Stoke journalist turns to paper’s archives to test ‘life hacks’ from decades gone by

Hannah Hiles tried out life hacks from the Sue’s Savers columns from the Sentinel in the mid-1990s.

You can barely move for articles promising ‘life hacks’ online at the moment — especially as the cost of living crisis becomes a reality for many.

But for people in Stoke-on-Trent, such articles can feel like a blast from the past.

For years, the Stoke Sentinel ran a column called Sue’s Savers, which shared advice from readers, each of who would get £3 for every tip they sent in which was published.

Initially featured on the Money Wise consumer advice pages in the 1990s, Sue’s Savers later formed a much-loved part of the Sentinelle women’s supplement, which appeared in the newspaper on Tuesdays.

StokeonTrentLive, the digital home of the Stoke Sentinel, recently revisited the column, to see how many of the tips had stoof the test of time.

Journalist Hannah Hiles said: “I previously worked at The Sentinel from 2001 to 2005 and fondly remember the mythical Sue and her labour- and time-saving tips.

“I still have an A4 print-out that a colleague collated more than 20 years ago featuring the all-time classic Sue’s Savers. Some of them are so completely obvious that it’s amazing they ever got printed, whereas others are really wacky.

“But they all earned the person who sent them in £3 a time and I know people used to enjoy reading the column each week.”

Hannah took three random Sue’s Savers columns from Monday, June 27, 1994. Monday, October 24, 1994, and Monday, May 15, 1995, and set about trying out some of the tips.

Tips tested included:

  • To stop draughts coming through metal key holes, simply cover them over with fridge magnets (LB, Trentham)
  • To separate egg yolk from the white, break the egg into a saucer, place a wine glass over the yolk and pour the white off (KB, Blythe Bridge)
  • Add a small drop of fabric conditioner to warm water and use it to wipe down TV screens, glass-topped tables and hi-fis. It reduces static and helps to stop dust from building up (IG, Cheadle)
  • Pop a small bowl of bicarbonate of soda in your microwave for a few minutes after using it. The soda absorbs lingering smells and picks up any dampness left over from cooking (GR, Penkhull)

Hannah also shared 10 more life hacks from 1994 for readers to try — if they dared.

You can read the article from Hannah here

  • In 2022, Behind Local News aims to celebrate local journalism in all its forms through our 365 Acts of Local Journalism Project. Lets us know what you think should be included. You can email us here or contact us via Twitter on BehindLocalNews or on Facebook here.

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The stories behind the stories, from the regional press in the UK

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