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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DIY photobooth props for weddings and parties

This has to be the quickest DIY project I’ve ever done. I don’t even have a step-by-step guide to share with you. But I do have some before and after photos so you can see just how effective this easy project is. Roll on wedding season!I wanted to make some pretty frames to use in a photobooth at a party. These are great for Christmas parties, birthdays, hen parties and anniversaries. And of course, the photobooth is almost a tradition at weddings now! This project really was as simple as:

  1. Take the back off an ornate picture frame and remove the glass
  2. Spray paint with metallic paint.

Okay the 3rd step might be to give the frames a second coat of spray paint. It’s important to only spray paint with fine coats of paint to make sure that the paint doesn’t drip. So it’s better to do two or three thin layers to build up the colour rather than one thick coat. And…

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Amazing decor ideas for your thrifty wedding

Getting married should be the most exciting time of your life, but if you’re living on a fixed income or a strict budget, weddings can be stressful. The pressure of the trimmings of a wedding and the expectation that your wedding should be a big event can take its toll and make you feel like your wedding is unworthy. It’s a sad situation and the way around it is to simply not care! You and your husband-to-be need to choose wedding things based on what you want, rather than what people expect. Yes, weddings are a huge business but that doesn’t mean that it’s essential you buy into it.

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A beautiful wedding is made that way because of the care and thought that goes into it. Yes, there will be costs for the venue and the ceremony, and you can’t help those, but is there really any need for a ten-foot ice sculpture of swans? Probably not! Instead of pinching the pennies to make everything stretch, it’s time to get creative with the budget you have rather than the budget you wish you had. It’s also important to remember that a wedding on a budget does not mean one that looks cheap, in any sense of the word. There are some beautiful wedding ideas out there that are classy and elegant and have been pulled off inexpensively. With these thrifty decorating ideas, you can transform your venue into one that looks like it’s fit for a queen.

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Lighting. Wedding lighting, especially for outdoor weddings in venues such as Adlington Hall is going to be something you need to think about. For most larger venues, lighting and heating are included in their package prices, but if you can’t manage an outdoor wedding package like that, lighting will be down to you. As the evening draws in, the sun goes down so you need sufficient lighting for people to be able to continue their fun. Using white Christmas lights like these in place of huge, beaming lampposts is going to give your wedding an ethereal look. If you opt for the battery-operated lights, you can hang them from the ceiling, around pillars and around each table to give the whole room a magical look.

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My decoupage Easter egg project was featured in Reloved magazine!

Am I ready for Easter? You bet! I’ve been DIYing Easter projects for a couple of months now and the great news is that two of my projects have been published in my favourite magazine Reloved.The first project was turning some very old books (you know the kind, where loose pages flutter out as soon as you open it) into a traditional flower press. Do you remember pressing flowers as a child? I’m sure we just put them between the pages of books, but this projects takes it one step further with bolts that screw down to compress the flowers.Using a flower press actually makes the pressing process so much quicker – my little daffodil heads were pressed within a day or so! They were ready to be used to make Easter cards, decorations and to decoupage some egg shells. You can find the step-by-step instructions for the flower press in Issue 40 of Reloved – if you haven’t already got a copy, you can order a back-copy or check out the website.These eggs were laid by my mum’s bantam hens so I wanted to preserve the tiny egg shells to use in my easter decorating projects. I used tester pots of matt emulsion paint to give them a pastel colour and then glued the flower heads on with PVA glue.I popped the eggs back into the egg tray and they sit among the freshly laid eggs to decorate the kitchen for Easter. Let me know if you have a go at making these eggs (or the book press, for that matter!) for yourself. And I’d love to see photos of your own DIY easter decorations for inspiration so please tag me in your instagram pics @Cassiefairy.


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More than chocolate eggs – Easter gifts ideas + win £40 of jewellery!

With Easter fast approaching, my thoughts have turned to chocolate eggs and rabbit-shaped iced biscuits. I love making marshmallow ‘nests’ with my niece and nephew, and an Easter cheesecake is a must in our household. But this year, I thought I’d consider some Easter gifts that are more than just edible treats. I’d love to receive something that costs the same as a chocolate egg but that will last me all year instead so I’ve shared my ideas in this blog post. PLUS you could win £40 to spend on anything you like at JewelleryBox.co.uk. Considering that they’ve got a fantastic under £5 section, you should be able to stock up on a few beautiful things for yourself too!

image by Popcorn & Glitter

This year I’m saying ‘no thanks’ to the chocolate (okay, maybe a handful of mini-eggs, but that’s it…) and yes please to some alternative gifts. In particular, I quite fancy getting some new jewellery this year. It doesn’t have to be Easter-themed (although the selection of fun Easter bunny earrings start at £4.95) and I’d be happy with any of these cool stacker rings or ‘love’ bangles.


One of my favourite pieces on the site is this honeycomb design. It’s available as a necklace, bracelet or earrings in 9ct gold, sterling silver or rose gold. It feels really spring-like without being OTT on the rabbits and flowers. Although I’m not a huge wearer of jewellery, I do like to wear the occasional special piece and I love the rose gold pieces I discovered. At least know where I want my birthday present to come from anyway!

I’ve also been looking on Etsy for some non-food related gifts for the little ones (and us bigger crafty folk too!). This Easter bunny kit looks like great fun for a start. It contains everything you’d need to make an adorable little soft rabbit – wouldn’t that be fun to make over Easter? It’ll keep the kids entertained for a little while at least! I also LOVE this cross-stitch kit for older kids, aunts and grandmas alike. It’s a skill I wish I could do, and I’d love to give this colourful spring sewing project a go.

Or if you fancy baking an Easter gift for your friends and family, why not try out some of my recipes? Cupcakes, meringues and iced biscuits all make lovely presents when presented in lovely wrapping. You could make fresh blueberry and lemon muffins in cute paper cases to hand out to the little ones. My dark chocolate meringue cookies look lovely when packaged in greaseproof paper and tied with a pretty ribbon. At the very least, you could make a batch of these recipes to share as part of your Easter Sunday dinner.And now, on to the part you’ve been waiting for – the giveaway. I’ve chatted to the wonderful people at JewelleryBox.co.uk and they are delighted to provide a prize for Cassiefairy.com readers. One lucky winner will be given £40 credit to spend on ANY jewellery they like! The giveaway runs until the end of Easter Monday so you could win a lovely Easter gift for yourself. There are plenty of ways to enter via the Rafflecopter widget below so enter now- good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway open to UK residents only, competition runs from 7th April 2017 – 17th April 2017, winner will be chosen at random from all entries via Rafflecopter and contacted via email. The winner will need to provide a UK delivery address to receive their prize.


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Stop complaining! How to avoid guest gripes

Weddings are beautiful, special, romantic and joyous occasions that publicly celebrate a couple’s love. However, while everything is about the two of you, you’re also the lead hosts of a lavish event. All your loved ones have been invited and this leads to certain expectations. I’ve already blogged about which wedding traditions you could do without, but this post is different. It’s about avoiding guest gripes before they arise to make sure that everyone is happy on your big day. Well, you don’t want a whingeing sister ruining your special day, do you? Nope! Here’s how to keep the grumbles to a minimum and it starts with choosing the ideal date…Save The Date

It’s a rare occasion where everyone invited to a wedding can attend, but it does happen so be prepared to accommodate every RSVP. However, there are some dates that picky guests will moan and groan over including anything near Christmas, New Year or even the summer holidays! It’s also best to keep your wedding away from anything too commercial like Valentine’s Day because lots of couples like to book mini-breaks and getaways at that time of year too. It’s not only cheaper to get married out of season; you’re more likely to have the number of guests you wanted as people tend to see the autumn and winter months as downtime and their social calendars are less busy.

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Personalise your wedding reception (& cut costs too!)

One of the most important days of your life is your wedding day. It’s just one day of celebration, yet we spend more money on this than many of us earn in a whole year. A few short hours costing thousands seems a little excessive. So is there a way to maximise the experience while shrinking that cost down to sensible proportions? Absolutely. Everybody loves a wedding, but if you want to achieve the dream without dropping your jaw on the floor at the cost, why not give these ideas a go..?

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MC Mates

No need to hire a professional DJ, a ‘Master of Ceremonies’ or announcer. Ask your dad, your brother, your auntie, or any of your friends. Many people struggle to know what to buy you for your wedding. And plenty of us struggle with the cost of gifts. They will be delighted to have such an important contribution to your wedding, and it can become one of the gifts you’ll treasure the most. Best of all, you’ll get exactly what you asked for. Your friends and family know you well, so everything they provide will be personal.

Home-baked Cake

Mmmmm. Nothing is quite as tasty as a freshly baked cake. Sure, you can get four tiers of intricately designed and decorated wedding cake from the baker. Looks good on the outside, but may be disappointing on the inside. Make it yourself, including the decorations that are personal to you. If you have children in the family, let them get involved. There is nothing more personal and charming for your friends and family than something that comes from you or your guests.

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Centrepieces

Making your own centrepieces is easier than you think, and they make a great parting gift for your guests. Thrift shops and budget stores always have bowls and vases at bargain prices. You can insert craft sand or pebbles and artificial flowers to fill it out. Add lots of colours and a range of textures to create something extra special. Paper flowers work well for this too – or even sweets!

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Guest post – Unique ideas for a hen party

Planning the hen night can be a daunting task and even more so nowadays as bridal parties want something different and a night out drinking and wearing L-plates just won’t cut it. If you are looking for something competitive, challenging, fun, or just plain silly there is a hen night theme to match. Katie Jones from orlajames.com says to check out some of these unique ideas.

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Games-based hen weekends

There are many companies out there offering unique game-based hen weekends so if your friends have a competitive streak this might be the choice for you. From inflatable knock-out challenge games to human table football, the options are endless. Why not get into giant bubbles and race, set up a hen Olympics, or get into teams and play against each other in a Segway polo game to really drive your hen’s competitive spirit. For those who are more adventurous and are not scared of going underground, a weekend of trampolining in underground caves looks like an amazing hen holiday! Or for a slightly more gothic edge, a weekend of zombie paintball fighting could be awesome.

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Pampering weekends

No, not just a girlie weekend at a spa; there are some unusual options available including the chance to have a makeover and photoshoot where the hens are made over as mermaids. Or unicorns. Brides who want to treat their party to a nice meal, but with a twist, could opt for a Mad Hatter tea party, complete with costumes and characters, or why not go for a bedtime story themed evening where you can wear your best pyjamas and be entertained with stories after your meal. Or how about a day at a private cinema watching non-stop chick flicks while sipping Prosecco? Sound perfect! For some really quirky hen party ideas, then a tour round London on a vintage bus that is set up to offer quintessentially British afternoon tea could be just the ticket, not to mention a very civilised way to see the capital.

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Top 3 dress trends for spring/summer 2017 and how to wear them

The sun is out – hip hip hooray! For me this means the start of the spring/summer season and that means a slight shift in my wardrobe. It’s no longer the weather for woolly jumpers and thick jeans – which can only mean one thing; dresses are back! Today I’m sharing my picks of the spring/summer collections on the high street and tackling some of the more difficult styles to wear. Plus, there’s a giveaway to win TWO go-with-everything Kissbobo invisible bras – read on to enter the competition today!

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If you’re going to any kind of event this year, you’ll probably want to invest in a new dress. I’m not necessarily giving you permission to buy a new outfit for every occasion but do think that one fabulous new dress could see you through all the hen parties, work events, weddings, christenings, days at the races and dinner parties you’ve got planned this season. But which one dress will cover all eventualities? And what kind of underwear will you need to wear with these off-the-shoulder styles styles? Here’s my top 3 dresses for S/S17 and how to wear them… 

The cold shoulder midi

This classy cold shoulder dress is the perfect spring/summer outfit for special occasions. It’s just landed on the New Look website and already I’m a fan. With a floaty floral fabric it’ll keep you cool in the warm weather. And when there’s a breeze in the air it’s long enough to cover your knees, and the sleeves will give your arms a little protection from the cold. It can be dressed up with heels or kept casual with a pair of trainers so it’s a wear-all-weekend piece. LOVE the yolk yellow colour! It’s got a slinky low back and thin shoulder straps so finding the right underwear might prove tricky; the Kissbobo invisible bra would do the job perfectly. It’s an adhesive gel bra so there’s no straps to worry about – no chance of your underwear peeking out from below your pretty dress in any of those wedding photos!

Two prizes to be won in my giveaway – enter competition below…

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Which wedding traditions can you do without??

Weddings are traditionally quite formal affairs in which strict protocols need to be followed. People wear certain things, it happens in a particular place, and there are traditions that must be upheld. Of course, some of parts of wedding must happen, otherwise the marriage wouldn’t be legal, but we have recently seen a move towards more customisation with engagements and weddings. Doing away with some of the more stuffy traditions leaves a little more room to make these events work best you as a couple, so read on to find out which traditions you can personalise…

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Engagement

Of course, before you can get married you need to get engaged. Traditionally this is the time when the groom asked the bride’s father for her hand in marriage and then surprises her with an engagement ring to seal the deal. Now you may want to keep some or all of these elements when you get engaged but don’t forget that this is not the only way it can happen. For example, the proposal does not have to be a surprise. Indeed, many couples discuss this event beforehand to ensure that marriage is what they both want. Also, you don’t have to be surprised – there’s no problem in choosing a ring for yourself. And you can stick to your own personal style in this area too – you don’t have to choose a diamond if you prefer rubies! Of course diamond engagement rings are still the most popular choice, because of the symbolism of lasting commitment associated with them.

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Getting married locally

Another popular tradition that isn’t happening as much as it used to be is getting married in the local church. While it is still a popular choice for many folks, a lot more people are deciding on a destination wedding instead. Get married abroad, or even just a special place in the UK that provides the perfect backdrop to their day (on the beach or in woodlands, for example), can help to make the wedding a little more special and personal to them. For many couples it can help them get away from the stresses and strains of the expectations of a traditional wedding.

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4 budget-busting tips for your wedding day

Put the word ‘wedding’ in front of anything and suddenly the cost goes up. It’s insane to think how much the average wedding costs. In the days when I got married 14 years ago, there wasn’t half the choice there is now. Then again, the services that were available didn’t cost half as much as they do today! But, your big day doesn’t have to mean big bucks. On the contrary, even the most thrifty of brides can have a day fit for a princess without having to break the bank. After all, a wedding is just one day; marriage is for a lifetime. So, if you’re a bride on a budget, how can you make sure that your day is one to remember without having to splash out? Let’s find out.

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Go DIY

The DIY bride is now a big thing with more and more people taking the plunge in creating their own wedding accessories. From invites, to bouquets to decor, most brides are now popping along to their local craft store to find out what they can make themselves. If you’re something of an expert baker, you could bake your own wedding cake. Unleash your inner creativity – not only will you save money, but you will also have a thoroughly personal wedding. After all, who wants something that everyone else can have? It’ll be utterly bespoke and personal to you.

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