Monday, June 24, 2013

Things I couldn't live without in Europe

I've been living overseas now for almost five years and there are a few simple and inexpensive things I would like to share that I absolutely couldn't live without:

1) A euro coin holder. A friend gave this to me at a Christmas gift exchange. Her husband picked it up in an airport somewhere in Europe. I LOVE THIS! When fumbling for change in any euro-country, this gadget makes producing the correct change simple business.

A euro coin holder. Keeps the bottom of my purse tidy!

 2) A handy-dandy light weight luggage scale. Clip this around your suitcase handle, push the power button and it gives you your luggage weight in both kilos and pounds. This thing is very popular in our house and has saved our life packing for ryanair flights (they are very, very strict about luggage weight). I bought out of  a Belgian hardware store 5 euro bin. Couldn't live without it... seriously!
A luggage scale

3) A food scale with both pounds and kilos on it. Aside from using this thing daily for weighing stuff, I use it for quickly adapting European recipes... if a recipe calls for 1 pound of fish, I glance at my scale and see that 1 pound equals approximately 425 grams. Then, on my grocery list,  I jot down the weight in both grams and pounds (in case I end up needing to get it at the commissary).
A food scale.

4) An oven temperature converter. I clipped this one out of newcomer's booklet and use it constantly as you can see by the food stains HA!

Oven temperature conversion chart

 5) Grocery bags that fit easily into your purse or pocket. I have mentioned this before, and perhaps these are more popular now in the states than they were when I left, but in Europe these bags are invaluable to have in your pocket or purse. I also have larger reusable shopping bags (about 15) nested and ready to go for those big grocery trips. These pictured below, I keep on me all the time. In Europe, you pay for your plastic bags if you come unprepared. After paying two or three times for plastic bags, the cheapskate in me caught on...

Reusable shopping bags

6) A good supply of travel and language learning books. I did not buy one of these at full price (except the Italian language workbook) but instead was gifted them from people leaving the area or I bought them for $2-5 each on the base Facebook-For-Sale page. The fact that the books are several years old mean nothing to me... this is Europe folks, nothing ever changes! If you are not a book hoarder like me or you don't want to spend the money, don't despair, your local library has all this stuff in triplicate!

A good selection of travel books and language learning.

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