Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog

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

using recycled wood from a skip to make a beach hut bathroom floor and storage-11


Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside ~ building the beach hut

After installing a massive photowall in the bathroom last month, I’ve had an urge to ‘makeover’ the room, taking inspiration from costal homes. I’ve shared my moodboard so that you can get an idea of how I’d like the bathroom to turn out and have been pinning like crazy to my bathroom ideas board on Pinterest. One of the common design elements of these inspirational images has been wood and I love the idea of turning my bathroom into the interior of a beach hut.

As you can see, the floor needed to be updated and the cheap vinyl tiles that have been gracing the bathroom floor since the house was built had to go. So after visiting a few DIY stores and looking at the off-the-peg flooring options available, hubby and I decided that none of them were quite right for the bathroom. Vinyl ‘planks’ of self-adhesive tiles with wood-grain effect came in a great range of colours but looked rather plasticy and laminate flooring probably wouldn’t last very long with all the splashing that goes on in our bathroom! So a real wood floor seemed to be the only option, but boy was it expensive! So that idea went out of the window too.

Interestingly enough a house nearby had been having a new path laid and a quick peek into their skip showed us that they’d been using shuttering to make a frame for the poured concrete. Having spotted this waste wood, hubby and I quickly measured up the bathroom and realised that our tiny floor space could actually be covered using this shuttering so we asked permission to use the wood and dragged it home.

It’s a pressure-treated timber so it should be fine for our water-resistant flooring needs and the width of the planks was very similar to that of a beach hut floor. Hubby is really good with a saw and took all the measurements before working out which pieces could be slotted in where – like a giant jigsaw puzzle on the floor. My job was cleaning up the wood so that it was usable, which meant scraping off all the concrete tidemarks on the wood, using a wire brush to get rid of any dust and mud, and then sanding down the wood to make it smooth enough for bare feet to walk on. Okay, this took quite a bit of time and I was very grateful to have the use of an electric sander but at least we were able to save the wood from landfill!

After using a grab adhesive to ‘glue’ the floor down, hubby planed down any raised parts of the planks (yes, I had a go at planing and I was not good at it!) and I gave it a second sanding on any rough areas using sandpaper and elbow grease. I’ve still not decided on the finish of the floor; whether to white-wash it for that true beach hut look or whether to varnish the natural wood, which is already a pale limed colour scraping taking the concrete off. At the moment it’ll stay as it is until the rest of the woodwork is finished.

We had some wood left-over so we’ve decided to build a false wall and create some storage behind the wood cladding. As you can see from these photos my husband is a dab-hand with a screwdriver and he create this storage cabinet behind the loo in order to hide all the exposed pipes, while still giving access to the service handles and cistern. He incorporated shelves within the false wall which practically doubled the amount of storage space we have! This is accessed by two cupboard doors which hubby made using a wide plank of pressure treated wood that we had left over from our garden project this summer. Again, I was on sanding duty and I really came into my own when I was need to hold things in place!

We went for a white-wash effect for the wall, as it seemed a little imposing in the wood and the larger planks of wood were a slightly darker shade so this make the effect look more uniform. I’ve painted on three coats of the white wash and so far the wood is just soaking it up so it’s not quite the shade of white that the finished wall will be but it’s getting there. By the way, the hole a the bottom of the wall is for the cats’ litter tray so that they too can go to the bathroom in privacy! The next job is to build a small cabinet beneath the sink and get to work on painting or varnishing the floor so please come back soon to check on our progress.

easy apple strudel recipe_

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My GBBO European week recipe ~ Apple strudel

This week’s theme for The Great British Bake Off (and therefore The Great Blogger Bake Off!) was European cakes so I chose to make that German classic, apple strudel. Or Apfelstrudel if you want to order it in Germany. Although, I have some news for you – it’s not a German recipe. Oh no, the fruity pastry that we all enjoy at the annual Leeds Christkindlmarkt – the traditional German Christmas market – is in fact Austrian. It’s actually the national dish of Austria and thanks to Wikipedia I now know that it originates from Vienna in 1696. Amazing huh? I also know that strudel is traditionally made with filo pastry but I don’t have any and wouldn’t have a clue about how to make it, so puff pastry will just have to do!

I picked some apples from the tree in my mum’s garden and set to work creating my Austrian masterpiece. I used just four ingredients for the filling: apples, brown sugar, sultanas and cinnamon. It’s a really easy filling to make – just dice apples and stew them in a pan for about 10 minutes. Again, my recipe is a little bit hit ‘n’ miss because I didn’t measure out any quantities – I just threw in some brown sugar to sweeten the apples (which really depends on how tart your apples are), a handful of sultanas and sprinkled on cinnamon until it tasted Christmassy. I’m sure there are plenty of recipes out there that would recommend lemon juice, butter, nutmeg etc but I just tasted my filling and added more sugar or cinnamon until it tasted yummy!

I rolled out the puff pastry into a large square, then spread the filling all over the middle, leaving a gap around all the edges. Then I rolled the strudel up. Recipes will tell you to roll it up ‘like a cigar’ but I’ve never rolled a cigar either, so I went for rolling the longest edge in, folding the ends in and then continuing to roll until the top edge of the pastry is underneath. I’d say it was more like wrapping up fish and chips really! I transferred the rolled-up strudel to a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper before brushing the top and ends with milk and sprinkling on caster sugar. I baked it for about 25 minutes in the oven until it was a lovely crispy golden brown colour. Serve with a big blob of vanilla ice cream, cream, custard or pretend you’re in a Viennese café and serve with a glass of champagne! As they say, when in Austria…easy apple strudel recipe for the Great British Bake Off-7easy apple strudel recipe for the Great British Bake Off-8easy apple strudel recipe_

Lots more fabulous bloggers have shared their bakes for #TheGreatBloggerBakeOff and here are the links to their posts too:


I love you from the bottom of my pencil case…

This is one of my favourite lyrics from a Beautiful South song and it always reminds me of this time of year. Yes, it’s officially back-to-school time and the new school term is just starting. While students all around the country are buying ring-binders, registering their student discount cards and thinking about furnishing their study-bedrooms, I too have been feeling rather excited! I’ve always had fond memories of this time of year, although I really don’t know what it is about September that makes me feel butterflies in my stomach about going back to school because I haven’t even been a student for at least 4 years now!

Actually, that’s not strictly true because last year I took a leisure learning course on branding in October and I’ve since signed up to a journalism course which starts later this month. Okay, it’s not actually going back to school because I’ll be doing most of my studies in front of a computer, but just the thought of a new term makes me want to go to stationary shops to buy pencil sharpeners and rulers.

This year I’m putting my pencil case to good use by using it as my mobile make-up bag. I always need to carry a few items for touch-ups during the day and I don’t like to have products rattling around the bottom of my handbag. so I’ve started carrying a few essentials rather than my ‘whole kit’! During the day I always need a little extra concealer, I like to apply an extra coat of mascara and I’ve chosen to carry my favourite lipgloss; a peachy shade which comes with a mirror attached to the side of the case so there’s no need to take a hand mirror with me too. Interestingly enough this gloss has a light-up wand, so you can see what you’re doing if you’re reapplying in the dark – a great extra feature as the nights start to draw in at this time of year. I also carry my classic ‘Smokey Eye’ trio palette to take my look from day to night and I can use the black shade as an eyeliner too by using a thin wet brush.

With this little kit I’m covered for all eventualities and can easily carry on my day into the evening if I’m invited out anywhere special. I think you’ll agree that this is a much better use of a pencil case than carrying fountain pen refills and tipex! Also, there’s a special offer on at MeMeMe Cosmetics until the 14th of Sept with discount code ” loveme25 ” for 25% off everything so now’s the time to go shopping for your pencil case essentials!



orla kiely clarks autumn winter 2014

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Tuesday Shoesday ~ Orla Kiely, shoe designer

I have some very long-awaited news for Autumn/Winter 2014 that I’ve been keeping under my hat for a number of months and now I can finally share it with you all – the new footwear range by Orla Kiely has launched!

Clarks unveiled the new range at a press event earlier this year (here’s my article all about it!) and I’ve been spotting the occasional image of the range in magazines and on fashion blogs and now the shoes are finally available to buy – and what cute shoes they are too! The designer’s first collaboration with Clarks launched earlier this year for Spring/Summer and was an instant sell-out success: below is some of the press coverage that the designs attracted from Cosmopolitan magazine back in the Spring. It’s no surprise then that Clarks invited Orla Kiely back this season to create a new range for Autumn/Winter 2014 and here’s a snap of some recent coverage of her retro-esque heels in the October issue:

I’d already chosen my favourites when I first photographed the shoes at the press day earlier this Summer but now that I’ve seen the full range with those irresistible signature Orla Kiely patterned soles, I’m having trouble picking just one pair!

Firstly, this range taps into all the top seasonal trends for autumn/winter 2014 and I am desperate to get my hands on some of the oxblood leather or pony textures that are the must-haves for this season. Secondly, the styles are super-cute and remind me of back-to-school shoes that made me all excited about a new term when I was little! Thirdly, and most importantly for me, these are comfortable heels – yes, I will be able to wear them to dance class and tea dances without worrying about the heels being too high and the t-bar straps should keep them firmly on my feet when I’m doing my jive kicks!

orla kiely clarks autumn winter 2014

Okay, I know I’ve started to be ruled by what’s going to be comfortable to dance in since taking up my new hobby earlier this year, but I really love how vintage-esque the Orla Kiely styles are, and I just know they will look great with my growing wardrobe of tea dresses and circle skirts. It’s my dream to dance the foxtrot at the Blackpool Tower Ballroom (yes, I’m visiting it later this year!) while wearing a gorgeous swing dress and a pair of these glossy dolly shoes.

I think that the collaboration with Orla Kiely is a stroke of genius by Clarks; not only are the deigns retro without being too ‘throwback’ but they also have the precise detailing and playful quirkiness that we have come to expect from this top British designer. The colours are ideal for Autumn/Winter any year so are certainly not limited to just a one season look – I can see myself wearing these classic styles and autumnal colours for years to come. I’m frantically saving my pennies to get my hands on a pair of Orla Dotty shoes in Ox-Blood or Ochre before they sell out, so if you too are thinking of investing in a pair of these future heirloom shoes, perhaps buy them sooner rather than later – with Kiely’s designs traditionally flying off the shelves, who knows how long they will be around for?!


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Are these the most garish flowers ever?

Blimey, these flowers are bright! How do they even make flowers in these colours? You can’t pull the wool over my eyes: I’m suspicious that they aren’t naturally bright blue and violet…

Hubby brought these flowers home for me recently and they really brightened up my day. By which I mean they made me laugh out loud. His reason for buying them were that ‘they looked so horrible and garish’ plus ‘they were reduced to 61p’. That makes them the perfect bunch of flowers in my opinion! Honestly, these photos don’t do justice to just how bright and lurid these flowers are.

I’m even more pleased that they matched the lilac and blue bobbly jumper I was wearing at the time, although they rather overshadowed my outfit! But how did these flowers get their colour? I’m pretty sure it’ll be some sort of dying through absorbing coloured water or something similar.

Anything as delightfully tacky as this is a good purchase in my opinion and they are still keeping me smiling – these crazily-coloured flowers have lasted for ages!