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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AMAZING news – my blog won the award for Best Homes & Interiors Blog 2017

I’m SO excited to tell you the wonderful news that my thrifty little lifestyle blog has just been announced as the winner of the Best Homes and Interiors Blogger Award 2017!! I still can’t really believe it and I’m grinning like the cheshire cat right now!The news has just been shared by the award sponsor Tile Trader and it’s already made the headlines on the East Anglian Daily Times website – here’s a screen shot and link to the article if you’d like to have a read.Thank you all for voting for my blog in the competition, I really appreciate you taking the time to support me and it’s all for a fantastic cause – the prize is a donation of £200 to a homelessness charity in the winner’s local area. I’m delighted to be able to use my little blog to boost the funds of a brand new support service in Suffolk “The Bus Shelter”.

Beautiful photo of the bus renovation project by Jane Gould, image from The Bus Shelter Facebook page

The charity is currently renovating a donated double-decker bus to turn it into a safe space for rough sleepers to stay. But ‘sleep is just the beginning’ (the charity’s motto) as the bus will also offer advice, cooking and washing facilities, and ongoing support. It’s a truly inspirational charity and the project is in progress right now so please get involved if you can – all donations really do make a difference and will help to get The Bus Shelter on the road sooner. You can read more and donate on their Facebook page here.

Thank you all once again for voting for my blog – it’s made a huge difference to a local charity as well as made me indescribably happy! I’m super excited  that I also receive a commemorative plaque for the award to put on the mantlepiece woo, can’t wait for that to arrive in the post – I’ll be sure to share a photo of it on Instagram @cassiefairy when it’s delivered. Thank you for continuing to support me and helping to put Suffolk blogs on the map in this national award competition 🙂


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Wooo I’ve been featured in Sew Style magazine!

Great news! I’ve been featured in the current issue of Sew Style magazine! When one of the writers from this fantastic magazine got in touch back in the summer I was really excited. I happily answered all her interview questions and even emailed over a couple of photos from my blog, just in case! Thankfully, the magazine decided to include me in their handmade home feature, and I couldn’t believe it when I saw my name was first on the page! SO exciting!

I’d been included in the homewares round-up along with four talented bloggers, instagrammers and Etsy creators. The article is all about stitching soft furnishings for the home and it was really interesting to read about all the the other makers’ decorating adventures and home inspirations. Below are the full-size pages from the magazine so that you can have a read through. I hope that everyone finds it as interesting as I do to read through each of these crafters’ interviews too!sew-magazine-style-and-home-homewares-handmade-stitching-sewing-feature-cassiefairy sew-magazine-style-and-home-homewares-handmade-stitching-sewing-feature-cassiefairy-page-2Check out the Sew Style website for plenty of sewing tips and project inspirations.

 


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I’m Cut Out + Keep’s Crafty Superstar!

Did you spot this news on my Twitter feed earlier this week? I’ve been tweeting and instagraming all week long because I’m just SO excited to be featured on one of my favourite sites. When Cut Out + Keep got in touch to invite me to be their Crafty Superstar, I was literally bouncing around at my desk!crafty superstarI sent over my signed photo as soon as I could and I loved every minute of the interview process – I felt like such a star! I couldn’t wait for ‘my’ week as Crafty Superstar and for my DIY projects to be shared with all their readers. You can check out my interview and see 4 of my crafts on the site right now.diy-pink-tulle-pompom-decorations-party-tutorial-cassiefairy - crafty superstar cut out and keep

Cut Out + Keep are sharing my thrifty projects every day this week. My pom-pom DIY has already gone live on Monday, as has my no-sew t-shirt on Tuesday. My distressed chair upcycling project was featured on Wednesday and I’m yet to see what’s going live today – I find it really exciting when I get a notification ping through that another of my projects has been published!diy-fashion-no-sew-floral-pocket-tshirt-for-summer cut out and keep crafty superstarI love visiting Cut Out + Keep for plenty of inspiration for recipes, sewing ideas, craft projects and furniture DIYs. I’ve even been inspired to try to learn to knit (you know, something more technical than just straight rows!) thanks to their knitting and crochet section. It’s like Pinterest but with real crafters. No everyone on the site has a blog or is a pro, it’s just a very welcoming community of enthusiastic makers who want to share their latest projects. Amazing stuff.distresses furniture diy projectI’m SO thrilled to join so many other fantastic crafters in the Crafty Superstars hall of fame and I still can’t really believe that Cut Out + Keep picked me to feature! Please check out my Crafty Superstar page if you get a chance and follow along with all 7 days of my projects as they are published. And do let me know what you think!


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The Cassiefairy Collection

I mentioned last week that I’ve been working on a project for the past few months to create my own collection of Cassiefairy t-shirt designs. I was so excited when I was approached by Got-The-T-Shirt.co.uk and they invited me to design a range of t-shirts. I had completely free rein over the design and I knew I wanted it to be something that reflected me, the blog itself and to also be inspirational – I hoped that people would actually want to wear my designs!

I did a lot of research and looked into what was already out there in the world of fashion at the moment but couldn’t find any inspiration that would be suitable for my design project. So I started from scratch by playing around with scribbles, geometric designs and spirographs, creating all kinds of designs in different colours, trialling fonts and choosing patterns. I’ve written all about the design process last week here on the blog so have a look and see which designs made the cut and which went back to the drawing board!

So after a few weeks of work and some very hard decision-making, I finally submitted my designs and Got The T-Shirt set to work on making my fashion “collection” a reality. It wasn’t long before a parcel arrived at my house and I tore it open to see how the designs had turned out… I was delighted! Not only did my images look great on fabric and not only was the print professional standard, but the quality of the t-shirts surprised me. They were soft Fruit of the Loom t-shirts with a little stretch in them and I felt very comfortable wearing them. I took some snaps before popping them on and pairing them with my favourite blazers.

I knew I wanted to include inspirational quotes on the t-shirts but I didn’t want it to be all slogan and no design, so I’m really happy with how the images have turned out. The colours make the pattern stand out and the writing looks like genuine ink pen – if I hadn’t designed it myself, I would have sworn that the text had been hand-written on the t-shirt! The quotes read: “Follow your excitement”,  “Believe in your dreams”, “Choose to use your wings” and “Just Love” and I will be happy to wear any of them for a casual day out with cropped jeans and a pretty cardi or colourful blazer.

 

The good news is that you too can own your own t-shirt from the Cassiefairy collection because I am hosting a giveaway this week – you can win your favourite design in any size (even on a men’s or child’s t-shirts if you prefer!). The competition entry form is below and there are FOUR t-shirts up for grabs so FOUR competition winners will be chosen next week on Wednesday 16th July 2014! You can earn extra entries by retweeting the competition tweets on Twitter throughout the week, so keep an eye on my Twitter account @Cassiefairy to earn more chances to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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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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I’m nominated for the Cosmopolitan awards!

Ok, I think I’m getting a little bit addicted. To blog awards. Yes, that’s right, I’m trying to get nominated for another blog award and this time is the elusive, fabulous and starriest of all blog awardsCosmopolitan, yikes!  Why am I addicted? Well, I LOVE the feeling of knowing that you’ve been enjoying reading my blog (there IS someone out there!) and like it enough to bother voting for me. I know how much of a kerfuffle it can be to cast a vote (especially on some super-advanced techy devices!) and it amazes and humbles me that you bothered. It must mean I’m doing something right (I really hope so!) and that you’re willing to help me. It means we’re friends, and that makes me SO happy.

blog-awards-logo

Now I’m under no real illusions that I’ll be able to compete with the fabulous, well-designed, professional blogs that are shortlisted for the Cosmo blog awards each year, but I’d like to see whether people-power alone could get this little thrifty lifestyle blog noticed! What do you think? Are you with me?! Is that tumbleweed I see..?

Here’s the link to the Cosmo nomination website – please scroll down and click on ‘next page’ to open up the nomination form: http://www.cosmopolitan.co.uk/blogs/cosmopolitan-blog-awards-2014/enter

Please nominate me for Best Lifestyle Blog – I think that’s the category that I fit into best! – but please feel free to nominate http://Cassiefairy.com for as many awards as you fancy! I’m over a year old so I can’t go for best newcomer anymore but my pal Jenna from Glitterdaze.co.uk can, so please nominate her too if you get the chance! I’m also nominating LaceyinPlaces.com for best travel blog and MyBlueRinse.co for best established fashion blog and I think I can vote as many times as I like, so guess what I’ll be doing for the next month?! The nominations close on 2nd June 2014 so please pop a nomination in for us whenever you get the chance. And tweet me @Cassiefairy so that I can say thanks in person!

Thank you SO much, chat soon! 🙂


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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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A day in the life…

Hello. Welcome to a day in my life. Wait, don’t go – it’ll be interesting, honest! After my ‘personal branding’ lesson last month, I realised that I really did want to share more about myself with my lovely readers and I think it’s only fair that I give you an insight into my daily life as a full-time blogger – then you can imagine me sat all alone with my cup of tea and might think about sending me a tweet or leaving me a comment to liven up my day, haha! Seriously, I’d love to know more about you too so please get in touch, I love to chat 😉 So here goes:

6am Wake up to the world’s quietest alarm clock that sounds like a harp so that I don’t get jolted out of my sleep. I like to float into consciousness, sit up and take time to let the blood circulate around my body before making any kind of move to get out of bed. This is why the alarm is on early – I like to have time and not feel rushed in the morning. I pull on my slippers (I’ve written about them here!) and head into the kitchen where I feed and fuss my cats Cookie and Muffin and make a cup of tea and breakfast, which I take back to bed.

Cup of tea and a broken kettle

7am Hubby leaves for work and I sometimes go with him to work in the library but often I listen to BBC Radio 2 and start work almost straight away on whatever article or blog post that has popped into my head during the night. I also respond to all my comments or social media messages that have arrived overnight from my USA audience and have a read of all the lovely blogs that I follow, such as inspirational blog LucyLovesYa, vintage fashion articles at My Blue Rinse and photography site Lacey In Places. I try to post my first blog post of the day before 9am because I think it’s nice to have something to read when you get to work 😉 then I open up my emails for the first time and crack on with replying to them.

10.30am I take a tea break to listen to the Popmaster quiz on Radio 2, while having a second breakfast because I’m already hungry by this point in the day. I usually score around 15-21 points on Popmaster – although once I scored 30 and beeped my horn in triumph! (I was driving the car at the time – I don’t have a horn in my house). I research and draft articles for some of the other publications that I write for, then at 12.30 I force myself to leave the computer for a lunch break, cook something proper for lunch and have a rest, otherwise I know I will get tired and be useless for the rest of the day. I will usually read during my lunch hour – either whatever novel I’m reading (at the moment it’s Julie and Julia by blogger Julie Powell) or a magazine, such as my Mensa or Mollie Makes subscription (thanks hubby).

Cassiefairy lifestyle and craft blog review of Molly Makes issue 29

1.45pm I turn on cbeebies every day without fail and watch a 15 minute episode of Something Special. I have been learning Makaton sign language for the past 2 years so this gives me time to practice and I often learn a new sign during the show. Who’d have thought there would be a sign for ‘zipwire’? Well, I know it now! After the show finishes I make a cup of tea and clean the kitchen while singing along to the jingle of the next children’s TV show which I inevitably learn just by accidentally leaving the TV on in the background. At the moment it’s Let’s Play but I particularly enjoyed Mr Bloom’s Nursery – now that is a theme tune!

2pm – 6pm I head out to my workshop (my little vintage caravan) and work all afternoon on a creative project and take photos for the blog, such as a craft DIY, outfit post or interiors shoot. Some days the afternoon will be a trip out to visit an event, place or person and all of this will feed back into my writing somewhere along the line. I check and finish off my emails for the day and clear away my work. I reward myself for a good day’s work with a session on Pinterest before hubby gets home.

Vintage Retro Sprite Caravan workshop office studio painted blue

10pm A highlight of the bedtime is Cookie joining me as I brush my teeth – she comes running whenever she hears the toothbrush turn on – so I hold out her own cat toothbrush for her to brush her teeth against and she loves it! We chat until we fall asleep – usually my conversation starts trailing off first as I struggle to stay awake to finish a sentence. If I have trouble getting to sleep I follow my friend & fellow blogger Laurie Rose’s advice of clearing my mind and counting to ten, and if a thought interrupts my counting I start again at number one and so on until my mind is so clear that I fall asleep. In fact I don’t ever remember getting as far as ten!

So I hope you’ve learnt a little more about me through this blog post – if only the fact that I’m a workaholic, pin addict who lets her cat brush it’s own teeth.


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My amazing night at the National Blog Awards

Have you ever spent years dreaming about an event, months working towards it, weeks planning your movements, days deliberating your outfits, hours getting ready, only to find yourself minutes before the big moment with your heart pounding, palms sweating, wishing that you’d stayed at home hidden under the duvet? This pretty much sums up my experience of the National Blog Awards except that seconds later it became the greatest night of my life!

I know I’ve made you wait two days, and I’m three hours late publishing my daily post after uploading all the photos, but I can’t keep it to myself any longer;  I won the Highly Commended Award for Retail & Fashion at the National Blog Awards 2014!!! Scream!

Cassiefairy National Blog Awards 2014 Highly Commended in Retail & Fashion category

I hope you can imagine what an unbelievable, surreal and shocking moment it was for me – a girl who works alone, spends 12 hours a day writing and has dedicated the last 3 years of her life to creating (soon-to-be) 1000 blog posts – to be judged by the best in the business, to have industry professionals reading my blog and to be recognised by editors and marketeers as being top 2 in the country in my sector. shakes head in disbelief. Amazing.

I’ve put together some galleries of the goings-on at the National Blog Awards event at The Grange Hotel, St Pauls, London so that you can get a flavour of the evening and meet some of the fabulous bloggers I encountered at the big event. My husband was my official photographer so there are lots of photos of me, I’m afraid! We arrived at the very swish Grange Hotel and were whisked off in the glass elevator to the Wren Suite for the big event. I posed for a snap beside the glowing column with rotating National Blog Awards logo and grabbed a glass of bubbly on the way in. After checking whether my bestie Jenna from Glitter Daze blog had arrived, my husband and I had our photo taken in our his ‘n’ hers Joules outfits before heading into the glamorous hall, where we were amazed by the scale of the event.

A real red carpet had been laid and Oscars statues stood either side of the stage (of course I posed on the red carpet in my New Look dress & accessories!), and in true Hollywood style there was even a popcorn and candy floss stall for us to snack on during the ceremony! We chatted to lots of other lovely bloggers and enjoyed the canapés that came past us on regular intervals throughout the evening before heading to the Luma touch-screens to make my own ‘Glitter is my favourite colour’ canvas bag.

After my pal and fellow finalist Jenna arrived, we grabbed a couple more glasses of champagne before getting stuck into a graffiti session on the huge Luma ‘YrWall’. We used real spray cans to digitally tag our ‘Glitter Daze hearts Cassiefairy’ wall and the kind folk at Luma even printed the design onto a bag for each of us! As we stepped away from the wall, some gorgeous (and delicious) cupcakes were offered in our direction so we took our dessert to enjoy while we checked out the competition in our awards programme. We made our predictions and I’m pleased to say that my chosen winner did come out on top in the awards, but more of that later! The seats started to fill up with bloggers and guests so after a quick touch-up with my new make up (from Click Fragrance) we settled in for the awards ceremony, hosted by the fabulously funny founder of MediaCoach, Alan Stevens. After a lovely welcome by Gemma Pear and Becki Cross, the organisers of the National Blog Awards – who snapped an Oscars-esque selfie on stage! – and a captivating talk by sponsors Content Click, the awards ceremony commenced.

Hubby was particularly excited when the original Stig from Top Gear, Perry McCarthy presented the award in the Automotive category to Danny Hewitt from Motortrades Insight and I was delighted when the first award in the Arts & Culture category went to a lovely blogger that I chatted with during the evening Hayley Flynn from Skyliner. All the winners and highly commended awards can be found on the UK National Blog Awards website so please have a look and check out all the fabulous finalists! When the time came for the Retail & Fashion awards I was excited but not too scared because I’d already looked at all of my competitors’ amazing blogs and knew that my chances were slim (especially when compared with the perpetually fabulous Bambella Blog – my predicted winner). Hubby filmed the announcement and when my blog photo was beamed onto the big screen as the Highly Commended blog in this category you can hear the loudest gasp from me! I couldn’t believe my blog had made it into the top 2, it was so unexpected but will certainly go down as one of the best moments of my life.

I was equally delighted when Alex from Bambella Blog – a fantastic fashion blog that I’ve been reading ever since discovering her at the Company Blog Awards last year – was announced as the winner and I couldn’t wait to congratulate her and grab her for a photo with our awards. That’s the lovely thing about bloggers; they are always so happy for and proud of each other’s achievements and just being together at an amazing event like this – one that celebrates blogging talent & shares our private efforts with the world – is magical. I just can’t wait for next year’s blog awards now!


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Finding the perfect dress for the National Blog Awards

Next month I am going to the National Blog Awards as a finalist! I am so excited to be attending the ‘Oscars of the blogging world’ and I can’t wait to catch up with my bestie Jenna who has also been shortlisted for her wedding blog Glitter Daze. Luckily, we aren’t competing against each other, as I am a finalist in the Retail and Fashion category so we can just enjoy a few drinks together, a lovely meal and enjoy all the glitz and glamour that the awards ceremony has to offer.

It’s a proper red-carpet type event and I alternate between being very exciting and very scared because I’ve no idea what the dress code ‘dress to impress’ means – Is it an occasion for long evening dresses or short prom dresses? Will everyone else there be in floor-length gowns or will I look silly in a mini dress?? It’s not a problem for my husband, who will wear his lovely shirt and blazer combo and will look fantastic as always – just the right mix of smart without trying too hard – I don’t know how he does it! But for my outfit I have no idea and I’m sure that I’ll end up in photographs at the awards so I don’t want to look a mess, nor do I want to stick out by being overdressed. So this has kick-started a massive dress hunt and here’s my shortlist:

 victorias dress outfit ideas for national blog awards                     

Black lace a-line dress or red chiffon sweetheart dress

I picked out these cheap prom dresses from one of my favourite dress websites VictoriasDress.co.uk because I know that once I choose a shape of dress I can have it made in any colour for around the same price as an off-the-peg high street dress. At least I know that no one else will be wearing the same outfit as me if I have a dress custom-made! I love the red prom dress above but I think that the chiffon might be too girly for me for such a formal occasion, so I prefer the demure shape of the black a-line dress with lace detail but – in contrast – I’d like to have it in a bright colour. Choosing the colour from the rainbow of fabrics will be difficult but I think that a deep red or dusky pink would be nice with my skintone and warm up my complexion. As you might remember, I had a colour analysis done by Janelle from Confessions of a Fashion Stylist blog and the colours that suit me best are pinks, reds and lavenders so as I’m not a big fan of lilac I think I’ll follow her advice to select a rich red because I already wear a lot of burgundy and I know I’ll feel comfortable in it.

Either way, I need to make a decision on my outfit pretty soon and when payday comes I’ll be booking my train ticket to London for the biggest event of the blogging year and I can’t wait! Of course I will report back to you on my progress in the competition and let you know how I get on during the big night – watch this space!

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