I Can’t Stop Being A “Toxic” Parent Who Does Too Much For My Kids

My daughter just stands in the shower, and stares at the taps.

8 Ways To Be More Self-Sufficient And Sustainable At Home

Being sustainable is a trend we should all embrace because it’s essential for the planet. 

How To Overcome Decluttering Paralysis

Decluttering was on my list of New Year’s resolutions two years ago. Then again last year. Each year I only managed to go through a few shelves and drawers before giving up. It took forever, I felt like I was hardly making any progress and when I thought of how much work I still had to do, I wanted to run.

This year I haven’t picked any resolutions, but the desire to have a more spacious, clutter-free home is still there. So I’ve been trying out new strategies to overcome decluttering paralysis and they’re working!

RELATED: Clutter Crazy: How To Declutter (And Save Your Sanity)

Get inspired

I can recommend a couple of books on decluttering and organising your home that will inspire you: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo and Soulspace by Xorin Balbes.

I know what you’re thinking now. “But decluttering frustrates me, why would I want to read books about it?” At least, that’s exactly what I thought when I came across these books. Then a friend mentioned that her mum had read just 80 pages of Marie Kondo’s book and that was all she needed to find motivation and get her home oranised in no time. I thought I could probably cope with 80 pages, so I gave it a go.

At first, I was amused. The author was obsessed with tidying and I wanted to have nothing to do with it. Her methods were never going to work for me, we were too different. Then, when I was one third through the book, something shifted and I couldn’t wait to get stated!

Get company

Decluttering is more fun when you’re not doing it alone. If you have children, ask them to help and then you won’t have to spend your child-free time tidying up. Having kids around can make it difficult to discard any clothes (my kids seem to love the way I look in pretty much anything), but it gives you a boost of confidence!

If you don’t have kids, team up with a friend and make time for some decluttering parties. When you’re having a great time and interesting conversations, you’ll get everything done quickly and effortlessly.

Keep up the momentum

If your place is anything like mine, you won’t be able to complete your decluttering mission in one go. Don’t leave too much time between your decluttering sessions or the area you tidied up last time will get messy again and you’ll get discouraged. Instead, do as much as you can every day or at least a few times a week. You’ll be able to see that you’re making progress and you’ll find motivation to keep on going.

Image by JamesDeMers via pixabay.com

Storage Solutions For Your Handbags

Most women are obsessed with shoes. I am obsessed with handbags and simply can’t say no to buying yet another one. It’s just way too easy to fall in love with a bag; you don’t have to try them on, it doesn’t matter what size you are, and there is a time and place for any style. The problem? Fitting dozens of handbags in your wardrobe.

RELATED: Top 5 Handbag Essentials

If you don’t have the luxury of a big house with a walk-in closet and tons of storage, your handbags might end up scattered on top of cupboards, under beds, or simply be in the way. However, if you are a bit smart about it, there are clever storage solution for your precious purses, totes, and clutches.

1. A simple shelf

This might be a no-brainer, but installing a simple wall shelf on which you can not only store, but also put your bags on display, is an easy solution if you are smart about the location of the shelf. Consider the unused wall space above a desk or chest of drawers to get your bags out of the way.

handbags storage shelf


2. Hanging storage compartments

This is such an easy and effective storage solution, all you need is a hanging rail (the one in your closet or any other cupboard works) and foldable hanging compartments, which you can get for little money at Kmart or Ikea. No tools needed to install, these compartments will hold your bags and make it easy for you to find them.

handbags storage hanging shelf

3. Door hooks

The space behind your doors is often unused and therefore makes a great storage location for your handbags. Simply attach hooks on your door to hang your bags on.

handbags storage door hooks


4. Hangers

If you have some space on your clothes rail left, you can hang bags on hangers just as you do with your clothes. Just make sure you use metal hangers as plastic will usually not be able to hold the weight of bigger bags and therefore break easily.

handbags storage hangers

Images via houzz.com, crystalinmarie.com, organizeit.com, eillelacheap.com, stylebookapp.com

Decluttering Tips and Tactics For Your Home

A cluttered home often results in a cluttered mind and it can be difficult to find space where there isn’t any. If you’re at the stage when you simply can’t find any more room in your home and you’re beginning to worry about the very real possibility that you may be, for lack of a better word, a ‘hoarder’ it may be time to call in the professionals.


The easiest and quickest way to free up some space in your home is to rent a self-storage unit from a company such as www.alligatorstorage.co.uk. Storage units come in every size imaginable so that you can store anything from large pieces of furniture to smaller household items and electronics with ease. The company will then take care of everything, allowing you to free extra space in your house.

Create space

Creating some much needed space is very simple. Transform a back garden shed into a mini storage room. You can also create additional space by putting up shelves in your bedroom or living room to store your favourite books, CDs and DVDs, etc.

Charity shops

If you have tons of old clothes, books or other items that you just don’t use anymore, take them to your local charity shop so that someone else can benefit from them. You will not only be helping others but freeing your closet space for the more important things in life…such as new shoes.

Attic space

The attic is usually where everyone keeps the Christmas decorations and old camping gear but people often forget all that useable space when in reality, it provides the perfect solution to house all the things that you rarely or never use. This concept is not new, as the Telegraph suggests that you should “organise your things into ‘occasional need’ and ‘regular use’ categories. Put the occasional stuff in the attic or the cellar,” which is good advice, especially if you have a large attic with plenty of free space around the baubles.

Wicker baskets

If you have a family or younger siblings who have a habit of leaving their toys scattered about the house, then a wicker basket or plastic box is the perfect storage solution and can be tucked away under the coffee table or by the sofa.

Small item storage

If you have lots of small items and nowhere to put them then you may consider using jewellery boxes to store little gadgets. Real Simple advises that instead of throwing the boxes out, “clip them together to create tidy divided storage for pens and pencils, lipsticks, plastic flatware, whatever it is that clutters your drawer.”

Clean and organise

Grab a black rubbish bag and begin filling it with all the things lying about your house that you no longer need. Last night’s Chinese leftovers? No, thank you. An ex-boyfriend/girlfriend’s T-shirt? Throw that in there too … or maybe burn it, the point is that you will feel so much better after a good clean-up.

How To Nail Marsala – The Pantone Colour Of The Year

2015 is the year of ‘Marsala’. It’s full-bodied and stylish, and as Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director at the Pantone Color Institute says, it’s a tone that is “universally appealing and translates easily to fashion, beauty, industrial design, home furnishing and interiors”. Bang!

A grounded statement colour or a strong accent to other colours, this rich, earthy tone really nails it.

Here’s a few ways you can join the marsala colour hype, thanks to a range of fashion, beauty and home wares retailers at Uni Hill Factory Outlets.

Dress Marsala

Marsala – Pantone Colour Of The Year

Be bold and take this universally flattering colour by the horns. Add confidence and elegance to your look with this robust shade – whether it be with a striking tote bag, cute hat, bold accessories or some hot new pumps.

For the guys, spice up your suit with a slick new tie in a Marsala-hue; matched perfectly with a crisp white shirt and tan accessories.

Make it your makeup colour

Marsala – Pantone Colour Of The Year

The beauty of this daring hue is that it’s flattering no matter what your skin tone. Spice up your makeup look with a dark, rich lip shade – day or night – or give your manicure a sophisticated makeover with bold red-wine inspired nail colour.

Add a touch of burgundy to your cheeks with a rich blush if you’re not ready to fully embrace the audacious tone.

Add a touch to the home

Marsala, Pantone Colour Of The Year, Laura Ashley

Pic source: Laura Ashley

Just like a rich Bordeaux red, the beauty of this bold and welcoming colour is the warmth it adds to the home; country elegance or bold city chic alike.

Divinely matched with textured wares, add a splash of colour to your living room with a bold throw or spice up a clean, crisp bedspread finished with some deep-red cushions. For those that dare, furniture in this shade adds warmth and comfort to any living space.

This article is courtesy of the retailers at Uni Hill Factory Outlets in Melbourne. For more information visit www.uhfo.com.au or follow on Facebook.com/UniHillFO and Instagram @UniHillFO

Famous Interior Designers: Spring Style

With spring cleaning usually comes a little spring makeover. Taking your cues from famous interior designers can help you achieve the perfect look for spring in any room of your home. Here are a few stylish suggestions to inspire your home makeover.


One of the best ways to decorate your home for spring is to add a popof color. Pastels are always lovely in spring, however, brighter hues like orange or green indicate new life and revival, and can make beige, gray or black furniture pieces in your home stand out. Designer Anthony Baratta encourages the use of bright color and geometric design to create the ideal spring-ready space.

Spring Interior Design


Items like throw pillows and blankets, along with artwork, can add attractive texture to any room in your home. Designer Mariette Himes Gomez recommends using area rugs that feature small designs to lend texture to a room and designate seating areas in a room.

latest Spring Interior Design

Signature Pieces

Interior designer Susan Ferrier encourages homeowners to add standout pieces to their rooms that add interest and visual appeal to any space. For instance, a distressed antique dish in metal or an ottoman in crushed velvet can make a space more appealing. A signature piece is a neutral or metallic shade adds the right finishing touches to a room without overwhelming the area with color.

Spring Interior Designs


Springtime can inspire you to add brighter lighting to a room so that the rooms in your home will look a little more like the sunny weather outside. Interior designer Suzanne Rheinstein recommends using lamps in a room that are easy to remove, so you can add or take away as much light as you want. Tall lamps in a bronze or copper tone are especially warm and sophisticated, and look great with furniture of virtually any color.

cool Spring Interior Design


Famed decorator Mario Buatta recommends patterned furniture pieces to make a room look spring-ready. Buatta suggests pillows with a floral print for a chair or couch, and also asserts that plants and baskets can give any room a welcoming, nature-inspired feel.

As you can see, features like textured accents, fresh hues and specialized lighting can help you show off your style in a practical and creative way. Adding some of these elements can make a big difference in any room.

Clutter Crazy: How to Declutter (and Save Your Sanity)

Clutter is one of those things that drives me absolutely mental, and I know I’m not alone. Not to say that I live in a show home. I more live in a state of bearable chaos until I snap and have the urge to make everything as pretty as possible.

But one thing I’ve learnt is that making things pretty is so much harder with clutter around. It doesn’t matter if I know I’ve just mopped and dusted and attained hospital-grade cleanliness, if it all ends up with stuff of top of it I’ll have a special type of freak-out. And having had such a freak-out recently while giving my apartment a spring cleaning-style overhaul, I thought I’d share the tips that I learnt the hard way. 

One thing at a time, sweet Jesus 
A quote from my Nan that would’ve saved me a whole heap of stress had I listened. When decluttering it’s tempting to get excited at the prospect of having a show home and attacking every draw, cupboard and hiding place with a furore – which is how I began. After one night at Ikea the boyfriend and I decided to get cracking and as I started stripping out the laundry, he attacked the living room. Next thing I know it’s 10.30pm on a Wednesday night, we’re both knackered and seemingly everything we own has ended up on the floor. This was a stressful situation: there was no space, we had to do acrobatics to get into the kitchen and my dreams of a perfect home were trampled beneath piles of books, DVDs, linen and everything else.

So start small – pick a room, or a cupboard. Empty it, clean it and get rid of what you don’t need, while putting the survivors back in an organised fashion. It’s amazing what a relief such small changes can bring.

Get a system
There’s a phrase to keep in mind when decluttering: ‘If it’s not useful, beautiful or extremely sentimental, don’t keep it’. This is a super handy rule of thumb when you’re staring down at a draw of old nail polish, broken trinkets and random bits of faff that so easily accumulate, I’m convinced they’re breeding.

The same goes with clearing out your wardrobe – if you haven’t worn it in a year, odds are you won’t.

Ditch the guilt
One thing that can often be an obstacle when doing a clear-up is the sense of guilt that you’re wasting money or being reckless. So rather than just filling a wheelie bin with all stuff that’s no longer useful to you, donate it someone who could really benefit from it. Places like Good Sammy’s and the Salvos take everything from books to cookware, bedding and clothes. This way, you’re giving new life to something that may have just sat neglected otherwise. Women’s shelters and charity shops often do drives to support people in need in your community, so by doing a clear-out, you could really help others.

Or if there are a few of you having a clear-up and your bestie would murder you for getting rid of that dress she’s coveted for years, grab some bubbly and have a swap night with friends – odds are you’ll find some steals, so you’ll be updating your wardrobe while cleaning it out – ultimate win-win.

Decluttering and spring cleaning (even in summer, or autumn…you get it) also has benefits far beyond leaving you with a pretty pad. Studies have shown that getting organised in your home can give you increased motivation, a clearer mind and additional energy, all while reducing the stress and anxiety that can come from clutter. So for a happy home, and head, get your gloves on.

Kate Jones blogs about writing and pop culture at Calvicle Capitalism.

Are you a clean freak? A happy hoarder? Or a spring cleaner, like Kate? Tell us in the comments!

5 Tips To Make The Perfect Barista-Style Coffee At Home

Addicted to your favourite coffee shop? Can’t get through your day without a visit to your barista? So were we, until we found out that your daily flat white addiction costs up to $1,400 a year!

About time to learn how to make that perfect barista-style coffee at home, don’t you think? From selecting your favourite beans to choosing the right coffee machine, these 5 tips have been put together from top baristas over the years will leave you feeling like a self-appointed coffee connoisseur in no time at all.


  • It all starts with the beans. The most important thing to remember is that, fresh is best. Just like wine, coffee oxidizes, so the more it is exposed to air and oxygen, the more the flavour of the coffee is degraded
  • To ensure your beans stay fresh, keep your coffee beans or ground coffee in an airtight container. Avoid storing them in the fridge or freezer as the moisture will ruin the essential oils
  • Whether you’re after an Arabica or Robusta coffee bean, or perhaps even a blend of the two, there are many different flavours of coffee and one to suit every taste
  • As a general guide, lighter blends are more palatable, and darker beans (like the Robusta variety) have a stronger, more acidic flavour
  • There are a lot of different choices available but trial and error is the best approach – your favourite bean might be waiting for you in the supermarket, local café or from your coffee machine provider

The machine

  • Choose a machine to meet your needs – if you have a small kitchen try a compact machine like the new DéLonghi PrimaDonna XS, or if you have kids (large and small) with a penchant for hot chocolates, consider investing in the PrimaDonna Exclusive Coffee Machine which also comes with an extra hot chocolate function
  • DéLonghi is the most popular fully automatic coffee machine provider in Australia and their newest release, the DéLonghi PrimaDonna XS is one of the most kitchen friendly offerings on the market – at just 19.5cm wide, it is the perfect coffee machine for snug city apartments, kitchens and small office environments.
  • Simplifying the coffee making process, the DéLonghi PrimaDonns XS can make the most complex order with one touch of a button

The daily grind 

  • The grind of your coffee will greatly influence the end result as it impacts the amount of contact time between the hot water and the beans
  • Grind it too fine and you will have a bitter coffee (the result of too much contact time), whilst grinding it too coarsely will give you a watery blend (i.e. too little contact time)
  • For the most consistent blend, grind your own beans or use a burr grinder. The DéLonghi PrimaDonna XS comes with an integrated burr grinder and an incredible 13 settings to guarantee the coffee beans are freshly ground each time, just to your liking
  • Good quality grinders will help extract all the essential oils from the coffee beans, giving you a delicious, full bodied crème
  • Experiment with the settings to find your ideal grind. Once you have this you are well on your way to a great cup of coffee


If you like a milky coffee – as opposed to an espresso or a long black – there are a number of things you need to be aware of:

  • The temperature of the milk should sit somewhere between 60C and 70C, so if you are frothing your own milk keep a thermometer nearby. It’s a good idea to stop once the temperature reaches 60 C as the temperature will continue to rise as the milk rests
  • Try not to overheat the milk as it will burn the coffee beans and leave you with a bitter tasting coffee
  • If you’re not confident frothing your own milk it could be worth investing in a machine that has an Instant Frothing Device (IFD) and can do the hard work for you – whichever milk you choose
  • Contrary to popular belief it is actually easier to froth skim milk than full cream milk

Cup choice

  • Double walled glasses are the top choice for coffee lovers as they are comfortable to hold whilst keeping the heat in. DéLonghi has a fantastic range of double walled glasses from espresso cups all the way up to  larger offerings, allowing you to choose the size that suits your coffee preference
  • Try and match your glass to your drink – anything too big and the coffee will lose heat faster than you can drink it!

Do you make coffee at home or hit your favourite coffee shop for your daily grind?