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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British-inspired designs for the home

With talk of another royal baby on the way, I’ve come over all patriotic. Just like the Olympics and the Diamond Jubiliee before it, this has made me realise how great it is to be living in Britain! We are a multi-cultural nation with so many traditions, wonderful tourism in bustling cities yet secluded country towns, surrounded by stunning coastline with the breath-taking countryside views to boot. We’re a nation of animal lovers, enthusiastic queuers, our own monarchy and The Beatles. It’s safe to say we’re very spoilt on these little isles!

We all know I love a bit of decorating, especially when it involves crafting my own or sourcing amazing British products, so how can you embrace Britain in your home? Here are my ideas for a home the celebrates the UK in every way:

Look closer to home

Instead of immediately popping to IKEA (or other major home furnishing retailers that have been lucky enough not to be mentioned), do a little research and see what’s on offer closer to home. There are so many small to medium businesses out there that are British based AND source all their materials in the UK too. For example, I came across Jonny’s Sister. Based in the West Country, not only do they create vintage style home furnishings but you can get them personalised too. These make amazing gifts for loved ones (especially if you’re struggling finding something for Imagenewlyweds) and let’s not forget treating yourself too!personalised cannisters from jonnyssister

Image source Jonny’s Sister

Whether it’s your own biscuit tin to deter the partner and kids from your favourite snack or letter cushions to decorate an otherwise bland living room, personalised accessories will make your home feel even more cosy, and you’ll get the satisfaction of knowing that the items in your home are made here in the UK.

Pick up mementos wherever you go

A day at the beach is the perfect opportunity for some quirky home improvements. We have all seen my trick with the pebbles. Well, these can be added anywhere and everywhere, and are especially handy if you’re super organised like me! Pebbles and shells are simple yet effective decorations and give that rustic UK seaside look, but you can also go bold with buckets and spades to keep your herbs or bathroom toiletries in. The icing on the cake at the British seaside is coming across a great piece of driftwood; the possibilities are endless. Cleaned, varnished and painted with lettering the driftwood will look great as rustic signage. If you’re lucky enough to find a huge flat piece this could make a brilliant side table (if you wish to take on a little project) and smaller pieces could be cleaned and varnished for use as a centrepiece or a dinner party sharing tray.

Apollo Blinds Elegance Twilight - driftwood

 Image source

Red, white and blue

This can look a little overbearing when it comes to decorating a whole room but taking inspiration from our flag is a great starting point if you’re having a tough time knowing where to start. For example, white or cream walls (and rooms in general) can have spots of red and blue for a stylish finish. This could be just through the accessories such cushions, table decorations or you can take it one step further with striped blinds made in the UK such as these below to really add a splash of colour to the space.

Image source #ApolloTwilight

The kitchen is the perfectly place to really go for it when it comes inserting colour. Usually a room you tend to keep simple due to the clutter, as long as you’re organised, this could make a great impact! For example, the pots and pans can be a mixture of the same cherry red and cobalt blue with red and blue kettle, microwave and other accessories. Furthermore, what about mosaic tiling? Red and blue tiling across the back of your kitchen makes a strong statement and means you can keep the rest of the room fairly simple; thriftiness to the max!

Take inspiration from the seasons

We have such definable seasons in the UK, so this makes a great starting point for new decorating. Revamping your existing decor can be cost-effective and if you have kept each of your rooms as a basic template (cream walls and neutral furnishings), then adding those seasonal extras will be simple. We’re going into autumn and this is the best month to experiment with colour! Think nature with deep mahogany, reds, oranges and yellows for your accessories. You could bring the outdoors in again with conkers, pinecones and can even make a college from those gorgeous vibrant leaves you see scattering the pavements. I have a few squashes growing in the garden that I plan to use in a sideboard display this weekend. Anything to make my home feel cosy as the chilly nights drew nearer!

I hope that some of these ideas have inspired you to bring elements of the UK into your home and I’d love to hear your ideas for decorating a new home – please leave me a comment below and we’ll chat again soon! :)


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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 :)