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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Spring interior design inspiration – Pastel blue hues

It’s the first fresh sunny day of the year today and, even though there’s frost on the ground, my thoughts have already turned to spring interiors. I found myself on Pinterest looking for pastel colours and design inspiration, despite the fact that it’s still darkest winter and I need the coal fire on to keep warm. Even so, Spring IS coming and we need to start thinking about these things, especially with my home decorating project coming up imminently. So today I thought I’d try to get you all in the mood for spring with some bright and breezy pastel interiors.


Pastel blue paint helps to bounce light around a room. Photo: Homegirl London Blog

Last year, I styled a spring room with fruity bursts of candy colours alongside my favourite pastel hues. But this year feels different. It feels like more of a grown-up year. Don’t ask me why, but all of the interior design inspiration I see online and in magazines is much more sophisticated than in previous years. It’s all about the light that comes into a room more than the decor, and I believe that nothing can beat bright spring daylight flooding into an airy room. It makes a home feel fresh, yet cosy and welcoming at the same spring lilving room interior design

Oddly enough, I’ve found that pastel blue hues can enhance this feeling of brightness and freshness without adding that tinge of coldness that is so often associated with blue rooms. Maybe the paint manufacturers have got the mix just right, because all of the pale blue paints I’ve been looking at have felt anything but cold or clinical. Take any of these rooms, for example. They have the bright yet warm feeling of a coastal holiday home, and I certainly associate that with warmer weather and fresh air.

blue bedroom pastel hues

White linens & pastel walls create a very welcoming Spring bedroom. Photo: Stylizimo Blog

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DIY furniture makeover: A quick & easy distressed chair with Rust-Oleum

After packing away all the Christmas decorations, this time of year always gets me thinking about having a good old clear out and a bit of a tidy up. I often take a look around my home in January and pick out the things I haven’t used over the past year. With space at a premium in my tiny home, these are often the first things to clear out, and I love to make a bit of extra money in the new year by selling off a few unused bits and pieces. If something has been put aside just because it has become broken or needs a spruce-up, this is the time of year that I get stuck into new makeover projects and try to make the most of the things I have.Furniture Makeover Project Rust-Oleum paint retro conservatory chair_-24 Furniture Makeover Project Rust-Oleum paint retro conservatory chair_-36This week I’ve tried to breathe new life into an old chair with Rust-Oleum. I have a few of these chairs in the shed, waiting to be fixed and slowing growing a layer of mould. Each chair either had a wobbly leg, a missing seat or a rickety back support so I enlisted my husband to help me put together the best bits of all these higgledy-piggledy chairs to make one usable seat. After a thorough cleaning and leaving the wood to dry out in the warm for a while, the chair was ready to be painted.

I was hoping to make my quick makeover as easy as possible, yet I wanted to get a good finish rather than a slapdash result. I therefore turned to Rust-Oluem’s new range of brush-on chalky finish furniture paints, which can be painted straight on to wood without any sanding or undercoats. I picked out a rich ink blue shade for my chair to create an eye-catching spare seat for the conservatory. I also wanted to add a little opulence to the design so I also chose a metallic finish furniture paint in gold as an undercoat so that I could distress the blue top coat and see a touch of gold glinting through.Furniture Makeover Project Rust-Oleum paint retro conservatory chair_-5 Furniture Makeover Project Rust-Oleum paint retro conservatory chair_-6 Furniture Makeover Project Rust-Oleum paint retro conservatory chair_-7 Furniture Makeover Project Rust-Oleum paint retro conservatory chair_-4 Furniture Makeover Project Rust-Oleum paint retro conservatory chair_-12I wanted to be thrifty with my paint, so I planned to brush on the gold paint only in the places where I intended to sand it back after covering with the blue paint. When I saw how far just a small amount of the paint went, I decided that I could spare some more paint and give the whole chair a coat of gold. I still hardly used any of the tin, so there’s plenty left for other projects in the future. Perhaps creating a gilded throne would have been a better use for my chair?! You can see from my photos that the gold paint needs a thorough mixing when you open it, but it soon looked gloriously gold after a quick stir. It’ll be great for sprucing up photo frames, making DIY gifts, and I’m already planning to make my own Christmas decorations for next year using this sumptuous gold colour.

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Autumn colour trend ~ Mykonos blue

According to colour trend-setters Pantone, this shade of blue is THE ultimate colour for Autumn 2013. Not denim, not royal blue and not quite electric blue, it’s a difficult colour to imagine. However, if you have ever been to the Greek island of Mykonos, you will easily be able to picture it: gorgeous blue skies, bright blue sea and the blue paint on buildings. Here’s a photo of a Mykonos building featuring the blue shade the fashion world is clamouring for this season. 

mykonoa blue image of greece from trek earth

Image c/o TrekEarth

It’s a relatively sunny colour, in contrast to the usual jewel colours and earthy tones we usually see during the Autumn season. The brightness of this blue brings a lovely sense of escapism, catapulting your mind back to warm summer holidays and bright blue skies. It certainly makes a change from all the navy blue we’ve been wearing since the Duchess of Cambridge announced her engagement to Prince William in a navy dress and immediately set the trend for all things navy.

viktor and rolf dress mykonos blue 

Image c/o Glamorazzi

With mykonos blue, you don’t need your whole outfit to be this one colour – just adding a little injection of it is enough to follow the trend. The image above shows how designers Viktor and Rolf are using the colour on the catwalk in a gorgeous cream dress with a mykonos bow woven through it. Take inspiration from this and add a little splash of blue to your winter outfits.

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My little vintage caravan project ~ Floored or flawed?

You may have noticed in my last blog post about the caravan that there was a roll of carpet plonked in the middle of my seating area. And the even-more eagle eyed of you will have noticed that I’ve painted my inner wheel-arch cover with a dark pink shade. This was in preparation for laying the carpet! I know most caravans have a lino floor, and this was my intention when I went out looking for flooring. It would be easy to keep clean with muddy shoes coming in from the outdoors. But this carpet caught my eye and I soon realised that my caravan wasn’t travelling anywhere and would be paved outside, so I wasn’t going to worry about how to clean the floor – I was going to have a cosy carpet and get a doormat to solve any damp-shoe issues!

I bought this piece of pink carpet from a local carpet store – the kind that has off-cuts just sitting around, waiting for the right caravan owner to come along and pick it out from the bunch of brown and cream flooring. It was the perfect colour for me (I’m quite keen on pink, I don’t know if you’ve noticed…) and the price was especially good for me – reduced to £18 and the sales rep threw in a pink and blue union-jack doormat!

cassiefairys little vintage caravan retro renovation project on the blog - pink carpet

It was a carpet that was technically the right size (in square footage), but physically not quite right. I needed to use the carpet from beneath my seats to fill in the gap at the back where the length wasn’t quite there. So I laid a few blue-and-white vinyl tiles (the type you get from the discount store for £2 per pack) underneath the seats and enlisted my husband to help me lay the carpet. A lot of measuring, cutting and spray-adhesive-ing later, we had laid the carpet. There followed a beautiful moment when I could finally lay on the floor of my little caravan and relax! And then my cat joined me for a pudding-at-the-new-carpet session. I can’t wait to see what happens when I actually have cushions on my seats/bed – I might never get up!

Here is another gorgeous caravan that I’ve found via Pinterest (here’s the link) and I really love it – it’s based in Australia and as far as I can work out, it is a tattoo parlour! It almost makes me want to have a tattoo (I said almost!). Although I love the baby pink I’m still glad that I’ve chosen a sunny sky blue for my exterior colour – this might have been taking my interest in pink a little too far and would have definitely overpowered my garden!

baby pastel pink vintage retro caravan - Trailer Trash Tattoo

Please come back soon for the next update on my progress and you can check out what I’ve been doing up to this point using the links below 🙂 Let me know what you think – leave me a comment below or get in touch via I’d love to hear from you 🙂


My little vintage caravan project ~ A fresh start with a new look

If you’ve not already read about my new caravan workshop project, please have a read of how I came across my little caravan (and all about clearing it out in preparation for painting) the links are below. I like the shape of my caravan – I think it’s small and round and cute, but I don’t really care for the colour. It’s white on the sides, cream above and below and orange at the ends. In fact, the orange was the only bit that I liked – but unfortunately it was mostly rubbed off and worn away. When I cleaned my caravan for the first time, quite a lot of the orange disappeared and I was left with a mottled mess (you can actually see the aluminium coming through on the orange section in the photo below!). So that was my decision made for me. It had to go.

cassiefairys vintage caravan project original photos of sprite

Seeing as I’m not planning a retro restoration, I decided that now would be the time to start afresh and choose a new colour. As I was cleaning the caravan I also removed a lot of green gunge from the surfaces and in the end, the cream sections didn’t look too bad, so I decided to keep these cream (and the little cream ‘eyelids’ over the windows were cute too!) and choose a colour that would look nice with this base. I used exterior paint suitable for metal and I chose a colour to be mixed up to make sure that I got exactly the cheerful, sunny-sky blue that I wanted for my little caravan. I only needed about half of a 5 litre pot, and I rollered it onto the surface. I’m sure that some people would criticise me for painting it this way, but it’s not going to be travelling anywhere and it looks great. If it wears off at all in the future, I’ve got another half of a tub of paint to re-paint it with anyway! 

cassiefairys vintage caravan project painting exterior baby sky blue

The paint took about a day to full dry with two coats and it looks like a brand new caravan now. The cream and blue works well together and it’s starting to look like the vintage caravan on my dreams. I’m still taking inspiration from other retro caravans so here’s another caravan inspiration from Pinterest which was one of the very first caravan photos that I pinned to my Caravan Love board – love the pink fairy lights!

pink vintage camper from cassiefairys pinterest caravan love board

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Inspirations for a retro living room – more garish vintage storage!

You may remember this blog post that I wrote  when I found my first record box from the vintage vinyl fair at Southwold last year. I have never loved a record box, or any storage for that matter, “at first sight” but this time it was different. Because it was orange. And floral. And tastefully garish.

retro record case floral

vintge vinyl record box

But my obsession didn’t start and end in that record fair on that day. Once I’d bought the box home, I couldn’t help myself and trawled the internet looking for more of these pretty little cases. Unfortunately, they are pretty rare and if any do pop up for sale they are invariably too spendy for my liking and with a heavy heart I have to step away from the laptop and reaffirm to myself that I must earn more money

Don’t be too sad for me though, lovely readers, because I found a new one! In my local charity shop, can you believe it?! I couldn’t! There was a seriously swift grabbing motion in the general direction of the record case as I snapped it up and skipped home with a genuine beauty in blue. When I later peeped inside I found that it even had the old retro label from Boots and the original receipt for it tucked away at the bottom of the case. No key though, but you can’t have everything and I’m not in the habit of locking my records away.

Vintage retro record case lp box blue orange storage

I thought that was it. Until Ebay tempted me. There was an auction for a trio of mini record cases in the same OTT pattern; tiny boxes that much have been for 7 inch records and although I liked these little cuties, I couldn’t justify the hefty price-tag and the storage space gained wouldn’t have been enough to give them the space on my sideboard. So they too passed me by. But after a couple of months, ‘greenie’ popped up and set my watch-list a-fluttering. Noone else was bidding and I kept my fingers crossed until sale day, and thankfully I won the auction for the starting price – not cheap when you consider the cost of delivery, but nowhere near as pricey as some of the LP cases I’d dribbled over in the past. There’s only one downside of buying online, which is that you can’t see it and look at it from all angles. The case arrived in near-perfect condition, with exactly the colours and pattern expected, but with one tiny difference. It was half as deep at the other 2 cases. You’d never know it from looking at these three lined up (thank goodness) but it only holds half as many records. I’m sticking with my story that this is a good thing, as I can barely lift the bigger ones when they are full of heavy vinyl, and the with the slimline one, I can! 

Retro living room interior design record LP storage cases from Boots 70s 60s floral pattern green orange blue

I love my record boxes but that IS IT now, I am all collected out and there’s no more space in the living room for the collection to be added to (and you are welcome to give me a good telling off if I come home with more in the future). I can store my old LPs safely and I’m even using one of the boxes for stashing packs of candles – multi-purpose stoage at its best!


90s cheesy pop at its best – review of The Big Reunion concert

I don’t know about you, but I loved the 90s. And the Noughties. The cheesy pop music of the era was (and will always be) my favourite music of all time. Ok, it’s not cool to love boybands, girlbands and one-hit-wonders, but a catchy tune will get you in the end – and cheesy music is notorious for its earworm-ability. Maybe it is because that was “my” era – I became a teenager in the 90s and a student in the noughties – so I actually had my finger ‘on the pulse’ back then, and I think that’s where my taste has remained.

So you can understand my excitement when The Big Reunion TV was announced earlier this year. I couldn’t believe that ALL my favourite pop groups were reforming and that I would be able to watch all the behind-the-scenes nitty-gritty of the process. I’d already watched some of the Steps documentary and had been ‘lucky enough’ to see them perform at Newmarket Races last year (here’s my blog post about the Steps reunion concert) but I never thought I’d get the chance to see the likes of the fiery Atomic Kitten and the famously fallen-out 5ive getting back together for my viewing pleasure.

thebigreunion the big reunion gig concert atomic kitten 5ive five bewitched liberty x 911 blue honeyz cheesy pop

Last September, I was back at my old uni for one last visit, and coincidentally it was Freshers’ Week. Which at my uni means that they pull out all the stops at their live venue to get all the new students in (they’ve got newbie Jake Bugg playing soon). And oddly enough, I’d just had the best day of my life (traffic lights going in my favour, rain stopping when I stepped outside, the jeans I’d wanted on sale for a couple of quid in my size etc), in fact it was a suspiciously good day and it was about to get even better when I walked past the Students’ Union and saw that my two ultimate bands 5ive and S Club 7 were going to be performing that very evening! Me and 3 pals blagged our way into the student-only venue that evening and really gave those 18-year-old students a run for their money – singing along, doing all the dance moves, weeping a little etc etc. The show was amazing for me, albeit with only 2 members of 5ive (it’s ok it was Abz and Scott, tasty!) and 2 members of S Club 7 (again, Jo and Bradley, the best ones!) – but for me it was close enough, and made my teenage dreams come true.

So put yourself in my place as I settled into my seat at the Hammersmith Apollo on Tuesday evening, clutching my golden ticket to my chest, about to watch 6 of my all-time favourite pop groups perform live, just for me. Ok, there were a few other people there, but I really felt that the producers of ITV2 had sat themselves around a boardroom table and said “Now, what does Cassiefairy want to see on telly?” and then made it happen. I was happy to see some celebs in the audience enjoying the show with the rest of us including This Morning‘s Matt Johnson – yes, the only fella I’ve ever left my light on for on Take Me Out, was sitting in front of me, swoon! I was pretty excited when kids TV favourite presenter Andi Peters skipped onto the stage to host the show and could hardly breathe as 5ive opened the concert with booming bass that rattled through your body and fireworks that temporarily blinded you.

matt johnson five 5ive atomic kitten kerry katona thebigreunion the big reunion itv2

Right away I was transported back to being a platform-shoe-wearing, chart-show-recording, slush-puppy-drinking, Ginger-Spice-haired little girl again and loved every minute of the two-hour concert, as one-by-one the bands took to the stage and performed all of their greatest hits. Liberty X delighted the fellas by singing Just A Little in their PVC catsuits, while 911 got the girls screaming as they thrusted their way through Bodyshakin’. The crowd Irish-jigged along to double-denim favourites Bewitched and held aloft mobile phones (oh how times have changed) and swayed along to the Honeyz harmonising to Finally Found. My personal highlights were 5ive, looking as gorgeous as ever and getting the mainly female crowd all hot under the collar, as they belted out hit after hit, and I found myself surprised at how much I enjoyed watching Atomic Kitten. I didn’t know I was such as fan, as the lyrics came flooding back to me and I even shed a tear as I watched these three best friends having the time of their lives on stage. The fact that Kerry Katona can actually sing was a bonus and the crowd squealed extra loudly every time Kerry took to the mic. A more supportive crowd you could not have found.

I will never forget being showered with glitter and streamers at the end of the show, and I was as emotional as the stars on stage as they hugged each other and visibly made their peace with their troubled pop-pasts. I loved every minute, and I don’t think it’s just because I’m that cheesy-pop-lovin’-9os-child, but because we’ve watched their difficult journey to get to this point through the documentary, and their genuine honesty about their history in the bands was refreshing to see. I think I can safely say that this is unmissable TV and compelling viewing, and if you haven’t already seen the ITV2 show please do catch up with it on iPlayer if you get the chance, because there’s still another month of the documentary before the live show airs; plenty more bust-ups, admissions and tears before a triumphant return to the stage. I just hope they bring out the whole series on DVD!

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The Disappearing Building

I saw this fantastic design for industrial buildings recently when I was on my way back to Suffolk from Buckinghamshire and the faded blue coloured walls really caught my eye (or not, as the case may be!).

These colossal units are the John Lewis and River Island buildings which I think are alongside the A1. The sides of the building are coloured in blue which is graduated from deep blue to a very light, almost white blue, which on the day that I saw them, matched the colour of the sky almost exactly.

I really like this clever design for making what could have been an eyesore practically disappear into the landscape – how simple that a gradient of a colour would cause such a significant difference to the appearance of the buildings.

Have you ever seen any kind of colour gradients used in architecture before? Please get in touch, I’d love to see more examples of this kind of design effect. Maybe this could be an effect I could use myself to disguise our new shed when we finally build it in our back garden to make it less noticeable… hmm I think I will investigate more!


Famous Tutus – Katy Perry’s wacky wardrobe

As her music videos and red-carpet outfit choices often show, Katy Perry is a fan of all things weird and wonderful. She seems to live her life in a Willy Wonka world of sweeties and fluffy things and this sickly concoction of lilac and neon blue is no exception! I love the A-line shape of this tutu dress and the wacky colours only add to it – there was no way that Katy was ever going to wear a ‘safe’ pale pink prom dress was she?!

Here’s a Cassiefairy version of the Katy Perry tutu dress, made from violet tulle and neon turquoise with lots of sparkle!

On stage her love of tutus is clearly seen as she uses them add fluff and frills underneath dresses and use mini tutus to show off her fabulous pins! This silver outfit is as crazy as anything Lady Gaga would wear, but on Katy it looks kind of right and noone would question her for this choice in the way that Gaga is so often criticised for her costumes.

With vintage-beauty looks and retro printed fingernails Katy Perry is certainly a style icon who, although she rarely is spotted on the ‘best-dressed’ pages of the glossies, never gets it wrong – its always just so her. We can see why Russell snapped her up anyway!


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