How to be more productive in 2018

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With a New Year here, it’s the perfect time to ditch any bad habits and make 2018 an even more productive year. So, whilst attending all of your lectures is great, how productive is it if you sit through them without taking any notes and leave the lecture empty handed? Can you really remember all of the important information off the top of your head? Or what if you spend hours and days writing an assignment and then your computer breaks? That’s a lot of wasted time and effort, that you’ll have to redo all over again.

Although not everything can be prevented and you will likely come across set-backs and times of misfortune where hours are lost and you’ve not got done things done as well or as quickly as you’d like, but there are some tools you can use that will certainly help to make your life at university more organised and productive this year.

Task Manager
A class presentation, two assignments, research questions to answer, recommended reading and writing up your lecture notes are just some of the things you’ve got to do!

Keeping track of all of your tasks and to-dos can be tough, especially when more get added to the list before you’ve even had chance to cross off the current ones. With so many things to do running through your mind, it’s no wonder you forgot to buy the milk on your way home from uni.

So, to help you remember everything, why not use a task manager or to-do list app? It’ll allow you to get all tasks out of your head and in a place where you can clearly see them all together. Many apps such as Todoist, Any.Do, Remember The Milk, Asana and Trello allow you to prioritise tasks, set due dates, reminders and add notes. And when you’re done, there’s no greater satisfaction than checking off a task as complete!

Calendar
It’s always good to know what’s on the horizon so you can plan your workload and be sure not to double book yourself! From exam dates and assignment deadlines, to family visits and party nights, having them all in a calendar will mean you never miss a thing!

And in this day and age, keeping track of your social and academic life couldn’t be easier with calendar apps pre-installed on your smartphones and a whole range of other calendar apps available to download. You’ll be able to set reminders and add additional information to calendar events, so they’ll be no excuses for missed deadlines!

Note Taking
Attending lectures is great, but sometimes if you sit there without taking notes you may as well have not been there, as you probably won’t remember what you’ve been told or shown.

It’s important for your own reference and revision that any key information, dates, facts or figures, and useful websites or resources are jotted down so you can refer to them at a later note. And while good old pen and paper is fine for taking note, if you’ve got a mobile, iPad or laptop with you, why not use an electronic note taking tool such as Evernote or OneNote to type in notes during the lecture?

It’ll save you typing up any notes later, and you won’t have to try and decode any rushed or messy handwriting, as it’ll all be clearly typed up. You can easily edit your notes, and you can even add links, images and attach documents to them. An electronic tool allows you to save your notes to the cloud, so they’ll be no misplaced sheets of paper, and being online, you can easily access them and share with others too.

Storage
Having your work backed up is a must as a student. If your computer breaks or it gets lost or stolen, you don’t want to have to rewrite those essays all over again. One of the best ways to keep your work safe is to use a cloud based app such as Google Drive or Dropbox.

Working online and saving files online will allow you to access your work whenever you like, wherever you are. So even if your computer breaks, you can login to your online account from another computer and your work will still be there – phew!!

Communication
Working on a group project with your classmates? Make the way you communicate with each other even easier by setting up a group chat. Apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger allow you to invite members to the same group, where you can all chat together in one place.

Having a group chat will save time as you won’t have to send separate messages to each team member, it will save repeated conversations and help to avoid any misunderstandings. Everyone will be on the same page and will be kept in the loop with what’s going on.

We hope that some of the tools and methods mentioned will help make your life easier at university this year!

If you’re looking for student accommodation in London for 2018, look no further than The Hive. For more information please contact us today on +44 (0)20 3551 2550 or email 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 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.

Nights out in & around Bethnal Green

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Big nights out with your friends, and trips into the city centre to enjoy the vibrant nightlife are a must as a student. But not every night has to be a great venture into the city – especially when you have so much to adore right on your doorstop.

Bethnal Green is an increasingly popular location for students. From restaurants and bars, there are lots of places waiting to be discovered in and around this bustling local community…

Vesuvio Ristorante
Located less than 1 mile away from The Hive, just off Brick Lane, you haven’t got to travel far to experience the real taste of Italy. Vesuvio Ristorante offers everything you would expect from a traditional Italian restaurant – pizza, pasta and more. Plus, like their page on Facebook and you could win a meal for 2!

The Star of Bethnal Green
If you’re looking to sit and enjoy a quiet drink with your friends, then The Star of Bethnal Green is the place for you. Serving locally brewed beers and delicious food, and located only a 10 minute walk away from our accommodation, this is the perfect hotspot for all locals. Look out for special offers and events throughout the week including quiz nights and 2 for 1 cocktails.

The Cocktail Trading Co.
Enjoy a cocktail or two at The Cocktail Trading Co., one of London’s award-winning bars. From a Queen Mary to the Bee’s Knees, you’re sure to find one that’s right for you. And why not make a night of it? Get together with your friends and polish off your cocktail making skills with your very own cocktail masterclass with the experts.

Tapas Revolution
Hungry? Meeting with friends? With tapas from Tapas Revolution, you decide how much you want to eat. Whether its meat, fish or vegetarian, there are lots of small dish Spanish favourites to choose from, and tapas is the perfect choice for sharing with others. Plus, all day long on a Monday, you can get large paellas for half price.

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.

4 things to do in London for Halloween

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With Halloween just around the corner, you’ve probably starting thinking about how you’re going to spend one of the spookiest nights of the year. We all love a scary movie with friends, or a night out to the local nightclub, but how about doing something a bit out of the ordinary this Halloween…

Dinner At The Twits
You’ve probably read the book or heard about Roald Dahl’s classic story, The Twits, but how about a real-life experience? This October, join Mr & Mrs Twit for an entertaining evening with a dining experience like no other. From curious canapes to perilous puddings, Dinner At The Twits will be a night to remember.

Ghost Bus Tour
Hop on board London’s only fright bus service and take a trip back in time to learn about the city’s dark past. With history and Halloween combined, you’re sure to be in for a ride with plenty of laughter and spooks along the way.

The Witch Hunter
Head down to the London Dungeons this Halloween and take part in The Witch Hunter experience – if you dare. You’ll join the seventeenth century Matthew Hopkins, known as the Witchfinder General on the hunt for his next witch.

Fright Night Boat party
A Fright Night Boat sailing down The River Thames on Halloween weekend is the perfect spooky setting to spend one of the scariest nights of the year. With a fancy dress theme and a DJ, dancefloor and bar on-board, there’s lots of scary fun to be had.

A student’s guide to fresher’s week

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For many new students, fresher’s week is one of the most anticipated dates in the calendar when starting university. But before you head on down to the students unions, fresher’s fairs and local student events, here are a few things to consider:

Do the paperwork first
OK, so it’s not much fun standing in a queue waiting to register and have your photo taken, but it’s got to be done. We suggest getting all of the boring, admin stuff completed first so that it’s all done and dusted, and you can enjoy the rest of fresher’s week without worrying!

Purchase in advance
There will be lots of social events scheduled for fresher’s week – from foam parties to the fresher’s ball. But if you wish to make the guest list, purchase your tickets early or you could end up being turned away on the night if it’s a sell-out. You might even save yourself a few pounds when purchasing in advance!

Know your limits
With lots of new faces, you might want to make a good impression in front of peers, but don’t feel pressured into drinking if you don’t want to; you can say no. After all, the last thing you want is to be ringing for a taxi before the nights up, while everyone else stays and enjoys themselves.

Grab a bargain
During fresher’s fortnight, local retailers, fast food outlets, restaurants, bars and clubs – plus many more, will be out in force making sure you know that they’re there for you to visit and use. Whether it’s at the fresher fair, outside the students’ union or on the high street, many will be handing out coupons, discount cards, merchandise and even free samples – so make sure you get yours!

Have some fun
One of the most important things to remember when starting university is to make sure you have some fun! Fresher’s week is all about meeting new people, joining new societies and embracing the student lifestyle – so don’t forget your fancy dress outfit!