Look for the Home Necessities…

Moving in to your first home has many fun and exciting moments. Picking the shades for the walls, trying out sofas, you know all that stuff that is part of that process of you finally being able to put your unique stamp on a place in an effort to make it your home. But there’s also a hell of a lot of purchases that while necessary, practical, useful or sensible, are a tad joyless, or at least a bit less fun than buying things that come under the header of decoration or styling.

However, these are the things that actually make every day life in that home more comfortable, safe and functional, so I felt it was important to talk about those objects too. The gram/social media is already overly saturated with the glam or visually appealing aspects of life (genuine and otherwise) so I thought I’d bring it back down to earth to talk about the slightly mundane but life-improving objects we have or use every day at home. We mustn’t forget the power of these objects and their ability aid and elevate our overall quality of life and happiness.

So many of these objects are ones that have always been in my life, things I didn’t take much notice or but just always expected to be there. The home essentials that parents have always researched (or not) or made decisions of in terms of brands, size, cost. Now it is my time to make these adult decisions, so I thought I’d share some of my findings along the way….

Zero Water (water filter) – GIFTED

One of those objects my mum had to remind me to add to the house shopping list. Not one of those things you’re itching to get when you find out after years of yearning you can finally afford to move out. One of those items I’ve used for decades in my family home and have just taken for granted as something that’s always positioned right there next to the kettle.

I’ve been a bit spoiled in my family home in general when it comes to water. We have always had a very efficient water softener which means our baths and showers have always been a very soft and pleasurable experience – all the products we use in them lathering up really well. I would always notice my skin change drastically for the worse whenever I took trips away, I guess it had became accustomed to the soft water than always ran luxuriously out of the taps at home.

To be honest I didn’t know where to start when it came to purchasing a water filter. I’m not someone who automatically assumes that the well known brands create the best products. I’m not about labels, I tend to go on my personal experiences, recommendations from people I trust, or opting for brands that seem to share a similar ethos to me. I had remembered that I had received a press release a few week prior regarding a pretty high tech looking water filter, so searched my inbox to have a thorough read through the information I had previously glossed over.

Here’s are ZeroWater’s credentials in short. NSF Certified to REDUCE LEAD. Removes 99.6% of all dissolved solids. Purest tasting drinking water.12 cup capacity = 10 cup pitcher + 2 cups in reserve. Immediate pouring ability. One-hand “push to dispense” spout to fill any bottle or cup.Convenient space-saving design. Certified* to reduce Lead, Chromium, & Mercury.Premium 5-Stage Dual-Ion Exchange filtration system. Ion-Exchange system that removes virtually all dissolved solids in your water. The FDA requires the TDS level in PURIFIED bottled water to reach 000-010ppm. ZeroWater is the only filter in its class to achieve this level.

ZeroWater is the only water filter brand that delivers the equivalent to purified bottled water into your home. They developed a pour-through system, with an aim to deliver the best filtration possible with their premium five-stage ion exchange technology, this filter removes virtually all total dissolved solids (TDS). Apparently this big claim is one no other competitors can make. Sounds impressive right?

ZeroWater is also the only gravity-fed filtration system to match the TDS levels found in purified bottle water. This revolutionary filtration system from ZeroWater is certified by NSF International for the reduction of Lead and other heavy metals such as Chromium 3 & 6 and Mercury. The Good Housekeeping Research Institute have also revealed that ZeroWater removes more total contaminants from water than a regular Brita filter, which if I’m honest is the only other water filter brand I was aware of before owning my first ZeroWater.

I think one of my partner Si’s favourite aspects is it’s impressive capacity. He loves a tall drink of cold water, it’s quite literally fuel for him (I know it is for everyone, but it really shows with him). He actually gets very grumpy when he doesn’t feel he’s had enough H20 throughout the day. He even has the nickname ‘ The Water Police’ because he is always nagging me about my lack of hydration – he’s always been one of those rare people that actually drinks the recommended amounts of water a day. I always argue that my lifestyle and minute bladder makes it an unrealistic goal, but it doesn’t deter his attempts to get me to drink more.

ZeroWater’s 12-cup Ready-Pour™ pitcher is the first in its class that has a sealed lid and reservoir, making it possible to pour water that has already been filtered without spilling water that’s still filtering. This means the reservoir can now be kept full, adding a full two cups’ capacity to the existing 10-cup design.

For me one of the big plus points is it’s one-hand, pull and pour button spout for easy bottle filling. Due to Ehlers Danlos Syndrome I struggle a lot with my hands and have a lot of clumsy accidents a day as a result. My daily spillages drive Si mad, and also add unwanted work to my list of cleaning chores. But I happy to report that I am yet to have a major spillage while using this filter, which surprised me being that is a large object for my fairly weedy arms to lift.

The filter comes with a tester so you can see how contaminated your water is before filtering. We were pretty shocked by how bad ours was, it was extremely contaminated, which made me even more chuffed that we’d got ZeroWater as our filter . It was very clear we needed something thorough to ensure we were drinking water, minus all the dodgy impurities and dissolved solids as without that unpleasant chalky/soapy chlorine taste.

Originally I started off pretty ‘whatever’ about a water filter, but now we have this one I can’t imagine deviating from this brand and would urge you guys to do the same.

The ZeroWater 12 cup ready pour costs £39.99 from ZeroWater.co.uk

Toaster/Microwave/Kettle

We shopped around for a while to see what deals there were. We looked on Amazon, Currys/PC World, John Lewis, Tesco’s…just to name a few. None stood out as absolute steals, but largely the packages that included 2/3 kitchen objects worked out slightly more cost effective than buying them individually. In the end we bought a stainless steel set by Tower via Groupon, which was basic but fairly sleek looking. Si was a little skeptical because he hadn’t heard of the brand but we agreed that it was a good price and it was neutral so would work in any kitchen we ended up having. When it turned up I thought it looked great, but then a few hours later when I was inspecting it properly I noticed the microwave was noticeably damaged. We contacted Groupon to see if they could send a new and undamaged replacement for the microwave, and they said in fact we’d have to return the kettle and toaster as well as the Microwave.

What a big faff we thought to ourselves, regretting we hadn’t thoroughly absorbed all the returns T and C’s before making the order. We worried that this could end up being a very long process if another three items arrived with one or more less than 100% condition wise. Si had said he wasn’t overly happy with the design anyway, he didn’t like how fingerprints were so easily left on the silver surface, so he said instead maybe we’ll try one of the other kitchen trio deals on Groupon. So after getting a refund on the first set, we ordered the Swan Nordic Set in cream which was always one of my favourites aesthetically when I was initially browsing online. We loved the look of the set when it arrived, with it’s wood handles contrasting against the cream body, but unfortunately the timer screen on the microwave arrived slightly scratched, but by that point we were ‘over it’ and couldn’t be bothered with the effort involved in trying to finally get a flawless set.

I’m so happy with the kettle. It heats the water fast and makes boiling water for my pasta and boiled potatoes very easily which is something I do most days. I’m not a tea/coffee drinker, so can’t confirm whether it holds enough water for a whole family afternoon tea. but for us two it’s holds more than enough water.

In hindsight we could have done with a slightly bigger microwave. We can cope absolutely fine but it only just fits our Next dinner plates in, and as a frequent leftover heater-upper this is something I’m reminded of several times a week.

I always find toasters a little bit temperamental to a degree, but so far this one is working perfectly fine. No grumbles and it looks pretty nice. Not much more to say I’m afraid.

Natural Washing Liquid/Cleaning Products.

I can’t pretend to feel particularly pumped about the prospect of buying cleaning products. In fact I slightly resent my hard earned, fairly sparse income being used on such purchases. But I’m also finding that I am incredibly flat proud and want to ensure my house is looking and smelling good as much of the time as possible. I’d hate to have a place that people talk about as having ‘a weird smell’ or looking grubby – I’ve had that with my bedroom for the last 3 decades, it’s time to move on. A year or two I discovered Method cleaning products and was ecstatic to find a more natural (and cruelty free) option that smelled as divine as theirs. But sadly I hear they have a new parent company that doesn’t share their original morals in regards to testing, so I’m afraid I’ve had to find a new brand to use.

Luckily I didn’t have to look far. You’ve heard me talk about Yope numerous times on this blog. I love everything they do and everything they’re about. I’m a loyal and avid user of their shower products, soaps and hand creams, but i’m ecstatic that now I can be completely on board with their cleaning products too.

They sell an amazing superpower single product that can tackle any cleaning job around the house, both indoors and outside. The YOPE All-Purpose Cleaner is great if you have little storage space to hoard Mrs Hinch amounts of products – it ticks a lot of the cleaning boxes all on it’s own and means you can use that unused space to store some other house essentials (or things that don’t yet have a rightful place). It’s lightly scented natural formula contains environmentally safe cleansing agents and plant extracts to leave surfaces clean and streak-free and is recommended for porcelain, enamel, steel and synthetic materials. Anti-static properties prevent dust build-up. It’s also gentle on the skin if like me you are a bit sensitive. It’s also environmentally safe and Ecolabel-certified. There are three fresh scents which 97% natural and containing minimally processed ingredients.

There are three great scents options for their washing up liquid too. I have the the Bergamot, Verbena and Basil one and I love it because it’s not overly sweet, it’s a beautiful fresh natural scent but of the aroma ilk you associate with cleanliness. It’s tough as you’d hope on your dirty dishes (that have often been left to harden overnight) but easy to rinse off and gentle on the skin. Concentrated pH-neutral gel formula easily removes grease and dirt from dishes, while plant extracts nourish the hands and protect against dryness and irritation. Si wasn’t sure about it at first because it doesn’t bubble as much as the well known washing up liquid brands he’s used to. But I reminded him that 1. Our water is harder here so everything bubbles less and 2. Bubbles doesn’t mean it’s working any more efficiently, you just associate bubbles with how washing liquid is ‘meant to be’. 3. If it does bubble less, the smell, and natural attributes still make it the winning choice. It’s recommended for glass, crystal, porcelain, stoneware, stainless steel, plastic, silicone and non-stick materials – so most things you’re likely to want to wash up.

RÅSKOG

This is one of the purchases I made even before we had the keys to the flat. I just knew the Raskog would be useful in some way. I actually envisioned it in the bathroom as the perfect way to store all my bath bombs, bath products, with a few artfully positioned hanging plants draping over the sides to make it look a bit more ‘pinterest’ worthy. But we had a bit of a reality check on completion date when we had our first walk round the flat – the rooms were much smaller than we had remembered. The bathroom had absolutely no room for anything that took up floor space.

But it wasn’t a wasted purchase, it now resides in my office/second bedroom and has proved to be the perfect object to house all of my tech equipment – my cameras, chargers, earphones, external hard drives, lenses and so on. I love that it’s so easy to access everything as and when I need it rather than things get lost and hidden in deep drawers.

A few weeks in to living in the flat I’ve realised how versatile the spaces have to be depending on what’s going on. On laundry days I have to shuffle the office/second bedroom around a bit so I can set up the drying so it’s super helpful to have things that are as mobile as this. Any storage or furniture with wheels is incredibly useful in a compact flat like this.

Frost Drying Rack

Not much you can say about a drying rack, it’s all pretty self explanatory, but I’m very happy with this one. It was inexpensive at £10 and one of those items we just chucked in the Ikea trolley without a thought really. It’s really simple and easy to fold up and put away after use and doesn’t take up much room when it isn’t being used. It has a drying capacity of 19 metres and has been more than enough for every wash I’ve done thus far. It’s also suitable for outdoor use if you’re lucky enough to have a home with outdoor space.

Box Files

It’s finally the time for me to get organised. Yes, me!! The messy ‘creative’ (I always used this as an excuse) who always loved to live amongst piles and heaps. My whole life my very efficient Dad has been at the helm of all the Eggleton’s important stuff. He has organised all of our medical/insurance/banking paperwork in different coloured box files in his office and we have always known better than to interfere. He’s not only a Virgo but OCD too, so even if we wanted to help or take the ownership back we would have to prepare ourselves for a fight. But now I reside at a different address with new paperwork arriving here I can finally embark on creating my own system and I’m weirdly excited about it. I understand it’s not exactly a fun job, but it’s these little things that help you to feel like a grown up, and one that capable of taking care of themselves. It’s confidence building.  I’ve also always found stationary very exciting. Back in my school days getting a new pencil case and set of rubbers was one of the highlights of the year and every Christmas I’d ask Santa for a pen set for Christmas.

I really wanted to buy recycled ones if possible so found these via Amazon – Kraft recycled A4 lever arch file  and Kraft Box File. They also conveniently tie in with the decor of my office, which is white with accents of wood, wicker, and brown paper.

So that’s just a few of the practical and useful purchases made for my new flat. Do let me know if these kinds of posts are useful and I’ll share some more bits and bobs. Those things that aren’t quite sexy enough for the gram/pinterest but that will make your daily life in your home happier, healthier and more productive.

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