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 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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4 Low-cost + fun days out for the school holidays

We’re mid-way through the summer term and that means one thing – a sunny half term break with nothing to do! This is one of my favourite holidays of the school year, because it’s warm enough to get outside and enjoy last days of Spring, yet it’s not the over-priced days of the summer holidays when you’re likely to burn to a crisp if you venture out into the midday sun. I’ve shared a few ideas for fun days out on my blog this year so here’s my round-up of things to do during the half term holiday.Suffolk coastal travel guide southwold pier attraction-17Suffolk coastal travel guide southwold pier attraction-91. Go to the coast and enjoy some cheesy fun at the great British seaside. Eat ice-cream while sitting in a deck chair, feed 2ps into arcade machines and enjoy fish ‘n’ chips on the pier. Read my review of Southwold Pier and check out my ideas for a day out with the kids at Blackpool too.schol holiday ideas for half term summer 2015 blackpool travel tripsouthwold pier attraction suffolk seaside travel guide-162. Stay indoors on rainy days at a museum. Check out photos of my recent visit to the National Railway Museum in York and my tips for surviving a visit to the museum during the school holidays! If you’re planning to visit a museum during the holidays I’d recommend checking the website before setting off as they often plan special workshops for children during the school holidays and it can be a free way to get your kids interested in the exhibition. I visited the new ‘Shaping The Body’ exhibit at York Castle Museum and blogged about it at Easter. It’s a really fun exhibition (I loved the Victorian Street!) and they even having a dressing-up area for children.national railway museum york half term school holiday trip ideas and tips-6 york castle museum shaping the body exhibition exhibit school holidays day out trip

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Easter Inspiration – My DIY & baking blog post round-up

ESo we’re already in the middle of a lovely 4-day break over Easter and I thought I’d better share a quick round up of all my Easter-related blog posts for you. I really feel like I have lots of spare time over Easter and it allows me to make some easy weekend craft projects and lets me spend time creating something fun with the little ones. I’ve made some simple Easter pudding recipes that would be great for Easter lunch, and some classic cornflake cakes you can make with the kids too. Get your crafting stuff together, pull on that apron and start creating! Here’s some inspiration for you to get started:easter eggs baked chocolate cheese cake recipe

Baked vanilla cheesecake with chocolate ganache and tons of mini eggs – a great Easter pud!

diy spring wreath project for easter

DIY Easter Bunny wreath to hang on your door

recipe cooking with children easter inspiration recipe ideasCornflake cakes – Fun to make before, during or after Easter – and you can use up all that chocolate too!

summer fruit punch recipe cranberry raspberry fizz for easter-8A non-alcoholic summer fruit punch to accompany your Easter mealpieday-friday-easter-chick-cookies-iced-cute-bunny-rabbit-biscuits-recipe-cassiefairy

Iced biscuits recipe that the kids can decorate with sprinkleschocolate fudge cake for easter celebration dessert pudding

Chocolate fudge cake decorated for Easter lunch

 What do you think of these quick and easy DIY projects and recipe ideas? Check out each of the step-by-step tutorials by clicking on the pink links above. What do you like to do over the Easter weekend? I hope you all have a lovely break and I’ll catch up with you next week!


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Looking forward to Easter – Mini-eggs, toys and outdoor fun

With the big Easter holiday looming at the end of the month (and a bit of time off, phew!) I’ve been busy making plans for Easter fun with the family. We all love to get together at some point over the four-day holiday and enjoy a meal together, as well as organising an Easter egg hunt around the garden. It’s always great fun entertaining the little ones at this time of year, as they love to run around the garden, ride on their toy tractors and spot the daffodils coming up.easter eggs baked chocolate cheesecake recipe-7Having already had a trial run of my Easter cheesecake recipe, and with lots of bags of mini eggs rattling around in the cupboard I couldn’t wait any longer. I wanted to make Easter cornflake cakes and I wanted to make them now! So I’ve actually already been making super-cute Easter cakes with the smallest members of my family this week. And it was an very enjoyable cooking session indeed, not least because I got to take a tray of cornflake cakes home with me to scoff all week long!recipe cooking with children easter inspiration recipe ideas Continue reading “Looking forward to Easter – Mini-eggs, toys and outdoor fun” »


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Early Pieday Friday – Baked chocolate cheesecake for Easter

It’s the 1st of March and I’m ready for Easter. Bring it on. There’s none of that lets-wait-until-April business this year. Easter falls on the last weekend of the month (I should know, my bestie is getting married that weekend!) so as soon as Valentine’s Day passed I was already preparing for the next big holiday. And so were all the supermarkets; tempting me in with slabs of chocolate and bags full of mini eggs. What’s a girl to do? Bake, that’s what! easter baked chocolate cheese cake recipe primula 1easter baked chocolate cheese cake recipe primula 2Today I’m sharing an early Pieday Friday recipe post with the intention of making you as excited as I am about the impending 4-day holiday. Is it the chocolate that I love? Is it seeing family and friends when everyone has a bit more time to spend to together? Perhaps it’s the pretty daffodils bursting into bloom that lift my spirits so. Whatever it is, I think that having a teacher for a husband means that I DO tend to arrange my life around the holidays, and our next break starts on Good Friday. Woo!easter eggs baked chocolate cheesecake recipe-7 easter eggs baked chocolate cheesecake recipe-12So without further waffle, here’s today’s recipe post. It’s a baked vanilla cheesecake with smooth chocolate ganache topping and crumbly biscuit base. Piled high with mini choccie eggs. It’s a practice-run for Easter lunch and I’m completely thrilled with how it turned out. Creamy and cheesy and chocolately. And, because I used fat-free quark and light Primula cheese, it was a littler healthier than a classic cheesecake. What more would anyone want?

Ingredients: 12 digestive biscuits crushed, 50g-75g melted butter, 75g Primula cheese, 250g fat-free quark, 1tsp vanilla extract, 100g caster sugar, 2 eggs, 100g chocolate, 50g double cream.easter eggs baked chocolate cheesecake recipe-3Start by bashing up the digestive biscuits into crumbs and mixing with the melted butter. I used 50g to start with but it didn’t seem moist enough (texture should be like damp sand) so I added some more. This may have been too much, but it tasted good, so I’m happy. Press the biscuit base into a loose-bottom cake tin with the back of a spoon until you have a flat base. Chill for about 15 minutes. The base I mean, not you.easter eggs baked chocolate cheesecake recipe-4 easter eggs baked chocolate cheesecake recipe-5Whisk 2 eggs, the tub of quark, vanilla, sugar and Primula together – you could use 100g of this if you like your cheesecake really cheesy. I chose to use Primula Light but the original tube would work just as well. I just fancied a healthier cheesecake base to counteract all of the chocolate, cream, butter and sugar. Ahem. There are lots of sweet recipes online that use Primula as an ingredient so check them out and bake something a bit different today.easter eggs baked chocolate cheesecake recipe-6 easter eggs baked chocolate cheesecake recipe ganachePour the cheese mixture onto the base and bake in the oven for 30-45 minutes until risen, set and golden. Allow to cool and take out of the tin. Position it on a pretty cake stand or plate so that you’re ready to decorate it with lots of mini eggs and the chocolate ganache.easter eggs baked chocolate cheesecake recipe-7 easter baked chocolate cheese cake recipeTo make the chocolate topping use 100g chocolate of any kind you like. I chose milk chocolate. Break it into a dish and melt. This could be over a pan of water, or pop it in the microwave on a really low setting like I did and check it lots. Once the chocolate has melted, pour in the double cream and quickly mix until combined into a fudgy sauce. Add more cream if it’s a bit solid – you want it to run down the edges a little as you spread it over the cheesecake. Pile high with mini eggs and MINI mini eggs (yes these do exist, I found them at B&M) and shavings of chocolate. easter eggs baked chocolate cheesecake recipe-10 easter baked chocolate cheese cake recipe-2The texture of the cheesecake is much firmer and more dense than that old classic out-of-the-packet set cheesecake everyone remembers from childhood (mmm, I love that stuff – do they still make it? Leave me a comment below if you know). So it’s easier to slice and serve. It could be a refined plate-and-fork pud, but I wanted to smother it in cream so I went for the bowl-and-spoon option.

Let me know if you bake this cheesecake for yourself by leaving me a comment below and tweet me your photos of finished bakes to @Cassiefairy.


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Spruce up your garden in time for Easter

Believe it or not, winter is almost over! It’s nearly time for those lighter evenings and sunny mornings and I actually cannot wait. This does mean that the long awaited (by children mainly) Easter holidays are creeping up on us, and we can almost hear the cry of ‘I’m bored’ in the background. There are so many ways in which you can utilise your home and garden to get the best from it without having to spend a fortune. Here are a few ways in which you can make the most out of your garden for both yourselves and your little ones.diy painting and installing small shed - duck egg blue beach hut in garden-20Garden TLC

First things first, your garden will probably need some tender loving care. We’re all guilty of neglecting our gardens when those blistery winter days set in and the rain doesn’t stop for weeks, however now that the days are getting brighter there’s no better time to get outside and have a little tidy. Decide what you want to get from your garden, how much space you need, things you might want to add etc. My husband and I actually dug over the veggie patch last weekend, so it’s already ready for the seeds to be sown. If you have decking or patio space and want to host a few ‘get togethers’ over the summer then give it a quick clean, get rid of any little weeds that have settled in over the winter and then you’re good to go!summer party - garden table and chairs in wild flower meadow-9

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DIY Easter bunny wreath for spring

How will the Easter bunny know where to deliver your chocolate eggs if you don’t hang a spring wreath on your door?? The whole Easter bunny thing is like Santa, right? Well, I don’t want to risk missing out on my chocolate goodies so I’ve been DIYing a wreath for spring this week and I’ve hung it on my caravan door already, just to be sure.diy spring wreath easter bunny diy spring wreath for easter caravan by cassiefairy Continue reading “DIY Easter bunny wreath for spring” »


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Happy Easter

Happy Easter everyone! I’m taking a day off and heading to the seaside so I’ll see you all after the Bank Holiday! In the meantime, here are some lovely images from my ‘Special Holidays’ board on Pinterest that I’m sure you’ll enjoy looking at over the Easter weekend – have fun and let me know what you get up to!

 


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Pieday Good Friday ~ Mini toad-in-the-hole recipe for Easter

Here’s an easy but impressive recipe for your Easter roast lunch – mini toad-in-the-hole. These are also great for parties and evening meals so give it a try with this easiest ever batter recipe and let me know how you get on!

Pieday friday easter recipe for mini toad in the hole

Ingredients: Chipolata sausages (the long ones, not cocktail sausages), 140g plain flour, 4 eggs, 200ml milk, pinch of salt

Brown the chipolatas in the oven at a temperature of 230C/fan 210C/gas 8 and the fat from the sausages will grease the base of the tin, ready for you to pour the batter into. The browning should only take about 10 minutes.

Mix together the flour and eggs in a bowl using an electric whisk until smooth. Gradually add the milk and carry on whisking until the mix is completely lump-free. Pour the batter over the hot sausages, distributing evenly into each muffin/brownie space and working quickly so that the temperate of the pan doesn’t drop. Cook for 20-25 minutes without opening the oven door and you should have puffy golden-brown toad-in-the-holes for your Easter lunch at the end of the cooking time!

great recipe for mini toad in the hole

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