Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog

Cassiefairy's thrifty little lifestyle blog – DIY crafts, sewing, food & fashion – what more does a girl need??


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The language of love

Over the weekend I watched a video on YouTube that actually made me smile from ear-to-ear with happiness and I wanted to share it with you now. It’s a video called The Language of Love and it shows women being given a message in French (by a really rather dishy fella with designer stubble!) before receiving the translation from their daughters, partners and friends. Language of love_ Language of love_-3 Language of love_-7

It shows that expressing messages of love can often be lost in translation but it made me think that I’d really like to share my love and gratitude for my family, husband and friends and I can think of no better way of doing this than by showing you the artwork, quotes and images that I surround myself with every day.

Language of love_-4Language of love_-5Language of love_-10

These special items are all hanging around my home and they express how I feel about all the important people in my life and I’m so pleased that I have such wonderful family and friends who look after me and care for me. These are gifts that friends have given me along, with meaningful images that I’ve framed and photos that we have taken together.

Thanks everyone for being part of my life, you’re fab! Je t’aime!

autumn colours and leather boots-6


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Tuesday Shoesday ~ Autumn swatch

Today seems to be the ideal time to start talking about autumn. There’s a bit of a chill in the air and over the weekend I spotted that the trees have started shedding their leaves. Have you noticed that the nights are already drawing in? I’m so easily affected by the weather and daylight that it makes me want to go to bed earlier each day! I’m sure it won’t be long until I put my heating on and start snuggling up under blankets on the sofa. In fact, we are only about a month away from the end of daylight saving – the clocks go back on the 26th October - and that’s when I really start feeling the cold from the impending winter. So before I start talking about Christmas again (!) it’s time to appreciate autumn for all it has to offer and I’ve come up with a list – a swatch – of textures, colours, feelings and activities that only autumn brings.autumn colours and leather boots-9

  • The vivid oranges of pumpkins and squashes. My mind conjures up an image of a traditional harvest festival with straw bales, and it is the colours of these bright fruits along with the strong greens of marrows and courgettes are that form the starting point for my autumn swatch.
  • The colours of autumn leaves as they turn trees into a flaming skyline. The dry crunchiness of leaves on the ground before the rain comes leads to the inevitable trip to the park to kick-up the leaves with my nephew while it’s still warm enough to play outside.
  • The rich brown leather of autumn boots, which are a staple part of any wardrobe at this time of year. It’s not yet knee-high snow-boot weather, but I certainly can’t get away with summer shoes or pumps either. A little extra warmth and protection is needed and soles with a good grip ensure that slippery wet leaves underfoot are not a problem. I love warm brown leather and enjoy buffing it to a conker-like shine.
  • And that conveniently brings us on to childhood; so many aspects of autumn remind me of childhood, such as conkers, new term school satchels and piles of leaves. This weekend I taught my nephew about sycamore seed ‘helicopters’ and he was mesmerised by them twirling to the ground. We’ve been collecting conkers and I’m thinking about trying to grow his first conker into a tree.
  • Rust – what an excellent representation of autumn colour. It describes all of the shades that autumn leaves progress through throughout the fall and it represents decay.

  • Woolly blankets, jumpers and tweed jackets are essential at this time of year. Just a thin extra layer helps to keep you warm and even though the itchy fabric irritates your skin, you don’t mind because you’re feel snuggly and cosy beneath the wool.
  • Plums, damsons, blackberries and sloes are ripe for the picking and this is the season of jam-making and preserving for me. These purple shades coordinate well with the browns and oranges of autumn, and at Halloween it seems to be the witches’ preferred shade, as fancy dress shops are packed with purple cloaks.
  • Burning sunsets of pink, red and gold are so bright and warm that you want to stay out in the fields until the sun goes down. The colours make the sky appear to be on fire, and the burning skies reflect all the fireplaces around the country that are being lit again for the first time this season.

Each of these autumnal elements reminds me of feeling warm but with a chilly nose, wearing gloves and sunglasses at the same time, and laughing with friends and family. This time of year brings the excitement of back-to-school (that I mentioned last week) and I love shopping for this seasons essentials, such as my ankle boots from Pavers which you may have spotted in the photos above. This rich chocolate shade is one of the top colour trends for A/W14 along with ox-blood and navy so I’m delighted to find an affordable – but most importantly, comfortable – ankle boot in this colourway.

Adding these boots to my autumn wardrobe means that I can go stomping through piles leaves and splashing in puddles without worrying about getting wet, cold or slipping over, because they have soles with excellent grip and are lined with a cosy faux-fur. Plus the buckles, straps and zips are key elements for this season’s footwear collections. I’m so pleased to have found a pair of boots that combine form with function; they are totally on-trend yet are completely practical with a cute low heel that doesn’t make you feel unsteady and are super comfortable – I can wear them all day, go for long walks and kick up the leaves yet my feet still feel fine when I slip them off at the end of the day.

I hope that my seasonal swatch list has made you feel a little more autumnal and please get in touch if you have anything that you’d like to add to it. Do you have an interesting memory about autumn from childhood or can you think of any particular colours or textures that always put you in mind of this season? Please leave me a comment below or tweet me @Cassiefairy – chat soon!

 


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10 unusual circumstances when flowers might be the answer…

If there ever was a gift that is welcomed in almost any circumstance it is flowers. I love being handed a bunch of flowers and it’s especially nice when it’s completely out of the blue and for no real reason! You can probably tell from all the photos of flowers that I share on my blog just how much I love them and I’m pleased to have an excuse to repost these images today, haha. A nice bouquet can smooth over many arguments, cheer up friends in most occasions and mark any special event. Just this weekend I took a nice autumnal display of orange gerberas and lilies to my mum, just because they looked so gorgeous that I couldn’t resist treating her to them. I’m amazed by the ability of flowers to brighten up any home, make any meal into a special occasion and genuinely lift your spirits.

Thinking about it, and considering how much I enjoy receiving a bouquet, I really should send flowers to my friends and family more often. Really any excuse is a good excuse but I’ve come up with a few of the more unusual reasons that could call for a floral gift:

  1. “Hope you soon get over your hangover”. Or any illness, ailment or even blisters from running the marathon. Some things will take time to get over but a gesture to let them know you care will help.
2. “I bought a Groupon for flowers before thinking it though” – So what if I’m impulsive and love a deal? Someone I know will be delighted that I’m such a bargain-hunter when the bouquet arrives at their door!
pretty summer flowers - roses and lillies - by cassiefairy blog 2014
3.  “Congratulations on gaining 1,000 Twitter followers” – Order the flowers next day delivery and get them sent to your friend at work to give them the perfect opportunity to boast about their latest online achievement
4. “Sorry, you lost 15 Twitter followers” – On the other and, some colleagues might not enjoy the boasting ;)
5.“I’m sorry [insert favourite TV series] has finished” – Some things will take time to get over but a gesture to let them know you care will help. I was so inconsolable when Friends finished (did you know it actually started 20 years ago this week?!) that a bunch of flowers would have definitely cheered me up!
Hydrangea flowers-2
4. “Thank you for not mentioning the drunken nonsense I talked at you the other night” – Show your appreciation of your friend’s steadfast willingness to stick to unspoken social convention. In fact, any support from your bestie should warrant flowers to celebrate your fabulous friendship.
5. On the anniversary of a friend smashing their (uninsured) phone screen – Show you care by remembering the little traumas which will stay with your friend even if they are inconsequential to most. Okay, maybe the phone screen is going a little far – just any time your pal needs cheering up.

6. “Sorry, your new dog is crazy” – If your friend has wanted a new dog for years and finally gets one which turns out to be a furry wrecking ball. A bunch of boldly coloured flowers will brighten up a smashed up house. Just make sure they put them in a high place.

  1. “I don’t know when your birthday is … Yes, I’ve known you for over 20 years” A tricky question to broach – so say it with flowers and hope that you’ve at least got the right month!
10. On the anniversary of Dirty Dancing or just to say “Thank you for watching Dirty Dancing with me for the 14th time” – because it’s not the same alone and looks loads better on your friend’s massive flat-screen TV than on your 15 inch ;)

Let me know if you can think of any other unusual but totally legitimate reasons for sending your friends an unexpected gift and leave me a comment if you’ve ever done something like this for your friends or family. Get in touch via Twitter @cassiefairy or email me cassie@cassiefairy.co.uk chat to you soon!

Cosmopolitan Blog Awards 2014-2


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Why I started my blog & how I ended up in the Cosmo Blog Awards!

What happens when your dreams come true? I’m not sure, but I think that’s kind of how I’m feeling about being a finalist in the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards.

As a teenager I remember spending my pocket money on glittery Spectacular nail polish and Cosmopolitan magazine, and spending hours reading it from cover to cover. It’s amazing how much effort teenagers will put into reading when it’s not a school assignment, isn’t it?! I’ve grown up reading this publication for the last 17 years and (as it is so often described by countless women around the country), Cosmo was my bible.

Photos of the Cosmo Blog Awards article that I snapped on my phone back in the Spring when I was considering entering!

I dreamed of one day being a journalist, having my work published and my articles being read by girls like me. And now, thanks to all the votes that my lovely friends, family and super-kind Cassiefairy.com readers submitted for me, my Cosmopolitan heroes are actually reading MY work! And I just can’t quite believe it. It’s actually unreal. Surreal. And if I think about it too much, it gives me a total writers block and I can’t finish my…

Over the years I’ve found countless reasons to continue working on my blog and to try to make writing my full-time job, but there was only one reason why I started the blog: I wanted to get better at writing. Just like an artist draws in their sketchbook and as a photographer snaps photos every day, I wanted this to be a place where I could practice writing and try to get better at it. I had no real concept that people could read my writing and I was kind of doing it just for me. It was my online sketchbook of ideas, photos and articles, and I’m still using it in pretty-much the same away. Practice makes perfect, after all. And I’m sure I’ll get there one day ;)

What happened when I heard I’d been shortlisted!

So after exercising my writing muscle almost daily on the blog, I started to get a little better (well, it couldn’t get much worse! – don’t just take my word for it – my early articles are all there in the blog archives for all to see, eek!), and readers started to keep coming back for more. And I’m so pleased that you did because it spurred me on, and every kind comment lifted my heart. I’m definitely still learning from every post I write and I still cringe at articles that I published only last year. And my photos still leave a lot to be desired (today’s are phone photos, sorry about the quality). Of course, I’m my own worst critic and despite a few articles that make me smile, I’m still not sure I’m doing it 100% right, but who can ever really claim that anyway?! Most importantly, I’ve been writing every day (or sometimes twice a day when I’m feeling particularly motivated!) and it’s really become my passion. The blog is as much a part of me and I am of it, so I can’t imagine my life without it. What on earth would I do with my time if I couldn’t write?! Writing for a magazine is my big dream and I don’t know if I’ll ever get there, but hey, I’m SO enjoying the journey!

Actually, writing that last sentence has just made me realised that perhaps I already AM a published magazine writer? Albeit on my own blog. But the point is that there are many fabulous ladies out there who actually ARE reading my articles every day and seem to be enjoying my work. It’s thanks to them that I’ve even got a place at the Blog Awards and that I have this opportunity for Cosmopolitan to check out my writing. I am forever in your debt and if you ever need anything from me, just ask and I will be happy to help you out. And please keep coming back to see me and carry on telling me what you think of my writing, because your feedback is what’s most important to me.

Photos of the Suffolk Coast - beach huts at Southwold


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Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside: beach inspiration for the whole house

Earlier this week I wrote about my ideas for a creating coastal bathroom and shared my moodboard of nautical and Scandinavian influences. Today I’m taking inspiration from beach houses and have been pinning the best images of coastal homes on my Pinterest boards. Beach houses are famous for being bright, cheery, and breezy inside, reflecting the seaside views outside. It’s the use of natural materials, fresh colours and beach textures that really capture the essence of a coastal home so if I can combine these elements within my own bathroom design, I should be able to replicate the feeling of being in a seaside property even though I live about 3 miles away from the coast!

coastal seaside house inspiration moodboard

Natural Materials

Beach homes tend to celebrate simplicity and many of the images I found on Pinterest included furniture crafted from natural materials such as bamboo, rattan, and unfinished wood. Interior designers tend to chose these textures due to the neutral tones of the raw materials and using roughly finished wood or seagrass for flooring (or even just a rug, such as in the bedroom above) can be more cost-effective. I intend to use rough sawn timber on my bathroom floor, sanded down and white-washed in order to give a beach-hut feeling underfoot.

White Walls

Rather than investing time and money on painting a room in colours that may quickly date and need repainting, I’ve found out that coastal homes often keep the walls white. This makes rooms appear larger and creates the airy feeling that beach houses are famous for. Downlighting can help create the illusion of a the bright light from a clear sky and this will reflect well off white or pale walls. I already have walls that are painted cream in the bathroom and I intend to keep them as they are for now and see what it looks like with the white-washed wood before making a decision on repainting the walls.

Out to Sea

The seemingly infinite view is a cherished characteristic of the coast and this is what I was hoping to achieve with my photowall in the bathroom. Along with artwork of seaviews, it is possible to emulate this visual effect by paying attention to the scale of chairs, tables and lamps throughout the house, drawing attention upwards and outwards rather than towards imposing furniture. Finding small chairs from retailers such as swiveluk.com, choosing simple sideboards and using short accessories such as vases and lamps will all ensure that visual attention isn’t away from outside views or your seascape artwork.

seaside design inspiration

image source 

Stonewashed

The ‘stonewashed’ effect is the ideal way to bring the beach into your home – imagine grey pebbles washed smooth by the ocean and you’ve got it! This can easily be incorporated into kitchens and living rooms with concrete and limestone, such as on tabletops, kitchen surfaces or fire surrounds. These stone textures will complement natural wood and earthy tone, but you don’t need to spend a fortune to get this look in your home. I’m considering pebble-esque stone accessories for my bathroom – soap dispenser, toothbrush holder etc – and these can be picked up from places like the Factory Shop for under £5.

Along with all of these design ideas, I’ve thought about another way that you can achieve the ‘beach house’ feeling within your home – simply by opening windows and letting the fresh air flood in! Of course, if it’s too cold to open the windows now that the weather is turning, perhaps use scented candles to bring a fresh smell into your home. Let me know what you think and whether you too will be following this trend. Have you already given your home a beach house makeover? If so, I would love to see the photos and possibly get more inspiration for my own home! Please get in touch cassie@casseiefairy.co.uk or tweet me @Cassiefairy.