Hi from Prague!

Old Town

The view of Prague and the river Vltava from Letna Park

So I’ve finally arrived in Prague and I’m so happy to be here!

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Making the Most of Freshers in London

Zombie cocktails

So you’re moving to London to start university, you’ve made a great choice! London is the best city to go to university in in the UK. Why? Because we have everything bigger and better than the rest of the country. Ok, I’m being a little biased and big headed. But going to university in London is a lot different to going anywhere else in the country. Not necessarily in a bad way, but there’s something about London that makes it really weird to go to university in.

First of all, unlike any other large sized town or city, the university isn’t the only thing going for it. Mostly because we have about 40 different universities in one city. Hardly any of them are campus based. Meaning your whole uni life can be spread across the city. And unlike places like Sheffield or Warwick, people don’t just go to London for uni. People travel to London from all over the world for tourism, to work, to live, and they don’t immediately think: “university”. Time and time again I have heard Northern family members say: “Why didn’t you go to Manchester to study? Manchester is a student city.” What does that mean, “student city”? Because to me that means there’s nothing else to do except study.

That’s why in my first year I didn’t feel like London offered the real student experience, whatever that is. Whenever I spoke to my friends from school in the holidays who went to other places in the country to study, they always asked: “What is London like?” But I really wondered what it was like to not study there. (They have this thing called “carnage”. What the hell is that?) To me, their uni experience sounded like living in a tiny village. Everyone you met was a student and when you went to the shops, everyone was a student. The only people you met in clubs were other students and when you met a local, they hated you because you were a student. And during uni holidays, the place was like a ghost town. You were stuck having to live on rubbish food from chain restaurants like Nandos and drinking bad filter coffee from the student union because no one had heard of a ‘skinny latte’, let alone been into a Starbucks. Yeah ok, point made. But that’s what I first worried about when I was a fresher in London. I worried I wasn’t getting the “real deal”. Maybe I didn’t, but I think I got better.

Here’s some of my tips on how to make the most out of freshers in London, so you don’t feel too left out…..

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Keeping Happy and Healthy Whilst at University

I’m not sure this apple will make my reading go any quicker… maybe I need some chocolate instead.

University is a great time of your life, but with such a limited budget and time away from your degree to spare, it might also mean that you end up forgetting healthy eating and exercise.

In my first year of university I didn’t really care about either. I was just focused on grades/having a social life. (And I guess with a blog mostly about eating cake and burgers, I’m not exactly that bothered now!) I am of the mindset that as long as you are happy with your body and you feel healthy, then you are absolutely fine and don’t need to change a thing. However, it’s not just about the outside, but also about how you feel psychologically. Nowadays many students suffer from depression and other mental health disorders at some point in their academic career (about 1 in 4 UK adults are diagnosed with a mental health issue in any one year), and that number is increased when living with the day to day pressures of a big city like London. Thus, making a few adjustments to your lifestyle may make you feel a lot better. Here’s some of my tips on how to stay healthy/happy whilst at university:

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Coffee at Hurwundeki

The garage exterior of Hurwundeki

Cafe and a salon

Hurwundeki, a cafe in Bethnal Green, instantly sparked my curiosity when wandering around the area. Surprisingly situated between car repair garages and discount furniture outlets, the cafe is like a hidden gem in an otherwise lifeless road.

Just like its mixed-matched location, the cafe also sells vintage clothing, is part hair salon, specialises in Korean food, and has an array of what looks like a children’s junkyard playground outside, complete with toy horses and a Cinderella inspired pumpkin coach.

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Fast Food With a Difference: The Effortlessly Cool MEATmarket

Image from @MeatMarketUK

This weekend I was lucky enough to go to a secret preview of the soon to be opening MEATmarket in Covent Garden. From the owners of my favourite, the popular MEATliquor, the restaurant is set to open in May.

In what used to be a Chinese restaurant, the relatively small space overlooks the Covent Garden Jubilee Market Hall where baffled tourists loom below picking up their glass bottle ornaments and overpriced London souvenirs.

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Meat Liquor – A Vegetarian’s Dirty Secret

I’m late to the blogging party on two accounts. Firstly ok, I’ve been busy “reading” during reading week. And by “reading” I mean catching up on sleep and watching too much of Sun, Sea and Suspicious Parents on BBC3. (I seriously regret not going on a “lad’s holiday” to Ayia Napa now.)

Secondly, I am so late to finally recommend one of my favourite new restaurants in London: the infamous Meat Liquor that has a 2 hour queue every night after 6pm. (Yes, seriously, 2 hours at 6pm.)

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Meeting Washed Out: Late Nights and Early Lectures, Library Hell and Too Much Red Bull

 

Washed Out, aka 28 year old Ernest Greene, is an American synth-pop musician who plays music that has been defined in the genre of chillwave. Having just finished a four-month tour, Washed Out played his last show at the notorious gay nightclub, Heaven in Charing Cross. After playing an hour set comprising mostly of songs from his debut album Within and Without, as well as a surprising choice of cover song, Wicked Game by Chris Isaak, I chatted to a worn out Washed Out at 11:55pm about his tour, his new music and his university life.

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Let’s Go Ice Skating!

Image from benefit cosmetics blog

It was the last week of term, I’d just finished writing one of my last essays and I was bored out of my mind and definitely not in the Christmas spirit. After some quick googling I noticed that the Natural History Museum ice-rink had cheap student prices all day Monday-Tuesday. It was a Tuesday, so of course I wanted to go. I got there for the last session of the day, a 50-minute skate at 9pm. Continue reading

Tapped & Packed – Simple Coffee Without the Logos

Images from Everyday Lifestyle

Tapped & Packed is a chain of coffee houses in Fitzrovia, on Tottenham Court Road and on Rathbone Place. They believe in good coffee and simplicity of design, which is why you could easily walk past this coffee house on Tottenham Court Road without really knowing what it is. The only signs are the one above the door, a bike that says “coffee”, and the number on the shop. In fact, I only found out the name of the coffee house myself through a friend!

A short walk for Bloomsbury based students, Tapped & Packed serve the usual types of coffee: latte, mocha and flat white, but they also serve affogato which is vanilla ice cream with a double shot of espresso. They also make various tasty looking homemade cakes, including a very risen looking victoria sponge today!

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