Study Space

Don’t get us wrong, the university libraries are great. It’s easy to find books and resources, you can “study” with your friends.. sneak in some snacks too. Overall, it’s pretty chilled. Many of you may have struggled not being able to access the library in the last few months and so we want to share some tips on how to create a great study space at home for the next semester!

Lots of you will be moving in to new houses soon, so this is a great opportunity to start fresh in your new place!

  • Noticeboards

If you have a noticeboard, use it! It’s a great way to keep track of upcoming assignments or readings you need to do. You can buy some cool pins to use as well! Maybe mix up work notes with photos to personalise your board! Be creative and make it something that makes you smile!

  • Keep Organised

You will probably find yourself with loads of printed readings, flyers, letters etc. that need to be put somewhere. It’s way to easy to just stuff it in a drawer and forget about it, but it’s better to keep it organised! This tidiness is great for increasing motivation when coming to do work!

You can buy (or make) desk files for any note books or papers, get a document tray or get some lever arch files! Stay of top of your filing for ultimate organisation!

  • Pen Pots and Notepads

Get your hands on some funky pen pots to keep your stationary in! You can always make your own using scrap paper and an old mug! Get making!

What better to go with your new pen pot than some nice notepads? Keeping a notepad open on the desk invites you to keep track of things that need doing and gives you somewhere to quickly write down important things!

The important thing is that your study space suits you. It needs to be somewhere that makes you want to sit down and study… no more essays in bed! Follow a couple of these tips and it’ll make studying at home much easier!

It’s getting closer to moving in, and you’re slowly getting your things together. You might be wondering how you can make the bedroom feel more personal, like home! Don’t worry! We have a few handy tips for you below…

Disclaimer: Be careful. If you alter the furniture, hammer nails in to the walls, damage paintwork etc. you may not get your deposits back in order to repair these things!

  • Lights

Fairy lights! Hanging some fairy lights is a super easy way to create a cosy and warm vibe to your room. You can get so many colours/shapes/sizes that will suit you 100%. We love small, warm white bulbs with a slow twinkle! You can also put a lamp by your bedside to lull you to sleep at the end of a busy day!

  • Bedding

Personalise your space by getting some bedding to suit you! There are some great patterns around, so get shopping! Adding decorative pillows is also a great way to create a chill out space for your bed!

  • Rug

Many houses might have outdated carpet fittings, and getting a cheap rug is the best way to hide it! Ikea is a great starting place, which leads us on to…

  • Plants

Who likes plants? We do! Who loves FAKE plants?? We do! Get yourself some fake plants or succulents that don’t require much love to decorate your space. Plants look great in the bedroom, bathroom and kitchen! Go wild!

  • Pictures

A great way to personalise your space is to add memories! Print out some photos that make you smile and hang them on the wall. Careful to not use blue tack or sellotape as this will damage the paint. There are many removable adhesive options out there, or keep it simple with string and pegs!

Have a go at these little ideas when you move in to your new property… you won’t regret it!

Hobbies!

We all have some more time on our hands at the moment, and I’m sure you’d love to have a project to focus on! Why not pick up a hobby that makes you truly happy!

Craft

You could learn how to knit, crochet, macramé, how to write in calligraphy.. there are so many great things you can choose from! It won’t take much to get you started and there are loads of great tutorials on Youtube!

Ancestry

Maybe you want to look in to your ancestry even more and see where your family came from! This is so exciting and you could learn a lot about yourself!

Online Hobbies

You could try creating Pinterest boards of things you like… cool cars, delicious donuts or fluffy cats! Choose what makes you happy and do lots of it! You might even start up a Youtube channel talking about something you love! Remember, this is for you to enjoy and not feel stressed by!

Music

Everyone wishes they could play an instrument… well we say it’s never too late! Classic Fm have loads of free material for aspiring musicians so go and check it out. You could look to find an online teacher to help you learn an instrument or even just even have a go at teaching yourself!

Find something that makes you happy and enjoy yourself!

Quiet Night In?

We know it’s hard to stay inside so much, and it is too easy to get bored! We need to mix our evenings up a bit and here are some great ways to do that!

Drinks Night

Choose a few cocktails/drinks to make and then get making (and drinking). You could even dress up and pretend like you’re on a night out but never left pres…

Have a game night!

Grab those you’re living with and just have fun! You can play games like Charades, Escape Room (in a box) and there are loads of card games to choose from too! Make it interesting and raise the stakes…

Cooking

Why not try that dish you’ve been wanting to make? Or bake that cake? Have fun just experimenting and enjoy your creation! If it doesn’t work out, you can always order from a local place!

Mini Spa Evening

Round up your family/friends (from your house of course) and have a spa evening! You can paint each other’s nails, plait their hair.. watch movies like Clueless… make it a night to remember!

Gaming

Chances are that someone has a Wii or Xbox right? Why not create a little competition to see who has the best Mario Kart skills!

Local Food Delivery

Despite restaurants, cafes and bakeries being shut down, there are some amazing local places now doing home delivery! If you’re a Leeds local, pay attention!

Doh’hut

Doh’hut are a small doughnut cafe based in the centre of the Leeds. They sell delicious filled doughnuts, but we love the original recipe! You can order from Deliveroo or from the cafe directly! Checkout their instagram for more details! @dohhut

Hyde Park Book Club

As a firm favourite in Hyde Park, you can order your favourite vegan food and great selection of beers straight to your door! Play a board game over Facetime with your friends to relive those great memories!

I Am Doner

Everyone knows about this mouthwatering doner kebab shop in Headingley.. and if you haven’t, try it! They are delivery via JustEat, so get clicking!

Humpit

We all know and love Humpit, and now they deliver via Deliveroo! If you miss those falafel pitta and the salad boxes, then order now! They are also offering a buy-on-get-one-free for all NHS staff!

Happy Household-Space

There are lots of ways to create space within your household, no matter what size! By creating physical space, you create mental space which should help you cope with being inside.

  • Tidy house, tidy mind.

A great way to make your room/house feel bigger is tidying it! We all have that chair in the corner that we chuck clothes at until the chair disappears…but, if we declutter, it will feel like you’ve gained a whole new area of your room! Another great reason to tidy up is to create peace of mind. When we know that our space is tidy and ready to be used, we are more likely to have motivation to actually use it!

Need to do work? Tidy your desk! Want to do some reading? Make your bed and fluff your pillows! Need to make dinner? Tidy and clean your kitchen!

Increase your motivation by simply putting a few things away. Trust us, this works!

  • Separate your areas

One thing we’re all guilty of is working in bed or eating in bed. This isn’t great… Ideally, you should use your bed for sleeping and relaxing! If you make it clear where you work (ie. at a desk, kitchen table etc.), then you will have more motivation when you go to that space.

By creating literal spaces within your home, you also create a more positive response and mindset when you sit down in those areas. Try eating at a table for a week instead of in your bed and notice how you start to appreciate your meals more! Try making your bed a space purely for relaxation and notice how you will feel calmer and sleep better.

Have a go at using this tips and see what happens!

Ale on Your Doorstep

Pubs trips seem like a distant memory since we’ve had to isolate within our own homes, and we don’t know when things are going to go back to normal! We love being able to go to a pub and try the different ales on tap, finding our favourites and having a couple pints. If only there was a way to still do that…

Luckily for you, there is! A local Leeds brewery called Wilde Child have decided to do contactless doorstep drops, bringing a great selection of their ales for a great price.

From IPA to stout, you can find an amazing array of drinks on their website by following the link below. You’ll have to order quick as it’s all going fast!

>>https://www.wildechildbrewing.co.uk/doorstep-drops/

This might seem strange as you’re at home, not at work right? If you are working remotely from home or have university assignments to do, it’s a good idea to create balance in your day to day life! It doesn’t matter if you’re living with people or living alone as this tip can help everyone!

Create time for you to do your work where you’re not distracted by those you’re living with and you can focus on you! Let others know that you can’t hang out etc. during certain periods of the day. Get your work done and feel productive!

By setting time for you to work, you will enjoy your time relaxing or hanging out with those you live with a lot more. It is also very important to take regular breaks like you would at work so you don’t become over worked or overly tired. Learn when enough is enough and switch off work mode!

April marks 2020’s National Stress Awareness Month. If you are feeling stressed, that’s okay! Here are some tips to help you feel more calm during the next few busy months:

Prioritise your health

  • Set achievable goals– you don’t need to try and change or accomplish everything at once… we don’t want you to feel overwhelmed! Set small tasks and committ to achieving them. Make sure to acknowledge your great work!

  • Find a good sleeping pattern for you– too many of us don’t get enough sleep every night and this really impacts our wellbeing and sense of self. Any habit is hard to make, but once you lock down your sleeping routine you’ll feel like a brand new person! You could try reading or meditating before bed so your mind recognises that it’s time to sleep.

  • Drink more water and eat well– staying hydrated is key for our health as it provides so many benefits! We also find that if we eat well, we feel good! Having a healthy balanced diet decreases the amount of physical stress we put our bodies through, which makes us feel much better!

  • Get moving– exercise is great for the mind and body. The endorphins make us feel great and help us sleep! There are loads of ways you can get moving, even as simple as going for a 20 minute walk!

  • Positive mindset– minimise the negatives and maximise the positives. Of course we might have negative thoughts or experiences, but we don’t need to dwell on that. We can choose to think of something that makes us happy, like a pet or a funny meme-whatever works for you! This is a great habit to get in to that helps reduce stress.

  • Be organised and say no– having a plan or an outline for your day helps us stay motivated and organised. Prioritising yourself is key here. If you are asked to do something and can’t fit something in your schedule, you are allowed to say no! We love to say yes and please others by putting ourselves last. What great things could happen if you put yourself first?

  • Distance– how many hours a day do you use your phone? How many of those hours are spent doing something useful? Be honest with yourself! Social media is great, but we need to create boundaries. It is very easy to get stuck in a loop of videos on facebook and waste a couple hours feeling bad for watching so much content. Let’s make a change and feel more positive! Because of the convenience of our phones, receiving messages, emails, tags etc. is instant and we feel pressured to respond to everything at once. We’re here to tell you that you don’t need to. Let yourself have time to reply to those important notifications, but then put your phone away so you can get on with things YOU need to be doing. Put yourself first.

This list may seem long, but approach it gently. Pick one thing you want to do consistantly, and direct all your efforts. Set an achievable goal and make sure to congratulate yourself on your hard work. You might start by drinking more water every day, or walking somewhere instead of getting public transport. Start small and work your way up.

If you feel like you need help, here are some more resources:

Whether you’re living with your flatmates, family or by yourself, the tip below will really help create a happy environment!

Communication

It’s important to understand that everyone will handle stress and anxiety differently, and that there is no right way to cope with the current health crisis. If there is an issue, the best thing is to address it as soon as possible with whoever you’re living with otherwise you risk resentment growing!

Use phrases like ‘I feel…’ and ‘I need…’ to get your point across without playing the blame game! We don’t want to say things like ‘You make me feel..’ or ‘When you do this…’ as it won’t help the conversation.

This time of heightened anxiety may cause you or those you’re living with to have strong negative emotional reactions, but this is not necessarily a reflection of them or of you. It is hard to have open dialogue with these emotions, but it is best to be mindful of how you are all feeling and of your responses.

At the end of the day, if you are living with someone, you want to have a happy household. We all want to have a fun environment to live in. Communication is essential so get talking!

It can be hard to find something to watch on Netflix, so we’ve made it easy for you! Here’s our top movies:

  1. Zodiac (2007)

A tense thriller exploring the notorious Zodiac Killer murders of the 60s and 70s. Robert Downey Jr. and Jake Gyllenhaal work together to decode a message the killer left them. Totally gripping!

2. The Irishman (2019)

The Irishman is a meditative crime drama, exploring the lives of its outlaw characters over decades of their lives. Directed by Scorsese, it emphasises the slow, routine corruption of a life ruled by the Mafia. We love this one!

3. Klaus (2019)

Although this is a Christmas theme movie, you cannot deny its charm and joy. This movie tells the origin story Klaus, where a young postman makes an unlikely friendship with a toy maker. They begin to unite a town divided by their family feud by giving gifts. A must see!

4. The Book of Life (2014)

Telling the age old story of The Book fo Life, Manolo goes on a journey to find out what life he could lead. He must choose between his head and his heart! This is a very lovely movie to watch and we think you’ll love it!

5. The Invention of Lying (2009)

Imagine a world where lying doesn’t exist. One man finds out he doesn’t always have to tell the truth and starts to let the whole world know. Honesty comes with a price…

Your Daily Routine

Don’t get us wrong, lie ins are great. It can be hard to get out of bed sometimes! But when we are advised to stay inside the best we can, it is very tempting to stay in bed. Although many universities have shut and exams are cancelled, you may still have coursework due in the upcoming months.

Set yourself an outline for your day (that works for you). It could look like this:

  1. Wake up at the same time everyday
  2. Make sure to eat breakfast
  3. Spend a few hours working before lunch
  4. Take a lunch break and time doing something you enjoy!
  5. Spend some more time working
  6. Relax in the evening
  7. Go to bed at the same time every night!

The most important thing to help you stick to the schedule is sleeping and waking up at the same time every day. Creating a good sleep schedule is bound to make you feel much better!

Remember to note your daily achievements as this will make you feel motivated too! If you don’t feel like doing work one day, that’s okay! Take the time for yourself and start fresh the next day.

Get Productive!

What have you been putting off doing for a while? Maybe it’s cleaning your room, tidying your kitchen cupboards or making a photo album? Whatever it is, now is the time to do it!

Being indoors can become quite monotonous, we understand that! However, if we focus on the right things then our mood will lift! Being productive and having that sense of achievement is a really positive influence on our mood.

If you’ve been meaning to clean or tidy up your house then put some music on and grab the hoover! Notice how good it feels to do something productive and make sure to say something positive to yourself afterwards! Reward your achievement!

We want to help you feel calm while you’re at home, not stressed. If you don’t manage to do the task you set, that’s okay! You did the best you could at that time and that’s all you can ask of yourself. As kind as you are to others, you can afford to give some of that kindness to yourself!

Asking for Help

It is hard asking for help when you need it, though most of us willingly help our close ones all the time! Think of a moment a friend has asked for your help and you were right by their side or of a time you were patient and understanding while a loved one had a difficult period. Think of those times you put your friends before yourself because you cared for them.

Those friends will do the same for you too! The catch is this-

You need to ask for help!

No one can read yor mind and figure out exactly what you need. If you want or even need something, ask for it. It’s that simple! You might now be thinking ‘I don’t want to worry anyone’ or ‘I’m okay, they are too busy for me anyway’, or even ‘I don’t want to burden them’, but I can guarantee that your friends and family would love to hear from you and support you.

You can say something like ‘ I’m feeling overwhelmed and I’d appreciate your support-do you have a minute?’. Also, ‘I’ve got something on my mind, could you listen for 5 minutes?’.

We can ask for help without putting lots of pressure on the other person. If they say that they are busy at that point in time, it isn’t personal! Arrange a time when you can talk to each other and keep your mind off the negatives until then. We don’t have to think about bad things if we don’t want to!

You’re important too. You matter. Choose to put yourself first.

A Weekend Away

You might be looking forward to spending a long weekend abroad in the next few months but there is plenty to offer in the Uk too! There are some great cities for a city break, gorgeous cottages and campsites for that country-side retreat and quaint towns for day visits. We’ve made a shortlist of some ideas for you!

Edinburgh

Camera Obscura

A gorgeous city all year round, Edinburgh has something for everyone. From visiting the Old Town with its cobbled streets and labryinth of alleys to the New Town with streets upon streets of boutiques and restaurants, you could spend a couple days just wandering around. There are lots a great places to visit too! The Camera Obscura is a quirky optical illusion exhibition with a rooftop lookout where you can see the whole city! You can easily spend a few hours there!

Head down to The Elephant House, the cafe where J.K Rowling wrote the Harry Potter books! Then pop next door to Vittoria, an excellent Italian restaurant! If you’d rather explore Edinburgh by night, there are ghost tours and walking tours all year round…

Lake District

Tarn Hows

If you like exploring hidden trails, the Lake District is for you! With hundreds of beautiful viewing points, you can fully experience the wonder of the scenery that inspired the works of William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter. You can explore many gorgeous waterfalls and castles while you’re there too.

We suggest staying near Lake Windermere, perhaps the town Ambleside. There are so many lovely B&Bs in and outside of town to suit whatever you’d prefer. Consider giving the Lake District a go!

York

Easily connected to Leeds, York makes a perfect day trip out! York is a historic town, so there is plenty to do! From walking the walls, wandering the Museum gardens and visiting the Roman Baths, you can really emerge yourself in the town’s rich history. You can then head over to The Shambles, an iconic medieval street in the middle of York with plenty of independant shops!

You won’t be hard pressed to find somewhere to eat in York-you’re flooded for choice! We would always recommend Betty’s Tearoom, it is well worth it! Make sure to try to homemade cakes, they are divine!

This year, the Olympics will be held in Tokyo, Japan, which is why Japanese students of Leeds have created this wonderful event to celebrate and invite you to enjoy their culture! As presented as an authentic Japanese experience, you are able to wear a Yukata (a type of kimono), try some Japanese foods and enjoy a musical performance for free!

The details of this event are as follows:

Saturday 14th March, 10:30-16:30

Left Bank Leeds, Cardigan Road, LS6 1LJ

Left Bank Leeds is a lovely venue in the popular area of Hyde Park. Being located on Cardigan Road, Left Bank Leeds is a great place to visit for events. They hold a huge variety of events throughout the year from art evenings and movie nights to beer festivals and vintage furniture sales. There’s really something for everyone! We love it there and would definitely recommend taking a look-the building is extremely impressive too!

Find this event and many more at leftbankleeds.org.uk

It’s World Book Day!

As it’s World Book Day, we thought we’d share some of our top picks with you!

Daunt Books, London

The Cows: Dawn O’Porter

Exploring the lives of 3 women in a world of judgement, Dawn O’Porter shows us the invisible bonds that tie women together, regardless of their societal status. When Tara becomes a viral joke, all of their paths collide. Together they learn to find their voices through friendship, conflict, differences and likeness because it’s OK not to follow the herd.  This hilariously witty narrative is a joy to read and also brings to light some thought provoking situations and concepts!

Adulting-How to become a grown up in 468 easy(ish) steps: Kelly Williams Brown

We know that student life is great. The freedom, the nights out, turning up hungover (or even better, drunk) to your 9ams… it’s the peak of young adulthood right? Almost a rite of passage. Sadly, it does come to an end eventually and you get hurled in to the adult world before you’ve even done an Otley run to mark the end of an era. This book can help! Kelly Williams Brown gives some useful tips to bridge this weird transitional period you’re going through, while being sarcastic and funny throughout. This is your survival guide-you’re welcome!

Brave New World: Aldous Huxley

This book is an absolute favourite of ours, it’s a classic! Set in the future, the citizens are conditioned into an intelligence-based social hierarchy. Our protagonist Bernard is the only one to challenge this dystopian society, questioning the progressive reproductive technology, sleep learning, psychological manipulation and conditioning that occurs.  If you want a book to challenge your perceptions of our world, this is the one for you!

Moving House: Top Tips

It’s nearing the end of June and you’re probably getting ready to move to your new home! It’s an exciting time but it can also be stressful… You may be worried about fitting all your things in to a new space and even packing it all up!

We hope our tips might help ease your mind!

  • Label your bags and boxes

This might seem really obvious, but it’s definitely useful. Moving house is hectic and it is so much easier if you know exactly where your kitchen box is so you can make yourself a late night toastie! This will also help distribute unpacking as you can do it room by room!

  • Important documents

Keep any important documents in a folder so they are easily reachable. You may need documents to collect your keys and so it’s much easier if you can find them quickly! I don’t know about you, but I’m terrified of losing my passport so I keep it in a folder so I know where it is at all times!

  • Change of address

This is the most frustrating thing about moving house for sure. You will need to change your address on your bank, Paypal, voting registration, the doctor’s office and any subscriptions/automated payments! There will be many places you need to change your address so it might be worth catching some early!

These are just a few things to think about, but they will help you stay focussed and organised during this busy time!