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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Interview with teen blogger Tolly Dolly Posh

What were you doing when you were 14? Going to school? Hanging out with your friends? Me too, which is why I was a little bit jealous when I read Blurb’s interview with Tolly Dolly, a 14-year-old fashion blogger who’s already been featured in magazines and on the BBC. Oh, and she gets to live in France, too. Tolly and I were both finalists in the Company Blog Awards 2013 and we rubbed shoulders at the glamorous awards event, and I’ve since gone on to win a POSH fashion award judged by Tolly Dolly herself, so I’m really pleased to share details of her recent interview with Blurb. Tolly started fashion blogging aged just eleven and now, with her first fashion design contract in the bag, she’s been talking scrapbooking (with a hashtag), achievements, ambitions, and all things festive.
Tolly Dolly quote

Tell us about you, when and how did your creativity begin to manifest and how has it developed to what you’re doing now?

I’m a teen blogger. I’m 14 and started my blog, Tolly Dolly Posh Fashion, in 2012 when I was just 11. I decided to start my blog to get me closer to achieving my goal of becoming a fashion designer. I’ve been featured in UK magazines and have spoken on BBC Radio 4, and I would definitely say this has helped me get to where I am now in terms of my blog and my writing skills. It’s also been an amazing way to gain new skills and add to my portfolio for the future.

What inspires you?

Lots of things inspire me, in terms of people I would say other bloggers, fashion designers, and upcoming artists. All kinds of creative people. I like to look at people who do what they want and don’t let anybody get in their way. It is definitely inspirational.

Tell us about your process.

In terms of blogging, I am very organized so I get things done quite swiftly, which is quite hard when I’m a busy teen mixing blogging with education. I gain inspiration from magazines and articles I read and think up how I could make them into something brand-new and start from that. I love photography so I mainly use my own imagery, which is always fun to put together. I edit the pictures down and start writing. I like to use music as a bit of a boost too. It really gets those creative juices flowing.

What have been your biggest achievements?

Like I mentioned, I would love to have a career as a fashion designer. Blogging has definitely made me 100% sure that is what I want to do. I’ve recently signed my first design contract with Dutch brand Mooi en Lief and I am so excited for the collection to come out. I can finally say I’m a designer … weird?!

What ambitions do you have and where do you see yourself taking this in the future?

I would say my main ambition is to just keep going and to carry on being confident in what I do. I don’t see the point in carrying on working on something you don’t enjoy, and I certainly enjoy writing my blog. I’d also like to see myself opening up a shop or two by the time I reach 25 … this might sound crazy, but I really hope I can achieve this!
Scrap Social

Please tell us about the project you’ve decided to share with us.

I started #ScrapSocial as a way to gain inspiration for my designing as well as a way to get me off the computer when I have the urge. It’s a great way to get those creative juices flowing in a fun way. I use magazines, which I love, especially ones with matte paper. I love using fashion editorials and putting them together in quirky ways, as well as adding texture and new levels with sequins and fabrics, etc. The name “Scrap Social” mixes scrapbooking with scrapping social media, but then the # means you can go ahead and share your scrapbook too when you’ve added a few pages. I’m really enjoying it so far and it went down a storm on my blog!

What is special about the festive season and Christmas for you?

I love the feeling of being around all my family. Presents are obviously a bonus, but just being in a nice, warm environment with lots of laughter and happiness is such a magical feeling. It’s almost a day to celebrate being together, and I love that, especially now that my older siblings are starting their own little families!

I love the cozy feeling that Christmas brings. Warm wooly socks, a hot fire, and hot chocolates. It makes me feel so happy and warm inside. I love it!

Do you have a personal Christmas ritual or tradition?

Not really, other than my parents putting my stocking at the end of my bed in the middle of the night… Unfortunately I don’t believe in Santa anymore, but the stocking will do ;)

If you were to make a gift book, what would it be and who for?

I would probably make it for my sister. We’ve got quite a big age gap (she’s 12 years older!) and I’d like to give her a book so she can remember all the memories we’ve had as big sis and little sis so far. I think it would be so sweet and I’d love putting it together.

Seriously stylish gift books (with a little French flair)

If you’re looking to copy Tolly’s style—or, better yet, improve on your own gift-giving style—check out these books inspired by fashion, youth, and France.

France - Don McLaughlin

Don McLaughlin

Explore the streets of France in gorgeous black-and-white art photography shot on medium format or 35mm film and printed as scans of original negatives.

How Do I Look - Hollie Blundell

How Do I Look?
Hollie Blundell

Tolly obviously doesn’t need this book, but a teen in your life might enjoy an A–Z guide to cutting-edge personal style.

Flawless Issue 14 - Flawless

Flawless Issue 14

A new magazine promoting aspiring and established creative artists in the industry, dedicated to bringing you the best talent the fashion world has to offer.

Alexander McQueen: Controvery - Nikki Phennah

Alexander McQueen: Controversy
Nikki Phennah

Meet a true visionary who set the fashion world alight and left it all too soon

john lewis dress blue


The ultimate party outfit

My birthday is coming up and to celebrate my husband and I are going away for a dancing weekend at a swish resort, so I need a party outfit for this special event. It’s been my dream to be able to dance all my life and this year I’ve finally started taking lessons and have learnt that I don’t have two left feet, even though they’re not necessarily two right feet yet either! I have however, enjoyed every minute of learning to dance swing, lindy hop, foxtrot and balboa and I can’t get enough of it. Which is why my birthday treat is a holiday away to learn more dance styles during the day and to have a big Christmas party knees-up in the evening, and I seriously can’t wait! john lewis dress blue

For the event I will need something that is suitably glitzy for a 5* resort but that I can still dance the night away in. There’s also a 5 course meal involved, so I will need a dress that allows room for expansion if I eat too much, haha! Of course, my go-to website for all things glitzy and festive is John Lewis so I’ve been browsing online and I’ve come up with this ultimate party outfit:john lewis party dress

I’ve recently been learning the Charleston and it’s fast becoming my husband’s favourite dance too (just for the facial expressions alone!) so I wanted to choose a dress that would allow me to dance the crazy-fast double-time Charleston without tripping over my dress and I wanted to pay homage to the Charleston era with my dress. The 20s was such a glamorous era, and I love all the beading, sequins and sparkles so this Phase Eight dress will be ideal to wear for a glitzy meal and will look equally fabulous on the dancefloor later in the evening.

I’ve been watching a lot of Strictly Come Dancing this year, and I’ve been admiring the fringing on Caroline Flack’s gorgeous dresses for a while now so I wanted to include a few layers of fringing in my ultimate party outfit. I think it makes a real impact while dancing, really enhancing the look of spins and wiggles, plus it serves to disguise the bits of my body that I don’t like so much, including an over-stuffed tummy! I also like the fact that it’s a navy blue dress rather than black, which I think is a little more glam for this special occasion.john lewis party accessories

To complement the dress, I would like to wear a classy tuxedo jacket to stay warm in the cold night air while walking to and from the venue. And of course, who can resist a pair of sparkly shoes? The heel is not too high on these Miss KG shoes so I will definitely be able to dance the night away in them, and can have my Cinderella moment on the dance floor. Finally, I would like to add a piece of jewellery but I don’t want to get in a tangle when I’m dancing so I will stick with this pair of cloud stud earrings, which I fell in love with the moment I saw them.

I’m sure that this outfit will see me through the whole Christmas period as well as my birthday celebration, and it’s sparkly enough to work well as a New Years eve outfit too! Let me know what you think of my ultimate party outfit and leave me a comment to let me know what you’ll be wearing to special parties this Christmas :)


Festive gift guide for Christmas cats

Anyone who follows my Instagram account will know how much I love my cats. Yes, Cookie and Muffin are practically my children and I adore them from their velvet noses to the tip of their fluffy tails. So today I thought it would be fitting to put together a little Christmas gift guide for your pets so that they are suitably spoilt over the festive period! cat christmas gift guide-4

If you love your animals like I do, you’ll be no stranger to the pet festive stocking. Yes, I buy two every year and Santa Claws delivers them to my girls on Christmas eve without fail. We all have no end of fun on Christmas morning (ok, I probably enjoy it even more than they do!) playing with the jingle bell balls, rope mice and scrunchy foil balls. These cat stockings from Pets at Home are my top picks for this year because they contain both toys AND packs of Cookie’s preferred catnip treats and chocolate drops, along with Muffin’s favourite ever indulgence; kitty milk. Even though my cats are around the ‘senior’ age (which according to boxes of cat food is 7 years+) they both play like kittens and will spend hours entertaining themselves juggling the balls and dragging the rope mice around by the tail. It really is an unbeatable gift to share with your cats this Christmas, and at only £4 it’s a bit of a bargain too!

Secondly, I’ve been having a serious think about getting pet insurance for my cats as ‘the gift that keeps on giving’. I like the reassurance that they would be taken care of and be nursed back to health if ever anything went wrong, so I’d love to invest in some insurance that is specific to their age and type of cat. I’d be happier knowing that they were protected them if they need any vet treatment throughout the year, plus I can renew the insurance as a Christmas gift next year too – just like a magazine subscription for us humans!

Next up, I’ve been looking at grooming products. My cats are a domestic long-haired breed and they love to be groomed. Long-haired cats need to be groomed weekly (or even more if they like it!) to keep their coats in tip-top condition and to minimise the chance of hair being ingested and coughed back up as furballs. The grooming session is also a nice way to bond with your cat, as well as giving you the chance to check them over for scratches, skin conditions, signs of fleas or bald spots, which can be cause by over-grooming during stressful times. Cookie once went rather bald in the belly department, and ended up with quite a pink tummy! Things have now settled down after our house move and she’s back to her fluffy self, and I’m very proud of her feather-boa-esque tail! I’d like them to stay in good condition so I’ve had a look at the selection of grooming goodies on the Pets at Home website and I’ve snapped up a long-pin brush for long coats and a de-matting comb.

christmas cats gifts

And finally, some Christmas-themed gifts that are available for cats include this festive necktie, reindeer teaser (Cookie loves playing with teasers!) and an advent calendar, or should that be CATlendar?! Let me know what you think about these gifts and leave me a comment if you will be buying festive treats for your cats this Christmas too!

charlotte olympia christmas shoes

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Tuesday Shoesday ~ The most festive footwear ever!

It’s exactly one month to Christmas and I couldn’t let this significant point in the Christmas countdown pass without a little acknowledgement and a lot of shoes. Festive shoes to be precise. Yes, I’ve scoured the shops for the most festive footwear, Christmassy courts and holiday heels, and now I’m sharing the results of my santa shoe shopping with you. We all need a pair of sparkly heels for the party season so I’ve come up with the a selection of the prettiest shoes at the lowest prices so that you’ve got more pennies in your pocket to spend on stocking fillers this Christmas while still having something special to slip your feet into when you’re heading off to that big night out or office Christmas party.

asos christmas shoes and socks

First up are a selection of shoes from ASOS. They currently have a 25% discount on party-wear so it’s a good idea to check out the website at the moment to bag yourself a festive bargain. I found glitzy shoes from a few different brands on the ASOS website including these gold ballerina pumps, which are under £10 and originally from New Look, and they would be great for all-day office-to-party wear. These silver heels are the kind of shoes that I’d expect Elsa from Frozen to wear beneath her snowflake gown so I’d love to wear a pair this Christmas. Plus, at under £15 they’re a great bargain to wear all your round and are just right for New Years eve parties too! And finally, I couldn’t resist these ASOS brand snowman socks. Although I might not wear them on a night out, they would be perfect for a night in watching festive films in front of the fire and would make an ideal stocking filler.

dorothy perkins christmas shoes

The next place I looked was Dorothy Perkins, who are offering 30% off on shoes and dresses, and I found these irresistible silver platform courts. This is such a Cinderella-esque shoe, so these glittery heels are very apt for this time of year, with it being pantomime season! I also found these red suede kitten heels by Dune in the Dorothy Perkins sale, and I like to imagine that Mrs. Claus would be wearing the exact same shoes this Christmas! Lastly, I spotted these ‘New In’ bronze glitter heels which are super-classy and would look amazing with any party outfit over the Christmas period. Don’t forget that Dorothy Perkins offers student discount with an NUS card too, so you could pick up a real bargain there!

shoes_and_boots_john lewis

A shop that I’ve been visiting a lot recently (nothing to do with Monty the Penguin, honest!) is John Lewis and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by all their amazing festive goodies. I’m not just talking about shoes – although this selection of party heels is particularly amazing! – but their decorations, gifts and cosy festive homewares too (which I wrote about last week). I’m keeping an eye out for the new delivery of penguins too!

charlotte olympia christmas shoes

Lastly, I went all out to find some ultimate festive footwear and here’s what I found from designer Charlotte Olympia. I always love her fun designs and have written about her collections on a number of occasions over the past few years. These are the ultimate shoes Christmas shoes in my opinion – on a par with festive jumpers! – and even though I might not be able to afford them, I can at least try to win them when the ‘spin it to win it’ Christmas competition launches on the UK Charlotte Olympia website on December 1st, woop!

I hope you enjoy the run-up to Christmas and let me know if you have a favourite pair of sparkly shoes that you love to wear during the festive season – leave me a comment below or tweet me a pic @Cassiefairy.


Deck Your Door: DIY snow drift Christmas wreath

I can’t wait any longer. For me, Christmas starts right here. I’m going to be decorating my house next weekend and I don’t care who knows it! I’ve already got a couple of new decorations to add to my Christmas tree and I’m ready to spread tinsel wherever I go. The one thing that has been missing from my festive display for the past couple of years is a decent wreath for my front door and all of the off-the-shelf ones that I see in the shops are not quite right. Don’t get me wrong, they are super-pretty and I’d be happy to have any of them hanging on my door but I’m rather picky about the colours, the size and the adornments and I think I would feel more satisfaction from crafting my own wreath and get exactly the look I was hoping for. When I heard about the Direct BlindsDeck Your Door’ challenge I jumped at the chance to put my ideas into action and I started planning my new door decoration immediately. Deck the Door DIY snow ball christmas wreath

For the past couple of years I’ve been decorating the ceiling of my hallway with white fairy lights, paper snowflakes and white baubles to give the impression of falling snow. It’s definitely been inspired by the decorations that Buddy hangs up in the toy store in one of my favourite Christmas films ‘Elf’ and I want to make it look like the walkway into Santa’s grotto. So based on my existing hallway decorations, I thought that I should try to make my own snow-covered wreath as the centrepiece for my Lapland-esque entrance and to give an idea of what’s to come behind the door!

elf christmas winter wonderland xmas decorationsSo I hopped onto the Hobbycraft website and picked up a pack of glitter snowballs, silver bells, white wool, glue sticks, ribbon and a polystyrene ring as the starting point for my Christmas creation. I wanted a little penguin character to be the main focus of the wreath so I looked at the decorations available and I picked out this super-sweet skiing penguin – perfect! When the delivery arrived I got straight to work and made my door wreath within an hour and a half – honestly, you’ve never seen someone so excited and enthusiastic with a glue gun as I was that day!

Deck the Door DIY snow ball christmas wreath-5Snow - I started my project by wrapping a strip of fluffy white fleece all the way around the polystyrene ring to give it a snowy base – you could use towelling, wadding or even a ‘snow blanket’ to create this wintery background at home. I used the glue gun to attach it securely at the back and started work on the my pom-poms.

Pom-Poms - I knew I wanted to include some fluffy woolly pom-poms snowballs in the design so I set about making my own. I didn’t need any cardboard rings or any special pom-pom-making contraptions to create the pom-poms, and here’s a top tip for making the quickest pom-poms ever: Wrap the wool around your hand and keep wrapping until it’s a really thick bunch of wool. Slip it off your hand and use the loose end to tie around the middle and knot to secure. Next snip through the wool loops at both sides and fluff out your pom-pom in super-fast time!

Snowballs - I began constructing my ‘snow drift’ around the bottom of the wreath by gluing on large snowballs at the base, followed by the wool pom-poms on top. I then used a pack of 100 mini snow-balls all over the rest of the ring, leaving a gap at the top centre for the ribbon to hang it with. I built up the snowballs around the sides to make the ‘drift’ deeper towards the base.Deck the Door DIY snow ball christmas wreath-6 Deck the Door DIY snow ball christmas wreath-7Bells - The next step was to glue the silver bells amongst the snow balls to create a pleasing ‘jingle’ whenever the door is opened or closed. I used tiny bells towards the top of the wreath, increasing in size towards the bottom of the snow drift. Deck the Door DIY snow ball christmas wreath-8 Deck the Door DIY snow ball christmas wreath-9

Ribbon - I measured a long length of ribbon (double the length that I wanted it to hang down on my front door) and folded it in half. I securely glued this loop in the centre of the wreath so that the wreath could be hung from the ribbon but if you already have a door hanger for your wreath, you wouldn’t need the ribbon too. I finished the centre with a decorative bow: I formed a bow from the satin ribbon and then used the hot glue gun to stick it to the centre, which gave a much neater finish than trying to tie it on. Deck the Door DIY snow ball christmas wreath-11 Deck the Door DIY snow ball christmas wreath-12

Penguin - Finally, I snipped the hanging loop off my penguin tree decoration and I applied some glue to the base of his skis and ski pole before positioning him skiing out of the snow-drift. I’d definitely saved the best bit to last and it really was the ideal finishing touch to the wreath. Here you could use a different decoration, such as Father Christmas, a polar bear, a couple of elves or even an Olaf snowman decoration to create a wreath inspired by Disney’s ‘Frozen’. Alternatively you could leave out the decoration altogether and have a simple snowball wreath to adorn your festive door this Christmas.

Deck the Door DIY snow ball christmas wreath on my vintage caravan-2 Deck the Door DIY snow ball christmas wreath-13

I was so pleased with how it turned out that I didn’t want to put it away until Christmas so I decided it would look great hanging on the door of my little vintage caravan workshop until I’m ready to ‘deck the door’ on December 1st. I’ve already enjoyed listening to the gentle jingle of the bells and the penguin always makes me smile as I approach the caravan to get on with some more work. Yes, he always gets a “Hello Penguini” from me as I open the door!Deck the Door DIY snow ball christmas wreath-15 Deck the Door DIY snow ball christmas wreath-14 Deck the Door DIY snow ball christmas wreath-16

Are you planning to make your own Christmas wreath this year? I’d love to see your own DIYs and decked out doors so please tweet me with your photos and let me know if you have a go at making this snowy wreath for yourself by leaving me a comment below :)