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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Saving money with LED lighting

After much research for my own home renovation project, I’ve discovered that LED lighting is becoming more and more popular these days. Not only are we illuminating our homes with this type of light bulb, they are also popping up commercially in schools, hospitals and offices. I think that their popularity comes from their ability to save energy (and therefore money!) and with LED lighting, saving money doesn’t mean you have to compromise on quality or even on style – there are countless designs available so I’m sure I’ll find an eco-friendly lighting solution for my home. Here are few great things that you probably didn’t know about LED lighting and it will hopefully, if you haven’t already, inspire you to make the switch yourself!They run for hours (and hours and hours)

We all know how much of a pain changing a bulb can be. It seems once you have changed one, the others decide to follow suit, and before your know it you’re changing a bulb every other day somewhere in your home. LED bulbs have power for literally hours (around 30, 000 to be exact) and so it is very unlikely that you will even need to change one whilst they are installed (that works out at about 20 years). Standing on a chair and praying for dear life whilst attempting to unscrew the bulb without choking from lampshade dust exposure, is definitely a thing of the past. Continue reading “Saving money with LED lighting” »


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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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Book review: Urban Flowers + win a copy!

This week I’ve got my hands on the newly released gardening book ‘Urban Flowers’ by Carolyn Dunster. A very thrifty DIY-focussed book, it contains hundreds of ideas for making the most of your outdoor space, no matter how little garden you have. And the good news is that you can win a copy in my giveaway so read on to enter the competition below…In this book, Carolyn demonstrates how it is possible to turn even the smallest space into a blooming urban paradise with colourful flowers and a thriving habitat for wildlife too. So whether you’ve got a patch in the countryside or a balcony in the city, you’ll be sure to find a handy project in this book.
Urban Flowers helps to identify which plants will grow best in your garden and, the thing I found most interesting about the book, it provides planting ‘recipes’ to create colourful palettes of blooms all year round. I’ve always wondered how some gardens look great in every season and now I know how to do it for myself!

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3 Tips for living with wooden floors

As you can probably tell from my past few DIY blog posts, flooring at been at the forefront of my mind. Firstly, I picked out the perfect white-washed colour for my bedroom floor, and last week I shared a step-by-step guide to installing laminate flooring. The next step is finding some hard-wearing flooring for the kitchen of my 50s house, tiles for the bathroom and carpets for the bedrooms – so there’ll be more blog posts to follow, I’m sure! 

The question I’m answering today is: how do you maintain and protect your new flooring from general mishaps/wear and tear? Whilst hardwood flooring is a fantastic upgrade and can add value to your home it does require regular maintenance, so I’ve made a handy list to make sure all scenarios are covered!1. On a day to day basis:

It’s inevitable that your floor will take some stick, after all, that’s what it’s there for, but it IS possible to protect it from avoidable scratches and scuffs. For example, if you have installed wooden flooring in your kitchen/dining area then why not consider using felt protectors under the legs of tables and chairs? This simple but effective method can prevent minor scratches from occurring, or a rug beneath the table can also work in the same way. It also pays to remove your shoes, especially spiky-heeled ones, before walking over the floor. This can stop any scratches from occurring and prevents dirt from being dragged onto the surface.

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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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Household DIY: How to fix cracked concrete on a budget

When it comes to the aesthetic appearance of your home often the smallest chip or crack can look unsightly and stand out a mile if the rest of your home is in a good state of repair. The trouble is that repairing concrete can be a difficult and problematic process. But it is possible to DIY it yourself.Of course, the restoration of historic buildings, commercial buildings or any major work on your home should be left to expert contractors of concrete repairs to get the job done – and avoid causing any irreparable damage. But, that being said, if you find a small amount of cracked concrete in your back garden patio or in an exterior wall – and you’re comfortable with DIY – then it IS possible to fix cracked concrete yourself. To top it all off, it can be done on a budget!

What you will need:

  • Cleaning equipment
  • Nails
  • Hammer
  • Tape measure
  • Injection ports
  • Crack sealer
  • Putty knife
  • LCR cartridge
  • Caulk gun

It’s easier than you might think to do this repair yourself and, with a little time spent planning, the results you can achieve are every bit as good as if had paid a professional – but at a fraction of the cost. Continue reading “Household DIY: How to fix cracked concrete on a budget” »


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What’s wrong with your curtains?

The right curtains can immediately improve a room’s comfort and aesthetics. But did you know that it’s possible to hang curtains incorrectly? It may seem unlikely, but I’ve been in a room this week where the curtains were the wrong length and it was literally the only thing I could look at! Even minor mistakes can make a big impact so, before I invest in any curtains for my new home, I’ve been doing some research into what not to buy. I thought I’d share this advice with you so that you can take a look around your home and make sure your curtains don’t suffer from the four common problems I discovered…

I made my own caravan curtains & blinds – read the blog post here!

1. Too-long curtains 

Off-the-peg curtains can sometimes be a little too long for your room and you’ll end up with extra fabric that bunches up on the floor. If the curtains are really long they can look like a pile of laundry that’s been neglected for weeks! Raising your curtain rod is the easiest way to make long curtains fit your room. Just make sure you raise the rod high enough so the curtains don’t touch your floor. If you’re handy with a sewing machine, the alternative is to shorten the hem of the curtains. I shortened some curtains for my own home and now they are perfect for the space.

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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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2 essentials for a workspace that sparks creativity

I’m just about to start planning my office (did you catch my blog post on the ergonomics of working from home?) so I’ve been doing my research into what makes a good workspace. Earlier this week I shared some photos of the offices of my favourite bloggers and now I’m taking inspiration from creative professionals in order to identify what I need (and don’t need!) to make my home studio a productive space to work.

A 2014 report commissioned by the Nordic Council of Ministers found that our physical surroundings can have a huge impact on how much work we get done. And this was the same in all four countries assessed (Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Norway if you were curious). Consequently, it is fair to say that our working environment can have a dramatic effect on our mood. In order to ensure that your own office area sparks your creativity, here are the two things you need for a beautiful workspace.

Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner’s home office

1. Natural light and plants

Whether you’re looking to create the grandeur of a Victorian study or to relax in a sleek, modern home office, studies suggest that a workspace should always have natural light and plants. Plants increase the level of oxygen in a workspace whilst natural light is instrumental in allowing people to think with a clear head. An example of a workspace that makes excellent use of natural light comes from the creator of cult show Mad Men (above).

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