Leave a comment


Summer’s here, and along with it becomes the inevitable long hours bathing in the sun, the impromptu trips to the beach, the flights to destinations near and far, the car/ coach/ train journeys to the hippest festivals and concerts, the ice creams, the partying, and everything else that defines university summer holidays. But don’t forget to consider your safety. We here at the SGO have compiled a ‘quick guide’ to holiday safety, to help make sure you have the summer you have dreamed of (and totally deserve after all that studying) and to ensure it doesn’t end in tears- sad tears anyway!

The SGO ‘Quick Guide to Holiday Safety’ contains five sections:

  1. Midnight Madness- dos and don’ts during nights out on holiday.
  2. Water Wellbeing- making sure you don’t drown while you’re out in that clear blue Mediterranean ocean.
  3. Festival Fiasco- tips on helping you avoid fiascos at festivals, including: camping safety, alcohol, clothing, packing and the word that begins with S and ends with X.
  4. Sun Safety- staying safe while relaxing in that glorious summer sun- with a cheeky photo of Audrey Hepburn to show you have awesome sun safety is.
  5. Thought for Food- helping you decide what/ what not to eat while on holiday. Guidance on food, drinks, uncooked food, water, street food.

Without further ado…


End your summer holiday like this…

1a springbreak

… Not like this

1 springbreakers

(The photograph above is sourced from the movie ‘Springbreakers’- the perfect example of what not to do on your holiday abroad.)


Sunset in Oia, Santorini. Here is my version of the sunset shot in Oia. This is a blend of 3 shots, 1.3 to 20 seconds, processed as follows: 1) Reduce noice on all 3 raws. 2) Create HRD in Photomatix 3) Blend using Exposure Fusion, sliders set to produce the most natural looking image while still showing some detail in the very dark areas. 4) PS smart sharpen. 5) PS burn the bottom 6) Nik Brilliance and warming 7) Nik Indian summer to warm th elights, masked to not affect the rest. 8) Nik sunlight, brushed over the buildings to add more light 9) Nik Glamour Glow to remove detail in the dark areas. 10) Detailed curves lightening pn windmills. 11) Dodge buildings that were too dark.

Nothing makes you feel more alive than walking around a town on a blissfully warm night, admiring the sunsets and the shining lights from the picture perfect homes. A drink in a local bar is the perfect end to any evening, however just because you’re relaxed, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t remain vigilant!

Caution + fun= the perfect holiday

  • Having a few drinks at that super gorgeous little bar downtown won’t do any harm. Just remember the alcohol guidelines while you’re buying that third or fourth drink. Remember, the UK guidelines state that women should not regularly drink more than 2-3 units a day, and men should not drink more than 3-4 units.
  • Know your limit- drinking too much may end unhappily.
  • Keep an eye on your friends and help remove them from the situation if you think they’ve drunk too much.
  • There is safety in numbers- stick together all night.
  • Be mindful of strangers- they might seem friendly enough, but you can’t judge a book by its cover. Never accept a drink from a stranger, and never disappear with one- even if your friends know where you are, it may not be safe.
  • Keep your drink with you at all times. Don’t leave it on its own- this opens up the possibility of it being spiked.
  • Only take the essentials out with you. Leave unnecessary valuables back at your hotel.
  • Think about your nights out while packing. Take one pair of sensible shoes with you to keep your feet safe on a night time ramble.

Now, go, have fun, try that delicious looking Tequila Sunrise and have an amazing AND safe night out! 5 greek taverna

The perfect place to spend a warm summer’s evening.


2 water wellbeing

Spending a day on the beach is pretty much the most awesome thing ever. It is made even more awesome by a quick swim in that gloriously warm Mediterranean water. But just because you’re now officially an adult- and can swim strokes other than a doggy paddle- doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep in mind what your mum told you when you were six:

  • Don’t swim too far out to sea, and stay in the area of the beach patrolled with lifeguards.
  • Swim between flags put out by the lifeguard, demonstrating the safe areas of water.
  • Never swim in the sea alone.
  • If you get into trouble in the sea, stick your hand in the air and shout for help.
  • If someone else is in trouble, inform a lifeguard. If there is no lifeguard, call the emergency hotline for that country and ask for a coastguard.
  • Think sensibly- it’s a really bad idea to go into the sea after drinking, as alcohol slows your reactions and impairs your ability to judge distances. So when considering to take a risk- don’t. Just don’t. Keep the sea and alcohol separate.
  • Before going into the sea, ensure you know what to do if you encounter any tricky situations, such as rip currents, tides and waves.
  • Visit http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Healthyholidays/Pages/Beachsafety.aspx to find out more about these hazards, flags and further details on beach safety.

The above tips can be applied to swimming pools as well. Exercise caution while in pools. Just because there is no chance of tides or waves doesn’t mean there aren’t any other possible hazards. Think safe and you’ll stay safe, inside water and out. 3 swimming pool


7 Festival 1

Holi Celebrations at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir

A festival is like a concert, a clubbing holiday and a summer holiday al in one. It’s fun, you spend a weekend with your friends, you get to see Imagine Dragons, or Bastille, or Paramore, or Taylor Swift live. There is unlimited food available, not to mention the booze. However, no matter how fun the event may seem to be, here are many risks. So let’s talk about it.

  • Think ‘festival’ when you pack. Pack all the necessities you need. Sensible clothing, spare batteries, waterproof jacket. One thing people always forget is medication. First Aiders, such as St John’s Ambulance, are only allowed to give out over-the-counter medication. So bring your prescribed medication with you. Bring a first aid kit with everything you might need: paracetamol, plasters, disinfectant, medication for headaches and stomach upsets.
  • Find out where the medical centre is when you arrive.
  • Personal hygiene is often tricky to control at festivals. So wash your hands before you eat, after using the loo and after handling rubbish to minimize risk of illness. Always pack wet wipes and antibacterial hand wash to use, as well as washing your hands.
  • Keep your feet clean and dry at festivals, to avoid contracting blisters, fungal infections and trench foot. Wear waterproof wellie boots and dry socks wen it is wet, and take them off at night. Avoid wearing flip flops and new shoes.
  • If you are standing near loudspeakers, wear earplugs. Take breaks regularly from the music
  • Waterproof and warm clothing is essential to meeting hypothermia. But the temperature drops, try to stay as dry as possible.
  • Wax flares can be a huge safety hazard. They can spit and run, causing wax burns, especially if they are legal. So only by authorised dealers.
  • Phones are a great invention, but network coverage at festivals is often limited. So, in case you lose signal, lose or break your phone, ensure you arrange a meeting point and time with your friends, in case somebody gets lost. Don’t feel afraid to ask festival stewards for help, and refrain from calling 999 as it can put additional stress and pressure on the emergency services.
  • Camping is often a huge part of festivals, so ensure you think ‘safety’ when you choose, pitch and use your tent. Practice putting your tent up prior to the festival. Have everything you need with you to assemble and use your tent at the festival. Choose a tent with bright luminescent guy ropes so people can see them in the dark. Avoid obstructing walkways. Pack one torch for late-night blue trips, and warm sleeping bag with enough bedding. Avoid naked flames and smoking within the tent, and ensure you know the fire safety arrangements, such as where the nearest source of water is. If there is a fire in your tent, get everyone out quickly.
  • Now… let’s talk about booze. Downing two bottles of cider with your mates may seem a good idea at first, but alcohol can distort you perception, and lead you to doing some silly things– not a good idea when you’re surrounded by strangers. So stick to the legal limit, and if you think you won’t be able to stop drinking, avoid drinking altogether. You won’t regret it the next morning!
  • This tip applies to festivals, clubbing holidays and any situation you might find yourself in. On TV shows such as ‘Sun, Festivals and Suspicious Parents’, sex is a huge aspect of the young people’s lives. However, remember that sex + no condom = increased chance of an STI and increased chance of pregnancy. So, if it is likely to happen, plan in advanced. Bring contraception with you. If you have any worries, talk to a paramedic. If you realise “oops, I had unprotected sex”, head to the medical centre ASAP, who can give you advice, or emergency contraception.
  • Visit http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Festivalhealth/Pages/Survivalguide.aspx to find out more about health and safety at festivals.

15 glast

Glastonbury sign at Glastonbury Festival.


9 sunny beach

Safety in the sun is vitally important for your health and well-being. So don’t take any risks. Memorise the tips below so you are 100% confident you are safe in the sun!

Protect yourself from harmful UV rays by wearing sun cream, sunglasses and a sun hat.

  • How the sun is harmful: the sun penetrates the skin and damages the cells. These cells are at risk of becoming cancerous. This can happen whether sunburnt or not.
  • Who’s at risk: those particularly at risk include individuals with fair skin that burns easily in the sun, those with naturally red or fair hair, those with a multitude of moles and freckles, a personal or family history of skin cancer, or those who have already had sunburn, particularly when young.
  • Stay in the shade if possible, especially between 11 AM and 3 PM, when the sun rays are the strongest.
  • Never let yourself burn. Make sure you cover up, wear sun cream and reapply it at a regular basis.
  • Take extra care with children.
  • Use factor 15+ sun cream, if not stronger.
  • Noticeable change or unusual skin growth? Consult your GP ASAP.
  • Avoid using sunbeds, as health risks include skin cancer, premature ageing skin, sunburn, dryness and itching, and eye irritation.
  • It is illegal for people under 18 to use sunbeds.
  • Protect your eyes, as overexposure to sunlight increases the risk of cataract and growths on the surface of the eye. Overexposure to ultraviolet light can cause temporary but painful burn to the surface of the eye.
  • Wear sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat to reduce the amount of UV rays reaching your face.
  • Byy sunglasses with the CE mark and British standard, a UV 400 label and 100% sun protection.
  • Visit http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/skin/pages/sunsafe.aspx to find out more about health and safety at festivals.

1 breakfast at tiffanys

Holly Golightly had the right idea.


Food is a wonderful thing. Right now I’m thinking of Mexican Fajitas, Turkish Pilaf Rice and Shish Kebabs, Italian Pizzas, Swedish Meatballs, Spanish Tapas, Indian Curry and Chinese Stirfry. But not all restaurants, cafes and street markets are hygienic. Follow the tips below to help you choose yummy- but safe- foods and drinks while abroad!

12 drinking water abroad

  • Don’t drink tap water or use it to clean your teeth while abroad – unless it has been treated.
  • Use filtered, bottled, boiled or chemically treated water instead.
  • Bottled water with the sale intact is safe.
  • Avoid ice in drinks – unless you know it has been made with safe water.
  • Avoid foods that use animal waste as fertilisers, including:
    • Salads, for example lettuce.
    • Uncooked fruit and vegetables, unless watched in safe water by you.
    • Food is being left out at room temperature in warm environments, or has been exposed to flies.
    • Unpasteurised a products, for example milk, cheese or ice cream.
    • Raw and cooked seafood or shellfish.
    • Street trader food – unless freshly prepared and served hot and clean crockery.
  • Only dine in places which have a reputation for serving safe food.
  • Ensure you only eat food that is slowly cooked and served very hot.
  • Wash your hands after using the toilet and before eating.
  • Visit http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/travelhealth/Pages/Food-and-water-abroad.aspx to find out more about health and safety at festivals.

13 eating food abroad

Most importantly- HAVE FUN!

Use these tips with discretion. They will not apply to every situation, but they will help you remain safe, healthy and happy in many situations you face. Visit the linked web pages to find more detailed guidance on holiday safety.

Liked this guide? Read more on futurelifehappiness.wordpress.com.

Have you seen our other guides?

  1. Do-It-Yourself Spa Day
  2. The Allotment Blitz Allotmenteer’s Guide to Gardening: Getting Started
  3. Holiday the Sustainable Way
  4. How to get a Good Night’s Sleep



Meg & the SGO xxx

SGO Logo Website


Leave a comment

The SGO’s ‘From Home, With Love’ recipe card: Shepherd’s Pie

Hello everyone,

Today we present to you our incredibly yummy recipe for Shepherd’s Pie. Start practising now and perfect for September, Shepherd’s Pie is perfect for those cold winter nights where a warm pick-me-up is certainly needed- as well these light summer evenings too! Dazzle your friends and family with this recipe and you are sure to be your roommates’ favourite to cook! Prepare and enjoy!

 The SGO’s ‘From Home, With Love’ presents…


Shephards Pie.pub

Interested in creating your very own recipe card for the SGO? Email m.cork630@canterbury.ac.uk to let us know, and we’ll help you create the most awesome, delicious recipe card imaginable!

Find other recipe cards and more at https://futurelifehappiness.wordpress.com.



Meg & the SGO xxx

SGO Logo Website

Leave a comment

Simply Divine Chocolate Tasting

So I know this is a little late as this happened in February but we really wanted to share this experience with you all:

chocolate tasting

Despite the bitterly cold February chill, guests near and afar braced the biting winds of the quaint seaside town and gathered in the warm, bright premises of Whitstable’s Victoria’s Boutique to experience what can only be referred to a luxurious necessity: Divine Fairtrade Chocolate Tasting evening. A must-go to event for everybody interested in Fairtrade or with an obsessive love for all that is chocolate.

Divine Chocolate, a chocolate manufacturing company formed in 1998, decided to donate its shares to Kuapo Kokoo, a Fairtrade-certified cocoa farmer’s organisation in Ghana. Since then, it’s thrived as a company, fully invested in assisting global farmers, and to use the power of chocolate to delight and engage. They aim to bring people together to establish global trading relationships, empowering producers and consumers along the way. It sells a lavish range of chocolate including Milk Chocolate with Toffee and Sea Salt, Dark Chocolate with Chilli and Orange, Dark Chocolate with Raspberries, White Chocolate with Strawberries and Milk Chocolate with Almonds.

Victoria’s Boutique, a cosy little boutique on Whitstable High Street, showcasing a variety of vintage designer outfits, was jam-packed when we arrived. When we entered the store, we immediately noticed the ‘chocolate tasting table’, a table laid out with chocolate and wine galore. Shepherded over to receive our complimentary glass of wine and sample of chocolate, Divine Chocolatier Erik Houlihan-Jong was busy preparing for his talk on the ethics of Divine chocolate.

chocolate tasting 1

After we’d finished our wine and chocolate, and listened to Erik’s fascinating talk on the Bar to Bean chocolate making process, we finally arrived at the time in the evening we were most looking forward to: the chocolate tasting. Eric broke up a bar of Dark Chocolate, Chilli and Orange, for us to try. He instructed us to hold the piece of chocolate, but not eat it yet. Instead, we should observe the chocolate with all of our senses. First, we need to consider the appearance of the chocolate, as it varies in colour. Touching the chocolate, it should feel silky, and begin to melt with the warmth of our finger. Then holding the chocolate up to our ear, we should snap it. The snap should be clean. Finally, take time to smell it. Similar to wine tasting, there are many aromas associated with chocolate. When we finally came to eat it, we first put the chocolate on our tongue and left it there without eating. Finally, we let the chocolate melt on our tongue.

chocolate tasting 2

Eating what seemed like our 200th sample of chocolate (sssh, I didn’t say anything), Erik explained to us how Divine chocolate helps farmers in third world countries. Cocoa trading company Kuapa Kokoo aims to ‘empower farmers in their efforts to gain a dignified livelihood, to increase women’s participation in all of Kuapa’s activities, and to develop environmentally friendly cultivation of cocoa’. The company weighs, bags and transports the cocoa to the market in the most democratic way, not cheating the farmers, and passing savings onto members. Divine chocolate is made from the best of Kuapa’s cocoa beans. This has led to the development and farming communities farming skills are improvements on standards of living including water, health, education and sanitation, and increased awareness of child labour.

Upon leaving the Boutique, my first thoughts were ‘when is the next Divine Chocolate tasting?’ I came away with a few (or lot of) bars of chocolate and a desire to taste every single flavour of Divine chocolate in my life. It created a warm feeling in my heart to know that by buying Divine chocolate over a non-fair trade brand, I would be helping the livelihood of farmers on Ghanaian cocoa plantations.

chocolate tasting 3

Interested in hosting your own Divine Chocolate Tasting Evening? Click on this link http://www.divinechocolate.com/uk/sites/default/files/img/TastingGuide.pdf to download the official Divine Guide to Chocolate Tasting, containing information about the Divine chocolate story, the Bean to Bar process, chocolate flavours and flavour wheel, organising your very own Divine Chocolate Party, and using wine.

Can’t afford to host this tasting evening, but still want to shop ethically? Visit this page for top tips on ethical shopping: http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/buyersguides/food.aspx

Visit http://www.divinechocolate.com/uk/ to find out more about this truly Divine company.


Megan & The SGO
SGO Logo Website

Leave a comment

Shopping on a Budget

Many of you have probably been in a situation one time or another when funds were tight and food prices were HIGH. I’m currently in this situation, I am a full time student and shopping on a budget is a must if I wish to eat well in a week and have money left over. I have come up with a few tips that I live by when shopping.


Top Tips for shopping on a budget.

  1. Go through your cupboards, fridge and freezer and see what you have left.
  2. Make a menu of the dinners you would like to have that week. (This can be hard as not everyone knows what they want for Saturday if it’s Monday but you can swap around the days)
  3. Make a shopping list!!!
  4. When you in the store, pick up a basket not a trolley as you will tend to fill the trolley more, but will only fill the basket up with essentials as you have to carry it.
  5. Compare brand names to the shops own brand as they are usually the same but one is a lot cheaper.
  6. Offers! Check the small print of the offers for example weight, as you may get more for your money on a product that isn’t on offer.
  7. Sell by dates: if you are buying in bulk check you pick up the dates with the longest time till expiry
  8. Freezer guidelines, another way to cut costs is buying products that can be frozen day of purchase, such as ready meals, bread and milk.
  9. Carry a calculator with you, to make sure you have kept on budget and you don’t get any surprises at the till.
  10. Bring your own bags this will cut down on the plastic bags being used and if you have heavy products it will make it easier for you to carry home if it is in a bag for life.

This is the menu template I use, I found this keeps me focused when shopping as this comes with me and I have found when I keep to my menu, I can had a treat such as a bag of chocolate or alcohol as I have money left over.

A great way to cut costs in regards to shopping for food, is to make your own packed lunch the night before. This can be leftovers from your dinner such as roast chicken sandwich, bacon and pasta or any pasta dish really!! Or to make a sandwich, roll or wrap to take with you wherever you are that day.


Great sandwich fillers:

Left over roast chicken or any chicken

Sausage sandwich

Tuna Mayo/sweetcorn

Salad sandwich


Another way of shopping on a budget is cooking a meal from leftovers. I tend to do this a lot as I hate food going to waste and I make two portions of this so it can be eaten the next day for lunch or dinner.


One of my favourite recipes from leftovers:

Bacon, Chilli and tomato Pasta


Bacon – 3 rashers

Chilli flakes – a pinch (or more if you love spice)

1 onion (small or half an hour) – dice thinly

2 cans of tomatoes

1 tablespoon of tomato puree.

1 tablespoon of garlic puree.

1 tablespoon of paprika

2 cups of penne pasta (or any pasta you have)

Salt and pepper to taste

Cheese to grate on top



  1. Fry bacon and onions together till onions are brown and bacon cooked.
  2. Add the garlic into the bacon and onions.
  3. In another saucepan fill with water, once to the boil add your pasta, I use two cups of pasta.
  4. Empty the cans of tomatoes into the saucepan and add the puree.
  5. Let the sauce simmer, don’t let it boil.
  6. Add chilli flakes and seasonings to taste – I like it spicy so add more chilli
  7. Once the pasta is cooked, drain and add to sauce. Mix together.
  8. Grate cheese over the top.
  9. You will have leftovers if eating this for one, put into a Tupperware container, and leave the lid off to cool.
  10.  Enjoy!!

Top Tip: once you leftovers have cooled down, put an air tight lid on and keep in the fridge for the following day.



Jess & SGO


SGO Logo Website