Clean, Cook, Chill


Every year around 200,000 kiwis get food poisoning. Around half these cases occur in homes just like yours. Campylobacter food poisoning is the most common cause.

You can stop your family from becoming ill by following the three Cs – clean, cook, chill.

What is Campylobacter?

Campylobacter bacteria naturally occurs in the gut of animals and birds, especially chickens. You and your family can get sick from Campylobacter if you don’t follow good food safety practices at home when preparing raw chicken.

Campylobacter bacteria can quickly multiply to toxic levels and spread unless you stop it from growing.

Symptoms of Campylobacter poisoning include:

  • headaches and fever
  • diarrhoea
  • abdominal cramps or pain
  • muscle pain.

If you or your family is suffering from any of these symptoms, you must see your doctor.

Preventing Campylobacter food poisoning

Remember the three Cs:

Alt text from CMS.


Before you prepare food and after handling raw meat:

  • wash hands, chopping boards, dishes, and utensils (like knives) in hot, soapy water
  • dry them properly. Preferably air dry and not with a towel.


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  • Cook food (especially chicken and mince) thoroughly all the way through until the juices run clear.
  • Reheat until hot. (Warm does not kill bacteria. Hot does.)
Alt text from CMS.


To stop bacteria growing in your food:

  • cover and put in the fridge
  • keep cooked and raw food separate
  • don’t leave food out. Refrigerate within 2 hours or bin it. If in doubt – throw it out.

Clean, cook, chill will prevent your family from becoming ill from Campylobacter food poisoning.

Refer to Ministry for PrimaryIndustries for more info…

6 Solar Facts

6 Solar Energy Facts

Solar energy is all the rage. What could be more extraordinary than getting the power that heats our homes, charges our devices, and makes all of modern life easier…directly from the sun?

Of course, the sun has always been there as an untapped energy source, and we’re constantly learning more and more about the possibilities.
You might already know quite a bit about it, since it’s become such a popular topic. But, it’s a safe bet you don’t know all of the mind-blowing solar power facts out there.

Read on, and quiz yourself on the following solar energy facts to really be ‘in the know’.

Find the tips at

Use Technology to Increase the Value of Your Home

MyPropertyLife Automation

Sometimes the smallest things can make a big impact – and that is certainly true for the way technology is able to enhance the appeal of your home, and help to increase its value.

And you don’t have to worry about not having a house that is ‘wired’ for gadgets and gizmos, as there are plenty of products which can be added to your home in its current state.

Check out these five ideas…


What Uses the Most power?

When it comes to saving energy and money, it is important to know and understand the biggest and most costly energy users in your home.

Harrisons Energy Solutions have created an infographic that shows how much energy typical New Zealand homes and household appliances use. How do you think you compare?

Click this link for a full sized copy Harrisons_Home_Energy_Use


Call the professionals! DIY jobs you shouldn’t do yourself

MyPropertyLife DIY

We get it. With Youtube on tap it’s easy to think you can take care of anything around the home without needing to call on the services of a ‘professional’ – and while changing a lightbulb is probably okay for a bit of DIY, installing a new light switch isn’t.

It may not be safe or even legal…


6 ways to put burglars off your place

AA Burgular

Wherever your home is – from Bluff to the winterless North – you’ll no doubt shop around to make sure your belongings and home are insured by the experts. But, what do you do to protect your home from break-ins in the first place? It doesn’t take much to deter most burglars if you follow simple home security tips and remain vigilant. Here are six ways to beef up on your home security.

A quarter of New Zealanders surveyed in the AAI Insurance Home Security Survey 2015 have had their homes broken into. Yet, only 51% of people have window locks, 49% have deadlocks on doors, and 34% an audible alarm system. The outtake is, with home security generally, Kiwis need to get serious.

1. Lock ‘em up!
It’s obvious but surprisingly easy to forget: always lock your doors and use good quality locks. Even tools and ladders should be locked away, because they can help burglars break in. Get in the habit of locking your car every time you get out of it, and even lock up your bike and other outdoor items when they’re in the garage. Remember not to leave your keys lying around in plain sight and keep house keys and car keys separate.

Check out the complete list at AA Insurance

Five Golden Rules for Investing in Property

5 Golden Rules.jpg

As the value in their family home increases over the years, many Kiwis consider actively using the equity in their home, and other resources, to finance the purchase of a rental property to provide income and capital growth. Here are my 5 Golden Rules for new would-be property investors.

Includes a free chapter from The Streetwise Home Buyer



Selecting the right Tradesperson

Select a good Tradie

If you are wanting work done on your home, whether it be a leak repaired, or an extension built, you need to know that you can trust the tradie that you choose. There is nothing worse than paying through the nose for a service that is not worth it.
When selecting the right tradie, or tradies for the job, you should definitely follow these 6 steps to make sure you get someone hardworking and reputable.

Step 1: Ask For Recommendations
It can be so hard to know who is good and who isn’t. But one of the best ways to know for sure is talk to people who have recently used tradies and ask for their recommendations. You will very quickly get to see an example of their work and know if they were good to deal with or not.
A tradie relies on a good reputation, so make sure yours has one. Bad news spreads like wildfire through a community, so you will quickly learn the tradies to avoid.

Step 2: Do your research
Don’t just pick up the phone book… wait, does anyone still pick up the phone book? What I mean to say is, don’t just type ‘builder’ into Google and take the first result the pops up. Or don’t just take it as gospel that your friend’s recommendation will work out alright. You want to make sure you do your homework first.
Any tradesman worth employing will have ensured that he is accredited by the relevant organisations that sanction his particular field. So, check for those accreditations and qualifications before you go ahead and hire them. If they haven’t taken the time to become accredited, then run away in the opposite direction very fast!
Check out their online presence to see if they present a professional front. That means their website and their social media. Most businesses will want to show a good representation of their business, so will have taken the time to develop and administer a professional website.
Also, ask for references and examples of the type of jobs they have done before. You will then be able to tell if they are capable of doing the job you need.

Step 3: Get a Proper Quote In Writing
If it is a small job and the tradie will not view the work beforehand, then explain exactly when you need via phone or online. If it is a larger scale job, then you need to ensure the tradie comes to view exactly what is required before quoting.
You need to get the quote in writing as is will help you know exactly what you are paying for. Examine the details provided like exactly what is included in the price, will they charge extra for materials, how many coats of paint will they apply, and how many hours of labour have they quoted.
A written quote does more than tell you the details, it can also tell you a lot about the business. Professional looking quotes that include licence numbers and accreditations will show that you are dealing with a professional tradesman. If it is just scribbled down on a plain sheet of paper, that might be cause for concern.
A written quote will act like a contract, allowing the job to be completed on time and at the agreed rate. The final result can only differ if changes had been made to the original quote.

Step 4: Shop Around
The only way to know if you are getting a fair quote is to get a number of tradespeople to quote on the same thing. You will then be able to compare their approach, their pricing and the materials they will need. It is recommended to get 2-3 quotes for larger scale jobs. Just remember, that the cheapest quote is not always the best!

Step 5: Agree on the Finer Details
Discuss timeframes – when the job will begin and when the tradesman expects it to be completed. Also agree on payment terms, or a payment plan. Expect to pay a deposit on larger jobs to secure the booking. Also discuss what will happen if the plan has to change for modifications, bad weather, or personal choice.

Step 6: Keep Up Your End
Make sure that you are clear on what you want and communicate that through to your tradies effectively. Don’t drag the chain on making decisions, or change your mind 6 times. There needs to be a commitment from both sides for the relationship to run smoothly.
Remember, that if you are good to them, then they will be good to you. So pay their invoices on time, give them the information that they need and treat them as you would expect to be treated.