My Sutton Trust US Programme Experience – Philadelphia 2018

If 2 years ago you had told me that I would have the opportunity to visit Philadelphia on an all expenses paid trip I wouldn’t have believed you but this year my wildest dreams were realised and I was whisked away to Pennsylvania to learn more about US education.

As you all know education is something I am particularly passionate about, so the possibility of studying for my degree in the US would allow me to combine the two best things life has to offer. Travel and education. Yes I know I’m a geek!!  Education in the US had crossed my mind a few times but coming from a low income background I just dismissed it thinking there is no way on Earth would I ever be able to afford that. The Sutton Trust US Programme made me realise that this isn’t necessarily true and next year I could be studying anything and everything and not have to spend a penny.

This past year as a Fulbright/Sutton Trust Scholar has been intense to say the least but I wouldn’t change it for the world. From learning more about admissions to actually sitting the ACT exam the process has been far from easy. But it has truly sparked my passion for US education. Having always been an indecisive child the idea of combining everything from languages to natural sciences to public policy studies attracts me so much. I crave a rounded education which the UK system may not be able to offer me.

On the programme I have been able to perfect my essays, ace my exams and gain invaluable advice from industry experts and I couldn’t be more grateful. No matter where I end up next year whether in the UK or US this experience is one that will stick with me and has had a huge influence over how I have grown in the past 9 months. The friends I have made on the programme I can confidently say will be life long friends and seeing them achieve everything they want and more is such a warm feeling. Having the other members of your cohort has been such a fabulous tool, when everything gets a bit much you have 100 other best friends to turn to for advice. Applying to the US and the UK is a struggle but the promise of an amazing education pushes you through.

I best explain a little about how I got involved with this. I submitted an application to the programme in January and competed against over 1000 applicants to be given one of the 150 coveted places. In April it was off to London for the first introductory finalist residential. Then fortunately I was able to continue on to the programme and headed back down to London in June to sit my entrance exams. After this I was so lucky to be offered the chance to fly out to Philadelphia to stay at Princeton for the week and visit a variety of universities in the surrounding areas.

The actual trip was such an amazing experience. In July I had probably once of the earliest starts of my entire life. I left my house at 4.30 for London Heathrow Terminal 3. Having checked in for our Virgin Atlantic, yes it’s as posh as you’d imagine, we got comfy and got used to the idea that this trip could become routine if we got the chance to study in the US next year. We arrived in Newark to the stunning NYC skyline which just started the week off perfectly. We checked into our accommodation at Princeton, I can’t believe I’m writing this, it’s such a pinch me moment. Exploring Princeton itself was so much fun that it felt like the week could not possibly be topped.

After a day of settling into American life and more importantly American time zones, we set out for our first 2 university visits. We went to Bryn Mawr which is an all women’s college. I don’t think the place was for me but I really admire what the colleges stand for. Then in the afternoon we headed over to the town of Swarthmore and got to see the beautiful scenery on offer at this college.

Lafayette was also on the agenda for the week which was such a beautiful campus. I think everyone agreed that this uni was outstanding! We also got to partake in some cultural activities during our stay. So we ventured out into downtown Philly for dinner at Reading Terminal market and a constitutional walking tour. Having never properly studied history I found some of the facts about Philadelphia fascinating. I was hugely out of my depth but nevertheless it was so much fun. I can confidently advocate that Reading Terminal Market is a must visit if you’re ever in Philly.

Despite my crippling fear of heights I enjoyed watching the sunset over Philadelphia from the One Liberty Observation Deck. It was a peaceful touch after a mega busy week. Having a moment of tranquility was perfect and truly allowed me to appreciate the beauty and expanse of the city.

For me one of the highlights of the week was visiting UPenn. During the week there hadn’t been many places where I felt entirely at home and I was beginning to lose faith that US education was right for me. As soon as I stepped foot on UPenn’s campus I felt like I belonged and that wasn’t something that I had experienced at any uni in the US or UK before. The courses were perfect for me and everything just seemed to align. The University of Pennsylvania just seemed to tick all the boxes. So you best believe I will be making an application there in the spring.

Another thing that just topped off the week for me was getting to go to a specially organised university fair at Harvard University. I felt like Elle Woods and it was the perfect ending to the perfect week. I enjoyed being given the opportunity to learn more about lots of different universities and trying to sell myself to different admissions officers. The lovely admissions officer from UChicago remembered me from the Harvard fair when I saw her in London in September. It really cemented my choice to apply there as she treated me like a person and not just another number.

I really couldn’t be more grateful to the Sutton Trust and the Fulbright team for having faith in me and seeing potential in me that is not always noticeable. I know this post was long but I can’t wait to look back in years to come and remember how proud I am to be a part of the family.


And here as a little blooper for you please enjoy the Fulbright commission literally making a meme out of me!!!



Fashion Adventure – I made my own clothes

Fashion. It’s a weird word, it’s one word that means so many different things to so many different people. And I suppose that’s the beauty of it. But have you ever been on a shopping trip and nothing has really sparked your interest and you feel like nobody else will ever understand what you need and desire from piece of clothing. With my particular (or peculiar…your choice) fashion sense this feeling has become all too frequent. It’s either too fleshy, too modest, too warm or too cold. What can I say, I’m just far too picky to be a modern everyday consumer. I decided to do what I’ve always threatened to do and take matters into my own hands. I made my own clothes.

Yes that may sound a little bit trashy or a little bit cheap but to be honest it was an experience. And it was a year in the making. I took inspiration from my seamstress-admiring-seven-year-old-self and got crafty with some left over fabric in my sewing box and created this top. Due to my sewing machine shortage this top wasn’t the easiest to make.

I measured the piece of fabric around my body and pinned it where necessary, leaving a little extra wiggle room and chopped off the excess. After having hemmed the edges of the fabric, I sewed it together in one big band. I genuinely have no idea what any of these fancy textiles words mean. I left a tube kind of thing in the top and the bottom where I threaded some elastic. Yes, I basically made a typical 2007 boob tube. The elastic meant I didn’t have to worry about getting the measurements so precise. Yes it’s a short cut but I have what I would classify as a decent and moderatly wearable top so I would say it was worth it. If you want to do something like this elastic will be your friend.

The fabric although relatively stiff, is actually very comfortably. It is originally a Laura Ashley print so you get the designer feel from a top you made yourself. I stuck some straps on which let me tell you were the hardest god damn bits. Have you ever tried turning a tiny piece of fabric inside out?? Literally so frustrating!! The straps are far from perfect but after having spent hours sewing these things I called it a day. A true representation of my lack of patience.

I am overall very happy (and somewhat proud) of the outcome of this top and feel confident wearing out knowing I made it! And for sure I now have something in my wardrobe that I know fits me perfectly and I also really like.

Huda Beauty Desert Dusk Palette

Huda Beauty is a brand that seemed to appear from nowhere. One day I was going about my usual life using my usual products and the next I’m scrolling down my feed watching high class beauty gurus smoothering their faces in gold and diamond infused dusts. All the while I’m over here getting FOMO induced headaches, longing to also cover my eyelids in bright shimmery powders.  Huda is out there living that UAE high life that us mere mortals could only dream of. Okay so as my introduction failed to do what it says on the tin and actually introduce the post I’m just going to come right out and tell you we’re talking about the HUDA Beauty Desert Dusk Palette.

Huda products make you look like a million dollars and the price isn’t far from that either. So unfortunatly you’re going to have to bite the bullet and splash the cash for a little taste of the life of luxury. Or just get hella lucky like I did. I found this palette in TK Maxx. Yes you heard that right TK Maxx, marked up at £40 and as if it wasn’t already my lucky day, I had a £20 voucher to use leaving me with a total price to pay of £20. I was one lucky gal! It’s hard to believe I got all this just for £20. So what I’m saying is, if you keep your eyes peeled you don’t necessarily have to remortgage your house to have a snippet of luxury.

So into the actual review, the product comes in the classic cardboard box typical of many eyeshadow palettes. I tend to prefer metal casings but it does give this palette a sleek and more travel friendly look. The quality of the shadows does vary across the palette but on the whole they are very good. The metallic and glitter eyeshadows are such high quality, better than I’ve seen in any other palette. In particular I love Angelic and Turkish Delight as a highlight shade in the middle of the lid. They are both very finely milled and can be packed on the lid as densely as required.

As for the matte shades they are generally very creamy and blend nicely. I have to say that Amber and Saffron as beautiful colours but not as pigmented as the other shades so will require dipping into more than the others. As for cosmo this shade is incredibly difficult to manoeuvre as the glitter is so chunky. It looks beautiful, it’s just hard to work with. The black and red glitters look perfect together however it may be easier applying with a damp brush or finger.

The theme of the palette is more warm and deep tones but a more neutral look is possible. You can be as dramatic or a subtle as you want with this colour range. If you were to only buy one eyeshadow palette this one really could be it. With a good range of mattes and metallics you have a palette suited for any occasion. With a set of good brushes you would have yourself set up for a variety of makeup looks.

Huda appears to have gained this cult following of ride or die beauty fanatics and her products so far have not disappointed. Although I’m not as fond of the price tag as I am of the products, they do really provide! It even has a mirror so commonly skipped over by today’s manufacturers. Huda products have been for me so far a win and I’m desperate to try more products most importantly the foundation.

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Kiko Products

Kiko is one of those brands that has existed for years just none of us knew it. So here’s a little Kiko related anecdote to kick this thing off. The first time I saw a Kiko shop I was actually in Berlin – yes I did write a post about this sooo many years ago. I had never heard of it before and thought ah why not have a quick nosey! At the mere age of 12 I bought my first mascara there for 3.95. This single event really sparked my love for makeup and here we are nearly 6 years later writing a review of Kiko products. It feels like we’ve come full circle. I recently went into a Kiko store and spent more than anticipated but of course is the best excuse for a blog post!

The first product I picked up is actually a micelllar water. I am totally besotted with this product. The novelty of it first attracted me to it as it has a pump action lid. This makes it so simple to clean your face and there is no mess. Having bought this on a bit of a whim I gave it a go and am in love. The water removes makeup so easily and has a light and airy scent which makes it feel so refreshing. And as a blogger I approve of the purple packaging. This stuff really tackles tough stains from eye makeup. Wow I feel like I’m on a vanish advert or something.

The next thing I opted for was part of their new skincare line. It is a dropping serum kind of thing. This comes in 3 different types and I chose the detox variety as I need all the detoxing I can get. It is a cucumber based serum. I love the dropper on this too as it makes it easy to apply. Generally I apply this to the skin before moisturiser and it gets rid of any unevenness. Although this is such a fab product my only complaint is that it’s quite small for what you pay. It is nice and cooling on the skin and leaves you feeling refreshed.

The next thing I opted for is a water cooling stick. This would be absolutely perfect for holidays as it keeps your face fresh. I love how easy this also is as you can just wipe this on without a problem. I also love the scent of this stick and it preps your faces ready for whatever else you are going to put on your face. This also appears to minimise your pores as well. I love that this stick is so portable and can literally just be thrown in your bag without another thought.

I also went for another hydration product. The moisturiser is a gel consistency which I’ve never tried before and I am living for it! It rolls on your face so smoothly and again is so cooling. This thing could literally swamp the Sahara desert it is so hydrating. After you apply this you feel prepped and plumped ready for the day. You really get lots of product for your money as you only need a little bit to get the moisturisation you need.

Kiko has really impressed me with their products. Since my first mascara Kiko has really stepped up their game and I can’t wait to see what they bring out next.


German Translation:

Kiko ist eine Marke, die hat für viele Jahren existiert, aber wir haben es nie gewusst. Hier ist eine kleine Geschichte über Kiko um diesen Post anzufangen. Das ersten Mal, dass ich nach einem Kiko Geschäft gegangen bin, war ich in Berlin. Ich habe ein Post von meinem Reisen in Berlin vor viele Jahren. Ich habe von es nie gehört und ich habe entschieden um ein Blick zu haben. Mit 12 Jahren habe ich meinen ersten Mascara dort gekauft für nur 3,95. Dieses Ereignis hat mein Leben für Schminke geführt und jetzt fast 6 Jahren später, schriebe ich einen Post über Produkten von Kiko. Neulich bin ich nach Kiko gegangen und ich habe mehr Geld als normal ausgegeben aber jetzt haben wir einen neuen Post!

Das ersten Produkte, dass ich gekauft habe ist ein Wasser für sein Gesicht. Ich liebe dieses Produkte, weil es so nützlich ist mit seiner Pumpe. Das bedeutet, dass es einfach seinem Gesicht zu putzen. Es nimmt Schminke heraus ohne Problem und es stinkt wie Blumen und deshalb fühlt es frisch  auf der Haut.

Ich habe auch ein Serum gewählt, weil es wichtig für eine Säuberung ist. Es macht aus Gurke und die Pipette bedeutet,dass es einfach zu auftragen ist. Normalerweise stelle ich es auf meiner Haut vor ich Feuchtigkeitslotion auftragen und es macht mein Gesicht besser. Obwohl die Produkte toll ist, ist es sehr klein und auch teuer. Man bekommt nicht viele Produkte für das Geld man gibt aus. 

Das nächstes Produkte, das ich gekauft habe, ist ein Wasser-Stock. Es wäre perfekt für die Ferien, weil es sein Gesicht frisch halt. Man kann es einfach benutzen, ohne Probleme. Ich mag auch den Geruch dieses Stocks und es macht sein Gesicht bereits für wenn man etwas anders auf seinem Gesicht stellen will. Der Stock so klein ist und man kann es einfach in seine Tasche stellen.

Ich habe auch ein anderes Hydrierung- Produkte gekauft. Die Feuchtigkeitscreme ist wie ein Gel, dass ich nie ausprobiert habe aber ich mag es! Es fühlt sich auch so frisch auf seinem Gesicht und ist auch sehr kalt. Danach man dieses Produkte benutzt, man ist bereit für alle den Tag. Man braucht nur eine kleine Stück um wasserhaltig zu sein, deshalb bekommt man viele Produkte für sein Geld.

Kiko hat mich echt beeindruckt. Seit meinen ersten Mascara Kiko hat viel verbessert und ich freue mich über ihre neue Produkten. 

Boohoo Festival Outfit


As I’m sure you’ll all know, not only from my last post but from many of my previous posts, red is my favourite colour. It’s perfect for every skin colour, every shape and every size. I feel like it’s one of the most versatile colours and works especially well for festivals! It gives you that pop of colour without the my-skirt-is-blinding-me look. This post is a collaboration with Boohoo so make sure you check out the website for all your festival needs.

The outfit I have picked out cost less than £40 and can be used in so may different occasions. I think Boohoo is such good value for money and each of the pieces can be worn individually. The first thing I picked out is this dress. It’s the main part of the outfit and is so so cute! The dress is off the shoulder and has little ties on the arms so you can tighten it as much as you want. I bought this in the petite section because, you know I’m like 5ft3. I have never had anything off the shoulder before so it was a step out of my comfort zone but I do actually like it!!

The next item I received is this pair of sandals. They are a cute kind of rose gold colour and are brown on the bottom. They add to this outfit perfectly and are hella comfy! You could wear these at a festival all day long and still be happy. I actually wore these to the Oxford Open day and despite doing 23K steps they were perfect!  they look beautiful with the red dress and add a different colour to the outfit.

I decided to go for a few different accessories that are both practical and stylish to top the outfit off. The sunglasses are those ones that are really trendy at the minute and look cute too. Red sunglasses are so much fun and look good with my blonde hair and pale skin. Everyone needs a good comfy pair of glasses at a festival because you are really going to want to be able to see all those bands! I also chose this little structured bag that would be perfect for festivals. With all the restrictions of bags nowadays this one is ideal for carrying all your essentials using as little space as possible. The gold metal detailing is also a nice touch and therefore matches the shoes well!

If you like what you see then make sure you check out the full festival shop online at Boohoo!

The link is here

Sponsored post.

Summer Loving

Dressing for summer is something I always find incredibly difficult. How much skin is too much skin? How hot will I be if I wear this? Will it be cold later on? They are all questions that need much consideration when dressing for summer.

I love cracking out the pastel colours for the spring/summer season as you all know. Baby pink and mint green are my go tos during the summer season but this year I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone a little bit. I’m experimenting with colours! Dressing a bit differently every now and then is so important it allows you to try out some of the latest trends and maybe discover a new style. And in this instalment of Street Style Fashion with Ellie we are featuring this new and exclusive red body suit.

Okay so this post may look like an opportunity to post some pictures which turned out pretty well… which yeah okay it may partly be but I do want to feature this top because it might inspire you to try something new.

The top is this red body suit from GAP and as you all know GAP is the world’s most underrated shop. Honestly I paid less than a fiver for this classic gem. It is so soft and is easy to wear. You can literally stick on a pair of jeans and some flats and you’re good to go. The coolest part of this, other than the colour, is the scoop back. Another reason it is really out of my comfort zone. Seriously that’s a hell of a lot of skin but you just learn to flaunt it. Until you feel confident to rock it, because if I can you can, you can always stick a scarf on to give you the flexibility.

I feel like red is really in this season. It lets you add a huge pop of colour into your outfit without having to really try too hard! You can be comfy and fashionable without even thinking about it and give yourself a little boost in confidence. If you are looking for that boost in confidence give yourself a good pampering session. After that stick your phone on self timer and get at it girl!!


Vitamin E Range Review

As I’m sure a lot of you would agree, what goes under makeup is more important than the makeup itself. This of course means one thing: skin care! Looking after your skin is so important after all we only get one! Encouraging proper skin care from a young age is something incredibly important to me. I recently heard about this Vitamin E range from Superdrug so thought I would check it out.

The first item I bought was the exfoliator. This smells absolutely amazing and is a kind of oaty consistence. It perfectly scrubs your face leaving a fresh and dewy look which is something we all desire. I love that the beady bits in this scrub are just the right size. Not too big and not too small, they scrub the skin and leave it feeling soft. The vitamin E adds a little something extra and I really think it has plumped my skin slightly. Exfoliation is key in keeping a youthful and bright look. Of course exfoliation isn’t necessary every day which means you get even more for your money. A little goes a long way as this can be quite abrasive.

I also picked up the Vitamin E eye cream. Eye cream is something I have wanted to try for a bit because prevention is always better than the cure. The rich creaminess of the eye cream leaves. Your under eyes feeling smooth plump and wrinkle free. A tiny bit goes a long way which means you can just use your ring fingers to tap this in. The scent is quite fresh and so cools your eyes in the mornings. This will help to combat any puffiness you wake up with in the morning. I like the bottle it comes in too because it means you can squeeze out the perfect amount and it’s great for travel.

The final product I chose is the moisturising day cream. I don’t know how great this product is, I’ve been using it for a few months and generally have seen a huge difference in the quality of my skin. I am kind of worried that this is breaking me out but I will report back on this theory. The cream feels so smooth and rich and so goes under makeup perfectly. Again the scent is so fresh and it retains its cool temperature which means it really wakes you up in the morning.

Overall I have been incredibly impressed with this range and so I really want to try out more of the products. Also at superdrug these products are often on 3 for 2 or similar deals which makes them all the more affordable!

Vegan Breakfast Ideas

Vegan. You’ve all heard of it, you might know one or you might even be one. The one question us vegans know all too well is “what can you even eat??” Yes like we’ve never heard that one before. I can actually see where some people are coming from when they ask as for people who aren’t vegan the concept may seem a little difficult. I thought I would write a post about my favourite vegan breakfast meals. Fingers crossed this will help those of you who aren’t vegan and are curious and those of you who are vegan and want a bit of variety in your lives.

Okay so kicking this post off we have every milenials favourite: avocado toast! Well in fact this is an avocado bagel! Combining two of the trendiest food items ever. This is honestly less than 5 minutes of a job. All it requires is an avocado and a bagel and there’s no points for guessing you mash up the avocado and put it out the bagel. I like to add a little salt and pepper to my avocado  and of course toast my bagel. So not only do you have a yummy and healthy breakfast but also an incredibly instagrammable meal.

Next up we have another toast meal. This one again is incredibly simple. It’s peanut butter and banana on toast. Peanut butter is full of healthy fats and protein that keeps you full for much longer. For those of you with a sweet tooth this is perfect. The banana gives you all the sweetness you need and the combination of carbs and protein keeps you fuller for longer. I saw that Paul Hollywood was selling a toastie just like this in his shop. So why not save yourself a few pounds and make this for yourself.

As for something a little cooler. This smoothie bowl is so much fun! Perfect for summer days when you fancy something a little colder and a little sweeter. The combination of fruits leaves a sweet treat. This is again pretty easy to make. I buy packets of frozen smoothie mixes, add some soya milk and blend it all together until its a kind of thick consistency. You can then add what ever you fancy on top for a little oompf. I love doing a summer fruits bowl with banana on top. Buying frozen fruit is so much more economical too!

Who doesn’t love a good bowl of porridge to warm you up on the inside. Porridge can be made vegan buy cooking with dairy free milk. Just be aware that as vegan milk is generally thinner it may need longer to cook and thicken up. As I can be lazy in the morning, sachets are so easy to cook. All you need to do is stick the oats and and the milk in the microwave for three minutes and you have a perfect bowl of porridge. Again adding some fresh fruit on top adds something different too the bowl and gives your breakfast a variety. My favourite combos are banana and almond butter and strawberry and banana. The combinations are endless which means you never get bored of eating porridge and its full of protein too!


So there you go some vegan breakfasts you can try out and for those of you who aren’t vegan here is an insight as to the kind of things we eat!

Marc Jacobs Contour Palette

Contouring seems to have become the beauty trend of the century. Perfectly sculptured cheeks are a must nowadays and so everyone is after that perfect bronze shade. I think I’ve found mine. Being as pale as Caspar the Ghost contouring is difficult. Either the shade is too orange or way too orange. Finding that cool toned contour is so difficult but this Marc Jacobs one has it cracked.

The palette contains a contour shade and a highlighting shade. Which is helpful as it has everything you need in one place. The bronzer shade is so pigmented you just need one little line and you have perfectly chisled cheeks. I like to apply this with a sharp edged brush and blend it upwards with a fluffy brush. This lets you have a stark line underneath with a smokey contour on top. The product is actually a powder but feels a lot like a cream which is an interesting texture. It gives you the best of both worlds. Also the amount you get is absolutely enormous. This will honestly last  years and years.

As for the highlighting shade, it appears to be like a banana powder. It is a creamy powder of an off white kind of colour. I like to apply this under my eyes and below my contour. It is sort of like a brightening powder crossed with a matte highlighter. You can use a flat brush to pack this on the face or a contour brush to lightly sweep over the top of your skin.This powder leaves you matte all day long with more of a bright and youthful looking complexion. As the consistency of this is on the creamier side there is hardly any fall out which means again that the product will last you a really long time.

This is the first product I have tried from Marc Jacobs and i have to say I am incredibly impressed. The packaging is so sleek and the metal embellishing gives it such a premium look. The huge mirror is such a nice touch too. Without a doubt this makes the palette easy to travel with as you always have a mirror and snachted cheek bones. Undeniably Marc Jacobs is a very expensive brand so keep your eyes peeled for deals across different sites. I picked this palette up in TK Maxx and really couldn’t resist it! The stock is always changing at TK Maxx so keep checking in for the best deals.

Too Faced Chocolate Chip Palette

You all know I’m a little bit Too Faced obsessed! It seems like the perfect brand, cruelty free, cute and overall fab quality. The U.K. draws the short straw here as this palette is only available at the Too Faced shop in London.

The palette I picked up is the Matte Chocolate Chip palette. If that isn’t the cutest name for a set of eyeshadows I don’t know what is! It is the baby of the all too famous Chocolate Bar. The compactness of this palette makes it so easy for travel and storage. To be honest it has all the shades you need for day to day.

I’m obviously a huge fan of big palettes but I honestly think I’m warming to smaller palettes. This little guy is cheaper than it’s older and bulkier mummy but with a great variety of shades. Usually with big palettes there are at least a handful of shades you never use. With a versatile palette you get to use every single shade and you want to use them all too!

I’ve been travelling so much more recently, hence my blogging hiatus, and this little guy has helped me so much! It means you can maximise your space in your suitcase. This palette is full of beautiful warm brown tones and also some bright pinks and whites which means you can create lots of looks with one palette.

Just like its predecessor, this palette smells just like chocolate and who doesn’t want to slather that all over your lids. The shades are so creamy and not at all chalky! They blend softly on the eyes and smoke out with hardly any effort. I genuinely think this would be a great palette for beginners as you get some beautiful shades without a huge commitment. Don’t get me wrong this isn’t exactly a budget palette but it is a good compromise.

This palette is quickly becoming a staple in my makeup bag and I love all the looks I can achieve with one compact little palette!


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