What about 2021?

Last year I made a list of New Year’s Resolutions or goals as I like to call them. I think resolutions are things we make, that aren’t achievable and we don’t achieve. Whereas goals are things we know we can achieve or we aim to, and let’s face it resolutions are more like a wish list whereas goals are a shopping list. 2020 has been a difficult year and it is totally okay if you didn’t learn to make sourdough bread or play an instrument or go to every one of Joe Wick’s PE lessons. If you were like me and your goal was to survive and try not to think of what you would have been doing. Moving into 2021, I thought I would throw together some ideas of goals for 2021.

Reduce the pressure

If 2020 has taught us anything, there is so much more to life and work than constantly feeling the pressure. So if there is something in your life that puts you under pressure and you aren’t okay with it. Change it, make a plan to change it or fund something that balances out the stress in your life.

Do something you love

Make time for you. Is there something you particularly enjoy? If you like watching films, going for walks, exploring new places, cooking, crafting, dressmaking, reading books, knitting or crocheting. Make time for it. I love reading and writing but never seem to have time for it.

Try or learn something new

Maybe we did this in 2020, maybe we didn’t. Either way, everyone should aim to do this. Reaching outside of our comfort zones is always beneficial to our own self-development. If there is something specific you want to try or learn to write it down. If not, try and look something up or leave it to fill in.

Physical, mental health and wellbeing

Let’s not lose the awareness we have around our own health and well being. Set yourself goals, but make sure they are healthy. Choose lifestyle changes over fad diets. These aren’t long term and no one wants to be counting calories all their lives. Maybe try introducing more plant-based meals into your diet, eating healthier breakfasts, take up a form of exercise or work on your mental health.

Normal life goals

Why not set somethings that are normal? Make a go on holiday goal, or finish your second year at uni. These might not seem like ‘real’ resolutions but if there are events that you plan to do in the next year, make then your goals now. It feels really rewarding when you get to the end of the year and can cross them off or can see how your direction in life has changed where you are going. One year I set the goal to audition to be a Disney Princess, I actually ended up applying for university, doing an access course and becoming deputy room leader in the preschool where I worked.

Stay in touch with others

Stay in touch with others, see the people we care about and maybe take time to think about any toxic relationships you may have in your life. Toxic relationships aren’t necessarily boyfriends or partners, they could be friends, co-workers or family. Think about how you want to face these – talk to these people, distance yourself, manage your own feelings around these people better. Similarly, think about how you treat others. Are there people in your life who you take for granted? People you could treat better? Or maybe there is a part of your nature you are less fond of and want to be able to tone down something? An awareness of our own behaviour can make us much for mindful of others.

Finishing

I think most people have something in there life they haven’t finished. Maybe this year we can finish it. Name it, make and plan for it and do it. Even if its something like, ‘finish paying off my car’, put it on your list.

Mastering a skill

Have you already started to do something and want to keep doing it? Put it as a goal. I started paddleboarding in the summer, and I want to go out more in the summer. I want to get better at it and go on trips around the coast.

Self-Improvement 

I wanted to include self-improvement because it often crops up on many New Years resolution lists. If you want to put these on your list make them possible and positive. This should not be tied to your own self-worth. We are all amazing people. You are an amazing person as you are. So if you decided to improve yourself, make sure the ultimate goal isn’t ‘more self-confidence’ as no amount of self-confidence comes from improvement. It comes from much deeper inside, it comes from our own sense of self-worth. Losing weight or having hair extensions or pretty nails is not going to improve our self-worth, only we can do that ourselves.

There are so many things we can put on our lists. So many. But please make sure they are positive and positive. Being able to look over these through the year, you should be able to see yourself achieving them. Best of luck and happy new year!

Love Bet x

Looking Back: 2020

It’s been one hell of a year. We’ve had the good, the bad and the ugly. So much has happened in the last year, in fact, it feels like so much longer than just a year. I want to take a moment to look back on what has happened in 2020.

Australian Fires

January. It seems like ages ago we were watching this tragedy unfold on the other side of the world. Scientists worried entire species of animals may become extinct.

Be Kind – Caroline Flack

Caroline Flack

February. Caroline Flack took her own life. Be Kind t-shirts sold out in minutes. Bringing up more questions around the treatment of stars by the media.

COVID-19

March. The UK faces its first lockdown. The beginning of a very different year, but I’m not going to say much about COVID. I mean haven’t we already enough about it already? It’s also not likely to be an event we are going to forget.

Disney Plus

March. Thankfully as lockdown came, Disney enabled us to revisit our childhood and binge watch on so many movies! And introduced several new TV series to us – I needed Agent Carter in my life!

Black Lives Matter

(Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)

May. We watched George Floyd die in Minneapolis. Protests, riots and statues were pulled down. It began a worldwide discussion around equality and companies began making changes. I don’t know how much things have changed for the Black community but the movement continues.

Chadwick Boseman

August. Chadwick Boseman passed. An amazing actor who made Black Panther one of the best Marvel films to date.

Vegan Sausages can be called sausages

Photo by Deryn Macey on Unsplash

October. The EU let us call vegan sausages and burgers, just that: vegan sausages and burgers! Thanks guys for not overcomplicating things.

Trump vs Biden

In November, we waited to see how America would vote. Biden won. Trump accused voting fraud and counting mistakes of making him lose. For a while, it looked like he would refuse to leave the White House, but it looks like he might leave of his own accord.

UK Approves Vaccines

The beginning of December started with some good news. The beginning of a very long road but a light at the end of the tunnel. The hope that in the future more of our normal lives with resume. We also began watching the first few people get vaccinated.

Brexit

December. The UK finally made a deal with the EU. Just in time for the deadline. Nothing like the last minute!

Having come to the end of my list of 2020, I’ve realised there aren’t as many positive things as I had hoped!

Love Bet x

Budgeting at Uni

You’re at uni, you have a student overdraft and your student finance comes in and you feel rich. How can you possible burn your way through this money so quickly? You pay your rent, buy food, alcohol, a trip out and the odd takeaway…and suddenly that huge pot of money looks significantly smaller and you are living off the cheapest food you can buy. Hoorah for pot noodles, baked beans and that sliced bread your mum made you freeze. To avoid this, there are a few easy ways for you to budget, which will make your student finance go further and will keep you eating real food all term.

First, ask yourself this questions:

What money do you actually get?

Do you get a maintanance loan? Do you get any other grants or funding from the government? Will your parents be sending you any money whilst you are away? Do you get any income from a job?

How much money do you have to spend?

How much is your accommodation? Phone contract? Subscription services (netflix, amazon prime, apple music, etc.)? Do you have a car you need to pay insurance or fuel for? Do you have a car loan or credit card payments you need to make?

Second, create a budget sheet

Make a budget sheet which will work for you or use the one I have made. This is alsomost identical to the one I use. All the formulae is written in, simply add in your numbers and it will add it all up for you. There are notes on some individual cells to help you fill it in. This will help you calculate a weekly amount you have left, after putting aside money for essentials (like rent) and subscriptions (like netflix). The weekly amount is how much you have to spend on food, drinks and anythign else.

Finally, do you have a job?

If you have a job or are planning to get a job, that’s great you’ll appreciate the extra income. I don’t include my additional income from my job into my budget as it varies so much depending on the number of hours I work. Instead, any additional money I make I either spend or put into my savings.

Love Bet x

Last Minute Things To Do Before Uni…

So if you are anything like me you are counting down the days until you get to move into (or back into) your accommodation. With just over 2 weeks until the moving in process starts for most universities, I thought what better time than to write a list – well, a list of last-minute things to do and check before you go.

Check you have everything you need

Look at somewhat to take to uni checklists (a link to mine is here) and see if there is anything you have missed. I also suggest wandering around your house to see if there is anything you use all the time that you are going to want!

The last few things…

You’ve brought almost everything, except for those last few things which are actually quite important. Get those, don’t wait until the day before or the day of moving because it might be sold out as hundreds of other students will have done the something. I know when I started uni, there was literally nothing left in the Tesco Extra home section, all the bedding, utensils and pans were sold out. Or if you know you can live without it, order it to be delivered a few days after you get to uni.

Make a Budget

By now you know everything you need to make a budget sheet. I use an excel sheet to create a budget but then, I love a good spreadsheet! I’m actually going to write a short post on budgeting at university soon, with a budget sheet for you to download, so stay tuned. If you are struggling with this ask a parent, carer, friend or experienced other to help you out.

Start Packing

If you have the space to do it, begin putting things to one side that you want to take with you. This will make it much easier to pack everything when it comes to the actual event. This is pretty easy for me this year as everything I own is either in storage or is coming to university with me.

Momentos …and plants

Okay, so maybe the plants part of this is solely for me. I always like to re-pot any plants that have outgrown their pot over the last year around this time. I also do any ‘gardening’ needed for my indoor plants. But other than that… get any photos, room decorations or other mementoes of home, family and friends made up and ready to use.

Wash your Laundry

If you aren’t lucky enough to have a washing machine in your flat or house, you will be dragging your laundry to who-knows-where to get it washed and chances are it will cost. It may not feel like much but other time it will add up. Make sure that all the clothing you want to take with you to uni is washed and dried ready to be packed. Also, get that dressing gown, any new sets of bedding (so it will still smell like home) and blankets in the wash so they are all clean for uni… then bring them home in the holidays to get washed again!

Friends and Family

Plan in time to see friends and family (of course adhering to appropriate social distancing rules etc.) before you go away. Although it’s not like you are never going to see your friends again, it is really nice to live going to uni having seen your friends who are always filling you with encouragement.

Anything I have forgotten? Drop it in the comments below!

Love Bet x

Stationery: What you actually need

Let’s talk stationary, you probably don’t need as much as you think you need. Now, don’t get me wrong I love stationary, nothing is better than new pens, pencils, highlighters paper and pretty folders but out of all things I brought for uni I used only a few things. So at university you are bombarded with so much information and it’s impossible to write it all down in time. So after trying to change to handwritten notes, I quickly moved to typing notes next to the lecture slides or annotating them on my iPad. I think pretty much everyone in my classes made notes using thier laptops or iPad.

What stationary did I use in lecture?

I always carried a notepad and pencil case in my bag, for when we needed to do transcription practice or for the occassional group work. My pencil case is really small, so I only carry the essentials: pens x 2, pencils x 2 and rubber, pencil sharpner and one highlighter. I then took my laptop, iPad and iPad pen.

Stationary essentials for organising your notes

I prefer to have all my notes filed in physical form, as it’s easier to find things when I’m revising or looking things up for seminiar tasks. I had a folder with dividers for each module, I never use polypockets because they cover up the divider tabs which is just annoying! Just don’t forget a hole punch! I had everything else except a hole punch, no idea how I lost it so had to order a new one from Amazon.

What stationary I used when studying or revising in my room?

I went with all manners of stationary, every colour and shade of highlighter, sellotape, hundreds of pencils, 2 packs of colouring pencils, hundreds of pens (enough though I proably only used 2), rubbers, pencil sharpners, colouring pens, sharpies, blue tack, pins, paper clips, post- its, extra pencil cases, rulers and everything else I’ve forgotten. I probably used everything at least once, but most of it I could have lived without. Going into my second year I will not be buying anymore stationary, I simply don’t need it.

My studying essentials included a set of coloured biros (helped my to break down topics when note taking with reading), a pencil, rubber sharpner and post its. I loved using post-its – I still them above my desk when I have assignments or exams coming up to remind. I would also use them for other things to remember like my student address…. Although take some sharpies! I used them all the time to write on things – like food I was freezing and the edges of my folders.

A list of all those essentials you need

  • Biros – (black, blue, coloured) x 1 pack
  • Pencils x 2
  • Sharpner
  • Rubber
  • Pencil Case
  • Highlighter x 4 (barely used mine tbh, more of a distraction)
  • Lined Notepad
  • Sharpie
  • Folders
  • Hole Punch
  • Sellotape (honestly, I used mine all the time for all sorts)
  • Printer & Paper (controversial but I used mine all the time, I printed off my notes after lectures)

So before you go stationary mad and you buy all manner of things. I would buy the essentials, go to uni, attend lectures and see what you actually need. If I had done that I wouldn’t have to dedicate an entire (overflowing) drawer in my room to stationary. Let me know what you think your stationery essentials are!

Love Bet x

Cheap things to do at uni with your flatmates…

Generally, when we think of uni students, we think of the party lifestyle, shopping, the societies and sometimes studying. But there are lots of other ways to have fun at university, which require little or no money. I’ve also tried to think of things that students can still do with the current Covid-19 restrictions (I’m writing this at the beginning of August).

Stream an event

As the restrictions continue it means that lots of events cannot happen in their normal form, but this does mean you can stream your favourite DJs or events. Get all your flat to dress up for the occasion, set up a bar, get some snacks and have a night out at home.

Card Games

There is no end of games you can play with normal playing cards. You can play Irish Snap, Rummy or Cheat, just look online for the rules and away you go. You can also play a number of drinking games with them too… but have a designated pack for that as they get sticky quickly. Other card games can be just as much fun such as Uno or Cards Against Humanity – although I would leave that until you know one another a bit better…

Explore the area

Not everything you do needs to be inside. If it’s a nice day go and explore, get to know the city you are studying in. You never know you might find some hidden gems only the locals know about!

Film Night

Find the biggest screen in your flat, install into you common area, get the snacks and drinks ready, turn up in snuggly PJs and cosy blankets ready to watch a film. Want to play a game whilst you watch, play movie bingo! Make your own or see what the internet has to offer!

Dinner Party

Feeling fancy or want to do something a bit more sophisticated? No problem. Divide the different components up (starter, main, dessert, drinks) and give each person or ‘team’ a different part to make. Shop together for all the ingredients and divide up the end cost. Dress up for the occasion.

Takeaway Night

This is probably the most expensive option on here, but if you all pitch in and share the cost it won’t be so bad. Choose something like Indian so you can have a wide range of dishes and set it up like buffet! Enjoy! Leftovers for breakfast on a first come first serve basis…

Gaming

If you own a Nintendo Wii or switch, Playstation or Xbox, bring it to uni. Not only for downtime but you can play with your flatmates. If you need a TV screen or extra controllers, check out Facebook Marketplace for some cheaper options.

Love Bet x

How to live cheaply as a student

Everyone knows when you are a student you need to be on the lookout for how to save money. In fact, the phrase “do you do student discount?” rolls of a student’s tongue as easily as “a double vodka and coke”. But other than searching for student discount everywhere you go, how else can a student save money?

Food Menu and a Shopping List

I always plan what I am going to eat every week, write down a menu and from that make a shopping list. Try to pick meals which are using up anything you already have and can be made cheaply in bulk. If you want to eat a more pricey meal, no problem, just make sure the rest of your meals are cheap to make.

Choose Your Shops Wisely

I always do the majority of my shopping in Lidl. On average my weekly shop for Lidl comes to £20 or less. The few things I couldn’t get, such as vegan ice cream, I would get at another Supermarket nearby.

Buy With Your Flatmates

This is always a tricky one because there might be people in your flat who are happy to use but not to buy themselves. But if you can, this will save you all money in the long term. In our house, my friends took turns buying the milk because neither one of them could finish a carton before it went out of date. Taking turns buying butter, jams, toilet roll, milk and other items like this could help you all save money in the long term.

Course Books

Don’t buy anything before you start unless you are told by a 2nd or 3rd year you really should. If you do buy something hold off until the beginning of term as then the other year groups might be trying to sell them and this will be much cheaper than buying them online. In my first year, there was only one book, we really needed to buy as we used it every week for the whole year. All the other books are easily accessible from the library either as a physical book or ebook.

Travelling

If you plan to travel home a lot and this means you need to get a coach or train get yourself a discount travel card. While the initial expenditure may feel high, over the year it will feel great when you are getting those tickets for a fraction of the cost.

Online Shopping

If this lockdown has taught us anything it is how easy it is to shop online. Just make sure you are watching your spending habits, which may only feel like a few pounds every few days, quickly adds up by the end of the month! I like to put things in my basket and then walk away before I buy anything to be absolutely sure I want it and I want to spend the money on it.
Hope these tips help you save some money, let me know if you think of any more which should be up here!

Love Bet x

Make your uni room yours!

I spent hours before starting unviersity on Pinterest looking at different ideas for decorating my room. It is so important for your room at uni to feel like home and be somewhere you want to spend time. So it’s time to make your generic room into a homely room that suits you. Here are the best ideas me and Pinterest have to offer…

Choose a colour scheme

You don’t need to go mad and buy everything in the same colour. As uni rooms are small, you don’t want to have crazy, bright colours all over the spectrum which are going to it harder to relax, so when you are picking out things for room choose colours that are similar or compliment each other. I choose blue, mainly because I was bringing the bedding sets and blanket I already had at home. To compliment this I covered a set of stationary drawers in sparkley pink and blue, my folders were also pink and blue, and other accessories, such as pen pots, around my room are white.

Air Freshener

I have a reed diffuser. Although this isn’t technically a decoration but trust me – having a nice smelling room makes all the difference – no one wants a room that smells like socks and last nights pizza…. Splash out for one with a really nice pot the first time and then buy the cheaper fragencesin the future.

Fairy Lights

Not ground breaking but seriously get some. Uni accommodation lights are often too bright and harsh, fairy lights provide a softer light – great for movie nights, relaxing and those days when you are hungover and the main lights are way too bright! I used mine all the time. I had them all over one side of my wall as well as along my shelves. You can never have enough fairy lights… Use command hooks to hang lights – don’t forget you need to stick the hooks to the wall and leave them for a few hours before hanging up your lights.

Photos

I didn’t take hundreds of photos with me but some people do and they wallpaper thier wardrobes and walls. Do take a few photos, they can be of friends, family, pets or places you love. This will help your room feel more like your room as oppose to a room with your stuff in it.

Poster, tapestry or bunting

Have something hanging on your wall. If it’s a small room (mine was tiny!), get bunting to hang above your window or around the edges of the ceiling. A bigger room? Put a tapestry or poster on a wall. Pick something you love that fits in with the colour scheme of your room. Remember hooks and vecro strips are your best friend!

Plants

I am obsessed with this pin! I love the idea of integrating my fairy lights with some greenery. Plants indoor the spaces are suggested to improve wellbeing and productivity (check a article out here) so get a few for your room. I recommend Peace Lillies, they like to be kept out of direct sunlight (so don’t mind darker corners) and like to be watered regularly. If you forget to water your plants get yourself some Succulents, which need less watering. Still can’t keep them alive? Just get some fake ones!

Workable Desk Space

You must build a desk space that works for you. Make sure you only have things that live there you actually need. I always keep a list of assigments that need to be completed on the wall in front of my desk, along with quick reference notes, I also stick post its notes up for reminders.

Have fun decorating your room and don’t forget you can always buy things whilst at uni. Over the course of the year you will accumulate things – I ended up bringing home Halloween, Christmas and Birthday decorations.

Good luck!

Love Bet x

Moving Day Tips

You have chosen your university, confirmed your place and brought everything you need. Now you are the point where you and your parents are trying to cram anything in your cars. I took both my car and my parent’s car, they weren’t full but they weren’t particularly well packed. So here the things I learnt from my moving day.

Bring a bag with all the things you will need immediately.

Have a bag with you and fill it with the essential you’ll need to hand. You might need to bring some ID, a drink (unpacking is thirsty work), snacks and any other documents your university will need when you go to collect your keys. You don’t want to be unpacking your car in the car park so you can find your ID, the repacking it so you can drive closer to your accommodation.

Pack ‘rooms’ together

Have all your kitchen stuff in the same things, your bathroom-related items together, bedding and room decorations and your studying items together. This will make it so much easy to unpack. Nothing is worse than finding spoons in with your bedding after you have already organised your kitchen!

Put everything in bags or boxes

Most universities give you a time slot to unload your belongings. If its already in boxes and bags you can grab it and carry it up – you don’t want to be that person frantically stuffing bags and running to and fro with armfuls of things.

It will probably look like too much stuff.

When you finally bring it all into your room, it will probably look like too much stuff – and as a first-year, you have probably packed more than you need anyway. Don’t panic, start unpacking things. I started with my clothes because it was the easiest thing to unpack. Bring some of those collapsible drawer dividers so you can divide up those larger drawers and keep your room tidy.

Ask your parents to take (and store) packing boxes and bags home.

Your uni room probably isn’t that big and even if you have some space you will accumulate more things over the year. Ask your parents to take home any boxes, bags or packing containers that you are aren’t using. Make sure you keep them because you’ll need them when you move out and back in another three or four times!

You will forget something – it’s not biggie

I can’t remember what I forgot but I forgot something. Everyone forgets something, it’s not a big deal so don’t stress about it. No matter what you forget, you can probably buy a new one or your parents can post it, bring it to you or you can pop home to collect it in a few weeks.

Love Bet x

University: Easy Vegan Meals

At uni, I need to easy to cook, cheap food but I also want food that is healthy and vegan. I often cook in bulk and freeze the rest, meaning most the time I pull something out the freezer. By cooking meals in bulk it means I am only cooking a few times a week as opposed to daily – it is also much cheaper than buying convenience food, ordering in or cooking daily. (Pictures are not accurate – replacing them as I cook)

Jacket Potatoes

Chuck a potato in the oven or the microwave, until cooked all the way through. Add butter and serve with salad (lettuce, cucumber, tomato, etc.) Toppings – baked beans, vegan cashew ricotta (follow the link), vegan grated cheese (shop brought)

Pasta

Another cheapest and easiest thing to eat to cook. Cook any pasta for about 20 minutes and mix with a sauce. Sauces – red or green pesto, tomato sauce (make your own or buy it ready-made). Personally, I like to a pasta bake (link to recipe here) and freeze the rest. If you are especially hungry serve with salad or a few pieces of garlic bread. 

Peanut Butter Tofu Noodles

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

This can make 5 portions, freeze four portions. This is super easy to make and delicious. It’s one of my favourites. Find the recipe here.

Crispy Veggie Taquitos

Crispy Veggie Taquitos – Best of Vegan *accurate photo

I recently found this recipe, they are delicious. Follow the link here to BestofVegan. Cook yourself two or three (they are very filling), make up the rest and freeze them for another day. They are really easy to make, for the cheese I use the vegan ricotta cheese.

Pizza & Chips

Photo by Aurélien Lemasson-Théobald on Unsplash

Chuck in the freezer for when you can’t be bothered to cook.
Pizza – buy (I like the vegan Goodfellas ones) or make your own using pitta bread as the base, add your own toppings and vegan cheese.
Chips – buy or make your own chunky chips, flavour with salt, pepper and rosemary.

Sausage Hotpot & Mustard Mash

This is a family favourite and definitely one of my favourites. I make the sausage hotpot, freeze the spare portions and make the mash on the day, Serve it with some mixed veg – I keep a bag in the freezer. Find the recipe here.

Love Bet x