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House of horrors: Dr. Phil's Beverly Hills mansion hits the market

<p>If there has ever been a house to cause such a wave of disbelief and shock, it is the Beverly Hills mansion of Dr. Phil McGraw which just hit the market for AUD $8.3 million.</p> <p>The star of the Dr. Phil Show has put his house up for sale and it quickly went viral for its quirky, and quite frankly strange, features.</p> <p>From the bejewelled bear and rabbit figurines beneath a wall of guns, to a purple egg chair draping from the ceiling directly across from a massive piece of artwork that reads “f*ck” on it, this home has every eccentric momentum that you could squeeze into a five bedroom, six bathroom house.</p> <p>The images of inside the uniquely designed mansion quickly spread quickly once a Los<em> Angeles Times</em> writer tweeted a collection of interior shots of the house in question.</p> <p>The interesting décor choices and eccentric, out-of-the-box quirks got the attention of over 26,000 people who liked the post.</p> <p>Records show Dr. Phil purchased the home in 2007 however it appears the TV star has never actually lived there.</p> <p>The insane décor choices seem to be the choice of his son, Jordan, who currently calls the place home.</p> <p>He went on to clarify the wall of guns is actually “an anti-gun art installation”.</p> <p>The mansion features five bedrooms and six bathrooms, and the master suite has a private balcony. In true Californian style, there also includes also a dining gazebo, outdoor fireplace, swimming pool, and jacuzzi.</p> <p>On top of that there is a dedicated billiards room and wine cellar. </p> <p>Scroll through the gallery to see the inside of the home up close.</p>

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6 things you never knew you could put in the washing machine

<p>Bring it on.</p> <p><strong>1. Stuffed animals</strong></p> <p>Place each stuffed animal in its own mesh laundry bag and set your machine to wash and rinse. Use cold water (warm or hot water could melt the toy’s glue) and half the regular amount of detergent. Run the animals through a second rinse cycle to remove all the soap, and allow them to air dry. Fluff fur as needed.</p> <p><strong>2. Sneakers</strong></p> <p>Remove the laces from canvas or nylon sneakers and slip them into a cotton pillowcase where they won’t get tangled. Take out any inner soles or padding from the sneakers and toss the shoes and pillowcase into your washer (if you’re concerned about the shoes causing a racket, throw in a few towels as well). Add the regular amount of detergent, plus a dash of vinegar to deodorise. Set your machine on a cold-wash delicate cycle. Allow the shoes and shoelaces to air dry.</p> <p><strong>3. Pillows</strong></p> <p>Wash pillows two at a time in a warm-water gentle cycle. To ensure you’re washing out all the soap, add an extra cold-water rinse and spin, advises Good Housekeeping. To fluff things up, dry the pillows on low heat, along with a few rubber dryer balls.</p> <p><strong>4. Backpacks and lunch boxes</strong></p> <p>Open all of your backpack’s pockets and check for any items that might be hidden. If there are large pieces of crumbs or debris, use your vacuum cleaner’s crevice attachment to do a thorough pre-cleaning. Put your backpack into a laundry bag or pillowcase and wash it on a gentle cycle in cold water with a small amount of gentle detergent. Allow to air dry.</p> <p><strong>5. Bath mats and small rugs</strong></p> <p>Take the mat outside and shake it to remove any loose dirt, and then load the rug into the washing machine with a few bath towels to balance the load. Set the machine on a cold-wash delicate cycle, and add half the regular amount of detergent. Allow the mat to air dry (never put a rubber-backed mat into the dryer).</p> <div id="page12" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/home-tips/16-things-you-never-knew-you-could-put-in-the-washing-machine"><strong>6. Pet beds</strong></div> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/home-tips/16-things-you-never-knew-you-could-put-in-the-washing-machine"> <p>Foam pet beds can be cleaned whenever you see fit. Remove the bed’s outside cover and place it in the washing machine with cold water and regular detergent. To clean the foam piece, fill your bathtub halfway with warm water. Add a scoop of laundry detergent and sink the bed into the soapy water. Empty the soap water from the tub and refill with clean water. Rinse the foam out and place it in the sun to air dry. Replace the foam cover and zip it up.</p> <div id="page16" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p><em>Source:<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.rd.com/home/cleaning-organizing/washing-machine-suprising-items/" target="_blank">RD.com</a></em></p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/home-tips/16-things-you-never-knew-you-could-put-in-the-washing-machine"><em>Written by Juliana LaBianca. This article first appeared in <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/home-tips/16-things-you-never-knew-you-could-put-in-the-washing-machine">Reader’s Digest</a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA93V">here’s our best subscription offer.</a></em></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div>

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Arnott’s makes Tim Tam using “beautiful” Australian strawberries supermarkets rejected

<p>A new Tim Tam biscuit is boosting a Queensland couple’s bid to save tens of thousands of tonnes of Australian fruit rejected by supermarkets at the peak of growing seasons.</p> <p>Stuart and Allison McGruddy have launched an initiative that fights against the war on waste by freezing fruit. But after further research, they were disheartened to know that many major companies use imported, rather than local Aussie ingredients.</p> <p>But that’s slowly changing, as biscuit maker Arnott’s has used 20 tonnes of the fruit the couple saved in their new limited-edition Sunshine Coast Strawberries and Cream Tim Tam.</p> <p>Mr McGruddy who is a chef, and wife Allison left London eight years ago to work on his family’s farm, and were taken aback at the amount of perfectly ripe Australian fruit being rejected because it didn’t live up to supermarket standards.</p> <p>According to FoodWise, approximately 20 to 40 per cent of fruit and vegetables are rejected before it even reaches supermarket shelves due to not meeting aesthetic requirements.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Featmyberries%2Fposts%2F2877213695663865&amp;width=500" width="500" height="390" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"></iframe></p> <p>“I’ve been to farms in the local area with strawberries that dump multiple tonnes a day, and I take photos of it, and it just blows me away,” said Mr McGruddy.</p> <p>“Like after the needle incident a couple of years ago, people got to see just how much strawberry waste happens in the industry, and it is the same with bananas and mangoes.”</p> <p>Ms McGruddy added: “We were seeing lots of beautiful raspberries that might be rejected by supermarkets at the time, and Stuart’s dad said, ‘What can you do with these beautiful berries, Stuart – c’mon, you can do something with them’.</p> <p>“Not long after that we had the 2015 outbreak of hepatitis A that was caused by contaminated berries produced in China, and we thought we need to do something about this, let’s get an Australian offering, so that’s basically the premise behind our business.”</p> <p>They founded My Berries, and freeze and bag a growing range of Australian-farmed fruit in a small factory near Bribie Island.</p>

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Why you should clean with herbs

<div class="page-header clearfix"> <div class="tg-container"> <div class="detailPageHeader"> <div class="postIntro">Homemade herbal cleaning products are mostly composed of just one main substance – the cleaning agent – which means that you're not paying for bulking additives, artificial colours or perfumes. You can choose the type and strength of the scent you want; fresh herbs or essential oils almost invariably leave a delightfully fresh, clean smell.</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="tg-container categorySection detailSection"> <div id="primary" class="contentAreaLeft"> <div class="share-buttons"> <div class="addthis_inline_share_toolbox" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/home-tips/why-clean-with-herbs" data-title="Why clean with herbs? | Reader's Digest Australia" data-description="Homemade herbal cleaning products are mostly composed of just one main substance – the cleaning agent – which means that you're not paying for bulking additives, artificial colours or perfumes. You can choose the type and strength of the scent you want; fresh herbs or essential oils almost invariably leave a delightfully fresh, clean smell."> <div id="atstbx" class="at-resp-share-element at-style-responsive addthis-smartlayers addthis-animated at4-show" aria-labelledby="at-029fd6d1-4439-4dc9-8fe6-9e3c12bc7441"> <div class="Maincontent"> <p>There is also gathering evidence that links the use of chemical cleaners such as bleach with the development of asthma in both children and adults. Some chemicals can set off allergic reactions or contact dermatitis in sensitive people. And one 2010 US study discovered that women who held cleaning jobs while pregnant had a higher incidence of birth defects in their children.</p> <p>So, whether you’re already committed to a greener way of cleaning or you just want to save money and simplify your life a little, herbal cleaning makes a lot of sense.</p> <p>Try these two recipes to clean your surfaces and floors, the easy way, with the power of herbs.</p> <h4>All-purpose herb vinegar spray</h4> <p>This all-purpose, environmentally friendly, non-toxic spray is great to have on hand for wiping, cleaning and deodorising almost every surface (except marble). If you don’t have any fresh herbs, add drops of essential oil instead.</p> <p><strong>Ingredients</strong></p> <ul class="no-bullet"> <li>fresh or dried herbs (you can also use herbal tea bags)</li> <li>distilled white vinegar</li> </ul> <p><strong>Preparation</strong></p> <ol> <li>Roughly chop 1 to 2 large handfuls of fresh or dried herbs (such as lemon verbena, peppermint, rosemary, lemon balm or lavender), or place 5 to 10 tea bags in the bottom of a wide-mouthed glass jar.</li> <li>Add vinegar to fill the jar. Replace the lid, leave for a few days to infuse, then strain out the herbs. (If you are using tea bags, you can gently warm the vinegar before pouring to ensure maximum diffusion.)</li> <li>Decant into a plastic spray bottle. This spray is perfectly safe and very effective to use at full-strength, but it can also be diluted half-and-half with water for lighter jobs.</li> </ol> <h4>Eucalyptus floor wash</h4> <p>With its powerful natural antiseptic, disinfectant and cleaning properties, eucalyptus oil can be put to work in every room of the house. This simple solution can be used on both timber and lino floors. When washing a timber floor, remember not to saturate it. Your mop should be damp, not dripping wet, and the floor should be well-swept or vacuumed before mopping.</p> <p><strong>Ingredients</strong></p> <ul class="no-bullet"> <li>1 teaspoon eucalyptus oil</li> <li>2 tablespoons methylated spirits</li> <li>5 litres hot water (about half a bucket)</li> </ul> <p><strong>Preparation</strong></p> <ol> <li>Combine all the ingredients in a bucket.</li> <li>Wring out a mop in the solution and use it to damp mop the floor. Leave to dry; you don’t need to rinse.</li> </ol> <p><em>Written by Reader's Digest. </em><em>This article first appeared in </em><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/home-tips/why-clean-with-herbs"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA93V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div>

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They paid WHAT? 5 most expensive celeb houses of 2019

<p>Celebrities live a life of luxury, so it makes sense that these luxuries would also extend to the places they call home. Here are the 5 most expensive real estate transactions done by celebrities for 2019.</p> <p><strong>5. Tommy Hilfiger</strong></p> <p>The 68-year-old fashion designer and founder of Tommy Hilfiger finally sold his Plaza Hotel penthouse after a shocking 11 years on the market. The home is 6,050 square feet and has just four bedrooms. There is a formal dining room that features mirrored walls and the penthouse features a grand salon with 10-foot high ceilings, according to<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/watch-tommy-and-dee-hilfiger-give-a-tour-of-their-stunning-plaza-hotel-apartment" target="_blank">Architectural Digest</a></em>.</p> <p>The penthouse sold for a shocking $USD 33.25 million ($AUD 48.4 million).</p> <p><strong>4. Mark Zuckerberg</strong></p> <p>The founder of Facebook kept the details of this sale very private as he purchased a home in Lake Tahoe for $USD 37 million ($AUD 54.19 million).</p> <p>The Brushwood Estate features a 5,322 square foot main house with six bedrooms as well as a separate guesthouse and a private dock, according to<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://variety.com/2019/dirt/news/mark-zuckerberg-lake-tahoe-houses-1203209603/" target="_blank">Variety</a></em>.</p> <p>The home was built in 1964 and also features rolling lawns as well as a lakeview jacuzzi.</p> <p>The home adds to the smaller property he purchased earlier for $USD 22 million ($AUD 32.02 million) and now has a compound of up to 10 acres with 600 feet of uninterrupted lake views.</p> <p><strong>3. Adam Levine and Behati Prinsloo</strong></p> <p>The power couple were ready to say goodbye to their mansion in Beverly Hills, but it wouldn’t be an easy one as their mansion is a three-story Tudor-style home.</p> <p>The sprawling 10,376 foot mansion features five bedrooms, twelve bathrooms and features crown moulding in many of the common living areas on the first floor.</p> <p>The master suite of the mansion includes a lofted ceiling, a private terrace and an en suite bathroom that has a luxurious free-standing tub, according to<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/ellen-degeneres-buys-adam-levines-beverly-hills-mansion" target="_blank">Architectural Digest</a>.</em></p> <p>The home sold to another power couple Ellen DeGeneres and her wife Portia Di Rossi for $USD 45 million ($AUD 65.83 million).</p> <p><strong>2. Sting</strong></p> <p>The iconic musician bought a luxurious 5,807 square feet penthouse which has three bedrooms and five and a half bathrooms. Although it’s not as large as some of the other mansions, it appears that stars are paying for the location as it’s on Billionaire’s Row at 220 Central Park South, according to<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.realestate.com.au/news/sting-drops-nearly-96-million-on-penthouse-in-recordbreaking-new-york-building/" target="_blank">realestate.com.au.</a></p> <p>With few details being made public about the actual apartment, there are little to no photos of this listing that he bought for a shocking USD $66 million ($AUD 96 million)</p> <p><strong>1. Jeff Bezos</strong></p> <p>Last but not least, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos purchased a trio of Manhattan apartments for a combined whopping $USD 80 million ($AUD 116.52 million).</p> <p>The sizeable buy included a three-story five-bedroom penthouse apartment as well as the other two units he purchased which overlook Madison Square Park.</p> <p>The combined space of all three units create a massive 17,000 square foot, 12-bedroom estate.</p> <p>The penthouse alone has nearly 6,000 square feet of terraces and has four exposures facing the Madison Square Park. The penthouse also includes a private elevator, a grand ballroom and a library with a marble and glass fireplace, according to<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.businessinsider.com.au/amazon-ceo-jeff-bezos-buys-manhattan-penthouse-apartment-80-million-2019-6?r=US&amp;IR=T" target="_blank">Business Insider</a></em>.</p> <p><em>Photo credits:</em></p> <p><em>Tommy Hilfiger’s penthouse:<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.cnbc.com/2019/10/17/photos-tommy-hilfigers-nyc-penthouse-sold-for-millions.html" target="_blank">CNBC</a><span> </span>&amp; Sothesby’s International Realty | Travis Mark</em></p> <p><em>Mark Zuckerberg’s Lake Tahoe mansion:<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://variety.com/2019/dirt/news/mark-zuckerberg-lake-tahoe-houses-1203209603/" target="_blank">Variety</a><span> </span>&amp; Oliver Luxury Real Estate</em></p> <p><em>Adam Levine’s Tudor-style mansion:<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/ellen-degeneres-buys-adam-levines-beverly-hills-mansion" target="_blank">Architectural Digest</a><span> </span>&amp; Simon Berlyn / Berlyn Photography 2019</em></p> <p><em>Jeff Bezos’ trio of Manhattan apartments:<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://visualhouse.co/work/212-fifth-avenue/" target="_blank">Visual House</a>­  <span> </span><span> </span></em></p>

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5 of the best air-cleaning plants according to NASA

<p>The best plants are the ones that do double duty – and all of these purify your air of toxic chemicals. Even better, they’re easy to grow. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, our homes can have three to five times more pollutants than the outdoors. You could be living in a “sick” house and not realize it: Substances like xylene (in paint and lacquers), benzene (furniture wax, insect sprays) trichloroethylene (cleaners, adhesives), and formaldehyde (upholstery, air fresheners) – can produce symptoms like headaches, sore throats, or allergy-like breathing troubles. The NASA Clean Air Study was designed to find effective and simple ways to detox the air in the space station – and it reveals that common house plants have air purifying superpowers.</p> <p><strong>1. Boston Fern</strong></p> <p><span>Boston ferns are native to tropical forests and swamp areas so they will thrive in low light and high humidity – they’re ideal for your bathroom. The moisture from your shower will hydrate the plant, requiring little extra care from you. Besides being a pretty and decorative addition to your bathroom, the Boston fern helps remove xylene and – the NASA study revealed – it was the top house plant for removing formaldehyde.</span></p> <p><strong>2. Spider plant</strong></p> <p>Talk about a plant that keeps giving. It removes impurities from the air like formaldehyde and carbon monoxide. NASA’s study found that spider plants removed 95 per cent of formaldehyde from a sealed plexiglass chamber in 24 hours. Even better, the main plant sends out shoots, called “spiderettes” that flower and eventually grow into baby spider plants that you can transplant. That also helps: Research indicates that people are more relaxed and happy after caring for plants – say, for example, when they’re re-potting them.</p> <p><strong>3. Bamboo plant</strong></p> <p>This plant boasts elegance and height in addition to removing harmful elements like benzene and formaldehyde. Bamboo palms also help keep indoor air moist, making it a welcome addition in dry winter months. This palm takes a bit more care: It loves bright, but not direct sunlight and needs monthly fertilising and regular misting; when it outgrows its container (every two to three years), you’ll need to re-pot it.</p> <p><strong>4. Devil’s ivy</strong></p> <p>Devil’s ivy is actually quite angelic. It’s considered one of the most effective indoor air purifiers from benzene, formaldehyde and xylene. Plus, if you’re new to growing house plants, this is a great first plant to get. It’s lush, hardy and inexpensive. Another nice feature is that it can grow up to 2.5 metres long and in a variety of directions. In a hanging basket, it will trail downwards. Place it a pot and train it to climb a totem or trellis or place in a pot on a mantle or coffee table and let it grow horizontally.</p> <p><strong>5. Gerbera</strong></p> <p>These colourful and cheerful daisies were mainly outdoor plants until florists started using them in arrangements. Grown indoors, they can produce flowers at any time of the year, in white, red, orange, pink and purple. The flowers usually last around four to six weeks, but even without the flowers, the gerbera or Barberton daisy has lush, dark green leaves that are effective at filtering out formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene. They are most happy with full sun and plenty of water and well-drained soil.</p> <p><em><span>Written by Lisa Marie Conklin. Republished with permission of </span></em><span><a href="https://www.mydiscoveries.com.au/stories/top-spot-australians-retire-2019/"><em>Handyman</em></a><em>.</em></span></p>

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3 things a first-time gardener needs to know

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As it’s the beginning of a new year, many are thinking about what kind of hobbies they’d like to take in 2020. If gardening is on your list, here are three things that beginner gardeners need to know.</span></p> <p><strong>1. Don’t start too big</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Beginner gardeners might just see what kind of seeds they want to grow and begin planting, but according to Barbara Murphy, a master gardener coordinator and horticulturist with the University of Maine, this is the opposite of what you should do.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Starting too large is the most common mistake made by first-time gardeners,” said Barbara Murphy, a master gardener coordinator and horticulturist with University of Maine Cooperative Extension for 23 years.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Limit yourself to 10 feet by 10 feet, [3 metres by 3 metres]” she says. “If you grow frustrated because of too many things happening the first year, there’s a good chance you won’t feel like gardening for a second. You can always expand as your skills develop.”</span></p> <p><strong>2. Know your soil</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Knowing what your garden needs soil wise is vital for success.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Good soil preparation is important to success, but be patient,” said Rosie Lerner, an extension horticulturist with Purdue University to <a href="https://www.staradvertiser.com/2020/01/05/features/advice-to-first-time-gardeners-think-small-and-find-your-spot/"><em>Star Advertiser</em></a>. “Don’t force the soil when it’s wet. Soil structures will compact and get tight. That makes it tough for water and air to move through and greatly inhibits growth.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Squeeze the soil gently in your hand. If it crumbles a bit when squeezed, it’s ready for use. “It can take a long time to get good soil texture, and just minutes to destroy it if you work it while it’s too wet,” Lerner said.</span></p> <p><strong>3. Get rid of insects as quickly as possible</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Insects are bad news for growing gardens.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Make regular visits to your garden to check for plant pests,” Murphy said. “Don’t worry about the adults. You want to go after the eggs before they develop into juvenile leaf cutters. Most eggs are on the underside of leaves. Use soapy water and picking or simply remove the infested leaves.”</span></p>

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5 appliances you’re shortening the life of through misuse

<p>Buying electronics and appliances can be a huge investment, and when something goes wrong with them, it can also cause a huge headache. So, of course, you want to keep everything working for as long as possible. While many of us blame the seemingly shorter lifespan of these products on the fact that things just aren’t made like they used to be, that’s not entirely true. It turns out that much of the time, the culprit is us! Read on for the mistakes you probably don’t even realise you’re making, which can cause the early demise of everything from your laptop and your phone to your stove and your toaster.</p> <p><strong>1. Laptop</strong></p> <p>There’s nothing more frustrating than a laptop that goes from on the fritz to suddenly needing to be replaced. It turns out the key to keeping our laptops longer is turning them off at least once a day. This allows the operating system to install software updates and patches so everything can run smoothly and up to snuff. Another mistake that causes the early demise of this essential and expensive device? Failing to install anti-virus and malware programs.</p> <p><strong>2. Smartphone</strong></p> <p>If you feel you need to replace your smartphone way before the newest one comes out, it’s probably because you’re letting it overheat. According to <em>PCMag</em>, a major cause of this is something most of us are guilty of: charging our devices overnight. In fact, your phone is at risk of overheating every time you keep it plugged in with a full battery.</p> <p>And while many of us know it’s best to leave our phone at home when we go to the pool or beach, water damage isn’t the biggest risk. An article from <em>Time</em> reveals that too much heat exposure from the sun can cause lots of problems, including battery leakage and loss of data.</p> <p><strong>3. Vacuum</strong></p> <p>No one wants to empty the dirt cup after vacuuming your entire home or even before you vacuum, but an overfilled unit will not only run less efficiently – it will also ultimately shorten the life of the appliance. While most bagless units have a line indicating it’s time to empty the cup, it’s less obvious for bag machines. A sudden decrease in suction is a good indicator.</p> <p><strong>4. Car</strong></p> <p>A good car doesn’t come cheap, and to get yours to last as long as possible, you can’t skimp on regular maintenance. One biggie: oil changes. If you wait too long to change the oil, you’re asking for trouble. So how often are you really supposed to be doing this? According to Cars.com, it depends on the make and model of your car. Check the owner’s manual. Changing the oil keeps the corrosive material and debris out of your engine, so if you live in a city, it’s best to change the oil even a little sooner than the manufacturer recommends.</p> <p><strong>5. Fridge</strong></p> <p>If you have a big family and you find yourself with a fridge that’s constantly full, it might be time to consider buying a larger one. That’s because overloading it places pressure on the fan blades, causing them to work improperly or even break.</p> <p>Cleaning the fridge is another way you can extend its life. The coils, the internal mechanism and the outside of the fridge need to be cleaned on a regular basis.</p> <p><em>Source: <a href="https://www.rd.com/advice/ways-youre-damaging-home-appliances/">RD.com</a></em></p> <p><em>Written by Amanda Lauren. This article first appeared in </em><em><span><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/home-tips/12-ways-youre-shortening-the-life-of-your-home-appliances">Reader’s Digest</a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA93V">here’s our best subscription offer.</a></span></em></p>

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10 things in your house that a professional organiser would throw out

<p>An expert organiser shares her list of the top 26 things she’d throw out without a second thought.</p> <p><strong>1. Flimsy kitchen utensils</strong></p> <p>The wine opener that never works well enough is just one of the tosses you can make from your utensil drawer. Professional organisers would also ditch the slotted spoons and pancake turners that bend under the weight of food. And add the garlic press that is too delicate to mince a clove of garlic to the toss pile.</p> <p><strong>2. Reference material</strong></p> <p>You’ll rarely find a space-hogging phone book in a professional organiser’s home. They also let go of encyclopaedia sets and textbooks; consider donating those. And unless you need the thesaurus and dictionary for playing Scrabble, pass those on, too.</p> <p><strong>3. Expired things</strong></p> <p>While frozen, fresh and canned foods come to mind, these are not the only things in your home that expire. Once they reach their best by date, it’s recommended to throw out medications, vitamins and supplements.</p> <p><strong>4. Storage solutions</strong></p> <p>Professional organisers love storage solutions but not every container works well. If the bin, basket or box didn’t solve your problem, then throw it out; otherwise, it just adds to your clutter. Consider passing along storage containers to a teacher who might need them.</p> <p><strong>5. Outdated technology</strong></p> <p>The VCR and boom box have been replaced with more up-to-date technology, so get rid of the old stuff. Recycle floppy disks and ancient laptops, obsolete phones, VHS tapes and more through an e-waste program.</p> <p><strong>6. Parts for discarded items</strong></p> <p>Toss the accessories and instruction booklets that go with things you no longer own, like the tiny bag with a spare button for the blouse you donated and the owner’s manual for the television you had ten years ago.</p> <p><strong>7. Secret stash</strong></p> <p>Even professional organisers keep odd things like those plastic clips from bags of bread or rinsed out glass jars. The key is to know when you are saving too many, and they are becoming clutter. For example, if you’ve kept every rubber band from every fresh produce purchase, then it is time to throw some away.</p> <p><strong>8. Awards and trophies</strong></p> <p>Just because it has your name engraved on it does not mean you have to keep it forever. Professional organisers preserve the memory by taking a photo of the accolade, then they donate the trophies, plaques, or awards of excellence through sports medal recycling programs.</p> <p><strong>9. Fad clutter</strong></p> <p>You could not resist that 2 a.m. infomercial and now you’re the owner of the latest craze in kitchen appliances, workshop tools, or some other must-have item that you never use. Professional organisers remind you that keeping the item won’t bring back the money you spent; so it’s best to pass it along to an organisation or friend that will accept it.</p> <p><strong>10. Clothes hangers</strong></p> <p>You’ll rarely find empty hangers taking up space in a professional organiser’s closet. Clear the clutter by returning the wire ones to the dry cleaners. Then let go of the other unused hangers like the ones with weak clips and the small hangers that don’t slide on the closet bar.</p> <p><em>Written by Handyman. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://www.handyman.net.au/26-things-your-house-professional-organiser-would-throw-out"><em>Handyman</em></a><em>. </em></p>

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Mum's urgent warning against exploding Christmas lights

<p>A mum has raised concerns after a set of solar-powered lights from Kmart exploded in the sun and severely burnt a wall outside her home.</p> <p>The woman from Queensland recently took to Facebook to warn others in case the same thing happens to them, as she shared multiple photos revealing the damage caused by the explosion.</p> <p>She reassured that no one was hurt and thanks to quick-thinking neighbours, embers were extinguished before dry glass was set alight.</p> <p>“Thank God for neighbours or things could have been a lot worse,” she captioned her post.</p> <p>“Solar panel on Xmas lights exploded. Bought them from Kmart approx. (sic) 3 weeks ago.</p> <p>“Will be notifying the store I brought them from tomorrow.”</p> <p>Kmart is currently selling Anko branded solar-powered LED multi-coloured string lights for $34 for a pack of 500.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="width: 480px; height: 480px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7833577/1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/b920f6ca3e2c41d0a3cd1f2f79a337ee" /></p> <p>According to information on the store’s website, the lights are suitable for outdoor use.</p> <p>“Set the mood for the Christmas season with our festive LED string lights that will look stunning in your backyard!” reads the product description.</p> <p>Since sharing her warning, the post has received over 1800 reactions and hundreds of comments from concerned people.</p> <p>“My husband’s just gone to take ours down,” wrote one person. “I don’t know if it’s the same type but they are from Kmart so not risking it.”</p> <p>While another added: “This is so concerning! Glad I don’t have any of them, but not so good for the thousands of people that do!”</p> <p>A spokesperson from Kmart said the retailer had reached out to the customer to offer support as part of a commitment to ensuring all products are “fully compliant with regulations and safety standards”.</p> <p>“At Kmart Australia safety is our number one priority and we are committed to ensuring the products we sell are fully compliant with regulations and safety standards,” said the spokesperson.</p> <p>“We have reached out to the customer to offer support and conduct a review of their case.”</p>

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​Disgraced ex-Masterchef judge George Calombaris puts home on the market

<p>Disgraced celebrity chef George Calombaris has put his beach house in the Mornington Peninsula on the market for a whopping $900,000 to $950,00.</p> <p>The four-bedroom residence that also features a well-equipped kitchen and outdoor entertaining area is ideal for any wannabe chefs who think they’ve got the same skills as Calombaris.</p> <p>The home is just one of many that the former TV chef and his wife Natalie Tricarico have bought in recent years.</p> <p>The couple also purchased two other homes in Arthurs Seat and Toorak, Melbourne. In 2013. The homes went for $580,000 and 2.2 million respectively, according to<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.domain.com.au/news/celebrity-chef-george-calombaris-beach-house-listed-for-sale-with-900000-to-950000-price-guide-918509/?utm_campaign=strap-masthead&amp;utm_source=smh&amp;utm_medium=link&amp;utm_content=pos5&amp;ref=pos1" target="_blank">Domain</a>.</em></p> <p>Calombaris made headlines this year after the hospitality group that he founded MAdE Establishment was ordered to backpay staff 7.83 million in unpaid wages and superannuation to a shocking 515 current and former employees.</p> <p>The staff were not paid at the correct classification, worked hours that were not adequately compensated by annualised salaries and were affected by the incorrect application of an award.</p> <p>The home is being marketed as an executive holiday residence or a family home.</p> <p>Set over two levels, the home offers open plan formal and informal living.</p> <p>There are four bedrooms and two bathrooms, as well as a walk-through dressing room and en suite in the master bedroom.</p> <p>The kitchen comes with a butler’s pantry, a large island store bench and a 900mm oven. The outside dining room is home to a pizza oven and a barbeque.</p> <p><em>Photo credits: <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.barryplant.com.au/for-sale/140-dromana-parade-safety-beach-vic-3936-82188/" target="_blank">BarryPlant.com.au</a> </em></p> <p>Scroll through the gallery to see the stunning home on Safety Beach.</p>

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6 home improvement projects that practically pay for themselves

<p>These smart upgrades pay off big in resale value and enjoyment of your home.</p> <p><strong>1. Give cabinets a new life</strong></p> <p>“Replacing your cabinets is a huge cost that is not completely necessary if the cabinets are less than ten years old, functional, and made from a high-quality wood,” says John Milligan, Product Development Manager at N-Hance Wood Refinishing. Refinishing can cost around $3,000 to $8,000 and can potentially bump up the value of your home between 3 and 7 percent.</p> <p><strong>2. The biggest bang for your buck</strong></p> <p>A fresh coat of paint instantly updates and transforms the entire interior of your home, and when you consider the relatively low cost of paint, it’s about the biggest bang for your buck you can get. “Greys are back in vogue, and create a neutral palette that lets your decor really pop,” says Steve Frellick, licensed contractor and founder/broker of Yonder Luxury Vacation Rentals.</p> <p><strong>3. Roll up the carpet</strong></p> <p>If you’re lucky, your wall-to-wall carpet will last about ten years. Well-maintained hardwood floors, on the other hand, last for at least 25 years. “Hardwood floors have a massive appeal and add an extreme level of warmth and comfort in your home and a definite return on your investment,” says Frellick. In fact, a recent Remodeling Impact Report from the National Association of Realtors showed that a whopping 91 percent of the cost is recovered.</p> <p><strong>4. Exterior facelift</strong></p> <p>New cladding is like a facelift for the house, resulting in enhanced curb appeal. But replacing worn out cladding isn’t just about looks: damaged cladding creates moisture and mould, and it leaves insulation exposed, causing your heating and cooling bills to skyrocket.</p> <p><strong>5. The grass is always greener in your yard</strong></p> <p>Dragging out and moving sprinklers every week is not only time-consuming; it adds to your water bill. A better idea? Drip irrigation. “This puts water where plants need it – at the root zone – and it uses much less water over time, as the emitters are placed right near the plants and drip at a reduced rate,” says plant merchant Tyler Davis. It’s easy to install, and will pay for itself in a short time with water savings, he adds. A green and well-manicured lawn can add $2,000 to $7,000 to the resale value of your home.</p> <p><strong>6. Give yourself some space</strong></p> <p>Creating more usable space is something you’ll never regret, whether you use it for storage or more living space. “Having a finished basement or attic can be as simple as putting up and painting gyprock and putting down flooring,” says Shayanfekr. The costs will vary greatly depending on the square metreage and materials used, but the Remodeling Impact Report from the National Association of Realtors shares that you’ll generally recoup over 50 percent of costs at sale time.</p> <p><em>Source: </em><a href="https://www.rd.com/home/improvement/home-projects-pay-for-themselves/"><em>RD.com</em></a></p> <p><em>Written by Lisa Marie Conklin. This article first appeared in </em><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/home-tips/12-home-improvement-projects-practically-pay-themselves"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA93V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></p>

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How to increase the curb appeal of your home in a weekend

<p>Whether your goal is to add value to your home to sell, or you’re just looking to get your home entertainment-ready for summer, there are three DIY projects you can complete in a weekend that will greatly increase the curb appeal of your home.</p> <p><strong>1. Repaint concrete exteriors</strong></p> <p>Painting an unsightly or worn concrete pathway, landing or wall is one of the most dramatic (and easy) home improvements you can make. With a little prep and some specialty concrete paint you can avoid the pricey task of having to replace the concrete and have it looking like new again.</p> <p><strong>Remember</strong></p> <ul> <li><strong>PREPARATION IS KEY.</strong> Remove any lose concrete with a scraper, wire brush or sandpaper then scrub the surface clean with a strong detergent and stiff bristle broom and hose off with clean water. This will stop your paint from lifting and ensure long lasting results. Don’t skip this step! 
</li> <li><strong>ROUGHT IT UP.</strong> In order for your surface to really grip the paint, you need to make sure the surface is rough (it should feel like 180 grit sandpaper). If the surface is smooth, prep with White Knight Ultra Pave Concrete Etcher. If your surface is already fairly rough you can skip this step. 
</li> <li><strong>TIME TO PAINT.</strong> Using a roller and tray, first start on the large areas. Using White Knight Ultra Pave Quick Dry, start by painting the far corner and then work backwards so you don’t paint yourself into a corner. If you didn’t use a concrete etcher, I recommend thinning the first coat of paint with 20% water to help with adhesion. Your concrete area will be touch-dry in 30 minutes and ready to be recoated in two hours.</li> </ul> <p><strong>2. Paint the front door</strong></p> <p>Painting your front door and even your shutters is another easy way to improve the exterior of your home and help to leave a lasting impression.</p> <p><strong>Remember</strong></p> <ul> <li><strong>KNOW YOUR ENVIRONMENT.</strong> Select a hardwearing concrete paint such as Ultra Pave which is designed to withstand Australia’s harsh climate. 
</li> <li><strong>DARE TO BE DIFFERENT.</strong> Remember, paint isn’t permanent so have fun with it. Try a strong contrast colour for maximum visual impact. Think red against a white frame and brick wall, bright yellow against navy, or deep blue on white. 
</li> </ul> <p><strong>3. Landscape</strong></p> <p>Last but certainly not least, a little bit of landscaping can do wonders to improve the curb appeal of your home.</p> <p><strong>Remember</strong></p> <ul> <li><strong>ADD SOME COLOUR </strong>A vibrant flower bed can lift the feel of any home.</li> </ul> <p><em>This is a guest post by Dale Vine, former Block contestant and </em><a href="http://www.whiteknightpaints.com.au/"><em>White Knight </em></a><em>Ambassador. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://www.handyman.net.au/how-increase-curb-appeal-your-home-weekend"><em>Handyman</em></a><em>.</em></p>

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Coming soon: the new Bunnings with a $70 million add on

<p>If being first in line for a Saturday afternoon sausage sizzle has always been a dream of yours, then a new store opening in 2021 will definitely help.</p> <p>Construction has commenced on the site in Doncaster, Victoria, with the hardware store set to open in the second half of 2021.</p> <p>But this one won’t be like any ordinary Bunnings store, because right on top there will be a luxury 183-room, six-floor Mercure hotel, complete with a restaurant, rooftop pool, and fitness centre.</p> <p>The double-storey store will cost $90 million to build while the hotel will cost $70 million.</p> <p>The hardware giant has confirmed that over 180 team members will be employed when the new warehouse opens, with more than 700 people involved in the construction.</p> <p>It will be spread out across 11,000 square metres including two levels of basement parking with 335 spaces, a playground, café and click and collect services.</p> <p>Bunnings acting general manager property Garry James said Bunnings was excited to facilitate in the area.</p> <p>“We identified a need for Bunnings in the Doncaster area and this site provided an opportunity to build something in line with Manningham Council’s vision of Doncaster Hill,” he said.</p> <p>“We are always looking at opportunities to innovate the design of our stores and we have a number of different formats that cater for the local markets where we operate.</p> <p>“There’s no cookie cutter approach – we always assess the local need and what can be achieved in a space, regardless of whether it is 4000 or 20,000 square meters.”</p> <p>Originally, the project was supposed to be a Bunnings-apartment complex hybrid before Manningham Council decided to replace 100 apartments with a hotel, according to the<span> </span><em>Manningham Leader</em>.</p>

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10 absolutely brilliant uses for old socks

<p>Here are ten absolutely brilliant uses for old socks.</p> <p><strong>1. Prevent floor scratches</strong></p> <p>When moving furniture at home, put socks on the feet of your chair or table legs to prevent scratching the floors.</p> <p><strong>2. Dust high places</strong></p> <p>To dust extra-tall (e.g., on ceilings) or extra-narrow (under appliances or radiators) spots, fasten a sock to the end of a yardstick or a broom, dampen, and clean (chenille socks are especially good at picking up dust).</p> <p><strong>3. Clean houseplants</strong></p> <p>Put your hand in a sock, dampen it, and use it as a mitt to clean houseplants of dust and other debris.</p> <p><strong>4. Soften laundry</strong></p> <p>To soften laundry without using fabric softener or dryer balls, take a couple of socks, put a tennis ball inside each, knot them, and throw into the dryer before running your next load of laundry.</p> <p><strong>5. Sleep mask</strong></p> <p>Fashion a sleep mask with an old sock, some flat backing fabric, and an elastic band.</p> <p><strong>6. Sticky jar cover</strong></p> <p>Keep your cupboard and refrigerator clean by deploying single socks to cover the bottoms of bottles or jars containing messy, sticky, drippy stuff like syrup, honey, molasses, and barbecue sauce.</p> <p><strong>7. Pan handle cover</strong></p> <p>Stash socks in the kitchen where they’re surprisingly useful. For starters, when cooking on the stove, slip one over the handle of your saucepan or frying pan; this will not only shield your hand from the heat but also prevent the handle from getting sticky.</p> <p><strong>8. Wrist rest</strong></p> <p>For an ergonomic wrist rest for your computer, take a sock, stuff it with filling, and sew it closed. Whether it resembles a ferret, cat, another mammal, or no animal at all is up to you and your preferences and skill.</p> <p><strong>9. Get rid of cramps</strong></p> <p>Combat aches and cramps with a DIY heating pad. Just fill a clean, dry sock (use one that’s all or mostly cotton or wool, with no embellishments) with white or brown rice (not the instant or quick-cooking kind), dried beans, flaxseed or barley. Either knot the sock or sew it shut with cotton thread, and microwave it for one minute. If it’s not hot enough, up the time in 15-second increments.</p> <p><strong>10. Stop the fog</strong></p> <p>Fill socks with silica kitty litter (which is extremely absorbent), and keep them on rear and/or front window ledge to stop windshields from fogging up.</p> <p><em>Source: <a href="https://www.rd.com/home/cleaning-organizing/uses-for-old-socks/">RD.com</a></em></p> <p><em>Written by Daryl Chen. This article first appeared in </em><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/home-tips/65-absolutely-brilliant-uses-for-old-socks"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA93V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></p>

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4 things you're doing to your home that real estate agents wouldn't

<p>Every day, real estate agents come upon cringe-worthy things homeowners have done to their homes. Leopard-print fabric wallpaper in the bedroom – yep. DIY electrical repairs – shockingly true. Sure, it’s your castle, and you can decorate or DIY to your heart’s content, as well as skip certain projects you just don’t think are important. But there are some smart reasons why real estate agents wouldn’t do the following things to their own homes.</p> <p><strong>1. Ignoring kerb appeal</strong></p> <p>You worked for months on the interior of your home, and now that it’s Instagram-worthy, you’re too tired and uninspired to care about the shabby lawn and cracked walkway. Shake off the sawdust and swap out your tool belt for some gardening tools. “It pays to hire a professional to get some advice to ‘stage’ your yard, too,” says real estate broker Kelly Parks. “A bonus is that while you live there, you will also love it.”</p> <p><strong>2. Planting trees too close to the house</strong></p> <p>Leafy trees, flowering bushes and colourful perennials instantly add a welcoming and homey touch to that all-important kerb appeal, but if you plant trees too close to the house, you might regret it down the road. Trees with long root systems can uproot the ground and your budget, and large limbs can fall on the roof or damage siding. “Roots over time can damage underground plumbing, foundation and driveways,” explains realtor Maya Madison. “It may look nice at first, but when you go to sell it in a few years, those roots will cause very expensive damage.”</p> <p><strong>3. Over-customising</strong></p> <p>A house is transformed into a home-sweet-home when you add personal touches, but if you’re thinking about selling your house down the road, you might want to rethink going all-in with your favourite motif. Broker Melanie Everett loves animal prints, but she’s not going to wallpaper her house with it. “I opted to buy some beautiful pillows instead,” she says. “Plus, I can take these with me to my next home, and I don’t have to worry about overwhelming a potential buyer.”</p> <p><strong>4. Hiring non-licenced contractors</strong></p> <p>It’s probably not a big deal to DIY a loose floorboard or hire your cousin to install a ceiling fan, but when it comes to the major housing components like plumbing and electrical, you should hire licensed, bonded contractors and possibly get permits. “This is very important because real estate agents know the value of being able to say that a licensed contractor or expert did the work,” says Parks. “This gives a potential buyer peace of mind, knowing that things are right, and the same is true when they go to sell the house later.”</p> <p><em>Source: </em><a href="https://www.rd.com/home/things-real-estate-agents-wouldnt-do/"><em>RD.com</em></a></p> <p><em>Written by Lisa Marie Conklin. This article first appeared in <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/diy-tips/13-things-youre-doing-to-your-home-that-real-estate-agents-wouldnt">Reader’s Digest</a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA93V">here’s our best subscription offer.</a></em></p>

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5 household chores that are a waste of time

<div id="page1" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>An endless list of the same old household to-dos costs you time, money and sanity. Here are some you can just skip.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/household-chores-that-are-a-waste-of-time"><strong>1. Washing your hair every day</strong></div> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/household-chores-that-are-a-waste-of-time"> <p>It may sound counterintuitive, but if you shampoo too often, you will actually make your hair oilier. Washing strips hair of natural oils, so your scalp produces more and then you have to wash again. Stick to two or three times a week, says derma­tologist Dr Tsippora Shainhouse. Using a ­gentle, sulphate-free shampoo and conditioner will keep your scalp and hair from drying out too much.</p> <p><strong>2. Using a top sheet on your bed</strong></p> <p>Save time making your bed every morning by skipping the tangle-prone top sheet. Many Europeans sleep directly under a quilt or a duvet with a cover, as do many of us. Just be sure to make time every week to wash any bedding that touches your body.</p> <p><strong>3. Tossing mouldy bread</strong></p> <p>The best bread is bought fresh at a bakery and eaten on the day you buy it. But if you don’t devour the loaf, you’ll want to store the rest in the freezer. 
It’ll last longer (two to three months, according to the experts 
at ­epicurious.com) and make much better toast, 
according to the<span> </span><em>New York Times</em>.</p> <p><strong>4. Opening curtains wide every morning</strong></p> <div id="page9" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Letting the sunshine in is a lovely way to greet the day, but if you’ll be leaving the house and not returning until after dark, all those rays can fade your furniture and make your air conditioner work harder. North and west-facing rooms are especially sun-prone, so try leaving those curtains drawn. Also, consider running the air conditioner only when you’re home.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/household-chores-that-are-a-waste-of-time"><strong>5. Peeling vegetables</strong></div> <p>Unless you’re preparing pumpkin, celery root or some other food with a tough outer coating, there’s no reason to waste precious before-dinner time peeling vegetables, reports thekitchn.com. That goes for foods you may have been peeling 
all your life, such as carrots, cucumbers, potatoes and turnips. You’ll save time and gain flavour and healthy fibre.</p> <p><em>Written by Jody L. Rohlena. </em><em>This article first appeared in </em><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/household-chores-that-are-a-waste-of-time"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA93V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div>

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Level two water restrictions begin today – this is what you can and can’t do

<p>Residents of Sydney, the Blue Mountains and the Illawara region will face tough new water restrictions from today, forcing those who fail to comply to cough up hefty fines.</p> <p>The NSW Government announced the introduction of “level two” water restrictions in November, as dam levels continue to decrease in drought conditions.</p> <p>The rules will be put in place from December 10, applying to all residents and businesses in the affected areas. For the first time since the millennium drought in 2003, level one restrictions were introduced in June.</p> <p>“Usually, we would expect to have level two water restrictions come into effect when dam levels reached 40 per cent,” said Premier Gladys Berejiklian in a statement.</p> <p>“But given the rapid rate of decline of our dam levels we have decided to enact the next level restrictions sooner than planned. We’re introducing level two restrictions to save 78.5 gigalitres of water per year.”</p> <p>Those who are caught breaking the rules will be penalised $220, while businesses will face one of $550.</p> <p>Level two water restrictions are crucial to help manage NSW’s increasingly low water supply.</p> <p>“We’re doing the work to save as much drinking water as we can to ensure there is enough if the drought persists,” said Water Minister Melina Pavey.</p> <p>“Businesses who rely upon outdoor water use as part of their operations need to get an exemption. If a business applied for and received a permit under the previous level of restrictions, they’ll need to contact Sydney Water to confirm it’s still valid.”</p> <p><strong>The biggest changes for residents and businesses in the affected areas are:</strong></p> <ul> <li>You can only use a watering can or bucket to water your garden before 10 am and after 4 pm.</li> <li>You can only use drip irrigation or smart watering systems for a maximum of 15 minutes a day per watering zone, before 10 am and after 4 pm.</li> <li>You can only top up an existing pool or spa, using a hose fitted with a trigger nozzle, watering can or bucket for a maximum of 15 minutes a day. You can only do this to replace water lost through evaporation, not to replace water deliberately removed from the pool or spa.</li> <li>You can only wash your vehicles with a bucket and sponge.</li> <li>You need a permit to fill new or renovated pools and spas that hold more than 500 litres.</li> </ul> <p>Recycled water, greywater, rainwater, bore water and river water is allowed under the new restrictions, however they may come with their own conditions as to how they can be used.</p>

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How to eradicate aphids

<p class="p1"><span class="s1">A</span>phids are small, soft-bodied insects that feed on sap and leave a sticky deposit as they suck the juice from leaves and stems.</p> <p class="p3"><span class="s1">They love nasturtiums but attack everything from herbs and vegies to vines, shrubs and trees, including roses, camellias, stone fruit and citrus.</span></p> <p class="p3"><span class="s1">Aphids can be green, yellow, pink, brown, grey, black or woolly, and are only 2mm to 4mm long.</span></p> <p class="p3"><span class="s1">These tiny insects are usually found clustering in large numbers on stems, flower buds and leaves, causing curled or distorted growth.</span></p> <p class="p3"><span class="s1">Populations start building up in mid and late spring, developing from small colonies into heavy infestations in a matter of days.</span></p> <p class="p3"><span class="s1">They don’t just destroy new growth but also spread disease, transmitting broad bean wilt, cucumber mosaic and other viruses.</span></p> <p class="p3"><span class="s1">Aphids also secrete a sugar-rich substance called honeydew that attracts and feeds a type of fungus called sooty mould.</span></p> <p class="p3"><strong><span class="s1">Methods of control</span></strong></p> <p class="p2"><span class="s1">Aphids multiply rapidly, so a control program is very important.</span></p> <p class="p2"><strong><span class="s2">PICK</span></strong><span class="s1"><strong><span> </span></strong>aphids off by hand and squash them, making sure to wear gloves.</span></p> <p class="p2"><strong><span class="s2">BLAST</span></strong><span class="s1"><span> </span>aphids from plants by hosing regularly with a strong jet of water.</span></p> <p class="p2"><strong><span class="s2">WIPE</span></strong><span class="s1"><strong><span> </span></strong>off indoor plants with a cotton ball dipped in methylated spirits.<span> </span></span><span class="s2">SPRAY</span><span class="s1"><span> </span>plants with insecticide, using low-toxicity formulas to protect edibles, pets and beneficial insects.</span></p> <p class="p2"><strong><span class="s2">ATTRACT</span></strong><span class="s1"><span> </span>natural predators like ladybirds into the garden by planting achillea or Queen Anne’s lace.</span></p> <p class="p2"><strong><span class="s2">PRUNE</span></strong><span class="s1"><span> </span>and bin heavily infested stems and shoots to stimulate new growth.</span></p> <p class="p2"><strong><span class="s1">Mixing home remedies</span></strong></p> <p class="p1">Insects are repelled by garlic and cayenne pepper, so use it to make a spray that can be applied to plants as often as needed.</p> <p class="p2">Handle the solution carefully because capsaicin, the active ingredient in pepper, is a very powerful eye and skin irritant.</p> <p class="p1"><strong><span class="s1">COMBINE</span><span> </span></strong>six unpeeled and crushed garlic cloves with one tablespoon of cayenne pepper in a clean bucket.</p> <p class="p1"><strong><span class="s1">ADD</span></strong><span> </span>a litre of warm water and stir the mixture well for one minute then cover the container and leave in a location out of direct sunlight, letting it stand for two days.</p> <p class="p1"><strong><span class="s1">STRAIN</span></strong><span> </span>the solution into a plastic spray bottle and use within 24 hours.</p> <p class="p1"><strong>Spotting and treating infestations</strong></p> <p class="p1">Aphids usually attack soft, new young growth and can cluster unseen on the underside of leaves. Monitor plants throughout spring, checking the leaves for signs of aphid activity, and treat infestations immediately.</p> <h4 class="p1"><strong>Herbs</strong></h4> <p><strong>PROBLEM<span> </span></strong>Leaves are distorted, yellowing or sticky</p> <p><strong><span class="s1">SOLUTION</span></strong><span> </span>Companion plant with nectar-rich species like scabiosa or sweet alyssum and include dill, fennel and chives to attract beneficial insects.</p> <h4><strong>Vegetables</strong></h4> <p class="p1"><strong><span class="s1">PROBLEM</span><span> </span></strong>Leaves are curled, puckered or sticky</p> <p class="p1"><strong><span class="s1">SOLUTION</span></strong><span> </span>Spray insecticidal soap directly onto aphids. To make your own, mix two tablespoons of pure soap flakes in a litre of water.</p> <h4 class="p1"><strong>Flowers</strong></h4> <p class="p1"><strong><span class="s1">PROBLEM</span></strong><span> </span>Insects cluster on buds and leaves are curled, distorted or yellowed</p> <p class="p1"><strong><span class="s1">SOLUTION</span></strong><span> </span>Apply a botanical insecticide such as neem, spraying the foliage in the early evening.</p> <h4 class="p1"><strong>Shrubs</strong></h4> <p class="p1"><strong><span class="s1">PROBLEM</span></strong><span> </span>Distorted, sticky leaves.</p> <p><span class="s1"><strong>SOLUTION</strong></span><span> </span>Make a pepper and garlic spray for heavily infested foliage and use as needed. It will very effectively protect roses from both sucking insects and fungal issues.</p> <h4 class="p1"><strong>Fruit trees</strong></h4> <p class="p1"><strong><span class="s1">PROBLEM</span></strong><span> </span>Leaves are misshapen and stunted</p> <p class="p1"><strong><span class="s1">SOLUTION</span></strong><span> </span>Prune off and dispose of infested leaves, stems and shoots then spray the tree with white oil, making sure to coat the pests.</p> <h4 class="p1"><strong>Citrus species</strong></h4> <p class="p1"><strong><span class="s1">PROBLEM</span></strong><span class="s2"><span> </span>Black insects cover new growth, leaves wither and buds drop</span></p> <p class="p1"><strong><span class="s3">SOLUTION</span></strong><span> </span>Prune affected shoots to encourage new, healthy growth and apply pyrethrum, also spraying it around the base of the tree.</p> <p><em>Written by Artemis Gouros. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://www.handyman.net.au/eradicate-aphids"><em>Handyman</em></a><em>.</em></p>

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