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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Tuesday Shoesday – Our his ‘n’ hers walking shoes & a ramble around the castle on the hill

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Hubby and I celebrated a day early because it was a really sunny day yesterday and we wanted to take advantage of the lovely weather and go for a walk. So we bundled up with our coats, scarves and gloves (it might have been sunny, but it was still a little nippy!) and headed out into the Suffolk countryside for a walk.We planned our walk around Framlingham Castle – Ed Sheeran’s ‘castle on the hill’ – so that we could take some photos of the stunning landmark in the winter sunshine. I’d been inspired to enjoy a low-cost day out after reading an article full of ideas for Valentine’s Day on a budget, so a walk (with a packed lunch!) was just the ticket. With it being half term (and a ‘Knights and Princesses’ event taking place inside the castle) it was a busy spot for a Monday morning, but all the other walkers we met were in good spirits. What I didn’t bargain for was just how muddy the paths around the picturesque mere would be. At least it gave us a chance to test out our new walking shoes – this terrain certainly put them through their paces. If my feet could stay comfortable and dry in this environment, then I’m pretty sure that the shoes will stand up to anything we throw at them in the future.

When my husband suggested walking around the castle moat, I was hesitant. I wasn’t planning on going for a paddle! He insisted that it was a ‘dry moat’ (well, I’ve never heard of a dry moat before, have you?!) so we climbed down the stairs and fair enough, it was pretty dry… as far as moats go.Interestingly enough, there were some lovely views from the moat looking up at the walls of the castle. It feels really imposing from below and the blue sky set off the stone castle walls beautifully. Even looking back into the sunshine created some really impressive silhouettes of the ancient walls.

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Festive days out – Christmas at Blackthorpe Barn

This time last week I was preparing to attend the launch of Christmas at Blackthorpe Barn in Suffolk. It was my first Suffolk-based event as a blogger (not much seems to go on around here!) so you can imagine how chuffed I was to be invited to a blogger event that didn’t require travelling to London! I picked out my favourite snowflake jumper and pulled on my cosy suede boots and headed off to Rougham to attend the event, hosted by the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce.christmas-shopping-blackthorpe-barn-santas-grotto-festive-days-out-suffolk-19 christmas-shopping-blackthorpe-barn-santas-grotto-festive-days-out-suffolk-14 christmas-shopping-blackthorpe-barn-santas-grotto-festive-days-out-suffolk-21christmas-shopping-blackthorpe-barn-santas-grotto-festive-days-out-suffolk-8We were greeted with plenty of spectacular foliage and decorations in the entrance hall and the glass of champagne went down a treat! With canapés doing the rounds and plenty of lovely folk to chat to, I was in my element. But it was the impending opening of the Christmas barn that I was really excited about. I booked myself onto a tour of the ancient barn and Santa’s grotto as soon as I arrived!

As someone who has visited Blackthorpe Barn as part of the Christmas traditions for many years now, I was almost giddy with excitement to be at the opening event. The Mayor of Bury St Edmunds cut the ribbon to open the event and I’m proud to say that I was one of the first people into the Christmas barn this year. It was lovely to see the barn perfectly decorated without a bauble out of place. No doubt this will all change as customers start buying decorations but it was a delight to behold nonetheless.

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Tuesday Shoesday – My week in #FloorSelfies

When I first heard about the #FloorSelfie challenge, I found myself getting a little excited. Not only do I love a good photo challenge, but I also love shoes, and taking photos of my feet for a week sounded like great fun. No need for any special equipment to get involved with this challenge; I simply charged up my phone and snapped a photo whenever the thought entered my mind. By the end of the week I’m pretty sure that I’d started to search out more interesting floors with fun colours or patterns, or maybe it was simply the fact that I was noticing the floor more often . How often do we look down, really? We’re missing interesting designs and even art by keeping our heads up. Anyway, enough rambling – here are my favourite shoe photos from the week and little bit about the location to go with them:

Excuse the pun but I ‘kick started’ my week of #FloorSelfies with a day out at the seaside. And we enjoyed ourselves so much that we actually went back to the coast the day after too. I snapped some photos on the beach and almost soaked my toes by trying to get the Tuesday Shoesday snap above when the tide came in. The traditional walk along the promenade followed, with me dribbling over beach huts that I could never afford, followed by a big hot chocolate to warm up. The second day we went to Southwold Pier and had fun playing air hockey and winning 2ps in the arcade. Something I hadn’t noticed before was that the pier has footprints painted on the deck all along the length of the pier. Don’t follow them though – some of the footprints head right off the side of the pier! I found a set of flipper footprints and snapped this fun #FloorSelfie.

One of the most exciting thing to happen to me this week was something that I couldn’t really photograph. My husband had been picked in a ballot to go to a recording of a TV special in Elstree Studios. With the performance being ‘top secret’ and absolutely no cameras allowed, it was hard for me to get a photo but I wanted to record the day out nonetheless. Here’s the fabulous wooden floor in the entrance to Elstree Studios and it’s the very same spot where I later met Tim Peake and Professor Brian Cox. Yes, I got a selfie with an astronaut! Best. Moment. Ever. And I managed to give Brian Cox a pair of ChattyFeet’s Prof. Brian Sox socks, which he found hilarious. Oh, you’ll notice a different pair of shoes in this shot – they are my favourite Hush Puppy flats the rub a little on the heel so aren’t great for wearing all day long. The following day we took a walk in the countryside and noticed just how autumnal everything is – leaves are turning brown and conkers are falling. Must remember to go blackberry picking this week before it’s too late.

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Tips for a healthy summer holiday with the family

How are you enjoying the school summer holidays so far? We’ve already enjoyed a few days of sunshine and got stuck into our favourite outdoor activities, such as swimming, walking and going on bike rides. I think that the school holidays is a great time of year for the whole family to make a change towards living a more healthy lifestyle. It’s easier to feel motivated to get outside and be active while the weather is lovely. It’s also a good opportunity to introduce the kids to the idea of eating more healthily too, with plenty of salads, pasta and couscous on the menu during BBQ season!homemade summer coleslaw panasonic food processor bbq dish-18

Check out my healthy coleslaw recipe on the blog – no mayo in this dish!

With that in mind, I wanted to share something with all you mums and dads out there, to help you with some fun ideas for the school holidays that will also help your family to live a more healthy life. As part of National Childhood Obesity Week, which rans from 4th July 2016, NRS Healthcare launched a digital Healthy Living Family Pack to help families with children who may be experiencing issues with overeating, inactivity or poor nutrition and it contains useful ideas on how families can pull together to become more active in their daily lives.day out wild flower walk spring-2

A wildflower hunt is a free activity that gets the kids moving – read about my recent countryside walk here

What does the Healthy Living Family Pack include?

The digital Family Pack is available to download for free from the NRS website and the pack contains useful information and ideas for parents, coupled with an interactive star chart for children to track their activities in a fun, informal way. Families can learn more about childhood obesity and how to actively approach the subject through the pack contents, which include:

  • Family Activity Cards
  • A Family Day Out Wish List
  • Daily Chores Calorie Counter (for parents)
  • A Chore Chooser Star Chart (for children)blue suede shoes - his n hers brogues_-4

Find ideas for low-cost and fun days out for the school holiday on my blog – here

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4 low-cost rainy day activities for the summer holidays

After waiting all year for the summer holidays to arrive, it’s unfortunate when the weather forecast looks gloomy. Even though we’ve been having lovely sunny days here recently, it’s almost inevitable that a couple of days will be drizzly during the long summer break. So what can you do with the kids when they’re stuck inside on grey days? I’ve come up with a couple of ideas to keep little ones entertained but that don’t cost a fortune.Easy recipe for baking cheese, fruit and cherry scones

Cooking

I love to bake with my niece and nephew and try to do it as often as I can. It’s so lovely to watch them get stuck into stirring up a recipe and see the concentration on their faces as they follow the recipe instructions. Add the ingredients to your weekly shopping in the run up to the summer holidays and you could have everything you need in the cupboard, ready for a rainy day. You can mix up a simple can’t-go-wrong recipe for milk loaf with the kids in the morning, and they can turn it into sandwiches by lunchtime. Baking scones or cornflake cakes during the afternoon guarantees a calm tea-time as they sit down to enjoy the treats they made.

Build a den

Remember how much fun it was to build a den when you were little? It costs nothing to make – you just need some sheets, pegs and bits of furniture. Use a drying rack to prop up blankets as a roof, and throw duvets and cushions on the floor for comfort. And when your den is complete, take some snacks and treats (perhaps something they’ve baked themselves) inside it to enjoy an indoor picnic, or get out the colouring books.rainy day activity summer holidays scrapbook craft

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Spend the Summer in Suffolk – 5 things to see & do

If you’re keen to get out and enjoy the sunshine this summer, I’ve come up with a list of days out and fabulous events that you can enjoy in Suffolk. It’s a great county to visit (with plenty of gorgeous places to stay!) and it doesn’t get too busy on the roads during the summer holidays, so it’s great for a day trip too. I’ve put together a list of my favourite things to do and places to visit in Suffolk and hope that you’ll check out some of these ideas when you’re planning your own school holiday adventure.Latitude festival photos 2015-11

  1. Latitude festival

The highlight of my summer is Latitude Festival. It’s held at Henham Park, near the beautiful Suffolk coast and it’s a really family-friendly event. It’s easy to get to (practically on the A12), there’s plenty of parking and camping space, it’s well-organised, the loos are surprisingly good and it offers a diverse range of entertainment. I’m particularly excited about the dance line-up this year (which I wrote about on my blog when it was announced) because Swing Patrol are performing. Of course there’s all the hottest bands, top comedy performers, national theatre productions and the up-and-coming stars to enjoy too. A kids arena, inspirational art, delicious food, and surprise performances in the woods complete this magical festival. I shared my photos from the 2015 event on my blog last year and will be sure to report back this year too! I always leave with a smile on my face so you should check it out too at LatitudeFestival.com, held on 14th-17th July 2016.

2. Southwold Pier

I’ve written about Southwold Pier on my blog in the past, but it really IS worth mentioning again. It’s actually really close to Latitude Festival, so if you’re visiting for that event you could pop along to the pier one morning before the festival kicks off. The food on the pier is great, the automatons in the ‘Under the Sea Show’ have to be seen to be believed and you can even enjoy a cheesy visit to the arcade to feed some 2ps into the machine and pretend you’re on Tipping Point. It’s also possible to hire beach huts on Southwold beach so you can make a day of it and enjoy paddling in the sea and strolling down the promenade too. Check out my guide to the pier with maps and lots of photos!southwold pier attraction suffolk travel guide-4

Suffolk coastal travel guide southwold pier attraction-173. Snape Proms

I’ve booked my tickets and I’m going to the Proms. The Snape Proms that is. If you love music and comedy but don’t want to pay London prices to see orchestras and performers, then the Proms season at Snape Maltings is for you. Tickets for a Proms seat (sitting on a cushion at the front of the concert hall) start at just £6.50 so it’s a very thrifty way to enjoy some very high quality performances. If the performance you wanted to see has already sold out, have no fear – there are 10 tickets available on the morning of every performance so it’s just a case of getting the box office really early and queuing for your ticket. One thing to remember is that you can’t pick up 4 tickets for your whole family, it’s one per person, so if they all want to go they’ll have to come along on the morning and queue with you! Check out the schedule at Aldeburgh Music to find out what’s on during the Snape Proms this August.beccles lido swimming pool inflatable aquarun

4. Beccles Lido

If you remember outdoor swimming pools, then you’ve got to visit Beccles Lido. It’s a huge outdoor pool, with a very deep deep-end and even a good ol’ fashion diving board. There’s a separate shallow pool for the little ones and a VERY fun giant inflatable obstacle course that floats on the water. Imagine Total Wipeout and you’ve got it! The changing huts are painted in bright seaside colours and you can enjoy a poolside snack or drink at the kiosk. With sunloungers surrounding the pool and a location overlooking the riverside you’d be forgiven for thinking you were on a exotic holiday abroad. It’s really underrated, and there isn’t much information on the website, but the whole venture is run by volunteers who get the pool cleaned, maintain the gardens and staff the kiosk all summer long. Oh, and by the way, the obstacle course isn’t just for the kids, I’ve been on it plenty of times and actually completed it once, go me!

5. Framlingham Castle

Framlingham itself is a rather charming town, with country markets on a Tuesday and Saturday in the market square. There’s lots of cute cafes and traditional pubs so it’s a great destination to while away a sunny day. The castle at Framlingham is a pretty impressive sight. It can be viewed across the mere from New Road and it’s the ideal spot to take a picture-postcard snap of the castle. It’s owned by English Heritage so it’s open to visitors and has a small museum and shop inside, and you can enjoy a very long walk around the top of the castle walls. If you’re into countryside views and photography this is the place for you! The castle wall walk isn’t suitable for buggies but the museum is great for teaching the kids about history. During the summer holiday’s the castle hosts special events for children too so have a look at their website to find out what’s on.blue suede shoes - his n hers brogues_-3

I hope these ideas have given you some inspiration for places to visit, things to do and events to attend if you’re planning to visit Suffolk this summer. There’s so much for the kids to do and just as much fun for adults too. I really should be working with the tourist board but I assure you I’m not – I just LOVE this county and am so pleased to be able to enjoy all these fantastic locations regularly. I wouldn’t want you to miss out if you’ve never been to Suffolk before so please do check it out!


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4 Low-cost + fun days out for the school holidays

We’re mid-way through the summer term and that means one thing – a sunny half term break with nothing to do! This is one of my favourite holidays of the school year, because it’s warm enough to get outside and enjoy last days of Spring, yet it’s not the over-priced days of the summer holidays when you’re likely to burn to a crisp if you venture out into the midday sun. I’ve shared a few ideas for fun days out on my blog this year so here’s my round-up of things to do during the half term holiday.Suffolk coastal travel guide southwold pier attraction-17Suffolk coastal travel guide southwold pier attraction-91. Go to the coast and enjoy some cheesy fun at the great British seaside. Eat ice-cream while sitting in a deck chair, feed 2ps into arcade machines and enjoy fish ‘n’ chips on the pier. Read my review of Southwold Pier and check out my ideas for a day out with the kids at Blackpool too.schol holiday ideas for half term summer 2015 blackpool travel tripsouthwold pier attraction suffolk seaside travel guide-162. Stay indoors on rainy days at a museum. Check out photos of my recent visit to the National Railway Museum in York and my tips for surviving a visit to the museum during the school holidays! If you’re planning to visit a museum during the holidays I’d recommend checking the website before setting off as they often plan special workshops for children during the school holidays and it can be a free way to get your kids interested in the exhibition. I visited the new ‘Shaping The Body’ exhibit at York Castle Museum and blogged about it at Easter. It’s a really fun exhibition (I loved the Victorian Street!) and they even having a dressing-up area for children.national railway museum york half term school holiday trip ideas and tips-6 york castle museum shaping the body exhibition exhibit school holidays day out trip

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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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York Castle Museum – Shaping the Body exhibition

The eagle-eyed of you may have spotted that I’ve mentioned a couple of times that I was away on holiday in Yorkshire last week. So this week I wanted to tell you all about my trip to York and share some photos of a fantastic exhibition that I went to. It was in York Castle Museum and I was temped to visit the exhibition after spotting a rather eye-catching image online last month.kim kardashian bustle photo york castle museum vintage retro shaping the body exhibitionRemember Kim Kardashian’s infamous champagne bottle photo that ‘broke the internet’ recently? Well, the York Castle Museum has recreated that image to coincide with their Shaping the Body exhibition, which launched on 25th March this year. Pretty cool, huh? It just goes to show that displaying a rounded rump has been a fashion staple for centuries!york castle museum shaping the body exhibition exhibit school holidays day out tripyork castle museum shaping the body exhibition exhibit school holidays day out trip-2york castle museum shaping the body exhibition exhibit school holidays day out trip-9 york castle museum shaping the body exhibition exhibit school holidays day out trip-14I was expecting a very corsetry-focussed, undergarment-based exhibition for adults but, in fact, the Shaping the Body exhibit was also about outer-garments throughout the years, clothing trends and construction methods. As I wandered through the halls, two further parts of the exhibition were revealed to me; learning about how food and lifestyle shapes the body too. These sections included kitchen scenes of the past century (including a very 80s-looking kitchen that I swear could have been my own childhood home at some point!) and the foods that we eat, plus an exhibit on professions and how work has shaped people over the years too. Very interesting indeed.

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Hen party series – ideas for fun activities

You may remember that last week I started my series of hen party blog posts, ready for the wedding season. I hope you enjoyed Ellen’s article last week on party accessories and coming up soon are more posts on budgeting and crafts from my good friend Lacey in Places, but this week we are sharing ideas for fun hen party activities!

The days of Hen Parties being a simple pub crawl round the nearest town are long gone – these days they can take up a whole weekend and include multiple activities. And, as more and more suppliers have cottoned onto this, no matter where you live you can find virtually any kind of activity you could want for your Hen Party. Here are our picks of some of the best activities for a Hen Party in 2013.

1. Spa trip
Beloved of many Brides-to-be, a trip to a spa can last for half a day, a full day or even an entire weekend. It can be tailored to suit any requirements and any size of group and it is ideal as a relaxing trip for anyone in the wedding party who might be getting stressed out about the upcoming wedding.

2. Cocktail making
An ideal opener to an evening out in a city, many bars and hotels now offer cocktail making classes. At one of these events, a bartender will show you how to make a few classic cocktails and then, if you are lucky (or unlucky, depending on the result!), they will let you loose behind the bar to make up your own unique cocktail.

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3. Quad Biking

For the more adventurous bride and her gang, an hour or two spent quad biking can be tremendous and exhilarating fun. Quad biking centres can be found in locations across the country and are often chosen as an activity option for a weekend-long Hen Party at a country hotel or cottage.

4. Craft or Sewing workshop
If, like many, you’ve been inspired by the Great British Sewing Bee then why not try a craft workshop? It’s a great way to have fun with friends while making something lovely at the same time. Just make sure that if you are heading on somewhere after the workshop, you have somewhere to store your crafting goodies – it would be a shame to accidentally mislay your creation after a few drinks!

5. Afternoon Tea
Afternoon tea is enjoying something of a renaissance at the moment and many top hotels and coffee shops now offer a number of options which will generally include a selection of sandwiches, scones, cream cakes and, or course, tea. Many will also have an option to have afternoon tea with champagne, which may be of particular interest to Hen Parties!

About This Article: Absolute Party Buses are a Dublin based party bus provider that specialising in stag nights, hen nights and wedding party transport – for more information  click here.

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