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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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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Valentine’s gifts & an idea for a romantic evening at home

With Valentine’s Day coming up next week on the 14th February, I thought I would share some ideas with you for an inexpensive night in with your other half.If you want to avoid the crowds in busy restaurants and don’t fancy filling your home with heart-shaped mugs and pink teddy bears, this could be the solution to both your Valentine’s gifts and evening celebration. Read on to find out more and to enter my Valentine’s giveaway to win a fabulous prize bundle from Dartington Crystal and Bolsius candles. I’m talking about an at-home wine tasting. Or beer tasting. Or simply a mocktail evening, if that’s what you fancy. Pop on some music, light some candles and start sipping! The candles create a relaxed atmosphere and will transform your living room or kitchen into a cosy, intimate space for conversation to flow. Spending time together is the nicest thing about Valentine’s Day, so take this opportunity to have a good old catch-up without the distraction of the TV or internet. Of course, this type of evening in would be lovely whatever the occasion, whether it’s a birthday, your wedding anniversary or just a Friday night. Drinks-wise, you could treat yourselves to a bottle of wine, or go for the mini-bottles (like my tiny Prosecco bottle – just the right amount for two!) if you want to cut costs. This will also help to minimise wastage if you can’t drink a whole bottle on a school night..! Continue reading “Valentine’s gifts & an idea for a romantic evening at home” »


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A low-cost way to decorate your walls for autumn

Today’s blog is a quick and easy decor update that can make your home feel really autumnal in a matter of minutes. And you don’t need to spend loads of money on new soft furnishings, or hours crafting a garland, or days painting your walls to add a touch of autumn colour to your home. My idea for a speedy interiors update is adding art to your walls to completely change the feeling of your space in no time.posterlounge_autumn-2In particular, I’m talking about a more budget version of art – using posters. Sure you blu-tacked up posters to your bedroom walls in your teenage years but have you ever used them since? After browsing online and finding plenty of sensational artworks in bold autumn hues, I’ve become a fan of the humble poster. And they’re really great value for money too. How else can you update your home decor in such a striking way with a very little budget?posterlounge_autumn-4 Of course, you can frame up posters and elevate their status to true artwork, but you could also simply stick them up in your office with washitape and get the same effect. I really love the moon-phase design below, this would be the perfect addition to my bedroom to bring a touch of warmth into the room for autumn. And when the season is over, you can roll the posters up, pop them back in their delivery tube and switch over to a new fresh design for spring. Poster tubes take up hardly any space and your favourite design will be ready for you to re-hang again the following autumn. Sounds good, doesn’t it?posterlounge_autumn-5For autumn, I’ve been really drawn towards gold, copper and brass touches and have picked out the designs for this blog post as my suggestions for autumn 2016. I tend to lean towards a monochrome palette at all times of year, with bursts of colour to reflect the season. I love gold for autumn and I think it works well into winter too as we fill our homes with glittering gold decorations. And, of course, woodland scenes like this artwork below evoke a lovely autumnal feeling without feeling twee. posterlounge_autumn-3 Continue reading “A low-cost way to decorate your walls for autumn” »


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DIY autumn decoration – patterned branch

Today I’m sharing another fantastic DIY project that I found in Decorate for a Party by Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring. This patterned branch would be a great photo backdrop for a party or could even be hung in your home to introduce a rustic feeling to the room. I love to decorate my living room for autumn with pumpkins and flowers, so I’d hang something like this above my sideboard, using autumnal colours and textured fabrics.decorate-for-a-party-p127-photography-by-holly-beckerThis project is also a great way to use up all those fabric offcuts that are too small and thin to use but that you just can’t throw can away! If you have a rummage through your sewing cupboard you’ll probably find all the scraps you need! Or you can buy some low-cost fabric odds-and-ends or ribbons from the haberdashery. It’s a really quick and simple project and all the step-by-step details are below. Plus, there’s a couple more ideas for using branches and fabric this autumn too, such as this fun den and cute packed lunches (below). Have fun making this autumnal decoration and let me know how you get on if you give it a try!decorate-for-a-party-p123-photography-by-holly-beckerThis branch can be made before your party to mark the party spot or later, during your party by inviting the children to help you, because it’s easy and fun. Or, for a party you’re hosting at home, you can make one to display over a buffet or even in another room of your home as additional decor.

YOU WILL NEED a straight branch, cotton fabrics in various prints, white linen (lightweight), pine cones, thin copper wire, scissors, string

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A beach bathroom makeover on a budget

With more sunny days than not in recent weeks, my thoughts have turned to summer holidays. While I’m not actually planning to jet off anywhere luxurious for a beach holiday, I DO want to inject a little holiday fun into my life. But how can I do it when I’m having a staycation, I hear you ask? Well, I’ll tell you. I’m giving my tiny bathroom a mini-makeover and in a few short hours it’ll be a bathroom fit for a holiday. Here’s how I did it without so much as a lick of paint..!

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Spend the Summer in Suffolk – 5 things to see & do

If you’re keen to get out and enjoy the sunshine this summer, I’ve come up with a list of days out and fabulous events that you can enjoy in Suffolk. It’s a great county to visit (with plenty of gorgeous places to stay!) and it doesn’t get too busy on the roads during the summer holidays, so it’s great for a day trip too. I’ve put together a list of my favourite things to do and places to visit in Suffolk and hope that you’ll check out some of these ideas when you’re planning your own school holiday adventure.Latitude festival photos 2015-11

  1. Latitude festival

The highlight of my summer is Latitude Festival. It’s held at Henham Park, near the beautiful Suffolk coast and it’s a really family-friendly event. It’s easy to get to (practically on the A12), there’s plenty of parking and camping space, it’s well-organised, the loos are surprisingly good and it offers a diverse range of entertainment. I’m particularly excited about the dance line-up this year (which I wrote about on my blog when it was announced) because Swing Patrol are performing. Of course there’s all the hottest bands, top comedy performers, national theatre productions and the up-and-coming stars to enjoy too. A kids arena, inspirational art, delicious food, and surprise performances in the woods complete this magical festival. I shared my photos from the 2015 event on my blog last year and will be sure to report back this year too! I always leave with a smile on my face so you should check it out too at LatitudeFestival.com, held on 14th-17th July 2016.

2. Southwold Pier

I’ve written about Southwold Pier on my blog in the past, but it really IS worth mentioning again. It’s actually really close to Latitude Festival, so if you’re visiting for that event you could pop along to the pier one morning before the festival kicks off. The food on the pier is great, the automatons in the ‘Under the Sea Show’ have to be seen to be believed and you can even enjoy a cheesy visit to the arcade to feed some 2ps into the machine and pretend you’re on Tipping Point. It’s also possible to hire beach huts on Southwold beach so you can make a day of it and enjoy paddling in the sea and strolling down the promenade too. Check out my guide to the pier with maps and lots of photos!southwold pier attraction suffolk travel guide-4

Suffolk coastal travel guide southwold pier attraction-173. Snape Proms

I’ve booked my tickets and I’m going to the Proms. The Snape Proms that is. If you love music and comedy but don’t want to pay London prices to see orchestras and performers, then the Proms season at Snape Maltings is for you. Tickets for a Proms seat (sitting on a cushion at the front of the concert hall) start at just £6.50 so it’s a very thrifty way to enjoy some very high quality performances. If the performance you wanted to see has already sold out, have no fear – there are 10 tickets available on the morning of every performance so it’s just a case of getting the box office really early and queuing for your ticket. One thing to remember is that you can’t pick up 4 tickets for your whole family, it’s one per person, so if they all want to go they’ll have to come along on the morning and queue with you! Check out the schedule at Aldeburgh Music to find out what’s on during the Snape Proms this August.beccles lido swimming pool inflatable aquarun

4. Beccles Lido

If you remember outdoor swimming pools, then you’ve got to visit Beccles Lido. It’s a huge outdoor pool, with a very deep deep-end and even a good ol’ fashion diving board. There’s a separate shallow pool for the little ones and a VERY fun giant inflatable obstacle course that floats on the water. Imagine Total Wipeout and you’ve got it! The changing huts are painted in bright seaside colours and you can enjoy a poolside snack or drink at the kiosk. With sunloungers surrounding the pool and a location overlooking the riverside you’d be forgiven for thinking you were on a exotic holiday abroad. It’s really underrated, and there isn’t much information on the website, but the whole venture is run by volunteers who get the pool cleaned, maintain the gardens and staff the kiosk all summer long. Oh, and by the way, the obstacle course isn’t just for the kids, I’ve been on it plenty of times and actually completed it once, go me!

5. Framlingham Castle

Framlingham itself is a rather charming town, with country markets on a Tuesday and Saturday in the market square. There’s lots of cute cafes and traditional pubs so it’s a great destination to while away a sunny day. The castle at Framlingham is a pretty impressive sight. It can be viewed across the mere from New Road and it’s the ideal spot to take a picture-postcard snap of the castle. It’s owned by English Heritage so it’s open to visitors and has a small museum and shop inside, and you can enjoy a very long walk around the top of the castle walls. If you’re into countryside views and photography this is the place for you! The castle wall walk isn’t suitable for buggies but the museum is great for teaching the kids about history. During the summer holiday’s the castle hosts special events for children too so have a look at their website to find out what’s on.blue suede shoes - his n hers brogues_-3

I hope these ideas have given you some inspiration for places to visit, things to do and events to attend if you’re planning to visit Suffolk this summer. There’s so much for the kids to do and just as much fun for adults too. I really should be working with the tourist board but I assure you I’m not – I just LOVE this county and am so pleased to be able to enjoy all these fantastic locations regularly. I wouldn’t want you to miss out if you’ve never been to Suffolk before so please do check it out!


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Shab-Fab: DIY Party Decor

If you’re planning a summer party but want to stick to a budget, how can you get a pulled-together chic look for only a few pounds? Well, if you’re up for a little DIY then adopting a ‘shabby chic’ style will do the trick. Your party decor can be as quirky as you like and, because you’ll be making most of the decorations yourself, it’s surprisingly affordable too. Whether you’re planning a wedding, a vintage hen party, a pretty birthday party or simply a summer gathering with friends, adopting a shabby chic theme makes it easy to plan special event with few resources. Read on to find out how…vintage china crockery floral shabby chic party ideas inspiration low cost budget thrifty table setting birdcage flowersTables and chairs
A shabby chic scheme calls for a lot of mixing and matching, so if you can borrow tables and chairs from friends, all the better. You may already have a house full of shabby chic furniture but even if you don’t have any chairs at all, you can unify those you’ve borrowed to create a cohesive look for the party. If your friends aren’t too keen on your idea to spray paint all their chairs white(!), simply decorate the backs of the chairs instead. Unify the different shapes by using the same colour fabric on each chair, hanging the linens down to cover at least two-thirds of the legs. Layering different shades of white is a nice way to keep the palette neutral without being too uniform.chair linens ribbon floral shabby chic party ideas inspiration low cost budget thrifty table setting

Chair and images above from Hostess with the Mostess blog

Wherever quilting supplies are sold, you can usually find packets of fabric with complementary colours and patterns. If these are too expensive, just get your ideas from the pre-mixed packs and buy some patterned fabrics individually. For a less whimsical feel, again go with layered shades of white: mixing cottons, linens, and ribbon. Cut them into uniform strips of about 2 inches wide and tie them to the backs of chairs. Quantity is key here: really fill the backs or it will look like an afterthought. Tie the strips horizontally with the ends coming out the middle to create a long ruffle or tie vertically and gather them in the middle with a bow or flower.carnnation flowers floral centrepiece shabby chic party ideas inspiration low cost budget thrifty

shabby chic flowers from The Bridal Guide

Centrepieces
If you’ve chosen really colourful fabrics, you’ll want a little less colour in the centrepiece, so you could go with simple greenery. Alternatively, white chairs beg to be paired with colourful flowers. Some classic shabby chic centrepiece basics would be birdcages, lanterns, or white ceramic pitchers. If you have a little craftiness in your DNA (and have the time!) cover aluminium cans with patterned paper, tie ribbon around them, and fill with peonies. Cheaper flowers can be bought from supermarkets and you could choose the most ‘blossomy’ stems so you’ll need fewer flowers to fill vases. Carnations (which are cool again these days!), Sweet Williams and scented stocks all fill a lot of space and don’t cost too much. Alternatively, pick your own flowers from the garden; daffodils in spring, foxgloves in June and hydrangea in August-September. If you want variety but don’t want it to look too ‘over the top’, mix up different types of flowers but use the same holders on each table.vintage china crockery floral shabby chic party ideas inspiration low cost budget thrifty table setting

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3 cheap party ideas (for this bank holiday & beyond!)

If you love entertaining and organising parties, but haven’t currently got the budget to spend on a fancy dinner party or big blow out with drinks, decorations and entertainment, then that’s no reason to put your hosting skills on ice. Bank holiday weekends tend to have a party atmosphere (woo an extra night out!) and bring out a fun, cheeky side in everyone so it’s a great time to get your pals together for an impromptu party. There are lots of ways you can put together a fun gathering for your friends without spending much at all, and can be just as much fun as elaborate parties if you have some lively guests and keep everybody mingling. Here are three thrifty ideas for parties you could hold this bank weekend and beyond…

‘Pot Luck’ BBQ

Summer is coming, and this can only mean barbecues. Honestly, it wouldn’t be a bank holiday without someone dragging a BBQ out of the shed and getting all smoky with the sausages. Of course, buying all the food and other provisions for a good barbecue can quickly become expensive, so why not take the American concept of a ‘pot luck’ party? This is where everyone invited has to prepare and bring along a dish, and as it is a barbecue you can also give them the option to simply bring along some meat to cook. This can be a really nice idea if you have some friends who love to show off their cooking skills as they’ll bring something really delicious, but those who are less interested in the kitchen can just turn up with a pack of burgers or chicken for everyone to enjoy.pieday friday bbq flavoured olive burgers recipe

Check out my homemade BBQ burger recipe

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Map geek + Tips for adding personality to your rented home

Even though we all like our homes to reflect a little of our own style and personality, it can be difficult to make your house feel like a ‘home’ when you’re renting. Of course you can add your own furniture, pop some photos on the mantlepiece and throw down some colourful cushions, but the bare bones of the property – the walls – generally need to remain untouched. So how can you make a room feel cosy, comfortable and ‘yours’ when you’re restricted to magnolia paint and prohibited from wallpapering? Well, my solution is wall-art – and I’m talking some pretty large pieces too!map poster in loft apartment

A beautiful map makes a great focal point

When you can’t repaint a room or add a feature wall, investing in artwork is a great way to add personality and colour to an otherwise bland, rented apartment. Landlords tend to allow framed images to be hung on walls, as long as they are correctly fitted with picture-hooks etc – but don’t quote me on this, always be sure to check your tenancy agreement before you start to drill! If your landlord is happy for pictures to be hung on walls, you can make a big difference to your living space with some wall art and it doesn’t have to cost a small fortune either..!abstract map posters in living room interior design ideasI’m a huge advocate of using posters to change the feeling of a room, to add colour and pattern to a bare wall, or to define a space for a specific use. And we all know that posters are one of the most thrifty pieces of wall art that money can buy – that’s why we plastered our teenage bedroom walls with low-cost posters! But I’m going one step smarter than simply blu-tacking a poster to the wall, I’m suggesting that you frame your posters and even group them together to create a gallery wall of coordinating (or contrasting, for that matter) images.

Create a gallery wall of curated images – isn’t this Mexico-inspired room fab?

And seeing as I love maps so much (remember my Map Geek articles last year??) I decided that a map would be the ideal solution for my living room. No more wallpapering for me; I can make a big impact with just a 120 x 100cm poster and it fills the space above my sofa perfectly. A huge poster of this size certainly gives the room a focal point and ties together all of the colours in the room. World maps are easy – and relatively cheap – to find, and always tend to be the largest prints around. But I don’t only want to stick to traditional world maps – I love something a little more arty and abstract and that’s where the collection at Posterlounge comes in.country and city map posters images

Wall-art makes a great gift too – how about framing a map of somewhere you’ve travelled with your friend as a birthday present? Continue reading “Map geek + Tips for adding personality to your rented home” »


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Tuesday Shoesday – Payday party style on a budget

It can be hard to find the right pair of party shoes to suit your overall style. You want them to be on-trend yet timeless, match your party outfit but go with everything, and ultimately, be comfortable enough to dance the night away. But where can you find all of that on a thrifty budget? Don’t worry, you’re not alone – I’m here to help! I’ve come up with some fail-safe tips to make your money go further while shopping for footwear this payday so read on to find out how to buy your dream footwear at bargain prices. Just call me your fairy godmother! 😉

First up are the bargains. The absolute steals. The very last of the January sales. Yes, it may seem like there’s not much left on the sale shelves by payday, but the deals are still out there. You just need to know where to look. The ethos of the #WomanKind campaign I’ve signed up for is to care for yourself, and I’m not just talking about healthy eating and getting exercise (although I’m certainly enjoying this aspect too), I’m talking about simply being kind to yourself. So treating yourself to something that will make you feel great is definitely part of it! As they say, Cinderella is proof that a pair of shoes can change your life, so I think that getting the right footwear is a great start to feeling confident, looking fabulous and being kinder to yourself. Luckily, at lot of fashion sales are still going strong online so you don’t need to wander up and down the high street hoping to find a bargain in order to give yourself a payday treat. Try Mr-Shoes, ASOS and Clarks, all of whom are still offering big discounts in their clearance sections.his and hers shoes mustard and rust from clarks summer sale 2015-2One problem with searching online is that the style you love might already be out of stock in your size. So try not to fall head-over-heels in love with anything you find in the sales just yet. Dig deeper and check out what sizes are available before deciding whether they are your ideal pair. Some fashion sites allow you to filter your search by size, so that’ll save you time by pulling up all the footwear in the right size for you so you can concentrate your efforts into choosing the right style. Speaking of which…tuesday shoesday nude peep toe wedge heel summer shoes 2013 from nextMy second thrifty tip is to only buy something if you know you’ll wear it more than once; the ‘go-with-anything’ factor. If you choose a glittery pair of ruby red shoes (okay, who doesn’t want those?!) they might look fabulous for one night out, but what about the rest of the month? Or the rest of the year, for that matter? Something that matches your outfit perfectly today probably won‘t be the right pairing tomorrow, so they’ll end up stuffed under the bed or at the back of the wardrobe, not being worn. Continue reading “Tuesday Shoesday – Payday party style on a budget” »

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