Cassiefairy – My Thrifty Life

Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog – Saving money every day with DIY crafts, sewing projets, low-cost recipes & shppping tips


Thrifty fashion for BBQ parties

With Summer in full swing and lots of lovely weather to look forward to, you’d probably be heading outdoors and spending a lot of time in the sun, and if you’re lucky enough to be invited to a BBQ, even better! But what should you wear for an al fresco event? It’s difficult to predict the weather at times so it’s best to be protected against the sun whilst being prepared for all eventualities! Here’s my guide to dressing for summer and enjoying your BBQ in style:

  1. Choose an outfit you’re comfortable in. It may seem obvious, but you’ll want to feel free if you’re running around the garden with the kids, moving food around or lying on a sun lounger, so it’s best to choose an outfit that isn’t too short, too revealing, or likely to fall off!
  2. Loose clothing will help keep you cool by letting the breeze through your layers. Cotton or linen will also help to maintain a cool temperature when the sun is shining, so a linen skirt or loose cotton shirt would keep you comfortable on a hot day.
  3. Take a cardigan! If the skies cloud over you’ll be able to slip it on to stop the shivers, and if the temperature is soaring you can throw it over your shoulders to protect yourself from burning in the midday sun. Similarly, a thin pashmina scarf (like mine below from New Look) would work well as a sun cover-up and something to keep you warm. BBQs often carry on into the evening so you’ll be glad of this extra layer when the sun goes down.

sunglass junkie black wayfarer sunglasses 2014

  1. Always wear a hat when outdoors – it will keep the sun off your face, stop you from getting a red nose and ears (the most regularly burnt parts of our bodies!) and will protect your scalp from sunburn. Plus you’ll look glamorous and be following one of the top trends of Summer 2014!

5.Likewise, sunglasses are essential for protecting your eyes from UV rays so wear them whenever you’re outside.

You’ll easily be able to cope with whatever the weather throws at you during your BBQ party and will stay safe in the sun. I know I say it all the time, but it’s so important to me: don’t forget to wear sunscreen, stay hydrated and keep an eye on your friends and family – especially the children – to make sure they are staying in the shade, wearing high SPF and drinking plenty of water. Enjoy your day of al fresco fun and dining!

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Thrifty fashion – 4 looks from one leather jacket

I’m one of those people who wear only a few items in their wardrobe over and over again. The statistic that’s always quoted is that most of us only wear 20% of their wardrobe 80% of the time and I am certainly guilty of this. I often seem to choose one or two ‘favourite’ items and wear them so much that I end up being sick of the sight of them or I find something that fits so well that I go out and buy 3 of the same skirt in different colours. I’ve had to the urge to do that with my New Look jumpers but so far only bought two… and that’s very restrained for me! But I don’t want to limit myself any longer and I want to get the most use out of my clothes – I’ve already paid for them, and we all know that the value of an item comes down to cost-per-wear. So over the course of a few blog posts I’m going to take items from my wardrobe and rework them into different looks that I hope will inspire you to do the same.

thrifty fashion looks - styling a black leather jacket four ways

This week I’m starting with a leather jacket. I’d coveted leather jackets for a while back in the autumn and I’d been Pinning images of fashion looks with leather jackets like crazy. I finally caved in and got this black jacket from Bon Prix because it was such a bargain price compared to all the others that I’d seen and I wore it a lot in the first week after it arrived and even bought some grey skinny jeans thinking that I was channelling a biker chick look. But then I stopped putting it on. I felt like it didn’t really go with anything else in my wardrobe and I didn’t know how to style it. Ultimately, I felt it added bulk and I didn’t want that extra puffiness on top of all the woolly jumpers and thick layers I was wearing during the winter. So it got put at the back of the wardrobe (and I mean literally) and I haven’t looked at it again since.

thrifty fashion looks Miley Cyrus leather jacket

Rock Chick / Classy Casual / Girly Glamour

Someone who does look good in a leather jacket is Miley Cyrus. She’s performing her ‘Bangers’ world tour at the O2 arena in May and even though she might be ‘controversial’ these days, all I really want to talk about when discussing Miley is her clothing. If you want an example of how to wear a leather jacket in a very casual way, look no further. Miley has grown up wearing her favourite leather jacket to create lots of different looks but nowadays is just as likely to be teaming a leather jacket with nothing else as she is a long glamourous gown.

I’ve tried styling my leather jacket in a few different ways and here’s what I’ve come up with – a girly dressy look that would be fine for a date, two casual looks using denim and chiffon and my very own attempt at a rock chick look using my favourite Tina Turner concert t-shirt and a bit of animal print!

fashion looks - styling a leather jacket for a girly lunch date

Floral dress from ASOS  & pink belt from ASOS

thrifty fashion styling - how to get more looks from one leather jacket

Cat print scarf from New Look & specs print chiffon shirt from George at Asda

Denim shirt from Matalan, belt from Apricot & handbag from Next

fashion looks - styling a leather jacket four ways

Tina Turner tour merchandise t-shirt, scarf from Accessorize & necklaces from Primark

At least I’ve found that there are few more ways of wearing my leather jacket and I think it will probably come out of hibernation now that we’re in Spring and I can finally shed all of those chunky layers. I especially like how cool the jacket looks with dresses and it’s nice to have a fitted item of clothing underneath it because it doesn’t feel so bulky like that. Please let me know what you think of my outfit ideas and let me know how you would style a leather jacket for spring – tweet me @Cassiefairy or leave me a comment below 🙂


My new London Retro specs

I’m quite picky about the brands that I feature on this blog – I only ever talk about my favourites – and as a thrifty retail kinda gal, the products I share need to be the best bargains around. So when the lovely team at MyOptique got in touch with me last week offering all my readers the chance to win a free pair of their super-cool glasses, how could I possibly say no?! Not only is it a treat for you guys, but luckily, when I looked into their product range, I found a massive selection of über-cool designs at super-saver prices – I am officially a MyOptique fan and I’m not ashamed to say it!

my optique london retro glasses

As a glasses-wear since my teens, I’ve spent years wearing the wrong kind of glasses for me and have always been driven to contact lenses as a result. Every time I head to the opticians (usually a famous high street optician) I am always left slightly deflated by their product range and I find it really difficult to choose a pair of glasses at a price that I’m happy to pay. Lets face it, I’m never going to be the kind of person to spend hundreds of pounds on a pair of glasses – I know that I change my mind so often to I’ll probably be fed up with the design in a couple of months time, plus I am super-clumsy and am likely to sit on them and do them some damage! So it makes sense to me to shop as thriftily for specs as I would with any other piece of clothing. But with this ethos usually comes a lack of choice and I always have to allocate at least an hour to umm and ahh over the glasses and eventually chose a pair from the limited range. Thank goodness that I have now found MyOptique!

The designs on the website are very cool and exactly what I have been looking for all these years. Their London Retro range are fabulously well designed and do exactly what the name suggests – they are retro-style specs with a modern twist so I won’t end up looking like my grandma in an NHS pair! The glasses in this collection are named after iconic London stations and famous locations around the capital. I chose this pair of Carnaby glasses for their funky shape – I now feel like a trendy fashion blogger when I wear them! 😉 They were available in 3 colour choices but I went for red. I was delighted when they arrived looking exactly like the images online: a gorgeous deep burgundy red that would go with most of the clothing in my wardrobe – I’m a sucker for burgundy and can’t get enough of it! Plus these glasses come with a scratch-resistant and anti-reflective lenses (which I’d usually have to pay extra for!) as standard, which is great news for a clumsy glasses-dropper like me!

london retro glasses from my optique

So, on to the good news about the giveaway – one lucky reader will win their favourite pair of London Retro glasses from MyOptique but don’t worry if you don’t need prescription glasses – they can be made up as sunglasses too so will be great for everyone! It’s so simple to enter and there are no questions to answer. Just do the following:

  1. Like my Cassiefairy Facebook page
  2. Like MyOptique’s Facebook page
  3. Post on MyOptique’s wall “Enter Cassiefairy Blog’s Giveaway”

That’s all there is to it! The giveaway will run for 7 days ending on Wednesday 26th February at 23:59pm. The lucky winner will be contacted directly and please reply to the message within 48 hours, otherwise another winner will have to be chosen!


Thrifty Fashion ~ New season trend & DIY the look for less

Pink is going to be a big trend for this Autumn/Winter – it’s in all the magazines and on all the best fashion blogs, so it must be true – blush, rose and coral is here to stay. It’s an unusual choice for autumn and I always think that pink is a spring/summer colour, but if it means that I can carry on wearing my summer tops, I’m happy with that! However, I’d like to jazz up my spring cardigan so that it at least looks like a different top from the knitwear that I’ve been wearing all year, so I’ve decided to add buttons.

Button Up header image

This also reflects the pink trend because I’ve chosen to add buttons in lots of different rosy hues and have thrown in a couple of darker maroon and red ones to make it just a little bit more festive and autumnal. You can use any jumper or cardigan for this project – pick one up from your local charity shop or online in the Oxfam Online Shop knitwear  section . Choose some coordinating or contrasting buttons (easy to find at carboot sales, or in haberdashery stores) to create two very different looks on your winter knitwear. And here’s how it’s done:

 Button Up You Will Need

You will need: Jumper or cardigan, buttons of different sizes and colours, needle, matching thread

1. Choose your buttons and roughly lay them out on your jumper or cardigan to decide where you would like the different colours and sizes to be to create a pleasing and balanced design around the neckline.

2. Thread your needle with the matching thread and begin stitching the buttons to your top

Button Up Step 2 sewing

3. You need not tie off each button, but you can simply attach each button with a couple of stitches then take the needle along the back of the fabric and come up wherever you’d like your next button to be.

4. When you’re sewing your final button, take the thread behind it and finish with a double knot to stop the buttons dropping off.

Button Up before and after image

Don’t forget that you can add to anything else that takes your fancy – bows or different embellishments – it all adds to the handmade look and will ensure your winter knitwear is completely unique. This is one of my DIY blog posts for Oxfam Fashion, so please have a look at my Oxfam blogger profile and check out my previous DIY fashion posts too 🙂



Thrifty fashion ~ On trend with cabuchons

Cabuchons are everywhere this year. I’d never even heard of the word until the start of the summer and now these little resin flowers, animals and bows are attached to every piece of jewellery, every accessory and even on mobile phone cases on the high street. I think they are cute and kitsch (I love anything plasticy!) and the colours are usually muted pastel tones, and I love faded, sun-bleached colours at this time of year! I want to add my own cabuchons to my accessories, such as these sunglasses below, to funk them up for the end of summer and get a little extra wear out of an old pair of sunnies. Plus, I want to get ahead of the trend and start adding cabuchons to my clothing too – so here are a couple of tutorials for adding these cute acrylic embellishments to your own fashion items:

1. I used super-super glue (or you could use a hot glue gun) to attach these cute cabuchon bows to the corners of my sunglasses – pretty simple, but just make sure you don’t try them on until the glue has completely dried/cooled otherwise you will get your hair stuck in the tacky glue! I got these resin bows from Wholeport but you can find cabuchons of all shapes and colours from online haberdasheries and in craft shops.

cassiefairy DIY fashion cabochon resin bows sunglasses and tshirt

2. I got an t-shirt in a floral print from the carboot sale (ready for autumn with the longer-sleeves!) but you can find similar tops ripe for embellishing in charity shops and online at Oxfam Online Shop. I chose some coordinating rose cabochon buttons and stitched them to the top at intervals around the neckline. You could use this same technique with buttons and could add the embellishments to the neckline of dresses, around the edge of cardigans or on collars to funk up your wardrobe for autumn.

Cassiefairy DIY fashion cabuchon resin roses tshirt


Tuesday Shoesday ~ High heels: show-stopper or back-breaker? Famous falls in skyscraper heels!

Wearing sky high heels may make you feel on top of the world, but as these celebrities highlight, there is a long way to fall when strapping on your favourite Christian Louboutin’s. So here are a few examples of why it may be best to play is safe with a pair of stylish but comfy women’s shoes on a day to day basis;

Catwalk models are seasoned pros in the stiletto department, however, Prada’s Spring 09 shoes proved too much for three of the models.  In particular, it’s hard not to squirm as you see the strains Katie Fogerty’s ankles were going through as she tried to keep her balance. This ending with her unzipping the gorgeous designer shoes before they caused her any serious injury, might be best to keep these as ornaments rather than footwear!

Similarly, Agness Deyn has also had her fair share of bumps and bruises on the runway falling twice in Naomi Campbell’s Fashion For Relief Haiti Benefit. Luckily, her upbeat charm managed to laugh it off and take a curtsey to hide the embarrassment and later tweeting about the falls hurting her knees.

Some of our favourite performers have also fallen with a thud in fast paced dance routines. Owning the stage in platforms is not as easy as celebrities make it look; Beyonce, Rihanna and Jennifer Lopez have all suffered heavy falls on stage from a slip of the heel. This is due to excessive pressure being placed on the foot whilst it is in an unnatural position which can cause sprains as well as long term damage to your feet, legs and back.

One star who is famous for her love of outlandish outfits is Lady Gaga. She has experimented with sky scrapers as high as 10 inches (and who can forget her Alexander McQueen specials!), but even her avante garde style has left her head over heels when she took a tumble on stage as this video shows;

She shows true showmanship and springs back up carrying on with a seamless performance. That is not to say that this hasn’t caused personal injury or upset to others in the past, celebrities are prepared to power through painful falls but they can easily cause muscle damage as the pressure on the knee is heightened.

So, is it really worth it? Carol Vordaman’s recent fall down several steps face first left her with a broken nose that had to be reset after she was rushed to hospital.  She counted herself lucky that the injuries were not more serious after her ankle boots left her more vulnerable. Ouch!

Overall, it’s a tough sacrifice admitting defeat from your favourite pair of toe-tappers, but if they are causing you serious pain and you are clinging onto friends or furniture for extra support then they may not be worth the long term injury. Bunions, sprains and more seriously, osteoarthritis, are all side effects from the added pressure to the inside of the woman’s knees caused from extensive heel wearing. Therefore, it is important to ensure that on a day to day basis your shoes are comfy and sensible, and perhaps save the stilettoes for a special night, that way we can ensure that shoes remain a lady’s best friend.


Fashion trendspotting ~ Monochrome on the red carpet

A huge amount of celebrities and fashionistas have been spotted wearing this season’s wardrobe staple: monochrome. Here’s a whole host of stars wearing black & white outfits this year: Disney darling Vanessa Hudgens wears an embellished gown on the red (or pink!) carpet, the never-ageing Christina Ricci was spotted in this cropped outfit at New York Fashion week and Taylor Swift wears monochrome stripes. Even the front cover of this month’s Glamour magazine features January Jones in a chess-board ensemble.

monochrome fashion trend for spring summer 2013 black and white ashley greene christina ricci kristen dunst taylor swift made in chelsea rosie

It’s one of those trends that crops up almost every year, so we’ve all probably got something black or white in our wardrobes already so it’s an easy trend to follow without forking out for a whole new look. Take inspiration from the stars above including Made in Chelsea’s Rosie wearing a top from Missguided with plain back trousers, movie-star duo Kirsten Dunst and Garrett Hedlund wear his ‘n’ hers white shirts at Paris Fashion Week and Twilight’s Ashley Greene wore a LWD (little white dress) and added a black belt to channel the monochrome trend. So all you need to do is dig out your work trousers, interview shirt or LBD and add a few contrasting accessories to get the look. Try Primark for this spotty bag (only 3 quid!) & mono satchel, Ellos for colour block tops & trilby hats, and New look for this retro print bag, striped clutch and white collar ~ click on the image below to shop for these monochrome accessories!

fashion monochrome trend black and white 2013 accessories from ellos new look primark

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Fashion ~ Get Mollie King’s look for less

The Saturday’s Mollie King has been spotted (excuse the pun) wearing this pretty navy polka-dot dress, which I think would be perfect for wearing during Spring (maybe with a pair of tights in this weather) and into Summer. I had a lovely shirt dress in the same fabric that’s lasted me for the past 3 years but really, it’s time for that to go and be replaced with this lovely flowy dress instead.

The Saturdays Mollie King dress from Inlovewithfashion special offer discount navy polka dot fashion

I know that this dress sold out pretty quickly when Mollie was papped in it, but after a quick hunt around online I’ve found it! It’s back in stock at InLoveWithFashion – and there is a secret discount code to get 20% off so I can use Mollie20 to get this dress at a bargain price – but it’s only valid until midnight tonight (27th March 2013) and it’s sure to sell out soon – so if you want to snap one up too, do it now and get the look for less!


Tuesday Shoesday – 90s footwear revival – do we really want to break our ankles?

Well, it’s true. The 90s are back. The catwalks are showcasing 90s-inspired fashion and the shops are packed full of ‘last millennium’ shoe trends. I can’t believe that I’ve already reached that age where my teen years have become ‘retro’ and I’m seeing those outfits coming back the  second-time-round. That’s the quickest way to make a girl feel her age, bah!

tuesday shoesday 90s fashion trend clueless rachel friends will smith fresh prince saved by the bell

But the good news is that, in truth, I’ve probably never really left the 90s. That was the best time for me: the music was my favourite cheesy pop (The Big Reunion sums that up nicely) and TV was not-to-be-missed – and not just because we didn’t have TIVO in those days – I loved Friends, Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and remember Dawson’s Creek and even earlier Saved by The Bell? I was having the time of my life every friday night drinking Hooch and Diamond White at the Club 2000 disco. The only thing that was less-than-brilliant was the fashion – I looked a right state in the 90s!

But hey, if the fashion world thinks that the 90s are due for a revival, who am I to argue? So in my own small way I’ve embraced the new footwear trends and got myself a pair of Spice Girls-esque union jack platform shoes which I blogged about last Tuesday Shoesday. But that’s not the only footwear trend to pop up again – there are plenty of Spice-inspired shoes out there at the moment including flatform shoes and platform trainers – yes, the ones that Baby Spice fell off and ended up with her ankle in a cast – do we really want a repeat of this?

Jelly shoes have wobbled their way back into the shops and I’m pleased to say that Doc Martens are back in fashion! I practically lived in my DMs when I was a sulky teen, but where are they now? I want to get them out and wear them again but they’re nowhere to be found and I’m sure I wouldn’t have chucked them, seeing as they cost months of pocket-money saving. Here’s a few trendsetters including Jessica Alba, Amber Rose and Gwen Stefani who’ve been spotted in Dr Martens time and time again – probably because they are super-comfortable.

tuesday shoesday dr martens footwear 90s fashion trend

I can’t afford to buy myself a new pair of DMs right now (have you seen how much they are these days? eek to inflation!) but I can follow the 90s footwear trend with these bargains from New Look, InLoveWithFashion and Mr Shoes:

tuesday shoesday 90s fashion footwear trend 2013 flatform trainers jelly shoes


Tuesday Shoesday – Sugar & Spice

This week I’m going to London to see the Spice Girls musical! And I admit, I am soooo excited about it! I can’t wait to see Viva Forever at the Piccadilly Theatre and have been bursting with excitement ever since my bestie told me she’d booked a ticket for my birthday treat back in December! And now I’m off to sing along (is that allowed?) to all the Spice Girls’ classics and dance in the aisles (again, is this ok?). But what will I be wearing on my feet?

spice_girls union jack

I have some amazing news. Well, its pretty amazing for me, because I’ve been coveting these shoes for years. In fact, for 15 years and I’m not kidding. Ever since Geri Halliwell peeled up her long gold dress to reveal a sparkly pair of union jack platforms during their live concert at Istanbul I have lusted after these shoes. See the video below for that exact moment during 2 Become 1 – it happens at about the 4 minute mark 🙂

So I wanted those shoes, and for all these years I’ve been searching for something similar. I came close around the millennium when I found a pair of red glittery platform shoes, but they were wellllll out of my price-range and weren’t really the right thing. So when I saw a pair of union jack platform shoes by Iron Fist, I actually stopped breathing for a moment. They were perfect! I found them being sold online for around £70 but a quick bit of searching saw me find them for £50, then £40, (getting closer to my budget) then £30 and finally on sale for only £19.99! Yes, I got these beauties delivered for under 20 quid!

Then the long wait began for them to arrive. That’s the only thing with ordering online, I am so impatient for them to be delivered! But it was an amazing moment when I first saw my new Spice Girl platform shoes and I’ve photographed the process for you – from the first peek to the joy of slipping my foot in. And I can report that these 5 inch heels are surprisingly comfortable, probably because the platform is a couple of inches tall itself, which makes it feel more like I’m wearing a pair of 3 inch heels (still pretty tall for me!).

cassiefairy spice girls tuesday shoesday new union jack shoes from iron fist geri halliwell

I love my new shoes so much that I went to bed in them (you’ve got to do that on the first day, haven’t you?!) and I’ve been walking around the house in them to get used to the height (is this really how hubby lives his life?) and to test whether I’ll be able to walk well enough in them to wear them to Viva Forever this coming weekend. We’ll see, but even if I can’t, I’ll be wearing my Spice shoes with pride at plenty of other occasions, because I’ve waited long enough for them that I might as well get a lot of use out of them to make up for all the years I’ve been coveting them!

 tuesday shoesday iron fist union jack shoes like spice girls 90s platform heels footwear

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