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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Tuesday Shoesday ~ Strictly Dancing Shoes

I’ve got Strictly fever. I can’t get enough of the sparkles and sequins. I’ve been dancing in my kitchen while baking. I’ve been watching training clips on my phone at every opportunity. I’ve been glued to my TV on Saturday nights and I’ve started to arrange my social life around it. I’m addicted and I don’t care who knows it! It’s not the exciting line-up of celebrities and dancers that is drawing in me, but it’s the fact that this year it means more to me…

If you’ve been reading my blog over the summer, you’ll know (because I’ve been banging on about it) that I’ve started learning to dance. Yes, at my age! I’ve wanted to learn for years and every season of Strictly reminds me just how much I want to be one of those dancers in their princess dresses being whisked around the dance floor. Back in June the universe conspired to give me the opportunity to start learning swing dancing – it was in the right place, at the right time and with the right people – and I am so pleased that I went for it! Now that I’ve started to learn, I can’t get enough of it and I’ve been going to the occasional extra dance class and have even had a couple of private lessons. I’ve been practicing at home and my social calendar is made up of 1940s events and hangar dances. It’s undoubtedly a new passion of mine and now that I understand dancing a little, this season of Strictly Come Dancing has been even more interesting to me.

There’s not much swing dancing on Strictly – although I have done a bit of Charleston, lindy and jive in my dance classes so it’s always fun to watch these dances – I especially love watching the ballroom dances and now I want to take my dancing further. Yes, I want to be a princess! After being invited to the Blackpool Tower Ballroom to their Strictly Dancing & Afternoon Tea event in November (I’ll definitely be reporting back on this experience, so watch this space!), I needed to make sure that I’d at least be able to dance something on that famous dance floor. So I’ve had a few Foxtrot lessons and I’ve got that giddy grin back on my face!

As this is Tuesday Shoesday I ought to mention the main focus of today’s post and one of the most exciting things to happen to me: I’ve got new dancing shoes! At dance class this week I was able to Foxtrot in my sparkly new ballroom heels and it really made a difference to my performance; I started to point my feet as I danced and the cushioned soles were so comfortable that I was able to dance on tiptoes. I felt so professional and although I’m still learning, I felt that I was one step closer to being the dance floor princess that I’d always dreamed of.

My chiffon dress is from Apricot and my seamed tights are from UK Tights

With no specialist dance shops nearby I’d found it difficult to get hold of the shoes, tights and skirts that I’d wanted to invest in but luckily I was able to access this type of boutique store through the indie shopping website MyHigh.st. This website brings together independent retailers from all around the country and shares their wares through one shopping portal. Each retailer has their own page and my dance shoes were from Jems Party Dance a dancewear specialist in Essex. I probably would never travelled that distance to buy my shoes, but I could get them delivered to my home within only a couple of days.

Initially, I wasn’t sure which ballroom shoes to go for; black would go with everything, and nude would elongate my legs… But then I saw the sparkly shoes section and I couldn’t tear my eyes away from these glittery beauties. Okay, they might be a little over the top for my everyday dancing, but it’s not every day you get to go to the Blackpool Tower Ballroom and, let’s be honest, I wanted something sparkly!

It was a real Cinderella moment when the shoes arrived in their silver box and I first held them in my hands. I put them on immediately and was so pleased with the great fit and how comfortable they were. I got on with my writing work while wearing my spangly heels and I stayed happy all day – just glimping a little glitter was enough to make me smile! At dance class I got a lot of compliments on my new shoes and some of the other dancers even tried them on and took them for a spin around the dance floor. Now I can’t wait until my next lesson so that I can dance in them again. ballroom dancing shoes myhigh

And no, of course I haven’t been putting them on just to watch Strictly Come Dancing on TV…


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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: