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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FriYAY recipe: Layered picnic rolls three ways – Mediterranean, Tex Mex & Classic

Today’s recipe is ideal for this time of year. It’s a picnic dish that can be taken out on bike rides or to the beach during the summer holidays and each mouthful is a tasty combination of Mediterranean flavours. My picnic roll recipe is a handy option because it packs all the filling inside crusty rolls and stops some of the sogginess you often get with cling-wrapped sarnies. If you’re planning a day trip to the seaside, hiking to see a roman fort or visiting a museum but want to avoid the over-priced lunches, this is the recipe for you! Read on to find out how I made this easy picnic sandwich for my very own cycling adventure…friYAY recipe layered picnic rolls sandwich filling ideas and inspiration-16 friYAY recipe layered picnic rolls sandwich filling ideas and inspiration-7friYAY recipe layered picnic rolls sandwich filling ideas and inspiration-17With this layered roll it’s easy to pack up a picnic – no Tupperware or cling film required! Everything is safely enclosed within the roll so a napkin or a piece of greaseproof paper is all you need to tuck your sandwiches away safely in the basket of your bike or in a cool bag. Plus, it’s a great recipe to make if you’re taking kids out for the day during the school holidays. You can hand the little ones their very own picnic roll without worrying about the filling plopping out at first bite because each layer is tightly packed into the roll. Here’s now to #MakeItAYayDay with an impromptu picnic:friYAY recipe layered picnic rolls sandwich filling ideas and inspiration-4 friYAY recipe layered picnic rolls sandwich filling ideas and inspiration-21countryside bike ride cycling adventure exercise bicycle-7Ingredients (makes 4 rolls): 4 crusty rolls, mayonnaise, salsa, pesto, hummus, thinly sliced salami, wafer thin ham, chicken slices, sliced garlic sausage, mozzarella, sundried tomatoes, guacamole, cheese or any other fillings you like!

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Pieday Friday – Pack a picnic + my ‘cheese crunch’ sandwich recipe

It must be the slighter sunnier weather, or perhaps the impending Easter holidays, that has got me thinking about days out, picnics and flasks full of tea. In fact, I went on my first picnic of the year yesterday lunchtime and, after all these dark winter months of eating lunch indoors, it was so lovely to get outside and enjoy a meal in the sunshine. Okay, there was a bit of a brisk wind, but with the sun on my back I really didn’t feel the chill. I was enjoying stuffing my face with sarnies too much to care! picnic inspiration sandwich recipe ideas easter summer spring-15picnic inspiration sandwich recipe ideas easter summer spring ingredientspicnic inspiration sandwich recipe ideas easter summer spring-5Last summer my husband and went on lots of picnics. We didn’t have a holiday away so we took day trips around the local area – never venturing much further than an hour’s drive away – and packed up a cool-bag full of treats for each adventure. I love a sandwich wrapped in foil. I enjoy piercing the top of my carton of drink with a pointy straw. And an apple always seems to taste better when munched outdoors. Coupled with exploring new places (and seeing what fantastic conversation work is going on in British parks, country homes, military museums and along the coast) a picnic is one of my favourite ways to spend a day.

So today’s Pieday Friday blog post is a simple one: I’m sharing my all-time favourite sandwich recipe. It’s based on the sandwiches we used to buy at the start of every journey we took from university to home. There’s a service station where we join the M6 to travel to Suffolk, and we stopped there every time to fill up with fuel and stock up on sandwiches. Ever had a service station ‘cheese crunch’ sandwich? They are THE BEST. Perhaps I love them so much because I associate them with a journey home to see my family. Or perhaps it’s the sheer cheesiness. I can’t decide.

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Pieday Friday – Packing a posh picnic for a day at the races

Dancing in the rain, winning money and drinking bubbly. That was the first time I went to a day at the races. It was a really epic event that I’ll never forget and I’m desperate to go again this year so fingers crossed I’ll be able to get tickets to Ladies’ Day this summer.

Even though I kicked off this blog post by saying that I was dancing in the rain, my last visit to the races honestly started off as a lovely sunny day. I wore a light cotton dress, sunglasses and my best wedge heels (to avoid sinking into the grass). My husband and I breezed around the arena, viewing the horses, placing our (humble) bets and enjoying an al fresco meal (read: picnic). I was completely thrilled when my horse came in first and we trotted over to the ‘winners enclosure’ to celebrate my first ever win. It was an amazing experience!race day racecourse_-4 Continue reading “Pieday Friday – Packing a posh picnic for a day at the races” »


Get ready for summer – 8 shabby chic picnic ideas

Summer is coming, the sunshine beckons, and picnics will undoubtedly be on the menu. After all, a meal outside in the beautiful British countryside is a truly divine experience. I’ve already been enjoying meals out in my vintage caravan during the week and loving every moment of being surrounded by tweeting birds and buzzing bumble bees. vintage caravan interior with biscuit cushions and cat-5This weekend I’ve been researching some picnic ideas, including pretty locations in the local area and ideas to make my picnic even more quaint and homely, such as floral lunch bags from I also want to get that cute vintage feel when eating at home on my patio so here are some of the shabby chic ideas I found to add some vintage flavour to your surroundings this summer, whether you’re out exploring or dining at home.pretty picnic hamper

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Pieday Friday ~ “Come on England!” chocolate & strawberry cheesecake recipe

Have you been watching the World Cup this week? Wasn’t it a shocker when defending champions Spain were knocked out after only two matches? I’ve been soaking up the atmosphere during the football games and have enjoyed watching both of England’s matches: the first game we stayed up late with friends after an England-themed BBQ and even though my eyes were closing involuntarily by the end of the 90 minutes (sooo beyond my bedtime these days!), it was exciting and I thought the team played well. I know the UK has high hopes for the national team and sometimes we are bitterly disappointed, but I just enjoy really enjoy the whole spectacle of watching international sporting competitions like this so it doesn’t matter to me how well England performs and you can bet that I will be glued the final on the 13th of July, whoever is playing!

Anyway, I’ve made a Pieday Friday recipe to celebrate the tournament and I took my little jam-jar cheesecakes to my friends’ house to munch during the England game. I found it easier to transport the cakes in individual portions (and most importantly, with lids on!) rather than holding a delicate cheese-cake in a pastry-tin on my lap during the car journey. These would be great for taking on picnics too, and will keep the bugs at bay with the lids covering up the sweet, sticky strawberries. Here’s how I made them:

Buttery biscuit base: 1 pack of digestive biscuits crushed up and mixed with melted butter until it resembles the texture of damp sand. I pressed this into the bottom of the jars before pouring a layer of melted white chocolate over the base and chilling for an hour or two until set. I’d recommend pouring a thin layer of chocolate otherwise you’ll find it hard to break through it when you’re eating the cheesecake! Luckily I found this out before I added the cheesecake mixture so I broke up the thick layer of hardened chocolate with a knife to make sure that a spoon could get through all the layers.

Cheesecake: Whisk up 200ml double cream until it’s thick. Mix in 225g cream cheese and whisk in 5 tablespoons of caster sugar. I added a little splash of vanilla essence but it’s up to you whether you’d like to add any flavouring. At this point you could whisk in some lemon juice to make it into a lemon cheesecake, or some melted dark chocolate or even a splash of Baileys for a boozy version! I dolloped the cheesecake mixture on top of the base-and-white-chocolate layer and smoothed over the top. Chill this until set, which might take a couple of hours or you can prepare it in advance and chill it overnight.

Strawberry topping: Slice fresh strawberries and cover with icing sugar and leave to become gooey and sticky before spooning the fruit and syrup over the cheesecake. If the syrup is too runny for you, you could even melt a little strawberry jam and spoon it over the top before putting the lids on the jars and refrigerating until you’re ready to eat.

I was desperate to eat the cheesecake but I waited until the game had started before insisting that we opened up the jars and enjoyed our creamy, sweet, naughty portions of cheesecake while the England team played on. It’s only really a ‘Come on England’ cheesecake because of the red and white colours, plus the fact that I want to eat it during every match now – I wonder how many more England games there will be in this tournament?? Let me know if you try out the recipe over the summer and you can tweet me photos of your jam-jar treats to @Cassiefairy 🙂



Pieday Friday ~ The things you can do with a potato salad

Well, the possibilities are endless when you’ve got a big pack of new potatoes and a jar of mayonnaise! I probably don’t have to tell you to cube your new potatoes, boil them until tender and mix with as much mayo as you like – it’s not the most difficult of processes. And I know this seems like a non-recipe post, but really that’s what it is – just a few suggestions of things you can do to make your potato salad extra special. Lets face it, potato salad is pretty special as it is, I mean, who doesn’t want a big dollop of potato salad on their plate a summer BBQ?!

pieday friday picnic recipes cold potato salad

I like to add the following combinations to make my potato salad into something a little different:

  • Snip chives and spring onions into the salad for extra onion-y crunch
  • Grate some mature cheddar or red Leicester cheese into your salad and why not mix in a spoonful of cream cheese too?!
  • Spike your salad with finely chopped chillies and a sprinkling of paprika
  • Add slices of cold Matteson’s sausage and stir in a little BBQ sauce to taste
  • Make it into a coronation potato salad with a dollop of mango chutney and a teaspoon of curry powder
  • My favourite option – lots of salt and pepper and a lovely blob of whole grain mustard – yum!

Let me know what your favourite combination is and what you like to add to your potato salad – leave me a comment below 🙂

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Warm weekends ~ the perfect opportunity for a retro picnic

Now that we’ve entered British Summertime and now that the weekends are finally getting warmer and the weather is ever-improving, I’ve started to feel like its time to dust off the old picnic equipment and get out there for some al fresco dining.

And what better excuse do I need to start shopping for a genuine vintage picnic hamper. I saw this amazing selection of retro picnic baskets at a festival last summer, and although I couldn’t afford to splash out on one of these perfectly coordinated sets, I couldn’t help taking some snaps to drool over. Here are my photos so that we can all admire the retro melamine plates, the jazzy thermos flasks and the dining accessories strapped into the baskets – who knew that a cruet set and lemon squeezer were essential picnic items in days-gone-by?

vintage picnic baskets and hampers with thermos flasks

Just looking at these hampers makes me think of long, hot sunny days, with nothing to do other than lounge in the park with a chilled glass of something bubbly (probably Pimms for me!) and a cucumber sandwich with the crusts cut off. I have a good collection of picnic blankets so I’m ready to set up my pitch for lunch, but I don’t have a hamper yet so I’ll keep rummaging through carboot sales and charity shops until I get the perfect mis-matched picnic set. I’m sure there’ll be lots more warm weekends coming up this summer (fingers and toes crossed) so I’m not in too much of a hurry – I’ll enjoy the hunt for retro picnic bits n bobs and will share my finds with you 🙂


Diamond Jubilee Weekend here I come!

I’m really looking forward to enjoying all that my local area has to offer to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee this weekend! Today I’ll be attending a village BBQ with my family and taking part in the jubilee quiz and tomorrow I’m off to the check out the celebration picnic in the new village that we’ve just moved to (apparently there’s going to be a samba band procession too!).

On Monday its the larger town gala and later I’ll be watching the jubilee concert on TV and finally I’ll relax on Tuesday at the beer festival at a nearby pub. Blimey, I think I going to need another bank holiday to recover from this weekend!

So I’m getting into my red-white-and-blue outfit and new bunting necklace (from The Catkin Boutique) and making the most of the free activities and spending time with my family and friends. Lets just hope that the weather stays good all weekend!

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