5 security tips for students

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You’ve just got your results, you’re starting university and you’re moving to a new home. There’s a lot going on and your mind is probably all over the place. You’ll be thinking about meeting new friends, finding your way around the city and making sure you have everything you need for when lectures begin. One of the last things on your mind might be to question how secure your belongings are.

Of course, if you’re living in student accommodation such as that provided by Host, you’ll find an on-site management team including maintenance staff who are available to help keep the site safe and secure. And combined with electronic door entry systems, intercoms and CCTV, we aim to ensure that everyone who lives with us enjoys a high standard of security and the safest possible environment 24/7.

However, our security is only as good as the residents who live with us, so we’ve pulled together some simple safety steps for you to follow to help improve the level of security at our accommodation:

  1. Burglaries can happen because doors or windows are left open. So, when you’re leaving your accommodation always make sure you close windows and lock doors behind you as you head out – don’t make it easy for someone to get in!
  2. When you’re not in your room or flat, don’t leave any money or valuable items such as phones or laptops on display. Keep them hidden and out of sight so anyone looking to break in will struggle to find anything of value.
  3. Keep your keys and fob into the building and your room on your person at all times and don’t lend them to anyone else. If you lose your keys and/or fob, you should report it to reception immediately so that the access can be cancelled, and replacement ones can be issued.
  4. If you’re accessing the building or flat, it’s only natural to hold the door open for the person coming in behind you. But you shouldn’t allow for anyone you don’t know to follow you into the building/flat/room.
  5. If you’re bringing a bike to university with you, be sure to secure it in the designated bicycle storage area at your accommodation. Even if it is kept in the bicycle storage area, you should still keep it locked up with a quality lock to minimise the chances of it being stolen.

We wish you the best of luck for starting university and settling into student life. If you have any questions about our student accommodation or living with Host, contact us and our friendly team will be happy to help.

Be university ready with student essential packs

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If you’re getting ready to fly the nest and start your student adventure at university or college in the UK, you might be panicking about what you need to take with you.

Whilst you certainly won’t need to pack the kitchen sink, there are some things that will probably come in use when starting out as a student. From saucepans and cutlery, to bed linen and towels, having all of these essential items will help you settle into your new student home.

But do you really want to be cramming saucepans into your suitcases or spending hours searching the shops for duvets? Probably not.

Thankfully, we’ve teamed up with our friends over at UniKitOut so that you can have all of your student essentials sorted in minutes – and without any hassle.

With a range of student packs available – including kitchen, bedroom and bathroom packs, UniKitOut is your one-stop shop for all your student needs.

kitchen kit  Geo Mint Double silver  student essential starter pack

All you have to do is order your items online, select the student accommodation you’ll be living at, and they’ll deliver your items straight to the accommodation so they’re ready and waiting for you upon arrival.

It doesn’t get much better than that, right? Wrong. It really does get better, because you can even get an extra 10% off your online order simply by adding the discount code HOST10 at the checkout.

Like the sound of having all your essentials sorted in an instant? Head over to the UniKitOut website and get everything you need to kit out your new home.

If you’re still looking for student accommodation in London for September, why not live at The Hub? Rooms still available, contact us on +44(0)20 3770 9120 or at thehub@host-students.com for more information.     

Summer camping

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Exams are almost over, university’s coming to a close and the sunshine has arrived – which means summer is officially here. So, it’s time to take advantage of the wonderful weather and all the great things that this country has to offer; and what better way to do it than with a camping trip!

After living in a big city for a while, it’s good to escape and remind yourself what the great outdoors looks like. There are many beautiful camping sites that are not too far from London, jump on a train and they’re just a short ride away. Below are a few of our top picks…

The Secret Campsite, East Sussex – “The Secret Campsite is a peaceful, tents only campsite for nature lovers, real campers and their families, who are looking to explore Sussex, Brighton or Lewes. Our woodland meadow camping pitches are large and secluded and come with their own camp fire pit and free hot showers. We also have a number of unusual shelters where you can spend the night.”

Distance from The Hub: 2 hours                           

The Secret Garden Touring Park, Cambridgeshire – “By providing a low occupation facility, we aim to offer a genuine “back to nature” camping experience in Cambridgeshire with top quality amenities where you can relax and enjoy your own space and have the freedom to explore all we offer on site.”

Distance from The Hub: 3 hours                           

Chalke Valley Camping, Wiltshire – “Chalke Valley provides modern day luxury comforts such as a hot shower, and a comfortable bed – We encourage our campers to enjoy a more natural experience and connect with the outdoors and nature.”

Distance from The Hub: 3 hours                           

Whether it’s your first time, or you’re a seasoned camper, you can find everything you need for your camping adventure at Boutique Camping – it’s located just 15 minutes away from The Hub! We hope the weather stays fine and you enjoy everything camping has to offer this summer.

Stress Awareness Month; keeping your stress levels in check

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As April is Stress Awareness Month, we’re sharing some advice and tips on managing stress. In our earlier blog post, we looked at some of the signs and causes of stress. And now, we’re looking at some of the things you can do that will help to keep your stress levels in check.

1. Keep a stress diary

Whenever you feel yourself becoming stressed or experience anxious moments, write it down. Keeping a record of these moments will help to identify the causes of your stress and the situations that increase your stress levels, which can help you to prepare for them and manage them well.

When logging your experiences, you should include the following details:

  • Date and time
  • Details of the event that caused you to feel stressed
  • The level of stress on a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being the highest level of stress)
  • Your reaction / how you felt e.g. headache, raised heart rate, anger, sick, etc.
  • Your coping response / how you handled the situation

Download our stress diary template.

2. Manage your money

Coping with financial strain – such as paying bills, and even knowing how much money you have to spend each month, is something that can cause a great deal of stress for individuals.

To help reduce stress related to money, it’s important to know how much money you have and where your money is being spent. Create a monthly budget to keep track of your monthly income and expenditure. Having this, you’ll be able to gain a clearer focus on where your money is going, how much money you can save and how much disposable income you have each month. If you need to make savings, you can look at all of your monthly outgoings to see if all are essential and whether or not any cutbacks can be made.

3. Plan your time

As a student, there may be times during your studies where you find yourself under pressure – especially as workload increases and deadlines and exams approach. But there are things you can do in advance that will help you to make better use of your time and be more efficient with your work – and ultimately ease the pressure:

  • Write to do lists – get everything out of your head and on paper so you can clearly see everything that needs to be done – nothing will be forgotten!
  • Prioritise tasks by importance and urgency – don’t spend a long time on tasks that aren’t that important and similarly, don’t start with tasks that aren’t due for a few weeks. Instead, complete tasks that are most important and urgent first.
  • Share tasks if possible
  • Take action sooner rather than later – don’t put things off; the longer you sit on a task and procrastinate about it, the harder you’ll find it. You might convince yourself it’s a difficult task but in reality, once you get started on it, it’s not that bad.
  • Set steps and goals – instead of tackling a job head on – which can be quite daunting, break it down into smaller, more manageable steps and tasks.

4. Talk to someone

Sometimes, simply expressing how you feel and ‘offloading’ your feelings to someone can make you feel a whole lot better and can take a real weight off your shoulders. Whether it’s a friend, family member or even someone through an emotion support line, there’s always someone you can talk to. You can also pop into reception and chat to the team here at The Hub. We’ll also be able to help you get in contact with someone from your university if you’re feeling stressed.

5. Make lifestyle changes

There are small changes you can make to your day-to-day life that will help to improve your wellbeing and reduce stress.

  • Limit your caffeine intake – caffeine can make stress worse in some people. Reducing your intake of caffeine may also help to improve your sleep!
  • Eat a balanced diet – it is good for your mental and physical health!
  • Exercise – can help to relieve stress and keep you healthy. Try cycling, walking or going to the gym. Maybe look into your university sports teams. Doing some cleaning can also be a good way for some quick exercise.
  • Get some sleep – lack of sleep can make mental health problems worse. Try talking to a doctor if you a struggling with sleep or it may be trying to establish a new routine.
  • Do something nice for yourself every day – do something because you want to, not because you have to. Read a book, watch a film or go out for dinner, do something you enjoy!
  • Relaxation – try meditation, aromatherapy or yoga – they’re all shown to relieve and prevent stress.

If you have any questions or would like a little more information, the Host team at The Hub will be happy to help you in finding information which may help you to relieve any stress.

Stress Awareness Month; Identifying stress

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Stress; you’ve probably heard of it, and may have even felt it, but what exactly is it? Stress is defined as being under too much mental or emotional pressure. When you’re stressed, hormones in your body increase to help your body deal with pressure, they return to normal once the pressure has passed. Being continuously under stress can have a very negative impact on your body and mind.

And as April is Stress Awareness Month, we wanted to share with you some information which might help you to manage your stress levels.

But first thing’s first, how do you know if you, or someone you know, is stressed? Sometimes, it’s not always obvious that someone is suffering from stress. Although there are physical signs of stress, those suffering from stress can often mentally feel/think and behave differently too – which can be much harder to identify.

Physical signs of stress:

  • Headaches
  • Stomach problems
  • Feeling tired or dizzy
  • Dry mouth
  • Shortness of breath

Mental signs of stress:

  • Worrying about the future
  • Being forgetful
  • Not concentrating
  • Feeling irritable
  • Making mistakes
  • Feeling low

Behavioural signs of stress:

  • Crying
  • Eating more or less
  • Biting your nails
  • Problems sleeping
  • Drinking or smoking more

Causes of stress

Identifying and understanding what’s causing you to be stressed, can help with finding a solution to manage and reduce it. Below are some common situations and events which may cause stress:

  • Money worries
  • Being bullied
  • Health issues
  • Not having a routine
  • Moving home
  • Having a job interview
  • Someone close to you passing away

Stress affects people in different ways, and some people may be more affected than others. For example, someone might put a lot of pressure on themselves because they should be able to do something, but they can’t.

Although worrying about a problem or situation isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it may actually help in planning to resolve and overcome an issue, more often than not, people tend to focus too much on the negatives. You may worry about things that might never happen or cannot be changed. This worry can lead to feeling stressed.

Stress and mental illness

If you’re suffering with a mental illness, this could lead to stress. Below are some examples of why this could be:

  • Spending too much money when you are unwell and you get into debt.
  • You don’t get on well with your doctor or anyone involved in your care
  • You are worried about the side effects of your medication

Stress alongside a mental health issue can make symptoms of your illness worse. If the cause of your stress is ongoing this could lead to anxiety and depression. To help forget about their stresses many people drink alcohol and take drugs as a short-term solution, but this can make your mental health a lot worse.

The above are just some of the signs, symptoms and causes of stress. If you’re suffering from stress, there are things you can do to positively respond to stress and help reduce your stress levels. Look out for our next blog post, as we’ll be looking at ways to keep your stress levels in check.

Making the most of your Easter break at university

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Semester two can be busy and stressful at times. You may have had exams back in January, assignments to complete and the dreaded dissertations and end of year exams looming. So, with the Easter holidays just around the corner, a short break from university will be a welcome one. And whilst you probably can’t wait to put your feet up and stuff your face with chocolate eggs, there’s so much more you can be doing to make the most of your free time. Below are just some of the things you could do…

Revise
Ok, so it might not be the most exciting thing to do with your time off, but definitely one of the most important. With no lectures and classes to attend, you can start your revision with no distractions. Even if you don’t start revising properly, doing things such as organising your lecture notes, creating a study plan and downloading past exam papers will all be a good starting point to get ready for those upcoming exams.

Make memories
For many students, finishing university often means leaving your city of study and relocating elsewhere – whether it’s moving back to your home town, taking a gap year or moving to another city for work. So, if you’re in your final year and are getting ready to leave, it’s time to get out and embrace the city now. Have you seen all corners of the city and done everything you’ve wanted to do? Be a tourist for the day, do the sightseeing and learn the history. But don’t forget all the quirky little things too – row a boat on the lake, drink a cocktail from the poshest bar and eat a meal from the city’s most famous takeaway shop. After all, the city you went to uni in is a place you’ll probably remember for a very long time.

Get out and be active
Embracing your revision over the holidays is great, but it doesn’t mean you have to spend the whole day, every day of the holidays stuck inside revising. The Easter holidays also marks the start of Spring, which means lighter nights and (hopefully) warmer days too. So, whether it’s a gentle stroll into town, a run through the park or a bike ride around the city, step outside and enjoy the fresh Spring air. After exercising and some time out, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to tackle that revision when you return to your desk!

Volunteer
If you’ve got some free time over the holidays, why not spend some time volunteering? From working in the local charity shop or mentoring younger adults, to fundraising at university or helping out at the annual half marathon event in your city, there’s something for everyone and all interests. And besides the fact your helping others, there are a whole host of benefits you can gain from volunteering. Take a look at the Host blog for more.

Visit family and friends
Make the most of the extended break from university and take a trip home to visit your family. You might not have seen them since the Christmas holidays, so it’ll be great to catch up with them and of course enjoy a home cooked, hearty meal. Old school friends may also be back from university visiting their families, so it’ll be the perfect opportunity to all catch up, exchange uni stories and reminisce about the good times.

No matter what you have planned for the holidays, it’s important to take some time out and recharge your batteries ready for the final few weeks of term.

Starting university in London this September, or continuing with your studies in the city? Make yourself at home with our all-inclusive student accommodation at The Hub in London. For more information contact us on +44(0)20 3770 9120 or at thehub@host-students.com.  

 

Back to basics for pancake day 2018

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From banana or protein pancakes to sweet potato or oatmeal pancakes, there’s so many different and unique pancake recipes available these days, deciding which to opt for can be tricky. So, why not keep things simple and go back to basics with a good old, classic pancake recipe?

Not only is it extremely quick and easy to make the traditional pancake batter, but you’ll probably find it’s one of the cheapest to make as it involves purchasing no fancy ingredients. All you need is one egg, one mug of plain flour and one mug of milk and you’re ready to go.

Whisk together the ingredients in a bowl until the batter is smooth – you might want to sift the flour first to avoid a lumpy mixture. With your batter mixed and ready, heat a pan and use a drop of oil or a little butter to lightly grease it. Once heated, pour a small amount of mixture into the pan and swirl around until the pan is evenly coated. As your pancake begins to cook on one side, it should start to loosen up so you can turn it with a fish slice (or if you’re feeling brave enough you can flip it in the pan), and cook the other side until golden.

And there you have it, a delicious pancake made in minutes. The hardest part is deciding what toppings you’re going to have with it. Keep it simple and classic with a sprinkle of sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice, go nuts with some peanut butter and bananas, feel fruity with blueberries and strawberries or indulge with chocolate sauce and ice-cream.

No matter what you choose, pancakes are a great snack and can be a healthy alternative too (depending what you top them with of course). So, get together with your friends and flatmates this Pancake Day and have a flipping good time!

Looking for student accommodation in London? Rooms available at The Hub for academic year 2018/19. Please contact us for more information on +44(0)20 3770 9120 or at thehub@host-students.com.  

Student living in the heart of London

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If you’re starting university in 2018, you’ve probably been busy attending open days, researching universities and applying for courses. But have you thought about where you’re going to live?

As a student moving to London to study, you’ll need a place that you can call home while at university. And with bookings now being taken at The Hub for September 2018, there’s no better time to start looking for student accommodation.

The Hub is located just a short stroll from Vauxhall station and The River Thames, meaning you can discover the best of London in no time at all. Its location makes it a great choice for anyone studying at London South Bank University (LSBU), Kings College London, Chelsea College of Art and Design and University of Arts. There’s plenty to do in Vauxhall too, from underground clubs to quirky eateries. There’s even a city farm, when you need a slice of the country.

And when it comes to the accommodation itself, step inside The Hub and you’ll feel right at home. After a busy day at university, our comfortable and stylish common room with games table, TV and seating areas provides you with a space to socialise and enjoy with your friends. Then when it’s time to get your head down for the night or focus on your work, our luxurious studios have everything you need – with an en-suite bathroom, fully fitted kitchen and a private study space.

Sounds great, right? Well, that’s not all. Our accommodation is all-inclusive, which means you simply pay one price and we take care of the rest. So, there’s no need to worry about having to pay different bills each month or keep money aside for things such as electricity, water and internet. We’re on it.

And it’s not just first-year students who stay with us at The Hub. Whether you’re a first, second or final year student or even a post-graduate student, you can make The Hub your home for the 2018/19 academic year. Contact us to find out more about our student accommodation or visit our online portal to book your room.

3 Christmas markets to visit in London

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Christmas is just around the corner, and there’s no better way to get into the festive spirit than a visit to a Christmas market. And as a student living in London, you certainly won’t be short of a market or two to enjoy. Below are 5 of our favourite markets in London, where you’ll find much more than just a mug of hot chocolate on offer…

Hyde Park
A landmark event in its 11th year, Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland is a must if you’re looking for a festive extravaganza. There’s a traditional German Christmas market and Angels Christmas market, where you’ll find over 200 fairy-lit Bavarian style wooden chalets packed with gifts, jewellery, clothing, handmade crafts, Christmas decorations and of course not forgetting plenty of festive food and drink to keep you going. But the festive fun doesn’t stop there. Experience ice skating, views from a giant observation wheel, hundreds of rides and games, a magical ice kingdom, an ice bar, circus, shows and much more all in the heart of the city.

Southbank
Love sampling the wonderful food and drink of a Christmas market? Then Wintertime at Southbank Centre is the market for you. There’s over 50 Nordic-inspired stalls filled with everything from gourmet burgers and traditional favourites such as bratwurst and pies, to specialist street food including Asian and vegan. And when you’re done feasting, wash it down with a drink or two at Rekorderlig’s two-storey pop-up lodge or The Hop Locker Bar – you’ll find winter warmers such as mulled wine and spiced cider.

Clapham Common
While traditional Christmas markets are great, sometimes it’s good to try something new. And Winterville, London’s alternative festive experience, won’t disappoint. Pick up those last-minute presents at the indoor market which is full of independent designers and unique Christmas gifts you won’t find anywhere else. At this eccentric Christmas village, you’ll also find street food, bars, an ice rink, roller disco, festive themed shows, plonk golf, backyard cinema, a fairground and much more to keep you entertained through the holidays.

If you’re studying in London, why not stay with us at our student accommodation, The Hub?  To find out more about living with us at The Hub for 2018/19, or to arrange a viewing, please call us on +44 (0)20 3770 9120 or email us at thehub@host-students.com.

7 apps for university students

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Student life can be tough. You’ve not only got to worry about university and getting the grades for your degree, but you’re probably living away from home for the first time as an independent adult, which means you’re now responsible for a lot more things. Fortunately, technology is on hand to help and there are some great apps to help you sail through student life. Here are 7 of our favourite apps we think will be useful while at uni…

1. Dropbox
Whether it’s lost, stolen or you spill a drink over it, there’s nothing worse than your computer or laptop being gone forever – especially when all of your work is saved on it! The last thing you want to be doing is re-writing assignments, that’s why it’s a good idea to save all of your documents, photos and work elsewhere as a backup for these unfortunate occasions. Dropbox allows you to store and access your files across all of your devices at any time.

2. Evernote
Evernote is your one-stop shop when it comes to being organised as a student. If you’re in a lecture, capture all of your notes in one place. If you’ve got assignments and deadlines approaching, create a check list to ensure nothing is missed or forgotten. And if you’re working with others, effortlessly share your notes and ideas with one another.

3. CityMapper
If you’re a student living in London, then having CityMapper on your mobile is a must; it’s the ultimate transport app. No matter where you’re going, tap it in and CityMapper will let you know the public transport options available, routes, estimated times and even the price. If you fancy walking, it’ll even map out the quickest and driest routes too! For students outside of London, you can download other mapping apps such as Google Maps.

4. Strava
If you’re out and about being active, why not track your activity? See how far you’ve walked, ran, swam, cycled and much more all at a touch of a button. Connect with friends and other athletes, map out new routes and challenge yourself by striving to beat your personal bests. It’s a great way to stay active and competitive while at uni.

5. BBC Good Food
Living away from home, means you might be cooking meals for yourself regularly for the first time. Which means some recipes to refer back to might come in use. And on the BBC Good Food apps, you won’t be short of a recipe or two. With delicious dinners, tasty snacks and sweet treats to choose from, the question is, what to cook first?

6. Just Eat
For those nights you don’t fancy cooking or want a takeaway with your friends, have the Just Eat app at the ready and order your favourite meal in an instant. Whether it’s Chinese, Indian, Italian, Mexican or Lebanese (and the list goes on), find all available restaurants that deliver in your area and once you’ve ordered, you’ll be able to follow the progress of your order to see how far away your food is.

7. Banking Apps
Whether you bank with Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds or other high street banks, most banks provide an app so you can stay on top of your finances. The apps make it quick and easy to manage your bank accounts and money. You can check your balance before a night out so you know how much money you have available to spend, transfer money between accounts, pay your bills and even locate the nearest ATM to you, all from your mobile phone.