University and the start of a life living independently is just around the corner. Have you thought about how able you are in the kitchen, or whether you can work the washing machine? It will make all the difference if you can get to grips with these simple skills before you leave home, or as soon as after! Read our tips below and begin making friends with the cooker and washing machine today!
Why it’s important to have some kitchen practice…
There are so many reasons to learn to cook. Now is the time to enlist the help of whoever does the cooking in your house and find out how to cook at least three cheap and easy meals that you love and will impress your friends and housemates.
- Getting some practice in before you move out means you won’t feel as daunted using the kitchen for the first time in your new home.
- With practice comes confidence and you’ll find you want to experiment and try new dishes throughout the year. Your friends will be inspired!
- Freshly prepared meals equal more energy, less getting sick and better brain performance. Students are renowned for falling ill at the end of the first term after a poor diet of cheese toasties, pot noodles and pizza. Some feel so rubbish they even feel like quitting university – this can be avoided!
- Cooking and having meals together as a flat is a really nice way to socialise and get to know your flatmates. With your new found confidence in front of the hob, they’ll be coming to you for advice on how to cook!
- Even though it won’t stop you missing Mum’s home cooking, you’ll be able to rustle up some familiar dishes when comfort food is in order
- Having your wits about you in the kitchen means that you’re less likely to set the smoke detector off and evacuate the building, be it a real fire or a false alarm – no-one wants to be that person!
For inspiration, a good place to start is on the BBC GoodFood website. There’ll also be a wide array of how to videos on YouTube, or if you prefer going old school, get a student cook book with lots of photos. The jump to living independently will be a bit less daunting if you are more in control about looking after yourself and more control means less stress!
Speed dating with the washing machine…
Whilst you’re still at home, it’s also the perfect time to ask whoever does your washing for an introduction – with all the different programmes and symbols, using a washing machine for the first time can be a bit like trying to decipher a secret code! It’s likely you’ll do most of your washes on synthetics and cotton and working out how to use a washing machine before you move means you can avoid some common washing disasters:
If you’re not careful, it’s easy for clothing to come out a size smaller than when it first went in (NOOOO!): Don’t set the temperature too high. Generally you’re safe at 30 degrees and most detergents will get your clothes clean at this temperature. Do your bit for the environment – only if things are really dirty should you set the dial higher.
This one hurts – that favourite white top turns a dirty grey, pink or blue: Remember to separate your whites and colours and be aware of coloured underpants sneaking into a whites wash! If you don’t have enough for a full a load ask if any of your family or housemates need something washed.
That lovely going out top could be destroyed if the spin speed is set too high: Clothes need gentle loving just like us so go easy on the spin with your delicates. You might even want to try a delicates wash – just be warned you will probably need to set a separate, lower speed spin afterwards to avoid dealing with dripping wet clothes!
You’ve still got time to get to know the washing machine and cooker before uni starts so save yourself unnecessary stress with some practice at home. I’m sure your family won’t mind!