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9 Weirdly Useful Things To Try Out In September

Tried and tested by BuzzFeed editors. Including a budget gadget that makes holding your phone one-handed a dream.

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Hi! I'm the kind of person who messages my friends with products I'm obsessed with. And at work, my team and I are constantly recommending products to each other. So we thought we'd let you know what we're digging too.

For the sake of transparency, we'll always let you know if we're recommending something that we tried as a press sample/got for free.

1. An addictive two-player game that you can take anywhere.

Tabatha Leggett/BuzzFeed

"I bought Hive before a long holiday with my boyfriend two years ago. It's a two player game that's a bit like chess, but quicker – one game takes about 15 minutes. We were traveling across Scandinavia and getting trains almost every other day, which made Hive perfect because you don't need a board for it. The aim of the game is to surround the queen bee with other insects, which all move in different ways. It sounds odd but is honestly the most compelling game I've ever played." – Tabatha Leggett

Get Hive on Amazon, £19.95

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2. A barely there texturising spray that will revamp fine hair without making it greasy.

Ailbhe Malone/ BuzzFeed

So, storytime: I have very fine short hair that could always use some volume but I HATE having product in it – perhaps this is a consequence of my reliance on hairspray during the Indie Disco Years of 2005-07?

Anyway, at a press launch the other day, a hairdresser took me by surprise and put this product in my hair. I was taken aback – it felt really light, comfortable and didn't have a strong fragrance.

It makes my hair look disheveled in a Ye-Ye French girl, just-got-off-my-moped way, and I was so impressed that not only did I tweet about it that day, I've been using it for almost a month now.

Full disclosure, it's a bit expensive (£25) and I'm using a press sample, but I will 100% repurchase.

Get Cool Girl Texturising Spray by Sam McKnight at Liberty, £25.

3. A garlic crusher that will inject some oomph into all your dishes.

amazon.co.uk

"I bought this garlic crusher recently and it's a game changer for my very, very garlicky diet: You can put a clove (or two at a time!) in, with the SKIN STILL ON, and it will skin and mince the garlic with one squeeze. My fingers no longer smell like garlic all the time (my breath probably still does but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯), and it literally takes two seconds to mince now, which saves me precious cooking time." – Chelsey Pippin

Get it on Amazon, £10

4. A lash-boosting mascara that will wake up tired eyes in a blink.

Ailbhe Malone/BuzzFeed

Like Jo March in Little Women, I've always believed in my One True Beauty. For Jo, it was her hair. For me, it's my eyelashes. They're long and dark and thick and carry all my hopes and dreams. So I'm really picky about my mascara – it takes a lot to take me away from Benefit's They're Real. But Lash Alert by Eyeko stands up.

It's lengthening but feels easy to wear, it coats lashes but doesn't leave them spidery, and is long-lasting but comes off easily when you wash your face. It is incredibly difficult to take photos of your eyelashes, but in these pics I'm only wearing Lash Alert and some kohl on my eyes, and they look like a Disney Princess's. Not to brag, but one true beauty etc.

Excitingly, we've got a discount code for BuzzFeed readers on all purchases of Lash Alert until 30 September: BUZZFEED20

Get it at Eyeko, £19

5. Some walking sandals that are cushioned and comfy, but still stylish enough for the office.

instagram.com

"I bought these Teva walking sandals. They are unbelievably comfy, but also smart enough that I can wear them to work and out and about to glamorous places (like the pub). If you love walking everywhere instead of getting the train, cushioned soles make a massive difference – especially if you suffer from backache like I do." – Becky Barnicoat

Get them at Teva, £55

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6. A colourful rug from Amazon that looks way more expensive than it is.

Hilary Mitchell

"I got this rug from Amazon and was pleasantly surprised. It's lush, good-quality, modern, and deep-pile and feels way more luxurious than the price tag or photos suggest." – Hilary Mitchell

Get it on Amazon, £69.99

7. A free 14-day trial of Sky Movies, with up to four devices registered.

Ailbhe Malone/BuzzFeed

If, like me, you spent hours trying to decide what to watch on Netflix, then listen up. I recently spent four days at home with stomach flu and this Now TV pass kept me sane. There's nothing worse than lying, puking on the sofa, trying to find one film you might want to watch, only to be confronted with "Watch Films Similar To How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days". So I downloaded a free two-week trial of Sky Cinema via Now TV, and hoped for the best. I was so impressed!

There's so many recent movies, like Moana, Captain America: Civil War, and Zootropolis. And because Sky isn't affiliated with specific franchises, it has both Marvel and DC stuff (eg both the most recent Avengers and X-Men). The trial lasts 14 days, and you can register up to 4 devices (so a phone, a Chromecast, and two other devices). After that it costs £9.99 a month – and I'm considering sticking with it.

There's one downside – if you have a free trial of the movies pass, you can't have a free trial of the TV pass (e.g. to watch Game of Thrones). But there's no limit on free trials by household, so one person could have a trial of the movies one, and another could trial the TV one, and you could watch them all on the same TV/ register additional devices.

Sign up for a free trial here.

8. A budget gadget for your phone that makes holding your phone one-handed a dream, and helps with carpal tunnel.

Ailbhe Malone/ BuzzFeed

I am a complete Popsocket convert. It's a helpful, extendable grip for your devices that makes holding large phones, Kindles, and tablets one handed really easy! I bought one a few weeks ago as I was starting to feel the early symptoms of carpel tunnel and wanted to find a more relaxing way to hold my Kindle during long public transport journeys. I loved it so much I bought one for my phone the next day!

You can get cute customizable designs at various prices (there's no difference in quality between the £4 and £10 options I chose, just a difference in shipping speeds). It's handy, unobtrusive (it flattens down so it can still fit in your clutch just fine), a nice accessory if you're prone to fidgeting, and genuinely a game changer if you grip devices all day / get any discomfort in your hands. You can also attach multiple Popsockets to a single device to create media stands and headphone anchors, which is super helpful.

Get it on Amazon, £4

9. A quick and easy cookbook full of yummy, healthy dishes with only five ingredients.

Ailbhe Malone/BuzzFeed

I love Jamie Oliver's cooking, but when it comes to cookbooks, I want inspiration rather than prescription. If I want to find out a recipe for, say, aubergine curry, then I'll probably look up a cooking blog. But if I want to know what to make when I've only got eggs, spinach, and sriracha in the house, then the internet is less helpful.

That's why Jamie's new book is so useful. Each recipe only has five ingredients, and there are plenty of time-saving tips (like buying tinned cooked lentils etc). It's especially good if you want to start making more vegetable-focused dishes, or if you're making a quick meal for one person.

I got a press copy of this book a week ago, and have already made four things from it, and have at least seven other recipes bookmarked. In the photo, you can see Mexican eggs – a delicious and protein-packed breakfast that took 10 minutes start to finish.

Get 5 Ingredients by Jamie Oliver on Amazon, £10.99

Is there something you think we should try out next month? Let us know in the comments.