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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Suffolk’s “social media stars” – and I’m on the list!

I couldn’t believe my eyes when a friend tweeted me recently to tell me that I was in the local press. I had no idea! Within a couple of minutes I was on the newspaper’s website and was reading through the article.

Thankfully it was for good reasons – I’d been included in a list of “Suffolk’s social media stars”! This must be what it feels like to be Beyonce 😉 Along with 8 fantastic bloggers and instagrammers (many of whom I know and actually follow myself!) my little blog was included in this ‘top 9’ list.  Continue reading “Suffolk’s “social media stars” – and I’m on the list!” »


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Let sleeping dogs lie… and cats too!

Last week I introduced you to my cats, Cookie and Muffin in a blog post all about how they came to join our family. Well, this week I want to share more photos of the fluffy little critters because they’ve been very cheeky and have been hogging the bed all week long.

cats on bed

I’ve only really noticed how much the cats like to snuggle up on our bed during this week because it’s the summer holidays and we’ve been waking up a little later and are at home more. So I now realise just how keen Cookie and Muffin are for us to leave the house and go to work in the morning because they immediately take over the whole bed.

Firstly, they are becoming more and more persistent about waking us up in the morning. They have become accustomed to us waking at 6am and feeding them breakfast before 6:30, so that extra hour of sleep that we’ve been enjoying during the holidays has been bugging them. They’ve been coming into the bedroom, nudging us, purring loudly and even clawing at the duvet to pull the sheets off us so that we wake up. It’s likely that they are simply getting hungry but, in my mind, I think it’s because they want us out of the bed so that they can hop up and take over the comfortable duvet.

cats cookie and muffin sleeping

cats stealing the bed

This week I’ve also found out about a competition that Carpetright are running to win an upgrade to a king-size bed for pet owners whose cats, dogs (or even rabbits!) have taken over their beds – and it’s the perfect opportunity for Cookie and Muffin to earn their keep! I’m going to enter the photo below into the competition by tweeting the pic and including the hashtag #PetStoleMyBed and keep my fingers crossed that they win the giveaway so that there will be room in the bed for all of us this summer!

cookie and muffin sleeping

Check out the competition details if you too have pet that has been hogging the bed. The closing date is the 13th August so get tweeting your photos now.


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Cassiefairy is FINALLY on Pinterest!

Yes, I’ve given in and given it a go. Despite not really understanding why I was signing up (really Pinterest gives you no clue when you first log in!) or how to use it (again, not much in the way of instructions for first use), I quickly adjusted to using this new software and after a quick read of the help section, I was well on my way to pin-heaven.

I may never have started pinning if it weren’t for Aimeefairy, who is getting married next year (eeeeeee, massive congrats to her!) and asked me to join Pinterest so that I could see her wedding boards and suggest items for her. So my first board was a wedding mood-board for her, and after repinning a few bits n bobs, I was soon heading off into the blogosphere to find ‘new’ things to pin to it. I even started dreaming that I was pinning things in my sleep.

cassiefairy on pinterest boards

As a blogger, I love to read other blogs rather than magazines, and I often come across pretty things on blogs that I don’t want to forget, but if I were to bookmark every page that I love, I’d have a Favourite’s list as long as my husband’s arms (yes, he’s practically a monkey!) and I’d rarely look back at them. So its great to have one place to store everything that inspires me and I can re-find what I’m looking for at a glance. Seems like I’ve been resisting using something that could have made my life easier all these years!

I think you could describe me as a little bit keen on Pinterest now and its great that I get notified when my Twitter or Facebook friends start using it, because I love to follow other people’s boards and pinch bits n bobs that I like the look of! Please check out my boards and follow me so that I can follow you back!


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Tuesday Shoesday – Wet weather footwear from @WellyHeaven

A lovely company called Welly Heaven started following me on Twitter last week and their wellies are simply fabulous! The company is based in Ireland and their wellies start at only 30 Euros with free delivery.

I think these wellies are perfect for brightening up a dull drizzly winter day and will look great as part of your festival wardrobe all year round – worn with your favourite www.Cassiefairy.co.uk tutu of course!

     

Get in touch with them for your festival wellies through Twitter @WellyHeaven or on Facebook: www.facebook.com/WellyHeaven

 


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Cassiefairy’s top tips for promoting your business online

The average person experiences up to 3,000 advertising messages per day, so the biggest risk for a business is to be lost within this barrage of marketing. But businesses too need to certain that they are not adding to the problem of junk marketing themselves. How many emails have you received this week from businesses promoting their product? I even get junk text messages on my phone. It appears that the brands who have been so careful not to become part of the ‘wallpaper’ of excessive advertising have now become e-spammers and are just as undesirable for customers to engage with.

Pricewaterhousecoopers confirm that traditional TV advertising is now a follow-on strategy for retailers, behind the Internet, mobile telephone SMS and promotional events. So even small businesses can now be using the same techniques to promote their products as the big brands. Viral marketing and word-of-mouth campaigns are much more attractive for both promoters and customers alike, as the cost of marketing in this way can cost considerably less than TV & glossy magazine advertising, and customers are much more receptive to friendlier communication techniques; blogs, Twitter, Facebook pages, Youtube videos, podcasts, product placement and review sites.

In 2008 Reuters reported that social media overtook porn as the number one online activity and the Interactive Advertising Bureau agrees; “if you’re not on a social networking site, you’re not on the Internet” which is equally true for companies. According to Mike Murphy, Vice President of Global Sales at Facebook, 83 of the top 100 ad spenders in the US have a Facebook strategy, with the aim of developing friendly relationships with customers to ensure that when the time comes to make a purchase they will turn to their brand first.  Social media gives the customer the information that they want in a familiar format and they are more likely to trust the opinion of a Facebook or Twitter friend than an advert created by the brand. Using social networking and blogs is empowering shoppers as they can comment on products and services and transmit their opinions to a worldwide audience. Plus, recommendations of brands or products from friends and family remains a key motivator for making a purchase. This is why it is important for businesses to be present on websites where this conversation is occurring, to encourage positive word-of-mouth.

Yet companies cannot focus solely on promoting their product through social networks as users are becoming savvy to corporate messages ‘hidden’ in Twitter posts and Facebook page updates and will resist, seeing it as an invasion into a space they use solely for personal interactions. Social networks should not be seen as a place for businesses to advertise their products for free – it should a refuge from the barrage of advertising messages and simply used as a communication tool. Promotional marketing should focus on making the customer feel good, and in an era when recession hit this is an attractive offer for the consumer. Businesses that use social networking can provide an almost personalised service to the customer – giving information directly to the customer as soon as they want it. And on the other hand, customers sharing their shopping experiences on social media can also give businesses an insight into what  the customer wants and how to give it to them; resulting in a satisfied customer and a profitable company.

Here’s my top 5 dos and don’ts for using social media to improve your business:

  • Don’t directly Tweet your products: Its boring seeing update after update of new products on the business’ website – at best followers will ignore your tweets or at worst will un-follow you = no more communication.
  • Don’t send unsolicited messages: Customers will grow angry and emails will be deleted or marked as ‘junk.  Only communicate with customers who have requested to receive your newsletter – you can add a newletter sign-up button to your website/shop/blog. Use a mailing programme online such as Mailchimp, who will keep track of customers signing-up & unsubscribing for you.
  • Don’t be offensive: Even though social media is informal, always remember you are using it to show off your business in a positive light. Your customers certainly don’t want to see swearing, rude-tube videos or slagging off the competition.
  • Don’t ignore your customers: Check your Twitter, Facebook or email messages daily to ensure timely replies to questions & comments, giving your customers a friendly personalised service.
  • Don’t forget to tell customers what you do: Make sure that your followers can easily see what you do, your website address and how to get in touch with you. There’s no point being friendly and entertaining if no one knows what you do or how to buy from you!
  • Do ‘Like’ and ‘Follow’ others:  Especially similar users to your business, and try to get them to follow you back – eg.  If I was promoting a range for children, I would follow parenting magazines, kids events and other child-related brands. Other social media users often look at who their favourite Tweeters follow to find like-minded Tweeps and your follower list will grow.
  • Do share interesting content: News, photos, stories and videos will keep your customers entertained through Twitter, Facebook or even a blog.
  • Do create professional-looking newsletters: Include your interesting content alongside your products or special offers – Mailchimp provides a newsletter design options to send to your subscribers.
  • Do make professional contacts: Use the informal nature of social media to start up working relationships with similar organisations as you never know when you’ll need a helping hand, plus you can get in touch with relevant bloggers and journalists to share interesting information about your business which might end up becoming an article, blogpost or Retweet.
  • Do sign-up for industry networks: You’re not limited to the most popular social media sites – there are hundreds of networks out there for different professions and interests, such as Creative Connections for crafters. You can get both support & friendship from like-minded people and an additional promotional space for your business.

By Cassie Greenacre of Cassiefairy.co.uk, published in Creative Crafting Magazine, October 2011 issue- get in touch www.cassiefairy.co.uk or email cassie@cassiefairy.co.uk


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The WordPress #postaday or #postaweek challenge – which is for me?

I’ve decided to join up to the WordPress Post-A-Day/Post-A-Week campaign and try to increase my blogging activity, both on my personal blog and the Cassiefairy blog. Here’s the link to The Daily Post blog so you can find out what this challenge is all about, and maybe get involved.

The trouble is, choosing either Post-a-Day or Week? I’d love to do one post each day, and a lot of the time I do – I mean, I can’t let down my lunchtime readers can I? But EVERY day? I’m not too sure about that, as I like to have weekends off and if I’m away or working on a different project, I sometimes forget about the blog completely. I might even have a back-up blog post already written, ready to share, but I simply forget to post it.

No, I don’t think I can commit to a Post-A-Day at the moment, and I certainly couldn’t deal with being disappointed in myself if I don’t do it. So Post-A-Week it is then! Which I will certainly be able to do. No problem. I do it anyway… but maybe that’s not really in the spirit of Post-A-Day/Week. It’s not a challenge if you already do it.

So back to the Post-A-Day option!

I just don’t want to submit my readers to a load of drivel if I can’t create a good blog post everyday: my blog might become worse for it, and be full of ramblings posted just before bedtime as I realise “Oops, I didn’t blog today”. Some days I can’t even find anything to Tweet about, let alone write a whole post about. But that’s the challenge of it isn’t it?

So I’ll commit to Post-A-Week and attempt to stick to Post-A-Day but as I have two blogs, the #postaday2011 will be divided up between the two, to preserve my sanity!

 

Anyone else up for the challenge? Sign up for Post-A-Day or Post-A-Week here


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Cassiefairy article published in Creative Crafting Magazine

I was absolutely thrilled to be asked by Creative Crafting Magazine to contribute an article on online promotion techniques following the masterclass I hosted on Creative Connections in honour of the network’s 2 birthday celebrations.

I’m extremely excited to be able to bring you a sneak peek at the article and the full magazine will be published tomorrow, on the 1st October, both in print and available to view for free online or download onto your ipad or Kindle at http://www.creative-crafting.com/


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I loved our Creative Crafting chat – maybe we could do it again?

I am pleased to report that my chat session on the Creative Connections network on Tuesday 19th Aug went swimmingly! Loads of crafty individuals gathered together on the network and in their chatroom to join the birthday celebrations of Creative Connections – the social network linked to Creative Crafting magazine. Here’s the link to the community: http://creative-connections.ning.com/

The Cassiefairy “Turning your hobby into a business” and “brand promotion techniques” chat session saw me speaking to loads of enthusiastic craft business owners (pretty tough to keep up with the pace of the chat at times) and had a look at their websites & linked up with them on Twitter too! All the crafters I spoke to were so dedicated to their work and were well on their way to being very successful already! Everyone was happy to chip in questions and many of the other participants were also able to help out with the answers too! The hour-long session simply flew by and Anna, the owner of Creative Connections and editor of Creative Crafting, asked me to pop back for an extra session in the afternoon as I had already over-run by 15 minutes!

We covered topics such as using social media and blogging to communicate with customers, craft business insurances, business registration and tax issues, web design and much more. I’m delighted that Anna has since asked me to contribute an article on the subject of online promotion for Creative Crafting magazine. I’ve just sent it in  and hopefully it will feature in September’s issue – I’ll let you know when, so watch this space!

As well as hosting my own ‘masterclass’ on business and promotion I joined in with some of the earlier chat sessions and learnt that I wasn’t the only one out there working day-in-day-out at my computer and in my workshop! It was so great to meet so many other people who are doing the same as I do everyday & to know that I’m not alone!

I hope that more crafters will use the chat facility on a daily basis – it’d be great to have a tea-break and a chat, plus we can always help each other out when we get stuck on a project too!

I hope you’ll join up to the network and I’ll see you on Creative Connections chat soon! http://creative-connections.ning.com/


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Cuppa Tea & a Chat with Cassiefairy

I’m very excited to have been invited to host a Creative Masterclass in honour
of Creative Connections’ birthday next week on 16th August. Creative Connections is a brilliant social network for crafters and business people and it produces the famous online magazine Creative Crafting.

The subject of the chat masterclass is “Turning your hobby into a business”
and “Brand promotion techniques” – two of my favourite subjects to talk about, and my two main areas of expertise! I knew studying a masters brand promotion for all those years would pay off eventually!

I love to give other people new ideas and help out whenever I can, (I spend
most of my time helping other people with their businesses rather than working on my own!) so if I can put a few business and marketing ideas out there for others to pick up and use for their own creative businesses, all the better!

Although knowing me, I’ll probably just say “give me your URL, sit back with a cuppa and I’LL do it!” I find it hard not to get too involved – and I know that people simply want advice and to talk things through, not for me to take over completely! (something I am certainly guilty of with my little sisters’ jewellery business http://www.beccy-boo.co.uk and my big sisters website http://www.vw-vintage.co.uk – I can’t stop helping! arghh!)

The chat is on 16th August 2011 on Creative Connections in the chatroom between 1pm and 2pm – ooh the lunchtime slot, fingers crossed everyone will have made a cuppa, settled down with a snack and will be happily munching away while I try to help out with any of your creative business and marketing
questions!

If you’d like to join in with the chat on Tuesday 16th, please register on the website before then so that you don’t miss out on joining the masterclass! Plus feel free to get in touch before the chat with any specific questions that you’d like me to cover on the day so that I can make sure it’s discussed within the hour! Comment on this post or email me cassie@cassiefairy.co.uk with your questions/topics.

See you next Tuesday! Cassie x


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One of my favourite photos – Tree-lined Avenue in Antrim

Following my first photo blogpost yesterday, one of my Twitter friends @retrofabuloso got in touch and told me that it reminded her of a view she had seen before in Antrim. The tree-lined avenue leads up to a graveyard, which I think lends even an more atmospheric feeling to the photo.

Photos of a tree-lined avenue in Antrim by Alice Little

Check our her blog here: http://www.retrofabuloso.com/

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