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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Create a lookbook to get the most out of your wardrobe this winter

Winter is the time for festivities and celebrations and is a great excuse to get dressed up in your sparkliest clothes. It’s also the time of the year when you’ve just splashed your pay cheque on presents for your nearest and dearest so are unlikely to want to spend much more on a new winter wardrobe. Read on to find out how you can save money on new clothing this season, as well as creating your own lookbook to make the most of your existing wardrobe.thrifty wardrobe makeover tip money saving inspiration hack-3Create your own lookbook
It’s easy to forget what clothes you already have in your wardrobe, especially if it’s been stuffed to bursting point for the past couple of years. So to avoid leaving pieces unworn for seasons why not create your own personal lookbook? It can be quite fun to make up outfits, and it’s got a certain Cher-from-Clueless-ness about it! For this, you’ll need to take snaps of each item in your wardrobe and categorize them into different types. You can even style up your summer dresses or a short sleeved shirt with a jacket, cardigan, blazer or tights for winter and get maximum use out of your favourite pieces. Unlike in the Clueless era, nowadays it’s possible to download apps which can help you create and organize your lookbook. Keeping photos of your clothes on your phone will also help you when you’re out shopping because you can double check whether or not you’ve already got a monochrome patterned shirt in your wardrobe at home and save on duplicates.crazy for christmas jumpers

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The easy way to move house

Moving house is a rather exhausting activity. Not only can it take days (or even weeks or months!) to sort through your possessions and pack up your boxes, but even when that’s taken care of you still have to deal with not knowing exactly where the things you need are and it feels like you’re camping in your own home. Even “moving day” itself can be a source of stress, involving constant worrying about the safety of your possessions while they’re on the road.

moving-house-luggage-suitcase-home-2You have all your life packed away in those boxes so you’ll need to know that the moving company you’re using is trustworthy and will take care of your things. Moving long distances can be particularly worrying, because you may be separated from your belongings for more than just one day. Of course, it depends where you’re relocating to, but a big move like this always going to be a worrying time. If you’re hiring professionals there are a number of moving services they offer to help ease the stress of moving and below are just a few: cat-moving-house-boxWhat services do movers provide?

Apart from the obvious transportation on moving day, professional relocation services can boost the overall speed of preparation. The services that will save you time as well as offer you peace of mind are:

  • Packing and unpacking. These procedures are time-consuming as it requires handling every item in your house. Moreover, some fragile, breakable or bulky items demand special handling along with specific packing materials. If you buy packing materials such as boxes, bubble wrap and tissue paper yourself, the cost of moving can soon add up! Leave this task to the professionals and you will be sure your possessions will be intact upon delivery; they’ll pack your items carefully, every fragile piece will be wrapped and padded to avoid damaging during the moving and they’ll even unwrap it all at the other end.moving-house-luggage-suitcase-home-1

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How to be happy (and cosy!) this winter

Winter is coming, and it’s time to think about ways to stay cosy and, more importantly, happy during the winter. With cold weather and long dark nights (and sometimes days) it’s no surprise that many of us start to feel a little down when December comes. But don’t worry – that seasonal slump can be overcome with a couple of simple solutions. Plus, you can stay warm in your home (without forking out on energy bills) with just a few easy adjustments.winter interior design - cosy autumn bedroom styling idea inspiration festive-3 Our grandparents used to say “just put on an extra layer” to stay warm in the winter. But there are many other practical things you can do that don’t cost much but that will make a difference to the size of your heating bill in the new year. There’s nothing worse than a surprise energy bill dropping onto your door mat! It’s time to get used to lowering the thermostat to a level that keeps everyone comfortable but doesn’t end up creating a sauna effect,. Here are some tips to help you make it through the winter in comfort and with a smile on your face.Orange Tweed Mill Blanket Knitted Wool Throw Tartan grey sofa retro dralon cushion 60s 70sPile on the blankets Nighttime means everyone’s in bed and pets have found their warm spots for the night, so you can turn the thermostat down a few degrees without anyone realising that it’s cooler in the house. Increasing the temperature warms the entire home, which is essentially wasting energy, as no one’s moving around at night to benefit from the warmth. It’s also a great excuse to snuggle up under layers of duvets and wooly blankets. Well, I’d much rather tuck myself under a cosy throw when I’m reading on the sofa in the evenings than turn up the heating – it just feels so ‘hygge’! Bring back hot water bottles too (or microwave heat pads) to warm your body all evening long. It’s much more efficient to heat a relatively small surface area than to raise the temperature of the whole building. cats can sleep anywhere - wheres the weirdest place you can sleep-2Combat SAD

Being comfortable in winter isn’t just about warmth and saving money. If you or a family member suffers from seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, you can help deal with this troubling subset of depression through activities such as sitting near sunny windows, planning more outdoor time, and using light therapy. It’s easy to wake up in the dark, work indoors all day and then come home in the dark. In fact, I read that the average British worker will only see 52 minutes of daylight in a working week, so make the effort to get outside on your lunch break (no matter how cold it is!) to make sure you get the benefits of daylight while it’s there.autumn colours and leather boots-6Seal those windows

No matter how new or highly rated your windows are, you can expect a bit of air exchange. When you know you’re going to close the windows for the last time until spring, use a temporary caulking material to seal the sash. You’re closing off the small gap that never quite seals all the way and lets air in. The temporary caulk can be easily removed when you want to open up the window again, and it won’t ruin the material the windows are made from. If you have older windows, go over the existing caulk and look for crumbling and/or peeling caulk. Remove this caulk carefully, and then lay in a fresh, new bead and let it dry. You’re creating a new seal that won’t let air in under any circumstances.cats can sleep anywhere - wheres the weirdest place youve sleptEngage in zone heating

Zone heating is the act of heating one or two rooms and closing off unused rooms. If you find that you’re not going into some rooms very often, close them off by shutting the door and turning down the radiators. You do want to make sure the room gets some heat in order to keep it dry. The heating that would normally go into that room is diverted into rooms with turned on radiators, keeping them at a comfortable temperature. You can also use plug-in electric and oil heaters to keep a room warm while you’re using the space, but make sure to follow safety precautions at all times and unplug when you go to bed.Orange Tweed Mill Blanket Knitted Wool Throw Tartan greyYou don’t have to turn your home into a refrigerator to save money on heating costs this winter. These are just some of the ways to help you stay comfortable (and happy!) without having to go to extreme settings on your thermostat or getting a scary energy bill in the new year. Let me know your own tips for staying warm in the winter and tell me what you get up to in order to keep that smile on your face during even the darkest winter days – leave me a comment below to share your ideas or tweet me @cassiefairy to chat.


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Stay warm this winter – 5 tips to make your home cosy & lower your heating costs

Brr, it’s cold out there this morning! I’ve already loaded up the fireplace with coal and eaten a bowl of porridge to warm myself up. And we’re not even in winter yet! Ooh, it’s making me shiver just thinking about the chilly days to come. If you’re looking for ways to save money around your house, and keep yourself toasty warm over the coming months, a sensible idea is to take a look at your home’s energy use. Your central heating system (whether it’s oil, gas or electric) consumes a lot of energy to heat your home, but by following a few of these energy-saving tips, you can lower your bills. And with a bitterly cold winter on its way, now’s a great time to prepare your home in advance and reduce your usual heating costs so you don’t get a surprisingly high bill in the Spring.cosy-cat-warm-winter-autumnSeal leaks around doors & windows

Of course, if your home is double-glazed you should already be benefiting from a cosy seal around your windows. But if not, it’s essential to tackle this with some DIY solutions. The gaps around your doors and windows might look small, but they’re huge energy wasters. Adding weatherstripping (like a padded foam or fluffy strip that you can stick around all the edges) to your doors and windows is essential in keeping the cold out and the heat in. Tackle other possible heat-leaks too by spray an expanding-foam sealant around holes in walls created by plumbing work, and stick fitted insulation pads behind socket and light switch plates to save around 10 percent or more on your heating bills. You can also look for gaps along your skirting boards or around basement and attic hatches and plug these up too.cat-window-warm-winter-autumnUse a programmable thermostat

You can save up to 10 percent every year on heating and cooling costs simply by setting your thermostat temperature back between seven and 10 degrees Fahrenheit for eight hours a day. A programmable thermostat can do this automatically so you don’t even have to think about it. Consider the time you wake up, leave the house, come home, and go to bed. Set the ideal temperature for your home during the times that you’re actually at home and the thermostat will take care of the rest.warm-fireplace-idea-money-saving-tips-winter-autumn

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Money-saving tips for your autumn wardrobe

Finding the perfect style to suit your everyday life can be difficult, especially when you need to save money. Whether you work in an office, as a shop assistant or are a student most people like to put a little effort into their daily outfits, with an increasing amount of cash being handed over to get the latest trends. However, it is likely that a new £50 sweater is made in the same factory that produces a £10 version. This does make you wonder if it is truly worth it to splash the cash on an item with a label. So, just what are the thrifty tricks to create the ultimate look without breaking the bank?

Accentuating accessories

Let us start with the basics. You only need a few items in your wardrobe to be able to create a variety of gorgeous looks. A white shirt, for example, can be styled from something plain to a head-turning top. The clue is to be creative with your accessories as they are a lot cheaper than clothes, so are ideal for being a thrifty fashionista. A leather belt and a chunky necklace go a long way with a white shirt to create a great multi-purpose look. It’s great as a working daytime look suit or could be made more casual with jeans and boots for a girls’ night out.styling-a-white-shirt-with-accessories

Styling a white shirt  with accessories (image by Idhren)

Selective shopping

Another factor to be considered on the journey to crafting a thrifty look is choosing where to shop. Charity shops and supermarket clothing isles can be a treasure trove of fashion goodness. You never know when you will find a bargain buy so keep on the lookout for when you’re getting your food shopping! I found a fantastic vintage section in my local charity shop and all of the items were priced at less-than high street prices. Plus the money goes to a good cause so that’s a great place to start when you’re looking for a few unique items to funk up your basics. Plenty of thrifty resale sites (such as Depop, Gumtree and Shpock) keep popping up on the web so browse these sites to find bargain fashion buys. cassiefairy article charity shop vintage and retro rail

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How to put aside a little extra cash for Christmas… starting now!

If you’re already thinking about Christmas, you’ll probably be wanting to find a few extra pennies for your festive shopping. When money is already tight it can be hard to imagine how you can save anything between now and Christmas but believe me when I say it can be done! And here’s how:budgeting money saving finance tips for university freshers students_-2Earlier this week I actually visited the Planner Wealth blog (yes, even thrifty bloggers like me need advice sometimes!)to find out some ideas for making even more savings than I usually do each month. I watched a really handy video with 5 helpful tips to show us where we can cut corners and save a little extra money here and there. I’ve embedded the video below so that you can watch it and make use of the advice for yourself.

I totally agree with the advice about saving money on food in this video. I’m such an advocate of cooking from scratch and making “tumble-down” meals with leftovers – have a look at my Pieday Friday category for 100s of thrifty recipes, all super easy to make and simple enough to be cooked with the kids too! A simple fuss-free savings idea is switching everything in your weekly shop over to ‘own brand’ versions.budgeting money saving finance tips for university freshers students_

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Book Review + Interview – Upcycling by Max McMurdo

I can’t believe that it’s been a whole week since this book launched and I’m only now telling you about it. I’ve had my eyes on it for weeks and have been eagerly awaiting it’s release. Teaser tweets and Instagram posts by Max have got my excitement for this book bubbling up to a dangerous level. Combine that with my already OTT love of thriftiness and DIYing, and you’ve got one giddy girl on your hands. So you can imagine how quickly I tore open the packaging of my book delivery last weekend.gumtreebus-max-mcmurdoThankfully, it book itself didn’t disappoint. I knew it would full of Max’s trademark industrial projects and thrifty flips, but I didn’t realise just how comprehensive it would be. This isn’t just a ‘look at this pretty room’ design book. Oh no. It’s full of practical advice and step-by-step, photo-by-photo tutorials. It’s so detailed that even I feel confident about removing a drum from an old washing machine and turning it into an illuminated side table.max-mcmurdo-upcycling-diy-book-review-2With techniques for measuring and cutting, drilling and sanding, wiring and finishing, Max teaches you all the DIY skills you need to know in order to complete the projects in the book. If you want to know what a nylock nut is, Max’ll tell you. I thought I was alright at a bit of DIY. Good, even. But it turns out that there’s so much more I can learn. Thank goodness I’ve got this book to teach me the tricks of the trade. They don’t call me thrifty for nothin’ and if I’m going to upcycle, I’m darn well going to learn how to do it properly (and safely!).

Just before the book launched last week I had the opportunity to ask the author some probing questions so that I could share his answers with you today:max-mcmurdo-upcycling-diy-book-review Continue reading “Book Review + Interview – Upcycling by Max McMurdo” »


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Interior Blogger Home Tour – Anna from Don’t Cramp My Style

Today I’m pleased to be sharing a sneaky peek inside the home of top interiors blogger Anna from Don’t Cramp My Style. Her award-winning blog is all about putting your own stamp on a home – even if it’s a rented apartment – and how to get the look for less. I guess it’s obvious why I wanted to share a house tour from this stylish blogger today; she’s a girl after my own heart and is just as thrifty and DIY-focussed as I am!blogger guest post dont cramp my style interior design instagram inspirationIn her first year of blogging Anna scooped the Best Newcomer award at the Amara Interior Design Awards 2015 and has since picked up the award for Best Home Blog from Next. She’s already been shortlisted in the 2016 IBAs  so I can tell it’s going to be another good year for her. And you can see why I asked her to share some photos of her gorgeous home with us today – what a pro! Read on to find out just how a double-award-winning interiors blogger styles her own home and pick up some tips for your own home.

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cat-bed home tour dont cramp my style blog

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How to make your home sell in a weekend

If you’re thinking about selling your home but are worried about being stuck on the market without any offers, there are many things you can do TODAY to make your home more attractive to potential buyers. With only a few hours work and a little bit of effort, you can create a house that will have buyers knocking on the door with offers coming at you left, right and centre. How? Read on to find out..!Furniture Makeover Project Rust-Oleum paint retro conservatory chair_-241. Get in touch with an estate agent. This should be your first step to putting your home on the market because (not only will they be the ones selling your home for you and will need to know a lot about you) they also know everything there is to know about what their buyers want. They can advise you on home layout, low-cost improvements, tidying up the garden and whether staging a bedroom as an office is a better idea than having a spare guest room. Listen to everything your estate agent tells you and be ready to make some changes. This will help your home get noticed by the right buyers and will be snapped up within days.thrifty low cost summer cleaning hacks kitchen bathroom diy cruelty free-62. Something you can do THIS weekend is clean your home. Clutter often puts off buyers because they just can’t see past all your possessions. You may live a perfectly tidy life, but to the viewers it might just look like a big mess. So why not start packing now? If you’re going to sell your home as quickly as you hope, you might as well start packing straight away and minimise the rush when your home gets offers within hours. Once you’ve packed up some boxes with non-essential items, you can start to give your home a thorough clean. Scrub the tub, dust all surfaces and make sure you look up to spot any cobwebs!DIY how to repair teak furniture with household ingredients-53. The deep clean might have revealed some niggling DIY jobs that need doing so get started on them straight away. Chipped skirting, floor tiles lifting or mouldy grout can all put off buyers. And if the buyers aren’t put off by the DIY tasks, they will certainly use them as a reason to knock down your asking price. Just a quick coat of paint on the woodwork can be all it takes to brighten up a tired room. But don’t be afraid to make a big change if it’s needed; a bright or dark colour on the walls might benefit from a neutral coast of paint to really brighten up the space. Ask your realtor and they will be able to advise you on the colours that sell well.diy painting and installing small shed - duck egg blue beach hut in garden-34. One final tip is to think about what makes a house into a home for you and try to replicate it. Rather than taking everything out of the home (which can make it rather clinical and unloved) keep some of your own belongings in the house to make it seem welcoming. Staging a cosy living room with classy coffee-table books, candles and flowers could be all it takes to make a buyer imagine themselves actually living in your property. Again, the most valuable advice on setting up a welcoming home will come from your estate agent so check in with them to see what improvements you can make. Simply draping a blanket you already have over the master bed will create that “hotel feeling” and a pot-plant in the kitchen might infuse the room with fresh scent.natural textures and colours in this bedroom makeover-5Best of luck with selling your home and I hope that these suggestions will help you get your house sold in super-fast time. Let me know if you have any other tips for neatening up your home by leaving me a comment below or tweeting me @cassiefairy.

 


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How I saved money on my wedding by Laura from Devine Bride

As you may remember, I’ve been asking some of my favourite bloggers to help me out with some guest posts this summer so that I can take a little time off. Luckily my pals didn’t let me down and emailed over a huge variety of inspirational blog posts for me to share during August. Here’s another guest posts by the lovely Laura from Devine Bride, who has already shared snaps of her thrifty wedding idea for a homemade dessert buffet on my blog at the end of July. Today she’s telling us about all budgeting tips and wedding day hacks she used to save £££s on her own wedding – read on to find out how she did it..!L&A-LowRes-375The blogs and magazine articles I like the most are real weddings and honest accounts of what other people did for their wedding. Trials, tribulations, likes, dislikes, what went right, what went wrong – I just can’t help having a nosey. All of which I found most helpful, so I wanted to share the story of how I saved money on my wedding with the hope to inspire and help others. It needn’t cost the earth, and it can still be amazing!L&A-LowRes-271Dress

I found my dream dress on the American website BHDN, but I was wary to buy it online without any idea of sizing or fit, so I sourced the designer back to her roots – and it just so happened she has a studio in East London. After the success of the jewellery sample sale, I signed up to their mailing list. I had lots of time, but within a month I got an email to say they were having a sample sale! The designer doesn’t do much bridal wear, and there was no guarantee of what was going to be in the sale, but I kept an open mind thinking there might be something similar from a past season. At the very least, I wanted to go along to see how the sizes fitted. As it turned out, one of two dresses I had my eye on was in the sample sale, the only one of that style and size, and fitted like a glove, so I knew it was meant to be! I ended up getting my dress for £720 – half the normal retail price.L&A-LowRes-11 L&A-LowRes-95

Dress, Catherine Deane sample sale; £720 (approx. saving = £680)

Alterations and Dry Cleaning

Although my dress fitted like a glove, it needed taken up slightly and dry cleaned as it had been tried on a few times. I looked at specialist bridal boutiques and I got a quote for the hem for £160, and dry cleaning for £100… which I wasn’t really prepared to pay since I had *only* paid £700 for the actual dress. I was nervous to leave my one-of-a-kind-bargain-sample-sale-dress with anyone other than a specialist, but I simply could not justify those prices. After much googling and deliberation, I trusted my dress with a tiny Polish alterations place recommended to me by my sister. It was a bit of a trek away in North London, where allegedly all the rich women of Hampstead get their design togs altered. I was suspicious of their non-descript tiny shop, but they did an amazing job! The term, ‘never judge a book by its cover’ sprang to mind afterwards. After that, I felt a bit more relaxed to leave my dress with my local dry cleaners where my hubby gets his suits done. Upon leaving my dress, I asked if they had insurance, but they just laughed and said, ‘what do you think is going to happen to it?!’. This didn’t quite fill me with confidence but my dress came back sparkling and I couldn’t have been more pleased!L&A-LowRes-385

Alterations: Mihaela’s Fashion Shop, Cricklewood; £20 (approx. saving = £140)

Dry Cleaning: City of London Dry Cleaning Co, Canary Wharf, £25 (approx. saving = £75) Continue reading “How I saved money on my wedding by Laura from Devine Bride” »

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