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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Where to find bedding in mid-century colours

Hurrah! We finally have some new bedding for our new bedroom. After weeks spent stripping off wallpaper, days painting layers and layers of while emulsion to cover up bright peach walls, and even more hours spent laying beautiful laminate flooring, I think it was about time that we got a little reward for all our hard work. And what do you want when you’ve just turned a room into a perfect white cube? Colour, that’s what! Looking back over my last few home blog posts, I think you can tell the direction in which I’m heading with my interior decor. In fact, it’s no secret that I love mid-century modern design – I’ve had teak furniture and geometric patterns in my home for years. But this time, I’m taking the OTT garishness down a touch. I’m pairing simple white walls with natural textures, so that my mid-century design pieces really stand out and take centre stage. The bedroom is no exception. Where we previously had an eye-catching DIY feature wall made from the pages of old books, I’ve now decided that the bed itself should be the feature in the room. I’ve bought a sleek Hygena bed from Argos (which will take another month to arrive) and it’s undeniably mid-century in design. So I already had this in mind when it came to choosing some new bedding.

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Minimalist mid-century modern window dressing

There’s a lovely big window in our living room. It lets in so much natural daylight and offers a lovely view over the garden. In fact, it’s pretty-much the only feature of the room at the moment, so I want to make the most of it. I wanted to give it a sleek, contemporary window-dressing but still wanted make sure that I can still get the maximum amount of light into the room. Here’s what I decided to do…I’ve always hung curtains in the past.

But this time, covering up the window with heavy curtains didn’t seem like such a good idea. As a blogger I’m always on the hunt for natural light to help me take photos so it wouldn’t be sensible to cover up the main source of daylight in the house, would it?! And as much as I love my bumble-bee curtains, I don’t think they are even the right size for the window. I decided that my old curtains will get a new home in the guest bedroom and I’ve invested in a blind for the living room.Pinterest has changed my style.

I used to quite like fussy window dressings. Y’know, blousey roman blinds with floaty voiles over the top. Or blackout roller blinds with thickly lined curtains in the winter. But since I started planning my new home on Pinterest, things have changed. I found myself drawn to minimalist interiors, white walls and rooms with lots of natural light. I started pinning images of shutters, chunky wooden venetians and long, sleek vertical blinds.I wanted maximum versatility.

I wanted to cover my windows in order to enjoy some privacy in my home, but I didn’t want to block out the outside world completely. And I wanted to control the amount of light coming into the room; sometimes too much sunshine is as bad as too little light. So the idea of shutters went out of the window (excuse the pun). Even though the angles of the shutter could be tilted, a solid frame would inevitably block out more light than I wanted. That said, curtains were too ‘open or closed’ for me too, and even voiles seem to make a room darker.

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The 12th Night & a 1967 Sprite caravan decorated for Christmas

Ahh it’s nearly time to take down those festive decorations and get your home back to ‘normal’ – whatever that is! Apparently decorations should be taken down by the “12th night”, although there seems to be some confusion over when that is – it’s either the 5th or the 6th January. Either way, the time for sparkly decorations is up – although I say why not leave it til the weekend when you’ve got more time to do it anyway? Or leave up those fairy lights all year, haha!1967-sprite-caravan-renovation-makeover-project-christmas-holidays-festive-decorations-61967-sprite-caravan-renovation-makeover-project-christmas-holidays-festive-decorations-31967-sprite-caravan-renovation-makeover-project-christmas-holidays-festive-decorations-7So before everyone packs away their Christmas decs, I wanted to share some photos that my friend Sophia sent me of her caravan decorated for the holidays. Is there anything more lovely than a caravan covered in fairy lights?? To be honest I keep my Christmas lights in my caravan all year round; they’re solar powered so are an excellent cost-free light source! Please admire these pics of Sophia’s 1967 Sprite caravan renovation project all dressed-up for Christmas:1967-sprite-caravan-renovation-makeover-project-christmas-holidays-festive-decorations-1 We first started chatting when Sophia got in touch to ask where I got the window seals for my own Alpine Sprite caravan. She had just started work on her old 1967 Sprite in the USA and was planning a big revamp of the old camping vehicle. She’d seen my own carvan renovation project on my blog and knew that I’d have some tips to share about the fixtures and fittings for an old Sprite.1967-sprite-caravan-renovation-makeover-project-christmas-holidays-festive-decorations-4 Continue reading “The 12th Night & a 1967 Sprite caravan decorated for Christmas” »


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50s Summer Party Dresses

Does a stack of wedding and party invites leave you with a ‘what to wear’ headache this summer? Why not look to the era of gin cocktails and elegant summer soirees for your party vibe this year? The 50’s is providing us with some serious party wear inspiration right now and what’s more there is a 50’s look for every occasion. From the infamous wiggle dress to flattering circle shapes and cotton summer dresses Mela Mela have you covered. Swoon over some of our favourite 50’s pieces now in store to get your summer party look nailed.1950s-vintage-dress-cotton-striped-orange-yellow-black-gold-detail-front2_1Sunshine Prints

50’s designers weren’t afraid of some seriously bold prints and this sunshine coloured dress is no exception. The striped cotton design with classic flared skirt reminds us of holiday sunsets. We think it is just crying out for some Hollywood sized sunglasses and a glass of Pimms!1950s-vintage-dress-cotton-blue-green-abstract-design-frontClub Tropicana

Hot summer nights call for acid brights and wild prints. The 50’s love for the colourful and for exotic Hawaiian inspired prints has left us with some amazing items. This strapless cotton dress combines an abstract pattern with a tropical colour palette for a fun and fresh finish. Perfect for cocktails and dancing at a summer beach party.1950s-vintage-dress-california-cottons-blue-pink-floral-nylon-frontFlower Power

A garden party is just the thing for a fabulous floral. The 50’s showcases everything from delicate pastel floral designs to bold graphic designs. We love this delicate pink and blue example with its gorgeous velvet waist belt. The scooped neck gives it real impact combined with the classic 50’s circle shape. Pair with sandals for an easy, breezy finish.

1950s-vintage-wiggle-dress-jacket-blue-trimmed-with-spots-front

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Picquot Ware – Instructions & guarantee information

A while ago I shared a blog post about Picquot Ware. In my original post I discussed the ‘lucky find’ my husband and I had when we bought some pieces of Picquot Ware at a carboot sale last summer. I also shared some progress on polishing up the pots and how I planned to keep them in tip-top condition. Well, since this blog post was published, I’ve been lucky enough receive countless comments on the article from people who still own and use their Picquot Ware.midcentury modern picquot ware teapot coffee setIt seems like my little blog post sparked an outpouring of stories, memories, cleaning tips and advice from fans of the brand and I’m delighted with every single comment I read. It’s wonderful to learn about the origins of the company, the people who worked there, the cost of the products ‘back in the day’ and to hear that pieces of Picquot Ware are still going strong in households up and down the country. I look forward to opening up my comments section and seeing what new information has been shared – there’s quite a little ‘community’ of us Picquot Ware fans over on the original post now!

My own Picquot Ware set – before and after polishing

Last week, one of the people I’d been talking to via the Picquot Ware blog post comments section, Lesley, got in touch with me via email with some amazing news. A Picquot Ware instruction leaflet and guarantee had been discovered amongst the teaset that Lesley had inherited. I fired an email back and asked if it would be possible to share this information on the blog so that the whole ‘community’ could benefit from it. Lesley very kindly scanned the documents and forwarded them to me, with permission to share it with you all today. So here’s what we’ve all been waiting for – the original Picquot Ware guarantee, teaset information and cleaning instructions.Picquot Ware Guarantee Continue reading “Picquot Ware – Instructions & guarantee information” »


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My favourite reads + ‘Swing Dance’ book review

November is here and you know what that means. Not only is the countryside is looking particularly glorious with golden leaves and harvest fruits on the trees, but it also means that Christmas is on its way! Which you can probably guess from my festive blog posts last month is something I’m already particularly excited about. November is a great month; the days are bright and fresh, bonfire night is coming soon, and it the slightly cooler weather makes me want to snuggle up in the evenings with something good to read. That’s the reason I’ve compiled this blog post about my favourite publications and am launching a lovely giveaway to win a copy of the newly published ‘Swing Dance’ vintage culture book – so please read on!book magazine review landlust the simple things swing dance-3I was lucky enough to get my hands on the new issue of LandLust magazine at the weekend. If you’ve not yet heard about LandLust I’m not surprised; I hadn’t either when I first started researching the publication last month, but I’m so pleased that I’ve discovered it now. The magazine first launched in Germany 10 years ago and now has over a million readers there. Building on this success the magazine is about to launch in the UK too.book magazine review landlust the simple things swing danceMuch like my regular favourite mag (which I’ll tell you a little more about in a minute!) this publication focuses on country life, cooking, crafts, gardening and much more. With thrifty articles on making homemade piping bags, low-cost Christmas decorations and DIY ‘scrap-wood’ shelf projects it’s no wonder that I’ve been intently pouring over every page since it arrived. It’s hitting the shops on 5th of November so be sure to pick one up or visit  www.landlust.co.uk for more information on this new title.book magazine review landlust the simple things swing dance-4I’ve been excited about checking out the newly published ‘Swing Dance’ book since it hit the shelves back in mid-September. Last week I finally got my hands on a copy and couldn’t wait to sit down with a cup of tea and enjoy browsing the vintage-inspired pages. Written by Scott Cupit, founder of the world’s largest swing dance school ‘Swing Patrol’, the book is an insight into the world of contemporary swing dance and, as you may have noticed from my various blog posts on the subject, this is something I am really keen on learning more about.book magazine review landlust the simple things swing dance-7The book explores the most popular swing dance styles including the Charleston, Lindy Hop, Collegiate Shag and Balboa and offers a step-by-step guide to perfecting the dances. It also focuses on the associated vintage culture of each style including the music, hairstyles, fashion, make-up and history of each dance, so it’s not just about learning the steps!book magazine review landlust the simple things swing dance-5Seeing as its Tuesday Shoesday I couldn’t resist sharing some photos of the gorgeous vintage footwear page within the book. I’d love a pair of gold dancing shoes like these – they look so comfortable and glamorous! Both Hubby and I have a few pairs of brogues in our wardrobe and I love wearing them for dancing lindy hop; they make jumping and kicking so much easier than when I’m tottering around in heels!book magazine review landlust the simple things swing dance-6If you would like to win a copy of this gorgeous new book – great for anyone interested in vintage culture, fashion, beauty or dance – I have two to give away to my wonderful blog readers. Enter via the Rafflecopter widget at the bottom of this blog post for your chance to win a copy of this brand new publication.book magazine review landlust the simple things swing dance-2 Continue reading “My favourite reads + ‘Swing Dance’ book review” »


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How to create iconic 1950s hairstyles

Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Bridget Bardot, Marilyn Monroe – they all epitomised an era of elegance and glamour. Their looks remain timeless and, therefore, it’s no surprise that their influence on style still lives on today. Celebrities such as Scarlett Johansson, Dita Von Teese, Katy Perry and Christina Aguilera all embrace the hairstyles of the 1950’s, and successfully wear them with a modern twist. Here’s our guide on how you too can follow in the footsteps of the icons of the ‘50’s and get the perfect vintage hairstyle.betty grable iconic 1950s hairstyle pompadour

Betty Grable

Pompadour – Even if you’ve not heard the name before, you’ve no doubt seen it, though you may recognise it as the iconic voluminous quiff-like style that many associate with the era. The pompadour was a style famously worn by male stars such as Elvis Presley but was also adopted by female stars such as actress Betty Grable.

Step 1 – Take a section of hair from the middle of your head at the front and divide it into 3 sections horizontally. Backcomb the back two sections of the hair and add some volumising product to add some much needed lift and volume. Don’t backcomb the front section though or you’ll risk losing a sleek finish.

Step 2 – Pull all three pieces of hair together and pinch the hair towards the bottom, then twist the hair one full turn. Push the whole ‘pomp’ forward to create extra height. Fix in place with hairpins.

Step 3 – As you’ve already backcombed your hair, your pompadour should be pretty tough so don’t be afraid to use a comb to smooth over your hair once it’s done before you use hairspray to keep the look in place.marilyn monroe iconic 1950s hairstyle

Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe Curls – Did you know, Marilyn Monroe wasn’t a natural blonde? She was actually a brunette and was advised to dye her hair to help further her career.

Step 1 – Work a handful of mousse into damp hair to help hold your hair in place once styled. Continue reading “How to create iconic 1950s hairstyles” »


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1950s Picquot Ware & my tips for polishing metal

I thought that today’s blog post was just going to be about polishing up silverware and that I would be able to share a straightforward set of tips on how to bring your old teapot back to life. However, while I was polishing my pots, I turned them over and found a name stamped into the base – Picquot Ware. I was intrigued and after buffing up my DIY polishing project I headed indoors to investigate.

*** Update – new post just published containing the original Picquot Ware instructions, range & guarantee ***

*** Update – new photos of the rare Picquot Ware Coffee Percolator are now on the blog ***

DIY polishing midcentury modern silvertea set picquot ware teapotMy husband found these kitchenalia items at a recent carboot sale and I loved the shape as soon as I saw them. I adored the curvy design and I imagined it to be the kind of tea set that might have been used to serve passengers on the Titanic or on a Mallard steam train journey in the 1940s. Continue reading “1950s Picquot Ware & my tips for polishing metal” »


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Tuesday Shoesday ~ The shoe shop that time forgot

Wow, just look at these photos. This amazing old shoe store has recently been discovered after being locked up for over 50 years. A family in the US inherited an old building from their grandparents and were surprised to find it was a perfectly preserved shoe shop, which had remained untouched since the 1960s. vintage shoe store in usa
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Create a glamorous party look with silk rollers

I’m sure you’ve heard me say it many times before but I love the glamour of the 40s and 50s and even though my wardrobe of vintage dresses and cute swing dancing shoes is gradually growing, the one thing that I’ve not yet been able to achieve is the hair styles from this era. I’ve watched some fab videos on YouTube to learn how to do the victory rolls of the 40s and have tried time and again to get the polished Hollywood glamour look of the 50s but my style always seems to fall flat within a very short space of time.Remington Professional Silk Rollers_-6

I usually try out my vintage hairstyles when I’m heading out to a hangar dance or a nostalgia show and the limited amount of time I have to get ready, coupled with my general hair-styling incompetence, means that although I can sometimes leave the house with a passable hair do, by the time I’ve been flung around the dancefloor a couple of times my hair is flat again. Which is really unfair because my hair is naturally wavy! I have no idea how it manages to ends up so straight and lifeless – if I wanted it to be straight it would kink up immediately – but the minute I want to look glamorous and polished, my hair decides that it has other plans and wants to slob out instead.

So here’s the point of my blog post today – I’ve just finished trying out my new silk rollers for the first time and I wanted to share my experience with you, along with a couple of photos to give you an idea of what look can be achieved with my new Remington heated rollers (available from Very.co.uk or Amazon). I tried a tentative curl the night before and that seemed to stay fairly well without any hair spray so I decided to give it a go all over and see what happened.

As a complete roller novice, I wasn’t sure what to expect and wondered how I could be sure of the finished result if I couldn’t really see what I was doing. But nonetheless I plugged in the unit to start heating up and read through the comprehensive instructions that came with my Remington Professional Silk Rollers kit. I discovered that I needed to wind the sections of hair around the roller and roll up to the roots so that the roller was underneath my hair. The instructions promised that this would give me the Hollywood glamour look I’d been desperately trying to achieve! Other options included using rollers from front-to-back on the top section of your hair for volume rather than curls, and the hair could be rolled up the opposite way to give a flicked-out look. I never imagined that rollers could be so versatile!

I enlisted the help of my mother, who talked me through her experiences of hair styling using rollers in the 60s while we clipped the heated rollers into the hair. The ends of the rollers were cool to touch and even the velvety middles weren’t too hot to handle so it was an easy process and before long every hair was curled and clipped up. It was just a case of being patient and waiting for the rollers to cool down. I expect that the curls could probably be released sooner for a more relaxed wave but I wanted to try it out ‘properly’ during this first attempt so I waited until all the clips and rollers were totally cold. I’m guessing that this helped to set the curl so that it lasts longer because they looked very bouncy as they tumbled out of the rollers! Remington Professional Silk Rollers_-5

The hair actually looked more glossy than usual and you could really see all the highlights in each of the curls, which added to the Hollywood glamour effect. The rollers even added volume and I think it gave the effect of practically double the quantity of hair that went into the rollers in the first place! I didn’t use hair spray to set the curls but they still lasted a good amount of time – I really wanted to give the curls a good test it out so that I’d know whether they would last. Next time I use the rollers I will definitely use hairspray afterwards because I think this would help my hair style look great and last through even the bounciest of jive dances!

Let me know what you think about this hairstyle and I’d love to hear if you have any tips for making curls last longer. Also please share your ideas for different hairstyles using rollers because I’ll definitely be using these again and again to style my hair! Tweet me @Cassiefairy or leave me a comment below.

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