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Christmas ice rinks of London

Is there anything more Christmassy than a trip to an ice rink in winter? Wrapped up warm, sparkly lights and sweet treats.

Here are our favourite London Ice rinks of 2020

The Natural History Museum

The Natural history museum gardens are transformed for winter with twinkling fairy lights and a beautiful Christmas tree. This is one of our favourite places to visit this Christmas.  Treat yourself to some hot chocolate or mulled wine in the museum’s hugge cafe, while enjoying picturesque view of the skaters.

Hampton Court Palace

This the local ice rink to two of our student accommodations in Kingston, so swing by Hampton Court for a twirl on the ice or make a day of it with university friends after exploring the beautiful grounds and palace. The palace rink is set right in front of the palace’s stunning light up Tudor front.  After skating, warm up with a drink at the ice bar. This is open until the 5th Jan so plenty of time to get those skates on.

Roof Top Skating

Skate with some serious style with Sky Light London found on the top of an old warehouse at trendy Tobacco Dock. 360 views of London’s skyline will keep those Instagram stories going and to be honest, are the main reason to visit here. But you will also find heated bars serving cool cocktails, warm drinks and trendy street food, as well as some seriously cosy igloos making this the most perfect place festive celebration.

Camden Market

If you are a student in London you have to Check out Camden Market, it has now had its own festive make over complete with new ice rink, Santa’s grotto and more.  Camden is one of those places you could visit for years and still be surprised at what it has to offer, its weird, wonderful and full of festive fun. Celebrate the iconic market’s 45th anniversary by taking to the ice in a wacky atmospheric setting of fairy lights and brick walls – at 25 metres (82ft), it’s London’s longest outdoor ice-skating rink, too! Head over to the Cuban bar after to warm up your insides with some authentic Cuban cocktails.

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Why should I volunteer in Kingston?

We all have very busy lives, it can be hard to find time to even think about becoming a volunteer, it doesn’t seem possible that there is time in the day to dedicate to helping others before yourself, right? However, the benefits of volunteering can have a huge impact on you! Volunteering offers crucial help to people in need or worthwhile causes, and your local community, but even more so benefits can be great for you, the volunteer.

Finding the right place to volunteer can help you to make friends, connect to your local community, learn new skills that could advance your career. It reduces stress, helps depression, and can keep you mentally stimulated. Giving up some spare time provides you with a sense of purpose that you can only get from helping others.

Here are some local services always in need for an extra pair of hands

Shed X–The SHEDx project encompasses a range of activities to activate and engage the local community ofKingston, and surrounding areas, to take ownership of their unused and green spaces to help define and improve the future for their town. Utilising original and accessible ideas, The Community Brain are engaging and helping to energise the community; enabling them to shape the future plans for Kingston.  They have also recently set on a collaboration between students from Kingston University, and The Community Brain has resulted in a playground makeover at local primary school!

Oxfam– There are several Oxfam charity shops in Kingston that are always looking for help. Now you may think this is not for you, but the customer service experience alone is a great skill to learn and have on your CV. I recommend everyone works in retail at the starting point of your career, it’s a great insight into dealing with the general public.

Maritime Volunteer Service– If you are a fan of the river in Kingston then this one is for you. They are a dedicated team that patrol our stretch of the Thames to keep us all safe. Along with life experienced you can also get many qualifications with them.

Volunteeringkingston.org– This website will help you find all other community-based volunteer work available in Kingston Upon Thames.

While it’s true what they say. “The more you give the better you will feel”, that doesn’t mean volunteering has to involve a long-term commitment or take a huge amount of time out of your busy day.

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A guide to Kingston upon Thames

Kingston upon Thames is home to some of the best Universities in the UK. There is so much to see and do in Kingston and you can catch a train into Central London every 15 minutes!

Shop ‘til you drop

Kingston is one of the best places to shop! There is a huge range of high street and independent shops as well as The Bentall’s Department Store, full of designer and high street clothing brands, beauty products, homeware, book stores, stationers and more!

The centre also hosts regular events and pop ups – past events include a mini food and drinks market, gin sampling and an art pop up. I know some of our residents from Greencoat House, Kingston, enjoyed these earlier this year.

Just around the corner from Greencoat House is Old London Road, you’ll find a mixture of quirky vintage, antiques and charity shops, as well as an old record store. That Vintage Shop is super cute, inside and out, and the prices are very good compared with other vintage stores.

Don’t forget to take a snap at the Iconic fallen telephone boxes!

It’s also worth noting that the Jo Malone store, just off the main square, has to be one of the most Instagrammable ones I’ve ever seen!

The Rose Theatre

The Rose Theatre is also in the town centre. It’s a modern theatre that opened in 2008. The theatre is quite relaxed and tickets are reasonably priced – there’s even the option of bringing your own cushion and watching the shows from the floor at the front of the stage hoe cool is that! I have enjoyed every production I have seen there and always keep an eye on what is showing next!

Restaurants in Kingston

Kingston has all my go-to restaurants such as Busaba Eathai, GBK and Bill’s. But if you’re looking for something more unique, the riverside features some gorgeous pubs and restaurants – all with outdoor seating, perfect for a sunny day!

Don’t worry guys there is two McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Pizza Express! 😉

Nightlife in Kingston

There are many Bars, Pub’s and Clubs in Kingston. My favourites are the ones on the river, just a short walk from both Greencoat House and Bright House. There is also the Rotunda which is opposite Greencoat House, here there is an Odeon Cinema, David Lloyd Gym, bowling and a few restaurant’s. The bowling is half price on a Tuesday!

Fun-filled walks

For those interested in discovering a little bit more about the history of Kingston, for a few pounds, there are guided walks every Sunday where you can learn all about Saxon Kings, local heroes and villains, and much more. The tours start from the doors to the Market House in the Ancient Market Place.

Richmond Park is also a 10-minute walk away:

Escape to the great outdoors in Richmond Park with its wide open spaces, grasslands and deer herds.

The park is a top UK site for ancient trees and supports a range of rare species including fungi, birds, beetles, bats, grasses and wildflowers.

Discover the Isabella Plantation woodland gardens, refuel at Pembroke Lodge tea rooms and enjoy distant views of St Paul’s Cathedral from King Henry’s Mound.

Try your hand at power kiting, horse riding or golf, or hire a bike for some off-road cycling along the Tamsin Trail.

Richmond Park is a great space to clear your head of any of life’s stresses, take time for you and recharge.

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Making your Student Room feel like a home!

We’ve all looked at student accommodation and wondered how we can turn a house into a home. Make your room Instagram-able with these handy tips!

1. Home Comforts
Everyone has one item that they can’t live without. Be it a dressing gown, a cushion or a teddy (yes even adults have these), bring these to your halls with you for a piece of familiarity.
Home décor to liven up your room will always help so think clever and purchase storage boxes with an arty pattern or reed diffuser to make the space truly yours.

TIP: Look at our Instagram for inspiration of a decorated room!

2. Photos!
Surround yourselves with photographs of your family and friends. This will be comforting when you are feeling a little home sick; especially in the first few weeks!
Add to these throughout the year with your new friends and memories made whilst staying in Winchester Student Accommodation.

TIP: Try using a piece of string or ribbon and print off polaroid to make it more creative.

3. Bring the Outdoors In
Believe it or not there will periods of time where you will be studying in your room; so bringing the outdoors in will allow you the best of both worlds.
Here in Winchester we are lucky enough to have vast amounts of greenery so bring a taste of this into your room; plans are said to have a calming effect and will also boost your oxygen levels so win win whilst studying.

TIP: Something easy to look after is key – go for a cactus.

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How To Survive Moving Day

Sainsbury’s Bank Visual Guide to Moving House

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The Amazing Opportunities Available At Kingston University

The Fantastic Clubs and Societies 

The first thing you will want to do once you have settled into your accommodation at Kingston University is to start exploring everything the campus has to offer. You can start by looking into all the different clubs. You will find over ninety societies and clubs available at Kingston University. You can make a connection with your community, political group, faith or country. You can join other people interested in your subject for entertaining and educational events. You can make new friends, enjoy a wide selection of films, fun games, great music and delicious food. You can join forces to promote numerous worthy causes. You can even begin your own society to share new ideas and concepts with the other students.

The Sensational Campus Events 

One of the best things about having an accommodation in Kingston University is attending the wide variety of events on campus. The college frequently hosts events on campus such as theater performances, lectures, dances, movie screenings and so much more. These events are usually free for the students, provide the opportunity to meet new people and are much safer and more satisfying than attending a wild Uni party.

The Variety of Jobs on Campus 

The various Kingston University campuses offer a wide selection of available jobs. You can choose to be a part of the bat staff, help out in the library, organise different events, etc. There are a lot of worthwhile opportunities.

Student Government Participation 

You can be a part of the student government. You can even do a lot more than just join. You have the opportunity to become involved with the important matters happening on the campus and improve your resume at the same time. You will improve your leadership skills, be able to show you have been a participant in an activity for making central decisions and connect with a diverse and wide body of students. One of the best parts is you are going to hear about all the upcoming events at all of the Kingston University campuses. You will enjoy just getting out and attending these events.

 

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Your Backpack Essentials for University

Your Backpack Essentials for University

Heading for university for the first time can be an overwhelming experience. You’re going to have exhausting days on campus when you don’t even have a chance to grab a bit to eat, and finding the time to run back to your Kingston accommodation to grab what you need for the next session may prove absolutely impossible. That means keeping a well stocked backpack for those rough days. What should you keep inside? Take a look.

A Student Planner: Keeping a planner is absolutely essential at university. Don’t worry, writing everything down won’t stifle you. Instead, it will help you learn to keep control of your world, especially when it seems to be spinning out of control with so many things to do!

A Water Bottle: Hydration really matters to your health, so don’t forget that water bottle. The last thing you want to have to stop and do is spend more cash on a water bottle you’re just going to have to throw away. With so many bottle fillers on campus these days, it’s best to choose a good water bottle that will keep you hydrated and fresh throughout the day.

A USB Stick: Everything might be in the cloud these days, but what happens if that cloud crashes and you don’t have instant access to your work before your tutoring session? You’re going to have some real problems ahead. Backing your work up to a USB stick can make sure that doesn’t happen, even if you the Internet goes down at 2 a.m. while you’re making some last minute revisions to the paper that is due when you get up in the morning.

A Card Holder: You may want to store your Kingston accommodation keycard, university student ID, or your Oyster Card. No matter what you want to keep in there, though, a card holder is absolutely essential.

A Kingston University Campus Guide: Where is it? How do I get there fast? This guide will show you exactly what you need to find and the quickest route to get there. After all, you don’t want to be late, and you don’t want to have to ask someone else how to get there.

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Tips for Freshers Week

Tips for Freshers Week

Tips for Freshers Week

There’s nothing quite like Fresher’s Week. It’s easily the most exciting and terrifying time of your life at uni, but you will survive. Wondering how to make that happen? These tips can help.

 

  • Meet Someone! Seriously, the sooner you can start making friends at uni, the better you’ll feel about being there. Luckily, Fresher’s Week tends to be the single most social time of the year, and everyone is in the same spot you are, so get ready to make some friends. When you do, make sure you make a few more, but do it together. Start knocking on doors and meeting others who are new to the area and want to hang out. You’ll feel a lot better when you have a crew of friends.

 

  • Learn Your Surroundings: As important as friends are, it’s just as important to learn where you are and where you need to be. Think carefully about what you might need to know. Certainly you’ll want to understand the basics of your Kingston University accommodation. Understanding a few simple things like where the building manager’s office is located and how to get to the laundry room is key. Don’t stop there, though. Take a closer look at where a food shop is located and what takeaway you can get at your Kingston accommodation so when you’re on a study binge, you don’t have to stop to eat.

 

  • Find a Bank Account: You’re also going to want to open a student bank account right away. Many of the biggest names in banking have student accounts including Lloyds, Barclay’s, HSBC, and Natwest. You just need to do a couple of things. First, choose a bank with a student account, then make sure you have everything you need to open the account. Decide whether you want to go with a current account or a savings account, then get started. You can either open an account in person or just handle the entire transaction online. Either way, make sure to put something in that account because your student loans won’t come in immediately, so you may need a bit of cash on hand to make it through the first few weeks.
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Getting Prepared For Next Year At Uni

Getting Prepared For Next Year At Uni

The summer holidays are a great time to rest before the upcoming year at university. But whilst it’s important to take a break, it’s just as important to prepare yourself for what’s to come. Here are three thing’s you’ll want to prepare as you anticipate the start of the term.

Prepare For Your Courses

Your courses are the crux of your life at uni. As such, you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared for them when you return. Use the rest of the summer holidays to research the course content for the next term. Use online resources to find information about what you’ll be learning, what you’ll be expected to know and how this course will benefit your overall programme of study. The more you know about your courses now, the more confident you will feel when the term begins.

Organise Yourself

The biggest challenge many uni students face is to manage time and organise all their social and academic activities. Getting a head start on this whilst on summer holiday will only further prepare you for your next year. Develop a daily schedule based on your upcoming term if you know your course details ahead of time. Anticipate the amount of time you’ll need to study and allocate time for social events. Organising yourself now will reduce some of the stress you may feel once the term begins.

Consider Accommodation

One of the most important aspects of uni life that is often overlooked is the accommodation required whilst at university. When choosing where you’ll stay, you’ll want to make sure it provides a safe, inclusive living environment where you can socialise, study and otherwise enjoy yourself during your time at uni. Have you booked your new accommodation for the following year? Amro Vantage offers excellent student accommodation in Kingston upon Thames with access to both Kingston College and Kingston University. Both our Bright House and Greencoat House accommodation include all-in rent and bill pay, as well as no-fuss contracts that will help you focus on your coursework, not worry about student housing.

Making the most of your upcoming term at uni is simple if you prepare now. Use these three strategies to make your next year at university the best one possible.

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3 Things Every Student Learns From Going to Uni

3 Things Every Student Learns From Going to Uni

Many students pursue university to get an academic degree or to start a path towards a professional field. But what many fail to realise is that whilst uni is all about learning, some of the things a student learns aren’t actually taught in a lecture hall. Here are three things every student learns from going to uni, without stepping one foot in a classroom.

1. Independence & Self Sufficiency
One of the hardest transitions for many students entering uni from traditional secondary school is learning to be independent. Transitioning from a fairly structured day to a day that changes each term starts as soon as a uni student hits freshers’ week, and sometimes that transition can be tough. Luckily, your years at uni will teach you that you can be independent. Being responsible for your academic and professional outcomes not only has an impact on your life, but it also makes you a more independent and self-sufficient individual.

2. How To Work With Others From Differing Backgrounds
At uni, people from all different backgrounds — different religions, ethnicities, socio-economic standings, from various regions of the UK and around the world — all congregate on one campus for the purposes of advancing themselves. Such diversity in backgrounds is very beneficial to the uni student, who must learn to work together with others. Since working cooperatively is a facet of our modern, globalised economy, working with others different than you at the college level gives you the experience you need to tackle cooperative work in the post-uni world.

3. How to Manage Finances
The ‘poor uni student’ is not a misnomer, and you learn that quickly whilst at a university. Your maintenance loan, whilst helpful, only goes so far, and then there’s that whole have-to-pay-it-back thing. Whilst it’s easy to spend your first maintenance loan quickly in your first term, you eventually learn to plan your finance for the long-term, gaining a broader education on the value of the pound and overall ways to handle your finances.

University is a great time to grow intellectually, but it’s also a time to learn broader lessons as well. Self-sufficiency, cooperative work, and financial management are all lessons to be learned whilst in university. If you’re a uni student still learning how to manage your finances, Amro Vantage offers affordable student accommodation in Kingston that won’t make you go broke. Check out our website to learn more.

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