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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Amazing decor ideas for your thrifty wedding

Getting married should be the most exciting time of your life, but if you’re living on a fixed income or a strict budget, weddings can be stressful. The pressure of the trimmings of a wedding and the expectation that your wedding should be a big event can take its toll and make you feel like your wedding is unworthy. It’s a sad situation and the way around it is to simply not care! You and your husband-to-be need to choose wedding things based on what you want, rather than what people expect. Yes, weddings are a huge business but that doesn’t mean that it’s essential you buy into it.

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A beautiful wedding is made that way because of the care and thought that goes into it. Yes, there will be costs for the venue and the ceremony, and you can’t help those, but is there really any need for a ten-foot ice sculpture of swans? Probably not! Instead of pinching the pennies to make everything stretch, it’s time to get creative with the budget you have rather than the budget you wish you had. It’s also important to remember that a wedding on a budget does not mean one that looks cheap, in any sense of the word. There are some beautiful wedding ideas out there that are classy and elegant and have been pulled off inexpensively. With these thrifty decorating ideas, you can transform your venue into one that looks like it’s fit for a queen.

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Lighting. Wedding lighting, especially for outdoor weddings in venues such as Adlington Hall is going to be something you need to think about. For most larger venues, lighting and heating are included in their package prices, but if you can’t manage an outdoor wedding package like that, lighting will be down to you. As the evening draws in, the sun goes down so you need sufficient lighting for people to be able to continue their fun. Using white Christmas lights like these in place of huge, beaming lampposts is going to give your wedding an ethereal look. If you opt for the battery-operated lights, you can hang them from the ceiling, around pillars and around each table to give the whole room a magical look.

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My new Christmas decorations theme – Blush pink & oodles of glitter

So now that bonfire night has exploded all around the country last weekend, I think I can safely move on to Christmas. That’s the rule, is it? Halloween? Check! Bonfire night? Check! Christmas? Ohhh yeaaah! Here it comes! Which is precisely why I’ve waited until now to show you my new festive decorations. I’ve been shopping this week (can you believe how many shops are full of festive stuff already?!) and was easily tempted to pick up some new bits n bobs.christmas-decorations-pink-heritage-vintage-glittery-trend-winter-2016-baubles-decorations-xmas christmas-decorations-pink-heritage-vintage-glittery-trend-winter-2016-baubles-decorations-xmas-8In fact, the prices of my new decs were so good that I couldn’t keep it to myself any longer, because I know that some of you will be the same as me and will be hunting out your new decorations for this year’s theme soon and I want to help you get a bargain. I usually stick to the same colours every year and have plenty of baubles that I’ve collected over the past decade that must go on the tree. But this tree is going to end up in the bedroom so I wanted to go for a different look this year.

As always I was inspired by Pinterest (here’s my Christmas board if you want to take a look) and I found myself pinning more and more handmade baubles and ballerina pink hues. Of course, it wouldn’t be Christmas without oodles of glitter so discoball-esque decorations were definitely on the cards. I found the exact dusky pink shades of Christmas decorations that I wanted on the Homebase website but decided to go along to the shop to buy them ‘in person’ so that I could see the size of the baubles and how they looked side by side.

I found so many more options in store that I didn’t even notice on the website so I picked up a few more packs than expected. Even so, I didn’t spend more than £14 on ALL these decorations. A full 1.8m tall tree was covered in this pretty pink theme (including two very special handmade baubles at £2 and £2.50 – my showstoppers!) for this low price. The mini baubles were only £2 for a pack of 20, can you believe it?

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5 Reasons why sunset is the best time of day

Blazing red sunsets, rainbow skies, dark silhouettes and pastel hues. All of these beautiful elements combine to make one of the most stunning features of the evening sky – the sunset. If you’ve never watched the sun setting over rolling countryside, perhaps this summer is the time to do it. It’s a really special moment when you spot an unexpected sunset, and it’s even more of an adventure to go out looking for a sunset and trying to capture it in a photograph. But it’s not just the gorgeous colours and inspirational scene that makes sunsets so special. Oh and for the purpose of this blog post I’ve not edited any of these sunset photos, I think natural is already beautiful enough! Read on to find out many more reasons why sunset is the best time of day.photography sunset golden hour photo sun silhouette photography sunset golden hour photo sun silhouette-3The cool down. After a scorching hot day – you know the type, where you have to shelter in the shade just to survive – the sunset comes as a relief. The warmth of the day is still in the air, so you can still wear your daytime dress, but the air cools down to that perfect ‘summer evening’ temperature. The setting sun is still on your face, but you don’t feel like you’re being burnt to a crisp. Seeing as I’m someone who easily burns, this is probably one of the main reasons why I like sunset so much – I can finally venture outside!photography sunset golden hour photo sun silhouette-13 photography sunset golden hour photo sun silhouette-7Photography. Perhaps the most obvious reason that sunset is a great time of day is simply taking photos of it. The stunning colours and clear cloud formations make it much more easy to capture a sunset than a sunrise, or even a daytime sky. At other times of day, you can end up with too much light infiltrating your frame, so images are less clear and colours less vivid. With a sunset, there’s plenty of interesting features (such as silhouettes of rooftops and trees) you can capture against the sky, as well as bright deep colours that show up better on camera than watery daytime tones.photography sunset golden hour photo sun silhouette-4photography sunset golden hour photo sun silhouette-12Lights twinkle. Continue reading “5 Reasons why sunset is the best time of day” »


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4 ways to use fairy lights all year round

I know that many of you love fairy lights at any time of year, just like I do. We’ve hung them in our bedrooms, and we’ve used them in blog posts. Yes, twinkling LED lights make rooms look pretty and they put a smile on my face every time I see them. So why is leaving Christmas lights up all year long considered tacky and unrefined? I’d like to argue that it’s no longer taboo to have fairy lights up during the year, and if A Beautiful Mess are doing it (below), then why can’t I?? Okay, maybe those garish multi-coloured strands of flashing lights  might best be left for the Yuletide season, but you can use strands of one or two colours at any time of year for a budget-friendly way to add a little fun or elegance to just about any room or party. Let’s take a look at four unique ways to use Christmas lights…a beautiful mess outdoor fairy lights all year round

Turn your outdoor space into a night-time wonderland

Wrap twinkle lights around tree trunks, branches, bushes, archways, and other outdoor structures to turn a dark night into a gleaming fairyland. Stretch them across outdoor buildings, fences and patio to create a welcoming party zone for summer get-togethers. Use all-white lights to add an elegant touch to outdoor parties, which looks especially classy for weddings. Or spice things up with a mix of reds, greens, blues, and yellows to create a carnival atmosphere for casual occasions, such as BBQs or cocktail parties. The indirect lighting creates a subtle ambience that encourages your guests to linger outdoors for longer while providing just enough light to make sure that they don’t stumble as they walk along dim pathways.DIY fairy lights kilner jar display for christmas-3

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The 12 Days OFF Christmas – Light up the New Year

I love fairy lights and can’t get enough of them over Christmas and New Year. In fact, I like having them up all year round so while I’m still away on holiday I thought I would share some photos of gorgeous fairy lights from my instagram account. Hope you had a lovely New Year’s Eve! 🙂

A photo posted by Cassiefairy (@cassiefairy) on

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DIY festive fairies in snow-covered Kilner jars

The thing that I love most about Christmas is the lights. The twinkling fairy lights on the tree, homes lit up with sparkly displays and town centres adorned with colourful Christmas lights. It makes the whole festive season feel all the more magical to me and I especially love going Christmas shopping at dusk just after it has rained because the wet pavement reflects the lights, making the world sparkly and hazy. I love it and you can probably guess that I’ve already been shopping for more Christmas lights this year, because today I want to share a little DIY sideboard display with you using my brand new fairy lights from Homebase.

DIY fairy lights kilner jar display for christmas-7 DIY fairy lights kilner jar display for christmas-6I happened to be in Homebase on the day before the launch of their Christmas range and everything in store was 15% off, so even though I’d only popped in for some paint to finish off my bathroom makeover, I couldn’t help browsing the festive section and fell in love with these fairy lights. I’ve never chosen icicle lights before, but these ones had such tiny LED bulbs that they looked super-cute, like a flock (or should that be flight?) of fairies and the idea for this DIY project lightbulbed above my head.DIY fairy lights kilner jar display for christmas-3 DIY fairy lights kilner jar display for christmas-2 DIY fairy lights kilner jar display for christmas-4I gathered together a bunch of empty jam jars, Kilner jars and some decorated jars that I’ve saved from last years project (check out my snow/glitter tea-light jars project to get this look for yourself) and I arranged them along the length of my sideboard. I then tucked every other icicle strand into the jars and laid the remaining light strands around the base of the jars. I think the 120 twinkles of light look like fairies caught in jars – although they are free to fly away if they want to, there are no lids! This would work equally well down the centre of a dining table too or on a smaller-scale on your dressing table to bring a little festive sparkle into the bedroom.

DIY fairy lights kilner jar display for christmas DIY fairy lights kilner jar display for christmas-5These icicle lights have lots of different settings so although I’ve got them all on here, I prefer to set them to a candle-like flicker or a slow-wave and that now I barely notice when the lights change so they don’t become annoying in my peripheral vision. The warm white shade bathes the room in a cosy glow and is enough festive decoration for the room even without a Christmas tree, so might be a good display for a kitchen sideboard where you might night not have any other decorations. Here’s my little Instagram video of the lights in action, plus an early playing of White Christmas in the background to get me in the mood!


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Thrifty fairy lights for Christmas AND Halloween!

I know I sometimes go on about Christmas a little too early but this time it’s for good reason: If you get your fairy lights for Christmas sorted out now, you can make the most of them by using the lights to decorate Halloween too! I’ve already got a few packs down from the loft – especially some red and green ones that I picked up in the sale last year – and I’m planning on stringing them up outside my house ready for Halloween.

Scary window display & red berry lights from John Lewis

Using fairy lights is a great way to make your home look inviting when you want to welcome families of Trick Or Treat-ers to your door; you could line your windows with lights and stick some spooky silhouettes to the glass. It’s good to put out the traditional lit pumpkin too, but fairy lights can even help to illuminate your path if you spread them out along the ground or attach them to poles to create a twinkling rope fence. The lights will give an eerie glow on the approach to your house and will be especially scary in red!

illuminated trees & colourful outdoor lights from John Lewis

Weaving fairy lights around your trees in the garden is especially good if you’re having a Halloween party as it will provide another ‘room’ for party-goers as they spill out onto your patio and will keep the party going outside as well as inside. You could also use traditional white fairy lights to wrap around pumpkins or to fill jars and lantern, and place these around the porch or even indoors on the dinner party table.

I think these are fabulous ways to create a scary decor for Halloween and wouldn’t you agree that buying your Christmas fairy lights now is a thrifty way to make the most of your purchase?! Plus you’ll be ready to decorate your Christmas tree and home as soon as December 1st arrives, haha!


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Ideas for creating relaxing mood-lighting in your home

Are you sitting the bathtub, trying to relax with that bright white fluorescent light? Not very calming, is it? I’ve often just turned the light off and left the door ajar with the hallway light diffusing into the bathroom so that I can enjoy a little ambience while I bathe! Of course, you’ll need the right lighting to do whatever it is that you like to do at home and will be a mixture of task lighting (hence bright lights in kitchens and bathrooms) and mood lighting. You need ceiling and wall lights so you can see important stuff – like your fingers when you’re chopping vegetables, and your face when you’re applying makeup – but also softer, indirect lighting to help you relax in the bath, to chill out while you’re watching TV or to create a romantic atmosphere when having dinner with your partner and there are plenty of ways of achieving this on a budget:

Candles

Candles are great at creating mood lighting – they emit a warm glow and, depending on the candle, a nice scent too. If you plan on using candles regularly, then there are a few things that you should know. If you live in rented accommodation, check that it’s acceptable with your landlord, as some prohibit it in their rental agreement. You should never leave candles unattended; with fire, no matter how small, there is always the potential for catastrophe. If you can, opt for a soy candle. There are lots of reasons why soy candles are better than regular beeswax – it burns for longer, it is sustainable, better for your walls, and your health.

lamps and candles create ambient lighting

A combination of lamps & candles create a warm & cosy atmosphere

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Cheesy love-hearts and pink champagne – it must be Valentines Day!

What did you get up to for Valentine’s Day yesterday? Are you celebrating today instead? I know a lot of my pals are making it into a weekend-long celebration but for hubby and I we did all our Valentine-ing yesterday and really enjoyed ourselves. I was completely spoilt with the biggest bunches of flowers that I’ve ever seen in my life plus a couple of gorgeous notebooks with stitched-binding, a teddy-bear Russian dool (very appropriate for the Winter Olympics right now!), a Beautiful South album and a book on graffiti. I went all out cheesy with a Christmas-stocking-esque heart-shaped gift bag full of ‘bee mine’ bumble bee chocolates, love-heart boxers and every other tacky Valentines gift in the £1 section of the market! Plus the coat that I was planning to get for my husband for Christmas but didn’t get round to buying was reduced to £7 and his size was the only one left on the rail – if that’s not meant to be, I don’t know what is!

DIY special valentines decorating ideas for bunting and lighting

Anyway, we didn’t go out for a big restaurant meal and instead we cooked up some new recipes that we’ve never tried before including Morroccan Lamb with couscous, homemade tortilla wraps (yes, even I was impressed!) and a big strawberry and apple crumble for pud. We shared some Champagne that we’d been given by our lovely friends for our 10th wedding anniversary back in the summer and scoffed out valentines chocolates – it was practically Christmas day number 2!

DIY special valentines meal ideas with napkin folding

I thought I’d better share some photos so that you can get an idea of how very cheesy the day was – just the way we like it!  Did you notice my awesome napkin folding?? I have an old book on napkin folding and this heart design was really easy to do – it’s only 6 folds so I guess it shouldn’t be too challenging for me! I hope you also had a lovely Valentines day, wherever you are and whoever you were with. Let me know what you got up to – especially you can beat my cheesiness!


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Show your festive flair – tips for creating the perfect Christmas tree

Christmas is a time of wonderful light displays: outdoor Xmas decorations adorn public spaces, and beautiful sprays of Christmas tree lights glow softly through netted curtains in residential streets. For some of us decorating the Christmas tree is an agonising experience; endless tangles of Christmas lights from years past, broken shards of Christmas decorations lurking in dusty boxes, and that smug neighbour next door with the oh-so-perfect tree mocking you gleefully through the living room window. Never fear, the simple tips below will help you to construct the perfect Christmas tree and make you the envy of all your neighbours.

Choosing your Christmas tree

Christmas trees vary in shape and size; you want a symmetrical tree with full, even branches. Buying an artificial Christmas tree will guarantee a regular shape – however be sure to bend the branches to cover any large spaces on show. I also add in green tinsel to fill the spaces around the ‘trunk’ so that the tree looks more realistic.

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One of my previous christmas tree ‘theme’s – red, white and blue

Placing your Christmas tree lights

Select smaller bulbs to properly accentuate your tree. When placing Christmas tree lights, start from the base of the tree and work your way upwards. The Christmas lights should be wound around every major branch; up to the tip of the tree and back down to the bottom, and slightly pushed into the branches to hide the cords. Buying an artificial tree with built in lights can save you time and effort.

Hanging decorations

Christmas tree lights should always be placed first, as a tree looks better when lit from the inside. Before placing any other decorations; add your Christmas tree topper. Putting this up first will stop other decorations falling off. Christmas decorations look best when you work with a common colour or styling theme. Space out your larger decorations first and then work down to medium and small decorations. Evenly spaced Christmas decorations will create a perfect-looking symmetrical tree.

Get your Christmas tree sparkling with artificial trees, Christmas decorations and Christmas tree lights from GardenXL.

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