The Essential Student Cookbook – Free E-book Download

Student food – beans on toast, pot noodles or cheap takeaways – quick and cheerful but not necessarily healthy nor nutritional. Lack of time, money and in most cases willingness to cook sits at the center of some students’ bad eating habits. So what if you could eat well with proper food prepared from scratch which doesn’t take an expert to cook, will not break your bank (socialising) balance and most importantly, doesn’t take a long time to prepare?

The Student Housing Company has put together the Better than Beans on Toast: The Essential Student Cookbook filled with easy creations which can be enjoyed by anyone, even busy students during mad studying times.

The cookbook contains 17 recipes covering breakfast, lunch, dinner and even yummy puddings for all you sweet lovers out there. The recipes were submitted by food blogs; they are tried and tested and once followed will deliver a delicious dining experience.

In this e-book, everyone should find something they like, or at least I would hope so. The recipes vary and some of them even cater to the vegan crowd out there. Ranging from Egg, Bacon and Cream Cheese Bagels, which actually look divine and I would strongly suggest checking them out to Chicken and Halloumi Stir-Fry or even our own favourite Triple Chocolate Almond Brownies, which are simply loved by everyone who tries them, the cookbook ticks all the boxes and should keep you well fed and going for weeks to come.

I was planning to share with you some of the recipes out here but in the end, I decided not to. Go on and check the cookbook out for yourselves, for now, all I will give you is the recipe list you can find in the book:

Egg, Bacon and Cream Cheese Bagel

Pasta Carbonara with a Twist

Italian Chicken Parmigiana

Swedish Meatballs-Inspired Vegan-Balls

Chicken and Halloumi Stir-Fry

Sweet Potato with Avocado and Goats’ Cheese

Do-It-Yourself Mexican Burrito

Chicken and Chorizo Paella

20-Minute Chicken and Egg Ramen

Meatball Marinara

Contemporary Corned Beef Sandwich

Triple Chocolate Almond Brownies

Tempting American Pancakes

Strawberry Flapjacks

Banana Bread

Melt-in-the-Mouth Cookie Dough and Cookies

Simple Vegan Donuts


You can download the cookbook for free and check it out for yourself; maybe something will take your fancy.



Beware of the Dog Sign; Pros and Cons

So you made a decision and became a dog owner… so what now? Do you or do you not put a sign on your gate advertising the fact?

Well, this is a question that some of us find very troubling. I guess this simple task of screwing a nice metal or plastic plaque onto your gate can have some consequences. So should we or shouldn’t we advertise the fact that we own a dog?

I wish there was a simple answer to this question but there isn’t one. Things to consider…

Trespassing… A beware of the dog sign can be a nice little reminder that you are about to enter someone else’s property, just in case the fence or gate wasn’t a big enough clue, but isn’t this an admission that your dog is dangerous and might bite? Some people think it is… This doesn’t mean that the sign shouldn’t be there but you might want to rethink what it should state… unless you have a truly protective dog like a serious guard dog and it probably will, in fact, attack the intruder, then a sign stating the fact is fair game in my eyes.

Security… of both your dog and your property… yes, you are reading it right… dogs might protect your property and a sign like this might make some robber think twice before picking on your household but what about the dog? I remember a few years ago there was a huge spike in reports of household dogs being stolen…a sign like this may make it easier for some nefarious individual to identify what house comes with a dog. I assume people stealing dogs isn’t your everyday situation but still, it is worth a consideration.

Ease of access… depending on your property layout and how gated it is, it might be nice to warn a delivery person for example that you own a dog, especially if it is the barking type. I can imagine that being surprised by a “barking monster” on the other side of the fence isn’t a pleasant experience for them. Just remember to keep your gate locked at all times, you don’t want to risk the dog running away simply because someone didn’t lock the gate behind them.

Choice of signs… beware of the dog isn’t the only sign out there, there are a lot of different dog signs to choose from or you can even design your own sign. You might want to consider something like “Dog running free”, or “Dog in the yard” or “I can make the gate in 3 seconds, can you?” – They all suggest you have a dog without implying that the dog is a vicious killer.

All of these thoughts to consider and we still aren’t any closer to an answer, should we or shouldn’t we…

I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer here. It all depends on why you want to put a sign up, what the sign will say and what breed of the dog you own… think about it and make your own mind.

Do you have a dog sign on your gate?

Did you ever consider putting one up?


Winter Health Tips for Pets

* by Lannie 

Cold weather is notoriously bad for health. The winter months bring cold and flu season, and the lack of sunshine and fresh air can make even the happiest person a little depressed. Believe it or not, the same is true for pets. Dogs and cats have their own set of struggles through the coldest months of the year. Here are some tips to help keep your furry friends comfy, cozy and cold-free!

Get a Checkup

Your pet needs regular health checkups to make sure everything’s in tip-top shape. It’s best to schedule these checkups as the weather changes so your vet can give you the best wellness plan for the upcoming season.

Make Sure Your Pet Is Warm

Pets feel cold just like people do. While it’s true that they have a built-in fur coat, that doesn’t mean it’s safe to leave pets outdoors for extended periods of time during chilly weather. If you have outdoor pets, make sure they have a nice warm place to snuggle up during cold weather. If possible, the best advice is to keep pets indoors during winter (with frequent outdoor breaks for exercise and potty time, of course). If your pet is older, seems frail, or is otherwise more susceptible to the cold, you might consider adding a sweater to keep the cold at bay.

Don’t Shave Your Pet

Your pet’s coat of fur is there for a reason. In the wintertime, it helps keep Fido or Fluffy nice and warm. As the weather gets colder, you can keep up the grooming, but make sure you skip any shaving or clipping of your pet’s winter coat. Your animal will need it very soon. Again, if your pet has short hair, consider adding a sweater to protect against the cold.

Keep an Exercise Routine

Because they’re spending so much more time indoors, it’s imperative that you maintain a regular exercise routine for your pets. This could be as simple as a few walks per day, but you could also consider playing Frisbee or fetch with your dog so you both get some good exercise. Cats are harder to play with, but they usually love traipsing around the yard for a half hour or so – just make sure you bring them in when they get cold.

Stay on Top of the Meds

As the winter months roll in, it may be tempting to skip some of your pet’s medication, especially preventive ones like flea and tick medication. While you may see fewer bugs in the winter, fleas, ticks, and heartworms are still a problem. If you’ve experienced fleas in the summer, you’ll definitely want to keep up with the medication now; studies show year-round prevention is the best method to eradicate these pesky bugs for good. Try giving your pets chewable tablets, like Trifexis which is the perfect trifecta of parasite prevention for dogs.

Check the Heat in Your Home

There are lots of good reasons to get a heat inspection for your home each year. For one, it can help prevent huge repair bills down the road, but it can also keep your whole family safe. If you have a gas furnace, you’ll want a yearly inspection to check for carbon monoxide leaks and other issues. You should also change your filters at the start of every season (and at least once a month) to keep allergens and bacteria away.

Finally, remember to watch your pet around other heat sources, like your fireplace and space heaters. Pets will often flock to these areas, looking for warmth. It’s easy for a pet to get too near a fire or accidentally knock over a heater, so make sure you provide constant supervision when using these sources of heat.


**Lannie is a writer for Allivet. Allivet provides affordable pet supplies and pet medications, all of which can be purchased online.

12+ Homemade Edible Christmas Gifts

The festive season is almost upon us so why not make it even more special by making your own edible gifts to share with loved ones? Special chocolates, biscuits or even a hot sauce… everyone can find something they like.

With Christmas comes the yearly dilemma of what to buy for that special someone who is simply an impossible person to shop for. Their odd taste or the fact that they have everything they need makes this job a really hard one, so why not try something new this year? Instead of yet another reindeer tie or a gift box full of fragrant soaps why not try a homemade edible gift.

“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”
Mother Teresa

Edible gifts can be a statement of love. Pick what the person likes and build on it. Sweet or savoury, soft or crunchy… the choices are endless but I am sure there is that little something which will put a smile on anyone’s face. Once you have made your choice as to the gift itself, think about a nice presentation – a festive box or maybe a nice ribbon and of course the name card. Finally pick a reliable courier company to deliver your creation. With all the festive work overload you need to pick a company you can trust to deliver your gift in one piece and most importantly who can deliver it on time. We speak from experience, last year in the middle of December my Mum decided to send us a last minute gift… according to the nice lady at the local courier company, who took the parcel and a lot of money, “It will be delivered within 3 days, maybe five at most as it December…” we finally received it in the middle of January after the non-delivery claim was already filed…

“Happiness doesn’t result from what we get, but from what we give.”
Ben Carson

But back to gifts now.

I’ve put together a selection of edible Christmas gifts which should cater for any taste. Some have a short use by date, others will last for months; some are sweet, others savoury or spicy; some are pure indulgence whilst others fall into the diet friendly category… I hope this round up will give you the answer you were looking for or at the very least spark an idea for what is perfect.

Butterscotch Peanut Butter Marshmallow Squares

Candied PecansCashew Chocolate Spread

Cheddar Cheese CoinsChocolate Cranberry Amaretti CookiesCitrus Salts

Coconut and Almond TrufflesCranberry Crunch Dark Chocolate Truffles

Gingerbread Glazed AlmondsHot Chocolate Mix

Hot SauceMaple GranolaSmoked Chocolate Christmas Bark

Swiss Jam Sandwich Cookies

So, what do you think?

Any chance you will be making any of these edible gifts this year?

I know I will.


Caribbean Jerk Chicken Wings

Crispy, both sweet and spicy and full of flavours – the perfect recipe to bring back memories of hot summer days.

Caribbean Jerk Chicken Wings Crispy, both sweet and spicy and full of flavours – the perfect recipe to bring back memories of hot summer days.When you type into Google “jerk chicken” you will get hit with thousands of different recipes, they all vary yet they will all have something in common – allspice and Scotch bonnet peppers. Our version of this popular dish is yet another twist developed to bring back memories of summer and holidays. Did you know that Barbados is one of the hottest December holiday destinations?  Wouldn’t it be lovely to chill on the beach right now, listen to some reggae music, sip tasty cocktails and eat delicious food? Indeed it would. But if you are like us, surrounded by grey clouds and almost freezing temperatures then you can at least get the taste of that wonderful experience right here at home by creating some delicious food. Nothing stopping you adding the music and cocktails as well if you’re so inclined!

Our recipe offers a mix of sweet and spice, moist and crispy with a smoky underlining. I call for an overnight marinating but the longer you leave it, the more intense the flavour, so if you plan well in advance you can marinate your chicken for up to 24h.

Caribbean Jerk Chicken Wings Crispy, both sweet and spicy and full of flavours – the perfect recipe to bring back memories of hot summer days.

Serves: 4 as a starter or 2 as a main

Total Time: 24h

Active cooking time: 20min



  • 1kg chicken wings / 12 wings
  • 75ml red wine vinegar
  • 25ml fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 4tbsp raw organic honey
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 3cm piece of fresh ginger; finely chopped
  • 2 hot red chillies; finely chopped, seeds included
  • 1tsp smoked paprika
  • 1tsp ground allspice
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • 6 spring onions (green part only); finely chopped
  • Handful of fresh coriander; finely chopped
  • Handful of fresh thyme; leaves only


In a bowl mix the vinegar, olive oil, orange juice and honey; stir well until all ingredients are well combined.

Add the ginger, chillies, thyme leaves, spring onion, coriander plus all the spices stated above (paprika, allspice, cinnamon, salt, and pepper) and mix well.

Pour over the chicken wings, turning them over several times so that they are well coated.

Leave to marinate overnight in the fridge, ideally tossing them over a few times.

Caribbean Jerk Chicken Wings Crispy, both sweet and spicy and full of flavours – the perfect recipe to bring back memories of hot summer days.

When ready to cook simply barbeque the wings, turning them over every few minutes until cooked through; until the juices at the thickest point will run clear. It should take 15-20 minutes.

Serve hot and enjoy!

Caribbean Jerk Chicken Wings - crispy, both sweet and spicy and full of flavours – the perfect recipe to bring back memories of hot summer days.


*Recipe commissioned by Thomas Cook Airlines