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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Cruelty-free eyebrows + the Little Book of Cruelty-Free

I’ve always had trouble finding products to suit my eyebrows, cruelty-free or otherwise. In fact, I’ve never found a match before. The thing is that my eyebrows are SO blonde that any of the products designed for blonde eyebrows tend to be too warm. Yes, orange eyebrows have been my destiny for many years and for that reason I’ve never used any products on my eyebrows before. So why would I start now?cruelty-free-eyebrow-cosmetics-products-makeup-review-animal-testing-mua-freedomcruelty-free-eyebrow-cosmetics-products-makeup-review-animal-testing-mua-freedom-12Well, the good news is that my cruelty-free journey has led me to some excellent budget make-up brands that I’d never tried before. And, interestingly enough, the eyebrow products they produce are considerably less orange than other blonde eyebrow products I’ve used in the past. I tried three different types of products before finding my ideal colour match so I thought I’d let you know how I got on with each of them.cruelty-free-eyebrow-cosmetics-products-makeup-review-animal-testing-mua-freedom-4Attempt number 1 was the MUA Brow Define brush-on brow colour. It’s like a mascara wand for eyebrows and I thought it could be a good two-in-one; taming hair and adding colour. It was exactly that, but for me it added a little bit too much colour. It picked up and coated the hairs rather than adding colour to my skin, so it looked much more natural than a pencil. But it was still a bit too dark for me. I can’t emphasise how very fair my eyebrow hairs are so it might be okay for you, and for blondes who want to go a little stronger on their eyebrows, it would be ideal. But as it was only £3 and I’d bought it on a 3-for-the-price-of-2 deal, I wasn’t worried about wasting money so I passed it on to my sister and moved on to this…cruelty-free-eyebrow-cosmetics-products-makeup-review-animal-testing-mua-freedom-3cruelty-free-eyebrow-cosmetics-products-makeup-review-animal-testing-mua-freedom-2The £1 MUA blonde eyebrow pencil. It’s much easier to control the pencil in terms of precision, so I could draw wispy lines to replicate hairs (so long as the pencil is super-sharp). Plus, there’s a brush on the end of the pencil to feather out the colour if needed. Still the tone of this blonde was too warm for my ashy pale eyebrows and made them a tiny bit darker than I would have liked. I suppose I’m still getting used to seeing my eyebrows after all these years so I felt it made me look a little surprised, although in reality it probably looked really natural. Even so, I wasn’t completely happy with the pencil so I tried a powder.cruelty-free-eyebrow-cosmetics-products-makeup-review-animal-testing-mua-freedom-5Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner! Continue reading “Cruelty-free eyebrows + the Little Book of Cruelty-Free” »

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A spring cleaning surprise (& a cruelty-free gift!)

You may have already done the big spring clean in your own home, but what about your relatives? In particular, I’m thinking about your grandparents, parents, uncles and great aunts who may be less able to give their own home a thorough clean this year. When I heard about the #RiseToTheChallenge campaign on social media it really made me think – why not give a little something back to our relatives by helping them out with a mini-makeover? I packed up my dusters and headed straight out this weekend to see what cleaning up I could do for my family.

I wanted my little clean-up to be a surprise so I headed to the shops on Saturday morning before heading to mums to surprise her in the afternoon. I headed to Savers, The Range, Poundland, Superdrug and Sainburys to stock up on plenty of cruelty-free cleaning products and bagged them up as a treat for my mum. She’d recently expressed an interest in my cruelty-free quest and wanted to make the switch over to non-animal-tested products herself. As I’ve mentioned before, chucking out all your old products and replacing them with a whole new cupboard of cruelty-free alternatives just isn’t feasible – it’s wasteful and costs a lot. It’s better to replace each product as it runs out and make the change gradually.

Well, I wanted to give mum a head start (I’m just so pleased she wanted to get involved) and I wanted to take on the #RiseToTheChallenge project and spruce-up her home. Rather than taking all my own cruelty-free household products over to mums (I’ll blog about all my favourite cruelty-free cleaning brands soon, so watch this space!) I decided to pick up a few bottles and give them to mum as a treat, along with a thorough clean-up of her living room. If you’re interested, here are the CF cleaning products I found: Astonish (all around £1 – £1.99), Sainsburys (from just 40p for bleach!), Cussons (£1 for a huge washing up liquid) and Original Source handwash from Poundland. Just goes to show that being kind to animals doesn’t have to cost more – in fact, I’m pretty sure everything I bought costs much less than the branded version.cruelty free cleaning products animal testing CFcruelty free cleaning products animal testing CF spring clean wood floor astonish

Continue reading “A spring cleaning surprise (& a cruelty-free gift!)” »

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Cruelty-free products I already use…

Last month I wrote about the reasons why I’ve recently made the switch to living a cruelty-free life. I’ve since written about homemade beauty as an alternative to bought products and the animal-friendly products I used to prepare for the UK Blog Awards. Today I’m looking at products that I already use and the cosmetics I’m currently carrying around in my make-up bag. Since the switch I’ve carried on using up the products I already own – this is a thrifty blog after all, and I can’t bear waste – but the difference is that whenever I use a product that’s been sitting in my makeup box for ages, I check the labels.cruelty free products household cleaning home makeup cosmetics beauty ecover-3I want to know what I can keep (the animal-friendly brands) and what will eventually be chucked. And when I can’t find out any info from the label, I google it and check out the brand’s animal testing policy. It’s such a wonderful moment for me when I discover that a product I love and have used for years is on the halo list! Phew, I can carry on using it and continue supporting the brand, safe in the knowledge that they are doing the right thing. Here are a few of the products I already had in my cupboards that are good eggs…leaping bunny international logo BUAV approved cruelty free cosmetics make up skincare household products beauty-6Lush

In my bathroom right now is the Ocean Salt face and body scrub, the Cup O’Coffee exfoliating mask and Coalface charcoal soap. The product above is my mascara; I use the ‘Eyes Right’ mascara every day. I was pretty sure that Lush is one of the good guys – they’ve got the ‘fighting animal testing’ logo on their packaging (above) – but I wanted to make 100% sure. I check out their website to learn more about the brand and found a page dedicated to the animal testing policy. Their stance on animal testing is completely clear: they will not buy raw materials from any company that tests anything on any animals for any purpose and will never test any of their own products on animals either.


Yes, my washing-up liquid is cruelty-free! I’m celebrating by doing a little dance while washing up. This brand is great in so many ways: the liquid is made from renewable plant-based ingredients which reduces pollution, bottles are made from recycled and plantplastics, the formula is fine for sensitive skin and the packaging is recyclable. Boom! And of course, the leaping bunny logo is pride of place on the front of the bottle. The Ecover FAQ pages tells us “Since the beginning, we never tested finished products or ingredients on animals, and we have never ordered such tests by third parties either.” I’m switching all my household cleaning products over to cruelty-free brands so as I run out of washing powder, bathroom cleaner and hand soap I’ll be replacing them with cruelty-free alternatives. I’m sure that this isn’t the last time Ecover will be on my list.cruelty free products household cleaning home makeup cosmetics beauty ecover-4

Continue reading “Cruelty-free products I already use…” »

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Book Review: Handmade Beauty (& keeping life cruelty-free by making my own)

If you missed my blog post last month on living a cruelty-free life, you might be a little baffled by the title of this book review post. I’ve made the decision to make my life as cruelty-free as possible – cosmetics, food, toiletries, even household cleaning products – so when I was offered the chance to review Handmade Beauty (and share some of these thrifty recipes with you for free) I couldn’t resist. After all, what’s more cruelty-free than making your own, eh?!Bath Bombs - StyleI’m also rather keen on the idea of knowing exactly what ingredients have gone into the products that I’m using on my face, hair and body. Having particularly sensitive skin, it’s sometimes hard for me to find ‘off the shelf’ products that are gentle enough for me. Even the fresh and almost-good-enough-to-eat products at LUSH are sometimes not quite right for me so I’d rather mix the ingredients together myself and know exactly what’s in there and what isn’t. Plus, I’m sure that I could probably be saving quite a lot of money by making my own scrubs, bath bombs, balms and hair treatments.Pineapple Clay Mask - StyledFair enough, my homemade beauty products might not last as long as ones packed with preservatives, but I can make smaller batches or mix up only the amount that I need at that moment. And never again will I have to throw away a half-used tub of fresh face mask because it’s gone a bit funky after sitting in my bathroom for two months longer than its use-by date, oops..!Cover_HandmadeBeautyThe book that I’ve been testing out is Handmade Beauty: Natural Recipes for Your Face, Body and Hair by Juliette Goggin and Abi Righton. Each recipe contains step-by-step instructions for mixing up your own lotions and potions – much like a cookery book – and tells you how long the finished product will last and how to store it . The authors even give advice for labelling and prettifying so that you can give away your handmade treats as gifts – another great money-saving tip!Hair Rinse with Beer - StyledThe two free PDF recipes that I’m sharing with you today really caught my eye, thanks to the interesting combination of fresh ingredients and easy-to-follow instructions. The first is for a really delicious-sounding Hair Rinse with Beer, Lemon and Rosemary and the second recipe is a Pineapple and Yoghurt Smoothie Clay Mask. Hair Rinse with Beer + Lemon + Rosemary - Step 1 Continue reading “Book Review: Handmade Beauty (& keeping life cruelty-free by making my own)” »

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#LFBlooms Beauty Box + Preparations for the UK Blog Awards

With only a couple of day to go until the UK Blog Awards I’m starting to get really excited. I did warn you that this week would be packed full of my preparations for the blog awards – I told you all about my shoes on Tuesday Shoesday and will be sharing my outfit tomorrow – so today I wanted to let you know about the lovely beauty box I received from in order to prepare for the big night.look fantastic april 2016 beauty box_ look fantastic april beauty box make up-3It was an exciting moment when I opened up the mystery package and found out the theme of the April Beauty Box from The collection was #LFBlooms and is all about beauty with a difference. The natural, organic and eco products were gathered together to celebrate Earth Month – taking care of the planet while you take care of yourself. Thankfully, the box contained lots of cruelty-free brands and the collection promotes natural beauty – definitely my kind of thing! Plus, if you shop natural products on while the campaign is running, you’ll find some great discounts on good-for-you brands so check out the website today for inspiration. look fantastic april beauty box make up-2look fantastic april beauty boxFirst up is a hand scrub by Rituals, which is one of  my favourite products in the Beauty Box. As someone who suffers with very dry skin on my hands all year round (often flaking and cracking between my fingers) it’s lovely to find a product that treats this problem. There are many reasons to love Rituals; their products are not tested on animals, their product packaging is made from sustainable sources and they support the Tiny Miracles charitable foundation. The product itself is infused with nourishing oils so even while you’re scrubbing off the dry skin it is conditioning the skin too. It’s made a big difference to my hands already and after using the British Botanical Hand & Nail Butter also included in the #LFBlooms box, I am feeling ready for celebratory a manicure now!look fantastic april beauty box make up-4look fantastic april beauty box make up-10look fantastic april beauty box make up-11 Continue reading “#LFBlooms Beauty Box + Preparations for the UK Blog Awards” »


Living a cruelty-free life

I want my life to be cruelty-free. This is something that has been important to me for a while and I’d love to share my passion for the issue with you today. I’m actually rather embarrassed to admit that for all the years of my life leading up to this decision I hadn’t really ever considered it. I hadn’t given animal testing any thought and I actually feel a bit silly that I was being sucked in by advertising and spending my hard-earned money on the ‘latest miracle product’, completely ignorant as to how it was manufactured or tested. I’m not saying that I didn’t care about animals for all my teenage years; I just wasn’t aware of the behind-the-scenes goings-on of the cosmetic, toiletries, food and cleaning product industries. And now I want to make sure that I never make any mistakes with my buying choices again. We have the power to vote with our feet and choose which brands to buy from and which to boycott. Okay, I’m not starting a rally here, but it IS important to me to know what I’m buying and how it has been produced.leaping bunny international logo BUAV approved cruelty free cosmetics make up skincare household products beauty-2

Here’s the logo to look out for on product packaging – The Leaping Bunny

I can tell you what kick started my passion about this subject; my cat Cookie. I’ve been a cat mummy for nearly 8 years now after adopting Cookie and Muffin from the Animal Rescue centre in Lancaster. And I’ve been an animal-lover and pet owner all my life; taking care of rabbits, mice, cats, a dog (and even someone else’s pony!) as I was growing up. I definitely feel an affinity to animals and, let’s face it, sometimes prefer them to humans. Yet the issue of animal testing hadn’t popped into my head at all until this year, when Cookie fell ill.leaping bunny international logo BUAV approved cruelty free cosmetics make up skincare household products beauty-7

The Leaping Bunny logo confirms the product has been certified ‘cruelty free’ under the international Humane Cosmetics or Humane Household Products Standards

In the space of one week my adorable little ball of fluff went from being a happy, healthy and calm animal and became a mangey, weak, skittish, unhappy little soul. My cat was wasting away before my eyes and it broke my heart. Although it wasn’t the cause of the illness, she was suffering from feline idiopathic cystitis so was constantly visiting the litter tray, getting mess all over her and couldn’t rest – within minutes she was up and trying to wee again. Although it was distressing to see at the time, I’m really grateful that this happened because we rushed her to the vets (as the similar illness feline lower urinary tract disease can be very dangerous) and the vet gave her a thorough examination. The result was a heart murmur, caused by hyperthyroidism. She actually was on the way out and we wouldn’t have known about it at all if we hadn’t taken her to the vets. Luckily, there was something we could do to help her, and after changing her diet to iodine free food and lots of medication to treat the symptoms she has started to improve – she’s put on weight, her thyroid levels are going down and she’s getting her fluffiness back. It means that she’ll soon be able to have the operation to remove the thyroid and will be able to live a long and happy life like any other cat.leaping bunny international logo BUAV approved cruelty free cosmetics make up skincare household products beauty-6

What does “Fighting Animal Testing” mean? Dig deeper if you’re unsure – I did and LUSH ARE fighting animal testing. The brand is entirely vegetarian and won’t associate with ANY organisation that tests on animals.

Anyway, the reason I’ve told you all about Cookie’s illness is because that was the turning point for me. I couldn’t bear to see my pet suffering and I realised that I care just as much about any animal suffering. Why put any animal through an ordeal if it can be avoided? I could help Cookie (and the team at Companion Care were amazing) but who helps all the other animals?  Although animal testing is now illegal in Europe, 80% of the rest of the world has no restrictions on it – including the USA and Asia. Sad, isn’t it? I know I can’t physically help all the animals myself but I knew what I COULD do, and that’s make a change in my own habits and hopefully help others to live a cruelty-free life too.leaping bunny international logo BUAV approved cruelty free cosmetics make up skincare household products beauty-4

“Made in the UK” is an additional indicator of a cruelty-free product, as animal testing is banned in the EU

Surely going cruelty-free means splashing the cash on more spendy brands, doesn’t it? Well, the short answer is no. That’s not the case. In many instances, the big name brands are the ones who do still test on animals or whose suppliers test on animals at some point along the chain. Continue reading “Living a cruelty-free life” »


Picquot Ware – Instructions & guarantee information

A while ago I shared a blog post about Picquot Ware. In my original post I discussed the ‘lucky find’ my husband and I had when we bought some pieces of Picquot Ware at a carboot sale last summer. I also shared some progress on polishing up the pots and how I planned to keep them in tip-top condition. Well, since this blog post was published, I’ve been lucky enough receive countless comments on the article from people who still own and use their Picquot Ware.midcentury modern picquot ware teapot coffee setIt seems like my little blog post sparked an outpouring of stories, memories, cleaning tips and advice from fans of the brand and I’m delighted with every single comment I read. It’s wonderful to learn about the origins of the company, the people who worked there, the cost of the products ‘back in the day’ and to hear that pieces of Picquot Ware are still going strong in households up and down the country. I look forward to opening up my comments section and seeing what new information has been shared – there’s quite a little ‘community’ of us Picquot Ware fans over on the original post now!

My own Picquot Ware set – before and after polishing

Last week, one of the people I’d been talking to via the Picquot Ware blog post comments section, Lesley, got in touch with me via email with some amazing news. A Picquot Ware instruction leaflet and guarantee had been discovered amongst the teaset that Lesley had inherited. I fired an email back and asked if it would be possible to share this information on the blog so that the whole ‘community’ could benefit from it. Lesley very kindly scanned the documents and forwarded them to me, with permission to share it with you all today. So here’s what we’ve all been waiting for – the original Picquot Ware guarantee, teaset information and cleaning instructions.Picquot Ware Guarantee Continue reading “Picquot Ware – Instructions & guarantee information” »


Halloween hairstyles

Halloween is my favourite time of year. I love getting dressed up, covering myself in fake blood and putting on those all-important cat ears which, if I’m honest, have seen a lot of wear over the years. However, not everyone is a fan of fancy dress and some people can feel a little bit embarrassed when walking down the street. Luckily for you, I’m here to help.

This time of year always brings back those styling tricks and tools that you had almost forgotten about. From serious backcombing to old school crimping, there are so many different types of hairstyles to choose from to help bring out your darker side. halloween hairstyles 1

To achieve extreme, hair-raising volume, all you need is some hairspray and a comb. Start to segment your hair and backcomb each section at the roots. Don’t be afraid to be as messy as you want. To get an even more terrifying look, why not backcomb the whole length of your hair, or add some hairspray into the roots to make your hair stand on end. This is an extravagant look and works perfectly for Halloween. You could also add in a few curls or create an oversized quiff or updo for your fright-night look.halloween hair

I’m sure many of you still have crimpers hidden away somewhere (I know I do), so delve into your drawers and give them a quick dust off. You never know, it may be the perfect hairstyle for your Halloween costume and you may even thank me for it!

Being artistic with your make-up is another way to get that unearthly yet chic style. Try framing your eyes with dark shades of brown, green or purple eye shadow, extending your eyeliner beyond your lid and shading in your eyebrows to deepen your ghoulish look. Ghost white complexions are almost a must on Halloween, so apply plenty of light powder or white face paint to create this effect and finish with nude/light pink lips.hairstyles for halloween

So, what do you think you will be dressing up as this Halloween? Have you thought about what you will do with your hair? Let me know in the comments below!

John Frieda have kindly offered Cassiefairy readers the chance to win some fabulous Sheer Blonde Go Blonder products and YOU could win the kit below for yourself by entering my competition on Twitter – simply follow @Cassiefairy and retweet the competition tweet – click here to enter !

Sheer Blonde Competition


My use-up challenge ~ making mineral make-up

Earlier this month I challenged myself to use-up all the odds and ends of cosmetics and skincare products that I have on my dressing table rather than spending more money that I don’t have on the current ‘essential’ products. When I buy moisturiser, I know full well that I already have pots and tubes of the same kinda thing at home, but I just can’t stop myself from thinking that ‘this will be the one product to change my life’ and reaching for my purse. I wrote all about it in my use-up challenge blog post and here’s a little update on how I’m getting on.

First of all, I have managed to stop myself spending on make-up and skincare, despite a couple of shopping trips to my favourite high street pharmacies. While my little sister & my friends bought a couple of bits here and there, I simply sampled the make up on the back of my hand and made of note of what I would like to add to my birthday list instead of making the purchase. I accidentally picked up a Revlon nail polish in the pound store, but that’s just one quid spent after maybe 15 pounds were saved, so I feel pretty smug about that and I think I deserved that treat. What am I saying? This is exactly how I manage to convince myself that I need to buy make-up all the time in the first place. I need to give myself a stern talking-to and not buy the polish next time.

cassiefairys beauty and hair product purchases during my use-up challenge nail polish and 3 minute miracle

One other purchase was the Aussie 3 Minute Miracle, my absolute favourite hair-care product, that I have nearly run out of and it was on special offer. I know that if I hadn’t bought it this week, I would have finished my current bottle next week and it’d be back up to full price by then. Anyway, the challenge isn’t about going without, it’s about using up what I already have before I buy a new product. Another poor excuse, but technically I’m saving money…

Anyway, the positive thing that I’ve dont this week is sort out my mineral make-up. I was getting pretty low on my normal foundation and I knew that I had lots of odds-and-ends of mineral make-up powders in my ‘face’ make-up bag (yes, I have three – eyes, lips and face).  So I got them all out and set about mixing up my own mineral foundation.

cassiefairy use up make up challenge mix your own perfect match mineral foundation

I had two nearly-finished pots of my usual base colour, so I combined the two in a bigger pot and added the end of a pot of my ‘warm’ summer foundation. To make the colour a little lighter I mixed in some of the mineral concealer powder and some finishing powder. I also had a few sachets of mineral powder samples, so I added them too. A quick shake with the lid on was all that was needed to thoroughly mix all the shades of foundation together and I ended up with a colour that was perfect for me. A whole tub of it! Plus I cleared out all these pots from my make-up bag and now I’ve got a go-to foundation that I can use-up during this challenge. I would have usually just gone out and bought a new off-the-peg mineral foundation but now I’ve got a ‘custom-blended’ foundation without spending anything. This feels as good as shopping for it anyway!

So not only has this saved me money but it has saved me space in my make up drawer too! I’ve been looking for ways to organise my remaining make up better so that I can actually see what I’ve already got and what needs to be added to my collection and I came across this blog post about the different ways that other bloggers have solved the problem of having too much make up! This includes dividers, jars, vases, boxes and even magnets! There are some great ideas, so check it out for inspiration 🙂

I think I might carry on mixing my own mineral foundation in the future, because it’s difficult to find a shade that matches my pale skin perfectly. However, if anyone knows of a mineral make-up brand that does good ivory/porcelain/cream shades, let me know and I’ll give it a try once my use-up challenge is over! Tweet me @Cassiefairy and let me know what you’re using up!

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Use it up & be inspired ~ A couple of blog challenges to join in with…

Let’s start with the real reason why I’m setting myself this challenge: I need to save money between now and Christmas (yes, I’ve peeped into the piggy-bank and there’s not enough in there to buy Christmas cards, let alone anything else!) and the best way to do this is to stop spending. That’s easy to say, but not so easy to do, especially when you’re a closet beauty-fanatic who can’t help lusting over new make-up products and beauty-buys. I go into the high street pharmacy stores (and online too!) every week to see what’s new, and although I spend ages testing out the products and working out the best deals, I try very hard not to buy anything because inevitably I’m holding the new must-have liquid eyeliner in my hand and I know that I’ve already got at least 3 black liquid eyeliners at home that I don’t even use much. But it doesn’t stop me from wanting it and being so certain that this will be the product to change my life.

So to put an end to this loitering-around-Superdrug, I’m going to set myself a challenge to use up the products that I already have and stop buying the next miracle cream etc. I’ll save money AND I’ll make room in my make up drawers. And when it gets to Christmas, maybe my friends and family will treat me to some beauty gifts. So from now on the products that I desperately want will be added to my “Things I NEED!” Pinterest wish list so that I can swoon over them from time to time, and maybe splurge a little when it gets to January. Plus, I might have gone off the idea of the latest wonder-product by the time I’m in 2014, and I’m sure something better will have been launched to take its place.

So these are some of the bits I’m aiming to finish up during my “use up” challenge and we’ll see what else I can polish off over the coming months too:

cassiefairy use up challenge beauty products

And the second challenge is a reminder about my Inspiration Challenge for September – please make something -ANYTHING – on the theme of “bears” and you will be entered into the prize draw to win this lovely sewing kit from Abakhan Fabrics. I’m not judging your makes, it’s just for fun to get inspired to do something creative this month – check out the blog posts here and join in by sending photos of your projects to!

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

Will you join me in either of my challenges? What products do you have lurking at the back of your cupboards that you would like to use up? What can you make around the theme of bears?? Let me know what you think by leaving me a comment below or tweeting me @Cassiefairy. Speak to you soon x

More Inspiration Challenge articles:

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