Meet Your New Favourite Workout–Pole Dancing.

Just a short ride away from Kingston’s Penrhyn Road campus is what could be the city’s newest fitness hotspot. Every week, dancers from all walks of life gather at The Pole Studio in Surbiton with the common goal of getting in shape, looking good and having a great time.

Located above a chip shop on Portsmouth Road, the dance studio is unassuming and cosy. Dancers leave their shoes by the door, hurry up the carpeted stairs, and are greeted with silver practice poles dotted around the small—yet comfortable—space.

While pole fitness used to be a taboo sport, in recent years it has gained popularity among both men and women. A combination of strength training, conditioning and acrobatics, this is a workout that encourages cardiovascular health while simultaneously working the arms, legs and core muscles.

The result is a full-body workout that anyone can do, either in a group setting or 1-on-1 with an instructor.

It was this all-in-one workout that helped draw 31-year-old Siobhan Parish to The Pole Studio. Lessons are held once a week and run for approximately one hour—long enough to work up a sweat, but not long enough to exhaust participants.

As a working mother, this 60-minute pole fitness model offers her both a convenient workout and an opportunity to de-stress from the workweek.

“You can see yourself develop, unlike at the gym, and you get better in a number of ways,” Parish said. “(Pole) makes me feel stronger—I like the way after, a few weeks, quite a few weeks, things start to get a bit tighter and it just makes me feel good.”

Jaime Rangeley, an instructor at the Surbiton location, has been practicing both dance and pole for years. An expat from California, she found pole fitness to be a helpful way to meet people when she moved to England, and has continued dancing ever since.

“Everybody’s super nice and welcoming, and (pole fitness is) just a really great way to make friends,” Rangeley said.

At The Pole Studio, Rangeley has taught dancers of all sizes, ages and genders, and feels that the environment that pole fitness creates is a more wholesome one than can be found at the average gym—a sentiment that Parish supports, having just finished her first set of beginner classes.

“Everyone I’ve ever had teach me or I’ve practiced with have been very lovely people,” Parish said.

For potential dancers who are afraid to take the leap into pole fitness, Rangeley encourages them to take a one-off class or sign up for a beginner’s course.

“You’ll see that as you get to know everybody, nobody cares when you start to wear the shorter shorts and stuff like that, you feel totally comfortable,” Rangeley said. “You’re never forced to wear anything you don’t want to or to do anything you’re uncomfortable with, and you’ll find that you’ll actually have a laugh, and the workout is like an added bonus.”

The Pole Studio has locations across London and Surrey, with lessons for all levels of fitness—they even offer yoga classes, for the less adventurous among us. Prices start at £10 a class, with the beginner courses running for six weeks.

To find the perfect class for you, check out their main website for times, locations and individual pricing.

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3 Fun Day Trips for Under ÂŁ3

Want to get out this weekend, but your wallet’s pretty empty and you don’t want to top up your Oyster card?

Don’t mope around your dorm—just check out these fun day trips close to both Kingston and Surbiton that you can take for under ÂŁ3!

  1. Visit Bushy Park

Located near Hampton Court Palace, Bushy Park is a short bus ride away from either Surbiton or Kingston. Perfect for your Instagram story, the park is filled with roughly 320 wild red and fallow deer that roam as they please. Pack a lunch and bring a good friend, and enjoy a day lounging around this lovely park.

If you want an easy day trip that’s not too far from home, get in touch with nature here—just be sure to stay at least 50m away from the deer, since they are still wild, and we don’t want another goring incident.

Cost: ÂŁ1.50 each way (1 bus connection)

  1. Check out Guildford Castle

Take a leisurely ride on the 465 bus and the 715 bus to the historic Guildford Castle, built back in the 1000’s and located in—wait for it—Guildford. The moat has been converted into a beautiful flower garden, and while the castle is in a state of ruin, the top of the Great Tower is still open to the public for a panoramic view of the city.

Be sure to check out the memorial to author Lewis Carroll and the Guildford Museum by the old gatehouse while you’re there, and wear walking shoes. The path that goes around the keep is a nice stroll for a sunny day!

Cost: ÂŁ1.50 each way (1 bus connection)

  1. Visit Eel Pie Island

Just hop on the 281 towards Hounslow Bus Station from either Kingston or Surbiton, and ride it all the way to Twickenham—Eel Pie Island will be waiting for you. An island in the middle of the Thames, this place is a music lover’s dream. Filled with musical history and kooky artwork, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to another time.

Musical phenomenons like David Bowie, Black Sabbath, Genesis and The Rolling Stones performed on the island at the now-burned down island hotel, before it was taken over by a cult in the 70s. Whether you believe in mystics, magic or just want to stretch your legs, Eel Pie Island is a fun afternoon jaunt.

Cost: ÂŁ1.50 each way (no changes)

Where’s your favourite place to escape to on the weekends? Let us know!

South Western Railway Strike Set to Affect Christmas Travel

Do you have travel plans to see your friends and family the Saturday before Christmas? Well, get ready for a bit of a hassle.

South Western Railway has warned passengers of disruptions on 22 December across South London and North Surrey, including areas like Kingston, Weybridge, Esher and Thames Ditton, due to a union leaders strike against driver only trains, organised by the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT).

This will be a 24 hour action, and union members were instructed not to book shifts on this specific day until 11:59pm.

According to British Transport Police data, there have been more than double the amount of alcohol-caused violent offences at Britain’s railway stations over the winter holiday period in the past two years.

This follows the case of a policeman, who was stabbed outside a railway station in East London on 23 November.

South Western Railway said it would do everything possible to provide the best service for passengers during the strike, and claims the industrial action is “totally unnecessary”.

Will you be travelling with South Western Railway on 22 December? If so, what do you think about this situation? Leave a comment down below to let us know what you think!

5 Ways to Stay Warm in Student Halls

Winter is coming, and while it’s not as cold as North of the Wall in Game of Thrones, it’s still chilly enough to make you shiver all day, especially when studying all day in a cold bedroom.

We know student halls can be a bit of an igloo-like place during winter time, so we’ve got some great tips on how to stay warm in your student dorm room!

1. Buy a hot water bottle

A hot water bottle is a great way to stay nice and toasty while you’re studying at your desk or just bundled up in your bed watching Netflix. You can carry it with you and will act as a mini heater to keep the cold at bay!

Amazon has a whole bunch of hot water bottles you can choose from (prices start from ÂŁ4 with Amazon Prime delivery), varying from simple, yet cosy 2 litre ones to novelty hot water bottles with animal covers. One of these cuties will not only keep you warm, but it will also be a nice decoration for your room!

2. Invest in a good duvet

We all know that nights are especially cold during this time of year, so it is crucial to have a good, thick duvet to protect you from the chilly drafts coming from your window; the higher the rating, the better! That way, you’re sure to get a good night’s sleep without waking up a shivering mess all the time!

We recommend the Wilko Super Soft 13.5 Tog Duvet (£10); it’s silky and fluffy, just perfect to cuddle up in bed and relax, all while keeping the cold at bay.

3. Pile on the throw blankets

Sure, for bedtime, duvets are the best option out there. But what about when you’re studying during the day? That’s what blankets are for! Just have one or two (or pile them on if you’re perpetually cold or just love them to bits) throw blankets in your room all the time to wrap yourself and stay warm during your study sessions.

Not to mention, they can bring a lovely pop of colour and style to your student hall room. Bonus tip: if you want some extra warmth, pop your blankets into the dryer for a few minutes; it will feel like a hug from a teddy bear!

4. Get your fluffy socks out

Do you have some funky looking fluffy socks lying around in your wardrobe? Well, get them out, because it’s their time to shine! There’s nothing better than putting a pair of your favourite soft socks on during winter time, especially if your feet are perpetually cold.

If you don’t have a carpet in your room, floors can get quite chilly, so walking around barefoot is the prime occasion for a cold to sneak up on you and make things worse. So if you don’t have a few pairs already, what are you waiting for? Get yourself down to a store and buy some fluffy socks and say bye-bye to frosty toes.

5. Splurge on a mini heater

If you’re one of the unfortunate souls who has a busted heater in your room and your uni safe haven is starting to feel like penguins could live in it, it’s time to get out the big guns.

Spending money on a mini heater might seem like a splurge, but it will definitely be worth it in the long run, especially as the temperatures will continue to drop in December and January.

You can find good deals on Amazon, or you can buy one from well-known stores, like Clas Ohlson or Argos. Before you buy a mini heater though, check with your student halls administrators to check which types are allowed in your room.

Have you got any secrets to keep the cold at bay or does the cold never bother you anyway? Leave a comment down below telling us what you think the best way to stay warm this winter is!

The Christmas Spirit Comes to Southbank

If you’re looking to really get your Christmas spirit on this holiday season, then make your way to the Underbelly’s Christmas Market in Southbank, London.

The Underbelly is known for throwing exciting and fun events that bring in thousands of people each year, such as their Summer Holiday festival that takes place in the same Southbank venue over the summer.

Those of you who are properly Christmas obsessed will truly love everything this market has to offer: mulled wine, handmade items, delicious warm food, and even a Christmas themed ferris wheel. The Underbelly’s Christmas Market is one of the funnest–and certainly one of the cosiest– within London.

The market runs until 6 January, so there’s still plenty of time to make your way over and indulge in the Christmas spirit.

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Kingston University Student Debuts Film on Amazon Prime

A Kingston University student celebrated the launch of his short film on Amazon Prime at the movie premiere held in Blakes Hotel, Kensington on 16 November.

The short film Vent explores the life of Rose and Parker, a couple forced to live inside their flat due to a widespread radiation leak which happened three years ago. Fed up with the mundane conditions they are living in, Rose decides to take matters in her own hands and go outside, despite her controlling boyfriend’s attempts to stop her.

Mayuren Naidoo, Vent’s director and producer, said his inspiration for the film was controlling domestic relationships.

“I wanted to show this relationship in a film with a different setting, the idea that there has been a radiation leak and therefore it is only safe to go outside using a gas mask,” Naidoo said. “It also resonates with the multitude of women in similar situations in real life, as the idea that one individual can control the other and deny them of their basic freedom.”

The protagonists of the movie, Rose and Parker, are played by Vala Norén and Harrison Osterfield. Nolen is the younger sister of Swedish actress Noomi Rapace, who was in films like Prometheus and the original Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Osterfield is known for his role in George Clooney’s upcoming Hulu drama series Catch-22 and for assisting his drama school colleague, Tom Holland, on the set of The Avengers and Spider-Man films.

Naidoo is currently doing a Film Studies master at Kingston University. In addition to his studies and his independent projects, he also recently founded his own production company, Complete Field Films.

This is not Naidoo’s debut in directing, as he previously wrote and directed his first film in 2016, Midnight Sonder, which won the Best Produced Screenplay award at the Creation International Film Festival in Ottawa, Canada and the Bronze Award at the FAMEUS International Film Festival in Los Angeles, California.

The 18-minute film can be watched in high definition here, and is available both for rent and purchase at ÂŁ0.99.

Christmas in Kingston: Fun Events on a Budget

It’s almost that special time of the year! Christmas season is for magic, celebrations, gifts and festive events. Here’s a list of fun and affordable activities around Kingston University to get you in the Christmas spirit without breaking the bank.

  1. Christmas Lights Switch On and Christmas Market

Kingston’s Christmas Lights Switch On event is coming up this Thursday (15 November). The lights will be turning on at 6pm in Clarence Street, but you can enjoy live music and entertainment all around town throughout the day. The Christmas market will also open on the same day, so make sure to check that out–and don’t forget to visit Frangos to get a free portion of churros with any platter purchased.

  1. Frozen sing-along at Rose Theatre

Are you a Disney fan? Head to Rose Theatre on 17 December to watch Frozen in their main auditorium and sing along to all the songs! The event is only £8 and it’s probably aimed at kids, but aren’t students basically kids anyway?

The price of your ticket will help raise funds to support the Rose Theatre’s programme of drama, cultural and learning opportunities. This means you’ll get to sing along to a fun Disney film and do charity at the same time. It’s a win-win situation.

  1. University Christmas Carol Service

Looking for a more traditional event? A free Christian service will be happening at St. John the Evangelist Church on 5 December from 5:30pm. The service will include Bible readings, as well as music and free refreshments at the end of it, and will be open to everyone – Christian or not. This is actually a Kingston Uni event too, so you may spot some familiar faces there.

  1. Christmas at Kew

Although this event isn’t in Kingston, it’s easily accessible to students and definitely worth the short journey. Christmas at Kew will be happening at Kew Gardens from Thursday, 22 November to Saturday, 5 January 2019, and it’s bound to be a truly magical experience. For £16.50 (off-peak price) you can enjoy Christmas lights, 300 origami boats on a lake, and so much more!

Will you be attending any of these events, or are you going to any other fun Christmas events happening around Kingston? Let us know in the comments and share the festive fun!