It’s said that giving is better than receiving, but the maxim has a flaw: it assumes that the giver and the receiver are never one and the same. We all know that generosity feels good, and there’s sound scientific basis for it: research shows that the act of giving activates the neural networks associated with pleasure – the same ones triggered by food or drugs – in a phenomenon known as the “helper’s high”.But that doesn’t mean you can’t help yourself. After all, receiving gifts feels pretty good, too, and no one is more familiar with your taste, habits and predilections than, well, you. Besides, you’ve had a tough few months and, as any good psychologist will attest, work is not its own reward. Self-care doesn’t come naturally to us all, however. So, if you can’t quite find it in you to love yourself, we’d advise cutting out the following pages and giving them to a relative with the relevant items clearly marked. You’ve been a very good boy this year, after all.
Fitbit Sense Smartwatch
This new smartwatch from Fitbit doesn’t just clock the movements you make but how your body responds to them. Along with the usual tick list (including 20-plus exercise modes), the Sense evaluates your electrodermal activity and heart rhythm to assess your stress levels. Its six-day battery life is handy, too.
Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds with Personalised Sound
Scientists believe that the shape of your ears is as unique as your fingerprints, and the way they process sound is personal, too. NuraLoop’s gym-friendly, sweat-resistant in-ear buds address this by fine-tuning their output to provide a truly personalised sound. They also offer 16 hours
of battery life and highly effective noise cancellation
Nike Metcon 6 Training Shoe
If you’re serious about raising your bar in 2021 – while reducing the stress on your back – you need kicks that are fit for the task. Nike’s peerless training shoe is designed for workouts of any intensity, from heavy barbell work to pacy plyometrics and even (short) runs. They’re breathable and light, and the closest thing you’ll get to stealing kit straight out of an athlete’s locker.
Pixel 4A Android Mobile Phone
The Pixel 4a packs the best of Google’s smartphones into one box of tricks. The 12.2-megapixel rear camera takes top-notch HDR+ photos and videos, with free unlimited storage on Google Photos. Its battery learns which apps you use the most, reducing the power used by the others.
BOOM 3 Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
From back-garden WODs to sprints in the park, outdoor training has been the default for many of us this year. But don’t let winter’s somewhat less clement weather throw you off your game. This wireless portable speaker has 15 hours of battery life and a fully weatherproof casing. The myBOOM Studio even allows you to customise the fabric pattern, so you can match it to your activewear.
Terrex Free Hiker COLD.RDY Hiking Boots
Leave the office behind with the most technically advanced all-terrain walking shoe from Adidas’s Terrex division. The sock-like upper fits your feet snugly, while keeping your feet warm and socks dry, and the responsive Boost midsole pushes you onwards and upwards, even when your head wants to give in. They’re slick enough for your urban expeditions, too.
SelectTech Adjustable Kettlebell
For those with neither the budget nor the space for a three-tier weights rack at home, the stark choice is often between weights that are impractically heavy and those that are ineffectually light. This kettlebell will ring the changes. Part of the adjustable SelectTech line, it can be scaled up or down in six increments, from 3.5kg up to 18kg, meaning you can share it with your less-swole friends and family, too.
Home-brewed kombucha might have been the trend a few years ago, but it’s been a rough year and you’ve earned something stronger. Studies show that the hops in beer raise levels of the brain chemical GABA, a deficiency of which can lead to anxiety. The MiniBrew’s video guides will walk you through the brewing process, with recipes from premium breweries for you to pore over. Tap your beer directly from the keg.
Echo Show 5 – Stay in touch with the help of Alexa, White
Amazon’s latest smart speaker, the Show 5, takes its name from its new 5.5in touchscreen, which allows you to stream video content – it’ll prove handy if you find yourself zoning out during a monotonous response to: “Cooking time for a 6kg turkey?” For aspirant chefs, it comes equipped with the BBC Good Food skills, so you can request recipes by ingredient or cuisine type, then benefit from hands-free guidance when your fingers are covered in food.
DJI Mini 2
Weighing less than 250g, this is the lightest drone in the sky and the ultimate toy for capturing epic cinematic shots of outdoor adventures and workouts. It’s portable enough to squeeze into the smallest pack, and you don’t need a licence to fly it in the UK. It features a 2.7K camera for 4K HD video.
SF HYBRID JACKET
Founded and operated by former British special forces soldiers, Thrudark tests its equipment in extreme environments and under the stress of scrambling up mountains, rappelling out of helicopters and tombstoning off cliffs. Its SF Hybrid has all the rugged functionality of a utility jacket in the stylish shape of a classic combat shirt. You’ll break before it does.
Primus – Fire Stick Stove TI – Gas stove
A roaring campfire ignites a primal joy. But for the weekend woodsman who wants to knock up a warm lunch for the kids without having to coax wet twigs to catch alight, a canister stove is your portable hob. The Firestick, by market leaders Primus, weighs 105g and connects directly to a small can of camping gas. So save your fire-building skills for when you actually have time.
UA x Project Rock 60 Bag
Don’t let the practicality of your gym bag preclude style. Part of a collaboration with Dwayne Johnson, this heavy-duty canvas duffel boasts padded straps, insulated pockets and a 15in MacBook Pro sleeve to keep sweaty kit away from your hardware. You’ll be all set for the nine-to-five (or 4am to 5pm) hustle.
Cold Brew Coffee Maker Cold Dripper Slow Drip Cold Coffee Brewer 6-8 cups /28oz with Adjustable Rate BPA Free Dripper,Stainless Steel Filter Loose Leaf Teapot Enjoy Low Acid Coffee
A KeepCup and a quick detour to Pret might have sufficed when you were on the move every day, but long stints in your home office allow for something more satisfying. This glass-and-bamboo cold brewer makes up to eight ice-cold cups with a cleaner taste and less acid than traditional coffee, while an adjustable drip lets you tweak the strength according to how much you need those jump leads.
Canvas II the Smart Art Frame
Unless you’ve made a king’s ransom unicorning a tech start-up, owning fine art will be beyond your reach. So try Meural’s digital frame: it streams a library of 30,000 works of iconic or emerging art on to your walls via a hyper-real display packing 16.7 million colours. Perfect for your home-office set-up.
GXT 258 Fyru USB 4-In-1 Microphone
Planning to launch a fitness podcast or YouTube channel in 2021? Or just eager to come across louder and clearer when you’re kicking arse in CoD or Fifa? This four-in-one streaming mic offers a choice of recording modes – cardioid, bi-directional, stereo and omni-directional – for capturing rich, clear sound whether you’re recording monologues, interviews or group chats, or shouting a hearty, “Eat that, mutha…”
Wodsox Weighted Vest
Press-ups, squats and burpees feeling like child’s play? Then increase the resistance by strapping on a weighted vest for your next bodyweight session to build muscle that’s more functional than any dumbbell could achieve. WIT’s Hero vest pays tribute to military service personnel and can be adjusted in size from XS to XL. That means you can loosen it up as your chest grows broader.
Sous Vide Precision Cooker Nano | Bluetooth | 750W | Anova App Included
Once a technique largely employed in professional kitchens, sous vide is now an easy option for home chefs of more modest skill grades, thanks to gadgets such as this. This precision cooker enables precise temperature control; simply bag your protein or veg, attach the device to your pot and use the iPhone app to select your desired level of doneness. It’ll ensure your lean meats don’t come out tasting like rubber.
Smart Swim Goggles
Not every workout should be a wipeout, but low impact needn’t equate to low interest. Wring maximum benefit from your recovery-day swim sessions with Form’s smart goggles, which track your stroke rate, split times, calorie burn and heart rate, then float that data in front of your eyes. Plus, with seven nose bridge sizes, contoured silicone eye seals and anti-fog lenses, they’ll also fulfil their main function of helping you see where you’re swimming.
Aura Studio 3
Light and sound can boost your mood and focus, as well as enhance your sleep. With its transparent dome inspired by a Jony Ive design for Apple, this Bluetooth speaker combines all of these benefits in a single package. It delivers room-filling, 360° sound via two 15-watt tweeters and a 100-watt subwoofer, while mood-amplifying ambient light dances to your chosen soundtrack, helping you tune in, zone out or doze off.
Freefly Systems Movi Cinema Robot Smartphone Stabilizer
A cut above your regular smartphone gimbal, the Movi has a dual-motor stabiliser to help you shoot Hollywood-style hero shots of even your bumpiest, most extreme active endeavours. You can place it anywhere without a tripod, and one charge lets you capture eight hours of next-level footage, with features including an automatic pan and a moving time-lapse that speeds up the world as you run, ride or SUP.
Domino Apple Watch Charger
The Apple Watch may be an exceptional health and fitness tool but, until battery technology takes a quantum leap, charging it daily will be a necessary evil. This wireless energy dock is a slick antidote to ugly plastic accessories. It’s crafted from solid-turned raw brass or aluminium and the finest walnut or solid cherry timber, with a precision-cut slot for your existing charger so you can rejuice in style.
Smart Garden 9 Indoor Gardening Kit
No matter how virtuous the contents of your shopping basket, the sad reality is that plants start losing their micronutrients from the moment they’re picked. Luckily, growing your own isn’t just for the green of finger. This app-controlled indoor garden is fitted with automatic watering and nutrient delivery systems, and makes harvesting fresh basil, chillies and other healthy plants as simple as operating a vending machine.
Halo Sport 2
Pop these cans on for 20 minutes before your workout and the grey nodules use transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) – tiny electrical signals – to put your brain into a state of “hyper-learning”, increasing its ability to adapt. Use it to accelerate gains in strength, explosiveness, endurance and muscle memory. Or use it to learn to play the piano.
Scaredy Cat Tee
A percentage of every sale at I’m Fine — a clothing an art brand with a mission to dispel the stigma of ill mental health — will be donated to Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), a charity that exists to prevent male suicide in the UK.
TomTom Go Camper
Small campsites, ancient woodlands and secluded trails are notoriously tricky to locate, especially when your smartphone map guides you to the back of a disused petrol station (“You have reached your destination”). TomTom’s version can adapt its route to accommodate camper vans and caravans, and it updates over Wi-Fi so you’re always on the right track.
A minimalist’s dream, this implausibly versatile tool is equipped to replace half of what’s in your kitchen cupboards: it whisks, blends, browns, steams, sautés and slow-cooks. But its USP is fermentation. The Thermomix creates the perfect environment in which good bacteria thrive, making gut-healthy probiotic yogurt or raising your sourdough at the touch of a button.
New Tradition Yanagiba Right (5 sizes)
Ceviche, poke, sashimi, crudo, carpaccio – in recent years, restaurants have been awash with trendy raw fish dishes. But to level up your home skills, you’ll need the right tools: not every knife is up to the task. This ultra-sharp, hand-crafted Japanese knife is ideal for filleting, skinning and dicing, but it will also make light work of your veg prep. Plus, the traditional shape will signal to everyone that you’re a master.
New Tradition £139
Citrus Press, Aluminum Mint Green
By ensuring that your citrus isn’t exposed to heat, cold pressing preserves more nutrients than industrial pulping processes. This one will give you an arm workout, too, and take up less space on your worktop (and in your dishwasher) than a 12-part plastic juicer. Don’t waste it on “cleansing” green juices: use it to squeeze lemons and limes for your marinades, dressings and weekend whisky sours.
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