I get asked a lot about my recommendations for moving to London, PhD life, career growth, and managing my money. Here's a master list of all of the things I recommend from the best vegan products to my recommendations for bloggers.
Canva is an absolute godsend for people like me who aren't naturally visual people. You can use it to design everything from IG stories to CVs. The pro version has lots of useful figures if you're using it for your business, but the free version is generally sufficient for personal use.
Squirrly is THE BEST SEO plugin I’ve found. SEO, or search engine optimisation, is crucial to getting your site to appear on Google’s search results, resulting in sustainable, free traffic. Squirrly really takes into account ALL aspects of SEO and they give you 14-day freemium access when you first sign up where they take you through ALL the steps to getting one of your pages to rank in the top 10 on Google. It’s AI powered and has a live AI assistant to help make sure all your pages are 100% optimised.
Recommendations for Learn Programming + Data Science
Data Camp is hands down the best way to learn data science topics and it SAVED me at the beginning of my PhD. It costs money, but isn't too expensive and you can get started for free. Plus, your uni research stipend or employer may be willing to cover the cost.
Free Code Camp is my favourite resource for learning a variety of coding languages and programming-related skills. They have hundreds and hundreds of hours' worth of exercises, including to prepare you for programming interviews.
edX is a great resource for learning, well, just about anything, but I've had particular luck with coding and computer science-based courses. I learn particularly well by listening and taking notes so the pre-recorded lectures suit me well.
Spareroom has listings for full flats as well as, well, spare rooms in current flatshares in the UK. On Spareroom, you communicate directly with current tenants and landlords. That means you’re unlikely to have to go through lots of background checking hoops to secure a place. Since the landlords do not have to pay a fee to fill their rooms, the rent should be a bit cheaper.
Helpling is like the Uber of cleaning services. You can see reviews and ratings of cleaners in your area and book, pay, and message directly through the app. Best of all, they have great discount codes and you can get £20 off your first clean using the code trhe63.
Transferwise offers low-cost international money transfers. They even offer a bank account that allows you to hold currency and have local bank account details in tons of different currencies/countries.
Splidis a great app for splitting expenses with flatmates. You can record everything you spend for things around the house (bin bags, soap, etc.). Then you can “settle up” and the app suggests payments to individuals so you have to make the least number of bank transfers.
Trainline is the best app / website for buying train tickets in the UK and checking train times. You can now even buy digital train tickets on the app for use at certain stations. They even have tools for looking at how busy the train is, etc.
The 16-25 Railcard is only £30 and gets you 1/3 off all rail fares so it often pays for itself in just one trip. They now also have a 26-30 railcard as well and, if you're a student over any of those ages, you can also still get one.
Landlords in London basically never buy new mattresses and they're often SUPER uncomfortable. I'd recommend getting a mattress topper like this one from Argos. It truly transforms terrible mattresses in rentals. It's a bit of an investment, but I've had mine for 5 years and it's still going strong!
Noise cancelling headphones are a GODSEND when you're trying to work in the library or even focus yourself at home. These are pretty pricey, but they are the best ones and have saved my life on more than one occasion slash generally made me a less grumpy human.
Now, some may not agree, but I have found that, particularly during the pandemic, having my own printer is super helpful. It's way easier to edit on paper (and more effective!) and, sometimes, you just need to print out articles. This oneis cheap but reliable.
allplants is a vegan meal delivery service. They prepare fresh, healthy plant-based meals and deliver them right to your door. It's perfect for when you've got a deadline or, you know, are in the middle of a pandemic and need to self-isolate. There's no obligation to continue and they give you a discount on your first box!
It's really important to get enough nutrients when you're vegan, and you need to be supplementing things like B12. I personally use Vivolife's Thrive multi-nutrient as it's made of all whole foods and is more bioavailable than other supplements. I also take their vegan omega 3 to keep my brain sharp for that PhD!
Nutritional yeastis a MUST for any vegan. Don't be put off by the fact that it looks kind of like fish food—it's a vaguely cheesy-tasting, high-protein magical powder fortified by B12. Seriously, even my non-vegan friends who try my pasta with nutritional yeast sauce love it.
I massively prefer Deliverooover Uber Eats and, this has been another one that has been super useful during the pandemic. Their vegan filter works well and their customer service is decent when restaurants get your order wrong, etc. They also have deals with supermarkets so you can get the best vegan products from places like Coop, Aldi, M&S, and Holland & Barrett as well.
Do let me know if you try any of these and which ones are your favourites!