Halloween decorations on a budget!

As promised in the title (and previous posts) this post is all about how to decorate your home for Halloween on a budget. Thanks to pound shops, discount stores and the holy land of students – Dealz, decorating your home has never been more affordable. But if like me you like to add a few of your own touches then this is the post for you.

Today’s tips, hacks and pictures are a step up from suggestions like outlining your pumpkin design in marker first to make it easier to cut out or freezing a water-filled rubber glove to create ice in the shape of a hand for a punch bowl, but they are just as simple.

First, I’ll start with pumpkins. The easiest way to carve a pumpkin according to the Modern Parents Messy Kids website is to use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes.

cookiecutterpumpkin0You can use a hammer or mallet to get the cookie cutter through if you’re not strong enough to push it, but the thinner the pumpkin the easier it will be to get it through. Similarly, you could use the cutter as a guide to cut the shape out by pressing it firmly into the pumpkin skin and then use a knife to cut it out.

Also, if you’re afraid of the pumpkin rotting before Halloween then I found the solution for that too on the Discount Queens’ website. Bleach!!

IMG_6415_opt-copyOnce your pumpkin has been carved simply soak it in a bucket or your sink, anywhere it can be fully submerged, and leave it there for 24 hours. The bleach prevents the growth of mold and preserves it for longer.

Next is a tip from the Plus Brain Power website for how to make some creepy candles. I love these, and again they’re something you can make with stuff you have lying around your house.

15-spooky-halloween-life-hacks1561866925-oct-20-2013-1-600x500Simply get a red candle (birthday candles will work) and once its lit, drop the wax that melts onto a plain white candle. Insert nails, needles or sewing pins at angles to the sides of the white candle for added effect.

Don’t forget, the most important thing about decorating your house is to have fun. Play around with things you have lying around your house. I made some ghosts and cobwebs for my house using just white paper and knitting wool.

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If you really want to go the whole hog, check out a simple recipe here on how to make these guys from jelly and straws.

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If you need any further explanation on anything in this post, all the photos are links to the original websites so just click on them. 🙂 As always comments and suggestions appreciated.

Toodles guys!!

Lizzie

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Halloween – Kermit the Frog costume

So as promised this post is all about putting together a Kermit the Frog costume, simply and easily, just in time for Halloween.

2013-10-23 23.14.21This is Susie Q who you may recognise from pretty much every single one of my blogs. As she’s just a tad bit obsessed with Kermit she decided this was the costume for her and after a (frantic) day of last minute shopping with Keith, Clodagh and Jade we were set. Putting it together was simple enough and the girl looked great on the night in the costume too!!

So the first step for Susie was the eyes.

2013-10-23 23.16.10Kermit’s eyes sit high on his head so she crafted a sort of headband. She got the lids from two bottles of deodorant and drew the distinctive Kermit eyes on the front of them. She then pierced the sides of both eyes to put some string through to tie them on.

2013-10-23 23.17.51Next was the outfit. As Susie didn’t own a  dress that was the right shade of green, nor could we find one, we bought a white shirt dress in Penneys for €5, a green string top for €2.50 and some Tropical Green Dylon dye in the chemist. Two spin cycles later and she now owns a Tropical Green dress.

2013-10-23 23.20.40And finally Susie Q added the trademark triangles from around Kermit’s neck to the neck of her dress. These were made by cutting triangles from the string top I mentioned purchasing earlier. She also added other pieces to her shoes to carry the look throughout the outfit.

SHE LOOKED BEAUTIMUS!!!

Another home made costume well worth a mention was Keith’s!!

2013-10-21 22.03.07Keith’s splendid Robin costume (circa 1960s Burt Ward) was made by his own (and his mother’s and my) fair hand. This costume is made by layering red and green t-shirts for the two tone shirt, a green pair of briefs, a yellow pair of tights, green shoes and a home made cape and utility belt. The mask was added using face paint. The resemblance was uncanny!!

2013-10-23 23.44.00Hope you liked this post! I’ll be posting one more time this week with some simple home made Halloween decoration ideas. As always feedback, comments, suggestions etc. is always appreciated in the comments!!

Toodles guys!!

Lizzie

Halloween – Pop art girl costume

Hey guys,

So in the spirit of Halloween coming up I thought I’d take that theme this week. This post will show you how to make a pop art girl costume, a Kermit the Frog costume and finally how to make some decorations and the like for Halloween.

Today I’m starting with a costume I put together myself as I’m on a budget this year. I’ve always had it in my head to go as a pop art girl from the old days and way of marketing, similar to old style comic book art and this year I decided to do it. Below is a step by step guide on how I achieved this look.

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The required products are pictured below.2013-10-21 19.10.20I also used a red lipstick for my mouth, but this is all I needed to achieve the look, bar my clothes which i just pulled from my wardrobe.

2013-10-23 00.13.51So the first step is painting your face and neck (down to your clothes line) completely white. I did this using Snazaroo white face paint and a make up sponge. A tip at this stage is not to use a new sponge as it will soak up too much face paint and leaves the paint splotchy. An old one will already be saturated.

2013-10-23 00.16.58Next I added the spots to the face paint. I did this using an old NYC lip stain pen, as i find the nib easy to manage. You could also use face paint, old eyeliner etc, whatever you have and don’t need anymore. To achieve an even look in applying the dots try drawing one line down the middle of your face, placing the dots roughly 1cm apart, and begin drawing the next row 1cm to the left or right, with each dot between the dots in the row beside it.

2013-10-23 00.20.50The next step is the eyebrows and lining the face. Again, instead of using face paint which would easily work I used an old eye liner pen for control. Line the face close to the hair line, carrying down under the jawline, all the way around.

For the eye brows follow the shape of your own but make them thicker and more dramatic. Begin by drawing a line at the star of your brow and a dot where you want them to end, then fill this in.

2013-10-23 00.27.21Using the same black liner/face paint, highlight your features dramatically. Begin by drawing a line down the side of your nose and also around your nostrils. This line should not meet.

Next highlight your jawline.

Finally, highlight your chin. The highlighting should match the final image above.

2013-10-23 00.30.24Now for the eyes; outline the eye socket with a black line, beginning on the inside of the eye, following the eyelid and curving around the socket almost meeting the bottom lid as illustrated. Fill this lined area in with blue face paint. Add white face paint to the centre bottom of the lid to highlight the area.

2013-10-23 00.31.55And finally the mouth. This was achieved by finely but noticeably lining the mouth again with the black liner. I then filled the lip in with a red lipstick. At this point i drew a black line down the centre of the lip from top to bottom and blended to achieve a more cartoonish appearance. I then added a white spot to the bottom lip and blended that, again to high light the mouth and make it appear more cartoonish.

2013-10-23 00.56.23Finally I changed my clothes and added a wig I had lying around for the full look. If you don’t have a wig (I picked this up in Dealz for €1.49 a while ago) try old style hairstyles like a quiffed fringe and the rest pulled into a pony tale etc. I didn’t use my fake eyelashes as I haven’t quite figured out how to use them yet, but I did put together a speech bubble that I could rewrite messages on for photos all night by cutting up a magnetic wipeable fridge notice board we got free when we ordered pizza.

And that’s my costume. Cheap and easy, and everyone seemed impressed enough by it. Most importantly it cost about a tenner instead of the 35 euro most of my friends spent. Winning.

My next post will explain how to make a Kermit the frog costume, like Susie Q did.

Toodles,

Lizzie

Easy peasy student recipe from Susie Q

Hey readers,

As promised today’s post is a delish and easy peasy recipe from the mind of my sista from another mista Susie Q. Susie entered this recipe in a competition for an easy, cheap, healthy recipe for students in Waterford Institute of Technology and came second. The Gryffindork house is proud of ya Susie Q! You go Glen Coco!

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Chicken and broccoli pasta bake:

  • 200g breadcrumbs
  • A head of broccoli, cut into pieces
  • Two chicken breasts
  • One red onion chopped
  • About 200ml of creme fraiche (a small tub)
  • A block of cheddar cheese
  • 500g pasta
  • oil
  • Salt and pepper
Method:
  • Pre-heat the oven to 180.
  • Cut the chicken breast into chunks and fry off with the onion until fully cooked and the onion is soft, set aside.
  • Put the pasta into boiling water and cook for about five minutes, before adding the broccoli to the water. Only cook for a further two minutes until the broccoli is slightly cooked. Drain the water but keep about 200ml of the cooking liquid.
  • Grate half the cheese block and mix about a handful of the cheese with the breadcrumbs.
  • Mix the remaining cheese, creme fraiche, pasta water and salt and pepper together and add it to the pasta and broccoli. Add in the chicken and onions and it should be a creamy mix, if too dry add more creme fraiche.
  • Put the creamy pasta and broccoli in a roasting tray or dish and then top with the cheesy breadcrumbs.
  • Place the tray into the oven and cook for about ten minutes until the top is nicely brown and crunchy.

And Susie even included this price list for recipe so you can see how cost effective it is, as all the girls got dinner out of it, and half was still left over!

  • Chicken breasts: €1.66
  • Broccoli: €1.00
  • Cheese: €2.00
  • Creme fraiche: €1.69
  • Breadcrumbs: €1.25
  • Red onion: €0.30
  • Pasta: €0.94
  • Total = €8.84

Try the recipe and let me know how you get on!!

Toodles guys!!

Lizzie

Love your body

Hey readers!!!

So Love Your Body week just ended in college, and as the week progressed it really dawned on me how important it is to love your body and take care of it inside and out. I’m changing my blog up a little bit today for the week that’s in it and sharing some of the information I discovered this week, as well as my usual life hacks and tips.

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The idea that a lot of the concepts of beauty we aspire to are unachievable has been floating around for as long as I can remember. It used to be a female majority that felt the pressure but men feel it too as our culture holds appearance in such high regard. ‘Everything is airbrushed’, ‘make up works miracles’, ‘it’s all about lighting and poses’, are all the token phrases my friends banded about when I grew up. But as I’ve reached college I’ve realised how true these words were. Man or woman, no matter how hard we work we’ll often fall short of these ideals, in our own eyes at least. Hopefully some of the stuff i post today will help.

Below is a video from the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty. It’s a warm reminder that just because you can’t see your outer beauty doesn’t mean it’s not there or that others don’t see it.

And just a quick hack for, if like me, smiling on command for pictures isn’t your thing.

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That’s my post for today. I’ll be posting again over the weekend with a recipe the FABULOUS Susie Q entered into a college competition for Love Your Body week and came second with. It’s delicious!!!

And remember to LOVE YOUR BODY!! It’s the most amazing thing that will ever belong to you.

Toodles!!!

Lizzie

P.S. Don’t forget, no matter how you feel, there’s always tea.

If you are cold, tea will warm you. If you are heated, it will cool you. If you are depressed, it will cheer you. If you are excited, it will calm you.

FOODIE FOODIE FOOD

FOOOOOOOOOD

This week is Love Your Body week in college so I’m trying to tailor my blog posts to that.

This post is dedicated to food. I’m not going to lie – this won’t be the only post dedicated to food. Food’s pretty much my life.

So just two life hacks to kick us off. The first of which from Imgur basically directs you to the THE BEST WEBSITE EVER MADE.

I personally am the biggest fan ever of this site. I pretty much trawl Imgur every night and this is one of the best things I’ve ever picked up from it. It does exactly what it says on the tin, you basically go to the Supercook website and input the ingredients and VOILA – recipe. Majorly handy. Especially at the end of the week when you’re trying to clear a few things out of the fridge before they go out of date. LOVE IT.

My next life hack is also a favourite of mine from Pinterest. Part of Love Your Body week is teaching you to look after yourself and what’s more important for self- maintenance than fueling your engine? So sometimes an extra fifteen minutes in bed is more important than breakfast but with this life hack you only need seconds and you have delicious scrambled eggs. No mess no fuss.

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This life hack is the whole hog, pretty much an omelette in a cup, but for an even easier breakfast, just  break an egg in a cup,  add milk if you’re that way inclined, whisk it with a fork and bung it in the microwave. Job done, scrambled egg made. No mess, no frying egg smell clinging to your clothes for the day and even healthier since there’s none of that oil or grease you get with frying. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

So get your day started properly with this simple breakfast life hack and check out that website when you don’t know what to make for dinner. You’ll waste half your night playing with that site, trust me.

As always, links to picture sources are available by clicking on the pictures. Comments, suggestions and feedback are appreciated in the comment section!!

Toodles guys!!

Lizzie

College student life – presenting your work

Hey readers!!

This post is kind of a follow-on from my post about research. In this post I provide a few tips on making a presentation and some shortcuts to help in typing up any reports.

Making a presentation

So presenting is pretty nerve wracking. I’m someone who has extreme anxiety, once cried in front of my class and once blurted out something overtly sexual mid-presentation, but with a little work I managed to get an A on my final 15 minute presentation last year. So when I say the key to giving a good presentation is preparation and practice I know what I’m talking about.

My first presentation tip comes from next year’s Great Irish Bake Off winner, scone maker extraordinaire, KEITH.Publication1

Keith gave me this helpful tip in advance of me giving a presentation myself and I have to say though at first I questioned it, I practiced using it and it’s pretty helpful. While presenting I never know what to do with my hands and often tug at my hair, clothes and jewellery, but pretending I’m balancing and offering sandwiches makes all the difference. So give it a go and remember the key to looking confident and professional is practicing your presentation aloud, figuring out your own physical quirks and resolving them.

My second tip is again along the lines of preparation.26 Life Hacks for New College Students - Snappy PixelsPreparing a question in advance, when Q and A is part of the presentation, helps you to appear knowledgeable in the area being discussed and it also takes some of the anxiety out of the situation.

Report writing

I’ve scoured the internet for keyboard shortcuts, like the one from my last post about pressing CTRL+Shift+T to reopen a closed tab as I got some feedback about it being very handy and the list of shortcuts below was my favourite.

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This would be worth saving or printing for your convenience as it’s the most comprehensive list I found. Also their is another list that I posted from yesterday at http://www.matchmove.com/newsarticle/keyboard-shortcuts .

And my final tip for typing up reports is for if you’re copying and pasting something.

How to copy and paste without keeping the source formatting

Obviously I’m not condoning or suggesting copying and pasting work and passing it off as your own, but this is useful for if you’re referencing and placing a large piece of material, i.e. a speech. It’s also useful if you’re moving text from Word to Powerpoint and want to avoid messing up the formatting.

That’s it for another post. If you want any of the original websites any of these pics came from just click on them and they should link you directly there.

As always, feed back and suggestions are welcomed in the comments, and I shall be posting again tomorrow.

Toodles readers 🙂

Lizzie