Choosing the right university: A student’s guide

Choosing the right university: A student’s guide

So, you’re planning to go to university and the choice in front of you is both exciting and bewildering! The UK has over 150 universities and equivalent institutions to choose from, so you’ll need a strategic and planned approach to identifying the right provider for you.

A rolled diploma or document, tied with a red ribbon, over black background

Work out your priorities

Every student will have a unique set of priorities and it’s vital to work out your own, rather than listening to what other people are looking for. Here is a list of some key factors to consider:

What you want from the qualification itself

Some students want prestige and others want a flexible qualification that allows them to specialise in certain areas of interest. Other courses have an industrial placement built into them so that you can focus on employability. Some will offer overseas study. The main qualification-based considerations for students tend to be academic prestige, the flexibility and applicability of the course and the practical placement opportunities. Other students will be interested in the broader educational experience and will be looking for a course structure that most closely matches their personal interests, especially if they are learning for enjoyment, rather than to secure a postgraduate role.

How are your finances?

Students will also need to think about their finances and the implications of studying at different institutions. There will be different costs of tuition and varied costs of accommodation and living costs. For example, student accommodation in Huddersfield will naturally be less expensive than in London.

Do you have any existing links?

Some students also want to choose a university which is close to their home or in a familiar location. This can be important if they want to be close to family – perhaps if they plan to work at home for example, or if they plan to work part-time around their studies.

Are you looking for the rounded experience?

Don’t forget the importance of student experience too! Some universities are located perfectly for leisure, music, travel and entertainment and it’s worth factoring this into your final decision, especially if you have a good feeling about a place after visiting it!

Study concept closeup of an open laptop, with workbooks and notebooks and a fresh green apple

Disclaimer this is a collaboration post. #Ad

#OreoCookieQuest Challenge

For the #OreoCookieQuest with BritMums we decided to have an Escape Room Style treasure hunt. Treasure hunts are something we used to love doing when the boy was smaller. Clues on a scrap of paper and the prize was a map to the real treasure. The boy is loving the current craze for escape rooms, so I tasked him with setting up a room and clues, in escape room style.

It is easy to find some padlocks and boxes, we used Kilner jars and even a bicycle lock to hide keys. The boy used small paper notes to give clues as well as setting the story. He thought about the characters and Dad Dragon and I had to work out who had stolen the map to the hidden stash of Oreo’s! He set up the conservatory with all the clues carefully hidden. Each clue once found gave us a number. This opened a safe revealing another clue to the thief.

The boy did an escape room with scouts, and they had hidden keys in tomato soup! While we didn’t go this far the boy instead hid a key in a jar of water! . There were coins and money in locked boxes when added up they gave another numeric clue. Finally we had to narrow down the culprits. we decided that It was JimBob who had stolen the map! Luckily we were right and were rewarded with Our Oreo Prize.

The boy loved the #OreoCookieQuest challenge and we will be setting up escape room activities again as it was a fun way to spend a cold afternoon indoors. Why not set up your own Oreo Cookie Escape room and enjoy your own OreoQuest?

This post is an entry for BritMums #OreoCookieQuest, sponsored by Oreo.

 

 

 

Surviving in Halls of Residence

Surviving in Halls of Residence
When you go to university, it may be the first time you find yourself living with people who aren’t your family! It can be a big adjustment to make if you’re not used to it. There’s also the complicating factor that everyone else you’re living with is also likely getting used to living out of the family home for the first time – this can lead to stress, arguments, and washing up piling up in the sink.
Today we’re offering a few hints and tips that could help you survive a year in halls of residence before you get the chance to move out and chose your flatmates more discerningly.

De-Escalation
Even if you’re the most agreeable person in the world, there’s a chance you may get into some kind of dispute with one of your neighbours. It may be based on a reasonable grievance – like loud music played at night when you’re trying to sleep – or it may simply come from a clash of personalities.
The key to resolving disputes like this is to always de-escalate when you can. Going straight for the highest authority whatever the situation is a sure way to create more animosity!
Firstly, if there’s some reasonable adjustment you can make (like…actually doing your washing up), that’s a quick way to solve the situation and get back to normal. If the other person doesn’t leave you with anything reasonable you can do to solve the dispute (or at fault themselves and refuse to take reasonable steps) you can safely escalate to a higher authority. But rather than involve the university authorities, you could try to find a way to arbitrate the situation more informally. Many Halls have older students living in them to serve as mentors or Wardens, and they may well be able to help you find an accommodation that doesn’t burn any bridges behind you.
Of course if you feel you’re risk of physical harm, you should escalate to the situation to highest possible situation and make sure you’re doing everything to stay safe.

Storage
If you’re moving into halls from a big family home you might find you don’t have room for everything you’ve brought with you! Especially as you start accumulating mementos of your time at university and more books from your reading list.
It’s worth looking into resources like byStored student storage to find somewhere safe to store additional clutter. While it’s not a good long-term option, if you just need somewhere to keep a few things temporarily – perhaps during a move – you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing all your possessions are safe.

Disclaimer this post is a collaboration post #ad

Which one’s Santa? – Review

Which One’s Santa? is the newest 1,0000 piece Christmas puzzle from Ravensburger. This is the 21st Limited edition Christmas puzzle and is suited for ages 10+ RRP £12.99 and available online and toys store for a limited time.

It has been some time since I completed a puzzle and I was feeling a little out of practice. Which One’s Santa? is a great puzzle for all the family and the boy joined in. He does tend to protest but I think secretly he rather enjoys them. This is a lovely puzzle and the illustrative picture was lovely to complete.

I like this style of puzzle and always start with the edges. I like that my Puzzle handy fold away board has the outline for a standard 1,000 piece puzzle. There are not many large blocks of colour in the Which One’s Santa puzzle. I started with the red and found that the faces of the characters were also easy to pick out. This lead to the completion of the bottom half of the puzzle.

I found that the next part to complete was the windows of the houses and the roofs and finally the sky. Which One’s Santa? is a lovely puzzle full of bright colours and the illustration by Devon based artist Roy Trower brings the scene to life. There is plenty to look at and keep you interested. I especially love all the little hidden animals in the puzzles illustration.

Which One’s Santa is a great gift for a puzzle fan or simply something to enjoy completing as a family. I think this is my favourite Christmas scene puzzle and will be sharing it with family and friends.

Disclaimer: I was sent Which One’s Santa? in return for an honest review.

Space Saving Tips for Your Home this Christmas

With the influx of guests, gifts and decorations, the arrival of Christmas can cause cramped and busy conditions in your home. However, while the array of friendly faces and festive atmosphere might seem great to start with, it won’t be long before you start to get fed up of searching around trying to find the things you want and stumbling over stray toys, abandoned shoes and people’s feet!
Of course, space is always going to be tighter at Christmas than at any other time of year, but that’s just a part of the season’s unique charm. However, that doesn’t mean that you should sit back idly and accept your home being turned into a hotel-slash-storage-facility year after year. Instead, take matters into your own hands and commit to doing what you can to maximise space in your home and avoid that cramped feeling this Christmas.
To help you get started, here are some top tips and space-saving hacks to employ in your home this party season!

Food
Christmas is a time for indulgence and, often, overeating, as we snack on our favourite treats and gorge ourselves on a sumptuous feast come Christmas lunch. Couple this indulgence with the extra supplies needed for any guests, and it’s no surprise that our cupboards, fridges and freezers are full to bursting during December. Save space by storing only what needs to be kept cold in the fridge – everything else can be relegated to cupboards until it is needed. If you need to save money, too, you could also ask your guests to contribute towards Christmas dinner or Boxing Day tea. That way, everyone will be involved and you won’t have to find space in your already-full fridge!


Drink
Similarly, if you have a conservatory or garage, it can be a good idea to store drinks in these areas to free up some space in the kitchen. These areas are usually the coldest parts of the home in winter anyway, so chances are your drinks will stay cool and ready for drinking! However, if you’re after a longer term drinks storage solution, have you considered investing in a wine rack? Bespoke wine racks can be made to fit any space, allowing you to easily store your festive wine collection in style all year round.

Guests
Have you invited guests over? Will you have family staying with you during the festive season? If you are planning to host guests, it’s more important than ever to make sure that you’re well prepared for the influx of people in your home. Once you have confirmed numbers, the next step is to sort out sleeping arrangements. For older guests or those who would prefer not to slum it on the sofa, it may be worth investing in a sofa bed for a more comfortable option. Alternatively, airbeds are a great way to provide a quick and easy bed that can then be folded away and easily stored for the rest of the year.

space saving
Furniture
Do you have enough chairs for all of your guests? Is there enough free space to enable everyone to move around freely? Similarly, if your home is a little on the cramped side, it might be worth having a shuffle around and moving any unnecessary furniture to the attic or garage for the duration of the season.

Presents
Too many presents might seem like the ultimate first world problem, but if you have a large family, people staying over or just a small home, the question of storing all the gifts is an important one. Tuck smaller items away in stockings to save a little space, and once everything has been opened on Christmas morning, why not invest in a set of tubs or boxes for each member of the family to store all their gifts in? That way, everything can easily be moved around and it will all be kept together in one place.
Are you ready for the onset of the party season? The most wonderful time of year is fast approaching – make sure that it’s as wonderful as can be with these top storage ideas and space-saving hacks!

This is a sponsored post

Chilean Easy Peelers – Review

Chilean easy peelers are a great fun snack and one my whole family love. They remind me of dark winter evenings. I used to spend my weekends at my Nan’s curled up on the sofa with a little orange which she used to peel for me and watching the A team.

I started popping little oranges in my sons lunch box when he started Junior school. They soon became a sign of Autumn and a way to make him smile when he was having a hard week. I like to draw silly faces on a Chilean easy peeler. Something silly and easily done with a marker pen. It was guaranteed to make some funny comment at the end of the day. I think his favourites were always pumpkins or a Santa face!

Now I use these little Chilean easy peelers for after school. They are such a quick snack especially for a midweek car journey. In our house they always come with a square of kitchen roll for wrapping up the skin. I love that Chilean easy peelers are high in fibre, vitamin C and 87% water. The perfect way to stay hydrated, or as a great on the go pudding. The boy says I am swearing when I mention the F word (Fruit) but as a mum I know these little oranges are a much better alternative to chocolate and biscuits.

“This post is an entry for the BritMums #ChileanEasyPeelers Challenge, sponsored by Chilean Citrus Committee.

 

 

#TearsIntoSmiles with Elastoplast

The #TearsIntoSmiles campaign has challenged me to turn those tear filled moments into a happy ones.

I don’t think there is a household in the country that doesn’t have a selection of plasters. We have long been fond of the ones with fancy pictures, as somehow they seem to make things just a little bit better. I used to have to stock up in the USA on these fun additions to the medicine cabinet, with favourites like the lion king and winnie the pooh. Now there are lots to choose from and the Star wars ones are an instant hit.

When the boy has an accident I used to take on the strategy from his nursery which was to treat the wound with magic liquid (water) and then a big hug and a plaster. The boy was always ready to show off his Piglet or Eeyore. The boy loves to be outside, and his favourite at the moment is water pistol battles with his dad or friends. Bumps cuts and bruises are part of childhood and turning the #TearsIntoSmiles is a great way to make things better. I love the video from Elastoplast turning real tears into these miniature paintings.

Making sure that you get out and about in the fresh air is the best way for kids to learn about their surroundings and their limitations. The boy has had his fair share of bumps and scrapes. With a love of Fencing we now carry a first aid kit with us to every event. This kit will always contain a few plasters as well as cool packs and cream for bumps and bruises. I still use magic water, and you cant beat a big hug to make everything feel a little bit better.

This post is an entry for the BritMums #TearsintoSmiles Challenge, sponsored by Elastoplast.

 

Getting Dressed Up with JD Williams – review

With the long weekends, come the spring and summer weddings. I had a wedding of some good friends to look forward to. With nothing to wear, JD Williams came to my rescue. I live in Jeans and tunic tops and was not sure where to start. JD Williams have a great selection of dresses with items from occasion wear to everyday.

I was very hopeful that I would find something suitable for a spring wedding. I started with a few searches in the JD Williams online store and found I could narrow down my search by colour, size, style and even occasion. I had wanted a mid length flare dress and had a shortlist of about three. One stood out and despite it being a label I was not familiar with, it kept drawing my attention. JD Williams did have brands I had heard of, and plenty of choice.

The Nightingales dress that I ordered was perfect, and I chose to add the matching shawl as you never know with British weather. I love the cotton content, and the fit was very good. JD Williams also have a large range of shoes, and many come in extra width sizes. The first pair that I chose were too big. It seems that maybe my feet are shrinking. The second pair fitted like a glove and I have been very impressed with the fit, and style. I chose flats as there is so much standing to be done at a wedding, not to mention the dancing.

I love my Nightingales dress from JD Williams, and am looking forward to taking it on holiday later this month. I think the fit is superb, and great quality for the price. The shoes have been much admired and despite not breaking them in before my friends big day there was no rubbing. I can honestly say that I have been very impressed by my first online dress shopping experience. If I’m lucky enough to be invited to more weddings I know where I will be looking first.

Disclaimer I was sent these items in return for an honest review, the words are my own and have not been altered

 

#ShareTheLove of baking this Christmas

I love to #ShareTheLove of baking at Christmas with friends and family. Sometimes this is with a simple baked cookie, or gingerbread. I have made jam and cakes and even my own mincemeat. This year I wanted to get the boy involved and #ShareTheLove of baking and decided that I would dig out our old family favourite Christmas cake recipe.

Our family recipe for Christmas cake is from our neighbour from when I was very small. Aunty Ursula was the lady in the road that all the kids used to go to for cake and sweet treats. My mum made friends with Ursula not long after we moved to Sussex, and was a source of much of my mum’s baking knowledge. A few years ago I was given the piece of paper with Ursula’s Xmas cake recipe. The paper almost as memorable as the cake itself and since then I have vowed to recreate the cake of my family Christmases.

#sharethelove

Ursula’s cake is a lighter fruit cake, which can be baked right up until before Christmas as there is no need to feed the cake, unless you wanted too! I have also slightly altered the ingredients as me and the family don’t like mixed peel so I like to add chopped stem ginger into the mix. The recipe is also in pounds and oz. This is no problem weighing ingredients with digital scales but makes it interesting when trying to buy my ingredients.

I love the boy helping me in the kitchen as I remember helping my Nan who was the real baker of the family. It’s great to #ShareTheLove at Christmas even if the most I can get the boy doing is weighing the ingredients and having a wishing stir. Ok so he also enjoyed licking the spoon and declared the mix a success.

Whitworths are encouraging family’s to #ShareTheLove with the best ingredients and a beautiful story book of family and the true meaning of Christmas. Visit the website  and download this sweet tale, and their cake recipe from the story. Sometimes its good to have time to spend making and baking gifts that you can share with family and friends. I love traditions and maybe one day the boy will #ShareTheLove with his family and have a slice of cake that will remind him of his childhood Christmases too.

Disclaimer we were sent a selection or Whitworths ingredients so that we could bake our cake and share our story with you.

Keeping warm this winter with Didriksons

The boy will be keeping warm this winter with Didriksons, and their 2016 winter range of kids clothing. We certainly don’t have the extreme conditions that they have in Sweden where Didriksons clothing is designed. This hasn’t stopped the boy from putting Didriksons to the test.

The Boy was sent Theo Boys Jacket in wheat, and I was pleased to see that he hasn’t outgrown the Didriksons range as they have a great selection of coats for older children. He was also very excited to own a beanie hat and chose Mason Youth Beanie in Dark Lilac.

To say the boy is thrilled with the mason beanie is a slight understatement! I think it must be cool to own one, and he has been so happy that I have a problem getting him to remove it. I think if he could sleep in it he would. The quality of the beanie is lovely and you can tell it has good thermal qualities as he tells me how cosy the beanie is. The  colour says dark lilac, I would say its more of a burgundy colour but this suits the boy and he loves it.

Keeping warm this winter will not be a problem for the boy with the Didriksons Theo coat, I love the thermal qualities and the quality of the coat. The boy now cycles to school each day and the longer length means even in the rain he stays mostly dry. The boy loves that there are plenty of pockets including a good size inside pocket which he can pop his beanie in. He also likes the thumb hole cuffs which stop the arms from riding up while he cycles.

Didriksons have a great range of coats, something for everyone. I love the quality and fit of their products and know that they will last and wear well. You can see exactly how waterproof or warm each product is from the useful website features tab. I love that 100% waterproof means that the boy wont come home soggy, and he is just super happy because he has a beanie, so it is win, win!

 

Disclaimer: we were sent these items in return for an honest review the words are our own and have not been altered.