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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My summer so far…

It’s only half way through the school holidays and I’ve already been having a wonderful summer break. I’ve been on a few day trips, I’ve visited a handful of places and got a few of my “to-do’s” done. If you’re wondering what I’ve been up to, here’s the goss…summer holiday sunset beach huts seaside-2I went to the seaside. During the very first weekend of the summer holidays I organised to go away from Friday – Monday. It isn’t a long drive from here to the Essex coast, but it was a very hot one! We arrived for our yearly family holiday at around 9am and headed straight to the beach hut. We pretty much spent the rest of the day on the beach, throwing a giant frisbee that I’d bought ‘for the kids’ and tucking into traditional fish ‘n’ chips. The heat dictated plenty of trips to the swimming pool and lots of breezy walks along the promenade to cool off. We enjoyed a game of bowling on Saturday evening, and the bowl ‘n’ burger deal on the pier is always a winner – the burgers are huge! Sunday was a chilled out beach day and on Monday we visited the nearest ‘big’ town for more arcade fun and a trip to the Sealife Centre. A wonderful weekend.

I visited a museum. Ipswich Transport Museum to be precise. I’d never been before, despite growing up in Suffolk from the age of ten. It was a real surprise to find so many interesting exhibits in an unassuming old bus hangar. I’ll share more photos in a ‘proper’ blog post about the museum soon and give you my tips for visiting during the school hols. Another lovely day out with the family that didn’t cost a fortune, bonus!

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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

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Free weekend activity – Wild flower walk

Can you guess what we’ve been up to recently from the title of this blog post? Last weekend my husband and I set off on a lovely weekend walk in the countryside, planning to find a bluebell wood which (having googled it) we knew was nearby. After a long period of cold wintry weather in April, the sun was finally out so we wanted to make the most of this lovely spring weekend and get outside. We pulled on our boots, packed up our gloves (just in case the wind picked up) and even took a snack with us to nibble on at lunchtime. We were ready to head out into the great outdoors, to breathe in the fresh air, get a bit of exercise after a week cooped up in the office, and drink in the glorious views. Little did we know that all – and I mean ALL – the spring flowers had finally come into bloom. day out wild flower walk spring day out wild flower walk spring-4 day out wild flower walk spring-2 Our amble through the countryside had quickly turned into a botany trip. Spotting different flowers as we strolled along the footpath became a competition between us, almost like ticking off the flowers in an ‘Eye Spy’ wildflower book. Luckily, we’d brought the camera with us in anticipation of getting some pretty shots in the bluebell woods, so we began taking photos of all the flowers we saw on the route. We had soon photographed more varieties of flower, blossom and ‘weed’ than we could count, and that was before we’d even found our way into the wood.day out wild flower walk spring-20 day out wild flower walk spring-29day out wild flower walk spring-28When we arrived at Reydon Wood the route had been marked out by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust as a dedicated ‘bluebell walk’ so we strolled through the first part of the wood, still gathering photos of other varieties of flower, and hoping to round a corner and see a swathe of bluebells. You won’t believe it, but as we wandered along the path, the clouds burst open and it started to hail! Luckily, the canopy of the woodland protected us from being pelted with hailstones but we could see it coming down against the sunny backdrop of fields. Could a hail storm produce a rainbow, we wondered? Would it be solid? Thankfully, it was just a quick shower of hail and soon the blue skies were filled with fluffy clouds and sunshine again.

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One week, no jeans challenge

We all have a style uniform, don’t we? A particular style of outfit that you pull on day-in-day-out without really thinking about it. For me, it’s comfy jeans combined with a jumper in winter and the same jeans rolled up with a t-shirt in the summer. I reach for my skinny jeans instinctively every morning because I know they work with whatever top I want to wear and whatever footwear is needed to tackle the weather outside. Perhaps you have favourite pair of jeans too, or a coat you can’t be without, or a piece of clothing you love so much you buy it in bulk and you have it in every colour?one week no jeans outfit challenge holiday travel packing outfit inspiration fashion ideas spring summer 2016We’re all guilty of sticking to what’s comfortable, but the team at George want to challenge us to mix up your #styleYOUniform by setting you a challenge: one week, no jeans. “It can’t be done!” I hear you cry. We’ll I took up the challenge last week and I wanted to share how I got on with my little ‘experiment’. After wearing blue jeans practically every day for a year (except special occasions) I wanted to at least try to shed my style uniform and mix it up with some new outfit choices. Plus, I wanted to do it with just four items of clothing – being thrifty and making the most of my wardrobe is my kinda thing..! george clothing one week no jeans challenge holiday outfits

These are the items I’ve chosen for my one week, no jeans challenge from George, with a few extra accessories from my own wardrobe thrown in for good measure.

Considering that the weather is warming up I wanted to try uncovering my legs and slipping into some dresses and skirts for the week. There was a time, only a couple of years ago, when I would wear dresses all the time. A dress was my #styleYOUniform because it was so easy to wear – you only needed to make on choice in the morning: with or without tights. So feels a little strange to me to be ‘going back in time’ to my uni days by wearing a dress all week. Even so, the ease of getting ready with a dress was still there and I just added a couple of other items to make sure I had enough to rework my outfits to get me through a whole week. I think this would be great if you were going on holiday – just imagine how much room you’d have in your suitcase if you only packed these few items! one week no jeans outfit challenge holiday travel packing_The first outfit is a Monday ‘back to work’ outfit. A day of meetings calls for a smart tailored blazer and fitted skirt. I wore my white cardigan buttoned up beneath the blazer, but a crisp white shirt would look equally neat for a day in the office. My tasselled shoes in a neutral colour have a mid-height chunky heel so they are comfortable enough for a full day’s work. I removed the long strap from my shoulder bag to use it as a handbag, and turned it so that the non-tasselled side was showing for a smarter look. It’s big enough to hold notebooks, my laptop and all the business essentials I need to carry with me. All in all, a very successful, smart look for a hard day’s work.one week no jeans outfit challenge holiday travel packing_-4The second outfit is a ‘daytime date’ look. I wore the dress as a skirt, with the cardigan buttoned up over the top as a jumper. I dressed up this more casual look with a pretty necklace that my bestie gave me for my birthday and my tasselled heels. Again, I took off the long strap from my handbag and carried it tassel-side-out to add a touch of playfulness. Love the ditsy print of this dress and it’s definitely a cute look for a date.one week no jeans outfit challenge holiday travel packing_-6 Continue reading “One week, no jeans challenge” »


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Pieday Friday – Pack a picnic + my ‘cheese crunch’ sandwich recipe

It must be the slighter sunnier weather, or perhaps the impending Easter holidays, that has got me thinking about days out, picnics and flasks full of tea. In fact, I went on my first picnic of the year yesterday lunchtime and, after all these dark winter months of eating lunch indoors, it was so lovely to get outside and enjoy a meal in the sunshine. Okay, there was a bit of a brisk wind, but with the sun on my back I really didn’t feel the chill. I was enjoying stuffing my face with sarnies too much to care! picnic inspiration sandwich recipe ideas easter summer spring-15picnic inspiration sandwich recipe ideas easter summer spring ingredientspicnic inspiration sandwich recipe ideas easter summer spring-5Last summer my husband and went on lots of picnics. We didn’t have a holiday away so we took day trips around the local area – never venturing much further than an hour’s drive away – and packed up a cool-bag full of treats for each adventure. I love a sandwich wrapped in foil. I enjoy piercing the top of my carton of drink with a pointy straw. And an apple always seems to taste better when munched outdoors. Coupled with exploring new places (and seeing what fantastic conversation work is going on in British parks, country homes, military museums and along the coast) a picnic is one of my favourite ways to spend a day.

So today’s Pieday Friday blog post is a simple one: I’m sharing my all-time favourite sandwich recipe. It’s based on the sandwiches we used to buy at the start of every journey we took from university to home. There’s a service station where we join the M6 to travel to Suffolk, and we stopped there every time to fill up with fuel and stock up on sandwiches. Ever had a service station ‘cheese crunch’ sandwich? They are THE BEST. Perhaps I love them so much because I associate them with a journey home to see my family. Or perhaps it’s the sheer cheesiness. I can’t decide.

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Share your ‘impossible experiences’ with Into The Blue

What would you do if money, time, and even the laws of physics weren’t a problem? Would you jet off for a picnic on the moon like Wallace and Gromit? How about learning to walk on your hands? Would you rock the stage at Glastonbury? If you could do absolutely anything at all, what would it be?wallace and gromit on the moon

My impossible experience!

If you’re thinking up all kinds of crazy scenarios and impractical ideas, then I know someone who wants to hear from you. The imaginative folk at Into The Blue welcome your ideas for ‘impossible experiences’ and have actually come up with 8 of their own, including staying in an underwater hotel and playing in the FA cup. But that’s not enough for them, oh no. They want to hear from you with all your unique ideas and they’ve launched a competition to find the best (or should that be weirdest) impossible experiences.

into the blue impossible experiencesInto The Blue’s impossible experiences

Yes, you could win a £200 voucher to spend on real experience days (that you can actually go on!) at Into The Blue. And all you have to do to enter this competition to be in with a chance of getting your hands on those vouchers is Continue reading “Share your ‘impossible experiences’ with Into The Blue” »


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Tuesday Shoesday – Get your skates on!

If you don’t already know it, skating rocks! I’m sure that many of you have been roller skating as a teen, shuffled around an ice rink at a Christmas market or even grabbed a skateboard earlier in life. But to do it as an adult is a whole different experience. It’s actually fun. If you’ve not been skating in years, I’m here to change all that. I want to get you skating!

I probably don’t need to tell you that it’s great exercise, but I do need to tell you what a lovely idea it is to go on a skating date with your other half. You get to hold hands all day, enjoy the exhilaration of going a bit faster than you should, help each stay upright and ‘kiss-it-better’ if you fall down! And with Valentine’s Day coming up in February, what better excuse do you need to try out your childhood hobby again? Okay, my husband and I take plenty of walks, have fun dates and go to lots of events, but roller skating combines all of my favourite experiences and then adds music. That’s how cool it is. And speaking of cool…

Over Christmas my husband and I went ice skating at Somerset House. I actually had no idea that we were going to skate, we were just planning a day out in London to see the Ai Weiwei exhibition at the Royal Academy… or so I thought. We were visiting London just before my birthday and hubby had planned a surprise ice-skating session as a special birthday treat. After a big hug we skipped towards the festive rink, snapped some excited photos and buckled up our ice-skates.

Having only tried to ice-skate once before in my life (and not been all that great at it) my first few steps onto the ice were rather wobbly. I’m usually alright with roller skates, having done a lot of skating as a child (I was utterly fearless at the age of 10!) so feel at home skating around a roller rink. But ice-skating is a completely different experience. I think the slippery ice adds extra jeopardy to an activity that’s already throwing me off balance – you should see me hobbling across the carpeted area after I put my skates on. As accomplished skaters whizzed past me and nervous shufflers like me gripped the sides of the rink, I bravely stepped out onto the ice and immediately had to cling on to my husband to stay upright. Continue reading “Tuesday Shoesday – Get your skates on!” »


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A relaxing day out at the Suffolk Punch Trust

It’s half-term this week and we’ve been enjoying a few days off, sorting out all the things that you never usually get round to during a normal working week. But it’s not all been hard work; My husband and I decided to have a relaxing day out earlier this week and visit a local attraction with the rest of the family. We headed to the Suffolk Punch Trust for a long, leisurely walk around the fields and through the woods to enjoy the calming effects of nature. I wanted to share my photos with you today and perhaps inspire you to get out and about yourself this autumn for a chilled-out ramble.day out at the Suffolk punch trust horse visitor attraction-12 day out at the Suffolk punch trust horse visitor attraction-9 day out at the Suffolk punch trust horse visitor attraction-17Having never been to the Suffolk Punch Trust farm before, I didn’t know what to expect; would it be a bustling visitor attraction packed full of children during half-term? Or would it be literally just a field? Well, I’m pleased to report that it was somewhere in-between. It was pleasingly quiet and certainly a relaxed environment, with a warm visitor centre and museum, a café serving reasonably-priced hot food and drinks, and plenty of animals to see. With good weather on our side, we wrapped up warm and headed out onto the farm.day out at the Suffolk punch trust horse visitor attraction-30 day out at the Suffolk punch trust horse visitor attraction-15 day out at the Suffolk punch trust horse visitor attraction-6The map showed the route around three walks, and we plumped for the medium walk for our first ramble around the farm. We spotted cute pigs and tried to spy bulls in the field before heading up to the paddocks. The farm is so well spaced out that we didn’t really see any other families walking around the routes, so it was very calm to able along enjoying a bit of quiet time in the great outdoors.

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Why a day at the races should be top of your fun list

Seriously, just go for it. It’s an amazing day out. I’ve just about recovered from one of the best days that I’ve had this year and can’t wait to tell you all about it. In fact, I can do better than that; I can take you through my whole day in photos and you can see for yourself. Honestly, book tickets for your nearest racecourse now, you won’t regret it!newmarket-racecourse-summer-saturdays-race-day-music-event-23 newmarket-racecourse-summer-saturdays-race-day-music-event-11 newmarket-racecourse-summer-saturdays-race-day-music-event-2 newmarket-racecourse-summer-saturdays-race-day-music-event-5So, where did I go? The Jockey Club’s very own July Course at Newmarket. What did I do? Spent an entire day horsing around (argh, the puns have started already). Who did I go with? My husband, but next year I’ll be taking a whole group of friends too, I don’t want anyone to miss out on the fun! What did I see? One of the best live performances I’ve ever seen – and that’s saying something after watching Noel Gallagher at Latitude earlier this year. newmarket-racecourse-summer-saturdays-race-day-music-event-35 newmarket-racecourse-summer-saturdays-race-day-music-event-32 newmarket-racecourse-summer-saturdays-race-day-music-event-31 newmarket-racecourse-summer-saturdays-race-day-music-event-4 newmarket-racecourse-summer-saturdays-race-day-music-event-6 Continue reading “Why a day at the races should be top of your fun list” »


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My Segway adventure & tips for visiting Thetford Forest

school summer holiday activity high lodge thetford forest segway adventure go ape review-17This week I enjoyed an exhilarating challenge in Thetford Forest – a Segway adventure – and I’d love to share some photos of my day out with you. I’m hoping that this post will serve as inspiration for your own summer adventure and give you some tips for surviving a day out at High Lodge Forestry Commission during the school holidays. It’s an amazing location and there are plenty of fun and free activities to enjoy so please read on for my top tips!school summer holiday activity high lodge thetford forest segway adventure go ape review-11The location of High Lodge in the heart of Thetford Forest is truly magical. Not only are there plenty of woodland habitats to explore but there are also stunning clearings within the forest and an exciting ‘base camp’ at High Lodge where families can enjoy a great day out. This is where I kicked off my challenge on a sunny Friday morning.school summer holiday activity high lodge thetford forest segway adventure go ape review-9Considering it was the middle of the school holidays the destination didn’t feel at all over-crowded. I think this is down to the acres and acres of forest that can be explored and I expect that many families were therefore out of site during most of my visit. Even so, the picnic areas were never full, there was always a bench, seat or table available and the café was far from busy, even at lunchtime. That said, there were plenty of activities on offer for families to enjoy throughout the day at High Lodge – such as outdoor table tennis under the trees, a volleyball court and the best play-area I’ve ever seen! And that’s before you even start exploring the woods. Here are my tips and suggestions for a great day out during the school holidays:school summer holiday activity high lodge thetford forest segway adventure go ape review-41. Take a picnic. There are SO many places you can enjoy your food at High Lodge with benches galore and a massive lawn to lay down your rugs and get out the sandwiches. If you fancy a cuppa while you’re there Tetley tea is around £1.60 per cup and ‘real’ coffee at £2.10. The rubbish facilities are fantastic. Okay, I know that’s not usually something to shout about but they recycle 90% of everything thrown away at High Lodge. I found that really impressive!school summer holiday activity high lodge thetford forest segway adventure go ape review

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