Worth every cent: 10 clever buys that have actually made a real difference to my life
Anything that makes life easier and more enjoyable is a good buy if you ask me.
Being a working mum of two young children, I always feel like my life right now is pretty much lived constantly on the go. Which is why I welcome anything that will make things simpler, easier, less complicated – and more enjoyable. And I sure we are all in the same boat here.
When it comes to my wardrobe, I'd rather fewer things that I actually really love and wear on repeat – and that go together, so that getting dressed is easier.
What this means, is that these days, I am more likely to splash out on really good basics – clothing-wise, and gadgets and gizmos that really help my life run smoother and make my days that little bit better. Some of these are indeed splurges – but I justify the price by how much I will use an item and how long it will last me. Others are bargain finds that turned out to be genuinely amazing.
Looking to live more organized, simplify your wardrobe and make your life that little bit easier? I think you will love these as much as I do:
1. Sunrise Alarm Clock With Wake-Up Light
Despite being a morning person at heart – winter mornings can be rough, no? All that trying to motivate yourself to get up while it's still pitch black outside. Yuck. As well as this – I never bring my phone into the bedroom as I don't want to be tempted to spend my last moments before sleeping and the first minutes upon waking scrolling. So what I have been doing until recently is leave my phone on a chest of drawer in my hallway, right outside the bedroom, where I can hear the alarm when it goes off in the morning.
However, after chatting to a friend a while back, who had treated himself to a Hotweild Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock, I was tempted to order one for myself – and guys, this thing is so amazing. Not only is it an alarm clock, but also a bedside lamp, wake-up light and radio – all in one. I can set it to when I want the light to start coming on in the morning, gently waking me by mimicking natural light streaming into the room, and then, when it has reached full brightness, I have set it so that the radio comes on as well, making getting up at 06.15am every morning a whole lot easier than it used to be.
2. Skinceuticals CE Ferulic
If you are going to get serious about your skincare regime – and make sure your skin keeps looking its best for years to come, you need to get yourself a good Vitamin C serum. And having tested a lot of them over the past couple of years, let me assure you this is the very best one money can buy. Yes, it is pricey. But it is worth the price.
This revolutionary day-time antioxidant delivers advanced environmental protection against photo-ageing by neutralising free radicals that can accelerate the appearance of ageing – and leaves your skin looking smoother, more radiant and, well, younger.
3. The perfect carry-on suitcase
Living in a different country from my own family, and loving sun holidays and city breaks as much as the next person, I board a lot of flights every year. I have always just bought cheap-ish suitcases or relied on ones I "borrowed" from my parents house, and just never returned.
My thing about luggage is that I love travelling light and hate big, bulky suitcases and packing too much. Hence I have become quite the expert at getting a full week's worth of clothes and things into a carry-on.
And with this in mind, I recently splurged on a really good, this-will-last-me-forever, suitcase from Samsonite. And having used it now a couple of times, I think it has become clearer to me that as with most things, when it comes to suitcases too, you really get what you pay for. This Flux Spinner suitcase from Samsonite is super-sturdy, has four wheels, so it's easy to wheel, and is large enough to fit everything I need, yet small enough for it to be carried onto the plane. Win-win.
4. The perfect seam-free thongs
Sure I love gorgeous lingerie and matching sets of tuille and lace as much as the next girl, but when it comes to everyday underwear, you want something that is soft, comfortable and that is wearable under whatever you wear on top of it – and doesn't give you a VPL, doesn't slide out of place and just, well, feels nice wear.
Enter Asos' Basic Seam Free Thongs – which, since I first ordered a set, quickly became my 'how did I ever live without these' underwear of choice.
The best bit? A set of three comes in white, nude and black, meaning you have one that will go with anything you wear on top (and not show through). Word of advice: Order a few packets straight away – or you'll be coming back for more in no-time.
5. Reusable produce bags
I am always trying to live greener and less toxic, and have committed to trying to use much less plastic in 2019. Which is why I recently ordered these clever reusable storage bags – which means I don't have to use plastic bags for my onions and carrots and broccoli when I go to the supermarket. I use the bigger bag for breads or bread rolls, and just empty the bags of crumbs and bits when I get home from the shops, ready to be used again. And if you love hitting up the farmer's market on the weekend (like I do) these are perfect for that too, and will hold all your fruit and veg perfectly, no plastic needed.
6. A high-powered blender
I pretty much always have a smoothie or smoothie bowl for breakfast (swapping this for a bowl of porridge on really cold winter mornings), so after having exhausted a couple of Nutribullets over the last few years, I bit the bullet and invested in a Vitamix blender – and now I am truly hooked. This workhorse of a blender makes all my favourite smoothies in seconds – blending up hard bits like beetroot and carrots with ease.
I have also tried making almond butter, hummus and tons of other treats, and with perfect results every time. And while this might be a lot of money to spend on a kitchen gadget, for sure, it is also possible the most used piece of equipment in my kitchen, and I know it will last me for years and years.
€400, Brown Thomas
7. Stainless steel water bottle
Time to ditch the plastic for good. I recently bought myself two Swell water bottles in stainless steel, and not only have I completely stopped buying water on disposable bottles, I also find that I am more inclined to remember to drink water regularly when I have one of these in my bag or on my desk.
From €44, Amara.com
8. Super-soft linen bedsheets
Sleep is important, guys – and I am a firm believer in that your sleep environment matters greatly for the quality of your sleep. Calming colours, blackout blinds, no screens – and now, the most perfectly, soft, will-get-even-better-with-use linen sheets that I snapped up recently from H&M Home. Seriously – if you have never slept in linen sheets before, prepare to be amazed. The best bit? The ones I found were not at all as expensive as I have found linen sheets to be elsewhere.
9. The ultimate light dressing gown
Don't get me wrong – sometimes, especially after an evening bath, you can't beat a warm, heavy hotel-style bathrobe. However, I often found that this was mostly in the way and too long and warm for morning time, when I was rushing about, trying to put makeup on and make breakfast. So I started looking for a lighter, shorter bathrobe, preferably in cotton – only to find the perfect one in Penneys – for the absolute bargain price of €10. I bought two, and now keep one at the back of my bedroom door, and one in the bathroom, and find I use them the whole time. And if one of them get messy from false tan or a splash of morning smoothie, I simply throw it in the washing machine, hang it – and it is dry in no-time.
10. The perfect wear-everyday (forever) jeans
I don't know about you – but I pretty much have a uniform when it comes to everyday wear, and jeans feature heavily here. When jeans are your go-to staple, it goes without saying that you are always on the hunt for the perfect pair. And now I've found them. Seriously – not only are these Zara jeans a steal at just €22.95, they are also the perfect shade of blue, the perfect high waist, the perfect cropped length – they literally tick all my boxes, and so I've bought three pairs already.