Common Sense Budgeting – Taking the Power Back

As I’ve gotten older and grown into my role as a Mum and wife I’ve found there are more than a few things that I’ve gone back to or revisited from an earlier time in my life.  Though we ditched the CDs years ago (thank god!), my playlist only gains a few new tracks each year – yes, I still listen to the same bangers that have been pumping me up for over 20 years now!  Likewise, the circular nature of fashion means I’ve dusted off my Levi’s denim jacket that I purchased when I was at Uni, brightly coloured, oversized Tees and sneakers are back (no Jordache though, unfortunately!) and it’s totally ok to wear a rah-rah skirt 30 years after their eighties debut.

Mid-winter this year, Dave and I got serious (for a minute lol) and took a long hard look at our budget.  After purchasing The Barefoot Investor, I realised that there were quite a few areas in which we could tighten up our spending, and with the goal of daily expenses totalling no more than 60% of your income, I turned my thrifty gaze to our household expenses first.

Two areas really stood out for me; the amount we were spending on groceries and power.  We immediately paused our dinner subscription boxes, started meal planning again and began to look into what on earth was going on with our power bills.

Fibre arrived on our street earlier in the year, so when we were shopping for a provider, I was wooed by combo deals which offered ‘great rates’ for new customers who signed up for both fibre and power.  We switched companies and I didn’t think about it again until the winter power bills made their first appearance.

And then, I thought about power A LOT.

We have an old house, build in the ‘50’s, wooden joinery, no fireplace, three bedrooms to heat and a power-loving teenager.   Price per kw is really important to me because energy-proofing our house any further than we have already done just isn’t an option right now.  What I had neglected to factor into the budget when our fibre was installed was the good-ol’ Fixed Daily Charge.

I HATE the Fixed Daily Charge.

Easy, easy solution though.

I went back to an old and trusted provider,  and got them to handle the admin of getting us switched over and back on track.

10 years after we first signed up, we are back with Powershop and it feels good. Look!  Proof >

Choosing a power company NZ

The switchover process was ridiculously easy and fast.  6 simple steps to complete online and then Powershop took care of the rest – I didn’t even have to contact my previous provider to give them the flick!  We chose the Powershop Classic option which is how we purchased power from them previously.  What this means is I get control of when I buy power and at what price – HELLO regular specials and powerpacks.  Did I mention NO fixed daily charge and no fixed unit price?  In our first month, we used 200 units more than the prior month and paid $2 less than our last invoice with our old provider.  More power for less $$ = winning!

Power specials available to purchase in the Powershop app

The Powershop app is where I feel I really begin to take control of our power spend, as well as gaining some invaluable insights into how/when our household consumes power – why do we have big spikes every day at 12 pm????? I’m yet to solve that mystery.  I LOVE saving money, and pre-purchasing power for the months ahead is one way to do it.  As we head into Summer 2020 with a second heat pump unit I know that the AC will be cranking in both ends of the house.  I’ll tuck a couple of Future Packs under my belt and feel quite smug (and cool!) when Summer decides to show up here in New Zealand.

Household utilities are something that as a consumer, I feel quite ‘removed’ from in general.  We have so little control over what we pay for water, internet, phone services and power in general.  The switch back to Powershop has been (once again) quite revelatory in that, everything I need as a purchaser, is right in my hands – consumption, predicted future consumption, spending options (soooo many options), account history and if you’re really keen, the ability to earn credit by referring your mates! Seriously, if you’re watching your pennies, and watching your power, get sorted and switch over to Powershop.  Like I said over on IG, nothing gives you the thrifty-super-budget-conscious thrills like a new Powerpack hitting the Powershop Shop.  It’s 2019, we comparison shop for everything, it’s pretty cool to have the same flexibility from your power company.

Our Modern Family and a Life Lived Online……….some of the time!

The Best Nest Blog turned 11 years old in October (that’s pretty much a century in blogger years lol) and, I must give credit where credit’s due.  By very definition, my blog wouldn’t be beaming its way around the world without the web, which I wouldn’t be able to access without the internet.  So, thank you mystical online world, existing in the ether, of which I have zero understanding outside of my own domain name!

Much has changed in our family over the past decade, Dave transitioned from a Marine Engineer working with his hands, on boats every day, to an IT Project Manager working from home, Ethan grew waaaayy too fast and is now a bona fide teenager, and our family grew from 3 to 4 with the arrival of Nixon just over 5 years ago. It was at this time that I decided NOT to go back to my former job and to focus exclusively on life as a ‘Mummy Blogger’.

Fast forward to 2018 and Dave and I are happily co-working from home, sharing one, long desk and at last count there are 17 devices in our home (sometimes more) connected to the internet at any one time.  That’s mental, but I know our family is NOT highly unusual, at least not here in New Zealand.  We are also travelling frequently for work,which presents its own series of online obstacles to overcome.

“With great internet access comes great responsibility”.

Our job as the parents in this online family environment is to facilitate a level of suitable internet accessibility for the boys – and their friends as is often the case.  But whilst doing so, there’s an inherent obligation to maintain their online safety, the security of our own digital assets, those of Dave’s employer and the integrity of my own online business.

What Does Online Safety and Security Mean in 2018?

So, SO much is the short answer, but if we dive a bit deeper we should be covering the following bases across all devices; PCs, Macs, laptops, Chromebooks, tablets and our beloved smartphones;

  • Virus protection
  • Protection from hackers
  • Safe, secure cloud backup to protect precious photos
  • Financial protection from in-app purchasing – thanks kids!
  • Moderation of screen time
  • Age-appropriate content
  • Real-time protection while using unsecured, public WiFi
Internet Security

The NEW Travel Essential

We just returned from a family trip to the Sunshine Coast.  As Dave and I always work during our family travel breaks, being without internet connectivity is simply NOT an option.  As such we relied on public WiFi whenever we were away from the Airbnb.  On our final day when Dave had Skype meetings after check-out, he had to sit in our rental car outside the library, so he could share his laptop screen, take his meeting and keep working.  Not a big deal but, when you rely on internet access so much, even when on ‘holiday’ it would have felt great to know that the network being used was secure. Norton’s got a product to tackle this exact issue that is our new, never-leave-home-without-it tech fave. Meet Norton Secure VPN, designed to keep personal and financial info safe when using public WiFi.  One of my late father’s most infamous quotes refers to the fact that he didn’t ‘spend all day in internet cafes waiting for someone to download all of his money’.  He was talking to his bank, frustrated at his password reset process lol.  However inconceivable this comment may seem, it could potentially happen without protection on a public network.

Dave and I have installed Norton Secure VPN on both of our phones (and Ethan’s) and laptops.  What this means is that all data sent and received using public WiFi is encrypted.  The creation of a VPN (Virtual Private Network) secures our logins, credit card info etc. and makes our extensive use of public networks just as safe as being at home.  That’s one less thing to worry about when we are far from home!

Online Security at Home…..and Everywhere Else

Ok, real talk – virus protection software is nothing new, so, choosing a product that offers comprehensive, family-friendly benefits is what’s going to impress me.

Norton Security Premium takes the cake here.  One subscription protects 5 devices from viruses and hackers, that’s really the minimum requirement isn’t it?  Over and above is what we’re really interested in and that’s what this package provides;

  • 25gb secure online storage – LOVE this.  Cloud storage is expensive guys, and I’m constantly needing more.  Why is this important?  Precious family pics are often targeted by ransomware, eek.
  • Norton Family – a comprehensive toolkit that can work cooperatively between parents and kids to both keep little ones (and not-so-little ones) safe online AND teach them healthy habits around their device usage.  The days of not knowing what your kids are actually doing online are over thanks to reports sent straight to your inbox, giving you an easy, automated way to get back in the loop and regain control over the content your kids are consuming when they’re online.

These two fabulous tools from Norton are an easy way for us as parents to take back control of the online activity happening within our families.  This isn’t about policing the internet, but, there is no way children have enough impulse control or common sense to make their own uncensored decisions about the content they access online.

Internet Security

I’m a parent and I take that job very seriously.  As someone who has dedicated over a decade to creating a viable business online via my own website and through the use of social media, I know just how brutal and often dangerous the internet can be.  On the other hand, it’s also bloody incredible, and it’s that facet of online user-experience that I want my boys to access as children.

For more info on Norton Security Premium and Norton Secure VPN, visit their website here, there is a wealth of resources on their site around keeping safe online. Thanks to Norton for sponsoring this post.

Home Decor – A Winter Bedroom Refesh

As Mum is now spending less and less time with us down here in Auckland, preferring the wilds of her own, brand new house, literally right on the Kaipara Harbour, her room here has become slightly ‘lacking’ in…….everything lol.  

It’s quite hidden from visitors and is totally self-contained with its own office and ensuite, so it’s been easy to ignore how ‘spare room’ it had become.  In saying that, it was bothering me.  My plan is to paint it white as we replaced an old school, dodgy glass door with a solid fibreglass one and the ol’ quarter tea needs to be freshened up, lightened and brightened.

But who’s got time for painting right now?  Not me that’s for sure.

Instead, I’ve opted for an easy make-over, using new bed linen and decor.  

Before:

New Zealand's Top Travel Lifestyle Blog Home Decor

Sooooo spare room right?

When I shot the ‘before’ pics, it was immediately apparent how flat and one-dimensional the elements in the room were – what few there were!  What was needed were texture and depth, so in choosing new bed linen from Logan & Mason’s luxe Autumn/Winter range, I was looking for linen styles that created some interest and contrast.

After:

Shopping duvet covers seemed the natural place to begin; the Parker Mineral Set was exactly what I was looking for.  Lush velvet panels in charcoal, gold and silver create a tactile experience as well as visual depth to the bed.

I paired it with matching European pillowcases, Antique Lattice Gold Square Cushion from the Florence Broadhurst range, a Natural Cotton Waffle Blanket and the Presley Ink Faux Fur Throw.

New Zealand's Top Travel Lifestyle Blog Home Decor

New Zealand's Top Travel Lifestyle Blog Home Decor

Once the bed linen was in place I was able to visualise the accessories needed to finish the room’s ‘cosmetic’ overhaul.  Once again I was looking for dimension and texture so was conscious of combining different materials (brass, rattan, concrete) drawing on the gold velvet from the duvet as the common element to tie the room together.

I LOVE the end result and so does Mum.  The velvet and faux fur fabrics are so on trend right now, as are the inky petrol tones paired perfectly with the mustard/gold.


This post was a collaboration between myself and Logan & Mason.

Get Crafty – DIY Feather Juju Hat Tutorial

It’s Spotlight National Craft Month and people all over New Zealand have been getting creative with help from the crafting experts at Spotlight stores around the country.  I was super happy to work with Spotlight again and finally cross a project off my ever increasing, crafty wish-list!

http://www.thebestnest.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/feather-juju-hat-1.jpg

Juju hats have been hot, hot hot in interiors over the past couple of seasons and with good reason.  As a wall hanging they easily create texture, depth and warmth and are incredibly easy to hang and style as they are super light and available in almost any colour.  Hailing from Cameroon, this traditional feathered headdress was once only worn by royal dancers yet is now an ‘on-trend’ interior decor piece found in homes around the world.

And I’ve always wanted to make my own!

Fingers crossed lol.

Juju Hat Shopping List

There’s a pretty simple list of requirements for this crafty project and you can grab them all at your local Spotlight store.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Juju Hat DIY Tutorial

Nixie really wanted to do some crafting together so I simplified things for him and picked up a Kaiserwood Monologue ‘N’ and a pack of multicoloured, mixed turkey feathers to decorate it with.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Feather Juju Hat DIY Tutorial

Step 1

Glue the Ostrich feather boa around the diameter of the wooden placemat.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Feather Juju Hat DIY Tutorial

Step 2

Before you start affixing your feature feathers, lay out your Eagle quills to ensure you get an even spread around the placemat.  Glue on the first 4 feathers, dividing the placemat into quarters and infill from there.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Feather Juju Hat DIY Tutorial New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Feather Juju Hat DIY Tutorial New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Feather Juju Hat DIY Tutorial

Step 3

If the exterior circle of feathers is looking a bit gappy, glue 2 turkey feathers onto each eagle quill to increase volume.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Feather Juju Hat DIY Tutorial

Step 4

Working around in a circle, glue a layer of marabou trim onto the quills with the satin ribbon closest to the centre.  Trim excess and set aside for step 10.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Feather Juju Hat DIY Tutorial New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Feather Juju Hat DIY Tutorial

Step 5

Apply a layer of Goose Negorie feathers followed by 1 pack of feather biot at intervals.

Step 6

Working around in a circle, glue a layer of marabou trim onto the quills with the satin ribbon closest to the centre.

Step 7

Working around in a circle, glue a layer of turkey feathers onto the satin ribbon trim to hide.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Feather Juju Hat DIY Tutorial

Step 8

Keep the remaining 2 packs of feather biot bunched/tied as they come in the pack.  Fan each pack out to form a half circle and glue in place with quills in the centre of the placemat.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Feather Juju Hat DIY Tutorial New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Feather Juju Hat DIY Tutorial

Step 9

Working around in a circle, glue the 2 packs of curled Negorie feathers with quills right in the centre – trim quills if necessary.

Step 10

Using excess marabou trim, glue in a tight circle in the centre of the Juju hat, covering all remaining quills.  Fluff feathers to finish.  Use howlite beads in centre if desired to add a more ‘tribal’ feel to your finished piece.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Feather Juju Hat DIY Tutorial

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Feather Juju Hat DIY Tutorial

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Feather Juju Hat DIY Tutorial

The finished product is literally, light as a feather so I simply mounted mine with 3M Command Picture Hanging Strips – too easy!  I’m in love with how my Juju hat looks mounted on the wall, the dipped imitation Eagle feathers were a great choice for our lounge and dining area – loving the little pop of inky jewel tones they give to the finished piece.

Check out the full video tutorial below, including the awesome little project that Nix worked on which meant we could enjoy crafting together.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Feather Juju Hat DIY Tutorial

Happy crafting!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Feather Juju Hat DIY Tutorial

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Bedroom Refresh

Oh my lord it’s HOT!  Seriously, these temps in December are crazy, but crazy good for sure.  Being able to throw open the bedroom windows and freshen things up is so therapeutic for me.  Both of the boy’s rooms have had a big spring clean that included purchasing fresh, new linen for their beds.  Over the weekend, I finally had the time to do the same in our master bedroom.

You know those dumping grounds that ‘some’ of us have throughout the house?  I have two; one is our dining room table and the other is our bedroom.  It’s so odd that I despise clutter and mess yet the very place that should be somewhat of a peaceful sanctuary for Dave and I, has become the epicenter of chaos in our home.

Organising and decluttering our bedroom is a work in progress, so I’ll update you on that as I get to it in the future, but, as focusing on both the quality and quantity of hours spent asleep is a big priority for me heading into 2018 (thanks Fitbit lol), I decided to begin with a bed linen makeover.

Our prior duvet set was cozy, grey cotton jersey.  Lovely and snuggly and perfect for winter but it didn’t invoke any ‘light and bright” summery feelings whatsoever.  Despite my reservations (those reservations being a very sticky four-year-old and two dogs that love to sneak on the bed!) I knew I wouldn’t be happy with anything but 100% crisp white < insert sighing husband here.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns Kiwi Kids Bed lInen

I flipped the bed’s colour palette inside out, opting for grey linen sheets this season and that fresh, white goodness for the duvet cover.  Texture was also a consideration, and I’m loving how our new bed linen provides lots of depth and variation, considering the very neutral colours I chose to work with.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns Kiwi Kids Bed lInen

What do you guys think?  I’m loving how it came together.  The muted trio of white, natural and charcoal is exactly what I was looking for to draw the eye out of the room via our large windows, to the garden beyond – which is super lush and green right now.

That’s the fun part over, now to declutter, cull and organize!

Shop this look from Logan & Mason here;

Duvet Covers and European PillowcasesLangley Linen Knitted Throw $159.95, Solaris White Square Cushion $69.95, Cove Natural Square Cushion $89.95

The items above were all sourced from the extensive linen range at Logan & Mason with whom I collaborated on this post.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns Kiwi Kids Bed lInen

 

 

Reuse, Reuse, Reuse……..Recycle!

This Mum Service Announcement (MSA) is sponsored by GLAD.

Life with kids can easily become an all-consuming cycle of coveting, collecting, consuming and then (sneakily lol) culling when the opportunity arises.  Kids are hoarders, I am not, plus, I’m on a bit of a decluttering binge at the moment, so any method of reusing what we have and reducing waste goes straight to the top of my ‘List of Awesome Things’.

Time for a confession; before I began working with GLAD on this post, I had never washed and reused a Snap Lock Bag.

I know, I know, I’m a terrible person……….but, I had simply not considered the idea that the little, do-everything bags that have been staples in my kitchen’s second-draw my entire adult life, were robust enough to live a life more fulfilling than a single trip to school and back.

Now I know better.  Every GLAD Snap Lock Resealable Bag deserved a second, third, fourth chance at life, which is the crux of today’s MSA; no GLAD bag deserves to be discarded after single use.  Heck, find those bad boys a spot in the cupboard, housing a pack of playing cards or a Lego set and let them retire, worry-free without fear of the landfill.

Check out all the ways Dave and I came up with to reuse ONE Snap Lock Bag after it returned from a successful mission to kindy, transporting snacks surplus to lunchbox capacity;

So here’s the thing right, I know what you’re all thinking.  I do.  Ya’ll are thinking, ‘that’s all well and good, rehome the happy Glad Bags, give them another lease on life, but what happens when Nixon rips the side seam right open?  Then, surely, it’s time for the landfill?”

No Lego is safe in a Snap Lock back with a ripped seam, this is a FACT.  What is also a fact is that GLAD Snap Lock bags, ClingWrap, ZipSlide bags and Matchware containers can all be recycled, – this is another thing I had NO idea about!  Terracycle and GLAD have partnered to create a program which is free to join and allows you to ship your (hopefully!) well used and reused GLAD products off for recycling – also for free!  Click here to sign-up and find out how the program works.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns Reuse Recycle Glad Sandwich Bags

In our house, we love our little GLAD Snap Lock bags even more now that we are reusing and recycling them.  Available in a range of sizes, they keep food fresher for longer – perfect for the pantry plus, they are BPA free which makes them safe to reuse over and over again, even in the freezer and microwave. 

The truth is out guys, knowledge is power and it’s time to put an end to single-use GLAD abuse. Join with me today.  Find a collection in need of safe containment (hint: look for those ‘special rocks’ under your kid’s beds) and send an old sandwich bag back to work, saving a Snap Lock from the landfill.  Together we can make a change.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns Reuse Recycle Glad Sandwich Bags

 

 

 

Heating your home: 5 things you need to know

In came the rain this week as well as some low temps around the country.  I’ve got a sore throat and am in full hibernation mode so keeping our house toasty and warm is #1 on my list of priorities throughout the day.

I had no idea what temp we should be maintaining our house at – but it’s a pretty important figure in winter, so I thought some of you might be interested in what I found out about heating our homes;

  1. The minimum temperature for occupied areas of homes as recommended by the World Health Organisation is 18°or higher for households with children, the elderly or family members who are ill.  The layout of our house allows us to use one heat pump to keep our playroom and the 3 bedrooms at 20°.  I find maintaining a steady temperature is a more efficient use of energy than trying to heat cold rooms quickly, so I keep the heat pump on throughout the day – both Dave and I work from home, otherwise it would be on a timer!
  2. Become an insulation expert!  Get savvy about what is or isn’t keeping your home warm and if possible address any potential issues first.  Pay attention to floor, ceiling and window insulation.
    Many Kiwi’s won’t have experienced the wonder of double glazing as it’s only become a more mainstream install on new builds in the past 10 years.  It’s incredible what a difference it makes in reducing heat loss through glass, particularly in older homes.  If you can’t afford to retrofit your whole house (me!) or are renting, I honestly can’t recommend DIY double glazing enough.  Dave and I used in all of our old dodgy rentals; it’s cheap and easy to install once you get the hang of it and is available in hardware stores nationwide.  Check out this video to see how it works > DIY Double Glazing.
    Soft furnishings aren’t just for decoration!  A thick rug or thermal curtains will do double duty during winter and help retain heat as well as looking great.
  3. New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family CrockPot Dyson HeaterChoose your heating appliances wisely.  Trying to warm a large space with an under-gunned heater can often cost more than you’d expect.  We utilise different types of heaters in different spaces around the house.  In Nixie’s room, we have a teeny oil column heater on a thermostat.  His room is small so we have this set on low and it stays toasty all night long.  Our lounge and kitchen, on the other hand, is quite a big, open space.  This winter we haven’t used our expensive, barely-heats gas fire at all and are using my new favourite appliance exclusively; our Dyson AM09 Hot + Cool. This fan’s ability to circulate heat evenly around the room, whilst maintaining the set temperature and doing so quietly, without blades (Nixon-proof!) makes it the perfect option.
  4. Plug the draughts.  Get old school if you have to and pick up one of those draught-stopper snakes.  So far this winter I’ve seen them at Kmart, The Warehouse and Mitre 10.  They are cheap and work wonders along the bottoms of our wooden doors and window sills.  I don’t want to be paying for heating if it’s escaping out into the cold!
  5. Like I mentioned last month, rest assured knowing that when you flick that switch, you are getting the most bang for your buck.  Use websites such as www.powerswitch.org  to get informed and take ownership of how much you’re paying.  Our new power company Electric Kiwi is not only awesomely priced but has been awarded the 2017 Most Satisfied Customers Award – Electricity Providers. Whoop whoop!  I can certainly agree with that.

Thanks so much to Electric Kiwi for partnering with us this winter, love your work guys!New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Electric Kiwi

Header image originally from Your Best Digs

Home Care Tips for the Cleaning-Impaired Mum

When I was born back in the late ‘70’s, the outlook looked good;  healthy baby, good size, lungs worked and I looked enough like my mum to assume there would be some legacy genetics that had been passed down from mother to daughter.

At around age 18, it became increasingly apparent that all was not well.  There were obvious deficiencies in my character that were becoming more and more prominent the older I got.  My shortcomings were not only detrimental to myself, but also to my future self, my future husband, children and home as well as the immediate and pressing concern of driving my mother up the wall.

I am Cleaning-Impaired.

I was not born with the desire to clean my home.  My impairment creates many debilitating situations; dusting causes massive allergy attacks where my eyes will swell closed and I’ll sneeze for 3 days non-stop (this is actually true!).  Reluctantly (HA!), I’ve learnt to make peace with the dust, if it lies still in an even coating on my surfaces we live together in copacetic harmony.  I occasionally feel brave and pop a soft brush on my Dyson and simply vacuum the dust off the tops of our dressers, TV cabinets etc.  It’s a sacrifice I must make to the Perfect-Mummy gods of the world, but one that over the years has brought me great peace, as I fill the cleaning void with ‘Better things to Do’ and ‘Watching Netflix’.

There are ways to live with my debilitating (according to my Mum) condition; beginning with lowering your domestic-diva standards and expectations…..and then lowering them again.  Don’t misinterpret what I’m saying either, I love a clean, tidy house, and I regularly do housework, but it IS ‘work’, and I believe in working smarter not harder.

So, dear readers, I’m sharing with you some tips and tricks I’ve learnt over the years that allow me to keep our home at what I lovingly call, “Whip-Around Status”, ie surprise visitor will be at your door in 15 minutes?  A quick whip-around will have the house looking a million bucks with minimal stress and effort.

Tips for Maintaining Whip-Around Status in Your Home

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family I am Cleaning Impaired

  1. Make the beds first thing every morning.  This is time-consuming and hard to squeeze into a whip around.  Do it early as you can’t hide an unmade bed!
  2. De-centralize cleaning supplies.  Keeping ALL of your cloths and sprays in one place (ie under the laundry sink!) makes what can be a wee spit ‘n shine take a g e s.  Keep a 3-in-1 Chux scourer and Silver Scourer in each bathroom and grout, tiles, shower glass and sinks can look fresh-as with a couple of wipes.
  3. Invest in a cordless vacuum, Whip-Around status is by definition ‘whipping around QUICKLY’, if you have to pull out the Big Vac every day chances are it just won’t happen.
  4. Big surfaces are eye catching – keep these clean and clear of clutter.  I keep an empty storage basket in our hall cupboard ready to sweep off whatever is hiding our dining room table, so I can wipe it down quickly and move on.
    – I like Chux Original Robuste for surfaces such as tables and benchtops.
  5. If you must dust, consider actually removing settled dust rather than just displacing it with a feather-duster – this is much more sensible for those of us with allergies.  Thick, strong cloths work best for this task; I use a damp All-Purpose Absorbent cloth on suitable surfaces – just rinse and move on!
  6. Hide what you don’t have time to clean.  What visitors can’t see won’t hurt them.  Use that dishwasher, washing machine and cupboards for the purpose they were intended – putting stuff in!
  7. Keep entranceways clean and clear, first impressions can set the tone for the rest of a visit.
  8. Glass matters – dirty windows make everything feel dirty.  Try using Chux Robuste with your glass cleaner, simply wash and reuse!
  9. When you’re in a hurry, spot-clean where it matters ie around the toilets.  I keep some Chux Superwipes and disinfectant in the toilet for an every day, there-when-you-need-them clean-up  ::::::::ew boys!::::::
  10. In a worst case, bomb-site-scenario, throw all the laundry, clutter, mess and toys in one room and shut the door.  It takes a very ballsy visitor to question a shut door in someone else’s home!

The best advice I’ve ever been given around overcoming my horrendous shortfalls in the cleaning department is; if a job will take less than 2 minutes, attend to it right away.

Arm yourself with this can-do mentality and the right Chux product for the job and even those of us that are Cleaning-Impaired can make steps towards that magical wonderland free of dust and window streaks of all the mothers that went before us.

Check out my video below and let me know in the comments below which spot in your home needs some Chux love and I’ll hook one of you up with a $50 supermarket voucher to grab some supplies!

Comp closes 6/7/17, NZ residents only.

Winter

Image credit Gábor Sidó

It’s here.  

It’s foggy, it’s damp, it’s not particularly cold this week – but that’s on the cards for next week YAY lol.  Muddy sports are in full swing, the washing is piling up and our daylight hours are dwindling (making any kind of photography super difficult for this social-media mama!).  We just can’t deny Winter any longer.

It’s HERE.

Our daily routine changes heaps as the seasons do, probably because we, like many New Zealand families, live in an old house.  Our home is quite the silver-fox, most people don’t immediately realise how old she is.  Fully concrete block, sitting on what we assume to be a damaged concrete slab (damp).  Our early 1950’s 1/4 acre dream still has original plate glass windows in breezy wooden joinery, a really inefficient gas fire, a slightly leaky roof and one heat pump when we really need two.  We love the old girl though and are just so grateful we were able to purchase a house in Auckland just before this crazy market went into it’s upward swing.

As we’re not moving, our household habits need to adjust for the cooler, damper weather.  Here’s what we do to survive winter in an old house without having to sell our first-born to pay our power company!

Surviving Winter in an Old House

  1. #Dehumidifiers4life – I’m sure that hashtag is sooooo on-rend right now lol but it’s true.  I can’t live without our 2 dehumidifiers.  I keep the big one running in the playroom 24 hours a day as this area of the house is subject to shower moisture and leads to the bedrooms.  I also rotate our little one around the other rooms in the house.  Dry air is cheaper to heat than moist air, plus, removing excess moisture that creeps in through our slab, roof and dodgy windows is essential in maintaining all-around family health and preventing mould ::::::shudder:::::
  2. Before I even begin to think about heating in the late afternoons, I shut up shop in rooms that have already lost the light by closing windows and blinds and I shut doors in rooms we are no longer using.
  3. We identified that we were losing a lot of heat through two old-school glass panelled doors so replaced them over summer with composite fibreglass doors which are much more efficient at retaining heat.
  4. I’m always checking to make sure that we are spending as little as possible on electricity.  Shopping around regularly can make a BIG difference.  We switched last month to Electric Kiwi.  
    Pro-tip:  We now get one hour of off-peak power FREE every day!  This is when I run the dishwasher, pop things in the dryer to air, put another load of washing on etc.  For many families, hot water can be a huge part of the monthly power bill, if you’ve got older kids or teens that go to bed after 9 pm (off-peak), switch from morning to before-bed showers and get that water heated during your free hour!
  5. We have a clothesline under a porch roof so even in winter I still use this to get our clothes 80% dry saving money on the amount of time clothes need to be in the dryer or on the drying rack – TAKING OVER MY LOUNGE!

This is by no means a comprehensive list or guide, rather, just some easy to implement ideas that we use in our home on a daily basis.  I’d love to hear from you if you’ve got some awesome ways to survive winter in an old house so get in touch by leaving a comment below!

Thanks so much to Electric Kiwi for partnering with us this winter, love your work guys!

Home Tech You’ll Love – Ring Video Doorbell

We had just landed in Melbourne last week and loaded into our taxi when I realised it was my phone that was ringing – a different kind of ring I didn’t immediately identify.  My brain fog cleared, I remembered my new Ring Video Doorbell app and opened it up to reveal one of our dogs caught on camera at our front door – where he was NOT supposed to be, imagine if that was Nixon?!

Heart attack.

After shooting off a text to Dave along the lines of, “Louie is roaming in the yard, trying to ring the doorbell BUT HAS NO THUMBS!  Please let him in”, I showed my girlfriends how our amazing new, Ring Video Doorbell works.

In a nutshell, the Ring Doorbell is a wide-angle HD camera, mounted by our front door that streams live video via your home WI-FI to your smartphone either when someone (or Louie lol) activates the customised motion sensor or presses the unit’s doorbell button.  This triggers a notification on the Ring smartphone app that someone is at the door!  How awesome is that?!

But we’re not done yet.  Once triggered, the HD video camera turns on so you can see who’s at the door and the two-way audio means that Louie and I can discuss the repercussions of small dogs escaping from the backyard – or I can just tell the courier that it’s fine to leave the package.  Either way, it’s amazing!

Install was easy, Dave had to pack out our door frame with some extra wood for mounting and he still had it up and operational within 30 minutes!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Travelblog Ring Video Doorbell

Aside from the obvious convenience of being able to communicate with someone who’s at your door when you’re not home, I LOVE the security features that are included with Ring.  Night Vision captures motion and activity around the clock, the unit’s design is weather resistant, there’s lifetime purchase protection if your Ring Video Doorbell is stolen plus, video recording is an optional add-on.

This incredible (easy to install, totally sensible) piece of video tech is now available in New Zealand from leading retailers Noel Leeming, Mitre 10 and Harvey Norman, RRP $349, but I have one to giveaway!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Travelblog Ring Video Doorbell

Win a Ring Video Doorbell worth $349!

I love, love, love our Ring and am super excited to have one to share with you guys.

If you would like to experience the awesomeness of a Ring Video Doorbell at your home, leave me a comment below and tell me which feature of Ring you think is seriously amazing > find out more here

Competition closes Sunday 21st May, NZ residents only.

The Ring Video Doorbell was sent to The Best Nest for editorial review.  All opinions are my own.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Travelblog Ring Video Doorbell