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  • There’s no denying that Leeds is already an exciting place to live. But you know what? Things can only get better – and they are getting better by the day. There are a number of developments and initiatives going on at the moment that paint a very good picture of the future of this great northern city. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why we’re not planning to live anywhere else but Leeds any time soon:

    It could be European Capital of Culture in 2023

    It seems like a long time away now, but cities are required to put their names in the hat in 2016, so preparation starts now. If we win the coveted title in 2023, it’ll mean that we’ve developed the whole city into a continent-wide tourist destination of choice. That’s worth sticking around for, in our book.

    It will attract bigger names to a world-famous arena

    The First Direct Arena opened its doors in 2013 with an electrifying performance by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Since then, it’s attracted the likes of The Who, Pearl Jam and Michael Bublé on the music front and Michael McIntyre, Lee Evans and Russell Howard on the comedy front, so it’s continuing to go from strength to strength.

    It will host one of the best city centre music festivals in the country

    Live at Leeds has just celebrated its 10th anniversary with the likes of Jess Glynne, Circa Waves and Corinne Bailey Rae on the bill. It also teamed up with the Leeds Digital Festival this year and was a big success, so great things are in the pipeline for one of the hottest, cross-city festivals in the country.

    It will have one of the biggest and best international beer festivals in the country

    At half the age of Live at Leeds, the Leeds International Beer Festival has got just as much character and looooaaads more beer for the people of Leeds. It’s held in the majestic Town Hall in early September (8th-11th in 2016) and sells separate afternoon and evening tickets to keep things, you know, at least a little bit civilised. This festival is one of the best things about Leeds and it’s growing fast.

    It will be one of the best places to shop in the country

    With a reputation to rival London in terms of shopping, Leeds is already attracting bargain hunters and afternoon tea-lovers in the masses every weekend, but the development of Victoria Gate on the Headrow, due to open later this year, is about to take things to another level. It’s already confirmed that it’ll have the city’s first John Lewis store and promises to bring some of the biggest fashion brands in the world to Leeds, too. We can’t wait for it.

    It will be a key part of the High-Speed Rail (HS2) improvements to the UK

    The ongoing development of the high-speed rail network that will connect the UK to the continent will stretch up to Leeds in its second phase. The first phase is a cross-channel operation, but the second phase will come up from London Euston and will fork off in two directions after Birmingham: one to Manchester and one to Leeds. This means a tonne of new business opportunities for the city, not to mention the developments in infrastructure and tourist attractions. Leeds will be going from strength to strength over the next few years and beyond, so we’ll certainly be sticking around to revel in the glory of this great, great city.
  • If you're a fan of the finer things, from artistic prints and pastel coloured clothing to delicate tea dresses, and fancy introducing some of your favourite vintage styles into your spring wardrobe, then head to Leeds' Corn Exchange this coming Saturday 22nd March and take in a healthy dose of nostalgia at Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair. With over 40 participating traders, there's definitely something to suit every taste. From clothing, accessories, homeware, crafts and even live music, the fair is a great way to stock up fashionably, whilst sticking to a student budget. Get a unique style piece If you’ve ever felt amazing in your brand new jumper and then walked into the lecture hall on Monday morning to find someone else in the same high street apparel, Judy’s Vintage Fair may be the perfect answer to your problem. The magic of shopping at the fair means you get to hop on board the vintage trend while maintaining your own unique style. Avoid awkward clothes-clash situations, which result in you leaving your jacket on throughout the day, and flaunt your one-of-a-kind piece with pride. It might seem like the perfect event for a girls weekend, but take note, Men, it's not just for the ladies, as there are plenty of vintage pieces for the male audience as well. Bargain hunting Judy’s always promises a wide variety of vintage items at a good price. Expect your cash to go a long way with 75% off, 2-for-1 offers and bargain buckets. Judy’s has been committed to providing shoppers with genuine vintage items that are easy on the wallet, and has been doing it successfully since 2005. In its ninth year of running, it promises great clothes at low cost; perfect for a small indulgence on a student budget. Pick something up for Mum With Mother’s Day just around the corner, Judy’s might just provide you with the perfect gift to spoil Mum with. Pick up a pair of vintage earrings, a unique necklace, or an old broach in a style that transcends time and age. Grab something stylish, and you’ll be sure to put a smile on her face with a small, thoughtful gift. A great free day out If the fifties is not quite your style, the Vintage Fair still makes for a wonderful day out. Take some time out and lose yourself in a different era for a few hours. With plenty going on, make sure you enjoy the live music throughout the day and pick up some food from one of the areas great local food establishments. Furthermore, Judy’s is free to enter, so if you’re around the Leeds Corn Exchange pop in anytime between 10:30am and 6pm for a walk down memory lane.  
  • Packing up and heading to university can fill you with a mix of emotions; excitement, apprehension and you might even get a little nervous. However you feel, the last thing you want is the feeling you’ve forgotten to pack something. So, here’s your Top 15 essential things to take to uni!

    Laptop

    This bad boy is about to become your new best friend. You’ll use it for everything at uni, from doing your coursework, organising the next night out,Skyping your parents or friends from back home, ordering a Dominos to binge-watching a series in bed.

    Bedding

    Nothing feels as homely as a comfy bed. Whether you opt for some new bed sheets or take your favourite ones from home, you’ll want to make your new bed in halls a great place to be. Get some extra pillows for film nights, an extra blanket for cold winter nights.

    Alarm Clock

    This may seem old fashioned, but your phone just doesn’t cut it as an alarm clock. You will need to get up for those lectures, so you’ll need something you can rely on.

    Kitchen bits and bobs

    You’ll need lots of kitchen items such as cutlery, pans, mugs, shot glasses…. but essentially you need to know how to cook. A decent cookbook goes a long way at uni as it will give you some great ideas, quick guides to timings or at the very least you’ll get to impress your new housemates with a nice slap up meal!

    Doorstop

    A weird one maybe, but an open door is a much more welcoming one to help you make new friends in halls.

    Photos

    No matter how much fun you’re having at uni, there will be days where you’ll feel a little homesick. Photos are a great reminder of people who you care about as well as a cheap way to decorate your room.

    Pack of cards

    A pre-drink essential! Armed with these you’ll be sure to break the ice and have a good laugh before you hit the bars.

    Important documents

    These are a serious essential. Your uni will ask you to bring various documents and forms of ID – make sure to double-check if you’re not sure.

    Extension Leads

    Your student room will have a couple of plugs but there certainly won’t be enough to plug in everything you have.

    Fancy Dress Outfits

    Having a go to bag of fancy dress knick-knacks can be a lifesaver. There’s guaranteed to be parties and Student Nights with different themes so bring whatever you have!

    Small Suitcase

    This will come in handy when you want to visit your other friends at different unis or go home from time to time.

    Speakers

    Great for parties or listening to music whilst you’re revising, cooking or chilling in your student digs.

    USB stick

    You’ll need to back up files and print off loads of essays at uni so hold on tight to your memory stick.

    Student Discount Cards

    Save money where you can. You can get student cards for travel, clothes and drink deals

    Diary

    Keep up with your lecture timetables, deadlines, nights out and those all important holidays!
  • The importance of house hunting and finding the right house whilst at university is hugely underestimated. It can be gruelling looking for house, especially at university, as there so many different things to consider; how do you decide on housemates or whether to have any at all? How do you know how much you can afford to spend? What about the location, is it better to be closer to campus or the town centre? There really is so much to consider with so little time to consider it, especially around lectures, seminars, extracurricular activities and a buzzing social life! Here are the top 5 things to avoid when searching for your new home:

    Starting your search too late

    Believe it or not, this is the most common mistake people make when student house hunting. Amongst all your studying, looking for a house is understandably the last thing you want to be doing. It’s advisable to start looking mid-November to December, as hopefully by then you’ll have made friends and know who you want to be living with – it will also be huge relief if you get it all sorted for when you go home over Christmas break so you can relax. However, do not panic and rush into it, start early and take your time.

    Not putting enough thought into who you live with

    This is one of the most important things to consider. Second year housing can come in all different forms, from a luxury private apartment to a house you can share with ten people. So, first of all you need to consider whether you want to live alone, this could be a great option if you’re not good with sharing and you like your own personal space. This can also be a great option to avoid the risk of falling out with your best friends because of living with each other. However, if not then just make sure you pick the right people. If you do decide to live with your friends make sure you agree on everything beforehand so you know what to expect.

    Not keeping in mind your budget

    Many people get carried away with house hunting and upon seeing a bigger, nicer place which is way above their budget feel persuaded to go for it. Only problem with this is that it means you’re broke for the rest of the year. So think carefully, look around and be sensible. You will find something which you like and is in your budget. Also, don’t forget that you also have to pay the deposit and then bills for Wi-Fi, electricity and gas every month!

    Living too far away from campus

    Living too far away from campus is a rooky mistake, especially if you’re low on funds because it means a lot of bus rides and taxis, which is never ideal if – like most students – you don’t have the money for it. So even if the price overall is cheaper you’ll make up for it in fares.

    Agreeing on a house too quickly

    It’s really important to take your time choosing the right house. A situation will arise when you’ve found a nice house maybe the second or third you’ve seen and the estate agents are telling you ‘you won’t find anything better’ and ‘other people are interested, so if you want it, take it now’. Don’t panic buy! That’s for when there’s only one pair of shoes left in stock – not one house! If it’s something you’re unsure on and you’ve only seen a couple of houses, just keep looking until you find what you want.
  • When moving into years two and three of your student life, you begin to take control of your ideal living location. Whilst some prefer to locate themselves in the trendy suburbs of Headingley, there are plenty who prefer to stay central and enjoy all the benefits of living in the city. If you're weighing up your options, take our advice on board before you make a decision. Convenience There are plenty of housing options when it comes to being a student in Leeds, however if it's convenience you're after, not much can beat a city centre apartment. If you have lectures at the central Leeds campus, then it's always a bonus to live in such close proximity to classes, and also means you won't have to get up that half hour earlier and catch a bus or train.  You have easy access to everything, from Leeds' favourite restaurants to the abundance of city centre shops. City campus As we've mentioned above, if you're at Leeds Met and have lectures in the Rose Bowl, or if you're a Leeds University student heading to campus, you have easy access from your city centre pad. It means you have everything on your doorstep and get to burn off your lunchtime calories through the quick walk to and from university. If you're a studious worker and spend large amounts of time in the library, being a short walk away is great and means you won't have to take any transport when you need to head to the library. Transport Headingley and Hyde Park are well connected suburbs, especially when it comes to finding a quick ride into the city; however for the majority of transport links, you can't beat the city. Whether it's to be able to catch a long train back home, or if you have friends calling round to your flat for a flying weekend visit, being so close to one of the countries busiest railway networks is a great bonus. Cool living style It can be fun and exciting to live in a shared house, and that's the option many students take in later years of university life. However if you're looking for a lifestyle in the city that oozes a cool vibe, getting an apartment either individually or with friends is the option to go for. The bright lights, stunning views and city centre hustle and bustle  is a huge lure to students and with properties like The Triangle in Leeds, you'll have a contemporary living space you can truly enjoy and brag to your friends about. Entertainment Headingley is great for entertainment, however outside of the main student streets of Otley Road and Headingley Lane, your options for restaurants, bars and shops become somewhat limited. Leeds is unrivalled when it comes to entertainment, and it's no surprise that tourists come from far and wide to visit the city on weekend breaks. With cultural offerings on show at the likes of the Grand Theatre, an abundance of high quality restaurants, stylish bars and unrivalled shopping options, you'll never find yourself at a loose end when it comes to entertainment. Nightlife A huge part of student life is the social aspect of making friends and enjoying yourself. Having a city centre base means that whether you're wanting a few friends round for a fun night in, or whether you plan on heading out to party, the fact that you're within walking distance of Leeds' evening hotspots means you won't have the extra cost of a taxi home when it's time to hit the hay for some sleep.
  • University open days aren’t just a chance to see a new city, but they can be an opportunity to get a real feel for a university campus if utilised effectively. As these open days are limited, it is essential to plan ahead in order to make the most out of your time in attendance, and allowing yourself an adequate time schedule can also benefit your involvement. There is no time to waste, so prepare yourself prior to your visit and employ these straight-forward methods to ensure the best results from your open-day experience…

    Networking

    When visiting a new university campus, it is essential to familiarise yourself with an array of relevant people. Networking with university lecturers, union personnel, as well as past and present students will allow you to grasp an overall perspective on your specific course but also the campus and city themselves. Speaking to fellow students will further provide you with the opportunity to gather an in-depth review on your chosen course, but also compare the university with others. If you are lucky enough to meet a present student who had visited other open days previously, why not ask them how the courses compared?

    Questions

    You’ve met the right people, so now is the time to ask the right questions. These questions will provide you with a route in to attain personal thoughts on your chosen course, the university campus and the city itself.
    1. University lecturers and personnel – ask them to prove their worth! By asking them about the grades that past students attained and what qualifications you will achieve within your new degree, you can gather an idea of what personal benefits you would gain.
     
    1. Past graduates – Ask past graduates whether they would recommend the course to new students. If they had the chance to return to the university degree, would they return?
     
    1. Current university students – These are the most important people to pester with lots of questions! Ask them how the course is run, the module options and assignment tasks that it entails, and importantly the social life – is there a vibrant nightlife, the recommended accommodation and what sporting facilities are there to get involved in.

    Visiting Facilities

    On top of meeting new people and asking a variety of questions, you need to ensure that you visit all the facilities that the university has to offer. Visiting these facilities will allow you to gather a feel for how your lectures and seminars will take place, and the equipment available to your course. The library, student union and course-specific buildings are a good place to start, as they will be where you will be spending most of your time when you’re not out socializing. Once you have covered those areas, try finding out information on the sporting facilities such as the university gym, if that’s your thing. Finally, visit the student accommodation! If you’ve asked the right questions to current students you have met, you should already have a good knowledge of the best places to see.

    Student Life

    The social life of university is just as important as the academic aspect for most students nowadays, so exploring what the city has to offer is therefore crucial to a successful open day experience. Enquire about the nightlife, shopping facilities and places to eat/drink, and even transport for those mornings where walking to campus is just too much of a strain on your schedule! You can always use your networking methods to your advantage, and ask a present student to show you around the city centre and its amenities.
  • Sometimes we draw the short straw and get the box room in the University house and hall rooms are never that big – you’ll just have to get used to the single bed life! Here’s how to make the most of your small student room. 

    Declutter

    Before moving every item in, really think about whether you need it, too many items will make it feel too cramped. Maybe it’s time to leave the teddies back home; you’ll want to seem more grown up to your new housemates anyway. Also donating to a charity will make you feel better or to a new housemate if they want anything!

    Look on the bright side

    You have done your housemates a favour, so you can use it to your advantage, at least for a while. Therefore, grab the TV remote and settle down (as you couldn’t fit a TV in your room) whilst they guiltily agree they love EastEnders. Furthermore, they say the best things come in small packages, so maybe your room could turn out amazing if you put your mind to it. Furniture can easily be moved around, ask your housemates what makes the room look bigger – it’s actually better to not put furniture right up against the wall as sometimes placing it in the middle or at an angle can make it look more spacious. Changing it around every term could also make it a fun place to be and it’ll seem like a new room if you do small things like mover the bed. Also a tiny room will probably make you not stay in your room the whole time, which a good thing as you’ll be known as the sociable one and it’s always a great idea to get out and about..

    Take it in turns

    You could firstly discuss it and ask if people would be willing to change rooms every term, although sometimes that’s a lot of hassle. However, your housemates may be willing to negotiate a reduction in rent for the smallest room as that’s only fair.

    Decorate

    Mirrors! They reflect the space and add light, visually expanding the room. Ikea is a definite place to add to the shopping list, it’s a place to explore with good deals and ranges of furniture that will fit in all sorts of place, for example a table that fits in a corner maximises the space even more. Choosing furniture that is see-through also makes the space seem much bigger, such as a glass table or selecting a smaller piece of furniture such as a bean bag instead of a chair. Smart storage is also the way to go as having a storage box underneath your bed or hanging a shoe rack to hang on the back of your door easily adds to your storage space. Finally, make sure it’s not dark, including having dark colours as this only adds to smallness. Lighting will help, so add some fairy lights – but make sure they’re battery powered as you don’t want to annoy your housemates with a huge electricity bill.

    Wall space

    Wall space is also useful, add some stick on hooks, as usually holes in the wall aren’t allowed in rented rooms and stick some shelves up or picture frames – anything you want. Also add some posters of the outside world, your favourite places, to pretend you’re in a distant land elsewhere. Wall stickers are also a fun way to add a personal touch and they peel off easily for when you leave Good luck and have fun, these times will only happen once – make the most of it!
  • Back in the day, a meal in a Leeds based shopping centre meant choosing from a mildly depressing selection of generic Chinese, Italian or ‘English’ restaurants that served up overpriced slop to its unsuspecting customers. Well not any more. Trinity is indeed full of the same shops you’ll find in most UK cities, but it also has some great places to eat and drink. Here’s our pick of the best.

    Crafthouse

    Serving up fine cuts of Aberdeen Angus beef from their Josper Grill, Crafthouse is a steakhouse with more than just a touch of class. Go all out with the lobster (highly recommended) and then head upstairs to Angelica’s for an al-fresco cocktail high above the streets of Leeds. Check out the full Crafthouse menu here, including their very reasonably priced set menu.

    Cielo Blanco

    Owned by the Neon Cactus crew, Cielo Blanco is a restaurant with a refreshingly different take on Mexican cuisine. Beer battered fish tacos and belly pork with cumin crackling are just two of the many dishes that will set your taste buds alight and make you realise that your tried and tested chicken fajita recipe is just perhaps a little old hat. View their menu here.

    The Alchemistm

    Once you step through its grand, copper entrance, you’re in a world where magic and cocktails blend seamlessly for a drinking experience that’s second to none. With popular cocktails such as The Smokey Old Fashioned and the brilliant Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, we can’t guarantee you won’t be walking home with a wobble, but it’s definitely worth it.

    Everyman

    Forget your soulless, multiplex cinema chains, in Trinity it’s all about Everyman. Not only is it a haven for those with a real passion for cinema, but they also serve really good food and drinks. Their menu includes the fantastic Spielburger (see what they’ve gone and done?) and a whole host of carefully selected nibbles. If you don’t fancy dining in their restaurant, grab your own comfy couch and table in the cinema and enjoy a bottle of wine and pizza – head for a movie on Monday and pizza is free.

    Trinity Kitchen 

    Trinity Kitchen is hands down the best food court you’ll find. As well as a number of great permanent restaurants, such as Pho (Vietnamese), Chicago Rib Shack, Tortilla and Rola Wola, there’s a selection of the country’s best street food vendors serving everything from flat iron steak sandwiches to Malaysian cuisine and craft ales. You can even enjoy a bottle of champers with your posh fish and chips – what more can you ask for?!  
  • We know that selling your property can be a big undertaking. It’s vital to show the full potential of your property to prospective buyers and we’re here to help and share with you our top tips for making your property more appealing.
    1. First impressions are everything – it’s often what determines a person’s decision to buy or not. This starts from the outside of the house – any external maintenances such as garden gates, plant pots, your front door and garden hedges need to be best presented. Even the state of your next door neighbour’s property can hinder your kerb appeal! Titivating your outside can help eliminate negative opinions of the inside. For most, the garden is a precious living space, so don’t forget about the back garden too.
    1. Go neutral - paint colour is a personal choice. Play it safe with neutral décor features throughout to prevent buyers being put off by strong colours. The addition of modern lighting can make all the difference as it creates a fresh, modern and cheerful living space.
    1. Clutter free living! At risk of stating the obvious, ensuring that the property is clean is integral in showcasing your property. A thorough clean, especially in the bathroom, kitchen and across all windows, will make your property more inviting. Clearing any general clutter, or rooms that are prone to clutter, will ensure that all areas of the property look as spacious as possible.
    1. Do it yourself! Dig out the tool box and patch up those DIY tasks. Most people aren’t looking to take on a project and by meeting expectations around general maintenance, your property will be much more attractive to prospective buyers.
    1. It’s all about setting the mood! Finishing touches must not be underestimated – candles and plugins are helpful in eliminating odours created from pets and cooking. As well as this, a nice smell will create a pleasant viewing experience and complement the living environment further.
    Making small changes are simple yet very effective and can make all the difference in selling your property. If you have any comments or questions about preparing your property for sale, then contact us for further information on: +44 (0)113 237 0000 or LS1@parklaneproperties.com.
  • It’s time for you to apply for a PhD application, but where do you start writing an academic CV? A CV needs to sell you as an individual, and it is important that you use your CV to communicate exactly why you are perfect for the position. You want the recruiter to get excited at the prospect of working with you. Here are some tips to help you on your way to writing the perfect CV. Every PHD is different and it is essential that you tailor your CV for the course you are applying for. Study the course description and for each point, make sure that your CV shows evidence of you being capable of applying your skills and knowledge to that task. Remember that there may be many other people applying for the same role. You want to make sure that your CV will stand out, and that you are an ideal candidate, so they have no reason not to take you to the next step of the recruitment process. Your format should be kept simple and in the following order, make sure that when listing achievements, they are in reverse chronological order:  
    • Name and contact details
    • Your academic achievements and qualifications - make sure that your achievements compliment the course description, don’t be modest, really sell yourself here.
    • Work experience and research experience - emphasise any specialist areas that you have. Include part time or full time work as long as it is relevant.
    • Publications - Include any articles, books or even chapters you have had published.
    • Other skills - highlight any further skills that you feel would be essential for the role.
    • Posts of responsibility/ teaching experience - if you have lead any projects or organised any activities make sure you include them in your CV. A recruiter would like to know that you are able to lead and show initiative in projects.
    • Attendance of conferences and seminars.
    • Interests and hobbies - include if adds value to cv e.g. a hobby that shows you have lead a project or worked as part of a team.
    • References - you will need to provide two academic referees.
    • Make sure that everything you put is relevant for the position, every point has to count.
    • Don’t use words like ‘contributed’ or ‘helped.’ – If you had a part in a project make sure you say exactly what you did, saying ‘contributed’ can be seen as being a bit ambiguous, you may have just decided on the title for the project or alternatively written 90% of the project plan.
    • PhD CVs are generally longer than standard CVs but make sure that you limit your CV to 4 pages, anymore and you risk the recruiter losing interest in what you have to say. If you remain concise and remove any jargon then you shouldn’t have any problems.
    • Make sure that your spelling and grammar is correct, read it through a couples of times and even have a break and come back to it reading it fresh.
    • Finally, get a second pair of eyes to check over your CV. If possible, someone who understands what an academic CV should look like and someone who is able to provide you with feedback.
    Want more help and advice? Here’s some useful information for those wanting to write the perfect PhD CV.      
  • There are a lot of misconceptions about uni life, and students. The media doesn’t always paint a pretty picture of student behaviour, and most people think that University is a breeze. For some people that may be the case, but uni is certainly not a walk in the park for everyone. You can choose to work as hard as you like at uni, you don’t have to spend the entire time partying. Everyone is different, and not all students want to get drunk every night. Uni can also present students with lots of challenges, it’s not all plain sailing. Here’s why student life isn’t always as easy as it appears.

    It’s your first time away from home

    For a lot of people, going to uni will be their first time away from home. This is a big change to deal with and not everyone finds it easy. A lot of students get home sick and struggle away from the safety of their parents. It might take more time for some students, but you do settle in eventually, and you can always plan a trip home if you need to.

    Studying for a degree can be really hard

    There’s a common assumption that students don’t really do much studying, and have hardly any lectures to attend. Each degree varies significantly, and some subjects can be particularly tough. Exams are stressful and you constantly have deadlines creeping up on you. Students most definitely party hard, but many also work very hard too.

    There’s a lot to juggle

    People don’t realise that students actually have a lot to juggle. You have to study for a degree whilst making new friends, settling into a new place, trying to decide what career path to take and find ways to get work experience. Yes there might be times where you go out a lot or have plenty of lazy days, but that’s certainly not the whole picture.

    You have to manage your money

    Living on a student budget can be challenging. You have to somehow make your student loan last, and cover all your expenses including travel, rent, tuition fees and food. It takes time to figure out clever ways to save money and how to manage your finances properly.

    You might face challenges and have low points

    Not everything goes to plan when you are at uni. Some students have to deal with personal issues, illness and stressful situations during the course of their degree. Not everyone is out partying having a fantastic time. You might have some tough times at uni, but there’s plenty of support. Most uni’s have a counselling service and people you can go to for help and guidance.

    Making friends isn’t always easy

    Some people make friends instantly and have no problems socialising with a new group of people. Others find it much harder, and may take longer to form solid social bonds. Don’t put yourself under too much pressure to find new besties straight away. Building lasting friendships takes time. Struggling with life at Leeds uni? Click here to find out more about the counselling service.
  • April’s buy-to-let stamp duty deadline created a record high in the average price of properties coming to market, it has emerged. More than £3,840 was added to the average house price, which equates to a 1.3% monthly increase and takes the record to an all-time high of £307,033. The surge is attributed to the Chancellor’s stamp duty deadline set out in his autumn statement, as investors and second-steppers scrambled to trade up on their properties to avoid the 3% levy that was introduced on April 1st.

    First-time sellers benefit

    Such was the investors’ rush before the deadline that a trend in first-time sellers trading up by selling to first-time buyers developed at the bottom end of the market. Investors looking to buy-to-let experienced a price surge as a result and witnessed an 8.6% increase in the second-stepper sector alone. This +£20,500 difference on houses with three or four bedrooms gave this sector the highest increase in year-on-year values in all sectors in the market. The heightened activity at the bottom of the market seems to have caused a knock-on effect for the average prices in every sector. The top of the market, in fact, saw an average increase of almost £10,000 on properties with four or five bedrooms, caused by the ripples of the April 1st stamp duty deadline. First-time sellers at the other end of the market have been able to benefit from being forced to hold onto their first-time bought properties after the credit crunch due to dramatic falls in average house prices. These recent increases mean that the Chancellor’s deadline worked in their favour and they were able to trade up quickly in light of the hunger from investors to secure buy-to-let properties on the lower rung.

    New levy works in favour of first-time buyers

    Now that the deadline has passed and the levy has been introduced, the demand from investors in the buy-to-let market has fallen dramatically. This ultimately means that there is more opportunity for first-time buyers to get on the housing ladder at the bottom end of the market because there is less competition. It also means that first-time sellers will, in some cases, need to reduce their asking prices to compete in a busy market of first-time buyers and future buy-to-let investors. The knock-on effect of the buy-to-let stamp duty deadline is in its infancy and it remains to be seen whether or not this surge will continue much further beyond the usual Easter spike. It does, however, represent the kind of opportunity for first-time buyers that we haven’t seen since the weeks and months following the credit crunch.
  • If you had a pound for every burger joint in Leeds, you’d be pretty well off. Yes, every other restaurant seems to offer the promise of the perfect gourmet burger these days so choosing where to go and what to have can be something of a minefield – talk about first world problems. To help you out, we’ve handpicked 12 of our favourites – we like to call it the dirty dozen:

    Butter Blood and Bleu – Almost Famous

    Featuring a mouth-watering 100% beef patty, steak, chorizo, cheese, trailer trash onions, peppercorn sauce, blue cheese sauce, red chillies and magic mayo, this absolute belter of a burger is a carnivore’s delight. Once you go Butter Blood and Bleu, you don’t go back. Munch down with LoveHate Marmite fries and an ice-cold pint of Danger and Mayhem.

    Where to find Almost Famous

    River Phoenix – Almost Famous

    Named after the late Hollywood star (despite the fact he was a vegan), the second Almost Famous offering on our list comes with a juicy beef patty, cheese, streaky bacon, shoestring onions, Frazzles, red chillies, Redneck BBQ, Bacon Bacon mayo and Winning ketchup. Absolute perfection and the best thing is, this one is available on Deliveroo for those too lazy to drop in.

    The Juicy Lucifer – Reds True Barbecue

    If you’ve got a mouth made from asbestos and like it hot, then you would be a fool to pass on the awesomeness of Reds mighty Juicy Lucifer. This devilish creation consists of two patties with a melted three cheese spicy centre, smoked peppered bacon, fired onions, pickles, fresh jalapenos, Dirty Sauce, Ballpark Mustard, Devil Wing BBQ sauce and fired up fries. Not for the faint hearted.

    Where to find Red's True Barbeque

    Heisenburger – Get Baked Presents The Joint

    Get Baked are simply the business when it comes to takeout gourmet burgers and their bestselling Heisenburger is one of their finest creations. Featuring blue cheese and delicious candied bacon, the beef patty is one of the juiciest you’re likely to find. Wolf down with some Five-O fries and you’ll die and go to burger heaven.

    Where to find The Joint

     

    PBJ – Get Baked

    So nice, we name checked them twice. Yes, Get Baked are simply too good to only mention the once and the PBJ is the burger that Elvis would be putting in a triple order for. The beef pattie is accompanied with American cheese, crispy bacon and crunchy peanut butter with BBQ sauce – sounds a bit wrong but it’s oh so right.

    The Moozadell – Boss Burger

    Voted ‘the best burgers in the UK’ on TripAdvisor, Boss prove that sometimes keeping things relatively simple can be a winning formula. The Moozadell burger features mozzarella, slow roast peppers, caramelized onions, rocket and house made Boss mayo. Enjoy with a side serving of sweet potato fries.

    Where to find Boss Burger

    Five Guys Bacon Cheeseburger – Five Guys

    If you prefer to avoid fussy toppings and keep it simple, then you can’t beat a good Five Guys cheese burger topped with bacon and salad. The high-grade Irish beef packs some flavour and the Cajun house fries cooked in peanut oil are possibly the best chips you’ll ever have. Pick up a bottomless soft drink and you can enjoy what seems like a hundred different flavours of Coke. A truly American experience.

    Where to find Five Guys

    The Chicken – Mojo

    Celebrating 20 years in business this year, it’s hard to believe it’s taken Mojos this long to start serving food. The food here is fantastic and The Chicken is one of the best. Featuring crispy fry chicken thighs with Jack cheese and Mojo Louisiana Hot Sauce, this creation knocks the spots off anything the Colonel can produce.

    Where to find Mojo's

    Colonel Patty – Patty Smiths at The Belgrave

    The Belgrave Music Hall and Canteen really does offer hangover food heaven, with Dough Boys Pizza and Patty Smith’s burgers in the house. The Colonel Patty is a real lip-smacker and comes with spicy fried chicken breast, sriracha hot sauce, mayo, baby gem lettuce, pickled red cabbage and beetroot and chipotle mayo.

    Where to find Belgrave

    Honey and Rum Burger – Brooklyn

    The often forgotten New York Burger Kitchen upstairs in Brooklyn bar really does deserve a bit more love from Leeds, as it’s easily the city’s best kept secret as far as burgers are concerned. Coated in honey and rum glaze and smothered in American cheese, lettuce pickles and onion rings, the beautiful Honey and Rum Burger is the stuff legends are made of.

    Where to find Brooklyn's

    The Pit Master – The Pit

    We’ve all got that one mate that eats like an absolute pig. If they happen to be in town, then take them along to The Pit for an almighty Pit Master. Stacked skyscraper high with a beef patty, bacon, grilled chicken, cheese and beer battered onion rings, it’s a heart attack on a plate that’s well worth the risk.

    Where to find The Pit

    Wagyu Beef Burger – Stockdale’s of Yorkshire

    Whilst Stockdale’s focuses primarily on serving premium steaks, cooked to perfection on their Josper Grill, their awesome Wagyu Beef Burger is one of the best in Leeds. Using locally sourced Wagyu beef (considered to be the best beef in the world) this juicy gourmet burger really does taste like a cut above the rest. Enjoy with their delicious beef dripping chips and a glass of red wine for the ultimate posh burger experience.

    Where to find Stockdale's of Yorkshire

  • There has been much speculation recently as to what leaving the EU would mean for the UK property market. At this point, it’s predictably unclear what the impact will be, but here are a few predictions. UK residents looking to buy or sell in the UK are likely to remain relatively unaffected, however it is possible that in the current period of uncertainty leading up to the vote, some buyers and sellers may hold off and await developments, which could potentially slow down the property market in the interim. It is expected that an exit from the EU might create barriers for UK residents looking to make foreign investment and buy property in Europe. It is uncertain at this point as to whether additional processes or regulations will be brought into effect, however having a good estate agent and lawyer negotiating on your behalf is likely to address any potential barriers. Global investment is an area which is expected to be impacted the most, with reticence about investing in the UK property market until a decision has been made. According to a survey by KPMG, 66 per cent of real estate experts believe that “leaving the EU would have a negative impact on inbound cross-border investment”, therefore viewing the UK as a safe haven for investment could take a turn. One area of concern is housebuilding and whether the so-called housing crisis could be escalated if developers are hesitant to invest in building projects in the period of uncertainty. The National Association for Estate Agents reported that demand for housing was the highest level for 12 years in February 2016, with an average 463 house hunters registered per member branch. If the rate of house building is impacted, this could in turn have social implications and drive up house prices even further. Should the UK decide to leave the EU, a number of new regulations will be brought in, which could take up to two years for the government to negotiate following the exit. However, with it being the first time a country has proposed plans to vote to exit the EU, we’re very much in a period of uncertainty and cannot be clear on what impact it will have on the UK property market. For UK residents looking to buy or sell their property, it’s as good a time as any, and our Sales Team is on hand to discuss any queries or concerns you might have. If you’re looking to move home, come in and see us or contact 0113 237 0000.
  • With university over, the next few weeks will be full of emotional goodbyes and long journeys back home for the summer. In some cases it'll be months before you see your course mates or housemates again, and if you're in your final year, it could be even longer before you're reacquainted with some of your closest friends. Before heading home, it's great to have a final get together before parting company indefinitely, so if you're looking for a way to celebrate the end of the year and enjoy a last evening out together before heading home, here are our top suggestions. BBQ The British weather might not be the most dependable, however when the sun comes out and the temperature rockets, we don't need much of an excuse to get out into the garden and enjoy some food and drinks in the sun. If you're looking for a relatively cheap send off, and can't afford the expense of heading out and spending large amounts, then staying in with friends and enjoying a garden barbecue with a few sociable drinks is a great idea. Head to your local supermarket, stock up on burgers, sausages and chicken and enjoy the weather when the sun comes back out. Entertainment If you're hunting fun and different activities to enjoy, Leeds has a number of quirky spots that you head to. Offering something a bit more than just a meal, locations such as the independent Everyman cinema, allow you to enjoy food and drink in a trendy location whilst also enjoying the latest cinematic masterpiece from the comfort of a sofa. With snacks of pizza, olives and frozen yoghurt to name just a few of the luxuries available throughout your film, it's a great alternative if you're searching for entertainment in Leeds. Similarly, the new Roxy Lanes is an American style bar and bowling alley, at which you can enjoy a social gathering with nibbles and drinks, whilst also engaging your competitive spirit in a few frames of ten-pin. Meal Good sharing restaurants make for the perfect 'last supper' with your friends from university. The 'all dig in' attitude means you'll enjoy a relaxed attitude, and with nibbles, tapas, sharing plates and plenty of drinks, it makes for a fun way to send off some of your closest friends. Leeds has plenty of ideal restaurants for this type of evening, so whatever cuisine you're in the mood for, there should be plenty of destinations that fit the bill. Return for a festival The Leeds area is great when the summer is in full swing, and whether you're a fan of large scale mainstream music festivals or smaller independent offerings, both can be found around the Leeds area. If saying goodbye it just too tough, why not agree on an event to all head back for, to break up those long summer months away from your mates? With the likes of the Arctic Monkeys and Queens of the Stone Age at Leeds, or Example and the Pet Shop Boys at Bingley, there are options to suit all differing student tastes. Photo Credit: Éole via Compfight cc
  • Having caught brief glimpses of summer over the past few weeks, now is the perfect time to start preparing for a summer weekend or day break. Perfect for couples looking to escape the city for a more relaxing drive into the countryside, we've put together our list of perfect nearby locations for you to head this coming weekend and enjoy the sights on offer. Rudding Park Located in the affluent Harrogate, North Yorkshire, Rudding Park is a Grade I listed Regency-style country house. Now utilised as a hotel, golf club and spa, Rudding Park is set amongst beautiful landscaped gardens and woodland, and offers  one of the most relaxing hotels in the area, whilst is also within easy access of both York and Leeds. The golf club, which offers players the chance of taking on the challenging 18 hole 72 par course or the shorter six hole par three course provides something for every golfer, no matter what ability. However if you just plan on getting away for a relaxing break, head to the spa, which has four treatment rooms, including a hammam, beauty area, steam room, experience shower and two relaxation areas. Yorebridge House Located in Wensleydale in the Yorkshire Dales, Yorebridge House really is the perfect place for that summer weekend mini break. Set in the village of Bainbridge, there’s the Wensleydale creamery and a cosy Yorkshire pub, both of which are perfect excuses for stopping off when you’ve returned from one of many amazing walking routes through the Dales. This is, of course, presuming you can drag yourself away from the house itself. Each room has its own quirky style, some boasting hot tubs, wet-room style showers and queen sized beds. You can add extras such as champagne and chocolates to your stay and room service if you don’t fancy the lounge bar or formal restaurant. Its website is particularly helpful as you can choose which room best suits your taste whilst checking availability and pricing. You’re also able to add those little extras online if you’re surprising that special someone! Yorkshire Sculpture Park The perfect destination if you're just looking for a day trip to enjoy the sun, as opposed to a longer weekend break, the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in Bretton has plenty to offer. Sold as being a pioneering place that aims to challenge, inspire, inform and delight, welcoming over 300,000 visitors, including 40,000 learning visits each year, it's an idyllic haven in which you can unwind and escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Bolton Abbey Another North Yorkshire destination perfect for a sun soaked weekend is Bolton Abbey. In the heart of the Yorkshire Dales on the banks of the River Wharfe, this country estate boasts just under 30,000 acres of beautiful countryside, over 80 miles of footpaths and ample space to run around and enjoy the fresh air. The perfect plan for a Saturday or Sunday when you just want to jump in the car and escape, Bolton Abbey is the perfect place to head and soak up some sun whilst enjoying a picnic. Explore the ruins of the Priory and discover a landscape full of history and legend, wander along the riverside, woodland and moorland paths, enjoy local produce in the restaurants, tea rooms and cafes or simply relax beside the river. Photo Credit: Axel-D via Compfight cc
  • Apprenticeships are definitely the way forward for strengthening your career and gaining life long skills. They are rising in popularity, because they give you hands on experience. However, there is a lot of competition out there, so it’s important to stand out and spend plenty of time researching the company so that you can stand out from the crowd. Here’s some helpful tips on how to apply for apprenticeships.

    Firstly...

    Find out the furthest distance you can travel for an apprenticeship. Then research apprenticeship websites for placements within your area. Most sites include industry categories to help narrow the search down. Some helpful sites include https://www.findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk/apprenticeshipsearch or http://www.ratemyplacement.co.uk/. It’s a good idea to sign up to these sites via email, and then you will get alerts when relevant roles come up. Don’t treat it as a job, treat it almost like a first date – a good first impression needs to be made and skills shown off, but common ground is also needed so the company needs to be thoroughly researched to see what they want. Also make sure all social network sites are turned onto private, you don’t want potential employers to see all those party pictures!

    The nitty gritty

    The email name ... Don’t use that one you set up years ago, create a new professional one that will show employers that you are a serious prospect. Make sure your CV is tailored to the apprenticeship you are applying on and you include relevant experience. Show them the specific skills and experience you have gained from part time jobs. It is ideal to send both a CV and covering letter; these should both be read by others to double check any flaws. Never put “Dear Sir/Madam” unless it is a last resort – recruitment managers can often be found on Linkedin or the company website. Hobbies are also a good way to stand out, try something different like dodgeball as it will stand out in comparison to others, and it’s something interesting to talk about should you get an interview. Remember that the words you use in your application are a reflection of you. Avoid using common words that everyone uses such as ‘hard working’, instead use words that will make you stand out. Make sure you look at the summary of the apprenticeship and highlight the skills they are looking for, and then show how you have these skills in your covering letter. When your application is ready to send, check it thoroughly, you won’t have any chance if the employer spots mistakes. If you are applying to lots of apprenticeships, make sure you still take the time to tailor each application to the job you are applying for, rather than sending out a standard email.

    The company

    Companies like to believe they are the best and the only one to apply to. Take the time to get to know them and find out their values, making sure you align your CV and personal profile with them. Find out what previous apprentices have said about the company or any employees and mention this within the cover letter. Look up whether they are listed in the best companies to work for and what sort of work culture they have. For example, if they are a company who likes team work, make sure this is stated within your cover letter or CV and they will appreciate you have done your research.

    Strengths

    Your strengths are important to highlight as this is the reason why companies should choose you over another candidate. Ask others how they would describe you and make a list of what you think are positives about how you work. It’s important to justify your strengths with examples as employers want to know how you have gained these skills, and that you are not just listing positive skills without evidence to back them up. You might want to prepare an achievement portfolio or some examples of your work to bring with you to your interview.

    A memorable end

    Leave them with something to remember you by. At the end of your cover letter include an interesting fact about yourself as this will then stick in your potential employer's mind. Good luck!
  • Leeds is modern, vibrant and ever-changing but, like any big city, things can seem pricey. With so much great food, drink and retail therapy on offer, the possibilities are endlessly expensive. But can you live a luxury life on a budget in Leeds? With the fourth largest student population in the UK, the answer is – yes! Leeds has lots on offer for free or very cheap, once you know where to look. Here’s how to live on a budget in Leeds, but still feel like a VIP.

    For culture

    Nestled between shops on Commercial Street and overlooked by many is tiny, quaint Leeds Library, the oldest lending library in the UK. Hosting free exhibitions alongside great permanent works, the Leeds Art Gallery and adjacent Henry Moore Gallery are great places for your art fix. Whilst across town, Munro House is a smaller, less-known gallery which is just as worthy. In good weather, the Yorkshire Sculpture Park is a must, combining beautiful parklands with world-renowned sculptures.

    For necessities

    Leeds has countless supermarkets, but the best place for price and quality is Kirkgate Market. Stock up on fruit and veg, and head down Butcher’s Row for great fresh fish and meats. You’ll also find great Asian, African, Caribbean, Chinese and Polish food you’ll struggle to find elsewhere.

    For nightlife, activities & indulgence

    Lots of the best Leeds venues are free entry. Head to Belgrave Canteen or Headrow House for great music, drinks and food. For more mainstream music, wander towards the universities, grabbing free entry flyers. Grub and Grog, the refectory above the Northern Monk brewery serves great food at really reasonable prices alongside their beers, and the events floor upstairs features free to use ping pong tables. If you’re in the mood for pampering, why not book a complimentary hand and arm massage at Jo Malone in the Victoria Quarter?

    For food & drink

    You’ll find great deals on food and drink if you know where to look. Head to Veeno, between 5-8pm for spuntini with your drink (think Italian meats, cheeses, and breads), or head to Livin’Italy, for aperitivo, featuring fresh pizza, pasta and bruschetta with your drink. (5-7pm weekdays). You’ve probably walked past Caravanserai without knowing. This tiny, brightly-coloured shop window behind the Corn Exchange is famous city-wide. Their Trinity Kitchen pop-ups and Café Moor stall are endlessly popular.  Those in the know ask to sit upstairs (it isn’t a restaurant, but you can enjoy your food in the simply decorated Moroccan room above the shop). At lunchtime, nothing beats a flavoursome Keralan curry. Tharavadu’s express lunch thali offers several veggie curries, chutneys, rice and a dosa for £4.95 (£5.95 for meat). North Brew Co supply some of Leeds’ best venues, and have decided to open their brewery on Fridays and Saturdays. You’re welcome to bring a takeaway with you; they promote a happy, beer-loving atmosphere! For up-to-date information on deals at independent places to eat and drink all around Leeds, check out InDeals.
  • The Tour De Yorkshire is a cycle race that’s held in Yorkshire every year. It’s relatively new race, but it’s gained a lot of momentum in a short space of time. It was first launched in 2014 after Yorkshire hosted the Tour de France Grand Depart. The very first race attracted around 140 riders, one of which was legend and Tour de France winner Sir Bradley Wiggins. For pro riders, it’s a chance to show potential, but for spectators, the race offers beautiful scenery and a fantastic atmosphere. If you love cycling and watching live sports races then make your way to Yorkshire to catch this year’s race. It’s a huge local event that showcases the Yorkshire countryside and local area. It’s a good event to attend if you are new to the county and want to get involved in local events. The race attracts 1.5 million spectators on the roadside, 22 nationalities take part and 18 top teams from around the world. If you are able to visit Yorkshire in April, then you might want to check out this exciting race.

    2016 Tour de Yorkshire dates

    The race is split into three stages and covers a grand total of 515.5 kilometres (320 miles). It showcases the beautiful landscape and scenery throughout Yorkshire. The men’s race will start on Friday the 29th of April in Beverley, East Yorkshire and will finish on Sunday the 1st of May in Scarborough, North Yorkshire. The women’s race will be held on Saturday the 30th April. Around 1 million people watched the race last year and it reportedly brought £50 million into Yorkshire’s economy. If you aren’t a professional you can still take part, there’s a mass participation ‘sportive’ event for cyclists which covers the same roads.

    Tour de Yorkshire routes

    This year’s race will be hosted in six different towns. The route includes two sprint points in Bubwith and Giggleswick and the total ascent is 1,832 metres. Stage one starts on the Friday and goes from Beverley to Settle. This is rumoured to be the sprinters stage, with some climbs towards the end.

    Stage 1: Friday 29 April 2016: Beverley To Settle (185km)

    • Total stage length: 185km
    • 2 x sprint points (Bubwith, Giggleswick)
    • 1 x King of the Mountain (Greenhow Hill)
    • Total ascent: 1,832m
      Tour de Yorkshire 2016 stage 1 View the interactive map online here Stage two continues on the Saturday and goes from Otley to Doncaster.This stage includes roads that have not previously been included in previous races, and is expected to also be a sprint type stage.

    Stage 2: Saturday 30 April 2016: Otley To Doncaster (136km)

    • Total stage length: 136km
    • Same route for men and women
    • 2 x sprint points (Scholes, Warmsworth)
    • 3 x King/ Queen of the Mountain (Harewood Bank, East Rigton, Conisbrough Castle)
    • Total ascent: 1,110m
    Tour de Yorkshire 2016 stage 2 View the interactive map online here The final stage 3 will be held on the Sunday and it begins in Middlesbrough and finishes in Scarborough. It’s expected to be the climbing stage and could have a big impact on the overall results.

    Stage 3: Sunday 1 May 2016: Middlesbrough To Scarborough (19km)

    • Total stage length: 198km
    • 2 x sprint points (Thirsk and Whitby Abbey)
    • 6 x King of the Mountain (Sutton Bank, Blakey Ridge, Grosmont, Robin Hood’s Bay, Harwood Dale and Oliver’s Mount)
    • Total ascent: 2,593m
    Tour de Yorkshire 2016 stage 3 View the interactive map online here Sir Gary Verity explained ‘We’ve selected routes which showcase Yorkshire’s stunning scenery and will also deliver an excellent sporting event.’ Even if you can’t get to Yorkshire for this fantastic cycling event, try and watch it on TV and admire some of the county’s spectacular scenery whilst enjoying a nail biting race. Image courtesy letour.yorkshire.com
  • May Day is a very popular spring festival in the UK. Most people in the UK, will have warm memories of being taught to dance around a maypole at school, skipping and darting through brightly coloured ribbons, trying to remember your cue so you don’t end up in a big twisted mess. The tradition of May Day is very important to the UK, it’s a festival that we try to preserve and carry down the generations. May Day originates from a pre-Christian times and was celebrated as the first day of summer. As Europe became Christianised May Day evolved into a popular secular celebration.  In the UK, May Day celebrations traditionally include Morris dancing, the crowning of a May Queen and celebrations around the maypole. Many of the celebrations include celebrating fertility and new life. However, around UK new traditions have been forming and you will find events like the Mayday run where thousands of motorbikes travel from London to Hastings. There are also music festivals including traditional and contemporary acts. There is also the Flower Boat Ritual in Cornwall, where a model of a ship, The Black Prince, is covered in flowers and cast adrift in the sea. Most bizarrely, at the University of St Andrews some of the students run into the North Sea at midnight (sometimes naked) and then celebrate with torch lit processions.

    May Day in Leeds

    In Leeds, there is always plenty to do and for the May Day bank holiday weekend there is no exception. All over the city there are May Day Festivals sporting the traditional Morris dancers along with barbeques and live music. These, tend to be held by local schools, but anyone can attend. However, if you are looking for something different to do there are other events on that may just take your fancy. Every year, at the Inkwell they hold a fundraising event that includes family activities, live music and real ale tasting. People gather to celebrate the beginning of summer and take in activities like craft workshops for both adults and children. It’s a great way to get out and about and keep the children busy. There is also the Geronimo Festival at Harewood House where you can enjoy a full circus, jousting and motorcycle displays, a craft zone, donkey rides and appearances from TV stars including Mr Bloom, Swashbuckle and Andy Day.  This festival is perfect for children as there is so much for them to see and do. It may not be your traditional May Day festival, but it certainly sounds like an exciting event to attend. Finally, there is a Live at Leeds Festival over the May Day bank holiday weekend. As a metropolitan festival, it showcases new emerging artists from around the world. Perfect if you love live music and an electric atmosphere. This however, is a ‘leave the kids at home’ type of event.  
  • One of the few downsides of student life is that having such a busy social life often drains the old bank account. Well, fear not. Having a few leisurely drinks in Leeds doesn’t need to leave you bankrupt.

    We’ve handpicked a selection of pubs and bars from around the city that pride themselves on value as much as they do quality, take a look:

    Be At One

    Tucked away round the corner from Millennium Square, this gem of a cocktail bar has gradually built a loyal fan base since opening in 2015, largely due to their ingenious smart phone app. Flash the app when you arrive at the bar and the staff will set the ‘Appi Hour’ timer, meaning you’ll get half price cocktails for the next hour. Not only is this a great deal, but these are some of the best cocktails you’ll taste and the staff are friendly and know their stuff.

    The Dry Dock

    You can’t miss this charming little pub as you head from Leeds University into the city centre - it’s the one shaped like a rather tatty old boat! Five Jaeger bombs will set you back a paltry £10, whilst a double Smirnoff and Red Bull is just £4.50. Wolf down as many chicken wings as you can at just 25p a pop on Wing Wednesday and enjoy cocktail pitchers for just £6 on Thursday.

    Mook

    Located just off Call Lane in Hirst’s Yard, Mook is all about cocktails and serves up 80 classic, weird and wonderful concoctions. Music can vary from The Doors to The Manics to more modern sounds, but the magic really happens when you flash your student card and receive 2 for 1 cocktails all day, every day. Just ask for their special student menu.

    Mr Foley’s

    Boasting 100 bottled beers from around the world, 24 draught ciders and 12 real ale’s on pump, there’s something for everyone at Mr Foley’s on the Headrow. Voted Cider Pub of the Year in 2015, this York based establishment always offers value for money but also does some awesome deals. 4 O’Clock Fizz runs daily offering customers 50% off Prosecco.

    Strawbs Bar

    Now into its 34th year, Strawberry Fields is not just part of the infamous Otley Run but a living Leeds legend. Prices are reassuringly low at all times, with Amaretto and Coke for just £2.30 and six bottles of lager for only £13.80. Beer Pong is also free Monday to Friday, making Strawberry Fields a great venue to kick things off before a night in the city.

    The Angel Inn

    Briggate has many a good bar hidden down its often missed side-streets, and The Angel is one of the best. Whilst it’s not going to win any design awards, you can enjoy a pint of Sam Smith’s finest ale for less than £2 and a pint of mild for around £1.50. The food menu takes the same no-nonsense approach, offering everything from bangers and mash to Thai green curry.

    Hyde Park Pub

    This lively and unassuming pub sits in the heart of Hyde Park and has been the starting point for a million and one legendary student nights out. Whilst the likes of Fosters and Carling won’t exactly break the bank, the likes of their very own, specially brewed Hyde Park Blonde come in way under the £3 mark. Wednesday night is Quids In, with selected tipples from a pound and Fuse on Thursday serves bombs for just £1.75.

    Woodies

      A self-proclaimed ‘proper pub’, Woodies is another Otley Run essential that has always had a loyal following, thanks to good prices, pleasant outdoor seating and live sport. With an enviable range of craft ales, wines and spirits on offer, Woodies also offer a small but perfectly formed menu of English pub favourites.

    Brooklyn

    Don’t let its Call Lane location put you off, Brooklyn is one of the city’s most generous bars, serving happy hour drinks between 4-8pm each day. Drinks start at £3 and cocktail lovers can enjoy two for £10 at all times. The music is a lively mixture of upfront RnB, hip hop, disco and pop, and if you dance yourself hungry, the New York burger kitchen upstairs happens to be one of Leeds’ best kept foodie secrets.

    Distrikt

    Distrikt is one of the best bars in Leeds, but that hasn’t stopped them from providing value for money. The dance floor gets rammed on a Friday, but you can still enjoy half price beers, wines and spirits from 5-10pm. Some of the biggest names in dance have taken to the decks in this bar, often with free entry, and they do a mean Sunday roast and an eclectic tapas menu.
  • New measures announced by George Osbourne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the 2016 Budget will fund increased house building, protect homes from flooding and impact on the private rented sector. Leeds is set to benefit from more funding to protect homes and businesses from flooding. The £700m boost will fund new defences in Leeds, amongst other flood-hit areas, and the maintenance of existing defences, paid for by increased Insurance Premium Tax which goes up by 0.5 per cent. Changes to Capital Gains Tax (CGT), a tax on the gain you make when you sell something, will put Britain amongst the lowest CGT rates in Europe but will not benefit those investing in residential property, who will still be taxed at current rates. The initiative intends to incentivise investing in companies over property and will see the basic rate of CGT fall from 18% to 10% from April. It is expected that this will free up the housing market and see increased supply from people selling their second homes and buy-to-let properties. This is good news for those looking to buy in Leeds, particularly with demand for property expected to increase with the announcement that a £60 million investment in the HS3 rail link between Leeds and Manchester will reduce journey times to around 30 minutes between Leeds and Manchester, as well as improving transport connections between other cities in the north. Osbourne also announced that the proposed 3% increase in Stamp Duty on buy-to-let property and second homes will definitely come into effect from 1st April and will also apply to larger investors as well as private landlord investors. This is expected to impact on the private rented sector as build to rent developments become a less attractive investment. Instead, the money raised through Stamp Duty surcharges will fund community building projects. It is hoped these initiatives will stimulate the housing market and see an increased supply of housing and opportunities for first time buyers to get a foot on the ladder. If you’re looking to buy or rent in Leeds and want to discuss the opportunities available to you, come speak to one of our Sales Team who would be happy to advise you on what these changes mean for you.
  • As Easter is early this year and coming up quickly, it’s time to get planning what you are going to do over the holidays. Luckily enough for Leeds dwellers, there is always plenty to do in and around the city. So regardless of the weather, there will be somewhere you can go, you just need to plan some days out in advance. There are also some events that are definitely worth attending over the holidays. Here’s just some of the best things that you can do this Easter in Leeds. Leeds Young Film Festival Just in time for Easter, the Leeds Young Film Festival starts with a wide range of classic and modern movies to suit all tastes. Perfect for a rainy day, there is so much on you will have a hard time choosing what to go and see. The festival also includes a variety of workshops like the Digital Effects Films Workshop where you can even have a hand in creating your own film. If you are a budding film producer or just want to explore working in the media, this is perfect for you. For more information, go to http://leedsyoungfilm.com/ Leeds young film festival Spring festival at Lotherton Hall There is a Springtime Festival at Lotherton Hall over Easter where you can enjoy daily crafts, garden games, nest box making and meeting the keeper of Lotherton Hall. The Hall has beautiful grounds including a bird garden and a red deer park that you can explore. It is the perfect setting for a picnic, so as soon as the sun comes out head to Lotherton Hall. For more information, go to http://www.leeds.gov.uk/museumsandgalleries/Pages/Lotherton-Hall.aspx Thwaite Mills Spring Festival Another Spring Festival that will captivate you is on at the Thwaite Mills.  There is a market on with plenty of crafts and foods for you to indulge in. You can also explore the grounds and go on a free boat ride down the river to see Leeds from a different point of view. For more information, go to http://www.leeds.gov.uk/museumsandgalleries/Pages/Thwaite-Mills-Watermill.aspx Outdoor fun at Harewood House If you enjoy a little bit of history and beautiful gardens Harewood House is the perfect setting for your day out.  You can explore the house and its grounds including a lakeside bird garden that is home to 44 different types of birds.  It is also a great place to have a picnic and soak up some of the Spring sunshine. For more information, go to http://harewood.org/visit/groups/?gclid=CjwKEAiA04S3BRCYteOr6b-roSUSJABE1-6BX-NEb5OqVMzdrmkbjowIaVyUyV0N5svC16ndqaXA-hoCRmrw_wcB Roundhay Park If you want to get energetic, but in a fun way why not head to the Roundhay Park to try out their skate park. There is also Dragon Boat Racing  and canoeing on the lake.  They also have many fitness classes in the park. But, if you’re not a gym bunny you can just enjoy some coffee and cake at the Lakeside Café. Over Easter, you can also enjoy their newly refurbished Tropical World, where you can see piranhas, crocodiles and a family of meerkats. For more information, go to http://www.roundhaypark.org.uk/
  • Whether you need to chew the fat over a joint project with a fellow student or catch up with your bestie over a quality cup of coffee, Leeds has got a wealth of fantastic cafes spread throughout the city centre and beyond. And, not one of them will attempt to spell your name badly on your cup, we promise!

    Miro

    Situated just near Leeds University on Back Blenheim Terrace, Miro is a student favourite due to its cosy surroundings, funky wall art and cracking sarnies and pastries. Oh, and the fine Italian coffee they brew is not only rich and authentic, but almost half the cost of your local Starbucks. Winner.

    Café Lento

    Taking inspiration from European cafés, where the focus is on taking things at a slower pace, this neat father and daughter business venture has been a real winner in Headingley and a mecca to the local student population. Unwind with one of their quality, fair trade coffees whilst you peruse their small, but perfectly formed food menu.

    Out of the Woods

    Priding themselves on their locally sourced products, Out of the Woods has expanded to two fine coffee shops; one in Granary Wharf and one in Holbeck. Their coffee is brewed using Dark Woods Roasters from Huddersfield, and their breakfasts are to die for. Expect delights such as waffles with Nutella, banana and Greek yoghurt, as well as other continental treats, all given their own unique twist.

    Outlaws Yacht Club

    By night, this trendy hipster bar just near Leeds Bus Station drops choice beats and serves craft ales by the bucket load, but by day, it’s chilled out vibe and shabby chic sofas are perfect for a coffee and a chin wag. This unique bar is also an art lovers dream, as the walls are adorned with graffiti, as well as exhibitions by local artists and photographers.

    Yum Yum Deli

    This Oliver Award winning deli is tucked away in Brewery Wharf, and serves the best homemade cakes and pastries you’re likely to find in Leeds. As well as a fine selection of coffee and tea, they also rustle up some cracking hot food daily and serve Vedett on tap. This unique bar.

    Dare Café

    This unique bar has been in business since 1993, but there’s nothing dated or stale about this joint. During the day, they serve up coffee using only the finest Arabica beans, as well as an extensive menu of Italian snacks. By night, they also serve authentically delicious Mexican food, with 241 on mains every Monday.

    Mint Café and Retro Shop

    Mint Café is easily one of the most unique independents you’ll find in Headingley, offering a tasty menu of Lebanese and Mediterranean food alongside its incredibly reasonably priced coffee and teas. The only problem is that you may leave having spent more than you bargained for as they also sell some supercool vintage threads, vinyl and collectables.  
  • Pancake Day is almost upon us, and as students we don't always have the time to carefully plan and prepare our meals. The likelihood is that, even if you have the time to cook pancakes tomorrow, you probably won't have all the right ingredients in your fridge anyway. If you want to stay traditional on Shrove Tuesday and devour a nice tall stack of pancakes, here are the best places to head in Leeds. Notes Located in the heart of Leeds Trinity shopping centre, Notes Cafe is the first location under this brand name to venture out of its London origin. A speciality coffee shop and wine bar, the selection of food and drink on offer is fairly diverse, meaning that even if not all your party are in the mood for a traditional pancake, you can still head here and satisfy everyone.  Listed on the breakfast menu, the substantial pancake offering costs £5 and comes served with seasonal berries and maple syrup. Enjoy this dish with a fresh coffee as a hearty Shrove Tuesday breakfast. Crepe Hut If you're a fan of thick and fluffy American style pancakes, this might not be the option for you, however if you enjoy your pancakes European style, then The Crepe Hut, nestled away in Kirkgate Market  is the place for you. You'll have the option of going for either sweet or savoury dishes and with heartily sized portions, The Crepe Hut will leave you full this Pancake Day. Greedy Pig This homely Leeds cafe has seen a real growth in popularity over recent years, and a quick search on social media shows you just how good the food is - with many diners choosing to vocalise their great dining experiences onto the web. Located on North Street just outside the main hustle and bustle of the city centre, the independently owned cafe is a great place to head before 3pm to grab a bite. Their signature pancakes are so good that they recently featured in an Independent online article on the expert's guide to pancakes, which includes their bacon & maple syrup and nutella menu options. Primo's Hot Dogs are a true American Classic, and if Primo's are specialising in one American delicacy, it's hardly surprising to see that the restaurant is also an expert  in another American favourite - pancakes. If you;re looking for a cheap price for Leeds pancakes, Primo's is the perfect place to head to enjoy, and with both sweet and savoury options available you can enjoy your 'short stack' however you like them. Topping options are plentiful, and whether you opt for syrup, bacon or fruit, you'll undoubtedly leave the restaurant satisfied . Make sure you plan your trip to Primo's, as the American Pancakes are listed as part of the breakfast menu, meaning that you'll need to order before midday to avoid disappointment.   Image used under creative commons license courtesy of
  • We are an award winning lettings agency in Leeds. Last year, we won the Sunday Times Letting Agency of the Year Award. Since then we have dominated the Leeds letting market, becoming the number 1 estate agent in Leeds City Centre. We have interviewed some of our staff to give you an insight into our work, and the talented experts who help us to deliver a first class service. Find out what it’s like to work for us and more about the work that we do from Jade Neville and Jamie Hilsden. Jade Neville – Property Consultant Jade Neville Please tell us a bit about yourself and your job role at Parklane Properties? I have been working for Parklane Properties as a property consultant for just over a year. My job as a property consultant requires me to oversee a portfolio of Leeds City Centre and North Leeds properties. I manage these properties on behalf of our clients, and strive to deliver a first class service. My day to day work as a property consultant involves a wide range of tasks, from dealing with property maintenance issues and regular inspections to managing move-ins and move-outs. Why did you choose to work for Parklane Properties? Prior to working for Parklane I worked in the retail sector. I wanted to enhance my customer service skills and work for a more challenging industry where I would be tested more. I decide to take the leap, and I applied for a job at Parklane. I wanted to work here because it’s such a prestigious and highly respected letting agency in Leeds and feel it’s the right company to progress my career at this point. Why would you recommend living in Leeds to people? After living in Leeds for a year, I have fallen in love with the city. It’s a vibrant, exciting city with so much to see and do. The city is constantly being enhanced with new developments, which means it has excellent facilities. Even though Leeds is a major city, everything is surprisingly close together. You can easily get to everything on foot, which obviously makes my job a lot easier! Based on your expert knowledge of the city, where do you think is the best place to live in Leeds? I would say Leeds Dock is a popular area in the city, many professionals live in this area as it’s conveniently located. Personally, I also like West Point. Both of these locations are close to the bustling city centre, and are within easy reach of popular bars and restaurants, and close to transport links. What sets Parklane apart from other letting Agencies? I think the main reason why so many people chose us over other agencies is due to our reputation in the area. We pride ourselves on the high level of customer service we offer our customers, and this is reflected in the awards and reviews that we receive. We work extremely hard for our clients to get the right rental price for their property and the best possible tenants for landlords. What’s the best thing about working at Parklane? I love working at Parklane because it’s a family run business, and it shows. Everyone here is very friendly and welcoming, and they make me feel like a valued member of the team. Having this support and being in a job I thoroughly enjoy has made moving to Leeds much easier. I particularly enjoy working in a small, close knit office where everyone if prepared to help each other out. Jamie Hilsden – Sales Negotiator Jamie Hilsden Please tell us a little about yourself and your job role. I am the Sales Negotiator, which means I look after our sales portfolio. My job mainly consists of helping buyers to find the best possible place to live, or invest. I spend a lot of my working day out on viewings, which gives me a first-hand view of the property market in Leeds. Why do you like working in this industry and in particular, at Parklane? One of the main reasons I enjoy working at Parklane and in the property sector is the people I get to meet. My job enables me to interact with a wide range of different people, which means every day is interesting. I love meeting new people and the satisfaction that finding them the perfect property brings me. I really get to know buyers and take on board their specific needs, it’s an important part of my role. I also work in a small team which allows me to give a personal service to all of our clients and customers. Why would you recommend your company to people over others? Again, I think the main reason why someone would choose us is the personal service we offer. People really do notice the high level of service that Parklane Delivers, which has been a key ingredient to our success over the years. I work hard to find out exactly what customers want, so that viewings can be tailored to their specific needs. Why is Leeds such a great city to live in? I, like many other people, studied at Leeds University and after graduating, I never left the city. It’s the kind of city that leaves its mark on you, because it has so much to offer. I particularly like the selection of restaurants and bars in Leeds. There’s always new and exciting places popping up over the city. I also like the fact that I can escape the city and get out to the beautiful surrounding countryside whenever I want. Another key selling point about Leeds is that everything is within walking distance, you can walk from one end of the city to the other within 20 minutes. The regeneration of the City is constantly improving the centre and changing it for the better. It is definitely the place to be! Give us an insight into an average day in your life. I am very lucky because every day is different, which means it’s difficult for me to define an ‘average day’. I get to do a huge variety of things including spending time in the city centre and helping buyers to find their dream property. One day I might be spending time in a penthouse apartment, and another day I might be on a building site advising on the off plan units we have available for sale. My job can be pretty hectic at times, but personally, I really enjoy the variety. How do you like to spend your time outside of work? I am a big fan of the Leeds Rhinos, so I obviously try to go to as many games as I can. Leeds is big on sport, which is something I love about the city. You can also find me in the kitchen as I enjoy cooking and keeping fit in the gym.
  • So, Valentine’s Day is almost here and whether you’re spending the evening with your long-term partner or someone you just met on Tinder, you really don’t want to mess things up. Nope, there’s nothing worse than committing a Valentine’s faux-pas. Follow our tips and this hot date will most likely not be the last, but one of many others to come.

    Don’t buy gifts from the petrol station

    So, we’ve all heard that it’s the thought that counts, but if you show up with a box of Ferrero Rocher, a battered singled red rose or one of those cheap and nasty grey teddies from the local Shell Garage, it shows what you actually thought was ‘That’ll do.’’ You don’t have to spend a fortune on your Valentine, just try pick something out you know they will actually like.

    Don’t buy racy lingerie with just yourself in mind

    Whilst you might think that a bright red body stocking from Ann Summers is super-sexy, remember it’s not you that will be wearing it and she may not want to dress like a porn-star! If you are going to buy lingerie, try picking out something with a little more class, and if needs be, consult her friend in private for some advice.

    Don’t offer to cook a meal if you can’t cook

    Whilst you might think the meal Nigella just whipped up on TV looks like a piece of cake (we couldn’t resist the pun), if you’re a complete kitchen klutz, then approach with caution. Come clean that you can’t cook, and offer to splash out on their favourite takeaway, or simply go out for food instead. We’ve heard all sorts of cooking disaster stories here in our office, including a guy who served his hot date chips and vodka…needless to say it was the first and last time they saw one another.

    Don’t talk about your ex

    Whilst you might think it’s hard to talk about past experiences without mentioning your beloved ex of four years, just don’t. It’s a clear sign that you’re not over this relationship and a huge turn-off for your new beau, who will probably come to the conclusion you were probably dumped for being a wet lettuce.

    Don’t get too drunk

    Whether you feel like drinking copious amounts of alcohol because it’s a first date and you’re nervous, or simply because you’re a complete boozer, reign it in! The last thing you want to do is declare undying love for someone you barely know, before puking in their lap and being sent home alone in a taxi. If you do, you will definitely find you bump into them on a regular basis for years to come and have to relive the sorry experience over and over again.
  • Adding value to a property is easier than most homeowners anticipate. Despite this, the benefits of doing so are well documented. We live in a world where the value of property means so much, and failure to capitalise on your home is something that may haunt you in later life. Imagine driving past a former home and seeing a conservatory attached when you know how much additional value this would have created for you as a selling point! Here are eight ways to get started on adding value to your property: -        Loft conversion: A loft conversion is an excellent way to add another bedroom and bathroom to a house and may add tens of thousands of pounds to the value of your home. -        Paint the house: This could seem like an oversimplification but making your home as pleasant looking as possible is going to get buyers coming to you when a property is on the market. -        Central Heating: Obviously not an issue if you already have it, but by spending £1000-£3000 you will end up adding something closer to £5000. -        Add a conservatory: A conservatory will cost less than a genuine extension whilst performing a similar function. -        Paving the garden: If you have a front garden, pave over it and turn it into a parking space, this will add value if you live in a suburban area where parking is at a premium. -        Know who you’re selling to: Think about the sort of people who might be interested in your property and adapt it accordingly. -        Consider the kitchen: The kitchen often appears as a focal point of any house. A good kitchen is capable of adding 4.6% to the value of a house, if it fits the home properly. -        Open space: open space is very important in the contemporary housing market. Non-load bearing walls can afford to come down to create more space, and more importantly an image of more space.  
  • Whilst you could stay in alone on Valentine’s Day, scoff down a Deliveroo takeaway washed down with a bottle of wine and a tub of Hagen-Dazs, you could instead look on the bright side, focus on the positives and get yourself out. Think about it. You don’t have to buy a cheesy present, pretend to be ecstatic when you receive a cheesy present, or sit in a restaurant being served mass-produced, overpriced food. Okay, so let’s not get too bitter about being single hey? Here are a few tips on how to survive Valentine’s Day as a singleton in Leeds.

    Ditch or Date at Crowd of Favours

    Supercool and laidback bar, Crowd of Favours (located just off Kirkgate) are hosting a Ditch or Date event on Wednesday 10th February from 8pm. The concept here is simple. Girls remain seated at tables throughout the evening, whilst the guys rotate round the room every four minutes for a chat. The night runs until 10pm, with a 20 minute bar break in the middle, giving you a chance to make a beeline for any hot options. Bring a friend and see if Cupid draws his bow and arrow. Tickets are just £12 per head; get them here.

    Dinner date with your bestie

    They say if you can’t beat them, then join them; so why not book a dinner date with your bestie? You can avoid restaurants offering typical Valentine’s fodder, and instead head somewhere less romantic. Smoke Barbecue is the place to go for meat lovers who like to get their hands dirty; book for Valentine’s Day and you’ll receive a free bottle of Prosecco. If it’s burgers you’re looking for, then Almost Famous never fail to disappoint.

    Laugh it off with Derek or Deadpool

    Laughter is a great remedy to many ailments, and thankfully for you, there’s some great films out this February to make you smile. Zoolander 2 sees Derek sashaying back on to the silver screen once again, 15 years after the cult classic original. Book online at VUE and you can bag yourself a selfie stick and pull off your own version of blue steel. On the 12th February, Ryan Reynolds is back as Deadpool, which is Marvel’s funniest film to date, packing in action, laughs and eye-candy in equal measure. Watch it at Everyman and get comfy with your mates with your own sofa and cushions. Eating popcorn at the Cinema

    Retail therapy

    Much like laughter, shopping can cure a multitude of problems, and what place better to shop than Leeds? As well as Harvey Nicks, Mango and all the usual stores, the city is brimming with awesome independents. Budding artists should get themselves to Art Official, who stock the hippest supplies in a superbly creative environment, whilst those that just like appreciate art should head to On the Wall for one of their awesome posters. Established in 1971, Jumbo Records is a Leeds institution and hasn’t let the digital boom slow it down; head down for some classic or current vinyl, as well as CD’s and gig tickets. If you’re after some threads a little different to the norm, then check out the Corn Exchange, and in particular, Alice Found Treasure. Here you’ll find a treasure trove of vintage clothing, as well as accessories and homeware.    
  • Going away to university for the first time is exciting for anyone and for lots of people it’s their first real taste of independence living away from home. But with new friends to make, new places to discover and, hopefully, the chance to study a subject that you’re passionate about, it’s all too easy to pay a bit less attention to taking care of your health. So here are five handy tips to help make sure that you stay healthy all term long. Register with a local dentist and GP However healthy you may be, it’s vital that registering with a local GP and dentist is high on your “to do” list in the first few weeks of term – even if you are already registered with one at home. That’s because if you do ever come down with something or break a tooth having a doctor or dentist who may be hundreds of miles away won’t do you much good! Eat healthy It may be a tired old cliché that students live on a diet of beans on toast and save up all their washing to take home in the holidays – but it also contains a grain of truth. So making sure that you have a balanced diet is important. There are lots of student and beginners’ cookery books available packed with low cost recipes for one. So make sure you pack one when you go – and find a local launderette! Get enough sleep You’ll probably find yourself being plunged into an exciting social whirl starting in fresher’s week and carrying on from there. So it’s all too easy to leap in feet first and grab every opportunity of a night out that comes your way. But remember, you’re main reason for being at uni is to work and the only way that you’ll be able to do this is by not being too tired to go to lectures. So be disciplined and try to get at least 8 hours’ sleep in the week – but the weekend can be a different matter . . . Join a sports club or team Another great advantage of uni is the sheer number of clubs available to join including ones for most sports and games. From football to skiing and judo to squash you’ll probably find there’s just the right for one for you. Joining one is also a great way to meet new people with the same interest as you. Get regular health checks As well as having dental health checks every six months you should also book a regular sight test with a local optician. After all, if you do find that your eyesight’s changed and you need glasses it won’t be very good for reading white boards in large lecture theatres. Hearing is another thing it’s sensible to be aware of. If you do ever find it’s getting harder to pick up what people are saying then a trip to a nearby hearing specialist would be a good idea. They’ll be able to test whether you have any hearing issues and suggest solutions such as hidden hearing aids found here. Hopefully all these tips will help you to enjoy a healthy and happy time at university. Just remember that you’re there to work hard as well as play hard and you should be well on track to really make the most of your potential!
  • Whilst it doesn’t feel like two minutes since we were seeing in 2016, Leeds is now gearing up to celebrate the Chinese New Year. The Year of the Monkey begins on Monday 8 February, and there are a number of ways you can get into the spirit in the city. Here are our hot picks of what’s going on and where: Chinese New Year Festival – Leeds Town Hall – Sunday 14 February So this comes almost a week late, but who cares? The annual event is organised by the Leeds Chinese Community, and provides the perfect chance to celebrate the New Year alongside Valentine’s Day. As well as theatrical performances of music, Chinese Lion Dance, martial arts and calligraphy, there will be a selection of stands selling traditional Chinese food and crafts, as well as face painting for the kids. For information and tickets, check out the LCCA website here. The Yorkshire and Humber Chinese New Year Dinner – Leeds Civic Hall – Tuesday 2 February If you’re in business and have become bored of the run-of-the-mill networking events, then this could be the one for you. With around 180 attendees, all of whom have business links to China, it’s a great opportunity to mix business with pleasure and enjoy traditional Chinese food, whilst picking up some useful contacts. Tickets are running out fast, so grab them here whilst you can. Maxi’s Chinese Restaurant – Bingley Street - Leeds Maxi’s Chinese Restaurant opened up in Leeds way back in 1989, and is widely regarded as the city’s finest. Serving up a mouth-watering blend of authentic Cantonese and Peking cuisine in a traditional setting, Maxi’s have not let the recent floods get them down and are already back in business. Bookings are going through the roof, so if you want to celebrate here then reserve your place pronto! Leeds Chinese Collection and the Chinese Zodiac – Leeds City Museum – Friday 5 February Antonia Lovelace, Curator of World Cultures, is allowing adults to come peruse Leeds fine collection of Chinese artefacts for one day only. For just £10, you can take in the collection which spans vintage fine porcelain, and comes bang up to date with contemporary culture; lunch is also included. To book, call 0113 224 3732, or take a look online for further information.
  • Here are , without having to get a loan, and without having to buy anything extra. You will need a bit of starting capital, but you can do it with your spare cash if needed. For some of the ideas you may need a car, but otherwise you simply need yourself and your computer/laptop. 1 - Start A Swapping Scheme The premise is very simple. You start a website, forum and even an on-campus location where people can swap things. It doesn’t have to be anything more advanced than a corkboard where people pay a dollar to post an advert. They post the things they are willing to swap and the things they are willing to swap from for. You can put the corkboard on your dorm door if you wish, or you can start a website, or even start a swap shop if your college will allow it. The great thing is that you can see the best deals first and snap them up yourself. 2 - Coursework Writing For Other Students When students struggle or miss classes, they sometimes cannot complete their essays and coursework. Many will go to confidential writing services, but if you can build an underground reputation as a confidential essay writer, then people will bring their business to you--and there is a lot of money in essay and coursework writing because there is a high demand. AssignmentMasters is a good example of such kind of business. 3 - Sell Items On eBay For A Commission Take photos of people’s stuff, get their details, and try to sell their stuff on eBay for a profit. You can charge them for the fees if their items do not sell, or you can factor it into the profit you make when you take a commission. However, you decide to work your business, you may have a high degree of success if you go about it the right way. Students often want money quickly, so market your business as a quick-fix money solution. 4 - Buy Things From Other Students To Sell For A Profit Students sometimes need money fast, and they often have good stuff that they will sell for a large discount just to get some money. You can use this to your advantage and buy their stuff for cheap and sell it as a profit. There are also lots of students that spend their grant/loan money on new things such as the newest tech or even a car, and they then discover they have no money to survive the term. After a few days of eating noodles, they are often willing to sell their new items for a discount, just so that they can start living like a human instead of a scavenger. If you are also running the eBay business as listed as item 3 on the list, then you will also find many people willing to sell to you at a discount rather than wait for an eBay auction to finish. 5 - Proofread The Work Of Other People Some people do not mind writing their work, but they hate proofreading. It is a common problem because reading your own stuff is boring--plus it is more difficult to spot your own errors. Take advantage of this and proofread people’s stuff for them. 6 - Use Your New Qualifications To Sell A Service If you are studying graphic design, then start your business whilst in college with your own website and Google Adwords to market your services. You can do the same for programming, web design, and a whole host of other qualification-specific services. 7 - Promote Yourself As A Tech Support Person There are plenty of people in your college that are good with computers, but they are not excellent. For example, there are still people that want to upgrade their Java, or upgrade to Windows 10, or that want to install new software and do not know how. Make a website, list all the things you can do, and charge a fee for your services. 8 - Arrange Parties And Sell Tickets Gather a few of your friends, invest a little money each, hire out a hall, arrange for a bar, promote and sell tickets. If you turn it into a group effort, then you are less likely to lose money, more likely to succeed, plus you get to go to a party. 9 - Start A Car Lending Service You have to be very careful with this business, but many people have done it. You lend out your car for a fee and a set amount of time. Bring the person to your dorm, and have them take out temporary insurance on your car for the time they are borrowing it, and on the day that person takes your car, have them leave their license with you, their current passport, or something else that shows who they are and that is valuable to their identity. 10 - Create A Go-Get-It Shopping Service This sort of thing has been going on for years. Usually people visit elderly people and charge them a small fee for getting their shopping from the supermarkets. You are doing the same thing, but you are doing it for students that do not have a car. Once people start to trust you, then they will pay in advance and you can do large shopping runs. 11 - Build A Review Website For Your College Making money this way will take time, especially if you have to do it via affiliate advertising. However, every year there are thousands of students looking for reviews of your college or university, and you can capitalize on that yearly demand. 12 - Create Information Products Featuring Your Notes The sheer weight of students that need notes is legendary. In every class, during every session, and in every college/university in the world there are students that have missed classes, that haven’t written notes, or that have lost their notes. Students need them desperately all the time, and usually they have to borrow them from friends. You can write up your notes and sell them on a website. Make notes for every class, write them up, and sell each batch of notes for a very low price. Hand out a few leaflets in class advertising your website, post adverts on local boards, and people will come to you when they need your notes.
  • http://www.safetynetmobile.com/ - Android Makes it easier to make an emergency call if you need to by allowing you to bypass pushing buttons and activate your phone by shaking it. Set up a “SafetyNet” group of contacts to alert them quickly if you are in trouble Use a phone retrieval feature if your mobile is lost or stolen http://www.northyorkshire.police.uk/index.aspx?articleid=6521 If you’re in Yorkshire there is an award-winning crime prevention mobile app from the North Yorkshire police. It features latest crime news and “caught on camera” CCTV appeals, weather alerts (including flood warnings) as well as crime maps and other useful data. http://www.immobilise.com/ If your phone, bike, computer or any other registered item is lost or stolen, use Immobilise to instantly tell police, insurers, and the second-hand trade. These actions help greatly in the recovery of your property and capture of thieves.
  • If you are currently looking for an apartment to rent in Leeds city centre, then this article is aimed at offering a checklist of tips to consider. The team at Parklane Properties are more than happy to answer any questions and, obviously, offer a wide range of quality properties to rent in the city including apartments and houses. However, if you would prefer to deal with a landlord directly then there are a number of issues you need to bear in mind. The first thing is to appreciate that the property is going to be your home for the coming months, or even years, so you need to make a rational assessment before signing a tenancy agreement. The next most important thing is not to have an emotional reaction, all of us fall into this trap, and while the apartment or house may look very attractive there may be issues within it or problems with neighbours you may not be aware of.

    Looking at property to rent in Leeds

    Also when looking at property to rent in Leeds, be aware about the property's condition that's the interior and exterior as it will underline the landlord's commitment to data that is. Another crucial issue is to be aware of all the costs that will come with living there, it's not just about having to pay the rent but also the utility bills and, if it's not apartment, there may be a fee for maintenance of the building. If you are looking at apartments in the centre of Leeds then you should be aware of the security measures that are in place. For instance, are the doors into the building secure? Does the apartment building have an entry phone system and does it appear secure?

    Apartments Leeds city centre

    The apartments Leeds city centre may appear to be in good condition but if there is a garden outside then who is responsible for its maintenance? This may be the responsibility of the building's owners rather than the occupier of the ground floor flat. The next issue is applicable to apartments and houses to rent in Leeds, and that's our the locks of the property secure and of good quality? After a brief inspection of the exterior, what is the condition of the homes interior like? Other any signs of damp, bold or flaking paint? If it appears that the property is needing some repairs, who will be responsible for carrying out these repairs? This is also a good time to check when inspecting apartments Leeds city centre whether there are any loose wires, faulty plugs or even dodgy wiring in place. Do not be shy about switching on and
  • Leeds City Council has confirmed an initial range of financial support proposals which will be made available for households and businesses severely affected by the recent floods in the city. The current schemes provide by Leeds City Council are:
    • Recovery grant for businesses affected by flooding up to £2,500 per business 

    • Business rates relief for 3 months

    Both are available to Small to Medium Enterprises, charities and other third sector organisations. The same application form should be used to apply for both schemes. Additional advice for businesses affected by flooding can here. Households and businesses affected by the recent floods in Kirkstall and Leeds city centre could benefit from a hardship fund set up by the council. In West Leeds, businesses down Kirkstall Road and at the Kirkstall Bridge Retail Park were all affected by the Boxing Day floods, which left parts of the area under several feet of water after the River Aire broke its banks. Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said: Since the terrible flooding last weekend, we have been working tirelessly with agencies and volunteers to help those affected by the initial emergency and to help them to start clearing up the debris left in its wake. Clearly, this is just the first step in a long recovery process and we will now look at some additional measures to help to continue this support. For householders affected, a new hardship fund is being setup which will provide up to £500 per household to help with recovery costs, such as provision of temporary accommodation. The council will also provide council tax relief for residents whose homes have been severely affected. With regard to businesses affected the council propose to provide business rate relief and are also exploring a range of grants and loans to help get businesses back on their feet. They will have detailed discussions with affected businesses about what would work best and the additional support that they will need. The details of the financial support schemes can be accessed are on the Leeds City Council website. Anyone severely affected by the flooding and wishing to register for support should provide details of their name, address, daytime and evening telephone numbers and a short explanation of how their house or business has been affected and should either: Email the council at floodrelief@leeds.gov.uk Post to: Economic Development Flood Relief, Leeds City Council, Thoresby House, 2 Rossington Street, Leeds LS2 8HD Call: 0113 222 4444
  • Online university – what does it mean? Exactly what it sounds like, and in fact a whole lot more. For generations, going to university has been the only way to obtain a degree and all that comes with such a qualification. A degree aids in the world of employment when looking for a job, proof that you excel in a certain field or a certain skill. Unluckily, for a long time actually obtaining such a thing was not so simple. University meant tuition fees, usually full time commitment and sometimes relocation to a distant part of the country if you wanted to get the best degree possible in your chosen area. However, this is no longer the case thanks to the online universities, which provide the means for everyone and anyone, no matter where they live or what they want to study, to gain a valuable qualification from their own home. A degree from an online university is the equivalent of any other degree. Most online universities are directly affiliated with a particular university in the country, and so the degree you qualify for online is actually a degree from that university itself. Studying online brings a host of flexible benefits, allowing a student of any age, gender, and circumstance to work online comfortably and conveniently without sacrificing any existing commitments. Online degrees are particularly suited to more mature students who already work; for an adult, a further degree can enhance an existing career or provide the means for a change in career path. Studying online provides a flexible alternative to the rigid timetabling and commitments of university life. Websites provide students with access to a range of online courses to help enrich their educational and employment opportunities, from courses in financial services to those in business management and marketing, skills which would be a valuable addition to anyone’s working life.
  • There's a lot of quality accommodation available to tenants looking towards renting in Leeds and the helpful team at Parklane Properties can offer help and advice for every aspect of renting property. In a previous blog post we highlighted what the basic steps are for a tenant to take when looking for rental properties and why having a checklist of important criteria decided beforehand is crucial to finding a property quickly. We also mentioned in that blog post that Leeds has a wide range of quality rented accommodation available and that there are some areas which are more in demand than others with tenants. For anyone who has watched a property programme, the presenters always have a refrain they mention in every single one and that is that before buying or renting a property the most important consideration is, 'location, location, location.'

    Those who want homes to rent Leeds city centre

    This is also true for those who want homes to rent in Leeds city centre and there are a number of factors that potential tenants should appreciate when looking for somewhere to rent. Again, it's important to have a checklist in mind of suitable areas, for instance they may be closer to work or family than other areas. Some areas also have better public transport links to get around the city while some younger people, professionals and students may prefer to rent a Leeds property in the city centre. There's no doubt that the city centre is hugely attractive and has a wide range of nightlife including bars, pubs and restaurants. Victoria arcade However, Leeds is no different to many other major cities and some areas have higher rates of crime than others. This does not mean they may be unsafe for tenants to live in but research these potential areas carefully. The important thing to remember is tenants with a well-researched and fairly long list of potential areas that are suitable for their needs will have a wider range of quality rented accommodation to choose from.

    The potential of house shares in Leeds

    Added to this list will be the potential of house shares in Leeds or flat shares which means that the tenant will be sharing the property, or a room within a house, with others. This means the rent will be shared and be much lower than renting a property alone. It should also be appreciated that when a family or a single person are the only tenants within a property then it's considered to be a 'sole tenancy'. Others may find that their ideal property may be a studio flat, for instance, which comprises mainly of a single room that contains the kitchen and bedroom with a bathroom adjoined. There's also the availability of purpose-built accommodation when renting in Leeds which offers mod cons and, generally, all-inclusive bills; these are particularly popular with students but also with young professionals because they are usually located in the city centre and come with impressive bedrooms, security and communal areas for meeting with fellow tenants.

    Contact Parklane Properties today

  • When it comes to finding private lettings Leeds then one of the leading suppliers of quality rented accommodation in the city is Parklane Properties and this is the first part of our guide to renting a property. Perhaps the most important piece of advice that anyone looking for private rented accommodation should appreciate is that their criteria for renting should be defined as early as possible. For many reasons, the process between finding a suitable house or flat to rent will be similar to that of buying a property. This means it's important that the person looking for rental accommodation in Leeds knows what they are looking for and where they want to live. Leeds is a very large city and some areas are more popular with tenants than others. It's also important to understand what amenities are needed to be close by and, more important than that, how much the rental budget is since this will dictate the type and location of the rental property. When beginning a search for rented property, the turnover of properties is generally quicker than that for properties that are for sale.

    Good for private landlords Leeds

    While this may be good for apartment to let in Leeds it means that tenants have to move quickly and pounce when a suitable property becomes available. The next question is how long the tenancy needs to be for? Most landlords offer tenancies of 12 months, some may offer six while others may agree to rent a quality accommodation for longer. Also, would you like the rental accommodation to be furnished or unfurnished and how many bedrooms do you need? It should also be borne in mind, even if you are looking for a flat, that there may be a garden attached to the rented property which will need looking after and not all properties have off-street parking. With this checklist in mind, the next step is to decide how much rent you are willing to pay and stick to the budget.

    Looking at a room to let in Leeds

    However, many people new to renting do not always take into account all of their potential outgoings which means they may not have enough money to live on. This is one reason why looking at an apartment to let in Leeds makes financial sense because the costs will be much lower. Also, some properties are advertised at a weekly rental rate which does not mean that is the monthly cost. Some of the outgoings that may need to be considered are those for insuring the tenant’s belongings, the landlord will be responsible for insuring the building, and the council tax will also need to be paid. Asked beforehand from the landlord or the agent just how much this will cost every month. Other bills that need to be paid are the utilities including gas, electricity and water though sometimes the water bill is added in with the rent. It's also worth remembering that should you be looking for a flat it may be in a block that has a service charge which covers things like cleaning of communal areas and paying the ground rent. Check with the letting agent or landlord before committing to it. Most rental properties usually require that a month’s rent is paid as a deposit and the tenant should also budget for their removal costs including those of hiring a company to do the work. Essentially, those are the crucial aspects for anyone looking for private lettings Leeds and the helpful team at Parklane Properties will be more than willing to help with any questions. Contact Parklane Properties today
  • Whether you're in the final straight of your last year, or have just finished your first semester as a fresher, it's never too early to start thinking about your career and the real, outside world that awaits you once you conclude your time at university. From applying to jobs, to building your CV and gaining experience, there's always something you can be doing to improve your chances of gaining employment when the time comes. Check out our top tips to make sure you're as employable as can be when the time comes. Build your CV A CV isn't something you should throw together at the last minute when you spot your dream job. As soon as you start to plan your future career, and at the very latest once you start university, you should begin the CV building process. It isn't just a document you finish and store away, as you'll constantly be progressing whilst doing your degree, meaning that you should add relevant points as and when they crop up. A strong CV is essential, as it's effectively your first impression when applying for a job. Formatting is crucial, as a childish font will look unprofessional, however you don't want something to look ugly, as that is also a turn off to employers. Spelling and grammar mistakes will jump out glaringly to anyone who reads your CV, so make sure it's accurate, or you'll never even get to the interview stage. Gain experience Your CV is an important tool, however it won't be much use if it is lacking experience. In tough economic times, organisations want graduate students who know the feel of the industry, and gaining experience means that you'll be able to come into a working environment and adapt quicker than you would otherwise. Competition is high  for jobs in any industry, and through gaining work placements and experience you're making yourself stand out from the crowd. University can be tough, but over the three years (or longer) of your degree, you'll have plenty of free time and holidays. Make the most of them by contacting local companies and getting some unpaid experience. It's all worthwhile in the end and is probably the most important aspect of your CV. Network It might seem like a bit of a stretch for a student, but there will always be occasions to network. Over the course of your degree, many universities and courses will bring in guest lecturers from the industry, so this is a great place to start. Create a business card if it's suitable to your industry, so that if you get a quick 20 seconds to chat with industry professionals, you can hand over your email and telephone number to them in case they can be utilised in the future. If you're not lucky enough to network in person, or get to industry events, why not make the most of technology? Social media sites such as Twitter and LinkedIn provide you the opportunity to search out professionals from your industry. Interact with others on relevant topics and engage with people in a way that gets you noticed. Search for graduate schemes Graduate schemes are a great way to break into many industries, especially if you're aiming to establish yourself and learn at the best and biggest companies. Grad schemes are an option for nearly every industry, and many can easily be found online. Websites such as Milkround aggregate all schemes and internships, so that you can easily search for those relevant to your degree or desired industry of work. Remember, these are often available at the largest and most successful companies, so you'll be facing stiff competition and need to distance yourself from the field to be successful. In many cases, it's the best and brightest that are chosen, thanks to rigorous application requirements and a number of interview phases. A strong CV and good experience is often vital to land a place on these schemes. Be speculative Not all jobs are listed, and that is something that is very important to remember once your job hunt begins. Listed jobs on company websites often see huge amounts of interest. Be smart and search out companies in which you'd be interested in working, and do a bit of background research. Taper your covering letter to suit the business and they'll be impressed that you're compatible with the way the organisation works. Make an impression on a company and you'll stay in the forefront of their thoughts, even if there is no job currently available. Being speculative and making an impression often is the most effective way to go when job hunting and distancing yourself from the pack. Photo Credit: krameroneill via Compfight cc
  • Whilst for many, the Christmas break will be a time of relaxation, enjoyment and a break from the stresses and strains of student life, some amongst us will be spending the festive break preparing for exams upon returning to University in early 2015. If you’ve got precious little time for recharging your batteries due to upcoming exams, here are our top studying tips for creating a revision space, whether you’re at your family home, or back in Leeds. Get a neat space It’s hardly surprising that untidiness can lead to increased stress, and with concentration being an absolute must during your revision period, a disorganized study area will not help you to boost productivity levels. Before you get your head into books and study materials, take some time to get rid of unnecessary clutter and tidy up the items you have lying around. A tidy space will help you achieve a clearer mind, meaning you’ll be able to order your thoughts if your surroundings are neat and orderly as well. Find a quiet haven Whether you’re at your student house or your family home, it will be almost impossible to maintain the required levels of concentration if you’re surrounded by loud noise. Your housemates shouting at the PlayStation or your sister shouting in the next room hardly makes for an environment conducive to revision, and you’ll be unlikely to remain focused through it. If you’re struggling to maintain concentration, lock yourself away with the door shut and completely isolate yourself from exterior noise. If rowdiness happens to still be carrying through walls or doors, plug your ears with headphones; you don’t need to listen to music, but they should help keep the sounds of your home at bay. Also, it’s worth letting your family or friends know whenever you’re studying so that they can at least attempt to keep the noise down. Add some background noise This might slightly contradict our above point, but many people find concentration easier to come by with a bit of ambient background noise. If this is the case, it makes sense to stick a bit of light music on to keep you going. It might not be a help to everyone, and the song choices may need to be carefully selected, but if nothing else, it might help to drown out house noise and stave off your boredom. Turn your phone off Nothing is a concentration killer more than your mobile. With texts, group WhatsApp messages, Facebook alerts and Snapchat photos popping up as notifications every few minutes, there’s no way you’ll maintain focus on your work. Pre-emptively strike against this distraction by simply turning off your mobile. To do Once you’ve got a plan in place to maintain your concentration, it’s worth planning out your time and schedule with a to-do-list. Make sure you’re putting your time to good use, and ensure that nothing you need to revise slips under the radar. It might seem a bit overly-orderly, however staying organised is one key to getting all your work done.  
  • New measures have been unveiled by George Osborne in the Autumn statement this week aimed at benefiting first time buyers and easing the step to get onto the property ladder. The bold plans, due to come into effect from April 2016, were announced as part of a spending review package and are intended to boost home ownership and tackle the UK housing crisis by deterring investors from snatching up properties for buy-to-let purposes. Landlords taking out buy-to-let mortgages and second home buyers in England and Wales will pay higher stamp duty rates with a 3% surcharge on each stamp duty band, while owner occupiers buying homes under £125,000 won’t pay any tax. It is expected that commercial property investors with over 15 properties will be exempt from the new regulation. We are likely to see a rush of buy-to-let landlords looking at properties before the planning increase in April. In addition, the Help to Buy scheme in England, which has been so successful, will also be extended for an extra year to 2021, one year longer than planned. Under the popular scheme, prospective homeowners with a 5% deposit can purchase a new build property valued at up to £600,000 with the help of an interest free loan of up to 20% of the property’s price. In London, where property costs an average of £500,000, buyers will be able to access a loan of up to 40%. The government plans to invest an extra £6.9bn into building new properties to meet housing needs. £2.3bn of this will be allocated to the government's starter homes programme, £4bn will go to building 135,000 new homes for shared ownership and another £200m to build homes for rent. To determine the stamp duty rate for a specific property value, use this stamp duty calculator or speak to one of our Sales Team who would be happy to advise you on what these changes mean for you.
  • This year we opened the doors to Leeds’ most luxurious student accommodation brand IconInc this year, has been awarded a prestigious Northern Design Award for the Interior Design Concept and Commercial Interior Design Project.

    Its first development, The Edge, is valued at £15 million and hit the national headlines for offering ‘7 star student accommodation’. The phrase was coined by The Daily Mail, Telegraph, Independent, London Evening Standard and numerous industry and regional press outlets.

    The judges were impressed with the bespoke interiors that allowed the space to be maximised and entirely fit for purpose. It’s striking wall graphics, slick design and bespoke furniture and fittings have led to a unique design rewarded with this respected industry recognition.

    IconInc’s The Edge has 131 apartments in three sizes; Smart, Elegance and Grande, the highest-spec Grande apartment having the option for couples to rent. The luxury apartments boast all-inclusive bills, superfast 100MB broadband, flat screen TVs and king size beds.

    The Edge will pave the way for more IconInc developments in Leeds and nationwide, all to include unrivalled facilities; on-site cinema, games room, gym with personal trainers, study rooms and complimentary daily breakfast to name a few.

    Nav Ahmed, Managing Director of Parklane Properties said; “We’re absolutely thrilled to pick up this award, something the team deserves for their efforts in creating our unique build. IconInc redefines what it means to ‘live like a student’ and promotes ‘living like an icon’ and we worked tirelessly to get this across with our design.''

     IconInc-Cinema iconinc

  • You’ve finally got the grades to begin your university life. You’ve been through denial, anger, bargaining and depression, and come to accept the size of your student loan. You’ve opened your eyes to the prospect of being a graduate. You’ve braved Ikea, and bought for the first time all those items your parents assume are indispensable for modern living. Toasters, washing racks, cafetières, casserole dishes and tea-towels. Yet you haven’t had the heart to tell them that you’d rather they bought Berocca, paracetamol and some speakers, or that the close company of a near-stranger is as effective in winter as any fan heater. The “rents” have got so many disappointments coming up, you don’t want to make things worse. You let them sink into reveries about their student days as they drive you up an unfamiliar motorway to eventually drop you off at your first student digs so you can revel in the presence of your chosen cities Fresher’s Week……. Here is your official survival guide! Moving in & meeting new people
    • When you first arrive, unpack and make your room your own. Then, when you get tired of unpacking and meeting people, you have a refuge.
    • Make sure your door is open while you're unpacking. That way, people can see you exist - it's a guaranteed way to meet people. You might also like to put up a big sign with your first name on your room door.
    • Look out for people on your course. If you meet someone, exchange numbers and agree to go to the first few lectures together. It is easier to meet new people once you're already with someone. Even better, organise a trip to the uni bar after the first lecture with whoever wants to attend.
    • Don't stop talking to random people just because fresher’s week finishes. Keep going and keep meeting people. As people settle in they will be more relaxed and everyone will feel less like they are on best 'friend-making' behaviour.
    Getting to know your University
    • Many universities publish fresher’s week schedules and events on their websites or most likely on the Students' Union website.
    • It's a good idea to take a good walk and explore the university in your first few days before your timetable officially starts. Rather than go by yourself, this is a great idea for something to do with your housemates.
    • Where are the best coffee shops or places to eat for good lunch?
    Societies & Fresher’s fairs
    • Firstly embrace the experience and try and get involved in everything you think you’ll enjoy. Open your mind to new music and cultures and above all find yourself in your new city.
    • University is probably the best opportunity you will ever have to try new sports, games, hobbies and activities. These will never be so cheap and easily available again. Have a look around the stalls at Fresher’s fairs and see what takes your fancy.
    • Try something different or unusual. Smaller societies are often grateful for members and will devote more effort to each member, making them a more rewarding experience. More obscure sports are often more willing to cater for beginners, whereas mainstream sports may require previous experience of playing at a high level. Some big sports societies even insist on trials.
    Going out
    • Have a few taxi numbers in your phone contacts, just in case you get lost. Plus any phone numbers for your new friends - in case you get separated.
    • Don't worry if you're a bit nervous about going out - it can be a scary time for any fresher because you're still getting to know people.
    • Second and third year students are helpful people to approach for advice on which events to go to. They are also usually the people who are selling tickets for the different nights. Talk to them when you buy tickets.
    • You can look at the different nights which are available on the university notice boards. Most Students' Unions will send you info about fresher’s week before you arrive - if not check out their website. Tickets always sell out for the most popular events, so make sure you get them early!
    Money & Budgeting
    • Always remember that being a student entitles you to student discount in most places, so always remember to ask before you pay.
    • Look out for discounts promotions in supermarkets, restaurants, bars and clothes shops to save extra pennies
    • Work out what you have to spend each week - and stick to it. If you do over-spend, then make sure you have a lean week next week to make up for it.
    • Christmas is expensive - parties, clothes, and presents to buy. Keep a bit of money back for this.
    • Look for cheaper versions of toiletries etc. in Pound Shops. Quite often this stuff is bankrupt stock - nothing wrong with it, just going cheaper.
    • You don’t have to necessarily buy an NUS card as your university card entitles you to most of the same discounts
    Food
    • Agree in advance what is and what is not communal food. Most kitchen groups treat milk, butter, washing up liquid, toothpaste and toilet roll as communal and simply take it in turns to buy them.
    • Try to keep in a few tins of beans and tomato soup: perfect for emergency meals.
    • Eat together where possible... have a curry evening or a spaghetti bolognese and take it in turns with your neighbours to host it. It works out way cheaper than cooking for one, and if you host your meal and run out of cash for food later in the week, at least you know dinner is being provided by one of your housemates!
    • Market stalls are usually far cheaper for buying vegetables than in a supermarket. Vegetables are considerably cheaper than meat. Try to use them as the basis for the majority of meals. This is not only frugal but also extremely healthy.
    • If you can't share, cook more than you need and freeze some for another day. It saves money, both on food and on fuel used for cooking.
    • Ready meals from supermarkets may look like the answer to eating without cooking. Just be aware that they are far more expensive than making it yourself - and usually full of nasty stuff like salt and saturated fat. A healthy diet they are not.
    Books, reading lists & staying organised
    • Just because a book is on your reading list does not mean you have to buy it! You should borrow from your university library. Only buy books that you are specifically told to by your tutors and, even then, you can usually borrow these from the library.
    • Most books on your reading list (especially for arts/humanities/social science subjects) you will either read once, or read just a chapter from each book. Next week's reading will be a whole new list of books. This is why you shouldn't even think of buying them.
    • You can buy good copies of most uni text books 2nd hand - just make sure they are the right 'edition' (i.e. published in the right year). If in doubt get the most up to date one.
    • Always keep a diary or make note of deadlines and meetings in your phone. Staying super organised is the key to not falling behind and not getting stressed.
    Staying safe
    • There's safety in numbers: try to stick with a group of people.
    • Familiarise yourself with the new area before going out.
    • If you're in a club, never leave your drink unattended at any time.
    • Being at uni you want to try 'new things'. Just be aware of what you are trying. People will tell you 'it' is 'really, really safe', but is it? Think carefully.
    • All universities have a counselling service, and many have a Nightline/Helpline. If you are feeling depressed, talk to someone. Some people feel very homesick when they leave home for the first time - it's normal, but it can also make your first term at uni unhappy. Talk to other people about how you are feeling, and if you get very low, reach out for help from your university.
  • We are proud to announce that Parklane has won the bronze medal in the Sunday Times Lettings Agency of The Year award 2015!

    On Friday 12th June, over 550 leading letting agents from throughout the UK attended a glittering ceremony at The Lancaster London Hotel opposite Hyde Park where the winners of the most highly regarded awards in the lettings industry were revealed. According to the judges: “Parklane Properties occupies a fantastic office providing interactive equipment and a tailored mixture of online and personal services. This agency goes the extra mile to communicate with students using engaging and effective channels.” Winning this award so soon after winning the Landlord and Lettings Award for Letting Agent of the Year 2014 is further confirmation that Parklane is the number 1 student lettings agency in Leeds, and we aim to continue our amazing track record of offering the best student accommodation in Leeds.
  •  High-spec, luxury studio and one bed apartments for Students, set to be finished for late 2015 in the heart of Leeds. Introducing IconInc, a brand new student development by the Parklane group, which aims to totally redefine student living in Leeds. Offering high-spec apartments with all the luxury and added extras of a boutique hotel. More than that however, IconInc promises to be a student hub, with personal learning and development at the heart of the project. Combining state-of-the-art technology, modern design and enlivening social spaces to enrich the university experience. IconInc is located on Burley Road opposite the popular student halls ‘Opal 1 & 2’, meaning it will be perfectly situated for students at both universities and within a short bus journey of either campus. What is on offer?  As far as living space goes IconInc provides the most premium experience on offer within Leeds. The luxury apartments will be fully kitted out offering completely furnished modern design, with cutting edge technology, as well as a 24 concierge with staff available at all times. One of the many perks to living at IconInc will be the 24-hour gym. No matter what time of the day (or night) you fancy pumping some iron, it will always be available; this will be accessible for every tenant at IconInc free of charge. Social spaces IconInc will provide a range of stimulating social areas, with a cinema and games room for down time and a library and study area for when the uni work gets on top of you. If you need to meet with class mates there will be meeting areas, and private study rooms where you can run through presentations or discuss a group project. Much more than this, IconInc aims to inspire the students of today to become the icons of tomorrow, through providing the perfect balance of learning and social spaces. Outside of university studies there will also be external lecturers speaking regularly which will be free to attend and will cover a range of subjects. These aim to provide each individual with a well-rounded knowledge base on top of what they are already studying. How much will it cost?  Rooms start at £140 pppw, which includes bills and all of the aforementioned features. IconInc will also be providing some optional extras, particularly for overseas students, providing extra learning materials and an extensive range of gadgets and technology. IconInc believes that creativity is born from people coming together and through this it aims to provide the perfect environment to further your learning and to achieve your goals. If you are looking for a modern, luxury living space and to be inspired daily through art, culture and design then IconInc will be the perfect living space for you. For more information on IconInc, the services available or to book a viewing for 2015, visit the website below.
  • It is that time of year again, and the finalists for the 2014/15 Landlord & Letting Awards have been announced. The awards were set up in 2009 as a way of recognising and rewarding excellence in the private rented sector, while also helping to raise the standards set by landlords and businesses. Since then the awards have grown in stature and here at Parklane we are proud to be part of such a well respected accolade. This year Parklane Properties has been recognised for our achievements within the city of Leeds, and have been shortlisted among finalists for the ‘Best Website’ and ‘Best Customer Service’. The winners of each category will be announced at a gala dinner held at Stoneleigh Park later this evening. If you are a current or past tenant of Parklane and have any positive experiences of the agency and the areas we have been nominated within, get in touch with us via our Facebook or Twitter pages posted below. Let us know the reasons you chose to go with Parklane and what it is about living in Leeds that you love so much.  

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