Monday, May 23

My tureen is so fast! 15 Blocking Buys That Helped Guardian Readers | Life and Style

A treadmill

My new treadmill has not only put me through the blockage, it also keeps me balanced as I live in a busy area and I don’t really enjoy running outside anymore. I use it almost every day, along with an app called Zombies, run! or while listening to podcasts. It has become a comfort. The only downside is that I need to put it back under the bed after each use. Mar, journalist, Barcelona, ​​Spain

Damask curtains from the 1890s

I bought my house in the Netherlands a couple of years ago, but it came with drab, stained gray curtains in the living room. Given the amount of time we spent inside, I was sickened to death. While searching for replacements, I came across an online vintage store that was selling a pair of damask curtains from the 1890s that were exactly the right size, but at a price well above what I could afford. I bought them anyway, and the matching cushions, and they are one of the best I have ever bought. They turned a boring grotto into a warm and welcoming room. I smile every time I draw them. Stuart Brown, editor, Groningen, The Netherlands

They are curtains for you.
They are curtains for you. Photography: Stuart Brown

An ebike

I have gone out for bike rides early in the morning when no one is around to stay fit and healthy. It has become a pleasure to explore the local area, discover the river, parks and wildlife, and then venture further afield; I even took a Sunday morning tour of central London. Posting photos of my adventures has given me a positive focus amid all the negative news. Laura, doctor, Surrey

Laura's GoCycle in a deserted London.
Laura’s GoCycle in a deserted London. Photography: Laura

A border collie puppy

Since we got our puppy in October, I have become more active, going outside for walks with her. He is now five months old and I have managed to lose the stone (6 kg) of weight that I gained during our first confinement. He’s great company and also great at keeping me warm when snuggling up on the couch at night. It was definitely a successful purchase; I don’t remember what life was like without her. Julie Rayson, Office Manager, Cumbria

Julie Rayson's Collie Puppy
Julie Rayson’s collie puppy. Photography: Julie Rayson

A bakery

The results are much healthier than store bought bread and we are saving tons of money by baking our own. We use it several times a week, to the point where it already pays for itself. We cannot recommend getting one highly enough. Peter Stein, New York

Peter Stein's Bakery
Peter Stein, using his bread. Photography: Peter Stein

A motorhome

Our new motorhome has provided a Covid safe way to spend a vacation. We are completely independent, as we have our own cooking and washing facilities on board, as well as central heating, a power shower, a toilet, an oven, a hob and a large fridge-freezer. We have updated it to include satellite TV and internet as well. It means that when we are allowed to travel, all weekends are holidays. We can also use it as a mobile office during the week. Craig Shepheard, Real Estate Investor and Management Consultant, St Albans

Craig Shepheard's motorhome.
Home is where you park it … Craig Shepheard’s motorhome. Photography: Craig Shepheard

Reusable baking trays

Like most people, I started cooking when the pandemic started. The reusable tossable baking sheets made it much easier to remove batches of burned cookies (very slightly) from my baking sheet, as well as removing debris. Amy Sutton, actor, Worthing

A new bed

My partner and I hit the deadlock where we really wanted to tackle our to-do list, so with the Sydney summer approaching, we decided we needed a new bed. Not only do we now have one, but I also have the old bed in my home office, which means I can now take naps from pandemic exhaustion no matter where I am in the house. Kay, Government Contractor, Sydney, Australia

A pantsuit

I’ve always wanted a suit, but have never saved enough money before to justify the purchase. Recently, I’ve been working from home in my pajamas, like many people, and I felt my motivation and sense of professionalism fade. Some days, I hardly did anything; Although I love my job, it suddenly seemed endless and pointless. Wearing a work outfit that is comfortable but also makes me feel like a boss has made a difference. My new suit is a beautiful dark pink and it makes me feel like a million dollars. Anonymous, London

A milk frother

Before the pandemic, my colleague and I gave each other a cappuccino every Friday, but once the confinement started and that was no longer possible, I realized that I really missed good coffee to go with my friends. So I decided to invest in a milk frother. It was a gift from heaven. While my family thought I was being ridiculous, now I have made them a decent cappuccino. It’s fast, easy to use, and makes having morning coffee feel a bit special during this strange time. Hettie Cox, bookseller, London

A projector

I paid less than £ 200 for my new projector and it has been a complete change. Not only can I watch even more live sports, but movie nights are now like being back at the Odeon. Steve Hill, author, London

Soup maker

It’s so quick and easy to use, even kids now make soup from scratch. It’s also a good way to spend leftovers and encourages us to try new combinations. I’ve made soup before and was skeptical at first about the benefits of a designated soup maker, but it really is so quick: I can chop up some veggies at a video meeting and enjoy a smooth, nutritious soup 20 minutes later, with just one piece of scrubbing. Fiona Fortune, nurse, Birmingham

A set of pencil drawings

I hadn’t done any drawing since high school, but found it was a good way to pass the hours during the pandemic, since I live alone. It has also proven to be a good way to unwind after work and I have made several sketches that will serve as a reminder of my time spent locked up. The sketch set was just £ 15 online; the alternative was a used PlayStation 4, so it was great value. Saranga Sothisrihari, Anesthetist, Essex

Saranga Sothisrihari's pencils.
Saranga Sothisrihari’s pencils. Photography: Saranga Sothisrihari

A hamster

Right before the stores closed for the first time, I went to the local pet store and saw my perfect companion: a little black and white hamster with beautiful markings. I also collected all the bits and pieces I would need to care for my new fluffy friend: a house, a hideaway, food, bedding, a wheel, and treats. Every month, I have spent time looking for new things for Nergal to snack or play; now that i’m back at work i hope to see you in the evenings when i’m awake, sniffing around and racing behind the wheel. It has brought so much joy to me and my friends, who always love the photos I share online of my best purchase against the pandemic. Katie Bee, Garment Technologist, Huddersfield

Nergal the hamster.
Nergal the hamster. Photography: Katie Bee

An electric strawberry coffee grinder

I’ve put more effort into making coffee at home, and this has taken it to the next level. In addition to buying specialty coffee to serve, I have been able to make such good cups of coffee that I start thinking about the next one before finishing the one I’m drinking. The process of brewing poured coffee is pleasant, and small adjustments bring appreciable improvements, which is gratifying. Now I can discern the flavors in the tasting notes. Also, I haven’t had any alcohol during this crash, so it fills the void of looking for sourcing characteristics (and spending, perhaps a little unnecessarily, on drinks). Gavin Polkinghorn, urban planner, London

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