Lifestyle

Why Thrift Stores are your new best friend


Are you a student on a budget? Do you fancy paying £10 for 15 items? Then thrift stores are for you! I hit the East End of London to grab myself a bargain. VOGUE named it ‘the legendary cult vintage store’ and as I walked in, it wasn’t hard to see why. Generally I love […]

Hair make-up: Temporary Dip Dye Tutorial


Change your hair colour as quick as your make-up Brightly coloured hair has been a trend for a while now with many girls now wishing to emulate the dip-dyed look that has been achieved by their favourite celebrities. You can get hair dyes that will dye your hair permanently, and will leave you with a […]

Roasted Tomato Soup


Deadlines are everywhere at the moment, and spare time is nowhere to be found. It’s at times like this when you need something filling yet simple to make, and it doesn’t get much simpler than this. Roasting the tomatoes releases the flavours in a way that no amount of cooking on a hob can – and saves the effort of standing stirring a pot to boot. This warming, vibrantly flavoured soup is super healthy and also vegan, in case anyone fancies their hand at trying out the vegan experience!

Ingredients (serves 4):
– 1.5kg tomatoes, roughly chopped
– 1 large red onion (or two small), roughly chopped
– half a red pepper, roughly chopped
– 3 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
– 1 litre vegetable stock
– large bunch basil leaves, torn
– salt and pepper, to taste

Method:
1. Put the tomatoes, onion, pepper and garlic into a large roasting dish. Drizzle with olive oil, then add some salt and pepper and about a third of the basil leaves, then cook for 40-50 minutes at 220°C. Take them out to stir every 20 minutes or so, just to make sure everything cooks evenly.
2. Tip the roasted vegetables into a large saucepan, then pour in the stock and bring everything to a gentle boil. Add the rest of the basil leaves and simmer for 5-10 minutes, then take off the heat and blitz until smooth.
3. Season to taste, then serve with lots of bread. Best eaten from a cosy place whilst watching the wind and rain batter the world outside.

For a plethora of culinary tips and ideas, check out http://www.thisisunifood.blogspot.com

Author: Bryony Bowie

Photograph: Bryony Bowie

February Footwear


February is that limbo stage where one day it’s pouring down with rain, and the next day sun rays are peeping through the clouds.
We have seen the comeback of the conventional heeled boot – the cut-out buckled boots. (How does this fit in with the rest of the article? Suggest cutting this sentence out.) We have even seen Karl Lagerfeld sporting the laidback trainer trend on the Paris Fashion Week catwalks, with Chanel’s Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2014 collection transforming the traditional bridal look into a sporty snow queen style by pairing chic dresses with conventional trainers. So we can continue wearing our classic converse: a timeless shoe-cupboard essential that can tone down any outfit and ensure day-to-day practicality.
The fashion predictions of Spring/Summer 2014 foresee us fashionistas transitioning from dark shades to lighter hues and sporting pastel loafers (which both men and women can wear), paired with jeans or skirts, and a chic spring coat. But, on days when it is too cold to expose our feet in loafers, or too wet to be wearing cut-out boots, I suggest brogues, which are suitable for all conditions and events. The best daytime footwear though are the old-school, retro, ‘Save the last dance’ inspired footwear…Timberlands! Sandy Timberlands fit the neutral trends for spring/summer, they are unisex, and they will not fail you this month. Timberlands can be worn with jeans, a shirt or jumper, and with thick socks rolling out of the boot – or for warmer months team your Timberlands with shorts and a little cami. You may fear that this trend is a return to the “chav” phase, but it is undeniable that this past year has seen a massive flashback to legendary trends from iconic eras- just because the 90s may be a more recent era does not mean you should disregard those familiar trends.
One thing is for sure: the fashionable footwear this month – whether brogues, loafers, trainers, converse or timberlands – are suitable for both sexes, so there’s no excuse for any footwear faux pas this month!
Tip: Certain materials are problematic in this weather; one raindrop on a suede shoe means destruction, so buy yourself some suede protector!

Author: Maisie Bovingdon

Photograph: flickr.com (Main)

Exploring the Amalfi Coast


I’ve never been one to enjoy winter weather, especially not when it consists of seemingly endless rain. When I find myself feeling particularly despondent in the face of another downpour, I begin to daydream of sunnier climes; if you, too, resort to this technique, then look no further. Here is a comprehensive list of places to go, in and around one of my favourite parts of the world – the sunny and gorgeous Amalfi Coast, where I was lucky enough to live on my year abroad last year.
· Sorrento
Only a ferry-ride away from the beautiful Capri, but not a place to be overlooked. Sorrento showcases stunning sea views wherever you are in town. Perfect to get yourself in a sunny mood by sitting at a bar by the sparkling water, sipping a cocktail and building up a glamorous tan.
· Pompeii
You’d think they wouldn’t have built the town again after what happened to the first one, but they have, and thankfully it’s lovely. Explore the sprawling ruins in the afternoon sun; enjoy a cool Italian lemonade (or a delicious gelato), or take a trip up Mount Vesuvius, where you can admire the rest of the coast spread out before you.
· Capri
To reach Capri, you need to take a ferry from Sorrento – which might sound tiresome, but it’s definitely worth it. The island is pretty small, but you can ride the funicular railway up among the clouds, take a little boat into the amazing Grotta Azzurra, or wander leisurely around the Gardens of Augustus – even walking along the Via Krupp all the way down to the sea.
· Salerno
Salerno is the odd one of the bunch; arguably it is at its most desirable during winter, when the Christmas lights take over the entire town. However, sticking with the sunshine theme, there is nothing quite like walking along the seafront with an ice-cream in hand and the sunlight glittering on the waves.
· Amalfi
A bus ride through winding hills is required to reach Amalfi; nestled in the cliffs and stretching up and back away from the seafront. Amalfi boasts a surprising amount of things to keep you entertained such as the cathedral which is the main event. However, Amalfi is also surrounded by lots of tiny, interesting shops, and restaurants with service that will make you feel like a member of the owner’s family.

Author: Lucy Allman

Photograph: Lucy Allman (Main)
commons.wikipedia.org (Featured)

Nail Art: Nail Stamping Tutorial


Intricate nail art has been a huge trend in recent years, and artistic nails are sure to be a fashion statement that lasts! With the return of London Fashion Weekend this month, I wanted to try something a bit more complex. Some designs are simply too detailed to achieve with a brush, which is why nail stamping is so fantastic: the design is already made for you to transfer onto your nails. I was so impressed by how simple it was to achieve this look and how well it turned out. To get started you will need an image plate, a stamper and a scraper. These are available in kits from Amazon for around £15, and I’d definitely recommend investing in a set if you’re a nail art enthusiast. They look fantastic on and there’s no limit to the designs you can choose as the plates are reusable!
Start with a base colour on your nails and allow to dry. I recommend using a darker colour as the base (I used Barry M in Black), then choose a second nail polish – preferably lighter than your base coat so that the pattern will show up – I’ve found that metallic shades work best (mine is Barry M in 288-Silver). Then, taking your design plate, paint a thick layer of the second polish across the pattern you want to use. Pull the scraper firmly across it to get rid of the excess polish, so that the varnish remains on the pattern only. Angle the scraper at 45 degree for perfect pull (if you don’t have a scraper, a gift card works well too!). Once this is done, firmly press your stamper onto the pattern by rolling it along the plate to pick up the pattern. Finally, line the edge of the pattern to your nail and gently roll the stamp across so that it transfers on top of your base coat. When dry, finish with a top coat to help your design last longer – you could even add a glitter polish top coat or nail studs for an even more glamorous finish.
Check out http://www.nailstampfanatic.blogspot.co.uk for more inspiration!

You will need:
Base Coat (Barry M in Black: £2.99, Boots)
Metallic Polish (Barry M in 228-Silver: £2.99, Boots)
Clear Top Coat (Barry M: £2.99, Boots)
Nail Stamp Plates (Cheeky 26 Piece Set: £9.99, Amazon)
Nail Stamp and Scraper Set (Konad Nail Art Double Side Stamp Set: £4.98, Amazon)

Author: Araminta Pender

Photograph: Araminta Pender own photography

The Vegan Experience


Hold the Facon jokes and jump on board the vegan experience. Veganism is unquestionably hot in the celebrity world right now, and it is a trend that is not going away…

I’d be lying if I said compassion for animals had driven me to experience veganism: a friend had poked fun at my incessant love for meat and cheese, challenging me to go vegetarian for the week. Not being one to resist a dare, I foolishly extended my elimination of meat to a full vegan diet. The moment the words slipped from my mouth I knew I would regret it – as did she.

I knew a vegan diet would be difficult for me to convert to, with meat and dairy being the focal point of all my meals. Lulling myself into a false belief, I professed: ‘How hard can it be to stay away from meat, milk, eggs and butter?’, but upon scouring the internet for a beginner’s vegan cookbook I was left with a feeling of panic and horror.

To begin my vegan experience I had to make sure I was prepared. As an eater of convenience, I was forced to plan my meals ahead, and obligated to subject my groceries to a strict label-review prior to purchasing. To make sure I stuck to my challenge, I religiously followed the Vegan Outreach starter booklet.

The hardest days were the first few, as I stared longingly at those around me snacking on their dairy-filled goods. That was before I’d got my rhythm down. Within a few days I was rather enjoying my healthy routine, and the meals I prepared were so much more filling and satisfying than my usual convenience meals that I didn’t feel an urge to binge on unhealthy treats. How I felt on the vegan diet? In a word: great. I admittedly did slip up by having a drop of milk in my coffee, and was often frustrated at being unable to indulge in my usual snacks. Surprisingly I didn’t miss my meat intake, and felt inclined to continue cutting out meat once the week was up. Within only a few days I felt physically alert. Even minor tasks like taking the bins out didn’t seem so arduous and I felt I had a spring in my step – not a characteristic anyone would usually associate with me.

That being said, life without cheese takes some adjustment, and I learned during the week that being vegan isn’t for me. I simply don’t have a strong enough reason to make it work. Despite this, I’m so glad I went through with the challenge. The change in my attitude was invaluable, and has convinced me to lead a much healthier lifestyle – as well as to eat at least one vegan meal each week. No matter where you stand on the ethics, I think most people would gain a lot from going vegan for a week. I wasn’t unhealthy to begin with, but I felt remarkable within the first few days of my vegan diet. If nothing else, you get a first-hand idea of what meat and dairy do to your system. In my case they were taking away more from me than I knew, and I’m really glad I gave it a go.

5 Top Tips for Going Vegan: 1. Grab a guide. If you’re going to try being vegan this really helps – if only to learn how to keep your dietary bases covered. The most widely recommended book is Becoming Vegan by Brenda Davis. 2. Visit the supermarket. Changing your diet is the best excuse to stock up on lots of wonderful different foods you’ve always wanted to try but never have. Be adventurous! 3. Be organised. If you know you are short of time, try and prepare food the night before – and have emergency vegan snacks available to you at all times. Some packed fresh fruit, nuts and vegetables can be a life saver! 4. Don’t dwell on slip-ups. If you have slipped up, don’t panic and quit! Just do the best you can – the moment you begin to doubt changing your lifestyle you’ll find it more difficult. 5. Keep motivated! The first few days are always the most challenging, but once they’re past things become easier. Soon it’ll become so ingrained in your lifestyle, you won’t even realise you’re doing it.

Author: Demi Demetriou

January Recipes! Sponge Cake and Butter Bean Pasta


Sponge Cake!

You will need:

200g sugar
200g butter/margarine
(at room temperature)
200g self-raising flour
4 eggs
1tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

2. In a bowl, cream together the sugar and the butter/margarine until pale.

3. Gradually add in the eggs and the flour until well combined, then stir in the vanilla extract.

4. Either spoon the finished mixture into cupcake cases, or divide it evenly between two cake tins.

5. Bake in the oven. The cupcakes should take around 12-15 minutes, and the larger cakes will take around 25-30 minutes. Towards the end of the baking time, check whether they’re done with a metal skewer (or a knife)– if you poke the skewer into the cake and withdraw it, it should come out clean. If any cake sticks to it, your cake is not yet baked and needs a little longer in the oven before it is ready.

6. Once your cakes are out of the oven and cooled you can decorate them how you wish. Spoon a simple glacé icing made from icing sugar and water over the cupcakes, or top them with buttercream. If you’ve made a sandwich cake, you can fill it with buttercream in addition to the jam, or you could ice the top with glacé icing. It is up to you!

When I was a child, my grandma always baked sponge cake. She either made individual cupcakes, or made a plain and simple Victoria sponge sandwich, filled with raspberry jam. The cake was always delicious. She was never much good at baking anything else, but I think that goes to show that if you’ve got a good, basic cake recipe you can dig out when you need to: baking doesn’t have to be complicated. My grandma taught me how to make her basic sponge cake, and it is my go-to recipe when I just need a quick and simple cake fix. It is usually cheaper to make your own cake than it is to buy one, and you can be as decadent or as frugal as you like with the toppings. Sometimes I’ll make lavishly frosted cupcakes as a celebration food, or I will fill a Victoria sponge with jam and dust the top with a little icing sugar if I am just after a slice of cake to take to the library. This is a versatile, simple and easy recipe, which makes either one sponge cake or twelve cupcakes. If my grandma could do it, so can you.

Butter Bean Pasta:

You will need (to serve two):

1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
400g tin of butter beans, drained
75g soft goats cheese
½ jar basil pesto
Handful of green beans
(washed and chopped)
150g tagliatelle
(or any pasta of your choice)

1. Start by putting the pasta water onto boil, then grab yourself a frying pan and cook the onion and garlic with a splash of olive oil for 5 minutes, until starting to soften and colour.

2. Add the drained butter beans to the frying pan; meanwhile, tip the pasta into the boiling water to cook according to the packet instructions. This way it should all be ready at the same time.

3. After 5 more minutes add the green beans, then turn up the heat and give it all a final blast. It’s ready when the butter beans are starting to crumble.

4. Drain the pasta, then stir in the pesto and bean mix. Crumble over the goats cheese, and enjoy!

It’s the time of year where a lot of us are feeling guilty for overindulging over Christmas, and both our wallets and waistbands are feeling the pressure. The answer to this lies in meals which are healthy, cheap, and simple to make – and above all, still tasty.

Ever since I’ve been at university, one of my mother’s favourite questions has been ‘Are you eating enough beans?’, and though I initially started buying them to please her, I can no longer imagine my cupboard without them. Butter beans are a particular favourite – their creamy texture gives the illusion of indulgence, whilst meanwhile providing us with protein, iron and potassium. How’s that for healthy? If you’re feeling particularly decadent you could always add a sprinkle of toasted pine nuts for some extra crunch, or, for a slightly different flavour, you could substitute the goats cheese with feta. The slightly tangy, creamy cheese makes this dish though, so keep to something similar if possible.

For a plethora of culinary tips and ideas, check out www.thisisunifood.blogspot.com

Sponge Cake Article & Photography: Zosia Edwards

Butter Bean Pasta Article & Photography: Bryony Bowie

Magic on Parade


*Disclaimer: this article contains magic*

Walt Disney is one of the most influential figures of an individual’s childhood and their dreams. Everyone has his or her favourite film and accompanying songs, and the princess they all wanted to be (for the record I wanted to be Belle – did you see her library?!). Disney is gender and age inclusive. Which is why the week before Christmas I saw myself and three friends head off to Disneyland Paris to celebrate our 21st birthdays in style. This trip had been in operation since October, and to say we were excited was an understatement – even though three of us had been before. From the moment we arrived and saw our Cars themed hotel we turned into excitable children, bouncing up and down, admiring the bedding, lights, wallpaper and even the bathroom mirror.

For those of you who haven’t been, here is a very quick run-down of what the Park and Studios consist of. The Park contains five different lands: Main Street USA (shops and cafes), Fantasyland (where you will find princesses), Adventureland (think pirates and jungles), Frontierland (American Wild West) and Discoveryland (more space-agey: here lies ‘Space Mountain’). The Studios take you backstage, behind the magic, to show how different elements of the films are made. It’s more geared towards older children and adults, with rides such as ‘Tower of Terror’ and ‘RocknRoller Coaster’; however, do not underestimate the appeal of ‘Crusher’s Coaster’.

For me, the magic of Disneyland Paris is not the rides but the detail that goes into making everyone and everything feel special – the feeling that you really are in Neverland, seeing children’s faces light up when they meet their favourite character, or marvelling in the delights and wonders of the Parade and evening light show. Although I had been before, it was even more magical going at Christmas, walking down Main Street USA towards Sleeping Beauty’s Castle just as it started to snow. With the magic of Christmas and Disney all around, you couldn’t help but smile.
Although we may be getting older, Disney keeps us young at heart, and is a reminder that ‘when you wish upon a star’ your dreams can still come true.

Article: Victoria Timms

Photograph: Laura Mason

Healthy Eating, Healthy Living


This time of year sees all of us peering down at the scales in a haze of post-Christmas regret. During my gap year last year, I was lucky enough to meet lots of inspirational people (personal trainers, nutritionists, yoga fanatics, health enthusiasts), all of whom passed on great advice that contributes to living the healthiest, happiest lifestyle possible. I’m Healthy Hannah, and here are my tips on how to stay healthy in the new year.

Eat three meals a day. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Factually, people who eat breakfast are slimmer than those who don’t. And breakfast is a great thing: it starts up the metabolism, gets us fuelled for the day ahead, and will stop those awful hunger pangs at ten o’clock and the Kit Kat we seek thereafter.

Think 80/20. I’ve noticed that many people decide they are going to start a “diet” or to “eat healthily”, only to fall off the wagon a week later because life without crisps and chocolate was gloomy, dark and depressing. And fair enough – everyone loves a bit of chocolate now and then; healthy eating need not be boring, and it’s not all lettuce leaves. The key is to make it a lifestyle, and one you can stick to. Healthy eating is not about deprivation. It does NOT limit carbohydrates (good ones, anyway), and a little bit of junk food is allowed. Think 80% healthy and 20% rubbish.

Nourish yourself. For most of us, a drink or two (or more) is part of university life. It’s social, it’s fun, and it might help to loosen you up before you head to the dance floor. Yes, alcohol has calories, but they’re empty calories, void of goodness. Restricting food calories in favour of alcoholic ones is a nasty thing to do to your body. Doing this can have a negative mental impact, as you will most likely feel like you are restricting yourself (which you are), and suffer mood swings and poor energy levels. Nutrition and wellbeing are not based simply on calorific intake: where those calories come from is so important.

Snack if you’re hungry. The key to eating healthily is to be intuitive. Listen to your body: if your tummy tells you you’re hungry, or if you haven’t eaten in a while and you can feel your mood dropping, then you need to eat – even if dinner is only an hour away. Not a lot, just something small to keep you going – a banana; a cereal bar; a handful of nuts and raisins, or some wholegrain toast with peanut butter. Food is Friend, not Foe.

Exercise. Exercise is great: it clears the mind, releases feel-good endorphins and helps us live longer, age better and reduces the risk of heart problems. Aim to exercise at least three times a week, but preferably more if possible (not necessary). Exercise should include a mixture of cardio sessions and strength training to build a strong and lean physique that you can be proud of working on.

LOVE YOUR BODY. It’s cheesy, but I don’t care. I’ve struggled with this; I think many girls struggle with this. In a world where so much focus is on the ideal body shape (there isn’t one, I’ve realised), it can be hard to embrace what we have. That’s where all the above comes in. If we start to love ourselves on the inside, then we’ll slowly learn to cherish ourselves. How many times have you had a bar of chocolate and felt “naughty”, considering it a “guilty pleasure” as if you’re doing something wrong? We aren’t. Because if your body is really craving chocolate, then go ahead and indulge it – just make sure it’s a single serving bar and that you don’t do it every day.

A nutritionist told me to imagine our bodies as cars. Food is fuel. If you feed your body porridge with yogurt, nuts and raisins in the morning it’s going to be very happy, working steadily through the fuel (the perfect mix of carbohydrates, proteins and good fats) throughout the morning and giving you stable, long-lasting energy. If, however, you have two slices of white toast with jam, then zoom: your body goes through it in an instant, and you’re hungry again by ten o’clock. Try and consider your body in this way, and fuel it as well as you can. If you do that, and truly listen to what your body wants, then you’ll start to live a truly healthy, maintainable lifestyle.

Article: Hannah Pisani

Photographs: commons.wikimedia.org (Main); pixabay.com (Featured).