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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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.


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My favourite fashion trend at the GQ Men of the Year Awards

The GQ Men of the Year Awards 2014 took place on Tuesday the 2nd September and looking through all the fabulous photos of the evening my favourite fashion look from the red carpet was this traffic-stopping dress that singer/actress Rita Ora wore to the event.

image source

In fact, it was pretty difficult not to admire Rita’s look – The singer totally stole the show in a glittering couture gown with daring thigh-high side split. I wish I was brave enough to wear something like this, but you definitely need to have Rita’s ballsy attitude to pull off such an ‘all-eyes-on-me’ look! Her one sleeve asymmetrically-cut gown had a romantic feel – old school Hollywood Glamour meets elegant bride. The dress tapped into this season’s iridescent metallic trend perfectly and classic diamond jewellery topped off her stunning look.

The outfit was complemented by Rita’s strong make-up style – nude lips and heavy, smoky eyes. With her hair artfully scraped back into a side plait to reveal her undercut, the eye-catching 15 carat diamond drop earrings were a must!

 image source

Rita was later papped with jeweller to the stars and founder of Vashi.com, Vashi Dominguez who had helped Rita choose her mesmerising jewels for the evening. Proving that diamonds really are a girl’s best friend, the star wore a stunning bracelet of emerald-cut 50 carat diamonds and a statement 10 carat diamond cocktail ring to finish off her glimmering super-star look. In fact, her jewellery was reported to be worth over half a million pounds alone and she need to be escorted by security at all times!

Winners at the GQ awards included Colin Firth as Leading Man of the Year, John Bishop as Comedian of the Year, Lewis Hamilton as Sportsman of the Year and Paolo Nutini was presented his Special Achievement award by Rita herself.

image source

Other superstars, Nicole Sherzinger, Ellie Goulding, Sherridan Smith and Caroline Issa all opted to wear white gowns to the GQ event and models Jourdan and Cara Delevigne wore black, so against these classic monochrome looks it was no surprise that Rita’s sparkling outfit stole the headlines!

 


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Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside… Design inspiration for a coastal bathroom makeover

Over the school summer holidays I made a start on my bathroom makeover. As you may have already read on my blog, I’ve been inspired to create a Hollister-esque sea-view theme in the smallest room in the house, with the aim of making it appear bigger. So far I have pasted a large-scale coastal photograph over the entire bathroom wall (which took a lot of choosing, believe me!) and the perspective of the image lends an added depth to the room. Now my attention has turned to the rest of the bathroom, and I can’t believe I never noticed just how shabby it is!

Here are some photos of the bathroom in its current state – please ignore the tools! We’ve bee measuring up and making plans this week and I can’t wait to get stared on improving this tatty room. Okay, I’ve actually lived in worse bathrooms, and I have just been pleased to have a bathroom which is clean, isn’t mouldy (I’ve already sorted out that problem!) and the paint isn’t flaking off the walls. But now that I’ve made a start with the photowall, I want to add a little extra design flair to other parts of the room even though I’m on a super-tight budget.

I really like the built-in cupboards using rustic wood (image from House to Home) and this white wood panelling reminds me of a beach hut (image from John Lewis). I would like to combine these two ideas to clad the wall behind the toilet with white-washed wood. This will cover the exposed pipes and unsightly plastic cistern, and the depth of the false ‘wall’ will provide space for much-needed storage with internal shelves hidden behind the wooden façade. I really want to create the feeling of being inside a beach hut, looking out at the sea – so a wooden floor is a must! I’ve been pinning away on my bathroom decorating board so please check it out on Pinterest to get a good idea of the look I’m trying to achieve on a tight budget.

trend moodboard for a beach hut inspired coastal bathroom

It need not cost a lot of money to make over this small space – as long as I can get hold of some second-hand wood (maybe pallets?) and a tub of paint, I am confident that my husband’s wood-working skills and my slap-it-on-and-see decorating technique will make our bathroom much more appealing. I enjoy searching out a bargain using second-hand websites such as Exchange and Mart in order to find low-cost DIY and household items so I’m hoping to find much of what I need for the makeover there. If I keep an eye on the website, I might even be able to find a new bath panel and taps, which would be great!

I’ve created a moodboard using ‘Scandi’ and ‘Maison’ trend images from John Lewis to keep us on track with the ‘look’ for the bathroom and have included some products that have made my shopping wish list, including essentials such as the natural wood toilet seat and a porthole style bathroom light. I couldn’t resist adding a couple of luxury items to my shopping list, including new towels (love this ‘Stardust’ striped range!) and a bath tray. This item is actually what’s keeping me going with the bathroom project; the thought of relaxing in my bath with a glass of wine on my bath bridge tray and a good book is what’s urging me on to finish the makeover soon!

I will be hunting out the raw materials for the makeover ASAP and will post an update of progress soon, so stay tuned :)