Andy’s Mushroom and Spinach Lasagne


Are you a fan of Italian food? Thinking of something healthy and a bit light, with no meat? Or vegetarian? Try a mushroom spinach Lasagne! Pour yourself some Pinot Grigio wine and some nice garlic bread and enjoy!


Mushroom Spinach Lasagne


Lasagne noodles

A box of fresh mushrooms, sliced.

2-3 packages of frozen spinach

Package of mozzarella cheese-Shredded.

Bin of Ricotta cheese (1 pint will suffice)

1 tea spoon of salt

1 tbsp. of Black Pepper

1-3 Dash of Italian Spice.

1-3 jars of Alfredo Sauce



Spray a good size casserole dish with non-stick spray and set aside.

Pre-heat oven to 350 F.

Cook noodles until done and strain in a colander. Set aside.

Take spinach and place it in a 2-quart pot with some water and proceed to boil. Add spices, salt and pepper to the spinach. Cook until done, strain all the water out and set aside.

Slice mushrooms up and set them aside.

When making the lasagne you want to layer the ingredients. How you want to make the layers is really up to you. The way I layered it was: noodle, sauce, mushrooms, cheese, spinach, Ricotta cheese, noodle and sauce again; and repeat until you have 3-4 layers. Once you have your layers in your casserole dish you want to use the left-over sauce and cover the lasagne with it. And top with cheese.

Cook in the oven covered with tin foil or a top for about 20 minutes, then uncover until dish is bubbling and cheese is all melted.


Ben’s Tips for Staying Sober


It’s generally believed that students spend large portions of their time at the institutions at which they study intoxicated to some degree or another. Now, there’s nothing at all wrong with this, but what is often forgotten is that there is a sizeable portion of students who for either reasons concerning their health, religion, or simply because they don’t want to, forgo drinking entirely. When this is the case, it can be intimidating to be around so many people who are drinking. If this is the case for you, here are some things worth bearing in mind when it comes to trying to remain teetotal at university.

First of all, remember you don’t need to drink to have a good time with a group of people who are. Assuming the individuals you are with are okay with you not drinking – and anyone who is reasonable should be – they’ll be happy to continue to interact and otherwise have fun with you, and you needn’t feel left out for not joining in drinking. When people congregate and drink, the actual imbibing of the alcohol is only half of what people are actually enjoying, as the other half is the rituals people associate with drinking: having friends in one space at a time, taking part in common activities, but this activity isn’t necessarily drinking – it’s talking, and having fun, and anticipating the evening to come! These are all things that can be done and be enjoyed whilst sober as well as things that can be done and enjoyed around people who are sober. By bearing this in mind, it makes spending and enjoying the time you spend around those are drinking much easier.

That said, it is understandable if certain social events – such as clubbing – seem less enjoyable while sober. Perhaps you’d still like to try them, and maybe still enjoy them, but if you don’t on account of sobriety and would rather find alternative ways to spend your evenings, they exist! Your housemates or friends likely won’t go out every night, and it’s also likely they’d be happy to try activities where drinking is less central. But failing that, the University of Reading hosts many relaxed activities of this type and even has a society dedicated to people who choose not to drink – the “R U Not Drinking Much” Society, which has free membership and regularly hosts open offer events that lack a focus on alcohol, so should you need too, or even if you just want to meet others who prefer to stay sober, they exist.

Nozomi’s Dinner Time


Recipe: Brown Rice Bowl with Lentils, Caramelized Onions & Fried Egg

One of the many survival methods you will pick up whilst at university is cooking (unless you’re in catered halls of course). This is a simple and nutritious recipe I’ve been cooking for a short while now and I really enjoy. Feel free to add things to this as well as it’s a pretty customisable meal.

(portion accordingly)

Brown basmati rice
Green lentils
Vegetable stock
Olive oil
Yellow onions, thinly sliced
Garlic clove, minced
Parsley leaves, finely chopped
Black pepper

  • In a large saucepan, bring the broth to a boil. Add the brown rice, lentils, and a hefty pinch of salt, and return to a boil. Cook until the rice and lentils are done.
  • In a frying pan, heat the olive oil over.
    Add in the sliced onions and cook until deeply browned.
    Add small amounts of water to prevent onions from burning and to caramelise.
    When the onions are deeply golden and almost finished, add in the minced garlic and cook.
    Add other chosen vegetables and/or meats accordingly
  • Once ready, put half the mixture into the brown rice and lentils bowl. Reserve the rest for serving (or even the following day!)
  • Wipe the pan used to cook clean, lightly grease with olive oil, and return to heat. Crack an egg into the pan and cook to your desired doneness.
    Sprinkle the top of the egg with salt, pepper, and a dash of paprika.
  • Once done, place the fried egg into the bowl.
    Garnish with the remaining caramelized onions, garlic and other chosen vegetables and/or meats.


(recipe adapted from )

International Food Stalls on Campus


So you’ve made it through hump day but need something else to keep you going till Friday? The international food stalls on campus are a perfect Thursday pick me up to warm you up on these colder days!

The stalls are outside the Palmer Building on Whiteknights Campus on Thursdays between 10am and 3pm.

I headed down there after a lecture at 1pm and it had a buzzing atmosphere with lots of hungry students and staff trying to decide which stall to pick!

There’s a BBQ, Caribbean food, Chinese, German, Scandinavian, American, Spanish and much more!

I saw that the Greek stall ‘pitta-pitta’ was very popular so I decided to give that a try. I got the chicken gyros in a wrap for a reasonable £4.50. It was a warm pitta bread filled with tzatziki, tomatoes, onions, chicken and chips, with a selection of sauces to choose from. It was delicious!

This was a very comforting choice on a grey day and spurred me on to finish my assignment. I highly recommend the Greek stall and I will definitely be going back to the international food stalls to try a different one next week!

Lucy’s Mascarpone Pasta


This recipe for mascarpone pasta is my “go to” dinner at university. Whenever I get in late from a lecture and can not be bothered to cook properly (or even when I just fancy it!) I make this dish. I love this recipe because it is healthy, easy and quick to make and it tastes delicious! It is also incredibly versatile as you can add and take out ingredients. So if you are not a fan of your greens you could substitute courgette for peppers – you can literally chuck anything in! You can even swap the pasta for some rice to make it into a tasty risotto – this will definitely impress your flat mates!


One chicken breast

One onion

Half a courgette

Two bacon rashers

A couple of handfuls of spinach

Pasta (this depends how much you want but I would go for two handfuls per person)

(serves two)


Step one: Boil some water on the hob and add the pasta once the water starts to boil.

Step two: Fry the chicken in a pan in some olive oil until it starts to brown.

Step three: Whilst waiting for the chicken to cook, chop up an onion and chuck it in the pan.

Step four: Chop up the courgette and put that in too.

Step five: Cut up a couple of bacon rashers and add to the pan.

Step six: Throw in the spinach.


Step eight: Check the pasta is al dente and drain. Then add it into the other pan.

Step nine: Dollop in a spoon of mascarpone and stir it round along with some salt and pepper.


Bon appétit!

Ways to Avoid Procrastinating


We’ve all been there where we are really struggling to motivate ourselves to complete our work. Sometimes it’s important to have a break because otherwise we get burnt out and resent studying. But sometimes we need to find strategic ways to help us stay more focused. Here are my top tips on how to avoid procrastinating:

  • Have a ‘spring clean’ of your phone apps. As much as you may love them, ask yourself are there any that I find far too distracting and don’t desperately need? If so, delete them! Honestly, I found that when I’ve deleted distracting apps from my phone I’ve been able to stay a lot more focused. Sometimes, just simply changing your notification settings can also be a huge help. There are many apps out there that can help you to stay more focused. One that I’ve enjoyed using is called Forest. You set a timer for the amount time you want to stay focused, the app will then start to grow a virtual tree. If you unlock your phone, the tree will die. Sometimes even when my phone is on silent and no notifications are popping up, I’m still tempted to look at it. There are days where I just have to stick to put it away somewhere. “Out of sight out of mind”!
  •  Go somewhere that you will do work. If studying at home doesn’t work for you, go to the library or use one of the other study spaces on campus. If you like studying with friends, but it’s too distracting – you may need to consider studying independently, unless of course you are doing group work with your friends – but make an agreement to keep each other on track.
  • Have something in mind to reward yourself with after a long study session.
  • Keep your ultimate goal in mind: to leave uni with a degree to your name.
  • Think about why you are procrastinating… sometimes I procrastinate because I am tired and lacking the energy I need to do my work. Therefore, sleep is very important, and I know we all get sick of hearing it, but it’s so true – we try and survive on much less sleep than we actually need! Other times I procrastinate because I don’t enjoy certain tasks or find them really daunting. I find thing to do is to get those tasks over and done with first, in order to get a weight off my shoulders and then I’m able to look forward to the tasks that I enjoy and find less daunting!
  • Put up motivational/inspirational posters and notes to yourself – this is something I’ve found useful and also it helps to make your room to look better. You can buy some fantastic posters here.

Hope these tips help and all the best for a successful procrastination free year!

R.U. Not Drinking Much? Society


What is it about?

The R.U. Not Drinking Much? Society is a place with no pressure to drink alcohol as there are many people who just want to have a good time together without drinking being the main event. This society is open to everyone regardless of whether they drink alcohol a lot or not. They have a welcoming environment, which lets you socialise in and have fun at their events. It provides alternative entertainment for people who cannot or do not want to drink alcohol for whatever reason even if it’s just for one night. Therefore, for those who drink, it lets you save money on nights out that would have normally been spent on alcohol but still lets you have a great night.

My experience

I have been a part of the R.U. Not Drinking Much? Society since my first year at university and it’s been great so far. I am very comfortable in this society and was happy to meet other people who do not drink a lot of alcohol like me. At their events, I always had an enjoyable time since everyone there is really friendly and they all get along with each other. I like their events and have made lots of wonderful memories. I’m sure the other members would agree that the society is a lovely place to be and hang out with your friends. They have a very relaxed atmosphere, so you’d be warmly welcomed to any of their events even if you just come along to a few of them.

The events

The society has regular events every academic term, usually once or twice a week. They are typically held on a Monday or Friday evening on campus. Some examples of the wide variety of events they organise include board games nights, film nights and off-campus trips. Most of the society’s events are completely free to attend as well. Therefore, if you haven’t already tried out this society, you should definitely come along to one of their events. You can even invite your friends and family who are not a part of the University since the society has free membership for students and non-students. There is also an optional donation membership for anyone who would like to donate and contribute towards the society’s funding for their events. So, if you are interested and have some free time, you can find their events via their Facebook page:

Nozomi’s Halloween Treats


It is a known fact amongst most university students that there just doesn’t seem to be any time at university to do anything at all. So, what are we going to do for Halloween?
Perhaps you’re going to a fancy-dress party, or watching scary movies with your flatmates – either way, here is something you could definitely do with on Halloween…


Ingredients (portion accordingly)

2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
¼ c. Heavy cream / double cream, warmed
Mini chocolate chips

Graham crackers / digestive biscuits, for serving

Total Ingredients Cost (based on prices at Asda)



  1. Preheat oven to 450⁰.
  2. In the bottom of a baking dish, spread out the chocolate chips and pour the warmed cream on top.
  3. Cover completely with a single layer of marshmallows (pack them in tight!).
  4. Place the mini chocolate chips on the marshmallows to make little ghostly faces.
  5. Bake until the chocolate has melted, and the ghosts are golden (approximately 8 to 10 minutes).
  6. Serve warm with graham crackers / digestives for dipping!


Happy Halloween!



Reading University Tennis Club


Before starting this term, I decided that I would try out the Reading University Tennis Club. I used to play tennis a lot, and I enjoy watching it. With the opening of the indoor courts in the dome, I was motivated to get back into playing. So I turned up at the free taster session for beginners and intermediates during Freshers Week on Thursday evening at the courts on campus.

The session was very popular and consisted of different tennis games such as round the world and champions. The session was social and friendly as everyone chatted to each other. This session wasn’t judged on ability so was perfect for me to build up my confidence on the court again.

At the end of the session the committee did a wrap up talk and explained how the sessions will run in the future and how much membership is. If you’re a member of SportsPark, being a member of the tennis club is only £8 more a month which can be added to your direct debit gym membership. The membership allows you to book and go to any tennis session for free, book outside courts for free, book inside courts at a discounted rate and book tennis lessons at a discount too! So you definitely get your money’s worth!

The tennis club run sessions for all abilities from never played before to highly advanced.

The sessions are:

Student beginners Thursday 6-7pm

Student advanced Thursday 7-8pm

Open to all Saturday 10-12

Open to all Sunday 7-9pm

You book into the sessions online or at SportsPark to secure a place and registers are taken.

The club also run regular socials, such as themed events or bar crawls.


The committee for this year is:

President: Vicky Wild
Vice President: Rob Ventin
Treasurer: Frank Zhao
Secretary: Chrissi Ayre
Men’s 1st team captain: Sam Kingston
Men’s 2nd team captain: Tom Sage
Women’s captain: Holly Cottingham
Social Secs: Alex Taggart and Charlie Van Ders
Welfare: Emily Bunton


For more information, check out The Facebook group at:

Or message one of the committee and they will be happy to help!


Interview with my Liaison Librarian


I caught up with the Liaison Librarian for my school, to find out more about her role and how Library staff can support you during your time at Reading.

Please introduce yourself and your role at the University Library.
 I’m Rachel Redrup, a Liaison Librarian supporting students and staff at the University of Reading’s Institute of Education.

There is a Liaison Librarian for every University of Reading department whose students can always rely on to help them to make sense of any library queries throughout their course, especially at dissertation research time. As I have built up specialist knowledge of information in my department’s area, I can point my students to relevant academic databases; help them plan effective search strategies (strong search terms, truncation, limiting to certain fields); then reference correctly in the department’s style.

Liaison librarians also produce online subject guides and videos. We also spend a lot of time assisting teaching staff to produce online reading lists, checking links work, and that material is bought and made available in print or online.


How long have you worked at the Library? What do you love about working here?
I became an Education Liaison Librarian 17 years ago when Education was at Bulmershe Campus, moving to the library at Whiteknights in 2011. Like most information professionals, I enjoy helping people find the information they need. I have loved meeting so many friendly people at Reading and seeing students develop and flourish as they go through their courses. And I love our beautiful campuses!


What services does the library offer?
Have a look at our website. We provide:

  • online access to vast amounts of e-books, e-journals and other media through our website – resources that can only be accessed by University members
  • print books in the Library building (and an effective loan system for students)
  • study space in the URS building
  • Inter-Library Loans
  • Study Advisers, a Maths Support team and liaison librarians to give personal academic support and training, plus further instruction on our website.


What are your 5 top tips on effective use of the library?

  1. Never be afraid to ask your liaison librarian for help – if they can’t fix your problem right away, they will refer your query to the right person.
  2. Try the ‘Virtual Enquiry Service’ on our Library website to chat with professional library staff online when library buildings are staffed at a lower service level, or closed.
  3. Learn to ‘Make a booking’ on Course Collection books (normally 6-hours), so you can be sure to borrow overnight or over the weekend.
  4. If a book you borrowed is needed for another reader, do return it on time – that’s fair and you won’t owe fines – but remember you can then place a hold yourself to have another turn.
  5. Find out what is happening in the Library by following us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Besides, you’ll see librarians, and Hodor the Library duck, in a whole new light!


Are there any sessions or workshops coming up?
Anytime of year, you can ask your liaison librarian for an individual session on improving search skills: book online or email them. In term-time, our Study Advice team offer regular, free, small group sessions on a variety of study practices, whilst our Maths Support team provide regular workshops in all the key mathematical topics. Students undertaking research might benefit from termly introductory EndNote referencing software training sessions or visit liaison librarians with more advanced questions.


What are the Library opening times at the moment?
Up-to-date Library opening hours are always shown on the Library website itself. In term-time, the Library building is open for books 09:00-22:00 daily; the URS building is open for study space and services 24-hours, except 21:00 Saturday to 08:30 Sunday.


Rachel Redrup

Thank you Rachel! To find out more about Liaison Librarians click here.