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Doctor shares her holy grail tips for overcoming eye sensitivity

<p>As the chill of winter sets in, many people find that their eyes become more sensitive and prone to dryness. This can be particularly challenging for those who already suffer from dry eye syndrome. </p> <p>Dr. Jacqueline Beltz is a leading Australian Ophthalmologist and the founder of <a href="https://www.okkiyo.com" target="_blank" rel="noopener">OKKIYO</a>, a beauty brand that makes PRIORITEYES mascara for people with sensitive eyes.</p> <p>Dr Beltz has shared her insights into dry eye syndrome and how winter can exacerbate symptoms, also sharing her top tips for managing eye sensitivity during the colder months.</p> <p><strong>Understanding Dry Eye Syndrome</strong></p> <p>The surface of the eye is covered by a delicate layer of tears, essential for comfort, vision, protection, and nutrition. The tear film comprises two main layers: an outer lipid (oily) layer and an inner aqueous (watery) layer. The lipid layer, produced by oil glands in the eyelids, prevents tears from evaporating too quickly, while the aqueous layer, consisting of water, electrolytes, and proteins, spreads tears evenly across the eye and helps them adhere to the surface.</p> <p>When the balance of tear production, evaporation, absorption, and drainage is disrupted, it can lead to dry eye syndrome. Symptoms may include redness, irritation, a gritty sensation, tired eyes, itching, excessive watering, and fluctuating vision. In severe cases, dry eye can be painful and significantly impact daily life.</p> <p><strong>How common is dry eye syndrome?</strong></p> <p>Dry eye syndrome is a widespread issue, particularly among older adults. According to the Blue Mountains Eye Study, 57% of adults over the age of 50 experience some degree of dry eye. This condition is notably more prevalent in women, with higher rates observed compared to their male counterparts. The increased prevalence in women is often attributed to hormonal changes, particularly during and after menopause. </p> <p>A more recent study, Optometry Australia’s 2022 Vision index found that over 85% of Australians are estimated to have experienced dry eyes at some point in their lives.  Of those affected, 55% say they only developed the condition following the beginning of the pandemic in 2020.  They reported that almost 1 in 5 (18%) of people experience dry eye symptoms frequently.  </p> <p>These statistics highlight the importance of understanding and managing dry eye, especially as we age.</p> <p><strong>DEWS II Study and Treatment Approaches</strong></p> <p>The DEWS II (Dry Eye Workshop II) study provides a comprehensive framework for understanding and treating dry eye syndrome. According to the study, dry eye is a multifactorial disease characterised by a loss of homeostasis (or balance) in the tear film, accompanied by eye symptoms. Factors such as tear film instability, hyperosmolarity (increased saltiness), inflammation, and neurosensory (altered feelings or sensations) abnormalities play significant roles.</p> <p>There are two primary types of dry eye: aqueous deficient and evaporative. Most individuals have a combination of both. Aqueous deficient dry eye occurs when there is insufficient production of the watery layer of tears, often due to aging, hormonal changes, or certain medications. Evaporative dry eye is typically caused by environmental factors or conditions affecting the lipid layer, such as meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD).</p> <p><strong>Winter's Impact on Dry Eyes</strong></p> <p>Winter poses unique challenges for dry eye sufferers. Cold, dry air, indoor heating, and wind can all exacerbate symptoms. Here's how to combat these winter-specific issues:</p> <p><em><strong>1. Humidify Your Environment</strong></em></p> <p>Indoor heating reduces humidity levels, leading to increased tear evaporation. Consider using a humidifier to maintain moisture in the air, especially in bedrooms and living spaces. This helps keep your eyes hydrated.</p> <p><em><strong>2. Protect Your Eyes Outdoors</strong></em></p> <p>Cold winds can strip away the tear film. When outside, wear wraparound sunglasses to shield your eyes from the elements. This not only protects your eyes from the wind but also from UV rays, which can be strong even in winter.</p> <p><em><strong>3. Stay Hydrated</strong></em></p> <p>Dehydration can worsen dry eye symptoms. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to maintain overall hydration, which supports healthy tear production.</p> <p><em><strong>4. Optimise Your Diet</strong></em></p> <p>Certain foods can promote eye health. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish like salmon and flaxseeds, have anti-inflammatory properties that can help manage dry eye symptoms. Incorporate these into your diet for added benefits.</p> <p><em><strong>5. Use a Warm Compress</strong></em></p> <p>A warm compress can help improve the function of the meibomian glands, which produce the oily layer of the tear film. This is particularly helpful for those with meibomian gland dysfunction, or MGD. Gently apply a warm, damp cloth to your closed eyelids for 10-15 minutes, followed by a gentle massage of the eyelids to encourage oil secretion. It is important to avoid rubbing or compressing the eyeballs.</p> <p><em><strong>6. Use Over-the-Counter Lubricant Eye Drops</strong></em></p> <p>Artificial tears can provide temporary relief by supplementing the natural tear film. Choose preservative-free options to avoid further irritation, and use them frequently.</p> <p><em><strong>7.  Remember to have regular eye checks</strong></em></p> <p>In Australia, Optometrists provide our primary eye health check ups. Dr Beltz recommends adults over the age of 40 see their optometrist once a year, but if you’re struggling with symptoms of dry eye in winter, an extra check up might help and your optometrist will be able to help you to come up with an individualised treatment plan.</p> <p><em><strong>8. Invest in Quality Eye Products</strong></em></p> <p>For those who wear makeup, using products designed for sensitive eyes is crucial. <a href="https://www.okkiyo.com/products/protect-and-preserve-mascara" target="_blank" rel="noopener">PRIORITEYES</a> mascara by OKKIYO has been specifically formulated to be gentle on sensitive eyes, avoiding common irritants while providing excellent performance.</p> <p><strong>Managing Dry Eye in Winter: A Recap</strong></p> <p>Winter can be tough on our eyes, but with the right strategies, you can manage dry eye symptoms effectively. Maintain a humid environment, protect your eyes from cold winds, stay hydrated, and incorporate eye-healthy foods into your diet. Regularly use warm compresses and opt for gentle, high-quality eye products like PRIORITEYES mascara.  </p> <p>Dry eye syndrome may be a common condition, but it doesn't have to dominate your life, especially during the harsh winter months. With these tips, you can keep your eyes comfortable and healthy all season long. For personalised advice and treatment, always consult with your eye care professional.</p> <p>Stay warm, stay hydrated and take care of your eyes this winter!</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p>

Body

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The must-visit winter travel destinations

<p dir="ltr">As winter rolls around, many people are looking to flee the confines of their chilly homes and routines in search of sunshine and adventure. </p> <p dir="ltr">Aussies have been already planning their getaways to follow the sun, as <a href="about:blank">Booking.com</a>'s latest search data has revealed the top ten international holiday spots for this year.</p> <p dir="ltr">The results show that while many travellers are heading to tropical destinations this winter, others are searching for a different kind of holiday. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>10. Kuta, Bali</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">While Bali has long been a popular tourist destination for Aussies, many chose to head to Indonesia to enjoy the sandy beaches and escape the winter chill. </p> <p dir="ltr">With winter temperatures hovering around 25°C each day, there's no better place to escape the cold.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>9. Paris, France</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">In 2024, Paris is on many people’s travel lists ahead of the Olympics in July. </p> <p dir="ltr">With charming restaurants, trendy boutiques, chic cafes, and amazing museums on offer, as well as warm temps, there’s no better time to head to Paris. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>8. Ubud, Bali</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Another Bali region to make the list, Ubud is an inland paradise amongst rice paddies and lush jungle.</p> <p dir="ltr">The food heaven destination is also known for its gorgeous climate, making it a perfect holiday spot. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>7. Queenstown, New Zealand</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">For those who don’t want to venture too far from home, Queenstown is an amazing spot for anyone seeking an active holiday.</p> <p dir="ltr">As the only spot on the list which isn't about escaping winter, Queenstown - and New Zealand in general - is often visited by keen skiers and those looking to amplify their winter travels. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>6. Canggu, Bali</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Another Bali spot making the list, Canggu is a beachside area surrounded by terraced rice paddies and known for good surf.</p> <p dir="ltr">Accommodation in the area ranges from beachside villas and gorgeous guesthouses, with something for everyone. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>5. Singapore</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">While Singapore has long been a default stopover city for travellers on their way to Europe, it's also a great destination in its own right.</p> <p dir="ltr">With a stunning mix of old town charm and modern skyscrapers, it's the perfect place for a mid-week getaway or long weekend.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>4. Legian, Bali</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Legian Beach is right next to the popular spot Kuta, though is a bit more relaxed and laid-back, and perfect for travellers who want to chill out.</p> <p dir="ltr">According to booking.com, Legian has become increasingly popular with travellers in the last year.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>3. London, England</strong> </p> <p dir="ltr">For anyone embarking on a Euro summer, London is a must-see destination for any keen traveller.</p> <p dir="ltr">There's something in London for everyone, from amazing museums and sprawling markets, to iconic landmarks and rich history.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>2. Tokyo, Japan</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">While tourism in Japan has surged in recent years, there’s a good reason why, as many travellers are flocking to the nation to experience its rich culture. </p> <p dir="ltr">On top of it being an affordable destination, the unique experience has Aussies heading to Japan in droves, with Tokyo seeing a 25 per cent search increase among Aussies in the last year. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>1. Seminyak, Bali</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Unsurprisingly, a Bali destination has topped the list, as Seminyak offers luxury hotels and villas, high-end dining, and famous beach clubs.</p> <p dir="ltr">Located between Canggu and Kuta, Seminyak has long hosted thousands of tourists looking to escape the cold, with travellers and locals alike basking in the picturesque sunsets. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

International Travel

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The sad state of Aussie ski resorts ahead of winter holiday season

<p>Ski resorts in Australia have had to get creative ahead of the tourist-heavy ski season after a lack of snowfall, despite plunging temperatures. </p> <p>The ski season begins this year on the June long weekend, running alongside the King’s Birthday on June 8th. </p> <p>Despite expecting a huge influx of keen skiers, there has only been light flurries of snow so far, according to WeatherZone, which melt away quickly and don't settle on the ground for long. </p> <p>In order to accommodate the busy season, Thredbo has had to resort to using fake snow for people to ski on. </p> <p>Manufactured snow happens by combining pressurised air and water through a ‘snow gun’ that gets blasted out into the air.</p> <p>The most ideal time to create the fake snow is on clear nights with low humidity, as the higher the humidity the colder it needs to be to make the flurries.</p> <p>Several photos from ski.com.au's cameras have shown popular ski sites with a disappointing lack of snow, in scenes similar to last year's ski season. </p> <p>“No significant snowfalls are on the horizon for the mainland Australian ski resorts before the official King’s Birthday Long Weekend season opening,” Weatherzone reports.</p> <p>“Snow-making began on the weekend at several resorts and has continued into the working week in the cold dry, air in the wake of the cold front.”</p> <p>According to WeatherZone, high-pressure systems, which have brought constant rain to the east coast recently, have been blocking the snowfall.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Xinhua News Agency / Thredbo</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Paris in spring, Bali in winter. How ‘bucket lists’ help cancer patients handle life and death

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/leah-williams-veazey-1223970">Leah Williams Veazey</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/alex-broom-121063">Alex Broom</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/katherine-kenny-318175">Katherine Kenny</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p>In the 2007 film <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0825232/">The Bucket List</a> Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman play two main characters who respond to their terminal cancer diagnoses by rejecting experimental treatment. Instead, they go on a range of energetic, overseas escapades.</p> <p>Since then, the term “bucket list” – a list of experiences or achievements to complete before you “kick the bucket” or die – has become common.</p> <p>You can read articles listing <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2023/01/11/cities-to-visit-before-you-die-according-to-50-travel-experts-and-only-one-is-in-the-us.html">the seven cities</a> you must visit before you die or <a href="https://www.qantas.com/travelinsider/en/trending/top-100-guide/best-things-to-do-and-see-in-australia-travel-bucket-list.html">the 100</a> Australian bucket-list travel experiences.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/UvdTpywTmQg?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>But there is a more serious side to the idea behind bucket lists. One of the key forms of suffering at the end of life <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/pon.4821">is regret</a> for things left unsaid or undone. So bucket lists can serve as a form of insurance against this potential regret.</p> <p>The bucket-list search for adventure, memories and meaning takes on a life of its own with a diagnosis of life-limiting illness.</p> <p>In a <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/14407833241251496">study</a> published this week, we spoke to 54 people living with cancer, and 28 of their friends and family. For many, a key bucket list item was travel.</p> <h2>Why is travel so important?</h2> <p>There are lots of reasons why travel plays such a central role in our ideas about a “life well-lived”. Travel is often linked to important <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annals.2003.10.005">life transitions</a>: the youthful gap year, the journey to self-discovery in the 2010 film <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0879870/">Eat Pray Love</a>, or the popular figure of the “<a href="https://theconversation.com/grey-nomad-lifestyle-provides-a-model-for-living-remotely-106074">grey nomad</a>”.</p> <p>The significance of travel is not merely in the destination, nor even in the journey. For many people, planning the travel is just as important. A cancer diagnosis affects people’s sense of control over their future, throwing into question their ability to write their own life story or plan their travel dreams.</p> <p>Mark, the recently retired husband of a woman with cancer, told us about their stalled travel plans: "We’re just in that part of our lives where we were going to jump in the caravan and do the big trip and all this sort of thing, and now [our plans are] on blocks in the shed."</p> <p>For others, a cancer diagnosis brought an urgent need to “tick things off” their bucket list. Asha, a woman living with breast cancer, told us she’d always been driven to “get things done” but the cancer diagnosis made this worse: "So, I had to do all the travel, I had to empty my bucket list now, which has kind of driven my partner round the bend."</p> <p>People’s travel dreams ranged from whale watching in Queensland to seeing polar bears in the Arctic, and from driving a caravan across the Nullarbor Plain to skiing in Switzerland.</p> <p>Nadia, who was 38 years old when we spoke to her, said travelling with her family had made important memories and given her a sense of vitality, despite her health struggles. She told us how being diagnosed with cancer had given her the chance to live her life at a younger age, rather than waiting for retirement: "In the last three years, I think I’ve lived more than a lot of 80-year-olds."</p> <h2>But travel is expensive</h2> <p>Of course, travel is expensive. It’s not by chance Nicholson’s character in The Bucket List is a billionaire.</p> <p>Some people we spoke to had emptied their savings, assuming they would no longer need to provide for aged care or retirement. Others had used insurance payouts or charity to make their bucket-list dreams come true.</p> <p>But not everyone can do this. Jim, a 60-year-old whose wife had been diagnosed with cancer, told us: "We’ve actually bought a new car and [been] talking about getting a new caravan […] But I’ve got to work. It’d be nice if there was a little money tree out the back but never mind."</p> <p>Not everyone’s bucket list items were expensive. Some chose to spend more time with loved ones, take up a new hobby or get a pet.</p> <p>Our study showed making plans to tick items off a list can give people a sense of self-determination and hope for the future. It was a way of exerting control in the face of an illness that can leave people feeling powerless. Asha said: "This disease is not going to control me. I am not going to sit still and do nothing. I want to go travel."</p> <h2>Something we ‘ought’ to do?</h2> <p>Bucket lists are also a symptom of a broader culture that emphasises conspicuous <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JH_Pa1hOEVc">consumption</a> and <a href="https://productiveageinginstitute.org.au/">productivity</a>, even into the end of life.</p> <p>Indeed, people told us travelling could be exhausting, expensive and stressful, especially when they’re also living with the symptoms and side effects of treatment. Nevertheless, they felt travel was something they “<a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/14461242.2021.1918016">ought</a>” to do.</p> <p>Travel can be deeply meaningful, as our study found. But a life well-lived need not be extravagant or adventurous. Finding what is meaningful is a deeply personal journey.</p> <hr /> <p><em>Names of study participants mentioned in this article are pseudonyms.</em><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/225682/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/leah-williams-veazey-1223970">Leah Williams Veazey</a>, ARC DECRA Research Fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/alex-broom-121063">Alex Broom</a>, Professor of Sociology &amp; Director, Sydney Centre for Healthy Societies, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/katherine-kenny-318175">Katherine Kenny</a>, ARC DECRA Senior Research Fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/paris-in-spring-bali-in-winter-how-bucket-lists-help-cancer-patients-handle-life-and-death-225682">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Caring

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Dog care below freezing − how to keep your pet warm and safe from cold weather, road salt and more this winter

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/erik-christian-olstad-1505284">Erik Christian Olstad</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-california-davis-1312">University of California, Davis</a></em></p> <p>Time outside with your dog in the spring, summer and fall can be lovely. Visiting your favorite downtown café on a cool spring morning, going to a favorite dog park on a clear summer evening or going on walks along a river when the leaves are changing color are all wonderful when the weather is favorable. But in much of the country, when winter rolls around, previously hospitable conditions can <a href="https://theconversation.com/is-winter-miserable-for-wildlife-108734">quickly turn chilly and dangerous</a> for people and pups alike.</p> <p>Winter brings some unique challenges for dog owners, since dogs still need activity and socialization during colder seasons. Studies have shown that dog owners are almost 50% less likely to walk their dogs <a href="https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11113302">when the weather gets cold</a>. Knowing the basics of winter safety is critical to maintaining a healthy lifestyle for your dog.</p> <p>I am an <a href="https://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/faculty/erik-olstad">assistant professor</a> at the University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine who weathered polar vortexes with my dog while living in Michigan early in my career. While I’ve since moved to sunny California, I’ve seen how quickly frigid temperatures can turn dangerous for pets.</p> <h2>Breed and age differences</h2> <p>Not all dogs have the same abilities to deal with cold weather. A short-coated dog like a Chihuahua is much more susceptible to the dangers of cold weather than a thick-coated husky. When the weather dips below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius), the well-acclimated husky may be comfortable, whereas the Chihuahua would shiver and be at risk of hypothermia.</p> <p>Additionally, if your dog is used to warm weather, but you decide to move to a colder region, the dog will need time to acclimate to that colder weather, even if they have a thick coat.</p> <p>Age also affects cold-weather resilience. Puppies and elderly dogs can’t withstand the chill as well as other dogs, but every dog is unique – each may have individual health conditions or physical attributes that make them more or less resilient to cold weather.</p> <h2>When is my dog too cold?</h2> <p>Pet owners should be able to recognize the symptoms of a dog that is getting too cold. Dogs will shiver, and some may vocalize or whine. Dogs may resist putting their feet down on the cold ground, or burrow, or try to find warmth in their environment when they are uncomfortable.</p> <p>Just like people, <a href="https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/frostbite-in-dogs">dogs can get frostbite</a>. And just like people, the signs can take days to appear, making it hard to assess them in the moment. The most common sites for frostbite in dogs are their ears and the tips of their tails. Some of the initial signs of frostbite are skin discoloring, turning paler than normal, or purple, gray or even black; red, blistered skin; swelling; pain at the site; <a href="https://www.britannica.com/science/ulcer">or ulceration</a>.</p> <p>Other <a href="https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/frostbite-in-dogs">serious signs of hypothermia</a> include sluggishness or lethargy, and if you observe them, please visit your veterinarian immediately. A good rule to live by is if it is too cold for you, it is too cold for your dog.</p> <p>Getting your dog a <a href="https://www.cnn.com/cnn-underscored/pets/best-winter-dog-coats-jackets">sweater or jacket</a> and <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/vets-corner/protect-dogs-paws-snow-ice-salt/">paw covers</a> can provide them with protection from the elements and keep them comfortable. Veterinarians also recommend closely monitoring your dog and limiting their time outside when the temperature nears the freezing point or drops below it.</p> <h2>Road salt dangers</h2> <p>Road salt that treats ice on streets and sidewalks <a href="https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/kitchener-waterloo/ice-salt-toxic-for-pets-1.5020088">can also harm dogs</a>. When dogs walk on the salt, the sharp, rough edges of the salt crystals can irritate the sensitive skin on their paws.</p> <p>Dogs will often lick their feet when they’re dirty, wet or irritated, and if they ingest any salt doing that, they may face GI upset, dehydration, kidney failure, seizures or even death. Even small amounts of pure salt can <a href="https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/pet-tips/my-dog-ate-road-salt-will-they-be-okay/">disrupt critical body functions</a> in dogs.</p> <p>Some companies make pet-safe salt, but in public it can be hard to tell what type of salt is on the ground. After walking your dog, wash off their feet or boots. You can also keep their paw fur trimmed to prevent snow from balling up or salt collecting in the fur. Applying a thin layer of petroleum jelly or <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/lifestyle/how-to-make-your-own-paw-balm-for-winter/">paw pad balm</a> to the skin of the paw pads can also help protect your pet’s paws from irritation.</p> <h2>Antifreeze risks</h2> <p><a href="https://www.britannica.com/science/antifreeze-chemical-substance">Antifreeze, or ethylene glycol</a>, is in most vehicles to prevent the fluids from freezing when it gets cold out. Some people pour antifreeze into their toilets when away from their home to prevent the water in the toilet from freezing.</p> <p>Antifreeze is an exceptionally dangerous chemical to dogs and cats, as it tastes sweet but can be deadly when ingested. If a pet ingests even a small amount of antifreeze, the substance causes a chemical cascade in their body that results in severe kidney damage. If left untreated, the pet may have <a href="https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/pet-owner-blog/antifreeze-poisoning/">permanent kidney damage or die</a>.</p> <p>There are safer antifreeze options on the market that use ingredients other than ethylene glycol. If your dog ingests antifreeze, please see your veterinarian immediately for treatment.</p> <p>When temperatures dip below freezing, the best thing pet owners can do is keep the time spent outside as minimal as possible. Try some <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/lifestyle/great-indoor-games-to-play-with-your-dog/">indoor activities</a>, like hide-and-seek with low-calorie treats, fetch or even an interactive obstacle course. Food puzzles can also keep your dog mentally engaged during indoor time.</p> <p>Although winter presents some unique challenges, it can still be an enjoyable and healthy time for you and your canine companion.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/221709/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/erik-christian-olstad-1505284">Erik Christian Olstad</a>, Health Sciences Assistant Professor of Clinical Veterinary Medicine, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-california-davis-1312">University of California, Davis</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/dog-care-below-freezing-how-to-keep-your-pet-warm-and-safe-from-cold-weather-road-salt-and-more-this-winter-221709">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Family & Pets

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Keep warm this winter without breaking the bank

<p dir="ltr">With winter right around the corner, many of us (me included) are dreading the frost-bitten mornings, increased heating bills, and feeling too frozen to enjoy our days. </p> <p dir="ltr">However, with winter comes a long list of simple things to appreciate, such as layering up with your favourite scarf before heading out, curling up under a blanket with a good book, endless cups of tea, and of course, the ultimate season for soup.</p> <p dir="ltr">Another thing to add to this unspoken list of winter essentials is the very thing that keeps us warm all day everyday: our most trusted pair of ugg boot slippers. </p> <p dir="ltr">This winter, it’s never been more important to make sure your uggs are in tip top shape, as there’s nothing more miserable than having cold toes in the middle of June. </p> <p dir="ltr">Luckily, Ugg Express is here to help. </p> <p dir="ltr">This Australian owned and based footwear brand has been crafting a wide range of high-quality ugg boots, street wear shoes and accessories for the Australian community for over 30 years.</p> <p dir="ltr">From <a href="https://uggexpress.com.au/collections/ugg-boots-for-women">women’s</a> and <a href="https://uggexpress.com.au/collections/mens-ugg-boots">men’s</a> collections to styles made for little feet, every pair of UGGs is meticulously constructed using a combination of robust soles, reinforced stitching and high-quality suede or leather exteriors to deliver long-lasting wear and endless warmth. </p> <p dir="ltr">If it's boots you’re looking for, or if slip-on slippers are more your speed, Ugg Express have what you’re after, with their entire range coming in at very affordable prices. </p> <p dir="ltr">I was lucky enough to be sent a pair of <a href="https://uggexpress.com.au/products/as-ugg-slippers-homey-unisex-sheepskin-slippers?variant=19690173005882">sheepskin Ugg slippers</a>, and can confidently say I have found my go-to Uggs for winter. </p> <p dir="ltr">These slippers are not a full boot, making them easy to slip on and off if you struggle with mobility issues, while still keeping your heels and ankles snug. </p> <p dir="ltr">As someone who has long suffered with circulation problems (even in the depths of summer will be fingers and toes be entirely too cold) these sheepskin slippers have answered my winter prayers. </p> <p dir="ltr">The ultra-soft sheepskin lining gently moulds to the contours of your feet, providing a cushioned and cloud-like sensation with every step, without leaving your feet feeling overheated or sweaty.</p> <p dir="ltr">Sheepskin also contains natural antimicrobial properties that wick away moisture and help keep nasty odours at bay, so your pair of Uggs smell fresh and new, even with extended wear.</p> <p dir="ltr">The warmth and comfort of these Uggs are unmatched, with a comfy sole adding much needed support, so you can wear them all day long. </p> <p dir="ltr">You can shop the entire range of Uggs, slippers, boots and much more <a href="https://uggexpress.com.au/">online</a>, with the Ugg Express website offering free shipping on orders over $100, and a no risk 30-day returns policy to ensure every customer is happy with their purchase. </p> <p dir="ltr">If you prefer to try before you buy, Ugg Express have stores located all across Australia. </p> <p dir="ltr">Don’t wait before you’re frozen solid to make your ultimate winter purchase! Explore the range today to discover a pair of stylish UGG boots you’ll be reaching for whenever the temperature dips.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p>

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Days are getting shorter and colder. 6 tips for sticking to your fitness goal

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/juliana-s-oliveira-709434">Juliana S. Oliveira</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/anne-tiedemann-409380">Anne Tiedemann</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/cathie-sherrington-561141">Cathie Sherrington</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/leanne-hassett-1497197">Leanne Hassett</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p>Daylight saving ends this weekend. The days are shorter and getting colder. It’s less appealing to cycle to work, walk after dinner, or wake up early to hit the gym. But we all know daily physical activity is essential for our health and wellbeing.</p> <p>Physical activity releases feel-good neurotransmitters in our brains, which help to alleviate <a href="https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/57/18/1203">stress, anxiety, and depression</a>. It also helps <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/infographic/physical-activity.htm#:%7E:text=Regular%20physical%20activity%20helps%20improve,depression%20and%20anxiety%2C%20and%20dementia.">prevent diseases</a> such as diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. Regular physical activity can prolong life and improve overall quality of life.</p> <p>However, many of us find it difficult to achieve the <a href="https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/54/24/1451">recommended 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity</a> each week. In fact, three out of ten Australians and half of Australians aged 65 and over are <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/physical-activity/physical-activity">inactive</a>.</p> <p>So, what can you do to stay motivated and keep moving regularly through the darker months? Here are some tips.</p> <h2>1. Nail those goals</h2> <p>Goals can provide us with a sense of purpose, meaning and direction. But just aiming to “get fit” is less likely to cut it than goals that are SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound.</p> <p><strong>Specific</strong> goals are based on an observable behaviour or activity, such as step count, yoga, or competing in an event.</p> <p><strong>Measurable</strong> goals can be tracked, so you can easily tell whether you have ticked them off.</p> <p><strong>Achievable</strong> goals are realistic and based on your current fitness and abilities. But they can and should still be challenging. If you’ve only ever run 5 kilometres, it won’t be realistic to aim for a half marathon in the next month. But you could aim for 10 kilometres.</p> <p><strong>Relevant</strong> goals hold personal meaning for you. Articulating why it’s important will help motivate you to do it.</p> <p><strong>Time-bound</strong> goals include a target date for achieving them. You can always revisit your deadline if you’re ahead of schedule or if it’s too unrealistic.</p> <p>An example of a SMART goal could be: “I will walk 10,000 steps every weekday within a month.” Then you can break it down into short-term goals to make it more achievable. If you currently walk 6,000 steps each day, you can increase steps by 1,000 every week to reach 10,000 by the end of the month.</p> <h2>2. Keep track</h2> <p>More than <a href="https://www.deloitte.com/au/en/Industries/tmt/blogs/digital-consumer-trends-who-is-purchasing-what-now.html">90% of Australians own a smartphone</a> and more than <a href="https://www.deloitte.com/au/en/Industries/telecom-media-entertainment/blogs/digital-consumer-trends-touch-less-healthier-wiser.html">two in ten own a fitness tracker or a smartwatch</a>. These devices can help you track your goals and activity, keep you accountable and increase your motivation.</p> <p>A 2021 systematic review suggests fitness trackers and smartphone apps <a href="https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/55/8/422">can assist people</a> to increase their step count by up to 2,000 steps per day. <a href="https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/54/20/1188">Our research</a> demonstrated fitness trackers can also be helpful in increasing physical activity among older people. If you don’t have a fitness tracker, you can buy low-cost pedometers or track your activity times using paper and pen.</p> <h2>3. Plan for success but prepare for barriers</h2> <p>Take some time to think about the potential barriers that could prevent you from being active and plan solutions to overcome them.</p> <p>For example, if the cost of physical activity is too high for you, try to find options that are free, such as walking or running. You can also consider free online programs or streaming videos.</p> <p>If you find it difficult to fit exercise into your busy schedule, try exercising early in the morning before you start your day and laying out your workout clothes the night before. You could consider joining a gym with flexible timetables. A good strategy is to try to fit physical activity into your daily routine, such as walking or cycling to work.</p> <p>If you are living with a chronic health condition or disability, consider seeking guidance from a health professional such as an <a href="https://www.essa.org.au/Public/SearchAEP.aspx?WebsiteKey=44cfee74-3fc3-444e-bb5f-77729c390872">exercise physiologist</a> or <a href="https://choose.physio/find-a-physio">physiotherapist</a>. Start slow and gradually increase your activity and find something you enjoy so you are more likely to keep doing it.</p> <h2>4. Team up with a workout friend</h2> <p>Physical activity can be more fun when you do it with someone else. Studies show <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0167494322002953?via%253Dihub&amp;sa=D&amp;source=docs&amp;ust=1712015093947627&amp;usg=AOvVaw1XGQBMDMFspL5YrQtKo3h">working out with friends can be more motivating and enjoyable</a>. It can also help with accountability, as some people are more likely to show up when they have a workout partner. So, <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(13)60407-9/fulltext">find a friend</a> who supports your goal of being more active or maintaining your current activity levels.</p> <h2>5. Plan yourself a little treat</h2> <p>Make an appointment with yourself in your diary to exercise. Approach it as just as important as meeting a friend or colleague. One idea is to delay something you’d rather do and make it a reward for sticking to your activity appointment. If you really want to go out for coffee, do a hobby, or watch something, go for a walk first.</p> <p>Research shows <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41746-019-0164-3">incentives can dramatically increase physical activity levels</a>.</p> <h2>6. Find a coach</h2> <p>If you want more support, <a href="https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/51/19/1425">health coaching</a> might be an option.</p> <p>Trained professionals work one-on-one with people, sometimes via telehealth, to find out what’s reducing their motivation to make healthier choices, such as exercise. Then they employ behaviour change techniques to help them meet their health goals.</p> <p>Our recent research suggests health coaching can improve physical activity in <a href="https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/58/7/382">older people</a> and those with <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S183695532400002X">chronic pain</a>. In <a href="https://www.gethealthynsw.com.au/#:%7E:text=About%20the%20Get%20Healthy%20Service&amp;text=Delivered%20by%20NSW%20Health%2C%20the,and%20achieve%20your%20health%20goals">New South Wales</a>, <a href="https://lifeprogram.org.au/">Victoria</a> and <a href="https://www.myhealthforlife.com.au/">Queensland</a>, these sessions are government-subsidised or free.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/226619/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/juliana-s-oliveira-709434">Juliana S. Oliveira</a>, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Physical Activity, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/anne-tiedemann-409380">Anne Tiedemann</a>, Professor of Physical Activity and Health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/cathie-sherrington-561141">Cathie Sherrington</a>, Professor, Institute for Musculoskeletal Health, School of Public Health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/leanne-hassett-1497197">Leanne Hassett</a>, Associate Professor in Physiotherapy, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/days-are-getting-shorter-and-colder-6-tips-for-sticking-to-your-fitness-goals-226619">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Sunscreen: why wearing it even in winter could be a good idea

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/karl-lawrence-404481">Karl Lawrence</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/kings-college-london-1196">King's College London</a></em></p> <p>Sunscreen has taken centre stage in many skincare routines, especially among those hoping to prevent visible signs of ageing. But while it makes sense to wear sunscreen every day in the summer when the sun’s rays are most powerful, many may wonder whether there’s any benefit of wearing sunscreen daily in the winter months.</p> <p>The sun’s radiation can reach us during all times of the year. This means that in both summer and winter, we are exposed to infrared radiation, as well as UVA and UVB rays.</p> <p>UVB is mainly responsible for sunburn and DNA damage – and can also <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3709783/">cause skin cancers</a> as a result of long-term exposure. UVA radiation does contribute to these processes somewhat, but it’s less effective at doing so. UVA can penetrate deeper into the skin, however, which can damage the collagen – a key part of the skin that keeps it firm and elastic. This can cause the <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25234829/">skin to age faster</a>, leading to wrinkles, fine lines and changes in pigmentation.</p> <p>The amount of UVA and UVB radiation that reaches the Earth’s surface changes across the seasons. This is due to the angle of the Sun in the sky, as well as other factors such as latitude and time of day.</p> <p>For example, let’s compare how <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/php.12422">UVA and UVB radiation varies</a> at solar noon in London, UK and Kuala Lampur, Malaysia (which is near the equator).</p> <p>In latitudes closer to the equator (such as in Kuala Lampur), the amount of UVA and UVB radiation throughout the year remains fairly consistent. But in higher latitudes, such as London, there’s almost no UVB radiation throughout the winter months – whereas there’s still some UVA radiation.</p> <p>Not only that, but people living further from the equator may tend to spend less time exposed to the Sun in winter due to the colder temperatures and variable weather. And when they do go outside, they may cover their skin up – usually leaving only their face exposed to the Sun for much shorter periods of time.</p> <p>But UVA radiation can still penetrate through clouds and windows. While our exposure to these rays is probably minimal, skin damage from UV exposure is <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0079610706000162">accumulated over decades</a>, so anything that can be done to reduce exposure (and damage) over time may be beneficial. This is also true of UVB exposure – although it is less relevant in winter months at higher latitudes.</p> <p>This may be where daily sunscreen use during the winter is still of benefit. Sunscreens are formulated to reduce exposure to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6978633/">both UVB and UVA rays</a> – although they are usually more effective at reducing exposure to UVB radiation. They have been designed in this way to prevent the most damaging effects of the Sun, such as sunburn and DNA damage. The impact of exposure to UVA radiation has only been considered more recently.</p> <p>Numerous studies have shown regular sunscreen use over many years is effective at <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/phpp.12109">preventing skin damage</a>, photoaging and skin cancers. The most robust trials suggest daily sunscreen use is most effective, but this will be dependent on the factors discussed above.</p> <h2>The effects of altitude and snow</h2> <p>One place where winter sunscreen use is especially important is when skiing or snowboarding – or when you’re otherwise going to be outside for extended periods of time, at higher altitudes on snow-covered mountains.</p> <p>Both altitude and snow can increase the doses of <a href="https://www.who.int/news-room/questions-and-answers/item/radiation-ultraviolet-(uv)">UVA and UVB radiation</a> a person receives. Snow can reflect up to 80% of UV radiation emitted by the Sun – effectively almost doubling the doses received. Also, for every 1,000-foot increase in altitude, there’s a 10% increase in UV exposure. This is why it’s essential to protect the skin and eyes by wearing sunscreen, protective clothing and sunglasses that block both types of UV ray. This is also true when spending time in snowy environments, such as when hiking or skating.</p> <p>Sunscreens are generally regarded as safe and tend to have few adverse effects, so you don’t need to worry too much about wearing one throughout the year. However, there are some points to consider, especially if you have skin conditions. For example, sunscreen can <a href="https://www.byrdie.com/does-sunscreen-cause-acne-or-help-it-7546147">exacerbate acne</a> and cause <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7759112/">irritation and allergic reactions</a> – although these are rare.</p> <p>There are also emerging concerns from regulatory agencies about the <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2759002">absorption of UV filters into the body</a>. However, the consequences of such absorption and the potential affects on health are not well defined and require more research.</p> <p>Still, the benefits of sunscreen have been widely demonstrated – as has their safety. So if you want to prevent premature signs of ageing, it’s important to use sunscreen at all times you may be exposed to the Sun – especially in the summer months. While the benefits of wearing sunscreen in winter are less well defined, there’s probably no harm in wearing one if you want to.</p> <p>If you decide to use sunscreen in winter, use ones that have broad spectrum five-star UVA protection. For day-to-day use, high SPF sunscreens are unlikely to provide a large benefit, particularly if spending only short periods outside. However, if skiing, a <a href="https://www.jaad.org/article/S0190-9622(17)31086-1/fulltext">high-SPF sunscreen</a> with five-star UVA protection would be beneficial.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/219640/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/karl-lawrence-404481"><em>Karl Lawrence</em></a><em>, Research fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/kings-college-london-1196">King's College London</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: </em><em>Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/sunscreen-why-wearing-it-even-in-winter-could-be-a-good-idea-219640">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Hydronic heating maintenance: Tips for a cosy winter

<p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Hydronic heating systems, often called radiant heating, utilise a closed-loop system to circulate hot water through pipes, providing efficient warmth to spaces. This blog post will delve into the </span><a style="text-decoration: none;" href="https://airconrepairnearme.com.au/blog/is-hydronic-heating-sustainable/#:~:text=Advantages%20of%20Hydronic%20Heating"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #1155cc; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: underline; -webkit-text-decoration-skip: none; text-decoration-skip-ink: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">advantages of hydronic heating</span></a><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> and the </span><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">significance of regular maintenance for these systems, ensuring optimal performance during the chilly winter months. Let's explore critical aspects that contribute to a cosy and well-maintained hydronic heating system.</span><strong id="docs-internal-guid-43a50dd5-7fff-83c3-b866-681029940351" style="font-weight: normal;"></strong></p> <p><span style="font-size: 17pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Why Hydronic Heating Maintenance Matters</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Energy Efficiency and Cost Savings</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Maintaining your hydronic heating system is not just about comfort; it's a practical step towards energy efficiency and cost savings. A well-maintained winter heating system operates more efficiently, requiring less energy to achieve the desired temperature. It reduces utility bills, <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/property/home-hints-tips/9-cost-effective-ways-to-warm-your-home-this-winter" target="_blank" rel="noopener">giving you a cosy home</a> without breaking the bank.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Extended Lifespan of the System</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Regular maintenance is like an investment in the longevity of your hydronic heating system. Simple tasks, such as cleaning and inspecting, can prevent wear and tear, ensuring your system lasts for years without significant issues. This foresight can save you from the inconvenience and expense of premature system replacement.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Improved Heating Performance</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">A well-maintained system translates to consistent and energy-efficient heating. By addressing potential issues early on, you ensure each room receives the warmth it needs, avoiding cold spots and discomfort. It enhances your overall living experience and contributes to a healthier and more enjoyable home environment.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Enhanced Safety Features</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Safety should always be a top priority for home heating systems. Regular maintenance checks help identify and address potential safety hazards. From leaks to faulty components, addressing these issues promptly ensures your family's and property's safety, providing peace of mind throughout winter.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 17pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Seasonal Maintenance Checklist</span></p> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2023/12/HydronicHeating02.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Fall Preparation</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">As the temperatures drop and the leaves begin to fall, it's time to prepare your hydronic heating system for the colder months ahead.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Checking and Cleaning Radiators or Baseboards:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Start by inspecting each radiator or baseboard for dust or debris. Clean them thoroughly to ensure unobstructed heat distribution. This simple task can significantly enhance the efficiency of your system.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Inspecting the Boiler for Any Issues:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Give your boiler a once-over, checking for any signs of wear, corrosion, or leaks. Addressing minor issues now can prevent major breakdowns later.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Testing Thermostat Functionality:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Test your thermostat by adjusting the temperature settings. Ensure that it responds promptly and accurately. It may be time for a thermostat replacement or recalibration if you notice any discrepancies.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Bleeding Air from the System:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Bleeding air from the system is crucial to maintaining optimal water flow. Follow these steps:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Turn off the heating system.</span></p> <ul style="margin-top: 0; margin-bottom: 0; padding-inline-start: 48px;"> <li dir="ltr" style="list-style-type: disc; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Use a radiator key to open the bleed valve.</span></li> <li dir="ltr" style="list-style-type: disc; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Allow warm air to escape until the water starts dripping.</span></li> <li dir="ltr" style="list-style-type: disc; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Close the valve tightly.</span></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">This process prevents hot air from pockets that can impede water circulation, ensuring efficient heating throughout your home.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Winter Best Practices</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Monitoring Water Levels:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Check the water level in your hydronic heating system regularly, especially during winter. Low water levels can cause the system to overheat or shut down. Consult your hydronic system's manual for specific instructions on maintaining water levels.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Adjusting Thermostat Settings for Efficiency:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Optimise your thermostat settings based on your daily routine. Lowering the temperature when you're away or sleeping can yield substantial energy savings without sacrificing comfort.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Regularly Checking for Leaks:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Inspect your system for leaks, paying attention to connections, valves, and the boiler. Addressing leaks promptly prevents water damage and ensures the continued efficiency of your system.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Troubleshooting Common Heating Issues:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Proactively troubleshoot common heating issues, such as uneven heating or unusual noises. Understanding your system's behaviour helps you address problems early, preventing extensive damage and costly repairs.</span></p> <p><strong style="font-weight: normal;"> </strong><span style="font-size: 17pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Tips for Hydronic Heating Maintenance by Professionals</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Maintaining a hydronic heating system is crucial for optimal performance and longevity. Here are some tips for hydronic heating maintenance by professionals:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.999999999999998pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #434343; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Regular Inspections:</span></p> <ul style="margin-top: 0; margin-bottom: 0; padding-inline-start: 48px;"> <li dir="ltr" style="list-style-type: disc; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Schedule regular inspections by qualified technicians to assess the system's overall condition.</span></li> <li dir="ltr" style="list-style-type: disc; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Check for leaks, corrosion, or damage to pipes, valves, and components.</span></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-size: 13.999999999999998pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #434343; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Pressure Check:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Monitor and adjust system pressure as needed. Low or high pressure can affect the heat pump's efficiency in the hydronic heating system.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.999999999999998pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #434343; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Flush the System:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Periodically flush the system to remove any accumulated sediment or debris hindering the system's efficiency.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.999999999999998pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #434343; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Bleed Radiators:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">I bled the air filters from the radiators to ensure they heated evenly. Trapped air can cause cold spots and reduce the system's effectiveness.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.999999999999998pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #434343; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Inspect Pumps and Motors:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Check pumps and motors for proper operation. Lubricate components as necessary and replace any worn-out parts.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.999999999999998pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #434343; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Boiler Maintenance:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Service the boiler regularly to ensure it operates efficiently. Clean the burners, heat exchanger, and flue to prevent efficiency loss.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.999999999999998pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #434343; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Thermostat Calibration:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Calibrate and test thermostats to ensure accurate and consistent temperature control. Replace batteries if applicable.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.999999999999998pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #434343; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Check Expansion Tank:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Inspect and maintain the expansion tank to accommodate water volume changes and prevent damage to the piping system.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.999999999999998pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #434343; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Test Safety Controls:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Test safety controls, such as pressure relief valves and high-limit switches, to ensure they function correctly in emergencies.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.999999999999998pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #434343; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Water Quality Maintenance:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Monitor water and air quality in the system and treat it with inhibitors to prevent corrosion and scale buildup.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.999999999999998pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #434343; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Evaluate Insulation:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Check the insulation on pipes and components to minimise heat loss and improve heating performance and the system's overall efficiency.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.999999999999998pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #434343; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Update Controls and Sensors:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Consider upgrading control systems and sensors to the latest technology for better energy efficiency and system management.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.999999999999998pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #434343; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Documentation:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Keep comprehensive records of maintenance activities, inspections, and any repairs performed on the hydronic heating system.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.999999999999998pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #434343; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Training for Staff:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Provide training for facility staff on basic maintenance tasks and early detection of potential issues.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Regular professional maintenance ensures the hydronic heating system operates efficiently, reduces energy consumption, and extends lifespan. Always consult with qualified HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system professionals for specific maintenance requirements based on the type and complexity of the hydronic heating system.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 17pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Professional Maintenance Services</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2023/12/HydronicHeating03.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">When to Call a Professional for Maintenance</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">While homeowners can perform some maintenance tasks, there are instances when professional assistance is necessary.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Benefits of Professional Inspections:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Professional technicians have the expertise to identify and address issues that may go unnoticed. Regular professional inspections can extend the life of your system and ensure its continued reliability.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Finding a Qualified Hydronic Heating Technician:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">When seeking professional services, look for technicians with experience in hydronic heating systems. Check reviews, ask for recommendations, and verify their certifications to ensure that you entrust your design to capable hands.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">When to Seek Professional Help:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">If your energy bills remain high despite your efforts, involving a professional is essential. They can conduct a thorough assessment to identify and address underlying issues affecting your system's efficiency.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 17pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Winter Energy Saving Tips</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Setting Optimal Thermostat Temperatures</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Guidelines:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Set the thermostat to a comfortable temperature when at home.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Lower the temperature when sleeping or away, aiming for energy savings reduced efficiency.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Consider investing in a programmable thermostat for automated temperature adjustments.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Benefits:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Optimising thermostat settings ensures comfort and contributes to significant energy savings over the winter months.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Proper Insulation for Energy Efficiency</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Areas to Insulate:</span></p> <ul style="margin-top: 0; margin-bottom: 0; padding-inline-start: 48px;"> <li dir="ltr" style="list-style-type: disc; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Walls and ceilings.</span></li> <li dir="ltr" style="list-style-type: disc; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Attic and basement spaces.</span></li> <li dir="ltr" style="list-style-type: disc; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Doors and windows.</span></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Benefits:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Proper insulation prevents heat loss and leaking of warm air, reducing the workload on your hydronic heating system. It translates to lower energy consumption and improved efficiency.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Utilising Programmable Thermostats</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Advantages:</span></p> <ul style="margin-top: 0; margin-bottom: 0; padding-inline-start: 48px;"> <li dir="ltr" style="list-style-type: disc; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Automated temperature adjustments based on your schedule.</span></li> <li dir="ltr" style="list-style-type: disc; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Energy savings by reducing the heating costs when not needed.</span></li> <li dir="ltr" style="list-style-type: disc; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Remote access for constant temperature control, even when away from home.</span></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Installation Tips:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Follow the manufacturer's instructions for installation, or consult a professional if needed. Programmable thermostats offer a convenient way to optimise heating and energy usage.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 17pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Keep Your Place Cosy</span></p> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2023/12/HydronicHeating04.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">In conclusion, maintaining your hydronic heating system is essential for a cosy and worry-free winter. By following the seasonal maintenance checklist and knowing when to seek professional help like</span><a style="text-decoration: none;" href="https://airconrepairnearme.com.au/"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #1155cc; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: underline; -webkit-text-decoration-skip: none; text-decoration-skip-ink: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> </span><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #1155cc; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: underline; -webkit-text-decoration-skip: none; text-decoration-skip-ink: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">airconrepairnearme.com.au</span></a><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">, you can ensure the efficient operation of your system. Troubleshooting common issues and adopting winter energy-saving tips further contribute to a warm and inviting home. Embrace these practices, and may your winter be filled with comfort, warmth, and the joy of a well-maintained hydronic heating system. Stay cosy!</span></p> <p><em>Images: Supplied.</em></p> <p><em>This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with Air Con Repair Near Me.</em></p>

Home & Garden

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Why is Australia having such a warm winter? A climate expert explains

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/andrew-king-103126">Andrew King</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p>If you’ve been out and about the past few days, you may have noticed Australia is experiencing an unseasonably warm winter. It’s been t-shirt weather across many parts of the country’s east, including Sydney where <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/jun/08/australia-ski-season-no-snow-skiing-snowboarding-resorts-closed-warm-weather">temperatures topped 25℃</a> on Sunday.</p> <p>Meanwhile, at high altitudes, the cover at some snowfields remains <a href="https://twitter.com/Cam_Walker/status/1685525535521402880">lacklustre</a>, even after warm conditions forced <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-06-09/nsw-resorts-postpone-ski-snowboarding-kings-birthday-lack-snow/102456510">a delay</a> to the start of the traditional ski season.</p> <p>All this comes after the world experienced its hottest month since reliable records began. July brought <a href="https://qz.com/hottest-days-month-ever-recorded-july-2023-1850685494">an incredible 21 of the warmest 30 days</a> ever recorded – prompting the United Nations to declare a new era of “<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/science/2023/jul/27/scientists-july-world-hottest-month-record-climate-temperatures">global boiling</a>”.</p> <p>So what’s going on with the weather in Australia? Should we just enjoy the pleasant conditions, or is it a troubling sign of what’s to come under climate change?</p> <h2>The nice weather, explained</h2> <p>Australia’s unseasonably warm conditions are the result of both natural drivers of our weather and continued global warming.</p> <p>Since early July, warmer and drier conditions have dominated, due to a high pressure system sitting stubbornly over Australia at the moment. The clear conditions are leading to warmer daytime conditions.</p> <p>For example, daytime temperatures in Canberra in July – historically known for its cold winters – were <a href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/canberra-on-track-for-warmest-july-max-temps-on-record/1d0b9683-7dda-4cc0-b6a6-1e32bfa51407">the warmest on record</a>, despite frequent frosty mornings. Sydney has just experienced its <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/jul/31/australia-weather-august-warmth-heat-winds-tasmania#:%7E:text=Sydney%27s%2023.5C%20was%20enough,Hill%20goes%20back%20to%201858.">warmest July</a> on record, too.</p> <p>The high pressure has caused the air over the continent’s interior to warm. When cold fronts move across the south of Australia they push this warm air ahead of them, bringing warm and windy conditions to southern coastal areas. This is similar to the weather pattern we see in summer when cities such as Adelaide and Melbourne experience their hottest days.</p> <p>On Thursday, an approaching cold front is forecast to lift temperatures ahead of it to about 23℃ in Adelaide, 20℃ in Melbourne and 18℃ in Hobart. These are very warm temperatures in these locations for early August.</p> <p>And what about the oceans? Around Australia, oceans are a bit cooler than average in some places including <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/products/IDYOC053.Global.SSTAnomaly.shtml">to the northwest of the continent</a>.</p> <p>But as the image below shows, ocean temperatures are currently above normal in many places around the world, including the west Indian Ocean and the central and eastern tropical Pacific. This indicates a developing El Niño and positive Indian Ocean Dipole – two natural climate drivers that affect Australia’s weather patterns.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/540054/original/file-20230730-191965-434fnd.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/540054/original/file-20230730-191965-434fnd.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/540054/original/file-20230730-191965-434fnd.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=364&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/540054/original/file-20230730-191965-434fnd.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=364&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/540054/original/file-20230730-191965-434fnd.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=364&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/540054/original/file-20230730-191965-434fnd.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=458&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/540054/original/file-20230730-191965-434fnd.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=458&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/540054/original/file-20230730-191965-434fnd.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=458&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">Across most of the world’s oceans, temperatures remain well above normal.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration</span></span></figcaption></figure> <p>This difference in ocean temperatures reduces the amount of atmospheric moisture over southern and eastern Australia. It also makes low pressure systems weaker and less frequent, reducing rainfall over the region.</p> <p>Over the coming months, warm and dry weather is expected to continue. For the rest of winter and spring, it’s expected to be <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/outlooks/#/rainfall/summary">drier than normal</a> in the southwest of Western Australia and much of the east of the continent. And the whole of Australia is predicted to be <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/outlooks/#/temperature/summary">warmer than normal</a> during this period. Of course, this doesn’t rule out occasional cool, wet spells.</p> <p>So is climate change a factor here? Yes. Australia’s land areas have <a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg1/downloads/factsheets/IPCC_AR6_WGI_Regional_Fact_Sheet_Australasia.pdf">already warmed by 1.4℃</a> since pre-industrial times. This is the result of humans burning fossil fuels and releasing greenhouse gases.</p> <p>The record winter warmth is part of a <a href="https://theconversation.com/australias-record-breaking-winter-warmth-linked-to-climate-change-83304">long-term upward trend</a> in Australian winter temperatures.</p> <p>As I’ve written <a href="https://theconversation.com/australias-record-breaking-winter-warmth-linked-to-climate-change-83304">previously</a>, there has been at least a 60-fold increase in the likelihood of a very warm winter that can be attributed to human-caused climate change.</p> <p>And we’re likely to see more record warm winters as the planet continues to warm.</p> <h2>Looking north</h2> <p>Of course, Australia’s spell of warm weather seems harmless compared to the Northern Hemisphere’s weird and wild summer.</p> <p>There, simultaneous extreme heatwaves have struck all four continents in recent weeks. Ocean temperatures are well <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2023/07/28/ocean-temperature-maps-heat-records/">above previous record highs</a> for this time of year. Last week, <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/2023/07/25/weather/canadian-wildfire-us-air-pollution/index.html">1,000 wildfires burned</a> in Canada alone.</p> <p>The planet’s warmest average temperatures typically happen in July. That’s because the Northern Hemisphere’s large land masses heat up more quickly than the oceans, in response to the high amounts of radiation from the sun. Still, the heat of the last few weeks has been unprecedented.</p> <p>The heatwaves are <a href="https://theconversation.com/a-climate-expert-explains-the-northern-hemispheres-weird-wild-summer-and-what-it-means-for-australia-209862">linked to</a> high-pressure weather systems that are “blocking” or deflecting oncoming low-pressure systems (and associated clouds and rain). On top of this, human-caused global warming is greatly increasing the chance of record-breaking extreme heat events and concurrent heatwaves across many regions.</p> <p>Worryingly, a <a href="https://www.worldweatherattribution.org/extreme-heat-in-north-america-europe-and-china-in-july-2023-made-much-more-likely-by-climate-change/">rapid analysis</a> by international experts suggests the extreme heat should not be viewed as unusual, given the effects of climate change. For example, it says China’s recent <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/china-logs-52-2-celsius-as-extreme-weather-rewrites-records-20230718-p5dp1v.html">record-breaking heatwave</a> should now be expected about once in every five years, on average.</p> <p>Not all extreme weather events can be attributed to human-caused climate change. But the study found climate change significantly contributed to the recent heatwaves in China, North America and Europe.</p> <h2>A sign of what’s to come</h2> <p>The Northern Hemisphere’s heatwaves are very alarming. But Australia’s temperatures are also unusually high for winter – and this is also cause for concern.</p> <p>Warm winters in Australia can negatively affect some parts of the economy, including the ski industry. It also disrupts flora and fauna and increases the chance of “<a href="https://theconversation.com/flash-droughts-can-dry-out-soil-in-weeks-new-research-shows-what-they-look-like-in-australia-161286">flash droughts</a>” – where drier-than-normal conditions turn into severe drought in the space of weeks.</p> <p>The warm, dry conditions may also lead to an <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2018/aug/15/sydneys-bushfire-season-starts-in-winter-we-may-have-to-rethink-how-we-live">earlier start</a> to the fire season in Australia’s southeast.</p> <p>So while we may appreciate warm winter weather, we mustn’t forget what’s driving it – and how urgently we need to stabilise Earth’s climate by slashing greenhouse gas emissions.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/210693/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/andrew-king-103126">Andrew King</a>, Senior Lecturer in Climate Science, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-is-australia-having-such-a-warm-winter-a-climate-expert-explains-210693">original article</a>.</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Settle in with one of these top reads this winter

<p dir="ltr">It can be challenging deciding on a new book to read, but with these titles releasing throughout July 2023, you’re sure to find something to settle in with.</p> <p dir="ltr">Whether an edge-of-your-seat murder mystery, a laugh-out-loud romantic escapade, or even a deep-space adventure is more your cup of tea, the time has come to dive into your next favourite novel, and maybe even convince your book club to read along with you. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>For the budding detectives out there:</strong></p> <ul> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation"><em><a href="https://www.booktopia.com.au/zero-days-ruth-ware/book/9781398508408.html">Zero Days</a></em>, Ruth Ware</p> </li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">“Hired by companies to break into buildings and hack security systems, Jack and her husband Gabe are the best penetration specialists in the business. But after a routine assignment goes horribly wrong, Jack arrives home to find her husband dead. To add to her horror, the police are closing in on their only suspect – her.</p> <p dir="ltr">“On the run and out of options, Jack must decide who she can trust as she circles closer to the truth in this unputdownable and heart-pounding mystery from 'one of the best thriller writers around today' Ruth Ware.”</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation"><em><a href="https://www.booktopia.com.au/four-dogs-missing-rhys-gard/book/9781760687724.html">Four Dogs Missing</a></em>, Rhys Gard</p> </li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">“While estranged twins Oliver and Theo Wingfield are identical in appearance, they couldn't be more different. Theo, an extrovert verging on arrogant, was always a drifter, a nomad, operating on the fringes of the law. Oliver, intense, creative and introspective, was destined to become a winemaker. Each vintage, every bottle from Oliver's Mudgee-based label, Four Dogs Missing, sells out.</p> <p dir="ltr">“And now, after fifteen years without contact, Theo unexpectedly turns up at his brother's vineyard, bearing an invitation that his twin knows nothing about. The quiet and fulfilling life that the winemaker has built for himself is about to change overnight: Theo's arrival is the catalyst for a series of murders involving those closest to Oliver. Finding himself the main suspect, Oliver soon discovers that not everyone in Mudgee supports a reclusive and unorthodox vigneron who's shied away from the community that helped him succeed.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Oliver is inexorably drawn into a sinister world where poisoned liquor and stolen art leave a deadly trail. Abandoning his grapevines, he sets out to solve the crimes – and confront his damaged past – before someone else he loves is found dead … beside a bottle of his own wine.”</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation"><em><a href="https://www.booktopia.com.au/none-of-this-is-true-lisa-jewell/book/9781529195989.html">None of This is True</a></em>, Lisa Jewell </p> </li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">“Celebrating her 45th birthday at her local pub, popular podcaster Alix Summers crosses paths with an unassuming woman called Josie Fair. Josie, it turns out, is also celebrating her 45th birthday. They are, in fact, birthday twins.</p> <p dir="ltr">“A few days later, Alix and Josie bump into each other again, this time outside Alix's children's school. Josie has been listening to Alix's podcasts and thinks she might be an interesting subject for her series. She is, she tells Alix, on the cusp of great changes in her life.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Josie's life appears to be strange and complicated, and although Alix finds her unsettling, she can't quite resist the temptation to keep making the podcast.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Slowly Alix starts to realise that Josie has been hiding some very dark secrets, and before she knows it Josie has inveigled her way into Alix's life - and into her home.</p> <p dir="ltr">“But, as quickly as she arrived, Josie disappears. Only then does Alix discover that Josie has left a terrible and terrifying legacy in her wake, and that Alix has become the subject of her own true crime podcast, her life and her family's lives under mortal threat.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Who is Josie Fair? And what has she done?”</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>For the sci-fi fanatics:</strong></p> <ul> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation"><em><a href="https://www.booktopia.com.au/circle-of-death-james-patterson/book/9781529136630.html">Circle of Death</a></em>, James Patterson</p> </li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">“Since Lamont Cranston - known to a select few as the Shadow - defeated Shiwan Khan and ended his reign of terror over New York one year ago, the city has started to regenerate.</p> <p dir="ltr">“But there is evil brewing elsewhere. And this time the entire world is under threat.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Which is why Lamont has scoured the globe to assemble a team with unmatched talent.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Only their combined powers can foil an enemy with ambitions and abilities beyond anyone's deepest fears.</p> <p dir="ltr">“As their mission takes them across the globe and into the highest corridors of power - pushing them beyond their limits - can justice prevail?”</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation"><em><a href="https://www.booktopia.com.au/a-psalm-for-the-wild-built-becky-chambers/book/9781250320216.html">A Psalm for the Wild-Built</a></em>, Becky Chambers</p> </li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">“It's been centuries since the robots of Panga gained self-awareness and laid down their tools; centuries since they wandered, en masse, into the wilderness, never to be seen again; centuries since they faded into myth and urban legend.</p> <p dir="ltr">“One day, the life of a tea monk is upended by the arrival of a robot, there to honor the old promise of checking in. The robot cannot go back until the question of "what do people need?" is answered.</p> <p dir="ltr">“But the answer to that question depends on who you ask, and how.</p> <p dir="ltr">“They're going to need to ask it a lot.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Becky Chambers's new series asks: in a world where people have what they want, does having more matter?”</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation"><em><a href="https://www.booktopia.com.au/the-mother-fault-kate-mildenhall/book/9781760859848.html">The Mother Fault</a></em>, Kate Mildenhall</p> </li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">“Mim’s husband is missing. No one knows where Ben is, but everyone wants to find him – especially The Department. And they should know, the all-seeing government body has fitted the entire population with a universal tracking chip to keep them ‘safe’.</p> <p dir="ltr">“But suddenly Ben can’t be tracked. And Mim is questioned, made to surrender her passport and threatened with the unthinkable – her two children being taken into care at the notorious BestLife.</p> <p dir="ltr">“From the stark backroads of the Australian outback to a terrifying sea voyage, Mim is forced to shuck off who she was – mother, daughter, wife, sister – and become the woman she needs to be to save her family and herself.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>For those with a passion for romance: </strong></p> <ul> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation"><a href="https://www.booktopia.com.au/palazzo-danielle-steel/book/9781529022421.html"><em>Palazzo</em></a>, Danielle Steel</p> </li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">“After her parents perish in a tragic accident, Cosima Saverio assumes leadership of her family's haute couture Italian leather brand. While navigating the challenges of running a company at twenty-three, Cosima must also maintain the elegant four-hundred-year-old family palazzo in Venice and care for her younger siblings: Allegra, who survived the tragedy that killed their parents, and Luca, who has a penchant for wild parties, pretty women, and poker tables.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Cosima navigates her personal and professional challenges with a wisdom beyond her years, but her success has come at a cost: Her needs are always secondary. She's married to the business, and her free time is given to those who rely on her . . . until she meets Olivier Bayard, the founder of France's most successful ready-to-wear handbag company.</p> <p dir="ltr">“But Luca's gambling habit gets out of control and Cosima is forced to make an impossible choice to save him. The palazzo, the family business or cut Luca loose. Or is there another way to rescue everything she has fought for before it goes up in flames?”</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation"><a href="https://www.booktopia.com.au/the-willow-tree-wharf-leonie-kelsall/book/9781761066092.html"><em>The Willow Tree Wharf</em></a>, Leonie Kelsall</p> </li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">“Samantha, owner of Settlers Bridge cafe Ploughs and Pies, is short on confidence and big on regrets. Married young to fill the void left by an unhappy childhood, she still works in the same small town where she grew up, too filled with self-doubt and insecurity to ever risk spreading her wings. Yet will the end of her abusive marriage force her to start anew?</p> <p dir="ltr">“City restaurateur Pierce di Angelis knows what it is to have his career and family ripped away. However, a chance encounter with the intriguing Samantha ignites his passion, and together they concoct a plan for a destination restaurant.</p> <p dir="ltr">“But, with their personalities like oil and water, will old hurts and hidden truths destroy the new business before it's afloat?”</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation"><em><a href="https://www.booktopia.com.au/the-forgotten-bookshop-in-paris-daisy-wood/book/9780008525248.html">The Forgotten Bookshop in Paris</a></em>, Daisy Wood</p> </li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">“Paris, 1940: War is closing in on the city of love. With his wife forced into hiding, Jacques must stand by and watch as the Nazis take away everything he holds dear. Everything except his last beacon of hope: his beloved bookshop, La Page Cachée.</p> <p dir="ltr">“But when a young woman and her child knock on his door one night and beg for refuge, he knows his only option is to risk it all once more to save a life…</p> <p dir="ltr">“Modern day: Juliette and her husband have finally made it to France on the romantic getaway of her dreams – but as the days pass, all she discovers is quite how far they’ve grown apart. She’s craving a new adventure, so when she happens across a tiny, abandoned shop with a for-sale sign in the window, it feels fated.</p> <p dir="ltr">“And she’s about to learn that the forgotten bookshop hides a lot more than meets the eye…”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

Books

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Why does grass grow more slowly in winter?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/gregory-moore-1779">Gregory Moore</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p>A reader of The Conversation recently wrote in to ask:</p> <blockquote> <p>Why does grass grow slower in winter?</p> </blockquote> <p>It is a great question and at first the answer might seem obvious. There is less sunlight and it is colder in the winter months. This affects grass and plant growth in general.</p> <p>However, there is more to it than meets the eye. Different grasses respond to and cope with winter in different ways.</p> <h2>Grass: a recent arrival</h2> <p>Grasses are relatively recent arrivals in plant evolution, first appearing in fossil records about <a href="https://academic.oup.com/plphys/article/125/3/1198/6109905">65 million years ago</a> and becoming widespread in parts of Asia by about <a href="https://academic.oup.com/plphys/article/125/3/1198/6109905">30 million years ago</a>.</p> <p>Geologically, and in plant evolutionary time scales, this is quite recent. It means much of grass evolution has occurred under modern geological, environmental and climatic conditions. So, more than most plants, grasses have adapted to a modern, if pre-human, world. This affects their climatic responses.</p> <p>Some of our best-known grasses evolved from ancestors that first appeared on Earth hundreds of millions of years ago.</p> <p>Their physiology developed to cope with an Earth that had a very different atmosphere from that of today.</p> <p>These plants have a type of photosynthesis called <a href="https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/agriculture/pastures-and-rangelands/native-pastures/what-are-c3-and-c4-native-grass">C3 metabolism</a>.</p> <h2>What is C3 metabolism?</h2> <p>C3 metabolism is about how the plant does the job of turning light, water and air into food (photosynthesis).</p> <p>About <a href="https://www.oxfordreference.com/display/10.1093/oi/authority.20110803095545945;jsessionid=F1D6CE7E04A3DF20C48A6949F4A2F683#:%7E:text=C3%20plants%20make%20up%20over,let%20in%20more%20carbon%20dioxide">95%</a> of all plants you can think of – trees, shrubs, annuals, fruits, vegetables and many traditional (often called cool season) grasses – have C3 metabolism.</p> <p>Plants with this form of photosynthesis tend to grow well in a wide range of environmental conditions, even if the temperature is cooler and there are higher than usual levels of carbon dioxide in the air.</p> <p>They tend to remain green all year round if water is available, and may continue to grow well through late autumn. Many are frost-tolerant, but they may become dormant in hot dry weather.</p> <p>C3 grasses, such as ryegrass, do slow their growth for the winter months as sunlight becomes less intense. Their metabolic processes (in this case, photosynthesis) slow down when the temperature <a href="https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/agriculture/pastures-and-rangelands/native-pastures/what-are-c3-and-c4-native-grass">drops</a>.</p> <p>Biological reactions are chemical reactions, after all. The rate of a reaction is temperature-dependent – speeding up when it’s warmer and slowing down or even stopping when it gets colder.</p> <p>But they tend to do better in winter than their cousins, the C4 grasses.</p> <h2>I’ve heard many lawn grasses are C4 grasses. What does that mean?</h2> <p>As the level of CO₂ in the atmosphere declined and geological events led to the development of tropical regions around the equator, a different group of plants evolved. These plants used a form of photosynthesis called C4 metabolism.</p> <p><a href="https://nph.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/nph.13033">C4</a> plants grow very well under lower CO₂ levels in the atmosphere, use water more efficiently, and can cope with poor soils better than C3 grasses.</p> <p>But they struggle in the cold. They grow best in warmer, wetter conditions.</p> <p>While only about <a href="https://www.oxfordreference.com/display/10.1093/oi/authority.20110803095545945;jsessionid=F1D6CE7E04A3DF20C48A6949F4A2F683#:%7E:text=C3%20plants%20make%20up%20over,let%20in%20more%20carbon%20dioxide">5%</a> of all plants have C4 photosynthesis, some of them are important grass species, such as:</p> <ul> <li> <p>bermuda grass</p> </li> <li> <p>buffalo grass</p> </li> <li> <p>paspalum</p> </li> <li> <p><a href="https://www.anbg.gov.au/gnp/interns-2004/themeda-triandra.html">kangaroo grass</a></p> </li> <li> <p>couch grass, and</p> </li> <li> <p>zoysia grass.</p> </li> </ul> <p>So if your lawn is sown with one of these grasses, you will definitely see a slowdown in winter, when they become <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC167095/">dormant</a>.</p> <p>Their leaves tend to turn from bright green to a dull pale green or even yellow. Their growth slows quickly and dramatically in early autumn as the light levels fall, temperatures cool and chlorophyll production starts to decline.</p> <p>The upside, of course, is they usually grow very well when the weather warms up again.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/206616/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/gregory-moore-1779">Greg<em>ory Moore</em></a><em>, Senior Research Associate, School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-does-grass-grow-more-slowly-in-winter-206616">original article</a>.</em></p>

Home & Garden

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Sore joints now it’s getting cold? It’s tempting to be less active – but doing more could help you feel better

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/charlotte-ganderton-1170940">Charlotte Ganderton</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a></em>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/inge-gnatt-1425767">Inge Gnatt</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/swinburne-university-of-technology-767">Swinburne University of Technology</a></em>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/matthew-king-1177304">Matthew King</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/la-trobe-university-842">La Trobe University</a></em></p> <p><a href="https://www.health.gov.au/topics/chronic-conditions/what-were-doing-about-chronic-conditions/what-were-doing-about-musculoskeletal-conditions#:%7E:text=In%20Australia%3A,stiff%2C%20painful%2C%20swollen%20or%20deformed">One in three</a> Australians has a musculoskeletal condition involving joint pain, and the most common cause is arthritis. Around <a href="https://arthritisaustralia.com.au/1in7witharthritis/">3.6 million</a> Australians have arthritis and this is projected to rise to <a href="https://www.arthritiswa.org.au/arthritis/australians-in-the-dark-with-arthritis-one-of-our-most-prevalent-and-costly-diseases/#:%7E:text=Arthritis%20is%20a%20leading%20cause,to%205.4%20million%20by%202030">5.4 million by 2030</a>.</p> <p>For some people with joint pain, cold weather <a href="https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2474-15-66">seems to make it worse</a>. But temperature <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/S0304-3959(99)00010-X">is just one factor</a> impacting perceptions of <a href="https://doi.org/10.1097/j.pain.0000000000001776">greater pain</a> during winter. Other factors include those we have some level of influence over, including <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00702-019-02067-z">sleep</a>, <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00702-019-02067-z">behavioural patterns, mood</a> and <a href="https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1038/s41598-019-44664-8.pdf">physical activity</a>. Emerging research suggests greater pain levels in winter may also be related to a person’s <a href="https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0216902">perception of the weather</a>, lack of <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sjpain.2010.05.030">vitamin D</a> and <a href="https://doi.org/10.1093/rheumatology/kel414">fluctuations in their disease</a>.</p> <p><a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/msc.1191">Physical activity</a> is one of the best treatments to increase function, strength and mobility – and improve quality of life. It also <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/msc.1191">promotes</a> mental and physical health and <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1466853X21000304?via%3Dihub">reduces the risk</a> of other chronic diseases.</p> <p>But pain can be a barrier to exercise and activities you’d usually do. So what can you do about it?</p> <h2>Our brain tries to protect us</h2> <p>When it comes to pain, our brain is very protective: it’s like an inbuilt alarm system and can warn us about impending danger or harm that has occurred so we can respond.</p> <p>But it’s not always a reliable indicator of actual damage or trauma to the skin, muscle or bone, even when it feels like it is. In some instances, this warning system can become unhelpful by setting off “false alarms”.</p> <p>Joint pain and stiffness can also appear to worsen during colder weather, prompting <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/26335565221100172">fears</a> we could <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/jor.25151">make it worse</a> if we undertake or overdo movement. This <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbspin.2017.07.007">can result in</a> people avoiding physical activity – even when it would be beneficial – which can worsen the pain.</p> <h2>We tend to exercise less when it’s cold</h2> <p>Seasons <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jshs.2016.07.007">affect</a> how much physical activity we get. Summer months bring warmer weather, longer daylight hours and people get outdoors more. Warmer weather also tends to elicit a positive outlook, a lift in mood and burst of physical activity to fulfil New Year’s resolutions.</p> <p>Cooler months can mean a decline in physical activity and more time being cosy indoors. A reduction in movement and less exposure to light may evoke higher levels of joint pain and can be associated with a reduction in our overall sense of well-being and mood.</p> <p>This can create a cycle where symptoms worsen over time.</p> <figure class="align-center "><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/526947/original/file-20230518-19-gzmuv8.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/526947/original/file-20230518-19-gzmuv8.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/526947/original/file-20230518-19-gzmuv8.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/526947/original/file-20230518-19-gzmuv8.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/526947/original/file-20230518-19-gzmuv8.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/526947/original/file-20230518-19-gzmuv8.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/526947/original/file-20230518-19-gzmuv8.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="Older woman exercises with weights" /><figcaption></figcaption>But with the right knowledge and support, people <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/08870446.2022.2126473">can remain engaged in an active lifestyle</a> especially when it’s aligned to personal values and goals. Health professionals such as physiotherapists and GPs can assess any concerns and provide strategies that are right for you.</figure> <h2>How to motivate yourself to stay active in winter</h2> <p>When looking for an approach to help you stay active during the cooler months and beyond, it can be helpful to become aware of the many <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/msc.1191">interconnected factors</a> that impact you. They include:</p> <ul> <li>biological (your genes, other illnesses you have)</li> <li>psychological (how you think, feel and behave)</li> <li>social (your relationships and social support).</li> </ul> <p>Starting with the end goal in mind can be beneficial, but this can feel overwhelming. Try creating smaller, achievable steps to help get you there, like climbing a ladder. For example, park a short distance from the shops and increase this incrementally to increase your exercise tolerance.</p> <p>A little bit each day can often be less tolling on your body than a big effort once a week.</p> <p>Create goals that are personally meaningful and encourage you to celebrate success along the way (for example, catching up with friends or a healthy snack). Then, as you climb your “ladder”, one rung at a time, you will likely feel more motivated to continue.</p> <p>If you’re not sure where to start, talk to a friend or health provider to help you determine what is realistic and right for your situation. That way you can <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/msc.1191">work towards your goals in a safe, non-threatening environment</a> and avoid developing fear and avoidance. They can also help you establish goals that align with your aspirations and pain experience.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/200911/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Image credit: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/charlotte-ganderton-1170940">Charlotte Ganderton</a>, Senior Lecturer (Physiotherapy), <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a></em>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/inge-gnatt-1425767">Inge Gnatt</a>, Lecturer (Psychology), Provisional Psychologist, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/swinburne-university-of-technology-767">Swinburne University of Technology</a></em>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/matthew-king-1177304">Matthew King</a>, Lecturer, Research Fellow, and Physiotherapist, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/la-trobe-university-842">La Trobe University</a></em></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/sore-joints-now-its-getting-cold-its-tempting-to-be-less-active-but-doing-more-could-help-you-feel-better-200911">original article</a>.</p>

Body

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Survival guide for cool-weather camping

<p>Being comfortable is king to enjoying winter camping. Take a look at our suggestions to help you gear up and get out there when the weather is cold but the campfire is hot.</p> <p><strong>Shelter</strong></p> <p>It’s one of the most important aspects of camping in any season! Your bedding and shelter arrangement should be both comfortable and functional so you can always create a home away from home.</p> <p>Winter around the country can mean different things – for instance, some camp spots during winter are often covered in a blanket of snow where as at others the temperature is cool at night and moderate during the day. Depending on the type of winter you’ll be camping in, you’ll need to adjust the shelter and bedding options to suit but there are a few things every winter camper should be aware off.</p> <p>Make sure your tent pegs are suited to the type of ground where you’ll pitch your tent or shelter. For example in light sandy soil conditions a strong sand peg should work well however in snow covered ground or loose sand locations a longer sturdier peg will keep you tent and shelter firmly in place. Laying a ground sheet underneath your tent will help keep the dew and moisture away from your gear. Pitching your tent or shelter in a location that will take advantage of the morning sun is also a nice touch and one that your fellow campers will appreciate!</p> <p>If you’re likely to be camping in light snow or humid conditions, it’s a good idea to pitch a flysheet over your tent or even a tarpaulin. This will trap “dead air” between your tent and the cold air providing extra insulation and will also help reduce moisture and condensation from appearing in your tent. The same principle applies to your swag – a fly and ground sheet will help prevent condensation and creating a layer of dead air will help give you a comfy and warmer sleep.</p> <p>Hot Tip: Using a ground sheet underneath your tent or swag will help prevent moisture from entering your shelter from below.</p> <p><strong>Sleeping</strong></p> <p>What you sleep in or on can also affect your comfort level. In cold conditions the humble airbed isn’t the best insulator so it’s a good option to use a self-inflating or 4WD mattress. These bedding options also trap dead air and your body warmth will help to create a warmer bed of air to sleep on. Your choice of sleeping bag is also important so it’s a good idea to match the bag to the climate. Along with fill material and weight, sleeping bags are also rated on their insulation or temperature rating. Sleeping bags such as the Blackwolf Zambezie sleeping bag are suited to sub-zero temperatures where as less insulating sleeping bags will keep you comfortable in plus zero degree conditions. Some of us “feel the cold” more than others so it’s important to take this into consideration when deciding what sleeping bag you’ll need. We recommend using a sleeping bag rated to below the temperatures you’re expecting – it’s easier to make yourself cool than it is to add extra warmth.</p> <p>Hot Tip: Hot water bottles are great additions for a warm sleep.</p> <p><strong>What to wear</strong></p> <p>Dressing in layers is a great idea as this allows you to adjust your warmth to suit the conditions or activity. A base layer such as thermals will control your core body temperature. An insulating or middle layer such as a fleece jumper will create a micro-climate and trap warmth around your body. An outer or protective layer will protect you from the elements such as wind or rain.</p> <p><em>How To: As most of your body heat is lost through your extremities don’t forget your accessories such as beanies, scarves and gloves.</em></p> <p><strong>Cooking</strong></p> <p>Everyone loves a warming winter meal and we all have memories of a great winter stew or roast. Bringing these meals to the campsite in winter and sharing them with family and friends are easily some of the best pleasures of winter camping. Cooking over a fire is a great idea as the campers are able to enjoy the warmth provided by the fire whilst the meal is cooking. Options for cooking over a fire include the traditional cast iron cookware or fire grill and cast iron plate. Cooking options not needing a fire include thermal cookers such as the Dream Pot or a Cobb cooker. These options are perfect for cooking delicious stews, soups and roasts.</p> <p><em>Hot Tip: When cooking with cast iron, charcoal briquettes provide a long burning and consistent source of heat making cast iron cooking so easy! If firewood is your heat source, don’t forget to bring enough firewood for your heating and cooking needs!</em></p> <p>With a heap of easy cooking options available there’s no reason why you can’t be sharing a warm and hearty stew or sensational roast on your next winter camping trip.</p> <p><strong>Winter warmers</strong></p> <p>Comfort and warmth are key for enjoying your winter camping experience. Hot showers and gas heaters are just two options that will make your winter camping trip much easier and more comfortable. Gas heaters are great as they are portable and provide a constant source of heat. Water heaters such as the Coleman Hot Water on Demand system are popular options for winter campers – who can say no to an instant warm shower or hot cuppa?</p> <p><em>First appeared on the Ray’s Outdoors website. <a href="http://blog.raysoutdoors.com.au/expertadvice?category=Camping" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><strong>Visit them</strong> </a><a href="http://blog.raysoutdoors.com.au/expertadvice?category=Camping" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><strong>here for more camping advice</strong></a>.</em></p> <p><em>Image credit: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><strong>Related links:</strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em><strong><a href="../lifestyle/caravan-camping/2015/05/4-campfire-recipes/">4 simple and delicious campfire recipes you should try</a></strong></em></span></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em><strong><a href="../lifestyle/caravan-camping/2015/05/outdoor-photography-tips/">Outdoor photography tips to help you take shots like a pro</a></strong></em></span></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em><strong><a href="../lifestyle/caravan-camping/2015/03/bush-damper-recipe/">How to make bush damper</a></strong></em></span></p>

Domestic Travel

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8 hair washing tips to transform your tresses this winter

<p dir="ltr">One curly-haired influencer has shared her secrets to happy and healthy hair with the world, promising small changes that “make a big impact” over all. </p> <p dir="ltr">In a video posted to her social media accounts, Jennie - who goes by ‘The Curly Carr’ online - stressed the importance of learning to properly cleanse hair, and the benefits it can have on the likes of “hair health, definition, shine, volume, and growth”.</p> <p dir="ltr">As she explained, she too used to be guilty of just hopping in the shower, quickly slathering her hair in shampoo, and rinsing to get the job done. </p> <p dir="ltr">“I had no clue what I was doing!” she confessed. “Seems like such a small thing, but makes a big impact.”</p> <p dir="ltr">But luckily for Jennie - and anyone else fortunate enough to hear her top tips - she did learn what she should be doing, working her way towards the luscious locks many dream of, before setting out on her mission to help others on their hair journey.</p> <p dir="ltr">And in just eight simple steps, that won’t cost you a fortune in new products, Jennie has shared her findings, as well as some helpful advice to help with the transition from quickfire wash to thorough and effective hair care. </p> <p dir="ltr">Step one was straightforward enough, with Jennie noting that it’s important to “make sure your hair is thoroughly wet all the way through”. According to some experts, a good wetting with warm water helps hair to open up, allowing for a better conditioning process later on. </p> <p dir="ltr">Step two called for emulsifying shampoo in your hands before it goes anywhere near your head. Essentially, rub it between your hands until it froths up - once you’ve got the suds, it’s time to move on to the hair. </p> <p dir="ltr">Step three instructed hair hopefuls to massage their heads. But, as Jennie advised, do it “with the pads of your fingers, don’t use your nails”. Be gentle up there, just like you would be to your face. </p> <p dir="ltr">Step four followed directly on from three, with the instruction to message “all around your head” and to make sure everything got a good clean. Jennie noted that it may take anywhere from 3-5 minutes, but it would all be worth it to have your scalp cleansed. </p> <p dir="ltr">Step five had Jennie calling for the lengths of hair to be remembered, as “it’s not just your scalp getting buildup with products, dirt, and oil”.</p> <p dir="ltr">Step six was to use a <a href="https://www.priceline.com.au/product/189080/lady-jayne-restorative-scalp-brush-silicon-bristles-1ea">shampoo brush/scalp brush</a>, particularly for those who - like Jennie herself - tended to go a few days between washes, or did a pre-shampoo process. </p> <p dir="ltr">Step seven was another one many would be familiar with, as Jennie noted the importance of making sure all shampoo had been thoroughly washed out “before moving on to conditioner!” </p> <p dir="ltr">And last but not least, step eight instructed viewers to listen to their scalps, as they’d know best when it was time for the next all-important wash. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Your hair can always be refreshed,” Jennie explained, “but if your scalp is dry, itchy, and you can see buildup, it’s time to wash!”</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/CnmLyOjKDC1/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/CnmLyOjKDC1/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Jennie 🌷 | Curly Hair Care and Simple Hairstyle Tutorials (@the.curly.carr)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: TikTok</em></p>

Beauty & Style

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8 best winter bedding sets to buy online in Australia

<p>As we bid farewell to sunny days and welcome the chilly season, it's time to dig out your trusty winter duvets from storage and embark on the journey for new bedding sets that will keep you warm and feeling snug. With many options available, it’s often overwhelming to navigate the world of bedding. There's a lot to consider, from different materials like <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.harrisscarfe.com.au%2Fhome%2Fbed-linen%2Fcomforters-coverlets%2Framesses-shaggy-fleece-comforter-set%2FBP642421001-charcoal&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener">fleece</a> and <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fbedthreads.com.au%2Fproducts%2Folive-stripe-terracotta-oatmeal-bedding-bundle%3Fvariant%3D39886462681222&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener">linen</a> to varying thread counts that determine their luxurious softness. And, of course, let's not forget about the aesthetic appeal, which is just as important. </p> <p>To make your life easier, we've carefully curated our very own collection of winter bedding sets that cater to a wide range of budgets and styles. Whether you prefer a classic, elegant design or a bold, <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fbedthreads.com.au%2Fproducts%2Folive-stripe-terracotta-oatmeal-bedding-bundle%3Fvariant%3D39886462681222&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener">trendy pattern</a>, we've got you covered. </p> <p>No matter your taste or <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.canningvale.com%2Fvintage-softwash-cotton-quilt-cover-set%2F%3Fnosto_source%3Dcmp%26nosto%3D861845714&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener">budget</a>, our winter bedding collection is here to help you create a cosy sanctuary during the colder months. So, snuggle up, explore our handpicked sets of the season, and prepare to transform your bedroom into a haven of warmth and style. </p> <p> </p> <h4>1. Most luxurious duvet cover</h4> <h4><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sheridan.com.au%2F1200tc-palais-quilt-cover-s142-b110-c195-001-white.html&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener">1200tc Palais Quilt Cover, $419.99 - $479.99, was $699.99 - $799.99, Sheridan</a></h4> <h3><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sheridan.com.au%2F1200tc-palais-quilt-cover-s142-b110-c195-001-white.html&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2023/05/1bedding.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="1280" /></a></h3> <p>When it comes to cotton thread count, the threshold for luxury is usually set above 800. However, the Palais' flawless white cotton, boasting an impressive thread count of 1200 and crafted from exceptional long-staple fibres, surpasses any other duvet we've come across. It showcases remarkable attention to detail, such as the neat 5cm border along the edges, and is adorned with the iconic Palais trademark triple-stitched embroidery.</p> <h3><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sheridan.com.au%2F1200tc-palais-quilt-cover-s142-b110-c195-001-white.html&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Buy it here</a></h3> <p> </p> <h4>2. Most luxurious pillowcases to match</h4> <h4><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sheridan.com.au%2F1200tc-palais-tailored-pillowcase-s142-b120-c195-001-white.html&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener">1200tc Palais Tailored Pillowcase, $77.99, was $129.99, Sheridan</a></h4> <p><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sheridan.com.au%2F1200tc-palais-tailored-pillowcase-s142-b120-c195-001-white.html&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2023/05/2bedding.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="1280" /></a></p> <p>Of course, you need the pillowcases to match, it wouldn’t be luxurious otherwise!</p> <p>Featuring the same detailing and materials.</p> <h3><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sheridan.com.au%2F1200tc-palais-tailored-pillowcase-s142-b120-c195-001-white.html&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Buy it here</a></h3> <p> </p> <h4>3. Cosiest bedding set</h4> <h4><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.myer.com.au%2Fp%2Fvue-ashley-corduroy-quilted-quilt-cover-set-in-green&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Vue Ashley Corduroy Quilted Quilt Cover Set, $19.98 - $104.98, was $39.95 - $209.95, Myer</a></h4> <p><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.myer.com.au%2Fp%2Fvue-ashley-corduroy-quilted-quilt-cover-set-in-green&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2023/05/6bedding.jpg" alt="" width="1080" height="1061" /></a></p> <p>This delightfully soft to-the-touch, budget-friendly, charming quilted corduroy quilt cover set features a cosy moss green tone which exudes a warmly welcoming and homely aura, especially when paired with a warm orange bedtime lamp. Set includes 1 Duvet cover and 2 Pillowcases.</p> <h3><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.myer.com.au%2Fp%2Fvue-ashley-corduroy-quilted-quilt-cover-set-in-green&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Buy it here</a></h3> <p> </p> <h4>4. Best aesthetically-pleasing bedding set</h4> <h4><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fbedthreads.com.au%2Fproducts%2Folive-stripe-terracotta-oatmeal-bedding-bundle%3Fvariant%3D39886462681222&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Olive Stripe, Terracotta & Oatmeal Bedding Bundle, $472.00, was $590.00, BedThreads</a></h4> <h4> <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fbedthreads.com.au%2Fproducts%2Folive-stripe-terracotta-oatmeal-bedding-bundle%3Fvariant%3D39886462681222&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2023/05/8bedding.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="1604" /></a></h4> <p>If you appreciate an earthy and natural aesthetic, this delightful bedding set in warm olive stripe, terracotta, and oatmeal colours is the ultimate bundle for you. Designed to evoke a sense of tranquillity, it serves as the perfect retreat. It’s crafted from linen, which in itself offers numerous advantages for the colder seasons; linen is naturally highly insulating, creating optimal warmth during chilly weather, and it’s also breathable, preventing overheating. The best thing about linen is that it gets better with age, as the best things in life often do, with every wash, it’ll get softer to the touch. </p> <p>Set includes:</p> <ul> <li>1 Duvet cover</li> <li>1 Fitted sheet</li> <li>1 Flat sheet</li> <li>4 Standard pillowcases</li> <li>2 European pillowcases</li> </ul> <h3><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fbedthreads.com.au%2Fproducts%2Folive-stripe-terracotta-oatmeal-bedding-bundle%3Fvariant%3D39886462681222&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Buy it here</a></h3> <p> </p> <h4>5. Best affordable winter bedding set</h4> <h4><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.canningvale.com%2Fvintage-softwash-cotton-quilt-cover-set%2F%3Fnosto_source%3Dcmp%26nosto%3D861845714&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Vintage Softwash Cotton Quilt Cover Sets, $69.99 - $109.99, was $139.99 - $219.99, Canningvale</a></h4> <p> <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.canningvale.com%2Fvintage-softwash-cotton-quilt-cover-set%2F%3Fnosto_source%3Dcmp%26nosto%3D861845714&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2023/05/3bedding.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="1280" /></a></p> <p>Many of us face budget constraints that impact our purchasing decisions. But that doesn’t always mean we have to compromise on quality when it comes to bedding. Enter the Softwash Cotton Quilt Cover Set - a wallet-friendly option that delivers on both affordability and lasting quality. Much like linen, it becomes increasingly softer with each wash. The neutral tones of this set effortlessly complement any interior style. The versatility of the neutral tones opens up opportunities for mixing and matching with other bedding items in similar hues. With the Softwash Cotton Quilt Cover Set, you can enjoy the combination of affordability, durability, and style without stretching your budget. Set Includes 1<span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;"> Duvet and </span>2 European pillowcases.</p> <h3><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.canningvale.com%2Fvintage-softwash-cotton-quilt-cover-set%2F%3Fnosto_source%3Dcmp%26nosto%3D861845714&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Buy it here</a></h3> <p> </p> <h4>6. Best all-round affordable luxury</h4> <h4><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bedbathntable.com.au%2Fwindsor-white-010801&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Windsor Quilt Cover, $104.95, was $149.95, Bed Bath N’ Table</a></h4> <p><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bedbathntable.com.au%2Fwindsor-white-010801&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2023/05/4bedding.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="1280" /></a></p> <p>The Windsor is like the perfect sweet spot between luxury and affordability. It's woven with a seriously impressive 400-thread count Egyptian cotton sateen that feels amazingly soft to the touch. And let's not forget about its cool box-quilted design, adding that extra touch of style. When you cosy up with the Windsor, you're treating yourself to a slice of luxury without breaking the bank. Includes duvet. Pillowcases can be added to the basket near the shop now button for an additional charge. </p> <h3><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bedbathntable.com.au%2Fwindsor-white-010801&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Buy it here</a></h3> <p> </p> <h4>7. Best moisture-wicking bedding</h4> <h4><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.adairs.com.au%2Fbedroom%2Fquilt-covers-coverlets%2Fhome-republic%2F600tc-cotton-bamboo-quilt-cover-white%2F&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener">600TC Bamboo Cotton White Quilt Cover Separates, From $119.99, Adairs</a></h4> <p><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.adairs.com.au%2Fbedroom%2Fquilt-covers-coverlets%2Fhome-republic%2F600tc-cotton-bamboo-quilt-cover-white%2F&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2023/05/5bedding.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="1280" /></a></p> <p>Combat the discomfort of cold night sweats with this 600-thread count cotton and bamboo blend duvet cover. With a 40:60 ratio offers a silky smooth sateen finish and benefits from bamboo's natural anti-bacterial properties and moisture-wicking abilities. Stay cosy as it regulates body temperature while resisting odours, mould, and bacteria for a fresh and comfortable sleep. Build your own bundle. </p> <h3><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.adairs.com.au%2Fbedroom%2Fquilt-covers-coverlets%2Fhome-republic%2F600tc-cotton-bamboo-quilt-cover-white%2F&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Buy it here</a></h3> <p> </p> <h4>8. The best fleece comforter set</h4> <h4><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.harrisscarfe.com.au%2Fhome%2Fbed-linen%2Fcomforters-coverlets%2Framesses-shaggy-fleece-comforter-set%2FBP642421001-charcoal&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Ramesses Shaggy Fleece Comforter Set Charcoal, $169.99 - $209.99 Harris Scarfe</a></h4> <p><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.harrisscarfe.com.au%2Fhome%2Fbed-linen%2Fcomforters-coverlets%2Framesses-shaggy-fleece-comforter-set%2FBP642421001-charcoal&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2023/05/7bedding.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="1132" /></a></p> <p>If you haven't heard of the teddy bear fleece comforter set before, now's the time to catch up! Don't miss out on this popular item that flew off the shelves last year. The Ramesses Shaggy Fleece Comforter Set is designed to provide a luxurious velvet-like feel, reminiscent of cuddling up to your cherished teddy bear from your childhood. Made from a soft fuzzy fleece material, it offers unparalleled comfort. With a range of rich shades, you can find the perfect match for your bedroom decor.  Set includes 1 Comforter, 2 Pillowcases and 2 Cushions.</p> <h3><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.harrisscarfe.com.au%2Fhome%2Fbed-linen%2Fcomforters-coverlets%2Framesses-shaggy-fleece-comforter-set%2FBP642421001-charcoal&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Buy it here</a></h3> <p><em>Editor's note: When you buy something using the retail links in our stories, Over60 may earn a small commission. We do not accept money for editorial reviews, and we only write about products we feel comfortable recommending to our readers. Thank you. </em></p> <p><em>Images, Top: Toa Heftiba on Unsplash. All others: Supplied</em></p>

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The best electric heated blanket in Australia for unparalleled warmth and comfort

<p>Electric heated blankets have become the hot topic in town, offering the perfect balance of warmth and comfort. Say goodbye to traditional throws that no longer cut it.</p> <p>These versatile blankets have multiple uses, whether you want to snuggle up on the couch with a book or your favourite movie or keep your bed toasty by placing them under your sheets. Some electric blankets even let you <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.adairs.com.au%2Fbedroom%2Felectric-blankets%2Fgainsborough%2Fgainsborough-electric-blanket2%2F&xcust=sen_electric_heated_blankets" target="_blank" rel="noopener">preheat before slipping into bed</a>!</p> <p>With a plethora of <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.myer.com.au%2Fc%2Fhome%2Fbedding%2Fcoverlets-throws%2Felectric-blankets&xcust=sen_electric_heated_blankets" target="_blank" rel="noopener">heated electric blankets available to buy online</a>, each offering a unique experience, finding the perfect one for your needs can be time-consuming. That's where we step in. We've invested the time and effort to curate a meticulously crafted list of the best electric heated blankets available in Australia.</p> <p>We understand that everyone has different requirements, which is why we've categorised our top choices based on your specific needs. Whether you're seeking an underlay blanket for your bed, a <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bigw.com.au%2Fproduct%2Fjason-reversible-heated-throw-iron%2Fp%2F253200&xcust=sen_electric_heated_blankets" target="_blank" rel="noopener">reversible throw</a>, or an <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.myer.com.au%2Fp%2Fbreville-bodyzone-plus-electric-blanket-breville-home-wifi-connect-white&xcust=sen_electric_heated_blankets" target="_blank" rel="noopener">electric blanket with smartphone control</a>, we've got you covered.</p> <h4>1. The best fitted electric blanket </h4> <h4><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.adairs.com.au%2Fbedroom%2Felectric-blankets%2Fgainsborough%2Fgainsborough-electric-blanket2%2F&xcust=sen_electric_heated_blankets" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Gainsborough Electric Blanket</a>, from $149.99, Adairs</h4> <p><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.adairs.com.au%2Fbedroom%2Felectric-blankets%2Fgainsborough%2Fgainsborough-electric-blanket2%2F&xcust=sen_electric_heated_blankets" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2023/05/1blanket.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="1280" /></a></p> <p>If you're looking for an electric blanket that's like a fitted sheet, the Gainsborough Electric Blanket takes the top spot. It has this impressive pre-heating function that's perfect for when you're getting ready for bed, so you can ensure your bed is warm and cosy when you finally climb in. Who wants to hop into a bed with cold sheets? Not me.</p> <p>It comes with two detachable controllers and three heat settings, so you'll always have a controller within arm's reach. And for safety precautions, it has a handy LED power indicator that lets you know if it's on or off before you dash out of the door.</p> <p>Speaking of safety features, it's got this automatic overheat safeguard system, so there is no need to stress about any accidents or injuries, to put your mind at ease.</p> <p><strong><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">Sizing:</span></strong></p> <ul> <li>Single Fitted Electric Blanket: 91cm x 190cm x 50cm</li> <li>King Single Fitted Electric Blanket: 105cm x 203cm x 50cm</li> <li>Double Fitted Electric Blanket: 139cm x 190cm x 50cm</li> <li>Queen Fitted Electric Blanket: 150cm x 203cm x 50cm</li> <li>King Fitted Electric Blanket: 180cm x 203cm x 50cm</li> <li>Super King Fitted Electric Blanket: 204cm x 204cm x 50cm</li> </ul> <h3><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.adairs.com.au%2Fbedroom%2Felectric-blankets%2Fgainsborough%2Fgainsborough-electric-blanket2%2F&xcust=sen_electric_heated_blankets" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Buy it here</span></strong></a></h3> <h4> </h4> <h4>2. High-tech heated blanket</h4> <h4><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.myer.com.au%2Fp%2Fbreville-bodyzone-plus-electric-blanket-breville-home-wifi-connect-white&xcust=sen_electric_heated_blankets" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Breville Bodyzone Plus Electric Blanket Breville Home with Wifi Connect</a>, $319.20 - $343.20, was $399.00 - $429.00, Myer</h4> <p><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.myer.com.au%2Fp%2Fbreville-bodyzone-plus-electric-blanket-breville-home-wifi-connect-white&xcust=sen_electric_heated_blankets" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2023/05/6blanket.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="751" /></a></p> <p>Who would've thought technology would come so far? Now you can even connect your smartphone to electric heated blankets. It's like having a remote control for the heat, letting you fine-tune the warmth for your upper and lower body. With the multi-zone heating tech and six heat settings, you're in complete control of your cosy experience.</p> <p>To get started, simply download the Breville Home Connect app from either the Apple or Android store. But don't worry if you prefer a more traditional approach – the set also includes two remote controllers.</p> <p>This electric blanket serves as the perfect topper for your King size mattress, measuring 200cm x 178cm. Additionally, it features a fully fitted skirt with a generous depth of 45cm. </p> <h3><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.myer.com.au%2Fp%2Fbreville-bodyzone-plus-electric-blanket-breville-home-wifi-connect-white&xcust=sen_electric_heated_blankets" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Buy it here</span></strong></a></h3> <p> </p> <h4>3. Heated blanket for road trips and camping</h4> <h4><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.kogan.com%2Fau%2Fbuy%2Fovela-12v-car-electric-blanket-charcoal%2F&xcust=sen_electric_heated_blankets" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Ovela 12V Car Electric Blanket</a>, $39.99 reduced from $64.99, Kogan</h4> <p><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.kogan.com%2Fau%2Fbuy%2Fovela-12v-car-electric-blanket-charcoal%2F&xcust=sen_electric_heated_blankets" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2023/05/2blanket.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="706" /></a></p> <p>Your winter car journeys will never be the same again. This mobile electric blanket is a total game-changer for those long road trips and chilly camping adventures, especially during colder months.</p> <p>Power it up by simply plugging it into any 12V DC car, truck, boat, or RV socket. Its dimensions are 150 cm x 110 cm, so it's just the right size for one adult or even two kids. It even comes with a nifty zipper-carrying bag, keeping it shielded from moisture when it’s stored. And let's not forget about the ultra-soft polyester fleece material that's like a dream against your skin.</p> <h3><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.kogan.com%2Fau%2Fbuy%2Fovela-12v-car-electric-blanket-charcoal%2F&xcust=sen_electric_heated_blankets" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Buy it here</span></strong></a></h3> <h4> </h4> <h4>4. Best affordable heated blanket</h4> <h4><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.thegoodguys.com.au%2Fdimplex-micro-fleece-heated-throw-dhdeht&xcust=sen_electric_heated_blankets" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Dimplex Micro Fleece Heated Throw</a>, $99, The Good Guys</h4> <p><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.thegoodguys.com.au%2Fdimplex-micro-fleece-heated-throw-dhdeht&xcust=sen_electric_heated_blankets" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2023/05/3blanket.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="725" /></a></p> <p>For a more budget-friendly option, consider the Dimplex Micro Fleece Heated Throw. It’s a great option that doesn’t skimp on impressive features, including a 3-hour auto-off. It’s a breeze to keep clean thanks to the detachable controls, so it can be put on a cycle in the machine-washable.</p> <p>The size specifications of this throw work out at 180cm x 130cm. And better than most, it has six heat settings so you can find the perfect level of toastiness.</p> <h3><strong><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.thegoodguys.com.au%2Fdimplex-micro-fleece-heated-throw-dhdeht&xcust=sen_electric_heated_blankets" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Buy it here</span></a></strong></h3> <p> </p> <h4>5. Best all-round heated blanket</h4> <h4><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.thegoodguys.com.au%2Fsunbeam-sleep-perfect-antibacterial-electric-bla-bla5351&xcust=sen_electric_heated_blankets" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Sunbeam Sleep Perfect Antibacterial Electric Blanket</a>, $159, The Good Guys</h4> <p><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.thegoodguys.com.au%2Fsunbeam-sleep-perfect-antibacterial-electric-bla-bla5351&xcust=sen_electric_heated_blankets" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2023/05/4blanket.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="704" /></a></p> <p>This queen-sized electric blanket from Sunbeam is 200 cm x 153 cm, making it the ideal size for most people, whether it’s all for themselves or to snuggle up with their other half. Cleaning is a breeze since it's machine washable. However, the real showstopper is the impressive selection of 9 heat settings, giving you plenty of options to indulge in.</p> <h3><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.thegoodguys.com.au%2Fsunbeam-sleep-perfect-antibacterial-electric-bla-bla5351&xcust=sen_electric_heated_blankets" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Buy it here</span></strong></a></h3> <p> </p> <h4>6. Best reversible heated throw </h4> <h4><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bigw.com.au%2Fproduct%2Fjason-reversible-heated-throw-iron%2Fp%2F253200&xcust=sen_electric_heated_blankets" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Jason Reversible Heated Throw</a>, $99, Big W</h4> <p><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bigw.com.au%2Fproduct%2Fjason-reversible-heated-throw-iron%2Fp%2F253200&xcust=sen_electric_heated_blankets" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2023/05/5blanket.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="747" /></a></p> <p>With a reversible heated blanket like this one, you can effortlessly toss it onto your sofa without any concerns about which side is the "good side" - because both sides are equally fantastic.</p> <p>This incredibly cosy throw features Sherpa on one side and Coral Fleece on the other, ensuring ultimate comfort. It also comes with built-in protection against overheating.</p> <p>It’s on the slightly smaller side compared to some of the other blankets we’ve shared, as it’s 130 x 160cm. When it's time to wash, simply detach the remote controller and follow the straightforward instructions provided. </p> <h3><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bigw.com.au%2Fproduct%2Fjason-reversible-heated-throw-iron%2Fp%2F253200&xcust=sen_electric_heated_blankets" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Buy it here</span></strong></a></h3> <p> </p> <h4>7. Most luxurious heat blanket</h4> <h4><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.myer.com.au%2Fp%2Froyal-comfort-royal-comfort-flece-top-electric-blanket-fitted-heated-winter-underlay-washable-quen-in-white&xcust=sen_electric_heated_blankets" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Royal Comfort Fleece Top Electric Blanket Fitted Heated Winter Underlay Washable Queen</a>, $359, Myer</h4> <p> </p> <p><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.myer.com.au%2Fp%2Froyal-comfort-royal-comfort-flece-top-electric-blanket-fitted-heated-winter-underlay-washable-quen-in-white&xcust=sen_electric_heated_blankets" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2023/05/7blanket.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="687" /></a></p> <p>This heated blanket is packed with fantastic features that will transform your bed into a cosy haven on those chilly nights. With ten different heat settings to choose from, you can easily find the perfect level of warmth. Plus, it comes with two detachable controllers, allowing you and your partner to customise your comfort independently.</p> <p>For peace of mind, it also includes an automatic shut-off function. It’s made from a luxurious 320GSM Fleece and 400GSM Polyester, which means this blanket offers both comfort and quality.</p> <h3><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.myer.com.au%2Fp%2Froyal-comfort-royal-comfort-flece-top-electric-blanket-fitted-heated-winter-underlay-washable-quen-in-white&xcust=sen_electric_heated_blankets" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Buy it here</span></strong></a></h3> <p> </p> <h4>8. Best looking blanket!</h4> <h4><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.myer.com.au%2Fp%2Fheritage-check-heated-throw&xcust=sen_electric_heated_blankets" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Heritage Check Heated Throw</a>, $49.85, was $99.95, Myers</h4> <p><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.myer.com.au%2Fp%2Fheritage-check-heated-throw&xcust=sen_electric_heated_blankets" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2023/05/8blanket.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="561" /></a></p> <p>This Myer-exclusive electric blanket has a comforting checkered design that’s timeless in style, and it offers nine heat settings. Made from a luxurious 220 gsm fleece material, this electric blanket ensures a comfortable and snug sensation. Its plush fabric adds an extra layer of cosiness. The checkered pattern is featured solely on the front side, while the reverse side is a solid colour.</p> <h3><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.myer.com.au%2Fp%2Fheritage-check-heated-throw&xcust=sen_electric_heated_blankets" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Buy it here</span></strong></a></h3> <p> </p> <p><strong>Are electric blankets safe?</strong></p> <p>Electric blankets are considered safe to use, but you should still be regularly carrying out maintenance checks for any signs of wear and tear. And if you do notice any damage along the lines of frayed wires, holes, or exposed wires, discard immediately without use. </p> <p><strong>Are electric blankets energy efficient?</strong></p> <p>Electric blankets can be a convenient alternative to switching on your heating system. They typically consume between 100 to 150 watts, which makes them an  energy-efficient solution for most people who want to stay warm during the colder months. </p> <p><strong>Are electric blankets waterproof?</strong></p> <p>Most electric blankets are machine washable when you disconnect the controllers. However, it's crucial that you keep the power switched off and the remote disconnected until the blanket is bone dry. And for precautionary reasons, avoid using the heat setting to quicken the drying process. </p> <p><em>Editor's note: When you buy something using the retail links in our stories, Over60 may earn a small commission. We do not accept money for editorial reviews, and we only write about products we feel comfortable recommending to our readers. Thank you.</em> </p> <p><em>Images, Top: Amin Hasani on Unsplash. All others: Supplied</em></p>

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“It’s really dangerous”: Former MAFS star's jarring claims about show

<p>A former participant of Nine’s <em>Married At First Sight</em> has appeared on a rival network to drop some jarring claims about the reality TV show.</p> <p>Tayla Winter, who was paired up with Hugo Armstrong on the series left <em>Sunrise</em> hosts David Kochie and Natalie Barr in disbelief with her chilling warning about how “dangerous” and “scary” the format is for the participants.</p> <p>Winter 27, explained how she had expected “a really fun experience” going into it.</p> <p>“I thought I’d meet a lot of people, we could party in Sydney – I was on a bit of a break from work – and potentially meet someone that was really nice,” she said.</p> <p>“For me, the worst case scenario in my head was, I still come out with a lot of friends. I could never have imagined what it was actually like.”</p> <p>Barr then asked her whether she’d “warn people not to go on MAFS” in the future.</p> <p>“I think it’s really dangerous,” Winter responded.</p> <p>“I know that some of my castmates are really struggling.</p> <p>“I’ve been struggling … I hope that people just understand what it’s really like and that’s why I’m trying to spread a bit of awareness about it because … I truly believe someone will end their life over this show one day.”</p> <p>Her response clearly stunned Barr, who then told her, “Oh, wow, that’s a serious claim. We’re sorry that happened to you.”</p> <p>Winter’s relationship with Armstrong saw some of the most dramatic scenes on the 2023 season of <em>MAFS</em>, with the bride storming out of a commitment ceremony and declaring she was going back to (Tasmania) after a heated conversation with her TV partner.</p> <p>The abrupt exit came after Armstrong allegedly called Winter the “C-word” during a vulgar spat which was overheard in an accidental “butt dial”.</p> <p>Winter eventually returned to the experiment to give him “a second chance,” but was rejected by Armstrong and the couple announced their split to their castmates that night.</p> <p>Winter told <em>Sunrise</em> that she was given “a bad edit” which had left her vulnerable to constant online trolling and abuse.</p> <p>“The way the (editing) is done is unethical,” she told the hosts.</p> <p>“Going into the show, I had no idea how controlled it would be. There is a lot of manipulation and coercive control and it’s pretty scary once you’re over there (on set).</p> <p>“You’re not in your home state, you’re surrounded by all of these camera crews, all these people you don’t know.</p> <p>“It’s quite intimidating and you say and do things under a really high-pressure environment.</p> <p>“You quickly regret those things that you do and that you said.”</p> <p>When Barr highlighted that reality shows are renowned for being heavily edited, Winter hit back with bold claims about producers.</p> <p>“You build trust and what you think is a really strong relationship with (producers) and it’s all fake,” she said.</p> <p>“There’s a lot of pressure to say things and do things that you don’t feel comfortable with.</p> <p>“I slept on the couch the entire time throughout the experiment and it wasn’t seen that Hugo had the bed.</p> <p>“But they needed that narrative to suit what character they wanted from me and what character they wanted from Hugo.”</p> <p>A spokesperson from Nine informed news.com.au that the network takes its duties concerning the “health and wellbeing” of the show’s participants “extremely seriously”.</p> <p>“All participants have access to the show psychologist during filming, during broadcast and once the program has ended,” they said.</p> <p>“Nine also have an additional service for participants should they like or need further individual and confidential psychological support.</p> <p>“This service gives participants access to clinicians who have been specifically engaged to support those involved in the program in relation to their experiences. This service is available to all participants for as long as they need it, it does not end.</p> <p>“Nine provides all participants with ongoing support for the duration of the show and we monitor all participant’s social media accounts so that we are aware of and manage any negative commentary. We are very proactive in this space, and care for the health and wellbeing of the participants.</p> <p>“As a result of the level of interest in the participant’s personal lives and volume of commentary on every post, Nine manages all individual MAFS social accounts with their permission, as an extra measure of protecting them from negativity.”</p> <p><em>Image credit: Instagram</em></p>

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7 hot things to do this winter

<p>The best thing about winter in Australia is that in most parts of the country the weather doesn’t stop you from spending time outside. While swims at the beach might be out, there are still many things you can do out in the fresh winter air. We’ve rounded up some of our favourites.</p> <p><strong>1. Christmas in July picnic</strong><br />While people may think picnics are a summer-only activity, when it’s a sunny winter's day there is nowhere better to be than outdoors. As long as you suitably rug up, a picnic in your local park with family and friends is the perfect way to spend the day. With July coming up why don’t you get your family and or friends together and throw a Christmas in July party. It’s even an appropriate time get out the Christmas jumpers – something we cannot do on December 25th in this country.</p> <p><strong>2. A trip to the zoo</strong><br />Visiting the zoo is a great day out for all, young and old. Many zoos across the country put on special shows and activities during the school holidays (think June/July), so this is a great time to think about taking younger family members or the grandkids.</p> <p><strong>3. Wine and cheese tasting</strong><br />Whether you want to head out to some wineries for the day or have your own wine and cheese tasting soiree at home, winter is the perfect time to kick back with a lovely glass of red and a platter of cheeses. While Australia has many amazing wineries that everyone should try, we also love the idea of holding a wine tasting party. You can assign one type of wine to each of your guests and even theme the day (wines from one country or each person brings a wine from where they grew up) to make it more fun.</p> <p><strong>4. Walk in a national park</strong><br />We are so blessed with beautiful national parks in Australia, and many of them have lots of walking trails ranging from easy to more strenuous. While rainy, snowy or extremely windy days won’t be ideal for heading out for a walk, the crisp winter air combined with the sun offers the perfect conditions for a long walk. Just don’t forget a raincoat, some water and your mobile phone in case you need them.</p> <p><strong>5. A day trip to a remote pub</strong><br />Life is all about experiences and they say that those who mix things up, are generally happier people. So quick, get out of town for the day. Research small towns nearby and look for a lovely pub to go for a nice lunch at. You might even want to make a special playlist of old songs to make the car journey extra fun.</p> <p><strong>6. Have a bake off with your friends</strong><br />It is winter, so there are bound to be some rainy or snowy days. On these days when you’re restricted to indoor activities, why not invite the grandkids, family or friends over and have a mini bake-off. Competition aside, at the end of the bake-off you’ll have some warm treats to enjoy with a nice cuppa.</p> <p><strong>7. Start a winter book club</strong><br />There’s no better time to start a book club than during winter. Not only is winter the perfect time to curl up on the couch with a blanket and catch up on reading, it is also a time when you’ll be more inclined to spend time indoors by the fire or heater. Why not turn your extra time spent reading into a book club? It gives you an excuse to catch up and spend hours on end chatting with friends – even if the conversation veers away from the book.</p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

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