Features | Top tips for student living in winter
Winter is looming and there’s only so much that dodgy central heating can do to keep our spirits up. Here are LSi’s top tips for staying warm and chirpy during the cold, dark winter months.
Feeling the chill? Now is the perfect time of year to raid the charity shops and vintage stores, as it’s finally jumper season. Find yourself a reasonably priced piece of knitwear and become the newest edgy kid in town. Bonus points for attire with animals and garish colours. Also, it helps to cut down on those scary winter heating bills.
German Christmas Market
If you’ve got a yearning for the Bavarian Yuletide experience, the Christkindelmarkt is Millennium Square from November 8 until December 18. Make sure to get yourself down there for a veritable smörgåsbord of culinary delights, a wide array of Germanic products and even a talking moose head. It also makes for an interesting, if somewhat odd, venue for a date. Drink alcohol laced hot chocolate to your heart’s content, have a bite of that pretzel, and get yourself into the Christmassy mood.
Hygiene, hygiene, hygiene!
As we all know, the winter months mean the spread of nasty coughs and colds. For perfect attendance, make sure that your personal hygiene is of a military standard. Make sure to wash your hands frequently, because while you may be considerate of the spread of germs, other people will inevitably not. It may sound condescendingly simple, but avoid touching your mouth or face if you’ve touched suspect surfaces and for extra protection bring along a small bottle of hand sanitizer, it smells clean and the sensation of it evaporating from your skin brings a shiver of childish glee.
Makeshift heating solutions
Is your wallet feeling the end of term pinch? Are you shivering in your bed at night? Then consider your pang of cold desperation and utilise this cheap and homemade solution. Take a large, empty coke bottle, rinse it out, fill it with hot water, and you have yourself a makeshift hot water bottle. The heat lasts for a surprisingly long amount of time, but there is one thing to look out for – make sure your water isn’t too hot or boiling, otherwise you will melt the bottle.
Make sure to keep your homes extra secure at this time of year, as burglaries increase during the winter months. Those of you in halls with lots of security may have slightly less to worry about but remember to keep your doors and windows locked at all times, just in case. Also remember to set your burglar alarm if all of you are out at once, and leaving a light on inside can also help to deter criminals. For more information, consult: www.westyorkshire.police.uk/burglary.
In addition to burglary, the longer nights also mean that it may be more unsafe to get from place to place by yourself. If you don’t have the money for a taxi, Amber Cars will be able to take you home with your student card in lieu of money. Your card will then be dropped off at the finance counter on the first floor where you can pick it up and pay your fare. The Leeds University Union also has a Nightbus which can take you from the Union entrance to your doorstep for just £1; bookings can be made at the security desk. If the night bus isn’t an option, make sure to walk in well lit areas and not to have valuables on show.
Now that we’re entering the colder months, it’s the perfect excuse to ditch the salads and go for something heartier; you do need to build up your winter fat reserves, after all. Soups are an absolute must for a lunch or a light dinner, paired with buttery crusty bread; it can make for a cheap, tasty and nutritious meal. Baked potatoes are equally simple and filling, too.
Is your accommodation looking a bit Spartan? To give your dwellings a bit of Christmas spirit, consider making your own decorations out of coloured paper. Paper chains are easy, an ideal way to procrastinate and can be a fun bonding exercise between you and your flatmates.
Cheesy Christmas Playlist
To further get you into the Yuletide mood, making a playlist with all of the corniest Christmas songs you can possibly think of is a must. It will make for an interesting atmosphere at pre-drinks and can be used as motivation when writing that last minute essay.
TV Christmas Specials
And finally, it is the time of year when it’s finally acceptable to watch all the Christmas specials of your favourite TV shows. In case you haven’t seen enough of the reruns, you can always catch them on demand at various streaming sites. A personal favourite is the Father Ted Christmas Special, A Christmassy Ted; Father Jack is the only name I need to mention.