9 Can’t-Live-Without Purchases That Changed My Life

9 Can't-Live-Without Purchases That Changed My Life | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 50 lifestyle blog

Want to know which are the life-changing wonder products that have transformed my life and the way I live?

Of course we do, I hear you cry…!

Okay, okay, I’m being more than a bit melodramatic when I say things that “changed my life”… I really should have said “things that made my life so much easier” or “things I didn’t know I needed so badly”.

But let’s stick with “life-changing” because I like a bit of drama now and then and to suck you in with what I hope wasn’t too clickbaity…? (Forgive me!) I wrote a similar post a few years back about completely brilliant products I’d bought, so this is a part two if you like.


[Reading time: 4 mins]

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I could have listed soooooo many more products, but I’ve stuck to nine for now. I’ve included home and garden, style and kitchen items… I’ve purposely not included any health and beauty products as I want to talk about them in a separate blog post all by themselves. (Those ones are so good they deserve their own space.)

I’m notorious for making blog posts too long so this way I’ve restricted myself (!) and of course, nine fit neatly into the little grid image I make for these posts ; -)

So without further ado (wooh look at me getting straight to the point), here are…


My top 9 can’t-live-without purchases that changed my life:



9 Can't-Live-Without Purchases That Changed My Life - Samsung Frame TV

1. Samsung The Frame 50″ TV  OR 43″ TV plus soundbar

We’d always said that when our (old) TV gave up the ghost, I wanted to get a Samsung Smart Frame TV. I’m not a fan of crazy large TVs because I detest that ginormous black rectangle overpowering your living space which just kills the aesthetic of a room. But this TV is designed to look exactly like a picture frame because when you’re not watching TV, you can display artwork with a “cardboard mount” on it… and OH MY DAYS it looks 100% realistic. They provide a limited number of free designs or you can pay to have unlimited artwork. Best of all, you can upload your own art, photography, images, etc. I don’t regret a single penny we paid for this TV – it’s mounted flush to the wall (it’s super thin) and looks like a picture frame. Feckin magic.

The soundbar is an optional thing, we put ours behind us away from where the dog sleeps. Her favourite bed – way bigger than a child’s cot – only really fits right under the TV and we don’t like the sound coming out of the TV and blaring at her. The soundbar means we can have sound coming from behind us and the dog isn’t disturbed at all.


9 Can't-Live-Without Purchases That Changed My Life - LED hands-free head magnifier

2. LED hands-free head magnifier

I would now be officially LOST without this head magnifier – I use it for so many jobs that my glasses just aren’t man enough for. If your eyesight is failing you or you just want to see something super close up without any strain whatsoever, this is for you. I use it for painting my nails. I use it to check my dog’s paws, ears or anything I need to see close up on her. I use it for sewing and threading those pesky needles. I use it for close-work painting. I use it to mend things that require precision. So. Many. Uses.


9 Can't-Live-Without Purchases That Changed My Life - Travel sleeping bag liner

3. Travel sleeping bag liner

This clever bag serves two purposes: 1) if you’re staying overnight at someone’s house, you can sleep inside this and they don’t have to change the sheets afterwards. And 2) it’s fabulous when you’re away from home in a hotel or Airbnb, etc. and they only have one thick, winter quilt on the bed which is WAY too hot to sleep under. We went to Cornwall last year during that hot June we had and THANK GOD I took this, it was all we needed to sleep with and we stayed nice and cool.


9 Can't-Live-Without Purchases That Changed My Life - Garden claw gloves

4. Gardening claw gloves

I’ve talked about these before, but ughhhhhh so many gardening jobs are made easier with these claw gloves. Grass clippings to pick up? Just scrape them up easily with the claws. Need to get compost out of a bag for repotting? No problem, just scoop it out with the claw gloves. The addition of claws on the end of gardening gloves was a GENIUS idea, so thank you, thank you to whoever invented these.



9 Can't-Live-Without Purchases That Changed My Life - Travel sunglasses organiser

5. Travel sunglasses organiser

As someone who likes having different styles of sunglasses to go with my outfits, I could never find a good way of transporting the several pairs I’d take away with me… till I found this organiser. Depending on the style you can sometimes fit two pairs into each section, and it’s completely rigid so they’re all beautifully protected.


9 Can't-Live-Without Purchases That Changed My Life - Comfortable cloud sliders

6. The MOST comfortable cloud sliders

As soon as it’s warm enough to wear slippers without socks, I wear these around the house all day. I love them so much – and they are SO comfortable – that I bought several pairs in different colours (one pair from a charity shop too). I’ve had a lot of trouble with sciatic pain for many months and it means painful feet: these sliders give you all the squishiness underfoot you could ever need. Indoors or outdoors, it doesn’t matter.



9 Can't-Live-Without Purchases That Changed My Life - Popcorn maker machine

7. Popcorn maker machine

I know you can get microwave popcorn bags and this might seem like a faff, but I’ve timed it and it takes me just SIX minutes from taking the machine out of the cupboard to having a bowl of hot, freshly popped popcorn to eat. I also like it completely plain, but a sprinkling of salt might be necessary for those who like a little saltiness. Soooo much cheaper than buying ready-made bags of popcorn too.


9 Can't-Live-Without Purchases That Changed My Life - Japanese steel kitchen knife

8. Japanese steel kitchen knife

Why did I not buy one of these years ago? WHY?! I’d always known about “those amazingly sharp Japanese knives” but just never got round to buying one, in the meantime just plodding along with my standard kitchen knives. I bought one on a whim (after reading all the good reviews) and have not looked back. It’s so good it has spoiled the use of all other knives.

Warning: it goes without saying really but FFS BE CAREFUL USING THESE. The merest hint of a gentle slip will take the skin off your finger like it’s nothing. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.


9 Can't-Live-Without Purchases That Changed My Life - Dishwasher magnet

9. Dishwasher magnet in blue, pink or white – or black and white – or a sliding one

An absolute godsend for yourself and for anyone visiting, being able to see if the dishwasher contents are clean or dirty without opening the door and trying to assess the dirt situation is so helpful. As soon as we put the dishwasher on the magnet gets switched to Clean. Once it’s emptied, it goes back to Dirty. Having one of these really helps my elderly mum too, we often load or empty her dishwasher for her and there’s no wondering if it needs emptying or mistakenly adding dirty stuff to clean.

And if your dishwasher is integrated like ours and a magnet won’t stick, don’t worry – they usually come with a magnet on a sticky pad so you can stick that part to the door front.


Your turn – are you obsessed with any can’t-live-without purchases you’ve made? Do you think any of my items will dramatically (LOL) change your life too?? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


Thanks for reading,

Catherine signature



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  1. Jane
    12 June 2024 / 12:42 pm

    Hiya – great list – off to check out the claw gardening gloves – they look ace!!

    Just wondering, what happened to the over 40’s collective? The links don;t seem to work? As an over 50’s person this seemed like such a great idea – is it still a thing?

    Thanks πŸ™‚

  2. 5 June 2024 / 3:52 pm

    OMG how have I not heard of most of these?!! I love the idea of your TV….might have to look into that for the new house!
    Great post, Catherine! Off to have a look at those cloud sliders now. Michael and I have been looking for some but unsure which ones are good! So thanks for that!
    Suzy xx

    • Catherine
      5 June 2024 / 6:18 pm

      Honestly the TV is incredible, Suzy – even my 12-year-old great nephew was impressed and couldn’t believe it was a TV when he came round and saw it on “picture mode”!!

      The cloud sliders barely leave my feet in the warmer months… I’d wear them all year round if I could. And thank you – glad you enjoyed these items! x

  3. Carolyn
    3 June 2024 / 4:21 pm

    Great list, I’m already wanting the claw gloves and cloud slippers! My useful gadget is the Lil Chizler. It’s so cheap and can safely scrape almost anything from anywhere!

    • Catherine
      5 June 2024 / 6:19 pm

      Oooh I’ve not heard of the Lil Chizler, Carolyn: will look it up now! And if it’s cheap as you say then that makes a brilliant purchase even more brilliant, doesn’t it πŸ˜‰

  4. Lynn Jones
    2 June 2024 / 7:03 pm

    Ooo, what a list! Does the dog bed count as a must have gadget? Otherwise, you may need an extra sofa πŸ™‚ Quite fancy the dishwasher magnet to (dream on!) encourage our teen to pop his pots in the dishwasher.

    Hmm…. In no particular order:

    Garlic crusher – maybe it’s having watched The Lost Boys too many times, but life is too short to chop garlic by hand. Mmm… garlic!

    Shoe stretcher – this one does flats, heels, and if you’re careful, boots too. Many a just-not-quite-big-enough-argh-but-so-fab pairs of shoes helped along to fit.

    Streaming stick – this updated our old TV to use the usual suspects of apps for watching TV on demand. Significantly less expensive than a new telly box too.

    Wet dry vacuum – if you have dogs, kids, and/or are a bit of klutz, I think this is a must. Well, unless you have stone floors and a power washer πŸ˜‰

    Heat pump tumbler – expensive to buy but a lot cheaper to run. The smart mode means it just warms and recycles the house heat enough. Plus, nothing has been shrunk yet. A win in my book.

    • Catherine
      5 June 2024 / 6:26 pm

      Hehe Lynn I can go one further on the garlic crusher… ready chopped garlic in a jar. I know chefs may scoff but honestly, it’s even greater [for me] than the garlic crusher! Life’s DEFINITELY too short to chop by hand as you say, lol πŸ˜‰

      I’m actually thinking of encouraging my mum to get a wet/dry vacuum, it could be something we borrow when needed! πŸ˜‰

      We bought a streaming stick when we still had our previous TV – and yes I agree, it was a really good idea. Our old TV finally died (it had a really good run [for TVs] of about 16 years though) and I went, SAMSUNG FRAME! NOW!! lol x

  5. Sanja
    2 June 2024 / 12:27 pm

    My electric egg poacher. I could never make a good ‘poachie’ in the saucepan… but this…. mmmmm perfect every time!!
    And Laneige Sleeping Lip Mask… just fabulous for my 64 year old lips…
    Love your list Catherine…

    • Catherine
      5 June 2024 / 6:29 pm

      Sanja I can’t make a poached egg to save my life either… we don’t have an electric one but we do have a special poacher saucepan with four compartments for the poached eggs: this works really well too! We do have an electric boiled egg machine though – I’m not ashamed to admit I like gadgets made for lazy cooks, hehe

      And thank you, glad you liked the list x

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