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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Just one more move….

Now that the bathroom renovation is in progress (and we finally have a flushing loo!) we have been able to think about moving! My husband and I have moved house 11 times over our years together, can you believe it? Sure, many of those moves were new-term hops into different student accommodation, but for 6 years we stayed put in just two different homes, so I really don’t know how it’s added up to so many moves. Looking back, it all seems rather tiring!That’s the problem with renting, I guess. It’s never really your home, no matter how cosy you make it or how many roots you put down in an area. Rents increase, landlords sell their property and leases come to an end. Circumstances, work and courses change and we have to roll with the changes, which often means another move is on the cards.On more than a couple of occasions we’ve been happy to hand back the keys. There was the mould-infested maisonette (a converted single garage in reality) that we skipped away from when we moved to uni. And then there was the break-in at our student accommodation that caused everyone to move out after a term. Dodgy neighbours and noisy streets were the worst. Thank goodness we did move and found ourselves better places to live.

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My bathroom renovation project – Before + during… eek!

Today I’m sharing some snaps of my bathroom renovation project with you. It’s been a couple of weeks of hard work but we’ve made good progress and things are looking up. So I thought I’d post some photos of how the bathroom looked before we started and what we did to improve the room. I’ll be sharing a few blog posts about the bathroom makeover over the coming weeks so that you can see our progress as novice (read: never done it before in my life!) plumbers.

A sneaky peek at my choice of tiles and shower before we get into horrid bathroom photos…

So, here’s what we were starting with. The bathroom is very small and has a weird layout. The bath is where you’d expect it to be, but the sink is hung over the top of the bath. This seemed odd as there is space at the foot of the bath for a sink, but I guess the previous owners didn’t fancy tackling the plumbing involved with moving the sink into a new position. The pipework was partially boxed in, but mostly just exposed as you can see from these photos.

The toilet was a new level of sadness; the plastic cistern was badly stained and the toilet bowl leaked so all the surrounding vinyl tiles were lifting and the wooden board beneath the tiles was blown apart. We later found out that the lead pipe that takes the waste from the toilet into the drains actually had a hole in it. I know it’s gross to talk about it, but it meant that all kinds of toilet waste was seeping into the floor. Just look at those stains – no wonder there was a horrid smell in the room. Sadly, the cracked sink, rusty fittings and stained bath couldn’t be saved and we had to take the whole lot out of the room. I only say sadly because I hate to waste something that I could reuse (and save money on buying a new one) but really, I’m pleased that the gross bathroom is going. I thought that this would take a while but it turns out that removing the old bathroom was the easy part. Well, after turning off the water supply it was just a case of undoing pipes and dragging the bath down the stairs. The wall tiles, however, were a whole other challenge.

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4 Ways to add extra value to your property

Whether you’re looking to sell your home, or simply want to make the most out of the space you have available, remodelling is a great way of adding value to the property and giving your home a unique touch. There are elements of your home that you can’t change, such as the location, but there are so many features that you can change which will really help when it comes to the selling process.

Add value with bright & airy spaces – Image source A Sweet Afternoon via Nyde

But you don’t have to be selling before investing in your home and that’s certainly not what I’m planning. We’ve been doing work our the house over the past few months and are hoping to increase the value of our home before we renegotiate the mortgage. A higher valuation will mean that our Loan To Value (LTV) is better, and will help us to get a lower interest rate going forward. Plus, we’ll have a house that we’ll enjoy living in for longer! Here are a few popular renovation ideas that are guaranteed to add some extra ££s to your home.

1.Create an extension

If you’re fortunate enough to have a property with a decent-sized garden you may find you have just enough room to extend your house and create more living space. Whist gardens are a great feature to have when selling your home, if you can get away with extending out and still have some garden space you’ll certainly be adding value to your property. If you’re working to a budget, a single-storey extension is great for opening up your kitchen area, adding a dining room or even introducing a conservatory or dayroom to your home.

An amazing glass extension – Image by Rise Design Studio

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How to give your bedroom a bohemian makeover

The bedroom is a place we spend a lot of our time in, therefore it’s normal to feel a bit uninspired by the decor and in need of a change every now and then. When it comes to home inspiration, the bohemian style is a great choice for a bedroom as it creates a relaxing, care-free vibe. It allows for lots of cosy textiles, making it easy to create the perfect space to unwind in. If you’re looking to add some personality and quirkiness to your room but don’t know where to start, unleash your free spirited side with this guide to the perfect boho bedroom!

Love this bohemian bedroom from Decoholic

Be creative with colour

The first place to start when updating your room is to think about the colour palette. With popular interior trends such as minimalism, there’s often strict rules to follow in terms of colour, with shades of white or grey being the norm. If your style is more on the bold side, then bohemian decor is right up your street! Feel free to paint your walls whatever colour you’d like, and don’t be afraid of clashing colours.

Mix and match patterns

Have a quick search of bohemian interiors inspiration on Pinterest and you’re likely to come across lots of clashing patterns. A great way to do this is by accessorising your room with a range of tapestries and textiles. Floral rugs are a great option for adding an eye catching element to the room, and make sure you also hunt down some quirky cushions, throws and wall hangings for that fun finishing touch.

Fantastic boho inspiration in this Huffington Post article

Source second hand

Sometimes some of the best pieces of furniture or accessories can be found in second hand shops or car boot sales, and if you’re looking for pieces with that shabby chic look, then this is definitely the way to go. Look for old wooden furniture like cabinets, rustic wardrobes and chunky coffee tables to add some vintage flair to the room.

Fill the room with art

With so many amazing artists such as Frida Kahlo paving the way in bohemian style, it’s only right to honor them by decorating your bedroom with an array of beautiful artwork. Visit a local independent gallery and choose a few pieces that stand out to you, or better yet, get creative and paint some canvases yourself. You don’t need to be a professional artist to pull this off – just grab a paintbrush, mix some colours, put on your favourite fleetwood mac song and splatter some paint on your canvas à la Jackson Pollock!

Plenty of pattern in this bedroom from InMyInterior.com

Work some DIY magic

If all that painting has you inspired to unleash your creative side even further, get busy making some DIY decorations for your room. Dream catchers are a staple boho bedroom accessory, and can be easier to make than you’d think – just check out this DIY guide from SheKnows.com. Another way to add a homemade touch is by up-cycling your old furniture by painting it in new bright colours. Top tip: try using chalk paint for this for a truly arty feel.

Add some greenery

Plants are a lovely addition to any room. Not only do they look great, but they can also purify the air, making your bedroom a truly tranquil space. Opt for large, leafy plants which will look great in a corner of the room, and don’t underestimate the power of a cheap bouquet of flowers in a vase for an easy botanical fix.

I hope that these tips have given you some ideas for getting that bohemian look on a budget. I love art and will definitely be adding some more textures and colour in my own home to brighten up my ‘blank canvas’ interiors. Please do leave me a comment to share any other ideas you have to bring boho back to the bedroom, it would be fab to hear your tips and inspirations.


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Putting the MINI into minimalism…

Minimalist designs are taking over. From interior décor to your favourite watch, everything is minimal and highly functional. Simple and effective use of space is what makes minimalism a hit and I love the airiness that these rooms possess. When minimalism is used in home décor, it becomes chic, sophisticated and smart – yet somehow it still feels inviting and unclinical to me. After a life of living in small spaces full of clutter, it’s difficult to resist such an appealing trend! So what is the secret of bringing minimalism into your life? It’s MINI.

minimalism at work in a monochrome wardrobe

M for Minimal Distraction

What makes a minimalist design, at home or elsewhere, work so well is that it doesn’t create any distractions. It comes as no surprise that all minimalist designs are primarily monochrome, whether they are focused on one object or an entire interior décor. While the minimalist’s favourite colour used to be white, you can now find grey, pale purple and beige interior décors that radiate the same sense of simple elegance. When it comes to high-tech design, take a look at the latest smartphones on the market, they tend to be black, white and metallic, so these are the hues you should look for when shopping for a minimalist home and wardrobe.

A monochrome kitchen with invisible lighting

I for Invisible Light

Whether it’s the latest technological gadget or a redecorated living room, the minimalist effect is achieved with a sharp and clear light. At home, this is often produced with a mix of natural light – windows are key in a minimalist décor – and soft artificial light. In opposition to maximalist décor that requires a dramatic lighting solution – such as a huge chandelier in the style of the 1930s – a minimalist décor needs invisible light solutions, such as ceiling LED spotlights, or lighting strips beneath kitchen cabinets, for example. Placed to strategically illuminate the room, a subtle lighting system places the focus on the rest of the room rather than drawing attention to itself.

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Bedroom progress – a retro-style bed & snuggly new duvet

Today I wanted to update you on our bedroom decorating project and share a quick review of my new duvet. You may remember that I’ve been waiting for my bed to be delivered and it has finally arrived! I spent the weekend with a screwdriver in my hand, assembling my new bed. What do you think of it?

It’s a Hygena bed and we got it from Argos using a 20% discount code so I’m really chuffed that we could get such a well-designed retro-style bed at an absolutely bargain price. I chose the frame after selecting my new mattress from eve, because everyone knows that the mattress is what makes the bed, and not the other way around!I’d been sleeping on my eve mattress on the floor and it was already super-comfortable, but adding it to the frame created a whole new level of comfort. Just FYI, one of the main things that I enjoy about my eve mattress is that my husband can flip over in the night and I feel no movement whatsoever on my side of the bed. I don’t know what the science is behind this, but the memory foam keeps me perfectly still while he moves around. I’ve never had such a peaceful night’s sleep!Anyway, seeing as I was so happy with the mattress, eve seemed to be the natural choice when it came to buying a new duvet too. My old duvet was a double size, so it didn’t fit our kingsize mattress and I wanted to feel super-cosy in my new bedroom. After committing a few years to my limp old duvet (how long are they supposed to last? Is it gross that I’ve used the same duvet for years?!) it was time to upgrade.

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Updating my bathroom – a much-needed DIY renovation project

Guess where I’ve spent this week? I’ve had a week off and did I spend it in the sunshine? By the sea? In a beer garden? Nope, I’ve spent it indoors, ripping out my old, dated and leaky bathroom. What else would I do with a week off than more DIY?! Yes, the house renovation project is in full swing, and now we have no bathroom. No water and, worryingly enough, no loo. Eek – time to crack on with the DIYing!With that in mind, I thought it would be a fun idea to show you what kind of look I’m going for in the bathroom. If you can imagine a spa with dark colours and clean lines, that’s the kind of style I like. I had already bought our bathroom suite in the January sale (I know, it’s taken me a while to get started on this DIY project – I’ve been putting it off for months) so I knew what type of bath I was going for.I chose the Voss range from Betta Bathrooms and managed to get the bath, loo, sink, all taps, wastes and plumbing supplies for under £300, can you believe it?! That’s precisely why I ordered it in the January sales, it was too much of a bargain to pass up. The order arrived in February but I’ve only just got the chance to take a ‘holiday’ from my writing work to get started on the renovation this week. You can imagine how excited I am to finally get to work on it.

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Saving money with LED lighting

After much research for my own home renovation project, I’ve discovered that LED lighting is becoming more and more popular these days. Not only are we illuminating our homes with this type of light bulb, they are also popping up commercially in schools, hospitals and offices. I think that their popularity comes from their ability to save energy (and therefore money!) and with LED lighting, saving money doesn’t mean you have to compromise on quality or even on style – there are countless designs available so I’m sure I’ll find an eco-friendly lighting solution for my home. Here are few great things that you probably didn’t know about LED lighting and it will hopefully, if you haven’t already, inspire you to make the switch yourself!They run for hours (and hours and hours)

We all know how much of a pain changing a bulb can be. It seems once you have changed one, the others decide to follow suit, and before your know it you’re changing a bulb every other day somewhere in your home. LED bulbs have power for literally hours (around 30, 000 to be exact) and so it is very unlikely that you will even need to change one whilst they are installed (that works out at about 20 years). Standing on a chair and praying for dear life whilst attempting to unscrew the bulb without choking from lampshade dust exposure, is definitely a thing of the past. Continue reading “Saving money with LED lighting” »


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Book review: Urban Flowers + win a copy!

This week I’ve got my hands on the newly released gardening book ‘Urban Flowers’ by Carolyn Dunster. A very thrifty DIY-focussed book, it contains hundreds of ideas for making the most of your outdoor space, no matter how little garden you have. And the good news is that you can win a copy in my giveaway so read on to enter the competition below…In this book, Carolyn demonstrates how it is possible to turn even the smallest space into a blooming urban paradise with colourful flowers and a thriving habitat for wildlife too. So whether you’ve got a patch in the countryside or a balcony in the city, you’ll be sure to find a handy project in this book.
Urban Flowers helps to identify which plants will grow best in your garden and, the thing I found most interesting about the book, it provides planting ‘recipes’ to create colourful palettes of blooms all year round. I’ve always wondered how some gardens look great in every season and now I know how to do it for myself!

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3 Tips for living with wooden floors

As you can probably tell from my past few DIY blog posts, flooring at been at the forefront of my mind. Firstly, I picked out the perfect white-washed colour for my bedroom floor, and last week I shared a step-by-step guide to installing laminate flooring. The next step is finding some hard-wearing flooring for the kitchen of my 50s house, tiles for the bathroom and carpets for the bedrooms – so there’ll be more blog posts to follow, I’m sure! 

The question I’m answering today is: how do you maintain and protect your new flooring from general mishaps/wear and tear? Whilst hardwood flooring is a fantastic upgrade and can add value to your home it does require regular maintenance, so I’ve made a handy list to make sure all scenarios are covered!1. On a day to day basis:

It’s inevitable that your floor will take some stick, after all, that’s what it’s there for, but it IS possible to protect it from avoidable scratches and scuffs. For example, if you have installed wooden flooring in your kitchen/dining area then why not consider using felt protectors under the legs of tables and chairs? This simple but effective method can prevent minor scratches from occurring, or a rug beneath the table can also work in the same way. It also pays to remove your shoes, especially spiky-heeled ones, before walking over the floor. This can stop any scratches from occurring and prevents dirt from being dragged onto the surface.

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