ToughOut @ North Shore Home & Garden Show

ToughOut @ North Shore Home & Garden Show

toughout gazebo thunderstorm

Over the years, we get too many questions for not showing ourselves to the public. Right at the beginning many years ago, it was how customer pick up wasn’t available, then it was how the phone number to call wasn’t available.

I believe you would agree on ‘brands that cannot be seen and found would not be trustworthy’ and I do too! Although we now have a great location for pick ups and a phone line to call, it is about time to say hi to more people in person.

So when North Shore Home and Garden Show invited us to bring our ToughOut Gazebos for the exhibition, we knew it would be a great chance for people to actually see us. So there we were last weekend at North Shore Events Centre.

All set up and ready to go

Big thanks to those of you who came to our stand to say hi! We were surprised and thrilled to know there are so many who actually knew us and heard of us already. We also got to know some businesses as exhibitors and most epic thing is when we got to see a couple of ToughOut gazebos at the show.

Spotted this exhibitor with Breeze model 3x3m

This was a great opportunity to also answer common questions on how to set up a gazebo and choose a best pop up gazebo model upon purpose.

Ladies, check out our tough Thunderstorm pop up gazebo

We brought our model with proud – Thunderstorm Pop Up Gazebo 3x6m in blue and an exhibitor right around the corner used a Breeze Pop Up Gazebo 3x3m in Black – these two gazebos were great help on demonstrations, especially when the weather was playing up on Saturday, it rained quite hard at a point. We’ve got a few compliments on how we made a good choice on Thunderstorm gazebo model as we stayed dry the whole time, and accommodated sheltered almost everyone who walked by.

Overall, it was so fun to bring ToughOut and meet people, we gave out heaps of brochures, had some good talks, loads of big smiles and lots of laughs on the 3-day show. Best of all, we even see familiar faces showed up at our site following Monday, so thank you so much!

We will see you again soon in the future exhibitions 🙂

Throwback exhibition 2018 with our Breeze 3x3m pop up gazebo
Throwback exhibition 2018 with our beloved Thunderstorm pop up gazebo

 

5 Top Kitchen Storage Tips

5 Top Kitchen Storage Tips

We don’t always get spacious open kitchen, but we all need to cook nice homemade meals and food no matter you live in big mansion or tiny apartment. We all need the basic whiteware, cooking utensils, dining sets, herbs, spices and all sorts of kitchen accessories.

It’s okay to keep them all, but it is not okay if you don’t keep them tidy. You sure need to believe, if you already find yourself hard to turn around in piles of cluttered kitchen, then you just won’t be able to make nice steamy food of your dream home.

First thing you need to know about kitchen storage is that it does NOT mean to hide away everything and make it look all cleared.  It is about the great balance of appearance and convenience, how things are supposed to have their own places and in certain order for them to look nice.

So lets go through few tips on kitchen storage:

1.  Get them on the wall

Use your kitchen wall wisely, hang up the utensils, add on floating shelf or wall mounted storage shelves. Easiest way would be installing some metal rods or racks then use as many as S-shaped hooks to hang anything that can be hooked.

For the rest that doesn’t come with handle, shelves with flat top would be best.  Store your tea sets, coffee beans, spices and maybe something green as decorations. This extra open and flat area boosts convenience where you could see and get things you need in seconds. Magnetic knife holder is another great tool to have, tiny in size that would only take up small wall space but it allows you to stick metal tools on the wall effortless.

2. Categorised and designated areas

Just like you won’t find a book in your fridge, your kitchen items should have their own designated place to be too. Categorise them upon their purpose? Baking accessories should be grouped together, utensils should be hanged side by side, cutleries should be stored in one single drawer, seasoning all grouped up on a spice rack stand, snacks in the cupboard …etc.

Stack things up whenever possible, plates, saucers, bowls pots and so on. Remember you want to store things vertically instead of horizontally spread out.  By grouping stuff together it also helps you to find things you need much faster, just like supermarket shelves categories.

If storing spices and food ingredients in open area, using same or similar style of containers would be a great idea – it is one of the tips I found most useful for me.  It would help on general appearance by retaining consistency.  Oh! Remember to think about if the food you are storing away is light-sensitive though, as in this case you would want something non-transparent and air tight.

3. storage containers

Internal storage is just as important this includes your cupboard spaces, drawers and even fridge. You don’t want to open the cupboard and risk of something falls off – gets worse if you have kids at home. Make good use of assorted food containers! They are amazing and sometimes magical.

The store-away items should be categorised just as above. Food ingredients best stored away with container sets and they are most likely stackable now.

I’d like to apply this particularly in the fridge as the smell of the fridge could be one of the most horrible thing ever. Don’t know about you, but I find this image is a great example and soooothing! You want to separate meat and eggs and avoid direct contact with other food to prevent food contamination, mostly I just hate the idea of how germs (which have most numbers on meat and fish) could be easily passed onto something else in the fridge. Also think again about smell, exposed fish meat? Not a great idea even wrapped up in cling wrap.  Personally, I would choose glass containers over plastic, since you don’t need to carry them around, it is okay for them to carry a bit of weight. Glass containers are much more easy to clean, leaves no stain, dishwasher safe (for sanitise purpose) and less likely to smell, it also lasts forever!

4. Use corner spaces

You might have blind spots you never use in your kitchen, it might be the tiny corners or simply too small to have any shelving.  These spaces can be useful when you find the right way. Maybe nail up some clothes hooks to hang your apron and tea towels? Maybe mount up a cling wrap paper towel dispenser to add on much more convenience?

5. Kitchen Storage Shelves

Use of kitchen storage shelves would be the most handy and effective way to get more storage spaces sorted.  You would once again see the application of vertical storage as the fundamental idea. For the kitchen that doesn’t come with built-in microwave space, this is a great solution too. These shelves are also super awesome when you have extra kitchen appliance – if you are a baker at home, where would you put your mixer, beater, mixing bowls and all sorts of cool stuff? Try to leave most heavy things and stuff that you use most often on lower shelves, considering convenience and safety.

 

New Zealand Plastic Bag Ban – What Happens Now?

New Zealand Plastic Bag Ban – What Happens Now?

NZ Plastic Bag Ban 1

How’s everyone coping with the plastic bag ban commenced on 01 Jan 2019?

Well, I have a friend who is currently anxious about how there is no more ‘free’ kitchen bin liner, not sure about you.

But I am surely, truly proud on how New Zealand is one of the First country in the world who commenced this act. Not only that, they will further push it to the extent on the ban of all single-use plastics around mid 2019. I am sure this could keep NZ shores cleaner and kiwis should be so proud of yourselves!

The rest of the world is catching themselves up with this ban as well and I look forward to see more and more countries apply this ban.

If you take a look around you and think about how much plastic you could use and could trash….you would find it scary.

Hence, it is not hard to imagine, things like these do happen some where on mother Earth right at this second:

I am not quite sure on the reason behind this, but I did find a few interesting listings on TradeMe on supermarket plastic bags:

Hmmm…I hope you are not buying these though as I really don’t see a point apart from trying to be funny maybe?

reason to ban single-use plastics

1. Plastic bags looks like floating jellyfishes to sea turtles and dolphins which they feed on.

2. Large mammals like whales wold accidentally ingest plastic as they feed in large portions.

3. Plastics exist in all shapes and sizes even in different forms like a fishing net. This could twine onto marine animals causing suffocation and starvation.

4. Recent scientific report shows these plastics that we threw would came back to us and harm our body in the form on micro beads. Imagine you could be feeding your newborn micro beads unintentionally but the truth is, the next generation could be growing up with plastic IN them since a newborn.

5. It takes forever long to degrade and decompose plastic and who-knows-when, but what if we will be watching our grand children living in plastic waste because there is no longer any land to fill them.

There are countless more to go on but I will stop here because these 5 points are scary enough.

What can we do?

Reduce – Buy less plastics – avoid buying anything that is over packaged.

Reuse – Use your items as many times as possible.

Recycle – Recycle properly.

reusable alternatives

Okay, the whole point of this blog is sharing some ideas on some great stuff that I am currently using to achieve “REDUCE” part.

The first things I’ve got way way before the plastic bag ban commencement are the grocery shopping bags.

I will keep these foldable grocery shopping bag in purse:

And these grocery shopping trolley bags in the back of car seat so I will remember to grab them when I head over to nearest supermarket:

Reusable Grocery Trolley Bag

Not long after these two types, I decided to go further and reduce buying packaged fruit and veges. This is when I realised those plastic bags are still available in rolls for you to help yourself tear one off the roll when you need to grab one. Nah! I don’t want it either but the bags I had weren’t suitable to contain loose fruits and vegetables, so I got some mesh produce bags with draw strings, colour codes so I could use smallest red ones for confectionery :

NZ Plastic Bag Ban 8

Definitely a set of metal straws. There are heaps of reusable straws combinations and I think a simple 5pcs should be enough. For general drinks, medium diameter ones for smoothies and large ones for bubble tea if you are a fan of them. While looking for the best set, I found straws made with glass? Hmmm, couldn’t help but them a bit intimidating…I wonder if they shatters…Oh and I added a set of spoon and fork to the set and carry them with me in my purse. Happy as!

NZ Plastic Bag Ban 9

I am a mugaholic and I am obsessed with buying drink bottles, cups and mugs. Bring your own coffee to-go cup is more and more common these days. So a coffee cup and water drink bottle is something I see myself must have!

I bought this Keep Cup from Stevens and I looooove my water drink bottle bought online.

NZ Plastic Bag Ban 10    NZ Plastic Bag Ban 11

Lastly, and the most difficult part actually – is to bring your own food to-go containers. I personally don’t like to use those Sistema lockable food containers for hot food because I find the food smell would stay in the container forever AND the colour stains no matter how hard I try to wash them off. They are otherwise perfect for spice and dried food storage. So I initially bought glass bowls and bring them around, after sick of the weight of it (and I will have to carry bigger hand bags whenever I need to bring it with me) and the incident where my colleague broke one accidentally, I started to search online and seek for alternative – something that is light weight and does not take too much room! And I found them – these silicon foldable locking containers! I was over the moon to solve this big problem, I mean THEY ARE FOLDABLE WONDERFUL!!!

NZ Plastic Bag Ban 12      NZ Plastic Bag Ban 13

 

That’s it so far from me and I look forward to find more environmentally-friendly goodies and would be great to hear more ideas.

10 Bedroom Relaxing Tips to Improve Your Sleep

10 Bedroom Relaxing Tips to Improve Your Sleep

I don’t know what you would be picturing of when we talk about bedrooms of your dream.  But for mine, it would definitely be close by sunny windows, it would be in a neutral bright colour with lots of natural light and not too spacey.

When you look up ‘cozy bedrooms’ it would give you a lot of neutral colours and I found them tend to be quite pastel too. And when I pay attentions to the ones I find calming and relaxing, it is for sure that none of them consist dark coloured wall, and I found too much modern elements could sometimes ruin the coziness.

I’ve met a lot of people in my life who have trouble sleeping, so although I am not one of them but I do know how painful it is to not being able to get a good night sleep. “It is such as mental torture and I would do anything to improve sleep quality” – this is what they all told me that shared in common at different times.

So here are some tips to create a relaxing and cozy bedroom to improve sleep quality which hopefully you could find them working for you.

use of cushions

Cushions could be in any size and it could be used to lean onto for a bedtime read and most of the time it can be one of the best decorations in a bedroom.  It can be any pattern and colours really, anything you like, but try to avoid using something like animal faces or human faces and sharp colours like neons. Generally speaking, just like pastel walls, neutral and calming colours would be the best.

bedside table lamps

I personally think bed lamps are just as important bedroom furniture as bedside tables.  Just like getting kids to be ready for bedtime, our mind needs to be prepared for sleep mode for a period of time before actually turning lights off. Because we are not a machine that gets switched off, our mind need to take time and gradually reach that state, this period could take longer for people who have trouble sleeping or light sleepers.

Since a good bedtime read may help for some people like myself, you need light that is bright enough for readings but at the same time, to be able to dim down for sleep mode. So a dimming light or touch lamp would be the best. I found warmer light tend to work the best so salt lamp with dimmer switch for example would be a great idea.

home fragrance candles

Well, what kind of light could be more calming than nature flame? It makes the most of it when combining with fragrance. Happily sigh in bed and read on your unfinished book is just as easy. Although lavender fragrance tends to link the most to quality sleep, but I do think fragrance is something super personal, and as long as you like it and it is not an over-powering scent then it is great to have in a bedroom.

The golden hue, flickering flame and your favourite scent….hmmmmm! I had my eyes closed already!

room divider to de-clutter

            

I went like: “What do I do with room dividers being placed in a bedroom as per part of bedroom furniture?”  when I first got introduced.

Room divider is something smart to use in a room and with different designs and textures used, it could give your room a different look straight away.

It could be a great de-clutter helper because it can be a blockage tool, to keep away something you don’t want to be seen, to section up your room depending on your needs and I happen to see people use a room divider to keep away from direct sunlight too.

indoor plants decorations

Indoor plant or house plant pots are the answer to a lot of indoor decoration questions. But if you are not a green thumb like myself, then overdo it would only make you more anxious. I used to ask myself way too many questions when using greens to decorate living spaces including “what are the best indoor plants to put in the house / living room / bedroom?” “what are the most easy indoor plants and where do you get them?” Then I start to worry about all sorts of stuff about planting and it just all turned into a frustrating mess. So if you are worrying about putting natural indoor house plants into your room, then the fakes ones would work. You don’t need a lot of them to do the charm, simple floor-standing pot and a couple of smaller pots with variations of indoor house plants would do. I recently got my hands onto the baby succulents which could be another story to tell laters 🙂

decorating posters & paintings

Apart from the indoor greens, the decorating wall hanging arts are probably the next thing you see in almost all bedrooms in magazines and display units. The large area of your great white wall is your art space so use it to display something about you and what you like. I am sure every time when you walk into your room and it would be pleasant to see your favourite masterpiece dominating your bedroom wall.

use of wall decorating components

Wall decoration is quite personal too so do be creative.  I would prefer make it stay simple though. Although anything might do the art job, but I would still hope to suggest on avoiding anything that shows faces, like animal or human figures, cartoon figures; avoid anything that is ‘too much’ such as taking too much of spaces, or using too many colours or too dense; avoid a clock that keeps reminding you on what time it is and to avoid using anything reflective like a mirror.

It would be wonderful to combine decors and green indoor plants together!

AROMATHERAPY diffusers

There are like millions of aroma diffusers to choose from in NZ market, honestly it doesn’t really matter which ones to buy. But when it comes to decorating point of view, I would say again, try to keep it simple so it blends into your bedroom but not going to attract attention. Pure white ones or the ones with wood grains would be my personal preference. It works as humidifiers to help on keeping bedroom air moist too and sleep in the calming fragrance really helps!

extra blankets and throws

An extra blanket and throw on bed could be for decor purpose and most of all, it serves its main purpose on an unexpected cold night or when your child had a bad dream and wanting to snug into your bed with ya. A nice soft double-sided fleece blanket would be lovely and this one with pompom edge is quite special too.

bedroom curtain and blinds

This last suggestion might surprise you but I do think curtains play a key role on bedroom overall atmosphere. If you walk into a room that has a bright true red curtains, you might experience that sudden struck of distress and that is how colours could affect a person’s mood especially being used in large areas. My personal favourite when it comes to calmness is these linen curtains in single neutral colour, it allows the sunlight to shine through at certain degree but not too much and it would be nice to wake up in some natural light. But this wouldn’t suitable for people that are extremely sensitive to light though – in this case, choose curtain over blind, choose light colours over dark, choose thick or double-sided curtains, choose neutral to be safe and definitely a colour that matches your bedroom wall.

After all, I do hope we all get wonderful good night sleep. Sweet dreams! xx

What Can We Do To Save New Zealand Shores

Saving New Zealand Shores – YES WE CAN!

Image result for save the ocean nz

A lot of you may have seen the most heartbreaking news on Monday 26/11 where whales stranding happened in Stewart Island. 145 whales died from this! At the same day, more stranded on Northland too.

More than ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY FIVE! I felt drowned and speechless for the rest of the day, whales are probably the living unicorns on earth and it is surely my favourite mammal after dogs.

Luckily, we live in a country full of ‘humanity power’ and love, so we get to see news like volunteers and organisations were called and gathered to help.

 

I have been an enthusiast on ocean life saving and de-plastic in particular myself that I have been trying to search information from time to time, to see what ‘I’ can do. The fact is, WE can all contribute to our beautiful NZ environment, not talking about big things like doing lab tests and saving whales maybe, but we can definitely start small like using less plastic whenever possible.

So I am going to share some goodies that I use to make my contribution on de-plastic.

 Reusable Grocery Shopping Trolley Bag

These Trolley Bags are AWESOME! I actually brought 2 sets so I could keep one extra set in the car. They could be stored into a roll and simply bring it along when you head out to your local supermarket, chuck these into shopping trolley to help you categorise your groceries. It comes in 4 different sizes and colour as a set to fit most shopping trolleys.

Foldable Reusable Bags Eco Grocery Shopping Bags

I do feel this extra purchase on top of the trolley bags are necessary, mostly because trolley bags are quite big for me, they show their magic the best when doing supermarket shopping. Other times (which are a lot of times) when shopping for clothes or even a quick stop-by at your local dairy, you need these Reusable Shopping Bags with handles. The whole set comes with 5 bags in different patterns, so I would normally keep 1 or 2 in my purse while keep the rest in my car. They are so handy that you could fold them after each use into a palm size, I would totally rate 5/5 for the practicality.

Fabric Pot Planter Grow Bags

Choose Fabric Grow Bags instead of plastic pots would be a great idea. These grow bags not only give your garden and indoor a fresh new look and also it provides better water drainage, allowing enhanced root development of your plants.

Luggage Organiser Travel Pouches

I never stop buying them after getting my very first set of these Travel Organisers because they are soooo handy!  Full set comes in 6 pouches varies in sizes to store away different things. I found myself needed 2 sets worth for bringing something like worn shoes, one extra large pouch for laundry and one pouch for toiletries.

Foldable Solar Panel Charger

Try to choose Solar Charger instead of regular portable chargers, much more energy saving and also consumes nothing on your electric bill, so why not? At least bring it along with you on your next camp or to somewhere in nature where you don’t get electricity and discover its beauty!

ToughOut Greenhouse

Okay…I didn’t own this but my friend’s parents do. That’s right, grow your own veggies! If you can of course… people who have time and space for these Greenhouses can start growing your own greens. Too many advantages to talk about on how safe and healthy on home grown veges and so on, but one thing for sure, it helps on reducing soft plastic packaging that you get from supermarket vegetables.

 

I could really go on and on, but do you see the tricks now? Replace single-use plastics as much as you can. Say no to soft plastic packaging whenever it is possible. Choose solar powered items instead of electricity-consuming gadgets.

Nothing you do is considered too small and it is okay to buy plastic products or to use regular plastic bags, just always try to reduce the chances of using them, that’s what I always encourage people to do as starter.

Last but not least, if you think this is the right thing to do, then mask all the noises that tells you to go the other way, smile to people who gave you the weird look and stay determined!    ❤❤❤

Gazebo NZ Buying Guide – FAQs on ToughOut Gazebos

FAQs on ToughOut Gazebos

ToughOut Gazebos

Get ready for 2018 summer – the most exiting season of the year. It may not be the most beautiful season for New Zealand, but I am sure this is the best season to go out there!

Catch the last bit of summer heat but without getting burnt and you need one of these best friends in summer. Get out there, be fearless – you’ve got ToughOut with a best price you cannot find elsewhere!

This is the 5th year we brought in these awesome ToughOut gazebos NZ and we tend to have something new every year, with past years we’ve got more and more fantastic feedback and our team got to know them more, so here we are, summarised on the most frequently asked questions for you.

Q: WHEN do I need a gazebo?

A: When you know there is an expecting event coming up! Whether it is outdoor barbecues, a game on the field, merchandising on markets or even beside your camping.

2016 Xmas BBQ Event
Food Market Merchant
Meat Stock Competition
Merchant @ Sylvia Park
Staff Xmas Event 2017

I have soooo many more pictures to show you but this post wouldn’t fit!

Team TreasureBox has been using these awesome gazebos lots of times now and we brought it to our staff event all the time.

Q: WHY ToughOut Gazebo?

A: For its easy set up pop up design, absolutely no installation on frame structure needed. Simply expand and erect when you need it. No tools required.

Q: What is the difference between Breeze and Thunderstorm models?

A: We’d like to look at Thunderstorm model as the upgraded version of Breeze model in general – it is made to be tougher by thicker and heavier materials.

Q: Which ToughOut gazebo model series shall I go with?

A: We would first suggest you to think about purpose – what are you going to do with a gazebo?

Breeze is designed for short term use in general, as it is cheaper than renting a gazebo just for a weekend. It would be the best choice if you have a function or outdoor event coming up that is not ongoing regularly.

The thin material used is not necessarily a bad thing, as it becomes the most cost-effective choice. Light weight would make it much easier when it comes to transport and of course cut on transport cost.

Thunderstorm on the other hand allows for more regular and longer use.

This summer, we brought in new model of Zephyr – which it is specifically designed for people who intent to set up a gazebo on their own! Best example would be for those of you who are the stall merchants in farmers market in the weekends and work on your own without any help. This is when you want to choose Zephyr model where it is light, it is much easier to pop up for single person set up and it comes with a carry bag!

Q: What does a ToughOut Gazebo comes with?

A: All ToughOut Gazebos comes with a pop-up metal steel frame, a gazebo canopy and a 3-sided wall that is one single piece wraps around the frame.

Q: How about gazebo accessories?

A: Yes we have now got most of everything you need to set up a gazebo, check out for our range of gazebo accessories.

Q: Do ToughOut Gazebos come with warranty?

A: Yes for sure! Breeze and Zephyr gazebo models carry 6 months warranty while Thunderstorm gazebo models carry 12 months warranty.

But do note though, wind damage is unfortunately not covered under warranty.

Q: How could wind damage to gazebos happen?

A: We’d like to call it a ‘parachute effect” as the gazebo canopy does not have a vent, therefore when gusts strikes, the force would naturally push gazebo upwards and even a pegged gazebo could be pulled straight out.

So by considering your safety and others, anything loose or could potentially be loose should be removed on a windy day, even it started light and seems harmless.

The next best option would be to always put as much weight onto your gazebo as possible, and this should be evenly distributed especially on four corners.

Q: How do I make sure my gazebo setup is just right?

A: Always! ALWAYS remember not to leave your gazebo outdoor unattended or even overnight, especially when it is without any anchoring.

Secure your gazebo and canopy with weights – as strong gusts can come up without warning anywhere at anytime.

Oh and how important it is to set up your gazebo properly? Well…this one tells you all about it….

Shop ToughOut Gazebos Online at TreasureBox NZ