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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Guest post – Unique ideas for a hen party

Planning the hen night can be a daunting task and even more so nowadays as bridal parties want something different and a night out drinking and wearing L-plates just won’t cut it. If you are looking for something competitive, challenging, fun, or just plain silly there is a hen night theme to match. Katie Jones from orlajames.com says to check out some of these unique ideas.

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Games-based hen weekends

There are many companies out there offering unique game-based hen weekends so if your friends have a competitive streak this might be the choice for you. From inflatable knock-out challenge games to human table football, the options are endless. Why not get into giant bubbles and race, set up a hen Olympics, or get into teams and play against each other in a Segway polo game to really drive your hen’s competitive spirit. For those who are more adventurous and are not scared of going underground, a weekend of trampolining in underground caves looks like an amazing hen holiday! Or for a slightly more gothic edge, a weekend of zombie paintball fighting could be awesome.

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Pampering weekends

No, not just a girlie weekend at a spa; there are some unusual options available including the chance to have a makeover and photoshoot where the hens are made over as mermaids. Or unicorns. Brides who want to treat their party to a nice meal, but with a twist, could opt for a Mad Hatter tea party, complete with costumes and characters, or why not go for a bedtime story themed evening where you can wear your best pyjamas and be entertained with stories after your meal. Or how about a day at a private cinema watching non-stop chick flicks while sipping Prosecco? Sound perfect! For some really quirky hen party ideas, then a tour round London on a vintage bus that is set up to offer quintessentially British afternoon tea could be just the ticket, not to mention a very civilised way to see the capital.

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How to make your party memorable

We all love to party and have fun with our friends and family, but sometimes events can be bit of a chore. We eat the same foods, do the same things for entertainment and see the same faces. Eventually, it’ll just get boring and we’ll probably stop going to as many parties as we used to — but that’s no fun! I love going to parties, and blogger events are the best. I’ve been inspired by some of the fab blogger events I’ve been to recently and have come up with a list of things you can do to turn a party into a truly memorable occasion. Here are some tips for doing away with those boring generic parties – spice it up with a couple of these fun ideas.

Make it an occasion

There’s nothing wrong with looking for a reason to have a party. Perhaps you have an upcoming anniversary, maybe it’s just an end-of-the-month party, or perhaps there’s a big sports game coming up soon. Whether or not you watch sports or care that it’s the end of the month, that doesn’t mean it’s not an occasion to have a party! When you plan an event to coincide with something else, it’s usually easier for the people you invite to remember it and, despite being something trivial, it could turn into a much more meaningful party.

Theme your parties

Always try to mix it up and have parties with different themes. Maybe you could have a fancy dress party one week and then a more formal dinner party another night. Perhaps you could theme a child’s party around their favourite superhero or cartoon character, and maybe you could have a cheeky night in with your friends to watch a film, play some games or do something creative together. Perhaps you could create some DIY neon signs like my ‘Candy’ one above to add to a colourful theme, or perhaps invest in some props to decorate your home with.

Check out my I Heart NY party and Galentine’s party ideas.

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How Millennials are doing weddings differently

Have you found yourself suddenly being invited to more weddings than ever before? Did the whole of last summer consist of hen parties and weddings at the weekends? If so, you’re probably a Millennial and are having almost the same calendar of weddings-hen-parties-and-baby-showers as I am at the moment!

Millennials are those of us who were born between 1980 and 2000. As a result, many Millennials are entering the time of life when they choose to get married. But it’s worth pointing out that they’re not doing everything the same as the generation before them. In fact, their approach seems rather different. Here is what millennials are doing to switch up their wedding experience.

They’re sharing on social media

If you went to school or university with somebody, you probably didn’t find out they got married through the newspaper or because you actually went to the wedding. Instead, the first time you heard about it was probably through a social media website, usually Facebook. This is something new for Millennials, the generation who grew up consuming social media. Unlike generations before them, they have the means to publicly share every detail about their big day, from start to finish.

In fact, things are getting even more intrusive with applications like Periscope which allow couples to have their entire day live-streamed over the internet. People who aren’t even at the event can enjoy it from the comfort of their own homes, which is great if there’s an old aunt who can’t make it to the event because of health reasons.

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DIY Neon sign for parties & weddings

I’ve made my first ever neon sign. It’s going to take pride of place in my office in a few months time but I couldn’t wait for all the decorating to be done before showing you the project. It took just a couple of hours, a can of bright pink spray paint and a length of EL wire to create this unique sign. So simple, but really effective. The full step-by-step guide to making the neon sign can be found in my blog post for Make It Yours. It may look complicated, but it’s actually a really simple process that involves some easy drilling and a spot of hot-gluing. I got my EL wire from Ebay, but it’s also available on Amazon and in craft stores. It came with a battery pack and the glowing neon is powered by a couple of AA batteries. The wire has three settings – flash, quick flash and steady on. And if you’re not a fan of pink don’t worry, it also comes in blue, purple, green, red and yellow, so your sign could be any – or all – of the above colours.In fact, I think it’s such a simple enough process that I could happily knock up a sign like this for any occasion. How about a ‘just married’ sign for weddings, a ‘Ho Ho Ho’ for Christmas, a huge glowing ‘2018’ for New Year’s Eve or a ‘#girlboss’ sign for your office? If you can think up a phrase, you can make it in neon! The sign I made works great as a candy station for a wedding, anniversary party, hen do, birthday party or even for the upcoming Valentine’s day. Give it a try – I bet you’ll impress yourself with your neon-sign-making skills!

I’m kind of addicted to this technique now – I want to make all kinds of signs in neon and I can already imagine my Halloween decor! But this isn’t the only DIY guide I’ve shared on the Make It Yours website – check out my profile and have a look at my other projects including snowy window decorations, a festive chair, how to distress furniture and a vintage bike makeover. There’s plenty more coming over the next few months so keep an eye on the website for more easy, thrifty and colourful projects during the Spring.


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Thrifty winter wedding outfit ideas

Being invited to a wedding always lifts my spirits. It means that one, often two, of my friends have found happiness, and are ready to settle down to a life together. It also means a party, a chance to meet up with old friends and family, dress up, and generally have a good time. Weddings really are wonderful, regardless of what time of the year they are held, but there is something extra special about a winter wedding.Wedding outfit in winterThe fact that few people get married in the colder months makes them occasions that are even more memorable. Winter weddings are a bright spot in what is often a grey and bland time of the year. As a result, I really look forward to them, but there is one issue, and that is finding something suitable to wear. For some reason, buying dresses for weddings in the winter months is nowhere near as easy as it is during the summer. I am not exactly sure why that is. Perhaps retailers are responding to the fact that demand for wedding outfits is not as strong as it is during the hotter months. However, if you know where to look, and think outside the box it is possible to find something suitable, and do so even if you are on a tight budget.

A long dress allows you to wear thick tights or even thermal leggings underneath for warmth!

A long dress allows you to wear thick tights or even thermal leggings underneath for warmth!

Rework what you have

If you have recently attended a Christmas or New Year’s Eve party, there is a good chance that you will already own something that is suitable. Often you can adapt a party dress and make it work for a wedding. This is especially the case if you will be attending an evening reception. The chances are during the ceremony you will be wearing a wrap, or coat to stay warm so a party style dress will not necessarily look out of place. Making the wrap yourself from a length of coordinating fabric is an easy way of keeping the cost of your outfit down, and ensuring that you end up with something that fits in properly with your dress.

A slip and tights make it possible to wear even the prettiest summer dress to a winter wedding

A slip and tights make it possible to wear even the prettiest summer dress to a winter wedding

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Pieday Friday – How to make crisps in the microwave + tasty flavour combinations

Oh my goodness, it’s Christmas next weekend. How did that happen? I feel like I’m not entirely ready for it yet so want to get a move on with planning my recipes for the festive period. I shared a round-up of my previous Christmassy recipes last week (including 2 types of gingerbread, coffee shop hacks and some Christmas cake ideas) but my favourite part of Christmas cooking is preparing snacks. I love to have hot crunchy savoury treats in the oven throughout the holidays (and mince pies too, of course) just in case a guest arrives. Surely, there’s nothing better than being welcomed into a home with a big plate of nibbles and treats, is there??pieday-friday-diy-low-fat-healthy-microwave-crisps-recipe-parmesan-paprika-salt-pepper-12I’ve made star tarts, pastry rolls, pizza twists and leftover pasties in the past but never have I attempted to make my own crisps. While I loooove crunchy crisps, I do worry about how healthy (or not!) they are, and I know that I’ll be tempted over Christmas. So when I began craving fried snacks I started to do some research into healthier ways to make my favourite treat. Let’s face it, I’m going to want to eat them all month long, and will definitely be dishing out bowls of crisps on New Years Eve too!pieday-friday-diy-low-fat-healthy-microwave-crisps-recipe-parmesan-paprika-salt-pepper-18It turns out that it IS possible to make crisps without a deep fryer, and all you need is a microwave. Considering that I got a new Panasonic steam combination microwave about three months ago, I was feeling very confident that I’d be able to pull off making my own crisps. It’s got a great range of power settings so knew I’d be able to adjust the power accordingly to get that perfect crunch. Well, noone wants a soggy crisp, do they? Here’s how I got on and the recipe for (wait for it…) parmesan and smoked paprika potato chips.pieday-friday-diy-low-fat-healthy-microwave-crisps-recipe-parmesan-paprika-salt-pepper-16Ingredients: Potatoes (1 ‘jacket’ sized potato will make a small bowlful of crisps), olive oil (or you could use Fry Light for an even healthier version), salt and pepper, dried parmesan and smoked paprika.pieday-friday-diy-low-fat-healthy-microwave-crisps-recipe-parmesan-paprika-salt-pepper-1

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Pieday Friday – 12 days of Christmas recipe round-up

I thought I’d share round-up of my favourite festive recipes this Pieday Friday. The idea was to get you in the mood for all the Christmas baking to come but, in fact, I’ve actually started craving most of these recipes now, so I’m sure I’ll be whipping up some tasty this weekend! Below you’ll find links to my top twelve “12 days of Christmas” recipe blog posts, starting with these snowy dark chocolate cookies and cream-filled snowball meringues – enjoy!pieday friday baking recipe microwave meringues chocolate cookies-13 Recipe for snowball meringues Christmas pudding dessert-18It wouldn’t be Christmas without gingerbread. Last year I made a gingerbread sleigh but the recipe can be used to make traditional gingerbread men or decorations to hang on your tree. You can find the classic gingerbread recipe in this blog post plus there’s a festive spiced banana muffin recipe in the gingerbread blog post too, bonus!baking-a-gingerbread-sleigh-using-cookie-cutters-1diy-halloween-cookie-recipe-chocolate-gingerbread-men-skeletons-treat-dessert-pudding-7Even though I first made this chocolate gingerbread recipe for halloween, it’s definitely going to be baked again in December. The chocolate makes a nice change to the traditional gingerbread biscuit recipe, and you could make a batch of both types for Christmas, mmm.

Cheesy Christmas Stars

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Last minute wedding tips to help you enjoy your big day!

Bridezilla is a state that a bride may occasionally morph into under times of tremendous stress. Though seldom seen, when a bridezilla does make an appearance, bridesmaids, wedding planners, and even the groom take refuge. We’re all well aware of the stress that comes from planning a wedding; money, time, and the looming eternal commitment to another human make for a pretty potent concoction of stress. To decrease the odds of morphing into a bridezilla here are some tips for last minute wedding planning.wedding-planning-last-minute-ideas-inspiration

Keep all your plans together in one book so you can easily hand it over to someone else when needed!

Designate a point person

You’ve been preparing for your wedding for months. So, when the rehearsal dinner finally comes around you should have all your plans already mapped out. However, there are going to be plenty of people who aren’t privy to your very detailed plans. Instead of carrying the burden of your entire wedding plan, offload the plan to a friend who can then answer any questions your guests may have. Make sure your guests know that all questions should be directed towards your trusty sidekick.wedding-planning-bridesmaids-inspiration

Designate tasks to your bridesmaids – they want to help!

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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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Pieday Friday – Chocolate gingerbread skeletons recipe for Halloween

A slightly different take on the classic festive gingerbread man, this cookie dough contains cocoa powder so it produces a dark, crisp biscuit. When cut out with a gingerbread cutter they’re the perfect shape for icing a skeleton design for Halloween. The darker colour biscuit emphasises the spooky shape and tastes even better than normal gingerbread thanks to all the chocolate in the recipe!diy-halloween-cookie-recipe-chocolate-gingerbread-men-skeletons-treat-dessert-pudding-12I think that these homemade biscuits would be great to give out to trick-or-treaters or could be the dessert for your spooky Halloween party. Here’s how to make the dough and bake the perfect chocolate gingerbread skeletons:diy-halloween-cookie-recipe-chocolate-gingerbread-men-skeletons-treat-dessert-pudding-11Ingredients for around 18 biscuits (depending on the size of your cutter): 300g plain flour, 50g cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon ground ginger, 120g butter, 120g brown sugar, 140g golden syrup, icing sugar for icing the skeleton shape.diy-halloween-cookie-recipe-chocolate-gingerbread-men-skeletons-treat-dessert-puddingdiy-halloween-cookie-recipe-chocolate-gingerbread-men-skeletons-treat-dessert-pudding-2Step 1: Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Mix flour, cocoa, ginger powder and butter together in a bowl. Either use your fingers to rub the butter into the flour, like a crumble recipe, or put into a food processor and pulse together until it forms a crumbly consistency. Drizzle in the golden syrup and continue pulsing the processor until it forms a dough, or mix with a knife if you’re doing it the manual way.diy-halloween-cookie-recipe-chocolate-gingerbread-men-skeletons-treat-dessert-pudding-3Step 2: Divide the dough into quarters and place between two sheets of greaseproof paper. Roll out the dough then peel away the top layer of paper.diy-halloween-cookie-recipe-chocolate-gingerbread-men-skeletons-treat-dessert-pudding-4 diy-halloween-cookie-recipe-chocolate-gingerbread-men-skeletons-treat-dessert-pudding-5diy-halloween-cookie-recipe-chocolate-gingerbread-men-skeletons-treat-dessert-pudding-6Step 3: Use a gingerbread man cutter to press shapes into the dough. Peel away the excess dough, leaving the gingerbread man shapes on the greaseproof paper.diy-halloween-cookie-recipe-chocolate-gingerbread-men-skeletons-treat-dessert-pudding-7diy-halloween-cookie-recipe-chocolate-gingerbread-men-skeletons-treat-dessert-pudding-8

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