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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Glamping inspiration – My dream bell tent

If you have to go camping, it might as well be in one of these. I hereby admit that I am a bell tent fan. I feel like I’ve been spotting them everywhere I go and it’s only making me covet them more and more. Yes, glamping is certainly a holiday I can get on-board with, if it’s in one of these canvas beauties. bell tent camping glamping vintage 2Hertz glamping at Blogstock 2014-2bell tents latitude circus tent canvas marquee teepee tipi colourful-2I’ve only stayed in a bell tent once, for a couple of nights at Blogstock, (check out my Blogstock pics here) but it was one of the best camping experiences I’ve ever had. The extra height meant that my husband could stand up without any problems, and I didn’t have to crawl in and out of the tent doorway. There was plenty of room for all our stuff (we don’t really travel light, I blame our car with it’s giant boot for that) and it could even fit a double bed in too, so you can imagine how comfortable we were.

And when it rained, our canvas tent remained pleasingly dry. There was no chance of accidentally bumping the canvas and causing moisture seepage like in a traditional tent; the sides were so far away from us! We could simply lie back and watch the rain pitter-patter down outside out tent, feeling super-cosy tucked under a blanket with a carpeted floor beneath our feet.

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Tuesday Shoesday ~ Your Shoes: Blogstock 2014

As you may remember, I’ve written a series of Tuesday Shoesday blog posts about other peoples’ shoes in March and April, as well as a special post on the favourite shoes of the National Blog Award winners! Today’s post is all about the favourite shoes of my fellow happy campers that I met at Blogstock 2014 and I asked them the same question that I’ve asked all my other contributors:  What are your favourite shoes and why?

ReeRee Rockette of award-winning brand Rockalily ran a session on ‘The Power of Niche’ at Blogstock and kicked butt during the end-of-festival debate. We bonded over a cocktail-making session and I was delighted when she agreed to join in with this Tuesday Shoesday post. ReeRee sent me a photo of her trainers and told me all about why they are her favourites; “My favourite shoes are pretty shabby, but my Nike Air Maxs are definitely my favourite footwear. I have a chronic back problem, and wear heels very rarely, but for many years swore off trainers. Nikes no longer suited the person I wanted to be, but actually I’ve come to realise I’m still a Nike girl, and can happily mix and match styles; whatever makes me happy! I’m pretty thrifty, and I found these shoes, almost brand new in a charity shop for £4.50, which makes them even better! I’m a little sad I’ve let them get so sad looking, but perhaps it just means I’m due an upgrade!”

ree shoes

I met some lovely new pals at Blogstock and after sheltering from the rain and dancing the night away with Laura from Cherishing the Cherry Blossoms blog I knew we had become firm friends. She told me the story of how she came to own her favourite shoes after a trip to Eastern Asia; “Definitely my most whimsical pair of shoes, I bought these in Korea following months of deliberation, wondering whether they would be accepted outside of their Korean context. Lots of girls love them over there, particularly the hidden heel! I let my heart decide and made the purchase in an underground market in Busan (Korea’s second biggest city). It seems they’re pretty big over here too although my sister Lindsay reckons they’re ‘chavvy’. Despite this, and feeling a little bit like they should have ruled my wardrobe 10 years ago, I absolutely don’t regret the investment and wear them with pride.”SONY DSC


Kirstine and I shared some Lonely Planet photobooth fun at Blogstock (and those photos will never be seen!) so I knew she’d be game for taking part in my Tuesday Shoesday blog post. Her new blog is Travel Before It’s Too Late and it’s already looking fantastic! Kirstine chose favourite Vivienne Westwood shoes and shared her reasons for choosing them;

“These are my current faves based on the following:
– they are bright yellow and perfect for wearing in the summer sunshine
– they are my first Vivienne Westwoods and made of rubber/ Jelly
– they look fab dressed down with skinny jeans or up with my favourite 50s style dress
– they are wedges therefore add those all important inches to my 5ft 2in self but are super comfy
– did I mention they are yellow…?”

Top travel writer Neil from Backpacks and Bunkbeds sent me photos of his custom-made shoes and told me the story of how he came to own them: “I’m not normally a shoe guy, more of a trainers person, but earlier this year I was lucky enough to venture out to Vietnam with my better half, and she pretty much insisted that I have some new shoes made.  I was skeptical about how they would come out, but like everything else I ordered in Hoi An (1 suit and 3 shirts), the finished shoes were near enough spot on.  Smart enough for work, but much more comfy than my usual footwear purchases from the high street, at £30 I consider my Vietnamese shoes a bargain and love them for it.”

After watching some of her YouTube videos, I was totally in awe of pro vlogger Ceara McEvoy who ran a session entitled ‘Join the Vlogosphere’ at Blogstock. I made sure that I joined the crush of bloggers packed into the tipi for her workshop and I learnt a lot during that hour. I’ve even tried out make my first video this week – only for family viewing so far – but at least I’m getting used to the editing software..! Ceara sent me a photo of her favourite Topshop shoes and the reasons why they are just right for her:

‘Every girl needs a comfortable pair of high-heel shoes,’ bleats my Mother, your girlfriends, the lady in the woman’s footwear department, your aunt with the shoe fetish. Although a commonly known and hard lived by phrase, I have to admit this concept was as foreign to me as a bear in a tea shop until I moved to London. You see where I’m from, the seaside shores of Cape Town, we drive everywhere! Without the need to walk from pillar to post, the concept of having a ‘comfortable pair of high heels’ is unnecessary. From skyscraper wedges to the latest Lady Gaga Jellyfish platforms – everything goes. But as soon as I moved to London I had to ditch my towering heels for something more sensible. A pair of shoes that could get me from Hackney central all the way to Baker street and then some without breaking an ankle. I was on the hunt for the ultimate pair of heels that ticked the boxes in terms of comfort, style, originality and let’s not forget.. elevation!  Now look, I ain’t no girly girl either, so don’t give me floral and bows. But after some scouting about, I found my match! And here they are. The perfect ‘Ceara’ heel – the Spice Girl inspired platforms. These babies were found in Topshop and are created by the oh so trendy Vagabond. I believe you can also purchase them online. They are a bit of a splurge at 90 quid a pop, but for me they tick the three boxes, so the last can go out the window. I’ve never looked back…

vlogger ceara mcevoys favourite shoes

After dancing the ‘running man’ with Naomi from personal travel blog Todd’s Travels at Blogstock, I decided to get in touch to see what her favourite shoes would be. Quite appropriately Naomi also chose a pair of Nikes as her top trainers; “Despite always loving high heels, my considerable lack of coordination hinders any chance of wearing them so my Nike Air Maxs have to be my favourite shoes: they make me look a lot more fashionable than I actually am (to be honest, I’m probably not cool enough for them!), they go with the majority of my wardrobe and they make me feel like I am walking on cushions, they are that comfortable. What more could you want?”

todds travels nike trainers

Thanks for sending in your contributions guys! I’ve learnt that comfort is important to these fabulous Blogstock-ers and I’ve never been more jealous of someone else’s footwear than I am of Neil’s hand-made leather shoes! If you too would like to tell me about your favourite ever pair of shoes please get in touch via email with a snap of your shoes and sentence or two about why you like them and you’ll appear in next month’s ‘Your Shoes’ feature! 🙂

 I still cant believe that 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 this week (EEK!) on 29th August – thank you SO much!


My fun weekend at Blogstock 2014

I’ve just got home from one of the best festivals I’ve ever been to. It wasn’t a big festival, it wasn’t rowdy and – most importantly – it wasn’t muddy! But it was just right for a happy bunch of bloggers who traipsed out to Elstree this weekend where Aldenham Country Park played host the the worlds first blogging festival: Blogstock 2014.

blockstock 2014_-8

I was thrilled when Hertz invited me to camp with them and I jumped at the chance to attend this inaugural blogging event. I packed up my floral bag, bought festival food essentials (read: one Pot Noodle) and jumped in the car. Last Friday afternoon I was stood in middle of the arena, taking it all in; there was the Expedia VIP area where phone chargers and free drinks were available all day long; a PopChip stand with double-sized deck chairs and massive crisp-packet beanbags to chill out on (and all you-can-eat Pop-Chips of course!), the Fashion Galleries where most of the talks that I attended took place, a cosy tipi for informal workshops, the debate tent for lively sessions, the Lonely Planet photobooth (our late night-photos have been censored haha!) and a huge marquee hosting travel and foodie talks all weekend (and the inevitable late-night parties!). Despite being one of the first arrivals to the festival (what can I say? I’m prompt!) I knew this was going to be a great experience and when the Contiki shuttle bus arrived with 100s of happy campers, I skipped over to say hi.

It was the perfect occasion to wear my VIP-esque ‘You can’t sit with us’ t-shirt from WearAll

Here are some snaps of my home for the weekend in the #CampwithHertz village – check out the hashtag on Twitter and Instagram for everyone’s fabulous photos of our cosy glamping experience! As you all know, I love fairy lights and bunting so a big smile spread across my face when I saw the bell tents popping up perfectly decorated in festival fashion. After one-too-many wash-outs, I’m not a keen camper but walking into my bell tent completely changed my opinion of the camping experience; I had a cosy bed, embroidered cushions, a lantern, snacks, rug and it DID NOT LEAK! Even with a thunderstorm threatening to dampen our spirits on the Friday night, we all stayed cosy and dry under canvas and even snuck over to the marquee for a dance in our wellies!

Some of the noteworthy workshops that I attended were the fashion blogging talks, where I learnt about pitching ideas for magazine articles from fabulous freelance writer and editor Alison Perry and brand collaborations (thanks to Emma Hart from Push PR for all her advice!), and I had my questions answered about the blogging things I’d always wondered about but never had anyone to ask! Thankfully the gorgeous Jen Riley from the famous A Beauty Junkie in London blog was on hand during the Mode Media session to help me out with my affiliate link questions. The session discussed many ways of monetizing blogs and I found it all really helpful (Thanks Louise!) – I’ve added lots of future research to my ‘to do’ list!

fun at Blogstock 2014-5

Saturday morning brought more sunshine and an early morning session with Pinterest UK gurus Lizzie and Zoe who gave us all a delicious cooked breakfast to munch on while talking us through a whole host of Pinterest features that I’d never even heard of before! As a crazy-pin-addict, I was sooo surprised that there was even more I could be doing on Pinterest… that’s my summer gone then! Shortly afterwards, I grabbed my second breakfast of the day at the Nuffnang #blogstockbrunch – yoghurt, bananas, croissants, fruit juice, muesli – and met the creative folk behind this generous spread Jesse and Jean-Luc from Nuffnang UK. I had to scuttle off to a finance session but soon headed back to chat with them and find out more about their blog advertising community – the work they do is so interesting and I’m hoping that they will be able to give me some help and advice on some of the more technical elements of my blog that I am scared to edit in case my whole site comes crashing down!

The highlight of the weekend for me was the old-fashioned pop-up village fête that Generator Hostels hosted. Belen had invited me along to the #GenLove Generator Fair by email earlier in the week, so I was already looking forward to it, but it was even bigger and better than expected;  including a big bouncy castle (how do children jump around for hours? I was practically dying after two minutes!), coconut shy, Polaroid fancy dress, ice cream and popcorn. We had great fun whizzing around the Hertz race track trying to beat each other in lap time-trials, but my dress slowed down my attempt while I tried to keep my modesty (same problem on the bouncy castle, eek!) so I was easily lapped by the other competitors!

One of the best sessions I attended was ‘Join the Vlogosphere’ with rock-star vlogger Ceara McEvoy. I’d already watched some of her videos in the past so I knew just how fantastic she is, and I’ve never ever tried vlogging before so I was intrigued. After passing around a tray of biscuits Ceara talked us through the best equipment to use, camera settings, editing software and showed us some of her hilarious clips. I was so pleased that I went to the session, and I am definitely going to have a go at vlogging in the future – especially if Ceara is willing to give me a hand with my ambition to make cookery videos – I’d be a fool not to do it!

Personally, my top experiences of the weekend were meeting loads of fabulous bloggers and included mixing Appleton Rum cocktails with superstar blogger ReeRee Rockette from Rockalily whose blog I’ve read ever since I started writing (and who kicked butt in the end of festival debate!) and the stunning Megan from The Briar Rose Blog, one the inspirational bloggers that I re-pin the most on Pinterest and a fellow shortlister at the 2014 Cosmopolitan Blog Awards! We were all tested to the limit in the pub quiz and had fun dancing the night away while playing keepy-uppy with an inflatable globe. There are too many new friends to list here but please go and check out the blogs of Toris Tales, Cherishing the Cherry BlossomsTodds Travels, A Lady in London, Backpacks and Bunkbeds, Tigerlilly Quinn, Eat Like a Girl, Macca Sherifi to name but a few! 🙂

I’ve come away from the weekend with tons of ideas for my blog, a notebook full of tips, a whole stack of business cards from the wonderful people I met and an insatiable yearning for a bell tent of my own. I can’t wait to get started improving my blog (apparently you can teach an old dog new tricks!) and I am already counting down the days to the next Blogstock festival!

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