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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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?!


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Pre-preparation to keep your hair looking great at Glastonbury

With Glastonbury starting this week and a plethora of music festivals taking place throughout the summer I thought it would be a good idea to write a blog post about how to pre-prepare your hair to keep it looking great during the festival season. Its one of the things that I dread about going to a festival: I know my hair is going to look terrible from the second day onwards. With the humidity, lack of washing facilities and inevitable rain showers, I end up looking like a dirty, fluffy poodle but this year will be different. I am taking time to plan my hair-care in advance so that I can survive the festivals and allow myself to be photographed after day one! So here’s what I’m suggesting:

  1. Get your hair in great condition before you go to Glastonbury. I know it seems obvious but a good foundation necessary in order to at least start the festival weekend with nice hair! So go for a trim, boost your colour and most importantly use a lovely rich hair mask such Sexy Hair’s Deep Conditioning Masque which is infused with shea butter and olive oil. Make sure you leave it on your hair for the full 5 minutes in order to get as much moisture and healthy shine into your hair as possible which will give you an excellent base to work with.

  2. Choose a style and stick with it. If you’ve got straight hair, keep it straight and if you’re a curly girl, boost those curls because your hair will revert to it’s natural type after just one day of rain or tent humidity. So use a product to boost your hairs natural ability: such smoothing with straightening balm to reduce frizz before blow-drying straight or use Clynol Curl Bounce Fluid and dry with a diffuser to add definition to your curls. After the first day, all you should need to do with your hair is comb through with a spritz of leave-in detangler and if you’re a curly girl you can give your hair a scrunch with your hands to rejuvenate the curl.

  1. Hair can become lank after a couple of days so you might want to consider taking a dry shampoo with you and spray it in to boost volume and soak up any greasiness. Try a cheap online shop such as Click Fragrance to stock up on your Glastonbury haircare essentials and make sure you take some hair bands and grips with you to tie your hair up or plait your fringe to one side if you want to make your hair look neater after day two!

  2. If you find some nice clean facilities and want to wash your hair while you’re at the festival, make sure you take a great quality rich 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner such as Cheap Cowshed’s Lazy Cow haircare. Not only will it save you time in the dreaded communal showers but this product detangles tent-head hair whilst also giving your hair a burst of shine with vitamins C, E and organic argan to get it back to it’s pre-festival condition.

glastonbury fashion and hair ideas

Glamorous girls at Glastonbury 2013

If you follow these tips, your hair should stay in great condition and everyone will wonder how you managed to stay looking fabulous in a field full of mud! When you get home after the festival it’s important give your mud-splattered hair a good cleanse with some super-rich products such as Tigi’s Catwalk Sleep Mystique glossing shampoo and calming conditioner to get your hair back into its pre-Glaso condition and then you’ll be ready for the next festival of the summer..!



Beauty Review ~ Your summer suncare sorted with super-SPF sunscreens

Try saying that after a day of sun exposure! Listen up my freckly friends: with the heat wave that we’ve all been promised fast approaching at the end of the month, all your summer suncare issues will be solved in this one blog post and to my gorgeously tanned pals, this concerns you too because I’ve been trying out some products that will prolong your tan AND protect you from premature aging. Something for everyone, I’m sure you’ll agree, so read on as I review two essential suncare products and share my ideas for of surviving the summer.

You may already know that I’m a pale kinda gal. I wear ivory shade foundation and SPF 30 most days of my life. This is because without it I would burn baby burn and peel immediately afterwards. Yes, any sun exposure would seriously hurt my delicate freckly skin and leave a lasting legacy of damage and additional wrinkles that I’d really rather avoid. So I’m going for SUPER strong suncare this year and have gone over to the dark side, (or should that be light side?) of Sun Protection Factor 50 lotions and potions.

I’m not talking about the ‘just for children’ sun creams out there which, in my search for high SPFs, I have tried before and found them to be rather difficult to absorb into my face and they leave a whiteish glow to my skin; as if I need to be any more ghostly white than I already am! Nope, the kiddies range is not for me, although I do want that same level of protection to keep myself from burning and ageing prematurely, so I’ve investigated the best adult products on the market with ultra-high SPFs and here are the best of the bunch:

Christian Dior Bronze SPF 50 face suncreen

I’m looking at protecting my face and have therefore plumped for the fabulous Dior product above. Part of the Dior Bronze range is the SPF 50 Beautifying Protective Suncare face cream. The high protection factor shields against UVA and UVB rays whilst delivering antioxidant “Tan-Protect” microcapsules to the skin to moisturise and ‘embellish’ the skin, making your tan last longer without allowing the skin to burn. It recommends applying generously to the face and reapplying regularly, so I applied it in the morning and spent a normal day out and about, staying in the shade as I usually do but sometimes wandering into the sun too. I am pleased to say that this sunscreen let a lot less sun through to my skin than my usual standard sunscreen and my face didn’t have that ‘tight’ feeling at the end of the day, as it sometimes does with a factor 30. I didn’t reapply the product during the day because I wasn’t sat in the sun but I imagine I would need to reapply it if I were actually exposed to full sun. You can read more about this Christian Dior range here. The blurb on the box claims that ‘your ideally protected skin gradually reveals a more intense, more luminous and more lasting tan’, and I was unsure whether this meant that it contained self-tan, but having tested it out there is no colour in the cream; it simply means that you’re less likely to burn so your tan will be less likely peel off, and will therefore be prolonged. This increase in SPF combined with the additional moisturiser to keep your tanned skin supple, again makes your skin less likely to peel. Having never had a tan in my life, I can’t vouch for this, but the theory seems logical so if you’re someone who does tan evenly, please let me know how you get on with this product and I’ll share this information with you all!

The scent is pleasant and smells like summer holidays but a little less pungent than the normal sun lotion you’d slap on at the beach. One important point to make is that the cream absorbed quickly and was completely non-greasy, so felt much more like a facial moisturiser than a sun cream and is considerably nicer to apply than the bright white emulsion-like factor 50s or the oily high-SPF sprays. I would definitely recommend investing in a specific face cream like this as you’ll feel more inclined to wear it daily as a normal moisturiser rather than only applying when the sun is out, and the extra protection from the sun can only be  good thing!

Elizabeth Arden 8 hour cream targeted sun defense stick

Elizabeth Arden‘s famous Eight Hour Cream is now available with SPF and in a Targeted Sun Defence Stick with factor 50 sunscreen. It is so good at shielding over-exposed areas including lips, nose and scars from the sun’s harmful rays that it is even recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation as an effective UV sunscreen. The blurb on the box tells us that this product  lasts for up to 2 hours before needing to be reapplied and even “retains SPF after 40 minutes of swimming or perspiring” so I had to test its water-resistance claims by smearing a section of my arm with the product before rinsing with water. The patch appeared unaffected and I think that only towelling off would have an effect on it’s longevity. The product combines the classic 8 hours hydrating effect of the original Eight Hour Cream with UVA and UVB filters that is suitable for all skintypes. As someone with sensitive skin where any change to my normal skincare routine can lead to breakouts, I was impressed by how gentle this product was on my skin and it’s claims to be ‘non-acnegenic’ certainly rings true in my experience.

The stick is like a large lip-balm and the product glides on to the skin invisibly, without needing to be rubbed in so it’s ideal for those over-exposed areas like the top of your ears. The balm has a fresh lemony scent which reminds me of a normal honey-and-lemon lip balm, so I am delighted that I will be able to will be apply it regularly to my lips, as this is the only area of my face that usually ends up tingly and stinging after a day in the sun. The density of this Eight Hour stick means that it is great for covering scars and as my husband is currently nursing a healing scar, it is important that he keeps it covered and out of the sun, as the skin is particularly thin and prone to burning, so he’ll be using this cover-up stick to keep the scar safe.

sun hat suncare ideas for summer 2014

Wear a hat!

Both of these wonder-suncare products can be bought online from cosmetics shop Click Fragrance at really good prices – click here to visit the shop & browse their extensive suncare ranges. I hope that these reviews will help you to decide what products to invest in for Summer 2014 – I know how difficult it is to choose a sun cream without being able to try it out first, so I hope this has given you a  bit of an insight into these specialist high SPF ranges and how well they perform. Hopefully, you’ll chose a combination of these excellent products (let me know if you try any of the Dior or Elizabeth Arden suncare items!) and your skin will stay protected and un-burnt all summer long! And now that I’ve discussed a couple of wonder products, I want to give you some other ideas for ways to prevent sunburn or skin damage during the summer months – especially with that heat wave approaching at the end of the month:

  1. Wear sensibly high sunscreens and reapply often
  2. Wear a hat with a wide brim to keep your face shaded
  3. Stay out of the strong midday sun
  4. Sit in the shade whenever possible
  5. Keep covered up with thin layers of clothing

So now you can imagine me sitting in the shade, covered head-to-toe in clothing, hats and sunscreen all summer long, but you can be sure that I won’t be getting burnt this year! I hope you have a lovely warm sunny summer and keep safe in the sun :)


Best face forward at the National Blog Awards

Did you know it’s the National Blog Awards this week? Did you know that I’m a FINALIST?! Have I mentioned it before..? ;)

Going to an event of this magnitude – the ‘Oscars of the blogging world’ – has got me excited and worried in equal measure and now that my ticket has arrived I’ve started to agonise over every detail of what I will wear and how I will look. But with good reason, I think, because I know there will be cameras at this event and I know that a snap of me looking like a right gremlin will no doubt be immortalised forever on the internet, or at least that’s my fear. You may have noticed that I don’t often make a personal appearance on the blog, which makes it even more of a momentous occasion that I might been seen in public and photographed! So I’m trying to do everything I can to present a lovely version of me; with a nice dress, classy jacket, perfect hair and flawless face; whether it works or not is another matter ;) At least I’m try to make the most of what I’ve got and hopefully I won’t be too disappointed with the resulting photos!

national blog awards 2014 retail and fashion finalist cassiefairy blog

So I’ve turned my attention to hair and make up today and am having a practice run to make sure things turn out alright on the night. Brides have practice sessions for their wedding hair and make up, and this is my version of a wedding! So I’ve been to the hairdressers for a trim, had my fringe cut back to where it should be (seriously over-due, it wasn’t even getting in my eyes anymore; that’s how long it was) and the summer highlights have returned. I just need to decide whether to have curly or straight hair and I’m all set to go. The face, on the other hand, needs a lot more attention and my make-up bag needed an over-haul. You know it’s time to buy new products when the hinges of your eye-shadow have broken off, it takes a couple of swipes to get any mascara out and you need to shake your foundation before it will squeeze..!

yves saint laurent nars and shiseido make up for the national blog awards

So I’ve got some of my favourite ever products to make sure my face looks good for this big event; Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat – my absolute fail-safe for getting rid of dark circles around my eyes – and Shiseido Sheer & Perfect foundation. It’s the lightest foundation I’ve found (you can’t feel it on your skin at all) but it gives excellent coverage, even for my pale ivory skin tone, and has SPF 15 too. It’s usually quite a spendy product but the cheapest place I’ve found to buy it is online at Click Fragrance and at least I know my skin won’t let me down for the big event. In terms of eye make-up I’m using a felt-tip liner pen from George and my top mascara “They’re Real” by Benefit (I wish someone would ask me to review this mascara because I already love it!!). I don’t really bother with my lips in everyday life, other than a little lip balm, so I’ve gone for a new Nars lipstick in Beautiful Liar to finish off my Blog Awards look.

Now all that’s left to do is apply it perfectly and look classically serene all night long - wish me luck with that! I make sure that I get lots of photos of my finished make-up and hair at the blog awards and will share some snaps during my round-up post after the event. Eeek I’ve just realised that its tomorrow… gulp!


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..!