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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Guest post – Unique ideas for a hen party

Planning the hen night can be a daunting task and even more so nowadays as bridal parties want something different and a night out drinking and wearing L-plates just won’t cut it. If you are looking for something competitive, challenging, fun, or just plain silly there is a hen night theme to match. Katie Jones from orlajames.com says to check out some of these unique ideas.

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Games-based hen weekends

There are many companies out there offering unique game-based hen weekends so if your friends have a competitive streak this might be the choice for you. From inflatable knock-out challenge games to human table football, the options are endless. Why not get into giant bubbles and race, set up a hen Olympics, or get into teams and play against each other in a Segway polo game to really drive your hen’s competitive spirit. For those who are more adventurous and are not scared of going underground, a weekend of trampolining in underground caves looks like an amazing hen holiday! Or for a slightly more gothic edge, a weekend of zombie paintball fighting could be awesome.

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Pampering weekends

No, not just a girlie weekend at a spa; there are some unusual options available including the chance to have a makeover and photoshoot where the hens are made over as mermaids. Or unicorns. Brides who want to treat their party to a nice meal, but with a twist, could opt for a Mad Hatter tea party, complete with costumes and characters, or why not go for a bedtime story themed evening where you can wear your best pyjamas and be entertained with stories after your meal. Or how about a day at a private cinema watching non-stop chick flicks while sipping Prosecco? Sound perfect! For some really quirky hen party ideas, then a tour round London on a vintage bus that is set up to offer quintessentially British afternoon tea could be just the ticket, not to mention a very civilised way to see the capital.

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Thrifty party decorations – DIY paper flowers

If you’re planning a party or simply want to jazz up the kids’ bedrooms, this is the DIY project for you! Paper flowers are easy to make and cost hardly anything, yet they are impressive decorations for any kind of party. You can make them in lots of different sizes and could tailor the colours to match your party theme; go orange and black for Halloween or bright rainbow hues to give a fiesta vibe to your summer BBQ. Gather a few together on a wall to create a backdrop for a wedding photobooth or hang as decorations over a birthday buffet table. Whatever you want to use them for, I guarantee that you won’t want to stop making them once you’ve started, so get your mates involved and even let the kids have ago at making plenty of paper flowers for your next event. Here’s how to make some impressive paper flowers:Decorate for A Party, p105, photography by Leslie ShewringThere are quite a few steps to these paper flowers, but they are well worth the time and once you have made a couple of them the process becomes faster. To make smaller versions just omit the inside yellow pieces and use fewer sheets, cut smaller, for the outer petals.

YOU WILL NEED assorted colours of tissue paper, fuzzy pipe cleaners, scissors

STEP ONE: Carefully stack approximately 12 sheets of tissue paper, lining up all the edges carefully. We decided to use 4 yellow for the centre, these are stacked on top, then 2 or 3 white and then 6 sheets of orange. Start to fold all sheets over at the same time in 5cm/2-inch folds. Now fold back the other way, and repeat accordion style until you have folded all the paper.

STEP TWO: Unfold all the paper carefully and take out the yellow paper that will be used for the centre of the flower. Fold the yellow paper back in pleats, then fold the folded paper in half. Trim off half of the unfolded ends.

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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

Continue reading “Guest post – 5 tips for organising a low-cost hen party at home” »


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How to be a good bridesmaid

 

Your bestie finally asked — you’re going to be a bridesmaid! The next few months (or even years) are going to be a whirlwind of planning, preparation and parties. If you’re going to go down in history as the best bridesmaid ever, you’ll need to up your game. While I’m away for the last of the school holidays (and I’ll report back on what we got up to next week!) House of Fraser has been kind enough to write a guest post for me, sharing their tips on being a good bridesmaid:bridesmaid dress house-of-fraser-brocade1.     Wear the dress

The most important part of your role in the wedding is the bridesmaid dress, so you’re naturally going to have some opinions and preferences around what you would like. By all means tell the bride what style suits you and which colours you like but when your comments start to turn into diva demands, it’s time to stop. Remember, it’s not your wedding, so if the bride has settled on a bridesmaid dress that may not be to your taste, bite your tongue and wear it.

2.     Make sure you’re 100% invested

As we’ve already mentioned, there’s more to being a bridesmaid than following the bride down the aisle. Rather, you’ll dedicate months — maybe even years — of your life to wedding planning, dress fittings, hair trials and hen parties. If you can’t commit to all events, you should consider whether you should be a bridesmaid in the first place.

house of fraser bridesmaid dresses

Cobalt blue bridesmaid dresses from House of Fraser

3.     Start saving in advance

It’s no secret that weddings are expensive. If the bride and groom need to reign in their spending, you may be asked to buy your own dress or shoes, or pay for your own hair and makeup. Throw in a wedding present and hen party spends and the costs can quickly mount up. Start saving as soon as you’re asked to be a bridesmaid, so you won’t be strapped for cash in the long run. Continue reading “How to be a good bridesmaid” »


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Party ideas for a big night in – I heart NY

It’s all about love this Valentine’s weekend and I wanted to do something special for my husband. We’re being especially frugal this year (saving for a home of our own) so there won’t be any lavish nights or holidays to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year. But that doesn’t mean it will pass by unnoticed. Instead, I’ve made my own Valentine’s card for him (see my easy card-making DIY post here) and I created a memories box packed full of photos last week (see the making-of video here). I still wanted to celebrate the occasion so I surprised him with an “I Heart NY” party!i heart ny new york party inspiration ideas-9I wanted it to be a ‘big’ night in without spending a fortune so I decided that the best way to surprise hubby was to bring a party into our living room and get everything ready while he was at work this Friday. I put up USA flag bunting and a string of light-bulb fairy lights, then sprinkled red-white-and-blue star confetti everywhere. New York is somewhere that my husband and I have always wanted to travel to but have never found the spare cash to be able to go yet, so I thought it would be the perfect Valentine’s treat to bring The Big Apple to him instead. Plus, there’s hearts involved (okay, an I Heart NY t-shirts to be exact!) so that make’s it romantic too.i heart ny new york party inspiration ideas-8I gathered together all our favourite films set in New York, such as You’ve Got Mail, When Harry Met Sally and, of course, all the Sex and the City films. I wonder if I could have got away with putting on the SATC box set?? On the TV is Sleepless in Seattle, when the Empire State Building lights up with a red heart on Valentine’s Day. What a moment! All I needed was a big tub of popcorn and some US candy bars (oh yes, those are pretzel M&Ms, hurrah!) and we were all set to enjoy a romantic film night.

This would also be a great night-in with the girls, especially with all the chick-flick movies I’ve got lined up! So consider throwing an “I Heart NY” party for your friend’s hen party or birthday too! And don’t forget it’s “Galentine’s Day” tomorrow too! Check out my blog post about hosting a Galentine’s party for your besties, plus some delicious flavoured hot-chocolate recipes.

In terms of eats, I cooked up Continue reading “Party ideas for a big night in – I heart NY” »


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DIY Valentine’s gift – A box of memories + polaroid photos

What do you give to your special someone for Valentine’s Day when you’re both trying to save money and clear the clutter? Something very thrifty and useful, that’s what. I know you wouldn’t expect anything less from me so I’m happy to oblige! I’ve upcycled a gift box that I received for Christmas, used a left-over piece of wallpaper and lots of double-sided tape to create a DIY gift for my husband. Read on to find out how I made this quick and simple gift PLUS you can get a discount on printing your own photos at Cheerz.com by using my code CASGRI for £4 off!DIY thrifty valentines make your own memory box gift_-27 DIY thrifty valentines make your own memory box gift_-26I want to show my husband lots of love on Valentine’s Day (and on birthdays, at Christmas and every other day too, for that matter) but that doesn’t always mean buying something new. I think that experiences and the resulting memories are more important than buying something from the shops, so I wanted to reflect back on the things we’ve done together over the past year, and create a box of our shared memories to look back at. Of course, I want to make it a bit special for hubby, so I’m including a handful of retro sweets and some photo-strips from the Valentine’s range at Cheerz (use code CASGRI for £4 off!) that I just got printed up. These special Valentine’s products are available to order until 4th Feb so get started now to make sure you receive your photos before the big day!DIY thrifty valentines make your own memory box gift_-28 DIY thrifty valentines make your own memory box gift_-4 DIY thrifty valentines make your own memory box gift_-5 DIY thrifty valentines make your own memory box gift_-6But I’m not just making this DIY gift as a Valentine’s Day treat – oh no, it’s totally practical too. This box provides much-needed storage space for all our photos, ticket stubs and scrapbook bits ‘n’ pieces that we’ve collected up over the past year. They’ve been sitting in my desk drawer and I’d like that space back now please! Plus I’m always happy to recycle something rather than bin it, so this festive gift box (it had chocolates in, can you tell?) gets a new lease of life as a dedicated storage box now that the contents have been eaten. Let me tell you how I revamped this tired old gift box – and don’t forget to enter my giveaway below..! Continue reading “DIY Valentine’s gift – A box of memories + polaroid photos” »


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10 Party Accessories Every Bride-to-Be Needs for a Special Hen Night

Great Britain spends several billion pounds on hen parties every year, and while the bulk of that money is spent on travel and accommodation (a four-day weekend in Marbella doesn’t come cheap!), there’s also a huge market for hen party accessories.DIY hen party ideas

Image: Photomadly

Now, if you’re planning a hen party, you’ll already be well aware of how many different accessories there are to choose from. L-plates, veils, drinking straws, whistles, shot glasses, boppers, devil horns, sparkly pink cowboy hats…all of these things (and many others) have been dubbed ‘hen party essentials’ by various people who claim to know what they’re talking about, but frankly, we doubt that any bride has ever had all of those items at her bachelorette party. If hens really did buy each and every one of these so-called ‘essentials’, none of them would have any money left for flights, hotels, drinks, and all the other costs associated with an awesome hen do.hen-party-ideas

Image: HenStuff Blog Continue reading “10 Party Accessories Every Bride-to-Be Needs for a Special Hen Night” »


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Fun ideas for a girls’ night in

We all love the chance to get together with our friends, even though it can be difficult when we all lead busy lives to find a window to have a night with the girls. I had a fantastic night in with my pals last weekend and we chuckled our way through a few cheeky games while snacking on tasty nibbles. Afterwards we all wondered why we don’t do this more often and although it might not be possible to get together regularly, it’s always worth the effort of finding a date that suits so that you and your closest friends can have some quality time together.cassiefairy ideas for a girls night in pampering games reading book clubSometimes, it’s not just the time that makes it hard to find the opportunities for a girls’ night. It’s also the expense of a night out that can be off-putting. So what about a girls’ night in? There is far less stress as there’s no need to get to a venue, or spend time and effort getting dressed up for a night out. It can be as cheap as chips. All you need for a night in with the girls is to decide whose turn it is to be the hostess and for everyone else to turn up. Here are just a few ideas of what to do on a girls’ night in.cassiefairy ideas for a girls night in pampering games reading book club-3

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Hen party series ~ the t-shirt you’ll wear again & again

Welcome back to my hen party series! Over the summer, blogger Claire from Lacey in Places  blog has been sharing her top tips for planning a hen party (read her first article here), including a downloadable budget spreadsheet and invitation templates (read this planning article here) to make it super-easy to keep track of the hens, the accommodation and activity costs. She has also written about making crafty decorations for the hen party and creating a DIY memory book for the bride . There are lots of useful articles in the hen party series, so check out the links below or click here to see all of the articles in the series. This week we are talking about stag and hen party t-shirts, and why you’ll want to wear them again and again.

During my research into hen parties and the traditions that have become synonymous with the ‘last night of freedom’, I have discovered a desire to create a homogenous group of stags or hens – especially when there is a large quantity of guests at the celebration. This could be in the form of fancy dress, or simply dressing in a similar way, in order to define the group as a ‘party’. This serves as an easy way to identify members of the group and helps to keep large groups together on a night out – a simple head count of guests wearing the same outfit can help ensure that stragglers don’t get left behind when the group moves on to another place or activity. And this is where t-shirts come in!

quality stag and hen t shirt printing from stagandhentshirtscom

It’s been a massive trend over the past decade to design and print special t-shirts for hen and stag party groups. A little more wearable than fancy dress, it allows the group to dress the same, but retain some individuality – usually in the form of nicknames on the backs of t-shirts. It also means that the bride or groom will be more easily identifiable in the group, as they will probably be the only one in fancy dress – tutus, wedding dresses etc – and can easily be picked out for ‘special treatment’ from bar staff and activity providers! However, many of these t-shirts will be designed solely with the hen or stag night in mind and can rarely ever be worn again. But with a little extra thought about the design, you can easily create a top that commemorates a special occasion and can be worn again and again as a fashion item.

After investigating many t-shirt printers, I came across StagandHenTShirts.com and realised they would be able to provide exactly this kind of custom-design service. Gone are the cheap thin t-shirts and the plasticy PVC printed designs that crack while wearing; this company offer a full design and printing service to create a t-shirt that you will  be able to wear again, and on top of that, will actually want to wear again! When a company kicks off their design process using high-quality t-shirts, vests and tops, you know that you’ll be getting a hard-wearing, top-quality product, and that’s before you’ve even added a design. I spent an enjoyable hour flicking through all their funky designs and colour options before getting in touch with their design team to discuss my requirements.

stagandhentshirts customised retro cool pink design for hen party

One of my favourite fairies is getting married next year and I wanted to treat her to a t-shirt to get her excited about her hen do. I chose my preferred design of a chunky, retro text with pop-art image of the hen, then I sent off a facebook profile photo of my friend for the design team to work their magic on. I couldn’t believe my eyes when they sent back a ‘proof’ of the design that looked exactly like my bestie in a super-cool Andy Warhol-esque screenprint style – so glamourous! I was given a few suggestions of colour ways and I chose the ink to be a hot pink (her favourite colour) printed on a classic white t-shirt (she is the bride after all!). I waited excitedly for her reaction as she opened the parcel and although we live 100s of miles apart, I swear I could hear her squeals of delight! It certainly got a good reaction when she posted a photo of it on Facebook and the ‘likes’ came flooding in!

stagandhenthirts custom design hen party cool high quality tshirt printing

Continue reading “Hen party series ~ the t-shirt you’ll wear again & again” »


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Sausages & bingo!

Can you guess what I got up to this weekend? Does the title of this post kind of give it away? Yes, I had one of the most laughter-filled days ever on Saturday when I met up with my friends for a day filled with sausages, cider, glitz and bingo – let me tell you all about it..!

Only a couple of weeks ago my friend invited me to a Sausage Festival – she’d seen it advertised on one of those deal-sharing websites and the tickets were half-price. Given that our group of friend are known for our love of sausages, we quickly booked up for the event and started the ‘countdown to sausages’. I was worried I’d be a little disappointed, after I’d hyped it up so much in my mind, but I’m happy to say that the sausage festival was great. There were sausage tastings from local producers scattered around the town, and after travelling around the sausage trail 3 times, (with a couple of rest breaks for cider), I worked out that I’d eaten around 30 inches of sausage! That surely must be the best way to spend a Saturday, yes?

sausages from beyond baked beans

Sausages!

Or perhaps the best way to spend a Saturday is at the bingo? Well, that’s what I decided after taking my pals to the Gala bingo hall in the nearby town for a girl’s night out. I was expecting a cheesy and tacky night out, and although it was both of these things, it was also so much more! Bingo halls are loads more glitzy nowadays, whilst retaining their retro features like these cute booths and garish playing boards, and while chatting to the hall manager I found out that lots of their clubs are having vegas-esque makeovers and they even put on cabaret during the festive period. I am SO coming back for that!

girls night out at gala bingo hall and prizes photos 2013

Having only ever played prize bingo at holiday parks in the past, I soon realised that I was a little slow at bingo – the numbers were being called at a faster-than-Cassie’s-internal-processor speed! But I soon got used to the pace (with a lot of concentration at first) and luckily the numbers came up on the screen so I could easily check to see if I’d missed one. I made this mistake while ordering my drink and missed a couple of numbers (apparently it’s hard to talk and dab at the same time!) but I checked my numbers during a break while a line claim was in progress, and thankfully caught up – not that I won anyway haha!

girls night out at gala retro bingo hall and board photos 2013

As we’d booked a party night out, our table was decorated with balloons, streamers and party hats, and the girls loved the cheeky bottle of bubbly that Gala had prepared for us! We actually felt like we were on a hen party and it would be great fun for that kind of event, or for a birthday or anniversary. We had a good giggle between bingo rounds (and stayed respectfully quiet while the games were in play) and when the interval came round, our tummies were rumbling! Who knew that bingo halls served food?? We enjoyed a naughty burger, popcorn-prawns and chips, yum! By the way, I must say that I was very impressed with the prices. I’m still a student-at-heart and hate spending a lot on a night, but Gala bingo have been reducing their prices and we got lots of discount vouchers for joining.

girls night out at gala bingo food and drink photos 2013

At times, we lost track of which game was being played (there’s a surprising number of different types of bingo!) with mutterings of ‘is it this one?’, but thankfully there were lots of lovely members of staff around the hall ready to help us newbies keep on track. We were all a little surprised at how much we were enjoying ourselves and stayed right to the very end, playing the national link-up game and even having a sneaky go on the slot-machines where a couple of us won a little prize yay! So we all headed home happy with a warm cider-glow after promising (or threatening!) we’d definitely be back for more bingo soon!

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