Cassiefairy – My Thrifty Life

Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog – Saving money every day with DIY crafts, sewing projets, low-cost recipes & shppping tips


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My summer so far…

It’s only half way through the school holidays and I’ve already been having a wonderful summer break. I’ve been on a few day trips, I’ve visited a handful of places and got a few of my “to-do’s” done. If you’re wondering what I’ve been up to, here’s the goss…summer holiday sunset beach huts seaside-2I went to the seaside. During the very first weekend of the summer holidays I organised to go away from Friday – Monday. It isn’t a long drive from here to the Essex coast, but it was a very hot one! We arrived for our yearly family holiday at around 9am and headed straight to the beach hut. We pretty much spent the rest of the day on the beach, throwing a giant frisbee that I’d bought ‘for the kids’ and tucking into traditional fish ‘n’ chips. The heat dictated plenty of trips to the swimming pool and lots of breezy walks along the promenade to cool off. We enjoyed a game of bowling on Saturday evening, and the bowl ‘n’ burger deal on the pier is always a winner – the burgers are huge! Sunday was a chilled out beach day and on Monday we visited the nearest ‘big’ town for more arcade fun and a trip to the Sealife Centre. A wonderful weekend.

I visited a museum. Ipswich Transport Museum to be precise. I’d never been before, despite growing up in Suffolk from the age of ten. It was a real surprise to find so many interesting exhibits in an unassuming old bus hangar. I’ll share more photos in a ‘proper’ blog post about the museum soon and give you my tips for visiting during the school hols. Another lovely day out with the family that didn’t cost a fortune, bonus!

Continue reading “My summer so far…” »


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I’ve been nominated in the Interior Blog Awards 2016!

I was SO chuffed when I heard that I’d been nominated as best DIY & Craft Blog in the Amara Interior Blog Awards 2016! I can’t believe that my lovely readers took the time to nominate me for one of the most prestigious awards in the country – I hope that this means you’ve been enjoying my crafts and have been inspired by some of the projects I’ve been DIYing! I can’t tell you how excited I am to be included in the awards this year and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that you’ll help me reach the finals by voting for me. Furniture Makeover Project Rust-Oleum paint retro conservatory chair_-24The voting for the awards opened last week (if you’ve been following my Instagram stories you’ll know that I’ve been visit the lovely Kent coast) so this is the first chance I’ve had to share the great news with you! I’ve actually got my own profile page on the Amara Interior Blog Awards website and I’m thrilled to be included alongside hundreds of other fantastic interior design blogs – I’m totally inspired by them all!

The competition is really stiff, with over 30 fantastic blogs included in my category, so I’d be SO grateful for if you’d vote for my little blog here. I can’t imagine how amazing it would be to be a finalist! And please let me know if you do vote by tweeting me @Cassiefairy so that I can say thanks!

Since I was nominated for the Amara Awards I’ve had a look back over the DIY interior projects that I did in my little bungalow. I thought it would be a good idea to share some of those blog posts today, just in case you need any encouragement to believe I’m a thrifty DIYer!kitchen DIY furniture Makeover project bake station - storage cooking baking tutorial-6My mini kitchen makeover + chalkboard wallMy last summer holiday was spent painting my tiny kitchen in a rich duck egg blue colour and I gave it a thrifty DIY makeover with secondhand storage, a repurposed bathroom cabinet and lots of magnetic chalkboard paint! I stitched up a peg bag and a carrier bag dispenser using the same striped fabric as my tiny blackout blind. It was a fun makeover that only took a day to finish but made the kitchen look a whole lot better.diy book pages and sheet music wallpaper to decorate bedroomnatural textures and colours in this bedroom makeover-5My bedroom decorating project was probably the cheapest DIY I’ve ever done! At the time, there was a power cut in our home so it was a good excuse to do something practical rather than sitting in front of the TV. I invested a whole £2 in a sachet of wallpaper paste and started slapping book pages on the walls. My feature wall behind the headboard is made up of a Marilyn Monroe biography, a horticultural book about roses and sheet music and a few vintage postcards. It was so simple yet really made a difference to the room, in only about an hour’s worth of decorating.diy painting and installing small shed - duck egg blue beach hut in garden-3 diy painting and installing small shed - duck egg blue beach hut in garden-20I’ve always loved mid-century design and I set about making my own 60s/70s inspired living room. Taking inspiration from some old record boxes, I used orange, olive green and bright blue hues to decorate my living room. I photographed the floral pattern of the boxes and printed it onto fabric in order to make some brightly coloured matching cushions to dress my basic leather sofa. When I needed a desk to do all my blogging from, I found a £5 set of drawers and added a piece of wood (painted in 70s orange, of course) to turn the top shelf into a desktop. An old telephone table got the same spray-paint treatment and is the ideal space to store my pens and thingmebobs.

The bathroom was a big project for us; it needed a new bath so my husband and I watched some YouTube tutorials before attempting to do the work ourselves. Thankfully, everything went well and we continued the project by using pressure-treated wood that we rescued from a skip to make a bath panel, clad the walls and create a storage unit. And to top it all off my little bathroom project has since been featured in Style at Home magazine – so proud!using recycled wood from a skip to make a beach hut bathroom floor and storage-11 DIY bathroom roman blind-1

I hope you can spare a minute to vote for me in the Amara Interior Blog Awards 2015 – it really would be a dream come true to be a finalist! My voting page is here and I am eternally grateful for every single vote, thank you!


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I’m Cut Out + Keep’s Crafty Superstar!

Did you spot this news on my Twitter feed earlier this week? I’ve been tweeting and instagraming all week long because I’m just SO excited to be featured on one of my favourite sites. When Cut Out + Keep got in touch to invite me to be their Crafty Superstar, I was literally bouncing around at my desk!crafty superstarI sent over my signed photo as soon as I could and I loved every minute of the interview process – I felt like such a star! I couldn’t wait for ‘my’ week as Crafty Superstar and for my DIY projects to be shared with all their readers. You can check out my interview and see 4 of my crafts on the site right now.diy-pink-tulle-pompom-decorations-party-tutorial-cassiefairy - crafty superstar cut out and keep

Cut Out + Keep are sharing my thrifty projects every day this week. My pom-pom DIY has already gone live on Monday, as has my no-sew t-shirt on Tuesday. My distressed chair upcycling project was featured on Wednesday and I’m yet to see what’s going live today – I find it really exciting when I get a notification ping through that another of my projects has been published!diy-fashion-no-sew-floral-pocket-tshirt-for-summer cut out and keep crafty superstarI love visiting Cut Out + Keep for plenty of inspiration for recipes, sewing ideas, craft projects and furniture DIYs. I’ve even been inspired to try to learn to knit (you know, something more technical than just straight rows!) thanks to their knitting and crochet section. It’s like Pinterest but with real crafters. No everyone on the site has a blog or is a pro, it’s just a very welcoming community of enthusiastic makers who want to share their latest projects. Amazing stuff.distresses furniture diy projectI’m SO thrilled to join so many other fantastic crafters in the Crafty Superstars hall of fame and I still can’t really believe that Cut Out + Keep picked me to feature! Please check out my Crafty Superstar page if you get a chance and follow along with all 7 days of my projects as they are published. And do let me know what you think!


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My Little Vintage Caravan – My storage article in Caravan Magazine

Wooo my little vintage caravan has made it into the June issue of Caravan Magazine. My little blue Sprite is becoming quite the celebrity in the touring world! I’m excited to share the article with you today and show off my little renovation project again.caravan magazine cassiefairy alpine sprite camper trailer makeover renovation project-2So here it is: a double-page spread! In the article I discuss the progress of my caravan makeover and how difficult it had been to find storage that would fit. Aside from my very tiny desk (which had a pastel pink makeover and a patchwork interior) I couldn’t find any storage cupboards that would even fit through the door of the caravan. Even if I could have manoeuvred a chest of drawers in through the window, most items of furniture are too deep for the narrow space in the caravan. A standard piece of furniture would stick out too far into the centre of the caravan and cause a bottleneck into the space. I needed a space that I could use for crafting, cutting out patterns and sewing, so I didn’t want to fill up all the room with furniture.caravan magazine cassiefairy alpine sprite camper trailer makeover renovation project-4That said, I did need storage. Somewhere to store my fabrics, ribbons, books, paperwork, buttons and bobbins – along with my Maneki Neko collection of course. So what was the solution? Why, children’s furniture, of course! It’s smaller and more narrow than conventional furniture so it fits in the limited space nicely. Plus, it’s flat-pack furniture so I could take it into the caravan in pieces and construct it in-situ. I wrote all about my new caravan storage solution on my blog so have a read, check out all the photos and let me know what you think of this idea.caravan magazine cassiefairy alpine sprite camper trailer makeover renovation project-5And if you get hold of a copy of Caravan Magazine this June, please let me know what you think of my first article too. It’s also online at OutandAboutLive.co.uk so you can have a read of the full article there too. It’s very exciting for me, and I’d love to know what kind of a response it’s had so please get in touch by leaving me a comment below or by tweeting me @Cassiefairy. caravan magazine cassiefairy alpine sprite camper trailer makeover renovation project-6


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UK Blog Awards 2016 Most Innovative Blog – And the winner is…

For the first time in almost 10 years of blogging I don’t know what to write. I finally understand what people mean when they say they are speechless – but I am wordless. I’ve never sat in front of a blank page and not known what to write. But today is different. Today I should be writing something important, meaningful and… well, I don’t know. But, so far, words escape me. I’m thrilled, chuffed and living in a dream. I literally woke up this morning and couldn’t be sure if it all really happened. But all the wonderful messages of congratulations that I scrolled through on twitter this morning confirmed it. I had won!uk blog award winner 2016 most innovative cassiefairy-3 uk blog awards ceremony 2016-29You see, yesterday was the UK Blog Awards 2016 and (after a long day at work) hubby and I had driven to London to attend the glitziest of awards ceremonies. Sponsored by Odeon cinemas and held in the ultra-swish Park Plaza hotel in Westminster, it was the most amazing event I’d ever been to. Themed around the magical story of The BFG by Roald Dahl, the venue was beautifully dressed with blossom trees and jars full of dreams. The BFG himself was even wandering around the venue, photo-bombing bloggers wherever he went. It honestly felt like I’d stepped into a dream, and that’s probably why I find it so hard to believe that my dream became a reality last night.uk blog awards ceremony 2016-14 uk blog awards ceremony 2016-11 uk blog awards ceremony 2016-8 uk blog awards ceremony 2016-6 Having already chosen ‘my winners’ for each category in the awards, I knew that I was up against the stiffest of competition and most inspirational of blogs. I knew I didn’t stand a chance of scooping an award so I was simply there to soak up the atmosphere, meet some of the wonderful women that I’d been collaborating with over the past year and to seek out some of my blogging inspirations. So you can understand my wordlessness when the opposite happened and judge Sandra Donskyte – my business hero – announced me as the winner of Most Innovative Blog. I was hoisted from my comfy “I’ll just sit here and watch” seat and gently encouraged onto the stage by my husband, where I whimpered (and probably swore!) my way through collecting the award. Thank goodness Sandra and Kate Russell were there to hold me up!uk blog awards ceremony 2016-18uk blog awards ceremony 2016-20 uk blog awards ceremony 2016-21 uk blog awards ceremony 2016-26There is no word to describe that moment. Nor any moment since. I guess that word hasn’t been invented yet because I can’t seem to find any word even remotely suitable in my vocabulary to tell you how I felt. So, in the absence of words (I honestly thought this blog post was going to be blank when I sat down to write a few minutes ago!) I’m going to have to let our photographs do the talking.

My swishy dress & red handbag are from Boden, my pretty (and all-night-long comfy!) pink shoes are from Hotter and my make-up is from Lookfantastic.com

I met SO many wonderful bloggers last night and I had the chance to chat ‘in real life’ to many of the folk I email on an almost weekly basis. It was the chance to meet face-to-face that really made the night special and I loved every minute. I’m hoping to collaborate with many of the bloggers I met, so I’ll be sure to introduce them to you soon. Even now I keep asking my husband whether I did actually win; I’m worried that I went up on stage and collected someone else’s award! But no, it DOES have my name printed on it, so (as long as I keep it nearby so I can continue checking) I’ll start to believe it soon.uk blog award winner 2016 most innovative cassiefairy uk blog awards ceremony 2016-19 uk blog award winner 2016 most innovative cassiefairy-2 uk blog awards ceremony 2016-29Thank you all so much for the years of support, for reading my blog, for sticking with me, for commenting, for tweeting and for being my friends. You guys rock!


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I’ve been shortlisted for ‘Most Innovative’ blog in the UK Blog Awards!

I still can’t believe it. I have actually been shortlisted in the UK Blog Awards. And for the ‘Most Innovative’ blog category. There are no words to describe how I’m feeling right now. Thrilled, delighted, amazed and shocked just doesn’t do it justice. Thank you, thank  you, THANK YOU for voting for me. You did this. YOU put this smile on my face!
I've been shortlisted for the UK Blog Awards 2016 Final.I actually didn’t find out myself – I was working hard on an article when the ‘you’ve made the shortlist’ email came through – so I only found out when my friends and family started getting in touch to congratulate me! I was all like, eh? And then I checked my email. I logged on to the UK Blog Awards website. I double-checked the categories. I sat open-mouthed for a few minutes until the news sunk in and a smile spread across my face. And it has seriously not left my face ever since!

As the UK Blog Awards are totally down to reader votes, I honestly couldn’t have got anywhere in the competition without YOU. You have made my day, my weekend, my month and my year. You’re the best and I can’t thank you enough. Cheers to all who have supported me and helped my little thrifty lifestyle blog to get to the finals of a national competition. Wow. Have an amazing weekend everyone!


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An exciting start to 2016 – I’ve been nominated for a UK Blog Award!

I had some fantastic news over the Christmas break. My blog, my simple little thrifty lifestyle blog, had been nominated for the UK Blog Awards 2016. I don’t know who put my blog forward for an award or even whether more than just one person popped my name into the ‘hat’ but to whoever did nominate me, thank you so much! It means that I’ve been added to the list of blogs for the public voting stage (which is now open!) and I’m in with a chance of getting through to the next stage. SO exiting and I’m so grateful that I have been nominated. What a great start to 2016!Cassiefairys free pieday friday recipe book blurb ebookSo now I’d love to share details of how to vote with you, just in case you wouldn’t mind stopping by the UK Blog Awards website and giving me a quick vote.
Go to my profile page on the UK Blog Awards site, where you can vote for me in the ‘Lifestyle’ category and for the ‘Most Innovative’ blog award. And as a thank you I’d love to send you a free PDF copy of my ‘Pieday Friday’ Ebook with lots of yummy recipes for dinner, dessert and snacks, so please leave me a comment below this blog post to let me know if you’ve voted! 😉

Vote for me now in the UK Blog Awards #UKBA16It’s especially exciting for me to have been nominated because I missed out on so many blog events last year due to 2015 being particularly tough on this side of the screen, so it’s a really great start to the new year and I’m so optimistic about what this year has in store for me and everyone I love. The chance to win a UK Blog Award would be the icing on the cake and I’m thrilled that someone even nominated me! Please do stop by my profile page and give me a vote, and let me know if you DO vote by leaving me a comment below and I’ll email you a free copy of my recipe Ebook as a thank you and send loads of virtual hugs too!Cassiefairys free pieday friday recipe book blurb ebook cookbookLove and hugs to everyone who reads my blog and supports my thrifty lifestyle, you guys are the best!


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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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Red Ted celebrates winning the Hillarys Craft Competition 2015!

Yesterday, I had some amazing news. The kind that shocks you so much – in a good way – that you can’t speak and simply point to your email when your husband asks “what’s happened?!”. You watch his expression as he reads through the message, looking to spot the moment when he too realises, and confirms what you didn’t believe with your own eyes, that you’ve won. Yes, I received one of the most amazing emails of my life yesterday when Hillarys got in touch to tell me that I was the winner of their Craft Competition 2015. Gobsmacked is not a strong enough word to describe how I felt last night! I still can’t believe it.little red ted sewing project hillarys craft competition 2015You may remember that I shared a blog post about my little Red Ted last month. I loved every moment of making him, and, although I had a couple of unpicking-and-restitching hiccups, he was a fun project that got me back behind the needle of a sewing machine after a few months without crafting. It’s kick-started a whole host of craft ideas and I’m skipping towards my sewing machine almost every day now to do mini-projects and clothing repairs. All thanks to Red Ted helping me get back in the saddle.diy sewing tutorial step by step teddy bear diy sewing tutorial step by step teddy bear-3Only a week ago I was told that my little Red Ted had made it into the top ten shortlist of Hillary’s Craft Competition and I absolutely couldn’t believe it – especially when I saw all the other fantastic creations on their competition board on Pinterest. I’d checked out the other entries after submitting Red Ted and I was in awe of all the amazing projects that the other crafters had come up with – cushions, aprons, toys, picnic set, clothing and even fabric flowers! I’m already planning to try out some of these projects myself but the board is so packed full of inspirational ideas that I don’t know where to start!diy sewing tutorial step by step teddy bear-9 red ted teddy bear sewing projectDuring my week as a ‘finalist’ I’d spotted a few repins of Red popping up on my Pinterest feed, and some ‘likes’ had been appearing on Facebook. I was thrilled that other people liked Red Ted as much as I did and every tweet of support meant the world to me. Even though I was getting a lot of love for Red, all the other shortlisted projects were amazing, highly skilled and really fun, so I was convinced that Red and I were going to be applauding another winner as the results were announced.diy sewing tutorial step by step teddy bear-26So you can imagine just how much I couldn’t believe it when I found out that I’d won. I read and re-read my email. I double checked the announcement on Twitter. I took to Facebook and every update I saw seemed to confirm that little Red Ted was the winner but it was only when I was being hugged by hubby that I realised it was true and I burst into tears.little red ted sewing project hillarys craft competition 2015 winnerI am thrilled and truly grateful that the lovely judges and so many of you liked my creation enough to vote for me as the winner of Hillarys Craft Competition 2015. It means everything to me, and little red Ted is pretty chuffed too! Thank you all so much for supporting ‘us’ in the competition, and cheers!

 


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My little vintage caravan – Caravan Magazine & soft furnishings

After sharing photos of Sian’s beautiful Daisy caravan with you yesterday (and the fabulous vintage party package giveaway – check it out here!) I felt a strong urge to hang out in my own caravan and enjoy the lovely weather.vintage caravan interior with biscuit cushions-4So when I finished work yesterday, I took brewed up a cuppa and took myself outside for a little alone time in my caravan. With the sun shining, bees buzzing and birds singing, I threw open the windows and properly ‘aired’ my caravan for the first time this season.vintage caravan interior with biscuit cushions and cat-11vintage caravan interior with biscuit cushions and cat-10 Continue reading “My little vintage caravan – Caravan Magazine & soft furnishings” »

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