World Mental Health Day 2018

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Tomorrow (10th October), is World Mental Health Day. The global day is a day for mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma.

And the focus of this year’s World Mental Health Day campaign is young people’s mental health. Mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and eating disorders, are common and often start at a young age. In fact, 50% of mental health issues are established by age 14 and 75% by age 24.

For students suffering with a mental illness, it can have a negative impact on their performance at university or college and may also affect their interpersonal experiences, which in turn can lead to academic failure and drop out, job difficulties and negative social outcomes.

That’s why it’s important to recognise that our mental health is just as important as our physical health – and we all need to take care of it. Below are just a few small things you can do to look after yourself and help protect against stress.

coping with stress infographic

If you are concerned about your own mental health and wellbeing, remember you are not alone. Whether it’s a friend, family member, lecturer, university or accommodation staff, support line or charity such as Student Minds, it’s important to speak to someone about how you are feeling.

To find out more about World Mental Health Day visit here

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

notes-macbook-study-lecture

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

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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!

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.

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

Toad-in-the-hole-with-onion-gravy-

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.

Your moving-in checklist

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No matter what year you’re in – whether it’s your first, second or third year at University, moving house is always stressful. Trying to pack the entire contents of your room and all the essential student items into a suitcase and a few boxes can be a nightmare. And although you probably think you have everything covered, there’s always a forgotten item off the list! So, to help you out and ensure no essential items are forgotten, we’ve put together a quick checklist of what to bring with you for each room.

Kitchen

  • Plates
  • Bowls
  • Cutlery
  • Mugs
  • Glasses
  • Shot or wine glasses (depending on how many friends you’re planning on inviting over)

Depending on your culinary skills and how much you intend on cooking throughout your stay, you may also be interested in investing in some good cooking equipment such as:

  • Saucepans
  • Frying pans
  • Baking trays
  • A spatula
  • A knife
  • Chopping board
  • Mixing bowl
  • A can/bottle opener

Bathroom

  • A bin
  • Towels
  • A bath mat
  • Shower mat
  • Laundry Basket

You may want to consider getting a clothes airer so you can hang your clothes up to dry instead of having to wait until the driers are free. It will save you some money too in the long run by not having to pay for the driers! Of course, you will need to remember the essential toiletries such as shower gel, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo and conditioner.

Bedroom

Your bedroom is the place you’ll spend a lot of your time during your stay at One Penrhyn Road so it’s important to make it feel as homely and as comfortable as possible.

We recommend buying two sets of bed sheets so you have a spare one to put on when another is washing and drying. Going for a design and pattern that is quite light will make your room feel more spacious. You will also need to bring:

  • A new duvet
  • Pillows
  • Blanket
  • Cushions (great for cuddling up to on a movie night)
  • Clothes hangers
  • Storage boxes
  • If you purchase a TV, you’ll need to have a license for it

Don’t forget to bring photographs of you with your family and friends so you can pin them up in your room. You’ll be reminded of the good times when you see them and they’ll help add that personal touch to your room.

Clothes

When it comes to fashion, you have nothing to worry about. Nowadays you can look cool in pretty much anything. Pack your casual clothes (t-shirts, jeans, skirts), a few party dresses or smart shirts, trainers and flat shoes (trust us you’ll need them with all the walking you’ll do as a student). And if there’s one item of clothing to remember, it’s a fancy-dress costume as you’ll probably need one for Fresher’s week!

So, that’s the essential items, check these off your list and you’ll have everything you need to get you through the year and survive living away from home.

If you’re still looking for student accommodation in London 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.

(Seriously…) fun study tips

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It’s that time of year again; Easter is upon us and those dreaded exams are on the horizon. We can probably all familiarise with the last minute panic, the cramming of information and the all-nighter’s which make you debate your existence. But fear no more. Here at One Penrhyn Road, we’ve put together some (if I do say so myself), hilarious tips for you to take the edge off this stressful time.

1. Make up a song

“Mrs. D, Mrs. I… Mrs. F-F-I, Mrs. C, Mrs. U, Mrs. L-T-Y.”

If you’ve ever seen the film Matilda, then you’re more than likely remember the above. Why? Because this simple – but catchy rhyme on how to spell the word ‘difficulty’ sticks in our minds. So, whether its important dates in history, a sequence of numbers or a complicated matrix, put them into a jolly little tune and your brain should remember it – the mind is amazing!

2. Look at cute animalsbunny-rabbits-sunshine

According to science (and we all know that when this term is used it is legit), looking at cute and adorable pictures of animals – be it bunnies, kittens or puppies, can actually make you more productive. So when you feel your motivation slipping, take a few minutes out to admire an image of a furry friend!

3. Have a boogie

Now, this might sound like a very strange idea, but hang on in there. Let’s explain. Have you ever noticed how as soon as you leave your desk you start thinking about things? Well the next time you find yourself at a standstill with your studies, why not use this as a technique to boost your inspiration? Get up from your desk, have a boogie, head out for a walk, or even take a shower – after all, inspiration can strike us when we least expect it. Then, once you return to your desk you’ll be ready to continue your studies!

4. Doodle

chalk-board-with-doodlesWhen you’re in lectures and you just don’t have enough time to write everything down, you might end up scribbling diagrams and drawing random things to help you remember. Follow this simple method and turn your drawings into visual study notes. The brain L.O.V.E.S associating images with words. Did you know visuals are processed by the human brain 60,000 times faster than text? And we actually remember 80% of what we see compared to only 20% of what we read! If that’s not a reason to draw then I don’t know what is?

5. Give yourself a breaktime-for-a-break

If you’re going to take on board any tip from this blog today, please take this one away with you… No matter how hard you are working for those exams always remember to take a break! You won’t do yourself any favours by running yourself into the ground with too much revision. You’ll feel tired, stressed and a lack of motivation to continue. So, always allow some ‘me’ time – whether it’s lunch with your friends, a game on the computer or a film at the cinema – take a short break and when you return you will feel more relaxed and likely to absorb more information.

We hope these top tips have made you giggle and forget the life stresses for a few minutes. GOOD LUCK over the next few months and remember…

TAKE A BREAK!

If you’re in need of a place to live while you study in London, contact us on +44 (0)20 3770 9119 or email us at kingston@host-students.com for more information about our luxurious studios and clean and airy communal areas at One Penrhyn Road.

Christmas shopping on a budget

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The street lights are up, winter wonderlands are open and the shops are playing festive songs.  With December fast approaching and only a month to go until the big day, it’s time to start thinking about what Christmas presents you’re going to buy – and how much you’re going to spend.  But with the first semester of term almost finished, student loans may be spent and you’re probably a bit strapped for cash.  So, to help you out, we’ve got 4 top tips to help you be savvy with your spending, yet still give great gifts this Christmas.

1. Secret Santa
You’ve probably made good friends with fellow residents or students on your course and would love to buy them all a small gift – but that can be pricey. So, if there’s a number of you in a group, get together, set a budget and play Secret Santa.  This way, everyone gets a present but you’ll only buy one, and you won’t need to spend more than the set budget (e.g. £5.00) – saving you a lot of money.

2. Shop online
Sat at home on your laptop might not give you the same warm, festive feeling as walking around the department stores, but it will probably save you money. Try your luck and bag a bargain on auction website, eBay. Or use exclusive online discount codes for money off big name brands and shops. Plus, many shops offer free delivery or free collection in store which means it won’t cost you any extra to shop online.

3. DIY gifts
What better way to get into the spirit of things than with a bit of DIY to spark your creativity? Making your own presents is a low-cost alternative, which can also be fun to do. From filling glass jars with sweet treats or making novelty snow domes, to baking Christmas goodies or building your own hampers – there’s lots of homemade gifts to choose from.

4. Wait for the sales
You’ll find many shops start their ‘January’ sales early and slash their prices before Christmas has even passed. So if you can hold-off doing your shopping until just a few days before Christmas, you’re sure to make a saving. What’s more, if you’re not seeing family or friends until after Christmas Day, wait until then to do your shopping. Boxing Day sales are bigger than ever before and what you might have paid full price for the week before Christmas, you might find has 50% off after Christmas.