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Lifestyle Tips

Ready, Set, Grow!

Now a few weeks into spring, it’s time to get your garden looking as good as your neighbours! You might be wondering why your garden is looking dull, even in SPRING?! It could be what you’ve planted. Here’s a list of what to plant and what not to this season.


  • Fruit trees
  • Blueberries & strawberries- Planting as soon as you can will help the root system get established so the plants can survive throughout summer, so no excuses! Another tip if you’re planting berries this spring is pick off the berries as this will take less energy away from the roots that need to get established.
  • Rosemary, Oregano, Thyme, Chives. There is more moisture in the soil in spring- so get planting herbs.
  • Cabbage and lettuce- these do better in cooler soil so plant them before it starts to heat up for summer.
  • Sunflowers
  • Snapdragons
  • Geraniums
  • Zucchini
  • Passionfruit

These plants need a warm climate, and can be killed by frost (this spring has been very cold so far)


  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Squash
  • Eggplants​​​​​​​

Other spring gardening tasks:

  • Turn your compost- and check to see if any is ready to use.
  • If you don’t have a compost, how about getting some manure to dress your garden beds.
  • Eradicate pesky early spring weeds before they get too established. Do weeds keep sprouting back after you’ve taken them out? After you remove them, temporarily put down a layer of landscape fabric before adding mulch this will discourage weed growth!
  • Repair bowed sides of garden beds- soggy winter soil might have rotted a few boards.
  • Lay mulch over bare parts of your garden where you plan to plant, this will minimize the emergence of weeds sprouting before you get around to planting.
  • Early spring brings a lot of slugs- use non-toxic slug control or pick them off young seedlings as you go.
  • Prune existing trees before buds begin to bloom.

Taking the time to complete a few easy spring garden tasks will bring you benefits for the rest of the season. We hope this helps you get control of your garden before the warmer summer months!

Published by Harcourts Charlton Realty LTD


Spruce Up For Spring

After a long and cold winter Spring has finally arrived. But before you open the windows and let in the spring air it is time to welcome in the season with giving your home a good deep clean.  From the Ceiling to the floor, we have put together your ultimate spring-cleaning checklist to make sure you are all ready to start the season off nice and fresh.


  • Dust Windows & Windowsills
  • Vacuum Curtains & Blinds
  • Dust light fixtures & Ceiling Fans
  • Wipe down winter grime & dust room corners
  • Dust Baseboards & clean scuff marks
  • Clean door knobs, cabinet handles & light switches
  • Vacuum floors & under furniture
  • Remove and shake rugs then vacuum
  • Sweep & Mop Floors



  • Vacuum furniture to get rid of dust
  • Condition leather furniture
  • Declutter! – Take out what doesn’t belong in the room and put it in the correct location
  • Dust & Polish tables & shelving
  • Organise Accessories & Electronics
  • Disinfect remote controls
  • Dust edges of Pictures & mirrors


  • Clean Microwave, Kettles, Toasters & all other appliances
  • Clean out & Organise the fridge, freezer & pantry
  • Pull out the fridge and clean behind
  • Clean stovetop, ranges & ovens
  • Clear out cabinets & give shelving a good clean
  • Deep clean dishwasher
  • Clean Hoodvent
  • Sweep & Mop Floors
  • Disinfect & Scrub the sink
  • Clean & organise kitchen drawers


  • Organise Cabinets & Drawers
  • Wipe down all shelving
  • Wipe down mirrors
  • Scrub shower/bath/sinks
  • Scrub the toilet and the outside of the toilet bowl
  • Through out clutter & empty bottles
  • Polish Faucets
  • Wash floor mats & hand towels
  • Sweep & Mop Floors


  • Organise Drawers & Wardrobes
  • Wash all sheets, duvet covers & pillowcases
  • Dust all surfaces
  • Declutter
  • Clean out under bed
  • Clean mirrors & glass
  • Clean lamps & lampshades


  • Clean washing machine & dryer (Also behind)
  • Polish Faucets
  • Sweep & Mop Floors]


  • Reorganise Garage
  • Wash outdoor furniture
  • Sweep and power wash decking
  • Clean outdoor light fixtures
  • Mow and tidy up lawns/Gardening
  • Wipe away cobwebs
  • Clean outside door frames
  • Dust ceilings & corners
  • Clean entry mat
  • Wash exterior of windows
  • Power blast home exterior
  • Sweep driveway


Luxury Homes With Every Dad In Mind

This Father’s Day, give Dad the gift that keeps on giving. Say goodbye to the simple way of living and say hello to the luxury man cave. Between home theaters, custom bars, lounges and endless games, every day should feel like Father’s Day for the man of the house. With their holiday weekend approaching, we combed through some of New Zealand’s properties to find entertainment rooms and spaces to fit every Dad’s interests.

For those dads who can’t get enough of the big screen..
look no further than this stunning waterfront property in Herne Bay, Auckland. This home theatre will definately fit his needs so roll out the red carpet and get comfortable becasue dad will not want to leave. 

It's easier to have fun when you are... playing pool in the heart of Remuera. 
With a wealth of relaxing and entertaining spaces, this 5 bedroom home in the heart of Remuera lets Dad indulge in a friendly pool match while socialising in style! Tastefully refurbished throughout, this home will pleasantly surprise you at every turn, from the lovely street appeal to the warm entrance flowing through to the heart of the home and chef's kitchen.

Because every dad needs his own helipad
With demanding work schedules and inevitable traffic dads need time to really enjoy what life has to offer! This stunning property on Waiheke Island won't leave dad bored.

Afterwards... let Dad treat himself with a well deserved drink
With approxiametely 6 acres of vineyard, a celler and tasting room this Architect designed Church Bay Escape on Waiheke island also will not leave Dad thirsty this fathers day! In one of New Zealand's top and private locations, this luxury property will seize to impress.

Because today is Dads Day
Fathers day is all about letting dad do what dad wants to do. Let him hit a few golf balls on his own private putting green in St Heliers whilst looking out at the beautiful view of Rangitoto Island. What more could he ask for?

To finish off..
After an action packed day Dad deserves some down time and this Beautifully designed spa with breathtaking views over Queenstown ought to do the trick. Situated in Wyuna Rise in one of New Zealands most beautiful cities, this is the way all dads should finish off their days.

Published by Harcourts Charlton Realty LTD


Nail The Neighbourhood

Our How To's On Choosing A Great Neighbourhood

Moving to a new town or city can be overwhelming, particularly if you're trying to choose a neighbourhood to buy a home in. While it’s true that what a great neighbourhood looks like can differ person to person, all great neighbourhoods do share some common factors that are universally appealing. Here we explore 10 signs the neighbourhood you live in (or would you like to live in) is a good one.

Great schools
Even if you don’t have children now, buying a property within an area renowned for great schools has a very positive affect on property prices. In most places, you generally need to live within a public school’s catchment area in order to send your child to that particular school, and some parents are willing to pay top dollar to ensure they live in the catchment area of a great public school.

Low crime rates
This is a pretty universal sign of a good neighbourhood. We all want to live in an area where we feel safe and secure and savvy property buyers will do their research and look at crime rates when it comes to moving to a new area, with this information readily available online.

Lifestyle options
A well-rounded neighbourhood is one that offers different things to different people. This could mean they’re plenty of nearby cafes and bars for foodies, walking and hiking trails for active locals, or even local clubs and leagues for engaged community members.

Outdoor activities
Living in an area where residents don’t have to travel too far to get out and about and enjoy the great outdoors makes an area more appealing. Think of parks, playgrounds, golf courses, tennis courts, public pools and even nearby lakes and rivers.

Well-presented homes
Not only does a neighbourhood look amazing when each house is well presented, but it also shows that your neighbours take a lot of pride in their home, a good sign for any prospective property buyer or seller. This doesn’t have to mean you live in a street of luxury properties either, great presentation starts with a mowed lawn, neat and tidy yard, freshly painted facade and clean, well-maintained footpaths.

Leafy and well established
Even in inner-city areas, a leafy main road, with well-established older buildings and homes can look really inviting. It shows the area has a bit of heritage given the age of the trees that line most streets and the age of the buildings which have been maintained over time.

Family friendly
Aside from great schools lots of factors play a part in making an area appeal to families. Funnily enough, most are listed above. In addition to these an area which has larger homes on potentially larger blocks is probably going to appeal more to families than say the heart of the city, where units run significantly smaller, with little to no outdoor spaces available.

Public transport and walkability
In larger areas being close to public transport is a must with a huge number of commuters relying on buses, rail and ferries to get them to work every day. Walkability is also a big factor though, being able to leave the car at home to get to nearby attractions like markets, shops and cafes makes an area really desirable.

Not everyone loves the idea of travelling into an inner city to have dinner, see a movie or catch-up for drinks, so residential areas that also boast great local cafes, bars or theatres are always popular. As are those with great family entertainment options such as playgrounds, sports grounds, libraries and cinemas.

Being close to the shops is not just convenient it can be a drawcard that gets people to visit a neighbourhood. Weekend markets are popular neighbourhood attractions, as are large-scale shopping centres, supermarkets, and unique local boutiques.

This weekend, why not look around your local neighbourhood and see what makes your area special. It’s great to be aware of the major selling points in your location, and if you’re interested in buying in a particular area, why not see how it stacks up in the desirability stakes?

If you're looking to buy in an area completely new to you we have a good knowledge of the local area and will be able to answer questions about a neighbourhood.

Say Farewell To Family Frantics

Say Farewell To Family Frantics

Simple Ways To Keep You And Your Family More Organised

Do you hear yourself saying “Hurry up” a lot lately? When you think of the ‘morning in your household’ what are the first words that come to mind? Rushed, hectic, stressful? If this is you then keep reading! Turn those negative words to positives with these ideas to keep you and your family so organised that other families envy your amazing stress-free life.  

The Basket Colour Coding Method
This method is your new best friend! Say you have four people in your home – Blue, Green, Orange & Red. Have a basket somewhere in the house identifying these colours. These then will be filled with anything lying around the house that shouldn't be. Then, whenever anyone misplaces anything, it will be in their basket, as simple as that!  Another Tip for the long run – Label any games, toys or anything that could start an argument of whose is whose with this colour.

Time for a Timetable
Depending on the age of your little ones, using words and pictures to help your children follow daily routines can be a huge success! Set a schedule with the times of; breakfast, brush teeth, get dressed, shoes on and so on. Accompany this schedule with pictures of the item to help make mornings a little more fun for them. The more mornings this is used, the more likely it is to turn into a well-structured routine.

Cleaning Rewards
If there is a reward involved… the kids will become more motivated. Sit down with them, lay down a list of jobs you would want them to do and let them write what they would like as a reward down on a piece of paper. They don’t have to be expensive! Rewards can include; extra TV Time, Staying up a little past bedtime and so so on. However, these jobs should be done without being asked, get them into a routine of wanting to do the dishes, or wanting to pick up their toys once they’ve finished because they get something in return. As time goes on who knows, this could become more of a habit than a chore.

Managing your Menu
It’s now time to plan ahead. If you don’t already, set up a menu for your family meals. Start this process with dinners and plan them out weekly. Once you start to get more in the flow of this then add on breakfast and kids’ lunches (Save a lot of stress by preparing these the night before).  Also, to make sure you avoid the phrase ‘I don’t want that for lunch’ Keep a list of tasty snack ideas for kids lunches and allow them to pick two they would like for lunch each day (or even 3 as a cleaning reward). 

Published by Harcourts Charlton Realty LTD


Bring Those Bills Down

Bring Those Bills Down

Easy Ways To Save Money On Electricity & Water

Is your monthly electricity bill looking a little steep lately? Then do we have the tips for you! Although it can be hard with the children taking 20-minute showers and leaving the lights on in rooms around the house that aren’t being used... here are out top tips on bringing those bills down.

Use the Barbecue 
Why not use the Barbecue every so often to cook your family meals? This can take significant amount off that monthly electricity bill. I know what you’re thinking… we’re still using gas. However, research shows that using the gas barbecue still works out to be cheaper than using ranges and ovens, so why not give it a go!

Keep the Lid on the Pots
This is such an easy trick to saving electricity! When cooking on the stove top keep the lid on to keep the heat In. This means your pot will heat up faster which saves you time and money... what more could you want.

Washing Machine
There are so many ways you can reduce your power and water bill through the way you do your washing. First things first, make sure you are doing a full load of washing! This saves you using your washing machine more than you need to. A cold wash also saves a significant amount of dollars so make sure this is set. Only have a few items of lightweight clothing that need washing? Hand wash! The list goes on.

Clothes Dryer
If you’re trying to reduce your power bill we recommend you don’t use the dryer at all and hand dry as much as possible! However, on the rare occasion, if this needs to be used we have the ways to save. Firstly, make sure your dryer is not overloaded. Research shows, placing a dry towel in the dryer along with your washing helps your clothes dry quicker, so try this out.

It’s an obvious, but important tip. Nothing wastes electricity as much as those ceiling lights that are left on all day and forgotten about, so make sure these are off during the day. For night time, if you want to save that little bit extra on lighting, why not switch to more table and floor lamps, or go the extra mile and use candles!

There are so many easy ways to save money throughout your home on electricity and water, what are your tips? We would love to hear them! Email us below.

Published by Harcourts Charlton Realty LTD


Plastic Free July

Plastic Free July

Choose To Refuse! 

Do you have what it takes to take on the challenge? Come on, give it a go! 

Plastic Free July is a global yearly challenge where millions of people give up single use plastic. The purpose of this challenge is to raise awareness on how much single use plastic we are using on a day to day basis & helps us try and find more alternatives that are better for our environment and sea life! 

‘Single use’ plastic includes; plastic shopping bags, plastic cups, straws, coffee cup lids and plastic packaging – Anything that is used once only and then thrown away. For those of you like us that love your everyday takeaway coffee… don’t worry, you don’t have to give it up! Simply take your own alternative ‘metal’ cup to your daily café and ask them to fill this instead.

Ministry for the Environment statistics estimate that New Zealanders send approximately 200,000 tonnes of plastic to landfill every year, roughly half of which is packaging. And that’s not the worst of it! All these single use items no matter what has happened with them, still exist somewhere on our earth, so let’s try our best to bring this number down.


The guidelines for the challenge are:

  1. Attempt to refuse single-use plastic during July.
  2. Remember it’s not going to be easy! It is a challenge, not a competition, so don’t worry about being perfect.
  3. Collect any unavoidable single-use plastic you buy. Keep it in a dilemma bag and share it with us at the end of the challenge.
  4. It’s up to you regarding how long you participate. You might decide to go plastic-free for a day, a week, a month or longer! However long you choose, it will still make a contribution. 

    If you’re participating we’d be very interested to see how you  go!  Contact us through our details below and let us know what the hardest thing for you to give up was.

Published by Harcourts Charlton Realty LTD 

Email all results to: lisa.westerby@harcourts.co.nz

Happy Kids, Happy Parents, Happy Holidays!

Happy Kids, Happy Parents, Happy Holidays

Activities for you & your family these school holidays

There’s nothing like keeping the kids occupied these school holidays to avoid the phrase “I’m Bored”. Why not be the cool parents and line up a few great activities for you and your family this winter break? Here are our top 5!

Homemade Pizza & Movie Night 
The way to a Kids heart is through their stomach. You don’t have to break the bank to keep the kids occupied these holidays. It can be as easy as this, take a trip down to the supermarket, grab a few pizza bases and toppings, head home and let them design their own signature pizza! Once ready, put on a family movie and enjoy the relaxation.

Ice Skating 
Let the little ones have fun while you sit on the side line and enjoy a nice hot beverage. Find your nearest ice rink and watch the kids burn some energy on the ice.

Day Trip! 
Is there somewhere within driving distance you’ve always wanted to visit but never got around to? Why not make a day of it! Prepare some food in a chilly bag the night before in case family members get peckish on the way there, park up somewhere nice and make some new family memories. 

Zap to the Zoo
A lot of kids have great interest in animals, so why not take them along to the nearest zoo and let them admire the great species of our world. Grab your camera and take a few snaps to get them really involved, they’ll love it.

Why not take a little Break? 
Everyone needs a little time to themselves every so often? This is the best activity for you these holidays! Why not book your kids in with the grandparents or sitter for a day and really have some time to yourself, sit down, relax, have a wine, do nothing. Remember, it’s doesn’t have to be all about the kids, make sure you enjoy yourself just as much this break!


Published by Harcourts Charlton Realty LTD


Soups For The Soul

Our Five Favourite Winter Warming Soup Recipes

During this time of year as easy as it is to order a meal to get delivered to your front door without leaving your sofa, we all know there’s nothing like a home cooked meal. We truly believe a nice heartwarming soup can really do wonders so when it’s cold outside, so put your kitchen to good use this winter with some of our favourite winter soup recipes the family will love!

Comforting Curried Kumara

50g butter
4 cloves garlic
2 1/2 tsp curry powder
500g purple Kumara
1 1/2 cups cream/milk
4 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
salt & pepper to taste


  • Melt the butter gently in a soup pan adding in the garlic and curry powder

  • Toss in chopped kumara and stir until coated

  • Add in your choice of chicken or vegetable stock (pre-made or brought) and leave to simmer

  • Once kumara appears soft blend together and thin with either cream or milk until the soup appears thick and creamy.

  • Serve and Enjoy!

Nothing like a Chicken Pot Pie

1 onion, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
6 carrots, diced
1 clove garlic
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup cream
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen peas
1 whole rotisserie chicken


  • Heat oil in large pot on medium high heat.

  • Bring in onion, celery, carrots, and garlic and cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.

  • Stir in butter and melt.

  • Add in flour and stir until flour butter mixture coats vegetables and browns lightly.

  • Add the chicken stock, cream and milk and stir to combine.

  • Season with pepper, thyme, and nutmeg and allow to come to a boil.

  • Reduce the heat to medium-low and add in corn, peas, and chicken and fully incorporate.

  • Season with salt.

  • Optional - garnish with cookie sized pieces of pie crust.

Minestrone in a Minute

6 rashers bacon chopped
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 onion sliced
1 clove garlic crushed
1 carrot chopped
1 large celery stick chopped
1 L (4 cups) chicken stock
400g tin plum tomatoes
400g tin cannellini beans drained and rinsed
120g (1 cup) pasta approx. 3 handfuls
1 bay leaf
Salt & Pepper
Grated Parmesan and bread to serve


  • In a large pot, gently fry the bacon until the fat starts to render.

  • Add the olive oil and onion. Fry the onion until it starts to soften.

  • Add the garlic, carrot and celery.

  • Continue to fry until the vegetables start to soften.

  • Add the chicken stock and bay leaf.

  • Bring the stock to the boil, then reduce to a simmer.

  • Add the beans, tomatoes and pasta.

  • Crush the tomatoes into the soup with the back of a spoon.

  • Continue to simmer until the pasta is cooked.

  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  • Serve in warm bowls with grated Parmesan.

Soulful Chicken Noodle

1/4 cup (60 mL) olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 large carrots, sliced
4 stalks celery, chopped
Salt & Pepper
2 tsp crushed ginger
1 tsp crushed garlic
8 cups (2 L) chicken broth
2 Egg Whites
Egg or rice noodles
4 cups shredded chicken breast
1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley


  • Heat the olive oil until shimmering over medium heat in a large soup pot. Add the onion, carrots, celery, and 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cooking, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are very soft, about 15 minutes.

  • Add in garlic & ginger and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the stock and bring to a boil.

  • Add the noodles and cook 6 minutes, then add the chicken and cook about 2 minutes more, until the noodles are cooked through and the chicken is warmed through.

  • Add in egg whites and stir frequently to spread throughout the soup to provide more texture.

  • Season to taste with salt and pepper, then stir in the parsley.

  • Enjoy!

Lovable Leek & Potato

1kg Potatoes, peeled and diced
2 leeks, white and green parts
2 cups almond milk
1 pear, diced
salt, pepper, nutmeg to taste


  • Peel the potatoes and cut them into smaller pieces.

  • Wash the leek and cut off only the parts at the very ends. Chop the rest into max. inch-sized bits.

  • Transfer the almond milk to a large sauce pan. Add the potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook the potatoes for about 10 minutes. Then add the leek and pear and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes. Check if potatoes are soft. If not, cook for a bit longer.

  • Remove from heat and let cool for a bit. Transfer to a blender and process until smooth.

  • Return the soup to the sauce pan and slowly reheat. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

  • Serve with optional toppings like pecans, chives and scallions.

All soups can be served with 1 slice or a whole loaf of bread to enjoy!