New Year New Start with King’s Wellbeing

New Year New Start: Build your vision for 2017

 Welcome back to King’s and Happy New Year!  As we step into 2017, our thoughts might be turning to academic and personal goals for the coming months.  Sometimes, we can be tempted to set ourselves lofty targets that leave us more stressed than motivated and feeling disappointed when we don’t meet our own expectations.  How many of us have banished all treats, signed up to the gym and pledged to spend an inordinate number of hours in the library, only to find ourselves binge-watching our favourite Netflix series, unhealthy snacks in hand a couple of weeks later?  We’ve all been there! And that’s OK.

NYNS email signature (002)

King’s Wellbeing takes a different approach.  Firstly, we want you to celebrate your achievements in 2016.  What went well? What are you proud of? Take a moment to reflect.  And what did you learn?  Even if everything didn’t go quite to plan, there is always something that we can take forward into the future to help us grow and we can feel proud of ourselves for making it through a difficult period.

Next week marks the start of our New Year New Start campaign and there’s a reason why we don’t subscribe to the ‘New Year New You’ motto that emerges every January.  We don’t believe that there’s anything wrong with the old you! We believe in the resourcefulness of all our students to build on the foundation that is already there and become the best version of themselves.

So, let’s not focus exclusively on what we want to change and dwell too much on the negatives.  Let’s look at where we want to be, what we want to achieve, and see 2017 as a year of new possibilities.  Try and focus on manageable and tangible goals as part of an incremental process of positive growth.  Don’t forget to recognise your successes along the way, however small, and remember to take care of your wellbeing!  If you’re struggling to identify your goals and how to get there and would benefit from some support, why not make an appointment for some wellbeing coaching?

 Don’t forget also that in addition to King’s Wellbeing, there are a multitude of services on campus to help you attain your academic, personal and health and fitness goals. Check out Study Skills, English Language Centre, King’s Sport and Be Active as a starting point.  If you’re trying to connect more with the KCL community, have a look at the KCLSU societies – from film and literature, to hot chocolate, to circus skills, there’s truly something for everyone! Looking for a friendly face and a listening ear to talk things over in confidence?  You can always get in touch with the KCL peer supporters or the Chaplaincy.  

For New Year New Start, King’s Wellbeing will also be around on every campus over the next two weeks to help you to get off on the right foot and provide a space to reflect on how to boost your wellbeing.  Join us for interactive stalls, relaxation workshops, yoga and more! New Year New Start needn’t be daunting and can even be fun!

 

Fight the Fads – Happy Healthy New Year!

Happy New Year and welcome back to the new term at King’s!  King’s Wellbeing hopes that 2017 will be a happy and fulfilling year for you and is here, as always, to help you reach your academic and personal goals. With the beginning of a new year often bringing resolutions for positive change, Fight the Fads reflect on how to aim for a healthy approach to food without resorting to fad diets.

With 2017 now upon us, it’s hard to not be sucked into that ‘New Year, New You’ mindset. It doesn’t help that the media (generally) makes us feel guilty about indulging ourselves a little over the festive period. But before you get conned into the latest celebrity-endorsed fads and crash diets, read these tips from the nutrition experts for a happy, healthy and fad-free new year. Selection of healthy food on rustic wooden background

We have one top-tip: ditch the diets! You may be surprised to learn that the majority of dieters regain the weight (and often more) that they worked so hard to lose. There are a number of proposed reasons for this high rate of weight regain, and it involves complex interactions between our biology (homeostatic system), the environment and our behaviour- all of which are influenced by genetics. You can read more about the research into this area by following this link.

 Have a Happy & Healthy 2017: Top Tips from the Nutrition Experts

“Banish guilt from your vocabulary. Set goals for what you want to achieve throughout 2017. Being healthy is not just for January.”

 Annemarie Knight, RD

“Focus new year resolutions on HEALTH not just weight e.g. physical activity or alcohol intake.”

Jessica Lockley, RD2b

“Everyone overeats when they’re tired, bored, down or stressed – it’s biology! Take the time to understand WHY you eat!”

Sophie Medlin, RD

“Walk/cycle to and from work.”

Dr Nicola Guess, RD

“Think nutrition not just calories when making food choices. Learn to cook/prepare your food. Make time to plan/eat/enjoy meals.”

Sinéad Curran, RD

“Ask for tupperware as gifts and take a packed lunch- only takes 10 minutes, saves you £s, and is often healthier!”

Chrissie Brown, RD2b

“Focus on getting the basics right – vegetables, highly processed food, movement & alcohol within guidelines!”

Helen West, RD

My “diet” vs. healthy eating radar:

X Cuts out an entire food group X

√ More fresh, less processed 

Dr Megan Rossi, RD

“Food wise: eat low processed foods as much as possible. Be mindful: Feed your emotional needs with something other than food.”

Mike Sweeney, RD

“Smash your scale and set positive health goals instead.”

Rebecca Scritchfield, RD

“Plan healthy meals in advance and get uses to writing shopping lists. Reduces waste and takes the stress out of thinking what to cook.”

Susan Short, RD

“Don’t buy out of habit, take extra time when food shopping to look at all fruit & veg stocked. What can you add to your diet?”

Clare Cremin, RD

“Have lots of healthy snacks on hand to avoid munching on biscuits etc.”

Maeve Hanan, RD

“For those of us who like meat, but know eating too much is unhealthy & unsustainable- Partial substitution of meat by pulses.”

Dr Terri Grassby, Lecturer in Food Sciences

“Downsize don’t Supersize…the problem may not be what you eat but how much! #portioncontrol

Leah McGrath, RD

 

Crafternooning for Mind and Winter Wellbeing Support

A great time was had by all recently at our two winter wellbeing crafternoon events. Of particular note was the creativity unleashed on our gingerbread figures, resulting in oompa loompas, a gingerbread Santa and some particularly snazzy outfits involving brightly-coloured sprinkles! However, underlying the festive snacks, biscuit decorating and general merriment was a serious message. The purpose of the event was to fund-raise and raise awareness of the mental health charity Mind.

crafternoon

Some of our wonderful creations at our Mind crafternoon event!

Since 1946, Mind, originally the National Association for Mental Health, has been working to provide empowering advice and support to anyone experiencing a mental health problem and to nurture a culture of support and respect. We loved the idea of a crafternoon for all that it represented; a chance to take a break from study, come together to strengthen existing connections and make new ones and open up dialogues around mental health, not to mention having fun!

Mind, and indeed KCL, recognise that for a variety of reasons, the holiday season can be a time of year that provokes strong emotions and may prove a source of additional stress and strain.  For this reason, it’s important that we take care of ourselves, are kind to ourselves and each other and know where to turn for support with our wellbeing.  Whatever we’re going through, there is help at hand if we know where to look.

With this in mind, we’ve collated some helpful resources on self-care over the winter and sources of wellbeing and mental health-related support.

  • Winter Wellbeing Guide: Includes fun hints and tips on how to keep each one of the King’s Ways to Wellbeing in check over winter and some organisations to contact if we need help and support over the holiday period.
  • Christmas in London: a summary of what is going on in London, alternative options for Christmas Day and King’s student services over the winter break.
  • KCL Global Lounge: A space at the Waterloo Campus open during the holiday period for KCL students staying in London to come together.  The space will be staffed by student ambassadors and there will be games, light refreshments and films.
  • Global Lounge Facebook Group 
  • Stand Alone Festive Guide, for people experiencing familial estrangement.
  • Kyle’s Blog for Mind on coping with depression and anxiety at Christmas.
  • Mind Infoline: Want to talk about mental health? Mind’s Infoline is there for you.
  • Samaritans provides emotional support 24/7 every day of the year over the phone and is open for face-to-face visits at its central London office throughout the festive season.
  • Sources of assistance or immediate support in the local community 

However you’re spending the holidays, King’s Wellbeing wishes you the very best and will be here for you again with more wellbeing-related events and activities in the New Year.

A Cheap and Cheerful Christmas!

This time of year can really stretch the purse strings.  If you’re keeping an eye on your finances but looking to get into the festive spirit, look no further than this blog post from student Money Mentor Claire.

Cheap and Cheerful Christmas

You may be slightly scared by the holidays, and think that you need to start checking down the side of the sofa for any spare coins, as Christmas is always seen as a holiday which will stretch you thin. But it is time to change that misconception. Here are some easy ways to have fun in the festive season on a budget.

 Homemade gifts

Do not underestimate your creativity and artistic skills. Yes you may stick your hands together with PVA glue and spend ages peeling it off, but that is part of the fun. It is amazing how much you can do with ribbon and pompoms. You can find them from any arts and crafts shop and although glitter may be messy when you are making cards for your friends and family, the sparkle you add for the snow is quite breath-taking and far more personal than any card from WHSmith.crafternon

 

Some homemade cards, decorations and festive gifts from King’s Wellbeing’s recent crafternoon event in aid of mental health charity Mind.

 

 

If you are stuck on gift ideas, check out this website for a list of homemade presents and links to tutorials so you can do it yourself: https://www.buzzfeed.com/peggy/cheap-and-easy-last-minute-diy-gifts-theyll-actually-want?utm_term=.pjJv8n2z9#.xyMRLvwAy

If you are a baker, then now is your time to throw on the apron and oven mits.  Pintrest and other websites have a huge collection of recipes (https://uk.pinterest.com/explore/christmas-recipes/) but if you are ever in doubt, add cinnamon or nutmeg to whatever you are baking and it is bound to make the kitchen smell wonderful and festive.

Carolling

‘Tis the season to be jolly. Fa la la la la, la la la la. (I bet you sang that in your head didn’t you?)carollers

Well, why not try singing out loud? Christmas carolling is a long lost tradition which I feel should be brought back to life. Grab your mittens and woolly hats and go singing with your friends! It is a lovely way to spend the evening with your nearest and dearest. Belt your heart out (don’t worry, mulled wine can help if you are feeling a bit shy). It is Christmas after all – the season of joy and goodwill – so your neighbours are sure to smile and may even join in, or offer you a mince pie for your efforts.

 Christmas Dinner

Warning: Do NOT go shopping on Christmas eve or even two days before that. The queues are likely to be huge and people can get aggressive when you are both eyeing up the last turkey on the shelf.

Make a list and stock up. There are often great offers on mince pies and nibbles so keep your eyes peeled. Carrots, parsnips and brussel sprouts also become very cheap in the weeks leading up to Christmas so why not buy extra? Cook a lot on Christmas day and then freeze the leftovers. Or just keep the extra veg in the fridge for a week later. Check the packets and buy the ones with long best before dates.

If you are having a whole turkey or chicken, don’t throw away the bones! They make a lovely soup which will help you keep warm in the chilly evenings and you can even add those extra carrots you bought to squeeze in one of your five a day. (http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/moms_turkey_soup/)

Honestly though, after Christmas if when you get the real bargains. Supermarkets always overbuy and try to frantically get rid of stock in January so, even if you may be sick of figgy pudding at the moment, February blues is bound to make you go back to those Christmas cravings, so buy it while it is cheap and indulge in a post-Christmas pick-me-up!

Finally, I hate to be cheesy, but it is honestly true – Christmas isn’t about saving or spending money. It is about being with friends and family and creating priceless memories together. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!’

Don’t forget that our Money Mentors are here all year round during term to give guidance on making the most of your money, whatever your budget.  For specialist and detailed advice on your financial options please contact the Student Advice team. 

Volunteering for Samaritans – Shannon’s Experience Part 2

King’s alumna Shannon’s experience as a University Outreach Volunteer for Samaritans was challenging, rewarding and gave her pause for thought. In this installment of our blog series on mental wellbeing, Shannon outlines the duties she undertook as part of her role and describes the impact it had on her own perspective of mental health. Samaritans right way up

My Role

 As I was unable to dedicate the hours that would be required to become a listening volunteer, I opted to take on a role in the outreach division – which resulted in one of the most positive and fulfilling experiences of my life. In this role, it was my responsibility to contact universities (the counselling services, libraries, university halls, student societies, and more) to organise meetings with those who we might be able to assist in promoting the Samaritans to students.

Upon meeting with university staff in their respective divisions, I was surprised to find them enthusiastic about advertising our services, having been worried that it might be perceived as potential competition. However, the vast majority of counselling services were happy to have us on board, seeing us a means of additional support for their students- particularly those on the services waiting list.

samaritans

Thus, it was apparent to me that Samaritans was generally welcomed by university mental health services. The wellbeing of the students was paramount, and Samaritans already had a good name- it sold itself. Hence it took little effort on my part to arrange meetings with university facilities where I could talk about the full range of services that Samaritans had to offer, and what would be of most benefit to students. In conjunction with this, I focused on getting Samaritans advertised via various electronic means: in emails that got sent to students, on their webpages, on the counselling services application site, and all over the university on plasma screens where possible (i.e. campuses and libraries). This was so that students were aware that Samaritans knew how stressful university could be- and that they wanted to help.

The role also altered my own perspective on mental illness. Whilst I had my own experiences with it, and did not view it as something that should be stigmatised, it became clear through working at Samaritans just how limited my understanding was. The people who worked there were so much more open than me- and needed to be if they were going to be on the telephone, facing individuals with problems that I myself might find difficult to empathise with. However, as advertised, the service is completely judgment free – this means that no matter what the problem, or what the caller is experiencing, the volunteers wanted to hear it. samaritans number

Working in this role taught me that mental illness can take many forms: it wasn’t limited to existential depression, but rather could be triggered by any number of factors: from routine boredom to the loss of a loved one. All callers are offered the same befriending service- Samaritans understood that small triggers can lead to some pretty big feelings, something that I was taught during my time there.

I also learnt a lot about the vast amount of services that were offered at universities in an attempt to assist students who may be suffering from mental illness. This is particularly pertinent with the newly formed wellbeing service at King’s, and also the  peer listening volunteers trained by the Counselling Service. The support networks for struggling students were expanding, and it was evident to me that mental health was finally being treated with the importance that it deserved. Samaritans wanted to be part of this development in university culture, and encouraged the openness with which mental health was finally being addressed. WP_20160204_12_09_16_Pro

Shannon with some of the KCL peer supporters and Freddie and Julia from King’s Sport and King’s Wellbeing at last year’s ‘Time to Talk’ event.

One example of my active involvement during my time with Samaritans, whilst being a student myself at Kings, was taking part  in the ‘Time to Talk’ event run by the recently set up King’s Wellbeing team. The role consisted of manning a stall and going out from this base to approach students to encourage conversations around mental health. This simple job proved incredibly challenging at first- approaching cliques of students who seemed to be having DMCs was no easy task! However, once we got talking with some of them, it became apparent that the majority had encounters with mental illness- be it a personal experience, or a vicarious one through a friend or a loved one. The event was all about removing the stigma around mental health  and working towards an environment that was open to talking about emotional problems – without regarding them a sign of individual weakness, as has long been the case. It was all about encouraging individuals to broach the day-to-day stresses that, if left unacknowledged, could have serious implications: an initiative that Samaritans had been encouraging since it first began in 1953.

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The quickest way to contact the Samaritans and get a response is by phone on 116 123, this number is FREE to call 24 hours a day. You can also contact them via email, text, the web and by letter. http://www.samaritans.org/   

Samaritans phone lines will be open 24/7 throughout Christmas and new year  and their centre in central London is  open for face-to-face visitors between 9am and 9pm every day throughout this period.

 

Student Support Spotlight: Disability Advisory Service

In this month’s Student Support Spotlight, Assistant Disability Advisor Shaalinie Sivalingham outlines her own role within the Disability Advisory Service and how the team can support students with disabilities during their time at King’s. Shaalinie also fills us in on some of the special events and projects the team has been working on this year, in particular two events which aimed to ease the transition process for new students and help them make the most of their time at KCL.

I am one of three Assistant Disability Advisers (ADA) based in the Disability Advisory Service (DAS).  To find out more about DAS, please do check out our service introduction video on King’s College London YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1z_WedxQRwo.

As an ADA,  my priorities as are to be as easily accessible as possible to assist with quick queries such as disability funding and applying for Personal Examination Provisions, to promoting the range of internal support available such as on line resources and group study skills workshops.  In addition, I am here to meet with students who may wish to have a chat about study-related difficulties.  Starting in the New Year, we will be offering drop-in services across the four main campuses to help answer immediate concerns.  These will mainly take place in the library Pod spaces and more information can be found at:

http://www.kcl.ac.uk/campuslife/services/disability/howwecanhelp/appointmentsdropins.aspx

I also work on transition and engagement projects.  During August and September, our service delivered two transition events for incoming disabled students.  The first event took place at the end of August and supported students who had declared a mental health condition or autistic spectrum condition.  Seventeen students came along during the day and took part in taster sessions delivered by King’s Sport, Wellbeing, mentoring services, with around ten experiencing a night in student accommodation and enjoyed an evening social event.   This gave students the opportunity to reflect on living away from home.

DAS healthy snacking

Session on healthy snacking delivered by the Nutrition and Dietetics Society at our transition event

The later transition event invited incoming mobility or sight-impaired students to settle into their halls of residence up to a week ahead of the main enrolment period.  The two day programme included a student ambassador-led alternative campus tour, a library induction from the disability lead, interactive activities introduced by Ben Hunt, President of KCLSU and led by three societies; Dietetics and Nutrition, Magic and Hypnosis and Drama Improvisation!  Representatives from Transport for London Mentoring Service accompanied students to Blackfriars Station and shared the accessible features available and their top tips for navigating around London. The Royal London Society for Blind People gave a talk on using access technology and shared details of their London based social groups.  The option to access early enrolment was offered to both groups.

DAS umbrellas

A wet alternative campus tour led by the Student Ambassadors. We were warmed up by complementary coffee provided by Fleet Street Press!

At King’s we have approximately 2,745 students who identify as having a disability.  Just to clarify, disability for us includes students with long term medical or mental health             conditions and specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia.  If you have a diagnosed condition and are experiencing difficulties but have yet to engage with the team, please do contact us to discuss possible support options to help with your engagement with your course.  Similarly, if you are experiencing difficulties with your studies, come and discuss the barriers to your engagement to see if there may be support solutions that will help.  I like to think that we are a friendly team and we offer confidential appointments in person, by telephone and Skype!

If you have questions about anything covered in this blog or you would like to share your experience of accessing support with us, please contact me through phone 020 78488571, email, disability@kcl.ac.uk.   Alternatively, if you happen to be near to the Strand Campus, pop into our office which is located within Student Services, floor minus 1, Macadam Building or come along to a drop in.

Volunteering for Samaritans – Shannon’s Experience

samaritans profile picIn the first of two posts about the invaluable services offered by Samaritans to those both in crisis and in need of a listening ear and emotional support, King’s alumna Shannon Whyborne blogs about her experience of volunteering as a University Outreach Volunteer. In today’s post, Shannon describes what she learned about Samaritans as an organisation and the different ways in which they offer help and support.

During my third and final year at King’s, I took on the role as University Outreach Volunteer with the Central London Samaritans. Already concerned with the importance of mental wellbeing, and having heard the Samaritan name on multiple occasions, I knew the role was something that I would care for, and I wasn’t disappointed- working with Samaritans was a truly amazing experience. 

 Samaritans samaritans

I was asked to visit the facility before accepting the role. The place was hidden away in a sort of alcove in the street, and at first I wondered at the reason for this- surely Samaritans would want to be as obvious as possible, so as to remind people of their presence? This was because I, like most people, assumed that Samaritans was a solely telephone-based charity, where people on the edge of committing suicide would phone up to be talked down- worthy work by anyone’s standards. However when I arrived, Mark – the central London Samaritans Outreach manager – showed me around the facilities and I realised that the Samaritans was a lot more diverse than I had first thought.

 First of all, it was diverse in the range of people that contacted them. It wasn’t just the extreme cases but anyone who just needed someone to offload onto (which would be a large part of my role, in encouraging students to get in contact whenever the demands of university were getting them down or stressed). The link to universities was inevitable with the high educational standards imposed on students, in conjunction with the busy university counselling services (where students may find themselves on a waiting list for a while). It was clear that some students would benefit from an additional source of support for something that couldn’t afford to be neglected.

 Secondly, I was surprised to discover that Samaritans was diverse in the way in which it samaritans numberassisted- not only did they provide services over the phone, email or text, but they also encouraged people to drop into the Central London facility for a face-to-face visit (the reason for tucking the building away), which offered the same service, but on an arguably more personal level. Furthermore, the volunteers utilised the same skills with the people that dropped in as they did with those who phoned, so that everyone is provided the same, high quality service- with the added benefit of a cup of tea for those who wanted a face-to-face!

 For those that do opt for visiting the office, they are first welcomed into a spacious waiting room where they are offered a hot beverage and a chance to sit down. As soon as someone from the telephone office is available (i.e. no longer on the phone), the individual seeking help is invited into one of the small one-to-one rooms (of which there are about five). This way, the meeting is completely confidential, and so the visitor is able to share in complete confidence.

 Next to the small meeting rooms is the telephone office, where the volunteers are located behind a glass panel (so that the conversations remain completely confidential) with the staff break out room adjacent. In the break out area, volunteers are able to recompose after calls (or emails and texts) and catch up with their line manager who can talk them through their call. This is especially pertinent where volunteers have just had a particularly stressful call. Samaritans were focused on caring for the emotional needs of their own volunteers as well as those calling. This is something that I found particularly important, as mental wellbeing was relevant to everyone. If the volunteers weren’t looked after then how could they be expected to aide those calling? Therefore it was evident that Samaritans had considered everything: the wellbeing of their volunteers as well as those calling their services.

The quickest way to contact the Samaritans and get a response is by phone on 116 123, this number is FREE to call 24 hours a day. You can also contact them via email, text, the web and by letter. http://www.samaritans.org/  

A Merry Christmas on a Budget

Some words of wisdom from Money Mentor Claire on celebrating the festive season in style without spending a fortune.  Don’t forget too that next week is ‘Claim It! Week‘ raising awareness of student funding and discounts.  Comes in very handy at this time of year!

Halloween is Over, Now we can Talk About Christmas

It is nearly Christmas! Yay – lights, songs, presents! Sadly though, it is also nearly the end of your first term at university, which means your bank account is looking as sparse as the North Pole.

So what can you do to save money in the festive season? No one wants to be a complete miserly Scrooge, but here is my advice on how to have fun and be merry with only one glass of Mulled Wine.

 1. Lightslights

Bond Street, Regent Street and Oxford Street are all next to one another and their close proximity means they compete for who can dangle the brightest lights above our heads. It is a spectacular sight to see, and as the days get shorter, you don’t even have to wait too long in the evening before it is dark enough to enjoy them. Although the expensive shops lining the streets may not be free, the walks though London’s most iconic roads are, so grab a friend and light up their world.

carnaby 2. Shopping Events

We still have one month before we have to buy gifts and wrap them up with bows and ribbons, but if you are as indecisive as I am, then we had better start thinking about what to buy for our loved ones now. Thankfully, we can have some fun while doing it at Carnaby Street and Seven Dials. These are two lesser well known areas near Regent Street and Covent Garden, but they are packed with a huge variety of shops. What’s better, is that they have a Launch Street Party on the 12th and 17th of November respectively, where they will have live music and complimentary food and drink. Loads of shops will be offering discounts for that evening too (and I can almost guarantee there will be a photo booth) so go along to make stressful Christmas shopping more manageable.

https://www.carnaby.co.uk/news-and-events/your-free-carnaby-christmas-shopping-party-ticket/

https://www.sevendials.co.uk/events/seven-dials-christmas-2016/

 3. Skate at Somerset House 

We are King’s students, so going ice skating right next to campus in a stunning venue is asomerset house must. Plus, we can get student discount so the tickets are only £8.50 (although this is only valid at certain times – see the website link below for details).

There are also special events like Club Nights and the Pop-Up Fortnum & Mason shop next to the rink will make an avid coffee drinker like myself, turn to tea for the evening.

https://www.somersethouse.org.uk/whats-on/skate-somerset-house

Birthday Hacks: Happy birthday KCL Money Mentors!

It’s KCL Student Money Mentors’ first birthday!  For a year now, this dedicated group of financially savvy students has been on hand to help support the KCL student community, giving guidance on making their money go that bit further at uni. 

Following her top tips for freshers and to celebrate their one year anniversary, Money Mentor Claire is back with her take on a how to indulge yourself on your birthday without breaking the bank! The Money Mentors will also be about on all campuses next week for the annual Claim It campaign.

Thanks KCL Student Money Mentors and KCL Money Advice for all your hard work!

And if it’s your birthday today… have a good one!

Birthday Hacks

Happy Birthday! You are another year older, but despite all that wisdom which comes with your many years, you are still getting a grey hair or two when you think about your finances. Listen up, here are three gifts you can give yourself which will make your birthday even more special.

1. Krispy Kreme

I have started with the one you probably already know about, and if you don’t, have your eyes been glazed over for the past decade? (okay, bad pun)donut

Krispy Kreme will give you a free glazed doughnut on your birthday, and also for three friends/ family members when you add their birthdays to your profile (it is supposed to be your treat from you, to them, but I promise I won’t tell anyone if you accidentally eat it on the way home) Not only this, but when you sign up to the newsletter, you get another complimentary glazed doughnut – we are nearly at half a dozen now, and haven’t spent a penny!

2. Ed’s Easy Diner

American Fast Food Chains seem to be sneaking up everywhere, and getting more and more popular. You can’t say no to a thick, creamy, traditional American milkshake, even in the middle of winter, so I recommend you down to Ed’s diner. When you sign up their newsletter, you will receive a free burger (with purchase of a drink) for registering, and then a free milkshake of your choice on your birthday.

 bday cake3Konditor & Cook

I have saved my favourite one for last. I came across this by chance when I was walking through Borough Market, marvelling at the delicious food I would never be able to afford, when a spectacular cake caught my eye. As much as a showstopper as Tom’s cake in Botanical Week on the Great British Bake Off, I was drawn towards the window of Konditor & Cook, and it was there that I saw the card asking for my email address, persuading me to part with my personal information so I could get a free slice of cake on my birthday.

Now, if you have been lucky enough to try a cake from this sensational shop then you will understand that any other Mini Chocolate Brownie Bites are no comparison. It is certainly the sweetest loyalty scheme I have ever found.

(FYI – the nearest store to Guy’s Campus is at Borough Market, and the nearest one to Waterloo/Strand is just behind Waterloo train station. If anyone decides to go, let me know, and I will give you my card to stamp – if you buy 6 slices of cake your 7th is free. ;) These people really ought to give me commission….)

And so I wish you many happy returns of the day. :D

Close this blog, turn off the computer and go and celebrate your birthday in style. You never know, maybe someone slipped a £20 note into the envelope with the birthday card…

Fight The Fads – Embrace Frozen and Tinned Fruit and Veg

Healthy eating on a student budget isn’t always easy.  Fortunately, student dietitians Elisabeth, Caroline and Harriet aka Fight The Fads have first hand experience of finding ways to eat well without spending a fortune.  This month, they’re extolling the virtues of frozen and tinned fruit and veg!

Embrace Frozen and Tinned Fruit and Vegetables!

 Fruits and Vegetables are packed full of vitamins and minerals and all-important fibre to keep your gut healthy!

However as students on a bfrozen fruitudget, we all know fresh food is often the most expensive, and it can be tempting to cut back on these items to save money.

Although eating fresh, local produce soon after harvesting is ideal, research has found that there aren’t substantial differences in the nutrient content of tinned /frozen as opposed to fresh fruit and veg: great news for the health-conscious student!

Although certain water-soluble vitamins may be lost during the processing, the extent to which this occurs may be less than the losses occurred during cooking.

Often canned/tinned produce is processed straight after harvesting which prevents oxidation and therefore conserves the nutrient content.