A Day in Norwich

This weekend I was back in Norwich to visit my new house for next year (very exciting!) and to move in some of my stuff. Despite being a student in Norwich for a year now, I realised I’d never shown my parents around the city properly, so we decided to use bank holiday Monday as a chance to explore Norwich. We had a really lovely day, and if any of you are thinking of bringing your parents to Norwich for a day hopefully this will give you some ideas of where to go!

We started the day with a late breakfast at the Unthank Kitchen in (surprise surprise) Unthank Road. It’s a really nice little cafe with good service, and we chose to sit outside to eat because it was a sunny morning. They do a great selection of breakfasts, from fry ups to pancakes, as well as toasties and sandwiches for lunch. It’s just around the corner from my house so I have a feeling I’ll be having a few more breakfasts here during second year!

From there we took a short walk to the Plantation Garden just off Earlham Road. The garden was created in Victorian times and was restored in the late 20th century. It’s such a beautiful place, and you can wander round or just sit on a bench and admire the view!

I’d actually never been to the Plantation Garden before – it’s quite hidden from view – but I will definitely be returning!! You pay £2 to go in and it would be a lovely place for a picnic, or they do Sunday afternoon tea on the lawn in the summer months.

After the Plantation Garden we headed into Norwich to do the riverside walk, which takes you along the river across Norwich past St James’ Mill and Cow Tower.

Walking along the river is a brilliant contrast to the city centre where there’s lots of buildings and people, because it’s so green and quiet along the river. Something I love about Norwich is the fact there’s plenty of shops and buildings but also really beautiful open areas.

You can follow the river walk all the way along, but we took a detour to visit the cathedral, a must visit for Norwich! We actually ended up being at the Cathedral at the same time as a wedding was happening, so although we couldn’t go in, we got to sit in the cloisters instead and enjoy the atmosphere when the bride and groom came out of the Cathedral.

The last event of our day in Norwich was dinner at Bills, which is right in the centre of Norwich, close to the market. It does delicious food and is the perfect place after a day out in Norwich because it’s so central.

I had such a nice day in Norwich, I hope this has given you some inspiration for places to visit or take your parents to. There’s so much to do/see in Norwich, if you have any suggestions for any other great places to visit, feel free to leave them in the comments!!

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Uni: What to Pack

So, results day has been and gone and now leaving home to go to uni is probably starting to feel a whole lot more real than it felt before. So now you know what uni you’re off to, you can start packing! It goes without saying that packing for uni is a pretty big challenge because it means packing a lot of stuff. My best tip would be to enlist someone more organised than you to help (shout out to my mum), because it’s a lot to pack by yourself. But before you start, here’s some advice on what to pack…

Hangers – its surprising how many people forget to pack hangers for their wardrobe, what else do you expect to do with all your clothes??

Kitchen stuff – a lot of people ask me how much kitchen stuff to pack, but really it depends on you and your cooking style. For example, my flatmate loved making smoothies so she brought a blender to uni whereas I never needed to use one. If you enjoy baking, bring along a selection of baking utensils. The bottom line is bring the basics: I would say a saucepan set, a frying pan, chopping board, a good knife, at least one set of crockery and cutlery, glasses and mugs, measuring jug, baking tray, sieve and a vegetable peeler would probably give you all you need for the essentials. I’ve also been asked whether things get shared in kitchens, and again, it just depends on the people. In our flat we didn’t share kitchen stuff, but I know in some of my friend’s flats they all put their stuff in together and had communal kitchen goods. There will definitely be some things you’ll have to share – don’t worry about packing washing up liquid or you’ll have 12 bottles sitting by the sink at once.

Doorstop – in the lead up to leaving for uni, I read lots of things telling me to take a doorstop to help the flat be more sociable rather than everyone being hidden in their rooms. I have to say, it’s definitely not an essential, but it can be helpful. I did use my doorstop on the first day to keep my door open while I unpacked, but then I didn’t really ever use it again for the rest of the year. So bring a doorstop if you have one, but don’t worry to much if you don’t. (Also bear in mind the doors are firedoors and therefore pretty heavy so you’ll need a decent doorstop and they shouldn’t be left open for long periods of time)

Room decor – things like photos and cushions are a lovely way to make your room feel more homely. I found a good buy was a little plastic set of drawers for the space next to my bed to use as a bedside table. I also brought a nice throw for my bed – personally I never got too cold in my uni room but this might be something to think about for ensuring you’ll definitely be warm enough in the colder months.

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Important documents – don’t forget stuff like ID and any paperwork you need for uni. You might also find it helpful to bring documents like copies of your CV in case you want to apply for a job while at uni.

Easy food – the first couple of weeks at uni are crazy busy, and you’ll still be settling in. This is why I think it’s helpful to have a decent selection of easy-to-cook meals for the first few weeks. Think frozen food and tinned food for the ultimate quick and easy options. You can worry about expanding your culinary options later, but trust me, when you first get to uni you won’t want to have to be planning and cooking difficult meals during freshers week.

Laundry stuff – when you’re no longer living at home, the bad news is you’re now in charge of washing all your own clothes. Make sure you have a decent laundry bag for transporting clothes to the laundrette, a drying rack and get a box of washing capsules because the machines don’t take powder or gel.

So that’s my best advice on what to pack (and what not to pack). If you think I’ve missed anything or if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below 🙂 Good luck with the packing!!

Results day

If you’ve just finished A-Levels then the 18th August is going to be a pretty big day for you. Results day is always an emotional day, whether you get the grades you were hoping for or not. It’s good to be organised for results day and know your options just in case things go wrong – hopefully everything will go to plan, but it’s good to prepare for all possibilities just in case!

On results day, it’s likely UCAS track will update before you go into your school or sixth form to collect results. This means that even before you have your grades you should know whether you’ve been accepted into your firm choice or not.

If you have got the grades that you wanted then great, congratulations!! Go out and celebrate, and start getting excited about your chosen uni and freshers week.

If you haven’t got the results you needed it’s not the end of the world, so don’t panic! I know that’s easier said than done, but remember you still have lots of options so now you need to focus on your plan B. If you’ve checked track and you haven’t got into uni, get to your school as soon as possible to collect your grades and talk to teachers there. On results day there will be lots of staff around to help people who haven’t got the grades they needed so they can help you work out what you should be doing next. Your best option will probably be going through clearing, which you can find all about here. Grab yourself a copy of the Telegraph, which shows a full list of available courses. Don’t rush into accepting the first course you can find – remember this is a big decision, so make logical and considered choices.

I think it’s good to plan something fun for results day or the day after – whether results day goes the way you hoped or not. You’ve made it through two years of A-Levels! High school is over! So go out with your friends or have a meal out with family and have fun.

I hope results day goes the way you want it to. But even if it doesn’t, remember that life will go on regardless of the grades you achieve! A-Level results are a really good stepping stone to what you want to do next but your grades do not define you. So, remember: be organised and prepared, but don’t panic!