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17 December 2013

Happy Half Birthday!

Although I won't be posting this on the day it is written... today is the 8th of December. Which means exactly 6 months ago, I turned 18... and exactly 6 months from now, I will turn 19 (June 8th, hold the date, I am always up for drinkies and present giving).

6 months is not a particularly long time, generally 6 months go past and I haven't noticed a thing change. But for me, these last 6 months have had big-time effects on my present and future life... blimey. When I realised it was my 'half birthday', I began to have a little think about what's happened in the last half a year and by God it's been a bit traumatic and life changing, slight over exaggeration there.

A couple of days after my 18th birthday, I went out on a work night out and ended up meeting a future life partner (now ex-life partner). Having been single for a good old while, there is nothing like throwing a man-shaped spanner into the works to make life a bit more exciting. Cue the realisation that we were both moving to the opposite sides of the world, and a couple of months later we said our goodbyes as I headed off travelling and he moved for 10 months to the Caribbean. Although that's not quite the hunky-dory ending we both wanted, we get along really well and still talk, so if anything I have made a nice new man friend. Over the following few months despite a few bloke-encounters here and there, I have decided fully that to get into a relationship would be stupid as I'm leaving in January. I may not have a big spoon to keep me warm at night, but I do have my dog, my best friend who is back from uni AND I don't have to buy any extra Christmas presents, so who is the real winner here...

So as I just mentioned, in August I left my everyone behind to go away with my two best friends. Every year thousands of British teens go off on 'lads/gals holidays' after completing their A Levels. Under the pretence that just this once, they won't come back a lobster, hoping to gain lad and ladette points and quite frankly, having sex with anything that moves. Call me the cynic here, but whilst there is always a slight appeal of a girls holiday, me and two of my best friends decided if we were going to do it, we'd do it properly. So in January, whilst all the rest of our friends were organising their Zante 2k13 holidays, we booked a flight to Istanbul... and a flight back from Corfu with a month in between to do whatever we wanted. Our path went down Turkey, across the south west coast, and into the Greek Islands, where everyone was... Australian? Bet you weren't expecting that.  SOON, I will do a whole post on my travelling shenanigans, but for the mean time, as you can imagine travelling as a three was always going to be a roller coaster, and although they are still two of my best friends, I would definitely not reccommend it. However, for the most part, those 5 weeks were the best of my life... people go to find themselves travelling, I think we'd all admit to losing a bit of ourselves....
In Bodrum, south of Turkey, the day after we headed onto a private yacht courtesy of our hostel owner, each one of us were feeling mortally sick. And not because of our (fairly severe) hangovers. Instead, we were sat at a table in the 38' heat, staring at our phones. Ruths was the first to ring, we all held our breaths as she picked up and whispered a barely audible 'Hello'... to my sister. Sarah had volunteered to go up to the school on August 15th, and pick up mine and Ruth's A Level results. Sh*tting it, did not even cover how we felt. Whilst Ruth and Tess were both depending on their results to get in their chosen universities, I was waiting on mine to find out what kind of uni I would be applying to come September. Thankfully, we all did well, both girls got into their chosen uni's, Ruth in fact, went on to study at an even better university because her grades were higher than expected! An hour boat trip later, to our next destination of Kardemena, Kos (party island) and we most definitely celebrated our success in style. And then regretted it the next day. 

September to December has been a whole lot more quiet compared to my action-packed summer. I went back to my job at Pizza Express, slightly skinnier due to malnutrition abroad, and a lot more brown. I then started looking around and applying for Universities, and eventually after much deliberation and receiving all 5 offers, hallelujah, I have chosen to study at Royal Holloway University of London (see below. it is incredible). I have now finally booked my flight to Italy, where I will be living for 8-9months from January the 24th, and so for the next few weeks will be sorting out all of that, a long side going through with my parents everything they need to know about Student Loans etc, because they will be left in charge primarily, whilst I am abroad. 

It's been a bit of a crazy 6 months, and as I mentioned before, the choices I've made and the experiences I've gained will almost definitely change and effect my life forever. But that is out of my hands now, so here's to hoping the next 6 months of my life (and yours) are just as exciting and eventful! 

Ciao for Now x


15 December 2013

Alice, the Christmas Elf

It's that time of year again. People running around town as the shops start shutting, endless queues in the post office, the treacherous trip into the loft in search of all things festive, and the one time of year where putting on weight is inevitable and the norm (hooray!) yes gals and guys, I am talking of course, about christmas! *enter jolly festive tune here*

Now admittedly, Christmas is not for everyone. In fact, the majority of blogs I follow about the web actually moan about the festive season as opposed to embracing it. And despite my very best efforts throughout the years to become one of these unfun folk, I have failed. For me, Christmas is 100%, without a doubt, my favourite time of year. For someone who hates the wet, wind and rain, that is very big statement considering I am british and Christmas of course falls in Winter. 

Todays blog is lacking in advice, opinion, 'to-do's etc, it is simply a post on festive fun and what I get up to around this time of year. For the past 18 years, my family have been subjected to gifts of mugs. Mainly, because I am a bit of a mug freak and try to spread (unsuccessfully) the mug lovin' around. This year, however, I branched out. And so on the 2nd December, I made a list of what I needed to get from my very small, very unexciting, and very unambitiously stocked town, and off I went on my merry way. As pre-mentioned, my previous years of present giving have been some what unsuccessful, but since I have been earning money and will be a student for the next 3 years (aka most definitely poor), I splashed the cash a little bit, and hopefully, somewhat successfully, bought my sister and both my parents something that they will actually appreciate. Even I can understand that 18 years of mugs for birthday and Christmas may, eventually, wear down the levels of excitement. 

Yesterday the Dodd household was full of antics (stress), as we went about our annual 'Christmas prep day' activities. Essentially, christmas prep day is the day two members of our family, pop off to the Christmas tree man to find the biggest and best Christmas tree our living room is capable of holding. This year, it was the task of myself and my dad. After a bit of gentle persuasion.-pleading- our brand new 7ft dropless tree was positioned in all its glory in the corner of the living room, being attacked by me and my mum with endless amounts of fairy lights. Carols were blasting, the whole family, cat and dog included, were downstairs enjoying the festive cheer and decorating our home to most families Christmas standard AKA tinsel tinsel everywhere! 

With just under two weeks left until Christmas, I have a couple of weeks filled with the usual Christmas card writing (under my mothers orders), Work-do's, Secret Santa's, Friends back from Uni reunions and the extremely traumatic experience of working in a restaurant during the busiest time of year. However, this does not deter me at all from my Christmas spirit. YES, it might be a bit annoying when my ring tone blasts out Shakin Stevens, and ok ok, maybe not everybody enjoys Christmas jumpers. But I, most definitely do. And I will not let the Scrooges and Grinch's of Christmas, bring me down... 

Ciao for Now! x


8 December 2013

HELP! Pinterest Addiction

I am a self confessed internet networking butterfly. I've done Bebo, Myspace, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Flickr, Blogspot (duh), Youtube, LookBook... even one called Fuzmo where you just post pictures of your pets.

and now, I have Pinterest.

For those of you who have no idea what pinterest is, you need to climb on out from under your rock and jump on board my new favourite website. Pinterest is basically a pin-board style photo sharing networky thing, where you can either post your own photos under certain tags, OR do as I do, and re-pin various pictures onto your own board.

My Pinterest addiction first hit just as all great things do, at about 3 in the morning when you can't sleep. I downloaded the app after hearing SprinkleOfGlitter rave endlessly about it. Skip to 5am and I am sitting upright in bed, googling a manor house in Oxford after seeing it on the 'Wedding' search whilst looking for pictures for one of my now 9 boards. 

To most, Pinterest is a little bit of the life we want, the food we want, and the people we want to be... but have settled for stalking on the internet. I have to admit, I was one of those people who thought that too, and although there is definitely an element of that, after a few 5am nights spent on the app I must confess defeat. Who cares if I want to plan my future wedding before the age of 20? Who is really bothered if my Tattoos board is full of pictures I would never be brave enough to get? The reality is, sitting in my bed late at night looking at pictures of beautiful women in beautiful dresses in beautiful surroundings makes me happy.

And who knows, maybe in the far away future I will return to my teenage Wedding board and use it for inspiration, but at the moment I am content with stalking and stealing endless amounts of beauty and hair tips from others. 

So if you don't have it, please let Pinterest take over your life. 
Ciao for Now! x


5 December 2013

Dessert, the Second Stomach and the Free Food Free Calories Life Hack

I realised the title of this post sounds a wee bit like a book title... although I am not too sure on the success of the book (I would buy it as it has the word dessert in it). 

As you may or may not know, I have a very sweet tooth. Possibly the sweetest tooth in the world. Ever. There is nothing more cruel to me then going out for a meal with people who don't want dessert. And I am definitely a box of chocolates over crackers and cheese gal any day of the week. Carbs.. not so much, chocolates covered in chocolate dipped in chocolate? That's more my thing. 

Luckily for me, my closest friends are all dessert gals. Which is probably the reason they're my closest friends in the first place. So me and my friend Molly, came up with the solution that the reason we can eat a whole wagamama pad thai and still have room for their delicious chocolate fudge cake is that the dessert falls into a whole different stomach. The dessert stomach isn't fulfilled by the savoury flavours of a main course, which is why there is always room to have a little something afterwards. 

Another top trick for all you calorie counters and dieters (I am queen of tips for this category), is the 'Free food free calories' diet.... Before you read on, please bare in mind the word 'diet' here is a very loose term. Me and my bestest gal pal Ruth, came up with this scenario a couple of years ago to make us feel better about the copious amount of Starbucks and Costa being consumed by the pair of us. To sum it up... if you have a very close friend are you are often going out with, you should take it in turns to pay. Our reasoning is, if you did not buy the food yourself, the food did not technically exist and so the calories are non existent too. The person who brought the food did eat it, so she (or he) doesn't get the calories either. IT IS A WIN WIN SITUATION! 

The other week I went to visit Ruth at her University and as a thank you, I brought her weekly shop. That is a whole weeks worth of free calories. Quite simply genius. 

There is a small large chance this blog post will make 0 sense to you and you will leave it feeling like you wasted a small part of your life. But I hope, if you do have a sweet tooth, this is an invaluable life lesson. 

Ciao for now! x

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