Things I Love (Best vegan products + recs for bloggers, PhDs, etc.)

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.

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Blogging recommendations

blogging recommendations
BluehostI use Bluehost to host my blog. It’s great for beginners and one of the cheapest options out there (I pay something like 2.95 per month for mine).
CanvaCanva 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.
TailwindTailwind saves me SO MUCH time scheduling for Pinterest and has loads of additional analytics. Their free trial is good for 100 pins and there’s no time limit which is pretty cool.
Short PixelShort Pixel is a helpful free plugin to optimise your images so your site loads faster. You can also do this manually using sites like imageoptimizer.net, but this is way faster.
SquirrlySquirrly 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

learning data science
Data CampData 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.
freecodecamp.comFree 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.
edXedX 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.
Machine Learning TextbookMachine Learning: The Art and Science of Algorithms that Make Sense of Data is GOLD for an introduction to machine learning. Before learning everything else, I basically read this book cover to cover to get an introduction.

Recommendations for Moving To and Living in London

recommendations for living in London
CitymapperThis mobile app is the best thing ever to help you get around London (and other cities). It’s much more accurate than Google Maps and has a very user-friendly interface.
HoneyNow, this isn’t London specific but it’s super useful for saving money. Basically, Honey checks for voucher codes for wherever you’re shopping online and automatically applies them to your order.
Spare RoomSpareroom 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.
HelplingHelpling 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.
PureGymPureGym is my favourite discount gym in the UK. The gym is pretty cheap, has decent quality equipment, and a really good app. Best of all, they also offer a student discount!
TransferwiseTransferwise 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.
ThreeThree is BY FAR the cheapest mobile provider around. I use pay as you go and pay £20 every few months at most.
YoltI use Yolt to track my monthly expenses. It’s free and through ING Bank so you can trust it with Open Banking.
SplidSplid is 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.
TrainlineTrainline 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.
RailcardThe 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.
Brita Water JugThe water in London doesn’t taste great to be honest, so I highly recommend getting a Brita filter for it.
Mattress TopperLandlords 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!
Mould CleanerAnother big problem in London is mould. It’s damp here and a lot of mould cleaners just don’t cut it. This cleaner will get rid of basically everything—mould, stains, you name it!

PhD Essentials

phd essentials
PapierPapier has HANDS DOWN the most beautiful notebooks and planners around. Seriously. They’re about the same price as other notebooks and you can customise them.
SignalSignal is the most secure encrypted messaging service. I’d definitely recommend it over WhatsApp and other messaging services for this reason. Plus, they’re constantly adding new features.
Noise Cancelling HeadphonesNoise 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.
HP PrinterNow, 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 one is cheap but reliable.
GrammarlyGrammarly is super useful for checking over papers and even emails before you submit them. Even native English speakers swear by it!
SlackSlack is the perfect way to communicate with your research group, supervisor, and your cohort. A lot of universities use it and it’s free! You can also use the secure video chat app Jitsi via Slack.
ZoteroIf you’re doing a PhD, you NEED a reference manager. My favourite is Zotero, and it’s free!

Best Vegan Products

best vegan products
allplantsallplants 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!
VivolifeIt’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!
The Vegan KindThe Vegan Kind is an online vegan supermarket that stocks literally all of the best vegan products. They also offer a subscription vegan beauty box and snack box, which my friends got me for my birthday last year and I absolutely LOVE.
Vegan CheeseNow, most vegan cheese tastes AWFUL. But this one, I swear, tastes EXACTLY like smoked gouda. I can seriously go through a pack of this in a week.
Nutritional YeastNutritional yeast is 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.
OcadoOcado has been a lifesaver during the pandemic. It’s really a one-stop shop for all the best vegan products. And, best of all, their vegan filter actually works.
DeliverooI massively prefer Deliveroo over 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!