Wednesday, 20 June 2018

How To 'Winterfy' Your Garden In Time For Spring!

Gardening is good for the mind and staying active can help reduce stress and anxiety levels. Spending a few hours to spruce up the garden will create an outdoor space that is both bursting with life and a sanctuary for relaxation. However, gardening in winter can be quite brutal! Bitterly cold winds, heavy rains and frost can do more damage than good to your garden. And even though gardeners use cold weather as the perfect excuse to take a well-earned break from their garden, horticulturist, garden writer and TV presenter, Melissa King, says there is little downtime for gardeners in winter despite it being a slow growth season. As the temperature drops steadily, it’s time to prepare the garden for the onset of more stressful conditions to come.
Winter can be hard going for plants, where heavy rain can saturate the soil and cause root rot. Prolonged periods of early morning frost can damage delicate leaves however it’s important to maintain gardens over the winter season so you’re not faced with a jungle in spring, when nature jumps back to life. According to Melissa, the onset of the cooler weather means that plant growth slows dramatically and has to tolerate not just the cold conditions, but also reduced daylight hours and often increased overshadowing. During this time, lawns and gardens use up their stored energy reserves, making them more susceptible to diseases and weed invasion.

Today, we've shared Melissa's top tips and favourite gardening tools to maintain your garden in winter and give it the best possible start to spring.

Winter is the perfect time to get stuck into pruning to promote healthy plant growth and an abundance of blooms next season. As a general rule don't cut more than a third off a plant, and cut off roughly half of the growth in a neat rounded shape. You might like to prune to an outward facing bud, so the branches grow in a vase like shape.
Cyclone’s Heavy Duty Bypass Pruner (RRP $24.98) is ideal for pruning live and green wood. Featuring soft grip over-mould handles which provides extra comfort and control when pruning. For those difficult branches that require extra reach and cutting power, Cyclone’s Bypass Ratchet Lopper with Telescopic Handles (RRP $69.98) offers a specialist ratchet-cutting mechanism to help reduce fatigue.

If you live in a frosty area, it’s often a good idea to wait until the risk of frost is over before pruning, so new shoots don't get damaged – particularly for roses.

Old, spindly or dead wood also needs to be cut away. For heavy duty logs and branches that can go on the winter woodpile ready for the fire pit or indoor wood heater, Cyclone’s Supersplitter axe (RRP $69.98) is ideally weighted and the perfect tool for splitting timber.

We appreciate fragrant blooms in our gardens all the more in winter, so why not indulge your sense and plant perfumed beauties like Wintersweet (Chimonanthus praecox), with exquisitely scented starry flowers near the garden gate or grow a hedge of Sweet Osmanthus (Osmanthus fragrans) whose flowers have an intoxicating scent, along a path or walkway. Winter is the perfect time to give your garden a colour makeover, so why not liven outdoor rooms with exuberant bedding plants like Pansies, Violas, Cinerarias or Polyanthus.

Fallen Leaves
If your garden is very green then chances are you’ll spend a lot time raking up leaves. It’s important to remove fallen leaves from the lawn as soon as possible as leaves can become wet from rain and morning dew, stick together, and form a thick layer that will suffocate the grass and breed fungal diseases. Not to mention a heap of fallen leaves make the perfect hiding spot for spiders and other creepy crawlies! Instead of throwing these leaves in the green waste, think about turning it into compost for your garden.

Cyclone’s Super Rake (RRP $22.95) is multi-purpose and suitable for raking leaves, sand and lawn clippings on grass, broad paths, gravel and paved areas as well as the doubling as a scraper for levelling sand or topsoil.

Investing in the garden and lawn can add more than just value to your home. Few words can explain the joyful satisfaction of a well landscaped, healthy and 'bursting with life' garden! So take inventory of the jobs that need to be done in the garden this winter to ensure that it looks beautiful and well kept when spring arrives!

Till next time... rug up, stay warm and don't forget to prune your roses this winter!
About Cyclone 
With a prestigious history that extends for more than 100 years, Cyclone has become the most respected name in gardening tools, landscaping and insect screening. They’ve got your back with products suited to a comprehensive range of domestic and commercial tasks. Designed with comfort and quality in mind, Cyclone tools are built tough to last a lifetime.

*The Cyclone garden range comes with a lifetime warranty and is available nationwide at Bunnings Warehouse Stores and all good garden and hardware retailers.

**Prices correct at time of distribution, and are subject to change throughout the year by Bunnings Warehouse Stores.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

House Envy: Original Farmhouse Restoration With Old-School Charm!

Today we're taking a stroll through a gorgeous and iconic guesthouse called the Soul of Gerringong that has successfully paired classic coastal style with authentic old-school charm!

Located on the south coast of New South Wales, just ten minutes past Kiama, this bespoke property in the heart of the coastal village is a dream getaway that offers boutique accommodation for up to sixteen guests. So let's have a sticky beak and see if you too go green with House Envy!
Built and designed by husband and wife duo, Ben and Simone Mathews from BAM Constructions Group (BAM) and MGAO Architects, the heart of Soul is the original 1800s farmhouse featuring four bedrooms with private ensuites. At the rear of the property, there is an oversized solar-heated pool, two-bedroom Cabana, four-bedroom Barn and stunning landscaped surroundings – paying homage to original heritage and balancing easy living with luxury.
With the design brief focusing on restoring the character of the farmhouse and flooding the place with natural light, Stegbar Windows and Doors were key to achieving the authentic cottage-yet-contemporary look. According to Simone, the design inspirations came from the original property that oozed old-school charm.The focal point of the interior is the open-plan living area, featuring a spacious kitchen and original stone fireplace – perfect for entertaining or cosy winter evenings. BAM specified custom Stegbar Raked Windows above the fireplace to complement the building design – flooding the place with natural light and adding a unique visual element.
To bring the outdoors in, Stegbar Aluminium Windows and Doors feature throughout the living area – including sliding, fixed and louvre windows as well as oversized stacking doors. Using louvre style windows the space allows natural airflow and light into the home. When it came to the façade, they maintained the cottage-like feel that seamlessly blends in with the rest of the home using Stegbar’s custom-made service to handcraft windows to match and complement the original style.
The façade features Stegbar Western Red Cedar Timber Windows in white with colonial style glazing bars – paying homage to the original heritage of the home.
The Western Red Cedar range also offers a beautiful timber that is dimensionally stable under almost any climatic condition and is naturally resistant to termites, rot and decay – which is imperative being amongst rural land.

The outdoor space of this stunning farmhouse is as beautiful as the perfectly styled interiors. Here are some more beautiful images for you to swoon over.
And guess what, Soul of Gerringong is available for holiday accommodation and events! You can check them out here. So are you green with envy? I know I am!

Till next time... have a lovely day!

Monday, 18 June 2018

5 Easy Ways to Protect Your Family's Health in the Home

While most of us view our homes as secure and safe environments, potential dangers lurk all around. There can be plenty of health hazards inside, but luckily, you can address most of these quite simply. Here is a short guide to five commonly-found safety hazards and how to resolve them.

Purified Water
Tap water is treated to reduce the number of contaminants, such as bacteria, viruses, lead, mercury, and other pollutants. Nevertheless, for various reasons, some of these and other nasties may still find their way into the water supply, either by accident or because of poor infrastructure. With a whole house water filtration system, you will not have to worry about these pollutants ever ending up in your tap water. 

Fire Prevention
In 2016, there were over 352,000 home fires in the US. Even with billions of dollars in property damages, as well as over 10,000 injuries and nearly 3,000 deaths, this figure pales in comparison to 1980, when there were over 734,000. This steep drop in home fires is a direct result of various preventive measures taken to reduce the risk.

Prominent among these, is the widespread use of fire and smoke alarms, which can detect a potential catastrophe early and alert you in time to avert it. Another common fire prevention initiative is to inspect your home's electrical wiring, especially in older homes, to ensure that no fire risks exist. If you have burning candles around the house, make sure that they're not close to flammable materials, are safely out of reach of children and pets. If you have fireplaces in your home, ensure that they are checked and regularly cleaned and maintained to avoid any nasty emergencies.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide (CO) is invisible and odourless, making it undetectable to the senses. High concentrations can cause dizziness, vomiting, impaired vision, or even death. One way to prevent this gas from reaching dangerous levels inside your home is to install a CO detector. As a preventive measure, on the other hand, check for any carbon monoxide leaks by scheduling regular inspections on HVAC systems, water heaters, fireplaces or any other appliances that use wood, gas, oil, or coal, as fuel. 

Trips and Falls
When it comes to our senior citizens, trips and falls account for over a quarter of all accidents around the house. In fact, over 2.8 million older people over the age of 65 are rushed to the emergency room for these sorts of injuries. There are several ways that you can mitigate this risk, especially if you have a senior or toddlers living with you.

For starters, you will need to stabilise and secure your staircase. Make sure that the railing is rigid, the stair treads aren't slippery and the carpeting isn't loose. Likewise, make sure that there is enough lighting available. External staircases also need to be addressed by keeping them clear of hazards such as ice and snow. Add some grip tape for extra security. 

Air Quality
Carbon monoxide is not the only pollutant lurking in the air. Depending on the time of day, the activities that happen inside and numerous other variables, indoor air quality can vary significantly. All sorts of airborne particles, such as allergens, mold spores, or radon, can find their way inside and can be detrimental to your health. Proper ventilation is required, either by natural or artificial means. Likewise, it is a good idea to have your air quality tested, to discover any underlying sources. Also, it is a good idea to invest in a few indoor plants that purify the air.

Keeping your home safe and secure is easy with the proper knowledge and understanding of potential risks. if you have any other tips, do share with us in the comments below.

Till next time... protect your family's health in your home!

Sunday, 17 June 2018

5 Everyday Items That Will Make Your Kitchen Standout!

The kitchen is not merely a place to prepare and eat meals. It’s the heart of the home where much of the day’s activities take place. From gathering around the table for a family dinner to entertaining guests, the kitchen is central to the rhythm of our home life. 

If you’re considering renovating your kitchen, or you want to redecorate or update the space, be sure to consider the following everyday items and accessories that will make your kitchen beautiful:

Beautiful Cookware Sets
If you don’t own a set of pots and pans you’d proudly put on display in your kitchen, you’re missing a great opportunity to spruce up this space. Hanging beautiful cookware sets from the ceiling or on the wall adds a splash of color and gives your kitchen an air of professional styling many people find appealing. 

Color-Coordinating Cooking Utensils
If you own non-stick cookware, you’ll need some plastic or wooden cooking utensils to go along with them. Better yet, take it one step further by getting ones that match your kitchen’s décor and then displaying them in a lovely container on the countertop?

In today’s kitchen, utensils aren’t just for cooking. When displayed properly, they add character to an otherwise dull space. Furthermore, because they’re on top of the counter instead of hiding in a drawer, they’re within reach when you need them. 

Space-Saving Shelving
If your kitchen is small or you have more dishes than you have cabinets for, use every inch of space you have by installing a space-saving shelving unit on an open wall. Not only does this help you organize and use your area to your advantage, but you can also dress up your kitchen by adding coordinated and/or matching wallpaper to the back of the unit. Use the shelves to store dishes, linens, and other pretty kitchen-related items for which you’d otherwise not have a place. 

Stand-Alone Pieces
A tiny kitchen (or a small budget) doesn’t have to be limiting. You can increase the usable space you have and enhance the beauty of your kitchen by adding stand-alone pieces that are as functional as they are beautiful.

For example, a glass-top bar cart on wheels placed at the end of a short counter will extend your countertop and add a statement-making flair to the space. When guests come to visit, simply wheel out the lovely cart to serve drinks and snacks elsewhere in the house. 

DIY Projects
Many ostensibly foreign items make surprisingly lovely kitchen décor – you just have to use your imagination. For instance, a French door shutter makes a great organization station that’s just as stunning as it is functional.

All you need is a free wall, a French door shutter, and some paint that matches your kitchen décor. Paint the shutter on both sides, allow it to dry, and then hang it on the wall. The slats make the perfect letter holders, and with a few wooden clothespins, you can display all sorts of things like photos, recipes, and more. 

For many people, the kitchen is the heartbeat of the home. Because the space is used for so much more than mealtimes, it should be a place in which you love to be. You don’t have to renovate the entire space. Using the ideas above, you can create a beautiful cooking experience.

Till next time... have a lovely day!

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Enhance Curb Appeal of Your Home with Professional Pressure Washing!

A beautiful home is what everyone wants. But, sometimes environmental factors and other similar issues can ruin the look of the exterior (and interiors too!). Dirt, rain, wind and other such factors can be the nemesis to maintaining the beauty of your home! However there are ways to clean the exterior of your home and keep it looking well-maintained and beautiful.

How can you enhance the Curb Appeal of your home?
If you are looking to improve the street appeal of your home, then here are a few ways that can help with maintaining the exterior of your home:

A Fresh Coat of Paint
With continued exposure to sunlight and moisture, exterior paint might start to peel or fade! Have you ever seen a home with faded paint? Well, if you have, then you can understand how unattractive that can look! So, do not wait for it to reach that stage. As soon as you feel that the paint has started to fade, apply a fresh coat of paint. Fading can be avoided with light colours, but these tend to get dirty fast and require repainting.

Trees & Shrubs Need a Trim
A beautiful landscape is the secret to enhancing curb appeal of your home. An overgrown and unkempt garden can look all doom and gloom! Regular landscaping will not only make your property attractive, but also improve its overall value.

Pressure Washing
Now, this might sound scary, but believe me, it's completely safe for your property! Pressure washing cleans away all the nasties and leaves your property looking beautiful, without a scratch! However, these machines are extremely powerful and an amateur might not be able to harness its power. A high pressure water cleaner needs to be handled by a professional.

High pressure water cleaners and other high end equipment can be very helpful in making the exterior of your home beautiful. To see how powerful these machines are, have a look at this video –

Why Should You Get Professional Pressure Cleaners for your Home?
A DIY with a pressure cleaner sounds great, right?! Well, it isn’t, as you need to be trained professionally in order to handle a powerful pressure washing machine. It is always a good idea to hire a professional company for these tasks. Here are a few reasons that can help you understand the benefits of professional pressure cleaning:
High End Equipment
When, you have the services of the experts you will find that they only use top grade pressure cleaners. A good pressure cleaning machine can remove all dirt and germs. Pressure washers (according to Wikipedia) ensure that your property is completely clean and healthy.

Expertise for Efficient Finish
When you are using such high grade and powerful machines for cleaning your home, you need it to be handled appropriately and efficiently. So, it is best to let the experts handle this kind of equipment, if you want a perfect finish to the cleaning job!

Resource Saving
Why would you want to spend your time and energy on a job that professionals will complete faster and more effectively? Furthermore, these high end machines are expensive for a single user. Professionals have many jobs of similar need and hence they have the resources to invest in such machines, without it weighing heavy on their pockets. When, it isn’t heavy on their pockets, it will be light on yours as well. So, ultimately you will be saving money, energy and time!

From siding to brick pathways, pressure washers can clean a wide variety of surfaces. When you pressure wash an area, it also removes the chance of bacterial and fungal growth.

To top it all, the professionals are also willing to offer other cleaning services like upholstery cleaning with upholstery cleaner and other supplies too.

When you have so many perks to enjoy with professional pressure washing, do not shy away thinking, that, you will save money, doing the same job as a DIY project! In fact, it could be just the opposite, and, you might end up spending much more than you bargained for. Call in the professionals, but make sure that they have top quality pressure washers and other cleaning equipment as well as supplies!

Till next time... enhance curb appeal of your home with professional pressure washing! 

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Keeping Toys In Top Condition and A Giveaway!

Whether it’s roll, crawl, walk, run or climb, children can’t help but want to move. Nowadays, their favourite toys can move too, and with increasing mobility thanks to technology – which can also provide huge benefits to a child’s development.

But all theses interactive toys like this cute Peek-a-boo Teddy Bear needs batteries to function. Did you know that Australians spend around $400 million each year on batteries - that’s about $50 per household! 
Most families use batteries in a range of items from remote controls, clocks, radios, wireless mice and keyboards, phone handsets, children’s toys and even toothbrushes. The average home has at least three to four uses for batteries.Despite the number predicted to be used by Australian consumers this year, Children’s toys are actually one of the lesser uses of batteries in Australian households.

“A well-selected range of toys will encourage children to explore the world around them in different ways, stimulating development of all the senses,” explains Professor Jeffrey H. Goldstein of the University of Utrecht, Netherlands.

More than a quarter of the top 20 kids’ Christmas gifts last year recommended by the Toys “R” Us official toy testers (who are children themselves) were battery operated. This prompted EVEREADY® to advise parents to consider the inner workings of their toys, as failing to care for them properly can prove a costly mishap for millions of parents. 
Here are some stats to show the ever increasing sale of batteries and the popularity of battery-operated toys! In 2012, 75.5 million batteries were sold in Australia specifically for use in children’s toys, and accounted for 19 per cent of all battery sales nationwide – that’s 2,280 tonnes worth of batteries just for toys. This figure has consistently increased year on year, and is predicted to hit over 99 million batteries sold in Australia in 2019!

The bulk of these toys sit around the $200 mark, but can easily range from $35 to over $600 depending on the particular item. This year, 86 million batteries used just in toys are expected to reach their end-of-life, and batteries have an average chemical life expectancy of 1.8 years when specifically used in a toy
However, a leaking battery can lead to the premature end of the toy’s life, so it is wise to invest in a battery with a quality seal – much like putting premium unleaded petrol instead of regular. Makes sense right?According to Jodie Benveniste, psychologist, author, and ambassador for the Value of Play campaign by the Australian Toy Association, play isn't simply a pass-time. It's a crucial part of a healthy childhood. If a child’s favourite toy has stopped working tears and tantrums can abound. Gabby Anderson, Executive Manager of the Australian Toy Association, advises that when looking for a battery for your toy, it’s important to look for quality batteries for trusted power that will ensure your child’s toy effectively remains ‘fit and healthy’ for as long possible.

According to Gabby, although it can be tempting to go for a cheaper option when powering your children’s toys, especially when the toy itself can already be so expensive, it is even more important to choose a quality brand you can trust that won’t leak.

This investment can reap benefits well into the future on the collectables market, where Japanese toy robots can sell for up to $50,000 each.Here are some cleaning tips to keep your child's toys in top condition: 

~ Whether plastic or fabric, toys with batteries cannot be immersed in water.
~ Remove the batteries when possible and dip a cloth into some hot water and detergent. 
~ Wring the cloth out thoroughly and then wipe firmly over the toy, avoiding the area around the battery compartment. 
~ Use a tea towel or cloth to dry the toy as much as you can and leave it to air dry completely before using again.From a styling perspective, toys are a great way to dress up a nursery or a child's bedroom or playroom and they also aid in mental and emotional development. They are also expensive to buy as we've just seen, so it is important to use the best quality batteries so that they last a long time!

I've teamed up with EVEREADY® to give one lucky winner a super cute Peek-a-Boo Teddy Bear and a pack of Eveready Batteries with a quality seal. The giveaway is running on my instagram page here. So don't forget to enter! (Terms and conditions and all details on Instagram Giveaway Post.)

Till next time... have a lovely day!

This post and giveaway is in collaboration with EVEREADY®. As always, all design choices, thoughts and opinions are all mine and genuine and I only ever work with brands that I love and I think you will too.

EVEREADY Gold® and EVEREADY® Super Heavy Duty batteries are available in leading Grocery, variety and stationery retailers. Since 1896, EVEREADY® batteries have been providing dependable portable power. EVEREADY Gold® is the dependable solution that provides power for you and your family’s everyday power needs. EVEREADY Gold® brand offers a complete line of AA, AAA, C, D and 9v products and are ideal for low to mid-drain devices such as, remotes, radios, calculators and motor driven toys. EVEREADY® Super Heavy Duty is the affordable solution that provides power for you and your family’s basic power needs. The EVEREADY® Super Heavy Duty brand offers a complete line of AA, AAA, C, D, 9v and 6v lantern batteries, and is an economical choice for clocks, flashlights, radios and other devices that are low drain.
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