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23 September 2016

Happy 3rd Blog Birthday!

Okay, okay, so technically Alice's Antics birthday was a week ago for you, but at the time of writing this, it is officially 3 years since this little slice of internet pie was born. The tastiest slice, in my opinion. 

Three years isn't a particularly long time depending on how you look at it. 36 months, 156 weeks, 1095 days. And yet, the last three years for me have been some of the most self defining and, quite honestly, life changing, of the entire 21 years I've been plodding around. I think I accidentally created a blog at the most perfect time, because it's encaptured everything along the way. 

When I started Alice's Antics, I was a freshly turned 18 year old embarking on a gap yarrrrh, darling. Nobody I knew wrote a blog, people didn't 'get' the whole blogging thing, friends would laugh at it and my parents didn't attempt to understand it. Blogging and vlogging has absolutely blown up and I know I wasn't remotely part of the beginning of blogging, but in the time I've been writing Alice's Antics, the blogosphere and vlogosphere are being accessed by people who before, would laugh at the idea of 'internet fame'. My own mum left on my bed, a page of the Times open on an interview with Tanya Burr, ready for me to read. And that, is incredible.

But the last three years haven't been life changing solely because of the online community expanding. No no no. On a more personal level, since writing my first blog post, to now, I've moved out, lived in Italy, started university, met people who are now forever staples in my life, discovered my love for gin and tonic (and red wine), lost our family dog of 16 years, been on too many dates, eaten too many drunken domino's, moved to France for 4 months, reached 325,000 views on Alice's Antics and now, I am here. Twenty one, and about to start my final year of university, fully comfortable with who I am and what I like and don't like and finally at peace with the fact I will probably love Harry Potter more than any man. And that's just the way it is. 

Even when I think about this time last year, so much has changed. My parents are now a no-child household as my sister has moved to Dublin, I live with a different (but equally wonderful) group of friends, I spent almost 4 months unable to walk at the start of the year, I somehow got through the most challenging academic year of my life and I am currently writing a blog post when I should be researching for my dissertation (holy shit). 

I want to say thank you. I started writing Alice's Antics to 3 people, and now we have a small island of humans. I am positive I would write regardless of how many people read it, but receiving emails and tweets and comments is the loveliest kind of reminder of why I do blog, knowing there are readers in Israel and Germany and Brazil who click on my little piece of internet. It absolutely blows my mind and I appreciate anyone and everyone who takes their time to read my thoughts. 

I'm still baffled as to what I want to do. I probably have even less direction than I did three years ago. I started writing my blog to document m travels, and ended up finding something I love almost almost as much as Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic. And that's largely, because of any of you reading this.

Thank you so much for your continued support, whether you live next door or in a different continent. 

Here's to the next year of blogging. 

Ciao for Now!

19 September 2016

Motivational Monday

It's Monday morning, and I'm in high spirits. That's not totally unheard of, I am quite the dreaded 'morning person', but today is a particularly good day for a number of reasons. Firstly, I was out of the house by 9am and decided to go to Caffe Nero to claim my free coffee and write this blog post. Secondly, I received my timetable for the year and I have Thursday AND Friday off.

That's right, a FOUR day weekend. 

And Finally, it is my 21st Birthday party ce soir. I know what most of you will be thinking, yes, my birthday was in June. But since I was in France and didn't get a chance to really celebrate it (that's a bit of a fib, we definitely did celebrate it).. On my return, myself and my housemates arranged a Leonardo DiCaprio themed birthday party. Complete with Titanic prop, which I'm about to go home and finish painting.

But I do completely appreciate not everyone has Caffe Nero's to pop off to and Titanic's to paint, so I thought I would endeavor to motivate you. Come up with your own list or small happy achievements today. Having a bad day but still got up and went to work? Managed to choose a banana over a bar of chocolate? Decided to drink water at 3am instead of another tequila shot? 

There's a whole week ahead of you to make mistakes (and as it's Freshers Week for a lot of you I'm sure you'll be making many) but also to get back up and go get 'em. 

I hope you all have wonderful Mondays! 

Ciao for Now!

16 September 2016

Autumn Life Goals

I think I might live in the only part of England which isn't scorching right now. All over the news is talks of the hottest September on record, and yet I'm sat in my duvet, dog on lap, coffee in hand, and good lord is it cold. 

The nippy weather is yet to dampen my spirits however, and despite the sun's best attempts, I definitely think it's safe to say Autumn is stumbling into view. I thought I'd write a quick lil' blog post about what I've got planned for my Autumn and what I want to do in some aspects of my life. 

First and foremost I need to knuckle the f**k down at university. The first couple of weeks is always so rosy, you feel inspired, your notebooks are crisp and your mind is sharp and you're all 'YES GIRL I GOT THIS'. And then you blink and it's November and you don't remember the last lecture you paid real attention to and oh shit are those 481908 deadlines due in tomorrow???? I'm sure most of us can relate. Well this year, I don't want there to be any of the latter half to my life. Lectures will not be missed (no matter how many tequilas are consumed), notes will always be taken over doing an ASOS order, and when it comes to work/life balance, and I will actually complete assignments with more than 24 hours until the deadline left. 

Buy a decent blogging/vlogging camera. This is it boys and gals, the time has come for me to take blogging more seriously. Like, really seriously. No more iPhone photos. Post-university I've been looking at and thinking about working for myself via my blog and youtube channel, and if I want to work up to that, I know I need to up my blogging game x1000. You are all an absolute dream to write for and I am very very lucky with being sent things etcetc, but to make a living is a different ball game and something I'm going to give myself a short amount of time to try and achieve. And I think it's fair to say, buying a decent camera is a good place to start. 

Get back to gymming. Broken foot life left me unfit and absolutely not living the dream. But season life meant I was on my feet all day, running around after kids, carting around gas bottles the size of small children and dancing the night away. Which has left me in a pretty good position to get back into gymming properly. I'm a morning exerciser (literally only because then it's out of the way...) and being so close to the gym at uni leaves me with absolutely no excuse. I realise I'm saying this whilst eating a chocolate caramel shortbread...  I haven't start uni quite yet... 

Go to see a West End show. The entire time I've been living just outside of central London, I've only been to see one show. Over the next couple of months I would love to cross off The Lion King or Les Miserables. Yes yes tickets are expensive, but this year I'm working 2 jobs on top of university-ing to survive, so really, if I skim and save in other areas *cough Caffe Nero cough*,  making this happen is not actually too big an achievement. 

Stop scrolling, start reading. I'm pretty sure this was also one of my New Year Resolutions, and over the summer I've completely and utterly indulged myself. I read book after book after book, but I'm fully aware of the different ball game that is university reading versus reading for pleasure. The fact is, it's very hard to read a book (even Harry Potter), when you're reading academic articles in your free time. But in the evening, when I'm lying in bed scrolling through memes on Facebook, I definitely have time to pick up a book. And I love reading, so I don't know why it's so hard to put down my phone, but it is, and I want that to change. 

So, those are my Autumn life goals. I can't believe it's September already, but there we go, best foot forward from here on out. 

NB: My blog posts are going to be scheduled for Monday, Wednesday, Friday once again. *starts singing guess who's back* 

Ciao for Now!


12 September 2016

A Summer Season Summary

For the last few years, I’ve tried to live and learn by the mantra ‘everything happens for a reason’. I’m the first to admit there are some things which seem to have no positive outcome, no matter what perspective you look at it from (the life trauma of half your biscuit crumbling into your cup of tea). But for the most part, I’ve tried to live the last couple of years under the impression that there is some greater plan of the universe, and we’re all just rolling along with it.

Which is why, back in March when I found out I couldn’t afford to go on year abroad to Washington DC, I thought I’d channel the lost cause into spending the summer doing something different. I’ve come to learn in the last 3 and a half months, scrubbing mobile homes on your hands and knees probably doesn’t compete with recreating scenes of Homeland and Scandal in the capital of the US- but, everything happens for a reason. And I’m pretty sure my reason has come in the form of the humans I shared my season with. 

One of the most distinct thoughts I remember having, when arriving in France over 3 and a half months ago, was 'Shit. This is it. I'm here until September'. And I think, even back then, a small part of me wasn't sure I'd be able to do it. Working 6 days a week all around the clock, not being able to return home and leave your work at work, the fear of meeting people you might clash with and not be able to escape from. Yet here I am, the night before I leave, and all I want to do is email my university to say I’m leaving forever, pack up my belongings and set up house out here. And I am fully aware this feeling of belonging definitely doesn’t come from 16 weeks of cleaning toilets. 

I don't want to write too much about this summer as a whole because I feel like everything I've experienced has been with a set group of people, and it's a bit like when you're telling a story and halfway through, you know the listener had to be there to truly get it. But in true 'me' style, I wanted to share a couple of things I've learned about season work, working abroad, and myself.

1. Whatever people say about becoming acclimatised, 36 degree heat is still 36 degree heat- and it's awful to work in.

2. Working a season job is a bit like starting university again, you're thrown in with a group of people and within a week you've found your new bridesmaids and lifelong best friends. 

3. You'll never remember the day cleaning toilets became mechanical, but one day you realise you've stopped gagging and it's both a tragic and magical moment. 

4. Despite the above, you'll never cease to be amazed by what people will leave lying around after their holiday. Used condom on top of a wardrobe? Yes. Dirty sanitary towel under a pillow? Thanks.

5. It doesn't matter how tanned you are, burning is still possible.

6. It's impossible to get bored of a beautiful sunset, however many times you see it.

7. The novelty of cheap yet delicious cheese and wine may never wear off- it's also what I'm making room for in my suitcase on my way home.

8. Living 3 months with wifi so slow it's pretty much going backwards, has proven to me, despite being a true internet human, the internet is a luxury not a necessity.

9. Being a good cleaner/good at maintenance is not gender bias. Whatever your gender, if you're doing a summer season you have no choice but to get under mobiles as much as you also sweep and mop.

10. It's probably the best fitness plan you'll ever have without actually creating a fitness plan.

11. Even when you're not in Britain, tea solves problems. As does gin.

12. Working with a hangover is something you never get immune to, but definitely get used to.

13. The 'customer is always right' rule is even more infuriating when you have to see them every day for a week, a fortnight or even three weeks.

14. Mosquito repellent does not work. Neither do the repellent candles. Grin and bare it.

15. You are reminded weekly, if not daily, by adult customers about how lucky you are to have this job... 'I wish I'd done this when I was young...' And the smug feeling never subsides, because you know they're right to be jealous.

I feel like 15 bullet points isn't enough to encapsulate what I've done, who I've met, and what I've been through since the start of June. But we'll call it a condensed version. I thought I'd include a few photos to summarise my time here too because as the saying goes, a picture's worth a thousand words.

I'm pretty sure a couple of the people I spent my season with will be reading this, I feel like I acquired a second family with the highs and lows and everything in between. So thank you to everyone I was working with for putting up with me, and if you're an external reader, thank you for sticking with Alice's Antics when I've been the worst blogger in the history of blogging. It's been dreamy.

Ciao for Now!

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