How to winter proof your family home…

How to winter proof your family home

By Freya Herring | Presented by Dyson|

winter-proof your home
Winter is coming, and that means it’s time to hunker down

Winter is coming, and that can only mean one thing: it’s time to hunker down, grab a mug of something hot and tasty, and snuggle into that couch. But hold on there friend, there are a few things you need to do before you get too comfortable.

Here’s how to winter-proof your house for the season ahead – you’ll never feel more cosy in your life.

Warm up

It’s obvious, but important: you’re gonna need a heater. But don’t go and buy a cheap one that barely heats the room – you’ll end up having to buy another one next year, and the next year… Why not just buy a good one in the first place? Yep, the Dyson Pure Hot+Cool purifying fan heater heats your home to toasty perfection as well as clearing up the air. It’s basically a mum: a multitasking miracle worker that once you experience, you’ll never be able to replace.

Snuggle in

One of the best things about winter in Australia is the chance, after a hot summer, to get cosy. The best way to do it? A snuggly blanket. Go classic by investing in a 100% cashmere throw – yes, it will cost you, but you will have this blanket for the rest of your life. If it feels like too much of an extravagance though, go for one of the internet’s current faves, a weighted blanket, which have been proven to reduce stress and anxiety. Just try not to fall asleep (scrap that: napping is what winter is for).

Pyjama party

Nothing, and we mean nothing, says winter like a good set of pyjamas and movie night in front of the tele. As the nights start to draw in and the air cools down, buy everyone in your family pyjamas and get ready for cosy nights in. It almost makes winter worth it.

Clear the air

One of the problems in the Aussie winter is airflow – with all the windows closed, our homes can get muggy, so just imagine what the air quality is like in there? Luckily, those nifty Dyson engineers have come up with a solution, the Dyson Pure Hot+Cool. It captures 99.95% of fine particles, including harmful pollutants, so you can relax knowing the air in your home is as clean as it is when the doors are wide open in summer.


Many mass-produced candles can contribute to indoor air pollution, so look for more natural alternatives such as those made from essential oils and soy, beeswax, coconut wax or hemp oil. Your home will instantly feel warm and welcoming – plus those glowing glasses sure look pretty when darkness falls.

At Dyson, we insist on developing technology that works properly, without compromise on any functions. The Dyson Pure Hot+Cool™ purifying fan heater delivers fast and even room heating in winter, powerful fan cooling in summer and efficient purification through all seasons. The machine automatically detects airborne particles and gases and simultaneously reports to the LCD screen and Dyson Link app in real time, encouraging wellbeing and maintaining comfort levels in the home.



How to grow a herb garden if you live in a rental

Renters, we have good news: You don’t need to wait until you have a mortgage to produce your own produce, you can do it right now at your rental. Here’s how. 

6 tips to herb garden heaven

Have you been dreaming of growing your own herb garden, but waiting for your forever home to do so? We enlisted the expertise of Charlie Albone — the director of Sydney-based landscape design company, Inspired Exteriors — to find out exactly how you can successfully grow your very own kitchen garden at a rental property. And, of course, how you can create one that can move with you!

1. Use a large pot or raised garden bed

As a renter, it’s best to avoid planting anything valuable in the garden, or anything you would like to take with you to your next home. To grow a herb garden, Charlie suggests renters use either a large pot for herbs or a raised garden bed if you’d also like to grow larger produce such as vegetables. For the latter option, he recommends opting for steel structures.

“I would suggest a raised garden bed made of steel, rather than timber, because they are easier to construct as they generally clip together and are a lighter weight,” he says. Plus, they are easier to then deconstruct and transport. Charlie also recommends Vegepods — a raised garden bed kit that is self-watering, portable and complete with a greenhouse cover if you’d like to take the guesswork out of it.

mint for pest control

Create a garden that’s transportable by planting in large pots. Picture: Erinna Giblin

2. Sunlight

For the renters with no super sunny spots on offer, we hate to break it to you, but it will be very tricky to grow your own ingredients. “For the success of herbs and vegetables, they need at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight,” explains Charlie. In short, you will require a balcony or garden that receives a very good dose of sunlight throughout the day.

More inspo: 9 awesome balcony garden ideas

growing oregano in pots

Herbs and vegetable plants need at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight. Picture: Erinna Giblin

3. Use good quality soil

Charlie likens soil to a human’s diet and fertiliser to vitamins and supplements so it’s important to get the soil right. “Soil is really important so buy the most expensive potting mix you can afford,” he says. “Generally, the more expensive they are, the better they are and the more nutrients they contain.” For the raised garden beds and the Vedgepods, Charlie suggests adding organic compost as well — this could be compost from your everyday waste or you could purchase a bag of compost.

Green Space garden planting growing vegetables

Great soil is the starting point for any successful garden, big or small. Picture: Erinna Giblin

4. Water well

When growing herbs and vegetables in temporary structures like pots or raised garden beds, Charlie notes that the body of soil will dry out quicker from the outside in so be conscious as to where you plant each variety. “I would plant the water-loving plants like parsley and coriander in the centre of those beds and the dryer-loving ones such as rosemary on the outside,” he suggests. Both herbs and vegetables require regular watering — and more so in particularly hot conditions and in direct sunlight — so Charlie suggests watering them once a day.

Green Space garden planting growing vegetables

Pots or raised garden beds require more watering than gardens in the ground. Picture: Erinna Giblin

5. Consider seasonality

Charlie confirms that most herbs don’t grow in the winter months, but during the other warmer seasons they are bound to thrive. For best results, aim to plant your herb garden in the spring to give yourself the best chance to create — and consume — a blooming and blossoming kitchen garden.

water seeds

Aim to plant your herb garden in the spring. Picture: Erinna Giblin

6. Pest and disease management

One of the benefits of growing a herb garden at a rental property is the ease of pest and disease management. Typically, herb gardens in rentals would be smaller than those of homeowners which means you have less to look after, and as a result, it’s easier to manage pests and diseases. If you do need to treat your garden, Charlie suggests opting for organic options. “I’m always using organic matters or methods for pests and disease control, especially in a herb or vegetable garden because you are what you eat,” he explains.

growing herbs in rental

The good news is it’s easier to manage pests and diseases in herb gardens in rentals. Picture: Getty

How to Clean Chopping Boards

How to clean chopping boards

Many of us use chopping boards each and every day – therefore it’s important that you adopt the correct method to clean and disinfect your chosen style of chopping board to avoid cross-contamination. 

How to clean chopping boards
As the founder of The Organising Platform, I love helping homemakers simplify their clutter, organise their homes, and put a stop to disorganisation once and for all. A happy home is a clean one, so here are my tips for cleaning one of your most frequently used kitchen essentials: your chopping boards.

Cleaning with salt and lemon

Cleaning wooden chopping boards is simple as all you need is two ingredients: salt and lemon.

Step 1: Wash board

Wash your board in hot soapy water

Step 2: Disinfect

Disinfect by sprinkling a tablespoon of course salt over your board.

Step 3: Scrub board with lemon

Using a lemon cut in half, scrub the board for a few minutes. As you scrub, squeeze the juice out of the lemon – the acid in the lemon will disinfect the board.

cleaning chopping board

Using half a lemon, scrub the board for a few minutes, says Chelsea from The Organising Platform. Picture: Caroline McCredie

Step 4: Let sit for 5 mins

Let sit dampened for 5 minutes.

Step 5: Rinse

Rinse with hot water.

Step 6: Dry chopping board

Dry your chopping board thoroughly and stand in an upright position.

drying cutting board

Dry your chopping board and stand in an upright position. Picture: Caroline McCredie

Cleaning with bi-carb and salt

Cleaning plastic chopping boards is super simple too – all you need it some bi-carb soda and salt.

Step 1: Wash board

Wash your board in hot soapy water.

Step 2: Mix cleaning paste together

Mix together one tablespoon of bi-carb soda, one tablespoon of salt and one tablespoon of water to form a paste.

cleaning with bi carb and salt

Mix one tablespoon each of bi-carb soda, salt and water to form a paste. Picture: Caroline McCredie

Step 3: Scrub board

Scrub your chopping board with the paste.

Step 4: Rinse and dry

Rinse thoroughly with hot water then dry board and stand in upright position.

rinsing chopping board

Rinse thoroughly with hot water. Picture: Caroline McCredie

Cleaning with vinegar and dish detergent

Cleaning marble chopping boards requires two kitchen staple ingredients: vinegar and dish detergent.

how to clean marble chopping board

You just need vinegar and dish detergent to clean a marble chopping board. Picture: Caroline McCredie

Step 1: Wash board

Wash marble board in hot soapy water.

Step 2: Create a DIY cleaning mixture

Create a mixture of warm water, white vinegar and 2 teaspoons of liquid dish detergent and add into a spray bottle. Shake to combine all ingredients.

DIY cleaning mixture

White vinegar and 2 tsp liquid dish detergent make the perfect DIY cleaning mixture for marble chopping boards. Picture: Caroline McCredie

Step 3: Spray onto board

Spray solution directly onto the marble chopping board then let sit for 3 minutes.

Step 4: Wipe down and dry

Wipe over with a damp sponge then dry your chopping board thoroughly and stand in upright position.

How often should I clean my wooden chopping board?

Wooden chopping boards require maintenance on a regular basis – use a mineral oil or beeswax on a monthly basis to prolong the lifespan of your chopping board.

Can I put wooden chopping boards in the dishwasher?

No, exposure to heat and water for an extended period of time could cause your board to warp, crack, or split.

handwashing wooden chopping board

Unfortunately you can’t put a wooden chopping board in the dishwasher. Picture: Caroline McCredie

Can I soak a wooden chopping board in water?

No, you should never let your wooden chopping board soak in water.

Can I put plastic chopping boards in the dishwasher?

Yes, plastic chopping boards are dishwasher-safe.

Can I use chopping boards for various purposes?

It is recommended that you keep a separate chopping board (or side of a chopping board) for raw meat, poultry, and seafood only. Do not cross contaminate chopping boards. Use one board for fruit and veg, one for meat and one for fish.

differnt chopping board types

Ideally you should have a variety of chopping boards for different food types. Picture: Caroline McCredie

How should I care for my chopping boards?

It’s important to thoroughly dry your chopping boards by placing them upright where air can circulate. This will allow the board to dry out completely, eliminating any further bacteria that can live in moisture.