children on vacation

Children Learn Nothing during Vacations: True or False?

How do your children spend their time during their vacation? Glued to their blue screens, right? With your busy schedule, you might not be in a position to facilitate a productive and learning environment. Juggling between your work and other responsibilities is demanding enough, and you could let them have their way with their favorite devices to avoid the unpleasant reactions that can interrupt your plans. In such an environment, your children learn little to nothing during vacations. This is among the reasons for the wonderful expansion of vacation care activities around the world, as parents strive to facilitate learning outside the school term. You could, however, be wondering why you should spend an extra buck enlisting your kids in vacation care while they could stay at home and save your money. If you are at this point, here is a look at some of the vacation care benefits.

Enhance social skills

Vacation care activities include interactive group activities, an excellent opportunity for your children to enhance their social skills. Communication is a vital skill, one that they can’t effectively acquire while glued to their Smartphones, playing games all day long, or on TV. Group activities require teamwork that forces your child out of their comfort zone. They have to communicate with their teammates and catch some fun doing it, facilitating a productive environment to improve on communication skills, and empathy, among other social cues vital as they navigate their lives growing up.

Learn resilience

Vacation care activities are tailored to keep children engaged in a fun and learning way. Problem-solving and resilience are some of the life skills your child learns while engaging in such activities, essential attributes that come in handy as they grow up, become independent, and explore life on their own.

Become responsible

Every action has consequences. It, however, takes a responsible person to realize how consequences affect their lives and that of those around them. In vacation care, group activities provide an environment to learn responsibility, a skill that takes time to develop. Playing their part in such activities and succeeding feels good, teaching them how being responsible is crucial in life. If they fail to participate or succumb to their fears of being in a group, they fail without trying and feel the pain of missing out as well. This prompts them to try next time, and with resilience, become successful, setting them in the right path.

Physical fitness

Apart from learning nothing, sitting on the couch all day, playing games and watching TV, does more harm than good to your kids. Physical fitness is vital, especially for your children as they develop. Playtime helps them to discover what they can do with their body, gain stability, enhance bone growth and development, and keeps conditions such as heart problems at bay. This makes vacation care more than ideal to let your kids earn valuable skills but also to improve their health through physical activities.

Modern technology has most of us glued to the screens, a concern that can be quite destructive, especially for children with a lot of free time on their hands during vacations. Don’t let this be your situation, as you can now comfortably access fantastic facilities from the ever-expanding vacation care services for an engaging and learning experience for your children.

The Perfect Hunter Valley Holiday

In my own experience, I consider the perfect Hunter Valley holiday to be one which engages with the unique aspects of place and its produce. I want to literally taste the Hunter Valley on my lips via food and drink possibilities. I do not want to go to the Hunter and consume the same victuals that I eat at home. What is the point of travel, if you do not do as the Romans do in Rome? This part of NSW is full of award winning wine growers, food producers, restaurants, hotels and natural features to explore.

Taste the Crisp Grape Tingle on Your tongue

Think of Maitland, Singleton, Cessnock, Paterson, Pokolbin, Wollombi, Rothbury and Lovedale, and you can almost taste the crisp grape tingle on your tongue. Love is a finely crafted glass vessel full of verve and surprise. You can, even, take a balloon ride above the vineyards, to survey the splendour beneath you. There are terrific golf courses, if a good walk spoiled is your cup of tea. Greg Norman, Jack Newton, the names of champions and course designers, just, drip off the tongue. Take a swing through the vineyards and putt your way to a vintage or two.

Herbs That Heal Are on the Menu

Alternatively, you may like to spa your way through the Hunter Valley, and I do not refer to the pugilistic meaning of the word. Rather, you can stretch, bathe, and be gently pummelled by massage therapists bearing essential oils and hot rocks. The day spa exploration may open a golden door or two to peace and tranquillity. Sipping elegant wines in spa tubs and indulging in clouds of aromatherapy can only be good for the soul after all. Herbs that heal are, also, on the menu at these superior spa facilities in the Hunter.

Cooking Up a Storm to Soothe the Savage Beast

Culinary creativity is a big part of the perfect Hunter Valley holiday in my book. For those getting away from leadership spills in Canberra, it is the perfect getaway. Cooking up a storm to soothe the savage beast of a conservative’s coal mine fantasy is an appropriate alternative. The local produce is world’s best and fresher than fresh. Artisan cheeses, chocolates, game meats, smoked fish, olive oils and more, will please your palate and have you asking for more.  Sup on culinary treats and sip the wines of the rural gods.

Yoga and Wine: The Hunter Valley Unites These Disciplines

The Hunter Valley is home to a multifaceted array of recreational pursuits. Yes, there is an abundance of vineyards, restaurants and fantastic Australian wine. In addition, however, there are also plenty of physically and spiritually healthy activities to partake in. Yoga is on the ‘must do’ list for every other person you meet these days; and why not? All that breathing and stretching in graceful poses cannot but help with physical flexibility and core body strength. Not to mention the spiritual dimension, where one is in appreciation of being vibrantly alive, right now on this very planet.

A good life, I have been told, is all about balance. Yoga people know all about physical balance. A recipe for balance, for some, might be, a glorious yoga session outside in the Hunter Valley in the morning, horse riding in the afternoon, and a glass of Hunter Semillon or Shiraz accompanied by a delicious dinner in the evening. Alternatively, the recipe may include a round of golf on an award winning designer golf course, an afternoon yogic stretch to relieve those golfed muscles, and then the fine wine and Hunter produce in a sensational restaurant.

Yoga and Wine: The Hunter Valley Unites These Disciplines

Yoga and wine both work on the senses. An enlivening session of stretching asanas will make your wine taste even better. Yoga and wine in moderation make for a more profound experience of living. The grape reaches back into the far distant realms of human history; it has accompanied humankind for a very long time. Bacchus and Dionysus are the gods of ritualistic ecstasy, divine madness and the grape has been their elixir of choice for ever. Yoga has an equally long lineage, with the gurus of India. Check out ACM Yoga Group for detailed information pertaining to the origins of yoga.

There are plenty of wine tours available in the Hunter Valley. There are also yoga retreats and tours happening here. There are sensational places to stay in this unique part of the world. There are delightful restaurants and cafes to nourish your recreational activities here in the Hunter. Yoga and wine: the Hunter Valley unites these disciplines for your living and breathing pleasure. Remember the balance and avoid the fanatic. All yoga and no play makes Jenny and Jost a dull girl and boy. Equally, nobody likes to loll about with a lush for too long. Find your balance in the Hunter Valley.

wine business vineyard

Setting up a Winery: How to Make it in the Wine Business

If you’re a lover of fine wines, you must have dreamt of owning a winery. Imagine wandering through the vineyards, having the opportunity to enjoy what you love and turning it into a profitable business, plus the bonus of having your very name on the label of a great-tasting wine.

The wine industry is a growing industry as rich as a chilled bottle of Chardonnay. It’s a mega billion dollar industry which has a predicted long-term sales growth of between 4 and 6 percent. Wine sales have more than doubled since the early 1990s and the sales of wines produced have increased despite the downturn in the economy.

Not to crush your dream or anything but as promising as that sounds, the thing you need to know in running a winery is that it’s a very expensive and time-consuming venture. You have to have a lot of passion, commitment and patience as it’s hard labour. Furthermore, returns on investment generally take years to realise in this kind of industry.

The costs of running a winery are so great that it can scare away all but the most devoted connoisseurs of wines. The land alone in the Hunter Valley can cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars per acre. You’ll also be spending on winemaking supplies and equipment which can easily reach seven to eight figures. If money is not enough – which could very well be the case – there’s always a wealthy family member, a friend or an investor who may be willing to assist you, or perhaps applying for business loans or any kind of debt financing can help you with the funding of your winery dreams.

To set up a winery, you can follow these steps:

  • Find a good land location ideally suited for grape growing in terms of soil content and lot size. Avoid building a winery in a lesser-known region as you’ll not likely find a market much beyond that locale.
  • Apply for permits and licensing requirements.
  • Set up a warehouse ready with production equipment and a tasting room.
  • Purchase necessary equipment. Aside from the standard office equipment, you’ll also need vehicles for transporting grapes and wine crates, tanks, pallets and a forklift for moving pallets around the warehouse.
  • Network with potential clients.
  • Market to current and potential clients.

Most of us picture a winery as acres of lands surrounded by a vineyard where the grapes are grown, but that’s not always the case. Building a wine business can also be done through a variety of business models and people have done it differently. You can start your own winery by:

  • Buying an already established winery if you have the means so you don’t have to start from scratch.
  • Planting a vineyard.
  • Focusing on retail wine sales first.
  • Building wine brands. You can own a wine business and have no vineyard. If you’re starting and want a cheaper way to get into the business, this would be a good way to go.

Establishing a fully functioning winery is a huge undertaking and if you want to be a success in the highly competitive winemaking world, you need to have a deep pocket, long range vision, in-depth knowledge about the industry and an unwavering belief in the end result.

Places to Get a Home Loan in the Hunter Valley

Living and owning a home in the picturesque Hunter Valley is a dream for many. Imagine living in a lovely rural setting, in a property where the kids can run around, ride a bike and own a pony. Most homes in the Hunter Valley are set against stunning ranges and mountains and are within moments to the vineyards. Owning a patch of rural land in this beautiful region is something a lot of people would consider if only they have the resources.

Buying a home is one of the most important financial decisions you’ll ever make in your life. Of course, before you start looking for a property to buy and invest in, you need to get your finances in order and once it’s settled and you’ve made your decision, you’ll be ready to choose a home loan that works for you. However, with all the home loan choices that are available, it may not be an easy task.

Purchasing a home can be an obstacle to those with bad credit scores or history but it’s not impossible. There are lending companies that offer bad credit loans if you have a credit score that’s too low to get a conventional mortgage. The realtors in your area can also suggest on what you can do with these kinds of situations.

If you’re looking into securing a home loan in the Hunter Valley, there are a wide range of home loans and home lending specialists that can help and assist you in every step of the way.  Here are some of the best places to get a home loan in the Hunter Valley…

Hunter Valley Finance

Hunter Valley Finance can help arrange the most suitable loan that works for you. They’ve been doing home loans for many years and have been offering a wider choice of home loans than the banks. They’re also a member of the Australian Finance Group, the largest mortgage broking group in Australia.

Hunter Lending Solutions

Established in 2007 Hunter Lending Solutions has been providing professional lending advice and solutions for the whole process of buying or building a home. They can guide you along every step of the way.

Universal Home Loans

Universal Home Loans is a non-bank lender that offers competitive interest rates and a great level of personal service. Their founders have a World Wide AAA credit rating, which no Australian Bank currently has.


Most Searched Terms: Home Loans Hunter Valley, Home Loans, Huner Valley Homes, Lending Solutions Hunter Valley, Lending Companies in the Hunter Valley.

recycling wine bottles

Recycling and Waste Management in the Hunter Valley

The decreasing landfill space, harmful environmental impacts of landfills, snowballing costs of waste disposal, and the increasing consumption of natural and non-renewable resources are all very good reasons to reduce, reuse and recycle waste.

The majority of the rubbish that ends up in the landfills is made up of organic and degradable materials that release greenhouse gases as they break down. Many of the different materials in the waste could be diverted before they reach the waste stream or have potential resource value if they could be recovered or recycled cost-effectively. It’s a good thing there are trusted rubbish removal companies in Australia which provide cost-effective waste management and recycling solutions.

With Sydney landfills and dumpsites reaching their capacity, there have been proposals on building a facility in the Hunter Valley to accommodate at least 8 million tonnes of waste from Sydney and other regions for the next 20 years.

This has been opposed by some group sectors as there’s always a big concern for public health especially with the waters being contaminated. Winemakers are also opposing as they fear that the dumping sites could wipe out the famous Hunter Valley grapevines and destroy a multimillion-dollar industry.

To help minimise waste and spread awareness, City councils are launching campaigns to save the environment. For instance, Maitland City Council has been working with other councils of the Hunter and the Central Coast Region to protect the bushland, parks and urban area centres from illegal dumping. Their campaign called “Dobbing in a Dumper” encourages residents to report any illegal dumping incidents to the council by providing information about the offender (description of person, car registration number, etc.).

There are more than 22 million people currently living in Australia and it is projected that the average Australian produces about 1 tonne of garbage per year and that is a lot of rubbish! With the country’s growing population, we cannot afford to maintain this rate of waste disposal.

Although many people are into recycling, our economy and society still waste a lot of resources that could be re-used and made into new products. The general public should have the initiative and take full responsibility of their own waste and the government must take action to work with the community to have a zero waste society. After all, when your region is as beautiful as the Hunter Valley, wouldn’t you want to preserve and keep it beautiful?


commercial property christchurch

Commercial Property Investment

Investing in a commercial property is quite complex to say the least, even for the experienced investors and experts. But a commercial property venture could turn out to be a sound investment decision for any business expansion, especially if you want to reduce your costs by using the property for your own use instead of paying for lease.

Commercial property investment in Christchurch is booming. However, some are still doubtful about participating in Christchurch’s commercial property arena, especially after the earthquake damaged New Zealand’s second-largest city – but that is not the case in Christchurch today.

Christchurch is one of New Zealand’s most positive cities, more so after the earthquake. The rousing progress of the Christchurch rebuild has seen the expansion of commercial property investment and development brought about by the commercial property construction that is on-going in and around the metro.

Commercial property management has certainly become important in Christchurch as a result of the earthquake. A lot of the building owners are now more aware of just how essential the continuing operation of their asset actually is. As a result, a strong comeback for property management and development is at its peak.

Many investors are now drawn to Christchurch because of its rapidly growing economy established by the city’s social and infrastructure rebuild. There is progress everywhere. The sales are up and the economic growth has been established – the Christchurch rebuild is now becoming more of a reality. All these dynamics have strengthened the investors’ outlook about commercial property Christchurch.

The investors’ vision on imminent circumstances with regards to the commercial property market is becoming considerably brighter. With the market showing growth, things are looking good for commercial property investors in the coming months and perhaps all throughout the year.

There is a significant jump in optimism around commercial property investment in Christchurch so, if you are still thinking about it, I suggest you now go and dive right in to the lucrative commercial property investment – where else but right here in Christchurch!

Most Searched Terms: commercial property christchurch, post-quake christchurch rebuild, commercial property investment south island new zealand, chch earthquake.


Irish Food You Can Get in Australia

Are you an Irish living in Australia? If you are, then there must be loads of things you miss about Ireland. One that tops the list is the familiar foods that our Irish mates had grown up with. What’s great however is that you can find basically almost anything that comes from anywhere else in Australia, and that includes good Irish food!

One company that sells great Irish food in Australia is Taste Ireland. They import over 100 different brands and they sell wholesale, online, and you can find their products at Woolworths too. Now you can pamper yourself with the many Irish gift hampers you can find in Taste Ireland.

We are sharing with you some Irish food you can get in Australia.

  1. Guinness Draught – the world’s most famous creamy Irish stout and is a staple on many great Irish dishes. The creamy bitter Guinness also pairs well with beef.
  2. Traditional Black and White Pudding – an essential ingredient for that full Irish Breakfast and this one is based on the flavoursome Traditional Irish recipe.
  3. Traditional Irish Sausages – have rusk and seasoning for the real Irish taste. It’s ideal for the perfect Irish breakfast and is the closest thing to a Denny sausage this side of the world!
  4. Baked Irish Soda Bread – a tried and tested recipe that is a proven favourite that can be frozen and used on a rainy day.
  5. Cadbury Chocolate – Ireland’s favourite chocolate. Cadbury’s Dairymilk is a “Love Irish Food” Brand and every ½ pound of Cadbury Dairy Milk contains a glass and a half full of fresh Irish milk sourced from cows.
  6. TK Red Lemonade – the sparkling and fun lemonade treat for the kids and the whole family. TK has a wide range of flavours and adults associate it with childhood and know it as the original red lemonade.
  7. Lakeshore Wholegrain Guinness Mustard – this unique blend of Guinness Stout and mustard is excellent with protein-rich meats like roast beef, steaks and barbecue. It provides a subtle flavour to sauces and also adds taste to soups and stews.
  8. Erin Traditional Farmhouse Vegetable Soup – Erin is an iconic Irish food brand that is over 40 years old and is known for its range of excellent dry sauces, soups and vegetables. Enjoythe home made taste of delicious wholesome soups with Erin’s traditional soup. The company concocts their range of traditional soups using only the finest ingredients.
  9. Tayto crisps – Ireland’s No. 1 Crisp brand! Special blending of the choicest potatoes and the purest sunflower oil, seasoned in a delightful cheese and onion flavour. It’s the first and the tastiest cheese & onion flavoured crisps in the world.
  10. Barry’s Loose Leaf Tea – carefully blended by experts for over a century, it has a distinctively refreshing flavour and a bright golden colour. Barry’s is a “Love Irish Food” Brand.
  11. Tayto Bistro crisps – hand cooked gourmet crisps made with 100% sunflower oil and is suitable for vegetarians.
  12. Baileys – Baileys Original Irish Cream is crafted with care from fresh Irish cream, the finest spirits and Irish whiskey.
  13. Wolf Blass Brut Chardonnay Pinot Noir – A great dinner starter, Wolf Blass Red Label Premium Cuvée has had a long and distinguished history at major wine shows in the past. It contains a depth and complexity with refreshingly dry characters of stone fruit with soft yeast-derived toastiness and lasting minerality.
  14.   After Eight Mints – light and airy chocolate mints. It’s described as “mint enrobed in dark chocolate” and is intended, as the name suggests, to be used as after-dinner mints.
  15. Old Time Irish Coarse Cut Marmalade – made with the freshest fruit and utmost care in every part of the process. It’s the perfect preserve for that morning tea and toast.
  16. Boland Kimberley Biscuits – Kimberley is the legendary biscuit of the Emerald Isle, a gingery biscuit enclosing a marshmallow centre encrusted with sugar.
  17. Hellmanns Light Mayo Jar – half the calories and fat of Hellmann’s real mayonnaise but all of the rich, creamy taste. Prepared with 100% certified cage-free eggs and 3.5g fat per serving, it’s also a good source of Omega 3 ALA.
  18. The Scullery Corn Relish – a unique taste – sharp as a tack yet smooth and velvety.  It’s the ultimate comfort food that is low in fat, has no cholesterol or salt, additives, preservatives or MSG, only natural ingredients and spices that increases metabolism which aids in weight loss.
  19. Club Orange – the first orange fruit juice to come on the market. Oliver Grace was the man who made it. Club Orange is a “Love Irish Food” Brand.
  20. Barry’s Irish Breakfast Tea – a subtle  blend for relaxed people who enjoy life and good company. It has a flavour so refreshing you can taste the difference.

For more information on Taste Ireland visit

Pure Linen Sheets

Simply Linen Classic bed 800 pxLinen is a fabric made from the fibres of the flax plant. It has been grown for thousands of years and is one of the world’s oldest fabrics. Its durability makes it perfectly suited for bed and bath fabrics, table coverings and napkins, curtains, garments and other household materials. It is highly absorbent and far more durable than other fabrics.

Linen is a versatile fabric for home and business use. It is an important piece in the hospitality industry. Hotels are remembered for the quality, cleanliness and comfort their rooms provide their customers – from beds and linen sheets to towels and robes. I know you would agree with me when I say that one of the best parts in staying at a nice hotel is the bed. We usually look forward to getting into those clean, crisp, perfectly-made sheets that are so comfortably relaxing – pure bliss!

In restaurants, the napkins, tablecloths and banquet linens are also as important as the service and quality of food they offer.

A very vibrant company, Simply Linen is a business that offers a wide array of products of pure linens online in Australia.

Simply Linen’s collection boasts of elegance. It is chic, yet highly functional. Their collection include soft white pure linen bed and table linen, pure linen flat sheets, fitted sheets, pillowslips and duvet covers. They also have pure linen tablecloths, napkins, placemats and table runners. You can choose from their classic collection which features hand drawn threadwork finishing, or the easy care contempo collection which has a no fuss tailored finish.

In addition to bed and table linen they also offer hand worked monogramming for a personal touch and a refined selection of gift items, including the scented cinnamon sticks that will surely infuse your homes with a delightful scent.

Peta Drake is the Executive Director of Simply Linen. Her love for textiles which she inherited from her grandmother inspired her to open her pure linen line.

Simply Linen is available only online and as Peta puts it, “The beauty of the online shop is that customers need not leave the comfort of home to enjoy our collections (no more arduous car journeys!), they simply make their selections from the online shop and it arrives at their doorstop within a few days.”

How great would it be to create that five star luxury feel in your own home just by using pure linens! Aside from luxury and comfort, it is an investment as it can last up to many many years. Grab yours and feel the difference!

To find out more and order online click on pure linen sheets

Most Searched Terms: pure linen sheets, linen sheets,  bedlinen for accommodation venues, linen sheets Australia, linen sheets Hunter Valley, linen tablecloths, pure linen in hospitality, pure linen sheets Melbourne, linen sheets Brisbane, buy linen sheets online.



Hearing Aids in The Hunter

hearing aids hearing loss hearing problems hunter valley australia

By Oscar Clarke

Occasionally the government does some good things, very occasionally. But when they do something good, I like to know about it and I like people to know about it. That’s why when the government invests in education, especially when it targets my generation, I am getting a little older after all, I feel it should be talked about.

The government has invested money in creating research programs called CRC’s which are tasked with developing programs centred on expanding our knowledge around critical lifestyle factors.

In Australia, one in six people has some degree of hearing loss, which is expected to rise to one in four by 2050.

I’ve been following the development of the Hearing CRC which is called Hearnet, they’re responsible for developing awareness around issues related to hearing loss and also the development of new technology with hearing aids.

We have an older demographic in the Hunter region, we attract it, it’s beautiful and relaxing here. But amongst all the fun, for people like us it’s more important than ever to engage our health in a proactive way to ensure we can continue having fun for many years to come.

It can be quite hard to get good information on healthcare in our area as we’re a little out of the way, however the Hearing CRC has been a great resource for me in learning about hearing problems, but mostly in determining early warning signs and prevention.

Also thanks to the National Broadband Network, we’re able to tune in to this kind of information really quickly out here. Sure the new internet had its problems initially in terms of roll out, but it’s probably going to end up being a good thing when we can get our hands on all this data in a much faster way.

I’m going to include a link to some of their information below, because whether it’s for yourself or for your own research for a family member, it’s important to have a look into, even  if it’s just a cursory glance, so you can understand more adequately the needs of your loved ones and your own personal needs when it comes to hearing health.

So just click on hearing aids for more information on how to help yourself or a loved one.

Need to see an audiologist locally in the Hunter Valley? Here’s some where you can get one-on-one support:

Ph (02) 4929 1989. Raworth Cottage Medical Practice, Raworth Street, Singleton NSW 2330, Australia.
HEARINGLife is one of the world’s leading networks of hearing care professionals, making a huge difference to the lives of people with hearing difficulties. For over 70 years, they’ve  provided hearing care services to Australians. They stand by their commitment to the  highest levels of professionalism, ethics, honesty and integrity.

Connect Hearing
Ph (02) 4014 1701 Shop 2, Lake Arcade 2/ 22 Lake St, Warners Bay NSW 2282, Australia
Qualified and experienced hearing professionals who involve clients throughout the consultation process and take time to explain testing and outcomes. They listen hard to understand the situations you find it difficult to hear in or where you’re exposed to noise and wish to protect your hearing – and then identify and recommend a solution to complement your lifestyle and budget.

Select Hearing
Ph (02) 4959 8635 Corner Pemell & Brighton Avenue (above Woolworths) 2/ 7 Pemell St, Toronto NSW 2283, Australia
A local provider of quality hearing care services located in their HQ at Toronto with regular clinics at the Morisset GP Super Clinic, Kurri Kurri Professional Suites, Cooranbong, Raymond Terrace and Fern Bay. Their clinicians have many years of experience providing services in the Newcastle, Central Coast and South Lakes areas.