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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How to work fewer hours & have more time for fun

How many hours are you working each week? Whatever your answer is I’m going to say that’s too many hours. When the sun is shining and you’re overlooking people playing in the park it’s tempting to quit your office job there and then. But you really don’t need to do that in order to start working less and enjoying life a little more. It’s just a matter of careful planning and negotiating; if you play your cards right you could be spending less hours in that stuffy office while still doing the job you love. Here’s how:

Emilie’s home office from Stella + the Stars

Work from home

Alter your current work routine. Convince your boss that you should start working remotely. Plenty of guides exist on the best ways to persuade an employer. More and more of us are spending part of our working weeks doing our job from home. That’s because a business often benefits from the increased productivity of a remote worker. Forbes estimates that 91 percent of these employees feel they get more done when they’re working in their home office. There’s no distractions for a start! And you can set your own hours – so if you work best in the morning, get up early and do it all while you’re feeling energetic. Then the afternoon is free for strolls in the park or reading in your garden. Since you’re more productive when you work remotely (and you’re saving hours on the daily commute!) you’ll have extra time to spend with your family. 

Here’s Victoria’s home office from Apartment Number 4 as featured in Style at Home magazine 

Learn to delegate

Delegating tasks will make sure that things continue to run smoothly, even if you’re working from home. Think about your daily and weekly workload and see what you don’t need to be doing. Delegation of duties helps the company as much as you; rather than take on too much work on your own, you could train those who report to you so that they can handle these responsibilities in your absence. You want to set them up to succeed, offering advice when they struggle. You also need to wean yourself away from the habit of doing everything yourself. Delegation is the first step to getting more time to yourself. Once you master delegation, you’no longer need to spend excessive hours at the office!

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Guest Post – 5 Ways of Finding Some “Me” Time

Finding time for yourself, to recharge and re-focus, is quite the challenge when you have a family in tow. As a parent it can feel selfish to ask for “time off”, but with recharged batteries the time you spend with your children will be much more enjoyable for all of you. There are plenty ways where you can find this “me” time, without doing any major schedule rearrangements.Tips for working from home - Creating a timetable planSay no
There is no shame in setting limits. You don’t have to attend every school trip or community event, it’s perfectly alright to say no if you feel you need a break. This also goes for your partner too. Don’t be afraid to decline offers and requests – even if it goes against other people’s expectations. Also, delegate household work to teach your children that they need to earn their pocket money (the fact of this giving you more feet-up-with-a-cup-of-tea time is just a happy accident).

Schedule time off
If you have a problem with finding time for yourself, get it down in black and white and schedule it in. This way everyone will know what to expect and that this time is for you – if something has to be planned, it should be outside of these hours. This can also help to bring a sense of order to an otherwise chaotic life.

Eye Inspire Classic Trio from MeMeMe

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Watch out! It’s time to change…

Have you noticed that the days are already feeling shorter just by the evenings being slightly darker than usual? I’ve actually felt more rushed than usual in my work, and I feel like it’s taking up all of my day and I just don’t have the time to relax in the evenings. I know this is a psychological thing for me and I need to keep an eye on the time in order to realise that the day ISN’T running away with me. The light-until-10pm evenings we’ve been enjoying all summer have meant that I’ve been able to do more after work: I could still go places, hang out with friends, eat dinner al fresco and potter around the garden. I had ‘more’ time to do more activities because it was lighter until later and now I feel like it’s bed time pretty much as soon as I’ve finished dinner. Darker evenings means that I don’t want to go out for walks and once the sun has gone down the chill-factor is keeping me out of the garden. I want to make the most of my spare time but I don’t seem to be valuing my evenings as much as I did over the summer. I know it’s the same amount of hours but it’s what I can do with them that counts!

Tips for working from home - Creating a timetable plan

It’s time to start keeping track of my day with a timetable (yes, the first one I’ve ever made since my revision timetable at school!) and I think that I need to invest in a watch to help me stay on top of it. So far, I’ve already been putting my lunch break back by an hour each day, just because I like to finish one task before moving onto the next but I have decided to start wearing a watch for the first time in 10 years to help me keep on schedule while I’m working. It’s easy to ignore time passing when you have to pick up your phone to check what time it is, and I’ve realised that I don’t have any clocks up in my workspace, so it seems to me that a watch is an essential business investment to make sure that I work when I need to and that I actually stop when I need to!

Ever since the first pocket watches were built in the 15th Century, they have been seen as treasured items that often hold a lot of sentimental value for the wearer. As we reach the point where ‘smart watches’ are beginning to slip into the market – the recent release of the Apple Watch has shown that these gadgets come with a hefty price tag too, starting at around £215 – there is still an immense appeal for the traditional timepiece. It still ok to want a watch to just A) tell the time and B) look good! Surely that’s good enough for my needs, isn’t it?! This may also be the perfect time to find a watch that doesn’t require software updates, as non-smart watches might begin to come down in price. Technology tends to look outdated so quickly – think of those first LED watches in the 80s! – while a classic watch style is timeless (excuse the pun!).

Tips for working from home - Creating a timetable

Here are some things to bear in mind:

  • Tradition is key 

Traditional brands of watches such as Tissot, Raymond Weil, and Rotary never go out of style and stores such as Watches of Switzerland have all the classics. When I looked on the website I was like a kid in a candy store! These brands have lingered for a reason and, if you are looking for a watch to mark a special occasion, a graduation or a wedding, going for one of these ‘Heirloom’ brands will always be a smart move.

  • Activity

This is one of the most key elements of choosing a watch. There is no point whatsoever in buying a Rolex if you are someone who is always active; climbing mountains, riding bikes, sailing etc. Imagine the terror when your prized possession cracks (literally) under the pressure of such a lifestyle. While my lifestyle is pretty-much the opposite (!) if you frequently enjoy activities like these, you can find a watch that suits them, and also looks good when you’re in a business situation.

  • Classic materials

A watch made from platinum, titanium or rose gold, end across all the right messages as these materials are more expensive, classic and stylish. But you don’t have to spend more just for the sheer hell of it and I love leather and canvas straps just as much. Investing in these sorts of materials doesn’t come without their benefits; they are ultimately so much stronger too, lasting longer in more challenging conditions.

  • Style and fashion

Sometimes a watch will tick (argh, I just can’t help the puns!) all the right boxes but in the end, it simply doesn’t suit your wrist, existing jewellery essentials or taste. It may be too flash for your appearance (this is an instant reaction) but you need to think about the comfort too. Trying on a number of styles before you buy is so important and will give you the best idea of what to invest if you’re on the fence about a number of styles.

  • Ignore ‘jewels’ inside the watch

These are often promoted by the people selling expensive watches but I’ve found out that really the ‘jewels’ are of little importance. They are worth only a few pennies and add no real value to the watch. The exact number required for a watch depends on the design of the watch but the average mechanical watch needs about 17. They are just used as low friction pivots for parts of the mechanism rather than having any value.

I’d love to be given a watch for my upcoming birthday but I think I’d rather have the freedom to choose my own style and materials so that I can be sure that it will work with my existing wardrobe. I’m really not very flashy and I think that a smaller style would be better for me – after all, I’m only using it to keep track of my schedule so that I can finish tasks on time and so that I know when to stop work make the most of my evenings!

Here are some of my tips for creating a timetable that works:

  • Include some ‘me time’ in your schedule so that you don’t start working from the minute you get up. You need this time to ease into the day and get yourself ready for the work ahead.
  • Be sure to include breaks – especially lunch – because you can work on an empty stomach and you need to take your eyes off you work for a while so that you don’t end up tired and strained – see my article on tea breaks if you need more reasons why you should take a break!
  • I’ve added in a hour of personal development each day. You would be given this time in an office-based job, so why not allow yourself time to develop your skills or knowledge while you’re working from home too? I watch industry videos on YouTube and like to visit MarieForleo.com for business and life tips.
  • Over-estimate the amount of time it will take you to complete a task, because work always over-runs and takes longer that you think, so by adding a ‘buffer’ of half an hour will mean that you’re not always chasing time to ‘catch up’ but will sometimes finish a task ahead of time. If you do, you’re free to do some social fiddling on twitter – you have my permission!
  • Don’t keep your email open all day and respond to messages as soon as they arrive. Instead, give yourself an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon dedicated to emails only. This way you’ll stay on task while working during the day, without interruptions.
  • Allocate time for finishing off projects at the end of the day, to plan your next day’s work, or even just for reading so that you stay in touch with what’s going on in the world or in your industry – you’ll find yourself being even more motivated for the next day of work.

Do you have anything to add to my list? What do you include in your work-from-home timetable? Please leave me a comment below 🙂


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My top tips for choosing a new watch

Many of us go without a watch these days, myself included and I’m forever rummaging in my handbag to find my mobile phone just to check what the time is. I was out shopping this week and after this same old struggle to check the time, I decided there and then that I needed to buy a watch – and actually wear it! I used to wear a watch all the time as a teenager; with running to and from lessons and needing to catch buses at the right time, it was essential. I wore my jazzy green-and-black watch so much so that I even had a bit of an indent in my arm when I took it off! What changed eh? It must have been the invention of the mobile phone that has stopped me from wearing a watch. But all that is about to change, so I thought it was about time (!) that I did a bit of research into watch trends and I wanted to share these tips with you in case you’re looking to start wearing a watch again.

Ever since the first pocket watches were built in the 15th Century they have been seen as treasured items that often hold a lot of sentimental value for the wearer. As we reach the point in watchmaking history where ‘smart watches’ are beginning to slip onto the market – Samsung’s new offering is looking to be a market leader – it may be a good time to find a watch that doesn’t require software updates (!) and prevents you from looking dated.

pocket watch

Here are some things to bear in mind:

1.      Traditional Brands Are Key

Traditional brands of watches such as Tissot, Raymond Weil, and Rotary never go out of style. These brands have lingered for a reason and, if you are looking for a watch to mark a special occasion, a graduation or a wedding, going for one of these will always be the smarter move.

2.      Asses Your Activity Level

This is one of the most key elements of choosing a watch. There is no point whatsoever in buying a Rolex if you are someone who is always active; climbing mountains, riding bikes, sailing etc. If you frequently partake in activities like these, you can find a watch that suits them, and also looks good when you’re in the city. Omega makes great Seamaster watches for example.

seamaster watch

3.      Work In An Office? Avoid Digital

This is one of those slightly OTT rules, and you will see plenty of people breaking it, but it has been said that subconsciously an analogue watch gives of a greater sense of authority. If you are not sure of the exact style of analogue watch that might suit your trade, browse through the watches on a good site like http://www.watches-of-switzerland.co.uk/brands/breitling-watches. It might be worth noting the kinds of watches that other efficient looking people in your offices wear, and then buying a better model.

4.      Use Sophisticated Metals

If you buy a watch made from platinum, titanium, or rose gold it send the correct messages. These materials are more expensive, but that doesn’t come without benefits. They are stronger and they look better too.

5.      Assess The Watch’s Form

Sometimes a watch will tick all the right boxes but in the end it just doesn’t suit your wrist. It may be too flash for your appearance or it may not be comfortable. Make sure you try on a watch before buying it. I once bought a watch that had a large face, which was much too big on my wrist – it looked like a clown’s watch! Needless to say, I never wore it – so consider that you’re going to be putting this on your wrist day-in-day-out and choose something that actually suit you!

6.      Understand The Resale Value

If you are buying watches from the more expensive end of the market, it is worth considering what the resale value for that watch is – this could affect the price you are prepared to pay dramatically. Omega Speedmasters bought in the 70s can now sell for 3x their purchase price.

7.      Most Importantly: Ignore the amount of ‘jewels’ inside the watch

These are often advertised generously by the people selling expensive watches but really the ‘jewels’ are of little importance. They are also worth only a few pennies and add no real value to the watch. The exact number required for a watch depends on the design of the watch but the average mechanical watch requires about 17. They are just used as low friction pivots for parts of the mechanism.

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