Four white walls…

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So, many of you will see a room like this staring back at you when you first walk in. Just four white walls, a bed, a wardrobe a desk and a chair. Some might have shelves, some might have drawers and some might have an en suite. That depends where you go and what you are paying.

How is it that this can feel like home? How can we make it feel lived in? What do we need to take to our new home for the year?

Before going out to buy everything, read over what your university provides. If you have no information at all, I’m sure giving them a call will be able to settle any worries you might have.

Here is a list of things that you will need in your room.

2. The Bedroom

  • Duvet – Most universities will not provide you with a duvet. Often, people will go home during term time so it’s best not to take the one that is on your bed at home.
  • Pillows – Sometimes your university will provide you with one pillow although they’re usually pretty flat and useless. It’s nice to have your own pillows too.
  • Mattress protector – using a mattress protector will help to make sure you don’t get any fines at the end of the year for damaging the mattress. They can often make the bed more comfortable too, especially the memory foam ones. They can be pretty pricey but university beds aren’t known for being the most comfortable, especially if the mattress is different to what you’re used to. Sometimes a thin one will be provided but this will also have to be in a decent condition when you hand your keys back at the end.
  • Bed linen – sheets, pillow cases and duvet cover. These will not be provided and can make your room feel more like home and more individual, rather than just four plain walls. Two sets is often a good amount to have as this means one can be on the bed when you’re washing the other. Also, new bed night is always the best feeling.
  • Warm blanket – surely everyone has their own ‘snuggle blanket’ right? Especially useful for movie nights and for the winter months.
  • Door stop – keeping your door open will allow you to meet people easily and can make sure you don’t get locked out when you run to the kitchen without your key.
  • Laundry basket – yeah, yeah. I know the floor does just as good a job but not when you don’t have a washing machine in your block and you need to run to the launderette.
  • Posters – make your room your own by taking some posters to cover the plain walls.
  • White tac – blue tac can leave marks and we don’t want anyone to lose their deposit. Best stick to white tac rather than anything else, especially tape!
  • Photo’s – family members, friends from home, the family pet. Photo’s help to brighten up a room. These can all help if you start to feel homesick too!
  • Alarm clock – let’s make sure you don’t miss any lectures. Alarms on phones can work but can be unreliable if you forget to charge it. Plus, you can get some quite snazzy alarm clocks now too which can jazz up your room.
  • Lamp – you might be provided with a desk lamp but they can often be ugly and not very bright.
  • Rug – a rug can help make your room feel brighter and more homely.
  • Iron – normally you will be provided with an ironing board for the flat you are living in but not always an iron. One is pretty useless without the other.
  • Pins – most university rooms will have a pin board on the wall for you to put pictures or important notes on.
  • Coat hangers – most people forget to take coat hangers to university with them and find they have no way to hang any clothes. Sometimes there is not enough drawer or shelf space so hanging clothes is the best option.
  • Under bed storage – boxes under the bed are useful for keeping items such as spare bedding, shoes and toiletries. It will keep your room clutter free and mean more space on the shelves for books! (Yay!)

Some of you might be thinking what about TV/Laptop/Printer. Don’t worry, those will all be featured in the next post which will be about electrical items.

Peace out!

Oh no! I don’t know what to take!!!

It’s a common issue with people who are beginning their university lives. No more parents to make your food, do your laundry and clean up after you. It’s all down to you now! So what do you need to make sure you are able to do all of these things?

1. The Kitchen

Chances are, you will not be provided with anything other than a cupboard and maybe a drawer to keep your kitchen things in. Sometimes the cupboards will have a lock on them to make sure things don’t go missing but this is not always guaranteed so find a way to make sure you know what is yours. Loads of people tend to turn up with the same things.

Here is a list of things you will need for the kitchen

  • Plates – if you’re like any other student, one plate isn’t enough. Laziness is likely to mean you choose not eating over washing the plate that is festering in the corner of your room (especially the guys out there – I’ve seen this happen). Having friends over  for dinner will mean you’ll need more than one plate too. It’s best to take at least two and then you have a spare if one gets broken or goes missing!
  • Bowls – again, more than one is always good.
  • Cutlery – often cutlery is the thing that goes missing. If you can, get a cutlery set that you don’t think anyone else will have. Make it bright, make it stand out so you always know if someone has been helping themselves to your things! Knives, forks, spoons and teaspoons often come in a pack of 16. Start off by only having one set out to limit the amount you have to keep control of.
  • Saucepans – These are dependent on how much you see yourself cooking. Normally, one medium saucepan will probably do. If you enjoy serving up three course meals with all the trimmings, this one pan will not cover what you need. Judge this from what you intend to cook. I’d say one small saucepan and one medium will probably be enough.
  • Frying pans – If you’re a fan of fried food then the bigger the better. Just make sure it’ll fit in the standard size kitchen cupboard as this is all you will probably have. I started with a large frying pan and barely used it so downgraded in my second year. One medium frying pan does me just fine.
  • Baking tray – I chose to take one completely flat baking tray and another with raised edges. These cover me for whatever I might want to put in the oven. Some people choose to take a pizza tray too but this just takes up space, especially if – like me – you’re not a fan of pizza.
  • Cooking utensils – You will need a serving spoon or maybe a wooden spoon, dependent on what you prefer and often what you are used to at home. This is good for stirring, serving and dishing up food on to plates. A fish slice is always handy to get those chips that are stuck to the tray. Some of you might want to take things like a whisk for baking etc and a potato masher as there are only so many lumps a fork can get out of mashed potato. Don’t forget your vegetable peeler. I know, vegetables might not be at the top of the list of things to eat but you’ll need them to build up energy when the freshers flu kicks in. 
  • Sharp knives – I’d recommend taking at least two sharp knives. This will mean you don’t have to wash the knives between cutting each vegetable and each meat item (we don’t want food poisoning). It just makes your cooking experience easier if you don’t have to keep running to the sink every few minutes. One small knife and one large knife will probably do. I’d suggest at least one has a serrated edge for tough things.
  • Chopping boards – again, two is often a good number. One for meat, one for veggies.
  • Measuring jug – we need to know how much water to put into our super noodles don’t we?
  • Microwavable bowl – for those quick and easy microwavable dinners.
  • Oven proof dish – a casserole dish will do for things like pasta bake, nachos and roasties. A good investment as they often last a long time too!
  • Tin opener – so many people forget that not all tins have the handy little ring pull (why not?!) don’t get caught out trying to open those beans to go with the last bit of bread you have!
  • Bottle opener – someone will need it, guaranteed they will have forgotten it too.
  • Corkscrew – for the wine drinkers? Often bottles come with a screw top but better to be prepared!
  • Cheese grater – cutting tiny little chunks of cheese isn’t worth it. Get a cheese grater.
  • Pizza cutter – fingers do the job just as well but aren’t great if you’re sharing.
  • Sieve – even if it’s not for sifting things, a sieve is surprisingly handy to drain the water out of rice to save it falling through the holes in the colander.
  • Colander – using a slotted spoon to scoop those frozen vegetables onto the plate takes ages if you’re trying to drain the water at the same time!
  • Kitchen scissors – can save time cutting meat into small pieces and even good for cutting pizza if you don’t have a pizza cutter.
  • Tea towels – Can be doubled as oven gloves if you don’t have any.
  • Washing up sponge and liquid – I know, washing up isn’t the most common thought people have when they go to university but you will have to do it.
  • Oven gloves – Best not to burn yourself. Tea towels work but not as well.
  • Plastic boxes and lids – good for storing leftover food and can be frozen too. Get tubs you can put in the microwave for quick easy meals. Also, writing your name on the box and the lid will help you to keep track as often they look the same.
  • Sandwich bags – for those awkward bags of rice or pasta that split.
  • Cling film – to cover up the leftover takeaway food that will make your lunch tomorrow
  • Tin foil – will make your baking trays last longer and look cleaner. Also can save on the washing up.
  • Glasses – pint glasses often do the trick. Wine drinkers might want to take a wine glass but be careful as these break a lot easier. Plastic cups and shot glasses are better for pre-drinks.
  • Bin bags – should be provided but even if you don’t use them in the kitchen bin, they can make good fancy dress for a night out.

Feel free to message me if there is anything you feel I have left out. I have added in everything that I took with me to university in the first year and everything that I forgot to buy initially. I know, it’s a lot and not all of it will apply to all of you but it’s better to have everything ready and be prepared. 

Having a box that you can keep under your bed or in a cupboard in your room is often a good idea as you might find there is not enough cupboard space to keep all of your kitchen equipment and food items in the same place. This also saves on things going missing if you don’t have locks on the cupboard doors.

In the next post I will be talking about what you will need to take with you for your bedroom.

Peace out!

Surviving at university

So, when I first got my offer of a university place I was over the moon. I mean, a B and 3 D grades at A-Level were never enough to secure me a place at my chosen university so I wasn’t entirely sure that I’d get in. But I did! 

I didn’t know what to expect when I got there, let alone what to do to prepare. I looked on the university website for a list of things to take and things that were provided but there wasn’t one. It was then that I began to look online for some tips and tricks. 

Throughout this blog, I will aim to provide some information about things I wasn’t clued up on, in the hope that I can help get your university lives off to the best start!