My Faves

Click the bookmark icon to save all the stuff you love.

Be The First To Know

Your inside line on the new, unique and unmissable across Northamptonshire

Sign up to our newsletter

Reader Treats Just For You!

Muddy’s tried and tested tips for Uni…

All tips personally approved by Muddy's very own Lizzie Johnston (who got a first in Journalism despite spending A LOT of time in the pub)!

Moving to university is a huuuuge thing. First taste of proper freedom, learning how to budget, having to cook for yourself….every single day, and everyone will throw some adulting tips your way. So, instead of telling you how to save your dolla or make it to lectures on time, we’ve put together the tips you really need…

The guide to pre’s

‘How can students afford to go out so much?’ I hear you say. The answer to that is pre’s (pre drinks – those you consume at a much cheaper price before you go out). Starting early is key to saving the pennies and keeping your prime spot on the dancefloor because you won’t have to keep wandering to the bar to top up. Be creative, making cocktails with own brand booze and mixers, do a kitty with your housemates*, become an expert bargain shopper (Aldi’s own brand cider ain’t bad you know). But don’t over do it, no one wants to get rejected by the club for being tooooo drunk.

*It’s a fact, that like Jesus’s two little fishes and five loaves of bread, a kitty will stretch sooooooo much further than your own money!

Learn your drink enemy

Everyone has a drink enemy – a bad night on cider or wine and you’ll be hesitant to do it again. That said until your mate buys you an enemy bev and you down it to get it out of the way – BAD IDEA! It took me until third year to realise that 90p jagerbombs were not my friend, and no matter how hard I tried, we never got on. Stick to what you know, whether that be a Corona, G&T or Lidl’s white wine (the Chenin Blanc is lovely btw), you’ll always have a better night on a trustworthy bev (Editor’s notes – in my day the drink enemy was Pernod and black. The kids loved it. Necked it like it was JUST the black(currant). But beware, it makes everything red when it makes a reappearance; if you get what I’m saying)!

Dump the heels, pack the slippers

Comfort is key when it comes to any night out. Sore feet are not fun so save the pain for some posh event, not for a last minute night out. Club nights are simple – trainers, boots, flats etc. your shoes will end up covered in beer anyway so don’t wreck those cute stilettos (trainers are so easy to wash too – into a pillowcase and into the washing machine – sorted!).

Any formals/balls – pack some slippers!!! Roll them up and stick them in your clutch, it’s the best decision you’ll ever make and trust me, everyone will be wishing they’d done the same.

The housemate hunt

Befriend the person in your halls who knows how to cook – there’s a lot you can do with pasta but you’ll get bored of eating it, find someone who’s a bit creative with flavours or at least knows how to season properly.

Everyone has a nightmare housemate, don’t let it be you. Just empty the bin and clean the kitchen, it’ll frustrate you more if you try and protest by not washing up. There’ll always be someone who does the most cleaning and someone who does the least, just be co-operative and help each other out, it’ll make the living sitch a lot easier.

Master your make-up

Master the art of the morning smoky eye – keep makeup on from the night before so at 9am the next morning when you’re legging it to lectures you just top up the under eye kohl and own it (editor’s note – you will never understand until you’re over 40 how much you can carry this off at aged 18)! Concealer and a sponge are a handbag need. When the hangover hits mid-lecture and the under-eye bags start to appear, layer up the concealer can hide a multitude of sins. Smile. It also works wonders.

Channel your inner ooh la la

Shoving your hair up and it actually looking good is a skill that saves time so make French Girl Hair your signature look (they rarely use brushes)!

Take a headscarf or 4. They will cover a multitude of sins when you cannot be arsed but you still want to have a cool girl edge.

Dry shampoo – need I say more.

Don’t iron, a hairdryer has more uses than you think

We’ve all heard of ironing with hair straighteners but a hair dryer? Not so much. You may be baffled by this one but you’ll never know until you’ve tried, and trust me, this works. Get dressed, put the hair dryer on and waft away, easy solution to a creased top.

A tip approved by Mums – use your wardrobe and hang your things up, don’t throw them on the floor (not mastered this one yet – Lizzie or Ed).

Need a job? Try a pub/bar and thank us later…

If you like a lively atmosphere and a tipple, I couldn’t recommend bar work enough. My knowledge of craft beers and gins is pretty great compared to the other 21-year-olds I know and I’ve learned to to appreciate a quality drink. My tastebuds love it, bank balance? Not so much.

The evening work means you can go straight out afterwards, it’s a very convenient job (Ed’s note – I worked in a pub too. They let us have a few free drinks and even fed us when we rocked up a bit worse for wear. Our pub was run by a lively couple who looked after the barmaids – it was fine to call us that then – it was like having a second Mum and Dad).

Make it rain 

Just milk the whole thing and use that last tenner for a ‘Spoons trip. Spend what you want and deal with the consequences afterwards (this is not editor approved)!!! You don’t want to look back and think ‘wow I was boring’ just because you didn’t spend your last bit of change at the pub, you may be broke all of the time but make the most of it and ENJOY. You will look back at these days as some of the best of your life (those you can remember).

Contributing words Anna-Louise Dearden who was a University student in the dark ages!


Find more ideas here

EducationMost readWellbeing

Tell us what you think

Your email address will not be published.

* Required
* Required

Little Black Book

The Little Black Book

Our A-Z of the grooviest local businesses to help make your life easier

View the businesses
Home icon Back Home

The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Northamptonshire