Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog

Cassiefairy's thrifty little lifestyle blog – DIY crafts, sewing, food & fashion – what more does a girl need??

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Tuesday Shoesday ~ Chatty feet on holiday

A while ago I wrote about the superb sock brand Chatty Feet and told you how much fun I’d had with my husband and nephew while playing with our new range of character socks. We’ve chased each other – with Mr Grrrril (the scary looking bandit) chasing Brad Feet around the garden until he caught and ticked him! – and we’ve even scripted an intellectual conversation between Sigmund Socks and Professor Brian Sox at a science conference. The idea of these products is to inspire the wearer to play, whether they are little children or big kids (like me!) who refuse to grow up! With the character socks ranging from a tiny 12 months old to men’s size 11.5 it’s easy for all ages to play together and enjoy being a little bit silly.

With the school holidays in full swing, I’ve decided to spend my summer break with Professor Brian Sox and La Diva and we have been enjoying sightseeing, walks along the promenade and chilling out at the beach on our ‘staycation’. The eagle-eyed of you might have noticed some of my travel companions have been posting selfies using my instagram account:

Sightseeing during Prof. Brian Socks’ staycation #selfie #holiday

“I’m NOT camping!” says La Diva #holiday #staycation

Relaxing outside the beach hut #holiday #selfie

La Diva was shocked to discover she was on a nudist beach… #holiday #selfie

Prof Brian Socks #beach #selfie

The sea was much colder than La Diva was expecting! #beach

Prof. Brian Sox enjoying a beer in the local pub #holiday #selfie #staycation

I’ve really enjoyed having a couple of new friends staying with me and I’m sure there will be many more holiday selfies to come during the summer holidays so keep an eye on my Instagram @Cassiefairy

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Tuesday Shoesday ~ Put on your dancing shoes

This Tuesday Shoesday, I wanted to share my new hobby with you: swing dancing. I started going to a weekly class in June and after a rather wobbly left-footed start, I’ve really gotten into the swing of things (argh, bad pun alert!) and I look forward to going dancing every week – we always have a great laugh learning new moves. It’s not just about learning a dance; it’s a great form of exercise (I’m always out of breath by the end of a session!), it makes me happy (exercise endorphins will do that for you, I guess!) and it’s a fab social event. It’s been fun getting to know new people, dancing with different partners and going for a cheeky pint after class! A great by-product of taking up dancing is the effect it’s had on my wardrobe.

Now when I’m shopping for clothing I look at how the fabric moves, I consider whether it will keep me cool while I’m boogieing and I wonder how a dress will look when I do an American spin! I’ve been trying on skirts for the first time in 10 years and I want to tie my hair up in a bouncy ponytail. More importantly I’ve been lusting after dancing shoes and I’ve finally bought a pair that I love.

40s 50s dancing shoes

I spotted these little beauties in the Clarks sale  last weekend my heart started racing. I added them to my online basket, but my heart sank when I discovered that they were sold out in my size. Undeterred, and certain that these shoes were ‘the ones’, I made it my mission to head into the high-street shop and have a proper rummage on their sale shelves. There was an audible gasp, following by lots of whooping, when I found my dream dance shoes in my size at half the RRP. I’ve never bought a pair of shoes so quickly before: just a quick try-on and a couple of twirls and kicks was all it took to persuade me to part with my cash. I hugged the shoe-box close to me as I carried my precious dancing shoes home.

40s 50s dancing shoes-2

Surely you can see why I love these shoes so much? Not only are they a classic brogue design (and I love Clarks’ brogues in particular) but they have glitter on them. Ideal for me! The low heel height is perfect for dancing and I know that the leather will become even softer and more supple the more that I wear them. I can’t wait to slip them on for my next dance class and see whether they will improve my technique haha!

sophia webster jelly pvc vinyl shoes for 2014 2015


Tuesday Shoeday ~ Jellies for 2015

I’ve just returned from a weekend break at a cheesy seaside resort here in the UK and it has inspired me to write today’s Tuesday Shoesday blog post. It’s not beach hut pastels or sandy-beach flip-flops that have inspired me; instead it’s the tacky footwear from my childhood – the jelly shoe. I’m sure that everyone has worn a pair of jellies in their lifetime – I’m talking maybe 20 years ago, when you just a young whippersnapper, remember?? - and I was no exception.

I’ve been going to the same seaside town every summer since I was a toddler and from as young as I can remember I’ve always wanted a pair of jelly shoes. I’ve eyed them up in beach-side shops for years and was captivated by their bright colours. I saved my pocket money so that I could invest in a glittery pair of clear jellies when I was 10 and I wore them throughout the summer holidays. They keep little feet safe from the sharp stones on the sea-bed and look equally cool walking down the promenade as they do on the beach. I felt so trendy in my jelly shoes when I was a ‘tweenager’ and I’m not sure I’ve ever felt quite the same about any other footwear since.

sophia webster jelly pvc vinyl shoes for 2014 2015

With WGSN predicting the growth of vinyl shoes for 2015 I think the jelly shoe could be making a fashionable comeback. The worldwide trend forecasters have highlighted clear PVC panels and boiled-sweet colours for future footwear, naming the trend ‘luxury plastics’. I’ve already seen lots of fashion stories featuring jelly sandals and rubber flip-flops, and designers such as Sophia Webster are creating shoes that are decidedly jelly-eqsue (above).

So when I went into the very same beach-side kiosk this year and saw rows of jelly shoes on the shelves, beside inflatable rubber rings, kites and cheap sunglasses, my mind went into over-drive. Now that I’m a grown-up I can buy my own jelly shoes whenever I want so I started frantically rummaging through the selection to pick out my ultimate pair. I very quickly realised that the jelly sandals were available in every size… up to a size 2. No adult sizes in sight (I wonder why?) and my bottom lip came out in a pouty sulk.


jelly shoes for summer 2014 from asos new look and mr shoes

Now that I’m home from my short break, I’ve made it my mission to find a pair of adult size jelly shoes and after a quick online search, I’ve not been disappointed. Well, I’d still rather be able to buy a pair from a sea-front kiosk, like I’d always imagined as a child, but these shoes come a close second! These shoes all come in different colours, styles and adult sizes but my favourites are these block-heel jelly shoes from New Look,  my favourite childhood glittery sandals from Mr Shoe and on-trend coral solid-colour gladiators from ASOS.

Let me know what you think about jelly shoes – are they just for the children or can adults wear them too? If you already have your own jelly shoes please tweet me a snap to @Cassiefairy I’d love to see them!


Tuesday Shoesday ~ Show some support

I like shoe supports, there’s something lovely about them. I think it’s the way that they keep your shoes looking great, how they ensure your shoe wardrobe stays neat and the fact that it’s a slightly old-fashioned thing to use. Don’t you think that shoe supports just are fantastic? Or is it just me? I also like the fact that the title of this blog post could relate to any of the sporting events that are going on around the world at the moment; world cup, formula 1, Wimbledon and soon the Commonweath Games. But it’s not just our sporting stars who need support – it’s our shoes too.

It seems like the kind of subject that would have appeared in a Tuesday Shoesday blog post in my grandmother’s day. Okay maybe not a blog post – perhaps an article in Good Housekeeping magazine: “Looking after your shoes”. I’ve written about taking care your shoes in the past - polishing new boots, reheeling my favourite shoes and homemade boot stretchers - but so far I’ve missed out shoe supports because I’ve never owned any.  I really like the idea of looking after your shoes and making them last because a pair of shoes can be a big investment and once you’ve found a comfortable pair, you’ll want to keep them going for years to come. My favourite dolly shoes from New Look are still going strong and I’ve been wearing them for at least 7 years, with only one repair in the middle. In terms of cost-per-wear these shoes are probably my best ever buy and I think it’s a thrifty investment to repair them rather than replace them because they are just so comfortable. Plus, looking after my shoes rather than chucking them out keeps more rubbish out of landfill and that’s always a good idea.

Look after your shoe with supports and stretchers

So even though I didn’t own any shoe supports in the past and haven’t always followed my own advice of buying well, looking after shoes and repairing as I go, I’m very interested in prolonging the life of my footwear now. I picked up this pair of green shoe supports at a charity shop recently and have started to use them to prolong the life of more of my favourite footwear. I know they don’t look particularly pretty, but I really like how the paint has flaked off the metal and they look really vintagey when popped into my shoes. I want to keep an eye out for more similar shoe-trees so I’ll keep hunting at carboot sales and in charity shops in the future.

Take care of your shoe with supports and stretchers

When hubby recently got some new shoes from Clarks, I asked to keep the cardboard inserts so that we could put them back into the shoes after wearing to keep their shape while they are being stored away. I’ve saved the box too, to keep them looking as good as new for as long as possible. I know that they would just get shoved in the wardrobe and be ruined by squashing otherwise so I’d like to prolong the life of these shoes, because they are a good investment and should last for many many years to come.

Look after your shoe with supports and stretchers-1

Do you already look after your shoes sensibly? Let me know how you store your shoes and whether vintage shoe-supports are old news to you :) Tweet me @Cassiefairy


Tuesday Shoesday ~ 50p shoes

In the news last week was a discussion about the cost of keeping a monarchy in the UK and it was revealed that taxpayers pay 56p each to keep the royal family running every year. I know that not everyone will agree with me, but I think that’s fairly good value for money – I’ve certainly got my share from the entertainment the Royal family provides over recent years: my trips to London include visits to Buckingham Palace, seeing the changing of the guard and walking down The Mall, I enjoyed watching the Jubilee Concert on TV, my interaction with the local community is fuelled by Royal events such as the village Diamond Jubilee celebration BBQ and watching William and Kate get married on a big screen in the town, and this year I’m looking forward to the Commonwealth Games. I feel like I’ve got my money’s worth out of the Royal family in personal entertainment alone, and that’s not to mention all the diplomatic and political work they do to represent Great Britain around the world. But what has all this got to do with shoes, I hear you ask?

Well, it made me think about what else I could buy with my 56p per year if it wasn’t going towards supporting the royal family. The honest answer is not much at all! Once upon a time I could at least buy a loaf of bread to feed myself, but that’s a distant memory now! In fact, the only place that I tend to be able to buy things for 50p nowadays is at the car boot sale. And that leads us nicely on to the topic of 50p shoes. These ones:

50p shoes-1

It was the end of the morning and lots of the car boot stalls were packing up and going home. I find that this is sometimes the best time to go bargain hunting because stall holders might reduce prices rather than take their unsold items home with them, and many put up cardboard-and-market-pen signs saying “Everything 50p” to sell as much as possible before the end of the sale. Luckily for me, this happened just as I was browsing a stall with a few fashion bits for sale and I spotted these court shoes. They were my size and looked nice, so I didn’t even try them on – I paid my 50p and took my chances! Thankfully, they fit me fine and I’ve worn them a few times since without any problems. In fact they have  similar height heel to my dancing shoes so they really were a bargain pair of comfortable shoes.

50p shoes-2

The same thing happened when hubby was shopping at a car boot sale too, and he picked up this pair of brogues for 50p. They are the most comfortable shoes he’s owned and they have become his ‘dancing shoes’ too. One time when we were shopping in a high street shoe store, hubby told the sales assistant that the shoes he was wearing were only 50p and she practically told him off for wearing second-hand shoes: “What if someone else has worn them in differently? You could damage your feet!” Tell that to all the vintage footwear fans out there! I’m sure that probably is the case if you’re a toddler and your tiny feet are still developing, but I’m pretty sure that hubby’s feet are fully grown. Plus, you ‘wear in’ any pair of shoes, especially new ones, so what’s the difference between getting used to a brand new pair of shoes and a pair that someone else has worn? All that matters is that they are comfortable shoes to wear and didn’t cost as much as our weekly food shop unlike the new shoes in that shop!

So what do you think about second-hand shoes? Is it a bargain waiting to happen? Or are those shoes really going to damage your feet? Do you prefer a ‘lived-in’ pair? Does it matter that someone else’s feet have been inside them before? Is that kinda gross? What about bowling shoes?! I don’t know where I stand (oops unintentional pun) about shoe hygiene but I know that I can’t afford to be picky when I’ve got more important things to pay for than expensive brand new shoes! Let me know what you think and tweet me photos of your shoe bargains to @Cassiefairy.