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19 June 2016

Life Update: Bonjour, Mes Amis

When I started Alice's Antics back in 2k13, I was writing largely for my friends and family back home in England whilst I embarked on my gap yah. 3 years of writing later and if you have been a keen follower of this little internet space for a while, you may recognise the title. My 'Life Update' series was how I checked in with everyone to reassure them I hadn't burned down my apartment or been fired for too much vino. And so I thought I'd restart them. Not too often, as you may have been able to tell my regemented 3x a week posting has gone to pot over the last two weeks, but just every now and then a little blog post to catch you all up on what I've been doing.

It all, really, boils down to one thing, France.

On June 6th, I packed up my life and headed off to the South of France for 3 months. And after the coldest overnight ferry of my life (why do they put the aircon on???? anyone????) 3 trains and a short car ride, I'd made it to my destination.

I'm spending the summer working as a holiday courier for a family holiday company, think Eurocamp or Canvas holidays but only for France. I'm not going to reveal the company because I'd rather my blog wasn't found by big bosses, but I'll report back at the end of the season all of my feelings. It's a bit like a more wholesome version of going out to do a season in Zante. Except we probably work more- and in the day.

If you read my last blog post, you've probably clocked on I've just turned 21. I am officially an adult in every country in the world ever.


What was even more terrifying, was the prospect of spending it potentially alone, with no friends, in a foriegn country.

How wrong I was. I was extremely lucky to be thrown into a group of people I got on extremely well with, largely due to our ability to bond over alcoholic evenings. Which is precisely how we spent my 21st, someone (me) may have forgotten to buy coal for the group barbecue, so instead it was all cooked in ovens. The group made it their mission for me to be suitably inebriated, but I was very well looked after and some may say too much Jungle Juice was consumed...

Since then my life has been spent essentially eating icecream, lazing by the pool on days off (or after work) and meandering around the towns. The company has several sites across France and I've been lucky enough to explore a few of them before finally being settled in the Vendee. 

Today I spent my day off exploring the town I'll be living in for the season, catching ferry taxis, eating FroYo and people watching from the beach bar- I promise, I don't just drink my lifeaway.  I

I hope this isn't too chatty, I know diary entries are a bit of an acquired taste but I promise not to make them too regular! 

Ciao for Now! 

12 June 2016

21 Lessons in 21 Years

On Wednesday, I made it across the final stepping stone into adulthood, turning 21. In Britain, the age isn’t celebrated the same way an 18th is, but there’s still recognition that at 21, you’re there. You may not know how to get tax back and you might still accidentally put dishwasher powder in the washing machine. But no matter where you go, throughout the whole world, you are recognised as an adult.

And that, is pretty bloody terrifying. 

So I thought I would rack up a list, as I sit here 21 years and 4 days under my belt, and discuss the life lessons I’ve learnt in my time walking around on this planet. Some are lessons, some are tips and some I wish I’d known just that little bit earlier.

1) Having more than one best friend is a thing. You can have as many best friends as you like. Be your own best friend. But never disregard the power of having people outside of yourself to talk to and share things with. 

2) Don’t be ashamed to stay in instead of going out. I’m saying this to partially convince myself, as right now I’m sat alone in France whilst all of my friends have gone on a night out. I just wanted a warm shower and a good night sleep, and this gal ain’t afraid to say it. 

3) Ginger tea can cure everything (basically). Period pains, check. Sickness, check. Stomach ache, check. Drink ginger tea. It’s tasty and is basically a natural relief for everything ever. If all else fails, eat a ginger nut biscuit. 

4) People can be mean. Adults are better at hiding it, but it’s not just a child/teen thing. The sooner you realise this is the sooner you realise you can’t please everyones, and so begins the life epiphany of becoming your own person.

5) The sooner you find a shot you like, the better. People like buying other people shots. It’s a thing. Not as expensive as a drink but still saying ‘look how nice I am’. When they ask you what you want, have an answer ready, you don’t want to be on the bathroom floor smelling of sambuca more than once in your life.

6) Take a breath and count to 10. If you’re angry, if you’re sad, if you’re in an exam. Take a split second to shut everything out and see where your brain is in 10 seconds time. 

7) Cutting a bagel in half equally and accurately is an unparalleled talent. It's likely you've peaked. 

8) Parents are individuals, not just Mum and Dad. This is something I’ve recently been coming to terms with as my sister and I get older. I’ve been starting to see them less as Mum and Dad and more as (their names) Carol and Derek. They had lives before us, before each other and it’s so easy to forget, when being shouted at for missing the washing basket. But the sooner you realise it the better. 

9) Experiences > Stuff. I’ve said this time and time again, and yet here I am still up to my eyes in my overdraft. But seriously, put down the new phone and buy yourself a week away in a place you’ve never been before.

10) Duck tape is actually called Duct Tape. 

11) Your instincts are almost always right. That niggling feeling in your stomach or the little voice at the back of your head, they’re almost always right. Go with your gut whenever possible. 

12) Learn to understand what makes you happy, does not make everyone happy. It’s easy when you’ve left school to boggle at everyone else’s life choices through the lens of social media. Questioning why he got marries, and she had a baby. Just let them be happy. Not everyone wants to explore the world, understand it and let it go. 

13) Similarly, never judge your own life progress through other people. Different things happen at different times for everybody. Stop freaking out.

14) Drink water. Sometimes it’s even better than ginger tea. 

15) Despite what you might think, school matters. Obviously this list is slightly subjective to me, as somebody who chose to study a degree, academia has always been important. But everyday I experience a new reason for using what I learnt in school. Whether it’s writing my GCSE results in job applications (yes, that is a thing), using that minimal bit of French, ‘ou est la gare?’ or making sure you haven’t been short changed when you’re already poor enough as it is (hey, student life).

16) Everyone has time to read. Those 30 minutes you spend scrolling down Kayla Itsines instagram could easily be spent immersed in a book, we both know it.

17) Writing a diary was the best life choice ever (even before Alice’s Antics). Next April, I will have been writing a diary for 10 years. Not only is it reflective and therapeutic and all the deep jazz, it’s also hilarious to read back. I will never not laugh at 13 year old Alice’s words ‘Me and Emma went fitty hunting today. We hung around JJB Sport.’ Reallyyyyy cool Alice. 

18) There are few things Google Imaging Leonardo DiCaprio can’t help. If you’ve done so and aren’t any better, seek medical attention. (This also goes for ice cream). 

19) Listening to an audio book helps to clear your mind. I haven’t written much about this on Alice’s Antics as it’s not something I discuss online or much in real life, but at nighttime I’m rather prone to panic attacks. And I’m convinced they occur less frequently on nights when I listen to my audio book before I go to sleep. I don’t know if it’s the power of knowing I’ve listened to an audiobook, and associating it with being more peaceful, but I’ve noticed a real difference. 

20) Never trust a human who does any of the following: 
  - Squirts toothpaste onto the toothbrush without wetting it
  - Applies soap directly onto dry hands
  - Wraps their mouth around the whole water bottle top when drinking
  - Wears socks in bed 

21) Dogs are better than cats. Dog people are (generally) better than cat people.

So that's it, 21 years of wisdom narrowed down to 21 bullets.

I hope you all have wonderful weeks and had cracking weekends! I have successfully made it to France, enjoyed a cracking 21st and am embarking on the next 3 months of my life on the West Coast.

Ciao for Now!

5 June 2016

A Second Year Summary

NB: Apologies this post isn't on a Monday, but I'm travelling for 12 hours tomorrow and didn't want to skip a day of blogging.

In the summer of 2014, I went on a date. I was about to start my first year at university, and the boy sat opposite me was embarking on his third and final year.

'Just make sure you make the most of every minute, because it goes by unbelievably quickly.' He'd said. And I, being me, had to use all my self restraint not to roll my eyes so far they'd disappear into the back of my head.

The truth is, I never really appreciated, until I became a student myself, just how true that saying is. I feel like I blinked in Freshers week and woke up on June 6th. And now all I can think about is dissertations and becoming a part of the working world.


In September, I moved in with my 4 best friends from my flat last year, and Charlotte who'd lived in the flat above but had essentially become a surrogate member of our flat anyway.

Throughout the year, all of us watched as some of our friends began to fall out with housemates. Fighting over bills, hygiene or just realising they weren't who they thought. But as me and Sophie were discussing over the weekend, we'd never had so much as a domestic. The most dramatic our house got was whose turn is it to buy bin bags.

First term particularly was hard, losing Lenny. among other Dorset-based things meant I definitely appreciated all of the cups of tea and support I was given.

Which also leads me on to the rock of my second year, someone I am sure most regular readers will be familiar with, the gorgeous Saffron.

I could go on and on and on about reasons Saffron was amazing this year, but primarily it all boils down to her unfaltering friendship. From dissecting dates to West End trips, to saving lives, this year has blurred the lines between friendship and relationship (not literally- but it's only in true friend love you can spoon before sleeping and light candles for nonsexual purposes). Even more wonderful, is that through Saffron I am moving into the arms of her friends, and am becoming a member of 25, with 5 brand new housemates. I'd always been friends with them, but during my broken foot life saga, the girls of 25 stood up (because I couldn't) and put me back together on many occasions.

I wrote in my First Year Summary,  about the importance of doing things extracurricular. And although I don't want to write loads and loads and loads, the girls and guys I've met through football, Enactus, and my job have made this year fly by. I went to football tryouts, I managed to be part of recruiting some absolutely amazing new first years to take on committee positions in Enactus and the trauma of having to stage a 'coup' for a rubbish supervisor, meant the girls I worked with became more like family.

The boys above, Elliot and Alvaro, get a special mention for making my second year a better place. If it wasn't for their hospitality of wine-drunk antics, motivation to make Enactus more successful, and reliance on 'throwing shapes' at the Students Union, I'm 100% sure my second year would have been much darker. They also have spent the last year attempting to get onto Alice's Antics, including quoting my blog to friends, so it's about time they got a real mention.

In fact, here's another picture of us last night (when writing this) at our summer ball.

This year has been far harder than I ever thought possible. Physically (obvs), mentally and academically it's probably been one of the hardest 10 months of my academic life. But looking back at these photos makes every single bit of it worth it.

This blog post, if you couldn't tell, is mainly for my own recollection, but I thought it would be nice to share it regardless. I also made a second year video, here.  The lows were very low, but the highs of this year have been some of my favourite days of my (almost) 21 years pattering about the world.

Although this will be posted on June 6th, I'm writing this on June 4th, the day after our summer ball. And what a way to end! I'm so excited for third year, and I have to eat my words, because my date was 100% right. It goes in the blink of an eye.

Ciao for Now!


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