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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Pieday Friday – 12 days of Christmas recipe round-up

I thought I’d share round-up of my favourite festive recipes this Pieday Friday. The idea was to get you in the mood for all the Christmas baking to come but, in fact, I’ve actually started craving most of these recipes now, so I’m sure I’ll be whipping up some tasty this weekend! Below you’ll find links to my top twelve “12 days of Christmas” recipe blog posts, starting with these snowy dark chocolate cookies and cream-filled snowball meringues – enjoy!pieday friday baking recipe microwave meringues chocolate cookies-13 Recipe for snowball meringues Christmas pudding dessert-18It wouldn’t be Christmas without gingerbread. Last year I made a gingerbread sleigh but the recipe can be used to make traditional gingerbread men or decorations to hang on your tree. You can find the classic gingerbread recipe in this blog post plus there’s a festive spiced banana muffin recipe in the gingerbread blog post too, bonus!baking-a-gingerbread-sleigh-using-cookie-cutters-1diy-halloween-cookie-recipe-chocolate-gingerbread-men-skeletons-treat-dessert-pudding-7Even though I first made this chocolate gingerbread recipe for halloween, it’s definitely going to be baked again in December. The chocolate makes a nice change to the traditional gingerbread biscuit recipe, and you could make a batch of both types for Christmas, mmm.

Cheesy Christmas Stars

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Pieday Friday recipe – Coffee shop Christmas menu hacks

You know that Christmas is approaching when the coffee shops start serving their Christmas drinks. The usual selection of coffee and tea suddenly flips over to the festive menu sometime in early November. One day you’re buying your usual latte and the next day there’s a turkey and cranberry toasty on the sandwich counter and gold stars are being sprinkled on top of every drink. Yes, the coffee shop Christmas drinks are here to stay (until January, at least) so I thought I’d see whether I could hack some of the famous recipes from Costa, Starbucks and Neros for you. In previous years I’ve blogged my favourite flavoured hot chocolate recipes for Christmas, but it’s all about the coffee this year. Here are three festive coffee recipes that you can enjoy at home that might help you to save a little extra cash over Christmas.

Gingerbread latte

All of the coffee chains create a gingerbread latte in some form or other at this time of year – even McDonalds have a spice cookie latte on the menu. Here’s what you’ll need to recreate it at home: Coffee (I used flavoured coffee capsules of Gourmesso for each drink in this blog post, saving a little extra money on the usual Nespresso capsule prices – see, always thinking thriftily!) hot milk, gingerbread syrup or a couple of cubes of crystallized ginger, gold star sprinkles (find them with the baking aisle in the supermarket with the hundreds-and-thousands), ground cinnamon and a mini gingerbread man. You could make your own, or skip this step like I did and buy a ready-made box of festive gingerbread biscuits from the supermarket.Image by Andy-Greenacre.co.ukBrew up a shot of coffee into a festive-jumper patterned mug (mine is from The Caravan Trail). Stir in a shot of gingerbread syrup. If you don’t have syrup, pour a little boiling water over the crystallized ginger to melt it a little before stirring it into the coffee. Top up the coffee with hot milk to create a creamy latte. If you have a milk frother to hand (my little whisk was £3 from the supermarket and it makes fantastic foam!) whisk up a thick milk foam to top the latte. Sprinkle on some gold stars and sit a little gingerbread man on top – I think it looks like rudolph is drinking my latte in this photo!

Honeycomb latte

A new festive coffee in our local coffee chain, we tried this drink for the first time last week. The main flavour of this drink is cinder toffee, so essentially a Crunchie bar will do the trick! Here’s what you’ll need: Coffee, caramel syrup, hot milk, whipped cream, a Crunchie or chocolate-coated cinder toffee nuggets.Image by Andy-Greenacre.co.ukBrew a shot of coffee into a latte glass and stir in a splash of caramel syrup. If you don’t have coffee syrup like this, you could use some toffee ice-cream syrup or even melt a chunk of Crunchie bar into the coffee. Fill the cup with hot milk before finishing with a swirl of whipped cream. Crush up the Crunchie bar or cinder toffee into small nuggets and sprinkle over the top.

Toffee nut latte

Sure, you can find tons of pumpkin spice latte recipes online (I could dedicate a whole pinterest board to it!) but this year the big American coffee chain has a festive nut toffee latte on the menu this year. Even though I’m not a fan of nuts, I know that many of you will love this recipe so who am I to skip it? To recreate this recipe at home you will need: Coffee, caramel syrup, hazelnut syrup, hot milk, whipped cream and peanut brittle. Hopefully this will give you a similar taste, although I can’t be sure as I’ve never tried the original coffee shop version.Image by Andy-Greenacre.co.uk

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Galentine’s Day party & flavoured hot chocolate recipes

What better time to celebrate your best friends than on Galentine’s Day? Yes, that’s right, I said GALentine’s Day. If you’ve not heard of it yet, it’s simply putting a name to what we’ve all being doing for years; celebrating our friends. I’ve seen so many more Galentine’s-related treats being shared on Pinterest this year; in fact, I’ve hardly paid any attention to Valentine’s Day at all. Whether or not your pal is loved-up or single, I’m sure you have a wonderful friend who deserves a bit of extra love this February. I certainly welcome the chance to celebrate my girl friends and thank them for all the support they give me throughout the year. And what better way to show them you care, than by throwing a cute Galentine’s party?hot chocolate recipes for galentines day diy party gift idea for friends girlfriends-11 hot chocolate recipes for galentines day diy party gift idea for friends girlfriends-15Today I wanted to share my ideas for a cosy hot chocolate party; a night in with your pals, scoffing all the naughty treats you usually resist during the rest of the year. I know I waffle on about eating healthily, but enjoying a little of what you fancy every now and again is just as important as eating the good-for-you things. Your Galentine’s Day get-together is the ideal time to indulge and provide some tasty treats for your favourite peeps. So here’s a couple of new hot chocolate flavours that I’m adding to my Galentine’s menu:

Salted caramel: Make up a steaming mug of hot chocolate and add a splash of caramel syrup. I had a set of 5 small syrups that I was given as a birthday gift a while ago, but you can buy a similar set at Amazon (such as these Monin Syrups for Coffee). Add one crunch of sea salt (don’t go crazy with the salt otherwise you’ll end up with a savoury hot chocolate). Next is the fun part; stir in chunks of caramel chocolate bar and let them melt for a really indulgent treat. Top with whipped cream, marshmallows and crumbled up flake. Mmm.

Cherry bakewell: There are two options for this hot chocolate flavour – saintly or boozy! Add a splash of vanilla syrup to a mug of hot chocolate and then decide whether you add a splash of amaretto-flavoured syrup or a shot of Disaronno! Stir it into the hot chocolate to get that really cherry-marzipan flavour before topping with cream, chocolate and cherries. If you have a bakewell tart hanging around you could crumble some of the cake onto the cream too. Yum!

How cute are these smiley mugs? I got them from Continue reading “Galentine’s Day party & flavoured hot chocolate recipes” »


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DIY Christmas drinks cart project

With the festive season just around the corner I’ve started to tackle some DIY projects to get ready for the big day in advance. After finding a cute little kitchen trolley at Wayfair, I was inspired to create a Christmas cart – a place to store all my festive ingredients for hot drinks and somewhere to serve up mulled punch all winter long! custom made DIY christmas drinks cart project mulled wine hot chocolate spied latte-16custom made DIY christmas drinks cart project mulled wine hot chocolate spied latte-27 custom made DIY christmas drinks cart project mulled wine hot chocolate spied latte-14 custom made DIY christmas drinks cart project mulled wine hot chocolate spied latte-21I wanted to give the simple white trolley a festive makeover to incorporate it into my Christmas decorating. So rather than just loading my hot chocolate, coffee and candy canes onto the cart, I decided to add a back-board to the trolley, which I’ve covered in pretty polka dot wrapping paper. It will look cute in the kitchen all year round and the red-and-white paper fits in especially well with my Christmas theme this year.custom made DIY christmas drinks cart project mulled wine hot chocolate spied latte custom made DIY christmas drinks cart project mulled wine hot chocolate spied latte-2 custom made DIY christmas drinks cart project mulled wine hot chocolate spied latte-17custom made DIY christmas drinks cart project mulled wine hot chocolate spied latte-32 custom made DIY christmas drinks cart project mulled wine hot chocolate spied latte-28 I also added some mug hooks to the shelf in order to turn it into a dedicated drinks trolley and picked out a mulled wine pot with matching cups to help keep the drinks flowing. The fitted wheels mean that I can easily move it around the house, from the kitchen to the dining room, beside the Christmas tree, or wherever the best location is for it during my winter parties. Having all the ingredients for some seasonal hot drinks in one place allows my guests to help themselves to mulled cider, spiced latte or candy cane hot chocolates during every event.

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Festive drinks recipes round-up – including hot drinks too!

I’ve already posted a few recipes for making my favourite festive drinks and cocktails so I thought that I would compile each of these articles into one post so that you can find all the Christmas drinks recipes in one place! It’s not just boozy beverages that I’ve been concocting, but lovely hot drinks too so check these out to keep you warm this winter:

Christmas hot chocolate recipes – including boozy cherry, spiced and mint candy cane! 

cheeky christmas cocktails by cassiefairy ginger fizz with rum and lime

Christmas cocktails recipes including Christingle G&T and ginger fizz!

My top 7 cocktails for a Christmas Party

my retro living room autumn decor harvest floral arrangment and spiced apple juiceSpiced mulled drinks recipes

Let me know if you give any of these recipes a go and I’d love to see snaps of your festive hot chocolate creations so please tweet me a photo @Cassiefairy.


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Snuggling down & waiting for Santa

It’s finally Christmas eve and I can’t believe it’s arrived! Everything is done, all the presents are wrapped and the food is waiting to be cooked, all that’s left to do is snuggle down on the sofa, in festive PJs and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate while I wait for Father Christmas to arrive!

I made some chocolate stirrers earlier in the week using a cake-pop tray and it was as easy as melting some yummy milk chocolate, pouring into the tray and sprinkling with treats – you could use crushed candy canes or jelly beans, but I’ve gone for traditional marshmallows and festive cake sprinkles. The only tricky bit was letting them set for a short while before pushing the over-size lolly sticks into them so that the sticks would stay upright! I chilled them in the fridge and the popped out of the cake-pop tray easily.

making hot chocolate stirrers for Christmas

I will enjoying dipping them in my hot chocolate (probably spiked with a cheeky shot of amaretto or Baileys!) while I wait for Father Christmas this evening. I also made some little white chocolate candy canes and milk chocolate gingerbread men using a silicone mold from Wholeport so this is going to be a very sugary-sweet day of treats!

making hot chocolate stirrers for Christmas gifts

I always follow Santa’s progress around the world using the NORAD Santa tracker and love watching the videos of him flying over famous locations around the world as he is spotted by the NORAD tracker. Gather the family around a computer today and check out Santa’s route around the globe – it’s SO exciting watching him get closer and closer!

I hope you have a very relaxed Christmas Eve before the excitement of the big day – and make sure you get to bed before midnight – Santa Claus knows if you’re awake! 😉


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Christmas hot chocolate – spiced, cherry & mint candy cane drink recipes

Hot chocolate is one of my favourite hot drinks during the festive season and I wanted to share a couple of photos and the methods for making these gorgeously Christmassy hot chocolates drinks.

after 8 mint candy cane hot chocolate recipe for christmas

Make up a mug of hot chocolate according to the packet instructions and stir in the following ingredients to create 3 tasty varieties (cream and marshmallows optional!):

  • Icy Mint Chocolate – Pop a couple of After 8 mint chocolates into the hot chocolate & add a mint candy cane as a stirrer (usually the mint candy canes have a green stripe with red or pink).
  • Cheeky Cherry Chocolate – Stir in a shot of amaretto (or add a little juice from a jar of cocktail cherries if you want a non-alcoholic version) and add a cherry candy cane (traditionally red & white canes).
  • Spiced Christmas Chocolate – Add half a teaspoon of mixed spice (or ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg if you don’t have mixed spice) to the hot chocolate powder & make up as normal before adding a couple of chunks of dark chocolate to melt into it.

Cheeky cherry candy cane hot chocolate recipe

The candy canes make the drinks look so cute and there’s really nothing better than wrapping your cold hands around a steaming cup of hot chocolate! So give these recipes a go on a chilly day and Christmasify your hot drinks this week!


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Drizzly day recipe – yummy almond hot chocolate!

I have tried out something a little different this week. Almond milk was on special offer in my local supermarket and I’ve always fancied trying it but having never tasted it before I was unsure whether the taste would be too weird for me. Luckily, it’s a lovely sweet taste and is a thicker, creamier milk than I’m used to (plus, apparently it’s healthily low-fat with only 26 calories per 100ml bonus).

I thought that this would make an interesting addition to my evening hot drink, and I’ve come up with a recipe for making the perfect almond hot chocolate!

Use a couple of teaspoons of cocoa powder and mix into a paste with a little boiling water. Next top up with hot almond milk (I put it in the microwave for a minute, but you can heat the milk on the hob too) and add as much sugar (or I added sweetener) as you’d like to taste. Et voila – the perfect smooth dark chocolate almond hot choccie… and my secret ingredient for a cheeky boozy hot chocolate was a little splash of Amaretto liqueur – delish!

I’d definitely recommend trying out almond milk, and I even enjoy having it on my cereal in the morning – it gives the taste of milk when it’s been soaked on muesli for a while, which is a taste I particularly like. Have you ever tried a ‘speciality’ milk? What do you think of almond milk? Let me know… and if you try this hot chocolate please tell me what you think!

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