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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Bloggers – Learning digital marketing IS important!

Ever wondered why some blog posts go viral, why some content is shared more than others and why you’re seeing the same things being pinned over and over again? Do you ever get just a little jealous that a fellow blogger’s article on ‘5 tips for a happy life’ is getting hundreds more hits than the similar post you wrote yourself a few months ago? There can be a lot of factors affecting the popularity of the posts, but only one thing affects the visibility of articles online and that’s SEO.blogger digital marketing and learning seo tips-2

It’s the difference between your blog post being presented to new readers on Google or being skipped over entirely by the search engines. You may have content that fits exactly what a reader is searching for, but if you’ve given the search engines no clues that your article is relevant, it still won’t show up your blog post. And with thousands and thousands of blog posts being published everyday, search engine optimising is extremely important in getting your wonderful content out to those readers.

As long as SEO remains a mystery – something technical and jargon-filled – bloggers and small businesses will continue to shy away from it. There are, of course, companies out there who will do your SEO for you but the kind of SEO agency that I could afford to work with to improve my SEO would probably make my situation worse by building poor-quality links and end up being penalised by Google. In fact, a recent survey of 1000 small businesses indicates that 15% of them have actually been negatively impacted by the service they received from their SEO provider so why risk paying someone to help with your SEO when you can learn all the techniques yourself.blogger digital marketing and learning seo tips

When you understand digital marketing and all the methods that the search engines use to rank your blog post or page, you can easily make small changes to your own content to make it fit in with the requirements of the search engines to help your content become more visible. And Simply changing your title tags will make a difference immediately, and you can see how it affects your  search engine result page (SERP) position within a day or two because your page will rise up in the ranks (or drop – don’t worry, it can be undone by putting the old tags back!) within 24-36 hours.

It might take time to implement all the changes you want to make, but once you know what you’re doing, you can make a few adjustments each time you sit down to work on your blog and over the course of a few months you’ll see a good increase in the level of traffic to your website. If you’re interested in learning digital marketing techniques, it’s a good idea to seek out private SEO tuition rather than joining a generic class, as you will be more likely to learn methods that are relevant for your particular type of business or blog. That way you can focus on learning the key aspects of SEO that you can action in everyday life, such as keyword density and internal linking, and not waste your valuable time on.

Once you’ve learned how to do your own digital marketing, you’ll be able to make sure that all new content is optimised, and can work back over previous posts to ensure that they reach new readers. Your blog traffic will increase and you’ll be the blogger whose content is everywhere!

 


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I really couldn’t believe it when an email dropped into my inbox telling me that I’d been shortlisted in the Amara Interior Blog Awards 2015! Yes, my little thrifty blog has been shortlisted in the DIY & Craft Category and I am chuffed to bits! I know I’ve been sharing lots of interior inspiration and project posts over the past couple of years but didn’t really consider myself to be any kind of specialist on the subject – I’ve just been updating you on what I’ve been doing to my home since we moved here three years ago – but I’m so thrilled that someone nominated me and that Amara have included me in the awards this year. It’s simply amazing news, and I am delighted. The Cheshire Cat has nothing on my grin right now!eco friendly bamboo bath bridge shelf_-2diy painting and installing small shed - duck egg blue beach hut in garden-20The voting for the awards opened last week while I was away so this is the first chance I’ve had to share the great news with you and to show you my own profile page on the Amara Interior Blog Awards website. It’s all just so exciting to be included with SO MANY other fantastic interior design blogs – even Kelly Hoppen is a shortlister, just like me!

The competition is really stiff, with 60 other blogs included in my category, so I’m very grateful for all votes for my little blog and I want to ask whether you could help me become a finalist by voting for me here. And please let me know if you do vote by tweeting me @Cassiefairy so that I can say thanks!Orange Tweed Mill Blanket Knitted Wool Throw Tartan grey sofa retro dralon cushion 60s 70sdiy desk makeover project - mid-century modern-3I’ve had a look back over my recent interior projects since being shortlisted and I thought I would share some of the blog posts today, just in case you need any encouragement to believe that I am an interiors blog, honest! I’m currently spending the summer holidays painting my tiny kitchen and giving it a thrifty DIY makeover with new fabrics, secondhand storage and lots of chalkboard paint, so I’ll be sharing photos of this project soon – watch this space!natural textures and colours in this bedroom makeover-5The first room to have a thrifty makeover was the bedroom. Without a budget for decorating I decided to use a £2 sachet of wallpaper paste to create a feature wall using old books. If you’re interested, I used a Marilyn Monroe biography, a book on growing roses and old sheet music!natural textures and colours in this bedroom makeover-9I’ve always loved mid-century design and the more garish, the better! When I saw the teak doors in our new home I knew that orange would be perfect for the living room. I used £6 rolls of wallpaper from the Next sale for one wall and created cushions to match my retro record boxes by photographing the pattern and printing it onto fabric. I’ve just bought a faded second-hand G-Plan chair that needs a little makeover so I’ll be sure to share this project soon.

The bathroom was a big project for us; it needed a new bath so my husband and I watched some YouTube tutorials before attempting to do the work ourselves. Thankfully, everything went well and we continued the project by using pressure-treated wood that we rescued from a skip to make a bath panel, clad the walls and create a storage unit. I am really excited to let you know that my thrifty bathroom has since been photographed for a feature in Style at Home magazine so I’ll be sure to share this soon!

You can read more about my garden makeover, caravan renovation and DIY projects through my home inspirations page so please have a browse around and let me know if you find any of it helpful.vote-now

I hope you can spare a minute to vote for me in the Amara Interior Blog Awards 2015 – it really would be a dream come true to be a finalist! My voting page is here and I am eternally grateful for every single vote, thank you!


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Cherry chocolate cake recipe + my blog’s 4th birthday!

Today is Cassiefairy.com’s 4th birthday! I can’t believe I’ve had four whole years of happy blogging already and this little blog kick-started a whole new career as a writer for me so I couldn’t let the birthday pass unmarked. So I divided to push back my usual Pieday Friday cookery post by a day and I whipped up a cheeky cherry chocolate cake to celebrate.easy chocolate cherry cake baking recipe-7My blog anniversaries have passed me by in previous years and I’ve only ever celebrated my 1000th blog post with a cake before so I thought that this would be the perfect excuse to indulge in a cake just for me! I also wanted to try out a new recipe that I’ve been thinking about for a while. The starting point is a standard sponge recipe that I’ve added chocolate, cherry juice and amaretto syrup to in order to create a gooey cake that’s just a little lighter than a dense rich chocolate cake. It’s just as naughty and flavoursome though!  Continue reading “Cherry chocolate cake recipe + my blog’s 4th birthday!” »


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Tuesday Shoesday ~ Favourite shoes from the Cosmo Blog Awards

Just a month ago I was making my way to London to attend one of the most exciting events I’ve ever experienced; the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards. As an avid reader of Cosmo magazine it was the highlight of my blogging career to be nominated in the blog awards and I couldn’t believe my luck when I was shortlisted to be a finalist in the Best Lifestyle Blog category. Yes, I’d made it from 47,000 entries down to the top ten in my subject and I could not have been more thrilled. It was this good fortune that made it possible for me to attend the awards ceremony in London and, more importantly, to meet a whole host of other lovely bloggers and writers.

Today I’ve asked these lovely ladies to tell me all about their favourite pairs of shoes and why they would choose them above all others. I’ve previously written about readers shoes, back in March and April, and over the summer I’ve also shared the favourites of my fellow Blogstock attendees and the UK Blog Award winners. I’ve loved being super nosy about other people’s shoes and I’m sure that you’ve been enjoying it too so without further ado I wanted to share the photos and stories that the fabulous Cosmo Blog Award shortlisters have shared about their shoes.

TuesdayShoesday_Tasha

First to send me a photo of her shoes was my pal Natasha from award-winning blog Graphique Fantastique, an inspirational design blog with gorgeous images that always blow me away – even her Instagram pics are amazing! She sent me a photo of her favourite chunky heels which were the pair that she wore for the Cosmo Blog Awards ceremony: “I love these coral beauties, and I’m not alone – I get complimented on them every time I wear them! By day I’m 5ft3 in my Chelsea boots, by night I’m 6 inches taller and instantly feeling glam wearing these. Despite being quite high they are so comfy, and easy to walk in too – which is really important when you’re as clumsy as I am!” This isn’t the first time that Tasha has appeared in a Tuesday Shoesday ‘Your Shoes’ blog post, she also shared her favourite boots in a blog post back in May and tells me that she still lives in these boots day-in-day-out. I’m really pleased to see that her blog has been nominated for a UK Blog Award for the second year running, so please go to the UK Blog Awards website to vote for her!

megans silver shoes from the briar rose blog
I’m thrilled to report that stunning fashion and lifestyle blog Briar Rose won the Highly Commended Award for Best Established Fashion Blog at the Cosmopolitan blog awards. As one of my ‘go-to’ blogs when I need to put a smile on my face and having met the gorgeous Megan at Blogstock over the summer I was even more delighted that the award went to such a deserving blog – the content is always well thought-out, engaging and the photos are breathtaking – you can tell that she works really hard on it. She sent me a photo of her favourite shoes which put me in mind of Cinderella’s glass slippers and told me why they are her favourites; “These are my silver Marks and Spencer heels. They’re fairly basic, but I love how versatile and effortlessly stylish they are. They’re also incredibly comfortable, which is always a plus :)” If you haven’t already seen Megan’s award-winning blog, be sure to check it now!

MICHAEL-KORS-LEOPARD-PRINT-HEELS

My fellow Cosmo Lifestyle Blog shortlister Victoria from I Heart Fashion sent me a jealousy-inducing photo of her favourite heels. These leopard-print beauties are Michael Kors and I can’t help wishing that they were mine! After a recent design makeover Victoria’s website is looking gorgeous in chic monochrome and this image of her shoes is even the logo of her fashion section! I’m so happy to hear that her blog has received a nomination for the UK Blog Awards 2015 so be sure to leave a vote for I Heart Fashion too!                              abigails new Nike trainers

Fabulous fashion, food and travel blogger Abigail from AbigailAlice.com got in touch after returning from her recent trip to the US to show me her favourite trainers; “My favourite pair are actually my newest pair of shoes that I bought in San Francisco.  When shopping on holiday I always try to pick pieces that are maybe slightly different, haven’t yet come out in the UK or simply just caught my eye & this pair of Nike’s did all of that. I love the colour of them they are bright & bold but with the black background it slightly tones them down. They are super comfy with support on the ankle it makes you feel as if you have a bounce when you walk. Trainers have quickly become a part of ‘fashion footwear’ they are no longer kept in the gym bag which I love. It makes my Nikes perfect for both gym wear & of a weekend for a walk round the park (as shown in the pic) teamed with an all black outfit they are my favourite go to pair of shoes.” Having only launched her blog in May 2013, Abigail was shortlisted for Next’s Best Newcomer blog award and has achieved so much in just over a year of blogging that I can’t wait to see how the blog progresses!

Shoes for the Cosmo Blog Awards 2014 from Hotter-2

And finally, here are the shoes that I wore for the Cosmo Blog Awards. As someone who rarely wears high heels I always find it rather uncomfortable to dress up for events like this. Don’t get me wrong, it’s SO much fun and I’m very lucky that I get to go to award ceremonies at all, but I have learnt that they involve lots of standing up, mingling and dancing – so I inevitably end up walking home with my shoes in my hand by the end of the night! So I chose Hotter shoes for their famous ‘comfort cushioning’ and I trusted that they would see me through the evening in style. Luckily (seeing as I hadn’t worn them in at all) they performed their duties perfectly on the night with not a blister in sight! I’m very impressed and the heel height was just right so I have since got them in a suede and patent combo too!

I’m so pleased to have met all these intelligent and gorgeous women at the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards and I’m looking forward to catching up with them all again soon at future blogging events. Lets just keep our fingers crossed that we get shortlisted for the UK Blog Awards too and can have a good old knees-up next year! My blog is nominated in both the lifestyle category and the retail and fashion category and I just got details of how the voting and judging works, so I’m hoping and praying that you’ll leave me a vote between now and when the voting closes on the 1st December (just before my birthday, what a great birthday gift that would be!!) – here’s the link if you’d like to leave me a vote or two! 😉 Thanks!


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Why I started my blog & how I ended up in the Cosmo Blog Awards!

What happens when your dreams come true? I’m not sure, but I think that’s kind of how I’m feeling about being a finalist in the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards.

As a teenager I remember spending my pocket money on glittery Spectacular nail polish and Cosmopolitan magazine, and spending hours reading it from cover to cover. It’s amazing how much effort teenagers will put into reading when it’s not a school assignment, isn’t it?! I’ve grown up reading this publication for the last 17 years and (as it is so often described by countless women around the country), Cosmo was my bible.

Photos of the Cosmo Blog Awards article that I snapped on my phone back in the Spring when I was considering entering!

I dreamed of one day being a journalist, having my work published and my articles being read by girls like me. And now, thanks to all the votes that my lovely friends, family and super-kind Cassiefairy.com readers submitted for me, my Cosmopolitan heroes are actually reading MY work! And I just can’t quite believe it. It’s actually unreal. Surreal. And if I think about it too much, it gives me a total writers block and I can’t finish my…

Over the years I’ve found countless reasons to continue working on my blog and to try to make writing my full-time job, but there was only one reason why I started the blog: I wanted to get better at writing. Just like an artist draws in their sketchbook and as a photographer snaps photos every day, I wanted this to be a place where I could practice writing and try to get better at it. I had no real concept that people could read my writing and I was kind of doing it just for me. It was my online sketchbook of ideas, photos and articles, and I’m still using it in pretty-much the same away. Practice makes perfect, after all. And I’m sure I’ll get there one day 😉

What happened when I heard I’d been shortlisted!

So after exercising my writing muscle almost daily on the blog, I started to get a little better (well, it couldn’t get much worse! – don’t just take my word for it – my early articles are all there in the blog archives for all to see, eek!), and readers started to keep coming back for more. And I’m so pleased that you did because it spurred me on, and every kind comment lifted my heart. I’m definitely still learning from every post I write and I still cringe at articles that I published only last year. And my photos still leave a lot to be desired (today’s are phone photos, sorry about the quality). Of course, I’m my own worst critic and despite a few articles that make me smile, I’m still not sure I’m doing it 100% right, but who can ever really claim that anyway?! Most importantly, I’ve been writing every day (or sometimes twice a day when I’m feeling particularly motivated!) and it’s really become my passion. The blog is as much a part of me and I am of it, so I can’t imagine my life without it. What on earth would I do with my time if I couldn’t write?! Writing for a magazine is my big dream and I don’t know if I’ll ever get there, but hey, I’m SO enjoying the journey!

Actually, writing that last sentence has just made me realised that perhaps I already AM a published magazine writer? Albeit on my own blog. But the point is that there are many fabulous ladies out there who actually ARE reading my articles every day and seem to be enjoying my work. It’s thanks to them that I’ve even got a place at the Blog Awards and that I have this opportunity for Cosmopolitan to check out my writing. I am forever in your debt and if you ever need anything from me, just ask and I will be happy to help you out. And please keep coming back to see me and carry on telling me what you think of my writing, because your feedback is what’s most important to me.


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My experience of becoming a self-hosted blog

Today I wanted to share my blog post on making the switch from WordPress.com to .org which was first published on The Fairy Blogmother blog, where you can find jargon-free advice, user-friendly tutorials and support with any aspect of WordPress.

Earlier this year, I became a self-hosted blog. I’d been a lifelong WordPress.com user and had run a number of websites and blogs through the platform but a couple of issues a few months ago led me to consider taking the plunge and moving over to a self-hosted WordPress.org installation.

I did a lot of research into the differences between the two versions and it seemed like moving to WordPress.org was the best way for me to make progress in my blogging career. I wanted to share my experiences with you in case you too are considering making the switch because I learnt a lot during the process and there may be things affected that you haven’t yet considered – I certainly got a few surprises along the way!

What did I start off with?

Well, I’d been using WordPress.com for just under 3 years, as a blogging tool to promote my own fancy dress shop business. I liked how user-friendly the dashboard was compared to other sites I’d used in the past and I felt like a complete internet-whizz using this software because I could do a lot of my own editing, formatting and site-building without needing outside help. I saw my blog grow in readership over the years and when I finished my Masters degree I had more time to dedicate to writing, so I started blogging every day. This quickly increased my readership and Cassiefairy.com became a very busy place indeed.

cassiefairy in the newspaper national blog awards 2014

Fifteen minutes of fame in the local paper

I soon discovered that blogs could be monetized through affiliate links, banner ads and hosted content but at the time using WordPress for any kind of advertising was completely prohibited. When I purchased my own Cassiefairy.com domain through WordPress.com this allowed me to start earning from WordAds. These are already on every WordPress.com blog (unless you’ve paid for a no-ads upgrade) so I thought I might as well use the adverts to earn a little money for myself but I found that I only made a few pounds per month through using WordAds and still couldn’t become an affiliate and earn commission that way like other bloggers did. I lived in fear that my blog might be taken away from me at any time if I put a link (I’m talking about just a straightforward unpaid natural link) into my posts in case WordPress.com ‘thought’ I was making a profit from it.

I was turning stuff down…

I found that I was turning down offers from media agencies and brands because of the restrictions in the WordPress.com terms and conditions and I knew I needed to make a change so that I could keep the blog running as my full-time job.  Interestingly enough, it was a link on my blog that forced me to make the switch earlier this year. I posted a link within one of my blog posts and through a friend I found out that once my blog post has been published the link had become an affiliate link for the benefit for WordPress.com. I couldn’t believe it! I wasn’t making any money as an affiliate but WordPress.com had been redirecting my links so that they could earn from my audience! The only way to avoid this was by buying a no-ads upgrade.  I later found out that the T&Cs had changed since I first signed up over 3 years ago and affiliate links were now permitted, but I was so incensed that WordPress.com had been skimming my links for their own gain that I decided it was finally time to move.

Company magazine style blogger awards 2013 cassiefairy mybluerinse

Making best friends at the Company Style Blogger Awards in 2013

I decided to transfer over

I was a little grumpy that I needed to pay WordPress.com in order to move through a ‘Guided Transfer’, but that was simply because I am so un-techy that I knew I wouldn’t be able install WordPress.org at my chosen self-hosting server and I was terrified that I would lose 3 years-worth of content, all my settings and blog design. So I paid for the Guided Transfer service and it was quite straightforward – they told me when the transfer would start so that I didn’t use my blog while it was being moved, and they emailed me again once the transfer had been completed. The Guided Transfer team were available for me to email with any questions over the coming 2 weeks, but each time I asked for assistance or why something unusual had happened, they did get back to me but without a real answer nor did they provide any further technical help. Their replies were along the lines of ‘this is probably what it is…’, ‘here’s is a link to a help page…’, ‘it looks okay from my end…’, ‘you’ll need to do that yourself…’, ‘see how you get on…’, ‘refer that question to your host…’ etc. So I felt both supported by them being available to ask my questions to, but completely on my own in terms of fixing problems myself at the same time.

1000th blog post celebration cake for Cassiefairy

A massive cake to celebrate my 1000th blog post back in May

Once I started using WordPress.org I was really happy that I’d made the move. Everything was the same in terms of blogging and using the dashboard, and I found that installing Plugins wasn’t as difficult or scary as I’d imagined. The only worrying thing is that WordPress.org doesn’t back up your posts so it’s a good idea to do so yourself and I’ve been very vigilant with keeping copies of my work. Touch wood, nothing has gone wrong with my self-hosted installation so far and I’ve found out there are many benefits of being self-hosted (along with a few cons!) so here’s what’s been good and bad about the move in my experience:

  • Why I chose DreamHost I chose DreamHost due to their promise of 100% uptime yet I’ve already had a total of about 6 minutes downtime this year, but it always seems to be in the middle of the night and I really can’t complain about the service the rest of the time. They have a very helpful support team who always answer any of my questions within hours.
  • What’s happened to my readers I was told by WordPress.com that I wouldn’t lose my readership as a result of the transfer but I later discovered that around a third of my readers were finding my blog through tags in the WordPress.com ‘Reader’, and now that I’m self-hosted my tags are no longer included in the Reader app so I can’t be found by new readers through a keyword search. My blog is still listed on the Reader for my existing followers to read, but they can’t comment through the Reader app anymore so I’ve found that the number of comments I’m getting has gone down too.
  • I can host competitions I can now use Rafflecopter for my blog competitions whereas the widget couldn’t be implemented on WordPress.com. This makes it much easier for me to run giveaways and keep track of entries. I can now work with brands who want to offer prizes to my audience and I’ve found that running giveaways brings in more readers. My follower stats have greatly increased thanks to including more entry options through Rafflecopter such as ‘Follow @Cassiefairy  on Twitter’ or ‘Like Cassiefairy’s Facebook page’ for competitions.
  • I can use adverts I can put any number of banners or adverts in my sidebars or blog posts. This was prohibited through WordPress.com but now I am free to advertise in this way if I want to. At the moment, I’m resisting adding a lot of banner adverts and only have a couple of sponsors with whom I have a long-standing relationship, but it’s good to have the freedom to be able to do this.
  • My domain is free I don’t need to pay WordPress.com for my domain name and mapping every year because it is now hosted for free at DreamHost for the lifetime of my hosting plan, so as long as I keep paying for hosting, it will be free forever.
  • Freedom with other domains I can also point other domains that I own towards my blog, such as tuesdayshoesday.co.uk and piedayfriday.co.uk to tie in with my regular blog features.
  • Much more server storage I don’t have any storage limits for files, photos, videos etc. With WordPress.com I was approaching the maximum storage limit and would have needed to buy the extra storage upgrade. In the past I’d been limiting my photo uploads to two images per post in order to save space but now I can post as many photos or videos as I like without worrying about storage space.
  • Plenty of support When I need to make my own technical changes, there are plenty of support forums and DIY tutorials for WordPress.org and I can get extra help through DreamHost. Even so, I am still worried that one little change would bring my whole website down and I wouldn’t be able to get it back again!
  • Affiliates are welcome I am free to add affiliate links and work with any brands or marketing agencies, but at the moment I’m still only sharing links to products I actually like, things that I have bought myself and products that I am mentioning in my blog posts anyway rather than creating articles with the intention of ‘selling’ products through affiliate links.
  • Personalised emails I can have any number of personalised email addresses – mine is now cassie@cassiefairy.co.uk – through DreamHost.
  • Installing plugins I’ve been able to add an Instagram plugin so that I can add a widget on my sidebar for my photos, which looks great. I could never get an Instagram widget on my WordPress.com site.
  • Additional revenue I can install content feeds such as ContentClick and make a few pence per click referral – this can only be used through WordPress.org and not Wordpress.com. This was working well but I found that it interfered with ‘something’ on my blog and occasionally the site wouldn’t load at all due to an error with ContentClick so I have removed it until I have the time to investigate it properly and so far nothing has gone wrong since I uninstalled the plugin.

All in all, it’s been a positive move for me. I am pleased with the freedom that comes with being self-hosted now that I don’t need to adhere to WordPress.com’s strict terms and conditions but I still worry occasionally that I will ‘break’ my website and not know how to fix it! My apprehension is getting better over time, as each change I successfully make surprises me and is always easier than I’d imagined. I hope it will continue to be a good solution for my future blogging and that I’ll continue to find more and more reasons to be self-hosted.

 I still can’t believe that Cassiefairy.com has made it onto the Cosmo Blog Awards 2014 shortlist for Best Lifestyle Blog! It would mean the world to me if you would vote for my blog before voting closes on 29th August – thank you SO much!


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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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