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.



Three Hot Meals to Warm That Winter Cold

When you’re down in the dumps, the thought of cooking anything at all can be a daunting prospect. Believe it or not, however, a warm meal will do wonders when compared to dry cereal from the box or leftovers from last night’s takeout. Whether it’s man-flu, a head cold, or a bunged-up nose that plagues your daylight hours, these quick and easy recipes can help you get back on your feet before you know it. So, put away that box of tissues and get out the spatula – we’re cooking away our colds this winter.

Chicken Soup – The Humble Classic

It’s hearty. It’s delicious. It’s the sick man’s go-to meal. Chicken soup can heat you right through to the bone and, whether you’re making it from scratch or warming up a tin, it’s packed with great benefits to bolster the immune system and clear out that cold. The broth steams your nose for clearance, provides much-needed hydration to the body, and soothes even the scratchiest of throats on its way down to a hungry tum. High levels of protein mean chicken soup is great fuel for your system to grow and repair, and a base of noodles provides a yummy foundation for the meal to work on. Any added veg – common ingredients include carrots, onions, and celery – means an additional punch of vitamin and mineral goodness, which is always welcome. Remember to serve with a side of buttered bread, if only to mop up the delicious end result with gusto.

Bolognese – Homemade, Simple and Filling

Spag Bol – pasta, mince, carrots, and onion. Everything you need to make it through the winter in one piece – if eaten in moderation. This hardy recipe is a childhood nostalgia trip for many and can be a great comfort food option when energy is low and hunger is high. It’s simple, really. Follow a recipe if unsure, such as this one from BBC Good Food – otherwise, work from memory. On the one hand, you have your starchy, fork-wrapping pasta noodles and, on the other, a meaty, homemade sauce primed and ready to fill you up. This meal ticks all the food group boxes you could wish for and provides your body with everything it needs to get right as rain again. Serve spaghetti bolognese as artistically (or messily) as you like on a big plate, grate over parmesan cheese, and then get yourself stuck in. Keep any leftovers in the fridge for later and enjoy the fruits of a short thirty-minute labour at the stove. Dig out Grandma’s old cookbook for some old-time tips or, for a more modern take, Deliveroo has tips from restaurant chefs if you feel your end result is lacking.

Oatmeal – Crunchy, Fruity, Delicious

It doesn’t get any simpler than this. A stovetop breakfast; oats, milk, water and fruit. Optional toppings of sugar and cinnamon can add a dash of flavour and variable bowl sizes are available. Homemade oatmeal will take all of 5 minutes to prepare and you’ll be thanking yourself for it all day thereafter. Slow-burn carbs to keep you going and a selection of your favourite chopped fruit to keep Vitamin C levels high – which is vital! Soothe your throat, please your appetite, and push through that cold.

So there we have it. Three cold-busting recipes to get you back in shape. Mix and match, alternate, and be sure to vary your diet as much as your appetite will allow for the best results.

* Creamy Chicken Soup picture courtesy of Myra from Delicious On a Dime

Elderly and Pets

Some studies have shown the benefits of owning a pet as a senior. The findings indicate that the relationship is a match made in heaven. Love is the ideal prescription for solitude, and there’s no better way to get that love than by having a happy bundle of fur also called a pet. Many live-in carers can testify to seeing benefits associated with owning a pet as an older adult, they really can benefit our lives.

“Anyone who thinks money can’t buy happiness has never owned a cat [or any pet].”
Arya Riverdale

So what are the main positive benefits that come from a relationship between the elderly and pets?

  1. Health

From a purely medical perspective, having a pet will decrease blood pressure, anxiety, and depression. After a heart attack, there is normally reduced rehabilitation time for seniors who own pets. They visit the doctors less often and have better muscle strength and endurance.  A number of these physical advantages are traced back to an increase in activity such as walking with the pets. Walking provides a restoration effect, thanks to the nature surrounding the neighbourhood.

  1. Stress

As an elderly person, sometimes you might be going through a tough time and need someone to talk to. Your children could be grown up and too busy living their own lives to be there for you when you need them. Owning a pet can distract you and get your mind off overthinking.  Stroking animals alleviates stress. Because pets are non-judgmental, they are a good companion when it comes to getting rid of loneliness. Pets reduce depression, which can be caused by isolation or loss of a loved one.

  1. Having a Routine

Older people also get a feeling of self-worth and self-confidence when they’re responsible for the feeding and care of another life. When you know that you have to give care to another living being, it automatically makes you want to take good care of yourself. A visit to the supermarket to stock up on essentials or planning a meal might appear problematic to some elderly folks. However, once they get into the habit of preparing a meal for their cat or dog, it becomes routine, and they do it without complaining. That constant activity is good for their bodies as a way of exercising, as opposed to sitting back and doing nothing.

  1. Mental Alertness

Pets excite the mind because they are so playful, relieve boredom, and improve mental alertness. When a senior owns a pet, they somehow feel like they are not alone and feel more secure in their homes.  Human beings like it when their egos are boosted.  And owning a pet is one way of doing this. Imagine receiving all the love and adoration from a pet; it sure feels great and makes you feel loved and appreciated!

  1. Making New Friends

Meeting new people is hard especially as an older person if you spend most of your time indoors. Many pet events and organizations deal with catering to animals. These are a good place to meet people who have the same shared interests as yours. Plus, pets are a good way to break the ice.


As a pet owner, I can’t imagine not having fur babies in the house. Yes, I do moan sometimes… yes, I get cross with them from time to time but at the end of the day, they give more than they take and this is why we love them so much.

The 3-Step Solution to the Dog Jumping Up Issue

There is nothing worse than a dog that jumps up on people when they walk into a room or enter your home. You want to prevent a dog from jumping up as early as possible to keep it from becoming a serious problem as the dog grows.

It is in a dog’s nature to greet people enthusiastically, particularly when they are puppies. They want to smell the new person’s ears and head and get to know them. That’s just what dogs do. They want to do the same to you and let you know they are happy to see you and would love your attention.

This may be cute when they are a puppy, but once they are full grown it is not so cute. That is why it is important to nip this behavior in the bud and learn to prevent a dog jumping up as soon as possible. Training your dog when he is a puppy is much easier for everyone and faster.

It’s easy to inadvertently give positive feedback to a puppy that jumps up on you. He’s happy to see you and you greet him by petting his head. We don’t realize until it’s too late that what’s cute in puppyhood can be annoying when the dog is older.

A full grown dog that is a large dog has the ability to knock a person to the ground, especially the elderly and children, and this can be dangerous.

Preventing Dog Jumping Up in Three Easy Steps:

  1. Start from the very moment you decide to break your dog of this habit and to make it clear to the dog that this is not appropriate behavior. The best way to do this is to turn your back on the dog and ignore him. Do not make eye contact with the dog. A dog who jumps up on someone is trying to get their attention. Do not give him what he wants and it will begin to deter the behavior. Do this consistently to prevent dog jumping up on you and your guests.
  2. The second step to prevent dog jumping up and make it a consistent behavior is to reward the dog for good behavior. When the dog calms down, tell him to sit and kneel down to his level and give him lots of praise. He will learn that good behavior is rewarded with attention.
  3. If you can gain the support of a visitor or two that comes to your home on a regular basis while you’re working to prevent dog jumping up behavior, ask them to follow the same routine when they come to the house. Reinforcing the lesson in this way will speed the process along and reinforce the lessons he is learning with you.

Final thoughts. As always, when teaching your dog new behavior, be gentle but consistent. Don’t forget to consult your vet about what your dog’s dietary and exercise needs as well and stick to any prescribed pet meds you receive from your vet, remember a dog not in full health will also not want to learn new behaviours willingly.

Making sure your buddy doesn’t jump on everyone he meets is part of responsible dog ownership and is as important as making sure your dog is free from parasites and always on some flea killer product like Frontline plus for dogs . Basic dog care that is sensible and appreciated by others you meet.

* This is a collaborative post.

How to Prepare Your House for Winter

Winter is undoubtedly one of the best seasons of the year. During wintertime, we get to enjoy the wonders of snow, the never-ending festivities of Christmas and the New Year and the joyful reunion with family and friends. We change our wardrobe, we light up strangely-flavoured and scented candles, we slave away in the kitchen and we decorate our houses with Christmas tree, lights, ornaments and nativity scenes. The list can go on and it is easy to get carried away by all the excitement. But before any of these could happen, it is very important that you have completed all the preparation that you need for your house.

Here are five things that you must do to prepare your house for winter.

  1. Test your Heating System

Your heating system should be the first thing that you check towards the end of fall. You don’t want to freeze in the middle of the winter waiting for your heating system to work. It is highly recommended that you conduct a test run by turning on the thermostat to heat mode and setting it to the desired temperature. If it’s working, you should be able to hear the furnace turn on immediately as the warm air begins to flow. Turn the thermostat back to its original setting do this exercise at least three times in the morning, afternoon and especially at night.

A great addition to your heating system is a solid humidifier for your home. Not only does it help provide warmth, but it also generates much-needed moisture that is necessary to prevent dryness, itchiness and skin irritation.

  1. Inspect the Air Conditioning

Just because you won’t be needing air condition doesn’t mean that you have to ignore it. Before completely turning off and unplugging the air condition, clean the condensing unit of debris and dust first and then make sure that it is well-covered. The air condition can develop rust and collect dirt over the winter time and so it might not be functional come spring.

  1. Prepare the Wood-Burning Fireplace and Chimney

The fireplace is a great source of warm air in the middle of the winter season. Before winter, prepare the fireplace and inspect the chimney if they are clear of any leaves, bird nests, dust and other debris that might have collected over time. Test how the fire burns using a few logs so you can diagnose any problems that might arise.

  1. Check the Insulation of your House

Every corner of your house should be properly insulated. Cold and warm air should be able to come in and out of your house evenly without leaving any leaks. You can insulate your house by applying an insulating blanket to your hot water tank, sealing exterior outlets with a foam gasket and installing a removable cover for your fireplace and chimney.

  1. Examine the Roof, Doors, and Windows

Do not forget about the parts of your house that are exposed to external elements. Examine the roof and its shingles to make sure that ice dams will not ensue and the melted ice will not leak into the interior of the house. Make sure the doors and windows can be opened and closed properly and will not accumulate ice or water.


At this moment, we still have rather lovely weather here with temperatures in the low 20s and days full of sun but only a few weeks back a cold snap brought the first snow of the season to the mountains just down the road… so get ready and stay warm as the saying goes, winter is coming!