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F4A #10: 22 things we learned in 2022
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A teaspoon of gochujang will do wonders for tomato sauces if you’re in a rush. It’s also lovely spread across a frozen pizza before baking.
It’s not illegal to show up early to appointments and dates, despite what I thought for years. In fact, it’s often polite, especially if you’re not meeting someone in their own home. I famously love to make a meal out of leaving my house at every occasion, but my new gym charges me 12€ every time I miss a booking by even half a minute. I always found the idea of being early mortifying, as if waiting around is somehow more stressful or even ruder than running a clean 10 minutes late to everything. It’s not. Try it!
Labneh is a decent stand-in for mayonnaise and yogurt if you can’t stand how sweet or overly wet/bone dry they can be, respectively. It’s tangy, creamy and easy to spread; it works well in as the base of a Green Goddess dressing, stirred into a pot of oats with berries and honey or spread across a cracker with a spoonful of jam.
Ask yourself, often, “Do I hate this piece of furniture, or do I hate where it is?”
There’s no glamorous way to move a mattress across the city, though I’ve certainly tried a few. Keep the number for a few movers to hand when you’re scouting out new pieces and spare yourself the ball ache and backache of trying to navigate cabs, cars or public transportation.
The best things in life aren’t free, but some of the worst things in the world are.
A great alarm clock does make a difference. My favorite is Sleep for Android. There are a few different options for disabling the alarm in the early hours of the morning, like maths or taking a photo of a specific corner of your room. These triggers are slightly more dignified than my personal preference: I wake up each morning and loudly laugh into my phone mic for around two minutes.
If I can’t get myself out of the house and to the gym, I find doing the most labour-intensive self-care activities help my mood. Think: rolling a tub of warm salted water from my bathroom to my living room for a pedicure, or descaling the build-up of hard-water on my shower (soak it in the sink with vinegar and baking soda).
Big fan of pickled capers here. I usually fry them in film of shallow, hot oil and use them like bacon bits, but friend Julia recently told me that capers are also a great substitution for anchovies in Cesar salad dressing, and sauces more generally – and I’m pleased to admit she’s very right!
Sometimes, a potted plant is destined for death. I’ve spent the last five months trying to save a massive Schefflera that I got at Lidl for pennies and while it’s still showing signs of life, it might be time to press its leaves in a book and move on.
Find something you like, but it’s not what you’re looking for? Message the vendor anyway. While I’m happy to help shopping for furniture online, many second-hand dealers can’t or don’t want to digitize their entire inventory. If you ask after a type of piece in a price range, many vendors are happy to check their stock.
It pains me to admit, but glass-topped tables are better for storage than they are as tables to work at, or on, or with or whatever. I’ve gone through so, so, so much glass cleaner this year alone trying to care for my desk and coffee table.
All flat-pack bed frames are kinda ugly, unfortunately. It’s just science.
An at-home garment steamer is worth your closet space. They’re relatively cheap and easy to use. This summer was wedding season amongst my friends, and I brought mine to Brighton without any issues. They’re also great for cleaning couches and coats, fluffing up down pillows and deoderizing shoes.
You don’t have to split the bill. Sometimes, it’s fun to pay for the table a treat when you can - your friends will love it, and might be happy to return the favor.
Similarly, you can buy a present for someone just because. Earlier this year, I interviewed a writer who mostly writes Hallmark cards for Kinfolk magazine. She mentioned that her favorite cards are often called “just because” – a nice little token to send to a friend when you’re thinking of them. Lovely!
Listen: You can never have too many bedsheets. They fold away like t-shirts, and nothing’s more satisfying than sprawling across fresh linens. Waking up in fresh bed sheets is the only birthday tradition that I really take seriously, and it’s one worth considering yourself.
Never trust a chronic hero! I’ve realized recently that there are few characters quite as insidious than those who are always the hero in their story. If nothing else, they leave me wondering: What do they think they saved me from?
The Furniture For All Holiday Gift Guide is still up and active! Shop second-hand this holiday season with our guide. Find out more here.
A beautiful, beautiful coffee mug is a great gift, for everyone and anyone. Ceramics are a real hit, and easy to shop for at second-hand stores and flea markets. Just scan the bottom of each mug for a brand mark or name – it’s the easiest way to tell a piece of history from a piece of pretty tat.
Collect picture frames, even if you’re not planning to decorate your walls. They’re nice to have around, and make for great gifts as well. I keep an eye out for good ones made from wood whenever I’m at the markets, and when snooping for discounts at the charity shop.
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