Featured Personal Improvement

2019 is the Year for Change

As 2018 comes to a close and the new year is on the horizon, there may be some dissatisfactions, great or small with how the year may turned out. Maybe those fitness goals you had set at the beginning of the year may have not been met or surpassed, or maybe out of your quota of finances that you wished to save are not as much as hoped or estimated for, or life generally just did not seem to go along with the odds much in favour of you. Either way, the time for mulling over those shortfalls and beating yourself up over your failures has come to a point that it may not be very productive to hold on to. It is time to get up, dust yourself off and steel yourself for a better, more satisfying 2019.
The anecdotal narrative of “new year, new me” may be cliché and overused, but that does not make it any less true. A new year is the perfect opportunity to start over on a clean slate, putting in place better structures that will help you achieve your goals better and generally live a healthier and happier life. Almost like buying a new pen and beginning its use on a fresh page.
So, what are some of the things one may wish look into changing to combat the repeat of failure or dissatisfaction as we hop over into 2019?

Make time for things that make you happy

It is very easy to get caught up in the trappings of a routine life. Doing the same thing over and over again can lead to fatigue and dissatisfaction. This is why one should be willing to make time for things that make you feel alive. Whether it is meeting up with old friends, reading a good book or hiking a nature trail, it is important to do such revitalising activities often enough as they help keep your energies up and thus make you healthier and more productive.

Organise your time

In this day and age of smartphones, your calendar, planner and diary in the palm of your hand. Take note of how you spend your time. Cut down on unnecessary time-wasting activities such as scrolling for hours through social media and instead allocate that time to something more mentally, physically or spiritually stimulating. This will help you be more productive daily.

Rest when you are tired

While we all would love to be productive and active 24/7, we are only human, and so we get tired. Do not hesitate to take some time off when you feel fatigue and burnout kick in. Resting is not a waste of time. On the contrary, it guarantees you better productivity when you get back to your daily activities.

Making better financial decisions

Your financial plan for 2019 should looks something like “Spend less. Save more.” Research has shown that that once you are able to afford your basic needs, more money does not translate to more happiness. So, stop killing yourself with more work hours in order to earn more money in search of more happiness. Instead spend that time building a more holistic life and doing things that you love doing.

Take care of your health

When speaking of health, many people lock it down to exercise and eating more greens. And while physical health is important for a happy life, mental and emotional health are just as important. Therefore, beyond joining a boxing club near you to achieve your fitness goals, and eating 3 regular balanced meals daily, reducing your toxin intake and drinking more water, it is important to reduce stressors in your life by making lifestyle changes, and invest more in all aspects of your health.

Invest more in your relationship with people

With the rise of social media, it is becoming increasingly difficult to form deeply satisfying relationships with the people around us. However, in 2019 you should set aside more time for friends and family. Meet them face-to-face and not over a Skype call. Talk to people more and less to your phone. Your loved ones are an important support system that you must take time to develop in this new year. Establish an 80:20 rule between physical interactions and electronic ones.
So, as you gear up for 2019, the goal is not just to hit the gym, but also to live a happier, healthier, more fulfilling life. Write down your goals and slowly, but surely, step forward to achieve them in 2019. Bear in mind, targets are not set to be hit in one goal but to be worked on over time, don’t beat yourself about not completing, but you are working to it and the journey is just as much important as the end goal in this life. The relationships you create should positively impact the journey you are on.
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Home and Garden

How Most Engineered Floorboards are Produced?

Wood has become an extremely common flooring option and can either be used as a structural component in construction or as an aesthetic addition to your decor. Of particular importance, are engineered timber flooring options, which have rapidly grown ubiquitous and become a key feature in construction and design of contemporary commercial and residential premises. They have replaced solid hardwood floors, which primarily had a structural function and helped in supporting the house. Hardwood floors, however, have been found to have various limitations that have made them less than ideal flooring options over the years. These limitations include their tendency to gap (developing excess spaces between planks), crown (curving upwards due to increased humidity) and cup (forming a concave depression in the middle of the plank), especially with larger plank sizes.
Engineered wood, which is made by putting together layers of timber to form a plank, have various advantages that give them an edge over the traditional hardwood flooring options. These include dimensional stability (attributable to running each layer perpendicular to the one above it), consistent grade, and installation systems that allow for ease during installing and maintenance of the floorboards. It also allows for floating installation, as well as radiant heating, unlike solid hardwood floors which need to be nailed in and are damaged by radiant heating.

But how exactly are these engineered boards produced?

First and foremost, it is worth noting that one must source for great raw materials if they want to create a great end product. So, while many manufacturers use layers of ply, masqueraded as timber, great quality engineered boards can only be obtained by making use of authentic timber. The layers of timber are arranged in stacks and acclimated for at least two weeks. This allows for the moisture in the layers to balance out and equalise thus improving the stability of the resultant boards.
The layers are then glued together using specialised adhesives that guarantee lifelong adhesion between the layers. These layers of ply are then hot pressed together to produce a single panel of variable thickness before proceeding to be sawed. The sawing allows for panels of different dimensions and sizes of planks to be produced.
Some manufacturers of engineered boards sand the boards after sawing, guaranteeing a smooth finish and thus reducing time spent by contractors on site, who will only need to give the boards a light sanding after laying them. It is after this step that the panels are sawed again to custom or standard lengths and widths. Using various methods, installation systems can then be applied to the boards to make them easier to install.
Commonly used installation systems include:

  1. Tongue and Groove where adjacent planks have tongues and grooves along their lengths and widths that fit snugly into each other.
  2. “Click” systems which allow for easy replacement of worn boards as they are not glued together using adhesive.
  3. Floor connection systems where the planks have grooves on all four edges and a fitting piece of metal, plastic or rubber is used to connect the planks.
  4. Floating installation where boards are not glued or nailed to the subfloor thus protecting the subfloor from damage that would have otherwise been caused.

Before the planks can be packaged, they are taken through a process where they are rigorously checked for any flaws. They are then bundled into groups that consist of up to 85% full-length components and are then ready for shipping.
As you can see, the process behind the production of engineered boards is very intricate and highly specialised. From the sourcing of raw materials all the way through to the shipping, every step is key if you are to produce quality engineered boards
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How car detailers protect your paint

A popular question has often been raised in social circles. Why do people, especially men, love their cars so much? A few suggestions have been brought forward, but two of them stand out. The first is that some would say that the cars are extensions of one selves, embodying a form that is very much akin to the person themselves and how they would like the world to see them. Whether it is powerful and explosive, sleek and attractive, precise and efficient, or free-flowing and fluid, some association can be deduced, no matter how farfetched.
Others come from the school of thought that a car is like a loved one. It is a dear friend and ever-present comrade with whom the owner may go through good and bad times. It is a responsive character which needs care which, upon delivery, proceeds to diligently serve its owner, or dare I say, companion.
Such meticulous care is imperative for the long life of this friend of yours. The same case applies for if one was taking care of an extension of oneself like it is a part of your own body. A frequently used tool for providing this tender, loving care, is a regular detailing service. Your car’s exterior is cleaned, restored and refurbished by a team of dexterous professionals using cutting edge technology. What, you ask, is the end result of this process? A vehicle that looks as good as new, that is clean enough to eat on, with an overall freshness.

What detailing will do for your car

The following are services that are offered by detailers on your cars exterior shell.

  • Custom cleaning

The key goal of this exercise is a thorough cleansing of the exterior and even the interior of the car. This is solely aimed at bidding goodbye to the tough stains, dirt that is normally in unreachable parts and to hopefully even regain the pristine condition it was in when it was freshly out of the factory. This will thus help to protect the paint from the dangers of the small stone particles, easy to overlook but whose attrition causes damage to the paint that can be significant.

  • Undercoating

This is an apt solution to protect the paint from long term damage. This typically also comes hand in hand with rustproofing, which could greatly boost life of the paint.

  • Comprehensive polish.

The effect of a good polish is probably too conspicuous to hide on a car. A modest polish on the paintwork and sometimes even on some high-end wheels will surely rejuvenate the look of this car. This is even recommended to be done every few months, the reason being it constantly resuscitates the life of the paint job. The polish provides an outer membrane to protect the paint.

  • Paint Conditioner and Correction

These two services are for two vastly-different reasons. The first; conditioner, is to be used when you have recently painted your vehicle or made a purchase of a new takes advantage of a non-abrasive paint conditioner to protect the paint  from the elements.
The paint correction is the best alternative for those cars whose have become dull or lost their shine from continual exposure to the elements. Known also as a cut and polish, the correction seeks to remove a fine layer of the paint to reveal the vibrant paint below. A quick polish brings out the sheen and voila! A superb reflection is created on the car, good enough to see a nearly picture-perfect reflection.

  • Paint Perishing Preventer; A reinforced wall

Wear and tear that is often caused by factors such asroad salts, ultraviolet rays, small gravel and stones andnasty chemicals can be combatted using what is called Paint perishing preventer. It is applied as a layer of transparent liquid film that protects your paint work when it dries. This can be likened to a reinforcement on a wall. This greatly can add to the longevity of the look of paint, which will go a long way for one especially hoping to resell that car.

  • Fixing of Scratches

Lastly, depending on the severity of the scratch, the following methods will be used to restore the paint to its former glory:

  • For deep scratches which expose the metal “skin”, a proper remedy would be to sand off the paint surrounding the affected area and to apply primer before adding a fresh coat of paint.
  • For the mild scratches, one need only touch it up with paint and restore the shine with a rubbing compound.

In conclusion, you need not fret when the paint is damaged. The aforementioned remedies work, just like healing an extension of yourself, or taking a dear friend for some stitches at the hospital, don’t you think so?
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Home and Garden

Tips On Choosing Your Wood fired Pizza Oven

So you’ve decided to take your outdoor barbecue area to the next level by adding a wood fired pizza oven to the mix. Good call! This will add delicious wood fired pizzas to the menu, to the delight of your dinner guests.
A wood fired pizza oven is the perfect addition to your outdoor kitchen. Not only do they cook delicious pizza, they add to the atmosphere and the open flame create a delightful ambience.
For a beginner, choosing a wood fired pizza oven can be a little overwhelming. This post is designed to provide you with tips when it comes time to purchasing your wood fired pizza oven.

Size Matters

Choose a wood fired pizza oven that will serve your cooking needs and spatial requirements. You probably already have a spot for your pizza oven in mind. The best thing to do is measure it up so that when it comes time to shop for your pizza oven, you know how much space you have to play with. This will narrow down your selection and make shopping a lot easier. The last thing you want is a pizza oven that is too large for the space and then you have to send it back to the store! It’s an inconvenience nobody needs.
Some pizza ovens only have the space to cook one pizza, while others can cook up to four. If you are always entertaining guests in the backyard you might want to opt for a bigger oven so you can pump out multiple piping hot pizzas at a time. If you’re cooking for the family a one shooter will do the job nicely.

Safety First

If you have a young family, you will also need to keep safety in mind. You need to make sure that your pizza oven is out of reach of young children or you create a barrier for it so that there is no chance that the little ones will be able to burn themselves.

Construction and Materials

Pizza ovens come in all shapes and sizes. They also are also made of a variety of materials, such as stainless steel and natural brick. They all do the job quite nicely – it’s simply a matter of choosing one that suits your needs in regards to style and functionality.

Ease of Use

Your wood fired pizza oven should be a delight to use. It should be just the right height so you don’t have to strain yourself when making the fire or putting pizzas in (or pulling them out).
Some of the aluminium pizza ovens come on a stand with wheels making them portable. This is ideal if you don’t want a permanent fixture and would like the freedom to move the pizza oven around. The down side to this style is that they are not as stylish as a brick or natural stone pizza oven.
If you want a permanent fixture, brick and natural stone are ideal for the backyard. They make a stylish addition to your outdoor area and of course they make delicious pizzas.

Performance and Temperature

The performance of your pizza oven lies in its ability to maintain an even temperature. The curvature of the pizza oven greatly effects its ability to cook great pizza. It pays to do some research before buying your pizza oven. There is a wealth of knowledge online. Take some notes and go into the store with as much information as you can, that way you will ask the right questions and hopefully get the right answers from the shop attendant.

One Job Wonder or Versatile Beast?

Do you want a pizza oven solely to cook pizzas or would you like an outdoor stove that cooks bread, stews, meats, with all the functionality of an oven? This aspect is worth considering. If you already have all the kit you need for other cooking, then you might just be after a pizza oven to do what it was designed for – and that’s cook delicious pizza. If this is the case, you probably don’t need all the bells and whistle of a multifunctional cooking machine.
On the other hand, it’s better to have too many tools than not enough! Having a multifunctional pizza oven will give you more options to cook a myriad of different dishes and wow your dinner guests. At home, I have a multifunctional pizza oven and when I have guests over, I’ll often bake a fresh loaf of bread for entree and then for the main I’ll do pizzas and a baked fish. It all depends how far down the rabbit hole you wish to go.
Choosing the right pizza oven all depends on your personal needs and spatial requirements. Once you know those two things it is just a matter of choosing a pizza oven that covers those things and you’ll be cooking delicious pizzas in your backyard in no time at all.
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Home and Garden

3 Tips to Ensure You Have a Successful First Home Cleaning Experience

Hours spent reviewing house cleaning companies. You finally found an affordable home cleaning company that fits your schedule and budget. You’re assigned a professional that has a decent photograph and years of experience in NSW.
Today is the day of your first cleaning.
You’re a bit excited, not knowing what to expect and you’ve prepped your home to receive your cleaner.
Now what?
Often forgotten, there are a few things to consider that can guarantee you have a pleasant first home cleaning experience, and not a horror story.  I mean, what else should one really consider before getting their home cleaned?  Well, we promise you are most likely forgetting some very important steps.
We go over 4 ways to make sure you have a great experience getting your home cleaned for the first time.
The 4 Power Points

  • Set the Tone
  • Separate Expectations and High Priority Conversation
  • Hide Your Valuables


  1. Make a solid first impression and set the tone for the relationship

Yes, this is a professional cleaner, who is also a stranger, but it doesn’t have to be so formal and cold.  In fact, toe the fine line of showing kindness, but also make sure you allow the cleaner the opportunity to get their work done.  Conversation is always nice, but your cleaner is there to do their job, which is cleaning your home.
We suggest showing them around your home to make them comfortable.  Show them anything that you think they should know before they get started cleaning to have an agreeable experience.
Go over any instructions or special directions you have in mind in detail before they get started to ensure they understand. Don’t just assume they know what to do, if they know, they will say something.
Your professional will do a better job for you when they know what is expected from them, when they have structure and rules, and when they are comfortable.

2. Do not be afraid to set rules and expectations

It’s hard to “boss” someone around when they are the professional cleaner but it’s your job to be the leader and set the right expectations.
Have a separate conversation about the specific “Do’s &Don’ts” for your home.  If there is a particular way you like the floor cleaned, or you are allergic to certain chemicals, or if there is a special pan your Grandmother gave you that is not to be touched…. Bring those important discussion points up at this time.
Also, always prepare 3-4 high priority areas that you want to ensure get cleaned first and best in the allotted time.  These are areas where if the session ended, you would still be pleased with the cleaning because the top of mind areas was handled first.  This could be the refrigerator, or your bedroom, or laundry that you hate.  Make sure you talk to your cleaner first about a top priority list before they begin.
You will often not know what you don’t know for your first cleaning but as you have more sessions, you will discover different tasks you may want implemented in your next cleaning experience.  We had no idea we enjoyed getting our stainless-steel refrigerator doors scrubbed down!

3. Trust your instinct

You can request cleaning while you are physically in the home, or even while you are at work.  Either way, follow your natural instincts and put away prized possessions and valuable belongings.
This is for your peace of mind, we shouldn’t have to elaborate on this.
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A Much Smoother Star

For anyone worth their salt in the trucking business, it is well understood how much the Western Star brand puts into maintaining their classic, rugged truck styling that always features the traditional radiator and air cleaners. The Western Star 5800, however, was built to stand out from its predecessors. From its aerodynamic shape to its modernised look, we officially have a newer, much smoother star to talk about.
When you gaze upon the 5800, some standard Western Star attributes are featured, including the big shiny grill. However, the external air cleaners are absent and, the vertical exhaust system is nowhere to be seen. This is because the air cleaners are now inside the bonnet and the exhaust system is down facing. The 5800 also features a set-back front axle. This allows for an easier attainment of the maximum weight on the steer axle, while the more even spread of weight on the axle reduces your chances of getting axle mass issues as you maximise on the payload.
Why were the changes so important this time round? Why not stick to the traditional Western Star look?
Well, it has become apparent over recent years that truck owners are now shifting from being stuck on the good old truck aesthetics and more focused on the economical bearing that the trucks have on the business cash flow. This shift has been fuelled by the entry of some European trucks into Australia that have over recent years swallowed up a lot of the market share all thanks to their lower fuel consumption. The savings from lower fuel consumption was not lost on the truck owners who now seem to put more and more emphasis on fuel consumption rate when purchasing trucks. This has pushed truck manufacturers to work on producing more fuel-efficient trucks if only to get a sale in. The 5800 thus seems to be Western Star’s attempt at switching up their models to be more economical so as to get back the market share that they have lost in recent years.
It is interesting to see the gradual acceptance that the 5800 has experienced in the Australian market over the past couple of years that it has been around. Truck buyers seem to have taken their time to read deeper into the running costs of the truck, and over time, have seen its economic value in their businesses. Thanks to the smoother, more aerodynamic shape of the 5800, Western Star reckons there has been as much as a 1.5% decrease in fuel consumption as compared to the 4800. This decreased fuel consumption has had a positive impact on the sales of the 5800 which has risen from the low base over the past two years and now accounts for about a third of B double primers sold by Western Star in Australia.
Another reason the 5800 seems to be making waves in the market is the large fuel load of 1400 litres, which truck owners seem to approve of. This however means that the battery has been put behind the cabin, on top of the chassis, to allow for four fuel tanks to sit along the side of the truck. This is unlike the traditional positioning of the batteries on the side of the truck which would limit the number of fuel tanks that one can put in the truck and thus limit fuel load.
Another reason for the lower fuel consumption is engine rating which was rated at 500hp. And though this can be recalibrated to the usual 560hp, that would not be advisable for truck owners who are looking to reduce on fuel consumption. The engine for the most economically sound model is a DD15 which is manufactured by Daimler in Detroit which still retained the 2500Nm of torque even at its lower rating. The 5800 also boasts of an Eaton Ultrashift Plus with 18 speeds as has become the staple in American trucks.
As you can see, the Western Star 5800 has seemed to pick up speed and much up well to its competitors. The truck can handle a 34 pallet B double application and still get under the 26-metre mark Thanks to the standard 40-inch Stratosphere sleeper. So, if you are thinking of a fuel-efficient powerful truck, think of the much smoother 5800 Star.
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Home and Garden

Travertine Vs Limestone Pavers

Travertine and limestone pavers fall under stone pavers that one can use for making the pavement area around their house or other dwelling. The choice between travertine or limestone pavers is a mix of functionality as well as visual appeal.
People tend to confuse travertine and limestone rock. Travertine is a natural occurring stone that occurs in hot springs and forces of compaction. In fact, travertine is taken to be a type of limestone rock which is much more calciferous. Due to these increased levels of calcite, travertine rock is much softer and malleable than other rocks. There are 2 types of travertine pavers, filled and unfilled. Filled pavers are typically filled with cement in order to smoothen them out and achieve a flat surface. The converse is unfilled travertine which has many more holes and thus is much rougher compared to types of rock. Limestone rock is layered rock that is formed through sedimentary action. Limestone is primarily a calciferous rock that is hardened through tectonic action.

Variety of choice

Since travertine is a form of limestone, it follows that there are more options to choose from when it comes to limestone pavers. Typical variations of travertine pavers would be Miletus travertine pavers, Hiera Noce travertine pavers, Silver travertine pavers and Mocha travertine pavers. Typical variations of limestone pavers would be Lunar limestone pavers, Lara cream pavers, Silver royale pavers, Pietra grey pavers, North black pavers, Mersin grey pavers, Anamur classic pavers, Boz grey pavers, Cuarzo pavers, Pavian pavers, Anamur contemporary pavers and Luxury grey pavers.


The type of paver one chooses is also dependent on the purpose the pavers would serve. Take for example one is searching for which pavers would best line their swimming pool.
As mentioned before, travertine is known to have a surface with multiple small holes which may be attractive at first. As expected, these holes may then gather dirt over time. Furthermore, the constant supply of water and (probably) heat forms an ideal environment for the growth of mould and as with any surface exposed to water over time, the surface will eventually exhibit a dirty appearance over time. This implies regular cleaning or maintenance to deal with this and may even require hiring out this service. There are filled travertine pavers, but this means losing the entire aesthetic appeal that travertine offers in the first place.
Travertine is also quite water soluble (this is a result of its structure; it is also composed of calcium which is water absorbent as well), This isn’t a problem until extremely low temperatures may lead to freezing of water (water expands on freezing) and thus damages the travertine itself. Furthermore, the combination of water of heat may lead to damage in the travertine pavers. Travertine would be more applicable for paving parts of your dwelling that are shaded away from the sun or heat.
Limestone would probably the best option for your pool then. Its hardened outer layer is much more resistant to damage and would serve as a better paver for you. Also, they offer a non -n slip base which is ideal for outdoor areas. Care should take to acquire the less slippery variants for pool pavement. If one acquires the smoother variants, then the pool pavement is more likely to become a slip hazard when wet. Despite being hard, the rock can also be cut to fit any shape you want. As shown earlier, limestone offers a greater variety to choose from for homeowners with varying colours to go with whichever colour palette one has chosen for their home.
Generally, it seems like limestone is a safer choice all over and may be best for homeowners who are undecided over which type of paver is best for their house.
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