Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog

Cassiefairy's thrifty little lifestyle blog – DIY crafts, sewing, food & fashion – what more does a girl need??

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My handbag quest

The other day I was sorting through my wardrobe with the aim of getting rid of some of the things I no longer use. I did that and found quite a lot of things I no longer needed, but surprisingly I also realised that I was short on something and that was handbags. Cassiefairy blog Nica Estelle vintage school bag satchelI’ve used the same couple of handbags in rotation for the past few years and since putting away my ‘winter’ bag last year, it’s become rather tatty – or, more likely, I’ve just started to notice the cracked leather and ink-marks. Yes, some of my favourite bags really need replacing! A shopping trip, with the aim of buying a handbag for every occasion, was in order. Whats in blogger Cassiefairys handbag-2

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How to create iconic 1950s hairstyles

Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Bridget Bardot, Marilyn Monroe – they all epitomised an era of elegance and glamour. Their looks remain timeless and, therefore, it’s no surprise that their influence on style still lives on today. Celebrities such as Scarlett Johansson, Dita Von Teese, Katy Perry and Christina Aguilera all embrace the hairstyles of the 1950’s, and successfully wear them with a modern twist. Here’s our guide on how you too can follow in the footsteps of the icons of the ‘50’s and get the perfect vintage hairstyle.betty grable iconic 1950s hairstyle pompadour

Betty Grable

Pompadour – Even if you’ve not heard the name before, you’ve no doubt seen it, though you may recognise it as the iconic voluminous quiff-like style that many associate with the era. The pompadour was a style famously worn by male stars such as Elvis Presley but was also adopted by female stars such as actress Betty Grable.

Step 1 – Take a section of hair from the middle of your head at the front and divide it into 3 sections horizontally. Backcomb the back two sections of the hair and add some volumising product to add some much needed lift and volume. Don’t backcomb the front section though or you’ll risk losing a sleek finish.

Step 2 – Pull all three pieces of hair together and pinch the hair towards the bottom, then twist the hair one full turn. Push the whole ‘pomp’ forward to create extra height. Fix in place with hairpins.

Step 3 – As you’ve already backcombed your hair, your pompadour should be pretty tough so don’t be afraid to use a comb to smooth over your hair once it’s done before you use hairspray to keep the look in place.marilyn monroe iconic 1950s hairstyle

Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe Curls – Did you know, Marilyn Monroe wasn’t a natural blonde? She was actually a brunette and was advised to dye her hair to help further her career.

Step 1 – Work a handful of mousse into damp hair to help hold your hair in place once styled.

Step 2 – Create a side parting using a thin comb.

Step 3 – Select a relatively large section of hair and wrap it around your curlers. The bigger the section of hair, the looser the curls.

Step 4 – Once you have your curls, add styling gel to get a more polished and elegant curl.rolled fringe iconic 1950s pin up hairstyle

 1950s pin up hair

Rolled Fringe – This style is a quick and easy way to add a touch of 1950’s glamour to your look.

Step 1 – Take a relatively large section of hair from the middle of your head, ideally a piece that runs the width of one eye to the other. The section should be about an inch back.

Step 2 – Apply a small amount of hair wax to your fingers and run it through this section of hair. Backcomb the hair a little to add volume and use more wax if you need to smooth over any flyaway hairs after doing so.

Step 3 – Wrap the end of the section of hair around two fingers to create a circular shape. Spray this piece of hair with hairspray for hold. Then remove your fingers and whilst holding the circle in place with your thumb, roll the hair under and up towards your hairline.

Step 4 – Pin your hair in place at the bottom where the roll meets your hairline. Use hairspray to fix the look in place.Luxurious Volume ProductsLet me know if you give any of these styles a go. In the meantime, I’ve got a little prize giveaway for you enter where you can win a set of John Frieda Luxurious Volume products, including 7 Day Volume Shampoo, 7 Day Volume Conditioner, and 7 Day Volume In-Shower Treatment. One lucky winner will scoop all three products to help them create the hairstyle of their dreams. Enter via the rafflecopter widget below now:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway runs from 21st August – 30th August 2015 and is open to UK residents only.

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Share your serenity – Reading

“Me time.” It’s something that we all want more of but is the most scarce “time” of all. It usually comes after work, when all chores have been completed, and after ensuring that everyone we care for is okay too. Only then do we look around ourselves and realise that we’ve actually forgotten what “me time” is. I often wonder to myself; What do people do when everything else is done? I pick up my phone, scroll through, but every message has been replied to, every snapchat chatted and every Instagram liked. I open my computer and find that every email has been responded to, every article has been written and my Facebook friends haven’t shared anything new for the last five minutes. I close the laptop again and sigh. I must have finally reached “me time” and it feels inspiration share your serenity readingOdd, but good. No more lists to do, no more reply to make and no more chores. The house is clean, the family is fed and my “to do” list is in the bin. I love this time. Even though it’s rare, and I may have forgotten how to spend it, I know what I want to do. I want to read. My serenity comes from words. Whether through a great book, on an inspirational blog or in my favourite magazine, the process of reading calms me down, forces me to stop (have you ever tried reading while doing something else? It’s one of the few things that I can’t multi-task!) and usually involves a cup of tea inspiration - share serenity reading books catI am currently reading Stuffocation by James Wallman. It offers insights into ‘living more with less’ through case studies, economic research, cultural change and psychology and I’m in awe of the stories I’ve read in this thought-provoking book. Focussing less on possessions and more on experiences is a mantra that I’d love to live by and the ideas I’ve read in this book have already inspired me to make changes in my own life. Yes, reading itself gives me serenity, but the things I’ve read have also caused more serenity in my day-to-day life with only a few simple inspiration - share serenity reading magazines tea-2My magazine subscription has just dropped through my letterbox. My favourite journal cannot be beaten; The Simple Things is a monthly tome of relaxation and just living. With gorgeous photography and well choreographed words, every flick-through calms me down, whether I have 1 minute or 1 hour to spend on “me time”. Just turning the thick pages soothes my soul and I’m always delighted by the stunning image revealed on the coming page. Yes, it’s another inspirational article on wellness, appreciating the little things in life and enjoying every inspiration - share serenity reading magazines tea-3Tea is essential. Tea soothes and calms. It’s the perfect accompaniment to any book, magazine or Bloglovin’ browse. It means that I am sitting down and not moving from this spot until I’ve had a good read. Wisps of steam rising from the cup are an added bonus. Mine is milky with one sugar (or sweetener) so it’s a real treat. Yes, I have one by my side right now so I’m feeling pretty good right now. A sip in between pages is key to enjoying a long read, and a refill is the “me time” holy grail. Especially if someone else gets it for you so you don’t even have to move off the sofa. Yes, a good cup of tea can heal any problem and make every moment a little more inspiration - share serenity reading blogI’m not just a blog writer, I’m also an avid blog reader. I love checking for updates on my favourite blogs and discovering new inspirational writers via Twitter and Blogovin’. Some of my top blogs have been open tabs on my iPad for literally months so that I can flick them on at a moment’s notice and catch the latest article. I’m calmed by the gorgeous photos that bloggers seem to create so effortlessly and a well-written post can beat any book, hands down. I’m inspired by the real life of the writers I follow and am motivated by their endless enthusiasm and ideas. I wish I was them, and I love that I’m part of the blogging community and get to enjoy the kindness of sharing each day. This is definitely one of my ultimate serenity moments; reading stunning content created by inspirational people from around the globe. Amazing.share your serenity

I’d love you to share your own serenity too and let me know what brings you peace. I’m so interested to find out what you get up to during your “me time” and whether you too forget what you’re ‘supposed’ to do when you get a spare minute to yourself! I found this challenge on the Portmerion Village website and I hope that you too will feel inspired to #shareyourserenity through your own blog and tweet me the link @Cassiefairy so I can have a read. Thanks, chat to you soon.


I really couldn’t believe it when an email dropped into my inbox telling me that I’d been shortlisted in the Amara Interior Blog Awards 2015! Yes, my little thrifty blog has been shortlisted in the DIY & Craft Category and I am chuffed to bits! I know I’ve been sharing lots of interior inspiration and project posts over the past couple of years but didn’t really consider myself to be any kind of specialist on the subject – I’ve just been updating you on what I’ve been doing to my home since we moved here three years ago – but I’m so thrilled that someone nominated me and that Amara have included me in the awards this year. It’s simply amazing news, and I am delighted. The Cheshire Cat has nothing on my grin right now!eco friendly bamboo bath bridge shelf_-2diy painting and installing small shed - duck egg blue beach hut in garden-20The voting for the awards opened last week while I was away so this is the first chance I’ve had to share the great news with you and to show you my own profile page on the Amara Interior Blog Awards website. It’s all just so exciting to be included with SO MANY other fantastic interior design blogs – even Kelly Hoppen is a shortlister, just like me!

The competition is really stiff, with 60 other blogs included in my category, so I’m very grateful for all votes for my little blog and I want to ask whether you could help me become a finalist by voting for me here. And please let me know if you do vote by tweeting me @Cassiefairy so that I can say thanks! The good news is that every vote is entered into a prize draw to win a luxury holiday to the Amalfi Coast in Italy – find out more about the voting competition here.Orange Tweed Mill Blanket Knitted Wool Throw Tartan grey sofa retro dralon cushion 60s 70sdiy desk makeover project - mid-century modern-3I’ve had a look back over my recent interior projects since being shortlisted and I thought I would share some of the blog posts today, just in case you need any encouragement to believe that I am an interiors blog, honest! I’m currently spending the summer holidays painting my tiny kitchen and giving it a thrifty DIY makeover with new fabrics, secondhand storage and lots of chalkboard paint, so I’ll be sharing photos of this project soon – watch this space!natural textures and colours in this bedroom makeover-5The first room to have a thrifty makeover was the bedroom. Without a budget for decorating I decided to use a £2 sachet of wallpaper paste to create a feature wall using old books. If you’re interested, I used a Marilyn Monroe biography, a book on growing roses and old sheet music!natural textures and colours in this bedroom makeover-9I’ve always loved mid-century design and the more garish, the better! When I saw the teak doors in our new home I knew that orange would be perfect for the living room. I used £6 rolls of wallpaper from the Next sale for one wall and created cushions to match my retro record boxes by photographing the pattern and printing it onto fabric. I’ve just bought a faded second-hand G-Plan chair that needs a little makeover so I’ll be sure to share this project soon.

The bathroom was a big project for us; it needed a new bath so my husband and I watched some YouTube tutorials before attempting to do the work ourselves. Thankfully, everything went well and we continued the project by using pressure-treated wood that we rescued from a skip to make a bath panel, clad the walls and create a storage unit. I am really excited to let you know that my thrifty bathroom has since been photographed for a feature in Style at Home magazine so I’ll be sure to share this soon!

You can read more about my garden makeover, caravan renovation and DIY projects through my home inspirations page so please have a browse around and let me know if you find any of it

I hope you can spare a minute to vote for me in the Amara Interior Blog Awards 2015 – it really would be a dream come true to be a finalist! My voting page is here and I am eternally grateful for every single vote, thank you!


My Segway adventure & tips for visiting Thetford Forest

Happy summer holidays! I hope you’re all enjoying a bit of time off and getting out into the great outdoors to enjoy some of the gorgeous weather we’ve been having. I always take the pressure off during August so that I don’t miss out on any fun times with my friends and family so you may notice a little less blog updates from me but don’t worry, I’m still here!school summer holiday activity high lodge thetford forest segway adventure go ape review-17This week I enjoyed an exhilarating challenge in Thetford Forest – a Segway adventure – and I’d love to share some photos of my day out with you. I’m hoping that this post will serve as inspiration for your own summer adventure and give you some tips for surviving a day out at High Lodge Forestry Commission during the school holidays. It’s an amazing location and there are plenty of fun and free activities to enjoy so please read on for my top tips!school summer holiday activity high lodge thetford forest segway adventure go ape review-11The location of High Lodge in the heart of Thetford Forest is truly magical. Not only are there plenty of woodland habitats to explore but there are also stunning clearings within the forest and an exciting ‘base camp’ at High Lodge where families can enjoy a great day out. This is where I kicked off my challenge on a sunny Friday summer holiday activity high lodge thetford forest segway adventure go ape review-9Considering it was the middle of the school holidays the destination didn’t feel at all over-crowded. I think this is down to the acres and acres of forest that can be explored and I expect that many families were therefore out of site during most of my visit. Even so, the picnic areas were never full, there was always a bench, seat or table available and the café was far from busy, even at lunchtime. That said, there were plenty of activities on offer for families to enjoy throughout the day at High Lodge – such as outdoor table tennis under the trees, a volleyball court and the best play-area I’ve ever seen! And that’s before you even start exploring the woods. Here are my tips and suggestions for a great day out during the school holidays:school summer holiday activity high lodge thetford forest segway adventure go ape review-41. Take a picnic. There are SO many places you can enjoy your food at High Lodge with benches galore and a massive lawn to lay down your rugs and get out the sandwiches. If you fancy a cuppa while you’re there Tetley tea is around £1.60 per cup and ‘real’ coffee at £2.10. The rubbish facilities are fantastic. Okay, I know that’s not usually something to shout about but they recycle 90% of everything thrown away at High Lodge. I found that really impressive!school summer holiday activity high lodge thetford forest segway adventure go ape review

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Ways to use upholstery fabric in your home

I really enjoy finding a new use for things, so when a friend of mine was getting rid of an old sofa it was too tempting. Even though the sofa itself was broken, the fabric on the back and sides of the sofa were as good as new so I thought I would be able to use it for a future project. Unfortunately, the fabric on the cushions had pretty much gone, so I couldn’t reclaim that, though I think I can probably make use of the cushion pads themselves. I was pleased with my haul, but now have to come up with some ways to use the fabric, which gave me the inspiration for this upholstery fabricBefore I started this project, I did not realise how versatile upholstery fabric is. At first, I was really scratching my head trying to work out what to do with the fabric. To start with, the best I could think of was using it to recover some dining room chairs or make some cushions. Of course, it is perfect for those projects, but I wanted to do more so carried on researching and gradually found some excellent projects. Here are my ideas; how many I will put into action I have not decided yet, but I hope you will be inspired and try some of them yourself.custom printed retro fabric design mid-century modern mcm 60s 70s pattern print record boxes lp cases-2

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How does your garden grow? A DIY barbecue makeover

Yay for summer and whoop for BBQ season! It’s finally time to drag out the barbecue, scrub down the grill and fire up the coals. Or so I thought… It turns out that my barbecue required a makeover, and quick!BBQ paint DIY makeover_-9Last year we invested in a kettle barbecue. Ok, it wasn’t pricey because we picked it up in the end-of-summer sales but even so I was rather disappointed when, after only a couple of weeks outside, the red paint faded to a dusty pink shade. It took us longer to get it out of the box and assemble it than it did for the colour to fade. I was rather miffed to say the least but put it away at the end of last summer and forgot about it.

When we pulled it out from the back of the shed during the balmy weather, I realised that it really was as bad as I remembered and after we removed all the fixings you can see from the photos just how red it once was and how faded the rest of the barbecue had become. There was only one solution – spray paint!diy spray paint summer bbq barbeque makeover_-2 diy spray paint summer bbq barbeque makeover_-4 diy spray paint summer bbq barbeque makeover_-6Okay, you may have already gathered that I use spray paint to fix up almost anything in my home, but this was a slightly different project. Even though a spray paint that was suitable for metal would have adhered to the metal dome, it probably wouldn’t be able to withstand the heat. So this lead me on a hunt for a heat-resistant makeover option and I found it at spray paint summer bbq barbeque makeover_-5 diy spray paint summer bbq barbeque makeover_-7 diy spray paint summer bbq barbeque makeover_-8 diy spray paint summer bbq barbeque makeover_-9The solution was this Stove & BBQ Paint which can be used to freshen up barbecues as well as woodburners, heaters and stoves. The paint can withstand temperatures up to 650 degrees and prevents rust so I picked out a deep green colour (black and silver are also available) and I set to spray paint summer bbq barbeque makeover_-10 BBQ paint DIY makeover_-2 BBQ paint DIY makeover_-4 BBQ paint DIY makeover_-11 BBQ paint DIY makeover_-9It took only a couple of coats to get a smooth, even finish and the barbecue is now a matt green colour rather than gloss pinky-red. We decided to spray inside the barbecue too, even though this paint hadn’t faded as much, to protect it from future rust or fading. I much prefer the colour of the barbecue now and, after allowing it to dry thoroughly, once we’d reassembled the legs, grill and handles it looked as good as new – better, in fact! We are going to try it out this weekend so I’ll let you know how the paint fares with the heat too.

The next project that I’m working on in the garden is creating some flower beds. We’ve only ever planted up one small boarder at the front of the house and, even though my husband and I love having flowers and shrubs in the garden, we really haven’t had any time to look after the plants we bought. This time will be different, however, because I’ve invested in a few rolls of weed-resistant membrane from Mill Race Garden Centre.

We are planning to dig over the flower beds, lay the membrane on top of the loose soil and cover in bark chippings before planting flowers through the weed-resistant layer. This low-cost solution will ensure that weeds will be kept to a minimum and save us time throughout the year – the weeding seems to be never ending so taking them out of the equation makes gardening so much more enjoyable. We can then concentrate on picking out shrubs and planting gorgeous flowers – the fun part of creating a garden!weed resistant membrane garden diy makeover project weed resistant membrane garden diy makeover project-2

It’s quite a big job as the front garden stretches quite far to the road so we’re working on about 40 metres of flower beds but once it’s done I know it will look fabulous, a really make the house look more lived-in and welcoming from the road. I can’t wait to get started… where’s my spade?!

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Quirky & unique wedding venues: what are the options?

When it comes to planning your wedding day, you’ll undoubtedly want a spectacular day that’s filled with beautiful memories to last a lifetime. The location plays an integral role in creating this ‘wow factor’, and if you’re searching for something extra special then check out these quirkily romantic venues:natural history museum wedding

Natural History Museum

Museums and Art Galleries If you or your partner is interested in art, history or imposing architecture, then the ideal location may just be your local museum or art gallery. The options are virtually endless when it comes to indulging your niche hobby or interest, and you could get married in front of anything from a Spitfire to a woolly mammoth. Whatever your historic or artistic whimsy, the photos would definitely be sensational, and your guests would remember the day barn venue inspiration Countryside Barns A novel option for outdoorsy types and couples besotted with earthy themes, the barn wedding is sure to melt hearts. To pull this one off, find an amazing venue in Cheshire and think soft lighting, exposed pine, pastel colours and earthy tones; all set under the stars and against a backdrop of beautiful timber and inviting open space.Ox Pasture Hall wedding gardenThe Great Outdoors A step further than a barn wedding is to choose a park, forest or general area of outstanding beauty for your big day. It could be that somewhere special where you and your loved one first met, or simply somewhere beautiful that you find breathtakingly romantic. Consider spots like national parks, moors, pinewoods, mountains or the beach. This type of venue is probably best for summer, and make sure to research local laws and venue restrictions.ox pasture hall hotel wedding venueGardens or Conservatory Perhaps you are keen gardeners or enjoy flowers, and if so an ideal wedding venue could be a large conservatory or picturesque botanical garden. In choosing such a venue, think tree-lined paths, scents to inspire, manicured lawns and colours that pop. Many large conservatories are also historical feats of architecture, and the opportunities to utilise such a unique space can create a stunning impact. Historical Libraries Books, en-masse, create a wonderful ambience, and what could form a better backdrop for iconic photographs? The romantic notion motivating a marriage among bookcases might be lost on some, but for literature lovers the appeal is obvious. The opportunities to theme the wedding are also numerous, whilst the grandeur and intellectual aura of the building will bring a touch of refined class not afforded with many other boat wedding venue ideas

Boat wedding inspiration

On a Boat If you love the water and find its energy inspiring, then consider a water-based venue. This could be a sailboat, rowboat, barge, yacht, a speedboat or even a ferry! If you don’t fancy open water, then the boat can remain anchored and the sparkling infinity of the lake, river or ocean will still create beautiful ambience and make for unforgettable sunset photographs.

When it comes to picking your wedding venue, the more creative you are with it, the better! Aim for locations that reflect your personal interests and love story, whilst adding that unique dash of romance and a stunning backdrop for spectacular photographs. If you need a helping hand while working out your budget for venues, catering and everything else wedding-related, check out this easy Wedding Calculator App:

Let me know if you are planning a wedding anytime soon and whether you hope to include anything quirky or personal – I’d love to hear from you so please leave me a comment below!


Shopping research & my new dress!

It may not seem like it from reading my blog but I rarely treat myself to new clothing. Honestly, almost everything I buy I end up writing about so you can probably tell from my blog that I’ve only got about three new dresses this year (though I make up for this with shoes). I’m almost proud of this fact and I’ll tell you why; I’ve been trying to give up and white stripe dress blue vanilla-4Okay, not all shopping. Make-up, hair products, toiletries and underwear are everyday essentials that need to be replenished. But when it comes to shopping for clothing and things I’ve been trying to cut back on how much I buy, and I think I’ve been doing quite well. I’ve been trying to keep my shopping to a minimum for two reasons; firstly, I want to save some cash for summer adventures, and secondly, I already have too much stuff and it’s spilling out of my wardrobe!

That said, I really did need a dress to wear for my friend’s wedding next week (above, which I wrote about last month – I didn’t buy new shoes though, I’m reusing my old faves) and I couldn’t resist this striped dress from Blue Vanilla when I spotted it online last month. I decided that, if I was only going to invest in one dress this summer, this gorgeous shift dress would be my best bet as it will be great for promenade strolls with a denim jacket in the summer and would be cosy with tights and a cardi in the autumn and winter. A sound investment, I’m sure you’ll agree!

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Tuesday Shoesday – Save money on DIY fashion

Everyone has their own style – it’s part of what makes you, you! Knowing what colours suit you, understanding your body, what shape clothes you need and the combinations of textures and textiles is absolutely essential if you are going to make a positive and lasting statement. DIY fashion allows you to take artistic control of your look, making clothing and accessories that are created with you in mind. However, it can sometimes be the more expensive alternative to browsing the high street stores, particularly if you’re not on the lookout for designer labels, as some of the supermarket clothing and shoe prices can be hard to beat. But this low cost does mean that everyone else will be wearing the same clothing this season too, so getting a unique look can be hard when you’re on a budget. So how can you ‘do it yourself’ for cheap?tuesday shoesday cassiefairy diy shoe makeover using fabric spray paint from rustoleum-6Recycling old clothes is a great way to achieve your perfect look for less. Take that tatty old dress that you haven’t worn in years or that pair of jeans that no longer quite fits and make them into something new and beautiful, something that truly suits you. I had an old pair of brogues in my wardrobe that I’d worn for years. Therefore they were super-comfortable shoes but they looked really shabby, yet I couldn’t bring myself to throw them out. Instead I grabbed a low-cost can of fabric spray paint and gave them a quick and easy makeover – see my blog post about it here. Using old, unwanted and tatty clothes to create something that you will use time and time again is by far the most economical way of doing it yourself. tuesday shoesday cassiefairy diy shoe makeover using fabric spray paint from rustoleum-15 Continue reading “Tuesday Shoesday – Save money on DIY fashion” »