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Laura Blackett | University of Sunderland

Social Work BA (Hons)

  • 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!

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October 20th, 2014

The Student Ambassador Scheme

Here is the official student ambassador video as mentioned above

That’s all from me! x

October 19th, 2014

My 23rd Birthday; cake, cake and cake!

Its been 10 whole days since my last blog post, and I apologise if people were starting to think I had dropped off the face of the earth.. but no I am still alive and kicking, apart from having aged another year!

I have been so overcome with presents, cake, celebrations and more cake that the days have all ended up in a blur and brings me to here! On 13th October I celebrated my 23rd birthday; I can’t say I was looking forward to it because it seemed so boring. 21 was a milestone birthday, 22 I could sing along to Taylor Swifts song, 23..Nothing.

It all worked out amazing in the end though and I have had the best time!

Birthday girl!

Birthday girl!

On the morning of my birthday I woke up in true princess style at Rockliffe Hall in Darlington, which is a 5 star (had to get that in there), spa & hotel. I spent the morning being waited on, having the most gorgeous breakfast, answering to madam, something I could most definitely get used to, and relaxing in the spa. I was then given actual permission to have free reign of my boyfriend’s bank card to go shopping and ended up with clothes and a free lunch at Frankie and Benny’s too. On the night I had champagne and cake with my family and enjoyed a Parmo, the best takeaway delicacy ever!

The next day at uni I was sitting minding my own business in class when my friends all walked in singing Happy Birthday complete with more cake, balloons and presents. They know me so well and I loved all of my presents! I went to visit my Nana and Granda on the night and guess what..MORE CAKE! My nana bakes me a cake every birthday and this year she had made me a Harry Potter inspired cake with sweeties inside, it tasted unreal. On Wednesday we all headed over to The Forge were my friends Neil & Ben had organised a party for me at their flat! When we got there they had decorated the place, got me more presents, and an OLAF cake made by Taylor. We all had a such a good night and it was the cherry on top of an amazing week of birthday celebrations.

I feel so loved, and thank you so much to everyone who wished me a Happy Birthday I am ever so grateful!

Cake Compilation!

Cake Compilation!

October 8th, 2014

Group Work Tips

I am well and truly back in the swing of uni now, to the point I feel like I’ve forgotten my summer and that I’ve never been away! I am writing this from Murray Library at nearly 11pm where I expect to remain until the early hours, bouncing from vending machine to computer because I am preparing some research for my first assessment of second year (SCARY!). The assessment is from the module ‘Working with Adults’ and requires a 20 minute group presentation accounting for 40% of the module. Having done group work in first year for some of my other modules I feel like I have learnt some valuable tips I want to pass on for anyone else who, like me, isn’t the biggest fan of group work!

1. Preparation, Preparation, Preparation: It’s important to get started on group work as early as possible. A group of people all with their own lives and responsibilities can prove difficult to get together at convenient times and places to suit everyone. I would definitely recommend planning meetings well in advance.

2. Communicate: If you don’t understand what your role is within the group, speak up. If you don’t feel comfortable with a task you are given, speak up. If you can’t make a scheduled meeting, speak up. If you need help with PowerPoint, speak up. To summarise, the message is talk to your group so they know what is going on.

3. Diversity: Within a group you will always get a person who leads the group, the person who does everything last minute, the person who needs reminding of meetings and tasks they were given, the person who will overly stress about little details and the person who turns up to meetings and wants to talk about anything over then the task in hand! I realised last year (the hard way) that everyone is different and if you relax and think like this and don’t get too caught up on other people’s learning approaches you will enjoy your group work so much more.

I am actually really enjoying my group work so far and that is something I never thought I would say. For our first meeting last week we all met in Wetherspoons and put our Fresher’s vouchers to good use. I bagged a full english breakfast and a coffee for less than £4 and managed to make some really good progress with our group work. All in all a productive meeting!




October 2nd, 2014

My Introduction Video

Hi everyone, I have had such a jam packed week balancing uni lectures, seeing friends and getting work done I literally can’t believe it is Thursday already. Where has the week gone? I am super excited because tomorrow after uni I am heading off to Centre Parks for a long weekend. I don’t think I will get any phone signal there as it is literally in the middle of a huge forest so I just thought I would put together a quick video as I realise so far I have hidden behind my computer screen avoiding the camera!

I hope everyone has a lovely weekend, follow me on here to keep up with what I get up to:

Instagram: @lauralivesonline

Twitter: lau_swstudent

Adios for now x

September 28th, 2014



It’s common knowledge that students are either brilliant cooks or rely on flat takeaway menus to get by. One thing I missed last year was my Nana’s Roast Dinners, until I found this place ^. If your an existing student and you haven’t yet visited Proper Roast then your seriously missing out, and you need to re-arrange plans and head there this week!

Proper Roast is less than a 2 minute walk from Priestman building at City Campus, round the corner from Park Lane bus station and over the road from Cooper Rose! Show your student card and for £4.50 you’ll get a bun filled with Carvery meat, stuffing, homemade chips, gravy and a drink. You can get it to take out or sit in so it’s ideal if you need to rush back to uni or have an hour to burn!


We first discovered it last year and are now regulars because it is AMAZING. The guy who owns it is called Lee and he is the most down to earth and funny person ever so it’s no wonder he has a good business going. I went with the girls from uni last week and he always gives us a laugh the minute we walk in. Lee will be the reason I won’t get my size 8 figure by Christmas but it’s too good to pass up!


It’s also open quite late into the evening so you can always check it out before you head home from a big night out, I know we have plenty of times. One request though; if you do go just mention that you saw my blog so next time I go in I can wind him up and get a free dinner out of him for all of his new custom. He knows I’m cheeky..

Just a side note: If your near the empire cinema look out for the mini mart he has recently opened, ideal for stocking up on treats when your in the middle of an assignment and deserve it!

And there you have it; you can thank me later 🙂

September 25th, 2014

September: My Sassy Senorita.

Person Profile

Dominique Fletcher

Studies Spanish & Drama

2nd Year

Lives at Whitley Bay (Newcastle)



As I have mentioned in an earlier blog, last year I worked for the University as Student Ambassador and got involved working on all sorts of events. One of those was working in the university call centre contacting new students (I may of spoke to you) to let them know about the fantastic scholarships we have available which they could be eligible for. I had no idea that walking into that call centre I would meet my best friend!

dominque and me

Disney Party!

I know it sounds so cliché but literally from that first night in the call centre me and Dominique got on like friends who had known each other for years. I think it’s because we had, and still do have, so much in common. We both LOVE all things Disney and Harry Potter related which is always a good start. We are those girls who screenshot funny pictures, talk in constant abbreviations and who get angry about the majority of things that are going on in this world right now! We ended up in hysterics the majority of the time (at jokes no one else found funny but us) and probably annoyed almost everyone with our bad American accent we seemed to adopt mid conversation. Never the less from that call centre we pretty much became inseparable for a few weeks, to the point where staff at uni would see me and ask where ‘my sidekick was’. From that call centre we also got to work together and attend a UCAS event as Student Ambassadors which saw us travel to Worcester together and stay overnight in a hotel. It was such a laugh, not without its own drama’s but never the less! As well as that we conquered all nighters in the library, Dominos pizzas at my flat in Sunderland and many a cocktail as well as being able to have serious chats and put the world to rights over a coffee!


And just as soon as we had met, she was leaving to become the ultimate jet setter and live in the US of A for the summer at Camp America! I was gutted to see her go, but couldn’t wait to stalk her on Facebook and see what she would get up too. I even got to become a penpal and send her a letter and a baby Sven (Yes the reindeer from Frozen), over to her camp which I know is now one of her prized possessions. Even though we were thousands of miles away and there was an inconvenient time difference we spoke most days and I am happy to report that she literally had the time of her life and had some fabulous stories to tell! She also met some AMAZING people along the way who I know mean a lot to her (Shout out to Joey who I cant wait to meet one day soon because he sounds like an absolute diamond!)

Joey & Dominique at Camp Canadensis!

Joey & Dominique at Camp Canadensis!

Soooo after what seemed like FOREVER, I got to meet up with Dominique on Monday, before she departs for her next big adventure. When I saw her I felt like doing the slow motion run, like in the films? But we are both too sassy for that behaviour and played it cool. Naturally we headed straight for Starbucks and had the LONGEST coffee ever and caught up on 3 months worth of each others lives! I was so jealous of her American adventure I won’t lie..

And this brings me to now. I am writing this blog feeling slightly sad because in four days my newly found friend, who has spent more of our friendship out of the UK than actually in it, will be jetting off to Spain, for a whole YEAR! She is having a Study Abroad year as part of her course, which is a combined Spanish and Drama degree. During the year she will be living in her very own pad with a beach front location (very cosmopolitan!), and have paid work at a local school. Basically living and breathing the countries culture and getting to test out and improve her Spanish in the best place to do it! It is such a brilliant opportunity and well worth any other students thinking about who want a taste of travelling whilst studying at the University. I know if anyone was interested that she would be more than happy to point you in the right direction of where to start.

So that leaves me? Well she isn’t getting rid of me that easily that’s for sure and with flights only costing £80 return I am scheduling in a vacation PRONTO, plus I will be armed with my new found Spanish skills from my University Language Scheme class I start next week!

I just want to say that I wish you the best of luck Dominique, not that you will need it because you will be fabulous and everyone who meets you will adore and love you, as do I!

PS: When you return we will take third year by storm & get to graduate together which is beyond exciting.

Adios for now my sassy senorita 🙂



September 25th, 2014

Lectures, lock-in & lots of FREEBIES!

So yesterday was a busy day for me to say the least, I feel exhausted and have been in bed by 11pm most nights which isn’t like me at all because im a little night owl!

This week has been my first week back in lessons, and it’s so strange seeing all the Freshers thinking that was me this time last year…but instead I am now an older, wiser, more exhausted second year! I have loved starting all of my new modules this week, in particular we have started the Children, Young People and Families module, and because I would like to work within child protection I think it will be one of my favourite lectures. I have promised myself that this year I will keep on top of all my reading, because last year that kind of fell by the way side and I only really read around when I was doing an assignment, which isn’t good practice! Another bonus about being back at university is seeing all of my lovely course mates, the majority of them seem to have changed their hair colour over the summer, including me!

Shameless selfie before a day of lectures!

Shameless selfie before a day of lectures!

Yesterday was the Fresher’s Fayre, which is basically an all day event that happens every year inside City space at City Campus. It is an ideal opportunity to find out what societies and clubs are available, meet their existing members, and sign up for free taster sessions before you decide which society is for you! My favourite thing about Fresher’s Fayre though has to be the freebies, last year I went and came back with ALL SORTS so this year I took a big bag and intended to fill it!

I went along twice throughout the day, once alone and another time with friends. Each time was equally as busy. I dare say it was busier than last year and bigger! Anyway so I managed to find Frankie & Benny’s first (my favourite restaurant ever) and bagged myself a book full of discount vouchers AND a key fob which I can use again and again until September next year and claim 20% off my bill! This made my day I wont lie. My bag soon filled up with sweets, key rings, voucher booklets, society flyers, sunglasses, a jam jar glass, washing powder, toothbrush, crisps, empty pizza boxes which can be filled free of charge and loads more. All the way round I munched on cakes, chocolates and pizza, all for free. Not a bad effort at all! I have decided to put my name down for the Hockey and Netball society and will decide after the taster sessions which one I will choose.

The two Laura's love free pizza

The two Laura’s love free pizza

My haul of stuff from the Fresher's Fayre yesterday :)

My haul of stuff from the Fresher’s Fayre yesterday 🙂


Yesterday felt like the longest day ever but after lectures and the Fresher’s Fayre I drove up to Gateshead to attend the Student Lock in at the Intu Metro Centre. Basically a student lock in is a night specifically for students where shops are open later than usual and offer up to 30% discount when you show your student card. There are also freebies available and it’s generally just an awesome atmosphere with live DJs playing in most shops and pop up bars. I am trying to be good with my student loan this year but did end up treating myself to some new clothes and trainers because they were just too good of a bargain to refuse! There is a Student lock in at The Bridges in Sunderland on Tuesday 30th September so make sure you head to that if you want to bag a bargain. Im heading there with a few of the girls from my course so come and say Hi if you do see me, I wont bite 🙂

Presents to me...from me!

Presents to me…from me!

September 17th, 2014

Foamy Fun!

So after my Afternoon Tea I headed to meet up with my flatmates from last year at The Forge to prepare for the YOLO Foam Party at Union. It was lovely to see them all again, but strange visiting and not having my own room and seeing their new flat mates! I really would recommend anyone who can to have a year living in Halls of Residence it is such a good experience, especially if you have never left home before! Failing that you are able to visit friends at their Halls of Residence and stay over, I  just went to the Reception and signed myself in. The Forge also let visitors park for free on the grounds which gave me peace of mind as they have CCTV and 24 hour security so I didn’t have to worry about abandoning my new car anywhere!

Neil (left) and Ben (Right) my flatmates last year and good friends this year!

Neil (left) and Ben (Right) my flatmates last year and good friends this year!

Needless to say the Foam Party was hugely popular, the queue just to get in was out of the door and backed up right down the street and inside the place was packed! I managed to catch this video of the foam party which shows how busy it was..




Post foam!

Post foam!


I ended up leaving at around 2am when I was all danced out and my voice hurt from singing, plus I wanted to get a good sleep ready for my Induction for 2nd year the next day. Cant wait to see all of my classmates again 🙂

September 17th, 2014

A British Affair!

brows and tea


On Monday the Students Union held a free Afternoon Tea within City Space at City Campus. I thought it was a lovely idea because to a lot of students Freshers isn’t just about going out and finding £1 Vodka Lemonades and having wild nights out followed by bed bounding hangovers! To me it was also a brilliant way to introduce our new international students to British traditions, and even remind our home students how lovely a cake and a cuppa is!


The event was really popular and I met up with Isaac and Scott from Lives Online whilst I was there stuffing my face with all of the free cake! Half way through the event the Vice President of the Students Union did a presentation about the purpose of the Afternoon Tea and explained a few of the British Traditions from Tea, to triangle Sandwiches to Cake and also explained the only way you should pronounce the word Scone (and not like ‘scooone’!).





September 15th, 2014

I have landed!

New hair ready for a new year at University!

New hair ready for a new year at University!

Hello everyone, my name is Laura Blackett and I am a brand new Lives Online blogger! Having followed the Lives Online bloggers last year and seeing how brilliant they were I am feeling the pressure as I type this, so go easy on me! I am determined to make this year even better than my first year at University which may take some beating, but I love a challenge…

So to bring you all up to date:  During my first year at University I lived within Halls of Residence at The Forge, worked as a Student Ambassador, was a Student Representative for my Social Work course, and starred in the filming of the new TV advert (Hollywood here I come!). I passed first year and exceeded my own expectations of how I thought I would do, and beginning University has changed my life more than I imagined it ever could. I have met so many lovely people from all walks of life and have definitely found friends I will have for a lifetime!

How I plan to top my first year? I have enrolled in the Language Scheme the university offers to begin learning Spanish, I will be attending Fresher’s Fayre to join a society (still undecided what I will go with), my second year will also mean I will be going on placement within my course which I am excited about! I will also be applying to be a student ambassador and representative again, and taking advantage of the Professional Mentor Scheme the university runs whilst continuing to make new friends and get involved with all aspects of University life! This year I will be living at home in Hartlepool and travelling in, however I will still be a regular visitor at my friend’s student accommodation in Sunderland so that I don’t miss out on anything!

I am quite new to blogging but want to keep it current, fun and useful for current and new students at the University. I will be talking about my Social Work course, what I am getting up to in my spare time, the society I will be a part of, other schemes I will be involved with and generally useful information a lot of you students will take advantage of, from cooking and budgeting to travelling and where the hot spots are in and around Sunderland and everything in between! I will also be featuring one of my friends in my blog each month (I think I have 12 friends) to show you all different views and aspects of the university.

As I write this I am in Murray Library, at City Campus and there is such an exciting buzz with all of the new and returning students back on campus, Greggs is heaving!  Fresher’s is now upon us and I can’t wait to attend and blog about what I got up to. Keep up to date with me on my Instagram @lauralivesonline and my twitter @lau_swstudent and watch my life change!