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Why the heavy rain is great news for Sydney's dams

<p>Throughout summer, Sydney’s water storage level <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-drought-is-affecting-water-supply-in-australias-capital-cities-127909">fell alarmingly</a>. <a href="https://www.sydneywater.com.au/SW/water-the-environment/what-we-re-doing/water-restrictions/index.htm">Level 2 water restrictions</a> were imposed and the New South Wales government prepared to <a href="https://www.afr.com/politics/rain-could-delay-plans-to-double-sydney-s-desal-plant-capacity-20200209-p53z3p">double the capacity</a> of its desalination plant.</p> <p>But then it began to rain, and rain. Sydney water storages jumped from 41% in early February <a href="https://www.waternsw.com.au/supply/Greater-Sydney/greater-sydneys-dam-levels/weekly-verified-storage-reports">to 75% now</a> – the <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/water/dashboards/#/water-storages/summary/state">highest of any capital city</a> in Australia.</p> <p>This is great news for the city, but it comes with a big caveat. Floodwaters will undoubtedly wash bushfire debris into reservoirs – possibly overwhelming water treatment systems. We must prepare now for that worst-case pollution scenario.</p> <p><strong>Reservoirs filled with rain</strong></p> <p>The water level of Sydney’s massive Lake Burragorang – the reservoir behind Warragamba Dam – rose by more than 11 meters this week. Warragamba supplies more than 80% of Sydney’s water.</p> <p>Other Sydney water storages, including Nepean and Tallowa dams, are now at 100%. WaterNSW report that 865,078 megalitres of extra water has been captured this week <a href="https://www.waternsw.com.au/supply/Greater-Sydney/greater-sydneys-dam-levels">across all Greater Sydney’s dams</a>.</p> <p>This dwarfs the volume of water produced by Sydney’s desalination plant, which produces 250 megalitres a day when <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/aug/11/sydneys-desalination-plant-set-to-expand-as-drought-continues">operating at full capacity</a>. Even at this rate, it would take more than 3,400 days (or nine years) to match the volume of water to added to Sydney’s supply this week.</p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" class="juxtapose" width="100%" height="770" src="https://cdn.knightlab.com/libs/juxtapose/latest/embed/index.html?uid=49d7abb0-4df8-11ea-b9b8-0edaf8f81e27"></iframe> The Warragamba Dam before the drought and after the recent heavy rains.</p> <p><strong>But then comes the pollution</strong></p> <p>Thankfully, the rain appears to <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/feb/10/rain-deluge-in-eastern-australia-set-to-extinguish-nsw-bushfires-this-week">have extinguished</a> bushfires burning in the Warragamba catchment for months.</p> <p>But the water will also pick up bushfire debris and wash it into dams.</p> <p>Over the summer, bushfires burnt <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-15/warragamba-dam-installs-booms-to-catch-bushfire-debris/11866838">about 30% of Warragamba Dam’s massive 905,000 hectare water catchment</a>, reducing protective ground cover vegetation. This increases the risk of soil erosion. Rain will wash ash and sediment loads into waterways – adding more nitrogen, phosphorous and organic carbon into water storages.</p> <p>Waterways and ecosystems require nutrients like phosphorous and nitrogen, but excess nutrients aren’t a good thing. They bring contamination risks, such as the rapid growth of toxic blue-green algae.</p> <p>Drinking water catchments will always have some degree of contamination and water treatment consistently provides high quality drinking water. But poor water quality after catchment floods is not without precedent.</p> <p><strong>We’ve seen this before</strong></p> <p>In August 1998, extreme wet weather and flooding rivers filled the drought-affected Warragamba Dam in just a few days.</p> <p>This triggered the <a href="https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/phb/Documents/1998-8-9.pdf">Cryptosporidium crisis</a>, when the <a href="https://www.safewater.org/fact-sheets-1/2017/1/23/protozoan-parasites">protozoan parasite</a> and the pathogen <a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/giardia">Giardia</a> were detected in Sydney’s water supplies. It triggered health warnings, and Sydneysiders were instructed to boil water before drinking it. This event did not involve a bushfire.</p> <p>The Canberra bushfires in January 2003 triggered multiple <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/water/about/waterResearch/document/Daniell_and_White_Montpellier_2005.pdf">water quality problems</a>. Most of the region’s Cotter River catchments, which hold three dams, were burned. Intense thunderstorms in the months after the bushfire <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/13241583.2006.11465291?needAccess=true">washed enormous loads</a> of ash, soil and debris into catchment rivers and water reservoirs.</p> <p>This led to turbidity (murkiness), as well as iron, manganese, nitrogen, phosphorus and carbon in reservoir waters. The inflow of organic material also depleted dissolved oxygen which triggered the release of metals from reservoir sediment. At times, water quality was so poor it couldn’t be treated and supplied to consumers.</p> <p>The ACT Government was forced to impose water restrictions, and built a A$38 million water treatment plant.</p> <p><strong>Have we come far enough?</strong></p> <p>Technology in water treatment plants has developed over the past 20 years, and water supply systems operates according to Australian <a href="https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/about-us/publications/australian-drinking-water-guidelines">drinking water guidelines</a>.</p> <p>Unlike the 1998 Sydney water crisis, WaterNSW, Sydney Water and NSW Health now have <a href="http://www.sydneywater.com.au/SW/water-the-environment/how-we-manage-sydney-s-water/safe-drinking-water/our-drinking-water-management-system/index.htm">advanced tests and procedures</a> to detect and manage water quality problems.</p> <p>In December last year, WaterNSW said it was aware of the risk bushfires posed to water supplies, and it had a number of measures at its disposal, including using booms and curtains to isolate affected flows.</p> <p>However at the time, bushfire ash had already <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/dec/15/sydneys-drinking-water-could-be-polluted-by-bushfire-ash-in-warragamba-dam-catchment-expert-says">reportedly entered the Warragamba system</a>.</p> <p><strong>Look to recycled water</strong></p> <p>Sydney’s water storages may have filled, but residents should not stop saving water. We recommend <a href="https://www.nsw.gov.au/news-and-events/news/level-2-water-restrictions-to-start-across-sydney/">Level 2 water restrictions</a>, which ban the use of garden hoses, be relaxed to <a href="https://www.nsw.gov.au/news-and-events/news/water-restrictions-to-start-across-sydney/">Level 1 restrictions</a> which ban most sprinklers and watering systems, and the hosing of hard surfaces.</p> <p>While this measure is in place, longer term solutions can be explored. Expanding desalination is <a href="https://theconversation.com/when-water-is-scarce-we-cant-afford-to-neglect-the-alternatives-to-desalination-111249">a popular but expensive option</a>, however greater use of recycled wastewater is also needed.</p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/more-of-us-are-drinking-recycled-sewage-water-than-most-people-realise-92420">Highly treated recycled water</a> including urban stormwater and even treated sewage should be purified and incorporated into the water supply. Singapore is a world leader and has proven the measure can <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/singapores-toilet-to-tap-concept/a-16904636">gain community acceptance</a>.</p> <p>It’s too early to tell what impact the combination of bushfires and floods will have on water storages. But as extreme weather events increase in frequency and severity, all options should be on the table to shore up drinking water supplies.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/131668/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ian-wright-5162">Ian Wright</a>, Senior Lecturer in Environmental Science, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/western-sydney-university-1092">Western Sydney University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jason-reynolds-398576">Jason Reynolds</a>, Senior Lecturer in Geochemistry, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/western-sydney-university-1092">Western Sydney University</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/heavy-rains-are-great-news-for-sydneys-dams-but-they-come-with-a-big-caveat-131668">original article</a>.</em></p>

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How to conserve and utilise stormwater by creating a rain garden

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ever seen the amount of rain that goes into your garden that flows off and think “what a waste?”. There are ways of capturing and utilising rain before it gets lost in stormwater drains and adds to pollution in waterways, such as a rain garden.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“A significant amount of precious storm water is lost to us and adds pollution to our waterways as unfiltered rain runs straight into rivers and oceans,” says co-founder and creative director of </span><a href="http://www.landart.com.au/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Landart Landscapes</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, Matt Leacy</span>.</p> <p>“<span style="font-weight: 400;">Creating a rain garden or storm water-smart garden is something property owners can do to make good use of rainfall,” Matt advises.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Rain gardens are self-watering and low maintenance, and help to reduce use of water in the garden, as well as filtering and purifying water so that it is then safe to be reused.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A rain garden is environmentally friendly, water efficient and can also help boost financial savings on water rates.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There are also different types of rain gardens, including downpipe diversion, a green roof, a plantar box as well as a vegetable rain garden.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Here are some tips for creating a simple rain garden.</span></p> <p><strong>Choose where you’re going to get the bulk of your storm water from.</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This can be from a downpipe, driveway or pathway or from a rainwater tank, according to Matt.</span></p> <p><strong>Choose the right plantar box</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Choose a planter box that fits your space, or excavate a trench that leads water to a lower lying point in your garden,” Matt explains.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“You will need to layer your planter box with gravel, soil and sand, and then a bottom layer of gravel to aid with water filtration, and to allow the water to drain freely at the base into an exit pipe” Matt adds.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Make sure you have a waterproof liner for your planter box to ensure the storm water is captured for reuse.”</span></p> <p><strong>Check with the local nursery for best advice on plants</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Speak to your local nursery to check the best plants to use in your rain garden,” Matt suggests. “Some good options include some kangaroo paws, native grasses, native rushes and Dianella.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The main thing is to ensure that whatever you choose is both drought-tolerant and able to withstand heavy rain and water. Native plants tend to be lower maintenance and more suitable than introduced species.”</span></p> <p><strong>Cover your rain garden with mulch</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Cover your rain garden with mulch to retain moisture (not bark or straw as these float into storm water drains). Gravel is a great option,” Matt says.</span></p> <p><strong>Monitor your rain garden</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“While rain gardens are very low maintenance, you will need to weed until the plants have matured.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“You will also need to monitor your rain garden in the first heavy downpours to ensure the water is evenly distributed,” Matt says. You may need to also add plants or some rocks to help control erosion.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“If it doesn’t rain when you’re first setting up your rain garden, you will need to water your plants until they’re established,” says Matt. “Be sure to do so in compliance with local water restrictions.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">You have officially set up your rain garden!</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Photo credits: </span>Jason Busch</em></p>

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Australia’s most popular locations for over 50s housing

<p style="margin: 0cm; margin-bottom: .0001pt;"><em><span style="font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif; color: black;">By Mark Skelsey</span></em><span style="font-family: '-webkit-standard',serif; color: black;"></span></p> <p>NSW’s Port Macquarie and Queensland’s Toowoomba were Australia’s most searched locations by downsizers during 2019, as consumer interest soared in the over 50s housing sector.</p> <p>Australia’s leading over 50s property portal, <a href="http://Downsizing.com.au">Downsizing.com.au</a>, recently released its key 2019 website statistics, revealing a few new top names when it comes to retirement and downsizing.</p> <p>The NSW Mid-North Coast city of Port Macquarie claimed top prize as Australia’s most popular location for retirement and downsizing property, closely followed by Toowoomba in the Darling Downs region in southern Queensland.</p> <p>Next in line was Chain Valley Bay (NSW), then Hervey Bay (Qld), Burpengary (Qld), Buderim (Qld), Bayview (NSW), Maroochydore (Qld), Bundaberg (Qld) and Mornington (Victoria).</p> <p>Port Macquarie’s rising number of listing views – up from 109,532 in 2018 to 180,668 in 2019 – helped it jump from the nation’s number two most searched locality in 2018 to top spot in 2019. </p> <p>Meanwhile, Toowoomba jumped from the nation’s fifth most regularly searched locality, up to second spot in 2019.</p> <p>“Port Macquarie and Toowoomba both have an attractive climate and relaxing lifestyle, along with a growing range of retirement and downsizing options at a variety of price points,” <a href="http://Downsizing.com.au">Downsizing.com.au</a>’s co-CEO Amanda Graham said.</p> <p>“It’s hardly surprising they have topped the list of our most searched localities for 2019.</p> <p>“Port Macquarie for instance has 17 gorgeous beaches, along with a buzzing city centre with many shopping and business opportunities and a major regional hospital and airport.</p> <p>“Meanwhile, being located 700m above sea level in the Great Dividing Range, Toowoomba has a far cooler climate compared to most other parts of Queensland, which makes it attractive to many downsizers. </p> <p>“The city centre has retained many of its historic buildings, which gives it a charming heritage feel. In addition, being a major regional centre servicing 130,000 people, Toowoomba offers the health services and other services needed by retirees.</p> <p>Both Port Macquarie and Toowoomba have also recently had airport upgrades. Port Macquarie’s $9.875m terminal upgrade was completed in November 2019, while Toowoomba’s Wellcamp airport celebrated its first international flight in 2016.</p> <p>“Importantly, both localities allow you to get into retirement living at a highly affordable price, while also still offering luxury options,” continued Ms Graham. We’ve got properties on our website for as little as $185,000 in Port Macquarie and $163,000 at Toowoomba.</p> <p> “<a href="https://www.downsizing.com.au/news/637/House-price-surge-helps-downsizers-enter-2020-in-market-box-seat">The first half of 2020 is looking to be even better for downsizers</a>, thanks to strong prices being achieved for detached homes on Australia’s east coast.</p> <p>“This means downsizers can take advantage of their strong equity position when selling the family home along with the plentiful supply of new apartments to get a great deal when they downsize.</p> <p>“The retirement industry also recognises this strong market situation, <a href="https://www.downsizing.com.au/news/645/Strong-2020-growth-outlook-for-Australias-retirement-housing-sector">with the latest Property Council of Australia industry sentiment survey</a> reporting that the retirement industry has the most positive outlook of any property sector over the next 12 months.”</p>

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Inside Princess Mary’s secret Swiss chalet listed on Airbnb

<p>Pictures of the “secret” Swiss home belonging to Australian-born Princess Mary and husband Prince Frederik have emerged after it was revealed the couple had rented it out to travellers in the past.</p> <p>According to<em> <a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/world/princess-mary-in-airbnb-scandal-over-sky-chalet/news-story/09c4aa604c005cc91758a335f8818994" target="_blank">Herald Sun</a></em>, the Danish royals are said to have let the luxe ski chalet in Verbier, Switzerland for $14,000 a week (65,400 Kroner) on Airbnb.</p> <p>The spacious wooden lodge, which features a lux sauna, three bathrooms and a room for up to 10 guests, has been in possession of the Tasmanian royal and her hubby for over a decade.</p> <p>It was recently discovered that the property was rented out on Airbnb, which disrupted the blissful bubble their supporters living in Denmark had been in, as reported by<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://royalcentral.co.uk/europe/denmark/denmarks-crown-prince-couple-cancels-further-hidden-income-from-private-ski-lodge-136554/" target="_blank">Royal Central</a>.</em></p> <p>“I was very surprised when I found out that the family does not just have such a house, they have had such a house for 10 years, without any ordinary Danes knowing about it,” parliamentarian Mai Villadsen said.</p> <p>“We are the ones who pay the money so we must know about the house,” she added.</p> <p>The Danish royals live on a public allowance and are not allowed to spend money on foreign assets - such as a Swiss ski chalet - without approval.</p> <p>Conservative member of parliament Birgitte Bergman, shared a different opinion to Ms Villadsen, saying she didn’t see “anything wrong” with the pair owning the home.</p> <p>Following the backlash, the Royal Court released an official statement stating the couple had both dipped into their own funds to purchase the property but would no longer accept revenue by renting it out.</p> <p>“Now it is no longer an anonymous property, so the conditions for rent are no longer the same,” the family’s communications manager said.</p> <p>“In addition, for the Crown Prince Couple, this makes a difference compared to the possibility of having some privacy. In addition to that, there is also a safety aspect.”</p> <p>Scroll through the gallery to see the "secret" Swiss chalet. </p>

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Hands off my Hills Hoist

<p>A brawl has broken out in a Queensland retirement village following a dispute over a Hills Hoist clothesline.</p> <p>83-year-old pensioner Jim Wedrat installed the line in his backyard six months ago after he found his sheets going mouldy on the wall-mount clothesline provided by his North Rockhampton retirement home PresCare Alexandra Gardens.</p> <p>He said he told local managers of his plan three months prior and heard no objections. However, the administrators called him after the line was installed and said it “needed to be taken down”, he told <em><a href="https://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/pensioner-hung-out-to-dry-over-eyesore-hills-hoist/news-story/315cef4cfff5634de084b1bd513e5408">The Courier Mail</a></em>.</p> <p>Wedrat’s lease agreement states that he is prohibited from making alterations to the property without PresCare’s approval. However, Wedrat said he has not been flagged by administrators for other alterations he carried out, such as the installation of reticulation lines for shared areas.</p> <p>“I’ve spent about a thousand dollars out here [in the garden] and this is the thanks I get,” Wedrat said.</p> <p>Wedrat’s neighbours Denver and Vivien, who share the yard, told <em><a href="https://9now.nine.com.au/a-current-affair/queensland-pensioner-jim-wedrat-battles-over-hills-hoist-clothesline/b0989eeb-9ece-4fd2-b43e-b3ba0f24d01d">A Current Affair</a> </em>the line is unnecessary.</p> <p>“[Vivien doesn’t] need it. I don’t need it,” 76-year-old Denver said.</p> <p>Denver said Wedrat accused him of reporting the line installation to PresCare and threw the first punch.</p> <p>“He’s telling everyone around here that I rung up and dobbed him in but I couldn’t care, he can have it there, it’s not hurting me,” Denver said.</p> <p>“I did abuse him a bit, but it wasn’t over the Hills Hoist. It was over the fact that he was telling everyone I rung Brisbane up.</p> <p>“I walked over and abused the crap out of him. He come out his door punching so I put him on the ground.</p> <p>“The only way I’ll get stuck in is if he comes punching at me again. I’m not going to let anyone stand there and punch me.”</p> <p>PresCare initially told <em>The Courier Mail</em> the line needed to be removed to ensure the residents’ “safety and wellbeing”.</p> <p>However, in a statement to <em>A Current Affair</em>, PresCare CEO Greg Skelton said the aged care facility has reached an agreement with Wedrat.</p> <p>“PresCare is happy to announce the matter with Mr Wedrat has been resolved to both parties satisfaction,” said Skelton.</p>

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6 things you didn't know you could compost

<div id="page1" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>As more people aim to lessen their carbon footprint, there’s been a quest to learn about all the things you can upcycle, recycle and compost. And you may be surprised to learn some of the things you can add to your compost bin.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/home-tips/10-things-you-didnt-know-you-could-compost"><strong>1. Natural-fibre clothes</strong></div> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/home-tips/10-things-you-didnt-know-you-could-compost"> <p>If you have natural-fibre clothing – pure wool, cotton, silk, or linen – that is too old or damaged to donate, then cut it up in chunks so it breaks down faster and add it to your compost pile! If you do compost clothes, be sure that there are no synthetic threads, plastic buttons, metal zippers, or stains from motor oil, paint, wood stain and other non-compostable substances.</p> <p><strong>2. Wine corks</strong></p> <p>The next time you’re recycling your wine bottles, throw their corks into the compost pile. Corks are a natural product, and although some wineries are now using plastic corks that look a lot like the real thing, remember that you can compost the wine stoppers if they are made of natural cork.</p> <p><strong>3. Fur, hair and nail clippings</strong></p> <p>If you have a pet pup or cat that sheds more than you like, hopefully you can find at least some solace in the fact that you can compost their fur! You can also clean out your and your family’s hair brushes and add all nail clippings to the compost heap. It may be a little gross but your compost will be happy about it.</p> <p><strong>4. Vacuum bag contents</strong></p> <div id="page9" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Typically, the stuff your vacuum picks up is composed of compostable materials: dust, hair, dirt, etc. In some cases, even the vacuum bag itself can be composted if it’s made from natural products (be sure to check the bag to see what it’s made of). If you have a bagless vacuum, the contents of the dirt collection cup can be dumped directly into your compost pile. So, unless you’re vacuuming up after a glittery birthday party, your vacuum dirt should be okay to compost.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/home-tips/10-things-you-didnt-know-you-could-compost"><strong>5. Used loofahs and sponges</strong></div> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/home-tips/10-things-you-didnt-know-you-could-compost"> <p>If you’re using a natural loofah, then remember that you can tear that thing up and compost it the next time you’re ready to replace it. If you’re currently using synthetic sponges, consider making the switch to a natural one. Man-made sponges can carry germs and add a ton of waste to the environment if you’re going through them regularly.</p> <p><strong>6. Cotton swabs and balls</strong></p> <div id="page10" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Consider adding a tiny compost rubbish bin to your bathroom so you can collect all the compostable bathroom garbage. As long as the cotton swabs you’re using are plastic-free, you can add those to the bin along with cotton balls and toilet paper rolls. Just be sure that the dental floss doesn’t get in there.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/home-tips/10-things-you-didnt-know-you-could-compost"> <div id="page11" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p><em>Source:<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.rd.com/home/cleaning-organizing/things-didnt-know-could-compost/" target="_blank">RD.com</a></em></p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/home-tips/10-things-you-didnt-know-you-could-compost"> <p><em>Written by Hannah Louise. This article first appeared in </em><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/home-tips/10-things-you-didnt-know-you-could-compost"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA93V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div>

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4 ways green living can make you healthier

<div id="page1" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>We all know we should be good to the environment, but the benefits sometimes don’t seem like enough of a draw when being green is inconvenient. But here’s the thing: Green living is clean living, and every step you take to be kind to the environment pays you back in health benefits. Read on to find out how being good to Mother Earth is good for your mind, body, and soul.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/thought-provokinginspirational/13-ways-green-living-can-make-you-healthier"><strong>1. Eating less red meat could lengthen your life</strong></div> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/thought-provokinginspirational/13-ways-green-living-can-make-you-healthier"> <p>A study of more than 120,000 men and women found that the more red and processed meats they ate, the more likely they were to die of any cause, including cancer and heart disease. Subbing beef out for poultry or plant-based protein can help you avoid risks like diabetes and stroke, but it’s also doing your part to reduce greenhouse gases. Cattle use more grains and produce more methane than chickens or pigs, and some experts say that giving up beef would be even better for the Earth than giving up your car.</p> </div> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/thought-provokinginspirational/13-ways-green-living-can-make-you-healthier"> <p><strong>2. A reusable water bottle could keep your body functioning normally</strong></p> <p>Humans worldwide create 359 million metric tons of plastic every year, yet only about nine percent of plastic waste has been recycled, according to a study published in the journal<span> </span><a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2017/07/plastic-produced-recycling-waste-ocean-trash-debris-environment/">Science Advances</a>. Switching to a reusable water bottle will keep that plastic out of landfills (or cut energy that would normally go toward recycling it), but it can also keep your hormones functioning in the way they should. You might have already heard that bisphenol A (BPA) might disrupt oestrogen, but even though manufacturers are shying away from the chemical, some evidence suggests that one of its substitutes, fluorene-9-bisphenol (BHPF) can block hormones too.</p> <p><strong>3. Local produce could mean more nutrients</strong></p> <div id="page6" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>You’ve heard all about the perks of buying local – you support small businesses and get food that’s as fresh-from-the-farm as it can be. But is there anything really in it for you except a sense of well-being for doing farmers a favour? You bet! The produce in your supermarkets probably spent days in transit before finally reaching your local grocer, and even then it’s spent a few days on the shelves before you take it home – and all the while it’s been losing nutrients. By picking it up from your farmer’s market, though, it can spend less time just reaching its destination, so it’s still in peak ripeness by the time you buy.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/thought-provokinginspirational/13-ways-green-living-can-make-you-healthier"><strong>4. Growing a garden gives you tasty, eco-friendly food</strong></div> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/thought-provokinginspirational/13-ways-green-living-can-make-you-healthier"> <p>If you make space for a garden in your yard, the environment will thank you. A garden provides space where native plants can attract bees – and considering about 35 percent of crops rely on pollinators like bees to help them thrive, helping bees thrive is a big environmental concern – and where you can grow your own produce. Anything that only needs to travel as far as your backyard to your table is using fewer fossil fuels than anything that had to go from a mass-production farm to a supermarket (and then your table). And if those tasty, fresh veggies weren’t enough of a pull, gardening itself torches about 840 to 1770 kilojoules an hour.</p> <div id="page14" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p><em>Source:<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.rd.com/health/wellness/green-living-can-make-you-healthier/" target="_blank">RD.com</a></em></p> <p><em>Written by Marissa Laliberte. This article first appeared in </em><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/thought-provokinginspirational/13-ways-green-living-can-make-you-healthier"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA93V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/thought-provokinginspirational/13-ways-green-living-can-make-you-healthier"></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div>

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Better Homes confirms shock new cast replacement

<p>Seven Program <em>Better Homes and Gardens</em> has confirmed Charlie Albone will officially replace Jason Hodges on the beloved long-running program in 2020.</p> <p>After a 16-year stint on the show, Hodges’ replacement caused shockwaves, and was considered a surprising move given the pair’s rumoured rivalry.</p> <p><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://www.smh.com.au/culture/celebrity/parting-of-the-way-s-hush-quietly-quits-fashion-foray-20191212-p53jab.html" target="_blank"><em>The Sydney Morning Herald</em> </a>reported Hodges was “gutted” by being let go, a move made by the new Seven boss Andrew Backwell.</p> <p>Replacement Charlie Albone became a familiar when he appeared on Foxtel's Selling Houses Australia.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B8ABVvOFec9/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B8ABVvOFec9/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Charlie Albone (@charlie_albone)</a> on Jan 31, 2020 at 2:11pm PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>He will also be joined by Melissa King as a replacement gardening expert.</p> <p>“It’s a real honour to be asked to be part of such an amazing team,” Charlie told <a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://www.bhg.com.au/charlie-albone-joins-better-homes-and-gardens" target="_blank">the series’ online site.</a></p> <p>“I will be sharing lots of new and interesting ideas for your garden that will inspire and push boundaries, as well as advice on how to make your outdoor living the best it can be.”</p> <p>Charlie further promised viewers would be able to get an intimate look into the presenter’s life.</p> <p>“You’ll also get to meet my family, and I’ll be giving you a look around my country garden,” he said.</p> <p>The news comes after fellow castmates shared their devastation over news of Hodge’s axing.</p> <p>Johanna Griggs shared the farwell episode on her Instagram page, as “one of the hardest shoots we’ve ever had to do”.</p> <p>“(Change is) unfortunately a reality that comes with the business we are in. But that doesn’t make it any easier,” she wrote in the emotional post.</p> <p>“We’ve had a shoot with some new faces who’ll be joining the team next year. And I can honestly say they are absolutely lovely and really excited to be part of the show,” she wrote.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B6TfSzLg9B1/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B6TfSzLg9B1/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Johanna Griggs AM (@johgriggs7)</a> on Dec 20, 2019 at 10:36am PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The full lineup has been confirmed as including host Johanna Griggs, alongside Adam Dovile (DIY), Charlie Albone (Landscaping), Dr Harry Cooper (Vet), Graham Ross (Gardening), Tara Dennis (Decorating &amp; Design), “Fast Ed” Halmagyi (Chef), Karen Martini (Chef), Pete Colquhoun (Architect), Sam Wood (Health &amp; Fitness), Melissa King (Gardening) and James Tobin (Tech &amp; Motoring).</p> <p><em>Better Homes and Gardens</em> 2020 premieres February 7th at 7 pm.</p>

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The science is in: Gardening is good for you

<p>“That’s all very well put,” says Candide, in the final line of Voltaire’s novel of the same name, “but we must go and work our garden.”</p> <p>I studied this text at high school before I became a gardener and professional horticulturist. We were taught that Candide’s gardening imperative was metaphorical not literal; a command for finding an authentic vocation, not a call to take up trowels and secateurs.</p> <p>In fact, Voltaire himself really believed that active gardening was a great way to stay sane, healthy and free from stress. That was 300 years ago.</p> <p>As it turns out, the science suggests he was right.</p> <p><strong>The science of therapeutic horticulture</strong></p> <p>Gardens and landscapes have long been designed as sanctuaries and retreats from the stresses of life – from great urban green spaces such as Central Park in New York to the humblest suburban backyard. But beyond the passive enjoyment of a garden or of being in nature more generally, researchers have also studied the role of actively caring for plants as a therapeutic and educational tool.</p> <p>“Therapeutic horticulture” and “horticultural therapy” have become recognised treatments for stress and depression, which have served as a healing aid in settings ranging from prisons and mental health treatment facilities to schools and hospitals.</p> <p><strong>Gardening and school</strong></p> <p>Studies of school gardening programs – which usually centre on growing food – show that students who have worked on designing, creating and maintaining gardens develop more positive attitudes about health, nutrition and the <a href="http://www.kohalacenter.org/HISGN/pdf/HPP_2011_MMR_Sample1.pdf">consumption</a> of <a href="http://search.proquest.com/openview/61a8bb123ec000d6a6348aeb950645fa/1?pq-origsite=gscholar">vegetables</a>.</p> <p>They also <a href="http://horttech.ashspublications.org/content/15/3/439.short">score better</a> on science <a href="http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/syllabi/435/Articles/Klemmer.pdf">achievement</a>, have better attitudes about school, and improve their <a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15330150701318828">interpersonal skills</a> and <a href="https://food-hub.org/files/resources/Blair_The%20Child%20in%20the%20Garden_J.%20Environ%20Educ_2009.pdf">classroom behaviour</a>.</p> <p>Research on students confirms that gardening leads to higher levels of self-esteem and responsibility. Research suggests that incorporating gardening into a <a href="http://kohalacenter.org/HISGN/pdf/Thechildinthegarden.pdf">school setting</a> can boost group cohesiveness.</p> <p><strong>Gardening and mental health</strong></p> <p>Tailored gardening programs have been shown to increase quality of life for people with <a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1300/J004v16n01_02">chronic mental illnesses</a>, including <a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1300/J004v16n01_02">anxiety and depression</a>.</p> <p>Another study on the use of therapeutic horticulture for patients with clinical depression sought to understand why gardening programs were effective in lessening patient experience of depression. They found that structured gardening activities gave patients existential purpose. Put simply, it <a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/01612840.2010.528168">gave their lives meaning</a>.</p> <p>In jails and corrective programs, horticultural therapy programs have been used to give inmates positive, purposeful activities that lessen aggression and hostility during and after incarceration.</p> <p>In one detailed study from a San Francisco program, involvement in therapeutic horticulture was particularly effective in <a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1300/J076v26n03_10">improving psychosocial functioning</a> across prison populations (although the benefits were not necessarily sustained after release.)</p> <p>Gardening has been shown to help improve the lives of <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jacqueline_Atkinson/publication/265575473_AN_EVALUATION_OF_THE_GARDENING_LEAVE_PROJECT_FOR_EX-MILITARY_PERSONNEL_WITH_PTSD_AND_OTHER_COMBAT_RELATED_MENTAL_HEALTH_PROBLEMS/links/55094b960cf26ff55f852b50.pdf">military veterans</a> and <a href="http://www.joe.org/joe/2007june/iw5p.shtml">homeless people</a>. Various therapeutic horticulture <a href="https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/dspace-jspui/handle/2134/2930">programs</a> have been used to help people with learning difficulties, asylum seekers, refugees and victims of torture.</p> <p><strong>Gardening and older people</strong></p> <p>As populations in the West age, hands-on gardening programs have been used for older people in nursing homes and related facilities.</p> <p>A systematic review of 22 studies of gardening programs for older adults found that gardening was a powerful <a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01924788.2013.784942">health-promoting activity</a> across diverse populations.</p> <p>One <a href="http://journals.lww.com/jcrjournal/Abstract/2005/09000/Effects_of_Horticultural_Therapy_on_Mood_and_Heart.8.aspx">study</a> sought to understand if patients recovering from heart attack might benefit from a horticultural therapy program. It concluded:</p> <blockquote> <p><em>[Our] findings indicate that horticultural therapy improves mood state, suggesting that it may be a useful tool in reducing stress. Therefore, to the extent that stress contributes to coronary heart disease, these findings support the role of horticultural therapy as an effective component of cardiac rehabilitation.</em></p> </blockquote> <div class="embed-responsive embed-responsive-16by9"><iframe class="embed-responsive-item" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Yvir4sm2G7Q"></iframe></div> <p>While the literature on the positive effects of gardening, reflecting both qualitative and quantitative studies, is large, most of these studies are from overseas.</p> <p>Investment in horticultural therapy programs in Australia is piecemeal. That said, there are some standout success stories such as the <a href="https://www.kitchengardenfoundation.org.au/">Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation</a> and the work of nurse <a href="https://www.anmfvic.asn.au/membership/member-profiles/steven-wells">Steven Wells at the Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre</a> and beyond.</p> <p>Finally, without professionally trained horticulturists none of these programs – in Australia or internationally – can take place.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/65251/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/chris-williams-300083">Chris Williams</a>, Lecturer in urban horticulture, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-melbourne-722">University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-science-is-in-gardening-is-good-for-you-65251">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Pulling out weeds is the best thing you can do to help bushfire ravaged land

<p>Many Australians feel compelled to help our damaged wildlife after this season’s terrible bushfires. Suggested actions have included <a href="https://www.wwf.org.au/get-involved/bushfire-emergency">donating money</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/you-can-leave-water-out-for-wildlife-without-attracting-mosquitoes-if-you-take-a-few-precautions-128631">leaving water out</a> for thirsty animals, and learning how to <a href="https://www.marieclaire.com.au/how-to-help-animals-australian-bushfires">help the injured</a>. But there is an equally, if not more, important way to assist: weeding.</p> <p>An army of volunteers is needed to help land owners with judicious weed removal. This will help burnt habitats recover more quickly, providing expanded, healthy habitat for native fauna.</p> <p>Other emergency responses, such as culling feral animals and <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/massive-food-drop-to-help-save-endangered-wallabies-in-fire-affected-areas-20200112-p53qss.html">dropping emergency food from aeroplanes</a>, are obviously jobs for specialists. But volunteer weeding does not require any prior expertise – just a willingness to get your hands dirty and take your lead from those in the know.</p> <p><strong>Why is weeding so critical?</strong></p> <p>The recent bushfires burned many areas in national parks and reserves which were infested with weeds. Some weeds are killed in a blaze, but fire also stimulates their seed banks to germinate.</p> <p>Weed seedlings will spring up en masse and establish dense stands that out-compete native plants by blocking access to sunlight. Native seedlings will die without setting seed, wasting this chance for them to recover and to provide habitat for a diverse range of native species.</p> <p>This mass weed germination is also an opportunity to improve the outlook for biodiversity. With a coordinated volunteer effort, these weeds can be taken out before they seed – leaving only a residual seed bank with no adult weeds to create more seed and creating space for native plants to flourish.</p> <p>With follow-up weeding, we can leave our national parks and reserves – and even bushland on farms - in a better state than they were before the fires.</p> <p><strong>Weeding works</strong></p> <p>In January 1994, fire burned most of Lane Cove National Park in Sydney. Within a few months of the fire, <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1442-8903.2005.00225.x">volunteer bush regeneration groups were set up to help tackle regenerating weeds</a>.</p> <p>Their efforts eradicated weeds from areas where the problem previously seemed intractable and prevented further weed expansion. Key to success in this case was the provision of funding for coordination, an engaged community which produced passionate volunteers and enough resources to train them.</p> <p>Following recent fires in the Victorian high country, volunteers will be critical to controlling weeds, <a href="https://bie.ala.org.au/species/http://id.biodiversity.org.au/node/apni/2897651">particularly broom (Scotch broom and related species), which occurs throughout fire-affected areas </a>.</p> <p>Fire typically kills these woody shrubs but also stimulates seed germination. Without intervention, broom will form dense stands which <a href="https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/s11258-005-9046-7.pdf">out-compete native plant species </a>.</p> <p>However, swift action now can prevent this. Mass germination <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/299041169">reduces the broom’s seedbank to as low as 8% of pre-fire levels, and around half of the remaining seeds die each year</a>. Further, broom usually takes three years to flower and replenish its seedbank. So with no new seeds being produced and the seedbank low and shrinking, this three-year window offers an important opportunity to restore previously infested areas.</p> <p>Parks Victoria took up this opportunity after the 2003 fires in the Alpine National Park. They rallied agencies, natural resource management groups and local landholders to <a href="http://www.aabr.org.au/images/stories/resources/ManagementGuides/WeedGuides/wmg_brooms.pdf">sweep up broom </a>. Herbicide trials at that time revealed that to get the best outcome for their money, it was critical to spray broom seedlings early, within the <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/259323125_Best-practice_chemical_control_of_English_broom_Cytisus_scoparius_evaluated_in_Alpine_National_Park_Victoria_through_an_adaptive_experimental_management_program">first year and a half</a>.</p> <p>Broom management also needs to use a range of approaches, <a href="https://www.parkconnect.vic.gov.au/Volunteer/public-planned-activity/?id=446c9d83-53b6-e811-a966-000d3ad1c6f2">including using volunteers to spread a biological control agent</a>.</p> <p><strong>Plenty of work to do</strong></p> <p>Parks Victoria continue to <a href="https://www.parkconnect.vic.gov.au/Volunteer/">engage community groups in park management</a> and will coordinate fire response actions when parks are safe to enter. Similar programs can be found in <a href="https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/conservation-and-heritage/volunteer-programs">New South Wales</a>, <a href="https://www.dbca.wa.gov.au/parks-and-wildlife-service/volunteering-with-parks-and-wildlife">Western Australia</a>, <a href="https://www.parks.sa.gov.au/volunteer">South Australia</a>, <a href="https://www.qld.gov.au/environment/parks/park-volunteers/start-volunteering">Queensland</a>, <a href="https://parks.tas.gov.au/be-involved/volunteer">Tasmania</a>, <a href="https://nt.gov.au/leisure/parks-reserves/learn-and-be-involved/volunteers-in-parks">the Northern Territory</a>, and the <a href="https://www.environment.act.gov.au/parks-conservation/parks-and-reserves/get-involved/the-ParkCare-initiative">ACT</a>.</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Kevin_Taylor16/publication/331247014_Fire_Weeds_and_the_Native_Vegetation_of_New_South_Wales_A_report_prepared_by_the_Hotspots_Fire_Project/links/5c6e1fa94585156b570d4c51/Fire-Weeds-and-the-Native-Vegetation-of-New-South-Wales-A-report-prepared-by-the-Hotspots-Fire-Project.pdf">wide range of weeds expand after fire</a> and warrant a rapid response. They include <a href="https://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/invasive/weeds/publications/guidelines/wons/pubs/l-camara.pdf">lantana</a>, <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0128482">bitou bush</a>, and <a href="http://caws.org.nz/old-site/awc/2006/awc200612111.pdf">blackberry</a>.</p> <p>Managing weeds after fire is currently a high priority at many sites. At the edges of the World Heritage Gondwana rainforests of southwest Queensland and northern and central NSW, there is a window to more effectively control <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2011/12/12/3387436.htm">lantana</a>. In many forested areas in NSW, Victoria and South Australia, fire has created an opportunity to address important weed problems.</p> <p>State government agencies have the mapping capacity to locate these places. Hopefully they can make these resources easy for the public to access soon, so community groups can self-organise and connect with park managers.</p> <p><strong>All this needs money</strong></p> <p>Emergency funding is now essential to enable community-based weed control programs at the scale needed to have a substantial impact. Specifically, funding is needed for group coordinators, trainers and equipment.</p> <p>While emergency work is needed to control regenerating weeds in the next 6-18 months, <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1442-8903.2005.00225.x">ongoing work is needed after that</a> to consolidate success and prevent reinfestations from the small, but still present, seed bank.</p> <p><a href="https://vnpa.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Assessment-of-the-Weed-Management-program-in-land-managed-by-Parks-Victoria.pdf">Ongoing government funding is needed</a> to enable this work, and prepare for a similar response to the next mega-fires.</p> <p><strong>Want to act immediately?</strong></p> <p>You can volunteer to do your bit for fire recovery right now. In addition to state-agency volunteer websites, there are many existing park care, bush care and “friends of” groups coordinated by local governments. They’re waiting for you to join so they can start planning the restoration task in fire-affected areas.</p> <p>Contact them directly or <a href="http://www.aabr.org.au/do/post-fire-wildlife-habitat-recovery-response/">register your interest with the Australian Association of Bush Regenerators</a> who can link you with the appropriate organisations.</p> <p>If we do nothing now, the quality of our national parks will decline as weeds take over and native species are lost. But if you channel your fire-response energy and commitment to help manage weeds, our national parks could come out in front from this climate-change induced calamity.</p> <p>By all means, rescue an injured koala. But by pulling out weeds, you could also help rescue a whole ecosystem.</p> <hr /> <p><em>Dr Tein McDonald, president of the Australian Association of Bush Regenerators, contributed to this article.</em><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/130296/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/don-driscoll-17432">Don Driscoll</a>, Professor in Terrestrial Ecology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/pulling-out-weeds-is-the-best-thing-you-can-do-to-help-nature-recover-from-the-fires-130296">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Instagram influencer hits back at online bullies over white doona dust-up

<p>An Aussie Instagram influencer has spoken up after receiving online attacks over her post on a white doona cover.</p> <p>Tasmanian woman Claire is the manager of @thekmartlover, an Instagram page that provides tips and updates on fashion and home décor featuring products from Kmart and other stores in Australia.</p> <p>After posting about a white quilt cover from Kmart with the part of caption reading “white is right” on Friday, she received messages calling her “racist” and “white supremacist”.</p> <p>She then replaced the line “white is right” with: “Can you beat a white quilt cover for a relaxing entrance to a bedroom? I love it!”</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B7sdBqAJPEK/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B7sdBqAJPEK/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">Can you beat a white quilt cover for a relaxing entrance to a bedroom? I love it! This is the @kmartaus waffle quilt cover, $45 for the king. Of course it’s teamed with the stunning new $69 wool blend shirred rug and poppy cushion $12. Decorative ladder $25 and throw (old stock sorry) also from Kmart Bed @freedom_australia</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/thekmartlover/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> • C L A I R E •</a> (@thekmartlover) on Jan 23, 2020 at 11:48pm PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>On Saturday, Claire spoke about the controversy on Instagram Story. “I’m not racist. I was purely talking about a bloody doona cover and it does hurt. It hurts me. I put in time to this page. It’s my page,” she said.</p> <p>She shared another post addressing the controversy.</p> <p>“This week I have been trolled for having too many hats and contributing to landfill. This week I have been trolled as being racist for saying ‘white is right’ about the depicted doona cover. This week I have been trolled for having too many clothes and that I should donated more, that I am wasteful, not thoughtful and that I should influence people in a far better way,” she wrote.</p> <p>“I am using my voice so that hopefully this changes the mindset of one person out there that has thought about writing something negative in any online forum.”</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B7vDSUUJAW7/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B7vDSUUJAW7/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by • C L A I R E • (@thekmartlover)</a> on Jan 25, 2020 at 12:01am PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>She encouraged her 111,000 followers to support her collaboration t-shirt project with Small Print Design. For every t-shirt sold, $5 will be donated to anti-bullying organisation Bully Zero.</p> <p>Claire told <em><a href="https://10daily.com.au/lifestyle/life/a200127crina/it-hurts-me-aussie-instagram-influencer-viciously-attacked-over-white-doona-cover-20200128">10daily</a></em>, “If you do not like it, then simply unfollow and use your time in another manner. Obviously a message of mine is Just Be Kind. A little kindness goes a long way.”</p>

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Online plant delivery announced for Australia

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Making your way out to a garden centre can be difficult to stock up on plants and gardening supplies, but a new online plant delivery service is set to change that.</span></p> <p><a href="https://www.instagram.com/theplantpeople_au/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Plant People</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> are a Brisbane-based nursery that take care of everything from seeding, growing and potting low-maintenance indoor plants that are ideal for those who want some greenery in their home.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The company delivers throughout Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory so no matter where you are, the plants can be delivered to your door. </span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B6Pq3ZJjWdu/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B6Pq3ZJjWdu/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">Introducing the space where we keep our collection of plants. We think other people might call it a living room. Unsure. A green haven from @kvitka_v_byte_ #theplantpeople</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/theplantpeople_au/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> The Plant People</a> (@theplantpeople_au) on Dec 18, 2019 at 11:00pm PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The company deliver ready-to-display plants to your door, such as succulents, ferns, Swiss cheese plants, elephant ears and many of the other varieties of indoor plants.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">They are a family-owned business who have been raising plants for over ten years and offer a guide for those who are new to owning plants, including what to do if your plant looks wilted on delivery.</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B5UbEL2grut/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B5UbEL2grut/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by The Plant People (@theplantpeople_au)</a> on Nov 25, 2019 at 10:47pm PST</p> </div> </blockquote>

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IKEA launches new homewares range for February 2020

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">IKEA is offering a range of practical and stylish homewares, including a range of baskets, armchairs, a hanging organiser and much more.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The latest product drop in February is focusing on a mindful lifestyle while bringing nature into the home through greenery. Natural colour palettes with fresh hues are contrasted sharply with accented colours.</span></p> <p><strong>TJILLEVIPS basket range</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This is a range of sustainable handmade baskets that are woven from six different types of plant fibres, which include bamboo, rattan, seagrass, banana fibre, poplar and jute.</span></p> <p><strong>BINGSTA armchair ($199)</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There are low and high back versions of this chair on offer and are two colours available. The colours are subdued and elegant grey or a dark shade of yellow. </span></p> <p><strong>KORNSJÖ cabinet with mirror ($299)</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There are plenty of storage options for bags, shoes and belongings that are unsightly. It comes in a nice dark shade of grey.</span></p> <p><strong>BORSTAD hanging organiser for accessories ($16.99)</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This hanging organiser boasts plenty of storage if there’s not a lot of space left in your cupboards.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Photo credits: </span><a href="https://www.bhg.com.au/ikea-borstad-homewares-range-february-2020"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Better Homes and Gardens</span></a></em></p>

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“On the brink of extinction”: The iconic Aussie animal set to vanish within 50 years

<p>Australia’s beloved platypus is now feared to be on the “brink of extinction”.</p> <p>Researchers at the University of New South Wales say the number of platypuses in the wild could drop by 66 per cent by 2070 due to climate change and other environment threats.</p> <p>According to researchers, increasing temperatures across the country, the intense drought and land clearing are all contributing to the species’ decline.</p> <p>Director for UNSW’s Centre for Ecosystem Science, Richard Kingsford said the future for the animal was “grim”.</p> <p>“This is impacting their ability to survive during these extended dry periods and increased demand for water,” Mr Kingsford said in the journal article,<span> </span><em>Biological Conservation</em>.</p> <p>“If we lost the platypus from Australian rivers, you would say, ‘What sort of government policies or care allow that to happen?’”</p> <p>The study’s lead author, Gilad Bino said the growing threat of climate change could hinder the platypus’s ability to repopulate, which in turn would result in “extinction”.</p> <p>“We are not monitoring what we assume to be a common species. And then we may wake up and realise it’s too late,” said Dr Bino.</p> <p>The platypus is currently listed as “near-threatened” under the IUCN Red List of threatened species but Dr Bino says the government needs to assess how much the animal is at risk.</p> <p>The Victorian Environment Department said they were working with the federal government over whether the platypus’ status needed to be changed to “threatened”.</p>

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House of horrors: Dr. Phil's Beverly Hills mansion hits the market

<p>If there has ever been a house to cause such a wave of disbelief and shock, it is the Beverly Hills mansion of Dr. Phil McGraw which just hit the market for AUD $8.3 million.</p> <p>The star of the Dr. Phil Show has put his house up for sale and it quickly went viral for its quirky, and quite frankly strange, features.</p> <p>From the bejewelled bear and rabbit figurines beneath a wall of guns, to a purple egg chair draping from the ceiling directly across from a massive piece of artwork that reads “f*ck” on it, this home has every eccentric momentum that you could squeeze into a five bedroom, six bathroom house.</p> <p>The images of inside the uniquely designed mansion quickly spread quickly once a Los<em> Angeles Times</em> writer tweeted a collection of interior shots of the house in question.</p> <p>The interesting décor choices and eccentric, out-of-the-box quirks got the attention of over 26,000 people who liked the post.</p> <p>Records show Dr. Phil purchased the home in 2007 however it appears the TV star has never actually lived there.</p> <p>The insane décor choices seem to be the choice of his son, Jordan, who currently calls the place home.</p> <p>He went on to clarify the wall of guns is actually “an anti-gun art installation”.</p> <p>The mansion features five bedrooms and six bathrooms, and the master suite has a private balcony. In true Californian style, there also includes also a dining gazebo, outdoor fireplace, swimming pool, and jacuzzi.</p> <p>On top of that there is a dedicated billiards room and wine cellar. </p> <p>Scroll through the gallery to see the inside of the home up close.</p>

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6 things you never knew you could put in the washing machine

<p>Bring it on.</p> <p><strong>1. Stuffed animals</strong></p> <p>Place each stuffed animal in its own mesh laundry bag and set your machine to wash and rinse. Use cold water (warm or hot water could melt the toy’s glue) and half the regular amount of detergent. Run the animals through a second rinse cycle to remove all the soap, and allow them to air dry. Fluff fur as needed.</p> <p><strong>2. Sneakers</strong></p> <p>Remove the laces from canvas or nylon sneakers and slip them into a cotton pillowcase where they won’t get tangled. Take out any inner soles or padding from the sneakers and toss the shoes and pillowcase into your washer (if you’re concerned about the shoes causing a racket, throw in a few towels as well). Add the regular amount of detergent, plus a dash of vinegar to deodorise. Set your machine on a cold-wash delicate cycle. Allow the shoes and shoelaces to air dry.</p> <p><strong>3. Pillows</strong></p> <p>Wash pillows two at a time in a warm-water gentle cycle. To ensure you’re washing out all the soap, add an extra cold-water rinse and spin, advises Good Housekeeping. To fluff things up, dry the pillows on low heat, along with a few rubber dryer balls.</p> <p><strong>4. Backpacks and lunch boxes</strong></p> <p>Open all of your backpack’s pockets and check for any items that might be hidden. If there are large pieces of crumbs or debris, use your vacuum cleaner’s crevice attachment to do a thorough pre-cleaning. Put your backpack into a laundry bag or pillowcase and wash it on a gentle cycle in cold water with a small amount of gentle detergent. Allow to air dry.</p> <p><strong>5. Bath mats and small rugs</strong></p> <p>Take the mat outside and shake it to remove any loose dirt, and then load the rug into the washing machine with a few bath towels to balance the load. Set the machine on a cold-wash delicate cycle, and add half the regular amount of detergent. Allow the mat to air dry (never put a rubber-backed mat into the dryer).</p> <div id="page12" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/home-tips/16-things-you-never-knew-you-could-put-in-the-washing-machine"><strong>6. Pet beds</strong></div> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/home-tips/16-things-you-never-knew-you-could-put-in-the-washing-machine"> <p>Foam pet beds can be cleaned whenever you see fit. Remove the bed’s outside cover and place it in the washing machine with cold water and regular detergent. To clean the foam piece, fill your bathtub halfway with warm water. Add a scoop of laundry detergent and sink the bed into the soapy water. Empty the soap water from the tub and refill with clean water. Rinse the foam out and place it in the sun to air dry. Replace the foam cover and zip it up.</p> <div id="page16" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p><em>Source:<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.rd.com/home/cleaning-organizing/washing-machine-suprising-items/" target="_blank">RD.com</a></em></p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/home-tips/16-things-you-never-knew-you-could-put-in-the-washing-machine"><em>Written by Juliana LaBianca. This article first appeared in <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/home-tips/16-things-you-never-knew-you-could-put-in-the-washing-machine">Reader’s Digest</a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA93V">here’s our best subscription offer.</a></em></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div>

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Arnott’s makes Tim Tam using “beautiful” Australian strawberries supermarkets rejected

<p>A new Tim Tam biscuit is boosting a Queensland couple’s bid to save tens of thousands of tonnes of Australian fruit rejected by supermarkets at the peak of growing seasons.</p> <p>Stuart and Allison McGruddy have launched an initiative that fights against the war on waste by freezing fruit. But after further research, they were disheartened to know that many major companies use imported, rather than local Aussie ingredients.</p> <p>But that’s slowly changing, as biscuit maker Arnott’s has used 20 tonnes of the fruit the couple saved in their new limited-edition Sunshine Coast Strawberries and Cream Tim Tam.</p> <p>Mr McGruddy who is a chef, and wife Allison left London eight years ago to work on his family’s farm, and were taken aback at the amount of perfectly ripe Australian fruit being rejected because it didn’t live up to supermarket standards.</p> <p>According to FoodWise, approximately 20 to 40 per cent of fruit and vegetables are rejected before it even reaches supermarket shelves due to not meeting aesthetic requirements.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Featmyberries%2Fposts%2F2877213695663865&amp;width=500" width="500" height="390" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"></iframe></p> <p>“I’ve been to farms in the local area with strawberries that dump multiple tonnes a day, and I take photos of it, and it just blows me away,” said Mr McGruddy.</p> <p>“Like after the needle incident a couple of years ago, people got to see just how much strawberry waste happens in the industry, and it is the same with bananas and mangoes.”</p> <p>Ms McGruddy added: “We were seeing lots of beautiful raspberries that might be rejected by supermarkets at the time, and Stuart’s dad said, ‘What can you do with these beautiful berries, Stuart – c’mon, you can do something with them’.</p> <p>“Not long after that we had the 2015 outbreak of hepatitis A that was caused by contaminated berries produced in China, and we thought we need to do something about this, let’s get an Australian offering, so that’s basically the premise behind our business.”</p> <p>They founded My Berries, and freeze and bag a growing range of Australian-farmed fruit in a small factory near Bribie Island.</p>

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Why you should clean with herbs

<div class="page-header clearfix"> <div class="tg-container"> <div class="detailPageHeader"> <div class="postIntro">Homemade herbal cleaning products are mostly composed of just one main substance – the cleaning agent – which means that you're not paying for bulking additives, artificial colours or perfumes. You can choose the type and strength of the scent you want; fresh herbs or essential oils almost invariably leave a delightfully fresh, clean smell.</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="tg-container categorySection detailSection"> <div id="primary" class="contentAreaLeft"> <div class="share-buttons"> <div class="addthis_inline_share_toolbox" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/home-tips/why-clean-with-herbs" data-title="Why clean with herbs? | Reader's Digest Australia" data-description="Homemade herbal cleaning products are mostly composed of just one main substance – the cleaning agent – which means that you're not paying for bulking additives, artificial colours or perfumes. You can choose the type and strength of the scent you want; fresh herbs or essential oils almost invariably leave a delightfully fresh, clean smell."> <div id="atstbx" class="at-resp-share-element at-style-responsive addthis-smartlayers addthis-animated at4-show" aria-labelledby="at-029fd6d1-4439-4dc9-8fe6-9e3c12bc7441"> <div class="Maincontent"> <p>There is also gathering evidence that links the use of chemical cleaners such as bleach with the development of asthma in both children and adults. Some chemicals can set off allergic reactions or contact dermatitis in sensitive people. And one 2010 US study discovered that women who held cleaning jobs while pregnant had a higher incidence of birth defects in their children.</p> <p>So, whether you’re already committed to a greener way of cleaning or you just want to save money and simplify your life a little, herbal cleaning makes a lot of sense.</p> <p>Try these two recipes to clean your surfaces and floors, the easy way, with the power of herbs.</p> <h4>All-purpose herb vinegar spray</h4> <p>This all-purpose, environmentally friendly, non-toxic spray is great to have on hand for wiping, cleaning and deodorising almost every surface (except marble). If you don’t have any fresh herbs, add drops of essential oil instead.</p> <p><strong>Ingredients</strong></p> <ul class="no-bullet"> <li>fresh or dried herbs (you can also use herbal tea bags)</li> <li>distilled white vinegar</li> </ul> <p><strong>Preparation</strong></p> <ol> <li>Roughly chop 1 to 2 large handfuls of fresh or dried herbs (such as lemon verbena, peppermint, rosemary, lemon balm or lavender), or place 5 to 10 tea bags in the bottom of a wide-mouthed glass jar.</li> <li>Add vinegar to fill the jar. Replace the lid, leave for a few days to infuse, then strain out the herbs. (If you are using tea bags, you can gently warm the vinegar before pouring to ensure maximum diffusion.)</li> <li>Decant into a plastic spray bottle. This spray is perfectly safe and very effective to use at full-strength, but it can also be diluted half-and-half with water for lighter jobs.</li> </ol> <h4>Eucalyptus floor wash</h4> <p>With its powerful natural antiseptic, disinfectant and cleaning properties, eucalyptus oil can be put to work in every room of the house. This simple solution can be used on both timber and lino floors. When washing a timber floor, remember not to saturate it. Your mop should be damp, not dripping wet, and the floor should be well-swept or vacuumed before mopping.</p> <p><strong>Ingredients</strong></p> <ul class="no-bullet"> <li>1 teaspoon eucalyptus oil</li> <li>2 tablespoons methylated spirits</li> <li>5 litres hot water (about half a bucket)</li> </ul> <p><strong>Preparation</strong></p> <ol> <li>Combine all the ingredients in a bucket.</li> <li>Wring out a mop in the solution and use it to damp mop the floor. Leave to dry; you don’t need to rinse.</li> </ol> <p><em>Written by Reader's Digest. </em><em>This article first appeared in </em><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/home-tips/why-clean-with-herbs"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA93V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div>

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They paid WHAT? 5 most expensive celeb houses of 2019

<p>Celebrities live a life of luxury, so it makes sense that these luxuries would also extend to the places they call home. Here are the 5 most expensive real estate transactions done by celebrities for 2019.</p> <p><strong>5. Tommy Hilfiger</strong></p> <p>The 68-year-old fashion designer and founder of Tommy Hilfiger finally sold his Plaza Hotel penthouse after a shocking 11 years on the market. The home is 6,050 square feet and has just four bedrooms. There is a formal dining room that features mirrored walls and the penthouse features a grand salon with 10-foot high ceilings, according to<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/watch-tommy-and-dee-hilfiger-give-a-tour-of-their-stunning-plaza-hotel-apartment" target="_blank">Architectural Digest</a></em>.</p> <p>The penthouse sold for a shocking $USD 33.25 million ($AUD 48.4 million).</p> <p><strong>4. Mark Zuckerberg</strong></p> <p>The founder of Facebook kept the details of this sale very private as he purchased a home in Lake Tahoe for $USD 37 million ($AUD 54.19 million).</p> <p>The Brushwood Estate features a 5,322 square foot main house with six bedrooms as well as a separate guesthouse and a private dock, according to<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://variety.com/2019/dirt/news/mark-zuckerberg-lake-tahoe-houses-1203209603/" target="_blank">Variety</a></em>.</p> <p>The home was built in 1964 and also features rolling lawns as well as a lakeview jacuzzi.</p> <p>The home adds to the smaller property he purchased earlier for $USD 22 million ($AUD 32.02 million) and now has a compound of up to 10 acres with 600 feet of uninterrupted lake views.</p> <p><strong>3. Adam Levine and Behati Prinsloo</strong></p> <p>The power couple were ready to say goodbye to their mansion in Beverly Hills, but it wouldn’t be an easy one as their mansion is a three-story Tudor-style home.</p> <p>The sprawling 10,376 foot mansion features five bedrooms, twelve bathrooms and features crown moulding in many of the common living areas on the first floor.</p> <p>The master suite of the mansion includes a lofted ceiling, a private terrace and an en suite bathroom that has a luxurious free-standing tub, according to<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/ellen-degeneres-buys-adam-levines-beverly-hills-mansion" target="_blank">Architectural Digest</a>.</em></p> <p>The home sold to another power couple Ellen DeGeneres and her wife Portia Di Rossi for $USD 45 million ($AUD 65.83 million).</p> <p><strong>2. Sting</strong></p> <p>The iconic musician bought a luxurious 5,807 square feet penthouse which has three bedrooms and five and a half bathrooms. Although it’s not as large as some of the other mansions, it appears that stars are paying for the location as it’s on Billionaire’s Row at 220 Central Park South, according to<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.realestate.com.au/news/sting-drops-nearly-96-million-on-penthouse-in-recordbreaking-new-york-building/" target="_blank">realestate.com.au.</a></p> <p>With few details being made public about the actual apartment, there are little to no photos of this listing that he bought for a shocking USD $66 million ($AUD 96 million)</p> <p><strong>1. Jeff Bezos</strong></p> <p>Last but not least, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos purchased a trio of Manhattan apartments for a combined whopping $USD 80 million ($AUD 116.52 million).</p> <p>The sizeable buy included a three-story five-bedroom penthouse apartment as well as the other two units he purchased which overlook Madison Square Park.</p> <p>The combined space of all three units create a massive 17,000 square foot, 12-bedroom estate.</p> <p>The penthouse alone has nearly 6,000 square feet of terraces and has four exposures facing the Madison Square Park. The penthouse also includes a private elevator, a grand ballroom and a library with a marble and glass fireplace, according to<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.businessinsider.com.au/amazon-ceo-jeff-bezos-buys-manhattan-penthouse-apartment-80-million-2019-6?r=US&amp;IR=T" target="_blank">Business Insider</a></em>.</p> <p><em>Photo credits:</em></p> <p><em>Tommy Hilfiger’s penthouse:<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.cnbc.com/2019/10/17/photos-tommy-hilfigers-nyc-penthouse-sold-for-millions.html" target="_blank">CNBC</a><span> </span>&amp; Sothesby’s International Realty | Travis Mark</em></p> <p><em>Mark Zuckerberg’s Lake Tahoe mansion:<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://variety.com/2019/dirt/news/mark-zuckerberg-lake-tahoe-houses-1203209603/" target="_blank">Variety</a><span> </span>&amp; Oliver Luxury Real Estate</em></p> <p><em>Adam Levine’s Tudor-style mansion:<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/ellen-degeneres-buys-adam-levines-beverly-hills-mansion" target="_blank">Architectural Digest</a><span> </span>&amp; Simon Berlyn / Berlyn Photography 2019</em></p> <p><em>Jeff Bezos’ trio of Manhattan apartments:<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://visualhouse.co/work/212-fifth-avenue/" target="_blank">Visual House</a>­  <span> </span><span> </span></em></p>

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