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

 

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!

Budget-Friendly Recipes for Beginners!

Cooking for yourself is a big part of coming to uni, which for some, might seem like hell. So today in this blog post I’m gonna suggest 2 easy meals, with links on how the professionals make it, then show you my student budget-friendly version of that recipe. All the recipes will be super quick to cook and will taste great! Disclaimer: all my recipes are vegetarian/vegan, however, you can add in meat if you wish.


So let’s start with an easy one: Tomato rice!
Rice dishes are super easy to make as it’s all about throwing your vegetables in a wok with sauce, before placing it on rice. Anyone can make it! So you can either follow the BBC food recipe on how to make spiced tomato rice or try my version!

My version: spicy tomato vegetables with rice!
2 person portion – price calculated by how much you’re using in the recipe.

Ingredients:
70g of rice for one person, 140g for two people – 5p (45p a bag)
½ a bell pepper – 15p (30p)
A handful of Bean sprouts – 10p (60p a bag)
½ of a Courgette – 15p (30p)
⅓ of a pack of Chestnut Mushrooms – 24p (72p a tub)
⅓ of a pack of Cherry tomato – 24p (72p a tub)
½ of an Onion – 3p (59p a bag)
½ of a Carrot (optional) – 2p (35p a bag)
3 teaspoons of Jar Garlic – 15p (£1.19 a jar)
½ a jar of Spicy Tomato sauce – 33p (69p a jar)
Couple drops of light soy sauce – 1p (£1 a bottle)
2 teaspoon of Paprika – 6p (49p a jar)
1 teaspoon (or less) Chilli powder – 2p (49p a jar)
1 teaspoon Oregano- 6p (49p a jar)
Salt and pepper
Olive Oil
Total cost: £1.37 or 68p each!

How to guide
Step 1: Place rice in a pan with water on medium heat until it boils, cover, then let it simmer for about 12 minutes.
Step 2: Cut up all your vegetables. Cut your tomatoes into quarters, and finely cut or half the rest of your vegetables (except the bean sprouts), depending on how you like them.
Step 3: Grab a wok and lightly cover the bottom of it with olive oil, add your garlic and onion, and cook it on medium heat for a minute. Move continuously.
Step 4: Add all of your vegetables, sauce and seasoning to the wok and moving it around every so often, for about 8 minutes.
Step 5: Add rice to bowl, place vegetable mix on top and enjoy!


Next up: Sausage and Mash!
Sausage and mash is a tasty and homely dish to make! So you can either follow the BBC Good Food recipe on how to make sausage and mash or try my version!

My version: Big, Quick and simple bangers and mash!
2 person portion – price calculated by how much you’re using in the recipe.

Ingredients:
Meat Free Sausages 75p (£1.50 a bag)
3 big Potatoes and 3 smaller ones – 30p (1.50 a bag)
½ of an Onion – 3p (59p a bag)
Carrot – 4p (35p a bag)
Courgette – 30p
Parsnip – 13p (65p a bag)
3 teaspoons of Jar Garlic – 15p (£1.19 a jar)
(Optional) ½ a bell pepper – 15p (30p)
(Optional) 4 Yorkshire puddings – 33p (£1 a bag)
Vegetable Stock 22p (90p a pack)
Parika – 6p (49p a jar)
Chilli powder – 2p (49p a jar)
Cajun – 6p (49 a jar)
Mint – 6p (49 a jar)
Salt and pepper
Olive Oil
(Optional) Mint Gravy
Total cost: £2.60 or £1.30 each!

How to guide
Step 1: Wash all your vegetables. Peel the 3 bigger potatoes, then cut into 4, adding them to a pan of water on high heat for 15 to 20 minutes. Cut the smaller potatoes into little slices, place them on an oven tray with tin foil on top. Add a dash of oil, and place them on medium heat for ten minutes for homemade roasties.
Step 2: Cut all remaining vegetables.
Step 3: Grab a wok and lightly cover the bottom of it with olive oil, add your garlic, onion, and vegetable stock, and cook it on medium heat for a minute. Move continuously.
Step 4: Add sausages, vegetables and seasoning to wok, moving it around every so often, switching between medium and high heat for about 8 minutes. If you want you can also place 4 Yorkshire puddings on a tray for a couple of minutes.
Step 5: Mash the potatoes. Fry the roastie for a couple of minutes if you have a fryer. Make your gravy, take the yorkshire puddings out of the oven and plate everything. And most importantly, Enjoy!


I hope you enjoyed this post, it was quite a fun one to make! I hope you found this post interesting or found it somewhat useful. I might make more of these in the future as cooking is a very useful skill to have after all. Anyway, thanks for reading.
Until next time!

Film/Show of the day: Isle of Dogs (2018)

Edge Hill University Applicant Days – Seeing is believing


Edge Hill University applicant visit days are the reason that I am here today, blogging for this fantastic university. In February 2017 I made the trek across the sea to see what all the fuss was with Edge Hill. I did it mainly to meet a few friends of mine who were starting the university in September, and I honestly had no plans to move away from home and start a new life here in Ormskirk. That all changed on my applicant visit day. I want you to experience the same feeling I did when I first saw the campus and realized that I wanted to be here for the next 3 years. Here are three reasons why you should get on campus.


Image result for applicant day edge hill1. Experience the campus

The campus at EHU is one of the most beautiful in the country. Just seeing the modern buildings, scattered lakes and amazing views are just some of the sights to take in. I guarantee you will not find another university in the country as beautiful as EHU.


Image result for applicant day edge hill2. Get a look at your course

Getting to have a look at your course and meet your tutors will get you excited for university in general. But heading into what could be your classes next year will do the same, but for EHU. Every tutor is friendly and there to help you. Meeting them face to face is a great opportunity.


Related image3. Meet some of your new friends

I arrived on campus knowing nobody apart from one person I had met online. When I left the applicant day I had 30+ new facebook friends. The applicant day will show you just how many legends like yourself are on the way to EHU in the new year.



That’s all from me, but if you want to find out more about Edge Hill Applicant or Open days and how you might get involved in hosting them when you attend the university check out their amazing website here!

And if you want more free and great information 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!

Places to Eat in Ormskirk

Hello again! If you’re anything like me and always have food on your mind, you’re probably concerned about the food aspect of university. Well…don’t fret! There are loads of places to eat and drink whether you want a casual lunch with your friends, or a crazy night out.

CASUAL

The Cobble

I only recently discovered this small coffee shop when I heard about it from a friend. Located next to NSW properties, it is easy to walk past. However, once you step inside this quirky café, it is full of life and delicious food and drink! (my favourites are their chicken pesto panini and Oreo milkshake).

Love to Eat

This wonderful café provides afternoon tea with reasonable prices (great for us students). When my mum and dad visit me, this is one of their favourites. Eating on their outside tables next to Ormskirk’s clock tower on a nice sunny day is the best!

The Edge of Ormskirk

The Edge of Ormskirk is a lovely café situated near the bus stops. The nicely decorated interior makes you feel classy when pigging out on your cooked breakfast. Other cafe suggestions include Costa, Morrison’s cafe and Water’s Edge at Edge Hill.

FAST FOOD

McDonalds

A classic after a night out. Recently it has been refurbished which means a new interior, board games on each table and of course, new self-serve machines…welcome to the 21st century Maccies!

Marmaris

In my first year this was one of our favourites after nights out in Alpine because it is just opposite a local taxi rank. With lovely people who work there, and AMAZING chicken burgers, it is one you’ll have to try. Other fast food suggestions are Just Eat, Chicken Lovers, Nom and Subway which are both located on Edge Hill’s campus.

PUBS

The Stanley Gate

Another place I like to take my family is The Stanley Gate. Just up the road from the university, it is a lovely country pub with a warm interior and friendly atmosphere.

Horseshoe

My friends and I are also regular visitors of Horseshoe (mainly because the drinks are so cheap). A lot of Edge Hill’s societies pre here as it is big inside with lots of different rooms. I highly recommend! Other suggestions for pubs in Ormskirk include Wetherspoons and The Sandpiper.

BARS

Lime Tiger

This cocktail bar is located on the high street and has a large selection of cocktails to choose from. There are often offers on drinks, but even without offers the drinks are of reasonable price for a student budget! My favourite thing about it is their theme of a jungle… it makes a night out a bit different!

Styles

Styles is a great place for a chilled drink and dance if you’re not really feeling like a mad night out. Downstairs, you can enjoy fishbowls with your friends and once you make your way upstairs, the dance floor is the place to be! Other bar suggestions are Milo & Co, Mimi and Gin, and Edge Hill’s very own student’s union bar.

I hope this gives you ideas of where to go with your friends, and makes you realise that although Ormskirk is a small town, it has endless possible places to visit! There are still restaurants, cafes, pubs etc that I haven’t even visited yet after 1 and a half years here!

Thank you! Drop me a comment if you have any queries,

Anna 🙂

Kitchen Tips Every Student Needs to Know

For some students, the kitchen is a foreign land. You may have never cooked before coming to uni, or you’re relying on takeaway every night. If you fit into one of these categories or just want to learn some useful kitchen tips, then keep reading as that is what today’s post is about!  


So to kick this post off I thought I would ask the age-old student cooking topic: Freezer vs Fresh. There are pros and cons to both of these, frozen is good as the food will last longer and is normally cheaper, however, this food tends to have little nutritional value and usually pizza. Pros of fresh are that you’re eating healthy, it tastes nicer, however, it has a shorter window of usage and has to show more regularly for it. Personally, I enjoy using a mix of both when I cook a roast, I get my Quorn meat and Yorkshire puddings from the freezer, and my fresh vegetables, roasties, and mash from the fridge. Contrary to popular belief, eating fresh is not expensive if you know where to shop and use the food. The biggest mistake people make is buying food they don’t need or like, for example, carrots, as it feels good buying vegetables. But by doing that you’re wasting money, as you’re letting it go mouldy. So to recap: it’s best to eat both frozen and fresh because as a student it’s a cheaper, quicker and healthier alternative to take away. 


Only buy food you know you’re going to eat. This sounds simple, however, many people including myself on occasion buy food thinking that they might use it and end up putting it to the back of the fridge and forgetting about it. To stop this make sure you write a shopping list beforehand and stick to it, that way you’re not wasting money and you save on cupboard space!


Clean out your fridge and cupboards regularly, if you’re not already. This is great for hygienic reasons, but it also gives you an idea of what food you actually have to eat, as empty packets and food you didn’t know you had, will help you out! 


Always use spices in your cooking, even if you’ve never tried it before start now as it can make boring or plain dishes taste amazing! If you’ve never used spices in cooking before I recommend: Italian herbs (great for tomato-based pasta dishes to stir in while cooking), Cajun (Taste great for oven cooked vegetables), paprika (good in most things!), mint (sauce or dry jar, great for adding to gravy and roast dishes which you want to give a bit of a kick), and chilli flakes (great for pasta dishes to give it a kicking aftertaste).  


And finally, my last tip is to avoid wasting food by keeping leftovers. Leftovers are great when you’ve just come back from a long day at uni and don’t feel like cooking. This stops you from ordering takeaway and wasting food! 


Thanks for reading this post, I hope you enjoyed it or found it somewhat interesting/useful. If you want any more cooking tips or recipes, let me know with a comment and make sure to check out my other blog posts.
Until next time!

Film/Show of the day: Coco (2017)

Surviving Cold and Flu Season at Uni – Part 1

Through the winter months, wherever you decide to go to uni (unless it’s somewhere sunny like Australia) you will inevitably come across someone with a cold, who- with just one ill times sneeze- can pass all of their germs onto you. This merry-go-round of bugs is especially heightened at uni, because you will be interacting with new people all of the time from all  around the country and some further afield that will all bring different kinds of winter flu and cold that your body hasn’t encountered before. It may well also be your first time being ill away from home, so things might seem a bit daunting without mum around to check up on you every few hours and feed you dry toast.

But don’t fear, as I have complied a list of a few little tricks to help to avoid being caught by the bugs in the first place, and part 2 will be about how to cope when you do have them!

1- Flu Jab.

Along with the highly recommended and pretty much essential meningitis vaccination you will be offered prior to starting uni, you can also request to have the flu jab. Some people will be even able to get it for free, depending on conditions such as asthma. Even if you’re not legible for the free jab, it’s well worth the few pennies you’ll pay and can help you avoid the flu during the colder months.

2- Vitamins

Now, I’m going to sound like my mum here, but hear me out. Taking a daily vitamin supplement can be great in the fight against germs as it will give your body the best possible defences for keeping you healthy. You may also find that taking vitamins daily will help improve your energy levels and general all round health and well-being.  Vitamins come in all shapes and forms, and you do not have to spend a fortune if you don’t want to. You can get vitamins to swallow with water, to chew, or to dissolve in a drink, depending on your preference- there’s even a pretty good range in poundland!

Vitamins and minerals can also be obtained naturally by eating more fruit and veg, rather than just instant noodles and microwavable meals!

3- Staying Warm

Although an alcohol blanket may feel like enough to keep you warm on a night out, it actually doesn’t do much good for your immune system. On nights out, try taking a small jacket or scarf with you that can fold up into a bag for once you’re out. If even that doesn’t sound like you- avoid walking long distances in the cold without an outer layer, especially if it’s raining.

Secondly in staying warm, if you live off campus, it might be worth investing a little more money in keeping your place warmer over winter, or making use of lots of woolly jumpers and hot water bottles, as there’s nothing worse than coming in from a long day at uni to a cold home.

That’s all for now, but if this post has come a little too late for some and you’re already suffering, look out for my next as it will be based around surviving a cold at uni.

 

Money Saving Tips!

Being a student can be tricky, especially when it comes to saving money. However, it’s not all about eating pasta and never leaving the house, there are many ways of saving money, which doesn’t have to change your current way of life. Which is what I shall be blogging about today, so sit back and relax as I give you some money-saving advice!


So first up, let’s talk about food. When it comes to buying food it can be very tempting to go out for dinner after a long day at university and treat yourself or grab a snack from McColl on the way to lecture, however, all these meals and snacks add up. That’s why you should try to cook at home and prepare food for the next few days! Cooking in bulk can be a fantastic time saver and more importantly money saver. Cooking a cheap pasta bake and having leftovers allows you to save money and takes the time out of cooking. If you would like some ideas for meals to cook, check out my older blog post.
Just because you’re saving money doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself to take away once a week! Just make sure that it’s only once a week.


Next up let’s discuss clothing, books, and household items! Yes, we all like the feeling of getting new things, whether it’s a new outfit, book, or item for your room, getting new things is fun. However, when living on a student budget, you can’t always go out and get new things, unless it’s second-hand. You can find unique and trendy items of clothing from charity shops which everyone around you won’t be wearing. And at such low prices, you could fill up your wardrobe for very little. You can also get books, games and DVDs from your local charity shop if you don’t like the idea of second-hand clothing.


Moving on, let’s talk about the social life aspect of uni! So first off, try swapping nightclubs for house parties, or at least pre-drink before going out. This doesn’t mean you have to give up on going out all the time, however, instead of going to costly bars all the time, you could invite some friends over to your place for drinks.
It’s crazy how much money you can save by doing this, plus you can have a lot more fun playing drinking games like ring of fire, or other games such as cards against humanity or jackbox! Just because you’re saving money doesn’t mean you can’t go out and have fun, you just have to 
plan your social life in advance. Instead, try to get early bird tickets for concerts rather than waiting for the last possible day to buy them. Plan your cinema night on a monday, to get a cheaper deal!

Finally, give up the gym membership. If you need to save money, cancel the membership if you don’t go regularly, or else it’s a waste of money. Go for a run outside instead, or look up workouts on YouTube that you can do at home. This might be more fun, you don’t have to leave the house and you won’t have to pay for it either.  


Thanks for reading this post, I hope it helped you in some way or made you feel a bit more at ease. Coming to university and living off your own money can seem like a daunting task, but don’t worry, as everyone is in the same boat and there’s always help available!
Until next time!

Film/Show of the day: Black Mirror (2011-)