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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50s Summer Party Dresses

Does a stack of wedding and party invites leave you with a ‘what to wear’ headache this summer? Why not look to the era of gin cocktails and elegant summer soirees for your party vibe this year? The 50’s is providing us with some serious party wear inspiration right now and what’s more there is a 50’s look for every occasion. From the infamous wiggle dress to flattering circle shapes and cotton summer dresses Mela Mela have you covered. Swoon over some of our favourite 50’s pieces now in store to get your summer party look nailed.1950s-vintage-dress-cotton-striped-orange-yellow-black-gold-detail-front2_1Sunshine Prints

50’s designers weren’t afraid of some seriously bold prints and this sunshine coloured dress is no exception. The striped cotton design with classic flared skirt reminds us of holiday sunsets. We think it is just crying out for some Hollywood sized sunglasses and a glass of Pimms!1950s-vintage-dress-cotton-blue-green-abstract-design-frontClub Tropicana

Hot summer nights call for acid brights and wild prints. The 50’s love for the colourful and for exotic Hawaiian inspired prints has left us with some amazing items. This strapless cotton dress combines an abstract pattern with a tropical colour palette for a fun and fresh finish. Perfect for cocktails and dancing at a summer beach party.1950s-vintage-dress-california-cottons-blue-pink-floral-nylon-frontFlower Power

A garden party is just the thing for a fabulous floral. The 50’s showcases everything from delicate pastel floral designs to bold graphic designs. We love this delicate pink and blue example with its gorgeous velvet waist belt. The scooped neck gives it real impact combined with the classic 50’s circle shape. Pair with sandals for an easy, breezy finish.

1950s-vintage-wiggle-dress-jacket-blue-trimmed-with-spots-front

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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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Vintage party ideas & inspiration from Glemham Hall

Whether you’re planning a wedding or like the idea of having a fancy birthday party, I think that a vintage theme is perfect for summer events. When I visited the Glemham Hall vintage wedding fair I was struck by how many of the decorating ideas would work perfectly well for a garden party or a wedding anniversary. Even an afternoon tea with friends could be elevated to a special gathering with just a few vintage-inspired touches. Today I’m sharing some of the photos I took at the event and I hope it’ll help provide a little inspiration when you come to plan your own wedding, baby shower or anniversary party. vintage party wedding inspiration ideas retro_-5vintage party wedding inspiration ideas retro_-16vintage party wedding inspiration ideas retro_-19Adopting a vintage theme can also be a thrifty way to throw a party, as none of the elements needs to match – in fact, the more mismatched your china is, the better! Cobbling together some old jars and tins out of the attic, filling them with pretty blooms and hanging a length of floral bunting is more than enough decoration to hint at a bygone party theme.

In terms of entertainment, I love the idea of using an old record player to provide the background music while you enjoy the party. A cracking record of old songs is a charming soundtrack to a vintage party and you can still buy vinyl records at very low prices in charity shops or at car boot sales. Finding a record player might be more tricky, but ask around your friends and family to see if someone has one stashed away that you could borrow for the day. Failing that, it is possible to hire vintage record players, and even ancient gramophones!

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My summer so far…

It’s only half way through the school holidays and I’ve already been having a wonderful summer break. I’ve been on a few day trips, I’ve visited a handful of places and got a few of my “to-do’s” done. If you’re wondering what I’ve been up to, here’s the goss…summer holiday sunset beach huts seaside-2I went to the seaside. During the very first weekend of the summer holidays I organised to go away from Friday – Monday. It isn’t a long drive from here to the Essex coast, but it was a very hot one! We arrived for our yearly family holiday at around 9am and headed straight to the beach hut. We pretty much spent the rest of the day on the beach, throwing a giant frisbee that I’d bought ‘for the kids’ and tucking into traditional fish ‘n’ chips. The heat dictated plenty of trips to the swimming pool and lots of breezy walks along the promenade to cool off. We enjoyed a game of bowling on Saturday evening, and the bowl ‘n’ burger deal on the pier is always a winner – the burgers are huge! Sunday was a chilled out beach day and on Monday we visited the nearest ‘big’ town for more arcade fun and a trip to the Sealife Centre. A wonderful weekend.

I visited a museum. Ipswich Transport Museum to be precise. I’d never been before, despite growing up in Suffolk from the age of ten. It was a real surprise to find so many interesting exhibits in an unassuming old bus hangar. I’ll share more photos in a ‘proper’ blog post about the museum soon and give you my tips for visiting during the school hols. Another lovely day out with the family that didn’t cost a fortune, bonus!

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Guest post – 5 tips for organising a low-cost hen party at home

He popped the question, she said yes, and then she popped the question to you – will you be my bridesmaid?! Weddings are a wonderful time of celebration, and it is an honour to be asked to be the bride’s right-hand lady during such a joyous occasion. However, before you start dreaming of all the beautiful dresses, the girlie shopping days and the flowing bubbly drinks, there is a hen party to organise. Here we give you some fantastic tips on how to organise the perfect hen party at home!

Fruit Cubes for Sparkling Cocktails

Check out my recipe for fruity cubes to jazz up your hen party bubbly

 1. Decide on the who, where and when:
This is the basic information required to get going with your planning. You should probably enlist the help of the bride in this part too as you don’t want to forget anyone she may want there. Obtain a list of invitees from her and agree when suits her best to have the hen. The where and what can be kept a surprise if you prefer. Decide where is best to host the hen party. If going with a home party then will it be based at your home, the bride’s, the mother of the bride’s or another friend’s house? The best part about having the party at home is that this can really help to keep the costs down. Everyone knows weddings can be expensive events, so if you can all avoid having to pay out for accommodation just before the big day, that’s a bonus!L&A-LowRes-271

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Thrifty Wedding Inspiration – Homemade cake buffet

Wedding food can take up a hefty chunk of any wedding budget, so it’s important to consider plenty of different options when you decide how to cater for your guests. After lots of research (on Pinterest, naturally) I began to think that dessert + after-dinner truffles + wedding cake + tuckshop + ice cream cart might be a little bit overkill for the average wedding. Sure, these are all really lovely parts of the wedding reception and if you’re known for your undying love of ice-cream then go for it! But if you’re on a budget, it’s not a problem to play around with the wedding breakfast format a little and same some money at the same time.L&A-LowRes-539After checking out these images of fabulous dessert buffet tables I learned that IS possible to cut back on some of the food at your wedding without disappointing anyone. To be honest, a slice of cake at the end of the night won’t really be missed, and serving up your wedding cake instead of a dessert is a perfectly acceptable money-saving option too. Why not ask guests to compete in a ‘bake off’ and bring a cake that they have baked at home. This would fit in perfectly with a village fete themed wedding and allows guests to be a part of the event. All you’d need is some serving plates and a big rosette for the ‘winner’ of the bake off. And I’m sure all the guests would all enjoy tucking into the huge variety of cakes that end up on the bake off table.L&A-LowRes-538 L&A-LowRes-540Laura from no-nonsense wedding blog Devine Bride says; “We tried to be creative with our wedding to make it more unique to us, but also to try to save some pennies along the way. My sister is a bit of a foodie and ended up having two wedding cakes at her wedding, however everyone had such a good time that that they forgot all about the cakes and we were still eating them for 3 weeks afterwards! We decided to reabsorb our wedding cake budget, removed our dessert course from our menu, and asked all of our local friends to bake us a cake instead of bringing us a present. We ended up with a massive Pudding Garden dessert buffet! It was a massive hit with our guests and it meant so much to us that our friends had contributed to our day.”L&A-LowRes-254 L&A-LowRes-543I think that these buffet tables all look so inviting, and the variety of cakes that guests could bring to your wedding is unlimited. I would personally love to be asked to bake a dessert, and would hand over my cupcakes with pride! I also think that guests would be more happy to tuck in when there’s a cake buffet on offer, as nothing is too precious to slice up (unlike a traditional wedding cake). Of course, if you want to ‘cut the cake’ you could always stack up a number of Victoria sponge cakes to create one large tiered cake, or could ‘cut the ribbon’ instead to declare the dessert buffet open!L&A-LowRes-285 L&A-LowRes-541 L&A-LowRes-271Let me know if you’ve decided to do something a little different for your own wedding by leaving me a comment below and I’d love to see your own wedding ideas or cake photos so please tag me on Instagram @Cassiefairy. And be sure to stop by Laura’s blog Devine Bride for plenty more wedding inspiration, advice and fantastic ‘real life’ wedding photos.

 


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Shab-Fab: DIY Party Decor

If you’re planning a summer party but want to stick to a budget, how can you get a pulled-together chic look for only a few pounds? Well, if you’re up for a little DIY then adopting a ‘shabby chic’ style will do the trick. Your party decor can be as quirky as you like and, because you’ll be making most of the decorations yourself, it’s surprisingly affordable too. Whether you’re planning a wedding, a vintage hen party, a pretty birthday party or simply a summer gathering with friends, adopting a shabby chic theme makes it easy to plan special event with few resources. Read on to find out how…vintage china crockery floral shabby chic party ideas inspiration low cost budget thrifty table setting birdcage flowersTables and chairs
A shabby chic scheme calls for a lot of mixing and matching, so if you can borrow tables and chairs from friends, all the better. You may already have a house full of shabby chic furniture but even if you don’t have any chairs at all, you can unify those you’ve borrowed to create a cohesive look for the party. If your friends aren’t too keen on your idea to spray paint all their chairs white(!), simply decorate the backs of the chairs instead. Unify the different shapes by using the same colour fabric on each chair, hanging the linens down to cover at least two-thirds of the legs. Layering different shades of white is a nice way to keep the palette neutral without being too uniform.chair linens ribbon floral shabby chic party ideas inspiration low cost budget thrifty table setting

Chair and images above from Hostess with the Mostess blog

Wherever quilting supplies are sold, you can usually find packets of fabric with complementary colours and patterns. If these are too expensive, just get your ideas from the pre-mixed packs and buy some patterned fabrics individually. For a less whimsical feel, again go with layered shades of white: mixing cottons, linens, and ribbon. Cut them into uniform strips of about 2 inches wide and tie them to the backs of chairs. Quantity is key here: really fill the backs or it will look like an afterthought. Tie the strips horizontally with the ends coming out the middle to create a long ruffle or tie vertically and gather them in the middle with a bow or flower.carnnation flowers floral centrepiece shabby chic party ideas inspiration low cost budget thrifty

shabby chic flowers from The Bridal Guide

Centrepieces
If you’ve chosen really colourful fabrics, you’ll want a little less colour in the centrepiece, so you could go with simple greenery. Alternatively, white chairs beg to be paired with colourful flowers. Some classic shabby chic centrepiece basics would be birdcages, lanterns, or white ceramic pitchers. If you have a little craftiness in your DNA (and have the time!) cover aluminium cans with patterned paper, tie ribbon around them, and fill with peonies. Cheaper flowers can be bought from supermarkets and you could choose the most ‘blossomy’ stems so you’ll need fewer flowers to fill vases. Carnations (which are cool again these days!), Sweet Williams and scented stocks all fill a lot of space and don’t cost too much. Alternatively, pick your own flowers from the garden; daffodils in spring, foxgloves in June and hydrangea in August-September. If you want variety but don’t want it to look too ‘over the top’, mix up different types of flowers but use the same holders on each table.vintage china crockery floral shabby chic party ideas inspiration low cost budget thrifty table setting

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Thrifty Fathers Day Gift Guide & DIY Projects

Today I’m sharing the best deals on personalised gifts and DIY ideas for Fathers Day from around the internet. Yes, I’ve been doing all the hard work on your behalf, trawling site after site, and Pinterest board after Pinterest board, so that you don’t have to take up your precious time searching for the ideal gift for your dad. His ‘special day’ is coming up on Sunday 19th June so get clicking, ordering and making now to ensure you’ve got a treat to gift to dad on Father’s Day. Here’s what I found…personalised gift present fathers day mens male ideas etsy

Whenever I have to find a special gift for anyone, I always turn to Etsy. You can’t beat it for personalised, handmade, can’t-find-it-anywhere-else presents. If I’m stuck for gift ideas, there will always be something on Etsy that is just right for the person I’m buying for. I have two tips for searching on Etsy: Firstly, refine your search using the toolbar on the left to narrow down the shop location. Enter ‘United Kingdom’ so that you only see shops based in the UK. This means you won’t have to pay extortionate shipping costs and you can be sure that the product will get to you as fast as possible, rather than waiting weeks for delivery. Secondly, enter the lowest and highest price you wish to pay for a gift. If I don’t do this, I find that I have to wade through pages and pages of low-cost small craft goods (like buttons and ribbons) before I get to any gifts. Here’s the link to the Father’s Day collection on EtsyUK – I hope you find something special there.fathers day mens male gift birthday present ideas inspiration

 Personalised leather wallet and adventure mug from EtsyUK

What about the things you can make yourself? The DIY projects that show Dad you really care? I’ve been searching Pinterest to dig up some easy and effective handmade gifts that you can craft this weekend to give to your pops on the 19th June. If you’re a dab-hand with the sewing machine, how about stitching up this Wool iPad case? The full tutorial is available on WeAllSew.com and would make a fantastic homemade gift for dad.ipad-case-sewing-patterns-tutorial-diy-project-craft-sew-fathers-day-gift-present

Or how about one of the easiest DIY projects I’ve ever seen – this Dinosaur planter? I watched the tutorial for this thrifty idea on The Sorry Girls’ YouTube channel a couple of weeks ago and I loved how simple it was to make, yet how effective the finished result is. Check out the full instructions and step-by-step DIY video on their blog – The Sorry Girls.dino planter diy tutorial project

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DIY Project – Make your own personalised wedding bouquet

One of the key things that a bride-to-be should consider for her wedding (besides her wedding dress of course!) is the wedding bouquet. Any bride would want to be sure to choose the most amazing, beautiful and unique flower bouquet on her wedding day, but simply choosing beautiful blooms is sometimes not enough. Some flowers have different symbolism (older generations may point this out!), some may not withstand a whole day of carrying, while others may cause hayfever outbreaks! So it’s important to consider which flowers would be best for you on the big day and one sure-fire way to get the beautiful bouquet your heart desires is by making your own. And that’s where today’s guest post comes in..!Customized bouquetWhile I’m away for the half term holiday I’ve asked the specialist team at Fresh Flowers how to make a special, unique, and thrifty bouquet at home. Thankfully they were able to help and have come up with a DIY wedding bouquet project that you can follow step-by-step. This way you will be able to carry a beautiful personalised bouquet down the aisle, while also saving money. So for those women out there who are starting to plan for their weddings, here is the tutorial (with handy photos) that you can refer to in the run-up to the big day.Step 5First of all, here are some of the things that you need to prepare to make this DIY wedding bouquet: Continue reading “DIY Project – Make your own personalised wedding bouquet” »


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Weddings & diamonds – How to choose a ring for life

Having just returned from my bestie’s hen party, my thoughts have turned to weddings, rings and the big day itself. While, as a bridesmaid, I’ve been privy to a little information about the big day, there are still a lot of exciting things that the bride and groom are planning that I have no clue about. It’s going to be fun finding out what surprises they have in store for us on the wedding day and I’m eager to see how they’ve personalised their big day.wedding day choosing rings inspirationOne of the things I’m most excited about is seeing my best friend’s wedding ring. My own wedding ring is one of my most cherished possessions, and it hasn’t been taken off since the day my husband put it there, nearly 13 years ago. So I know how special this one piece of jewellery is and how important it is to get the wedding ring right. After thinking about this for a couple of days – all the while begging my friend to give me a sneaky peek of her choice! – I’ve come up with some tips for brides who are about to choose their wedding ring, to help you pick a style that suits your lifestyle now and in the future.i said yes engagement photo inspiration1. Make it future-proof

A style of ring that you absolutely LOVE now, might not be the right design for you in the future. Trends come and go, colour inspirations vary from year to year, and fashions change with the seasons. Whereas you’re going to be wearing your wedding ring for decades to come! So it makes sense to go for something classic and not be swayed by “this-years-must-have” design. I’d recommend simplicity over extravagance, and would pick traditional gold or platinum over a rose gold band or coloured jewels. bride and groom Continue reading “Weddings & diamonds – How to choose a ring for life” »

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