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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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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The next big interior design trends for 2017

The New Year is a great time to think about freshening up our homes with new indoor furniture, updated colour schemes and a few of the hottest accessories in line with the latest trends. It’s also the time of year that trend forecasters pull out their crystal balls and announce the home décor trends coming up in the year ahead.
I’ve had a look at all the predictions and here are my picks of the top eight interior themes we can expect to see in 2017.

A photo posted by coshliving (@coshliving) on


Super Natural
As technology becomes more and more integral to our daily lives and developments such as artificial intelligence and 3D printing look set to cause greater disruption, people are looking to nature and natural materials to provide balance. A strong desire to bring nature into our homes and workplaces will see interiors filled with greenery, from hanging pots, to hydroponic indoor gardens planted with vegetables and herbs. Sustainable and recycled materials will also feature strongly, with worn or aged furnishings and accessories. Sofas and designer furniture will be made from sustainable materials;  designers are even beginning to experiment with algae and fungi to develop new products. Key colour for this trend is Pantone’s Colour of the Year for 2017 ‘Greenery’, a bright and powerful green hue.pantone-greenery-colour-pop-interior-design-trend-2017Nordic Influence
Scandinavian style continues to exert a strong influence on interiors with abundant natural light, a sense of space and simple well-designed furniture using natural materials. Natural textures and materials – such as wooden furniture, fur and shearling throws, hides and cork – ensure this look never appears cold or sterile. Bold fabrics and handcrafted accessories are also key elements. Key colours to recreate this look in your own home include white and soft gray with primary coloured accents.sideboard-sandinavian-danish-colour-pop-chair-mid-century-modernRaw and Industrial
The raw, industrial aesthetic is also still a strong influence, with concrete, clay, steel and glass forming the main materials. Again, this suits the trend for upcycled homewares as older items with rust spots, faded colours and patina fit in perfectly. If you’re lucky, you could give your home an industrial look for only a few pounds if you’re able to find disused shop/factory fittings, wooden pallets and rusted metalwork. The key colours for this look are gray, beige, off-white, yellow, white, walnut brown and glints of gold and copper.industrial-interior-design-trend-2017Reflective
For enthusiasts of contemporary furniture and décor, this design theme could be for you. The atmosphere here is soft and friendly, without being overly romantic and sweet. Modern materials and indoor furniture will feature cool mirrored, transparent effects. Look out for iridescent lamps, overlapping coloured glass shapes, shiny glazes, copper finishes, faceted shapes and reflective surfaces. These modern effects are contrasted with the tactility of handmade knitting and crochet to create a very livable theme. Choose muted key colours such as nude, blue, lavender, yellow, rose, turquoise, yellow-green, pastel yellow, peach, mint, lilac and pink.pop-of-colour-yellow-interior-design-trend-2017Pops of Strategic Colour

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The 12 Days OFF Christmas – Light up the New Year

I love fairy lights and can’t get enough of them over Christmas and New Year. In fact, I like having them up all year round so while I’m still away on holiday I thought I would share some photos of gorgeous fairy lights from my instagram account. Hope you had a lovely New Year’s Eve! 🙂

A photo posted by Cassiefairy (@cassiefairy) on

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Inspiration for your wedding, home & money goals for 2015

This time of year is always special for me. Not only is it the month of my birthday, Christmas and New Year, but it is also the time of year that I met my husband all those years ago. Our first dates were Christmas shopping, festive coffee breaks and romantic seasonal meals. We spoke on the phone on Christmas day and we officially became girlfriend and boyfriend on New Year’s Eve. So I always start thinking about ‘us’ at this time of year and how far we’ve come since those early days. When we first got together we were both students so we were on a fairly tight budget, and our dates usually involved a thrifty two-for-one offer, a meal deal or matinée cinema showing, but the lack of funds didn’t stop us enjoying each other’s company!stag christmas wedding

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My new year plan ~ a little jar of happy

Apparently, Friday was the day that most people abandon their new years resolutions and give in to their old habits or cravings. As you know, I already struggled to keep on top of my resolution to write a blog post every day and failed after only 2 – but that was down to me being off on holiday and once I got back to my ‘normal’ work schedule I’ve stuck with it every day and have actually blogged twice a couple of times – so maybe over the course of the month I’ll have caught up with myself! Anyway, one of my other new years resolutions was simply to keep an eye on all the good things in my life and make a note of them. I’ve therefore made a ‘gratitude’ jar to house all of the happy times to come.

diy craft project little jar of happy gratitude happiness

I used a large pickled gherkin jar – thoroughly washed out to get rid of the vinegar smell – and I spray painted the lid with a little metallic paint to make it look prettier. I simply added a luggage tag and rustic ribbon bow around the top of the jar and now it’s pride of place on my bookshelf. I’ve put a little bundle of notelets, post-its and pens next to the jar so that it’s super-easy to add a note and I can do it straight away while the happy event is still in my mind.

craft project make your own little jar of happy DIY happiness and gratitude pot

I’ve already added about 15 notes to the jar and I have recruited hubby into the project so that he will also add his happy times into the jar, then we can enjoy reading them all at the end of 2014 and remembering all the lovely things that have happened to us over the year. The quote that I’ve written on the back of my luggage tag is “Enjoy the little things in life… for one day you’ll look back and realise they were the big things”.


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Pieday Friday ~ My plans for a healthy start to the New Year

I’m taking a different approach this Pieday Friday and instead of sharing another naughty recipe to tempt you away from your new year health-kick I’m going to discuss ways that you can make your healthy-eating resolutions even easier. You may remember that last week I shared ways in which you can declutter your home and reorganise your wardrobe for a more productive, efficient and relaxed new year and today, I’m focusing on a similar overhaul for your kitchen – more specifically, your refrigerator. Many of us have made a new year’s resolutions to be more healthy, eat better and take care of ourselves, both physically and mentally. These are all excellent ideas in order to make 2014 happier and healthier year for you, but there are already things in your life that will stop you from getting stuck into that new healthy eating regime – so I’m having a clear out of my kitchen cupboards in order to stay on track and stick to my good intentions throughout the year. 

Festive leftoversIt’s the start of January and it’s inevitable that we’ve all still got tempting snacks, family-sized packs of crisps and those boxes of chocolates we received as a gift still hanging around our homes after the festivities of the previous month. Just because it’s January doesn’t mean that we have suddenly become wasteful, but just because the leftovers are there, it doesn’t mean you have to eat them up to clear them way. It’s your choice whether you eat that box of biscuits before kicking off your healthy start, but you don’t have to – there may be other members of your family who will enjoy them or you can give them away to friends. Or maybe you could have one big ‘finishing up’ party, where everyone you know brings over the odds and ends of their festive food shop and you all finish it off together. Or hold on to them and hide them out of sight, so that when you’re bursting for just one Lindt chocolate, you’ll be able to treat yourself and satisfy that craving without going out to buy a whole box of chocs and end up scoffing the lot. But in the end what you want is a fridge that is clear of all those cheeses and pots of cream and to start afresh with clear cupboards and empty tubs. This will make way for all the healthy options you’re going to treat yourself to during your next trip to the supermarket. If you know you’ve got room in your refrigerator, you might be more keen to snap up saintly salads, fruits and fat free yoghurts. Good on you!

healthy refrigerator fruit and vegetables

Healthy refrigerator c/o Inspiration for Wellbeing

Cupboard clearing – Ok, admit it, how many of you have stacks of old foods at the back of your cupboards? I found some unopened crackers from 2012 in my cupboard only a couple of days ago while I was clearing out for the new year. These are the kinds of foods that you’re probably not going to eat so can easily clear out.  Let’s face it, if it has a use-by date of 2010 and you’ve not yet eaten it, you probably won’t ever eat it – especially now that it might be a health hazard! The biggest culprits are dried ingredients, old tinned food, and pots of spices. It’s time to check all the items in the back of your cupboards and make sure they are in-date and haven’t been opened then left to go stale. It’s a good idea at this stage to make a note of what you’re putting back into the cupboards and keep similar foodstuffs together, so that you can organise meals which will use up these items – that’s like having free food if you’re using up something you’d forgotten all about, and it will certainly save you money by reducing the chance of it quietly going mouldy in the dark recesses of a cupboard and being wasted altogether. In the cupboard space that you have after clearing out all of the old food, load it up with healthy choices to snack on such as my favourite Ryvita crackers and plain popcorn, then add pots of lovely herbs, spices and condiments to add flavour to your healthy cooking throughout the year.

I hope these tips will help you to stick to your goals for achieving a healthier you in 2014 and will also save you money in the long-run!


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Tuesday Shoesday ~ Healthy feet

Welcome to the second Tuesday Shoesday blog post of 2014. It a new year and I’ve been talking all week about the good intentions that I’ve started off the year with. I’ve noticed that a lot of my friends and blogging colleagues have been talking about new year aims rather than resolutions and I think this is a better way of looking at my plans for the new year. Traditionally, resolutions are made to be broken – just how long did I last with my main resolution?! – so anything that allows for a little more flexibility will be better in order to keep you on track with you good intentions for a longer period of time. So if your aim this year is to be more healthy, you don’t have to resolve to eat less cake and go to the gym every day, you can simply aim to become more active and include that in ever area of your life. And, believe it or not, that’s where today’s Tuesday Shoesday comes in..!

As I mentioned last week, it’s a good idea to kick-start a fitness regime in a new pair of trainers in order to help stick to your resolutions and, more importantly, the right footwear will help to support your feet and minimise the risk of injury while exercising. Whether you’re taking up running or simply aiming to get outside more for a good hike (like I am  intending – just as soon as this cold weather improves!) it makes sense to make sure you’ve got the right kind of footwear or add supportive insoles or heel cushions for women to your existing footwear in order to keep your feet in their original healthy condition. After all, you don’t want your good intentions to result in damaged feet!

tuesday shoesday healthy footwear from simply feet

I always find that the best discounts on proper supportive footwear can be found online and at the moment all the professionally developed trainers and good quality wide fitting ladies shoes at Simply Feet (above) are on sale and just because they are good for your feet doesn’t mean they aren’t stylish too! So you can get your health-kick off to a flying start at a bargain price!

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Back to normal & back to work

Today, I’m back to normal. After all the festivities of Christmas and new year, an after a month of having a poorly hubby at home recovering from an operation, we are finally heading back to work and back into our normal routine. I know many people went back to work last week, but today pretty much everyone is at work and the children are heading back to school so I know that most of you will be feeling the same way that I do today, which is slightly anxious, overtired and a little bit flat. They don’t call it Blue Monday for nothing!

The second week of January usually has a lively back-to-school atmosphere, with more cars on the road, child-focussed Christmas TV schedules abandoned and Chris Evans back on the BBC Radio 2 breakfast show (I don’t even bother listening when the replacement radio presenters are broadcasting over holidays!), so that means that the whole country is waking up earlier and getting into the swing of 2014. I am excited about what the year has in store for us and I’m keen to get back to my full-time blogging work, but after such a prolonged period of rest, I’m wondering how I will get on – will I even remember how my regular schedule went? I’m sure I had a routine that I used to follow each day to keep me on track but all I can think about today is lunch at 12:30!

And that brings me onto another thing that I’ve got mixed feelings about – getting back into a normal eating routine. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has abandoned their usual healthy eating plan in favour of eating After 8’s after 8 AM and replacing lunch with a pot of Pringles? Every year I think that I’ll only over-indulge during the one week of Christmas, but this year I actually started my festive eating schedule before my birthday at the start of December and I’ve been steadily munching my way through snacks, chocolates and big roast dinners – with the intention of finishing it all up before today. Because today I will stop the scoff and get back to normal – if only I could remember what I used to eat! Has it really been that long since I cooked a proper dinner? I’m going to have a look through the old Slimming World recipe book and write out a list!

happiness gratitude jar new year craft project for 2014

Gratitude jar by Rhian Thomas via Pinterest

But on a more cheerful note, the new year is not just about depriving myself of Lindt and knuckling down to work, it’s about aiming to create a creative, happier and more productive version of me! So I can happily report that I’ve been writing interesting and humorous entries in my new mustard-yellow diary (instead of the usual ‘ate this, went there’ records) and I’ve been collecting together notelets, Post-its and writing paper in order to start my happiness jar – a similar idea to this gratitude jar above that I found on Pinterest. I think this is a great idea for keeping track of positive moments and keep my mind’s-eye looking out for special moments. It can only be a good thing to take time out to appreciate and record natures miracles or joyous events, and I’m already looking forward to opening it up at the end of the year – or whenever I need cheering up at any time! Sounds good, huh?

So I hope you have an easy transition back into your daily routine, whatever you’re doing and you can always chat with me if you need a bit of cheering up or some grumpy commiserating! I’m @Cassiefairy on Twitter or leave me a comment below 🙂

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