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Summer in the City

Posted 20 Apr 2014 by Nicola Elizabeth

 

March is the last month before the clocks go forward and do you know what that means?

SUMMER is coming! and I couldn't be more excited! I love summer so so much, and being at Kingston University has given me the opportunity to have so many summery days in London, so I thought I'd pass on my knowledge of how best to enjoy London in the sun. These are some of my favourite things to do when the sun is shining - 

  1. By far the cheapest and easiest - having my lunch outside; the river is just a short walk from the university, and there is plenty of space to chill out in the sunshine and have your lunch. In the afternoon/evening the river is the perfect place for a drink, with plenty of bars and pubs, where you can watch the sun go down.
  2. Taggs Boatyard is great if you want to set sail on the Thames, the boatyard is situated in Thames Ditton, just down the river from Kingston, and makes for a fun afternoon. http://www.taggsboatyard.co.uk/
  3. Richmond is a 6 mile walk along the river from Kingston, through Teddington and Twickenham, and when you get there it is definitely worth the walk, or taking the 65 bus.  The atmosphere in Richmond on a sunny day is great; there are always lots of people down by the river with takeaway cocktails and drinks from the local bars, as well as an ice cream van and often a man with his guitar entertaining. As you head further into Richmond there is a B@1, which is a must for cocktail lovers.
  4. London Zoo - whilst not the best zoo I have ever been too, it is a must when you are living in London. Usually offering 2 for 1 entry on the internet and late night opening in summer, it makes for a great day out! You'd find me by the giraffe enclosure, always been a big fan! http://www.zsl.org/zsl-london-zoo/
  5. Hyde Park is great, always different things going on, my favourite is the Boris bikes -http://www.tfl.gov.uk/roadusers/cycling/15155.aspx Check the website out for different events - http://www.royalparks.org.uk/whats-on The Serpentine has boat hire facilities available from Easter - October.
  6. The atmosphere around London is great when Wimbledon is on, and although the tickets can be quite pricey, there are cheaper ways to enjoy the tennis. All of the games are aired on large screens all over London and most pubs show the games, just makes sure you get there early so you get a good seat. To actually be there, you have to apply for tickets through a ballet process, by following this link - http://www.wimbledon.com/en_GB/tickets/index.html
  7. Hampton Court Lido - although the open air swimming pool is heated, to have a great day here, the weather needs to be hot! http://www.hamptonpool.co.uk/1-swimming/1_swimming.html
  8. In my first year at University I had an annual pass for Thorpe park as I am massive fan of roller coasters, and Thorpe Park is home to quite a few large rides, although watch out for when the school holidays are on as the queue can become very long -  http://www.thorpepark.com/ 
  9. I recently came across Epsom Race Course, and can't believe how close it is to Kingston. I am yet to go to an event there, as I have been so busy but have seen that they often have free race days, and am sure when the next one comes up I'll be clearing my diary. There is usually an ice cream van there most evenings throughout summer, and I have been a few times in the evening when you are welcome to walk around the course itself.
  10. My most recent find is Box Hill, which has got to be one of the beautiful places I have found locally, and reminds me of the Lake District so much. The stepping stone walk is great during the week, but can be very busy at the weekend. If you're not much of a walker, the views are great out of the car window also.

However you end up spending your summer, make sure you get out on those summery days, as we don't get many!

The Fun Before the Storm

Posted 17 Apr 2014 by Jacob

 

Health WeekYo guys!

So the last few weeks have been pretty hectic. The ever-looming threat of coursework deadlines draws ever closer, and I tremble in fear at its approach...or I would, if I hadn't been so busy doing other things! I've been filling my time with all the fun stuff that needs to get done before crunch time- with my first deadline due this month, it's work, work, work from here on out! Here's a recap:

It was Health Week at Uni recently- there was free fruit in the Cafeteria, Mini-Golf in the hallways and a Skittle Scooping contest(which I failed at miserably- don't judge! Throwing skittles with chopsticks requires Karate-Kid accuracy and concentration!). There was also an alcohol stand: we were shown the actual size of alcoholic units according to different glasses and drinks, which was a little shocking, to tell the truth! It's definitely something to be wary of on a night out- one unit of alcohol is usually much less than one drink.

I also managed to finish one of saddest books I've ever read: The Fault in our Stars by John Green is a real emotional rollercoaster, and I may have shed a man-tear or two at the end. I'd highly recommend it, whether you're a reader or not. It manages to vividly portray life as a terminal teenager all while pondering the universe and making you laugh out loud. There's also a hamster called Sisyphus- this fact alone should be enticing enough!Man Tears

And finally, I went to my first ever gig: All Time Low performed in the Brixton O2 Academy, and it was absolutely mind (and eardrum) blowing! Having been a drummer in a local band, I've performed small time gigs, but this was the first concert I'd ever been to with more than a hundred or so people. It was an ocean of pop-punk moshing, screaming fans, and face-meltingly good rock music. By the end I was a mess of bruises and battered limbs, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat!

As brilliant as all of this has been, it's going to be my last major excitement for a while: like I said, from here on out it's me and Microsoft Word till my work is done. Wish me luck guys, see ya later!

Money, Money, Money...

Posted 15 Apr 2014 by Molly

 

Although it's third year and probably not the best time, I've recently got into mini-breaks (I like calling them mini- breaks, as it makes them sound a lot more extravagant than they really are). Third year has been - as expected - more stressful than my other two years, and to get through this I have started using my money on Megabus tickets to various places in the UK. This weekend I am going to Scotlaaaaand! Oh and also I recently bought an accordion. And a festival ticket. I think you can probably see where this is going- I haven't really got much money left.

Money is often something that puts people off going to University, and with the rise in tuition fees it is easy to see why. However, it is perfectly doable. Loans and maintenance grants ensure that if you come from a low income background, you won't be living on toast for a year. I am not the best with money. As soon as I get it I tend to just spend it on useless things and alcohol. I have really tried to budget this year- I even bought a book to write budget-y things in- but I haven't been overly successful. And I have also lost the book. No matter though, because though I am hopeless at this kind of thing, I have learnt from my mistakes that there are things you can do (aside from getting a job):

- Pay all your rent as soon as you get your loan in. Just pay as many months in advance as possible. Same for your books- just buy them all at once as soon as you know what you need.

- Sainsbury's basics Vodka has seen me through many nights. And boxes of wine.

- Put money aside for bills. Open a savings account, and then put however much you think the bills will be in there.

- Buy a book to budget in (and don't lose it.)

- Buy all the tinned tomatoes you can carry. Honestly they have saved my life this year.

- Get a Waitrose loyalty card. I don't shop there but you get a free tea or coffee EVERYDAY.

- Become best pals with Lidl.

- Go to the market in Kingston town centre to get your fruit and vegetables- it's really cheap, nicer than in supermarkets and kinder to the world.

- Megabus is better than trains.

- Charity shops have the most amazing stuff if you're willing to search around a bit.

- Try not to have the heating on all the time. Gas is so expensive. We managed it in my house this year, and even though I had to wear gloves while typing essays, it was worth it for how much money we saved.

Give these things a go and hopefully you will save money! If you are struggling there are people that can help. You can go and talk to your bank and maybe get an overdraft to use in times of emergency.  The Student Life Centre at Kingston Uni is also really good when it comes to helping you budget and sort out your money troubles. I will leave the link for them here:

 http://www.kingston.ac.uk/money-matters/student-funding-service/

Try not to let the thought of having no money dissuade you from giving uni a go. Although it isn't always easy, I reckon it's worth it. Oh and in defence of spending money on an accordion, it was second hand and therefore not too expensive. I think it was worth every penny though I am unsure if my flatmates agree.

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