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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Guest post – Unique ideas for a hen party

Planning the hen night can be a daunting task and even more so nowadays as bridal parties want something different and a night out drinking and wearing L-plates just won’t cut it. If you are looking for something competitive, challenging, fun, or just plain silly there is a hen night theme to match. Katie Jones from orlajames.com says to check out some of these unique ideas.

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Games-based hen weekends

There are many companies out there offering unique game-based hen weekends so if your friends have a competitive streak this might be the choice for you. From inflatable knock-out challenge games to human table football, the options are endless. Why not get into giant bubbles and race, set up a hen Olympics, or get into teams and play against each other in a Segway polo game to really drive your hen’s competitive spirit. For those who are more adventurous and are not scared of going underground, a weekend of trampolining in underground caves looks like an amazing hen holiday! Or for a slightly more gothic edge, a weekend of zombie paintball fighting could be awesome.

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Pampering weekends

No, not just a girlie weekend at a spa; there are some unusual options available including the chance to have a makeover and photoshoot where the hens are made over as mermaids. Or unicorns. Brides who want to treat their party to a nice meal, but with a twist, could opt for a Mad Hatter tea party, complete with costumes and characters, or why not go for a bedtime story themed evening where you can wear your best pyjamas and be entertained with stories after your meal. Or how about a day at a private cinema watching non-stop chick flicks while sipping Prosecco? Sound perfect! For some really quirky hen party ideas, then a tour round London on a vintage bus that is set up to offer quintessentially British afternoon tea could be just the ticket, not to mention a very civilised way to see the capital.

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Which wedding traditions can you do without??

Weddings are traditionally quite formal affairs in which strict protocols need to be followed. People wear certain things, it happens in a particular place, and there are traditions that must be upheld. Of course, some of parts of wedding must happen, otherwise the marriage wouldn’t be legal, but we have recently seen a move towards more customisation with engagements and weddings. Doing away with some of the more stuffy traditions leaves a little more room to make these events work best you as a couple, so read on to find out which traditions you can personalise…

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Engagement

Of course, before you can get married you need to get engaged. Traditionally this is the time when the groom asked the bride’s father for her hand in marriage and then surprises her with an engagement ring to seal the deal. Now you may want to keep some or all of these elements when you get engaged but don’t forget that this is not the only way it can happen. For example, the proposal does not have to be a surprise. Indeed, many couples discuss this event beforehand to ensure that marriage is what they both want. Also, you don’t have to be surprised – there’s no problem in choosing a ring for yourself. And you can stick to your own personal style in this area too – you don’t have to choose a diamond if you prefer rubies! Of course diamond engagement rings are still the most popular choice, because of the symbolism of lasting commitment associated with them.

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Getting married locally

Another popular tradition that isn’t happening as much as it used to be is getting married in the local church. While it is still a popular choice for many folks, a lot more people are deciding on a destination wedding instead. Get married abroad, or even just a special place in the UK that provides the perfect backdrop to their day (on the beach or in woodlands, for example), can help to make the wedding a little more special and personal to them. For many couples it can help them get away from the stresses and strains of the expectations of a traditional wedding.

Continue reading “Which wedding traditions can you do without??” »


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Tuesday Shoesday – Shoes fit for an awards ceremony

In case you didn’t already hear me bleating on about it on Twitter – I’m going to the UK Blog Awards! So basically, you’ll be treated to lots of preparation posts on the blog this week, showing you exactly what dress and accessories I’m going to wear, the make-up and skincare I’m using and, today, you’re going to see which shoes I’ve chosen to wear for the big event. I don’t know about you, but I LOVE to hear about other people’s preparations for special occasions (yes, I am a nosy gal) PLUS it’s handy to have an idea of what my favourite bloggers will be wearing so that I can spot them in a crowd at the awards ceremony! So I figured, if I’M interested in this, maybe you’ll be interested to hear about what I’ve been getting up to in preparation for the UK Blog Awards…comfortable classy stylish shoes fashion trend for blog awards ceremony from hotter-2 comfortable classy stylish shoes fashion trend for blog awards ceremony from hotter-14 comfortable classy stylish shoes fashion trend for blog awards ceremony from hotter-4So, lets start at the bottom and focus on the shoes. Well, it IS Tuesday Shoesday after all. When it comes to choosing heels for any occasion I always head straight to Hotter. It’s literally the only place I can find beautiful heels that don’t hurt my feet. So when all your friends are hobbling home shoe-less after a night of wearing too-high shoes and you’re skipping along without a pinch in your comfy heels, you’ll be pleased that you chose Hotter shoes too! I can wear them all day at weddings, I can dance lindy-hop all night, and I’ve even worn a pair while waltzing on the dancefloor of the Blackpool Tower Ballroom. Love them for all occasions and events so, of course I’ve chosen a new pair for the UK Blog Awards too. comfortable classy stylish shoes fashion trend for blog awards ceremony from hotter-7 Continue reading “Tuesday Shoesday – Shoes fit for an awards ceremony” »


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UK Blog Awards 2016 – What to wear??

The news has finally sunk in. I’ve registered for my ticket and I AM going to the UK Blog Awards woo! The ceremony is on 29th April and is being held in a glitzy location in the capital. And to top it all off, I’m a finalist in the Most Innovative Blog category. Pretty cool, huh? When the news was first announced I really couldn’t believe it. After years of blogging, my thrifty little lifestyle blog was being recognised by the industry and I was chuffed to bits! It was amazing to think that family, friends, readers and colleagues had all voted me through to the final stages of the blog awards and now I was invited to attend THE event of the year. Unbelievable stuff!dress inspiration for national blog awards debenhams

I really like the neckline of this Quiz Navy & Cream Textured Crochet Neck Dress and the lace on this Dorothy Perkins Navy Scallop Midi Dress is subtle enough for me!

But then, panic! What on earth do I wear? Continue reading “UK Blog Awards 2016 – What to wear??” »


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Fruity spring punch recipe

With Easter coming this weekend you may, like me, be planning a gathering of festive proportions. Yes, Easter is often the first opportunity that the family has of all getting together post-Christmas so I like to make a big deal out of the 4-day holiday and make something special to eat and drink. As you can probably guess from the title of the blog post, today’s I’ve mixed up a fruity (non-alcoholic, good for all the family) cocktail that’s just right for a enjoying with a Springtime gathering. Plus, I’m hosting a massive giveaway to win over £100 worth of crystal from Dartington Crystal (the lovely people that I got my jug and tumblers from) so that you can recreate this recipe at home. Read on to enter..!summer fruit punch recipe cranberry raspberry fizz for easter-8But first up, is my spring punch recipe. At this time of year I want something fresh, fruity, sparkling and a little bit chilled. Yes, I’m hoping for sunny days and hot weather over Easter weekend (however unlikely that may be) so I’ve stocked up with ice and frozen fruit for my fizzy fruity spring cocktail. Here’s what you’ll need to mix up the same recipe at home:summer fruit punch recipe cranberry raspberry fizz for easter-5

Ingredients: 1 carton of low sugar raspberry and cranberry juice, 1 litre of sugar free lemonade, a punnet of frozen mixed berries (the type you’d use in a smoothie or crumble filling), a squeeze of fresh lemon and lots of ice.

Get out your biggest jug – mine is from Dartington Crystal – and pack it full of ice and frozen fruit. Pour over the fruit juice and top up with as much lemonade as needed. Add a squeeze of lemon and stir the ingredients together. As the fruit defrosts into the drink it will release even more fruity flavours. Pour over ice in tumblers and add a cute paper straw, and perhaps some more fresh fruit.

My jug has one of those pinched lips so that the ice in the jug can’t plop into the glasses so it keeps splashes to a minimum. This is a bit of a godsend because I always spill. Whether I’m dealing with ice or tea, you can guarantee it’s going to end up all over the table. But not anymore with my new jug! By the way, if you’ve ended up with too much leftover punch, you can decant it into a bottle and drink another day.

Now here’s your chance to win a set of 4 Shine On Tumbler Glasses (worth £15) and a fantastic Large Cooler Ice Lip Jug (worth £89) from Dartington Crystal so that you too can enjoy a rather posh glass of punch this Spring. There are plenty of ways to enter the competition via the Rafflecopter widget below – simply share on social media and leave me some comments to earn as entries as you like. The winner will be picked at random once the giveaway closes and you’ll be sent your very set of crystal tumblers and stunning serving jug straight from the Dartington Crystal glass blowing works.dartington crystal jug and tumblers
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Competition open to UK residents only.


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How to get 50% off Valentine’s cards with Thortful

If you want to show someone special that you care about them this Valentine’s Day but know that you won’t be able to make it to the shops before the weekend, I’ve got the solution for you. No, it’s not too late to order a personalised Valentine’s card online because I’ve found a great website that will post it to your loved-one first class. If you order before 2pm the card will even be put in the post-box the same day! Plus, I can give you a special discount code to get 50% off straight away! Sounds too good to be true? Would I lie to you fairies? No way! Read on to find out more…valentines day greetings card inspiration thortful-9 valentines day greetings card inspiration thortful-2This super-helpful card company is Thortful, one of the newest and coolest greeting card retailers online. I fell in love with the brand as soon as I logged on to their website. I was actually searching for information on writing greetings and found lots of helpful advice on their blog (more of that later!) when I stumbled onto their website. It’s a really slick, user-friendly site and is packed full of amazing card designs. Of course, the first category I searched for was Valentine’s Day, but there’s also plenty of birthday greetings, thank you cards, celebrations and special occasions. I’d definitely call it a one-stop-shop. valentines day greetings card inspiration thortful valentines day greetings card inspiration thortful-8When I’ve shopped on other card sites in the past, I’ve found it really hard to find what I want. You probably all know that I’m really into puns, so I know what I’m looking for almost before I begin. The trouble is being able to browse through the designs quickly, without a whole load of gumph in the sidebars distracting me from my search. No such problems with this site; it’s really easy to navigate, plus there’s an app you can download to make scrolling through the collection even easier. You can personalise the message within seconds (or have it posted to yourself to hand-write if you prefer) and see a real-time preview of what the card will look like. Enter the recipient’s delivery address and boosh! Your greetings card is on it’s way to your favourite person. Don’t forget to use the discount code to get 50% off – it’s “CassieFairy50”.HeartCardvalentines day greetings card inspiration thortful-5If you’re stuck for ideas of what to write inside your card, the Thortful blog is a great source of inspiration. I’ve read through their helpful posts about phrases and messages to write inside thank you cards, Christmas cards and more, so you’ll be sure to get some inspiration for your own message while checking out these posts. It’s definitely worth checking out the blog anyway to read interviews with card designers and to check out inspiring photography tips.THRTFL-VLNTNS-NICE_V1[10] valentines day greetings card inspiration thortful-7Oh, and you can also Continue reading “How to get 50% off Valentine’s cards with Thortful” »


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Thrifty special occasion outfits for your child

I love winter weddings. The festive atmosphere puts everyone in a party mood and the cold weather can sometimes even deliver snow – how amazing would that be on your wedding day?! Had I not held my wedding in august, my second choice would have been December, as it’s my favourite month. The only problem with winter weddings is that the wedding industry kind of has a ‘season’, so it’s more difficult to find pretty formal outfits in the shops at this time of year. There’s less choice, and the things that are available tend to be more expensive. winter wedding stationary

Gorgeous winter invitations from Etsy

Are you planning on attending a wedding with your family, but are on a shoestring budget that’s causing you concern, especially when it comes to being able to dress your child for your big event? First off, rest assured that there are ways around the seasonal nature of wedding shopping in winter, and you can work with your budget in order to make everyone in your family look fabulous for the big day. Continue reading to learn more!

Visit charity shops There are plenty of great reasons to visit charity shops. In addition to staying within your budget, you can find a variety of styles, especially when it comes to formal attire. Therefore, there’s no reason to be ashamed of shopping at a thrift store, especially if you like to style your kids a little bit outside the box and maybe even go for a bit of a vintage vibe.

Borrow an outfit In addition to second-hand shops, you can also stick to your budget by borrowing a children’s outfit from friends or other family members. You may even be able to find something that will not only fit your child but will also match the colour scheme of the wedding that you’ll be attending. winter wedding inspiration

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Tuesday Shoesday – Spooky Shoes

The spookiest month of the year is upon us. The stores are full of scary costumes and frightful decorations, so there’s no denying that Halloween is on its way. Until I became I student I never really celebrated Halloween but once I realised that this was the ultimate fancy dress night out, I’ve been a fan! I also think that the appetite for celebrating Halloween has grown over recent years; I certainly don’t remember trick-or-treating as a child but nowadays all the kids in the village are looking forward to the big night. So in honour of this seasonal event, today’s Tuesday Shoesday blog post is all about spooky footwear, but I couldn’t just share a few photos of some scary shoes, now could I? No! Today is special because YOU could win a £50 voucher to buy anything you like from Violet Vixen – shoes or otherwise – so read on and enter now!violet vixen funny bones shoesI admit that I’m a bit of a wimp, and even a plastic spider can make me go all jittery, so I like my Halloween celebrations to be classy rather than terrifying. Yes, it’s all pumpkins and candles rather than ghouls and slime for me! I don’t like to be scared by my own reflection either, so you won’t find me covered in fake blood with a ghostly-white complexion. I do, however, love a bit of tongue-in-cheek design combined with quality clothing and that’s where The Violet Vixen comes in.shoes with skulls for halloween

I was browsing their website last month and started checking out the footwear category to get inspiration for this Tuesday Shoesday blog post.  Within minutes I was actually giggling at the cute and cheeky footwear designs available, in particular, these ‘funny bones’ shoes. I think that the design is great; a classy black ballet pump, boot or heel but with an x-ray-esque bone design on the side. I love this range SO much and think that it would be great for all year round, not just Halloween; surely you can imagine going on a night out wearing those gorgeous heels for any occasion too?!violet vixen corset and shoes

I also spotted that a made-to-order corset is available in the same ‘funny bone’ style and this looks like the ideal Halloween costume for me; not too scary but very cool. On further inspection, this website isn’t just for amazing shoes in unique designs; it’s also packed full of cute accessories, 50s style dresses in bright patterns, handbags and even menswear.  Whether you want bats, skulls, cherries or bows, there’s something for you right there. (And there’s a Halloween coupon code TREAT25 for you to get 25% off everything right now!)pin up girl shoes for halloweenBesides drooling over the skull shoes for Halloween, I was drawn to the stunning pin-up shoes in the Violet Vixen footwear collection. These are definitely shoes for all year round, and the polka dot patterns are adorable. I couldn’t help picking out in a pair of Mary Jane shoes in monochrome stripes for myself. The heel-to-sole ratio is just right for me, the strap ensures that I feel secure while walking in shoes of this height and the design is super-cute. I’m waiting for them to be delivered as we speak and I’ll be sure to show you a photo my new favourites when they arrive.

And now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for – details of how you can win a £50 voucher for The Violet Vixen.com! You are free to spend your £50 voucher on anything throughout the site – spooky shoes, custom-made corsets, pretty dresses or anything else you can find on their website! So browse the collection and enjoy a shopping spree on us!  Plus, The Violet Vixen will cover the delivery costs too so you won’t have to spend any of your voucher on postage – bonus! This giveaway is open to UK residents only and the winner will be picked at random once the competition closes. There are plenty of ways that you can earn entries into the prize draw so enter via the Rafflecopter below for your chance to WIN!

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Glam up a simple gown for a special occasion

So you have a dress for prom. It’s a straight-forward little black dress or even a plain, but gorgeous, floor-length gown that fits like a dream. But it’s just too simple for you. It is one solid colour; or maybe the cut is just really basic. You really want to glam it up. Make it a little dressier, a little sparkly or perhaps a whole lot more glamorous.getting ready for prom

Get ready for prom with these thrifty tips!

Well if you’re off to your college prom, or any another dressy occasion – such as a wedding or awards dinner – and want to glam up your gown, here are some simple, fool-proof and affordable tips for taking your gown from plain to dazzling.

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My outfit for the Cosmo Blog Awards

I mentioned last week just how relaxed I’d been about what to wear for the Cosmo Blog Awards and that I’d kind of left everything to the last minute. Well, no sooner than I’d published that same blog post on Tuesday Shoesday I started to feel a little bit fluttery about the whole thing. What was I thinking? I’m never this disorganised and I always like to know well in advance what I’d like to wear to the special events I go to. So why oh why had I turned this into a last minute scramble for an outfit?! Maybe I didn’t actually believe that I was going to the Cosmo Blog Awards – let me just say it again – I’ve been invited to the Cosmopolitan Magazine Blog Awards as a finalist. Nope, that certainly doesn’t sound like it’s referring to me. Perhaps that’s the reason why I’ve been putting it to the back of my mind. Like I didn’t really think it was happening…

Well, the blog awards are tomorrow. And I am going to be there, no matter what. So I’d better pick out an outfit to wear. So far I’ve got the shoes sorted (as you might have seen in my blog post last week) and now my accessories can be ticked off the list too. I’ve decided to go for classic black but I don’t want to blend into the background too much , so I’ve plumped for accessories with a hint of gold with this sparkly flower necklace and cuff from Apricot. I spotted them online and in all honestly I wasn’t sure that the accessories would work well together but thankfully I was very wrong! And let me just say that the cuff is even more gorgeous in real life than in its online photos (usually it’s the other way round with photos of me haha) and now I want to buy more of them in different colours.

Outfit choices for the Cosmo Blog Awards-3

I have got my favourite 15 denier Charnos tights from UKTights which come in a pack of two so I will have a spare pair if I get a ladder during the course of the evening. My studded handbag was from the Apricot sale too, which has a long strap that can be detached to make it into an oversized clutch bag, so it’ll be good for all eventualities. I plan to carry it as a clutch with my phone and make-up tucked away in the inside pockets, and there’s plenty of room for the bloggers’ essentials: a camera and business cards! I like to have the option to wear my bag across my body if I’m dancing so I’m pleased to have the longer strap available if the occasion to bust some moves crops up!

So, on to the actual outfit options: I have a list of my top three dresses for the event and I have a definite choice of jacket so I’ll start with that. This Therapy blazer from House of Fraser is my new jacket for autumn/winter 2014. I think it’ll be great to wear throughout the season because it’s not too smart – the rope/cable knit design embossed into the jersey fabric gives it a cardigan feel – but it’s also not too casual to wear for an evening out because of the smart shape and tuxedo-like lapels. So  it’s best of both really –  somewhere in the middle between casual and smart – exactly where I like to be! The blog awards will be it’s first outing but I know I will get a lot of wear out of it over the season.

In terms of dresses, I’ve gone from none to 4 in the space of a couple of days. Firstly, I found this Therapy dress from House of Fraser in a butterfly pattern. I love  the fabric and the pretty design even though the shape is completely different to anything I’d usually wear! It makes me feel really sophisticated and I like the longer length on me. I prefer to wear dresses with sleeves so this is ideal but I stopped wearing wrap-front clothing a few years ago when I kept needing to sew them up to make sure that nothing fell out, so I am yet to decide whether this is the one yet.

I also fell in love with this red chiffon dress from Apricot as soon as I tried it on and it’s definitely more the kind of dress shape that I go for – I love a good tea-dress! The sleeves are a great shape and I like the fact that it has a coordinating belt with it – I find that wearing a contrasting black belt cuts me in half and makes me look even shorter and stumpier than I am! The length is good – almost knee length – and the fabric moves nicely, which would be perfect for dancing in. In fact, it’s ideal for all the 1940s dances I’ve been going to recently to practice my swing dancing, so I will be getting a lot of wear out of this dress over the coming season, no matter what! I love red for festive events but now that I’ve chosen so many black accessories I’m a little worried that I might look a bit halloweeny in it, but we’ll see when I try the whole look together!dorothy perkins dresses

Finally, I have a choice of two Dorothy Perkins dresses, this blue crepe dress – which I think would look great with black accessories – and this floral fit ‘n’ flare dress. I love how these dresses fit me and can always rely on Dorothy Perkins’ sizing so I was able to order these online and know that they would be the perfect fit. The trouble is that this makes my decision even more difficult! I think that the shape of the floral dress is particularly flattering and I even quite like the shorter length – it makes me feel all teenage again!

I’m sure that I will have made a decision by the end of the day, which usually involves trying on the entire outfit and taking photos like Cher in Clueless. You’ll be able to see what outfit I choose tomorrow – I’m sure that I’ll be tweeting photos while I’m at the Cosmo Blog Awards! And wish me luck, eek!

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