General Advice

Living For One

Okay so I’ve discussed previously about batch cooking and why it’s so useful, but I’ve not explained why you should do it.

I learnt personally a lot about cooking before I came to University, I always wanted to appear on a programme like MasterChef or The Great British Bake Off when I was growing up, and me being a teenage boy at the time… yeah… that doesn’t usually go down well with bullies so I had it as my “forbidden passion”. So when I arrived at University, I was so used to cooking for six, that it was hard to transition into only cooking for a single person (and pasta is still pasta no matter how much time you give it, you will always use too much) so I looked into basic foods that could be made on a budget and stored safely in the fridge and freezer space I was given and that would last me the whole week.

Over time I’ve gotten better at this, and thanks to moving into a flat of my own, I’ve now got enough space to bulk buy in the start of the month and then just simply top up each week with stuff I need, like perishables, and a few tips I’ve picked up are here:

Ask Your Parents For Cooking Tips
So at the moment, I’ve been saving up as much as I can so what I tend to do is spend very little on food. When I was at my lowest, I brought four packs of sausages, then 7 days worth of noodles and frozen veg. This would be good enough and healthy enough that I would survive on about £5 a week on food, whilst I was spending so much trying to fix my computer so I could actually do my work. Ask your parents/carers for any tips they might have. You never know, they will have gone through something very similar when they were our age and might know some stuff. My mums tip to me was for a “chicken dinner”. Get some instant mash, chicken slices for sandwiches (or beef or ham), some bread, frozen veg, and then some toad-in-the-hole style Yorkshire Puddings, layer the chicken slices around and place cooked frozen veg, mash and maybe some gravy if you feel up to it and then eat it out of the yorkshire pudding. It might not look like the most appitising dish, but it definately has that student feel and filling appeal of a Sunday dinner.

Whilst my dad gave me the tip of “befriending your local takeout”. No, seriously, my dad apparently got Christmas cards addressed to the stores “number one customer!” each year…

Excel Spreadsheet of Money In and Out
I gave this tip previously, but one of the things I’m quite proud of is my spreadsheet. It tells me all of the money I have outgoing and incoming each month and will tell me an estimate of what I should have by the end of the month in both of my bank accounts. You can usually find these online or make one yourself. You then have the added bonus if you make one yourself by putting “Excel Spreadsheets” on your CV.

Washing Clothes
I have four pairs of jeans with me, enough underwear and plenty of t-shirts. Jeans (nearly) never need to be washed. Honestly. It’s amazing. T-shirts and underwear can be all handwashed, which makes the only real thing you need to wash is bedspreads and towels. I personally go to a laundromat because I don’t have a washing machine in my room and then leave them hanging up to dry on clothes horses during the day and the next if necessary.

Exploring Your Hobbies
When you’re at home, you’re probably going to be used to playing games or reading books all the time and now you have your own money, you might be tempted by that £100 collectors edition of your favorite game, or a limited edition signed hand-written book by your favorite author (seriously, if anyone has a copy of Robert Muchamore’s CHERUB in handwriting, hit me up), and that’s perfectly fine. However, you have to hold yourself back. Save it as an end of month thing. Each month you buy yourself something new, then after a year at University, you’ve saved some cash and gotten used to that feeling you get when you can read a book and feel like you’ve earnt it.

I hope these tips help you out as much as they helped me survive my first two years at University,
Until next time!
Conor ^-^

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General Advice

Stress

Hello everyone my post for this Thursday afternoon is about Stress. Going to university and or starting working is a very stressful time in your life, there is many changes especially living away from your parents or even on your own for the first time.
I found that some (well a bit more than some) of the things I got very stressed about in my first two years at university seemed silly when you go back and think about it much later. Many of things I got stress about are things I couldn’t change so was kind of pointless worrying (not that, that ever stops me).

These are some Tips I have used that works most of the time.

If your doing something and getting very stressed (for example revision, job application, preparing for interviews etc.) take a break. When your stressed your won’t be very productive and it won’t help at all. Take time to calm down and do something you find relaxing. I often listen to music and have a little dance and have a wonder around or watch an episode of my favourite TV show (when stressed a tip is to stick to comedy to cheer you up). Sometimes leaving the flat or house an going for a walk just to clear your head can also be very useful. Then go back to it later. Which can calm you down so you get on with it.

Also don’t hide yourself away. When your get stressed you start overthinking everything (truly everything). Get out and talk to others. Talking through what’s stressing you out can really help. Even if this isn’t face to face and its on messenger or even a phone call don’t stress alone it only makes it worst. Even if your not confident enough to do this just having a casual chat about anything helps so much in the sense of distracting and calming yourself down. which often helps giving yourself a better sense of perspective so you can think about your problem more logically and often it doesn’t seem as bad as it did earlier.

Also doing little things like writing down or making a lists of the facts of what is worrying you, this can be helpfully as again it tends to make you think more logically, which is what you normally don’t do while stressing (which is one of the worst bits).

I hope some of you blog readers find this helpful.

Until I post again, Samara

General Advice

Nothing Lasts Forever!

Hi everyone, Kathryn here and I have more or less spent the day wondering how on Earth September is just two days away. And it made me realise that this year has gone really quickly (much too quickly for my liking).

Yes, admittedly in June when I first started my industrial year the days seemed to stretch on for years. But looking back on it the first 1/4 of my industrial year has gone by really quickly.

And what I’ve learnt over the past few months is that no matter how long the days will seem, nothing lasts forever and time will soon fly by.

If you give yourself something to look forward to it can feel like time is going faster. (I already have things to look forward to in October and November).Just remember nothing is forever, no matter how hard something seems, it will be all over soon.

And that’s all for me for today, until next time, Kathryn.

General Advice

records !!!!

My tip for this Thursday afternoon is very boring (but very practical and has helped me out in the past) and this is to keep records.

This is never a bad thing to get in to the habit of doing but this tip is Particularly for when you spends large sums of money for say rent. If you using bank transfers your online banking is a record. But if you pay for anything in cash your have to keep receipt. (this also helps with working out budget and checking how much your spending etc.) Yes this does takes up space and most the time it unneeded but it’s always nice to have this records.

Let me tell you a story, I was all packed and ready to move stuff in to my new flat for next year,  I go to the estate agents to pick but my keys. They told me I needed to pay the deposit (and refusing to let me have the keys), but I had already paid eariler that month, I was not happy. But as I had asked for and keep a receipt for the transaction (in a safe place) I could prove that I had already paid. But If hadn’t had done this it would have been a fight with my word against theirs. (As a student I really couldn’t aford to pay twice)

Even if your luckly and never have to use that records at all. After you have kept them for about a year you have take to time shred and destory them (which is kinda fun really)

Until I post again, Samara 😀

General Advice

Have a Jar full of Positive Thoughts!

 

Hey everyone, Kathryn here, and for today’s tip of the day I will be talking about one method that I use that helps me when work gets tough. And that is have a jar full of positive thoughts, although I use this method to help me get through work when things get tough, you can also use it to help get you through university, or anything really.

This tip may sound cliche, but it’s a good way of coping when things get bad. Spend an evening using an old jam jar and writing a list of things that you have to be positive about, then fold these notes and put them in a jar. (I use a small plastic container since it’s easier to carry around than a jam jar).

You can then put this in your bag (I have mine in my work bag) and then when your feeling down you can pull one out and smile and whatever you’ve written on it. Then whenever something good happens get out a spare bit of paper and put it in the jar, keep filling up the jar with positive thoughts and use it whenever you feel down.

It is also good spending an evening just writing a list of things you have to be positive about, and it will help you feel more positive.

But what do you write on them? What counts as being a positive thought?

On my notes I normally write things like having my friends/ boyfriend/ family be there for me, and things that I have planned for the future, I also include things that I have done/ things that I’m proud of. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter how big or small they are- it’s all about whether or not reading it will put a smile on your face.

So get your sticky notes out and start writing some positive thoughts!

And that’s all for me for today, until next time! Kathryn.

General Advice

Keeping A Close Backup

Making backups of your information is important, and you will always be told by IT tutors, technical support, your parents and yes, it does seem like a bit of a hassle, getting an external hard-drive or a usb stick to hold a single set of documents but it can come in handy.

First however, let me tell you a short story. In my first year of University, I had a complete meltdown, I lost all my data on my hard-drive and I suffered depression during this time due to a painful experience with a past relationship. I started however to wear a USB stick around my neck, this contained photographs of my pet dog, Toby. Whenever I felt like I couldn’t do anything, I immediately plugged my drive into my laptop to go through 500+ photos of my dog until I felt like I could continue working. This held me together because I felt like I had something to keep me going when I held it close to my chest.

A USB stick for instance, these are cheap and plentiful. I have about six all used for different things, one is my University documentation, all the work I’ve completed in the past two years, in case I need to pull up an assignment and hand it back in, in case of a server failure with the University (it does happen). The others are photos that I am too terrified of losing, photos of my family and my pets that mean the most to me when I feel like I can’t continue working on projects, it’s always nice to go through old photographs and feel a little less homesick.

An external hard-drive is a little more expensive, starting at around £30 and going all the way up to £150 based on hard-drive size and transfer speeds and extra functions like “cloud access”. However, if you are wanting to protect all of your data, music, videos, photos, documents like I do, then it’s worth investing in one, and every so often, format the drive and backup all the data once more. I prefer to do it every term so that I have the freshest backup if my computer dies whilst I’m at University, I have a backup in case things go pear shaped.

However, another backup option is cloud storage. Places like Google Drive and Dropbox are especially useful when you have little amounts of data but you want to access them everywhere.  I know it’s a drag to do and takes time, but in the end, having all your data backed up in case of an emergency is a wonderful thing we can do and achieve.

Speak to you all soon!

Conor ^-^

General Advice

Stop Comparing yourself to Others

So for today’s tip of the day I have chosen to give advice on something that we are all guilty of doing: comparing ourselves to others. So my advice to you is to stop. Stop comparing yourself to others. (Since this topic is pretty big in this post I will be talking about using Facebook and comparing our lives to others).

In my experience sometimes I find that it’s easy to use Facebook and then feel down when looking at everyone else’s posts. We can look at other people’s post and wonder why our life isn’t that great. It can make us feel down about our life, and we our comparing our life to theirs without meaning to.

I have also found that when I’m feeling down it’s best not to use Facebook. Don’t go on Facebook and look at everyone’s post when you feel down otherwise you’ll end up feeling worse. Stay off Facebook and just talk to a few good friends.

So my advice to you is: stop comparing yourself to others. Using Facebook it’s far to easy to do that both subconsciously and consciously, so stay off Facebook if you’re ever feeling down.

Until next time, Kathryn!

General Advice

Keep Organised

Hello everyone, Samara here and my first tip is about life in general and it is to keep organised.

I know I can almost hear the groans but even if this is one seems very obvious it can honestly be a great help. Especially if you’re like me and are a naturally untidy person, those extra couple of minutes it takes to be organised can save you a lot of time in the long run.

We all have those moments of panic when we can’t find something very important. Whether its assignments, important documents or maybe even a book you can’t remember were you put it down.

Organisation is helpful

Times I have found this very helpful is with paperwork (sadly the older you get the more there is), if you organise/file your documents and keep it all is one memorable place, it is much easier to stay on top of things. I will admit that I didn’t in my first year of uni and wasted way to much time searching for items.

Hope you found this helpful.                                                                                                              

Until I post again, Samara 😀

General Advice

Think before you text!

So it’s just dawned on me that I created this blog about a week ago and I’ve been trying (and failing) to update daily (which is hard when you have a full time job- but I’m getting better on managing my time better, hence why I haven’t made a tip on time management yet). And I realized that I have yet to give any general tips. So here is my first general tip; think before you text.

If you’ve ever watched a film/ TV show where one of the main characters is completely drunk, you’ve probably seen the other characters trying to make sure that said main character doesn’t text. This is partly because it would be very embarrassing for a) the person you are calling and b) for you when you realize that you called someone when you’re drunk and probably said some really embarrassing things. The other reason is that when you’re drunk you’re not in the right state of mind to text/ call someone.

However when you’re drunk isn’t the only time you’re likely to send texts you’ll regret. If you’re annoyed/ angry for whatever reason, then it can be very easy to send an annoyed text message to someone which you’ll regret when you’ve calmed down.

But my piece of advice to you would be just to think, think about the impact that text will have on the other person, think before pressing the send button. If you’re feeling annoyed then I would avoid using you’re phone, at least until you’ve calmed down a bit.

Texts can be easily misinterpreted, and they can turn a person’s mood around; they can make people instantly or sad. And if you send someone an angry text then it can leave a bad feeling between you and the receiver. And if you cannot resolve it immediately then that bad feeling can grow. So think before you text.

And that’s all for now, Kathryn!