Reclaiming the hack

The positive interpretation of hacking is the application of insights and expertise  – usually in collaboration – to get to a simpler, faster, better outcome. So in that positive spirit here are some life hacks by us, for you…

Pill box hack
Picture this. You’ve got a headache – poor you! You head to the medicine cabinet, grab the box of Aspirin and open it. UGH, minor inconvenience alert! You accidentally open it on the side with the information leaflet and not the side with the pills. It doesn’t ruin your day but it is annoying and by Sod’s Law, it seems to happen every time. Well, what if I told you there’s a way to never make this mistake again?

On every box of tablets, there’s a white edge and there’s an edge with the tablet branding. Open it from the white side and you’ll get the information leaflet, but open it from the colourful, branded side and you’ll get the pills. Works every time!


The tortilla wrap hack
If you’re TikTok addicted like me and the rest of Gen Z, you’ll have seen a fair few foody life hacks come and go in the last year. There’s been whipped coffee, feta pasta and baked oats all of which I’ve tried (and enjoyed!). But one innovative food hack that’s truly stuck is the new way to fold wraps. Doesn’t sound too exciting does it? But trust me, it’s life changing!

Instead of the usual shove-the-ingredients-in-the-middle-and-roll technique, take a knife or a pair of scissors and cut a line from the middle of the wrap down to one edge. Then imagine the tortilla in four quadrants – you’ve got 4 sections to load up with different fillings. Fold up the wrap, starting from the bottom left quarter, folding it up over the top left, then folding it over to the top right, then folding it down to the bottom right. Eat immediately or grill for a toasted quesadilla. You can experiment with different fillings; I’m currently loving banana, blueberries and honey for a sweet breakfast! 


The perfect rice hack
It took me until I was 50 to learn how to cook rice properly. Put rice in a saucepan. Cover with 2 – 3 cm of cold water (so that it comes up to the first bend in your finger). Cook with the lid on for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and leave for 2 more minutes. Don’t take the lid off until the time is up. That’s the trick.


The change the bed hack
Putting a clean duvet cover is a night mare, right? Duvet cover over your head, feeding the self-possessed duvet into the corners? No more. Here’s a hack to speed up the time it takes to change your sheets and you’ll never look back. To start, turn your duvet cover inside out…


The poached egg hack
Just to prove that microwaves aren’t simply for drying the cat. I absolutely love this hack for perfect poached eggs. One egg, one mug of hot water, and one minute. From Tik Tok.


The cycling hacks
Many of us are rediscovering cycling. Here are a couple of hacks to make your trip more comfortable, faster and easier.

The saddle height hack. Put your bike next to a wall or work surface so you can steady yourself – or get a friend to hold the handlebars. Get on the bike, put your right leg on the corresponding pedal, and rotate it backwards until it reaches its lowest point. Move your foot so that your heel is now in contact with the surface of the pedal. In that position your leg ideally needs to be fully extended, with your hip, knee and ankle in line. If you can’t fully extend the leg, your saddle is too low. So adjust it. If it’s going to be a big adjustment, do it in stages and give yourself a chance to adapt in between. 

The benefit: You’ll tire less quickly, the ride will feel easier, and you’ll save long term wear and tear on your knees. 

A hack for the hills: First, the science bit. For any target speed, it’s more efficient to peddle quickly and lightly in an ‘easy’ gear than to crunch a ‘hard’ gear slowly. So to make those hills a little less daunting, do this. Change to your easiest gear. On the back wheel, that’s the one closest to the spokes: if your gear shifter has numbers, it’ll be number 1. If you’ve more than one chain ring at the pedals, it’s the smallest one you want, closest to the frame. Then pick a leg – either will do. You’re aiming for around 80 pushes on that pedal every minute, or about 12 pushes in any ten seconds. You’ll soon get the feel of that rhythm. If it’s all too easy, or you’re spinning too quickly, change up one gear and test that out. Keep adjusting until you’re making no more than the effort you want to make. If you can’t see the top of the hill from the bottom, be extra conservative. And only stand up on the pedals if you want a better view of the scenery: you’re more efficient in the saddle.

The benefit: Now, you’re in control of the hill, not the other way around. 

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