Saturday, 31 August 2013

Where to shop for...

When you start off as a student fending for yourself everything seems ridiculously expensive. Living on a student budget can be difficult but from a year at uni I've learnt a few places to go for some good deals and I hope these tips are useful for you too! 

Food - as well as main supermarkets

  •  Aldi or lidl - Both shops have really reasonable prices and although you've probably never heard of half of the brands you can't really taste any difference 
  • Shops like b&m or home bargains - These shops sell loads of things like homeware, food and toiletries for fantastically cheap prices 
  • European or oriental food shops - Even though you couldn't do a weekly shop in either of these shops they come in really handy for cheap alternatives to some products. Oriental shops are great for things like noodles and stir fry sauces and European shops are great for cheap snacks like crisps and cake - not exactly healthy but when you're a student and its cheap who cares? :)
  • Markets - Many towns have brilliant markets and sometimes they have great deals - where I live there is a great veg stall where I get all of my veg for the week for under £5 - and I buy a lot of veg
  • Butchers - sometimes butchers do great deals on meat - especially packs which would cost an arm and a leg in a supermarket - the meat is always so much better as well


  • Charity Shops - If you really search through shops like Martha trust or oxfam you can find some really good items like clothes, jewellery or even books, you can save loads of money too
  • Brands like Primark - Primark is perfect for cheap, disposable clothing and you can find something for everyone. I buy stuff there for everyday wear, nights out and even sometimes for fancy dress
  • Online Sales - I find really cheap deals on certain websites and the sales on online stores are always amazing! I normally find great stuff from sites like boohoo, missguided and asos and delivery is usually pretty fast
  • eBay - This site is great for fancy dress costumes and everyday clothes. Shipping can sometimes be a little pricey but I've been able to get dresses or jewellery for around 99p so I can't complain

Makeup and toiletries

  • Superdrug - MUA and NYC are really good quality and cheap brands, most stuff is around £1 which is perfect for a student budget
  • Boots - their natural collection stuff is really great value and their points system means in the long run you can save money
  • Savers - they sell branded hair products for reasonable prices and other toiletries cheaply

For online deals

  • Voucher Codes - I haven't used this one myself but I've heard great things about it
  • Student Beans - this website is amazing! It has lots of hints and tips as well as telling you about online sales and deals exclusively for people registered to the website

Friday, 16 August 2013

What to do after Results

So if you're in the UK A-level results were released yesterday and you would have found out whether or not you got into University or got the grades needed for other things like apprenticeships etc. Congratulations to everyone who got what they wanted and to those who didn't... you may be thinking what can you do now but the best thing to do is not to give up. A recent article I read said that students lose their ambition when they get bad results and are likely to give up on certain career paths. But an attitude like that won't get you anywhere. Don't let what other people say to you or some results get in your way! If you haven't got the grades you needed or wanted maybe consider re-taking a levels or even thinking of another course that you may enjoy more or that may help you achieve the grade you need. A lot of people think that you may be left out if don't go to Uni as soon as you leave college and you'll be older than everyone in your year but its not true. I know people from ages 18 to 23 in their first year and even mature students so taking some more time to get into your Uni of choice isn't a big deal. Just make sure you think a lot about what you want to do before giving up!!!!
To those of you who did get in to University you now have a lot to sort out and prepare for when you arrive in September..

  • Go on your Uni's fresher page on Facebook or Twitter and check out any information you may need for moving day, freshers or their Uni in general
  • Try and find the reading list for your course. Getting the essential texts before term starts usually works out cheaper and gives you an idea of what to expect in lectures and seminars
  • Make a checklist! Make sure that somewhere you have a list of everything you need to pack from room stuff to clothes to stationary to fancy dress. Also have an idea of what food you want to buy from the supermarket when you get there!
And finally, for everyone no matter whether your results were good or bad, enjoy the summer. You may have a lot to think about and organise but come September you may not see some of your friends for a while and you shouldn't let other things affect friendships. I wish you all the best for whatever comes next and I hope no one gives up on their ambition! There is more than one way to achieve any goal! xx

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

The Dreaded Hangover

No matter how well you can handle your alcohol at some point in your University life you will have a hangover (unless you don't drink.) There are many ways to get rid of a hangover and I may even do a blog just for girls to show you how to hide your hangover with makeup when you miss your alarm and only have a few minutes to get ready and look alive. These are the things that I do to feel better after having one too many drinks and I hope this helps!

Before you go out

  • Make sure there is nothing on your bed other than your covers and pyjamas so that once you get home you can go straight to bed
  • Leave a pint of water by your bed - you should always drink as much water as you do alcohol to prevent the hangover in the first place
  • If you need to Set An Alarm!! - If you need to be somewhere the next day set an alarm while you are still sober so that you don't forget later in the night
When you get home
  • Drink the water you left out - before you go to bed drink something!!! 
  • If you don't feel too queasy, eat some food - toast is easy and quick to make for example
  • Get a good nights sleep 
In the morning
  • Have a large drink - water is great but you can also have fruit juice or even a smoothie, all of them help you to re hydrate 
  • Wash your face - this helps to refresh you quickly and for girls, takes the makeup off from the night before
  • Eat a good breakfast - food will help fill your stomach and should help you to feel better - but if you're feeling sick maybe only eat something like crackers - rich food won't help
If you still feel ill
  • Take something for the pain - If you have a headache take something like paracetamol or aspirin and if you have no energy, take a beroca
  • Go to bed - If you're feeling particularly fragile it's better to get some more sleep than to suffer in a lecture - I'm not saying you should take this step often, only if the hangover is particularly bad
I hope this helps xx 

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Top 10 tips for surviving freshers week

So everyone knows that freshers is a big deal at uni and there is partying and drinking involved. But no one actually tells you everything that goes on and there's actually a lot that you need to know. So here are the 10 things I think everybody needs to know before heading off to uni and in their first week :)

1. Open door policy- on moving day you may not know anyone at your new university and may find it difficult to start a conversation with your new flat mates. My advice for this is to get a doorstop, whether its a tiny wedge, a crate of beers or even a novelty doorstop (photo)
This way people can see you and say hello and you may find it easier to talk to them whilst you're settling in, it's also good to be able to hear people turning up and maybe give them a hand moving in, a great way to start conversations
2. Be prepared - there are so many ways to find out stuff about your freshers week and even talk to a few people to get used to meeting new people. Go on Facebook or other social networking sites and search for your uni's fresher page! There will be lots of info about the events happening, chances to get tickets, ask questions, learn themes for fancy dress and lots of other tips from current students. This helped me so much before freshers week as I was told everything happening in the week and even got to speak to a few people who were on my course to ask questions and feel more confident
3. Ready steady cook - when you're at uni you don't have your mum or dad to cook for you and no matter what anyone says you can't live on beans on toast for 3 years!! So over the summer get cooking! Ask your parents for some easy and cheap recipes. I've even uploaded some easy recipes like a simple bolognese and a stir fry. A lot of people I know offer to cook for their flats so it would be good if you had a few recipes up your sleeve to impress your friends, maybe suggest cooking for eachother every sunday... Also you need to stay healthy and eating well is the best way to keep you fit and happy 
4. First aid 101- no matter how healthy you think you are there is about a 90% chance that sometime in the first few weeks you will get freshers flu! This flu is only slightly worse than a cold but if you're also hungover it feels like the end of the world. My advice is to prepare for illness and injury in advance with a mini first aid kit. I will post this in more detail but you will definitely need beroca for energy or any glucose tablet, some plasters (particularly for girls as you'll probably be in heels a lot) and ibruprofen for those hangovers. This way you're prepared for the worst!!!
5. Know your limits - Chances are you will be drinking quite a lot at university, more than you have before and probably everyday. There are lots of drinking games too that at some points make you drink a lot. But only you know how much you can tolerate and when you feel ill. And remember, you've only just met these people and they won't want to spend their night looking after everybody - but don't worry if you are ill people will look after you!!! But if you start to feel ill, STOP DRINKING, get yourself some air and a glass of water. You need to pace yourself throughout the week and it will be expensive to go out and buy drinks so not getting too drunk every night will work in your favour. Another very important tip - eat dinner before you start drinking, line your stomach, just because you want to get drunk, doesn't mean you should get hammered every night!
6. Try something new - university is all about diversity and getting involved. My advice to you all would be to go to your freshers fair and join societies you like but also join one that provides something you've never tried before, perhaps a new sport, hobby or even a language. There are so many different societies and its a great way to meet new people and make friends. Also if you get invited to watch comedians, an open mic night or just to play pool, join in. You never know you may get to like a new band or a new hobby!
7. Fancy dress- Most universities have dressing up nights during freshers and some universities have regular themed nights. So before you head off to uni buy some fancy dress stuff. A onesie would be very useful and also fancy dress outfits like animals, pirates,a Superhero etc. Also invest in some face paints, there a good way to make your costume better and it's also a fun way to spend time with your flat when you're getting ready for a night out. 
8. Get to know the area - whether you live in a city or on a campus you need to learn the area. Take a walk in the first few days to where your lecture theatres are and find an easy route and see how long it takes. Also make sure you can recognise the buildings around you so that you could find your way home on a night out if you ever end up alone. It's also good to know where the nearest shop is if you ever need anything in a hurry
9. Money money money - Budgeting is going to take up a lot ofyour time at uni. During freshers work out about how much you need to spend on food and nights out a week. Also remember that you WILL spend more money in freshers week than any other at university You'll have to buy books, pay memberships for societies and entry to events. In freshers fair every society will ask for a bit of money to sign up to their group, so limit yourself to how many you pay for on the day. Most societies allow you to try their activity out first so make sure you like it before you pay! Also for nights out, NEVER take your bank card with you, make sure you have a sufficient amount at the start of the night for a few drinks and taxi money hidden somewhere (inside your phonecase perhaps) 
10. Relax and enjoy- Freshers week goes very quickly so make the most of it!!! Don't stress and just have fun making new friends and your new found independence!!!!!!