Lessons from a failed regrouting project

The grout in the shower in our ensuite has needed attention for quite some time, but like with any other home project after one has kids, my wife and I could never quite muster up the enthusiasm to use the other bathroom while we regrouted. Finally, the opportunity presented itself: I was to return early from a trip overseas while the rest of my family remained a few weeks longer. I committed myself to doing this chore; I looked up a bunch of YouTube videos and read a few DIY blogs online proclaiming crap like how easy it is, and […]

Close-up of mattress with pillow top removed.

Picking apart a pillow-top mattress

Jenny and I have both been suffering from a number of muscular and back pain problems lately. We initially put it down to our lack of exercise and generally unhealthy lifestyle, and while that’s all too true, we eventually discovered that the mattress was the main culprit. The one that we have was the one we bought when we first got married, so we didn’t skimp, and got a fairly expensive model with a pillow top. This seemed like a good idea at first: it was comfortable, had good support, etc. Fast forward a few years and the pillow top […]

My red clock

Fix your way out of a fix

Recently, while moving some pillows around, I knocked over my alarm clock and broke it. I’ve had this clock for almost as long as I can remember. My earliest memory about it is finding the detached head of a Transformers “Bumblebee” toy and taking it home and sticking it onto the face with blutac, where it remains to this day. It’s more than just a clock: when my family bought a puppy and we were told by the breeder to put a small alarm clock near its bed to help it sleep since it would remind it of its mother’s […]

Global knife

Think sharp

I had a knifing accident the other day – I was attempting to cut an onion using my Global chef’s knife when it slid sideways down the curved surface and took a neat slice out of my finger instead. Without wanting to sound like an infomercial, these knives are renown for their awesome sharpness and one naturally tends to blame the knife for the accident. But if you watch Jamie Oliver or any of the prolific number of cooking shows around, you be familiar with the refrain that it’s blunt knives that hurt people. In my case, if the knife […]

Wooden clothes pegs on a line.

Hanging the “balcony law” out to dry

I’m no eco-warrior but I do give the occasional nod towards being mindful of the environment. Having had my brother visit from interstate recently, I had to do five loads of washing this past weekend. Even though it was mostly sheets, that’s getting into baby territory as far as number of washes go. I live in an apartment where it’s forbidden to hang washing out on the balcony, but everybody ignores it. If you’ve ever been to Asia or Europe, you’ll have seen good reasons why they came up with the rule in the first place – looking at other […]

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Pumpin’ with rage

Pump packs are the work of the devil. Not only are they a waste of metal and plastic, when it’s finished there’s always a load of product at the bottom that gets chucked out along with the bottle ‘coz it’s just too much hassle to try and tap it through the (often skinny) bottleneck. Don’t you hate that spluttering noise when the stuff runs out, the deliberately* short straw is no longer immersed in liquid, and it’s just sucking up air like some kind of demented fish gasping for breath? The companies that make these products flog “refill packs” supposedly […]

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Environmentally friendly spring cleaning

You wouldn’t think it from the weather in Sydney this long weekend, but we’re officially in Spring season, and of course, that means spring cleaning! Get started with these tips: Avoid harsh chemicals Don’t fall for marketing gimmicks, those cleaning products won’t provide you with a miracle cure for getting rid of dirt. The best treatment always has been, and always will be, elbow grease and a natural ingredients. For instance: baking powder (bi-carbonate soda) makes a wonderful cleanser. It removes discolouration in the bottom of teacups, and works wonders for removing stains from your pots and pans Use a […]

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Around the house: saving water

I realised that my last few articles have all been about shopping, so let’s take a break and look at other ways in which you can make a difference in your world for a change :-) You probably already know this, but Australia’s climate follows a cyclical weather pattern influenced by various winds and ocean currents, which scientists have dubbed El Niño and La Niña. A friend of mine recently “predicted” that we’re heading towards another drought because of El Niño, which, according to studies by the Bureau of Meteorology, means that we can expect less rain. The cycle sure […]

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Turn your old junk into cash – have a garage sale!

Last weekend, me, my wife and some friends held our very first garage sale. I mean I’d done loads of these before back in Adelaide with my parents, but it was my first time in Sydney. The event would have been much more successful had it not rained and rained and rained on the day! Only a few die-hard bargain hunters came by, but we still managed to take nearly $400, including some deals negotiated both before and after the event. If you’re thinking about having a garage sale, here are some pointers: Pick a date, and check the long […]

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Around the house: electricity

If you live in NSW, your electricity bill is going to go up by around 20% from the beginning of July. So now, more than ever (even if you don’t live in NSW), you should be thinking of ways to reduce your energy use. Here are a few that I recommend: Use energy saving light bulbs These are significantly cheaper to run than your old incandescent bulb, and many businesses are giving them away, with some even coming around to install them for you for free too, because they get carbon credits which they can then use to either offset […]