








If I put up every photo of myself and my friends from the last year, we'd be here all day. In fact, probably for a solid 2 or 3 days. When you leave school, it's hard to imagine meeting people and making as strong, if not stronger, bonds with those you haven't known for years. I've made amazing friends through extra curricular activities, through my course, and just general drunken bonding with friends of friends. Part of the appeal of university is that you're never alone, there's always a friend who is nearby. I'm pretty much sure I found my soul mates in the girls I live with. Can you believe the last photo was taken on our very first day of meeting? I think we look like we've been friends for years.

I absolutely could write a bit about my course, but after finishing 12 hours of exams literally within an hour ago, I'm not sure I want to think about my course for another solid 3 months. None the less, every second of hard work has been utterly justified. I know I could have taken another route, I could have done more travelling or I could have gone straight into work. Some people don't understand it at all, but university really works for me and I am having the time of my life. 



Here's for the next 2 years at Hogwarts (ok, Royal Holloway)...
Ciao for Now!
x
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14 May 2015

Notting Hill and the Sunset Sons

When I was at my meal with Emily and Emma last weekend, I actually got a phone call from the lovely Charlotte who was extremely excited and needed calming down. It turns out she'd won tickets to the Sunset Sons intimate end of tour gig, to about 50 people in Notting Hill and was in need of a +1! If you haven't heard of them, I will leave all of their details in the bottom of this post, they're incredibly talented! After getting over the initial shock, obviously I agreed immediately and we decided to make the most of the day in London and head in early afternoon to have a wander before it all kicked off!




Of course I couldn't help but have a couple of photos in front of some of the gorgeous houses Notting Hill has to offer, a world away from the life and colours of Notting Hill Carnival, these are the houses of the esteemed borough of Kensington and Chelsea. There's nothing like a trip to this part of London to boost your motivation to work hard in life!




The sun was shining, the birds were singing and we were in great moods as we headed down Portobello Road, to explore all of the stalls, stopping along the way for a piece of fruit to keep us going until we inevitably went for dinner!







We took to wondering the streets, popping into places and walking through everything Notting Hill has to offer. I'm in London a lot, but I've never actually been here and I was blown away by how amazing it was. All of the quirky shops and restaurants with seating right on the pavement, I was in an absolute dream environment! Being the film fanatics we are, of course we couldn't go to Notting Hill without popping into a book shop along the way (sadly not the book shop!)

And just by chance, it was Alice day!





As anyone who knows me knows, books are my weakness, and with Charlotte being an English student, we were both in our absolute element. A purchase or two may have been made and I bought the most beautiful copy of Pride and Prejudice you've ever seen! 

Soon all of this browsing got too much, and with rumbling stomachs, we headed onwards in search of food.  After wandering the streets for a short while, we came to First Floor, a quirky pub turned restaurant turned cocktail bar on the corner of Portobello Road. The decor is dark oak and a 'no theme' sort with huge windows and beautiful hanging curtains everywhere beneath the high ceilings. The cocktails are strong, the food is great (and generous) and the service is top notch.










Cheers! 


This was a classic 'I'll order a salad to feel better about dessert' situation, only to find out the salad was a mountain of chicken and bacon on a bed of lettuce leaves! It was so delicious I was heart broken I couldn't finish it all. Charlotte went for the Spring Risotto and claims it was worth every bite! 

We decided against getting dessert inside, but as you know, I never skip dessert on a meal out. And so we headed for Hummingbird Bakery, a little world renowned bakery further up Portobello Road. They even do deliveries! We went right at the end of their working day, so people had come and gone, and there was very little left. Being a celiac, it can be hard for Charlotte to find bakeries which have a gluten free section, but the Hummingbird did not fail to impress and we left two very happy customers!








Instead of eating in, we decided we would partner our cupcakes with a classic pot of Earl Grey, and headed for a place to perch to kill some time, eat cake and drink tea. How quintessentially British! We eventually found the Kitchen and Pantry with some seats on the street, ideal to people watch. I am determined to come back another time and have some of their food or a raw juice. Everything looked amazing on the display!




By the time it was ready to go we were feeling a little sleepy from all the food and tea and desperately looking forward to having a cocktail or two to wake us up whilst enjoying the band! But it was not to be. After heading to the Rum Kitchen and buying our drinks, we then saw on Twitter the band had actually had to change venues due to sound problems and we had to go on a wild goose chase across London to find their other venue!

But we found it. (Thank you Google Maps)!


It was more like going to see your friends play at a pub than well established artists! We headed upstairs to this room and found it nearly empty except for the band who greeted us exceptionally warmly, especially considering Charlotte had spat cider everywhere in nervous laughter when she realised how intimate this intimate venue really was! 




Sweaty betty's! In hind sight we probably should have got a photo with them all before it started, but we were a bit giddy on life at how exceptionally small it was and how they all kept coming over to us for a chat! 

All in all, it was an amazing day. And the cherry on top of the deliciously quirky,  beautiful cake was the maccies chips and this beautiful purchase for the train ride home!


I hope you're all okay with these photo heavy, 'Day in the Life' posts! At the moment my brain can only concentrate on my degree as my exams are overwhelming! But as soon as they're over there will be some classic Alice's Antics lists and opinions up! Yesterday was the most fantastic day, and I am so thankful to the oh so gorgeous Charlotte for bringing me along as her +1! 

There's been some trouble with the Bloglovin platform lately, so provided this one works, if you haven't seen the one I posted last weekend please take a look, it involves sharks and penguins...

Ciao for Now!
x


Sunset Sons- New EP, Twitter, Facebook

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