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.

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.

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

Cravendale our #milkdrinkersmilk story

We have been challenged to try Cravendale milk as part of the Brit Mums #milkdrinkersmilk challenge. This wasn’t going to be difficult for the dragon family as we love Cravendale. Dad dragon likes his milk fresh as it makes a great froth for his cappuccino. I like it as it hasn’t got a strong milky smell. As a non milk drinker I find it easier on the nose on my cereal in the morning. Cravendale is great for cooking macorroni cheese our family favourite. But most of all Cravendale is best natural and fresh out of the bottle. The fact I can shop once a week for my milk and it stays fresh for the whole week is a bonus. Perfect for when the boy wants his bedtime milk with a biscuit, perfect to help him sleep soundly. So we all love Cravendale milk as it is the perfect fresh white stuff!

cravendale #milkdrinkersmilk

This post is an entry for BritMums #MilkDrinkersMilk Linky Challenge, sponsored by  Cravendale on Twitter


What do Holidays mean to you?

What do holidays mean to you?

Holidays when I was small didn’t happen often. I remember my first trip to the Isle of Wight, aged 7 where discos, soft toys and sweets were the most important element. As I got older I remember trips to Cornwall and Devon, dramatic scenery and eating chips on the harbour walls. But most of my summers were spent with my Nan and brother on the beach at home.

holidays one

My first foreign trip wasnt until I was 21, and my boyfriend (now other half) treated me for my birthday to two days in Paris and EuroDisney. The trip has so many lasting memories, the rain, thunderstorms and lightning that struck the Eifel tower making the front page of the papers. Weird food and ending up in McDonalds where our lack of language skills, nearly landed us with 15 strawberry sundaes, and an everlasting love of all things Disney.

holidays two

Being young, and carefree, holidays became our luxury and when we realised that we could choose our destination, without our parents dictating where we should go. Destinations of Austria, where we nearly got stuck on a mountain in a storm and made coats out of binbags. Cornwall, Blackpool, and Devon have always been favourites and the beaches are some of the best in the world.  A tour of Italy where we drove for 48 hours with friends to the Tuscan landscape full of olive trees and some amazing views. We ate peaches the size of your hand, and pizzas that were unlike the ones at home.

holidays three

Further afield now, and Las Vegas where we entered a slot machine tournament, and I won! You could eat for $3 a day, and the noise of machines throwing out coins deafened us. New York, we walked for miles and found some surreal shops. The Macy’s Parade was amazing watching huge balloons floating down narrow streets. We spent a month in America staying with families. San Francisco, Arizona, Utah and Florida, so many different states and all sorts of different people.

holidays four

We had a budget last-minute holiday to Barbados, where all we could afford to eat was Peanut Butties. But in the sunshine it didn’t matter, we fished, with the locals, and saw a side of Barbados that the rich never see. Miami was another favourite where we ate grapefruits on the beach for breakfast, used public transport ending up in the “no go” area, where we quickly got back on the bus.

holidays fiveOur last trip abroad alone was when we married, having fallen in love with America and especially Florida. We decided rather than spend money on a big wedding we would get married in the home of Mickey Mouse, and spend the money on a cruise. This was an amazing trip, from the New York shopping, to the Florida Wedding. Then setting off for the Caribbean where we fell in love with the Island of Grand Cayman, the snorkelling, being eaten by fish and swimming with stingrays.

holidays six

Then the boy arrived, and things changed. I didn’t want to fly for hours with a small baby, and just the thought of it filled me with dread. Instead voucher holidays, to caravan parks, it was thrilling to find somewhere new. The Isle of Wight where we went back to the places I remember visiting all those years before. They are still there, and pictures in the mouth of hell. In Devon and Dorset we travelled on trams, picnicked on the beach, watched cheesy shows and laughed every time we played Bingo. We took another road trip when the boy was young, with mountains, and even snow. We ate amazing fresh pizza, and saw Roman landmarks. Pisa was a favourite climbing all the way to the top for the amazing views.

holiday 7

We had dreamt of taking the boy to Florida and wanted to wait until he would enjoy and remember this trip so he was nearly 5 before we went. This trip was amazing, filled with smiles and laughter, we have so many memories of the things we did, people we met and mostly the look of wonder on the boys face. This is something I will remember more than the torrential rain.

family eight

The weather forced us return, and this time Halloween, the weather was much kinder. The trip was mixed as traveling with a 6-year-old, meant late slow mornings and pushing a sleepy child in his pushchair till the early hours! We discovered rollercoasters, the boy became a Jedi, and went trick and treating American style.  We made friends with a dolphin called Dixie, ate lots of fries and blue  ice cream.

holiday nine

Three years on and we have just returned again from Florida. This time the boy was 9 and could ride all there was to offer. We saw dolphins in the wild, and space ships up close, ate Dole whips and funnel cake, we made new friends and played magic games with mystical cards. In-between Florida trips we have filled our summers with days on the beach, weekends to Blackpool and Devon. Weekends away in hotels as we toured theme parks, and even the odd night in a tent!

holidays ten

In writing this I have learnt one thing, there is no such thing as “the perfect holiday”. Our holidays sometimes haven’t gone to plan. Sometimes the weather has been against us, other times just circumstances, with each one leaving a lasting mark in our memory.

So Mark Warner, my perfect holiday would be one with my little family, there may only be three of us, but we love to go out have fun explore. But most importantly we enjoy making new marks on our memory.



Disimpaction Part 2

Ok, so Disimpaction part one, didn’t go quite according to plan. Coming home from hospital was however a good decision and one that the boy was ok about. With lots of lovely sleep, and plenty of being allowed to do what he wanted during the day, the whole two weeks flew by.

As for the medicine, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be. The boy needed the toilet more often, but all things being considered we had more clean pants, no accidents and even managed a day out in London on the second week. Our nurse came to see us and is very happy with the boy, I am still feeling apprehensive that we need to keep reinforcing that he will need to make sure he goes to the loo so we don’t end up back at the beginning. Maybe I am being a bit to hard on him, but I am still impressed.

We have had one dry night! now that the volume of liquid has gone down, and the smell which I usually associate with the boys clothing has gone. The boy has also been drinking all his water, as well as taking the Movicol. So now starts the next step, to keep going and now we introduce Senna, which is used to stop constipation. The next few weeks will see a mixture of different doses at different times to see which works best for the boy. Then long-term we can start to look at other problems like the night-time bed wetting.

All things considered I have to say I am very hopeful, while still being caucus. I keep asking myself why we didn’t do this ages ago. I can only think it was because I just didn’t know how the boy would cope, and you can’t give a child with diarrhea to a child-minder. Being at home has finally had some use, other than being the orderer of the mystery parcels!

Magic Moments Birthday

This weeks magic moment has to be the Boy’s Birthday. I can remember so clearly the day he was born it was a Sunday and he arrived just in time for roast dinner. Shame I only got offered Marmite on toast and a cup of tea. I don’t think I cared though as I just kept looking at my little bundle and saying hello. I still say hello to him each night before I go to bed when he is tucked up and all the troubles of the day have disappeared!



Pocket Money Memories

Pocket money, what memories does that bring back for you? I know that for me it meant sweets. They say you can tell a lot about your childhood by the sweets you bought. Well I can see the importance of it now. Ask any adult and I bet they can remember the cost of a packet of Opal Fruits or a Marathon! or for me a Texan bar. But ask you how much a loaf of bread cost when you were ten, and you might struggle?

I remember it was a thrill to go and stay with my Nan on a Friday night (which I did almost every week) and to be given 20p to spend. This meant a trip to the sweet shop round the corner. I remember well the array of 1/2p sweets yes I could get a full 40 sweets for 20p. I remember coming home from school going to the shop on the way home and buying 2 oz of sweets, usually cola cubes, sherbet lemon’s, and pips. I remember they used to get all warm and sticky and they used to get stuck to the white paper bag so you just ate that as well. You could sneak them into class in a fluff filled pocket or a pencil-case and munch while you gazed out of the window.

I got my first job round about the time I started senior school, I was about 12/13 and I used to mow lawns and do gardening for a couple of older people. I remember I got paid £1.25 and hour and it took a full hour to mow one lady’s lawn. I also remember that it was then another one and a half hours while we chatted and she made me cups of tea and biscuits. I saved for the whole year, enough money to buy my first Midi Hi-Fi and it was bought from Boots, yes in those days Boots was not just a chemist! I was so proud of my purchase and I think I still have the receipt. It meant a lot to me to be able to play my tapes and records in my bedroom.

Midi Hi-Fi


I wonder what my son will remember about his childhood, will it be his lovely new bike, his amazing holidays. Maybe his huge collection of Lego, or do you think it might be the shrimps he buys for 2p each when he goes to the shops with Grandad?

I would love to hear your sweet memories, bring back Texan bars! I don’t know if my teeth would take it?

“This post is an entry into the Tots100/Roosterbank Pocket Money Competition”

Buying the boy a new bike…

Buying the boy a new bike is proving more difficult than I first thought.

When the boy was 3 granddad wanted to buy the boy a bike for his birthday, so we simply took him to a bike shop and let him choose. It was a lovely bike and he rode it all summer and to school everyday. The boy was so proud of this bike and wont let us get rid of it so we have it stored for a day he can give it to his son as a first bike.

Then when he had outgrown that one I had my bargain bike! Yes I bought it in the Tesco sale for a staggering £12.50 reduced from £80! It was my best bargain and I had it stored in the garage for over 3 years before he was big enough to reach the ground. The boy learnt to ride without stabilizers on this bike and he loved it. That was until all the children in his year started to get bikes with gears!

So now it is time to think about a new one, and I thought it would be easy. Perhaps it would be if I didn’t have such high expectations. I would love to just go in a bike shop and get some good honest advice. Like what size wheel, what size frame,which are good makes that will last, and one I can afford?. The boy of course has his own expectations and wants one in a colour like black, or red, gears are a must and now he wants a bike stand.

On Saturday we had a couple or hours to spare so thought we would have a look to see what there is. Now I spent a lot of money on my bike 16 years ago but it had to get me to work every day as I didn’t have a car, I bought a cheep one and it just didn’t last. I also like to buy from local shops so that will rule out Halfords as quite honestly they are not good when it comes to service. My local shop surprisingly only had 2 bikes with 24″ wheels and 12″ frame, and he looked quite lost on them. I think I need to see him ride one as he looked like a mouse trying to control something the size of an elephant! Daddy nearly had a heart attack when he saw how much they were!

The next independent shop was cramped and had 2 different ones, but still both were what we thought was expensive. Also they weren’t exactly fancy looking for the £250.00 that they would cost, I think I wanted a really flash paint job for that much. So finally just for a comparison we went to Halfords. Our Halfords bike department is upstairs, it was messy with half built bikes you couldn’t try, and staff that just plain were not interested. Yes they had a bright green bike for £189 but if I pay that I expect it to at least be built properly, and on past experience that is unlikely.

I consulted a biking friend today, he should know his bikes as he is mad enough to be doing the ride London Surrey 100 next week. He thinks you get what you pay for. So back to square 1. So what next? I would love to find a bike that is a happy compromise, so a price that me and Dad like, and a colour and gears for the boy. But where to look. I don’t think online will work for us as the boy needs a short frame, he needs to try them out. So the great (Birthday) bike hunt continues…