2014 in Things I Impulsively Bought Off the Internet

Ice cream scoop!


Interesting story alert - one mildly sunny Scottish weekend I came across this impressive-looking implement in my parents' usually barren kitchen and was shortly thereafter blown away by how easily it cut through a frozen block of Mackie's vanilla ice cream. Obviously I had to have it. To the internet I went.

It arrived down in my London flat a couple of days later and I wasted no time implicating it in one of my secret Ben & Jerry's binges. It's fine and all, but it soon became apparent that the ease with which I scooped out that wonderful ice cream might've had something to do with the dodgy temperature control of my parents' freezer rather than the eye-catching metallic curvature of my new purchase. Oh cruel disappointment, we meet again.

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Magic expanding soil!

Having dragged a considerably large and heavy bag of compost from the only garden centre I've ever come across in London all the way across the city to where I currently live in London, there was no fucking way I was going to do it again - even if I'd only dragged enough back to half-fill my new window boxes. To the internet, again, where - incredibly - it is possible to purchase letterbox-sized slabs of magic expanding compost.

The magic part is less straight forward than the friendly 3-step bubbles would suggest, but much poking and prodding with chopsticks later, I did indeed have something close to 10l of additional compost swilling across the kitchen floor. My flowers were thankful; my boyfriend less so. Would I buy it again? No.

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Super-strength mini fridge magnets!

Sick and tired of the important documents I'd rather forget about continually falling off the fridge door and back into my consciousness on account of INFERIOR SOUVENIR MAGNETS, I took to my favourite unethical internet retailer in search of a solution. One was swiftly found in the form of these metallic birth control pills.

The garish packaging doesn't lie - they are incredibly strong, to the extent that I'm still convinced the full stack could probably pin a copy of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix to our kitchen radiator. Not only do they secure my important documents in a way my 'I Love NY' quartet could only dream of, but they're so impossible to prise off that I stand almost no chance of accidentally paying my council tax bill ever again!

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Herb garden!

Fridge problems resolved, I turned my attention some centimetres southward, to where plumes of frozen herb spores billowed forth every time I opened the freezer. Enough of this, I hissed at the unresponsive heaps of mid-thaw rosemary spears. 2014 is the year I grow you myself, freshhhhh.

I thought the three silver buckets would probably go quite well with our kettle, so into my online shopping basket they went. Five weeks later and things seemed to be going well - obsessively watching my seedlings sprout, millimetre by millimetre, I could already smell my future as someone able to grab handfuls of fragrant herbs off my own windowsill every time I wanted to impress guests, just like Nigella. Freshhhhhhhh.

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But then the aphids came. I was already too late to save the parsley, the coriander never recovered from my clumsy efforts to rinse the fuckers off under the kitchen tap, and while the panic-bought pesticide did eventually put an end to the insects, it also burned right through what remained of the basil. I now use the silver buckets to collect rainwater.

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Super-strength toilet unblocker!

Toilet brushes. Buckets of soapy water. Coat hangers. Mops. Mops with plastic bags on the end of them. A plunger. An even bigger plunger. Nothing would unblock our toilet, and guests were due round - expecting a hot meal and functional bathroom facilities - in just a few hours time. I ordered a double pack of super-strength toilet unclogger off the internet and resigned myself to three hours of social anxiety.

The next morning the toilet cheerfully unblocked itself and our landlady informed us it had something to do with the outside drains, not us. I stopped shooting suspicious glances at my boyfriend and signed for the now unnecessary chemicals three days later. Yes, my chilli went down a treat, thank you for asking.

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A new pair of glasses!

When first told I needed glasses, I had a very clear idea of the ones I wanted: thick, circular, nerdy; glasses I could wear in coffee houses and important meetings to reflect the trendy intellectual hipster I occasionally drunkenly feel inside. Unfortunately, when it came down to it - by which I mean standing in front of a rack in Specsavers, actual trendy intellectual hipster monitoring my every move - the awkward self-conscious shut-in I am in reality took over. Fearing a tidal wave of sales assistant judgement, I grabbed the nearest set of conservatively rectangular frames and fled the store. My owlish Harry Potter glasses receded back across the aspiration horizon.

Until this year, that is. Internet! Find me a site that will send me samples in the post, thus allowing me to parade around in the privacy of my own home and make an informed, judgement free decision on the type of glasses I would actually like to wear. Thank you, internet! I'll take them.

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Magic pore-minimising potion!

pore minimiser

After spending yet another morning crying at the state of my nose, I decided to take matters into my own hands - ie. do the most rudimentary of online searches before throwing money at the pore problem. After several applications, reviews were officially mixed (Me: "I think they look a bit smaller?" My boyfriend: "Your nose looks exactly the same.") Maybe I should stop being such a snark and actually watch some YouTube.

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Budget soft porn gay film!

I purchased this DVD purely on the basis of my ageing crush on Tanner Cohen, dating back to 2009 what-if-Midsummer's-Night-Dream-went-completely-gay teen-flick Were the World Mine. On that basis I wasn't disappointed, but I in no way recommend this film.

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Goddamn icicle Christmas lights!

I have already alluded to this festive struggle in a previous blog, but honest to god, you would not believe how difficult it was to find a set of icicle fairy lights that a) were the correct length, b) did not require a French plug, c) had any kind of plug at all, d) could be arranged attractively across our patio doors without looking like an ominous set of glowing white torture twine. I found a roughly acceptable set eventually, but even they managed to collapse several times in the run-up to Christmas, taking a considerable amount of my landlady's painted walls with them.

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