The mayor of St. John's is urging the general public to report slum landlords to the city so it can investigate housing.
CBC News has reported recent horror stories of boarding houses, highlighting issues ranging from bed bugs to mould, electrical issues and holes in walls.
Mayor Dennis O'Keefe said it's the city's responsibility to make sure licensed rental properties are safe and healthy places for people to live..
However, he said, city staff can't act to make housing any better if they don't know about the problems.
"Give us the address and tell us what kind of conditions exist where you live, and we'll take it from there," O'Keefe said.
"If you're not comfortable leaving your name, you don't have to leave your name, but we need to know. Otherwise, we can't deal with the problem."
Deputy Mayor Ron Ellsworth said the conditions some people were living in shocked him.
"What really concerned me was the fear, or underlying current, of individuals living in substandard housing … they feel trapped," he said.
O'Keefe said the city will act quickly on complaints once they're received, but if a landlord refuses to allow an inspector into the unit, the city then has to go to court.
If an order to clean up a property is then ignored, they would have to go to court again.
But O'Keefe said there was one trump card the city had up its sleeve to get landlords into action.
"Well b'y, if you're not going to do it then we're going to name you at a public meeting," he said. "
Amazing how quick that results in remedial action."
The first thing you notice at Mel Weinberg's Florida home is the music.
"Every time I go into a room, I put it on," he tells me.
Such is the force of habit when bugs and wiretaps have been your way of life.
Whether anyone would secretly record him now, aged 89 and long retired, Mel Weinberg is every inch the man who inspired the Oscar favourite American Hustle.
A wildly successful conman, who made millions and lived a life of luxury, he turned those same skills over to the FBI to help snare a bunch of corrupt politicians in what became known as "Abscam".
Christian Bale has been nominated as Best Actor for his portrayal of Mel, complete with elaborate comb-over and the thick Brooklyn accent that the ageing conman still possesses.
The two men spent time together during the making of the film, even though Mel had not heard of Bale or seen any of his movies.
"I told him the last film I saw was Scarface with Al Pacino," he said
And to spend time with Mel Weinberg is to be taken back to a different era, one of "wise guys" and "schmucks" (and those are the printable terms), a who's who of gangsters and scams, some old-fashioned views and language and a remarkable story.
Just occasionally, with a shrug, a one-liner or a twinkle in his blue eyes, you see a flash of the old swindler.
And he can't disguise that he is enjoying the renewed attention.
He said: "I went food shopping yesterday and I gave the girl a dollar for bringing my groceries out to my truck. She said she'd rather have my autograph - I said you can have the buck and the autograph as long as you don't ask me to put it on a cheque."
Mel makes no apology for his life of crime. He began working for the government simply to avoid going to jail.
"I was a crook. I was a swindler. I did things that were wrong, you can't erase that, you can get religion or whatever but people are just going to see you for what you are."
The film, he says, changes little: "You are the same person you have always been, some people think you are a pretty decent guy, some people think you're no good, you're not going to change people's opinions."
His poor eyesight meant he could make out little of what was actually happening on the big screen - he is hoping to have better luck watching the DVD - but he likes the movie.
A long-time friend, a police chief in Chicago, phoned him after seeing the film. "He told me 'Mel, I seen your movie, I could have sworn it was you on the screen - he got you down to a tee'."
What is not accurate, Mel says, is the portrayal of his British mistress of the time. Evelyn Knight, played by Amy Adams in the film, was not involved in any of his various cons.
The comb-over, though, was spot-on. "You'd grow your hair long on one side and then the barber put a lot of hairspray on it. Then you'd hit the wind and look like a sailboat going down the street."
There are photos of that 1970s-era Mel around his home, some giving interviews during the first flush of celebrity after "Abscam".
The transcripts of the meetings that trapped so many senior politicians are stuffed in a cupboard in his garage.
He prefaces many of his off-camera comments with "This is not for print" and, as for those one-liners, this is the pick: "To be a good conman or work undercover for the government you have to have a good line of b******t and lie like a b*****d."
He is proud of the signed American Hustle poster above his bed.
And the man who used to say he would do "anything for a buck" makes no secret of why he sold his story.
"I did it strictly for the money"
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Another bed bug infestation in St. John's has prompted a Liberal MHA to call for the province to create minimum standards — including the ability to report infestations.
St. John's South MHA Tom Osborne said a tenant of an attached house in the downtown area had to move out because bed bugs from the neighbouring apartment infested his unit.
"Whether you're a social worker, whether you're a neighbour, you know, whether you're a friend and you go in and you say you know this is just unacceptable living conditions, somebody can inform a provincial inspector who would then make a visit," said Osborne.
He said minimum standards are required that would force action to be taken regarding bed bug infestations in rental units.
"As opposed to sending a suggestion that you know we'd like you to deal with it, but it's got no teeth. Minimal standards would give the province and inspectors teeth to be able to say, 'You must deal with this.'"
Pat Dunn owns the rental house next door to the rooming house.
"The place, in my opinion, should be condemned. It's infested with bed bugs and that's gone a long time untreated — and he continues to rent," said Dunn.
Dunn said people living with infestations and in unfit housing choose not to speak out.
"Well, immediately it came up why they don't speak out. Because they're immediately afraid because they're afraid that if they say anything they're like ... 'I'm going to lose my house. I don't want to lose my house,'" he said.
Meanwhile, the Newfoundland and Labrador government is in the middle of reviewing the Residential Tenancies Act.
A spokesperson said it is too early to say whether not minimal standards will be included.
250 JIHADIS SPARK UK TERROR ALERT
The full scale of the terrorist threat to Britain can be revealed today with the disclosure that about 250 British-based jihadis who went to train and fight in Syria have returned home.
LABOUR CANDIDATES TELL MILIBAND TO 'HUG A BANKER'
Ed Miliband is facing dissent from his own party over his attacks on banks and big business and plan to raise tax for top earners, with Labour candidates warning that companies believe the party will treat them "like an ATM".
JETS SEND MAYDAYS OVER LONDON
Five aircraft unable to land at Heathrow and Gatwick were forced to declare emergencies, some perilously close to running out of fuel, in the latest storm to batter Britain.
ESSAR TAKEOVER DEALS BLOW TO CITY CREDIBILITY
Investors will this week receive another mauling from a disastrous foreign float when a billionaire Indian family offers to buy back its company on the cheap.
BARCLAYS HUNTS FOR NEW CHAIRMAN AMID BONUS ROW
Barclays has begun the hunt for a replacement for Sir David Walker, the veteran chairman brought in to steady the bank in the wake of the Libor-rigging scandal.
MAIL ON SUNDAY:
VICTIMS OF THE VALENTINE TEMPEST
The great Valentine's Night storm left three people dead and caused continuing mayhem across Britain yesterday.
VERDICT ON MINISTER'S £90,000 EXPENSES COULD RUIN HER CAREER
Maria Miller's political future was in doubt last night after expenses watchdogs found fault with the Culture Secretary's £90,000 claims on a second home.
MAMMA MIA! 40 YEARS AFTER THEIR WATERLOO, ABBA ADMIT: WE ONLY WORE THOSE RIDICULOUS OUTFITS TO AVOID TAX
Their music has stood the test of time, even if their fashions haven't. Now Swedish supergroup Abba have revealed they had good reason to wear such garish stage costumes - because it saved a little money, money, money on their tax bill.
New Fulham manager Felix Magath will take his first training session today as the situation at the Premier League's basement club descends further into farce.
GOLDEN GIRL LIZZY VOWS: I'LL DEFEND MY OLYMPIC TITLE IN 2018
Golden girl Lizzy Yarnold last night pledged to defend her newly-won Olympic championship in South Korea in four years' time.
DAILY STAR SUNDAY:
PROUD Simon Cowell wept tears of joy as he held newborn son Eric Philip in his arms for the first time.
£4.5K BUNG FOR TRAINEE SPOOKS
Defence chiefs are to offer soldiers thousands of pounds to train as intelligence experts for covert operations.
F1 LEWIS GOT WED FLAGGED!
Nicole Scherzinger left Lewis Hamilton in the pits by turning down three marriage proposals in a month.
Jose Mourinho was left gob-smacked at The Etihad last night as Man City handed Chelsea an FA Cup hammering.
CITY BACK FOR ISCO
Man City will be given a second chance to sign Spain starlet Isco in the summer in a £30million deal.
DARKEST DAY OF THE STORMS
Dangerous levels of bacteria that can cause typhoid fever, dysentery, hepatitis and antibiotic-resistant bugs similar to MRSA were discovered in floodwater yesterday.
FAR RIGHT TARGETS MUSLIM 'FUN DAY'
Legoland has been targeted by right wing groups after it hired out its park to an Islamic leader said to be on a security list of hate clerics.
'BECOMING A FATHER IS THE MOST MAGICAL MOMENT EVER'
Simon Cowell welcomed his son Eric into the world with tears of joy, friends said yesterday.
PARDEW'S ONE GAME FROM SACK
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has one more game - against Aston Villa - to avoid becoming the next victim of the Premier League managerial carnage.
KOMPANY: WE WERE ALL OUT FOR REVENGE
Manchester City skipper Vincent Kompany was delighted his side made it third time lucky against Chelsea last night.
DOCTORS ON £3,000 PER SHIFT
Doctors are being paid as much as £3,000 per shift by NHS hospitals to fill "endemic" staff shortages in Accident & Emergency units, an investigation by The Sunday Telegraph has found.
UNDER WATER, YET FLOOD-HIT AREAS ARE STILL EARMARKED FOR NEW HOMES
Councils in some of the areas worst affected by Britain's flooding crisis have published plans to build hundreds of homes on land that is currently under water.
RECORD NUMBER OF FOREIGN CRIMINALS CANNOT BE DEPORTED FROM BRITAIN
A record number of foreign criminals won appeals against deportation on human rights grounds last year in a major blow to the Government's tough stance on immigration, The Sunday Telegraph can disclose.
RETAILERS ROUND ON SALMOND
Britain's largest retailers are overwhelmingly against Scottish independence and are concerned about the impact it could have on their businesses.
BUYERS NEED 'FLOOD RATINGS' ON ALL HOUSES, AVIVA CHIEF WARNS
The head of the UK's largest insurer has called for houses to be given a "flood rating" so that prospective buyers are aware of the potential risk.
INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY:
'PICK UP THE REINS, STAND TO POST, AND SORT THIS OUT'
England's top doctor has ordered an independent review of a hospital where child heart patients died, after dramatically bypassing NHS complaints procedures to personally meet bereaved families.
SKIRTING THE ISSUE IN A TRIUMPH OF COOL
Cool is an odd, nebulous quality, but it's hung over London Fashion Week for decades: New York and Milan have the commercial clout; Paris the couture heritage. London is cool.
PRINCE WILLIAM WANTS 'ALL ROYAL IVORY DESTROYED'
The Duke of Cambridge wants to strip all the ivory from Buckingham Palace and destroy it, The Independent on Sunday can reveal, in a move conservationists hailed as "extremely significant" in the fight against elephant poaching.
BUY NOW, PAY LATER CAN COST YOU A PACKET EVENTUALLY
It is almost as if the credit crunch never happened. Walk down any high street, or flick through any TV channel and you are guaranteed to see an offer of buy now, pay later or interest-free credit for big purchases.
THE TICKING BOMB OF GENERATION Y
At first glance the much-vaunted young professional seems to have everything, but the reality can be very different.
MILIBAND'S STARK WARNING: CLIMATE CHANGE AN ISSUE OF NATIONAL SECURITY
Britain is sleepwalking towards disaster because of a failure to recognise that climate change is causing the extreme weather that has blighted the country for more than a month, Ed Miliband warns today.
LABOUR TO SET RECORD FOR FEMALE MPs
The Labour party is on track for record numbers of women to win seats in Westminster and Brussels in forthcoming elections, party data shows.
MIDLANDS PRIEST FACES GENOCIDE PROBE
The Church of England is investigating a Rwandan bishop who is now serving as a parish priest in Worcestershire over "disturbing" allegations that he was a propagandist for leaders of his country's 1994 genocide and complicit in sending Tutsis to their deaths.
BRITISH GAS CAN'T KEEP THE HOME FIRES BURNING
Fresh from launching an unexpected attack on power company profits, energy secretary Ed Davey has now gone on paternity leave for two weeks.
DRAX MAKES PROGRESS WITH BIOMASS MOVE
Still with energy, as the debate about future sources of supply continues, Drax is moving ahead with its transformation from a coal-fired plant to a predominantly biomass generator.
DANNIELLA'S SON HELD IN DRUG SWOOP
Daniella Westbrook's teenage son has been arrested in a drug swoop after a high speed chase with police.
ED'S ON TRACK FOR ELECTION VICTORY
Labour are on course for election victory after enjoying an uninterrupted lead over the Tories for two years, our poll reveals today.
CAN YOU PHIL THE LOVE SI?
Proud new dad Simon Cowell has given son Eric the middle name Philip - honouring both his late dad and his tycoon pal Sir Philip Green.
Manchester City blew Chelsea away to take a giant stride towards an incredible quadruple of trophies.
WATSON BOOSTS HOLDERS WIGAN
Wigan are hanging onto the FA Cup with style and determination.
NOW FOR THE TRUTH
The mother of a 10-month-old baby claims he ended up brain damaged, epileptic and nearly died twice after bungles at the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children.
KEEP FIGHTING HATED BED TAX
Victims of the hated Bedroom Tax were last night urged to prepare a mass appeal after a tenant's legal victory over the Government.
LITTLE MIX, BIG APPLE, BIGTIME
They muddled their way through X Factor and were never expected to win.
YOU'VE GOT NO CLASS
Barcelona's Dani Alves last night blasted Manchester City, claiming: You may have money but you've got no class.
JOSE: THEY JUST HAD MORE HORSE POWER
Jose Mourinho's 'little horses' came a cropper - at the very same track they had shown classic form just a fortnight ago.
SUN ON SUNDAY:
ROONEY SIGNS £70M DEAL AT UNITED
Wayne Rooney has signed a record £70.2million contract to stay at Manchester United until 2018.
I WAITED ALL MY LIFE FOR YOU
Emotional Simon Cowell's tearful first words to his new son were: "I've waited all my life for you."
IT REALLY IS GRIM UP NORTH, DAVID
Tory MPs have accused party bigwigs of throwing in the towel when it comes to attracting working-class voters in the North.
SIGNED FOR LIFE
Wayne Rooney has pledged the rest of his top-class career to Manchester United.
MESSI WILL GET YA - XAVI
Xavi has warned Manchester City: "The greatest player ever is after you."
Beijing in winter is my City of Mists. Never mind that it’s polluted from coal fires, too much dirty industries and too many people you can’t see nine feet ahead.
Great Wall of China (Photo by Dennis G. Dayao)
All I know is I’m enamored with it, as men from faraway lands were before Marco Polo wrote about this three thousand-year old capital of six dynasties, abode of 34 emperors and cradle of humanity (Peking man lived here 700,000 years ago).
Today, despite the hassle and the smog, Beijing draws 150 million visitors a year and ranks as one of the world’s top destinations.
From the airport’s apocalyptic gray haze, I squinted at the outlines of trees with empty nests and ghostly magpies, thrushes, ravens and wrens.
I consoled myself with the fact that tonight; I’ll literally sleep in the heart of China’s ancient history.
I booked a US$13 per night hostel - Downtown Backpackers – smack in the middle of a “hutong”(alley) in Nanluogu Xiang, built when Kublai Khan, the grandson of Genghis Khan, founded the Yuan Dynasty (Mongol Era) 800 years ago.
“Hutong” is a Mongolian word for water well. During the Yuan Dynasty, Mongolians valued water so much they designed every urban community around a well.
Even now, you can still find dry wells in the “hutongs” which formed the city’s neighborhoods and came to symbolize Beijing’s culture.
More than 7,000 alleys used to twist like centipedes throughout the city, linking the “siheyuan” (traditional courtyard houses), bathrooms, public toilets, restaurants and shops strung with red paper lanterns.
Connected by the “hutongs” radiating in all directions, hundreds of courtyards converged around the Forbidden City, forming a giant chessboard set with walled gardens, rockeries and ancient ruins.
Until the Ming and Qing dynasties, no signposts marked the “hutongs”. No one wrote down their names. Local folks simply learned what they are called by word of mouth.
They dubbed one “hutong” Skewed Tobacco Pouch Street (Yandai Xiejie) because it’s not straight. Mamei Hutong was named after the old Beijing language.
Others took the names of their location, adjoining markets and businesses or local features such as Inner Xizhimen Hutong by a gate on the city wall, Yangshi Hutong (sheep market), Yizi Hutong (soap) and Liushu Hutong (willow tree).
Some were named after people, like Mengduan Hutong, after Beijing’s mayor in the Ming Dynasty who lived in the alley. Others took auspicious names, such as Xiqing Hutong (happy).
While most alleys are straight, tortuous Jiudaowan (Nine Turns) Hutong winds 19 times and even Beijingers get lost there. At its narrowest section, Qianshi Hutong (Money Market) is only 16 inches wide so when two people meet, they must turn sideways to pass each other.
The longest alley, Dongjiaominxiang Hutong, stretches 6.5 kilometers while the shortest, Yichi, measures 82 feet. The widest is Lingjing Hutong while the one with the oldest history is Sanmiaojie Hutong, built in the Liao Dynasty (907–1125).
Saint Joseph Church, Wangfujing
Needless to say, it’s a nightmare tracking down a “hutong” address. Even local cab drivers can’t find my hostel though it’s downtown, close to two major attractions, the Bell and the Drum Towers.
Worse, progress threatens the “hutongs”, just like the South China tiger, the most endangered big cat on earth. Since the mid-20th century, many have been demolished to pave way for modern roads and buildings.
At present, the state designated some of the 1,000 remaining “hutongs” as protected areas. Still, a number of them are home to royalty, celebrities and state officials.
China's last empress, Wan Rong, used to live in Mao'er Hutong. Qi Baishi, a famous traditional Chinese painter, lived in Yu'er Hutong.
After the 1989 Tiananmen Square Protests, Premier Zhao Ziyang spent his 15 years of house arrest inside a “hutong” previously occupied by one of Empress Dowager Cixi's hairdressers.
My bed for the night happens to be in the “hutong” once called Centipede Lane because of its 16-side alley-layout in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368).
During the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644), they renamed it Humpback Lane before christening it Gong and Drum Lane (Luogu Xiang) in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
Of course, I visited the “hutong’s“ two towers as soon as I arrived.
“A morning bell and a dusk drum” of the Bell and the Drum Towers dictated the routine of life and work during the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220), before clocks were invented.
The largest and heaviest bell in China – 23 feet high, weighing 138,891 pounds - resides in the Bell Tower. To its South stood the Drum Tower, with one big drum and 24 smaller ones which people beat quickly for 18 times and then slowly for 18 times in three rounds and 108 tolling.
Forbidden City in the Mist
Entrance to Hutong residence
Rickshaws waiting in Hutong
Beijingers knock the bell and the drum 108 times because the number 108 represent one year in ancient times.
But after Pu Yi, the last emperor of China, left the Forbidden City, the state abolished the telling of time by bell and drum. The towers remained silent for a century until 2001. Thereafter, locals beat the bell and drum together 108 times every New Year to bless Beijing.
Before calling it a night, I tried some insane nibbles at the Food Stalls of Wangfujing (Prince Mansion’s Well) – the residence of a real prince in the Qing Dynasty, now a famous shopping street.
Backpackers hostel in Beijing
Downtown Backpackers, Beijing
Author posing with drums of Drum Tower
I wasn’t surprised to find a huge crowd though most of them were gawking and snapping photos rather than eating.
I saw fruit slices dipped in crystallized sugar and stinky bean curds on sale. But most tourists milled around stall number 56, which displayed skewered roast king scorpions, starfish, sea urchins, katydids, cicadas, silkworm, centipedes and sea horses.
Roast king scorpions reputedly cure many ailments, including malignant cancer. Cicada shells heal arthritis and rheumatism.
For the hell of it, I sank my teeth on a stick of farm-raised scorpions. They tasted like shrimps deep-fried with shells on, a slight bitterness rising over the salty seasoning and greasy oil they were smothered in.
In the same way, the starfish resembled brittle crabmeat. The seahorse was all crunch, like the rest of the fried bugs.
I was chewing on barbecued chicken hearts when the lights mercifully went out.
(To be continued next week.)
(For questions, comments, etc., please email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Life hacks are clever methods created by people to improve our lifestyle. They basically act as a shortcut giving you what you want in life, faster. Maybe that's why we speak Singlish so much, its like the ultimate language life hack.
"Would you like to have a warm cup of camomile tea? (British Accent) simply becomes "Want or not"
Although I have to add some of the life hacks here are pretty weird, they do provide us with an easier way to live our lives. I have personally tried all these life hacks myself, so I've shared my experiences using them too. These are mostly beauty and home care life hacks girls would love.
For anyone new to any of these life hacks, you definitely want to give keep an open mind. You may end up being extremely surprised about their benefits.
1. Have your lipstick last longer on your lips
Place your lipsticks in the fridge and take them out whenever you want to use them.
I highly recommend this to the beauty junkies. It worked wonders for me.
2. Get pearly white teeth
Rub a pinch of salt straight onto your teeth for a few minutes. Wash your mouth out a few times, to completely remove the salt. Gargling with the salty water will also help with mouth ulcers.
I find this life hack to be useful throughout the week before an important occasion or event.
3. Have lighter coloured hair the natural way
Squeeze lemon juice into your hair and leave it in for an hour before showering. Do this every other day and you will find your hair colour lightened by a little after each time.
I do this twice a week to lighten my hair colour, but I don’t recommend this to anyone who has sensitive scalp.
4. Get long and healthy looking eyelashes
Smear a little petroleum jelly on your lashes every night before bed. You will wake up to longer and thicker lashes.
This is one of my crazy beauty secrets that I swear by.
5. Get au naturel rosy lips without lipstick
Gently rub/scrub natural honey, using an old soft bristled toothbrush, onto your pout every night before bed. Do this religiously and those luscious lips are there to stay.
Another beauty secret of mine, passed down from my grandmother. Remember to put on some lip balm after for added protection!
6. Get rid of your sore throat
Crack a raw egg into a glass of Coca-Cola and stir it well. Drink up Buddy!
I personally swear by this whenever I am having a sore throat. I know, it sounds NASTY. But it works surprisingly well!
7. Get rid of ants in your sugar bowl
Place a small whole red onion together with its skin into the bowl and you will notice lesser or no ant attacks after.
My grandmother learned this bizarre technique during her nanny days in a Caucasian household.
8. Get rid of your sinus problem
Thinly slice a red onion and together with 2-3 betel leaves, soak them in a bowl of boiling water. Place your face over the bowl and inhale the steam slowly. It will clear your sinus after a few seconds. This can also double up as a steaming session to open up your pores.
I find this a little painful on the eyes because of the red onion but it sure clears up my morning sinus in a heartbeat. Just remember to wash your face after to get rid of the onion smell.
9. Get a cheap natural air freshener
Pandan leaves served as natural air freshener ages ago, thanks to the ketupat making days. They neutralize the smell in musky cabinets, leaving them smelling nice. In addition, the smell keeps unwanted cockroaches away, which is always a plus point! Changing them when the leaves have dried up will save you money from having to buy expensive air fresheners. Win-win!
Visiting me at home, you will find this in almost every cabinet and drawer in the house. Needless to say, I hate cockroaches!
10. Get rid of your rice bug problem
Leave dried chillies in your uncooked rice. This will keep annoying bugs away.
I found this rather weird when I opened up the container my mother stored the uncooked rice. But it somehow worked for many years.
11. Stop your partner from snoring
Ground an almond nut and mix it into a glass of warm milk. Drink this before bedtime and you will find yourself snoring a lot lesser.
This was something I proposed to my roommate numerous times during my exam period. And if she’s reading this, Hi Sissy!
12. A cheap alternative to eyeliner
Strike a matchstick, dip the blackened end in a little water and line your eyes.
This has helped me when my eyeliner was smeared and I don’t carry mine in my purse. I definitely don’t recommend it to anyone who has sensitive eyes, but I know what you’re thinking, “Why the hell does she carry a box of matches but not her eyeliner in her purse?”. Don’t worry, I questioned myself that too!
13. Stop a boiling lidded pot from overflowing
Pour a cup of tap water over the lidded pot a little at a time. This will immediately stop it.
I’ve seen my grandmother do this countless of times but it still amazes me every time.
14. Get rid of sniffles
Drink warm rice water and you will feel the difference.
This is something that worked on me but not on my friends. So give it a try to see if it helps you.
15. Want odour control in your fridge?
Left over charcoal from your recent BBQ party can be used for moisture absorption and odour control in your fridge. Poke a ziplock bag with satay skewers, leaving tiny holes on it, and place a few charcoals in there. You can use these bagged up charcoals anywhere around the house where you need odour and moisture control.
I’ve grown accustomed to seeing a bag of charcoal next to the bottle of soy sauce in my fridge.
16. Make the colour of your denim jeans last longer
Soak them in water mixed with a few drops of your favourite shampoo for an hour. Then pop it into your washing machine for a wash as per normal. You will find that the colour of your jeans not only looks brighter, but does not fade easily.
My mother still swears by this when doing laundry. She also mentioned that this method works better than the store-bought colour enhancer powders.
17. Double the speed of your boiling
Drop a ceramic soup spoon into the pot to cut its boiling time. As an added bonus, your meat will become tenderer.
I suggest to do this every time you are having steamboat. It will boil your seafood or meat a lot faster which is an advantage when you are hungry!
18. Stop your hard boiled eggs from cracking during boiling
Adding a pinch of salt into the boiling water will prevent your eggs from cracking.
This helped me a lot when helping my cousin make her wedding favours.
19. Stop the pain from a fresh burn
Rub egg white onto the burn and the pain will disappear almost immediately. The egg white will also prevent any scarring from developing if used for several days. This also works on sunburns.
Having worked in a restaurant before, I was taught this by my mother because of my constant “ability” to get burned almost every time.
20. Replace expensive essential oils
Use pure vanilla extract instead which will leave your room smelling yummy.
I normally do this 30 minutes before expecting someone at the door. Leaving a plate of pre-bought cookies on the table will also make you look as if you just did some baking. That’s a definite way of getting into the good books of your future mother-in-law!
Have a life hack to share?
Life becomes so much better when we know the secrets to living it the best we can. Have a life hack that you love using? Do share it with us by letting us know in the comments!Also Read
Is this parenting technique about to catch on?
First-time dad Brian Doss, 33, used his wild beard to raise an orphaned duckling.
The animal lover was stunned to see Peeps the duck survive after he bought a handful of chicken eggs and one duck egg to raise at his home in Athens, Ohio, USA.
None of the chickens hatched except for Peeps, who latched onto her surrogate parent Brian.
Bearded Brian gave the duckling round-the-clock care by using his abundant curls to keep the young animal warm.
Peeps was so comfortable there she would regularly fall asleep in his bristles as the pair watched TV.
Now almost ten weeks on, Peeps has grown too big to fit under his chin but is still quackers for Brian.
[Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Eerie cloud formation looks just like a Jumbo Jet]
Brian, a former animal carer, said: "I tried to hatch out some chicken eggs and I had a duck egg in there by accident - I didn't managed the humidity levels properly unfortunately.
"But Peeps is made of strong stuff so I ended up with a single duckling and having a background in animal rescue I've seen single ducklings literally die of loneliness.
"I spent a couple weeks just every day just 24 hours with her - feeding her, watering her and letting her keep warm under my beard.
"Like any first parent, it took a while to figure it out. She's a cool duck, she's interesting. She talks to me all the time and sticks her head out of the cage and goes 'peep peep peep'."
Peeps now sleeps in a bed next to Brian's, and spends her days swimming in her own bath tub.
Brian kept an online blog of her journey, which has since become an internet hit.
He has since attempted to train her as his pet - but she only has her eye on one thing.
Brian added: "She loves food. That's all she goes for. It's really started to calm her until she can become an outside duck.
"Then she'll get to run around the yard and eat bugs and all kinds of yummy stuff and help cut down on my spider population a little bit."
Bugs in bed and travel delays are pet peeves for Kiwis on vacation.
Over a third of respondents in a recent Southern Cross Travel Insurance survey cited travel delays as their biggest annoyance, with a quarter saying it was sub-standard accommodation.
Southern Cross's Craig Morrison says the frustration is understandable as many spend months or even years saving for the big trip.
However he says booking cheap flights and cheap holidays can be more susceptible to unexpected travel hassles.Mr Morrison says doing your research before you fly is recommended.
Science experiments can be fun, messy, done in the dark or even while you’re asleep. Here are some holiday ideas children - and their parents - can do over the summer break.
Head in the clouds? While you’re there take some photographs and start your own cloud collection. You will be amazed at how many different types of clouds there are.
Invest in a good cloud handbook. Pocket-sized is handy to help you identify cloud formations anytime and anywhere. Make a note of the clouds you spot and check out how rare they are. The Met Office Pocket Cloud Book is a good example and covers everything from common to unusual cloud formations and explains the atmospheric processes that create them. It can be ordered from www.fishpond.co.nz
Alternatively head online to http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/sciencefacts/weather/clouds.html
Help a NIWA scientist
NIWA atmosphere scientist Alan Thomas is on the lookout for observations of NLCs in December and January. These are Noctilucent Clouds that may be visible an hour or two after sunset or before sunrise as wispy blue clouds. They are most likely to be seen in Southland and are formed at 80km high (the Meosphere). If you happen to spot one, take a photograph and send it to email@example.com
2. Star-gazing. On a warm, moonless night head outside, sit back and look up. A pair of binoculars would be handy. Look out for common star formations, satellites and meteors.
There are a number of websites that will help you learn what you are seeing:
www.stellarium.org - excellent free planetarium programme for PC.
www.spaceweather.com - updates recent space events heading our way.
www.heavens-above.com - for satellite viewing opportunities.
The GoSkyWatch iPad app is also excellent for young astronomers.
Did you know?
NIWA operates an atmospheric research station at Lauder, 35km from Alexandra in the South Island. The clear skies and isolation make it perfect for observing what is going on in the sky. Lauder specialises in measuring CFCs, Ozone, UV light levels and greenhouse gases and has a wide range of world class instruments.
3. Identify seaweeds by shape and colour and smell. Document your findings by photographing them - don’t take the seaweed away from the beach as there are important natural processes taking place when seaweed is washed up on shore.
Seaweed is very clever - its feeds millions of marine creatures and provides at least half the earth’s oxygen.
You can learn about seaweed on the web or go to the library and ask for New Zealand Seaweeds, An Illustrated Guide. It’s a new book written by NIWA scientist and seaweed lover Wendy Nelson. Dr Nelson’s selection of about 250 species of seaweed covers just over a quarter of known species found in New Zealand.
And find out what foods contain seaweed. Here’s a clue: chocolate milkshakes.
4. Join NatureWatch NZ. Log on to www.nature.org.nz where you can share what you see in nature, meet other nature watchers and learn about New Zealand animals, plants and fungi. Just join up and start adding your finds. There’s also a Facebook page www.facebook.com.nzbrn
5. If there’s a stream near you, there’s something interesting to be found.
NIWA has developed a tool called SHMAK or the Stream Health Monitoring and Assessment Kit. It lets you measure the health of a stream and helps you understand what it takes to make a stream healthy. You might have been involved in using it at your school.
Over the holidays here’s how you can check out what’s in a stream near you:
Eat a two litre tub of ice cream, then wash the container out and add some water out of a stream.
Clamp your hands together, now find a rock about the same size and carefully pick it up.
Gently brush the rock so any creepy-crawlies end up in the water in the ice cream container.
Now work out what the bugs are you see in the container, the more types there are the better off your stream is.
There’s a bug identification guide here: www.landcareresearch.co.nz/resources/identification/animals/freshwater-invertebrates/guide
6. And lastly here’s some quick scientific fun:
a) Fill a bucket with water and swing it round over your head - do it outside and make sure you’re not going to hit anything or anyone (also you don’t want a bucket with a dodgy handle). See what happens. Why doesn’t the water fall out?
b) Design and build something that will stop an egg from breaking or cracking if you drop it from a height of one metre. You need to slow it down and stop it hitting a hard surface so think carefully about what you can use to do this. If at first you don’t succeed, offer to cook scrambled eggs for dinner.c) Measure everyone at your place just before they go to bed. Do it again first thing in the morning and see how much longer they are. Are the girls growing more than the boys at night? What about mum or dad? Is it all about gravity and if so, what happens to astronauts when they go into space?
The Motel Association is describing a bed bug outbreak at a property in South Auckland as a rare and exceptional case.
Christchurch woman Debbie Roome wants help with her medical costs after suffering 300 bites during a night at the Airport Kiwi Motel in Mangere.
The bites blew up into enormous welts.
Motel Association chief Michael Baines says he feels sorry for her ordeal.
But he says the little black bugs can appear in even the cleanest of beds.
"All you can do is vigilance because they live in seams of suitcases, they live in seams of beds, they live behind the wallpaper."
Mr Baines says a lot of effort goes in to preventing bed bug outbreaks.
But he says ultimately, no bed is immune.
"Some of the cleanest properties you could ever come across can have bed bugs, others have gone right through their whole existence and never had them."It happens randomly. They've got nothing to do with cleanliness."