The homeowner’s guide to choosing the right blinds
Oct19

The homeowner’s guide to choosing the right blinds

Redesigning a room (or if you’re very daring/crazy, your entire home) can be a mammoth task. Deciding on how to dress your windows is often a final consideration for many people, as they are more concerned with other factors like what kind of carpet to choose, or what kind of furniture to get. The truth is that no one factor is more or less important than another in putting a room together, because all of the different elements are going to be working together to create a look that is made of all the parts. As an interior designer, I am often called on to create a look for my clients that adheres to a particular style, and sometimes people just want to emulate something that they’ve seen in a magazine. No matter what, I always tell that they need to inject their own personal style and that we’ll go from there. I wanted to take some time to help out homeowners who are looking to choose some new blinds. Choosing New Blinds The most important thing when you’re choosing new blinds is to ensure that you’re striking the right balance between privacy, light, and an attractive aesthetic for your home. It’s no good if your blinds are beautiful but let in too much light, or if they’re the perfect black-out blinds but they’re ugly as sin. Heinous blinds are a definite no-no in my book. As I’m based in Victoria, I’m always working with clients who need a good set of blinds that are able to block the summer sun, but keep in the heat in winter. Recently, I was shopping for some Ziptrak blinds in Melbourne (and I have to say I’m a little bit obsessed with these lately) and installed some in the bedroom for a client who was looking for a light blocking blind that was child safe (she has three young children). The Ziptrak blinds are very easy to use and have done away with cables and cords that can pose a potential risk and hazard to young children. They also block the light completely if required and are attractive too – so it’s a big plus in my book. image via allweatherblinds.com.au Choosing Blinds For Each Room In Your Home Kitchen – When you’re choosing blinds for your kitchen, you need to think about the fact that you potentially spend a fair bit of time in the kitchen, either preparing and eating food or socialising with friends and family. As such, you need an easy-to-clean blind that is pleasant to look at but that can also block out light when needed. Bedroom –...

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Top 3 trends sweeping the web
Oct17

Top 3 trends sweeping the web

These days, on the Internet, a trend can appear out of nowhere, go viral, make somebody a million bucks and die again before you’ve finished your breakfast, it can be pretty hard to keep up. But there are always a few that stick around for a bit longer, picking up celebrity endorsements and even have a lasting effect on culture. Here are three recent trends that are all over the Internet, and probably your city, too. Drift Scooters If you have made even only a few cursory glances towards popular culture this year, then you have probably noticed celebrities gliding around without using their legs in TV shows, video clips and even one or two movies. What is that thing that looks kind of like a sideways skateboard? That, my friend, is a Drift Scooter, and the world is going nuts for them. It all started, as it so often does, with Justin Bieber, who started posting pictures of himself cruising along on Instagram and since then, the list of celebrities drifting around on these scooters is started to grow. Chris Brown, Nick Jonas, Skrillex, David Ortiz, Jamie Foxx drifted onto the Tonight Show and it has also showed up at the NBA finals. The Drift Scooter is a simple skateboard-like device that you control by shifting your balance over the two independently stabilized wheels, it has a top speed of 6mph, the battery will last for about 12 miles and it appears to be relatively safe, with no reports of any serious accidents. We want one. image via driftscooters.com Phone Games This is the year that phone gaming went crazy. For many years, computer games were the domain of spotty pre-pubescent teenagers and man-boys still living in their parents house. The content of games was aimed exclusively at that market and it was assumed that the gaming industry would have an ever-replenishing group of young men on whom to sell their games, it was happy times. No one anticipated the kind of change that the smartphone was going start; when the iPhone first came out, they weren’t even that keen on having a games section for their app store. But the market for Smartphone games is now worth millions of dollars worldwide thanks to a string of easy to play and addictive games that are either free or only cost a few dollars. Smartphones have turned everyone into gamers, many people who never would have looked at a computer game are now Fruit Ninja-ing their way home from work or killing a bit of extra time by shooting an Angry Bird out of a sling shot. The relative...

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Top five 21st birthday party ideas for Sydneysiders
Oct14

Top five 21st birthday party ideas for Sydneysiders

The excitement of planning and reaching the ripe old age of 21 is like no other. Knowing you are officially an adult in the eyes of the world is an occasion not only to be celebrated, but it will be remembered for years to come. For me, it was the one huge party that I looked forward to from the age of 18 until the day of my 21st birthday, and I still look back fondly on now. With all your friends and family by your side rejoicing in your transition to adulthood, it is a once in a lifetime experience to be shared with your loved ones. Therefore, it is important to invest ample time in deciding on the right environment to host these revelations in style. I think with any important period in your life, with a little prior thought and planning, it most definitely makes for an exceptional event. Having planned my sister’s 21st recently, and seeing the pure happiness on her expressive face throughout the evening, I want nothing more than to share my top five 21st birthday party ideas in the hope that it will ignite your ruthless desire to research and plan a night to remember. Obviously, there are the standard points to consider, such as where your official birthday falls in the week, and which date is best to host your event on, who you want to invite, and how much notice you have to give everyone to RSVP. However, these five points were the creative aspects of my party planning, which really gave the event that something extra. The Venue When planning your event, choosing the right venue really does make a massive difference and it works to set the atmosphere right from the get go. It is a good idea to really research the area in which you want to hold you 21st, and consider the proximity from public transport, or the possible accessibility of obtaining a taxi because the last thing you want is to do is to have your 21st in a relatively remote venue, where everyone decides to drive (and then can’t drink and make merry with you). Once you have an idea of the general location, it is time to start shortlisting potential venues. I found calling them to discuss their event packages is a great way to drill down, reducing your list. Once you have a few choices, viewing the venues is a must. This will help you to visualise the space, and if it isn’t already decorated to your liking, taking photos and sharing these with your friends will allow your creative decorating ideas...

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Why wireless speakers are a sound investment
Oct13

Why wireless speakers are a sound investment

 It’s time to cut the cord. That’s right, we are now living in a time where we don’t need our speakers to be wire-bound. We want our music out there, wherever we are, wherever we are going. The popularity of wireless speakers is really exploding and there are good reasons for this. In case you need convincing, here are 5 reasons why you need to be listening to your music wirelessly. Portability. In the past, people would put a record on and sit down to listen, which was great, that was all the technology allowed. We evidently had more time to devote to the practice of listening back then. But now, we lead busy lives and we’re on the move all the time so we need to use the technology we have to make our lives easier and more enjoyable. Wireless speaker technology is a serious addition to the cause. Whether you want to hear the news in the bathroom while you take a shower in the morning, listen to some tunes while you have lunch with a friend in the park or just chill out on your bed at home after work, you can do it all with the beauty of wireless speakers. image via videopro.com.au Stream anywhere, from anywhere. Bluetooth is the long established mainstay of the wireless technology field and because of its ubiquity, pretty much every new device has capability, it is a wise investment choice as there’s a good chance your speaker will work with a friend’s device. The Bluetooth technology also delivers pretty reliable sound quality and works at distances of 15-20 meters. You really can’t go wrong with a blue tooth speaker. The latest Airplay technology is not just a replacement for wires; what many wireless systems now do is allow you to stream music from multiple devices, to sync various collections, from your computer or your device, so that you can have everything in one place, wherever you are right now. This technology uses a Wi-Fi network so it is more effective around the home and office than outdoors at a picnic. There are also some companies that offer full wireless systems that operate on closed loop so that while the audio quality may be great, it makes it hard – actually impossible – to use with other devices. This may still be a good option if you want to set up a system in your home. image via videopro.com.au Cordless The old days are over, we don’t need to mess around with cables that get tangled and break, or somebody borrows them and never brings it back. With wireless, you...

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Signature style tips to consider when moving into your new home.
Oct13

Signature style tips to consider when moving into your new home.

Are you someone that is considering a move to a new home in the next six months? Whether you are buying or renting, it is likely that you will be moving into an empty nest. You will get the bare essentials of the skeletal interior framework for the accommodation you will move into, however if you want to make your new house a home, then you will need to invest in furniture and interior furnishings to add character to your home. Do you know what edge you can add to your new place? Below are five ideas to get your creative interior design juices flowing. Be one with the Earth with a more rustic design. You can create a chic rustic look inside the home if you know exactly what to invest in and where to place it to create the maximum effect. A rustic look inside your home should make it feel more cosy and serve as a place for you to escape. Wood will be your base of choice. Ideally, you will be able to expose the wooden elements of your home’s interior. If this isn’t possible, then invest in wooden furniture to give your home more of a cottage feel. Look into investing in vintage décor for the dining room table, wooden stools and wooden cupboards. Add animal styled hides as rugs for flooring and framed antique prints to hang around the home. If you have a fireplace, then you are in luck to add to the cottage feel. If not, then check out some of the bio or gel fireplace options that you can install into the home to add to that ‘cosy moment by the fire’ aspect that you want inside a rustic home. Improve the social aspect of your home by enhancing the lounge and recreational areas. It is very easy for people to get caught up in the bedroom and to use it as their living space. You can enhance the look and feel of your other rooms with sofas and lounge chairs that look and feel comfortable. Three seat sofas are generally the most appealing, although you can also consider recliners and chez longs, which will give you the option to entertain guests or chill out with friends and family. You can click here to view some more sofa designs from Interior Secrets. Add a touch of elegance and luxury with a minimalistic design. Most of us love the thought of getting comfortable in an aesthetically pleasing environment. There is the desire to ‘live it up’ in a five star hotel. However, why not bring the luxury of a top hotel...

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The history of the humble computer.
Oct13

The history of the humble computer.

You can’t point to one person in history that is responsible for inventing the computer, as the development of the computer from its origins to its not-so-humble place in today’s society, is one that involved many clever people and technological advancements. The First Computer Usually credited with the first computer is a man named Charles Babbage, who came up with a machine that could process input data using punch cards and provided the outputted information through a printer, a curve plotter and a bell. This first machine was created in 1833, almost 100 years before the technology advanced to anything that resembles computers today. Principles The principles of the modern computer were developed during the Second World War by a man named Alan Turing, who was working for the British government trying to decrypt the famous enigma machine that the Germans were using to keep their communication secret. Turing’s main developments involved the theoretical underpinnings that would then be left to others to try when the technology had advanced far enough. Going digital The next major breakthrough happened when the technology developed from mechanical and electromagnetic components to purely electrical circuits, which increased the speed and reduced the size of computers. Around the 1950s, the first bipolar transistor replaced vacuum tubes and we start to see computers resembling what we know today. Integrated Circuits The next major development came when Jack Kilby developed integrated circuit technology in the late 1950s. This further increased the computing power and reduced the size but it was when a competitor of Kilby’s changed the material used to create these circuits to silicon that the game really changed. It was these silicon chips that heralded the beginning of a rapid increase in computing power that started bringing computers out of the labs and into the homes of ordinary people. It was around this time that we saw technology develop to the point where we had the capacity to travel into space and land on the moon. Moore’s Law The next few decades saw computing increase according to what became known as Moore’s’ Law, which states that computing power doubles roughly every 18 months and by the early 1990s, computers were ubiquitous with modern homes and businesses, some people thought it was as technologically advanced as it was ever going to get. The Internet But as we now know, the Internet was the real game changer, the biggest technological advancement since the printing press, what started as a little network for military and scientific computers to talk to each other, became the globalised behemothic force that we see today. The modern computer Computers are literally...

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Top tips to consider before hiring a roofing contractor
Oct12

Top tips to consider before hiring a roofing contractor

Have you ever been in the position where you know you need to tend to the roof of your home, but you have no idea where to start? You are not alone. Many Australians face a similar predicament and need to rely on the expertise of an expert. The thing is, if you have no idea what to look out for in a roofing expert, how do you know you are making the right choice? Experts in Roof restoration services in Melbourne would like to give you the following tips to give you confidence in your decision when hiring your roofing contractor. Ensure that you hire a roofing contractor that can assist you with all building/council regulations and approvals. You need to check any changes to your property with your local council and ensure that you receive approval prior to the commencement of your building project. For example, the Logan city council in Queensland requires roofers that are re-roofing with dissimilar materials (such as replacing corrugated iron roofing with tiles) will require building approvals from the council. You can view an example factsheet here, but it is essential that you check with your own local council. Failure to receive approval may result in severe consequences by ordering the removal of the building work that was conducted. image via roofresto.com.au Ensure that you hire a licensed roofer. There are different skillsets that are required by different roofers. Special skills are required to ensure that the building remains waterproof and that the water runoff is controlled. The materials that are used on roofing jobs differ as well, with metals such as zinc-aluminium and concrete or clay tiles being used. Many Australian states have different license requirements for the different type of roofing jobs. Check for the roofing license classes from the list below. Roofers Re-Roofing Metal Roofing Glazed Roofing Cement Roofing Conventional Roofing Bituminous Roofing Be aware of warranties and guarantees that you should be entitled to. Don’t be shy to ask the roofer about warranties and guarantees with the roofing work that they will be doing on your home. Warranties are important, as the investment into roofing is a large financial commitment. By having a warranty in place, it can protect you against future fees should any issues arise with your roof. The warranty and guarantee should offer: A coverage period (Is it for 5 years? 10 years?) The warranty or guarantee should be written. Covers defects in the materials (For shingles or metal roofs) Covers the workmanship, such as the misapplication of flashings. Weather protection such as storm damage caused from wind, rain, hail or any other natural elements....

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Reasons why businesses are investing in food safety and quality.
Oct12

Reasons why businesses are investing in food safety and quality.

The Australian Food and Safety information council is warning Australians about the risks with contracting food poisoning. Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed that Australians were becoming more vulnerable to food poisoning, which is leading to unpleasant feelings with people’s health. Or worse, it is life threatening. With more than 5.4 million people affected in the last year, the Australian government is urging businesses to do more to combat the rise in dangerous bacteria that is leading to more reported cases of food poisoning. One of the themes in the Australian Food Safety Week which is due to commence in November, is ‘How you cook can make you crook!’. People can often be unaware of how their cooking methods may be unhygienic and lead to health problems for them and for others that they are serving. The aim is to improve the awareness of food safety for businesses. The Australian Food Safety Information Council recommends that you retain control of: How you clean the food. How you cook the food. How you chill the food. How you separate the food. What are some tips to better manage food safety and quality. If a person is sick, do not have them prepare, cook or serve food. If a person is ill, it is best for them to be removed from the environment where food is stored and prepared. Sick workers can spread their virus or disease to the people that are consuming the food. There are foodborne pathogens such as Norovirus, Hepatitis A and Shigella, which are often spread by restaurant workers to the restaurant’s customers through their foods. image via foodsafety.gov There was a case in the US where a restaurant worker was ill with Hepatitis A and exposed up to ten thousand restaurant patrons to the disease. Those that were not immediately vaccinated contracted the virus. Actions that business need to take when it comes to food safety when employees are sick is that the employee must be told to stay home and return only when they are fully recovered. While it may seem that the operations of your business are strained with a reduced labour force, it is a temporary setback compared to your restaurant being responsible for hundreds or thousands of cases of food poisoning that could lead to reputation damage, a reduction in new and return customers and potential legal action. Ensure that you store and chill food items properly. Any perishable items should be kept inside the fridge at 5 degrees Celsius or below. Perishable items oxidise when exposed to air and heat. To maintain freshness, invest in a vacuum sealer that...

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Magnesium, the mighty mineral
Oct05

Magnesium, the mighty mineral

In today’s day and age, it’s never been more important to take care of our health. We all know the health benefits of taking vitamin C and of taking vitamin D, and we know how beneficial it is for us to eat a healthy diet and to ensure that we get enough water, but what about the other, lesser known minerals that are still vital to our health? Do you know about the vast array of vitamins and minerals that you need to take in every day in order to keep your body functioning at an optimal level? There are a huge number of minerals and vitamins that are present in food, and unless you’re aware of them and working to consume the right amounts, you may miss out on something vital and potentially develop a deficit somewhere down the line. Magnesium is one of these vital minerals and while you mightn’t have jumped to the importance of it, it’s responsible for over 300 biochemical reactions in your body ­– although, worryingly, over 55% of Americans don’t get enough magnesium. Magnesium is a mineral that affects your nerves, the rhythm of your heart, your blood glucose, your immune system and your bone strength. You might think that you’re doing enough to take care of your bone health by taking natural osteoporosis supplements, but there are other things that you can do in order to ensure that you’re looking after your body. High up on the scale of looking after yourself is ensuring that you’re getting enough magnesium, because it can have a huge impact on your body if you don’t get enough. What’s the deal with magnesium? You would usually be able to get your recommended daily dose of magnesium from a varied diet that included a range of leafy greens, nuts, grains and seeds. Sadly, modern farming techniques have stripped the amount of magnesium that we’re getting from our food; where once before we got enough magnesium from our food, now modern food has fifty per cent less magnesium than before. In addition to this, many foods that we eat are made with refined flours instead of whole wheats, and so many of the natural nutrients (like magnesium) are now removed from our diets. Food manufacturers compensate for this by ‘enriching’ our food with things like iron and B4 vitamins, but this doesn’t replace the magnesium in our lives. How can we get enough magnesium? When you’re planning your diet, it can be helpful for you to ensure that you’re focusing on eating organic foods that are rich in natural minerals and vitamins. Eating over-processed food and non-organic...

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Familiarizing yourself with the definition of a time-out
Sep29

Familiarizing yourself with the definition of a time-out

With today’s busy lifestyles of working hard, and playing hard, it is sometimes hard to remember to take time for yourself and relax. I know with the rise in social media I always have the fear of missing out (FOMO), therefore I try to cram in as much as I possibly can into my week, whether that be socialising with friends mid-week or heading out on the weekends. That said, there is nothing more luxurious than having a weekend to focus on me, myself and I. The free weekend might come around once in a blue moon, but when it does, there is nothing better. Having a free Friday night to come home to an empty house and enjoy a long hot bubble bath whilst reading that book that’s been with you since the end of time, it can give you nothing but great pleasure to just chill and enjoy some quiet time, engulfed in bubbles and candle light. Being weightless really invigorates you, I always feel a million dollars getting out of a long bubble bath, and knowing I have fresh clean sheets to jump into.   image courtesy https://www.facebook.com/ozmattress.com.au As I’ve moved houses a few times, last year I went to a mattress sale in melbourne and treated myself to a new mattress, and oh my god – was it the best purchase of my life thus far. I hadn’t realised how bad my previous mattresses had been until I got my new mattress. It is literally like sleeping on clouds of heaven. There is nothing like not setting your alarm on the weekend, and having a big old lie in; waking up to the light filling your room, flipping over your pillow to the cold side and slipping back into a deep sleep. It really is a favourite pastime of mine, knowing that today I don’t have to do anything or be anywhere until I am ready. image courtesy https://www.facebook.com/ozmattress.com.au Speaking of mattresses, having a good mattress really does help my back. As someone whose job generally involves being hunched over a laptop, you really notice your posture after a hard slog at the office. Teaming a good mattress with treating yourself to a massage on your down time is just wonderful. I never really realised the stress and tension my body holds until I walk out of a massage salon feeling 100% lighter. Massages really should be mandatory, as they can really reset all your buttons in just a one hour time slot.   image courtesy https://www.facebook.com/ozmattress.com.au Of recent months I’ve been trying to get out of the city on at least one weekend a...

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