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Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Coffee addict or tea fanatic?

It’s a hot topic! To settle with a pleasantly warm cup of tea, or to catch a milky latte from your local barista? That, my friends, is today’s question. I could tell you that here at FlatClub, our staff has debated the question since we set up our first desk and swivel chair. And as passion has gotten the better of us, friendships have been severed and milk has been spilt!


Tea fanatics

On one hand we have England’s quintessential tea, imported from what were once the extensions of a great monarchy. Fine leaves of green, black, and earl grey have been shipped in wooden crates from as far back as the 17th century when the tea trade was as innovative and exciting to entrepreneurs as the P2P home rental business is today. Tea really became huge in the early 18th century when we Brits leveraged our resources in India (the jewel of our crown). Tea shops opened up in every corner of London and tea time became a part of any proper Brit’s schedule.
Today there are still several tea shops and distributors that cling on to this symbol of our glory. You can enjoy a pot of strong tea with milk and sugar any day of the week. Twinings is perhaps the oldest standing tea company, being over 300 years old. Try a traditional cup’a’tea for yourself and see what all the rave is about.



Coffee addicts

For those who prefer a stronger kick or a more abounding flavor, coffee has hit the market hard. As London has grown, globalized, and modernized, fast-paced button-down shirts holding smartphones in one hand and cardboard cups in the other have stampeded the streets every morning between 7 and 9.
We have the Italians to thank for the introduction of espresso, cappuccino, and latte into British culture. But ‘Americanos’ (from the US) and ‘flat whites’ (from Australia) are also very popular.
Whether you are a caffeine fiend or a hipster, there’s a cup of coffee out there for you. But if you prefer door-to-door delivery and hand roasted coffee beans over long lines and stale cups of joe, you might want to consider Pact, a growingly popular service.
To be honest, I find it hard to pick a side when my office erupts in dispute. Tea has its place in my life and so does coffee. So, I’d say you should try some of this stuff for yourself and make up your own mind.

Two incredible days at TechCrunch Disrupt London




Another year, another successful TechCrunch Disrupt! Entrepreneurs, startups and those looking to invest in the next Uber, Airbnb and Facebook all gathered in the Copper Box Arena in London’s Olympic Park to listen, pitch and connect. We had an absolute blast getting to know some of our fellow startups and inform others about what we do. Here are just some of our highlights:


  • our collaboration with TechCrunch was met with an overwhelming response! So many were interested in hosting Battlefield participants and we were happy to give them a ticket to Disrupt for free in return
  • we chatted with loads of people from all over the world and all niches of sectors to find out about their companies and tell them more about FlatClub. Entrepreneurs love to connect, to collaborate, to come together to create something even better, to open their ideas for the benefits of their customers. It was inspiring to see and listen to many great collaboration ideas and we’re excited to see what comes of out them in the coming months!
  • our fellow Techhubbers Jukedeck made it to the final round at Battlefield! We watched their incredible pitch with delight and couldn’t be happier for them. Working next to these amazing guys is simply a pleasure!
  • the Battlefield competitors were insanely creative this year. From deliveries in African cities within three hours to managing relationships between creative freelancers, vendors and contractors and of course creating custom, royalty-free music for videos and other uses from the guys and gals working next to us at Jukedeck
  • our FlatClub stall was a huge success! We’ve had hundreds of people visiting us, asking questions, looking to collaborate, to invest or to simply find out why they should stay with us next time they’re moving abroad temporarily. The response was overwhelming and we were happy to share our ideas (and our vouchers) with everyone who was interested



We cannot wait for next year’s TechCrunch Disrupt and are excited to see new startups, new ideas and make new connections to improve everyone’s experience.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

FlatClub at Dublin Web Summit 2015


Dublin’s Web Summit was booming this year. Entrepreneurs from all around the world gathered to share their ideas, pitch to investors, and learn from some of the most prominent leaders in the tech world.

We were able to get an inside view of the bustling event from some of our employees who attended the conference. Here’s what they had to say:

  • Peer to peer platforms are the next big thing: Apps and online tools are more widely available and capable of creating change than ever. There were a ton of companies at this year’s Web Summit who were offering customers the ability to bypass the middleman in various industries through the use of apps and platforms.

  • Virtual reality is kicking off: Oculus Rift, Samsung, and Google are just a few of the tech giants implementing virtual reality. It is safe to say that at this point, virtual reality is much more than just a concept. From virtual book readings, to video games, to 3D virtual home tours, VR is penetrating nearly every market and will surely be an integral part of the world in the next few years.

  • Entrepreneurs love to collaborate: It was very inspiring, and a bit overwhelming, to see the amount of networking happening. Though most companies were aiming to pitch their ideas to investors, hoping to make it big, they were more than open to pitching to onlookers and fellow tech geeks. Collaboration is the key to success, as no one can turn their big idea into a reality on their own.

  • Social media is penetrating every market: Of course, as we have seen in the past few years, social media is huge. But Web Summit has shown us that it is not nearly done growing. Key-note speakers from Facebook, SnapChat, and Pinterest all expressed their high hopes of growth and expectations of entering markets in developing economies within the next 5 to 10 years.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Feeling homesick? We'll help you forget and love autumn instead!


It’s the time of the year again, most of us don’t really look forward to. After setting the clock one hour back, it only gets darker earlier in the day, the temperatures drop and those beach body selfies to impress your crush have to wait another six to eight months. Luckily, there is so much to look forward to in the next two months so turn that frown upside down and find your reason to love the autumn season.




Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Spooktacular Halloween parties in London

Halloween in London

Is this going to be your first Halloween in London? If so, you are in for a treat! The Big Smoke celebrates Halloween pretty much like it celebrates everything else: on a massive scale with variety too large to count and of course - delicious drinks.


From London Zoo to the Millennium Wheel, every major location gets in on the action. For a spooky, wicked London Halloween night experience, check out our recommendations of parties.


Winterwell Lost in Space
Who says Halloween has to be zombies, ghosts and witches? Winterwell proves that a desolate post-apocalyptic Earth set in an old brick warehouse in West London is just as scary - if not more so!

The Candlelight Club Halloween Ball
For those looking for something a little fancier, dressier and (depending on your view) more civilised, the Candlelight Club opens its door for a spooky speakeasy style ballroom in New York’s Roaring Twenties.

Pop Up Ping Pong Halloween
If you thought your beer pong college days were over, think again. Set in an old abandoned post office in Chelsea, the Halloween-themed ping pong party features America’s finest exports: red cups, cronuts, sliders and of course beer.

Michael Jackson’s Thriller
In the end, Halloween has always been and will always be about zombies. And who to better put in the centre of your zombie party than the King of Pop himself. The Old Queen’s Head in Islington brings the epic Thriller video to life this Friday.


Monday, 26 October 2015

Be 007 in London

How to have a 007 day in London


The latest installment in the James Bond franchise had its debut in the UK on Monday 26th October. If you want to spend a day feeling like the British superspy, here's how to do it!


  • check out the outside of Bond's apartment in Stanley Crescent, Notting Hill
  • hop on a speedboat down the Thames past the infamous MI6 building next to Vauxhall Bridge back in perfect condition naturally after it was blown up in the previous Skyfall)
  • dress up smart and head to the famous Dukes Bar in Mayfair's five-star Dukes Hotel - where the Bond's signature phrase"shaken, not stirred" was coined -  for a fancy martini

All that is left now is to head to a cinema and immerse yourself in a true 007 experience! 

Our tip: Most Vue Cinemas in London are showing the new Bond flick for 24 hours straight from its premiere on Monday night to Tuesday night! If you're looking for a cheap-cheap alternative check out Peckham Plex where tickets are £5 for every movie (plus £1 surcharge for 3D movies)!

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Free Tickets to TechCrunch Disrupt - Why Go?



TechCrunch Disrupt 2015 is happening in London, and FlatClub can provide you with a free ticket. The how is simple - just host a Battlefield Participant in your spare room - at no charge to them - and we’ll get you set up with a free ticket to Disrupt worth £1440.



Why go to TechCrunch Disrupt? Well, it’s the largest tech convention of it’s kind in the world. There’s something for everyone there, and here are the major aspects:

Be Inspired

Looking for a bit of inspiration? TechCrunch Disrupt 2015 has that in spades, with speakers ranging from Alexandra Chong, the founder of Lulu, Azmat Yusuf, a founder of Citymapper, and Agus Gomez, a co-founder at Wallapop. Want to start your own business? Then these are the people to listen to, and they’re all speaking at TechCrunch Disrupt in London this year. Not only that, but the Hackathon can also be a major source of inspiration! Teams get together and build something awesome overnight.

See Exciting Pitches & Refine Your Own Technique

Participants in the Startup Battlefield will be pitching to a panel of judges - and you can sit in, and judge yourself. See what seems to work and what doesn’t, grab some good ideas for how to pitch, and learn what to avoid.

Pitch & Meet the Right People

If you have something to pitch (an idea, a burgeoning startup, or yourself - hello exciting new employers!) you can find someone to pitch it to here. There are plenty of VCs & other sundry investors walking around and scoping things out, so it’s worth your time if you have a business idea & the confidence to do a bit of chatting.

Network with Potential Co-Founders

Not only are there tons of investors wandering around, there are also plenty of interesting folks who are looking to join a startup at the ground up. You’ve got a great idea for an app, but you’re not so sure how to build an app? Chat with more technically astute people there and see what they have to say! Even if they don’t want to join up with you, they can provide valuable feedback on your ideas.

Get a Reading on the London Tech Scene

Wondering what’s hot in London’s tech scene right now? Disrupt is the place to find out. Take the temperature of the city’s tech world and see if it’s a good time for you to make your entry. You’ll meet like-minded people and get some honest appraisals about the state of the community.

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 - for free!

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Free Tickets to TechCrunch Disrupt London

                            

The TechCrunch Disrupt conference comes to London once again December 7-8, 2015. 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 £1440 value!




We were lucky enough to attend Disrupt in 2014 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:



Thierry Henry - Top goal scorer for Arsenal FC, Investor in London Startup Grabyo.
Thierry Henry has been nominated as World Player of the Year on two successive occasions, voted the Greatest Footballer Ever to have played in the English Premiership and was recently honoured with entry into the All Time Hall of Fame. Both on and off the pitch, Henry exudes excellence. He was named FIFA's Global Ambassador against Racism and is actively involved in the startup community. At the conference, he will speak about how technology and digital media is changing the sports industry and the fan bases, why he backed Grabyo, and what sports, music and fashion talent can bring to social platforms.



Eileen Burbidge - Partner at Passion Capital, an early stage VC fund.
Eileen Burbage, a partner at Passion Capital, has been included in the WIRED100 Most Influential People in Tech list for the last three years. Burbage also serves as one of nineteen members of the Prime Minister David Cameron’s Business Advisory Group.



Azmat Yusuf - Founder of CityMapper

The popular London navigation tool, CityMapper has surged through the market as it combines all forms of transportation. Linked with the London Underground and other public transportation outlets, the app provides an efficient mechanism for navigation. Meet the man behind the maps. 




Alexandra Chong - Founder of Lulu.

Lulu is the #1 mobile app for women to share experiences and make better decisions. Over 5 million girls use Lulu to reference their dates. The private, safe network scales the collective pulse on what matters to young women when it comes to dating, relationships, health, fitness and beauty.


And even more speakers have been added to the line up:



Alex Depledge, co-founder and CEO of Hassle
Book a home cleaner in London, Manchester, Birmingham or Leeds at just £10 per hour with Hassle.com. Finding domestic and house cleaners is so easy!

Pieter van der Does, co-founder, CEO of Adyen
Adyen is the leading technology provider powering payments for global commerce in the 21st century. With a seamless solution for mobile, online and in-store transactions, our technology enables merchants to accept almost any type of payment, anywhere in the world.



Taavet Hinrikus, co-founder of TransferWise
Banks charge hidden charges when you send money abroad. With TransferWise you save up to 90%. Problem solved, money saved.

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
ThreeHouse



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.

Justinguitar.com 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.

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 are 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.


1. "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.”


2. “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.”



3. “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%.”



4. “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.

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.

Friday, 21 August 2015

5 Best Productivity Apps

(this article was written by Alicia, one of our international interns - she's super productive here in the office so she knows what she's talking about! download these apps to be productive too)

September is almost here. It is time for us all to get more productive and start working harder towards our goals. If you are like me and can get overwhelmed by all the stuff you have to do, check out my 5 must have apps for a more organized life.

1. Any Do This app is an excellent to-do list and task manager. I tried several task management oriented apps and this one is the best I have found and I use it regularly. The reminders and notifications will make sure you get everything done on time and the daily planner will definitely help you improve your productivity and efficiency.

Preferred Feature: The action shortcuts feature which allows you to call, text or email within the app. Works really well to stay focused!

2. Peak Peak is more about training your brain and improving your mental ability. The workouts are challenging but the interface will make you forget the app is about stimulating your brain and not something more exciting.

Preferred Feature: The personalized workouts.

3. Evernote Evernote is one of the most popular app when it comes to productivity. The app is very flexible with clean and sleek features and makes the note-taking experience way easier and quicker.

Preferred Feature: The possibility to save all your files (notes, photos, recordings) in the cloud and get to them anywhere you have access to the internet.

4. Forest If you are a phone addict (aren’t we all?) and can not help checking your phone even when something important needs to be done, this app will encourage you to stop. You plant a seed, which grows into a tree over the course of 30 minutes. If you open another app while this happening, you'll kill the tree. It's a great way to incentivize spending your time wisely.

Preferred Feature: The seeds planting part!



5. Headspace Because of all the good work you have done with your new awesome apps, your brain deserves a little rest & relaxation. Headspace helps you sleep, focus and relax through meditation.

Preferred Feature: Intuitive app which offers timed and short sessions for us busy people!

3 Ways to Better Yourself on the Internet

(this article was written by one of our international interns, Alicia - we know she spends her time online well here in the office, so let her give you some tips!)
You can easily get lost browsing the web. We have all have turned to Google to help us find something important, then  got lost watching Buzzfeed videos and kittens on YouTube. It happens!

I learned to get past the irrelevant, closed all of my social media tabs and found some pretty interesting thing to do!a

On the internet we can:

1. Get an Education

Sure, very obvious for those already taking courses online but I was amazed at the amount of diverse things we can learn on websites like Coursera, edX, and Carnegie MellonCoursera is an education platform which offers free courses online. The courses are all very nicely organised from an introduction/syllabus to lectures, assignments and a final exam at the end. The platform is a wonderful way to learn more about a topic and truly work on it.

Be careful! I would suggest you focus on one or two subjects at first because it can get challenging.

Open Culture is also an online platform but focuses on bringing together different cultural and educational media from courses of course but also audio books and movies. The website has a lot to offer but also a lot of content that could be viewed as distraction.

2. Learn Another Language

For those you can not afford to spend a semester abroad or travelling to another country, learning a language online as a way to interact with more people seems like a good option.

Duolingo is a very good alternative to boring book lessons and cassette tapes. The website is free and lessons are available in English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian.

It is however limited and If you wish to learn a language other than the ones above, I recommend you check out Babbel. Babbel is not free (from £8.95/month) but offers way more language options (like Swedish or Turkish) and focus on conversational skills.

The BBC also offers free lessons and courses online with audio, games, vocabulary and exercises. You can choose 40 languages from French, German to Chinese, Icelandic and Finnish. Pretty diverse and enough to do to never get bored!

3. Become a Person of Culture

This one is a bit tricky and depends on the idea you have of culture but I found that a good way to improve your common knowledge and form an opinion is reading. Or in this case, reading and watching videos.

TED is definitely my favorite because of its infinite variety of topics covered. It stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design but now covers all areas of ideas worth spreading. Just type in the topic you are interested in and access all sorts of articles and talks that will get you thinking.

Scribd lets you access millions of online books. With a library of more than 500,000 e-books, Scribd lets you browse through free documents and books by genre.

You can also check out Oyster & Amazon Kindle Unlimited for more options.

Take a virtual tour of your favorite museum unlike your local museums, the virtual tours of museums never close. Avoid the queue and gain access to tons of virtual tour of museums from the most famous ones like the Louvre Museum in Paris to The British Museum or the National Portrait Gallery.

How to Make Money While Studying or Interning Abroad

(this article was written by one of our interns from Paris, Alicia - she has lots of experience in interning or studying abroad, so read on for her best advice)

Studying away from home is a lot of fun and whatever you end up doing, your experience abroad will help you figure yourself out and give you tons of opportunities.

I myself studied and interned abroad on two different occasions. I know it can sometimes be tough to live away from the comfort of your home and not being able to work. Here is a list of tips and ways to help you earn the extra money you need.

1. Cultivate what you are good at and try to make a living out of it. Sure, you won’t earn loads at first but you can end up earning some good money just by sharing your passion with the world. If you're a photographer, sell your art on Eyeem.com. Artsy and crafty people: Etsy is the place for you to sell your crafts.

2. Share your experience abroad. More than a simple diary that will help you remember what an amazing time you had, you can also earn some good money - via placing ads, for example. Writers, this could help you launch your career! The best place to start writing are Wordpress, Blogspot or even Tumblr.

3. Take on a freelance jobs. There are some pretty good freelance websites where you can offer your services and get paid for it. Good at designing or coding? Or are you an aspiring freelance translator ? Try one these websites to help you get started: Upwork, Guru, Freelancer, 99designs.


4. Try out Task Rabbit. Help your community and get paid to do small tasks for people in your neighborhood. Become a personal shopper or help a super busy family with their brand new Ikea table, or their brand new baby! PS : Task Rabbit and sites like Upwork let users rate you. The better rating you get, the more chances you will get to work and increase your £/hour.

5. Rent your apartment back home. Renting your apartment is a good way to pay for your own rent abroad or to help you settle in nicely in a new city. Plus, you make sure your apartment is getting cleaned and staying lively while you’re away. Check out our guide to renting your apartment FlatClub Blog for tips on how to make money with your apartment.

6. Ask your university. Check with your university to see if they have available vacancies for students. Most of the time, universities will need people to answer other students inquiries or welcome foreign students and show them around. It's a great opportunity to get more involved in university life, as well.

7. Teach a language. This is one of the best ways to make a little bit of money when abroad. I suggest you post your ad next to your university and schools to make sure that you get some calls! Great way to know more about a new culture, and interact with locals.

8. Sell your stuff online. I have done it hundred of times and it always went incredibly well. I would recommend Ebay for electronic stuff & assorted goods, and Asos Marketplace or Vinted for clothing.

9. Work weekend shifts at the local coffee shop. Working part time at your local coffee shop can be a good experience. Making money and being able to interact with locals will sure make your weekends longer, but your experience abroad will be more valuable.


10. Answer surveys online. Not the quickest way to make money but good way to earn maybe an extra 100 euros a month. Check out Global Test Market or Cash Crate.

Friday, 7 August 2015

Top 5 New Travel Apps


We’ve covered some travel apps a couple of years ago, but there have been improvements to the scene since then! Here are the 5 best new travel apps for 2015.


Hopper - This app is perfect for when you are just in the planning stages of a trip. Hopper analyzes tons of flights to bring you the best deals for your trip. It uses historical data on millions of previous flights to come back & let you know the best times and dates to search for airfare.

The London Official City Guide App - This is an absolute must app while you’re travelling in London! It’s the official app for the City of London, and is created by a team that shares our office space in TechHub, What Now Travel. You’ll be able to watch maps & read information even when offline, so you don’t need to worry about roaming charges while you roam about the city. Great for when you’re out on the town - you can find flats & rooms with wifi in London on FlatClub, though!

TripAdvisor - If you’re anywhere else in the world besides London, TripAdvisor actually provides quite a few offline guides for cities as well. There are lots of user-contributed content, as well. It’s worth a download as lots of people use TripAdvisor to rate galleries, restaurants, and even landmarks.

Postagram - If you like to send postcards on your travels, Postagram will be your new best friend. As the name suggests, it’s a photo app where photos taken on your phone can be chosen for conversion into a postcard. That means you can quite instantly get a real, physical postcard into the mail, winging it’s way to relatives, friends, co-workers - anyone you want, anywhere in the world! It costs between $1.00 - $1.99, depending on where you’re sending the postcard off to.

JetLag Genie - A great choice, you’ll want to make sure you have this one ready to go a week or so before your flight, as some of the advice it gives you to take is actually before your flight. Helps to align your sleeping and eating schedule to your destination early, so you don’t lose time once you’ve arrived.

We hope that you find these apps useful before and during your stay at a FlatClub property.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

5 Best Places to Study Abroad

Study abroad
Spending a semester abroad is something we couldn't recommend more strongly to every student. It will be a life-changing experience for you personally and open doors professionally that may have otherwise stayed closed. For a truly immersive and unique time at a university abroad, there are a few cities that offer opportunities that you otherwise may miss. We’ve highlighted the 5 Best Cities to Study Abroad.



London Tower Bridge
London
Of course we’ve got to hand it up to the city FlatClub is based in. It’s not just hometown pride though, London is one of the most popular cities to study abroad in. Students who speak English natively will feel comfortable here, and students who’d like to learn English will find themselves completely immersed - which is the best way to learn a language.

London is home to a multitude of free museums, some of the best universities in the world, and diverse cultural experience. It’s well worth studying here if given the chance! Find great accommodation for your study abroad in London at FlatClub.



Munich
Munich
Munich may not be the biggest city in Germany, but it is one of the friendliest & most well-liked for study abroad students. Berlin being such a big international city won’t give you the same truly German experience that Munich will. If you are learning German, Munich is an excellent choice as the immersion levels will be high. You may come away from Munich speaking a regionally accented version of German, however!

Enjoy the Bavarian culture, world class education, and beautiful sights of Munich. Need a place to stay? We have plenty of study abroad accommodation in Munich.



Beijing
Beijing
If you have the opportunity to study abroad in China, it’s a must do! China’s economy continues to grow and as they become more & more of a world power a knowledge of the cultural customs (& even more the Mandarin language) will be an important part of a business leader’s education. There is no better place to learn Mandarin Chinese than Beijing. There are also many international schools that can teach in dual languages.

Beijing is the place to go if you want to be ahead of your peers as an international business person. While we don't have a huge presence in Beijing at the moment, if you're interested in hosting from China please get in touch!



Zurich

Zurich
Zurich in Switzerland is home to some emerging new businesses & of course the old stalwarts of Switzerland - banks. It’s a perfect place to study abroad if you plan to work in finance, as you’ll certainly make some connections. The language spoken, Swiss German, is a specialized language that may not prove so useful in the long run - however many Swiss speak English as well making it a good choice for students who aren’t looking to study a language.

It’s a beautiful and unique city, where you can learn a lot about finance and make some new connections while you study abroad. Stay with FlatClub for a great deal in Zurich study abroad rooms & apartments.



New Yok

New York
New York is one of the most internationally recognized cities in the world, making it a popular choice for study abroad students. Learn English through immersion, study in some of the finest universities particularly for creative studies, and get a unique experience unlike any you would find elsewhere in the world.

New York is home to some of the most famous streets & landmarks in the world, plenty of nightlife, and excellent opportunities. Find accommodation for study abroad in New York on FlatClub.