Springing to life.

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Finally, the daffodils are coming out and the evenings are becoming lighter which means we’re in Spring! It’s my favourite season and I love it because its the season of all things new! So if you’re feeling tired, grumpy and fed up with revision, have a look outside, even if its raining- at least the flowers are on their way!

xx

Eating well, staying healthy and keeping fit at University

As we all know those Dominos and Pizza Hut deals are very tempting, and I have been known to indulge in a Two for Tuesday deal when I’ve had a very long start to the week, but you have to remember that its important to look after yourself and your diet, especially now you have to cook for yourself and you’re responsible for your own food shop! Its a learning curve for a lot of people as they begin to realise that something has to change but its a choice you have to make and keep to, don’t yoyo!

My tips for being healthy food wise at Uni are:

  1. Plan your food shop before you go, there is nothing worse than going to the shops hungry and picking up a bumper pack of biscuits just to satisfy your craving
  2. Make healthy alternative swaps, for example I’ve swapped cows milk for almond milk (you’ll find it in the usual milk aisle) not only is it better for you, its also a lot lower in calories and tastes like macaroons, yummy! Other alternatives include swapping white bread for wholemeal and normal potatoes for sweet potatoes (BEST THING YOU’LL EVER DO).
  3. Snack attack- Just because you’re bored, working or laying in bed doesn’t mean you should consume a giant bag of Doritos in the process, make sure your snacks are healthy such as rice cakes (the Kallo ones are amazing), dried and fresh fruit, popcorn- the healthy kind at 76 calories a bag not the stuff covered in caramel, nuts- in moderation, they can be pretty high in calories, as long as its not full of sugar and processed beyond recognition you’ll be fine….yes put down that Krispy Kreme
  4. DO NOT BUY READY MEALS- Make your own version, its cheaper in the long run and much healthier!
  5. Breakfast- I have only just realised that my parents may have been right about it being an important meal of the day. Personally, I don’t eat lunch simply because I don’t get hungry (lecture me about it later okay) but breakfast is such an important meal that you cannot afford to miss it, I don’t think I’d survive a gym session or a lecture without it anymore. I adore porridge for breakfast with banana, and for a big bowl that fills me up until about 5pm it comes in at around 200 calories yippee!
  6. Don’t go to the extreme- remember you can treat yourself, just don’t do it all the time! I like to let myself have a nice breakfast on a Sunday or a pizza on Fridays as a treat when I’ve been healthy for the rest of the week. If you restrict yourself too much you’ll find eventually you’ll get a craving and end up surrounded by 6 packets of quavers and a tummy ache.

Being Active at Uni: f306859f047975d188ba80a0c13417ae

There are endless lists of sports events, classes and societies at University which means there is absolutely no excuse not to get out there and its sociable!

  1. Make time for exercise- Its fair enough working hard and keeping up with deadlines but when you’re laying in bed until 12pm, there is no reason why you can’t get up a couple of hours earlier to go for a run or go to the gym
  2. Even without a gym membership you can keep in shape, in my Fresher year I did a workout DVD in my room most evenings, it gave me something to do and kept me in shape when I didn’t feel confident enough to go to the gym
  3. Walk to where you need to be- theres always the temptation to take the car or get the bus to University when you live off campus but you’ll really notice that extra difference if you take the time to walk instead, plus think of all the money you’ll save if you don’t buy the bus pass!!! (Thats at least 4 ASOS orders right…?) 

Thought I’d attach some of my favourite recipes that I like to use when I’m at Uni- they’re cheap to make, easy to follow and good for you! When it doubt though, http://studentrecipes.com are always an interesting read! (Wow I sound old…)

https://detoxkitchen.co.uk/recipes/grilled-chicken-with-courgetti-and-pesto– You can obviously buy the pesto rather than making it and I like to substitute the chicken for Quorn occasionally which makes it a really cheap and lovely dinner!

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2491643/cheapaschips-veggie-pizza– I learned this trick from my housemate, obviously freestyle as you wish with the toppings but using pitta breads (I use wholemeal) or tortillas as an alternative mini-pizza base makes for a slightly healthier cheat meal!

http://detoxinista.com/2015/01/2-ingredient-toddler-pancakes/– Okay so you’re going to be like nah I can’t have pancakes for breakfast and it actually be good for me??? Well heres the excellent news, one ripe banana and two eggs later you’ve got yourself a delicious batch of pancakes that are good for you and free from flour and butter- obviously depending on how healthy you’re feeling with the toppings (I don’t think I’d drown mine in syrup like she has) but they’re amazing, trust me!

I’d love to hear if you’ve got any great recipes for when I’m at uni, I swear I eat the same thing every week so I’d love some suggestions!

Hope you’ve all had a lovely week and been busy, enjoy the weekend!

x

EXAM STRESS!!

So it’s just hit me that not only do I have to hand in two long essays at the end of this term, submit a dissertation proposal and module preferences…of course it’s also almost that horrible time of year where exams and revision begin once more. University exams are somewhat easier I think than A-Levels (at my Uni for History at least) because you can be more selective about what you learn rather than being expected to memorise the entire syllabus back to front, inside out and have the ability to recite it in greek whilst drunk (slight over exaggeration, maybe).

Revising over the Easter holidays is a very sad truth and inconvenience but it has to be done and will it will reflect in your final mark trust me! Make sure you’re taking in-depth notes throughout the term and go that extra mile and it will totally pay off in the long run, and make revision miles easier. This advice may be coming a tad too late for some of you I guess, especially since most of us are 2/3 through our second term…Oopsy.

But it is super important to remember to have time off, chill out and do something to reward yourself for all the work you’ve done. During exam time I usually revise 10-1 then have a break then from about 2-5\6ish so then I have the evening to do whatever I want knowing that I’ve worked hard all day! Take your mind off your work, play some sports, it’ll be sunny (hopefully!) Get away from that computer screen or grim textbook and give your brain a break!

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“If stress burned calories I’d be a supermodel”

I’m the kind of person who is so organised and gets stressed about the smallest thing being late or out of place so having these exams looming is the worst and sadly I do just want to start revising now to make sure I’m ready. But I think I just have to make sure that I relax and take my time with all of it otherwise I’ll end up freaking out and getting a rubbish mark (this has happened) and I do not want to have to come back and retake anything in August. NO. THANK YOU.

This wasn’t really that much of an advice post, more of a destress and diary for me…sorry guys! But I’m sure some of you might be thinking the same at the moment or starting to think about upcoming exams. Whatever happens, as long as we try our best and work hard then at least we can say we did all we could rather than regretting not working hard enough! (If that makes sense)

Mid-term Reading/Writing Week- Should I stay or should I go?

For those of you who take essay/reading based subjects such as English/History/Sociology/Law ect. you will probably get a reading or writing week in the middle of term where you have nothing timetabled. This usually falls around the middle of term and usually the last week of term. Most people ask with this week off What is the best thing to do- go home or stay at Uni?

Stay?

Lets face it you’ll probably get more work done at Uni, you’ve got the library and every possible resource at your disposal, so if you need to get those essays done in that week then I suggest you stay firmly put and get writing! Even if you haven’t got that much work to do in your week without any lectures or seminars it’ll be a great time for you to catch up on any bits and bobs that you have to do around Uni, maybe even tidy your room?! It might also be a great time just to relax a bit, especially if you’re in first year when it has all been a bit hectic since Freshers.

Go?

Other people take their reading week as an opportunity to go home or to visit their friends at other Uni’s. I will sadly admit that I am always way ahead on my work so I use my reading week to head home and relax away from the stresses of being in an all female student house (it’s hard.) I think it acts as a great way to decompress and adds a bit of a break in the middle of term, especially if it feels like its dragging. Visiting other uni’s is great too though, you can meet your friends from home and their flatmates at Uni (If they’re not too busy writing essays) and enjoy a great student night out somewhere you’ve never been before!

Whatever you decide to do, make sure you use that week well its an opportunity to catch up on everything and get yourself sorted before the last run up to the end of term. Whether it be sleeping, eating and watching Netflix to recharge those batteries or manically typing an essay before the 12pm deadline, Have a Happy Reading Week!!

-Sorry this week’s post isn’t very long, I’ve just finished writing two essays so I’m ready for my restful reading week at home- 9 days to go!

xx

Location, Location, Location: Student Housing Edition.

Sorry everyone, I haven’t had a lot of time to post much recently (see my last post and you’ll understand why.) Essays all done for the time being, I thought it might be handy ]to talk about student housing forf772a4ea9b7be1b073146f6e2f9e2f3c second and third years. I have learned so much in this year living off campus that I probably could have done with knowing so this may actually help some of you. Luckily, I’ve found a gorgeous house for my final year- lets hope I haven’t got any nasty surprises then!

Estate Agents are a guaranteed nightmare for students and lets face it, they probably don’t like us much either. I’ll warn you now, they’ll charge you a horrendous amount for a deposit (mine was £400) on top of that they may also charge you ‘administration fees’, mine ridiculously was £200- not forgetting also a check in and out of the house fee. So basically alongside the sky high student rent they will also rob you of any student loan you may have left in the Easter Term. However, this year I have learned I found an estate agent who didn’t ask for a deposit and I only had to pay £250 in admin fees which compared to last year is a bargain! My advice to you is shop around, go to your Uni housing fairs and maybe even find a private landlord who will no doubt probably be better than most estate agents.

Bills, Bills, Bills are a new thing for most students moving into their house for the first time, Fresher year is no problem the Uni takes care of it and at home its our parents job right?! So when a water bill arrives on your mat do not be shocked, they exist and they want money ASAP. But for students there is such a thing as a bills package. Companies such as Glide and Split the Bills for a set monthly fee will control and pay all of your bills for you without you ever having to get one of those nasty envelopes through the door. Sounds like a dream right? Yeah think again, they have ‘fair usage’ policies and they are not happy bunnies if you go way over what they think you should. It is a much cheaper option, even though it might be a hassle, to just organise your own bills that way you’re paying for exactly what you use rather than like me paying £50 a month for gas, electricity, water and wifi- when we won’t be using any gas in the summer and our wifi is slower than a lecture without a powerpoint (student struggles.)

Housemates remember you’re going to be living with these people for the next academic year so make sure they’re people you actually want to live with all the time. So if you’re tidy and they’re basically living out of a bin bag it may not be the brightest idea to live together. It may be the sweetest of friendships in student halls but once you start arguing over the state of the kitchen and who left the lights on all night, running up the electricity bill, you will not be impressed at all. Choose wisely and you’ll have a great year. Choose badly and you could end up rather grumpy paying a fortune for a house you hate living in (cue the ‘I’m running away and booking my trip home on the trainline strop’)

Location really is essential in second and third year because you’ll need to be at Uni a lot, even though you might only have around 6 contact hours a week the library will become your second home so you won’t want to have to walk 5 miles to and from home to get there everyday. I live around a 20 minute walk from my campus with a bus if I’m feeling super lazy which I think is just about right. So when you’re house hunting set yourself some limits of where you can and can’t live, look at bus routes and footpaths for shortcuts to the Uni and it’ll make the search a lot easier I promise! Websites like Rightmove.com actually let you set the boundaries online then show you available student properties which is super handy! 

Hidden Costs you don’t really think of these until you actually have to pay them- for example house insurance- Endsleigh actually do a great policy especially tailored for students so its worth looking with them but other insurers are also great- remember you need property and contents to protect yours and your landlords stuff. Council Tax, don’t panic, students are exempt from council tax (thank god) but you have to make sure you apply for your exemption on your Local Council website otherwise you may actually get a nasty bill through your door.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T I couldn’t help myself I’m sorry. The best advice I can give anyone going into a student house is even if it is awful and messy, make sure you look after the house and avoid trying to break anything, mark walls ect. because at the end of the day it will come out of your deposit when you move out and it is not worth the fuss, you’ve already paid thousands in rent so just try and keep games of indoor swing-ball to a minimum or take it outside…

Lets go shopping? My final words of wisdom on this matter will be to shop around for houses, book lots of viewings and don’t rush into a house just because you love the look of the wallpaper. Make sure you look around, take note of anything like mould (Yuck, but happens a lot in cheap student houses) and windows that aren’t properly sealed because the windows especially will burn money on heating. You have to make sure everyone you’re living with is happy with the house, so don’t feel pressured just because everyone else likes it loads more than you do. Talk it through and make sure you’re all agreed because overall you all have to pay rent for the next year so it may as well be a happy and hopefully healthy (mould free) place to live!

I hope that will of helped some of you, I know it can be a super stressful process especially when it feels like you’re in charge, I was ‘lead tenant’ so the estate agent came to me with all their questions (not fun.) Any questions or queries let me know!

X

Week 5/6 Stress

Its almost mid way through the term (somehow?!) and its essay time…

We all get to this point in the term where you can’t find the book you need in the library which is crucial to that awful essay your trying to finish or even start in some cases. I think everyone starts to feel a bit tired, maybe homesick and fed up of the workload that constantly hits you in the face every time you open your university email.

One of the best ways I like to destress around this time is making sure I spend time with my friends/housemates in the evenings, we’re all in the same boat so releasing the stress and having a laugh over a film, dominoes or even I’ve found find a buddy and get to the gym where you can work together (so much more fun!) Once you’ve relaxed a bit, you’ll find you can come back to your essay with a fresh mind ready to take on that awful referencing!

Secondly, never, and I mean never underestimate the power of a cup of tea (coffee or hot chocolate if you’re that way inclined) even if it’s just a couple of minutes writing break- take a few seconds, sit back and think about what you’re trying to say with a cup of tea and I promise you it will be a lot easier.

This one may not be for everyone but I find it helps me: making lists of what I have to do, I literally consume post-its at such a rate I’m running out of space to put them. Every week, I start the week with what I want to accomplish especially around this time when everything is so busy because I know when I cross that last essay off I can feel content and happy that I’ve achieved what I wanted.

I think my absolute favourite thing about this part of the term is that I know I get to go home for a few days soon- 6 weeks has gone so quickly but theres nothing like looking forward to the comforts of home to get you working.

I hope this helps if you’re feeling a bit stressed, remember nothing is permanent and the time will eventually pass!

x

FRESHERS: What do I need to pack?!

Moving out of your parents house can be the most daunting thing in the world (trust me, I cried for days) but it’s important you’ve got all the right stuff and you’re not the Fresher who has packed so much stuff that you annoy your new housemates by taking up all the kitchen space. Loads of Uni’s will actually give you a list of what you need but I thought I’d give you a simple list top 15 items you will definitely need to bring to survive! Think I’ve missed something off? Let me know!

1. Saucepans– you’ll have to cook for yourself at some point, you may as well have something to cook it in…

2. Cutlery– nobody likes eating with their hands.

3. Labels, labels and more labels– you might be lucky and no one will eat your food, but in a lot of student accommodation people will help themselves to anything!

4. Plates, bowls and glasses– More than one of each is generally advised so washing up is at a minimum.

5. Bedcovers– Even if you pay over £6,000 for your accommodation they’re not going to make your bed for you I’m afraid!

6. Pillows– With my first room my Uni gave me one pillow which was around 2cm thick and probably slept on by more students than I care to know, so bring your own for a comfy nights sleep!

7. Blankets– A lot of Uni halls and houses are super cold as Winter creeps up, we had no control of our heating so its probably a good idea to make sure you’re bundled up ready!

8. Slippers- It’s cold, floors are cold…you get the idea.

9. Tissues– For many the goodbye and farewell to their parents is easy but if you’re like me you’ll need an abundance of tissues for when they finally drop you off

10. Folders, notepads and pens– In the eager excitement of Freshers week sometimes we forget we’re actually there to learn, so don’t forget your stationery…you’ll need it!

11. Cough/Cold Medicines– Freshers Flu is very real and horrendous to get rid of so stock up while you can and prepare for the sniffly lecture theatres.

12. Fancy Dress- This may sound odd but check your Freshers Week schedule before you leave because odds are there will be a few superhero or school uniform themed nights- so pack your ties!

13. Student Cookbook– No idea how to cook? No worries, theres so many student cookbooks around that will get you through your first term on a budget and will probably earn you a few friend too if you get the recipes right

14. A deck of cards- Essential for Freshers week drinking games and beyond

15. Cards, ID, Money– probably the most obvious of all the things to bring but easily forgettable!