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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5 Low cost design tips for a smart & stylish home

Do you look with envy at the interior of other people’s homes and think why isn’t mine like that? Style is a question of confidence – the confidence to choose the right things for the right places, without compromising on practicality. With these five interior design tips, you can have a stylish home that oozes with confidence.

Image source: ViSSEVASSE

1. Every picture tells a thousand stories

They do, don’t they? You look at your family photos and behind each one is a story, either a humorous one or one tinged with sadness. Those family portraits and stories are important and they should be shared. But there is one problem with the look of all these photos: the different frames. A boho style – the mish-mash of frame styles, sizes and colours – is difficult to pull off. It can either look perfect, or a complete mess! Like the mish-mash style? Great, but keep elements of the display the same such as not mixing too many different styles of frames and colours. Stick with similar colours and have one photo that is the star of the show and around which the rest revolve.

Want a new look but with the same photos? There are two great options;

  • New frames – get your display sorted with new frames, all the same colour but in different sizes. However, when hanging keep a sense of uniformity by choosing one large photos and then groups of similar sized photos to complement that one.
  • Photos in frames on shelving – we love photo collections clustered on shelving units, create your own glass shelving using minimalist glass clamps so as not to distract from the items in the shelf.

    Image Source: Miami Design District

2. De-clutter and organise

Our homes are stuffed with all kinds of objects but ask yourself this: how much of this stuff do you really need and want? How often is it used? Why are you still hanging on to it? Even if you don’t have a hoarding problem, you will be amazed at the stuff you end up keeping for no apparent reason other than you don’t have time to sort through it all. The time has come to de-clutter, room by room. But, as part of the cathartic process of de-cluttering, you need to create storage solutions. We are not talking plastic boxes, however, stuffed in wardrobes and under beds. We are talking bespoke, built storage solutions that work, are accessible and are stylish. You will be amazed at how affordable bespoke storage solutions are and you will be impressed at just how useful they turn out to be (and stylish too!).

Image source: SofaStoreBlog

3. Order on the eye 

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Books, books, books – What I got for Christmas & first impressions

I guess I was quite adamant when I said I only wanted books for Christmas, huh? Because that’s what I got – and piles of ’em! So you can imagine how thrilled I am to start the new year with a stack of books to read and plenty of reviews to bring you throughout 2017. I’m just about to finish reading Dave Gorman Versus The Rest of The World so I’m excited to dive straight into these new books. Here’s what I received and my first impressions:book review 2016 2017 books tim peake amy schumer caitlin moran gretchen rubin-3Caitlin Moran – Moranifesto

I’ve read most of Moran’s books and this one has been on my wishlist since it was published in March 2016. I didn’t buy it straight away though because I find hardbacks more cumbersome to read and I was waiting for the paperback version to come out. How long would I have to wait? While I was browsing a book store in Ely in November I found this signed first edition and pointed it out to hubby. Thankfully he took the hint and managed to snaffle it for me without me knowing! Can’t wait to get started on this one.book review 2016 2017 books tim peake amy schumer caitlin moran gretchen rubin-9Tim Peake – Hello, is this planet Earth?

As someone who followed Tim Peake’s mission religiously (and was giddy with excitement when I met him only a couple of days after he returned to the UK) you can imagine how excited I was to unwrap this book. It’s a chunky square book full of beautiful photographs taken by Tim during his time on the international space station. The cover is a shiny hardback (which I think looks a little bit cheap or unofficial) but when you open the pages, it’s full of stunning photos alongside Tim’s own words about the images and locations. I’d actually recommended this book to mum as a suitable present for my husband, but it was actually him who bought it for me. Good thing we didn’t all buy it for each other!book review 2016 2017 books tim peake amy schumer caitlin moran gretchen rubin-7

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Travel aspirations for 2017 – Amsterdam

The trouble with Instagram is that it makes you want to travel. I can barely open the app without spotting photos of my friends flying to far-flung destinations, skiing down a picturesque mountainside or swimming in a turquoise blue sea. And it can’t just be me that’s seeing daily updates like this, can it? Okay, Instagram isn’t exactly a holiday brochure, but it pretty-much has the same effect on me. A photo of a glittering nighttime cityscape? It’s my blogging buddy enjoying a week away in New York. A steaming hot lagoon? That’s my friend’s new year’s trip to Iceland. And the northern lights? My brother’s mate lives in Finland. So forgive me for wanting to research exotic trips every time I try to put another photo of my sewing projects on Instagram (@Cassiefairy if you’re interested!).

Photo: Roetz Bikes

Photo: Roetz Bikes

Budget aside I’d love to visit all of these destinations, but home-buying tends to be an expensive business and I’d like to prioritise that this year. However, I’m sure that there are some nearer-to-home trips that I can take that will be just as Instagram-worthy as my friends’ holidays. So I’ve already been on the CitizenM website this morning, daydreaming of a trip to Amsterdam for 2017.

Photo: CitizenM

Photo: CitizenM

As the capital of the Netherlands, it’s a city that I’ve always wanted to visit but have never found a reason to go. My husband has been there recently, and really I should have gone on that work trip with him but I was too busy to take a break at the time. When he returned home with photos of canals and giant waffles I realised that I’d made a mistake. I vowed to go with him ‘next time’ and I’m already drawing up a list of places I want to visit while I’m there.

van-gogh-museum

Photo: Jan-Kees Steenman

I’ve been recently writing artist profiles so one of the first destinations on my ‘to do’ list is the Van Gogh Museum. I’ve read a lot about the artist and have recently been researching his work, but I’ve never seen his paintings ‘in real life’. When the Sunflowers exhibition was on at the National Gallery in London, the queue was a couple of hours long to see the exhibition, and tickets were rather expensive too. So hubby and I wandered around the gallery instead and, as we were passing a large door, it opened and we could see right into the Sunflowers exhibition. We weren’t more than a few feet away from the painting so technically I have seen it, but only for the few seconds that the door swung open and then closed again. Just that little taste of Van Gogh was enough to make me want to visit the museum in Amsterdam.

Photo: Jan-Kees Steenman

Photo: Jan-Kees Steenman

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How to decorate with festive art

Today’s blog post is all about bringing a touch of festive cheer to your home this December. Hanging Christmas quotes and pretty festive scenes on your walls is an easy way to bring the spirit of Christmas into every room of the house. Yes, even the bathroom! Today I’m sharing some lovely yuletide designs to give you some inspiration for your own home. And that’s not all – TWO lucky winners will each win a £30 gift voucher to spend at Posterlounge on anything they like in my festive giveaway. Read on to enter via the Rafflecopter widget below..!posterlounge_christmas-4

One of my favourite ways to decorate my home for Christmas is by using quotes and text. I guess it’s the design student in me coming out, but I think it’s a lovely way to give a nod to Christmas without going all-out santa-and-snowmen on your walls. The colours can match your existing decor to fit in seamlessly, but it’s the text that’s all-important. For example, this ‘merry and bright’ poster has a Christmas-card-worthy quote, but the colours are in opposition to this, looking much more spring-like than festive. I’d hang this one in my office to keep the festive feeling alive all December without going OTT.posterlounge_christmas-6But, then again, OTT is what Christmas is all about! So why not go all out with snowglobe (above) and bauble (below) designs? I still love chalkboard drawings (after painting my walls with chalkboard paint, how can I not?) so these posters would look great in my home. In fact, I’m pretty sure that this style would fit in with most decors – country farmhouse, sleek modern or Victorian townhouse – and look really festive to boot. If you’re feeling arty, you could always try to draw your own design in chalk on an old blackboard, or go for the slightly easier option and hang a pre-printed chalkboard image instead.posterlounge_christmas-5Try grouping a few festive designs together to create a gallery-style display. This way you can use co-ordinating text, images, patterns and colour to bring Christmas into your home in a really subtle and stylish way. For example, using gold text in the quote image above really pulls out the gold ‘snow’ from the pine tree image – simply throw in a few geometric baubles and you’ve got a thoroughly modern festive decor. Or if you’ve got pictures already hanging on your walls, why not change them for some christmassy designs in December? After all, the hooks are already in your walls and it’s simply a case of lifting off that graduation photo or the kids’ artwork and temporarily replacing them with some festive designs instead. posterlounge_christmas-3Again, a touch of glinting gold in the posters is enough to catch the eye and tie in these images with your decorations. Red and gold always go together perfectly at Christmas, let’s face it! And just look at this adorable presents table decorated with a mummy and baby deer design (below). This has got to be my favoutire design of all; I love the ‘googie’ style print with atomic star bursts and the subtle mid-century modern colours are just right for a period home. I could imagine this as a Christmas card sent straight from the 50s! Hanging fairy lights around the poster highlights this lovely little spot as the place to put your Christmas gifts.posterlounge_christmas-1And now that I’ve shared a few different ways to include Christmassy artwork in your home, we’ll move swiftly on to the giveaway. The brand behind all these gorgeous artist-made posters is Posterlounge and they have very kindly offered to give 2 lucky readers an early Christmas present. There are two £30 gift vouchers up for grabs, and you can spend them on anything you like from the Posterlounge website – it doesn’t have to just be their extensive Christmas range – you could choose a motivational quote for your office or a stunning abstract painting for your living room. Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below and very best of luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway open to UK residents only. Giveaway runs from 4th December to 14th December 2016. 2 winners will be drawn at random after the closing date via Rafflecopter and will be contacted by email. 


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A low-cost way to decorate your walls for autumn

Today’s blog is a quick and easy decor update that can make your home feel really autumnal in a matter of minutes. And you don’t need to spend loads of money on new soft furnishings, or hours crafting a garland, or days painting your walls to add a touch of autumn colour to your home. My idea for a speedy interiors update is adding art to your walls to completely change the feeling of your space in no time.posterlounge_autumn-2In particular, I’m talking about a more budget version of art – using posters. Sure you blu-tacked up posters to your bedroom walls in your teenage years but have you ever used them since? After browsing online and finding plenty of sensational artworks in bold autumn hues, I’ve become a fan of the humble poster. And they’re really great value for money too. How else can you update your home decor in such a striking way with a very little budget?posterlounge_autumn-4 Of course, you can frame up posters and elevate their status to true artwork, but you could also simply stick them up in your office with washitape and get the same effect. I really love the moon-phase design below, this would be the perfect addition to my bedroom to bring a touch of warmth into the room for autumn. And when the season is over, you can roll the posters up, pop them back in their delivery tube and switch over to a new fresh design for spring. Poster tubes take up hardly any space and your favourite design will be ready for you to re-hang again the following autumn. Sounds good, doesn’t it?posterlounge_autumn-5For autumn, I’ve been really drawn towards gold, copper and brass touches and have picked out the designs for this blog post as my suggestions for autumn 2016. I tend to lean towards a monochrome palette at all times of year, with bursts of colour to reflect the season. I love gold for autumn and I think it works well into winter too as we fill our homes with glittering gold decorations. And, of course, woodland scenes like this artwork below evoke a lovely autumnal feeling without feeling twee. posterlounge_autumn-3 Continue reading “A low-cost way to decorate your walls for autumn” »


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Festive gifts that help others – A better-than Fairtrade marketplace

I know you’re all thinking about Christmas shopping by now. Well, I’m ready to get started on my annual gift hunt – I’ve even bought the wrapping paper! In my search for special gifts and thrifty treats I stumbled upon Discovered. This online marketplace recommended to me and I’m glad I took the time to check it out.gold-pillow-embroidered-cushion-cover-gift

I wouldn’t mind owning this beautiful embroidered cushion myself!

Like Etsy but connecting you with craftspeople all over the world, this online marketplace lists finely crafted gifts and homewares. You can discover handmade products by artisans from emerging countries such as India, Morocco and South Africa. But the main difference is that Discovered takes the idea of Fairtrade one step further; you can buy handicrafts direct from the maker.embroidery-colourful-bag-handbag-discovered-hand-crafted

And this embroidered handbag too – can you believe it costs less than £20?

The artisans on Discovered design, create and sell beautiful accessories, bags, jewellery and home decoration items. Every product that is sold on Discovered has its own, unique story and you won’t just find it in any other store. In addition, for every item they sell the artisans will receive a fair price because the supply chain is shortened; from the maker, via Discovered and to you.tea-glasses-decorated-painted-glass-gift

I love chai and these hand-painted tea glasses cost less than £15  Continue reading “Festive gifts that help others – A better-than Fairtrade marketplace” »


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My favourite interior trends – Watercolours

After a long summer of days out and time spent outdoors, each September I tend to turn my attention back indoors and start looking at new trends for the home. While it’s been around for a while now, the watercolour trend remains one of my favourites of recent years. We’ve been seeing painterly florals on wallpaper and artist-inspired patterns on soft furnishes emerging over the past few seasons and now I’m totally obsessed with all things watercolour.posterlounge_watercolour_4When I watched The Sorry Girls DIY a watercolour apron and business cards, that’s when I couldn’t hold off any longer. With just a jar of water and a pan of school-grade watercolour paints, almost anything could be covered in washes of pastel colours and that made it an even more attractive trend for me; well, if I can do-it-myself and save some money, it’s a winner in my eyes.the-sorry-girls-diy-watercolour-business-cardsHere are some of my favourite watercolour looks from my Pinterest boards. I love dark moody blues and blotchy inky tones, and I think that the watercolour effect softens it a little. A rather masculine bachelor-pad look becomes a unisex effect with just a hint of a feathered edge or faded hue. The ink splodge design behind this desk is from Milexa and the dark scuffed wall behind the bed is from Murals Wallpaper.dark-blue-watercolours-murals-wallpaper-ideas-interior-design-inspirationI think that flowers, foliage, animals and birds look great when painted in watercolour. It lends a sense of movement and freedom to the images that you don’t get with printed media. Birds are definitely one of my favourite animals to include in home décor (I have little silver sparrows and a glass bird tealight holder that keep me company all day long) so images of common garden birds and delicate feathers are at the top of my framed art-work list. Plus, I think that bright watercolours can make a regular bird look really rather tropical, like in this painting (below.)posterlounge_watercolour_3posterlounge_watercolour_1

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5 Reasons why sunset is the best time of day

Blazing red sunsets, rainbow skies, dark silhouettes and pastel hues. All of these beautiful elements combine to make one of the most stunning features of the evening sky – the sunset. If you’ve never watched the sun setting over rolling countryside, perhaps this summer is the time to do it. It’s a really special moment when you spot an unexpected sunset, and it’s even more of an adventure to go out looking for a sunset and trying to capture it in a photograph. But it’s not just the gorgeous colours and inspirational scene that makes sunsets so special. Oh and for the purpose of this blog post I’ve not edited any of these sunset photos, I think natural is already beautiful enough! Read on to find out many more reasons why sunset is the best time of day.photography sunset golden hour photo sun silhouette photography sunset golden hour photo sun silhouette-3The cool down. After a scorching hot day – you know the type, where you have to shelter in the shade just to survive – the sunset comes as a relief. The warmth of the day is still in the air, so you can still wear your daytime dress, but the air cools down to that perfect ‘summer evening’ temperature. The setting sun is still on your face, but you don’t feel like you’re being burnt to a crisp. Seeing as I’m someone who easily burns, this is probably one of the main reasons why I like sunset so much – I can finally venture outside!photography sunset golden hour photo sun silhouette-13 photography sunset golden hour photo sun silhouette-7Photography. Perhaps the most obvious reason that sunset is a great time of day is simply taking photos of it. The stunning colours and clear cloud formations make it much more easy to capture a sunset than a sunrise, or even a daytime sky. At other times of day, you can end up with too much light infiltrating your frame, so images are less clear and colours less vivid. With a sunset, there’s plenty of interesting features (such as silhouettes of rooftops and trees) you can capture against the sky, as well as bright deep colours that show up better on camera than watery daytime tones.photography sunset golden hour photo sun silhouette-4photography sunset golden hour photo sun silhouette-12Lights twinkle. Continue reading “5 Reasons why sunset is the best time of day” »


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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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Tuesday Shoesday – Rather fabulous shoe quotes + prints

I wanted to share a quick blog post with you this Tuesday Shoesday after finding some rather cool prints on Etsy this week. I searched for “shoes + art” and I discovered a whole world of fabulous shoe-related quotes. I couldn’t NOT share these classy wall-art designs with you, and I hope you’ll like them as much as I do.

etsy shoe print art girl right shoes high heels tuesday shoesdayMarilyn Monroe quote from LoveLiWedpoem about shoes etsy shoe print high heels tuesday shoesday

Footwear poem from Bespoke Verseetsy shoe print art shoes high heels tuesday shoesday french quote little pleasures

Little pleasures from Lucy Bowes Designetsy shoe print art shoes high heels tuesday shoesday

 Bold font with gold foil touches from Coco & Dee Designetsy shoe print art shoes high heels tuesday shoesday inspiration

Downloadable print from The Olive Shoe

What do you think of these quotes and prints? Would you decorate your home with one of these? I think it would be great prop one up on my desk or to hang above beside my dressing table. Where would you put a shoe-related print? Leave me a comment below to let me know 🙂

 

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