9 quick cleaning tips that will save you time this Christmas
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!
Harcourts wins gold for Quality Service in real estate sales
The annual awards are decided via a robust survey by market research agency, Catalyst. Fifteen hundred respondents were asked to nominate a service provider in up to 41 categories, including real estate sales. To qualify to vote on a category, respondents must have used a service provider from that industry.
Harcourts CEO Chris Kennedy says we are humbled that Harcourts clients compliment our service with average star rating of 4.7 out of 5. Winning the award is a great validation of the high value our sales consultants place on offering great service to clients, culminating in a great sales result, and of the hard work they do to achieve that. “It is really satisfying to know the public recognise the expertise and high service offered by our team.
The Gold Quality Service Award sits nicely alongside the Reader’s Digest Most Trusted Award we’ve held for six years in a row, 2013-2018.”
Readers Digest says it is confident that the results of this annual poll are the truly accurate measurement of New Zealand consumer sentiment in 2018, continuing into 2019.
Survey respondents were asked to rank their experience on the listed companies according to the survey questions which focused on customer experience, and whether the customer’s expectation was met and, even better, exceeded.
Avoid expensive store-bought decorations with these DIY ideas
Add some festive cheer to your home this Christmas with these DIY crafts that are quick, easy and look far more expensive than their price tag.
If you’re looking to save money over Christmas but still want your decor style to have that designer feel, you’re in luck. We’ve rounded up our favourite festive DIY projects that look more expensive than they really are.
The best bit? You don’t need a degree in DIY.
Create individual crackers for the table – your family and guests will love the thought you put into choosing something just for them. The key to making these crackers look luxe is the paper – we used a gold mock-croc wrapping paper from Whitcoulls.
Cut the paper into six pieces 32cm x 15cm.
Place a cracker tube, toilet roll tube or sections of a wrapping paper tube in the middle of each sheet.
Wrap paper around the tube and use double-sided tape to secure.
Slot in your customised gift then tie each end of the cracker with a 50cm length of ribbon.
Cost: $30. | Time: approx 30 mins.
Everyday bottles can be turned into stylish candleholders by removing the labels and adding some greenery. We used Antipodes water bottles and a packet of candles from Look Sharp.
Select thin fronds so they will fit through the tops of the bottles.
Fill bottles with water once foliage is in place and pop a candle in the top.
Leave a small gap between the water and the base of the candle.
These are lovely grouped on a table or sideboard or would look equally enchanting as a Christmas table centrepiece.
Cost: $20.| Time: 5 minutes.
To make a beaded wreath take a 25cm galvanised metal ring (ours was from Spotlight) and cut the join so you can bend it open.
Thread beads onto ring in a pattern of your choice; ours was 1 big bead then 3 small (37 beads in total).
Bind the metal ends together with sticky tape, once the ring is full. We wrapped it around about 5 times for a strong join.
Take a length of wide ribbon about 75cm long, tie it over the join to disguise it, tie the loose ends together and hang.
Cost: $10-15. | Time: approx 10 mins.
Washi gift tags
Cut out gift tags from white card.
Hole punch a hole at the top of each card.
Thread through ribbon/twine or cord.
Cut Washi tape into different shapes and patterns, peel away sticky backing and secure.
Cost: $10.| Time: 15 minutes.
Fabric gift bags
If you have time and a sewing machine, whip up some luxe fabric gift bags in navy linen and gold-flecked velvet fabric. While the fabric is more costly than wrapping paper, these bags are part of the gift and can be reused by your recipient. They’ll love the effort you’ve gone to!
Select fabric that doesn’t fray easily. Cut out a generous rectangle a little wider than you want your bag to be and twice as long.
Fold in half so the patterned side is turned inwards and sew a 1cm seam up the sides.
Turn right side out, place your gift inside and tie a ribbon or gold string around the top.
Cost: $25. | Time: 30 minutes.
Art deco block decorations
These art deco-style blocks make neat little tree decorations and were inspired by the stylish print shown in the photograph. Their colours really pop against the black tree.
Drill a hole through the middle of each block (you may need to use a vice for the smaller blocks).
Paint blocks in your three chosen colours. We used testpots of Resene ‘Santa Fe’, ‘Springwood’ and ‘Rhino’. Apply 2 coats per block, leaving them to dry between each coat.
Cut cord to desired length for hanging. Double cord and poke through painted blocks (mixing the different shapes) to make a loop at the top. Secure with a knot at the bottom.
Hang on the tree. How good do they look!
Cost: $25. | Time: 1 – 2 hours.
Linen napkins look impressive but they can be expensive – some retail for more than $10 each.
Cut each napkin in half (turn over the cut edge by 2cm and sew along). To make ours we took $3 fringed blush linen tea towels from The Warehouse.
Fold and place in napkin rings and voilà: linen-style napkins with fringed ends.
Cost: $1.50 per napkin. | Time: approx 20 mins.
The beauty of a wreath is that it’s Christmassy but also super-versatile. To create this feathered version simply wrap two navy feather boas around a polystyrene ring and secure them at the back with glue.
Take a 35cm-diameter polystyrene ring and glue one end of the first feather boa to the back.
Wrap the boa around the wreath and glue at the back.
Take the second boa and follow the same process until the ring is completely covered.
Tie a length of gold twine or ribbon around your wreath and hang.
Cost: $26. | Time: 15 minutes.
New Zealand tops the 2018 Australasian Auctioneering Championships
Harcourts New Zealand are thrilled to announce that Andrew North from Harcourts Cooper & Co, Auckland is the winner of the 2018 Australasian Auctioneering Championships.
At last night’s awards dinner held in Auckland, he was crowned the top auctioneer across all of Australasia for the second time.
The event and title which has been held in Australia for the past three years now sees the title held back in New Zealand. This is after Andrew North beat 16 other competitors to take out the top gavel in the 20th edition of the Australasian Auctioneering Championships.
Of his win Andrew says, he is a combination of “excited, relieved and happy”. He is “proud and privileged”, as this is the seventh attempt at winning and having now scooped the title for a second time (first time winner in 2014) he is “delighted”. He acknowledged that he thought his competitors throughout the championships were “fabulous” and says, “the support and camaraderie amongst the auctioneering fraternity is incredible. We all want to do well but we all want each other do well too”.
He added, “in the Harcourts family, there is a number of great current and past auctioneers who provide me with insights and advice. Their support is invaluable, and I hope I can also one day give back in the way I have been supported throughout the years. There is something special when it comes to auctioneering in the Harcourts group and long may it continue”.
Martin Cooper, Managing Director Harcourts Cooper & Co is “very excited that Andrew has won this accolade for the second time, being judged the best auctioneer in Australia and New Zealand combined is no mean feat, and it is fantastic to be able to offer his services to our buyers and sellers in our North Shore based business. I know it’s not the same, but if you are getting open heart surgery, you want the best surgeon with the best track record. Selling your home is not a matter of life or death but when you are dealing with your largest asset, I’d recommend you choose the best auctioneer available, and we are very proud to say that we have in that in our winner, Andrew North”.
Chris Kennedy, CEO Harcourts New Zealand says he is “immensely proud” of Andrew and indeed all Harcourts’ entrants, of which there were two others Carlton Heres, Tasmania and Simon Jones, South Australia. “At Harcourts we put a lot of time and effort into developing our auctioneers. Our more senior auctioneers work with the more junior auctioneers to train and mentor them. There is a lot of guidance and support and I’m pleased to say it’s working”.
“I am massively encouraged to see the skill on display at the Schools Auctioneering Championship also. The future of auctioneering is bright and with talent on display from all competitors and in particular, the winner Vincent Doran from South Australia, exciting times are ahead”.
Kennedy finished by saying, “our auctioneers receive more industry recognition awards nationally and internationally than any other real estate group in New Zealand”.