Monday, September 8, 2014

What Would You Do With An Attic?

Imagine having a well turned out attic to use as your special space. 

What would you like in your attic?

Attic Bedrooms

Attic Bathrooms 

While attics are not so common in Australia, we do have  builders who can undertake this work. 

In Sydney, Building Works Australia can provide you with the information you need to find out of an attic can be adapted in your house and a quote.

#dream #living

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Wall Mounted Wine Cellar

Just the thing to store your wine cellar without taking up floor space. 

Mounted on the wall the wine bottles look great are easy to store and find and a few bottles go a longer way! 

Where do you buy your wine to stock up your developing wine cellar?  Do you use online stores, winery cellar door purchases or one of the hundreds of supermarket owned chains? 

Monday, August 18, 2014

How To Fix A Cracked iPhone Screen

For all the popularity of the iPhone a lot of people seem to end up on the wrong end of a broken screen. 

Here's one solution on how to fix it. From The Guardian. Find it here 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Leonard Cohen Quotation

This is a greeting card to send through the post. 

Add your own message inside this two panel 
card and any images you want. 
It will be printed and mailed. 
Click on the link for more details. Buy

Friday, July 11, 2014

We All Have Closets. The Hard Conversations We All Need To Have

Coming out of your closet: Ash Beckham at TEDxBoulder

"I'm going to talk to you tonight about coming out of the closet. And not in the traditional sense, not just the gay closet. I think we all have closets. Your closet maybe telling someone you love her for the first time or telling someone that you're pregnant or telling someone that you have cancer or any of the other hard conversations that we have throughout our lives. All a closet is, is a hard conversation. And although our topics may vary tremendously, the experience of being in and coming out of the closet is universal. It is scary and we hate it and it needs to be done. "

"So like many of us I've lived in a few closets in my life and yeah most often, my walls happens to be rainbow. But inside, in the dark you can't tell what color the walls are, you just know what it feels like to live in a closet. So really, my closet is no different than yours or yours or yours. Sure, I give you a hundred reasons why my closet was harder than coming out of yours but here's the thing, hard is not relative, hard is hard. Who can tell me that explaining to someone that you just declared bankruptcy is harder than telling someone that you just cheated on them. Who can tell me that his coming out story is harder than telling your five year old that you're getting a divorce. There is no harder, there is just hard. We need to stop ranking our hard against everyone else's hard, to make us feel better or worse about our closets and just commiserate on the fact that we all have hard.

At some point in our lives, we all live in closets and they make us feel safe, or at least safer than what lies on the other side of that door. But I am here to tell you, no matter what your walls are made of, a closet is no place for a person to live."

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Technical Reasons No Fake Moon Landing in 1969

Excellent video on why the conspiracy theorists are out of luck.

Why the moon landings could have never EVER been faked


 See more


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Ira Glass on Storytelling, part 3 of 4

Save this message in a handy part of your brain - and feel encouraged. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Pear Cake Tosca Recipe

This was sent to me by my sister some time back. Since it is now autumn and that means pear season I thought I should put it somewhere I can share.

Helen's Daniel's Pear Tosca Cake

7tbs butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 teasp. vanilla
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
200 mls milk
3-4 pears, peeled and cut into slices and arranged on bottom of 9 inch spring pan ( greased and floured)

9 tbs butter
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablesp. flour
3 tablesp milk
100 grams sliced almonds

Melt the butter.
Beat eggs and sugar on high speed for 3-5 mins.
Sift flour and baking powder.
Add milk to melted butter and add vanilla.
When egg and sugar is thick and creamy, add milk mixture making sure you turn mixer down to low first.
Add flour and mix until just incorporated.and pour over pear slices.
Bake in 175C for about 25 mins.
I use convection.

Place butter in saucepan and melt, add sugar, stir then add almond slices. Cook, stirring occasionally on medium heat until butter starts to brown, add flour, stir and pour in milk, stir.
Cook for extra couple of minutes until thickened but not too coloured.

Take cake out of oven after 25 mins and carefully spread topping.
Turn oven up to 180 and return cake for extra 20 mins.

Note, I found doing the topping and allowing it to cool a bit made it easier to handle.
First time I made this, topping was very hot and bubbling and sank into cake.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

An Evening with Ray Bradbury 2001

"Write a short story a week. Every week. At the end of the year you will have 52 short stories and not all of them will be bad"

Now there is a challenge worth taking up.

Learn the craft.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Giant Kelp Forest Australian Secret Wonder

Wild Australia: Giant Kelp forests In the Tasman Peninsula, amazing Giant Kelp beds are disappearing.

Did You Know? Kelp forests occur in cold, nutrient-rich water and are among the most beautiful and biologically productive habitats in the marine environment. They are found throughout the world in shallow open coastal waters, and the larger forests are restricted to temperatures less than 20ÂșC, extending to both the Arctic and Antarctic Circles. A dependence upon light for photosynthesis restricts them to clear shallow water and they are rarely much deeper than 15-40m. The kelps have in common a capacity for some of the most remarkable growth rates in the plant kingdom. In southern California, the Macrocystis can grow 30 cm per day. More on the demise of the kelp forests

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Are You Chasing Your Dream? This Will Inspire You!


Now that's that thing called "Life", is that is always changing, sometimes you're up, sometimes you're down. I can tell that now, be aware of that. Things are not gonna work out exactly right, sometimes they will! Sometimes! And that's when life's just playing a game with you. And you might be tempted to think "I don't wanna play anymore."

I don't care how good you are, I don´t care how talented you are, I don't care how much you work on yourself, there are some times, that things aren't going to go right. They're just not going to go right.  There are times when anything that can happen, will happen.

But during those down moments, that's where the growth takes place.

That´s where the work is. See, anybody can feel good when they have their health, their bills are pid, they have happy relationships.

Anybody can be positive then!

Anybody can have a large vision then, anybody can have faith under those kind of circumstances. See what the real challenge, the real challenge of growth, mentally, emotionally and spiritually comes when you get knocked down. That some of you in your life, the reason why you´re not blowing up. the reason why you're not successful, you´ve not learned from the past you think just because this opportunity is for you, and not every opportunity is for you!

All of us have experienced some tragedy, and If we haven't, we will. And you can let it destroy your life or you can build upon it. You can commit to let you hold you down or you can decide "I'm not going to let that happen to me!"  "I'm bigger than this!"

It's not going to be easy, when you wanna change, it´s not easy, if it were in fact easy, everybody would do it.

If you want to begin to move into your own personal greatness, you got to be willing to go against the time.
You've got to be willing to harness your will. 

And say in spite of this.

"I'm in control here. I´m not gonna let this get me down, I'm not gonna let this destroy me."

It´s not your circumstances or your situations, that determines if you are going to be successful or not.

I've been telling you that is your mindset, it´s the way you see it, it´s the way you think it. Your mind is the battleground, touch somebody and tell 'em the enemy is after your mind. Out to worry you to death, out to stress you to death, out to break you down, out to make you quit, out to make think that you can't get up, out to make you give on your dreams, the warfare is in your mind, it´s not on your checkbook, it´s not in your saving account, it's not on your job, the fight that you got to fight is in your mind.

And if you whip it in your head, you can whip it in your checkbook, you can whip it on your job, you can whip it out of your children, but you gotta drive it outta your head.

"I´m coming back!"

And I´ll be stronger and better because of it. You have got to make the declaration.

That this is what you stand for: Standing up for peace of mind, you´re standing up for health, you´re standing up for you dreams.

You want it !

And you gonna go all out, to have it.
Let it go and begin to focus on developing myself and I say to you,  you gonna have people that do things to you, things are gonna happen to you and the most important thing to do is to harness your will and let it go!

And move, so you can grow.
So you can get on with your life

Doesn't matter about what happens to you, what matters is: What are you gonna do about it?

When you want something bad you can´t count the cost because if you count to cost,
and you see how much it cost, you may quit, you may give up so you gotta go in knowing that -

"I don´t count the cost. I´ll do as many push ups as it takes, as many sit ups as it takes, as many reps as it takes, I'll study as long as it takes!"

I paid whatever the price is, why? Because if I start to count the cost, I may quit, I may give up. I may surrender. Don´t count the cost. You don´t count the cost on this one. You don´t count how many presses you take, you don´t count it.

You get to a point where you don´t count it. You just do whatever it takes to get wherever you want. Don´t stop!

Stay busy, work your plan, continue to do those things that you know that work for you.

After you have evaluated yourself in the situation. Once you make a decision and you go all in And you said "I ain´t quitting till I get there, I ain´t giving up, I ain't giving in. I will do whatever it takes to be SUCCESSFUL",  and when you make that decision, you...  When you look YOU in the mirror, when you tell yourself that:  "Look, I´m tough, I´ll do whatever it takes", I guarantee you that's the day that begins to happen.

Forget about your past, forget what happened 'back in the day', make the rest of your life..the best of your life.

See video for credits 

The Restaurant Begins With A Vision Says Chef Raymond Blanc

The Restaurant is a tv show that is basically a competition - winner gets investors to put them into a restaurant of their own.

The competitors have to cook for the potential judges/investors, and do two things.

  1. show their food that represents what they want to serve in their restaurant, and 
  2. sell them their vision.

In the course of the episode this is what we see happen, acted out by the competitors. Examples abound of:
  • No ability to articulate any vision  of the restaurant one couple wants to open.
  • No rehearsal of the recipes that will be served to these people who hold the key to their opportunity.
  • No kitchen skills, to the point of not even being able to use a knife safely or open a can.
  • No food sense at all
  • Recipes selected to be cooked and presented in an hour that take a long cooking time.

No research.
No preparation
No forethought.

No clue.

They should have watched this video before the competition.

Here's the thing. 

A restaurant, any business at all, anything worth doing at all, needs a good vision to start it off with an even chance of success. 

Raymond Blanc's tip for cooking fruit crumble - cook the crumble mixture on a tray in the oven for 10 minutes before you begin.

Here's a treat for you. A signature dish from Raymond Blanc - Cafe Creme Dessert

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Children Unsafe In Their Homes: Life Looks Like This

We hear that having children is such a positive thing to do and everyone should have children, according to some people. And yet every year hundreds of thousands of children are removed from their family homes because they are in danger. 

This video - ReMoved - is the account of what it is like from the child's point of view. This shows the journey of a young girl removed from her home and a succession of foster homes and relates what that feels like for her. 

In the US almost 400,000 children are living outside of their own home.

In Australia  "The number of children who have been removed from their parents because they can't live safely at home has increased by 27 per cent over the last five years, so nearly 40,000 children" according to a report on ABC Lateline program

Forty percent of them are under 5 years old. 

That's a lot of parents who are struggling.  A lot of children suffering. 

Perhaps we know some people who are like this and at the end of their rope.

I wonder how we can help those parents and those children have a better life. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Google Streetview + Stop Animation + Imagination Creates a Beautiful Video

Have you ever used Google maps street-view to go back to somewhere you visited or a house you once lived in? It is fantastic tool - imagine when it is available in real time. In fact, you can in theory check out the whole route of where you plan to go visit.

Here are some pics I captured from Google Streetview after a vacation in France. 

The vacation may be over but we can still learn more about the places we stayed even when we come home.  That can really round out our experience and reinforce those memories of a rich experience. 

You can also use Google streetview to revisit those old places you once lived and see what they look like now. 

Create an album with photos from all your old neighbourhoods. Share your stories with your kids. 

Or if that's not enough - explore some of the most remote places in the world with Google maps. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Changing Behaviour That Works - And It Isn't What You'd Think.

Are the things we think we know are true about how change works giving us the opposite of the results we would like to see?

Maybe so.

Jeni Cross is a sociology professor at Colorado State University. 

So to run down, the three myths in the video are:

 Myth 1 Education changes behaviour 

Changing expectations changes behaviour.

Example: Want to change behaviour? 

Change expectations.  If you want to get them to take action say it is cracks around windows letting heat out and cold in, it worked better to promote energy conservation.  

16 little cracks  don't seem much as they do compared to one crack 16x bigger! Now that gets attention when we can see this big hole letting heat we are paying for, pour out. 

How you present information makes a difference 

Tailor the message to the segment. 

Example: Problems stemming from alcohol abuse. 

Require a different message for different segments.  What is true for heavy drinkers is not true for 

light drinkers - so they need a different message that relates to their experience. 

Consider random breath testing. This changed behaviour. Not because of education but because there are 
penalties for getting caught over the blood alcohol limit. 

Myth 2   Changing attitudes changes behaviour

Setting up expectations helps change behaviour - turning the light off

Changing habits changes behaviour.  When the rules of the house are to turn off the light when you are not in the house, this is easy to comply with. You don't need to change your attitude, you just need to conform to the rule. You don't have to even like it - just do it. 

Changing attitudes is hard! Words have different meanings for people. 
For one sector, Climate Change is a problem to be solved, for others they want to argue over whether it is 'true'.  This is a pointless argument to have if you want to change behaviour find something else that is not opposing, but will give you the outcome that is useful. 

So change the habits - based on values 
Sell  the actions that will work to help against climate change based on conservation not on climate change. Save time, save money, be frugal.  It is hard to find a reason to quibble against not wasting energy needlessly.  Conservation makes sense to both sides of the political spectrum

Myth 3  People know what motivates them. 

In fact they don't know. 

Biggest thing to drive behaviour is social norms. Musicians busking know this so they put money into their collection case to show passers by that's the normal thing to do. But the greatest predictor is seeing someone else do it - so they should have a friend come by regularly and put more money in!

Example: Hotel requesting patrons reuse their towels. Telling people that 70 percent of people reuse their towels in a hotel is actually more effective than a sign asking them to reuse towels to save the environment. In this case when tested, 58% will comply based on what other people do, compared to 38% based on saving the environment.This is actually the reverse of what they believe their motivations to be, when tested according to their actions.  Social norms are effective - and highly underestimated. 

So unlike so many of our public community advertisements to bring about change - where we focus on the few who make so many problems - perhaps we should be taking the opposite tack and highlighting the good behaviour we want to encourage - and showcase the problem makers as the minority - and out of synch with what's common.  Show people doing the thing that is the social norm that you want to encourage. 

For example. While we have some problems with alcohol and violence in some cities - in reality the great majority of people don't cause problems.  If we are showcasing problem behaviours are we in fact making this seem like the norm and leading us to expect the worst, not the best from people? 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Fun Ways With Math - Find Your Perfect Match!

This is a great video and occurs to me that this same analysis works not just for online dating but for identifying your ideal business prospect too.

The takeaway?
  1. Optimize your profile
  2. Be really clear on your data points and weighting
  3. Be more picky - but around the right metrics.


So here is a guy having a go with mathematics - who has a better system?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Two Lessons On Dealing With Disappointment

"It wasn't supposed to be like this!"

You worked out a good strategy and you did the work to make it happen but it just didn't.

The people you chose were all wrong and the grand plan just stalled and went nowhere.

It could have been a plan for business or for your personal life but the result is the same. Not the one you want.

You did all the things you could think of to make it happen.

You had the expertise to do what you wanted to accomplish once the plan was in action.

It just didn't work.

There is a lesson for us that we sometimes can fail to learn.  Several really.

Lesson One is this. 

We can't make someone want the things that we want. 

Even if those things would improve their life dramatically, by wanting the same things. It sucks, but there you go.  Identify the right people. Have a way to identify the wrong people.

Lesson: Find people who value the same things you do. 

The second thing we need to learn is this:

Good results don't follow according to logic. 

People buy the crappy thing instead of the fantastic one you have for them.  They make the decisions they make and they live with those decisions.  If they make the decisions that don't include what you offer, then you live with that.

If they buy the crappy product instead of yours then maybe they like that crappy approach. Did they like that crappy approach best?

Or was it the only one presented to them? 

We get results by what we did. Not what we 'could do'.

No matter how much better it would be...

Identify the actions that the competition is taking that you are not. Own it. Get smarter and take action of your own.

Lesson: If you don't ask, you can't get. 

Keep Cool And Hydrated In The Heatwave

Sassy Water

Cinnamon Spiced Iced Tea

Iced Coffee The Italian Way

Non Alcoholic Coffee Mojito

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Just Sitting Back To Breathe

Many people seem to live their life at the beck and call and demands of others.
The children, the partner that insists...

Our ability to say 'no' to such demands, affected by our sense of self and what we "should" do in response, rather than what we would prefer to do.

What is it that sometimes leads us to work on life as though the choices of others are more important than the choices we would make for how we spend our time? 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Closing The Book of Longing

"So I closed the Book of Longing ..."

It's a great line.

The Book of Longing of course is the title of a poetry book by Leonard Cohen. So too goes a line in the  song "That Don't Make It Junk".  Beyond that the phrase reminds us of something that we may all be familiar with.  That longing that will and can never be satisfied.

We can drive ourselves crazy wanting for things that can't be ours, are not possible or are just forever beyond our reach.

Our attachment to the longing we feel can  eat at us. It can blind us to the beauty that is around us right now, and make tasteless the best that our life has to offer us.

What we long for can become like an addiction.  Not having what we long for can become a nagging kind of suffering that we bring into our own life and we can fall into the trap of thinking that the intensity of the longing can make it more likely to come to us.

That of course is not so.

The intensity of the longing only gives us intensity of longing.

And intensity of pain at not having that object of our longing.

Closing our own book of longing could be just the thing to let us see those other things in life that are so good that we have been overlooking.

Carrots - The Ulitmate Branding Example

Orange carrots - a branding exercise of success! 

We all know carrots right? Those orange things that you buy from the green grocer or supermarket. 
But that's not it at all. 

Carrots were not always orange in colour and making this the default colour was a deliberate tactic to associate the colour with a family and it is unlikely that orange carrots even existed prior to the 16th century. Before this time carrots were white or yellow or purple. 

So why are carrots Orange? According to Susan Broomhall Winthrop Professor of Early Modern History at University of Western Australia  the story ...

They were bred orange in The Netherlands during the 17th century from the older white and purple stock (that are now back in fashion as “heritage” varieties) to show support for the Orange-Nassau dynasty.
The Orange-Nassau were the leading family of The Netherlands from the mid-16th century (and are now its royal family).

The Dutch royal family on the balcony after the abdication of Queen Beatrix, April 2013.Wikimedia Commons

As the northern provinces of the Low Countries sought to break away from the Catholic Habsburg Philip II, who ruled from distant Spain,William of Orange-Nassau emerged as the only aristocrat with the power, influence and finances to lead them.
William and his family were to number among the leading Protestant families of Western Europe – although this didn’t stop a number of them from converting to Lutheranism or even Catholicism along the way.

William of Orange and his sons might have been successful military and political leaders and the prominent faces of the dynasty – but its women were doing plenty to increase the family’s hold on power in other, equally visible, ways during the period.
After a 12-year truce had been signed with Spain in 1609, the Orange-Nassau dynasty entered a new phase of influence.  See more
The Orange component was named after a town in southern France and it was this part, which identified their particular branch, which became a key tool in the dynasty’s strategic public relations.
The four daughters of Frederick Henry and Amalia, for example, all created new palaces and castles named after their family: Oranjewoud, Oranienstein, Oranienburg, and Oranienbaum. They even painted the buildings orange and planted orange trees in their gardens.

Fruit and veg brand marketing

So provocative were orange carrots seen to be in the early modern period that, at various points, they were banned from sale in Dutch markets as the fortunes of the dynasty waxed and waned politically.
Abraham Van den Tempel, Albertina Agnes of Orange-Nassau and her children (1668). Her daughter Amalia prominently holds a sprig of orange blossom. Wikimedia Commons

If eating humble carrots was the way that the general public could show support for the family, exotic oranges were the dynasty’s own particular fruit for brand marketing.
Politics and intrigue! A very good outcome and example of branding that has stood the test of time - and become the default association for this humble vegetable.