Tips & Tricks

Finding the right accommodation 101

Written by Student Life, Tips & Tricks

Accommodation can determine life in Sydney. As international students, individual circumstances factor into the process of choosing the right fit. The research process is tedious and often overwhelming, given the handful of options available. So allow me to provide a guide to finding the perfect home.

Accomodation

Residential Colleges

Designed to cure homesickness and ensure you’ll feel loved, residential colleges are equivalent to the Houses in Harry Potter (but without the moving staircases and talking paintings). Think cafeterias, entertainment lounges, galas, etc! Endless college-held activities guarantee students the time of their lives at the uni. Each college carries a different vibe, ensuring no one becomes a misfit. Best part: strangers become homies for life and loneliness becomes the past.

63608_011

Student Apartments

These are similar to residential colleges, but are designed for students of a single status or otherwise to live independently. Choices of 2, 3, 4, 6 and even 8 bedroom apartments are offered, with the kitchen, bathroom and living room as the communal area. It is another way to build life-long friendships while living in a supportive community.

studio-apartments-melbourne

Studio Apartments

Like student apartments, studio apartments can be located inside or outside the campus, allowing students to be a part of neighboring suburb communities if they are not fond of university student life. A studio is fully equipped with one bedroom, kitchen and bathroom for one person and one person only (law states so). For international students who prefer to live on their own , studio apartments are the most appropriate decision.

Hostel_in_Japan

Temporary Accommodation

Thank goodness universities have not forgotten about the international students on exchange or for (emergency) short-term stay. Budget-friendly hotels, hostels and serviced apartments are good for having shelter while scrambling to find a real place to settle in. Vacation rentals are also up for grabs as well as a few campus accommodations that offer housing for that short period of time needed.

Private Accommodation

Most university websites establish a separate site for independents, or “indies”, to post their advertisement specifically tailored for students’ needs e.g. close proximity to campus, easy access to transport and safe environment to live. Indies include landlords looking for tenants, home owners looking for an extra roomie or local families looking for another member to join their family. The crucial part that cannot be overlooked is to physically house-hunt and meet future landlords or roommates before moving in (it is illegal not to so as well).

11825228_874065599347140_1226894980690797397_n

Accommodation must follow legal housing practices and, more importantly, match its description and picture. Private accommodation requires in-depth knowledge of housing practices to ensure nothing is put against you illegally.

Homestay

Among the array of options for private accommodation, homestay is not a bad choice if you are lucky enough to be offered a loving household. Living with a family means you have a new support network to keep you going. . The University of Sydney even partners with the Australian Homestay Network (AHN), which is a network that aims to ensure the well-being of students in the welcoming houses of friendly families.

BeachHousesMuizenbergBeach

Boarding Houses

Last but not least, a choice more popular in the inner west of Sydney is to live in a boarding home, often run by a church or humanitarian group. Almost like residential colleges except off-campus, boarding houses carry students of diverse backgrounds to engage with each other and make the most of their living in Sydney

11109032_10153448279111522_5395871767942140707_o

One last reminder…

QS Top Universities, Mercer and The Economist all regularly rank Sydney as the top 10 most student friendly cities in the world. But(there’s always a “but”) pricing wise, students are looking at $200+ rent per week without utility bills and meals. As far as roommates or apartment neighbors go, reality could turn into a nightmare. And for students on campus who want to study ? Word of advice: earplugs and coffee will be your new best friend.

At the end of the day, choose an accommodation that you believe best suits your requirements to call a place home.

 

Read More

The Perfect Gift For Her on Valentine’s Day

Written by Student Life, Tips & Tricks

Desperately in need of gift ideas for the 14th? While I can’t imagine how buying gifts for females is difficult, here is a guide to finding the perfect gift for your other half. Before getting into the specifics, it’s important to familiarise yourself with the five types of females out there:

1. The Practical

She expects gifts that are of use for her life, something she lacks and could really use to make life easier or a.k.a a need. Generally these girls are thankful for the new necklace you bought her for the third time in a row but they will be over the moon when they see you bought a new vacuum or phone case to replace their broken one.

necklace

http://art-actually.blogspot.com.au/2012/01/diy-pinterest-challenge-birds-nest.html

2. The Materialistic

The opposite of practical, she prefers gifts from Louis Vuitton or online boutiques to satisfy her desire to possess items just for her indulgence. Hopefully you have a big wallet for this girlfriend because you’ll be burning your money faster than you know it. But your girl is worth it.

louis

louisvuitton.brosela-on.com

3. The Modest

She is considerate about the money aspect that goes into your gifts as opposed to the want or the need part. Gifts worth 200+ dollars aren’t her thing. Sometimes those gifts make her feel guilty and like she may need to return the favour. Girls like these will set a reasonable prince range for gift spending to be fair to both parties. At least with a girlfriend like this, you can have a peace of mind with the money in your wallet.

quirky

4. The Satisfied

If you have a girlfriend like this, make sure you keep her. She does not care if your gift is a necessity, a desirable item, an expensive luxury or even nothing at all (although it’s best to still give something from the heart). They are content with anything and even if they aren’t, they won’t show it. This may come as a disadvantage however because you could be doing something wrong but you won’t be able to tell.

food art

www.saltlicklessons.com

5. The Picky

Beware, this type of girlfriend is the hardest to deal with, for she is hella particular in what you get her. You get her a Samsung microwave but she actually wants a Bosch. You buy her a Chanel hand purse but she really wants Dior. You present her roses when she actually wants lilies. Keep your receipts because you will find yourself heading back to stores returning items to make sure she receives that particular gift she requests. It will require attention to her as a person and while it sounds tedious, hopefully it will pay off at the end. Could you classify your girl under one of those categories? It might be tricky because girls are often a mixture of a few. Some broad ideas for gifts include…

– Large bouquets of flowers (make sure she doesn’t have asthma or allergies)

– Hand-written letters or cards

letters

ana-rosa.tumblr.com

– Small gestures that show you care

– Necessities eg: buying groceries for her empty fridge, doing a full scrub of her house or buying a parking spot to save her the hassle or finding a car space at work

– Romantic Dinner (and maybe something special after if you know what I mean)

1898024_10205135466333255_1063887665071764912_n

– An item she has been dying to buy

-DIY calendar, scrapbook or craftwork (Pinterest has amazing ideas for reference)

travel

Flickr: apairandaspare

– Secretly surprise her with decorations in her room of candles, balloons and rose petals

In the end, Valentine’s Day is about loving each other and not all about the gifts. Don’t forget to love your partner every second of any other day, not just February 14th.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

by MIT

by MIT

Featured image: trendhunter.com

Read More

13+ Crazy Facts About Australia

Written by Student Life, Tips & Tricks

You have lived in Australia for quite a long time. But how much do you actually know about Australia? Would you be surprised when I reveal these crazy facts about Australia?

  1. Canberra is the capital city of Australia not Melbourne or Sydney.

2. Manmungkukupurangkuntjunya is the name of a Hill in Australia

3. In Australia, from 1828 to 1902, you could have been jailed for swimming in daylight hours

4. The Sydney Opera House’s architectural design was chosen from among 233 submissions sent in from all over the world

upload.wikimedia.org

upload.wikimedia.org

5. The longest fence in Australia stretches from Queensland to South Australia, and was built to protect sheep from dingoes and crocodiles

Khanh Tran

Khanh Tran

6. Melbourne could have been called Batmania after its founder, John Batman

1918860_104597176217931_7186831_n

Youngtae Kim

7. Camels in Saudi Arabia are exported from Australia

8. You might spend more than 27 years visiting all the beaches in Australia

9. Australia is the home to 20% of poker machines in the world

10. 50% of those poker machines are founded in New South Wales

11. The last person known to be killed by a spider bite in Australia was 1979. Antivenoms were made available in 1981

10372170_814061055271536_1222142971628984038_n

Youngtae Kim

12. Coffee shops are everywhere in Perth

13. The cleanest air in the world: Tasmania

14. “Never never river” is a name of a river in Australia

15. There are more than 20 million people in Australia but more than 150 million sheep

16. “Nowhere Else” is located near Devonporth in North Western Tasmania

Read More

10+ Cheap and Unique Idea Christmas Gifts for Your Girl

Written by Student Life, Tips & Tricks

Spending months, days and hours to find the best Christmas Gifts for your girlfriend? How about getting something  that you can financially afford and is unique to your girl? Win her heart and smile with your kindness and caring. Let’s see which one of these suits her.

Infuser Water Bottle

For a health-diet lover: Your girl always puts a slice of lemon, lime, apple or orange into a bottle of water to help cleanse the fats and toxins from the body. With this bottle she can put in as many fruits as she wants without it overfilling.

Chocolate Fondue

For a chocolate lover: One way to win her heart is to feed her with the right sweet…preferably chocolate. Chocolate Fondue lets you share a bowl of hot chocolate dip with strawberries, fruits or marshmallows one romantic evening at home, or even during camping night. Nothing’s worth more than spending time with your loved one during the weekend.

Sponge pot

For a plant-lovers: The sponge pot helps to prolong the life expectancy of your favourite plants. The sponge gives more moisture and encourages its hydration process in the plants. Your love can carry the pot anywhere in the house – next to the bathtub, on the sink or on her side table.

Bunny Tail Cotton Ball Dispenser

For a pet-lover:  A cotton ball dispenser is the tail of a dangerously cute white bunny. She’ll love this perfectly adorable addition to her make-up table.

Brownie BAR Maker

For a sweet tooth girl: She always spends her free time baking sweets for you or even for her online customers. To show your support, the bar maker bakes 6 brownies in a short 5-8 minutes. So, she can spend more time with you, rather than 1-2 hours of baking

Aromatherapy Diffuser or Ceramic kettle stove oven oil warmer

For a busy bee: Your girl is a hard-working entrepreneur, workaholic or diligent student. A majority of her day is spent in front of the screen, maybe leading to some health and sleep problems. Using aromatherapy diffusers will create a stress-free zone, helping her mind and body relax so she is energised for the next day.

Ooma Bowl

For a tidy lady: Your baby wants everything to be neat and tidy, especially with food. Maybe she crawls onto the couch holding two separate bowls of chips and dips (and there’s a high chance she might drop both). Ooma Bowl has a smart design, allowing her wrist to rest in a comfortable and neutral position, and can totally change her dining experience. She would be impressed to receive it on Christmas. So, finally, you can win her this time.

Balloons

For a cute girl: Don’t think the balloon is only for kids or teenage girls, it’s for everyone. Balloons can bring her back to childhood with nostalgic and sweet memories. Get a bunch of colorful balloons and learn simple tricks to decorate it (putting candies inside, water or touched up with art). It might be a basic step but can win a big heart.

Cat tights

For a cat lover: Why not help her carry the cat everywhere – shopping malls, around campus or in coffee shops? Your girl can wear it with high heels, boots or sneakers without any hesitation.

Case Covers

 

For a phone-cover collector: You’ve noticed that your girl has a weird habit of buying covers for phones, laptops or even a passport. Why not show her your skill of getting one she like? She’ll uncover her heart for you.

Ring holder

For a ring-collecting girlfriend: Sometimes girls buy lots of jewelry, particularly bracelets and rings. Some have never worn all of them or they’ve lost them somewhere. Chances for a ring to slip off her finger are so easy, especially when she sleeps, takes a shower or washes the dishes. Help her keep those little gorgeous rings in place, she would be touched if you give her a cute and artist one.

Snack notebook

For a writing lover:  High-tech devices are replacing our normal way of writing? Not really. Your girl particularly loves taking notes in her little notebook about things around her or spends time writing in a diary before heading to a bed. Well, why not buy another notebook with a funny or interesting cover for her? Girls appreciate their loved ones noticing these little details.

 

Good luck!

Read More

11 Special Christmas Dinners from around the World

Written by Editor’s Picks, Student Life, Tips & Tricks

Eat Carp in Poland

 

Beetroot soup (barszcz), mushroom soup or dumplings are popular in Poland, but you can’t celebrate Christmas without carp (a river fish). People in Poland believe that eating carp brings luck, health and wealth for the coming year. Traditionally, fresh carp is bought from the market before Christmas day. The carp is kept in a bathtub, a swimming pool or a big basket before being fried for Christmas Eve dinner and served along with 11 other dishes. That’s why people around the world, who have already visited Poland, always say “Christmas dinner starts in the bathtub.”

Eat Apples in China

While other countries are exchanging high-tech equipment and expensive gifts such as Xbox, Iphones or other hardware, apples are given as Christmas gifts in China, 10 AUD for each in a colourful paper box. The word for apple, pingguo, is pronounced similar to the word Christmas, ping’an ye. This coincidence makes apples an exclusive present at Christmas time.

Eat Gammon with Coke in South Africa

Christmas in South Africa has the same weather as Australia. The hot blazing summer weather is suited to a roasted and fresh meal. Chicken, ham and jam are the most popular protein to prepare a massive Christmas Eve feast. But, gammon (with or without bone) has become more popular because of an influence of American customs, which is cooked in a large pot of water with brandy, lemon juice and coke. After 4 hours, the gammon is served with delicious and fresh potatoes, rice and green veggies.

Eat Hallacas in Venezuela

 

With an indigenious background and a multicultural heritage, hallacas are the iconic signature of the Venezuelan culture. A mixture of beef, pork, veggies, olives and raisins are wrapped in plantain leaves and then boiled for 1 hour (depending on the number of hallacas). People in Venezuela believes that because of its hard working and complicated process, it requires all the family members in the house to help each other from the preparation stage to the end process cooking stage. Thus, making the delicious hallacas on Christmas day represents one of the strongest holiday family traditions in Venezuela.

Eat KFC in Japan

A majority of the Japanese are Buddhist, but thanks to a successful KFC marketing campaign in the 1970s, eating KFC has become a traditional way of celebrating Christmas in Japan. This unique celebration attracts lots of media attention and foreign visitors. If you are in Japan to celebrate Christmas, remember to make a booking to get an amazing deal with fried chicken, cake, wine or champagne.

Eat traditional Almond Paste Bread in the Netherlands

People in Netherlands traditionally spend more than 3 days celebrating Christmas, so Christmas breakfast has all kinds of luxurious breads, teas and chocolates. Almond Paste Bread (kerststol) is considered a deluxe breakfast treat instead of cookies. The homemade baked cake is filled with expensive raisins, nuts, dried fruits and has almond paste. You can eat with butter or cheeses when having coffee or tea.

Eat Chicken Bones in Canada

Christmas would be missing its crucial sweet element in Canada if the chicken bone candies are not on the plates of kids and adults. The chicken bones are with filled with chocolate and covered in candy to melt smooth in your mouth.

Eat Lechon (roasted pig) in the Philippines 

BEST LECHON FOR LIFESTYLE - VANGIE REYES / JULY 27, 2012 Elars Lechon, Sabroso Lechon, Cebu Lechon, Hecky's, Eastwood Richmonde hotel, Flying Pig, Casa Armas PHOTO BY: ANDREW TADALAN / PDI PHOTO

BEST LECHON FOR LIFESTYLE – VANGIE REYES / JULY 27, 2012
Elars Lechon, Sabroso Lechon, Cebu Lechon, Hecky’s, Eastwood Richmonde hotel, Flying Pig, Casa Armas
PHOTO BY: ANDREW TADALAN / PDI PHOTO

Image c/o Ronald Tagra, Flickr

Image c/o Ronald Tagra, Flickr

80% of Philippines are Catholics so Christmas is a serious business for the country. A big and open feast, called Noche Buena, happens with family members, friends and neighbors on Christmas Eve from evening until midnight. A massive roasted pig with crunchy and oily skin wins over turkey and ham in the Phillipines to embody the spirit of Christmas. A big skewer hangs the pig over a big fire, which is prepared from the early morning around 4 am before being cooked at noon. Lechon makes for a juicier, merrier and brighter Christmas for Filipinos and their guests.

Eat Curry in India

Christians in India celebrate Christmas Eve dinner with the traditional curry dish and a sweet and milky pudding to end the meal.

Drink Vzvar (boil-up/borscht) in Russia

There are no meat dishes on Christmas Eve, so Russians mainly eat vegetables and fruits during the feast rather than meat or fish. Vegan Potluck and Beetroot Soup are the two popular dishes with salads. To make a unique Christmas meal, Russian drink Vzvar, a hot boiling drink with a mixture of dried fruits and honey. This traditional drink symbolizes the birth of the baby Jesus.

Eat Seafood in Australia

IMG_0437

Because of the hot summer time in Christmas, Australians have combined a traditional barbecue style with  a cooler and refreshing meal through various kinds of seafood choices – prawns, oysters or lobsters. You will now easily catch a slang phrase “shrimp on the barbie”. The fish market opens 24/7 during Christmas Day so people can get fresh seafood for their Christmas Feast.

Read More

10 Secrets to Book Cheap Flights in Australia

Written by Student Life, Tips & Tricks

Sometimes we want to take time off to explore the world while we’re still young and very humble. But how can we book cheap flights to travel overseas or around Australia when we’re still students? We already work to pay off daily expenses without support from parents.

These 10 secrets have been revealed to save your life. Now, you can enjoy a wonderful trip with your friends and your loved ones without paying too much.

305212_285289744815339_1115927860_n

Check in for early-morning or late-night flights:

Try playing around with the time of day rather than controlling which day of the week you are flying. A majority of early birds and night owls always receive cheaper price because airlines tend to cut prices to attract more travelers.  Using this secret allows you to avoid peak hour in holiday seasons.

Warning: Make sure you set your alarm to wake up early and estimate your commuting time or you will miss the early morning flight.

998686_10151780579346522_567388094_n

Take last minute trips:

Signing up for alerts and weekly updates from the airline providers is a smart tactic to track cheap prices. You will frequently receive new special offers and promotions rather than junk mail. You might end up buying a flight ticket for only $1 dollar.

Warning: Buy it or lose it.

http://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s--sBy8Ag4u--/c_scale,fl_progressive,q_80,w_800/18f81ql3yymvzjpg.jpg

http://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s–sBy8Ag4u–/c_scale,fl_progressive,q_80,w_800/18f81ql3yymvzjpg.jpg

Conduct research on multiple websites:

Do not rely on only one airline ticket website. Use multiple sources to check for the good deals, as you might be surprised to find that the offers on each site are different.

Warning: You should save these sites before turning off your laptop or write down the price.

1098164_10151844222306522_334469634_n

Break down your flight:

Use two different airlines to section the short route to long haul flights. For example, instead of an 8 hour flight to Ho Chi Minh city (around $800 AUD tickets), book a flight to Singapore/Malaysia/Thailand ($300 to $400 AUD), then fly back to Vietnam (around $200 AUD). Having a one or two day stopover can be less exhausting, enjoyable and a lot cheaper than a direct route.

Warning: Do NOT book layovers less than 5 hours apart in case of an emergency. You may also miss the other flight.

11109032_10153448279111522_5395871767942140707_o

Know your hub:

Airline tickets are cheaper for large/centralized international airports rather than domestic or rural-located ones. By knowing the location and surrounding areas, it allows you to have more options. For example, instead of a direct flight to ChangMai (Thailand), you might want to take a bus or train from Bangkok. It’ll probably save you a fortune.

11947879_1084301111580861_2523594191719278253_o

Identify the cheapest day to fly out:

Track multiple sites over 8 to 6 weeks to have a visual overview of their price fluctuation. Then you can see what days are cheaper for you. Unfortunately, the days for cheap flight tickets are inconsistent.

701948_537608999583411_1104823037_o

Book six weeks in advance:

A study from Airline Reporting Corporation suggested that buying your tickets in advance of 6 weeks is the best period. Ticket prices tend to drop below the average fare for a duration of 4 to 6 weeks. Keep your eyes on the tickets so you don’t miss out.

http://knowledge.insead.edu/sites/www.insead.edu/files/images/different-currencies.jpg

http://knowledge.insead.edu/sites/www.insead.edu/files/images/different-currencies.jpg

Pay in other currencies:

When booking online ticket, you should carefully check the ticket price in other currencies. By using simple maths, convert your home country currency to another country’s – you might see a price gap.

Warning: Make sure you are using a credit or debit card that is free of foreign transaction fees, otherwise you will get charged more for the unnecessary service fees.

http://www.smartdestinations.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Travel-Agent-Cartoon1.gif

http://www.smartdestinations.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Travel-Agent-Cartoon1.gif

Check your local travel agent:

Travel agents can sometimes give you the best deal with their packets or discounts. It is wise to do some research before seeking assistance from travel agents, so you can prepare your own bargaining tactics to get the best price from them. If you have any friends or relatives working in travel agent industry, you should definitely grab this opportunity.

575665_10151101005221522_469677935_n

Arrange your luggage in ready mode:

Being flexible of your travelling day means you can take advantage of cheaper airfares. Preparing and weighing your luggage in advance can avoid further surcharges if you book for carry-on options.

 

Once you book the tickets, just sit back and relax.

Bon voyage!

475657_373259569351689_1676109651_o

 

Read More

10 Cheap Christmas Presents For Him

Written by Editor’s Picks, Student Life, Tips & Tricks

Can’t think of anything for your partner this Christmas? Here are 10 unique present ideas for you!

Bubble Wrap Costume

http://www.prezzybox.com/bubble-wrap-costume.aspx

http://www.prezzybox.com/bubble-wrap-costume.aspx

This costume is great for any formal and informal parties. It is waterproof so your boyfriend doesn’t need to worry about getting wet. While hugging him, you can easily pop, pinch or squeeze these bubble if you are a fan of bubble wrap. This effectively releases a long day of stress.

Bacon Toothpaste

http://www.prezzybox.com/bacon-toothpaste.aspx

http://www.prezzybox.com/bacon-toothpaste.aspx

Everyone loves bacon and your man might not be an exception. The bacon tooth paste is perfect to keep his teeth nice and shiny while tasting the flavour of bacon all day long.

Cook his favorite dish

30-unique-gift-ideas-for-under-50-bucks-2278

Instead of spending your cash for dine-out meals with uncontrolled portions, choose his favorite dish and showcase those cooking skills you’ve been practicing. It’s cheap, healthy and enjoyable. Nothing would be better than a meal from his loved one, right?

Or this snack lens cap

http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Cheap-Christmas-Gifts-Men-32385188?stream_view=1#photo-32482224

http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Cheap-Christmas-Gifts-Men-32385188?stream_view=1#photo-32482224

When a camera is the most precious thing that your guy has ever had, you can help him out by protecting his lenses with these cute sweet snack lens caps.

Cheap and Fancy Beer Glass

http://www.voismagazine.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/HTML-Beer-Glasses.jpg

http://www.voismagazine.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/HTML-Beer-Glasses.jpg

If IT or web development is your man’s career path in the future, these HTML beer glasses will be perfect. Your guy can drink while coding (wonder how that will turn out)

Penroll Notebook

http://odditymall.com/penroll-notebook-tool-belt

http://odditymall.com/penroll-notebook-tool-belt

A notebook is our lifebuoy when studying in university as well as in the outside word. This portable invention can’t go wrong since pencils, pens and other tools can snap neatly and tightly into a notebook. Great for your significant other if he loves taking notes but always borrows a pen from you or his mates.

Book a coupon dinner night

1898024_10205135466333255_1063887665071764912_n

 

There are so many good deals and prices available for fine-dining dinner during Christmas time around Sydney or Australia. Conduct your own research to seek options that fits your favourite location, cuisine and budget. You might find many fancy and well-known restaurants around Australia with a discount of more than 50% off its original value.

Spider Catcher

http://www.prezzybox.com/spider-catcher.aspx

http://www.prezzybox.com/spider-catcher.aspx

Australia is famous for kangaroos, crocodiles and snakes, but the only thing you meet daily is spiders. If your man are afraid of insects and spiders, this is a good choice for him this Christmas. Your guy will be safe staying away at a 65cm distance from almost any creepy-crawly.

Iphone Stand and Charger

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00HYY8CFK/om-bf-20/?ie=UTF8

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00HYY8CFK/om-bf-20/?ie=UTF8

For your boy if he loves traveling but almost always drops his phone on the floor or in the car. The Fuse Chicken Bobine Charge Cable has a great flexible dock to charge and hold – it can save his phone’s battery life and shelf life.

Bungee Shower Bottles

http://odditymall.com/bungee-bath-bungee-cord-holds-shampoo-body-wash

http://odditymall.com/bungee-bath-bungee-cord-holds-shampoo-body-wash

When you visit his bathroom shower bottles are everywhere. You might need to help him clean up a bit but not for long. These bungee shower bottles tightly hold the shampoo, face-wash etc into the wall. The elastic coil extends to indicate whether the bottle is empty or full, giving your man enough time to buy a new product instead of finding himself showering with only water this Christmas.

 

Read More

Easy Strawberry Cake Recipe

Written by Student Life, Tips & Tricks

Celebrate summer’s arrival with fresh strawberries and billows of cream on this moist cake! Quick, easy, delicious and made from just a few simple ingredients, this strawberry cake is definitely a keeper of a recipe. Satisfy your warm-weather cravings with fruit-filled desserts and frozen summer sweets.

1009469192dfa7d572

(Photo Source: Topit.me.com)

Strawberry Shortcake has to be one of the girls’ favourite cakes — the dreamy strawberry flavour is definitely pronounced, with bites of fresh strawberries throughout. “This cake is just too adorable”, said Amy when she was decorating the delicious layer with a lightly sweet cream cheese frosting, “It is such a pleasure to create something delightful. This is exactly why I am and will always be passionate at cooking.”

Your Strawberry Shortcake is Waiting

Recipe from Amy Zhong (Bachelor of Commerce, University of Sydney)

  • 12837806865388Ingredients

— 1 quart strawberries, sliced

— 1/2 cup butter 

— 1/2 cup white sugar

— 1/2 cup milk

— 2 eggs, separated

— 2 cups all-purpose flour

— 2 cups sweetened whipped cream

— 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • Directions

    1. Put eggs and 1 cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low. Combine the flour and baking powder; stir into the batter alternately with the milk. Blend in vanilla and mix in melted butter.

Screen Shot 2015-11-29 at 3.49.15 AMScreen Shot 2015-11-29 at 3.49.24 AM

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10-inch pie plate. Sift flour, baking powder together into a medium bowl.

Screen Shot 2015-11-29 at 3.49.34 AMScreen Shot 2015-11-29 at 3.49.42 AM

3. Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture. Transfer batter to buttered pie plate. Bake cake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake until cake is golden brown and firm to the touch, about 1 hour. Let cool in pie plate on a wire rack.

Screen Shot 2015-11-29 at 3.50.01 AM Screen Shot 2015-11-29 at 3.50.09 AM

4. For the frosting:

In a large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Beat in 1/4 cup of the strawberry puree and the strawberry extract. (The rest of the puree is leftover but can be used in smoothies or on ice cream for a delicious treat.) Gradually add confectioners’ sugar, beating until smooth.

Screen Shot 2015-11-29 at 3.49.51 AMScreen Shot 2015-11-29 at 3.50.20 AM

5. Spread frosting in between layers and on top and sides of cake. Garnish with sliced fresh strawberries, if desired.

Screen Shot 2015-11-29 at 3.50.30 AM

“it was the one of the simplest, prettiest, most delicious cakes I’d ever made.”

*NOTE* If you can’t find small strawberries; raspberries would work well for the decor also as they are tiny and look cute cut in half.

strawberry-cake5

(Photo Source: http://strawberrycakedessert.blogspot.com.au/)

Enjoy! xx

Read More

6 Best Tips to Travel without Jet Lag

Written by Editor’s Picks, Entertainment, Health, Tips & Tricks

In a previous article, we explained what Jet Lag was. Many students are travelling overseas, maybe to visit family or to relax after exams.

3928477568_6dda139cdf_b

Here are some expert tricks to mitigate those effects.

For brief trips, you can try the following simple but effective tips taken from a Sascha Segan, author of Fly Safe, Fly Smart for your flight:

  • 12063422_902079886545711_8657737619362390228_nReset your body clock before flying. Change your sleep time by one or two hours in the new time zone944372_600352806642363_615098801_nProvide as much water as you can for your body before, during and after your flight even if you don’t feel thirsty. Recommended by experts, you should drink at least two 8-ounce of water before the flight and 1 litre for every hour you are on the plane including the beverages you drink with meals.12066022_1211666275516013_1593355121750307359_nReset your watch to the time zone you are travelling to and start thinking about adopting that time zone11407281_10153448277731522_189516390933019296_nSay ‘no’ to alcohol or depressants such as Dramamine or other motion-sickness drugs, before and during your flight11295631_10153448277906522_4689349483245874295_nEat more lightly than usual, before and while you are on the plane148602_795148303834481_726577069_nDaytime naps of 30 minutes or less are OK to take after you arrive so that they do not affect your nighttime sleep

Additionally, sleep specialists have two main methods for accelerating the adjustment to jet lag and reducing its effects – drugs and light therapy. Light therapy is “timing exposure to daylight”. It is declared “the best way to resynchronize our body clocks” by Dr. Sack of Oregon’s Health and Science University.

“Do not sit down on the hotel bed; once your behind touches the hotel bed, it’s over.  Get out of the room.  Go for a walk. Get in the sunlight.” –  flight attendant Heather Poole, author of Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet in a Yahoo Travel’s article

Interestingly, travelling west is easier on the body than travelling east. In this case, Robert Rosenberg’s suggestions are: three nights before travelling west, go to sleep and wake up an hour later than usual; likewise, when travelling east, sleep and rise an hour earlier.

1544588_10153560584751522_5017570388086876097_n

In today’s technological age, we have apps that seek to solve all problems in our lives. Jet lag is no exception. Smartphone developers have created some apps to help travelers avoid jet lag such as Jetlag Genie or Jetlag App. All you have to do is simply enter your flight details and the app will design a suggestive timetable of when to sleep or eat to prepare for the time zone changes.

Recently, on 10th March 2014, researchers at the University of Michigan released a free app on smartphones named Entrain that helps to mathematically reschedule our body to adapt to new external environment.

“This is almost like a body hack, to get yourself entrained faster.” – Olivia Walch, a U-M graduate student who worked on the project.

 

Read More

Easy Chinese recipe: Red-Braised Pork (Chinese Hong Shao Rou)

Written by Health, Student Life, Tips & Tricks

Did you know?

Red-braised pork is a dish that in Hunan is inseparably bound up with the memory of Chairman Mao: many restaurants call it “The Mao Family’s red-braised pork.” Mao Zedong loved it, and insisted his Hunanese chefs cook it for him in Beijing!

Hong Shao Rou—Chinese style red braised pork belly. Hong Zhao or red-braising or red-cooking are methods of cooking meats or vegetables with soy sauce, sugar and sometimes other spices. It’s a powerful concoction, best eaten with plain steamed rice and simple stir-fried vegetables; the sweet, aromatic chunks of meat are irresistible. This recipe is from Jeno, a Chinese student from Monash University in Melbourne. “The savory-sweet combination just seduces your taste buds,”, she commented with excitement. “It is a part of my sweetest childhood memories–I learned it from my mum.”

hongshao-rou-1

(Image: http://thewoksoflife.com/2014/04/shanghai-style-braised-pork-belly/)

Your Red-Braised Pork is Waiting

Ingredients:

  • 3 /4 lb. of lean pork belly (cut into 3/4-inch thick pieces)
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (rock sugar is preferred if you have it)
  • 3 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • ½ tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 2 cups warm water

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 2.58.00 PM

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 2.57.53 PM

1/ Start by cutting your pork into pieces. Then bring a pot of water to a boil. Blanch the pork for a couple minutes. This gets rid of impurities and starts the cooking process. Take the pork out of the pot and set aside.

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 3.03.27 PM

2/ Over low heat, add oil and sugar to your wok. Melt the sugar slightly and add the pork. Raise the heat to medium and cook until the pork is lightly browned. Turn the heat back down to low and add cooking wine, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and warm water.

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 3.04.48 PM

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 3.07.55 PM

3/ Put the sugar* in another pot to stir fry until all the sugar melts and you can see large bubbles. Keep stirring in the process and add cooking wine, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce. Turn off the fire and add warm water to make the sauce*.  Pour the caramelized sugar sauce into the pot. This is another way to cook the meat beautifully!

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 3.18.18 PM

(Image: http://www.chinasichuanfood.com/hong-shao-rou-red-braised-pork-belly/)

4/ Cover and simmer for about 45 minutes to 1 hour until pork is fork tender. Every 5-10 minutes, stir to prevent burning and add more water if it gets too dry. Turn up the fire to thicken the sauce. 

5/ Here we are! Garnish some chopped green onion and serve hot!

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 3.21.02 PM

 

*Notes:

  • If you are using brown sugar it is perfect for an amazing caramelized color.
  • Be careful when you pour hot water on the sugar sauce, but you need to pour all the water at once, quickly without hesitation.
  • It’s imperative to the color and flavor of this dish that you have both kinds of soy sauce! Just head to your local Asian market, buy a bottle of each, and it will last you a year!

Read More