Become the boss of your energy bill with greenHOUSE

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Jan 272015
 

greenHOUSE

Four weeks into 2015 many Aussies are still determined to make those New Year resolutions a success. Becoming healthier, living greener and saving more, if you connect with these great intentions (don’t we all?) you are sure love the latest, life changing, Sustainababy program:

The greenHOUSE 21 Day Home Energy Blitz has been developed by environmental engineer and ecoceptional mother-of-two Laura Trotta. As a certified Home Energy Auditor Laura has spent the last decade helping ordinary Australian families to reduce their energy consumption, lessen their energy bills and lower their greenhouse gas emissions. With years of valuable experience under her belt I think we safely call her a real energy expert and now you can profit from her knowledge too.

real estate and family home concept - closeup picture of male and female hands holding green paper h

Over the course of 21 days (yep, just three short weeks!) you will discover how you can become more in control of your energy usage through small but very effective changes in your home and routine. Every day you will receive a bite-sized chunk of greenHOUSE goodness in your inbox, which you can read and act upon at a time that is convenient for you. You will also have access to a fabulous back-up team of like-minded parents on the special Home Energy Blitz Facebook page for friendly chats, helpful advice, great tips and of course support from the real greenHOUSE experts.

If you want to become the boss of your next energy bill and help influence climate change sign up for your own Home Energy Blitz now! The special Early Bird Price of $97 is available until Sunday February 8th, after this you can still sign up at the regular price of $199. Registrations close on Sunday February 22nd, 2015 and the doors of the greenHOUSE program will open on February 24th, 2015.

greenHOUSE Sign-Up

All participants will receive a FREE copy of Laura Trotta’s eGuide “101 Small Things You Can Do to Help Our Environment” valued at $47. You’ll also be mailed your greenHOUSE Home Energy Toolkit which includes some surprise tools to help you reduce your household energy consumption even more.

The practical, hands-on greenHOUSE Home Energy Blitz is designed for YOU, providing you with all the information you need to make small changes that will have a big impact. Creator Laura Trotta is so convinced you will love the greenHOUSE eCourse that she is willing to back it up with a 100% Money Back Guarantee. If you have signed up, and within the first 7 days decide that the program is not right for you, you simply need to send Laura a quick email to receive a full refund of your investment.

To find more about greenHOUSE, the 21 Day Home Energy Blitz by Sustainababy, and to start reducing your energy bill visit www.greenhouseenergyblitz.com.

Jan 012015
 

Panasonic

Today we are welcoming the new year in style with a few lovely friends so I whipped up some yummy snacks for the hungry tribe using the Panasonic NN-CS894S Steam Combi Microwave Oven (RRP $1209), a luxurious, high quality microwave oven with a stunning industrial look. The clever design allows you to steam, grill, bake, defrost and microwave your favourite foods in one spacious unit packed with clever features.

Panasonic NN-CS894S

Panasonic is on a mission to make your life easier, your kitchen more stylish, your cooking faster, your food healthier and your energy consumption lower, it’s a win all around.

Panasonic Monkey Bread

To help you reduce energy, and therefore your household bills too, this Panasonic NN-CS894S Steam Combi Microwave Oven uses intelligent ECONAVI technology. As you may remember I mentioned this innovative technology before when we talked about the Panasonic fridge and washing machine range, it’s all about efficient use to suit your personal needs and habits. The ECONAVI function of the NN-CS894S makes sure you are not wasting energy on heating an entire grill surface when you are only warming small portions so only the necessary space is heated.

Panasonic Iced Monkey Bread

To make this scrumptious cinnamon pull-apart treat with vanilla drizzle I used a simple homemade pizza dough, it was so easy to make and the cinnamon nibbles are the perfect size for little hands. It takes just 20-25 minutes to cook, smells divine and is very more-ish, definitely a family favourite for us and budget friendly too.

Panasonic Pizza

Like most mums I want to provide my family with healthy, nutritious food so I love that Panasonic shares these values and has incorporated them in this microwave oven design. The powerful steam function works really well and keeps important nutrients in the food while the Inverter technology ensures food is cooked more evenly without destroying food cells like conventional microwaves do.

NN-CS894SNot only does the Panasonic NN-CS894S have a huge 32 litre capacity, it also offers 2-level convection cooking. By cooking on two levels simultaneously you can cook more food in the same amount of time which saves you precious time and energy, very handy when you have many mouths to feed like in our big family. Because of the flat bed technology, pull-down door and the fact that the touchscreen is built into the door you are able to use the entire width of the unit as cooking space, this means more space for bigger dishes and no restrictive turntable.

To nicely grill these chicken kebabs I used the special Panasonic Grill Tray (included) which heats food from two sides for faster cooking and removes the need for turning food halfway through the process. The upper heaters located in the roof of the microwave cook from the top while the microwave-heated grill tray cooks from the bottom, these babies were cooked and ready in about 30 minutes. The best part is that you don’t even need any oil, so much healthier than using the fry pan!

Panasonic Chicken Kebabs

I absolutely love the classy stainless steel design and the smart operation touch screen, especially the super quick and quiet ‘Swipe & Touch’ control is so easy and smooth. To set the time you just swipe and tap as opposed to endlessly pressing a button. The digital display tells you exactly what setting you are choosing, weight if applicable, the correct tray and height level, how much time you have left, if you need to turn or stir the food, fill the water tank etc, it’s like having a built-in manual to refer to.

Panasonic 'Swipe & Touch'

For more information about Panasonic, to browse the range and to locate a stockist near you visit www.panasonic.com.au.

Dec 212014
 

Vintage LED

Christmas Countdown: Day 21

O how I love this wonderful season of lights. In the trees, across the windows, on the houses… the right lighting is so important when it comes to creating a lovely atmosphere. If you are looking for the perfect light to take your room from boring and bland to cool and classy you will absolutely love Vintage LED:

Vintage LED Pendants

The lighting experts at Australian company Vintage LED know exactly what a big difference a beautiful warm light can make so they have put together a wonderful collection of lights and fittings that will help you achieve the ideal look for your home or business.

Vintage LED BulbBy using Vintage LED lighting you can create that stylish vintage look of stunning carbon filament light bulbs (also known as Edison light bulbs) without it damaging the environment and your wallet like the traditional bulbs do. LED lighting is a fantastic choice for those who care about environmental sustainability and carbon reduction, did you know a Vintage LED light bulb lasts 10 times longer than standard globes?

Aside from the money saving factor another great benefit of Vintage LEDs is that they do not heat up like other light globes do, even after having been on for hours they’ll just reach 30C making them a very safe for families with young children. There are twelve different Vintage LED Light Bulbs to choose from with very different shapes, colours, fitting, internal features and wattage; prices range from $34.95-$50 per bulb.

Vintage LED PendantIf you’re not sure how to best style your pretty new Vintage LED light bulbs why not borrow some ideas from the experts and purchase a ready-to-go Vintage LED Pendant Kit ($59.95-$109). Each of these well priced kits contain a pendant and the light bulb that best matches it as chosen by the Vintage LED design team. Obviously you can also make up your own stylish combination with one of ten individual pendants in store or a pendant you already have at home.

To find out more Vintage LED, to browse the range and to order online visit www.vintageled.com.au, Australia wide delivery is free for orders over $100.

For your chance to win 1 of 4 Vintage LED Pendant Kits (RRP $59.95-$109) enter our giveaway below:

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Nov 032014
 

Last month I wrote about my holiday diet, five weeks of delicious European food extended by a generous two months of feeling homesick after we returned has not gone unnoticed on the scales so a few weeks ago I decided that enough is enough. I ditched the junk food (OK I didn’t throw it out, I just ate it all…) and started afresh with healthy eating and exercise while the twins are at school. Our little 4-year old had joined in the action too and keeps active with her LeapFrog LeapBand:

LeapFrog LeapBands

The LeapFrog LeapBand is a compact, fun, portable activity tracker for children aged 4-7. At LeapFrog they know all about making learning fun and know they are also helping kids to get moving using engaging, age appropriate games and exercises on a cool ‘watch style’ mini-computer.

LeapFrog LeapBand GreenThe LeapBand concept is based on a virtual pet that needs to be fed, played with and looked after. Children can choose their favourite pet and customise its colour and name for a real personal experience. Unlike the 90’s trend Tamagotchi which just needed a press of a button to do the caring a LeapBand is interactive and requires the child to get active to keep their pet happy and content.

The activity tracker features a high resolution colour screen and just four buttons making it easy to manage for young children. Instructions and rewards are being read out loud so even children who can’t read just yet can play. Swim like a fish, walk like a penguin, hop like a kangaroo, row your boat, with 50 different challenges there are a lot of ways to get moving. By completing challenges kids can earn Jewels/Joules to look after their pet, the more you jump, stretch, crawl, wiggle, dance, shake and stomp the happier your pet will get.

Featuring a strong, flexible and adjustable waistband the LeapBand can be made to fit little wrists perfectly. The cleverly designed wristband is not completely round but flat on top and stiff on the sides so that the screen will stay on top as opposed to roll down underneath the wrist when moving because of gravity.

LeapFrog LeapBand PinkOur three oldest children (a 4 year old and 6 year old twins) all love playing with the LeapBand, I admit they do sometimes argue about taking turns but generally they all do the same exercises with only 1 person wearing the LeapBand and are quite happy with a ‘group exercise’. It’s lovely to see them have fun while moving and getting rid of some excess energy. We have had a few young guests lately who tested the LeapBand too and they all really enjoyed it (so did their mums who immediately added it to the Christmas shopping list).

Some more handy information: LeapBands can easily be recharged using a USB charging cable (included) so there are no batteries that need to be replaced or that could fall out and pose a danger. Parents can follow their child’s progress by connecting the LeapBand to a computer, you can see what your child’s activity is like and you can limit your child’s playtime by setting school times and quiet times. As good as exercise is for children, variety is good too and this parent control allows you to decide on an arrangement that suits your family.

LeapFrog LeapBand BlueThe LeapFrog LeapBand (RRP $59.99, green and pink) is now available from all major retailers and independent toy stores across Australia. If you love standing out from the crowd you may want to pop into your local BigW store as BigW is the exclusive Australian stockist of the very cool blue LeapBand, you can’t purchase it anywhere else. Looks pretty awesome if you ask me!

To find out more about LeapFrog, to browse the range and to locate stockist near you visit www.leapfrog.com.au.

Sep 262014
 

Panasonic

As we celebrate our 8th wedding anniversary today I think back to our very first home together, how little we had yet how proud and happy we were. We shopped with great care, spending our hard earnt money on a fridge, a washing machine and a microwave oven for our rental home that was old and empty but filled with love. For months we ate at a fold-out camping table, wobbly and rusty but we didn’t care or notice because we had eacother.

Eight years, three houses and four babies later our love is stronger than ever but sadly the same can not be said about some of our appliances. While our relationship is solid as a rock our fridge and microwave have become unreliable and started to rattle, stutter and shake so I knew the end was in the sight. In our household we use our microwave oven a lot; the microwave takes care of defrosting food, warming leftovers, preparing baby meals and heating milk and the oven cooks my lasagna, roasts the potatoes, bakes yummy birthday cakes and so much more, it was time for a replacement (the microwave I mean, not the hubby!).

Panasonic Double Steam Microwave Oven

Developed by the experts at Panasonic the brand new NN-DS592B Steam Combi Microwave Oven (RRP $769, 1000W) is a multifunctional design that allows you to microwave, defrost, bake, grill, roast, steam and cook healthy, delicious meals for your family and all of that in one very clever kitchen appliance.

Panasonic NN-DS592BFrom the outside the glossy black unit looks modern, sleek and compact, a world of difference from my bulky old white microwave oven. But don’t be fooled by its size, the Panasonic NN-DS592B actually offers a generous 27 litre capacity. Thanks to the flatbed design you can use rectangular trays and capitalise the entire space, in fact the cooking area is equivalent to a 44 litre traditional microwave with a round turn table! It’s so nice to have a neater, smaller unit without having to give in on capacity, after all as a family of six we need all the space we can get.

Call it lazy but I usually leave instruction manuals to my husband, he (surprisingly) enjoys the read and gives me a quick demo afterwards which works well for both of us. Luckily for me the Panasonic Microwave Oven is designed to be quick and easy, it comes with 22 auto menus for all your family favourites like roast chicken, jacket potato, fresh pizza, steamed fish and more. Add to that an easy-to-read, back lit LCD display, just 9 clearly marked buttons to press and 1 knob to turn and you can see why I even I could manage this new addition to our kitchen.

Roast Beef

The most important feature of the Panasonic Steam Combi Microwave Oven is the steam function which will help you cook healthier meals and maintain more flavour, moisture and important nutrients in your food. At Panasonic they understand that all people, meals and foods are different so they allow you to pick the perfect combination to suit your personal taste and dish: grill and steam, microwave and steam, grill and microwave, convection and steam, it’s up to you! The water reservoir/drawer is conveniently located at the front and is easy to fill.

Jacket Potato

So far we have used our microwave for an array of ordinary uses like heating milk for coffee and hot chocolates, reheating left overs and warming baby food and it works a treat. All it takes is a turn of the dial to select the heating time, easy as pie. I particularly love the sensor reheat function, you simply set the ideal heat for your dish (very handy for baby food/milk) and the microwave works out how long to warm it for, how clever! We also really like the way the steam defrost combination delivers food that is defrosted all throughout, no icey lumps on the inside. The special Inverter technology ensures continuous heating so that food is cooked more evenly than in an ordinary microwave.

Cinnamon Scrolls

We have been busy testing out the auto menus including a Sunday afternoon roast beef and jacket potatoes for a quick kid friendly meal, it’s always good to have some hassle free dinners on hand for busy days and these are just one click away. Using the auto menu for roast beef a 1kg roast takes around 35 minutes, it’s only a short wait and if you like your meat a little rarer you can be done even quicker. If you have hungry kids to feed the auto menu jacket potatoes are a guaranteed hit, so easy to make and they are delicious! This week I decided to make a batch of cinnamon rolls to test the super handy fermenting setting to help the dough rise (a life saver if you have no warm spots or sunny window sills) and it worked brilliantly, the end result was just scrumptious and the kids gave it the thumbs up too.

NN-DS592B PanasonicOne of the biggest plusses of the Panasonic NN-DS592B is how easy it is to clean. The interior of the microwave features a convenient wipe-clean, non-stick lining all around the sides and bottom, just grab a damp cloth and wipe it out. Thanks to the steam function the inside stays more humid and spills don’t dry as quickly (no need for harsh scrubbing), there is even an auto-clean function. Less time spent on cleaning gives me more time to do the things I enjoy, double win!

The Panasonic NN-DS592B Steam Combi Microwave Oven comes complete with glass tray, metal tray, wire rack and the innovative double grill tray which allows food to be cooked from both sides.

For more information about Panasonic, to browse the range and to locate a stockist near you visit www.panasonic.com.au.

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Mar 102014
 

Finish

As you can imagine a ‘big’ household like ours is pretty busy, there is always food to be cooked, laundry to be done, rooms to be cleaned, kids to be showered, beds to be changed and homework to be checked and (like most mums) I often feel there is just not enough time in the day. I love finding ways to save time on everyday tasks so I have more time to do fun family things.

More time to go out and explore

More time to go out and explore

One of the ways I cut down one housework is by using a dishwasher, we have had our dishwasher for 2,5 years now and if you use it wisely you can not only save water but save energy too which is awesome news for the environment and your wallet. Our dishwasher runs on average every other day, sometimes even every third day which I think is really quite good for a family of six.

More time for spontaneous visits to the park

More time for spontaneous visits to the park

The helpful team at Dishwashing Expert is on a mission to help Australian families get the most out of their dishwasher so they have put together a quick list of handy, and surprisingly easy, tips to save money, energy and water:

  • Do not pre-rinse dishes by hand, it’s not needed and only wastes water.
  • Fully load the dishwasher, leaving room for water to circulate
  • Use 50°C, ECO or AUTO wash cycle as your every day program, designed to use minimal energy consumption but still maintain cleaning.
  • Use the timer setting to run the dishwasher in the middle of the night to use cheaper energy rates.
  • Check and clean drains, filters, spray arms and rubber seals regularly to ensure efficient operation.
  • Recycle product packaging.

I would love to hear your clever tips for cutting down your time spent on chores, maybe we can all help eachother out? As a little thank you I have two packs of Finish Dishwasher Protector to give away.

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Feb 122014
 

Panasonic

They say you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone and that’s definitely the case for household appliances. During last week’s 47 hour power blackout I was forced to wash our clothes by hand and you can imagine as family of six we are experts at making dirty laundry! It made me realise how valuable a good washing machine is and how little I know about removing stains.

Panasonic ECONAVI, saving you time and money

Panasonic ECONAVI, saving you time and money

I may be a leek in the laundry department but at Panasonic they know all about stains, in fact they’ve designed a fantastic range of super clever washing Panasonic ECONAVI Washing Machines that remove 23 different types of different stains. This unique stain removal technology means you don’t have to break your pretty little head over those nasty marks anymore; simply pop your soiled clothing in the machine, select the correct setting and let the washing machine do its magic.

Panasonic Washing Machine NA 148VX3WAUPanasonic has all your every day stains covered: mud or grass, coffee or makeup, juice or chocolate, blood or tomato sauce, you name it and there is a setting for it. If you have a big and busy family like me this could save you lots of time, frustration and money spent on replacing ruined clothes too. I know what I’ll be looking for when we are in the market for a new washing machine!

Another way ECONAVI Washing Machines can save you money is by automatically adjusting the water temperature, volume and spin cycle to suit the load of your washing machine. This efficient washing means you won’t waste unnecessary water or energy on little loads, which is great for both your wallet and the environment. Panasonic Washing Machines are available in 8kg and 10kg load size with prices starting at $1,249.

For more information about Panasonic, to browse the Panasonic washing machine range and to locate a stockist near you visit www.panasonic.com.au.