Find your wellbeing and support

by Beth Robinson, Senior Resident

Whilst mental health awareness week has now passed, both mental health and wellbeing should and can continue to be a priority. As a student who also works for the University, I have often scrolled through different University websites in order to see what support is available. At ResiLife, we understand that stress at University can be due to multiple factors and so have devised a ‘go to’ list of excellent support services available depending on your own needs, including what the support is, a description of what it could offer, and how to get in contact if you think this could benefit you and/or someone you know – having a friend reach out can be incredibly valuable.

The areas covered here are:

  • Direct and general mental health and wellbeing support
  • Support for those who have encountered unacceptable behaviour
  • Support for disabled students
  • Financial, housing and careers support
  • Faith and cultural networks
  • University studies-related help
  • Support from the Students’ Union
  • Other resources, contacts and apps


My go to student dishes – international student food blog

Like most newbies to the UK, you’ll have heard that you can get utensils, cooking pots and the like at Wilko for decent prices. But wait.. what should you cook with them? This is were the real fun begins!

First, you’ll need to source out some ingredients and the joy of scavenging though produce and condiments with peculiar names is an enthralling experience. As you’re picking through the fresh vegetables and fruits, you notice a growing trend. This doesn’t look anything like the spinach I know, and is this banana unusually large and yellow?

Most African families are accustomed to bulk shopping, sometimes for the whole week or even a month. Unfortunately, this was impractical when faced with produce grown and stored differently. Only later did I discover those precious Caribbean, Middle Eastern and Oriental stores that offer those hard-to-find ingredients e.g.  plantains, maize flour, and parathas. To the country’s credit, there is no short of vegan alternatives as nearly all restaurants and groceries have plant-based options of some sort. This greatly supported me through my vegetarian lifestyle and vegan aspirations.

Breakfast happens to be my favourite meal and some classics are;

  • Oatmeal: So wholesome, filling, and nutritious, with various toppings whether sweet or savoury. I usually add some almonds and seed mix.
  • “….” on toast : Another opportunity to create a masterpiece and the backbone of it is high quality bread. My combos included : peanut butter and banana, hummus with olives and cucumbers, mushrooms and caramelized white onion, mushy peas, and black pepper (What, no avocado ? I know, I know but some witch cursed me in my crib, preventing me from enjoying this).
  • Pancakes : Whether in crepe form or fluffy American style, these are always a winner. Add some syrup or honey on top of that, dollop of yogurt and it’s a done deal!

Other meals called upon my creativity and put those cooking lessons with mum to the test. Just a few are:

  • Beans or lentil curry : What better way to make use of a vast spice collection? The outcome of the different blends brings something new to the table each time.  I usually munch this down with some turmeric and cardamon rice, but dry curries are excellent in Buddha bowls.

Roast vegetables: I’m talking sweet potatoes, white  potatoes, carrots,  eggplant, butternut, pumpkin, and bell peppers. This became my staple every week for the sheer ease of making it and the satisfying taste that doesn’t require any additional sauces (though some ketchup or tomato chutney on the side never hurt anyone) . Paprika and dry herbs such as thyme, sage or rosemary are your best friend for these.

The following recipe took dark greens vegetables to the next level in my cooking. Ingredients include:

  • A handful of leafy green of choice (spinach, kale, collard greens etc), 1 large white onion, 1 clove of garlic, 2 tomatoes, mushrooms, bell peppers, 1 courgette, 1 spring onion
  • Must have spices are ground ginger, ground coriander, mixed herbs and the usual salt and black pepper
  • Finally, some olive oil and ¼ cup of water

Start by cooking down the white onion and garlic in the oil till they turn translucent and add the mushrooms. Add ground ginger and coriander to the onions, then roughly a minute later, the splash of water. After letting it infuse,  add the other veggies. Once the tomatoes  soft, bring in the dark greens. Turn down the heat, crack your black pepper and salt, pop the lid on and let that simmer away. You will not regret it!

I’m not ashamed to admit that I often felt nostalgic for the food of my home country and would sometimes find myself fantasizing about Kenyan chapati with a sad bowl of carrot and coriander soup upon my lap.  You know those restaurants that you visit often enough for the waiter to know the order by heart? That would be Saab Bakery, Haru Japanese restaurant, Boho Eatery and ArtCaffe for me.

Just the memory of being with my family and sharing a delicious meal, hits the spot every time. In Bristol, I happened to fall in love with one great hub along Park Street. To this day my tongue never did taste a stack of berry pancakes as delectable as those of Boston Tea Party. Did I already mention I’m a breakfast girl? Well, this joint was among the many highlights between my homemade muffins in the afternoon and a Costa hug in a mug.

What left to say than it’s been and still is one scrumptious odyssey.

Mental Health Awareness week: Give

Giving back to the community

by Grant Stevens, Senior Resident

Giving back to the community can be incredibly rewarding. It doesn’t have to be in big ways such as fundraisers or volunteering in a shop (but if you can do those then that’s great too) but can be from something as simple as litter picking or helping an elderly neighbour. (more…)

Mental Health Awareness week: Learning

Wellbeing through learning

by Margaret Andrews, Senior Resident

Learning a new skill, or picking up an old one again, can provide a welcome change of scene and a new outlook! There are loads of opportunities to pick up at university that could help you try something new, improve on something old or just have fun! Anecdotally, at least, learning something new can be beneficial to one’s mental health as well, and so “learn” is listed as one of the five ways to wellbeing. (more…)

Mental Health Awareness week: Connect

Best ways to meet new people at Uni!

by Will Chapman, Senior Resident in North Village

Connecting with new people can seem like a bit of a minefield, but meeting new people, or forming closer connections with current acquaintances, can bring fantastic benefits for your wellbeing. In this post, we highlight some activities that can be done in and around Bristol that can facilitate connection:  (more…)

Mental Health Awareness week: Take notice

Enhance your wellbeing with our top 10 ways to take notice! 

by Beth Robinson, Senior Resident

The phrase ‘take notice’ refers to ways you can be aware of what is taking place in the present. Savouring the moment. Broadening your awareness of your surroundings and taking the time to enjoy the environment around you. Whilst the phrase ‘enjoying the environment’ can illicit images of pretty plants and natural reservoirs, taking notice doesn’t have to be all about sunshine and rainbows – in fact it can be done anywhere (I know my environment is revising in my room 50% of the time right now…). Taking notice has been linked to not only wellbeing, but being able to make positive choices based on your own values. Here’s 10 practical ways you can take notice today, in a variety of different environments!   (more…)

Mental Health Awareness week: Be active

Get moving this summer to improve your wellbeing!

by Beth Robinson, Senior Resident

I think we all know by now that exercise is linked to better wellbeing. Whether it’s the yoga that was constantly recommended to you during lockdown, walking your dog, or playing tennis when we were allowed to play sports with someone else for the first time in a long time, we hope that you all have found some way to stay healthy both physically and mentally over the past year.  

With summer rapidly approaching, we wanted to share some of our favourite things to do in Bristol which can keep both your body and brain healthyScroll to the bottom for some University-led exercise events and links too! 

We asked current students for their thoughts…   (more…)

Looking after yourself and each other 

This is a message of support from Professor Sarah Purdy, Pro Vice-Chancellor of Student Experience, in response to news of a student death [6 May 2021]

University life can be full of challenges and I know the summer term can often be a stressful time as end of year exams and assessments loom large, and plans start being made for the summer months and beyond.  Of course, this year has been like none other and a real challenge for you all in so many different waysThat’s why it is so important to take time to look after your own wellbeing and to keep an eye out for friends if you can.  (more…)

A feast for the tastebuds! – international student food blog

Hi friends,

My name is Xuexi Pan, a postgraduate student studying Sociology. I come from Yibin, an attractive city of the Sichuan province in southwest China, where the Jinsha, Min and Yangtze rivers converge. Due to the topography of the basin in which it is located, the air is more humid and dampness tends to enter people’s body which is harmful. Eating chilies or food made from them accelerates the blood and makes the whole body sweat, thus the cold dampness can be driven out. So, in my hometown Yibin, people enjoy spicy food.

Yibin Burninges Noodles

This is both the name of a restaurant and a highly famous dish in Yibin. Located on People’s Road in the bustling city centre, this restaurant is a century-old establishment. Burninges Noodles, given this name because their oil is heavy and waterless and ignites on fire. Sounds particularly amazing, doesn’t it? It is, especially when you eat it, spicy and numb, an absolute feast for the tastebuds!

Recipes for Burninges Noodles

I love Burninges Noodles, and I always make my own here, whilst living in Bristol. I would love to share the recipe for making this dish below.

Ingredients egg noodles, Yibin sprouts, crushed cooked peanuts, chopped spring onions, star anise, sesame seeds, gold striped chilies and fine peppercorns
Seasoning 4 tablespoons of sesame oil

one tablespoon of chilli oil

3 tablespoons of soy sauce

one small tablespoon of MSG

How to do it

1. Bring a large amount of water to the boil, cook the noodles until they are about 80% cooked (there is still a white heart in the middle)

2. Remove with long chopsticks and place in a small bamboo cage and SHAKE well to dry.

3. Place in a bowl, add the soy sauce while still hot and mix well with chopsticks repeatedly so that they do not stick

4. Immediately add the chili oil and sesame oil and mix well

5. Sprinkle the remaining ingredients over the top

6. Mix well and serve

I encourage you to make this dish yourself in Bristol, you can find all the ingredients at Wah Yan Hong. However, I would recommend visiting Yibin in Sichuan to get a more authentic taste of this dish! I hope that you have enjoyed this blog post and will try this recipe yourself at home.

Pictures credit: Chuanxue You (permission for use has been obtained)