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31 December 2017

2017, The Year of Change

If you've read Alice's Antics for a little while, you'll know that at the end of each year I like to do a couple of blog posts reflecting on and summarising the last 365 days, and what I feel has been central to the year. Last year was the year of Friendship, 2015 the year of Me, 2014 the year of Growing Up and 2013 the year of Travel. This year, it has been the year of Change.

I'm sure in years to come, there will be more monumental changes in my life. Children, marriage, engagements, moving in. But as far as I am concerned, this year has been the biggest 'oh my god what are you DOING' year of my life so far. The biggest roller coaster, sometimes literally having no idea where I'll be in the next couple of weeks. I went from University, to London life, to France, to Home and very soon it will be to Australia.

2017 had the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I graduated from university, finally feel like I'm the most confident, happy and free I've felt in years. My graduation was, without a doubt, the best day of my life so far. From waking up with my friends and donning our hats and gowns together, to sitting at a table overlooking the River Thames with my family and Alvaro, to sitting with my housemates until the early hours, dissecting our lives and how far we've come. At the time, I was in my London public relations job, secretly knowing I was about to hand in my notice but too terrified to let anyone know, but it lead to me quitting my job to move back home with my parents.

In September, I lost one of the most incredible people in my life, Dean. Who moved mountains and spread light and laughter and wisdom wherever he went. I think it's really easy when people die, to look back on them through beautiful rose tinted glasses, but the truth is, I couldn't say a bad word against the man who protested against and stood up for the LGBTQ+ community like nobody I've ever known. And still I am lucky enough to have memories sat on Weymouth beach eating sushi together, and walking through the 2012 Olympic Village in awe of our 16-year-old-lives. Yet despite the heartache and the giant hole in both the LGBTQ+ community, and what felt like the whole world, hundreds of people came together for a memorial concert featuring Years and Years in London, and despite everything, his close friends and family walked out of his funeral smiling through tears, drinking wine, singing Whitney and making new friends, I have no doubt Dean wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

2017 was here there and everywhere in the best and worst ways. One of my close friends announced she was ENGAGED (immediately we set up a joint pinterest board from our group chat), and then counter that with that week in March when my WHOLE university household got nits and we spent 7 days confined to our house, combing through each others hair. Or that time when I drunk too much red wine by myself and decided to cut my own hair. Luckily, most of the lower moments have been countered by things like my trip to Disneyland Paris in June, and my Harry Potter centred week in London. Even sitting around the table with my family at Christmas dinner, playing games and laughing until our stomachs hurt. Nits is a small price to pay for those kinds of moments.

In blogging life, I did exactly what I set out to do. I fell back in love with blogging. Okay, so maybe we didn't quite manage to do all of blogmas (yet again) but asking me to do 18 days of blogging straight this time last year would have made me laugh at you. Instead, I can't wait to get home and write. I love writing schedules, and thinking of what more exciting things are planned. We even stretched into Alice's Antics on Facebook, AND Alice's Antics on Youtube stepped up a notch, which I hope goes even further in 2018, as I blog and vlog my adventures.

2018 will be a first for me. It's going to be the first full year in my living memory, when I have no plans. No idea what to expect. It's one, giant, blank book, with a flight booked to Sydney on January 18th. Who knows where I'll be this time next year. Who even knows where I'll be for my 23rd birthday in June? It's simultaneously the most exciting and terrifying thought to have. But if 2017 was the year of change, let's make 2018 the year of action.

For the first time in seven years, I've decided to not go out this New Year, and instead will be sitting inside with a cheese board, champagne (ok, prosecco) and one of my best friends both in our pyjamas to see in the New Year. And I am SO excited for it, does that make me old?  Whatever you're doing this New Year, I hope you have a wonderful evening and see in a 2018 full of love, hope and excitement over the next 365 days!

Happy New Year!

Love, Alice x

(I've included some photo highlights of my year below as a 2017 for both you and myself)


18 December 2017

A December Life Update | Blogmas Day 18

We've only got a week left of blogmas, and so I thought I'd write a little update, rather than a sort of churned out featured Christmassy post, about December 2017.

First things first, blogmas has been bloody hard. Working full time and blogging full time makes you realise how people do this for a living, I am literally doing two full time jobs right now and although I'm loving it, I think it's also taking its toll. But, we're on 18 days straight of posting blogs and that is probably (although don't hold me to it) the longest I've ever kept blogmas up for, so I'm extremely pleased!

On top of blogmas, if you didn't know, I'm also filming and editing a weekly vlogmas. Alice's Antics the blog is always my main priority, so I thought I'd vlog daily snippets and combine them into weekly vlogs instead. I'm actually really loving it at the moment as it's such low pressure, and the one coming out tomorrow features my family festive Christmas tree day, which I know I'll be watching for years! It just makes me warm and tingly and I feel like vlogmas is for the vlogger as much as the audience, that's why so many people do it!

Christmas presents are BOUGHT! HOORAY! Because of my life-online pseudo, I often feel a lot of pressure to buy incredible presents. It seems everyone does? And although I wish with all my heart I could spend £2000 on presents, the reality is, I'm a part-time blogger trying to save money. I know people only post their highlights on social media so it's so important not to get bogged down, but Christmas is one of the worst times for comparing with what people have bought each other. I don't even care about myself and what I receive, it's just the pressure of what I've bought other people, I think because I'm trying to save money, I'm really feeling that more than usual this year.

If you (like me) work in retail, you might (like me) have been celebrating Christmas for nearly two months now, but as the last week countdown begins, I'm starting to feel so christmassy. I LOVE it when customers wish me merry christmas, and this week three different customers have bought drinks for strangers! Two of them for homeless people, and one for the stranger next to her. All in the name of Christmas spirit.

I LOVE this time of year, I half feel like I never want it to be over... but a month today I'll be sat on a plane on my way to Sydney, so it's not all bad!

How are you guys finding December 2017?

Love, Alice x


Blogmas Day 17: A Christmas Would You Rather


A Christmas Would You Rather | Blogmas Day 17

It's currently 11pm at night, I got in from work and CRASHED, and I kind of think 'tag' posts on blogs are basically the same as a Q&A from a vlog, people love reading them, but there isn't much substance and it's usually when the creator is all out of ideas for one day/week. And I am happy to admit that right now, that is 100% true. But I want to keep blogmas up, so I found a cute lil festive tag for me to answer in the meantime, and as it turns out, I think I prefer this to the 'Sweater Weather' tag all bloggers ever seem to do! 

  1. Quality Street or Roses? Controversial, but I'm a Quality Street gal... I LOVE NestlĂ© chocolate and am a huge sucker for the green triangles, so Quality Street is actually my favourite kind of ALL the tinned chocolates!
  2. Real tree or artificial tree?
    A real one! I love the smell and the whole process of going out and searching through all the trees and finding your family tree and decorating it. I love real christmas trees, I don't know how you wouldn't? This year is the first year in ages we've had an artificial one and even though it's beautiful, it hurts my heart a little bit.
  3. Love Actually or The Holiday? –Oh God. Love Actually. I love Jude Law in his specs, but will anything beat the large number of turtlenecks and Emma Thomspon's crying scene and the 'you're perfect' cards scene????? Never.
  4. Snow at Christmas or no snow at Christmas? –I'd love to have snow just for one Christmas Day... but otherwise I'm more than happy with frost on the ground. Snow is fatal to people as clumsy as I am, and although I love snow, I hate the brown slush which follows.
  5. Dress up on Christmas day or stay in your pjs? I've always had family round, or gone to a family members house for Christmas Day, so we always dress up. Getting a new outfit on Christmas Day to change into has always been a bit of a tradition, so I'd have to say getting suited and booted! We aren't the family who sits around watching TV specials, we play games, eat too much cheese and sing Christmas Karaoke until 2am.
  6. Christmas pudding or trifle? 
    Ideally neither. But if I had to choose, it'd be Christmas pudding, just because it's not really Christmas if you don't have a slither.

  7. Shopping online or in a store?
    Christmas is just about the only time I'd ever say 'in a store'. I love making a day out of doing the majority of my Christmas shopping. Going into a big town, (for the last 4 years it's been Windsor - London is way too overwhelming), doing all of my shopping with a big old list, and sitting down in a coffee shop feeling very accomplished, accompanied by a hot chocolate.
  8.  The Grinch or Elf?
    ALWAYS The Grinch. I only watched Elf for the first time in about 10 years last week.

  9. Have christmas every five months or every five years? 
    I think I'd rather have it every five years, just because it would make it even more special and exciting. I love Christmas being annually though, no more or less than that please!

  10. Get lots of small presents or one large present?
    This depends really, probably one big present as I'm not that bothered about presents anymore and I'd much rather have one thing which is really useful than lots of little bits I'll forget about.

I hope you're all getting in the festive spirit!

Love, Alice x 


The BEST Wrapping Paper Around This Year | Blogmas Day 16

The only thing for me, more exciting than actually giving and receiving presents, is wrapping them. I LOVE wrapping presents, and at Christmas time I like to make a real little session of it, sticking on a Christmas film (this year it was The Holiday), getting all of the 'equipment out', having a glass of mulled wine, and just taking my sweet sweet time. I'm sort of sad that I didn't shop around more this year for my wrapping, but I was on a tight budget and came across some sensational wrapping paper in POUNDLAND (I know I know), which had the 12 Days of Christmas on it and tiny little sketches. I was so impressed I grabbed three rolls, and since I'm saving money for Australia, I was very happy with my decision to save. However, if you do have a little bit more to spare, I have found the most wonderful wrapping paper ideas for you! 

5. Moons
6. London

Love, Alice x


Why I Love England at Christmas Time | Blogmas Day 15

I have a huge love/hate relationship with my home country. I'm constantly wanting to leave it, but always happy to return, I love the hot weather and tanning myself silly, but there's nothing better to me than curling up in front of a fire. I love being a tourist in old European towns, yet often find myself comparing them to the cotswolds and the stunning 16th century church on the doorstep of my family home. But one thing I can say, is that for me, England does Christmas just right.

London turns into the city of dreams - if you avoid Oxford Street on Saturday - and mulled wine is sold by both stall sellers and every pub alike. We have MINCE PIES and the weather actually gets cold cold. We have towns who dedicate their squares to christmas markets, and children spend November rehearsing to be villager number 3, or the duck (me) in their school christmas plays.

We don't have Thanksgiving or Australia Day or Bastille, or really, any national holiday that we celebrate, so Christmas is our chance to go ALL OUT. And bloody hell do we. Christmas Eve is essentially a chance for everyone in your home town to go out reminiscing and drinking until around 3am and then waking up on Christmas Day to start all again with Bucks Fizz for breakfast.

Christmas time is my favourite time to be British. Even though the trains never run on time because of ice, and people are still talking about Brexit over their mulled cider, we know how to do Christmas. Euston Station turns into a shelter for the homeless, this week three people bought strangers coffee at my work, and Christmas cheer for me is always going to be that much more exciting when you feel it through your hat, scarf and gloves. Even if it means being hungover on Christmas day.

If you celebrate Christmas, how do you do it where you're from?

Love, Alice x


Blogmas Day 13: The Pressure of Life After University

Simple Mince Pie Recipe | Blogmas Day 14

It's not really blogmas until you throw in a festive recipe is it? And this year, I am VERY happy to tell you we have not one but TWO (stay tuned for blogmas day 23...)! But to start off with something a little traditional, I thought I'd share with you my mince pie recipe. This make 20, so it's PERFECT for a party and they're so easy to make!

600g Mincemeat (jar)
1 diced apple
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 Tbsp Cinnamon
450g plain flour 
275g unsalted butter
125g caster sugar
2 medium eggs

1. Use your hands to combine the flour and butter in a bowl, rubbing together until you've created a crumbly mixture 
2. Add the sugar and eggs to the mixture, and use a wooden spoon (or an electric whisk) to fold it over until the mixture begins to stiffen, forming a dough
3. Form a large ball from the dough, cover in cling film and place in the fridge to chill for about 15 minutes and turn on the oven to Gas Mark 7/200C
4. Add the chopped apple, lemon juice and cinnamon to the mince meat and mix well to create the pastry filling 
5. Roll out the dough to approximately half a cm thick, and use a round cutter (or like me, the rim of a pint glass) to cut out 20 circles, and place them into your muffin tray, pressing gently down into the base to form a little pastry shape so you can fill your pies! 
6. Spoon a large tsp of mincemeat mixture into each dough-filled-space in the muffin tray
7. Use either a star shaped cutter, or a slightly smaller circle, to cut out the lids for the pies, and place one on top of each, before brushing an egg white (or milk can work too) to glaze
8. Place in the oven for 20 minutes, turning them halfway through

AND TA DA! You've got yourself some mince pies Santa himself would be proud of! 

Love, Alice x


Blogmas Day 13: The Pressure of Life After University


13 December 2017

The Pressure of Life After University | Blogmas Day 13

University. I feel like it passed in a blur and now it's just one giant, nostalgic, part of my life which has come to an end. It still hurts my brain when I think the best three years of my life (so far) are at an end, I can hardly believe it myself, and it's now been over 6 months since I sat my final exam and said goodbye to life as a Politics student.

Getting a degree, holds a lot of pressure. Not just the pressure of obtaining the degree in the first place, but then actually finding a job where you'll use it. Every single person I know has heard the words 'but how does that relate to your degree' when they tell friends and family what they're doing now. I completely understand the thinking, it's a lot of debt for something you won't use, but the actuality of having the degree in the first place is what often opens the doors for them, whether it's related to the subject they studied or not. The truth is, I probably won't end up in Politics, but I loved studying it, and the discipline and time spent earning my degree is what landed me my job in PR after University.

But now, I'm back home working in a coffee shop, saving up to go away in the New Year. So where does that leave me? The issue is, people often equate a degree to being some sort of stepping stone to having your life figured out, to having it sorted. It's a lot of money to spend to end up working in Starbucks, yes, you're right, but that time spent working in Starbucks, isn't the be all and all. It's a month, or a year of your life, and that's it.

So why am I absolutely mortified any time somebody I went to school with enters the coffee shop I work in? Why do I blush and stutter about how I'm only working here whilst I save up money to go to Australia? There is absolutely nothing wrong with working in a coffee shop, I fully believe anyone who has a job, whatever that may be, is lucky to be employed in the first place. But the pressure and stigma I put on myself, is different. And I hugely think that's because of the pressure of 'succeeding' within a year of graduating from university.

The truth is, life after university is not always graduate schemes in London and £28k salary jobs. It's figuring out what you want to do, it's trial and error and finding out you love one area and hate another. It's living and working at home whilst you decide what new path you want to take. Getting a degree makes you no different to the other millions of people out there, you'll still feel lost, you'll still feel stressed and finding your footing is probably 100x harder because you have people breathing down your neck about that debt. Degree or no degree, we're all still just trying to figure out what makes us happy, and those of us that did go to university just have to do that 3 years later than everyone else.

I'm really feeling the pressure of life after university at the moment, how do you feel about it if you did go? What do you think on the subject if you didn't?

Love, Alice x



12 December 2017

25 Blogmas Post Ideas | Blogmas Day 12

Christmas is, as we all know, the time for sharing. And I've somehow spent the last 4 years avoiding any form of post which offers a guide on how to prevent bloggers block. Probably because usually, I'm the one searching for the help. But 2017 has been my most successful Blogmas yet, and I thought I'd share some post ideas for anyone who needs a kick of inspiration. Blogging everyday is hard when you're not used to it and sometimes it just takes a glimmer of imagination to bring you back down to blogging your heart out. So here are 25 post suggestions to help!

1. A christmas gift guide
2. Christmas party outfits
3. A festive recipe
4. Your favourite childhood
5. Favourite blogmas/vlogmas
6. Things I Love About the Season
7. Being Single/in a Relationship Over Christmas
8. The Peaks and Pits of the Year (a personal favourite of mine)
9. A Christmas Twist on a Classic Cocktail
10. DIY Gift Ideas
11. Sharing Your Favourite Christmas Memory
12. A Where-to-Go Shopping Guide for Christmas Presents
13. Attempt to Make a Gingerbread House
14. Staying Healthy Over the Christmas Period
15. A Christmas Through the Years photo-based post
16. Christmas in ***** (your closest well known city)
17. Elf on the Shelf Ideas
18. Sharing Your Family's Christmas Traditions
19. The Best/Worst Christmas Presents You've Ever Received
20. Secret Santa Gift Guide
21. How to do Christmas on a Budget
22. A Christmas Markets Day-in-the-Life
23. A Guide to the Boxing Day Sales
24. December Bucket List
25. How You've Decorated Your Home this Season

I am LOVING blogging every day at the moment! Even if the posts are going up later and later every day... I hope you're all enjoying getting into the Christmas spirit - it's less than 2 weeks left!

Love, Alice x


11 December 2017

The Look What I Did List 2017 | Blogmas Day 11

If you've been reading this little internet space for at least a year, you'll know over on Alice's Antics, we like to spice life up from the ordinary New Year Resolutions lists (although I do enjoy one of those too - all lists are welcome here) and instead, write a reflection on the year gone by.

1. I GRADUATED from University. The biggest of them all. I am now a graduate. Alice Dodd the graduate. How did that happen? I'm not even sure, but it did definitely happen, I have the paper to prove it, and I am SO proud of myself.

2. I won a university award for my role as Head of Marketing for the student radio station. I never ever thought I'd win any kind of awards at university, but in March this year I won one for my time at Insanity Radio, there may have been tears...

3. I GOT a London job straight out of university.  This remains one of the things I'm proudest of this year, because despite everything, my hard work paid off and I managed to defy the statistics and land a job in PR within a week of finishing my final year exams and exactly where I thought I wanted to be.

4. ....And then I quit said London job and moved back home. I'm going to say it, I actually think this is the bravest life choice I've ever made. It was terrifying and felt a lot like admitting defeat, but it's already turning out to be for the greater good.

5. I made some incredible new friends. Every year I'm astounded at how I've met such fantastic people who didn't exist in my life before now. In my current job and my job in France, I've come across people who I genuinely consider some of my close friends and that is spectacular.

This year has been an absolute rollercoaster, but also a first time EVER because guess who kept all of her New Years Resolutions from the beginning of the year???? Dat me.

Not only did I get a 2.1 and I now read more than ever before, I also went to Paris for the first time ever, said no to being in the rabbit run of life and have fallen back in love with Alice's Antics. So all in all, we could say this has been a very successful year. I love seeing it all written it out like this because sometimes it's so easy to lose sight and put your year down to whether you're 6 stone lighter or have run a marathon.

Turns out, 2017 was a treat.

And we're one year closer to getting rid of Donald Trump.

Love, Alice x



10 December 2017

My Favourite Christmas Jumpers | Blogmas Day 10

It's not really Christmas time until you start seeing people wandering the streets in the most ugly, festive jumpers they can find. Rooting around in the back of your wardrobe to find a trusty old Primark one for 2014, or searching the shops for the one, I'm here to help make the search that much easier. Light up, extra parts, so bright they make your eyes hurt, to the easy, cosy ones. I've got a wide old selection.

I had to sneak in that little dog one because, let's face it, the only thing better than Christmas jumpers is Christmas jumpers for dogs.

Love, Alice x


My Top Blogmas and Vlogmas This December | Blogmas Day 9

December is a busy old month for bloggers and vloggers. Gone is any kind of schedule and instead your schedule consists of EVERY SINGLE DAY. And if you weren't sure, it is quite a lot of work. Hence my week of vlogmas isn't even up yet (it will be soon I promise)!

I thought I'd fill you in on who I'm first to click on in my Youtube sub box, and whose tweets I'm anxiously awaiting to declare their latest blogmas post is out. 


All hail the queen of vlogmas. I am 22 and I will never be embarrassed to say, I am slightly in love with Zoe Sugg. As a business woman, as a vlogger, she is an online queen and to be honest, I fully appreciate why. Vlogmas is where she really shines, and every single day I am so excited to finish work and catch up with her daily vlogs, they're beautifully shot and so festive, vlogmas with Zoe is pretty much a part of my December routine now.  

Niomi makes me feel so good about myself, she's such a ray of light. Her vlogmas has proven no different to her usual light content and it's fab to snuggle down with. 

Alisha is the only American Youtuber I watch so consistently and is also the only American vlogmass-er (is that a word), which gives me such an insight into the over the pond attitude to the festive season! Her vlogs are snappy and bright and I highly recommend heading over to her channel.

Author and mother, Giovanna Fletcher is the ultimate feel good vlogger. Married to Tom Fletcher and the subject of the wedding speech to end all wedding speeches, Giovanna's life on Youtube makes my heart warm. Two adorable children, and absolute couple goals parents, there's literally nothing to dislike.


Amy's blogmas is fab if you're into beauty and fashion. Delivering gift guides and Christmas makeup, it's such a beautiful blog and I officially knew it would be on this list when Amy publishes a day at Blenheim Palace, one of my favourite places in the world. The perfect blog to read through for hours.

Jess writes such a refreshing blog with so much innovation in her posts! From silly winter sweaters (a personal fave) to some of her older posts, Jess of Earth is so a chilled, chatty blog, I've been loving keeping up to date with her blogmases! 

If you know me, and you know Harry Potter, you'll understand immediately what first drew my attention to Victoria's blog. Her content is amazing and the type which makes  you want to up your own game and proving you don't need to be a big time blogger to create great content. The instructions on how to make a Mickey Mouse wreath is one of my favourite blogmas's EVER. 

To be completely honest, a huge part in the appeal I find in reading CaityLoux is how much Caitlyn reminds me of myself and my own style of blogging. Caitlyn doesn't fit into any category, from talking about Orgasms to being 18 and Sober, her blogs are raw and honest and a huge breath of fresh air, and her blogmas follows suit too. 

I hope this gives you some evening inspiration! My taste is so hugely varied, I also read a lot of blogs throughout December which don't post blogmas, but I wanted to give a huge shout out to everyone who does because it is such hard work. Do you watch/read anyone not on this list who you want to recommend?? I'm always on the look out for more material! 

Love, Alice x 


8 December 2017

10 Secret Santa Gifts For Under £10 | Blogmas Day 8

Almost anyone with a job will know, the best thing about Christmas, is the Christmas parties. Getting sloshed with your colleagues is almost never worth the day-after sheepish looks across the office, or the panic flashbacks in your morning shower. And with Christmas parties, comes Secret Santa, what a classic. Luckily for all of us on the receiving end of Secret Santa gifts this year, stores seemed to have upped their game for presents under £10. So I had a little nose around to see what I could come up with to fill your secret santa gift needs. 

Don't try telling me that iridescent flask isn't one of the best things you've seen? Never mind the Bath PUG. Whether you have your Aunt Lesley in family Secret Santa or Tom from Accounts in your work one, it's always a chance to show your sense of humour and simultaneously not get something which will be thrown away the next day.

I'll be back tomorrow with another blogmas, make sure you're keeping up this month with the new blog posts every day!

Love, Alice x


7 December 2017

My Thoughts and Feelings on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child | Blogmas Day 7

If you somehow missed it being plastered all over my social media (if  you’re not following me, why not!?!?!), this week I went up to London to watch Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. We bought tickets back in November 2016, and they’re notorious for being gold dust. Being the huge Harry Potter nerd that I am, I couldn’t have been more excited. The night before, I lay awake in anticipation for the next morning, like a child waking up on Christmas Day.

The Palace theatre itself is breathtaking. Huge marble steps take you up towards the balcony and dress circle, the stage and seats a monumental compared to many of the smaller theatres found in the West End. In itself, the theatre seems to be made for a show like Harry Potter, with an essence of magic within its walls for all those passing through its doors.

The play is split into two parts, part 1 and part 2. And whilst there is a lot of scepticism surrounding the exploitation of fans, having watched it, there is no way to contain what is in essence a spin off book, into one show. Not unless you wanted it to be 4 hours in itself, in which case you’d still be looking at prices of £100 and up. The break between the shows, which we watched in the same day, gave us time to talk about what we’d seen and how ABSOLUTELY MAGICAL IT IS because let me tell you, the stage effects are literally out of this world. 

Growing up, my mum worked in the theatre and her best friend worked in film, which meant I was exposed to a lot of behind the scenes things. I would watch performances when I was 9 and know how they made people disappear, or watch a show at 15 and roll my eyes at people gasping. The Cursed Child blew my mind. People were disappearing and reappearing, shooting up telephones and disappearing from their beds. Even if you hated Harry Potter, had no interest in the theatre and loathed every aspect of the play, I don’t know how you couldn’t walk away with huge respect for the cast and crew for pulling off a performance which, whilst you were in it, made you forget you were in the muggle world. 

Whilst it was fantastic in all of this, there were elements which I was let down by. The first mistake I made was not reading the book of the script, thinking it would spoil what I was waiting for. I went into the theatre completely blind to what was about to happen, but knowing JK Rowling cowrote the script and the plot, I figured I was in safe hands. However, The Cursed Child isn’t, as is widely advertised, the next chapter of Harry Potters life. It’s a new chapter of Albus Severus (Harrys middle child who we meet in the final chapter of the seventh book), which would have been absolutely fine with me, if it wasn’t for the fact it was advertised as being an extension of Harry. Whilst Harry, Ron and Hermione are all heavily featured, as are many of the original characters, it revolves around Albus Severus and Scorpius Malfoy. I can’t comment on the plot too much without giving away spoilers, but I felt like it went full circle and ended almost exactly as it started, which I’ve never been a huge fan of in any medium. This, though, also added to the lack of ‘the next chapter of Harry Potter’ because the majority performance takes place in a very short space of time rather than giving an insight into the new, 36 year old Harry and his life and love and troubles. Which is, admittedly, what I expected and hoped for. 

To enjoy the play in its entirety, you need to approach it from a completely isolated perspective. Completely independent from the film and the book, there is no overlap of music, (although of course there are references and quotes from the books). And it is vital to remember it is a play, another dimension to the Harry Potter world, rather than the sequel we all hoped and dreamed for. The final three Harry Potter books are extremely dark, yet whilst the tones of the plot are dark in themselves, the play is light and funny, and I would argue, is more directed at a younger audience. There’s a lot of laugh out loud moments and some dry humour, but again, as it’s a stage performance, characters have been exaggerated and I found the character of Ron was purely there for comedic purposes with slapstick jokes which to me, undervalued the personality of the character.

I would, without a shadow of a doubt, go and watch it again. I actually think, now I know what to expect, it’ll be better the next time around because there will be no disappointments. The actors carry the weight of the show incredibly, and put on outstanding performances in both halves, particularly Scorpius Malfoy (Samuel Blenkin) who, as I was walking out with the crowds from the theatre, was widely renowned as a favourite. A huge feat for a new character in the most popular book series of all times. 

If you have tickets, go in open minded and a little detached from the original Harry Potter world you know from the books or films. It’s a fantastic piece of theatre, but approaching it with the view of it being completely independent will, I think, make you enjoy the performances even more. It was visually spectacular and bought the little bit of magic most of us need after so long without the magical world. The commotion made around the play is not unwarranted, undoubtedly, the show will continue to sell out for months if not years to come. It seems no matter what form JK Rowling turns her hand to, there are millions of people so attached to this world, we will always come back, anxiously awaiting Hogwarts to welcome us home. 


6 December 2017

Why Self-Care Is Not Found in Green Smoothies (and where to find it) | Blogmas Day 6

I've been having a long old think recently. The kind that makes you reflect on your life, quit your job and travel the world - oh, wait.

Self care is one of those things which carries a bit of a taboo. Think self-care, and you might picture a Kayla Itsines workout, abs of steel and a green smoothie in a perfectly manicured hand. Self care might sound like the kind of thing you find at a yoga session or at a retreat in Bali.

Some people do have the luxury of living these lives, but for most of us, it's not realistic. Self-care is about not comparing yourself to other people and how they care for themselves, and figuring out how to do you. Finding your own comfort zone, discovering what you can do, what you can't do, and what you'd love to be able to do.

Eating healthily and exercising regularly is going to make you feel better, of course it is. But actually finding the mindset to go to the gym? That is part of your self-care regime. Figuring out celery and kale itself isn't going to make you feel like a 10/10, is also part of your self-care regime. Self-care might be found losing yourself in a paint brush and canvas, it might be found taking your dog for a walk, or it might be found in writing. It almost definitely won't be found in Instagram stalking your favourite influencers and comparing their lives to yours.

It's so easy to look at someone and think they're happy. It's even easier for people to create that persona online, and publishing a post of your green smoothie doesn't mean everything's going great in life, it doesn't mean that person isn't having a bad day.

The truth is, you might just need a break. You might just need to sit down in front of a film with a huge tub of Ben and Jerry's. You might even need to admit you have to give up and leave whatever you're doing for a little while, because it's for the greater good, and those are the real things which lead to self-care.

There's only so long you can persuade yourself materialistic things are making life okay, before you have to have some time to reflect on what's going on within. Social media has made false impressions 100x harder, and it's so easy to look at the life of everyone around you through a lens of Facebook and forget they, like you, only post the highlights of their days, weeks and months.

So put down your green smoothie, and get yourself a cup of tea. Think, write, draw, paint, do whatever you can to discover what you really need to do to care for yourself, it might take days, it might take months, but it'll be an even slower process if you think you can find it in kale.

Love, Alice x


5 December 2017

The Christmas Tag | Blogmas Day 5

1. What is your favourite Christmas Movie?
Definitely Home Alone! The soundtrack is so festive and one of my earliest memories is watching it for the first time at my Aunty's and being terrified of the part when the burglar has his head caught on fire! I also love Nativity!, but Home Alone has to be my all time favourite.

2. When do you open your presents?
We open all of our presents on Christmas morning, and always have. This year though my sister is working until the afternoon, so I'm sure we'll wait until she's back for us to open them all together!

3. Do you have a favourite Christmas memory?
One of my favourite days ever was a day in the December of my second year at university, when my housemates and I spent the day at the Harry Potter Studio Tours, and then came home to our other housemate who had made a full Christmas dinner for us (he couldn't make it to the Harry Potter tour)! And we then played articulate and drank wine until the early morning and it was honestly just the best day from start to finish.

4. Favourite festive food? 
To be honest, it's a year round food for me, but baked camembert has to be my favourite festive food - and stuffing when it comes to roast dinners!

5. What's the best Christmas gift you've received? 
Two years ago we got Elviswho was a Christmas present for all of us, so I would be a terrible person if I didn't mention him!!

6. Favourite Christmas scent? 
If I say the wintery smell of like cinnamon and winter spices etc does that make sense? Will people think I've lost my mind? 

7. Do you have Christmas Eve traditions? 
We used to go to the cinema and watch a festive film every Christmas Eve, but for the last few years either myself or my sister have been working. We usually have picky food and watch a festive film in front of the fire when everyone's back home.

8. What tops your Christmas tree?
A star! Although it broke last year... so it looks like we'll be investing in a new one!

9. Where do you spend Christmas?
It varies! Either at home or at a family members, we've only ever spent about 3 Christmases alone as a family of 4 though, and I have to say, I much prefer the bigger the better kind! Being surrounded by family is what counts the most though.

10. What's the best thing about Christmas for you?
The cheer! No matter where you go in the build up for Christmas, people are feeling festive, there's little things going on to prepare and I just feel like there's this unspoken consensus of like 'yes it's Christmas'. I LOVE it. 

Love, Alice x



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