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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What’s in your bag? Travel essentials of top entrepreneurs

Travelling for business can be tiring and stressful at times, what with all those long flights, jet lag, endless hotel stays and numerous meetings. Sometimes surviving a business trip is all about packing the right things so you can travel in greater comfort. Here are some of the things that top entrepreneurs take with them when on the road, with a few suggestions for other things you can do to make your trips more enjoyable.

Top entrepreneurs keep things simple

You may assume that successful entrepreneurs fill their bags with all kinds of gadgets, but in fact most of them focus on packing things that improve their comfort and convenience. For example, Richard Branson insists on taking a notebook everywhere he goes to record conversations, as he explained in a video on

For Mariam Naficy, the founder of Minted, comfort is important, as explained in an article at Entrepreneur, and so she takes her favourite tea with her. Another article in the same series explains how Eric Ryan, the co-founder of Method, always packs moisturiser to reduce dryness.

Many others pack practical equipment. A feature at Inc. explained how Rob Bernshteyn, the CEO of Coupa, packs a small headset to make Skype calls; Bryan Boettger, the chief creative officer of The Buddy Group, always packs a portable Wi-Fi adaptor; and Gary Peterson, the president of Gap Intelligence, never forgets to pack gifts for clients.

richard branson inspirational quote - work and play

 image source

Other popular items in an entrepreneur’s carry 0n Continue reading

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How does your garden grow? Green fingers…

Well, my garden makeover is ploughing on (excuse that pun) but this week I’ve done something that had left me in pain. Last week I shared my plans for making a big change to my garden over the Summer but now I can barely walk because my legs are so sore. Was it from digging? I hear your ask… Did you hit your leg with a hammer while building? Nope. I hurt my legs from painting the fence. And I have no idea how!

Garden makeover - new fence -1

I think it might have had something to do with bending down, squatting and moving along, repeated 100 times while painting all the planks of wood on the thrifted back fence. It certainly felt like I’d done a ‘buns-and-thighs’ workout afterwards and I actually suffered for a few days! But at least the reddish fence has become a greenish fence after 2 coats of paint. Ideally I’d like to paint another layer of ‘forest green’ treatment on but I was rather fed up with it by the time this run of fencing was finished so it’ll have to wait! Plus, I was covered in green paint. Like nothing you’ve ever seen before. I didn’t think I was being messy but it’s in my hair, on my face, all over my (ok, hubby’s) boiler suit and my floral wellies are now sporting additional foliage in the form of green splotches. Green fingered is an understatement!

Other improvements: we’ve flattened part of the lawn by moving some turf off the bump at the top of the lawn, and we’ve moved excess soil onto the lower part of the grass. It’s definitely not flat, but it’s less of a tripping hazard now! We’ve also laid some weed-resistant fabric over the area that I’m planning to move the caravan to (you can see it in the photo above). I’m planning to cover the area with wood-chippings to save us from needing to move the caravan to weed or mow beneath it. That’s the plan anyway!

More updates to come soon… How’s your summer gardening going? :)


My bargain fashion haul

I’ve had a bit of a result this week while shopping online. I discovered a fabulous fashion store that combines the convenience of online shopping with low low high street prices, sounds too good to be true doesn’t it? Well, it IS true and my order from has just arrived to prove it!

I was initially looking for something to wear to my friend’s wedding next weekend and having exhausted my usual shopping haunts, I decided to widen my search and take a look online. I was surprised and delighted with the selection of reasonably priced dresses I found at and I managed to get my whole outfit sorted at once. I bought this royal blue maxi dress with a slinky knotted-front detail and it was under £15! See, I wasn’t kidding when I said it was great prices!! It’s like a sale is on all the time and as such, items sell out quickly so if you see something you like, I recommend you grab it straight away while it’s still in stock! I decided to pair the dress with a fresh white blazer and added this to my cart before having a little browse around the rest of the store to see what other bargains I could find.

I couldn’t resist snapping up this over-size t-shirt with fabulous Mean Girls ‘you can’t sit with us’ quote on it. I already have a cute tartan skirt that I bought in the winter sales, so I thought the two would look great together as a kind of teen-flick mash-up of Clueless and Mean Girls! The t-shirt was only £8.25 and that’s one of the more spendy tops on the website!

I also bagged this horse pattern knitted jumper. I know it’s sunny outside at the moment, but this item was new in and I know that it will have sold out by the time the autumn breezes arrive! So I’ve invested in the black version ready for A/W14, but I love the fit and design so much that I’m actually thinking about getting it in cream with black horses too because I already know I’ll wear it all winter long!

So what do you think of my bargain fashion haul? I’ve barely taken off my new slogan t-shirt since it arrived and am bursting to hop back onto the website and order some more low-priced goodies. I’m pleased that a thrifty gal like me has finally found somewhere to shop online that doesn’t break the bank, woop!Mean Girls t shirt

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Interior design inspiration ~ photowalls

When I wrote about the interior décor of Hollister stores last week it was pretty clear that I was really inspired by the design. Ever since my visit to the Cambridge shop, I’ve been trying to work out a way that I could inject a bit of Californian holiday atmosphere into my own home and I think I’ve come up with a plan…

The design element that most impressed me was the ocean view windows above. The ‘windows’ were made from screens which projected a wrap-around view of the ocean and coastline, giving the impression that you really were shopping in a tropical hut, possibly on a pier out in the sea. I loved the immersive atmosphere this created and I want to do something similar at home. Okay, I’m not considering installing a TV wall but I AM researching the possibility of including a photowall in my bathroom design.

I’ve gathered design inspiration and have researched companies that can print large-scale posters and I’ve decided to order from StressFreePrint. They are able to take a photo and divide it into posters which can over-lap and be pasted together to create an image the size of any wall up to 8m high! So my little 1.8m x 1.4m space above the bath should be no trouble at all ;) It’s basically like having wallpaper custom-made but without a hefty price tag.

There are different grades of paper quality available and the photos are printed with dry toner inks which are waterproof and UV stable so the image won’t run or fade - pretty good, huh? I’m still planning to varnish the wall after the posters have been hung, just to be certain that the moist bathroom environment won’t damage the image. Here are some interior spaces that have used a photo-wall effect to add a false window or to change the atmosphere of the room:

poster wall art ideas

So now all I need to do is choose an image. I want to use a photo of my favourite coastline, with beach huts and a gorgeous blue sky – but I’ll have to be there on the right day and at the right time to get the perfect weather conditions. I’d rather spend a bit of time creating an image that I’ll enjoy looking at, because it’ll be pretty hard to ignore once it’s pasted onto the bathroom wall! I’m hoping to create the illusion of looking into the distance so that the wall adds depth to the bathroom, rather than over-powering it. It’s a tough decision to make but I’ll share my chosen photos with you as soon as I send it to print!


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Freebie Friday ~ This month’s magazines

Don’t panic! Pieday Friday will be back again soon, but this week I wanted to share details of all the freebies you can pick up with this month’s magazines. I had a weekend away last week, and being away from home is the only time I ever get to read magazines. I’m sure you’ll recognise this too – if I’m at home I’m either working on my blog, writing and researching articles, or tidying up the house! At the moment there’s no time for relaxing with a magazine, in fact there’s barely time for dinner in the evenings, but that’s because I’m hoping to take a couple of weeks off over the school summer holidays and am trying to get all my work done in advance rather than letting anyone down! So when I get a rare few days away from home like I did last weekend, that’s when I can stock up on magazines and spend some time actually relaxing and reading my favourites.

august 2014 magazine freebies on cosmopolitan glamour and mollie makes

This means that I’ve picked up the current issues of Cosmopolitan, Company and Mollie Makes and the freebies on the packs were just too good to keep to myself! Cosmo is giving away New CID Lip & Cheek tints in a choice of two shades or a full-size black New CID mascara. I picked up the mascara ready for when my current one runs out. Glamour magazine’s amazing freebie selection on their August issue is a Clinique Chubby Stick in Super Strawberry or Whoppin’ Watermelon. The other Clinque goodies available are their famous High Impact Mascara or the ‘Dramatically Different Moisturising Lotion+’. I chose the Whoppin’ Watermelon Chubby Stick because it’s a great summery bright pink colour and I’ve really enjoyed wearing it. I know there are plenty of blog reviews out there for the Chubby Sticks but I’ve never tried them before, so having the chance to test this product out for free is a bonus, and now I’m hooked. Although I’m not keen on the scent of the ‘fragrance free’ chubby stick (it smells like a crayon to me!), I think the texture is great and it’s just like wearing lip balm, which I prefer to lipstick or gloss anyday. I’m now thinking about buying a second issue to get the other colour too!

Mollie Makes always has a fab craft giveaway on the front of the magazine and this months issue (number 42) has a simple sewing project: an ‘easy stitch anchor purse’. All the things you’ll need to make the purse are included in the pouch and it’s good to great a handmade result in a relatively quick space of time. I’ve not yet tried making the project but it’ll definitely be on my summer holiday ‘to-do’ list. These three are just the tip of the iceberg-sized pile of magazines in my living room so I’d recommend taking a look at all the other fabulous freebies that are available with this month’s magazines when you’re next browsing the newsstand – you could end up getting something you really want (like me with my Chubby Stick!) for free!

There was another reason why I bought Cosmo this month too… As you may have already head me shouting from the rooftops, I’ve been shortlisted in the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards!! I’m in the Best Lifestyle Blog category and I couldn’t be more thrilled that my little blog has made it through to the final round! I’d love it if you could spare a minute to vote for in the Cosmo awards – here’s the link to the voting page, thank you so much!! Fingers crossed, eh?!