Thursday, November 28, 2013

5 Gift Ideas for Mum and Dad this Christmas

This is a guest post from the folks at Cruiseabout, Australia's only national retail cruise agency, with stores located in most states and territories. 

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Your mum and dad may like a joint present so they can enjoy doing something together. Do your parents have specific hobbies or interests? Perhaps you have a techy Dad and a mum who loves to cook. Decide which category your parents fall into before deciding upon the right gift. May be you would like to take them out of their comfortable mum and dad roles and give them an exhilarating experience. Before choosing the gift, it is important that you work out your budget!

Joint gifts

If your parents see them themselves as coffee connoisseurs, maybe a luxe coffee machine might be just the thing to induce a caffeine inspired evening. For movie lovers a Gold Class gift package might be perfect and for dedicated theatre goers, tickets to an opening night or a gift voucher would be enthusiastically welcomed.

Short cruise

For mums and dads short on time, but in desperate need of a little rest and recreation, a short cruise is ideal. These cruises usually go from A to B up the coastline, usually only last two or three days, but will submit your parents to all the absolute luxury that longer length cruises have. They can relax, enjoy world class dining, be pampered or take in a show.

Adventure package

Are your mum and dad thrill seekers or do they dare to do something that will give them both an adrenalin rush? If so, why not give them a skydiving, shark swimming, bungee jumping or hot air ballooning adventure encounter? If they wish to soar through the clouds, race or drift around a track at breakneck speeds or embrace their deepest darkest terrifying challenge, put in place a gift that will take them out of their comfort zone!

Mum gifts

If you have a girly mum, a day spa voucher, a classic bottle of expensive perfume or retail vouchers might be just the thing. Perhaps your mum loves to cook. Many of the master chefs have a wide range of cookbooks published. If your mum is an avid gardener, a hardware store voucher or something ornamental for the garden would make her embrace you with pure delight. If your mum loves adventure or is comfortable with a hammer and nails, there are many gift vouchers that would satiate her greatest indulgence.

Dad gifts

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© Photographer: Lisa F. Young | Agency:
Does your dad love to cook? Is he a dedicated handyman? Does he have a passion for motorcars or motorbikes or is he a dad who likes up to the minute anything techy? Encourage your dads open talents with a gift suitable to his passion. Visit the tech department of a large electronic store for advice, look at cookbooks by well-known chefs or find out when race days are on at the motorsport tracks and give him tickets. If you are really stumped for a gift idea, why not a night away at a luxurious hotel? A night away to a mum and dad, can be as good as a holiday. Parents rarely splurge on themselves, so this would be a lovely treat. Short holidays can give as much enjoyment as a longer holiday, so have a look at what Cruiseabout has to offer for some unique short breaks that come with all the trimmings.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

3 Australian sporting events you need a big TV to watch

This is a guest post from LG, whose Smart TVs allow you to view your favourite content in one place. Wirelessly connect to your smartphone, view media stored on your PC and access an endless array of online content.

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© Photographer: Andrew Taylor | Agency:
There’s nothing quite like the excitement of a big game on a bigger screen; short of cinema tickets to view the Grand Finals season on the silver displays, the best seats in the house are often those in your own lounge room, where you can move about as you need to, without disturbing anyone else in the process. Beer, popcorn and scantily clad babes during the half-time show, all you need now is a couple of pizzas and a fresh pint in your hands to cool your fingertips and calm your spirits. It’s not over until it’s over and these five Australian sporting events should be entered into your spectator calendar in 2014. Get your mates together, pick up a couple of kegs, order a feed and get ready to witness a modern legend, as national greats take the stage and make your wallet a few dollars heavier.

The State of Origin

Contact football is a staple of the eastern sea-board, the ultimate contact sport played out of the green as two teams determined to be the best of a the bunch, by trial and birth, battle it out for tradition and a trophy. Sure to get your blood boiling, the game attracts a manifold of fan types, from avid lovers to random punters, it’s a fine way to spend a night or three, spurning your opposition and flying the Blue or Maroon loudly and proudly, though not too assuredly, if you’re surrounded by competing team supporters. Don’t take it too seriously and enjoy the athleticism and showmanship of some of the League’s best players.


Nothing beats the lingering odour of burned rubber flying through the long, sweeping Chase chicanes, as engines rumble and drivers prepare themselves to conquer the Mountain in the Bathurst 1000. Mount Panorama is a test of wills and endurance, as drivers chase the privilege of possessing the Peter Brock Trophy and the eponymous title of King of the Mountain, a honorific bestowed on those who nimbly navigate Hell Corner, the brutal Cutting bend and a variety of straights designed to test wits and driving of those who dare to challenge the circuit. Settle in with friends and family, turn the air conditioner on and feel free to yell at the television; it’s an Australian tradition.

The Melbourne Cup

Running horses and racing jockeys, the Melbourne Cup is the day that stops at least half the nation, as workers and leisure seekers line up at the TAB, enjoying a lucky punt and a shot at guessing the trifecta. Some insist there’s a science to the form guide, and while the formulas have yet to be faithfully tested beyond the whims of doubtful bookies, every event is subject to its own urban legends and rituals. Instead of braving the crowds and battling your way to the bar, crowd around your LG Smart TV for the best picture possible, jumping up and down with a few mates as your horse strides into first place and wins by a nose.

Do you have a favourite Australian event we’ve skipped over here? Let us know in the comments below!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Grab yourself $5 from the Cheesecake Shop Naughty or Nice survey

Giveaway time!

So an opportunity arose for me to talk about the lovely people at The Cheesecake Shop.

Licking your screen doesn't help, just fyi
That place has the better of me. I can still remember one night in my younger days, 2am and hungry. Driving around the Adelaide streets, head out the window yelling “Cheesecake shop!! Cheesecake shop!!”. Cravings make you just a little bit stupid sometimes..

I still don’t think they are open in the wee hours of the morning though. It’s probably for the best.

But when this opportunity arose to talk about them, there was no way I was going to let my current diet get in the way.

One day having cake isn’t the end of the world! If there is one thing in this life that is great, it is cake. When the world yells at you, remember, there will always be cake!

Cake is fantastic (ohh man I love cake).

But enough about cake, oh wait, that’s what I’m meant to be talking about isn’t it?

The Cheesecake Shop is spreading the word this Christmas about their Naughty or Nice survey. It’s a fun, few minutes for everyone and at the end you will receive a $5 voucher.

Each participant simply needs to log on at and answer a series of questions via the Naughty or Nice Barometer.

Have a go! I’m certain that voucher will be handy, I know it will be in my house, WHOOP WHOOP!

Totally stealing that idea :)

Have you been Naughty or Nice in the lead up to Christmas? Tell me your stories!  Let me know what score you get too (I'm 35% naughty tsk tsk tsk).

- tork

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Biggest Loser Husband Wife Weight Loss Off - Week 2

Trying to lose weight again.. blergh!  Think I'd rather lick a playground to catch the flu.  That helps you lose weight right? haha!

Ohh dear, this exercising thing has gotten hard again already.  It is our second week into the Husband/Wife Weight Loss Off and I have lost another 1 kg! So that makes it 3kgs total so far.

My wife has also lost 3 kilos!  But she has a person trainer, gym membership and a repugnance to soft drinks. Not fair!

But it's cool we are both on track to the same weight loss. So far so good!

The wife and I should be referring more to the Biggest Loser Club recipes though.  They have a bunch of daily recipes that look pretty good.  My cooking a breakfast this morning of bacon and eggs with Chirizo sausage and Cafe style toast probably isn't the world's best idea to keep doing. I swear I've seen Shannan Ponton have it for brekkie though, in moderation.

Also this week, the wife and I have been spreading The Biggest Loser word and talking to people at her gym.  There are so many people proud to state their weight loss numbers.  So many folks just trying to get in shape.  It's good to be around these sorts of people!  Very inspiring, which the Biggest Loser have plenty of inspirational folk.

Here's just an example, and maybe some inspiration for your own possible weight loss!

Cathy Whitehead’s life-long dream of winning a gold medal is now within her reach after her amazing weight loss achievement. Shedding an impressive 62kg with the help of The Biggest Loser Club, Cathy is currently training for the World Masters Modern Pentathlon Championships and she is determined to win. The 43 year old mum, and IT and Management Consultant from WA, woke up over a year ago and decided she wanted to win the next World Masters Pentathlon to be held in Germany in 2014. However, at 131kg Cathy knew that in order to undertake the gruelling training required she had to lose the weight. Pentathlon combines show jumping, fencing, shooting, swimming and running. She had to lose 20kg just to get on a horse, then learn to ride and show jump at 42 years of age.

An avid fan of the Biggest Loser TV Show, she joined the online weight loss program the contestants of the TV Show use, and felt the whole plan was geared towards success. Within 15 months Cathy dropped to 69kg and now her sights are set on glory next year.

However, Cathy didn’t always have a winning attitude. When she was a teenager, Cathy dreamed of winning an Olympic gold medal in sailing. That dream slipped from her grasp, largely due to her struggles with weight gain – something she never conquered until she discovered The Biggest Loser Club.

“I was overweight most of my life. My parents actually nicknamed me Benny the Ball from the cartoon show ‘Top Cat’. I was huge,” Cathy says. “I tried to control it. Mum and Dad are doctors so we ate healthy food, but I remember thinking it was so unfair. On both sides of my parents’ families – we are not small people. Some body types are predisposed to holding onto weight and some aren’t.”

In her early 20’s, Cathy managed to keep her weight in check. “I was around 65kg when I met my husband at 21, but by my late 20’s I was heavy again, nearly 100kg after my daughter was born.” When she was growing up, her daughter was heavily involved in youth modern pentathlon, which meant Cathy had to juggle work and daily training sessions.

“I wouldn’t eat breakfast or lunch, then I’d have a packet of chips around 3pm and dinner was often takeaway food,” she says.

“In the first week of joining the Biggest Loser Club I lost several kilos. That was incredibly motivating.” She used the online diary for the calorie counter and vigilantly monitored her charts to ensure she kept to the recommended guidelines.

“I started eating the right foods at last, keeping my protein high, carbohydrates moderate and saturated fats low. By sticking to the correct percentages on the charts, I managed to lose the weight within 15 months.”

“The guidelines and resources the Club provides are substantial. All the tools are there for success, if you want to use them!”

However, when it came to exercise, Cathy had to overcome major obstacles. “I have fibromyalgia, an auto-immune disease which causes all my joints and muscles to hurt,” she says. She was using a walking stick when she first started training. “I get up and train for the pentathlon every day, even though it hurts. The medications I take cause weight gain and my immunologist is amazed that I can lose weight at all, but I can because I’m passionate. “Now that I have lost the weight, the biggest change for me is being able to compete. It’s been my life’s dream. I’m going to win. There is no alternative.”

Cathy is a champ! Goes to show how easy it can be if you can just be bothered to all the right things, and keep on being bothered!  It's hard and probably my biggest hurdle.  Perhaps it is something I'll get the Biggest Loser folk to answer!

Stay tuned for next weeks post to the answer as well as a possibly give away! *hint hint*

- tork

Thursday, November 21, 2013

How to get the Lush Green Grass you've Always Wanted

This is a guest post from Fabric Solutions Australia, an ‘All-Australian’ company with expertise in custom design, fabrication and installation of liquid containment systems and fabric products

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© Photographer: Monkie | Agency:
The grass always seems greener on someone else’s yard. Don’t worry, just follow these few simple tips, and you’ll soon have a lawn worth envying.

Tip #1: Not too short

The biggest mistake people make is cutting their grass too short! Lawns that are kept quite short are vulnerable to weeds and discourage the establishment of helpful microbes in the soil. A helpful guide is to only cut a third of the grass height at one time, to make sure your lawn has the best chance of growing strong and healthy. You can change the height of your lawnmower blades to a healthier height (check the manual to change this safely).

Tip # 2: Put down the fertiliser

It can be tempting to keep fertilising your lawn expecting it to grow faster with more food, but this can cause more harm than good. Over-fertilising runs the risk of changing the chemical balance of the soil too greatly, making it a less than comfortable place for your grass to live. A good alternative is to spread the grass clippings back over the top of your lawn. This provides an organic fertiliser that will break down and feed your lawn gradually without overwhelming the soil.

Tip#3: Water right

Most people will tell you to water at sunrise or sunset, but are actually missing out on an important principle to make your lawn more resilient. When watered less frequently, but soaking heavily when you do, the grass will grow deeper roots to collect water from deeper in the soil. This deeper water will then wick upwards as the top layers dry, ensuring that the roots find enough water even if they have very shallow roots to start with. Deep roots also mean that the grass will be able to draw more water even when you don’t water it yourself. With water restrictions and cost becoming bigger factors in some areas, you can also consider watering from a rainwater tank. Using a tank can help you avoid council water restrictions and keep your grass lush and green all year round. Click here to find out more.

Tip #4: Do it yourself

They say if you want something done right, do it yourself. This is especially true of lawn care. Wherever possible, try to pull weeds by hand or a small gardening tool (dandelion weeders are a cheap and effective option). The less you interfere with the natural growth of your lawn by the use of pesticides, the healthier your lawn will be. Avoiding pesticides (where possible) along with allowing the grass clippings to act as a slow release fertiliser will keep your lawn in great health for the coming summer.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

5 Clearing Tips That Will Get You Your Shed Back

This is a guest post care of Fort Knox Storage, an Australian owned and operated company that has set the highest standard in storage.

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If your shed is like a lot of peoples then it is probably filled with junk and cluttered up with stuff that you might rarely use. Your space might not be available for you when you need to use it to build something or work on a project. It’s time to have a clean-up, and sort out the shed, so that you can go back to using it for more than just a junk yard. Here are 5 clearing tips that will get you your shed back.


A lot of us become hoarders without even realising it and end up having a lot of useless junk sitting in there waiting for us to do something with it. Have a purge! Go through everything and work out what things you need and what things you can let go of. Take whatever you no longer need to the dump, a friend or give it to a second hand store and you will feel a lot lighter and have a lot more space in your shed.

Have a Garage Sale

One way to make a few bucks and create some space for yourself in the shed is to have a garage sale. After you have worked out all the stuff that you don’t need anymore, advertise in your local paper to have a garage sale. Either lay everything out on the front lawn, or let people go into the shed and choose for themselves and pretty soon you will be sitting pretty with a few extra bucks in your pocket and a shed that you can now use!

Get a Storage Unit

If there is a lot of stuff that you think you might need again, or aren’t sure about what you want to do with it, then why not hire a storage unit in the meantime. It can be a valuable place to store tools, furniture and pretty much anything that you don’t need to use right now, and it will be well worth it for the space that you now have in your shed. There are a few different types of storage units available so check out for the one that is in your area.

Organise It

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One way to make more room in the shed is to organise everything a bit better. One main reason that our stuff feels like it is taking up too much room is that we are unable to actually see what we have got and therefore miss out on using stuff that might be really useful. Assess the situation and have a look at ways that you can organise the stuff so that it can be used.

Use Wall and Roof Space

The wall and roof space are often areas where there is a lot of room that is not being used. Having some shelving put in and hooks on the wall will mean that some of the stuff (especially tools) can be on display, and you will be able to easily find it when you need it again!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Biggest Loser Husband Wife Weight Loss Off - Week 1

It's back again!  Time for me to lose some more weight.  I saw a photo of myself and even though I'm more than comfortable with my weight, the photo wasn't the most flattering..


That is what I let myself get to. Disappointing! I want to get back under the 80's. I want to get healthier and look healthier.

Last time I worked with the folks at The Biggest Loser Club I lost heaps of weight and got down to 81kgs.  That was over 8 weeks though, this time I am working for 6 weeks.

I think my problem with my weight is because I lost the weight, I thought "all good now", I didn't have to exercise and that I could eat the same old crap again and get away with it. Does that make any sense? It doesn't hey..

(fyi my local Fish & Chips shop does one hell of a smashing Fish Burger.  God give me strength to lose the weight and ignore temptations!)

So this time, I am back with the Biggest Loser Club to make sure I lose the weight and lose it for good.  I'm not going to do it myself though this time.  My wife has joined up too and is going to be the nagger helpful, nice gal that she always is.

But seriously, the wife has lost 15kgs this year!  I am very proud of her and she is also my push to inspire my own weight loss. Hopefully I will lose more than her in 6 weeks in a little side competition hehehe!

Saying that, I have already started my first week with the Biggest Loser folks.  I am 86kg already after week one!

What's my secret? My two year old boy.  Often he'd tire me out playing games. He is a non-stop ball of energy.  I decided to not stop playing until he is tired out.  Exercise and fun!  It really is a great push.

But Week 1 is always the easiest to lose weight.  We shall see how we go!

If you have any exercise and eating tips for me, please share in the comments!

If you are keen to lose weight, you can find info on the Biggest Loser Club below.   And even better, be on the look out over the next few weeks for your chance to win yourself Biggest Loser Club membership! More to come!

Here is the following from the Biggest Loser guys:

So, Who is The Biggest Loser Club?

The Biggest Loser Club is one of Australia’s leading online weight loss programs. It provides all the weight loss tools and diet tips you need to achieve your goals, including expert advice, step-by-step tutorials, delicious menu plans, healthy low-fat recipes, exercise plans and our highly regarded food and exercise diary to track everything you eat and drink. The diet plan is 100% online so you can lose weight from the convenience of your own home, work or even your mobile phone.

On joining The Club, you will receive an individualised menu plan, exercise program and daily calorie target each week.

One of the key reasons people give up on diets is that they’re too restrictive and can often leave you feeling hungry. This is why The Club has opted for a more realistic daily calorie target that will allow you to lose weight at a steady pace, about half to a kilo a week, without feeling deprived. You will also learn about nutrition and making healthier food choices in your day to day life along the way.

And if you need support, advice, or just a place to share your own weight loss journey, jump into our online forums.

What do you get with The Biggest Loser Club weight loss program?

An interactive food and exercise diary that automatically calculates the calories you eat and how much you burn through exercise and daily activity, so that you can see if your weight loss is on track.

• A weekly menu and exercise plan to ensure steady and consistent weight loss.

• Weekly features providing weight loss tips and advice.

• Dynamic graphs and charts to track your weight loss.

• Online forums where you can learn and share weight loss tips with other Club members.

• Delicious, easy-to-cook, low-fat recipes.

• A resource of weight loss articles, providing guidance on how to manage your weight loss program with the daily stress and pressures of work and family.

On The Club program you can expect to lose 0.5 to 1kg per week in order to achieve your healthy weight. A steady weight loss offers you the best chance of getting rid of those kilos for good.

No food is forbidden – you can still eat the things you love, provided you stick to your daily calorie target. That means you’ll need to eat healthy, nutritious foods most of the time and high calorie foods less frequently if you want to lose weight and maintain your weight loss over the long term.

We have 2 payment plans on offer – $39.95 per month for 3 months or $19.95 per month for 12 months. Or if you prefer you can do one upfront payment of $99 for 3 months or $199 for 12 months.

To read more about The Club and the tools we have to offer, please visit

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Three Easy DIY Projects Your Children Will Love

This is a guest post from STIHL, who are situated in more than 160 countries with products helping people at work and are the world's leading chain saw brand.

Stock Photography: Toy Hammer Picture. Image: 237722
© Photographer: Kitsen | Agency:
If you think back to your finest childhood memories, most of us can say that helping our parents build something from scratch is way up there on the list. They mostly did the hard work, but our toy hammers always put on the finishing touches. Now that we are a bit older and hopefully wiser, we realise how superhuman it was for them to create a tree house with nothing but a bit of wood and nails. If you’re anything like me, the thought of creating something fun out of a plank seems like something to put in the too hard box. That’s why we've created these super easy DIY projects. They’re simple to make and won’t cost you an arm and a leg; and I should also mention that they guarantee hours of fun.

Tyre See Saw

Why throw out your old tyre when you could make it into a seesaw? To start, grab your old tyre and cut it in half with a hacksaw. It will require a bit of muscle as the rims are lined with metal. Next step is to paint the two halves in a colour of your choice; your kids can help you out with this one. While they are drying, it’s time to make the seat. For this you need a long piece of ply wood that’s wide enough to cover the tyres when they are side by side. The ply might be too wide for the average kid’s legs so this is where you need to get crafty and saw a section where they can rest them. The next part to attach is the handles; make these out of the left over ply and attach them to structural cleats with an electric screwdriver. Once you've completed this step, give the seat a paint making sure you coat it with a primer first. The final stage is to connect it all together; for this to happen you’ll need to screw some wooden blocks into the edges of the tyres so that the seat has a fixing point. That’s it! It should only take you half the day, but it will mean years of enjoyment for the little ones.

Slip ‘n’ Slide

This is a favourite for both adults and kids alike; you can make it as steep as you like depending on how adventurous you are. All you need is painters’ tarp, garden pegs, duct tape, water and liquid soap. The first thing to do is decide on a location and remove any rocks and twigs that may hurt when sliding over. Then roll out your tarp, secure it down with garden pegs and cover it with duct tape so that they don’t rise out of the ground. The final step is to wet the slide with your hose, add the soap and get into your swimmers.


Free Stock Image: Toy Rake And Shovel Picture. Image: 17496
© Photographer: Winterberg | Agency:
When we envision building a sandbox, it usually involves putting a permanent wooden fixture into the ground. But what happens when your child grows out of it? Removing it will be hard work, so why not try a stone pit? They’re straightforward to put together and even simpler to take apart. The first step is to excavate the site buy digging a small trench and lining it with the bricks. Then cover with a weed barrier fabric to prevent the dirt and sand mixing too much. Finally, grab 10 bags of sand from your local home improvement store and unload it into the pit. Tip: You may want to use a bug repellent around the sides of the area to discourage ants and bugs.

These projects are a great way to encourage your child’s imagination and creative play. For any tools you might need, we found that is perfect for the DIYer or fixer upper. Happy building!