Wellbeing Dates for the Winter Break – Tis the Season to take care of YOU.

By Student Champion: Victoria Cornelio

The coming of the winter break is sadly not the end of term, and with assignments still left to do, it can be hard to forget to enjoy yourself during this time. However, Tis the Season to take your mind off university for a little bit, and I have the perfect “Wellbeing Dates for the Winter Break” to help you. All of these dates are great fun with friends, or for spending quality time with yourself!

Picnic in a Park  

Okay, I know it is freezing out there and the last thing you want is to leave your cozy blankets. However, a sunny day in wet-Bristol during the winter is such a beautiful thing, it would be great if you enjoyed it. This idea works both as a solo-date or with company. Just grab some snacks, drinks, a nice blanket to lie on the grass and a thick blanket to keep you warm and enjoy the sunset or stargazing. My personal favourite places are:

  • Brandon Hill: The slopes make it a perfect place to get a full view of the city below and a nice sunset at the horizon.
  • The Downs: although not great for sunsets always, benefit from the little light pollution in this side of town and enjoy a clear night sky and a vast space to set up a picnic and some nice music.
  • Clifton Suspension Bridge: My ultimate favorite because it has an amazing view of both the sunset and the night sky. The contrast of the stars with the bridge lit up is quite an experience!

Disclaimer: Make sure to dress accordingly to the cold and stay alert and safe as these places tend to be a bit more isolated.

Daytrip

Bristol’s transport links give you endless possibilities to spend a day away. Go to Bath and find some inspo of what to do here, from ice skating to going to various unique museums or catching a comedy or theatre show, there is sure to be something for you to enjoy. Another idea is taking a trip to Cardiff for the day, and exploring the many options the city holds. Look here to book some day trip options, or make your itinerary with activities of your choosing.

Fancy something else? Stay closer to the city and visit Thornbury instead. This little market town, better-known for its castle and parks, is a great getaway from the city and into a little magic town. You can also go to Weston SuperMare on a sunny day and enjoy a nice walk around the city and meal by the beach. Visit some of Weston’s unique museums and get in touch with the history of this coastal city.

Facemasks night (not those ones!)

As with all of these options, feel free to do them with friends or by yourself. I find there is a great feeling on doing your skincare routine with some wine, snacks and then cozy up to binge watch a show or movie. On the other hand, having a social night with friends, and doing your skincare together paired with some old school karaoke – that was my 20th birthday party in a nutshell actually – is also a very fun experience. So whichever idea you vibe most with, head over to Boots, Superdrug, the Body Shop, Lush or get your products online, get snacks and drinks and take the night for some selfcare.

*Disclaimer: make sure to drink responsibly, have a meal before, or switch out wine for your drink of preference (Facemasks and Tea also has a good ring to it) Also, beware that skin types vary and some procedures/products may be harmful to some. *

Personally, this is how my Facemask nights go if it’s of any help:

  1. Start with pouring something nice to drink and using a makeup remover / micellar water to prep your skin.
  2. Then, wash your face with a scrub soap to get all the dirt out of your pores, and rinse with warm water.
  3. Pat-dry your face and apply the first facemask – I like a cleansing mask at this point, to take advantage of your stimulated pores and get all remaining impurities out of the way.
  4. After the time of the mask has passed, most of the time 10 to 15 minutes, wash of the mask with warm water and move on to a nose strip.
  5. Make sure you’ve topped your glass off here and remove your nose strip carefully as to avoid any hurting yourself.
  6. Next, wash your face with soap (any is fine, but if you have one for your face specifically that’s great) or apply toner to liberate your skin from any residual products.
  7. Lastly, put on your night cream or moisturizer (pro-tip water based if you have oily skin), and put on some lip balm or lip moisturizer, and you’re all set to carry on with binge watching or karaoke.

Explore Bristol!

The most obvious in this little guide, but something I recommend strongly, get out of your comfort zone (literally), and explore Bristol. There are many things happening around the city that you might be unaware will be your new favourite pass time.

  1. Walk around Gloucester Road: We all know what it is, but how many of us have actually gone and explored the extents of this street. Best of Bristol have compiled a list of 129 things to do on Gloucester Road, so even if you have been already, you are sure to find something new to try in this compilation.
  2. Have you been to Bedminster? The BS3 postcode is better known for its busy North Street and Windmill Hill City Farm which has Free entrance for everyone. Find other things to do here.
  3. Take the walk to Ashton: Right Now, until the 24th, run over to Ashton Estate and enjoy the beautiful Light Up Bristol Make It a whole day thing, and go play Golf, FootGolf or DiscGolf at Ashton Court for a nice day out around Ashton. Also, make sure to check the activities calendar at Ashton Stadium and maybe catch a game or show.
  4. Enjoy by the Harbourside: Although a great place for drinks and parties, the harbour harbors (I had to make the pun, sorry), some of the best attractions in Bristol. Check out the We the Curious Museum, the M Shed, Bristol Aquarium, and of course, 2018 worst rated spoons in Bristol, the V-Shed.
  5. Step into the past at Avon Valley Railway: This little area feels like an original local country station, perfect for instagrammable pics and enjoying a day out in a restored Victorian old town.

And yeah, I hope you do take my word for it and enjoy some time out and about, making the most of your break. I know with assessments and assignments coming in January, it’s hard to fully let your guard down, but remember to take time off because Tis the Season to take care of you!

Enjoy your Winter Break with these Wellbeing Dates, or any way that helps you disconnect and relax. It is important to stay on top of your mental health and wellbeing first and foremost.

Wellbeing resources

There are lots of resources available to you if you need help over the holidays. Our Winter wellness page has lots of useful information or you can check out the support in the holidays page if you are looking for more advice and University opening times during the break.

10 Top Fav Places in Bristol

by Yeliz Vural, Senior Resident

I have been in Bristol since 2017 and I have had chance to explore lots of great places. Here is a list of my top 10 fav places:

1. Harbourside

I love everything about harbourside! It is a convenient place for students and very close to the University Halls in East and West Villages. During the pandemic, outdoor activities (i.e. jogging) around harbourside helped me a lot to cope with my anxiety. Morning walks here are amazing and as a coffee lover I love drinking my coffee in the mornings after a nice walk somewhere close to harbourside. (more…)

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: 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…)

My Bristol memories as a final-year student

Hi everyone, my name is Kiki and I have just finished my final year of BA French and Spanish. In February, I featured in the University’s undergraduate film Find Your Focus, which lead me to reflect on my time at Bristol and the different memories from over the years.

Bristol, my university city.  As a finalyear student in my final term, I find myself looking back at my experiences over the years at Bristol – it’s a strange feeling. It has, however, made me really appreciate all the opportunities that I’ve had within and outside the University and the amazing city.  

(more…)

Bristol’s cultural scene goes digital!

Missing Bristol? Whether you have left Bristol or are here under lockdown you can still take virtual tours, join in live steams and access collections from some of the city’s iconic cultural venues.

There are lots of great resources and events that are accessible, right from your desktop or smart phone, to make you feel connected to our Bristol community, and beyond.

We have put together some of Bristol’s top cultural resources to access watch online:

1. University of Bristol Special Collections – This holds more 5km of books, archives, photographs, and artefacts dating from the eleventh to the twenty-first century. Visit the Online Archive Catalogue and explore what’s available.

(more…)

Top five student cafés!

As a student, there is no better place to immerse yourself in café culture than Bristol. From local favourites to coffee specialists – even a toilet-turned-café – University of Bristol students are spoiled for choice! Regardless of the vibe you’re going for, you are bound to find a café that appeals to you, which is what I’m here for.

Below are the key factors I focused on while making this list:

  • Proximity to the main campus
  • Quality and inclusive menu
  • Great service
  • Student discounts

While this list is in no way definitive, here are the top cafés that I would definitely recommend:

Primrose Café – The Tried and True

Tucked away in a corner on Boyces Avenue in fashionable Clifton, you can hardly go wrong with Primrose Café. Having operated for nearly 25 years, it has become a firm favourite among local residents and unsurprisingly so. Their brunch menu is absolutely mouthwatering with tasty vegetarian and vegan alternatives available. If you’re still feeling peckish after that, they also have  a gorgeous selection of cakes to choose from. Good-time, guaranteed.

Mrs. Potts Chocolate House – Chocolate Heaven

Brownies, cupcakes, cookie sandwiches, home-made marshmallows, chocolate fondue; you name it, it’s available! It is definitely one of the best places to get your chocolate fix in Bristol. I personally recommend their vegan brownie drizzled with warm chocolate sauce (you can also add a scoop of vanilla ice cream; I won’t judge!) Grab a plate and sit by the window overlooking College Green to people watch, or enjoy a rewarding self-care session in their courtyard.

East Village Café – The Secret Garden

Have a sudden cake craving that needs satisfying ASAP? East Village Café will fix you right up. Situated under a gorgeous arc at the entrance of charming Boyces Avenue, this café will transport you into a calm retreat despite being only a 12-minute walk from the Triangle. They offer an amazing array of Instagrammable – but more importantly – delicious baked goods. Plus, everything on their menu is vegetarian!

The Epiphany – The VSCO Dream Aesthetic

The half-tiled walls. The abundance of potted plants. The neon lights spelling the café name. The huge windows spilling light onto the interior.

Almost every inch of the Epiphany is aesthetically pleasing (even the baristas)! Situated inside the RWA, this rather hidden café is sure to charm you with its extensive menu and multitude of sweet treats on the counter.

Two Ways – The Coffee Beast

That café next to the bike shop opposite the Beacon House bus stop? This is it. What you may not know is that this café sells amazing coffee ranging from exotic Turkish coffee to your classic favourites like a latte or Americano. Two Ways pride themselves for their Italian and Turkish background which is reflected in their menus and daily specials. So go ahead and get your caffeine fix before that 9.00 am lecture!

Honourable Mentions

Bristol is so overflowing with cafés that it was a mammoth task to compile this list. Ultimately, different people have different opinions so your top five may include some places I haven’t mentioned. You may also have noticed that I did not include chains and franchises in the list as I can’t guarantee consistency of quality across all their outlets. To counter this, I’ve listed some equally amazing cafes below that did not feature:

  • Caffe Nero, Queens Road
  • Pinkmans
  • Caffe Clifton
  • The Cloakroom

Written by Iskandar Bin Suhaimi

Iskandar is a second year international student studying Law. As well as spending his free time hunting down Bristol’s finest cafes, he’s a member of both of Bristol’s Malaysian societies and Music Theatre Bristol.

Emily’s self-care tips

Emily’s back with some top tips for life after Welcome Week.

So Welcome Week has come to an end… what now? You’re actually here and things are getting real. It might seem daunting but I’m here to give you five self-care tips which might make things that little bit easier.

1. Go outside.
Bristol is renowned for its urban green environment. Why not go for a walk? You could get to know the campus to familiarise yourself with lecture venues.

Spotlight: Ashton Court.

Ashton Court offers 850 acres of land to explore. If you want some fresh air, this is where to go. Also, Ashton Court is a popular spot for dogs, so if you need a dog fix then this is the place for you!

2. Get some rest.
Put on your cosiest pyjamas, unwind with a nice warm drink and go to sleep! Can’t sleep? Read (don’t go on your phone! It doesn’t help!). Read something with no link to your academic studies, something which relaxes you. If the things you must do the next day are keeping you awake then write a list before bed, that way you know you won’t forget! Don’t feel bad about having some downtime.

3. Baking on a budget is not only easy but stress relieving. Why not bake a big dish for your flat mates? Not only is this a nice gesture but then you can all enjoy it together. Make sure you get some good food in that dish, that little bit of veg is going to make you feel so much better.

4. Organise!
If you don’t know what to do with yourself, why not make sure that your room is arranged in a way that works for you. You could create a timetable to give yourself some consistency in your new life at uni (you don’t have to follow it with great precision, it’s just nice to have some stability when you’re having a bad day). Here’s an example of mine…

5. So, you’ve followed all the advice and things still don’t seem right? Its okay to ask for help.
There are loads of ways you can get the support you need, from friends and family to university services. When things got tough for me – I talked to the uni which I personally found really helpful. At the end of the day, you know yourself. If things don’t seem right, speak up.

Self-care is laying the foundations for the life you want to live, make sure you’re living your best life in Bristol.

 

At Bristol you are not on your own, there is always someone to support you; in our residences, academic schools and on campus. It’s ok to not be ok – talk to us, we’re here to help.

bristol.ac.uk/students/wellbeing/

Find Your Way

We’re sure you’re starting to imagine yourself here on campus, wondering how you will find your way without getting lost don’t worry! This week we’ll be sharing lots of helpful tips on everything from getting your university email address to where to find your nearest supermarket.

Let’s talk about registration

You need to register before you can start your studies here at the University of Bristol and become part of our community. Registration is a two-part process which involves registering online and also registering in person when you arrive here at Bristol.

    • Online registration is open from the 4 – 14 September.  You’ll need to upload a photograph of yourself by 14 September, so that your student card (UCard) can be ready for you to collect during your in-person registration. Once you have registered online you’ll have access to your student email address.
    • Registering in person will confirm your attendance here on campus and may include document checks. At this point you will also collect you student card (UCard). Not all students register at the same time, so you’ll need to check your Welcome Week timetable which will be sent to you soon.

Places to know about

You should have received your Welcome Pack in the post by now – which includes a fold out map of Bristol. This will be useful in your first couple of weeks to familiarise yourself with the city. During Welcome Week, there’ll be an information tent on Tyndall Avenue and if you get lost, there are lots of friendly faces around campus ready to help.

  • Wills Memorial Building – At the top of Park Street. Your Welcome Ceremony will take place here during your first week. This is a celebratory ceremony were you’ll hear from Vice-Chancellor Hugh Brady, and your Bristol SU Sabbatical Officers.

  • Beacon House – on the Clifton Triangle. This is a key study space for all students. You’ll find bookable group study rooms and a dedicated quiet space perfect during exam periods.
  • Bristol SU – on Queen’s Road in Clifton. You’ll find a bar, café, social spaces and, plenty of events to take part in from ticketed gigs to poetry reading session.
  • Senate House – on Tyndall Avenue. The home of the Bristol SU Living Room and Postgraduate Research Hub which run a variety of activities, during Welcome Week and throughout the year. This great student hub also offers a variety of study and relaxation space and even a food court to sit down and enjoy a tasty treat with friends.
  • Global Lounge – inside the Bristol SU, a pop-up hub for all students. Offering a range of activities to exchange cultural experiences, meet friends from around the world and be inspired to become global citizens.

Services to know about

Feeling hungry?

From grabbing a quick snack between lectures to doing you’re weekly food shop, Bristol will cater for your every need.

  • Balloon Bar – Based in the Students Union, serving great value, locally sourced food and drink – the ultimate student hangout.

  • Source Cafés – dotted around campus, often within University study spaces. Take a look at our Source Café map to find your closest one.
  • Supermarkets – We are lucky enough to be in the heart of the city with a variety of shops nearby – from Sainsbury’s in Clifton Down Shopping Centre, and Chinese supermarkets on Park Street, to local fruit and vegetable grocers on Gloucester Road. Take your pick!
  • Eating out – Bristol is extremely multicultural and caters for all. Whether you’re vegan or looking for halal options on the menu, there will be something for you. If you’re hungry to explore and try new things, in and around the city centre offers a great choice – with everything from Japanese to Jamaican cuisines.

Bristol UniBus Transport

Bristol is a great city to get around by bus. We even have our own bus service Bristol UniBus has two routes: U1 and U2.

If you’re an undergraduate student living in University-allocated accommodation, you will receive a bus pass for unlimited travel on the U1 service (and four other local services) to get you back and forth safely from campus to your halls. If you are a Vet School student, you will also receive a free bus pass to travel between the Clifton campus and Langford campus on the U2.

Visit our University of Bristol bus services web page to find out more.

Next week’s blog…

Next week we’ll be talking about balancing your social and academic life and the support available at the University of Bristol.

City sights: Your best bits of Bristol

We asked students their top spots to unwind, grab a bite, discover something new or meet friends around town. Here’s what they had to say:

Harbourside

Bristol harbourside

Joseph (MSci Mathematics) told us, ‘My favourite spots are on the harbourside, which not only has loads of cool bars and restaurants, but is also one of the prettiest areas of Bristol at night.’ From independent cinema at Watershed to art at Arnolfini, this area is a cultural hub as well as a central place to catch a drink with friends or watch the boats go by.

If you’re still getting to know Bristol, the (free!) M Shed museum aims to tell the story of Bristol through quirky artefacts, personal accounts and interactive exhibits. Nearby Cargo offers an array of lunch options – from tacos to tapas – served out of re-purposed shipping containers.

Bristol Museum

Where to duck to escape the bustle of Park Street at lunchtime? Tamara (BA English Literature) said, ‘I love the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery. The architecture is beautiful and it’s so peaceful.’ From gilded Renaissance masterworks to Banksys, local wildlife to Egyptian mummies, there is plenty to explore.

Royal Fort Gardens

Royal Fort Gardens in bloom

This lush green space is a firm student favourite for the way it brightens up the middle of campus. The gardens feature a (seasonal) wildflower meadow and pond as well as unexpected art installations like the mirror maze sculpture ‘Follow Me’ and ‘Hollow,’ a modernist wooden grotto constructed from samples of 10,000 trees. When the weather warms, this is where you want to bring a book to study al fresco.

Mrs Potts Chocolate House

Mrs Potts is a wonderful place to escape reality for a while and just relax or have a chat,’ says Yasmin (MEng Mechanical Engineering) about the Park Street cafe. ‘The cakes are delicious (with a lot of vegan options), the coffee and hot chocolate warm you up on a cold day, and the interior is extremely cosy…When it’s not too cold, you can go downstairs to a picturesque courtyard with fairy lights and candles.’

St Nicholas Market

St Nicholas Market on Corn Street in the Centre

Established in 1743, this spot is home to the city’s largest collection of independent retailers. It’s a favourite of Muirne (MBChB Medicine), who says, ‘What I love most about St Nick’s Market is the sheer variety. There are tons of different cuisines available as street food, and most of it has amazing vegan and vegetarian options. There’s a mix of shops, from niche jewellery designers, to antique record and book shops, to boho-style crystal and incense stalls. And because of this variety, you get a wonderful mix of people there too.’

Christmas Steps

Draped in white fairy lights and dotted with interesting indie businesses, this spot gets your vote for atmosphere. An ornate wrought-iron sign announces ‘To Christmas Steps’ from high above the chimneypots before winding down layers of city streets – past artisan popups, an art-house video rental with mini cinema, and a popular board game café.

Have we missed any of your best bits of Bristol?