Bangers on a Budget

People all too often assume that students can’t cook and as a result live of quick, easy and unhealthy meals, but that isn’t always the case and it certainly doesn’t need to be the case. I was lucky enough to grow up in a foodie family so I had a pretty good repertoire of meals I could cook when I went to uni, but if you don’t there’s a whole host of student specific cookbook. These books, unlike other cookbooks, contain less complicated recipes that don’t require an extra parsley garnish or a sprig of rosemary which cuts the cost of ingredients considerably.

Building up your cupboard stock can be really helpful when cooking, it makes the range of recipes you can cook much wider and enables you to play around a little more with the recipes you chose. Sometimes the twist of a substitute ingredient can turn a regular recipe into a regular favourite. Soon you’ll find your own ways of cooking meals, I’m not sure if my mother was proud or offended when I started putting soy sauce in my bolognese instead of HP, which she had always used. Cooking should be fun, so don’t feel like you’re doing it wrong if you take out or add in an ingredient.

Cook on students, prove the stereotype wrong.

All Hail Halls

I can’t help but look longingly at my old flat as I walk past now, I made a lot of memories and friends in flat 38. And while it wasn’t hard to say goodbye to the messy kitchen, campus security and the weekly fire alarm check, it was certainly a chapter of my life I will look back on fondly for many reasons. Here are some of the perks of living in halls

1. Being close to your lectures. One thing I miss already is being able to blurry eyed note the time as 9.30 and know I would still have time to get ready and make it to my 10am with enough time to make myself a tea for the walk.

Living close to your lecture halls, or studio for me, also comes in handy when you have to carry in half your art supply.

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2. Campus, despite housing thousands of people and being almost constantly occupied by hoards of drunk people past a certain hour, feels incredibly safe thanks to campus security. Also on hand if things so south are the Resident Assistants, friendly third years who live on campus and respond to the less urgent matters like friend/flatmate disputes.

3. You’ll meet some of your best friends living in halls.

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4. I can’t speak for every university campus but University of Hertfordshire has a very well equipped campus. It hosts an impressive; pub, club, launderette, doctors, pharmacy, gym, sports courts, doddle, art shop, restaurant, SU shop, library and even cleaners for communal areas in halls. You can also get your hands on a mean meal deal in most of the buildings.

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5. Living in halls is a very cushioned entrance into adult life, allowing baby steps towards independence, rather than being pushed straight into the world of paying bills and wearing every hoodie you own before putting the heating on you get to live in a cosy pre paid limbo.

6. The parties. Enough said

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7. It’s probably the nicest flat you’ll have for a while, and it gets cleaned for you.

8. Theres also a real community feel that comes with living in a large flat. One girl in my flat, Emily, was extremely involved in almost everything the uni had to offer, woking in the SU, captain of the ultimate frisbee team and at one point candidate for Vice President of Student Activities. It was warming to see the whole flat support her. We stood by as our kitchen was turned into FRESHHerts headquarters. Pizza and cupcakes being churned out of our kitchen (not the worst part), tea being thrust at us in stamped take away cups as we left the flat in the morning to promote the cause (also not an awful side effect) and all 12 of us sporting posters in our windows.

 

It’s also nice to be surrounded by the tireless support and understanding of your fellow students. Yes, you’ll all want to rip each others heads off during deadline week but they’re always there when you need help. It’s surprising how much better a mutual look of despair can be, no words required.

9. Food Freedom. It’s really exciting to finally be able to eat what you want, when you want especially if – like me – you like cooking. That also includes drunk cooking when you get home from a night out.

10. However, despite all of the above things I think the thing I’m going to miss the most about living in halls is that it means I’m no longer in first year. I envy the year the freshers have ahead of them, may they make the most of it.

 

 

Dinner and Drinks

Dinner in my family has always been a wonderfully social occasion. I’m thankful that my parents always impressed on me the importance of sitting around the table and talking at the end of the day. This remains one of my favourite parts of day to day uni life as well as home life. Coming home from a long day at lectures and relaxing while cooking, or watching someone else cook if you’re lucky, with a large glass of wine in hand. Getting all of the niggling annoyances from the day off your chest and reliving the funny moments over dinner is a perfect way to reflect on the day. Busy student living isn’t for everyone but  I personally enjoyed it, living with twelve people ensured that there was always someone to say hello to while you’re downstairs cooking, different days to hear about and music to sauté to.

Anyway, this particular dinner was not a cobbled together uni banquet. It was a spectacular Greek spread.

After a lovely evening and an applaudable amount of wine later we made our way back to my Aunts house where the new guest suit was awaiting me. Previously my youngest cousins room which was transformed swiftly into a stylish guessed room before his bags even landed in his new flat.

Another favourite room of mine in the house is my eldest cousins old room who moved out some time ago to study fine art. Her room, although also now a spare room is still studded with her creative input. The electric blue floor and fun light fitting were hers, however they’ve now been teamed with natural wood and deep Persian rug to create a fresh and sophisticated yet, vibrant eclectic space.

 

Head over to my Pinterest, specifically my B E D R O O M board to see more design picks a variety of other things

Own Brand Student Life

There are a number of somewhat comforting certainties that come with being a student. The first being, you will never have the money to do… anything and the second indelible fact is that somehow you will always find money to go to the pub if invited, especially in summer. The lure of a cold pint on a hot day to a student is frankly irresistible and if it means sacrificing a four pack of Heinz beans for ASDAs own that week then so bloody be it.

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Another truth about student life it you can’t get by buying all brand and there comes a point where you realise that the supermarket equivalent isn’t really that bad. I mean, the ketchup has an unusual tang and own brand coke is never the same as branded. But take solace in the fact that any lemonade, not matter how cheap, tastes the same and makes a bottle of wine go at least two glasses further.

The fourth fact about moving to University is that your drink of choice will probably change, most likely to something a little more over draft friendly because you will be drinking a lot. Your overdraft and loan may allow you to continue drinking Disaronno and coke or Smirnoff Vodka but mine certainly didn’t. Half way through the first term I had succumbed to the less enjoyable cider ‘n’ black instead of preferred Strongbow Dark Fruit, which I now only treat myself to when on offer.

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The Stella Tower, a perfect example of how ‘You will be drinking a lot’

People will always tell you that your university days will fly by and this is probably because time is a mere concept and honestly you’ve got more chance preforming a synchronised swimming routine than you have sticking to a standard daily one. You may, like me, not realise your nocturnal tendencies until you move home where one of two things will happen:

Scenario One: No one will want to come out with you. None of your non student friends are interested in going to the beach at 2 in the morning or leaving for the pub at 11.

Scenario two: Your parents will naively ask ‘Isn’t it a bit late?’ or ‘Aren’t you tired?’ or ‘Shouldn’t you get some sleep?’, not realising you’ve lived the last year on one good night sleep a week; if you’re lucky.

Of course along side the certainties comes uncertainties, such as will I be able to eat this week? Was that essay 1500 worlds or 2000? Will I get my flat deposit back if the doors hanging off it’s hinges?

Student life teaches you many things, not only how many pints you can drink before you start seeing double or how long you can go without doing your washing. It teaches you a bizzare irresponsible responsibility. You’ll soon find yourself sitting in lectures musing over whether or not there’s enough bread in the cupboard to have a sandwich at lunch and then toast in the morning. I mean, chances are the bread you’re mentally rationing is already mouldy because you’re still a student, but the fact you’re even thinking about bread now is enough to make you feel like you’ve become a seedling adult.