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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My bathroom renovation project – Before + during… eek!

Today I’m sharing some snaps of my bathroom renovation project with you. It’s been a couple of weeks of hard work but we’ve made good progress and things are looking up. So I thought I’d post some photos of how the bathroom looked before we started and what we did to improve the room. I’ll be sharing a few blog posts about the bathroom makeover over the coming weeks so that you can see our progress as novice (read: never done it before in my life!) plumbers.

A sneaky peek at my choice of tiles and shower before we get into horrid bathroom photos…

So, here’s what we were starting with. The bathroom is very small and has a weird layout. The bath is where you’d expect it to be, but the sink is hung over the top of the bath. This seemed odd as there is space at the foot of the bath for a sink, but I guess the previous owners didn’t fancy tackling the plumbing involved with moving the sink into a new position. The pipework was partially boxed in, but mostly just exposed as you can see from these photos.

The toilet was a new level of sadness; the plastic cistern was badly stained and the toilet bowl leaked so all the surrounding vinyl tiles were lifting and the wooden board beneath the tiles was blown apart. We later found out that the lead pipe that takes the waste from the toilet into the drains actually had a hole in it. I know it’s gross to talk about it, but it meant that all kinds of toilet waste was seeping into the floor. Just look at those stains – no wonder there was a horrid smell in the room. Sadly, the cracked sink, rusty fittings and stained bath couldn’t be saved and we had to take the whole lot out of the room. I only say sadly because I hate to waste something that I could reuse (and save money on buying a new one) but really, I’m pleased that the gross bathroom is going. I thought that this would take a while but it turns out that removing the old bathroom was the easy part. Well, after turning off the water supply it was just a case of undoing pipes and dragging the bath down the stairs. The wall tiles, however, were a whole other challenge.

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DIY photobooth props for weddings and parties

This has to be the quickest DIY project I’ve ever done. I don’t even have a step-by-step guide to share with you. But I do have some before and after photos so you can see just how effective this easy project is. Roll on wedding season!I wanted to make some pretty frames to use in a photobooth at a party. These are great for Christmas parties, birthdays, hen parties and anniversaries. And of course, the photobooth is almost a tradition at weddings now! This project really was as simple as:

  1. Take the back off an ornate picture frame and remove the glass
  2. Spray paint with metallic paint.

Okay the 3rd step might be to give the frames a second coat of spray paint. It’s important to only spray paint with fine coats of paint to make sure that the paint doesn’t drip. So it’s better to do two or three thin layers to build up the colour rather than one thick coat. And…

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Bedroom progress – a retro-style bed & snuggly new duvet

Today I wanted to update you on our bedroom decorating project and share a quick review of my new duvet. You may remember that I’ve been waiting for my bed to be delivered and it has finally arrived! I spent the weekend with a screwdriver in my hand, assembling my new bed. What do you think of it?

It’s a Hygena bed and we got it from Argos using a 20% discount code so I’m really chuffed that we could get such a well-designed retro-style bed at an absolutely bargain price. I chose the frame after selecting my new mattress from eve, because everyone knows that the mattress is what makes the bed, and not the other way around!I’d been sleeping on my eve mattress on the floor and it was already super-comfortable, but adding it to the frame created a whole new level of comfort. Just FYI, one of the main things that I enjoy about my eve mattress is that my husband can flip over in the night and I feel no movement whatsoever on my side of the bed. I don’t know what the science is behind this, but the memory foam keeps me perfectly still while he moves around. I’ve never had such a peaceful night’s sleep!Anyway, seeing as I was so happy with the mattress, eve seemed to be the natural choice when it came to buying a new duvet too. My old duvet was a double size, so it didn’t fit our kingsize mattress and I wanted to feel super-cosy in my new bedroom. After committing a few years to my limp old duvet (how long are they supposed to last? Is it gross that I’ve used the same duvet for years?!) it was time to upgrade.

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Updating my bathroom – a much-needed DIY renovation project

Guess where I’ve spent this week? I’ve had a week off and did I spend it in the sunshine? By the sea? In a beer garden? Nope, I’ve spent it indoors, ripping out my old, dated and leaky bathroom. What else would I do with a week off than more DIY?! Yes, the house renovation project is in full swing, and now we have no bathroom. No water and, worryingly enough, no loo. Eek – time to crack on with the DIYing!With that in mind, I thought it would be a fun idea to show you what kind of look I’m going for in the bathroom. If you can imagine a spa with dark colours and clean lines, that’s the kind of style I like. I had already bought our bathroom suite in the January sale (I know, it’s taken me a while to get started on this DIY project – I’ve been putting it off for months) so I knew what type of bath I was going for.I chose the Voss range from Betta Bathrooms and managed to get the bath, loo, sink, all taps, wastes and plumbing supplies for under £300, can you believe it?! That’s precisely why I ordered it in the January sales, it was too much of a bargain to pass up. The order arrived in February but I’ve only just got the chance to take a ‘holiday’ from my writing work to get started on the renovation this week. You can imagine how excited I am to finally get to work on it.

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Saving money with LED lighting

After much research for my own home renovation project, I’ve discovered that LED lighting is becoming more and more popular these days. Not only are we illuminating our homes with this type of light bulb, they are also popping up commercially in schools, hospitals and offices. I think that their popularity comes from their ability to save energy (and therefore money!) and with LED lighting, saving money doesn’t mean you have to compromise on quality or even on style – there are countless designs available so I’m sure I’ll find an eco-friendly lighting solution for my home. Here are few great things that you probably didn’t know about LED lighting and it will hopefully, if you haven’t already, inspire you to make the switch yourself!They run for hours (and hours and hours)

We all know how much of a pain changing a bulb can be. It seems once you have changed one, the others decide to follow suit, and before your know it you’re changing a bulb every other day somewhere in your home. LED bulbs have power for literally hours (around 30, 000 to be exact) and so it is very unlikely that you will even need to change one whilst they are installed (that works out at about 20 years). Standing on a chair and praying for dear life whilst attempting to unscrew the bulb without choking from lampshade dust exposure, is definitely a thing of the past. Continue reading “Saving money with LED lighting” »


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Household DIY: How to fix cracked concrete on a budget

When it comes to the aesthetic appearance of your home often the smallest chip or crack can look unsightly and stand out a mile if the rest of your home is in a good state of repair. The trouble is that repairing concrete can be a difficult and problematic process. But it is possible to DIY it yourself.Of course, the restoration of historic buildings, commercial buildings or any major work on your home should be left to expert contractors of concrete repairs to get the job done – and avoid causing any irreparable damage. But, that being said, if you find a small amount of cracked concrete in your back garden patio or in an exterior wall – and you’re comfortable with DIY – then it IS possible to fix cracked concrete yourself. To top it all off, it can be done on a budget!

What you will need:

  • Cleaning equipment
  • Nails
  • Hammer
  • Tape measure
  • Injection ports
  • Crack sealer
  • Putty knife
  • LCR cartridge
  • Caulk gun

It’s easier than you might think to do this repair yourself and, with a little time spent planning, the results you can achieve are every bit as good as if had paid a professional – but at a fraction of the cost. Continue reading “Household DIY: How to fix cracked concrete on a budget” »


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5 Things you should know BEFORE installing underfloor heating

Wave goodbye to radiators and hello to more space and a warm home for less. Underfloor heating is a great choice when you’re tackling any home remodelling so I’ve asked the professionals to share a guest post all about underfloor heating today so that you can see whether this heating option is right for you. If you are thinking of taking to leap to luxurious warm floors, these are the five things you need to know…1. It provides a constant temperature across the home or in individual rooms

The great thing about underfloor heating is it flexibility. Therefore, it sometimes pays to spend the extra money to get a professional supplier and installation company to not only fit the system but design it for you in the first place. With central heating, the boiler fires up and sends heat through to all the radiators on the system, unless you switch the radiators off in certain rooms (if you can) or lower the temperature of the radiator with its thermostatic valve. This gives you some flexibility but not a lot. Underfloor heating is completely different. You can create single zone underfloor heating areas so that the important rooms in the house are heated when you need them to be but other rooms can enjoy a lower level of heat. The ability to control your heating at every point of day and night means you save money, as well as having a more comfortably heated home.

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Key ingredients for a perfect bedroom

If somebody asked you what your dream bedroom would look like, what would you say? What kind of vision do you have? I know exactly what I want my own bedroom to look like – in fact, I’ve already started decorating it; check out my flooring blog post with step-by-step GIF of my progress! The trouble is, I can’t really put into words the style that I like. It’s kind of minimalist but not at all stark. Does that make sense? Sometimes, it can be really hard to convert mental images into the real deal. So if this conundrum sounds familiar to you too, today’s blog post should come in handy. Here’s a list of key ingredients and some useful tips to help you design the perfect bedroom.

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The bed

For most of us, the bed is the most important part of any bedroom design. Beds come in all shapes and sizes, and there are styles to suit all tastes and budgets. Some people long for luxury hotel style leather headboards or dramatic four-posters while others dream of a rustic log cabin vibe with solid wood headboards and a sturdy frame. Whatever your style, don’t rush into making a decision when it comes to finding the right bed. You’ll need to find a mattress that you struggle to part with (like I did) and a frame that matches your vision and complements your theme. My bed frame is taking 45 days to be delivered but it’ll be worth the wait to get the right one. Take a tour of some bed stores, try some mattresses for size, and search online for inspiration. If you have an idea in mind, and it’s a little avant-garde, you may also find it easier to source what you want on the Internet.

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Household DIY – How to install laminate flooring

I’ve recently laid laminate flooring in two rooms of my home and I can honestly say that it was a really easy process. I thought it would take days to install but we were finished within a couple of hours. As long as you have the right equipment – a saw, knee pads and a laminate flooring installation kit (including packers) you can easily lay this type of flooring yourself. Here’s how to do it, step-by-step:Clear away any existing carpet, tiles or pieces of old underlay. Give the room a sweep to make sure you’ve cleared all the debris from the surface, and vacuum the floor to pick up the smaller pieces of dust. If you’re laying the laminate onto a concrete floor you’ll need to start with a damp-proof membrane before adding a layer of underlay.If you’re starting with a wooden floor, you can go straight to laying the underlay. There are plenty of options for underlay out there; foil-coated sheets that insulate the floor, rolls of foam to cushion the laminate or fibre boards – which is the option I went for.This simply evens out the floor so that the laminate flooring will look perfectly flat when fitted. It also adds an extra layer of insulation and, if you’re using it on an upstairs room, it can add a little sound-proofing so you don’t feel like you’re walking about inside a drum, and causing a lot of noise in the rooms below!

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5 things to think about when planning a loft conversion

Creating that much-needed extra space in your home can be achieved by creating a brand new room out in your unappreciated attic. Whether you live in an old Victorian semi-detached or a mid-terrace home; a loft conversion could be your next step in home improvement. I definitely want to convert my own attic in the future and so I’ve been doing my research in order to plan ahead. I’ve found a few useful tips on how to plan for a loft extension (and what not to do!) so I thought I would share these with you today. 

Minimalist style and a wall of storage – what more do you need?

An additional room in your home could be necessary for an endless number of reasons. You could create a new, cosy bedroom for the youngest family member. You might want to take your DIY hobbies into your own little indoor workspace. You can opt for some cool lighting, your favourite interior colours and patterns, windows that let the sunshine in throughout the day, built-in wardrobes and so on..!

The main thing to consider when dreaming up a loft conversion project is budget – planning and estimating what kind of loft conversion your building will allow for. As new additional rooms can only be done properly by professionals; it’s important to work with a company that you really click with and who understands what you want to achieve.

Escape to the loft to work in your own home office

After finding the loft conversion company you want to work with, there will be some rules and limits on how you can add this exciting new room to your house. Before jumping into paying a deposit to any designer, architect or a building company make sure you read the specific loft conversion regulations that apply to your property. You don’t want to end up having to pay for something you might not be eligible to get after all. Continue reading “5 things to think about when planning a loft conversion” »

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