A few Brilliant Gadgets (and Grace’s new bathmat!)

Have you been to an Aldi yet? I went for the first time recently and was impressed with some of the prices and the fact that they sell some well known branded goods in addition to some I’ve never heard of. Spotted a bunch of sunflowers for under £2 and I’m utterly hooked on their Costa Rican coffee pods (great taste, brilliant value) as well as their Too Legit Mascara. Unlike Lidl you seem to be able to purchase online too – which is handy because several of my girlfriends are moaning that they don’t have an Aldi near them (give it time ladies!).

A few Brilliant Gadgets (and Grace's new bathmat!)

Anyhow, my new must-have from Aldi is their spill proof diffuser. I bought a Lime, Basil & Mandarin and a Pomegranate – both £4.99 and both soothing, good quality fragrances. You insert the supplied reed into the base of the wooden lid, screw the lid back on and the fragrance seeps up slowly. Currently wafting gently in my study and I can 100% recommend this product. With its smart packaging would also make a great stocking filler? Buy now

A few Brilliant Gadgets (and Grace's new bathmat!)
8 hours of continuous heat

Thanks to Marvellous-Mother-In-Law for this review of her new Amazing Health Allnighter Microwave Heat Pad:

I have never been a fan of hot water bottles – all the faff of boiling a kettle on the way to bed, making sure you’ve done it up tightly enough so it doesn’t leak and then waking up next to a cold lump at 4am!

I have now discovered my perfect bedfellow, a microwaveable hot water bottle heat pad.  This is a frisbee sized disc which you simply pop in the microwave for 5 minutes to heat up and, amazingly, it retains the heat for 8 hours. The only thing I found a little disconcerting initially is the disc stays hard when heated, but I soon got used to it, and I just love the fact that I have the warmth all night, as my only other warm sleeping companion these days is a dachshund, although she should be in her basket next to my bed!  

Claudia has found a way to fall asleep really quickly – am sure I’m not the only person to be curious as to how she achieves this. Well, she bought a sleep headband which incorporates a pair of headphones. After a few minutes of listening to the soothing sound of a sleep meditation app (which automatically switches off after half an hour) she drops off. “The fabric is very soft and the speaker pads are really slim so very comfortable on your ears. The sound quality is phenomenal.” £14.50 More info

A few Brilliant Gadgets (and Grace's new bathmat!)

I am guilty of using cotton wool pads to remove my make up. I didn’t fully realise that cotton wool is not compostable – even though it’s a natural fibre it becomes contaminated when used, with the likes of facial toner or make up. Face Halo pads are a sustainable alternative because they are re-usable and machine washable. Face Halo, the new cult beauty makeup remover that professional makeup artists, celebrities and women worldwide can’t live without. Using only water, Face Halo traps and removes makeup for a deep clean and gentle exfoliation. Face Halo’s award-winning makeup remover is dual-sided and reusable, replacing up to 500 traditional makeup wipes – Quick, Easy, Clean. Face Halo works with either cold or warm water. No need to rub or scrub – simply wet your Face Halo and gently wipe off your makeup. For heavier eye makeup, rehydrate your Face Halo (with water) and hold it on the eyes or eyelashes for an extra 5-10 seconds. £7 per pad, or £18 for 3 pads (£13.50 if you have an Advantage Card) at Boots. Buy now

If you find yourself squinting at labels or having to use reading glasses or a magnifying glass, try using your mobile’s free magnifying app instead. Most of us have our mobile to hand these days so easier that trying to find your reading glasses or an actual magnifying glass. Magnifying Glass (for iOS) and Flashlight (for Android) makes reading small text much easier. Both use your mobile’s light and you can zoom in and out using your finger, so things become crystal clear. Brilliant. And free.

A few Brilliant Gadgets (and Grace's new bathmat!)

Planning to jet off somewhere soon? Well these digital days you don’t need to lug a (possibly out of date) tourist guide book around with you once you’re there.

Instead, buy your chosen guidebook via Kindle on Amazon and get a free download for your mobile. Another useful recommendation by Claudia who has just been to Italy and tells me she found the app extremely easy to use.

Last one is not, I freely admit, a gadget but you might agree that it is a good buy and I need to mention it while it’s still available. My friend Annie spotted this bath/shower mat when we were having a mooch around M&S and I absolutely love it because it is, in my humble opinion, very chic. It’s pure cotton, has a great Aztec pattern that looks really good in a bathroom, is reversible and reasonably priced at £15. In fact M&S has a great selection of bath mats if you happen to be on the lookout for one. More info

As regular readers of A&G know, there are lots more of our recommendations here