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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More than chocolate eggs – Easter gifts ideas + win £40 of jewellery!

With Easter fast approaching, my thoughts have turned to chocolate eggs and rabbit-shaped iced biscuits. I love making marshmallow ‘nests’ with my niece and nephew, and an Easter cheesecake is a must in our household. But this year, I thought I’d consider some Easter gifts that are more than just edible treats. I’d love to receive something that costs the same as a chocolate egg but that will last me all year instead so I’ve shared my ideas in this blog post. PLUS you could win £40 to spend on anything you like at JewelleryBox.co.uk. Considering that they’ve got a fantastic under £5 section, you should be able to stock up on a few beautiful things for yourself too!

image by Popcorn & Glitter

This year I’m saying ‘no thanks’ to the chocolate (okay, maybe a handful of mini-eggs, but that’s it…) and yes please to some alternative gifts. In particular, I quite fancy getting some new jewellery this year. It doesn’t have to be Easter-themed (although the selection of fun Easter bunny earrings start at £4.95) and I’d be happy with any of these cool stacker rings or ‘love’ bangles.


One of my favourite pieces on the site is this honeycomb design. It’s available as a necklace, bracelet or earrings in 9ct gold, sterling silver or rose gold. It feels really spring-like without being OTT on the rabbits and flowers. Although I’m not a huge wearer of jewellery, I do like to wear the occasional special piece and I love the rose gold pieces I discovered. At least know where I want my birthday present to come from anyway!

I’ve also been looking on Etsy for some non-food related gifts for the little ones (and us bigger crafty folk too!). This Easter bunny kit looks like great fun for a start. It contains everything you’d need to make an adorable little soft rabbit – wouldn’t that be fun to make over Easter? It’ll keep the kids entertained for a little while at least! I also LOVE this cross-stitch kit for older kids, aunts and grandmas alike. It’s a skill I wish I could do, and I’d love to give this colourful spring sewing project a go.

Or if you fancy baking an Easter gift for your friends and family, why not try out some of my recipes? Cupcakes, meringues and iced biscuits all make lovely presents when presented in lovely wrapping. You could make fresh blueberry and lemon muffins in cute paper cases to hand out to the little ones. My dark chocolate meringue cookies look lovely when packaged in greaseproof paper and tied with a pretty ribbon. At the very least, you could make a batch of these recipes to share as part of your Easter Sunday dinner.And now, on to the part you’ve been waiting for – the giveaway. I’ve chatted to the wonderful people at JewelleryBox.co.uk and they are delighted to provide a prize for Cassiefairy.com readers. One lucky winner will be given £40 credit to spend on ANY jewellery they like! The giveaway runs until the end of Easter Monday so you could win a lovely Easter gift for yourself. There are plenty of ways to enter via the Rafflecopter widget below so enter now- good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway open to UK residents only, competition runs from 7th April 2017 – 17th April 2017, winner will be chosen at random from all entries via Rafflecopter and contacted via email. The winner will need to provide a UK delivery address to receive their prize.


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3 things you can sell to make extra money this week

Happy hump day everyone! It’s the middle of the week and already I’m looking forward to the weekend. Want to know why? I’m planning to spend a bit of time clearing out some of my belonging and see if there’s anything I can do without. That may sound like the least exciting weekend ever but I’m really motivated to have a tidy up and clear out the clutter. It’ll make moving easier if I’ve got less stuff to shift AND I can possibly make a little extra money by selling some of it on. So I thought I’d share with you some of the ways I’m planning to earn some cash from my unwanted stuff in case you too want to earn some more money this week… 

Clothing you no longer wear? Sell it on!

Clothes

Selling your clothes couldn’t be easier and is a great way to make some extra cash. Take a look in your wardrobe and remove anything you haven’t worn in the past year because you’re probably not going to wear it this year either! Take them to a car boot sale this week and earn a few pounds for each piece. If there are some pieces that still have the tags on (there certainly are in my wardrobe anyway) these will be worth more so you could sell them online via Depop, HardlyEverWornIt or Ebay. Anything you don’t sell can be donated to charity or you could take use websites that offer to buy your clothing by the kilogram, such as Genie Recycling or Return to Earn. The added bonus of selling your clothes is that you’re decluttering your wardrobe and making some extra storage space. You’ll rediscover clothes you already own and love but that you haven’t seen in years because they were stuffed at the back of the wardrobe.

Fallen out of love with your jewellery? Sell it on!

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Wear your support with Fashion Targets Breast Cancer

Can you believe that Fashion Targets Breast Cancer has already been running for 20 years?! I remember being a teenager when this ground-breaking campaign first launched – where have those years gone? Nonetheless the 2016 campaign has launched and is celebrating 20 years as the nation’s most powerful fashion movement.fashion targets breast cancer 2016 charity campaign breast cancer now bracelets-2Running until the end of May, the campaign calls on British shoppers to buy something stylish from their 2016 fashion collection. Your support raises important funds for Breast Cancer Now’s vital research into breast cancer so what better excuse do you need to do a spot of shopping this month? fashion targets breast cancer 2016 charity campaign breast cancer now bracelets-3The exclusive fashion collection is available at some of the high-street’s best loved retailers, including Marks & Spencer, Debenhams, River Island, Topshop, Laura Ashley, Simply Be, Hush, The Fold, SVP and Blow Ltd. Over the past two decades shoppers have raised over £14 million to fund pioneering breast cancer research simply by shopping! Whether you’re investing in a whole new wardrobe or buying a piece of jewellery to show your support (such as my gorgeous bracelets from River Island), you can make your money really count by choosing items from the Fashion Targets Breast Cancer collection. Just check out fashiontargetsbreastcancer.org.uk/lookbook where you can browse through the collection. Here are just a few of my favourites:

image001The collection celebrates the best fashion moments from the past decades and includes some ‘throwback’ styles (I thought this was worth a mention, seeing as it’s Thowback Thursday today!) such as spaghetti strap tops, bodies and cropped tees, which remind me of the 90s when the Fashion Targets Breast Cancer campaign first launched. But it’s not all ‘gimmicky’ fashion – there are plenty of casual staples, glamourous knock-out pieces and plenty of inspiration for Spring/Summer outfits. Most importantly, every single item guarantees a minimum 30% donation to Breast Cancer Now. Prices start at a thrifty £2 (again, my bracelets are a good example of this) so it’s easy to ‘Wear Your Support’ no matter what your shopping budget is. fashion targets breast cancer 2016 charity campaign breast cancer now bracelets-4fashion targets breast cancer 2016 charity campaign breast cancer now bracelets-6Breast Cancer Now is the UK’s largest breast cancer charity. They have already made incredible advances to combat the disease, and today more women beat breast cancer than ever before. Every penny donated to the Breast Cancer Now goes towards reaching the target that, by 2050, no woman will die from breast cancer. I am delighted to be working with them to tell you all about this thoroughly worthwhile campaign. I’d love you all to head out to the shops this weekend and treat yourself to something new from the Fashion Targets Breast Cancer collection – just one purchase could make all the difference. Thanks for reading guys, and let me know if you buy something from the range by leaving me a comment below or tweeting me @cassiefairy. fashion targets breast cancer 2016 charity campaign breast cancer now bracelets-5


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Guest post from The Bead Shop, Manchester – How to make beaded rings

Today I am delighted to be able to share a DIY tutorial with you from the expert jewellery-making team at The Bead Shop in Manchester. This family run company has been supplying beads, teaching workshops and sharing craft techniques for more than 20 years, so if anyone can make me into a pro jewellery maker, it’s them! I’ve never tried creating my own jewellery before, but now that I have more space in my newly-organised workshop, I want to make time to try out new crafts and beading has always intrigued me. the bead shop bracelet making workshop

I remember getting a library book about beads when I was a young girl and I kept renewing that library loan for about a year because I loved it so much, and that fascination is still with me today. If you’ve never been to The Bead Shop in Manchester, I suggest you make a trip there and be inspired by all they have to offer. In the meantime, the fabulous workshop team have sent me this DIY tutorial for making handmade beaded rings, which can be kept simple or ornate. These beautiful rings are easy to make and they make great gifts for friends and family. Here’s how to make a few different types of simple rings. Continue reading “Guest post from The Bead Shop, Manchester – How to make beaded rings” »


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Her stocking ~ Gifts for the Girls

Last week I wrote about gifts for the guys, followed by a quick gifts for your pets post, but this weekend I’m tackling one of the more tricky gift guides: gifts for the girls. This is basically what I want for Christmas, which I hope will give you some inspiration for the ladies in your life when you head out to the shops!

I don’t dare suggest personal gifts such as perfume or beauty products, as every woman has their own preferences, instead my gift guide is a mixture of pretty things, lovely dresses and, of course, sparkly shoes – so there really should be something for everyone. Lets hope so!

etsy gifts

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Give a little HOPE with your next gift

Shopping for low-cost, hand-crafted, UK-made jewellery that helps charity projects – sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? But I’ve recently discovered an amazing online gift shop that does just that – HOPE Jewellery. As you probably know here at the Cassiefairy blog I love to support ethical companies, charities and socially responsible brands so I when I found out about this shop I simply couldn’t keep it to myself and wanted to share it with you all!

I got in touch with the shop and had the opportunity to interview two lovely volunteers, Natalia Molinero Mingorance and Lakshmi Sankaran about their involvement in Enacus (the student-led company that runs the ethical store) and all the voluntary work they do for the HOPE Project. I hope you’ll find the responses as interesting as I did and that you’ll be able to see why gift shopping with the HOPE store is a great idea.

HOPE jewellery handmade in the uk to support charity

Natalia, please tell us a little about Enactus and what it does?

Enactus Sheffield is a social enterprise company, based at the University of Sheffield. Through both social and commercial projects we aim to harness students’ entrepreneurial spirit, to make a difference in our local community and to communities abroad. Guided by academic advisors and business experts, the student leaders of Enactus create and implement community empowerment projects around the globe. The experience not only transforms lives, it helps students develop the kind of talent and perspective that are essential to leadership in an ever-more complicated and challenging world. Enactus operates in 1,600 Universities across 38 countries. Currently we have a total of 62,000 students who have put 7,300,00 hours into running their Enactus teams and developing their projects.

Lakshmi Sankaran, you’re the volunteer project leader of the HOPE Commercial Team – when did you first get involved in the project and why?

I joined the HOPE team in February 2013 and have been a part of Enactus for over a year now. During this time I have seen HOPE Commercial grow immensely. I joined it due to my passion for helping social causes. This project interested me since it empowers women, motivating me as a woman myself. There are millions of women all around the world who suffer from human trafficking and domestic abuse. As humanitarians we must take a stand to stop this and the HOPE project at Enactus Sheffield provides an elegant, sustainable solution through the use of enterprise. This year HOPE has expanded a lot. We are in two major shops in Sheffield; we have rebranded our website, merchandise and social media; we have also held sales events in large venues, for instance at the final Ice Hockey Varsity game at the Motorpoint Arena. With continued support and exposure we believe we can share our beautiful bracelets as well as our significant social cause with others who wish to change the world, just like us!

What does the HOPE Project aim to do?

HOPE Jewellery works with survivors of Human Trafficking, and victims of sexual and domestic abuse in South Yorkshire, with the aim of providing skills, knowledge, training, and confidence to be able to support themselves and their family financially in the future. This is partly achieved through the model of a jewellery business where the women hand-craft beautiful jewellery to sell. The women we work with are then empowered to use the skills and knowledge transferred to them independently in gaining employment or setting up their own micro-enterprises. This allows them to independently finance themselves and their family, enabling them to have a better and brighter future. All profits made from the jewellery sales are either directly fed back into the project, or kept aside as a micro-finance pot for the women to access when they need it.

HOPE jewellery new collection of bracelets made in the uk

How does the jewellery help the survivors of human trafficking?

We aim to empower vulnerable women to lead a better quality of life providing them with essential entrepreneurial skills. All the profits made by the commercial team, selling the bracelets, goes back to the women in their times of need. They can approach HOPE to provide them with financial support if they are interested in starting their own business. This project provides the women with many employability skills; communication, teamwork, planning, sales and motivation. This year the project was aimed to further develop the women’s entrepreneurial skills by locally sourcing all the materials for the bracelets as well as giving the different safe house teams the chance to design all the bracelets.

The women come to the craft fairs as well to see the commercial side of the project. The hope social teams run sessions to improve the women’s employability skills. For instance some of the women from the safe houses are involved in our sister company, HOPE Cosmetic’s placement scheme. This provides them with writing CVs, interview training and important workshops that build the ability of the women to go out into the world and be independent. We aim to provide continued support for women when they leave the safe houses with our community projects.

Please can you tell us about your sister site, HOPE Cosmetics?

By selling cosmetic products this team contributes so much to the ongoing success of the HOPE project. By bringing in new streams of revenue, the reps make sure we can keep offering our placements and empowering survivors of human trafficking and victims of domestic abuse. 

HOPE cosmetics natural scrub and body butter

So what do you think? Fancy buying the next birthday gift for your mother from HOPE? Or how about treating yourself to a natural, handmade HOPE cosmetics product such as a lip balm, scrub or body butter? All of my friends and family can certainly expect a to receive a little HOPE with their next gift and I’d love it if you would consider shopping and supporting this charitable project soon. Check out their Facebook page here – HOPE Sheffield.


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Shortlisted for a Fashion Blogger Award – I just had to tell someone!

I know I don’t usually blog twice a day but I’ve just had some amazing news and I have to tell someone or else I’ll just pop! I just received an email from Hannah from John Greed Jewellery with the fantastic news that this blog has been shortlisted for a JGJ Fashion Blogger Award! I couldn’t believe it when this email dropped into my inbox – what fantastic news for a weekday afternoon!

BLOGAWARDSthumb2

Hannah says “We came together and decided we wanted to say thank you to all the fantastic blogs that we read on a daily basis as a source of creativity, innovation and sometimes just for fun. So, we (John Greed Jewellery’s design/buying/marketing/social media team) decided to say thanks in a really special way by hosting our own blogger awards online and showcasing our favourite blogs.

Cassiefairy outfit for style blogger awards from Apricot and New Look

While I’m always looking ahead at the latest fashion trends, I am also an advocate of wearing ‘proper’ jewellery and choosing classic pieces to finish off an outfit. I love adding my own personal jewellery collection into my blog posts – above is my outfit for the Company blogger awards (see post here) which included a custom-made necklace that my fabulous friend Claire had made for me for a ‘significant’ birthday. The envelope contains a tiny wooden letter with ‘Cassiefairy’ etched into them, so it’s extra-special to me. I’m very minimal when it comes to accessories, preferring quality over quantity so I’m even more delighted that a professional design team likes what I’m doing – I can’t be getting it that wrong then, phew!

gcse results jewellery gift spark jewelry gold necklace

I’ve been shortlisted in their Best Fashion & Jewellery Blogger category along with lots of super-cool bloggers – including loads that I already read and adore – gulp! Stiff competition! Hannah tells me “It means we’ve judged your site to be regularly posting engaging articles highlighting various fashion trends, great use of jewellery in outfits (which is all too often forgotten about) and we love the way you write and help companies like us up to date on the latest news and trends”. It’s amazing just to get this kind of feedback: I love fashion and love jewellery but had no idea that I was actually inspiring others with my articles and that really makes it all worthwhile. So I’m keeping my fingers and toes crossed that the judges like what they see on the Cassiefairy.com blog and I will bring you the results when they are announced at the end of the month. I’m one very happy blogger, sat here with a big smile on my face right now!


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Special jewellery for a special achievement

Congratulations to all the amazing young people in the UK who have received their GCSE results last week. My little sister did us proud and got the grades she needed to get onto her college course – massive well done sis, you’re on your way to being the next big star now!

gcse results jewellery gift spark jewelry gold necklace

To celebrate this achievement I gave her this necklace from Spark Jewelry, a chunky curb chain, with a double small-link chain on either side – very trendy with her Soul Cal top, but it can also be dressed up with a smart outfit in the future so I hope she’ll be able to continue to wear it over the coming years – through college and beyond. Congratulations to all GCSE students everywhere!


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Tuesday Shoesday ~ Six ways to create a 1950s-inspired look

It’s Tuesday Shoesday but today I’m not only focusing on 50s-inspired shoes, but also the accessories that combine to create the ultimate 50s look for Summer 2013. Timeless and subtly sexy, fashion styles from 1950s combine classic elegance with a touch of glamour. Taking inspiration from style icons such as Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn, designers today are still finding ways to incorporate these classic styles into modern wardrobes. If you’re looking for a way to incorporate 1950s style without breaking out the poodle skirt, consider wearing accessories from the decade – which may be a cheaper way to get the vintage look without breaking the bank. Here are six ways to create a unique, 21st century, 1950s-inspired look (not only with shoes!):

Images courtesy of fanpop.com

Images courtesy of fanpop.com

Layered bracelets –Multi-stringed necklaces with large beads or pearls were one of the most popular jewellery trends of the 50s. They were often colourful and many women had a set of jewellery to match every outfit. For a 21st century spin on this classic look, wrap a layered necklace around the wrist and wear it as a chunky bracelet. Don’t worry about your bracelet matching perfectly – contrast helps to create the modern look.

Hats – In the 1950s, a woman’s outfit wasn’t complete without a hat, and pillbox hats were one of the most popular styles during this time. Plus it’s always a good idea to wear a wide-brimmed hat like Audrey Hepburn above during the summer to keep the sun off your face and stop your scalp from being sunburnt! For a contemporary twist, pair a polka-dot patterned pencil skirt (also a 50s fashion staple) with an oversized belt at the waist and a collared shirt. Then, top it off with a coordinating pillbox hat pinned at the side of the head. For extra flair, choose a hat in a bright colour or one that has added detail like buttons, flowers, or a patterned print like gingham.

Shoes – Obviously, this Tuesday Shoesday blog post is primarily focusing on the shoes of the decade. Shoes in the 1950s came in a wide variety of styles, from flats to stilettos. Among many of these options, however, there was one common factor – embellishment. Many styles of shoe in the 50s had a small bow on the top or side, a floral design on the outside or back, or were brightly coloured. Again, many women had shoes for each outfit, so colour or pattern often coordinated with the rest of the ensemble. Find a pair of peep toe pumps or stilettos with an interesting design and, rather than pair them with a formal look as women in the 50s would do, wear them with a casual outfit. Jean shorts with a 50s-inspired slouchy sweatshirt and a pair of colourful, unique heels will create a modern, trendy look with a classic shoe. Very high heels can be uncomfortable so, to maintain the comfortable feel and make this look practical, consider adding gel inserts created specifically for stilettos, found at retailers like Footwear Etc. If you find yourself wobbly when donning heels, wearing bowling shoes is a fun and fashionable alternative. Today, this retro footwear can turn a normal outfit into a funky, 21st century outfit in no time. Wear black and white saddle shoes (or whatever colour combo you choose) with a pair of skinny jeans and a loose blouse with a Peter Pan collar (another 50s trend) to create a stylish retro look.

Amazing shoes that I can't help drooling over - all from PinUp Couture

Amazing shoes that I can’t help drooling over – all from PinUp Couture

Gloves – Just like their hats, women in the 50s loved their gloves. Gloves also came in many colours and designs, and although you might not want to wear gloves at the height of summer, on a formal occasion or even for a night out, you can add a pair of gloves to a dress to give a nod to the 50s. Choose a style that matches your shoes or jewelry if you want to go for a more cohesive look, or choose an unexpected colour or style to add interest.

Scarves – Lightweight scarves of bold or patterned material were often tied around the neck or in the hair in the 1950s. While usually a casual look, a small scarf wrapped under the head with the ends tied in a knot at the top of the head will create a mid-century fashion look for any occasion. For a casual or beach-like look, use a scarf in a bold pattern or fabric. For a more conservative look, use a sleek black or white scarf and tuck in the ends of the scarf after it has been knotted to create a headband look.

Sunglasses – Last but not least, the sunglasses of the 1950s are one of the most recognizable accessory trends from that time. Cat eye sunglasses range from severe, pointed frames to more curvy styles that are generally more flattering to most face shapes. Cat eye sunglasses can still be found in nearly every color, and bold or embellished cat eye sunglasses add a hip look to any modern outfit. Retro City Sunglasses offers a wide variety of cat-eye frames for those who need prescription lenses so both your vision and style can stay sharp.

Sure to complement your wardrobe, these accessories turn any normal outfit into a creative, unique, 21st century, 1950s-inspired look in an instant. This decade’s styles are great for accentuating the curves of your body and, because of the moderate lines, can be appropriately worn both at the office and for a girls’ night out. So pull on your stockings, put on a dash of red lipstick, and bring a little touch of 1950s’ glamour to your everyday style!

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Fun Summer Jewellery Trends 2013

Working out what the hot Summer fashion trends will be each year is never too tricky – after all, magazines, fashion blogs and TV adverts show us the latest fashion themes non-stop for months every year! If you pay attention to these, you can easily choose a summer wardrobe full of exciting and interesting styles – this year I’ve gone OTT with florals, and last year it was nautical all the way, so it’s easy to pick a trend and go with it. Where things get tricky is with the little details of a summer outfit, such as jewellery. These trends can be a bit harder to spot, and yet it’s the accessories and the pieces of jewellery that really pull your look together on a day-to-day basis – and they are often the cheapest way to follow a trend.

Ultimately, your jewellery is mostly about your own expression – I mean, no-one else will be wearing the “Cassiefairy” necklace that my friend Claire bought me for my birthday! But that’s not to say that the trends don’t exist, and in some cases they’re a simple to keep up with! So here are a few particularly fun jewellery trends for summer 2013:

Animal Pieces

This is probably the strangest of summer jewellery trends, but if you like to wear a few unique accessories it’s also the most interesting. Basically, animals are in! It might be a gold leopard pendant, a jewel bird dangling on a pair of earrings, or a snake necklace. Whatever the case, if it involves animals it works for summer 2013.

Gems & Beads

Bright, vibrant colours are featured in every piece of clothing and accessories this summer, and the same holds true with jewellery. So, whether you want to go with upscale colourful gemstones, or you prefer a more casual approach with coloured beads, be sure to add some colour to your jewellery box for the next couple of months 🙂

Necklace Pendants

There are plenty of options for fulfilling this trend. Head to a seaside shop for a simple thread necklace with a seashell pendant on the end, or visit www.77Diamonds.com for an ornate diamond pendant like the one below. The trend is as simple as dangling an ornament from a necklace, and it gives you plenty of opportunity to express yourself with a little DIY!

cassiefairy summer 2013 fashion jewellery trends diamonds pendant geometric earrings

Feathers & Flowers

This is another casual trend that allows for personal expression. A set of earrings or a necklace with feathers or artificial flowers hanging on it can certainly be tacky in the wrong circumstances (it reminds me of my teenage style in the 90s, and do I really want to revisit that?!) – but with the right mix of clothing and accessories, it can be a fun look. Plus, it’s a perfect idea for beach fashion, which we’ll all be thinking about during the summer holidays.

Geometry

You can spot geometric patterns in all kinds of jewellery. Whatever the specific case, having clear shapes worked into jewellery is one of the hottest trends of the year, and demonstrating this style shows that you’ve really been paying attention. I’m planning to get the yellow-and-gold geometric earrings above from Spark Jewellery to wear with my pastel dress to a summer wedding and I can’t get enough of chunky shapes on necklaces either – watch this space for my updates on my new accessories wardrobe!

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