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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The school summer holidays are here!

Finally it’s the end of term and 6 weeks of the school summer holidays are stretching out in front of me. I can’t wait to take a bit of time off to spend with my family and friends and we’ve already got lots of fun activities pencilled in on the calendar. Tickets have been bought, hotels have been booked and plans have been made – not for a going-away all-inclusive holiday or anything like that – but for lots of fun ‘staycation’ activities, special events in the local area, nights out and guests coming to stay. Here’s my idea of a perfect summer holiday:

summer holidays

Walks along the coast

summer alfresco dining

Al fresco dinners

hanging out with friends during the summer holidays

Hanging out with friends

summer holiday reading

Catching up on reading

summer evenings

Relaxed evenings

I’m hoping for a busy, active, tiring yet relaxing, stress-free summer holiday. Please bear with me if I don’t manage to blog every day during the summer holidays and if I miss an update please be assured that I’ll be back with more news very soon! :)


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New interiors trend ~ Decorating your home for Autumn

When the leaves begin changing and the pumpkins start arriving in the stores it can only mean one thing: it’s time to start decorating your home for Autumn – or at least that’s the case according to Pinterest ha! It’s certainly a new trend here in the UK to start decorating your home for Autumn in much the same way you’d decorate for Christmas. In America (where they really do Halloween) is more of a regular sight to spot pumpkins on a porch or a burlap wreath on the door. And now this decorating trend has filtered over to Great Britain and pinners are going autumn-crazy! 

This season often means spending more time indoors and more family gatherings, so why not spruce up the table with a autumn inspired tablescape? And your fireplace mantelpiece is another great place to bring the season to life in your home, and you can create a beautiful tribute to Autumn with foliage and candles. These 25 blog posts (mostly US-based but equally helpful in getting the look for less!) will get you well on your way to decorating your house with seasonal decoration.:

Autumn fall decoration for front door from thistlewood farm blog

An autumnal entrance by Thistlewood farms

Make an entrance

You can easily create a welcoming front entrance by dressing it up with rustic finds and hanging a wreath on the door to bring some of those autumnal colours to eye level. With the abundance of harvest pumpkins and gourds available at both farmers markets and supermarket, you can easily add some colour and festivity to the entrance of your house. For added texture and height, complement the pumpkins with hay and corn stalks. Tuck in some fallen leaves to bring all of the colours together and you have a solid start to decorating your entrance.  For more ideas, read these five blogs:

Hang it up

You don’t want all of your Autumn decorations at ground level, so you can make (or buy) an autumn wreath to add to your door. Wreaths not only are a pretty decoration, leading seamlessly into Christmas, they can also help to capture the scents of the season when you add in cinnamon sticks, dried apples and pinecones. To learn how to make a wreaths and other hanging decorations, check out these five blog posts:

Tabletop Ideas

If you have a formal dining room table that you don’t use every day, you can dress it up for the season. A festive table runner adorned with pumpkins, foliage and candles will capture the season, allowing you to bring Autumn right into your home. These five blogs will get you started on creating a harvest-inspired tablescape:

autumn fall pumpkin decorations from confessions of a plate addict

Fabulous fireplaces

Once the nights start cooling off, you may want to gather around the fireplace with your family. The mantel ideas in these five blogs will help you decorate your fireplace. Candle sticks and lanterns can add some height to your mantelpiece arrangement and if money is tight, simply use branches from the garden tucked into a vase you already own.  Be creative and get inspired by these blog posts:

The warmth of candlelight

There’s something warm and inviting about candlelight, and you can find many scented candles that capture the very essence of Autumn to add to your decorations. Whether you are adding a decorative candle element to an existing tablescape or to the mantel, you can try some of the ideas that are covered in these five blog entries. Fill the bottom of a hurricane vase with a few inches of acorns, coffee, field corn or dried beans to create a bed for your candle to sit in. The warmth from the candle will also cause an earthy fragrance to be given off while the candle burns. No matter how you choose to use candles, there’s no doubt that it will add coziness to your home:

Thanks to all the blogs featured above for all their crafty inspiration for Autumn and massive thanks to Housekeeping.org for their help with creating this article! :)


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Another amazing year in the UK

Amazing news has just been announced that the Duchess of Cambridge has gone into labour this morning! The whole of the UK are waiting for the news that the new heir to the throne has been born and I cannot wait to find out whether it is a boy or a girl, a new king or another future queen! I’m sure there will be lots of speculation about the gender and the name of the royal child until all the official announcements are made later today (hopefully!).

This royal birth is really the culmination of another fantastic year in the UK. 2012 was a fantastic year and I thoroughly enjoyed the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations (see my photos below!) and had the best summer ever throwing myself into watching the London Olympics and counting up the gold medals, just like everyone else in the UK. It was a year to be proud to be British and we all thought that things couldn’t get any better.

Well, how about Andy Murray winning Wimbledon and becoming the first British winner of the men’s tournament since the famous Fred Perry all the way back in 1936 – that’s 77 years of defeat, brought to an end by our Olympic champion. Now that was a day to celebrate and Ladbrokes agreed by sending some lovely luxury picnic hampers to bloggers around the UK to celebrate and I was the lucky recipient of one of those hampers (below) – thanks very much! The yummy goodies certainly helped me to celebrate the tennis, and I’ll definitely be having another picnic feast to celebrate the royal birth!

It’s been a year of sporting triumphs, with England currently enjoying a 2-0 series lead in the Ashes, something that no English team has achieved in a home Ashes in 123 years. Plus news has just broken that Brit Chris Froome has won the Tour De France. Add that to Laura Robson’s great performance in the women’s tournament at Wimbledon (progressing further than any British female has in recent years – narrowly missing out becoming the first British woman to reach the quarter-finals since 1984!) and climbing to 27th rank in the world.

fortnum and mason hamper to celebrate prince william and duchess of cambridge royal baby heir

And earlier this month the UK celebrated the coronation festival to mark the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s official coronation, with a concert in the grounds of Buckingham Palace and broadcast on the BBC. Pretty much, it’s been another fantastic year for Great Britain and with news of the new royal baby about to break at any minute, things can only get better!


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Happy St Patrick’s Day – a couple of craft tutorials to celebrate

It’s St Patrick’s day and the whole of the UK is celebrating with a good old knees up. I’m definitely heading to the pub tonight and I certainly want to my nails to be looking suitably celebratory while clasped around a half of Guinness. So I’ve spent a bit of time creating a cute little design on my nails using permanent marker pen – please see my tutorial on marker pen nail art. I’ve tried a few different leaf designs – the normal clover, the shamrock, a lucky four-leaf clover and even a heart on my little finger.

st patricks day nail art shamrock tutorial polish ideas handmade DIY button ring craft project

So I’ll be showing off my special shamrock nail-art to anyone who cares to look this evening and will be sporting this home-made ring that I’ve crafted for the occasion. It’s another very simple tutorial: using ring-backs, buttons and a lot of superglue – check out my upcycling buttons tutorial blog post for instructions.

I hope you all have a lovely St Patrick’s Day, wherever you are in the world :)


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The joy of “Snow Days” & my photos of the big freeze

Well, the UK weather forecasters have been predicting a deep-freeze for a while now, with a freakishly low-temperatured cold-front predicted to hit the country this week – and for once they actually got it right – it snowed! At least in some parts of the country that is.

snowy trees snow church photo uk britain england snowy weather

When I wake up to a blanket covering of snow I always get that excited feeling, like I’m a child on Christmas morning. Nothing much comes close to throwing open the curtains on a frosty morning and peeping out to see the whole scene covered in deep snow; the window hurring up as you start breathing a little faster because you know it means a day off and outdoor fun!

snow scene road uk weather england snowy icy ice

And you can tell it has been snowing before you even open the curtains because there is a brighter, whiter glow coming from around the window. That gets you out of bed a lot faster than normal as you rush to investigate, and your blurry eyes are briefly blinded by snow-glare. When it’s a school-day, kids (and teachers, I’m sure) are all half-heartedly dressed for school, waiting, huddled around the radio listing for local school-closure updates. Another great feeling when you realise that your school is shut – whoooops go up all round and school shirts are quickly swapped for woolly jumpers and wellies. And everyone knows that it is also exactly what happens when adults get an unexpected snow-day off work too. None of this catching up on the housework, doing a bit admin from home, naaaaah – get the sledge out of the shed and put your bobble hat on!

igloo snow ice weather uk britain cassiefairy blog

So (even though I have plenty of ‘working from home’ I can do) I’ve had a couple of days of snowmen, igloo-making and getting sopping wet during snowball fights. I’m so glad I bought those snow-boots earlier this year :)

So did it snow where you are? Do you love or loathe snowy weather? And get in touch with your photos :)