Easter round up

Woah, life has been super busy recently, so I thought it was worth doing a post briefly talking about some of the stuff I’ve been up to in the last few weeks…

Back in March I managed to fit in two friends from home coming to visit. It was really lovely to see them, and was a great excuse to wander around all the best bits of Norwich, and eat a lot of cake and drink a lot of tea in various tea shops. It’s not always easy to find time to see friends from home so it was great to spend time with both of them!

I became Vice-President of the Christian Union in February, and a lot of my time since then has been taken up by meetings and planning, but it’s really exciting to be involved with helping to run a student society. At the end of March we did our Easter outreach, handing out free hot cross buns and Easter eggs in the hive. This was so fun to be involved in, and hopefully you liked it if you were around campus on the last day of term!

I didn’t go home straight away for Easter, but I did pop home to surprise my Mum for Mother’s Day. I’m lucky to only live about an hour away from Norwich on the train, so I could visit for a day and then head back. Despite living quite close, this term I haven’t had time to make it home to visit at all, so it was great to finally go home, especially for Mother’s Day.

I then spent about a week back in Norwich, trying to get some work done before heading home for Easter. This meant a lot of library time, but it also meant breaks by the lake or Earlham Park with my housemate Tara, which was really nice, and the weather was beautiful.

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Isn’t she cute

That week we also returned to visit Blickling Hall, a National Trust stately home in Norfolk. Our friend Becky volunteers there and we got to spend a day with her, enjoying the beautiful gardens and exploring the house with Becky as our own private tour guide! Blickling Hall has to be one of my favourite places and I loved getting to visit again. We also fitted in a brief trip to Cromer to see the sea before heading home.

When I finally left Norwich, I brought my friend Sarah home with me to stay for a few days. Sarah is a study abroad student over for the year from Canada , and although my hometown isn’t quite as exciting as Canada, it was so much fun to have her to stay. We visited Southwold for the day and won our fortune on the penny machines (when I say fortune, I mean several keyrings and a weird toy mole). Southwold is my favourite seaside town, but it’s quite difficult to reach by public transport from Norwich, so being able to drive there (shoutout to my parents) was a great opportunity to go. We also went to Sutton Hoo, a local National Trust site where an Anglo-Saxon ship burial had been discovered. To be completely honest, as a historical site it’s pretty underwhelming (basically a field with some mounds) but the weather made it a nice place to spend the day and it’s always a strong site for a picnic.

The Easter holidays themselves have gone super quickly (possibly because I’m not actually at home for that long!). I’ve managed to fit in catching up with friends, and seeing some family who visited for Easter, which has been lovely. Summer term looks like it will be just as busy as last term, and we’re now on the countdown to exams which I’m managing to ignore fairly successfully so far. But for now I’m back in Norwich for just under a week before term begins next Monday…hopefully trying to fit in some work – wish me luck.

Student Cookbook: The Best Brownies

What a recipe I have for you today…This makes some of the best brownies I’ve ever had (which makes sense when you see the worrying amount of chocolate and sugar that goes into them). This makes around 12 large brownies, so get baking and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 200g plain chocolate
  • 175g unsalted butter
  • 325g caster sugar
  • 130g plain flour
  • 3 eggs

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170c
  2. Break up the chocolate and butter and melt them in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water
  3. Remove the bowl from the heat. Add sugar and mix. Then add flour and mix. Finally add the eggs and mix.
  4. Spoon the mixture into a baking pan (lined with baking paper)
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes until flaky on top but still soft in the middle. Enjoy!!

brownies

Halls vs House

Last year I was living in student halls on campus for my first year of university. If you want to find out more about what my accommodation was like, check out this post. This year, I’ve moved off campus and into a student house in Norwich, which has been a very different experience! Having lived off campus for a while now, I thought it would be good to do a little comparison of the different experiences you get living on and off campus.

Friends – One of the biggest differences I noticed when moving off campus was the change of having my friends so much more spread out. In first year, so many of my friends were also living on campus, meaning no one was further than 10 mins away from me. Now, my friends are spread across Norwich, making it a lot harder to pop round and see people. I’ve found you have to be a lot more intentional in organising to meet up with friends, but a lot of my friends live in groups together so it’s nice to hang out in a house and not worry about getting in the way of their other housemates.

Living environment – Living in student halls means you get a small room to yourself which can be a bit of an adjustment when most of us are used to having a whole house to roam around. I personally really enjoyed having a space that I could make my own but it’s also easy for your room to feel a bit claustrophobic if you’re spending too much time in your flat. There’s also limitations on how far you can personalise such a small space and I think overall for living environment I prefer living off campus in a house. This year we’ve been able to really make our student house feel like a home, and it’s so nice to come home to fairy lights and bunting rather than leftover takeaway boxes.

Housemates – First year is always a bit strange because you are thrown together with complete strangers to live with for a year. This isn’t a bad thing – it’s a pretty unique opportunity to make friends with people you might never have spent time with otherwise – but it is nice to be able to live with people of your choice in year two. I’m living in a small house this year, with just three of us. It’s been so lovely to live with two of my closest friends and I’m really enjoying having a smaller house (in comparison to the flat of 12 I was in last year!)

Location -I loved living on campus because everything you needed was just a short walk away, which was SO handy. This year I live a 30 min walk away from campus, which makes a big difference in terms of getting into uni each day. Living off campus means you have to plan ahead to make sure you take everything you need for the day, and you have to wake up earlier to get to morning lectures. I live on a bus route which is super helpful, but I do miss everything being so close. Having said that, it’s nice to live closer to town, and it means I’ve got to know Norwich better, rather than being stuck in the ‘student bubble’ of campus. But overall I would say make the most of being on campus, because you’ll miss the convenience when it’s gone!

Living off campus is very different to living in halls, but they’re both really enjoyable opportunities. Overall, I think I prefer living in a house, but I definitely enjoyed staying in my university room last year, and I do miss having everything so close. There’s also a huge range of student housing in Norwich, from houses next door to campus to houses close to the city centre. We’ve signed to stay on in our house next year because it’s worked so well for us, but be aware that there’s always the chance to move house again in your third year!

10 Reasons to Choose UEA

The UCAS deadline for applying to university has been and gone…which means you now have to wait patiently for offers and start thinking about what university you want to attend in September. So without further ado, I present to you: 10 reasons to choose UEA

1.Our Campus – If the only experience you have of UEA is an open day in the rain, you might not believe me here, but I promise you – you will love campus. Why not check out my post about the lake to see a few snaps of how stunning the broad is. When I visited UEA, I didn’t like the Ziggarats, but now I’m prepared to defend their unique beauty to anyone who dares suggest they look bad – love them or hate them, they’re iconic.

2. Snapchat filters – just putting this out there, UEA has some pretty great snapchat geofilters. If you come to UEA, be sure to send numerous snaps all with a lovely ‘oh UEA is wonderful’ filter to your friends at other universities to make sure they know what they’re missing.

3. Student Satisfaction – Last year UEA came joint third in mainstream university student satisfaction in the National Student Survey. It’s also the only English mainstream university to achieve a top-five ranking every year since the survey began in 2005. Not bad.

4. Norwich/Norfolk – Norfolk is a beautiful (and often overlooked) part of the UK. Norwich itself is a great city, with so much to do and see. I love it so much that I can’t do justice to it here, but check out my posts on Great Yarmouth, Cromer, Blickling Hall, exploring Norwich and a day in Norwich for a lil’ taster of the stuff you can get up to here.

5. Rabbits – there’s a whole lotta rabbits around campus. They’re sure to brighten up your day on your way to a lecture, and ‘The UEA Rabbit’ has it’s own twitter account. There’s also rumours that if you manage to catch a rabbit and bring it to the bar, you’ll get a free drink, but after you’ve tried chasing a rabbit (everyone has, let’s be honest) you’ll realise it’s not so easy.

6. Sainsburys Centre – In a mostly concrete campus, the Sainsburys Centre for Visual Arts really stands out. Despite being designed at the same time as the Ziggarats, it looks really futuristic – hence why it’s also famous for being used as Avengers HQ in the Avengers films! If you’re into art, it’s a lovely place to spend the afternoon, or if, like me, you’re more into food, the cafe there does some great things and you get a lovely view out of the glass side.

7. Music – UEA and Norwich has a great reputation for live music and gigs. The LCR on campus hosts all sorts of great musicians and groups, and Norwich has lots of amazing venues like the Waterfront, Norwich Arts Centre and smaller independent places. UEA also has some great music societies and organisations that put on events and concerts through the year. Check out my post on music in Norwich and the UEA Choir’s Christmas Carol Concert to find out a bit more.

8. Societies/opportunities – UEA has over 200 student clubs and societies to choose from so there’ll definitely be at least one thing you want to get involved in. Societies brings loads of really cool opportunities, like getting involved in student radio or news, trips abroad and a chance to make some great friends. Outside of societies, UEA has loads of other amazing opportunities – for example, getting a job as a student ambassador gave me opportunities like running this blog, being on the radio and mentoring at a local school. Also don’t forget events like Pimp My Barrow in the summer, which is unique to UEA.

9. Atmosphere – this is hard to explain, but I think UEA just has a really nice atmosphere on campus. When I applied to university, I applied to quite a range of universities, some of which felt like they had quite intimidating reputations. UEA seems to have escaped this, because it feels so friendly. In my university open day experiences, UEA stood out as a university where I felt I could imagine myself enjoying living there. I wasn’t wrong, and I think this friendly atmosphere is part of why UEA ranks so highly for student satisfaction.

10. Sportspark – into sports? Well look no further. UEA is home to the Sportspark, currently the biggest indoor sports centre in Britain. It’s got a climbing wall and an Olympic-sized swimming pool and I’m pretty sure it will cater for any sport you could ever wish to play at university.

So there you have it, 10 reasons to choose UEA. I hope this has been helpful for any of you currently trying to choose a university! If you’re a UEA student and you have any other favourite parts about the uni, why not leave them in the comments below?

Student Cookbook: Vegetable Curry

Not sure what to have for dinner tonight? Well look no further, because today’s recipe is Sam Brown’s famous vegetable curry. This made enough food for 5 of us, with leftovers, so change the quantities of the ingredients as needed.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 potatoes
  • 6 carrots
  • 2 peppers
  • 1 onion
  • Fresh chili pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 500g passata
  • Single cream
  • Rice

ingredients

METHOD:

1) Put some olive oil into a pan and bring to medium heat. Dice the onion and thinly chop the garlic, then add both.

2) Thinly slice the carrots and the potatoes (it is important they’re thin, or they might not be soft enough come serving time!). Boil two pans of water, and place the carrots and potatoes in the pans for a few minutes. Don’t boil them all the way though- it’s important not to overcook them!

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3) Drain the carrots and potatoes and add to the pan with the onion and garlic.

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4) Add the passata sauce to the pan and stir it in. Chop up the pepper and a chili pepper and add to the pan.

5) Add as much cream as you want to achieve the colour you so desire.

6) Put the rice on, along with whatever else you might be having with your curry (naan bread, samosas, etc)

rice

7) After 15 minutes, drain the rice, take the curry off the heat, and serve.

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Story Norwich

Last semester was super busy for me, and one of the reasons it was so hectic was because I’m involved in planning a week of events in February 2017 called Story Norwich, which I’m really excited about! Being at uni brings so many amazing opportunities, and the project has been one of the most challenging but rewarding things I’ve been involved in so far. I hope Story Norwich will be something loads of students can get involved in and enjoy…

Story Norwich is a week of events hosted by UEA Christian Union, from the 5th – 10th February. There’ll be events every day on campus – free food and drink, live music, lunchtime and evening talks from guest speakers and a chance to hear from members of the Christian Union.

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We all have a story, and we’d love for you to join us as we explore how our stories are shaped and what they mean. Come along to our events to hear stories of lives that have been changed by God, investigate the gospel story and uncover your own story. All events are free, and you don’t need to sign up.

We’re kicking off the week with free live music in the LCR from the band Lion of Judah on Sunday 5th February at 7.30pm. Then at 1pm each day we’ll be serving a free lunch and covering some ‘big question’ topics such as ‘is the Bible reliable?’ and ‘why does God allow suffering?’. Our evening events start at 7.30pm, with homemade cakes and hot drinks and we’ll hear stories of identity, acceptance, and purpose. To find out more about all our events, you can check out the full week timetable here and our Facebook event here.

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In the lead up to Story Norwich, we’ve been releasing stories from members of the CU on social media. There are some really amazing stories of how CU members have encountered God in their lives, and it’s also a great way to get to know the CU a bit better! Head over to our Facebook page to read some of the stories so far, and more can be found on our website. You can stay up to date with Story Norwich and our events by liking our Facebook page or you can also find us on Instagram and Twitter!

It’s gonna be an incredible week. All the events are totally free of charge so we’d love for you to come along to any or all events! If you want to know more about Christianity or the CU it’s a great chance to hear about what we believe and ask any questions you have. Even if you’re not sure, drop in for a hot drink and a chat – all are welcome!

See you there!

2017

So I know the 12th January is a bit late to do a classic new year reflection post, but hey, let’s go with it…I thought I would do a little update on how the end of 2016 went and what I have coming up in 2017:

First term of second year went SO fast. I know in a couple of posts from my first year I talked about how quickly the year went, but nothing could have prepared me for quite how quickly year two is going. I think being involved in a lot more things and having more work means the weeks just disappear!

In my ‘Second Year‘ post, I talked about being a bit apprehensive about last terms modules. My expectations turned out to be pretty spot on – I found Anglo-Saxons and Modern Germany quite tricky but I loved Tudor and Stuart Britain. Anglo-Saxon England was the module I most struggled with – I’ve never studied it before, and it quickly became apparent that it wasn’t an area of history that I particularly liked. Although it was a nice contrast studying something so new to me, it definitely won’t be a period of history I chose to study again, and all I can do is cross my fingers and hope for decent essay marks! On the other hand, studying Tudor and Stuart Britain more than made up for this. The Tudor period is probably my favourite period of history and the teaching was really good. I genuinely looked forward to seminars which is pretty unusual for me! For my summative essay, instead of picking from the list of questions I made up my own essay question – ‘what were the limitations of female monarchy in the Tudor period?’. This was really nice because it meant I could write about a topic that really interested me and take it into quite specific detail. Getting to study stuff like this reminds me why I love history!

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Still managing a few lake walks in second year

So, looking forward to 2017, I’m excited about next term – but simultaneously kinda terrified by the amount of stuff that’s going to happen in one term! Last year the spring semester was really busy, and I don’t think this year will be any different. New term means new modules, and I’m a lot more hopeful about these modules than I was about last terms. I’m also more involved in society stuff than I was last year – in February the Christian Union has a big event, Story Norwich, coming up (more about this in a future post) and this will all take up a lot of my time. Spring semester also seems to bring a lot of peoples birthdays (including mine), and as the weather gets better, so does the opportunity for day trips. The end of this semester means exams, and that means lots of revision because second year marks count! As well as that, I would really like to try and get some kind of summer job/internship. A lot of applications for summer internships close in January/February time so I’m sure I’ll enjoy a month or so of frantically trying to find places to apply to.

Phew, that’s a lotta stuff.

2017 feels like quite an uncertain year for me but hopefully another year packed with oppurtunities. The end of my second year feels quite far away now, but I’m sure it won’t be long until I’m writing my next round up of the year!

 

A Day in the Life

University is full of exciting opportunities and experiences – in the last year I’ve been to Berlin, been on the radio, listened to Rowan Williams speak, experienced the joy of ‘Pets as Therapy’ , explored Norwich, visited Great Yarmouth and Cromer to name just a few things.

But unfortunately, day-to-day life as a student does involve more typical things like attending lectures and seminars and working in the library. To give you a flavour of what an average day of university work is like, myself and some of the other student bloggers from UEA have each written a short piece about our average days for The Student Room. You can check out what we’ve written here.

If you want to read more from the other student bloggers, you can find their blogs through the UEA website.

UEA Choir Christmas Carol Concert

My deadlines were officially over on Monday, and that meant it was time to start getting into the Christmas spirit – and what better way to do so than a carol concert? On Wednesday evening, my housemate Susanna and I attended the UEA Choir Christmas carol concert at the Roman Catholic Cathedral. I’d never been inside the Roman Catholic Cathedral before, and it didn’t disappoint. It’s such a beautiful building and makes for a stunning venue for a carol service.

The concert itself included performances by UEA Choir and UEA Chamber Choir and they were SO GOOD. As someone who isn’t blessed with the gift of tuneful singing, hearing choirs perform never ceases to amaze me. The choirs included students, staff and members of the local community – so it was nice to see a few of my university friends perform.

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The programme was a mix of choir performances and some classic Christmas carols for audience participation. The Director of UEA Choir, Tom Primrose, gave some interesting background on a few of the songs between pieces. My particular favourite was finding out that about the carol ‘Quelle est cetter odeur agreable?’, which roughly translates as ‘what’s that nice smell?’! How Christmassy.

It was a really lovely evening – it doesn’t get much better than singing Christmas Carols in a Cathedral with a choir. It’s an annual concert, so definitely keep an eye out for it next year! My tip would be arrive early because seats fill up quick and the cathedral was packed full. Also, if you want to avoid waiting for refreshments in the interval some people cleverly brought along a flask and mince pies of their own which saved them a queue.

Thanks to UEA Music Centre for inviting me, I had a great time! If you might be interested in being a part of a choir, or if you want to find out more about music opportunities at UEA, check out the Music Centre page on the website. Also a big shout out to my housemate Susanna for bringing along her camera to take some wonderful pictures for me!

 

Student Cookbook: Bacon Pasta

Today’s recipe post in my Student Cookbook series is courtesy of my lovely housemate Tara! This recipe can feed about four, so you can either make it with friends, or simply increase or decrease the ingredients as you need.

You will need:

  • 1-2 onions
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2-3 carrots
  • bacon lardons
  • one tin of chopped tomatoes
  • tomato puree
  • pasta
  • herbs

Method:

  1. Chop the onion and garlic. Peel and grate the carrots.
  2. In a large pan (we used a casserole dish but a large saucepan with a lid would work fine) fry the bacon lardons in a bit of oil until cooked on the outsidebacon
  3. Stir in the onion, garlic and carrots. Cover the pan and leave to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the veg softens.
  4. Put the pasta on to boil
  5. Add the chopped tomatoes and a good squirt of tomato puree to the veg and bacon mix. Add seasoning and herbs – we used pepper, basil, thyme and oregano.
  6. Cover the pan and leave to simmer, stirring occasionally.
  7. When the pasta is cooked, drain it and mix it in with the bacon and veg pasta
  8. Serve up! We used a sprinkling of cheese to finish it off.finished