Flying Home for Christmas…

Hey everyone and Happy December! With the Christmas holidays coming up and people flying back home to Northern Ireland like me, the Isle of Man or other places, I thought I would give some advice on how I make the flying process much easier and stress free.

Image result for christmas page separators

My first piece of advice would be to BOOK EARLY! I cannot stress this enough. Booking your flights early will not only save you money but also save you from panicking about trying to get tickets for a flight that is fully booked. I try to book all my flights early so that I am saving money and am more relaxed knowing that I am going home.

My next point is also very pivotal to a stress free journey home and that is to ARRIVE EARLY! My family and friends always make fun of me for arriving far too early at the airport (5 hours early…) but I’ll be the one laughing when they show up to a flight and miss it because they get stuck in security. Arriving at least 3 hours before a flight cuts out so much stress because you can find somewhere comfortable to sit, grab a coffee and listen to Christmas music until you’re flight is called. 

Particularly at this time of the year, airports can be so so busy and so it is always better not to underestimate the craziness of them and show up to your flight early.


Image result for friends airport gif

My final piece of advice when flying home this Christmas is to try and find someone to travel with. The reason I say this is because, if you book a flight that is early in the morning or late in the night, taking public transport to the airport can be hard and you might have to take a taxi. My flight home for Christmas last year was very early because it was the cheapest but it meant that no trains or buses were running so I had to book a taxi which cost me around £33. Flying with someone that you could share a taxi with will make this cheaper and it is also a lot more fun travelling with a friend.

Image result for christmas page separators

I hope that you have found this advice useful for when you are travelling home for Christmas and I hope that you have safe travels wherever you are going!

Thank you for reading, Lauren x

“I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.”

-Maya Angelou-

Student Proof Recipes

Many of you may have come to University not knowing how to cook, or even what to cook. You may be having takeouts, which a) cost a lot of money and b) the majority of them are unhealthy. Here’s a few Student proof recipes that I think are super easy, healthy and not very costly.

Chicken Curry

This is probably one of my favourite things to cook. I tend to cook a big batch so I can split it up and freeze a few portions ready to have for a few dinners in the upcoming weeks. All you need is:

  • Chicken Breasts/thighs (thighs are cheaper to buy)
  • Chicken stock
  • Curry paste
  • Rice
  • Any vegetables you want: onions, peppers etc.

This is a basic recipe and all you do is cook the chicken with the curry paste, add chicken stock and seasoning and leave to simmer to cook all the way through, whilst cooking some rice in a separate pan. If you’re a vegan or a vegetarian, you can swap the chicken out for chickpeas or tofu.

Pasta Bake

One of the cheats for this is to get the packet seasoning of a chicken bake. You can buy these practically from any supermarket. All you have to do is have the ingredients it says on the packet and follow the instructions. Just make sure you have an oven proof dish and some good melting cheese to go on top of the pasta and sauce.

Chilli Con Carne

Again like the pasta bake, you can get a seasoning packet for this or even a jar of sauce already made. If you’re like me and have quite an array of spices in your cupboard, you could probably make this meal from scratch. For this particular recipe I use, there are a lot of ingredients. However, this makes a big batch so you can freeze the rest of what you don’t eat.

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/3228/chilli-con-carne

There are loads more recipes that I love to cook from BBC Good Food. I definitely recommend having a look!

Ellis x

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Where to Eat?

Going to eat at the HUB on campus at Edge Hill can get repetitive sometimes, and you just want something different. Here’s a few of the places I like to go and eat and hang out with my friends.

Starbucks

Okay, so this is an obvious choice but, especially at this time of year because its all Christmassy and cosy. I just love it! They have a selection of Christmas drinks and food too which is great to get something different to your usual order. I mainly come here after a lecture or when i’ve had a stressful day. Just to chill out. Also, this is a great study spot . All you need is your laptop, some music and a coffee, and you’re good to go!

Cobble

This is a very cute independent cafe and definitely one of my favourites since starting University. They cater for my allergy really well and the staff there are all really friendly. You can go there for breakfast, brunch or lunch (as suggested by their menu). You can also get take out items if you feel like you can’t eat a slice of cake but want one anyway.

Dinky Dory’s

Okay so this is a bit more of a ‘funky’ cafe. Everything is seaside themed and I would highly recommend going there at some point. Their menu is pretty decent, selling hot drinks and food such as waffles and pancakes, with many toppings to choose from. This is also a great place to go out to in the evening as they do a mixture of cocktails too.

Wetherspoons

This is a firm favourite of the students of Edge Hill. Coming here is definitely one of the cheaper options and has good food too. I remember last year me and my friends would tend to come here every Thursday as well all had a long day. After a while it got a bit costly, so haven’t gone as much this year. Again, like Dinky Dory’s, they do various types of drinks too, so coming here before a night out or just to hang out with your friends is a good place to go.

If there’s anywhere you guys like to go, drop it down in the comments below!

Ellis x

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Halls Vs Student Houses – my experience

Hey everyone, as I know from last year that this is the time that people living in halls of residence in their first year start looking for a place to live in their second year, I thought I would share my experience with student houses and how they compare to accommodation on campus at Edge Hill University.

In my first year of university I lived in Chancellors Court with 7 other people. I loved living in halls especially because I got on so well with my flat-mates and can say that I have made friends for life. 

The accommodation that I lived in also had en suite bathrooms which was nice because it meant that you could have a shower anytime you wanted and didn’t have to wait until someone else was finished using it.

Other aspects of halls that I liked; 

  • Close to lectures 
  • Close to the library 
  • There are more people in the flat than there is in a typical house and so there is less chance to feel lonely. 
  • 24 hour security 
  • More social (in my opinion)
Lake on the eastern side of campus lined by Chancellors Court and Chancellors South.

For my second year, me and three other girls found a house in town about a 5 minute drive from the university and quite close to the town centre. I really love the idea of living in a house because it feels very homely and you don’t feel as though you are constantly on university grounds. It is nice to feel as though you are not always in university when you go back to your living space. 

Living in a house also has made me a little more independent. It’s strange because I feel like more of an adult since living in an actual house as you have to handle the rent, bills, cleaning it and making sure that the bins have been taken out. I got used to this when living in halls of residence as we had lovely cleaners that took them out everyday.

Other aspects I like about living in a house;

  • Close to town 
  • Less confined 
  • No circuit laundry (if you know, you know)
  • No one living above or below you 
  • More freedom
Image result for ormskirk

So, when it comes to choosing which one I prefer, I lean more towards halls because it is more social and I like being closer to lectures and the library. However, living in the house has given me a lot more freedom to do things and I don’t feel the same pressure to always have to be productive and go to the library. I am more relaxed and can ‘chill’ better in the house better than I ever could in halls.

I really hope that you like this post. I really do like living off campus and having even more independence but, I also really miss living on campus because of how close it was to everything that I needed and because I miss living as a big flat and making memories. 

Thank you for reading, Lauren x

“There’s not a word yet for old friends who’ve just met.”

Jim Henson

Part-Time Jobs Ormskirk

As its getting closer to Christmas, you might be thinking about Christmas presents and unfortunately for us students, it probably means dipping into your maintenance loan or savings. However, if you’re looking for some extra cash, then you’re reading the right blog.

If you’re looking for part-time work its sometimes a good idea to have a look at Edge Hill’s career page. Here you can filter down your location and what kind of job you want. Edge Hill update their careers page quite often, so its always good that even if you don’t find anything the first time, just keep looking at it every other week.

Indeed is also a good website to use as sometimes the Edge Hill careers page doesn’t put up all jobs available. At the moment, stores seem to be looking for seasonal staff because of it being round Christmas time such as: Card factory, WHSmith etc. This is always good as they will be wanting people to work quite a few hours. The only downside is if you’re not actually from Ormskirk and you want to go home, you have to find a way to travel back and forth and that could be costly.

Stroll into town and who knows what jobs are on offer. The majority of stores in Ormskirk Town are small cafes and independent businesses. They’re more likely to put up a sign on their shop windows trying to get staff. So this might be an idea to have a CV on hand just in case.

Tutoring is a great way to get cash in hand money. If you’re really good at a specific subject such as English, Maths and Science, Music etc, this is a great way for you to earn some extra cash. These websites also allow students flexibility whether to have tutoring from your home/residential or to go to theirs.

Ellis x

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What University Has Taught Me…So Far…

Hey everyone! My friends and I were talking about what we were like before starting university and I was really surprised to find how much I have learned since starting university in 2018. I thought I would write a few things that I have picked up over the year to show you how much I didn’t know before starting…

1. Separating your colour wash and white wash is not a myth…

I may be the only one that thought this was never true because at home, I never did this nor did my mum and so, I was led to believe that this was just a marketing technique to get people to buy colour catchers and colour separators etc. I laugh at my old, naïve self.

The myth was busted when I went to collect my washing and found that I had a new pair of bright pink socks, but my white socks had went missing. Luckily it was only my socks that had been ruined but I have definitely learnt from my mistakes. Always separate your washing kids!

2. How to portion size pasta…

Gone are the days when my mum would make spaghetti bolognaise and magically be able to plate the perfect portion size of pasta and have non left over for seconds. Everyone would get their pasta and be fulfilled after dinner. Good job mum, why didn’t you pass this skill on to me?

I cannot tell you the amount of times that I have made pasta that could literally feed the 5,000 or not enough that it wouldn’t even fill a hole in my tooth. Luckily, my lovely flat mate came to the rescue and told me that if you measure out 100g of pasta before cooking it, it should be the perfect amount for one person.

3. How to socialise…

This is probably one of the biggest lessons that university has taught me. Before moving over to university, you would not see me talking to ANYONE outside of my friend group. I couldn’t even hold a conversation with the woman working on the till in Asda. However, now, let’s just say she probably wishes that I never came back from university…

On a serious note, university thrusts you into a world where you have to talk to people to get through it. This does mean getting pushed out of your comfort zone but, trust me this is for the better. I feel so much more comfortable talking to strangers, I can even ask the waiter for more ketchup! That’s a milestone for anyone.

You will also meet so many amazing people when you just relax yourself and talk to people you have never spoken to. I have an amazing group of friends that I wouldn’t be as close to if I hadn’t spoken to them and allow myself to engage in conversations.

I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it! You will obviously learn so much more in university and it is the best experience of your life you just need to let it happen and don’t hold back.

“LEARNING IS NOT ATTAINED BY CHANCE, IT MUST BE SOUGHT FOR WITH ARDOR AND ATTENDED TO WITH DILIGENCE.”

-ABIGAIL ADAMS-

Work Organisation Tips

It’s November which means, cosy nights in, hot chocolate, I’m A Celebrity and Christmas is round the corner! Round this time though can be tough for some students because of module deadlines coming up before we break up for Christmas. Here a few organisation tips to keep you work focused, but more importantly, to have time to yourself too round this time of year :).

Keep a Diary

This will honestly be a godsend for you. Having a diary either on you at all times or just in your room helps you keep note of when your deadlines are due, and whether you have anything else going on. With my own diary, I sticky note the pages so I know exactly where my deadlines are. Also I colour code everything too such as: red for spending time with my friends and blue for deadlines etc. I would recommend now getting a 2020 diary and to have it an A5 size so it fits perfectly into your bag or laptop case.

Have a System/Rota

Try coming up with a system that works for you to organise yourself when deadlines are due. Whether this is setting 2/3 days a week where you just concentrate on work or whether you schedule a relax day in for yourself.

To-Do Lists

I’m quite an organised person and constantly see myself writing to-do lists. This can be anything from what I need to get for food to work deadlines. I set my priorities from the top of the list and work my way down with studies as it helps me know what work is due earlier than others.

Keep Calm

Yes, Christmas time can be stressful for students. Mainly because of money and deadlines for modules. However, just remember to keep calm when deadlines are near. Try and concentrate and do what you need to do. Then once you submit the work, you’ll have a weight lifted off your shoulders and Christmas can begin!

If you have any organisation tips of your own, drop them down in the comments!

Ellis x

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The Catalyst – a safe space

Hey everyone, as I am in the middle of writing an assignment for Academic Personal Development (a very long process), I have become even more attached to the Catalyst at Edge Hill University than I was last year.

Last year I wrote a blog post on why I love the catalyst and since then I have found more reasons to take full advantage of the Catalyst and thought that I would write a more updated post.

There are three floors to the Catalyst. The ground floor is the buzz of the place, you have the main reception desk, group pods, book collections and book returns station, computers and my personal favourite, the café. This comes in very handy when you rock up to the library at half 8 in the morning thinking you can start reading journal articles straight away without coffee and so, you pop down to the café for a little pick me up.

The first and second floor has computers, printers, books, reading sofas, independent desks and group study rooms. I found the group study rooms have come in very useful especially because in the Primary Education course, we have a few group activities and presentations to work on. This makes it easier to get everyone into one room outside of class, before people go home for the day and work on the group task. All you need to do is to ensure that you BOOK a room as you cannot use it if you haven’t booked it.

My favourite place in the entire catalyst hasn’t changed since last year. The third floor. I am the kind of the person who gets really distracted quite easily and this does not help when trying to write assignments. Trust me.

I go up the third floor, sit myself down in one of the single desks and work without any distractions. The third floor is called the silent study for a reason and I am really grateful for it because it means I can do work without getting distracted and feel very productive!

I really am thankful for the Catalyst because it has everything you need in the one building and even though I no longer live on campus, I still find myself trekking 20 minutes to get to it and use its resources no matter what the weather is.

I hope that you love the catalyst as much as I do, and always respect the staff and people that work there and that use it as I am sure I am not the only who depends on it to complete their work.

“Every time you enter a library you might say to yourself, ‘The world is quiet here,’ as a sort of pledge proclaiming reading to be the greater good.”

-Lemony Snicket-

“What are Primary Education seminars like?”

Hey everyone, since I wrote a post on what my lectures were like, I thought I would do something similar for my seminars which are quite different. 

Enjoy!

In a week, I have around 6/7 seminars depending on my timetable; 

  • Monday – Academic Personal Development and English 
  • Tuesday – Maths, Science and Computing 
  • Thursday – Major Specialism 
  • Friday – Foundation Subjects

Like I said, seminars are rather different from lectures. Instead of the entire course sitting in one room, the course is split into groups of around 20+ and given different timetables. Seminars are a lot more interactive and discussion based, giving you the chance to talk about your experience with primary school and professional practice.

I really enjoy the seminars as the teachers make them interesting and ensure that everyone has the chance to voice their opinions. In fact, we are encouraged to and I find it a lot easier to talk in the seminars because you get to know your group better and feel more comfortable more and more each seminar.

I like that you get the chance to talk about your experiences of primary teaching and hear your group talk about theirs. It’s a great way to get to know your peers and get new ideas for teaching practice! Seminars also give you a much clearer insight on what you need to teach in school and many ways on how to teach it in many creative ways.

In terms of ‘homework,’ we would usually get independent reading to support assignments that we have coming up. It’s really helpful to get these readings in class as it gives you a starting point for looking for other readings to help you.

I hope you enjoyed this brief overview of what happens in seminars in the Primary Education course. They are very informative, providing you with a wealth of knowledge and experiences to take with you on professional practice which is why I really enjoy them. Even at 9am in the morning!

Thank you for reading, Lauren x

“Think before you speak. Read before you think.” 


-Fran Lebowitz-

Reading Week

Hey guys, hope you’re all having a great Halloween! I know not a lot of you have a reading week this week but, luckily on my tv and film course, we have one now. And i’m in Tenerife!

I know it’s not what people usually do when they have week’s off from Uni but, I got a chance to go with my boyfriend and his family, which i’m very grateful for. Loving every minute of it!

Here are some other things that you could do during your reading weeks whether you’re at home or staying at Edge Hill.

  1. Meet up with old friends

If you go back home, try and arrange meet ups with your old friendship group before going to Uni. You could do a range of things like meeting up for coffee, dinner or going out and doing something fun.

2. Be Productive

Reading week is always a great time to catch up on some Uni work, or even get ahead of it in some of your classes. If you’re lucky and live on campus, go to the catalyst! It’s your best friend whilst you’re at Uni. Use it!

3. Go somewhere new

If you’re staying at Uni, you may get the feeling that Ormskirk is quite small, especially if you don’t have a car. But there are buses that get you to Southport from Ormskirk bus station. Or even take a trip to Liverpool. Only £5.00 (est.) a return.

If you’re at home, see if there’a anywhere that you haven’t visited before and go there again.

4. Halloween

Enjoy Halloween! Go to a party or a social with your mates and have a good time! Dress up as scary as you wish! But remember to stay safe.

Ellis x

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