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24 November 2019

The Groundbreaking Value of Female Friendships




NB: Despite the title saying 'female' this blog post is for anyone who identifies as a woman. It is written to be inclusive of any minority and it is for all of us. Thank you for your strength and unity.

The other night, I said potentially the most meaningful words I've ever said to anyone - honestly, like a film - to my best friend. We were talking about our upcoming Christmas together and I just suddenly felt overwhelmed by how lucky I was to have her in my life.

I spent a lot of time as a teenager, trying to find my Ace Gang. (Applause and wine to all of you who will understand this reference).

I morphed myself to fit into different groups, I social climbed, equating popularity to friendships, and so when I was stood up by a group of 'girlfriends' on prom night, I decided I was done.

I'd grown up being consciously aware and constantly reminded of the 'bromance'. The bro-code, bros before hoes, whatever you want to call it male to male friendship was romanticised.

Meanwhile, female friendships were painted to be bitchy and territorial. And partially due to my own experience, I grew up thinking fights, sly comments and arguing over guys were part and parcel of being friends with women.

But in reality, female friendships are a world away from what they've been painted to be for generations.

The 'friendships' I had forged with the group of girls in my early teens were awful because I had very little in common with them. They weren't my people and I wasn't one of theirs, so the Ace Gang I longed for were never going to accept me because frankly, I was a fake.

However, once I faced the reality that life isn't like chick flicks, I instead put more time and effort into the individual girls who had continuously, effortlessly enriched my life without me even realising it. I was finally realising that friendships didn't need to be competitive or bitchy. That when you find your people or person, you want to encourage and help each other, not drag them down.

And maybe it was pure luck, or maybe it was due to this new understanding, but either way, in pretty much my first week of university, I found my Ace Gang. A group of girls who came together with no obligations, no hierarchy to climb and nobody to impress. Life with them was a blur of wine, cheese and waiting up for dates to end. And I once again had an epiphany of how fucking brilliant female friendships can - and should - be.

This enrichment is one of the most important lessons I've learnt. Being around strong women makes you a strong woman. They have taught me so much, and I've become incredibly dependent on the girls I call my closest friends.

Th gender-bias of society which has ironically shone a spotlight for years on 'bromances', actually means women can connect emotionally to each other on a much larger, much deeper scale. From sexual harassment to office-based sexism, all of us have a story and all of us can relate. It creates a unity like no other, and one which I am both deeply saddened by in its necessity, but equally feel strengthened by the 'sisterhood'.

It may seem warped to call female friendships a 'trend', but there's definitely been a push of support for one another, carried largely by body positivity and the #metoo movement. Dolly Alderton's 'Everything I Know About Love' cited the truest love of all, friendship, in a way which seems to have encapsulated the spotlight on our support system.

On the surface, female friendship is laughter, joy and uniting in period pain and aunts who ask you when you're having children. At its core, it is a navigation through the uncertainty and dangers of being a woman.

It was Queen Carrie Bradshaw, who said: "Maybe our girlfriends are our soulmates and guys are just people to have fun with."

Frankly, I've been aware since I met her that my soulmate is the 5'6 blonde I was introduced to on my first day in Australia, and I could not be more delighted with the result.

And so I wish you all far more than tall, dark strangers, I wish you more than whirlwind, write-home romances, and I even wish you more than incredible sex lives.

I wish you the unfaltering, everlasting love found in the rawest female friendships. Because they are the ones who will stay with you for the rest of your life.

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16 November 2019

Does Travel Stop You Finding 'The One'?



The title of this blog post was actually a question posed to me by one of my best friends.

She had just booked a one-way flight to Australia, and asked me, who was working and living in France at the time, 'do you think you're single because you move around so much?'.

We're both very similar. In our early(ish) twenties. Never had a long-term 'adult' relationship. Both fucking terrified of that very fact.

The threat of losing a relationship due to travel is something I learnt very early on and something I always have to keep in mind.

My relationship with the first (and only, lol) guy I've brought home to my parents, broke off because I chose to go to Italy.

At the start of this year, I decided to talk myself out of pursuing the person I liked, because of my plans to go to France and New Zealand.

And then, lo and behold, miss I-won't-date-an-American, ended up, shock, dating an American. We also had to face reality, in fear of getting too attached for our own good, with a deadline of me boarding a plane in 3 weeks.

The good news is, I learnt that not all American boys will stand you up in bars.

The bad news is, I still have to leave both sorts behind.

What I've come to realise, is that whilst I'm living this lifestyle, it's my reality.

Yet, despite all of these instances, when my friend asked me whether travel stops you finding 'the one' three months ago, I answered no.

And if you ask me again,  I'll still say no.

Because here's what I've decided/learnt/heard Emma Watson say on an Ellen segment and held dear to my heart for the last 3 years.

If you're doing what you want to do, the person who is right for you will fall into that path.

Which makes complete and utter sense.

1) I know plenty of single women and men out there who work in big cities and have 'normal' lives. Stability doesn't equate to finding someone. They don't go hand in hand.

2) What would be the point in putting my own life on hold in the hopes you find someone, only to find somebody that lives a different way to you?

3) You're going to be attracted to the same qualities that you value in yourself. A lawyer who's brought a house and has a dog? He's not going to be for me. The Australian who's working in a coffee shop in Europe and lives with housemates to save money for travel? Absolutely.

It might not be who I pictured ending up with at 15, but isn't that the case for most people?

I may feel like I've missed out on opportunities to pursue things with certain people, but if I'm completely honest, the fact that neither of us have pursued it, signifies to me that they aren't 'the one' right now.

From wandering the canals in Milan, to climbing cliffs over Bondi beach, to driving along to Stevie Wonder on a highway in Georgia, I've had some pretty write-home experiences.

But more importantly, I've learnt so much about myself through who I've dated, and I've met some great people (and, tbh, assholes). But you take the bad with the good, and I have no regrets with my decisions to date whilst travelling because really, you never know who you might meet.

I met one of my favourite people in the world in a hostel in Cairns. A 6ft-something, 25-year-old Lothario, whose good looks and charisma had turned the heads of a lot of my friends.

Having some highly-sought-after best guy friends at home, I stayed strong to this. Instead, I became one of his best friends, and thought someone had stolen his phone when, on his first week in Bali, he messaged me saying he'd met a girl and had never felt anything so strongly before.

After 8 days travelling together, they booked flights to meet up again, and she flew back home to Europe.

That was in May, they're still together.

When you're travelling (speaking for myself) you wear the same clothes countless times, you don't really wear makeup, you LIVE in shorts and flipflops/trainers, and you are the most exposed version of yourself.

And maybe it's because of this raw, bare-all you, that there are countless couples I've met who hooked up in a hostel one night and have now been together for months, even years.

So yes, it is something that I think about when meeting someone new. But I will never change my lifestyle just to meet 'the one', because the chances are, my 'one' is also far away from his home country, living out of a backpack too.

And if he's not, then we'll just have to make that work.

Love, Alice x
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10 November 2019

American Life: Drive-thru ATMs, Amtrak and American Boys


It’s been 7 weeks since I landed in Charleston, and let’s face it, I haven’t really written all that much about it.

The truth is, I want to write wild stories about my time in America. The ups the downs, the oh-my-GODs. But in reality, life here is simply, good.

After a summer spent either drunk or hungover, my body needed and deserved a well-earned break. I mean, I’m not saying I turn down a Wednesday wine, but that Wednesday wine doesn’t result in a 4am bedtime currently.

I live about 25 minutes outside of downtown Charleston, in the most beautiful house with a jetty overlooking water. Our nearest neighbours are a solid 5-minute walk down the road, and you can see the milky way at night, because there’s such little light pollution where we are. 

Frankly, it’s idyllic.

With the exception of my cousin’s wife and a very close friend who I met in Italy, I had never really ‘got on’ with American humour, or Americans in general. The few who I had met, seemed rude and abrupt. I know, I know, it’s awful to tarnish everyone with the same brush. But it was just my initial perception of Americans.

The good news is, I’ve now done a complete reversal, and have no doubt I’ll be forgetting that in England, people aren’t always so cheery, the supermarket assistant doesn’t actually want to help you, and coffee refills are absolutely not free.

I have realised that a lot of cliches about life in America are true. Portions are huge, and you do need a car to get basically anywhere, because frankly, nobody deserves to get the Amtrak, which is the train they use to cross states.

I found myself half crying, half laughing, when I went to catch the train back to Charleston from Savannah, and was told I couldn’t go onto the platform. The train would pull up, the passengers would only then be allowed onto the platform, at which point the guard would get off the train, and call out your name. Passengers are then directed to their coach, where another guard ticks off your name and tells you your seat. Seriously.

It’s easier to get to Paris on the Eurostar from London, than go from Georgia to South Carolina.

Other highlights of America include Chipotle, peanut butter M&Ms, and drive-thru ATMs, which continue to baffle me every single time the family/friend driving pulls up to one.

I mean, I understand it. It actually makes sense, you're much safer retrieving your cash from a car than you are on the street.

But it's just so foreign to me.

Being in America for Halloween was another experience, with enormous bags of chocolate costing $15-20, and houses being dressed up better than the owners themselves. I’m fairly convinced it’s only a matter of time before spooky season becomes a public holiday in the US.

However.

The most exciting aspect for me, coming to America, was to fulfill my childhood dream of living an all-American life, complete with an all-American boy.

I spent the majority of my childhood and teenage years dreaming of going to an American high school and dating an American footballer because, duh, they always get the girl in the films.

So, naturally, it was only a matter of time before I downloaded a dating app to try and find a man who had a dashing smile and an accent like Travis, from Hannah Montana. My ultimate Disney crush growing up.

My first impression of dating in America, came around when a guy I’d been talking to for a week asked if I wanted to go for drinks.

It was a Sunday afternoon, the prime time on anybody’s dating schedule, let’s be honest. And, with nothing else to do, I gladly accepted the offer.

We arranged a time, but held off on a place, because there was a football match on. So, I went into downtown a couple of hours earlier, so I could explore myself, and waited for him to let me know when he had arrived.

And I waited.

And waited.

 And… waited.

Half an hour after we were supposed to be meeting, I receive a text saying “I’m so sorry, I got really drunk last night.”

And so naturally, I bought myself a big ice cream (because everything here is big), and deleted his number.

Not quite the movie scene I pictured of dating an American man, and the first time I’ve ever been stood up.

It turns out, despite the accents, life isn't actually a film 24/7 in America - who'd have thought? My American dream came crashing straight back down, as with many things in my life.

But after avoiding Trump supporters, anyone who owns a gun and Taco Bell at all costs, I'm feeling very much at home here.

Although, I will never understand the whole 'biscuits and gravy' thing.

Love, Alice x
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7 November 2019

I Went to Universal Orlando Alone, and the World Didn't Implode


There's a huge stigma in Western society with doing things by yourself.

From going to the cinema - arguably, the least social activity you could possibly do - to eating out alone, there always seems to be at least one couple side-eyeing you.

Unsurprisingly, given that I moved to Italy alone when I was 18, I have absolutely never agreed with this ridiculous taboo.

Whilst having another person to share it with maybe more enjoyable, you absolutely don't need a companion to do what you want to do.

Which is the mindset I took when my family told me they were going to Legoland in Florida, and I realised Legoland was less than an hour from Universal Orlando.

Aka, Harry Potter World.

Aka, my absolute nerdy dream.

I won't pretend I wasn't nervous. I absolutely did feel like the odd one out when telling ride operators that it was just me.

But, the benefit of the single ride lines completely outweighed any embarrassment I possessed.

To start with, the day I was scheduled to go to Universal, was over one 24 hour window.

And so naturally, I woke up that morning to a tropical storm coming in from the Gulf, featuring torrential rain and palm trees doubled over.

But with one opportunity, a small hurricane was absolutely not going to dampen my spirits.

Obviously, I wondered what the hell I was thinking, as we made our way through wind and rain to drop me off.

But, like a Disney miracle, within 5 minutes of us driving under the Universal sign, the rain cleared, and the sun made its first, unscheduled appearance.



My first stop was obviously the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which absolutely blew my mind. Thanks to the rain, not many people had braved the weather and I walked straight onto my first two rides.

I wondered through the streets of Hogsmede, stopping in Ollivander's to watch a little boy in a full cloak have his wand chosen.

I went into Honeydukes, where the smell of sweets and chocolate hits you as soon as the door opens. From chocolate frogs to peppermint toads, there was something to tickle everyone's fancy.

Next, was The Three Broomsticks, where I stopped to grab a butterbeer, before heading out into the street to get on the Hogwarts Express, which takes you from Islands of Adventure (Hogsmede) to Universal Studios (Diagon Alley).



And oh boy, was Diagon Alley a TREAT.




I could've spent all day just wondering around the street, every detail was so accurate, it was incredible.

But alas, there were rides to be ridden.

The one thing I would say about Universal Studios, is that most of the rides are 3D/4D effects. So you'll be on a kind-of-rollercoaster, wearing glasses and watching whatever is in front of you.

Personally, I found they weren't for me, I love the thrill of a rollercoaster, but there's only one thrilling outdoor rollercoaster in each park of IOA and Universal. After five or six consecutive 4D experiences, I had to take a break because I was starting to feel motion sick.

So, I took a break to walk back to Islands of Adventure and finish my day there.





All in all, I'd say it is daunting going to a theme park by yourself - especially one which is generally meant to be visited with friends and/or family.

But nobody will give you a strange look, nobody, frankly, cares at all about what you're doing because they're all having such good times themselves.

I got a couple of surprised 'Oh, one?!'s when I told ride operators that it was just me riding, but soon enough you honestly stop caring yourself.

I am so glad I decided to take the opportunity. Normalising being by yourself is something everyone needs to be working towards. We're our own best friend, our own enemies, we're all we have when it all comes down to it.

So go and see that film, take that flight, visit the park, and don't worry about being the only person. The chances are, you'll find you'll like your own company just fine.

Love, Alice x


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25 October 2019

Living in 5 Countries in 5 Years


If you don't follow me on Instagram, you may have no idea that I am currently living and working in the good ol' U S of A!

It's actually my first time here, which I feel gets some pretty surprised responses. I know a lot of friends have grown up going on holiday to Florida, or taken weekend trips to New York - given that the big apple is only a 6-hour flight from London.

Despite my delayed visit to the US, it's not through a lack of trying. A couple of years ago, I had a place at George Washington University in DC, but broke my foot just after confirming my place, and couldn't work to save up the money needed for my time out here.

You might've seen my post about it. At the time I was absolutely distraught. Studying in America had been a dream since I was around 10, before I realised how hard and expensive it was, so having to pull the plug due to breaking my foot (en route to a date, did I mention?!!) was a bloody tough choice.

HOWEVER, it all worked out. I instead landed a summer job in France, which followed me for 3 more summers, and I lived and graduated with some of my favourite people in the world.

On top of that, I landed in America on September 26th, ready to pursue a new kind of American adventure. One without studying, and where instead of the bustle of DC, I'm actually living in the most beautiful house just outside of Charleston, two doors up to where they filmed The Notebook.

Sadly, Ryan Gosling has not been spotted rowing dreamily along the water our house is on. If he was, you can bet I would've thrown myself in and half-died trying to make it across to him.

But in-between my Ryan Gosling fantasies, I realised the other day, that America is now the fifth country I've lived in since 2014.

Including the UK.

In the last year alone, I've lived in 4 different countries. Having been in Australia this time last year, then back to the UK, then out to France to work, and now being here.

And in 2014, a time when, frankly, this blog was in its prime, being dedicated to stories of hunting down boyfriends and eating my weight in gelato, I was living in Italy.

It's pretty rare for me to pat myself on the back and commend myself for doing life. Because, yknow, it's just bumbling along the same way others do in a 9-5. But I'm actually pretty impressed with myself.

Every time I've jumped on a plane to move to a new country, whether with a backpack or a suitcase, I've been alone, most of the time without having any friends at my destination.

I always brush off the sentiment of being brave, I don't actually think it is brave. I just think, if you want something that badly, you'll find a way to do it. I've landed in countries with £160 to my name. I've lived off pasta and rice for a month to avoid going home.

You make things work, you shuffle things around, and to be honest, you make a couple of decisions you'll probably regret.

But I'd never regret anything as much as not actually taking the risk in the first place.

So. A quick recap of my international antics is definitely in order! Please prepare yourself for some questionable photos.

Let's smash out the UK first. The UK is home. It's where I'm a registered citizen, it's my passport, and thanks to its fortunate position as a state, it is also the reason I can live and work in so many countries.

You'll hear me moan about being at home. But truthfully, I love parts of the UK. I love London, I love the countryside, and I bloody love Yorkshire puddings. It's just not where I see myself in my twenties.


When I was 18, I had my eyes on Italy, and where better to move, than the home of parma ham and parmesan cheese... Parma! I was an au pair, and lived in my own apartment in the centre of the city, something which, in hindsight, I was not at all prepared for.

When you go to university at 18, you're surrounded by your peers and you're all figuring it out as you go along. When I went to Italy, I was completely alone in a country where I had no support system initially and had no one to help me figure things out with.

Luckily, it wasn't all doom and gloom. I ended up with a solid group of friends, and learnt a LOT in that time. I also spent most weekends in nearby Milan, Verona and Bologna and went down to Tuscany, which to this day is one of the most beautiful places I've ever visited.


My first trip abroad, was to France, when I was 8 years old. We drove to Portsmouth and spent the night in a hotel, before waking up in the early early morning to catch the ferry across the channel. France holds some of my favourite childhood memories, and to this day is my favourite country. So it was no surprise when at 20, I applied for a job there.

I spent two university summer holidays, and one subsequent, working in the Vendée region of France - in total I've spent 10 months there. Summers spent biking around campsites, eating a LOT of cheese and croissants, and getting in at 4am on the regular.


Despite the fact I have this desire to travel, I'd never actually left Europe until I was 22. So I did that by going as far away as physically possible. I spent 24 hours across two flights to Sydney, Australia.

My year in Australia was undoubtedly, the best year of my life. I met my soul mate - who happens to be in blonde, female, 5'6, Harry Potter-loving, best-friend-form rather than the 6ft dark handsome stranger I thought it would be -, I worked in the best job I will probably ever have, and I also became incredibly secure in myself.

Australia was the place I realised I could be liked for who I am, with no obligations from others. Friendships were raw and honest and nobody 'has' to be your friend when you live in hostels. It was also the place I spent the most time in and out of doctor surgeries, thanks to two bouts of tonsillitis, one fractured cheekbone and a broken ankle. But my GOD, was it worth it.


And now I'm here. I've been here for one month, and I'm here until December. I still haven't fully made up my mind on America yet.

There's a lot I'm getting used to, and even more that I'm confused about, (grits... really???????), but I DO love how much they throw themselves into spooky season. And that Pumpkin Spice is literally everywhere.

I'm living in Charleston, South Carolina, which happens to be one of the most beautiful cities in the country - both from what I've heard, and seen.

I'm going to do a proper American-life-update soon, if you can try and hold on for that. Currently, the only photo to reflect my time here happens to be the recent weekend I spent in Orlando.


So. Five countries in five years. It hasn't all been glamorous, and I've definitely spent more time feeling homesick than people probably assume.

I think it's so easy to see people who travel and believe that they never crave home, but it's just simply not true. I've cried down the phone to my mum in every one of these countries about something or other, always at that time wishing she wasn't a flight away.

However, every one of these experiences have been absolutely priceless. I had absolutely no idea my life would take this turn, but I am SO glad it has.

Love, Alice x





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14 October 2019

A New Chapter


The first blog I ever read, was by a girl named Hannah @ Secret Life of a Poor Student.

Hannah was a law student at Essex whose blog I came across in 2012 through a Twitter retweet. She wrote about dating, studying, and that one time she ordered a small Dominos pizza after dinner, just because she couldn't be bothered to walk to the shop and get Ben and Jerry's and there was a spending limit.

I became addicted to reading her trials and tribulations, and although she closed down her blog in 2014, Hannah remains the inspiration for starting Alice's Antics.

So, in 2013, I sat down and started writing. The theme was shit and the photos were all taken on a dodgy iPhone 5, but I fell in love with it. I wrote about almost setting my apartment on fire in Italy, I cringed about the day I tripped up the stairs on a bus and the doors closed on me, I discussed learning Italian in Italy.

And in that first year of blogging, I wrote 139 blog posts - almost 3 a week.

Blog posts take time to write. They take thought, and patience, but they should also come naturally. And for some reason, I haven't been able to write naturally on here for a very long time - in fact, until my last blog post.

I think some of that comes from growing up and watching the internet expand. When I first started Alice's Antics, 'influencers' didn't exist. Whereas now, you know for a fact the internet can come back to haunt you.

On top of this, is how exposed it makes you. I withdrew a LOT from my blog in 2016, after going on two consecutive dates where both guys had found Alice's Antics and/or my Youtube channel.

My Youtube is linked to my blog is linked to my Instagram and my Instagram is linked to my dating apps. These guys weren't Sherlock Holmes, but I didn't like the advantage they had over me.

In the last few years, I feel like the internet has been an elastic band in what it deems acceptable and not acceptable. I stopped posting my relatable rambles because I felt like nobody cared, and started posting more aesthetic, photo-y blogs because, for a long time, the internet has been about the projection of you.

And now, we're in full circle, and it's mental health and body positivity and self-love. And actually, I'm not 100% sure I'm ready to talk about all of that just yet either.

Putting myself on a pedestal or what I should be writing about, has stopped me from the natural course of writing that I love.

The long-winded posts about dating and men and how I'm suddenly 24 and like - will I be single FOREVER?? Stay tuned.

I want my blogs to be about being on the move, and running away from jobs and DEBT because guess what??? My coffee shop job didn't pay for my flight to Australia in 2018, my overdraft did!

I want to discuss friends, and drifting apart, and how important it is to stay in touch with the good ones.

And most of all, I want to talk about T R A V E L. It's the biggest part of my life. Over the last 10 months, I've really, truly come to terms with the fact that I will be sacrificing the life I always thought I'd have in my twenties, for a completely different one.

I grew up thinking my twenties would be spent in London, writing for a magazine (interchangeably Elle and Glamour during my teens), with a boyfriend and the same best friends from school + a couple from university.

But the reality is, I'm trying to figure out how to save money whilst living and working on minimum wage whilst also booking flights. I've spent more time in the last 2.5 years living out of a suitcase than at home, and over the summer one of my best friends asked me if I think travel has stopped me from meeting 'the one'.

(Stay tuned for that little gem to be discussed in the very near future).

This is what I want to write about. This is what I will be writing about. And this is the new chapter of Alice's Antics.

There will be swearing and laugh-out-louds, and reality checks and I'm going to be completely honest about all of the ups and downs of my life. Because frankly, I'm only 24 and could write a book already.

Let's go.

Love, Alice x

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25 September 2019

The Reason I Was Quiet On Here *TW*


A couple of months ago, I was walking to meet a friend in the local town, when a man in a car pulled up alongside me, and started trying to talk to me.

The road was extremely desolate and surrounded by forest, but I knew it well. And as a confident, self-aware woman, I smiled politely at the man and told him no, I did not want a lift, and started concentrating on texting my friend until I heard him drive off.

A couple of cars passed by, but when I looked up from my phone, there was just me and a car pulled up a little further up the road which I hadn't noticed before.

Immediately, I wondered if it could possibly be the man who had pulled up next to me, but I didn't want to let my imagination run away with me, when I couldn't even remember what his car had looked like.

So I crossed over to the other side of the road, and as I approached, saw the man from before, staring at me from his wing-mirror.

Immediately, I turned around and started to head back towards my campsite. Feeling relieved when I hear the car pull out and away, down the road. However, the man went around the roundabout at the end of the road, and followed me, who was running, all the way into the campsite, until I passed the barriers.

I ran back to my colleagues and friends, who were pre-drinking for a night out, and who all happened to be male, and broke down in the kitchen, trying to explain what happened.

Despite being a hot mess, it was my friend's final night in France, so I agreed to go on a night out with everyone, knowing I'd be walking into the town as a group of seven.

On that night out, two friendly British guys approached me, and I introduced them to our group. It wasn't until a little later, that I realised one of the men's intentions.

His hands were all over me. Up my skirt, on my chest, around my waist. And I was on a night out with a group who were all enjoying themselves too much to realise what was happening to me.

I felt invisible, relentlessly telling this man to get off me. Eventually, he grabbed my inner thigh so hard, I knew I would wake up with bruises, and I ran off to get help from two of my friends stood outside. Still, the man followed me, and didn't leave me alone until one of them told him I was his girlfriend.

Writing all of this out, it feels obvious that these two events would trigger some sort of reaction. But it's taken me this long to figure out the root cause.

I wholeheartedly believe it was categorically, not the fault of any of the guys I was with on the night out, but being in such a vulnerable position, yet surrounded by people, made me feel as if I wasn't a human being.

Being surrounded by male friends - some of the loveliest, most kind-hearted I know - and still feeling as if I had no self-worth, highlighted the fact they didn't recognise I needed help, because they've never had to think about that for themselves, the way a girl would.

The next morning, I woke up with a bruise in the shape of four fingertips on my thigh. And seeing it every time I changed, every time I used the toilet, made me feel as if my body wasn't my own.

It didn't belong to me anymore, and I didn't want it to.

For the first time in two years, I had panic attacks before work, and despite being surrounded by a lot of great people, I just wanted to give up.

I combatted this with trying to prove myself. Trying too hard, becoming louder, being more insistent, and I would go to bed both over-analysing myself, and every single person around me, yet also, somehow, not actually giving a shit.

I felt like the person I portrayed on the outside, was the most extreme 'other' to how I felt on the inside.

And for the first time in nearly 10 years, I stopped writing.

Silence on Alice's Antics may have become a bit of a norm, what with the lack of wifi and hectic travelling about over the last couple of years.  But for the first time in nearly ten years, I stopped writing altogether.

No diary entries, no short stories, no chapters, no poems. Nothing.

Writing has always been my outlet. Someone once told me and my sister to start diaries after our mum was diagnosed with breast cancer, and I've never looked back. It's always been my go-to form of meditation.

But I didn't feel like I could write, because I didn't know who was writing. I didn't know how she felt, or who she was. I felt like I had no worth.

My return to Alice's Antics wasn't just a return to this blog, it was recognition of recovering from one of the darkest places I've been in a very long time.

It's my way of reminding myself of who I am, of what I've achieved and that I'm a human being, not just a vessel, not just a body, not just a piece of meat to be chased and touched and cat-called.

I really ummed and ahhed about posting this, and sharing my experience. Knowing a lot of people would read it and a lot of people wouldn't understand.

But I decided it was a necessity. For me, for all of the women reading this, and for all of the men.

I may just be coming back to myself, but one of the things I'm most sure about right now, is that I am so, SO done with being silent.

Love, Alice x


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5 September 2019

September Goal and WTF I'm Doing With 2019



I may not have to buy new stationery, and the days of leaving my school shoes by the front door are long gone, BUT I just can't shake the feeling that September is a fresh start.

Summer happens to be my favourite time of year, but even I can admit, there's something to be said for slipping on boots and jumpers and not being sweaty 24/7.

In line with this, I've discovered a 'new school year' goal which at the start of this summer, wouldn't have existed, but now is ruling my life.

This is a strange one, and I might talk about the context of it at some point, but after spending the last few years steadily building up my self-confidence to a point in which I'm truly happy with who I am, I had a stumbling block this summer.

It was a stumbling block which was much deeper than how I felt in a bikini, and instead shredded the confidence and security I had on the inside, engulfing me in a way which made my whole life, my whole existence seem pointless.

Looking back over the last two months, I hardly recognise who I was and how I've been feeling. Panic attacks and anxiety have ruled my private life, whilst to everyone else I've been louder (and probably more annoying) than ever before, an attempt to overcompensate this reduction in my sense of self.

As I mentioned,  I'll be writing about this whole experience in a later post. Not just the 'whys', but also bring to attention how, as a very self-aware person who tends to be on top of mental health discussions, I've managed to let it engulf me.

So in short, I'm extremely keen to focus on myself and re-discover the confident, happy girl (woman????) which was knocked out of me at the end of June.

But what the bloody hell is happening post-September?

Well, if you missed it, I'm currently in France, where I've been for the last 4 months. I'm coming to the very end of a summer season, which has involved a lot of croissants and Kronenbourg, and a weeks time, it will all be over.

Never one to stick around in the UK, much to the despair of my friends and family, I'm spending 10 days at home before heading to America until December.

This is a fairly recent development and I'll be basing myself with family in Charleston SC, but using the opportunity to explore other parts of the country.

After America, it's back to chasing the sun for me, as I'm off to spend Christmas and New Year in Sydney with my favourite people.

I'm fairly confident in the knowledge that SC will have much better wifi than this little campsite in France, so I'm hoping to be posting a lot more content over the next few months.

I feel as if I've been holding back from what I want to be writing about, but I've discovered now more than ever is the time to make your voice heard.

Thank you for bearing with me over this summer break!

Love, Alice x

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21 June 2019

Nobody Warned Me About 23


For some reason, turning 23 felt like a milestone way beyond that of 21.

I really felt like I was in my twenties. Or as I grew up hearing it be referred to, my prime.

This was the age I longed to be when I was an awkward 15-year-old.

To me, I just knew being in your twenties would be nothing but brunch-ing, a fashionable career (almost always pictured to be magazine journalism) and a loving 6ft2 boyfriend who is a doctor/lawyer/teacher [enter preferred profession here].

Yes, I watched a lot of romcoms.

But, in some ways, it really is what I imagined.

I spend FAR too much money on brunching, and I’ve even dated the 6ft-something professionals who are now nothing but a nickname in my phone notes.

However, what I wasn’t prepared for a year ago, was for 23 to be the age people start asking, “why?”.

Instead of supporting you, encouraging you to go off and travel and see and do things to expand your horizons, you’re forced into a box of questions on repeat.

 “But what about when you come home?” 
 "But how will that look on your CV?” 
 “But why not just take long holidays to see the world!” 

It feels as if the excuse of ‘it’s fine, you’re young', floated away at midnight on my 23rd birthday, and instead, the weight of expectation walked through the door.

I can’t blame anyone, friends or family, for asking these questions, because they’re genuinely concerned.

They’re questions which have been built in a world where we were brought up to believe the our twenties was our prime - but only if you fit the ‘great job, city life, lots of cocktail parties, sexy-tall-boyfriend’ box.

What wasn’t posed to us, was the reality that came alongside those brunches and dates and high-flying jobs.

Fighting tooth and nail for low-pay positions, sitting for hours on the underground with no air-con, choosing between the quality of an apartment, the cost of rent, and the length of your commute.

And, well, I’m here to say it’s basically a huge overestimation of real life.

Which is why I decided two weeks ago, when I turned 24, that I would be spending this year living the life I want to be living, rather than the one I think I should be living.

(According to romcoms/relatives/you name it).

I recently went for a 24th birthday dinner with some old school friends, and was sat at one end of a table with two mums, two home-owners, and another friend who drank copious amounts of wine with me.

We’re all the same age, we’re all from the same place, but our goals, our lives, they’re no longer the same. Our primes will be completely different.

We’ll peak at different ages and thank goodness for that, because wouldn’t life be so boring if we were all trundling along at the same pace?

Just a couple of months ago, I wrote a blog post on why I was staying put for a year in England.

I was doing what I thought I had to do to be successful.

I wanted to be living my ‘best’ life as it had always been posed to me. I was offered well-paid jobs, I traveled up to London every weekend. I went on ridiculous dates and brunched practically every Sunday.

I was on the brink of settling down and yet every week, every month, I looked forward and thought “Okay, this is the month I’ll feel fulfilled, this is the month I’ll stop wanting to get away.

And that feeling never came, because it was a feeling I saw in others and thought I’d find in myself.

But those people aren’t me.

So, where am I writing this blog post from?

The west coast of France.

To be frank about it, I just realised that my best life is whatever I decide I want it to be.

Success isn’t measured by the job you have or how much your life compares to a Ryan Gosling film. It's defined by how happy you are.

And if you’re not currently peak happiness, what are you doing in that moment to achieve said happiness.

Need to move back home for a bit to save up or get stable? That isn’t failure.

Not working in a 9-5 office job? Absolutely not failure.

Realised you want to quit the career you thought you really wanted? You’re not failing.

Thought you wanted to travel but decided two weeks in it wasn't for you? Still. Not. Failure.

Maybe your twenties will be your prime, or maybe it won't be. But don’t waste time trying fit the ‘best life’ other people built for you.

My friend messaged me when I landed and said, “I’m genuinely happy you’ve done this. It’s where you are best.”

And he was right, it’s just taken me a long old time to realise that.

Love, Alice x
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