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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Valentine’s gifts & an idea for a romantic evening at home

With Valentine’s Day coming up next week on the 14th February, I thought I would share some ideas with you for an inexpensive night in with your other half.If you want to avoid the crowds in busy restaurants and don’t fancy filling your home with heart-shaped mugs and pink teddy bears, this could be the solution to both your Valentine’s gifts and evening celebration. Read on to find out more and to enter my Valentine’s giveaway to win a fabulous prize bundle from Dartington Crystal and Bolsius candles. I’m talking about an at-home wine tasting. Or beer tasting. Or simply a mocktail evening, if that’s what you fancy. Pop on some music, light some candles and start sipping! The candles create a relaxed atmosphere and will transform your living room or kitchen into a cosy, intimate space for conversation to flow. Spending time together is the nicest thing about Valentine’s Day, so take this opportunity to have a good old catch-up without the distraction of the TV or internet. Of course, this type of evening in would be lovely whatever the occasion, whether it’s a birthday, your wedding anniversary or just a Friday night. Drinks-wise, you could treat yourselves to a bottle of wine, or go for the mini-bottles (like my tiny Prosecco bottle – just the right amount for two!) if you want to cut costs. This will also help to minimise wastage if you can’t drink a whole bottle on a school night..! Continue reading “Valentine’s gifts & an idea for a romantic evening at home” »


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Map Geek – Make it personal with romantic maps

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll already know what a geek I am when it comes to maps. Old, new and anything inbetween – maps are intriguing, enticing and informative. I’m the kind of person who wanders over to information maps on footpaths or in city centres and looks like a total tourist, but really I’m just interested in the map itself. Why is it here? What’s nearby? Any special information? Someone has taken the time to make that map and put it there, so surely there’s a reason that’s worth investigating. So it probably comes as no surprise that I also love to have maps in my own home too, and that’s where Mapify comes in. Read on to find out more about my Valentine’s map and how you can win your very own personalised map created just for you by Mapify in my giveaway – and there’s THREE prizes to be won!Thankfully, my husband is equally interested in maps, so when there’s an museum exhibit of old relief maps in the Lake District, or an exhibition of Max Gill’s famous street maps at The Lettering Arts Centre we are first in the queue to see it. I guess we’re well suited to each other, eh? So what better gift could I get for my husband this Valentine’s Day than a personalised map? Well, I’m pleased to say that it IS possible to create your own map of any location throughout the whole world, and have a fantastic quality print on your wall in a matter of days. Mapify is the serviceI used to make this special gift, and here’s how I did it.

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Party ideas for a big night in – I heart NY

It’s all about love this Valentine’s weekend and I wanted to do something special for my husband. We’re being especially frugal this year (saving for a home of our own) so there won’t be any lavish nights or holidays to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year. But that doesn’t mean it will pass by unnoticed. Instead, I’ve made my own Valentine’s card for him (see my easy card-making DIY post here) and I created a memories box packed full of photos last week (see the making-of video here). I still wanted to celebrate the occasion so I surprised him with an “I Heart NY” party!i heart ny new york party inspiration ideas-9I wanted it to be a ‘big’ night in without spending a fortune so I decided that the best way to surprise hubby was to bring a party into our living room and get everything ready while he was at work this Friday. I put up USA flag bunting and a string of light-bulb fairy lights, then sprinkled red-white-and-blue star confetti everywhere. New York is somewhere that my husband and I have always wanted to travel to but have never found the spare cash to be able to go yet, so I thought it would be the perfect Valentine’s treat to bring The Big Apple to him instead. Plus, there’s hearts involved (okay, an I Heart NY t-shirts to be exact!) so that make’s it romantic too.i heart ny new york party inspiration ideas-8I gathered together all our favourite films set in New York, such as You’ve Got Mail, When Harry Met Sally and, of course, all the Sex and the City films. I wonder if I could have got away with putting on the SATC box set?? On the TV is Sleepless in Seattle, when the Empire State Building lights up with a red heart on Valentine’s Day. What a moment! All I needed was a big tub of popcorn and some US candy bars (oh yes, those are pretzel M&Ms, hurrah!) and we were all set to enjoy a romantic film night.

This would also be a great night-in with the girls, especially with all the chick-flick movies I’ve got lined up! So consider throwing an “I Heart NY” party for your friend’s hen party or birthday too! And don’t forget it’s “Galentine’s Day” tomorrow too! Check out my blog post about hosting a Galentine’s party for your besties, plus some delicious flavoured hot-chocolate recipes.

In terms of eats, I cooked up Continue reading “Party ideas for a big night in – I heart NY” »


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Design & print your own DIY cards for Valentine’s Day, birthdays & more

No, it’s not too late to show someone you care about them this Valentine’s Day. You’ve still got time to post a card to that special person, you just need to get hold of a card. No time to run out to the shops? No problem! I’ve come up with a super-simple DIY project to make your own Valentine’s card. No craft skills needed, honest!diy printed personalised valentines birthday card epson printer craft tutorial-8It’s as easy as typing out a message on your computer and hitting print. I used Publisher to create my design, so pretty much everyone will have this programme on their PC. But don’t worry if you haven’t got publisher; Photoshop or even a Word document would work equally well. Just pay attention to the page size, as you’ll want it to be a cute little A6 card (similar to a 6×4 photo size) once it’s printed.diy printed personalised valentines birthday card epson printer craft tutorial-11You can print your design onto A4 card and cut it in half before folding to A6 size, or if you don’t have any card to hard use one piece of thick A4 paper folded in half and glued down to add stability so that your card will at least stand up. got a card-backed document envelope somewhere in the office? This will do too! Even an empty cereal box will be fine to print on, as long as you cover up the Crunchy Nut image on the other side with a layer of paper!diy printed personalised valentines birthday card epson printer craft tutorial-2 diy printed personalised valentines birthday card epson printer craft tutorial-3diy printed personalised valentines birthday card epson printer craft tutorial-6Once you’ve got your paper or card ready, you only need to Continue reading “Design & print your own DIY cards for Valentine’s Day, birthdays & more” »


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Breathtaking Valentine’s Day gifts + save 33% on flowers!

When you’ve not got much time and Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, the quickest and easiest option is to shop for gifts online. But that doesn’t have to mean you’re not putting any thought or effort into choosing a treat for your favourite person. Oh no, there are plenty of simply gorgeous gifts online that you just can’t get anywhere else and I’d love to show you what I mean…rose bouquet flowers gift blossoming gift valentines present-2rose bouquet flowers gift blossoming gift valentines present-5First up, I wanted to show you some of the unique gifts available on Etsy. As each item is hand-crafted or vintage, you can be sure that your other-half won’t have come across the gift before and it will be a true surprise. Okay, sometimes items are handmade to order, which adds a little extra time to the ordering process and it might have to be a Valentine’s Day ‘promise’ rather than something they can unwrap on the day. But who wouldn’t want to be given a note that reads “I’ve bought you a handmade gold pendant”?! I personally love all the textile crafts you can find on Etsy and these are some of my favourite heart-motif goodies.knitted heart scarf

Grey and pink knitted scarf by Grace Cook Knitwear

knit heart gloves etsyHand-spun alpaca wool gloves by Spinning Spider Webb

I love love love Maria Allen jewellery and this is one of her gorgeous Valentine’s Day designs. My bestie gave me an amazing personalised locket from Maria Allen for my birthday a couple of years ago and it’s my most cherished piece of jewellery. I can almost guarantee that this would be a winning gift for Valentine’s Day so feel free to use this blog post to drop a huge hint to your hubby ladies!etsy valentines locket marie allen gold necklaceAnd of course, it wouldn’t be valentine’s day without a beautiful bouquet of roses! Listen up hubby! There’s still plenty of time to order a bouquet online at Blossoming Gifts (where I got these sugar-pink blooms from). Ordering flowers online don’t have to be an expensive venture either; these bouquets are stunning yet not over-priced, starting at just £11.99. You can also find potted roses, lilies and orchids that will live on beyond Valentine’s day, plus many bouquets comes with a free gift, such as a box of chocolates or teddy bear. Plus you can save 33% on selected bouquets by using the discount code “BGIFTS33”, bonus!rose bouquet flowers gift blossoming gift valentines present rose bouquet flowers gift blossoming gift valentines present-4I was very impressed when the bouquet was Continue reading “Breathtaking Valentine’s Day gifts + save 33% on flowers!” »


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How to get 50% off Valentine’s cards with Thortful

If you want to show someone special that you care about them this Valentine’s Day but know that you won’t be able to make it to the shops before the weekend, I’ve got the solution for you. No, it’s not too late to order a personalised Valentine’s card online because I’ve found a great website that will post it to your loved-one first class. If you order before 2pm the card will even be put in the post-box the same day! Plus, I can give you a special discount code to get 50% off straight away! Sounds too good to be true? Would I lie to you fairies? No way! Read on to find out more…valentines day greetings card inspiration thortful-9 valentines day greetings card inspiration thortful-2This super-helpful card company is Thortful, one of the newest and coolest greeting card retailers online. I fell in love with the brand as soon as I logged on to their website. I was actually searching for information on writing greetings and found lots of helpful advice on their blog (more of that later!) when I stumbled onto their website. It’s a really slick, user-friendly site and is packed full of amazing card designs. Of course, the first category I searched for was Valentine’s Day, but there’s also plenty of birthday greetings, thank you cards, celebrations and special occasions. I’d definitely call it a one-stop-shop. valentines day greetings card inspiration thortful valentines day greetings card inspiration thortful-8When I’ve shopped on other card sites in the past, I’ve found it really hard to find what I want. You probably all know that I’m really into puns, so I know what I’m looking for almost before I begin. The trouble is being able to browse through the designs quickly, without a whole load of gumph in the sidebars distracting me from my search. No such problems with this site; it’s really easy to navigate, plus there’s an app you can download to make scrolling through the collection even easier. You can personalise the message within seconds (or have it posted to yourself to hand-write if you prefer) and see a real-time preview of what the card will look like. Enter the recipient’s delivery address and boosh! Your greetings card is on it’s way to your favourite person. Don’t forget to use the discount code to get 50% off – it’s “CassieFairy50”.HeartCardvalentines day greetings card inspiration thortful-5If you’re stuck for ideas of what to write inside your card, the Thortful blog is a great source of inspiration. I’ve read through their helpful posts about phrases and messages to write inside thank you cards, Christmas cards and more, so you’ll be sure to get some inspiration for your own message while checking out these posts. It’s definitely worth checking out the blog anyway to read interviews with card designers and to check out inspiring photography tips.THRTFL-VLNTNS-NICE_V1[10] valentines day greetings card inspiration thortful-7Oh, and you can also Continue reading “How to get 50% off Valentine’s cards with Thortful” »


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Enjoy breakfast-in-bed this Valentine’s Day… & all year round!

Whether you’re loved up or single, why don’t you treat yourself to a lovely lie-in this Valentine’s Day? Seeing as V-day falls on a Sunday this year, it’s the ideal day of the week to spend some time chilling out at home and lounging around in bed for just a little longer than you usually would.DIY romantic breakfast in bed valentines day ideas inspiration-14 DIY romantic breakfast in bed valentines day ideas inspirationOne of my favourite stress-free activities is having breakfast in bed. Okay, it doesn’t happen very often in the Fairy household because we’re always so busy working. But that’s precisely the point; breakfast in bed should be something special. A treat. Something that tells you it’s time to relax and that you’re not getting out of that comfy bed anytime soon!DIY romantic breakfast in bed valentines day ideas inspiration-10 DIY romantic breakfast in bed valentines day ideas inspiration-9It puts me in mind of Mother’s Days past, and I remember trying to make mum a tea-and-toast breakfast in bed while I was still in the single-figures age bracket. I even do it now as an adult, and occasionally hubby will get a tray brought to his lap with a coffee and cereal. Okay, that’s usually on his birthday, but that’s what I mean about breakfast in bed; it’s a special event. It’s completely out of the ordinary, yet it would be a lovely start to any day.DIY romantic breakfast in bed valentines day ideas inspiration-17Even if you’re going to be making breakfast for yourself and taking it back to bed, it’s the fact that it symbolises the non-rushed nature of your morning that makes it so enjoyable. You’ll probably even Continue reading “Enjoy breakfast-in-bed this Valentine’s Day… & all year round!” »


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Galentine’s Day party & flavoured hot chocolate recipes

What better time to celebrate your best friends than on Galentine’s Day? Yes, that’s right, I said GALentine’s Day. If you’ve not heard of it yet, it’s simply putting a name to what we’ve all being doing for years; celebrating our friends. I’ve seen so many more Galentine’s-related treats being shared on Pinterest this year; in fact, I’ve hardly paid any attention to Valentine’s Day at all. Whether or not your pal is loved-up or single, I’m sure you have a wonderful friend who deserves a bit of extra love this February. I certainly welcome the chance to celebrate my girl friends and thank them for all the support they give me throughout the year. And what better way to show them you care, than by throwing a cute Galentine’s party?hot chocolate recipes for galentines day diy party gift idea for friends girlfriends-11 hot chocolate recipes for galentines day diy party gift idea for friends girlfriends-15Today I wanted to share my ideas for a cosy hot chocolate party; a night in with your pals, scoffing all the naughty treats you usually resist during the rest of the year. I know I waffle on about eating healthily, but enjoying a little of what you fancy every now and again is just as important as eating the good-for-you things. Your Galentine’s Day get-together is the ideal time to indulge and provide some tasty treats for your favourite peeps. So here’s a couple of new hot chocolate flavours that I’m adding to my Galentine’s menu:

Salted caramel: Make up a steaming mug of hot chocolate and add a splash of caramel syrup. I had a set of 5 small syrups that I was given as a birthday gift a while ago, but you can buy a similar set at Amazon (such as these Monin Syrups for Coffee). Add one crunch of sea salt (don’t go crazy with the salt otherwise you’ll end up with a savoury hot chocolate). Next is the fun part; stir in chunks of caramel chocolate bar and let them melt for a really indulgent treat. Top with whipped cream, marshmallows and crumbled up flake. Mmm.

Cherry bakewell: There are two options for this hot chocolate flavour – saintly or boozy! Add a splash of vanilla syrup to a mug of hot chocolate and then decide whether you add a splash of amaretto-flavoured syrup or a shot of Disaronno! Stir it into the hot chocolate to get that really cherry-marzipan flavour before topping with cream, chocolate and cherries. If you have a bakewell tart hanging around you could crumble some of the cake onto the cream too. Yum!

How cute are these smiley mugs? I got them from Continue reading “Galentine’s Day party & flavoured hot chocolate recipes” »


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Relationship tips for Valentine’s Day & beyond

Yesterday I read a newly launched article (and challenge!) about getting and staying close to the one you love; 27 Expert tips to be closer to you spouse. The article taps into the knowledge of experts from the fields of psychology, relationships, counselling and health care, asking each professional to share advice on maintaining a long and happy relationship. With Valentine’s Day coming up next week, I was intrigued and decided to read on to find out what the pros had to say!27Ways_Main_TwitterThe article shares lots of sound advice for good communication, building trust and managing arguments, all of which would prove very useful within a relationship. The experts are sharing tips on social media each day throughout February and have challenged readers to try out a tip each day to ensure a loved-up month. I like the idea of joining in with a month of challenges, especially when we’re all thinking about love this Valentine’s Day – wouldn’t it be lovely to take the romance with us into the year ahead? The article not only focuses on the psychological aspect of relationships, it also shares some fun ideas for activities and romantic things to do together too.27 tips for being closer to your spouseAside from the focus on couples, the tips were actually applicable for all kinds of communication, such as with friends, family and children. I was actually more interested in the tips that could be applied to different areas of life and they really made me think about the way I interact with others. Continue reading “Relationship tips for Valentine’s Day & beyond” »


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DIY Valentine’s gift – A box of memories + polaroid photos

What do you give to your special someone for Valentine’s Day when you’re both trying to save money and clear the clutter? Something very thrifty and useful, that’s what. I know you wouldn’t expect anything less from me so I’m happy to oblige! I’ve upcycled a gift box that I received for Christmas, used a left-over piece of wallpaper and lots of double-sided tape to create a DIY gift for my husband. Read on to find out how I made this quick and simple gift PLUS you can get a discount on printing your own photos at Cheerz.com by using my code CASGRI for £4 off!DIY thrifty valentines make your own memory box gift_-27 DIY thrifty valentines make your own memory box gift_-26I want to show my husband lots of love on Valentine’s Day (and on birthdays, at Christmas and every other day too, for that matter) but that doesn’t always mean buying something new. I think that experiences and the resulting memories are more important than buying something from the shops, so I wanted to reflect back on the things we’ve done together over the past year, and create a box of our shared memories to look back at. Of course, I want to make it a bit special for hubby, so I’m including a handful of retro sweets and some photo-strips from the Valentine’s range at Cheerz (use code CASGRI for £4 off!) that I just got printed up. These special Valentine’s products are available to order until 4th Feb so get started now to make sure you receive your photos before the big day!DIY thrifty valentines make your own memory box gift_-28 DIY thrifty valentines make your own memory box gift_-4 DIY thrifty valentines make your own memory box gift_-5 DIY thrifty valentines make your own memory box gift_-6But I’m not just making this DIY gift as a Valentine’s Day treat – oh no, it’s totally practical too. This box provides much-needed storage space for all our photos, ticket stubs and scrapbook bits ‘n’ pieces that we’ve collected up over the past year. They’ve been sitting in my desk drawer and I’d like that space back now please! Plus I’m always happy to recycle something rather than bin it, so this festive gift box (it had chocolates in, can you tell?) gets a new lease of life as a dedicated storage box now that the contents have been eaten. Let me tell you how I revamped this tired old gift box – and don’t forget to enter my giveaway below..! Continue reading “DIY Valentine’s gift – A box of memories + polaroid photos” »

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