Thursday 30 December 2021

5 Tips for Making Your Home Feel Cosy in Winter

Whether you’re waking up in a winter wonderland, or it’s more of a grey-skied icy drizzle outside or you're in sunny Australia missing the snowy landscapes of Europe, one thing remains the same – ‘tis the season to be cosy! To help you transition into this cuddly, warm time of year, here are five tips for making your home feel cosy in winter: 
Get Scentsual
Scent is connected to memories and emotions, so it can be a great way to invite those yummy winter vibes into your home. Why not spread your favourite holiday scents and smells throughout your home with an essential oil diffuser?

Orange, clove, mixed spice, cinnamon, apple spice, pumpkin spice – they all create a deliciously cosy environment that helps you embrace the frostier side of the year. Blast your air with the scents of the season to instantly get in the mood for snuggle times. 
Embrace Hygge
Hygge is not something that can be neatly translated into a single English word. Instead, it is a mixture of feeling cosy, familiar, comfortable and finding contentment in special moments. It is not an item but a feeling or experience we have as humans. To get hygge (pronounced hyoo-guh) in your home this season, try:
  • Creating snuggly social spaces
  • Adding candles and mood lighting 
  • Enjoying warm drinks like this chilli hot chocolate 
  • Getting those thick socks, oversized jumpers, and fleecy sweatpants out
  • Inviting friends and family round 
  • Having technology-free areas 

Add All of the Fabrics
If there is ever a season to literally surround yourself in a wide range of fabrics that you can snuggle in, hide under, nest in, and even turn into a pillow fort for movie nights, this is it. Blankets, throws, squashy cushions, and bean bags – whatever gets you in the cosy mood. 
Velvet is back in fashion, so if you want some opulence, it’s a good choice. You could also try some faux fleece or faux wool throws. For extra indulgence, a faux husky blanket is super-soft and gives a winter cabin look to a space. Or, if you fancy crafting a very expensive-looking soft furnishing accessory yourself, it’s surprisingly easy to weave a chunky blanket.

Consider Cottagecore
Cottagecore is also known as granny chic or farmcore, and it is a style that mixes nostalgia with coziness to honor the English countryside (think The Holiday scenery). It is trying to mix that feeling of being welcomed and comfortable in Granny’s house with chintzy prints, doilies, retro items, and modern elements like sustainable materials and simple living. If you are going for a complete decor change this season, cottagecore could be a good choice if you want it to be cosy and chic. 
Clutter in the home can make you feel stressed, scatter-brained, distracted, isolated, and more likely to suffer falls, allergies, and unhealthy weight gain. None of that really works with a cosy, relaxing vibe, does it?

With that in mind, before you start adding cosy elements to your home like the items above, strip it back and give it a good decluttering first. When it comes time to get snuggly afterward, you’ll find that your home feels a lot more fresh, clean, and cosy as a result of your winter clean-up and decluttering session.

“To stand at our window, wrapped in the half-dark and watch the day disappear…is a moment of hygge.” - Louisa Thomson Brits

With the suggestions above, you’ll soon be surrounded by the warmest, snuggly, homey vibes for this ultra-cosy season. 

Till next time... have a fantastic festive season!

Image source: 1, 2, 3, 4

Saturday 18 December 2021

Christmas Toy Giveaway on Instagram - Enter Now To Win!

I’ve partnered with Spinmaster to give away a Sonic Fin football signed by THE Russell Wilson! It’s the coolest Christmas gift for older kids, tweens and teens and a great way to get them up and outdoors this school holidays! The aerodynamic design gives kids the ability to throw like pro and farther than they have thrown before. 
The Sonic Fin’s custom calibration ring increases the spin rate, improves distance and creates its trademark sonic sound when thrown. 

Elie and Shiraz have been playing with it nonstop at the park! It’s engaging and hours of active fun!

To enter:
- FOLLOW @ranienginer AND @spinmaster
- TAG 3 FRIENDS (one per comment)

You can enter as many times as you like! 

Giveaway will run from Friday 17 December - Tuesday 21 December. Winner will be announced in stories and in caption on Instagram on Wednesday 22 December. 

This giveaway is not associated with Instagram. Entrants 18+ years of age, in Australia.
Till next time... good luck everyone!


How to Improve Your Curb Appeal in 4 Easy Steps

If you’re thinking about selling your house, we’re sure you want to get the most out of it. However, there’s one crucial factor you need to account for, and that’s curb appeal.

“What is curb appeal?” you may ask. Put simply, curb appeal is a term used to describe the overall attractiveness of your home from someone viewing it from the sidewalk. Curb appeal is crucial when it comes to selling any home. If your house doesn’t look attractive to buyers from the outside, chances are you’re going to have some trouble selling it. Not to mention, your home’s curb appeal is the first impression anyone has of your house when they come to view it.

So, if you want to sell your house and get the most out of it, you’ll need to put some work into improving your curb appeal. But how do you do that? That’s what we’re here to answer. This article will explain how to improve your curb appeal in four easy steps.

1. Give your home’s exterior a deep clean to freshen up its lookEnsuring that your house's exterior is clean is the perfect place to start improving your curb appeal. Not only will a deep clean make sure your home looks good, but it will also help you see what, if anything, needs to be repaired. Pressure washing your home's exterior can drastically enhance the overall look of your property. Not to mention, pressure washing can do wonders for your driveway, walkways, and entranceways, too. Once you've had them pressure washed, your curb appeal will improve.

Don’t forget window cleaning and gutter cleaning, either. These two essential services are both parts of giving your home’s exterior a deep clean. Your windows will look brighter, and clean windows can make your home’s interior look better by allowing more natural light to pass through. Gutter cleaning won’t just make your house look better. Gutter cleaning is crucial to regular home maintenance. No one wants to buy a home that looks poorly maintained, and clogged gutters are a surefire way to give that impression.

If you live in North Carolina, an excellent place to start is to call Labor Panes Cary, a professional home exterior cleaning service. Cleaning companies like this one will help you get your home where it needs to be before you’re ready to sell.

2. Add some greenery to liven up your home’s exteriorConsider having real plants delivered to give your home a more natural, lively appearance. The addition of some flower pots on your porch, small shrubs or flowers around the property border, or a flower bed in the front yard will drastically improve your curb appeal. Houses with beautiful landscaping are always more attractive to potential buyers as it shows that you cared about your home and took good care of it, which is highly important to any buyer. Not to mention, it helps make your place look like a home instead of just a piece of property.

3. Make your front door stand out with some vibrancyHouses with a high curb appeal usually have one unique trait in common: an eye-catching front door. Therefore, it's a good idea to upgrade your home's entry by choosing a paint color that complements the house's exterior while making the door itself stand out. For example, many homeowners opt for a splash of red, blue, or yellow in a semi- or high-gloss finish. With a bold color on your door, your home can make an excellent first impression.

4. Make any and all necessary repairsIt’s no secret that a damaged home is harder to sell. No one wants to dish out more money for repairs after just paying for the house. Therefore, it’s highly recommended to make any repairs before listing the place. For example, missing shingles on the roof, damaged gutters, and chipped siding should be addressed.

Till next time... have a great weekend and enter the Christmas toy giveaway now live on Instagram!

Monday 29 November 2021

Summer Giveaway for BBQ Lovers- Enter now to win!

Win the ultimate BBQ prize!🍗🥩🍖

With the summer entertaining season upon us, there’s no better time to fire up the BBQ, load up the grill and get your family and friends together. Char-Griller has the perfect tools for the job to assist everyone from the BBQ pros to the BBQ beginners to make the most of their backyard cook up this season. 

This ultimate BBQ prize includes Char-Griller’s Basting Bucket and Brush Set, Low n Slow 3pc Knife Set, Smoky BBQ Sauce, All Purpose, Brisket and Beef, and Ribs and Pork Rubs. Paired with Adam Roberts book ‘Barbecue Like a Boss’ so that you will be able to create mouth-watering barbecued meat dishes this season, that will have everyone raving and asking for the recipes.

To enter, simply follow the steps below:
🍴- Follow @chargrilleraustralia & @raniengineer on Instagram
🍴- Comment on the post tagging a friend or friends you would love to call over for a bbq!
🍴- Bonus point for sharing this post & tagging us on your Instagram stories.

Winner will be picked at random and announced on Friday 3 Dec. Good luck everyone! 

Giveaway open to all Australian residents over 18 years of age.
Till next time... Good luck everyone!

Wednesday 10 November 2021

Refresh Your Home with The 'Cosy' Edit from Hovia!

Whether you live in the Southern Hemisphere or in the Northern Hemisphere, this is definitely the time to give your rooms a quick and fresh facelift to welcome back friends and family for the festive season! The easiest way to create a fresh look is by using some wallpaper and creating an updated cosy ambience. Hovia's (previously known as Murals Wallpaper) new collection of curated selection of floral wallpaper designs is perfect to create trendy, cosy and fresh looks in your home!


I love Hovia's new collection of wallpaper that fits in well with the 'cottagecore aesthetic' hashtag currently trending on Instagram! Cottagecore is the aesthetic look that is bringing a restful and nature-inspired style to our indoor spaces. 

Vintage flower designs are a big staple of Cottagecore. You'll see detailed florals on dresses, walls, embroidered cushions, and more. These wallpapers feel both sophisticated and rustic - welcoming in a fantasy of wildflower fields and lovingly tended rose gardens. The muted pastel colours of the wallpaper keep the room light and pretty without it looking busy, outdated or old fashioned! How beautiful would this wallpaper look in a little girl's nursery or playroom!

Autumnal Tones

Brown is making a huge comeback but not the way you would imagine it. Not heavy shades of brown but more the bejewelled tones of autumn. As we all have been spending more and more time in our homes, discovering comforting activities and routines, cosy comfort has become the new go to. Autumnal tones are the perfect way to invite in a cosier atmosphere and give a warm backdrop to your space.

Harvest Reimagined
Warm, earthy colours that ground your feelings are the trendy key to refreshing your home this season. Give it a toasty new theme that's easy on the eyes. Think about the deep, earthy tones of wildflowers. Definitely comforting and cosy!
I love that the new Harvest wallpaper also comes in a peel and stick option which is perfect for renters to update and refresh their space!
For more inspiration on Hovia's new range of 'cosy' wallpapers, have a look here.

I'm so smitten by the new Rye wallpaper. It's the first photo in this post. I would love to incorporate the nature inspired botanical wallpaper in my daughter's bedroom. It's such a pretty linear and uncluttered design.

Till next time... which is your favourite look?

Friday 5 November 2021

Make Your Garden Bloom This Spring

With the Winter chill gone and warm weather settling in, Spring is the perfect time to revitalise your garden. Similar to giving your house a good spring cleaning, you can take a similar approach to freshen up your backyard. Here, Australia’s favourite garden experts, share their expert tips on making your garden thrive this season.

Transform your garden with the Thrill, Fill and Spill Method
With the outdoor entertaining season upon us, it’s the ideal time to spruce up your outdoor area with an eye-catching potted plant display. An easy way to get the look is with the ‘Thrill, Fill and Spill’ planting method, according to Melissa King, Horticulturalist and Northcote Pottery Ambassador.

To begin, pick out the star of the show – the perfect pot. Consider the colour of your home and garden décor. Next, choose a ‘Thrill’ plant – the Prima Donna of your display. The plant should be bold and appealing with a bit of height so it can be positioned at the back of the pot. The ‘Fill’ plants are the supporting cast.

Look for smaller, rounded options to fill the majority of the container. Finally, ‘Spill’ plants are the finishing touch. These are trailing beauties that tumble over the edge of the container and complete the look to get the perfect potted picture. Create enviable potted combinations with Northcote Pottery’s Irondale Cup Planter (RRP $66.98). This lightweight pot exudes rustic country charm and works beautifully with bronze, orange, burgundy and gold foliage tones.
Plant for blooming
With longer days of sunlight and warmer temperatures, now is the time to prepare new garden beds, plant new seedlings, cultivate veggie patches and clean dead debris left over from Winter. The perfect tool for the job is Cyclone’s Potting Scoop (RRP $12.98) which is ideal for a variety of tasks around the garden, according to Tristan Eastaugh, Cyclone Product Manager. 

Featuring mirror polished stainless steel blades for rust resistance and contoured ash timber handles for added comfort, the Potting Scoop makes it easy when arranging new garden beds or planting new plants or veggies this season.

To keep your hands safe and clean during planting and pruning, Cyclone’s Invisigrip Tough Gardening Gloves (RRP $7.98) is the gear for the job. Made with market leading quality materials, the Invisgrip gloves have superior softness for comfort and are cut resistant and anti-slip grip for improved dexterity.
Freshen up the garden
If you’ve neglected your garden, the warmer months are the ideal time for giving your pavers a good clean, spraying weeds, and fertilising your garden with the nutrients and minerals it needs to boost health and growth. It’s also important to know the type of soil you have and how to maintain it to ensure optimum growth for plants and minimise water usage.

To do those jobs around the home and garden, use a sprayer and concentrate as it is an environmentally friendly and economically savvy. Ready-to-spray bottles add waste to landfill and can be almost 30 times more expensive than concentrate.

According to Alyce Rigby, Nylex Product Manager, work through all your spraying jobs with the Nylex 5L Rechargeable Shoulder Sprayer (RRP $79) which is one of the key multi-functional tools you need in your shed. Powered by a built-in rechargeable 12V Lithium-Ion battery, this compact and lightweight sprayer has a five-litre tank that can be used to feed your plants, remove weeds from your garden or clean pavers and other outdoor items. Comes with an adjustable strap for comfort and self-powered pump for ease of use, the Rechargeable Shoulder Sprayer has a consistent spray pressure for an even coverage over your entire garden.

Till next time... get out in the garden this weekend and make it bloom this spring!

Friday 29 October 2021

The Hottest Summer Must-Haves for This Year!

Nothing says summertime in Australia like long days spent in the great outdoors. especially since life is getting back to a post covid-normal. Whether it’s firing up the barbeque, relaxing with friends and family or creating your own special space, we have the ultimate summer must-haves. From handy grillers to gorgeous hammocks, to smart ways to keep buzzing pests at bay, we've got your summer sorted. Below is a round up of our hottest summer must haves for 2021!
Swing Into Summer
The perfect addition to any outdoor space, Two Trees Macramé Single Hammock (RRP $37.95) lets you hang out in comfort and style. In a flashback to the 70’s, macramé is once again popular in a range of home décor products. With natural colour tones and handmade intricate fringing along the hammock edges, the macramé hammock is the perfect accessory for lazy days.

If you want to hang out with a friend, Two Trees Double Hammock Kit (RRP$107) comes complete with double hammock and adjustable frame for easy setup in any location, whether at home or away. Made from a quality blended cotton, the Two Trees Double Hammock kit is available in a classic stripe design. Two Trees Hammocks are available at Bunnings Warehouse nationally.
Elevate Your Grilling Game
The go-to for a good BBQ cook up, Char-Griller has all the tools and grillers to make at-home entertaining a success. The new Char-Griller BBQ Smoking Tube (RRP $12.98) is the perfect accessory. Designed to add an authentic smoky flavour to your cooking, whether you’re using a charcoal or gas barbecue.

Constructed from durable stainless steel, the perforated design allows wood and pellets to stay lit, providing constant smoke. If you regularly host friends and family for delicious barbecues then you’ll understand the importance of a good clean after every use to ensure your BBQ is performing at its best. The Char-Griller Triple Head Grill Brush (RRP $12.65) makes cleaning easy, with its strong and durable stainless-steel coils, it can safely and effectively remove grime from your barbecue grill grates. The triple head design means you can clean a larger surface area, while the scraper is designed to remove built up grease and grime from the grill – meaning your BBQ will be around for years to come. Char-Griller products are available from Bunnings Warehouse nationally.
Setting Boundaries
Nothing ruins a summer social event quite like uninvited pesky mosquitos. To be prepared, consider mosquito repelling options such as the new Thermacell Perimeter Mosquito Repellent System (RRP $89.95), a high-tech solution that is both functional and portable. The Thermacell Perimeter Mosquito Repellent System is the ultimate backyard defence against mosquitoes. This multi-unit system creates a perimeter of up to 21m 2 protection per repeller to stop mosquitoes before they can bite you. With flexible mounting options, Perimeter is perfect for entertaining areas and backyards. Turn it on... mosquitoes gone! Thermacell is available at Bunnings Warehouse nationally.
Scents to Set the Scene
Set the summertime mood inside or out with the new collection of candles from Haven and Haven Luxe.
Understated chic, Haven Luxe Hamptons Getaway Soy Blend Candle (RRP $25) will set the scene for your next coastal holiday. Featuring three wicks, and scent notes of Amber and Tobacco, the fragrance is inspired by spontaneous getaways and deserted white sandy beaches. Hamptons Getaway is available in a range of coastal designs, with an etched timber lid.
The Haven Luxe Cocktail Hour Scented Candle (RRP $25) is infused with notes of Vanilla Tonka and influences of warm summer sunsets. With a wide three wick design, a debossed metallic lid, Cocktail Hour is available in two colours, pale blue or pink. The Haven Gypsy Beach Scented Candle (RRP $15) is relaxing, sensual and dreamy. Inspired by secret coves and moon lit nights, the candle contains scent notes of Bergamot and Patchouli for a truly beautiful fragrance. Available in white or muted navy, with a timber lid. The Haven range is available in Woolworths stores nationally.
What's your favourite summer must haves? Share with all of us in the comments below.

Till next time... have a fantastic weekend!

Wednesday 20 October 2021

Are You Investing in Your Outdoor Room?

With homeowners looking to make better use of limited outdoor space due to increasing pressures of urbanisation and lockdowns, the popularity of an outdoor space is growing rapidly and is predicted to become the most valued room in the house!

According to Charlie Carp ambassador, Jason Hodges, the outdoor room is the most versatile room in the house and there has never been a better time to invest in yours. Not only can an outdoor room increase the value of your home, but the health benefits of spending time outdoors are undeniable.
The backyard is quickly taking over as the favourite gathering space for cooking, entertaining, relaxing and spending time with loved ones. Whatever size outdoor space you have, there are countless ways to create an exceptional place to entertain, relax and spend time with family and friends, and it starts with getting the foundations right – the garden and the lawn.

Here, Jason Hodges offers some tips on creating the most impact in your outdoor family room;

1. Grow your Garden
Your garden is the foundation for a good outdoor room. It sets the theme for the whole space and can determine the look and feel. Mature trees can be a starting point for building a scheme. They block the glare of the sun and can also be used as an anchor for shade sails, a hammock, pendant lights or hanging decorations. Trees are fantastic as a habitat and food source for wildlife and as a source of carbon capture. They also give structure and architecture to a garden.

Make sure you regularly feed your trees. The best choice for fast results in the garden is liquid fertiliser as it’s quick acting, allowing the plant to absorb both the micro and macro nutrients through the foliage quicker than any other fertiliser. A good one to try is organically based lawn and garden fertiliser, Charlie Carp as it’s a complete, all-purpose fertiliser, so can be used on your trees, garden and lawn. Being an Australian brand, it’s also made for our environment and conditions and uses the whole Carp fish, so in turn, provides an almost perfect balance of vitamins and minerals for plants, soil and grass.

The best garden designs start with structural plants infilled with smaller plants. Use evergreen shrubs at the end of each border and as punctuation along the way. Include small shrubs such as box balls, or large evergreens for bigger areas. Once you have this frame, fill the gaps with pretty flowering plants. In entertaining areas, try using palms and tropical plants for a more resort and relaxed feel.
2. Get your lawn into shape
A lush green lawn is a great asset, especially in summer when you want to be outdoors sharing your garden with family and friends. Green lawns help to reduce outdoor temperatures as they don’t absorb and hold heat as do hard surfaces such as paving. A lush lawn also provides a comfortable, safe space for children and pets to play.

If your lawn is looking lacklustre, consider the four tenets of sunshine, fertilise, water and soil aeration. Cut branches back to keep excessive shade away. Fertilise to help grass grow stronger and less prone to disease and pests, and to keep it healthy and surviving through a hot summer. Water once a week early in the morning. For aeration, take a fork to your lawn and poke lots of holes.
3. Plant edible gardens
Urban edible gardening and farming is set to increase, with people enjoying the appeal of home grown, free of chemicals and fresh from the garden to the dinner plate. Vegetables, fruits and herbs are the most common, and don’t need a large space. This is also great activity to get the kids involved in with you.

While edible plants can be susceptible to diseases, make sure you fertilise regularly to keep plants strong.
Choosing an all-natural fertiliser with no chemicals such as Charlie Carp Organic Concentrate, is ideal for veggie patches and edible gardens, and is like a one-stop-shop for your whole garden. It’s safe to consume and will help every plant. Edibles not only provide healthy eating; many will also beautify your landscape.
4. Transition indoors to out with paving
The key to ongoing utilisation of an outdoor space is to make it easily accessible, through a seamless transition from the indoor living rooms to the outdoor living area. Connect spaces with bifold or French doors, run the internal tiles into external pavers. According to Jason, by ensuring your paving is the same level as your indoor flooring, you can blur the lines between the interior and the exterior of the property. Paving can completely transform the look and feel of any space, and is perfect for entertaining spaces and barbeque areas.

5. Add furniture to create zones
To choose the right furniture start by considering your lifestyle and how you anticipate the room will be used. Choose pieces that are multi-functional, flexible and can be easily moved around to create an alternative setting are popular. An outdoor family room with seating facing each other will create an environment where conversation and interactivity will thrive.

6. Outdoor ambience
Not only will a feature firepit make a statement in the outdoor family room, it also ensures you can make the most of the space by using it all year round. Fireplaces add warmth and ambience to the outdoor room as well as creating a focal point. Also gaining popularity is the outdoor pizza oven which adds an element of fun to entertaining.

An alternative to a firepit is introducing a water feature to enhance the aesthetic appeal of your space and provide a simple focal point. Water features can also serve a functional purpose such as blocking out noise from traffic or neighbours and add a peaceful ambiance to the garden.
7. Lighting the way
Lighting not only adds another aesthetic to the outdoor living area, it also enables these spaces to be used day and night. Soft mood lighting created by small discreet LED or solar lights hidden under or above ground, spotlighting outdoor features such as trees, plants or sculptures can really help set the scene.

The outdoor room is a truly personal space in which homeowners have the opportunity to imprint their own personality. No other space in your house can be so multi- functional or offer so much opportunity to contribute to the wellness of your family as well as provide a major contribution to the value of your home investment.Charlie Carp fertiliser products are available from Woolworths stores nationally and include Charlie Carp Concentrate (1 Litre RRP$10.98, 5Litre $47.98), Charlie Carp Organic Concentrate (1Litre $11.28) and Charlie Carp Hose-On (2.2Litre $10.79). For more information visit
Till next time... get some sunshine and invest in your outdoor room!

Monday 18 October 2021

Clever Kitchens and Brainier Bathrooms!

From entertaining guests at dinner to alerting homeowners to leaks, smart tech has the potential to reimagine the way we live. Once the domain of the ultra-wealthy, new affordable and scalable home automation options are opening up the potential of all homes, including better bathrooms and clever kitchens.
According to Clipsal, Offer Manager, Tim Fant, for the first time, true home automation is affordable, easy to use and simple to install. Basic options include products like plug timers, or smart lights, that control one element of the house. Alternatively, complete systems like Clipsal Wiser TM Smart Home combine control of lighting, air conditioning, appliances and almost anything else in the home, from the tap of a phone, a movement, or a simple phrase.

By connecting to power points, light switches, sensors, blinds and other devices wirelessly, Clipsal Wiser can be installed without special cabling needed to be installed into the walls, so homeowners can choose what and when they upgrade to reimagine the way they live.

Here, Tim discusses opportunities for two of the rooms where smart tech can make a real difference to family life.

Three brainier bathrooms automations
Home automation offers a lot more than asking a smart speaker to play your favourite song in the morning. From setting the scene to watching for leaks, the right set-up can create a more calming experience.

Keeping on schedule: The ability to schedule activities is great for making daily life easier. For example, turning on heating, heated towel rails and lighting to a soft shine to create a comforting environment in winter, or a bright light and air conditioning in summer to help you feel energised. A good system will allow you to set different times for different days, perfect for weekend lie-ins.
Water warning: If you’re worried about the bath overflowing, or kids splashing around too much, a water leakage sensor is a must-have. It can be set to ping your phone if it detects excessive water so you can assess the situation. Humidity sensors can also trigger extractor fans and heated mirrors automatically should the room become too steamy.
Combined control: Smart systems allow you to combine multiple functions into one ‘Moment’. With simple ‘Automation’ functions, that can be set to happen at a certain time, or when a sensor is activated. This could include lighting, heating and music set to come on before you head to your morning shower.
Three clever kitchen hacks
If the kitchen is the heart of the home, then the home automation system is its brain. Often connected to dining and alfresco areas, the kitchen is a place to come together with family and friends where smart use of home automation can make for a more effortless experience.

Getting everyone to the table: Smart sockets allow homeowners to control anything they plug in via their phone, from turning on the kettle, to more complex moments. The latter could include adjusting heating, lighting, and music under one ‘dinner’ moment and even a command to turn off TVs and gaming consoles to get the kids to the table.
Lighten up (or down): Motion sensors are great in kitchens or butler's pantries when your hands are full or messy from cooking. Connected smart speakers allow you to turn lights, heating and appliances on and off with a simple spoken command.
Wiser about water: Much like bathrooms, kitchens can get steamy and there are concerns about overflowing water. Humidity and leak sensors can provide an early warning to any issues helping homeowners avoid damage and mould.
Home automation has an almost unending number of applications to make life easier so families can focus on what matters most, being together. Thanks to its scalability, Clipsal Wiser Smart Home is available through trained Club Clipsal Wiser Approved Installers and affiliated builders who can help homeowners create spaces that work for them and their lifestyle today and simply upgrade as their needs change in the future. For more information visit

Till next time... have a great new week!

Saturday 16 October 2021

Fabulous and Functional - Creating a Child’s Dream Room!

Renovating continues to be at an all-time high as Australian homeowners are increasingly choosing to stay put and transform their properties into their dream ‘forever’ homes. Forever is a long time, however, when it comes to children’s rooms, they will require quite a number of updates along the way.

Luckily when it comes to designing a room for your little one there is a lot of scope, with many opportunities to capture the imagination and inspire creativity. Creating a haven for your child to grow into should be a fun and rewarding process.
South House by Sara and Hayden
Former Block winners, Hayden and Sara Vale, have recently completed their latest project, ‘South House’, transforming an old South Coast house into a luxury home. Sara loved creating the kid’s bedrooms, taking their little personalities into consideration, while ensuring there was some cohesiveness that worked within the house. With careful planning she was able to deliver rooms well suited to the children’s current needs with scope for updates as they grow.

Each striking room encompasses a highly-efficient layout with plenty of storage as well as desk nooks that will take the kids through from their pre-primary to high school needs. A mix of a softer colour palette in each room is accented by touches of pattern and colour presenting a balanced, yet luxurious feel.
Taking time when renovating a child’s room to thoroughly research and consider all options, and understand the importance of using the right type of building materials can really impact the longevity. They used Gyprock Superchek™ for their plastered walls because they knew the kids would be knocking about and it’s a hard-wearing plasterboard. They also knew we wanted to create a quieter environment. The increased density of the plasterboard reduces the sound transmitted between rooms, so even with young children this can have a big impact.
According to Renee McGinty, General Manager of Marketing for Gyprock, kid’s bedrooms and entertainment rooms are typical areas that need to be considered for noise transfer. With some basic understanding of building acoustics and careful consideration of the room use and layout you can create quiet zones where you need them and keep noise contained.

The Block 2021 House 5
Kirsty and Jesse, 2021’s Blockheads from House 5, stole the limelight recently with their presentation of a stunning little girl’s bedroom. They have achieved a whimsical aesthetic with a palette of muted pink and white, creating a look that is both fresh and dreamy.
Opting to paper a feature wall in a stunning floral pattern that pairs back to the finishes, has assisted in creating an overall feeling that is both sophisticated and childlike. With a practical reading nook at the far end of the room, the space can easily be converted from tea parties with well-loved dolls to Tik Tok dance parties with friends.

Adding further to the sophisticated appeal, Kirsty and Jesse have selected Gyprock’s Concerto™ cornice which balances perfectly with the other interior design features of the room, providing an attractive finish at the junction of the wall and ceiling.
Refresh with Cornice
For a modest upgrade investment cornice can make a stylish impact that suits the changing needs of a child’s bedroom. It’s an important feature of design that can instantly frame a space. The gentle curves of the Concerto make it one of the most adaptable styles in the Gyprock cornice range, choosing to paint it a contrasting colour to the walls can have a bold, dramatic or whimsical effect. In contrast the smooth, streamlined profile of the Aria™ cornice is subtly elegant and perfect for an upgrade to a slightly older space.
Top Tips by Gyprock
Gyprock shares its top tips, demonstrating that with careful consideration at the planning stage you can create a child’s dream domain that is as fabulous as it is functional:

 - Planning is important when it comes to updating interiors for children, while the space should reflect individual preferences, ease of design modification is key as interests develop and change.

- Opt for decorations that are easy to install and remove or simple and cost effective to modify. “Cornice is an excellent consideration when decorating a child’s bedroom as it can offer a myriad of functional and aesthetic benefits that are relatively easy to achieve,” says Renee.

- Think about the child’s needs relative to their age and interests. An older child will need a designated homework or computer station so be sure to consider this when you are planning the layout of the room.

- Alongside decorative finishes, durability is an important consideration. The walls are going to see a lot of change and experience many scuffs and scrapes throughout the years, so they will need to be durable.

- Noise transfer is also important when it comes to designing a space for growing, playful kids.
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Till next time... have a wonderful weekend!

Friday 15 October 2021

Making Water Wise Choices that Don't Cost the Earth!

Did you know that Australia is the driest inhabited continent on Earth and yet despite this scarcity of water, Australians are among the highest consumers of water per capita in the world?

Along with this, climate change is making rainfall less predictable and, in many cases, much lower than long-term averages, so saving freshwater where we can has never been more important.

From 18 October to 24 October, the Australian Water Association is asking Australians to think about how best to conserve water and reimagine our water future. National Water Week examines different actions we can take to protect one of our most precious natural resources. An easy way to achieve water conservation within our own homes is to install taps and showerheads that reduce water consumption.
Methven, an innovative leader in the design and manufacture of showers, taps and valves has developed an extensive range of stylish showerheads designed to lower water usage and utility bills - without compromising on the water experience. Methven is passionate about designing intelligent stylish products, that allow homeowners to make water wise choices that don’t cost the earth.

By using water efficient products, Australians could save approximately 185 billion litres by 2026 so it is encouraging that over half of the nation now consider water saving as a key factor when deciding what shower to purchase. By replacing a standard showerhead that flows at 15L/min with a shower at 6L/min, a family of four would save 105kL and $315 each year on their water bills.

Recently launched, Methven’s new Kiri Low Flow MK2 range of Four-Star rated showerheads combine an elegant droplet shaped rose, with innovative water dispersion technology. According to Andy Grigor, Head of Design and Innovation at Methven, the Kiri Low Flow MK2 was designed using Methven’s Satinjet® technology, and requires just 5.5 litres of water per minute, compared to the conventional nine litres.
Unlike conventional showers, Satinjet® uses unique twin-jet technology to create optimum water droplet size and pressure, with over 300,000 droplets per second. The result is an immersive, full-body shower sensation that transforms your regular shower into an experience like no other!
According to Andy, if you still have old non-restricted fittings, it’s highly recommended that you swap them out to new efficient fittings if you’re looking for quick ways to save water. Upgrading a shower is relatively easy and most shower upgrades are simple DIY jobs!

Installation typically involves screwing off the old hardware and screwing on the new fitting as all shower outlet plumbing and fittings are largely universal. Upgrading a shower also doesn’t require that taps are isolated or water access turned off, before swapping fittings, where a plumber would be recommended.
Methven products are available through Bunnings Warehouse, Reece and plumbing stores and showrooms nation-wide.

Till next time... make water wise choices that don't cost the earth and remember to conserve water during National Water Week!

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