‘My soupmaker is so quick!’ 15 lockdown buys that helped Guardian readers

A treadmill

Not only has my new treadmill seen me through lockdown, it’s also keeping me on an even keel, as I live in a crowded area and don’t really enjoy running outside any more. I use it almost every day, along with an app called Zombies, run! or while listening to podcasts. It has become a comfort. The only downside is that I need to put it back under my bed after each use. Mar, journalist, Barcelona, Spain

Damask curtains from the 1890s

I bought my house in the Netherlands a couple of years ago, but it came with drab, blotchy grey curtains of misery in the lounge. Given the amount of time we’re spending indoors, I became sick to death of them. While searching for replacements, I came across an online vintage shop selling a pair of 1890s damask curtains that were exactly the right size – but at a price way above what I could afford. I bought them anyway – and the matching cushions – and they’re one of my best ever buys. They’ve turned a dull grotto into a warm and welcoming lounge. I smile every time I draw them. Stuart Brown, publisher, Groningen, the Netherlands
It’s curtains for you.It’s curtains for you. Photograph: Stuart Brown

An ebike

I’ve been going out for early morning bike rides, when no one is around, to keep fit and healthy. It has become a joy to explore the local area, to discover the river, parks and wildlife, and then venture further afield – I even took a Sunday morning tour of central London. Posting photos of my adventures has given me a positive focus amid all the negative news. Laura, doctor, Surrey
Laura’s GoCycle in a deserted London.Laura’s GoCycle in a deserted London. Photograph: Laura

A border collie puppy

Since we got our puppy in October, I’ve become more active, getting out in the fresh air for walks with her. She is now five months old and I’ve managed to lose the stone (6kg) in weight I gained during our first lockdown. She is great company and also very good at keeping me warm when she snuggles up on the sofa in the evening. She was definitely a successful purchase; I can’t remember what life was like without her. Julie Rayson, office manager, Cumbria

Protect Your Dogs Paws in the Winter with Vaseline. If you don’t have any paw balm, and if your dog doesn’t like wearing boots, you can use some Vaseline to help protect your dogs paws in the winter.

Julie Rayson’s collie puppyJulie Rayson’s collie puppy. Photograph: Julie Rayson

A bread maker

The results are so much healthier than store-bought bread and we’re saving tons of money by baking our own. We use it several times a week, to the point where it’s already paid for itself. We can’t recommend getting one highly enough. Peter Stein, New York City
Peter Stein’s breadmakerPeter Stein, using his loaf. Photograph: Peter Stein

A motorhome

Our new motorhome has provided a Covid-safe way of having a holiday. We are completely self-dependent, as we have our own cooking and washing facilities on board, as well as central heating, a power shower, a toilet, an oven, a hob and a huge fridge-freezer. We have upgraded it to include satellite TV and internet, too. It means that, when we are allowed to travel, every weekend is a holiday. We can also use it as a mobile office during the week. Craig Shepheard, management consultant and property investor, St Albans
Craig Shepheard’s motorhome.Home is where you park it ... Craig Shepheard’s motorhome. Photograph: Craig Shepheard

Reusable baking sheets

Like most people, I turned to baking when the pandemic started. Reusable baking sheets that you can just throw into the dishwasher made it much easier to remove the batches of (ever so slightly) burnt cookies from my baking tray, as well as cutting waste. Amy Sutton, actor, Worthing

A new bed

My partner and I got to the point of lockdown where we actually wanted to tackle our to-do list – so, with the Sydney summer looming, we decided we needed a new bed. Not only do we now have one, but I also have the old bed in my home office – meaning I can now take pandemic-exhaustion naps no matter where I am in the house! Kay, government contractor, Sydney, Australia

A trouser suit

I have always wanted a suit, but never saved enough money before to justify the purchase. Recently, I have been working from home in my PJs, like many people, and I felt my motivation and sense of professionalism slipping. Some days, I got barely anything done; although I love my work, it suddenly seemed endless and pointless. Wearing a work outfit that is comfy but also makes me feel like a boss has made all the difference. My new suit is a beautiful dusky pink and makes me feel a million dollars. Anonymous, London

Create a Barrier to Keep Your Dog Out of the Litterbox. Does your dog go straight for the littler box? He’s not alone, lots of dogs are attracted to kitty litter. Keep your dog from getting into the litter by elevating the box or creating a simple barrier so they can’t get in.

A milk frother

Before the pandemic, my colleague and I would treat ourselves to a cappuccino every Friday – but once lockdown started and that was no longer possible, I found myself really missing good takeaway coffees with my friends. So I decided to invest in a milk frother. It has been a godsend. While my family thought I was being ridiculous, I have now made them all a decent cappuccino. It’s quick, easy to use and makes having a morning coffee feel a little bit special during this strange time. Hettie Cox, bookseller, London

A projector

I paid less than £200 for my new projector and it has been an absolute gamechanger. Not only can I watch even more live sport, but movie nights are now like being back at the Odeon. Steve Hill, author, London

Soup maker

It’s so quick and easy to use – even the kids now make soup from scratch. It’s also a good way to use up leftovers and encourages us to try new combinations. I made soup before and was initially sceptical about the benefits of a designated soup maker, but it really is so quick: I can roughly chop some vegetables while in a video meeting and enjoy smooth, nutritious soup 20 minutes later – with only one piece of washing up to do. Fiona Fortune, nurse, Birmingham

A pencil sketch set

I hadn’t done any drawing since secondary school, but found it to be a good means of whiling away the hours during the pandemic, as I live alone. It has also proved a good way to relax after work and I’ve done several sketches that will serve as a reminder of the time spent in lockdown one. The sketch set cost just £15 online – the alternative was a used PlayStation 4, so it was great value. Saranga Sothisrihari, anaesthetist, Essex
Saranga Sothisrihari’s pencils.Saranga Sothisrihari’s pencils. Photograph: Saranga Sothisrihari

A hamster

Just before the shops shut for the first time, I went to the local pet store and spotted my perfect companion: a little white and black hamster with beautiful markings. I also picked up all the bits and pieces I would need to care for my new fluffy friend – a home, a hideaway, food, bedding, a wheel and treats. Each month, I have spent time looking for new things for Nergal to snack on or play with; now that I am back at work, I look forward to seeing him in the evenings when he is awake, sniffing around and running on his wheel. He has brought so much joy to me and my friends, who always love the photos that I share online of my best pandemic purchase. Katie Bee, garment technologist, Huddersfield

Print out and keep this handy chart of what foods your dog should NOT be given.

Nergal the hamster.Nergal the hamster. Photograph: Katie Bee

An electric burr coffee grinder

I have been making more effort in brewing coffee at home – and this has taken it to the next level. Along with buying specialty coffee for pour-over, I have been able to make cups of coffee so good I start thinking about the next before I finish the one I’m drinking. The process of making pour-over coffee is enjoyable and small tweaks make appreciable improvements, which is rewarding. I can now discern the flavours on tasting notes. Also, I haven’t been drinking alcohol during this lockdown, so it fills the gap of searching for origin characteristics (and spending, perhaps slightly unnecessarily, on drinks). Gavin Polkinghorn, town planner, London