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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Students – Tips for improving your essay writing

We’re only one month into the new year and I bet that you college students out there will already have a stack of assignments to catch up on. I remember that my university tutors all used to set their essays, reports and presentations within the first couple of weeks of term, so by now I would already be worrying about writing them. Would my research be strong enough and would my writing skills be good enough to get the debate across? After a lot of practice and many many years of being a student I finally worked out how to breeze through essays and assignments, so if you’re feeling concerned don’t worry – there are plenty of ways of improving your grammar, choice of words, structure, etc and here’s how:

Quick tips to improve your writing skills

All students have problems with  written assignments from time to time as they demand thorough research and take lots of time to pull together into a structure that reaches a decisive conclusion. But all that work isn’t in vain – developing your writing skills in this way is useful when you’re studying at a higher level in the future or even in your future job. Here are some tips that will make your life much easier:

  • Make sure that every paragraph has main idea
  • Pay attention to sentence length: short ones are used to emphasize ideas and longer sentences are used to explain, define, or illustrate
  • Key words and ideas should be placed at the beginning or end of the sentence
  • Use different types of sentences: simple, compound, and complex sentences
  • Dynamic verbs in active voice are important – don’t overuse the passive voice
  • Avoid using too many unnecessary words
  • When you’re reviewing your essay, read it aloud –  you will hear any grammar problems
  • Don’t be too lazy to proofread and edit your work before submitting it
  • Don’t be embarrassed to use a dictionary or synonyms 

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Career inspiration – Top tips to become a fashion stylist

If you have a passion for fashion and love to shop, then becoming a fashion stylist is the perfect career choice for you. The position involves everything you love about the fashion world, and not only affords a hands-on experience in all the aspects of the fashion industry but gives you the opportunity to make your own ideas a reality. You’ll get to design and create your very own store displays, dress mannequins, manage the interior/outside decor, and arrange floor and store space. Sounds exciting, huh?the-devil-wears-pradaAll the while, you’ll be keeping up with changing fashion trends (yes, reading magazines and looking at blogs will be part of your job!), checking out branding updates, keeping track of new visual and marketing techniques (paid to play around on social media? Yes please!). If this sounds good so far, your training will probably cover coordinating outfits to fit individual customers, experience in diverse fashion styles to fit different consumer demographics, engaging in photoshoots for visual ads, and becoming an expert in customer relations in general. And that’s just for starters! Want to know how to get the job of your dreams? Read on… Continue reading “Career inspiration – Top tips to become a fashion stylist” »

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Considering a career in the beauty industry?

You may have spotted that I’ve recently developed more of an interest in the beauty industry. It’s not that I wasn’t interested at all in the past, I just hadn’t spent that long thinking about it or researching it. Since deciding to go cruelty-free (read my blog post about what kick-started this change) I’ve spent literally hours looking into all things beauty-related and it’s a fascinating topic to research.studying beauty against animal testing cruelty free

image source

The beauty industry has expanded beyond humble beginnings to become an industry worth billions – and that is just here in the UK. This may not seem like news to you, but what surprised me was the particular type of customer that has been driving this change. It’s no longer considered ‘vain’ or ‘shallow’ to look and feel good and now it is the older generation and male grooming that are at the fore of driving change within the beauty industry.Freedom makeup cruelty free collection

Image source YingBeauty

As a result, this thriving and dynamic industry is attracting new brands, new fans and new recruits year on year in the UK. Of course, I’m most interested in finding out just how many of these brands are cruelty-free. I’m pretty sure that it will probably be most of them, as animal testing is banned in the UK market, so I’m definitely up for supporting home-grown beauty businesses and helping them making a great impact on the global industry as a whole. With businesses soaring, the future of the beauty industry is looking promising so many workers are looking to a career in the beauty industry either as an employee in one of the many spas, salons and clinics opening across the country or as a beauty industry entrepreneur. Finding out this information was what really got me interested and I started to read further into it and are some interesting facts I came across while reading an infographic by NCC Home Learning:

  1. Employing more than one million people and worth £17 billion, it is one of the most lucrative industries in the country.
  2. Women over the age of 50 have become the biggest buyers of beauty products in the UK.
  3. Recent research reveals that the average British woman spends up to £40,000 in a lifetime on her hair and £100,000 on cosmetics.
  4. Men aged 20-29 spend on average £35 per month on grooming products, while those in their 40s spend double this.
  5. There was a 13% increase in the number of cosmetic surgery procedures carried out in 2015.
  6. Globally, women spend approximately £300 billion per year on beauty products.vegan make up brushes cruelty free

Image source The Blackrose

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How much does it cost to go “back-to-school”?

I know that Spring is traditionally the season of new beginnings but I think that autumn holds some of the same magic too. Starting in September, specifically on the 23rd this year, autumn is the ideal time to start a new project or try out something new. There’s a sense of optimism in the air, everything is covered in a warm autumnal glow and with the Christmas holidays only a couple of months away everyone is looking forward. Perhaps that’s the reason why so many courses begin in the autumn term rather than January? Whether you’ve started a new adventure at university, signed up for a leisure learning evening class or have just begun a new academic year at school, it’s an exciting time and one that I look forward to every year.back to school new term autumn blog project-3I’m not always starting a new course (although, I’ve been a student on-and-off for 22 years if you count school!) but I still get rather excited at this time of year. It’s the ‘back to school’ adverts that make me reminisce about the excitement of a new school term and I can’t help wanting to study something. I might be in the minority – I know a lot of people who would rather never write an essay again – but I guess that’s the writer in me coming out. I love the idea of getting stuck into a new subject, starting a project or learning something new and even though I’ve not signed up for any courses this year, I am planning to take a couple of workshops.back to school new term autumn blog project-2Just seeing school supplies landing on the shelves of high street stores in August reels me in, and I inevitably start buying more stationary than I have all year. Why would I ever need a protractor kit? Okay, I don’t. But I kind of want one. I must have really enjoyed school as a child because just the sight of a pencil case makes me want to start a history project on ‘The Tudors’. I bought notebooks, a set of pens, new scissors and a circle cutter (below, I don’t know why?!) when I nipped out to buy a birthday card last month. Oops. But what about the people who do need it? The students. What were they buying this academic year?back to school new term autumn blog project-4

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Attention students – you CAN stay healthy at uni!

It’s the start  of a new term, and for some of you, that means a new university, new college and moving away from home. It’s a busy time of year and you’ll be all-over the place, meeting new people, finding your way around and enjoying the fun times that university brings – there’s Freshers week to enjoy for a start! While food is probably not the first thing on your mind, you need to think about how you’re going to feed yourself while you’re away from home. By the way, this blog post isn’t just for university students (it’s just coincidental that I’m writing it at the start of term!), I think its a pretty good way to stay healthy throughout life too – I just know how tough it is to get through uni without adding a stone or two in weight, so a helping hand at the beginning might good for all new students too!

Let me start by saying that I’m happy if you fancy having a cheeseburger for dinner every night – go right ahead. I did when I started uni and I loved it! Yes, those deep-fried onion bhajis covered in creamy garlic sauce from the takeaway outside the Students’ Union were immense. And the first pizza place I discovered on my first night out became my regular hang-out for 3 years.  And during my final year, I was introduced to chips, with melted cheese, and gravy. Heaven. I don’t think I need to tell you (based on my reminiscing above!), but I’m going to anyway… I gained loads of weight over those years as a student. And it took me a couple of years to get rid of it afterwards, eek. Clearly, I’m not here to ‘preach’ healthy eating to you – I’m not a parent and I won’t be anytime soon but I do want to share some tips from an older student 😉 about how to enjoy eating out with your friends without piling on the pounds.  I know it can be tough to make healthy choices when you’re eating out but you’ll probably be doing lots of this as you socialise with your new college buddies and grab a snack between lectures. Plus, it’s hard to choose a fruit salad when all your friends are reaching for the chocolate cake! So many of the nicest dishes are smothered in cheese, deep fried, floating in a creamy sauce or covered in chocolate – and probably account for the Freshers’ bulge weight gain myth – but don’t despair! You can stick to your health-kick throughout the Autumn term and head home to your family for the Winter holidays without looking like a young Schmidt from New Girl. And here’s how:

tamagotchi life healthy beef sub sandwich

Healthy beef sub sandwich – Family

  1. Choose the green stuff: Okay, it might be boring, but if there’s an option to swap your chips for a side of salad or plate of vegetables – do it! No-one’s going to make you eat your greens now that you’re living away from home, but if you want to stay healthy, you’re going to have to make yourself!
  2. By the way; adding butter, sauces or dressing to your so-called healthy choices will just add the fat right back on – so only choose vinegar-based dressings or herbs. There’s no point choosing a salad if you’re going to cover it in creamy ranch dressing or feta cheese and olive oil!
  3. Eating out at a steak place or pub? Watch out for those side dishes and sauces – just say no to smothering and those deep fried onion rings! Choose a baked potato instead of chips and keep that salad dressing-free. You’ll save around 800 calories by forgoing that portion of fries and the steak itself is a pretty healthy option – just cut off any fat and leave it on your plate!
  4. Let’s talk saucy: If your meat is floating in a sauce, make sure it’s not a creamy sauce – if it’s pale-coloured and tastes like heaven, it’s probably full of fat (such a shame!). You can still have a nice saucy dish, but choose a tomato-based sauce such as a jalfrezi rather than korma, and add vegetables wherever you can.
  5. Sandwiches are not all bad, so if you’re grabbing a sub between lectures, choose lean meat, such as chicken or turkey breast, ham or lean sliced beef, skip the cheese, load up at the salad bar and only add clear sauces (not those cheeky creamy ones!) and mustards.
  6. And finally, how hungry are you really? Do you need a side dish, or will your main meal be enough? And are you secretly saving space for a dessert? Why don’t you enjoy extra rice and veg rather than scoffing a big slice of cheesecake at the end of the meal?!

I hope my tips have been useful and really, I’ve only learnt all this since needing to lose the weight! I know how hard it is to maintain a healthy weight when you’re away from home and having a great time socialising with your new friends – I gained loads of weight when I went away to university and if only I’d thought twice about what I was putting into my mouth all throughout college, perhaps I could have avoided looking like a super-size version of myself in my graduation photos! Anyway, it’s up to you how you feed yourself now and the tips above are only a starting point for heading towards a healthy lifestyle – I eat this way most of time, but of course, it’s nice to have some chocolate treats now and again! And really, that’s what the holidays are for haha! My final piece of advice is think to yourself “do I really want it?” and if you do – go for it! But if you’re not really hungry, or can go without that packet of crisps, you’ll feel proud that you’re taking your eating choices into your own hands and no-one can accuse you of giving in to Freshers’ bulge!  Let me know how you get on and if you’ve been a student yourself, what are your experiences? Leave me a comment below 🙂


Some wise old advice for new students

Well it’s officially the summer holidays now and students up and down the country are waiting for their exam results. Whether they have just completed their A-Levels, college course or first year at university, they will undoubtedly be jittery about what the results-slip says, because it’ll confirm the path that their life will take over the coming years. I remember getting my exam results all those years ago and realising that they meant I had definitely got my place at university and could start planning for the big move. My little sister is expecting her results this summer (good luck sis, I know you’ll do great!) and this too will dictate what course she will be studying and where she will be living for the foreseeable future. With that in mind, I wanted to give students some of my tips for making the next move to college or university and hopefully make things a little easier!

Exam results – If you don’t get the results that you want, it really is not the end of the world, believe me! Although your life plan might have made a quick change of direction, this gives you a chance to re-evaluate what you want to do and where you want to live – maybe take a year out, maybe work for a year to save some cash or there are 100s places available on other university and college courses that are available through the UCAS “clearing” service. So your exam results are only the start of a new adventure!

Starting your course – This is your chance to make a good first impression, not only on your tutors (don’t forget they’ll be marking your work, so be nice!), but also your fellow students. So even though you might not know anyone yet, walk into your first class with your head held high and smile. Sit next to someone rather than sitting on your own and introduce yourself (My fabulous friend Jenna caught my eye on the first day by using a pen with a massive flower on the top and that was a good ice-breaker!). You know that you’ve already got something in common with these people (you’re studying on the same course, after all!) so chat about your shared interest in the subject and you’re well on your way to creating a new group of partners in crime.


Where to live – If your university or college offers halls of residence accommodation, it’s a good idea to live there with your fellow students if you can. This will give you the chance to socialise with a different group of students other than those on your course, and you’ll all be able to keep an eye out for each other. Don’t just sit in your room though – make the effort to hang-out in the kitchen or common room, and chat to other students! You never know, but these same people you meet in halls could be attending your 10th wedding anniversary in many years’ time (I’m talking about you, Suzanne!). Another option is getting a shared house rental, and this is especially popular with second-year students who already have a group of friends that they want to live with. A good place to look for rentals is through the university itself, or Rentify advertises its properties on Zoopla, so you can easily find the right location with the right number of bedrooms for you and all your pals.

Family life – If you’re living away from home try to stay avoid going back home in the first month or two of university. A lot of homesickness can be overcome simply by getting on with your course and new social life, and just put your family and life back home out of your mind. If you head home too soon, you may give in to the homesickness and never go back to college! Just stick with it and think about how nice it’ll be when you’re reunited with your family during reading week!

I hope that my tips will give you a good start when you head to university or college and you can look forward to getting your exam results in the next couple of weeks, knowing that it’ll be the start of something fun, whatever you choose to do!

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