Isma Almas knows the joy of getting technology to help out around the house. Why else would she spend £200 on a bin?
Inventions have come a long way since the days of The Sinclair C5 and Betamax video. These days, if you have a practical problem, the chances are somewhere, an inventor is one step ahead of you and is busy pitching the idea on Dragon’s Den.
I love gadgets.
Not gadgets that sort out internet access or extend gigabyte things on computers but inventions that make life easier; things that should have been on Tomorrow’s World.
Gadgets can be part of our daily lives rather than an impulsive purchase that you flog years later on ebay (unused and in original packaging); or sheepishly try to donate as tombola prizes to the kid’s school Christmas Fayre (lettuce dryer, pizza scissors and a garlic roaster).
Having conducted years of extensive ‘research’, here are some of my favourites:
The iRobot Roomba Vacuum Cleaning Robot (between £379.95-£579.95 depending on the model)
This is a vacuum that cleans by itself. It’s about the size of a very large biscuit tin (the only type of measurement unit I use), and is equipped with sensors that detect dust, muck and lion bar crumbs. It has to be charged, has a ‘dock’ and after it’s finished cleaning or is running out of charge, it just goes back to the dock and re-charges.
It has a little bin that pulls out to be emptied – and the Roomba will even speak and tell you to empty the bin if it’s full and still has cleaning to do. The Roomba can be programmed to go on at a certain time every day – ideally when you’re out so you come back home to a lovely clean house, (it will set the burglar alarm off though as we discovered).
We tend to leave all the doors open on whichever floor needs cleaning and the Roomba will go from room to room vacuuming. It cleans under sofas, beds and will manoeuvre around people, furniture and shopping bags left on the floor. The only downside is that it can’t do the stairs.
The Simplehuman Sensor Bin (£199.99)
I’ve always had a touch of OCD and this bin has reduced the frequency of my hand washing. We bought ours just after we had a new kitchen fitted. We’d lost complete control of the budget, our sensibilities, reasoning and thought, ‘what’s another £200?’
This is a kitchen bin with a sensor so the lid opens when it senses your hand, and then closes by itself again. The bin senses when you are still near and won’t close the lid until you’ve finished using it. On occasion, when I’ve tried to squeeze past, the bin has sensed my arse and opened the lid.
A fab and really useful gadget that means I don’t have to touch the bin lid – although a friend did recently point out I could have achieved the same with a foot pedal operated bin.
Easiyo Yoghurt Maker (around £7.99)
I’m a pretty basic cook, but making my own yoghurt makes me feel like I am in Nigella’s league. The Easiyo Yoghurt Maker looks like a big flask and is so easy to use.
You buy the ready-made yogurt packet, mix it with water and leave overnight in the flask. In the morning, you wake up to the most gorgeous and creamy yoghurt. In fact, they taste more like a pudding than yoghurt. Favourites in our house are the banana and vanilla flavours.
The natural Greek style yoghurt is amazing and with a bit of honey and nuts mixed in, will keep you going all morning.
The yoghurt packets are a bit pricey at £2.99 (I feel a bit daft writing that given I spent £200 on a bin) so I wait for Holland & Barrett to have a ‘buy one, get one for a penny’ sale, and then stock up. There is a way of making yoghurt without using the packets but I’m not at this advanced stage yet.
Progressive Avocado Keeper (around £7.50)
This is handy fridge storage case for avocado halves. Just makes the half you don’t eat last longer without turning brown. You just pop the leftover half face down in the container and put the lid on. Alternatively, you can put the skin of the half you’ve eaten on the bit you haven’t which works just as well – or just eat the whole avocado in one go.
Spider Catcher (from £6.99 – 14.99)
I’m not scared of spiders, I just don’t want to touch one or get near with a glass and an envelope. And I don’t like killing them either so the spider catcher is ideal.
We have two different types in our house. One is a battery operated one which has a long tube that you place over the spider. Then, simply switch on and the spider is gently sucked into the tube unharmed and ready to be set free (I like to think it feels like The Big Dipper ride at Blackpool Pleasure Beach for them).
The other type we have is a long handled grabby one that has gentle bristles that you catch the spider in. Both work just as well with the only downside being the HUGE pictures of spiders that are on the packaging.
Isma is a social worker, writer, comedian and mother