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8 June 2018

10 Lessons I've Learnt As A 22-Year-Old

If you're reading this on the day it's published, June 8th 2018, it is my 23rd birthday.

Soooo technically, I've written this a couple of days in advance, because I have far too much cake to eat and tequila to consume to be writing a blog post on my actual birthday.

But my twenty-second year, has been a good one.

A very good one, although it has definitely had the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.

To say my life has changed somewhat in the past 12 months, is the biggest understatement of the century.

This time last year, I was one week into my first "adult" job, working for a PR firm in London.

In the months that followed, I graduated from university, lost one of my close friends, quit boring London job and moved to Australia.

So, you know, not much.

I'm now working in Sydney - a city I have fallen in love with - and am writing and video-editing to save up money and eventually continue my travels.

Basically, life is hell'a sweet right now.

The last year has taught me more about myself than any other year. I've grown in confidence, happiness and realised just how short life is.

Which makes for a perfect reason, for me to write a blog post on those life lessons.

Even the ones I definitely wish I hadn't learnt the hard way.

  1. Most of the time, it's not worth forcing friendships. If you know Jessica from work doesn't like you, don't try and live to please her, don't step on eggshells.

    Be confident in who you are, they are the one with the problem.

  2. You can do anything, but not everything. This is one of my new life-mantras.

    Anything is possible, but not if you try and do it all at once. Good things take time, focus on your goal, work hard and you'll reap the benefits.

  3. You're never too old to get head lice. Picture this. It's 2017, you're living in a house on the outskirts of London with your best girl friends, you're all in your 20's and going out for brunch is a regular agenda.

    You are Carrie Bradshaw.

    Except, one housemate drops the bombshell she's had an itchy head. Three days later, the WHOLE house has itchy heads.

    Cue a full week in house-quarantine, getting very close and personal with each other's hair, and a week later, we are finally free.

  4. Insta themes are like, really f***ing hard to achieve. I went through a very autumn-goals theme last October. It lasted a week, then I gave up.

  5. There really isn't anyone more loving than your parents. If you'd told me on my 22nd birthday that I'd spend 4 months living back home with my parents this year, I'd have called you mad.

    Half of the reason I went so quickly into a job from university, was the fact I never wanted to move back to Dorset.

    As it turns out, I moved back out of choice.

    And for all of the arguments and silly fights which were basically all about whether I could actually save enough money to move to Australia (fair enough), I feel like I've never valued my mum and dad more than I do right now.

  6. Skincare first, makeup second. 22 was the age I threw out my face wipes and invested in a face wash.

     I now cleanse, wash and moisturise my face properly

    And oh me, oh my, has my skin been thankful for it.

  7. Go with your gut. If I'm honest, this isn't a lesson I've "learnt" in the last year, but it is one which has been tested to the absolute maximum.

    This time last year, I was turning 22 in my new, fancy-schmancy workplace, where "Prosecco Friday" was a thing and team days out consisted of getting drunk a Bounce, a London ping-pong club.

    I was apartment hunting with two friends in Clapham and had spent the last month throwing off a lot of "oh my goodness congratulations"'s and "oh my god you're an ADULT"'s.

    But I knew, I knew that lifestyle wasn't for me. It took a couple of bottles of red and a chat with one of my best friends, but I went with my instinct and haven't looked back since.

  8.  Non-fiction books are just as interesting as fictional stories. This year has been the YEAR of non-fiction books for me.

    I've always wanted to be that person that people want on their team in trivia. A fountain of interesting, but fairly useless, knowledge.

    I'm not quite there yet, but I love soaking in and regurgitating the facts, figures and theories I've read in non-fiction books. I can't believe it took me 22 years to pick up a book which wasn't fiction!

    (For those wondering, my favourite non-fiction book is Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything).

  9. Never turn down opportunities in fear of what others might think of you. It took a long time to learn, the only person who will care in the long run, is you.

  10. In the words of JB, "love yourself". 22 was the age I became confident and happy in myself. I learnt that striving to be healthier or fitter, doesn't mean you can't embrace who you are now.
So, those are the top lessons I've learnt in the last 12 months. 

Thank you for everyone who's joined me on my little internet space in the last year, whether it was last June 8th, or yesterday.

Love, Alice x 
Blogger Widgets

6 June 2018

Why It's Okay Not To Achieve Every Single Day

So, I'm coming to the end of my twenty-second year on planet Earth, and in the final week before my birthday, I realised something.

The realisation dawned on me after a week of feeling, well, pretty shit.

My hormones were everywhere, I was feeling a solid -4, I had written zero blog posts and put up zero videos in a long old while - and I was beating myself up over it.

Not just a little, "aw come on Alice" pep talk, I was properly going on at myself for not being bothered to open up my laptop.

But the thing is, it wasn't that I couldn't be bothered to write a blog post,  it was that mentally, I felt I couldn't.

I was in an awful headspace, all I wanted to do was go for long walks by myself and sit alone in my room watching Jane the Virgin and eating crisps and dip, and tbh if I'd written a blog post, it would've been utter crap.

And my realisation, this epiphany I had during my -4 time, was that I - probably like you - am extremely hard on myself.

Any day I don't "achieve" something, I count as a day lost. A day without exercise or without leaving the house. A day where I don't get through as much as I wanted, even when I tried my best. And those days where I know I just need to put social media and the internet to the back of my mind and focus on myself.

Until recently, I counted all of those days as a loss.

But the thing is, just because you're not moving mountains whilst wearing PJs and eating Ben and Jerry's, it doesn't mean you're doing badly, it means you're concentrating on what matters most - and that, at that moment, is your mental health.

I mean, if we really want to justify it, wouldn't you agree looking after yourself is more important than that blog you wanted to write (*cough* me *cough*).

Achievements come in all shapes and sizes, and it is so so easy to feel like you don't deserve a chill-day because you've got a to-do list as long as your arm.

Trust me, I've definitely been there.

But a lot of the time, taking a bit of space from that to-do list is going to make you feel more motivated, it will give you fresh ideas and that new lease for life which only comes after spending your full day in your pj's eating Thai food.

So, don't be hard on yourself. Just be honest.

If you cba to do something and you're procrastinating, then bbygal, you need to just crack on with that.

But if you actually feel like you physically and mentally just need to take a break, sometimes it's more important to listen to your body.

The pressure in these circumstances is completely from yourself. A little pressure is good, but when it becomes all consuming and "oh my god what am I doing how can I watch a 20-minute episode of Netflix when I have SO MUCH TO DO" *cue hyperventilation*,

yeah, that is not okay.

So don't beat yourself up about it.

As I said, achieving something can mean any number of things, and the biggest achievement of all, is your happiness.

Just your mental-health-advocate signing off - happy hump day!

Love, Alice x


4 June 2018

My June Goals

Somehow, it seems, we are half-way through the year.

I'm not sure how this happened, because I'm fairly positive it was New Years Day just yesterday - but there we go.

This month is a very exciting month, not just because it's *ahem* my 23rd birthday on the 8th, but this June also happens to involve a lot of change.

I'll let you all in on the changes veryyyy soon, but because there's so much going  - and after my little blip at the end of May - I wanted to create some goals for this month to keep me motivated and on track.

Create (and stick to) a blogging schedule
Stage 1 is complete, I've created a June blogging schedule full of all the posts I want to write and when I want them to go up (3x a week - eeeeeeek).

I decided I wanted to really start taking blogging seriously, which means creating a more regimented blogging style and actually working on "pushing" Alice's Antics, since for the last five years I've just sort of let followers come to me, rather than try and gain them myself.

Read More
I just finished reading The Lie, by C.L. Taylor and it made me realise just how much I'm missing reading at the moment.

I'm an avid reader (and clearly, writer) myself, I get absolutely lost in books. For the first part of this year I was doing really well, but I slipped into listening to audiobooks rather than picking up a tangible book.

I love audiobook, but nothing beats snuggling down with a real book - and with the Aussie winter well and truly here, I am so ready to read some recommendations.

If you have any must-reads, PLEASE let me know!

Organise a trip to see more of Australia
I'm currently pretty settled in Sydney, but since moving here, all I've seen of Australia... is Sydney.

Oh, and Canberra, but that was a bit of a weird experience.

So this month, I want to at least organise a trip to get out of Syndey and see more of my current home state.

Create more content for my Youtube channel
After deciding to really hone in on Alice's Antics, the courtesy definitely needs to extend out to my Youtube channel.

I love creating and editing videos, but finding the time can be pretty tough, so I'm going to FINALLY use my diary and actually put it to some good use.

Get ready for more storytimes, life advice and just some good old travel videos.

Make my new house (apartment) a home
Surprise! I'm moving out of my au pair life and into a different apartment, with three girls and two dogs.

Although I absolutely love my au pair host family, I can't say I'm not excited to live with young adults again and have my own space which I can decorate and just make my own.

I always knew I'd be leaving my au pair room in the near future so didn't really bother to decorate it - I also knew it would be another au pairs room soon, so didn't want to go in too hard with home-decor.

But my new room is going to be very much my own and as I don't quite know my future plans, it could stay my room/apartment for a good old while.

Basically, I have an excuse to buy fairy lights.

Get on the health and fitness wagon
With the end of au pairing, comes the end of running around after a 3-year-old. Which, I'm fairly sure, is the only reason I haven't put on weight since moving out here.

Although I love my job (literally, I write for a living, it's my dream), I also am sat down for... oooh, a solid 93% of my day.

Luckily, I've actually ended up moving into an apartment with the biggest reason ever to go to the gym... there's one in the building.

Gone are my excuses, I can't even use bad weather as an excuse. In the floor below me, is a swimming pool and a gym, so basically, I have no reason to get my lazy-ass on the treadmill.

If you have any books to recommend or any monthly goals yourself, let me know! I'd love to hear them!

Love, Alice x

31 May 2018

Why I Almost Deleted Alice's Antics (And Why I Didn't)

So, here's a little story.

For the last month, if not two or three months, I've been feeling a solid 3/10 about blogging.

3/10 might even be considered too high.

And on Monday of this week, I almost pulled the plug.

I almost quit Alice's Antics. I have a whole post in my drafts entitled "The End of Alice's Antics", I almost deleted this internet space.

Because the truth is, I've been blogging for 5 years and I thought, by now, something would've happened.

I never wanted to be an "internet star", I never wanted "fame". What I really wanted, was to write.

And when I started blogging in 2013, the online world wasn't so saturated with content, BUT, people were starting to make a living from Youtube. It was the year Zoella hit one million subscribers - and it was the year the world of blogging and vlogging blew up.

Imagine being in a small room, where everyone has cookies. EVERYONE has brought cookies into the room and everyone wants to try the cookies, to find out the best ones. Slowly, more people want to join the room with their own cookies, until you're all squashed up against each other.

People don't care that you're squashed, you don't care that you're squashed, all that matters is that your cookies are the best. You want your cookies to be THE ones everyone is talking about.

But so does everyone else.

And so you're all in this room and people can hardly breathe, and yet somehow, more people are filing in with their cookies. Occasionally even, some of their cookies are new and exciting and are gathering interest.

Meanwhile, others are being shoved out, and others are deciding to walk out.

Not, everyone, can have the best cookie.

When I started blogging, the room of cookies was only half full, and now it's so full, nobody can move, people are finding excellent cookies left, right and centre, and it's basically impossible to be the best cookie creator beacause HELLO, look at all of the other amazing cookies around you.

That, is basically, how I feel.

I also really want a cookie right now.

People seem to think, blogging is easy. It's a hobby. "Hey, Alice, you don't need to make millions of pounds from your blog, because you HAVE a job, you WRITE for a job."

And those people are right in some ways. I do have a job, I enjoy my job, I LOVE writing.

But blogging takes time. It takes a long time for me to plan my posts, to think up ideas, to write out whole plans. To take photographs... and come up with interesting, fantastic, metaphorical scenarios to display my feelings - as above.

I'm heartbroken to say it, but the amount of effort I've been putting into my blog for the last year, just hasn't felt worth it. I've felt like I'm putting time into an empty void and would be much better off spending my time elsewhere.

Basically, I lost my mojo.

And funnily enough, the thing which brought back my blogging-spirit, was admitting all of this to myself.

I've always preached a lot about how you need to "blog for yourself, not for the followers", and I do agree with that whole-heartedly, but also, I want blogging to become my job. I want Alice's Antics to be a business.

I don't want to become the next youtuber with a book realease, but I do want to work for myself and do what I love, which is blogging. It's writing. And it's writing for all of you guys.

Which means treating Alice's Antics like a business. Creating plans, creating content structures and having a consistency to my posts.

Creating a space I'm proud of and can earn money from, because it is my passion, and there is a market for it now. It's a possibility.

So, I'm stepping up my game.

Alice's Antics is in a 2.0 stage, and hopefully you won't see much of a transformation, but I certainly want to make sure that I never come as close to deleting this little internet space ever again.

A huge shout out to some new blogging-pals who helped me get out of this rut, told me they loved my blog, and gave me advice on kick-starting this whole process.

I hope you all have had wonderful weeks!

Love, Alice x

29 May 2018

Discovering Sydney's Secret Wonderland, The Grounds of Alexandria

When you think of Sydney, a few things might come to mind.

The Opera House, probably.

The beach.

Hot weather.

...maybe spiders or sharks.

Sydney is a city on the coast, which makes it basically a haven for swimwear-Instagrammers, heading off in their short shorts, ready for one of those iconic Bondi Beach photos.

I'm deffo not judging, I've so been there.

The city itself, honestly, isn't too much to shout about. It's a concrete jungle. It has "cool" bits and the bits you'd definitely want to avoid late at night.

But then, deep in the suburb of one of the most central part of Sydney, there is, essentially, a car park.

A car park, just off the main road, on what looks like an industrial estate.

If it weren't for the sign, reading "The Grounds of Alexandria", you would probably walk straight past.

But if you're lucky enough to know of its existence, you'll find yourself in a wonderland.

The Grounds of Alexandria is its own little world.

Just visiting it is an experience in itself, but primarily, it's a place to go for great food and great drink.

The Grounds open at 7am, perfect for an early start, and the gates aren't closed until 10pm.

There's a number of places to eat, we chose "The Potting Shed" for a late-lunch, which was table service and definitely a weekend treat.

The food and service was amazing and it seemed most people were there for an occasion.

However, if you didn't quite fancy the dine-in experience, you could grab a little something from one of the many stalls and either take it away, or sit in the beautiful free-for-all garden.

(Which comes complete with chickens, a pig, and the most beautiful shrubbery and flower decor you have probably ever seen in your life).

There was JUST time to visit the incredible flower bouquets on sale.

And, of course, squeeze in a little photoshoot of our own.

The only negative thing I can say about this play is the harsh reality of leaving the Grounds of Alexandria behind, as you wander back into the concrete jungle.

If you're in Sydney, you have to check it out. 

I posted a whole youtube video on Sunday exploring the best secret places to visit in Sydney!

Let me know if you have any Australia recommendations of your own, I'm loving exploring my new home!

I hope you're all having wonderful weeks.

Love, Alice x


14 May 2018

Why Your Twenties Should Be Less Big Choices And More Big Risks

Ah your twenties.

The "peak" of your time here on Earth, apparently.

The decade you're statistically most likely to meet the love of your life, get married and have babies.


Yet, if I'm entirely honest, I've never written anything so terrifying in my whole life.

In a world in which our lifespan is growing by the year, being in your twenties right now, is the sudden realisation that you're likely only a quarter of a way through your life.

A quarter.

Which also means, you need to slow down.

Because right now, you probably have the biggest support system you'll ever have. Most of us are fortunate enough to have parents or grandparents, friends and family friends, helping you to navigate the hot mess that is being in your twenties.

And the mistakes you'll make are the ones you'll bounce back from.

You can snog guys and gals in the corner of dark clubs and you can live 4-to-a-room and get drunk on rooftops which you deffo shouldn't be on.

You can quit your job and you can change careers and you can just TAKE YOUR SWEET TIME.

Because actually, in your twenties, time is one thing you really do have.

It's so easy to look at what other people are doing and think you should be doing something along the same lines.

Seeing friends get married or have babies - it can make you question whether you should be in that place too?

But everyone's life path is completely different.

If you've figured yours out than fabulous, good for you.

But if you haven't, well, the chances are you're out here with the majority of people you know.

Don't waste time in a job you don't want to be in, don't go travelling because you think it's what you should be doing.

Take some time to figure this stuff out.

Move countries, be fun-employed, jump out of an aeroplane and do things so that when you look back on in 60 years time, you don't think "WhY was I wasting my prime years commuting for 4 hours a day to a job I hate".

So you might wake up next to the Mr. Wrong once again.

But truly?

Who cares.


3 May 2018

My Ultimate Travel Bucket List

Believe it or not, I've never actually written a travel bucket list.

I'm not sure why, because I write lists for practically everything else in my life - even the things I don't need lists for - but I guess I thought in order to write a travel bucket list, I kind of need to be travelling.

The good news is - here I am!

Even though I'm settled in Sydney, I still class myself as travelling, because it's only a temporary stop for me to fund more travels.

So for the first time, I'm writing a bucket list where I'll hopefully be able to start striking off a couple of points within the nexr year!

1. Skydiving 
Spoiler alert, I'm actually booking to jump 15,000ft out of a plane for my 23rd birthday, so let's hope all goes smoothly and I'll be able to finish the rest of my bucket list!

2. Swim with whale sharks 
In Western Australia, you can swim with the biggest fish in the sea and it's basically all I've been thinking about since I landed.

3. Attend Loi Krathong in Thailand (the floating lantern festival)
The Loi Krathong festival is celebrated on the 12th month of the lunar calendar, which falls in the western month of November and is breathtaking to experience.

4. Eat breakfast with giraffe-shaped-friends
In Kenya, there's a hotel where you are joined for breakfast by a couple of long-legged friends each morning. Can you imagine halving your apple with a giraffe?

5. Hike the Inca Trail
The long hike to Machu Picchu is absolutely iconic and a must-do whilst you're young. South America isn't actually somewhere I've thought about travelling to much, but machu picchu has been on my agenda since a couple of friends did it a few years ago.

6. Swim with wild dolphins
Fun fact: I actually won my Blue Peter badge when, aged 8, I wrote a poem about dolphins. I then stood in front of my door, which was covered in photos of dolphins, holding my favourite dolphin stuffed toys and wearing a t-shirt with a picture of a dolphin on it. So, for my 8-year-old self, I need to do this.

7. Roadtrip in a campervan 
I mean, the main thing holding me back with this is that I can't actually drive... HOWEVER, every single day on the various Aussie backpacker groups I've joined, people post lift offers and road trip offers, so this could be on the horizon!

8. Experience penguins in Pantagonia
My favourite animals - and lots of them. Pantagonia is renowned for its penguin population, how could I not want to visit them in one of the most beautiful countries in the world? Note: I may or may not have been inspired by The Penguin Lessons, one of my new favourite books.

9. Walk the Great Wall of China
This speaks for himself. My stopover in China doesn't count as a sufficient visit to the most populated country in the world.

10. Ride in a hot air balloon in Cappadocia 
I travelled down Turkey, from Istanbul to Bodrum, when I was 18 and it remains one of my favourite countries in the world. But being a young, broke backpacker, I never had a chance to experience the hot air balloons in cappadocia - but I'm desperate to return one day.

Where are you desperate to visit?

I hope I inspired your brains - there is a LOT of world to see!

Love, Alice x


28 April 2018

LIFE UPDATE: Sun, Sea and Moving to Sydney

Does anyone else feel as though they blinked, and then suddenly found themselves at the end of April?

That is my current state.

A slightly-blurry mess, sat in a coffee shop and drinking an oh-so-naughty iced mocha (they make them with ice cream here).

But it's time again for another "life update" post, and I feel slightly bad about it.

Because as you may have noticed, I've only written one blog post in almost two months.

Which makes this the end of the longest hiatus Alice's Antics has seen in almost 5 years.

Half of my job right now is writing content for online publications, but it sort of hurts my heart that the writing I'm doing isn't going into this blog, because the reason I even got the job in the first place, was because of Alice's Antics.

Not the £27,000 degree I have, lol.

But what's going on in my life - where have I BEEN? What wild Australian adventures have I been on?

Have I encountered a dingo yet?

Thankfully, Sydney isn't really a dingo-hangout.

I've been in Australia for 3 and a half months, which actually makes my head spin, but I am loving it.

When I first moved to Sydney, I have to be honest, I wasn't entirely convinced by the city. I'd just moved away from London and felt like I'd landed in a hotter version of the city I'd left - featuring a lot more beaches and a lot less history.

But over the last three months, I have honestly fallen in love with this city.

So much so, that I've actually just accepted a full-time job in Sydney, as the place I'm interning has offered to turn my internship into a role.

Which means I will soon be leaving my au pair position -  and *sob* my kingsize bed -  and will be moving into a travellers apartment, where I will almost definitely be sharing a bedroom with at least one other person.

But you gotta do what you gotta do.

Working in the city, the biggest challenge so far for me has been to remember that I am in fact a traveller, passing through, and not an Aussie resident.

Which is why I think in some ways, moving into an apartment with a group of others all trying to save money, will probably help me a lot with bringing me into reality.

Because right now, I live a pretty comfy life.

I'll be in Sydney until at least September, at which time I'll have to make the decision of whether I want to continue working until December (at which point I always planned to travel around Australia for the 6 weeks before my visa expires) OR grit my teeth and go off to do my 88 days of "farm work".

Because if you didn't know, to extend your one-year visa into a two-year visa, you've got to "work the land" for 88 days.

Like, really, that's a thing.

For now,  though, you'll be able to find me making the most of my last month with my king-size bed.

Love, Alice x

2 April 2018

How to Start a Travel Diary (and stick at it)

I don't like to blow my own horn, but if there's one thing I know I can do well, it's write.

Not in like an 'omg the next novelist of the 21st century' kind of way, just in, yknow, I like to write, so I write a lot, and I think people like to read what I write.

But the roots of my writing came long before Alice's Antics. Growing up, I would write short stories and poems and have book plots sitting inside my brain for months. And then, when I was 11 years old, I decided to start a diary.

And a mere 11 years later, guess who's still writing that diary of hers????? You guessed it.

Keeping 11 years worth of diaries isn't for everyone, and sometimes I read back through them and sort of wish I hadn't recorded the mind of my 14-year-old self in hard copy. But, writing a diary when you're going through a big change, can be a great idea.

Although writing down the boy-stalking part of my life isn't my favourite period to reflect on, keeping a diary through moving to Italy, starting university, and coming to Australia, definitely is.

And, well, you gotta take the highs with the lows.

My first thing, is to buy a notebook which is specifically for the purpose of keeping a diary. Not like a general notebook which you write whatever in, a notebook which is specifically for journalling. That way, you will only associate it with writing in your diary, rather than forgetting its purpose in a couple of months because you've been using it for shopping lists.

When you're buying your diary, splash out and get a good pen too. Sooo you'll probably lose said pen in a month or so - but if you're anything like me, you'll want the first page of your diary to be aesthetic, even if it all goes downhill from there, so invest in a nice pen to stimulate your diary-writing-mood.

Then, you should keep it by your bed. Keeping it by your bed is both cliche, and vital. Because the only time most of us switch off, is as we're getting into bed. If you're staying in a hostel, or somewhere you don't particularly want it on display, try just keeping it in your everyday backpack. Then, if you're on a train, or in a cafe, you can get it out wherever you like.

To keep you entertained, keep it creative. My travel diaries include postcards, photographs, tickets, receipts, you name it. I love flicking through the diary I kept through my time Greek-island-hopping because it is so visual and I've kept so many things. Obviously, most of us don't carry glue sticks with us on the road, so my best tip is to leave a page blank where you want to stick in a postcard or whatever, and slip the postcard in the folds of the pages, until you're home/somewhere you can stick it all together.

I hope you guys have found this useful! I'm sorry I've been so quiet over the last couple of weeks - unfortunately tonsillitis took over my life and soul, but I've been posting a little bit over on my Youtube channel so make sure you're subscribed!

Love, Alice x


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