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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How to reinvent a second-hand kitchen

Buying a kitchen second-hand may seem unheard of, but it can be a great way to update your home on a budget. So many people think that their only option is a basic store-bought kitchen, but there are alternatives out there – purchasing a designer kitchen second-hand is the future. You can get great quality at a fraction of the original custom-made price. However, when a kitchen has been designed for a different home, how do you personalise it to suit yours? Here are some tips:Paint is Your Best Friend

When you buy a second-hand kitchen, paint becomes your best friend. You can use it to transform the entire room, from the cabinets to the walls. You will be surprised how much painting your cabinets can lift the entire room, making it brighter and much more pleasant.

Change Up the Cabinets

With cabinets making up such an important part of the kitchen, changing them can have a big impact on the design. You could paint them, as we mentioned above, or replace the doors with glass. If you’re feeling brave (and you keep your cupboards tidy!) you could take the doors off completely. Is that too much commitment? Just replace the handles – chrome handles instantly update a kitchen, or you could find quirky vintage ones.Replace the Worktops

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Personalise your wedding reception (& cut costs too!)

One of the most important days of your life is your wedding day. It’s just one day of celebration, yet we spend more money on this than many of us earn in a whole year. A few short hours costing thousands seems a little excessive. So is there a way to maximise the experience while shrinking that cost down to sensible proportions? Absolutely. Everybody loves a wedding, but if you want to achieve the dream without dropping your jaw on the floor at the cost, why not give these ideas a go..?

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MC Mates

No need to hire a professional DJ, a ‘Master of Ceremonies’ or announcer. Ask your dad, your brother, your auntie, or any of your friends. Many people struggle to know what to buy you for your wedding. And plenty of us struggle with the cost of gifts. They will be delighted to have such an important contribution to your wedding, and it can become one of the gifts you’ll treasure the most. Best of all, you’ll get exactly what you asked for. Your friends and family know you well, so everything they provide will be personal.

Home-baked Cake

Mmmmm. Nothing is quite as tasty as a freshly baked cake. Sure, you can get four tiers of intricately designed and decorated wedding cake from the baker. Looks good on the outside, but may be disappointing on the inside. Make it yourself, including the decorations that are personal to you. If you have children in the family, let them get involved. There is nothing more personal and charming for your friends and family than something that comes from you or your guests.

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Centrepieces

Making your own centrepieces is easier than you think, and they make a great parting gift for your guests. Thrift shops and budget stores always have bowls and vases at bargain prices. You can insert craft sand or pebbles and artificial flowers to fill it out. Add lots of colours and a range of textures to create something extra special. Paper flowers work well for this too – or even sweets!

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Household DIY – How to install laminate flooring

I’ve recently laid laminate flooring in two rooms of my home and I can honestly say that it was a really easy process. I thought it would take days to install but we were finished within a couple of hours. As long as you have the right equipment – a saw, knee pads and a laminate flooring installation kit (including packers) you can easily lay this type of flooring yourself. Here’s how to do it, step-by-step:Clear away any existing carpet, tiles or pieces of old underlay. Give the room a sweep to make sure you’ve cleared all the debris from the surface, and vacuum the floor to pick up the smaller pieces of dust. If you’re laying the laminate onto a concrete floor you’ll need to start with a damp-proof membrane before adding a layer of underlay.If you’re starting with a wooden floor, you can go straight to laying the underlay. There are plenty of options for underlay out there; foil-coated sheets that insulate the floor, rolls of foam to cushion the laminate or fibre boards – which is the option I went for.This simply evens out the floor so that the laminate flooring will look perfectly flat when fitted. It also adds an extra layer of insulation and, if you’re using it on an upstairs room, it can add a little sound-proofing so you don’t feel like you’re walking about inside a drum, and causing a lot of noise in the rooms below!

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Small decor changes that make a big impact

Many people think that they have to spend thousands of pounds on changes to their home to make a huge impact, but it can be cheaper than you’d think. Lots of little changes can amount to something spectacular, making a home far more homely with just a few choice edits. You don’t need to be knocking through walls or re-plastering ceilings; it can be as simple as adding a few choice details to bring your home together.

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Beautiful lighting

Getting the lighting right in your home can make a significant difference to how it feels. If you don’t like a room, consider if it’s because there isn’t enough natural light, or the electric lighting is too harsh. Many rooms benefit from a dimmer switch, the kitchen maybe being the one exception. Bedrooms and living rooms are vastly improved when you can keep the lighting low and sultry in the evening – perfect for relaxing and feeling cosy. Add a couple of lamps or candles and your home will feel all hygge in no time.

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Valentine’s gifts & an idea for a romantic evening at home

With Valentine’s Day coming up next week on the 14th February, I thought I would share some ideas with you for an inexpensive night in with your other half.If you want to avoid the crowds in busy restaurants and don’t fancy filling your home with heart-shaped mugs and pink teddy bears, this could be the solution to both your Valentine’s gifts and evening celebration. Read on to find out more and to enter my Valentine’s giveaway to win a fabulous prize bundle from Dartington Crystal and Bolsius candles. I’m talking about an at-home wine tasting. Or beer tasting. Or simply a mocktail evening, if that’s what you fancy. Pop on some music, light some candles and start sipping! The candles create a relaxed atmosphere and will transform your living room or kitchen into a cosy, intimate space for conversation to flow. Spending time together is the nicest thing about Valentine’s Day, so take this opportunity to have a good old catch-up without the distraction of the TV or internet. Of course, this type of evening in would be lovely whatever the occasion, whether it’s a birthday, your wedding anniversary or just a Friday night. Drinks-wise, you could treat yourselves to a bottle of wine, or go for the mini-bottles (like my tiny Prosecco bottle – just the right amount for two!) if you want to cut costs. This will also help to minimise wastage if you can’t drink a whole bottle on a school night..! Continue reading “Valentine’s gifts & an idea for a romantic evening at home” »


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A low-cost way to decorate your walls for autumn

Today’s blog is a quick and easy decor update that can make your home feel really autumnal in a matter of minutes. And you don’t need to spend loads of money on new soft furnishings, or hours crafting a garland, or days painting your walls to add a touch of autumn colour to your home. My idea for a speedy interiors update is adding art to your walls to completely change the feeling of your space in no time.posterlounge_autumn-2In particular, I’m talking about a more budget version of art – using posters. Sure you blu-tacked up posters to your bedroom walls in your teenage years but have you ever used them since? After browsing online and finding plenty of sensational artworks in bold autumn hues, I’ve become a fan of the humble poster. And they’re really great value for money too. How else can you update your home decor in such a striking way with a very little budget?posterlounge_autumn-4 Of course, you can frame up posters and elevate their status to true artwork, but you could also simply stick them up in your office with washitape and get the same effect. I really love the moon-phase design below, this would be the perfect addition to my bedroom to bring a touch of warmth into the room for autumn. And when the season is over, you can roll the posters up, pop them back in their delivery tube and switch over to a new fresh design for spring. Poster tubes take up hardly any space and your favourite design will be ready for you to re-hang again the following autumn. Sounds good, doesn’t it?posterlounge_autumn-5For autumn, I’ve been really drawn towards gold, copper and brass touches and have picked out the designs for this blog post as my suggestions for autumn 2016. I tend to lean towards a monochrome palette at all times of year, with bursts of colour to reflect the season. I love gold for autumn and I think it works well into winter too as we fill our homes with glittering gold decorations. And, of course, woodland scenes like this artwork below evoke a lovely autumnal feeling without feeling twee. posterlounge_autumn-3 Continue reading “A low-cost way to decorate your walls for autumn” »


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My new Christmas decorations theme – Blush pink & oodles of glitter

So now that bonfire night has exploded all around the country last weekend, I think I can safely move on to Christmas. That’s the rule, is it? Halloween? Check! Bonfire night? Check! Christmas? Ohhh yeaaah! Here it comes! Which is precisely why I’ve waited until now to show you my new festive decorations. I’ve been shopping this week (can you believe how many shops are full of festive stuff already?!) and was easily tempted to pick up some new bits n bobs.christmas-decorations-pink-heritage-vintage-glittery-trend-winter-2016-baubles-decorations-xmas christmas-decorations-pink-heritage-vintage-glittery-trend-winter-2016-baubles-decorations-xmas-8In fact, the prices of my new decs were so good that I couldn’t keep it to myself any longer, because I know that some of you will be the same as me and will be hunting out your new decorations for this year’s theme soon and I want to help you get a bargain. I usually stick to the same colours every year and have plenty of baubles that I’ve collected over the past decade that must go on the tree. But this tree is going to end up in the bedroom so I wanted to go for a different look this year.

As always I was inspired by Pinterest (here’s my Christmas board if you want to take a look) and I found myself pinning more and more handmade baubles and ballerina pink hues. Of course, it wouldn’t be Christmas without oodles of glitter so discoball-esque decorations were definitely on the cards. I found the exact dusky pink shades of Christmas decorations that I wanted on the Homebase website but decided to go along to the shop to buy them ‘in person’ so that I could see the size of the baubles and how they looked side by side.

I found so many more options in store that I didn’t even notice on the website so I picked up a few more packs than expected. Even so, I didn’t spend more than £14 on ALL these decorations. A full 1.8m tall tree was covered in this pretty pink theme (including two very special handmade baubles at £2 and £2.50 – my showstoppers!) for this low price. The mini baubles were only £2 for a pack of 20, can you believe it?

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How to create a farmhouse feeling in your home

I don’t know why, but autumn always makes me want to start nesting. My thoughts turn to cosy farmhouses and blazing fireplaces in country homes. It’s in complete contrast to my usual love of bright airy spaces and colourful mid-century modern accessories, but I love it nonetheless and start pinning tartan blankets with abandon at this time of year. It’s almost as if I NEED two homes; a fresh white summer house and dark, rustic winter home. With an emphasis on folk art, craftsmanship, and simple yet strong architecture, country farmhouses are just the place to snuggle up in the autumn and winter. So if you are looking to add a bit of rustic charm to your home this autumn, take a look over this list of the best ways to make your house more “country”.cosy-country-home-interior-design-decorating-farmhouse-style-diy-thrifty-accessories

Lots of layers & textures create a cosy country look

Layer up

I think the reason that country homes like this look so welcoming is because of all the layers of soft furnishings. Blankets, cushions, rugs, throws and pouffes almost shout “put your feet up and snuggle down”. It’s a really relaxed look, so feel free to drape as many blankets over your sofa as you like! Just imagine how warm you’re going to be this winter if you’ve got a lovely snuggly throw to curl up under. Experiment with textures too – baskets, knits and hessian all add to the typical ‘country’ look.

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Create a Cotswold farmhouse look with handmade pieces

Decorate with vintage and handcrafted pieces

The first, and possibly easiest, step to achieve a country farmhouse look is to shop around for secondhand and crafted items for your house around the country theme. You can find a treasure trove of authentic country decorations at secondhand shops and in charity shops, though this method usually requires some digging to find the right items. Another possible idea is to take a trip to a local arts and crafts show, and pick up some real handcrafted accessories made by local craftspeople. This not only fills your house with personal and unique decorations, it also keeps money in the community!
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Tuesday Shoesday – Blue suede boots for autumn

I’ve never seen an autumn like it. There are so many leaves on the ground at the moment that you can’t really see the grass anymore. The colours are so vibrant and I’m sure there are more shades of orange, red, green, yellow and brown in this year’s fallen leaves than ever before. And with a garden covered in beautiful autumn leaves like this, who wouldn’t go outside for a spot of leave-kicking at the weekend? Well, that’s what I did anyway!autumn-shoes-blue-suede-boots-kicking-leaves-fashion-trend-winterMy husband did the most adorable thing and raked the leaves into the shape of a heart. And then even went to the trouble of spelling out the word autumn across the middle. He’s a creative sort and knows how much I love this time of year. I’m pretty sure that’s why he did it, and not just to get a great Instagram photo for himself. Anyway, after he’d finished taking some snaps, I had the best fun kicking my way through the words and destroying the whole thing, bwahahahha!autumn-kicking-leaves-gifAs it’s Tuesday Shoesday I felt it would be appropriate to share some snaps of my new autumn boots at the same time. After my trusty brown boots finally crumbled after two years of constant wear, I decided it was time for a new pair. I wanted them to last me well, but look a little more cool than I usually choose. Plus, I needed my shoes to come in under my £20 budget too. That’s not too much to ask is it? Well, apparently yes, it is.autumn-shoes-blue-suede-boots-kicking-leaves-fashion-trend-winter-8I had trouble finding a pair of boots that did everything I needed. I mean, I just wanted some boots with a small heel, speedy zip fastening (I’ve no time for laces these days), in lovely faux suede or leather, and in this year’s hottest colour navy blue. After shopping around it started to look like my thrifty budget wasn’t going to stretch to a new pair of boots for me this year. However, when I hopped onto the Deichmann website I found rows and rows of shoes and boots, with most of them priced at £20 and under.autumn-shoes-blue-suede-boots-kicking-leaves-fashion-trend-winter-4I perked up a bit at this point and clicked through out their most recent collection for Autumn/Winter 2017. Wahey! Boots! Wedge boots, Chelsea boots, ankle boots and knee-high boots. And not just boots; my favourite shoe style brogues were available in patent navy blue too. But that’s not what I was there for. I stuck to my shopping list and looked only at the ankle boots section. My will-power is strong.autumn-shoes-blue-suede-boots-kicking-leaves-fashion-trend-winter-3 Continue reading “Tuesday Shoesday – Blue suede boots for autumn” »


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Guest Post – 6 basic tips for designing your bathroom

Is it your first time designing a full-on renovation for your bathroom? It’s easy to get bewildered by the many design combinations that you can choose for your bathroom. Here are some professional design pointers that can serve as guidelines to help make your bathroom renovation project less overwhelming (and help you stick to a budget too!).DIY fitting new taps to makeover a bathroom sink-2using recycled wood from a skip to make a beach hut bathroom floor and storage-11

  1. Get an estimate on how much you’re willing to invest for revamping

Coming up with the overall theme and arrangement for your bathroom may seem difficult due with so many options to choose from, but this is actually the easiest part. Planning the budget is far more time-consuming and complicated, as it will determine which design options you can actually afford! This is why you must be honest to yourself on how much money you want to invest for the renovation. Monetary groundwork will also help you easily adjust on purchasing certain parts for the bathroom, for example – if you make savings on a shower unit by buying at a discount online, you can add this surplus money to your budget for the bath.

  1. Keep vintage finishes if possible

Old or ancestral houses have floor tiles made of coats and slabs of concrete that are very difficult to extract. If you really want to remove these tiles then you need to spend more cash. However, if the tiles are not badly damaged and still look great then you might consider not taking them out. You could just use the money and effort in improving the other parts of the bathroom. Continue reading “Guest Post – 6 basic tips for designing your bathroom” »

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