I’m a student and people can’t believe how much I pack into a tiny bag for my holidays

A STUDENT has left viewers stunned after showing how she packs everything for her holidays into a tiny backpack.

TikTok user Kate Hux shared the video on her social media account.

Kate measured the backpack to check it would fit the airline's size chart


Kate measured the backpack to check it would fit the airline’s size chart
Viewers were astonished at how much Kate managed to fit inside the backpack


Viewers were astonished at how much Kate managed to fit inside the backpack

She added the caption “when it says £4.99, I’m making sure it stays £4.99!”, referencing Ryanair’s cheap £4.99 flights.

In the viral clip, she can be seen packing all of the travel essentials into a small beige backpack, in a bid to avoid paying for extra luggage.

Kate begins by measuring the backpack to make sure there won’t be any surprise charges at the airport.

Once happy that the bag fits the airline’s luggage size chart, she begins to lay out all the items needed on her bed.

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Kate packs bulkier items like shoes and a spare handbag at the base of the bag, before adding swimwear, shoes, jewellery and toiletries.

Rolling clothes up to maximise available space in the backpack, Kate adds a hairbrush and electrical items before zipping up the backpack.

One viewer commented: “Girl, I take more than that to work.”

Another put: “Me and my spare 15 pairs of pants could never.”

A third said: “At first i was like ‘no way she’s gonna do it’, and then you proceeded to prove me wrong.”

A travel packing expert has revealed the magic ratio for holidays – and the maximum number of shoes to take.

And an Emirates cabin crew member recently revealed her top five tips for packing a suitcase.

Travel experts have been revealing their top tips for packing luggage


Travel experts have been revealing their top tips for packing luggageCredit: Getty

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UK’s top restaurant is located in tiny Somerset village | Travel News | Travel

SquareMeal has published a list of the top 100 restaurants in the UK, declaring the winner of its annual awards. The top 100 results are a “unique combination of our own in-house critic-led options and thousands of diner votes”, SquareMeal explained.

SquareMeal’s winner is a restaurant located in a tiny village in Somerset, which is home to just 3,000 people.

Osip is a one Michelin star restaurant located in Bruton, in the heart of Somerset.

According to SquareMeal, it deserved to be crowned the winner because it is a “genuine farm-to-table treasure, where produce goes from the kitchen garden to your plate in a “matter of hours”.

The restaurant reviewer added: “The pared-back dining room is a perfect setting for Merlin Labron-Johnson’s deft cooking.”

READ MORE: Travel warning: Britons could spend ‘weeks’ without luggage

The restaurant’s dining room, with its tiled walls and exposed brickwork, is small and dressed in muted pastels and café-style curtains, while the dark wooden tables are covered in white cloth.

The restaurant’s dishes range from £50 to £79 and the menu is predominantly vegetarian.

The second top restaurant in the list is Ynyshir, a five-star restaurant in Eglwys Fach, a village a short drive away from Snowdonia National Park.

SquareMeal said: “Manicured grounds, luxury rooms, courteous service and the peaceful surrounds of an RSPB nature reserve have long been a lure for VIPs and those after some Welsh R&R – although the star attraction at this glorious restaurant-with-rooms is the ‘awesome’ cooking of chef/patron Gareth Ward.


“Leisurely meals unfurl over four hours of 20 doll-sized courses; lunch takes less time, but with nothing but the glorious Welsh countryside for miles around, where else would you be rushing off to? – except, perhaps, one of the 10 individually designed bedrooms, three of which are out in the garden.”

Ynyshir’s dishes include mackerel with rhubarb and back fat, pollack with black beans, and barbecued salmon.

There is also Welsh lamb and Welsh Wagyu beef on the menu.

Number three on the list is Pensons, a restaurant with an ever-changing tasting menu in Tenbury Wells, Herefordshire.

The fourth best British restaurant, according to SquareMeal, is Restaurant Andrew Fairlie in the Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, Scotland.

This restaurant is a two-Michelin-starred fine dining establishment which serves “precise, highly-assured and sophisticated cooking”.

Located in Cartmel, Cumbria, L’Enclume is fifth on the list and offers “hyper-seasonal, farm-to-table tasting menus often consisting of more than twenty courses”.

SquareMeal said of its list: “It’s this dual approach that makes our list incomparable, representing not only our professional opinion but thousands of real-life experiences that help to reinforce and bolster our final decisions.

“It’s no secret that Britain plays host to some incredible culinary talent.

“As a result, the top restaurants in the UK created quite the conundrum.

“From the very north of Scotland to Cornwall’s southern tip, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to dining destinations worth travelling for.

“In order to make a place on the list each restaurant had to offer more than just a good meal, it had to provide guests with an exceptional all-round experience.

“From gorgeous interiors, top-class wine lists and stunning views through to exemplary service and sustainability commitments, we weighed up the whole package.”

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Meet the man who has lived on tiny Pigeon Key island off the coast of Florida for the past 14 years

‘For quite some time it was just me living out here… me, the cat and a [rescue] duck, for a little over a year,’ says Kelly McKinnon, who has spent the past 14 years living on Pigeon Key, a five-acre island off the coast of Florida.

Fortunately, he ‘doesn’t mind the isolation’. 

Plus, he reveals that life there has its interesting moments – his Amazon parcels arrive on ferries, the fishing is epic and a man once arrived from Cuba on a raft – and the lockdown didn’t really affect him: ‘When the pandemic hit, this was the best place in the world to be.’

Kelly McKinnon has spent the past 14 years living on Pigeon Key, pictured, off the coast of Florida. The nearest shop is around two-and-a-half miles away to the west on neighbouring Knights Key, reached via the Old Seven Mile Bridge, which runs right over the island but is disconnected to the east

Kelly McKinnon has spent the past 14 years living on Pigeon Key, pictured, off the coast of Florida. The nearest shop is around two-and-a-half miles away to the west on neighbouring Knights Key, reached via the Old Seven Mile Bridge, which runs right over the island but is disconnected to the east

'It¿s not a place where if you forget the eggs you¿re going to go back. You just do without,¿ says Kelly McKinnon (pictured), one of only four permanent residents on Pigeon Key

‘It’s not a place where if you forget the eggs you’re going to go back. You just do without,’ says Kelly McKinnon (pictured), one of only four permanent residents on Pigeon Key 

On the downside, island life has wreaked havoc with his love life – ‘the island has eaten up a few girlfriends’, he admits. 

McKinnon’s minuscule island home is part of the Florida Keys archipelago that stretches to America’s most southern point and is connected to the Keys in one direction only – to the west, by way of the historic Old Seven Mile Bridge, which runs right over the island but is disconnected to the east.

One of only four permanent residents, he is executive director of the Pigeon Key Foundation, a non-profit organisation that works to protect the area’s culture and history. And with the other three residents employed by McKinnon, he might best be described as ‘the boss of the island’.

The Michigan-born islander lives by himself in a small wooden house built in 1916 – one of just eight buildings on the island – and has got what he describes as a ‘pretty good view’. 

The porch has unspoilt views of crystal clear turquoise water and looks out over a lawn where herons fish from the garden bench, framed by palm trees. 

The nearest shop is around two-and-a-half miles away on neighbouring Knights Key and with access only via boat or the Old Seven Mile Bridge – open to walkers, cyclists and emergency vehicles only – the islanders ‘don’t leave too often’ and need to plan their meals carefully.  

‘It’s not a place where if you forget the eggs you’re going to go back. You just do without,’ McKinnon says.

Asked if he’s able to use Uber Eats to stock up on food and McKinnon laughs heartily.

He says: ‘We don’t get Uber Eats, but sometimes the ferry that comes out will bring our Amazon packages to us.’  

For McKinnon, the idea of getting a home delivery is so alien that when he visits friends in other parts of the world, the first thing he will do is order food. ‘We order a whole bunch of stuff to the door because it’s such a novelty,’ he says. 

The keen fisherman reveals that he gets a lot of his food using his rod, taking his boat out to catch lobster, tuna, hogfish, permit fish and swordfish. 

This drone photo shows the Old Seven Mile Bridge just before its big relaunch in January, 2022

This drone photo shows the Old Seven Mile Bridge just before its big relaunch in January, 2022 

A keen fisherman, Kelly McKinnon and his girlfriend, Ananda Williams (pictured above with Kelly), often take a boat out to catch lobster and fish. ¿We¿re able to source a lot of stuff right here,¿ says McKinnon, who enjoys being self-sufficient. ¿If the bridge blew over tomorrow we could get by.'

McKinnon is pictured here with a permit fish, a game fish native to the western Atlantic Ocean

A keen fisherman, Kelly McKinnon and his girlfriend, Ananda Williams (pictured with Kelly above left), often take a boat out to catch lobster and fish. ‘We’re able to source a lot of stuff right here,’ says McKinnon, who enjoys being self-sufficient. ‘If the bridge blew over tomorrow we could get by.’ He’s pictured on the right with a permit fish, a game fish native to the western Atlantic Ocean

‘We’re able to source a lot of stuff right here,’ says McKinnon, who enjoys being self-sufficient. ‘If the bridge blew over tomorrow we could get by.’

Living off the land on a tropical island might sound like a dream, but as McKinnon has discovered, it’s not for everyone.

‘I mean, I really like it here, but the previous girlfriends haven’t always been that excited about being on the island and being isolated,’ he says.

His current girlfriend, Ananda Williams, is a coral reef research biologist and lives in the city of Marathon, which is strung out along the keys to the west and takes about 20 minutes to reach by bicycle along the Old Seven Mile Bridge. ‘She’s underwater most days and it seems to fit her lifestyle,’ says McKinnon, happy to have found someone who isn’t fazed by a solitary life.

'I mean, I really like it here, but the previous girlfriends haven¿t always been that excited about being on the island and being isolated,' McKinnon (pictured above) admits

‘I mean, I really like it here, but the previous girlfriends haven’t always been that excited about being on the island and being isolated,’ McKinnon (pictured above) admits

Pigeon Key is part of the Florida Keys archipelago that stretches to America¿s most southern point

Pigeon Key is part of the Florida Keys archipelago that stretches to America’s most southern point

This man arrived at Pigeon Key from Havana in 2016, using a small raft

This man arrived at Pigeon Key from Havana in 2016, using a small raft

However, despite the slow pace, the island has a way of throwing up the unexpected.

McKinnon recalls the bizarre day in 2016 when a man arrived at the island having paddled over from Havana.

He says: ‘One day we saw a gentleman running on a piece of the old bridge. Then he jumped in the water and swam up to the island. He had arrived using a small Styrofoam raft and claimed he had jumped in at Havana harbour.   

‘We said hello and got him some water. I think he was allowed to stay.

‘It was an interesting day.’  

Unreliable plumbing, we learn, can also disrupt McKinnon’s schedule.

The sewerage system is the main culprit. Being cut off from the mainland means waste cannot be pumped away, and when things go wrong it’s McKinnon that has to deal with it. ‘You’re literally working in s*** every now and then, so that’s not too glamorous,’ he says.

McKinnon says: ¿We don¿t get Uber Eats, but sometimes the ferry that comes out will bring our Amazon packages to us.' Pictured is one of the houses on Pigeon Key

McKinnon says: ‘We don’t get Uber Eats, but sometimes the ferry that comes out will bring our Amazon packages to us.’ Pictured is one of the houses on Pigeon Key

When the job needs doing, it’s so atrocious that ‘I don’t even feel right about pulling rank and saying “hey – the boss isn’t doing this one”‘, he adds with a shudder.

The sleepy island has also seen some strange goings-on come nightfall. Aside from the twinkling phosphorescent glowworms that light up the ocean (McKinnon says it’s a spectacle not to be missed), some residents claim to have seen ghosts.

People who’ve stayed on the island say they’ve seen ghosts in windows of houses, heard spectral trains going by in the distance or felt a heavy weight on their chests at night.

‘I’ve never experienced any of these things. I don’t really want to,’ McKinnon says. ‘If there are ghosts out here hopefully they know I’m doing my best to take care of the place and keep the history and cultural aspects going.’

For McKinnon, the ghost sightings might be down to people’s wild imaginations, sparked by the island’s fascinating history. 

In the early 1900s, it was the work camp of the 400 men who built what’s now the Old Seven Mile Bridge.

The bridge – originally called Knights Key-Pigeon Key-Moser Channel-Pacet Channel Bridge – used to carry steam trains and was made to the exacting standards of Henry Flagler, a railroad magnate who kept a close eye on his workforce. He was teetotal, and didn’t believe that drinking was conducive to hard work. 

When it was built in 1912, the bridge over Pigeon Key was used to carry trains, as this undated photograph shows. The bridge's original name was the Knights Key-Pigeon Key-Moser Channel-Pacet Channel Bridge

When it was built in 1912, the bridge over Pigeon Key was used to carry trains, as this undated photograph shows. The bridge’s original name was the Knights Key-Pigeon Key-Moser Channel-Pacet Channel Bridge 

McKinnon says: ‘The reality of it is, it probably wasn’t a very nice place to work. Four hundred guys on a small island. No deodorant, limited fresh water, no women, no booze, no gambling.’

It’s these visceral details, together with the old Florida charm of the place, that McKinnon wants to preserve.

 ‘When the pandemic hit, Pigeon Key was the best place in the world to be

Pigeon Key resident Kelly McKinnon

The Pigeon Key Foundation looks to bring the island’s history to life with tours and exhibitions, and they receive well over 200 visitors a day. That number is only set to increase following the $44million renovation of the Old Seven Mile Bridge earlier this year.

‘We’re not looking to turn Pigeon Key into Disney,’ McKinnon says. ‘It’s an unbelievably expensive environment to maintain because everything is 100 years old, made out of wood and in one of the harshest environments you can imagine.

‘We want to keep the vibe without ruining it for everybody – and me! I live out here, so 500 people in the yard a day seems like more than enough.’

McKinnon is pictured here on the Old Seven Mile Bridge with a visiting childhood friend

McKinnon is pictured here on the Old Seven Mile Bridge with a visiting childhood friend

The road bridge next to Old Seven Mile Bridge (above) was built in 1982

The road bridge next to Old Seven Mile Bridge (above) was built in 1982

The marine science centre is another big part of the Pigeon Key Foundation work. Currently, the centre is researching Alzheimer’s and cancer medications derived from creatures in the water, as well as carrying out coral restoration and mangrove plantings.

McKinnon has help in running all of this, of course – the other three island residents work on the environmental and educational programmes.

‘We’re a tight-knit group,’ McKinnon says of his select team, who all started out as interns. The longest-serving employee has lived here for 10 years now, and the shortest, three.  

'When I hire people, I¿m not just hiring an employee. I¿m hiring a neighbour,' says McKinnon

‘When I hire people, I’m not just hiring an employee. I’m hiring a neighbour,’ says McKinnon

McKinnon takes a slow and steady approach to hiring people – and who wouldn’t? There’s no escaping that annoying colleague when you’re living next door. 

‘When I hire people, I’m not just hiring an employee. I’m hiring a neighbour,’ he says about his recruitment process. 

The hints in the questioning seem to land with McKinney, who quickly adds: ‘And I’m not looking to put anyone else on the island.’

Well, that’s our Robinson Crusoe dreams dashed, but at least we can console ourselves with a takeaway.

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11 products for thriving in a tiny home

Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.

I’ve never been a minimalist. When I started college—insisting on packing “essentials” like every piece of clothing I owned and 10(!) bath towels—one parent walking by my throng of suitcases assumed my mother was moving in twins. It didn’t matter that I went to school in the middle of a city (within a block of CVS), or that I was only an hour from home. I felt a need to squeeze a six-month supply of tampons, winter boots I had never worn outside of a ski slope, and a 13-gallon trash can into my tiny shared dorm room. 

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Fast forward a decade, and I still don’t have all that much space. My apartments have all hovered around 500 sq. ft., including a studio that only had one narrow closet. Out of necessity, I had to step up my storage and organization game. But out of preference, I wanted my place to still look like an adult lived there. I wanted posh, not plastic.

After much personal trial and error, I’ve established a roster of products that make it possible to love living in a tiny space—even with a ton of stuff. Spoiler alert: Vertical space is your friend.

1. Cubbies to maximize storage space

While cubbies aren’t a revolutionary storage solution, I can’t say enough about how much of a game-changer the Threshold 6-Cube Organizer Shelf has been. I use two side-by-side, making for more than 12 cu. ft. of extra space for everything from sweaters to cleaning supplies. (I even have one dedicated to yarn and knitting supplies, a hobby that wouldn’t get precious real estate otherwise.) The top is also perfect for perching a TV, books, or any other knick knacks you want to display. Plus, the honey oak finish looks more like a piece of furniture than a storage unit, especially when paired with sand-colored bins (below).

Get the Threshold 6-Cube Organizer Shelf at Target for $59.50

2. Bins to keep messes hidden

Sure, you can display books and files in a set of cubbies without bins, or alternate every other. But to really maximize storage and keep your unit looking sleek, bins are the way to go. I have 12 of these fabric bins in Sand, each 13-inch cube looking sleek and polished on the outside while hiding messes like tangled extension cords or mail that needs sorting. I’ve kept laundry detergent in my living room for years and my guests have never had a clue. Pro tip: Try to store items as vertically as possible so you can see everything inside at a glance.

Get the Threshold Fabric Cube Storage Bin at Target for $8.50

3. A compact fitness system for your home

If developing your home gym setup has fallen to the wayside in your tiny living space, consider investing in a Tempo Move system over a gym membership. We reviewed Tempo Move and were impressed with the setup, the barebones smart equipment and weights, and the way it made our reviewer feel like they were being kept on track. You’ll pay a one time fee for the system, and you can use it to take advantage of your small space.

Get the Tempo Move from Tempo for $395

4. A non-stick pan to replace up to eight pans in your cabinet

We’ve talked about our love of the Always Pan before, but if you have yet to experience it for yourself and you’re beholden to cluttered, overcrowded cabinets in your kitchen, you might want to invest. The Always Pan is a nonstick pan that’s designed to replace saucepans, soup pots, skillets, and more. You can use it to pan fry, saute, steam, braise, and strain; the Always Pan also comes in beautiful colors, so if you have to leave it on your stovetop to save space in your cabinets it won’t stand out in a clean kitchen.

Get the Always Pan from Our Place for $145

5. A jewelry holder that doubles as décor

Vertical space is key in tiny living, especially when it comes to accessories. Instead of having a jewelry box take up most of the top of my small dresser, I use this heart-shaped IMM Living wire jewelry holder. Pretty enough to function as décor all on its own, it looks even cooler holding a dozen hoop and dangling earrings. Rings, studs, and even necklaces fit perfectly on its ceramic dish, too. And because it looks like this personal recommendation is also popular to the point of selling out online, here’s one that looks like it will work just as well (and who doesn’t love a cactus?).

6. A suitcase to use as extra storage space

I love to travel, so I need to have my suitcase easily accessible. But in a tiny home, that means it’s occupying pretty valuable storage real estate since suitcases are not generally attractive enough to leave out. Aside from the fact that it’s a breeze to take on a plane, this carry-on from Samsonite is sleek enough to fit under a bed or stand up in a closet. Plus, its hard exterior means no matter how much you stuff into it, it will stay the same size. I use this to my advantage and store my gym bag, larger bags, and even some purses inside. Sure, you have to empty it when you go on a trip, but it’s worth it to hold those bulky items the rest of the time and save valuable drawer space.

Get the Samsonite Stryde Carry-On Glider on Amazon for $155.20

7. A console table that makes for a perfect bar

If there’s one thing I don’t mind storing out in the open, it’s liquor. Owning a well-stocked bar was one of the first times I saw my place as a real adult home, even if some of the bottles—er, boxes—of wine and booze still skewed college. There’s something about long-stemmed glassware and cocktail shakers that simply looks elegant, especially when they’re perched on this antique brass table with glass and mirrored shelves. While the table is technically made for more decorative objects, I’ve played with bottles on top and glassware on the bottom, and vice versa, depending on the space. The middle section is perfect for shot and rocks glasses, as well as a few cocktail recipe books.

Get the Terrace Console at West Elm for $399.20

8. A shower caddy that makes bulk shopping possible

One of the major downsides to living in a tiny space is missing out on those sweet, sweet Costco deals. There’s no use buying in bulk if you physically can’t fit things in your place afterward. But because deals on everyday items like toilet paper and shampoo are too good to pass up, I found a solution: the shower caddy. Yes, this can help organization even if you’re not stocking up a three-month supply, but by migrating all waterproof, shower-related bottles to the tub shelves and caddy, you can free up precious under-sink storage for the rest. In my shower, this hanging caddy holds eight bottles, a razor, and a detangling comb, leaving tub shelves open for even more stock.

Get the Made By Design Bathroom Shower Caddy at Target for $16

9. A cast iron skillet that can go in the oven

When I finally discovered the wonder that is cast-iron cooking, this Lodge skillet became my go-to, allowing me to cook everything from meat to veggies to shakshuka in one heavy-duty pan that could work on the stove and in the oven. Plus, in our roundup of the best cast iron pans, Lodge came out on top.

Get the Lodge Cast Iron Skillet on Amazon for $19.62

10. Bar stools that only look expensive

IKEA is the juggernaut in the small-living biz, but my favorite product for my home hasn’t been anything storage-related. Instead, I’m obsessed with these bar stools that can be adjusted in terms of height, as well as repurposed as side tables for drinks when friends are around. Backless, they fit neatly under a countertop overhang or small kitchen table, and they’re lightweight enough to move around.

Since I’ve lived for years without a proper dining room table, these stools help expand the surface area of the coffee table, which comes in handy for movie nights or stocking up on snacks for a Netflix binge. Plus, they’re easily the most complimented pieces of furniture I’ve owned—and I put them together them myself!

Get the Dalfred Bar Stool at IKEA for $55

11. Drawer dividers for keeping utensils in place

In my studio apartment, my utensil drawer was the single source of my organization frustration for months. Too narrow to fit even the smallest of utensil dividers (trust me, I tried them all), the drawer ended up just being a heap of forks, spoons, and knives. I had resigned myself to a life—or at least a lease—of sticking my hand in a pile of sharp objects. Then I tried a set of expandable drawer dividers. While I assumed they were only good for separating clothing like socks and underwear, they fit perfectly in my skinny kitchen drawer, saving my fingers—and my sanity.

Get the 2 3/8” Expandable Drawer Dividers at the Container Store for $17.99

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Effa’s tiny but tip-top team tools up for a tiff with trivial toothbrushes on their own turf – TechCrunch

Travel, conferences, hotels, they all have something in common: Everything is designed to be used once, and then discarded. Of course, it would be delightful if everyone was able to not use single-use plastics for their cups, razors, toothbrushes and everything else, but unless consumers rebel, that’s unlikely to change anytime soon. It ain’t just single-use issues either: According to the Journey of a Toothbrush short documentary, most people go through 300 toothbrushes in their lifetime. That’s a big pile of plastic.

“We have started this company effort together with my husband. It was his idea — he’s an industrial designer and he was working a lot with different materials, prototyping and working with different gadgets. He actually told me about this idea on our first date: the nonsense of using a disposable toothbrush in your hotel for three minutes and then throwing it away and nothing will happen with it afterward,” explains Dasha Kichuk, CEO at Effa.

There are a number of companies trying to make these high-volume disposable products have a little bit less of an impact. Life without Plastic makes toothbrushes out of wood, Brush with Bamboo makes ’em out of, well, you guessed it. Eco Roots makes toothbrushes and dental floss out of bamboo. It’s a thing, lots of people are doing it. At CES, a Ukrainian company announced it is joining the fray in the retail market. Effa, which makes toothbrushes out of paper, just announced a disposable razor made mostly of paper, and is preparing to offer a number of other products as well.

Effa’s toothbrush is made out of sugarcane-based paper. The brush head is made of PBT Nylon — the same as many of the Bamboo brushes use, which can be made from recycled plastic bottles. The company also innovates in its approach to recycling — after use, you can separate the head from the body and throw them into different bins for proper recycling. In addition to the toothbrushes, the company makes a razor made of the same materials as the toothbrushes, with removable heads for separate recycling.

“We are creating a white label brand, because a lot of companies we’re working with, want to have our logo — and theirs — on the products. They want us to be part of a sustainable journey and they want to show their support of sustainable startup,” explains Kichuk. “We started shipping just a month ago. So far, we have shipped our first batch to retail shops all over Ukraine — that batch is around 20,000 pieces — and we have made 2.6 million sales for toothbrushes to be delivered within 2022. Right now we have orders in Korea, in Europe, in Ukraine, but we are here at CES to look for new customers who are eager to go to the U.S. market. Our mission is not to be the manufacturing company: We want to create a brand. America is the best country to do that; this is where brands are born.”

The founders, Dasha and Ilya Kichuk, told me that the company was originally focusing on the travel space, and claims it had made sales to a number of high-profile clients, including Marriott, Radisson, Lotte Hotels and others. The pandemic put a significant dent in travel, and the company decided to pivot to the retail market in its native Ukraine, with an imminent launch in local grocery chains. At CES, the company is trying to find broader distribution for its products.

I tried out Effa’s paper toiletries; they look and feel like regular paper, but the way the products are designed means they still feel sturdy and good to use. After use, recycling the paper handle and the head separately is easy. Image Credits: Effa.

“I love this question!” beams Kichuk as I ask her why the company is named Effa. “It is named after a butterfly that lives and dies in just one day, Ephemera. The ultimate goal for our company is to replace those plastic disposables. We are eager to replace plastic disposables in the medical industry. Another market that is interesting is prisons because apparently plastic toothbrushes are forbidden in prisons. That’s what we want to explore — along with working with social organizations like UNICEF and the Red Cross, to bring our social mission there as well. We are ready to ship up to 4 million pieces in the next year, and we need to start growing our team to start growing from there.”

The company currently consists of six people, including the husband-and-wife CEO and CMO team, a marketing person, a salesperson and an R&D department.

“I say R&D department,” laughs Anna Sulim, the company’s marketing and PR manager, “but it is one person. So we are a small team, but we work around the clock to fulfill this mission.”

Read more about CES 2022 on TechCrunch

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Save money on a California trip with Airbnb tiny homes

Live large but think small. How? Rent a tiny home for your next vacation.

Whether you plan to go bouldering in the desert or hiking in the forest, your getaway will be less expensive if you downsize your accommodations.

Tiny houses, a popular architectural movement, are now booming as a vacation alternative.

To help you sample the trend, we’ve scouted eight tiny homes you can rent for $200 or less per night in Southern California. All are available from Airbnb.

Besides being budget-friendly, these rentals allow you to check in without human contact and avoid other guests.

Most tiny homes accommodate only two people. You may be able to bring Rover, but ask upfront.

The structures can be as small as 150 square feet, but we focused on ones 300 to 500 square feet. They’re still not spacious, but all offer outdoor seating and most have large patios or recreation areas.

You must pay a cleaning fee, and there may be other charges. It usually makes sense to spend a few nights or a week rather than a single night.


La Cabañita
$181 a night

There’s something special about this tiny house. Take a seat inside for a few minutes; better yet, recline on the bed. In front of you, a soaring wall of windows frames a landscape of tall trees, rocky mountains and blue skies. “People come in here and never want to leave,” said owner Jennifer Matthews. The 500-square-foot studio, which has a small kitchen, features unfinished cedar planks on walls and ceiling — an attractive woodsy touch. As wonderful as it is inside, there’s much to draw guests outside: hiking trails, a fun village, legendary Tahquitz Rock and nearby Mt. San Jacinto State Park.

A small house with a deck surrounded by trees

Tiny Charm Under The Pines in Idyllwild

(Jim Edwards)

Casita Lucila
$169 per night

Need some space? That’s a precious commodity in most tiny houses, including this 500-square-foot Pine Cove cabin near Idyllwild. But it offers plenty of space outside, with a deck, patio and large covered gazebo complete with firepit. Even the interior of this mini-home has surprising amenities, including a bedroom with a door that closes and a full kitchen. Another plus is the 5-foot fence that encloses the property. The cabin, built in 1927, was modernized by new owner Modesty Silva during the last year. Other amenities include a TV, wood-burning stove and board games. The home overlooks California 243, known as the Banning-Idyllwild Panoramic Highway.


A small two-story wood house surrounded by conifers

You need to climb a ladder to reach the bedroom in the Little Bear Cabin in Crestline.

(Jim Edwards)

Little Bear Cabin
$121 per night

Blue jays, chipmunks and towering pine trees welcome guests to this appealing cabin, set against the larger-than-life mountain landscape of the San Bernardino National Forest. Little Bear Cabin, at 500 square feet, offers a romantic getaway atmosphere for couples, said owner Desiree Abrantes, whose husband, Justin, recently added on the top floor and a new bathroom. “It has sort of a treehouse feel,” she said. You’ll need to climb a ladder to reach the bedroom, but it’s an actual room — not just a sleeping loft — with 10-foot ceilings so you can stand up. Amenities include a TV, internet and a fire pit. The rustic house was once a hunting cabin, built in 1937.


A kitchen with flowers on a center table

Serena Handley’s tiny house in Ojai has a pleasant vibe.

(Rosemary McClure)

Bungalow 514
$150 per night

Check out Ojai’s relaxed vibe at Bungalow 514, a cozy tiny house just outside town. Haven’t been to Ojai? You’ll find a mix of art galleries, spas and hippie healers in this inland community about 15 miles from Ventura. Bungalow 514, like the community as a whole, is surrounded by citrus groves and oak trees. It has a private gated entrance, where guests enter through an attractive archway of green plants. The recently converted and remodeled garage has a fenced patio with “space to do yoga or relax,” said owner Serena Handley. The house itself, at 440 square feet, is cute and efficiently designed with new appliances and a super-clean appearance. Minimum stay is three weeks.

San Diego

A two-story tiny house with French doors leading to a small patio

A two-story tiny house can be found in the backyard of San Diego resident Daria Van Nice. It has two sleeping lofts.

(Rosemary McClure)

Traveler’s Tiny Home
$146 per night

The interior of a tiny house looking up at a sleeping loft

Daria Van Nice cheerful tiny house has two sleeping lofts.

(Rosemary McClure)

Hotel prices are sky-high in San Diego. That’s why Daria Van Nice rents out a tiny house in her backyard. At 300 square feet, it’s the smallest of our featured houses. You wouldn’t want to spend the day inside, but it’s great for sleeping, showering and cooking. There are two sleeping lofts in this two-story mini; you’ll need to climb a ladder to access them. The house has a great yard, with pepper trees and a hot tub, garden, fire pit and chicken coop. The ladies will be happy to provide you with eggs in the morning, Van Nice said. The tiny home, about a mile from downtown San Diego, has parking and a private walkway and is in an evolving neighborhood.

Joshua Tree

Geologic wonders and wild-armed Joshua trees wow sightseers who explore 800,000-acre Joshua Tree National Park. This desert destination was among the nation’s top 10 most-visited parks last year and is booming again this spring, with full campgrounds and a line to get through the gates on weekends. That’s why we’re including three nearby tiny houses in this roundup. All are in the city of Joshua Tree, near the park’s west entrance.

Tiny Rose
$186 per night

Swing in a hammock, take a walk in the hills or settle back in a lounge chair with a good book in the sunny courtyard of Tiny Rose, a converted garage with lots of flair. Rose Cefalu designed this 400-square-foot charmer, then gave it lots of privacy: Guests have a side driveway entrance and an enclosed patio with an eight-foot fence. Like our other Joshua Tree tiny houses, it’s about a 10-minute drive to the national park. You’ll find air conditioning, internet, a full kitchen, a large closet and easy parking. There’s a limit of two guests. Tip: You must climb a ladder to access the tiny sleeping loft.

Modern Casita
$182 per night

This slick 400-square-foot home wins our squeaky-clean award. You can almost see your face in its polished cement floors. It helps that it’s new, having been built in 2020, according to owners Jon and Joanne Li. The couple, avid hikers and climbers, love Joshua Tree, about five miles away. Like most of our tiny houses, Modern Casita is very efficient: There’s a full kitchen, a double bed, a flat-screen TV and a carport — an unusual amenity that is a big plus when summer temperatures exceed 100 degrees. “The home is truly special to us, and we are glad we can share it with other people through Airbnb,” Jon Li said.

Cozy Desert Escape
$147 per night

You’ll find a bottle of wine on the table when you rent this unpretentious backyard house on a quiet residential street about five miles from Joshua Tree. You’ll also find a business card for owner Nelson Day, who owns Climbing Life Guides, a service for pro and wannabe climbers. The structure was built in 1981; Day updated it after buying it in 2016. There’s a full kitchen, a double bed and lots of work space, which comes in handy for some visitors. Sara Greenbaum, visiting in early April from Boston, was enthusiastic: “I could get up at 4 a.m., do my work on my East Coast schedule, then walk in the park. It was perfect for my purposes.”

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Bionaut Labs launches with plans to attack brain tumors with tiny, guided robots

The robots are coming: After working under-the-radar for four years, Bionaut Labs is raising the curtain on its tiny, remote-controlled devices, built to travel through the human body and deliver a dose of medicine where it’s needed the most.

Smaller than a millimeter and with a few moving parts, the tiny voyagers are designed to navigate through tissues and go where today’s surgeons cannot, such as when dealing with hard-to-reach cancers.

Their success would be a big step toward the fantastic future promised by decades of science fiction—but at its core, according to founder and CEO Michael Shpigelmacher, it’s an idea that is eminently practical.

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“When there was a revolution in surgical robotics 10 to 20 years ago, the whole concept was built on complicated, multi-jointed robotic arms,” Shpigelmacher said in an interview. “As you look at the evolution of that industry, it’s gone from one arm, to two arms, to five arms…companies are going for more robotic arms with more degrees of freedom.” 

One Bionaut, to scale. (Jon McKee Photography)

“Our paradigm is actually the opposite. We’re saying move to a different category—where there are no robotic arms, and as many degrees of freedom as you want—but it’s just by controlling the tip,” he said. “As a company, we think that technically and medically this is the more elegant solution.”

Imagine a miniature screw that, as it rotates, can push its way through the body’s inner spaces until it reaches its target, releases a drug, and then returns the way it came. But rather than rotating it with a screwdriver, the tool is invisible, and guided only by magnetic fields generated outside the body.

This allows the small devices, dubbed Bionauts themselves, to overcome the obvious constraint that holds back surgical drills, probes and needles—once they’re in the body, they can’t turn.

“Typical brain procedures today are significantly more invasive than the Bionaut procedure, and they’re definitely less accurate and precise in terms of their trajectory—because they are limited to taking linear paths,” Shpigelmacher said. In fact, a common biopsy diagnostic procedure may use a needle wider than a Bionaut, and take core samples through healthy brain tissue on its straight line to a tumor.

To start, the company aims to tackle gliomas of the brainstem. The aggressive tumor is mostly diagnosed at a young age, and can be particularly difficult to treat due to its dense and sensitive surroundings, which help regulate the body’s heartbeat and breathing.

By traveling up the spine or through the brain’s reservoirs of cerebrospinal fluid, Bionaut Labs hopes to safely navigate to the cancer and unlock a mechanism that delivers chemotherapies directly—or any established drug payload that may have wider side effects when given intravenously, or has trouble crossing the protective barriers between the bloodstream and the brain.

“Because of the anatomy, you cannot reach the middle of a patient’s brainstem in a way that is not going to harm them significantly today,” he said. “This way, you can get higher drug concentrations in situ, while you get much lower to nonexistent concentrations in the plasma.”

So far, the Los Angeles-based company has conducted preclinical studies on small and large live animals, showing no long-term neurological damage from the Bionauts. Now, the company has raised $20 million to help take it to the next step, and lock down the design of its technologies before moving into human clinical trials planned for 2023.

“We are thrilled to bring Bionaut Labs out of stealth mode as it typifies the type of new impactful technology companies we like to help build,” said Vinod Khosla, founder of Khosla Ventures, which led Bionauts’ latest financing alongside backing from Upfront Ventures, Revolution, BOLD Capital and Compound.

The magnetically guided robot moves through
tissue into a tumor, to drop its chemotherapy
payload. (Jon McKee Photography)

“Bionauts hold great promise as a new targeted treatment modality for severe brain disorders for which there are few, if any, effective treatment options,” Khosla added. “Moreover, the broad therapeutic potential of Bionauts extends to many diseases where conventional therapies are limited or lacking.”

The company also plans to explore its potential against neurodegenerative diseases such as Huntington’s, before one day tackling acute conditions like stroke, using a range of Bionauts with different shapes and characteristics.   

“What’s even more exciting is that the anatomical targeting capabilities of the Bionaut platform make new therapeutic technologies such as antisense, siRNA, gene therapy, CRISPR-Cas9, and oncolytic viruses viable in challenging clinical settings,” said Errol DeSouza, head of the company’s advisory board, and co-founder of Neurocrine Biosciences.

And along the way, Shpigelmacher hopes to convince physicians and patients that the idea of tiny robots helping to heal the body from within can be more science than fiction after all.

“It makes the discussion much simpler when—instead of talking about a spaceship flying around your brain—you say: ‘We’re treating this condition, it’s brainstem glioma; this is the payload, you know this payload; and we’re going to move X centimeters in and X centimeters out and deliver this thing,” he said. “It becomes extremely tangible and grounds it.”

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