Food for Mood – Recipe 1

Towards the end of last year we ran a series of online cookery workshops for students in residences to attend in partnership with NCIM. We will be running more of these sessions online and in person over the rest of the academic year. Keep an eye on our weekly newsletter to find out when!

Missing meals, long nights, relentless studying, and too much time online can make us feel lethargic, anxious, and make us more susceptible to illness  Chronic stress, uncontrolled blood sugars and hormone imbalance creates lots of inflammation in the body. In the first session we learnt how to control many of these issues by cooking with fibrous, colourful vegetables and good sources of protein that control glucose spikes! Give this recipe a try and find out for yourself! 

Shakshuka (click to download the recipe card)

  • Small jar of Harissa
  • Olive oil for cooking
  • Small tin of tomato paste
  • 2 large red peppers
  • 1 fennel
  • ½ cup of frozen peas
  • 1 large bunch of spinach or kale
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • Ground cumin
  • 800g of fresh tomato or 2 x 400g tinned tomatoes
  • 4 small eggs
  • Salt and pepper
  • In a large frying pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil and then add the harissa, tomato paste, red peppers, garlic, cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sauté for about 10 minutes, until the peppers soften.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and frozen peas, bring to a gentle simmer, and cook for another 10 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.
  • Now add in the spinach to let it wilt in the sauce for a further 3 – 4 mins.
  • Make 4 little dips in the sauce. Gently break the eggs and carefully pour each into its own dip. Use a fork to swirl the egg whites a little bit with the sauce, taking care not to break the yolks.
  • Simmer gently for 8 to 10 minutes, until the egg whites are set but the yolks are still running.
  • Remove from the heat, leave for a couple of minutes to settle, then spoon into individual plates and serve with the raita and flatbreads.

Raita (click to download the recipe card)

  • 250g Greek yoghurt or natural yoghurt
  • Small bunch of fresh coriander or mint (you can also use dried)
  • 1 small lime
  • 1 cucumber
  • Garam masala
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Mix all the ingredients and season.
  • Serve sprinkled with extra garam masala.

Flat breads (click to download the recipe card)

  • 300 g Self-raising flour
  • A small sachet of baking powder
  • 150g natural yoghurt
  • Olive oil
  • Cumin seeds, chopped garlic cloves, chopped coriander, or chopped chillies (optional)
  • Combine the flour, baking powder, yoghurt, and oil with 1 tsp salt and 2 tbsp water and bring together into a rough dough.
  • Tip onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a few minutes until slightly smooth, then divide into four to eight pieces, depending on the size of flatbread you want.

To find out what other events Residential Life have coming up, visit

To find out more about the National Centre for Integrative Medicine, visit

My experience as a ‘Disabled’ Student

by Charlotte O’Brien, Senior Resident

As it’s Disability History Month I thought it would be a good opportunity to share my experience as a ‘Disabled’ student. Why do I italicise disabled? Calling myself disabled doesn’t really suit me as I don’t have a physical disability and personally, I see myself able to do what most non-disabled people can do it’s just I may do things in a different ways or experience things differently. This means it can be very difficult for me and others in my situation to be recognised, taken seriously and get the support we need as you cannot see that we may need specialist support in some way.

This is exactly how it has been at university. For example, if someone was in a wheelchair the obvious thing to do would be to ensure that there was a ramp available and a lift that was working. Now, that’s relatively straight forward but in my case it’s quite the opposite. My needs can vary on the situation, how I’m feeling and lots of other factors and they too are not so simple for others to implement and understand. This was the case when I first started in 2020, unfortunately as for most situations Covid made it more difficult to ensure my needs were met along with my SSP (Study Support Plan*) not being sent out initially. This resulted in many meltdowns, meetings with my senior tutor and academics and a serious impact on my mental health.

What I wish, would be that more people understood that what I’m asking for may not seem so important to do but it makes the world a difference. This allows me to feel more comfortable in class, be able to participate, feel included and just generally get a good experience out of my time here. One of the most difficult things I have to deal with is the general lack of understanding. Since I’ve started, I’ve (along with many others) unfortunately had to fight to ensure our needs are met. This in turn, raises my frustration and anxiety levels as well as greatly impacting on my mental health with on many occasions my questioning of whether I should leave university too.

I’d love to see one day this university as a place where everyone feels comfortable and is accepted and maybe that will be the case. At least for now, I have seen some improvements for Disabled students, which as Co-President of the Neurodiversity Society I have helped with, such as the creation of the sensory room in Senate House and mandatory Autism training for wellbeing staff among other amazing things. It is only small progress but it’s going in the right direction.

I will finish with a piece of advice; never make assumptions about anyone, you never know what someone is going through, and you never know what you might be doing that is getting to them or what great support you’re providing. Think about how you could do things differently. In my case, being open-minded and willing to listen when someone says something’s up or that something’s bothering them. We could all do with some support from those close to us from time to time. Just because some of us are more different than others doesn’t mean we’re lesser than or don’t deserve the same understanding and support we are all capable of thriving so long as we are given the right environment and support to be able to achieve this”.

*Study Support Plan is what is put in place with you and Disability Services on your needs and what needs to be done/adjusted so that you get equal opportunities. It’s sent to your lectures/senior tutor etc at the start of term so they’re aware.

If you need support with a disability contact Disability services on: or find information via their website here

To join BUNS click here for any questions/queries contact BUNS on:

If you’d like to learn more about what’s it’s like being neurodivergent check on these links: DiverseBASS  National Autistic Society & Paige Layle’s YouTube channel

Top tips from the Chief & Senior resident team!

by our Chief and Senior Residents, compiled by Sophie Bridgewater, Student Community Coordinator

We hope that you are settling in well, and have started to gather some top tips of your own! In the meantime here are a few suggestions from the Residential Life Chief and Senior residents to help make living in residences go smoothly, as well as some exciting places in Bristol to check out! (more…)

Your Student Life: Balancing Studies and Physical Health

by Kien Le, Wills Hall resident 2021-22, 2nd yr Sociology BSc

Life as a University student is one of the best experiences of our lifetime. It’s the moment you start to shape your future. As much as we wish for a Uni life full of nostalgic memories to look back on, the two most important things that students are advised to focus on are studying and staying healthy. Here are some great tips to help you balance your knowledge and health at University. (more…)

Settling in with new flatmates

by Kien Le, Wills Hall resident 2021-22, 2nd yr Sociology BSc

Is it your first time staying at the University of Bristol Halls? Are you feeling insecure about a brand-new life with brand-new people? While settling in with flatmates may be a stroll in the park for some, there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of if you have your own concerns. Even siblings sometimes struggle to set aside their differences, let alone flatmates.

The key is to build and maintain good connections between each other; usually decided by your first interactions. Here are some simple tips when settling in with your new housemates: (more…)

World Refugee Day

by Aimee Andrew, Residential Life Advisor

June 20th marks World Refugee Day which is an international day designated by the United Nations to honour refugees around the globe. It is a day to celebrate the strength and courage of people who have been forced to flee their home country to escape conflict or persecution and to build empathy and understanding about this important issue.

When I was at university, I volunteered with Student Action for Refugees at a hostel for incoming refugees in Birmingham. This was an incredibly rewarding experience in which we ran a children’s playgroup to give parents some respite from childcare duties and to provide a welcoming and hospitable face in the hostel. I enjoyed this experience so much, and would recommend this to everyone, as it felt great to be able to make a tangible difference in the lives of newly arrived refugees.

I’ve also used the language skills learned in my Spanish degree to become a voluntary translator for Translator’s Without Borders. This has given me an outlet to keep practicing my second language while using my words to help translate key texts for humanitarian causes and NGOs. For anyone studying a languages degree, or who speaks more than one language, I would wholeheartedly recommend TWB.

For this year’s World Refugee Day, I wanted to draw people’s attention towards some of the amazing ways in which you can get involved with supporting refugees in Bristol. Bristol is such an inclusive and diverse city so there are plenty of ways you can get involved:

STAR – Student Action for Refugees @ Bristol SU – Have you seen the Student Action for Refugees society at Bristol Uni? Join them for the opportunity to volunteer at local refugee projects such as Homework Club and Conversation Club and join their campaigns to improve the lives of those seeking asylum.

b.friend ( – This is a Bristol run volunteer project in which you can sign up to volunteer and you will be matched with an asylum seeker or refugee in Bristol to provide them with companionship and support.

Volunteer | Borderlands – This is a similar Bristol volunteer project in which you can become a one-to-one mentor for refugees in Bristol

Translators without Borders – Do you speak a second language? Translators without Borders is looking for you! TWB is a global community of voluntary translators who provide translations for non-profit organizations in areas of crisis relief, humanitarian aid, health and education

Donate your items — Aid Box Community – Why not donate your old clothes and unwanted items to a refugee in need? Especially with the end of term clear outs coming up – check the link for a list of items they are currently looking for.

Cook-alongs – 91 WAYS – This innovative social enterprise works with a wide range of community cooks from across the globe, as well as teaching you how to make a delicious meal, the cooks will deepen your understanding of their culture and the place food holds within it.

Bristol Refugee Festival – Celebration Information Intergration – Did you know that Bristol has it’s very own Refugee Festival with a whole programme of events annually from 6th-26th June? Take a look at their website and see if anything takes your fancy! From cooking classes, to craft and conversation and more

If you would like to donate to a local organisation that helps refugees in Bristol, consider Bristol Refugee Rights. They have been helping regugees in Bristol since 2006. You can read about their current work supporting LGBTQ+ people seeking asylum here: Pride Without Borders – Bristol Refugee Right