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.

Revamp your CV for summertime job-seeking success!

 

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Phew – another year done and dusted.

Whilst many of you are wrapping up the end of what I’m sure was a stressful exam period and having a well-deserved rest, some of you may start to think towards finding summertime work to replenish your funds (that have no doubt taken a hiding over the past few months).

So – where to start? Well, in order for you to start putting yourself out there in the working world, you might want to consider upgrading your CV. If you’re anything like me, the last time I even looked at my CV was back in college. Chances are, a lot has changed since then.

If you want your CV to stand out from others in the pile, then it’s worth spending a little time revamping it in order to boost your chances with being considered as a potential employee.

Here are a few top tips on creating a tip-top CV:

  • Keep it short, sweet and compact: Even if you’ve got pages and pages worth of qualifications and awards, try your best to briefly describe your academic, working and extra-curricular achievements. Employers don’t want to spend hours reading through pages and pages, any more than two and they might not read it at all. Try to accentuate your most impressive attributes.
  • Try to customise your CV yourself, rather than using a simple template downloaded off the internet. This will show employers you have put some time and effort in! Include bold, clear and colourful headings.
  • Create a CV for every different type of job you apply to – generic CVs are not appealing as it appears you’ve simply printed a pile and handed them to any place that would take them. This does not show your desire to work for a certain establishment.
  • Make sure you try to highlight and demonstrate skills that would be useful in your prospective job…for example, if you are applying for a waitress job you could say “I enjoy working alongside others and can communicate, listen and learn well” which shows you can work well in a team. If you can, also include evidence and an example of these skills in the workplace.
  • Include a small picture of yourself – not one with a glass of wine in your hand or out in a club, a presentable picture please!
  • Specify the type of work you are looking for (part time, full time, seasonal) and also your availability and any holidays/time off you have booked during the summer.
  • Don’t lie…even if it is just a small little white lie such as that C you got in Science instead of D, if they ask for proof then you’ll be caught out big time. Even if you lie about your past working experiences and unfortunate dismissals for whatever reasons, employers would rather you be outright honest rather than making up some elaborate story that you have to keep up.
  • Ensure all grammar and spelling is double checked and correct! Be sure to use proper English language and not slang. A simple error like this in the first few sentences can end up with your CV being discarded straight away.
  • Include a small personal statement/reference from a previous employer or lecturer/tutor/teacher (if you’ve never worked before) with contact details for at least two. This will demonstrate what others think of you in a working/academic environment (ideally in a favourable light!).
  • Make sure it’s up to date.

And one final tip, from experience, don’t take in your CV during peak times (11am-2pm usually!) in businesses such as restaurants, cafés and retail shops. My boss would be infuriated when people would come in right in the middle of service asking about vacancies – she would turn them straight away (simply because she didn’t have time to talk to them) and more often than not, throw their CV straight in the bin. So, be considerate and go when there is more time for you to talk one on one with the employer.

I hope this blog is helpful to all you students looking for work over the summer! Do you have any other top tips for a successful CV? Don’t forget to comment below and share with the Studentrecipes.com community!

Domino’s Pizza Legends – calling all students!

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Pizza – renowned for being the ultimate student food, not to mention the one and only cure after a big night out. In this time of need, you want something hot, delicious and made exactly the way you like right there, right then to dig into. And let’s be honest, frozen pizzas don’t seem to fit that criteria. Nothing is going to sort you out and comfort you (just like your mum would) than a fresh Domino’s pizza delivered straight to your door – to the rescue.

Using the brilliant new Domino’s Pizza Legend Page, here at Studentrecipes.com we’ve created our very own go-to pizza when we are hungry and in need.

We chose a deliciously oozy stuffed crust pizza base with a classic tomato sauce, topped with fresh mozzarella, chicken, smoky bacon strips and peppers – can you hear your stomach grumbling just at the thought of it? Not to mention chicken and bacon being a well-known favourite amongst students especially…

Want to give it a try next time you’re sending out a distress call for some much needed scran? Domino’s and Student Recipes are offering all readers an exclusive discount for this pizza, simply type this Pizza Legend I.D: SOSSTUDENTSCRAN into the Domino’s Pizza Legend Page to claim this offer.

Or think you can do better? Why not try creating your very own pizza legend, I.D and logo! Your creation will be entered into the League of Pizza Legends and even the Hall of Fame, in which you are in with a chance of winning your very own pizza free for a year! To boost your chances of winning this delicious prize, share your creation on social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Have a read of the Domino’s Blog for some pizza-making inspiration.

Don’t forget to follow Domino’s on Twitter and Facebook for some great super-savvy student saving deals!

Good luck and get creating!

Green Smoothies Galore

green-smoothies

Recently I have been making sure I stick to my goals by jumping on the green smoothie bandwagon. So I thought I would share a few tips with you on how to make the perfect green smoothie that will keep you energised and feeling more vibrant along with maintaining a healthier student lifestyle!

What do I put in to a green smoothie?

This is always the first question! You want to make sure you are getting that pure green colour as well as making sure it’s yummy to taste. The simple recipe is: leafy greens + fruit + a liquid base…and maybe some fancy superfood toppings if you are feeling a bit more adventurous. I promise you that this is not a fad diet to try, once you start drinking green smoothies, you will be just as hooked as I am! And to be honest, what other way are you going to down spinach in a more delightful fashion?!

If you think about it, getting all the high-quality leafy greens into your smoothie will give you: amino acids, important vitamins and minerals and antioxidants which benefit your body in so many ways. These few benefits can help strengthen your body’s immune system and can reduce the risk of life-threatening diseases, leading to a happier and healthier lifestyle!

Now that’s the scientific gobble out the way, these are the reasons why I think students need green smoothies:

  • Natural energy booster – gives you a little pep in your step and keeps you going for longer. Meaning those late nights and early lecture wake up calls can be cured with a mid morning green smoothie rather than a high calorie chocolate bar or a high in sugar energy drink.
  • Natural weight loss – we have all been there. Going to university and getting your cooking skills and eating habits under wraps is hard to maintain. But gulping one of these for breakfast instead of reaching for a packet of crisps for those on-the-go mornings can leave you feeling fuller for longer. Prepare the night before, keep in the fridge for a cool drink and you are good to go for those 9AMs!
  • Stay healthy all-year-long – as I mentioned above, green smoothies boost your immune system and are great for when you need a pick-me-up after catching that dreaded fresher’s flu.
  • Packed with disease-fighting antioxidants – the phytonutrients in leafy greens keep your body functioning properly. So, when studying for exams or writing those long essays, your brain will have the power to go for longer. Plus! It makes your insides feel a lot happier for their functioning needs.
  • Hands down the best fast food – it takes less than 5 minutes to make a green smoothie (and 10 to clean up!). They are super easy to make and when you’re leading a busy lifestyle you don’t want to spend hours prepping something. In fact, it would probably take you longer to queue in a student canteen at lunch time to buy a chocolate bar or an energy drink than what it would take to make a green smoothie.

So there we have it, the basic facts for why green smoothies are good for us students! What will you put in yours? Comment below with your best recipes so that other students can have a go at making your famous recipe. Got a secret ingredient to make a green smoothie that extra tasty? Share below! I personally love two handfuls of spinach, a cup of almond milk, 1 avocado, and 1 apple, a handful of strawberries and to top it off, half a mango! Smoothie your way to goodness!

Revision snacking: Brain Food

When you are revising for exams, as I imagine most students are right now, you can be tempted to go for the takeaways, desserts, chocolate, anything to get you through but as great as these things are, there are other foods which will actually get your brain going and really help with your revision.

You need to start the day off well so a quick and simple breakfast is always a winner. A few ideas are:

Fruit – It is simple but it really is good for you. Fruit like blueberries, strawberries and oranges are great and all easy to pack away if you’re eating on the go.

Wholemeal bread – Toast is something most students grab on their way out in a morning so it is always a good thing to have in! You could top it with peanut butter or almond butter, high in protein and contains good carbohydrates which will keep you going until lunch.

Porridge – This is one which takes a little bit more time than others, but it really is just minutes. This can be prepared in the microwave or on the hob and it is great for topping with fruit and/or nuts and seeds which are also great brain food! Nuts like almonds, Bazil and cashews are high in protein and so much better for you to snack on throughout the day rather than a chocolate bar.

Now breakfast is sorted, you need to plan for lunch. A lot of people choose to revise in the library so here are some quick lunch ideas, all of which can be put in a tupperware to take with you.

Simple salads – There are so many variations of salad, most which hardly take any time to prepare. One of these being a pasta salad. This is something that can be prepped the night before or in the morning, depending on how much time you have. Pasta only takes 10 minutes and it takes no time at all to prep some lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, onions, or whatever you fancy in a salad. When the pasta is cooked, throw it all together and store in a tupperware. If you didn’t fancy pasta, you could make a salmon or tuna salad. Oily fish is a great food to be eating while revising. It contains loads of omega 3 and protein which keeps your brain functioning well. Canned sardines is a great one too! Another variation of salad is a potato salad, one of my personal favourites. Budget friendly too! Boil some new potatoes until soft (you can get a bag for under £1 in Asda and Morrisons), when cooked, drain and then mix in some mayonnaise, a little bit of salt and pepper and put into the tupperware. Meals like this slowly release energy throughout the day so you can keep on revising hopefully a bit longer than you would normally!

Sandwiches – Making a sandwich is a lot better than buying one from a shop or cafe, you can control what bread you have and what fillings you include and most of the time they end up being better than any you could buy! As I mentioned above, wholemeal bread is a good one for you so you could use this and then fill with some tuna mayo, cheese, turkey chunks or ham. You could then bulk it up with some salad.

As well as eating a good breakfast and lunch, dinner is just as important. As I mentioned in the lunch section, fish is great for your brain and there are many things you can make with fish for dinner too. You can buy it fresh from the counter in supermarkets and coat it in breadcrumbs and bake in the oven, there are so many recipes online and most don’t take much time to prepare either! If you don’t want to buy fresh you could get frozen, which nowadays come with different sauces such as sweet chilli, parsley, and butter. Better still… they all only take around half an hour in the oven. You could serve it with some veg and maybe some potatoes..

As important as eating all the right food is, staying hydrated is vital too, especially now it’s getting warmer outside! If we get dehydrated, the rate at which our brains work can slow down meaning it won’t be very efficientfor revising and remembering everything you need to for exams. The NHS actually recommends we drink around 8 glasses of water a day. Drinking water while revising will help more than fizzy drinks will.

If you are in the middle of revising for exams right now then I hope some of these tips help you and you get a little inspiration for meal ideas! Remember though that even though all of these things are really good for you, a chocolate bar won’t hurt every so often!

Revision snacking

buscuit-jar

Whether you have already hit assessment time or it’s just a matter of weeks away, you will all be feeling the stress and wondering why did you leave all this work to the last minute, you definitely won’t do it next year right? Well whether we like it or not we are going to snack when the revision and work has started so why don’t we learn to snack on the right things rather than eating that whole bag of 40p sweets in one go, we’ve all been there!

Stress is a key trigger for reaching for those snacks, cortisol, a stress hormone, blocks the release of other hormones meaning we crave high fat and high sugar foods giving us far more fuel than we need for just sitting at our desks. Other than this, most of us associate food with happier times with family, therefore meaning we use food to pick us up when we are feeling low, and a typical feeling around exam period! There are loads of different foods out there that can satisfy these cravings but aren’t quite as bad as chocolate and cake, so don’t reach for the biscuit tin, try something new.

So here is a list of just a few:

  1. Veggies with hummus – carrot, cucumber and celery to name a few work well with hummus, and this is a much more filling way to get in your greens. I like to buy flavoured hummus as well; my personal favourite is sun dried tomato flavour.
  2. Frozen yoghurt covered fruit – this is such a cool way to eat some extra fruit and you can afford to pick at these all day long. Just get your favourite fruit, berries work best with this, and cover them in your chosen yoghurt flavour. Then put these into a freezer safe sandwich bag and pop them in the freezer till completely frozen, delicious!
  3. Flatbread crackers – these are lovely with cream cheese or your choice of different toppings, a brilliant alternative to bread!
  4. Roasted pumpkin or butternut squash seeds – these are definitely my go to snack in a time of need, they are gorgeous when roasted in the oven dusted with a few spices and some salt, why would you consider even throwing them away?! Plus they contain a lot of zinc, known for helping memory, and we need every ounce of help we can get at this time of year right?
  5. Popcorn – this is one of the healthiest snacks going even when it doesn’t feel like it, if you need to give into your sweet tooth cravings then go for the sweet cinema style popcorn, it’s sure to be a hit.
  6. Avocado – this is supposed to be a very good brain food as it enhances blood flow around the body, try it in salads or on crackers as mentioned before.
  7. Sugar – don’t completely cut out sugar, you still need it but in good forms. Try oranges and strawberries as an easy alternative and they will be sure to satisfy your craving.
  8. Sage – now this sounds like a very strange option doesn’t it? But try adding sage or sage oils to different meals as it’s been known to improve memory power.
  9. Broccoli – this is a great source of vitamin K which is great for cognitive brain function.
  10. Peanut butter – this may sound like an odd one but this really will help, nuts contain essential oils and count as a brain boosting snack, it works wonderfully in your porridge in the morning.