Updated on September 3, 2019
Who doesn’t love that new clothes feeling? I certainly do. So when Femme Luxe reached out to me to send over some new items, I really couldn’t refuse. They sent me over 4 items to style and test out. Without too many spoilers the quality of the clothes far exceeded my expectations. Keep on reading if you want to see 3 hella cute and hella cheap outfits styled for all year round!
The first thing that springs to mind when I think about Femme Luxe is their instagram. To be honest I always just associated them with a lack of quality and cheap fast fashion. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Delving deeper into their website I noticed that they offered clothing to suit different people which was refreshing.
Being somewhat of a ‘modest’ dresser, the neon, short, sheer style that Femme Luxe offers didn’t immediately appeal to me. But I did manage to find a great array of clothes that don’t subscribe to this. This makes me think that Femme Luxe cares about more than selling clothes to girls destined for Ibiza and Glasto.
My first outfit is this adorable pinafore with frilly straps. Lord knows I love a good frill, so this item jumped straight out at me. The checkered print pattern is chic and professional which means you could wear this at cocktails and in a meeting. Again, I kinda expected this to be way too short but I can confirm that clocking in at 5 feet 2 inches this pinafore is neither too short nor too long. So if you possess a few more inches the length is something to be aware of. I decided to style this with a black long sleeve top, from Femme Luxe, and black tights and some espadrilles. You could wear this without the tights and a pair of heels and go from a day look to a night time look.
On to the second outfit and I selected this adorable tweed looking skirt. You can most likely see a monochrome trend emerging in my outfits. Black and white are just so easy to style. This time I braved it tight-less in order to not distract from the skirt. The uneven hem line is so cute and adds something a little extra to an otherwise simple skirt. I wore this combo to college last week and I received so many comments. My only word of advice is that the skirt being a tweed like material is prone to pulls so keep your dogs and cats away people. When I shot this outfit I chose espadrilles and the staple plain black top but a pair of black vans and tights would also work well. Overall this skirt is perfect for spring, summer, autumn and winter!
For my third and final outfit I had to try out a pair of jeans. Having bought jeans from budget fashion stores before and almost without fail ending up disappointed I felt the need to do the market research on this pair of jeans. I admired this pair of jeans on account of the cute little waist tie. Other than that they were high waisted (perfect for keeping all of those extra pounds at bay). I would honestly not have batted an eyelid if someone would have told me that these jeans cost £50. My favourite part of these jeans are the lining of the pockets. I couldn’t get a photo of the inside of my jeans, so you’ll have to take my word for it.
I hope you enjoyed these stylings and take a look at femme luxe because their products will really blow you away! Happy shopping 🙂
*Just so you know, the products shown were provided free of charge by Femme Luxe but all opinions shared are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of the brand.
Updated on September 3, 2019
Over the year our mother figures do a lot for us which means that come Mother’s Day it’s important to show thanks for everything they do. I’m sure many of you can agree that buying for your mother on Mother’s Day is no simple task. Each Mum has their own particular likes and dislikes. I have always struggled choosing a gift that shows how much she really means to me. There is however one thing that she has always enjoyed and will probably always enjoy. And that is spending time with her children. I’ve teamed up with UNiDAYS to explain what I did for my mum this Mother’s Day thanks to student discount.
Every year as Mother’s Day rolls around I get stressed thinking about what to get my mum. Even after reading 101 different Mother’s Day gift guides. Nothing ever calls out to me and says “she’ll love this”. I end up resorting to the usual scented candle and box of chocolates, which I’m sure she appreciates but isn’t always exciting to receive year in year out.
This year, I wanted to spice things up and had a look on UNiDAYS for inspiration. They had a 15% discount off Groupon experiences. I produced a lovely afternoon tea voucher for the Foxfield’s Country Hotel. I thought that would be the perfect! This way, mum and I could have a well-deserved break and spend some quality time together over tea and cake.
As both mum and I lead busy lives it’s not always easy to spend time together. So I thought the best way to treat my mum this year would be with some good food and company. I was so excited to team up with UNiDAYS to utilise my student discount and do something different.
The hotel definitely exceeded my expectations. The bar area was incredibly trendy and literally looked like I’d walked in to some fancy place in Shoreditch! You know, the kind where you pay £6.75 for a cranberry juice. It was an Instagram blogger’s idea of heaven with all the marble a girl could ask for! And in essence we had all this luxury at our fingertips with a great saving thanks to the UNiDAYS discount. As this isn’t something we have the opportunity to do very often we saw this as a chance to get dressed up and live the Kardashian lifestyle, even if only for an afternoon.
The afternoon tea itself was gorgeous! A huge variety of cakes and sandwiches arrived beautifully displayed on a circular stand for us to choose from. (my mum is still going on about how delicious the soup was). In true mum style, as soon as we got back home she was on the phone to her friends telling them “GUYS YOU NEED GO TO FOXFIELD’S COUNTRY HOTEL AND TRY THE SOUP”. In all fairness it was incredibly tasty.
The best part is you don’t even have to be at university to gain access to hundreds of discounts. If you are a student and 16+ you can sign up UNiDAYS for free and find discount codes for anything from stationary to beauty products, travel and even meals out.
Click hereto head over to the UNiDAYS website and sign up for a membership for free!
Updated on September 3, 2019
Sheet masks seem to be the weapon of choice for your average millennial, behind avocados of course. But nevertheless their popularity has been booming as of late and naturally this isn’t without due cause. Being the skincare freak I am, I couldn’t say no when ProCoal offered to send me a pack of their sheet masks.
The masks are made from charcoal and what blows my mind about these masks is that they hold an entire bottle of serum. A. Whole. Bottle. Of. Serum. If that’s not value for money I don’t know what is. They aim to plump and hydrate your face but also to help tame any acne that may be manifesting itself on your face, hence the name ‘Instaclear Control Mask’.
For those of you who are really into skincare the active ingredient is salicylic acid. This acne blasting acid is found in this mask from all natural sources like white willow bark extract. I can’t admit that I have any idea what that is but it sure does sound like it would work. The other active ingredient is rice bran extract which is supposed to help with anti-ageing. Although I am fortunate in that I’m still relatively wrinkle free I do think that purely from this mask’s ability to plump your skin that it would also help with anti-ageing.
As I mentioned above the mask contains 25 grams of serum. It is also free from parabens, silicones, sls, mineral oils and paraffin. Basically meaning you still get all the good stuff just without all the nasty stuff. It is cruelty free which is a huge tick in the box for me. . So you can enjoy the pleasure of having nice skin, knowing that no animals have been harmed as a result.
My experience with the masks have been overwhelmingly positive. The face mask brought a very much soothing element to an otherwise dry and sensitive face. I love a sheet mask that embodies all of these natural minerals as it just means there is no fuss. The only thing I did struggle with was getting the mask off the backing paper as it has a tendency to stick to itself and I was worried it would rip. I enjoyed how ergonomic the face mask itself was as all of the holes and slits for the grooves of your face fit nicely. My favourite part are the slits beneath the chin. This means that you could attach them higher up giving yourself an ‘at home face lift’. I bet you weren’t expecting that when you started reading this post.
Overall very good mask I would repurchase and you can do so here.
AD- This product was provided to me by ProCoal free of charge but all opinions expressed within this post are my own.
Updated on September 3, 2019
Dear Elizabeth. Unfortunately it has not been possible to grant you admission at this time. The 12 words no Oxford applicant ever wants to see, but for me my whole educational world came tumbling down on the 9th of January as I officially became an Oxford reject. Rejection is has been no stranger in my lifetime and I’m sure it will reappear in a variety of forms in the future. So what was it about this that stung so much?
Was it fact that I felt as though I had let everyone down who had helped me with the process? (Big shout out Sally and Paul while we’re here) Was it that going to Oxford had been a dream of mine for over a decade? Or was it being told that the intellectual abilities I have always prided myself on were in fact far from sufficient that truly hurt? These were all just contributing factors to the emotional rollercoaster I have experienced over the last 4 weeks, and although tears were shed I have started to come to peace with the outcome and come to terms with my emotions.
Let me take you back. 9am Wednesday 9th January. I am stuck in the same traffic jam, having barely moved and inch in the past 45 minutes, anxiety through the roof playing over every possible outcome in my head. My stomach growls, either from the racing emotions or more likely due to the lack of breakfast I had consumed. Lord knows I need my porridge in the mornings! 9.45 I’m getting closer to college and my messages start to ping through on the passenger seat from the MFL Oxford Applicants Group chat informing each other of offers and rejections that have just come through. I begin to shake knowing that as soon as I have parked up, I will be informed of my Oxford fate. I have to admit even just writing this I can feel everything I felt, as what seemed like every red light in Lancashire stood between me and my Oxford decision. So I pulled up having just done the fastest reverse park of my life, fear not blog readers, I still nailed it first time ;). Anyway I refreshed that email box faster than (idk insert something fast- my brain is tired) and there it was an email staring me in the eyes. I opened it and there it was, checkmate. My Oxford Rejection Letter.
You know that little internal voice you have in your head that is constantly chattering away, yeah well mine was silent. She didn’t say anything. She just stared at the words blending into a muddle on the page, blurred by the drops that were forming in my eyes. I texted my family, but there was no reply. So I rang my Dad to break the news to him and as soon as the words “Dad, I was rejected from Oxford” escaped my mouth, the reality of the situation hit me. Floods of tears begin rolling down my face but all was well as I had anticipated there being some kind of tears and so cleverly refrained from applying mascara. I sat in the car for 10 minutes trying to settle myself before plucking up enough courage to walk into college. Walking into college requires a brave face at the best of times and even more so after you have just been rejected from your dream school.
One thing that I was dreading was having to tell everyone of my failure. Naturally people were intrigued and over the course of the day I received many texts, phone calls and had face to face conversations in which I informed those close to me of the outcome of my application. Although it didn’t get easier, my poker face improved and by the end of the day I was telling people of my rejection with a distinct lack of emotion.
The 9th of January wasn’t a day of pure disaster, it was in fact the day that I left for the airport for what would become the best trip of my life surrounded by the best people I could ask for. I ended what I initially thought would be the worst day of my life with an overwhelming sense of love from those around me. Although I started the day in tears over a university, I ended it in a huge bed with my best friend watching the Goldbergs brushing our teeth with charcoal toothpaste. And for the next 4 days the antics of the 9th of January were effectively out of my head.
Fastforward to two weeks later and my Oxford appliaction feedback arrived in my inbox. Let me tell you that shit was brutal. As if facing rejection wasn’t hard enough but to be then told that I have severe limitations in spoken French and that I lack intellectual flexibility in German was not easy to take onboard. Thankfully I was over it at that point and so the emotions weren’t quite as raw as they were 2 weeks prior. On a side note, last week I went for an interview at Lancaster University for which my feedback read “I was blown away by Elizabeth’s intellectual capabilities” which I found slightly humourous considering what Oxford had written about me. Of course the point of the feedback was to give reasons as to why I was not granted admission and yes the email outlined more than enough reasons as to why come September I will not be studying in Oxford, so for all intents and purposes it did fulfill its primary function.
By far the hardest part of the last 4 weeks has been the reactions from others that I have had to deal with from “I’m so sorry its their loss” to “I’m really surprised I thought you were the kind of girl that could get a place at Oxford” and of course people are just genuinely disappointed on my behalf but it truly doesn’t make the situation any sweeter.
In terms of feelings towards the process and my appliaction in general things have changed dramatically over the past 4 weeks. From I hate everything and everyone, to oh my goodness this was such a blessing in disguise, to I didn’t even want to go to Oxford anyway *sob*. The emotions have come in waves and although at first I did regret my decision to apply to the University of Oxford, looking back I certainly don’t any more. If anything I am well prepped for my speaking exams now, knowing the kind of situation you will be put into. I also met lots of amazing people through my application to Oxford, some people who I will definitely be staying in touch with in years to come. So there you go that’s how you turn a negative into a something of positive!
I truly am so grateful that for all the help that so many people gave my in my pursuit to study at Oxford (you know who you are) and to get to the interview stage was such an achievement for me. Although the outcome certainly wasn’t what I had hoped for, I am pretty much over it now. In all of this I have learnt one especially important message and that is if it wasn’t meant to be it wasn’t meant to be and that God has a plan for us all. So although I may never have an Oxford degree it really doesn’t mean that my future isn’t bright.
Updated on July 31, 2019
I’ve seen a lot of posts going around the blogging community which reflect on 2018 and look to 2019 for a fresh start. I decided to take this idea and add my own spin on it and reflect on my most worn outfits of the year by each month of the year. Fashion has played a big role in my life and especially over the past year so it only felt right to do this post as my last post of the year.
January: Skirt and Black Roll Neck
I started the year of fashion out in style with this cute little woven effect skirt. When I originally bought this I had planned to wear it with the pink roll neck that I feature in February’s outfit but I soon realised that it suits black better. To bring the whole outfit together I paired this with a minimal makeup look and my French Connection necklace which again is minimalistic and elegant. At this point of the year it was still very cold and I was trying to embrace my long hair look. No makeup was needed and instead the blushed cheeks were, much to my dismay, all indeed natural!
February: Pink Roll Neck
As you all know, pink is up there with my favourite colours and so it is no surprise that pink would be featured in there somewhere but you all didn’t know it was going to come so soon. When I was planning this post I had no idea how many roll necks I own and have worn this year, but I guess they’re good for the colder season. February was actually a good month for me, I was doing well at college and was accepted onto the Sutton Trust Programme so in someway I guess my bright colours were reflecting my mood during the month of February.
March: Sainsbury’s Coat
Let me tell you, this coat has been one of the best coats I’ve ever owned and I’ve owned some pretty damn cool coats. As a self confessed coat junkie I’ve always struggled to tie myself down to just one coat but I think that this coat might be the one. I spent a lot of March in France and although the weather the other side of the channel was much nicer, my coat did come in handy. This coat is somewhat of a puffer jacket and so it keeps you nice an toasty. It also goes with pretty much everything because of its dark colour but the flowers add a pop of colour.
April: Pink Jeans and White Shirt
Again you should’ve seen this coming by now, when life’s good I crack out the ole pink jeans! April was the month of lots of firsts, I travelled to London alone, I met lots of new people and I pulled off some pink jeans. I’ve never had the confidence to wear these out of the house but they are lots of fun! I just paired these trousers with a plain white shirt that I tied in a bow. It was an effortless outfit but the disadvantage with light coloured jeans is that they attract every inch of dirt and the stress that accompanies the pursuit of getting nothing on these jeans requires a certain mindset. Anyway if you are looking to step outside of your comfort zone in 2019, pink jeans might be the fashion addition you were looking for.
May: Red Top
After I had exhausted all pink options in 2018, I swiftly moved on to red and this one stuck around a lot longer. I bought this top in a GAP outlet for about £6 which if you ask me is a total bargain. What I also love about this top is the scoop neck back because it adds a little something extra to the top. Sometimes I’m not always feeling having all that skin on show, so I add a scarf and it’s all ok. Another perk of this top is that it is a bodysuit so it stays perfectly flush against your body all day long and stays firmly in place.
June: Red Dress and Pink Metallic Shorts
With June being the start of the summer holidays for me I played around much more with my sense of fashion and that is why there is 2 different outfits being included in the month of June. Both of which include apparently the two post popular colours in my wardrobe this year: pink and red. The first one was this beautiful red dress that Boohoo sent over to me along with a matching red bag, red sunglasses and rose gold sandals. I love this dress so much and although it is off the shoulder and that’s usually not my style I enjoyed stepping out of my comfort zone and trying something new. As for my other outfit of June, I was invited to a friend’s summer party and I put together this outfit of wide legged rose gold shorts and a white shirt. This white shirt has had a good run this year and will continue to be a staple in my wardrobe in 2019. I matched this outfit with rose gold sliders, which sadly broke almost immediately so I now just use them to take the bins out. I stuck on a pair of pink sunglasses and a gold necklace and I was good to go! This was one of my favourite memories of 2018, going to that party was so much fun! I drank way too much pina colada but I still managed to make it to KFC where I told everyone and their dog that I was vegan and could therefore only eat chips.
July: Homemade Top and Pink Jumpsuit
I’ve written about this top that I made before but it’s making its vengeance and in July the season of football world cup and long summer’s nights it was rarely off my body! This top, and yes I am biased, is so comfy and the perk of making it yourself is that it will fit you perfectly. The fabric is from Laura Ashley which of course makes it high fashion, but at a fraction of a price. I also was loving this pink playsuit from Primark during the month of July. I loved the fabric and the way it sat on my shoulders. This playsuit also made an appearance during my trip to Philadelphia and although it snapped during an information at UPenn and I was devastated to say the least, it had a good run. It was worth it for the instagrams!
August: Pink Cardigan and Yellow Coat
August was a really slow month for me. I was learning to drive and I was just utterly exhausted by everything that had happened over the year so I really prioritised comfort during the month of August. I was stressing about A-Levels and university applications to come, which I know now was not worth the stress. During our trip to the Lake District I wore this combo as when your camping in one of the most beautiful parts of the country fashion is hardly a priority. I stuck on this pink knitted cardigan that I bought in France. Funny story: whilst I bought this in a shopping centre in Lyon, I watched a man in the shop get arrested and a bigger bonus was that at the till the cardigan was reduced to just €5 – another 2018 bargain. I also loved this yellow coat that I bought, not as much as my big puffer jacket but for August when it’s rainy but not cold it was perfect.
September: Trench Coat and River Island Dress
September was again another busy month. I passed my driving test and then went to London the next day. I went to London to interview with a college in New York that I am really excited about and so of course I had to dress the part. After a long day of travelling to London and an interview with Colgate, I also had a USA College Day fair to attend and a long travel back up north. I got this whole outfit from the charity shop which just goes to show you can find a lot of good quality fashion for cheap. The dress is originally from River Island and the Trench Coat was from Boden. I did get some funny looks as I travelled to London in my dress wearing my trainers and then quickly slipped into some black flats once I arrived at the venue. I also wore this to a charity dinner in November and I have to say it was a winner there too!
October: UPenn T-Shirt and Jeans
After a busy September, October was ‘relatively’ more chilled month. Of course I did have all of my mocks to revise for so I was prioritising fashion over comfort during the month of October. Due to high work loads at college, everything else took a back seat including making the effort to dress fashionable. I therefore spent a lot of the month in this University of Pennsylvania t-shirt and a pair of black jeans. These jeans are from GAP again and have served me well and at only £5 they were a bargain. Another fashion win did take place in October, my friends and I went to a vintage kilo sale which was somewhat overwhelming but I got a satin shirt for just a couple of pounds.
November: Red Hat and Scarf
As for November, my big fashion statement wasn’t necessarily in the form of clothes but instead accessories. I bagged this beret and scarf combo from Primark and I’ve been in love with them ever since. They made an appearance at my cousin’s third birthday party where I was spotted feeding chickens in my classy hat scarf and mittens set. Oh I forgot to say I also found a pair of red knitted gloves from the kids’ section at TK Maxx and at just £2.99 you can’t really complain. These bad boys were my go tos in November and I even wore these to go Ice Skating which was so much fun.
December: Duck Egg Blue Shirt
And here we are, the final month of the year and it has surely been a whirlwind of a month. From beginning the month on a one day trip to London, to spending 4 days in Oxford for my interview to finally celebrating the festive season with friends and family. This outfit has been a fabulous addition to my wardrobe during the December period as it looks somewhat put together but is also incredibly comfortable. I’m totally obsessed with this Duck Egg blue shade and pairing this with black jeans gave the outfit more of a dressed down look.
Updated on December 21, 2018
School is something that has played a huge role in the last 13 years of my life and is something that is going to continue to be a huge part of my life for at least the next 4 years. I have always been a huge advocate for education. As some of you may know school is something that I’ve been quite good at. But in today’s post I am going to be sharing my honest, unfiltered and raw opinions of my past year and a bit at Sixth Form.
Now it’s easy to dwell on the negatives of sixth form but I couldn’t think of anywhere I would rather be. Sure it is hard, but at the end of the day getting to go to school everyday and learn is a privilege. I have decided to write this post so that I can look back on it in years to come and remember how I felt about Sixth form.
My secondary school was a tiny isolated place and nobody believes me now when I tell them that the majority of people drove their tractors to school. Now picture me, a small country girl being thrown in at the deep end at a college of over 3000 people knowing just 2 people. I have to admit that college was a huge culture shock. Moving to a school where you know nobody really pushes you out of your comfort zone. Although the first couple of weeks are hard, it gets better. Once those barriers begin to come down and friendship groups begin to change and expand everything will slot into place. At first it feels unnatural and forced but by week 3, you will feel like you’ve been doing it for years.
College has made me more independent and had made me feel like I will be ready to go to university next year. Going to school in a city is also a big leap for me. It’s so weird to be able to pop to the shops on my lunch break or go and get something to eat. It’s a huge perk but equally my bank account isn’t too thrilled about the dent my vitamin water obsession is making. Getting to college has also made me more independent. As I live in the middle of nowhere there aren’t many reliable travel links. Last year I spent probably days if not weeks of my life on the bus to and from college. The whole journey spanning around 1hr30 each way so I quickly learned to be productive during these essentially 3 dead hours a day.
As for my subjects, in case you didn’t know I do French, German and English combined. So I thought I would give you a little run down on my opinions of each of these subjects.
With French and German you see your progress fast. From going into that first conversation class shaking like a leaf (I’m not joking) to leaving your last year 12 one having gone in and just spoken fluently for 10 minutes about any given topic. At the end of year you will be able to reflect back on the progress you have made and be proud of how far you have come. Of course this progress doesn’t come without the work you put in. Keeping on top of work in languages is a struggle but as long as you are organised it shouldn’t be too much of a challenge. Over the year as I got progressively more exhausted I did let my organisation slip a little bit. It really does impact the progress you can make and you soon see the importance of the tasks. Despite the stress of essays and listening tasks, language lessons are just fun. I think my whole class would agree that languages are challenging but are also incredibly rewarding.
As for English, at first I found the lessons a bit tedious as the first term was running through poem after poem which is really not my favourite part of English literature but it really grew on me. English is hard and sometimes it feels like you aren’t going anywhere but soon you’ll see how far you have come. From being able to use terms like periphrastic adjectives to talking about the connotations of hegemonic racism in Venetian society during the Jacobean era. Thinking back to this time last year there is no way that I would be able to write as effectively as I can now. It has really helped my blogging skills too! Having never studied History (well all but a half hearted attempt at some tudors project in year 8) I just assumed it wasn’t something I would be good at nor enjoy but my English lessons have shown me that there is lots to learn about our past.
As for Sixth Form in general, getting settled in was far from easy. I struggled to integrate myself into a new surrounding and it took me a few weeks to get settled in. Having to wait for everyone to break down those barriers and let new people join their friendship groups was a hard experience. Also I know it’s weird but with my college being as prestigious as it is I didn’t feel like I deserved to be there so that also caused a few set backs in the first few weeks. And of course getting used to the commute took its time.
Sixth form has given me so many opportunities that I will be forever grateful for. From trips to Oxford to the French Exchange and even my experience with the Sutton Trust which I wrote about in my most recent post, college has give me such a variety of different things to get involved with that have enabled me to grow even more. It feels that not only has my academic potential grown exponentially but also my social life has improved too!
Ich fand mein erstes Jahr in der Oberstufe schwierig, aber jetzt ist es fertig und ich muss weiter machen! Meine Fächer gefallen mir gut, und obwohl sie schwer sind, ist es belohnend, wenn ich jetzt fleissig auf Deutsch sprechen kann. Ich erinnere mich auf letztes Jahr, als Ich GCSEs gemacht habe und ich konnte kaum Deutsch sprechen und aktuell kann ich über viele Themen reden z.B Einwanderung oder das Schulsystem in Deutschland. Wegen meiner Deutschstunden habe ich viele Freunde gemacht und auch viele Selbstbewusst entwickelt und deshalb bin ich sehr dankbar. Auch meine Lehrerin ist so suss! Ich dachte, dass es keine besser Lehrerin als meine Lehrerin in der Gesamtschule gibt, aber in moment meine Lehrerin ist wunderbar!
Je peux parler en Français aussi! Au debut de l’année je pensais que je préfère l’allemand mais maintenant je trouve ca difficile de choisir la meilleure langue. Dans les cours de français j’apprends beaucoup auparavant je ne pouvais conjuguer les verbes mais maintenant je parle bien! Avec l’échange j’ai amélioré mon français beaucoup, j’ai eu l’opportunité de parler avec la famille de ma correspondante et donc j’ai fait du progrès. On a parle au sujet de beaucoup des choses par exemple la Reine en Angleterre, les politiques, les écoles et des autres. J’ai beaucoup de reconnaissance pour mes professeurs de français et j’ai fier que je peux continuer avec les deux langues à l’université.
Posted on November 4, 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!!!
Posted on September 2, 2018
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.
Posted on August 12, 2018
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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Updated on August 1, 2019
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 micellar 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.
Water Cooling Stick
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 also 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. Also 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.
Overall 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/ Übersetzung auf Deutsch
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!
Wasser für Gesicht
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.