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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Top 3 dress trends for spring/summer 2017 and how to wear them + underwear giveaway!

The sun is out – hip hip hooray! For me this means the start of the spring/summer season and that means a slight shift in my wardrobe. It’s no longer the weather for woolly jumpers and thick jeans – which can only mean one thing; dresses are back! Today I’m sharing my picks of the spring/summer collections on the high street and tackling some of the more difficult styles to wear. Plus, there’s a giveaway to win TWO go-with-everything Kissbobo invisible bras – read on to enter the competition today!

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If you’re going to any kind of event this year, you’ll probably want to invest in a new dress. I’m not necessarily giving you permission to buy a new outfit for every occasion but do think that one fabulous new dress could see you through all the hen parties, work events, weddings, christenings, days at the races and dinner parties you’ve got planned this season. But which one dress will cover all eventualities? And what kind of underwear will you need to wear with these off-the-shoulder styles styles? Here’s my top 3 dresses for S/S17 and how to wear them… 

The cold shoulder midi

This classy cold shoulder dress is the perfect spring/summer outfit for special occasions. It’s just landed on the New Look website and already I’m a fan. With a floaty floral fabric it’ll keep you cool in the warm weather. And when there’s a breeze in the air it’s long enough to cover your knees, and the sleeves will give your arms a little protection from the cold. It can be dressed up with heels or kept casual with a pair of trainers so it’s a wear-all-weekend piece. LOVE the yolk yellow colour! It’s got a slinky low back and thin shoulder straps so finding the right underwear might prove tricky; the Kissbobo invisible bra would do the job perfectly. It’s an adhesive gel bra so there’s no straps to worry about – no chance of your underwear peeking out from below your pretty dress in any of those wedding photos!

Two prizes to be won in my giveaway – enter competition below…

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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.

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Where to find bedding in mid-century colours

Hurrah! We finally have some new bedding for our new bedroom. After weeks spent stripping off wallpaper, days painting layers and layers of while emulsion to cover up bright peach walls, and even more hours spent laying beautiful laminate flooring, I think it was about time that we got a little reward for all our hard work. And what do you want when you’ve just turned a room into a perfect white cube? Colour, that’s what! Looking back over my last few home blog posts, I think you can tell the direction in which I’m heading with my interior decor. In fact, it’s no secret that I love mid-century modern design – I’ve had teak furniture and geometric patterns in my home for years. But this time, I’m taking the OTT garishness down a touch. I’m pairing simple white walls with natural textures, so that my mid-century design pieces really stand out and take centre stage. The bedroom is no exception. Where we previously had an eye-catching DIY feature wall made from the pages of old books, I’ve now decided that the bed itself should be the feature in the room. I’ve bought a sleek Hygena bed from Argos (which will take another month to arrive) and it’s undeniably mid-century in design. So I already had this in mind when it came to choosing some new bedding.

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The next big interior design trends for 2017

The New Year is a great time to think about freshening up our homes with new indoor furniture, updated colour schemes and a few of the hottest accessories in line with the latest trends. It’s also the time of year that trend forecasters pull out their crystal balls and announce the home décor trends coming up in the year ahead.
I’ve had a look at all the predictions and here are my picks of the top eight interior themes we can expect to see in 2017.

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Super Natural
As technology becomes more and more integral to our daily lives and developments such as artificial intelligence and 3D printing look set to cause greater disruption, people are looking to nature and natural materials to provide balance. A strong desire to bring nature into our homes and workplaces will see interiors filled with greenery, from hanging pots, to hydroponic indoor gardens planted with vegetables and herbs. Sustainable and recycled materials will also feature strongly, with worn or aged furnishings and accessories. Sofas and designer furniture will be made from sustainable materials;  designers are even beginning to experiment with algae and fungi to develop new products. Key colour for this trend is Pantone’s Colour of the Year for 2017 ‘Greenery’, a bright and powerful green hue.pantone-greenery-colour-pop-interior-design-trend-2017Nordic Influence
Scandinavian style continues to exert a strong influence on interiors with abundant natural light, a sense of space and simple well-designed furniture using natural materials. Natural textures and materials – such as wooden furniture, fur and shearling throws, hides and cork – ensure this look never appears cold or sterile. Bold fabrics and handcrafted accessories are also key elements. Key colours to recreate this look in your own home include white and soft gray with primary coloured accents.sideboard-sandinavian-danish-colour-pop-chair-mid-century-modernRaw and Industrial
The raw, industrial aesthetic is also still a strong influence, with concrete, clay, steel and glass forming the main materials. Again, this suits the trend for upcycled homewares as older items with rust spots, faded colours and patina fit in perfectly. If you’re lucky, you could give your home an industrial look for only a few pounds if you’re able to find disused shop/factory fittings, wooden pallets and rusted metalwork. The key colours for this look are gray, beige, off-white, yellow, white, walnut brown and glints of gold and copper.industrial-interior-design-trend-2017Reflective
For enthusiasts of contemporary furniture and décor, this design theme could be for you. The atmosphere here is soft and friendly, without being overly romantic and sweet. Modern materials and indoor furniture will feature cool mirrored, transparent effects. Look out for iridescent lamps, overlapping coloured glass shapes, shiny glazes, copper finishes, faceted shapes and reflective surfaces. These modern effects are contrasted with the tactility of handmade knitting and crochet to create a very livable theme. Choose muted key colours such as nude, blue, lavender, yellow, rose, turquoise, yellow-green, pastel yellow, peach, mint, lilac and pink.pop-of-colour-yellow-interior-design-trend-2017Pops of Strategic Colour

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Guest post – Mole mapping & a few common sun care myths

Summer is (sadly) gone but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t continue to be vigilant about your UV exposure. Between damage incurred during the warm months and Britons’ love of winter getaways, caution regarding our skin is a year-round job. Today we’re busting some common sun care myths to make sure that your skin stays safe and healthy all year round.Mole mapping for early cancer detectionAfter summer wanes

According to the NHS and other sources, affordable winter holidays are culprits in the increase in skin cancer rates. During the autumn and winter months, many of us jet off for warmer climes and skiing holidays, right? In addition, many people who suffer from seasonal affective disorder use tanning beds or ultraviolet light to ease their symptoms. Continue to use broad-spectrum UV protection – most people don’t wear large hats when they’re skiing. As the backlash against the use of sun creams has grown over the past few years, we should address a few of the most common myths still in active circulation.

Myth 1: Coconut oil can be used as sun cream. Yes, you will see recommendations to “just use coconut oil” instead of SPF products. We will not go into the many reasons for why this is incorrect, but every medically sound source still recommends reducing your exposure and using sun cream to protect against damage.summer holiday sunset beach huts seaside-2

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Vintage party ideas & inspiration from Glemham Hall

Whether you’re planning a wedding or like the idea of having a fancy birthday party, I think that a vintage theme is perfect for summer events. When I visited the Glemham Hall vintage wedding fair I was struck by how many of the decorating ideas would work perfectly well for a garden party or a wedding anniversary. Even an afternoon tea with friends could be elevated to a special gathering with just a few vintage-inspired touches. Today I’m sharing some of the photos I took at the event and I hope it’ll help provide a little inspiration when you come to plan your own wedding, baby shower or anniversary party. vintage party wedding inspiration ideas retro_-5vintage party wedding inspiration ideas retro_-16vintage party wedding inspiration ideas retro_-19Adopting a vintage theme can also be a thrifty way to throw a party, as none of the elements needs to match – in fact, the more mismatched your china is, the better! Cobbling together some old jars and tins out of the attic, filling them with pretty blooms and hanging a length of floral bunting is more than enough decoration to hint at a bygone party theme.

In terms of entertainment, I love the idea of using an old record player to provide the background music while you enjoy the party. A cracking record of old songs is a charming soundtrack to a vintage party and you can still buy vinyl records at very low prices in charity shops or at car boot sales. Finding a record player might be more tricky, but ask around your friends and family to see if someone has one stashed away that you could borrow for the day. Failing that, it is possible to hire vintage record players, and even ancient gramophones!

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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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How a new dress can help you stay cool this summer

So I went away last weekend. I didn’t go far, just on our yearly jaunt to the Essex coast, but boy was it nice to be beside the seaside. The cool sea breeze was really needed after that heatwave the week before. Even stepping off the promenade and making my way inland caused instant overheating. Blimey it was hot! It was lovely to be on a UK break that actually felt like a trip abroad, and it meant that we could spend more time on the beach together as a family rather than sheltering from the rain in an arcade!hotsquash summer dress cool fabric ss16 outfitI think I’ve mentioned it before but I’m not great with the heat. My pale, freckly skin just doesn’t get on with the sun. On hot days you’ll find me slinking off into the beach hut to shelter from the sun and I’ll always choose to walk on the shadowy side of the street. SPF 50 is definitely my must-have beauty product at this time of year!hotsquash summer dress cool fabric polka dot outfit

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Tips for a healthy summer holiday with the family

How are you enjoying the school summer holidays so far? We’ve already enjoyed a few days of sunshine and got stuck into our favourite outdoor activities, such as swimming, walking and going on bike rides. I think that the school holidays is a great time of year for the whole family to make a change towards living a more healthy lifestyle. It’s easier to feel motivated to get outside and be active while the weather is lovely. It’s also a good opportunity to introduce the kids to the idea of eating more healthily too, with plenty of salads, pasta and couscous on the menu during BBQ season!homemade summer coleslaw panasonic food processor bbq dish-18

Check out my healthy coleslaw recipe on the blog – no mayo in this dish!

With that in mind, I wanted to share something with all you mums and dads out there, to help you with some fun ideas for the school holidays that will also help your family to live a more healthy life. As part of National Childhood Obesity Week, which rans from 4th July 2016, NRS Healthcare launched a digital Healthy Living Family Pack to help families with children who may be experiencing issues with overeating, inactivity or poor nutrition and it contains useful ideas on how families can pull together to become more active in their daily lives.day out wild flower walk spring-2

A wildflower hunt is a free activity that gets the kids moving – read about my recent countryside walk here

What does the Healthy Living Family Pack include?

The digital Family Pack is available to download for free from the NRS website and the pack contains useful information and ideas for parents, coupled with an interactive star chart for children to track their activities in a fun, informal way. Families can learn more about childhood obesity and how to actively approach the subject through the pack contents, which include:

  • Family Activity Cards
  • A Family Day Out Wish List
  • Daily Chores Calorie Counter (for parents)
  • A Chore Chooser Star Chart (for children)blue suede shoes - his n hers brogues_-4

Find ideas for low-cost and fun days out for the school holiday on my blog – here

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Pieday Friday – Homemade + healthy sweet ‘n’ sour coleslaw recipe

I’m getting ready for BBQ season with this week’s Pieday Friday recipe. Yes, I’m making homemade coleslaw, which we all know is the best type of coleslaw in the world. Sure, you can spend ££s on luxury coleslaw if you really want to, but nothing beats the fresh, zesty crunch of a homemade ‘slaw. Use it to funk up salads, to dollop on top of your burger, to serve as a BBQ side dish, or to mix with cheese as a crunchy sandwich filling. However you use it up, the freshness of a homemade coleslaw will have you going back to the fridge again and again to help yourself to another spoonful with your lunch. Here’s how I made an ultra-fresh and zingy coleslaw: homemade summer coleslaw panasonic food processor bbq dish-19 homemade summer coleslaw panasonic food processor bbq dish-3homemade summer coleslaw panasonic food processor bbq dish-15 homemade summer coleslaw panasonic food processor bbq dish-13Ingredients (serves 4 plus a small tub of leftovers to keep in the fridge!): 1/4 of a white cabbage, 4 peeled carrots, 1 white onion, 1 red onion, 1 zingy green apple and 1 sweet red apple, cored and quartered, a dash of lemon juice, 250ml non-fat natural yoghurt, 2 tablespoon course mustard, 100ml picked gherkin juice (or white vinegar), salt and pepper.

Use a food processor with a thin slicing blade to finely slice up the cabbage and both onions.

Change to the grater blade and add the carrots, and both apples.

Toss the ingredients together with a splash of lemon juice to stop the apples from going brown.

Dollop in the yoghurt and mustard and give the coleslaw a stir.

Drizzle in the picked gherkin juice (which is both sweet and vinegary), mix again and season to taste.

Store in a sealed tub in the fridge and serve up alongside your BBQ burger this summer! This was the first time I’d tried using a food processor (this one is a Panasonic MK-F800) and it made the process of making the coleslaw fantastically fast. Plus, the fine slicing blade got the onions and cabbage so wafter-thin – something I’ve never been able to achieve with a knife. homemade summer coleslaw panasonic food processor bbq dish-18 homemade summer coleslaw panasonic food processor bbq dish-15 While I had the food processor on the go, I also whizzed some potatoes through the julienne blade (with skins still on) to rustle up the quickest batch of chips I’ve ever made. Just a spritz of fry-light before oven baking was all the potatoes needed to turn them into crisp homemade (and healthy!) chips.homemade summer coleslaw panasonic food processor bbq dish-13 homemade summer coleslaw panasonic food processor bbq dish-20Considering I’d never used a food processor before, I got to grips with the Panasonic processor really quickly. It wasn’t long before I was looking for more vegetables to chop up or slice. While I was at it, I finely sliced up all the rest of the white cabbage so that I could freeze it in portions. I find that cabbage is one of those vegetables that I really like but that I hardly ever eat because you never use a whole one at once (not between the two of us anyway!) so I always end up with a limp half-cabbage that I forget about and find a month later slowing wilting at the back of the salad drawer. At least this way there was no wastage and I’ve got the right size portions in my freezer, ready to eat with bangers and mash.homemade summer coleslaw panasonic food processor bbq dish-19 homemade summer coleslaw panasonic food processor bbq dish-3Let me know if you have a go at making this recipe and tell me how you would funk up your coleslaw in other ways – would you add cheese, zesty orange segments or sliced gherkins?? What’s your signature homemade coleslaw recipe that your BBQ guests cant get enough of? Also, it would be great to hear your ideas about what other things I can use my food processor for, so please do get in touch to tell me how you use your applicances. Leave me a comment below or tweet me @cassiefairy.

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