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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Personalise your wedding reception (& cut costs too!)

One of the most important days of your life is your wedding day. It’s just one day of celebration, yet we spend more money on this than many of us earn in a whole year. A few short hours costing thousands seems a little excessive. So is there a way to maximise the experience while shrinking that cost down to sensible proportions? Absolutely. Everybody loves a wedding, but if you want to achieve the dream without dropping your jaw on the floor at the cost, why not give these ideas a go..?

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MC Mates

No need to hire a professional DJ, a ‘Master of Ceremonies’ or announcer. Ask your dad, your brother, your auntie, or any of your friends. Many people struggle to know what to buy you for your wedding. And plenty of us struggle with the cost of gifts. They will be delighted to have such an important contribution to your wedding, and it can become one of the gifts you’ll treasure the most. Best of all, you’ll get exactly what you asked for. Your friends and family know you well, so everything they provide will be personal.

Home-baked Cake

Mmmmm. Nothing is quite as tasty as a freshly baked cake. Sure, you can get four tiers of intricately designed and decorated wedding cake from the baker. Looks good on the outside, but may be disappointing on the inside. Make it yourself, including the decorations that are personal to you. If you have children in the family, let them get involved. There is nothing more personal and charming for your friends and family than something that comes from you or your guests.

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Centrepieces

Making your own centrepieces is easier than you think, and they make a great parting gift for your guests. Thrift shops and budget stores always have bowls and vases at bargain prices. You can insert craft sand or pebbles and artificial flowers to fill it out. Add lots of colours and a range of textures to create something extra special. Paper flowers work well for this too – or even sweets!

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Easy ways to add a touch of hygge to your home

It’s that time of year again. The clocks have gone back an hour to remind us that winter is almost here and Christmas is very much around the corner. For many people, this means rushing around the shops trying to find the perfect Christmas gifts, but for others it means hosting parties and get-togethers. What better way to welcome your guests this year than by giving your home a seasonal makeover, adding some much-needed warmth to the chilly months? I love the Danish concept of hygge and tips on how to achieve this everywhere this year so why not embrace the trend and cosy up? I hope the tips in this post help to get you in the festive mood, even though it is only November..!scandinavian-christmas-cosy-room

Take inspiration from Scandinavia and embrace hygge to create welcoming home

cosy-living-room-warm-home-decor-christmas-winter-hyggeThe Living Room

The trend I see in every interior design magazine and every homewares shop window these days is the Scandinavian trend. Think simple, rustic, cosy log cabins for this look; add some colour-coordinated fur throws and lavish rugs to your living area, and then swap your sleek metal and glass for some natural wood furnishings instead. This trend came about from embracing hygge, so it’s all about comfort and creating that tranquil, relaxed atmosphere that people crave from a holiday in the Alps this time of year. Hygge is about appreciating the good things in life with great company, in a warm and relaxed environment. Get the ambience right in your home and any guests who enter will never want to leave!festive bathroom touches accessories towels-5 festive bathroom touches accessories towels-10

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4 hair trends to try this autumn

Hairstyles come and go, but one thing is certain: Hair is always going to need cutting, trimming, colouring, and styling. Now that autumn is upon us, you’ll want to try something new instead of the same old, same old. But what to try? One way to figure it out is to check out the latest autumn hair trends. There are plenty of styles to choose from, so you won’t risk looking like everyone else. Even if you choose a similar style, you can adapt it to your own look and make it unique. Following are four autumn hair trends to try – let me know how you get on!low-ponytail-autumn-hair-style

Image via Flickr by goMainstream

The Low Ponytail

Do you pull your hair into a ponytail, then pull it up higher using the elastic? It’s a habit that’s hard to break, as it’s the easiest way to tighten the hair so that it doesn’t come loose. But if you’re wearing your hair up as a regular style, it’s time for a change. Instead of pulling up on your hair, pull down. Get it as close to the nape of the neck as possible, then use a clip or elastic to hold it in place. Putting your hair in this position is not as severe as pulling it higher, and it softens your face because the hair isn’t flat against your head. You can give your hair a smooth appearance by combing or brushing it back in parts, then running a comb through them to blend the hair. The best thing about a ponytail is that it doesn’t need constant maintenance and is an inexpensive hairstyle to keep up.sarah-nourse-braids-hair-plait-autumn-trend

Vlogger Sarah Nourse shares lots of braid tutorials on her Instagram and YouTube channel

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How I saved money on my wedding by Laura from Devine Bride

As you may remember, I’ve been asking some of my favourite bloggers to help me out with some guest posts this summer so that I can take a little time off. Luckily my pals didn’t let me down and emailed over a huge variety of inspirational blog posts for me to share during August. Here’s another guest posts by the lovely Laura from Devine Bride, who has already shared snaps of her thrifty wedding idea for a homemade dessert buffet on my blog at the end of July. Today she’s telling us about all budgeting tips and wedding day hacks she used to save £££s on her own wedding – read on to find out how she did it..!L&A-LowRes-375The blogs and magazine articles I like the most are real weddings and honest accounts of what other people did for their wedding. Trials, tribulations, likes, dislikes, what went right, what went wrong – I just can’t help having a nosey. All of which I found most helpful, so I wanted to share the story of how I saved money on my wedding with the hope to inspire and help others. It needn’t cost the earth, and it can still be amazing!L&A-LowRes-271Dress

I found my dream dress on the American website BHDN, but I was wary to buy it online without any idea of sizing or fit, so I sourced the designer back to her roots – and it just so happened she has a studio in East London. After the success of the jewellery sample sale, I signed up to their mailing list. I had lots of time, but within a month I got an email to say they were having a sample sale! The designer doesn’t do much bridal wear, and there was no guarantee of what was going to be in the sale, but I kept an open mind thinking there might be something similar from a past season. At the very least, I wanted to go along to see how the sizes fitted. As it turned out, one of two dresses I had my eye on was in the sample sale, the only one of that style and size, and fitted like a glove, so I knew it was meant to be! I ended up getting my dress for £720 – half the normal retail price.L&A-LowRes-11 L&A-LowRes-95

Dress, Catherine Deane sample sale; £720 (approx. saving = £680)

Alterations and Dry Cleaning

Although my dress fitted like a glove, it needed taken up slightly and dry cleaned as it had been tried on a few times. I looked at specialist bridal boutiques and I got a quote for the hem for £160, and dry cleaning for £100… which I wasn’t really prepared to pay since I had *only* paid £700 for the actual dress. I was nervous to leave my one-of-a-kind-bargain-sample-sale-dress with anyone other than a specialist, but I simply could not justify those prices. After much googling and deliberation, I trusted my dress with a tiny Polish alterations place recommended to me by my sister. It was a bit of a trek away in North London, where allegedly all the rich women of Hampstead get their design togs altered. I was suspicious of their non-descript tiny shop, but they did an amazing job! The term, ‘never judge a book by its cover’ sprang to mind afterwards. After that, I felt a bit more relaxed to leave my dress with my local dry cleaners where my hubby gets his suits done. Upon leaving my dress, I asked if they had insurance, but they just laughed and said, ‘what do you think is going to happen to it?!’. This didn’t quite fill me with confidence but my dress came back sparkling and I couldn’t have been more pleased!L&A-LowRes-385

Alterations: Mihaela’s Fashion Shop, Cricklewood; £20 (approx. saving = £140)

Dry Cleaning: City of London Dry Cleaning Co, Canary Wharf, £25 (approx. saving = £75) Continue reading “How I saved money on my wedding by Laura from Devine Bride” »


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3 cheap party ideas (for this bank holiday & beyond!)

If you love entertaining and organising parties, but haven’t currently got the budget to spend on a fancy dinner party or big blow out with drinks, decorations and entertainment, then that’s no reason to put your hosting skills on ice. Bank holiday weekends tend to have a party atmosphere (woo an extra night out!) and bring out a fun, cheeky side in everyone so it’s a great time to get your pals together for an impromptu party. There are lots of ways you can put together a fun gathering for your friends without spending much at all, and can be just as much fun as elaborate parties if you have some lively guests and keep everybody mingling. Here are three thrifty ideas for parties you could hold this bank weekend and beyond…

‘Pot Luck’ BBQ

Summer is coming, and this can only mean barbecues. Honestly, it wouldn’t be a bank holiday without someone dragging a BBQ out of the shed and getting all smoky with the sausages. Of course, buying all the food and other provisions for a good barbecue can quickly become expensive, so why not take the American concept of a ‘pot luck’ party? This is where everyone invited has to prepare and bring along a dish, and as it is a barbecue you can also give them the option to simply bring along some meat to cook. This can be a really nice idea if you have some friends who love to show off their cooking skills as they’ll bring something really delicious, but those who are less interested in the kitchen can just turn up with a pack of burgers or chicken for everyone to enjoy.pieday friday bbq flavoured olive burgers recipe

Check out my homemade BBQ burger recipe

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Spring home inspiration

Just look at that blue sky out there today. Easter definitely brought a new optimism for the coming seasons with it this year. What started off as a rather dull bank holiday weekend soon turned into a run of bright and sunny days. Okay, the rather windy storm ‘Katie’ brought down some trees in the village but even so I still needed to wear sunglasses as I drove past the debris earlier this week! Either way, this time of year always sparks a decorating project or two (yes, I WAS in B&Q with all the crowds of DIYers last week!) and now that Easter has passed, it’s definitely time to do that Spring clean too.spring home interiors inspiration ideas decoratingSo, I want to know – what does your ideal Spring home look like? Do you add lighter soft furnishings to your living room or do you bring fresh flowers into the home? As a child I remember helping mum to change the dark velvet ‘Winter curtains’ over for the pale green cotton ‘Summer curtains’ at this time of year and, as an adult, I too tend to make a few springtime changes to my décor in March. I have a couple of rather autumnal cushions (that I made from RSPB placemats – here’s my DIY cushion project) that I get out every October and put away again every April. I could probably live with them all year round, but I kind of like the ritual of a change-over. Plus, it’s nice to spruce up your décor without having to spend out on new products!diy craft sewing project RSPB bird cushions with Christmas robins finished pillowEven though I’m hoping to keep spending to a minimum this year, I’ve been looking around for Spring interiors inspiration (on Pinterest, where else?) with the aim of DIYing a few ideas for my own home. Browsing photos of sunny interiors gives me plenty of ideas for injecting a bit of Spring magic into my home. My first plan is to bring some flowers into my home, but these don’t have to be cut flowers. These can add up to quite an expense, especially if you want to have flowers in your house every week. So how about potting up some buds and bringing them indoors to brighten up the kitchen or living room? Just remember to keep them watered and they’ll last you for months!Visions-Collection home decor interior inspiration spring Continue reading “Spring home inspiration” »


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Inspirational quotes to get you through January – and the rest of the year!

January feels really long this year, why is that? Even though it’s not been particularly cold or especially dark this year, I’ve still felt like January has been a bit ‘meh’. Nothing bad has happened, I’ve not had a tough month, it’s just a bit… hmm. It’s at this time of year that I start to look around for inspiration, and if you follow me on Pinterest you might have noticed that the number of quotes I pin in January is seriously higher compared to the rest of the year. I love finding new inspiration in this way and I’ve decided that I want to keep good ideas at the forefront of my mind this year, so it’s time to treat myself to some lovely artworks that will improve my life.caterpillar into butterfly inspirational motivational happiness quote

Beautiful framed quote from my favourite Etsy shop I Heart The Home (just £10!)

I’m not exaggerating! Inspirational quotes, gorgeously designed and lovingly crafted, improve my home by adding a focal point to my wall or sideboard, making my surroundings more beautiful. Kind words in a pretty frame hanging where I can see them will give me a daily dose of happiness and put a smile on my face each day. Meaningful quotes pinned to my moodboard or propped up on my desk will keep me motivated in my work and focussed on my goals. Finding, choosing and displaying lovely words around my home is a win-win situation. So I’ve been browsing online to find some fabulous quotes that I love and I wanted to share these with you today this happy Monday morning.embroidery hoop art disney quoteAs Beauty and the Beast is one of my favourite Disney films, I love this embroidered quote. At first glance it doesn’t seem like a Disney quote and many people wouldn’t recognise it as being Disney at all so it’s not overly girly. Take the words out of the song and the words are meaningful in themselves. When you’re living day-to-day, you probably forget to plan for adventures and this quote bring the idea to the forefront. I also enjoy the craftmanship of this delicately embroidered piece – check out this crafter’s Etsy shop Honey Lemon more for fabulous embroidered designs. I’d love to craft something like this myself so it’s already inspired me to learn new hand-stitching techniques so make a ‘matching’ design to add to my gallery of quotes. Plus, the words make me start singing the rousing song in my head, so that’s great news!motivational quote pencils for work desk Continue reading “Inspirational quotes to get you through January – and the rest of the year!” »


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Winter wonderland wedding inspiration

I’ve always loved the idea of a Christmas wedding. Although I got married in the summer, December would have been my second choice. I think that a festive wedding would be great fun to plan; choosing Christmas-themed decorations, using deep red and green colours, and even arriving in a sleigh pulled by reindeer!plant 0396

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Happy Easter

Happy Easter everyone! I’m taking a day off and heading to the seaside so I’ll see you all after the Bank Holiday! In the meantime, here are some lovely images from my ‘Special Holidays’ board on Pinterest that I’m sure you’ll enjoy looking at over the Easter weekend – have fun and let me know what you get up to!

 


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Say goodbye to mouldy paint & my other favourite life hacks

It’s always the same at this time of year. I start looking around at my home after the winter hibernation and realise that it’s time to make some changes. Whether it’s simply an early spring clean or (in my case) tackling a bigger decorating project, this is when I start gathering together my cleaning products, paint and tools and begin using my weekends to update my home. You may remember that I wrote about my horrible damp windows back in the autumn and how I kind-of solved the problem with some thermal blinds. Well, now the condensation has arrived elsewhere – in the bathroom – and has resulted in mouldy, furry and down-right gross bathroom walls. Needless to say this is the area that I’m going to be attacking first! So my life hack number 1 is for clearing mould and flaky paint:

DIY life hack tutorial to get rid of mould flaky bathroom paint

Yes, the damp has got under the paint in the bathroom and big chunks are falling off the walls. Couple this with spots of mould all over the walls and I’ve got one manky bathroom. So here’s how to tackle the mould and stop it coming back – whilst making your walls looks like new again!

1. Scrape off the flaky paint using a cheap stripping knife or a triangular shavehook. Be sure to scrape all the crumbs away, brush down the walls, then vacuum them up so that they don’t stick to the new paint! It will look a lot worse to start with but I promise it’s worth it!

life hacks how to get rid of mould in bathroom

2. Mix up a solution of 2 parts bleach with 10 parts water in a spray bottle (an empty cleaning spray bottle will do) and spritz the bleach water onto the walls to kill the mould. This is exactly the solution you’ll find inside pricey mould-killer products so just mix up your own, but be very careful when spraying because any splashes back on your clothes will bleach them – you might want to wear something old that you don’t mind ruining!

3. Allow this to dry thoroughly (probably overnight while you have a good rest after all tat scraping!) and all the mould will have been killed off. Then paint the walls with two coats of satin soft sheen paint such as diamond eggshell – never use matt – which will resist the condensation in future and any moisture will simply run off the walls or can be easily wiped down with a cloth or old towel.

Simple huh? Not only have you killed the mould and stopped it from coming back, but you’ve also got a nice newly painted room!

DIY life hack tutorial to get rid of mouldy paint

While I was doing my decorating I thought I’d get involved in Most Wanted magazine’s life hacks project to share my top 5 thrifty life hacks with you. So number 1 was getting rid of mouldy paint and here are the rest:

2. If you have rust stains on metal-work (on the car or caravan for example) use a whitening toothpaste on a toothbrush to scrub it off – the whitening toothpaste is a little bit more abrasive than a normal toothpaste and should work a treat!

3. Instead of buying those stick-on masks for French manicures, just wrap an elastic band around the nail to mask off the area above the tip and paint it as normal.

4. Make your own firelighters – used dried orange peel to get a sweet-smelling fire started, or make wax firelighters by putting lint/fluff from the tumble drier into egg boxes and pouring over melted wax and wait for it to set. You only need to use one egg-holder per fire. Lint stuffed inside empty toilet rolls also works great!

5. Clean your make up brushes every month in a homemade solution made from a squirt of hair conditioner, a cup of water and 1/4 cup of white vinegar. Mix this all together then allow the brushes to soak, without rubbing the bristles which might damage them. After half an hour give them a rinse in cold water and allow to air-dry until completely dry.

And here’s the part where you can get involved yourself – there is a competition running on Pinterest, where my fabulous thrifty readers can be in with the chance of winning a £50 voucher for Amazon! So it’d be great if you could share your own life hacks and thrifty projects on Pinterest with the hashtag #VCLifeHacks. Most Wanted lifestyle magazine will pin their favourites onto a dedicated life hacks board and select a winner from there – so share away and best of luck!

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