Be alive at home - give your body some green!

Do you want to feel happy, peaceful, calm and in control no matter what happens? Do you wish that somehow, you knew a way to stop all those crazy cravings for sweet, fatty snacks at erratic times of the day? Would you believe it if I tell you that this is possible, permanently, and can happen in the comfort of your own home? And while you are doing this, you are also building your body with the best life-giving brand new raw materials available!
Greens are leaves which contain chlorophyll, and they are probably the most neglected food group in the entire supermarket. But yet it is these humble green warriors which make magic for our cells.

Why is drinking a green smoothie better than just eating greens?
Because the blending actually breaks down the cellular walls of the leaves, leaving you with the finest particles of nutrients which are delivered straight to your cells. And of course, all these living nutrients are still intact and not destroyed by heating.

You feel calm and peaceful
The chlorophyll in greens deliver oxygen to your cells and puts the body in a slightly alkaline state. This is a state in which optimal health is achieved and in which cancer cells do not thrive. Did you know that degenerative diseases like cancer thrive and grow in an acidic state.

You feel happy for no reason
A healthy body is a happy body. Research has proven that subjects who are in an optimal health condition still feel in control and calm even in the face of seemingly tough life events; while those who are not healthy, tend to feel unhappy even when they are rewarded with promotions or striking the lottery.

You adopt a more positive outlook in life
Things which you used to sweat over now seem smaller. You have grown in capacity to handle things because your body is now constructed with newer, better materials. And did I mention that your cells are rejoicing with the change?

Get rid of Unnecessary Addictions
Your body is made up of billions of tiny cells. Every cell is You; they combine to make up your tissues, organs, bones, face, hair, legs etc. When nutrition is improved, the body is strengthened on a cellular level. When your cells know what it is like to receive first class nutrition, they will not want to go back to the old ways! They will resist old substances like nicotine which does not do the body good.

Beautiful and Radiant Skin
Do you want smooth, blemish-free skin? Within weeks of constantly drinking blended greens, countless subjects reported lightening of spots, smoother skin and radiant complexion.

Smooth Bowels
This is probably the most common benefit experienced by far. Blended greens add a whole lot of fiber to the diet, and fiber is essential for smooth bowel movements. Constipation now becomes a thing of the past!

Energy, Energy and more Energy!
If you think that green smoothies cannot give you energy for that workout, think again! Or better still, try it before you judge it. It is true that due to the low caloric levels of greens, they cannot fill us for long. But the trick here is to combine it with sweet fruits – which supplies us with simple sugars. This is one of the best pre-workout foods and supplies us with simple sugars to burn immediately as fuel.

Release Unwanted Weight!
For those who have reached a plateau in releasing weight, try this! When your cells are nourished, cravings for unhealthy food become less or non-existent. Proper nourishment of the cells is vital to maintaining a healthy weight.
Here’s a simple green smoothie recipe for you.
Popeye’s Mango Smoothie
2 Large Sweet Mangoes
1 Cup Spinach
1 Cup Water
When you are done, don’t look, just drink. You will marvel at how delicious it actually tastes!

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Every home can do with Rosemary and Garlic Potatoes - easy peasy

Add new flavour to your roast potatoes with rosemary and garlic.

  • Serves 4
  • Preparation Time: 5 mins
  • Cooking Time: 20 mins


• 500g baby potatoes
• 1 tblsp olive oil
• peel of 1 lemon
• 1 tblsp Robertsons rosemary
• 2 tsps Robertsons garlic salt


  1. Cut 500g baby potatoes in halves and boil for 10 minutes until soft.
  2. Heat 1 tblsp olive oil over high heat and fry the potatoes with the peel of 1 lemon, 1 tblsp rosemary and 2 tsps garlic salt for 8minutes.
  3. Lightly crush the potatoes while frying until golden.

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Give your garden a makeover

We spend a lot of time focussing on keeping our home in tip-top condition, so it makes just as much sense to pay attention to the outdoors - the garden.
It's not easy to determine a single problem when areas of your lawn start to go brown or die, but there are ways that you can learn to identify individual problems and the solution required. Quickly appearing and expanding dead spots can be caused by a number of difficult-to-diagnose lawn diseases or pests.
While most lawn problems can be kept at bay by proper annual maintenance, fertilizing and watering, there are additional problems that you may encounter. In this article we focus on friendly ways to keep a garden looking good, so that birds and other creatures

White grubs
Adult chafer beetles lay their eggs in the soil and the resultant grubs hatch and feed on underground plant parts. A large grub popullation can easily destroy the roots of your lawn, leaving the tops to wither and die. Where infestation is severe,  roots are eaten away to the extent where turf can be rolled back like a carpet.
Symptoms: Irregular dead spots caused by beetle larvae feeding on grass roots. Damage is worst in the autumn. Dead turf pulls up easily, like a rug, revealing c-shaped larvae.
Solution: Imidacloprid applied in late spring to early summer is the most effective chemical control.
Proper fertilization and regular watering of the lawn can help to prevent infestation.

Mole crickets
Light brown in colour and up to 4 centimetres long, the adult lays her eggs in the soil in spring and the hatched nymphs feed on the root system of your lawn. If not controlled, the cycle continues and will eventually destroy a lawn.
Symptoms: Brown spots and occasional upturned heaps. When turf is removed, tunnels may be seen in the soil.
Solution: While chemical pesticides are relatively effective, there is a more eco-friendly alternative that comprises dishwashing detergent and water poured into the holes (if you can see them). This needs to be done regularly and, while not a permanent cure, will cut down the population significantly.

Lawn caterpillars
Symptoms: Most active at night, these destructive caterpillars eat the roots and young shoots of lawn, eventually causing it to die off in large, dead patches.
Solution: Check for lawn caterpillars by leaving a damp towel on the grass overnight. In the morning, you should see quite a few caterpillars under the towel. Insecticide is sadly the only option - treat with Margaret Roberts biological caterpillar insecticide, which leaves no harmful toxic residues and does not poison bees, birds or other wildlife.

Brown, dry grass
Symptoms: Where parts of lawn start to dry out and the grass appears to be dead, this could be caused by heavy compacted areas.
Solution: It is essential to perform annual aerating of the lawn. Use a garden fork to 'spike' the entire lawn just before spring. Consider installing stepping stones if this area has regular foot traffic - human or animal !

Circular dead spots
If you own dogs you're probably used to seeing these dead spots in the garden, especially since they are caused by dog or cat urine, particularly female dogs.
Symptoms: Small dead spot usually surrounded by lush, dark green grass. Caused by dogs making a pit stop.
Solutions: Simple but difficult—keep the dogs away. The dead spot will usually recover, especially if you soak it with a hose.
The best practice is to train your pets to use a particular spot for their daily basis, either a sand bed or surfaced area that can be easily cleaned.

Winter grass

Symptoms: Small clumps of grass that appear on bald spots or at lawn edges. Abundant seed heads allow easy dispersion of the grass.
Solution: Manual removal at the first sign is the best solution for eradicating this weed. Remove the weeds before moving to avoid spreading seeds throughout the garden.

Symptoms: Small clumps of grass that appear on bald spots or at lawn edges. Abundant seed heads allow easy dispersion of the grass. This plant can easily become rampant in any garden.
Solution: Regular mowing will control the plant by reducing the food source, and the tuber will eventually die off. If seed bearing plants are trimmed or mowed, collect all clippings and dispose of in a plastic bag to prevent any accidental spread. Manual removal also assists in preventing spread.

Annual care and maintenance of lawns
When regularly fertilized, watered correctly and maintained properly, a lawn will provide year-round enjoyement. It is necessary, however, to perform certain tasks annually to maintain a good, health growth.

Aerating the soil is important for lush growth and strong root structure, and will assist in a healthy lawn that resists mosts diseases.
Aerating reduces soil compression and increases water holding capacity of the soil but the process also involves scarifying and removing old thatch (dead grass). This way the root system of plants can access oxygen, moisture and minerals from soil, thereby helping in healthy growth of plants.

The best time to aerate the lawn when it is cool and dry, in late winter or early spring.
You can use an ordinary garden fork to aerate a lawn, or cut down on the time spent by investing in a mechanical aerator that does all the hard work for you!

Mechanical aerators have integral spikes mounted on rollers that provide uniform aeration of lawns.

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Keep sinusitis at bay with home remedies

Do you regularly suffer from postnasal drip, stuffiness, headaches, coughing, sore throat, swollen glands, hoarseness, wheezing, dizziness, fevers, sweats or hearing loss (phew!)?
Infected sinuses could be the culprit behind all these problems.
But you can ease your discomfort right away, says Jordan Josephson, M.D., author of Sinus Relief Now.
Just follow his four easy steps. 

Wash your troubles away
Over-the-counter saline nasal sprays cleanse and moisturize your sinuses, and remove allergens, infections and pollutants from your airways.
This should help you breathe easier, make your voice less hoarse and put an end to the need to clear your throat.
Look for a sterile solution that is labelled “isotonic saline” at your drugstore and use it daily.
If you’re taking antibiotics, ask your doctor if a saline solution is appropriate for you.


Make your own nasal spray
Eighty-four percent of folks who flushed their sinuses twice daily with a saline solution reported dramatic reductions in symptoms like congestion and sneezing within 72 hours, say researchers. To make your own symptom-soothing mix, try this home made recipe:
Combine 1 litre of water with 1/2 tsp pharmaceutical grade salt and 1/2 tsp baking soda. Don't use normal table salt, is it contains sinus-irritating additives. Pour into a squirt bottle and shake, squeeze liberally into each nostril, then gently blow out residue into a soft tissue.


Clean house… Literally
You want your home environment to be as soothing as possible, so make an effort to get rid of any mould or dust.

Wash bedding once a week in hot water and consider getting rid of mattresses every 10 years; replace carpeting in your bedroom with hardwood floors or tiles and make sure the room is well ventilated; vacuum your entire house weekly; and make sure your vacuum cleaner has a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, which eliminates dirt particles in the air.

Revamp your shopping list
Limit foods that can aggravate sinus problems, such as certain carbohydrates (sugars, grains and alcoholic beverages), dairy, foods containing mould (all mushrooms and aged cheeses, and caffeine. "You don’t have to give them up cold turkey but even cutting back a bit should cause a dramatic improvement in your symptoms,” says Josephson.

Follow Doctor’s orders
If you’ve already been prescribed medication for a sinus problem, it’s important to take the medicine according to your doctor’s instructions. If you’ve been prescribed a daily nasal spray or inhaler, it can take up to two weeks for you to see results. On the flip side, some medications continue to work after your symptoms disappear, so you need the entire prescription to make sure your infection really clears.

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Simple recycling projects at your home

Pull tab picture hangers
Recycle pull-tabs from empty cans and use them as picture hangers. Remove the tabs with a pair of pliers and then use a screw and washer to attach to the back of your art... simple!
source makezine

Wood coasters
Winter is the time for pruning and cutting back - here's a way to use large cut off branches as coasters and decorations.
Use a cut-off or table saw to cut down large branches into small sections.
The wood is still wet so pop into a low (60 degrees C) oven overnight to dry them out and then paint on your designs... simple!

Wood buttons
Smaller branches can be cut, dried and sanded to make buttons for crafty projects such as kitting or sewing.
source makezine

Stationery holders
There are so many ways to recycle plastic bottles. Here's one that uses the bottom of a plastic bottle for storing small office stationery. Use a craft knife to remove the bottom of the bottle, spray with Rust-Oleum 2X and then add trimming around the top to finish off... simple!
source makezine

Flower embellishments
You'll be amazed at how many uses there are for plastic bottles.
In our Kids section we show you how to use the bottoms from plastic bottles to make colourful flowers as embellishments for a bed, but you can use these anywhere in a little girl's bedroom to add pops of colour... simple!

source home-dzine

Hanging herb garden
Don't throw away the tops of the plastic bottles, you can still use these to make a hanging herb garden to mount on the wall in a sunny spot.

source home-dzine

Recycled can wine rack
Way back in 2008 we made a recycled wine rack with tin cans. But there are so many other ways to recycle tin cans.
source home-dzine

Tin can light shades
Here's a crafty way to use your Dremel Multitool and an old coffee can to cut out shapes to make adecorative light shade.
The effect is quite dramatic and you can vary the design for different effects.

source home-dzine

Kids art supply storage
We know that kids can be messy when it comes to keeping their bedroom clean. Recycle tins cans into a practical art supply storage centre and mount onto the wall for easy clean up.
Use a hot glue gun to attach the tins to a piece of board - any board will do - and then use our Pull Tab Picture Hangers to mount onto the wall... simple!

Organised office
Smaller cans, or cans cut in half, are perfect for organising small office essentials in a drawer.
image make

Art of wood
Scrap pieces of plywood are easily transformed into instant art for a home - and you don't even need to hang it on the wall.
Mix some water into white latex paint for a whitewash background. Buy or create a stencil of a favourite saying, and offset the words on each successive line. Find an image on your computer that you'd like to see on the piece, enlarge it on a photocopier to an appropriate size and print it out. Trace the image directly onto the art itself—or onto wood veneer, balsa or paperboard that you can colour and mount onto the board. In a couple of hours, you will have created an art centrepiece you can be proud to display.

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

5 no-no's in home selling

Here are five not-so-great things sellers do that make their real estate agents cross their fingers and hope for the best: 
1. Sellers who think their property is unique, thus worth more money
Sellers consider their homes special; most likely they've put a lot of heart, soul, and money into fixing it up. It may be where they started a family or built a lifetime of memories. When a seller believes their home is unique, however, they also believe it is worth more. Sellers then end up fixating on an asking price that's too high, despite the advice of an agent. If it's priced too high, a home will sit on the market for months. Unfortunately, nine out of 10 times, the seller will end up selling for less money than they would have gotten if the home was listed at an appropriate price from the start. 
2. The home is a mess
Sellers: It's important to pick up the home before a showing. Potential buyers touring a home usually don't appreciate stepping on a child's toy and fail to see the charm of a dog's discarded tennis ball. Buyers want to feel that a home is clean and well maintained. If it's not, they'll likely move on to the next. 
3. Sellers who hang around during an open house
There's a reason why real estate agents don't want sellers sticking around when potential buyers arrive. While a seller may be perfectly friendly and agreeable, they can alienate buyers or make them feel uncomfortable without even knowing it. 
4. Holding out for extra money at the last minute
Say a buyer made an offer that was less than what the seller wants. The agent and the buyer have gone back and forth with a series of counter offers. The seller is close to achieving their dream price but they insist on trying to squeeze more out of the buyer. In demanding more money, the seller may have created bad will, as well as stressed those involved in the purchase. When it comes down to it, extracting that extra little bit may actually cost the seller more at the end of the transaction. 
5. Sellers who don't clean up before turning over the keys
Sellers should imagine themselves as the future buyer. Would they want to walk into their new home and find twelve cans of old paint in the garage? Or an old sofa with a broken leg in the storeroom? The tip to sellers is to try to make the home as spotless as possible for the new owners. They'll appreciate it and so will the agent. 

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

You, your home, value and the top 5 renovations that pay off

Many homeowners are opting to renovate their home to accommodate their changing requirements or to fix it up before they sell with the hope that it will add to the market price of the property. While home improvement projects can really add to the appeal and practicality of a home, some will add more value onto the bottom line than others. 
One way to check the real market value of properties in your area, street or complex is to get an online property valuation report, which will give you information on what other similar homes have recently sold for. This way you can get a more accurate idea of what your property might be worth. 
Homeowners undertaking renovation projects cannot expect to splurge on expensive fittings and fixtures and recoup the value of the project when the house sells. Just because you spent R200 000 on home improvements does not mean that your house is worth R200 000 more. 
Factors such as the direction of the general housing market, the value of homes in the neighbourhood, the nature of the renovation project and how soon the home is sold after the improvement project is completed will have a bearing on how much of the renovation cost is recouped. 
The general rule, is that the longer the homeowner stays in the home after undertaking renovations, the less likely they are to recoup its value. This is because different owners have different requirements and tastes differ too. What one homeowner finds appealing, another may not and style and fashion trends can change dramatically over a relatively short period of time. 
Homeowners should always remember that having the fanciest house on the block is not necessarily going to mean it will sell for the highest price on the block. In fact, a house that is priced higher than its neighbouring homes could be perceived as overpriced even if it does have more value. One way to check the real market value of properties in your area, street or complex is to get an online property valuation report, which will give you information on what other similar homes have recently sold for. This way you can get a more accurate idea of what your property might be worth. 
The five top improvements that pay off more often than not: 
Because many buyers see the kitchen as the heart of the home, even a few basic improvements to this room can really pay off. Consider including energy efficient appliances, stainless steel, new countertops, a new sink, a coat of paint and new flooring. Cupboards can also be sanded, stained, painted or replaced if necessary. Where possible a classic design and neutral paint tones are best as these will appeal to a broader range of people. A well renovated kitchen can recoup between 70% and 80% of the remodelling cost when the home is sold. 
Kitchens and bathrooms are known to give the best boost in value, so these are the two areas of the home where renovation costs can be more readily recouped. In fact, you should make back between 65% and 75% of your costs of remodelling a full bathroom and around 65% of the cost of adding a full bathroom. Consider new fixtures including a bath tub, a double sink instead of a single one, recessed lighting, new flooring and wall tiles if necessary and a fresh coat of paint. 
Creating space
As a rule, improvements that increase the functional space of a home hold their value longer than ones that just make a house look better. This option is also often significantly cheaper and less of a hassle than adding a completely new room to your home. 
Security, windows and green products
With increases in electricity and a generally higher cost of living, utility bill savings are a big advantage, and so it stands to reason that shrewd energy-efficient improvements can add to the resale value of a home. Efficient windows and doors, a new roof and perhaps maybe even solar panels may be pricey to install, but around 65% to 76% of this cost could be recovered at resale. Security features are also always an important consideration in the home buying process, and many South African homeowners will appreciate a strong security system in a home.
Basic Improvements
The basics are always more important than fancy new fittings and fixtures. A beautiful new kitchen and bathroom will add no value if the roof is leaking or rising damp is a problem, for example. It is the basic improvements that will provide the greatest return on a home's value. Homeowners who are considering selling in the next year or so need to start any home improvements by tackling problems with the home's structure or systems such as the plumbing before installing a Jacuzzi, for example. 
Goslett says that there are also some home improvements and additions that are nice to have, but that add very little value to a home’s selling price. These are: 
Swimming Pools
While nice to have and a great facility for many homeowners, a swimming pool adds no value to a resale price at all. In fact, some home buyers spend thousands of rands to fill in a pool after purchasing a property. Expensive upkeep and the fear of liability mean that for some, the responsibility of a swimming pool will detract from a property more than add to its value.
Manicured Gardens
Manicured gardens which will require time and money to keep looking good usually won't add to the selling price. With today’s hectic lifestyle, many homeowners are looking for hassle-free and low-maintenance homes. While landscaped gardens certainly add appeal to any home, when it comes time to sell a property, a garden is not going to add to the price tag, and should rather be considered as investment for the owners’ enjoyment. The same goes for expensive fences and stone walls. They look nice, but buyers don't pay up for them. 
Any homeowner wanting to undertake a home improvement project should be careful to keep within the limits of the neighbourhood. Adding features such as a home theatre, games room, sauna or built-in bars are great projects if the owners are planning on staying in the home for a long time and are not too concerned about the resale value. The best point of reference to determine your ceiling is when it comes to renovating is to consult your real estate agent about property prices and requirements in your area. 

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Your second home and the rates bill could force rentals up

The Municipal Property Rates Amendment Bill – currently before Parliament – sets out to charge people who own more than one residential property commercial rates on the additional homes.
People who own more than one residential property will be forced to pay commercial rates on the homes in terms of the Property Rates Amendment Bill.
This means that anyone with a holiday home or who owns an investment property that is being rented would see property rates on those properties double and they would also lose any municipal rebates on those properties as well.
In terms of the new Bill, the definition of “residential property” has been changed, and now only the home that the owner is living in is deemed residential and classified as the “primary property”. The other properties are defined as commercial properties in terms of the Bill.
Moreover, local residents’ associations, estate agents and other investors have just one week to lodge their objections to the proposed national legislation that will affect rates levied by all municipalities throughout the country.
Lilian Develing, chairman of the Combined Ratepayers’ Association in Durban says that the legislation will have a serious impact on the property market and that the letting business will be severely impacted because rentals will rise sharply.
She says that at the moment the residential rate is 0,907% while the commercial property rate is more than double at 2,057%. This means that for properties that are not deemed to be the “primary property” the rates would more than double.
The Democratic Alliance’s councillor and eThekwini caucus chief whip Dean Macpherson warns that the bill will lead to a collapse in property investments.
According to attorney Maria Davey from Meumann White, owners of investment properties were already forced to pay additional capital gains tax and also had to pay income tax on the rental received. Now they will have to also pay higher rates bills.
She says that many people had provided for their retirement by buying a second property that was initially rented to tenants but in later years, would be used by them as a retirement home.
Davey says that if the legislation is passed in its current form then it may prevent people from making these sorts of provisions.
The DA has attacked another change contained in the Bill that would see the current valuations by municipalities being extended from five to seven years. In practice this means that if property values decline, rates would remain unchanged at the higher level until another valuation was done, even though the value of the home had fallen.
Anyone wishing to object to the bill can e-mail their objections to or can send a fax to 012-334-4811.

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Cape Town leading the way in recycling

The City of Cape Town is the first municipality in South Africa to launch a large scale pilot - with plans for a city wide roll-out - of a door to door recycling collection service.
Waste Plan, with the pilot from the start, is now representing the city amongst 50 000 households stretching from Helderberg to Atlantic Suburbs and Hout Bay. They are currently the largest recycling service provider to the City of Cape Town, diverting around 500 tons of waste from landfill sites around Cape Town every month.

How does it work?

At the start, each household receives a starter pack in their mailbox that comprises of the following:
  • 2 clear plastic bags (the size of your normal black refuse bag)
  • Introduction letter (with all the official detail)
  • Recycling Manual that explains what can and cannot be recycled.
The 2 clear bags are your starter bags for the 1st week of recycling. Thereafter, Waste Plan deliver new clear bags weekly - one new clear bags for each full bag collected.

Why recycle?

Recycling saves energy
The materials that you recycle will go back into the production streams and will save huge amounts of energy and raw materials.

Global warming
One of the major contributors to greenhouse gasses (the gas in the atmosphere that prevents radiation from the earth to escape that in turn causes Global Warming) is Methane Gas. Methane Gas is largely released from old landfill sites. By recycling waste we can help to slow down Global Warming?

It's the right thing to do!
The rest of the world is doing it, Cape Town is doing it - why aren’t we?

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS