Tips For Packing When Moving House

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Tips For Packing When Moving House

No Comments 24 July 2011

IT can be a bitter-sweet experience. But a little planning and careful packing can substantially reduce the stress involved in the process of moving home. Keep in mind that you can physically move in a day(you hope), but that mentally, it takes a while to disconnect from your old routine, and get used to a new habitat… Also keep in mind that you will not be able to unpack all your cartons at once, so have the stuff you need for a few days at hand in easily-accessible containers.

When the time comes, make sure you’re totally focused. Keep your mobile phone, charger, money and keys in a bag you wear on your body, and don’t put it down right through moving day.

Be Prepared For The Packers

Remove your drapes, and get your laundry and ironing done and ready to move.

Have your heater, water filter or air conditioner disconnected in advance.

If possible, pack all your crockery and kitchen stuff yourself. Setting it all up again – and fast – will be much simpler.

When the packers arrive, keep track of what they’re throwing inside each carton. Make sure they go about each room, and each drawer in a coordinated manner so you know that six cartons came from your second bedroom or kitchen. Try and label each carton as specifically as possible.

If any furniture has to be dismantled, have the packers mark the pieces A, B, C or D, so that it can be put back together just as easily.

Finally, number your labelled cartons and supervise their loading. Then oversee where they need to be unloaded.

Caution the movers against scraping the walls as they bring in the heavy furniture…

Making Your Own Moves

Keep your car topped up with fuel; there will be a lot of to-ing and fro-ing on D Day.

If you have pets, think of how and when you are going to move them. Pack their foods and toys in advance so that you don’t get frantic settling them in once you shift.

Take your potted plants by car a day ahead of the actual move.

If you’re shifting your phone, try and do the paperwork in advance, and then carry the phone with you to your new place.

Work out what you’re going to do with your valuables. The most sensible thing is to move most of the stuff to the locker a week prior to the move. Make a separate bag with light jewellery, watches, cameras and crystal that you can hand carry into the new house. Or you could leave it with a trusted friend or relative for a few days till you settle in.

Have your old home pest controlled a week before you leave, so your stuff will arrive pest-free in your new home.

For When You Arrive

At least a week before you’re due to shift, confirm that your new home is in liveable condition. Ensure too, that you will be safe when you move in. Check that there are latches and locks on all doors and windows; that there are garden lights that can be put on after dark, and about fencing, walls and the proximity of neighbours.

Prepare small cartons and pack essentials such as bath items, bed linen, and kitchen stuff. Also remember to pack a suitcase for the entire family like you’re going on vacation. This must include everything that you will need immediately you step into the new house – toothbrushes, toothpaste, combs, soap, towels, razor and blades, some clothes, nightwear, a shawl and a ‘razai’, a torch, mosquito repellent, some batteries, old newspaper, matchbox, candles, dusters, some recent magazines and an alarm clock.

Pack yourself a large tuck bag – your fave savouries, snacks for the children, a large carton of mango juice, and some bottled water. Also put in some packaged milk, or a little box which has creamer, sugar and tea bags, and a sachet of coffee.

Settle In

Seeing those cartons around for the first few days does get to you, and you will want to quickly get stuff put away, but take it easy – it usually takes a week to get settled in. Work the unpacking of the cartons on priority – the kitchen stuff will be needed first, and of course, clothes will need to be put into wardrobes ASAP, so that the two of you can go to work, and the kids to school. But otherwise, go slow, and don’t fret too much. Enjoy lying about in your new house… And yes, spread the ‘razai’ out on your terrace or balcony for the pets; they’ll adjust better to the new place!

Moving People

IF you have elderly family members or small kids, moving takes on a whole new dimension. Keep in mind that older people will find it especially hard to reconcile themselves to change, and kids will also find it difficult to settle into a new abode.

Perhaps you could have them stay with other family or close friends during the actual days of moving, and then bring them home to a fairly-settled atmosphere. Kids especially, will appreciate having familiar possessions – like their beds and toys – around them in the new place, so make sure they can find these easily.

How to Dress a Winter Body for Sun

Beauty, Featured

How to Dress a Winter Body for Sun

No Comments 10 February 2010

Spring-break breakdown

Two white thighs tumble out of a pair of control-top hose under the neon lights of the fitting room. Without the help of Lycra you are a full two sizes larger. The world is going to hell in handbasket and now, so has your derriere. The summer-bikini diet is not working. On top of it all, spring break is luring you to exotic climes on package deals that promise cut-rate sunshine.

But what do you wear when your dreams are in Acapulco and your body is still taking a snow day? How do you compete with the college brats cavorting in their cut-offs, crocheted bikini tops and twig-shaped society girls with Palm Beach winter tans? One flimsy little pareo is not going to save you from beach shame, and neither will a gallon of sunless-tanning lotion. What you need in order to step into the spotlight of a blinding sun are accessories to dazzle and distract as well as shapes that conceal and flatter. Most women expect themselves to look fantabulous after five days of Hawaiian Tropic and lapping waves, but why wait? The illusion of instant breeziness can be concocted long before you clear customs and fling your cell phone into the sea.

Beach-bum beauty: Invest in a day-spa orgy before you go away. Slough off the drudgery of a long winter and start the relaxation process rolling. If you splurge on an exfoliating facial, a pedicure, a manicure and a big glossy sun-kissed head of highlights, even the cheapest knock-off sunglasses and drawstring linen pants will look luxe. Take aftercare products on your trip such as footbalm for heels and a lightly-moisturizing treatment for the tips of your hair (Redken’s Undone is great) and use this downtime to keep pampering.

Pack holiday make-up that is much lighter than your usual office look—and a touch sexier. A bronzing powder, sheer nude or flesh-pink lipstick, blue or deep emerald mascara (black is so bland) and a tinted sunscreen are all you really need. If you are a bronzing virgin or look strangely gilded in the orange tones of most self-tan cosmetics, find a porcelain pale rosy blusher and apply it with a really big blush brush to your shoulders, nose, cheeks and décolleté. Faking the flush of a day in the sun is so much better than a real roasting. Last but not least, switch perfumes. A splash of the sweet, citrus-scented Calypso Homme by Christiane Calle will make you feel like you are in St. John even if you only make it as far as Tennessee.

Flatter your faults

For the coolest cover-up, just look at Drew Barrymore in the closing shots Charlie’s Angels. There she is, cavorting in a sheer cotton caftan that falls off one shoulder and floats ambiguously around her form. When she jumps into the surf the shift becomes a sensual mermaid sheath clinging and concealing at the same time and all but eclipsing Cameron Diaz’s perfect rear end. Instead of cowering from the cellulite police under a beach umbrella, think ahead and spend real time choosing clever beach outfits.

In Italy, the fashionistas take Victorian nightgowns and hand dye them for the summer. You could do the same with a vintage men’s tuxedo shirt. Dip it in pale lilac and team it with a big straw hat and a few silver bracelets. Or wear a sheer floral silk slip and a tiny

white camisole. Layered lingerie takes the trauma out of slinking down to the water’s edge. Who says you have to wear baggy cotton shorts and message T-shirts to power walk the sand? I’d much rather do it in a tie-dyed djellaba cut to knee length, or a black one piece maillot and a bias-cut tango skirt. Sports clothes lack spice!

Never theme-dress

Hawaiian shirts in Hawaii, yachting shoes on yachts, white ruffles in the Caribbean and hot-pink cheesecloth in Mexico scream tourist—or even worse, retirement village group travel. Think about it: A boat-necked striped T-shirt doesn’t help you sail a boat, and blinding white trousers and billowing starchy white shirts are more evocative of the Love Boat than Kate Hepburn on the African Queen. Ditch contrived looks and clothes that look like they came straight from the department store. Look for cream and ivory instead of white whites. Look for relaxed fabrics like crushed silk, linen/cotton blends and Tencel instead of cotton Lycra and seersucker. Break your sandals in for a good three weeks before wearing them. Put your straw hat in the spin cycle. Wear a Javanese sarong, and a linen waistcoat instead of a shell top and Bermuda shorts. In fact, avoid any item of spring/resort clothing that reminds you of a golf course, a bridge party or happy hour in Boca Raton.

Cheat your hips

Retro trends for spring give winter chub quite a lot of grace. Exploit the return of the ’70s A-line halter dress (my favorite is by Marimekko at Anthropologie), the brightly patterned gathered skirt and the pastel cashmere cardigan (a great upper-arm concealer). Distract from wayward hips and thick midriffs by teaming a crisp white linen blazer over a skinny striped T-shirt and a silk combat skirt. Yes! I said combat skirt, not pants. At last some genius has come up with a flattering alternative to the trouser of the millennium. Because, as we all know, combat pants, no matter how elegantly made, only look flattering on Avril Levigne.

Elevate your assets

Ignore the return to ballet flats and dead-flat pointed pumps—they make winter legs look like tree stumps. Spring dresses and capri pants need lift, and pale legs need to extend their line. The most comfortable heel is not the sling-back kitten heel of last spring, but rather a wedge, a solid stacked heel or a platform espadrille. Worn with a floaty handkerchief skirt, some pinstriped pants or even jeans and a vintage-style blouse, a little heel helps you strut instead of waddle. Beware of showing too much heel and toe too early in the season! Save the urge to wear wafer-thin sandals, naked strappy heels and the vixenish mule till high summer. Spring is the season of the lady-like shoe.

Five final golden rules:

1. Be bold, to a point: Brave a bold print, but only on a skirt and only to the knee. Or make an impact with a bold handkerchief silk scarf worn as a choker.

2. Temper pastels with neutrals for added chic: Combine pale pink with caramel, aqua blue with wheat-colored straw, lemon yellow with chocolate-brown leather.

3. Update old favorites: Find a nice floppy hat that looks like you’ve owned it for years and pin a silk flower to the very edge of the brim.

4. Don’t join the club: Avoid suits, starched shirts, bright nautical stripes (except on handbags) huge polka dots and gingham. Country club styles look best on girls under seven and over 70.

5. Unveil your inner dancer: Wear a crumpled silk ballerina skirt to just above the ankle and a cashmere ballerina wrap with platform sandals and a few bracelets. Gypsies know how to slink from season to season.

Winterproof Your Skin: 12 Easy Steps

Beauty, Featured

Winterproof Your Skin: 12 Easy Steps

No Comments 29 November 2009

winterskinWinter is a good season for reading novels, roasting chestnuts and dehydrating your skin. Strip down in front of the roaring fire at the ski chalet of your dreams and you may find shins that are scaly, elbows that are flaky and the baby wrinkles around your eyes have become ravines. Ouch! Wind burn, central heating, and cold, dry air have the power to strip a girl of her natural oils as well as her sense of humor. Dehydration makes us look pasty or ashen and downright uncomfortable in our skin, clothes chafe and even hair looks ragged and dry. To arm against the ravages of the season you need to treat your whole system from within and from without. One expensive cream and a beanie worn low is not going to do it ! Tender care will. Here’s how:

1. Soak not
Long hot showers strip your skin of natural oils, can break capillaries and leave you with painful dry zones along the arms, hips and shins (where the water pressure hits hardest). Try to bathe instead in slightly more tepid water and the second you leave the shower oil yourself up with a non-perfumed body lotion. Moisture needs to be locked into the skin while pores are open. If you have a bath, sprinkle it with natural oils but don’t soak too long. If you really must marinate (to clear the mind) dunk your feet instead in an infusion of rose petals and rose oil (Weleda is the best, find it in health food stores).

2. Face the frost
Moisturizer can afford to be a little heavier in winter, especially when going outdoors. One with a built in sunscreen and gentle natural ingredients and avoid those that contain TEA (triethanolamine) a harsh ammonia derivative. Moisturizers that are made of beeswax sweet almond oil, shea butter, collagen or vegetable squalene are preferable to the cheaper alternatives that contain mineral oil and petroleum. These ingredients tend to clog the pores. For an excellent break down on the world’s best moisturizers refer to page 36 of Rona Berg’s fabulous book “Beauty”, Workman Publishing ($19.95). She also includes excellent recipes for home-made face masks.

3. Shed your skin
Sloughing off a layer of dry dead skin cells readies the skin to receive more moisture, it also helps circulation. Use a massage mitt in the tub and a light face scrub (Decleor is excellent) once a fortnight.

4. Eat oily
Unsaturated fats help the body absorb protein. If you have an urge to splatter a salad in virgin olive oil or devour a whole can of sardines go for it. There is a reason arctic people eat oily fish, they need it and in winter so do you!

5. Pucker pretty
Olive oil, sesame oil and even good old vitamin E (cracked open and rubbed onto the lips) are excellent balms for a dry kisser. Commercial lip balms that contain shea butter keep lips soft and conditioned.

6. Move about
Nutrients come to the skin when your circulation is pumping. It also lifts winter blues to exercise. How easy it is to forget the body when wrapped in a comforter, sucking on a chocolate bar.

7. Rug up
Gloves look sexy and protect the thinnest driest skin on the body, your hands. Never feel foolish dressed like a snowman in winter. I have plenty of broken capillaries to remind me of the days I went hatless in the snow.

8. Get touched up
Massage with natural oils is a sensual way to moisturize and get circulation pumping. The body needs to be touched. Skin tends to glow when the energy of human hands has graced it.

9. Mist and spritz
Spraying your face with Evian or rose water does not serve to radically moisten it but it definitely eases the tightness that comes with sitting in a heated room. Eye creams, lip balm (non petroleum-based, please) hand creams and a purse size spritzer should go everywhere with you in winter.

10. Go herbal
Red wine, coffee, hot chocolate and strong brewed tea can become obsessive comforts in winter, especially if a period is due or work is unbearable. Sadly these are the bevvies that seriously dry out your system. Try to be moderate with alcohol (taking three to four alcohol free days a week) and dilute your latte with extra milk. Experiment with herbal teas and don’t leave the office until a two liter bottle of spring water is empty. Avoiding alcohol and caffeine will also boost your immune system and fend off a flu.

11. Sleep in
Lack of sleep depletes the body’s store of vitamin B, the stuff that keeps hair glossy, skin supple and nails from snapping in two. Sleep is also a natural stress buster, giving skin a chance to bloom again. Night is a good time to give hands and feet beauty treatments, slathering on a body cream and then slipping into some squishy socks or little gloves. Single girls rejoice, you are free to be moisture monsters in sweet privacy! To keep hydrating while you sleep be sure and drink plenty of water before bedtime and to install a humidifier in stuffy or over heated boudoirs. If you happen to wake up to stare at the moon for no reason…DRINK!

12. Worship the moon
Dehydration doesn’t actually age the skin, only the sun can do that. Even weedy winter sun can burn the skin causing the dreaded “visible signs of aging” that come with UV damage. To fight back, wear a tinted moisturizer with a slightly lower SBF than in summer, say 8 to 15, and be sure to wear it every day. Measure the strength of your protection for the length of time you decide to spend out. Sun damage is gradual but the results are permanent. The day you start wearing sun screen is the day your skin gets a second chance, no matter what age you are.


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