The Hen party of Dreams

If you’ve been a reader of my blog for a while now then you will know that one of my best gals got engaged. After what felt like a very long wait, finally the day of the hen party had arrived.

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We all met at Rebeccas flat before heading down to the canal at Fountainbridge. The first part of the day was sailing down the canal on a boat. Hanah’s bridesmaid had organised all sorts of games and a makeshift Photo Booth which was brill. Everyone turned up in their best sparkly outfits and we were given little parties bags which had little chocolates, wine and sashes in it.

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After the boat it was time for some dinner. We had preordered dinner off a set christmas menu, I had a nut roast followed by some christmas pudding washed down with red wine.

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After dinner we went to bohemia which is a bar in town and ended the night in The Shack which is a club playing retro music.

All in all, great day/night with great company. Gutted I can’t make it to the wedding.

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A Very Merry Christmas

This christmas was incredibly quiet, just with the parents and my sister. Sometimes the quiet ones are the best one though.

I started off the day with a baileys hot chocolate because why not? It was christmas. Then we got stuck into opening presents. This year I just was angling for some money and various little things which I could take away with me travelling.

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One of my best presents was actually a massive jigsaw puzzle which I have just finished. I spent part of the day watching Home Alone and Scrooge and trying to make progress with this jigsaw. Alfie was very lucky and got a new jacket from Santa which he loves and looks unbearably cute when he struts around in it.

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One of our traditions is the christmas walk with our dog Alfie. This particular christmas had unbelievably bad weather so only half of us braved the lashing rain. On the walk I picked up holly complete with berries, ivy and fern branches to decorate the table with. It’s amazing how much a bit of foliage completes a table!

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This was my first year having christmas dinner as a vegetarian and I was very pleasantly surprised. I was expecting to be majorly depressed looking at the pigs in blankets, gravy and delicious turkey but in reality it didn’t even slightly bother me. I had a nut roast which was so delicious. In between courses we played a christmas trivia game which was really fun but I was terrible at.

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And that was that, christmas over for another year.

100km in 7 days

So if you follow my blog/any of my social media accounts you will know I’m jetting off to Africa in January. As part of this trip you are expected to raise £800 for the charity through fundraising. For ages I was stumped as to what I could do that would encourage donations and finally I decided on a run as it is something that I do anyways and it is easy as it doesn’t take much organisation or cost any money. 100km in a week is what I decided on and once I had chosen a week then it was just a case of training. When I say training I didn’t actually really train because the week of the run just crept up on me so quickly. I was planning on taking the week off work to ensure I was well rested and eating properly but I forgot (classic!). I ran with my flatmate who is also going to Africa and needed to fundraise. I definitely wouldn’t have had the drive to do it on my own. If you are wondering I used map my run to ensure I was doing the correct distance.

Day 1

You know those days where you just cannot run, everything hurts and you just want to stop… that was day 1. I ran on the treadmill in the gym instead of outdoor running. I have a really annoying ankle which always hurts when I run, possibly to do with having old shoes or a bad running style but omg the pain. The plan was to run 15km but I only managed 12km. Slightly disheartening but tried to keep a PMA (positive mental attitude).

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Day 2

In contrast to day 1, day 2 was a breeze. I strapped up my ankle (so tight I couldn’t feel it) and it was a dream. Nothing hurt and I wasn’t tired so I ran 17km to make up for day 1.

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Day 3

Day 3 was actually okay. The strapping kept my ankle in check although the thighs were killing me probably because I hadn’t stretched so I learnt my lesson there. That was another 17km ticked off.

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Day 4

Day 4 was the worst probably. It was so incredibly windy that the run felt like it took twice the amount of energy. It was freezing so whenever I had to stop at the traffic lights, my muscles would seize up and it was difficult to get going again. Never been more happy to have a hot shower when I got home. Managed another 17km though.

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Day 5

Day 4 wasn’t too bad. I think because I had already completed such a distance already the end felt reachable. It was still really cold but there was little wind so I wasn’t as tired at the end of it. My ankle was twinging but to be honest at the distance that I had done all week it was way better than I expected it to be at this stage.

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Day 6

Because I had a hen party this day, I did a cheeky 10km which felt so incredibly short. I’ve never been more happy to check my distance on the running app I use and see that I was almost finished when it felt like I had just began.

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Day 7

Solid relief is all I felt when I woke up in the morning that all I had left of this run was 10km. It was bitterly cold and really frosty so the ground was a bit icy in places. Having taken my ankle strap off I was expecting some trouble but actually the ankle was okay. The run felt so short. And I’m going to probably take a good couple of weeks to recover/run again.

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There is still time to donate! Anything large or small is greatly appreciated to help me reach my target. My just giving page is linked here.

Overall although it was difficult, this challenge has taught me that you can actually do way more than you think you can do… all it takes it some motivation and determination.

 

NYC Baby

If you follow me on Instagram then you may have seen that I’ve been in New York the last couple of days. I decided to splash out and buy my sister a trip to NYC for her birthday. She’s never been to America and has always wanted to go to New York so it seemed like a fitting present, and it was her 21st after all.

DAY 1

We set off on the 2nd November. After a hefty long flight jetlag was very real so by the time we got to our hotel in Midtown, around 1am NY time, we were annoyed to be told our booking had been cancelled by the hotel without notifying me at all. It finally all got sorted and we crashed as soon as we got to the room. Typically we woke up at 6am so just got up and ready for the day. We had breakfast in a little cafe in Soho before we walked down to the 9/11 memorial and museum. We didn’t go into the museum but the moment was so beautiful. Next stop was Brookyln bridge. The first day we were there it was boiling hot, well for November at least so walking across the bridge felt like the middle of summer.




We got the subway along to Williamsburg and found the rainbow bagel shop which I had seen all over instagram. It was unreal, I was in heaven. We got a tube to washington square park and sat and watched the world go by with a juice. After this we headed back to the hotel to chill before the evening. Our hotel had a rooftop terrace and because it was so warm we were able to relax outside for an hour or so.



We walked into times square to have a nosey around and find somewhere for dinner. Times square was mayhem but pretty cool at the same time. We found a place for dinner which was super cheap with huge portions. I had the chilli and rice and Megan got some sort of thai green curry. After wandering around all day we decided to go for a crepe and head back to the hotel.


DAY 2

We woke up ridiculously early yet again, got ready and then headed to Top of the Rock which we had bought tickets for. Lucky for us it was a beautiful day without a cloud in the sky so we could see for miles. After spending a fairly long amount of time here we decided to go to for breakfast at Friedman’s in Chelsea which is a special gluten free place. Megan got the waffles with fried chicken and honey and I got the mushrooms on toast. Although the service was pretty chaotic, the food was excellent. After we had eaten we walked along the Chelsea highline then went to the Chelsea market for a browse. Unfortunately whilst we were there Megan lost her Rayban sunglasses which wasn’t great.




After we had explored Chelsea we walked around the area and then into West Village where we had dinner at Wild which is another Gluten free restaurant which serves amazing pizzas! Again the service was pretty terrible and there was a long wait for food but once the food made an appearance it was incredible. After this we went to Times Square to get discounted tickets from the TKTS booth for a broadway show. We decided on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. We headed back to the hotel to get ready for the evening and went for a drink before we went to the show. The show was brilliant.



DAY 3

The NYC marathon was on so we went up to central park to see if we could spot any marathon runners. We walked around central park, stopping every so often to check in with the marathon. By complete chance we saw the four lead runners of the race, and they were going at some pace! Ending up at the MET steps we had to get a picture where Blair Waldorf sits for lunch in Gossip Girl. Whole Foods was the food destination of the day and as usual I spent a million dollars because my eyes are bigger than my stomach. It was a pretty dreary day so we really wanted to get warmed up with a hot chocolate and whilst we were roaming about on the Upper East Side we came across Serendipity 3 which served the most insane hot (and cold) chocolates. We sat and warmed ourselves here until we needed to leave to collect our bag from the hotel. We had to absolutely sprint for the bus to the airport which was difficult due to the bus station being right in Times Square but we made it! Me and Megan both have a severe time management issue. 





It was sad to leave because NY is such a cool city with so much going on. I’ll definitely be going back soon, I really need one of those bagels back in my life.

Blackpool

When your wondering where would be great place to go on holiday with friends when you are in your 20s that is cheap, in the UK and easy to get to, what better place to go than Blackpool. Blackpool has a reputation as being a bit of a dump (to put it nicely) and I didn’t have great expectations when we booked it. I’m not going to try and defend Blackpool’s reputation here however it was a LOT better than what I thought it would be. The beaches in particular are really pretty, and there are cute donkeys!

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I mean once you have accepted the fact that there you will be surrounded by amusements and a thousand seagulls, then its pretty good fun. I spent a lot of money on this trip mainly because I get addicted to slot machines but if you have the willpower that I don’t, it would be so cheap – I mean we found a pub which serves a free meal with a drink, could you get any better?

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Future plans

I am at this weird time in my life where half my friends are getting married, buying houses and have established themselves in their career. I on the other hand currently have no solid career pathway sorted in my head and just float about the place and chill, basically.

About a year ago I applied for a volunteering project via International Citizen Service. It is a government funded program which works with charities to sent volunteers abroad to work within communities working on various projects. Once you apply you rank each charity on who you would like to work with the most. I chose Restless Development, a youth led organisation mainly tackling issues such as health promotion and employability. Once you are matched with a charity you attend a day in London where you partcipate in group work so the charity representitives are able to assess you and see if you would be suitable for helping in these projects. After the assessment day, the charity email to say whether you have been successful or not.

I was lucky enough to be successful and passed the medical clearance. I’ve been placed in South Africa in the Eastern Cape region. The projects which are carried out here are mainly to do with the very low youth employment rate and the very high rates of HIV/AIDs. Because it is a government funded project, flights, accommodation and living expenses are all covered whilst I am out there however, the charity recommend each volunteer raises £800 to donate to the projects in these poor communities.

I wanted to write this post incase anyone wanted to know more about what I will be getting up to or wanted to donate any money to the projects via my just giving page which I will link below. Any donations large or small would be greatly appreciated and would help these communities greatly. Thank you to those who donate.

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/alice-jonesics

Tuesday Bake Off

So after receiving some fantastic news about my Masters results I thought a celebratory bakathon was in order. I never really bake properly unless I am at home so luck had it that I was at home when I received the news. I decided upon Macarons and turmeric antioxidant bites (which wasn’t really baking as they were so simple).

Firstly I made the macarons which were actually surprisingly uncomplicated. I followed the BBC recipe which tasted brilliant. I had a macarons mould which held about 25 but because I had so much mixture I had some freehand ones aswell. The freehand ones were massive (as you can tell by the picture). I didn’t make the filling used in the BBC recipe, instead I just made some raspberry butter icing for the middle. I don’t know why I have been so scared to make macarons before but at least thats one fear conquered.

The turmeric balls were literally the easiest thing ever to made and took about 5 seconds. I used a recipe which was in The Simple Things magazine October edition. I basically mixed turmeric, honey and ground almonds together then made chickpea sized balls with the mixture, coated them in ground almonds and left in the fridge. You are meant to take 1-2 per day. I wanted to make these because my skin has been so dry of late and apparently turmeric does wonders to the skin so we will see.

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The macarons and the turmeric bites were both washed down with a cup of tea after a nice crisp autumnal dog walk. What a brill day off work.