Posted in Lifestyle, Parenting

5 Fun Ways to Encourage Kids to Play Outside

Nowadays, over 80% of kids aged 5 to 9 spend over 2 hours a day staring at a screen.  That figure rises to 90% for kids aged 10 to 14.

How do you, as parents and caregivers, encourage less screen time and more outside time?

Check out our 5 fun ways to encourage kids to play outside, and you’ll introduce a whole new world of fun to your children (with no digital devices in sight)!

Kids, Trampoline, Fun, Children, Girls, Jumping, Jump

Bounce: Trampolines

Bouncing on a trampoline is something kids (including the big ones) have loved doing for generations. Not only does it boost energy and endorphin levels, but it’s a great workout!  What’s more – kids will be entertained for hours!

Trampolining helps to develop and maintain a healthy heart and lungs while improving balance and coordination.

Trampoline accessories such as basketball hoops, boards and sprinklers are a great way to add extra excitement and fun for kids. 

Invest in a good-quality trampoline in New Zealand, and you’ll provide years of fun for the whole family.

Ride: Cycle or Kick-Scooter

The New Zealand government is supporting a plan initiated by the World Health Organisation to boost the number of physically active people by 15% by 2030.

This includes a push to encourage 60% of school kids to walk, cycle or scoot to and from school by 2030.

Any kind of regular physical activity in children will promote healthy weight maintenance, good mental health, decision-making skills and brain development.

Swim: Pool, Lake or Beach

Teaching a child to swim enables them to feel comfortable in and around water.  Whether they want to swim competitively or not, It is essential to their safety.

Swimming is a low-impact activity that can work multiple muscle groups in a high-intensity cardio workout.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that swimming provides relief for chronic diseases and improves mental health and mood. Learning to swim is a skill that will stay with them forever and will help improve their overall physical and mental wellbeing.

Walk: Explore with Fido

The NZ Ministry of health labels 1 in 8 kiwi kids as obese. As parents and caregivers, it’s vital we take action to help our children become more physically active.

A fun way to incorporate walking into your child’s life is to take the dog!  New Zealand is packed with many scenic and dog-friendly places to explore:

local bush walks

nature walks

harbourfront walks

walks through local and regional parks

Explore your local area as a family, ensuring you respect the cultural importance of sacred land to Māori.

Skate: On Ice or On Wheels

Skating is a fantastic way for kids to burn off extra energy, strengthen muscles, and maintain a healthy weight.

Whether it’s ice-skating, roller-skating (or roller-blading) or skateboarding, they’re all a great way to reduce back-to-school (and any other kind of) stress.  It will boost endorphin levels, memory and concentration. It also has the added benefit of building self-confidence and social skills.

Exercise doesn’t have to be a chore. Give kids loads of choices and encourage them to explore their options. With our 5 fun ways to encourage kids to play outside,you’ll have them off the couch, out in the fresh air, and enjoying themselves in no time.

Posted in Travel

Hiring a Campervan vs Renting a Car in Australia

Fast, shiny new cars versus spacious, comfy campervans.

What a choice!

Debating whether to hire a campervan for your next Australian road trip? Perhaps the slightly higher cost of campervan rentals is putting you off the idea of campervan hire.

However – in return for your hard-earned money, you’ll get way more freedom, control and comfort travelling via campervan. In a rental campervan, your accommodation and travel are rolled into one, saving lots of time and money. Instead of saving for expensive hotels, you can just take up the nearest campervan park for the night.

In the morning, you won’t need to stress about packing up your room and checking out on time. Simply drive off when you’re ready and enjoy the scenery on your way to the next location!

Driving in a campervan is far more comfortable, compared to a car. Instead of being cramped in small seats, you can stretch your legs inside your vehicle whenever you take a driving break. With more room to stow your belonging and relax, you’ll find long road trips far more enjoyable.

Most modern campervan rentals include a kitchen. Depending on your budget, you may be able to cook meals inside your vehicle – one of the greatest perks of travelling in a campervan.

Come across a beautiful beach or fun trailer park? Slot in and enjoy your lunch with a stunning view. If driving along the open road on a longer road trip, you won’t have to worry about relying on fast food. Instead, stock up on your favourite fresh food while in town and prepare tasty meals inside your home on wheels, in comfort, when you’re settled in a parking.

For the best campervan hire in Melbourne, visit motorhomerepublic.com. Motorhome republic compares campervan rental prices in Australia. Whether you’re after a 2-berth sleeper or a 6-berth campervan, Motorhome Republic will help you find the best deal on offer.

There are many different types of campervans you can choose from, each with unique features. Your budget and trip length will determine the type of campervan you need. The team at Motorhome Republic will help you find the perfect campervan for your needs.

Posted in Home Improvement

How to Choose & Maintain Quality Wooden Outdoor Furniture


Most people spend a lot of time and money, choosing and buying furniture for inside their home. Quality, comfort and visual aesthetics are paramount. However, when it comes to furniture for outdoor living spaces, there are some additional things to consider. Unlike indoor furniture, outdoor furniture needs to stand up to the elements. New Zealand is renowned for its changeable weather, so it is important to select a material that can handle the onslaught. From baking sun to rain and snow, New Zealand’s weather is guaranteed to put outdoor furniture through its paces.

Wooden outdoor furniture is a classic choice for rustic looks and reliable longevity. And with an abundance of quality Auckland outdoor furniture available online, it couldn’t be easier to select your perfect patio set. Outdoor chairs constructed from sustainably sourced timber are ideal for the environmentally-conscious consumer. Here are a few ways to make sure you are choosing high-quality products, as well as ways to maintain your furniture for years to come.

Choose Furniture of Suitable Material

The first major consideration when choosing wooden outdoor furniture in NZ should always be material. For durability in all weather conditions, hardwoods are the ideal choice. Hardwoods are low maintenance, dense and tough. Their weight also makes them unlikely to blow over in windy weather.

Teak is highly prized and is traditionally used in shipbuilding. Its high oil content means it is resistant to extremes of temperature and moisture. Look for recycled or reclaimed teak, which is extra resilient and doesn’t contribute to deforestation. Although it is more expensive than young wood, the investment will be worth it for its longevity and visual character. Properly maintained, a teak bench, garden chairs or outdoor table could last for 100 years. Eucalyptus is another hardwood that offers great durability. It is less expensive than teak, but it also requires more maintenance.

If you are looking for cheap outdoor furniture, hardwoods might be out of your budget range. Garden furniture made from softwoods like pine is also widely available. Softwoods must be pressure-treated to make them suitable for outdoor use. Softwood is considerably cheaper than hardwood furniture. However, it is unlikely to be as long-lasting.

Look at Build Quality

Build quality should also be paramount when you are selecting furniture. For outdoor patio chairs, in particular, ensure that the construction is robust. Avoid wood that has been glued or stapled, in favour of rust-resistant stainless steel hardware. Select furniture with a decent product warranty for guaranteed longevity and peace of mind.

Maintenence

When it comes to maintenance of your NZ outdoor furniture, all outdoor wood benefits from annual washing with a wood cleaning product. Annual maintenance should also include tightening of all screws and hardware.

Beyond this, the treatment depends upon the type of wood. Teak needs very little maintenance and left untreated it naturally ages to a silver patina. However, if you wish to maintain its brown colour, you can apply a teak oil or sealer. Because it is less resistant to moisture than teak, eucalyptus benefits from yearly application of an acrylic sealer. To tackle discolouration of hardwood, it is possible to sand down the outer surface of the wood before applying your treatment.

Softwoods benefit from yearly treatment with a wood stain containing a preservative. You may wish to cover your patio furniture and outdoor sofas or bring them inside during the colder months. Because softwood is vulnerable to moisture, protect the bottoms of chair and table legs from standing water.

Wooden outdoor furniture brings timeless style and rustic character to your garden. Choose the right product and take good care of it, and it will reward you with years of enjoyment.

Posted in Home Improvement

The Best Advice for Outdoor Umbrella Buying Success


How do you pick the best outdoor sun umbrellas for you? It’s never ideal to go and buy something without assessing all your options! There are also so many considerations! Do you have the right style, material and strength? Is your umbrella going to fade in the sun? And of course, most importantly, are you getting the best possible deal?

Ask the shop assistant or salesperson for their opinion on the type of outdoor umbrellas or shade-sail that is going to last the longest. You definitely want to avoid replacing your sun umbrella mere months after buying it – what a waste of money! There are several things you should look for in making certain your umbrella will have a long life.

The Right Frame

Search for the best frame material that suits your local weather trends. If you live in a windy area such as Wellington, try to find a shorter, thicker frame for your patio umbrellas. Rainy areas are going to need weatherproofed framing as metal can rust and wood can gather mildew and mould. This is also important for cleaning, so make sure to ask about what chemicals are safe to clean with! It can also pay to check how easy the umbrella is to clean as this will save a lot of hassle in the future!

Longevity

Kiwi weather can also affect the fabric of outdoor umbrellas in NZ. So, it’s important to ask about how colourfast the umbrella material is. Otherwise, your umbrella may fade very quickly- especially with the strong UV rays in New Zealand. The strength and weight of the umbrella base may also be an important aspect to consider. You don’t want your umbrella disappearing in the wind!

Warranty

In case of emergency, it always pays to check your warranties! You never know when it might come in handy. If not, learn where is best to buy replacement parts!

Choose the Right Supplier!

When shopping for large patio umbrellas, it is best to assess all your options. This means it is best practice to visit lots of websites, shops, and showrooms to get the best deal on your outdoor sun umbrella. It can even be a good idea to support local suppliers for outdoor umbrellas in Auckland to keep your money in the local economy!

Posted in Career

A Whole NZ World: Embracing Work & Life in Aotearoa


Andrea, a young skilled worker, had been considering a move out of her country for a while. She didn’t have many family ties in her homeland, and she didn’t want to settle there. It had become increasingly difficult to find jobs in her field, and the pay was always low. While Andrea was researching her options, she came across information about New Zealand. Intrigued, she read on. She learned that New Zealand, a peaceful country of 4.5 million people, sought migrants. She found that thanks to her skill and experience, she could apply for a residence visa. Jobs in New Zealand are plentiful, and many specialised roles can’t be filled by New Zealanders.

First, Andrea had to find a job in New Zealand. The visa works on a points system. Interested parties can express their interest by applying online. The decision on whether the visa is granted will depend on a variety of factors. These include their work experience, qualifications, and a job offer. Andrea knew that she would have a much better chance of obtaining one if she received a job offer first.

Thankfully, Andrea found that her New Zealand job search wasn’t as difficult as she’d expected. Using the internet, she applied for several jobs she thought she’d be compatible with. She soon got a call back from one.

Andrea reached out to a friend before her interview. Thomas, an old school friend, had been living in Auckland for three years now. He had plenty of useful interview tips for Andrea before the big day. He told Andrea that New Zealand jobs, as well as interviews, are very different from those in their country. Although Andrea had an impressive CV, she shouldn’t brag about her accomplishments. Bragging is seen as inappropriate, and it could cause the company to reject Andrea’s application. Thomas also suggested that she think about how her experience is relevant to New Zealand. Lastly, he reminded Andrea that New Zealand workplaces are relatively informal. Therefore, interviews can be too. Andrea should be polite without being too formal.

Trying to keep all of this in mind, Andrea did her interview over Skype. A few days later, Andrea received the exciting news: if she could get her visa, she’d be hired! She asked Thomas for a few tips on applying for her visa. He told her:

  • To make sure the job is on one of the skills shortage lists. This can go a long way in being granted a visa.
  • To plan properly. The New Zealand government offers an invaluable planning tool called NZ Ready.
  • Double check that everything is filled out correctly. Missing information could cause delays. This could be a problem if your employer wants you to start soon.

Andrea expressed her interest in the skilled migrant residence category visa. Thanks to her job offer, it was soon granted to her. Excited and a little nervous, she started preparing for her big move.

Andrea encountered a few minor culture shocks as she adapted to her new workplace. In Andrea’s home country, politeness and formality are essential in the workplace. So, Andrea was surprised when her boss said ‘call me Hannah’. Andrea had addressed her with her surname, like she had done in her home country. Her boss also regularly asked the team for their input, rather than making all her own decisions. The company itself was much more egalitarian than others she’d worked at back home. Andrea quickly adapted. She soon found that she actually preferred the changes as they enabled her to feel much more relaxed at work.

Within a few months, Andrea was sure that moving for her New Zealand job was the best decision she’d ever made!

Posted in Business

Life & Health: Making Sure Your Business is Covered


Picture the scene: Martin is the Finance Director of a growing design consultancy with about a dozen staff. He is solely responsible for budgetary planning, accounting, invoicing, payroll, tax returns and many other essential processes. Martin is crucial to the smooth running of the business, and nobody else in the company knows how to carry out his duties. Then, disaster strikes. Martin suffers a cerebral hemorrhage and is rushed to hospital for emergency surgery. The impact on the business is rapid and devastating. Financial operations are at a standstill, and the effects on the bottom line and on staff motivation are soon apparent.

Luckily, Martin’s doctors are confident that he will make a full recovery, but they are unable to say whether this will take weeks, months or years. In the meantime, the business is sinking by the day and the livelihood of several individuals and their families is at risk. This could easily spell disaster for this formerly thriving business. If only the company had invested in key person insurance with critical illness cover. This type of insurance helps businesses to stay afloat after losing a key individual to illness, injury or death. It assesses the value of key people to the business and provides funds to cover the costs incurred if a key person departs unexpectedly, including loss of profits and costs such as those of recruiting and training a replacement team member.

Key person insurance is just one type of life insurance for businesses that is often overlooked by business owners. Another type of corporate business insurance is shareholder protection insurance, which insures businesses against the unexpected departure of a shareholder, providing funds for the remaining shareholders to purchase the departed shareholder’s shares in the company. This releases capital to the departed shareholder’s family or estate while providing the remaining shareholders with control of the business and valuable peace of mind. A business life insurance quote is based upon a calculation of an individual’s profitability to the business and projections of the potential impact of their unexpected departure.  Life insurance plans for business help businesses to anticipate and overcome adverse conditions, protecting profits and in turn protecting the livelihoods of staff and their families.

Health plans for businesses are one of the top employee benefits that workers cite when looking for new employment opportunities. As such, offering corporate health coverage is a great way to attract the best candidates on the market and retain those valued employees long term. When staff are sick or injured, productivity and profits can suffer, but providing health benefits can help to mitigate any losses. Health insurance for businesses not only improves staff wellbeing and loyalty, but can expedite medical treatment, meaning that staff recover and return to work more quickly, minimising sick pay liability and downtime.

When looking at business health insurance quotes, it is important to consider cost, breadth of coverage and extra benefits. Standard health plans normally cover the individual staff member’s medical care, allowing them to pay for their immediate family’s medical insurance at a discounted rate. The most comprehensive health plans include healthcare benefits for the employee plus their immediate family, plus cover for pre-existing conditions. Many corporate health plans also include access to wellbeing programmes, with perks such as gym memberships, recreational activities, weight loss support, stress management, smoking cessation and more. The most fully-featured health insurance plans may be on the more costly side, but it is important to consider the potential dividends in the form of lasting employee productivity, satisfaction and dedication. A healthy workforce means a healthy business, and that is always worth investing in.

Posted in Lifestyle

Why Do We Love Chocolate So Much?


Who doesn’t love chocolate? It’s one of the most delicious, addictive sweet treats in the world.  But what is it that makes chocolate so unique? Let’s look at the reasons why we love chocolate so much.

It Makes Us Feel Good

Ever been in a bad mood and suddenly felt better after a bite of chocolate? Chocolate tends to have that effect on people. Eating chocolate, in whatever form, has the power to lift your mood. The simple fact that chocolate tastes good is an obvious explanation. One bite, and it melts in your mouth, leaving a smooth sensation on your tongue.  Once you have one piece, you just have to go back for more. It’s addictive and irresistible.

The feelings of pleasure associated with chocolate are also sparked by the chemical reactions in our brain. Similar to exercise, eating chocolate triggers the release of endorphins and serotonin, which makes us feel happy. This can also help to combat feelings of stress and anxiety. There’s nothing more comforting than chocolate when you’re having a stressful day.

It’s Versatile

Chocolate has become one of the most versatile ingredients in the world. It has evolved from a bittersweet bean extract drink from South America into the delicious, creamy treat we know today. There are so many different types of chocolate bars available with unique flavour combinations. When you go shopping at any given supermarket, you’re spoilt for choice on what kind of chocolate to buy. It’s a key ingredient in so many classic desserts that it’s hard to imagine a world without it!

When it comes to chocolate, there is truly something for everyone. It’s not hard to see why it’s such a popular gift choice. If you love sweet treats, you can’t go wrong with white chocolate or milk chocolate. For those who enjoy a more bitter taste, there’s nothing like a bite of dark chocolate. It has that rich, bittersweet flavour that will satisfy your cravings. It also has surprising health benefits. 

It Gives Us Energy

Chocolate is an excellent natural energy booster. The caffeine, sugar and fat in chocolate can affect your body instantly, giving you a rush of energy. This instant energy keeps us coming back for more each time. During a long day at work, there’s nothing better than divulging in a stash of amazing chocolate. Instead of grabbing a cup of coffee for your caffeine hit, a piece of chocolate will do the trick.

It’s a Symbol of love

Chocolate is associated with feelings of comfort and happiness, which makes for a fabulous gift. Giving chocolate to children and adults alike is a great way to express your love. Chocolate gifts have long been used in celebrations and seasonal holidays. Could you imagine Easter without chocolate? At the time of writing, chocolate gift boxes, gift crates, goodie baskets and gift baskets in NZ are abundant. The great thing about gift hampers is that you can fill it with whatever you want, from chocolate brownies to dark chocolate truffles. Receiving a fun gift basket of chocolates would brighten anyone’s day.

Where to Buy Gift Baskets:

If you want to send a gift basket in NZ to a loved one this Easter, there are many gift hamper companies that can help. About Giving has the best and coolest gift baskets for sale. You can create your very own gift hamper and get free delivery in NZ. No matter what type of chocolate gift hamper you create, your loved ones are sure to love it.