Cassiefairy – My Thrifty Life

Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog – Saving money every day with DIY crafts, sewing projets, low-cost recipes & shppping tips


Leave a comment

6 Crafty ways to preserve your family’s most precious memories

Family memories come and go so quickly. Even when you wait months for a big occasion – marriage, graduations, 1st birthday parties – the time goes by in a blink. You can make the occasion memorable with some of the party tips I shared on the blog earlier this week, but it’s the reliving of these precious moments in the future that gives me the most happiness. And with a bit of craftiness it is so easy to preserve these memories so that you can enjoy reminiscing time and again. 1. Create holiday jars

Holidays provide the best source of memories. We tend to do things out of the ordinary on holiday – fun activities, enjoying a special meal, or hiking to a beautiful spot – but it’s no good having photos stored on a memory card somewhere. Remembering these moments can help to keep us going when we’re feeling under the weather or sat at our desks while it drizzles outside. “Vacation jars” do just that. They’re so easy to make – all you need is a jar – and the rest of the items you can pick up along the way. Put anything in your jar that reminds you of the last holiday you took, including:

  • Small souvenirs
  • Pine cones or shells (depending on the location you visited!)
  • Pictures (real-life printed photos)
  • Postcards and leaflets
  • Maps and travel tickets

I also made myself a ‘little jar of happy’ which contains anything that has made me happy. If my niece or nephew says something funny I’ll write it down. When I get positive feedback on my work, it goes into the jar. I’ve been doing this for a couple of years now and it always puts a smile on my face remembering the good times. 2. Family yearbooks

Why not create yearly yearbooks that show some of the year’s best pictures? Over the past year I actually got some photos printed and it was lovely to have ‘real life’ photos in my hands. We are all taking more photos than ever thanks to camera phones but we rarely ever print them out. If you do a little audit of your photo albums every 3 months and send a few to print, you create your own yearbook for the family to look back on, and if you’re happy to do some scrapbooking (one of my favourite things to do) you can add in a few extra bits alongside your photos such as:

  • Event tickets
  • Birthday cards
  • Newspaper clippings

If you’ve got photos and souvenirs to hand, you could even use screen printing to transform t-shirts into wearable collages of your images if you want to make a lasting, wearable memory. Imagine wear a Christmas jumper this year that has photos of the fun you had last Christmas printed on it! Photos also work great as ‘bunting’in your office or the kids’ bedroom – here’s how to make Polaroid bunting at home.

Continue reading “6 Crafty ways to preserve your family’s most precious memories” »


5 Comments

My little vintage caravan – Making the bed

Remember when I got my caravan on the road again last year? I’d imagined that my caravan would never move again (which was okay with me, as I was using it as my sewing and writing workshop) so you can can imagine how excited I was to see those wheels turning again. It was towed with ease to our new home and I thought that we might be in for a summer of adventures in the caravan last year. However, the year ran away with me and we never did get round to doing all the little jobs needed to turn my ‘office’ back into a functioning holiday home. This year is going to be different. I’m definitely going to be on the road with my caravan, and do you know why? Because I’m starting the planning for my summer holidays now! That means I’ve got 6 whole months to fit out my caravan with the necessary bits ‘n’ pieces to turn it back into a fully fitted camper. What’s on the list? Well, aside from the camping kitchen and bathroom facilities that I mentioned in my last post, it really needs a new bed and I’ll tell you why.

Continue reading “My little vintage caravan – Making the bed” »


Leave a comment

Travel aspirations for 2017 – Amsterdam

The trouble with Instagram is that it makes you want to travel. I can barely open the app without spotting photos of my friends flying to far-flung destinations, skiing down a picturesque mountainside or swimming in a turquoise blue sea. And it can’t just be me that’s seeing daily updates like this, can it? Okay, Instagram isn’t exactly a holiday brochure, but it pretty-much has the same effect on me. A photo of a glittering nighttime cityscape? It’s my blogging buddy enjoying a week away in New York. A steaming hot lagoon? That’s my friend’s new year’s trip to Iceland. And the northern lights? My brother’s mate lives in Finland. So forgive me for wanting to research exotic trips every time I try to put another photo of my sewing projects on Instagram (@Cassiefairy if you’re interested!).

Photo: Roetz Bikes

Photo: Roetz Bikes

Budget aside I’d love to visit all of these destinations, but home-buying tends to be an expensive business and I’d like to prioritise that this year. However, I’m sure that there are some nearer-to-home trips that I can take that will be just as Instagram-worthy as my friends’ holidays. So I’ve already been on the CitizenM website this morning, daydreaming of a trip to Amsterdam for 2017.

Photo: CitizenM

Photo: CitizenM

As the capital of the Netherlands, it’s a city that I’ve always wanted to visit but have never found a reason to go. My husband has been there recently, and really I should have gone on that work trip with him but I was too busy to take a break at the time. When he returned home with photos of canals and giant waffles I realised that I’d made a mistake. I vowed to go with him ‘next time’ and I’m already drawing up a list of places I want to visit while I’m there.

van-gogh-museum

Photo: Jan-Kees Steenman

I’ve been recently writing artist profiles so one of the first destinations on my ‘to do’ list is the Van Gogh Museum. I’ve read a lot about the artist and have recently been researching his work, but I’ve never seen his paintings ‘in real life’. When the Sunflowers exhibition was on at the National Gallery in London, the queue was a couple of hours long to see the exhibition, and tickets were rather expensive too. So hubby and I wandered around the gallery instead and, as we were passing a large door, it opened and we could see right into the Sunflowers exhibition. We weren’t more than a few feet away from the painting so technically I have seen it, but only for the few seconds that the door swung open and then closed again. Just that little taste of Van Gogh was enough to make me want to visit the museum in Amsterdam.

Photo: Jan-Kees Steenman

Photo: Jan-Kees Steenman

Continue reading “Travel aspirations for 2017 – Amsterdam” »


2 Comments

No wifi for the weekend

When was the last time that you went offline? For me, it’s probably been years. Ever since I got my first smart phone I’ve not had a day away from the internet. Well, when you’re carrying a computer in your pocket at all times, and your job is based online, and your friends contact you via social media, how can you ever really get away from it? It used to be easy to take a break: on a Friday night you’d simply shut down your computer and relax for the weekend. There was no social media to tempt you to stay up late scrolling through posts, and no-one expected a reply to their emails until Monday morning. In fact, no-one really sent those Saturday evening emails, because they too had closed down their computer at the end of the working week.christmas-jumper-festive-mince-pie-fire-bath-hygge-reading-sewing-xmas-festive-wifi-1After months of hard work, I knew I needed a break so hubby and I went away for a relaxing weekend away in Badger cottage in Sweffling. It’s a charming little barn that’s been converted into a super-cosy two bedroom holiday home in the beautiful Suffolk countryside. Arriving on Thursday evening, were delighted to find original beams and character galore, a deep reclaimed roll-top bath, and a big log fire. Everything we needed was right there at hand in the well-stocked kitchen, bathroom and living room. The stack of firewood and flickering woodburner let us know that we were in for a warm and cosy weekend. Candles in every room offered a calming sense of hygge and we felt completely at home the minute we stepped inside the door.christmas-jumper-festive-mince-pie-fire-bath-hygge-reading-sewing-xmas-festive-wifi-3Taking time away from the internet was partially self-inflicted and partially down my GiffGaff phone not being able to get any signal. I wanted to make the most of my time away from home, of course I did, but I’d still brought along my iPad and phone in case I ‘needed’ to get online. After an inital ‘why isn’t it working?!’ frustration, I asked myself why I was even trying to get online anyway. I realised that just knowing that I could get online if I wanted to was a bit of a comfort blanket. And I also realised that I’m a grown-up and don’t need comfort blankets anymore! And if I could have logged on, it’s likely that I would have wasted the whole weekend scrolling through Instagram or saving things on Pinterest (I convince myself it’s okay to spend time doing this because it’s ‘research’). christmas-jumper-festive-mince-pie-fire-bath-hygge-reading-sewing-xmas-festive-wifi-2So thank goodness that I couldn’t find that 3G signal anywhere, and thank goodness that I didn’t go searching for a wifi hotspot. Because it turns out that I had the best few (internet-free) days ever… Continue reading “No wifi for the weekend” »


Leave a comment

Guest post – Mole mapping & a few common sun care myths

Summer is (sadly) gone but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t continue to be vigilant about your UV exposure. Between damage incurred during the warm months and Britons’ love of winter getaways, caution regarding our skin is a year-round job. Today we’re busting some common sun care myths to make sure that your skin stays safe and healthy all year round.Mole mapping for early cancer detectionAfter summer wanes

According to the NHS and other sources, affordable winter holidays are culprits in the increase in skin cancer rates. During the autumn and winter months, many of us jet off for warmer climes and skiing holidays, right? In addition, many people who suffer from seasonal affective disorder use tanning beds or ultraviolet light to ease their symptoms. Continue to use broad-spectrum UV protection – most people don’t wear large hats when they’re skiing. As the backlash against the use of sun creams has grown over the past few years, we should address a few of the most common myths still in active circulation.

Myth 1: Coconut oil can be used as sun cream. Yes, you will see recommendations to “just use coconut oil” instead of SPF products. We will not go into the many reasons for why this is incorrect, but every medically sound source still recommends reducing your exposure and using sun cream to protect against damage.summer holiday sunset beach huts seaside-2

Continue reading “Guest post – Mole mapping & a few common sun care myths” »


Leave a comment

FriYAY recipe: Layered picnic rolls three ways – Mediterranean, Tex Mex & Classic

Today’s recipe is ideal for this time of year. It’s a picnic dish that can be taken out on bike rides or to the beach during the summer holidays and each mouthful is a tasty combination of Mediterranean flavours. My picnic roll recipe is a handy option because it packs all the filling inside crusty rolls and stops some of the sogginess you often get with cling-wrapped sarnies. If you’re planning a day trip to the seaside, hiking to see a roman fort or visiting a museum but want to avoid the over-priced lunches, this is the recipe for you! Read on to find out how I made this easy picnic sandwich for my very own cycling adventure…friYAY recipe layered picnic rolls sandwich filling ideas and inspiration-16 friYAY recipe layered picnic rolls sandwich filling ideas and inspiration-7friYAY recipe layered picnic rolls sandwich filling ideas and inspiration-17With this layered roll it’s easy to pack up a picnic – no Tupperware or cling film required! Everything is safely enclosed within the roll so a napkin or a piece of greaseproof paper is all you need to tuck your sandwiches away safely in the basket of your bike or in a cool bag. Plus, it’s a great recipe to make if you’re taking kids out for the day during the school holidays. You can hand the little ones their very own picnic roll without worrying about the filling plopping out at first bite because each layer is tightly packed into the roll. Here’s now to #MakeItAYayDay with an impromptu picnic:friYAY recipe layered picnic rolls sandwich filling ideas and inspiration-4 friYAY recipe layered picnic rolls sandwich filling ideas and inspiration-21countryside bike ride cycling adventure exercise bicycle-7Ingredients (makes 4 rolls): 4 crusty rolls, mayonnaise, salsa, pesto, hummus, thinly sliced salami, wafer thin ham, chicken slices, sliced garlic sausage, mozzarella, sundried tomatoes, guacamole, cheese or any other fillings you like!

Continue reading “FriYAY recipe: Layered picnic rolls three ways – Mediterranean, Tex Mex & Classic” »


Leave a comment

My summer so far…

It’s only half way through the school holidays and I’ve already been having a wonderful summer break. I’ve been on a few day trips, I’ve visited a handful of places and got a few of my “to-do’s” done. If you’re wondering what I’ve been up to, here’s the goss…summer holiday sunset beach huts seaside-2I went to the seaside. During the very first weekend of the summer holidays I organised to go away from Friday – Monday. It isn’t a long drive from here to the Essex coast, but it was a very hot one! We arrived for our yearly family holiday at around 9am and headed straight to the beach hut. We pretty much spent the rest of the day on the beach, throwing a giant frisbee that I’d bought ‘for the kids’ and tucking into traditional fish ‘n’ chips. The heat dictated plenty of trips to the swimming pool and lots of breezy walks along the promenade to cool off. We enjoyed a game of bowling on Saturday evening, and the bowl ‘n’ burger deal on the pier is always a winner – the burgers are huge! Sunday was a chilled out beach day and on Monday we visited the nearest ‘big’ town for more arcade fun and a trip to the Sealife Centre. A wonderful weekend.

I visited a museum. Ipswich Transport Museum to be precise. I’d never been before, despite growing up in Suffolk from the age of ten. It was a real surprise to find so many interesting exhibits in an unassuming old bus hangar. I’ll share more photos in a ‘proper’ blog post about the museum soon and give you my tips for visiting during the school hols. Another lovely day out with the family that didn’t cost a fortune, bonus!

Continue reading “My summer so far…” »


Leave a comment

Glamping inspiration – My dream bell tent

If you have to go camping, it might as well be in one of these. I hereby admit that I am a bell tent fan. I feel like I’ve been spotting them everywhere I go and it’s only making me covet them more and more. Yes, glamping is certainly a holiday I can get on-board with, if it’s in one of these canvas beauties. bell tent camping glamping vintage 2Hertz glamping at Blogstock 2014-2bell tents latitude circus tent canvas marquee teepee tipi colourful-2I’ve only stayed in a bell tent once, for a couple of nights at Blogstock, (check out my Blogstock pics here) but it was one of the best camping experiences I’ve ever had. The extra height meant that my husband could stand up without any problems, and I didn’t have to crawl in and out of the tent doorway. There was plenty of room for all our stuff (we don’t really travel light, I blame our car with it’s giant boot for that) and it could even fit a double bed in too, so you can imagine how comfortable we were.

And when it rained, our canvas tent remained pleasingly dry. There was no chance of accidentally bumping the canvas and causing moisture seepage like in a traditional tent; the sides were so far away from us! We could simply lie back and watch the rain pitter-patter down outside out tent, feeling super-cosy tucked under a blanket with a carpeted floor beneath our feet.

Continue reading “Glamping inspiration – My dream bell tent” »


Leave a comment

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

Continue reading “4 low-cost rainy day activities for the summer holidays” »


2 Comments

A beach bathroom makeover on a budget

With more sunny days than not in recent weeks, my thoughts have turned to summer holidays. While I’m not actually planning to jet off anywhere luxurious for a beach holiday, I DO want to inject a little holiday fun into my life. But how can I do it when I’m having a staycation, I hear you ask? Well, I’ll tell you. I’m giving my tiny bathroom a mini-makeover and in a few short hours it’ll be a bathroom fit for a holiday. Here’s how I did it without so much as a lick of paint..!

Continue reading “A beach bathroom makeover on a budget” »

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close