Winter in London

Read what Sandip has to say about experiencing London in the winter months.

It’s not long now until the clocks go forward, and the warm autumn breeze is replaced by dark and chilly winter nights. But have no fear, for there’s no better place in England than London to spend your winter evenings. It might be warmer and cosier indoors, but trust me there’s plenty going on in the capital to keep you entertained. You could indulge yourself at the theatre, step aboard the Alternative London Tour, or be dazzled by the Lord Mayor’s fireworks display. Here’s my list of the best things to do this winter in London.

Popular theatre shows
You’ve not experienced London until you’ve been to the theatre, and this winter there are some jaw-dropping shows that will keep you thoroughly entertained. Firstly, Beverly Knight returns to the West End in new hit musical Memphis; whilst Cats returns at the London Palladium for a twelve week residency starring music superstar Nicole Scherzinger. Off-West End there’s the fierce and disturbing World War Two epic The Curring Room, and The Way Back Home at the Southbank Centre. You can find London’s theatre programme here.

Alternative London Tour
Scape East students, you’ve been living in East London for a while now, maybe you’ve already experienced some of the events I shortlisted for Scape. If not, this leftfield tour is a must, see your local area as you’ve never experienced it before. An original tour taking you on a non-stop journey into the heart of London’s vibrant and diverse East End.

Experience terror at the British library
Britain’s most comprehensive display of Gothic literature and artefacts goes on display at the British Library in their new exhibition, Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination. This is a more intellectual and informative day out, and ties in nicely with upcoming Halloween! If you want to explore the dark-side of British literature, delve into vampire slaying-kits, or even experience how gothic heritage has infused our daily lives, then you and this exhibition are an ideal fit.Scape Student Living London student accommodation Winter things to do Halloween

The Lord Mayor’s firework display
This year on Saturday November 8th, London celebrates the new Lord Mayor. For over 799 years the new Lord Mayor (not Boris Johnson, but the newly elected Ambassador of the City of London) has walked, trotted and even fought his way through the congregated crowds to swear an oath of loyalty. This year the celebrations begin with a morning river pageant, followed by an afternoon procession through the centre of London, and finishing in the evening with an impressive fireworks display.

Halloween events in London
It’s almost that time of year again, when London is gripped by ghost stories, and spooky goings-on. There are plenty of events to keep you entertained for this year’s celebrations. There are plenty of parties taking place across the capital, all you need to do is get down to your local costume shop and pick out something that will scare. There are also a number of Halloween themed events across London ready to give you the scare of your life.

This was by no means an exhaustive list of things to do this winter in London, but it’s a good starting point. Remember to stay safe, and more importantly have fun.

How to Make Extra Money at University

Life as a student has always been expensive, cost of living and tuition fees have both risen sharply in recent years. You can save money by spending less on a weekly shop, but cutting back isn’t the only way to take care of your money. Students can be known for their hoarding habits, and you can earn some money from your old, unwanted items.

Gadget Stores
So you’ve moved into student halls, and you’ve brought your computer, phone, speakers… the list of gadgets is endless, right? Well not all of these items are essential and you can part with some of your electronics by selling them. Try looking around your room for old gadgets and unwanted items that can be sold at a local second hand store. Check on websites such as webuy.com for a guide price before lugging your larger items around town! Don’t be afraid to barter with the customer assistant, and if you are unhappy with the price given at a particular store try shopping around, you may get a better price elsewhere.

Car Boot Sales
You may be studying at a location where travelling to the ‘local’ gadget store isn’t really an option. In this case, you could try local events such as car boot sales or fairs. The cost of having a stall/pitch shouldn’t be too much; you could go with a few friends, pool your stuff to sell and split the cost of the pitch.If you’re taking electronics to sell, try looking for an indoor event as bad weather will most likely break your gear. London also has its share of car boot sales, listings can be found here.

Online Ad Listing
If you’re still at a loss, try posting an ad on craigslist or Gumtree. Delivery is free, and no there’s no charge to list your items, unlike eBay. Always be careful when selling your items online and beware of scam artists.

Old Clothing
There are other websites that allow you to send unwanted clothes in return for cash.  Scape Living London student accommodation make money university sell clothesSo if you have any labelled clothing that doesn’t fit, pay a visit to musicMagpie. After all, it’s just collecting dust in your wardrobe! This website also gives you cash for DVDs, games and electronics.

EXTRA TIP: Take a look inside your local charity shop and see if there are branded garments on sale. You could make a quick profit through buying and selling them online.

Gift Cards
If you have lots of clothing that isn’t branded (you are a student after all) then you could check out schemes such as the one offered by H&M. They allow you to take in a bag of old clothes in exchange for a £5 gift voucher that can be spent in store on yet more clothes. Let’s face it, you were just going to buy more anyway!

If you have any tips of your own, share them with us on Facebook or Twitter.

Top 10 things to do in Greenwich – Part 2

Read Part 2 of Paula’s Guide to Greenwich – scroll down for Part 1!

Following on from Paula’s first post, below are 5 more essential trips that you need to make in Greenwich.

Cutty Sark
Right on the river, the Cutty Sark Pub has been around for a long long time. With a friendly and rustic feel, the pub has a lot of character and Things to do Greenwich Scape Living London student accommodation cutty sark culture pt2there is a great selection of beers and food. When the weather is great you can sit outside and take in the awe-inspiring views of the River Thames. Just how long has the Cutty Sark been around for? The actual tavern was built over 200 years so you will be immersed in a piece of history.

Greenwich Theatre
Greenwich Theatre offers an alternative way to spend your evening. It is relaxed, intimate and features a wide array of shows throughout the year. Originally a music hall, live performances have been taking place at the site for the past 150 years. Today, the theatre has an ethos of supporting grass roots theatre where ‘exceptional graduate performers’, young companies and Emerging Artists festival all feature. Martin Luther King, written by Ewan Hooper, the Vortex featuring Vivien Merchant and Timothy Dalton, Chekhov’s Three Sisters and John Mortimer’s A Voyage Round My Father have all featured at the theatre.

Fashion in Greenwich
Shopping in Greenwich can only turn out to be fun. As you stroll through the town there is a wide realm of boutiques and stores. Here is a selection of some of the shops you can find. Bullfrog’s Shoes offers a varied selection of shoes. ‘Meet Bernard’ offer highbrow fashion for the modern man/woman. A Greenwich favourite, Joy has the latest highstreet fashions for women and men.

Café Rouge
Having a coffee and breakfast at Café Rouge on a quiet morning is a real treat. The inexpensive French themed restaurant has a delectable variety of fresh patisseries such as pain au chocolat, pain au raisin, or croissants which comes with a petit pot of jam for £2.50. If you prefer a cooked breakfast, ‘Oeufs Bénédicte’, ‘Omelette’ and ‘Le Petit Déjeuner Végétarien’ are all on the menu. Café Rouge of course, is part of a mainstream chain and can get mighty busy but if you get the chance to go on a quiet morning or evening its well worth the journey.

Oliver’s Music Jazz Bar
Music makes the world go round and in Greenwich there exists one of the most famous venues: the o2, which of course showcase some of the most popular acts in the world. However there is another side to Greenwich. Oliver’s Music Jazz Bar. If you enjoy live music then Oliver’s Music Jazz Bar is a must! A complete hidden gem, Oliver’s showcases live jazz ‘of the highest calibre’ featuring internationally acclaimed musicians from the UK, America and beyond. It has a cosy ambiance where you can really enjoy good music and unwind.

Top 10 things to do in Greenwich – Part 1

Read Part 1 of Paula’s Guide to Greenwich – scroll up for Part 2!

With its own vibe, leafy Greenwich is unique. It is rich in history whilst being a stone’s throw away from the city. So you end up being in one of the most beautiful towns whilst being in London. There are clubs, pubs, shops, independent traders, a comedy club, museums and so much more. Here is a selection of some of the top 10 things to do when you are in Greenwich.

Greenwich Park
Greenwich Park has to be one of the most breath-taking parks in London, if not England. The scenic 183 acres of green land first opened in the 13th century and is the oldest enclosed Things to do in Greenwich Scape Living London student accommodation Greenwich Park picturehouse market - pt1Royal Park. Situated on a hilltop, the luscious park boasts impressive views of Blackheath, Greenwich, the River Thames, Docklands and the City of London. The park is so extensive that you will definitely find a spot to relax, even on a hot summer’s day. The National Maritime Museum and the Queen’s House are at the base of the park. Discover where east meets west at the Greenwich Meridian line by trekking up to the Royal Observatory which is at the top of the hill. The park opens every day at 6am.

Greenwich Picturehouse
In the heart of Greenwich, Greenwich Picturehouse showcases the latest blockbusters. The cinema has a modern atmosphere and is home to five screens – with the intimate Screen 5 being a highlight. It allows you to feel completely at home whilst watching your favourite films. You can plan a nice evening at Greenwich Picturehouse, where you have a meal before your film as the Rivington Grill and Tapera are next to the cinema. If you fancy a tipple, there is a bar located at the top of the building and the views aren’t bad either. Students get discounts for cinema tickets.

Greenwich Market
London is a haven for markets and Greenwich has its own unique contributions to add to the mix. With a boutiquey feel, Greenwich Market is London’s only historic market that is found within a World Heritage site. The market stalls sell food, jewellery, arts and crafts, clothes antiques and beauty products. There is also an assortment of pubs, restaurants, cafés and wine bars.

The Trafalgar
Trafalgar Café is a great greasy spoon that has been serving Greenwich tasty English breakfasts for ages. With a modest feel, the cafés’ generous portions will leave you feeling satisfied. Their fry-ups never disappoint and their servings of the classics are appetising too. Builder’s tea is the norm but that’s part of its charm and appeal. The busy Trafalgar Café is perfect for those days when you just want to tuck in and relax. You don’t need to spend a lot either – expect to pay under £7.00.

Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park
Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park is a peaceful paradise to unwind. A mesmerising range of wildlife exists in the Park. Expect exotic birds, frogs, fish, toads and newts along with many other animals. In warmer climes, the Park has dragonflies, damselflies, and beautiful butterflies. The Park has an inner and outer lake. The outer lake is open at all times and the inner lake area is accessible only through the Gatehouse during opening hours. Scape Greenwich is right next to the park so you don’t have to travel far to find a piece of serenity in London.

Chicken and Chickpeas with Citrus Breadcrumbs

Want to eat healthily but don’t have much money? Hennika’s recipe is delicious, healthy and cheap! Most of the ingredients you may find in your cupboard already, then just pop to the supermarket to buy your fresh chicken thighs and herbs.

Serves four people; and takes around 20 minutes to prepare and 25 minutes to cook

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 small handfuls of dried breadcrumbs
  • 6-8 chicken thighs
  • 2 small onions
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 x 400g tinned chickpeas
  • 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
  • Small bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 1 lemon

Method

  1. Place a large frying pan over a medium heat and heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
  2. Pour the oil into the pan and add the breadcrumbs, season and then cook for 3-4 minutes, whilst tossing, until golden and crispy.
  3. Once it’s crispy, tip into a bowl to cool down.
  4. Place the pan back onto the heat and add the chicken thighs. Season the meat and fry for 5 minutes until golden on both sides. Then place the chicken onto a baking tray and roast for 25 minutes or until cooked.
  5. Meanwhile chop the onions and slice the garlic; fry the onions in the pan until soft and then add the garlic once the onions have softened and fry for another 2-3 minutes.
  6. Drain and rinse the chickpeas, then add the tomatoes and chickpeas to the onion and garlic pan and let it simmer briskly, stirring often for ten minutes.
  7. Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the oven and rest it for 5 minutes to allow all the juices to settle from the thighs.
  8. Finely chop the parsley and grate the lemon zest and mix both with the cooled breadcrumbs.
  9. Finally plate the chickpea mixture on the plate, rest the chicken thighs on top and scatter the lemony breadcrumbs on top of the chicken.

Chicken and chickpeas recipeThere are roughly per serving 500 calories in this meal, and it’s great if you want a lot of protein! For an even healthier meal, replace chicken thighs with chicken breast

It can be adapted to suit any taste buds; if you prefer it spicy add some chilli, or extra dried herbs instead. If you don’t like chickpeas try kidney beans or haricot beans.

Freshers’ guide to East London

Read on for Sandip’s advice on things to do in East London.

The summer sun has set and the autumn rain has arrived, but there is an aura of excitement in the air as hundreds of university fresher’s descend upon the capital this September to begin the next chapter of their lives. Living at Scape East is a brilliant choice; it’s situated in the vibrant and rustic East End of London and there are plenty of things to do. The East End’s patchwork of diverse settings means there’s something for every student.

There are the obvious things to go and see whilst living here at Scape East such as Victoria Park, the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, and the shopping mall at Stratford. But the East End has so much more to offer you and that’s where this guide comes in; I’ve listed some of the best things to do and visit during your time at Scape East.

Art and music in East London
It may come as a surprise but there are some brilliant art exhibitions to explore here in the East End. Firstly, there’s the Whitechapel Gallery. This is the original East End gallery, which serves as a stage for both contemporary and classic artists. With nine galleries you’ll be able to experience (for free!) world renowned classical artists such as Pablo Picasso and Mark Rothko, as well as modern and contemporary greats such as Lucien Freud and Mark Wallinger.

Further to this there is the Wilton’s Music Hall, one of the East End’s best kept secrets. Here, a variety of distinctive, imaginative and diverse musical scores including theatre productions, comedy, cinema and cabaret is offered.

Hackney Empire and Rio Cinema 

Scape Living London student accommodation things to do East London Rio Cinema Hackney Empire Broadway Market SpitalfieldsPresenting old, traditional and hit productions from a bygone era in a contemporary manner, Hackney Empire is an essential excursion for all new East End students. Hackney Empire is renowned for housing great touring productions, world famous orchestras, and international comedians and musicians (Check out their autumn programme here).

If rustic cinematic entertainment isn’t for you, then perhaps the contemporary Rio Cinema at Dalston, may be more to your taste. With its mix of modern and classical films, it is a truly worthwhile visit.

East London markets
London is renowned for its many cultural and diverse markets and the East End is home to two of the best. Both Broadway Market and Spitalfields are short distances away from Scape East. At both markets you’ll find a mixture of students, locals and Londoners bustling through the stalls.

Broadway market is situated in Hackney next to the beautiful Regents Canal and is open every Saturday. At Broadway you’ll find everything you’ll need for your weekly shop at rock bottom prices. There are stalls selling organic fruit and vegetables, poultry and fish, as well as numerous pubs and restaurants to keep you entertained. At Spitalfields (located near Shoreditch) you will find a seven-day market with classic and vintage stalls. These offer cutting edge East End fashions, original artworks, quirky crafts. Also squeezed in are a number of food and drink stalls.

Food and drink
There are some great places to eat and drink in the East End. Firstly there’s the newly opened Dirty Burger restaurant on Mile End Road. Alternatively, Vietnamese food is available at the affordable Song Que restaurant in Shoreditch. If you fancy spending a night of your fresher’s week in slightly more extravagant surroundings then a trip to Les Trois Garcons on Brick Lane is essential. This French cuisine bar/ restaurant has an extravagant interior filled with stuffed exotic animals, bright and colourful flowers, and there’s always a brilliant atmosphere.

I hope you enjoyed my rundown of some key East End attractions. Whatever you get up to this fresher’s week remember to have fun and stay safe (you can read our article on student safety here).

Mushroom and Spinach Lasagne Recipe

Don’t have time to cook a healthy tasty dinner? Well here’s Hennika’s tasty and cheap vegetarian recipe which is suitable for even weekday dinners!

Mushroom and spinach lasagne student recipes

Ingredients

  • 250g sliced mushrooms
  • 1 tsp dried herbs
  • 200g bag of spinach
  • 300g soft cheese
  • 4 tbsp grated cheese
  • 6 fresh/ dried lasagne sheets.
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 crushed garlic clove

Method

  1. Heat your oven up to 200C.
  2. Heat some oil in large frying pan, and add the garlic and cook for one min or so.
  3. Add the mushrooms and dried herbs and cook further for 3-4 mins.
  4. Throw in the spinach and stir until the leaves wilt.
  5. Remove from heat and add soft cheese and add seasoning.

Assembling the lasagne:

  1. Put a ¼ of the spinach mix on the bottom of a medium sized baking pan.
  2. Lay two pasta sheets on top
  3. And repeat until all the pasta and mixture has been used up.
  4. Add your grated cheese on top so it’s nice and oozy once it’s cooked.
  5. And cook for 35 minutes, until the pasta is tender and the cheese is nice and golden.