Hero Image

Winter Blogs

Our Tips to Lighting It Up!

Present Your Home At It's Finest For The Market This Winter. 

Our Tips to Lighting up your home this winter! 
With winter just around the corner we thought we would put together a list of tips to selling your house in winter. Contrary to belief, winter can be the best time of the year to sell your house! There are less properties on the market, which means fewer choices for your buyers and with these quick tips you can turn your home into the winter wonderland, making your home exterior and interior look the most desirable.  

Light it up
Although the weather outside may be a little darker and colder, that doesn't mean your house should be. Make sure the windows are clean, blinds are pulled back and there is nothing in the way of the light shining in. Turn all the lights on, including appliance lights and the closest lights. 

Shine Bright 

Beautifying the house can be simply with easy additions such as colourful magazines, fresh flowers and inside plants. 


Make it Warm
Turn on the heat pump, crank up the underfloor heating; you want buyers to walk in the door at the open home and feel warm and cosy. If you have a fire, defiantly light it, it gives the room ambiance. 

Home Staging 
Staging your home helps the buyer visualise how to work with spaces and their own furniture. Hiring furniture may cost you $2000, but might give you an extra $20,000 in sale price. 


Creating a Mood
Light the fire, turn the music on! Jazz and other soothing music will make the buyer feel more relaxed. Also decorate the bathroom with nice towels, candles and soaps. 

 

Ease up on the Scent 
Firstly get rid of the dog smell. Also scents are nice but often can be over powering, try keeping the scents and airfreshners just to the bathroom 

 

Get the Exterior Right
Firstly sort out your driveway as it is one the first aspects the buyers see. Give the lawns a mow, water blast the driveway and paths add some flowering plants for the front garden to add some colour.  Street appeal is cruical. 


And finally... MAKE YOUR HOUSE SPARKLE
Getting the house professionally  cleaned is beneficial. You want to ensure that 

-  The windows are washed
-  There is no mould 
-  Cobwebs are removed, dusting done
-  Polished mirrors
-  Carpet is clean

 


 

Warm Up This Winter

Our how to on keeping warm & cosy at home this Winter

Winter has approached us quickly and heavily and it’s getting colder and colder by the day. We believe it’s the little things that really make a house feel like a home and keeping it comfortable is one of them. Here are a few of our insights on how to be warm and cosy this winter – and make your house a home.

  • Add layers to your wooden floors

Rugs & Carpets were created for a reason that’s more than just sparking up the room! Research has shown that placing a rug on your creaky wooden floor keeps a room 10% warmer than it would without. Not only are they very good at trapping the heat, but also make the room feel that little cosier.

  • Do away with Drafts

There’s no point in focusing on keeping a room warm if you have the draft coming in from another. At next to nothing you could invest in some draft stoppers or even make your own! Gaps blast through cold air so this is the best way to keep the cold outside where it should be.

  • Sun is rare in NZ Winter – cherish it!

Once the sun is up catch as much of its free heat as possible. Open your curtains and let the natural heat burst through your windows. This is a great tip for anyone wanting warmth on a budget. However, make sure you close them once that sun goes down for that extra bit insulation.

  • Is your couch in the right place?

A lot of us kiwis like to move our sofas as close to the heater as possible, but is this really getting your living room to the warmest it can be? Although your feet might be toasty warm, keeping your couch close to heating is not only preventing the heat from making its way around the room, it’s also causing damage to it! Move your couch back to where it used to be, your feet will be just as warm with a nice pair of fluffy socks. 

  • Remember – you have an oven!

It’s one that is usually missed but baking and cooking with the oven will keep your house warm.
Not only will it make your house smell deliciously of home cooked meals and fresh cookies but the warmth will circulate around your kitchen and other nearby room.

  • It’s time to bring out those winter sheets.

As much as they make you feel like not getting out of bed in the morning, winter sheets are the key to being warm and cosy. If you don’t have these already, we recommend investing in these! Whether they be flannel sheets or fleece sheets we promise these will be the icing on the cake this winter. A hot water bottle can also work wonders. Place this under your covers a while before bedtime, and once you hop in, take it all in.

  • Scented Candles don’t only smell good.

A scented candle is a great way to lighten the mood this winter. Choose a warm, wintery scent to really make a sense of comfort.
If you feel like going the extra mile, you may also like to pair this with a nice set of white lights to work wonders in creating that warm and cosy vibe people long for this season.

  • It’s all about YOU!

The house doesn’t care if it’s a little chilly, buy you care if you’re cold! Being comfortable is key.
Bring out those thick blankets, cosy slippers, warm pajamas & dressing gowns. Sip on a nice hot chocolate put on some movie and sit in front of that burning fire and cherish the great parts of this cold winter season.


 

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

Ingredients
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

Directions

  • 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

Ingredients
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

Directions

  • 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

Ingredients
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

Directions

  • 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

Ingredients
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

Directions

  • 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

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

Directions:

  • 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!