Monthly Archives: September 2014

Cake Decoration: Fondant Icing for Beginners

icing decoration

icing decorationIf you liked playing with clay when you were young, then you’ll love using a fondant for your pastries. This creamy white sugar has dough-like consistency, which gives any pastry a smooth outer surface ideal for decorating. If you’re planning to bake a round cake, for instance, why not take on the challenge of using a fondant? Here’s a guide to help you get started:

Buying the Fondant

Fondants are available in three different types: rolled, sculpted, and poured. If you’re planning to cover the entire cake, then a ready-to-roll (RTR) rolled fondant is the ideal choice. Most shops offer this in white and ready-made coloured fondants. If you prefer gluten free fondants with zero grams trans-fat and cholesterol, you can find brands from cake decorating supply stores like The Sugar Box that offer them.

Rolling the Fondant

Make sure that your workstation is clean to prevent specks from mixing with the fondant. Place a piece of wax paper and dust its surface, including your hands and tools, with corn starch. Icing sugar and powdered confectioner’s sugar are also good alternatives.

Start kneading the fondant and use a rolling pin to flatten it up to 1/4 to 1/8 inches thick. If air bubbles are present, repeat the same procedure until the whole thing is smooth enough. Fondant tends to dry fast, so don’t be surprised to see cracks. Keep its texture by using vegetable shortening.

Applying the Fondant

Lift the fondant using both hands to prevent it from tearing. Place it above the cake and press the surface gently. Fondant dries out easily, so it’s better to roll out a big layer and then apply it without measuring. Cut the excess and store the pieces in a zip lock plastic bag, as you can use them again for decorating. Try different decorating techniques to give your cake some finishing touches.

Don’t be afraid to try new things for your pastries. Using fondant icing might seem complicated, but you’ll enjoy the decorations you can do with it.

The Power of a Right Choice: How Can You Avoid Bad Investments?

investment

Bad investments

Just the mention of it makes some people feel stressed and gloomy. It’s no secret that a bad decision does not only ruin your finances, but also your entire life. In Australia, for instance, thousands of people experience disappointments on their investments or encounter financial scams.
Problems can come at you fast. If you think you are ready to invest your hard-earned money, let this article guide you on your way to success.

investmentSee the big picture

Do you see yourself successful and financially stable in five years? When investing, don’t make the mistake of buying at the wrong time and selling at the wrong time. It’s paramount to think about what will happen down the road.

To make smart decisions, you need to have a clear direction of what you should do. This is the reason getting some help from business experts is necessary. They will help you achieve your goals and take charge of your life.

Don’t risk everything on one endeavour

A great way to avoid financial catastrophe is to diversify your portfolio. Don’t just invest too much on one industry just because you know a few things about it. No matter what your age or financial goal is, there’s no harm in testing other markets.

If you have already invested in stocks or bonds, perhaps it’s time to invest in commercial properties. With the increasing demand, many investors consider a Self-Managed Super Fund property investment. Though buying a commercial property provides financial security, it is not ideal for everyone. With knowledge, interest, effort and money, you can do it well.

Don’t let emotions drive your decisions

Even the most successful and profitable investors can have bad decisions when emotions cloud their minds. Instead of letting your fear of regret and loss control you, why not use them to make smarter financial decisions. Learn how to use your emotions to your advantage, as these can guide you to the right path.

Though there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to investing, you have the power to succeed. These strategies, of course, work when you create a solid game plan.

Aluminium Gates: Combining Style and Function

aluminium gates

aluminium gatesYour gate is what separates you from the world outside. It protects your home from trespassers, be it people or animals. So, if you are planning to put up one, you have to make sure it is sturdy and a bit imposing. To achieve this, consider having it made from aluminum. It’s one of the best materials for residential gates.

Boardwalk.com.au discusses some of the benefits of having an aluminium gate:

• The cost of aluminum gate is lower than wrought iron.

Apart from being relatively more affordable than other options, aluminium also does not rot over time or get warped when exposed to extreme heat. Also, it’s not easily affected by rust. So, you do not have to worry about placing it near an area that regularly gets wet, like your lawn.

• You can have any design you want at any shade.

Aluminium gates tend to be lightweight, which makes it easier for metalworkers to cut it into different designs. It is the same lightweight characteristic that allows aluminium gates to last a long time with its hinges and bearings still mostly intact. You can also make use of any commercial paint to have it in your favorite color or complement your exteriors.

• Aluminum gates require less maintenance.

It does not rust and chip easily. Also, it can withstand any weather and other harmful elements, making it more durable than other types of metal.

Consult some contractors before installing an aluminium gate. Finding one is as easy as going through your local yellow pages or going online. Websites dedicated to manufacturers of this kind of gate as well as contractors would typically feature galleries containing previous projects. Make sure you check this out to get an idea about the kind of work the manufacturers and contractors are able to do.

A List of Necessary Luxury Home Facilities

luxury home

luxury homeEvery person probably thinks about their dream house frequently. Some settle for ultimately simple, but relaxing homes, while others get creative with out-of-this-world features. With money, though, this can be possible.

The definition of luxury houses depends on the owners, as mentioned by the experts. Before you start looking for luxury house builders in Brisbane, you must know which facilities should be present in your million-dollar residence more than the architectural size and design. With so much space, you can fit all these facilities and still have extra room.

Oversized Pools and Gym

A fitness area is almost as necessary as a kitchen in luxury houses because an active lifestyle defines a comfortable person. Researches show that more than 30% of luxury homeowners installed a full set of gym equipment and facilities.

Marble Furnishings

Marble give a picture of elegance and class. Its versatility allows builders to put it on almost every area of the house, from the flooring to the kitchen, and even on bathrooms and bathtubs. Most luxury houses even have marble ornaments, vases, figurines, and other artwork pieces.

Large Windows

Luxury means comfort and comfort means space. Most homeowners prefer installing excessively large windows to add space to their already spacious rooms. Floor-to-ceiling windows are among the most common designs they choose. In 2013, the demand for large windows increased by 56percent.

Terrace and Roof Deck

What is more relaxing than the feel of natural breeze? A higher ceiling and wider walls are not enough for a luxury house; there still has to be an available open space. A terrace and a roof deck are some of the best places to take your guests to whenever they visit your house, providing a good ambiance for a chat.

Complete Entertainment

A luxury house would not be complete without entertainment facilities. These may include a mini cinema room, surround sound system, gaming room, billiards and tennis tables among others. These conveniences greatly provide homeowners relaxation and comfort.

Wine Cellar

Of course, a good collection of the best local and foreign wines cap off the list of must-haves in every luxury house. Even before, prominent families living exclusive homes have a room dedicated to their wine collection. Wine cellars are a good way to impress visitors.

Luxury homes must be solely built to provide comfort for you and for your family. This is perhaps your prize for working hard, so why not make the most of it?

5 Unique Aspects of Managing a Hotel

managing hotels

managing hotelsAs Australia’s tourism industry booms, many property investors are entertaining the possibility of purchasing a hotel, either managing it themselves or hiring someone to do it for them. Even those without an extensive background in hospitality are beginning to enter the industry due to how lucrative it currently is.

Considering the number of hotels for sale, Brisbane investors have no shortage of choices either. But hotels and other tourism reliant businesses have several notable facets, and understanding them is important to succeeding.

  1. It is very people focused – Even more so than other forms of property management, hotels require a person that is very attuned to the needs and wants of their clientele. Expectations are high, and your reputation depends equally on both customer service and quality of the accommodations.
  2. There are peak seasons – As with anything in tourism and hospitality, there are inevitable high and low periods. This is an integral factor when managing cash flow, bookings, and the hotel’s marketing strategies.
  3. You have a team – Hotel managers can’t do everything on their own, they need to build and maintain a strong team of employees. Considering how fast-paced and high pressure a hotel’s operationare, at times, a single mistake can mean a very unhappy client. From housekeeping to the front desk, it is vital that your people can work efficiently together.
  4. Proactivity is important – There is a great need for a preemptive approach in hotel management. As reputation is everything in the hotel industry, you need to find and solve problems before a client complains. This requires strong communication and diligence from everyone.
  5. Local knowledge is key – When the majority of your clients are tourists, you and the hotel staff will often find themselves having to provide recommendations. This requires everyone to have a deep understanding of the local area and the various attractions. Fortunately, this is also an excellent opportunity for creating strategic business relationships with local establishments.

Hotels can be very profitable and rewarding, and understanding these aspects will help you manage one with ease.

Make Store Setup Easier by Hiring Shopfitters

shopfitters

In the world of retail, shopfitting is the process that involves filling an outlet with furniture and displays in an effort to make it attractive to customers. New stores, as well as those undergoing renovations, hire professional shopfitters to set up the space and get it running as soon as possible.

shopfittersBusinesses of all kinds can benefit from hiring shopfitters. Perth is home to many such companies that can set up anything from restaurants and bars to corporate headquarters. Expert shopfitters provide quick services and offer solutions that are detailed and well-planned. Hiring the professionals to work on your store as opposed to working with multiple contractors and doing things yourself is a time- and cost-effective option.

Things to Consider When Hiring Shopfitters

Know What You Want: It is important to at least have an idea of what you want before consulting with experts. Once you have a plan, consult with an expert to see if it is feasible.
Stick to Your Budget: Make estimates of the total cost – shopfitter costs, furniture, and other materials. Set aside a certain percentage of your budget as a contingency fund to meet overhead or unforeseen costs. Always remember that you cannot compromise on quality if you are looking for long-term fittings
Project a Time Frame: Talk to the fitter about how much time is required to complete the project. Track the daily progress, so you can estimate whether the fitting will require more time. Allow the shopfitter enough time to get everything in place. Hurried work could lead to a job done haphazardly.
Anticipate Customer Expectations: Conduct a small survey among regulars (if undergoing a renovation) and other shoppers before devising a plan for the fitting. Also, take a look at what your competitors have done with their stores, and gauge the effectiveness of their fittings.

If you are renovating your store or opening a new one in Perth, consider hiring professionals to help with initial set up. You can easily find shopfitters in Perth who offer specialised services to meet various requirements.

Fire Safety in Schools: The Essentials

emergency stairs

emergency stairsOne spark can pose a serious safety threat, especially in crowded places like schools. With hundreds of children coming in every day, one fire accident can cause severe cases of injuries or worse, deaths. It still pays for administrators to be ready for the possibility of a blaze, even though the chance seems pretty slim.

When you’re managing a school, you have to pay attention to these three important aspects:

Architectural Design

First of all, the school building’s design should comply with the local building regulations. Structures, especially multi-storey ones, should have clear, open fire exits as well as accessible external emergency stairs. Put simply, compliance with legal standards is a must to ensure that the whole building is safe from the threat of a fire.

Fire Prevention Equipment

The right set of fire prevention equipment defines how much damage a fire would wreak in your property. Setting up smoke alarms goes a long way in promoting fire safety, but you have to complement this with other pieces of equipment as well. The halls and rooms should all have an adequate amount of sprinklers. The same areas also need fire extinguishers for the easier control of any small fire.

Training and Know-how

The architectural and equipment-related elements of a building are easy to deal with, but the people within the premises is another thing. It is important for everyone who goes to the school to know what to do in case the fire alarm goes off. For this reason, the government has established different training and awareness programs for teachers, parents, and students should a fire break out. When the people inside your building know what to do, the prevention equipment would be put to good use and the accident will not worsen.

Only when you pay attention to these three things can you ensure the readiness of a school in case of fire. Focusing on these elements is more than necessary to keep everyone safe when the unthinkable and the unexpected happens.

Prepaid vs. Postpaid Internet: Making the Right Choice

right internet connection

right internet connectionToday, the Internet has become more of a necessity than a luxury, with many households having at least one way of connecting to it. This popularity, in turn, has most Internet Service Providers upping the ante just to get a bigger share of the market.

The result is a more affordable Internet service for consumers – the prepaid Internet connection. Industry experts from is.co.za say connectivity services in Africa increased significantly due to this. The question is, is it also for you?

What is a Prepaid Connection?

Just like a prepaid mobile plan, prepaid Internet allows users to have more control of the amount they spend for Internet connection. In most cases, the user would need a USB dongle that contains an Internet SIM. Depending on the provider, the user would need to either dial a certain number or click on a specific menu to get a connection.

Unlike a post-paid Internet connection, users of prepaid plans need not worry about monthly bills. What’s more, most plans of this type provide lower per-minute rates. It’s also the practical choice for businessmen who are always on the go.

Prepaid or Postpaid?

The decision whether to go pre-paid or post-paid depends on a number of things – your browsing behavior, your budget, and the reliability of the Internet service provider itself. Here are some helpful tips to make an informed choice:

  1. If you use the Internet only for checking emails and browsing websites once in a while, going for a pre-paid connection might be more sensible. It can be quite impractical to have a monthly subscription when you need your connection for a little less than a few hours per day.
  2. Postpaid is a better idea for those who reside in areas where over-the-air Internet connection tends to be unreliable. Prepaid connection typically makes use of over-the-air transmission. This means there might be places with low signal. Now, post-paid plans usually make use of a more reliable and always “on” connection.
  3. Prepaid is most suitable to those with credit problems. Generally, postpaid subscriptions require applicants to undergo credit checks. A prepaid plan may not require this.

Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages. Before making your final decision, weigh all your options to see which one will cater to your requirements.

Considerations of Hiring Property Managers

house for rent

house for rentProperty managers are constantly in demand for a number of reasons. These trained professionals do more than simply manage property for others – they also help owners earn revenue. All of this comes with a certain fee, of course. Hiring one is something you should give serious thought if you have idle property with a potential to earn.

The following are some of the things to consider when hiring a property manager for a condominium, apartment, or house for rent in San Diego or other major urban areas:

Giving the Property Manager Their Fair Share

In most cases, the property manager should be entitled to a ten percent cut from whatever you earn from the property. This is traditional going rate, but could also be negotiated.

Whatever you agree on, make sure to detail all responsibilities and obligations in writing. Whether it involves dealing with irate tenants, evictions, or dealing with basic repairs, these fall under the responsibility of the property manager. Major repairs and situations concerning the property, however, are ultimately the owner’s.

A Property Manager You Can Trust

When hiring a prospective property manager, always conduct an intensive interview and check their credentials and experience thoroughly. Makes sure to ask relevant questions and remember that you mentality must match up. Not seeing eye to eye could result in problems later on.

Communication between owner and property manager is extremely important and must follow the two-way path because the duty of communication does not lie with the property manager only. You have to remember that you need to lead and instruct the property manager on how you want the property managed.

Last but not least, discuss the filing of regular progress reports regarding your property. This is something that you can do on a monthly or quarterly basis, and should detail things like expenses and other essentials. These are just some of the basics associated with hiring a property manager. Hire one you can trust and you will be on your way to making passive income without any troubles.