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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Best face forward

Would you go out of the house without make-up on? Are you brave enough to meet up with your friends without a puff of powder? How about heading out on a date without a coat of mascara? I wouldn’t. I’m not. And no way! I’ve met many women of all different ages over the years who happily waltz out of the front door and into the world without a scrap of make-up on their faces. And I don’t know how they do it. I admire them for it, and I even envy the amount of time they save every day by not putting on a layer of foundation. But no matter how much time I’d gain or how lovely my skin would feel out in the fresh air, I still couldn’t go out for a day without make-up. Could you?

I wouldn’t say that I’m overly vain – I can go for years without a haircut (two years until last summer!) and months without highlights (7 months and counting), but a whole day without makeup? I’m sorry, it can’t be done. I’m not saying that my makeup is perfect or that I have mastered the art the perfect eyeliner or glossy pout (in fact these techniques are completely beyond my abilities, especially early in the morning!). I’ll usually give anything fiddly a miss, so really I’m only taking about a covering of foundation and a little mascara – it doesn’t need to be a lot but it does need to be there.

beauty fashion trend adele cara delevingne dark eyes and brows spring summer 2013

Looking good Adele! Perfect eyeliner Cara!

So in what circumstances would I not wear makeup? Well, I’m perfectly comfortable sitting here at my computer, typing this for all the world to see whilst wearing my slouchy jumper, big specs and foundation-free face (there might even be a mucky smudge of last nights mascara around my eyes, gross I know) because you can’t see me. Hurrah for the internet, three cheers for working from home and a massive whoop for all the miles between us. Because I’m sure that if you popped by to see me right now, I’d be running in the opposite direction covering my face with hands and yelping ‘don’t look at me’. I worry too much what other’s think – although not enough to get my hair done, yikes it’s a mess! – but more importantly, I worry what I think about me.

Okay, I might be going a little over the top here. I will put the bins out and hang the washing on the line without any prior grooming and I’ll happily let my husband wake up next to my make-up-free face. I’ll even accept a parcel from the postman before the make-up goes on, but that’s about it. If I’m going out anywhere my eyelashes will be mascaraed and my dark circles concealed. I’m not a full-face-of-trowelled-on-make-up kinda girl but I’m definitely a BB Cream, concealer and mascara woman. So it’s not a thick coverage I’m after and I’m not wearing a mask (although it does protect my skin as all my products have SPF!), but I am trying to look my best – and what’s wrong with that? It’s getting more and more difficult to look my best as the years roll by and I’d like to carry on creating a good impression before my skin lets me down completely!

beauty fashion trend beyonce taylor swift red lips spring summer 2013

That smile looks great on you Beyoncé! Fabulous blue eyes Taylor!

I already know I naturally look a bit rough and unwell without make-up. ‘She’s so pale, is she anemic?’ was a favourite with teachers back at school, I’m often asked ‘are you tired?’ and due to my blonde eyelashes ‘you look ill’ is a regular phrase. I used to be able to get out of lessons by rocking up without makeup and feigning a sore tummy – no one would think that this pale, tired girl was making it up because she looks so unwell. I still embrace my paleness and never use fake-tan or bronzer, but a little swish of blusher is the difference between ‘you’re looking well’ and ‘do you need to go to the doctors?’.

And this is exactly the point of make-up in my opinion. I’m sure that no-one would even notice when I am wearing make-up because I don’t pile it on, I just subtly enhance what I’ve got and cover up the bits that I know aren’t so great. Make up can actually highlight your naturally good features – eye colour can look more vivid with the correct shade of shadow and a smile can look whiter and brighter with the right lipstick – just use it to bring out the good bits if you must! I’m such a perfectionist and ever since I discovered mascara in my teens and found out that I could improve the bits I didn’t like, I’ve been covering my face in anything within my price-range. And I think make-up is one of the better inventions of humankind. Okay, that was a bit tongue-in-blushered-cheek but it’s great that I can look the best I possibly can with only a few cheap products. Why would I not want to look my best? A smile goes a long way too but it can’t hide my pimples so that is why I’m getting my face on everytime I leave the house and I bet I’m not the only one..!


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Tips on using Pantone’s Colour of the Year 2014

Is it a big thumbs up or something you’d never ever wear? When colour trend experts Pantone announced the colour of the year I was in two minds as to whether it’s the colour for me. You may remember that last year’s colour was Emerald (which I quite liked and even made my own emerald dress!) and that we’ve previously discussed their autumn tone Mykonos Blue and how to get the look for yourself – see the blog post here. This year Pantone have announced that the shade which will be influencing trends in fashion, graphic design, interiors, beauty and product design during 2014 will be Radiant Orchid – a bright purple shade with both cool and warm tones.

Pantone describes the colour of the year as an enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones and says that it is an inspirational shade: “Radiant Orchid inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love and health. It is a captivating purple, one that draws you in with its beguiling charm.” A colour that emits love and joy is certainly something that I should be interested in so I’ve looked into ways of incorporating the Pantone Colour of the Year 2014 into our homes and wardrobes to bring even more happiness and energy into daily life – or will it? My problem with this is that - ironically enough - purple was my favourite colour as a teenager. I therefore do a little wince every time that I see it reported that purple is making a comeback. I wore a lot of lilac, rocked deep purple velvet and even enjoyed all shades of plum at once in a tie-dyed t-shirt. And now that I’ve finally grown out of purple, are you telling me that I have to put it back on the menu again? I don’t know if I can… but here goes!

pantone color of the year 2014 radiant orchid ideas for interior design

In terms of making a welcoming home you may want to begin adding elements of Radiant Orchid to your interiors. After a few years of taupes, greys and beiges being on trend, this vibrant colour should work with existing neutrals to reenergize your home – or so Pantone says! If you want to unify your interior spaces, simply adding a few splashes of Radiant Orchid on walls or soft furnishings will help to enliven almost any colour palette and I don’t doubt that it will bring a bright and cheery feeling into your home for Spring and Summer. Children, especially, will love a more lively colour scheme and your friends and family will admire your design knowledge even though you have only spent a fraction of the cost of redecoration by adding a couple of cushion covers or an artwork in this bold colour. That’s the theory anyway – but my home is very much UN-neutral so I’m not sure that even a purple rug would work in my own home. That’s not to say that it wouldn’t look great in your home, it’s just a clash-too-far for my retro living room!

pantone color of the year 2014 radiant orchid ideas for fashion colours

All Images by Radiant Orchid 2014 on Tumblr

If you’re planning to incorporate Radiant Orchid into your spring/summer 2014 wardrobe, you may already be thinking ‘what on earth can I wear it with?’ Well, I’ve done my research and have discovered that the shade works great with those from a similar colour palette, such as purple, lilac and pink. It’s already a bright tone but if you want to make an impact with a real pop of colour, combine it with scarlet red! Similar to the interior design ideas, using Radiant Orchid as a splash of colour in your neutral wardrobe will bring your existing fashion pieces up to date and need not cost a lot to get the look – a piece of costume jewellery or a pair of colourful shoes will increase your fashionista reputation with only a handful (or should that be armful?!) of new accessories.

I think this is the most likely way that I’ll be incorporating the colour of the year into my life – I already have a cute My Little Pony t-shirt in exactly the right colour (one that I’ve never worn since I bought it around 5 years ago, maybe it’s time for the t-shirt to shine!) and I’d be more likely to invest in a handbag or bracelet rather than a whole outfit. The other problem I have with this colour is that it’s not really a colour you can find in the vintage or second-hand/charity shop market. I think everyone, like me, chucked out their purple wardrobe back in the 90s and no-one thought to reuse them as ‘vintage’ because they were so dated. So where would I even buy any ‘Radiant Orchid’ clothes? Certainly not in my normal retail stomping ground of car boot sales, retro markets or charity shops. Nope, this would probably need to be a new wardrobe investment and I’m not sure I really want to wear it that much! Still, I will keep a look out for bright pinky-purple items when I’m rummaging through the flea markets and see if I come up with anything!

pantone color of the year 2014 radiant orchid ideas for beauty colours

Pantone has discussed the use of this colour in beauty and tells us that the rosy undertones of this shade will enliven complexions and radiate on the skin. Despite looking like an unwearably strong make-up shade at first, this tone of colour (which is actually both cool and rosy at once) can be worn as an eye shadow to outline eyes and make them glisten or as a lipstick to bring a healthy glow to the skin. It’s supposed to be an almost universally flattering shade, looking great with many combinations of hair, skin and eye colour, so don’t be afraid to try out such a bright colour for yourself. I have decided that nail polish is the way to go for getting this look on a budget whilst still looking like myself!

I hope these tips have helped you to identify ways that you can incorporate Pantone’s Colour of the Year 2014 into your daily life, bringing your home and wardrobe up to date and infusing your life with the joy and energy that Radiant Orchid promises to bring!


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DIY easy nail art designs for Halloween

Can you believe that it’s nearly Halloween? Have you got your costume sorted out and your treats ready for visitors? I recently wrote about decorating your home for autumn and how you can easily turn your decorations into a spooky Halloween decor with just a few changes – carve up those pumpkins and spread a few cobwebs around – et Voila! Now that you’ve got your home and your costume organised, maybe you’d like to try a scary Halloween manicure makeover?

This method is possibly the simplest way to create nail-art that looks professional but doesn’t require special brushes or tools. Simply grab a permanent pen and set to work. This is certainly a technique that takes some practice, and rather than struggle with drawing designs on your own nails, why not gather together your friends, sisters, mothers and daughters and give each other a special spooky manicure?

halloween nail art manicure tutorial using permanent pens white and black

Paint your nails in a base colour – such as white or orange as I’ve done here – and wait for them to dry. If you start drawing on your nails too soon, the polish will pucker and you might well damage the tips of your permanent pens. Then take it in turns to draw cute designs on each others’ nails. Maybe you’d like to draw cobwebs all over your nails with a spider dangling on the ring finger? Or create a reverse image by using the pen to colour around the nail, leaving the design in the middle, as I have done with my scary ghost design. Orange nails lend themselves to having pumpkin faces on them – so any image design that you would carve into your pumpkin would look equally great drawn on your nails!

halloween manicure diy nail art tutorial orange and black pumpkin faces

For extra variation on your manicures, you can use different base polishes – maybe blood-red or vampire grey – and can even use other colours of permanent pens, such as green or red (which work best over a white base) to really vamp up your designs for Halloween. I hope you have a fun time sharing a spooky pampering session with your pals and enjoy getting ready for your Halloween night out!

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Your secret beauty weapon – your smile!

Ok I know it’s cheesy to say it, and I hate it when anyone tells you to ‘Cheer up’, but a smile really can make the world of difference – not just in terms of looking nicer, but feeling better too. I’ve been reading up about the effects of a smile and here’s what I’ve learnt:

Smiling is good for your health: It may seem silly, but when you’re stressed out or anxious, all you have to do is smile and you will relax. When participants in a smile study were recovering from a stressful situation, those who smiled experienced a lower heart rate than the participants with a neutral or negative expression. Smiling can even help to fight illness by making your body produce more white blood cells and therefore strengthens your immune system.

Smiling makes you happy: You don’t have to work out to get a “runner’s high” from endorphins – simply smiling will release endorphins, and these extra positive chemicals in your body makes you feel happier. This sound great to me, because I’m super-lazy, so I’m going to make smiling my exercise! Just the action of smiling lift your spirits, and try smiling in a mirror – chances are you’ll end up laughing at yourself!

marilyn monroe smile quote

Marilyn via Pinterest

Smiling is contagious: Studies report that just seeing another person smile activates the area of your brain that controls your facial movement and often results in a reflected smile. So if someone is down and you want to cheer them up, give them a smile and they are likely to mimic the expression.

Smiling makes you attractive: The European Journal of Social Psychology discovered that smiling actually makes you appear more attractive as it projects positive personality traits such as being friendly, kind, empathetic and easy-going. No amount of expensive make-up can make up for a sour expression, so go back to basics and slap on a smile – that’s all you need to look prettier, and it’s free.

Smiling will get you friends: People are more willing to engage with those who are smiling and will seek out social interactions with smilers. Think about your friends vs the people who are not your friends – why is that the case? Chances are it’s because they don’t smile enough when they are around you – and who has time for miserable friends?!

a smile is the prettiest thing you can wear

Smile quote via Pinterest

So if a smile is that important, and you’re going to be flashing it at every opportunity, you want it to look good, right? I’ve therefore investigated some of the ways that you can jazz-up your smile easily and effectively.

1. Try a different colour. If you’re not someone who wear lipstick, give it a go! If you always stick to nude shades, try a funky coral or pretty pink. If you’re feeling bold - go for it! - wear red! Any colour or product that you wear on your lips will certainly draw attention to your smile and will make you look even more attractive when you flash it.

2. Keep your teeth sparkling. Clean, white teeth are important when showing them off with a big, beaming smile, so it’s a good idea to brush with an electric toothbrush (I do four minutes each time – 2 on the top teeth, 2 on the bottom) which gives more brush-strokes per minute than a manual tooth brush. There are lots of ‘whitening’ toothpaste out there or if you’re a massive fan of tea and coffee like me, you might want to consider a professional teeth whitening treatment from a dentist or reputable clinic such as MYA.

3. Use the right products. There are lots of lip glosses that promise to plump up your lips, which will improve your smile, and Avon do some good ranges of lip-treatments to smooth wrinkles around the mouth. But imagine if you could also get a lip gloss that helps to whiten your teeth – yes, it does exist! In fact, any lip colour with a bluish undertone will help to make teeth look more sparkling white, so choose your lip colour carefully and really look at how it makes your teeth look as well as your lips.

And that’s it! Now you have a beautiful smile that will cheer everyone up, improve your health and make you look prettier!


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My ‘use-up’ challenge – a good clear-out

Over the past  few weeks I’ve been making a concerted effort to stop buying new products and use up what I already have. Click to read my blog post about the challenge I set for myself and now that we’re getting towards the end of October, I wanted to share my progress. As you can see from the photos below, these are the products that I was hoping to use up at the start of the challenge, and the bottom photo shows that I have already used up even more products by sticking to using my half-empty goodies. I still have the hair treatment and hand-cream on the go (I guess I only use a little at a time) and I’ve been slowing working my way through the next batch of half-used products.

cassiefairy money saving use up make up and beauty challenge

And this has got me thinking about clearing out some of my clothes too. Now, I don’t know anyone who is the same size as me so it’s hard to pass things on, and you know I hate waste so I certainly won’t be throwing things out. It would be great if I ended up making a little extra money through this challenge – you know, to replace all the products that I’ve used up! But I really don’t like the idea of selling my lovely clothing at a carboot sale. Even though I love to shop at carboot sales, I don’t like the idea of packing up a car with my stuff in practically the middle of the night, to go to a cold carboot sale – plus I hate that moment when you first open up your boot and traders are almost jumping into your car to rummage through your stuff before you’ve even unpacked it. Yes, I have done carboot sales before, and yes this has happened to me. So I thought about alternative ways to sell my clothes and I discovered that MusicMagpie even buy your clothes online now too. I remember using their service to sell off some of my dvds and cds while I was at uni and needed extra cash, so I know how easy it the process would be. I am therefore going to give myself a couple of hours to rummage through my wardrobe, drag out anything that doesn’t fit me anymore or that I know I’m never going to wear and finally get rid of them in return for a nice cheque to put towards Christmas (or more beauty treats for me!)