Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog

Cassiefairy's thrifty little lifestyle blog – DIY crafts, sewing, food & fashion – what more does a girl need??


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Gooey double chocolate chip cookie recipe for National Afternoon Tea Week

Yes, I’ve been baking again – What, two recipe posts in one week? I hear you cry – but for two good reasons. Firstly, it is National Afternoon Tea week and I couldn’t let a celebration like this pass me by without baking some cookies to dunk in my cuppa, and secondly, I’ve just found out about The Great Blogger Bake Off challenge and it’s always good to have a legitimate excuse to do some mid-week baking for my blog!

Ballroom Afternoon Tea

In honour of National Afternoon Tea week, I am planning my trip to the Blackpool Tower Ballroom in order to experience one of their amazing high teas (it looks fabulous, doesn’t it?). During my last trip up north to a friend’s wedding in Lytham, I ran out of time on my holiday and couldn’t fit in seeing all my pals as well as making the trip to Blackpool that I so wanted to do. So I missed out on an afternoon of decadence, but this time I’m booking my tickets and making certain that I get my tea-and-cake! As you may have already read on my blog, I’ve been learning to swing dance (with a little lindy thrown in – I’m getting adventurous now!) at a weekly dance class and although I’ve finally invested in some proper dancing shoes, I’ve really not had much opportunity to try them out. I am super-excited about the thought of dancing in the famous Tower Ballroom on a sprung dance floor to the  sounds of the famous Wurlitzer organ. If it’s good enough for Strictly Come Dancing, it’s good enough for me! So watch this space for an update of my visit and plenty of photos of me twirling, no doubt!

Blackpool Tower Ballroom Afternoon Tea

On to the second part of my blog post; The Great Blogger Bake Off. Megan from The Briar Rose blog told me about the challenge during Blogstock last weekend, and I immediately started thinking about biscuit recipes for this week’s theme. I went for a fairly safe double chocolate chip cookie recipe that I found on All Recipes.co.uk but Megan has baked some uber-pretty white chocolate millionaires shortbread with salted caramel - I SO want a square right now! My cookies turned out decidedly spongey when baked but they taste good with all the chocolate chips thrown in and absorb a nice lot of milk when dunked, which is highly important in any cookie recipe. Here’s the recipe I used:

Ingredients: 250g plain flour, 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 170g unsalted butter, 200g dark brown soft sugar, 100g caster sugar, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, 1 egg, 1 egg yolk, 325g chocolate chips

Method: Preheat the oven to 170 C and grease lots of baking trays because these cookies grow and spread while baking, so need room on the trays – you can maybe bake four cookies per standard oven tray. Melt the butter before mixing in the brown sugar and caster sugar, and a tablespoon of vanilla extract. Allow the melted butter mixture to cool a little before adding one egg and one yolk and beating until creamy. Sift together the flour, bicarb and salt and mix into the sugar-butter-and-egg batter. Stir the chocolate chips through the batter – I added both white and milk chocolate chips. Drop a heaped tablespoon of the batter onto a baking tray for each cookie but don’t flatter – it will spread and rise during cooking. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted and allow to cool – if you can wait that long!

 

strictly come dancing halloween photo pictures dance costume 2012 outfit


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The spookiest day of the year is nearly here…

Although you’d be forgiven for thinking it had already been and gone, judging by the number of Halloween parties that were going on over the past weekend – including Halloween specials on the X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing. I particularly enjoy these programmes around Halloween week because the show producers ramp up the kitschness to the max, with full-on zombie make-up, scary staging, spooky props and amazing costumes.

Of course, I’m a fan of all outlandish costumes and I love getting inspiration for my own scary outfits for Halloween. So I’ve chosen some of my favourite outfits from the spooky specials and have put together my own mood board for creating freaky fashion looks for this scary time of the year, featuring items from ASOS, John Lewis, Debenhams and www.TutusWingsandPrettyThings.com


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Strictly Tutus – Alesha Dixon & guest judge Jennifer Grey

I was amazed to see a new guest judge on Strictly Come Dancing this weekend – Dirty Dancing superstar Jennifer Grey.

She has previously competed on Dancing with the Stars in the US and won the series. Does this qualify her to perform as a guest judge on the UK version of the show? Her situation is similar to Alesha Dixon; (gratuitously pictured here in a lovely pink & white tutu!) competing in Strictly Come Dancing then taking over a judge role from renowned choreographer Arlene Phillips.

The most amazing part of the show for me was seeing how Jennifer Grey now looks. It’s been nearly 25 years since the release of Dirty Dancing; in fact, one of the professional dancers on the BBC show, Ola Jordan, became a dancer because she watched Dirty Dancing as a youngster. Yet Ms Grey still looks exactly the same! Well, not exactly the same, thanks to a little nose surgery, but age-wise she’s hardly aged at all. I want the name of her make-up artist… Or surgeon… Whichever.

Although I thought it was a massive incidence of cheating when Jennifer competed on Dancing with the Stars, having already proved she can dance perfectly well in the film, she insists that she is not a professional dancer and finds it difficult to remember sequences and steps, she’s just been lucky to have been taught by the best professionals in the business; the sadly departed Patrick Swayze and US dance star Derek Hough. Hmm. So with the training of such dance royalty maybe she is qualified to judge on the show.

Besides, its only for one night and everyone’s watching X-Factor anyway.

Here’s a few pics of everyone’s favourite scene from Dirty Dancing:

 


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Strictly Come Dancing – Another year, another tutu!

The new season of Strictly Come Dancing has started on the BBC and it begins the countdown to Christmas for me! And another reason I am excited about the new series is looking at the dancers beautiful costumes every week. As you can probably guess, I’m a sucker for all things frilly, sparkly and pink so I’ll probably be using Strictly as an excuse to slip on a pettiskirt every Saturday night & twirl around in front of the TV!

Here’s some of my favourite costumes from the first episodes of 2001:

 

 


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Celebrities & their tutus – The stars of Strictly Come Dancing

We expect a lot of sparkle and sequins on every series of Strictly Come Dancing, but more exciting for me is seeing the layers of tulle in the gorgeous dresses & flirty tutus for latin dance numbers. Here are some of the costumes that have inspired some of my tutu designs!

Vincent Simone Rachel Stevens and her dance partner Vincent Simone pose during the BBC Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour 2009 photocall at the Manchester Evening News Arena on January 21, 2009 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Lindsey Parnaby/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Vincent Simone;Rachel StevensRachel Stevens dancing with Vincent Simone in a hot pink and blue tutu dress and the lookey-likey Cassiefairy.co.uk version:

http://cassiefairy.co.uk/fairy_tutus.aspx

Jodie Kidd‘s promo shot for the new series of Strictly Come Dancing featured a leggy Jodie in a sparkly white skirt with gold top which influenced my design for a gold & white tutu:

http://cassiefairy.co.uk/tutus.aspx

Lisa Snowdon danced a sexy samba with Brendan Cole in this fruity frilly tutu dress and the Cassiefairy version included the same lime green, hot pink and orange tulle:

http://cassiefairy.co.uk/fairy_tutus.aspx

Personally, I can’t get enough of the jazzy costumes and sparkly tutus on the TV show, and I will no doubt be sharing more copy-cat designs with you over the coming months that pay homage to the glitzy skirts we see every year on Strictly Come Dancing.