Food & Drink

Give It Don’t Bin It

With summer quickly approaching and house moves coming up for many, it’s time for another of the hugely successful Give It Don’t Bin It campaigns. As a student who has loved living in Manchester for years, this is definitely one of the easiest ways students can give to charity, help reduce their carbon footprint, and give back to the local community.

Give It Don’t Bin It is an annual collaboration between Manchester University, MMU, the logo_newsarticleCouncil and charities to encourage students to recycle and donate their unwanted items to the British Heart Foundation and foodbanks as they pack up for the summer. Last year, students donated a tremendous 124 tonnes to the charity which raised £230,723 towards lifesaving treatments and research.  This fantastic amount helped to fund 43 Defibrillators, 38 CPR kits, 4 Heart Start Groups, 13 British Heart Foundation Shops and 51 Research Grants!

GIDBI_Food_transparentNot only does Give It Don’t Bin It make a great contribution to medical research, but it also means that hundreds of tonnes of unwanted possessions are recycled instead of going to landfill.  In addition to helping the environment this saved the city £50,000 in landfill costs in 2015.

Together, long-term residents, landlords and Manchester Leadership Programme students contribute hundreds of volunteer hours to pack and deliver charity donation bags and blue and brown recycling bags to students across the city.

All you have to do is but your unwanted things in the British Heart Foundation bags and drop it off at one of the donation banks found all over Manchester.  You can donate almost any clean and reusable items, such as small electronics, clothes, books, shoes and CDs.  A single bag could be worth over £14, so please think twice before throwing away your old possessions!GIDBI_Bag2_transparent

Give It Don’t Bin It packs are delivered to most student neighbourhoods, and to all students in Halls of Residences so keep your eyes peeled for yours. From drop off points in halls for British Heart Foundation to dates for extra recycling collections in student areas – the packs tell you what you can donate and what you  recycle and (importantly) how.  But, if you’re keen to make a start and yours hasn’t arrived you can find all the information on the Give it Don’t Bin it website

Let’s see what amazing things we can achieve this year!

Top 5 Vegan and Vegetarian Eats Near Campus

Greenhouse Café @GreenhouseUOM

I thought I should point this one out first because despite having been on campus for nearly a year, I only actually discovered this gem a couple of weeks ago. The food is super yummy, with both hot and cold, vegan and veggie options on offer. I had the vegetable stew and a piece of vegan chocolate cake, both of which I thoroughly enjoyed and my friend tells me that the quiche was gorgeous too. The hot meals come in at £5.25, perhaps a treat on a student budget, but the soups and broth cost just £2.50 with a piece of fresh baked bread. Not bad at all. It can be found down the side of University Place and can be bit tricky to come across if your classes aren’t nearby, but here’s a map to help you out.IMG_8171

Falafil Express

I LOVE this place. It’s on Oxford Road, situated in the row of shops opposite All Saints Park (MMU) about 10 minutes’ walk from the SU. A medium, incredibly tasty, falafel wrap will cost you just £3 and they also do fresh juices and smoothies. It’s a win win really. Plus you get to load up your wrap with whatever veggies and sauces you like, which is great if you’re a fussy eater like me. You can see more of the menu here though the prices are a little out of date.

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8th Day Cooperative @EighthDayVeg

If you are vegan (or a lactose intolerant vegetarian such as myself) you know how hard it is to find good dairy free cake. Not only does this place provide a whole array of tasty treats to choose from, it also doubles as a shop and a café. Downstairs, you’ll find hot vegan and veggie meals, whilst upstairs you can browse the aisles for any hard-to-find meat and dairy free goodies for cooking at home. The prices vary depending on what you want to buy, but the take-away pasties are super cheap at around £1.50 – £2.50 and the cakes even cheaper. Oh, and it’s located just a couple of doors down from Falafil Express.

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Sidney Street Café @TheProudTrust

This lovely little caff is just around the corner from 8th Day and is a community project run predominantly by volunteers in aid of The Proud Trust, which is an active charity working to support LGBT+ youth in the local area. They make all their food from scratch, often with ingredients grown and harvested in their allotments. The menu offers up various hot butties and a salad bar, but my favourite is the killer veggie chili, which you can get with either rice for £3.50 or nachos for a pound extra. I also highly recommend their vegan brownies which are only £1.50!

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Earth Café @EarthCafeManc

Although this one isn’t possible as a quick stop off between lectures, I couldn’t not include it. Located in Northern Quarter next to the Manchester Buddhist Centre, they do a mix and match menu which changes up every day and depending on the seasons, which makes for an interesting menu for the adventurous foodie. As I’m a bit of a chilli fiend, this is again one of my favourite dishes they do, but I’ve also had a super tasty mushroom pie and veggie roll amongst other things. One main and one side costs just £4, or if you’re after a feast, it’s £7 for two mains and two sides. They also do a selection of refreshing smoothies and vegan cakes.

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This is just a taste (pun intended) of the yummy vegan and veggie places in Manchester. There are loads more, such as Fuel in Withington, V-Rev in Northern Quarter and the SU providing a small vegan menu (with all meat free options half price on Mondays!), so there’s plenty of options to choose from!

Top City Centre Study Spaces

As exam dates and coursework deadlines approach you’ll probably find yourself spending more and more time at a desk studying.  This could be in the library, at home or in the Learning Commons; however it’s also a good idea to escape campus now and again and treat yourself to a change of scenery.

Learning in different environments can improve our abilities to retain and recall information, and spending time in a variety of locations can help refresh our weary minds.  Manchester city centre has an amazing selection of study spaces, including cosy cafes, trendy bars and historic libraries, so why not explore and give some a try?

Here are 5 of my favourite city centre study spaces:

  1. North Tea Power

36 Tib Street, Manchester M4 1LA

One of Northern Quarter’s most highly acclaimed coffee shops, NTP is a favourite haunt of young-professionals and students.  With award-winning espresso, a great deli and a chic, relaxed atmosphere, this space is great for enjoying the classic Northern Quarter culture whilst making the most of their speedy Wi-Fi, plentiful power sockets and cosy corners to work in.  The large workbenches are a great place to mingle with other coffee lovers and get motivated by those around you.  If you’re hooked by their delicious teas and coffees you can by the beans in bulk too.

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  1. Central Library

St Peter’s Square, Manchester M2 5PD

As well as being one of Manchester’s most iconic buildings, the beautiful Central Library is positioned in the heart of the city, next door to the Manchester Town Hall.  Here, you can browse the UK’s second largest public book collection, have a quiet study session beneath the Pantheon-like dome of the Great Hall, and make use of their extensive archives.  There are miles and miles of book shelves both above and below ground, and also  a huge selection of fiction which you might struggle to find in your typical academic library.

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  1. Fig and Sparrow

20 Oldham St, Manchester M1 1JA

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F&S is a cute coffee shop tucked away on Northern Quarter’s Oldham Street, and offers artisan coffee, loose-leaf tea and a big selection of tasty treats, as well as selling teapots, candles and other trinkets.  F&S can feel quite intimate due to its small size, but it’s also well-lit and airy, and its large tables which you can share with others, give the place a nice warm community vibe which I find very motivating.

  1. John Rylands Library

150 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3EHpic4

John Ryland’s in one of the University’s finest cultural assets and is also one of Manchester’s architectural highlights.  Built in the late 19th century, you can marvel at the Neo-Gothic building style whilst being nestled amongst dark wood bookshelves, red carpets and ancient texts.  The main reading room is a beautiful space illuminated with stained glass windows and old-fashioned lamps, and captures a quiet tranquillity that’s a wonderful contrast to the hustle and bustle of Deansgate Road outside.

In this cathedral-like atmosphere it’s easy to imagine that you’re centuries in the past, however the omnipresent UoM Wi-Fi and aroma of espresso in the entrance hall make the most out of old and new.

During your study breaks, explore the Harry Potter-esque halls and check out the exhibitions spread about the library, which often cover art, literature, linguistics and history.  My top tip is to come here in the week – tourists flock here on the weekends!

  1. Last, but not least: Foundation Coffee House

Sevendale House, Lever St, Manchester M1 1JB

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FCH is my favourite study spot.  Its minimalistic décor, spacious layout and big windows provide plenty of natural light and lots of space to spread out your notes. Its chilled-out music also really helps getting my brain into study mode.

FCH also offer a wonderful range of coffees, cakes, smoothies, sandwiches and breakfasts, with vegan and gluten-free options  – I’m a big fan of their brownies.  FCH combines the airy lightness of an art gallery with cosy coffee shop sounds and aromas, producing a fantastic study space which you can enjoy with all your senses.

Top 5 coffee shops & tea houses

Caffeine is many students’ antidote to mid-term assignments, late night studying and dissertation writing. And while coffee plays a big role in work efficiency, so does the space that you study in. So why not combine the two?

Manchester has a great number of independent coffee shops and tea houses, which provide the perfect environment to study in. Here are the top 5 coffee shops and tea houses for you to check out.

  1. Ziferblatzifeblat

A unique spot where you pay for the time you spend there and you can have all the tea, coffee and cakes you can eat! The café aims to provide a relaxing and motivating space for customers. There are areas for group study sessions or smaller tables if you want to study on your own. I find that it’s a great place to concentrate and study.  I find it a great place to manage my time and not procrastinate.

23 Edge St, Manchester M4 1HW

  1. Earth Café

A great place for vegans and vegetarians! Earth café serves 100% vegan and gluten free food, the only dairy is in hot drinks as an alternative to soya. They also serve freshly made veggie meals every day, if you want to grab a bite too. I usually go for a juice or smoothie with a piece of chocolate cake.

16-20 Turner St, Manchester M4 1DZ

  1. Nexus art café@NexusArtCafe

Nexus art café is a creative community space which promotes emerging creative artists. It is a calm and homely café, which is great when you need somewhere comfortable to write those essays! An exclusively alcohol free venue; the menu includes drinks, sandwiches and soup of the day, there’s something for everyone to pick from when you need refuelling. The café also regularly holds gigs and exhibitions, so do visit of that interests you!

2 Dale St, Manchester M1 1JW

  1. The Anchor Coffee Housepic4

Just a 10 minute walk from the University! The Anchor coffee house is a great space to focus in and grab something from their range of coffees, bagels and snacks at the same time. Registered as a charity, money earned by the coffee house goes towards a greater cause, so when you grab a drink you’re doing your bit for the community too!

508 Moss Ln E, Manchester M14 4PA

  1. Fig + Sparrowpic5

Half coffee shop, half lifestyle store; Fig + Sparrow serve a range of teas and coffees, with a small breakfast, lunch and cake menu. A perfect little stress-free place, where the staff are incredibly welcoming. I find it a great place to relax and study at the same time. It’s also a great place to have group study sessions. They also have a store, which you can check out when you visit the café!

20 Oldham St, Manchester M1 1JA

So, there you have it, my top 5 independent coffee shops and teahouses! All of the places listed are just a bus ride away from the University and are easy to find as well. Go check out the spaces and grab a hot drink, a snack and a book! Where’s your favourite spot? Got any suggestions? Please leave a comment!

Tasnim x

Top 5 coffee shops to write your PhD literature review in…

If you’re just starting out on your PhD course this September chances are you’ll be spending a lot of time between now and Christmas learning your subject and writing the literature review. While it’s good to spend time in the office, learn the ropes and get to know your colleagues, it is also useful to change the scenery once in a while and work away from your desk.

A good coffee shop is the perfect escape and Manchester has plenty for you to choose from! And no, I’m not talking about the 10,000 branches of Starbucks you find across the city. Let’s face it, you’re not going to be motivated to get any work done when you’re drinking overpriced coffee from a paper cup surrounded by swathes of undergraduates Instagramming their skinny-soy-caramel-cappuccinos. If independent tea and coffee shops are more your thing, here are my favourites that I think you should try…

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Ezra and Gil

20 Hilton Street M1 1FR

Situated in the Northern Quarter, Ezra and Gil is 100% hipster. Offering teas, coffees and ‘provisions’, it is a peaceful space resembling a Victorian warehouse with exposed brick walls and wooden tables. There are chairs set out by the window sills so you can watch the world go by as you write. There are also plenty of plug points for laptops!

 

Pot Kettle Black

Barton Arcade, M3 2WB

PKB is a specialty coffee shop located in the Victorian, glass-roofed Barton Arcade just off Deansgate. It is the perfect spot for people who really appreciate good coffee and an ideal destination on a rainy, autumnal day. You can get cosy and stay protected from weather outside while you crack on writing with no distractions.

 

North Tea Power

34 Tib Street, M4 1LANTP

If, like me, you love a loose leaf tea or a choice of coffee beans, then North Tea Power is the place for you. It has a huge selection to choose from; so much more than just a simple tea or coffee! The large tables mean you’ll probably be sharing space with other tea-lov
ers who are writing their literature reviews too which I always find motivating!

 

Grindsmith

Greengate Square, M3 5AS

This one is definitely for coffee lovers. Situated on Deansgate, Grindsmith is a trendy coffee stop which aims to be ‘a modern oasis in the heart of a busy city, with an aim to engage, reconnect and refuel the people of Manchester’. The space itself is often used for events and the huge windows look out onto the busy street. So, if you like people-watching while you ponder, then Grindsmith is your spot!

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Propertea

Manchester Cathedral visitors centre, 10 Cateaton Street, M3 1SQ

If Grindsmith is for the coffee drinkers then this one is for the tea lovers. Propertea is just across from Manchester Cathedral and offers a huge selection of, you guessed it, tea served loose leaf in a pot as it should be. It is a peaceful and bright café which always looks lovely, especially on a sunny day. They also serve great sandwiches and cakes to keep you going. A definite must if you’re after a calm, distraction-free zone!

 

So there you have it! Manchester’s best hidden coffee gems! Good luck with the literature review and if you see me in there writing my thesis, come say hi! 😉

5 Places To Go In Between Lectures

Now, I don’t know about you, but if I have made the effort to get up for a 10am
lecture (ugh, I know), then I want to make the most of it. Although it is tempting to
admit defeat and roll back into bed, it’s highly unlikely that you will make it out again
for your afternoon lecture. So I have taken the liberty of compiling a list of the top 5
places for you to go to in between lectures, either by yourself to catch up on lecture
reading or with your mates for some relaxing time before you get back to the hard
graft! This is great information to know for during Welcome Week, where you have
lots of introductory lectures – it’s well worth asking the person next to you if they want
to go for a coffee after it’s over. You never know, you might just find your new best
mate!

Oxford Road Starbucks (by the hospital/medical school)

This is a Starbucks that not many students are aware about, as it is tucked inside the
main entrance gates to the hospital, but it’s well worth the find. Enormous,
comfortable and flooded with natural light from its huge windows, this Starbucks is
the perfect place to grab coffee with a friend in between lectures, or just to come by
yourself to do some reading. The baristas are so friendly and it is such a relaxed
atmosphere. Definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for somewhere to work or
just to chill.

Lawn outside the Learning Commons

A typical image of the University Prospectus shows a lively group of studentsAli g
relaxing languidly on the lawn outside the Learning Commons, and if you come here,
this image could become a reality. Perfect on a summer or early Autumn day, the
Learning Commons are the ideal place to relax or have lunch during a study break.

There are a few benches if you don’t like bugs crawling all over you, but you’ll
probably be more focused on the imminent possibility of rain.

 SU Bar

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A favourite of mine for a spot of lunch (the grilled chicken is so good!) the Student
Union Bar is a good, central place to hang out in between lectures and also a good
place to spend your money because it goes back to the University, and you are also
supporting the students that work there. There are TVs with Friends reruns, pool
tables, cheap drinks and a huge array of food. The SU Bar will definitely become a
regular spot if you are a student at the University of Manchester.

The Atrium

atrium

Also not a very well-known place, The Atrium is located on the first floor of University
Place (the tin can building) and has many facilities such as student support,
academic guidance, workshops and counselling. However, The Atrium also has a
great study area where you can relax or catch up with uni work. There is WiFi
access, computers, a printer and a photocopier and comfy sofas with places to plug
you laptop or phone in, what’s not to like? The Atrium is also a great place to try if
you’re struggling to find a space to study in the Learning Commons.

The Library Lounge

Definitely my go-to if I need to kill some time in between lectures, the Library Lounge
is a small café selling hot and cold sandwiches, soup, noodles, crisps, chocolate and
drinks. However it’s also somewhere you can eat your own packed lunch, while
catching up with friends or finishing off some work. The radio is always on and there
is a relaxed atmosphere. Some students also use the Library Lounge for group
revision sessions, so it’s definitely worth trying out if you and your friends are looking
for somewhere to work together!

Corn Exchange – Manchester’s new Restaurant Hub

At weekends when you’ve been exploring the city centre, shopping with friends or showing your visiting parents around the time is bound to come when you’re ready for a bite to eat. When I first moved to Manchester 3 years ago it was trickier than you would think to find somewhere to eat close to the shops – the Deansgate restaurants were numbered (though there are a lot more these days!), the Spinningfield restaurants were just a bit too far away and Harvey Nichols/Selfridges both usually require a booking (but definitely worth a visit for a special occasion!). Safe to say however that finding somewhere to dine in the city centre is no longer an issue due to the recently revamped and reopened Corn Exchange.

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