Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog

Cassiefairy's thrifty little lifestyle blog – DIY crafts, sewing, food & fashion – what more does a girl need??


I love you from the bottom of my pencil case…

This is one of my favourite lyrics from a Beautiful South song and it always reminds me of this time of year. Yes, it’s officially back-to-school time and the new school term is just starting. While students all around the country are buying ring-binders, registering their student discount cards and thinking about furnishing their study-bedrooms, I too have been feeling rather excited! I’ve always had fond memories of this time of year, although I really don’t know what it is about September that makes me feel butterflies in my stomach about going back to school because I haven’t even been a student for at least 4 years now!

Actually, that’s not strictly true because last year I took a leisure learning course on branding in October and I’ve since signed up to a journalism course which starts later this month. Okay, it’s not actually going back to school because I’ll be doing most of my studies in front of a computer, but just the thought of a new term makes me want to go to stationary shops to buy pencil sharpeners and rulers.

This year I’m putting my pencil case to good use by using it as my mobile make-up bag. I always need to carry a few items for touch-ups during the day and I don’t like to have products rattling around the bottom of my handbag. so I’ve started carrying a few essentials rather than my ‘whole kit’! During the day I always need a little extra concealer, I like to apply an extra coat of mascara and I’ve chosen to carry my favourite lipgloss; a peachy shade which comes with a mirror attached to the side of the case so there’s no need to take a hand mirror with me too. Interestingly enough this gloss has a light-up wand, so you can see what you’re doing if you’re reapplying in the dark – a great extra feature as the nights start to draw in at this time of year. I also carry my classic ‘Smokey Eye’ trio palette to take my look from day to night and I can use the black shade as an eyeliner too by using a thin wet brush.

With this little kit I’m covered for all eventualities and can easily carry on my day into the evening if I’m invited out anywhere special. I think you’ll agree that this is a much better use of a pencil case than carrying fountain pen refills and tipex! Also, there’s a special offer on at MeMeMe Cosmetics until the 14th of Sept with discount code ” loveme25 ” for 25% off everything so now’s the time to go shopping for your pencil case essentials!



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My bargain beauty haul

This week I’ve been shopping online for my essential beauty products because I’ve found a shop that sells favourite products at super-discounted prices. I picked up a selection of goodies from Perfume Click and I wanted to write a brief review of the products and the shop as a whole. Thankfully, I only have good things to say about this website; I found it easy to use and like the high street stores, I could collect loyalty points on my beauty haul. I also had a nice surprise when I came to check out: each additional item that you add to your basket results in £1 off the total! So technically, after choosing my first item, each subsequent item was £1 off the (already reduced) retail price – what a bargain! Okay, it made me want to buy more than I usually would, but when you’re getting £1 off each item and loyalty points, it seemed like a good idea to snap up that extra nail polish! Here’s what I got:

cheap beauty products from Perfume Click

I chose standard delivery but the order still arrived within 2 days, so I had them before the weekend, which was great! I’ve not had a chance to try out the L’Oreal Revitalift Pro Contouring System, but anything that will give me a relaxing facial massage while I apply my face cream has got to be a good thing! Of course, I couldn’t wait two minutes before ripping open the packaging and testing out the other products that I bought, so here’s my round up of the other items…

Firstly, I was shopping for my make-up staples; mineral foundation and eyeliner. I always use mineral foundation because I have such sensitive skin that anything else makes my skin flare up. I’ve tried many different brands over the years and always choose the lightest shade for my pale skin. This time I picked up the Revlon ColorStay Aqua mineral make up in shade ‘Light/Pale‘ and couldn’t wait to test it out. This mineral foundation feels lighter on the skin than other mineral make up usually does and it had a luminous rather than matt finish so it looked more like I was wearing a liquid foundation than a powder. The applicator brush in the lid is also more like a liquid foundation brush than the usual big round kabuki powder brush that I usually use to apply my mineral foundation. I actually preferred the new brush, as it gave me more control over where I wanted to add extra layers of foundation. This mineral make up provides SPF 13 so it’s protecting your face as soon as you apply it, and with my pale, freckly complexion I need all the sun protection I can get!

cheap beauty products from Perfume Click-4

Secondly, I bought a new liquid eyeliner: Max Factor Masterpiece Glide and Define in black. I’d previously used a liquid eyeliner that was supposed to be waterproof but I found that it smudged off at every opportunity, so I wanted to try something different. This eyeliner was much easier to apply, went on smoothly at it was easier to make delicate flicks, as well as layering up for a thicker line. It isn’t a waterproof liner, but I found that it out-performed my previous ‘waterproof’ eyeliner, only smudging a little if I wiped my eyes when they watered in the sun over the weekend. It stayed put as long as I didn’t rub my eyes, and because it’s a tiny hand-bag sized bottle, I had it to hand to touch-up the wings when I nipped to the loo. The only problem with this eyeliner was that it crumbled after a full day of wearing, so when I came to take off my make up at bedtime, it was flaking off – it stayed nice for a good 12 hours before this happened though!

cheap beauty products from Perfume Click-3

cheap beauty products from Perfume Click-2

I’ve always wanted to try out the Bourjois little round pots but they have always been just out of my budget for eyeshadow, so when I saw this pack of three pots for £10.65 I snapped it up. I’d used an iridescent pink pot that my sister had bought for me years before, but found it too sparkly at times, so I hoped that these neutral shades wouldn’t be too sparkly. Thankfully, they are exactly the right combination of matt-with-luminosity that they don’t too sparkly, nor do they make my skin look ‘flat’. The three shades in the pack work well together; there is a nude shade, a tawny brown and a slightly mauve colour, all of which make my eyes look even bluer than usual! I was pleased that the lids all have small mirrors in them which is great for touching up on the go with the mini-applicators but I don’t think I’ll use the applications for everyday use, I prefer to apply eyeshadow with my usual brush and the colours look great blended together.

cheap beauty products from Perfume Click-6

Finally, I picked up a Collection 2000 nail polish, because the £1 off at checkout meant that it was only £2.10. I was really rather impressed with this ‘Maxiflex’ polish because it gave almost complete coverage in one coat, which is such a rarity! I was pleased with the nude shade ‘In the Buff’ with a hint of metallic for summer, and it lasted for a good couple of days, even without a top-coat. The bottle boasts 5 day wear, and I think that with two coats of Maxiflex and a clear top-coat, this could easily be achieved, but I’ve not had it long enough to test it out for that long yet!

I was very pleased with the bargains that I picked up from and I was even more delighted when a surprise £4 was knocked off my shopping total – that’s the kind of shopping I like!

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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?!



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 :)