With the Aussie summer of backyard cricket just around the corner, it’s time to get those backyards cricket-ready for family and friends to enjoy a little healthy competition.
Legendary pitch maker, Les Burdett, who was Head Curator at the Adelaide Oval for more than 40 years, says that regardless of your turf variety, preparing a backyard pitch is easy and can be done in just a few simple steps.
“You don’t need to be a turf or cricket expert, or have a specific type of lawn to create a great pitch. The only tools you need are probably already lying around the house – a lawn mower, spray can of grass-friendly acrylic paint and a garbage bin or esky!
“Taking the time to create a simple pitch will pay off in countless hours of entertainment and fun for friends and family, especially during the upcoming holiday season.
“I’ve been privileged enough to travel the world making turf cricket pitches, but nothing is quite like a good old game of backyard cricket,” said Mr Burdett.
Les Burdett’s 3 steps to the perfect backyard pitch:
Select the best open space in your yard and give it a good water. Every space will have characteristics that give your cricket game its own personal character, whether it’s a shed, the hills hoist or an established tree.
Mark out your desired pitch and mow the grass low. Use string lines for a professionally cut, straight pitch and a cylinder mower if possible, as it will provide a light roll and a beautifully manicured pitch surface. If the grass is thatchy, lower your mower’s cutting height and repeat to remove more grass.
Mark the batting and bowling crease on the grass with either a grass-friendly spray can or create your own appropriate paint by watering down white water-based acrylic paint with 2 parts water, 1 part paint. Paint onto grass with a 25-50mm brush.
Want to make your pitch more pro? Top dress the pitch with a sandy loam to fill in any ridges or holes. This will provide an even better batting surface.
Post a photo of your very own backyard cricket pitch on our Facebook page, Lawnspiration, and go in running to win tickets to the KFC Big Bash in your nearest capital city.
For more information visit turfaustralia.com.au or facebook.com/lawnspiration
The school holidays are here again and the question of what to feed the kids is top of mind. So how do you have healthy holiday food for the kids and still have fun treats?
I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that homemade is the best option. This way you know exactly what is in the food, especially if you have extra mouths to feed. So many children have food allergies these days and react to preservatives, colourings and sugar.
Kids love bite sized food that they can eat with their hands. Try my low-fat Sausage Rolls (Book 2), Mini Quiches (Book 4), Mexican Meatballs (Book 1), Chicken Bites (Book 3), Mini Pizza Breads and Potato Wedges (Book 4) to name but a few. I also have a Party Food section in Book 4 that will help.
Many of my recipes can be made ahead and frozen. Encourage the kids to get into the kitchen and help with the cooking. They say variety is the spice of life and it’s no different with kids’ food, keep it interesting and they will look forward to meal times.
Here are more suggestions:
- Pizzas made on Lebanese bread. These are delicious and much cheaper and healthier than the bought variety. Kids love ham, cheese and pineapple. Let them add their own toppings.
- Sushi is popular with kids. Slice it up for littler kids to make it easier for them to handle.
- Salad wraps are great. Cut them into small sizes so they can eat them easily.
- Kids love dips. Avoid ones that are high in salt and fat and serve with rice crackers or carrot/celery sticks, snow peas or cucumber
- Corn on the cob. Leave the husk on and microwave on high for 3-4 minutes for a delicious treat, no butter required.
- Homemade popcorn is always a winner.
- Pre-packaged options such as cheese sticks or snack sized Vege Chips are an occasional treat.
- Fresh fruit with a yoghurt dipping sauce is a welcome sweet treat. Think grapes, strawberries, small dices of melons, apple or whatever is in season.
- Small boxes of sultanas or Be Natural muesli bars.
- Check out the baking section in my cookbooks.
It’s how we sell ‘healthy’ to our kids. I was in the supermarket recently and heard a mother ask her little girl who was sitting in the trolley “would you like a lolly?” The little girl answered with a very excited “yes please.” The mum reached into her bag and handed her a dried apricot. “Yum” said the little girl. Make healthy the hero!
Article submitted by Annette Sym of Symply Too Good
Holiday sun protection is more important than you are probably aware.
The statistics are scary: Two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they are 70. It is the most common type of cancer in Australia, and 90%-99% of skin cancer is related to sun exposure. And just in case skin cancer wasn’t enough of a deterrent, up to 90% of the visible signs of ageing, including wrinkles, are caused by sun exposure too.
So, be it for health or vanity reasons, having the best possible skin comes down to reducing sun damage.
With temperatures already on the rise, here are my top 4 tips to defend yourself against the dangers of sun exposure.
Make sun protection a daily habit
Everyone, especially people with fair skin types, are familiar with the burn from UVB rays. But did you know that 95% of UV rays are UVA rays? And these UVA rays are with us all the time, every day, regardless of the season, and hour of daylight, or weather forecast. UVA rays are responsible for premature skin ageing, such as pigmentation, wrinkles, reduced skin elasticity, dark spots, skin yellowing and skin cancer. They penetrate deep into our skin, not just superficial layers, and through most clothing, cloud cover and glass. The damaged caused by UVA rays is irreversible.
For this reason, protecting yourself against sun exposure is something that you need to do every day – not just days spent poolside or on the beach. And with summer approaching, the best time to start making sun protection a daily habit is now!
Cotton Doesn’t Cut It
The Cancer Council’s Slip Slop Slap message is NOT being fulfilled by slipping on clothing of just any description. Yes, we all love our t-shirts, flowy kaftans and oh-so-versatile sarongs. But, did you know, that the average white cotton t-shirt only has a UPF 5 (which is like SPF for clothes)? This means that it allows 1/5th of the sun’s UV rays to pass through. And remember UV rays are not blocked by cloud coverage or glass.
You need to be wearing clothing that has been specifically designed to protect you from the sun. If you are going to be outside for an extended period of time this summer, remember, cotton doesn’t cut it, look for clothing labeled as providing certified UPF 50+ protection, the highest possible rating.
Be generous with your sunscreen
Despite the fact that women know they should wear sunscreen every day of the year, less than 30% of us do on a regular basis. I hear many excuses for this – from ‘it’s too greasy’ to ‘I’m too busy’. But, given the importance of sun protection, I hope you’ll get in the habit of applying sunscreen daily, especially during these warmer months.
Personally I use Hamilton Sensitive UPF50+ Sunscreen – Hamilton is an Australian laboratory that has particular expertise with dry and sensitive skins and their sensitive sunscreen is free from fragrance, lanolin, and colours, and offers broad spectrum 50+ protection.
Remember, UVA rays are with us all the time, every day. Be generous with your sunscreen, most people do not use enough, apply it before you go outside and reapply it at least every 2 hours.
For every head, a hat
Yes, you need your hat to be breathable, lightweight and comfortable – but it also needs to be constructed in a fabric that offers protection. I see women wearing their big floppy straw hats and yes, they look good and provide shade, but if you can see through the weave, then those UV rays can see you too!
Like sun protection clothing, look for hats that are labeled as providing protection from UV exposure.
Don’t be a statistic
With so many great reasons to protect yourself from sun exposure and so much public education focused on skin protection, it’s hard to believe that we Aussies are not already world class superstars at sun safety. I implore you, please don’t be a statistic, learn more about sun protection, and enjoy the sun safely.
Article submitted by Annaliese Allen
Founder of Honeybell Waterwear
Do you feel a slight sensation of dread, thinking what all those Christmas parties will do to your waistline? Staying healthy this holiday season doesn’t need to be stressful.
A new study shows that even one week of overindulging can change the way your genes in your fat cells store fat. This is shocking news indeed, but there are some simple steps we can implement to prevent this, and get through the jolly season not only with our health intact, but positively glowing!
- Sit down and set your goal. On January 1st, 2017 how do you want to feel and look? Write yourself a postcard from the future, describing exactly how you are after the party season is over
- Plan your strategy of how you will achieve this. For this you need to concentrate on three elements:
- Maintaining your focus. Plan beforehand how you want to act at get-togethers. How many drinks will you have? Which food items will you have, and which ones might you reserve as a special treat for Christmas itself? Is there a special dish you could bring, that you know is low in calories and scores high on taste, which you could fill up on? Get creative and have fun planning with your goal of feeling fantastic in January firm in your mind.
- Nourish your body well. Start the day with fresh fruit and berries, have plenty of salad and veg. Stay away from refined foods as much as possible, and tweak your recipes to make them fat-free. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate – when you drink plenty of water, you feel less hungry.
- Move your body. Even when you don’t have time for your normal exercise routine, you can have fun building little bursts of movement into the day: think quick trips to the park with the family or dancing to your favourite songs in the living room.
- Track and review how you’re going, and tweak your approach as you go.
With this simple strategy you can enjoy a much more relaxed holiday season, and stay in control of your waistline and health at the same time. Beautiful!
Article submitted by Hilke Legenhausen
Christmas is fast approaching and we are getting seriously excited. When I was a kid, this is the time of year when I started begging my Mum for one of those chocolate advent calendars. This sweet free advent calendar is much more fun.
I’d anxiously wait until December 1st and open that little window to reveal my sweet chocolate treat…. But the truth is, by about December 6th I’d realise that the chocolate inside actually wasn’t that great and the advent calendar totally wasn’t worth all of my anticipation.
That’s why we now create our own anticipation-worthy advent calendars!
I wanted to show your how to create your own advent calendar, filled with Christmas activities and delicious treats that will have your family anxiously awaiting each new day – so let me show you
Before you do anything, you’ll need to get your supplies!
What You’ll Need:
1x Large Cork Board ($14 at The Reject Shop)
1x Reel of String/Bakers Twine (I used Christmas Cord which was $2.50 a roll at The Reject Shop)
24x Loot Bags/Small Envelopes (I used 2x 12 Pack Party Bags for this project which were $3 a pack)
24x Pegs ($2.50 for 80 Wooden Pegs at The Reject Shop which we sprayed with silver glitter spray paint – you could also use glue and glitter from TRS)
1x Set of our DIY Advent Calendar Printables which you can download here (includes Number Tags, Notes for inside the bags and a Christmas Organiser to plan your activities)
Push pins to attach your strings
Scissors, glue/sticky tape and pens to write your activity notes
Total Cost of Supplies: $25
plus the cost of push pins/glue/scissors/sticky tape etc if you don’t already have them.
Once you’ve got all of your supplies, it’s time to get everything ready! You’ll want to print and cut out your printables if you haven’t already – and you’ll want to figure out where you’re going to put your advent calendar (as this will decide whether you’re going to have it vertical or horizontal!).
Once you’ve decided which way your advent calendar will go, decide on how many lines of bags/envelopes you’re going to have on your advent calendar so that you can cut the strings to size.
We decided on five lines to hold our 24 bags, folding each bag in half so that they fit perfectly!
Then it’s time to hang your lines! We first measured out how much cord we needed for each line (as well as how far apart we wanted to space them to fit our bags) and then cut and pinned them onto the board.
If using Christmas cord like we did, you’ll want to sticky tape each of the cut ends tightly so that the cord doesn’t unravel – and then stick your pin through that sticky taped part into your boards.
We found that the cords stayed best when we also pinned the cord down in the middle of the board (we pinned each cord 1/3 in from each edge for support) – and if you’re filling your bags with heavier items, stick one pin into the back of the bag to hold them in place (or simply use the note to explain the day’s treat and keep them separate like we did!)
Once everything is ready, it’s time to fill your bags! We placed one note in every bag explaining the day’s treat/activity.
In your downloadable printable pack you’ll find a Christmas organiser which will help you plan out your Christmas activities.
When planning our calendar and activities, I first filled this up with dates of what we had on and then worked out when we’d do our different activities and then stuck the sheet into my planner so I knew what was happening on each day
Why? Because you don’t want to tell your family you’re making Christmas Cookies only to find out you’ve got X Y & Z planned and no flour in the cupboard!
Submitted by Kristy Sayer of Southern In Law