Cassiefairy – My Thrifty Life

Cassiefairy's thrifty little lifestyle blog – Saving money every day with DIY crafts, sewing projets, low-cost recipes & shppping tips


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How to save money on ALL your bills today

Some people call it ‘tight’, other’s say I’m being ‘stingy’, and some would even nickname me Scrooge. But I say; why wouldn’t you want to keep hold of as much of your money as possible? Okay, okay, let’s call it what it is: I’m a money-grabbing scrimper. And I’m proud of it. Because I know all the tricks of the trade that can help me save money on everything.

Now, I’m not talking about cutting costs when buying gifts, going out on a date, treating your family to a lovely day out etc. No – these are the very reasons why I want to save money: to spend it on what really matters. I want to have spare cash to buy tickets to see my favourite comedian on tour, or to find a fabulous money-no-object birthday gift for my nephews and nieces. But how can this be done when all your earnings leave your bank account by direct-debit every month? By cutting the cost of your monthly bills, that’s how! And I’m going to tell you how to do it right now…budgeting money saving finance tips for university freshers students_-2Be loyal.

As an existing customer, a brand won’t want to lose you. You make up part of their regular annual income so they don’t want you to wander off and join up with a new provider, taking any profit away with you. Therefore, you may be able to haggle for a better deal than a new customer. This is certainly the case with mobile phone, TV and broadband providers. Look at it this way; you already have their technology in your home (be it a Sky box, hub or phone) so it doesn’t cost the brand anything more to keep you, therefore why wouldn’t they give you a discount? New customers get free connections, free hardware, free software etc and all you’re asking for is a smaller bill. Wait until the end of your contract and get on the phone to your service provider. Tell them you want to leave and you’ll get put straight through to someone who has the power to bargain with you. I found a list of helpful haggling phrases in this #ChallengeYourBills article online, such as “I’ve calculated my monthly budget, it’s £X a month maximum. I have nothing more” so pick a phrase, a price and stick to your guns. And be ready to leave if necessary…budgeting money saving finance tips for university freshers students_

Don’t be loyal. Continue reading “How to save money on ALL your bills today” »


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DIY project – Fire starting kit

There’s nothing more delightful than spending a crisp evening in front of a fire. Whether it’s indoors by a fireplace or outdoors at a fire ring, accumulating the wood is the hardest part. The easiest part is getting the fire started, thanks to salvaged wood shavings and old candles. That’s because when you combine them, they make great fire starters. Couple them with long matches and pop them into a 1-gallon collector’s Ball jar, and they are pretty enough to display or give as a gift.mason jar nation book review Supplies, 1 cookie sheet, aluminum foil, small wax-paper nut/party cup (the individual cups from cardboard egg cartons work too), wood shavings leftover from a past project (natural wood only – no treated wood!), 1 old saucepan, old candles, 13’’ long matches, one 1-gallon collector’s Ball jar with decorative lid, craft glue

MAKING YOUR FIRE STARTER & MATCHES JAR

  1. Line the cookie sheet with aluminium foil. Lay the party cups on the foil, right-side up. Pack each cup with wood shavings.
  2. Melt old candles over low heat. Slowly pour the wax into each cup until full.
  3. Put the matches into the jar and glue the matchbox’s striking surface to the inside of the jar’s lid. When the wax has cooled and hardened, fill the other side of the jar with the fire starters.fire starter_B mason jar nation book review-2

Extracted from Mason Jar Nation by JoAnn Moser, published by Cool Springs Press (£11.99). Find the book online here.

What do you think of this thrifty project? It would be handy to use around the campfire during the summer, and it’s a great way to light your fire in the living room in the winter. And don’t forget to prepare a batch for Bonfire Night too! Let me know if you have any other home tips or DIY hacks by leaving me a comment below.

 


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5 Reasons why sunset is the best time of day

Blazing red sunsets, rainbow skies, dark silhouettes and pastel hues. All of these beautiful elements combine to make one of the most stunning features of the evening sky – the sunset. If you’ve never watched the sun setting over rolling countryside, perhaps this summer is the time to do it. It’s a really special moment when you spot an unexpected sunset, and it’s even more of an adventure to go out looking for a sunset and trying to capture it in a photograph. But it’s not just the gorgeous colours and inspirational scene that makes sunsets so special. Oh and for the purpose of this blog post I’ve not edited any of these sunset photos, I think natural is already beautiful enough! Read on to find out many more reasons why sunset is the best time of day.photography sunset golden hour photo sun silhouette photography sunset golden hour photo sun silhouette-3The cool down. After a scorching hot day – you know the type, where you have to shelter in the shade just to survive – the sunset comes as a relief. The warmth of the day is still in the air, so you can still wear your daytime dress, but the air cools down to that perfect ‘summer evening’ temperature. The setting sun is still on your face, but you don’t feel like you’re being burnt to a crisp. Seeing as I’m someone who easily burns, this is probably one of the main reasons why I like sunset so much – I can finally venture outside!photography sunset golden hour photo sun silhouette-13 photography sunset golden hour photo sun silhouette-7Photography. Perhaps the most obvious reason that sunset is a great time of day is simply taking photos of it. The stunning colours and clear cloud formations make it much more easy to capture a sunset than a sunrise, or even a daytime sky. At other times of day, you can end up with too much light infiltrating your frame, so images are less clear and colours less vivid. With a sunset, there’s plenty of interesting features (such as silhouettes of rooftops and trees) you can capture against the sky, as well as bright deep colours that show up better on camera than watery daytime tones.photography sunset golden hour photo sun silhouette-4photography sunset golden hour photo sun silhouette-12Lights twinkle. Continue reading “5 Reasons why sunset is the best time of day” »


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Garden rooms – why are they so popular?

After visiting the Ideal Home Show and Grand Designs Live back in the Spring, I found myself coveting a garden room. Why? Because the amazing designs of garden ‘pods’, chill out spaces, offices and outdoor rooms were the only things that really held my attention while I visited these design exhibition. Sure I came away with oodles of inspiration for interiors too, but the garden zones at each of these shows was where I was truly inspired. I popped into dozens of garden rooms during the day, I checked out the construction methods used and I could have practically lived in one special ‘temporary’ garden room. Yes, I was smitten and when I came home from the exhibitions I dug a little deeper to find out why gardens rooms are just SO appealing right now. Here’s what I found: Garden Room office ideas1. They are the ultimate home office space. And I work from home. So it’s no wonder I was so smitten with the garden rooms I saw at those exhibitions. They provided the perfect workspace; a quiet place, away from TV distractions and household chores, where I could work peacefully and uninterrupted. I could store everything I needed in one space, and my paperwork would no longer cover the living room. With electricity and wifi (and a kettle, perhaps!) I would have everything I needed to work efficiently all day long. Plus, my commute would be only about 20 paces away from my back door. Sounds ideal doesn’t it?Garden Rooms floor plan office inspiration2. Garden rooms have multiple uses. I read a news article about the popularity of garden rooms and it opened my eyes to all the uses that a space in the garden offers to the homeowner. Imagine having a cinema room of your own! You may not have space indoors to dedicate a whole room to screening your favourite films, but you CAN build a home cinema in the garden. Similarly, a chill out room, yoga studio, library or photography studio are all possible when you add another room to your garden.

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Pieday FriYAY – Energy boosting mocha smoothie

The summer holidays are drawing to an end and all that’s left is happy memories of melting ice cream, collecting shells, splashing in the sea, fish ‘n’ chips lunches, breezy promenades and fluffy candy floss on the pier. Yes, I have to admit that I’ve indulged a little too much during August, but haven’t we all? I blame ‘holiday spirit’ for encouraging us to wave thoughts of healthy eating aside as we buy a bag of sugary donuts from the beach kiosk and tuck into a full English breakfast in the hotel. If this sounds like you, I’ve got an easy way to get back on the healthy-eating wagon and it all starts with breakfast…healthy breakfast recipe inspiration friyay smoothie oats coffee latte banana chocolate-16 healthy breakfast recipe inspiration friyay smoothie oats coffee latte banana chocolate-20After needing to kick-start my healthy habits after a summer of indulgence I’ve come up with a quick and easy recipe for a breakfast smoothie. It can be prepared the night before (which gives the oats plenty of time to soak) or whizzed up in the morning. Take it with you on your commute to work or – if you’re feeling particularly enthusiastic – enjoy it after an early morning gym visit. It’s the perfect breakfast to fill you up without feeling stodgy and the caffeine from the coffee gives you a boost of energy, so it’s a great brunch treat too. Start your day with a healthy treat that feels rich and indulgent because this recipe contains everything you need to #MakeItAYayDay; bananas, soaked oats, coffee, almond milk, cacao and ice.healthy breakfast recipe inspiration friyay smoothie oats coffee latte banana chocolate-15healthy breakfast recipe inspiration friyay smoothie oats coffee latte banana chocolateIngredients (serves 1): One ripe banana, 100g oats soaked in around 200g almond milk (or normal milk if you prefer), a spoonful of cacao powder, 1 cup of Emmi CAFFÈ LATTE Strong Macchiato or Skinny Iced Coffee, a handful of ice.

  1. Soak the oats in the milk until they are softened and the milk has thickened. This should take about 30 mins in the morning, or you can soak the oats overnight.

  2. Add a ripe banana before sprinkling in a spoonful of cacao powder to your preferred taste.

  1. Throw in a handful of ice and pour over a cup of Emmi CAFFÈ LATTE Strong Macchiato or Skinny Iced Coffee if you prefer.
  1. Whizz all the ingredients together in a blender until smooth.

If you’ve got an early start in the morning you could prepare your breakfast smoothie in advance and keep it in the fridge ready to grab-and-go. Simply blend all the ingredients together but skip the ice as this will make the smoothie too watery if left overnight. The oats don’t need to be pre-soaked in this instance, you can put them into the smoothie dry. They will soak in the coffee and milk overnight and will be soft by the morning, ready to make any day a yay day for you!

Let me know if you have a go at making this energy-boosting breakfast smoothie yourself and I’d love to hear more ideas of ingredients to add to my morning oat smoothie so please get in touch by leaving me a comment below. And please tag me in your Instagram photos @cassiefairy with the hashtag #MakeItAYayDay so that I can check out your own breakfast smoothies and ideas for ingredients.

 

 

 


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50s Summer Party Dresses

Does a stack of wedding and party invites leave you with a ‘what to wear’ headache this summer? Why not look to the era of gin cocktails and elegant summer soirees for your party vibe this year? The 50’s is providing us with some serious party wear inspiration right now and what’s more there is a 50’s look for every occasion. From the infamous wiggle dress to flattering circle shapes and cotton summer dresses Mela Mela have you covered. Swoon over some of our favourite 50’s pieces now in store to get your summer party look nailed.1950s-vintage-dress-cotton-striped-orange-yellow-black-gold-detail-front2_1Sunshine Prints

50’s designers weren’t afraid of some seriously bold prints and this sunshine coloured dress is no exception. The striped cotton design with classic flared skirt reminds us of holiday sunsets. We think it is just crying out for some Hollywood sized sunglasses and a glass of Pimms!1950s-vintage-dress-cotton-blue-green-abstract-design-frontClub Tropicana

Hot summer nights call for acid brights and wild prints. The 50’s love for the colourful and for exotic Hawaiian inspired prints has left us with some amazing items. This strapless cotton dress combines an abstract pattern with a tropical colour palette for a fun and fresh finish. Perfect for cocktails and dancing at a summer beach party.1950s-vintage-dress-california-cottons-blue-pink-floral-nylon-frontFlower Power

A garden party is just the thing for a fabulous floral. The 50’s showcases everything from delicate pastel floral designs to bold graphic designs. We love this delicate pink and blue example with its gorgeous velvet waist belt. The scooped neck gives it real impact combined with the classic 50’s circle shape. Pair with sandals for an easy, breezy finish.

1950s-vintage-wiggle-dress-jacket-blue-trimmed-with-spots-front

Continue reading “50s Summer Party Dresses” »