Things I recommend you buy and use, second edition

Cooking

Instant Pot Duo V2 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker — £99

Salter Digital Kitchen Weighing Scales — £15

OXO Good Grips Large Silicone Flexible Turner — £10

The cheapest non-stick frying pan you can find — from £3

Hario 4-cup Glass Teapot — £20

Victorinox chef’s knife — £27 or Wusthof chef’s knife — £63

Lansky Knife Sharpening System — £36 for standard, £51 for deluxe

Choripdong Red Pepper Powder for Kimchi — £7.50

Sistema Microwave Rice Steamer — £7.50

Sack of Jasmine Rice — £5–7

Wooden lemon reamer — £3

A cast iron skillet — £12

Instant Read Food Thermometer — £8

Every Grain of Rice, by Fuchsia Dunlop (£20), The Food Lab, by J. Kenji López-Alt (£32), and Salt Fat Acid Heat, by Samin Nosrat (£30).

These are my desert island recipe books. Every Grain of Rice is recipes from around China (there’s very little of the sort of Cantonese food you’d get from a Chinese takeaway) and makes it astonishingly easy to make delicious and very exotic meals without going nuts buying lots of obscure ingredients that you’ll never use again. In fact, other than a wok, there are only about six basic things you need to buy to make half or more of the recipes in the book, all of which can be bought at a standard oriental supermarket. I particularly like the book’s emphasis on vegetable-heavy dishes, which makes the dishes generally inexpensive to make.

Nespresso machine — £80

Potato ricer — £13

Travel and personal items

HOMMINI Sleep Mask — £15

Osprey Farpoint 40 Rucksack — £80

Packing Cubes (Slim) — £13

Primark sunglasses — £1.50-£2

Uniqlo Airism underwear (£9.90)

PitRok Crystal Deodorant — £6

Philips Series 3000 Nose, Ear & Eyebrow Trimmer — £10

Exentri Wallet — £45

J-pillow travel pillow — £16

Melatonin (must be 0.3mg) — £3

Soft silicone earplugs — £4.60

Services and utilities

Banking: Monzo (£5 referral bonus for each of us)

  • The instant spending notifications that help me keep track of spending and alert me to any payments being made that I wouldn’t have otherwise been aware of.
  • The payments functionality, which makes it extremely quick and easy to send money to friends who use Monzo and split bills.
  • The Monzo.me feature which allows people who don’t use Monzo to make a card payment to me, instead of an awkward bank transfer.
  • The card replacement speed — when I needed a new card they had one to me the next day, and I was able to immediately freeze my card through the app.
  • The fact that customer service is done through text, rather than on the phone, which saves me a lot of time.
  • The ability to set up ‘Pots’ of money that separate my money from my main account, allowing me to budget week-to-week by transferring my weekly spending money into my main account every Friday.
  • The general fluidness of the app and ease of using it compared to other bank apps which are extremely unpleasant to use, in large part because of all the anti-fraud measures.

Energy: Bulb (£50 referral bonus for each of us)

Investing: Vanguard

If you want to save for the long term then investing makes sense. The best thing to do, I believe, is to find a passive investment fund that tracks the market as a whole — then you aren’t trying to beat the market (which is not possible to do consistently). You want to look for low fees — fees are a fixed percent of your capital, and can be quite a large fraction of your returns. The best platform I’ve found for this, which offers a (tax free) stocks and shares ISA, is Vanguard. I use their All-World fund but the Lifestrategy fund looks fine too.

Google Photos

Lastpass

Electronics

Panasonic RP-HJE125E-K Ergo Fit In-Ear Headphone — £7

Anker SoundCore Portable Bluetooth 4.0 Stereo Speaker — £30

Popsockets (buy off-brand, there are loads) — £3

TeckNet Classic Wireless Mouse — £6

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