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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Pieday Friday – Sweet Potato Pasta with Alfredo Sauce 

Today’s recipe is from the newly released book ‘Eat With Intention’ by Cassandra Bodzak. This is not just a recipe book,but it’s also a practical course in quieting your mind, fueling your body, loving yourself, and changing your life for the better. Alongside the recipes there’s reminders to take care of yourself, and little meditation suggestions for everyday calm. This sweet potato pasta dish is just one example of the healthy yet fulfilling recipes in the book, and it’s quickly becoming one of my go-to recipe books for dinner (and puddings too!). But don’t just take my word for it – you can win a copy of the book for yourself! Scroll down to enter the giveaway below.sweet-potato-pastaSometimes we get so fixed on an idea of something that we close ourselves off from the infinite amount of possibilities for how it could manifest in our lives. I encourage you to think about something you deeply desire right now and strip it down to its basic core, releasing all of its trappings. When we are clear about what we truly desire, we open the door to unexpected opportunities and keep our eyes open for them along the way. Expand your options and expect miracles. Talk about an unexpected way to get your cravings met! If you have been craving the warm, filling, creamy decadence of fettuccine Alfredo without the dairy and gluten, then this is the recipe for you.

Feeling It Meditation

Sit in easy pose with your hands over your heart, eyes closed, breathing in through your nose and out your mouth. Allow yourself to fill up from your heart radiating outward with the feelings of your desire fulfilled. Release any specific images that may come up and return to your heart and tune in to the feeling that is enveloping you around having what you truly desire. Sit in this feeling for the next 3 minutes. When time is up, take a deep breath in and silently say to yourself, “I release my attachment to what it looks like and I welcome in unexpected ways for it to manifest.” Exhale and relax.

Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients: 15-ounce (425 g) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed,15-ounce (425 g) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed, ½ cup (120 ml) unsweetened almond milk, 7 tablespoons (105 g) nutritional yeast, 3 tablespoons (45 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons (30 g) Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon (14 g) vegan butter, 1 tablespoon (15 ml) garlic powder, 1 tablespoon (15 ml) salt, plus extra to taste, ½ teaspoon ground turmeric, 2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, 2 sweet potatoes, skinned and spiralized, Chopped walnuts, to garnish, Chopped parsley, to garnish

  1. To make the sauce, combine all the sauce ingredients in a food processor and pulse until thick and creamy. Season with salt to taste.
  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan and sauté the sweet potato “noodles” for
    5 minutes, until softened. Add the sauce to the saucepan and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until heated through. Garnish with the walnuts and parsley, and serve. (Alternatively, heat the sauce in a separate saucepan and ladle it over a plate of noodles.)

9781631062360Recipe and images extracted from Eat with Intention by Cassandra Bodzak, photography by Evi Abeler. Published by Race Point Publishing (£14.99). More information on the book can be found here.

And if you would like to win a copy of “Eat with Intention” please enter via the Rafflecopter widget below. There are plenty of ways you can earn entries into this giveaway, so best of luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway open to UK residents only. Giveaway runs from 18th -30th November 2016. One winner will be chosen at random after this date and contacted via email.


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House of Plants book review

Today marks the release of a fantastic book for all you plant lovers out there. House of Plants by Caro Langton & Rose Ray has just landed on bookshelves all around the country and you can be one of the first people to get your hands on a copy – yes, I’m hosting a giveaway to WIN a brand new copy of this fantastic book for yourself, read on to find out how you can enter below!

As someone who is constantly pinning photos of lovely loft apartments with glorious displays of tropical plants and succulents, I can’t help but adore this book. The photography by Erika Raxworthy is gorgeous – totally Pinworthy, I’m sure you’ll agree. And the practical advice and plantcare tips make even me (who has killed every plant she’s ever owned!) believe that I could have a botanical paradise in my own home. Today I’m sharing an extract from the book about pruning plants and caring for cacti – I hope it helps!

PRUNING & CARE (Cacti & Other Succulents)

It’s always wise to handle a cacti or succulent with care, no matter how harmless or hardy they may look. You may do damage to them, and equally the most innocent-looking species can cause skin irritation and pricks. Waxy-leaved succulents, including certain species of echevaria, can be bruised if their leaves are handled. Cacti with very fine bristles such as the Opuntia or ‘Prickly Pear’ easily shed their spines and penetrate skin. When removing a spiky cactus from its pot, you may need a pair of thick gloves to protect your hands. Alternatively, scrunch up a few sheets of newspaper until thick enough to wrap around the spines without piercing your skin.

PRUNING

Cacti generally need little in the way of pruning, except after they have finished blooming. At this time, the dried flowers can be gently removed. Leafy succulents tend to shed their leaves quite regularly, and any older, withered leaves or flowers can simply be plucked off to improve the look of the plant. When pruning a leafy succulent, remember that any healthy stems or leaf cuttings removed by accident can be easily propagated rather than thrown away.

CLEANING

Inevitably, your indoor plants will gradually pick up dust on their surface, which can inhibit their growth. In the case of a particularly prickly cactus, you may see little bits of loose soil caught up in its spines when you get it home. There are two ways to best clean different succulents. For prickly desert cacti, the best method is to use a soft paintbrush to stroke away any dirt or dust. For forest cacti or other spineless succulents, you can gently clean them with a damp cloth or sponge, taking particular care with more delicate leaves and stems.

FEEDING

When grown indoors, succulents are likely to mature slowly, and therefore require little fertilisation to survive. However, if you would like to encourage a succulent to thrive and flower, we recommend using a diluted house plant fertiliser regularly from early spring to late summer, and never during winter months when it is in its rest period. Specific instructions for how often to feed different species can be found on each plant focus page in our ‘House of Plants’ chapter.

This advice section was extracted from House of Plants by Caro Langton & Rose Ray, photography by Erika Raxworthy, published by Frances Lincoln (£20). You can find the book online here. But here’s the great news – you can WIN a copy of this lovely book for yourself. You’ll be sent a brand new copy of this newly published book direct from the publishers so what are you waiting for? Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below to be in with a chance of winning this gorgeous book.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway open to UK residents only and runs from 5th November – 16th November 2016. Winner will be contacted via email and will need to provide a delivery address to receive the prize. Best of luck!


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Pumpkin carving for Halloween – our spooky designs

For the past couple of years I’ve been using pumpkins to decorate my home during the autumn BUT I haven’t actually carved a pumpkin for ages. I made glitter pumpkins last year (with pumpkins I actually grew in the garden – smug!) and a lovely autumnal display on my sideboard the year before. But this year, my love of pumpkin carving was reignited when my brother challenged me to a pumpkin carving competition.halloween-pumpkin-carving-inspiration-ideas-tips-diy-project-5 halloween-pumpkin-carving-inspiration-ideas-tips-diy-projectThe whole family joined in with the competition, with each of us carving a different design on our pumpkins. It’s amazing just how many different ideas everyone came up with, using large pumpkins, mini squashes, stacks of pumpkins and even carrots! I have photographed all the designs and shared them below to provide a little extra inspiration if you’re carving a pumpkin for Halloween today.

My design was (perhaps unsurprisingly) the cat silhouette. I’m sure you could have guessed that without me telling you! My husband’s design was the angry pumpkin eating a mini pumpkin, with spiky nose and carrot arms. We’ve made a similar pumpkin design in previous years, so check out my step-by-step pumpkin carving blog post if you want to recreate this scary squash for yourself. And if you were wondering which pumpkin actually won our carving competition, it was the Barbie-eating pumpkin monster! I’m delighted to say that my cat pumpkin came second, woo!halloween-pumpkin-carving-inspiration-ideas-tips-diy-project-4 halloween-pumpkin-carving-inspiration-ideas-tips-diy-project-3And if you’re looking for quick and easy decorations for Halloween, here’s my flying paper bats DIY video. Hope you all enjoy your Halloween and I’d love to see photos of your own pumpkin carvings so please tag me in your Instagram photos @Cassiefairy or tweet me a pic @Cassiefairy.


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Personal Development – 3 reasons for learning at home

Over the years I’ve done a lot of studying online. I’ve studied branding, community journalism, IT and marketing, to name just a few. And, no surprise, I’ve completed a course in Personal Development via distance learning too. I studied the course, completed assessments and gained a qualification without ever meeting a tutor or any other students. For some of you, it may feel a little lonely to miss out on that human connection and social interaction with your peers but don’t worry; you can communicate with other course members through forums and email.personal-development-learning-at-home-studying-study-online-courseFor me it was a really convenient way to learn; it meant that I could study as little or as much as I liked, and could complete the course in less time as I wasn’t attending a certain number of lessons or spending time on class discussions. Plus, once I’d competed each course, I could proudly add it to my CV. I really like this way of learning and here a three reasons why you should consider it too:

Paper-free studying – The course materials are all the same as with a regular course, just that you’re able to experience them ‘paper-free’. No more textbooks or journals cluttering up your home, or files full of notes on your desk. With online learning it’s all contained within your laptop and assessments are usually online or submitted via email. Continue reading “Personal Development – 3 reasons for learning at home” »


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Cruelty-free Laundry

In my quest to live a cruelty-free life, there was one thing that I hadn’t really thought about: Laundry. When you think about cruelty-free, you tend to think about make-up, haircare, lotions and potions and all kinds of beauty products. But an animal-tested industry that is often overlooked is household cleaning products. After finding out just how many products ARE tested on animals, I was absolutely adamant that all of the cleaning products in my cupboards will 100% cruelty free. And the good news is that yours can be too, with a massive bundle of Astonish products in my giveaway – read on to enter..!cruelty free cleaning products laundry cf leaping bunny animal testing washing_I’ve touched on the types of cleaning products I’ve been using in previous posts when I gave my mum a big batch of non-animal-tested cleaning products to get her started on her CF journey and also when I wrote about products I was already using that happened to be cruelty-free. I’ve already blogged about my favourite (and the cheapest!) CF cleaning products on the market in my cleaning hacks blog post last month. But today I’m going to focus on laundry products and washing your clothes the animal-friendly way.cruelty free cleaning products laundry cf leaping bunny animal testing washing_-8Powder or liquid, whichever you prefer to use, there’s a cruelty-free alternative out there that won’t break the back and will clean your clothes just as well as all the other animal-tested products. You can find low-cost Astonish laundry liquids in places like The Range, Savers and sometimes even on the market. Supermarket shoppers can pick up washing powder from Waitrose or the Co-Op and be sure to check out their ranges of fragranced fabric conditioners too. I’ve been using Waitrose’s own brand of non-biological powder and it’s been fantastic. The lavender and ylang ylang scent of my Astonish super concentrate is like summer in a bottle.cruelty free cleaning products laundry cf leaping bunny animal testing washing_-4cruelty free cleaning products laundry cf leaping bunny animal testing washing_-2If you’re looking for effective stain removal solutions there are plenty of cruelty-free options out there. The Astonish Stain Bar is just like the old classic stain remover bar that you mum has had in the cupboard for years but it’s 100% cruelty-free. Rub it on, or use a soft brush to apply to stubborn stains to minimise them before the go into the wash. I’ve been using the Waitrose Pre-Wash Stain Remover Spray to quickly treat larger stained areas (just when did I spill that tea down my top?). I’ve also been adding a scoop of Astonish Oxi Magic to the washing machine drum to lift stains within the wash (I’m taking no chances!) and it’s also good to chuck in with a light wash too, just freshen up pale colours.

I recently found out that Cussons is a cruelty-free brand too, so I picked up a box of Morning Fresh non-bio washing powder in Mandarin and Lemon from – wait for it – Poundland! I’ve also seen it in QD too, so check out your local discount sores to stock up on Morning Fresh. And don’t forget that Cussons make lovely handwash (in large size bottles) and washing up liquid too, so it’s a thrifty alternative to Ecover and Method.

Pretty much everything you would need for laundry can be found as a cruelty-free product, you just have to know where to look. I can recommend Astonish for the low, low prices and uncompromising performance. Most of the CF products I’ve mentioned in today’s blog post can be found in high street shops so keep an eye out and stock up your laundry cupboard whenever you come across these brands. And for convenience, you can’t beat picking up cleaning products from supermarkets such as Waitrose and the Co-Op with your weekly shop.06.17.16 Astonish Summer PackAnd now, on to a fantastic giveaway to get your started on your Cruelty-Free cleaning adventure! The lovely people at Astonish spotted that I’d mentioned them in my previous posts on CF cleaning products and wanted to give something back to my blog readers. So they put together a huge bundle of their best-selling cruelty-free cleaning products just for you. It contains everything you need to give your home a jolly good clean this summer, including specialist kitchen cleaners, their famous laundry products, window and floor cleaners, dishwasher tablets and even a feather duster! They are plenty of ways to earn entries via the rafflecopter widget below so do it now, and best of luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway open to UK residents only, must be over 18 to enter, giveaway runs from 16th August – 4th September 2016.
The products included in the prize package are as follows; Oxy Plus Stain Remover, Stain Remover Target Spray, Fabric Refresher, Clean and Protect Hand wash, Oven and Cookware Paste, Grease Lifter Tablets, Daily Shower Cleaner, 4 in 1 Disinfectant Spray, Window and Glass Cleaner, Fresh Sea Mist Floor Cleaner, all in 1 Dishwasher Tablets and the Dust Buster.


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Urban or rustic – what’s your garden style?

It’s that time of year again. Whether it’s the weather, having more time during longer days, or the summer break you’ve booked off work. Whatever the reason, July and August seem to be the months of the year that we spend the most amount of time in our gardens. So today I’m sharing a quick garden quiz to help you find out your own creative ‘garden style’, plus there’s a chance to enter a competition with Furniture Village to win a designer rattan garden chair worth £1395 so read on to find out more..!Garden Quiz - Copy (2)Even year-round allotment gardeners can be found putting even more effort into their veggie patch at this time of year – pruning, sowing, harvesting, fertilising and netting. And fair-weather gardeners like me finally find the time to step outside and do a little bit of weeding. The mowing needs to be done regularly – it seems like the grass grows at lightening speed during August, and returns to its original length only days after being cut. There’s so much maintenance that could be done in the garden but all we really want to do fire up the BBQ and lie back on a sunlounger with a Pimms. Or maybe that’s just me?? Continue reading “Urban or rustic – what’s your garden style?” »


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Tuesday Shoesday – Summer Holiday Fashion Essentials

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting rather excited about my summer holiday starting soon. For many of us our summer break means some much-needed time off and a chance to recharge our batteries with a spot of sunshine. Today I’m sharing some of my top thrifty fashion picks for summer 2016, I’m showing you where to find an amazing voucher code that’ll get you £20 off your new holiday wardrobe AND I’m giving you the chance to win 1 of 3 spa experience vouchers to really kick-start your holiday in style! Read on to find out more and how to enter this fabulous giveaway…tuesday shoesday shoes sandals flip flops espadrilles fashion summer 2016 holiday inspirationWhether you’re going to some luxurious far-flung destination or are enjoying a relaxing staycation here in the UK, it’s simply the chance to check-out and rest that makes summer holidays so appealing. And, of course, there’s no better time to treat yourself to a spot of holiday shopping too! Glancing through my wardrobe earlier this week I realised that, apart from a couple of floral t-shirts, I’m seriously lacking in any holiday attire. I have no flip flops, no beach cover-up and not one single pair of shorts. It was time to shop!fashion trend summer 2016 espadrilles denim white blue

I wrote about espadrilles as the ultimate summer shoe on Tuesday Shoesday last month

But, as you may have gathered, it’s rather unusual for me to go shopping for anything new. I’m a thrifty gal, and those money-saving habits die hard. I decided that shopping online for my holiday wardrobe was the way to go, as I could browse plenty of shops all at once and could do my favourite type of filtering: “order by lowest price”! I also knew that I wasn’t going to get sucked into paying all kinds of delivery costs, so my first stop (before I even began shopping for clothes!) was searching for money-saving vouchers and discount codes.tuesday shoesday shoes sandals flip flops espadrilles

Continue reading “Tuesday Shoesday – Summer Holiday Fashion Essentials” »


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Create your own personalised room fragrance

What better way to start the week than with a giveaway, right? And how better to lift your spirits and ease those Monday morning blues than with a bit of pampering? Yes, I think you all deserve a little bit of luxury this week so when the very kind folk at Bolsius Aromatic got in touch to offer some fabulous prizes for my lovely readers, I jumped at the ,chance. And that’s exactly what I’m sharing with you today, so read on to find out how you could win 1 of 2 luxurious prizes… scented candle wax melts room fragrance-12scented candle wax melts room fragrance-10The treat I’ve got in store for you is something to indulge your senses and fill your home with a little bit of luxury. We’ve all picked up scented candles in Ikea haven’t we? And we’ve all tried wax melts to fill our home with festive smells at Christmas, right? But the product I’m talking about today is something I’ve never seen before. It’s both of these things and neither at the same time. Creations is a scented wax melt kit that allows you to make an entirely customized scent for your home. In the same way that you might mix a handful of Jelly Beans to make a flavour, these melts allow you to adjust the scents to your own liking, and create a personalised room fragrance just for you.

Continue reading “Create your own personalised room fragrance” »


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Enjoying football during Euro 2016

With the England game about to kick off in the Euros this afternoon (and almost everyone I know bunking off work to watch it!) I knew I couldn’t let today pass me by without at least a mention of the big game. I think this year’s tournament has been the most anticipated and most exciting that I can remember – like Euro’96, only better! And the other good news of the day is that I’ve got a fabulous giveaway from the lovely folk at www.mywraps.com so read on to find out how you can WIN your own set of unique headphones to stealthily enjoy the Euros this summer..!headphones my wraps competitionWe’re enjoying the Euros so much that we’ve actually got a wall-chart up at home – and that’s something I’ve not done since I was a teenager. It’s fun to fill in the results and keep track of who is going through to the next round, and who has been knocked out. While I’m not that into football for the rest of the year, it feels right to get a little bit excited about our British teams. Even so, during some of the less-exciting games. I’d still rather be baking – so be sure to check out my ‘Come on England!’ strawberry cheesecake recipe to enjoy during the big games!

Don’t get me wrong, I do follow football. I’ve even taken part in fantasy football leagues in the past (a total fluke that I ended up in the top half of the league – I don’t think I substituted any players all season!), but I wouldn’t call myself a fanatic. Apart from my annual visit to the ITFC terraces to cheer on my local team, I can often go from one month to the next without keeping track of any scores. For my husband, however, things are different.

england football team image source – thefa.com

He’s the type of man that knows who scored a goal in the 92nd minute in an Arsenal v Wolverhampton game in 2002, even though he supports neither team. Of course, I would never know if that game even took place, so that’s just a vague example that I made up. But nonetheless, that’s the type of info he would just know about football, so you can see how keen he is on the sport. And you can imagine how sulky he is to be working today and missing the game. What he needs today is a pair of headphones and 90 minutes of staring at a laptop screen. However, I don’t think that’s going to happen, poor fella.my wraps headphones giveawayI, however, DO get the watch the game. If I get all my work done this morning, I can take this afternoon for myself and pop on the telly. But for all you folk who can’t get away from your computer screens during Euro 2016, I highly recommend getting yourself a pair of MyWraps headphones and plugging them in to enjoy all the action throughout the tournament from your desk. Just check with your boss first, haha! And the good news is that you can enjoy a 10% discount at MyWraps.com with the voucher code “KickEuro10”, and enter my giveaway to try to win a set below.

image source Getty Images from thefa.com

From the photos I’m sharing today I think you can see why MyWraps headphones are so cool; they double-up as wrist wrap. This means you’ve always got them to hand (excuse the pun) and they won’t be tangled up in the bottom of your handbag when you need them. They’re available in loads of different colours and styles, and look much more like a bracelet than a pair of earphones! I’ve got a pair myself and today I’m giving away a couple more pairs for my wonderful blog readers.my wraps headphonesThe fabulous folk over at MyWraps.com have offered Cassiefairy.com readers the chance to win a pair of Wraps Classics wearable wristband headphones so that you can enjoy all the action from the Euros. There are two prizes up for grabs, so that means two winners too. And don’t forget that you can get 10% off at MyWraps.com during the Euros with the discount code “KickEuro10”. There are plenty of ways to gain entries via the rafflecopter form below so enter today and keep your fingers crossed!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway open to UK residents only. Competition runs from 16th June 2016 – 26th June 2016. Good luck everyone!


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Spring home inspiration

Just look at that blue sky out there today. Easter definitely brought a new optimism for the coming seasons with it this year. What started off as a rather dull bank holiday weekend soon turned into a run of bright and sunny days. Okay, the rather windy storm ‘Katie’ brought down some trees in the village but even so I still needed to wear sunglasses as I drove past the debris earlier this week! Either way, this time of year always sparks a decorating project or two (yes, I WAS in B&Q with all the crowds of DIYers last week!) and now that Easter has passed, it’s definitely time to do that Spring clean too.spring home interiors inspiration ideas decoratingSo, I want to know – what does your ideal Spring home look like? Do you add lighter soft furnishings to your living room or do you bring fresh flowers into the home? As a child I remember helping mum to change the dark velvet ‘Winter curtains’ over for the pale green cotton ‘Summer curtains’ at this time of year and, as an adult, I too tend to make a few springtime changes to my décor in March. I have a couple of rather autumnal cushions (that I made from RSPB placemats – here’s my DIY cushion project) that I get out every October and put away again every April. I could probably live with them all year round, but I kind of like the ritual of a change-over. Plus, it’s nice to spruce up your décor without having to spend out on new products!diy craft sewing project RSPB bird cushions with Christmas robins finished pillowEven though I’m hoping to keep spending to a minimum this year, I’ve been looking around for Spring interiors inspiration (on Pinterest, where else?) with the aim of DIYing a few ideas for my own home. Browsing photos of sunny interiors gives me plenty of ideas for injecting a bit of Spring magic into my home. My first plan is to bring some flowers into my home, but these don’t have to be cut flowers. These can add up to quite an expense, especially if you want to have flowers in your house every week. So how about potting up some buds and bringing them indoors to brighten up the kitchen or living room? Just remember to keep them watered and they’ll last you for months!Visions-Collection home decor interior inspiration spring Continue reading “Spring home inspiration” »

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