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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6 Crafty ways to preserve your family’s most precious memories

Family memories come and go so quickly. Even when you wait months for a big occasion – marriage, graduations, 1st birthday parties – the time goes by in a blink. You can make the occasion memorable with some of the party tips I shared on the blog earlier this week, but it’s the reliving of these precious moments in the future that gives me the most happiness. And with a bit of craftiness it is so easy to preserve these memories so that you can enjoy reminiscing time and again. 1. Create holiday jars

Holidays provide the best source of memories. We tend to do things out of the ordinary on holiday – fun activities, enjoying a special meal, or hiking to a beautiful spot – but it’s no good having photos stored on a memory card somewhere. Remembering these moments can help to keep us going when we’re feeling under the weather or sat at our desks while it drizzles outside. “Vacation jars” do just that. They’re so easy to make – all you need is a jar – and the rest of the items you can pick up along the way. Put anything in your jar that reminds you of the last holiday you took, including:

  • Small souvenirs
  • Pine cones or shells (depending on the location you visited!)
  • Pictures (real-life printed photos)
  • Postcards and leaflets
  • Maps and travel tickets

I also made myself a ‘little jar of happy’ which contains anything that has made me happy. If my niece or nephew says something funny I’ll write it down. When I get positive feedback on my work, it goes into the jar. I’ve been doing this for a couple of years now and it always puts a smile on my face remembering the good times. 2. Family yearbooks

Why not create yearly yearbooks that show some of the year’s best pictures? Over the past year I actually got some photos printed and it was lovely to have ‘real life’ photos in my hands. We are all taking more photos than ever thanks to camera phones but we rarely ever print them out. If you do a little audit of your photo albums every 3 months and send a few to print, you create your own yearbook for the family to look back on, and if you’re happy to do some scrapbooking (one of my favourite things to do) you can add in a few extra bits alongside your photos such as:

  • Event tickets
  • Birthday cards
  • Newspaper clippings

If you’ve got photos and souvenirs to hand, you could even use screen printing to transform t-shirts into wearable collages of your images if you want to make a lasting, wearable memory. Imagine wear a Christmas jumper this year that has photos of the fun you had last Christmas printed on it! Photos also work great as ‘bunting’in your office or the kids’ bedroom – here’s how to make Polaroid bunting at home.

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Pieday Friday – 3 healthy juice recipes for the new year

It’s all about the juicing this year. Or at least it is in my household because we’ve got a new juicer! As someone who has never tried combinations of juice before (seriously, orange juice is as adventurous as it got!) I’ve been really intrigued to start reading up on juicing and looking into recipes. There are SO many options out there; savoury juices, fruity juices, herby juices and even spicy juices. I wanted to make a healthy swap for my sometimes not-too-healthy shakes and smoothies, so I gave juicing a go for the very first time.I’ve read plenty of recipes where one or two of the ingredients were things that I’m not too keen on (like mango or parsley) so I decided to come up with my own combinations to test out my new juicer and to see whether or not I was going to enjoy fresh juice at all! Today’s Pieday Friday recipe post is the result of my experiments earlier this week and, if you’re a keen juicer yourself, I’m pretty sure that you’re going to like them.  The juicer I’m using is the Phillips Avance Collection Centrifugal Juicer, which is a pretty darn effective piece of equipment. When I started using it for the first time, I was rather surprised by how fast and easily it juiced the fruit and veg that I was putting through it. Sure, I guessed that soft grapes and pears would be easy to juice but who knew that so much moisture could come out of a carrot? Seriously, my carrots were pretty dry when they went in, but boy did they make a lot of juice! And, come to think of it, the pulp that came out was really dry too. I guess the machine got every drop out of the bunch.

So, here are the ingredients for each of the three juices I made last week. I went for a crowd-pleasing fresh fruity drink (the purple one), an exotic juice with tropical flavours (the yellow one) and a nutritious spicy savoury juice (the orange one – yes, the one with the carrots in). Of course, the instructions for each recipe is pretty-much “juice the ingredients” so I won’t bore you with that! Just know that it’s a good idea to remove rinds and skins from fruits like the pineapple, papaya, oranges and kiwi fruits.

One of my experiments that ended in disaster was juicing kiwis with their skins on. I read online that it was fine to eat the skins and while it may be possible to eat the skins, it’s not the nicest texture. So if you don’t want to drink a furry juice, I’d recommend taking off the skins before juicing!

Juice 1 – Cooked beetroot, apples, pears, white grapes.

Juice 2 – Pineapple, papaya, kiwi, oranges

Juice 3 – Carrots, celery, tomatoes, chilli

These juices make a pretty looking bunch, don’t they? I really enjoyed the purple beetroot-based juice and could drink that all day long. And the ‘bloody mary’ style veg juice was delicious too, in a savoury kind of way. I had a bit leftover that I heated up at lunchtime to try it as a soup. If you’re a fan of thin soups, this might be one for you. Tropical flavours aren’t really my thing, by my husband liked the exotic juice, so everyone’s happy with our new juicer!  Do you already make your own juice or will you be starting as part of a healthy habit swap this January? I know I’ll be trying to keep it up during the year so let me know your ideas for recipes or fruit ‘n’ veg combinations by leaving me a comment below or by tweeting me @Cassiefairy.


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Hygge and Lagom – Living the Scandinavian way this winter

Hoo-gah. Honestly, that’s how you pronounce it. Lagom is slightly a tougher one… lar-gohm. If you’re already over hygge, then maybe lagom is for you. With the new year in full swing, the Scandinavian concept of ‘everything in moderation’ may be better suited to you (especially if you’re making changes to your lifestyle and diet) than the full-on snuggle-up-and-get-cosy-during-deepest-darkest-winter concept of hygge. Lagom means ‘just the right amount’ and is a slightly more matter-of-fact approach to living a more balanced and thriftier lifestyle. As a very thrifty gal, it’s no wonder I’ve become intrigued by this concept, is it?The eagle-eyed of you may have spotted that I received a book relating to this topic for Christmas. Yes, I finally own a copy of the famous Hygge book by Meik Wiking. You know, the one that instagrammers seem to be posting photos of daily during the autumn and winter. The Danish art of hygge doesn’t necessarily have a certain look or design philosophy, it’s more about the feeling and atmosphere that a room gives you. It’s about appreciating the small things in life and about the times you have felt at your happiest. Recreating that vibe throughout your home is hygge, pure and simple. Lagom is very different and there are four ways to embrace lagom this year; eating with the seasons, reducing your environmental impact, stressing less, and enjoying things in moderation. So you can see that this Swedish concept is more about lifestyle as a whole, rather than focusing on creating a feeling of cosiness in the home like hygge. It’s about having just the right amount of food, achieving the ideal work/life balance and doing your bit for the environment. Sounds like a set of new year’s resolutions, doesn’t it? I already feel like it’s more serious concept than the warm-and-fluffy idea of hygge, but maybe that’s just my natural reaction resolutions in general. What a rebel.In contrast, home interior specialists Baytree Interiors have come up with the four elements needed to create the perfect winter sanctuary with the Danish concept of hygge. These are: textures, small spaces, natural colours and low lighting. Firstly, rustic materials such as wood and leather work well to create hygge-esque textures especially when combined with cable knits, faux fur and fluffy rugs. Secondly, larger rooms will benefit from being divided up, to make a series of cosy spaces. Thirdly and neutral colour scheme using brown, gray and cream will give a sense of bringing nature indoors. And finally, lighting is the most important element in any Hygge home and it’s the easiest way to create a warm and inviting atmosphere. Lamps and candles create soothing pools of light around the home, and the Danes are said to light more candles than any other country in Europe!I can see how the two ideas can work hand-in-hand. For example, if you’re practicing the lagom idea of stressing less, you’ll be wanting to create a lovely hygge environment in which to relax in. Food and drink can be hygge too (I’d call it comfort food…) and the lagom idea of having everything in moderation means that you really can enjoy that hot chocolate with squishy marshmallows without feeling guilty, because you’re just having one mugful. And of course, switching off the electricity to sit by hygge candlelight, couldn’t be more lagom in terms of reducing your environmental impact, could it?These two Scandinavian concepts aren’t in competition with each other, but they have both become really popular this winter and it seems like a good idea to learn a thing or two about lifestyle from the happiest nations in the world, doesn’t it? I can’t wait to introduce some of these concepts into my own home and life in 2017 and try to embrace a happier, cosier and more relaxed approach to life. So if you find me tucked up under a blanket that I’ve knitted myself rather than doing any work, that’ll be the reason why! Let me know if you’re inspired by these Scandinavian ideals or if you’ve been adding a touch of hygge to your home this winter by leaving me a comment below 🙂


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Guest post – Mole mapping & a few common sun care myths

Summer is (sadly) gone but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t continue to be vigilant about your UV exposure. Between damage incurred during the warm months and Britons’ love of winter getaways, caution regarding our skin is a year-round job. Today we’re busting some common sun care myths to make sure that your skin stays safe and healthy all year round.Mole mapping for early cancer detectionAfter summer wanes

According to the NHS and other sources, affordable winter holidays are culprits in the increase in skin cancer rates. During the autumn and winter months, many of us jet off for warmer climes and skiing holidays, right? In addition, many people who suffer from seasonal affective disorder use tanning beds or ultraviolet light to ease their symptoms. Continue to use broad-spectrum UV protection – most people don’t wear large hats when they’re skiing. As the backlash against the use of sun creams has grown over the past few years, we should address a few of the most common myths still in active circulation.

Myth 1: Coconut oil can be used as sun cream. Yes, you will see recommendations to “just use coconut oil” instead of SPF products. We will not go into the many reasons for why this is incorrect, but every medically sound source still recommends reducing your exposure and using sun cream to protect against damage.summer holiday sunset beach huts seaside-2

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4 strange causes of insomnia

After a rather sleepless night earlier this week left me totally drained (and over-emotional!) the following day, I decided to do a little research into the science of sleep. According to the Sleep Health Foundation, about one in three people has some level of insomnia. Sleeplessness can be a pain (especially when you know you’ve got to be up and out early the next morning), but insomnia is more than just a mild annoyance. Insufficient sleep can contribute to serious health problems like depression, hypertension, diabetes, and even cancer. If you suffer from persistent insomnia, you should see a doctor for help. If you just have trouble sleeping from time to time, though, you may have fallen victim to one of these four strange causes of insomnia.toothbrush-571741_19201.Brushing with mint flavour toothpaste

Brushing your teeth with strongly mint-flavoured toothpaste in the morning can give you the kick of energy you need to get the day started. Using the same toothpaste at night, however, could make it difficult for you to fall asleep. One study shows that people exposed to peppermint before bedtime stayed awake for 11 minutes longer than those who weren’t exposed to the smell. I watched a documentary on fitness ones, which showed how runner who ate mint while running carried on for much longer than those who didn’t. So I guess the energy-boosting properties of mint must have a negative effect on your sleep pattern too. Instead of using a minty toothpaste at night, choose an option that’s not as intense. Switching to a new toothpaste could help you fall asleep sooner.vitamin-b-871135_19202. Taking vitamins before bed

Taking a multivitamin helps ensure that your body gets the nutrition it needs to stay healthy. However, taking your vitamins before bedtime could make it hard for you to fall asleep. The problem becomes even worse when you take a B12 supplement. B12 is an essential vitamin that lets your body turn glucose into energy. If you take it before bedtime, you could find yourself feeling stimulated when you need to settle down. Instead of taking your supplements before bed, try taking them after breakfast or lunch. You’ll get a kick of energy when you need it instead of when you want to sleep.unusual-causes-of-insomnia-bedroom-breakfast

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Tuesday Shoesday – My week in #FloorSelfies

When I first heard about the #FloorSelfie challenge, I found myself getting a little excited. Not only do I love a good photo challenge, but I also love shoes, and taking photos of my feet for a week sounded like great fun. No need for any special equipment to get involved with this challenge; I simply charged up my phone and snapped a photo whenever the thought entered my mind. By the end of the week I’m pretty sure that I’d started to search out more interesting floors with fun colours or patterns, or maybe it was simply the fact that I was noticing the floor more often . How often do we look down, really? We’re missing interesting designs and even art by keeping our heads up. Anyway, enough rambling – here are my favourite shoe photos from the week and little bit about the location to go with them:

Excuse the pun but I ‘kick started’ my week of #FloorSelfies with a day out at the seaside. And we enjoyed ourselves so much that we actually went back to the coast the day after too. I snapped some photos on the beach and almost soaked my toes by trying to get the Tuesday Shoesday snap above when the tide came in. The traditional walk along the promenade followed, with me dribbling over beach huts that I could never afford, followed by a big hot chocolate to warm up. The second day we went to Southwold Pier and had fun playing air hockey and winning 2ps in the arcade. Something I hadn’t noticed before was that the pier has footprints painted on the deck all along the length of the pier. Don’t follow them though – some of the footprints head right off the side of the pier! I found a set of flipper footprints and snapped this fun #FloorSelfie.

One of the most exciting thing to happen to me this week was something that I couldn’t really photograph. My husband had been picked in a ballot to go to a recording of a TV special in Elstree Studios. With the performance being ‘top secret’ and absolutely no cameras allowed, it was hard for me to get a photo but I wanted to record the day out nonetheless. Here’s the fabulous wooden floor in the entrance to Elstree Studios and it’s the very same spot where I later met Tim Peake and Professor Brian Cox. Yes, I got a selfie with an astronaut! Best. Moment. Ever. And I managed to give Brian Cox a pair of ChattyFeet’s Prof. Brian Sox socks, which he found hilarious. Oh, you’ll notice a different pair of shoes in this shot – they are my favourite Hush Puppy flats the rub a little on the heel so aren’t great for wearing all day long. The following day we took a walk in the countryside and noticed just how autumnal everything is – leaves are turning brown and conkers are falling. Must remember to go blackberry picking this week before it’s too late.

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Guest Post – 5 Ways of Finding Some “Me” Time

Finding time for yourself, to recharge and re-focus, is quite the challenge when you have a family in tow. As a parent it can feel selfish to ask for “time off”, but with recharged batteries the time you spend with your children will be much more enjoyable for all of you. There are plenty ways where you can find this “me” time, without doing any major schedule rearrangements.Tips for working from home - Creating a timetable planSay no
There is no shame in setting limits. You don’t have to attend every school trip or community event, it’s perfectly alright to say no if you feel you need a break. This also goes for your partner too. Don’t be afraid to decline offers and requests – even if it goes against other people’s expectations. Also, delegate household work to teach your children that they need to earn their pocket money (the fact of this giving you more feet-up-with-a-cup-of-tea time is just a happy accident).

Schedule time off
If you have a problem with finding time for yourself, get it down in black and white and schedule it in. This way everyone will know what to expect and that this time is for you – if something has to be planned, it should be outside of these hours. This can also help to bring a sense of order to an otherwise chaotic life.

Eye Inspire Classic Trio from MeMeMe

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Buying a house – what are the options?

I think I’ve mentioned in the past that I’ve been saving to buy a home of my own and now that I’m getting closer and closer to my goal I’ve started doing my research. In fact, I’ve spoken to countless friends who’ve already gone through the process so that I can get a better idea of what to expect. And I’ve been reading up about property buying online. Did you know that there are countless options when it comes to buying a house? There’s not only freehold, but leasehold properties, commonhold and shared ownership too. So what’s the difference? Today I’m sharing what I’ve learnt, so read on!dolls house buying homeFreehold properties

Okay, this is what I’d call the ‘standard’ way to buy a house. With a freehold property you’re buying the bricks-and-mortar, the ground the house sits on, rights of way and the garden up to the property boundaries. Most of the houses I the UK are owned on a freehold basis. You own it basically forever or until you sell it and there’s no further fees to pay after you’ve bought it. You have complete freedom to do whatever you wish to your house and the land (within planning laws of course!). dolls house buying guide

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Tend your garden in Spring to create a healthier, low-cost Summer

It’s a common misconception that fruit can only be grown in ‘warmer’ climates. Okay for some fruits this is true but there are so many fruits that you can actually grow yourself in your own garden, even in the British weather! With Spring finally upon us, now is the perfect time to start thinking about getting the most out of your garden. How exciting would it be if you could use your own home grown fruits or vegetables for baking, drinks and other concoctions all summer long? You’ll be able to enjoy the gardening aspect (and therefore get more exercise and fresh air!) as well as the delicious taste of your home grown fruit or veg.DIY plant markers for garden-4Growing your own fruit and veg is not only satisfying, but very healthy. Having constant access to all kinds of fruit and veg will encourage you to be more adventurous with your meal planning and have healthier snacks throughout the day. Try and focus on growing fruit and vegetables that you and your family like, and eat a lot of. This way you’ll be sure everyone is happy and you’ll all be able to enjoy freshly grown seasonal produce. Along with the health benefits you’ll also be saving yourself some money, as it costs little to grow your own in comparison to the prices you pay at the local supermarket.spring garden veggit patchBefore you start buying seeds and raking over the soil, think about what types of fruit and veg would work well for you this summer, that way you’ll enjoy lots of fresh produce with minimal wastage. You could grow yourself some strawberries, apples, blackberries or grapes to use in homemade crumbles or pies. You could even use your fruit to create some exciting summery cocktails or fruity drinks to enjoy in the glorious sunshine. There are also so many different types of veg you could grow, from tomatoes, potatoes, asparagus, carrots or even artichokes! Think of all the dishes you’ll want to make with your home-grown veggies; homemade pies, fresh salads and even home-grown pesto..! You can save so much money on family meals by growing your own produce at home and it’s really fun to do with the kids too.

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How to get glamorous curls

Today I have two fabulous things I want to share with you. Firstly, I’ve got a great step-by-step tutorial for creating glamorous curls at home. And secondly, I’m hosting a fun giveaway in conjunction with John Frieda so that you can win a Frizz Ease styling kit to recreate this smooth Hollywood-inspired look for yourself at home. Read on for top tips on styling from the John Frieda professional and to enter my competition.rita ora glamorous curls hair style diy tips

I love Rita Ora’s side-swept curls

Whether it’s a night out with the girls, a wedding or even date night, nothing says glamour more than voluminous, frizz-free curls. To help you achieve the look, here’s some tips on how you can turn up the volume and stand out from the crowd with some big, bouncy, beautiful curls.

Step 1 – To achieve perfect curls, it’s important to first prep your hair with the right products. To ensure hair is left looking smooth, wash your hair with a shampoo and conditioner designed specifically to combat frizz.

Step 2 – Next add a small amount of mousse to your damp hair in order to make your hair more manageable in the styling process. At this stage you may even want to add a root booster product to ensure maximum volume is achieved.

Step 3 – Blow dry your hair using a round barrelled brush. Make sure you lift your hair up at the roots before smoothing your hair down at the tips.root lift round brush glamorous curls tips

Get lift at the roots with a round brush

Step 4 – Now, how you choose to add curls to your look is up to you. When using a curling tong, ensure all curls are created facing the same direction. Alternatively you can use heated rollers to achieve your desired big curls.

Step 5 – To secure the look in place, spray hairspray onto your locks. You may even want to keep a mini can in your handbag so you can keep your hair on top form for longer!

Step 6 – Finally it’s time to accessorise but remember to keep things simple. You don’t want to take away too much from the volume you’ve just created by wearing an oversized accessory. Instead, choose a delicate hair brooch or decorated hair pin, perfect for keeping those flyaway hairs in place whilst remaining stylish. styling kit prize john frieda frizze ease competition on cassiefairy blogNow here’s the fun part – you can win a styling kit from John Frieda to get this look for yourself at home. The prize includes 1x Frizz Ease Forever Smooth Shampoo, 1x Frizz Ease Forever Smooth Conditioner and 1x Frizz Ease 3 Day Straight Semi-Permanent Styling Spray. There are plenty of ways to enter via the rafflecopter widget below so grab yourself some entries into the competition below and keep your fingers crossed!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway open to UK residents only and runs until 20th March 2016 – good luck!

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