I’ve really enjoyed other people’s lists of things they recommend buying, like Rob’s and Arden’s. So here some things I bought in 2020 I feel particularly good about, and think others might also like. I wrote a post on parenting fairly recently which included a list of things I had bought and liked, so I won’t include those here. Clothing recommendations at the bottom, to make them easier to skip if you don’t wear women’s clothes.
I’d love to hear other people’s recommendations for things to buy. Also happy to answer more questions about these items.
Water Flosser (£29.99)
I never really got around to flossing, but this is quick, easy to use and rather pleasant. I’ve had no trouble using it daily. (H/t Ivy Mazzola)
My husband and I usually wake up at different times, plus I like to set multiple alarms. (I take a caffeine tablet 40min before I actually have to wake up, which makes waking up way more pleasant.) Having alarms ring only through my headphones means that I don’t disturb him. You can buy dedicated earbuds made for this functionality, but the ones I’ve seen are expensive (eg Bose ones are £230)
Treadmill for under my (standing) desk (£299.00)
I’ve really enjoyed having this. It’s easier than I expected to type while walking, and I have no trouble with meetings and reading. Things that involve the mouse are harder, but still do-able. Max speed is 6 km/h, but I only use it for walking anyway. With a young child it’s harder to find time to exercise, so it’s been really handy to be able to do so while I work.
This recommendation was from Jonas Vollmer, who looked through different treadmills on amazon UK. This was the cheapest one, where the main downside of it compared to the others was that it didn’t fold up and so takes up quite a bit of space. That’s been fine for me: I put it on its side when I’m not using it, and it still fits under my (sitting position) desk, with room for me to sit next to it. It sticks out a fair way, but my office is fairly spacious. Space was a bigger deal for him, so he got this one instead.
Meal boxes with pre-measured ingredients ready to cook. I’ve been using Hello Fresh (£10 per box, each serves 2)
I’m not much good at cooking, and want to avoid the faff of figuring out what ingredients to buy, and dealing with continuously having most of some particular ingredient left over. I had mostly been having ready meals, but I actually enjoy cooking these meals. I usually get the ‘rapid’ ones, which theoretically take 20min but in practice often take me double. But I really like the clear instructions, not needing to measure anything, and getting to try lots of different things. (H/t Jenna Peters)
Cooling gel mat for sleeping on (the one I got is currently unavailable, possibly because it’s only available in summer, but it was ~£25)
I had never come across these before and it seems basically like magic to me. I found it really useful for helping me get to sleep in the heat. (H/t Pete McIntyre)
Plant mister for cooling myself in summer (£9.99 - I paid extra to get a pretty one)
I don’t know why I didn’t already own one of these. In combination with a fan it was great for staying cool in the heat wave, and the baby loved it.
Electric blanket (£46.99)
This feels like a normal fluffy blanket, except that it heats up! Can also go in the washing machine. So snuggly.
Clear storage box as a footrest (£11.82)
I’m pretty short, so to get the right ergonomic angle for my knees with a standard desk chair I need a footrest. This is the right height, cheap, and lasts (unlike the shoe boxes I had been using). Also, I previously had mostly stored things in opaque boxes, but this is better because I can see what’s in them so it’s faster to find things.
Leggings with pockets (£25)
It had somehow never occurred to me before that leggings could have pockets. That’s the way forward. Also these are really comfy. (H/t Arden Koehler)
Anti-chafing shorts (£8 for two pairs)
These are basically shorts made of the same material as tights. I used to always wear tights or leggings under skirts so my thighs didn’t chafe, but that’s annoying in summer. I’m assuming that I hadn’t heard these existed before because it seems like an uncomfortable problem to talk about. These are lovely and cool.