How to make the kitchen the heart of Christmas

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Kitchen Counter

If you were to ask what the heart of the home is, the kitchen would be right up there; alongside the living room and a subscription to Neflix perhaps; either way, the kitchen is no longer just a place where you prepare a quick meal, or in most cases, scramble for snacks; no matter the hour.

The humble kitchen is where life happens, and with Christmas tomorrow (arrrrrgghhh!), I know how much time I will be spending there, and like many of you, how much fun/panic stations/arguments over the best way to make fluffy spuds etc will be done in one room.


So when it comes to making the kitchen the beating heart & soul of the home this Christmas, here are just a few tips some

1) Create your space

One of the top tips I’ve seen is from the kitchen company SDB Kitchensit all has to do with space. “One of the biggest things people complain about is space; whether that is cooking the Christmas meal or entertaining afterwards. There is little you can do about re-designing your kitchen now, but what you can do is give yourselves a head start by clearing up your worktops from clutter. Pack away cookbooks (keep the one you need for your Christmas meal, naturally), put utensils in a big jar or draw, or even box them and put to the side, and keep all of your working areas free. That will create a grand illusion of space and costs 10 minutes of your time!”


2) Decorations to a minimum

We all love Christmas decorations, they can make rooms look and feel festive. Go to a Christmas fete and stall and you can pick up some beautiful pieces. The trick is to not go OTT but to bring about the warm look and feel of Christmas to the kitchen. Small Christmas wreaths to hanging decorations work best, especially if you’re trying to save space on worktops and counter areas. Use contrasting colours to bring out the different looks and feel to the living space.


3) Create a drinks area!

Drinks Station

Another great tip from Stefano and his team is “create a drinks area.” I was dubious at first but this sounds like one of the better ideas I’ve seen. “If you’re trying to get friends and family together, a little drinks area which has a selection of wines, spirits of even soft drinks that people can go to and mingle around, especially after the meal, can be one of the best things you can do. Plus, if you’re hosting, it stops you from having to get up all the time to see if someone wanted a drink It’s a great centrepiece for fun and laughter!”


4) Get your playlist right!

Finally, if you really want to bring the spirit of Christmas into the home this year, then you’d need look no further than a good playlist to accompany you through the day. From Christmas spirited tunes whilst you’re cooking and chatting away to more sedate music for food, this could be the start of getting a yearly tradition in with playlists and requests before your Christmas hosting duties arrive.


Are you ready for the festivities?
PS - Make sure you're dining rooms fit for the festivities with my dining room wishlist!

Alice Megan

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Look in my letterbox #1

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Look in my letterbox is back boys and girls! Before I relaunched my blog I think this was definitely my favourite feature, I thoroughly enjoyed hosting this linky and the group of people that linked up were beyond amazing so I'm surprised it's taken me so long to get around to starting the Linky again!

If you've not been here before here's a brief overview of the linky:

  • Look in my letterbox (#LIML) is a linky to showcase what you've had through the post this week, whether that is purchases, competition wins, blog review items or bills etc.
  • Linky runs Saturday to Friday each week
  • Mention me on twitter with @alicemegan1993 and #LIML to receive a retweet
  • Grab the LIML badge and share with your friends!
  • Alice Megan
So what have I got to show you for my first week back? Well time may have passed but the fact I'm an amazon addict has certainly not changed


LIML #1


[1] Superman Bath Duck £4.97 [Purchase]
[2] Happy Jackson Notebook £8.95 [Purchase]
[3] BIC Colour Pencils £2 [ Purchase]

These are the last little bits of Xmas presents! I'm well pleased with myself that I've managed to complete my xmas shopping pretty early this year, now onto the mammoth task of wrapping


What have you had through the post this week?


Alice Megan

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Alice in Tinderland PT.1

Monday, 28 November 2016

Earlier this year I found myself single for the first time as an adult - scary right! (read about my new chapter here) so after a little time soul searching I decided to take the plunge into online dating and that decision has led to the crazy ass world I now live in. Tinder tinder tinder - everyone who's singles on it right? or at least tried it!

Well my foray into the dating scene has been interesting to say the least and I thought I'd share my disasters with you guys because well if I don't laugh with someone I might cry from embarrassment with some of them so off we go down the rabbit hole into my adventures on Tinderland

Heart games

#1 - Mr Patronising

Ahh my first ever tinder date! It was never going to go well was it? Life's just not that simple. He seemed nice and normal enough he was definitely a gentleman taking me out for food and cocktails and paying, however if he reminded me once that he'd done that he reminded me a gazillion times. Oh and he also made a point of telling me that I'd put my knife and fork incorrectly on my plate after my meal. Needless to say my first date while pleasant enough definitely wasn't a keeper patronising does not get my heart racing. Oh and his shirt choice was enough to make me want to run for the door as soon as I got there

#2 - Mr BFF

I'm clearly not using Tinder right am I? Date number two was definitely an improvement on the first, he was more my kind of guy and our personalities bounced off of each other excellently. A few meetings more and football matches a plenty we realised that we're so far in that friend zone and I couldn't be happier! So I didn't find love but what I did find is truly one of the nicest boys I've ever met (when he's not being a sarcastic twat!) he's picked me up many a time brushed me off and sent me on my way. I know I can rely on him and I know we'll be friends for a very long time! I'm counting this one as a tinder success

#3 - Mr Cheat

Oh how naive I was. This guy was continually vague about everything from where he worked to where he lived, I thought he was mysterious - turns out he was making sure I didn't find out he had a girlfriend. I did find out and gave him absolute hell. Turns out a mutual friend knew him and his girlfriend found out about his antics not too long ago. Karmas a bitch guys and gals it will always find you

#4 - Mr Skaterboy

So one of the first things you do on Tinder is set an age limit, mine was set that I didn't get any babies (18 - 19) looking for fun yet after a drunken swiping sesh with one of my girlfriends I matched with skaterboy. He was 19 and we got on great lots of chatting into the night and cinema dates etc. ultimately our lives were at different stages and that's fine but I've got fond memories and we still chat occasionally. 

#5 - Mr Mummys Boy

Probably the closest I've come to an actual tinder relationship. I met Mummys Boy and everything moved really fast! Within a week or so I  was constantly at his flat. We spent a lot of time together and really got along well, I developed feelings for him and the feeling was mutual. Looking back god I was absolutely blinded by lust. He was a complete Mummys boy and simply looking for a replacement, he was inept at looking after himself and I genuinely have never met someone so utterly childish in my whole life not to mention manipulative. This guy actually held my coat ransom after I ended it for almost 2 weeks. I imagine he'll be back at home crying to mummy about why he can't find a girl to baby him.

TBC - part two of my tinderland stories will be live soon
Have you got any Tinder stories?

Alice Megan

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Finishing touches with Enesco and Litecraft

Monday, 21 November 2016

Around two months ago I wrote a post about transforming my bedroom, I no longer liked what it had become and it was full of memories and I felt I needed a more grown up look that was more 'me' so here's how it turned out:

Monochrome Bedroom

I adore my new bedroom from the new carpet to the glittery stripy walls. I've gone for really muted tons with a definite monochrome edge, lots of greys, whites and blacks. Once I'd got all the bulky furniture in it was time to start on the finishing touches, everything from curtains to duvet covers. I think one of the most important features of any room is the lighting! I wanted something that fit in with my new style and made my room look cosy. I headed over to Litecraft* to see what they had to offer.

Litecraft have been at the forefront of lighting solutions for over 60 years so I knew I was in the right hands, with a great mix of traditional designs and new trending designs I knew I'd find something I'd like
Litecraft lamp shade
I picked a black dome shade, it's such great quality and lets a soft amount of light through creating a really cosy mood in my room, the ridges on th actual shade mean the reflections on the wall look like a starburst effect which I love. Delivery took 3 days and I'd definitely head to Litecraft again as I was very impressed

After getting all the furniture in I felt it needed a little personality and thankfully Enesco* were there to help out. Famed for their contemporary gift and home market they sell such a diverse range of products to add those little touches of personality to your home decor. I had the pleasure of ordering a few bits and bobs to give those finishing touches to my newly decorated room

Enesco gifts
First up I chose a globe, this one's so small and cute and the black and silver fits in perfectly with my room! I've been using it as a book end but occasionally just take a look at where I'd love to travel across the world - £28

Next up my love of Disney! Oh wow I was truly spoilt for choice on this one as Enesco have so many beautiful Disney goodies, I finally settled on a musical Belle - £37 who is truly beautiful she spins around to tale as old as time in her beautiful yellow ball gown. I adore beauty and the beast and feel this is such a special piece.

Continuing with my love is Disney is Marie from aristocats - £19 now if you read my blog regularly you'll know my love of cats is strong and I'd say aristocats is one of my most watched Disney movies, I love marie she's so classy and elegant and this cute figurine with the pink bow looks perfect on my dressing table

Finally I nearly squealed when I saw this! Grumpy cat Birthday - £12 is such a little cutie! It's so soft and furry and has pride of place on my windowsill.

I really feel with the disney, travel and cat injections my bedroom definitely reflects my personality better - Enesco is such a wonderful site and the perfect place for those special xmas presents this year

What finishing touches do you go for?



Alice Megan

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Kitten Kollege yearbook

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Did you ever read about the Kitten Kollege?

Well it got me thinking - imagine if cats really had to go to college, do all the same lessons that humans do and of course with me being a crazy cat lady I just had to make that thought into reality and luckily I had three very willing participants

Sleeping cats

First thing's first no-one ever wants to get out of bed in a morning - pussycats are no different, here's Casper doing his morning stretches - he'd definitely use the snooze button more than once
Cat stretches

Once they've finally dragged themself out of bed and headed to college it's time to start the lessons, first up is English. Domino's favourite book is Harry Potter he loves reading about Crookshanks the cat and daydreaming about how he could be a magical pet
Cat reading Harry Potter

Next up is Geography, despite Leo never wanting to venture further than the back garden he is very interested about the world and where his ancestors live (but he still prefers home!)
Cat geography

Maths is Casper's favourite subject although he hasn't quite worked out the calculations on how to get more Whiskas cat food* than his brothers

Cat calculator

Next up is ICT and Domino spends his time googling how to get rid of his pesky brothers, a complete attention seeker he doesn't do well with sharing and definitely wants to be everyone's favourite
Cat glasses and Ipad

Final lesson of the day is Music! Leo is very tuneful spending his time listening to the Pussycat dolls and meowing along to 'What's new pussycat'
Cat wearing headphones

My boy's are so clever I'm convinced they'd do well at school! In fact Casper's already trying his graduation cap on he's that confident

Cat graduation

Which lesson would be your cat's favourite? 
Which of my boys do you like best!

This post is a collaboration with WHISKAS®, but all thoughts are my own. Check out their YouTube channel for fantastic Kitten Kollege videos

Alice Megan

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How to wear party dresses in Autumn

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

The seasons have changed and the weather is cooler which means one thing - party season is just around the corner. Whether it's Halloween or Christmas or just a Saturday on the town the season change doesn't mean your party dresses* need hanging up they just need reworking!

Simplybe party dress

Take this gorgeous lace dress from Simplybe a month or so ago I could wear it all on it's own enjoying the summer sunshine in the beer gardens (If you are enjoying a late break in the sun check out my holiday dress ideas). Now instead of hiding it away till next year here's 3 top tips for wearing party dresses in Autumn

[1] Knitwear

If you need a day to night outfit then don't forget your knitwear, a cosy jumper with just the collar of the dress peeking through or a longline cardigan means you can party away till your hearts content as you'll be prepared for the evening chill - make sure your knitwear is cared for correctly there's tons of tips on the George blog*

[2] Tights

Ahhh the saviour of all women's legs everywhere. Haven't had the chance to quite prep your legs as much as you do in the summer? Problem solved hide the fuzz and keep your legs warm at the same time bonus! Definitely invest in some thick wooly tights and just because the seasons changed doesn't mean you can't bring a pop of colour to your outfit. For this dress any colour would work I particularly like a mustard colour very autumn themed

[3] Boots

Finally, top off your newly autumn outfit with a pair of kick ass boots. Ditch those flats and get a chic pair of ankle boots or even knee high leather boots. They're definitely worth the investment as they'll last for years

Following these three simple tips your summer dresses can be transformed to make you Autumn ready

What are you wearing this Autumn?

Alice Megan

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Invest in personal development

Thursday, 6 October 2016

I'm 23 now, an actual adult (apparently) which means I have to do real grown up things such as work and clean and cook! Now don't get me wrong I've been working since I was 16 and believe me I've had an eclectic mix of jobs. But I've finally found something I love and it was completely unexpected.


I now work in recruitment and what I love most is that I feel like I'm constantly learning something new. I feel valued and the personal development I'm offered means I'm staying on top of my game the entire time. Working within recruitment I obviously spend the day talking to people about career options and the job market and I've seen the importance (especially after Brexit!) of recruiting the right people but also keeping a hold of the best staff for your company and there's one ridiculously obvious way to do his: Invest in personal development

Personal development at work

It's baffling how few companies in this employers market are actually investing in their new staff with training and development, Penna* believe it's the best way of retaining current staff

I mean think about it? You obviously saw something in the staff you recruited so why not support that talent with opportunities to grow and develop, all it can do is strengthen your company. Not only will it work with existing staff but word will get out about how supportive an organisation you are and what a great place it is to work therefore attracting even more talent to your pool.

If your staff are happy and feel valued you're more likely to retain them too! Meaning your investment in their development will continue rewarding you for years to come.

Do you feel you're company invests in you?
How do you invest in your staff?

Alice Megan

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Dining Room Wishlist

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Where did you eat your last meal?
In fact when did you last eat a meal at the dining table together as a family?

It seems the practice of eating together and catching up on everyone's day has become a little redundant with busy work lives, tablets and mobiles taking over. Many people now opt to eat their meals in front of the TV while scrolling on their phones. Despite the fact that eating at the dining table can aid mental health and also weight loss as you're concentrating more on your food.

I've been thinking and when I get my dream home a dining room* will be one of the staple points - somewhere to spend time relaxing after a hard day eating good food.

Dining room wishlist

I have quite a minimalist taste preferring a classic look but with warm touches of decor in the form of lighting/candles

I think the understated style and clean lines of the crockery would work really well with the eclectic light pendant and candles for those cosier evenings spent drinking wine and having a catch up. Perfect for hosting friends for dinner parties

Do you have a dining room? 
How often do you use it? 

If you enjoyed this post why not check out my Bedroom transformation post!

Alice Megan

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Enrol your feline into Kitten Kollege

Monday, 26 September 2016

Now I haven't got my title of crazy cat lady by accident. I adore cats and have three boys to prove it (Left to right: Domino, Leo, Casper). My boys were all rescue cats and I've had them all from kittens and spent my time making sure they're really well behaved and it was certainly testing at times

Alice Megan Cat Collage
See look at them! How angelic when they're sleeping right?

Now many people just buy a cat and assume it will be easy! We've all seen the adverts right? about pets being for life. Well it's a very serious decision to get a cat, with an average lifespan of 15-17 years it's a big commitment to make. There are many factors involved such as where to get your cat from and what breed down to more practical questions such as what food or how to litter train your cats. There are lots of cat care tips provided by the RSPCA* which should ensure you're fully kitted up and prepared for your new arrival.

Whiskas* have also just released a collection of Kitten Kollege videos which answer everything you could possibly need to know about getting a kitten and how to get them behaving their best



Plus even if you have cat's already and you think they don't need to enrol into kitty kollege you definitely need to watch the videos just to see all the adorable little pussycats sat in their lecture!

Have you got any cats?
Do they need to go to Kitten Kollege?

Alice Megan

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Branston - Make it special!

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Branston - it's basically an institution. The pickle is infamous and since 1922 it's been improving many a meal time from the basic cheese sandwich to much more intricate recipes. Everything can be improved with Branston*. What many people may not know is that beyond the original Branston pickle is a delicious range of condiments that can make any meal special

Branston Pickle Range

Branston Rich and Smoky BBQ Sauce

First up is the rich and smoky BBQ sauce, this is exactly what it says! It's a smooth rich BBQ sauce with a really tasty smokiness to it. I found it had less of a sharp bite to usual BBQ sauces and was a much richer alternative.
Recipe idea: BBQ Ribs 

Branston Original Pickle

Original is often best! It's not the nation's favourite by accident and this chunky pickle maintains all its yumminess from over the years from a great mix of pickled vegetables. Perfect accompaniment for a cheese sandwich or something a little more filling
Recipe idea: Cheese and Pickle Pie 

Branston Sweet Chilli Pickle

A delicious alternative to the original pickle is the yummy sweet chilli pickle! It has a similar taste to the original pickle but sweeter and then a real chilli kick
Recipe idea: Sweet chilli chicken salad

Branston Caramelised Onion Chutney 

Chutney as well as Pickle! Branston have you covered on all corners, this is definitely my favourite! It tastes amazing a really strong tangy taste and so versatile
Recipe idea: Bacon, cheese and onion burger

Branston Tomato and Red Pepper Hot Dog Relish

This is the perfect accompaniment for so so many meals! The combination of tomato and red pepper is delicious, it has a real depth of flavour and is very rich. The squeezy bottle makes it great for those social gatherings - sure we can all squeeze one last BBQ in before the weather turns right?
Recipe idea: Pizza hot dogs

What's your favourite?

Alice Megan

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Transforming my bedroom

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

I've recently started a new job and with my first full months wages I've decided to completely transform my bedroom! So here's what I've been looking at getting:

Grey bedroom wishlist

I'm definitely going to be taking advantage of the Littlewoods sale, it means I can spend quite a bit on gorgeous pieces of furniture and spread the cost over a number of months. I've completely fell in love with the Prague high gloss collection and I definitely want a TV bed it would help me save so much space in my bedroom. If I'm changing my entire room then I definitely need new bed linen* I love how classy the wide strep bedding is and it would go with anything. Colour wise I'm thinking greys, blacks and whites with just pops of colour like a hot pink. I've found the perfect carpet from united carpets and beds and I'm even planning on wallpapering to match my new theme. My room will be completely different once it's finished!

With my new plans the main unit will be on one side of the room and I've been looking for something to really bring the other wall to life, something to make it stand out and be really unique so when I discovered transformawall* I knew it was perfect! They specialise in a range of wall coverings made of fabric which create a really unique canvas. It's fully customisable for your wall length and there's such a huge range of picture choices.

Transform a wall canvas

 However I took advantage of the ability to upload my own picture. I'm a Sheffield girl born and bred so I picked a night scene of my home city to go on my wall. Once it arrived I followed the very simple instructions (literally the easiest instructions ever!) and got it popped up onto the wall. The canvas slots perfectly into the metal frame making the picture appear seamless, it's almost as though it's painted on.

It looks fantastic! Plus it will fit in with my new colour scheme. The quality is outstanding, the canvas picture itself is so accurate to the photo I sent and I'm so pleased with how it turned out - I'd definitely recommend them if you're looking for a statement piece for any room

What picture would you choose?

Alice Megan

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Panasonic SC-RB5 Bluetooth Speaker review

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Music.
It's an integral part of my life, it can transform your mood, the atmosphere of a party / room and even take you back to the best and worst parts of your life. Music has changed dramatically over the years from Vinyl to cassettes, to CDs to now where most people stream all their music online.

I tend to listen to the majority of my music through spotify on my phone which is fine if I want to listen solo but the speakers are no good for sharing music with friends, step forward the Panasonic SC-RB5


Panasonic SC-RB5 Bluetooth Speaker review

Weight: 0.5kg
Diameter: Less than 10cm
Height: Less than 6cm
Price: £79.99

This little beauty uses very clever technology called 'Resonance Bass' which basically means it vibrates through the base onto the surface it's sitting on thus amplifying both the bass and volume. It also changes the sound based on what you've placed it on

The device itself is ridiculously easy to set up and took me less than a minute to synch the bluetooth between the speaker and my iphone, I also love that you can connect numerous speakers together to further boost the sound.

The device is ultra sleek and cute with a black and silver theme with blue lighting detail. The bottom blue line actually flashes in time with your music which looks fab. With a range of around 10 meters and a battery life of up to 12 hours it's perfect for all those summer occasions from BBQ's to Beach parties just pop it in your bag and place on a solid surface once you're there

I think while the price is a little high, you're getting far superior quality when compared to others on the market especially as it's also splash proof with the resonance bass capability. It's built to last and has certainly got me blasting music out in the sunshine we've been enjoying

What would you play first?

Alice Megan

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Fantastic Holiday Dress Ideas

Monday, 19 September 2016

Holidays are great, but deciding what you are going to wear can be a real pain. I cannot tell you how often I have ended up packing multiple times because of my inability to decide what to take.
Fortunately, I am getting better at packing, and am far more decisive than I used to be. I am also less forgetful.

Suitcase for holiday

What are you going to be doing?

For me the key to successful packing is quickly jotting down what I am planning to do while I am on holiday. Doing this allows me to make a list of clothes I will need for each activity.
Next, I factor in the weather. If I think it is going to be hot, I take mainly lightweight clothes, but always make sure I have something to wear just in case the sun does not come out. Doing this reduces the risk of me forgetting anything important.

Packing simply

It is also a good idea to pack simply. At the end of the day, you are on holiday, so just relax. You really do not need to look flawless.
To look good and stay comfortable in a sunny climate all you really need is a couple of women's summer dresses*. Most are lightweight, which means you should not end up with overweight luggage.
Provided you fold them carefully then roll them up loosely, your dresses should not crease too badly. If they do, put them on a hanger and leave them on the back of the door when you take a hot shower. This usually makes the creases drop out.
I also pack a skirt and a pair of shorts as well, with a couple of my favourite tops. If I want more, I buy them at the resort.
Normally, I wear jeans to the airport, and a light jumper, so if it gets chilly I have something to wear. If the weather is bad for a few days, I might buy another pair of trousers, but normally this is not necessary.

Something for the beach

Another lesson I have learnt the hard way is to pack properly for the beach. In the past, I would just pack a couple of costumes and some sun cream. 
Straw Hat and Sunglasses
Now I always pack a hat and my own lightweight towel. Hotels do not like you taking their towels to the beach, and they will stop you doing it if they catch you, so it is better to take your own. Packing a hat and a light dress to shrug on when your skin has had enough of the sun will allow you to enjoy the beach for longer.

Use a packing list

I mentioned earlier that I was getting less forgetful. Unfortunately, this is not strictly true. The truth is that if I do not use a packing list, I still end up having to buy things at the resort. I guess that means I am actually just as forgetful as ever, but using a checklist ensures that I notice what I have missed before it is too late.
This site allows you to create a pack list that is tailored to the type of trip you are planning. It is easy to use, and a good way to make sure you do not forget anything. I hope that helps, and that you find packing for your next trip less of a hassle.

What's your top holiday packing tip?

Alice Megan

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A new chapter...

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Sheffield City Centre
Hola!
Welcome to a brand new chapter in the Alice-megan blog journey. Now if you've been here before you may be wondering what the hell happened right? This blog has been running for roughly 3 years now, I consistently posted every week, and then I just slipped off the radar.

Life got difficult. I'm not going to lie, when I started this blog my life was very different. I was at university studying my undergrad and then my masters degree. I spent my whole life in one relationship and a few months ago everything changed. I'm now pursuing a career I love in recruitment, (oh haii irrelevant degrees!) and also making my way as a single adult for the first time in my life.

My blog was my baby, it really was. But as life changed I didn't feel it had evolved with me, I felt all the posts were cutesy and sweet and what I was supposed to write. It was full of memories from a life I no longer live, and I couldn't write without being reminded of everything. So I decided to take the plunge and let go - write a new chapter of my life. This time a little less cutesy and a lot more 'me'

So hear I am - brand new design, brand new chapter and the real me!
Hope to have you along for the journey guys and gals 
It's sure to be a fun one

Alice Megan

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