Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog

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


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Thrifty fashion for BBQ parties

With Summer in full swing and lots of lovely weather to look forward to, you’d probably be heading outdoors and spending a lot of time in the sun, and if you’re lucky enough to be invited to a BBQ, even better! But what should you wear for an al fresco event? It’s difficult to predict the weather at times so it’s best to be protected against the sun whilst being prepared for all eventualities! Here’s my guide to dressing for summer and enjoying your BBQ in style:

  1. Choose an outfit you’re comfortable in. It may seem obvious, but you’ll want to feel free if you’re running around the garden with the kids, moving food around or lying on a sun lounger, so it’s best to choose an outfit that isn’t too short, too revealing, or likely to fall off!
  2. Loose clothing will help keep you cool by letting the breeze through your layers. Cotton or linen will also help to maintain a cool temperature when the sun is shining, so a linen skirt or loose cotton shirt would keep you comfortable on a hot day.
  3. Take a cardigan! If the skies cloud over you’ll be able to slip it on to stop the shivers, and if the temperature is soaring you can throw it over your shoulders to protect yourself from burning in the midday sun. Similarly, a thin pashmina scarf (like mine below from New Look) would work well as a sun cover-up and something to keep you warm. BBQs often carry on into the evening so you’ll be glad of this extra layer when the sun goes down.

sunglass junkie black wayfarer sunglasses 2014

  1. Always wear a hat when outdoors – it will keep the sun off your face, stop you from getting a red nose and ears (the most regularly burnt parts of our bodies!) and will protect your scalp from sunburn. Plus you’ll look glamorous and be following one of the top trends of Summer 2014!

5.Likewise, sunglasses are essential for protecting your eyes from UV rays so wear them whenever you’re outside.

You’ll easily be able to cope with whatever the weather throws at you during your BBQ party and will stay safe in the sun. I know I say it all the time, but it’s so important to me: don’t forget to wear sunscreen, stay hydrated and keep an eye on your friends and family – especially the children – to make sure they are staying in the shade, wearing high SPF and drinking plenty of water. Enjoy your day of al fresco fun and dining!


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Rent it, love it, return it!

No, I’m not suggesting some dodgy take-your-dress-back-to-the-shop-after-wearing-it scheme! I’m taking about dress hire. Remember in the Sex and The City Movie when Carrie’s PA Louise has the best designer handbags on her arm and an assistant’s wage in her purse, baffling Carrie into asking how she has got hold of her waiting-list-only arm candy? Louise proudly tells Carrie that it’s rented and we all wondered how long it would be until a service like this arrives in the UK too. Well, it’s here right now! Yes, I’ve found out that you really can hire designer dresses, coats and accessories from Wish Want Wear.

Like Louise from the SATC film, I found an array of gorgeous handbags but immediately worried about creating pen-leaks and lipstick stains inside and being charged for the damage, so it’s definitely a service for special occasions rather than everyday use. But if I ever feel the urge to wear a £1650 Hervé Legér bandage dress, this is the place to come! When I discovered this website, I began thinking about all the events I need to go to this year; weddings, christenings and parties and started doing the mental arithmetic on how much a new outfit for each special occasion would cost me to buy. Now, I’d never be able to buy afford designer dresses but even so, the cost of an outfit soon adds up. I imagine that someone who attends a lot of work functions would get a lot of use out of this service, but would be right for me? As you know, I’m a thrifty kind of girl, so I looked at the lower-priced rental outfits and found a few at bargain rates.

wish want wear designer dresses

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Sunny weekend cocktails and my favourite recipe

There’s nothing better when the sun is shining and you’re sat outside enjoying an alfresco dinner than sipping on a cocktail with your friends as the sun goes down. That is exactly what I got up to last weekend and I wanted to share my new favourite cocktail recipe with you so that you too can enjoy a cheeky drink this evening! As it’s my absolute favourite drink, I went on the Southern Comfort website looking for inspiration and was met with a massive collection of cocktails. Actually, it took me a couple of attempts because the website asks for your date of birth to check you’re over 18 before letting you onto the site. Very responsible of them, but they didn’t count on my dodgy typing that ended up with me telling them that my birthday was on the 51st of the month and in 1998 – ha, I wish! So I was blocked out oops!

I was glad that I persevered because the range and ideas for Southern Comfort-based cocktails was great. Having only ever really enjoyed it with lemonade in the past I was very excited to try out some new recipes. I plumped for the yummy-sounding Scarlett O’Hara, mainly because I had all the ingredients to hand! While looking at the history pages on the website I found out that this cocktail was created in 1939 when “Gone With the Wind” was released and not long afterwards in 1945 Southern Comfort arrived in the UK. The spirit was actually developed by founder M.W. Heron in 1885 so it took quite a long time to reach us in the UK but I’m so pleased that it eventually did! I mixed it up in a jug so I increased the quantities, mixed it with handfuls of ice and added some slices of orange to look pretty and add a little extra zest to the mixture.

Here’s the cocktail ingredients:

1 part southern comfort

1.5 parts cranberry juice

a dash of lime juice

1.5 parts club soda (or as much as you prefer to dilute it to your taste)

I’m going to try out a second recipe this weekend that I spotted on the website called “Dixie Punch” – I just need to pop out for some pineapple juice to make this one. There are user-submitted cocktail recipes too so maybe I’ll experiment a bit with my favourite flavours and add my own “Cassiefairy” cocktail?? Plus, I’ve just discovered that there is such as thing as Bold Black Cherry Southern Comfort – wow, I can’t wait to try that! Let me know if you have a go at making a tasty cocktail this evening and you can enter your favourite concoction into the “Go Drink Yourself” cocktail creation competition – here’s the link www.southerncomfort.com/drink-yourself-uk and use the hashtag #whateverscomfortable to share your cocktail photos on twitter or instagram – but please please drink responsibly, like me ;)


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Help with special occasions – hiring a chef for your party

Are you in need of a private UK-based chef to cater your upcoming event? There are a plethora of chefs to choose from, so how do you choose? Obviously you will want to try to find the best private chef you can but it can be difficult to differentiate them. We hired a private chef for our wedding and he came highly recommended so we were delighted with the service, but it’s not always this easy to organise a catering for your party! The best option is to get a series of quotes and speak to the various chefs and see which one offers the most bespoke service to match your taste and budget. Reading reviews and testimonials can help as they provide an invaluable insight into their quality and standards.

Regardless of how you research them, you should know what to expect from the top chefs so you get the best service. Whether you are looking to host a buffet, a banquet, a cocktail party or something in between, there is always a company out there ready to meet your needs with professional chefs and staff. What you want is one that will provide the most enjoyable and memorable experience for your guests. You want a high-quality chef with lots of proven experience who will work with you to create the perfect event.

ideal party photo of buffet

Ideal Party

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party recipe for cheese and ham pastry canapes


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Pieday Friday ~ Cheese & ham pastry rolls

Does anyone else feel like there’s a celebration on the horizon? Perhaps it’s the school holidays or the long Easter weekend, or maybe it’s hubby’s birthday, my impending 1000th blog post or the May bank holiday? Whatever it is, it’s making me want to invite the family over and bake party food! I’ve just got that urge and I had to give in to it this week when I made one of my party favourites – cheese and ham pastry rolls. These little bites of joy are my festive speciality and they are great for taking on picnics or for light lunches too. They are super-easy to make and might be good to try out over the Easter holidays if you’ve got the children at home because they can help you sprinkle the cheese and roll up the pastry.

It’s a little too simple to call a recipe really  because I like to buy ready-made puff pastry – and if you’re feeling super-lazy, you can even buy ready-rolled like I have! – but feel free to make your own rough-puff pastry if you prefer. So here’s what I do:

  1. Roll out the pastry on a sheet of baking parchment (this will make it easier to roll up into a tube).

pieday friday blog receipe for cheese and ham snack rolls

  1. Spread the pastry with cream cheese before laying out slices of ham all over.

  2. Sprinkle grated cheddar cheese all over then lift the baking parchment and use it to roll the pastry into a tube lengthways.

recipe for making cheese and ham puff pastry rolls

  1. Slice the long roll into bite-size pieces and place onto a greased baking tray.

  2. Brush with a little milk before baking in the oven according to the pastry instructions

party recipe for cheese and ham pastry canapes

 

Ta da! Impressive ‘homemade’ party snacks made in minutes! Let me know if you have a go at making your own pastry rolls and tweet me a photo @Cassiefairy.

One more thing – I have a Freebie Friday giveaway running on Twitter today to win this gorgeous Bon Prix dress in navy chiffon (worth £29.99) to add to your Spring wardrobe! Click here to see the competition tweet and enter by simply RTing & following me :)

frebie friday navy dress giveaay pic