Gadgets To Make Up For The Things We Miss During Lockdown
Technology has certainly helped to make life in lockdown that bit easier. The first shift into the coronavirus crisis was made bearable thanks to online shopping and video calling, but now that we enter the longer term, we’re beginning to re-evaluate the things we’d like to move from ‘non-essential’ to ‘essential’ aspects of lockdown living.
The good news is that once again tech is on hand to help us get our creature comforts while minimising our outings. For while we might pine for a sun-drenched beach, or a freshly-made coffee first thing in the morning, there are ways we can help ease the longing while at home.
So here’s our guide to making sure your living space is well-equipped for the things we miss the most. And who knows, these new gadgets might provide a more convenient alternative when things go back to normal.
Soundbars instead of the cinema
With many film powerhouses like Universal realising that it’s possible to skip the cinema experience altogether, we can expect straight-to-streaming movies to continue even after lockdown is lifted. For then, but especially for now, it’s a smart idea to make sure our viewing set-up is as cinematic as possible. A projector or giant TV helps recreate that night-at-the-movies feel, but hi-tech soundbars will make the world of difference. Start off with the Sonos Beam (£399 from Sonos), designed by Hollywood’s best sound engineers to recreate the cinema experience from home. You can start off with this one hi-spec speaker, and add a subwoofer and another pair of Sonos speakers as finances allow, to work up to a true surround 5.1 experience. Plus it has voice control, and integrates with Amazon Alexa.
Hair clippers instead of the hairdressers
Who realised that hairdressers were indispensable? It turns out that hairdressers were among the most missed businesses when high streets closed: while we can forgo clothes and card shops, there’s no ignoring the mop of hair on our heads, with short-haired folk finding this aspect particularly difficult. That’s why hair clippers have become a much-needed gadget to help look presentable in Zoom calls. Try Wahls’ Wahl Elite Pro High Performance Haircutting Kit (£54.99 from Argos), which is ideal for buzz cuts, fades and crops. Durable and easy to use, it comes with scissors, a barber comb and haircutting cape, to make home hair-cutting as stress-free as possible.
Sun lamp instead of a beach holiday
There’s no replacing the hazy feeling of a morning sunbathing on the beach, but a second best is soaking in the goodness of the sun’s blaze on command. With any luck, long summer days should keep our Vitamin D levels high and our Seasonal Affective Disorder low. But on gloomy days, in dark rooms, and in preparation of winter, a sun lamp can help our mood significantly – especially important when the world’s changes have an impact on our mental health. The Lumie desk lamp (£120 from Lumie) needs 30 minutes of use a day to have a positive effect on our energy levels. It also doubles as a reading lamp, so it can be used before bed too.
Coffee machine instead of a café
Treating yourself to a frothy latte on your way to work is one of life’s simple pleasures. But just because many office workers have shorter commutes of, well, four steps to the spare room, it doesn’t mean they have to forgo that pleasure. The popularity of barista-grade
coffee has meant that coffee machines on sale today are impressively fine-tuned. Some are fully automatic; others need that ritual of packing and emptying the ground coffee. For our money, a bean to cup machine makes things so much easier while we’re still waking up. The best of the reasonably-priced bunch is DeLonghi’s Caffè Venezia (£358 from DeLonghi), which delivers americanos, espressos and lattes at the touch of a button.
Foot spa instead of the beauty salon
We long for the days when we can indulge in a spot of pampering at a beauty salon or spa. Until then, we can do DIY manicures and pedicures at home, which may or may not turn out as nicely as a professional’s. But an easy hack to make us feel a million dollars is to enjoy a foot spa. Try the HoMedics Foldaway Luxury Foot Spa (£39.99 from Boots), which is ideal if you don’t want it to take up too much space. It gives a little acupressure massage as your feet soak, and comes with two pumice stones for a full foot ritual. Best served in a dressing gown with gossip mags to hand.