Find a course.

Lives Online homepage

Subscribe to Lives Online

Archive for August, 2015

Laura Blackett – Livesonline

BSc (Hons) Psychology

The Forbidden Corner

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

Hi everyone,

Recently I took a drive out and visited The Forbidden Corner to celebrate my little sister’s 9th birthday! It is such an unusual place I can’t even do it justice. It’s mainly outdoors and you will find yourself lost most of the day and can never take exactly the same route twice. I would recommend it to absolutely anyone old or young, with friends or family.

Lau x

5 things I have learnt from my first year Social Work placement

Monday, August 10th, 2015

Hello everyone,

My summer holidays have officially commenced because I have now completed 70 days on placement and had my portfolio verified which means I have passed, YAY! These are the gorgeous gifts my colleagues from placement gave to me on my last day..


I was really excited to move into second year and be given a placement opportunity. I always knew it would be a valuable learning experience but I never expected it to challenge and change me so much as an individual! I kept a reflective journal on a daily basis as part of placement and reading through that has highlighted the progress I have made with my learning. So here are 5 of the most stand out things I have learnt throughout my first placement:

1. Theory into practice: I’m the first to admit I don’t feel I am the most academically able student there ever was! The idea of being based in a classroom full time was one of the things that put me off applying for university in the first place. There are some modules I have completed which I have picked up easily however there have been others I have had to spend long hours studying independently just to feel like I was at the same level with all of my other classmates. For me placement has been key in helping me to understand pieces of legislation and theory and how they impact social work practice. I was able to observe how my placement organisation is shaped by relevant legislation, changes in government and social work theory and this has been something I have appreciated to help me to develop as a professional!

2. Self-Esteem & Confidence: Everyone is always gobsmacked when I confide in them about how little confidence I do actually have in myself, I think I am well practiced at putting on a good act! Placement has challenged me to use my own initiative, take full accountability for a caseload and believe in my own judgement as a person and a professional. I think it has done wonders for my confidence and by the end of placement I felt like I had made a positive impact on individual’s lives and that has boosted my self-esteem massively. It’s something I will definitely take forward into my final placement and one less barrier I feel like I am going to have to overcome.

3. No question is a silly question: Being a mature student I worked for over 5 years prior to deciding to come to university. I have always been in a job where, after the awkward initial few weeks, I have felt like I was in control and knew what I was doing and what was expected of me. Being a student on placement kind of throws all of that out of the window and you are often in a room with professionals with long intimidating job titles and more years experience than you have been alive! At the beginning of placement this was something I battled with because I felt embarrassed about asking questions which might sound like I was unsure and I worried about what others would think of me. I met so many helpful professionals on placement that this was something I soon learnt to overcome. A lot of the time the questions I asked challenged others to think differently or to reflect about why they were actually doing something. I always found people to be more than helpful when I had a question and from the feedback I got I think this showed I was taking in the full placement opportunity and willing to be inquisitive!

4. Communication is key: Social Workers are notoriously slated within the media for their failures to communicate clearly with everyone involved and in the past this has led to the deaths of children. All of the individuals and families I worked with on placement spoke positively about the communication skills I had. It was important to me to take on board all of the comments service users had made to me in the past within seminars about social workers. I worked hard to make sure people had a positive experience of me and the service. This included being punctual to all arranged appointments, actioning any points I had said I would, avoiding the use of professional jargon and abbreviations, and being open and honest with the service user. I worked with children, young people, families, adults with mental health problems, teenage parents and adults with physical disabilities whilst on placement and can safely say that all of the above helped me to build a strong professional relationship with each person and showed my respect for them, which I then received in return!

5. Organisation skills are crucial: Whilst on placement my colleagues would dash in and out of the office all day long going to appointments with service users, attending multi-professional meetings, completing training courses and running service user led groups and activities. I was amazed at how they managed to have such busy diaries and seemed to take it in their stride, not to mention keeping up with their case recording and paperwork. I quickly learnt how they done this because I was part of four different projects on placement and had a caseload belonging to a number of the projects which meant I had to keep on top of my diary and paperwork on a daily basis. If I hadn’t of done this it could have meant I missed home visits, was unprepared to share information at a multi-agency meeting or that I hadn’t recorded crucial information which would be referred to in a child protection case.

My advice to all of you about to take on your first year placement? Invest in a diary, be honest and clear with everyone you work with, believe in yourself, don’t be afraid to ask questions and enjoy it!

Lau x


Homemade Pizza Recipe

Monday, August 10th, 2015

Hey everyone,

I have just noticed that the recipe to accompany my video showing how to make homemade pizzas has vanished, so I am posting again for all you budding pizza chefs!

I have always laughed when people said make your own pizza. Why when I could literally go to Aldi and pick one up to throw in the oven for £2? However I fully get it now because homemade pizzas taste sooooo much better. The recipe below will give you enough dough to make two good size 10 inch pizzas:


600g Strong Bread Flour (Base)
2 tsp Instant Yeast (Base)
2 tsp Salt (Base)
400ml Warm Water (Base)
200ml Passata (Sauce)
Topping of your choice
Cheese, as much or as little as you like.


1. Preheat your oven to 220 degrees (fan) or gas 8

2. Put the flour into a large mixing bowl and stir in the yeast and salt. Make a well in the centre of the flour and add the warm water, bring together until you have a soft dough.

3. Lightly flour the kitchen surface and knead the dough for around 5-10 minutes until it is smooth. You can cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for 30 minutes if you like, but if your impatient like me it works just as well without the time to rise!

4. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin or any other imaginative device you can find if your in student halls and have no rolling pin! I ended up using a tin of beans wrapped in a sandwich bag, it worked a treat. The dough needs to be very very thin, remember it will rise in the oven!

5. Once you have the dough at your desired thickness and shape place baking paper onto your baking tray and lay the rolled out dough on top. Spread the passata sauce on top of the base, leaving a gap around the edges to create your crust.

6. Add your chosen toppings and bake your pizza in the oven for 10 minutes or until crisp.

7. Enjoy and prepare for an influx of orders from your flat mates 🙂

  • Name: Laura Blackett
  • Age: 22
  • Studying: Social Work BA (Hons)
  • Hometown: Hartlepool, UK
  • Ambitions: Become a fully qualified social worker, learn another language, have my own house by the time I'm 25, complete my bucket list by the time I leave University and also go travelling!

Find out more about the University of Sunderland:

Contact the Helpline: