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Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Free Tickets to TechCrunch Disrupt London

The FlatClub & TechCrunch Disrupt partnership continues for another year - and those of you in London can benefit greatly from our camaraderie. It’s time to earn a free ticket to TechCrunch Disrupt 2015 in London!

Just like the years prior, all you have to do is offer your flat, or a spare room, to a TechCrunch Disrupt participant, free of charge. When you do, you’ll be given one free ticket to Disrupt, a £960 value!

We were lucky enough to attend Disrupt in 2013 when they were in London last, and it was a great time; our hosts who joined us also enjoyed themselves. Speakers this year will include:

Eileen Burbidge - Partner at Passion Capital, an early stage VC fund.

Agus Gomez - The co-founder & CEO of Wallapop.

Niklas Ostberg - The co-founder & CEO of Delivery Hero.

Azmat Yusuf
- Founder of CityMapper.

Alexandra Chong - Founder of Lulu.

Plus, there is sure to be many more announced in the coming weeks. Activities during Disrupt include listening to these such speakers discussing current events in technology & their personal work ethos, watching the Startup Battlefield competitors pitch their ideas, and wandering about Startup Alley & Hardware Alley, to soak in the latest and greatest in technology.

So, are you ready to get your ticket to Disrupt? Sign up to be one of our TechCrunch Disrupt Hosts, and you’re well on your way to Europe’s biggest technology event - free!

How to Boost Your Creativity Online

We saw how easy it was to access tons of information, books and courses online in our previous post on how to better yourself online. Now, you may be wondering how to apply those skills & bolster up your creativity - here we are with the answers.

Learn How to Code
Learning how to code is not just a skill for programmers. It can make your life easier and help you boost your CV (need we mention the domination of software in the job market at the moment?) In a world which everything is getting more and more digital, anyone can and should learn how to code and pick up basic skills in a few weeks, or even hours. Not only that, but coding can indeed be creative! Programming has an unfair reputation as being boring, but how do you think all your favorite apps & fun games got made?

Code Academy seems to be every self-starter’s starting point. Code Academy is perfect for a first contact and understanding of coding and the languages. It offers courses in seven main areas: from HTML & CSS to JavaScript, Ruby and Python.

Code Avengers While perfect for those who wants to learn to code games, apps and websites, Code Avengers is not free and only offers three tracks ( HTML & CSS, JavaScript and Python). It is however a fun way to learn more about coding with games and badges at the end of each task.

More coding websites:
Khan Academy

Learn How to Draw & to Play an Instrument
These two require a lot of practice and the easiest way to pick up on some new tips and tricks is to watch lots of tutorials over the internet.

Try to set up a time to practice and stick to it. If you decide to learn how to play an instrument or to draw online, do not expect to achieve a high level if you do not focus hard enough. Art demands a lot of time and patience and if you want to achieve a certain level you will eventually have to get a teacher to develop technique and posture.

Youtube tutorials will help you work on your posture for piano and show you how to draw basic stuff for the aspiring artist. There are even more YouTube tutorials for aspiring make-up artists and singers - almost anything you want to be can be found on Youtube. is actually a real person, Justin Sandercoe who offers free guitar lessons on his website since 2003. Justin will walk you through everything, from teaching you the correct names for the parts of a guitar, good posture and tips on how to become the next Jimi Hendrix.

Hoffman Academy is more oriented towards children, but a great way to get into playing the piano. The lessons are truly made for beginners and it stays very affordable.

Drawspace offers free tutorials and its community makes the interface very lively and will help you seek inspiration. The website offers a variety of things you can learn to draw and sketch.

Become a Chef!
It's quite popular to watch the Food Network and dream about the day you will make the perfect soufflé. While none of us here at FlatClub have mastered the recipe just yet, we still take a look at Youtube's food channels for cooking inspiration!

Food Wishes: Put brand new video recipes every week! The invisible and sassy talking chef makes the food the real star of the show.

Marco Pierre White: Cook like a true Chef with the help of Marco Pierre White and his easy educational cooking videos.

FoodTube: Who doesn’t know Jamie Oliver? He’s a bit of eye candy, some would say.

Check out apps like Marmiton for even more cooking tips and recipes.

These are just some of the ways you can boost your own creativity online, and learn new and useful skills. Has the FlatClub community discovered any other cool things that they can learn online? Or applied the skills you picked up online to the real world? Let us know in the comments!

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Getting Back Into a Routine after Holidays

Oh no. It’s time to get back to reality: leave your bathing suit at home, stop eating out, and go back to your usual busy schedule, students. Autumn has plenty of appeal - but still, when it’s here you have to get out of holiday mode and back into your routine.
A few clever tricks can help you break the your vacation pattern and get you excited for university again.

1. Get Organized
Easy to say but not so easy to do, we know. In this case, we recommend going back to basics: the to do list and weekly planner. Boring sure, but effective. Planning ahead will help you manage your time and avoid having to take care of things last minute.

You can use a calendar, write what you have to do on a piece of paper and hang it next to your bed or download one of the 5 productivity apps we talked about in a previous article.

If you decide to go the old fashioned way - make it fun! Play around with colors, stickers, everything to brighten up your calendar, both to make it more fun and to ensure that it catches your eye each morning.

2. Be Realistic
Don’t plan too much for one day. You rock at multitasking? Great! Try not to abuse it, or you will burn yourself out. Focus on the most important projects and give yourself some time to breath. Be realistic about the time you have and plan accordingly.

3. Don’t Procrastinate What Can be Done Now

It’s especially easy to procrastinate when you’re thinking that something is a quick, small task that you can accomplish in a matter of minutes. If something can be done right now, do it now to avoid forgetting about it later or doing a poor job of it at the last minute. Getting small things out of the way will give you a clearer view on what’s left to do.

4. Identify Your Productivity Window
When are you at your most productive? Forget about all of the surveys you did, and when they said people are at their most productive. When are you most efficient? Is it in the morning? Evening? Before or after coffee? After lunch? During the weekends? After taking the trash out? Figure this one out to make sure you utilize your time well.

5. Get Some Good Sleep & Eat Healthy
Summer and holidays in general mean having a hectic sleep schedule. Try to slowly get back into a healthy sleeping routine and go to bed a bit earlier every night. If you still have trouble sleeping before 2 in the morning, try some breathing exercises to calm your mind and fall asleep faster.

Academics and success at work is also linked to a good nutrition. You can boost your memory and learning abilities by drinking plenty of water, eating lots of berries and fruits in general, along with eggs, nuts, and fish.

6. Take Breaks
With all this planning, working, studying, your brain will need to refresh. A break does not only mean laying around doing nothing, you could also do something unrelated to work to take your mind off your busy schedule. Read a book, exercise, or something else that makes me you feel relaxed and rejuvenated. If you decide to make a break schedule, stick to it!

7. Train your Brain
Why train your brain? Well, because like your body, your mind can be improved and training your brain will help you perform better in every area of your life. Peak is a good app that offers daily ‘workouts’ to improve your memory, focus, mental agility, problem solving abilities, and more.

4 Free Apps to Keep Track of Your Budget

If you are a student, intern, or young professional, it can be tough to budget your way through life. Here are some of the best apps to help you spend your money more wisely.

1. Spendee
There are tons of budget apps available on both the Android Market and the App Store and Spendee is by far the easiest to use & has a very clean interface. All you have to do is create a free account and start entering your spending and income, and the data will start building itself.

The overview button gives you the opportunity to see how much you’ve spent over time, your average daily spend, and number of transactions.
Wally is the most connected of the budget management apps. The app allows you to keep track of your spending, follow your income, and connect several bank accounts. All currencies are available and you can even snap a picture of your receipts for better accuracy. How great is that?

3. My Currency Converter
Easy to use currency converter app for Android and iOS users. This app supports over 150 different currencies. Use the switch button to invert the currency. Just great when you’re travelling or shopping online.

4. Your Bank’s Personal App
One of the most secure way to deal with your money and the first app to get to manage your finances and accounts. You can transfer money and view your balance all from your phone. Very useful when you're abroad or otherwise unable to pay your bank a visit.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

4 Trick Questions You Can Encounter During an Interview

In every interview that you’ll have, your interviewer will try to throw a wrench in your planned answers to see how you will react. We refer to those as ‘trick questions’, but they’re not malevolent, they’re just meant to see how you think on your feet. Here is the top 4 ‘trick questions’ that are utilized by interviewers.

We’ll see in this article not only what sort of answer your recruiter is looking for, but also why they are asking those questions in the first place.

  • “What are your weaknesses?”
This is undoubtedly the most asked question by recruiters - it’s so they know what risks they may take on if they hire you.

In this case, you don’t have to be too honest and enumerate a list of all of your faults, nor should you say that you have none - as all people have faults and it will look disingenuous to say otherwise.

What you have to do in this situation is to say one of your faults, but directly go on with what you did to change it, and how you learned to work around it. Your fault, however, should be unrelated to the position. For example if you’re telling your recruiter that you are shy while applying for a sales position, you’ll never make it.

  • “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” 
We would say it’s a “heads or tails” question because it depends on what your recruiter wants. While some of them are genuinely interested in knowing more about you, others might just ask the question to make sure you will be a good candidate who is indeed in it for the long haul.

By asking that question, the recruiter would like to know if you have already thought about your future career, and if it’s realistic and well defined. As the question is rather tricky, what we suggest is to be vague but to show your ambition. We suggest something like “I would definitely see myself working in the human resources field and given that many things can happen in 5 years, I hope to rise professionally as well as personally.”

  • “What do you do if you realize that you’ve made a mistake in business?” 
Everyone makes mistakes, but what your recruiter wants to know is that you’re capable of taking responsibility for your own actions.

It will be intolerable for him/her if you had blamed someone else for your own mistake.

The magical answer is: “I take the whole responsibility and will do my best to fix what occured due to the error. I’m going to learn from it and understand why it happened in order to avoid that in the future. If I cannot fix it by myself, I shall bring it to my superior alongside the steps I’ve taken to correct it already.”

  • “Why should we hire you instead of one of the many other applicants?” 
This question is frequently asked at the end of an interview. This is asked by the interviewer because he would like to know why you are the best to hire among the rest of candidates.

His/her reputation is at stake depending if you are a good deal for the company or not.

The interviewer wants to ensure that his or her decision is the right one. In that case, you have to sell yourself. Make his job easier and convince him that you’ll bring great results and that you’ll integrate easily into the team. For example: “You should hire me because I was the best salesperson in my previous company. Indeed, I raised the sales rate by 20%.”

Thursday, 27 August 2015

How Best to Prepare Your Flat for Guests

Ready for another season of FlatClub guests? We know we are! There are some ways you can really improve their experience, and therefore make yourself more likely to get some awesome reviews. Just a few quick things you can pick up will make all the difference for your guests!

Things to Leave in the Flat

When your guest arrives to the city, there may be some things that they’re missing. Some things that are rather vital, depending on where you are in the world!

Umbrella - Yes, if you are in London or any other rainy clime, this is a necessity for your guests! You can choose to make it a gift to your guests (you can find inexpensive umbrellas on the high street in the UK for around £7) or you can supply it with the addendum that it must be returned at the end of the stay. Easy peasy! Steve in London leaves these umbrellas behind for guests to take back with them, if necessary. It’s a small investment.

Tea/Coffee and Biscuits/Cookies - Leave tea & biscuits behind for guests visiting London or Dublin, so they get a taste of something classical. We suggest Twinings as an excellent classic British brand for visitors. Any biscuits from a shop will do, but something like digestives, shortbread, or HobNobs are the most well-known. If you’re outside of the UK, you may find that some local coffee & local cakes or cookies are even more well-appreciated! Sue in New York is always sure to leave a few K-Cups for her Keurig machine with a note so guests know that they can, and how to use them.

Hairdryer - You’d be surprised at how many people don’t provide this, or at the very least, don’t specify where it is in the flat. Your guest will most certainly need to wash their hair at some point during their stay, and if they have any length at all they’ll want to be able to dry it quickly. Do them a favor and leave the hairdryer in an easy-to-find area of the house, or otherwise leave a note as to it’s location.

Personal Care Items
- Imagine you’ve just landed in a big, unfamiliar city - and as luck would have it, you’ve forgotten toothpaste. D’oh! You know it’s a bit difficult to remember every single thing when you travel, so we suggest leaving a small tube of toothpaste, mouthwash, face wash and moisturizer behind. Find small trial sizes in the drugstore or chemist, they’re just perfect for this occasion.

Services That Help for Fun & Serious Business

When your guests arrive to a new city, depending on the nature of their travels, they’ll need entertainment or help getting around the city. We have suggestions for both!

Netflix - Do you have Netflix? It's only the most popular TV & movie streaming service in the world right now, so if you don’t have it, why not download it before guests arrive? Leave it installed on on your computer or television and give your guests directions on how to operate it. They’ll appreciate access to all of the great Netflix content when they’re relaxing in the evening.
Citymapper, find in the App Store

CityMapper & other apps - In London CityMapper is the best app for getting around the city. With information on public transportation & directions that will give you a good estimation of when you will actually arrive. Leave information on CityMapper (if it’s in your city) or other similar mapping & directions apps in a note on the kitchen table. Keith in London always recommends that his guests download CityMapper before they even arrive.

Physically Prepare the Flat

Of course, you need to leave the flat in clean condition before you leave, but there are some things you may not have considered that aren’t so obvious.

Leave the Windows Open - This airs out your flat and makes the general atmosphere a bit more fresh & clean-feeling. If it’s the summertime you may be cautious of insects coming in, so perhaps it’s best to open them right before the guest arrives so that lessens the amount of time they could fly in.

Leave a Few Drawers Empty - Leave a few drawers open and empty so that guests can put their things away and get comfortable. This is really only necessary if your guest is staying for more than a few days, which many FlatClub guests do. Our guests stay on average for about a month, and in that amount of time they’re likely to want to stop living outside of their suitcase!

Leave a Candle Available to Light - If you’re happy for guests to light candles, leave a little tinned candle for them to light themselves. We recommend something light and pleasant like vanilla or something citrusy. Sofia in Milan leaves a local Italian lemon candle behind for guests to light and enjoy.

Do all these things, or just a few that make sense for you & your property and you may just receive an awesome gift right back from your guests! Just like this lovely wine, chocolate, and letter from a guest that our CEO Nitzan recently received.

Guest Post: London's Most Elegant Dining Destinations

FlatClub can help you find amazing accommodation at a good price in London, but everyone should have a truly luxurious experience while staying in the city. Let our friends at TRULY help you figure out the best way to splash out.

The culinary experts at TRULY, from ex-Michelin chefs to globetrotting foodies, run through the most elegant dining experiences in London. The Ledbury
Tucked away in a corner of Notting Hill, The Ledbury may well be discreet, but is also undoubtedly magnificent. Despite being awarded two-Michelin stars and breaking into the San Pellegrino's top 10 restaurants in the World, the Ledbury still maintains an impressive local identity. Regulars enjoy the venue’s bright, uncomplicated, but opulent dining room.

L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon
Joël Robuchon. Named “Chef of the Century” by the prestigious Gault Millau guide and holding 28 Michelin stars worldwide - more than anybody else - he may well be the world’s most prominent chef. In fact, one of his rivals, Gordon Ramsay, was trained by the great man. Ramsay, as you might expect, was a stroppy apprentice and Robuchon admits he once aimed a plate in the Scot’s direction.

There are a host of L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon restaurants worldwide, taking on a new concept of fine dining. The London outpost is among the finest, Robuchon himself labelling the city as the contemporary world centre of cuisine. With a unique counter concept, that invites customer interaction with the kitchen team, it might well be apt that this theatre for the senses is located in London’s West End.

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
As you might expect, Heston has many a surprise up his sleeve in his London restaurant. The food at Dinner is characteristically experimental, from the ‘porridge of frogs’ legs’ to the chicken liver and foie gras that takes the appearance of a clementine.

The obscurity of dishes on the menu have not detracted from the restaurant’s accomplishments. Within a year of opening in 2011, Dinner was awarded its first Michelin star, has more recently obtained a second, and has become one of the world’s best new places to dine - consistently ranked in the world’s top 10 restaurants by San Pellegrino.

Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester [TRULY partner]
Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester is unquestionably the most lavish restaurant in town. Situated in the five-star Dorchester, an unmitigated attention to detail, from the 4,500 glimmering fibre optics as part of the décor, to the scrupulousness put into every element of every dish is immediately present.

It would be remiss not to point out that Alain Ducasse is one of the biggest names in gastronomy and he concurs with Robuchon, that London is the culinary capital of the world. In fact, he believes the Michelin guide ought to be acknowledging this in their ratings of restaurants in the capital.

Le Gavroche

This restaurant
is a behemoth of the London dining scene. Offering unapologetically old-school fine dining since opening in Chelsea in 1967, it has since become a staple of London’s haute cuisine. First opened by the Roux brothers, Albert and Michel, it’s now run by Michel Roux Jr who took the reins in 1991. The classical, rich and indulgent French cuisine is the main draw at Michel Roux Jr’s renowned London institution, and long may it continue to reign supreme.

Hibiscus [TRULY partner]
Recently rated by the Good Food Guide as one of the best restaurants in Britain, the double Michelin star Hibiscus serves up fine seasonally changing dishes. All ingredients are sourced within the UK, while the in-season mantra is taken very seriously. In summer, for example, dishes such as Var Salmon, Artichoke Barigoule & Eucalyptus are offered.

Head-chef Claude Bosi originally opened the restaurant in Somerset, where it quickly garnered two Michelin stars. Always striving for a new challenge, Claude moved Hibiscus to London, where it continues to be recognised for Bosi’s passion for flavours, simplicity, and elegance.

Discover more glamorous dining experiences in London with TRULY, part of their collection of extraordinary experiences.