In our time, I imagine we have all been seduced by those little catalogues that come free with magazines, or the Sunday papers, packed with 'must have' items that will revolutionise our lives. Strapped for time, as we so often are, we buy these gadgets on impulse; invariably, once they arrive, they end up unused for any number of reasons - not robust enough for the job, too bulky, no time to put the components together - and they are consigned to the back of the cupboard because, a) you have just paid good money for the thing and, b) they might come in useful in the future!
I, too, have fallen foul of these ruses to get us to part with our cash but I've also bought things over time (though not from those little catalogues) that I have found invaluable and would personally recommend. Happily, I have no vested interest in getting you to buy any of these, other than a desire to share their usefulness with others. I will be adding more, as and when I remember them. A word of caution:- I disapprove of 'knock off' items in the same way that I disapprove of film piracy. I have given brand names here because they are the products I have tried and found to be effective. Those companies have invested in the development of the product and what they produce will almost certainly cost more than the cheap copies but, again, will almost certainly give you better value for your money.
To be honest, I bought my first two of these because I liked the colour and they 'looked useful'. It was only once I got them home that I realised quite how useful I would find them to be. These first two were quickly brought into service as washing baskets. Living in an old house, full of sharp twists and turns, I had become accustomed to taking the skin off my knuckles negotiating conventional rigid plastic washing baskets through doorways. Now that I put my washing in these, I can clasp the handles together - a trug in each hand if it's a bumper load - and carry them down the stairs, my knuckles unscathed!
I also use them for loads of things in the garden, from mixing potting mediums for plants, washing plants pots and collecting pears from the allotment. They are ideal for the latter because the flexible sides don't bruise the fruit. In fact for most jobs, except the heaviest, I use them for tasks I would formerly have used a wheelbarrow for.They are flexible, do not crack if left outside in all weathers and are very strong. Best of all, they come in a brilliant range of colours and sizes. I am adding a link to the colourful Tubtrugs site so that you can view their range and all their suggested uses.The prices vary depending on where you buy them and whether they are in the older or more recent colour range. I find £5.99 is about average for the large tubtrug.
How many times have you chopped fruit or veg on a conventional chopping board, tried to guide said choppings into a pan on the stove, only to have several wayward pieces fall onto the hob or, worse still, onto the floor? The Chop2Pot is the solution. It lays flat while you chop but when you pick it up the sides can be folded upwards to form a chute, allowing you to direct the food straight into the pan. It also works well if you're chopping juicy fruit, such as oranges, for smoothies or marmalade, as it will direct the excess juice with equal ease. I think they come in three different sizes (and in other colours than the one shown) but I only have the biggest ones as I always seem to be chopping in industrial quantities!
I bought my first pair of Crocs Cayman two years ago, whilst on holiday in Pembrokeshire, and have been fanatical about them ever since. My feet are quite tender and new shoes - and even those I haven't worn for a while - chafe and cause blisters. Imagine my joy, then, at finding shoes which are actually not intended to fit in the conventional sense. The foot should not really touch the front, back or sides of Crocs, giving no pressure points at all! I have even worn mine through two winters, as the thick sole helps to left your feet clear of puddles. Ironically, though Crocs are full of holes my feet have never felt cold in them. I put this down to the fact that your feet don't overheat and sweat, which is what normally brings down body temperature, though this winter I invested in a pair of Crocs Mammoth with the fleecy lining for extra snugliness. We've worn them at the beach, in the sea, and they are ideal for our caravan and for walking the dogs. Rather than waffle on about their other benefits, I am putting a link in to the Crocs site so you can read them for yourself.The wonderful range of colours makes them doubly appealing and at the last count we had ten pairs between us.The only downside is that the grip on the bottom wears down eventually. Pictured above are my first pair which I have rendered 'gripless' through constant wear.They are not finished with yet though; I have a plan for them for the garden! Initially, we bought them for a good price on Ebay but folks seem to get carried away with bidding since they have risen in the fashion stakes. The online store KiddiKingdom is very competitive, with free delivery, and their service is first class in every respect. The last pair I ordered arrived within twenty four hours. Your normal shoe size should be fine - remember they are meant to be loose - with a size bigger for Mammoth to allow for their thick lining.