Festival food and drink

With so many festivals going on over the next few months, as summer really starts (hopefully the weather will keep improving!) I’m sure at least a few of you will be heading to one or two. Instead of a usual checklist advising you on what clothes and toiletries to take etc., I thought a food and drink one may be helpful as you don’t always know what to expect when it comes to what food will be available and what you will be eating while you are at a festival.

At every festival there will be burger vans, pizza places, some stands do southern fried chicken, you can get paella, and there really is something for everyone. There are also sometimes stalls selling cupcakes, cookies, tray-bakes, you will be spoilt for choice and something for those with a sweet tooth. There are different companies at different festivals but you can expect to see the same sort of foods wherever you are in the country. There will also be food available for those with allergies; lots of food vans now do gluten free options or wheat free options. Everyone is catered for.

Buying food and drink while you’re there is great and I think it’s a good idea to try some new foods and see what’s on offer, but all of this can cost a lot of money so try and take a few things with you.*

  • Packet items like mugshots, cup a soups, even couscous are good options as they can all be put into a pan or mug and you just add boiling water. Couscous is always on offer at the supermarket and they also do their own value version too, you could get a few packets for less than £1 and one pack would spread out over a few people as there is always more than you think.
  • Disposable BBQs are great, so cheap and quick and easy. You can find them in all supermarkets at the moment and they’re great to stock up on and use throughout the summer. You could take a few of these with you and that way you can still have your sausage sandwiches and fry ups!
  • Camping stoves are worth the money and if you are someone who attends a lot of festivals, it will really come in handy. If you have one of these you could take a few saucepans so you can cook soup, beans etc. There are possibilities when it comes to ‘cooking’ at festivals, you just need to have a look around and get a bit of inspiration!
  • It’s a good idea to take sauces and seasoning to add to any meat you might cook or to just spice normal meals up a little bit.
  • You can get cool boxes to take with you so then all of your food and drink can be stored, it’s all in one place and it won’t go all warm and horrible while you’re away from your tent.

When it comes to soft drinks you can get mini squeezy cordials now and they are a great size for travelling and fitting in your bag. Robinsons has their own, Vimto do and supermarkets have their own versions too, they are great for just adding to water whenever you want.

For sweet things to take with you, you could try some dried fruit, this always lasts well and big pack goes a long way. You can get all sorts of fruit now in packets so whatever you like you’ll be able to find. Crisps are always great to take with you, providing they don’t get too squashed on the journey! You can buy big multipacks from all supermarkets and they’re really not a bad price for the amount you get. If you take some bread with you, you can eat as many crisp sandwiches as you want! It might be the only option if you are low on food or don’t take much with you. Usual biscuits and sweets are good to take as everyone will like them and again you can get big multipacks.

There are options when it comes to eating and drinking at a festival, some supermarkets even have a section dedicated to it during the summer of all dried foods and tins that would be suitable and quick and easy! A quick internet search gives you loads of options too if you’re still stuck for ideas!

*Make sure to check on the festival website as to whether you are allowed to bring in your own food, drink and barbecues.

Exercising and feeling motivated over the summer

Exercise

For many students the summer signifies a time of care-free living. More often than not you’ve gone back home to live with your family whilst you under-go the transition in your accommodation and get ready for your next academic year at university. Unfortunately for some students it can mean the long nights, poolside BBQs and those long party holidays can see some students staying out of shape. BUT fear not my fellow students, there are ways of maintaining a healthy life style whilst you continue to have fun, stay healthy and look great all summer long with some of these basic tips.

Participate in community-sponsored activities
Many communities within your home area offer sponsored activities throughout the summer such as long walks, week-long treks and 5, 10 or 15k runs. You can either participate alone or with a family member, friend or even a larger group of people. A great way to get to know your area and community.

Work out in the morning
You don’t need to fully ditch your work out ritual if you can commit to those early mornings and working out before the sun has fully come up where its rays can be more intense on a long run. There are many great reasons why working out in the morning can benefit your body. The fresh air in your lungs, watching the sun rising in the sky and enjoying the peacefulness of your surroundings before everyone is up and about can keep you feeling energised for the rest of the day. Go for a brisk walk with yours or the neighbour’s dog, swim a few lengths or try out a new hobby like rollerblading with a friend. You really can push yourself into new and exciting ways of exercising without it becoming too repetitive.

Stay hydrated with the right stuff
Childhood summer time favourites such as iced-lemonade can seem refreshing but they really must only be consumed in moderation as the sugar in the drinks can leave you feeling more thirsty than when you started and craving more. Plus they add on those unwanted calories when you don’t even realise it. During exercise, especially in the summer months it is more important to stay hydrated by drinking water and the usual amount you should be drinking is measured by your body’s weight. So, for example, if you weigh 120lbs, you would need to drink 60oz of water a day in order to stay hydrated and banish those dehydrated headaches!

Enjoy indoor activities
If exercising in the morning really isn’t your thing, you can still get in a good daily work out by exercising indoors where the sun isn’t beating down on your skin and the temperature remains cool. Head to your nearby outdoor gym, as most are designed to be in the shade where the temperate can be cooler than based in an open field directly under the sun, plus they are free to use! Get yourself a treadmill and run up hill for 20 minutes or so. Power walk through a mall and do some window shopping, or head to your local leisure centre and see what sports you can join there. Why not try some wall climbing to build your strength and tackle those fears of heights? You will be amazed just how much you can do if you try. If the sun is too unbearable, you could always Google your local ice-rink and pretend you’re in those colder months of the year for a good all body work out.

Whatever method of exercising you decide to do when you’re home for the summer share them below so that others can join in your routine. Sharing tips can help and motivate others to become fit and healthy during the best months of the British year!

 

Travel essentials

It’s got to that time of year where students are leaving uni, either full time or just for the summer and are heading off on holiday. If you are I am very jealous! It’s important you have everything you need packed and ready in your suitcase, here’s a checklist of things you might need and want to take with you.

Important Documents:

You need to make sure you have an in date passport, you won’t be able to go anywhere without this! You can buy passport wallets which can help with finding your passport once its in your bag or case, making it a little bit easier. When you book flights and your hotel, you should get confirmation of the booking, it’s important you that you print this out and put it into some sort of wallet, like a passport holder so everything is kept together. At least if there are any problems at the hotel or airport, you have all your documents and details together. You should also make sure you have enough money on you for the trip and have any debit or credit cards in your purse or wallet ready. You should have worked out how much money you are going to need, around when you have booked your holiday. If you go all inclusive you are likely to need less money than you would if you go self-catering as with self-catering you will be paying for all your food and drink rather than it being included.

Clothes:

When it comes to packing clothes for your case, make sure you don’t over-pack. You don’t need a huge amount of bikinis or sandals. Work out how many days and nights you’re there for and plan outfits for that many days. So if you are there for seven nights, plan seven outfits, if you’re going to be out and about all day then going somewhere different at night, you might need to pack more but there are simple ways to work out how many clothes you need to take. The same with shoes though I doubt you would wear a different pair every day, you could make sure you have some comfortable pumps or shoes for the day if you go on a trip or on a walk, flip flops for around the pool and sandals for evening outfits. You need to make sure you have enough room for underwear, swimwear and toiletries.

Toiletries:

It can be tempting for women to pack your whole makeup collection but try and cut it down to a few favourites. When you’re on holiday in a hot location, makeup sweats off anyway so there is no point packing loads of it, to then either not wear it or for it to be off within an hour because of the heat. Also when deciding what shower gels, toothpastes etc. to take, make sure you check your local supermarket and stores like Boots because they do miniature versions of almost everything. Boots do 3 for 2 on miniatures, last time I picked up a shampoo, conditioner and dry shampoo and that was me sorted, you don’t need the big bottles. One of the most important things you need to pack is suncream.You can buy this while you’re there or in the airport but its always best to take even a small bottle with you and then you can get more as and when you need it.

Electrical Items:

You can take electrical items like your phone and iPod with you on the plane in your hand luggage but big things like hair-dryers and straighteners need to go in the case. They take up quite a lot of room though so work out if you are actually going to need them and if you can go without. Most hotels will have a hairdryer in the room or bathroom so there is no need to take your own. If you’re going on holiday with your friends, then one of you or a few, depending on how many of you there are, could take a hairdryer and then you could share.

Hand Luggage:

This can be where you store your paperwork and any important documents that I mentioned above. Your hand luggage is also for things that you will want or need with you on the plane, e.g. any books or magazines, any essential medication (you normally need to discuss this with the airline first), electricals like phones and iPods.

I hope if any of you are going on holiday this summer that this checklist helped! And I really hope you have a great time and take a well-deserved break after university!

Top free festivals in the UK this summer

Not got any plans for

Not got any plans for the summer yet, as a result of your cleared out bank account? Think as a student you can’t enjoy your summer break with a festival? Think again!

Summer is the season of festivals, yet despite the UK weather being slightly hit and miss, we have some of the best and most famous festivals around the world. However, the most popular festivals can often cost an arm and a leg when you combine the ticket price (often plus £200) with travel costs, equipment, spending money and festival outfits.

But all is not lost students! Believe it or not, there are some festivals situated in the UK that are free – yes, free! Great music, plenty of drink, partying and fun – festivals and students are a match made in heaven, so what better way to spend a couple of days in the sunshine (not guaranteed) with your friends over the summer?

I’ve been searching high and low for the best free weekend and day festivals for students over the next couple of months that might interest you and your friends! Take a look…

  • Liverpool International Music Festival (LIMF): located in the luscious green grass of Sefton Park, Liverpool, LIMF offers one of the best free music festivals going in Europe. Year after year the line-up never disappoints, and always leaves people questioning – is this really free?! This year’s line-up boasts the likes of Basement Jaxx, Labrinth, Katy B, Artful Dodger, Naughty Boy, Echo and the Bunnymen and many, many more. With four big stages, there’s music for just about every taste. As Liverpool is home to three universities, it has a major student influence throughout the city, and the festival is sure to attract many of its students to the festival – I should know, I am one of them!

27th-31st August 2015, Sefton Park, Liverpool, Merseyside, L17 1AF

  • Africa Oyé Festival: Yet again situated in Liverpool and again in Sefton Park, this is a great free festival that celebrates African culture with various music genres from tribal to jungle to reggae, along with a great range of Caribbean and African food, clothes and arts and crafts stalls that give the festival a fantastic buzz and atmosphere. This festival really is unique, and if you want to try something new then this should definitely be top of the list.

20th-21st June 2015, Sefton Park, Liverpool, Merseyside, L17 1AF

  • Brazilica Street Carnival: Okay, the last one from Liverpool I promise – the city simply offers such a wide range of free activities every summer for everyone to enjoy! A three day street carnival inspired by Rio – think belly dancers, samba and amazing costumes and carnival music. The festival is spread across the city in various venues (including my favourite venue in Liverpool – the Kazimier), therefore you’ll get to explore the city whilst you are partying! Perfect! Yet again another diverse and unique festival that promises a fantastic few days across the weekend.

17th-19th July 2015, various venues, Liverpool, Merseyside, L1 1EL

  • The London Notting Hill Carnival: Get ready for the biggest street festival in Europe! Annually it attracts up to one million visitors, with such a wide variety of activities and entertainment across the capital. The carnival celebrates global music, with a particular focus on steel bands and culture from the Caribbean and international bands, acts and DJs. Get booking hotels and transport as soon as possible, the earlier the cheaper!

29th-31st August 2015, Powis Square, London, W11 2AY

  • Godiva Festival: Not only does this free festival boast a fantastic line up, year in year out, but it also provides such a wide range of stalls, activities and tents including the vintage and craft stalls and urban youth tents. This year The Wombats, Don Broco, Pulled Apart by Horses and Embrace are just some of the live acts performing over the weekend. Godiva is always trying to keep up with the latest music trends, and this year they are introducing the Rhythm Tent with many reggae and urban acts performing.

3rd-5th July 2015, Coventry, West Midlands, CV3 6PT

None of these free festivals take your fancy? There is another way to attend some of the best UK festivals AND keep your money in your pocket…

Volunteering at paid festivals

Attend the likes of Glastonbury, Leeds, Reading or V-Festival this year by applying to volunteer at the festival itself! Yes, you won’t be able to treat it like a holiday, however it’s a great way to meet people, gain experience and see some brilliant live acts whilst you’re on the job. It’s very rare that you have to work for the entire festival, just shifts over the four day weekend helping out in some of the duties below;

  • Tent stewarding
  • Campsite wardens
  • Directing visitors
  • Litter picking
  • Helping and assisting those in need
  • Recycling
  • Bar work

Duties will vary between festivals, and you might be given a different role every shift or within a close team! One great way to get involved in volunteering at festivals is through Oxfam Stewards. You can apply through Oxfam and you could get a place volunteering at one of the biggest UK festivals! What’s more, the money that’s generated from your time will go towards a good cause. Student volunteering at festivals is a fantastic way to enjoy summer, experience some of the best festivals at no cost whilst gaining skills such as team-working and training as a steward, not to mention looking impressive on your C.V.