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 – No shoes, but a new satchel

I’ve decided to write about my new handbag for this week’s Tuesday Shoesday blog post. Okay, I know it’s not strictly a shoesday post without any shoes, but the handbag did come from shoe brand Hotter, so I think it’s the ideal time to talk about handbags.handbag-wine-burgundy-satchel-bag-retro-school-crossbody-1-of-3Now, I’m not someone who will buy a new handbag just because I like the look of it, or because it matches an outfit or follows a new trend. In fact, I don’t buy bags very often at all. I don’t have a different bag for every occasion or for different seasons. Nope, I tend to choose one bag and that one bag will do me very nicely until it falls apart. And that’s when I’ll buy another one.handbag-wine-burgundy-satchel-bag-retro-school-crossbody-2-of-3You may have guessed from this that I don’t see handbags as a fashion accessory. I see them as purely practical; something to carry my important stuff from one place to another. I’m not saying that it doesn’t matter at all what the handbag looks like, because I have my preferences in the looks department too. But most important is that it can fit everything in, with lots of pockets and is easy to carry. handbag-wine-burgundy-satchel-bag-retro-school-crossbody-3-of-3My last two handbags have been Disaster Designs satchels. The first one I tried was the best. I really liked how it looked, with a map-print design and brown faux-leather flap. It was big enough to fit in everything I needed to carry, even notepads and ipads could fit in there. In fact, it was a little too big at times – if I only needed to carry a purse, it seemed to get lost in the vast space inside the bag, swishing around like a teabag in a bucket. But it lasted for years. I’m taking maybe 2-3 years before it finally started coming apart. I’d already ruined the lining with a leaky pen and plenty of spilled makeup by this point, but I was still sad to see it go.Whats in blogger Cassiefairys handbag-1

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Tuesday Shoesday – Those “other” accessories…

It may be Tuesday Shoesday but today I’m doing things a bit differently. Instead of focusing on beautiful shoes and fabulous bargains, I’ve decided to check out that ‘other’ all-important accessory instead: the handbag. It’s equally as important as shoes – you probably don’t ever leave the house without it – and it can have so many uses that it’s hard to know where to start when you’re shopping for a new one. That’s where I come in. Today’s blog post is a wishlist of handbags for every occasion and all purposes. Plus one of these bags is an absolute steal and I am definitely buying it! Can you guess which? Let’s get started…handbag satchel clutch bag school work wedding spring summer 2016 shoppingFirst up is satchels. I carry a satchel myself most days. They’re small enough to carry without putting too much of a strain on my arm or back (yes, I love a cross-body strap) and they’re big enough to hold everything I need day-to-day. They can look rather cool in a back-to-school kind of way too, and remind me of my college years. I posted a photo of my own satchel on Instagram recently for a ‘what’s in my bag’ tag, so you can have a nosy at my tiny little everyday satchel if you like. It’s embossed leather and deep blue so goes perfectly with most of my autumn/winter wardrobe. I’d quite like to have a brighter, summer version of my satchel to migrate over to during the warmer months.handbag satchel school work yellow spring summer 2016

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Back to school fashion ~ the satchel

The school holidays are due to start next week and that means an abundance of ‘back to school’ goodies in the shops. Is it just me that gets excited about the idea of new pencil cases (I got mine last week!) and plimsolls? I really rather enjoy the fact that multi-packs of polo shirts are now hanging where BBQs and sun-loungers were being sold in the shops only last week. The holidays haven’t even started and already we’re preparing for them to end! In fact, that’s how it always felt as a child – here it comes… and there it goes! – the summer holidays went by in a flash. 6 weeks stretched out ahead of me, but in no time at all I would be browsing ‘back-to-school’ catalogues for new school shoes. Anyway, the impending summer holidays had got me thinking about school-uniform-esque fashion (I really like those pleated skirts!) and a trend that I feel I’ve missed out on so far: satchels.

This trend has popped up over the past 18 months. It began as a rather high-end high-street fashion item with the Cambridge Satchel Company and all the stars were carrying them. I loved the neon range and drooled over Fearne Cotton’s luminous yellow hold-all.

high street satchels fashion trend

Alexa, Fearne and Elle Fanning rocking the satchel trend in The Telegraph

Ever since, there have been more and more satchels of all different colours and sizes hitting the high-street stores and everywhere I look there’s a cheapy look-a-like on sale for pocket-money prices. I’m not saying that I won’t by cheap bags – I am the queen of thrift after all! – but there were just so many of them and everyone was carrying one, that I was rather put off buying one. Was it too on trend for me? Was I “so over” satchels before I’d even bought one? Perhaps you feel the same? Please let me know that I’m not the only one!

Well, now that the new school year is approaching and my thoughts have turned back to all things school, I’ve taken a look at satchels with a fresh eye and I’ve been surprised by what I’ve seen. In fact, it was this collection of satchels in interesting colours and prints that caught my attention on the Nigel O’Hara website and I found myself yearning for a satchel once again.

on trend yoshi satchel handbags from nigel o hara

My absolute favourite is this house print satchel because it looks like a picture you might have doodled onto your school bag yourself during a dull maths lesson, plus the layers of streets reminds me of living on a hill in Brighton seeing all the rows of terraces in the distance. I also can’t help loving the New York skyline bag by Yoshi which looks like a traditional satchel, but the printed photo on the pocket brings it right up to date. What do you think of these new designs? Does it make you want to go back to school yourself?? Let me know what you think and tweet me @Cassiefairy photos of your own back-to-school goodies 🙂


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Back to school… and I need a satchel!

Okay, okay. I know it was only last week that I declared myself ‘out’ of education for this school year. I was certain that this year was going to be the first academic year that I wasn’t going to be starting a new course or studying for another qualification. Yes, this year there would be no ceremonies to attend and no certificates arriving in the post. However…

Since writing about this during my Tuesday Shoesday blog post, I’ve had a bit of an ‘accidental’ browse online for short-courses, and have flicked through my local leisure-learning brochure. It’s an unusual change of heart, because I was actually looking forward to not writing assignments this year. But I just can’t help myself – perhaps I’m a little bit addicted to education, to gaining knowledge, and to getting new school supplies? Whatever it is, it means that I’ve impulsively signed myself up for a degree module on “Brands” at the UEA, which starts on the 14th October.

Cassiefairy blog Leisure learning classes 2013-14

So surely that means that I will need to nip to the stationery shop and pick up some new pens and folders? I already have the school shoes that caused all this in the first place. And I definitely need a new satchel. Right now. This is a school-bag emergency, people!

I’ve had a browse around my favourite bag retailers online and have discovered how difficult it is to buy a simple bag. The problem I’ve found is that many online stores don’t list the dimensions of their handbags or important details like whether it has a phone pocket or zipped section inside. Any bag that I choose needs to fit in my tablet, a notebook and all other school-related paraphernalia, so it must be the right size! I know this wouldn’t be a problem if I just went to a shop to buy my school bag – but I work in my office all day (as soon as I finish work, the shops close, it’s as if they know I’m coming…), and the internet is right there for me to make my purchase at any time of day. Plus I can have my item placed in my hands within a couple of days without stepping foot on the high street. Very convenient. But a little difficult if the item you’re shopping for needs to fit a specific item into it.

Luckily I found a shop online that sells one of my favourite bag brands Nica and includes information on bag dimensions and pocket-content. After an enjoyable browse on the Bagable website during a tea-break, I found my ideal satchel for going back to school. I had my iPad and a tape-measure to hand to check the measurements, so after a couple of the bags turned out to be too small to accommodate my tablet, I found a satchel that was exactly the right size: this Nica Estelle shoulder bag.

Cassiefairy blog Nica Estelle vintage school bag satchel

I love the minty aqua colour (one of my new favourite colours that I’ve been wearing all summer, and will look great all year round) and this bag has a gorgeous floral lining with plenty of pockets for my mobile phone and pencil case! It’s a vintage-esque design with punched-out flower pattern and cute leather tassels, which is what stood out to me when I was browsing the website – I’d never seen anything like it before. I don’t know what it is about satchels, but it wouldn’t be right to go to school without one. Maybe it’s because I read The Story of Fuzzypeg as a child – do you remember that story by Alison Uttley where a little hedgehog has his first day at school? I loved it and the illustrations of a cute hedgehog carrying a satchel by Margaret Tempest were captivating. I think that’s why I need a school satchel so much!

Cassiefairy blog Nica Estelle handbag satchel from Bagable

Well, now that I have my satchel over my shoulder, I’m all organised and ready for going back to school next week. I know a lot of my course will involve distance learning online, but at least I feel like a student again and am getting into a new mindset of preparing for deadlines and assignments. I will keep you updated with my progress this semester and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it won’t eat into my blogging time too much! So if you see the blog going quiet for a few days, at least you’ll know what I’m up to!

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