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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5 Things you should know BEFORE installing underfloor heating

Wave goodbye to radiators and hello to more space and a warm home for less. Underfloor heating is a great choice when you’re tackling any home remodelling so I’ve asked the professionals to share a guest post all about underfloor heating today so that you can see whether this heating option is right for you. If you are thinking of taking to leap to luxurious warm floors, these are the five things you need to know…1. It provides a constant temperature across the home or in individual rooms

The great thing about underfloor heating is it flexibility. Therefore, it sometimes pays to spend the extra money to get a professional supplier and installation company to not only fit the system but design it for you in the first place. With central heating, the boiler fires up and sends heat through to all the radiators on the system, unless you switch the radiators off in certain rooms (if you can) or lower the temperature of the radiator with its thermostatic valve. This gives you some flexibility but not a lot. Underfloor heating is completely different. You can create single zone underfloor heating areas so that the important rooms in the house are heated when you need them to be but other rooms can enjoy a lower level of heat. The ability to control your heating at every point of day and night means you save money, as well as having a more comfortably heated home.

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DIY shopping – for the first time in my life!

Plumbing, heating, bathrooms and kitchens. It’s amazing how different my internet browsing history is these days. No longer am I visiting of pet sites and shoe stores, oh no. I’ve got a whole different kind of shopping to be getting on with now that I’m planning to buy a house and it’s all very DIY-focussed. I figured it would be useful to make a list of the things I would need when we start work on our new home, and where better to do that than on my blog??


I’ve literally just discovered that there’s more than one type of boiler in the world, and now I’ve got to consider radiators and pipework too. Thank goodness for YouTube, otherwise I’d never know how the hot water flows around my bathroom! At the moment, my research is focussed on heated towel rails for the bathroom and I’ve been investigating super-stylish radiators. I’m completely fascinated with pinning photos of loft apartments with Victorian cast iron radiators – dream on, eh? Even so, I’d love to get have that kind of detail in my home in the future.

For the bathroom I specifially want a heater that can keep the bathroom cosy all the time, look really lovely and still be used to warm my towels. I love that cosy feeling when you’re wrapped in a warm towel straight out of the bath, can’t wait. Just give me a heating catalogue and I’ll be happy for hours!

Hot water

On the subject of bathrooms, I never knew that choosing plumbing supplies could be so much fun. Okay, the pipework itself might be a little bit confusing at the moment but at least I’m learning something new with all my household DIY research! The bathroom sale adverts that have been running on the TV throughout January have been luring me in and the Tile Trader website is a permanently open tab on my iPad. Yes, I’ve even found myself browsing the local branch of Wickes. That is SO not like me. But things like mixer taps and fixed shower heads are just so beautiful and sculptural that I just can’t help getting carried away. And who doesn’t want to have a rain effect shower head, eh??

Even the kitchen sink

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How to be happy (and cosy!) this winter

Winter is coming, and it’s time to think about ways to stay cosy and, more importantly, happy during the winter. With cold weather and long dark nights (and sometimes days) it’s no surprise that many of us start to feel a little down when December comes. But don’t worry – that seasonal slump can be overcome with a couple of simple solutions. Plus, you can stay warm in your home (without forking out on energy bills) with just a few easy adjustments.winter interior design - cosy autumn bedroom styling idea inspiration festive-3 Our grandparents used to say “just put on an extra layer” to stay warm in the winter. But there are many other practical things you can do that don’t cost much but that will make a difference to the size of your heating bill in the new year. There’s nothing worse than a surprise energy bill dropping onto your door mat! It’s time to get used to lowering the thermostat to a level that keeps everyone comfortable but doesn’t end up creating a sauna effect,. Here are some tips to help you make it through the winter in comfort and with a smile on your face.Orange Tweed Mill Blanket Knitted Wool Throw Tartan grey sofa retro dralon cushion 60s 70sPile on the blankets Nighttime means everyone’s in bed and pets have found their warm spots for the night, so you can turn the thermostat down a few degrees without anyone realising that it’s cooler in the house. Increasing the temperature warms the entire home, which is essentially wasting energy, as no one’s moving around at night to benefit from the warmth. It’s also a great excuse to snuggle up under layers of duvets and wooly blankets. Well, I’d much rather tuck myself under a cosy throw when I’m reading on the sofa in the evenings than turn up the heating – it just feels so ‘hygge’! Bring back hot water bottles too (or microwave heat pads) to warm your body all evening long. It’s much more efficient to heat a relatively small surface area than to raise the temperature of the whole building. cats can sleep anywhere - wheres the weirdest place you can sleep-2Combat SAD

Being comfortable in winter isn’t just about warmth and saving money. If you or a family member suffers from seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, you can help deal with this troubling subset of depression through activities such as sitting near sunny windows, planning more outdoor time, and using light therapy. It’s easy to wake up in the dark, work indoors all day and then come home in the dark. In fact, I read that the average British worker will only see 52 minutes of daylight in a working week, so make the effort to get outside on your lunch break (no matter how cold it is!) to make sure you get the benefits of daylight while it’s there.autumn colours and leather boots-6Seal those windows

No matter how new or highly rated your windows are, you can expect a bit of air exchange. When you know you’re going to close the windows for the last time until spring, use a temporary caulking material to seal the sash. You’re closing off the small gap that never quite seals all the way and lets air in. The temporary caulk can be easily removed when you want to open up the window again, and it won’t ruin the material the windows are made from. If you have older windows, go over the existing caulk and look for crumbling and/or peeling caulk. Remove this caulk carefully, and then lay in a fresh, new bead and let it dry. You’re creating a new seal that won’t let air in under any circumstances.cats can sleep anywhere - wheres the weirdest place youve sleptEngage in zone heating

Zone heating is the act of heating one or two rooms and closing off unused rooms. If you find that you’re not going into some rooms very often, close them off by shutting the door and turning down the radiators. You do want to make sure the room gets some heat in order to keep it dry. The heating that would normally go into that room is diverted into rooms with turned on radiators, keeping them at a comfortable temperature. You can also use plug-in electric and oil heaters to keep a room warm while you’re using the space, but make sure to follow safety precautions at all times and unplug when you go to bed.Orange Tweed Mill Blanket Knitted Wool Throw Tartan greyYou don’t have to turn your home into a refrigerator to save money on heating costs this winter. These are just some of the ways to help you stay comfortable (and happy!) without having to go to extreme settings on your thermostat or getting a scary energy bill in the new year. Let me know your own tips for staying warm in the winter and tell me what you get up to in order to keep that smile on your face during even the darkest winter days – leave me a comment below to share your ideas or tweet me @cassiefairy to chat.

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Stay warm this winter – 5 tips to make your home cosy & lower your heating costs

Brr, it’s cold out there this morning! I’ve already loaded up the fireplace with coal and eaten a bowl of porridge to warm myself up. And we’re not even in winter yet! Ooh, it’s making me shiver just thinking about the chilly days to come. If you’re looking for ways to save money around your house, and keep yourself toasty warm over the coming months, a sensible idea is to take a look at your home’s energy use. Your central heating system (whether it’s oil, gas or electric) consumes a lot of energy to heat your home, but by following a few of these energy-saving tips, you can lower your bills. And with a bitterly cold winter on its way, now’s a great time to prepare your home in advance and reduce your usual heating costs so you don’t get a surprisingly high bill in the Spring.cosy-cat-warm-winter-autumnSeal leaks around doors & windows

Of course, if your home is double-glazed you should already be benefiting from a cosy seal around your windows. But if not, it’s essential to tackle this with some DIY solutions. The gaps around your doors and windows might look small, but they’re huge energy wasters. Adding weatherstripping (like a padded foam or fluffy strip that you can stick around all the edges) to your doors and windows is essential in keeping the cold out and the heat in. Tackle other possible heat-leaks too by spray an expanding-foam sealant around holes in walls created by plumbing work, and stick fitted insulation pads behind socket and light switch plates to save around 10 percent or more on your heating bills. You can also look for gaps along your skirting boards or around basement and attic hatches and plug these up a programmable thermostat

You can save up to 10 percent every year on heating and cooling costs simply by setting your thermostat temperature back between seven and 10 degrees Fahrenheit for eight hours a day. A programmable thermostat can do this automatically so you don’t even have to think about it. Consider the time you wake up, leave the house, come home, and go to bed. Set the ideal temperature for your home during the times that you’re actually at home and the thermostat will take care of the rest.warm-fireplace-idea-money-saving-tips-winter-autumn

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Dream a little dream… Cosy curtains

Did you ever have ‘winter curtains’ in your home while growing up? Do you have sets of seasonal curtains in your airing cupboard? Is this still something that goes on today? Allow me to explain; in our home we had two sets of curtains for the living room: thin cotton curtains in green for summer and thick, lined deep purple curtains for winter. When the temperature started to drop, mum would change the curtains and it would signal the start of the festive season. I’m sure this was for completely practical reasons, such as keeping the heat in the room and stopping the old aluminium window frames from sapping all the warmth out of the house, but it also made the whole house feel more cosy and luxurious, and the colour changed the mood of the room completely. New homewares from BHS-3It’s probably not a necessity to change the curtains nowadays, with most homes enjoying the benefits of double glazing, but that sense of cosy comfort is just as important now as it was 20 years ago. I was recently feeling a little chilly in the bedroom (our winter heating routine hasn’t quite kicked in yet) and in the back of my mind I remember those winter curtains and I thought about how nice it would be to hang some thick, lined curtains at my windows, if only to improve the cosiness of the room. So I had a look online at the BHS sale and I found a whole range of discounted curtains to choose from.

As you can tell from my previous bedroom blog posts, I like neutral shades so I plumped for these Natural Casa stripe curtains which were reduced to half the original price. The curtains are a luxuriously shimmery silk effect fabric in a very subtle stripe, so subtle in fact that they look great hanging in front of my horizontal striped blackout blind – not a clashing pattern in sight! The curtains are lined, which adds to the feeling of warmth – I’m sure they do have an impact on heat, at the very least they are keeping the cold windows at bay – and the bedroom feels eve more cosy when they are drawn at night. New homewares from BHS-5 New homewares from BHS-4While I was shopping on the BHS website I couldn’t help be check out what other bargains were available and I spotted this plump little kettle. Our previous kettle was part of a kitchen set with a microwave and toaster, but the lid didn’t have a good seal so it would drip every time I made a cup of tea. For once I wasn’t being clumsy – it actually was the kettle at fault, not me! So this new kettle was an essential purchase and I was so pleased that I snapped it up in the sale. I’m now having more cups of tea per day than ever and not a spillage in sight. Plus, the spout has a filter on the inside, which traps limescale so I never end up with bits floating in my tea like I did before!New homewares from BHS-8 New homewares from BHS-7So this week I’ve invested in two new home items that have already made a big difference to how cosy and comfortable I feel in my home this winter. Have you made any recent purchases that have improved your home for winter?  And did you have two sets of curtains for different seasons in the past? Leave me a comment below and let me know!


Dark, damp mornings – and that’s just my windows

I’ve got a bee in my bonnet about about damp and condensation. It’s at this time of year that I start scratching my head and wondering how a home that is so well-insulated, well-ventilated and well-heated ends up full of condensation and resulting dampness during the winter months. For most of the winter you’d be forgiven for thinking that my bedroom windows are fitted with frosted glass, but they’re not – it’s just the condensation. It’s not the most exciting topic to write about, but I simply don’t understand it and I’m hoping that someone will have the answer as to how I can keep my home warm but not damp. I’m no scientist, but condensation is caused by warm air meeting a cold surface, is that right? So a window that has been chilled from the frost outside will cause damp air to condense on it right? Yet, my living room is the warmest in the house but the windows hardly ever mist up. What’s up with that?

Home problem Damp condensation on window dripping wet

My pet peeve is being cold indoors in the winter. I love everything about being cold outside – chilly fingers, runny nose, snowball fights and all – but indoors should be warm so that I can bring myself back up to a normal temperature when I come in from the cold. This insistence that indoors will always be warm was born from a serious lack of heating in an old farmhouse we used to live in. There was no double glazing, no insulation to speak of, and a tiny fireplace (which we all know makes the air around it even colder at times) so we’ve endured a couple of freezing cold winters over the years while we were poor students – so much so that a glass of water on the bedside table froze during the night – and I won’t ever go back to living like that.

My home is now mega-insulated, double-glazed, with heaters that I know how to use, yet still I find myself having to open the windows in the morning to get rid of the dampness – and all my warm air floods out with it. You know how stingy I am, and I hate paying to warm up my air, only to have to release it back into the wild to clear the damp. I’m not using gas heaters which are notorious for emitting moisture – we only have night storage heaters – so we should have nice ‘dry’ hot air in the home. The living room is in the middle of the house so it stays warm and cosy with hardly a sniff of condensation on the windows. But why does the bathroom and bedroom – with the same heating provision – fog up but the living room doesn’t? Is it just that those rooms are damp and the living room isn’t? Without fail the bedroom window is always dripping with moisture every morning – so do we really breathe that heavily when we’re sleeping? The eagle-eyed of you may have noticed the squeegee that lives on my windowsill ready to clear the wetness – and this is something I have to do every morning.

I need answers, because I can’t carry on heating air then letting it go to clear the dampness of a room – it’s a waste of money and I’m supposed to be thrifty! What can I do to sort out the condensation/dampness in my home? Please don’t tell me to get a dehumidifier – I find it hard enough to sleep in a room with a lamp plugged in without having a dehumidifying unit buzzing away all night. Not to mention the electricity! Is there a cheap or easy way to fix this problem? I hate being cold, but I hate having a damp house – argh! Okay, rant over, I’m going to boil the kettle and run myself a hot bath… oh, wait…

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