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DESIGN INSPIRATION • EXPERT ADVICE • DIY PROJECTS • AND MORE

Swing through the trees Adrenalin Forest

heating solutions

From top to bottom

How tHe wind blows DIY weathervane sAy cHAirs Dining room seating Are you on trAck? Fitness checkpoint


Home & Leisure | 2

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3 | Home & Leisure

EDITOR'S NOTE

Kate Preece Editor

welcome

my find

Is it too early to start thinking about winter? I wish it was, but if you don’t want to get caught out as the temperature makes its way down the thermometer, now’s the time to consider what’s going to get you through those cold, dark nights. In this issue, we take a look at some general heating options before focusing on heat pumps – the go-to option for many these days. However, if you’re starting from scratch, have you considered passive heating options? Rebecca Lees explains how passive solar heating delivers consistent heat without constant cost. Certainly sounds appealing! No matter what option you choose, you risk losing some of that heat if you don’t do the groundwork first and get your foundations right. In the case of heating, we’re talking insulation. I’m a great campaigner for this as we live in a small house in which the wall cavities were purposefully made wider in order to install highdensity Pink Batts. The smaller dimensions of the home allowed for this ‘overkill’ on insulation, but it’s not the cost, but the end result you remember, every time you come in from the cold. Our place is always toasty. So much so there’s a noticeable increase in temperature with extra bodies present, and the place is known for making people so comfortable they don’t want to leave – just the way we like it. Despite all this talk of the weather getting colder, winter is a few weeks away yet, and autumn is certainly worth celebrating. Make sure you get outdoors to appreciate the colours of the season, and be inspired, as Leeanne Kerr writes, to spice up your interior with autumnal tones. It’s not cold enough to put off that run around the park either – best take on the tips of our health and fitness professional Elly McGuinness to ensure you are on track for the year’s goals. If you’re looking to try something a bit different, that will get your heart pumping and your muscles moving, see what I found myself doing thanks to a couple of friends of mine, on page 14. Me Jane... or so it would seem. Until next month, keep cosy!

Wish you could stick everything to your walls without sticky adhesives? Magnetic wallpaper is the answer. Available in two sizes ($189-$249), the larger of which offers a 1m-tall bunny. See se3.co.nz for more animal options, including a zebra and a cockatoo!

8

What's inside:

10

On display 5

Please be seated

Special feature – heating 6 7

How to heat: let’s look at some options Heat pumps: are they right for me?

Rebuild & renovate

8 Colour options: creating atmosphere with tone 9 Sustainable solutions: passive solar heating 10 Filling in the gaps: understanding insulation

14

Interior 11

11

Heat it up: feel warm inside

Exterior 12

DIY weathervane: know the way the wind blows

Leisure

13 Goal set and match: ways to keep on track 14 Ropes and harnesses: scaling Adrenalin Forest

Publisher Charlotte Smulders, Star Media | Editor Kate Preece, kate@starmedia.kiwi | Advertising Kerry Smith, Phone 962 0743, Mob 027 654 5367, kerry.smith@starmedia.kiwi Graphic Design Narelle Denmead, Tracy Thompson

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Home & Leisure | 4

E X C L U S I V E

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5 | Home & Leisure

ON DISPLAY 1 3 2

Please be seated From classic to modern, there’s a dining chair to suit any style. Here are a few stand-outs we’ve chosen.

6 4 5 1. Available in white (as shown) or ‘rusty’, the Larent dining chair helps achieve an industrial feel. Available from Freedom Furniture, RRP $179. 2. Made from solid acacia timber, the Provence dining chair makes a classic statement. Available from Farmers, RRP $249.99. 3. Think Scandinavian and modern when appreciating the Klarkson dining chair, with its solid timber legs and flexible back. Available in ‘Corsica Steel’ (as shown) and ‘Corsica Cement’, from Freedom Furniture, RRP $149. 4. Ico Traders’ Portobello chair comes in black and white, but you can powdercoat it to match your own colour scheme if you wish. Suitable for indoor and outdoor use. Available from Copper and Pink (Merivale) and Raw Nova (The Tannery), RRP $329. 5. Those looking for a modern Nordic look will find Hunter Furniture’s Maribo dining chair hits the mark. Available in green, black, grey, red and black. RRP $299. 6. The Scramble dining chair comes in black and white, with a wooden or metal base, and adds comfort and style to any setting. From Hunter Furniture, RRP $299.


Home & Leisure | 6

special feature

Ways to warm up Ventilation Equipment Suppliers to trade and retail

Leeanne Kerr looks at the pros and cons of some heating options. warm underfoot: Underfloor heating is a one way to turn up the heat.

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Physically being warm is such a good thing it’s become a metaphor for all the positive things in our lives; the warmth of friendship, a warm greeting, a warm smile, a warm glow within. Being warm is essential for health, comfort and enjoyment of life. In terms of living environments, ‘warm’ is a minimum 18°C, as recommended by the World Health Organisation. Less than 16°C and the risk of illness increases. Heating a poorly insulated home is like pouring water into a leaky bucket. If you pour fast enough it will fill, but as soon as you stop all the work is undone, so it’s important you plan your heating and insulation together (as much as possible). One of the two main considerations for heating is how much is needed to keep your home warm, and Energywise provides a great start to answering this question. On the Energywise website (www. energywise.govt.nz), under ‘tools and calculators’, there’s an easy-to-use “heater sizing calculator” that determines how big a heater is required for a room, based on your city, the type of room, insulation, number of external walls, window size and room area. Once the details are filled in, you are provided with the heat output required (in kilowatts) to counter the lowest outdoor winter temperature for your area. When choosing a heat pump, you must check it can reach the advised heat output when temperatures are at their lowest (-4°C for Christchurch, according to Energywise). The type of heating you can use will most likely be constricted by regulation, but you also need to consider fuel source availability, fuel storage, running cost, security of supply, room use and the amount of energy you require it to produce. All energy sources have pros and cons. Let’s focus on what I consider to be the simplest form of energy – electricity.

Radiant and convection heateRs There’s a huge number of these on the market, and they’re cheap to buy, but relatively expensive to run. They’re good for small or medium-sized rooms that are used less often. If you’ve got children around, it’s safest to mount the heaters out of reach – particularly radiant ones. Flat panel heaters don’t produce as much heat so are safer in this respect. Radiant heaters heat you instantly, so if

you rush in and out of the bathroom in the morning or want to grab a piece of toast quickly in the kitchen before being late to work, these are good. They directly heat you, rather than the air, making them good options for poorly insulated houses. There are types of radiant heaters that mount the element within a panel giving a lower, more even heat. Convection heaters heat up the air. Chances are you’ll have one of these in the shape of an oil column heater. They’re less hot than a radiant heater, but still too hot to touch, and if it is an oil column heater watch out for stability. Thermostats, while not that accurate, and timers can make these more efficient to use. Flat panel heaters are often claimed to be cheaper to run, but they also produce less heat. Fan or ceramic heaters blow hot air around and are great for that quick boost when you’re initially heating up a room, and they better distribute hot air rather than it just rising and sitting under the ceiling.

night stoRe More expensive to buy, and requiring professional installation. If your home isn’t already wired for one this will be more expensive. These store heat in a mass just like the passive solar systems, but in this case the heat comes from cheaper electricity your supplier will often provide overnight. As they release heat during the day, if you’re not there it’s wasted.

UndeRflooR Can be expensive to run. It needs to be well-insulated underneath the heating elements so you aren’t paying to heat the ground beneath your house. Any surface covering, such as carpet, makes it harder for the heat to get through. I know people who love it and other people who are too scared to turn it back on because of the cost, but I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love the way it warms you up.

instant heat: Convection heaters offer a quick-fix heating solution.


7 | Home & Leisure

special feature

Pump up the heat Mark Rayner focuses on heat pumps, so you know what to expect from this favoured mod con. Heat pumps are becoming increasingly popular with New Zealanders and it’s not difficult to see why. They not only effectively heat your home in winter, they also act as an air-conditioning unit, cooling warm air in summer and dehumidifying (and purifying) air along the way. As a heating system they’re extremely energy efficient – typically delivering almost 5kW of heat for every 1kW of power used – making them one of the most environmentally friendly and economically viable options when it comes to home heating.

still in bed on a cold winter’s morning or on your way home from work), but now that’s all changed with 21st-century wireless technology. All new heat-pump systems come with the option of a ‘plug-in and play’ device that enables the user to connect the unit to their Wi-Fi system and control the heat pump from a smartphone or tablet – making it so much easier to switch it on and off, choose temperature and set timers even when you’re out of the house. Some of the newer models, such as the Daikin Zena, have this technology built in.

GettinG it riGht

The cost of the unit itself and installation may be a drawback – though the savings made on subsequent power bills will offset this. For some, the actual aesthetic of the heat-pump unit attached to the wall may be a problem – though this could be overcome with an overhead ducted system where heated air is pumped through less conspicuous ceiling vents. The positioning of the outside unit could also cause potential problems – though the noise generated is relatively quiet, it would be unwise to fix it close to a bedroom window (or neighbour’s exterior wall) or near an outdoor entertainment area – and again, the look of the exterior unit might require it to be sited in a less visible place. You’ll need home Wi-Fi to control the system with a smart device (and for the seriously technophobic this could also cause alarm). Although the units are relatively easy care, filters will need cleaning from time to time to maintain efficiency.

As with much modern technology there’s a bit of a science to getting it right and the best way to ensure maximum efficiency from your heat-pump system is to call in an expert from the outset to ensure each unit you select is appropriate for the size of the room – too small a heat pump and the unit will have to work overtime to keep up, resulting in less energy efficiency. Check online for a heat-pump representative in your area and most will be more than happy to pay you an obligation-free visit. They will help you decide on the model best suited to your needs, the most effective positioning of the heat pump within the room, as well as the most appropriate place for the outside unit.

Modern innovations In the past, the downside of running an efficient heat-pump system was getting to grips with the operating system – setting the timer so the heating comes on at the correct time (especially important if you’re

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Home & Leisure | 8

rebuild

Colour me beautiful Home & Leisure talks to experts about paint, colours and how best to splash it around. ‘Earthwerks’. Photo: 2015 Dulux Colour Forecast.

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SometHing neW There’s a new addition to the painter’s toolbox. With smartphones seldom out of arm’s length, it’s little surprise there is now an app to help choose the right colours for your home. “The new Dulux Colour iPhone app provides inspiration if you need it – you can visualise any colour or match them in your home setting. It shows you what colours are trending and you can find the Dulux match to any colour you like at a friend’s or anywhere. We’ve also completely refreshed our range and added lots of features simply to make it easier to choose a colour for your home,” says Dulux in-house colour expert Louise McKenzie-Smith.

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Colour use is on the increase, there’s no doubt about that. We’re seeing earthy neutrals and olive greens. Whites and greyed off neutrals are still popular, but accompanied by colour blocks and geometric patterns. People are also using more than one accent colour to create a more vibrant and playful interior, with warm metallics such as bronze, copper and gold becoming popular.

Choosing colours is an essential part of creating the right mood. You need to decide whether you want a sociable, lively feel or a dramatic moody space, and choose colours accordingly.

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The paint colour you love in the shop can look quite different in your living room. The type of lighting you have, and even the time of day can completely change the way a colour looks. The best way to check it out is to paint two coats on an A3 card and use them around the room at different times of the day.

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Playing it safe. Don’t be afraid to use some colour, and let your personality shine through. A colour consultant or interior designer can help you pull your scheme together if you are unsure.

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Painting tiP “If your washing won’t dry on the line then don’t paint. If it’s too humid or too cold then paint won’t cure” – Bevan Tutty, Dulux training manager.


9 | Home & Leisure

SUSTAINABLE SOLUTIONS

Year-round comfort from free energy

Basics of heating with thermal mass summER

Rebecca Lees explains the advantages of passive solar heating and insulation for new builds. The sun; seals bask in it, sunflowers track it, Ancient Egyptian’s worshipped it. It beams massive amounts of solar energy onto our planet every day, thanks to thermonuclear fusion. The most efficient way to heat a new home is to tap into this energy. The Egyptians were on to this. They stored the sun’s heat in the walls of their dwellings, warming them on cool nights, and now, the popularity of passive solar heating is on the rise once more. People want lower energy bills, healthier living environments and more comfort. On top of all of this is a desire to have less impact on the natural world. For new builds, this ancient form of heat transfer might be just the answer. Passively heating your home firstly requires good building orientation to maximise winter sun and reduce overheating in summer. Also essential is thermal mass – materials that are dense and hold heat, such as concrete, brick, stone, tiles or earth. Walls and floors can be made using such materials. When well insulated from the exterior these ‘thermal-mass’ materials collect, store and distribute heat without the need for electricity, timers, or felling of wood. Solar-heated thermal mass works much

the same as when you place your hand on a rock warmed by the sun; the heat radiates, warming your hand. If designed and built well, the thermal mass will not only heat efficiently, but also help regulate temperature. Once heat is absorbed it is then released when outside temperatures cool during the night, thus warming the interior. Thermal mass positioned under northfacing windows or on north-facing walls works well, and in best-case scenarios temperatures might not fluctuate internally more than a few degrees throughout the year. This results in lower energy bills, less air moisture and a comfortable, healthy environment. Speak to your designer about passively heating your new home with thermal mass. Things to consider; environmentally responsible back-up heating such as wood fires (thermal mass utilises this heat also), climate, solar exposure, shade, windows, air exchange between rooms and, of course, a key feature – insulation. Insulation works slightly differently. It reduces the amount of heat transferred from one place to another. Generally, the thicker the insulation, the greater the result. Insulation effectiveness is expressed as an “R-value”, describing the product’s

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SummeR The sun is higher in summer months, so less areas of thermal mass are heated. Heat stored in thermal mass is released when temperatures cool. Windows can be opned at night to allow more air flow, if needed. level of resistance to heat flow. The higher the R-value, the more effective the product. When choosing insulation consider materials carefully. Insulation made from recycled or renewable raw materials are generally kinder to the environment, but also consider from what else the materials are made, the longevity of the product and what will happen to it when no longer used in your building.

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Home & Leisure | 10

renovation

Keep out the cold Mark Rayner highlights the importance of insulation, from top to bottom. Our living environments benefit from additional insulation in the cooler months, and though energy-efficient insulation is standard regulatory practice in new builds, older homes will almost certainly become more energy efficient (and comfortable) with some extra layers to keep out the cold.

Start at the top

Heat rises so it makes sense when insulating to start with the roof cavity. Most popular for the do-it-yourself enthusiast are sheets of glass ‘wool’ made from recycled glass (the most well-known brand being Pink Batts). These are designed to fit within the wooden framing of a roof and provide a thermal barrier, preventing heat from escaping upwards. Pink Batts are fairly straightforward to install – they need to be fitted snugly, but not tightly squashed together as this will reduce their efficiency. Be sure to follow manufacturer’s recommendations when installing and take particular care to wear suitable protective clothing as the glass fibres can be an irritant. For older properties that already have some ceiling insulation (albeit inadequate), the answer might be a simple retrofit of extra insulation over the existing layer. Other insulation materials include products made from synthetics and wool – though these tend to be a more costly option.

Wall to Wall External wall cavities can also be filled in the same way, although access to the wall

fRoM the top: Good roof insulation is top of the list if you want a warm home.

cavity will require removal of the innerwall lining or outer cladding – so this is obviously best done when re-gibbing a wall or recladding the outside. Another, less disruptive, option is to have wall cavities filled with an insulating polyurethane foam (injected into the wall through drilled holes). It’s thought there’s little point in insulating inner-wall cavities, though products like Pink Batts will also help with noise reduction, if this is a consideration.

Underfoot Underfloor insulation can also help with energy efficiency – especially in older properties with gap-filled, draughtencouraging floorboards. Thick polystyrene blocks cut to size and snugly fitted between floor joists will solve this problem – Expol is one of the most popular products and can be readily fitted by the homeowner so long as there’s easy underfloor access.

other WayS to inSUlate • Double glazing will certainly help to stop warm air from escaping through window glass and thermally lined curtains will also help in this respect. • Consider wrapping your hot water cylinder and covering pipes with purposemade wrap to prevent heat loss. • Self-adhesive foam strips around doors and older windows may help to cut down on draughts.

Designer Kitchens at DiY PriCes

CheCk With the CoUnCil If in doubt, your local council will be aware of minimum insulation requirements for the conditions in your area and will be able to advise you accordingly. They may also assist with local grants to help pay for extra insulation.

Can the government help? Though funding is limited in all areas, the government might also be able to help under the ‘Warm up New Zealand’ scheme. If you have a Community Services Card and have someone under the age of 17 or over the age of 65 living in the house, you may qualify for free insulation – for further information, visit www.energywise.govt.nz

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11 | Home & Leisure

interior

Making a cosy nest Leeanne Kerr explains how subtle alterations inside can reflect and embrace the seasonal changes outside. The weather is changing; temperatures are cooling, the nights are longer and it seems there are no longer 24 hours in each day. Going to and from work in the dark will soon become a reality. It’s time to get your house ready for the winter! New Zealand is a unique place in which to live. We can as easily live by a coastline as in the high country; in a thriving metropolis or a quiet village. From these diverse environments, and all our beautiful native plant and animals, we can find much inspiration. The weather patterns, the changing lights; it all influences us. Take a walk around your garden or around your neighbourhood, and look at how the colours of nature have changed since summer. What was once in full bloom or bearing fruit, is now on a different colour spectrum. Look at the textures, the form and how, for example, each leaf, stem, branch and trunk fit together. Take photos to help you create a unique style in your home that reflects your own environment. Once you have some ideas, you can start to create a cosy home for winter. This doesn’t need to be expensive. Try simply changing your cushions or their covers, or adding throws – this can immediately make rooms feel warmer. You can reuse the inner and make cushion covers out of remnant fabric, which can be found in bins at the local fabric store, or purchase a metre of a few fabrics you like and match the tones and textures. These changes are not only aesthetically pleasing, they are practical as well. There is nothing better than being all rugged up with a pile of comfy cushions and your child or fur baby, reading or watching that favourite movie together. There are now non-itchy woollen throws and blankets available, at a price, if you prefer natural fabrics to polar fleece and other synthetics. The inspiration for new colours can also come from your artwork or from other articles in the room. Yellow tones have been trending, but you need to be cautious in your living spaces – you live with your walls all year and in a north-facing, sunny room it will help warm up your winter, but you may perceive it as too hot in summer. This is one reason why I favour more neutral tones and using accessories, which can be changed seasonally, to introduce stronger colours. Going back to our inspiration from nature, those fabulous gold and orange colours are all set against earthy tones. I saw some cool blues trending over summer, and in a space such as a child’s bedroom a primary blue in conjunction with some warmer yellows and reds can

InSpIRed by nATURe: Take the colours you see outside and bring them inside to add warmth to your decor. Colours will range from red, orange and yellow hues to muted muddy shades, blacks and dirty whites. You will also also notice light blues to muted blues.

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make an inviting space. Just remember that as they get older and want something more sophisticated it can be quite hard to repaint over some colours. If you’re open plan you may find yourself using a much smaller area than in summer, but are still heating the whole area. Consider partitioning some of it using curtains. If you’re careful with the placement and colour you can leave the tracks up all year and just hang the curtains over the winter months to help conserve heat. Just pull them back when entertaining or on warm days. Some staircases lend themselves to the same treatment which will greatly reduce draughts. If your budget is tight by this stage, you can get some fantastic ready-made curtains, but make sure they are lined as it is the air between the lining and main fabric that gives insulation. Thermal-backed curtains do not work as well. However, it’s not just how you decorate your home that makes it warm and cosy over the winter months. If you are anything like me you probably have started to use your surplus fruits and vegetable from your garden, and turned them into jams, relishes, chutneys, bottled fruit or freezing vegetables in preparation for overwintering. There is nothing quite like bringing out your own home-made jar of jam for spreading over your toast when it is wet and cold out and settling in to read your damp newspaper with a cup of your favourite tea. Simple things can mark the change in seasons and give them more meaning. Celebrate the season! ARTISTIC COLOURS: Here is an example of how you can take colours from an artwork and use them cushions, and then add warmth with a throw and a textured rug on the floor. The rug has the added bonus of removing the cold touchdown on those chilly mornings.

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Home & Leisure | 12

exterior

Thar she blows!

Step 1: Mark guide holes with the punch and then drill 2 x 10mm holes, 150mm from the square aluminium’s top edge, and another 2 x 10mm holes, 160mm from the top edge on the other face. Saw the 10mm length of tubing in half. Slide a piece through the lower two holes.

Mark Rayner shows us how to make a kiwi weather vane. You will need • Piece of stucco aluminium • Aluminium tubing as follows: - 1m length of box square aluminium (19.05mm x 19.05mm x 1.2mm) - 1m length of round aluminium tube (10mm x 1mm) - 1m length of round aluminium tube (12mm x 1mm) - 1m length of round aluminium tube (16mm x 1mm) • Tin snips, hacksaw and hammer • Small nail punch and metal file • Drill and 3mm, 10mm and 12mm drill bits • Pop riveter with rivets • Water-based marker pen and cloth • Exterior construction glue • Safety goggles • Paintbrush • Resene Waterborne Smooth Surface Sealer • Resene Hi-Glo Waterborne gloss/mix tinted to Resene Black • Ruler or tape measure

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Step 4: Use the marker to draw the letters N, S, E, and W, a ‘head’ and ‘tail’ for the pointer and a kiwi shape on the stucco aluminium. Cut out these shapes then wipe clean with a cloth. Step 5: Use the hacksaw to cut a 15mm vertical slit in each end of the horizontal bar of the pointer, then slide in the pointer’s head and tail at either end. Fix with construction glue. Step 6: Attach the letters to the main frame the same way. Fix the kiwi to the horizontal bar with pop rivets (follow the manufacturer’s instructions). Step 7: Allow glue to dry and then apply one coat of Resene Smooth Surface Sealer to the weather vane, allowing two hours for it to dry. Don’t apply sealer to the vertical bar of the pointer. Step 8: Apply two coats of Resene Black to the weather vane, allowing two hours for each coat to dry. Again, don’t paint the vertical bar of the pointer. Once dry, slide the vertical bar of the pointer into the top of the main central frame.

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Step 3: Cut a 350mm length of 16mm tubing and a 135mm length of 12mm tubing. Drill a 12mm hole at the mid-point on the 16mm tubing. Slide the 12mm tubing into this hole to form a ‘T’ shape and fix it with construction glue.

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13 | Home & Leisure

FITNESS

Goal keeping Health and fitness guru Elly McGuinness looks at what you need to do to keep on top of those fitness resolutions. Many people set goals over the New Year period to be fitter, stronger, eat less, move more, or make healthier choices. Although the intentions are always there, the drive and motivation to take the actions needed to reach these goals can often slip away as the months go by. With the first quarter of the year having passed already, now is a great time to revisit your goals, check your progress, and create any new action points needed to move in the direction you want to go. If you didn’t set goals at the start of the year, now is a great time to do so! If you’re off track, don’t worry! Slip ups are a normal part of the achievement process. Here are some guidelines to help ensure success.

1.

2.

Follow the well-known SMART acronym… with an added ‘E’! (Note: I have adjusted the standardised model slightly.) S – Specific. Goals need to be clear. M – Measureable. You need to know exactly what will determine the goal has been reached. A – Achievable. Take a look at what’s going on in your life, what sacrifices will need to be made and what support you will need – is the goal realistic? R – Relevant. Make sure it’s something that interests you (rather than being something someone else wants you to do) and is in line with where you want to go. T – Time bound. Put a time frame on your goal and work back from there to figure out what will need to happen in between. E – Exciting and Enjoyable. Although goals need to be realistic, if they are exciting and the process is enjoyable, you will have adequate DESIRE to make them happen. With a strong enough desire, as well as the KNOWLEDGE and SKILLS to back it up, the sky is the limit when it comes to goals.

3.

Write it down and make it visual. Find or draw pictures that inspire you and are relevant to what you want. Stick them on your wall or your fridge and in your car. Carry some around with you, along with your written goals.

4.

Support and accountability. Get your biggest ‘cheerleaders’ on board to help you in any way possible. Tell lots of people about your goals and take offers of support when they come.

Goal setting is a huge topic, but this should help you with a starting direction, or some redirection if that’s what you need. I’ll leave you with a goal setting quote:

“A dream is just a dream. A goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline.”

Plan. If yours is a one-year goal, break it down so you know what you are aiming to achieve towards it after one month, three months and six months. For each month, write down weekly targets and daily action points to take.

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Home & Leisure | 14

leisure

Adrenalin Forest – tutus optional Kate Preece goes swinging through the trees for an experience she’s eager to repeat.

Have you every worn a harness? It’s not a question asked often, yet this was the first uttered by our guide at Adrenalin Forest in Spencer Park. I had to think. My two friends, both dressed like me in inappropriate bright-pink tutus and fluoro clothing obscured by sensible jackets, are more adventurous types, more au fait with climbing paraphernalia – they had scaled mountains before. Compared to this, my lifestyle is considerably more sedentary. However, we had not been brought together for our penchant of outdoor pursuits, but by bonds of friendship spanning 25 years, and because one of us was about to embark on a new adventure, somewhat ironically referred to as “tying the knot”. As I was helped awkwardly into a harness, it was a definite ‘no’, I decided. It had two protruding arms that each ended with metal clips, sure to bite your shins if you walked along with them hanging down. The gloves were an easy addition. We were then run through a safety briefing. We did our best to come to grips with the unique clip system that would keep us safe as we scaled a course that reached the giddy heights of 20 metres. Dubbed CliC-iT, the safety equipment “synchronises the open/locked positions of the two karabiners”, meaning one karabiner is always locked, keeping you constantly locked on to the safety wire,

until you are ready to get back on the ground – then you just have to figure out how to get loose. Getting used to the clipping on and off process was akin to a test in coordination – similar to if you’ve ever decided to take a step class at the gym; you’ve got to get it under control to survive, yet you know you’re going to look like an idiot in the process. At various points of the course, we would revel in the feeling that we had finally got it sussed, only to be defeated by a new obstacle, be it a ladder or tree to get around. The aerial course offers six levels that increase in difficulty as they increase in height, starting at an easy 1m above the ground. On the day we visited, the top canopy courses were closed, and as we glanced upwards and watched the surprisingly thin, incredibly tall pine trees sway dramatically in the wind, we were not completely unhappy about this. (The thud of the occasional pine cone hitting the ground, shook free from its branch above our heads, had a similar effect.) We made our way between the trees, crossing bridges (a mix of wire and rope), swinging Tarzan-like into cargo nets, and charging along at speed on flying foxes. The latter was soon the favourite – you simply hooked the third apparatus hanging from the harness over the wire, wrapped your hands over this, and leaped off the

(clockwise from left) HEADS UP: The course starts at an easy 1m high, but ends a heady 20m above the ground. HUrDlES: From cargo nets to wire bridges, each level offers its own set of challenges to overcome. tEAm SPOrt: While it is up to the individual to make his or her way successfully from one tree to the next, having the support of friends makes this course a lot of fun. Pictured here: Pippa Ensor (bride-to-be), Kate Preece and Felicity Morris.

Adrenalin Forest: 105 Heyders Rd, Spencerville. Cost: Adults $42, under-18s $27 – must be 1.45m to complete full course. Bookings recommended and essential for groups. www.adrenalin-forest.co.nz Open: Until April 30, 10am-2.30pm (last start) every day. Winter hours (1 May-30 September), 10am-2pm (last start). Closed Mondays and Tuesdays, except during school and public holidays. Fitness required: Little to none! (‘Average’ is recommended.) What to wear: Comfortable and warm clothing, closed-in shoes. platform. The more confident we became, the higher the speeds we reached. While there are limits to the number of adults you can have at each station, it was still an incredibly social activity and it was easy to see why school, business and other social groups use this as a team-building exercise. The concept was originally dreamt up by a retired army officer in France and was based on army training courses, but adapted to make fun the order of the day. Another Frenchman, Jean Caillbaet, brought the idea to New Zealand in 2006, setting up in Christchurch before adding ones in

Wellington and the Bay of Plenty more recently. You are allowed three hours to complete as many levels as you can, and you are not allowed to repeat any one level. We thought this ample time to at least reach number five, however, we made it only to the end of level four, before gladly calling time and seeking sustenance elsewhere. Throughout the course, we often looked above our heads to the upper levels and saw the challenge they offered. Considering how much fun we had in completing these first few stages, we left keen to return.


15 | Home & Leisure

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Home and Leisure 01-04-15  

Home and Leisure 01-04-15

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