Cassiefairy – My Thrifty Life

Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog – Saving money every day with DIY crafts, sewing projets, low-cost recipes & shppping tips


Putting the MINI into minimalism…

Minimalist designs are taking over. From interior décor to your favourite watch, everything is minimal and highly functional. Simple and effective use of space is what makes minimalism a hit and I love the airiness that these rooms possess. When minimalism is used in home décor, it becomes chic, sophisticated and smart – yet somehow it still feels inviting and unclinical to me. After a life of living in small spaces full of clutter, it’s difficult to resist such an appealing trend! So what is the secret of bringing minimalism into your life? It’s MINI.

minimalism at work in a monochrome wardrobe

M for Minimal Distraction

What makes a minimalist design, at home or elsewhere, work so well is that it doesn’t create any distractions. It comes as no surprise that all minimalist designs are primarily monochrome, whether they are focused on one object or an entire interior décor. While the minimalist’s favourite colour used to be white, you can now find grey, pale purple and beige interior décors that radiate the same sense of simple elegance. When it comes to high-tech design, take a look at the latest smartphones on the market, they tend to be black, white and metallic, so these are the hues you should look for when shopping for a minimalist home and wardrobe.

A monochrome kitchen with invisible lighting

I for Invisible Light

Whether it’s the latest technological gadget or a redecorated living room, the minimalist effect is achieved with a sharp and clear light. At home, this is often produced with a mix of natural light – windows are key in a minimalist décor – and soft artificial light. In opposition to maximalist décor that requires a dramatic lighting solution – such as a huge chandelier in the style of the 1930s – a minimalist décor needs invisible light solutions, such as ceiling LED spotlights, or lighting strips beneath kitchen cabinets, for example. Placed to strategically illuminate the room, a subtle lighting system places the focus on the rest of the room rather than drawing attention to itself.

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Cruelty-free summer cleaning hacks

In the run up to the summer holidays is when I start to notice what needs doing around the house. I realise that spring has passed me by in a whirlwind of work, and with it the notion of ‘spring cleaning’ has wafted off into the distance. Those windows never did get cleaned and that grim grouting never did get replaced. I start thinking to myself since when did those skirting boards get so dusty?’ and I realise that a lifetime of work-sleep-and-play leads to not much success in the way of cleaning. I know life’s too short, but eventually it becomes time to clean. And today is the day.thrifty low cost summer cleaning hacks kitchen bathroom diy cruelty free-6 thrifty low cost summer cleaning hacks kitchen bathroom diy cruelty free-3I sort of want to get the house in order before I take a break for summer. I don’t want to start my holiday with a long to-do list of cleaning task. In an ideal world, someone else would come in and blitz my house, so that I could begin my summer break in a holiday-cottage-style state of cleanliness. However, I’d probably be too embarrassed by the slightly mouldy fridge seal to let anyone else do the cleaning for me. So, onwards, with some spring/summer cleaning hacks.

As you may have spotted in my previous blog posts, I’m very keen to live a cruelty-free life. We’re not just talking animal-testing for make-up here, oh no. Cleaning products are under scrutiny here too, and I’ve found it super-easy to replace my old sprays and soaps with lovely new cruelty-free versions. And it hasn’t even been an expensive process. Thanks to budget brands such as Astonish, Morning Fresh and supermarkets like the Co-op and Waitrose, I’ve been able to find a CF replacement for pretty-much every cleaning product I use. But that’s not all…

I’ve also searched for some cleaning hacks to save me having to use products at all. What could be more animal-friendly than using lemon juice to clean your taps, eh? Unless a cat wanders across the sink at an inappropriate moment, it’s unlikely that my homemade lemon-and-salt cleaner will have been tested on an animal! You don’t need to waste lovely fresh lemons for the purpose of cleaning – stick them in your drink instead! For this hack, I simply used the cheapest bottle of lemon juice I could find in the supermarket and soaked my sponge.

A quick wipeover with a lemon-soaked sponge brings taps back to their sparkling best. If you have a crust of limescale on the taps, simply use an elastic band to attach the sponge to the tap and leave it for a few hours to gradually wear away the limescale. Any stubborn bits can be scrubbed with an old toothbrush soaked in more lemon juice. And speaking of toothbrushes…

You can easily clean grout by mixing baking soda with a splash of water to create a paste. Use an old toothbrush to scrub it into white grout to freshen it up. If there’s a stained patch on the grout, add lemon juice directly to it and allow it to sit for a while to ‘bleach’ it out. Of course, there’s an easier way to clean tiles and grout – with Astonish Grout and Tile Restorer. Don’t be alarmed when you use it for the first time – sometimes the grout turns bright pink when you spray it on! Again, an old toothbrush will sort this out and your tiles will come up sparkling.

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My new years plan ~ Tidy house, tidy mind

Today, I’m having a clean up and a clear out. Or rather, I am procrastinating by writing a blog post about clearing up and clearing out! But I will get round to it today – honestly! Because I’ve heard it said a million times that a tidy desk/kitchen/home leads to a tidy mind and I could really do with going into the new year (and lets face it, just next week…) with a more restful mind and a better ability to cope with all the things that life and work throws at me! It’s a well-documented truism that clutter in your environment can contribute to an equally disorganised and disturbed mental attitude. Let’s face it, if my workspace is messy surely I’ll be less productive and if my home is untidy I’ll find it harder to relax during my time off while thinking of all the chores I need to do! Whether it’s the product of a lazy few days or the result of months of ‘to-do’s piling up, I think we’ll all feel better for tackling the clutter face-on and tidying up our spaces.

It’s basically a smoothing over of your life and therefore it will cleanse your mind too and make you feel considerably more relaxed and free – or at least that’s what I’m hoping will happen when I set to work on my massive tidy-up this week! I’ve previously written about decluttering your wardrobe to save you time and money and similarly a clear-up of your home will be equally beneficial to you. I’m not talking about cleaning here – even the most untidy homes can be clean and likewise the cleanest homes can be untidy, so what I’m really focussing on are tips for improving your living and working spaces so that you can start the new year afresh and be better able to achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself in 2014.

declutter your home and workspace messy desk

Pretty much what my desk looks like at the moment! via Pinterest

Workspace – When was the last time you saw your desk under all those piles of paperwork or craft materials? Workspaces always start out clean and efficient, but gradually gather stacks of books, unfinished projects and other odds and ends that don’t have anywhere else to live. I’m not asking you to put away all your work, as that will stop you completing tasks altogether but I’m suggesting that you clear everything off the desk and keep the things that you need in an organised way. Storing papers and magazines in files is an easy way to keep similar documents together and store them upright so that they are easy to access rather than being at the bottom of a pile. You don’t need to spend out on costly office storage solutions – simply cut the tops off cereal boxes, cover them in wrapping paper or newspaper and stick a label on the side so that you can easily see what the contents are at a glance. Standing these files on a shelf above your workspace will save you space on the desk and means that you can assess related should be moved on elsewhere. Next time that you go to sit at your workspace to organise your finances or make a piece of artwork, you’ll have a clear desk to work on and everything you need will be to hand, which will inevitably speed up the process and help you to be more productive.

clearing out your closet Friends episode

Monica’s messy closet in Friends via Pinterest

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My little vintage caravan ~ Clearing up the glitter

A couple of weeks ago, one of my closest friends and blogger-extraordinaire Jenna from Glitter Daze blog came to stay with me and we has a fantastic time going on little trips, taking snaps for our blogs and getting stuck into craft projects so that we would have plenty of DIY tutorials ready for you over the festive period. I hope to share her Christmas wreath tutorial with you soon and it’s full of plenty of Glitter Daze glam! Not one to arrive empty-handed, Jenna rocked up on my doorstep with advent calendars, chocolate, bubbly and (of course) these 3 massive tubs of glitter for me below, wowzers! Expect plenty of sparkly crafts coming on up on the blog soon! But this does mean that on-top of all the tulle, thread and general sewing debris that litters the floor of my vintage caravan workshop, I now have glitter to content with – and lots of it! So when I had the chance to review a Dyson vacuum cleaner I couldn’t believe my luck – it was as if the world had conspired to give me the gift of glitter, along with the means to clear it up!

new dyson to keep my little vintage caravan workshop clean

So I’ve just received my new vacuum cleaner, and the first job was sorting out my caravan carpet. I don’t know if you can see clearly in these photos, but there is plenty of dropped glitter all over the carpet (I think it added to the glam pinkness) plus loads of thread etc. I’ve long since given up keeping my workshop floor clean because my old vacuum just wasn’t sucky enough to get the threads out of the carpet pile. I know that sounds a little lazy of me (how do you think that the thread got on the floor in the first place? yep, too lazy to put it in the bin) and  I’ve recently been thinking that perhaps a vinyl floor might have been a better choice so that I could simply sweep it up after every project. But now, I won’t have to worry about that – because the Dyson has a rotating brush head that picked up every thread – I turned it on and I could immediately see threads whipping around the head before I’d even started moving it around the carpet.

using dyson to clean up glitter and thread in my little vintage caravan

The DC39 model that I’d chosen was designed for animal hair because as you know I’ve got two very very fluffy cats who like to shed everywhere (mostly on my lap). I thought that the vacuum would therefore be suitable for removing the standard layer of fur that settles over my home, plus it would also be able to tackle the sewing debris in my caravan. Even the tiny turbine head (top pics), which is usually used for getting pet hair out of upholstery, has little rotating brushes and picks up wool, lint and fluff with ease. There was even cat fluff in the dust cylinder that I hadn’t seen at all on my caravan floor, so it really does pick up all pet hair so now I can invite my allergic little sister over to my house after a quick whip-round with the Dyson.

using dyson to vacuum my little vintage caravan

You can see that I’ve chosen one of the little cylinder vacuum’s rather than the upright one. I’ve struggled in the past with the weight of the upright ones when using one of the old original Dysons, and even though they are now much lighter and have been redesigned with the roller-ball for easy manoeuvring, I still have a lot of nooks and crannies that I want to vacuum so I wanted a smaller ‘pod’ vacuum. As you can see, it fits into my little vintage caravan just nicely and I didn’t feel like it was taking up all the space or getting in my way. The roller-ball means that I could vacuum all around the house and it followed me wherever I went (a bit like my cats) without getting stuck on anything – it just moved around obstacles in the same way that I did. I also chose the cylinder vacuum because it has lots of different brush heads, including an articulating head which can swivel to fit down the side of units – perfect for me! All in all, I’m over-the-moon with my new Dyson and am happier still that I don’t have to do my regular 6-monthly hunt for expensive replacement bags for the old vacuum any more!

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