Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog

Cassiefairy's thrifty little lifestyle blog – DIY crafts, sewing, food & fashion – what more does a girl need??


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It’s awards season – how do the celebrities get it so right? (or wrong!)

I was watching the Bafta’s last weekend when I started thinking about celebrity dresses and how much effort goes into creating the perfect red carpet look. I’m certain that no celebrities will want to appear in the ‘worst dressed’ column in the newspapers on the day after a big awards ceremony and I know that hours of work goes into creating an on trend look – just think about all the styling, the dress-fittings, tanning, hair and make-up, not to mention the weeks of preparation in the gym, skin treatments and beauty procedures. All this effort from teams of people in order to make sure the celebrity looks good when they head to the Oscars. Whether they win or not is another matter!

awards dresses and celebrity style keira knightley salma hayek

Unfortunately I don’t have a team of personal stylists to help me look good but with all the weddings I’m going to this year I’d like to try to look my best – especially because I might end up being immortalised in a photograph! I also know that we’re heading into prom-season and lots of you will be searching for ‘the’ dress to wear to your high school, college or university prom a little later on in the year. If only there was a way to make use of all the hours of celebrity styling that goes into a red carpet look so that you can guarantee that you’ll look as fabulous as Salma Hayek or Keira Knightley (above).

duchess of cambridge design from victorias dress

I’ve found the solution in the form of custom-dress designer Victoria’s Dress. They hand make stunning prom dresses, bridesmaid dresses and special occasion outfits but, even better than that, they can recreate celebrity red carpet dresses for a fraction of the cost of the designer version. It’s amazing how quickly they can turn red carpet dresses into a celebrity-inspired design for people like you and me. So now we can all look as great as the Duchess of Cambridge in her elegant chiffon dress for only £89 – don’t tell Kate! I’d love to wear something like this for any of the special events that I’m due to attend this year – although it would probably help if I had Catherine’s figure too! These celebrity dresses above are just a few of the designs that Victoria is reproducing so check out the celebrity range here!

cocktail outfits from victorias dress

I’m sure that my little sister will be able to find a gorgeous dress design for her college prom from this website and the fact that it is hand-made and custom-fitted will ensure that she looks as amazing as all the celebrities when she walks up her own red carpet! And there’s not only long dresses on the Victoria’s Dress website – there are shorter cocktail dresses and trendy gowns too, so I’m planning to find something suitable for the weddings that I’m attending this year. Obviously, I don’t want to look like a bridesmaid so I probably won’t go for a long dress and definitely nothing in the colour theme of the wedding (!) but I want to look my best and if my budget can stretch to it I’ll be choosing one of these glamourous cocktail dresses above – isn’t the blue one just stunning?! Visit Victoria’s Dress for yourself and check out the stunning range, and if you think any others would be right for me, please send me your suggestions!


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Dream a little dream ~ Kiss from a rose

In honour of Valentines day last week, I thought I’d share the recent addition I made to the “book wall” in my bedroom – I added a few pages with drawings of roses. Although I liked the feature wall as it already was, wallpapered with the pages of three books and some sheet music, some of the pages were much darker than the others and was making the room look a little dark. I therefore wanted to cover up some of the dark brown pages (which turned out to be the Marilyn Monroe book) so I looked through one of the other books we’d used which was a book on growing roses. I really liked the drawings of the different rose species and even though these pages were much paler than all the others I thought I would give it a ago.

DIY bedroom makeover with old book pages

I mixed up some wallpaper paste and started sticking the picture pages onto the wall, but half way though I had a crisis of confidence. Maybe I didn’t like the rose pictures as much as I thought? Does it look too much like wallpaper with pictures on rather than the wall of text that I’d intended it to be? I tried peeling a couple of pages back off, but the wallpaper paste was a particularly quick-drying kind and the pages didn’t want to come away from the wall easily. So I carried on and figured that I could simply add more book pages over the top if I really didn’t like the effect once it was finished. Half an hour later I stood back and took a look at the wall as a whole. And thankfully, I liked it! The paler pages really made the room look much lighter and the roses did look cute and kinda romantic.

DIY bedroom makeover with old book pages and roses

Plus this reminded me that I already had some bedding with a rose design on which we had been given as a wedding gift 10 years ago but had long-since stopped using on a regular basis. So I tried it on the bed and it worked great with the new roses on the feature wall. I’m happy with how the whole design has turned out and I guess there’s no harm in having a slightly more girly pattern on the wall!


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My new London Retro specs & a special giveaway too!

I’m quite picky about the brands that I feature on this blog – I only ever talk about my favourites – and as a thrifty retail kinda gal, the products I share need to be the best bargains around. So when the lovely team at MyOptique got in touch with me last week offering all my readers the chance to win a free pair of their super-cool glasses, how could I possibly say no?! Not only is it a treat for you guys, but luckily, when I looked into their product range, I found a massive selection of über-cool designs at super-saver prices – I am officially a MyOptique fan and I’m not ashamed to say it!

my optique london retro glasses

As a glasses-wear since my teens, I’ve spent years wearing the wrong kind of glasses for me and have always been driven to contact lenses as a result. Every time I head to the opticians (usually a famous high street optician) I am always left slightly deflated by their product range and I find it really difficult to choose a pair of glasses at a price that I’m happy to pay. Lets face it, I’m never going to be the kind of person to spend hundreds of pounds on a pair of glasses – I know that I change my mind so often to I’ll probably be fed up with the design in a couple of months time, plus I am super-clumsy and am likely to sit on them and do them some damage! So it makes sense to me to shop as thriftily for specs as I would with any other piece of clothing. But with this ethos usually comes a lack of choice and I always have to allocate at least an hour to umm and ahh over the glasses and eventually chose a pair from the limited range. Thank goodness that I have now found MyOptique!

The designs on the website are very cool and exactly what I have been looking for all these years. Their London Retro range are fabulously well designed and do exactly what the name suggests – they are retro-style specs with a modern twist so I won’t end up looking like my grandma in an NHS pair! The glasses in this collection are named after iconic London stations and famous locations around the capital. I chose this pair of Carnaby glasses for their funky shape – I now feel like a trendy fashion blogger when I wear them! ;-) They were available in 3 colour choices but I went for red. I was delighted when they arrived looking exactly like the images online: a gorgeous deep burgundy red that would go with most of the clothing in my wardrobe – I’m a sucker for burgundy and can’t get enough of it! Plus these glasses come with a scratch-resistant and anti-reflective lenses (which I’d usually have to pay extra for!) as standard, which is great news for a clumsy glasses-dropper like me!

london retro glasses from my optique

So, on to the good news about the giveaway – one lucky reader will win their favourite pair of London Retro glasses from MyOptique but don’t worry if you don’t need prescription glasses – they can be made up as sunglasses too so will be great for everyone! It’s so simple to enter and there are no questions to answer. Just do the following:

  1. Like my Cassiefairy Facebook page
  2. Like MyOptique’s Facebook page
  3. Post on MyOptique’s wall “Enter Cassiefairy Blog’s Giveaway”

That’s all there is to it! The giveaway will run for 7 days ending on Wednesday 26th February at 23:59pm. The lucky winner will be contacted directly and please reply to the message within 48 hours, otherwise another winner will have to be chosen!


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Tips on using Pantone’s Colour of the Year 2014

Is it a big thumbs up or something you’d never ever wear? When colour trend experts Pantone announced the colour of the year I was in two minds as to whether it’s the colour for me. You may remember that last year’s colour was Emerald (which I quite liked and even made my own emerald dress!) and that we’ve previously discussed their autumn tone Mykonos Blue and how to get the look for yourself – see the blog post here. This year Pantone have announced that the shade which will be influencing trends in fashion, graphic design, interiors, beauty and product design during 2014 will be Radiant Orchid – a bright purple shade with both cool and warm tones.

Pantone describes the colour of the year as an enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones and says that it is an inspirational shade: “Radiant Orchid inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love and health. It is a captivating purple, one that draws you in with its beguiling charm.” A colour that emits love and joy is certainly something that I should be interested in so I’ve looked into ways of incorporating the Pantone Colour of the Year 2014 into our homes and wardrobes to bring even more happiness and energy into daily life – or will it? My problem with this is that - ironically enough - purple was my favourite colour as a teenager. I therefore do a little wince every time that I see it reported that purple is making a comeback. I wore a lot of lilac, rocked deep purple velvet and even enjoyed all shades of plum at once in a tie-dyed t-shirt. And now that I’ve finally grown out of purple, are you telling me that I have to put it back on the menu again? I don’t know if I can… but here goes!

pantone color of the year 2014 radiant orchid ideas for interior design

In terms of making a welcoming home you may want to begin adding elements of Radiant Orchid to your interiors. After a few years of taupes, greys and beiges being on trend, this vibrant colour should work with existing neutrals to reenergize your home – or so Pantone says! If you want to unify your interior spaces, simply adding a few splashes of Radiant Orchid on walls or soft furnishings will help to enliven almost any colour palette and I don’t doubt that it will bring a bright and cheery feeling into your home for Spring and Summer. Children, especially, will love a more lively colour scheme and your friends and family will admire your design knowledge even though you have only spent a fraction of the cost of redecoration by adding a couple of cushion covers or an artwork in this bold colour. That’s the theory anyway – but my home is very much UN-neutral so I’m not sure that even a purple rug would work in my own home. That’s not to say that it wouldn’t look great in your home, it’s just a clash-too-far for my retro living room!

pantone color of the year 2014 radiant orchid ideas for fashion colours

All Images by Radiant Orchid 2014 on Tumblr

If you’re planning to incorporate Radiant Orchid into your spring/summer 2014 wardrobe, you may already be thinking ‘what on earth can I wear it with?’ Well, I’ve done my research and have discovered that the shade works great with those from a similar colour palette, such as purple, lilac and pink. It’s already a bright tone but if you want to make an impact with a real pop of colour, combine it with scarlet red! Similar to the interior design ideas, using Radiant Orchid as a splash of colour in your neutral wardrobe will bring your existing fashion pieces up to date and need not cost a lot to get the look – a piece of costume jewellery or a pair of colourful shoes will increase your fashionista reputation with only a handful (or should that be armful?!) of new accessories.

I think this is the most likely way that I’ll be incorporating the colour of the year into my life – I already have a cute My Little Pony t-shirt in exactly the right colour (one that I’ve never worn since I bought it around 5 years ago, maybe it’s time for the t-shirt to shine!) and I’d be more likely to invest in a handbag or bracelet rather than a whole outfit. The other problem I have with this colour is that it’s not really a colour you can find in the vintage or second-hand/charity shop market. I think everyone, like me, chucked out their purple wardrobe back in the 90s and no-one thought to reuse them as ‘vintage’ because they were so dated. So where would I even buy any ‘Radiant Orchid’ clothes? Certainly not in my normal retail stomping ground of car boot sales, retro markets or charity shops. Nope, this would probably need to be a new wardrobe investment and I’m not sure I really want to wear it that much! Still, I will keep a look out for bright pinky-purple items when I’m rummaging through the flea markets and see if I come up with anything!

pantone color of the year 2014 radiant orchid ideas for beauty colours

Pantone has discussed the use of this colour in beauty and tells us that the rosy undertones of this shade will enliven complexions and radiate on the skin. Despite looking like an unwearably strong make-up shade at first, this tone of colour (which is actually both cool and rosy at once) can be worn as an eye shadow to outline eyes and make them glisten or as a lipstick to bring a healthy glow to the skin. It’s supposed to be an almost universally flattering shade, looking great with many combinations of hair, skin and eye colour, so don’t be afraid to try out such a bright colour for yourself. I have decided that nail polish is the way to go for getting this look on a budget whilst still looking like myself!

I hope these tips have helped you to identify ways that you can incorporate Pantone’s Colour of the Year 2014 into your daily life, bringing your home and wardrobe up to date and infusing your life with the joy and energy that Radiant Orchid promises to bring!


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My mid-century living room ~ making retro artwork

Ever since I framed up a selection Christmas quotes and hung them on my living room walls during the festive period, I’ve been thinking ahead to the new year and what I could replace these seasonal posters for the rest of the year. I’ve already made the holes in my walls, inserted the picture hooks and the frames look pretty good in formation so I’d like to keep them in place, but the dilemma came when deciding what to put into the frames. I still had retro wallpaper leftover from my feature wall, but is it really a cool thing to frame wallpaper? I also liked the pattern on my old record boxes but other than photographing them and printing out the pattern to use as a background in the frames, I couldn’t think what else I could do with it – plus, I don’t like anything to be too matchy-matchy in my home.

using sheet music covers for retro framed artwork

I’d bought a stack of sheet music from a charity shop when I was wallpapering my bedroom wall with old books and some of these had survived the pasting brush to live another day. I knew I needed to crack on with changing the artwork in the frames because I’d has two visitors last week who had commented that my Christmas posters were still up, so to spare my blushes I made a quick decision to try out the sheet music covers in the frames. I didn’t know how they would turn out, because they were all different sizes and colours – and did I really want photos of random musical singers on my walls? But I had to put something different in the frames – I didn’t want to get a reputation for being “that woman who keeps her Christmas decorations up all year” – so I popped the sheet music in the frames regardless of their size or colour. With the smaller booklets I used some craft paper to make a cardboard-browny background and this kind of tied three of the pictures together, which actually worked out well. I’ve also used one of my hubby’s drawings of a chair again (I’d previously framed it here) and a Wizard of Oz poster that my brother gave me as a gift.

Using vintage sheet music and show posters to make retro artwork

I wasn’t sure how my artist-and-curator husband would respond to my layout of the shapes or colours and I knew that he wouldn’t have any problem with telling me it was wrong (if it was) and taking it all down and shifting it around. But when he came home from work – yes I did the switch while he was out, what a coward - he was happy with the pictures and even went so far as to say that he loved it, so I breathed a sigh of relief and started to like it a little myself. That evening I framed one more old booklet, which was a hobbies and crafts magazine that I’d bought at a carboot sale in the summer for 50p, with the craft paper background and I think this one is my favourite – good thing really because it hangs on it’s own on the wall opposite the sofa so I spend most time looking that wall!

using vintage magazine to make retro artwork

I’m not 100% sure that these artworks will remain hanging in my living room indefinitely, but for now they look good and stop me looking like a forgetful Christmas-fanatic. I’ll probably keep an eye out for more vintage posters or sheet music covers in the future and maybe make some substitutions, but for now I’m happy with the sentiment of the images – especially the music titles ‘Prisoner of Love’, ‘I Love the Sunshine of Your Smile’ and ‘Kiss Me’ – you can’t get much more romantic than that, so I guess I’m ready for Valentines Day now – bring it on!

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