Tag Archives: student

Newcastle Student Summer Bucket list

It’s May, which means the sun is coming out and, for us students, the books are stacking up fast and thinking about the summer is perfect procrastination. For some, me included *tear*, this is the end of their time in Newcastle, but even between drinking your body weight in trebles and re-painting your stained walls to try and secure the return of that mystical deposit, there’s still plenty of time to squeeze in some of the best sunny day activities that Newcastle has to offer. Trust me, after the last month in the library, the vitamin D will be good for you.

1) Visit the Quayside Seaside

Now this concept baffles me. Newcastle is lucky enough to be located near a plethora of beautiful beaches, easily accessible on the Metro, so why do we need a fake beach in our already stunning Quayside? The truth is, we don’t NEED one, but we still WANT one, and what we want, we get. Despite it not holding a candle to the natural beauty of Tynemouth, the Quayside beach is still some of the most fun you can have on a piece of concrete, although to be honest there isn’t must competition for that title. Relax with a drink and look out over the glorious river or just take a break from all that strenuous Netflix watching you’ll no doubt be filling your days after exams end; and, while it certainly is a just a novelty, it’s something that everyone should experience at least once while in the sunny North East.

2) Picnic in Jesmond Dene

Yes, there are many other beautiful parks in Newcastle that are also acceptable to picnic in, I’m just biased as the Dene is about a minute away from my house and I’m very, very lazy. As well as it’s proximity to my bed, it also boasts plenty of space to eat, a petting zoo and of course, the waterfall, subject of many an Instagram post (including my own). After eating, you could always challenge your pals to a game of rounders, as we all know nothing says friendships like competitively hitting things with a large stick.

3) Spend the day in Ouesburn pub gardens

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Tyne Bar is my spiritual home. That’s a fact. I love the beer garden, I love overlooking the river, I love the music events, and most of all, I love that they serve weird ciders and mac n cheese. It’s heaven. But one thing can make it better, all of the surrounding pubs and bars are fantastic too. Most students don’t know about these hidden gems because the rahs are too scared to leave the safety of Osbourne Road and most other people don’t really like walking all the way there but it is just so worth it to spend all day there in the sun. Make sure you also check out The Cluny while you’re in the area. You won’t be disappointed.

4) Have a BBQ in your garden

Last year I lived with six girls and one guy, so when we decided to have an end of year BBQ we just assumed that Dave would man up and take charge. We were wrong. Turns out that living with us for a whole year has dried up the man’s primal urge to grill meat, so with much fear and very little confidence the girls took the reins. Two bottles of wine and litre of Pimms later and we sat down in our “garden” (the small patch outside our door) to eat a very successful and delicious meal. The point of this story is that if we can do it, then so can you. And to be honest, if it fails, or if you in fact don’t like waiting two hours for your food, then just put it in the oven and eat it outside. It’s the same thing really.

5) Relax at a festival

From laughing at Jesterval in Gateshead to discovering new local artists at Evolution Emerging, there are festivals for everyone in Tyneside over the summer. Ouseburn Valley is usually packed full of events at this time of year so take yourself, your sunglasses and whichever pals you can drag with you and head down there to hear some music you definitely won’t have heard of, but possibly might enjoy.

What will you be doing this summer? Any other events we should know about?

Katie x

This post is in partnership with Easiliving so if you’re coming back next year make sure you check them out before making that all important housing decision!

Heaton vs Jesmond: Where to Live as a Student in Newcastle

Moving out of halls and into the city can be scary, especially as there are so many options and things to think about. The most important decision, after picking your housemates of course, is which neighbourhood you’re going to call home. Don’t have a clue? Well here’s a guide to the most popular areas.

Housing

Jesmond is one of the fanciest areas in Newcastle and is inhabited by some of the more wealthy locals which means that the rent here is high. You can expect to pay between £65 and £90 a week for a house or flat and they seriously vary in quality. Make sure you look around as there are some hidden gems lurking but in general, the houses here are not good value.

The house prices in Heaton are much more affordable, ranging from £45 to £65 a week. Not only are they cheaper, they are often less “studenty” and feel more like a proper home than a dingy lair. There are drawbacks though, but that’ll be discussed later.

Food

Jesmond is packed full of restaurants like local institutions Fat Hippo and Longhorns. It’s also home to a serious amount of Italian restaurants, all of which offering happy hour deals which allow you to pick up a 2 course meal for around £6. There is also a Tesco, Waitrose (I told you it was posh) and Sainsburys for those forgotten essentials. 

While Jesmond excels in stylish, trendy eateries, Heaton sticks to the simple cafe. The main roads are lined with greasy spoon style places serving fry ups and sandwiches. A few good restaurants stand between them though such as local favourite, The Butterfly Cabinet, and newly opened Man vs Food. There is also a little Tesco and Sainsburys but the surrounding areas are packed with full size supermarkets if you dont want to mess around with the baby kind.

Drinks

With Osborne Road on your doorstep, it’s hard to ignore the social pull that Jesmond has. In the summer the street is packed with students enjoying the sun from one of the dozen of bars located there. They’re all targeted at students, offering happy hour deals and £2 Tuesdays to distract you from that all important work. Want more of a chilled evening? Head to The Lonsdale for a quiet pint and a pub quiz. 

Bars in Heaton are non-existent. Instead opt for one of the many pubs that call it home. The Cornerhouse is your typical chain pub whilst the Hussar provides more of a local feel. There was once a trebles bar but it closed down pretty quickly and its shattered remains still sit there as a reminder that bars can’t survive here.

Transport

Both neighbourhoods have a metro station that goes directly into town (although they don’t go directly to each other which is very annoying) but you have to live pretty close to it for it to be useful. It’s much easier to walk to university and into town from Jesmond and living in Heaton would mean you’re much more likely to spend money on a metro ticket, buy a bike, or get up even earlier for those 9ams. Taxis back from a night out are also cheaper to Jesmond and it’s usually easier to find people to share with.

Conclusion

The winner very much depends on the kind of person you are. If you’re very concerned about money then Heaton is your best bet. Medics and post grads also often chose Heaton as they don’t have the time to enjoy the perks of Jesmond.  However, if you’re the sociable kind who likes to be in the middle of everything then Jesmond is definitely for you. There’s always something to do and somewhere to go. Don’t worry though, living anywhere will be great if you’re with the right people!

Looking to rent in Newcastle? Head to EasiLiving for all the support you need.

Katie x

6 Tips for Newcastle University Freshers

It’s September and that can only mean one thing, it’s time to head back to university, or for thousands of people around the country, time to take the plunge for the first time. As students flock back to Newcastle, the university is gearing up for its biggest Fresher’s Week yet to welcome over 4,000 new people to the city. Are you one of them? Here are my top tips for getting the most out of your first year in The Toon.

1) Get a Fresher’s Wristband and USE IT

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It seems obvious but the best way to meet people in Fresher’s Week is to go out with them. Everyone knows that the best way to make friends is by getting drunk wearing matching t shirts. About 90% of the people you meet this week will become “that guy dressed as a gladiator in Freshers” but it’s worth powering through all of the random drunken encounters to find the 10% of people you actually remain close to. The wristband also gets you access to loads of great activities in the day time as well. DO NOT OVERLOOK THESE. I know you’re hungover but you’ll seriously regret not making the most of the activities on offer. These are also a great way to make friends as you can bond over how hungover you are and have a much better chance of remembering each other’s names.

All the info you need on Newcastle University Freshers Week can be found here!

2) Join a sports team

Whether you’ve been playing football since you were 3 or have never ran further than the kitchen, there is a club for you in Newcastle. The university has a fantastic elite athlete program but also offers sports like Ultimate Frisbee which take on complete beginners and train them to become part of the team which competes at regional and national BUCS events. There are also more casual inter-mural leagues and most clubs offer second and third teams for those less interested in competition. I’ve found that playing a sport is a fantastic way to make friends and the Wednesday socials are easily the best nights out of the week.

frisbee club

If sports really aren’t your thing then joining a society is your next best bet; they have everything from Pokemon to baking so don’t even try and pretend there’s nothing you’d enjoy. You can also get involved in campus media such The Courier newspaper and TC TV. I know a lot of people who seriously regret not getting involved in more extra-curricular things in first year. Don’t make the same mistake! Just head down to the Freshers Fair in the sports hall at the start of the week to see everything that the university has to offer.

3) Don’t be tricked into signing for a house too early

This is such a common mistake as rumours start around November that the good houses in Jesmond for second year will be gone by Christmas. LIES. I seriously don’t know who makes up this stuff. Take a little more time to be sure about who you want to live with and you’ll still easily be able to find a house after new year. I was lucky that I signed early and has the best time in second year but in general, a slightly worse house with good people is way better than a great house with people you fell out with a month after signing for it.

4) Saturdays are for Throwback

I’d definitely recommend heading into town on a Saturday night at least once as it can be quite a fascinating experience seeing the Geordie in its natural habitat, but most Saturdays, the entire student population descends on the Union for Throwback. It doesn’t really matter whether or not you like the retro playlist, everyone that you’ve ever met will be in there and it’s a great way to expand your circles. Also, £2.50 pints of Diesel*…What more do you want?

*Diesel is the Newcastle version of Snakebite, half lager, half cider with a bit of blackcurrant. You need to get on board with this drink if you’re going to survive here, especially if you’re a medic or plan on getting involved with anything the Union does, ever.

5) Make friends with people on your course

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At the end of the day, you need course friends to stop yourself going crazy. Lectures are slightly more bearable if you have someone to sit with and gossip about the weekend. These are the people that will wait with you when your timetable gives you an awkward hour (a free hour between lectures that’s too short to go home but too long to just sit around). The people that will be there when you need someone to hit the library with when deadline day is looming, and, most importantly, the people you will take silly photos with on graduation day (ok, this is seriously forward thinking).Almost all courses have societies  you can join to get to know people No matter how many friends you have in the evenings, you can’t escape the fact that 9-5, 5 days a week, university owns you and you’re going to need some help getting through it.

6) It’s cold in Newcastle, be prepared

Although in first year you do get the luxury of central heating included in the price of halls, it can get pretty nippy pretty early on in the year. Invest in jumpers, hoodies and blankets, especially if you’re from the South and consider anything below 20 degrees to basically be the Arctic. I’ve found that a Slanket (blanket with sleeves) is particularly useful as you can go about life (in the house…I wouldn’t recommend wearing it out) whilst still snuggled up in the comfort of your blanket. Fleece lined tights (if you don’t own any, you can grab a pair here) are also pretty handy for all those winter nights out in short skirts that you young whipper snappers insist on. By third year you’ll be much happier getting together on a cold evening with your duvets for a movie marathon whilst eating your body weight in take out.

Wow, I feel old.

Good luck to everyone starting university this year! I hope you love it just as much as me! If you’re heading to Newcastle, feel free to ask any questions in the comments below!

Katie x

Katie Goes: Thailand | A of Review of G Adventures Northern Hill Tribes and Villages

Last August I was lucky enough to spend almost a month travelling around Thailand with my housemate and it was an absolutely incredible trip. This year, trips to Thailand seem to be getting more and more popular, with countless friends asking for advice as they’re looking to do the same kinds of things as we did. Because of this, I thought I’d share some of the posts I wrote whilst I was out there to give a vague idea of our trip, give some tips and hopefully help people get the most out their time there so they can have just as good a time as I did. So I’ll start with this, a review of the tour we booked with G Adventures through STA Travel that was written on the last day of the 7 day tour.

Itinerary
One night in Bangkok
Overnight train to Chiang Mai
One night in Chiang Mai
3 day hilltribe trek including river rafting and elephant bathing
One night in Chiang Mai
Over night train back to Bangkok

Highlights

River boat tour of Bangkok
Ladyboy show in Chiang Mai
Home stay at local hilltribe villages
River rafting
Elephant bathing

Pros

The main pro of taking a group tour is definitely that you fit so much in. Because you have a guide with lots of experience in the area you squeeze in all the best aspects of where you are into a short time. If I was on my own there was no way I would have known about rafting, trekking or a river tour, all highlights of the trip. They also provide you with loads of great food suggestions and optional activities to do in your free time.
Another huge bonus is the people you meet. We had a group of 16 who spilt into smaller groups of friends but it was great to get to spent the time with new people without being forced into each other’s company. I don’t think I would have made such good friends with anyone if we weren’t on a tour.

Cons

This wasn’t an issue for us but if you’re on a tour with people you don’t get on with I imagine it would ruin the experience a little bit

If you’re the kind of person with a very strong idea of what you want to do in each city then you might find the lack of flexibility annoying, although many of the activities are optional.

Verdict

Definitely the best decision we made. Would highly recommend.

One Year Later

The thing that stays in my mind most about this tour, as opposed to solo travel, is that I still regularly speak to the girls we met on the tour and would consider them close friends. If I would have known how great the experience was going to be I definitely would have booked tours for a larger proportion of the trip. They do an amazing range of tour all over the world if trekking or even Thailand aren’t for you. There really is something for everyone.

Keep your eyes peeled for more Thailand Tips coming soon!