Home and Garden

Stop That sneezing!

6 ways to create a hypoallergenic home

  1. Coughing.
  2. Sneezing.
  3. Your throat is scratchy out of nowhere and your eyes are always watering as soon as you get home when
    you were just fine earlier in the day.
  4. Allergies are no joke.
  5. You will be surprised by the concentration of irritants that reside in your
    home day in and day out that are right under   your nose (and pillow).
  6. Sick Home or Sick Building Syndrome is a real occurrence that has begun to gain traction in the medical
    community over the last few decades.  Chemical contamination, poor ventilation, and biological factors
    cause this phenomenon but this can be eliminated by removing the sources of these harmful toxins

Read on for the best ways to increase your indoor air quality and drastically reduce the number of allergens in your  home.

   Get a baseline

Before foolishly upgrading furniture, replacing 2-year-old mattresses, and wearing face masks at every turn, it is extremely important to figure out what you are allergic to first. Visiting an allergist will provide you with a baseline to know what triggers what.  Why get rid of your fabric couches with costly, hasty upgrades when you are actually allergic to pollen!

    It starts in the bedroom

It’s not only magic that’s created in the bedroom.Since you are here the most often and also sleep here, its best you start here first when making your home as hypoallergenic as can be. Hundreds of microscopic allergens live and thrive in your bedroom so it’s imperative you begin working your way around this living space to eliminate any potential trigger allergens.

    Get rid of that old carpet

It’s time to upgrade.  Consider either replacing the carpet with new, or even better, get rid of carpet altogether with hardwoods or tile flooring.Literally just about any allergen accumulates and multiplies in the carpet.  Whether its dust or pet dander, pollen or mold, these irritants remain trapped in the carpet. Even worse, every time someone walks across the carpet, those allergens are re-released into the air, creating a vicious allergic cycle of poor indoor air quality.

    Upgrade your vacuum cleaner

Many of us have an old vacuum cleaner that was either gifted to us or we found a cheap one on clearance.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but when making your home super hypoallergenic we recommend reevaluating your vacuum cleaner.Newer vacuum cleaners not only feature the latest and most effective in technology, most importantly, they feature HEPA filters which is a game changer for reducing home allergens.Don’t forget to change those air filters too!


We won’t complicate things.A hygrometer simply measures the moisture in the air.  The moister the air, the higher the chance for mold growth and other nasty air problems.  Use this smart device to monitor your environment and ensure moisture stays below sixty percent.  Awareness is everything.

    Pick your paints wisely

Picking paints that contain VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are an easy way to poor ventilation and indoor air quality. In addition to picking organic chemical free paints, be sure to think about buying fabrics and furniture pieces that have harmful glue or chemical components.  The material composition of what your buying is always advertised, we consumers just tend to overlook it unless we are conscious about these things.Your house should be treated as a living entity that inhales and exhales just like you.

It should always be a priority to you and your family to stay educated on the environment and how to keep your home natural and toxin free.Stop the sneezing and coughing as soon as you enter your oasis.  It’s understood that you can’t control the outdoors or your work environment, but you can totally impact the indoor air quality of your home.  You deserve to breathe clean air, free of irritants, without worry.  We show you a few ways to increase the hypoallergenic nature of your home.

       READ ALSO:

5 Effective Tips to Keep Your Kitchen Pest Free

3 Tips to Ensure You Have a Successful First Home Cleaning Experience


Home and Garden

Do Engineered Floorboards Use Real Wood?

Wood flooring brings not only value and beauty to a home, but it is also environmentally friendly and incredibly durable. A lot of Australians prefer wood flooring to carpet or tiles, as it is also easier to clean with a mop and a non-aerosol spray than getting the vacuum or shampoo out. Best of all, fewer chemicals are needed since wood flooring doesn’t trap dust like carpet or grow mould in grouts like tiles.
When shopping for hardwood flooring, many homeowners don’t realize there are two types of floorboards to choose from: traditional solid boards and engineered ones. Both are made from solid hardwood but in different ways. Engineered floorboards are composed of multiple layers (usually three) of wood. The visible top layer also called the wear layer, is between 2.5-6mm thick and always made of real solid wood making an engineered floorboard look identical to classic wood flooring. The two base layers underneath the wear layer can be of the same wood species or different and as the grain of each layer runs in a perpendicular direction, it increases the dimensional stability of engineered boards.
This three-layer construction has a great effect on how and where in the house the boards can be used as due to its made, engineered flooring will expand and contract less than traditional wood flooring and is, therefore, less vulnerable to moisture and temperature related issues than solid timber. Since engineered timber flooring is resilient to changes in temperature, unlike traditional timber flooring it can be fitted in rooms with underfloor heating. Furthermore, this product is particularly used in higher moisture areas or rooms with varying humidity such as conservatories or wet rooms like bathrooms or the kitchen. Solid hardwood floors are best fitted in living areas such as hallways, bedrooms and living rooms or dining areas and should only be installed in wet rooms when waterproof mats are placed near sinks and tubs. But if you do not want to install different types of flooring in different parts of your home, engineered floorboards are the flooring to turn to, since they are the ones that can be fitted throughout and anywhere in the house.
Premium engineered floorboards are made of three solid layers of European Oak, which are bonded together for exceptional stability and durability. They come with a thicker wear layer of about 6mm that makes it possible to be sanded down and refinished several times just like classic timber flooring. As they are still thinner than their traditional solid counterpart, engineered boards are the ones to turn to when you need to match the height of an adjoining floor or are in the need to level out kitchen appliances.
As traditional floorboards are made of one solid piece of hardwood, they need to be nailed or stapled down to a permanent floor and can never be installed on a floating basis. Engineered floorboards have a greater range of installation methods as they can be nailed or stapled, clicked or even glued down to a wood or concrete floor. This makes engineered floors ideal for slab and basement installations, meaning a concrete base is not a problem. With a click system or a tongue and groove system for a quick and easy installation process, unlike solid timber floors, engineered boards can be installed as a floating floor which does not stick to the subfloor and can be removed and reused in case you move houses.
From classic Argento to contemporary Ardesia, engineered floorboards are available in a broad range of styles, grains, colours and handcrafted tool markings. If you want to achieve a certain look in your home, for instance, extra-wide planks, this may only be possible with engineered boards.

Home and Garden

Factor Influences The Cost of Marble

Marble is considered one of the most luxurious yet functional building materials in our time. Marble is preferred for its unique designs and shiny smooth finish along with the natural durability and strength of the rock. The age of modern minimalist design has made it the material of choice for many luxury kitchens, bathrooms and wall cladding or floor tiles.
When I was a kid, I thought the round toy marbles we played with were carved spherical pieces of rare marble countertops. I kept hoping to one day see a smooth and shiny countertop that was as clear as my favourite marble. Of course, I have not come across one to date because my toy marble was made of glass.
However, I was not far from the truth, historically, it is said that the original marbles were made by the Egyptians from the same material as our luxury marble tiles, walls and countertops. Nevertheless, people switched and began producing the toy marbles from glass and clay because it was too costly to use marble. The name, however, was already globally accepted and thus remained the same.

History of marble

Marble is a natural stone that is formed through a form of dolomite or limestone crystallisation. Limestone in itself is a very soft ashy rock but when subjected to extreme heat and pressure for a long time, the stone’s properties change. While marble can be found in several parts of the world including India, Brazil, China and the United States, the largest deposits are found in the Mediterranean region in countries like Italy, Greece and Spain.
The name marble was derived from its Ancient Greek name ‘mamaron’ which meant ‘crystalline rock, shining stone’. The purest forms of marble have a consistent colour and can even appear to be clear. The presence of veins and spots in the marble which give its unique patterns are caused by impurities such as clay, sand and iron oxides which were mixed in with the layers of limestone as it formed.

What influences the cost of marble

The cost of marble varies greatly from place to place due to a wide range of factors. Many of the factors that we will highlight here are location specific and explain why the cost of marble can vary significantly from one country to another.

Availability in the market

The original mass producers of marble were Italians who discovered and developed marble quarries as early as the 17th century. Once they mastered the art of cutting marble, they travelled to other countries to set up marble quarries and sent the uncut stone slabs home for processing. This extra freight and foreign production made marble very expensive in the early years limiting its use to palaces and luxurious homes.
By the late 90s, countries like Brazil, India, China and South Africa had begun investing in processing equipment and producing their own marble closer to the source. Through common market forces, the influx of Chinese and Indian marble in the brought down the price of marble making it more available to the masses.

Production costs

Large deposits of natural rocks like marble that are formed under pressure near tectonic plates. These are often located in remote areas and not easy to access. In many cases, the production companies incur heavy expenses to access the marble and transfer the extra costs to the final buyer. In China, the recent improvements in infrastructure to remote regions, mines and quarries has been a major influence in reducing the price of Chinese marble.


The factor that most influences the price of marble is its quality. The quality of marble is determined by the mix of minerals and the conditions under which it was formed. As of yet, the best quality raw marble comes from Italy and Brazil. Quarries in these countries have marble in its purest form. Pure marble is hard, dense and does not chip easily. It also has a consistent flow of colour both within the structure and on the surface.
Lower quality marble is brittle and has a lot of veins and patterns cutting across its face. While some people love these unique patterns, it is good to know that they are signs of weakness in the rock.


Marble is a rare rock that is found in limited locations around the world. While sourcing your marble you must always consider the cost of getting it to you. Take time to research and visit locations where the kind of marble you like has been installed and ask the users about their experience. You may find that the marble that best suits your application is not as costly as you think r you might find a savvy supplier that can deliver high-quality marble to you at an affordable price.


Why Queue, when a Car Detailer can Come to you

The busy streets of Wellington and Auckland have seen an influx of more cars over the past few years than ever before. The increased flow of traffic in the city has led to the accumulation and agitation of dirt in the cities. Abrasions from the course dirt as well as other vehicles and passersby also significantly affect your car’s glossy exterior. If you want to maintain your car’s youthful lustre and grace, you should have it detailed regularly. The basic car wash is no longer enough to keep your car looking spick and span.  Detailing a car restores its sheen and makes it look as good as new.

What is detailing a car?

Automobile detailing is a process in which your car is cleaned through and through to make it as good as new. If a standard car wash could be likened to taking a shower, then detailing your car could be likened to a full body scrub combined with a deep tissue massage.
Car detailing involves trained professionals washing the interior and exterior of your car by hand, making sure they don’t miss any spot while a standard car wash is done briskly with automated machinery. In full detail, the cleaners will get on their elbows and knees to wash your interior door panels, clean your door jambs, treat your door rubber and mud flaps as well as vacuum and shampoo your seats, carpets and boot. The attention that goes into detailing your car can only be achieved by a team of professionals.

Types of Detailing

There are several types of automobile details that are determined by your budget and purpose for the detail. If your children spilt milk on and under your leather seats, you definitely need a full detail with odour treatment. If, on the other hand, you are planning to sell your car, then a Pre-Sale detail is the best service for you. However, if you are interested in giving your car a face-lift and making it look as good as new, then you should consider a Cut & Polish detail.

Mobile Automobile Detailing

Market forces and modern lifestyle have meant that although many people would like to have their cars detailed for various reasons, very few have the time. An efficient car detailing service takes time; you cannot be in and out in fifteen minutes as is the case with a regular car wash. While some people have drivers who can take their car into the detailers for a full service, many others cannot afford that luxury. In order to capture this segment of the market, clever car detailers offer to come to you.
Modern car detailing companies have taken to the streets with specialized vehicles to do the job. Whether you are at work, home or away on vacation, your car can give your care all the TLC it needs. Moreover, you don’t need to give the car detailers access to your water or power mains because they come fully equipped with their own power and water in specialized trucks. Your car can get full detail without taking up any of your precious time.

What services can be a mobile car detail include

The car detailing teams are able to deliver a wide range of services at any location of your choice. The detailers can wash your car, paying attention to clean debris and remove stubborn stains by hand. Polishing with a high gloss finish and applying waxes to protect the car from fresh dirt and pollutants is the best way to wind up a basic car detailing job.
The best car detailing companies can offer a complete Cut and Polish or Paint Correction job at your doorstep. This service is very intricate and needs a high level of skill especially if done off-site. In summary, a ‘Cut and Polish’ Job involves the removal of layers of damaged paint and applying a seal to protect the underlying paint layers.


There are several advantages of using Mobile auto detailing services. It allows you to save time and it is very convenient for people with tight work schedules. By going out to find clients, car detailers have been able to boost their income significantly. The mobile automobile detailing system also gives the employees an opportunity to showcase their talents and customer care skills.


Scania’s First Autonomous Truck in Australia

Automation has been the dream of many manufacturers and inventors since the industrial revolution. In the automobile industry that dream is now a reality. Scania recently launched their first autonomous truck in August 2018. The system was unveiled with the Scania XT 8×4 autonomous tipper truck. The initial stages had a safety driver ride in the cockpit to monitor the performance and intervene in case the need arises. The system is currently serving the Rio Tinto’s Dampier Salt operations in Western Australia. Although the truck was initially used outside active operations, its performance has made it an intricate part of the mining operations.
Self-driving vehicles are increasing in sales and the forecast is set at 60,000 autonomous trucks by 2035. Although the thought of having driverless cars on the road sounds dangerous, the systems employed in the trucks have numerous sensors and safety programs to facilitate movement on the open road. A keen look at the automobile industry reveals that automation was always the inevitable objective. Most modern cars come with cruise-control, navigation sensors, accident evasion technologies and driver assistant systems. All these systems are automated and make driving an extremely simple task. The only difference between modern commercially available cars and autonomous cars is that for the latter driving is not a task at all.
Three main types of sensors drive autonomous trucks. Most of these sensors feature in modern commercial vehicles that can be considered semi-autonomous. Rear and 360° cameras are important to achieve autonomy. Cameras provide invaluable information on what lies outside the truck. With 360° cameras, three dimensional images can be generated and utilised to guide the automated driving system. Forward facing camera systems are useful for traffic sign recognition, road guidance and video-based distance control. These cameras can identify vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists, side stripes, road margins and bridge abutments.
According to recent statistics on road accidents, 76% of all accidents are solely attributed to human error. Radar systems used in autonomous trucks greatly reduce the probability of accidents. Radar application is important for blind spot detection, lane and lane-change assist, parking assist, cross-traffic monitoring, brake assist, emergency braking and automatic distance control. Autonomous trucks use short range radar sensors placed at each corner of the vehicle and long range radar sensors positioned at the front of the vehicle.
Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) system is a new system in the automotive industry that uses laser technology to measure relative distance. It also generates three dimensional images of the detected objects. All these three systems work in tandem to provide valuable input for autonomous trucks to manoeuvre seamlessly on the open roads and react to any eventuality. The chances of error are also minimal. Automated driving systems are divided into three main categories; conditional automation, high automation and full automation. The latter has the most complex set up and it’s where the Scania XT 8×4 autonomous tipper truck lies. The system employed in the truck covers all driving scenarios and it’s operator free.
Although concerns loom over the automated vehicle industry, developers are confident self-driving trucks will soon become the norm. In fact self-driving trucks will hit the road before self-driving cars. Autonomous trucks will see improved productivity, fuel efficiency, reduced transportation costs and reduced traffic on the highways. However, the new technology has prompted numerous legal considerations and a lot of testing is being done to ensure a full-proof system is in place. Although truck drivers fear losing their jobs, an autonomous truck still requires a driver in the cab at all times. A lot can go wrong and it’s prudent to have a driver on stand-by to deal with any eventualities.
Despite all the automation, trucks will always be trucks and spare parts still play an integral part to the functioning of autonomous trucks. Brakes are always the first casualty when it comes to wear and tear. With the right spare parts, your braking system will maintain its function. However, poor quality parts may leave room for errors in the automation system. When deciding when to brake, the braking power is a big determinant. Therefore to have a well-functioning automated driving system, the braking system must equally be up to the task. Moreover, the electrical system must be frequently serviced and if anything needs replacement, only quality products should be used.
Automation is definitely a huge step in the automobile industry. However, some parts of the car still remain the same and need the same amount of attention and servicing. In fact, with an automated system in place, all the vehicle parts must be in top-notch condition. Quality spares will definitely maintain the high performance of autonomous trucks. As Scania rolls out its first fleet of autonomous vehicles it’s important to remember the success of an automated system lies in all the parts working in synergy.
Read Also:
Fuso announces the introduction of a comprehensive ready-made range
New Scania Models Are Now in Australia

Home and Garden

Tops Spots For A Beach BBQ In Sydney

Without a doubt there is no better way to spend a day out in Sydney than getting out to one of the stunning beaches for a BBQ. Sydney is more than just the CBD, the shops, Opera House and *tourist attractions*. When you look again, you’ll find that Sydney has some amazing parklands and beaches, perfect spots for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. When you want to BBQ in Sydney, all you need do is pack your esky, grab your portable BBQ, pack up the car and head out to some of Sydney’s best BBQ spots.

  • Shelly Beach, Manly:

    Shelly beach is famous for not only being a quiet place, it’s also a very *family friendly* area. The beach has its own free BBQ areas as well, or you can pack your own. There is plenty to do here including hiking, snorkelling, scuba diving and swimming.


  • Collaroy Beach, Northern Beaches:

    Collaroy beach is one of the best spots on the Northern Beaches for spending the day in the sun and enjoying the weather. Of course, it’s well known for it’s surfing history and excellent swimming conditions. Collaroy Beach has recently had an *upgrade* with the park located off the beach renovated, it now has a sheltered BBQ area and picnic tables available. There is even a BBQ inside the children’s playground area which is perfect for a family day out. The spot also includes wi-fi access points, public toilets, rockpools and if you want to try your hand at surfing this is a great *beginners beach* with good wind surfing in north easterly or south easterly winds.

beach BBQ

  • Tamarama Beach, Bondi:

    Tamarama Beach is a quiet beach with great surf conditions, it’s also nestled in along the Bondi to Coogee walk. There is a BBQ area located at the top end of the beach, along with sheltered picnic tables and free electric hot plates located next to the children’s play area. Tamarama beach is surrounded by hills and the sounds of crashing waves, it’s the perfect place to BBQ in Sydney and just relax and unwind.


  • The Basin, Sydney North:

    Is a picturesque setting inside the surrounds of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. While not a beach, there are some nice calm water areas where young children can splash around. There is a grassy area found on the eastern shores of West Head which includes a well-maintained BBQ area. With plenty of area for the kids to run around, and some great views.


  • North Bondi Beach:

    Bondi is without a doubt; Australia’s most iconic beach and the north point of Bondi is a great spot to have a picnic or BBQ overlooking the famous beach. The park has a few picnic shelters and coin operated BBQ’s but if you are not bringing your own BBQ you need to get there early as this spot gets very busy during summer.


  • Clontarf Reserve, Clontarf:

    A great spot for a BBQ in Sydney with Clontarf beach next to the park, a lovely beach with little waves and views of Spit bridge. There are plenty of grassy areas for the kids to play and large trees that provide some shade on hot summer days. Facilities include sheltered picnic tables, toilets, a shaded playground, café/kiosk and free electric BBQ’s.


  • Winnererremy Bay Foreshore Reserve, Mona Vale:

    A great spot right by the water with picnic tables and free sheltered electric BBQ’s. The park is located next to a large gated playground, a bike track and café. Facilities include toilets, café, bubblers, paid carparking and free street parking.


  • Newport Beach, Newport:

    Newport beach is patrolled by lifesavers and has great surfing conditions, if you want to swim, there is a rock pool located at the southern end, with plenty of shops, cafes and restaurants nearby, an enclosed playground, toilet and showers and paid or free street parking.

beach BBQ in Sydney

  • North Palm Beach, Palm Beach:

    Another quiet, family friendly beach with good swimming conditions, great for both BBQ’s and picnics, situated near Barrenjoey lighthouse and the Palm Beach Golf Course. Facilities include showers and toilets, electric BBQ’s, a carpark and located in Governor Phillip Park is a playground.


  • Freshwater Beach:

    Freshwater is located between Manly and Curl Curl beach. Located next to the beach is a large picnic area with free BBQ’s and a playground for the kids. There is also a viewing platform at the southern end, and a rockpool on the northern side. Facilities include showers, toilets, kiosk, café’s nearby, a paid car park and street parking.


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Home and Garden

The Most Delicious Debate

Charcoal vs Gas Grills

Why is it always a competition?
The charcoal versus gas or even electric debate has been discussed decade after decade since the 1950s.
We truly feel it’s a preference thing.  In fact, it shouldn’t be a versus, but a more inclusive “and”.  Charcoal and gas grills both have their rightful spots as being king of their respective thrones.  They both serve different purposes while achieving a similar result, although the tastes are incomparable.
Charcoal grills typically used to dominate this discussion but as technology has advanced over the years, gas grills have improved a great deal.
The conversation about indirect and direct heating comes into play too with grilling.  Direct heating means to cook food directly over the charcoal or gas flame.  Direct heating is the fun and exciting kind of cooking that produces crispy sears and sexy grill marks.  Direct heating is the most common when it comes to grilling, due to the quick-fire nature and the crispy texture it dishes out.
Indirect heating can apply to grilling too as indirect heating means to place the food adjacent to the heat source.  You can grill whole chicken and ribs and even baked potatoes in indirect heat.
Convenience and ease of use plays a big factor in deciding which is best but even then, folks typically don’t want to miss out on the smoky flavor of the charcoal grill.
Both grill types have their pros and cons and we will take a look at which grill is ideal for what and examine the pros and cons of each.

Charcoal Grills


  • The flavor.Charcoal grill flavor and taste is simply unmatched.  Charcoal grills produce a delicious, rich and smoky flavor in your meats and vegetables alike.  The charcoal and fire create smoke that can’t be replicated, or you can use wood chips in place of the charcoal.  Either way, you are getting extra flavor and deeper taste profiles you can’t get from a gas grill.

As the drippings from your grill contents hit the coals or wood chips, steam packed with flavor rises back up through the food, creating an extremely unique taste you can only get from the charcoal grill.

  • Charcoal grills are less expensive than gas grills. Use those cost savings to stock up on grill tools like tongs, a grill brush, and high-quality steaks!
  • When it comes to heat, Charcoal grills can reach extremely hot temperatures. You need these high temperatures to achieve beautiful sears for steaks.  While you can achieve grill marks with lower temperatures, capturing the perfect crispy sear is the cornerstone for a great steak.



  • Charcoals grills tend to have a lengthy heat up time.
  • A bag of charcoal will yield you about three grilling sessions on average while a similar size propane tanks can last up to a month!
  • Cleanup for a charcoal grill can get messy. While you want to clean it regularly and prevent clean up from being so tedious, emptying charcoal bits and used ash isn’t the cleanest hobby.


Gas Grills


  • Gas grills are super convenient. Gas grills are the preferred choice on a weekday night after taking the kids to soccer practice.  They have a much quicker startup time as opposed to charcoal grills.  Simply press the ignition button and turn the dial. Voila!
  • The temperature control for gas grills are similar to your indoor kitchen. You can change the temperature setting for different meats without having to locate heat zones on charcoal grills.  Sometimes you may not want smoky baked potatoes and mangos.



  • Safety is a major concern with a gas grill. Always perform a safety check prior to grilling.  Inspect the propane tank closely for leaks and rust.  Your grill needs to be free from grease and a fair distance away from your home as another safety precaution.

In our humble opinion, you can’t go wrong either way.
Just make sure you season and cook the food properly because both of these grills will do their jobs!