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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Festive gifts that help others – A better-than Fairtrade marketplace

I know you’re all thinking about Christmas shopping by now. Well, I’m ready to get started on my annual gift hunt – I’ve even bought the wrapping paper! In my search for special gifts and thrifty treats I stumbled upon Discovered. This online marketplace recommended to me and I’m glad I took the time to check it out.gold-pillow-embroidered-cushion-cover-gift

I wouldn’t mind owning this beautiful embroidered cushion myself!

Like Etsy but connecting you with craftspeople all over the world, this online marketplace lists finely crafted gifts and homewares. You can discover handmade products by artisans from emerging countries such as India, Morocco and South Africa. But the main difference is that Discovered takes the idea of Fairtrade one step further; you can buy handicrafts direct from the maker.embroidery-colourful-bag-handbag-discovered-hand-crafted

And this embroidered handbag too – can you believe it costs less than £20?

The artisans on Discovered design, create and sell beautiful accessories, bags, jewellery and home decoration items. Every product that is sold on Discovered has its own, unique story and you won’t just find it in any other store. In addition, for every item they sell the artisans will receive a fair price because the supply chain is shortened; from the maker, via Discovered and to you.tea-glasses-decorated-painted-glass-gift

I love chai and these hand-painted tea glasses cost less than £15  Continue reading “Festive gifts that help others – A better-than Fairtrade marketplace” »


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Tuesday Shoesday – Blue suede boots for autumn

I’ve never seen an autumn like it. There are so many leaves on the ground at the moment that you can’t really see the grass anymore. The colours are so vibrant and I’m sure there are more shades of orange, red, green, yellow and brown in this year’s fallen leaves than ever before. And with a garden covered in beautiful autumn leaves like this, who wouldn’t go outside for a spot of leave-kicking at the weekend? Well, that’s what I did anyway!autumn-shoes-blue-suede-boots-kicking-leaves-fashion-trend-winterMy husband did the most adorable thing and raked the leaves into the shape of a heart. And then even went to the trouble of spelling out the word autumn across the middle. He’s a creative sort and knows how much I love this time of year. I’m pretty sure that’s why he did it, and not just to get a great Instagram photo for himself. Anyway, after he’d finished taking some snaps, I had the best fun kicking my way through the words and destroying the whole thing, bwahahahha!autumn-kicking-leaves-gifAs it’s Tuesday Shoesday I felt it would be appropriate to share some snaps of my new autumn boots at the same time. After my trusty brown boots finally crumbled after two years of constant wear, I decided it was time for a new pair. I wanted them to last me well, but look a little more cool than I usually choose. Plus, I needed my shoes to come in under my £20 budget too. That’s not too much to ask is it? Well, apparently yes, it is.autumn-shoes-blue-suede-boots-kicking-leaves-fashion-trend-winter-8I had trouble finding a pair of boots that did everything I needed. I mean, I just wanted some boots with a small heel, speedy zip fastening (I’ve no time for laces these days), in lovely faux suede or leather, and in this year’s hottest colour navy blue. After shopping around it started to look like my thrifty budget wasn’t going to stretch to a new pair of boots for me this year. However, when I hopped onto the Deichmann website I found rows and rows of shoes and boots, with most of them priced at £20 and under.autumn-shoes-blue-suede-boots-kicking-leaves-fashion-trend-winter-4I perked up a bit at this point and clicked through out their most recent collection for Autumn/Winter 2017. Wahey! Boots! Wedge boots, Chelsea boots, ankle boots and knee-high boots. And not just boots; my favourite shoe style brogues were available in patent navy blue too. But that’s not what I was there for. I stuck to my shopping list and looked only at the ankle boots section. My will-power is strong.autumn-shoes-blue-suede-boots-kicking-leaves-fashion-trend-winter-3 Continue reading “Tuesday Shoesday – Blue suede boots for autumn” »


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Staying safe from fraud this Christmas time

We all know how stressful Christmas shopping can be. You’ve got so many people to buy for in so little time and worst of all, the shops are so full that you have to battle your way through in order to get it all done. It’s no wonder you might not have had a chance to think about keeping yourself safe from fraudsters.

But it’s important that you do, as fraudsters are always thinking of new ways to catch you out. You might think it’s more likely to occur in the hustle and bustle of the high street but unfortunately these days, you’re even at risk in the comfort of your own home. In fact, fraud through online shopping cost the UK over £163 million in 2013 according to Financial Fraud Action UK, appearing top of the list of the most common types of fraud.vintage christmas shopping

Continue reading “Staying safe from fraud this Christmas time” »


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Christmas shopping ~ online or offline?

I’ve pretty much finished all my Christmas shopping and am pretty sure that I’m going to be spending all weekend wrapping gifts, so long as all my deliveries arrive today. Yes, I’ve been doing most of my festive shopping online this week and I want to quickly discuss just how very convenient it is to shop this way… We all know that we have to support our local stores to keep them going, and I always always buy as much as I can from the independent stores in my nearest village all year round, but there are some specialist things that you just can’t get from the farm shop or haberdashery so I’ve needed to investigate other ways to buy my gifts this year.

Convenience-wise, shopping online is unbeatable; I can shop from my desk during every spare moment, I can get up-to-the-minute stock updates (rather than driving to the shop and finding my item is out of stock, which has happened to me on more than one occasion!) and I can use discount codes and free postage offers to cut my spend. When I factor in the distance travelled to my nearest town (about 45 minutes drive) and the parking costs, I think I’m better off shopping this way when I’m as strapped for time and cash as I currently am! I’m not adding to the traffic congestion or ‘pollution’ in city centres by staying at home and I’m keeping delivery drivers employed. Or maybe I’m just trying to justify something that might not be the best solution for festive shopping…. hmm.

christmas shopping in uk Continue reading “Christmas shopping ~ online or offline?” »


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Thriftmas Style Blogger Challenge

Earlier this week I was invited to join in with the Thriftmas Style Blogger Challenge, to buy a complete party outfit for the festive season for less than £75 online. Could it be done? There was only one way to find out… I was very excited to give it a try and set to work immediately – any excuse to shop, eh?!

I decided to start my search by looking on VoucherBox.co.uk to find out what sales and promotions were currently going on – I always find that this is the best place to search out special offers and any store-wide sales are all listed in one place. So within a couple of minutes I’d found out that New Look was offering 60% off dresses and ASOS had a sale in progress offering a whopping 70% off fashion and accessories. So I headed straight to these websites to see what bargains I could find! new look dress for christmasI found my dream dress in the New Look sale at only £15, reduced from £24.99. I had actually wanted to buy this dress at full price earlier in the year because I loved the tulip shape of it and I always find wrap around styles really flattering, so I’m thrilled that it has now been reduced AND still available in my size! I think that the bright colour is perfect for Christmas and New Years parties and it even comes with the belt so that’s one less accessory that I need to buy! The soft sheen of the fabric makes it look more expensive than it is – no one would ever guess that I’d got a party dress AND a belt for just £15!

new look sale bargains

While I was on the New Look website, I decided to hunt out some accessories. Partly because there was an ‘Under £10’ sale section, but mainly because I would be able to get free Click and Collect delivery if I spent over £19.99! So really, if you deduct the standard postal delivery cost of £3.99 that I would have needed to pay if I didn’t buy my £8 bag, this means my handbag has ‘technically’ only cost me £4.01! In total I spent £23 at New Look. Oh how I long for the good old days of NUS student discount (don’t forget to use yours if you’re a student to get extra cash off full-price items) but hey, I’ve already got most of my outfit sorted at a fraction of the price (originally £43.98) it should have been!

new look 2 dorothy perkins shoes for xmas party

I found a voucher code on VoucherBox.co.uk for 10% off everything on the Dorothy Perkins website and I was sure that I would be able to find the perfect pair of party shoes there. I’d admired my friend Megan from Briar Rose Blog’s silver shoes for a while and had even featured them on my blog earlier this week, so when I saw this pair of lookalike kitten heels reduced to £13.30, I knew that they were the ones for me! The lower heels will ensure that I can continue to party the night away at any festive gathering I go to in my Thriftmas outfit and I will still be able to walk home afterwards without sore feet! I used my voucher code to get £1.33 off my shoes and even with the delivery charge I only spent £15.92 in Dorothy Perkins rather than the £22.95 it would have cost me at full price. My outfit was nearly complete…

dorothy perkins 1 asos blazer for christmas partyI hopped over to the ASOS website after seeing that there was a 70% off sale on the VoucherBox website and I wasn’t disappointed; there were 1000s of discounted items from jumpsuits to hotpants, but what I was really interested in was the jewellery! Of course, I always start my searches by setting the drop-down sort box to ‘price from low to high’ so that I can work my way up from the cheapest possible option and I immediately found a gorgeous horseshoe necklace for only £3. I love horses and unicorns so this necklace is the perfect accessory for my party outfit. I was going to stop there, but I had a quick look in the petite section to see what was on offer and I spotted a smart black blazer, and seeing as my Thriftmas outfit is supposed to see me through the Winter party season, I thought that a coat to keep me warm on cold nights was essential! So I added this classy jacket to my basket, which took my spend to over £15 and therefore entitled me to free delivery again! So if I deduct the cost of the standard £3.95 delivery, I’m actually getting my necklace for free AND a pound off, haha! My total spend at ASOS was £21 rather than £44.95 and now my outfit is ready to grace any Christmas party!asos christmas party

In total my outfit should have cost me £111.88 at full price, without voucher codes and with delivery charges but I have managed to save over £50 and bring this total down to £59.92 – yes, I will be wearing an outfit this Christmas that is worth almost double what I paid for it! I know I could have saved even more if I’d chosen a cheaper dress or even skipped the blazer (but who wants to be chilly on a night out?!) but this outfit would definitely see me through all the work Christmas parties, family events and festive nights out friends that I’ve got planned during December so I’m sure that my cost-per-wear will be very thrifty indeed, thanks to some good advice from VoucherBox and a bit of clever calculating!

Let me know if you find any festive bargains yourself and I’d love to see what you’ll be wearing this party season, so please tweet me your photos and deals to @Cassiefairy.

 


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Tuesday Shoesday ~ Menswear sale bargains

Last week I treated the man in my life to a few goodies from the ASOS sale. I was planning to buy a dress and jumper from Sugarhill Boutique, which were both reduced in the ASOS 70% off sale, so I decided to browse the menswear section to see if there were any sale bargains that my husband would like for Autumn/Winter. I spotted a few goodies and after a little bit of persuading, he sat down at the computer with me and we added some bits to my basket together.

menswear sale shopping at asos-7

Jumper and jeans from the ASOS sale

A new pair of jeans was essential, and he also spotted a couple of garish patterned jumpers that he couldn’t leave behind, and soon the basket was filling up nicely with a selection of sale bargains. I hate to say it, but I think he was actually enjoying shopping online, and I’m pretty sure this is one of the only times that he has ever bought clothes online – with the possible exception of tacky Christmas jumpers on EBay!

menswear sale shopping at asos-4 menswear sale shopping at asos-5

Sturdy canvas pumps ~ only £6 in the ASOS sale

What I was most impressed with was the selection of super-cheap shoes in the menswear sale and I ordered a couple of pairs of trainers for him too. We narrowly missed out on some £15 leather brogues which were sold out in his size, but many of the pumps and trainers were still available in the right size so I snapped up these navy blue canvas shoes (above) for only £6 because I knew they would be good for everyday wear, even in the spring and with shorts in summer.

menswear sale shopping at asos menswear sale shopping at asos-2

My husband’s favourite retro trainers ~ £10 in the ASOS sale

These retro “green flash” style trainers caught my husband’s eye and he’d added them to the basket before I could protest. At only £10 I agreed they were a bargain (especially after we’d recently been shopping for trainers on the high street and had come home with nothing due to the crazy prices) and when they arrived they looked even better than I’d imagined. Maybe it’s because my husband is such a clothes-horse, but he made them look school-boy cool – and even the crazy jumpers looked great on him.

Unfortunately, the dress was too short for my preference (which is unusual because dresses are usually knee-length as standard for me because of my short legs!) so that had to be returned and I’ve sent hubby to the post office with the parcel today. The cloud pattern jumper was way too big for me despite being the same size as the dress, which fit perfectly other than the length, so I’ve exchanged it for two sizes smaller and am hoping that it will be just right when it arrives.

All in all it was a very successful shopping experience for my husband and I think he’ll be keen to buy clothes and shoes online again in the future. Do you like to shop in the sales too? Did you get any bargains? Please leave me a comment below or tweet me photos of your mid-season sale bargains!


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Why can’t I be a pin-up girl when I’m cooking?

Check out this cute apron that I recently spotted in the gift shop on Southwold pier. It’s a sexy, hour-glass shaped ladies apron, and it’s pretty much the sort of dress I’d love to buy – in fact, if I had two of them I think I’d wear it as a dress!

It’d be great to wear when I’m doing my baking – no longer will I look frumpy, but much more like the sultry domestic goddess I am on the inside ;). As you know, I’m pretty thrifty and am already hatching a plan to create my own sexy apron! In fact, I have some particularly nice cotton fabric that I haven’t found a use for yet, so maybe I’ll have a go at adding some buttons and beads to customise my own apron!

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