The Host Environmental Pledge

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We’re excited to announce that we’re launching the #HostEnvironmentalPledge campaign for the 2018/19 academic year.

We’re aiming to become more environmentally friendly by reducing our overall utilities (gas, electric and water) consumption to save energy. We want to encourage responsible behaviour and drive sustainability at not only One Penrhyn Road, but at all of our Host sites in the UK and Ireland.

3 x pledge images

The campaign will encourage both our students and staff to take small actions to save energy such as turning off lights when leaving a room and unplugging chargers which aren’t being used. And it’s not only the environment that will benefit from this campaign – with less greenhouse gas emissions being released into the air, but in return for saving energy, we will be donating money to charity.

If we can reduce our overall energy consumption at Host by 1% then we will donate £10,000 to charity. A 2% reduction will see a donation of £20,000. 3% is £30,000, and so on. The 3 charities we’ve chosen to donate the money to at the end of the campaign are LandAidStudent Minds and Just A Drop.

So, it’s time to get involved and go green! It’s so easy to get stuck in. 

Keep an eye out throughout the year for more information on the campaign, the charities we’ll be supporting and some top energy saving tips! 

5 things to do in Fresher’s Week

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Starting university this September? You’ve probably heard about Fresher’s Week and all the hype that goes along with it. However, it can be overwhelming at times, so we’ve pulled together some top tips on how to make the most out of your experience.

1. Meet new people

Students-Relaxing-In-Lounge

Starting university and not knowing anyone can be quite terrifying. But you shouldn’t let this worry you too much – remember, most students will be in exactly the same boat as you and will be hoping to make friends quickly too.

So, whether it’s people on your course, in your accommodation, at university events or even whilst you’re in a queue, don’t be afraid to start up random conversation with others. They’re probably be feeling just as nervous as you and will be grateful of the chat!

2. Sign up to societies

students-stretching-in-yoga

Joining societies is a great way to meet new people and if you’re all part of the same society, you know you’ll have at least one thing in common with each other! And Fresher’s Week is the perfect opportunity to sign up to a whole host of different societies and clubs.

Don’t just stick to something you’ve tried before or are good at, try something different or unusual, push out of your comfort zone. Sign up for as many things as you fancy and then after a few sessions you’ll soon know which ones you prefer and want to stick with.

Having an activity to get involved with is also a great way to relax and unwind after working hard at university.

3. Get out and about

london-tower-bridge

During your first few weeks at university it’s important to get out and explore the city. Don’t worry if you’re a bit nervous about going out, it’s only natural. It can be a scary time for any fresher because you’re in a new place and are still getting to know people. So, try to familiarise yourself with the new area and get to know your away around.

Travel the route to university, find the nearest food shops and sample some of the local restaurants and bars. You’ll soon realise there was no need to worry and you’ll know the place off the back of your hand!

And whilst you’ve got the time, why not be a real tourist? Check out some of the city’s top attractions and landmarks and really get to know the place that will be your home for the next few years.

4. Be organised

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Fresher’s week will be pretty chaotic but it’s not all about societies, partying and drinking. They’ll be some important introductory things for you to do at university such as registering and collecting your student ID, receiving module timetables and reading lists, attending subject-specific introductory talks and meeting your personal tutor.

It’s a good idea to get these things done and dusted with as soon as possible so that you haven’t got to worry about them for the rest of the week. It’s also a good idea to make sure you have everything ready for when lectures and the hard work starts – from stationary and books, to laptops and lunch boxes, because it won’t look good when you turn up for your first day of lectures unprepared and having to borrow a pen!

5. Find out what support is available

female-student-needing-help

Although you may not need any support right now, it’s worth finding out what help is available to you throughout the year – and the entirety of your time at university, should you need it.

Universities have a variety of different departments and staff on hand to help offer support and advice on things such as money, careers, mental health and wellbeing, learning difficulties and religion, should you ever need it.

It’s important to remember that you’re not alone and if you’re experience a problem or have something on your mind that is worrying you, you should always speak to someone.

We hope that you enjoy Fresher’s Week and life at university. Remember to enjoy yourself and make the most of your time as a student!

3 top day trips outside of London

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Whether you’re new to London or you’ve come to call it home, there’s always something to do in the city in your free time. But if you fancy a change of scenery, then why not head further afield and explore some of its neighbouring counties?

London is surrounded by beautiful places waiting to be discovered – all of which are within a short drive or train ride from the capital. So, escape the hustle and bustle of city life and start exploring this summer…

1. Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead

Windsor-Castle-And-The-Long-Walk

Home to the historic market town of Windsor – most recently famous as the place where Prince Harry and Ms Meghan Markle got married and where the royal wedding was celebrated, the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead is a beautiful and historic destination for a unique day out.

Walk the ‘Long Walk’ – a beautiful 2.65 mile tree-lined avenue, where you’ll be taken to the largest and oldest inhabited castle in the world and the Queen’s second home; Windsor Castle. And if you time it right, you can catch a glimpse of the guards marching through the streets of Windsor for the Changing of the Guard ceremony.

If you fancy a flutter on the horses, be sure to visit the world-famous Ascot Racecourse. Although most commonly known as the home of Royal Ascot in June, you’ll find races and events taking place all year round.

And of course, when it’s time to refuel, you won’t be disappointed with the range of restaurants, bars, cafes and pubs to enjoy – including some renowned Michelin-starred restaurants!

2. Buckinghamshire

Waddesdon-Manor-Country-House-

If you’ve not visited Buckinghamshire before, then you might be surprised at how familiar it looks. That’s because it’s home to the famous Pinewood Studios – one of Britain’s largest TV and film studios, and has been the backdrop for many films including Bond, Harry Potter and Bridget Jones’ Diary. You can visit the studios and even sign up for free tickets to be in the audience of live shows filmed there!

You can also visit the village of Missenden – the home of the world-famous author Roald Dahl. Walk through the countryside and take in the sights that inspired some of the late author’s greatest stories.

And how does a cellar stocked with over 10,000 bottles of wine sound? Don’t believe us? Check it out for yourself and sample some fine wines in the cellars of the magnificent Waddesdon Manor.

The Grade I listed house was built in the Neo-Renaissance style of a French chateau by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild between 1874 and 1885. The building opened to the public in 1959 and now displays the Rothschild Collections of paintings, sculpture and decorative arts. It’s the perfect place to soak up some culture, admire the beautiful manor grounds and take some time out.

3. Kent

Beautiful-Sunrise-At-Dungeness-Beach-Kent

Kent; also known as the ‘Garden of England’ for its abundance of orchards and hop gardens, and often referred to as the ‘Gateway to England’ because of its close proximity to mainland Europe.

But we like to know it as a great day out. Why? Because there’s so much to see and do. Located right on the south-east coast of England, and packed with some of the best beaches in Europe and the most Blue Flag beaches in the UK, it’s the perfect place to escape to on a sunny day!

For those not so sunny days, you can shop till you drop at Ashford Designer Outlet where you’ll find top designer brands under one roof. Or head to Bluewater – the largest shopping destination in the south east of England outside of London, where there’s over 330 shops, 40 cafes, bars and restaurants plus a 13-screen cinema to keep you occupied.

And if it’s history and culture you’re after, Kent is a treasure trove of historic attractions so you won’t be disappointed. From beautiful castles steeped in history such as Hever Castle, Leeds Castle and Dover Castle and historic dockyards, to the magnificent Canterbury Cathedral they’re all waiting to be explored.

If you’re visiting London and its surrounding counties, why not stay with us at One Penrhyn Road? Summer accommodation available until 2nd September with rooms available from just £215 per week. Contact us for more information on summer bookings. 

Leaving your student accommodation

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For many students, university has finished for another year and it’s almost time to move out of your student accommodation. But as you pack up your belongings and get ready to leave, you might be wondering what to do with some of your things. Below we have some helpful information and suggestions for moving out.

Your belongings
Pinglocker logoIf you’re off travelling, staying with family or are visiting friends for a few months before you move into a new home, you might not know what to do with your possessions as you move out. That’s where Pinglocker can help; they provide convenient and affordable student storage in the UK. Not only can they store your items, but they can collect them and deliver them back to you as well. And with exclusive resident offers including free boxes and free insurance, it’s storage made simple.

Leftover food
Host Pause Logo Donation BoxAs you clear out your accommodation and rummage to the back of the kitchen cupboard, you might find some unopened tins of beans, packets of instant noodles and the like – which you didn’t get around to enjoying. If that’s the case, and you’re not going to bother taking them with you, then don’t let them go to waste; donate them to a local food bank. Here at Host, we’re supporting the Trussell Trust who provide emergency food for people in crisis. So, when you move out, donate any non-perishable food that you don’t want to people in need. You’ll find boxes near Reception where you can drop any unopened food in, and we’ll deliver it to the local foodbank on your behalf.

Non-perishable foods include: Cereal, tinned foods (soup, fruit, vegetable etc) pasta, rice, lentils, beans and pulses, tea/coffee, biscuits, UHT milk.

Unwanted clothes
cancer research collectionIt’s surprising how much can change in a year; trends, fashions and styles all pass as quickly as they arrived. What once suited you might not anymore, and what you feel comfortable in now might not be the same as what you did a few months ago. And as you pack, you might come across clothing you arrived at uni with in September and wonder what were you thinking wearing that? But if you no longer want items, don’t bin them; donate them to charity. We have a clothes collection basket here at One Penrhyn Road with all donations going to Cancer Research UK. Providing the clothing is clean and in a good condition, your donations would be greatly appreciated.

Foreign Currency
If you’ve travelled to another country in the last year and have any foreign currency lying loose and you’re not sure what to do with it, then we have a collection jar in Reception which you can drop any change into. We’ll then donate all the collected money to a local charity.

If your current contract has ended, if you’re studying over summer or you’re arriving in London early before the new term starts in September, we have summer accommodation available here at One Penrhyn Road. Contact us on +44(0)203 770 9119 or at kingston@host-students.com for more information or to book.

Affordable student accommodation in London this summer

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Whether you’re visiting on vacation, you’re here on an internship or as part of a summer language course, or you’ve arrived in the city early ahead of the new academic year starting in September, there are many reasons why you may be in London this summer.

And although you might have your reason for being in the city, you might not know where you’re going to stay during your time here yet. You could stay in a hotel which can be a lovely luxury for a night or two, but if you’re staying for a longer period of time, it probably isn’t the most practical option as it can soon become very expensive. You could instead stay at a hostel. There are lots of hostels available in the city and it’s a much cheaper option and certainly won’t break the bank. However, sharing with others and staying in a hostel isn’t for everyone.

So, what if there was another option? One that offered the comfort, quality and privacy of a hotel, but didn’t burn your budget in the process? Well, if you’re visiting London, you’ll be pleased to hear there is; student accommodation.

Here at One Penrhyn Road, we provide accommodation to students during term time while they study at the local universities and colleges. But when the summer term ends, the majority of our students vacate in June, and our rooms become available through July and August for students like you to stay in before our new residents move in for the start of the new academic year in September.

So, what’s it like living at our student accommodation at One Penrhyn Road?

1. Location

Nestled in the heart of the beautiful Kingston upon Thames, One Penrhyn Road is ideally located for anyone who needs to be in and around London this summer. It’s just a stone’s throw away from the popular bars, restaurants and shopping districts of this bustling market town, and the town’s riverside location with meandering tow paths and its Royal Parks provide plenty of outdoor places to escape to when the sun’s shining. And with Kingston station only a short walk from our accommodation, you can jump on the train and be in Central London within 30 minutes.

2. Cost

Staying with us at One Penrhyn Road is the perfect solution for affordable London living throughout the summer months. We have private, self-catering studio rooms available starting at £215 per week – that’s less than £31.00 a night; which makes it’s much cheaper than a hotel, and can even be cheaper than a hostel in London. The less money you spend on accommodation, the more you’ll have to go out and experience the city!

3. Choice

Not every student’s reasons for staying in London are the same, and neither are their requirements for accommodation. That’s why we offer a variety of options to suit your needs. From Premium or Deluxe, to Deluxe Plus Studios, we have a number of room types available for you to choose from. And if you don’t have it with you, we can even provide bedding for a small cost, so you haven’t got to worry about bringing it with you.

And whether you’re visiting for a short period of time or the whole of summer, we have flexible contracts available so you can stay with us for as long as you need to (1 week minimum stay applies).

4. Facilities

At One Penrhyn Road, we offer much more than just a bedroom, bathroom and kitchen. We have a 24/7 staff presence on-site, free 100Mb Wi-Fi and we also offer a variety of on-site facilities for you to use throughout your stay including a games area with pool table, and communal lounge area with a large TV and comfy seating. You’ll also find an on-site laundry room with washing and drying facilities available for a small cost.

So, no matter your reason for visiting London this summer, make yourself at home with Host at One Penrhyn Road in Kingston. Learn more about living at One Penrhyn Road and our summer accommodation, or contact us on +44(0)20 3770 9119 or at kingston@host-students.com to make a summer booking.

Easter traditions and why we have them

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Easter weekend is almost here, and every year around Easter you’ll see supermarkets, shops, websites and events all using the same things to symbolise the occasion; Easter eggs, Easter Bunny and Hot Cross Buns. But why are these used to represent Easter? To find out this, were going to have to go back in time…

The Easter egg

Easter eggs go back a long time, even before Jesus! It’s believed eggs represent the meaning of a new life, which is often used as a symbol during the spring season. Also from a Christian’s point of view, the egg is believed to symbolise the new life of when Jesus was resurrected from the tomb on Easter Sunday.

Ever wondered why people decorate the eggs? This tradition goes way back to the 13th century. People were not allowed to eat the eggs during the time of Lent, so they would decorate them instead. And then when Easter finally arrived, they ate the eggs as a form of Celebration.

The first chocolate Easter eggs were made in France and Germany in the 19th century, but were very bitter and hard. As chocolate making techniques improved overtime hollow eggs were then developed. These are the ones we have all become accustom to, with many brand such as Cadbury, Nestle, Mars and Lindt bringing out new and exciting chocolate variations of the egg each year.

The Easter Bunny

The Easter bunny also goes way back – right to the 13th Century in fact. Back then, people would worship gods and goddesses and one Goddess was called “Eostra”; known as the goddess of spring and fertility. Her symbol was the rabbit, as she believed rabbits had a high reproduction rate. So, with spring symbolising new life, the bunny and the egg eventually become connected.

And if you believe in the Easter bunny, you’ll know that he or she brings baskets filled with chocolate eggs on the night before Easter. The Easter bunny will either put the eggs in a certain spot, or the bunny will hide the eggs in the house or garden for people to find in the morning of Easter, commonly known as an Easter egg hunt.

Hot Cross Buns

On Good Friday, it’s become traditional in the Christian religion to eat warm hot cross buns. The reason these sweet, spicy and fruity buns are eaten, is because the cross on top of the buns symbolises the cross that Jesus was killed on.

So, now you know why we have these things, you can get ready to indulge in your favourite Easter treats this weekend.

Easter hot cross bun recipe

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Whether you’ve already finished university or you’re finishing up this week, the Easter holidays are upon us and Easter weekend starts this Friday – which is Good Friday. And on Good Friday, it’s become traditional in the Christian religion to eat warm hot cross buns. The reason for this is because the cross on top of the buns symbolises the cross that Jesus was killed on.

If you’d like to try the spicy, sweet and fruity buns for yourself, you can easily make them in no time at all. Follow the simple recipe below from BBC Good Food and enjoy some traditional, home-made hot cross buns.

Ingredients

For the buns:

  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 heaped tsp mixed spice
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 50g butter
  • 200g mixed dried fruit
  • 7g sachet easy-blend dried yeast
  • 200ml milk
  • 2 eggs

For the crosses & glaze:

  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • Honey or golden syrup for brushing.

The Method

  • Put the flour into a bowl and stir in the salt, mixed spice and sugar.
  • Rub in the butter with your fingertips. Stir in the dried fruit, then sprinkle over the yeast and stir in. Gently warm the milk so it is hot, but still cool enough to put your finger in for a couple of seconds. Beat with the eggs, then pour into the dried ingredients.
  • Using a blunt knife, mix the ingredients to a moist dough, then leave to soak for 5 mins. Take out of the bowl and cut the dough into 8 equal pieces.
  • Shape the dough into buns on a floured surface. Space apart on a baking sheet, cover loosely with cling film, then leave in a warm place until half again in size. This will take 45 mins-1 hr 15 mins, depending on how warm the room is.
  • When the buns are risen, heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Mix the flour with 2 tbsp water to make a paste. Pour into a plastic food bag and make a nick in one of the corners. Pipe crosses on top of each bun.
  • Bake for 12-15 mins until risen and golden. Trim the excess cross mixture from the buns, then brush all over with honey or golden syrup. The buns will keep fresh for a day. After that they are best toasted and served with butter.

Fancy a twist on the classic hot cross bun? Take a look at the BBC Good Food website for this recipe as well as different flavoured buns and savoury versions.

Why become a student volunteer?

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Being a student isn’t just about attending lectures and partying all night. There are lots of other activities you can do and get involved with that will widen your experiences and set you up for the ‘real world’ after you graduate. One of those things is carrying out voluntary work and helping others in the community. And as this week is Student Volunteering Week 2018 (19th – 25th February), we thought it would be a good idea to highlight some of the benefits of becoming a student volunteer.

Help others
The reason for you volunteering in the first place is because something needs improving or some people require additional support. So, whether it’s litter picking in the community, putting in a few shifts at the charity shop, spending time with the elderly or providing support at the city’s charity sport event, your help and support can make a huge difference to your community and those around you.

Widen your connections
Volunteering is a great way to meet new people and widen your social circle in the process. The people you meet will also have a passion for the cause you’re volunteering for and so it’s likely they’ll share some of the same interests as you. But if they don’t, it’s not a bad thing. Meeting a diverse range of people means there’s a chance for you to learn from them. They may open your eyes to new skills, new ways of thinking and share their own experiences and knowledge with you. And who knows, someone you connect with while volunteering may have a job opportunity for you later down the line!

Enhance your CV
Not only can you expand upon your own knowledge by learning from the people you meet, but the activities and work you do while volunteering will also help widen your skill set and give that CV a boost. Specific skills will vary depending on the extent of the work you’re doing but there are many transferrable skills such as time management, organisation and communication/social skills which will set you up for work in the ‘real world’ as they can be applied to most workplaces.

You’ll feel great
Volunteering is not only good for those you’re helping, but it’s also great for your own well-being. Knowing that you’re doing something valuable for the community or lifting the burden of others, shows that you care and should make you feel pretty good about yourself.

You can find out more about Student Volunteering Week 2018 here.

Classic British dishes to warm you up

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It might still be cold, dark and miserable out, but it’s not all bad. One of the best things about this time of year, is the warming home-cooked food you can enjoy; the perfect comfort after a busy day at uni. Here are some of our favourite classic British winter warmers…

Roast dinner

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Image: BBC

A Sunday roast is the main event of the week, and knowing you have one to look forward to will certainly help you through a long week in winter. A plate piled high with your favourite meat, veggies and all the trimmings (after all, a roast dinner wouldn’t be complete without roast potatoes and Yorkshire puddings); it’s what Sundays were made for. Recipes here.

Pie

steak_and_ale_pie

Image: Jamie Oliver

A sure winner to fill you up and warm you up in winter, is the humble pie. Whether it’s beef, chicken or a vegetarian pie, there’s nothing more satisfying than breaking into the crust of the flaky pastry lid. And depending how hungry you are, you can serve with your choice of sides – keep it simple with chips or go the whole hog with mash potato and a variety of vegetables. Our top choice pie recipe would be a classic steak and ale pie.

Toad in the hole

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Image: Tesco Real Food

A real British classic, but don’t threat, it’s not actually toads in a hole – instead, it’s sausages in Yorkshire pudding batter (mmm much tastier). It’s not really clear where the name came from for this hearty dish, but does it really matter when it tastes this good. Recipe here.

Beef stew

beefstewwithdumpling_

Image: BBC

For those cold days and nights, you can’t go wrong with this one-pot meal that’s easy to make and guaranteed to warm you through to the core. It’s also a great way to hit your five a day intake by using up any leftover vegetables – chop them up and chuck them in. And for that extra indulgence, top your stew with some fluffy dumplings. Recipe here.

Hopefully these dishes will help keep you warm for the remainder of winter, and before you know it the days will be warmer, the nights longer and Spring will be here!

If you’re looking for student accommodation in London in 2018 we have short-term and long-term contracts available. To find out more about living with us here in Kingston, please contact us on +44(0)20 3770 9119 or at kingston@host-students.com.

 

New Year, New You?

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Ah January; a New Year, a new start and well, another opportunity to break those New Year’s resolutions. While we all have great intentions on becoming a better person and changing our ways for the year ahead, unfortunately 80% of people who make New Year’s resolutions fail by February.

So, whether it’s to drink less, save more, get fit or attend all of your lectures (yes, even the 9am ones), what can you do to improve your chances of seeing your resolutions through and not giving up before the year’s barely begun?

Firstly, you should only make one resolution. Because, let’s face it, making one change to your current lifestyle is probably going to be challenging enough, so why set yourself up for a fall by setting yourself 10 different ones? By selecting just one resolution, you can focus your time and effort solely on sticking to, and succeeding with the one thing.

When setting your resolution, you should make it personal and not follow suit with what others are doing – it’s got to be realistic and attainable for you. For example, if one of your friends who runs several miles weekly and competes in races regularly, is setting themselves the task of running a marathon this year, but you’ve never run before – it’s probably not the best idea to throw yourself in at the deep end and join them. Instead, why not aim for a shorter 3k or 5k run first? Then, once you’ve ran that far, you can aim for even further distances such as a 10km or a half marathon. Breaking your goal into a series of smaller, more manageable and time-based steps will make that end goal much more achievable and a lot less scary. As the saying goes, we must learn to walk before we can run.

And when times get tough and you start to question why you’re changing your ways, it’s important to remind yourself of the benefits of what you’re doing. If you’ve decided you’re going to attend all of your lectures, remember why you’re doing it when it’s 5pm on a Friday evening and all your friends are off to the pub, but you’ve got an hour lecture to attend instead. It might not seem like the better option at the time, but missing that one lecture could mean missing important information that will help you answer a key question in the end of year exams.

No matter your resolution and goal, remember to stay strong, be committed, and don’t give up at the first hurdle (yes there will be set-backs and struggles along the way, but the satisfaction you’ll feel for sticking at it will definitely outweigh them). Here’s to a happy, healthy and productive 2018!

If you’re looking for student accommodation in London in 2018 we have short-term and long-term contracts available. To find out more about living with us here in Kingston, please contact us on +44(0)20 3770 9119 or at kingston@host-students.com.