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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Hack a garden border with just about anything

Today’s blog post is all about a book I got over Christmas – 101 Organic Gardening Hacks by Shawna Coronado. I’ve been dipping into it during my time off and it’s been a really inspirational read. I enjoyed it so much that I asked the publisher whether it would be possible to give a copy away to you and they were delighted to oblige. So there’s a Rafflecopter giveaway to win a copy of 101 Organic Gardening Hacks at the end of this blog post – be sure to enter today!p147-tiki-hut-shedThe book not only covers all the planting, pruning and growing tips you’d expect from the title, but it also offers practical advice on making the most of what you already have to turn your garden into an organic oasis. Who knew that there were so many easy ways to water plants? And it’s amazing what materials you can reuse to great effect in your landscaping. With thriftiness at the forefront of my mind at all times, it was wonderful to read a book that wasn’t recommending buying new materials or spending lots of money. In fact, I’d call this a money-saving advice book on gardening more than anything else, so you can see why I enjoyed reading it so much.

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To give you an idea of some of the projects in the book I’ve shared the images above, which include reusing old furniture to give your flowerbeds height and drama, and how to give your basic shed a makeover to turn it into a fun tiki hut! Below is an extract from the book itself about using collections of objects, waste products or natural materials to hack a garden border – read on to find out how!126a-hack-a-garden-border

Glass insulators border this garden bed and patio area, delineating the flagstone from the mulched soil edge.

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4 strange causes of insomnia

After a rather sleepless night earlier this week left me totally drained (and over-emotional!) the following day, I decided to do a little research into the science of sleep. According to the Sleep Health Foundation, about one in three people has some level of insomnia. Sleeplessness can be a pain (especially when you know you’ve got to be up and out early the next morning), but insomnia is more than just a mild annoyance. Insufficient sleep can contribute to serious health problems like depression, hypertension, diabetes, and even cancer. If you suffer from persistent insomnia, you should see a doctor for help. If you just have trouble sleeping from time to time, though, you may have fallen victim to one of these four strange causes of insomnia.toothbrush-571741_19201.Brushing with mint flavour toothpaste

Brushing your teeth with strongly mint-flavoured toothpaste in the morning can give you the kick of energy you need to get the day started. Using the same toothpaste at night, however, could make it difficult for you to fall asleep. One study shows that people exposed to peppermint before bedtime stayed awake for 11 minutes longer than those who weren’t exposed to the smell. I watched a documentary on fitness ones, which showed how runner who ate mint while running carried on for much longer than those who didn’t. So I guess the energy-boosting properties of mint must have a negative effect on your sleep pattern too. Instead of using a minty toothpaste at night, choose an option that’s not as intense. Switching to a new toothpaste could help you fall asleep sooner.vitamin-b-871135_19202. Taking vitamins before bed

Taking a multivitamin helps ensure that your body gets the nutrition it needs to stay healthy. However, taking your vitamins before bedtime could make it hard for you to fall asleep. The problem becomes even worse when you take a B12 supplement. B12 is an essential vitamin that lets your body turn glucose into energy. If you take it before bedtime, you could find yourself feeling stimulated when you need to settle down. Instead of taking your supplements before bed, try taking them after breakfast or lunch. You’ll get a kick of energy when you need it instead of when you want to sleep.unusual-causes-of-insomnia-bedroom-breakfast

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Book Review + Interview – Upcycling by Max McMurdo

I can’t believe that it’s been a whole week since this book launched and I’m only now telling you about it. I’ve had my eyes on it for weeks and have been eagerly awaiting it’s release. Teaser tweets and Instagram posts by Max have got my excitement for this book bubbling up to a dangerous level. Combine that with my already OTT love of thriftiness and DIYing, and you’ve got one giddy girl on your hands. So you can imagine how quickly I tore open the packaging of my book delivery last weekend.gumtreebus-max-mcmurdoThankfully, it book itself didn’t disappoint. I knew it would full of Max’s trademark industrial projects and thrifty flips, but I didn’t realise just how comprehensive it would be. This isn’t just a ‘look at this pretty room’ design book. Oh no. It’s full of practical advice and step-by-step, photo-by-photo tutorials. It’s so detailed that even I feel confident about removing a drum from an old washing machine and turning it into an illuminated side table.max-mcmurdo-upcycling-diy-book-review-2With techniques for measuring and cutting, drilling and sanding, wiring and finishing, Max teaches you all the DIY skills you need to know in order to complete the projects in the book. If you want to know what a nylock nut is, Max’ll tell you. I thought I was alright at a bit of DIY. Good, even. But it turns out that there’s so much more I can learn. Thank goodness I’ve got this book to teach me the tricks of the trade. They don’t call me thrifty for nothin’ and if I’m going to upcycle, I’m darn well going to learn how to do it properly (and safely!).

Just before the book launched last week I had the opportunity to ask the author some probing questions so that I could share his answers with you today:max-mcmurdo-upcycling-diy-book-review Continue reading “Book Review + Interview – Upcycling by Max McMurdo” »


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Interior Blogger Home Tour – Anna from Don’t Cramp My Style

Today I’m pleased to be sharing a sneaky peek inside the home of top interiors blogger Anna from Don’t Cramp My Style. Her award-winning blog is all about putting your own stamp on a home – even if it’s a rented apartment – and how to get the look for less. I guess it’s obvious why I wanted to share a house tour from this stylish blogger today; she’s a girl after my own heart and is just as thrifty and DIY-focussed as I am!blogger guest post dont cramp my style interior design instagram inspirationIn her first year of blogging Anna scooped the Best Newcomer award at the Amara Interior Design Awards 2015 and has since picked up the award for Best Home Blog from Next. She’s already been shortlisted in the 2016 IBAs  so I can tell it’s going to be another good year for her. And you can see why I asked her to share some photos of her gorgeous home with us today – what a pro! Read on to find out just how a double-award-winning interiors blogger styles her own home and pick up some tips for your own home.

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apartment tour dont cramp my style blog kitchen

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cat-bed home tour dont cramp my style blog

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How to make your home sell in a weekend

If you’re thinking about selling your home but are worried about being stuck on the market without any offers, there are many things you can do TODAY to make your home more attractive to potential buyers. With only a few hours work and a little bit of effort, you can create a house that will have buyers knocking on the door with offers coming at you left, right and centre. How? Read on to find out..!Furniture Makeover Project Rust-Oleum paint retro conservatory chair_-241. Get in touch with an estate agent. This should be your first step to putting your home on the market because (not only will they be the ones selling your home for you and will need to know a lot about you) they also know everything there is to know about what their buyers want. They can advise you on home layout, low-cost improvements, tidying up the garden and whether staging a bedroom as an office is a better idea than having a spare guest room. Listen to everything your estate agent tells you and be ready to make some changes. This will help your home get noticed by the right buyers and will be snapped up within days.thrifty low cost summer cleaning hacks kitchen bathroom diy cruelty free-62. Something you can do THIS weekend is clean your home. Clutter often puts off buyers because they just can’t see past all your possessions. You may live a perfectly tidy life, but to the viewers it might just look like a big mess. So why not start packing now? If you’re going to sell your home as quickly as you hope, you might as well start packing straight away and minimise the rush when your home gets offers within hours. Once you’ve packed up some boxes with non-essential items, you can start to give your home a thorough clean. Scrub the tub, dust all surfaces and make sure you look up to spot any cobwebs!DIY how to repair teak furniture with household ingredients-53. The deep clean might have revealed some niggling DIY jobs that need doing so get started on them straight away. Chipped skirting, floor tiles lifting or mouldy grout can all put off buyers. And if the buyers aren’t put off by the DIY tasks, they will certainly use them as a reason to knock down your asking price. Just a quick coat of paint on the woodwork can be all it takes to brighten up a tired room. But don’t be afraid to make a big change if it’s needed; a bright or dark colour on the walls might benefit from a neutral coast of paint to really brighten up the space. Ask your realtor and they will be able to advise you on the colours that sell well.diy painting and installing small shed - duck egg blue beach hut in garden-34. One final tip is to think about what makes a house into a home for you and try to replicate it. Rather than taking everything out of the home (which can make it rather clinical and unloved) keep some of your own belongings in the house to make it seem welcoming. Staging a cosy living room with classy coffee-table books, candles and flowers could be all it takes to make a buyer imagine themselves actually living in your property. Again, the most valuable advice on setting up a welcoming home will come from your estate agent so check in with them to see what improvements you can make. Simply draping a blanket you already have over the master bed will create that “hotel feeling” and a pot-plant in the kitchen might infuse the room with fresh scent.natural textures and colours in this bedroom makeover-5Best of luck with selling your home and I hope that these suggestions will help you get your house sold in super-fast time. Let me know if you have any other tips for neatening up your home by leaving me a comment below or tweeting me @cassiefairy.

 


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How I saved money on my wedding by Laura from Devine Bride

As you may remember, I’ve been asking some of my favourite bloggers to help me out with some guest posts this summer so that I can take a little time off. Luckily my pals didn’t let me down and emailed over a huge variety of inspirational blog posts for me to share during August. Here’s another guest posts by the lovely Laura from Devine Bride, who has already shared snaps of her thrifty wedding idea for a homemade dessert buffet on my blog at the end of July. Today she’s telling us about all budgeting tips and wedding day hacks she used to save £££s on her own wedding – read on to find out how she did it..!L&A-LowRes-375The blogs and magazine articles I like the most are real weddings and honest accounts of what other people did for their wedding. Trials, tribulations, likes, dislikes, what went right, what went wrong – I just can’t help having a nosey. All of which I found most helpful, so I wanted to share the story of how I saved money on my wedding with the hope to inspire and help others. It needn’t cost the earth, and it can still be amazing!L&A-LowRes-271Dress

I found my dream dress on the American website BHDN, but I was wary to buy it online without any idea of sizing or fit, so I sourced the designer back to her roots – and it just so happened she has a studio in East London. After the success of the jewellery sample sale, I signed up to their mailing list. I had lots of time, but within a month I got an email to say they were having a sample sale! The designer doesn’t do much bridal wear, and there was no guarantee of what was going to be in the sale, but I kept an open mind thinking there might be something similar from a past season. At the very least, I wanted to go along to see how the sizes fitted. As it turned out, one of two dresses I had my eye on was in the sample sale, the only one of that style and size, and fitted like a glove, so I knew it was meant to be! I ended up getting my dress for £720 – half the normal retail price.L&A-LowRes-11 L&A-LowRes-95

Dress, Catherine Deane sample sale; £720 (approx. saving = £680)

Alterations and Dry Cleaning

Although my dress fitted like a glove, it needed taken up slightly and dry cleaned as it had been tried on a few times. I looked at specialist bridal boutiques and I got a quote for the hem for £160, and dry cleaning for £100… which I wasn’t really prepared to pay since I had *only* paid £700 for the actual dress. I was nervous to leave my one-of-a-kind-bargain-sample-sale-dress with anyone other than a specialist, but I simply could not justify those prices. After much googling and deliberation, I trusted my dress with a tiny Polish alterations place recommended to me by my sister. It was a bit of a trek away in North London, where allegedly all the rich women of Hampstead get their design togs altered. I was suspicious of their non-descript tiny shop, but they did an amazing job! The term, ‘never judge a book by its cover’ sprang to mind afterwards. After that, I felt a bit more relaxed to leave my dress with my local dry cleaners where my hubby gets his suits done. Upon leaving my dress, I asked if they had insurance, but they just laughed and said, ‘what do you think is going to happen to it?!’. This didn’t quite fill me with confidence but my dress came back sparkling and I couldn’t have been more pleased!L&A-LowRes-385

Alterations: Mihaela’s Fashion Shop, Cricklewood; £20 (approx. saving = £140)

Dry Cleaning: City of London Dry Cleaning Co, Canary Wharf, £25 (approx. saving = £75) Continue reading “How I saved money on my wedding by Laura from Devine Bride” »


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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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Guest post: Stupid-simple DIY Home Décor Tricks

Do you want to give a note of freshness to your home but you don’t have the necessary budget? Don’t worry! With a bit of creativity, some skills, and a bit of guidance you can make some amazing DIY projects that will completely change your home’s interior. And, let’s face it: DIY projects are so much more fun than buying stuff from the store! Even scientists remarked that we love more the things we build with the sweat of our brow. Today we are going to offer several simple tricks that are borderline genius if you think about it. And the best part is that, at the end of each project, you’ll have a more beautiful home without spending a fortune on decorating.cabinet door tray finished

Tutorial for turning a cabinet door into a serving tray can be found on the Home Road blog

Repurpose old things

Remember those things that you were going to throw out but didn’t get the chance yet? You may want to reconsider some of them. Here are a few ideas that could help with the general décor:

  • An old cabinet door can be repurposed as a tray (see above) to serve your friends with delicious goodies when they come over. All you need is a bit of paint and two gorgeous looking handles that you can find in any store. At the end of the day, you’ll have an original tray that looks amazing on the coffee table.
  • An old jumper you love but can’t wear anymore because it ‘felted’ in the wash can still be close to you as coasters. All you have to do is find a glass with a wide mouth and a pencil to draw the circle. Simply cut and saw at the edge and voila! You’ve got a set of original coasters that look amazing around the house.
  • Got a piece of rope lying around and don’t know what to do with it? Well, you can use it as a support for a bathroom mirror or a big painting. The rope looks amazing on a colored wall and highlights the object that it is supporting.gallery-wall-home dont cramp my stule bloh

Anna from Don’t Cramp My Style blog shows us how to create a gallery wall in a rented apartment

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Guest post – 5 tips for organising a low-cost hen party at home

He popped the question, she said yes, and then she popped the question to you – will you be my bridesmaid?! Weddings are a wonderful time of celebration, and it is an honour to be asked to be the bride’s right-hand lady during such a joyous occasion. However, before you start dreaming of all the beautiful dresses, the girlie shopping days and the flowing bubbly drinks, there is a hen party to organise. Here we give you some fantastic tips on how to organise the perfect hen party at home!

Fruit Cubes for Sparkling Cocktails

Check out my recipe for fruity cubes to jazz up your hen party bubbly

 1. Decide on the who, where and when:
This is the basic information required to get going with your planning. You should probably enlist the help of the bride in this part too as you don’t want to forget anyone she may want there. Obtain a list of invitees from her and agree when suits her best to have the hen. The where and what can be kept a surprise if you prefer. Decide where is best to host the hen party. If going with a home party then will it be based at your home, the bride’s, the mother of the bride’s or another friend’s house? The best part about having the party at home is that this can really help to keep the costs down. Everyone knows weddings can be expensive events, so if you can all avoid having to pay out for accommodation just before the big day, that’s a bonus!L&A-LowRes-271

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Guest post – Cluttered home? How to put it right…

Pieces of Lego are strewn; shoes are littered; food spilled; furniture stained. Clothing is scattered. Pens, pen lids, crayons and felt-tip pens sprinkle surfaces. Toys are disassembled; old batteries discarded; former favourite toys abandoned. Combs and hair clips accumulate in corners and on staircases; footprints mark shiny floors; scribbles, notes and doodles gather on tables, desks and chairs. Packets of biscuits are in with the fresh foods; milk is without purpose and outside the fridge; finger prints smudge cupboards, walls, doors and windows. It wasn’t always like this. Something changed. It’s the school holidays! The truth is that you may never achieve again the calm and harmony that prevailed throughout the pre-kids era, but that isn’t to say that at least a semblance of planning and regulation cannot be brought back into the home. So put a lid on the chaos, put that disaster away, and take heed of these top tips for tidying up and keeping it that way:personalised labels storage

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