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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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!).

Continue reading “My little vintage caravan – I’ve been featured in Caravan Magazine!” »


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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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Cocktails and cupcakes at the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards

Scary, butterflies, lost, nervous, smiles, cocktails, friendly, giggles, girls, cupcakes, funny, happiness, joy, pride, fun, delight, awe, thrilled. These are the words that sum up my experiences at the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards last night and I’m sure that my fellow bloggers were going through a range of similar emotions too. As you can see from my photos I finally made a decision about my outfit for the awards ceremony and I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw that no-one was wearing the same dress as me! I went for the blue floral dress from Dorothy Perkins because the fit ‘n’ flare shape was just right for me and as  it was from the petite range it didn’t swamp me or look too long for my limited height! It combined nicely with the Therapy blazer I’d already decided to wear and thankfully the leather of the Apricot clutch bag matched my Hotter shoes (which were comfortable all evening!) perfectly!Cosmopolitan Blog Awards 2014-16 Cosmopolitan Blog Awards 2014-11

It’s always a wonderful feeling when bloggers get together and meet each other ‘in real life’ because these are a group of people who really understand each other, who rarely get to talk to other people who do what they do and who ‘get’ each other. I love meeting bloggers because most of my writing happens alone and I rarely get to talk ‘shop’ to people who understand what I do so I think of these people as my ‘colleagues’ (and kindred souls!) before we’ve even met.

Jacket from Therapy at House of Fraser, floral dress from the petite range at Dorothy Perkins, stud clutch bag & cuff from Apricot, shoes from Hotter & Charnos tights from UKTights

And when we do meet I realise that I’m not alone and my new friends totally get it (and agree!) when I talk about loving what I do, the over-whelming desire to blog every minute of the day, and how our websites are our own online portfolios of our work. They understand how blogging takes over every facet of your life and we chat about how they too can’t walk past a pretty scene without thinking about the instagram-ability of it! It’s basically a support network and I am so proud to call these girls friends.

Loads of fun with Natasha from Graphique Fantastique, Victoria from I Heart Fashion, Abi from Kemples.co.uk, Megan from The Briar Rose, Katie from Miss Enchanting, Abigail from Abigail Alice and many more! 

The best thing is that we are so happy for each other to be there because we read each others’ blogs – yes, I actually subscribe to all these blogs! – and know how much time and effort has gone into producing their work. And we are all thrilled for the winners of each award. I was particularly chuffed for my Blogstock companion Megan from The Briar Rose Blog (above) who won highly commended for Best Established Fashion Blog and the winner in the Lifestyle category was the blog that I check in on most Fitness on Toast so I was absolutely delighted for Faya too. And for the rest of us to have been shortlisted from 47,000 entries (I couldn’t believe this figure when it was announced at the awards ceremony!) down to the top handful of blogs in each category is a really big achievement in itself!

The evening was spent in a whirlwind of chatting, eating, drinking Cosmopolitan cocktails (what else?!) and getting pampered by the fabulous hair and beauty brands who had set up shop at the event. As a thrifty blogger and lifelong user of affordable make up brand MUA I was delighted to see their makeover stand and I went skipping over to try out some of their new releases. They gave me a vintage eye makeover (I wish I could do eyeliner like that!) using their new sparkly purple palette and now I can’t wait for this to be launched in the next couple of weeks – I just hope I can get my hands on one because new MUA products always seem so popular!

The London Dolls completed the look with a set of their fluttering eyelashes that gave me eyelashes so long that I felt I might be making a breeze every time I blinked! Keep an eye on my Twitter feed on #FreebieFriday to win a brand new set of these gorgeous lashes later this week 😉

After a having a giggle about the great British Bake Off with the girls from Remington – yes, we even compared photos of our bakes on our phones! – I headed over to the nail bar, where iZ Beauty of London gave my nails a fierce makeover with gold decals inspired by my Apricot stud clutch bag!

My highlight of the evening was chatting to Louise Court, the editor-in-chief at Cosmopolitan. I never believed that I’d have the chance to meet Louise in real life, let alone have her ask me what I liked and didn’t like about the magazine. Thankfully, as a subscriber, I had no end of good things to say about the columns and regular Cosmo features and it was so interesting to talk shop with this famous magazine editor.

This evening certainly got me dreaming of a career as an article writer and I know I’d love to be involved in more Cosmopolitan campaigns and events in the future. The whole event was amazing from start to finish and I don’t think I’ve ever smiled so much in one evening – you know you’ve smiled a lot when your cheeks hurt if you don’t smile! – and I’ve met loads of simply amazing bloggers who I’m sure will be popping up on this blog again in the future . You haven’t heard the last from us, haha!


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My outfit for the Cosmo Blog Awards

I mentioned last week just how relaxed I’d been about what to wear for the Cosmo Blog Awards and that I’d kind of left everything to the last minute. Well, no sooner than I’d published that same blog post on Tuesday Shoesday I started to feel a little bit fluttery about the whole thing. What was I thinking? I’m never this disorganised and I always like to know well in advance what I’d like to wear to the special events I go to. So why oh why had I turned this into a last minute scramble for an outfit?! Maybe I didn’t actually believe that I was going to the Cosmo Blog Awards – let me just say it again – I’ve been invited to the Cosmopolitan Magazine Blog Awards as a finalist. Nope, that certainly doesn’t sound like it’s referring to me. Perhaps that’s the reason why I’ve been putting it to the back of my mind. Like I didn’t really think it was happening…

Well, the blog awards are tomorrow. And I am going to be there, no matter what. So I’d better pick out an outfit to wear. So far I’ve got the shoes sorted (as you might have seen in my blog post last week) and now my accessories can be ticked off the list too. I’ve decided to go for classic black but I don’t want to blend into the background too much , so I’ve plumped for accessories with a hint of gold with this sparkly flower necklace and cuff from Apricot. I spotted them online and in all honestly I wasn’t sure that the accessories would work well together but thankfully I was very wrong! And let me just say that the cuff is even more gorgeous in real life than in its online photos (usually it’s the other way round with photos of me haha) and now I want to buy more of them in different colours.

Outfit choices for the Cosmo Blog Awards-3

I have got my favourite 15 denier Charnos tights from UKTights which come in a pack of two so I will have a spare pair if I get a ladder during the course of the evening. My studded handbag was from the Apricot sale too, which has a long strap that can be detached to make it into an oversized clutch bag, so it’ll be good for all eventualities. I plan to carry it as a clutch with my phone and make-up tucked away in the inside pockets, and there’s plenty of room for the bloggers’ essentials: a camera and business cards! I like to have the option to wear my bag across my body if I’m dancing so I’m pleased to have the longer strap available if the occasion to bust some moves crops up!

So, on to the actual outfit options: I have a list of my top three dresses for the event and I have a definite choice of jacket so I’ll start with that. This Therapy blazer from House of Fraser is my new jacket for autumn/winter 2014. I think it’ll be great to wear throughout the season because it’s not too smart – the rope/cable knit design embossed into the jersey fabric gives it a cardigan feel – but it’s also not too casual to wear for an evening out because of the smart shape and tuxedo-like lapels. So  it’s best of both really –  somewhere in the middle between casual and smart – exactly where I like to be! The blog awards will be it’s first outing but I know I will get a lot of wear out of it over the season.

In terms of dresses, I’ve gone from none to 4 in the space of a couple of days. Firstly, I found this Therapy dress from House of Fraser in a butterfly pattern. I love  the fabric and the pretty design even though the shape is completely different to anything I’d usually wear! It makes me feel really sophisticated and I like the longer length on me. I prefer to wear dresses with sleeves so this is ideal but I stopped wearing wrap-front clothing a few years ago when I kept needing to sew them up to make sure that nothing fell out, so I am yet to decide whether this is the one yet.

I also fell in love with this red chiffon dress from Apricot as soon as I tried it on and it’s definitely more the kind of dress shape that I go for – I love a good tea-dress! The sleeves are a great shape and I like the fact that it has a coordinating belt with it – I find that wearing a contrasting black belt cuts me in half and makes me look even shorter and stumpier than I am! The length is good – almost knee length – and the fabric moves nicely, which would be perfect for dancing in. In fact, it’s ideal for all the 1940s dances I’ve been going to recently to practice my swing dancing, so I will be getting a lot of wear out of this dress over the coming season, no matter what! I love red for festive events but now that I’ve chosen so many black accessories I’m a little worried that I might look a bit halloweeny in it, but we’ll see when I try the whole look together!dorothy perkins dresses

Finally, I have a choice of two Dorothy Perkins dresses, this blue crepe dress – which I think would look great with black accessories – and this floral fit ‘n’ flare dress. I love how these dresses fit me and can always rely on Dorothy Perkins’ sizing so I was able to order these online and know that they would be the perfect fit. The trouble is that this makes my decision even more difficult! I think that the shape of the floral dress is particularly flattering and I even quite like the shorter length – it makes me feel all teenage again!

I’m sure that I will have made a decision by the end of the day, which usually involves trying on the entire outfit and taking photos like Cher in Clueless. You’ll be able to see what outfit I choose tomorrow – I’m sure that I’ll be tweeting photos while I’m at the Cosmo Blog Awards! And wish me luck, eek!

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