Dealing with conflict in your home

Living with new people can be really stressful, in your first year you are thrown into a house with a group of strangers, even when it comes to your second year living with a group of friends, you can still have problems. One of the hardest things you learn at university, in my opinion, is dealing with conflict within your university house.

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My Housemates this year- I love them!

In the beginning.

When you first move into a house the best idea is to sit down as a group, and have a house chat. If you begin the year by talking about what you all expect from each other and how you want the house to be kept and how to split house cost, you will all know from the beginning.

In my second year I found that we had 2 guys who wanted everything tidy, all the time, and 2 girls (including me) Who wasn’t that great at keeping things tidy.

I would also say that, although it horrible, you need to start talking about money ASAP. Will you all put money into buying bin bags and other cleaning stuff? Will you all alternate who buys them? The big cause of tension, in my experience, is paying the bills. If it is being paid out by one person in the group then create a standing order into their account so you don’t have to remember every month. If not try and find a company that sorts it out for you (I use split the bills)

When tension starts. 

The first sign about their being a problem within your house, is the tension, last year my house was filled with it constantly.

You need to, once again, talk to your housemates. Arrange a time when you can all get together, preferably not after a stressful exam or straight after a lecture. One of the most important things I think you need to remember in the conversation is that you need to try and see things from the other person’s point of view as well.

All sides need to honestly talk to each other about their feelings, without trying to make the other side feel bad and without getting too emotional.

Once you have realised the problem then you can work out what you can do to change to fix all your problems. Try and find a way to make sure you problems stay resolved and you don’t end up hating each other again in a few weeks.

Some really important thing. 

If your frustrations between your housemates get difficult, go and speak to your student services at university. They have seen everything and they will know how to help you out.

If you are being put in danger through your housemates actions or if they are threatening you then you can also talk to your student services and they will help with the next step. This can involve them having a disciplinary at university or helping you contact the authorities.

I hope all your problems get sorted out soon.

My Confessions. 

-In my second year of uni I lived with a couple who I never got on with. 

-My third year of uni is amazing and I love my housemates. 

-I am terrible at writing on a schedule sorry! 

Moving out: Cleaning

Can you believe summer is here already? At uni that means only one thing, it’s time to move out! So I am going to do a moving out series starting with cleaning!

At the end of every tenancy you will have a huge inspection, where the landlords work out what they can charge you for. You will need to do the biggest clean up you have done all year! So here are my key tips!

Cleaning the bathroom

Ok, so I wasn’t really cleaning!

  1. The key cleaning kit! 

Whenever I am cleaning there are a number of key thing that I like to have on hand.

  • J clothes. These are great for cleaning every surface you can think of.
  • Wet cloths (i.e. Daisy Pink grapefruit wipes) These are great at cleaning up small areas of dirty. I use these on my dressing table and bathroom sink.
  • Bleach. I have used this to clean everything from a completely grimy plate to my bathroom. Trust me last year my whole bathroom was cleaned with bleach. Just be careful of clothes.
  • Toilet cleaner. It’s all in the name.

2. Some handy tips I’ve picked up on the way

-Lemon Juice. This helps to clean the watermarks off your shower.

-Bin Bags. You will need a million of them. Be ruthless about what you take home.

-Storage boxes. and lots of space. You will need somewhere to put your uni stuff over the summer. If your not careful your room will be filled with pots and pans.

3)Some extra tips

-Paper work. Digg out the paperwork you filled in when you moved in the house/ flat. What where the problems in the room?

-Get snappy. Take some pictures of your bedroom and the communal areas. If you get charged for anything you don’t feel is fair you can argue your case with photos.

I hope your cleaning goes well!

Lauren x

Uni Confessions 

-Got very burnt on one arm at work on Sunday.

-I can’t believe Uni Confessions will be 1 in a few months!

-Hoping to do some great collaborations soon.

-Also want to thank Jenny for her help over on Facebook 

 

New home: Got the house

Well the snow has certainly been attacking little old Britain over the last week. I hope you are all safe and sound and haven’t bruised your bum too much by falling over.

I thought I would use today to add another part to my finding a new house blog series. So here we go, hope you enjoy.

Once you have found your house!

  1. who’s got that room?

In most university houses there is a mixture of rooms, some are big, some are small and some are in the way of everyone! Deciding who gets what rooms tends to be one of the first problems you will come across within your new house.

If you are very lucky, everyone will just end up deciding on a room and there will be no problem. However if you can’t decide there are a number of ways to decide.

Draw Straws.

One of the ways to decide is to draw straws for each of the rooms, however you need to make sure everyone is happy with the chance they could get the smallest room. My step sister had to draw straws and then the person with the smallest room then decided she could only deal with the largest one!

Money talks!

The second idea I have heard on people using is sorting it out money-wise. The person with the biggest room will pay the most rent while the person with the smallest room pays the least. This doesn’t take into account the idea of a room downstairs or next to a noisy bathroom.

2.Utilities

Sorting out utilities can be confusing, the best idea is to get everyone in the house to try and find some good deals. Once you have decided who you want to go with work out a good time to get things installed. Internet will need to be installed even if  it is a really old house and the old tenants used the same provider.

3. How to pay

You will obviously need to pay for your bills. One way to do this is having it coming out of one account and getting the other flatmates to pay. However this can get confusing and missed payments can easily occur. I feel the best idea is to use an external company. Split the bills is a company that deals with your bills for you, the company takes the estimated money for the bills out of you account and will refund any money that  was not spent on your bills.

4. Agreeing on everything

One of the things that I had a problem with in my house was mis-communications. Make sure that everyone is 100% on board before you make any decisions. If you have any problems then you should make sure you speak up, if you say something after your flatmates have taken action then they will get annoyed and possibly have to deal with your problems themselves.

5.Any Extras

If you can work out any extras you will need to buy as a house, Cleaning things such as a broom, vacuum cleaner and washing sponges are best to buy as a house if you are all going to use them.

Now all you have to do is look forward to moving in! Start thinking about how you will decorate your room.

UPDATE! I have managed to get a discount code for Split the Bills. If you use the code ‘LE959’ you will get your first months broadband free! Enjoy!Love lauren blog sign off

A New Home: Finding a New Place

Want to live here?

Want to live here?

Merry Christmas! I can’t believe it is actually christmas day, I am sat with my family and watching Gavin and Stacey, a present for my mum. So I thought I would write a little post for you as a christmas present. Hope you enjoy.

A New Home: Finding a new place

Once you have decided the type of place you want to live and thought about who you want to live with you need to start looking around for a place to live.

Last week I said that I you shouldn’t go looking for houses, flats, ect before Christmas and I will explain why, as I am sure you have realsied there is not much time between moving into a uni home and christmas so many landlords allowed students to live in the house for a while before deciding what they want to do the following years. This means that a large amount of them don’t go on the market until after Christmas.

Where to live.

Once you have worked out the sort of place you want to live in you need to think of where it should be. You will want your travel to be easy, a short walk is best if possible  as this will save you money and make you more likely to actually go in. In some cases such as in remote on campus uni you have to use a bus, If that is the case then you want to be near a bus stop which will take you to university. Where else do you want to be near? A supermarket is good to have close especially if you don’t have a car at university. Other shops, clubs ect. Try and think of what you want to be close to and look around that area.

Estate agents?

Unless you are going to live in halls of residence you are going to need to get a house through an estate agent. I decided that the best option was to look around the areas we wanted to move in and phone some of the estate agents that were advertising on the size of house we wanted. I was literally standing on the street calling to book an appointment with the estate agents all my friends ended up using.

What to ask for.

When talking to your estate agents to begin with it is best say how many rooms you want and not have too many other restrictions as you can decide what sort of thing you want when you are looking around. You may found something you thought was bad is actually ok and something you thought was ok is actually a deal breaker.

See everything!

It’s best to see a few estate agents and see as many of their properties as possible. The more places you see the better idea you will have about what to go for, what is good for a student place, and what isn’t. After all you can’t expect somewhere like home unless your planning on paying big bucks.

What to look for.

While you are looking around the houses there are a few things that you should keep an eye out for.

  1. Dampness on the walls. – Damp patches can be a sign of a leak somewhere and water damage. In server situations this can lead to mold within the walls that can be bad for your health.
  2. things need fixing- If there are things that need fixing then the landlord may be rubbish and sorting stuff out. Try and ask the people living there how long its been broken and what the landlord is like.
  3. Is it warm in the house? If it is freezing cold there could be a problem with the heating.
  4. Try talking to the people living with them now and see what they think of the place.

I hope this has helped you, and you are enjoying christmas!

I will talk to you soon.

Love lauren blog sign off

A new home: before you start!

Your home!Last week, while I was sitting in my journalism seminar when I looked at my phone to see the time. I saw the best thing a blogger can see; a message from a reader. Jenny said that she wanted some information about getting a house. So here it is.

Before I begin I want to say one thing! Don’t worry about look for a house yet!

A new home: Before you start!

I know this seems like a weird thing to say but there are a number of things you need to think of before you start doing anything about getting a house.

  1. friends, flatmates, who?

The first thing you need to do is start thinking about who you want to live with. I think the majority of people end up living with at least one person they lived with in their first year. However if you have friends from your course or a society that you get on with then they might be a great person to live with.

  1. Habits.

One of the biggest things you need to think about is if you are going to manage to live with these people. If your OCD and your friend is a mucky pup then maybe living together won’t be a great idea. Not only do you need to think about your cleanliness habits but also general living habits.  Although everyone in their first year is mad keen on going out, what are you naturally like? Will you want to go out every night or would you be concentrating on course work.

I am not saying Party animals need to live together and book worms live together, but you don’t want to be the only one not going out.

  1. Couples

Although I am living in a house as a couple, this is one thing I would discourage. I know, do as I say, not as I do, but this is my experience. University has an amazing way of making all relationship feel so much more special and grown up, wether it is friendships or boyfriend/Girlfriend relationship. This can mean that relationship are too hot and heavy to actually last a long time.

I have heard so many stories of couples deciding to live together and then breaking up in the summer. This is an awkward situation of two people who really don’t want to be together having to live together.

As well as saying that, I would also say that living with a couple can be really hard as well. Just as I said before, what if they breakup? you are likely to be stuck in the middle. Not only this but couples naturally support each other this can also mean that they side with each other in arguments.

  1. How many rooms?

It is obvious that you will need as many rooms as people. If you are a couple, you will still have to get a room each, that will be one of the rules set in place by the landlord.

One of the big things is that the more bedrooms you want to more messed up your house would be. Four bedrooms seems to be the most common number of rooms for a student house however even with four bedrooms you can end up with one room downstairs.

Anything more than four rooms can mean you don’t have a proper living room area.

  1. living alone!

You don’t have to be a loner to want to live on your own, in fact some of the bubbliest people live in an apartment. It can be a great way to live on your own and spend time at your friends houses.

They tend to include a double bed, a kitchen area, an ensuit, a sofa, desk and sometimes a large TV. In my local area there are ‘Code’ Buildings that are specifically designed for this purpose, they also have communal living rooms. They are around £100 for a room there.

I hope that this has helped you out.

At the beginning I said don’t look yet, the reason for this that you have only really known your friends for a short amount of time. This whirlwind friendship can make you seem like the best of friends however once you have stepped away you may decide that you don’t get on so well.

Houses are often not even put on the market until after Christmas anyway, so Don’t panic!

Love lauren blog sign off

Moving in: The review

Moving in year two: The Review

At the end of last year I did a number of posts reviewing the year I had, when I came to writing all of the posts I struggled to remember the way I felt and the little details.

So this year I decided that I would write a few review posts as I went through the year. So this is my first one: moving in!

Over the summer I had become slightly addicted to organizational things. So I started planning my move to uni a few months before I had to go, I am not saying a spent everyday sorting out moving. In fact a lot of the work was because I decided to create a household binder and a recipe book to take to uni with me.

I am going to be doing a post about both of my binders at another time.

I always feel really bad when I move out because it always falls a few days before my Mum’s birthday. This meant that the friday evening I spent with my mum and stepdad celebrating her birthday. This was really nice as it was a sort of birthday/ going away meal with my family.

I woke up early on the saturday morning so that I could finnish getting everything ready. I packed the last few things I needed, and made sure I had enough time to pack the car.

I was running around the house, packing, dressing and moving long before the rest of the house emerged from their room. Once he emerged from his room my stepdad managed to become some kind of tetris wizard and fitted all of my stuff into the car. I still don’t know how it fitted.

It doesn’t take long for us to drive from my home to university, although the drive felt like forever that day. Once I turned up in my university town I had to head towards the estate agents to pick up my keys.

I have to say been given 3 keys has never felt so much fun, so grown up. As we drove through the maze like roads to my new house I felt the excitement building. As we pulled up in my road I looked at all of the houses, there pretty blues doors made it feel a little bit like a disney village. The builders quickly killed that thought with the constant banging.

I opened the door and walked through the house looking at my home for the next year. I walked into my bedroom, the first floor front of the house.

I have to say that as I started to unpack I felt so overwhelmed. Looking around the room and seeing all of my belongings and the room it has to fit into. My new house has such little storage space. There aren’t any shelves so working out where everything goes is actually really hard.

I have to admit that I am still moving in properly.

My boyfriend, Chris, moved in a few hours later than me, not long after my parents left. Seeing him again and knowing her was staying here was so much fun. I will happily admit that I missed his over the holidays. We each spent the day trying to sort out our own rooms.

That evening we got a takeaway and finally got to spend time together.

Sorry I don’t think this has been my best post but it has been one of those days. Hope you enjoyed anyway!

5 things to not forget for uni!

My Freshers bedroom

I promise you that I am not only writing this so I stop cleaning up for a while. I thought I would write a post about the things that are easily to forget when moving into Uni halls.

I had thought of loads of the stuff that I wanted or needed to take with me last year. However on my moving day I forgot some of them. Some of the things are also stuff I had never thought of.

Clothes hangers
In my halls I didn’t have any cupboards so I had to hang all of my clothes up. However even though I had a million clothes hangers at home I left them all at home leaving me to buy more at uni. It’s more expensive and such a waste of money.

Toilet paper
When you move into your halls you will probably need to go to the toilet. Especially if you have traveled a long way. If you bring it with you then you don’t have to rush straight to the shops.

Baskets
As I said before we didn’t have any draws at my University however we did have shelving type storage. Instead of just letting it become a mess I found that baskets allowed me to organize my clothes into sections without them getting all mixed up.

Food
This is actually one that I think you shouldn’t bring with you. The space in your car is precious, you want to fit as much as possible. So don’t waste it on things you can get when your there. I found it was much easier to get unpacked and then go shopping. It meant that I knew the nearest supermarket. I could think about what I wanted, and pick up any stuff you forgot!

Fancy Dress
During freshers week and the following few weeks there will be a number of fancy dress events. I remember almost every night of freshers week I was in Fancy Dress. I took my school tie but didn’t take a white shirt. I ended up spending money throughout the week getting more stuff. So bring as much fancy dress as you can think of!

Hope you enjoy Freshers!

Lauren X

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What to expect when you live in halls

What to expect when moving into halls

Missing food.
In every halls of residents there is a food monster, who sneaks into the kitchen when nobody is about and takes your food. At least this is the only explantation I have come up with to explain how food goes missing and people’s stuff gets used without anyone in the flat knowing where it goes.

Some Halls provide a padlock on the cupboards to only allow you to get your stuff. This is great and should stop the monster!

Sex is all around you.
University is known for being based around sex, drinking and possibly drugs. So it probably isn’t a surprise that you will hear some excitement from the room above/next door/below. However when you are trying to get to sleep or having friends round it can be a little cringe.

Party rock is in the house tonight!
Living in a house with a number of other people all studying different courses you will no doubt have a clash of timing every now and then. So while you are trying to study or write an essay you room mate may want to have a party or loud sex (try not to write SEX SEX SEX EWWW in your essay!)

Things that go bump in the night.
I don’t know what it is about the designers of student halls but they have managed to make a building where 99.9% of all the rooms will be able to hear everything that goes on by the main entrance. This basically means that every night you will be able to hear the door banging shut and people shouting as they come back from whatever club had a big night that night.

A knock at the door
Once you have become friends with your flatmates they will come knocking on your door at anytime they know you are in!

10 tips for uni rooms

I found this on the Telegraph website and thought it was great to get you thinking about what you will need for uni!

Not long to go!

A-level results are just around the corner, which means that parents across the country will soon have to face the dreaded moment when their little darlings head off to university.

For new students, it is a chance to flee the coop. You don’t want to arrive with a big picture of your mother and father. But it is still important to make your room homely. You’ll spend most of your days dropping in on others, and being dropped in on yourself. Your room becomes an extension of you. Having the right decorations is key.

Here are 10 ways students can make the new life easier, and ease the strain on their parents.

1 Pack a trunk

A new room won’t feel like home until you’ve filled it with your personal flourishes. Freshers should take a tip from boarding school veterans, and pack a large trunk with all the nick-nacks and antiques that make their rooms feel special.

Books, artworks, and curios dotted around will make it clear that you are an interesting individual. A trunk can also be used as an impromptu chair or table, for when all the new chums descend for drinking games.

2 Avoid obvious clichés

Leave behind anything to do with Che Guevara, or those French Art Nouveau Absinthe/Black Cat posters. Everyone has them. Ditto Abercrombie and Fitch ads or the Keep Calm and Carry On poster which your mum has in the kitchen back home.

3 Don’t wear your heart on your walls

You probably don’t want to alienate that charming person you met at Fresher’s Week with a Socialist Workers Unite poster on the wall, or a Young Conservatives summer party invitation. So keep it to a couple of vaguely interesting pictures and a cork pinboard. And don’t forget a hammer and some picture hooks.

4 Gap-year conversation starters

Pack that lovely Mexican throw, the baseball glove from your summer in America and the cushions from Bulgaria. They will make your room look different, and encourage conversation on something you know about. Avoid marshalling new friends through the 5,000 photos of you bungee jumping in South Africa. Even if it was Just Incredible.

5 Food

Eating together is part of the fun. Arriving with just one plate, one fork, one knife, one spoon and one mug sends out the wrong message.

A few big jazzy dishes and serving spoons for the communal spaghetti bolognese are essential. A big teapot or an eight-cup cafetière is a good idea too.

It is also crucial to have a few recipes, to avoid existing entirely on Cheerios and alcopops. Delia Smith’s Complete Cookery Course has probably saved millions of young lives. In particular, her barbecue chicken is simple and delicious. There is a great list of student cookbooks at www.cybersplat.co.uk.

6 Bed moments

You will spend a lot of your time in bed, so it might as well be comfortable. Invest in some proper blankets or Egyptian cotton sheets from John Lewis. You could also check out linen in the Heal’s sale as it is usually available at a massive discount. While we’re on soft furnishings, a pair of decent curtains will brighten up your room and make it personal. Habitat or John Lewis have a ready-made selection.

7 Practicalities

Boring, but not nearly as boring as being caught without them. Essentials include a corkscrew, extension plug, rubber bands, laundry baskets, a desk lamp and tea towels.

8 Games

With university fees darkening the horizon, you (and your parents’ banks) may not feel like spending a lot of money on going out. Pack some good old fashioned board games. Pinch the family Scrabble or Monopoly, and also take some packs of playing cards. They will be crucial if you are going to live up to your ambition of funding your way through university by playing poker.

9 Music

A portable instrument such as a ukulele or guitar is a brilliant accessory. Particularly if you know how to play it, and have a selection of seductive Paul Simon numbers up your sleeve. But leave the Fender electric guitar, just for the moment, until you get a better handle on the character and tastes of your neighbours.

10 Finally, things to avoid

Old school files will make you look sad. Giant pictures of a distant lover may put off a new or current lover. An exercise bike, or other fitness equipment are sure to only sit and gather dust.