This will save you a lot of time.
Parents can’t be expected to remember everything, especially those who have recently had a child. If you have a smartphone, which you probably do – apps are a great to integrate all parts of your life into one compact device. Here are just five apps that every mum needs on her phone, and for good reason!
Keep your to-do-list all in one place with this helpful app which is quick and easy to use. It also translates voice entries which is ideal for busy parents who are constantly buzzing from point A to point B. The best part? It’s free.
Allrecipes Dinner Spinner
The best way to access popular website allrecipes.com without leaving your browser. The search functions are are divided by relevance, rating and popularity so you always have a yummy dish.
Simply compare prices by scanning barcodes from your favourite shops, and the app will tell you where to find the best bargain. It’s just like a personal shopping system!
Finding it difficult to keep up with all those bills? This handy app keeps tabs on bills, when you need to pay them, and links all of your accounts into one secure place. You can even pay online!
De-clutter your wallet from all those loyalty cards and keep them in this simple app right on your phone. Here, the shop assistant can easily scan the barcode straight from your phone. Simply search for the shop, and you’re ready to go.
What are some of your favourite apps?
Image via Martini Mum
Most old wives tales are stories which have been passed down from our mothers and grandmothers for centuries, but carry no significant merit – they’re just tales!
Whether you choose to believe it or not, some are actually quite true. Still don’t believe us? Keep reading to find out more!
Chicken soup fixes a cold
There’s something old satisfying about having a warm bowl of chicken soup when you’re sick in bed. But how? It helps to reduce inflammation and actually helps your white blood cells fight back the sickness.
Cheese causes nightmares
Now we had to learn this one the hard way. For some reason, cheese has been known to cause some seriously weird dreams… must have something to do with the bacteria.
Plants help to purify the air
Certain plants such as philodendrons, ficus, and bamboo palm actually help to clean the air in the house. Add one into the kitchen or bathroom for a sweet-smelling home!
Peanut butter to remove gum
Who hasn’t had gum stuck in their shoes before? Apply a thin layer of peanut butter over the area, then scrub it off with a sponge.
Hot baths lower fertility
For men at least. If you’re trying to conceive, make sure your man avoids a hot bath since it can lower his sperm count.
Hair of the dog
Sometimes a terrible hangover can only be cured in one way – keep drinking. Small doses of alcohol the next morning have been proven to subside a debilitating hangover.
Walnuts to remove scratches on wooden furniture
Keep your coffee table looking in pristine condition by rubbing an unshelled walnut over any scratches. Walnuts are rich in oils and will help to mend any imperfections.
What are some of your favourite old wives tales?
Image via Recipe Tin Eats
Finding the perfect rental property is one thing, but actually having your application accepted is another. The rental market is reasonably competitive, so getting the right property at the right price can prove to be quite a task. What often happens is that people have to settle for overpriced or substandard accommodation because they are tying to secure a permanent home within a specific time frame. Sound familiar?
Most people searching for the perfect rental property are basically at the mercy of the market, unless they know someone who is leasing their perfect property, or are in the industry themselves. Let’s face it, both scenarios rarely apply, therefore you need to know effective ways to make it happen.
Get Positive Attention
If you’re attending an open inspection with a host of other interested parties, make yourself known to the agent or owner. Present yourself in a positive way through your clothing, the way you speak, what you say and how you present yourself. Basically everything you’d do in a job interview.
Secondly, don’t have too many people tag along with you. I know it can be an exciting time, but there will be plenty of time for friends to see the new place later. Only take people who will reside at the property. For younger people trying to secure their first rental property, I’d advise to take a parent with you. Taking a parent shows the agent or owner family involvement.
How To Apply
Once you’ve seen the property you’ll need to submit an application. Email the agent or owner directly. Websites like Domain and realestate.com.au have online facilities through a third party called Form 1. Most agents accept these, however, they don’t check applications via this system unless they are made aware of it. Therefore, I’d suggest avoiding these applications until agents use them more frequently.
Instead, owners and agents prefer to have prospective tenants fill out their specific applications. Most have copies at open inspections that can be completed, scanned or photographed and emailed directly. This is the best way to apply and get the attention your application deserves.
Completing The Application
Home owners or property managers are often overloaded with paperwork, therefore they need to have a process of elimination. Their initial way of sorting through them is to look for incomplete applications and put these aside. They don’t want to waste their time chasing up details and also it’s an indication of how serious possible tenants are about renting the property.
Also, provide all the accompanying documentation when you submit the application and where possible prove a recent rental ledger. These are available from agents via email on request. If you really want a property make it as easy as possible for the person processing the application.
Contact References About Your Application
When supplying references with applications always contact them prior to submitting it. It might be a former agent or owner, work colleague or personal reference. Plus, provide agents and owners with easy contact details in order to make calls and check out your credentials. Where possible provide a day-time phone number for all references. They often ask for emails, but phone calls are generally the most effective form of contact.
If you are exceptionally keen on a property, put some time and effort into an application. Submit a brief letter with your application explaining your circumstances and include anything agents and home owners look for. Things like having a secure job or stable income, family members with disabilities, if you’ve been a previous home owner and alike. These all get regarded by the owner in making their final decision. Even if an agent is processing applications, the owner will have the final say in who they want living in their property. Stand out from the crowd and entice them to select you.
Image via lifestylemoves.com
If you’re tired of paying massive sums of money for heating and cooling costs you’ve come to the right place. I’ve tried and tested these simple techniques and they really work. As an example last quarter we literally saved a couple of hundred dollars on our usual $500 plus electricity bill. It wasn’t difficult and anyone can do it.
Shop around for service providers
One way I managed to save was by doing a bit of homework and swapping our utility retailer. Some online companies can do this for you but it’s probably best if you make comparisons yourself. Check daily service charges, peak and off peak times and rates plus fees and charges and any discounts which apply.
Many retailers offer discounts for customers who pay on time. These can be good for people who like to pay fortnightly or weekly to reduce their total bill but if you primarily look for these type of deals you could be missing out. Some companies tariffs are lower than the discounted rate anyway so check the actual figures. I was a bit hesitant to swap initially because I was used to getting the pay on time discount, however when I had a look at the costs it worked out less overall.
Don’t be too concerned if you’re in a contract either. Most gas and electrical contracts are easy to get out of and the cost of swapping is still going to save you in the long run. Just be aware that the swap won’t go through immediately and it can take several months to take affect. Generally retailers need to wait until the next billing cycle before they hand over supply to another company. It’s just a matter of contacting a new retailer, signing up and they basically do the rest.
Exposed glass can significantly add to heating and cooling costs. In warmer weather glass heats up as the sun beats down upon it. Luckily, a lot of people know to leave their homes shut up in summer to reduce the heat entering their homes. However, many neglect to realise when it’s cold outside they should do the same thing. The warmth generated by heating within a home rapidly escapes though the glass and this adds to the cost of temperature control.
An easy way to reduce the cost is by shutting window dressings to trap the heat within during winter and to repel it in summer. Heavily backed curtains are probably the most effective option. Other dressings like blinds or venetians are better than nothing but are no way near as effective.
Another excellent option is window tinting. This stuff is awesome. It reduces glare, adds privacy, has see through and decorative options, protects the glass from breakage and successfully saves money on temperature control. Adding this layer to glass windows makes it harder for heat to escape in winter and penetrate in summer. Plus it’s not as expensive as you might think. Even people who rent can add this without permanently altering a property.
You can buy it in bulk and apply it to each window in the home, have it installed professionally or just purchase enough for problem windows which receive the most exposure. Some tinting products are very easy to apply and remove. It’s just a matter of cleaning the glass, spray it with a bit of soapy water, position it and cut it to size. Violã! It’s that easy.
Using fans to assist with circulation
Using fans costs a fraction of the price of air-conditioners. I’m talking pocket change instead of folded notes! One really nifty tip is to use a combination of fans and the air-conditioning. Even though you have two appliances running it will save you a small fortune if you set the air-con to a higher or lower temperature than required and use the fan.
For example in summer instead of setting the air-con to 22 set it to 23 and use a fan or two to circulate the air. This cools the air and assists the air-con to reach it’s desired temperature faster. It’s been claimed that for each degree difference you can save 10 percent on running costs. Therefore if you set the air-con to 25 instead of 22 you can save a whopping 30 percent. The same applies to setting temperatures in winter. I did this during summer and we saved about $250 on our regular summer electricity bill and temperature wise we didn’t feel the difference.
Nine fast tips
- Most of these are tips are common sense and if you watch your heating and cooling usage you will notice the savings. Seriously why spend more on utility bills than you have to? Wouldn’t you rather go on a short holiday every year with the savings? I know I would!
- Avoid heating and cooling unused spaces
- Gas is cheaper to run than electricity so if you have an option chose the gas rather than use an electrical appliance
- Avoid using high wattage appliances like small fan heaters unless you need to
- In winter if you have a heater which uses wood, try and source wood for free. Network, check online for give-away wood and don’t be afraid of a bit of hard work to collect it. This will save a fortune!
- Instead of heating bedrooms before bedtime, use an electric blanket. Flick it on half an hour prior and you’ll be toasty warm in seconds
- If you use ducting shut off ducts to areas not in use. Close the vents or board them up more permanently if they aren’t necessary
- Dress appropriately. Rather than wearing t-shirts around the home in winter and turn on the heating, wear more clothing. If your watching TV or on the computer use blankets instead of turning on the heat if you can avoid it. The same applies in summer. If you dress for the weather conditions this will save you money
- If you’re home alone, you really only need to warm or cool yourself not the entire space
- Instead of using heating or cooling appliances day and night only use them when you really need to. Many of us are very used to flicking on the air-con when really we’d be just as comfortable opening the windows or putting on a jumper. This is not only good for your finances but also saves the environment from all those nasties generated by using temperature control appliances
If anyone has anymore useful tips on saving on heating and cooling costs we’d love to here from you.
One of the cheapest and most rewarding ways to grow a cactus is from a cutting. Plus, they make awesome gifts for people, especially if you’re on a tight budget. All you need is a little knowledge and you can have a beautiful plant at a fraction of the cost of a nursery variety.
Getting cactus to grow isn’t as hard as some people anticipate and it’s quite therapeutic. Also, many varieties are almost indestructible. The best place to get cuttings is from relatives, friends, or even walking down the street. This is great if you aren’t sure what will grow in your area as an established plant is living proof it can be done.
Now, growing plants from cuttings can be an art, so it’s best to start simple – hearty cactus are great for beginners. Even if you don’t have green fingers follow these guidelines and you should be successful!
- The key to successful growth is in the selection of the cutting. Choose a small piece that is growing off one of the main stems, rather than trying to establish something bigger – a small piece will root and grow much faster. Ideally, choose a piece that is no longer that 10-15cm in length.
- Now that you’ve identified an ideal piece, gently pry the cutting away from the main stem. It will have a notch like attachment, so doing it gently with your hands is much better than using snips or scissors.
- When you have your precious cutting, place it in a clear glass with enough water to keep it wet and to promote roots. Cactus’ can’t be drowned – which is just as unusual as the fact that they can grow without much water. Choosing a clear glass will allow you to see the roots form and continue to grow.
- Place the glass on a window sill or somewhere well lit. Change the water regularly and remember to keep it wet. The cactus will begin to get roots and predominately grow downward, not upward, so don’t expect much height change.
- How long you leave the plant to produce roots depends on many variables like climate and light. Some people have cactus plants in vases around their home, as many varieties thrive in water alone. The root system gets very intricate and it can be quite a stunning display – a great alternative to a bunch of flowers because it lasts for years, not days or weeks.
- If you’d prefer to grow a larger specimen in soil, select an appropriate pot size and potting mix. Take a picture of the plant and ask your local nursery to advise you of the best pot and soil type. Growing a thriving plant is heavily dependent upon the soil. So, if you’re a beginner, spend a bit more on some decent soil rather than creating your own mix, or earth directly from the garden.
That’s it! Your cactus will need a little water initially after planting, but usually within 2-4 weeks the cactus will generally look after itself.
Tip: With cactus your biggest threat of killing your plant is giving it too much attention after it’s established. If they need water the leaves will droop, and if they are receiving too much water, the leaves may begin to shed.
Good luck and happy planting!
Image via ehow.com
With spring approaching, you might be thinking of cleaning your home in time for the better weather. While Googling ‘cleaners near me’ will bring up a range of professional domestic services that will certainly give you a helping hand, you might decide rolling up your sleeves is the best way to get the job started. So, if you’re not afraid of a bit of elbow grease, here are 10 amazing spring cleaning hints and tips to check out.
1. Disinfect your surface with lemon juice
Believe it or not, lemon juice is a natural disinfectant and is ideal for cleaning everything from work surfaces to stainless steel. Rub salt over one half of a lemon and you’ve even got yourself an organic abrasive that’ll remove tough marks and stains.
2. Add lemon juice to your laundry
You can also add a cup of lemon juice to your laundry as this will not only do a great job of whitening but it’ll leave your clothes smelling wonderfully fresh. It’s also much gentler on the skin than other products like chlorine bleach, so why not give it a go?
3. Deodorise the dishwasher with lemon juice
‘Lemon juice again?’ you may cry! Why indeed! It’s a wonderful natural cleaning agent that can be used all around the home, but if you want to deodorise your dishwasher try filling half a tea cup with lemon juice and placing it on the bottom rack. Run the rinse cycle and your dishwasher will be clean and fresh too.
4. Freshen up your carpets
Want to keep your carpets clean and fresh? Then sprinkle down some baking powder mixed with 10-20 drops of essential oils before hovering.
5. Steam clean using vinegar and water
If you want to steam clean your carpets without using any harsh cleaning chemical, try adding equal quantities of vinegar and water to your steam cleaner. This will help remove stubborn stains but if you don’t want your home to smell like a salad dressing, add several drops of essential oils too.
6. Get rid of smells from your fridge
To properly clean your fridge, take everything out and wipe it down with a concoction of washing up liquid and hot water. Rinse with a clean, damp rag before sprinkling down some bicarbonate of soda and leaving for 30 minutes. This will neutralise odours. Wipe away and put the food back in.
7. Polish your furniture with vinegar
Vinegar is not just for pouring over fish and chips. It’s also great for shining up old tables and polishing furniture, so why not try it out for yourself? Simply shake a few drops onto household objects and rub in using a dry cloth.
8. Unclog sinks with vinegar and baking soda
Did you know you can unblock drains using just baking soda and vinegar? To do this, simply put three heaped tablespoons of baking soda down the plughole followed by several glugs of white vinegar. Wait for the hissing to stop before washing through with hot water. The ferocious chemical reaction should clean your pipes and is a great way to get water flowing properly without calling out a plumber.
9. Fight oil with oil
Oil and water do not mix, so try fighting those annoying grease stains with a few drops of vegetable oil. Scrub using an abrasive sponge and you should find the mess comes away quite easily.
10. Clean your shower head with a toothbrush
One of the biggest enemies your bathroom faces is limescale. It can build up round taps and shower heads so try removing it using a squirt of lemon juice and a firm toothbrush. The bristles will help clean all those little holes helping water to flow more freely.
So there you have it, ten spring cleaning tips that will leave your home looking fab.
Buying loads of jewellery is one thing, but caring for it on a daily basis is an entirely different ball game.
Whether you have a number of different pieces on high rotation or a select few for special events, we provide just a few tips on how you can care for them, plus some additional insight from Michael Fallah (Mick The Jeweller).
If you wear rings or necklaces on daily basis, it’s important to keep them away from water and perfume. Even if your pieces are sterling silver or gold plated, water and chemicals can actually turn them green and make them lose their shine.
Remove them each time you need to wash your hands, and don’t spray perfume directly onto your pieces, ever!
There are a number of different ways to store your jewellery, and one of the best is in a drawer. Not only is this a great way to see what you have at all times, they also won’t rub up against each other and lose their coating. Sometimes when these pieces rub against each other, they can scratch and tarnish at a faster rate.
Jewellery boxes lined in soft fabrics such as suede are ideal, and make sure to keep them out of direct sunlight.
If you have purchased your jewellery pieces from a designer boutique, make sure to take them back every few months for a professional clean. Rather than just using a silver cloth, the professionals will replace any default gems, and make your items look brand new!
What should I avoid?
Michael Fallah from Mick The Jeweller has also shared some tips to avoid, in order to keep your products looking their best.
- Excessive heat, sudden temperature changes and exposure to chemicals can all damage and discolour gems and precious metals. Always remove any jewellery before swimming, cleaning or applying any cosmetics, hairspray, perfumes or lotions.
- While diamonds are quite hardy, coloured gems, along with pearls and precious metals like gold, silver and platinum, are all susceptible to damage.
Image via eBay
Let’s face it, there’s nothing glamorous about a 22-hour flight across the globe.
To make skin feel a little more relaxed, why not invest in some quality products which will fight against those dreaded dry patches. Below are just a few holy grail tips involving thermal water to cold creams to save your skin.
Rather than packing on each layer of foundation, blush, bronzer, and highlighter for the long trip, stick to something light and hydrating for your skin. If you just can’t stand the thought of going make-up free, use a light tinted moisturiser to even out your skin tone. They are usually packed with skin-loving vitamins and minerals which won’t result in dry patches.
To avoid dry, flakey skin, use a thermal water or face wipe to refresh during the trip. Pressed thermal water is great for your skin because it’s pure, and won’t disrupt the state of your foundation or eye makeup. Keep a small can in your carry-on luggage, and spritz your face every few hours.
Use a multi-purpose dry oil on both your face and body to keep skin feeling fresh and energised. You only need a few drops, and your skin will feel hydrated for hours! Ideal for women who suffer from dry and sensitive skin.
Apply a mask
A hydrating moisturiser is the one of the best ways to avoid dry patches, and treat your skin at the same time. Simply apply over clean, dry skin, then just sit back and relax! Leave the mask on for 10-15 minutes, and take any excess product and pat into your neck.
Always pack a moisturising lip balm to soothe dry, cracked lips. Use a stick version as opposed to a tub which is more hygienic.
Use a cold cream
Ever heard of a cold cream before? These products are known to be super-hydrating for all skin types, and can be used in a number of ways. Apply onto your face as a hydrating mask, decrease puffy eyes, apply onto your hands, and even use it to remove your makeup. A tube of this stuff in your luggage is sure to be a lifesaver.
Image via ELLE
Whether your hair is going through a shedding cycle, or is starting to thin along the forehead, it isn’t the end of the world!
This could be caused by a shift in hormones such as having a baby, brushing hair too vigorously, or using extensions on already frail hair. Here are a couple effective ways to bring thin hair back to life on a budget.
Use a volumising hair mousse or spray on your roots to give hair an extra lift. Apply product directly on damp hair, and massage gently with your fingertips. Leave your locks to dry naturally, or use a hairdryer on low heat and concentrate on drying your roots.
Apple cider vinegar
Raw apple cider vinegar is an amazing organic product to use on hair which is thinning out. It helps to remove dead skin cells from the scalp, but also create the illusion of texture on sparse locks.
Take it easy
Constantly touching, washing, processing, and colouring hair can leave it dry and brittle. Give it a break and leave hair down, or in a loose braid when you’re at home. Sometimes shedding occurs when hair has been up in a bun or ponytail for extended periods of time – it needs a break!
Give your scalp a massage to stimulate hair growth at least once a week. Apply lavender oil directly onto your scalp, and gently run your fingers in circular motions all over your head. Certain types of hair loss responds to essential oils, some including cedarwood, rosemary, and thyme – all of which are easy to get your hands on!
Use an all natural hair mask such as coconut oil and apply all over your roots and ends. This not only exfoliates a dry scalp, but repairs damaged hair follicles, and removes any excess oils from your hair.
Eat more… eggs?
Eggs are loaded with a nutrient called biotin which directly contributes to healthy skin, hair, and nails. You could also take a biotin supplement, but it’s best to have it in its purest form.
Probably one of the most difficult factors to accept about yourself is realising your true body shape, then buying clothes which reflect this sentiment. Makeover queens Trinny and Susannah compiled a list of common body shapes which all women could identify with. These include 12 distinct shapes which act as the very foundation for selecting the best clothes to have you looking your best.
The apple is defined by a round tummy which acts as the focal point for the entire body. This is generally the largest part of the body, which is usually accompanied by a flat chest and is the most difficult area to find flattering clothes for. Rather than sticking to oversized tops and dresses to drape over your entire body, look for clothes which highlight the chest but drape over the middle section. Keep away from anything bulky such as puffy jackets, leather and coats which could backfire.
This body shape is usually defined as having non-existent hips and a barely-there waist. Rather than choosing baggy clothes which highlight this boxy shape even more, choose clothes which are made to emphasise or create a sexy waist. If you seem to have a complex about your tummy area, choose tops which slightly drape over the middle section, but aren’t overwhelming or too long. Feminine shoes will also add a sophisticated element to your look.
Probably known as a classic tomboy shape, the goblet is easily identified by it’s broad shoulders and straight hips. The plus side is that this body shape usually has legs for days, and playing up these feminine features is a great way to make this shape work. Invest in fitted jackets which cut off at the waist, giveaway any baggy pants and buy an assortment of body hugging skirts.
Think Marilyn Monroe with lots of feminine curves in all the right places and a tiny waist as well. Although a large chest and hips could turn sour if you’re unable to find flattering clothes. Accentuate your curves with fitted dresses and pencil skirts, while it’s best to avoid anything that’s loose fitting.
This body shape is basically the same as an hourglass which we previously mentioned, although on a taller frame. The vase will usually carry a larger chest area so it’s best to downplay this and keep it simple and classy. Show off hips by wearing pencil skirts, straight-legged jeans and fitted shirts which compliment the chest area. Avoid sleeveless tops as this could make the look quite frumpy.
Most similar to the goblet body shape, but working with a curvier waist. It’s easy for a cello shape to wear pleated skirts since they work well with their sensuous curves, but often a hassle to find a great pair of jeans. Instead choose wide legged trousers which give the illusion of longer and leaner legs.
This classic shape is what most women seem to identify themselves with; a small bust, emphasised hips and rounder thighs. Pears have great shoulders so it’s always best to find shirts and jackets which are tailored to compliment this feature. Long A-line skirts work like magic against a pear-shaped body, but try to avoid pencil skirts at all cost.
Quite similar to a pear-shape, the skittle focuses on a smaller bottom although carrying rounder thighs. This shape is a little easier to work with since the top is in good proportion to the bottom half of the body. If you’re feeling self-conscious about your legs, try to draw attention to the top half by wearing interesting patterns and colours. Avoid short jackets that cut off above the bottom.
The bell is defined as having small shoulders, a petite waist and a larger bottom half. To make this body shape work like a charm, try to balance out the top and bottom halves, instead of simply covering up areas which you dislike. For the top half, try feminine styles such as a slight V-neck top and cowl neck jumper. As for the bottom, work with classic patterns and monochrome colours which aren’t too overwhelming or distracting on the eye.
Another popular body shape, the column seems to have shoulders which are the same size as hips, a tiny waist with lean legs. Try to introduce some shape with your choice of clothing and keep away from shapeless outfits. Peplum tops, cropped trousers and statement accessories all give the illusion of a curvier figure. Avoid wearing body-con dresses or crop tops which will only make you look shapeless.
Prominent on petite women, the lollipop figure is well known for it’s long legs, large bust and slim hips. The best way to make this figure work is to balance proportions and emphasise the bust in a subtle way. Invest in detailed skirts with colours and patterns, avoid chunky knitwear and ideally wear dresses which are cinched in under the bust.
Lastly the cornet is a primarily boyish figure which has long legs, broad shoulders and a smaller bust. Fitted clothes will be your new best friend, and will create a defined waist. Look out for wrapped knitwear or tops that cinch in at the waist. Avoid anything that drapes across the entire body, and anything with shoulder pads.
Image via akamommagazine.com
By Felicia Sapountzis