First Year – An Overview

Okay, I am not going to bore you with the whole ‘it’s true what they say, first years goes by in a blink of an eye.’ because, you will soon find out that this is very true.

I hope you enjoy this blog of my first year at Edge Hill University in three sections that I felt were the most prominent in my year and what I thought would be the most challenging. However, looking back at my first year, I have realised that these sections of my life were much more simple and less stressful than I thought they would be.


At first, I thought that I would never, EVER make any new friends because it felt that all my friends had come naturally to me and I never had to go out of my way to make friends. However, looking back at my year, I realised that all my friends I have made at university have come naturally without me even knowing it. I want to make this point first because I know how scary the prospect can be. The best advice I can give you is to BE YOURSELF! You will attract the right people into your life like I did.

I even realised this year as a ‘newbie’ to university, my independence has grown so much. For example, I can cook! Who would have guessed that I was able to keep myself alive with the meals I make? There is obviously more to becoming independent like; washing your own clothes, shopping for food and getting yourself up in the morning but, I am so happy that I learned what I did about living away from my mum and dad because, I can already tell that it will/has benefit me in the future.Image result for independence

Assignments! They sounded scary to me at first and, truth be told, I did give myself a headache on the day I was getting my first results back but that is just me being dramatic. I quickly realised that if I really organised myself, assignments and deadlines would not be an issue and that is exactly what I did.

I don’t mean to boast but I did meet my deadlines often long before they were due and I still achieved great results…I’m just saying. Organisation in first year  is key.Image result for i'm just saying gif

 


I hope that this helped calm your nerves about starting first year. I found that looking back on my time at university, I definitely over-thought these things and I should have been more relaxed about making new friends, living on my own and completing assignments. However, I also found that being myself and not trying to fit in with the crowd really benefited me and I hope it will for you to.

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

-Oscar Wilde-

Prepare Yourself for University – What no one tells you!

Hello everyone! I thought I would do a post all about how to prepare yourself for a university life and becoming more independent as it is rather different to living at home. I really wish I had prepared myself more for starting university as I got the shock of my life when I arrived and my parents left me all alone.

Really hope you enjoy this post and find it useful!


Start to cook for yourself!

You might be thinking, “it’s fine, I’m pretty sure I know how to turn the oven on and throw in some frozen chips etc.” This may work for the first few weeks of cooking for yourself but there comes a time when you crave a good, healthy, wholesome meal that didn’t come out of the freezer. 

Picture courtesy of @aliceliveing on instagram!

Being able to make your own meals from scratch that are healthy and make your flat mates jealous is such an essential skill for university. Luckily I cooked a lot for myself before I moved out but since living on my own, I have explored many dishes that are super easy to make and are so good for me! Start now and discover your love for cooking!

Do the washing!

Not going to lie, I did not do a lot of my own washing before I came to university. The only time I did do any washing was when I had to get it out of the washer and hang it up on the line. Let me tell you now, washing all your own clothes is not fun so I would highly suggest to start early and get used to it.

However, saying that, it does feel strangely rewarding to come back from the laundry room and have lovely clean clothes. Always a silver lining!

Push yourself!

This is something I was wish I had done before coming to university. I was never very good at conversational skills and kept to myself a lot. When I came to university, socialising and talking to new people was a whole other concept to me. I came to campus as a really shy, introverted  Irish girl who couldn’t hold a decent conversation for more than 3 minutes.

I wish that I pushed myself more to open up to people and learn how to talk to new people before coming to university as I know for a fact this would help me make friends quicker and not feel so nervous about the situation. You could do this by joining a club in your hometown so that you can familiarise yourself with talking and socialising with people you have never met before.

Be more independent!

The above pointers all kind of link to this one but I want to speak about this one more generally. What I mean about being more independent is not relying on the people at home to do things for you like cook, clean, washing the clothes, do the food shopping etc.

Before I moved out of my home, I made the conscious decision to do more things for myself. I generally was already quite independent but I wanted to make sure that I could handle the things that my mum or dad would normally help out with. For example, the summer before university started, I started to do the food shop by myself instead of my mum and I going together. It was hard shopping for five people but it definitely prepared me for when I started to do my own shopping. Another independent task I started to do for myself was the dreaded…booking your own doctors appointment. I know, I know, it seems scary but, that is what independence feels like sometimes!

 


All jokes aside, becoming more independent before coming to university 100% helped with the transition. It may seem awful to start with but it has to happen sometime, so why not start now?

I hope you enjoyed this post and find it helpful! See ya next time – Lauren x

“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”

– Coco Chanel-

My Favourite Spots in Ormskirk 😍

I won’t lie to you. Ormskirk town was a rather large contributing factor to my decision of choosing Edge Hill. I was already sold on the University but when I visited the town, that was it. It’s just my kind of place, – quiet and quaint with bunting and fairy lights everywhere. A Waterstones and a Wetherspoons around the corner, what more could you ask for? A few of us have written about the places you can go in Ormskirk but I’m not really a clubbing person so Alpine isn’t exactly my vibe. If you’re like me and prefer somewhere quieter, keep reading!

If you’re a history nerd, this one’s for you!
As part of our history seminar, we took a lovely stroll into town and our history tutor took us along the Ormskirk Heritage Trail. It’s amazing what you miss when you’re looking down at your phone. Look up! There’s so much history around the town, you can download the map on the website here. How many gingerbreads can you find around Ormskirk? I’m currently at 6!

Image result for the cork wine bar ormskirkThe Cork 🍷
This is one of my favourite places to go because they sell an absolutely amazing carbonara there for £5.95! It’s a very relaxed place with a great music selection and great wine at good prices. It’s also next door to Alpine, so if you want to have some fancy pre-drinks first before you get sticky and sweaty in the club, that’s your place. Also around the corner from there is spoons, the Ormskirk Wetherspoons is pretty decent if you can find a seat. The rooftop garden is great in summer too.

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Salon One 💇🏽💅🏽
By far the best place to get your hair or nails done. I’ve been going there since I moved to university and the girls there are just amazing. I’ve always been scared of hairdressers because they always seem to want to cut all my hair off. Frankie, who does my hair, really listened to what I was after and I’ve never walked out of a hairdressers beaming so much. Not only that, they have a 20% discount for students – bargain!

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Image result for waterstones logo

Books!!!!!!!! 📚
The best thing about the town is the Waterstones for me. I love books, I love reading, I love getting lost in stories and when I saw they had a Waterstones I was over the moon. It’s not the biggest but it’s got everything you need and the staff are so welcoming and just lovely. Just up the road is The Church of St. Peter and St. Paul. An absolutely stunning building with a little bench against the wall, under a huge tree. I like to take a book up there, I’m not religious, but it’s a lovely spot to do a little reading or reflecting.

Thanks for reading!

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Saving money by cooking as a pair! 🍲👩🏽‍🍳

Hey everyone! I’m currently on placement for my teacher training which lasts around 7 weeks. I’m placed up in High Peak and I’m living with three other students. I and another girl have decided we need to save some pennies while we are here and are buying our weekly shop together and cooking our meals together. Our shop last week came to  £10! Honest, it is possible!

Plan plan plan📝:
Before we went out shopping we planned our breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the week. We’re at school Monday to Friday now so it’s a little easier to be more disciplined with our food, no more snacking! 🙅🏽 We both like cooking and so take it in turns to cook each other food. Anna planned to make Thai red curry, jacket potatoes and I make a creamy mushroom pasta and a vegetable stir-fry. We are still managing to eat healthy which is the most important thing. We wrote down a little list on Anna’s phone and kept to it as much as possible.

The benefits✅:
It is so much cheaper. Our bill came to £10 each from the last shop and we got everything we needed for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. That included snacks! On the days when you don’t cook and someone else is doing it for you, you can come home to a lovely meal and it’s just like being at home! It’s also a lot easier knowing exactly what you’re having that day, instead of opening and closing the fridge and cupboards multiple times before settlings with a pot noodle. I can’t recommend it enough, even if it’s just for a few weeks to save some pennies.

Other info about living/eating on placement☺️:
If you’re looking at the Primary Ed course, they offer a regional opportunity, which is what I’m currently on, and the university provides £3 a day for breakfast. You can reclaim this weekly or as a chunk at the end of the placement. This works out at £105 for the entirety, which is really great for them to offer to us.

Hope you’re all having a great January and prepping hard for the interviews you may have coming up! Best of luck 💕

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You Gotta Love Ormskirk

Happy new year! (in 3 days)

What plans have you got this weekend? Tomorrow I am visiting a friend in Liverpool and I’ll be returning to Liverpool to celebrate New Year’s with my uni friends… obviously I must be a big fan of Liverpool!

Edge Hill University is the perfect location to visit nearby cities such as Liverpool. The centre of Ormskirk has all the important places (Spoons, Maccies, Aldi… you know… all the student essentials). Jokes aside… it is great how everything is a small walk away. Now that I am in third year, I have discovered more places to eat (somehow I keep finding new ones). These are some of my favourite places to visit. (Please note: Alpine is not included in the list as it is already known to be the greatest place on Earth).

Dinky Dory

This has got to be one of the cutest cocktail bars I have been to. It opened fairly recently and is absolutely lovely! With 2 for 1 cocktails and delicious bites to eat, it has become a big place for Edge Hill students. Did I mention you can drink your cocktails whilst you’re sat on a swing?

Styles

Styles has made it on the list because it is a reliable place for a good night out. Downstairs is a bar whilst upstairs turns into a club where you can dance until your heart’s content!

The Mad Hatter

The Mad Hatter’s bar is a recent discovery of mine… and I LOVE it! The live music makes it a bit more special.

Il Padrino

Moving on to restaurants if you’re feeling a little more classy… Il Padrino is a nice little Italian with amazzzzing food (I recommend the Bruschetta). While my friends and I have less time to go out during our placements, we find cute places like this for a little treat every so often.

Passage to India

Another nice restaurant is Passage to India (An Indian… as you may have guessed). We have celebrated a few birthdays here including mine. The staff are lovely and the food is even lovelier.

BUT if you want to venture out of Ormskirk for a drink or a bite to eat, Liverpool, Southport AND Manchester are only a train journey away. You gotta love Ormskirk! However you choose to celebrate New Year’s, I hope you have a good one. Here’s to  a new year filled with health and happiness.

Best wishes,

Staying Healthy at University

When I first arrived at university, I was afraid I wasn’t going to be able to keep up my healthy lifestyle because of the temptations of take-outs, not having time to go to the gym or not being able to cook for myself.

However, I quickly found that there were many things that I could incorporate into my daily routine that has helped me maintain this lifestyle and still be able to enjoy the university experience with my friends. In this blog, I aim to share with you some of my healthy tips that I have picked up over the past couple of months in university.


  • Do a weekly shop! – For me, this one is so important. Not only does it save so much time it also ensures that you are not buying foods for your dinner and lunch out of convenience which may not be the best choice. By doing a weekly shop, you can plan out what you are going to make in advance and pick foods that are healthy but also what you will enjoy. Ormskirk has many supermarkets to shop in that are cheap and provide good quality foods.

 

  • Go for a walk when you can – I think that this is my favourite tip. I find that if I have been working for a long period in the library, I start to get stiff, lack concentration and become unfocused. This is how I know that I need some time to stretch my legs and clear my mind with a refreshing walk around campus before starting work again. I also do this every morning before breakfast as a way to wake myself up, start thinking about what I need to do that day and just to feel fresh. And yes, it is freezing this time of year but it is so worth it when you go back inside for a cup of tea! It also helps that the university campus is quite scenic!

 

  • Drink more water – I am really not trying to sound like your mother here, but I cannot stress this point more. I carry a water bottle around with me everywhere I go and consciously take sips of water throughout the day and then fill it up again using the water fountains around campus. It saves you having to buy an energy or fizzy drink everyday. Drinking more water helps your concentration levels and keeps your skin nice and hydrated through the day even during the winter months.

 

  • Eat Breakfast – I do apologise for sounding like a parent, but I can’t help it, I live by these tips! I know it can be hard sometimes to make something to eat before going to class or school as you are rushing out the door buttrust me, breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. If you wake up a little earlier and make yourself some toast or porridge (my favourite), it will do wonders not only for your hunger but also your concentration in class. You will then be less likely to buy something from the shop like a chocolate bar or energy drink because you will already have been satisfied by breakfast.

 

  • Take a break when you need to – This is one tip that I find has been the most helpful these past couple of months. It is easy to get caught up in all the work and assignments and even social life of university that you often forget that the body and mind need time to relax and re-charge. I love coming back from a long day of classes, making a good fulfilling dinner, finishing off any homework and then chilling out with a good book. Whatever way you like to relax, do it! It is so important to have time to yourself and don’t be afraid to do so. Look after your body and mind.

And those were my five top tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle in university which have really worked for me. I will admit, there has been times that I have caved and ordered a pizza with the flat but that is totally okay because that is part of the university experience.  Enjoy your time at Edge Hill if you decide to come which, I think you should, and I hope that some of these tips help!

See ya next time,

Lauren.

Also, I hope you all have a lovely Christmas!

“Love yourself enough to live a healthy lifestyle.”

-Pinterest- 

First Blog – The Christmas Lights Turn On

Hey guys! For my first blog post I was going to do a bit about myself, but since I’ve just been to it, I thought I would do one on the Christmas lights switch on in Ormskirk town centre.

While Ormskirk is a pretty small town, there is usually something going on and this weekend was no exception. To be honest, I’m not one to get over-excited about Christmas, in fact I compare myself more to the Grinch then your typical Whovillian (someone who really likes christmas). But I thought it was time I actually went to a ‘switch on’ since I had never actually gone to one before, ( I know right).

Christmas Lights
Christmas Lights

Anyways, to my surprise I was actually pretty impressed by what I saw, for a small town the event sure was popular with the locals, the main square was packed, music was playing and even though it was proper Baltic (freezing) out everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. There were various stalls of food and drink, doughnuts, sweets, pizzas, pies, and Candy Floss as well as your usual christmas staples like Mince pies. To my dismay, the Gingerbread stall was already gone when I got there which I was proper gutted about considering I had recently found a new interest for the stuff, it’s got quite the history and popularity in Ormskirk.

Ice Sculpture
Ice Sculpture

As well as the various food stands there were also different knick knacks to buy if that’s your sort of thing, if you like Christmas it definitely would be. The countdown was then done by the Town Crier, who when I saw instantly made me think of Homer Simpson yelling HEAR YE HEAR YE. After some dazzling lights switching on, we were treated to a performance from the definitely legitimate Tom Jones, who did a few stone cold classics.

Finally me and my girlfriend grabbed some Candy Floss for the road to satisfy our inner child. All in all a pretty enjoyable mini trip, part of Ormskirk if any prospective students choose to come here, is it’s typical small town charm that you just don’t get in the big cities, which is one of the reasons I chose Edge Hill. Anyways I hope you enjoyed my random segment and see you soon!

Christmas Tree
Christmas Tree

Jordan

Food on Campus – Eating at EHU [Part 2]


Eating on campus will be a massive part of your first year and it helps when you know that there is more than just a Subway to cater for your hunger needs. From McColls to Sages there are many offers of great food at decent prices every day. Last week I gave you 3 great places to eat and i’m going to do the same this week. So without anything else here we go.


McColls

It might be a shop, but it has some great food to go. The deli counter is packed full of home cooked pastries, baguettes and a few sausages. Worth checking out especially at the price. And if you call in after 8 o’clock most of the hot food is 50p. Perfect if you’re on a tight budget, bad if you’re on a tight belt. And don’t forget the fresh sandwiches.


Grab-and-Go

Grab and go is a small outlet just at the far end of the hub, nearest the new catalyst building. It offers a selection of always freshly prepared sandwiches and paninis. But that’s not all. They also have pasta to go that is always full of flavor and a great way to kill hunger. Lunchtime specials are great and cheap here always.


Food Carts

Various street food vendors visit the hub throughout the week. Everything from candy floss to Nutella crepes can be found in the multitude of carts throughout the hub. They also offer farmers market like stalls with fresh fruit and veg on occasion. A must visit for anyone who enjoys fresh produce straight from the farm.


That’s all for this weeks blog. If you want to find out more about EHU food and more information you can check out here!

And if you want more free and great information on any topic email think@edgehill.ac.uk or leave a comment below and I will get back to you. If you want to suggest something to write about or want to be interviewed leave a comment below also and I will get back to you personally!

Food on Campus – Eating at EHU [Part 1]


Eating on campus will be a massive part of your first year and it helps when you know that there is more than just a Subway to cater for your hunger needs. From McColls to Sages there are many offers of great food at decent prices every day. So if you want to know the best place to get a hangover-cure-breakfast or a hunger-beating-brunch this is the blog for you.


Sages

Sages at EHU (Check them out here) is open during the week and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. During the term they tend to stay open late on weekends (9PM) for pizzas and chicken nuggets. Worth checking out for their 5 item breakfast deals and variety of wholesome dinners if you are sick of fast food.


Subway

A personal favorite of mine. Standard Subway chain. Serving the usual great food at affordable prices. The campus Subway is also operated by the Students’ Union so when you eat here you are supporting your campus and union. Try the cookies in the morning when they come out of the oven. Melt in your mouth goodness.


SU Bar

I’ve written about the SU bar before. It does in fact also serve decent food. Wings and burgers. Well made and delivered straight to your table. Again buying your food here is putting cash right back into your union to improve and make your university experience better.


That’s all for this weeks blog. If you want to find out more about EHU food and more information you can check out here! And stay tuned for part 2 of this blog with 3 more great places to eat on campus.

And if you want more free and great information on any topic email think@edgehill.ac.uk or leave a comment below and I will get back to you. If you want to suggest something to write about or want to be interviewed leave a comment below also and I will get back to you personally!

Food Shop – Budgeting Your Money

For a lot of people, one of the biggest worries about coming to uni is money. Will I have enough of it? What happens if I spend too much in freshers week? How does paying for my accommodation work? All of these are things I worried about before arriving at Edge Hill, so I’m here to pass on some knowledge I’ve learnt in my time here.

Firstly, if you’re worried about spending too much of your loan before your accommodation payment comes out, you can arrange with the accommodation team to take the payment out as soon as it comes in, so you can’t be tempted to spend too much too soon!

Another way I learnt to keep track of my spending was to budget my weekly food shop. I was lucky enough to have parents that sent me £30 a week for this purpose, as my maintenance loan minus my accommodation fee wouldn’t allow for this.

£30 may not sound like a lot, but with some careful planning and shopping around, (as we’re lucky enough to have multiple supermarkets in Ormskirk)  I found out that it was plenty to keep me fed for a week, and I often even had a little left over for a treat or two.

Here is a basic break down of a generic weekly shop for me:

Aldi: I would usually use Aldi as a starting point, as it has lots of different food bits that I could pick up, such as sauces and salad kits, which I could then add to from Morrison’s.

Potatoes: £1. Sweet Potatoes: £1. Stir Fry Kit: £2.50. Instant Noodles (x3): £1.20. Cheese: £1.90. Apples: £1.30 Pasta Bake Sauce: 65p. Crisps: £1. Sweet and Sour Sauce: 85p. Spread: £1.90. Ham: £1.45.

Added together this cost me £14.75, about half of my weekly budget, and I now have the main elements of evening meals and lunch.

Morrison’s: I know would use Morrison’s to add to the dishes, and pick up any extra bargains I could see, as Morrison’s often have clearance areas, and these are great for finding meat, cheese and other treats.

Steak: £2.50. Chicken and Pork: 2 for £5 offer. Part baked baguettes (x2 packs): 90p. Pasta: £1. Pineapple: £1. Ice Cream: £1.50. Squash: £1. Milk: £1. Cereal Bars: £1.

Added together this comes to £14.90, giving an overall total of £29.65, keeping just under budget. Some weeks, this would be considerably less, as I wouldn’t need some items every week, such as the packs of meat, squash, and spread, leaving me some money left over for the occasional takeaway of fast food trip.

Hopefully this has helped some people, or at least given you an idea of what to expect when you come to do your very first food shop for yourself!