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Culture

Carpe Diem – Pressure and Achievement

By Advice, Culture

Carpe Diem

Carpe Diem is a Latin sentiment, probably an over-used one, which means ‘seize the day’.

You can find the phrase printed on t-shirts, headlining pop-songs, repeated in every motivational speech, so much so, that it seems to have lost its meaning. First written over 2,000 year ago in a Roman’s Poem, Horace, its true intention has been lost in translation.

‘The Spirit of this Centuries-Old Philosophy has been Hijacked’

 

Definition.

The idea of ‘seize’ creates an aggressive tone, compelling us to immediate action, to take something through hard work. This really reflects the aesthetic of the modern-day corporate world, a gratification-obsessed, work-until-you-drop culture. Surely to seize every opportunity and make every day great, sets an impossible standard.

If you dig deeper, in the context of the poem it was first written in, its translation from Latin to English is more suited to ‘plucking the day’. This slight difference can completely change our view on the world. To pluck resonates more with nature, to enjoy a present but fleeting moment. Not to instantly get things done and set the bar of achievement so high, but to take joy in the smallest aspect of your day and carry that with you. You don’t have to make the day great, just resonate with the great moments that it gives.

 

How We Interpret the Metaphor Today.

You probably hear this translation ‘seizing the day’, and immediately think how you have not done enough today.

If we can take away one lesson from the Pandemic, it is that external factors are out of our control, we cannot always fulfill the complete potential of every day.

As a society, we exert too much pressure on ourselves, on our students, our workers, that only 100% is your best, only perfection is seizing the day. Whereas it is important to remember the circumstances we are in – that one day, only 70% might be your best, 50% another day and 90% the next, and that is O.K.

 

Pressure and Achievement.

Sometimes changing your mindset can be done by simply telling the story in a different way. So today, change it and take that pressure off – you don’t have to seize, just pluck. Suddenly it is less aggressive, and the action needed is smaller.

Achievements come in all sizes – celebrate them all.

 

 

LGBTQ+ History Month

By Culture

“What is LGBTQ+?”

Anyone who does not identify as heterosexual (only) have a variety of terms they use to describe themselves: Homosexual, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer, Pansexual, Asexual…
Anyone who does not identify with their assigned gender (only) also have several terms to describe themselves too: Trans, Transgender, Transman, Transwoman, Man, Woman, Transexual, Genderqueer, Androgynous, Transvestite…

And all these human beings stand together as the LGBTQ+ Community.
LGBTQ+ History month is a time to stand by our friends, family members, colleagues & students and honour, respect and understand the struggle they have faced. To show solidarity in their fight for acceptance, equality, and Freedom.

It is time to understand that regardless of a person’s sexual preferences, how they Gender/Identify, or even how they dress, the LGBTQ+ community are human beings: With thoughts, feelings, talent, and a history full of sorrow, strength, and adversity.

Notable members of the LGBTQ+ Community?

I’d like to start with Alan Turing – and yes, you have heard his name before. Alan Turing was a mathematician and computer Scientist. This man, during the second world war, cracked the German Enigma Code. The Enigma code was a ‘enciphering machine’ used by German Armed Forces to send messages securely. Breaking this Code saved millions of lives. Turing stands shoulder to shoulder in history with Winston Churchill in leading an allied victory over Hitler.
In 1952 Turing was outed as gay, and as it was still a crime in Great Britain, he was chemically castrated. 2 years later Turing took his own life.

April Ashley – In the 1960s April was outed as a trans-woman, she was born a boy in 1935. In 1971 her husband filed for an annulment and the judge ruled that the marriage should be annulled as April was in fact Male. This ruling had long-lasting implications for trans people, as the judge had determined that the legal gender of April, and therefore the legal gender of all trans people, was the gender they were assigned at birth.
30 years of fighting and finally in 2004 the law was finally changed with the Gender Recognition Act. And in 2012 April was awarded an MBE for her services to Transgender Equality. (Also, I really recommending looking April up, not only is she beautiful, she is fashion goals!)

And you should learn about Lady Phyll, co-founder, trustee, and executive director of UK Black Pride. Sister literally turned down an invitation to the Order of the British Empire in protest of the sodomy laws that continue to persecute, torture, and even kill LGBTQ+ people across the world – laws put in place by the British Empire.

There are countless other people who laid down their lives, were persecuted and tortured; and LGBTQ+ History Month pays respect to all of those that fought, and continue to fight, just for basic human rights.

Be the best version of you!

I was incredibly honoured to write the blog this week. And I am proud of all the LGBTQ+ people I know. I will always stand by you in your fight and will always encourage you to #liveyourbestlife and be the best version of yourself that you can be (regardless of societal pressures, social constructs, and small-minded people).

Stand up, be seen, and be FABULOUS!

 

Chinese New Year

By Culture

Friday 12th February marks the end of the Year of the Rat!

Legend has it that the Jade Emperor called a great meeting for all the animals to attend & the zodiac would be decided on the order in which they arrived; during the race the rat asked the oxen for a lift and jumped on his back. At the last moment, the rat jumped off and ran ahead (rude!) – and, to cut a long story short, he was first to arrive.

2021 brings us the year of the Ox, determined and dependable. In Chinese culture the Oxen is held in high regard, they are calm, patient, and reliable – and I really hope that reflects this year.
I’m sure many of you will agree that the shrewd rat has done enough damage, and we need some of the Ox’s confidence, work ethic and grit in the New Year.

According to the Chinese Zodiac I was born in the year of the horse. And the advice I have been given for 2021 is to: “Never forget to forgive yourself and always remember to love yourself!” (– advice I’m sure Ru Paul Charles would be proud of).

I believe this is good advice for everyone this year. Don’t be hard on yourself; circumstances, isolation, changes in routine have affected us all. Be proud of powering through and whilst this year’s celebrations might not be the most grandiose, there are things we can do to stay safe and see in the New Year!

Here is how we will be celebrating and saying a firm goodbye to the year of the Rat.

  1. Catch up with family and friends – although there is no replacement for a hug, we are all adept at Zoom now. Get everyone together for a catch up and make time for the ones you miss!
  2. Brighten up with some colour – buy yourself some fresh flowers, and remember red is the colour of luck and fortune for the new year.
  3. Share the wealth with loved ones – who doesn’t love a gift, and even if you’re strapped for cash, wealth doesn’t always mean money. Make a gift – share your talent and love!
  4. Clear out the clutter and splurge on new threads – just because!
  5. Chow down on festive treats – eat fish for prosperity, dumplings/spring rolls for wealth, fruit for good fortune, noodles for longevity. Go ahead and treat yourself, this year you deserve it!

The year of the Ox brings with it success, prosperity, and wellness. Stay safe, stay positive and get ready to embrace the opportunities to come.

新年快乐

Super Bowl LV

By Culture

Super Bowl LV

It’s that time of year again! Dig out your random NFL jersey (you bought from The Vintage Scene)
and get together with our mates and have them explain the rules of the game, and why it’s so good!

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, I can’t join my mates in Locker Room until the early hours, and have a touchdown explained to me over and over.
Instead, I’m going to make you fall in love with my favourite things about the Super Bowl – that are in no way related to the game itself.

THE ADVERTS

Super Bowl adverts are almost as popular as the Super Bowl itself. With a single 30 second slot costing over $5million, you’re expecting something iconic. Unfortunately, when you’re watching the Super Bowl in the UK you don’t get the pleasure of watching the ads in real time. But you get the bonus of watching them AFTER the Super Bowl. It’s like a bonus after credits scene, and you also get the extra bonus of the internet already having picked out the ones that are worth watching, so you don’t have to waste your time sifting through the duds.

Some honourable mentions from 2020:

Missy Elliot and H.E.R Pepsi Max ad, where they remixed ‘Paint it Black’ by the Rolling Stones, I only wish the ad was longer and a full version could be streamed on Spotify.

Hyundai ‘Smaht Pahk’ ad, featuring famous actors from Boston and their Boston accents, but if you watch it too much the novelty does wear off.

Jason Momoa’s Rocket Mortgage ad, where Jason arrives home and begins to strip off parts of his body to reveal a much smaller body (it has more shock value when you watch it). You’re so shocked that you don’t really listen to anything he’s saying. He also plays the guitar.

THE HALF TIME SHOW

What’s even more expensive and popular than the Super Bowl ads? The half time show.

This year we will be graced with the Weeknd performing the half time show, no other artists have been announced to join, but performers are usually accompanied by one or two special guests, so we’ll have to wait and see. Maybe a brawl with Adam Sandler under a black light, like in Uncut Gems?

It’s going to be hard to top what we’ve seen in the last few years, for instance, in 2016 when Coldplay brought out the big guns with Beyoncé and Bruno Mars – who both arguably stole the show. 2018 saw Justin Timberlake accompanied by a hologram of Prince for a rendition of ‘I Would Die 4 U’, which was Prince’s 2nd best Superbowl performance. And let us not forget the absolute party that Shakira and J Lo brought to stage last year. The Weeknd has some big shoes to fill.

SNACKS AND DRINKS

With the potential to last up to 4 hours, you’ll need to come prepared with enough snacks. Keeping in theme with some good old fashioned American snacks:

  • Pizza – not the fancy thin crust kind, because we’re trying to keep it American remember.
  • Wings – chicken or cauliflower, with plenty of sauce
  • Fries – any variation will do. (Chips)
  • Chips and dip – again, any variation will do. (Crisps)

There’s plenty more but you get the idea, food that is delicious and provides no nutritional value. This is a once-a-year event so let’s go all out!

For drinks, the tradition is all about pints, pints, and pints. I know me and my mates use this time to get together (pre-pandemic of course), drink pitchers upon pitchers of beer in the name of (American) football, but anything is a good alternative if you’re not drinking alcohol: how about some Mountain Dew?

WHERE TO GO IN LEICESTER

Pre-pandemic-wise, in Leicester you were spoilt with choice when it came to watching the Super Bowl. Several great bars in Leicester show the game, with themed menus, and can host large groups if you and your friends all want to get together to watch the game. In preparation for next year* (hoping we’ll be able socialise in person), here’s a few places to keep in mind:

Firebug: one of the few places that will let you watch the game for free without charging a deposit. However, you can’t reserve a spot, but you will receive a free hot dog during half time. Plus, those Long Island Iced Teas are so good!

Walkabout: Free entry and you can pre-book! With food and drinks deals all night long and 27 screens showing the game.

The Loaded Dog and Soar Point: Both bars host a pre–Super Bowl party before the game to get you in the spirit! It is a ticketed event, so you’ll need to pre-book.

The Locker Room: This is my favourite place to watch the Super Bowl, you can pay a deposit to reserve a table, the deposit will then become your bar tab on the night, they also have a great menu of wings, pizza and fries to keep you fuelled up.

BrewDog: For a set price, you can gorge yourself on ‘all you can eat’ wings throughout the whole match!

*these are deals which were available in 2020 and are not guaranteed for when venues re-open.

Even though we will all be watching the Super Bowl at home this year, that doesn’t mean you can’t still go all out and cook/order in
some incredible food and enjoy the night with friends on video chat! (Even if you are just watching it for the halftime show).

Dinner bowl

Veganuary

By Advice, Culture

Veganuary has seen its biggest year yet with more than 500,000 people being encouraged to try a plant-based lifestyle for the month!

Whether participating for health reasons, ethical reasons, or in response to climate change, Veganuary is a great way for us change our day-to-day lifestyle, product use and create some delicious meals that challenge us to think outside the box.

This year in particular supermarkets have embraced and advocated this event and encouraged us to try new things. With dedicated marketing, imaginative plant-based alternatives and recipes, I’ve been pushed to challenge my creativity in meal preparation for the month.

It’s never been easier now to enjoy Veganuary, here are some tips to help you too:

  1. Don’t worry if you slip up:

    Even if by misreading a label or being unsure when ordering food, it gets easier discovering and understanding every part of living a plant-based lifestyle.
    If you are concerned about larger areas like clothing and products that use leather and wool for example, start small and make small changes – don’t throw your possessions away and leave yourself with nothing!

  2. Meals are still delicious:

    There are loads of great recipes I’ve loved making over the past month that have been vibrant and delicious. With supermarkets and restaurants offering some great meat alternative meals, you can wow your family, friends, and flatmates by cooking them a dinner that is also well balanced and provides all of your necessary nutritional needs.

  3. Remember to ask for help:

    Switching to a plant-based lifestyle can be a huge jump away from your usual routine. Taking time to ask others you know who are participating, as well as people on social media, and tutorials/videos online will show how easy it is to try Veganuary.

Let us know your favourite meals you’ve made for Veganuary, as well as any changes you’re going to take away into everyday life. I myself love using soya milk instead of dairy at home, but I’m still trying to find a cheese alternative that really hits the spot.

Upside of Living in a City

The Upside Of Living In A City: 5 Convincing Points

By Advice, Culture

Tags – Upside of Living in a City

 

Whether you prefer a peaceful life in the country or the more cosmopolitan hustle and bustle of a city, there are evident pros and cons for both.

However, one thing’s for sure, any stalwart city dweller will assure you city life is the best!

Here are our top 5 reasons why living in a vibrant city is the best:

 

1. Getting Around 

Although city life can be hectic and busy, there’s a fantastic choice in how to get around.

Whether you work inside or outside the city limits, you have a range of choices unavailable elsewhere. For example, most of those living in cities dispense with having a car altogether.

Train, tram and underground services are less expensive, less hassle and more convenient.

Equally, many will walk or even cycle around a city with specific facilities made available, to do so.

 

2. Jobs

It’s fairly evident that cities will have more employment opportunities.

Not only is there a greater number of jobs available, it’s also more convenient to live closer.

Equally, more vacancies bring more opportunities for promotion and professional development.

Furthermore, with the convenience of a shorter commute leading to more spare time and the likelihood of better paid employment, it’s a win-win situation!

 

3. Entertainment and Spare Time

Another hugely beneficial factor in living in a city is the most amazing scope for entertainment and recreation.

For example, cities are heaving with cultural projects and exhibitions.

Similarly, theatres, museums, green space, music venues are all in close proximity.

Alternatively, the opportunity to experience some serious retail therapy is also readily available.

 

4. Communications

Anyone who’s lived in a rural area will tell you how frustrating it is to have little or no phone reception.

For example, it’s a major factor when choosing somewhere to live if you need a good connection.

City living means much better communication and more responsive repair services should they be needed.

Equally, speedy broadband and cable television, which are taken for granted in cities are not always readily available, even in this day and age!

 

5. Emergency Services and Health Care

Whilst no one can deny the NHS is amazing everywhere, living closer to a hospital could save your life.

Although everyone in the UK has access to the same great health care, cost cutting exercises can take their toll.

Hospital and ambulance services cover huge areas more rurally and time can be an issue.

Equally, a quicker response to any calls for the police or fire service is certainly a consideration.

 

To learn more, get in touch with us today.

 

In the meantime, check our Student Lettings Leicester services here.

Good things about Leicester

What Makes Leicester a Vibrant and Enjoyable City to Live In

By Culture, Travel

Tags – Good things about Leicester

 

Britain’s first European Sustainable City, the burial place of King Richard III, home to the National Space Centre and regularly listed in the Top 10 UK cities to live and work in.

It’s also the second-best place in the UK to start a business to boot.

You guessed it; we’re talking about Leicester.

With a lively student scene and the home of many celebrities, including the likes of Julian Barnes, Richard Attenborough, Sue Townsend, Kasabian, Peter Shilton and Gary Linekar, what makes Leicester City such a vibrant and enjoyable place to live in? 

 

Arts and Culture

The city’s artistic and cultural pedigree is not in doubt.

Its thriving cultural and artistic scene includes museums, galleries, festivals, theatres and plenty of live music events. Creative talent is everywhere. The city even has its own Cultural Quarter, with the Curve Theatre at its heart. 

If music is where your heart lies, Leicester has a lively music scene, from the De Montfort Hall where you’ll see more established faces, to new music sounds in pubs, bars and clubs across the city, including Firebug and The Soundhouse

 

Shops and Markets

Leicester is a fabulous place to shop, meet friends, socialise and grab a bargain.

Whether it’s independent shops in The Lanes and St Martin’s Square or high street retail at Highcross Shopping Centre, there’s something for every discerning shopper. 

In Leicester’s city centre you’ll find the 800-year-old market. It’s the largest covered outdoor market in Europe and a foodie’s paradise. It’s the place to be if you like artisan cheeses, fish and shellfish, good quality meat and a wide range of fresh fruit and vegetables. 

 

The People

From the Romans to the present day, Leicester has a long history of welcoming new arrivals.

According to the 2011 census, Leicester is one of the most diverse cities in the UK and Narborough Road was named the most diverse street in the UK in 2016 by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), with businesses from 22 countries spread across four continents. 

 

Open Spaces

There are 130 parks to choose from in and around the city.

Noteworthy mentions go to Victoria Park, in the city centre. Once the city’s racecourse it’s a popular outdoor music destination and a green space close to all the best the city has to offer.

For a wilder outdoor adventure, Watermead Country Park South provides 340 acres of lakes, woodlands and nature reserves, while 168 acre Braunstone Park has open parkland and meadows.

 

Food and Drink

Leicester’s cafe, restaurant and bar scene is second to none.

There’s a mouthwatering experience on every corner. Start your day with a coffee at The Coffee Counter. For a traditional pub, you can’t go wrong with the Queen of Bradgate and the King’s Head.

Or, head to the Distillers Kitchen where you can learn how to make Gin and sample the produce…whatever your tastes, Leicester has a watering hole to suit every palate. 

Having read all the above, it’s no surprise that Leicester is a vibrant and enjoyable place to live in. Don’t you agree?

 

To learn more, get in touch with us today.

In the meantime, check our Student Lettings Leicester services here.

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