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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Book review: The Thoughtful Gardener by Jinny Blom + Win a copy!

I’ve been reading about gardening this month, and it’s all down to the newly released book The Thoughtful Gardener. If you too have an empty garden (or an overgrown one, for that matter) this book is the perfect starting point to get you into the garden this spring. It’s packed full of inspirational ideas and plenty of photos of gardens in bloom that’ll get you wanting to plant up your patch. Read on to find out more about the book and author, and to enter my giveaway to WIN a copy of this beautiful new release, worth £35!Award-winning designer, and gardening columnist for The Times, Jinny Blom has carefully curated this gorgeous book to bring together design ideas from gardens all around the country. The Thoughtful Gardener not only provides plenty of inspiration with stunning photos, it also offers practical advice on how to make your own perfectly-designed garden at home.

Image by Andrew Montgomery / The Thoughtful Gardener by Jinny Blom

But that doesn’t mean a manicured lawn with topiary trees, a well-designed garden can be full of over-grown shrubs, blousey blooms and messy edges. That’s the lovely thing about this book; it makes gardening accessible to those of us who don’t have the time to trim the edges of our grass with scissors! Some of the gardens in this book have been growing wildly for years, but Jinny shows us how the original design allows for the plants to grow freely while still providing a surprisingly neat and calming space.

Image by Charlie Hopkinson / The Thoughtful Gardener by Jinny Blom

Read more and enter my giveaway to win a copy of The Thoughtful Gardener below..!

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Top 3 dress trends for spring/summer 2017 and how to wear them + underwear giveaway!

The sun is out – hip hip hooray! For me this means the start of the spring/summer season and that means a slight shift in my wardrobe. It’s no longer the weather for woolly jumpers and thick jeans – which can only mean one thing; dresses are back! Today I’m sharing my picks of the spring/summer collections on the high street and tackling some of the more difficult styles to wear. Plus, there’s a giveaway to win TWO go-with-everything Kissbobo invisible bras – read on to enter the competition today!

image source

If you’re going to any kind of event this year, you’ll probably want to invest in a new dress. I’m not necessarily giving you permission to buy a new outfit for every occasion but do think that one fabulous new dress could see you through all the hen parties, work events, weddings, christenings, days at the races and dinner parties you’ve got planned this season. But which one dress will cover all eventualities? And what kind of underwear will you need to wear with these off-the-shoulder styles styles? Here’s my top 3 dresses for S/S17 and how to wear them… 

The cold shoulder midi

This classy cold shoulder dress is the perfect spring/summer outfit for special occasions. It’s just landed on the New Look website and already I’m a fan. With a floaty floral fabric it’ll keep you cool in the warm weather. And when there’s a breeze in the air it’s long enough to cover your knees, and the sleeves will give your arms a little protection from the cold. It can be dressed up with heels or kept casual with a pair of trainers so it’s a wear-all-weekend piece. LOVE the yolk yellow colour! It’s got a slinky low back and thin shoulder straps so finding the right underwear might prove tricky; the Kissbobo invisible bra would do the job perfectly. It’s an adhesive gel bra so there’s no straps to worry about – no chance of your underwear peeking out from below your pretty dress in any of those wedding photos!

Two prizes to be won in my giveaway – enter competition below…

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AMAZING news – my blog won the award for Best Homes & Interiors Blog 2017

I’m SO excited to tell you the wonderful news that my thrifty little lifestyle blog has just been announced as the winner of the Best Homes and Interiors Blogger Award 2017!! I still can’t really believe it and I’m grinning like the cheshire cat right now!The news has just been shared by the award sponsor Tile Trader and it’s already made the headlines on the East Anglian Daily Times website – here’s a screen shot and link to the article if you’d like to have a read.Thank you all for voting for my blog in the competition, I really appreciate you taking the time to support me and it’s all for a fantastic cause – the prize is a donation of £200 to a homelessness charity in the winner’s local area. I’m delighted to be able to use my little blog to boost the funds of a brand new support service in Suffolk “The Bus Shelter”.

Beautiful photo of the bus renovation project by Jane Gould, image from The Bus Shelter Facebook page

The charity is currently renovating a donated double-decker bus to turn it into a safe space for rough sleepers to stay. But ‘sleep is just the beginning’ (the charity’s motto) as the bus will also offer advice, cooking and washing facilities, and ongoing support. It’s a truly inspirational charity and the project is in progress right now so please get involved if you can – all donations really do make a difference and will help to get The Bus Shelter on the road sooner. You can read more and donate on their Facebook page here.

Thank you all once again for voting for my blog – it’s made a huge difference to a local charity as well as made me indescribably happy! I’m super excited  that I also receive a commemorative plaque for the award to put on the mantlepiece woo, can’t wait for that to arrive in the post – I’ll be sure to share a photo of it on Instagram @cassiefairy when it’s delivered. Thank you for continuing to support me and helping to put Suffolk blogs on the map in this national award competition 🙂


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Tuesday Shoesday – 100 years of Converse All-Stars

Did you know that 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the famous Converse All-Star high-top trainers? I didn’t either until I started Googling “Converse” when I was looking for a gift for my husband. A quick search not only brought up a whole host of classic designs to choose from but also a whole lot of history about the brand itself. I’m such a geek when it comes to gaining knowledge about the things I buy so I delved deeper to find out more. Read on to find out what I discovered about Converse…Let’s take it back to the very beginning; The Converse Rubber Shoe Company (to give the brand it’s full, original title) opened its doors back in 1908 in the US, making all kinds of athletic shoes before specialising in tennis shoes in 1915. This early success led the company to develop new styles of sports shoes with rubber soles… I think you know where I’m going with this! It was in 1917 that the Converse All-Star Basketball shoes were introduced. And when basketball player Chuck Taylor put his name behind the brand in 1920, the high-top style really started to take off. It was no longer just a shoe for playing sports in. Oh no.
Over the years the iconic design has become the footwear of choice for off-duty fashionistas and is the ultimate in casual cool. Fans started customising their All-Stars to make them their own and the style was reproduced in countless new fabrics, patterns and colours. Nowadays you can even have your own design made just for you by Converse using the customizer tool on their website.

Enter my £50 giveaway below…

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Map Geek – Make it personal with romantic maps

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll already know what a geek I am when it comes to maps. Old, new and anything inbetween – maps are intriguing, enticing and informative. I’m the kind of person who wanders over to information maps on footpaths or in city centres and looks like a total tourist, but really I’m just interested in the map itself. Why is it here? What’s nearby? Any special information? Someone has taken the time to make that map and put it there, so surely there’s a reason that’s worth investigating. So it probably comes as no surprise that I also love to have maps in my own home too, and that’s where Mapify comes in. Read on to find out more about my Valentine’s map and how you can win your very own personalised map created just for you by Mapify in my giveaway – and there’s THREE prizes to be won!Thankfully, my husband is equally interested in maps, so when there’s an museum exhibit of old relief maps in the Lake District, or an exhibition of Max Gill’s famous street maps at The Lettering Arts Centre we are first in the queue to see it. I guess we’re well suited to each other, eh? So what better gift could I get for my husband this Valentine’s Day than a personalised map? Well, I’m pleased to say that it IS possible to create your own map of any location throughout the whole world, and have a fantastic quality print on your wall in a matter of days. Mapify is the serviceI used to make this special gift, and here’s how I did it.

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Tuesday Shoesday – Summer Holiday Fashion Essentials

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting rather excited about my summer holiday starting soon. For many of us our summer break means some much-needed time off and a chance to recharge our batteries with a spot of sunshine. Today I’m sharing some of my top thrifty fashion picks for summer 2016, I’m showing you where to find an amazing voucher code that’ll get you £20 off your new holiday wardrobe AND I’m giving you the chance to win 1 of 3 spa experience vouchers to really kick-start your holiday in style! Read on to find out more and how to enter this fabulous giveaway…tuesday shoesday shoes sandals flip flops espadrilles fashion summer 2016 holiday inspirationWhether you’re going to some luxurious far-flung destination or are enjoying a relaxing staycation here in the UK, it’s simply the chance to check-out and rest that makes summer holidays so appealing. And, of course, there’s no better time to treat yourself to a spot of holiday shopping too! Glancing through my wardrobe earlier this week I realised that, apart from a couple of floral t-shirts, I’m seriously lacking in any holiday attire. I have no flip flops, no beach cover-up and not one single pair of shorts. It was time to shop!fashion trend summer 2016 espadrilles denim white blue

I wrote about espadrilles as the ultimate summer shoe on Tuesday Shoesday last month

But, as you may have gathered, it’s rather unusual for me to go shopping for anything new. I’m a thrifty gal, and those money-saving habits die hard. I decided that shopping online for my holiday wardrobe was the way to go, as I could browse plenty of shops all at once and could do my favourite type of filtering: “order by lowest price”! I also knew that I wasn’t going to get sucked into paying all kinds of delivery costs, so my first stop (before I even began shopping for clothes!) was searching for money-saving vouchers and discount codes.tuesday shoesday shoes sandals flip flops espadrilles

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Create your own personalised room fragrance

What better way to start the week than with a giveaway, right? And how better to lift your spirits and ease those Monday morning blues than with a bit of pampering? Yes, I think you all deserve a little bit of luxury this week so when the very kind folk at Bolsius Aromatic got in touch to offer some fabulous prizes for my lovely readers, I jumped at the ,chance. And that’s exactly what I’m sharing with you today, so read on to find out how you could win 1 of 2 luxurious prizes… scented candle wax melts room fragrance-12scented candle wax melts room fragrance-10The treat I’ve got in store for you is something to indulge your senses and fill your home with a little bit of luxury. We’ve all picked up scented candles in Ikea haven’t we? And we’ve all tried wax melts to fill our home with festive smells at Christmas, right? But the product I’m talking about today is something I’ve never seen before. It’s both of these things and neither at the same time. Creations is a scented wax melt kit that allows you to make an entirely customized scent for your home. In the same way that you might mix a handful of Jelly Beans to make a flavour, these melts allow you to adjust the scents to your own liking, and create a personalised room fragrance just for you.

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How to get glamorous curls

Today I have two fabulous things I want to share with you. Firstly, I’ve got a great step-by-step tutorial for creating glamorous curls at home. And secondly, I’m hosting a fun giveaway in conjunction with John Frieda so that you can win a Frizz Ease styling kit to recreate this smooth Hollywood-inspired look for yourself at home. Read on for top tips on styling from the John Frieda professional and to enter my competition.rita ora glamorous curls hair style diy tips

I love Rita Ora’s side-swept curls

Whether it’s a night out with the girls, a wedding or even date night, nothing says glamour more than voluminous, frizz-free curls. To help you achieve the look, here’s some tips on how you can turn up the volume and stand out from the crowd with some big, bouncy, beautiful curls.

Step 1 – To achieve perfect curls, it’s important to first prep your hair with the right products. To ensure hair is left looking smooth, wash your hair with a shampoo and conditioner designed specifically to combat frizz.

Step 2 – Next add a small amount of mousse to your damp hair in order to make your hair more manageable in the styling process. At this stage you may even want to add a root booster product to ensure maximum volume is achieved.

Step 3 – Blow dry your hair using a round barrelled brush. Make sure you lift your hair up at the roots before smoothing your hair down at the tips.root lift round brush glamorous curls tips

Get lift at the roots with a round brush

Step 4 – Now, how you choose to add curls to your look is up to you. When using a curling tong, ensure all curls are created facing the same direction. Alternatively you can use heated rollers to achieve your desired big curls.

Step 5 – To secure the look in place, spray hairspray onto your locks. You may even want to keep a mini can in your handbag so you can keep your hair on top form for longer!

Step 6 – Finally it’s time to accessorise but remember to keep things simple. You don’t want to take away too much from the volume you’ve just created by wearing an oversized accessory. Instead, choose a delicate hair brooch or decorated hair pin, perfect for keeping those flyaway hairs in place whilst remaining stylish. styling kit prize john frieda frizze ease competition on cassiefairy blogNow here’s the fun part – you can win a styling kit from John Frieda to get this look for yourself at home. The prize includes 1x Frizz Ease Forever Smooth Shampoo, 1x Frizz Ease Forever Smooth Conditioner and 1x Frizz Ease 3 Day Straight Semi-Permanent Styling Spray. There are plenty of ways to enter via the rafflecopter widget below so grab yourself some entries into the competition below and keep your fingers crossed!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway open to UK residents only and runs until 20th March 2016 – good luck!


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DIY Valentine’s gift – A box of memories + polaroid photos

What do you give to your special someone for Valentine’s Day when you’re both trying to save money and clear the clutter? Something very thrifty and useful, that’s what. I know you wouldn’t expect anything less from me so I’m happy to oblige! I’ve upcycled a gift box that I received for Christmas, used a left-over piece of wallpaper and lots of double-sided tape to create a DIY gift for my husband. Read on to find out how I made this quick and simple gift PLUS you can get a discount on printing your own photos at Cheerz.com by using my code CASGRI for £4 off!DIY thrifty valentines make your own memory box gift_-27 DIY thrifty valentines make your own memory box gift_-26I want to show my husband lots of love on Valentine’s Day (and on birthdays, at Christmas and every other day too, for that matter) but that doesn’t always mean buying something new. I think that experiences and the resulting memories are more important than buying something from the shops, so I wanted to reflect back on the things we’ve done together over the past year, and create a box of our shared memories to look back at. Of course, I want to make it a bit special for hubby, so I’m including a handful of retro sweets and some photo-strips from the Valentine’s range at Cheerz (use code CASGRI for £4 off!) that I just got printed up. These special Valentine’s products are available to order until 4th Feb so get started now to make sure you receive your photos before the big day!DIY thrifty valentines make your own memory box gift_-28 DIY thrifty valentines make your own memory box gift_-4 DIY thrifty valentines make your own memory box gift_-5 DIY thrifty valentines make your own memory box gift_-6But I’m not just making this DIY gift as a Valentine’s Day treat – oh no, it’s totally practical too. This box provides much-needed storage space for all our photos, ticket stubs and scrapbook bits ‘n’ pieces that we’ve collected up over the past year. They’ve been sitting in my desk drawer and I’d like that space back now please! Plus I’m always happy to recycle something rather than bin it, so this festive gift box (it had chocolates in, can you tell?) gets a new lease of life as a dedicated storage box now that the contents have been eaten. Let me tell you how I revamped this tired old gift box – and don’t forget to enter my giveaway below..! Continue reading “DIY Valentine’s gift – A box of memories + polaroid photos” »


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Inspiration Challenge ~ a fabulous prize for September!

How are you getting on with this month’s inspiration challenge? The theme was antique bears and I’m so excited to see what everyone will come up with – maybe a cross-stitch, a greetings card, scrapbooking page, drawing or anything else crafty or stitchy!

I’m delighted to say that my favourite haberdashery shop Abakhan.co.uk are sponsoring the inspiration challenge again this month and the prize up for grabs is this handy vintage-inspired sewing kit in a gorgeous floral case below. To be in with a chance of winning this fabulous prize from Abakhan, please send me photos of your teddy bear projects before 30th September to cassie@cassiefairy.co.uk and the winner will be picked at random (using Random.org)! I’m not judging the projects, so it doesn’t have to be the best item you’ve ever created – it’s just for fun and to see what you can create from the ‘antique bears’ starting point.

Inspiration challenge for september 2013 antique bears win sewing kit from abakhan

I’ve been cracking on with my make already this month (I’m usually a bit last-minute with my projects!) and I’m making a bear for my nephew. It’s his christening next week, so I will need to have completed it by then in order to give it to him as a gift! I got a bear-making book out of the local library and photocopied the patterns in the book, but when I started making the bear, I realised it would be a bit too small so I scaled-up the pattern (in a very haphazard way by drawing a line around the outside!) and I’ve started making the limbs! I’ve used a striped cotton that I bought from the Preston Abakhan store when my nephew was first born last year and I’ve added little blue gingham paws and feet pads! It’s still a work in progress so I’ll show you more during the monthly Inspiration Challenge roundup when the little bear is finished. 🙂

cassiefairys inspiration challenge on the blog - sewing a teddy bear for my nephews christening gift

Don’t forget to email me with your projects – good, bad or indifferent! – whenever you have finished them and in the meantime check out Abakhan online for all kinds of fabrics, hobby and craft goodies!

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