Cassiefairy – My Thrifty Life

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


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Tuesday Shoesday – My 2016 Essentials (at the lowest possible price!)

When you’re a thrifty kinda gal who doesn’t really want to splash out her hard-earned cash on pricey pumps where do you shop for shoes? I’ve made no secret of the fact that I want to spend less this year, (so that I’ve got more to save for the house of my dreams!) so now that I need some new shoes for the new year, I don’t want to blow the budget. Low-cost loafers are definitely ‘my bag’, people!

The trouble is, I’m also trying to clear out all the clutter from my tiny over-stuffed home. I want to streamline my wardrobe and clear out the 80% of things that hide at the back, never being worn (I wrote about my thrifty tips for making the most of your wardrobe last week). So that means that I don’t really want to be re-cluttering with a selection of shoes that I won’t get round to wearing either. No matter how much of a bargain a pair of pumps are, I won’t buy them unless they fulfil a need. I’ve got too many ‘pretty’ shoes sitting around that I’ve never worn but am completely lacking in terms of practical boots, trainers or wellies!countryside field muddy photograph tuesday shoesday welliesSo, that’s what I’ve been shopping for online this week. When you spot a gap in your shoe-wardrobe like that, you’ve got to fill it, right?! Living in a particularly muddy part of the countryside, I need wellies. If I want to go on any kind of countryside walks this year (and believe me, I do) I’m destined to come home with clods of mud stuck to the bottom of my pumps. Yes, this did happen to me at the weekend and the photo above is a footpath near my house. So wellies are clearly needed. They don’t need to be anything fancy, but they do need to be waterproof. I found the lowest prices for the wellies above at Brantano and I think I’m going to invest in these classic green Dunlop wellington boots. A timeless style and traditional colour won’t date so I can use them for years to come, and I especially love the £14 price-tag!tuesday shoesday coastal walks trainers pumps casual shoesI also managed to ruin my last pair of canvas trainers by wandering onto a muddy footpath. It looked fine at the start of the track, but ended up taking me across a very moist field. No amount of cleaning could remove the muddy tidemarks from my trainers. I don’t want to get put off walking completely, so now that I’ve got the wellies sorted, I’m sure I’ll be fine. But in the meantime, I need one pair of comfortable pumps for day-to-day wear; wandering around town and coastal promenades, that sort of thing. Continue reading “Tuesday Shoesday – My 2016 Essentials (at the lowest possible price!)” »


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How to get 50% off Valentine’s cards with Thortful

If you want to show someone special that you care about them this Valentine’s Day but know that you won’t be able to make it to the shops before the weekend, I’ve got the solution for you. No, it’s not too late to order a personalised Valentine’s card online because I’ve found a great website that will post it to your loved-one first class. If you order before 2pm the card will even be put in the post-box the same day! Plus, I can give you a special discount code to get 50% off straight away! Sounds too good to be true? Would I lie to you fairies? No way! Read on to find out more…valentines day greetings card inspiration thortful-9 valentines day greetings card inspiration thortful-2This super-helpful card company is Thortful, one of the newest and coolest greeting card retailers online. I fell in love with the brand as soon as I logged on to their website. I was actually searching for information on writing greetings and found lots of helpful advice on their blog (more of that later!) when I stumbled onto their website. It’s a really slick, user-friendly site and is packed full of amazing card designs. Of course, the first category I searched for was Valentine’s Day, but there’s also plenty of birthday greetings, thank you cards, celebrations and special occasions. I’d definitely call it a one-stop-shop. valentines day greetings card inspiration thortful valentines day greetings card inspiration thortful-8When I’ve shopped on other card sites in the past, I’ve found it really hard to find what I want. You probably all know that I’m really into puns, so I know what I’m looking for almost before I begin. The trouble is being able to browse through the designs quickly, without a whole load of gumph in the sidebars distracting me from my search. No such problems with this site; it’s really easy to navigate, plus there’s an app you can download to make scrolling through the collection even easier. You can personalise the message within seconds (or have it posted to yourself to hand-write if you prefer) and see a real-time preview of what the card will look like. Enter the recipient’s delivery address and boosh! Your greetings card is on it’s way to your favourite person. Don’t forget to use the discount code to get 50% off – it’s “CassieFairy50”.HeartCardvalentines day greetings card inspiration thortful-5If you’re stuck for ideas of what to write inside your card, the Thortful blog is a great source of inspiration. I’ve read through their helpful posts about phrases and messages to write inside thank you cards, Christmas cards and more, so you’ll be sure to get some inspiration for your own message while checking out these posts. It’s definitely worth checking out the blog anyway to read interviews with card designers and to check out inspiring photography tips.THRTFL-VLNTNS-NICE_V1[10] valentines day greetings card inspiration thortful-7Oh, and you can also Continue reading “How to get 50% off Valentine’s cards with Thortful” »


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Enjoy breakfast-in-bed this Valentine’s Day… & all year round!

Whether you’re loved up or single, why don’t you treat yourself to a lovely lie-in this Valentine’s Day? Seeing as V-day falls on a Sunday this year, it’s the ideal day of the week to spend some time chilling out at home and lounging around in bed for just a little longer than you usually would.DIY romantic breakfast in bed valentines day ideas inspiration-14 DIY romantic breakfast in bed valentines day ideas inspirationOne of my favourite stress-free activities is having breakfast in bed. Okay, it doesn’t happen very often in the Fairy household because we’re always so busy working. But that’s precisely the point; breakfast in bed should be something special. A treat. Something that tells you it’s time to relax and that you’re not getting out of that comfy bed anytime soon!DIY romantic breakfast in bed valentines day ideas inspiration-10 DIY romantic breakfast in bed valentines day ideas inspiration-9It puts me in mind of Mother’s Days past, and I remember trying to make mum a tea-and-toast breakfast in bed while I was still in the single-figures age bracket. I even do it now as an adult, and occasionally hubby will get a tray brought to his lap with a coffee and cereal. Okay, that’s usually on his birthday, but that’s what I mean about breakfast in bed; it’s a special event. It’s completely out of the ordinary, yet it would be a lovely start to any day.DIY romantic breakfast in bed valentines day ideas inspiration-17Even if you’re going to be making breakfast for yourself and taking it back to bed, it’s the fact that it symbolises the non-rushed nature of your morning that makes it so enjoyable. You’ll probably even Continue reading “Enjoy breakfast-in-bed this Valentine’s Day… & all year round!” »


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Galentine’s Day party & flavoured hot chocolate recipes

What better time to celebrate your best friends than on Galentine’s Day? Yes, that’s right, I said GALentine’s Day. If you’ve not heard of it yet, it’s simply putting a name to what we’ve all being doing for years; celebrating our friends. I’ve seen so many more Galentine’s-related treats being shared on Pinterest this year; in fact, I’ve hardly paid any attention to Valentine’s Day at all. Whether or not your pal is loved-up or single, I’m sure you have a wonderful friend who deserves a bit of extra love this February. I certainly welcome the chance to celebrate my girl friends and thank them for all the support they give me throughout the year. And what better way to show them you care, than by throwing a cute Galentine’s party?hot chocolate recipes for galentines day diy party gift idea for friends girlfriends-11 hot chocolate recipes for galentines day diy party gift idea for friends girlfriends-15Today I wanted to share my ideas for a cosy hot chocolate party; a night in with your pals, scoffing all the naughty treats you usually resist during the rest of the year. I know I waffle on about eating healthily, but enjoying a little of what you fancy every now and again is just as important as eating the good-for-you things. Your Galentine’s Day get-together is the ideal time to indulge and provide some tasty treats for your favourite peeps. So here’s a couple of new hot chocolate flavours that I’m adding to my Galentine’s menu:

Salted caramel: Make up a steaming mug of hot chocolate and add a splash of caramel syrup. I had a set of 5 small syrups that I was given as a birthday gift a while ago, but you can buy a similar set at Amazon (such as these Monin Syrups for Coffee). Add one crunch of sea salt (don’t go crazy with the salt otherwise you’ll end up with a savoury hot chocolate). Next is the fun part; stir in chunks of caramel chocolate bar and let them melt for a really indulgent treat. Top with whipped cream, marshmallows and crumbled up flake. Mmm.

Cherry bakewell: There are two options for this hot chocolate flavour – saintly or boozy! Add a splash of vanilla syrup to a mug of hot chocolate and then decide whether you add a splash of amaretto-flavoured syrup or a shot of Disaronno! Stir it into the hot chocolate to get that really cherry-marzipan flavour before topping with cream, chocolate and cherries. If you have a bakewell tart hanging around you could crumble some of the cake onto the cream too. Yum!

How cute are these smiley mugs? I got them from Continue reading “Galentine’s Day party & flavoured hot chocolate recipes” »


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Operation organise! The never-ending battle to keep my desk tidy

Whether you’re working in an office environment or you’ve got your own personal space at home, keeping your work area neat can sometimes be a tricky task. I know I struggle to keep that stack of paperwork under control! Throw in numerous cups of tea and lunch at my desk and things are starting to look pretty messy by the end of the day. As the saying goes, a tidy desk makes for a tidy mind, so if you’re keen to organise your workstation, you could take the following suggestions into consideration.coffee table styling for work tea and romantic evening-6Invest in savvy storage solutions

Unless you have access to suitable storage, it’s likely you’re going to struggle when it comes to keeping your workstation and office organised. From cupboards and filing cabinets to drawers and shelving, there are a whole host of convenient and useful furnishings that can bring order to your work area. To keep your immediate workstation tidy, you could invest in an office desk with inbuilt drawers or you could position a mobile pedestal underneath. It made a real difference to me when I made a desk out of a chest of drawers (see my desk DIY project) because I suddenly had somewhere to stash away everything that was making the top of my desk untidy. Having storage solutions like this within such close proximity to your workspace should make it easier for you to maintain an orderly and clear working environment.

Ditch the paper and go digital

If you find that your desk is often covered in piles of paperwork, or your shelves are looking rather precarious with massive box-files balanced on them, you could benefit from going digital. Instead of having physical copies of your documentation, you could choose to scan and store them on your computer. There are a wide variety of software and hardware options available which allow you to store files where you can access them easily; I invested in personal ‘cloud’ storage so all my files are on a hard-drive on the shelf and I can access them via wifi from any device. Ditching the paper to digitise is not only a good way to save space and reduce cluttering, but it’s great for the environment too.coffee table styling for work tea and romantic evening-8Create an effective filing system
While digitising your paperwork is an easy way to rid your workspace of unnecessary clutter, you’re likely to have some important documentation that you simply need to keep. For paper-based items that you can’t be without, you could create an effective filing system. Whether you choose to use a filing cabinet or a hard-backed folder, keeping them labelled is the key to having well-organised paperwork. Alphabetising or ordering your paperwork by importance could make it easier for you to refer to a particular piece of documentation quickly and easily.

Schedule tidying time into your routine
So that your office looks smart and neat at all times, you might benefit from scheduling some tidying time into your daily routine. When was the last time I cleaned my keyboard? I literally can’t remember, which is pretty gross. I’m going to finish writing this post and then clean it straight away! From wiping down your desk to organising your drawers, making the effort to clean, tidy and declutter every day will help you maintain a well-kept workspace. You could try doing this at the end of the day so you can enjoy a clear office every morning and start work with a fresh mind.coffee table styling for work tea and romantic evening-9Taking some of these tips on board could help you create and maintain a tidy and organised working environment. What do you think of these ideas? What do you do to keep yourself tidy and organised at work? I’d love to hear your tips so please leave me a comment below, and if you’ve found this post useful please share it with your friends by using the sharing buttons below or by pinning one of my photos onto your Pinterest boards. Thanks!


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Relationship tips for Valentine’s Day & beyond

Yesterday I read a newly launched article (and challenge!) about getting and staying close to the one you love; 27 Expert tips to be closer to you spouse. The article taps into the knowledge of experts from the fields of psychology, relationships, counselling and health care, asking each professional to share advice on maintaining a long and happy relationship. With Valentine’s Day coming up next week, I was intrigued and decided to read on to find out what the pros had to say!27Ways_Main_TwitterThe article shares lots of sound advice for good communication, building trust and managing arguments, all of which would prove very useful within a relationship. The experts are sharing tips on social media each day throughout February and have challenged readers to try out a tip each day to ensure a loved-up month. I like the idea of joining in with a month of challenges, especially when we’re all thinking about love this Valentine’s Day – wouldn’t it be lovely to take the romance with us into the year ahead? The article not only focuses on the psychological aspect of relationships, it also shares some fun ideas for activities and romantic things to do together too.27 tips for being closer to your spouseAside from the focus on couples, the tips were actually applicable for all kinds of communication, such as with friends, family and children. I was actually more interested in the tips that could be applied to different areas of life and they really made me think about the way I interact with others. Continue reading “Relationship tips for Valentine’s Day & beyond” »


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Tuesday Shoesday – Payday party style on a budget

It can be hard to find the right pair of party shoes to suit your overall style. You want them to be on-trend yet timeless, match your party outfit but go with everything, and ultimately, be comfortable enough to dance the night away. But where can you find all of that on a thrifty budget? Don’t worry, you’re not alone – I’m here to help! I’ve come up with some fail-safe tips to make your money go further while shopping for footwear this payday so read on to find out how to buy your dream footwear at bargain prices. Just call me your fairy godmother! 😉

First up are the bargains. The absolute steals. The very last of the January sales. Yes, it may seem like there’s not much left on the sale shelves by payday, but the deals are still out there. You just need to know where to look. The ethos of the #WomanKind campaign I’ve signed up for is to care for yourself, and I’m not just talking about healthy eating and getting exercise (although I’m certainly enjoying this aspect too), I’m talking about simply being kind to yourself. So treating yourself to something that will make you feel great is definitely part of it! As they say, Cinderella is proof that a pair of shoes can change your life, so I think that getting the right footwear is a great start to feeling confident, looking fabulous and being kinder to yourself. Luckily, at lot of fashion sales are still going strong online so you don’t need to wander up and down the high street hoping to find a bargain in order to give yourself a payday treat. Try Mr-Shoes, ASOS and Clarks, all of whom are still offering big discounts in their clearance sections.his and hers shoes mustard and rust from clarks summer sale 2015-2One problem with searching online is that the style you love might already be out of stock in your size. So try not to fall head-over-heels in love with anything you find in the sales just yet. Dig deeper and check out what sizes are available before deciding whether they are your ideal pair. Some fashion sites allow you to filter your search by size, so that’ll save you time by pulling up all the footwear in the right size for you so you can concentrate your efforts into choosing the right style. Speaking of which…tuesday shoesday nude peep toe wedge heel summer shoes 2013 from nextMy second thrifty tip is to only buy something if you know you’ll wear it more than once; the ‘go-with-anything’ factor. If you choose a glittery pair of ruby red shoes (okay, who doesn’t want those?!) they might look fabulous for one night out, but what about the rest of the month? Or the rest of the year, for that matter? Something that matches your outfit perfectly today probably won‘t be the right pairing tomorrow, so they’ll end up stuffed under the bed or at the back of the wardrobe, not being worn. Continue reading “Tuesday Shoesday – Payday party style on a budget” »


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DIY Valentine’s gift – A box of memories + giveaway

What do you give to your special someone for Valentine’s Day when you’re both trying to save money and clear the clutter? Something very thrifty and useful, that’s what. I know you wouldn’t expect anything less from me so I’m happy to oblige! I’ve upcycled a gift box that I received for Christmas, used a left-over piece of wallpaper and lots of double-sided tape to create a DIY gift for my husband. Read on to find out how I made this quick and simple gift PLUS you can enter my giveaway to win 1 of 2 photo-printing gift vouchers!DIY thrifty valentines make your own memory box gift_-27 DIY thrifty valentines make your own memory box gift_-26I want to show my husband lots of love on Valentine’s Day (and on birthdays, at Christmas and every other day too, for that matter) but that doesn’t always mean buying something new. I think that experiences and the resulting memories are more important than buying something from the shops, so I wanted to reflect back on the things we’ve done together over the past year, and create a box of our shared memories to look back at. Of course, I want to make it a bit special for hubby, so I’m including a handful of retro sweets and some photo-strips from the Valentine’s range at Cheerz that I just got printed up. These special Valentine’s products are available to order until 4th Feb so get started now to make sure you receive your photos before the big day!DIY thrifty valentines make your own memory box gift_-28 DIY thrifty valentines make your own memory box gift_-4 DIY thrifty valentines make your own memory box gift_-5 DIY thrifty valentines make your own memory box gift_-6But I’m not just making this DIY gift as a Valentine’s Day treat – oh no, it’s totally practical too. This box provides much-needed storage space for all our photos, ticket stubs and scrapbook bits ‘n’ pieces that we’ve collected up over the past year. They’ve been sitting in my desk drawer and I’d like that space back now please! Plus I’m always happy to recycle something rather than bin it, so this festive gift box (it had chocolates in, can you tell?) gets a new lease of life as a dedicated storage box now that the contents have been eaten. Let me tell you how I revamped this tired old gift box – and don’t forget to enter my giveaway below..! Continue reading “DIY Valentine’s gift – A box of memories + giveaway” »


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I’ve been shortlisted for ‘Most Innovative’ blog in the UK Blog Awards!

I still can’t believe it. I have actually been shortlisted in the UK Blog Awards. And for the ‘Most Innovative’ blog category. There are no words to describe how I’m feeling right now. Thrilled, delighted, amazed and shocked just doesn’t do it justice. Thank you, thank  you, THANK YOU for voting for me. You did this. YOU put this smile on my face!
I've been shortlisted for the UK Blog Awards 2016 Final.I actually didn’t find out myself – I was working hard on an article when the ‘you’ve made the shortlist’ email came through – so I only found out when my friends and family started getting in touch to congratulate me! I was all like, eh? And then I checked my email. I logged on to the UK Blog Awards website. I double-checked the categories. I sat open-mouthed for a few minutes until the news sunk in and a smile spread across my face. And it has seriously not left my face ever since!

As the UK Blog Awards are totally down to reader votes, I honestly couldn’t have got anywhere in the competition without YOU. You have made my day, my weekend, my month and my year. You’re the best and I can’t thank you enough. Cheers to all who have supported me and helped my little thrifty lifestyle blog to get to the finals of a national competition. Wow. Have an amazing weekend everyone!


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Pieday Friday – Healthy pastry-free quiche

Today’s Pieday Friday recipe is so simple that I can’t believe I’ve not baked it before. Considering that quiche is one of my most-loved dishes of all time, I am astounded that I’ve never tried to create a healthy alternative. When I’m being especially ‘good’ with my food choices, I tend to just eliminate quiche altogether, despite it containing lots of the good stuff; vegetables, eggs, dairy and ham. I realised that the only part of a quiche that I’m trying to avoid while making healthy choices is the pastry, so this week I decided to do something about that!pieday friday recipe pastry-free quiche healthy snack hack lunch dinner-2 pieday friday recipe pastry-free quiche healthy snack hack lunchpieday friday recipe pastry-free quiche healthy snack hack lunch dinner-4I considered using bread as ‘cups’ to fill with my quiche filling but I don’t get on particularly well with bread either (I can eat it but the bloating is no fun afterwards!) and I considered doing away with any kind of case altogether, until I realised that this would just be a tortilla (which I love to eat cold in the summer – here’s my recipe) or an omelette. I wanted something more ‘main meal’ than that! So what else could I use instead of pastry to hold my eggy filling? I opened the fridge (as I always do when looking for inspiration) and I realised that I already had the ideal quiche ‘case’ in my salad drawer. Peppers!pieday friday recipe pastry-free quiche healthy snack hack lunch-4 pieday friday recipe pastry-free quiche healthy snack hack lunch-3I couldn’t actually believe I’d never tried it before. Surely a scooped out pepper would be the ideal vessel to bake my quiche filling in? I’d never roasted peppers whole before so I didn’t know how soft they would go in the time it took for the egg to set; the whole thing could have become a big mushy mess for all I knew. But nonetheless, I wanted to try it out because if it worked I’d be able to continue eating healthily while enjoying one of my favourite treats. Here are the ingredients I used to make 6 portions (one half-pepper per person):pieday friday recipe pastry-free quiche healthy snack hack lunch-2

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