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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Students – Tips for improving your essay writing

We’re only one month into the new year and I bet that you college students out there will already have a stack of assignments to catch up on. I remember that my university tutors all used to set their essays, reports and presentations within the first couple of weeks of term, so by now I would already be worrying about writing them. Would my research be strong enough and would my writing skills be good enough to get the debate across? After a lot of practice and many many years of being a student I finally worked out how to breeze through essays and assignments, so if you’re feeling concerned don’t worry – there are plenty of ways of improving your grammar, choice of words, structure, etc and here’s how:

Quick tips to improve your writing skills

All students have problems with  written assignments from time to time as they demand thorough research and take lots of time to pull together into a structure that reaches a decisive conclusion. But all that work isn’t in vain – developing your writing skills in this way is useful when you’re studying at a higher level in the future or even in your future job. Here are some tips that will make your life much easier:

  • Make sure that every paragraph has main idea
  • Pay attention to sentence length: short ones are used to emphasize ideas and longer sentences are used to explain, define, or illustrate
  • Key words and ideas should be placed at the beginning or end of the sentence
  • Use different types of sentences: simple, compound, and complex sentences
  • Dynamic verbs in active voice are important – don’t overuse the passive voice
  • Avoid using too many unnecessary words
  • When you’re reviewing your essay, read it aloud –  you will hear any grammar problems
  • Don’t be too lazy to proofread and edit your work before submitting it
  • Don’t be embarrassed to use a dictionary or synonyms 

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Career inspiration – Top tips to become a fashion stylist

If you have a passion for fashion and love to shop, then becoming a fashion stylist is the perfect career choice for you. The position involves everything you love about the fashion world, and not only affords a hands-on experience in all the aspects of the fashion industry but gives you the opportunity to make your own ideas a reality. You’ll get to design and create your very own store displays, dress mannequins, manage the interior/outside decor, and arrange floor and store space. Sounds exciting, huh?the-devil-wears-pradaAll the while, you’ll be keeping up with changing fashion trends (yes, reading magazines and looking at blogs will be part of your job!), checking out branding updates, keeping track of new visual and marketing techniques (paid to play around on social media? Yes please!). If this sounds good so far, your training will probably cover coordinating outfits to fit individual customers, experience in diverse fashion styles to fit different consumer demographics, engaging in photoshoots for visual ads, and becoming an expert in customer relations in general. And that’s just for starters! Want to know how to get the job of your dreams? Read on… Continue reading “Career inspiration – Top tips to become a fashion stylist” »

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My money-saving tips for students

It wasn’t too long ago that I was starting university. I packed up a car with all my worldly goods and moved myself to the other side of the country to start a new life 5 hours away from home. I remember those first few weeks when all I worried about was whether I could squeeze in drinks in the students’ union with my flatmates and a ‘skool disco’ party with my coursemates on the same night. And yes, I did manage it, in case you were wondering!budgeting money saving finance tips for university freshers students_One thing I didn’t manage all that well was my finances. I juggled my student loan with my part-time wages to make ends meet, and often ended up limping through to the end of term. The first year was a bit of a struggle as I came to terms with paying my own bills and budgeting to make my money last all year – but don’t worry Freshers – it all worked out fine in the end! So today I’m sharing my top tips for saving money as a student so that you can learn from my experiences. Hopefully this will leave you with more cash for nights out and important purchases (shoes or textbooks? What a dilemma!) and help your time at university go smoothly.budgeting money saving finance tips for university freshers students_-2Budget before your student loan arrives. Honestly, if you don’t work out how much you have available to spend per week to make your student loan last until the end of term, you will end up hungry in December! It might seem like a huge amount of money in your bank account at the start of term but it soon disappears if you’re not careful! I know it’s dull, but you just need to add up your bills (accommodation, mobile phone, TV license, broadband etc), subtract this from your loan payment and divide the rest between the number of weeks in the semester. This is the amount you can spend on food, clothing, course materials and nights out so try to stick to it. If it doesn’t look like it’s going to be enough then… Continue reading “My money-saving tips for students” »


Map Geek – Campus map of Huddersfield

Huddersfield is a very beautiful town in West Yorkshire, England. The special atmosphere of the city and architectural refinement attract thousands of tourists from around the world so today I’m focusing my map research on the town and its university. Its location – one hour from Liverpool, York, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and Birmingham and only three hours from London – makes the city an ideal place to explore different parts of the UK.  Huddersfield is a thriving and friendly regional centre in the north of the country. (c) Ms Carol Ann Lowry/DACS; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Huddersfield by L S Lowry

The lively city centre with its Victorian architecture is characterized by a magnificent combination of traditional and modern styles. It has the third tallest building in the United Kingdom – Victoria Tower on Castle Hill. Every year the city hosts many different festivals that attract a considerable number of tourists. One of these festivals is the festival of fire. It is usually held in November near the famous railway station in the city center. The beauty of landscapes surrounding Huddersfield is breathtaking. Local features provide plenty of opportunities for mountain biking, hiking and other outdoor

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Attention students – you CAN stay healthy at uni!

It’s the start  of a new term, and for some of you, that means a new university, new college and moving away from home. It’s a busy time of year and you’ll be all-over the place, meeting new people, finding your way around and enjoying the fun times that university brings – there’s Freshers week to enjoy for a start! While food is probably not the first thing on your mind, you need to think about how you’re going to feed yourself while you’re away from home. By the way, this blog post isn’t just for university students (it’s just coincidental that I’m writing it at the start of term!), I think its a pretty good way to stay healthy throughout life too – I just know how tough it is to get through uni without adding a stone or two in weight, so a helping hand at the beginning might good for all new students too!

Let me start by saying that I’m happy if you fancy having a cheeseburger for dinner every night – go right ahead. I did when I started uni and I loved it! Yes, those deep-fried onion bhajis covered in creamy garlic sauce from the takeaway outside the Students’ Union were immense. And the first pizza place I discovered on my first night out became my regular hang-out for 3 years.  And during my final year, I was introduced to chips, with melted cheese, and gravy. Heaven. I don’t think I need to tell you (based on my reminiscing above!), but I’m going to anyway… I gained loads of weight over those years as a student. And it took me a couple of years to get rid of it afterwards, eek. Clearly, I’m not here to ‘preach’ healthy eating to you – I’m not a parent and I won’t be anytime soon but I do want to share some tips from an older student 😉 about how to enjoy eating out with your friends without piling on the pounds.  I know it can be tough to make healthy choices when you’re eating out but you’ll probably be doing lots of this as you socialise with your new college buddies and grab a snack between lectures. Plus, it’s hard to choose a fruit salad when all your friends are reaching for the chocolate cake! So many of the nicest dishes are smothered in cheese, deep fried, floating in a creamy sauce or covered in chocolate – and probably account for the Freshers’ bulge weight gain myth – but don’t despair! You can stick to your health-kick throughout the Autumn term and head home to your family for the Winter holidays without looking like a young Schmidt from New Girl. And here’s how:

tamagotchi life healthy beef sub sandwich

Healthy beef sub sandwich – Family

  1. Choose the green stuff: Okay, it might be boring, but if there’s an option to swap your chips for a side of salad or plate of vegetables – do it! No-one’s going to make you eat your greens now that you’re living away from home, but if you want to stay healthy, you’re going to have to make yourself!
  2. By the way; adding butter, sauces or dressing to your so-called healthy choices will just add the fat right back on – so only choose vinegar-based dressings or herbs. There’s no point choosing a salad if you’re going to cover it in creamy ranch dressing or feta cheese and olive oil!
  3. Eating out at a steak place or pub? Watch out for those side dishes and sauces – just say no to smothering and those deep fried onion rings! Choose a baked potato instead of chips and keep that salad dressing-free. You’ll save around 800 calories by forgoing that portion of fries and the steak itself is a pretty healthy option – just cut off any fat and leave it on your plate!
  4. Let’s talk saucy: If your meat is floating in a sauce, make sure it’s not a creamy sauce – if it’s pale-coloured and tastes like heaven, it’s probably full of fat (such a shame!). You can still have a nice saucy dish, but choose a tomato-based sauce such as a jalfrezi rather than korma, and add vegetables wherever you can.
  5. Sandwiches are not all bad, so if you’re grabbing a sub between lectures, choose lean meat, such as chicken or turkey breast, ham or lean sliced beef, skip the cheese, load up at the salad bar and only add clear sauces (not those cheeky creamy ones!) and mustards.
  6. And finally, how hungry are you really? Do you need a side dish, or will your main meal be enough? And are you secretly saving space for a dessert? Why don’t you enjoy extra rice and veg rather than scoffing a big slice of cheesecake at the end of the meal?!

I hope my tips have been useful and really, I’ve only learnt all this since needing to lose the weight! I know how hard it is to maintain a healthy weight when you’re away from home and having a great time socialising with your new friends – I gained loads of weight when I went away to university and if only I’d thought twice about what I was putting into my mouth all throughout college, perhaps I could have avoided looking like a super-size version of myself in my graduation photos! Anyway, it’s up to you how you feed yourself now and the tips above are only a starting point for heading towards a healthy lifestyle – I eat this way most of time, but of course, it’s nice to have some chocolate treats now and again! And really, that’s what the holidays are for haha! My final piece of advice is think to yourself “do I really want it?” and if you do – go for it! But if you’re not really hungry, or can go without that packet of crisps, you’ll feel proud that you’re taking your eating choices into your own hands and no-one can accuse you of giving in to Freshers’ bulge!  Let me know how you get on and if you’ve been a student yourself, what are your experiences? Leave me a comment below 🙂


Some wise old advice for new students

Well it’s officially the summer holidays now and students up and down the country are waiting for their exam results. Whether they have just completed their A-Levels, college course or first year at university, they will undoubtedly be jittery about what the results-slip says, because it’ll confirm the path that their life will take over the coming years. I remember getting my exam results all those years ago and realising that they meant I had definitely got my place at university and could start planning for the big move. My little sister is expecting her results this summer (good luck sis, I know you’ll do great!) and this too will dictate what course she will be studying and where she will be living for the foreseeable future. With that in mind, I wanted to give students some of my tips for making the next move to college or university and hopefully make things a little easier!

Exam results – If you don’t get the results that you want, it really is not the end of the world, believe me! Although your life plan might have made a quick change of direction, this gives you a chance to re-evaluate what you want to do and where you want to live – maybe take a year out, maybe work for a year to save some cash or there are 100s places available on other university and college courses that are available through the UCAS “clearing” service. So your exam results are only the start of a new adventure!

Starting your course – This is your chance to make a good first impression, not only on your tutors (don’t forget they’ll be marking your work, so be nice!), but also your fellow students. So even though you might not know anyone yet, walk into your first class with your head held high and smile. Sit next to someone rather than sitting on your own and introduce yourself (My fabulous friend Jenna caught my eye on the first day by using a pen with a massive flower on the top and that was a good ice-breaker!). You know that you’ve already got something in common with these people (you’re studying on the same course, after all!) so chat about your shared interest in the subject and you’re well on your way to creating a new group of partners in crime.


Where to live – If your university or college offers halls of residence accommodation, it’s a good idea to live there with your fellow students if you can. This will give you the chance to socialise with a different group of students other than those on your course, and you’ll all be able to keep an eye out for each other. Don’t just sit in your room though – make the effort to hang-out in the kitchen or common room, and chat to other students! You never know, but these same people you meet in halls could be attending your 10th wedding anniversary in many years’ time (I’m talking about you, Suzanne!). Another option is getting a shared house rental, and this is especially popular with second-year students who already have a group of friends that they want to live with. A good place to look for rentals is through the university itself, or Rentify advertises its properties on Zoopla, so you can easily find the right location with the right number of bedrooms for you and all your pals.

Family life – If you’re living away from home try to stay avoid going back home in the first month or two of university. A lot of homesickness can be overcome simply by getting on with your course and new social life, and just put your family and life back home out of your mind. If you head home too soon, you may give in to the homesickness and never go back to college! Just stick with it and think about how nice it’ll be when you’re reunited with your family during reading week!

I hope that my tips will give you a good start when you head to university or college and you can look forward to getting your exam results in the next couple of weeks, knowing that it’ll be the start of something fun, whatever you choose to do!


University Freshers – some advice from a graduate!

If you’re packing for university this week here’s my words of wisdom (!) of moving away to uni –

  • I reckon you’ll think “oh I wish I’d brought that with me” on more than one occasion but its true that space is tight in Halls – You usually only get a TINY wardrobe (smaller than you’ve ever seen before) so I think when you’re packing for uni, less is more! And trust me, you’ll definitely be adding to your wardrobe over the year, so leave behind anything you’re not sure about! (if you didn’t wear it much at home, you’re probably not going to wear it at uni either!back to school shoes for autumn winter 2014
  • You’ll definitely need fancy dress stuff – When I finished my degree I left with a whole hamper of fancy dress bits! I always try to make up my own costumes to save money so I used tutus, tops and accessories to create tons of cheap but different looks throughout the year. I’ve known friends to spend 40 quid per fancy dress costume, so if everyone has a fancy-dress themed birthday, that’s a lot of cash! Try looking on Ebay for bargain fancy dress bits to create unique costumes that stretch your student loan that little bit further!back to school busby fizz shoes from clarks
  • Shoes are a category that you can compromise on, as you’ll probably live in boots in the winter & sandals in the summer. Plus you’ll need some trainers for joining in with uni sports clubs and a pair of heels for nights out (which will no doubt get ruined, and replaced many times over from Primark during the year!)back to school shoes trend for autumn winter
  • Many shops (such as Wilkinsons, Tesco and Unisak) are offering an “off to uni” package including everything you’ll need – such as duvet, towel, pans, plates, utensils, calculator and most essentially a tin opener and loo-roll! It’s a good idea to get a kit together similar to this  to ensure you’ve got the essentials for living away from home. Although, I’ll say it again, space is tight and you’ll have flatmates who also have a tin-opener each, who will probably share with you!


Good luck, study hard and enjoy freshers week! x

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