Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog

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


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Could I be Cosmofairy? I need your help today!

Yikes, the nominations are almost over! There are only 2 days left to nominate for your favourite blogs in the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards 2014 and I would LOVE it if you could spare a minute to nominate my little blog in the Lifestyle Blog category! What do you think? Can you help me get nominated??

I’ll just leave the link to the Cosmo awards nomination here in case you fancy nominating ‘anyone’…

http://www.cosmopolitan.co.uk/blogs/cosmopolitan-blog-awards-2014/enter

If you DO click on the link, and happen to type in your email address, it would be great if you could also copy my URL http://cassiefairy.com into the nomination box and select the ‘Best Lifestyle Blog’ option..! In fact, it would be AMAZING!

Nominateme_2014

Please tweet me @Cassiefairy if you do nominate me so that I can thank you!! or leave me a comment below :)


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Cassiefairy in the press..!

I can’t believe it but my little lifestyle blog has been featured in the local newspaper! They’ve shared news of my National Blog Award and the celebration of my 1000th blog post alongside a massive photo of my face - eek scary! I’m suddenly famous in my local area, with neighbours and friends calling me to let me know that I’m in the paper and sending me links to the article online. Here’s a snap of the piece in the newspaper:cassiefairy in the newspaper national blog awards 2014

15 minutes of fame, here I come! I’ve even been emailed by the BBC to ask for a local radio interview, yikes! As someone who is much more comfortable writing than talking I’m not sure about that..! Still, I’m so pleased that the local media are interested in my website and its recent achievements and it’s pretty amazing that they would spend time writing about me. And now I’m writing about them… ;)

I’ve you’ve just visited my website after looking at the article, welcome! Please hang around and have a look at my other bits n bobs: all my design posts, DIY tutorials, fashion reports and recipes can be found in the menus above and all of my articles are listed in my sidebar, with links to recent posts, specific categories & my entire archive! Get in touch via twitter @Cassiefairy or email me cassie@cassiefairy.co.uk I’d love to hear from you!

 


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Pieday Friday – My 1000th blog post celebration cake!

I did it! I’m not talking about making a cake (although for me that is a massive achievement in itself) but I’m talking about making it to 1000 blog posts! And you’re reading it right now! It’s great so far, huh?

1000th blog post celebration cake for Cassiefairy

I feel like I should really put a lot of effort into writing a witty, engaging, sometimes emotional post to really commemorate the occasion. But to be honest, after 1000 blog posts, I’m rather tired! Never tired of writing, oh no! But it’s made me realise just how many hours of work and how many days I’ve spent in front of this laptop screen over the last 3 years. Phew, I need a holiday! A couple of years ago, I remember taking part in the National Blog Posting Month ‘NaBloPoMo’ challenge to write an blog post each day for a month. I got through those 30 days and really rather enjoyed the challenge, so I just carried on with daily posting. You’d think that I would run out of things to say, but I haven’t yet had writers block and I think that the regular practice has actually made me a better writer in general. At least, I hope so!

You may remember couple of months ago that I celebrated my 3 year anniversary with a big chocolate chip celebration cake? Well, to be completely honest with you, that cake wasn’t the tastiest. Probably because I didn’t quite follow the recipe that I shared: I was a bit low on eggs and I’d read that you could replace an egg with apple sauce in cake recipes, so I did. And it did not taste good. So rather than celebrating by stuffing my face with cake, I actually put it out for the birds. And even they left it. There can’t be any rats in my garden because it stayed untouched overnight and ended up in the bin. Or, worse still, there might be rats but my cake was SO bad that even the rats wouldn’t eat it…  Anyway, if you follow the ‘actual’ recipe on the blog and don’t substitute apple sauce for eggs, you’ll get a lovely cake. It was only me that was disappointed with the outcome and I couldn’t celebrate ‘properly’ the big 3 years milestone.

So this time, I’m doing it right and leaving nothing to chance – it’s a normal Victoria sponge cake with yummy buttercream icing and loads of jam. What can possibly go wrong? I have all the right ingredients this time, so fingers crossed it’ll taste nice. Here’s the recipe for my 1000th blog post celebration cake:celebration victoria sponge cake decorating with buttercream icing tutorial

Ingredients: 200g caster sugar, 200g softened butter, 4 eggs, 200g self-raising flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 2 tbsp milk

Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Grease two 20cm sandwich tins and line with greaseproof paper. Whisk all the cake ingredients together until you have a smooth, soft batter. Pour into the two tins and bake for 20 minutes until golden and the ‘cocktail stick test’ comes out clean & non-sticky. Allow to cool before spreading with buttercream (cream icing sugar with butter and a drop of vanilla essence) and jam in the middle, stacking up and covering with more buttercream and loads of pretty sprinkles. I think this cake looks like an exploding firework! I just hope it tastes as good as it looks ;)

Rainbow sprinkles birthday cake recipe

Now I have a lovely cake to munch on today as I celebrate my 1000th blog post and give myself a cheeky pat on the back for my Highly Commended Award in Retail and Fashion at the UK National Blog Awards last week (still can’t believe it!). All in all, I’m having a pretty good year in terms of blogging and I intend to keep up the hard work for the foreseeable future  – or for as long as you want to carry on reading my ramblings, at least!


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Tuesday Shoesday ~ YOUR shoes

If someone asked you to show them your favourite shoes, which pair would you pick and why? That’s exactly what I’ve asked my lovely readers to do and I’m pleased to report that lots of bloggers were able to answer that difficult question! I’ve compiled the images that all you fabulous fashionistas have been sending in to share with you all this Tuesday Shoesday. It’s been SO interesting to see how different their favourite footwear is and to read the reasons why these shoes have made the top of their list. If you’d like to join in with the discussion, why not send me a pair of your favourite shoes and be featured in a future Tuesday Shoesday article? Email me Cassie@Cassiefairy.co.uk and in the meantime have a read of all these fabulous stories:

Vicki from hen party planners Dizzy Events sent me the photo below of a pair of Mary Jane heels that she bought from Topshop years ago; “I have LOADS of shoes, far too many in fact but these always stand out because of the memories attached to them. My best friend Taya (co-thinker-upper of Dizzy Events) and I decided on a whim one Friday night that we’d meet outside Topshop on Oxford Street, ignore our diminutive bank balances and buy a pair of shoes. She bought a red pair and I bought these. Then we went out-out. It’s always remembered as The Night Of The Whimsical New Shoes and I don’t think we’ll ever be able to do that again, now that we’re older and responsible with our money (sort of).  They’re my favourite Impulse Shoes.” What a fabulous story – I need to go shopping for impulse shoes more often!

tuesday shoesday blogger favourite shoes dizzy events and brogues from remotely fashion

I first encountered writer and stylist Miriam during her inspirational talk at London Fashion Weekend where she and graphic designer Siobhan discussed their corner of the blogosphere Remotely Fashion and blogging within the fashion industry. They are the worthy winners of The Clothes Show Live Fashion Blogger of the Year Award so I was pretty excited to see which shoes Miriam had chosen as her favourites – these gold brogues above; “Now in their 7th year, they’re looking a little bit worse for wear, but I have yet to find a suitable replacement for my ‘dancers’!” I am completely in love with my brogues too so I know how she feels!

The creative ladies from The New Craft Society and winners of Cosmopolitan’s Best Craft Blog award got in touch to share their joint favourite shoes – Hannah and Rosie both chose their comfy Vans trainers; “We both love our Vans because they’re so easy to throw on and go. R’s are in a limited edition Liberty print whereas H’s are more basic and significantly more worn! When holes start to appear in the toes you know it’s time for a new pair!” Very true! I get through a few pairs of cheapie trainers each year, so I’ve been inspired to splash out on a decent pair this summer – especially if I can find some as beautiful as these!

tuesday shoesday favourite shoes from glitter daze and the new craft society trainers

Jenna from Glitter Daze blog couldn’t decide between her two favourite pairs of shoes – so she sent me photos of both: “I love both these pairs – the diamante pair because they are sparkly and I got them in the January sales, and the grey pair because they are so comfortable and I wore them to a friends wedding last year which I loved.” Jenna is a finalist in the wedding category of the National Blog Awards so perhaps she’ll wear one of these gorgeous pairs to the awards ceremony in April?!

Lucy from inspirational blog LucyLovesYa got in touch to share her favourite pair of trainers. If you’ve already read her blog, you’ll know how much she loves Converse and that she has quite a collection going on, so it must have been difficult to choose just one pair! “Being a mega Converse fan, my eyes popped out of my head when I saw these! I so wanted to be Wonder Woman when I was little. Just daren’t wear them too much incase they get ruined :)” I completely understand because I too had a lovely pair of cute patterned Babycham trainers that I liked so much that I didn’t want to ruin them by wearing them, but now they have tucked away in their shoebox for the past 3 years and have barely been on my feet so maybe it’s time to get them out again!

tuesday shoesday lucy loves ya and confessions of a fashion stylist blog shoes

Industry professional Janelle from Confessions of a Fashion Stylist sent me these photos of her stunning metallic strappy heels – bang on trend for Spring/Summer 2014 and super-glamourous! She says “I love these shoes because they’re perfect for a dressy look or add an instant touch of glam to a casual look.  I pair these with boyfriend jeans and a clutch as one of my favourite looks.” The metallic trend is massive right now so I’m super-jealous of these gorgeous sandals – although I’m not sure I could walk in those killer heels!

Photographer Claire from Lacey in Places shared some lovely images of her top pumps below along with a story of her childhood recollections of where her passion for shoes began; “When I was little, every weekend I used to look forward to visiting my grand parents so I could watch the Wizard of Oz on video tape. I managed to successfully beg my mum for a shiny, patent pair of red t-bar shoes from Clarks. I used to pretend I was Dorothy, being transported to a new land to meet scarecrow, tin man and the lion, then clicking my heels to go home. I hadn’t owned a pair of red shoes for years, until my friend Becky bought me these red Dune shoes. I fell in love with them, they are soo comfy and I love the splash of colour they add to any outfit. These shoes have been with me to so many new lands as I love to explore new places from Morocco, the Caribbean to trips closer to home.  I have many happy memories whilst wearing these shoes, including celebrating my 30th Birthday at work, where my friends decided to advertise how old I was!!”
tuesday shoesday favourite shoes lacey in places
In summary: Comfort is key, with lots of contributers sending in photographs of their trainers or their old faithful shoes. When heels have been chosen it’s because they are a comfortable pair of heels and the wearer can dance the night away in them. You may notice that I haven’t actually shared my favourite shoes with you, and that’s because I simply cannot choose between them! But I will make a shortlist and share them in a future blog post. I know that a few more readers are in the process of sending me photos and stories about their favourite shoes so I’m going to share another article about YOUR favourite shoes during April. If you’ve been inspired to contribute after reading all these stores above please send me your photos to cassie@cassiefairy.co.uk – I can’t wait to see what shoes YOU love the most!


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Building your own personal brand ~ brand purpose & the next step

I might be a little bit slow to catch on but I’ve just found out that most of the world has been calling Wednesdays ‘Hump Day’. I’ve heard it a few times and some of the US-based books I’ve been reading have been referring to hump day, but I’ve only just googled it and found out the meaning of this nickname. It’s always been a mystery to me as to why I have less oomph on a Wednesday and sometimes get into a big sulk because I don’t want to do any work – but now I know that everyone else is feeling the same and that that there’s even a ‘technical’ term for it, so it’s not just me, phew! In honour of hump day, I’ve procrastinated this morning and had a reading session rather than getting on with writing this blog post, but I’m here now and ready to roll. So welcome to another Hump Day and I hope you’re feeling as optimistic about getting over the ‘hump’ of Wednesday into the downhill slide towards the weekend as I am. It’s a particularly fun weekend coming up for me because it’s Valentine’s Day on Friday which will mean I get at least a few hours of my husband’s undivided attention. I also have a fun first-weekend-in-half-term planned which includes a car boot sale rummage, afternoon tea with my husband’s family and a naughty night out with my BFF and her boyfriend. After this little glimpse into the impending weekend I think I can cope with this hump day well.

Anyway, onto the topic in hand. A couple of weeks ago I told you all that I’d just finished my leisure-learning course on Secret Power of Brands - a degree-level course from the University of East Anglia. Although I enjoyed the course, it was very business-focussed throughout and I learnt a lot about the history and methods of branding. It wasn’t until the very last lesson that my imagination was sparked by the content – creating your own personal brand. Now this was relevant to me! And, I figured, was quite relevant to a few of you too. So I posted a little article about the course and was overwhelmed by the response from fellow bloggers, writers and pals who were making over their CVs and online profiles. I couldn’t leave it there and went on to share all of the questions needed to determine the three elements of building a personal brand:

Each of the segments above have a number of questions to answer in order to determine your answer to each section – click on the links above to complete the questions for yourself and you’ll find it easier to find out what your passions, skills and positions are. I am particularly lazy with doing self-help tasks like this and probably wouldn’t have actually completed these questions if I hadn’t been blogging about it, so if you really feel like you can’t be bothered, maybe write down your answers in a blog post and send me the link to share – at least you’ll feel like you’re doing something worthwhile with your time rather than just faffing around with branding jargon. The questions really did help me focus on myself and my abilities and has even led me in a slightly new direction in my work and I’m hoping to incorporate it into my blog as I go on – so I’d really recommend that you have a go at doing it! Once you have the answers to the questions you’ll have determined your brand purpose and can work on showing it off to the world. Here’s an example of what Richard Branson’s three segments would look like so that you can get an idea of how each section contributes to the overall brand purpose:

richard bransons personal brand purpose UEA

Sorry about the blurry image – it’s a slideshow from FutureLearn

My segments are: I am passionate about sustainable living and saving money through thrift and recycling/upcycling. I am good at communicating, research and sharing knowledge through writing. The world needs to know about the impact of making ethical decisions and the importance of creativity. My brand purpose is therefore: Create and communicate written content which encourages an economically and ecologically friendly lifestyle. So you can expect to see more of this on the blog soon! I know I already share bits here and there about recycling, thrift and charity in all areas of life but now that I have a brand purpose, it will influence most of my work and I will be more likely to create cohesive content – plus I’ll feel that my work is more worthwhile. Or at least I hope it will be!

At this stage the course sums up by suggesting looking at how you can implement your brand purpose in the future. For me, it’s as simple as making positive changes to the blog. But for people in other roles, who may be writing a CV or thinking about a change in career direction based on their brand purpose, it’s about making the positive changes happen. So here’s what to do next::

  • Appoint your own personal advisory board – choose six people who can help you achieve your ambition, ask each one if they will be on your informal ‘board’, usually they’re delighted to!
  • Ask for help with things you’re unsure of and see if one of your ‘board’ would become a mentor for you.
  • Publish yourself – get your ideas out into the world and your content will earn you respect
  • Coordinate your personal profiles online so that they all point towards a shared direction for your personal ‘brand’

I really hope that the sharing of my progress through the personal branding section of the course has helped you and if you’re interested in taking the course for yourself, the UEA are running it again as a completely free online course via Future Learn - it starts on 24th Feb and you can complete it at home and in your own time. I just want to point out that I’m not sharing a sponsored link or promoting the course or anything like that, I’m just sharing the info so that you guys don’t miss out if you fancy doing it for yourself! Let me know how you get on with implementing your own personal brand and drop me a line if you need a helping hand with anything – I’m always here to help! :)