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Get Fit for the Summer

England is not the best place on earth to get fit throughout the year. Especially when exam times are coming up and that it’s easier to find some comfort with cupcakes than with a treadmill at the gym.

However I managed to get fit for summer and lost a little bit of weight by doing very simple things that are doable for everyone, the most important is the motivation. If you’re not motivated at 100 % you won’t achieve your goal. Keep in mind that you want to look like a goddess for the beginning of the summer to show off on the beach with your brand new bikini if you are a girl or with your brand new surfboard if you’re a man.

Here are few tips you can follow, and if you stick to it I promise you will notice the difference. But this is not a diet at all; it will help you to modify your habits to have a healthier lifestyle.

First of all, try to avoid junk food as much as possible. If it’s possible, ban fast foods of your life for few months. Instead of spending money in such places, take the habit to cook yourself! Cooking can be really fun especially if you’re a student. It will help you to relax and have good times with your friends. Even if you’re not the kind of person to be patient, recipes are made especially for you. Sometimes it takes just 5 minutes to get an outstanding dish. After all you efforts, you will be rewarded by eating food you set your heart on making instead of taking the easy way and going to a random fast food to buy junk food that will hurt your body. Also when you’re hungry, instead of eating snacks take the habit of eating a carrot: it’s much healthier and better for your body.

Another tip is to keep it light in the evening. You can have a substantial dish for lunch but something but try to have something light for dinner. Because as you won’t make any more effort, your body will accumulate the fat instead of burning calories like its the case when you are active during the day. I would advice you have a salad with some cheese and some piece of fruit as dessert. You can have some tea too after dinner.

And my last piece of advice would be: try to walk as much as you can. When you can avoid to take the bus or your car, do it : to go to uni, to do your groceries, to go into town. It’s better for your health and also very respectful for the environment. Don’t be lazy and go out to the park for example. Take a ball and go to the park with your friends, flatmates or siblings. Summer days are finally here after endless rainy days, so make the most of it to share them with people you like before going home for the summer!

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Summer Jobs: Let the Hunt Begin

In the summer, looking for a job is becoming worst than a lioness looking for some fresh meat to feed her offspring. Any piece of advice is good to take. So here are few tips to help you to find your way in the confusing and tough process of looking for a job.

 1)Be Ready

Make sure you always have an up-to-date CV and a cover letter. Update it as often as you can, don’t neglect any previous jobs or important tasks you have undertaken because any experience does matter. You can find many good templates on the internet, indeed Kent University’s website gives good pieces of advice here. Once you’ve written your CV have someone else read it – as many people as you can – spelling and grammatical mistakes can be crippling. Don’t forget to include any experience or achievement you are proud of on your CV. Your aim is to highlight the qualities that make you someone unique and interesting to hire: you have to stand out from the crowd! Because keep in mind that employers are skimming through thousands of cv’s and cover letters a day, this is why your CV must be clear and original.

2) Be open-minded 

If you’re looking for a job, take a chance on every opportunity that comes across; don’t be fussy! Though some jobs may seem undesirable  on paper. Make it clear in your head that no job will be a loss of time and you’ll gain something from it, no matter what you’re doing!

3) Necessity but Dignity

Even though money is an issue for you, a job shouldn’t include you selling your soul, your self-respect or your body for money. From the beginning, make it clear with your employer that relation you have with him/her is strictly professional for the avoidance of doubt.

4) Try Everywhere 

You can find classified adds on the internet. StudentJob is pretty good for this kind of research. Also don’t hesitate to go inside shops to canvass employers because many of them are waiting for students to come inside their store to show motivation. Never be afraid to ask, you may feel dumb in the moment but once you get your job you won’t anymore. Prick up your ear to every conversation you’re hearing, on the street, at a coffee, at the shop etc.. Someone may need help from students for the summer. I found a job by listening to some customers. They were buying some flowers and they were talking about the fact that the florist was their newspapers flowers supplier. So I asked them where they worked and they told me they were journalists. I said I was a journalism student, and they asked why I wouldn’t do an internship with them during the summer. It was out of the blue. The next day I was dropping them my CV and I eventually got the job.

5) Few examples of interesting jobs

  • Au Pair: This is a really nice job, you can do it abroad. You can work for some lovely families anywhere around the globe. You just have to pay your flight to go there and your personal dispenses. You’ll have to take care of their children and in exchange they will provide meal and accommodation for free. You can see further details on AuPairWorld.
  • You can try being a Tour Guide, if there’s a place you really like and you know its history. During summer, Tour Guides are very appreciated due to the amount of tourists.
  • Ambassador for brands: During the summer many brands are often looking for students to champion their products.

You now have all the elements for a successful summer job hunt!

5 House Hunting Tips for First Year Students

Time flies! 6 months have already passed since the beginning of uni, and although there are several months before everybody goes home for the summer, now is the best time to start looking for a place to live next year; before it’s too late! It might seem early, but if you don’t motivate yourself to find a house now, it will become an issue for next year.

A lot of students are not allowed to stay in their halls beyond their first year and therefore need to move. One of the reasons a lot of freshers choose to stay in halls during their first year is that they’re often attending uni in a new place and therefore don’t know anybody. Halls of residence are a great way to meet and bond with a lot of people. Once you get used to your new campus and have made plenty of friends moving becomes easier.

Living in a house comes with it’s advantages such as it’s generally cheaper than halls and there are way less restrictions (eg anybody can stay over; guests don’t have to sign in whenever they want to pay you a visit).

When looking for houses many things must be taken into consideration. Here are some tips to help you in your hunt for your new home.

House-hunting-1) Housemates 

Firstly, make sure you know the people you are going to move in with well and also that you all have the same objectives. For example, it’s not going to be easy to cope with party animals if you’re the kind of person that is very calm and focused on your studies. Spending time with good friends is not the same as living with them. You’ll have to put up with  them all day long and being in someones presence all the time can actually lead to tension or even quarrels.

Cleaning can also be an issue because not everybody has the same perception of it, so make it clear from the very beginning how often chores should be carried out and who should be in charge of the rota (a cleaning schedule

2) Location 

When looking for a house you want to find somewhere close to local amenities and with easy transport links. Try to check if there’s a bus stop nearby, how far the rail station is from the house (it’s not the most important, but it’s not very convenient to walk endless miles when you want to take the train to go home). It’s also useful if there’s somewhere you can do your grocery shopping nearby. Many students can’t drive so it can be difficult getting home with numerous shopping bags.

If you’re thinking about subscribing to the gym then make sure there is one near to where you will be moving to. You may say at the beginning of the academic year that it’s fine and that you’ll make an effort to get there but after your first essays I doubt you’ll have the courage to really do it. The same for goes for the library. Make sure it’s close to where you’ll  be living because it’s widely acknowledged that a place full of flatmates, noise and other distractions is not the best place on earth for concentration. So sometimes it’s preferable to go to a peaceful place to work.

Also, make sure that the house is not located in a dodgy area. It’s not very nice to travel in an unsafe area after a party or when it gets dark early in winter especially for girls.

3)Utilities 

The number of bathrooms can be a problem when people from the same course are sharing a house so be careful towards that, the shower can get busy very quickly. If you are somewhere with one bathroom it’s also advisable that it has a second toilet also. There’s nothing arriving home desperate for the loo only to discover the bathroom is occupied.

A washing machine is essential. In winter you don’t want to be walking for miles to find a decent laundrette. A tumble dryer is always a bonus but it isn’t the end of the world if there isn’t one, you’ll just have to hang your clothes up to dry.

4) Landlords

Asking the landlord the following questions when viewing houses will help to avoid any bad surprises:

  • How much is the rent and is it inclusive (gas, broadband, bills etc)?
  • How long is the contract?
  • What are the terms of the deposit? Who will have to pay if there are any technical problems (a water leak can be costly)?

Also make sure you check that any appliances provided work properly before moving in as some landlords have been  known to provide faulty appliances only to blame the new tenants for the damage!

5) Where to Look

You can utilise the services of an agency to help you in finding your dream house (don’t dream too big though, don’t be a diva! You won’t find Beyonce’s villa with your student budget). Sometimes the agencies are just making money on the back of students although online property searches can allow you to deal directly with the landlords. Nevertheless, to avoid agency fees you can use some reliable websites such as:

To conclude, if you haven’t started yet it’s time to seriously take responsibility for your house hunt because if you don’t do so now, others will take the best houses and you won’t be left with a lot of choice.

 

 

Neknomination : the smart way

Smart nomination

In the past couple of days, no one has been spared from ‘Neknomination’ the drinking game phenomenon that began last January in Australia and spread like wildfire on social networks all around the world. The game consist in nominating 3 friends that has to ‘Neck their drink’ in front of a camera and theses friends have 24 hours to take up the challenge and to nominate 3 other friends. This game is extremely dangerous: 5 people already died because of it (a Welsh, two British and two Irish and boys succumbed to the game).

It’s worrying to see how such a game spread from a country to another. After the binge-drinking trend, drinking without any limits is becoming commonplace for the new generation. It’s more and more common to see young people at parties drinking in order to finish drunk than drinking for the pleasure of just sharing a drink with friends.

But fortunately, humankind has a lot to offer. Indeed Julien Voison, French student from Bordeaux decided to take the challenge upside down by creating the ‘Smartnomination’ that he describes like a smart and useful way to answer to the Neknomination phenomenon, he invites everybody that is nominated to ‘Think different’ (according to his catch line). The principle is simple; instead of drinking alcohol the nominated person must make an act of charity for example buying food for homeless people.

Here is an example of Smartnomination in South Africa:

The Facebook page  has already received more than 10 000 likes although it’s not a lot compared to the millions of like that received the Neknomination page. However it’s a good beginning to change things, help people in need by remembering Nelson Mandela’s statement: ‘Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It’s man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom’.

So now it’s your turn to act in a responsible way, do it not only for the late South-African president but also for your health.

 

Valentine’s Day Special

Valentine's Day Special : 'Genoise aux Fraises et aux Framboises avec un glacage au citron vert'

Valentine’s Day is almost here. Even though nowadays it’s more a commercial celebration, no one can deny it’s not a pleasure to have a little attention during this day. There’s no need to give diamonds or anything precious, as my grandmother was always saying :’ The way you give is more important that what you’re giving’. And this is so true.

For this Valentine’s Day I would like to share with you a short Chinese legend my Chinese friend told me.

It’s the legend of Tian Xian Pei.

While the seven daughters of the Jade Emperor ( Ruler of the Heaven) travel on Earth, Tian Xian Pei the youngest sister falls madly in love with Dong Yong a poor farmer. He was struggling to pay his late fathers debts and had 100 days to pay them. The humble seven fairies help him to find a solution to his problem and eventually everything get better for him. He is on a pedestal because everything is perfect for him, he is about to ask Tian Xian Pei to marry him. But the destiny decides something else, the parents of the seven sister called them back in the Heaven. When the youngest sister tells her parents that she wants to marry a mortal men, they immediatly fly into a terrible fury. Tian Xian Pei shelters in her room and cry all the tears of her body. Outside the birds touched by  the long sobs of the violins of autumn build a bridge for her. So  Once a year, on the 7th of July (07/07) the two lovers can meet in secret and live their passion.

I’m not very an emotive person but I was touched by this fairy tale and little girl in me was brought alive for a while.

I have a thought for the people that are not lucky to have their beloved ones with them this year. To all those people that went away too fast, may they rest in peace. We won’t forget you, you’ll be present in our hearts forever.

PS : You can find the recipe of the  : ‘Genoise aux Fraises et aux Framboises avec un glacage au citron vert here.

Fit as a Fiddle : The Asian Way

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Eating with chopsticks is characteristic of  Asian cultures. For the occidental world it is one of the first clichés that come to mind when they see Asians eating their bowls of rice with chopsticks. But it is more than a stereotype. Studies suggest that eating with chopsticks is healthier than eating with a fork.

Coventry hosts a large number of international students many of whom are from Asia. May, a Chinese student of Coventry, gives an insight into this tradition: ‘ I think that asian people have a healthier lifestyle than English people, there is not as much obesity problem in my country than here in England’

She argues that  eating with  chopsticks helps in moderating the pace at which we eat and the quantity we consume. This, she explains, is the reason why Asians eat small quantity of food in little bowls. But eating less does not make them  hungry. The logic is the slower the body swallows  food and the faster  it controls its appetite. More so, it enhances the rate at which the nutrients are assimilated.

But to make this work some rules must be observed when eating with Asians. For example, piercing your food with a chopstick is considered a funeral rite in Japan and discouraged.

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Obesity is a major health issue. Although eating with chopsticks does not solve the problem, it could be a step to tackle it.

Now that you know the benefits, take your time and your chopstick and enjoy your meal!

 

Reflection:Since the very beginning the reader know what the story is going to be about, and to be sure that the reader understands it I have used the appropriate style to make sense for the story. I have tried not to use passive tense; instead I have privileged the use of active forms. I also made my article shorter than the first one with the use of short sentences because according to Farhad Manjoo Readers can’t stay focused.’ The more I type, the more you tune out’ (2013 : online). I would add that for an online article, 800 words must be the maximum to keep it lively and tightly.

Online writing also includes knowing how to structure the news, this is why I have effectively made the use of the headlines and the subhead in order to give simplicity, precision, relevance, orderliness to the reader. I also broke the different paragraph so it’s clear to clear. I have referred to the inverted pyramid theory that states that a story should always go to the most general and then along with the development become more and more specific. The reader must be able to understand very quickly, you don’t want to write a scientific report with a lot of scientific notions, the use of a specific jargon. The work of a journalist is to vulgarise his knowledge in order to make it accessible to the people that would like to know more about a specific topic even though they don’t have any knowledge in it.

The information also must be accessible to any platform; nowadays thanks to all the thriving technologies people don’t only consult online news on computers, they have tablets or smartphones. I also learnt how to take advantage of the online platform for example with the SEO ( Search Engine Optimisation) I couldn’t apply them for iCov but I have tried to use them for my own blog, by using the key words. The first rule for SEO is concision; it’s a way for user to find easily your story while typing key words on Google for example.

I also used the tags in order to make it easy for readers to look a story related to their centre of interest. This article is on the lifestyle category with students and health eating because it’s a major concern for a lot student. In Aim for the Heart, Al Tomkins gives us few tips to tell a story online for example taping into local passion groups : ‘Whatever people are wild about in your area, give them virtual watering holes where they gather to talk about and share whatever they are passionate about.’ (2013 :182)

The advantage with the online platform is that we can create a link with the reader thing that you can’t do in print or in radio : on the online platform, people are able to interact with you, share your article, comment it to have more information. This is why at the end of the article I have included a YouTube video to help the reader to go further.

 

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