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Digital Mums Kate Thornton: 20 Buys To Make Working From Home Easier

Kate Thornton: 20 Buys To Make Working From Home Easier

I split my working day between the TBSeen office and my kitchen island. I've been working for myself since I left my last 'proper' job as Editor of Smash Hits in 1997, which means over the last 20 years I've become a dab hand at knowing what you need to be a 'home worker.' 

So, here are my work-from-home essentials – sign up to TBSeen and you can buy them all with the added bonus of cashback.

1 Bag the best broadband

Good broadband is the business equivalent to central heating. You only realise you need it when it stops working and lets you down! No-one wants to be 'that' frazzled woman sitting in Caffe Nero leeching their broadband with a slight sweat on as you try to upload files. If fibre optic is available in your area, I couldn't recommend it more - much faster and more reliable.

  • Get £52 cashback with BT Broadband (£29.49 per month for the first 12 months).
  • Plusnet are offering superfast broadband for free for 12 months, then only £9.99 a month after that! Plus you get up to £35 in cashback. 
  • Swap to Post Office Home Phone and Broadband's top package from just £16 a month and earn £40 cashback too.

2 And of course your laptop

Whether you're a Mac girl or a PC girl you're going to need a good laptop. I had a proper panic when I spilled nail polish remover all over my laptop recently. Top tip: I turned it upside down and dried it with a hairdryer on a cool setting and it seemed to work. Next stop Silicon Valley! As someone who's self-employed you need to have all your electrical work tools on your home content insurance, and the number of a good man who’ll parachute into your life and get it working again when disaster strikes.

  • Buy a Vostro laptop from Dell, designed for small businesses, for £469 and earn £18.76 in cashback.
  • More of an Apple lover? Buy a MacBook for £869 from Argos and earn £17.38.
  •  Laptop sorted? Subscribe to Office 365 and earn £10 cashback from Microsoft UK.

3 Invest in your mobile phone

It’s the office in your hand, isn’t it? If you have a good working mobile then you can pretty much work from anywhere these days. Because so much of what we do at tbseen.com is video based I need a massive memory and a battery that lasts longer than my concentration span. 

Your mobile phone’s the one thing I would say is worth investing in and you can spend that bit more because it’s tax deductible if you're self-employed. Check what you can claim for in your tax return here and browse these deals from Carphone Warehouse


Digital Mums Kate Thornton: 20 Buys To Make Working From Home Easier

4 Stay powered up at all times!

For me, a powerbank is a must. Is it just me or does it seem like every time you update your phone your battery has to go and have a lie-down? I can't rely on having a wall to plug my phone into when I'm on the go so I never leave home without one fully charged powerbank for back up.

  • Buy the Juice Squash XL Powerbank from RED5 for £19.99 and get 10% cashback.
  • Grab a powerbank the size of a credit card from Prezzybox, £9.95, and earn 10% cashback.
  •  Small on size and price - the Intenso Powerbank is just £6.99 from Viking with 4% cashback.

5 Back it up

Memory and the ability to store your work are everything, so my portable hard drive is handbag friendly but does the job of a huge loft which you can stick everything in and know exactly where it is.

  •  Clumsy? Invest in a waterproof and shockproof hard drive from Maplin for £39.99 with 3% cashback on top.
  •  Wire free and ready to go - the Toshiba wireless hard drive is £83.49 from eBuyer with 2% cashback.

6 Yes, you need a printer

I know we all want to live in a 'paper free' world as much as is humanly possible, but there are times when you just need a printer. The good news is they’re cheap as chips these days, in fact, the last one I bought was the same price as the damn ink cartridges that go in it! 

  •  Pick up a pre-owned Canon Pixma printer from Maplin for £28.99 and earn 3% cashback.
  • Ditch the black accessories and pick up a cool white HP all-in-one printer for £35 and earn 3% cashback.

7 Choose a stylish desk

I hate a home office that looks like a home office, so I want it to blend in with the rest of the house. Take a look at these beauties from B&Q, M&S and Made.com for every budget…


Digital Mums Kate Thornton: 20 Buys To Make Working From Home Easier

8 Invest in a laptop bag

For me, it’s a rucksack and I’ve just treated myself to the Marc Jacobs one through Coggles - and I got 8% cashback! When you’re as clumsy as me, a laptop cover is also a must to limit the damage! THE OUTNET has 6% cashback, New Look offers 10% cashback.

9 Indulge your stationery musts and lusts

Stationery has become something of a hobby for me. I could shop for it for hours and take great pride in my ever growing stationery drawer (I know, I need to get a life). I live by lists in a ruled notebook and bulk buy pens and pencils, because like socks they disappear in my house, along with phone chargers and, sometimes, my sanity.

  •  For everything from desk accessories to basic office supplies, check out The Works. As well as the whopping 13% cashback, our exclusive code gets you 20% off everything in your basket!
  •  Fancy treating yourself? Amara stocks stationery by brands such as Kate Spade, Orla Kiely and Christian Lacroix - and you'll earn a massive 15% cashback!

10 Don’t fear the TV

Sometimes watching a box set can be very productive. Stick with me on this... I often get myself stuck in a work cul-de-sac and when I do, I chuck on one episode of something fabulous and get 46 minutes of subconscious creative genius (ish). I’ve just finished The Affair and right now I’m on This Is Us.

  •  Sky has up to £108 cashback on their packages.
  •  Now TV offers up to £8 back.
  • Pick up a boxset - and just about everything else - at The Hut with 10% cashback.

11 Don’t stress about dinner

If you're working late or on a tight deadline and you need to work through dinner why not try Hungry House (3% cashback), Just Eat (2%), Domino's Pizza (2.5% cashback, plus there's a 20% off voucher), and Papa Johns. Or if you fancy cooking but haven't had a chance to get the food shopping done why not subscribe to Hello Fresh and get all the ingredients you need for your evening meal delivered to your door, with £12 cashback. 

12 Buy the best chair you can afford 

Trial and error has taught me you’ve got to invest in a good chair simply because of the time you spend in it. If you have any kind of back problems, spend on an ergonomic one because it will pay you back in kind. But fear not, the 'office' chair has come a long way in terms of aesthetics and you can bag some seriously stylish ones these days that won't break the bank. Take a look at these from B&Q, Made.com and Amara


Digital Mums Kate Thornton: 20 Buys To Make Working From Home Easier

13 Treat yourself to a cafetiere

Coffee runs through my veins - I can’t even speak without two cups inside me first thing. I’m a cafetiere girl and I not only have a collection of them at home but I also have some small, travel ones that I take away on overnight trips! I even took one when I was whitewater rafting down the Nile - high maintenance, much?

  •  Pick up your cafetiere or coffee machine at Debenhams with 3% cashback and some stylish mugs from Cox and Cox with 7% cashback

14 Set up a bribery corner

I have a box of craft kits and sweets to distract Ben while I’m doing work calls. I’ve actually sat there throwing mini Haribo bags at Ben to keep him quiet for an extra five minutes! Not my finest parenting hour, but a girl's gotta work.

  •  Shop at The Works through tbseen and use our discount code TBSEEN20 for 20% off, plus 13% cashback

15 Book your travel online

Don't forget to be smart with the way you travel for work and book your plane, coach and train fares through tbseen.com to earn money back every time you hit the road.

16 Sneak a night away sometimes

If I’m travelling for work I use LateRooms.com (5% cashback) or Booking.com which gives a tidy £6.50 cashback on each booking. A night away often doubles up as a mini-break from my regular mum duties. Sometimes Netflix in a room that Lenny Henry wouldn’t turn his nose up at is just what I need!

17 Let there be light

I love a desk lamp, ideally with a dimmer to suit your mood. The later it gets, the lower the light. Here's my pick of some of the best with cashback from Tesco Direct, Marks & Spencer and Made.com


Digital Mums Kate Thornton: 20 Buys To Make Working From Home Easier

18 Reward yourself at wine o’clock 

Who doesn't like a tipple of the hallowed grape juice, especially when you're working late into the evening? I make a monthly order from Majestic (7% cashback) so there's always a bottle of something wet and white in my fridge. Waitrose Cellar and Tesco Wine have 5% cashback.

While I would never promote getting drunk as a skunk while working, I find a couple of glasses opens up the creative pipes. Disclaimer: Write with wine inside you, but never press send until you’ve checked it the next morning! 

19 Make sure you're insured 

If you’re using your car for work, you’ll need to tell your insurer. Depending on your business, you may need public liability insurance to cover you for claims made by a customer or client. Try Hiscox, which offers £80 cashback.

20 And treat yourself to scented candles

Scented candles are a total luxury - it's literally burning cash, let's face it - but I'm obsessed with them and fire one up every day as soon as it starts to get dark. Amara sell the True Grace ones in a tin (try their Sage one, it's amazing) which are cheaper at £20 than the glass versions. I’ve also picked up Parks or Neom from Achica in their flash sales for under £10 a go, which would normally retail at £25 and above. Bargain! Here are more picks from Oliver BonasAchica and M&S


Digital Mums Kate Thornton: 20 Buys To Make Working From Home Easier

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