Monday, 31 December 2018

2018 Year in Review

So we're coming to a close to 2018, it's the last day of the year and I'm sure everyone's looking forward to 2019 right? Yep me too full of renewed vigour, to be honest I always thought that new year new me bullshit was exactly that, but as I look back at what in reality has been the best year of my life I do wonder how much of that comes down to the goals I set way back in January 2018 and the 101 in 1001 goals list I created in March so here's a big review of my year, the goals I achieved and the blog posts you guys loved

Gold streamer, 2018 in review

My 2018 Resolutions

[#1] Pass my driving test - I managed this way back in January and 3rd times a charm, I love my little car. I can't say I drive a whole heap but it gave me so much freedom
[#2] Buy a car - Which leads me on to this! I managed to get a really good finance deal on my little VW up and I managed to buy my very first car in February 
[#3] Make friends and influence people - So this resolution could have gone slightly better, but I did put myself out there and went to a few social events, I made a few acquaintances but I'm still incredibly socially awkward and anxious and this probably isn't going to change 
[#4]  Promotion - I had a pretty damn amazing year at work, I did almost double the amount of placements as 2017 and this has meant that as of January I will be a Senior Delivery Consultant. 
[#5] Explore Sheffield - This is always going to be an ongoing thing but I'm really pleased with my progress with this goal, I'm managing to even explore lots of other places too I'm keeping a track of all the new places I visit on tripadvisor and I'm loving visiting new places and getting to know my world a little better
[#6] Relationship - Take things slowly - I'm in a totally different place to where I was this time last year and I genuinely cannot be more thankful for how things have panned out. The person I was seeing at that time was so wrong for me, like WOW looking back I can't believe I ever thought otherwise. But it taught me a lot, I mentioned not being in control and I really wasn't. Everything aligned for me when I met Connor and it made complete sense why other relationships hadn't worked out. I no longer worry about taking it slow, this boys my forever and I can't wait to make my life with him
[#7] Enter Competitions - Not something I did, and really? I don't think I can find the time alongside blogging, working and living to make it a successful hobby like it used to be. Unfortunately this one will fall by the way side
[#8] Lose weight - Ha! The less said the better. Coming soon in 2019 Alice tries yet again with the same resolution she's had for the past 5+ years
[#9] Blogging - So this was a 'just do it' kind of goal, and between this and comping one of them was going to fail. 59 posts later and it's clear that blogging is where I want to be. I love writing, I love the creativity and I love being able to have my own little space to vent, share and laugh with all my readers
[#10] Tidy up - I had a goal of downsizing in preparation for when I eventually had enough money to buy a house, never in my wildest dreams did I think that 2018 would be the year I'd become a homeowner, rather than tidying my existing space I've now managed to fill a whole house with it! I'm so pleased with just how far i surpassed this goal!

So all in all 10 resolutions were made, 6 were 100% successful with another 2 in constant progress (making friends and exploring will never see an end) with only 2 goals not really seeing much progress - I'm taking that as a huge win!

My 101 in 1001 goals

In March I get to reading about the Day Zero Project, and with my being a constant goal setter I loved the idea of something longer term than one year I did do an update post on this but as we're now 294 days into my 1001 I thought I'd take a proper look at where we stand

[1] Explore Sheffield - As per my resolution this one will be forever ongoing [IP]
[2] Visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando - OMG I actually surprisingly completed this one
[7] Buy a house - I expected this towards the end of the challenge but I'm over the moon with it
[8] Get an Alice in Wonderland tattoo - Tick! I love my Alice tattoo 
Alice in Wonderland Tattoo

[11] Decorate my new home - I still have heaps of stuff to move down but I've made a start [IP]
[13] A-Z movie list - Connor made me a list, I've not made a huge dent but I've watched a few [IP]
[19] Go to the Zoo - We went to Chester Zoo!
[22] Get promoted to Senior Delivery Consultant at work - Effective starting in January
[25] 10k followers on social media - Currently sat just over the 12k mark!
[26] Blog 3 times a week consistently - I managed once a week in 2018 [IP]
[27] Visit 10 new to me UK cities - Oxford, Chester, Manchester, Nottingham [IP]
[29] Go to Thorpe Park - I finally did this after years of wanting to
Thorpe Park Selfie
[30] Meet someone special - If I haven't already gushed about him too much Connor ticks all the boxes
[41] Go to a movie drive in - Outdoor cinema screening of the Greatest Showman definitely counts
[42] 'Try' Pinterest Pins rather than just pinning and leaving - Constantly doing this now [IP]
[43] Work out my depression and don't allow it to catch me in the winter months - I still have wobbles, I still have really shit days but I feel I've done much better this winter [IP]
[48] Once moved out rescue a cat / dog - My Tilly cat completes our little family
Tilly Ragamuffin cat
[52] Cook / Bake one new thing every week - I try to do this, especially now I have my own kitchen
[53] Get a caricature made of me - We had one done at Thorpe Park
[57] Tell someone I love them and truly mean it - Every single day now to Connor
[65] Start budgeting properly - I have a budget calculator and everything proper adulting
[69] Order from every takeaway that delivers to me on just eat - Making a dent in this list! [IP]
[70] Go to 10 concerts / shows - Blue Man Group in Orlando, Aladdin Pantomime [IP]
[76] Complete my Harry Potter Jigsaw - Completed!
[91] Go on a murder mystery weekend - We went on a virtual murder mystery in Sheffield

So there we go, 16 tasks fully completed with another 9 in progress I think is good going, I've already got some fab plans in place for next year which will see me add some other big ones as completed on this list but I'm really happy with my progress 

All in all 2018 was pretty damn special and 2019 is going to have to be epic to beat it, but I'm confident!

How was your 2018?


Thursday, 20 December 2018

Top 5 - Last Minute Christmas Gifts

OMG it's 5 days until Christmas and you're in full on panic mode right?
If you've been following my gift guide series you'll know I've covered everything from entertainment to food and drink to mens gift ideas. But this guide is for you, you last minute shopper who's waited till pay day and is going to bosh all the Christmas shopping in to these last few days

I don't know how you do it, it would send my anxiety into overdrive BUT you'll also get the best bargains as sales are already happening, here's my top 5 last minute gifts

Top 5 Last Minute Christmas Gifts

I love this present! There's so many bath and body sets aimed at women but I for one know that men also love to relax in the bath with lotions and potions and this is a sure fire way to make sure my boyfriend stops stealing my bath bombs! It's been reduced by £4 and is already gift wrapped ready to present - winning!

Roald Dahl Collection - REDUCED to £26.99 - The Book People
Buy this. Instantly. If your little ones don't already own these books it's a cracking deal of 15 books which comes to around £1.80 a book. I have great memories of reading all the Roald Dahl books and think you'd struggle to find a better childrens author

Playstation Gold Wireless Headset - REDUCED to £49.85 - ShopTo
If you have a gaming mad teen, or even just for yourself this is a great offer saving almost £20 on RRP price of the noise cancelling, experience enhancing wireless headset with 7.1 virtual surround sound, nothing says Christmas like hiding away and playing on your playstation

Pre-filled Christmas Stocking - REDUCED to £15 - Hawkins Bazaar
This is so easy it's almost cheating! Perfectly pre-filled christmas stockings for a range of ages and interests covering kids, men and star wars themed. Each stocking apparently has £50 worth of items but I'd take a guess at a lower price away from RRP. Either way it's easy and will have lots of little goodies that will go down a treat

Everyone loves chocolate and pizza right? Why not combine two of the loves of my life with a chocolate pizza. Made with delicious belgian chocolate and presented authentically in a pizza box this present is on the right side of novelty and will make the giftee smile as they enjoy a slice

What's your last minute bargain?

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Christmas at Home

As I'm winding down at work ready for Christmas this year it all feels very strange, I'm trying to be all festive and full of Christmas Spirit but something just isn't clicking, and I think that's because Christmas this year is going to be very different. 

Over the past year I've moved out of my parents home and I'm giving this adulting a go in my own home, I've managed to find myself the literal love of my life like he's basically the boy version of me it's amazing, I've also sadly also lost my Granddad which is where we went every Christmas night, so I've been feeling a little apprehensive around plans and what to expect.

Candy Canes Heart, Grey Background

For me home has a very special meaning, just like Dorothy 'there's no place like home*'. I'm at my happiest when I'm cuddled up on my sofa with Connor and the cat, twinkling Christmas lights lit and The Grinch on TV (Old grinch is the best Christmas film ever)

I'm not an overly extrovert person, I'm not going to be out drinking all festive period or socialising with people who I don't like the rest of the year. I'm really happy at making new memories in my own home

It's been really tough deciding what to do on Christmas day and I'm sure that's a feeling everyone can relate to, who's parents house do you go to? Who's cooking? What order do you do the day? Who the hell hid the TV remote?

We've decided that while it is our first year in our own house, Christmas is a time for family, and as I'm an only child I know my parents miss me a lot. My Christmas routine is going to start with working Christmas eve unfortunately, but will then be followed by going out for a meal and pizza (because we always start Christmas having the most unChristmassy food we can) before heading back and watching Die Hard (another solid Christmas tradition). Then it's new pyjamas so you're all dressed up for santa's visit - Yes I'm 25 don't judge me!

On Christmas morning we'll have lots of Christmas music playing while we enjoy some pastries while opening presents before my mum cooks the Christmas Dinner (me and my dad are more of a hindrance so we stay out of the way!)

Before coming back together with Connor at our home on Christmas Day evening to have our own little Christmas full of presents and chocolate and xmas films, it's going to be a nice change to have a quieter Christmas night with just Connor as we normally go to my Granddads and play games. It's going to be tinged with sadness without my Granddad but I'll make sure me and Connor play at least one crazy game in his memory. I'm really looking forward to making memories with Connor on our first Christmas together and having our own little traditions

Home is subjective, home is where I live, and yet my parent's house is still home, my granddparents house is still home and it made me realise that home isn't necessarily 4 walls and a roof, it's more about the feeling of belonging, the feeling of happiness and comfort and to me that lies with family. Home is where the heart is and my family is where my heart will always lie

What are your Christmas traditions?

Sunday, 16 December 2018

How to get your teeth whitened professionally

We're coming up to the end of the year which means it's time to reflect on resolutions and goals, I made New Years resolutions but I also made a 101 in 1001 list this year and I've made great progress on both (I'll be writing a full round up post towards the end of the year) but I thought I'd take a look at some of my 101 goals I'm yet to complete and how feasible they are next year. One I've been really looking into is getting my teeth whitened professionally

Now I've been really lucky in that I've never had to have anything done to my teeth at all, no braces, no fillings and they've generally been in quite good condition. However I don't think they're quite as white as they could be (now I'm not planning a Ross from Friends moment but still). I've been looking into cosmetic dentistry* because I want it to be professional and I've tried those at home kits before, I want something that will really last

It's quite confusing at first to figure out what you want within cosmetic dentistry and all depends on what your issue is from straightening teeth, closing gaps or fixing discolouration. While whitening teeth is a definite solution I think I'm leaning more towards Porcelain Veneers* to give me that star smile.

I also think by getting Veneers it will fix my colour issues but also my slightly wonky teeth will look a lot better giving me the confidence to actually smile with my teeth - which I rarely do unless I'm caught by surprise. It's also quite a quick process with only 2 appointments of roughly 90 minutes, without too much recovery time

I've done lot's of research and I think 2019 is the year I'll finally take the plunge, what I'd say is if you're thinking of getting your teeth whitened or any cosmetic dentistry do your research! Cheapest isn't always best and it's better to make sure you go to professionals with expert reviews who can really understand your needs

Have you ever had your teeth whitened?

Saturday, 15 December 2018

Top 5 - Mens Christmas Gifts

Week 6 and it's so close to Christmas now it's almost scary!
If you're anything like me you've left the men in your life till last because lets face it they're SO awkward to buy for, like seriously how do we spend our lives with these people and every year be completely puzzled over what to buy? 
I've been working with Jacamo* to solve our male related Christmas problems and here's my top 5:

Mens Christmas Gifts

Every man wears watches, and this is such a beautiful one, with a black leather strap and silver face, large roman numerals he'll never be late to see you again - hopefully!

Does your man have a favourite pair of briefs? You know the ones, more holes than boxers and hanging on by a thread. Apparently it's a thing and they get new ones for Christmas to start the whole yearly cycle again, these firetrap ones are really cool and trendy and so affordable for 3 pairs

I love this idea for a gift! It's 100 of the best films ever made, and you scratch them off as you watch them, which is a lovely idea for the movie buff in your life, but also a really cute movie night idea as a couple as you scratch them off together over the year

Does the Pyjama Fairy visit anyone else? It's a tradition in my family that on Christmas Eve we all get new Pyjamas, this is a tradition I've told my boyfriend, it's his first year and he's definitely looking forward to new Christmas pyjamas - and who doesn't love the Grinch?

Male grooming has definitely become a staple for gift giving, my other half definitely still loves stealing some of my posh creams and toiletries so getting him some lovely smellies for himself will definitely put me in the good books. This kit covers everything too from shower, shaving, moisturising to smelling nice

What have you got the man in your life?

Monday, 10 December 2018

Top 5 - Food and Drink Christmas Gifts

Week 5 and we're well on our way to Christmas now, my tree's up and I'm already drooling at the thought of Christmas dinner and all the treats to devour (coming soon in January - Alice's regret at devouring all the Christmas treats!) So this seems the perfect time to focus in on some Christmas Food and Drink gifts

Food and Drink Gifts
What's better than sweets really? Personalised ones. A whole 1kg of Jelly Beans in all the delicious flavours you've grown up with and love it's a really cute retro gift that anyone would adore. Apparently there's more than one a day for a year so it's really a gift that will keep on giving, personalise it and make it a really cute present

How pink and cute is this hamper? Filled with award winning foodie gifts such as Fentimans Gin and Rose Lemonade and Melting Pot Fudge plus Chocs and Popcorn all presented in a beautiful hand woven basket this is a really thoughtful special gift

Ok hands up who loves popcorn? I adore it, but definitely don't have it often enough away from a cinema environment. This Popcorn Shed Pack would make the perfect gift for the movie lover in your life. The popcorn is super premium in a range of flavours from Say Cheese to Pecan Pie and Salted Caramel there's a flavour for everyone or if you're crazy like me put a few of each in a bowl and really mix it up

Chocolates. Inspired by cocktails - yes really! How delicious do these chocolates look? 25 gorgeously decadent chocolates inspired by cocktails from around the world, chocolatey and boozy all in one these look and taste delicious

This is the perfect gift for those hard to buy men in your life, with a huge selection of different alcohols available I settled on a personalised retro Guinness bottle for my other half as he's part irish and loves the stuff. It's highly personalisable with a name and message and looks really professional I would definitely buy more, it even comes in a gift bag - sorted!

What's your favourite food and drink gift to receive?


Tuesday, 4 December 2018

After Eight Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

Tis the season to make lots of Christmassy treats, now this recipe is one I made way back in the summer but the minty taste just reminded me of peppermint candy canes and Christmas so I thought it would be perfect to share now

After eight chocolate cupcake recipe

You will need:

  • 170ml brewed coffee
  • 125g cocoa
  • 360g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 90g butter
  • 250g brown sugar
  • 130g granulated sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 170g butter
  • 225g icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • After eight chocolates 
  • 1/2 tbsp hot water
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C
  2. Whisk together brewed coffee and cocoa until dissolved
  3. In a seperate bowl mix the dry ingredients (flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, salt)
  4. In a 3rd bowl combine brown sugar, granulated sugar and butter until light and fluffy, add in the eggs one at a time and the vanilla extract
  5. Add the dry mixture and the coffee mixture to your butter mixture, alternating between the bowls adding a little bit at a time
  6. Mix until just incorporated 
  7. Divide the batter into cupcake liners in a muffin tin, filling half way
  8. Bake for 20 minutes
  9. Let cool entirely 
  10. While the cupcakes are cooling mix butter and powdered sugar together a little bit at a time until all combined and nice and creamy
  11. Add the hot water and mint extract and mix for a further 10 minutes until light and fluffy
  12. Place into icing bag and pipe whatever design you'd like on the cupcake
  13. Finish by placing an after eight chocolate into the frosting and slightly in the cupcake

What's your favourite Christmas recipe?


Sunday, 2 December 2018

Top 5 - Entertainment Christmas Gifts

Week 4! You can check out the past three gift guides of Experience gifts, Secret Santa gifts and homeware gifts but this week we're onto the entertainment gifts, to me this means TV/Film/Music memorabilia or character inspired items. Knowing someone's favourite movies and TV shows can lead to so many present ideas (For example if you know me well you'll know that anything Harry Potter and you're on to a winner) so here's my 5 top entertainment gifts

Entertainment Gifts

Friends Trivial Pursuit - £10 - Ryman*
I love friends. Could I BE any more excited about this present? I pride myself on my friends knowledge and it is consistently on my netflix continue watching list because there's always time for more friends episodes in my life. I'm going to absolutely smash this on Christmas day all my knowledge will finally come in handy 

Dumbo Ceramic Money Box - £16.99 - Argos
How cute is this money box? This made make the perfect gift for any new additions to the family but to be honest I'd be over the moon with it myself, the detailing is beautiful

The Nightmare Before Christmas Storybook - £24.99 - In The Book*
This book is absolutely beautiful, it comes presented in a timeless Disney box and personalised with a name of your choice. The classic Nightmare before Christmas story is re-imagined and presented with beautiful illustrations telling the story of Jack and his stumbling into Christmas Town. This is a perfect stocking filler and a timeless present that can come out every year

Snow White Bath and Body Pamper Tin - £15 - Superdrug
Who can so no to Disney? I love this Snow white bath pamper tin and I think it's adorable that it comes in an 'apple'. Perfect for any aspiring princess

Star Wars Classic Stormtrooper Towel - £34.99 - The Personalised Gift Shop*
So I have a huge star wars geek in the form of my other half, so something star wars related is always on the cards at every occasion. I love this Star Wars towel and it's a functional gift that can be used all year round. Personalisation is available and the towel comes with an edge to edge full colour stormtrooper print

What's your favourite memorobilia?
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