Our Mother’s Day activity book features:
Arts and crafts
Letters and poems
Treats and recipes
Pampering and relaxation ideas
Favours and coupons
No matter how you spend it, we hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day.
A collection of crafts, cooking and gestures, specially for Mum.Mother’s Day in social isolation is not ideal, but there are still so many ways you can show your appreciation for the wonderful mum in your life. Download our 30-page activity book today!
Our Mother’s Day activity book features:
Arts and crafts
Letters and poems
Treats and recipes
Pampering and relaxation ideas
Favours and coupons
No matter how you spend it, we hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day.
Reader’s Digest has announced its Most Trusted brands for 2020, and Harcourts, New Zealand’s largest and most enduring real estate brand, is honoured to be acknowledged once again for its commitment to serving its clients. For the eighth consecutive year, New Zealanders have voted Harcourts the Most Trusted real estate brand.
Harcourts Managing Director Bryan Thomson says that the Harcourts team right across the country is particularly humbled to receive this honour as the country continues to battle COVID-19.
“Harcourts has been committed to helping New Zealanders with their property needs for 132 years”, says Thomson. “We’ve been through good times and we’ve been through some extremely difficult times with our clients. This would be one of the most challenging times they’ve ever faced, and now, more than ever, we need to trust and support one another.”
“We will continue to earn the trust of New Zealanders in the coming months,” says Thomson, “by maintaining the highest level of service to our clients, landlords and tenants. Technology will play a big part in how we continue to deliver exceptional service and maintain the life-long relationships we’ve built with our clients and communities around the country.”
“Being voted the Most Trusted real estate brand for eight years in a row is hugely important to our team and we don’t take that trust for granted. Thank you, New Zealand, we remain committed to you.”
This is definitely the list you need if the idea of spending Christmas Eve knee-deep in cleaning products makes you feel like the Grinch. Christmas – and summer – is always busy and social, with lots of entertaining and unexpected guests sure to drop by.
But instead of waiting until the last minute to get your home in tip-top shape, here are nine easy ways to get sorted before your friends and family turn up on your doorstep.
1. Set the timer when you are doing certain chores. Experts say if you know how long individual tasks take, they seem less difficult. We like that idea.
2. Put clean sheets on your spare bed NOW. Even if you aren’t expecting any sleepovers from visitors, it’s one thing less to deal with if someone does end up having to sleep it off.
3. Use the commercial breaks wisely. You have two-and-a-half minutes to get something done, and tackling small tasks seems like a better idea than mindlessly watching ads!
4. Sort out the fridge before you hit the shops. Chances are your fridge and kitchen cupboards aren’t as jam-packed as they are going to be in a few weeks. If you have a proper clean out now, not only will it save you time in December, but you’ll also know exactly what you already have in stock.
5. Don’t bother scrubbing your stove top burners. If they come off, pop them in a snaplock bag, with a little ammonia overnight. In the morning, wipe them clean and away you go.
6. Bedtime equals cleaning time. While the kids (or you) are in the bathroom getting ready for bed, use that time to quickly wipe down the vanity, bath, mirror and toilet. Easy.
7. Try listening to podcasts while you clean. Not only will they help time fly, but you’ll learn a few things along the way.
8. Put clutter (like toiletries) away in a cupboard. Just shove them in there – no one is going to be looking to see if they are organised by floral fragrance!
9. The smell of fresh flowers, however, does make everything instantly better. Set some out the morning your guests are due to arrive, and enjoy this special time together!
The rules of decluttering are simple: get rid of any unwanted stuff, find a handy place for the items that remain, and endeavour to keep it there – how hard can it be?
1. Organise the chaos
Limit yourself to one small ‘dumping tray’ or ‘junk bowl’, where you keep odds and ends that don’t have a place. Think odd buttons, business cards and loose change. Choose something decorative so you’re more likely to keep the mess to a minimum.
2. Use tubes
Hang onto those cardboard tubes when you use up your paper towels or kitchen foil, and use them to store reusable plastic bags tidily in a drawer. You can also recycle wet-wipe canisters for this purpose.
3. Minimise your paper trail
Reduce paper clutter by taking photos of takeaway menus or flyers from local businesses. Likewise, download user manuals, credit card agreements and health insurance policies, and save them in a folder on your computer.
4. Kitchen tips
Free up bench space by attaching a magnetic strip under overhead kitchen cabinets to hold spice jars with metallic lids. Store frying pans, baking sheets, pot lids and cutting boards on their sides, using a filing rack or organiser.
5. Invest in a Lazy Susan
Who has time to rearrange the pantry or cupboards every time they want to reach something at the back? Invest in some lazy Susans for instant access to your items in just a spin. They’re also handy in the bathroom or laundry.
6. Utilise your fridge
Limited pantry space? Most dry goods can be kept in the refrigerator, too.
7. Try hidden storage options
Invest in double-duty furniture with hidden storage options. Think ottomans where you can hide throws and cushions, coffee tables with slide-out drawers for magazines, colouring books or puzzles, bench seats with shelving underneath or tall bookshelves with inbuilt cabinets for surplus vases and candles.
8. Bar carts
If space allows, set up a dining cart or station close to your dining table, much like they do in restaurants and cafes. Cutlery, placemats, napkins, glasses and condiments can all be stored in a small cupboard or trolley on wheels to save you making multiple trips to the kitchen every time you sit down to eat.
9. Store on the door
Over-the-door shoe hangers can be repurposed for kids’ belongings such as soft toys, craft supplies, dolls, action figures, cars and more. Reserve the higher pockets for any items that you’d like to keep out of reach.
10. Get creative with bathroom storage
Don’t have a built-in bathroom cabinet? Repurpose a dresser or drawers to keep extra towels and products on hand, or look for other storage solutions such as a ladder, stacked crates or a kitchen trolley on wheels.
11. Out of sight
Conceal office supplies such as folders, tax receipts and files inside a storage chest. Storage chests can also double as a great bench seating option.
Buy a pack of shower curtain rings – they’re surprisingly useful! Loop onto a hanger or piece of dowel to store belts, scarves, ties, handbags, hair ties, baseball caps, necklaces and more!
13. Colour code
Help little people find – and more importantly, put away – their belongings by assigning each child a different colour. Then you can buy them a storage tub with a toothbrush, towel, etc in that colour, or use coloured dots or thread to ‘label’ their belongings.
14. Brick tricks
Save your soles from stray Lego with clever storage solutions. Think a toolbox with pull-out drawers, storage tubs with colour-coded labels, compartmentalised craft organisers or a play mat and storage sack in one (a drawstring turns the mat into a sack!).
15. Book nooks
Not enough space for a bookshelf? Use picture ledges as floating shelves to display beautiful books.
16. Memory lane
If you’re guilty of hanging onto a high volume of things for nostalgic reasons but don’t have the storage space – take a photo of the keepsake and display the pic in an album or a frame.
17. Ice cube trays
Ice cube trays and kids’ paint palettes/trays are the perfect size for sorting small items such as earrings, rings and buttons.
Use a corkboard or pegboard to hang earrings, bracelets, rings and necklaces.
19. Magazine holders
Secure magazine holders to the inside of bathroom cabinets to store hairdryers and straighteners or under kitchen shelves for cookbooks and boards or oven mitts.
20. Shelf life
Install some shelving over your bathroom door to store everyday items for easy top-ups. Think toilet rolls, cleaning products, bars of soap and towels.
Store your clutches in a kitchen organiser rack. Meanwhile, a spice rack is the perfect little spot for nail polishes, lipsticks or essential oils.
22. On a ledge
Attach floating shelves to a timber bedhead to hold miscellaneous items such as reading glasses, books, a clock or framed photos.
23. Bath system
Store kids’ bath toys in wire fruit baskets suspended from your shower rod or frame.
24. Shoe shuffle
Sort your shoes into pairs and store in clear boxes stacked vertically on the floor of your wardrobe or on open shelves.
25. Use pegs
Hang your kids’ paintings rather than cluttering up the fridge. Set up a simple string-and-peg display system on an empty wall or along a window.
26. Use dividers
Tip your underwear drawer out onto the bed and discard any odd socks, worn-out bras or undies that have lost their elastic. Put everything that’s left back in the drawer, using dividers to keep items in their categories.
27. The coat-hanger trick
Try this Oprah-approved trick: hang all the clothes in your wardrobe with the hangers facing inwards. After you wear an item, hang it back up the opposite way. Every six months, do an inventory of the items that haven’t been worn and sell or donate them.
28. Limit your sheets
Cull your linen closet down to two sets of summer sheets and two of flannelette (if needed) per bed, plus two full sets of towels for each person. That’s seriously all you need – one set in use, one in the wash. Store each set of sheets in its matching pillowcase.
29. Car clutter
Keep a rubbish bag or empty box in the car for coffee cups, used tissues or gum, and empty it once a week. Likewise, a basket in the boot can come in handy for on-the-go items like hats, balls, picnic rugs, sunscreen and kids’ toys.
30. Road trip
Speaking of kids and cars, hang a canvas shoe organiser over the back of the driver’s or front passenger’s seat to store their (many) travel belongings, such as electronic devices and headphones, playing cards, colouring books and pens, dummies, snacks, sunnies, drink bottles and a few favourite toys.
Words by: Stephanie Hope.
Photography by: Bauer Syndication.
The Harcourts Foundation, the charitable arm of Harcourts, has reached the milestone of $6 million raised since its launch in 2008. That translates to 732 charities supported, 356 communities impacted, and over 970 grants made through Harcourts offices in New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and the USA. Key community issues such as homelessness, domestic violence, hospice care, education, healthcare and early childhood education, amongst many others, are being tackled head-on with support of Harcourts team members’ generosity.
“The Harcourts Foundation is an important part of our vision to deliver the finest experience in real estate,” said Harcourts Managing Director Mike Green. “The impact we have made to people’s lives is quite profound. We are all incredibly proud to achieve six million dollars raised and give directly back into the communities where we live.”
Over time, Harcourts franchises, offices and people have generously created a history of giving through sponsoring and supporting thousands of people in need. Being caring members of the local communities ensures a better quality of life for everyone.
“The Foundation has impacted the lives of thousands of people and continues to do that,” continued Mr Green. “Over the last eleven years, over 300 offices take an amount off the top of every property sale and many more fundraise in their own local area. The support goes directly to those who need it the most, raised at events from small ones like sausage sizzles to large countrywide initiatives such as Walk A Mile in Their Shoes, in Australia, and the Hospice NZ Grants Programme.”
The Foundation operates as a 100% charity and is funded through Harcourts employee salary sacrifice, ‘off the top’ contributions from sales commissions, and through organised fundraisers.
All funds raised going directly to grants due to the volunteer-run structure that sees Harcourts employees donate their time and expertise to oversee and administer the process. No management fees, salaries or running costs are taken from the donation account.
Through the Harcourts Foundation, Harcourts New Zealand provides grants to help support grassroots community groups. These are often lesser known charities that are making a real difference in their communities, but struggle to find funding. In 2017, the Harcourts Foundation and Hospice New Zealand established the Hospice NZ Grants Programme. This unique program provides member hospices with the opportunity to purchase much needed equipment, enabling people with life limiting illnesses to live every moment.
The Foundation also supports Plunket’s free community services for the development, health and wellbeing of children in New Zealand under five years of age. “It’s wonderful to see the positive impact the Harcourts Foundation has had on our local communities over the past 11 years,” said Bryan Thomson, Harcourts New Zealand Managing Director. “Through their work with the Foundation, our people all around the country have established strong connections with their local communities and are able to see first-hand the impact their contributions are making.”
To date, the Foundation has granted over 537 community grants around the country.
Robert Carter – General Manger
Market indicators continue to point towards confidence moving forward. In July North Shore prices remained steady and volumes increased. At Harcourts Cooper & Co, our monthly auction success rate increased to 68% with an average of 2.2 bidders per auction.
The recent reduction to a record low official cash rate has added to the confidence provided by the abolishment of a proposed capital gains tax.
Investors are making their way back into the market along with increased demand from first home buyers.
Whilst we have seen a 13% increase in the number of CCC’s issued this year compared to the prior year, Auckland continues to have a housing shortage as a result of the accumulated shortfall in housing that built up due to many years of under building.
It’s like a game of 2 halves with current listings. Key factors for achieving a successful sale are the marketing & promotion, price expectations & sales method, the presentation of the property and agent & agency representing the owner. When the aforementioned factors are favourably combined, we are typically achieving great results. However, if a property has one or more of these not effectively managed or additional obstacle/s for buyers to overcome it is sometimes resulting in the property taking longer to sell.
With Spring just around the corner, signs are positive for an active market with opportunities for the astute.
There may not be the frenzy to buy or sell in winter as there is in spring or summer, but homes sell all-year-round. Here are some tips on how to make your home worthy to buy during the cold snap.
1. Make sure your home has plenty of natural light
If natural light isn’t flooding into your home on open days or when potential buyers view the house, ensure all of your lamps and lights are on. It’ll give your home a lift and make it feel bright, spacious and appealing.
2. Get the temperature right
Before the open home and prior to visits from potential buyers, ensure your home is warm. There is nothing inviting about a cold home. Be certain the warm temperature applies to every room in the house, not just the living area.
3. Keep your home nice and dry
Dampness and mould will be noticed straight away by potential buyers in winter. Sort out any issues before buyers start viewing. Ensure you have good ventilation and install an HRV system if you’re happy to invest in it before you sell, it’ll dry out your home and remove any condensation.
4. Make sure its clean on the outside
Get out the waterblaster and clean your home’s exterior, paths and driveway. These can develop green slime and dirt in winter. Be watchful, once removed it can return quickly. Inside, remove any marks on your walls and wipe off fly excrement from your ceiling and light shades. Wash any mouldy curtains and wipe down mould on walls.
5. Embrace the season
Before people come to view your property, light your fire, set the table and celebrate all the wonderful things about being in the comfort of your own home. People will warm to your home if it feels welcoming.
6. Pick the right time
You don’t want open homes and viewings to take place near the end of the day when the sun is disappearing. Ensure they take place when the sun is shining the strongest, bringing out the best in your property.
7. Make a good first impression with street appeal
Avoid any trees or shrubs becoming overgrown. Cut them back to ensure good presentation of your home and garden. Have the hedges trimmed, pull out any weeds, fix the letterbox if it is broken, prune and deadhead plants, touch up any bits of paint on the outside of the house. Indoors, fill vases with fresh flowers for some colourful cheer.
8. Appeal to the senses
Ask yourself how the home feels – warm? Cosy? How does it smell? Light a beautiful candle and let the subtle scent waft through the home. Ensure you have beautiful cushions on your couch and soft blankets on chairs to give the feeling of comfort. First impressions count. Lay down soft rugs on timber or tiled floors for added softness.
9. Create a welcoming entrance
Stand out on your street and have a look at the entranceway to your property. Is it tidy and inviting? Buy some beautiful camellias to grace your entrance or pathway, ensure your berm is mowed properly and paint/fix your letterbox if it needs it.
Blog from Homestolove.co.nz
Trust me when I say this: Kids. Destroy. Homes. So how do we go from the ‘double income, no kids’ sleek, curated home to a safe but stylish space catering to the messiest fingers and bucketloads of dribble we all come to ‘love’? It’s all about planning for the future and making the right choices, based on form and function. Ready? How can you make your family home stylish but comfortable, durable but not daggy!
This zone is a nightmare to keep clean at the best of times. Short of hiring a full-time cleaner, there are a few steps you can take to ensure the heart of the home is beating smoothly and muck-free.
Anyone with little angels knows the chaos that is the breakfast/before school combo. It is truly a war zone. The best bet here would be a butler’s pantry, if you have the space, or a ‘butler’s cupboard’. This way, all the gear from the morning routine (toaster, bread, kettle, etc) can be easily packed away, leaving your space free of clutter.
Natural stone and marble benchtops are best left to the unencumbered homeowners (so, those without kids). They’re too easy to stain and too expensive to be forking out for the little ungratefuls. Instead, consider a composite stone such as Caesarstone, Smartstone or Essastone, as they are a mix of quartz and resin, and virtually indestructible. A new matt-finish laminate, AbsoluteMatte by Laminex, has a soft, sleek look and a fingerprintproof, scratch-resistant finish.
Grout can become a grime magnet on a tiled splashback. For an easier wipe-up, opt for a single-slab splashback in the same material as your bench or try Beaumont Tiles.
If you’re building from new, you’ll want your kitchen layout to enable the little tackers to run through, as they tend to do, without tripping you up. This is best achieved with a walk-around island bench or a double-entry galley kitchen layout. Keeping the foot traffic in your kitchen flowing is key to functionality.
Kids love a handle, and the best way to keep their grubby little paws away from your cabinetry is by installing push-to-open drawers and cupboards. At least it will take them a little longer to figure out how to get into every corner of the kitchen.
A mid-mount wall oven is the safest option when toddlers are underfoot. It will not only save your aching back, but also may save a burnt little hand or two by keeping the hot stuff out of reach.
The living area
This is where the kids’ 1.3 million toys will live – and for those of us without the bonus of a separate rumpus room, you’ll need some clever planning to keep the space looking somewhat presentable.
Furniture that serves two purposes can help keep all those toys packed away. Try an ottoman or a sofa with hidden storage inside, or even set aside a few cupboards in the entertainment unit for all things Peppa Pig and the gazillion books.
You can kiss goodbye that lovely velvet or linen lounge you had your heart set on. The cascade of vomit, avocado and smushed blueberries can destroy even the toughest of fabric couches, so leather is the way to go. Avoid the lighter leathers if you can, and make sure you clean it often and as recommended. Although leather can seem a bit cool, dress up your sofa with plush cushions and plenty of texture. If you’re buying a new lounge, pay that little bit extra for the ‘no questions asked’ warranty. You WILL use it.
Kids’ heads seem to be a magnet for sharp corners or a solid edge, so choose furniture that will ‘soften the blow’ every so often. Selecting a round coffee table, an upholstered arm on the sofa and cabinetry that extends all the way to the walls will save plenty of bumps on the heads of your little treasures.
Like the sharp edge of a table, kids are drawn to the TV that blares The Wiggles at 7.05am EVERY morning (can you feel the angst?). Mount your heavy TV on the wall and you’ll never have to worry about your kids pulling your expensive pride-and-joy down from a shelf, or hurting themselves in the process.
Bathroom routines are the bane of every mum’s and dad’s life. It’s either World War III as you even hint at the idea of personal hygiene, or the bathroom has been turned into the set of Waterworld, with toys strewn over the floor and litres of water lapping at your ankles. If we can’t prevent all this, at least smart design can quell the chaos.
A smart bathroom layout will be your best friend in here. A wet zone can contain all the water-based fun in one area, preventing you from getting wet feet when you brush your teeth at the end of the night. Try having the shower next to the bath and a glass wall dividing that space from the rest of the room.
Large-format tiles do away with excessive dirt-attracting grout, saving your Saturdays for fun things such as going to dance recitals and footy training instead of scrubbing the bathroom floor. YAY!
Ditch the whole shower/bath combo. Visually it’s a mess and it can be dangerous for both young kids and older folk. If you can afford the space, a separate shower and bath ticks plenty of boxes, looks so much better and caters to a busier household.
Glass doors can be a big hazard for kids with slippery hands and feet, so ditching the swinging glass door will be a godsend. Install a fixed glass panel and save on cleaning the hinged edges.
Dark grout on the floor of a tiled bathroom will hide so much more dirt and grime than a lighter grout. You could even take it a step further by committing to an epoxy grout (as opposed to the regular cement-based version). This resin-based grout is much hardier and will look better for much longer.
Blog from Homestolove.co.nz
If you’re planning on selling your home, the kitchen is a great place to start to add value. The kitchen is one of those spaces that can make or break the sale for many buyers, but before you make the decision to totally gut your kitchen and start again, here are some tips on how to get the best out of your existing kitchen without breaking the bank.
1. Ease and flow
First ask yourself if your kitchen functions well or are there some things about it that have always driven you crazy. Is the pantry too small, is the dishwasher too far from the sink or the rubbish bin, is there never enough storage or are the cupboards too high? Consider whether moving an appliance or rejigging those cupboards could significantly improve the flow of your kitchen. Also, think carefully about what you are going to include as chattels in the kitchen. Anything difficult to replace that is a key part of the kitchen should be included in the sale if possible.
2. A good clean and a lick of paint
One of the simplest ways to freshen up your kitchen is with a coat of paint. Keep it light, airy and neutral – be sure to pick a shade that works with your existing counters and cabinets. Ask for advice at your local paint shop or when in doubt, white is usually a safe bet. A professional clean is a worthwhile investment and should include ceilings and walls. Fly spots and food splatters are big detractors to an otherwise sparkling kitchen.
3. Update your hardware
Updating your cupboards with new handles can give your kitchen a more contemporary feel, but make sure they are still in keeping with the overall style of the room. A country style kitchen with traditional wooden cupboards for example won’t suit the same hardware as a sleek minimalist kitchen.
4. Declutter storage spaces
Make sure your cupboards and open shelves are clean, orderly and decluttered. Potential buyers will be looking inside your cupboards, and if they are overflowing it gives the impression that the storage space in your kitchen is inadequate. The same goes for the pantry. Pare back the contents until you have some open space on each shelf. Organise what’s left into a set of matching food storage containers rather than lots of open packets. To make space you may need to remove items from your pantry and store them in a box out of sight during open homes.
5. Let the light in
Consider the lighting in your kitchen – you’re looking for that bright, airy feel. Good lighting will make your kitchen seem bigger, brighter and will make it more functional too. No one wants to cook or entertain in a dark, poorly lit kitchen.
6. Help buyers imagine it as their own
Your kitchen may be very personal to you and your tastes, but now is the time to make it clean, simple and neutral. Buyers may not share your love of bright colours or ornate accessories. They’ll want to stamp their own personality on their new kitchen, so give them a clean canvas to work with if you want to appeal to a wide range of buyers.
Does your kitchen tick all the boxes?
☐ Looks and smells clean and fresh
☐ Appears spacious, light and airy
☐ Provides a neutral canvas and avoids out-of-date features
☐ Makes it easy to imagine working and entertaining in
☐ Is tidy and uncluttered yet still feels welcoming
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