Lavender soap and a very good cause

lavender_soap

Making soap using lye and natural oils is simple and produces a bar of soap that will effectively kill almost all bacteria, and is just as effective as antibacterial soap. One of my closest friends Ilyena is currently living in a small village in Uganda and working at the Engeye clinic, where she is starting a project to improve community sanitation by teaching soap-making using traditional methods. Meanwhile in St Andrews I have started making soap again and am selling it to raise money for her project. Currently I have vegan lavender soap which I made using olive, (RSPO certified sustainable) palm oil and coconut oil. It is £2.50 per bar, with the profits going directly to Ilyena’s soap project. If you’re in the St Andrews area and are interested in buying some, please email theconsciousstudent@gmail.com and I’ll get back to you. If you’re living further afield and are still interested, I will do my best to post it!

p.s. if you’re interested in making soap, here is a beginners’ guide.

10p Burt’s Bees copycat lip balm

lipbalm

A few months ago, I stumbled across this post on how to make burt’s bees style lip balm for 8 cents a tube by broke and healthy (be sure to check out some of their other posts – there’s some great stuff on there!) Since I go through quite a lot of lip balm I thought it might be worth trying to make my own for a fraction of the cost. Burt’s Bees is notoriously expensive (£3.69 for 4g), using only high-quality and natural ingredients. However, I soon found out that I could use the same natural ingredients to make my own lip balm for about 10p for 4g. And when I discovered how simple the process is, I found myself wanting to make lip balm for everyone. “Bring me your empty tins and I will fill them with balm!”

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free and green decorations for the festive season

wreath

I love all things that are free, especially if they’re green too. So here are a couple ways to make some free and festive decorations using recycled tins, jars, thread and all kinds of greenery. We managed to get most of the cuttings from our shared garden, but found the rest on a little stroll around town. Keep reading for our favourite recycled and up cycled Christmas decorations

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Christmas present DIY #1

blue-scarf

Its that point in December where you may have started thinking about presents to give your friends and family, so over the next few weeks we’ll be sharing some cheap homemade present inspiration as well as a gift guide for cheap and ethical presents. This is the first instalment, as knitting this scarf may take you up to Christmas Eve to finish. But fear not! This is one of the easiest and cheapest knitting projects I’ve ever done and is perfect for the beginner knitter or as a quick project if you’re already a knitting master.

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DIY carpet cleaner

carpetOne too many times I’ve experienced the feeling of sheer horror when, in the middle of telling a particularly animated story, I knock a full glass of red wine onto the carpet of a flat I am renting. So luckily for you, I have had to try and test various deposit-proof ways of ensuring your carpet stays squeaky clean so that the landlord never suspects a thing. Continue reading

How to keep warm in a freezing cold flat

Milo-winterAs that time of the year rolls round sooner than usual where when you can see your own breath and  immediately regret not wearing a scarf when you step outside, Kasia and I have begun reusing some of our old tricks for keeping warm whilst at home all day procrastinating  studying. For those of us who live in rented accommodation with not enough money to crank up the heating or invest in insulation, here are some tips and reminders that save you from wasting tons of gas on heating up a draughty, uninsulated flat:

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how to propagate succulents

succulent-1

Propagating succulents sounds complicated, but all it means is turning one cactus/succulent into two, so you can give all your friends baby plants and fill your flat with greenery for free! Scotland can get a bit grey in winter, so we love having lots of plants in the house to keep things green and oxygenated. We love succulents and cacti because they thrive on neglect and have a good chance of surviving without water when we go home on vacation. They’re also special because they reproduce asexually. This means that they make babies by growing mini versions of themselves out of their sides/stalks and it also means that you can cut off a leaf and it will grow into a whole new plant! How neat!

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Cheap DIY Drain Unblocker

drain

So you know those science experiments where you make an erupting volcano out of baking soda and vinegar in middle school? What if I told you you could do pretty much exactly the same thing to unclog and clean your drain?

Living in a flat with two other girls with long hair last year, we soon came to realise we had to unblock our shower drain every now and then to avoid flooding the entire bathroom. Buying ready made drain unblocker regularly was a pretty expensive endeavour in the long run at £2.30 a pop, and neither of us were too happy about breathing in all those chemicals.

So after advice from a few friends and parents we tried out a simple and cheap mixture of baking soda and vinegar and never went back! This only costs us £1.30 in total.

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Recycled Halloween decorations

Handkerchief_Ghosts_PB_2013_8

Planning a Halloween party? Instead of forking out for cheap decorations you’re going to throw away afterwards, why not think about upcycling some tin cans, loo rolls and old books to make creative and pretty much free decorations?  To follow yesterday’s post on DIY Halloween costumes, here is a little peek at our favourite ideas for how to decorate your flat for a halloween party using recycled materials and things you might have lying around.

Click the photo above for a set-by-step guide to make those creepy fabric-scrap ghosts

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