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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Interior inspiration from real homes

It’s easy to swoon over the beautiful rooms in interior design magazines, dribble over perfectly styled images by designers on Instagram, and fall in love with professional decorating projects on Pinterest. However, recreating even the most simple interior design project can be difficult to achieve in your own home; you’ll have room layout challenges to deal with, be possibly working in smaller-sized rooms and even the light in your home will be different and make that gorgeous paint colour you’ve been coveting appear too dark for your space. So I’ve been checking out ‘real homes’ this week for my interior design inspiration and here’s what I’ve come up with…

loft-islay-installA bright and spacious loft-style room

This stunning work space has inspired me this week. This room resembles a loft-style gallery, with the white walls and clean lines, but it is actually an art supplies shop. Even through the room is relatively small, it feels much larger and that’s down to three factors; firstly, the bright white walls bounces light around the space; secondly, keeping furniture to a minimum maximises the floor space; and finally, laying the flooring on the diagonal gives the impression of a wider space. I’d love to recreate this look for an office or studio room as I love how much light comes into this small space and having lots of storage where ‘everything has its place’ keeps the room uncluttered and clean. This lack of mess and distractions, combined with the gorgeous artwork on the walls, makes this a work room where ideas can flow and inspiration can strike!Castello-Beach-Home

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How much does it cost to go “back-to-school”?

I know that Spring is traditionally the season of new beginnings but I think that autumn holds some of the same magic too. Starting in September, specifically on the 23rd this year, autumn is the ideal time to start a new project or try out something new. There’s a sense of optimism in the air, everything is covered in a warm autumnal glow and with the Christmas holidays only a couple of months away everyone is looking forward. Perhaps that’s the reason why so many courses begin in the autumn term rather than January? Whether you’ve started a new adventure at university, signed up for a leisure learning evening class or have just begun a new academic year at school, it’s an exciting time and one that I look forward to every year.back to school new term autumn blog project-3I’m not always starting a new course (although, I’ve been a student on-and-off for 22 years if you count school!) but I still get rather excited at this time of year. It’s the ‘back to school’ adverts that make me reminisce about the excitement of a new school term and I can’t help wanting to study something. I might be in the minority – I know a lot of people who would rather never write an essay again – but I guess that’s the writer in me coming out. I love the idea of getting stuck into a new subject, starting a project or learning something new and even though I’ve not signed up for any courses this year, I am planning to take a couple of workshops.back to school new term autumn blog project-2Just seeing school supplies landing on the shelves of high street stores in August reels me in, and I inevitably start buying more stationary than I have all year. Why would I ever need a protractor kit? Okay, I don’t. But I kind of want one. I must have really enjoyed school as a child because just the sight of a pencil case makes me want to start a history project on ‘The Tudors’. I bought notebooks, a set of pens, new scissors and a circle cutter (below, I don’t know why?!) when I nipped out to buy a birthday card last month. Oops. But what about the people who do need it? The students. What were they buying this academic year?back to school new term autumn blog project-4

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My little vintage caravan – I’ve been featured in Caravan Magazine!

Did you know it’s World Smile Day today? I can’t think of a nicer event! It’s got me thinking about the things that make me smile and, aside from my family and friends of course, this includes my caravan, sunny days and beautiful flowers. So I’ve nipped out to my caravan to take some photos of my latest projects and to share the things that make me smile on World Smile Day.vintage retro caravan magazine diy carpet rug makeover project-11vintage retro caravan magazine diy carpet rug makeover project-10vintage retro caravan magazine diy carpet rug makeover project-22vintage retro caravan magazine diy carpet rug makeover project-16vintage retro caravan magazine diy carpet rug makeover project-25I also wanted to share the awesome news that my very own little vintage caravan has been featured in Caravan Magazine! A double-page spread, no less. Pretty cool, huh? I was lucky enough to be interviewed by Ben Hackney for the magazine earlier this year and couldn’t wait for the article to be published. It’s in the September issue of Caravan Magazine on page 44 (yes, I’ve memorised it!) and they’ve made the photos of my caravan look amazing – check out all those fabulous cut outs; I need a design team like that for my blog! vintage retro caravan magazine diy carpet rug makeover project-24vintage retro caravan magazine diy carpet rug makeover project-18vintage retro caravan magazine diy carpet rug makeover project-20vintage retro caravan magazine diy carpet rug makeover project-23It is such an honour to be featured in this wonderful UK publication and I am so pleased that people are interested to read about my caravan antics. I proudly showed off the article to my family and have even sent a copy to my nan and grandad! To say I’m rather delighted with the article is an understatement! While reading through, it got me thinking about all the other projects I’d love to do in my caravan so I started making a list of things I can work on this autumn, including a door makeover and adding more fairy lights (absolutely necessary for Christmas!).

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Mid-Century Modern inspiration – George Nelson

I’ve finally found it. The finishing touch to my Mid-Century Modern living room. It’s been on my radar for years and I’ve lusted after similar designs for months. From past experience, I know that just waiting long enough and not rushing into a purchase will ultimately bring the item to me, rather than the other way around. And thankfully, without needing to search for hours on end, I’ve found the perfect retro clock online. And now that it’s hanging proudly on my wall I can breathe a sign of relief. So I want to share a little background information on the designer of my new clock and add to my knowledge of MCM designers at the same time.mid century modern interior design starburst clock-2mid century modern interior design starburst clock-4 mid century modern interior design starburst clock-3Modernist designer George Nelson was one of the founding fathers of American Modernism, along with Charles and Ray Eames, Vico Magistretti and co. As a passionate collector of all things Mid-Century and Googie, I’ve been researching Nelson for a while now and have been keeping my eyes open for a starburst-style clock for a couple of years. I think that this style of clock is the only option for a mid-century styled room and any other clocks that I’ve tried in my living room just look a bit wrong.

mid century modern interior design starburst clock-7 mid century modern interior design starburst clockmid century modern interior design starburst clock-5The clock was first made in 1949 and kick-started the American fascination with Modernism; the contemporary design was so far removed from the traditional clock shapes of the era and it injected colour into basic 40s interiors. Nelson was famed for turning everyday objects into surreal works of art and every modern household studied his book Tomorrow’s House, striving to be modern and forward-thinking.George-Nelson-designer

Modernist designer George Nelson

I was thrilled when I found this starburst clock from Vita Interiors. It’s a reproduction of George Nelson’s original design and is crafted to the highest standard, yet it’s brought up-to-date with the colourful spokes; which co-ordinates well with the green, blue and orange accent colours that I’ve included in my living room to break up the expanse of teak!

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Bloggers – Learning digital marketing IS important!

Ever wondered why some blog posts go viral, why some content is shared more than others and why you’re seeing the same things being pinned over and over again? Do you ever get just a little jealous that a fellow blogger’s article on ‘5 tips for a happy life’ is getting hundreds more hits than the similar post you wrote yourself a few months ago? There can be a lot of factors affecting the popularity of the posts, but only one thing affects the visibility of articles online and that’s SEO.blogger digital marketing and learning seo tips-2

It’s the difference between your blog post being presented to new readers on Google or being skipped over entirely by the search engines. You may have content that fits exactly what a reader is searching for, but if you’ve given the search engines no clues that your article is relevant, it still won’t show up your blog post. And with thousands and thousands of blog posts being published everyday, search engine optimising is extremely important in getting your wonderful content out to those readers.

As long as SEO remains a mystery – something technical and jargon-filled – bloggers and small businesses will continue to shy away from it. There are, of course, companies out there who will do your SEO for you but the kind of SEO agency that I could afford to work with to improve my SEO would probably make my situation worse by building poor-quality links and end up being penalised by Google. In fact, a recent survey of 1000 small businesses indicates that 15% of them have actually been negatively impacted by the service they received from their SEO provider so why risk paying someone to help with your SEO when you can learn all the techniques yourself.blogger digital marketing and learning seo tips

When you understand digital marketing and all the methods that the search engines use to rank your blog post or page, you can easily make small changes to your own content to make it fit in with the requirements of the search engines to help your content become more visible. And Simply changing your title tags will make a difference immediately, and you can see how it affects your  search engine result page (SERP) position within a day or two because your page will rise up in the ranks (or drop – don’t worry, it can be undone by putting the old tags back!) within 24-36 hours.

It might take time to implement all the changes you want to make, but once you know what you’re doing, you can make a few adjustments each time you sit down to work on your blog and over the course of a few months you’ll see a good increase in the level of traffic to your website. If you’re interested in learning digital marketing techniques, it’s a good idea to seek out private SEO tuition rather than joining a generic class, as you will be more likely to learn methods that are relevant for your particular type of business or blog. That way you can focus on learning the key aspects of SEO that you can action in everyday life, such as keyword density and internal linking, and not waste your valuable time on.

Once you’ve learned how to do your own digital marketing, you’ll be able to make sure that all new content is optimised, and can work back over previous posts to ensure that they reach new readers. Your blog traffic will increase and you’ll be the blogger whose content is everywhere!



My photos of the “Blood Moon” supermoon lunar eclipse

I only heard about the supermoon lunar eclipse when my brother mentioned it to me on Saturday night. I always seem to hear about these big celestial events just after they’ve happened so it was a real treat to be able to experience it for myself this time. I did my research yesterday and found out that the full lunar eclipse was due to take place just after 3am and would last for around an hour and ten minutes. As a supermoon lunar eclipse hasn’t occurred since 1982 and won’t take place again until 2033, I wasn’t going to miss it!autumn supermoon blood moon lunar eclipse 28 september 2015I therefore set my alarm to wake up at 4am while the eclipse was in full swing just have a look and head back to bed. But when we saw how big and bright the ‘supermoon’ was when the sun set, my husband set up the tripod and took a couple of shots of the moon. I was surprised how well the images came out and was determined to get just one photo of the blood super moon during the night. autumn supermoon blood moon lunar eclipse 28 september 2015-2Happily, I woke up naturally at 2:45am, which never happens to me – perhaps it was the celestial pull of the moon that woke me? – and we got up to check out the moon. It was a gorgeous crescent shape but at the base of the moon rather than the waxing or waning moon we’re used to seeing in the sky. The shadow was already a rusty red colour so we took some more photos before, disappointingly, the clouds came over and covered the moon entirely.autumn supermoon blood moon lunar eclipse 28 september 2015-3The supermoon occurs when the full moon is at it’s closest point in it’s elliptical orbit to our planet (perigee) and will look around 7% bigger than it normally does. Last night the whole garden was illuminated by the brightness of the moon in the clear sky, looking almost like daylight. The last time that a lunar eclipse could be viewed in it’s entirety from the UK was 2008 and won’t happen again until 2019 ( so this ‘blood moon’ coinciding with the supermoon is a rather special celestial event indeed! autumn supermoon blood moon lunar eclipse 28 september 2015-4I’m really chuffed that I got to see the moon be eclipsed by the Earth’s shadow and, thankfully, that the clouds moved away for long enough that we could get a couple of photos of the blood moon before it was engulfed in cloud-cover again. Did you see the Super Blood Moon last night? Did you manage to get any photos? I’d love to see them so please tweet me @Cassiefairy or tag me in your Instagram photos @Cassiefairy.

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My money-saving tips for students

It wasn’t too long ago that I was starting university. I packed up a car with all my worldly goods and moved myself to the other side of the country to start a new life 5 hours away from home. I remember those first few weeks when all I worried about was whether I could squeeze in drinks in the students’ union with my flatmates and a ‘skool disco’ party with my coursemates on the same night. And yes, I did manage it, in case you were wondering!budgeting money saving finance tips for university freshers students_One thing I didn’t manage all that well was my finances. I juggled my student loan with my part-time wages to make ends meet, and often ended up limping through to the end of term. The first year was a bit of a struggle as I came to terms with paying my own bills and budgeting to make my money last all year – but don’t worry Freshers – it all worked out fine in the end! So today I’m sharing my top tips for saving money as a student so that you can learn from my experiences. Hopefully this will leave you with more cash for nights out and important purchases (shoes or textbooks? What a dilemma!) and help your time at university go smoothly.budgeting money saving finance tips for university freshers students_-2Budget before your student loan arrives. Honestly, if you don’t work out how much you have available to spend per week to make your student loan last until the end of term, you will end up hungry in December! It might seem like a huge amount of money in your bank account at the start of term but it soon disappears if you’re not careful! I know it’s dull, but you just need to add up your bills (accommodation, mobile phone, TV license, broadband etc), subtract this from your loan payment and divide the rest between the number of weeks in the semester. This is the amount you can spend on food, clothing, course materials and nights out so try to stick to it. If it doesn’t look like it’s going to be enough then… Continue reading “My money-saving tips for students” »

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Pieday Friday – Warming oxtail soup recipe for autumn

This week the weather started to feel decidedly autumnal. We’ve had a couple of very cold mornings – I can’t quite say frosty… yet! – and the leaves have been dropping in the garden. I’ve been craving more hot meals and, in particular, soups at lunchtime. We cooked up a tasty chicken soup last week using the roast-dinner leftovers and this week I picked up a marked-down oxtail portion at the supermarket and set my mind to making something I’ve never tried before; a beefy oxtail soup.Pieday Friday Autumn Oxtail Soup Recipe-9Without any prior knowledge of how to cook oxtail at all I turned to Jamie Oliver for help. I found an oxtail stew recipe on his website and, even though it wasn’t the soup recipe I needed, I guessed that all the ingredients he used would create the best flavour combination with the oxtail. I therefore gathered together most of the ingredients, including thyme and rosemary from the herb garden, tomatoes picked from the greenhouse, carrots freshly dug up from the veggie patch and the onions we’d harvested a few weeks previously and dried out in the sun. I set to work turning the ingredients into a soup recipe, with a few additions of my own, and here’s what I came up with:Pieday Friday Autumn vegetables from the herb garden and veggie patch-2Pieday Friday Autumn Oxtail Soup RecipePieday Friday Autumn vegetables from the herb garden and veggie patchIngredients (serves 4): 750g oxtail, olive oil, 1 white onion, 1 red onion, 2 celery stalks, 2 carrots, a bouquet garnis made from thyme, rosemary and sage, 1 tablespoon of plain flour, 300g chopped tomatoes, 200ml IPA beer, 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce.

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Tuesday Shoesday – The 5 Most Important Trends for Autumn 2015

As London Fashion Week draws to a close this seems like the perfect time to talk about new season trends for Autumn 2015. I’m taking inspiration from the catwalk to compile this list of essential looks although (as always!) it was the shoes that caught my eye rather than the clothes. Here is a selection of five autumn footwear trends that should not be missed.suede shoes new season autum trend from asos new look heels

Suede heels from New Look & ASOS

Fabulous Heels Even though the weather takes a turn for the worst you can still shine when you slip on a pair of gorgeous heels. Suede is the material of choice for these must-have shoes, and they are available in a wide range of bright and bold colours that will really brighten up your autumn look and make you stand out from the crowd. Spike heels are set to be all over the high street this autumn, while nuts and bolts hardware give the look an innovative modern touch. Ankle straps also make a return to keep these shoes firmly in place, allowing you to strut your stuff without fear of ‘doing a Cinderella’.doc martens heeled boots

© drm7 (drmartens-day/flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Chunky Heels This type of heel is ideal for the autumn as it adds a touch of security and stability while still looking very fierce! Chunky heels work well with the layered look, and look great with long skirts made from thicker fabrics, such as rough wool. Chunky heels can also be worn with tights when the weather takes a turn for the worst and you can have fun experimenting with different colours and textures to create a look that’s unique to you this autumn.flat shoes autumn trends 2015 Continue reading “Tuesday Shoesday – The 5 Most Important Trends for Autumn 2015” »


Kirstie Allsopp’s Handmade Fair

Sewing, paper craft, baking, upcycling, embroidery, felting, scrapbooking, jewellery, quilting, DIY, cake decorating, decoupage, knitting, art and teddy-bear making (my favourite!). And that’s just for starters. Yes, on Saturday I went to Kirstie Allsopp’s Handmade Fair on the green at Hampton Court Palace and have come away totally inspired. Who knew there were SO MANY crafts out there? So many projects, so little time…Kirstie Allsopp Handmade Fair 2015 photos DIY project cassiefairy blog-18 Kirstie Allsopp Handmade Fair 2015 photos DIY project cassiefairy blog-9 Kirstie Allsopp Handmade Fair 2015 photos DIY project cassiefairy blog-16 Kirstie Allsopp Handmade Fair 2015 photos_The sun was shining as my sister and I made our way to Hampton Court early on Saturday morning and when we arrived we were greeted by decorated marquees, colourful circus tents, giant pom-poms and bunting galore! Kind of what you would expect from a Handmade Fair, but I never imagined that all this craftiness would actually be there, all in one place. It was just like the prettiest wedding you’ve ever been to, multiplied by 100!

The organisers had got the tone of the fair just right; it felt like a local village fete crossed with a very chilled-out festival. Not too big, and not too small. Juuuuust right. There were plenty of free activities to get involved in, music performances in the vintage tea room and lots of space to chill out with a snack. Noone was in a hurry and it never felt overcrowded. I think the nicest thing about the fair was simply knowing everyone there had the same interests as you; even if you enjoyed different disciplines, the essence of your hobby was the same: creating something with your own hands.

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