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

chilli beef nachos recipe

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Pieday Friday – Awards & nachos

I know you should be getting a recipe post from me this lovely sunny Friday, but it’s a big day in the Cassiefairy calendar today – it’s the National Blog Awards!  And you’ll never guess what I’m going to talk about instead of cakes and pies ;) Today I wanted to quickly share with you my husband’s outfit choice for the big event and start making up for the serious lack of menswear posts on the blog!

I was thrilled when I found out that I could take a guest with me to the awards ceremony. At the Company awards I had to be brave and go in solo (but luckily I had my bestie Laurie Rose from My Blue Rinse blog to cling to!) but this time I will have my husband by my side to make me feel secure and more confident heading into the venue. As my date for the evening hubby will chauffer me to the event, make sure I don’t drink too much, keep an eye on whether I have food stuck in my teeth and will make sure I get back home safely afterwards – what a gem of a man he is! I know I won’t need to worry about him at all because he’s a great conversationalist, super-confident and such a clothes-horse that he’ll look amazing in anything. Hence the reason that it was so easy to pick out an outfit for him.

mens fashion style for spring 2014 with Joules smart shirt and blazer

The dress code on the invitation is ‘dress to impress’ and it’s hard to know just how smart or casual to go with it but we’ve been shopping (yes, he even came with me to choose his own shirt!) and this is the result of a few minutes deliberation – a gorgeous smart Joules shirt. It’s probably the most formal shirt in the shop in a pale blue stripe with tiny yellow dots embroidered all over. It looks amazing with his grey tweed blazer and the cut is equally smart when he takes the jacket off. He’ll be wearing the personalised cufflinks that I made for his birthday last year and one more possible accessory… I’ve been eyeing up the yellow lining and now think that it will look even more fabulous with a yellow bow-tie so I’ve made a last-minute tie purchase, but it’s up to hubby whether he chooses to wear it or not. I know he will look fabulous either way :)

mens fashion look using casual joules shirt and smart tweed blazer

We’re heading to the National Blog Awards in a few hours time (so you can imagine how excited I am right now!) and I will tell you all about the event afterwards. Luckily my husband will also be my official photographer, so even though my own photos might be a little squiffy after a glass of champagne, he will still be on hand to capture some lovely shots of the ceremony. Good luck to all the finalists and I can’t wait to meet you tonight!

Here’s a little Pieday Friday recipe for chilli beef nachos to keep you going until next week (you didn’t really think I’d leave it out this week, do you?!):

chilli beef nachos recipe

Ingredients: 1 large onion, finely chopped, 500g beef mince, 300g can drained kidney beans, 2 teaspoon of chilli powder, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon paprika, 2 tablespoons tomato paste, 1 beef stock cube, handful of coriander leaves.

Sautee the onion in a little Fry Light then add the beef mince and cooked until browned. Sprinkle on the spices and garlic before adding the tomato paste and frying for a minute. Dissolve one beef stock cube in 100ml boiling water and pour into the pan before adding kidney beans. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes and season to taste. Top a bowl of nacho chips with the chilli beef then grate cheese over the top before grilling for a couple of minutes until the cheese has melted. Dig in and add a couple of side dishes of salsa, sour cream and guacamole!

tuesday shoesday mens shoes grey farli limit brogues from clarks


Tuesday Shoesday – Dapper Mens Shoes

Today we are taking a rare look at menswear. I know I should focus on fellas footwear more often so I’m starting today with a look at smart mens shoes and hopefully inspire men all around the country to smarten up for special occasions!

I’m specifically targeting this blog post at my husband because we’ve got a couple of important events coming up this weekend; the National Blog Awards in London and our best friends’ wedding, where hubby is doing a reading during the ceremony. I’m not saying that he’s usually turn up scruffy to events like this – in fact, he scrubs up very well and looks great in a blazer – but I wanted to make sure that his shoes were equally as well buffed-up as his well-ironed shirt!

clarks smart shoes collection 2014 review

He certainly did need a new pair of smart shoes for the ‘wedding season’, but what to go for? All the smart shoes I’ve seen on the high street are basic (boring) black or brown and although I love a pair of brogues myself, hubby wasn’t too sure that something decorative was for him. That was until we headed to the menswear section at Clarks. I usually have to drag my husband into a shop and it’s tough to get him to spend more than 1 minute looking at something before making a purchase but this time he was like a kid in a sweet shop (or a man in a shoe shop) and spent ages looking at the range, actually trying on shoes, getting the right fit and choosing from all the surprisingly funky styles of smart shoes in store. I’ve included a few images of the shortlist above - what do you think of these smart shoes from Clarks? The trouble was getting him to settle on just one pair but after about an hour (that’s quite an achievement to keep any man in a shop for that long eh Clarks?!) he finally chose this lovely pair of grey brogues.

Tuesday Shoesday - Dapper mens brogues shoes from Clarks

Somewhere between a smart dress shoe and a casual bowling shoe, the funky design of the ‘Farli Limit’ shoes stood out from all the rest and the distressed grey leather had hubby hooked straight away. I know he loves to polish up his shoes (that’s the boy-scout in him!) so we picked up a pot of grey polish too and he’s all set for our weekend of events. I know he is planning to wear his grey blazer to the blog awards so the shoes will look rather funky with his smart/casual outfit for an evening of fun. For the wedding day he has picked out his trusty pinstripe suit and I’m certain the shoes will look great with such a smart get-up for this special occasion too. I think that these are a great pair of investment shoes that can be worn for pretty much any smart occasion and now that my husband is happy with his choice I know they will come out of their box at every opportunity!

tuesday shoesday mens shoes grey farli limit brogues from clarks

What do you think of these dapper mens shoes? Would you choose these yourself? Tweet me with your favourite smart shoes this Tuesday Shoesday at @Cassiefairy :)


Festive fashion for men

Not only do us girls need to look the part for the festive party season, but the fellas need to sharpen up their image for all the Christmas functions they will be attending too. Outside of the office is the perfect time to shine and really show off your fashion know-how and good taste, so Christmas parties give you the chance to step out of your 9-to-5 suit and choose something really ‘you’.

So what is out there for men this winter season? A top trend for smart-casual wear is the blazer – a sharper cut than a traditional suit, it looks fashionable and classy, while accentuating broad shoulders and makes any man look more streamlined! My husband is a particular fan of the blazer and will wear one with a shirt, jumper or even denim to make any outfit look a little more dressy. He has been clamouring for a custom-fitted blazer for years and getting the right fit for someone with longer-than-normal arms is important, so it is a good investment to buy a custom-made blazer in a navy blue or deep grey that will go with anything. He’ll be able to wear it for work, special occasions and smart events all year round, so will certainly get his money’s-worth out of it! Knowing my husband, he will probably want to have a bright or patterned lining fabric, and when having a jacket custom-made, he can do just that!

mens festive party wear tailored blazers from balani

A second option for more formal festive events is the tailored suit from Balani (below). Nothing looks better on a man than a well-cut suit (just think about James Bond for a moment…) and it cannot be beaten for elegant style when combined with the right shirt and tie accessories. My husband favours a suit for this kind of event, because it means he will be warm while getting to and from the event, he can take off the suit jacket to dance and he tells me that he likes to be chivalrous by offering his jacket to shivering ladies (obviously, he only offers his jacket to me now, or at least I hope so!). Although a suit might seem a rather safe choice, you can make the look your own by choosing a cool colour, interesting pattern or textured fabric. Plus my husband likes to add the loudest bow-tie he can find – at least it serves as a good ice-breaker! James Bond he is not!

mens festive party wear tailored suits from balani

Images courtesy of Balani

So while you’re looking gorgeous and glamorous in your best party dress, your date will look equally classy in a swish tailored outfit and the pair of you will turn heads at any special events you attend over the festive period.


Tuesday Shoesday ~ Mens brogues

There’s something about the trend for ‘boyfriend’ clothes that makes me happy. It always looks so comfortable – probably because it’s over-size – and there’s always the chance that it will still smell a little of your fella’s aftershave, which is the best scent in the world! I’ve been shopping for a denim shirt for ages but couldn’t find the right one, so when my hubby tried on a gorgeous denim shirt in H&M I actually ‘grrrr’d that he’d found one and I hadn’t. But then a light-bulb went off in my head and I demanded that I try it on too. So I headed into the changing rooms and thankfully it fitted me just right and I didn’t look too much like I was wearing a typical painter-and-decorator outfit (which is what all the women’s denim shirts looked like on me). So we decided to go halves on it and share the denim shirt. It obviously looks waaay better on him than on me, but I love it and it’s kinda cute-but-sickening that we are sharing clothes now!

tuesdsay shoesday mens footwear grey suede brogues for ladies

Now, it’s not quite the same deal with ‘boyfriend shoes’. Unless you and your fella have got the same size feet, the whole ‘caring-and-sharing’ thing isn’t going to work. Hubby bought this grey suede pair above from a charity shop in Cambridge and although I think they are great, there’s no-way I’d be able to wear them on my size 4 trotters. But taking inspiration from mens shoes does work and I love, love, LOVE all the the brogue-esque ladies shoes out there. You may remember that I stocked up on a pair of school shoes from New Look recently (below) and I’ve just realised how broguey they actually are – albeit with a small heel. I think it’s the heel, the wedge or the stiletto that makes these brogues more wearable for women (especially vertically-challenged ones like me) – although a flat pair with trousers is super cool or wearing flat brogues with a casual dress is possibly the cutest look around.

tuesday shoesday back to school shoes from new look

I’m currently reading Luella’s Guide to English Style by designer Luella Bartley and she mentions brogues in her list of English fashion staples – here’s what she has to say about them: “A rolled-up boiler suit, white ankle socks and a pair of brogues. One of the pivotal moments in my style education. Bananarama, I will always love you. There is so much more I could say on this matter but isn’t that beautiful vision a strong enough argument in itself?”. If Luella is championing the traditional brogue in her list of stylish footwear, we can’t be going too far wrong by wearing these classics.

While out on the high street this week, I noticed a massive influx female brogues in the stores and, although I’m sticking with my bargain ‘school shoes’ from the teen department, here are my favourites from New Look at £16, tan ASOS shoes at £14 in the sale,  and patent brogues £12 from George at Asda – what a bargain!

tuesday shoesday ladies brogues flat shoes from george asda asos new look

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Fashion’s not just for big fairies – its for the fellas too…

Today sees the launch of the British Fashion Council’s dedicated mens fashion weekend so I thought I’d better take some time to focus on men’s fashion for a change!

NEWGEN MEN began in September 2009 and has since become instrumental in raising the profile of emerging British designers and the first ever male-only fashion week  London Collections: Men is running from 15th – 17th June, kick starting the Menswear calendar with a showcase of British brands and businesses. This event has developed from the popular Men’s day at London Fashion Week and gives male fashion its own focused event and will emphasise both the creative and commercial importance of Britain’s brands and emerging talent as well as the rich British cultural landscape that continues to the inspire and improve the success of the fashion industry in the UK.

Caroline Rush CEO of the British Fashion Council, commented “We’re delighted to be supporting six of London’s emerging menswear talents this season, with special thanks going to TOPMAN for their continued and on-going support of the NEWGEN MEN initiative. This announcement kick-starts the countdown to the launch of our dedicated menswear showcase, London Collections: Men, and is the perfect opportunity to celebrate Britain as a leading force in menswear and capital of emerging talent.”

At London Collections: Men you can expect to see refined tailoring by menswear designer Lou Dalton, Knitwear from fashion collective SIBLING, high quality crafted pieces by Christopher Raeburn and even jewellery from Andrew Bunney. So I’ll be keeping an eye out to gain inspiration for hubby’s Autumn/Winter wardrobe and I hope to be able to update you on some of my favourite looks from NEWGEN MEN in subsequent posts.