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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Plumbing problems + how to find the answers online

One of the things that worries me most about renovating a home is the plumbing. Even though we’ve fitted a DIY ‘beach hut’ style bathroom in the past, I’ve never before needed to move a bath or toilet into a new position. But with limited space in our bathroom and a very dodgy layout where the sink is halfway over the bath, it really does need rejigging!

Check out my last bathroom makeover with a coastal theme

Even though I know it’ll look great in the end, the plumbing side of things is really confusing to me. I can connect taps, seal wastes and clean out pipes, but when it comes to fitting showers and moving water supplies I have no clue! So when is it best to call in a professional? What jobs can I do myself? I don’t want to create a health and safety nightmare in my own bathroom! 

I gave my old sink a facelift with just some new taps

So I’ve been doing my research by reading blogs and watching plumbing videos on YouTube and it’s certainly been a good start to my journey from amateur to pro. Okay, I exaggerate, but at least what my research has done has cleared up what I can and can’t do myself! I read some research on DIY by Slater & Gordon Lawyers and it showed that only 5% of women would be prepared to take on plumbing projects compared with 25% of men. Now, I’m happy having a go at some plumbing but there’s no way I’m doing any soldering of copper pipes. I wouldn’t want to buy all the kit for a start, and I’m not sure I’d do it particularly well – I’m quite slapdash at the best of times! So any kind of heating or hot water work is definitely not my bag! But plumbing using plastic pipes seems to be straightforward enough and I can get an idea of how water systems run around a room. 

I’ve even replaced a bath before – with Cookie’s help, obviously!

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Bathroom design mistakes (and how to avoid them)

Refitting or redesigning your bathroom can be quite an exciting process and is something that can add a great deal of value to your property. However, bathroom fitting and design mistakes can be costly – and tricky to rectify. I’ve researched a list of the most common bathroom design mistakes so I’ve had a look through this and have added my own ideas too. Hopefully this will help me to avoid making similar mistakes when I’m decorating my own home in the future, and will save us all money in the long run. Right, let’s get into that list now, shall we? black-and-white-bathroom-design-inspiration

Bathroom flooring inspiration on PinkPeppermintDesign.com

Mistake 1: Not sticking to a budget.

This is the first and most essential point to consider when arranging your fitted bathroom. Your budget should dictate everything else, so you don’t end up overspending or unable to finish the project. Make sure you spec out all of the costs, including:

  • Cost of design
  • All fixtures and fittings
  • The cost of installation
  • Any plumbing work, including water pressure, waterproofing and drainage

You should have enough budget to cover everything you need – and a little spare in case any unforeseen issues come to light.

Mistake 2: Failing to consider your lifestyle

Once you’ve got your budget, you really need to think about how you are planning to use the bathroom –  you don’t want something slick and modern if you’ve got to wash the dog every week! Ask yourself – and anyone else who lives there – how you want to use the space, including how much time you’ll spend in there and what you want to have access to. You also need to think about how you might use the space in the future. If you’re planning on having children, you may want to include features such as baths now to avoid additional work further down the line.bathroom-storage-home-decor-inspiration

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A beach bathroom makeover on a budget

With more sunny days than not in recent weeks, my thoughts have turned to summer holidays. While I’m not actually planning to jet off anywhere luxurious for a beach holiday, I DO want to inject a little holiday fun into my life. But how can I do it when I’m having a staycation, I hear you ask? Well, I’ll tell you. I’m giving my tiny bathroom a mini-makeover and in a few short hours it’ll be a bathroom fit for a holiday. Here’s how I did it without so much as a lick of paint..!

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Bath v Shower – You decide!

When it comes to bathroom planning, which is best? It’s a home-owners’ dilemma and one that I want to get to the bottom of today. Maybe you could help me; What do you think is the best choice for a bathroom? If you were fitting a bathroom from scratch, what would you choose? Which is the most practical or which would you not want to go without? I’m having a think about all these questions as I write today’s interior design inspiration blog post and I’d love to get your feedback.

Ideal-Standard-shower inspiratio design ideasAre showers best?

This debate popped into my head this weekend and it’s all down to my Easter holiday. I took a trip to Yorkshire and stayed in a couple of places – one was a hotel and the other was a holiday cottage. Both of these locations were comfortable, gorgeously decorated and had a bath. There was a joyful moment as I checked out these bathrooms and discovered the bath, as it meant that I knew I had a relaxing session of bathing ahead of me.bathroom blue tiles trend inspiration

Do you prefer a bath?

I think it’s the fact that we only have a shower at home that got me so excited about the prospect of having a bath. I didn’t actually realise that I missed owning a bath so much until I saw them in the hotel and cottage. I guess you don’t think about it day-to-day, you just live with what you’ve got. But, in fact, I do enjoy having a proper fitted shower at home…bathroom bath v shower ideas for home

images courtesy of SuperBath

Prior to my current home we had only a bath, which meant that washing took much longer and needed to be planned out in advance by turning the water heater on. So when I got a shower in my current home, I was in heaven! I’ve never washed so regularly in my life – two showers in one day? why not! So why was I so excited about the bath I saw in that hotel en suite? Let’s look at the pros and cons of bath v shower…

Bath Pros

  1. Chill out time is guaranteed; there’s no such thing as a ‘quick bath’ and you can read a book or magazine.
  2. It’s a great winter activity – being surrounded by warm water is very luxurious when it’s frosty outside.
  3. You can wash your kids/dog/sheep in the bath.
  4. I get to buy lots of delicious-smelling bath bombs from Lush.
  5. A bath makes your bathroom feel luxurious and more like a hotel.

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Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside ~ Fitting the bath

I’ve been worrying about fitting my new bath for a while now. When I first ordered the new bath I was confident that we could easily do a DIY bath replacement and I was sure that it would look amazing after we’d finished it. But ever since the bath arrived, my confidence began to disappear and worry took over. I took a second look at the bath and realised that it didn’t have any tap holes. Is that a deliberate mistake? Where do I put the taps?! I look at the item specifics on the website and this is completely normal – the tap holes were to be drilled by the installer. This reassured me, as I thought I’d made a stupid rookie DIYer error and ordered the wrong thing! But thankfully, as an acrylic bath it could be easily drilled to accommodate the taps. new bath and taps from bella bathrooms-3 new bath and taps from bella bathrooms-5

From investigating the tap situation online, I started looking into DIY factsheets about how to fit a bath. And that’s when I really started to get scared. The DIY instructions were far removed from my initial imaginings that I would just unscrew the existing bath panel and simply swap the old bath for a new one! There were all kinds of details for shutting off water supply (which I’ve never needed to do before!), earthing the pipes, and something about water supply contamination – scary stuff! I worried on my own for about an hour as I read up on bath fitting techniques and then I asked my husband whether we’d bitten off more than we could chew. Absolutely not, he reassured me. He’d installed sinks and showers before and told me that a bath is just a ‘big sink’, so he’s be more than capable. However, I insisted that he called his father for help and we decided that the three of us would tackle the job together with a bit of common sense and a lot of following instructions. DIY fitting a new bath_-8 DIY fitting a new bath_-9 DIY fitting a new bath_-10

So we made a start by removing the old bath. Of course, Cookie came to ‘help’ and as soon as we’d removed the old bath panel she was under the bath ‘dusting’ away the cobwebs with her fluffy tail. What is it with cats and dark spaces?? I was hoping that we’d be able to keep the white tiles around the bath and imagined lifting one bath out and a new bath in, but this wasn’t quite the case. After the tiles began pinging off the wall, I resigned myself to the fact that we’d need to replace the tiles and we really got stuck in with ripping out the old bath. DIY fitting a new bath_-11 DIY fitting a new bath_-13 After we’d cleared the space, I decided that cladding the wall around the bath with a wood surround would look great alongside the storage unit we’d already built. We’d already decided that they new bath panel would be made from the same shuttering that we’ rescued from a skip (anything to save some cash, eh?!) and I thought that a white-washed surround would be ideal to create the ‘beach hut’ look that I was trying to achieve. So after a lot more sanding, I glued lengths of the wooden shuttering to the wall using a grab adhesive and allowed this to dry before painting one coat of white paint to create a limed effect. Now that the room was ready, the next step was actually installing the bath… DIY fitting a new bath_-17 DIY fitting a new bath_-15 DIY fitting a new bath_-2I’m pleased to report that all my worrying and wobbling was completely unnecessary. As soon as we began to fit the new bath, it became clear that I’d fallen into the self-diagnosis-online trap and had become a plumbing hypochondriac. It wasn’t the massive week-long job I’d imagined it to be and we managed to fit it within a day. There was much more siliconing than I’d imagined (did you know that even the bath waste plug hole needs to be siliconed in?) but at least this ensured that nothing is leaking! The bath came with adjustable feet but hubby suggested that we also ‘hang’ the bath on a frame around the walls for additional support and by the time we’d finished we had a sturdy, level bath that was more stable than the original!

DIY fitting a new bath_ Our fabulous new bath from Bella Bathrooms

The bath was finished off with a panel of the same shuttering wood across the front and I’m still deciding on whether to white-wash this panel and the floor or not. A particularly scary moment was when we turned the water supply back on and tried the taps for the first time. Of course, there wasn’t anything to worry about as my husband had carefully fitted all the pipes, washers and silicone in the plug hole etc but it didn’t stop me checking for leaks! Thankfully, everything was fine and not a drop of water escaped so the final thing was to remove the plastic covering of the bath – like peeling off the cover of a new phone screen, but even better! We did it together and stepped back to admire our new bath.

DIY fitting a new bath_-7 DIY fitting a new bath_-6

I’ll be sure to share more photos of the ‘finished’ bathroom soon, so watch this space!


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Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside ~ bathing beauty

My new bath has arrived! This week I took delivery of a new bath and I am so pleased with the product that arrived. I know that I needed to replace my old enamel bath because it was chipped and cracked and parts of it were rusting, but I also didn’t want to spend a small fortune on a new bath – especially when all the other elements of my thrifty bathroom makeover have been found in skips or eco-friendly options. I therefore decided to shop online at Bella Bathrooms where I found out that I could get exactly the right bath for my needs for a fraction of the cost, phew!

new bath and taps from bella bathrooms

I chose a low price acrylic bath and hoped that it would be sturdy enough when it arrived. I was not disappointed! Gone are the days of flimsy wobbly acrylic baths – this one is reinforced with fibreglass and seems to be just as strong as my old enamel bath. The benefit of choosing an acrylic bath is that it is easy to clean, will keep the bath water warmer for longer as it’s not coming into contact with a cold metal bath, and it won’t chip and rust like the old one did. I was also able to find a slightly smaller bath that fit the exact dimensions of the space – while measuring up I found out that the width I have for my bath is 10cm shorter than any ‘standard’ bath – but luckily it only cost a couple of pounds more to get this non-standard size.

new bath and taps from bella bathrooms-2 new bath and taps from bella bathrooms-3

I also chose a more narrow bath than my old one, so it fills up with water more quickly and uses less water to get a good depth of bath water – another eco-friendly feature in my bathroom! In terms of taps I went for a set of taps with a shower mixer attachment as we don’t have an electric shower in out home and it would be much more convenient than the ‘push-over-the-taps’ shower head from Poundland that we’ve been using until now!

new bath and taps from bella bathrooms-5 new bath and taps from bella bathrooms-4

Bath taps with shower mixer from Bella Bathrooms

Today is that day that we’ll be fitting it in the bathroom so I’m looking forward to seeing the finished result and taking a relaxing soak in my new bath. I don’t quite know how the installation will go – we’ve got the get the old bath out first, eek! – but I will be sure to let you know how I get on and share photos of the finished room soon!


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Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside! DIY sewing project: towels for the bathroom

Yes, I do know that it’s possible to buy towels and I’m honestly not buying towelling fabric and making my own. But what I have been doing is sewing a little extra trim onto my old towels to make them fit in better with the whole look of the new bathroom. In truth, I had some fabric left over from making the blinds and I wanted to use it up rather than throw it away. I did a couple of sewing projects for the kitchen with it (I’ll share these soon) but I still had a few lengths left and wanted to include them in the bathroom. There’s not much call for soft furnishings in a bathroom, so apart from the blind I was a little stumped about how to use this fabric. Then my eye settled on my old beige towels. The ones we’ve had for years and that I’d earmarked for throwing out to make way for new towels that would match the beach hut theme.

It’s absolutely not like me to throw anything away and of course, these old towels would have probably been turned into kitchen rags or polishing cloths rather than being chucked out, but now I was looking at them with a glint in my eye. Could I make them into something suitable for my new bathroom? The beige colour was starting to look like sand to me, and the leftover lighthouse fabric was just screaming out to be used. So I spent an hour at my ironing board, making a thick bias binding from the lighthouse fabric and I stitched it onto the ends of the old towels. I’d previously learnt how to make bias binding from a tutorial online so here’s how I did it in case you want to stitch a towel makeover for yourself:

Cutting: Cut a length of fabric which is three times the width that you want the finished trim to be and a little longer than the width of your towel. I chose to make a 3 inch trim so I measured 9 inches of fabric and cut out this strip. DIY sewing bias binding project for bathroom towels

Ironing: I then folded it in half with wrong sides facing and ironed a crease into the middle of the strip. Then, to turn it into a bias binding, I turned 1.5 inches over at the top of each side and ironed these edges too.

Sewing: I placed the edge crease 3 inches from the hem of the towel and pinned the binding strip to the towel with wrong side facing up. I straight stitched with a sewing matching along the crease. DIY sewing bias binding project for bathroom towels-5Folding: I then folded the binding strip over the edge of the towel so that the right sides are out and pinned the folded edge crease to the towel before sewing along this edge with straight stitch to seal the binding.

Finishing: At the ends of the strip, I folded the excess under the binding and then hand stitched the opening closed.DIY sewing bias binding project for bathroom towels-8

I repeated these steps for the second towel and after only an hour and a half I had ‘new’ custom-made towels that matched my blind and fitted in with my new seaside bathroom theme perfectly! I am so pleased that these towels were saved from the brink of the bin and have now been upcycled into something that I won’t find anywhere else.

The trouble with doing a makeover in your home is that no sooner than you have fixed one problem – the wall, the floor, the storage – another essential DIY project raises its head. Maybe it just because the whole bathroom is looking so fresh and new that I’m now looking at the other problems with more critical eyes. Whatever the reason, I have noticed how bad my bath actually is and that I could definitely do with a more efficient ventilation solution from Rocburn to remove the damp and steamy air from the room – the existing vent goes into the loft and does nothing! In terms of the bath, I think it’ll have to be a replacement because I don’t think I’ll be able to repair it.

It’s an old steel bath that was already here when we moved in and to be honest it had already seen better days back then; it has cracks in the enamel and some chips are actually rusting through. It’s been a battle of the bleach to keep it clean and no amount of scrubbing has brought those tarnished taps back to life. So I’m going to do some research and see whether it is even possible to get a replacement bath on my tiny budget. To be fair, it’s only a tiny bath too – we have less space than the standard 1700mm bath – so surely that’ll mean a cheaper bath, right? At the very least, I would like to replace the taps because not only are they really badly corroded, but at the moment the paddle-handle means that our cats sometimes turn the tap on by themselves. I don’t know how they do it, but sometimes the tap is mysteriously running after our cats casually saunter out of the bathroom. Plus, we have no shower so we’re currently using the old pound-shop solution of a push-on-the-taps-and-hope-it-doesn’t-leak shower head. And yes, it sprays everywhere! So a mixer tap with shower head attached would be a dream.

I will be sure to keep you updated on my progress and post all about any new projects for my bathroom soon.


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Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside ~ Thrifty & eco-friendly bathroom accessories

After finishing the storage wall in our bathroom and laying a wooden floor, this week has been all about painting more coats of whitewash on the wood (it just keeps soaking in!), and having a look around for some fab accessories to compliment the new beach-hut-esque look of the bathroom.

We started the project with good intentions to reuse what we already have (because the sink and toilet are absolutely fine) and to recycle discarded materials, and we are now starting to see how it IS possible to create a thrifty bathroom makeover that doesn’t have to cost a fortune. So far we’ve spent £11 on a huge pot of white paint, have needed to buy a few wooden batons to support the cupboard structure (about £5) and some hinges for the cabinet doors (£1.99). We already had some grab adhesive in the shed, but even factoring this into the price at £4 per tube and we are still looking at under £30 to get to this stage.

I’m especially proud of the free wood that we found in a skip and even though it looked terrible with a crusty concrete tidemark on the sides, it was quite satisfying to get to work scraping off the concrete, wire brushing off the debris and sanding the wood down to end up with a useable material that would have otherwise cost us about £100 for the same stuff. Considering we were looking at cheap stick-on vinyl flooring that would have cost £70 alone, I am rather chuffed with this!

So after a very thrifty, upcycling start, I wanted to be sure that any accessories that we brought into the bathroom were equally purse-friendly with good eco-credentials. Although it’s not the most exciting of topics, I knew we needed a new toilet because our old plastic blue one had clearly seen better days. I actually intended to keep it and make do – okay it was a bit wobbly and slightly dangerous but I’d lived with it so far… That was until I spotted a rather lovely (?!) loo seat on the John Lewis website. Of course, the first thing that caught my eye was that it was in the clearance section = bargain! The second feature was the natural woodgrain which would look great with the shelf above the toilet so I clicked through to read the description. I’m pleased to tell you that this toilet seat has excellent eco credentials! Yes, it’s made from rubberwood, which is a by-product of the latex industry. So rather than any of the tree going to waste, the wood has been used to create my loo seat!

eco friendly rubberwood toilet seat-2

Of course, after adding this to my shopping basket, I went for a little look around the website and found a couple of other items that I liked; firstly I spotted a striped guest towel that I thought would add a nautical vibe to the room. Secondly, and more importantly, I found myself needing this bath bridge. I’ve always wanted one, ever since watching the Darling Buds of May and seeing Ma & Pop Larkin having their dinner on a tray across the bath. I also thought it would be a good idea to stop my book getting wet while reading in the bath (the rack has a book stand) and it’s somewhere for me to put my glass of wine (also has a glass-holder slot, yay!). But of course, I wouldn’t get something just because I wanted it – it needed to be an earth-friendly product and luckily this one is just that. It’s made from bamboo which is a fast-growing, rapidly replenishing material, which is both lightweight and strong, so it’s an excellent alternative to wood and will fit in perfectly with my beach design. While I was there, I picked up this striped towel in seaside shades from a great range of patterned towels at John Lewis. It’s really lifted the room and links in with the colours on the photowall.

eco friendly bamboo bath bridge shelf_ eco friendly bamboo bath bridge shelf_-2

And finally, this week I picked up a striped beach hut cabinet at the carboot sale for just £1 and although I’m not sure where in the bathroom it will end up, at the moment it’s on the window sill, holding our toothbrushes and keeping them out of the reach of our cats (who love to rub against a bristly brush!). I was adamant that I didn’t want a load of cheesy seaside nick-nacks in the bathroom but at such a low price I had to give in and I actually think it’s quite classy with the dark blue stripe.

beath hut cupboard trifted from a car boot sale beath hut cupboard trifted from a car boot sale-2

I’m sure there will be more additions to come this week as the bathroom is still very much a work-in-progress so check back soon for more bathroom decorating ideas 🙂


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Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside… Design inspiration for a coastal bathroom makeover

Over the school summer holidays I made a start on my bathroom makeover. As you may have already read on my blog, I’ve been inspired to create a Hollister-esque sea-view theme in the smallest room in the house, with the aim of making it appear bigger. So far I have pasted a large-scale coastal photograph over the entire bathroom wall (which took a lot of choosing, believe me!) and the perspective of the image lends an added depth to the room. Now my attention has turned to the rest of the bathroom, and I can’t believe I never noticed just how shabby it is!

Here are some photos of the bathroom in its current state – please ignore the tools! We’ve bee measuring up and making plans this week and I can’t wait to get stared on improving this tatty room. Okay, I’ve actually lived in worse bathrooms, and I have just been pleased to have a bathroom which is clean, isn’t mouldy (I’ve already sorted out that problem!) and the paint isn’t flaking off the walls. But now that I’ve made a start with the photowall, I want to add a little extra design flair to other parts of the room even though I’m on a super-tight budget.

I really like the built-in cupboards using rustic wood (image from House to Home) and this white wood panelling reminds me of a beach hut (image from John Lewis). I would like to combine these two ideas to clad the wall behind the toilet with white-washed wood. This will cover the exposed pipes and unsightly plastic cistern, and the depth of the false ‘wall’ will provide space for much-needed storage with internal shelves hidden behind the wooden façade. I really want to create the feeling of being inside a beach hut, looking out at the sea – so a wooden floor is a must! I’ve been pinning away on my bathroom decorating board so please check it out on Pinterest to get a good idea of the look I’m trying to achieve on a tight budget.

trend moodboard for a beach hut inspired coastal bathroom

It need not cost a lot of money to make over this small space – as long as I can get hold of some second-hand wood (maybe pallets?) and a tub of paint, I am confident that my husband’s wood-working skills and my slap-it-on-and-see decorating technique will make our bathroom much more appealing. I enjoy searching out a bargain using second-hand websites such as Exchange and Mart in order to find low-cost DIY and household items so I’m hoping to find much of what I need for the makeover there. If I keep an eye on the website, I might even be able to find a new bath panel and taps, which would be great!

I’ve created a moodboard using ‘Scandi’ and ‘Maison’ trend images from John Lewis to keep us on track with the ‘look’ for the bathroom and have included some products that have made my shopping wish list, including essentials such as the natural wood toilet seat and a porthole style bathroom light. I couldn’t resist adding a couple of luxury items to my shopping list, including new towels (love this ‘Stardust’ striped range!) and a bath tray. This item is actually what’s keeping me going with the bathroom project; the thought of relaxing in my bath with a glass of wine on my bath bridge tray and a good book is what’s urging me on to finish the makeover soon!

I will be hunting out the raw materials for the makeover ASAP and will post an update of progress soon, so stay tuned 🙂

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