Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog

Cassiefairy's thrifty little lifestyle blog – DIY crafts, sewing, food & fashion – what more does a girl need??


My little vintage caravan ~ Pink party inspirations

My birthday is coming up soon, and what with the Christmas celebrations, I often overlook it myself! I get too excited about the festive season and forget to make any plans to celebrate my birthday. This year, I thought I’d treat myself to a little pink-and-red party in my vintage caravan so I’ve been looking around Pinterest to get inspiration for decorations and themes – check out my Parties Pinterest board for all the image credits. Here’s my party ‘moodboard’ and some of the decoration ideas that I’m hoping will make it onto my party table:

red and pink themed birthday party

I’ve got some white and pink spotty doilies and polka dot paper from Wholeport, and have unpacked my vintage tea set with pink retro design, so I’ve got the basics sorted! Just need to get on with crafting some decorations and preparing my caravan to receive guests – at least there’s somewhere to sit now! I’ve also started thinking about foodie treats for my party, so I’ll share more of these with you soon!


Our Anniversary Party ~ Fill the whole world with a rainbow

party venue village hall decorating wedding planning

So you may remember that I had the dull and tired hall venue above to dress up ready for our 10th wedding anniversary party and I’d been looking around Pinterest at ideas for decorating the hall on a budget. I knew I wanted to continue the rainbow theme of our invitations, cupcake bouquets and the jam-jar tealights, so I decided that the best way to make a big impact was with bunting.

So I ordered packs and packs of cheap plastic bunting from a party shop online (the lowest price I could find!). I wasn’t worried about the bunting looking plasticy; although fabric bunting would have been a little more glamourous, I would have blown the whole party budget on just the bunting. Plus, I figured that I would rather have more quantity of cheaper bunting, which would create a bigger impact on the room as a whole, rather than a few strands of better quality bunting. In this case, quantity definitely won out over quality! Here’s how the hall turned out:

casssiefairys anniversary party rainbow venue decor bunting decoration

This was thanks to 3 of my lovely friends helping out with stringing it all out – in all, we had about 250 metres of bunting inside and outside the venue, so it looked amazing! It was really colourful and filled the ceiling space perfectly – it certainly made the venue look much nicer than when we arrived to decorate it in the morning! I made the spotty rainbow tablecloths above by sewing together 2 tea-towels that I’d bought in pairs from the poundshop – so that’s only 1 quid per tablecloth for real fabric! As we were having a band to play in the evening, I decided to give them a glamourous backdrop with a rainbow shimmer curtain – this width used three curtains, so this decoration cost under ten pounds! Plus we made a few multi-coloured paperchains for around the walls using sheets of sticky wristband (the type that you get on your wrist when you go to a gig or event). It’s easy to make the paperchains this way because the ends are already sticky and it’s a cheap option because printing companies often have leftover end-of-pack sheets that they can’t use. Or try the good old fashioned method of using strips of coloured paper and a stapler! Anyway, let me know what you think of my cheap and very cheerful decorations for the party, leave me a comment below or tweet me photos of your own party and bunting at @Cassiefairy :)

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Get your art out there – affordable ways to promote artists & exhibitions

As you will probably know if you have read my blog for a while, my husband is an artist and runs a number of events as well as curating exhibitions and art projects. For him it is really important to get information about his art events out there so that interested people can attend. Spreading the word about events or projects can be tricky. Social media is a fab way of advertising event details to your followers, but what if you want a wider reach or appeal to people who may not have a Facebook or twitter account?

Leaflet printing is one option. Printed leaflets or flyers are an affordable way of advertising and for Andy they are the perfect way to spread the word about his events. A simple eye-catching leaflet is an effective way of grabbing people’s attention and showcasing some of the pieces that they will be able to see. You don’t have to spend hours designing a complex leaflet, I find that often the most effective adverts or branding are the most minimal. A busy, fussy leaflet would certainly put me off! You also risk losing the important information such as the time and date of the event if you have a cluttered leaflet.


Here are a few tips on designing the perfect leaflet for you event:

  • Sounds obvious, but make sure the copy highlights your event or services
  • Keep the layout simple, let your message stand out
  • Think about your colour scheme – do you want bright, vibrant colours or muted pastels? Classic monochrome can also look stunning
  • Think about your target audience – will it appeal to them?
  • One last thing to consider is whether you go for a one sided, double sided leaflet or folded leaflet

Once you’ve come up with your design and found a leaflet printing company how are you going to distribute them? Andy has a few places where he knows they will be happy to put a few of his leaflets advertising exhibitions or events. I would recommend asking around in shops or businesses where you think your target audience will visit.

I hope this has been useful and given you a few ideas on how you can advertise an event. If you want to check out any of Andy’s work or upcoming events then check out his website


Traditional school summer fetes

I like a good school fête. True, it’s been many years since I last went to one  (because it’s a bit odd to go to a school event as an adult without an accompanying child!) but I remember the excitement of preparing for a fête as a child, setting out a games stall with my best friends and knowing that the event marked the start of the long summer holidays! 

summer fete school fair party moodboardSchool fête inspirations – via Cassiefairy’s Parties board on Pinterest 

Now, as an adult, I feel that same sense of excitement when I see banners going up outside the schools to advertise their summer fêtes. I’ve been to a couple of school fairs over the past few years (attending with friends who have children – my golden ticket!) and the tombola stalls are still there, raffle tickets are still being sold by the strip and children are still tending their ‘guess the number of sweets in the jar’ stalls. Not only do I enjoy the fiesta-like atmosphere of these events, but I like to support the community too and spend my money at the fair, knowing it will go to a good cause or the school itself.

This year I’ve contributed a raffle prize – the rainbow tutu below – to the local high school, and I’ve already heard stories of teen girls getting excited about winning it, so I hope it’ll help sell a few extra raffle tickets for the family support charity that the school is fundraising for! It’s just a shame that I can’t go to the event itself and enjoy a cup of orange squash and a mini-milk!

2013 cassiefairys neon ballet tutu raffle prize for school fete

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Big Night In ~ Enjoy Gardenbury festival

This weekend I’ve been enjoying watching all the bands and soaking up the atmosphere of Glastonbury. But I’m not forking out for a ticket, I’m not travelling 200 miles and I’m not hanging around in a muddy field. I’ve created my own mini-festival experience in the comfort of my own home – well… garden!

big night in festival at home glastonbury latitude camping

Luckily enough most of UK festivals are being broadcast on TV and radio this year, and in truth, I can’t afford to spend a small fortune on attending the festival itself. I can however afford to buy a few essentials in order to join in with the festival experience at home. So my pals and I have taken the radio outside and as long as the weather says fine, we’ll be able to continue soaking up the Glasto atmosphere in the garden.

big night in v festival at home glastonbury latitude camping radio tv bbc iplayer wellies 2013

This is not only a money-saving idea, but it’s super-convenient and much more enjoyable (my cats are there, for a start!):

  • I don’t have to stand on tiptoes in a massive sweaty crowd to watch my favourite bands – I’ve got a front-row view in front of the TV.
  • No massive queues for pongy porta-loos – I’ve got a clean, flushing toilet just indoors and I honestly saw an inflatable crocodile floating in the long-drop loos at the last festival I went to.
  • If I get hungry or thirsty I can easily get hold of any food or drink I want from the kitchen (or my picnic hamper!), without having to lose my place in the crowd, lose my friends or lose a pocketful of cash buying from pricey catering vendors.
  • I can warm up inside my home and carry on enjoying the festival if it turns cold or starts to rain, rather than shivering in the rain getting muddy.
  • I can wash at any time and won’t have to scrub mud-splattered skin, detangle dreadlocks or wash stinky clothes for hours after my weekend at Gardenbury.

big night in v festival at home glastonbury latitude camping pot noodle cider fashion 2013

So I’d say that enjoying festivals at home is a great idea. Okay, okay, I know it’s not quite the same, but maybe it’s the way forward people like me – I was more than a little miffed when my tent got slashed last time I went to a festival and I really don’t like getting dirty or – more importantly – having a kink in my fringe and no hair straighteners to sort it out!

big night in v festival at home glastonbury latitude camping bonfire fire pit marshmallow

So here’s what I did in order to get the festival experience at home and maybe you can recreate this big night in for yourself:

  • You need shelter – from both the rain and the sun, so I put up my tent in the garden and filled it with a comfy airbed, sleeping bag and cushions for catching forty-winks in between performances. If you’re feeling particularly keen, maybe camp out over night, but I’m planning to head back indoors to my comfy bed tonight!
  • Without the festival itself, you’re just a person hanging around in their garden, so bring out the radio, TV, laptop or iPad and enjoy performances by your favourite bands out in the open air.

big night in festival at home glastonbury latitude camping tent fairy lights candles 2013

  • Food and drink is essential, so gather together festie classics such as pot-noodles, breakfast bars, packets of crisps and hotdogs and enjoy a drop of cider in your plastic Latitude cup, like I did!
  • You’ll probably need a BBQ or camping stove to cook up your food (or you could just nip indoors!) and I’ve got a small BBQ that doubles as a fire pit, so I can keep warm and toast marshmallows as the sun goes down.
  • Dress up in your festival finest and don’t forget your waterproof mac and wellies, just in case you have to splash across the grass on your way to the loo indoors.
  • To get a bit of a chilled-out festival ambience going, I’ve got some solar-powered fairy lights and a couple of citronella candles to keep the bugs at bay.
  • Most importantly, you need company – so invite over your other cash-strapped festival fans and share the fun with them!

big night in v festival at home glastonbury latitude camping tent fire hot chocolate marshmallow


Photography exhibition – Man v Nature by Claire Lacey

Today is the launch of a brand new photography exhibition at the Morley College, Westminster in London and it features work by my wonderful photographer friend and blog contributor Claire Lacey of Lacey In Places. Here she shares her photographs on the subject of Man v Nature and discusses how she produced the images:

For my first assignment as part of my Level 2 Photo Imaging City and Guilds class we were tasked to produce a minimum of ten images on one of six categories; portraiture, landscape, architecture, urbanscape, still life and reportage. I chose the latter category. As I had a few trips planned to my home county of Suffolk I decided to set my assignment on my parents’ farm and a former second world war airbase, which is full of overgrown war and farm relics. One of my favourite objects is our overgrown family car from my childhood which never quite made it to the scrapyard and there are numerous other items on the farm which are being reclaimed by nature.   

claire lacey man v nature images sonia the scarecrow entrance to a forgotten past


Therefore I decided to create a series of reportage images to show the intertwining worlds of man and nature, how when the two collide it can sometimes create beauty and depth, but at other times show man has ruined natural beauty.  This project highlights how the traces that man has left behind such as agricultural equipment and building structures which maybe dilapidated or decaying, or imprints in the landscape man has left behind – can create conflicting emotions and feelings.

 claire lacey man v nature images the barn inside the past remnants of man

This project is strongly influenced by photographer Fay Godwin who was convinced the countryside was changing for the worse and her passion for conserving the countryside and documenting the changes. Godwin, created atmospheric, dramatic shots through her use of architectural lines, rule of thirds and repetition in images to show the contrast of nature and man. These images were often bleak and emotive, but at other times showed the countryside at its spectacular best – such as her book ‘Land’. 

 claire lacey man v nature images erosion family car flown the coop discarded

Each image in the collection invites the viewer to consider what the two contrasting elements are and whether the opposing forces when combined; create beauty or the man is in fact ruining the countryside. 

claire lacey man v nature images nest attack entwined 2013

The private viewing of this exhibition is at 6:30pm-8:00pm on 10th June 2013 if you’d like to go along and view Claire’s work, along with many other talented London photographers. The exhibition runs from Monday 3rd of June until Saturday 29th June at Morley College Westminster and is open to the public.


Hen party series – His ‘n’ Hers

My new hen party series is well underway, with lovely blogger Ellen Avants sharing her ideas for personalising a hen party and Lacey in Places writing articles ideas for games and budget planning. Today I’m sharing my own experiences of my hen party and why it’s best to share..!

Back when I celebrated my hen party in the early Noughties, my hubby and I decided to do something unusual for our stag and hen parties – we decided to celebrate together.

In those days, I’m sure that hen parties were not the big event that they are today – parents (and grandparents!) often attended the hen party, and the ones that I went to involved dinner, a few drinks, a couple of cheeky dares and a fairly early night! At one hen party, I remember that me and another hen carried on celebrating long after the bride had gone home pre-midnight!  I’m sure that there were not as many party organising companies out there, the hens didn’t go away for a weekend and the whole thing didn’t have to cost as much as the wedding!

So, with not too many options on offer for hen parties in those days and with our frugal nature, my husband-to-be and I booked ourselves in for a his ‘n’ hers celebration and invited along all of our close friends for a night of fun! The combined party lent itself well to a Girls vs Boys theme and we decided on a few activities to find out once and for all whether the boys or the girls were best.


We kicked off with a game of Laser Quest, with the girls screaming their way around a dark arena and the boys hiding in sniper positions to sneakily pick off their opponents. After a few games, and once everyone was out of puff, we headed for dinner and a kitsch burger ‘n’ fries eating competition ensued – and I can report that this was definitely my forté! We then had a good ol’ game of bowling, which hubby always wins (although I did beat him once recently – after only 13 years of trying!) followed by a few friendly battles on the arcade machines. We finished off the evening with drinking games at a swanky bar. It was a lovely day full of activities and we both really enjoyed ourselves. Another bonus was that it was a fairy cheap event and couples could attend together. All of our friends and family got to know each other before the wedding and we all could all reminisce about the stag ‘n’ hen do on the wedding day.


Here’s another couple of ideas for joint activities:

  1. Go-karting: I find that girls are loads better at this than the fellas ;) especially me – what’s a brake?!
  2. Old-skool sports day – head to the park and compete in skipping, egg ‘n’ spoon and sack races!
  3. Table sports – play games of pool, snooker and air hockey with forfeits for the losers
  4. Water sports – If there’s a boating lake nearby, how about a rowing race? If you’re at the coast, maybe surfing or jet-skiing could be fun, or head to the fun-pool and have a good old-fashioned swimming race – followed by a soak in the hot tub ;)

Let me know if you have any other suggestions of his ‘n’ hers ideas of things to do on a stag/hen do. Me & hubby really enjoyed our combined celebration and loved having all of our joint friends around too. The only downside was that on the way home from our party, the car ran out of petrol and we had to push it 2 miles back home in the middle of the night – that was one competition neither of us wanted to win – but it goes to show that team-work is best ;)

Related hen party articles

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