Woman looking frustrated in kitchen

The simple hacks that will change your life

12 things you should be doing differently, from slicing ice cream to smashing Oxo cubes

By Shannon Wilson, 29 March 2016
The simple hacks that will change your life

Ever peeled a banana or cracked an egg? Chances are you've been doing it wrong. Last week it was revealed on Facebook that we’ve all been using our Oxo cubes in the wrong way:

 

 

Mind blown....Picture credit to Kasie Riley.

Posted by Mums advice on Tuesday, March 8, 2016

 

Understandably this sent the world into a bit of a meltdown, as people started to question the sanctity of everything they’ve ever done. If we’ve been using our Oxo cubes wrong all this time (they've been around since 1910), what else have we been getting wrong? Be prepared to be amazed as we list the little hints, tips and life hacks that really can make everyday living easier....

Life Hack #1. Cubes of joy

The product: Oxo cubes

What we've been doing wrong: Crumble with your fingers directly into the pan, or dissolve a whole cube in a pale of hot water, right? Wrong.

The tip: The correct way to add Oxo cubes to your food is to in fact crush and flatten the stock in its foil wrapper first. You then just simply open the packet with scissors and tip the resulting granules neatly into your saucepan. Who would of thought it?

Life Hack #2. You've been foiled

The product: Tin foil and paper

What we've been doing wrong: Merrily tearing off tin foil (and its cousins cling film and baking paper) without any consideration as to how to keep it in a roll. It inevitably unravels and leaves you with an annoying mess.

The tip: This one has been hiding in plain sight. Did you know that there are actually tabs on the boxes that these products come in that will help you keep everything nice and neat? If you take a look at the square ends of the cardboard containers, there should be a tab on each end. Push these in and abracadabra: makeshift roll holder.

Life Hack #3. Sticky business

The product: Post-its

What we've been doing wrong: Usually peeling away from the bottom by grabbing the loose edge and pulling up, we've been causing our notes to curl and then never lie straight on any flat surface ever. Grr.

The tip: In fairness, this one really isn't obvious. Try peeling your note from the sticky side across, so that the sticky strip is peeled from the stack from one side to the other. Hey presto! A note that will sit straight with minimal curling. You’re welcome.

Life Hack #4. Bananarama

The product: Bananas

What we've been doing wrong: So it turns out snapping the stalk end is not the easiest way to get to the fruit inside, as this often leaves it mushy and bruised. Yuck!

The tip: Take inspiration from monkeys and peel your banana by turning it upside down. Just give the end without a stalk a gentle squeeze on either side, and the skin will pop open easily into two or three neat strips. Amazing!

Life Hack #5. Straw-ly good

The product: Straws

What we've been doing wrong: Plonking a straw straight into a fizzy drink can does not work well, we can attest.

The tip: Instead of wrestling with your bobbing straw, once you've opened your drink just turn the pull tab around 180 degrees until it covers the drinking hole. The small round opening in the pull tab can now be used as a straw holder. Brilliant.

Life Hack #6. Egg-cellent choice

The product: Eggs

What we've been doing wrong: Who isn't used to picking cracked shell out of their mix? As it turns out, cracking your egg on the side of the bowl isn't the best way to do it, as it creates tiny shards that sneak into your bowl.

The tip: By giving the side of your egg a gentle tap on a flat surface, only the very outer layer of shell will break, leaving the thin membrane that sits just under the shell intact. Any stray pieces of eggshell will stay attached to this membrane, making it much easier to open the egg without getting shell everywhere. Win win!

Life Hack #7. Grip me tender

The product: Hair grips

What we've been doing wrong: We've been doing our hair and ourselves a disservice by using these the wavy end up.

The tip: Easy – just turn it around! The wavy side of the grip is designed to scoop up hair and hold it in its grooved channels with ease, while the flat side works best on top, pressing the hair down and gripping it tight. It works, trust us.

Life Hack #8. The Bermuda triangle

The product: Toblerone

What we've been doing wrong: The worst thing about this yummy chocolate bar of goodness is that the triangles are just too darn difficult to remove. Oww!

The tip: There is no need to resort to a sharp knife or breaking your teeth to get a single triangle away from the bar. Instead of pulling the individual chunks away from the rest of the bar, you should use your thumb to push the tip of the first triangle back towards the other chocolate segments, easily snapping off the triangle. Yum!

Life Hack #9. Tic-tac-tock

The product: Tic Tacs

What we've been doing wrong: It’s hard to offer one to anybody, seeing as when you upend the box they all come tumbling out.

The tip: Just don’t upend them with the tab open. Tic tacs actually have a really handy inbuilt function in the lid that helps you just get one at a time. Simply close the box, turn it upside down and give it a shake. Then carefully turn the box on its side, open by holding the lid and gently pulling the carton away from it at the same time. Inside the lid you should find a neatly slotted single sweet. Ta-da!

Life Hack #10. Trip me up

The product: Shoelaces

What we've been doing wrong: Lacing them up the usual way, apparently.

The tip: You probably won’t know about this unless you are a professional runner – and warning: it’s a little bit complicated. The extra set of shoelace eyelets at the top of your trainers has a purpose. They’re there to stop your feet sliding around in your shoes and blisters forming when you run.

1. Lace up your shoes as normal, stopping when you get to the top.
2. Use the two top eyelets to create a loop of shoelace on either side of the shoe. You do this by threading the laces through so that the loops are on top of the shoes, with the loose ends of the laces coming out from the undersides of the top eyelets.
3. Now create a 'lace lock', by threading the loose end of each lace through the loop on the opposite side of the shoe.
4. Pull tight and tie a bow and marvel at the difference.

Magic.

Life Hack #11. Drive me nutty

The product: Pistachio nuts

What we've been doing wrong: When the shells are too tight to open with fingers, we often resort to biting them, leaving shards of shell in our mouth. Not so tasty.

The tip: This is a case of nature knows best. By using half an empty shell to prise open any closed nuts, the pistachio should pop open. Simple.

Life Hack #12. Ice, Ice baby

The product: Ice-cream

What we've been doing wrong: It turns out scooping ice cream when it’s rock solid is a big no-no.

The tip: instead slice your favourite frozen dessert. Cut through tubs with a sharp bread knife before simply peeling away the outer container from your portions. Violá!