Monthly Archives: December 2014

Happy New Year from Outdoor Living Direct!

It’s almost 2015!  We’d love to take this chance to wish everyone a happy new year.

New Year’s Eve for some people means heading in to the city to check out the fireworks.  For others, it means heading off to a music festival, or a night out at a bar, nightclub or restaurant.  For a great many Australians, though, New Year’s Eve means a gathering at someone’s house, often in the garden.  And why not?  With the searing summer sun setting, there’s still enough warmth in the air for it to just be nice, and tomorrow’s a public holiday.

Here are a few tips to enjoy a safe and happy time:

  1. There’s a fair chance that you or some of your guests might enjoy the odd beverage on New Year’s Eve.  This is all good fun, but try not to overdo it.  Provide non-alcoholic drink choices so that your guests aren’t boozing the entire time.
  2. Keep in mind that some people just might overdo it anyway.  Try to ensure that your garden area is well lit.  Having drunk guests stumble around in the pitch dark is a recipe for an accident.  Solar LED lamps or all-weather fire pots are convenient as they require no wiring.
  3. If you have any furry four-legged and waggy-tailed family members, clear away any presents they might have left on the lawn before guests arrive.  Otherwise your guest might step on an unpleasant surprise!
  4. Please be sure that nobody gets behind the wheel while intoxicated.  Encourage the use of public transport or taxis, and maybe have some crash space available just in case.
  5. If gatecrashers arrive, refuse them entry.  If they refuse to leave, you can call police to have them leave.  Understand that you have a legal right to tell people to leave your premises and if they refuse to do so then they are guilty of trespassing.
  6. If you are publishing your home address on a facebook event then be sure that the event is set to “invite only”: you want to avoid a situation where complete strangers can see where and when you are having a house party.
  7. If you are inviting over more than a handful of people then consider registering your party with the police.  The following links may be of assistance:
  8. Close off and lock any rooms you don’t want people to access.  Stash away laptops and anything else valuable that you wouldn’t want knocked over and broken during the revelry.
  9. Prepare snacks well ahead of the gathering.  This way you can spend time socialising, not preparing food.
  10. If you’re partying through until the crack of dawn – or if you anticipate people are going to crash the night and wake up the next day with sore heads – try to have some breakfast planned.
  11. If you have a deck, inspect it for any loose railings before you have all your guests walking over it.
  12. If you have any paving or other hard surfaces, check it over for moss or mildew that might make the surface slippery.
  13. Most importantly of all, have a great night.

From all the team at Outdoor Living Direct, we wish you all the best for 2015!  Enjoy your summer!

An Outdoor Living Christmas

Imagine celebrating Christmas in the northern hemisphere when it’s cold.. what a joke!  Can you imagine backyard cricket in the snow?  Give us an Aussie Christmas with all the trimmings: the laughter of kids at play, the smell of cut grass, the warmth of the sun, the chill of an ice cold beverage, and a belly full of A grade tucker!  With the silly season right upon us, we asked a few faces on the Outdoor Living Direct team what Christmas means to them.

Nick Hulston

Nick works in customer service in our Cheltenham warehouse/showroom facility.  If you come in on the right day he’ll be there greeting you and showing you around the stock.  When he’s not working here, he’s at uni studying law, or enjoying his spare time following the cricket or footy.

What does Christmas Day mean to you?

Christmas means spending time with family. It is always associated with a hot summer’s day, the parents sitting around the dining table and all the cousins playing backyard cricket and kicking a soccer ball waiting in anticipation for the moment of utter jubilation that comes with opening up the presents scattered around the tree.

What’s your favourite memory of backyard Christmas?

My favourite memory would be the intense sessions of backyard cricket with my brothers, cousins and uncles, full of energy prior to Christmas lunch and battling lethargically after the festival feast.

Backyard cricket – do you partake?

Its not Christmas without backyard cricket!

What’s on the menu for Christmas?

It’s usually the standard Christmas lunch. Starters with cheese and biscuits, then followed by fresh prawns with dipping sauce. The main course follows shortly after consisting of Roasted Ham, Turkey and Chicken with a vast array of roasted veggies, peas and beans.

Which items in our range do you think are the best for people to use this coming Christmas season?

In my opinion you can’t go wrong with a Kakadu pod chair, whether it be a present for a loved one or a well deserved present for yourself.  If you’re looking for something a little bigger, my new favourite lounge is the Banksia 4 piece lounge, and with the choice of Wheat, Grey Brush or Black rattans you’ll be sure to find a colour that will compliment your backyard area perfectly!

What advice do you have for anyone hosting or attending a backyard Christmas this year?

Cadbury Favourites, what to bring when you’re told not to bring a thing.

Ben Pratt

Ben works in customer service in our Cheltenham showroom facility. He also dabbles occasionally in the warehouse. In his spare time he enjoys playing guitar, surfing with mates and making coffee as a part time barista, as well as studying teaching at uni.

What does Christmas Day mean to you?

Christmas Day to me means family, classic bon bon jokes and too much food.

What’s your favourite memory of backyard Christmas?

Cooking the barbeque in boardies with dad, my uncles and my cousins, talking some junk and catching up with everyone. I also love seeing the younger cousins opening their presents and being genuinely pumped.

Backyard cricket – do you partake?

Most of the cousins are a bit older now so some of the intensity has dissipated from the game but if the willow is out then the crew will put a few overs in. A couple of the uncles still think they’re pretty crash hot so it’s good to put them back in their place every now and then ha.

What’s on the menu for Christmas?

I’ll be at dad’s side of the family up in Rochester this year so it is generally a fairly traditional set up. Ham, pork, turkey, chicken, plenty of potatoes and of course the Chrissy pudding – the works!

Which items in our range do you think are the best for people to use this coming Christmas season?

Obviously it depends on the space people have but I don’t think you can go past the Santa Fe. Deep, comfortable seats with great colour combos and enough space to seat the fam. For a splash of colour and something modern, a few Acapulco chairs would look great on the deck or in the yard to chill out with a festive glass of vino.

What advice do you have for anyone hosting or attending a backyard Christmas this year?

Keep the barbeque hot, the esky cold and the kids covered in sunscreen. Please don’t forget the bon bon jokes, everyone loves a good bon bon joke regardless of what they say!

Melissa Sparrow

Melissa, the Digital Marketing Co-ordinator here at Outdoor Living Direct, is based in our Cheltenham warehouse/showroom facility and has the role of looking after all the marketing and design! In her spare time, Melissa likes to spend time with family and friends, shopping, learning to cook and playing with her two dogs Chloe and Barney.

What does Christmas Day mean to you?

Christmas Day to me means spending time with family and friends, eating lots of food and then sleeping it off on the couch, before backing it up for round 2 at night.

What’s your favourite memory of backyard Christmas?

My favourite memory would be Christmas Day down at my Nan and Pop’s house in Portarlington. All the family would enjoy a big Christmas lunch, followed by games and fun in the sun to see through the afternoon.

Backyard cricket – do you partake?

I have in the past but I’m not very good! Shane Warne wouldn’t be impressed!

What’s on the menu for Christmas?

The Christmas menu is always traditional for us – turkey, ham, pork, veggies, potatoes, plum pudding and pavlova – all the good stuff!

Which items in our range do you think are the best for people to use this coming Christmas season?

I personally love the Acapulco replica range. Spoil your loved ones with a burst of colour this Christmas. Comfortable, affordable and they also look great. I also can’t go past the new Summer timber range. With a beautiful honey colour timber extendable table this setting is sure to please and be the ideal piece when it comes to hosting a big group of people this Christmas.

What advice do you have for anyone hosting or attending a backyard Christmas this year?

Arrive with an empty stomach! Christmas Day is the day to indulge! 🙂

Tales of Backyard Christmas

Christmas in the backyard is a fairly predictable affair: all the family gather together for a big spread of food, some well chilled refreshments, maybe a hit of backyard cricket or perhaps just some relaxed conversation in the sun.  What could go wrong?  Well, as it turns out, all sorts of things.

In conjunction with Overclockers Australia, we ran a competition to get people’s best, funniest or most disastrous tales of Christmas in the backyard.  The winners each won one of our deluxe Caterina Luxury Hammocks.  Here are the winning entries:

Cook Food Not People

A backyard Christmas is an ideal to fire up the barbie.  One of the tricks to a succesful barbecue is to cook the meal and not yourself.  Please grill safely!

“With the kitchen busy for a day full of feasting festivities I fired up the BBQ for my first cooking session. Due to my aforementioned inexperience I had been entrusted with only the most menial of tasks; boil some water and cook some corn.


For most people.

As it turns out, I am not most people.

The morning began with me firing up the BBQ with a joyfully red pot of water on it. Approximately 30 seconds later I had forgotten about my cooking activities and proceeded to make a nuisance of myself in the kitchen. Thirty minutes later, when I dutifully recalled my responsibilities, I ran back outside to discover my water was gone, with only a blackening pot remaining.

Having learnt my lesson I added another pot of water to the BBQ and managed actually cook the corn! Now I just needed to take the pot to the kitchen…upon which the realisation hit me that a pot of boiling water was hot, and now consequently were my fingers…burning hot in fact.

After some liberal application of burn cream (and the intelligent use of a tea towel) I was able to pick up the pot, with one more snag. The open flame of the BBQ is great at boiling water, but even better at igniting tea towels. With my flaming tea towel now thrown to the wind, and the pot of corn left to the ravages of gravity, I found my arm between the ground and the boiling water.

Needless to say after burning a pot, my fingers, a tea towel, my arm, and probably the corn, I no longer help cook at Christmas.”

A Likely Story

What’s the absolute worst thing you could do on Christmas?  Have a think, because this guy might have done exactly that.  To be completely honest, we’re not entirely convinced that this one actually happened…

…but we can’t resist a good yarn.

“It was a balmy Christmas Eve night. I was dozing in my old hammock for a couple of hours after a busy day at work. The mosquitoes started biting so I decided to go inside, I was feeling lazy so I didn’t pack the hammock up.

Later that night I was awoken by loud noises in the back yard. I grabbed the torch and quietly headed to the out to investigate. The hammock had been torn from one of the trees it was attached to, and there was something caught up inside it. I heard slurred swearing. It was a drunk bloke.

I called the police and they came and questioned me briefly before taking the intruder away. He was wearing some weird red and white winter get up.

I had to throw the damaged hammock away.

We didn’t get any Christmas presents that year.

Outdoor Family Reunion

Christmas is all about family.  For one bloke it was the first chance in decades to reconnect with his father and enjoy some of the good life outdoors.

“So many years ago I was in the army. I was a “bucket” (M113 Armoured Personell Carrier) driver here in South Australia. I was a reservist and enjoyed my time.

Id just gotten out of the reserves because work was really starting to take off for me. I travelled quite a bit as a contractor. If it was metal, I could weld it, machine it, fix it, or just generally make it work. It was a great living.  It was near to Christmas and I had just finished a shutdown and was about to start yet another gig for Christmas break. Us contractors used to make a great income from Christmas shutdown and Easter break.

I’m from a broken home. My mum ran away with me when I was about 4 years old – I don’t remember any of it. It turns out my real dad worked in a small gold mining town in WA. I had the chance to go there. I spoke to one of my sisters who’d decided to try and track down our real birth dad. I said “sure thing, lets try to see if he has a business or ABN”.   Well blow me down, follow the tax record, he was in that same gold town in WA I was going to. What are the odds I thought?

I rang him up, introduced myself, and something like 5 days later I was on a plane to that little dust bowl.

His first words, which i’ll never forget, were “Hi. So, wanna beer?”. I asked how he know who I was. It was fairly simple: “You look like me, but with hair”. I laughed.

We spent the next few days getting to know each other. He introduced me to civilian shooting: we went out and shot our first roo and goat together. His then missus owned a home-brew shop, and we put on a brew together.  We spent some quality time together which I had missed out on for over 20 years, never having a father figure in my younger years.

He had a hammock on his back porch which I spent some time in relaxing with a beer and talking about all the things we had done and how similar he was.  It turned out he was a tradesman who served in the army, and many other things which we had in common.

Every time it gets to christmas I think of 2 things: Hammocks and my real dad. Ive only ever saw him one more time after that holiday.

I spent 10 days there, and my last day was Christmas day. I flew back, heavily intoxicated, even for a bucket-driver.”


Christmas is all about food!  For most of us, most of the time, it’s a chance to enjoy a delicious, sumptuous meal.  Sometimes, though, this goes rather pear-shaped:

“‘Twas my first Christmas with my soon-to-be wife’s family…

Drinks and lunch had been consumed and we were about to get on to the desserts. My now mother-in-law brings out a yummy looking cheesecake and as the newest addition to the family I’m given the first slice. I go and add some cream and strawberries to the top and take a bite. I think to myself ‘there’s something wrong here’ and turn to my wife with a shocked look on my face only to be told to just eat it. A few more slices are handed out and my now brother-in-law – not being slow coming forward – says that the cheesecake tastes terrible.

My mother-in-law-to-be stops, has a taste and discovers that something has indeed gone dreadfully wrong and throws the cheesecake away. Bonus points to me for not complaining!

Next day my wife gets a phone call from her mum to say that she’d worked out why the cheesecake tasted so bad – she’d accidentally used onion & garlic flavoured Philly in the cheesecake instead of plain.

The incident gets mentioned every now and then when cheesecakes come over.  They’re not on the Christmas dessert menu now… ”


Christmas is about family and giving – about a special time together for people of all ages: parents, children, aunties, uncles, cousins and grandparents.  Sometimes, a few wires get crossed and this all goes horribly wrong!

“We have a family tradition where all the extended families bring presents over to my Grandmother’s house and put them under the tree on Christmas Eve. We have done that for as long as I can remember.

On Christmas morning each family opens their own pressies at their house and then we all meet for the big one where presents are shared amongst the families.

So what could possibly go wrong ?

One year my Uncle had bought his new wife one of those ‘special’ gifts. You know the ones: battery powered.  It was, I can only assume, supposed to be opened in the privacy of their own house. Due to a mixup it ended up at Grandma’s house under the tree.

All the families had arrived and all the grand kids were huddled around – it was their job to hand out the pressies when Grandma handed them over.

My Uncle had done the thoughtful thing and installed the batteries already, as good husbands do. The only problem with that, was during the morning the box must have been bumped and a faint noise could just be heard from under the tree.

True to form, it was the kids who heard it first and thought it must be one of the latest greatest toys for them. They started getting excited. No one else could hear it.. yet.

Grandma kept reaching in and picking up presents to hand out.  There was a bit of movement from under the tree and the sound became loud enough for even my quite deaf Grandfather to hear.

The kids squealed in delight, the source of the noise started to dawn on some of the parents faces and they hastily tried to distract the kiddies. Grandma, however, was on a mission to find the present and hand it over to the kid who she assumed it was meant for.

For my Uncle, the penny finally dropped and blood drained from his face.  A moment later it dawned on my Auntie! They raced over to the tree and almost dismantled it in their hectic search for the box. They came up triumphant and raced from the room with boos from the kids. Grandma just sat there perplexed.

It was a Christmas to remember. ”

A big thanks to everyone who took part in this!  We hope you all enjoy a safe and special Christmas this year.  Please don’t set yourself on fire.