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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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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Household DIY: How to fix cracked concrete on a budget

When it comes to the aesthetic appearance of your home often the smallest chip or crack can look unsightly and stand out a mile if the rest of your home is in a good state of repair. The trouble is that repairing concrete can be a difficult and problematic process. But it is possible to DIY it yourself.Of course, the restoration of historic buildings, commercial buildings or any major work on your home should be left to expert contractors of concrete repairs to get the job done – and avoid causing any irreparable damage. But, that being said, if you find a small amount of cracked concrete in your back garden patio or in an exterior wall – and you’re comfortable with DIY – then it IS possible to fix cracked concrete yourself. To top it all off, it can be done on a budget!

What you will need:

  • Cleaning equipment
  • Nails
  • Hammer
  • Tape measure
  • Injection ports
  • Crack sealer
  • Putty knife
  • LCR cartridge
  • Caulk gun

It’s easier than you might think to do this repair yourself and, with a little time spent planning, the results you can achieve are every bit as good as if had paid a professional – but at a fraction of the cost. Continue reading “Household DIY: How to fix cracked concrete on a budget” »

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Household DIY – How to install laminate flooring

I’ve recently laid laminate flooring in two rooms of my home and I can honestly say that it was a really easy process. I thought it would take days to install but we were finished within a couple of hours. As long as you have the right equipment – a saw, knee pads and a laminate flooring installation kit (including packers) you can easily lay this type of flooring yourself. Here’s how to do it, step-by-step:Clear away any existing carpet, tiles or pieces of old underlay. Give the room a sweep to make sure you’ve cleared all the debris from the surface, and vacuum the floor to pick up the smaller pieces of dust. If you’re laying the laminate onto a concrete floor you’ll need to start with a damp-proof membrane before adding a layer of underlay.If you’re starting with a wooden floor, you can go straight to laying the underlay. There are plenty of options for underlay out there; foil-coated sheets that insulate the floor, rolls of foam to cushion the laminate or fibre boards – which is the option I went for.This simply evens out the floor so that the laminate flooring will look perfectly flat when fitted. It also adds an extra layer of insulation and, if you’re using it on an upstairs room, it can add a little sound-proofing so you don’t feel like you’re walking about inside a drum, and causing a lot of noise in the rooms below!

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Household DIY – How to install skirting board

Did you spot my blog post about my new flooring last week? The eagle-eyed of you might have noticed that the finishing touch to my new bedroom floor was a lovely tall skirting board. While it may only be a small element of the room, the whole space would have looked completely unfinished without it. Just look at these before and after photos:

What a difference a piece of new skirting board makes, eh? It covered the tatty plaster at the base of the wall where the old skirting board had been ripped out, and it sealed the edges of the laminate flooring. It’s an easy ‘finishing touch’ to install but a difficult DIY task at the same time. Here’s why…

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A spring cleaning surprise (& a cruelty-free gift!)

You may have already done the big spring clean in your own home, but what about your relatives? In particular, I’m thinking about your grandparents, parents, uncles and great aunts who may be less able to give their own home a thorough clean this year. When I heard about the #RiseToTheChallenge campaign on social media it really made me think – why not give a little something back to our relatives by helping them out with a mini-makeover? I packed up my dusters and headed straight out this weekend to see what cleaning up I could do for my family.

I wanted my little clean-up to be a surprise so I headed to the shops on Saturday morning before heading to mums to surprise her in the afternoon. I headed to Savers, The Range, Poundland, Superdrug and Sainburys to stock up on plenty of cruelty-free cleaning products and bagged them up as a treat for my mum. She’d recently expressed an interest in my cruelty-free quest and wanted to make the switch over to non-animal-tested products herself. As I’ve mentioned before, chucking out all your old products and replacing them with a whole new cupboard of cruelty-free alternatives just isn’t feasible – it’s wasteful and costs a lot. It’s better to replace each product as it runs out and make the change gradually.

Well, I wanted to give mum a head start (I’m just so pleased she wanted to get involved) and I wanted to take on the #RiseToTheChallenge project and spruce-up her home. Rather than taking all my own cruelty-free household products over to mums (I’ll blog about all my favourite cruelty-free cleaning brands soon, so watch this space!) I decided to pick up a few bottles and give them to mum as a treat, along with a thorough clean-up of her living room. If you’re interested, here are the CF cleaning products I found: Astonish (all around £1 – £1.99), Sainsburys (from just 40p for bleach!), Cussons (£1 for a huge washing up liquid) and Original Source handwash from Poundland. Just goes to show that being kind to animals doesn’t have to cost more – in fact, I’m pretty sure everything I bought costs much less than the branded version.cruelty free cleaning products animal testing CFcruelty free cleaning products animal testing CF spring clean wood floor astonish

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Living a cruelty-free life

I want my life to be cruelty-free. This is something that has been important to me for a while and I’d love to share my passion for the issue with you today. I’m actually rather embarrassed to admit that for all the years of my life leading up to this decision I hadn’t really ever considered it. I hadn’t given animal testing any thought and I actually feel a bit silly that I was being sucked in by advertising and spending my hard-earned money on the ‘latest miracle product’, completely ignorant as to how it was manufactured or tested. I’m not saying that I didn’t care about animals for all my teenage years; I just wasn’t aware of the behind-the-scenes goings-on of the cosmetic, toiletries, food and cleaning product industries. And now I want to make sure that I never make any mistakes with my buying choices again. We have the power to vote with our feet and choose which brands to buy from and which to boycott. Okay, I’m not starting a rally here, but it IS important to me to know what I’m buying and how it has been produced.leaping bunny international logo BUAV approved cruelty free cosmetics make up skincare household products beauty-2

Here’s the logo to look out for on product packaging – The Leaping Bunny

I can tell you what kick started my passion about this subject; my cat Cookie. I’ve been a cat mummy for nearly 8 years now after adopting Cookie and Muffin from the Animal Rescue centre in Lancaster. And I’ve been an animal-lover and pet owner all my life; taking care of rabbits, mice, cats, a dog (and even someone else’s pony!) as I was growing up. I definitely feel an affinity to animals and, let’s face it, sometimes prefer them to humans. Yet the issue of animal testing hadn’t popped into my head at all until this year, when Cookie fell ill.leaping bunny international logo BUAV approved cruelty free cosmetics make up skincare household products beauty-7

The Leaping Bunny logo confirms the product has been certified ‘cruelty free’ under the international Humane Cosmetics or Humane Household Products Standards

In the space of one week my adorable little ball of fluff went from being a happy, healthy and calm animal and became a mangey, weak, skittish, unhappy little soul. My cat was wasting away before my eyes and it broke my heart. Although it wasn’t the cause of the illness, she was suffering from feline idiopathic cystitis so was constantly visiting the litter tray, getting mess all over her and couldn’t rest – within minutes she was up and trying to wee again. Although it was distressing to see at the time, I’m really grateful that this happened because we rushed her to the vets (as the similar illness feline lower urinary tract disease can be very dangerous) and the vet gave her a thorough examination. The result was a heart murmur, caused by hyperthyroidism. She actually was on the way out and we wouldn’t have known about it at all if we hadn’t taken her to the vets. Luckily, there was something we could do to help her, and after changing her diet to iodine free food and lots of medication to treat the symptoms she has started to improve – she’s put on weight, her thyroid levels are going down and she’s getting her fluffiness back. It means that she’ll soon be able to have the operation to remove the thyroid and will be able to live a long and happy life like any other cat.leaping bunny international logo BUAV approved cruelty free cosmetics make up skincare household products beauty-6

What does “Fighting Animal Testing” mean? Dig deeper if you’re unsure – I did and LUSH ARE fighting animal testing. The brand is entirely vegetarian and won’t associate with ANY organisation that tests on animals.

Anyway, the reason I’ve told you all about Cookie’s illness is because that was the turning point for me. I couldn’t bear to see my pet suffering and I realised that I care just as much about any animal suffering. Why put any animal through an ordeal if it can be avoided? I could help Cookie (and the team at Companion Care were amazing) but who helps all the other animals?  Although animal testing is now illegal in Europe, 80% of the rest of the world has no restrictions on it – including the USA and Asia. Sad, isn’t it? I know I can’t physically help all the animals myself but I knew what I COULD do, and that’s make a change in my own habits and hopefully help others to live a cruelty-free life too.leaping bunny international logo BUAV approved cruelty free cosmetics make up skincare household products beauty-4

“Made in the UK” is an additional indicator of a cruelty-free product, as animal testing is banned in the EU

Surely going cruelty-free means splashing the cash on more spendy brands, doesn’t it? Well, the short answer is no. That’s not the case. In many instances, the big name brands are the ones who do still test on animals or whose suppliers test on animals at some point along the chain. Continue reading “Living a cruelty-free life” »

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