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The rise of fake Wi-Fi: How hackers are stealing your personal data

<p><span>A new report has revealed how hackers are able to easily access personal data using fake Wi-Fi accounts.</span></p> <p><span>The investigation by the US <em>Today</em> show found that cyber scammers can quickly access your credit card information, flight details and purchase history, once a victim is logged onto their fake Wi-Fi.</span></p> <p><span>Investigative journalist Jeff Rossen used a security expert to set up fake Wi-Fi hotspots at the Grand Fiesta Americana hotel in Cancun, Mexico, reported <em>The Sun.</em></span></p> <p><span>Tourists were tricked into clicking on the fake Wi-Fi hotpots because the duo gave them names similar to the hotel's secure Wi-Fi.</span></p> <p><span>After various tourists had clicked on the fake W-Fi, Rossen went around the resort tracking people by their phones to warn them of what they had done.</span></p> <p><span>The tourists were shocked at how easily they had been fooled.</span></p> <p><span>Rossen shared tips to the tourists about how they could stay safe online while on holiday.</span></p> <p><span>One key piece of advice Rossen shared was to log off public Wi-Fi when making online purchases on your phone.</span></p> <p><span>He recommends using your mobile phone network, even if it is more expensive, as it will ensure you are safe from fake Wi-Fi.</span></p> <p><span>He also advised phone users to click “forget this network” after using public Wi-Fi, to avoid auto-logging on to hotspots.</span></p> <p><span>You can also turn off your Wi-Fi’s “auto-join” feature for safer use.</span></p> <p><span>One last trick Rossen shared was, the best way to test the authenticity of the Wi-Fi claiming to be your hotel is to enter the wrong room number when prompted.</span></p> <p><span>If you still receive access, you will know it is a scam network that is letting anyone in. If it is actually your hotel network, you will be denied access.</span></p> <p><span>Over the summer holidays, Australian families were warned to be careful when logging into free Wi-Fi networks.</span></p> <p><span>One man had $155,000 worth of digital currency Bitcoin stolen after logging into a restaurant’s unsecured public Wi-Fi network. </span></p> <p><span>Have you ever had a dodgy Wi-Fi experience? Tell us in the comments below. </span></p>

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Inside Grant Denyer's sprawling 27-acre country estate

<p>He might be one of the busiest men in showbiz but Grant Denyer has found his own sanctuary in the regional NSW town of Bathurst.</p> <p>“It’s a good town,” Denyer said. “I restore and replenish out there and that sort of gives me the energy to do all the other stuff I do.</p> <p>“I am a reasonably private person when I am not on television so it has worked well for us,” he said. “Bathurst is really great, everyone there has been really welcoming and lovely, it’s a place I truly enjoy.”</p> <p>While he can blend in with the other netball dads when at home in country NSW, professionally, Denyer is set to appear as a guest presenter on <em>The Living Room</em> on Network Ten on top of his regular role on Family Feud and new breakfast radio gig on Sydney’s 2Day FM.</p> <p>To say the 40-year-old is a frequent traveller is an understatement.</p> <p>“When I get home I make the transition into full dad mode which is good, that’s how I want it to be,” he said.</p> <p>Wife Cheryl “Chezzi” Denyer is an accomplished television producer (who worked on the road with Denyer for Sunrise during his stint as weather presenter) and now runs her own series on YouTube called Mummy Time TV and its associated website.</p> <p>“It’s going exceptionally well, it’s been really well received,” Denyer said. “She’s putting together stuff that’s really funny but also very real and relatable.”</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img width="499" height="280" src="/media/7816128/1a_499x280.jpg" alt="1a (2)"/></p> <p>The pair have two young daughters, Sailor and Scout. Denyer will show off parts of the family property during his appearance on Network Ten’s <em>The Living Room</em> on Friday. Host Amanda Keller joins Denyer for the country sojourn (dressed up in her tongue-in-cheek neck kerchief).</p> <p>“It’s a little hobby farm, if you like, we’ve got about 27 acres,” Denyer said. “We’ve just got a lot of space around us, it's a nice little view”.</p> <p>He said the house itself “is not a big home by any stretch”.</p> <p>“But it’s just a beautiful little country, homely, warm, loving little environment. We’re really proud of our little home,” Denyer said.</p> <p>“We’re thinking about whether we expand the house and build a giant games room, you know cathedral ceiling/master lounge room if you like … that’s something that takes advantage of our sweeping views,” Denyer said. “We’re playing with that idea.”</p> <p>Denyer might have mastered the art of the “tree change” but his zany side has also emerged on his farm: he has a beloved herd of Scottish highland cattle (or “hairy coos”, as they’re affectionately known), sheep, chickens and a pet dog called ‘Princess Popping Popcorn’.</p> <p>“The girls named her, it’s not an easy one to yell out,” said Denyer.</p> <p>It is not just Cheryl Denyer’s strong family links to Bathurst which brought them back to the regional city. Mount Panorama is also hallowed ground to Grant Denyer because of his passion for motor racing.</p> <p>As any high-profile television presenter would attest, it is hard to find an “off” switch with the viewing public but Denyer said he had found a good balance in the regional city, which has a population of about 42,000 people.</p> <p>“You like your downtime to be ‘off’ and removed from the television world, because it’s not normal or natural, so yeah, you do cherish that downtime and that’s why Bathurst has been the perfect place for me over the last couple of years,” Denyer said.</p> <p>“It never really worries me if someone wants to come up for a chat, it’s no big deal,” Denyer said. “But Bathurst is really good, you can go shopping in the supermarket and people will say hi but they will also leave you be, so it feels lovely, it feels normal, it feels like home”.</p> <p>Scroll through the gallery above to get a sneak peek into Grant Denyer’s sprawling country property.</p> <p><em>Grant Denyer appears on </em>The Living Room<em>, Friday at 7.30 pm on Network Ten.</em></p> <p><em>Written by Christine Sams. Republished with permission of <a href="http://www.domain.com.au" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Domain.com.au</strong></span></a>. Image credit: Network Ten. </em></p>

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Devious tactic hotels use to ban bad reviews

<p>While it certainly falls short of being the white knight of the travel industry, the online review system is an important tool to let holidaymakers review their accommodation options, while ultimately keeping the providers honest.</p> <p>But some hotels are going to incredible lengths to avoid bad publicity, and this alarming trend could see you left with a hefty fine once your trip is over.</p> <p>This practice was first brought to light when a New York hotel <a href="https://pagesix.com/2014/08/04/hotel-charges-500-for-every-bad-review-posted-online/" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em><strong>made headlines four years ago</strong></em></span></a>, after an alarming detail was noticed in the booking terms and conditions.</p> <p>“If you have booked the inn for a wedding or other type of event,” read the policy at the Union Street Guest House in Hudson, “there will be a $500 fine that will be deducted from your deposit for every negative review... placed on any internet site by anyone in your party.”</p> <p>But this is by no means an isolated incident. Hotels are increasingly adding unreasonable details to their T’s and C’s which discourage guests from going online with bad reviews.</p> <p>And it’s not just happening in the US. Last November, Meriton Serviced Apartments were found guilty in the Federal Court of “masking” a practice that prevents bad reviews being left of TripAdvisor. The court found staff added “MSA” to the email addresses of any guests who had a negative experience, which would make their email address invalid and prevent them from getting a TripAdvisor invite to review their stay.</p> <p> “It will send a strong message to the industry more broadly,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court <a href="http://www.news.com.au/" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em><strong>told news.com.au</strong></em></span></a> after the court’s ruling.</p> <p>“If Meriton can get caught I do think that is going to make people sit up and think about what they are doing ... no doubt it does happen in other places.”</p> <p>What are your thoughts? Do you generally leave a review after staying at a hotel? </p> <p><a href="http://www.oversixty.com.au/travel/travel-insurance/?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_campaign=travel-insurance&amp;utm_medium=in-article-banner&amp;utm_content=travel-insurance" target="_blank"><img src="http://media.oversixty.com.au/images/banners/Travel-Insurance_Website_GIF_468x602.gif" alt="Over60 Travel Insurance"/></a></p>

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Commonwealth Bank's shocking advice revealed

<p>Commonwealth Bank has been accused of giving struggling first home buyers shocking advice, through the major banks controversial online chat function.</p> <p><a href="http://www.news.com.au/" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em><strong>News.com.au</strong></em></span></a> reports economist Lindsay David set the big four bank up for a sting, posing as a would-be first home buyer while chatting to a CommBank sales agent, and asking if he could borrow $800,000 to buy an $800,000 house.</p> <p>“I haven’t really saved before but my parents said they would provide a parental guarantee by using equity in their home,” he wrote. “Do you provide loans like this?”</p> <p>The CommBank agent replied, “Yes, we definitely lend using guarantors, this is a great option. It’s difficult to save a deposit with the price of houses in Sydney isn’t it! :)”</p> <p>David said this sort of behaviour occurs with all banks.</p> <p>“The reality is it’s possible in Sydney to eat your smashed avo and still get into the housing market because you don’t need to save,” he said.</p> <p>“When people wonder why there are so many first home buyers out there who can afford to buy a property in Sydney, look no further. People are just using equity instead of cash. No one appears to have the cash to buy these places, they’re using equity because everyone’s house prices keep going up.”</p> <p>CommBank were quick to hit back, with a spokesman telling <a href="http://www.news.com.au/" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em><strong>News.com.au</strong></em></span></a>, ““In line with our responsible lending standards, we only provide loans to customers who meet our stringent lending criteria and who are able to service the loan on an ongoing basis.</p> <p>“While guarantors can help with a deposit, all customers who apply for a guarantor loan are assessed against these high standards, and are able to afford their repayments. Customers with a guarantor loan are less likely than average customers to default on their repayments.”</p> <p>But David is not convinced.</p> <p>“Sydney is one of the most expensive housing markets in the world and still hands down one of the easiest places in the world to get a loan to buy a house,” he said.  </p> <p>“You’d probably say a lot of the loans being issued today are not going to be repaid.”</p> <p>What are your thoughts? Have you had an issue with a big bank?</p> <p> </p>

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Inside Ellen DeGeneres's stunning $23.8 million California beach house

<p><span>Seven months ago, comedian talk-show star Ellen DeGeneres and wife Portia de Rossi listed their lavish Tuscan-style home in Montecito, California, for sale.</span></p> <p><span>It’s still on the market, for US$45 million ($57.6 million), but in the meantime DeGeneres has found something new.</span></p> <p><span>And it’s a beauty. <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="https://www.mansionglobal.com/" target="_blank">Mansion Global</a></strong></span> describes DeGeneres as a “serial house flipper”, and says property records show last week she bought a new house right on the beach at Carpinteria, in Santa Barbara County.</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span><img width="497" height="280" src="/media/44714/2_497x280.jpg" alt="2 (29)"/></span></p> <p><span>She paid US$18.6 million ($23.8 million) for the house, purchasing it through a private trust and her business manager.</span></p> <p><span>The listing, by MK Properties, refers to the “striking contemporary architecture that employs multiple-storey walls of glass to showcase panoramic views of the ocean, island, coastline and beach cove”.</span></p> <p><span>“The open and airy entry level includes a vast great room where the living, dining and kitchen spaces are ‘as one’ with the beach.”</span></p> <p><span>But it is the upper level that truly shines. The master suite is a private sanctuary, featuring a bedroom, office, bathroom and enormous walk-in wardrobe. There’s a double-sided gas fireplace in the suite, and floor-to-ceilng windows with views to the sea.</span></p> <p>MREC-TAG-HERE</p> <p><span>There are four bedrooms in the house, and it comes with a separate bunk house that can sleep eight.</span></p> <p><span>Guests will never be short of things to do. In addition to the 24 metres of beach frontage on the 4572 square-metre property, there’s a clay tennis court with lights, and a plunge pool on the deck</span></p> <p><span>DeGeneres is known for her passion for design and now has her own show on HGTV, </span><em><span>Ellen’s Design Challenge</span></em><span>.</span></p> <p><span>Scroll through the gallery above to see inside the lavish house.</span></p> <p><em>Republished with permission of <a href="http://www.stuff.co.nz/" target="_blank"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Stuff.co.nz</span></strong></a>.</em></p>

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's next big step

<p>Royal family experts have <a href="http://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/2017/10/prince-harrys-connection-to-kates-engagement-ring/"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>predicted a huge announcement</strong></span></a> from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in the coming days, as the couple look to take the next big step.</p> <p><a href="http://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/2017/10/is-meghan-markles-future-role-causing-conflict-in-the-palace/" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Engagement rumours have gone into overdrive</strong></span></a> in recent days after confirming that Markle wouldn’t be signing on for another series of suits, with many royal pundits suggesting the actress is looking move in with Prince Harry sooner rather than later.  </p> <p>Royal expert Katie Nicholl cites unnamed sources which have confirmed that Markle has plans and was “likely to be moving to London as soon as November”.</p> <p>“She’s not signing up for another series of Suits. She’s planning to leave Canada and make London her new, permanent home,” Nicholl told <a href="http://www.etonline.com/meghan-markle-prince-harry-likely-moving-together-soon-june-wedding-best-bet-sources-say-exclusive" target="_blank"><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>ET Online</strong></span></em></a>.</p> <p>Focus has now turned to <a href="http://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/2017/10/prince-harry-takes-meghan-markle-to-meet-the-queen/" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>where the couple will live</strong></span></a>. Harry currently resides at Nottingham Cottage, a small three-bedroom cottage in the Kensington Palace grounds, although Nicholls suggests would be willing to upsize should the two become engaged.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I am told she will be moving into Kensington Palace — in fact, she already keeps a wardrobe of clothes at Harry’s house over in Kensington Palace and she’s going to be spending all of her time over here from now on," says Nicholl.</p> <p>While Nicholl was coy on suggesting a date for the engagement, she said it was “all about the timing” and could be announced as soon as the new year.</p> <p>“You have to remember there are other engagements and events coming up in the royal calendar that an engagement simply couldn't clash with. I think that the new year is probably a more realistic prospect for an engagement announcement.”</p> <p>Nicholl expects the couple would wed in June, so as not to clash with the Duchess of Cambridge’s pregnancy.</p> <p>“The duchess will have to get her figure back in time for a wedding and Prince William, who we are all assuming will be best man, will need to be available and not thinking about rushing off to a hospital,” Nicholl says.</p> <p>“So, I think there will need to be a bit of space between the royal baby being born mid-April and Meghan and Harry tying the knot. This summer is probably going to be the best bet for a royal wedding.”</p> <p>What are your thoughts?</p>

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Inside the resort that caters to overweight guests only

<p>A woman who weighs 229kg says she finally felt “accepted” after taking a holiday at a resort which only accepts overweight guests.</p> <p>Alice Young, 32, went on a holiday to Eleuthera in the Bahamas for a new UK tv show My 18-30 Stone Holiday, and stayed at a resort for people who weigh over 20 stone (127kg).</p> <p>“I would love to go back, I think it’s the perfect place to go if you have got body issues or self-esteem issues. You are accepted there,” she told the <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://www.nottinghampost.com/news/nottingham-news/36-stone-newark-mum-visits-659526" title="www.nottinghampost.com">Nottingham Post</a>.</strong></span></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><img width="466" height="350" src="http://cdn.newsapi.com.au/image/v1/5b01e6bdfdb9a4fff4750ffaed2d94d4" alt="Alice Young said she finally felt “accepted” after staying at The Resort. Photo: ITV &lt;br /&gt;" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"/></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Alice Young said she finally felt “accepted” after staying at The Resort. Photo: ITV </em></p> <p>Called “The Resort”, the hotel has reinforced metre-wide sun loungers which can hold more than 254kg, and beds that are strengthened with two-inch steel bars. It also has a five-mile private beach, widened doorways and other features to help support the large tourist. There’s also an all-you-can-eat buffet open three times a day.</p> <p>The mum of twins went with a group of other plus-sized tourists for the show and called it an “amazing journey”.</p> <p>Ms Young, from the East Midlands of England, said: “It was amazing for people that have got similar problems to sort of realise that people have different issues but we’re all going along the same journey. It’s not size that matters, it’s what going on inside your head.</p> <p>“We all had issues that we didn’t necessarily want to talk about, but when we did talk about it, it became very therapeutic.</p> <p>“All of the issues we had were to do with mental health rather than overeating.</p> <p>“Being on the show has helped me to understand myself better, it’s certainly brought some things to light that have made me think a lot better.”</p> <p><img width="346" height="532" src="http://cdn.newsapi.com.au/image/v1/d793e052915c07914185c2c45cfd2508" alt="The full-time mum of five-year-old twins went with a group of large tourists for the show, &lt;span id=&quot;U631528388776h3G&quot; style=&quot;font-weight:normal;font-style:italic;&quot;&gt;My 18-30 Stone Holiday. &lt;span id=&quot;U631528388776jnD&quot; style=&quot;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;&quot;&gt;Photo: ITV &lt;/span&gt;&lt;/span&gt;" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"/></p> <p>Ms Young, who filmed the show in April, said: “It was a place where all the pressures of every day were taken away, so you could think about your issues a lot more.</p> <p>“I’m still in touch with everyone — we speak to each other daily, and we’ve got a really good group dynamic — it’s become like a support network really.”</p>

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Couple's shock as they discover hidden camera in holiday home

<p>A couple has found a hidden camera in their holiday home, disguised as a smoke detector in the master bedroom of the Airbnb they were renting in Florida.</p> <p>Derek Starnes, who was holidaying in Longboat Key with his wife, told local news station <em><a href="http://www.wfla.com/" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>WFTS</strong></span> </a></em>that his suspicions were raised when he noticed a small black hole on the side of the smoke detector. When Starnes, who works in technology, took it down to get a better look at the device, he realised it was a hidden camera.</p> <p>Starnes immediately called the police, who would later arrest the 56-year-old homeowner Wayne Natt, who has been since charged with one count of video voyeurism.</p> <p>“We did have the opportunity to analyse what was on the SD card and there are a couple of different people on them,” Longboat Key Police Lt. Robert Bourque told <em>WFLA</em>.</p> <p>Airbnb spokesman Ben Breit said the company was “outraged at the reports of what happened.”</p> <p> “As soon as we were made aware, we permanently banned this individual from our community and fully supported the affected guests. Our team has reached out to local law enforcement to aid them with their investigation of the egregious offence and we hope justice is served. We take privacy issues extremely seriously and have a zero-tolerance policy against this behaviour.”</p> <p>Prior to his arrest, Natt had more than 40 reviews on the home sharing site and had reportedly been opening his house to Airbnb guests for two years.</p> <p>What are your thoughts? </p> <p><em><strong>Have you arranged your travel insurance yet? Save money with Over60 Travel Insurance. <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="https://elevate.agatravelinsurance.com.au/oversixty?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=content&amp;utm_content=link1&amp;utm_campaign=travel-insurance" target="_blank">To arrange a quote, click here.</a></span> Or for more information, call 1800 622 966.</strong></em></p>

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How to be a good hotel guest

<p>Despite usually being your home base whilst on holiday (or a business trip), hotels can be somewhat stressful.</p> <p>You may come across loud or unpleasant noises, unhelpful staff, inconvenient check in/out times, and less-than-desirable facilities that dramatically differ from website photos.</p> <p>Regardless, the onus isn't just on hoteliers to make the experience great. You, as a guest, have some power in the situation too. Here's how to be a good hotel guest.</p> <p><strong>Do</strong> arrive on time. Unless you've called ahead, there's usually little point in trying to check-in before the specified time. Your room probably isn't ready. Instead, if you do arrive early, just ask to leave your bags securely at the desk.</p> <p><strong>Don't</strong> be rude at the check-in desk if something isn't right. The person behind it can only work with what their computer tells them. They didn't make your booking, and while they have some control over any mistakes made, you're not going to get anywhere by being pushy.</p> <p><strong>Do</strong> keep your room tidy. Yes, the cost of housekeeping is built into the room, but cleaners have many rooms to get through in their shift, and only a specific amount of time allocated for each. There's no need to leave your clothes lying on the floor just because you think you can.</p> <p><strong>Don't</strong> act like a rock star. We know you're away from home, but you don't have carte blanche to act however you wish. No parties in your room, no late-night guests knocking on your door, and – I shouldn't have to say this – definitely no throwing of anything out the windows.</p> <p><strong>Do </strong>politely call the front desk if you encounter an issue. If a bedspread looks dirty, something goes missing, or you need some different pillows, just get on the house line and speak up. Approaching it quietly will see any problem actioned swiftly.</p> <p><strong>Don't</strong> make complaints when you're at the end of your stay. They can't be dealt with if they happened two days ago, and you must act in the moment to avoid feeling disgruntled.</p> <p><strong>Do</strong> leave a tip on the nightstand. Even in Australian hotels, despite our lack of tipping culture. For great service throughout your stay, $5 per room, per day, will do the trick.</p> <p>Do you agree with these tips?</p> <p><em> Written by Lee Suckling. Republished with permission of <a href="http://www.stuff.co.nz/" target="_blank"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Stuff.co.nz</span></strong></a>. </em></p>

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Is Barack and Michelle Obama's new home cursed?

<p>Since saying goodbye to the White House, Barack and Michelle Obama have applied to live at an apartment at 10 Gracie Square on New York City’s Upper East Side.</p> <p>The apartment the Obamas are interested in sits in the $10-$12 million range and they have to wait until the co-op board approves them.</p> <p>Although the apartment is a prestigious piece of real estate, the building also has a dark history.</p> <p>A number of high-profile suicides have occurred at this address, including the suicide of author Jean Stein, daughter of entertainment mogul Jules Stein.</p> <p>At the time of her death, Jean was believed to be worth nearly $50 million.</p> <p>In 1988, 23-year-old Carter Cooper, brother to CNN news anchor Anderson Cooper and son of Gloria Vanderbilt, jumped to his death.</p> <p>A notorious murder plot also took place in this building. Auto parts magnate Franklin Bradshaw’s daughter, Frances Schreuder, planned to have her father killed so she could access her inheritance.</p> <p>Frances had many failed attempts, including hiring a hitman and poisoning her father’s breakfast. She then recruited her son, Marc Schreuder, to disguise himself as a burglar and shoot his grandfather.</p> <p>In 1978, they successfully carried out the plot.</p> <p>Two years later, Marc was arrested and convicted of murder. In 1982, police showed up at Frances' door and she tried to escape by climbing out the window. She was later found guilty of capital murder and served 13 years in prison.</p> <p>Would you still move into a building with a history like this? Let us know in the comments below. </p>

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9 things house guests always notice

<p>Sure, you love having people come stay with you, but hosting can also be exhausting and nerve-racking. Even before they arrive, a large chunk of time is dedicated to cleaning and supermarket shopping, making sure everything is spic ‘n’ span and guest-ready. Save yourself the stress by focusing on the areas your guests will actually notice. And no, it’s not about dusting under the TV stand and laying out the cloth napkins at dinner, as lovely as that is. Follow this short and simple list of things and you’re guaranteed to make a good impression – without putting too much pressure on yourself. Hopefully they’ll pick up a tip themselves for when they inevitably return the favour.</p> <p><strong>1. Smell</strong></p> <p>Guests have sensitive noses. They can smell the fact that you pan-fried salmon the night before, the fact that your dog skipped his last bath, the spilt kitty litter tray and the fact that you’re using incense or potpourri as a decoy to mask something far less savoury. Even worse, they have a uncanny ability to pick up on smells that not even your nose can detect. To neutralise the odour and make the room fresh again, use an aroma diffuser with essential oils, light a scented candle, or simmer a pot of citrus peel and cinnamon an hour before your guest arrives. And don’t forget to vacuum any stray pet hair while you’re at it.</p> <p><strong>2. Pillows</strong></p> <p>A good pillow is just as important as a comfortable bed for getting a good night’s sleep. Your guest pillows shouldn’t feel like cotton wool balls stuffed into a scratchy sack. If they’re starting to lose their shape, replace them with ones you’d feel comfortable resting your head on. And always cover with a crisp and clean, stain-free pillowcase. Go easy on the fabric softener in case your guest has allergies.</p> <p><strong>3. Table clutter</strong></p> <p>Tables – like most flat surfaces – are clutter magnets. Whether it’s your high-school mates or your in-laws, your guests are going to notice the accumulated mess on your dining table or kitchen counter. Shunt old newspapers, remotes, mail, wrappers, mug, toys to the side. Throw out anything you don’t need, keeping some items in boxes or baskets and reorganising everything else in a logical order.</p> <p><strong>4. Tidy entranceway</strong></p> <p>That means hosing down the door mat, vacuuming the rug, clearing the shoe and umbrella pile-up and Magic Erasering the walls, doors and baseboards. Cleaning your entranceway is a no-brainer when it comes to hosting houseguests, like batting their hands out of the way when they try to load the dishwasher.</p> <p><strong>5. Basic amenities</strong></p> <p>For a guest to feel welcome in your home, they need to feel comfortable – and part of that is providing the right amenities. Yes, stock up on the essentials – like toilet paper, paper towel and tissues – but also make sure you have shampoo and conditioner, a toothbrush and toothpaste and a clean, fluffy towel for your temporary housemate to use during their stay. If your towels and wash towels are beginning to grey, fray and thin, use this impending visit as a reason to upgrade immediately. Also, three-ply and over only.</p> <p><strong>6. Clean bathroom</strong></p> <p>Once you’ve stocked up on the basics, chuck or store everything else away. The science of snap judgements says the bathroom is where your guests, however charitable, will most likely form an opinion regarding your personal hygiene and general upkeep – so make sure your surfaces are sparkling clean and that your toilet is stain and shame-free.</p> <p><strong>7. Bad lighting</strong></p> <p>Sure, bad lighting isn’t the worst thing you could subject your guests to, but it’s something they’ll definitely notice. Aim for low-level lighting in the living room and provide a table lamp and book where they’ll be sleeping, for when counting sheep doesn’t work.</p> <p><strong>8. Privacy</strong></p> <p>Try your best to give them their own space – even in a small space – to get changed, use the bathroom and go to sleep. You may even care to make them their own set of keys.</p> <p><strong>9. Extra touches</strong></p> <p>Little things make a big difference. Things like having your Wi-Fi network and password prominently displayed, keeping bottles of water by the bed, providing a power outlet for devices and – last but not least – keeping a well-stocked bar. Also inform your guests of any peculiarities – like tricky locks, navigating Netflix on the TV, broken door knobs and the secret to tweaking water temperature in the shower.</p> <p>Do you agree with this list?</p> <p><em>Written by Kathleen Lee-Joe. Republished with permission of <a href="http://www.domain.com.au" target="_blank"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Domain.com.au</span></strong></a>. </em></p>

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