Dry July Survival Guide: Part Two – Boost your detox

Five tips to getting the most out of Dry July

Welcome to part two of the Dry July Survival Guide. In part one, we explored ways to stay motivated. Part two is all about getting the most out of your alcohol-free month, with additional health and detox tips.

Most people take part in Dry July with the expectation that they’ll see some health improvements; so, whether you’re aiming for weight loss, improved sleeping patterns or better concentration, we’ve got five tips that could help you boost your results even further.

1. Drink plenty of water

Our bodies are 70 per cent water, and drinking an adequate amount of fluids each day helps to keep our kidneys functioning well. The best way to stay hydrated is to sip water gradually as you go about your day. If you replace juice or fizzy drinks with water, you’ll be reducing your calorie intake too.

2. Get some exercise

Hopefully, cutting out alcohol will improve your energy levels. So why not take advantage and get into the habit of doing some daily exercise? If you’re not feeling fit, start off gently. You could take the stairs at work, get off the bus early and walk, or swim a few laps at your local pool. If you are already exercising regularly, why not change things up and do something like a dance class. Now’s the time to step it up and make a daily commitment.

3. Increase your nutrient intake

If you’re already feeling a little deprived, the last thing you’ll want to do is count calories. Instead, concentrate on filling your plate with nutrient-dense foods including a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Nutrition Australia has released an updated food pyramid as a visual guide to getting the balance right.

4. Tea’s the key

Tea is thought to help the body detoxify. Many teas are high in antioxidants, which can protect the body from harmful free radicals. For example, T2’s Detox tea contains fennel and liquorice, with high concentrations of flavonoids, alkaloids, and phenols.

5. Meditate

Meditation involves entering a deeply restful state, giving the brain and body time to recharge. Taking ten minutes each day to meditate is also a great way to reconnect with your motivation to continue with Dry July. Check out this handy guide to get you started.

We hope our Dry July Survival Guide helps you to ace your alcohol-free month with flying colours. Are you trying any of these tips? Head over to our Facebook page and let us know.

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Dry July Survival Guide: Part One – How to stay motivated

Welcome to the first part of our two-part Dry July Survival Guide. To kick off, we’re exploring ways to stay motivated during your alcohol-free month. Next time, we’ll look at ways to boost the health effects of your detox. So, without further ado, here’s the low-down on beating the boredom and staying on track.

Don't be a hermit

Giving up alcohol doesn’t mean you have to give up on your social life. It can feel tempting when everyone around you is drinking, but these simple tricks make it easier:

1. Team up with an alcohol-free buddy. There’s sure to be someone in your circle who’s already committed to Dry July, or is thinking about it. Enlisting support is a great way to stay on track; you can encourage each other when you start to waiver.

2. Know your mocktails. Nowadays, you don’t need to stick to lemon, lime and bitters. From lychee martinis to virgin negronis, there’s a myriad of alcohol-free tipples to tantalise your taste buds. The only ingredient missing is the hangover.

3. Bow out before it gets boring. You know that stage of the evening when everyone’s had a little too much and the conversation goes from entertaining to silly? Well, now you have the perfect excuse to disappear quietly.

Treat yourself

Instead of seeing Dry July as a month of deprivation, try thinking of it as a time to focus on your wellbeing. Here are some great ways to pamper yourself – after all, you deserve it:

1. Get a massage. Funnel some of that cash you’re not spending on alcohol, into a relaxing treatment at your local spa. You’ll walk out on cloud nine, giving yourself a big pat on the back for being so virtuous!

2. Make the most of your mornings. Linger over your morning coffee, read the newspaper, take a long walk. Being hangover-free has its advantages.

3. Alcohol is high in calories. So, when you’re alcohol-free you can flex a bit on your food. Visit a dessert bar, indulge in a creamy hot chocolate, or try chocolate tasting in lieu of wine tasting (you can find chocolate tasting tours in most capital cities).

Become a coffee connoisseur

Wine buffs, take heart. We know of another drink that’s rich, complex and worth exploring. And as an added bonus, it’s also rich in antioxidants. We’re talking about coffee of course. Here are our ideas to have some fun with coffee during Dry July:

1. Take part in a coffee tasting. Australia has an amazing coffee culture, and you can find excellent coffee experiences in every region. Our top picks are Wolff College of Coffee in Brisbane; and The Coffee Academy at The Grounds in Sydney.

2. Experiment with your coffee machine. It can be easy to fall into a coffee rut, so why not try something different? With the wealth of coffee recipes on our website, you’re sure to find something to tickle your taste buds. You could even try making an espresso martini – the mocktail variety, of course.

3. Roast your own beans. This may sound daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Simply source your green beans and get roasting! OK, there might be a bit more to it than that, but there’s plenty of information online, including a great guide here.

Remember to check out our upcoming article on ways to maximise the health benefits of your detox!

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School holiday activities the kids will love

As the school holidays loom, kids are tired, grumpy, and looking forward to a break. Parents, on the other hand, are racking their brains for ways to keep the little ones entertained for an entire two weeks. Outings and day trips are great fun, but can be hard on the wallet. So we've put together some suggestions for craft and cooking adventures you can enjoy with the kids – better still, you won't even have to leave the house!


Kids love to roll up their sleeves and get into the kitchen, and despite the inevitable mess, they learn life skills that set them up for long-term health and wellbeing.

Make your own pizza
So simple, yet so delicious. Kids love getting involved with making the dough, choosing the toppings and decorating their own pizza. For the pizza base, you can follow these straightforward instructions from Jamie Oliver. As for the toppings – the choice is yours. The more traditional-minded will spread tomato sauce over the base, then add mozzarella cheese and ham. For the more adventurous, the world is your oyster. Raspberry and mascarpone pizza, anyone?

Pssst! If you own the De'Longhi MultiCuisine it's even easier to make a pizza that's evenly cooked - here's the recipe.

Note: Children should be supervised when cooking with the Multicuisine and any appliance.

Crazy chocolate cake
This cake has no eggs, milk, or butter and you don't need a mixer or even a bowl. Don't believe us? We're not pulling your leg, promise. Crazy cake stems from the time of the Great Depression, when fresh ingredients were in short supply.

To make your very own crazy cake, mix your dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, sugar and baking soda) in a cake tin, then make three depressions in the mixture. Fill one hole with vinegar, the second with vanilla and the third with vegetable oil. Pop it in the oven, and hey presto – a deliciously moist chocolate cake. This is a fun one to make with the kids and has the advantage of minimising mess.

For a fun alternative, try a chocolate mug cake, which can be made in less than five minutes. Keep the kids occupied decorating and eating them!


Kids love art and craft activities, and flexing their creative muscles is even more fun when they get to hang out with mum or dad at the same time.

Make your own play dough
It's easy to make play dough at home, and it costs a mere fraction of the store-bought variety. If you have some basic baking ingredients in your cupboard, including food colouring, you won't even have to make a trip to the store. The kids will love combining the food colouring to make every shade of the rainbow, and you can make enough to keep little fingers busy for hours. As an added bonus, this no-cook play dough recipe lasts six months in the fridge.

Make a crafty zoo
We think the key to a good craft activity is creating something the kids want to play with all afternoon (and that ideally won't have you cleaning up for hours). We love the idea of a miniature zoo, populated by cute animals the kids have made themselves.

You will need a few craft supplies for this one – K-Mart has a good selection, or you could pay a visit your local art supplies store. Try these animals for starters, we think they'd look great around the watering hole together.

For time-poor parents, we love Clever Patch – an Aussie website where you can choose from a wide range of crafty ideas, together with instructions and templates. Simply select your preferred craft activity, and click a button to add the necessary materials to your cart. Easy-peasy.

Are you trying any of these activities? Head over to our Facebook page and let us know.

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How to keep warm this winter.

As the nights draw in and the days grow colder, it’s tempting to crank up the heater and toast your toes. But if you’d like to manage your electricity bill, we suggest trying these other ways to stay warm before you reach for that switch...

Get your home winter-ready

Design expert Carolyn Burns-McCrave shared some tips with us on how to make your home cosier this winter. She recommends incorporating textures that you can touch and see. For example, big chunky cable knit throws on the sofa, or new cushion covers in soft, luxurious fabrics like velvet. But perhaps the best way to make your home winter-ready is to break out your soft flannelette sheets, to make the winter nights that little bit warmer and cosier.

Dress for winter success

It’s pretty simple – before you put on the heater; put on a jumper. Fluffy socks or slippers are another winter essential, to keep your toes toasty. Treat yourself to a pair of merino wool slippers; or some Australian-made Ugg boots.

Don’t play draughts

Winter draughts can significantly lower the temperature in your home – and most homes have gaps around doors and windows where cold winds can slip through. Check out this handy guide to draught proofing from Sustainability Victoria. Invest in some draught excluders from your local hardware store, or make your own.

Invest in a hot water bottle

Before you turn on that electric blanket, reach for a hot water bottle instead. Once the domain of old ladies in rollers and flannelette nighties, hot water bottles are having a renaissance. With a wide range of stylish and practical designs on offer, your hot water bottle will warm you up, and look great in your bedroom.

Go for a walk or a workout

A brisk walk or workout will get your heart pumping and put ‘roses in your cheeks’. Just half an hour walking each day can increase cardiovascular fitness, strengthen bones, reduce excess body fat and boost your metabolism. Exercise scientists have found that you’ll feel warmer for as long as seven hours after a hard workout.   

Cuddle up

Sharing body heat is a survival strategy for people at risk of hypothermia, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try it on your sofa at home. Snuggling up to your significant other, your dog or even your housemate (if they’ll let you!) can stop you from feeling the chill this winter.

Have a warm drink

Try one of our winter spiced coffee recipes to warm you up on a frosty morning – spices like ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon have a wide range of health benefits, as well as helping you feel warmer. In the evening, indulge in a luxurious hot chocolate for a bit of added heat, you could add some chilli. Here’s a recipe to make your own chilli hot chocolate.

If all else fails

If you’ve tried everything and you’re still freezing, it may be time to pop your heater on. There‘s a wide range of energy efficient, highly effective heaters on the market today. If you choose one with a timer, you can set it to come on just before you get up in the morning, making it a little easier to get up.
If you find condensation is a problem in your home, we suggest either opening windows while you’re out during the day, or investing in a dehumidifier. Condensation can lead to mould that may irritate asthma and allergies.

De’Longhi Oil Heaters
De’Longhi Dehumidifiers

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Five steps to perfect afternoon tea etiquette

As the Queen’s birthday approaches, we’ve been wondering how she might choose to celebrate. Of course we can’t know for sure – but our guess is that she’d choose tea and cake. Taking afternoon tea is, after all, a quintessentially British pastime.

If you’d like to enjoy a delicious afternoon tea in Her Majesty’s honour, you should be aware of the rules of etiquette that govern this very British tradition. To help you avoid any embarrassing blunders, we’ve put together this handy five-step guide.

Step 1. Know your tea. Afternoon tea, high tea or low tea?

The first thing to know is that afternoon tea is not high tea. Traditionally, high tea was an early evening meal for working people or servants, and was quite a substantial meal with bread, meat and ale. Afternoon tea is what most people mean when they say, ‘high tea’.

This dainty meal of finger sandwiches and tiny cakes is served with tea in porcelain cups. It was invented in the 1700s as a mid-afternoon meal to help aristocrats make it through to a late dinner, perhaps after the theatre or a card game. Afternoon tea was also called ‘low tea’, as it was eaten in the sitting room at a low table, rather than in the formal dining room.    

Step 2. Know what to do with your napkin.

Your napkin should be placed, unfolded, on your lap. Never tuck it into your collar – and never refer to it as a ‘serviette’! It’s also considered a faux pas to put your used napkin on the table before everyone has finished eating.

Step 3. Pass the tea test.

The tea itself is obviously an important part of any afternoon tea. And the way you take it is important too. Firstly, the milk always goes in last. Secondly, you should never stir in a circular motion, but always back and forth (without touching the sides of the cup). Thirdly, you should always use loose leaf tea – never tea bags. And finally – never, ever stick your little pinkie out as you take a sip!

Step 4. Get the order right.

Afternoon tea is traditionally served on a layered stand, and you should work from the bottom upwards. This means you’ll eat your sandwiches first, then scones and pastries or cakes come last. 

Step 5. All about scones. 

In high society, scone is pronounced to rhyme with ‘gone’, not ‘cone’. When eating your scones, it’s important that you don’t use your knife to cut the scone in half – instead, break it apart with your fingers. Surprisingly, whether you put the cream on first, or the jam, doesn’t matter; it’s entirely up to you.

So now you know how to take afternoon tea like a Downton Abbey doyenne, what’s next? Perhaps you could join the select few who are lucky enough to actually break bread with the Queen.

If you do receive an invitation from the palace, there’s a whole new world of etiquette you’ll need to master. For starters, don’t make the mistake of hugging the Queen, talking to the person on the wrong side of you; or toasting Her Majesty at the wrong moment. Cringe!

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