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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The next big thing in space saving design

Space-saving design is incredibly popular as it helps people get more out of their home. If you save space, then each room has more room to breathe and looks far less cluttered and compact. Not only does this improve a room’s functionality, but it also improves its aesthetic appeal. When space is tight – as it has been in so many of my previous homes – making the most of the space you have is extremely important. No wonder Ikea does so well!

This folding table turns into a storage cabinet

In this blog post, I’m discussing the next big thing in space-saving design. What’s the growing trend right now that everyone’s crazy about? For many, it’s this idea of transformable furniture. Furniture that looks like one thing, and then transforms into another thing to serve a different function. Yes, it’s the “robots in disguise” of the 21st century! This saves so much space in the home, as you get one object that can do two or three different things. As such, instead of having two or three pieces of furniture, you only need one. Transformers rock!

If you’ve been following my blog for a while you may have seen one of these space-saving cabinets in action because I gave one a thrifty makeover as a ‘baking station’ in my own kitchen. It’s kitchen cabinet that folds downwards to become a table for someone to sit at and eat their breakfast in the morning. A genius space-saving design that’s ideal for someone in a small studio apartment. There’s no doubt that transforming furniture is the next big thing in space-saving design. All of these examples are so smart, and it’s exciting to think what other things we’ll see in the near future.

Dining Room Coffee Table

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Household DIY – How to strip woodchip wallpaper, the easy way!

Stripping wallpaper is a skill I’ve recently developed. Woodchip wallpaper in particular. It’s a difficult paper to shift and, unfortunately, it seems to be plastered all over ‘houses of a certain age’. I guess it was very fashionable at one point but nowadays it’s the number 1 thing that puts potential buyers off a house. And it’s bloomin’ hard to remove. Yes, I speak from experience here! Thankfully there are ways to make the process a little easier and here’s the steps I followed:1. Scoring the paper

Use the corner of a wallpaper scraper to score the wallpaper all over. Don’t press too hard, otherwise you’ll leave marks in the plaster. You can also use the flat edge of the wallpaper scraper to ‘skim’ over the woodchip surface. This knocks off some of the woodchip and allows more moisture to soak in.2. Soaking with wallpaper stripper

Sure you can use regular water to soak the surface of the wallpaper, but adding a splash of wallpaper stripper to your bucket ‘super-charges’ the water. I used a bottle of Everbuild wallpaper stripper and only needed 125ml in a gallon of water. That was plenty enough to soak all the walls of the living room. This means that I’ve got three quarters of the bottle left to do other rooms. Mix it into a bucket of water (following the instructions on the bottle) and use a large sponge to spread the foamy water over the wallpaper. Allow to soak in for 15 minutes – coincidentally the same length of time that it’ll take heat up your steamer.3. Steam the wallpaper

Fill the steamer with water and allow to heat up for 15 minutes. You don’t need an industrial or expensive steamer to do this job – the tool I’m using is the lowest priced steam I could find from FFX – the Earlex Steam Wallpaper Stripper. It gives me 70 minutes of steaming per fill, which is about the length of time it took to strip each wall. Hold the steamer to the wall and leave in place for about ten seconds. Move it onto the next section of the wall and hold in place while you scrap the first piece away.

4. Scrape away the woodchip layer

Use the flat edge of a stripping knife to scrape away the top layer of woodchip. You’ll get a speckled effect on the wallpaper as the bigger chunks of woodchip come off. This allows more steam to get into the wallpaper and make it easier to strip away from the wall. Give the wallpaper a second steaming before moving onto the stripping…

5. Strip off the woodchip

Push the wallpaper stripper tool beneath the wallpaper and lift it away from the wall. If you come across a stubborn piece of wallpaper, give it another blast with the steamer before scraping. I used a Stanley Hobby Stripping Knife to ease the woodchip off the wall.

From this (woodchip walls that look perfectly normal at a distance)

To this (a room that now looks like it should be on Homes Under The Hammer!)

And really, that’s all there is to it! Sort of the same as stripping normal wallpaper, but with a couple of important extra steps – the stripping solution and the scraping effect. I’ve made a quick video (shared below and on my new YouTube channel) to show you the whole process, step-by-step so that you can see exactly how we did it.

If you’ve found this helpful please ‘like’ my video or follow my new Cassiefairy channel on YouTube for more DIY projects and thrifty solutions.


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Household goals – keeping my home neat & organised

Starting the new year with the intention of keeping my home clean and organised has been very motivating goal for 2017 so far. A jolly good tidy-up at the start of January really helped, as did finding a home for all the lovely gifts I received over Christmas. However, I’ve found that after just a few weeks of trying to keep up with all the mess, it has become difficult to do and I often ‘forget’ about it. Then I find that even more stuff has piled up on top of the original pile. Uhoh! The trouble is that I haven’t really got round to sorting out any specific strategies or routines for organising my stuff. I can’t fight it any more. I need new storage, and that’s all there is to it. There are a whole range of different products that I could buy, systems that I can put in place and even new routines that will help me to have an organised and tidy home, yet I’ve resisted so far. But not any longer – so today I’m sharing a few ideas on how to can introduce certain things to your home to help clear the clutter!

The Kitchen

I’ve found it’s best to focus on one room at a time, as different rooms will require different processes and organising strategies. That sounds so official, doesn’t it?! The kitchen is a great room to start with, as it can often be the one room that needs the most work when it comes to getting organised. My kitchen is one of the most used rooms within the home; not just for preparing and cooking meals, but dining, socialising and even working too. One of the best ways to start a kitchen de-clutter is to give your fridge and cupboards a deep clean. Throw away any items that are past their use-by date, wipe the surfaces clean and add some kind of sorting system. Having certain cupboards for specific foods or products will make your life much easier (eg, pans in the cupboard nearest the oven), as well as making the kitchen look much neater.Recycling is another task you can incorporate into your kitchen to keep your home organised. We go through so many plastic, glass and cardboard items every week, and having a recycling system in place will help you filter through these items neatly, whilst keeping the kitchen organised too. There’s nothing worse than a build-up of glass bottle on the side, waiting for that fortnightly trip to the tip!

DIY Peg bag sewing project + carrier bag dispenser

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5 Low cost design tips for a smart & stylish home

Do you look with envy at the interior of other people’s homes and think why isn’t mine like that? Style is a question of confidence – the confidence to choose the right things for the right places, without compromising on practicality. With these five interior design tips, you can have a stylish home that oozes with confidence.

Image source: ViSSEVASSE

1. Every picture tells a thousand stories

They do, don’t they? You look at your family photos and behind each one is a story, either a humorous one or one tinged with sadness. Those family portraits and stories are important and they should be shared. But there is one problem with the look of all these photos: the different frames. A boho style – the mish-mash of frame styles, sizes and colours – is difficult to pull off. It can either look perfect, or a complete mess! Like the mish-mash style? Great, but keep elements of the display the same such as not mixing too many different styles of frames and colours. Stick with similar colours and have one photo that is the star of the show and around which the rest revolve.

Want a new look but with the same photos? There are two great options;

  • New frames – get your display sorted with new frames, all the same colour but in different sizes. However, when hanging keep a sense of uniformity by choosing one large photos and then groups of similar sized photos to complement that one.
  • Photos in frames on shelving – we love photo collections clustered on shelving units, create your own glass shelving using minimalist glass clamps so as not to distract from the items in the shelf.

    Image Source: Miami Design District

2. De-clutter and organise

Our homes are stuffed with all kinds of objects but ask yourself this: how much of this stuff do you really need and want? How often is it used? Why are you still hanging on to it? Even if you don’t have a hoarding problem, you will be amazed at the stuff you end up keeping for no apparent reason other than you don’t have time to sort through it all. The time has come to de-clutter, room by room. But, as part of the cathartic process of de-cluttering, you need to create storage solutions. We are not talking plastic boxes, however, stuffed in wardrobes and under beds. We are talking bespoke, built storage solutions that work, are accessible and are stylish. You will be amazed at how affordable bespoke storage solutions are and you will be impressed at just how useful they turn out to be (and stylish too!).

Image source: SofaStoreBlog

3. Order on the eye 

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Plumbing problems + how to find the answers online

One of the things that worries me most about renovating a home is the plumbing. Even though we’ve fitted a DIY ‘beach hut’ style bathroom in the past, I’ve never before needed to move a bath or toilet into a new position. But with limited space in our bathroom and a very dodgy layout where the sink is halfway over the bath, it really does need rejigging!

Check out my last bathroom makeover with a coastal theme

Even though I know it’ll look great in the end, the plumbing side of things is really confusing to me. I can connect taps, seal wastes and clean out pipes, but when it comes to fitting showers and moving water supplies I have no clue! So when is it best to call in a professional? What jobs can I do myself? I don’t want to create a health and safety nightmare in my own bathroom! 

I gave my old sink a facelift with just some new taps

So I’ve been doing my research by reading blogs and watching plumbing videos on YouTube and it’s certainly been a good start to my journey from amateur to pro. Okay, I exaggerate, but at least what my research has done has cleared up what I can and can’t do myself! I read some research on DIY by Slater & Gordon Lawyers and it showed that only 5% of women would be prepared to take on plumbing projects compared with 25% of men. Now, I’m happy having a go at some plumbing but there’s no way I’m doing any soldering of copper pipes. I wouldn’t want to buy all the kit for a start, and I’m not sure I’d do it particularly well – I’m quite slapdash at the best of times! So any kind of heating or hot water work is definitely not my bag! But plumbing using plastic pipes seems to be straightforward enough and I can get an idea of how water systems run around a room. 

I’ve even replaced a bath before – with Cookie’s help, obviously!

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Hygge and Lagom – Living the Scandinavian way this winter

Hoo-gah. Honestly, that’s how you pronounce it. Lagom is slightly a tougher one… lar-gohm. If you’re already over hygge, then maybe lagom is for you. With the new year in full swing, the Scandinavian concept of ‘everything in moderation’ may be better suited to you (especially if you’re making changes to your lifestyle and diet) than the full-on snuggle-up-and-get-cosy-during-deepest-darkest-winter concept of hygge. Lagom means ‘just the right amount’ and is a slightly more matter-of-fact approach to living a more balanced and thriftier lifestyle. As a very thrifty gal, it’s no wonder I’ve become intrigued by this concept, is it?The eagle-eyed of you may have spotted that I received a book relating to this topic for Christmas. Yes, I finally own a copy of the famous Hygge book by Meik Wiking. You know, the one that instagrammers seem to be posting photos of daily during the autumn and winter. The Danish art of hygge doesn’t necessarily have a certain look or design philosophy, it’s more about the feeling and atmosphere that a room gives you. It’s about appreciating the small things in life and about the times you have felt at your happiest. Recreating that vibe throughout your home is hygge, pure and simple. Lagom is very different and there are four ways to embrace lagom this year; eating with the seasons, reducing your environmental impact, stressing less, and enjoying things in moderation. So you can see that this Swedish concept is more about lifestyle as a whole, rather than focusing on creating a feeling of cosiness in the home like hygge. It’s about having just the right amount of food, achieving the ideal work/life balance and doing your bit for the environment. Sounds like a set of new year’s resolutions, doesn’t it? I already feel like it’s more serious concept than the warm-and-fluffy idea of hygge, but maybe that’s just my natural reaction resolutions in general. What a rebel.In contrast, home interior specialists Baytree Interiors have come up with the four elements needed to create the perfect winter sanctuary with the Danish concept of hygge. These are: textures, small spaces, natural colours and low lighting. Firstly, rustic materials such as wood and leather work well to create hygge-esque textures especially when combined with cable knits, faux fur and fluffy rugs. Secondly, larger rooms will benefit from being divided up, to make a series of cosy spaces. Thirdly and neutral colour scheme using brown, gray and cream will give a sense of bringing nature indoors. And finally, lighting is the most important element in any Hygge home and it’s the easiest way to create a warm and inviting atmosphere. Lamps and candles create soothing pools of light around the home, and the Danes are said to light more candles than any other country in Europe!I can see how the two ideas can work hand-in-hand. For example, if you’re practicing the lagom idea of stressing less, you’ll be wanting to create a lovely hygge environment in which to relax in. Food and drink can be hygge too (I’d call it comfort food…) and the lagom idea of having everything in moderation means that you really can enjoy that hot chocolate with squishy marshmallows without feeling guilty, because you’re just having one mugful. And of course, switching off the electricity to sit by hygge candlelight, couldn’t be more lagom in terms of reducing your environmental impact, could it?These two Scandinavian concepts aren’t in competition with each other, but they have both become really popular this winter and it seems like a good idea to learn a thing or two about lifestyle from the happiest nations in the world, doesn’t it? I can’t wait to introduce some of these concepts into my own home and life in 2017 and try to embrace a happier, cosier and more relaxed approach to life. So if you find me tucked up under a blanket that I’ve knitted myself rather than doing any work, that’ll be the reason why! Let me know if you’re inspired by these Scandinavian ideals or if you’ve been adding a touch of hygge to your home this winter by leaving me a comment below 🙂


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Spring interior design inspiration – Pastel blue hues

It’s the first fresh sunny day of the year today and, even though there’s frost on the ground, my thoughts have already turned to spring interiors. I found myself on Pinterest looking for pastel colours and design inspiration, despite the fact that it’s still darkest winter and I need the coal fire on to keep warm. Even so, Spring IS coming and we need to start thinking about these things, especially with my home decorating project coming up imminently. So today I thought I’d try to get you all in the mood for spring with some bright and breezy pastel interiors.

interior-paint-ideas-words-and-pictures-living-room-blue-painyt

Pastel blue paint helps to bounce light around a room. Photo: Homegirl London Blog

Last year, I styled a spring room with fruity bursts of candy colours alongside my favourite pastel hues. But this year feels different. It feels like more of a grown-up year. Don’t ask me why, but all of the interior design inspiration I see online and in magazines is much more sophisticated than in previous years. It’s all about the light that comes into a room more than the decor, and I believe that nothing can beat bright spring daylight flooding into an airy room. It makes a home feel fresh, yet cosy and welcoming at the same time.blue spring lilving room interior design

Oddly enough, I’ve found that pastel blue hues can enhance this feeling of brightness and freshness without adding that tinge of coldness that is so often associated with blue rooms. Maybe the paint manufacturers have got the mix just right, because all of the pale blue paints I’ve been looking at have felt anything but cold or clinical. Take any of these rooms, for example. They have the bright yet warm feeling of a coastal holiday home, and I certainly associate that with warmer weather and fresh air.

blue bedroom pastel hues

White linens & pastel walls create a very welcoming Spring bedroom. Photo: Stylizimo Blog

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All-white interiors + why a room is not complete without texture

With a new home on the horizon I have, of course, been doing extensive decor research on Pinterest. Yes, research. Honest. Okay, I’ve been pinning plenty of pretty homes and tons of gorgeous homewares over the past couple of months (ahem… years) in order to be well-prepared for my imminent house move. Today I’m sharing some of my interior inspirations and some ideas for making an all-white theme work in your own home.Sunny-Living-room white decor interior design stylizimo blog

I can’t get enough of the interior design inspiration at Stylizimo Blog

You see, my new home is a bit of a wreck and it’s going to need decorating. Or maybe the correct word to use is ‘modernised’ seeing as it probably hasn’t been touched since it was first built in the 1950s. Whatever way I look at it, it’s going to be a big project and I’ve come up with a sensible way to tackle it; go all-white.textured white-cushion-throw

Textured cushions and throws like these from Julian Charles are essential in making an all-white interior look inviting.

As with everything in my thrifty life, I don’t want to splash the cash too much in order to make the house livable, so why not just get a huge tub of white paint and splash it around until the whole house is neutral and fresh? Having seen SO many all-white interiors on Pinterest, I’m sure it would be a great start and would allow my existing furniture to take centre stage. stylizimo blog white interior design texture painting cushion throw

A painting can add texture to white walls, like this gallery-esque room by Stylizimo Blog.

One of the things I’ve discovered during my ‘research’ is that all-white interiors have the potential to look really stark. They can sometimes to be too bright (is that possible?) and look too bare. I’m all for a clutter-free, minimalist environment but I still want my house to feel like a home. It’s the finishing touches that make all the difference and that’s where texture comes in.Texture white shelves minimalist home interior design stephanie sterjovski

Even Stephanie Sterjovski’s minimalist shelves look more personal thanks to the textured blanket, wire basket and pot plants 

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The next big interior design trends for 2017

The New Year is a great time to think about freshening up our homes with new indoor furniture, updated colour schemes and a few of the hottest accessories in line with the latest trends. It’s also the time of year that trend forecasters pull out their crystal balls and announce the home décor trends coming up in the year ahead.
I’ve had a look at all the predictions and here are my picks of the top eight interior themes we can expect to see in 2017.

A photo posted by coshliving (@coshliving) on


Super Natural
As technology becomes more and more integral to our daily lives and developments such as artificial intelligence and 3D printing look set to cause greater disruption, people are looking to nature and natural materials to provide balance. A strong desire to bring nature into our homes and workplaces will see interiors filled with greenery, from hanging pots, to hydroponic indoor gardens planted with vegetables and herbs. Sustainable and recycled materials will also feature strongly, with worn or aged furnishings and accessories. Sofas and designer furniture will be made from sustainable materials;  designers are even beginning to experiment with algae and fungi to develop new products. Key colour for this trend is Pantone’s Colour of the Year for 2017 ‘Greenery’, a bright and powerful green hue.pantone-greenery-colour-pop-interior-design-trend-2017Nordic Influence
Scandinavian style continues to exert a strong influence on interiors with abundant natural light, a sense of space and simple well-designed furniture using natural materials. Natural textures and materials – such as wooden furniture, fur and shearling throws, hides and cork – ensure this look never appears cold or sterile. Bold fabrics and handcrafted accessories are also key elements. Key colours to recreate this look in your own home include white and soft gray with primary coloured accents.sideboard-sandinavian-danish-colour-pop-chair-mid-century-modernRaw and Industrial
The raw, industrial aesthetic is also still a strong influence, with concrete, clay, steel and glass forming the main materials. Again, this suits the trend for upcycled homewares as older items with rust spots, faded colours and patina fit in perfectly. If you’re lucky, you could give your home an industrial look for only a few pounds if you’re able to find disused shop/factory fittings, wooden pallets and rusted metalwork. The key colours for this look are gray, beige, off-white, yellow, white, walnut brown and glints of gold and copper.industrial-interior-design-trend-2017Reflective
For enthusiasts of contemporary furniture and décor, this design theme could be for you. The atmosphere here is soft and friendly, without being overly romantic and sweet. Modern materials and indoor furniture will feature cool mirrored, transparent effects. Look out for iridescent lamps, overlapping coloured glass shapes, shiny glazes, copper finishes, faceted shapes and reflective surfaces. These modern effects are contrasted with the tactility of handmade knitting and crochet to create a very livable theme. Choose muted key colours such as nude, blue, lavender, yellow, rose, turquoise, yellow-green, pastel yellow, peach, mint, lilac and pink.pop-of-colour-yellow-interior-design-trend-2017Pops of Strategic Colour

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The easy way to move house

Moving house is a rather exhausting activity. Not only can it take days (or even weeks or months!) to sort through your possessions and pack up your boxes, but even when that’s taken care of you still have to deal with not knowing exactly where the things you need are and it feels like you’re camping in your own home. Even “moving day” itself can be a source of stress, involving constant worrying about the safety of your possessions while they’re on the road.

moving-house-luggage-suitcase-home-2You have all your life packed away in those boxes so you’ll need to know that the moving company you’re using is trustworthy and will take care of your things. Moving long distances can be particularly worrying, because you may be separated from your belongings for more than just one day. Of course, it depends where you’re relocating to, but a big move like this always going to be a worrying time. If you’re hiring professionals there are a number of moving services they offer to help ease the stress of moving and below are just a few: cat-moving-house-boxWhat services do movers provide?

Apart from the obvious transportation on moving day, professional relocation services can boost the overall speed of preparation. The services that will save you time as well as offer you peace of mind are:

  • Packing and unpacking. These procedures are time-consuming as it requires handling every item in your house. Moreover, some fragile, breakable or bulky items demand special handling along with specific packing materials. If you buy packing materials such as boxes, bubble wrap and tissue paper yourself, the cost of moving can soon add up! Leave this task to the professionals and you will be sure your possessions will be intact upon delivery; they’ll pack your items carefully, every fragile piece will be wrapped and padded to avoid damaging during the moving and they’ll even unwrap it all at the other end.moving-house-luggage-suitcase-home-1

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