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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Tuesday Shoesday – How to make your footwear last forever..!

With wet weather comes muddy boots and just having tidemarks from tiptoeing through puddles is enough to make you feel like a right mess, even though the rest of your outfit is perfectly clean. So if you find yourself caught in an April shower, just take a moment to give your shoes a quick wipe with a damp cloth when you get home. This simple action could be enough to lift your spirits on a grey day – and it might make you feel better about the way you look – as looking after your garments when you get home guarantees you’ll look your best the next time you head out the door.polishing shoesLeaving mud to dry on leather is pretty bad, and can actually damage your boots, creating cracks and horrid stains. So whether you’ve spent a fortune on those leather boots or have even just picked them up from a car-boot sale it makes sense to prolong their life by giving them a quick polish.IMG_6334You don’t need any special equipment; just one pot of clear shoe polish will clean up every pair of shoes you own. You can buy a brush if you wish or just use a soft nail brush or even an old toothbrush to apply the polish. Spread it all over your footwear and pay attention to any faded or well-worn areas. Now here’s another money-saving tip…How to polish your new leather shoes to keep them protected and clean Continue reading “Tuesday Shoesday – How to make your footwear last forever..!” »


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1950s Picquot Ware & my tips for polishing metal

I thought that today’s blog post was just going to be about polishing up silverware and that I would be able to share a straightforward set of tips on how to bring your old teapot back to life. However, while I was polishing my pots, I turned them over and found a name stamped into the base – Picquot Ware. I was intrigued and after buffing up my DIY polishing project I headed indoors to investigate.

*** Update – new post just published containing the original Picquot Ware instructions, range & guarantee ***

*** Update – new photos of the rare Picquot Ware Coffee Percolator are now on the blog ***

DIY polishing midcentury modern silvertea set picquot ware teapotMy husband found these kitchenalia items at a recent carboot sale and I loved the shape as soon as I saw them. I adored the curvy design and I imagined it to be the kind of tea set that might have been used to serve passengers on the Titanic or on a Mallard steam train journey in the 1940s. Continue reading “1950s Picquot Ware & my tips for polishing metal” »


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Spooky ideas for DIY Halloween nail art

It’s at this time of year that I start to go a little crazy with my nails. I pick out the darker colours and I load up on glitter. I love a bit of simple nail-art as much as the next girl so I like to get my pens out and get creative. And what better excuse to go wild with your nails than Halloween?! It’s almost expected that you’ll have crazy nails for Halloween and I even love to wear a little ghoulish nail art during the day to get into the spooky spirit in the run up to the Halloween party on Friday. avon nail polish pumpkin halloween nails bonfire christmas orange art glitterHere is one of my more ‘subtle’ looks for Halloween and I call them my pumpkin princess nails. It’s a couple of coats of bright orange polish with a little gold glitter over the top. I think this looks like a candle twinkling inside a pumpkin and it’s an easy way to wear a Halloween look on your nails without going all-out crazy!

halloween-manicure-diy-nail-art-tutorial-orange-and-black-pumpkin-faceshalloween-nail-art-manicure-tutorial-using-permanent-pens-white-and-black

A bit more interesting but equally easy are these ghoulish designs. I’ve simply painted all my nails in plain white or orange and then drawn on devilish designs using permanent marker pen. I love the pumpkin faces and enjoy thinking up different scary expressions for each finger. I think that these are ‘friendly’ so designs are fun to draw and they cheer up everyone I see! I’ve gone for a selection of spider, bat, ghost and skeleton images on the white background.

Firework nail polish varnish opia eyeko models own disco mix avon gold purple silver blue bonfire night

And when Halloween is over, I’ll be immediately moving on to these firework fingers! Each nail is painted with a metallic midnight blue base coat for the night sky and then different glitter effects and colours are applied to each finger to look like different firework explosions!

Let me know if you try out any of these looks for Halloween and I would love to see you photos so please tweet me @Cassiefairy 🙂


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Tuesday Shoesday ~ Your time to shine!

The title of this blog post has two meanings today – firstly I’m going to be chatting about polishing shoes and preserving your leather goods and, secondly, it really is your time to shine, because I’m asking you, my lovely blog reader, to send me a photo of your favourite shoes! I’m hoping to compile a blog post featuring all of your best shoes and I’ll happily link back to you if you have a blog too – so please get in touch cassie@cassiefairy.co.uk. But in the meantime – on to the subject at hand… Polish. Do we need it? How much does it help with protecting our shoes? Is it just for boots or can you use it on handbags too? Do new shoes need polishing before wearing? To buff or not to buff, that is the question. Clarks Erica Alice tan leather brogue ankle boot I’ve just bought this new pair of ankle boots from Clarks along with a pair of knee high boot in the sale and as an investment buy I want to keep them looking as lovely as I can for as long as possible. We’ve all been stood at the till in a shoe shop when the shop assistant asks us if we need polish or protector for our shoes. Do we? ermm… my answer is honestly I don’t know… I mean, I don’t usually need to buy any at the checkout anyway because I’m sure I have a tin full of polishing goodies at home. But do I need to polish them up at all? For a girl who is rather pushed-for-time anyway, I’m not sure I can fit a polishing session into my busy schedule! So when I came home with my goodies yesterday, the first thing I did was start researching the importance of polishing leather boots and the resounding answer was YES you do need to polish your shoes. Okay, I kind of knew this already and have brought many a pair of boots back from the brink of destruction with a bucket-load of polish and a good buff with a brush. I’ve even discussed the benefits of reheeling a pair of my favourite dancing shoes here on the blog, so I know it’s important to look after your leathers. But what about polishing before you wear them? This is more of a grey area. Some people say not to bother and just carry on with a regular polishing routine after wearing. But industry professionals, including shoe manufacturers and shop owners, tell us that it is a good idea to give your shoes a polish even before you step outside in them. I used to be under the impression that polishing shoes was something you did when they had got so dirty that you could barely make out what shoe colour was there beneath the mud..! How to polish your new leather shoes to keep them protected and clean My boots were an absolute bargain buy from the children’s section (I’ve mentioned buying from the kids department in the past in my article the cheapest way to buy shoes ) and are so on trend right now – I saw loads of these tan ankle brogues on the feet of fashionistas at London Fashion Weekend and immediately coveted them. I was so lucky when I found these cute ‘Erica Alice’ boots in the online sale on Clarks.co.uk and I was even happier when I realised that I could order them to be delivered to my local store so that I could try them on before even spending a penny on them – and no obligation to buy them – I’m definitely going to be using this service again! I ordered them in two sizes 4 and 4.5 so that I could be sure to get the best possible fit and I tried them on in the comfort of the plush Clarks store before making my decision. Although they already look lovely and shiny, and although I was super-eager to put them on my feet immediately, I wanted to make sure that this pale-coloured leather stayed as gorgeous as possible, so should I polish them before wearing? Specialists say that adding a thin layer of polish to newly bought boots will certainly do them no harm and can even help to protect them as you step out in them for the first time. For example, a polished boot might get a scuff on them, but this can usually be buffed out as it will have only affected the top layer – which is technically the polish layer. If a non-polished boot gets scuffed, the mark will be directly on the leather and will be harder to get rid of. I found this out actually during the polishing process, when my nail scuffed on the toe of the boot. Luckily, it had already been polished and a quick buff removed the white scuff straight away and my boot look liked new again. I also found out that when new boots reach the store after the manufacturing process, it is unlikely that they have been polished up for sale, so adding your own layer of protection won’t hurt and could save you a lot of heartache when you bump into something while wearing them. So add a thin layer of polish to your boots in a circular motion using a lint-free cloth (I used an old sock with holes in!) then give them a brush all over with a shoe brush (which I’m pretty sure you can pick up in a pound shop) and a final buff with the cloth to bring up the shine. How to polish your new leather shoes to keep them protected Obviously, polish isn’t a wonder-product – it’s been around for years – and a layer of polish won’t stop you scratching or scraping your boots while you’re out and about, so you still need to tread carefully, but taking care of your shoes when you get home will pay off over the years as your shoes continue to shine with all the loving treatment you’re giving them. Think of it as protecting your skin with a SPF when you go out into the sun and then moisturising your face at the end of the day to keep it supple – both of which are going to keep your skin looking all the more lovely over the years and it is the same with polishing shoes – you are both protecting and nourishing with a quick buff up. And in this era of throwaway fashion, surely it’s better to invest in one gorgeous pair of real leather boots and keep them clean and protected so that you can be sure that your comfortable boots last as long as possible and don’t end up broken and split, clogging up our landfill sites? It must be better for the environment and for your purse to spend 79p on a tin of polish (like I did yesterday!) and keep your shoes looking pretty for years to come! And lastly, a reminder that I’d like you send me a snap of your footwear favourites so that I can share them in a future Tuesday Shoesday blog post – email me to let me know why they are your best boots or hottest heels and I’ll happily link back to your blog too. I’ve got a fab pair of Clarks Moody Jazz boots that are my new favourites and I’ll definitely be sharing them in a future blog post along with all your lovely footwear favourites! My email address is cassie@cassiefairy.co.uk so send over your photos and I can’t wait to see your special shoes! 🙂


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My first attempt at nail art – pink confetti

I received a surprise treat in the post from my fabulous fairy friend Jenna the other day. She sent me a lovely card and a nail art brush, with a note saying she thought it might help for my beauty blog posts. Such a lovely surprise and a reminder of what amazing friends I have, and it put a smile on my face for days. So I’ve finally taken a few minutes to sit down and try it out for the first time to see what fantastic nail art designs I could recreate, and my first attempt was pink confetti:

spotty pink confetti nail polish with nail art pen

I painted my nails all over with a pale pink polish (with a little glitter in, of course!) and I picked out a few coordinating shades of pink, red and white polish. I dipped the ‘blobby’ end of the nail brush into each polish in turn and dotted it over my nails in a random pattern, cleaning the end of the brush before each colour change. I found it pretty tricky to get neat dots on my right hand but soon got used to using the blobby end, and found that the dots were neater when I loaded more of the polish onto the brush. I finished with a clear top coat and love the end result. I’m sure I’ll get better with practice, but I thought I hadn’t done to bad for a first attempt and I’ll try out using the brush end next time, eek!

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Pumpkin princess nails

To create a cute pumpkin look for Halloween, and also for the upcoming bonfire night celebrations (I think my nails look a bit like a bonfire, no?), I tried out the new glitter varnish that I ordered last week from Avon.

I painted a couple of coats of no 27 Orange polish from Asda’s make-up range topped with a layer of sparkly gold nail topcoat by Color Trend (currently on offer for £1.50 at Avon online). I was genuinely surprised by the quality of this polish – usually Avon’s cheaper ‘teen’ range is a disappointment in terms of quality and coverage, but this one was worth the cash (I actually bought it at £1.99, so I might go back for the purple and silver shades now that they are reduced).

I often find that glittery polishes catch my eye and I snap them up, only to find that the coverage is so poor that I only end up with a couple of crumbs of glitter on each nail and it takes many coats to get a good sparkly effect. In these images I have used only one coat of the ‘Gold Flecked’ nail polish and I think it’s delivered a great amount of glitter with both large ‘sequin’ flakes and tiny glitter specks. I’ve only had it on today so can’t comment on how long the polish will last, but I am certainly glad that I bought it – especially with christmas coming up, as I like to ramp up my glitter usage around the festive time of year!


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Tuesday Shoesday – Summer sandals & twinkly toes!

Is it finally summer? Some days I open my curtains to see a bright blue sky, searingly hot sunshine and fluffy white clouds, and other days I’m immediately disappointed by grey skies and drizzle. In fact, some days alternate between hot sunshine and cold showers in quick succession: I’ll be too hot one minute, soaking wet the next and back to sun-burn-city only moments later. What is up with this weather??

But I’ve decided that, summer or no summer, I want to find some perfect strappy sandals, because everyone needs a pretty pair of comfortable summer footwear by their front door, ready to run outside into the sun at a moment’s notice. Solange Knowles has recently been spotted cycling in a pretty pair of Azzedine Alaïa sandals (above) and although they’re gorgeous, they are a little out of my price range! So with this in mind, I’ve been hunting for the bargains of the Internet and I’ve come up with a couple of must-haves for (what’s left of!) this summer season.

Plus with strappy sandals like these you’ll need to get your feet ship-shape with some pretty polish – maybe try out this sparkly & floral effect on your toes or get MUA’s special effect nail polish to do all the work for you – add Nail Quake in purple ‘Broken Arrow’ over a turquoise blue for a summery peacock-feather effect (check out Nail Newbie‘s blog):

 

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