International students: travelling in the UK

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Although travelling in a completely new country can seem scary, the UK is very well connected and offers various forms of transport, which makes getting about quick and easy. Below are just some of the ways that you can travel in and around London…

Taxi
For shorter journeys, you can travel by road in a taxi. Taxis are a convenient way to get from A to B, such as from a station to The Hive or back to The Hive after a night out. In London, you’ll see a lot of the iconic black cabs. These can be hailed in the street. If the yellow TAXI sign is illuminated, it means the cab is available for hire.

Bicycle
To get around the city and local area, you can travel by bike. Haven’t got a bike? Don’t worry. You can hire bikes in London with Santander Cycles from as little as £2. A lot of roads in the city have dedicated cycle lanes or special cycle routes so you can ride your bike safely.

Bus
Travelling by bus is often one of the cheapest ways to travel around the local area. You will find bus stops located in various places around the city centre, with many universities having dedicated bus stops and bus services running to the university campuses.

The Underground
Living and studying in London, you’ll more than likely use the London Underground rail network (or The Tube as it is also known). The tube is a quick and easy way to travel in and around London. You can pay to travel on the tube by buying a ticket or buying an Oyster card which you top up with money. Plus, as a student studying in London, you can apply for an 18+ student Oyster card which gives you 30% discount.

Train
When travelling out of the local area and on longer journeys across the UK, you can travel via train. The UK rail network is very well connected and most towns in the UK have a train station, and popular tourist attractions are usually located within easy access of a train station. Travelling by train is a quick and convenient way of getting around the UK, and it can be a great way to see and experience some of the beautiful sites and scenery of the country.

Coach
Even though it can take longer, coaches can be a much cheaper alternative to travelling by train. Megabus and National Express offer coach services with many arrival and departure points from London and all around the UK.

So, whether it’s to university, to visit friends or simply visit places you’ve never been before, there are lots of options for you to travel to your destinations and explore the country.

The Hive student accommodation London is ideally located close to Bethnal Green underground with surrounding districts of Shoreditch, Brick Lane, Whitechapel and Aldgate only a few stops away.  If you would like to find out more about living with us here at The Hive, please contact us today on 020 3551 2550.

Staying fit as a student in Bethnal Green

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If you like to keep fit and be active, don’t let coming to university stop you. Just because you’ve moved away from home and left your local sports club or gym behind, doesn’t mean the exercise has to stop. Here in Bethnal Green, there are lots of activities and facilities for you to enjoy and take part in. And if exercise isn’t something you’ve given much time to before – now’s the time to give it a go! Below are just some of the things you can do to keep fit.

Running
Running isn’t for everyone, but you don’t know until you try, right? Running is a great way to zone out and de-stress after a busy day at university. Or, if you’re more of a morning person, it’s the perfect way to start the day and energise yourself for a productive day of studying ahead. From a fast-paced run to a gentle jog, and a long distance to a short loop, put your headphones in and take in the sights of your local surroundings.

If you’re still not convinced, why not take part in a parkrun? Every week, parkrun organise free 5km runs around some of the local parklands and surroundings. People of all abilities can take part and with other people running alongside you, it could be that extra motivation you need. It’s also a great way to meet new people in the city!

Gym
If you’d prefer to exercise inside, or perhaps you’re after a bit more variety than just running, why not join a gym? At a gym, you’ll find it all. From free weights and resistance machines, to cardio machines and classes, there’s something for everyone. And if you’re staying with us here at The Hive, you couldn’t be much closer to some great, low-cost gyms.

Conveniently located just around the corner and only a 2-minute walk away from us is ènergie Fitness. For just £22.99 per month you’ll have unlimited usage and access to cardio, resistance, free weights, functional, boxing and stretch equipment as well as a variety of classes.

Alternatively, you can head to Fitness4Less for your workouts. It’s located slightly further away but still only a 14-minute walk away from The Hive, and it’ll cost you slightly less each month. From just £17.99 per month, you can sweat it out on the cardio machines, pump some iron in the free weights area or get your heart racing in the spin bike studio. If you don’t want to commit to a monthly membership, day, weekend and week passes are also available.

Bootcamps
Are you looking to combine the motivation of a group class with the freshness of the great outdoors? Then look no further than an outdoor bootcamp session. Get together with your friends and experience a workout like no other. From team games, circuits, body weight exercises, cardio and strength training, it’s a fun and challenging way to work out! Try the Tough Girl Bootcamp session just down the road at Weavers Fields (for free), or join the British Military Fitness community at Victoria Park for a Bootcamp class.

If you would like to find out more about our student accommodation at The Hive, please contact the onsite management team who will be happy to help. 

Make your move-in hassle-free

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Whether you’re catching a plane and travelling from abroad, or jumping in the car and driving down the motorway from within the UK, there’s a lot to remember when leaving home and starting university. On top of that, your emotions will be all over the place – excited, nervous, and everything in between, and the last thing you’ll want to do is forget something!

So, to make your move-in easier, we’ve teamed up with UniKitOut where you can pre-order your student essentials before you move-in. And what’s more, your items will be delivered to our door and waiting for you upon arrival to our accommodation.

They’ll be no mad panics to scour the shops for forgotten bed sheets and duvets or saucepans and bottle openers – you can purchase it all beforehand, without any hassle. Meaning when the day comes to move in, you’ll have more time to settle in and make yourself at home.

Once you’ve filled your basket and are happy you’ve got everything you need ready for your new adventure, enter the code HOST17 at the checkout, and you’ll receive an extra 10% off your order!

To order your student essentials at a click of a button, visit UniKitOut today. For more information about our student accommodation in London and living with us here at The Hive, please contact us on +44(0)20 3551 2550 or at thehive@host-students.com.

Making friends in London

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Guest Blog

I am originally from Mexico City and moved to London last year. Moving to a different country isn’t easy, in fact I can tell you that it’s been the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I found myself in a city that was different to my own in every single sense; different language, different food, different transport system and completely different people.

After a short while of being in London, I started to miss absolutely everything from back home. It was cold and the sun was setting at 3:30pm – this was the British winter! My brain kept telling my body to put on my pyjamas and hibernate. I really needed to go out and meet new people, but I had never been faced with having to make new friends. I had always had the friends that I grew up with and now I was all alone in a new country without my friends.

One day I decided that enough was enough! That day I would go out and I would make a new friend. I headed to my local pub and started talking with a woman that was my mom’s age. She didn’t become my first friend, but talking to her was the stepping stone that encouraged me to always try to make a new friend and after that it just got easier.

Hectic class schedules, gym sessions, and just getting from one place to another can make meeting new friends in London one of the most challenging tasks during your stay in the city. We can blame it on technology, the millennials or even the weather, but it’s a miracle we get any time to meet people in London and make friends who actually do and like the things we actually like. So, if like me you find yourself wanting to meet new people, here are some things you can do that might help.

Talk to everybody
I know that this is probably something that your mom or your aunts do, but why not try having a conversation with someone that looks interesting? You never know where your future best friend is going to come from. Wherever you happen to be – queuing at the coffee shop, browsing the grocery store, waiting for an available washing machine, or dancing at a concert, start a conversation with someone around you. Trust your instincts on who to talk to and pick the right moment so that it doesn’t get creepy. It might be hard at the beginning, especially if you’re shy or not used to putting yourself out there, but like everything else in life, it gets easier with practice.

Don’t get discouraged if the other person is unresponsive or as cold as a penguin. After all, this is London and people here are used to keeping themselves to themselves. Here are a few conversation starters that could come in handy so you always have something to say to kick off a conversation:

The weather (yes, the British love to talk about the weather), complementing an item of someone’s clothing, recommending something relevant to the place where you are, randomly asking “where are you from?” (and asking follow up questions) and if you are very brave just go up to someone and say “You look like a very interesting and relatable person, I am new to this city and I was just wondering if you’d like to be friends.” Seriously, it’s just how kids do it!

Take a London tour
Get to know this city and find out everything it has to offer. Walking is the best way to truly get a sense of your new home and fall in love with it. There are free walking tours all over London, where groups of people are guided around the city. The people that you might meet here may be tourists, but it will give you the opportunity to practice and boost your confidence when talking to strangers.

Take a new class
One of the most amazing things about living in a huge and multicultural city is that classes for almost everything are available. Some of them are even free! You just need to go online and book. From pottery and cooking classes, to first aid and hair colouring, whatever you’re willing to learn, London is willing to teach and I can guarantee you’ll meet some of the most interesting and memorable people.

Join a sports club
Find a group or club who shares a physical activity you enjoy and become a regular member. Strike up conversations with other members and suggest meeting for coffee, wine, or beer after an event or meeting. For runners, for example, they have races that end up in social events like The Colour Run.

Volunteer
Why not make great friends and save the world at the same time? From dogs, kids, grannies or the homeless, there will always be a place in London that needs a helping hand. The hours can adjust to fit around your study commitments and whatever time you are willing to provide.

Talk to your neighbours
Have you introduced yourself to the people around you when you moved in? Sometimes the people we’re looking for are just next door. Have you reached out to your neighbours lately? If you see your neighbour walking in the corridor or courtyard, walk over and start a conversation. It’s always nice to know that there’s someone just around the corner that knows how you are. Why not make a little extra soup or an extra dozen cookies and walk them to the flat next door? The odds are that person is in the same situation that you.

Reach out on Facebook or other social media
When I first moved to London, I looked on Facebook for other people from Mexico. I remember I posted something about missing the tacos and missing my family. People reached out to me and gave me advice, restaurant recommendations and basically let me know that there is a whole community of people that look out for and understand each other. Through Facebook, you may discover some old friends or acquaintances that you didn’t know live nearby.

Eat dinner at the bar of your favourite restaurant
It can be intimidating to go to a restaurant by yourself, but try dining out and sitting at the bar instead. Chat to the bartender (if he/she isn’t too busy) and make conversation with the people around you. Whatever you do, don’t put your head in a book or your iPhone. Try to appear approachable and friendly.

Attend social events at The Hive
Throughout the year, there are a number of social events organised at The Hive, so that everybody can get to know each other. There will be reminders in the common areas so just pop by and start making new friends.

By extending yourself just a little, you might meet some wonderful new friends within a short walk of your home. Having fun with strangers can be a totally normal and fantastically pleasurable experience. Life is all about who you share your journey with. The memories and friends you make today will truly be a treasure when you’re older.

If you’d like to find out more about our student accommodation at The Hive for academic year 2017/18, please contact the onsite management team who will be happy to help.

5 places to enjoy the summer sun in London

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Summer is here, which can mean only one thing – sunshine. And what better way to spend a sunny summers day than with your feet up, relaxing and soaking up the glorious summer rays. So, when the sun makes its appearance and the heatwaves strike, here are some top hot spots to enjoy the sun in London.

1. Bethnal Green Garden
If you want to get outside and enjoy the warm summer air, but don’t want to venture too far from your home at The Hive, Bethnal Green Garden is the place for you. Step outside of The Hive and across the road and within two minutes you’ll find yourself in one of the luscious open green spaces of the borough. And if you’re feeling active, there’s even courts for you to play basketball, tennis, netball and football.

2. Victoria Park
If you’re looking for somewhere on a larger scale, with more than just green grass, head over to Victoria Park. Soak up the sunshine by the waterfront at the canals and ponds within the park, sweat it out on the tennis courts, or enjoy a light refreshment at one of the park’s two cafes. And while you relax, do a bit of wildlife spotting with deers, moorhens, grey and Canada geese and squirrels all regular visitors to the park.

3. Hyde Park
Hyde Park is a Royal Park in London and is one of the largest out of the eight Royal Parks. It’s home to a number of famous landmarks including Speaker’s Corner and the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain. One of the focal points of the park is the Serpentine Lake. Here, you can hire a pedalo or a rowing boat to relax on the water and watch the world go by.

4. Tooting Bec Lido
Heading slightly further afield, but definitely worth a visit, is one of London’s best known open-air pools, Tooting Bec Lido. Get your friends together, dig out your bathers and take a dip in the 90m pool to cool off on a hot summers day. And when you’re done splashing in the pool, take some time out to sunbathe on the grass area or grab a bite to eat at the café.

5. The Hive
As a student living at The Hive, all you need to do is head upstairs to the outdoor roof terrace and you can enjoy the summer sun from the comfort of your own home. Chill out with your friends and then watch the sunset with stunning views across the city of London.

If you’d like to find out more about our student accommodation at The Hive for academic year 2017/18,  please contact the onsite management team who will be happy to help.

Make The Hive your home this summer

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Exams done? University finished? It can only mean one thing… it’s summer time!

You’ve been busy working hard over the past few months and now it’s time to relax and have some fun over summer. So, what have you got planned? From shopping trips and picnics, to working and internships, there are many reasons why you might be in London over the summer months. And while you’re in the city, why not make The Hive your choice of accommodation?

Between 3rd July and 2nd September, we’re opening our doors to the general public – as well as students, and welcome you to stay with us for summer. We provide hassle-free, all-inclusive accommodation, which makes staying at The Hive the perfect solution for flexible and affordable London city living throughout the summer months.

So, if you stay with us at The Hive, what can you expect? Well, where do we start? How about a choice of luxurious Studio rooms all complete with their own private en-suite bathroom, study space and fully fitted kitchen? Meaning, after a hard day doing your thing in the city, you can cook up a storm in the kitchen, then kick back and relax in the comfort of your own space.

And for those days you want to socialise with others, you’re not restricted to your room. We have lots of communal areas for you to enjoy too. Grab a snack from the vending area, compete to become king or queen of the pool table in the games area, catch up with some work in the study area or watch some TV in the common room. But that’s not all. You’ll love taking in the beautiful views on The Hive’s landscaped roof terrace, especially as the sunsets – definitely worthy of an Instagram or two!

That’s the accommodation, now the location. Bustling with hip and ultra-trendy coffee shops, cocktails bars and eateries, The Hive is located in the heart of the ever increasingly popular Bethnal Green. And you haven’t far to go to explore other districts of the city, with the likes of Shoreditch, Brick Lane, Whitechapel and Aldgate all within close proximity. And when you want to get out and about in London throughout the summer, it’s quick and easy from The Hive, as we’re just a stone’s throw away from Bethnal Green underground station.

So, with a combination of luxurious rooms, modern social spaces and a desirable location, what’s not to love? We even provide free Wi-Fi for you to stay connected and up to date with what’s happening in the world!

If you’d like to find out more about our summer accommodation, or to book, please contact the onsite management team at The Hive, who will be happy to help.

Experience the magic of musicals in London

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If you’re fortunate enough to live and study in London – or perhaps you’re just visiting for the holidays, you’re never too far away from something new to do in your free time. And something definitely worth doing is watching a musical. So, if you’ve not yet seen one of London’s musicals then now is the perfect time as some of the best shows are currently in town. Here are just some of the top picks…

The Lion King
You’ve probably watched the animated film – or at least heard the story, so why not see The Lion King live on stage? Now in its 18th year at London’s Lyceum Theatre and one of the most successful pieces of entertainment world-wide, the award-winning musical adaptation of Disney’s The Lion King uses breath-taking costumes and special effects to tell the story of Simba’s journey to become King of the African Pridelands.

Phantom of the Opera
Take a trip to London’s West End and be mesmerised by The Phantom of the Opera; a timeless love story set in the Paris Opera House. Based on the Gaston Leroux novel, Andrew Lloyd Webber – arguably the most successful composer of our time, has turned it into a multi-award winning musical that captures the hearts and minds of audiences at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London.

Wicked
Think you know the Wicked Witch of the West? Think again. In the classic story, ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’, Dorothy triumphs over the Wicked Witch – but there’s more to the story than you might know. Discover the incredible untold story of two young girls and how one came to be called ‘good’ and the other ‘wicked’ in the award-winning musical, Wicked, at The Apollo Victoria Theatre, London.

Aladdin
Another of Disney’s animated classics is adapted and brought to life on the West End stage in Aladdin. With extravagant costumes, a wonderful orchestra and all the songs from the film, follow the magical story about a young man – Aladdin, who discovers a genie in a lamp and is granted three wishes. What would you wish for?

Don’t fancy any of the above musicals? There are lots more to choose from in a variety of theatres across the city. And if you’re a student, check out StudentBeans before you book your tickets as you might be able to get a discounted rate!

At The Hive, all of our luxurious Studios come with beautiful en-suite bathrooms and fully fitted kitchens. If you would like to find out more about our student accommodation and living with us here at The Hive, please contact us today on +44 (0)20 3551 2550.

5 places to take a break from your studies in Bethnal Green

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It’s that time of year again – deadlines are looming and exams are fast approaching. You’re probably glued to the chair, with your head in a book and typing frantically at the computer to get the latest assignment handed in on time. Sounds like you need a break! Well, you’re in luck. Located within 11 minutes’ walk of our student accommodation at The Hive, you’ll find a variety of coffee shops and cafes to enjoy a coffee or a cake, and take a well-earned break. Here are just some of the places you can visit…

Café 338
An independent, family-owned restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, Café 338 is a family owned restaurant well known for its generous sized full English breakfasts. Here, all food is fresh and home-made, and you’ll find everything from bacon and eggs to pancakes and Paninis. So, the next time you need refuelling, pop down to this small but stylish café and we guarantee you won’t be left feeling hungry.

The Common E2
Not your average coffee shop, The Common E2 is actually a café and architectural studio combined. Here you’ll find photographers, architects, designers, performers, artists and the like working in an open and social environment. So why not pop in for a hot drink, pastry, cake or sandwich and take the opportunity to engage with others in the community and see designs develop in front of you.

Rinkoff Deli
There’s nothing more rewarding than the feeling of handing in an assignment you’ve been working hard on. And there’s nothing more satisfying than a tasty treat to celebrate. At Rinkoff’s – a family run business established over 100 years ago, you can spoil yourself with freshly baked cakes, pastries, rolls and breads. You can even sit outside and embrace the fresh air and sunshine.

Coffee Republic
If you’re after a more contemporary coffee shop with an acclaimed reputation then check out what Coffee Republic – one of the UK’s leading coffee chains, have to offer. If you want a warming drink or a bit of a boost to get you going, enjoy a coffee, tea or hot chocolate. Hot drinks not your thing? Don’t sweat, you can enjoy an ice cold drink instead!

Costa Coffee
And if none of the above take your fancy, then why not visit the nation’s favourite coffee shop – Costa. Whether your choice is a creamy latte, a luxurious Lindt hot chocolate or an intense espresso, take your pick and enjoy a quality hot drink in a relaxing atmosphere designed with you in mind. And if you’re feeling peckish fill up on a sandwich or indulge with a sweet treat.

Once you’ve taken time out from your studies and enjoyed a hot drink or a bite to eat, head back to your luxurious en-suite Studio at The Hive. If you would like to find out more about our accommodation and living with us here at The Hive, please contact us today on +44 (0)20 3551 2550 or email thehive@host-students.com.

5 films to see this February

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You’re probably beginning to miss the care-free hours you spent lying on the sofa during the holidays watching films and catching up with the latest boxset. But just because the holidays are over, it doesn’t mean the films have to stop. Make February the month to take a trip to the cinema and enjoy the latest blockbuster! Check out what’s on this month…

1. La La Land – Out Now
Fall in love with the musical story of Mia, an aspiring actress and Sebastian, a jazz pianist as they find romance and success, but will the dreams they’ve pursued for so long threaten to tear them apart? A must-see Golden Globe winning film, nominated for 14 Oscars and 11 BAFTAs including best film, best director and best leading actress and actor.

2. Rings – Out Now
Evil is reborn and Samara – the girl in the well is back, when Julia decides to watch the video ‘Rings’. As the video ends, the phone rings and a mysterious voice whispers ‘seven days’ – this time no one is safe. Rings follows on from The Ring and The Ring 2, will you dare to watch the latest instalment of the legendary horror franchise?

3. SingOut Now
If you’re looking for some light-hearted, animated fun then Sing is the film for you. Watch Rosita the pig, Ash the punk rock porcupine and Johnny the gorilla battle it out on stage at a singing competition organised by Buster the koala. With an all-star cast including Matthew McConaughey, Scarlett Johansson, Reese Witherspoon and Seth MacFarlane, it’s sure to be a laugh a minute.

4. Hacksaw Ridge – Out Now
Nominated for 6 Oscars, follow the incredible story of a heroic medic who heads to the front line of World War II but refuses to touch a gun or fire a bullet. Going above and beyond the call of duty on one of the war’s bloodiest battlefields, he single-handedly saves the lives of 75 men. Based on a true story, Hacksaw Ridge is an inspiring story of courage.

5. Fist Fight – Out 24th February 2017
End the month full of laughter with a trip to the cinema to see Warner Bros. latest comedy. Watch as two high school teachers prepare to solve their differences the hard way with a Fist Fight after school. How will it end as mild-mannered teacher Andy Campbell faces the school’s toughest and most feared teacher, Ron Strickland (played by Ice Cube)?

Don’t forget to take your student card with you as most cinemas offer student discount. Meaning the more you save on your ticket, the more you’ll have to spend on snacks!

At The Hive, all of our luxurious en-suite Studios come with fully fitted kitchens so you can put your cooking skills to the test. If you would like to find out more about our accommodation and living with us here at The Hive, please contact us today on +44 (0)20 3551 2550.

3 quick & easy soup recipes to warm you up this winter

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January isn’t the most popular month of the year; Christmas is over, it’s cold and dark outside, and worse of all, your favourite pair of jeans might be feeling snugger than you’d like them too. So to help warm you up and beat the January blues, here are 3 quick, easy and not to mention healthy and low-cost soup recipes that you can make at home…

1. Broccoli Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 250ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 200g broccoli florets
  • Salt & pepper for seasoning

Method:

  • Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the onion for 1-2 minutes, until golden brown.
  • Pour the chicken or vegetable stock into the pan and add the broccoli florets.
  • Bring to the boil and reduce the heat and simmer gently for 10-12 minutes, until the broccoli is tender.
  • Season with salt and pepper, then transfer to a food liquidizer and blend until smooth. Pour into bowls for serving.

2. Carrot Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 250ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 5 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • Salt & pepper for seasoning

Method:

  • Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the onion for 1-2 minutes, until golden brown.
  • Pour the chicken or vegetable stock into the pan and add the chopped carrots.
  • Bring to the boil and reduce the heat and simmer gently for 20 minutes.
  • Season with salt and pepper, then transfer to a food liquidizer and blend until smooth. Pour into bowls for serving.

3. Leek and Potato Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 large leeks, chopped
  • 4 medium potatoes, peel and chopped
  • 850ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • Salt & pepper for seasoning

Method:

  • Pour the chicken or vegetable stock into the pan and add the chopped leeks and potatoes.
  • Bring to the boil and reduce the heat and simmer gently for 30 minutes.
  • Season with salt and pepper, then transfer to a food liquidizer and blend until smooth. Pour into bowls for serving.

At The Hive, all of our luxurious en-suite Studios come with fully fitted kitchens so you can put your cooking skills to the test. If you would like to find out more about our accommodation and living with us here at The Hive, please contact us today on +44 (0)20 3551 2550.

Recipes sourced from the BBC, All Recipes and Student Recipes.