Savvy Surfers Life Hacks #007

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Welcome to week 7 of our Savvy Surfers Life Hacks!

Often we perform the most mundane tasks on autopilot, without ever thinking that there could be a different or better way. But with just a simple twist, we can transform an everyday task, making it better, simpler and more user-friendly.

This week we’ve got for you our top five hacks that garner the response “I never knew that!”. Sharing the knowledge of these simple tricks helps everyone’s lives run just that bit smoother. As the saying goes, “Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.”


Twisted Knot

Untying tricky knot in bag

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Trying to untie knots is often a nail breaking task. Frustration usually sets in, swiftly followed by teeth and then all out trying to tear the thing apart, well in my experience anyway. Maybe those of you with plenty of patience and perseverance skills can undo even the tightest tied knots, but what if there was a better, more simple way to get things undone?

Instead of grappling with the centre of a knot and trying to prise it apart millimetre by millimetre, simply twist the loose ends until they become tight and taught. Now PUSH the ends back in towards the knot, returning them from the direction that they came.

By twisting the loose end of the knot you cause that loop to constrict. This makes it smaller and easier to push through the rest of the knot, meaning that it should slide right through. Some more really tricky knots may need you to do this a few times, but it should still work to undo the knot and it’s certainly easier than trying to gnaw your way undone!


Sharp Scissors

How to sharpen scissors

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Scissors have a fairly hard life, constantly cutting paper, plastic and who knows what else you might task them to chop. But sharpening your scissors yourself at home is easy to do. There’s no need to take them to a professional sharpener, get crazy with a special tool, or heaven forbid bin them and buy new ones. And the best part is that you most likely already have what you need to do it your kitchen cupboards.

Regular household aluminium foil works a treat for sharpening scissors, plus it also helps to straighten and align the blades, smoothing away rough edges and small amounts of rust.

To sharpen your scissors with aluminium foil, take about a foot of foil, and fold it in half four times. Then simply cut into your foil using long scissor strokes, so that the blades get sharpened all the way from the pivot point to the tip. Do this multiple times, until your aluminium foil is nicely shredded into strips.

If your scissors are extra long you can first do your cuts using the deepest part of the scissors and then do another run using the ends. For an extra special touch repeat the exercise using a piece of waxed paper. This will lubricate the blades and help keep them in tip-top condition.

This hack also works on other blades like shears and secateurs. Plus you can do it with hole punches to keep them sharp and popping neat perforations. Three cheers to that we say.


Sandwich Special

Sandwich meat tip

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Making a *ham sandwich (*other ingredients are available) has to be the kind of cooking that even the most basic of budding chefs can get on board with. But did you know that you’ve probably been doing it “wrong” all these years?

Yes, incredibly there’s a nifty life hack that will help you turn your luncheon meat butty into a gourmet snack fit for a king. Instead of just slapping the slices of your preferred delicacy straight inside, cut them in half first.

Now lay your semi-circles of filling on the bread with the rounded parts facing in towards the middle and the nice straight sections neatly aligned with the crust (or the crustless edge for those of you who trim the edges to avoid them turning your hair curly!).

Add your second slice in the same way, along the opposite two edges, and “Voila!” you now have a geometrically filled sandwich that has juicy sustenance stuffed in every bite, with no bare corners and economical overlapping. Whoever said assembling a sandwich was simple?


Perfect Pour

Carton pouring tip

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When I discovered this life hack, I was so blown away with the simplicity and common sense of it, that I wondered if I was the only person who’d been doing it wrong all their life.

It turns out that, like me, most people pour juice out of the carton the wrong way round, spout closest to the glass that is. Now there is logic in this, the less distance that the liquid has to go, the lesser the likelihood of spills and mess. That is until you get to the bit where the juice goes glug, splash, glug, slurp and sprays all over the counter and your best white shirt.

When someone suggested to me that I turn the carton the other way up, I scoffed and retorted “What, you want me to make even more mess?” But it turns out this person wasn’t trying to see my kitchen drenched in juice and was in fact bang on the money.

Pouring from a carton with the hole at the top allows air to get in as you pour, creating a smooth and uninterrupted flow. Now it may seem a bit daunting and unnatural at first. My hand was actually shaking the first time I tried this trick as I was so worried that I’d never make the glass, but hey presto it worked. No more bubbles, no more mess. It’s actually just basic physics, so basic that most of us unfortunately overlook it. Maybe my old science teacher was right and I should’ve paid more attention in class…


Screen Saver

TV brightness tips

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Modern HD and smart TVs make the world look like it’s practically right there in your living room. But did you know that TVs come with a preset default brightness?

This brightness setting is chosen to make each TV screen dazzle and stand out in a store full of other TVs, under masses of fluorescent lighting. At home in your sitting room, kitchen or bedroom, you don’t need the screen to be anywhere near that bright to still enjoy excellent picture quality. In fact, staring at a bright screen for long periods is actually harmful to our eyes.

By lowering the brightness setting of your TV from the default setting you can reduce your power consumption by up to 40%! Not only will this save you money on your monthly electricity bill but it will also help your eye health too.

And don’t forget that this money-saving hack also works on computer monitors and other screens like tablets and eReaders too. Plus, and possibly most useful of all, turning down the brightness on your mobile phone will use up less of the battery, a really helpful hack when you’re far away from a charger and trying to preserve those precious last few percent!

So there we have it, five simple yet eye-opening life hacks for you to try at home. We bet at least one of them made you think “I never knew that!”. If not then maybe you’re already a life hack connoisseur and you could probably teach us a thing or two.

Send us your favourite “I never knew that hacks!” and we’ll feature the best of them in a forthcoming blog, giving you full credit of course. E-mail

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