Review: Student living location – Kenton (by Ryan Elliott)

Kenton. A popular place of living for those attending the University of Westminster. Mainly due to the fact that the University itself is a stone’s throw away. But how is Kenton as an area? How are the transport links? What about the shops? I investigated.

Transport links

Kenton itself has a train station which connects to the Bakerloo line and the London Overground. Northwick Park, which runs on the Metropolitan line is also only a couple of minutes away in terms of walking distance, and you can access central London in under half an hour quite easily. In terms of getting around, it is a pretty handy location. The bus links are also good for getting around the local area, but night buses from central are limited in terms of those that run directly into Kenton. This can be a problem if you’re particularly social and outgoing.

Rating: 7/10 

Area prosperity

Unfortunately, Kenton isn’t that great of an area in terms of prosperity. The high street is flooded with cheap takeaways, newsagents and a couple of travel agents. There is also much work than could be done to the buildings, some of which look like they’re on the verge of falling apart. It’s not exactly a hotbed of tourists, let’s just leave it like that.

Rating: 3/10

Night life

For students, there is practically no night life in Kenton. Though there are one or two bars, they’re usually empty, and there isn’t a sniff of a student night or student discount. Harrow is a much better alternative, and within a 15 minute walking distance, meaning it is easy to get there and back.

Rating: 1/10

Range of shops

There is only one supermarket in Kenton – Sainsbury’s. Though this means you have good access to food supplies, it also means you’re paying higher prices than you would in most other big supermarkets. Shop wisely, however, and it isn’t that great of an issue! In terms of retail, the range is incredibly poor. You could count the big retailers in Kenton on your hand, and for any sort of retail therapy you’d be better off heading straight into Central London.

Rating: 4/10

Living costs

Due to the area not being overwhelmingly prosperous, the flats and houses are a little cheaper than surrounding areas such as Harrow. Though I wouldn’t expect to be staying in the Ritz, staying in Kenton means cheaper rent and not having to commute to University. Excellent for money saving!

Rating: 9/10

Conclusive comments

24/50 doesn’t sound too flattering, I’ll be honest. But if you’re a student, you can’t expect anything too glamorous anyway. The University is on your doorstep, Harrow is nearby, and you have more than adequate transport facilities. I would recommend London, because we’re students, and most of us are skint. Save your money and live somewhere more glamorous when you’ve got that degree! Kenton certainly has my approval.

Loathy London: Boohoo.co.uk (A Review by Pinar Djafer)

Boohoo.com-–-Brooklyn-Princess-9

The fashion capital’s reputation is in the hands of sloppy sites like Boohoo.com.

Boohoo.com is famous amongst teenage Brits because of its cheap tat. With student discount, promotional codes and offers added to the already affordable items of clothing, Boohoo.com appears to be a place for stylish and affordable fashion.

However, the site is far from being a place of bargains. You get exactly what you pay for – poorly made, ill-fitting clothing. But, it’s cheap and chirpy for students with pieces starting from just £5. I don’t particularly mind paying £25 for a red polyester dress because it’s unlikely to make it through one or two messy nights out anyway.

My issue is that when transactions get messy, you will find yourself dealing with a half-hearted customer service department that make your life that bit more difficult.

I ordered three dresses from the site a while ago on a Thursday afternoon to wear for a friend’s birthday on the Saturday. I ordered three styles as I am aware that due to the poor materials used, some size 8 dresses fit like a size 12 and others like a size 4. I paid the extra fee for Next Day delivery and was well within the time period for a Next Day arrival of my items.

None of the dresses came the next day or in time for the friend’s birthday. I ended up wearing an old black jumpsuit that I already had several pics in on Instagram. I was very annoyed.

One of the dresses came the next Monday and the other on the following Thursday. Despite my vexation, I didn’t contact Boohoo.com as they do not have a contact phone number. You can contact customer service by email, but I wasn’t bothered for a reply 24 hours later. The damage had already been done.

I was more concerned later when two weeks had passed and I still hadn’t received the third dress I paid for. Annoyingly, the most expensive one. This time I was compelled to write an email. The next day I received the stupidest response I could have ever expected. It read something along the lines of: We are sorry to hear about your order. We have investigated into your order details and it appears that your item was sent out to you. Please check inside the delivery bag again.

How dare they insinuate that I could not see a dress in an A3 sized delivery bag. Unless, of course, it was a special kind of Mary Poppins bag whereby the walls of the bag were endless.  I sent another email confirming that I had tipped the bag upside down and inside out.

Another lady from the customer service team responded saying that the item had actually been cancelled from my order due to the stock being unavailable at the time. She explained that sometimes an item may appear as available when this is not the case. This was understandable, but should have been communicated to me without the unnecessary hassle especially when ‘Next Day’ delivery indicates that the item was required urgently.

As an apology, I received my refund. I am most grateful. I received nothing else as a goodwill gesture to apologise for the inconvenience caused. It was only when I made a public complaint on the site that someone decided to comment back offering to put £3.99 in my Boohoo account to use on my next order.

I decided to call this an ‘unlucky transaction’ and have given Boohoo other chances since. I have had several more issues with delayed refunds and slow delivery. I will not be using the site again.

Despite the advancement of technology and the purpose of online shopping to bring ease to the shopper, it appears that in-store shopping is still much simpler. In stores, we can find whatever catches our eye, try the fit there and then, and hand in your payment without the need of a third party like Paypal or filling out long billing details. You can then take your items away with you in time for your event. Saves me dealing with sloppy sites like Boohoo.com again.

It seems Boohoo has brought other shoppers to tears too:

FrustratedCustomers.co.uk

trustpilot.co.uk

sitejabber.com

University Fees – an opinion piece by Grace Brown

Are university fees acceptable for the amount of time students really spend at university?

The fee rose from a modest £3000 per year in 2012 to staggering £9000 a year, triple what it was a couple of years previously. It will now cost students the amount that it would have in one year that it would have cost them for the whole three years.

Students are now going to get into collasal debts thanks to the governments genius idea to up the tuition fees. I’m not surprised that many students choose to work after finishing compulsory education. 

From my own experience at university I’ve seen that my academic calendar works out at around five months out of twelve. Students are happy to accept long holidays with one month at Christmas, one month at Easter, and a five month summer holiday. 

For me, I’d prefer to feel as though I’m getting the most of my university education and would rather longer semesters instead of longer holidays.

I think it’s time that the government reconsider the tuition fees to enable students to live an easier life than the one their already struggling with.

The Roxy, a review by Grace Brown

As it was a flat mates birthday I thought it’d be good to find somewhere new to try out on a night out. Being students, we didn’t want to go anywhere that was too expensive. After a little research I decided on The Roxy for a night out.

Just off of Tottenham Court Road, The Roxy is a brilliant place for students. With themed nights every day of the week, there’s something for everyone. We went on their night “Choke” which plays HipHop, RnB and Garage all night long.

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 18.24.23

Entry fee is a reasonable £4 with your student card for 5 hours of dancing as the event is on from 10pm to 3am giving you more than enough time to gulp down several of their excellently priced drinks. Don’t be fooled into thinking that The Roxy is just for students though; there were a lot of adults taking advantage of the deals on offer.

Drinks were very affordable, ranges of cocktail pitchers priced at £8 are the best choice, there’s enough in there for three people to share if you wanted to split the costs. Double vodka mixers are £3.40, extremely cheap for London, and there’s a two for one deal on Kronenbourg beers. There is a drink menu on the wall at the back of the bar instead of leaflets so it makes it easier for guests to see which is handy. I’d recommend their Long Island Ice Tea for definite.

3843The_Roxy_bar

The Roxy itself is spacious, there’s plenty of room to get around even when it’s packed and modernly decorated in a simple wood, brick and monochrome theme. The name of the event was lit brightly on the wall on a poster; they have one for each club night. The music being played all night ranged from ‘90s garage classics to current day chart songs, which will keep everyone happy. The atmosphere in the place was very lively and happy, no sense of friction between guests all night. The bouncers were friendly and provided help with taxis at the end of the night, and the bar staff were very efficient with delivering orders on time.

If you’re looking for a good night out in the city on a budget, head to The Roxy! I’ll definitely be going back there.

Student Tenancy Agreements Are Outrageous – by Ryan Elliott

It is quite literally a case of robbery. Stealing from the poor, giving to the rich. £155 a week is what I pay for my single bed and bathroom as a student in London, and I’m not even in central. Fair enough, the average price for student halls in this country is just below £110 a week, and I do get all the opportunity that comes with living in the capital. The price bothers me, but not as much as the tenancy that I, along with thousands of other students,  had to sign.

I’d like to remind you all that we’re students. We don’t have any money. For most individuals at my University, their student loan doesn’t actually cover their rent, meaning they have to pay the excess on top of living costs.

The tenancy we sign is for 38 weeks (there is no alternative). Now, I finish University officially on April the 2nd, when I will in fact be paying for a flat I don’t need until July, costing me over £1,400 extra. Scandalous.

Does a flexible tenancy just not seem more logical and more fair? How about taking an extra ten minutes with each student to plan when they’ll need the room up to? It isn’t rocket science. I’ll tell you why it won’t happen, however. Money and greed. People don’t seem to understand that students don’t have money. Most people are here to get a degree which will enable them to earn more money. We’ve had every last penny squeezed out of us, and we’ll spend a good chunk of our lives trying to pay it all off, for the benefit of those at the top end.

I’m not saying we need to cause a riot and bring London to a halt. I’m simply suggesting that the relevant parties should bring this matter to discussion, as it is killing us students financially.

giphy

Loathly London: A City Overcrowded with the Unhappy. (An opinion piece by Pinar Djafer)

The probability that you watched that clip right to the end is unlikely. The truth is, it’s draining and depressing – just like London.

In an annual Global Liveability Ranking and Report conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit, London was one of Europe’s least liveable cities.

20150138

Many tourists are impressed with the City, its iconic sites and landmark venues. You know the ones – the Big Ben; Buckingham Palace; Oxford Street; Downing Street; the London Dungeons; Madame Tussauds and so on.

But the sad reality is that most tourists will have seen more of London’s beauty than Londoners themselves.

Students spend thousands of pounds on university to get their dream job in the city.

The reality is in fact that most Londoners are exhausted, completely exhausted.

Most Londoners rise at the crack of dawn, still half asleep, to put on a suit that’s not properly ironed because of the lack of sleep. They will carry their strenuous rucksacks on their backs and put on their commuting trainers, whilst adding extra weight to their backpacks with the Loakes office shoes they could barely afford.

They stack layers and layers of outer garments on to their attire and still manage to freeze when they step outside. The smack in the face of sharp London air wakes them up and if that doesn’t do it, caffeine will.

They pay several pounds a day on the tube to find that they’re squeezed into the train carriages like a bunch of sardines. Their £10 travel fare is spent on smelling armpits and bad breath in the morning because in London you don’t get what you paid for – you get conned.

They get off the train to see grey clouds ready to shower down, grey pavements, tall grey buildings and mismatched red buses. The closest thing to heat they see is that which is permeating from their boss’s face due to their lateness. Of course somehow the train delays end up being their fault and they are advised to catch the earlier train next time. So now they’ll be up at 4am instead of 5am.

They’ll spend hours in the office dealing with a boss that hates them, colleagues that compete with them and clients that challenge them. They’ll miss their lunch break because there’s too much to do and they spend every hour praying it was home time. Of course when home time comes, their boss finds something else to do before they leave.

Students will spend a great majority of their lives working hard to pay off a lot of their debts which got them the qualifications that put them in this kind of job in the first place.
As a student, being broke is something that is made fun out of. But when you’re thirty and working to keep up with London living – it’s not so funny.

You usually end up biting off more than you can chew with the house that you’re still trying to pay off and your dream car will always remain a dream.

I think vacations put people in greater depression. You spend months saving for the holiday you so rightly deserve. You finally go and the two weeks fly by. The sun, sea, and friendly faces are a reminder of everything you don’t have at home. Instead, you have deadlines, bills and the cold grey streets.

I’m not surprised that you don’t see warm smiles from Londoners. When hearing an announcement on a platform that a passenger has jumped in front of the train, and passengers will need to find alternative routes, I’m not surprised that people are more angry than compassionate. When you live in a depressing, expensive and hostile place like London, you will become as grey and cold as the city itself.

woman-thinking-woman-sad-depressed2-flickr-dawolf--768x400

List of the Best Student Nights Out in London – by Grace Brown

One of the best things about moving to London for university is the night life, living in the capital city has its perks as there are thousands of bars available for you to choose from! Whats even better is that a whole load of them host student nights to save you some pennies (we all know London isn’t the cheapest of places)! I’ve created a list of some of the best places for you to attend during the week.

Monday nights

Place: The Roxy
Event name: Anthem
Entry fee: £1 before 11pm, £2 with student card after 11 & £5 without
Drink prices: £3.40 doubles, £8 cocktail jugs
Music: HipHop/Pop/Punk/Rock
Where is it?: Rathbone Place – Two minutes from Tottenham Court Road (W1T 1HH)
Open/close: 10:00pm – 3:00am
Ticketed event: No
Dress code: Casual

The Roxy

The Roxy

Place: Oceana
Event name: Fuzzy Logic
Entry fee: £5 for students with ID
Drink prices: £2.20 tequila/Sambuca/vodka & energy drink
Music: Three rooms ranging from Commercial/Cheesy/HipHop/RnB
Where is it?: Watford – Train to Watford (metropolitan line & five minute taxi)
Open/close: 10:00pm – 3:30am
Ticketed event: No – but you can buy tickets in advance to be sure
Dress code: “Dress to impress” – smart casual

Oceana, Watford

Oceana, Watford

Tuesday nights:

Place: Central London
Event name: 1 Big Night Out
Entry fee: £11.50 advanced ticket
Drink prices: £4.00 max
Music: Commercial/Pop
Where is it?: Starts at Verve Bar in Covent Garden at 7:30pm
Open/close: 7:30pm – 3:00am
Ticketed event: Yes
Dress code: Smart Casual – no trainers

1 Big Night Out

1 Big Night Out

Place: Ministry of Sound
Event name: Student night
Entry fee: £6 – ticketed event
Drink prices: £3.50 doubles
Music: Dance/Electro/House
Where is it?: Gaunt Street, SE1 6DP, nearest station Elephant & Castle
Open/close: 23:00pm – 5:30am
Ticketed event: Yes
Dress code: Casual

Ministry of Sound: London - London's best dance club

Ministry of Sound: London – London’s best dance club

(Ministry of Sound will send an email out via Fatsoma when a student night is being hosted, so be sure to download the app to be informed)

Wednesday nights:

Place: Borderlines
Event name: Cheapskates
Entry fee: £3 before 11pm, £5 for students w/ flyer & £6 after
Drink prices: £1 singles/ £2 doubles
Music: RnB/Commercial
Where is it?: Soho
Open/close: 10:30pm – 3:30am
Ticketed event: No
Dress code: Smart casual

Download & print this flyer for cheaper student entry at Cheapskates

Download & print this flyer for cheaper student entry at Cheapskates

Place: Zoo Bar
Event name: N/A
Entry fee: £5
Drink prices: Happy Hour 4-9
Music: RnB/Commercial/House
Where is it?: Bear Street, Leicester Square
Open/close: 4:00pm – 3:00am
Ticketed event: Rarely
Dress code: Smart casual – smart trainers allowed

Zoo Bar, London

Zoo Bar, London

Thursday nights:

Place: Proud
Event name: Mada vs … (3rd Thursday of every month)
Entry fee: £5
Drink prices: £2.50 singles/shots
Music: DJs from Ministry of Sound/Indie/HipHop/Commercial
Where is it?: Camden
Open/close: 11:00pm – 2:30am
Ticketed event: No
Dress code: Smart casual

The stables at Proud, Camden

The stables at Proud, Camden

 

Place: Piccadilly Institute
Event name: #Hashtag
Entry fee: N/A – ticketed event
Drink prices: £3.75 doubles/£3.50 Jägerbomb
Music: Different events each week – depends on the event
Where is it?: Piccadilly
Open/close: 10:00pm – 3:00am
Ticketed event: Yes
Dress code: Smart casual

Piccadilly Institute

Piccadilly Institute

Friday nights

Place: Sway
Event name: N/A
Entry fee: £6 after 10pm
Drink prices: £4.50 mixer
Music: Party Tunes/Club Classics/Chart Toppers
Where is it?: Queen Street, London
Open/close: 12:00pm – 3:00am
Ticketed event: No
Dress code: Smart – no trainers

Sway Bar London

Sway Bar London

Place: Press Club
Event name: N/A
Entry fee: Ladies free all night – £20 for men
Drink prices: Expensive – but if you know a promoter, free drinks all night (it also helps if you’re female)
Music: RnB/ Commercial/HipHop
Where is it?: Whitcomb Street – closest station Piccadilly Circus
Open/close: 10:30pm – 3:00am
Ticketed event: No
Dress code: Smart – dress to impress

Press Club