a month at university

It’s actually quite crazy to think I’ve already spent a month back at university when, back in April, I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to be allowed out of my family home for the foreseeable future. Not that anything is at all close to normal, but baby steps… Anyway, just while I get back into writing a blog a bit more (because this feels really weird not gonna lie – a bit like writing a diary but fewer mental breakdowns), I thought I’d give y’all a little insight into what’s been going on in my life lately.

It’s definitely been a strange one I have to say, but also such a fun one. I was so apprehensive going back because (storytime, get ready) I was actually supposed to be living in Rome right now on my year abroad. I had an adorable little apartment in the student district with a balcony all booked and everything! Then corona came along, and now I’m back in the Midlands. Yeah, it stings a bit I can’t lie. This whole situation also left me a bit homeless because, at my uni, everyone sorts out next year’s housing in October-December, so all my friends were already set up to live without me. Long story short, I ended up moving into a massive house with thirteen people I’d never met before. Scary.

However, I’ve always believed everything happens for a reason, and I do even more so now. The house is so amazing (I keep wanting to write peng but then I realise no one outside England knows what that means), and absolutely HUGE. It’s on the level of a mini frat house and we’ve even got a dishwasher, thank the student housing gods. The people I’ve moved in with are the easiest friends I’ve ever made, which was so unexpected – I tend to be quite independent; I know who my friends are and I’m so comfortable with them thus I’m a bit flaky with new people (one of my toxic traits really but I’m working on it). Everyone here has been trying so hard to be friendly and inclusive though, (it helps that there are a few people who hadn’t met each other before September) and, so far, I absolutely love everyone – with the small exception of when they use all my ketchup.

Another big plus of a massive house is that, obviously, it makes for a fabulous place to throw a party – we are so lucky with our communal spaces (there’s even a table football room which is such a motive for 30 drunk 20-year-olds) so, in the first week-ish, we were on a bit of a mad one. We even threw a mini-festival in our garden with a giant speaker and DJ decks and disco lights which almost made up for the fact that I couldn’t go to Lovebox this year. All that didn’t leave much time for anything else really (I can’t lie, waking up at 2pm and making a trip to Aldi felt like a productive day for a bit). Since then, obviously, the new coronavirus rules have come in – we’re only allowed to socialise in groups of six so everything has calmed down a lot and I’ve branched out a bit.

One of the highlights of this month has to be pedal boating – absolutely every student in my town seems to have hopped on this bandwagon and it’s so much fun. Even though we almost died a couple of times because of an actual inability to steer properly. I didn’t even think it was possible to capsize a pedalo, but I was nearly proved wrong at least twice. The river scenery was so pretty though, and it was such a good leg workout – I have actually never been so hot in my life.

Other than that, my main hobby these days is brunch. Some of the girls from my house and I have decided we’re going to try every brunch spot in our town by the end of the year, so I’ve eaten some amazing food (I think the whole of today’s picture collage is going to be eggs in various different forms at this rate). My favourite would have to be the Greek style eggs I had the other day, with pomegranate salsa, avocado, feta and sourdough. It was absolutely to die for. All this is also very helpful because, after a year of living off mainly chips, I’m really trying to branch out with my food and eat some actual nutrition (shock!). Stay tuned for recipes when I become professional chef level. Maybe.

This past few days, though, summer has completely come to an end. It feels like the seasons changed overnight and suddenly I can’t go for walks along the canal to see my favourite piece of graffiti (I’ll put the picture in the collage – it says ‘4 Ella’ right next to it so it’s mine now) or (sort of) read my course books in a field any more. I’m lowkey devastated because I love summer more than anything but it’s probably come at a good time because I got emails from all my tutors yesterday with the bombshell that I was supposed to have read about 18 books and written a dissertation proposal over the summer (spoiler alert: I didn’t). So I’m going to have to confine myself to my desk until term actually starts next week.

This feels like such a long post oops but if anyone actually made it here I hope you enjoyed. I’m still uncertain if anyone still reads blogs but I find it fun writing it so it’s all chill. Plz tell me something fun you’ve done recently as well !!

Peace out my cactus squad,
xo Ella.

a month at university

cactus clique pt. 2 ??

Um hi, long time no see …

It’s been three whole years since I last posted on this blog and in typical Ella fashion I recently had a random burst of inspiration to rekindle my internet presence? I’m not really sure what motivated this — possibly the growing possibility that I’ll be quarantined indefinitely with my fourteen housemates at some point in the near future, possibly procrastination of both dissertation research and (right now) going to the gym, possibly the fact that I’ve realised that my ideas about a career in archaeology are slightly unrealistic so I need to dabble in a few more fields (journalism?). Anyway, here we are again. Usually when this happens I just completely restart on a new platform with new everything and pretend nothing from the past ever even existed (shoutout to my multitudes of random instagram accounts I can’t even remember the passwords for any more), but for some reason I don’t really want to let go of this site.

Honestly, I forgot I had this until about a week ago but then I read through the whole thing at 2am the other day (and corrected an insane amount of typos on my old posts) and I still kind of like it even though I’m almost a completely new person now: the last time I posted here I was seventeen and halfway through my A Levels and now I’m in my final year of university? It’s a bit mad to look back really because so much has changed but, on the other hand, so much stayed the same. I’ve moved away from home, I’m on the verge of being an actual real adult and I feel very far away from all the previous posts on this site but, at the same time, I still have the same interests and I still want to write about the same kind of thing (hopefully in a slightly more mature way but who knows). Also honestly kudos to younger me because the main thing that made me want to keep this site without just archiving everything is the whole vibe with the photo collages – I absolutely love it so I’m going to try and keep that up (hope you enjoy today’s feature of some random photos I like and also moi, just to put a face to the writer ya know). I think I take far less pretty photos than I used to, but I guess maybe this will motivate me to start appreciating my surroundings again.

ANyway, this is such a ramble — what I’m really trying to say is welcome back? I feel like I may have chosen the worst time to come back since I’ve fully skipped the majority of both my university experience and coronavirus which could have been my biggest opportunities for content but we move, I’m sure I’ll manage to milk them both a bit anyway. I’ve actually got so many new ideas for posts brainstormed in my notes app from the middle of the night last night (apparently 2-4am is my most productive time these days) so get excited for things to come hehe.

See y’all soon,

xo, Ella.

(I don’t even know if people still read blogs eek — guess I’ll find out soon enough).

cactus clique pt. 2 ??

current faves // 2



  • MELODRAMA (yeah I know it came our ages ago but still what a banging album)
  • The Wombats (still my all time baes – jump into the fog is my current favourite)
  • Lana del Rey (don’t like all the songs on her new album but Cherry is a tune)
  • Katy Perry (randomly making a comeback on my playlist, shoutout to my sister for that)
  •  Sundara Karma (just starting to really appreciate them hm)


  • Big Little Lies (mainly just love Zoe Kravitz but there ya go)
  • Game of Thrones (very late to the party – I’m just starting season 3)
  • Fresh Meat (not about meat I promise, it’s hilarious) 
  • Roman Holiday (CLASSIC)
  • Ella Snyder (want to be her ngl)
  • Hi I’m Mimi (what a cutie)


  • The Basic Eight – Daniel Handler (I freaking love this book it’s my new favourite)
  • Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro (actually read this for school but hey I like it) 
  • His Dark Materials series – Philip Pullman (these have been my fave forever and there’s a new spin off coming out yayyy)
  • The Silver Pigs etc. – Lindsey Davis (shh I’m a classics nerd)


  • Hoop earrings (I used to be so against them but now I wear them every day)
  • Off the shoulder tops (aka my one favourite blue and white top)
  • Denim skirts (how did I live before I bought one of these??)
  • Silver bangles (I bought a really pretty one in France)
  • Tote bags (shoutout to Bethany for getting me a cute cactus tote for my birthday last year)


  • Peaches (love you Tesco for selling these for 49p a bag)
  • Toast (new found appreciation??)
  • Jam (Damson. On aforementioned toast)
  • Lemon lollies (SUMMER IN A FOOD)
  • Sundried tomatoes (idk they’re bomb)
  • Chickpea curry (I might post my recipe to this when I make it photo worthy because it’s so good)


  • Kayaking (random new hobby)
  • @anyaosi on Instagram (cutest drawings ever??)
  • Multicoloured eyeshadow (I can’t do it but one of my best friends can and I appreciate it) 
  • Ivy (looks aesthetic af on European buildings)
  • Sunsets (seen some cute ones lately)

Anyway that’s my fave things at the moment and plz tell me some of yours because I am always interested !!

xo Ella

current faves // 2

travel diary: switzerland 

FInally the last part of my lil summer travel series thingy. I only stayed in Switzerland for about two days on the way down to Italy. We stayed in my best friends house because she lives there except she was actually in Singapore at the time which was annoying but oh well her parents were there and they are lovely too so it was all good. 

My first experience in Switzerland this year wast that great because we arrived at three in the morning and slept in the car at the side of the road, but not gonna lie I was pretty comfortable because I squished my sister over to the other side of the car in my sleep so I could spread out, lol sorry Emilie. In the morning we basically had a very dramatic search for breakfast because my mum had big plans of going to a restaurant but then we remembered how expensive Switzerland is and that it is literally not worth it. So we went to the supermarket like the classy people we are and I got some amazing bread roll things – there was so much bread it was basically my heaven – and some coffee and we took so long we got a parking ticket so might as well have gone to the restaurant oops. 

ANYway, we didn’t do much else that day except sit around and play with my friend’s cute pets and eat Swiss chocolate spread which is actually delicious. 

On the second day we went to Luzern which is really pretty and has little coloured houses and a really cool river which is so clear because it’s basically all melt water from the mountains. We walked round the walls of the city which was such a workout because stairs omg but it had a pretty snazzy view. My sister bought a really cute vintage coat and I am jealous because I’m broke as usual. We were supposed to leave that evening but then my friends parents had goats for dinner so we stayed and I had almost the best couscous of my life (ultimate fave is french couscous from Monoprix). 

The next day we went to a lake because it tirns out Switzerland is actually hot in summer who knew?? I’ve only been there in early spring aka ski season so yeah not me. But anyway it was beautiful because the lake was also melt water so it was really clean and it had the prettiest view of the mountains (which was kind of weird because I was there in a bikini looking at the snow on the mountains but not freezing). I kind of didn’t want to go in because clear water = visible fish and me and fish do not get on, but I did it and once I stopped thinking about the fish it was so nice and I made my brother take cute pictures of me with my overpriced Urban Outfitters disposable camera because I am Indie. 

We ended up staying another night but we let at 4 in the morning which meant we got to drive over the alps into Italy at sunrise and everything looked so majestic it was amazing. 

ANYWAY THAT IS IT PALS !! Hopefully I get to go to some more interesting places soon because England is boring af and I need photos for my Instagram so yah. 

xo Ella

travel diary: switzerland 

coffee date avec moi

I’ve seen a couple of people doing this and i thought it was a cute af idea so here is me jumping on the bandwagon ayyy. 

So basically, if we were on a coffee date, we’d definitely be in my favourite cafe in Brighton because that is the only place that sells coffee I actually really like. It’s also the cutest place ever. It’s a Turkish cafe I think and it has swings instead of seats at the window table. There’s also flowers everywhere and it sells The yummiest snacks and sandwiches including vegan ones ayyy. So we’d be there sitting on the swing seats and I’d have a cappuccino or maybe a berry smoothie. We’d be sharing a plate of coconut and banana balls because they’re amazing. 

Since we’re in Brighton I’d definitely start off by telling you about my favourite shops there – aka this amazing cupacake place I can’t remember the name of but it’s just so good and the tea shop that gives out free samples of interesting flavoured teas. I’d also tell you that this time I’m finally going to buy one of the cute backpacks in Beyond Retro that I’ve been wanting for ages but can’t bring myself to spend so much money on eek. I wouldn’t buy one anyway but I like to kid myself I can afford it for a while. 

We’d talk about our summers. I’d tell you about my travels in Europe and ask you where you’ve been and what you’ve done. I’d also probably tell you about my vague plans for next summer which may involve interrailing and festivals. And then I’d complain about how much I need to get a job so I can actually do these things oops. 

Not gonna lie, once we start on the snacks I will not be able to stop myself talking about how much I love food because food is my life and seriously I can talk about it for ages. You’d know all about my quest for the perfect banana bread recipe which I haven’t found yet and my undying love for houmous. 

I’d ask you about your family and friends and pets and I’d tell you about my dog’s weird habit of going round in circles all the time and how I find him a bit annoying sometimes even though my friends all love him (sorry Kaiser I’m a cat person. You’re still cute though). 

We’d discuss our weird quirks and random talents like the fact I have fruit stickers all over my phone and how I once spent four hours teaching myself to hula hoop which I can now do really well ayyyy. I’d want to know all about your favourite books and movies and bands and everything too. And then I’d ask about your plans for the future and probably complain about how stressed I am about uni applications but also how excited I am about going ahhhh!! 

And when we’d finished our drinks, I’d probably make you take ‘candid’ photos of me and the flowers (like the one in my collage – shoutout to my dad lol) and then I’d manage to be really awkward about asking for the bill and then we’d leave and i would have to walk all the way up the giant hill to the car park where my dad always parks but at least I’d be happy and full of coffee. 

I feel like this was slightly cringe but not gonna lie it actually made me pretty happy to write this and now I’m all calm but I really want frothy coffee hmmmmmm. 

What would you order on a coffee date??

xo Ella

coffee date avec moi

life update: chips and lowkey camping

Hm I know I’m a lazy person and I haven’t posted in ages but hey I still have no ideas so here’s a lil life update to show you what I’ve been doing with my life instead of being productive. 

So. End of the summer holidays. My last week of freedom started out pretty busy. I finally tried the vegan pizza from pizza express and it was hElla good. I would eat it every day if I could. I also went canoeing in the sea for the first time which by the way is a lot more effort and kind of more scary than in a French river. My canoe must have spun in the wrong direction about 326 times and I probably nearly got run over by a sailing boat at least once. It was still fun though and I’m literally determined to get arm muscles (right now I’m a weakling with twig arms). I also discovered the universe’s best chips on a vEry long walk with my sister and they were so worth the exercise like WOWOW they were crispy. So regret only getting one bucket between us. 

After all that, it started raining and I stopped doing interesting stuff in favour of staying in bed for about three days watching game of thrones and stressing about the fact that I still hadn’t started my personal statement for my uni applications (I have since started it and it is the cringiest thing I’ve ever written lol). And I made myself pretty avocado toast and more cupcakes than my family could eat. Then some banana bread. And more cakes. 

School started this week, kill me now. No, kidding. It actually hasn’t been that bad so far. I even managed to wake up at quarter to 6 with not too much stress yay me!! I’m also loving colour coding my new school diary because I lead a sad life and I love stationery almost as much as I love bread. 

This weekend I went to a camping party with two of my best friends and we basically didn’t know anyone else there which was awkward but hEY there was music and we made friends. It was also extremely cold and I ended up waking up at 3 in the morning and going to sleep in the bathroom which was probably a stupid idea but at the time I thought I was a genius. At least I was warm ish though. Also it took me about four hours to get home because I forgot my bus has different times on a Saturday so I had to sit on the bus stop eating bread and looking a bit homeless which was kind of tragic. 

Anyway now I’m watching more Game of Thrones with my cat and it’s fab and I sort of want to make more cakes but we’ve run out of sugar sad times. 

I hope y’all are not dying too much from going back to school, we can get through this together I believe in us !!

xo Ella 

life update: chips and lowkey camping

things to do when you start college 

I have a lot more travel posts coming up but I thought I’d break them up a bit because I know loads of people are already going back to school (I feel your pain dudes) and also because I want a bit of variety. By the way, by college I mean English college as in year 12 and 13 not American college as in uni so plz don’t get confused fam. But I guess this works for going into high school or whatever as well so read on people. 

Basically I thought this would be pretty useful maybe because I started college last year and I actually genuinely hated it for about three weeks but mAYBE I can help some pals out so it’s all good from the start ay. 

sO tip number 1: talk to EVERYONE literally from the second you get there on the first day, or even the second you get on the bus or whatever because I met my current friend group through people on the bus. This is really important, even if you’re moving up with 637 of your best friends because a) there’s always a possibility you’re going to meet an amazing new friend, and b) other people (aka me) may have moved up from a different school and know absolutely no one and they will honestly be so greatful for someone to reach out to them. 

tip number 2: USE YOUR FREES !!!! It’s tempting af to just sit around in your free periods eating food and complaining about how much work you have to do but take it from me if you actually do the work in your frees then you have lunch and after college and the weekends free because honestly you have more than enough time to get stuff done and you’ll have resources and books and stuff to make it easier 

tip number 3: be yourself. I know this sounds cringey as hell but it’s actually important because you can kind of get caught up in wanting to change your image and some people at my college are freaking obsessed with being indie and OMG ITS SO ANNOYING STOP YOURSELVES! Apart from these people there’s actually no hierarchy and much less judgment (probably because there’s so many people) and no one cares what you wear or whatever, and if they do it’s likely there’s enough people to just ditch those people and find better ones. 

tip number 4: don’t be afraid to ask for help. Not gonna lie I don’t always follow this one because I kind of hate talking to teachers and stuff but I should because a levels actually do matter, a lot more than GCSEs do and if you don’t understand something, it could completely mess you up and mean you miss the grades you need for uni. Okay, that’s definitely a worst case scenario but sTILL it’s a good idea to make sure you’re on top of things. So use help sessions, ask your classmates or your teachers, don’t just sit there and pray something never comes up because exam boards are evil and they like to torture us so it probably will. 

tip number 5: organise your work as you go along. I dEFINitely don’t follow this one and there’s a massive pile of random pieces of paper in my room that I don’t even want to look at and I could so easily just have sorted it into files as I did the work but nooooo I had to make life hard for myself and now I want to cry every time I have to go through it to find something i need for revision. Sort out your folders kids. (Ooh and bonus tip: however much paper you think you’ll need, literally times that by four. You’re gonna be drowning in paper.)

Okay that’s all I can think of for now because it’s making me slightly depressed to think about going back to school but hey, don’t stress people. It’s gonna be fine in the end. 

xo Ella

things to do when you start college 

travel diary: quercy, france 

Sooo part 2 of my lil travel summer series thing ay. My grandparents live in this area so I go here most summers and it’s so pretty. 

We stopped off in a the Tarn Valley on the way over from Lyon which is like a river area with really rocky cliffs and a few mountains. This was kinda stressful because when we arrived it was way too late to check into a campsite and we spent so long driving around trying to find somewhere that was open. In the end my dad just decided to pull into this grassy area at the side of the road because he hadn’t really slept in like 50 hours and we were all about to collapse, so basically we had no idea where we were and we couldn’t see anything. It was really weird. But also I had the best moment in the morning when I woke up quite early and stuck my head out of the tent and found out we were on a cliff overlooking the river and there were forests all around and it was so pretty. It was really surprising because I was just expecting a load of roads. 

Anyway, we spent that day kayaking – we ended up going a total of like 15 km and WOW MY ARMS WERE SO PAINFUL. It was fun though and I got to see some really cool stuff. And some crazy french people jumping off cliffs into the river which looked so scary. Afterwards we literally had no time to recover, we just got ice cream (lemon sorbet yayyy) and then had to go on another 6 hour drive up to my grandparents house. 

Me and my sister get to stay in the chalet in the garden which is basically thE cutest shed all covered in roses and it’s so warm and comfy (even though it was such a mess because we both seriously overpacked and we are bad at putting away clothes). The house is so nice too – I showed my friend some photos and she thinks it looks like Winnie the Pooh’s house which is kinda true tbh. 

We did so much stuff while we were there. We visited markets in loooads of different towns and I bought a ton of jewellery and the best strawberries I have ever tasted and I basically felt like I was fluent in French for successfully asking for two peaches go me. We also went to a really cool town called Rocamadour which is pretty much carved into the side of a cliff and it has lots of shops which sell really quirky stuff like scented rocks????? There’s a church at the top after loads of stairs (I think they’re something to do with pilgrims) and, story time I had to run all the way down and up those steps at half eight in the evening to buy my friend some earrings and the shop was literally closing with me running towards it like NO STOP. I got the earrings though. 

And of course we did a load of kayaking because rivers are The Thing in Quercy. My dad actually made this weird catamaran thing where he put a bamboo raft in between two kayaks. It was pretty great because it meant that my sister and I could laze around sunbathing while my dad and my brother had to do the paddling. 

ALSO I ate so much bread literally every day. I’m going to become a baguette. I love bread. I miss the bread. 


xo Ella

travel diary: quercy, france 

travel diary: lyon 

YO FAM I AM BACK!! Sorry for the random unexplained absence but I’ve been on holiday in Switzerland, Italy and France and I didn’t have wifi most of the time ugh. ANYway all this means I have a ton of amazing places and things to write about so expect like 53 travel posts ay. 

I didn’t actually go to Lyon first, in fact there were two whole countries before I even got here, but I feel like writing about Lyon today so there ya go. 

Firstly, such a pretty city. I kind of got Paris vibes but a bit more laid back and less judgmental. You can see how beautiful the buildings are in my photos and ugh it’s just amazing to walk through all the clean white streets in the centre because everything is positively glowing and there are fountains everywhere and blue blue sky and I just love it. There are two rivers going through the city and their water is just as blue as the sky – nothing like English rivers which are always lowkey grey. 

There’s tons of fancy shops and little french boutiques but unfortunately we went there in the middle of a religious festival and most of them were shut so instead of shopping we went exploring. We walked through the old quarter which had warm coloured buildings – some of them had really quirky shapes with huge arched windows or random little towers on the side. This bit is where most of the artisan restaurants are, and not gonna lie, these are SO expensive. Literally couldn’t afford anything in there lol but the vibe was nice- every table was full and there was a buzz of chatting and amazing smells as I walked through these streets. Also I found thE coolest plant shop – it was literally full to the brim with cacti and vines winding everywhere. I really wish I could have gone in. 

Finally, we went up the funicular railway (train that goes up and down hills on a pulley thing) to the top of the hill to see the Roman amphitheatre which was great for me because I’m a classics nerd and I love this stuff. Also there was an amazing view – I could see all the red rooftops of Lyon. It was really surprising to see that in the whole place there are only a couple of modern skyscrapers – most of the buildings are in the old, white, curly black railings style which I loved. 

Anyway, Lyon is amazing and if I could have spent more than two days here I would have in a second. 

Have any of you been anywhere snazzy this summer??? Because please tell I love hearing about people’s travels so much. 

xo Ella

travel diary: lyon 

travel diary: piemonte, italy 

This is one of my favourite places on earth. My best friend has a house here and my mum’s boyfriend, who is a builder, is doing up another house in the next village so my family spend at least a month here every year. It’s amazing. 

The nearest big town near where I stay is called Alba and I adore it. The buildings are beautiful and there’s quite a few churches and other historical stuff – one of the churches has a roof painted like the night sky which I love. Also there’s an amAzing ice cream shop there called La Romana which seriously makes the best gelato I have ever tasted in my life. The best flavour by far is biscotto della nonna but the lemon granita (kind of like a slushy) is freaking delicious too if you’re vegan. 

Another of my favourite places is Aqui Terme which is a Roman town (great for lil classics enthusiasts like moi) and it also has really pretty buildings, as well as a hot spring fountain which smells really weird but I kinda like it. 

And of cOUrse there’s Milan. I felt so vogue when I went here because everything is so sleek and fashionable and there’s modern and historic all at once. Also yummy food and tons of shops. 

Piemonte is so great that it’s even fun to do literally nothing all day – just relaxing and reading or going in the pool or having a picnic. My friend’s house also has a lot of resident cats which are really friendly – my favourite is the smallest kitten who we named Kronos who is actually the naughtiest thing and so funny. 

Anywayyyy I’m hopefully going back in a couple of weeks and I’m so freaking excited !! (I’m even excited to visit Asti Lido 2000 aka the chavviest Italian water park ever)

Where is your favourite place to go on holiday??

xo Ella

travel diary: piemonte, italy