Happy World Vegetarian Day!


From http://www.greenpeace.org.au/

Happy World Vegetarian Day! Cutting back on red meat and dairy can be one of the biggest steps to reduce your carbon footprint. While we’re campaigning for renewable energy and a transition from fossil fuels, we’re also looking at other ways we can protect ourselves and the environment.

So why start a low-carbon diet, and where do you begin making changes? Check out these great tips for cutting back on meat.

I’ve been an activist for two years and a vegetarian for six. During this time, I’ve cited animal welfare, my feelings towards factory farming, and ‘because someone dared me to’ as reasons for my meat-free diet. Now, my main motivation for vegetarianism comes from environmental concerns: I’ve recognised it’s an easy way to reduce my carbon emissions.

Just like a fossil fuel transport system, the meat industry is impacting the environment. And when we eat red meat every day – one of the most resource-intensive foods in modern Western diets – it impacts heavily on our water use and carbon footprints. Here’s a breakdown of Australia’s emissions by industry:

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According to the Australian government, due to emission of greenhouse gases like methane, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide, agriculture accounts for 15% of national emissions.


It’s pretty scary stuff. Image via GrubStreet 

According to the US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s scientific report:

“Consistent evidence indicates that, in general, a dietary pattern that is higher in plant-based foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, and lower in animal-based foods is more health promoting and is associated with lesser environmental impact (GHG emissions and energy, land, and water use) than is the current average U.S. diet.”

In Australia, there are many factors that contribute to the carbon emissions caused by our food consumption – production, packaging, transport, and cooking methods – which means there are also lots of ways to cut back. But for those who are thinking of reducing their red meat intake or giving up meat altogether, here are four helpful tips I’ve gathered to help with adjusting to a meatless life.

1. The rules of your diet are up to you

Your diet is a very personal part of your life. In Australia, many of us are lucky enough to have autonomy over what we eat, which means we can control what we put in our mouths.

You don’t need to follow the rules and trends of other herbivores – just the advice of your doctor (and maybe your mum). Some vegetarians choose to eat sustainably caught seafood, and some vegans eat eggs from their own chickens. Others – called ‘freegans’ – eat meat and dairy that would otherwise be thrown out to avoid food waste. As long as you’re safe, healthy, and making the decisions you want for yourself and the world – you’re all good.

Fruit and Vegetables Stall in Quiapo Market, Manila

2. It’s okay to start slow

If dropping meat from your diet right now sounds daunting, you can try phasing it out over time. Initiatives like Meatless Mondays where people stop eating meat one day of the week are a great place to start (not to mention you’ll be alongside people like Sir Paul McCartney and Chris Martin). You could also make an effort to choose the vegetarian option when eating out, or start by cutting the most resource-intensive meats like beef from your diet.

If you’re anything like me, it’s making the decision to commit to a new diet that is difficult – after that it’s easy! But if you slip up or forget, be kind to yourself and keep at it.

3. Talk to your friends and loved ones

Sometimes our diets affect the people we live with or see a lot. If you’re sharing food preparation duties with someone, make sure you talk to them about your decision and make an effort to work out a plan. Maybe some nights you’ll cook separately, or you’ll make dishes with the meat on the side – or they might even make a change with you!

People Enjoying Healthy Vegetarian Food at Corner Tree Cafe, Makati, Manila

If you’re visiting friends or family for a meal, let them know about your new diet. You might want to bring a vegetarian dish or two to share, or offer to come early to help cook and prepare. Your diet doesn’t have to stop you from enjoying your life.

4. The Internet is your best friend

From nutritional information, to vegetarian recipes, to helping you find the perfect ingredient substitutes – the internet has everything a vegetarian needs.

Here are some handy online tools and resources:

What if I can’t cut back on meat right now?

If you can’t stop eating meat, but still want to bite away at your food footprint, there’s still lots you can do. You might choose to buy local or organic produce, stop eating processed or packaged foods, or grow your own fruit and vegetables at home. There are even ways to make changes to the ways you consume meat and dairy to reduce your carbon food footprint – like choosing from more ecological farming methods – for example, buying grass-fed rather than grain-fed beef.


What is ecological farming?

Ecological farming ensures healthy farming and healthy food for today and tomorrow by protecting the soil, water and climate, and promoting biodiversity.

Livestock reared ecologically integrates farm animals as essential elements in the agriculture system; they help optimise the use and recycling of nutrients and, in many regions, provide a necessary farm workforce. Such methods rely on grasslands, pasture and residues for feed, minimising use of arable land and competition with land used for direct human food production, and protecting natural ecosystems within a globally equitable food system.

Ready to change your diet and impact on the Earth? Take one of the I Know Who Grew It pledges here today.

Korean seafood pancake


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Asian food has to be one of my favourites.

Mix it with seafood and you have winner.

Thanks to the team at TASTE we are showcasing their amazing Korean Seafood Pancake.



  • 150g (1 cup) plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons rice flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 250ml (1 cup) water
  • 1 egg, lightly whisked
  • 1/2 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 120ml canola oil or sunflower oil
  • 8 green shallots, cut into 15-18cm lengths
  • 16 large green prawns, peeled, deveined, cut into 3cm pieces
  • 2 squid or calamari tubes, cut into 1 x 3cm strips
  • 2 long fresh red chillies, thinly sliced diagonally, plus extra, to serve
  • 2 eggs, lightly whisked, extra
  • Thinly sliced green shallots, extra, to serve

Dipping sauce

  • 60ml (1/4 cup) soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar or white vinegar
  • 1 green shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder

NASA to hold urgent press conference to announce major science finding from Mars


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From news.com.au

NASA has listed a number of experts who will speak at their “major science finding” tomorrow, giving a clue as to what may have been discovered on Mars.

While many are hoping the conference will confirm we are not alone in the universe, the strongest evidence hints the space agency has discovered water flowing on the Red Planet.

This belief stems from the panel selection NASA has advised will be in attendance for the groundbreaking announcement.

As expected, the space agency has rolled out its top authorities for the conference. Jim Green, Director of Planetary Science at NASA and Michael Meyer, lead scientist for the Mars Exploration Program will be key speakers.

All of the other guests are lesser known researchers from American universities, but their specialities allude to topic of the conference.

The inclusion of Ph.D. candidate in planetary science at Georgia Tech, Lujendra Ojha, holds particular merit as he was responsible for the discovery of possible flowing salt water on Mars back in 2011.

Image of the streaks on the surface of Mars.

Image of the streaks on the surface of Mars.Source:Twitter

According to a CNN report, the then 21-year-old was studying at the University of Arizona when he used a computer algorithm to remove visual distortions from images of Mars obtained by satellite.

While Mr Ojha was comparing changes to the planet over time, he accidentally discovered irregular streaks appearing and disappearing on the surface of Mars.

“When I first saw them, I had no idea what it was. I just thought it was a streak made by dust or something similar,” he told CNN.

After months of research, Mr Ojha concluded the streaks were likely dried salts left by salt water running on the surface of Mars during the warmer months.

Planetary geologist at the University of Arizona, Matthew Chojnacki, agrees with the theory of seasonal water flows on Mars.

Writing on a blog post, he described the streaks Mr Ojha was referring to as “narrow, dark-toned streaks that descend steep Martian slopes, beginning in higher-lying rocky outcrops”.

“We have watched them grow, fade, and reappear every year by taking repeated orbital images,” he wrote.

“They grow fast, over timescales as brief as a week. Their seasonal behaviour and preference for warm equator-facing slopes suggests that something volatile, like briny water, could be involved.”

Mr Chojnacki said a similar phenomenon occurred in Antarctica during the warmest summer months when “water tracks” form from salty brines on steep slopes.

This crablike object was one of many pictures sent back to Earth from Mars

This crablike object was one of many pictures sent back to Earth from MarsSource:Supplied

Author of the UFO Investigation Manual Nigel Watson said he was hopeful NASA would announce the discovery of life on Mars.

“For the more conspiracy minded they might wonder if NASA will announce that one of the many artefacts or structures seen in pictures sent back to Earth is real, or that they have found some form of alien base,” he told Journal Telegraph.

“That would be a massive intellectual and philosophical bombshell for humanity to cope with, though the odds of this, to use the words of Wells, is likely to be ‘a million to one’.”

Despite wishful thinking, Mr Watson has to admit he believes the finding will be related to salt water on Mars.

“When I first heard about NASA’s forthcoming announcement I immediately wondered if they had found some form of microscopic life there,” .

“It seems more likely that they have found water on Mars, which is the next best thing as it would indicate the possibility that life has clung onto this planet or existed there in the past.”

Regardless of the findings, the conference is expected to be important given the last time NASA held an event like this it was to reveal it had discovered the Earth-like planet Kepler-452b.

The conference will be held at 4.30am AEST on Tuesday September 29 at the James Webb Auditorium at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

As part of the event, members of the public will be able to ask questions via Twitter during the briefing using #AskNASA.

Domestic Violence


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Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says violence against women is one of Australia’s great shames.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has called on all Australians to make a “cultural shift” and stop disrespecting women, declaring that gender inequality lies at the heart of domestic violence.

In comments that have been labelled a “gamechanger” for the fight against domestic violence, Mr Turnbull called on parents, teachers and employers to get on board the culture change, saying he wanted Australia to become known as a country that respects women.

“I’d say that as parents, one of the most important things we must do is ensure that our sons respect their mothers and their sisters,” Mr Turnbull told reporters in Melbourne on Thursday.

“Because …  violence against women begins with disrespecting women. And so this is a big cultural shift.”

This year alone, more than 60 women have been killed by a partner or family member.  One in six Australian women have experienced physical or sexual violence from a current or former partner.

Australian of the Year Rosie Batty.Australian of the Year Rosie Batty.

“Violence against women is one of the great shames of Australia. It is a national disgrace,” Mr Turnbull said.

He also said it should be “unAustralian” to disrespect women.

“Let me say this to you: disrespecting women does not always result in violence against
women. But all violence against women begins with disrespecting women,” Mr Turnbull said.

The Prime Minister made his rallying cry while announcing $100 million in federal funding to help stop violence against women.

The package, which was signed off by his new cabinet earlier this week, includes funding to trial GPS trackers for perpetrators, special safe phones for victims and other measures – like CCTV cameras – to boost the security of women at home.

There is also additional funding for Indigenous family violence services, 1800 RESPECT and MensLine and a program which teaches school students about respectful relationships.

Domestic violence campaigner Rosie Batty, whose has advised on the reforms was emotional on Thursday at their launch.

“We finally are starting to hear from the leaders of our country that they are addressing this issue, that they recognise the responsibility they have to lead our society, our communities, by speaking the language we need to hear,” the 2015 Australian of the Year said.

“We have still a long way to go, but by recognising the gender issue that exists … that sends the message far and wide.”

Minister for Women Michaelia Cash described the emphasis on respect for women as a “gamechanger”.

The Abbott government was due to make a major announcement on domestic violence at the end of the week that Tony Abbott was dumped from the leadership.

It is understood the funding package announced on Thursday is similar to the one Mr Abbott was to announce.

1800 Respect – the National Sexual Assault Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service – can be reached on 1800 737 732
from news.com.au

French-braised chicken and lentils


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French-braised chicken and lentils


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 200g piece speck, rind removed, chopped
  • 1 small brown onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled, finely chopped
  • 4 French shallots, peeled, halved
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 8 (about 1.2kg) chicken thigh cutlets, skin on
  • 250ml (1 cup) dry riesling
  • 90g (1/2 cup) French green lentils
  • 250ml (1 cup) water
  • 1 fresh bouquet garni (parsley, bay and thyme)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) crème fraîche
  • Chopped fresh continental parsley, to serve
  • Steamed green beans, to serve

Which accounting software is the best


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When starting a business it is important to choose the best accounting software on the market.

But what if you are on a budget? Well we can help you with this. We recently read an article by Peter Daisyme.

Here is extract from it.

In today’s world, an accountant needs more than just a brick and mortar office. They need to continually expand their knowledge, keep up with the latest industry insights, and be able to share their knowledge with people looking for financial advice. The same is true with your startup. You need to constantly keep up with accounting best practices to help your business grow financially.

I’ve been a CPA for almost 20 years now and keeping up with all the new regulations is a large task. Scouring the Internet for accounting sites that can educate and inspire is time consuming, so I’ve done the legwork for you. These 10 sites for small business owners are where I look for the best accounting advice to help keep my business up to date.

1. Accounting Coach

Accounting Coach was established in 2003 to allow students, bookkeepers, and small business owners to learn new accounting skills or to increase their present knowledge. Their goal is to make this educational material available without the cost of tuition, books and other expenses of formal education. The only requirement is an Internet connection.

Accounting Coach also offers a professional version of their program that features interactive tests and visual tutorials. Information about fees for Accounting Coach Pro may be found on their website.

2. Sleeter

The Sleeter Group was established in 1994 in Pleasanton, California. Their goal is to provide educational resources for accountants and small business owners. Sleeter has assembled a group of more than 700 accounting professionals to serve as consultants for members of the group and also provide implementation services. Sleeter holds an annual conference and trade show where the latest accounting services and software programs are highlighted.

Members of the Sleeter Group also have access to webinars, QuickBooks reference guides and 25 free QuickBooks assessment exams. They can receive discounted webinar access and admission to the annual conference.

3. The Blunt Bean Counter

Mark Goodfield is the author of the Blunt Bean Counter, a blog that offers advice on income taxes, finance and the role of money in our lives. Any individual can gain new insight from the Blunt Bean Counter. However, many of the topics are more relevant to the owners of private companies and those with a high net worth.

Goodfield has more than 25 years of accounting and finance experience and is a chartered professional account. He is a partner in a major Toronto accounting firm. The Blunt Bean Counter takes a realistic view of the world of finance and offers insight with a sometimes “no filter” approach along with a bit of humor.

4. Skoda Minotti Blog

Skoda Minotti was founded in 1980 with a vision to provide comprehensive accounting services that help their clients grow and prosper. They expanded their services to include business valuation and litigation, financial services and strategic marketing. Their blog has an extensive amount of information on each of these topics. Skoda Minotti also made a significant change to the accounting industry by allowing non-CPA ownership and investment in CPA firms.

While Skoda Minotti seeks to increase profits and help businesses grow, they operate under a set of core values. Community involvement, family values, and integrity are some of these principles along with having compassion for others.

5. The Economist

The field of accounting is a vital aspect of the business world but it is only one facet of the vast field of economics. The Economist accounting blog took this idea into consideration and has a number of entries covering world politics, business, and finance and culture. Readers may learn about the latest innovations in science and technology and learn about online and in-person events involving the world of business and finance.

The Economist offers digital and print subscriptions.

6. Accounting for Management

Accurate accounting is vital to the success of any business. Students of accounting must learn a vast amount of information to be able to secure employment in the field. Such individuals who may have difficulty grasping accounting principles may now find assistance from Accounting for Management.

Accounting for Management provides clear, concise explanations for all types of accounting situations. The site is divided into sections that involve examples, explanations, problems, and calculators. Site visitors may explore the site and find the assistance needed to increase their mastery of accounting.

7. Evergreen Small Business

Evergreen Small Business is a blog that offers a broad spectrum of advice for the small business owner. There is a section dedicated to frequently asked questions regarding tax accounting, financial planning and management for small business. Examples of their expertise can be found in recent posts include Using the Delphi Method for Small Business Problem Solving and Index Funds and Asset Allocation Even Better for the Wealthy?

Evergreen Small Business was founded by Steve Nelson, a Seattle CPA with 30 years of experience in the field of accounting. Nelson specializes in tax concerns of S corporations, foreign tax issues and small business consulting. He also provides financial planning and works with individuals experiencing complex financial issues.

8. Accounting Learnatorium

Filing annual taxes can be a stressful time for any business owner. Not only do small business owners have to remain updated on changing tax laws, they must still maintain the daily operations of their company. This is especially true for service-based small businesses.

Due Accounting has created the Accounting Learnatorium in response to this unique need. This all started when my friend John Rampton approached me to write for his blog about some of the accounting tips that I’ve experienced over the years. While scouring the blog, I started learning more than I could ever have imagined.

The Learnatorium provides accounting strategies and other advice that can help small business owners handle the often daunting task of finding and working with the best accountant. The Learnatorium is updated weekly and also includes stress-reducing ideas and a few bits of humor to lighten the day.

9. FEI Daily

Change is constant. Accounting and other financial executives need to stay current on significant events and regulatory changes. The FEI Daily provides the most current news concerning the field on accounting, industry leadership, and compliance with regulations. Public policy and technology are other topics explored in the FEI Daily.

Financial Executives International was established more than 80 years ago. The group realized the need to evolve as the global conditions can change rapidly and industry leaders needed a source for to provide such information. Membership in FEI Daily is available.

10. Dear Drebit

Accounting professional now have a forum to discuss and receive answers on a number of accounting and financial issues. Dear Drebit allows site visitors to submit questions regarding accounting as it applies to a business valuation, health care reform, and a number of other financial topics.

Dear Drebit was created by Rea and Associates, an Ohio certified public accounting Firm. They have been in existence since 1938 and currently have 11 offices across the state of Ohio.

Breakfast mushrooms on toast


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Breakfast mushrooms on toast

Herby cheese is melted over the tops of these large mushrooms to create the perfect vegetarian breakfast.

Breakfast mushrooms on toast


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 lemon, rind finely grated
  • 4 large flat mushrooms, stalks trimmed
  • 4 thick slices sourdough bread
  • 40g Boursin herbs and garlic cheese

What startups need to keep going… On a budget


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When starting a new business its often difficult to understand exactly how to keep costs down.

Yes you can create a budget and business plan to keep your costings low but you never really understand how budgets can be blown out of the water.

Startup businesses don’t have a wonderful money tree growing in their backyard and if they do then tell me how I can get some seeds.

Peter Daisyme is a contributor for entrepreneur online and he has writing an amazing article which I’m going to share.

Here are six budget friendly tools that you will want to add right now:

1. Web design.

A professional website makes that first impression you need to make as a startup. It establishes the perception of what your company offers in the mind of visitors. You may not think you have the budget for a stunning website design, but Wix proves you do and gives it to you for free. The company has an extensive library of website design templates that can be customized to give you an instant presence without resorting to learning coding in your spare time. You can even get an optimized design to ensure when potential customers find you on their smartphones, you still look great and work effectively for their needs.

2. Staffing.

As you get going, you most likely will have to give up some of those hats you are wearing and staff up. However, you are most likely not in a position to hire full or even part-time employees. Tapping into the freelance market on a project-by-project basis is a great way to better manage limited resources.

UpWork gives you access to some of the top talent today in all areas, including web and mobile development, writers, designers, virtual assistants, customer service reps and more. You can even hire a team to work for you on a limited basis. However you decide to use UpWork, you set the price.

3. Project management.

After gathering up the talent you need to help launch your startup, you need to stay on top of the work they are producing for you. That’s hard when most of them are be virtual. After all, the more productivity you can get from your team, the more effectively your investment is working for you, the faster you can get to market and the sooner you gain traction.

Wrike gives you an online place to meet, collaborate, discuss and share documents plus offers project management capability to track time, create tasks and monitor roles and responsibilities. It’s free for five users who just need task management features. You can upgrade for more features that include collaboration for $49 per month or $99 per month for up to 15 users.

4. Advertising.

Online advertising is an integral tactic for building traction, but it is too expensive when you’re not getting the leads and traffic you need. That’s where a company like Clickbooth makes a significant difference without busting the advertising budget. Its Cost-Per-Action (CPA) model means that you only pay for these leads or sales that you get from each campaign, rather than paying a flat-rate marketing fee. This model helps you maintain your tight budget while getting the results you need to attract attention and grow your startup’s revenues.

5. Content marketing.

You need to get people to your website plus you have to convince them to stay and return. Your content has to rank high in search engines and get you in front of your target audience.

To help you achieve that, Searchmetrics goes beyond search engine optimization. For $49 per month it offers search experience optimization, research tools to analyze your rankings and the competition’s rankings, historic keyword rankings and other tools to drive your digital media strategy. That works no matter how limited is your marketing budget.

6. Payment acceptance.

The more types of payment you can accept, the more likely you are to attract customers and get paid quickly. However, payment processing companies often charge “an arm and a leg” or even the whole body, making it difficult to expand your payment acceptance types. PayFirma changes with a solution that accepts all types of payment types from any device.

The company only charges 1.99 percent and 25 cents per transaction. It’s smallest plan is just $25 per month. For this fee, you are allowed five users and daily sales reports plus the ability to do both web and mobile transactions.

7. Referral program.

Referrals get traction because you have others spreading the news about your company. Referral Candy sweetens the referral pot by doing the work for you of creating a custom, automated referral program to fit your store and budget. The refer-a-friend model offers a reward structure to fit your budget. It can include promotions, discounts, free products or more to entice your customers to share a link. It also helps to track the process for you. It comes with a 30-day trial and various levels. For example, the small program is $25 per month or 7.5 percent of monthly referral sales. It includes all the regular features and unlimited visitors and advocates plus technical support response time of within 24 hours of contact.

With all this assistance at such a low cost, you can focus on your core business and build it out in a way that does so much more with so very little.

6 Things Parents Should Stop Doing, to Raise ‘Business-Smart’ Kids


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Parenting is something I am good at because I don’t have kids.

You can leave them with me for a few hours but thats it… I don’t want to see them after that, unless they are super cute and help me pick up.

But there is something that my father and mother always taught me. Be BUSINESS SMART!

Kids these days believe they are entitled to things and they believe they should be given instead of working for it.

It was refreshing to read Peter Gasca article on entrepreneur.com.

The full article is below.

My generation, Generation X, was widely believed to be the first in U.S. history to not do as well as our parents’ generation had. There were many reasons for this, but the primary one was the speculation that everything “good” that could be invented had already been invented. How could we possibly do any better?

Then came the Internet.

The World Wide Web, along with the ten “flatteners” that Thomas Friedman laid out in The World is Flat, opened and brought together global markets, ushering in an exciting new era of innovation and entrepreneurship. The result? One could argue that we and thegeneration after us are doing just fine.

But what about the generation after that? The future business leaders who have yet to hit puberty or even start walking? If we are to raise the next group of leaders and entrepreneurs — or at least adults with the skills to succeed — I believe we must look closely at how we instill the traits necessary to survive and thrive in the new global business environment.

Parents must step up. Here are six things they need to do — or not do — to ensure we raise the next generation of business leaders properly.

1. Stop hovering.

Helicopter parents are everywhere. It’s gotten to the point that children on leashes is a sight I see more often than I care to admit. I even see the implications of “hovering” around my own kids, in the evil eyes and subtle gasps I get as I let my daughter climb a jungle gym with no harness, helmet or safety rope.

The problem with hovering parents, however, is that with no space, children never learn to embrace and appreciate independence, a vital variable in building and developing confidence at an early age.

So, give your children some space. Allow them to fall and scrape their knees once in a while. Just remember that they will inevitably fall and get “scraped up” (figuratively speaking) someday, so it is far better to be around when they do than when they venture out and experience failure for the first time alone.

2. Stop defaulting to electronics.

OK, I get it. Sometimes the utter joy of silence after answering to “Mommy, Mommy” or “Daddy, Daddy” for the hundredth time can be an incredible incentive for putting your kids in front of a tablet or the television. But television and many children’s apps are stifling our children’s imagination. Today, we get toys with prepackaged characters and television shows that provide everything from the character’s voice to any number of plots.

Gone are the days when children had to rely on their imaginations as they played.

While some screen time on television, electronics or games, can be useful — assuming the right programs/apps are provided and consumedin moderation — time with physical toys that encourage imaginative play, build creative skills and require critical thinking is important for children. Simple toys like building blocks, coloring books, play sets and even just household items can go a long way in this regard.

It is amazing what you can do with an oversized cardboard box and a fresh set of markers.

While parents play an important role in moderating play, they should allow and encourage their children to engage in unstructured free playas often as possible.

3. Stop giving ribbons for everything.

My daughter brings home a ribbon every day after gymnastics class — even though she still hasn’t mastered the forward straddle roll. Of course, I understand why: She is 4 years old, and her teachers are trying to instill confidence and a sense of achievement.

The problem is that when she finally reaches that point in her life when she is not rewarded for doing exactly what is expected of her, she might lose the confidence we as a society spent so much time and so many ribbons trying to build.

In the end, ribbons are the lazy way of dealing with the issue of losing.

We need to understand that for many people motivation is based on a drive to be the best. Take out “the best” from the equation, and motivation is lost. Granted, I understand that a win-lose environment may hurt more people than it helps, but I would argue that when only a few people are allowed to win, we either learn to deal with the disappointment or we strive to get better. If we want to raise well-rounded kids, parents need to instill the latter goal.

4. Stop saying “no” to everything.

I love going to the homes of new parents, with their pristine floors, wine racks at ground level and clean white couches. Inevitably I am told that the house is safe because their children “aren’t going to be like other kids.”

That may be true, but in fact children need to be like other kids. They need to explore and engage their imagination, follow adventurous insights and dabble in new interests and hobbies. Often, these activities come in the form of permanent markers on a clean wall, a new toy in the bathtub or a spilled bag of flour in the living room. Our children need the creativity and critical thinking that these valuable experiences and lessons encourage at a young age and ultimately translate into valuable adult skills.

5. Stop teaching that failure is bad.

We strive for our children to be the best. Achieving high marks in school, earning first place in a club sport or winning at a science fair are all important and admirable goals. More important, however, is how we teach our children to fail, because they will fail at some point. And, as most business leaders will tell you, failure is common and indeed necessary on the road to success.

In times of failure, it is parents’ responsibility to pick up our kids, dust them off and turn those failures into teachable moments. We need to instill in them the ability to see lessons through these failures, mistakes and errors. We need to promote risk-taking and allow our kids to take chances, fail and move on.

Instead of teaching our children to always strive for perfection, we should encourage them to strive for improvement.

6. Stop blaming everyone else for your children’s shortcomings.

Finally, we should stop looking at our children as perfect little bundles of DNA. Children are by default illiterate, uncoordinated and generally ignorant; and while that may sometimes make them insufferable, it is our responsibility as parents to deal with it.

Instead of blaming society, culture, media, teachers, doctors or the weather for when our children misbehave or underperform, stop for a second and consider the level of responsibility you have as a parent. Remember, parents are the number one influence on a child’s development, so before you blame someone else for an imperfect child, consider making changes at home.

Italian pork sausage pasta bake


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This flavoursome Italian pork sausage bake can be made ahead in preparation for those nights when you are short on time.


  • 500g Italian pork sausages
  • 1 bunch fresh sage
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 500g savoy cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) dry white wine
  • 300ml light thickened cream for cooking
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 500g dried rigatoni pasta
  • 90g (1 1/4 cups) parmesan, finely grated
  • 105g (1 1/2 cups) fresh sourdough breadcrumbs (from day-old bread)

Why Finding Customers is hard!


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Want your business to appear on The HugoInga Blog? All you have to do is click on this hyperlink and choose an option. We reach thousands of Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. We’ve helped to kickstart hundreds of Businesses through our blog. 

I know its been a while since I last put up a post but its been a busy time in the office as we are expanding rapidly.

We are opening offices in Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide.

The number one questions people ask me is how do I find customers or readers. Its a hard process and sometimes I ask myself the same question. Customers come and go but how do you reestablish yourself?

How to get started.

It’s never too early to focus on creating new products or repackaging existing products for new markets. Here are five steps for doing so:

1. Plan ahead. While you’re developing your startup, you should already be thinking about a secondary market. Position your product from the get-go knowing that you’ll want to expand, and build this plan into your overall launch strategy.

2. Define your secondary market. A secondary market can be as specific as an age group or as broad as an entirely new vertical. Use your company’s mission and goals, as well as market research, to drive just how vast your expansion is.

3. Walk before running. Make a timeline of your launch strategy, and take things incrementally. Don’t try to tackle everything at once; wait until you’ve successfully penetrated your primary market before diving into the secondary one.

4. Refine your marketing. Be prepared to adjust your marketing strategy once your secondary market opens up, but don’t do anything too drastic; you still need to appeal to your primary market. Funding a new strategy can be hard for many businesses with limited or no marketing staff, but the extra revenue that a secondary market brings in can reduce the impact of higher costs.

5. Stay focused. Always remember that your primary market is the core of your business. Never take it for granted, and never neglect it. Your secondary market is just that — secondary. The best way to avoid neglecting your core market is by constantly listening to customers, using metrics, tracking sales and incorporating feedback into improvement. Consider having separate teams dedicated to each market that are both searching for ways to improve your product, customer service and marketing techniques.

As an entrepreneur, I know you’re faced with so many distractions every day. But if you can resist the temptation of short-term gains and focus on tapping into new markets, you’ll find yourself enjoying success long into the future.

Think twice before pursuing a ‘dream’ acting career


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THEY make it look so glamorous.

Splashed across our television screens and on the pages of magazine, actors are our Gods.

But a new study has found that the profession is not all it’s cracked up to be — even for those who manage to find paid work doing what they love.

Researchers from the University of Sydney surveyed 782 working actors and found they had significantly higher levels of depression, anxiety and stress than the general population, coupled with dangerous substance use.

Women actors spoke out about sexual harassment both in training and in the profession.

More than one third of actors surveyed reported drinking alcohol to help cope with problems related to their performing careers, and 80 per cent used illegal or legal drugs.

“Actors also reported tolerance in the face of otherwise debilitating complaints and ailments associated with their work, often choosing to keep working in circumstances in which they report experiencing serious and often long-term symptoms,” Prof Maxwell said.

Many of those surveyed reported using alcohol and drugs to cope with the pressure and burden of their acting careers, and a quarter had experienced “debilitating performance anxiety”.

The pairing of intoxicating substances and artistic talent has long been romanticised, but the reality is that it can be an actor’s undoing — just ask Robert Downey, Jr.

Acting has been a wild ride for Robert Downey, Jr.

Acting has been a wild ride for Robert Downey, Jr.Source:Supplied

At the height of his addiction, Downey, Jr could not hold down a role; last month, clean and sober, he was named the world’s highest-paid actor. Let’s not talk about Lindsay Lohan.

Hollywood star Ethan Hawke recently spoke out about the issue while promoting his latest project, a biopic about American jazz trumpeter Chet Baker.

“I had a friend who directed Elizabeth Taylor and she had this theory that she was better when she was drunk,” Hawke told the Guardian.

“She wasn’t, it’s just that she was less nervous. She enjoyed it more drunk. Well, guess what? So would I.”

He said while some performers convinced themselves that substance abuse furthered their art, “there’s another path to get there”.

Hawke said many entertainers struggled with self belief, making them vulnerable to addiction.

Associate Professor Ian Maxwell said the Sydney University study “confirms what people in the industry know and talk about”.

“Actors are highly skilled, low paid workers, who experience anxiety, stress, and, most seriously, depression at high levels,” Prof Maxwell said.

“They drink at a rate that is likely to lead to serious health problems,”

He said income stress played a large part in actors’ woes, as did bullying and harassment — with disturbing reports of verbal abuse, sexism and homophobia on set.

Red carpet invitations don’t pay the bills for Vince Colosimo. Picture: Julie Kiriacoudis

Red carpet invitations don’t pay the bills for Vince Colosimo. Picture: Julie KiriacoudisSource:News Corp Australia

Despite being household names photographed on red carpets and gracing the pages of gossip magazines, many actors struggled to make ends meet.

Being an AFI award winning actor was no help to Vince Colosimo when he faced potential bankruptcy over a $36,000 debt dispute in 2013.

Despite an impressive list of television and movie roles that have seen him work alongside the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Colosimo works part-time as a tradesman to make ends meet.

Speaking on behalf of the actor at his court case for a driving offence last year, lawyer Patrick Dwyer said Colosimo worked hard just to stay afloat, as reported by the Herald Sun.

“Acting life is not highly remunerative,” Mr Dwyer told the court. “He sands, he paints, he cleans building sites in between acting roles.”

Sydney actor Alixandra Kupcik said she was not surprised by the study’s findings.

“I have seen people come in intoxicated to rehearsals. I remember when ice became popular, a lot of actors I know got involved, because they didn’t know what it was. They used it because it made them confident,” she said.

“I know some actors who are alcoholic and it’s ruined their careers, because people won’t work with them anymore. And while they can be incredibly talented, it’s just a loose cannon.”

Kupcik said while actors tended to be highly skilled and intelligent, some were “not very resourceful” and struggled to supplement their income.

Sydney actor Alixandra Kupcik works fulltime in real estate to make ends meet.

Sydney actor Alixandra Kupcik works fulltime in real estate to make ends meet.Source:news.com.au

“Most actors don’t have business minds,” she said.

“It creates a lot of pressure. Instead of doing what you love because you love it, you’re then stressed because what you’re doing doesn’t give you financial rewards.”

Kupcik, who works as a Personal Assistant in the real estate industry while running her production company, said she tired on living on a shoestring.

“In the early days, it was enough for me, but things were more affordable back then,” she said.

“But then as you get older you want more things. I started to resent it — there was no financial satisfaction and it does cause stress. So I started to look at it as a hobby, and that helped me to like it again.”

Juggling it all meant she was “working around the clock”, putting in a full day’s work and rushing off to rehearsals and auditions, which “always come up at the last minute”.

“I’ve put so much into it so far that if I was to give it up, it just wouldn’t feel right. Because you never know what’s around the corner.”

The Sydney University study’s co-authors Dr Marianna Szabo and Dr Mark Seton called on actor training schools to take action to address performers’ wellbeing, and said an industry-wide approach was needed to help actors “cool down” after a performance.

“Work practices of warming up exist, but training institutions and theatres must do more to support actors cool down to help them reground into everyday life and relationships,” Dr Seton said.

— Some 40 per cent of actors surveyed had difficulties relaxing or “letting go” after performing an emotionally and physically demanding role.

— More than 80 per cent reported financial stress being an issue in their lives at least some of the time, with 40 per cent earning less than $10,000 from their trade each financial year.

— Younger actors are more likely to report symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress than those aged over 55 years.

— Work peaked for actors in the study around the age of 30 to 32.

from news.com.au

Vegan shepherd’s pie


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#Recipeoftheday Vegan shepherd’s pie. Wholesome and comforting, a rich, hearty filling topped with gorgeous root-veg mash and zesty breadcrumbs for a super-crisp finish makes this dish really special.


1250_1_1436960312_lrg600 g Maris Piper potatoes
600 g sweet potatoes
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
40 g dairy-free margarine
1 onion
2 carrots
3 cloves of garlic
2 sticks of celery
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
olive oil
½ a small bunch of thyme
350 g chestnut mushrooms
12 sun-dried tomatoes
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
vegan red wine
100 ml organic vegetable stock
1 x 400 g tin of lentils
1 x 400 g tin of chickpeas
5 sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
zest of 1 lemon
30 g fresh breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6.

Peel and chop all the potatoes into rough 2cm chunks. Place the Maris Pipers into a large pan of cold salted water over a medium heat. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until tender, adding the sweet potatoes after 5 minutes. Drain and leave to steam dry, then return to the pan with the margarine and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mash until smooth, then set aside.

Peel and finely slice the onion, carrots and 2 garlic cloves, then trim and finely slice the celery. Bash the coriander seeds in a pestle and mortar until fine, then add it all to a medium pan over a medium heat with a good splash of olive oil. Pick in the thyme leaves, then cook for around 10 minutes, or until softened.

Meanwhile, roughly chop the mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes. Add to the pan along with the vinegar and 2 tablespoons of the sun-dried tomato oil from the jar. Cook for a further 10 minutes then add a splash of wine, turn up the heat, and allow it to boil and bubble away. Stir in the stock, lentils and chickpeas (juice and all), then leave it to tick away for 5 to 10 minutes, or until slightly thickened and reduced. Pick and roughly chop the parsley leaves, then stir into the pan. Season to taste, then transfer to a large baking dish (roughly 25cm x 30cm).

Spread the mash over the top, scuffing it up with the back of a spoon. Finely slice the remaining garlic clove, then place into a bowl with the rosemary leaves, lemon zest, breadcrumbs and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Mix well, sprinkle over the mash, then place in the hot oven for around 10 minutes, or until piping hot through. Place under the grill for a further 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden, then serve with your favourite greens.

9 Things Managers Do That Make Good Employees Quit


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Want your business to appear on The HugoInga Blog? All you have to do is click on this hyperlink and choose an option. We reach thousands of Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. We’ve helped to kickstart hundreds of Businesses through our blog. 

It’s pretty incredible how often you hear managers complaining about their best employees leaving, and they really do have something to complain about—few things are as costly and disruptive as good people walking out the door.

Managers tend to blame their turnover problems on everything under the sun, while ignoring the crux of the matter: people don’t leave jobs; they leave managers.

The sad thing is that this can easily be avoided. All that’s required is a new perspective and some extra effort on the manager’s part.

First, we need to understand the nine worst things that managers do that send good people packing.

1. They overwork people.

Nothing burns good employees out quite like overworking them. It’s so tempting to work your best people hard that managers frequently fall into this trap. Overworking good employees is perplexing; it makes them feel as if they’re being punished for great performance. Overworking employees is also counterproductive. New research from Stanford shows that productivity per hour declines sharply when the workweek exceeds 50 hours, and productivity drops off so much after 55 hours that you don’t get anything out of working more.

If you must increase how much work your talented employees are doing, you’d better increase their status as well. Talented employees will take on a bigger workload, but they won’t stay if their job suffocates them in the process. Raises, promotions, and title-changes are all acceptable ways to increase workload. If you simply increase workload because people are talented, without changing a thing, they will seek another job that gives them what they deserve.

2. They don’t recognize contributions and reward good work.

It’s easy to underestimate the power of a pat on the back, especially with top performers who are intrinsically motivated. Everyone likes kudos, none more so than those who work hard and give their all. Managers need to communicate with their people to find out what makes them feel good (for some, it’s a raise; for others, it’s public recognition) and then to reward them for a job well done. With top performers, this will happen often if you’re doing it right.

3. They don’t care about their employees.

More than half of people who leave their jobs do so because of their relationship with their boss. Smart companies make certain their managers know how to balance being professional with being human. These are the bosses who celebrate an employee’s success, empathize with those going through hard times, and challenge people, even when it hurts. Bosses who fail to really care will always have high turnover rates. It’s impossible to work for someone eight-plus hours a day when they aren’t personally involved and don’t care about anything other than your production yield.

4. They don’t honor their commitments.

Making promises to people places you on the fine line that lies between making them very happy and watching them walk out the door. When you uphold a commitment, you grow in the eyes of your employees because you prove yourself to be trustworthy and honorable (two very important qualities in a boss). But when you disregard your commitment, you come across as slimy, uncaring, and disrespectful. After all, if the boss doesn’t honor his or her commitments, why should everyone else?

5. They hire and promote the wrong people.

Good, hard-working employees want to work with like-minded professionals. When managers don’t do the hard work of hiring good people, it’s a major demotivator for those stuck working alongside them. Promoting the wrong people is even worse. When you work your tail off only to get passed over for a promotion that’s given to someone who glad-handed their way to the top, it’s a massive insult. No wonder it makes good people leave.

6. They don’t let people pursue their passions.

Talented employees are passionate. Providing opportunities for them to pursue their passions improves their productivity and job satisfaction. But many managers want people to work within a little box. These managers fear that productivity will decline if they let people expand their focus and pursue their passions. This fear is unfounded. Studies show that people who are able to pursue their passions at work experience flow, a euphoric state of mind that is five times more productive than the norm.

7. They fail to develop people’s skills.

When managers are asked about their inattention to employees, they try to excuse themselves, using words such as “trust,” “autonomy,” and “empowerment.” This is complete nonsense. Good managers manage, no matter how talented the employee. They pay attention and are constantly listening and giving feedback.

Management may have a beginning, but it certainly has no end. When you have a talented employee, it’s up to you to keep finding areas in which they can improve to expand their skill set. The most talented employees want feedback—more so than the less talented ones—and it’s your job to keep it coming. If you don’t, your best people will grow bored and complacent.

8. They fail to engage their creativity.

The most talented employees seek to improve everything they touch. If you take away their ability to change and improve things because you’re only comfortable with the status quo, this makes them hate their jobs. Caging up this innate desire to create not only limits them, it limits you.

9. They fail to challenge people intellectually.

Great bosses challenge their employees to accomplish things that seem inconceivable at first. Instead of setting mundane, incremental goals, they set lofty goals that push people out of their comfort zones. Then, good managers do everything in their power to help them succeed. When talented and intelligent people find themselves doing things that are too easy or boring, they seek other jobs that will challenge their intellects.

Bringing it all together

If you want your best people to stay, you need to think carefully about how you treat them. While good employees are as tough as nails, their talent gives them an abundance of options. You need to make themwant to work for you.

version of this article first appeared at TalentSmart.com.

Strawberry french toast


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Strawberry french toast


  • 250g punnet strawberries, hulled, halved
  • 1/4 cup (40g) icing sugar mixture
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 40g butter, chopped
  • 1 loaf Coles Bakery Pane di casa, cut into 8 slices
  • 2 tablespoons icing sugar mixture, extra
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, extra
  • Strawberries, extra, halved, to serve

Saltimbocca with borlotti beans


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Cook your way to this Italian favourite and say hello, flavour country. True to its Italian name, this succulent pork wrapped in prosciutto with a gooey mozzarella centre literally jumps in the mouth.

Saltimbocca with borlotti beans


  • 4 (410g) pork loin medallions
  • 4 large fresh sage leaves
  • 85g mozzarella, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 420g jar Sacla Cherry Tomato Arrabbiata pasta sauce
  • 4 wide slices prosciutto
  • 60g baby spinach leaves
  • 400g can borlotti beans, rinsed, drained
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) chicken stock
  • Soft polenta, to serve

Australia’s sick note culture: Why we’re reaching breaking point


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Like Ferris Bueller, most of us desperately need a day off. But we’re not using our leave

Like Ferris Bueller, most of us desperately need a day off. But we’re not using our leave. Source: Supplied

AUSTRALIA’S fulltime workers have a mammoth 124 million days of annual leave stored up, or 21 days per person.

Yet more than a third of us say we’re sometimes so overwhelmed with work we would take a sick day.

Something’s not right here. We’ve become a nation of stressed, unfulfilled workers, too afraid of letting our co-workers down to take time off, but mentally and physically running ourselves into the ground.

When we do take leave, it’s often not even relaxing. We get on a plane just hours after leaving work and we’re back in the office the day we get home. A “staycation” means filling our time with jobs: catching up on housework, caring for the kids or checking our email five times a day.

“We need to readjust how we think about annual leave,” workplace psychologist Sabina Read told news.com.au. “It’s for recreation, yet we often associate it with guilt over our mounting pile of work, what people will think and what we’ll return to.”

If you feel this way at work, it’s time to do something about it.

If you feel this way at work, it’s time to do something about it. Source: Supplied

In a tongue-in-cheek ad for Destination Queenstown, comedian Dan Ilic lists the ways we can lie to our bosses to get an extra day off work for a long weekend — but there’s a serious side to the story. The tourism board found that Aussies are flocking to New Zealand’s top snow resort in spring, and 20 per cent of us will use a sick day to get that Monday off.

We’re spending winter battling into work despite wheezing coughs and colds, before reaching breaking point at this time of year. Either we’re so rundown we get ill, or we end up using a sick day to recuperate. As many as one in five Australians admit to “piggybacking” off illnesses sweeping their office, Destination Queenstown revealed.

The pressure of not using our leave is becoming so great the stress is spilling into the rest of our lives — our relationships, parenting and self-confidence. “The cost is high,” Dr Read said. “People are saying they can’t go on.”

One in 10 Australians have reached the point where they’ve actually called in sick from a holiday destination. Getting this unhappy is not only bad for our personal lives, but makes us less effective at work, and less interested in our job. It makes business sense to encourage people to take their annual leave.

Yet in June, the Fair Work Commission granted businesses the right to let employees“cash out” up to two weeks’ paid leave per year. Unions said the decision could lead to a troubling situation where cashing out, rather than taking holiday, becomes the norm. “Annual leave is for rest and recreation — exchanging it for cash defeats its purpose,” Australian Council of Trade Unions president Ged Kearney said.

Dr Read said the solution was for employers to make their staff feel like it was a positive thing to take leave. “I’d love to see companies create a culture of expecting people to take leave, so people don’t take sickies instead. The first thing is to role model. If people at the top are taking short breaks and long ones, they’re saying it’s OK to do the same,” she said.

“Sometimes people think they’re owed sick days because of overwork. We can’t communicate our needs for fear of recrimination. It’s like having an affair when your marriage isn’t working.”

She said workers needed to take responsibility for their own wellbeing, too. “It’s healthy to have a conversation if you’re doing extra hours or overloaded. It might be helpful to put something in writing and see if even part can be negotiated.

“If employers value their workers, hopefully they’ll appreciate them speaking up. It doesn’t mean you’re not good at your job or committed.”

Workers in wholesale, public administration, defence and agriculture are least likely to use their holidays, while people who work in construction, communications and leisure are most likely to take their annual leave, according to Roy Morgan research. And our unused leave is rising steadily, by 24 million days since 2006.

“We need to deal with the fear,” Dr Read said. “If you don’t identify the barrier, the resentment may build throughout the office. Some kind of break is vital for all of us.

“Leave needs to include the whole gamut of experiences: learning new things, meeting different people, experiencing different cultures and just down time.”

Our sick day habits and lack of proper time off just isn’t sustainable. If we start treating relaxation as an important part of our lives, we’ll be happier, more productive people.

From news.com.au

Tax myth busted: This is going to hurt

Want your business to appear on The HugoInga Blog? All you have to do is click on this hyperlink and choose an option. We reach thousands of Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. We’ve helped to kickstart hundreds of Businesses through our blog. 

There’s no such thing as pain-free tax reform.

There’s no such thing as pain-free tax reform. Source: News Limited

TAX reform without people being left worse off is a myth, an economic advisory company warns today.

There is going to be unfairness, possibly for lower wage earners, and without the pain the tax system will not be fixed, says a Deloitte Access Economics analysis of fiscal “myths”.

But it also says the reforms — which could include a rise in the GST and lower company tax — are needed to repair the economy and sustain funding for benefit programs.

“Tax reform is mostly a prosperity story — if you can shift from ‘bad taxes’ to better ones then you can make Australia more popular,” says the report.

Even the good news in the analysis is counterbalanced.

The Deloitte report on tax reform myths says bracket creep — when wage rises push workers into higher tax brackets but inflation lowers the buying power of pay — isn’t as bad as others have forecast.

The Government is promising to take income tax cut plans to the next election to ease what is also known as fiscal drag.

The usual estimate is 80 per cent of tax revenue growth will come from income tax paid by bracket creep casualties. The report says it’s just 10 per cent of increased tax by 2018-19. That’s good.

However, the reason that much money will not be taken from us is not so good: Wage increases are at a record low. We are not getting the pay raises needed to push us into those punitive tax levels.

Another “myth” the report challenges is that middle income earners would be the worst hit by reform. In fact lower income earners are the most at risk of having their tax payments riser. And they could lose some welfare benefits in the process as their income exceeds the means

test threshold.

“Federal Treasury’s estimates of the impact of tax reform are effectively based on a simple assumption: some people can only be better off to the extent that others are worse off,” says the report.

“So if you hear commentators demanding ‘no one can be worse off’ as a result of tax reform then what you are actually hearing is someone saying, ‘We can never have tax reform.”

The Government might not have the money to compensate all who would pay more tax under changes, but the report rules out waiting until the Budget gets better.

“After a decade in which we’ve voted for everything from family benefits to disability insurance and tax cuts, Australia now spends rather more than it raises in revenue,” it says.

“So you should be rightly suspicious of tax ‘reform’ plans that are merely proposals for tax cuts.

“Only treat them seriously if they come stapled to matching detailed proposals to cut spending or to raise other taxes. “If they don’t then do yourself a favour and file them cylindrically.”

This article first appeared on news.com.au

Breakfast is for lovers


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Brisbane friends, family lend me your bellies…

Breakfast trifles

Breakfast trifles


  • 2 oranges, juiced
  • 55g (1/4 cup) caster sugar
  • 750g strawberries, hulled, sliced into rounds
  • 200g brioche, fruit bread or day-old muffins, cut into 1.5cm cubes
  • 375g (1 1/3 cups) Greek-style yoghurt

Crunchy muesli

  • 180g (2 cups) rolled oats
  • 40g (2/3 cup) wheat bran
  • 150g slivered almonds
  • 100g Brazil nuts, roughly chopped
  • 100g (1/2 cup) pepitas (green pumpkin seeds)
  • 35g (1/4 cup) sunflower seeds
  • 55g (1/4 cup firmly packed) brown sugar
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 orange, zested
  • 115g (1/3 cup) honey
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Salted chocolate tart with candied mandarin


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Want your business to appear on The HugoInga Blog? All you have to do is click on this hyperlink and choose an option. We reach thousands of Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. We’ve helped to kickstart hundreds of Businesses through our blog. 

Being healthy has it upsides but then again being naughty has its benefits…

Our boss found this amazing recipe on taste.com.au and now we are inlove with it. If we finish all our work tonight and complete the research that needs to be done the he said he would make this for us.

But if you make it before him send in your pictures or hashtag #hugoingacompany on Instagram.

Salted chocolate tart with candied mandarin


  • 435g packet Careme vanilla bean sweet shortcrust pastry
  • 2 mandarins
  • 1 1/2 cups (375ml) thickened cream
  • 300g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 75g softened unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier or other orange-flavoured liqueur
  • 1 cup (220g) caster sugar
  • 1 mandarin, extra, finely grated and juiced

How the rich get richer


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Many people wonder how the rich get richer… No they don’t screw people out of money and no they don’t up their prices.

It may not seem fair, but the fact is the “income gap” is increasing and most financial experts only see this trend continuing with no end in sight.

I read an amazing article by Brandon Turner a contributor for Entrepreneur.com and VP of Growth at biggerpockets.com.

Here are  some of the excerpts from his article.

In preparation for this column, I sat down with someone who knows far more wealthy people than I will likely ever meet: Jeff Rose. Rose is a certified financial planner, author and blogger atGoodFinancialCents.com, as well as a millionaire himself, who dedicates a good portion of his time to helping people become, and stay, wealthy.

I asked Rose why he thought the income gap was growing. He mentioned five primary things that wealthy people simply do differently than the rest of the world. Here are those five, in no particular order.

1. They take risks.

Rose explains that the wealthiest people he works with routinely “throw spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks.” In other words, they try a lot of different things, knowing that a lot of it will fail.

They take those risks because they know that failure is just part of the process in discovering what will truly work to build more wealth. Furthermore, as Rose explains, the rejection of those ideas invigorates the wealthy into finding what will work, a stark contrast to most of the population that simply looks at failure as a road block.

2. They invest in themselves.

According to Rose, “wealthy people don’t look at the money spent on personal growth as an expense, but an investment.”

While many individuals conserve every penny equally, the wealthy understand that strategically investing in themselves will produce a far greater return than any stock, real-estate investment or business venture.

Whether it’s purchasing a book, hiring a coach, joining a paid mastermind group or another source of paid self-improvement, the wealthy see this as an investment. Do you?

3. They associate with those they want to emulate.

When the human body gets too hot, it produces sweat in an attempt to cool down. When it becomes too cold, it shivers to produce heat. In other words, the human body is constantly adapting to keep its temperature at the same comfortable spot. This automatic leveling is a biological process known as homeostasis and is found in numerous aspects of life.

From human biology to the temperature of the earth to a car’s cruise control to the thermostat in your house, homeostasis is a fact of life that governs nearly every aspect of your existence. And, as the wealthy have discovered, homeostasis can also be a powerful way to build wealth.

As Rose stated bluntly to me, “If you want to be rich, hang around rich people.”

Or as financial TV personality Dave Ramsey often says, “if there are four broke people in a room, you’ll be the fifth.”

Wealthy people have discovered that they can grow their wealth simply by associating with those who are even more wealthy. Humans pick up the habits and strategies of those in their immediate surroundings, and the wealthy have learned to use this homeostasis to their advantage.

4. They have a dedicated morning ritual.

While most of the world is hitting the snooze button 14 times in a row each morning, the wealthy have already begun increasing their net worth.

“Most of the multi-millionaires I know have a dedicated routine, a ritual, that they do each and every morning,” Rose says.

This morning ritual could include exercise, affirmations, goal reviews, breakfast or whatever else helps them start their days with a bang. They start strong, accomplishing more before noon than more people accomplish in a week.

For those struggling to get started each morning on the right foot, Rose recommends two books:

In my own life, I’ve found this truth incredibly powerful. Since instituing a morning routine, I’ve quadrupled my income, written and published a bestselling real-estate investing book, lost 10 pounds, bought my dream house and deepened my relationship with my wife. Not bad for just a few minutes each morning of dedicated routine.

5. They review their goals consistently.

Finally, according to Rose, the rich have clearly defined goals and continually review them to track their progress, make changes and develop strategies for meeting those goals. This process of immediate feedback allows the wealthy to make quick changes to their plans to keep the course in a rapidly-changing world.

While most of the human population gives little to no thought on their futures, the wealthy are reminded daily of where they are headed. Like a family taking a cross-country trip in their minivan, the rich have their road map spread out on the dashboard so they can navigate the fastest, easiest route to their destinations.

Rose admits that the wealth gap is far more complicated than a simple “five-point blog post.” However, he continually witnesses these five traits guiding the lives of those who are getting richer and has used them in his own life to create multiple businesses and build some serious wealth himself.

It is a great perspective and people should take note of some of these concepts. It won’t make you rich quickly but it will help increase your bank account slowly.

5 Steps to Grow Your Business Through … Happiness


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Happiness sits atop the pinnacle of human needs and is the ultimate goal behind our lives’ endeavours.

Even an entrepreneur’s relentless quest for a thriving business is fuelled by the belief that his or her business will lead to happiness. But what if, instead of happiness being your destination, it played a role whileyou were growing your business? There is certainly evidence of success among brands that focus on an ideal which goes beyond the product and service they sell.

I recently discovered a whole set of such companies, all dedicated to teaching businesses how to use happiness in their business models.

One of them was Delivering Happiness. I had an inspiring chat with the company’s “chief happiness officer,” Jenn Lim. Turns out that applying happiness is not about simply having great service or needing to be content all the time, as Lim told me. Instead, applying happiness means making this value intentional in the culture and experiencing it in daily activities, all of which are translated into better results.

Here are five steps to create your own happiness culture:

1. Commit to building the right culture.

If you want to build a long-term, sustainable brand, commit to building the right culture. Whether you root your business in happiness or another positive value, make your main objective one of generating the well-being of the customers you serve and the well-being of your employees. Demonstrate your intent by committing the time and financial resources to make these aims a core pillar of your business. Make a personal commitment to live, learn and build such a culture.

2. Define your core values.

Every individual has his or her own set of values, rooted in their upbringing, experiences and beliefs. If you are an entrepreneur, you are likely to instill your own values into your company. But don’t leave your employees guessing what those values are; take a stab at articulating them. First, write down your personal values and then those that you want your company to reflect.

How closely do they align? Establish core values that you can embody. Employees will appreciate your being real and transparent; and that appreciation will support the difference your business intends to make in the world.

3. Make each person feel like a part of a larger ideal.

Working for a meaningful purpose is more rewarding than for a monetary reward. Hopefully, the product or service you sell truly solves consumer needs, but if that is not obvious to your employees, they will likely be somewhat transactional and disengaged. What is the larger vision and greater purpose that you want to promote in your employees beyond money or profit?

As an entrepreneur, what would you be passionate about doing if you didn’t fear failure and didn’t make money for the next 10 years? Answer these questions to learn the bigger ideal for your business. Then make all your employees feel like part of it, so they can work passionately behind it.

4. Create a culture of positive interdependence  

Employees that get along are more likely to find common solutions to problems and reduce the stress of the internal transactions needed to get their work done. Spend some time thinking about the kind of environment and communication that can help you and employees build meaningful relationships. The goal is to create connectedness among employees so they have a positive reliance with and support for one other.

The output of a fulfilled team will translate into better customer interactions, better products and better ideas, which in turn will attract more new clients, more business opportunities and better recruits.

5. Build the right team and invest.

I believe in the premise of “hire slowly, fire quickly,” as it aptly describes the hard task of building the right team. It’s hard to find the right people, and equally hard to let people go. Yet you have to do both for the benefit of the team.

Use your well-defined set of values as filters to hire the best candidates who will not only embrace your culture but also help grow it. Once you have the right team members in place, invest in their personal development and share the wealth of your business with them via the appropriate rewards and recognition. Make success possible for everybody.

The culture of happiness can be seriously good for business. If you own a business or are trying to build a stronger brand, begin by committing to building the right culture and bringing happiness as a value more consistently into everything you do: how you lead, your intent for the products you sell and your treatment of your employees. Imagine how much businesses would soar if we all became the “chief happiness officers” of our work!

From entrepreneur.com

Pumpkin chilli con carne


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With heart disease on the rise in my family I try to take meat off the menu at least three times a week. I usually jump onto taste.com.au to see wha they have on offer. Tonight we will be eating this amazing vegetarian chilli con carne. It will spice up your night and you will feel a whole heap better.

Pumpkin chilli con carne


  • 1kg pumpkin, unpeeled, cut into thin wedges
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun spice mix
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red capsicum, chopped
  • 270g cooked black beans, drained, rinsed (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon salt-reduced tomato paste
  • 200g cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/4 cup coriander sprigs
  • 1/2 cup Light Greek yoghurt

Apple’s big September event: iPhone 6s, bigger iPad and new Apple TV


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Article from news.com.au

APPLE has showed off two new iPhones, a bigger iPad and an updated Apple TV during its biggest day of product announcements this year.

“We are about to make some monster announcements across several of our product lines,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said at the start of proceedings. He wasn’t lying.

The new iPad Pro boasts more power and better performance than any other before it, and features a super sharp 12.9-inch screen that can fit a full-size virtual keyboard.

While the new iPhones may look almost identical to last year’s models, practically everything else about them has been changed drastically.

A new Apple TV has finally been announced too, with a focus on apps, powerful new hardware and a new user interface.

iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus

Priced from $1079, the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus have both been unveiled as follow-up devices to last year’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Their appearance is almost identical to last year’s gadgets, although a new Rose Gold colour has been added.

“While they look familiar, we have changed everything about these new iPhones,” Cook said.

The new aluminium is said to be much stronger than before, as is the new glass that covers the display which is the same Ion-X that’s used on the Apple Watch Sport. Hopefully this means less scratches, screen shattering and no more bending.

Apple CEO Tim Cook shows off the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus

Apple CEO Tim Cook shows off the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus Source: AP

The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus have a new type of screen technology called 3D touch, which incorporates both multi-touch and Force Touch. This means it can detect gestures and open new menus based on how hard you press the display. So, if you press lightly it will do one thing, and if you press harder it will do something else.

“This is a dynamic system, deeply integrated into iOS 9,” Apple’s chief design officer Jony Ive said. “You can dip in and out of where you are without losing sense of your context.”

Pressing hard on the screen will allow you to zoom in on certain details. For instance, when someone asks you whether you’re free on a certain date, you can press on the date in question and a “snapview” of your calender on that day will pop up.

It works on the homescreen too. Apps like Facebook give you the option of updating your status or taking a photo just by pressing firmly on the app’s icon.

This is what happens when you press down on the Safari icon.

This is what happens when you press down on the Safari icon. Source: Supplied

Both new phones have received big internal updates, with a new A9 chip that’s 80 per cent faster than the iPhone 6 and has 90 per cent more graphics power. TouchID has been updated to work twice as fast too.

The other big iPhone announcement was a brand new 12-megapixel iSight camera, up from 8-megapixels, that can record video in 4K resolution. That’s four times clearer than full high-definition.

Apple’s presentation included photos that were taken using the iPhone 6s. There were portraits, landscape views and low-light photos. All of them looked sufficiently impressive.

Selfies are going to look better than ever, with a new 5-megapixel sensor and Apple now allowing you to use the screen as a front-facing camera flash. Hooray.

A new type of image called a “live photo” was also shown off. It’s a photo which plays a four-second video, complete with sound, when you press hard on it. If you’ve used a Nokia Lumia or HTC One device, they’ve both had very similar features in the past.

A new yearly upgrade system was announced for the United States, though Apple promised it will be coming to other markets as well. Essentially, the scheme will allow customers to lease their phones, paying $US32 per month for an unlocked and then picking their carrier. After 12 months, they will be able to trade in for a new model.

This is the new Rose Gold iPhone 6s colour.

This is the new Rose Gold iPhone 6s colour. Source: Supplied

The higher quality photos, along with all the apps, will take up more space, but the entry level model still has just 16GB of memory. Pricing is as follows:

iPhone 6s

16GB: $1079

64GB: $1229

128GB: $1379

iPhone 6s Plus

16GB: $1229

64GB: $1379

128GB: $1529

Both models will go on sale on September 25, with pre-orders starting on September 12. iOS 9 will be available on September 16 for existing iPhones.

The iPad Pro on the right next to the old iPad Air on the left.

The iPad Pro on the right next to the old iPad Air on the left. Source: Supplied


The iPad Pro’s screen is big enough to run full-sized iPad apps side-by-side when it is in landscape mode. Apple demonstrated that ability with the Microsoft Office suite, showing how you can edit and use data from both Word and Excel at the same time, and copy and past information from one document to the other.

Apple’s new A9X processor has “desktop class performance” with graphics twice as good as on last year’s iPad Air. It also boasts 1.8-times the processor speed with a 10-hour battery life.

“It can do things that a smartphone doesn’t do because it doesn’t have to sit in your pocket,” said Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller.

The specs for the new iPad Pro.

The specs for the new iPad Pro. Source: AFP

The capacity for sound has been upgraded as well. The new device has a four-speaker stereo system, even though the iPad Pro is just 6.9mm thick.

Apple also announced a physical keyboard case, much like Microsoft’s Surface series, with a special “woven fabric” that creates the structure of the keys. It uses a smart connector to power the keyboard and carry data to it, again like Microsoft’s Surface.

An Apple Pencil stylus will be available as an optional extra too, which can tilt and stroke and sense pressure. There will be a new Notes app update allowing you to draw and create diagrams with the pencil. It can be recharged using a built-in lightning connector that plugs directly into the bottom of the iPad Pro.

The iPad Pro starts at $US799, the Pencil at $US99 and keyboard at $US169 with Australian pricing expected later today. The release date is in November.

Apple has reinvented... the pencil?

Apple has reinvented… the pencil? Source: Supplied


The Apple TV has finally received an update, with a big emphasis on apps and a new operating system. It will finally support games, with a touchpad packed into the remote control, which will include motion sensors – yes, like a Wii remote.

Siri has been included, and Apple appears to want you to use her to navigate through the TV. You could, for instance, say “show me funny TV shows” to find the latest comedy hits, through the iTunes store, Netflix and other streaming services.

Siri is also clever enough to search for a specific episode of a TV show which features a cameo appearance. Or, if you ask “what did he say”, she can even rewind 15 seconds and replay the grab with subtitles.

Apple is trying to bring big games to the Apple TV to help it to become the go-to system for casual gamers. Guitar Hero will be included, as will the new Disney Infinity game and a Wii Sports-esque family game called Beat Sports. The Aussie developers behind the acclaimed iPhone game CrossyRoad were brought on stage to show off their game on the Apple TV.

As long as you own an iPhone or an iPod Touch, you won’t need to buy any more remotes when playing multiplayer either, because both devices can be used as game controllers. However, if you do want to a few extra buttons, the Apple TV will support third party controllers for gaming.


The Apple Watch, which was announced at last year’s iPhone event, received an update at this year’s. The new watchOS2 software will allow app data to be installed directly, cutting down loading speeds and giving app developers more tools with which to work.

New apps such as Facebook Messenger and a new iTranslate app, which can translate 90 languages on your wrist, also got a plug.

New watch bands have been announced, including a much needed Hermes leather band and new rubber sports bands. Rose Gold and Gold Watch models will be available.

Cook also highlighted the fitness potential of the Apple Watch, which he said had been “life changing” for many users.

watchOS2 will be available on September 16 for existing users, with the new Watch models available to buy from Apple stores today.

The new Hermes leather watch bands look great.

The new Hermes leather watch bands look great. Source: AFP



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The words that came out of my mates mouth saved my life.

He walked up to me and put his arm around me and said ” Are you ok?”.

When growing up my father didn’t show emotion and I didn’t know how to cope with my emotions. My partner had just left me and I was going down a deep and dark path. I was suicidal and thought all was over in my life.

These words from a friend allowed me to open up, something I hadn’t done ever. Remember I was taught that men don’t talk about their feelings and they don’t speak to others.

Its important to speak about your emotions and talk to mates. Go out and grab a pint of beer and sit and chill.

So what is #RUOK day?

In 1995, much-loved Barry Larkin was far from ok. His suicide left family and friends in deep grief and with endless questions.

In 2009, his son Gavin Larkin chose to champion just one question to honour his father and to try and protect other families from the pain his endured.

Are you ok?

While collaborating with Janina Nearn on a documentary to raise awareness, the team quickly realized the documentary alone wouldn’t be enough.

To genuinely change behaviour Australia-wide, a national campaign was needed. And from this realisation, and with Gavin and Janina’s expertise and passion, R U OK? was born.

Gavin remained a passionate champion of the fact a conversation could change a life, even as cancer ended his in 2011.

His and Janina’s legacy is ensuring all Australians realise a little question can make a big difference to those people struggling with life.

And how can you help such a wonderful organisation?

You can join other supporters passionate about raising awareness and funds for us by getting a bunch of mates to run at any of our challenge events across Australia (such as City2Surf, City2Sea Melbourne, Canberra Australian Running Festival and more) or by attending the Merivale Chef’s Dinner (enjoy seven mouth-watering courses from Australia’s top chefs, including Jeremy Strode and Colin Fassnidge.)

Merival Chefs Dinner

Another great way to fundraise is to organise an event in your work, school or community group. Whether it’s a classic morning tea or something a little out of the box, it will help us start conversations. So here are a few event ideas to start you thinking:
– Organise an R U OK? Morning tea, lunch or afternoon tea
– Organise a casual clothes day with a yellow or orange theme
– Hold a trivia competition
– Organise team building activities (e.g. a sport or dance competition)
– Allocate time for people to call a friend or family member during work hours
– Replicate ‘R U OK?’ or a question mark in a creative way and take a photo to share with us

Once you’ve decided what you’d like to do, follow these steps and we’ll aim to get back to you within one working day with our approval and any other essential information you may need:
1. Decide what you want to do
2. Decide if you want to raise funds as part of your event
3. Read our Guide for Fundraising
4. Fill out the fundraising form online or download the fundraising form.
5. Share how you’re getting the message out there. Share your event
6. Once you’ve had the event, any funds raised can be sent to R U OK? at 1 Kent Street Millers Point NSW 2000. You can also deposit it straight into our HSBC account: Bank BSB Code: 342 011; Account Number: 471 083 001

If you have any questions or require further assistance please email us at hello@ruok.org.au

Please be sure to get our ok before trying to fundraise. We retain total discretion in granting or denying permission and being able to withdraw approval if the Fundraiser is unable to follow the terms and conditions outlined in the Guide for Fundraising.

We’re a registered charity, so donations over $2 are tax deductible. Both donations and fundraising contributions will help us inspire more Australians to have regular, meaningful conversations every day of the year. This includes:
1. Help expand the team so we’re there to help more workplaces, schools and communities
2. Develop more tools and kits to inspire meaningful conversations
3. Do more research and evaluation, so we can learn and grow

You never know, you might just change someone’s life forever.

If you or someone you know is suffering from depression please call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Small Business and Facebook


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Want your business to appear on The HugoInga Blog? All you have to do is click on this hyperlink and choose an option. We reach thousands of Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. We’ve helped to kickstart hundreds of Businesses through our blog. 

If you run a small business there is no need to spend money on hiring a PR team or Social Media advisor. There are many online tutorials to teach you how to be an awesome social media expert yourself.

I’ve reposted an article from Entrepreneur.com to demonstrate the new tools that Facebook has released to help small business.

This week, Facebook rolled out a series of new tools geared towards entrepreneurs, in a move that will not only hopefully benefit business owners but also possibly provide additional revenue for Facebook.

If you are one of the more than 45 million businesses that use Facebook’s Pages, you will notice a couple of new call-to-action buttons on mobile like “Contact Us,” “Send Message” and “Call Now,” with more to come. The buttons will be placed at the top of the Page just under the cover photo.

The social giant is also introducing two new sections — “Shop” and “Services” — to help better reflect what the company has on offer. The Shop section will reportedly come with Buy buttons (thanks to a partnership with Shopify), while the service section will display current offerings.

Business owners can also expect an updated mobile layout for their Page over the next few weeks, with the addition of tabs to help users navigate between different sections like Posts, Services, Shop, Home (for about us info), photos and videos.

These changes are the just the latest updates for business that use Facebook. At the beginning of August the social giant also updated private messaging for business Pages by adding a “Send Message” button to the local advertisements that pop up to the right of the News Feed. Admins can now also respond to comments on the Page with a private message, for example, in the event of a customer-service issue.

This summer also saw Facebook change how it measures cost per click (CPC). While before CPC was measured by clicks within an ad, like commenting, sharing or clicking on a link to website, in July the social giant broadened the definition to included users visiting another site, hitting a call to action button, setting up an app or going to look at a video on another site. At the beginning of September, it also announced an upgrade to their Conversion Lift advertising measurement tool to help businesses see which campaigns are making the most impact.

All of these updates remain free to users, but ostensibly with the emphasis on driving sales, it could lead to an increase in advertising sales for the social giant. Dan Levy, Facebook’s VP of Small and Medium Businesses told CNBC “If we can increase the value of that ad by being able to direct people to a page optimized to a mobile device, that’s just going to increase the value of the ad, because it’s going to increase the possibility the customer is going to convert.”

As someone who does all of his own social media we feel that this is the next big thing from Facebook.

Home loan approvals rise 0.3pc in July


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Home loan approvals have lifted for a second straight month, but growth fell slightly short of economists’ expectations.

The number of approvals rose 0.3 per cent in the month, against expectations of a 0.8 per cent lift. The result came after a 4.4 per cent rise in June.

There were 53,095 approvals in July, compared to 52,672 approvals in June, according to seasonally-adjusted figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The value of total housing finance rose 1.5 per cent in the month to $32.812 billion.

Loans by owner-occupiers for the construction of new homes dropped 0.9 per cent.

In trend terms, which strip out month-to-month volatility from the figures, the number of home loan approvals dropped marginally, slipping 0.2 per cent during the month.

Meanwhile, the total value of loans approved for property investors grew in July, lifting 0.5 per cent to $13.587bn.

Meanwhile, a leading economist warns Australian property prices could slide if the current surge in home construction continues.

HSBC Australia chief economist Paul Bloxham says while an oversupply of housing seems unlikely in the near term, it could be a risk late in 2016 and going into 2017.

“Slowing population growth has begun to raise questions about whether supply could eventually exceed demand, leaving Australia with too many houses,” he said.

“This could affect the house price outlook. It may also make the RBA more cautious about cutting rates further from here, as the costs of cutting further could start to outweigh the benefits.”

Business Spectator, AAP

Leaders Should Influence Employees


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Want your business to appear on The HugoInga Blog? All you have to do is click on this hyperlink and choose an option. We reach thousands of Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. We’ve helped to kickstart hundreds of Businesses through our blog. 

Influencing an employee will achieve more out of that employee then you might think.

When it comes to managing employees, most employers tend to take one of two key leadership approaches. There’s the “power/authority” approach, where it’s their way or the highway, or the “influence” approach, where the goal is to get employees on the same page and empower them to make decisions that will have a positive impact on the organisation.

In today’s work world, employees want to feel like they are a part of the decision-making process it allows them to think of themselves as part owners.

Today we are going to look at ways of influencing employees and how eventually it will leader to a more successful company.

By communicating with employees and seeing what they are doing outside of work hours helps to bring down the employer and employee wall. Don’t pry too much into their lifestyle but engage them to understand the value of a work/life balance. Also thank the employees for their hard work and loyalty towards the company. By communicating you can also inform them of important feedback.

Every employer has to set goals for their team members. Successful employers understand that setting goals is not just a way to boost the bottom line, but a way to engage employees with milestones that are accessible and motivational. That’s where the influence approach comes in.

Focus on building relationships with employees and eliciting as much feedback as possible before goals are set for the new pay period, quarter or year. Show employees that the company cares about their opinions, then craft goals that will help them feel like they’re contributing.

Reviewing your staffs performance is a key to ensuring your employees are happy.

Instead, focus on providing constructive feedback on employees’ strengths and weaknesses. Ask about their expectations for the coming year and how they see their careers progressing. Then, share the organization’s expectations and discuss how to meet those expectations together. The influence approach builds trust and an employer-employee “contract” that shows the organization cares about its employees.

Employers that focus on influencing employees through trust and collaboration instead of power and authority have a better chance of engaging employees and keeping their best talent happy.

Last but not least bond with your staff. Perhaps make a weekly trip to the coffee shop and buy a round of coffees. By doing this it will allow  you to gain a proper understand of who your employees are. It also gets them out of the office and makes them feel a little more relaxed at work.

Date night at River Quay


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If it’s date night, River Quay is the perfect choice for wining, dining, and enjoying a spectacular view that you won’t find anywhere else. Here are some of the best dishes for date night.

To start

You’re situated right by the river with light dancing off the water in what is one of Brisbane’s most romantic spots, so oysters are a fabulous way to start the evening. You can enjoy fresh oysters fromStokehouse, Oysters of the Day with lemon or steamed with soy, ginger, and shallots from The Jetty, or natural and double-smoked bacon Kilpatrick from Cove Bar & Dining.

For mains

Follow up your starters with a sumptuous French seafood main from Aquitaine – after all, who does romance better than the French? The Marseille Bouillabaisse combines local fish and shellfish in a tomato and saffron broth – it’s an exquisite dish that will impress, as well as test your proficiency at French pronunciation! If a full fillet is more your style, try The Jetty’s grass-fed Manning Valley fillet with charred spring beans, sweet potato, and horseradish cream, sure to be a hit with the gents.

To finish

Finish off at Popolo with a plate of three cheeses, mustard fruits, and quince paste, or silence that sweet tooth with the vanilla panna cotta with amaretto cherries and praline, washed down with a glass of vin santo (a sweet dessert wine). There’s really nothing like sharing an authentic Italian dessert with the one you love.

For nightcap

And for drinks? Take a walk on the adventurous side with a mix up from Cove’s Mojito Madness menu. They have five different mojito concoctions on offer to top off your romantic dinner. If you’re really looking to impress, try a vintage Perrier Jouët Belle Époque Blanc from Epernay in Northern France, an elegant champagne named after France’s golden age and stocked in limited supply at Aquitaine.

from http://www.visitbrisbane.com.au


Chinese investors lose $12b of Australian assets over three years as $A falls


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With the Australian Dollar going south should Chinese Investors continue to pump money into our economy?

Chinese buyers of Australian real estate and commodity companies have lost about 30 per cent – more than $12 billion – off their local investments in the last three years.

Chinese citizens invested slightly more than $40 billion in 2012 and 2013, purchases and partnerships tracked through the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) show.

However, the falling Australian dollar, which has shed 34 per cent since the end of 2012 by falling to about $US70¢ from $US1.04, has carved 30 per cent off these investments as it has fallen against the yuan, which is pegged to the US dollar.

The Chinese yuan is traded, but controlled by Beijing, which sets the middle point of its trading range each day. It fell by slightly more than 3 per cent in early August after its midpoint was lowered.

“Based on FIRB approvals, $18.8 billion was invested in the resource sector in the 2012 and 2013 financial years,” David Chin, managing director of investment group Basis Point, said.

“During that two-year period, the All Resources Index averaged 4356. Today, the index is 2816, equating to a loss of 35 per cent if the index is used as a gauge of investment performance.”

Chinese investors have contributed $92.6 billion to the national economy in the last three years through investment and migration, statistics show.

About 24 per cent of that total – some $22.5 billion – comes from real estate purchases.

Another $9.2 billion comes from portfolio investment; $4.1 billion from students and slightly more than $6 billion through the Australian government’s Significant Investor Visa program, which grants a four-year provisional visa to people who invest at least $5 million in the country.

An additional $12.3 billion comes from the immigration of almost 16,000 Chinese citizens.

Chinese investors who bought off-the-plan apartments in 2014 have watched their property investments climb more than 40 per cent, mostly because of growing property prices and the combined currency gap.

“To be fair, investors from the US have lost as much money due to the Australian dollar weakness and assuming their foreign exchange risks were not hedged,’ Mr Chin said.