University: Where To Pick Up Essentials

I’ll do an updated “what to buy for university” post ASAP, but for now I’ve got a handy guide of where to shop. I have no doubts that most of you heading off to university in the next couple of weeks are on a tight budget, and I’d like to think that myself heading into final year (gulp) means I’m reasonably well-qualified to help out.

 photo 2014-09-03 18.21.39_zpsmdzfytc1.jpgI’ve just sorted through all my university stuff (virtually a whole garage worth!) and that’s part of the reason I wanted to write this post – it turns out that pretty much all my stuff has survived throughout the years, and is fine to use for my fourth and final year. I did splurge on a few items, I did spend a little more than others (though thanks for Tesco vouchers it didn’t cost a huge amount of money), but I can honestly say I’ve spent less over the years than a lot of my friends. I haven’t had to buy new pans, my knives are still sharp, my towels are still soft. The only reason I’ve bought new bedding this year is because I fancied a change!
 photo 2014-09-03 18.24.15_zpstxyjfd1h.jpg photo c6e78378-e362-46a6-8043-aa5305b61007_zpsii6vumdw.jpg

Kitchen Stuff

The majority of my bits were from Aldi (I wish my dad had waited until I was there to pick them up though, I would SO prefer matching colours…). At only £X per item, it’s cheap and cheerful, but not particularly bad quality. I would, however, avoid the potato mashed and can opener. The can opener blade blunted very quickly. And the potato masher? Well…let’s just say it bent and became unusable at first mash. (Sidenote: best potato masher I’ve fund so far has been from Matalan!).

As an added disclaimer, I was gifted some bits from Aldi for the purpose of this post, however the kitchen utensils are all my own, bought pre-university in 2012. Their one-egg frying pan* is seriously the cutest, I can’t wait to make some perfectly round pancakes! I am also super impressed with their tea towels* too – soft but still able to actually dry (anyone else find cheap tea towels just spread wet around plates/dishes?!

But saucepans, I went a little more spendy and I really don’t regret it. They’ve all had heavy use for the last three years and yes, they are a little scratched, but they are still non-stick, still perfectly useable. I actually went to Home Sense for mine, a home-only version of TK Maxx, and I think we paid around £20 for three pans and a wok. My roasting tins I’ve picked up from Wilkos, no complaints there. Likewise with my plates, bowls etc – mainly from Wilkos, though I have a few of those ‘free’ Mexican bowls through McCain Wedges! My mugs were all gifts, but I do adore Cath Kidston ones!

I also have some expensive baking dishes, all from Le Creuset. So yes, pricey, and I wouldn’t say they are worth the money for students. However I picked up my first for around £5 in Homesense and it started an obsession – so there’s always a few bits on my birthday/Christmas lists! It’s just so non-stick, so easy to clean, and prettyyyy….

Finally, knives. Again, it’s really, really not worth buying the cheapest possible. I picked mine up in Switzerland, the exchange rate was good but I think they are around £5-£9 each in the Victorinox shop in London. I’ve heard good things about the knives in Wilkos too.

Bedding

I’ve tried bedding from budget stores, splurged on more expensive sheets, and in all honesty there’s not much difference.

I would avoid Primark at all costs, after having an allergic reaction to their sheets (I still have marks on my legs 23 months on), but I’ve really enjoyed using bedding from both Tesco and ASDA. I’ve recently been trialing some from Aldi* too, which I’ve also got no complaints about!

I’ve used cushions and blankets from Homesense, BHS and Tesco, all of which have been fine. My splurge bedding has been from H&M, at £35 for a double bedding set it’s more than I’ve ever spent before, but it is excellent quality and has lasted well. It also has handy little ‘holes’ at the top to enable you to pull the duvet through nicely!
 photo 2015-05-31 15.30.43_zpsvvwochd2.jpg

Towels

An interesting one this. My boyfriend bought his from Jown Lewis, I got mine from Tesco. Three years on, his are slightly softer, but equally have had less ‘student’ use as he has lived at home for two years (student laundrettes aren’t the nicest on clothes!). As long as you buy relatively soft towels to begin with, washing with plenty of fabric conditioner will keep them soft.

That said, the flat we are currently in has provided towels. The labels imply a rather expensive brand, and they are glorious. SO unbelievably soft…
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Cleaning Products

I would always recommend having a stock of cleaning products and, a word of warning, supermarket basics brands aren’t that great. I’m a bit funny about cleaning products, I don’t believe that bleach is necessary to use in a home, and I prefer gentler, more natural solutions. That said I’ve recently been trialing some cleaning products from Astonish*. They aren’t natural, but they are gentler than bleach and cruelty-free. I’ve been particularly impressed with their grease lifter tablets – perfect for cleaning up roasting tins!

Home-y Trinkets

Not entirely necessary, but nice to have around. I’ve picked up a nice clock from Tesco, and photoframes are always easy to find cheaply. I love Wilko’s home range, though it has increased in price over the years, and larger Primark stores also have a good selection.
 photo 2015-08-16 11.02.09_zpshwaq9my0.jpg photo 2015-08-16 11.07.06_zpsrtqzvt5s.jpg

Stationery

I do love a bit of stationery. I’m far more of a practical user though, you’ll never find me picking up a pretty notebook in Paperchase. I recommend waiting until you start university before deciding on a note-taking system, but good places to shop are Wilkos (I promise they have had nothing to do with this post!), Rymans and Home Bargains.

I actually got sent a few bits from Home Bargains and loved the quality of it all – definitely worth having a browse in! I really like the academic diary* (£0.49 – amazing value!) and the calculator* (£0.79) – though do consider that if you are doing a mathematical degree you might be restricted to the types of calculator allowed!

So, definitely check out discount stores rather than the usual supermarkets, but don’t always rush to buy the cheapest bits – the cost of replacing them soon adds up! And remember to check out Aldi’s student special buys on Thurs 27th – they’ve even got a bit of a techy bargain for those looking for a mini laptop…

Where did you shop for your uni stuff? Where would you recommend and where would you avoid? I hope this has been helpful if you are off to university this year! 

University: Keeping Everything Safe

I’m a clumsy person. No idea why, but it clearly comes naturally to me.

 photo IMG_1312_zps3ea8ce05.jpgIn my first term of university I fell out of a taxi (coming home from work, completely sober), dropping my phone into a puddle. The phone developed a smashed screen, and was also very unpredictable. Luckily it was insured, and quickly replaced. In my second year, my boyfriend gifted me his old tablet. In the first fortnight of using it, it had an argument with the floor (to this day I don’t know how it feel off the table!). The floor won the argument. Unfortunately my tablet wasn’t insured, though I did replace it…and insure the replacement!

I’ve also known of multiple thefts from student accommodation. The most “amusing” being the back door left open, people came into the kitchen, blocked the inside door, and stole every bit of meat from the fridge and freezer. Others range from climbing through windows whilst residents popped to the loo and (my personal experience) post being opened by housemates and vouchers taken. A house three doors down last year left their (tiny, first floor) bathroom window open last Christmas…someone climbed in and cleared the place out.

 photo 752aab2f-38b8-48ec-b1a4-4ea766f2f691_zpsa76d96f2.jpgWith this in mind, student contents insurance is something I don’t hesitate to take out. Sure, it might seem expensive (mine’s about £125, but I do have a past claim), but it will be more expensive to replace all your belongings if something happens. I pay extra to insure whilst travelling, and to take electrical items such as my laptop outside of the house. This year much of my contents is insured on my landlady’s policy (I just rent her spareroom) so I’ve plumped for Gadget Insurance plus jewelry cover at a bargain price. I might not need to use it, but the security is there!

But physical security isn’t my only worry. I’m also clumsy when it comes to cyber-security. I’m sure we’ve all not saved work before, but I’m an expert at accidentally deleting everything permanently, at losing memory sticks, at corrupting family photos. I’ve loved using my Samsung Portable Hardrive* to back everything up, keeping files secure. It’s so huge it backs up my laptop, my sisters, and anyone else who wants to use some space. I’d definitely recommend one – I’m liking having as little saved on my laptop as possible too, as it really does run so much faster without all the photos!

 photo 53fcd68f-b6e9-4eb1-be9a-b1cb6b4ad364_zps6a9d1253.jpgDisclaimer: I was sent a selection of goodies, including the portable hardrive, by Insure2Go in exchange for a post about student security. All opinions are my own, as always, and no money exchanged hands. More the pity as I’d quite like my student loan in! 

What do you think about student insurance – worth it? Ever had a clumsy moment like me?

Student Summer: A Filofax for University

My first Filofax is one of my most treasured possessions, and I’m rarely without it. It was a gift from my parents for my A-level results, and I was so, so, so sure it was the one I wanted. Sure it was expensive at the time (around £50) but it’s definitely been worth it. Its not fallen apart like past diaries, and I actually want to use it. Plus I’ve had offers/emails to buy at at ridiculously high prices (I’m not selling) as it turns out it’s actually quite a rare organiser. Anyway, I thought I’d do an update on the system I’ve got set up for now – it’s working really well for keeping me organised whilst on my placement, and also worked well during my second year. Here we go…

 photo 2014-09-24175026_zps64eef189.jpgI’ve finally found a pen that fits in the pen loop of my Malden! I was sent this Pink Gold Parker pen a few months ago from Pen Heaven (see here) and I keep it in my filofax all of the time. Means I will always have a pen with me, though I do wish it was black ink.

 photo 4bce8a46-d4a7-4f15-91af-c4b1efccba35_zpsefa76f54.jpgOnto the inserts, and I’ve finally found my perfect combination for keeping myself organised. I was going to take photos of the system in action, but I’ve gotten rid of last year’s inserts, and my placement involves some confidential details. So blank pages it is! I use the standard mid-year diary from Filofax – a week to view. Sandwiched between this is an undated ‘day’ planner for each week. This gives me enough space to add daily appointments/meetings/lectures, important things, deadlines, to-do’s and notes. For university, I’d generally put my lectures into the standard diary, and all other important things into the planner.

 photo 13bb4b5a-0572-4b23-93d0-fc022f362a89_zpsdefa7e5f.jpgTo keep track of deadlines, payment dates and boyfriend visits I like using a fold out year planner, though monthly planners are also useful. My pretty dividers are from an Ebay seller – I can’t remember the name off the top of my head, but I do have her business card at home so will add it in soon. I also have inserts tracking finances and address of networking contacts, but obviously it’s not appropriate to post pictures of those on my blog!

I’ve found going simple with my Filofax is the key – I was using an undated planner for each day, but found that required a lot of work keeping it completely up to date. This way is much simpler, and it’s easier to keep track of the whole week too. I may get mocked by my friends for having a Filofax, my bag may be slightly heavier, but I find a paper diary so much easier to handle than typing into my phone. Plus technology always breaks on me – hence why my blog has been offline with a down server for the last few days (sorry guys!). Paper is the way I’m going from now on!

 photo 2014-09-24175015_zps1b3bd22c.jpgOh, a little note about Student Summer…with the sad end of summer, and the great reaction to the series, I’ll be continuing with University themed posts every weekend. Unsure yet whether it will be Student Saturdays or just University, but either way they will be sticking with the blog past summer now! So…

How do you stay organiser?

Student Summer: Freshers Discount at Hungry House

It’s been two years and twelve days since I moved to university. Now that was a stressful weekend – saying goodbye to my boyfriend, realising my stuff and us didn’t fit in the car (mum and sister ended up getting the train) and worrying about everything. Most Freshers this year seem to have started last week, so here’s a great deal to help celebrate surviving your first week.

 photo uk_140911_feedingfreshers_nl-3_zps01902254.jpgHungry House have a great selection of takeaways to choose from (Bombay Mela is on there – woo!) and this year all students with a valid university email address can take advantage of a pretty tasty 25% off. Just head over to their Student Portal, enter a few details and there will be 25% off for you until 5 October. Who knows, maybe there will be more student offers in the future too – definitely worth signing up in case!

Hungry House have also created a great guide to popular Student Takeaways, so if you’re in a major city it might be worth a look – a new favourite to be found perhaps? Either way, I know I’ll be signing up, and whilst I maybe won’t be taking advantage of the student discount (I’m currently suffering from Freshers Flu despite not being at university!) I know I’ll be bookmarking the site for future use.

Disclaimer: I will be receiving a Hungry House voucher for the post, but all opinions are my own.

What’s your favourite takeaway? Indian? Chinese? Pizza? Craving a curry right now…

Student Summer: University & What I Worried About

I’m struggling to believe it’s been nearly two whole years since I started university…the time really has flown by. I thought I’d continue my student summer series by talking about what really worried me before starting university.

This time two years ago, I was focussed on one thing, and one thing only; results day. I don’t mind exams, but I always think I’ve done worse than I really have; I was terrified I wouldn’t get in. I didn’t (and still don’t) have a backup plan – I want to be an actuary, and that’s it! I needn’t have worried as I ended up with a rather respectable A*AAAa, although I do admit to being a teeny bit disappointed! Once I had my place confirmed, the real worries kicked in…

My biggest worry was that of leaving my boyfriend behind. You can see my tips for a long distance relationship on a post a few weeks back, and I am planning on writing one more specifically for students. Thinking back two years, I was terrified to jump into long-distance. I was a phone-call away from changing university to one closer, I got more tearful the closer term became and we had some pretty meaningful conversations in those weeks. My worries ranged from him finding someone better, to just not being able to cope…all of which were unfounded! I can’t say it’s easy, but without a doubt it’s worth it!

 photo 2014-05-09174211_zpsa014bdc0.jpgAcademically I worried I wasn’t going to be good enough. I had a bit of a nightmare in my last maths exam at A-Level – something inside me panicked, and I spent the whole time in tears. I knew the material inside out, but I barely answered any questions. Pretty sure I cried for days afterwards – I felt like I’d let myself down! I still feel that way about that exam; it was significantly lower than everything else and lost me the A* I was virtually guaranteed. It also knocked my confidence completely, and I certainly didn’t think I’d be okay with the course! If I couldn’t ‘do’ A-Level maths, degree level would certainly be out of my reach! To be honest this feeling didn’t disappear for a good few months, and I do still have wobbles. Just remember they wouldn’t have accepted you on the course if you weren’t good enough!

I worried about leaving home – I have a great relationship with both my parents and little sister, and I knew I’d miss them. I did miss them, and still do, but I actually found leaving home easier than I expected. I think it helped that I had nice rooms; even if my housemates weren’t perfect in first year I still had somewhere nice to hide away! Skype is a godsend, although I’ve never actually Skyped my family successfully. Instead I talk to them on the phone, regularly, for a good while. Something I really recommend is ringing if you are walking to/from lectures on your own, makes you feel less lonely!

I worried about feeding myself – I was a good cook, but I was worried about the kitchen, whether I’d be too tired etc…all unfounded worries really when you read back over my blog! Best advice I have is to practise over summer, do a big shop (with parents’ money!) when you move in, and stick to simple recipes.

 photo 2013-11-20155825_zps0db604f4.jpgMoney was a huge worry for me. I’m one of the awkward people whose parents earn enough to get me minimum loan, but not enough to hugely help me out. They do the absolute best they can, and I’m hugely grateful for everything they do – but I can’t lie and say it’s been easy. There’s been times (start of first year, finding a place for second year) when I have had to really beg and borrow funds as I literally didn’t have the overdraft or credit limit to cover it. The upshot? I’ve become damn good at budgeting, cheap meals rock, and I have saving installed on the brain for my placement year. To my parents – thank you for going without when I’ve really needed help!

I worried about not drinking. I’m not a huge fan of alcohol; it doesn’t mix with my body well and I actually feel quite ill when I drink it. Don’t get me wrong, an occasional cider or cocktail is something I will go for, but its rare. I have to admit this has been the most difficult part for me, as a lot of people are really rude and judgemental about my attitude to drinking. Even friends who claim not to be actually really upset me occasionally – but I’ve learnt to live with it, and I now feel happier as I’m not conforming to peer pressure. I even played drinking games with a cup of tea…

 photo 2014-07-08105917_zps6e2cc3e9.jpgAnd finally? I worried about fitting in. I’ve found it hard to make friends quickly since a child; generally when I do become friends with someone it’s for life, but that bond takes a while. I was actually really lucky in that I met some amazing people on my first night – I lived with two of them in my second year, and miss them immensely during holidays. I met my third housemate in the very first lecture, and again she’s one of my closest friends – I was so lucky to meet them all so quickly. In fact, the people I met in the first week are the people I still spend most of my time with. I recommend using facebook groups to find people on your course or in your accommodation – that’s actually how I found most of my friends!

 photo 2014-01-20161529_zps30f7be06.jpgWorrying about it is a natural part of any change – and starting university is a massive, massive change. But I can virtually guarantee you that everyone else will have similar feelings, and someone will have gone through the same.

What were/are your biggest worries about starting university?

Blogger Link Up: Coping With University Timetables

I know when I first started university I really struggled with keeping up with my timetable each week – it changed! I generally had very few changes, but even those threw me and until I got myself organised I quite often found myself rubbing shoulders in a History lecture (for those that don’t know, I study Maths…). I wish I’d had this post by Loretta from The University Project to help organise me! I hope its helpful for you:

 photo photo29_zps48e7fbaa.jpgAt sixth form my timetable varied on a fortnightly basis as in I had a Week A and a Week B but when I got to University I thought that I would end up with a nice weekly timetable as some of my friends had. Boy was I wrong my timetable is different from one week to the next and some weeks I can have just 4 hours of lectures whereas the next I can have up to 30 hours. This made developing a routine very difficult and it was something that I really struggled with during my first year at University but I feel like I got the hang of it much better in my second year.

I don’t know if it is the same for all Universities but I generally have about 2-4 weeks to complete most of my assignments and generally I know when all of my midterm exams are at the start of the semester. I often find myself tempted to put off doing work until the next week but my timetable means that sometimes this is the best option if say the following week I have a low hour week and will have a good day or so to focus solidly on my work. However if the week of the deadline is a high hour week then putting off my assignments to this week generally leads to high stress levels and me not completing my work to the best of my ability.

So here are my tips that I have come up with for combatting the demands of a varying timetable:

  1. Have a diary. I am an avid believer in having some form of organiser to keep me on track and I am very rarely seen without my Filofax but you don’t necessarily have to have a paper based diary and I have a lot of friends at University who swear by Google Calendar as you can still colour code events as well as having the option to get reminders sent directly to your inbox or smartphone so you never accidentally miss a deadline.
  2. Get into a routine. This is perhaps the most painful thing to develop and it took me a good month to get into my routine but even on days when I don’t have 9am lectures, or any lectures at all I still set my alarm for 7.30am and try to get up and ready as though I did have an early lecture to go to so that I start working early on in the day.
  3. Make the most of your Library. This might just be me and my lack of self-control but I find that I am much more likely to focus and do my work if I make the effort to go to the library rather than staying in my room all day where the draw of my bed and Netflix is often too tempting! On my low hour weeks I often have at least one day which is completely free and I try to spend this in the Library so I can either get a head start on next week if it is heavy hour week or play catch up if I have had a few heavy hour weeks in a row!

Like I said it took me most of first year to get into a good routine and even now I still have days where I am completely unproductive and end up making more work for myself in the long run but I am relieved that I have at least figured out what I need to do to stay on track before I have started third year which is worth a whopping 2/3 of my degree!

Thanks Loretta for this great post! I know I’ll be putting some of the tips to great use! Remember to check out her blog here.

Do you have a varying timetable? How do you manage it?

 

Blogger Link-Up: Managing Your Money At University

Another Saturday, another link-up post! I hope you are enjoying these? Anyway today we have Emily from Good Girl Gone Brum, who normally blogs about a whole host of topics – today she is talking all about money and university. I’ve found it a really helpful read, so I hope you will too! 

 photo IMAG0817_zps07bc9903.jpgMy mum bought me this purse from France. ‘I have more than a radish’ would be the opposite of ‘I don’t have a bean’ in English.

As a student, the world of loans, grants, rent and bills can feel like a bit of a minefield. Unlike having a job, your money comes in at irregular times in irregular amounts, making budgeting confusing and hard, especially if what is coming in won’t exactly leave you rolling in it.

There are however ways to manage our money and get the most out of the little we do have. So if you’re the type who dips into their overdraft a little too often, grab a pen and a notepad and use these tips to get in control of your cash.

Set up a student account and a savings account

  • Setting up two bank accounts will help you keep more control of your money, and now with internet banking it is super easy to swap money between them.
  • A savings account is useful for, er, saving – but it’s also good for unexpected expenses, like a friends birthday or having to replace the toaster.

Know what’s coming in and how long it will last

  • Student finance money should go into your account at the start of each term. Know how much this is going to be; if you’ve lost the original letter you can log in online.
  • Next, know how much your rent and bills will cost you until your next instalment. Put this amount aside mentally by writing it down –  don’t touch this money, treat it as if it’s not yours.
  • After you’ve taken this money away, a lot of us are left with very little. If you have a part time job, write down the realistic amount you expect to earn until the next instalment of student finance and add this on to the money that you have left to spend. More often that not, students have no other option than to rely on their parents to tide them over. The most important thing to do in this case is to make sure this money is planned. Work out with your folks how much you realistically need each month, and set up a direct debit – that way you can budget and you won’t need to call them again asking for more money towards the end of the term.

Make a weekly budget

  • You can do this by adding up all the money you will be getting, minus rent and bills, and dividing the total by the number of weeks between each instalment.
  • Once you’ve got this figure you can work out if it’s realistic – if it’s only £30 a week you might need to either find a job or get more support from your parents, but usually between £50 – £70 is a good amount, depending on how tight you’re prepared to be.
  • You don’t need to assign the money to what it will be spent on down to the last pound, but it’s a good to have a rough idea of how much you spend on your food shops, how much you need for a night out, how much it costs to do your washing if you use a laundrette and if you need to spend money on travel to uni.

Keep an eye on your spending

  • Be aware of keeping to your budget. This is especially important if you pay for things on card as often the money doesn’t get taken from your account on the same day, and you might forget how much you’ve spent.
  • Each week, grab a brew and sit down with your internet banking account. If you’ve got money left over from your budget, even if it’s just a fiver, transfer it to your savings. You’ll be surprised how quickly it can build up if you transfer a little bit each week. Likewise, if you’ve overspent, transfer the amount you overspent by from your savings into your current account to make sure your budget still works for the remaining weeks.
  • Every now and then, do some sums to make sure you’re still on track until your next student finance chunk comes in. By having a check every now and then, you can notice if you’ve somehow overspent, before you get to the end of the term and realise you have to use your overdraft.

So good luck with your budgeting—it is boring, but it’s all part of moving into the big bad world of adulthood. Having a budget isn’t meant to stop you having a life – in fact having your money in control is the thing that will mean you can still afford to go to the end of term ball when everyone else has run out of student loan.

Thanks Emily for taking the time to contribute a guest post on my blog! Be sure to check out Good Girl Gone Brum, and remember I’m still looking for people to write posts, so if you are interested please email me at [email protected] with some ideas!

What’s your best money-saving tip?

Blogger Link-Up: Stationery for University

First of all I’d like to thank Chloe for allowing me to write a blog post for her amazing (& yummy blog – seriously the images always make me drool)..

My name is Sarah and I’m a 19 year old university student due to finish university in 2016! I blog over at EverydayConcepts about organisation, beauty, fashion and entertainment as well doing some giveaways so keep tuned!

Since I am really obsessed in love with anything related to organisation and stationery, I thought what could make a better post than where my passions lie?!

Before starting university, I went onto a massive stationery haul and purchased many things I didn’t even need. This caused me to waste a lot of money and just stare at the beautiful writing instruments and gorgeous notebooks I wouldn’t be needing. By the time second year started I sold nearly all of my items on ebay at discounted prices which was bad in terms of me losing money but good in terms of me allowing others to feed their passion and helping them get organised for cheaper!

However, I learnt my lesson. In year two, I stuck with a strict budget and only purchased items I needed:

 photo DiaryOrganiser_zps5969491d.jpg1) Diary/Organiser – This is a definite item all students should purchased. I’ve had a bit of a hassle finding out how to organise myself jumping from well known organisers to self-made diaries. Then, I popped into my local supermarket and found the diary of my dreams for only 70p!!! Advice: Always visit supermarkets first before hitting large stationery outlets.

 photo NotebookArchlever_zpsaf81c7ff.jpg2) Notebooks – I prefer good quality Oxford notebooks. I purchased two A4 ones to see if they lasted me a whole year and luckily they did! I LOVE the paper quality and how smoothly the pen writes on them!

 photo Writing_zpsf2cc1250.jpg3) Pens – Obviously a MUST (unless you use your IPad which I have seen many students use but I’d hate all my work to get lost in a dramatic technology fail!) I use Papermate inkjoys for note-making in my own time and frixion pens for rushy lectures and seminars because then at least I can rub wrong things out! I’ve not really used highlighters because I get carried away and highlight everything , so instead I use sticky notes which brings me onto my next point.

 photo StickyNotes_zps7b2415d1.jpg4) Sticky notes – These have saved me a lot of times. I am forever indebted to you sticky notes! During revision time, I use larger ones which I stick around my room. They are always popping out from my diary reminding me of deadlines and meetings. Finally, they always allow me to further cut down my notes into concise versions which are easier to remember – they are the reason for my success.

5) Arch Levers  – I have two arch levers – one with a copy of all my assignments and grades and another with all my notes. The one with my assignments and grades usually stays put until I print out everything however the one with notes sleeps under my bed! I update the notes throughout the year and collaborate notes from other modules together and develop them with further research. This helps greatly when it comes to revision.

On a final note, don’t splurge on stationery and stick to what you really need, unless of course you use your IPad (or other technology). It’s best to always see what sort of modules your degree entails – if it’s more chemistry/maths based, go overboard with the notebooks and pens! If it’s more hands on, only buy the essentials. As for me, I’m on intercalation for the following academic year, so it will be great to see what I discover however I won’t be able to indulge in stationery much! Also, for the 1st anniversary of my blog (29th July) I will be doing a HUGE stationery giveaway and fundraising for a charity so stay tuned!

Sarah 🙂

Massive thanks to Sarah for writing this post – I know I find organisation really important for university! I’ll definitely be entering her giveaway, and although I don’t want you to ruin my chances keep an eye on her blog here.

What’s your must-have bits of stationery?

The Leather Satchel Co – New Website & Discount

As you all know (from this post, this post, and possibly this one too!) I’m a huge fan of the Leather Satchel Co. I love my satchel (it’s a bespoke custom design), it gets lots of comments from people (including impressing on a recent interview), and it fits everything I need into it. It’s the perfect bag for me!

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The company my satchel came from are pretty much the original satchel makers (they’ve been about a LOT longer than the Cambridge Satchel Company), and they were absolutely delightful to deal with. They listened to everything I had to say, did virtually everything I wanted, and delivery was exceptionally quick (though they did email to warn me of what they felt was a delay). However, some things did go amiss. There was confusion about a small part of my order, and a mix-up of delivery addresses. I felt these problems stemmed from the fact that they didn’t really have a proper website, more an online display, and customers needed to email to order. It was a long-winded way of doing things, and to be perfectly honest I wasn’t the hugest fan of their system, nor their website design. But all that has changed!

They have this month launched a new website, and whilst it’s still the it’s tweaking stage I personally believe it’s a huge improvement! There’s a wider selection of photographs open, and you can buy a variety of standard satchels easily straight off the site – but you can still order your customised satchels too!

2013-06-17 15.17.58There’s also a much-improved care guide (though I’m curious as to the product photographed – I’m trying to find out more about that!), an excellent size guide, and the colour guide seems a lot more accurate now. I think my favourite part is the fact you can order standard satchels directly from the site now – I have my eye on these (a blue one, and a lovely brown one).

To top it all of for you, I have a unique discount code that is still valid, which entitles you to an amount off of your order. I don’t get paid any money for providing you with this discount, and all the opinions of the company are entirely my own but the code is unique to my blog/name so please don’t share it out anywhere else!

EDIT: due to my code being shared externally to this site it was removed by the company – understandably as it was being used excessively. I’m hoping to do more collaborations with The Leather Satchel Company in the future, so watch this space!

I genuinely do recommend this company – my bag is amazing and I’m sure others made by them will be too. For all of my readers wondering about longevity of the bag, a post will be up soon. But for now, go ahead, use my code and treat yourself!

What’s your favourite satchel? 

Also – Don’t forget to vote for me in the National UK Blog Awards 2014, in the following three categories; FoodLifestyle; and Young Persons (18-25) 

All Stars Guest Post: Cissy’s Interview Tips

Hi readers! I relatively recently signed up to be part of Philofaxy’s All Stars 2013 Team, and here is the first guest post on this blog. Written by Cissy of The Contemplative Belle, it’s a fabulous little guide  to interviews. Check out my CV writing tips on this post here, and of course have a look at Cissy’s wonderfully eclectic blog!

 

All the studying, the budgeting, sitting through lecture after lecture that you thought would never end and finally you are at the light at the end of the tunnel. Your dream has come true and your college education is complete, diploma in hand. What’s next?

The job search is the next step and by this time you have probably gotten a lot of advice about resumes and the CV. However, it seems no one has given you much advice on the actual interview and what to do and say once you are in the “hot seat” sitting across the desk from your desired employer.

There are a few critical points to remember. The first is to remember that you are there to interview for a specific position and need to remain focused on your skills and qualifications as related to that position. Your job in that interview is to convince the interviewer that you are the best person to fill that position and that you have growth potential. Too often interviewees spend too much time focusing on unrelated skills and fail to fully express their ability to fulfill the job duties in the position they are applying for. Stay focused on the mission at hand.

Another error interviewees often make is jumping directly into discussions regarding salary and benefits. There are two kinds of employees: money-takers and money-makers. If you jump into the money talk first you are likely to come across as a money-taker rather than a money-maker. Any discussions regarding money should be instigated by the hiring party. After all, you don’t even know if they are interested in hiring you yet. Your focus should be on convincing them they can’t live without you. Once you have done that the money conversation will be brought up.

Remember, the interviewer is a professional and it is their job to make you feel comfortable so that you disclose things you may not otherwise choose to disclose. The interviewer is NOT your friend. Build a good rapport but do not let them distract you away from discussing your skills and qualifications for the position and into confessing the irrelevant or disclosing personal details that may not place you in the most flattering light. Keep the conversation on the skills you bring to the table and what you can offer the employer. If you focus on your skills, as related to the job you are interviewing for, and demonstrate the traits of a money-maker you are sure to make a good impression when you hit that “hot seat”. 

 

And so that’s Cissy of The Contemplative Belle‘s interview tips. Have a look at all of the All Stars entries here.

 

Good luck for any of my job-hunting readers out there! Do you have any good tips to share?