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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Book review: The Thoughtful Gardener by Jinny Blom + Win a copy!

I’ve been reading about gardening this month, and it’s all down to the newly released book The Thoughtful Gardener. If you too have an empty garden (or an overgrown one, for that matter) this book is the perfect starting point to get you into the garden this spring. It’s packed full of inspirational ideas and plenty of photos of gardens in bloom that’ll get you wanting to plant up your patch. Read on to find out more about the book and author, and to enter my giveaway to WIN a copy of this beautiful new release, worth £35!Award-winning designer, and gardening columnist for The Times, Jinny Blom has carefully curated this gorgeous book to bring together design ideas from gardens all around the country. The Thoughtful Gardener not only provides plenty of inspiration with stunning photos, it also offers practical advice on how to make your own perfectly-designed garden at home.

Image by Andrew Montgomery / The Thoughtful Gardener by Jinny Blom

But that doesn’t mean a manicured lawn with topiary trees, a well-designed garden can be full of over-grown shrubs, blousey blooms and messy edges. That’s the lovely thing about this book; it makes gardening accessible to those of us who don’t have the time to trim the edges of our grass with scissors! Some of the gardens in this book have been growing wildly for years, but Jinny shows us how the original design allows for the plants to grow freely while still providing a surprisingly neat and calming space.

Image by Charlie Hopkinson / The Thoughtful Gardener by Jinny Blom

Read more and enter my giveaway to win a copy of The Thoughtful Gardener below..!

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How to reinvent a second-hand kitchen

Buying a kitchen second-hand may seem unheard of, but it can be a great way to update your home on a budget. So many people think that their only option is a basic store-bought kitchen, but there are alternatives out there – purchasing a designer kitchen second-hand is the future. You can get great quality at a fraction of the original custom-made price. However, when a kitchen has been designed for a different home, how do you personalise it to suit yours? Here are some tips:Paint is Your Best Friend

When you buy a second-hand kitchen, paint becomes your best friend. You can use it to transform the entire room, from the cabinets to the walls. You will be surprised how much painting your cabinets can lift the entire room, making it brighter and much more pleasant.

Change Up the Cabinets

With cabinets making up such an important part of the kitchen, changing them can have a big impact on the design. You could paint them, as we mentioned above, or replace the doors with glass. If you’re feeling brave (and you keep your cupboards tidy!) you could take the doors off completely. Is that too much commitment? Just replace the handles – chrome handles instantly update a kitchen, or you could find quirky vintage ones.Replace the Worktops

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Interior design trends – soft minimalism

I love the idea of a minimalist lifestyle. I guess that’s because I’ve got so much clutter in my life! Dreaming of open spaces and white walls provides a complete contrast to my life at the moment. With boxes half-unpacked and not knowing where anything is, I could really do with implementing a few minimalist ideas in order to sort my life out right now! Even though I couldn’t really survive in a white box home (I’m a tea-spiller, after all) I can definitely get behind the ‘soft minimalism’ interiors trend that is everywhere at the moment.Maybe it’s because Pinterest offers ‘picked for you’ pins that I’m seeing so many minimalist interiors on my Pinterest feed. And the more I pin, the more similar images Pinterest serves up. Soon my whole profile will be overrun with soft minimalist inspiration and, to tell you the truth, I’d be happy with that. Soft minimalism is definitely the way I’d like my home to be in the future. We’ve made a start with white walls and laminate floors, but what else is needed to achieve this look? Here’s some key soft minimalist decor ideas that I definitely want to use in my own home…

Soft minimalism inspiration from LionsHome.co.uk – image source: Bloomingville

1. Sleek storage

All the pieces of furniture from the soft minimalism trend seem to be scandi-inspired furniture designs. The lines are straight, the storage is neat and the handles are unfussy. It’s simple, thoughtfully designed and well made. It’s all about practical storage that looks gorgeous too; well, if you want a minimalist home, you’re going to have to hidethe clutter somewhere! And that’s the whole point of soft minimalism: it’s not necessarily about getting rid of your things, just storing them away neatly. Furniture for this trend is usually white, black or natural wood.

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5 Things you should know BEFORE installing underfloor heating

Wave goodbye to radiators and hello to more space and a warm home for less. Underfloor heating is a great choice when you’re tackling any home remodelling so I’ve asked the professionals to share a guest post all about underfloor heating today so that you can see whether this heating option is right for you. If you are thinking of taking to leap to luxurious warm floors, these are the five things you need to know…1. It provides a constant temperature across the home or in individual rooms

The great thing about underfloor heating is it flexibility. Therefore, it sometimes pays to spend the extra money to get a professional supplier and installation company to not only fit the system but design it for you in the first place. With central heating, the boiler fires up and sends heat through to all the radiators on the system, unless you switch the radiators off in certain rooms (if you can) or lower the temperature of the radiator with its thermostatic valve. This gives you some flexibility but not a lot. Underfloor heating is completely different. You can create single zone underfloor heating areas so that the important rooms in the house are heated when you need them to be but other rooms can enjoy a lower level of heat. The ability to control your heating at every point of day and night means you save money, as well as having a more comfortably heated home.

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Key ingredients for a perfect bedroom

If somebody asked you what your dream bedroom would look like, what would you say? What kind of vision do you have? I know exactly what I want my own bedroom to look like – in fact, I’ve already started decorating it; check out my flooring blog post with step-by-step GIF of my progress! The trouble is, I can’t really put into words the style that I like. It’s kind of minimalist but not at all stark. Does that make sense? Sometimes, it can be really hard to convert mental images into the real deal. So if this conundrum sounds familiar to you too, today’s blog post should come in handy. Here’s a list of key ingredients and some useful tips to help you design the perfect bedroom.

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The bed

For most of us, the bed is the most important part of any bedroom design. Beds come in all shapes and sizes, and there are styles to suit all tastes and budgets. Some people long for luxury hotel style leather headboards or dramatic four-posters while others dream of a rustic log cabin vibe with solid wood headboards and a sturdy frame. Whatever your style, don’t rush into making a decision when it comes to finding the right bed. You’ll need to find a mattress that you struggle to part with (like I did) and a frame that matches your vision and complements your theme. My bed frame is taking 45 days to be delivered but it’ll be worth the wait to get the right one. Take a tour of some bed stores, try some mattresses for size, and search online for inspiration. If you have an idea in mind, and it’s a little avant-garde, you may also find it easier to source what you want on the Internet.

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Household DIY – How to install laminate flooring

I’ve recently laid laminate flooring in two rooms of my home and I can honestly say that it was a really easy process. I thought it would take days to install but we were finished within a couple of hours. As long as you have the right equipment – a saw, knee pads and a laminate flooring installation kit (including packers) you can easily lay this type of flooring yourself. Here’s how to do it, step-by-step:Clear away any existing carpet, tiles or pieces of old underlay. Give the room a sweep to make sure you’ve cleared all the debris from the surface, and vacuum the floor to pick up the smaller pieces of dust. If you’re laying the laminate onto a concrete floor you’ll need to start with a damp-proof membrane before adding a layer of underlay.If you’re starting with a wooden floor, you can go straight to laying the underlay. There are plenty of options for underlay out there; foil-coated sheets that insulate the floor, rolls of foam to cushion the laminate or fibre boards – which is the option I went for.This simply evens out the floor so that the laminate flooring will look perfectly flat when fitted. It also adds an extra layer of insulation and, if you’re using it on an upstairs room, it can add a little sound-proofing so you don’t feel like you’re walking about inside a drum, and causing a lot of noise in the rooms below!

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5 things to think about when planning a loft conversion

Creating that much-needed extra space in your home can be achieved by creating a brand new room out in your unappreciated attic. Whether you live in an old Victorian semi-detached or a mid-terrace home; a loft conversion could be your next step in home improvement. I definitely want to convert my own attic in the future and so I’ve been doing my research in order to plan ahead. I’ve found a few useful tips on how to plan for a loft extension (and what not to do!) so I thought I would share these with you today. 

Minimalist style and a wall of storage – what more do you need?

An additional room in your home could be necessary for an endless number of reasons. You could create a new, cosy bedroom for the youngest family member. You might want to take your DIY hobbies into your own little indoor workspace. You can opt for some cool lighting, your favourite interior colours and patterns, windows that let the sunshine in throughout the day, built-in wardrobes and so on..!

The main thing to consider when dreaming up a loft conversion project is budget – planning and estimating what kind of loft conversion your building will allow for. As new additional rooms can only be done properly by professionals; it’s important to work with a company that you really click with and who understands what you want to achieve.

Escape to the loft to work in your own home office

After finding the loft conversion company you want to work with, there will be some rules and limits on how you can add this exciting new room to your house. Before jumping into paying a deposit to any designer, architect or a building company make sure you read the specific loft conversion regulations that apply to your property. You don’t want to end up having to pay for something you might not be eligible to get after all. Continue reading “5 things to think about when planning a loft conversion” »


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Household DIY – How to install skirting board

Did you spot my blog post about my new flooring last week? The eagle-eyed of you might have noticed that the finishing touch to my new bedroom floor was a lovely tall skirting board. While it may only be a small element of the room, the whole space would have looked completely unfinished without it. Just look at these before and after photos:

What a difference a piece of new skirting board makes, eh? It covered the tatty plaster at the base of the wall where the old skirting board had been ripped out, and it sealed the edges of the laminate flooring. It’s an easy ‘finishing touch’ to install but a difficult DIY task at the same time. Here’s why…

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The ergonomics of working from home

If you’re a full-time freelancer like me, or someone who works just one day a week out of their home office, this is the blog post for you. That’s because I’m sharing some research I’ve done about the ergonomics of setting up a home workspace and I’m sure that it’ll help you enjoy working from home even more than you already do!

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If you’ve been making do with sitting at the kitchen table to do your work, or balancing your laptop on the arm of the sofa, or (like us bloggers occasionally admit) never even leave your bed, you won’t need me to tell you that it’s not the best way to work. You’ll ready know it yourself thanks to the numb bum, crick-in-the-neck and sore back you get at the end of the working day.

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Why don’t you have problems like this when you’re working at the office? Because most businesses have ergonomically designed desks and chairs, perfectly set up desks and monitors at just the right height. They need to provide a healthy working environment for their workers, and don’t want to have staff absences because a dodgy office chair caused spine problems for their employees.

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So the solution to having a more comfortable working environment at home is to replicate ‘the office’. I know it might seem dull (and you’ve only just got away from that bloomin’ office!) but you’re going to have to set up a proper desk, get a great office chair and stop working on that laptop. This guide below explains the best way to arrange your desk to make it ergonomically correct. And, most importantly, you’re going to have actually USE your newly arranged desk to do your work. No matter how tempting the sofa looks!

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AMAZING news – my blog won the award for Best Homes & Interiors Blog 2017

I’m SO excited to tell you the wonderful news that my thrifty little lifestyle blog has just been announced as the winner of the Best Homes and Interiors Blogger Award 2017!! I still can’t really believe it and I’m grinning like the cheshire cat right now!The news has just been shared by the award sponsor Tile Trader and it’s already made the headlines on the East Anglian Daily Times website – here’s a screen shot and link to the article if you’d like to have a read.Thank you all for voting for my blog in the competition, I really appreciate you taking the time to support me and it’s all for a fantastic cause – the prize is a donation of £200 to a homelessness charity in the winner’s local area. I’m delighted to be able to use my little blog to boost the funds of a brand new support service in Suffolk “The Bus Shelter”.

Beautiful photo of the bus renovation project by Jane Gould, image from The Bus Shelter Facebook page

The charity is currently renovating a donated double-decker bus to turn it into a safe space for rough sleepers to stay. But ‘sleep is just the beginning’ (the charity’s motto) as the bus will also offer advice, cooking and washing facilities, and ongoing support. It’s a truly inspirational charity and the project is in progress right now so please get involved if you can – all donations really do make a difference and will help to get The Bus Shelter on the road sooner. You can read more and donate on their Facebook page here.

Thank you all once again for voting for my blog – it’s made a huge difference to a local charity as well as made me indescribably happy! I’m super excited  that I also receive a commemorative plaque for the award to put on the mantlepiece woo, can’t wait for that to arrive in the post – I’ll be sure to share a photo of it on Instagram @cassiefairy when it’s delivered. Thank you for continuing to support me and helping to put Suffolk blogs on the map in this national award competition 🙂

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