Photo: HSPAS

The Halal Snack Pack Appreciation Society, or HSPAS, is the ‘new kid’ on Facebook, yet it is one that has absolutely exploded onto the scene. This groups mission is simple: find and critique Halal Snack Packs. Never heard of a Halal Snack Pack? Well neither have most people. It’s new, it’s fresh, it’s exciting. A HSP is a combination of meat, cheese, sauce and chips, served in a very specific way. The chips go on the bottom, with the meat on top, this is then covered by the cheese, and then topped with sauce (usually garlic and chilli with some variations).

True to the nature of the snack pack, the group critiques HSP’s in a specific way also despite the fact that the page admins say that there need not be any mandatory rating system. There are 7 criteria that must all be rated from 1-10, and then an overall score on the same scale. First things first, the signage. This includes languages, clarity, and whether it is a neon sign or not. Then comes the service. Although a pretty self-explanatory criterion, high scorers usually refer to their customers as “brother” or “sister.”

Then there is how good the packaging is, this does not necessarily mean how good it looks, in fact quite the opposite. A Styrofoam package that holds everything well scores much better than anything else. Next comes the score of the meat, possibly the most important part of the score. Taste, texture, quality of meat, this is what it all comes down to. The sauce and cheese are occasionally rated as one, this includes how much there is and how good it is. Finally comes the chips. As they are beneath the meat, they can go disastrously wrong. It is an art form to be able to keep the chips tasty and crunchy under the heat and locked in by Styrofoam, and this is what separates the boys from the men.

Each of these criteria are followed by a brief comment, letting other snack packer appreciators know exactly what to expect from each store. There is also always a picture so that people can see it for themselves.

This Facebook group is truly exceptional. Much like the stalker space, the people are kind and genuine, all working together to achieve one goal; to find the best places to get a Halal snack pack. Just shy of 100,000 members, the group has faced exponential growth, pouring on dozens of thousands of people within the last few months alone.

I spoke to Ryan Pancho to find out the appeal.

“Well it’s amazing to just find so many people all on a page for the one thing, finding food. Each time I open Facebook, I see one, and I just start to crave it. I wish there was a kebab shop closer to my place so I could go there more often.”

Once you are down with the lingo of the page, you feel at home, and I thoroughly recommend that anyone who loves kebab meat at all should join this group. It’s truly remarkable, and its available everywhere.


By James Wallace


Hey guys!

I’d love to introduce myself; my name is Harriet Girle, I’m currently a first year student at La Trobe’s Bundoora campus studying a double degree of Bachelor of Law/Media and Communication.

This year I’m super excited to kick-start my involvement with the La Trobe First Year blog, working alongside a team of creative individuals who all have their own perspective on being a first year at La Trobe. Together we aim to give you, fellow first-years, some advice through our experiences and hope explore our university together!

‘COFFEE ON CAMPUS’  This concept, born out my own genuine frustration and inability to find a good cup of coffee on campus, for what I would like to say was far too long. Basically, I aim to review and collate across the next semester a guide (survival guide, if you will) providing you guys the down low on some of the cups of coffee you can get across campus.

Writer’s Block Café

Borchardt Library, Lv. 1, Bundoora Campus. This little gem is tucked away on the lower level of the university library, situated across from the ‘La Trobe Help Desk’ and to the right of the main entrance to the library. The location is very convenient, especially if you’ve been studying in the library or even just passing through campus.

With snacks such as sandwiches, cakes, slices, and even stocked with a variety of macaroons; there is no excuse for a first-year to go hungry with this selection on offer.

I don’t branch far from a ‘strong soy latte with one’ (not a pretentious coffee selection – just lactose intolerant) and these guys satisfied with flying colours. Firstly the coffee was smooth, deep in flavour and whilst providing a strong caffeinated hit. I arrived in a peak period, just after 10am on a Monday morning. Completely mindful of the ‘coffee rush hour’ I’d entered into, my expectations of a timely service were reasonable. But I was pleasantly surprised it wasn’t an issue at all for any of the friendly staff, (receiving my order within 3 minutes) a true testament to ‘Writer’s Block Café’ considering their popularity.

Not only was the coffee exceptional, the venue itself I would recommend it as a quiet place to enjoy a coffee, study, or just catch up with a friend – suiting any students needs. Aesthetically it’s well fitted out, and the artwork across the walls is a lovely touch.

‘Writer’s Block Café’ satisfied my caffeinated hunger whilst curing that lousy morning brain haze, providing me with a great coffee with a quick service – which honestly, fits the bill perfectly on a Monday morning.

Coffee rating: very good.

Setting: study or catch-up.

Vibe: chilled, yet humble.

Finances are stresses

Finances, we all hate them but we also know how important they are. How many of you out there don’t want to look at your account statement because you’re just too scared to know? I’m willing to wager about 99 per cent of you are nodding right now.

I’m nodding as well. Money matters stress me out, more than it should. My bottom draw is filled with receipts that I don’t even want to think about. Stored there for another day. Getting that account statement in the mail makes me want to cry.

But what is it about money that stresses uni students out so much?

Obviously majority of the time it is because university is so crazily expensive. Looking at my student account and how much I owe the government is not the best experience I’ve ever had. But those funds are necessary for where we want to go in life. It’s all the other spending that’s the biggest problem.

Clothes here, eat out there. Things that we somehow convince ourselves we definitely need – but the last time I checked, I’ve already got a whole wardrobe of clothes and most of which I don’t even wear!

My names Morgan and I’m a shopaholic.

I know now that taking advice from a self-proclaimed shopaholic is pretty ironic, however I guess I do have the experience. So listen up, and hopefully I say something that resonates with you or could help.

Here are my trusty tips (that I am even starting to use)

  1. Make a finance spreadsheet

I know – borrrring! But it actually works. I’ve got my expenses all on one easily accessible Exel spreadsheet. So I can see how much I’m spending and discover what is not necessary to buy.

  1. Prioritise

Decide on a monthy or weekly basis how much you want to spend in general, then categorise them into a social budget, food, bills etc. That way, you know how much you’re allowed to spend and being strict with yourself is actually a good thing. You’ll feel guilty if you do overspend!

  1. Leave the card at home

When you go to the shopping centre, try to have a clear idea of exactly what you want, price it and get out that physical money so you know how much your are actually spending. So you can forget about carrying that plastic card around, leave your card at home. Less temptation!

    4. Budgeting app

But if all fails, there’s probably an app for budgeting you can rely on.





If you were to go on my Tumblr blog at the moment you’d notice I’ve been blogging a lot! This only means one thing. I have assignments I should be doing. I actually like to think my time management skills have gotten a lot better since I left high school, mainly due to the fact I have great friends who look at me disapprovingly whenever they see me procrastinating.

However, when it comes to study tips and advice on what you should be doing in relation to assessments, I’m honestly the worst person you could listen too. I’ve taken this negative and turned it in to a positive though. Instead of telling you what you should do, I’m going to tell you what you shouldn’t do. Below is a list of what not to do when you know those assignment dates are getting closer!

  • Do NOT write the title of your assessment then reward yourself with ‘five minutes’ free time. Before you know it, its 9pm, your study break has been going since 11am yesterday morning and your word count is still 5.
  • Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and funny cat videos on YouTube are not your friends. They are evil. You’ll realise this the night before your assignment is due and you’re curled up in a little ball crying of stress. The cat videos aren’t so cute at this point in time.
  • The sudden urge to clean also becomes strong around assessment time. STOP! Put down the duster! If your room has been filthy for the past month a few extra days won’t hurt. In fact it might be good for that mould in the corner to keep thriving!*
  • Boredom eating is a big one! Don’t do it, you’ll regret it! Unless the food is Tim Tams, in this case 5 packets in two hours are acceptable.
  • Oliver Queen or any extremely good looking TV show character will not help you pass your assessments. This is possibly the saddest and most disappointing thing I will ever write.

I really hope these tips help to cure your procrastination and will help you all get A’s!


*Note: I do not have mould growing and my room is actually very clean! This was a made up example used for the purpose of this blog post!

Shout out to all the mums

I’ve only been living away from home for seven weeks but I’ve already learnt one important lesson. Mum is right about almost everything! I hate to admit it and I’m really hoping she never reads this but I honestly don’t know what I would’ve done without her.

In the months and weeks leading up to moving away, she constantly shared little words of wisdom about anything from dirty washing to the different people I’ll meet and environment I’ll live in. Each time I rolled my eyes and brushed her off. It wasn’t until I found myself ringing her to ask her if the turkey I bought 5 days ago would still be ok to eat I realised how much she actually does help me.

“The city is very different to the country you know, you’re going to meet so many different people from different backgrounds and you aren’t going to get along with all of them. That’s just life.” Safe to say I rolled my eyes at this piece of advice but after three weeks of living here I realised that she was right. Mum – 1 Gabby- 0.

“Whatever you do, don’t wash your black clothes with your white ones, it’ll save time but your white clothes will soon turn grey”. It’s been seven weeks and I now have five grey clothes (that were originally white) mum proves she’s right once again. Mum-2 gabby-0.

“You’re at uni now and it might take you awhile to find a job so don’t spend your savings on things you don’t need, yes I mean shoes!” I realised mum was right about this when I looked at my wardrobe and then at my savings account in week 5…mum-3 gabby-0.

I could write a novel on all the things mum has been right about and it’s only mid-semester. Since mother’s day is just around the corner, there’s no better time to tell your mum or a mother figure how much you appreciate her. It doesn’t matter how just do it! If you don’t like to admit she’s right to her face, in fear of hearing “I told you so!” Then do what I did, buy a nice vintage card write it in words and send it in the mail.


Food, fun and festivities

It’s been a great first few days at orientation, hopefully you’ve enjoyed yourself and had a chance to grab some delicious free food around campus!

If you’ve been wondering about what other students have been thinking/getting up to at this year’s orientation, wonder no more. Here are some thoughts from a few first years about O-Week:

“The information session about my course was really good, and so was the library tour, it was really helpful”.


One international student from Colombia says, ‘I’m using orientation to become familiar with the campus, meet new people, sign up for the soccer team and hopefully purchase a gym membership’. Later in the day, he says, he’s looking forward to playing a game of football with other international students at the international college.

Others have said, signing up for tutorials has been the most difficult aspect of university so far. Two girls explained that, “Orientation has been really good, but working out the timetable was really confusing”, they said it took them one long hour to figure it out. “We’re really stressed about signing up for tutorials, because we really want our selected times, we’ve organised our whole week around them, and have no backup plan”. Fingers crossed they don’t miss out!

Overall, students were in agreement that the free food was one of the best aspects of orientation. They said, “The free food is pretty good, especially the sausages and noodles”.

Not only was the food great, the entertainment at the Sports Festival held at the Simpson Lawn did not disappoint either. There was loads of information about sports groups, with various groups performing, including Zumba dance session which students joined in, energetic cheer leading routine and an extremely intense boxing demonstration.


Today was also a great day for some of the clubs and societies to provide information to new students, and create awareness about all the exciting meetings and events coming up. If you’re interested in finding out more, make sure you come along to the Clubs and Societies Fair from 11am-3pm tomorrow.

What did you get up to during O-Week? We’d love to hear from you. Why not leave a comment and/or share your experiences with us by emailing newstudents@latrobe.edu.au.

Gluten Free & …

I made the BEST gluten free brownies the other day.
This will tell you how to do the same.
Except I put them in a cupcake tray. Hence, reduced the cooking time.
And I used Gluten Free Flour instead of that random Sorghum Flour, which I could not find anywhere…

This is how I usually am in the kitchen:
So I’m quite pleased with my successful brownies. Yeeey!

I also completed a 2000 word essay,
and chopped a decent amount of my hair off.
I feel so invigorated ._.

124719  <- If you recognise this, you’re one of the following: Continue reading

Why You Should Love La Trobe

Can I just say – it’s week 8!  That means you have made it through 2 whole months of university and the end of semester is now firmly in sight with just 5 weeks to go.  You’re over the hardest slog now, it’s all downhill from here! May not feel like it mind you. :s down hill

This week we celebrate procrastination with a moment to reflect on all the really cool things that La Trobe has. It is a place like no other.  Get out there and discover!  

Continue reading