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 – Our his ‘n’ hers walking shoes & a ramble around the castle on the hill

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Hubby and I celebrated a day early because it was a really sunny day yesterday and we wanted to take advantage of the lovely weather and go for a walk. So we bundled up with our coats, scarves and gloves (it might have been sunny, but it was still a little nippy!) and headed out into the Suffolk countryside for a walk.We planned our walk around Framlingham Castle – Ed Sheeran’s ‘castle on the hill’ – so that we could take some photos of the stunning landmark in the winter sunshine. I’d been inspired to enjoy a low-cost day out after reading an article full of ideas for Valentine’s Day on a budget, so a walk (with a packed lunch!) was just the ticket. With it being half term (and a ‘Knights and Princesses’ event taking place inside the castle) it was a busy spot for a Monday morning, but all the other walkers we met were in good spirits. What I didn’t bargain for was just how muddy the paths around the picturesque mere would be. At least it gave us a chance to test out our new walking shoes – this terrain certainly put them through their paces. If my feet could stay comfortable and dry in this environment, then I’m pretty sure that the shoes will stand up to anything we throw at them in the future.

When my husband suggested walking around the castle moat, I was hesitant. I wasn’t planning on going for a paddle! He insisted that it was a ‘dry moat’ (well, I’ve never heard of a dry moat before, have you?!) so we climbed down the stairs and fair enough, it was pretty dry… as far as moats go.Interestingly enough, there were some lovely views from the moat looking up at the walls of the castle. It feels really imposing from below and the blue sky set off the stone castle walls beautifully. Even looking back into the sunshine created some really impressive silhouettes of the ancient walls.

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My little vintage caravan – Making the bed

Remember when I got my caravan on the road again last year? I’d imagined that my caravan would never move again (which was okay with me, as I was using it as my sewing and writing workshop) so you can can imagine how excited I was to see those wheels turning again. It was towed with ease to our new home and I thought that we might be in for a summer of adventures in the caravan last year. However, the year ran away with me and we never did get round to doing all the little jobs needed to turn my ‘office’ back into a functioning holiday home. This year is going to be different. I’m definitely going to be on the road with my caravan, and do you know why? Because I’m starting the planning for my summer holidays now! That means I’ve got 6 whole months to fit out my caravan with the necessary bits ‘n’ pieces to turn it back into a fully fitted camper. What’s on the list? Well, aside from the camping kitchen and bathroom facilities that I mentioned in my last post, it really needs a new bed and I’ll tell you why.

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No wifi for the weekend

When was the last time that you went offline? For me, it’s probably been years. Ever since I got my first smart phone I’ve not had a day away from the internet. Well, when you’re carrying a computer in your pocket at all times, and your job is based online, and your friends contact you via social media, how can you ever really get away from it? It used to be easy to take a break: on a Friday night you’d simply shut down your computer and relax for the weekend. There was no social media to tempt you to stay up late scrolling through posts, and no-one expected a reply to their emails until Monday morning. In fact, no-one really sent those Saturday evening emails, because they too had closed down their computer at the end of the working week.christmas-jumper-festive-mince-pie-fire-bath-hygge-reading-sewing-xmas-festive-wifi-1After months of hard work, I knew I needed a break so hubby and I went away for a relaxing weekend away in Badger cottage in Sweffling. It’s a charming little barn that’s been converted into a super-cosy two bedroom holiday home in the beautiful Suffolk countryside. Arriving on Thursday evening, were delighted to find original beams and character galore, a deep reclaimed roll-top bath, and a big log fire. Everything we needed was right there at hand in the well-stocked kitchen, bathroom and living room. The stack of firewood and flickering woodburner let us know that we were in for a warm and cosy weekend. Candles in every room offered a calming sense of hygge and we felt completely at home the minute we stepped inside the door.christmas-jumper-festive-mince-pie-fire-bath-hygge-reading-sewing-xmas-festive-wifi-3Taking time away from the internet was partially self-inflicted and partially down my GiffGaff phone not being able to get any signal. I wanted to make the most of my time away from home, of course I did, but I’d still brought along my iPad and phone in case I ‘needed’ to get online. After an inital ‘why isn’t it working?!’ frustration, I asked myself why I was even trying to get online anyway. I realised that just knowing that I could get online if I wanted to was a bit of a comfort blanket. And I also realised that I’m a grown-up and don’t need comfort blankets anymore! And if I could have logged on, it’s likely that I would have wasted the whole weekend scrolling through Instagram or saving things on Pinterest (I convince myself it’s okay to spend time doing this because it’s ‘research’). christmas-jumper-festive-mince-pie-fire-bath-hygge-reading-sewing-xmas-festive-wifi-2So thank goodness that I couldn’t find that 3G signal anywhere, and thank goodness that I didn’t go searching for a wifi hotspot. Because it turns out that I had the best few (internet-free) days ever… Continue reading “No wifi for the weekend” »


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FriYAY recipe: Layered picnic rolls three ways – Mediterranean, Tex Mex & Classic

Today’s recipe is ideal for this time of year. It’s a picnic dish that can be taken out on bike rides or to the beach during the summer holidays and each mouthful is a tasty combination of Mediterranean flavours. My picnic roll recipe is a handy option because it packs all the filling inside crusty rolls and stops some of the sogginess you often get with cling-wrapped sarnies. If you’re planning a day trip to the seaside, hiking to see a roman fort or visiting a museum but want to avoid the over-priced lunches, this is the recipe for you! Read on to find out how I made this easy picnic sandwich for my very own cycling adventure…friYAY recipe layered picnic rolls sandwich filling ideas and inspiration-16 friYAY recipe layered picnic rolls sandwich filling ideas and inspiration-7friYAY recipe layered picnic rolls sandwich filling ideas and inspiration-17With this layered roll it’s easy to pack up a picnic – no Tupperware or cling film required! Everything is safely enclosed within the roll so a napkin or a piece of greaseproof paper is all you need to tuck your sandwiches away safely in the basket of your bike or in a cool bag. Plus, it’s a great recipe to make if you’re taking kids out for the day during the school holidays. You can hand the little ones their very own picnic roll without worrying about the filling plopping out at first bite because each layer is tightly packed into the roll. Here’s now to #MakeItAYayDay with an impromptu picnic:friYAY recipe layered picnic rolls sandwich filling ideas and inspiration-4 friYAY recipe layered picnic rolls sandwich filling ideas and inspiration-21countryside bike ride cycling adventure exercise bicycle-7Ingredients (makes 4 rolls): 4 crusty rolls, mayonnaise, salsa, pesto, hummus, thinly sliced salami, wafer thin ham, chicken slices, sliced garlic sausage, mozzarella, sundried tomatoes, guacamole, cheese or any other fillings you like!

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My summer so far…

It’s only half way through the school holidays and I’ve already been having a wonderful summer break. I’ve been on a few day trips, I’ve visited a handful of places and got a few of my “to-do’s” done. If you’re wondering what I’ve been up to, here’s the goss…summer holiday sunset beach huts seaside-2I went to the seaside. During the very first weekend of the summer holidays I organised to go away from Friday – Monday. It isn’t a long drive from here to the Essex coast, but it was a very hot one! We arrived for our yearly family holiday at around 9am and headed straight to the beach hut. We pretty much spent the rest of the day on the beach, throwing a giant frisbee that I’d bought ‘for the kids’ and tucking into traditional fish ‘n’ chips. The heat dictated plenty of trips to the swimming pool and lots of breezy walks along the promenade to cool off. We enjoyed a game of bowling on Saturday evening, and the bowl ‘n’ burger deal on the pier is always a winner – the burgers are huge! Sunday was a chilled out beach day and on Monday we visited the nearest ‘big’ town for more arcade fun and a trip to the Sealife Centre. A wonderful weekend.

I visited a museum. Ipswich Transport Museum to be precise. I’d never been before, despite growing up in Suffolk from the age of ten. It was a real surprise to find so many interesting exhibits in an unassuming old bus hangar. I’ll share more photos in a ‘proper’ blog post about the museum soon and give you my tips for visiting during the school hols. Another lovely day out with the family that didn’t cost a fortune, bonus!

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4 low-cost rainy day activities for the summer holidays

After waiting all year for the summer holidays to arrive, it’s unfortunate when the weather forecast looks gloomy. Even though we’ve been having lovely sunny days here recently, it’s almost inevitable that a couple of days will be drizzly during the long summer break. So what can you do with the kids when they’re stuck inside on grey days? I’ve come up with a couple of ideas to keep little ones entertained but that don’t cost a fortune.Easy recipe for baking cheese, fruit and cherry scones

Cooking

I love to bake with my niece and nephew and try to do it as often as I can. It’s so lovely to watch them get stuck into stirring up a recipe and see the concentration on their faces as they follow the recipe instructions. Add the ingredients to your weekly shopping in the run up to the summer holidays and you could have everything you need in the cupboard, ready for a rainy day. You can mix up a simple can’t-go-wrong recipe for milk loaf with the kids in the morning, and they can turn it into sandwiches by lunchtime. Baking scones or cornflake cakes during the afternoon guarantees a calm tea-time as they sit down to enjoy the treats they made.

Build a den

Remember how much fun it was to build a den when you were little? It costs nothing to make – you just need some sheets, pegs and bits of furniture. Use a drying rack to prop up blankets as a roof, and throw duvets and cushions on the floor for comfort. And when your den is complete, take some snacks and treats (perhaps something they’ve baked themselves) inside it to enjoy an indoor picnic, or get out the colouring books.rainy day activity summer holidays scrapbook craft

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Spend the Summer in Suffolk – 5 things to see & do

If you’re keen to get out and enjoy the sunshine this summer, I’ve come up with a list of days out and fabulous events that you can enjoy in Suffolk. It’s a great county to visit (with plenty of gorgeous places to stay!) and it doesn’t get too busy on the roads during the summer holidays, so it’s great for a day trip too. I’ve put together a list of my favourite things to do and places to visit in Suffolk and hope that you’ll check out some of these ideas when you’re planning your own school holiday adventure.Latitude festival photos 2015-11

  1. Latitude festival

The highlight of my summer is Latitude Festival. It’s held at Henham Park, near the beautiful Suffolk coast and it’s a really family-friendly event. It’s easy to get to (practically on the A12), there’s plenty of parking and camping space, it’s well-organised, the loos are surprisingly good and it offers a diverse range of entertainment. I’m particularly excited about the dance line-up this year (which I wrote about on my blog when it was announced) because Swing Patrol are performing. Of course there’s all the hottest bands, top comedy performers, national theatre productions and the up-and-coming stars to enjoy too. A kids arena, inspirational art, delicious food, and surprise performances in the woods complete this magical festival. I shared my photos from the 2015 event on my blog last year and will be sure to report back this year too! I always leave with a smile on my face so you should check it out too at LatitudeFestival.com, held on 14th-17th July 2016.

2. Southwold Pier

I’ve written about Southwold Pier on my blog in the past, but it really IS worth mentioning again. It’s actually really close to Latitude Festival, so if you’re visiting for that event you could pop along to the pier one morning before the festival kicks off. The food on the pier is great, the automatons in the ‘Under the Sea Show’ have to be seen to be believed and you can even enjoy a cheesy visit to the arcade to feed some 2ps into the machine and pretend you’re on Tipping Point. It’s also possible to hire beach huts on Southwold beach so you can make a day of it and enjoy paddling in the sea and strolling down the promenade too. Check out my guide to the pier with maps and lots of photos!southwold pier attraction suffolk travel guide-4

Suffolk coastal travel guide southwold pier attraction-173. Snape Proms

I’ve booked my tickets and I’m going to the Proms. The Snape Proms that is. If you love music and comedy but don’t want to pay London prices to see orchestras and performers, then the Proms season at Snape Maltings is for you. Tickets for a Proms seat (sitting on a cushion at the front of the concert hall) start at just £6.50 so it’s a very thrifty way to enjoy some very high quality performances. If the performance you wanted to see has already sold out, have no fear – there are 10 tickets available on the morning of every performance so it’s just a case of getting the box office really early and queuing for your ticket. One thing to remember is that you can’t pick up 4 tickets for your whole family, it’s one per person, so if they all want to go they’ll have to come along on the morning and queue with you! Check out the schedule at Aldeburgh Music to find out what’s on during the Snape Proms this August.beccles lido swimming pool inflatable aquarun

4. Beccles Lido

If you remember outdoor swimming pools, then you’ve got to visit Beccles Lido. It’s a huge outdoor pool, with a very deep deep-end and even a good ol’ fashion diving board. There’s a separate shallow pool for the little ones and a VERY fun giant inflatable obstacle course that floats on the water. Imagine Total Wipeout and you’ve got it! The changing huts are painted in bright seaside colours and you can enjoy a poolside snack or drink at the kiosk. With sunloungers surrounding the pool and a location overlooking the riverside you’d be forgiven for thinking you were on a exotic holiday abroad. It’s really underrated, and there isn’t much information on the website, but the whole venture is run by volunteers who get the pool cleaned, maintain the gardens and staff the kiosk all summer long. Oh, and by the way, the obstacle course isn’t just for the kids, I’ve been on it plenty of times and actually completed it once, go me!

5. Framlingham Castle

Framlingham itself is a rather charming town, with country markets on a Tuesday and Saturday in the market square. There’s lots of cute cafes and traditional pubs so it’s a great destination to while away a sunny day. The castle at Framlingham is a pretty impressive sight. It can be viewed across the mere from New Road and it’s the ideal spot to take a picture-postcard snap of the castle. It’s owned by English Heritage so it’s open to visitors and has a small museum and shop inside, and you can enjoy a very long walk around the top of the castle walls. If you’re into countryside views and photography this is the place for you! The castle wall walk isn’t suitable for buggies but the museum is great for teaching the kids about history. During the summer holiday’s the castle hosts special events for children too so have a look at their website to find out what’s on.blue suede shoes - his n hers brogues_-3

I hope these ideas have given you some inspiration for places to visit, things to do and events to attend if you’re planning to visit Suffolk this summer. There’s so much for the kids to do and just as much fun for adults too. I really should be working with the tourist board but I assure you I’m not – I just LOVE this county and am so pleased to be able to enjoy all these fantastic locations regularly. I wouldn’t want you to miss out if you’ve never been to Suffolk before so please do check it out!


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The school summer holidays are here!

Finally it’s the end of term and 6 weeks of the school summer holidays are stretching out in front of me. I can’t wait to take a bit of time off to spend with my family and friends and we’ve already got lots of fun activities pencilled in on the calendar. Tickets have been bought, hotels have been booked and plans have been made – not for a going-away all-inclusive holiday or anything like that – but for lots of fun ‘staycation’ activities, special events in the local area, nights out and guests coming to stay. Here’s my idea of a perfect summer holiday:

summer holidays

Walks along the coast

summer alfresco dining

Al fresco dinners

hanging out with friends during the summer holidays

Hanging out with friends

summer holiday reading

Catching up on reading

summer evenings

Relaxed evenings

I’m hoping for a busy, active, tiring yet relaxing, stress-free summer holiday. Please bear with me if I don’t manage to blog every day during the summer holidays and if I miss an update please be assured that I’ll be back with more news very soon! 🙂


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Summer Holiday update – lovely seaside snaps

Here’s a few snapshots of my lovely staycation holiday in sunny East Anglia:

We had a great time walking the coast, photographing beach huts, playing in cheesy seaside arcades, bowling and eating lots of lovely treats! And we were very lucky that the sun shone and that hubby won at Bingo! Great fun and our staycation will definitely be repeated soon 🙂

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