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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Updating my bathroom – a much-needed DIY renovation project

Guess where I’ve spent this week? I’ve had a week off and did I spend it in the sunshine? By the sea? In a beer garden? Nope, I’ve spent it indoors, ripping out my old, dated and leaky bathroom. What else would I do with a week off than more DIY?! Yes, the house renovation project is in full swing, and now we have no bathroom. No water and, worryingly enough, no loo. Eek – time to crack on with the DIYing!With that in mind, I thought it would be a fun idea to show you what kind of look I’m going for in the bathroom. If you can imagine a spa with dark colours and clean lines, that’s the kind of style I like. I had already bought our bathroom suite in the January sale (I know, it’s taken me a while to get started on this DIY project – I’ve been putting it off for months) so I knew what type of bath I was going for.I chose the Voss range from Betta Bathrooms and managed to get the bath, loo, sink, all taps, wastes and plumbing supplies for under £300, can you believe it?! That’s precisely why I ordered it in the January sales, it was too much of a bargain to pass up. The order arrived in February but I’ve only just got the chance to take a ‘holiday’ from my writing work to get started on the renovation this week. You can imagine how excited I am to finally get to work on it.

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Guest Post – 6 basic tips for designing your bathroom

Is it your first time designing a full-on renovation for your bathroom? It’s easy to get bewildered by the many design combinations that you can choose for your bathroom. Here are some professional design pointers that can serve as guidelines to help make your bathroom renovation project less overwhelming (and help you stick to a budget too!).DIY fitting new taps to makeover a bathroom sink-2using recycled wood from a skip to make a beach hut bathroom floor and storage-11

  1. Get an estimate on how much you’re willing to invest for revamping

Coming up with the overall theme and arrangement for your bathroom may seem difficult due with so many options to choose from, but this is actually the easiest part. Planning the budget is far more time-consuming and complicated, as it will determine which design options you can actually afford! This is why you must be honest to yourself on how much money you want to invest for the renovation. Monetary groundwork will also help you easily adjust on purchasing certain parts for the bathroom, for example – if you make savings on a shower unit by buying at a discount online, you can add this surplus money to your budget for the bath.

  1. Keep vintage finishes if possible

Old or ancestral houses have floor tiles made of coats and slabs of concrete that are very difficult to extract. If you really want to remove these tiles then you need to spend more cash. However, if the tiles are not badly damaged and still look great then you might consider not taking them out. You could just use the money and effort in improving the other parts of the bathroom. Continue reading “Guest Post – 6 basic tips for designing your bathroom” »


Bathroom design mistakes (and how to avoid them)

Refitting or redesigning your bathroom can be quite an exciting process and is something that can add a great deal of value to your property. However, bathroom fitting and design mistakes can be costly – and tricky to rectify. I’ve researched a list of the most common bathroom design mistakes so I’ve had a look through this and have added my own ideas too. Hopefully this will help me to avoid making similar mistakes when I’m decorating my own home in the future, and will save us all money in the long run. Right, let’s get into that list now, shall we? black-and-white-bathroom-design-inspiration

Bathroom flooring inspiration on

Mistake 1: Not sticking to a budget.

This is the first and most essential point to consider when arranging your fitted bathroom. Your budget should dictate everything else, so you don’t end up overspending or unable to finish the project. Make sure you spec out all of the costs, including:

  • Cost of design
  • All fixtures and fittings
  • The cost of installation
  • Any plumbing work, including water pressure, waterproofing and drainage

You should have enough budget to cover everything you need – and a little spare in case any unforeseen issues come to light.

Mistake 2: Failing to consider your lifestyle

Once you’ve got your budget, you really need to think about how you are planning to use the bathroom –  you don’t want something slick and modern if you’ve got to wash the dog every week! Ask yourself – and anyone else who lives there – how you want to use the space, including how much time you’ll spend in there and what you want to have access to. You also need to think about how you might use the space in the future. If you’re planning on having children, you may want to include features such as baths now to avoid additional work further down the line.bathroom-storage-home-decor-inspiration

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A beach bathroom makeover on a budget

With more sunny days than not in recent weeks, my thoughts have turned to summer holidays. While I’m not actually planning to jet off anywhere luxurious for a beach holiday, I DO want to inject a little holiday fun into my life. But how can I do it when I’m having a staycation, I hear you ask? Well, I’ll tell you. I’m giving my tiny bathroom a mini-makeover and in a few short hours it’ll be a bathroom fit for a holiday. Here’s how I did it without so much as a lick of paint..!

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Cruelty-free summer cleaning hacks

In the run up to the summer holidays is when I start to notice what needs doing around the house. I realise that spring has passed me by in a whirlwind of work, and with it the notion of ‘spring cleaning’ has wafted off into the distance. Those windows never did get cleaned and that grim grouting never did get replaced. I start thinking to myself since when did those skirting boards get so dusty?’ and I realise that a lifetime of work-sleep-and-play leads to not much success in the way of cleaning. I know life’s too short, but eventually it becomes time to clean. And today is the day.thrifty low cost summer cleaning hacks kitchen bathroom diy cruelty free-6 thrifty low cost summer cleaning hacks kitchen bathroom diy cruelty free-3I sort of want to get the house in order before I take a break for summer. I don’t want to start my holiday with a long to-do list of cleaning task. In an ideal world, someone else would come in and blitz my house, so that I could begin my summer break in a holiday-cottage-style state of cleanliness. However, I’d probably be too embarrassed by the slightly mouldy fridge seal to let anyone else do the cleaning for me. So, onwards, with some spring/summer cleaning hacks.

As you may have spotted in my previous blog posts, I’m very keen to live a cruelty-free life. We’re not just talking animal-testing for make-up here, oh no. Cleaning products are under scrutiny here too, and I’ve found it super-easy to replace my old sprays and soaps with lovely new cruelty-free versions. And it hasn’t even been an expensive process. Thanks to budget brands such as Astonish, Morning Fresh and supermarkets like the Co-op and Waitrose, I’ve been able to find a CF replacement for pretty-much every cleaning product I use. But that’s not all…

I’ve also searched for some cleaning hacks to save me having to use products at all. What could be more animal-friendly than using lemon juice to clean your taps, eh? Unless a cat wanders across the sink at an inappropriate moment, it’s unlikely that my homemade lemon-and-salt cleaner will have been tested on an animal! You don’t need to waste lovely fresh lemons for the purpose of cleaning – stick them in your drink instead! For this hack, I simply used the cheapest bottle of lemon juice I could find in the supermarket and soaked my sponge.

A quick wipeover with a lemon-soaked sponge brings taps back to their sparkling best. If you have a crust of limescale on the taps, simply use an elastic band to attach the sponge to the tap and leave it for a few hours to gradually wear away the limescale. Any stubborn bits can be scrubbed with an old toothbrush soaked in more lemon juice. And speaking of toothbrushes…

You can easily clean grout by mixing baking soda with a splash of water to create a paste. Use an old toothbrush to scrub it into white grout to freshen it up. If there’s a stained patch on the grout, add lemon juice directly to it and allow it to sit for a while to ‘bleach’ it out. Of course, there’s an easier way to clean tiles and grout – with Astonish Grout and Tile Restorer. Don’t be alarmed when you use it for the first time – sometimes the grout turns bright pink when you spray it on! Again, an old toothbrush will sort this out and your tiles will come up sparkling.

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Interior design trend – Colourful kitchens & bathrooms

I’ve spotted a new trend in interior design for Summer 2016 and it’s one that really pleases me; bright bold colour. We all have a favourite colour – a shade that we seem to choose time and again – for our clothing, our décor and even our cars. It can therefore be frustrating when you have a colour preference for your home but find it impossible to find your favourite hue in the materials you want from DIY stores. Rather than creating just another cookie-cutter interior I want something different. Something that makes me smile when I enter a room, and something that even impresses guests when they visit my house. I therefore started to research colourful kitchen and bathroom options and here’s what I found:bright Colours bathroom shower splashbackNo longer do our ‘functional’ rooms such as the kitchen and bathroom have to be limited to a palette of white tiles, wooden cabinets and stone surfaces. While this ‘holiday home’ look certain IS popular, it doesn’t really do much to demonstrate your own personality or fit in with the character of the property. Shouldn’t a home someway reflect the individuality of the people who live there? Well, I think that’s where colour comes in.British-Standard-Colour-Chart bathroom green bath splashbackThankfully, we’re no longer limited to the colours of tiles we can find at the DIY store. For a seamless colour scheme it is now possible to have glass splashbacks colour-matched to the paint you used on the walls or woodwork. Colour matching Farrow and Ball, Laura Ashley, Dulux, Ral and many more paint brands helps you to achieve an extremely luxurious look in your bathroom or kitchen. It can be used anywhere that you want to waterproof – the shower cubicle, around the bath, kitchen splashbacks, window sills, behind the hob, kitchen worktops, behind the bathroom sink and all around the downstairs loo, if you really want to!RAL-Colour-Chart-red kitchen splashback

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Interior design inspiration – A bright future for wall lights

Mood lighting, task lighting and full-on daylight illuminations. All types of lighting are important in interior design. Lighting can be the key element that turns a house into a home, and makes a space feel cosy and comfortable. I’ve spotted a shift in lighting trends over recent months towards a new type of light fitting – wall lights. If you associate wall lights with your grandparents’ house it may be time to think again. Where dated glass lamps and tasselled shades were once fitted, nowadays wall lights are pretty darn cool, and I want to prove it to you today..!wall lights angle poise lamps reading armchair library

Library lighting provides a reading nook in this room from House & Garden magazine

As homes evolved over the years, electric lights began to replace the old oil lamps and candle scones of days gone by. So, in later years, it became a rather outdated trend to see lights on walls rather than in ceilings. They seemed to scream ‘requires renovation’ and became something that homeowners were keen to rip out rather than put in. Even the 90s trend for painted uplighters (made popular by Linda Barker and co on Changing Rooms!) wasn’t enough to make wall lights cool – they were simply covering up something that no-one really wanted anyway. But all that has changed in 2016. Wall lights are making a comeback.wall light fitting home interior design globe outdoor lighting

Here an outdoor light fitting has been used to create a modern bathroom on A Beautiful Mess blog

You can see from all these images that interior designers are starting to embrace the wall light as an important part of home décor. Not only does it give rooms an ambience that the ‘big lights’ in the ceiling just can’t achieve (no matter how low the wattage) but it also provides great task lighting. Plus, the design of wall lamps has also moved on in recent years. You’re much more likely to find white glass globes (such as these above from A Beautiful Mess) in bathrooms than recessed LEDs. And industrial-inspired designs are everywhere, making wall lights a must-have item for the first time in years.wall lights angle poise lamps reading bedroom bed side

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Bath v Shower – You decide!

When it comes to bathroom planning, which is best? It’s a home-owners’ dilemma and one that I want to get to the bottom of today. Maybe you could help me; What do you think is the best choice for a bathroom? If you were fitting a bathroom from scratch, what would you choose? Which is the most practical or which would you not want to go without? I’m having a think about all these questions as I write today’s interior design inspiration blog post and I’d love to get your feedback.

Ideal-Standard-shower inspiratio design ideasAre showers best?

This debate popped into my head this weekend and it’s all down to my Easter holiday. I took a trip to Yorkshire and stayed in a couple of places – one was a hotel and the other was a holiday cottage. Both of these locations were comfortable, gorgeously decorated and had a bath. There was a joyful moment as I checked out these bathrooms and discovered the bath, as it meant that I knew I had a relaxing session of bathing ahead of me.bathroom blue tiles trend inspiration

Do you prefer a bath?

I think it’s the fact that we only have a shower at home that got me so excited about the prospect of having a bath. I didn’t actually realise that I missed owning a bath so much until I saw them in the hotel and cottage. I guess you don’t think about it day-to-day, you just live with what you’ve got. But, in fact, I do enjoy having a proper fitted shower at home…bathroom bath v shower ideas for home

images courtesy of SuperBath

Prior to my current home we had only a bath, which meant that washing took much longer and needed to be planned out in advance by turning the water heater on. So when I got a shower in my current home, I was in heaven! I’ve never washed so regularly in my life – two showers in one day? why not! So why was I so excited about the bath I saw in that hotel en suite? Let’s look at the pros and cons of bath v shower…

Bath Pros

  1. Chill out time is guaranteed; there’s no such thing as a ‘quick bath’ and you can read a book or magazine.
  2. It’s a great winter activity – being surrounded by warm water is very luxurious when it’s frosty outside.
  3. You can wash your kids/dog/sheep in the bath.
  4. I get to buy lots of delicious-smelling bath bombs from Lush.
  5. A bath makes your bathroom feel luxurious and more like a hotel.

Continue reading “Bath v Shower – You decide!” »


No hot water? My tips for surviving a cold Christmas

One of my worst nightmares is being cold in the winter, alongside any kind of home maintenance disasters. Christmas is precisely the wrong time for a boiler to break down, for drains to get blocked or the heating system to fail, yet it always seems that problems occur at this time of year. Perhaps it’s the extra strain on your home systems caused by spending more time indoors, and with more guests visiting the facilities? And if something goes wrong in December, it’s really difficult to find someone who can come at short notice to fix it. So I’ve put together a few simple tips for surviving any problems this winter and for staying warm, no matter what!festive bathroom touches accessories towels-10Why is there no hot water?! This is always a nightmare situation to encounter at Christmas but don’t imagine the worst case scenario straight away, your boiler might not be broken. Have a quick think about the number of people in your home who might have used up all the hot water in the tank already. Did everyone have a bath, do the washing-up and clean the car this morning? Is that the reason your hot tap is running cold right now? If so, press the boost button and wait for the water to heat up again.festive bathroom touches accessories towels-5
Or perhaps, it’s just a case of the tank being a little too small for the amount of people using it. Did you know that water tanks come in different sizes? I didn’t! If you’ve got extra guests in the house over the holiday period, this could be putting extra strain on the hot water supply and leading to you running out of hot water more quickly than usual. Try encouraging everyone to take showers instead of baths and boil a kettle to do the washing up to keep the hot water flowing.

If you wake up to cold water one morning, it’s more likely that something ‘technical’ can gone wrong with the heating system. The reason for the lack of hot water might as simple as the pilot light going out on the boiler or the electric breaker may have been tripped. Check the circuit breaker box and see if any of the switches are off, then simply flick it back on if that has happened. If the pilot light on your gas-powered system has gone off, refer to the instruction manual to find out how to relight the flame – there may be a self-ignition button and the solution may be as simple as pressing this. If none of the above is the case, it would be a good idea to call in a professional so ask around your friends and family for a recommended plumber who can take a look at it.

Here are some tips for getting hot water when your boiler actually is broken:

  1. Boil a kettle. For smaller tasks such as washing up this is fine. And warming enough water to fill a basin will be enough to wash hands and faces, or even have a good, old-fashioned flannel wash!
  2. Use a solar shower or leave a hose full of water out in the sun. Okay this is more suited to summer, when you can leave out the black shower bag full of water to heat up in with the warmth of the sun, but it might work on a particularly sunny winters day, so long as the temperatures are not so cold that the water freezes inside the shower bag, haha!
  3. If you have an oven or Aga, you could boil up 4 big pans of water at once. This will give you just enough to bathe in when combined with a little cold water from the taps.
  4. Share the bath. If you’ve managed to heat up enough water for a shallow bath, pop the kids in first and then wash yourself in the same water.

I hope that some of these ideas will help you if you’re struggling with hot water problems over the winter period. Let me know your tips by leaving me a comment below or tweeting me @Cassiefairy.



Festive touches for your bathroom

Now that it’s nearly December (where did November go?!) I think I can legitimately go OTT with Christmas blog posts! In fact, I’ve just added a few festive touches to my home while taking advantage of all the high street sales and online discounts. Yes, this week I picked up some festive accessories for my bathroom – I even found a Christmas pudding bath mat, can you believe it?! From towels to air freshener, there are plenty of options out there to inject a little bit of Christmas joy into the smallest room in the house so have a look at these suggestions and let me know what you think.festive bathroom touches accessories towels-4 festive bathroom touches accessories towels-2Accessories Invest in a couple of Christmas towels to hang in your bathroom during the month of December – I found mine from a big selection of festive home accessories at BHS. Guests will enjoy drying their hands on an embroidered Christmas hand towel and the whole room will feel more festive as a result. Another accessory that is often over-looked is the rubber duck, and I’ve seen a few snowman and Santa ducks around this year (my bestie even has a duck nativity set!) so when you’re doing you Christmas shopping, keep an eye out for seasonal bath toys! The little ones will thank you for it as it will make bath-time more fun (and exciting!) over the coming month and the ducks will look very Christmassy sat on the side of your bath when not in use!festive bathroom touches accessories towels-5 festive bathroom touches accessories towels festive bathroom touches accessories towels-11Products By simply changing a couple of your usual products for festive editions your bathroom will feel (and smell!) more festive. Try using a cinnamon-scented bubble bath and pick up a glittering bath bomb to make your Christmas bathing even more luxurious. There are plenty of scented hand-soaps available in the shops at the moment (I got this gingerbread man from The Factory Shop) so choose one with a cute festive bottle to bring a touch of festive fun when guests visit your bathroom during December. You can even buy loo-roll printed with Christmas cartoons, can you believe it?! festive bathroom touches accessories towels-3festive bathroom touches accessories towels-10Scent Everyone wants to have a clean and fresh smelling bathroom and that’s where festive scents come in. Not only is pine one of the main ingredients of most bathroom cleaning products, but you can also invest in a couple of scented items that will add even more of a festive fruitiness to your room. How about choosing a spiced air-freshener for the festive period or lighting a cranberry and cinnamon scented candle when you sink into your bubble bath?

Lighting While it’s NOT a great idea to put up electric fairy lights in the bathroom (seriously dangerous!), you can make the room sparkle with festiveness by simply lighting a few candles. This will give your bathroom a festive ambience, making each bath you take even more relaxing and magical in the run up to Christmas. What could be better than unwinding and de-stressing with a candlelit bath after a long day of present shopping! Sit inexpensive tea-lights in festive patterned candle holders, or light a candle inside a lantern with star cut-outs to will beam a flickering night sky onto your bathroom ceiling as you relax in the bath.

What do you think of these ideas for adding a little Christmasiness into your bathroom this December? Tweet me with your own ideas for bringing festive magic into the bathroom and we’d love to hear your suggestions on the best scents and products to use so please get in touch!

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