Transform Your Outdoor Living Area

Have you picked a favourite spot in the sun in your home’s outdoor living space or even started working on setting up the area? Do not wait until summer comes knocking so that you start. You should start making plans in advance and below are some trends and ideas worth considering for your outdoor living area.

1. Lounging Around

Indoor living spaces are getting smaller and smaller because of the demand to downsize currently being seen in the real estate sector. As such, you can turn to your outdoor living areas for some reprieve turning them into multipurpose extensions of your indoor space. You can achieve this by:

  • Installing some seats along the perimeter of your garden
  • Adding a wall mounted ledge for preparing and serving food and drinks
  • Adding some lounge seating next to the fire pit or around the outdoor coffee table
  • Using wireless connectivity, such as wireless satellite stereo speakers, for your outdoor entertainment
  • Installing ambient lights, such as light strings or lanterns for lighting the gardens in the evenings

2. Bring the Indoors Out

It is possible to bring your indoor style outside. You will have to work with durable, quality materials and fabrics suited for outdoor purposes. Get some outdoor furniture that can resist moisture and have waterproof upholstering as well as rugs. Ceramic tables, decorative lanterns or suitable light fixtures, accent pillows are also other items what adding. Make sure what you work with different colours that compliment or contract each other so that you give the area a pop of colour.

3. Create Outdoor Rooms

Segmenting your outdoor space helps to increase and enhances its functionality, be it a large or small area. You can achieve this by creating several rooms. You can zone the garden to have a play, eating, lounging, and entertainment area based on the available space.

The easiest way to create an outdoor room is using the new outdoor blinds or zipscreens. Particularly zipscreens as they can seal off your alfresco completely, blocking wind, sun, rain and insects.

Outdoor blinds come in a variety of options including manual operation and motorised.

To see a gallery of these outdoor blinds, visit and check out the videos of the motorised patio blinds as well (they are amazing).

Outdoor Blinds

4. Outdoor Kitchens

Besides using the backyard as an entertainment area, most homeowners relish turning their gardens into outdoor cooking areas. It is more fun cooking outside during a beautify evening rather than doing the same indoors in a hot kitchen. You can set the cooking space to be inclusive of an eating area or just have it exclusively for cooking. You can include a grill, outdoor oven, a prep sink, prep counters, a small under-counter fridge, a beverage cooler, or any other kitchen element you fancy having outdoors.

5. Open Up

If you love the idea of having an outdoor kitchen but lack enough room in your backyard for such a setup, then you can opt to open up your kitchen to your yard. You can add a walk-through window or install large sliding doors that open up the entire wall facing the outdoor living area. You can add a new counter with several stools to have a meal prep and serving area.

6. Spaces To Relax

Your outdoor living areas should also serve a place where you can go to stretch and relax as you read a book or enjoy a drink. You can make it look more relaxing by adding:

  • Porch swing
  • Yoga platform
  • Hammock
  • Add water feature to set the mood
  • Daybed
  • Comfy seats such as a lounge chair and ottoman

7. Lose the Lawn

Water is a necessary element in having a lush-green backyard. However, water shortages can make this hard when trying to maintain that green lawn or garden. Therefore, it would be wise to consider doing some landscaping and with a keen focus on hardscaping. The ‘green’ element of the outdoors should still be evident hence the need to include some green accents.

Think along the lines of stones, decking, a patio, steps, pavers plant, and pots. Everything should add an unusual shape, detailing, and texture to your backyard. You can do one or two terraces, introduce pathways and steps with plants on the borders that are a mix of the leafy greens and the colourful bloomers. Sculptural flora is also an excellent way of transforming and accentuating the existing lawn in your outdoor living space.

8. Add A Pergola Or Pavilion

A semi-enclosed space is a way of adding a bit of privacy to your otherwise open outdoor living area. You can do a pergola, gazebo, or pavilion. Whatever your choice, you will have a place you can go to and hide from the sun or the showers. You can opt to exercise your DIY skills when installing the shade structure by buying the materials you need or choose to buy the pavilion or pergola kit to make the work easier. What you set up can house a lounging or dining area or even include a cooking area.

9. Add A Shed

Do not think of a shed as a storage space; it can be used for many other purposed. Yes, you can turn your shed into an excellent hideaway that houses all manner of things and activities. It can be a spa, a gaming room, an office, or even an art studio that give you a superb view and access to the rest of the garden. You can extend the shed with a pergola, deck or terrace to make it part of the backyard.

10. Introduce the Elements

Water features have quickly gained popularity in most outdoor living areas, and the same applies to fire features. People love water because it reflects the sky, generates white noise that has a soothing ambiance, and creates a cooling humidity. As for the fireplaces, people have a thing for them because these features help to warm up spaces, which draws people together.

The two are also significant elements used to promote mediation. You can opt to install a large pool, a small pond, a waterfall, or even a fountain. Fire pits or fireplaces can be of any design and size just a long as they serve their purpose; to warm up people and for toasting marshmallows. Lanterns can also help you achieve the warming effect while aiding with lighting up the outdoor space.

5 Reasons You Should Hire More Women

According to research conducted by the International Finance Corporation, incorporating more women in businesses will not only help with protection of female rights, but can also improve the reputation of the company. A report from different case studies found that there are several benefits to hiring women in various industries across the globe. The benefits are noted below.

1. Access To Available Talent

It was discovered that the number of potential professionals to fill vacancies was increased dramatically ranging from executive positions to lower-skilled jobs.

2. Improvements In Innovation And Productivity

Increasing evidence has been noted that the co-existence of males and females in the same work environment can result in more creative and productive teams. Diversity has been found as the key to successful organizations.

3. Improved Team Dynamics

Women tend to possess an innate skill for uniting people and drawing together proposals and opinions. This ability can encourage the creation of teams, improve participation of employees, and optimize decision-making processes.

4. Reducing Staff Turnover And Long Term Relations

As compared to males, the majority of females are able to multi-task and multi-focus. Businesses will be able reduce costs of staff turnover by supporting training options instead of having to hire new employees.

5. More Effective Work Environments

Women tend to be more focused on individuals and their needs; therefore, they can relate to others via empathy and appreciation. This willingness to communicate and receive feedback is beneficial as it contributes to effective conflict resolution.

While working women represent only 40% of the global work force, the majority of these females progress to begin their own businesses. Based on research, the International Labor Organization estimates that approximately half of the working females’ productivity potential is unused (48%), as compared to 22% of male unused productivity potential.

Investing in initiatives supporting women in the work place can be seen as a “win-win” move because both the employee and employer will benefit. According to a survey by McKinsey, approximately one third of all businesses that invest in these campaigns in developing and emerging countries improve their benefits and at least 38% can expect earnings.

While some benefits for investment are short term benefits, such as reduction in staff turnover and levels of absenteeism, there are numerous long term benefits. The long term benefits often relate to corporate reputation, earnings, attraction of future talent, and increased innovation levels.

By hiring more females, the company’s work force is a strong representative of its client base and will provide knowledge on customer preference. This is beneficial because females influence approximately 80% of all purchases made on a global scale.

The private sector, where companies represent approximately 9 of all 10 vacancies in developing countries, has a significant position to play. The companies in this area presenting with a higher level of female workers will have a better reputation because they are so rare. Despite the growing progress regarding gender equality, males continue to be more dominant in almost all industries and almost all levels of position.

What Are The Regional Barriers?

Regional barriers need to be considered when looking at females in the workplace. Latin American countries, for example, see female employment as a cultural issue; as well as a legal and administrative problem. Elizaveta Perova, a well-known world bank economist, notes that the lack of family-friendly and flexible policies, together with the traditional view of gender roles, will impede a female’s right and access to paid employment.

The barriers, needless to say, are significant when considering that females are not interested in pursuing careers in areas that are attributed to the more “traditional” male-dominant roles, such as technology or science. In addition, there are practical challenges including an absence of quality childcare services for working mothers.

Women in Unconventional Jobs

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, a non-traditional job for women is one where less than 25 percent of the workforce are female. There are a number of non-traditional jobs for women, from chiropractor to carpenter, pilot to painter and engineer to electrician.

The term “non-traditional” job may not last long, as societal stereotypes break down. Many women are entering fields that were once considered unconventional for females. As high demand occupations open up due to economic expansion, more women are seeking employment in positions that were once male-dominated. It was only a few decades ago that if you spoke to someone about a lawyer, doctor or athlete, they would assume you were talking about a man.

Over the last 20 years, it has become necessary for families to have two incomes, due to the cost of housing and healthcare, as well as the increased cost of living. More than half of working mothers must work to help support their family. Many of these women would rather stay home and raise their children if it were financially possible.

A shift in the attitudes about what is appropriate for women have also contributed to the acceptability of various unconventional jobs. While some people still believe that “a woman’s place is in the home,” many have abandoned that outdated concept. Women are part of the labor force, with two-thirds of women age 16 and older employed in some capacity.

Money is one of the major reasons women enter non-traditional careers. A woman in a nontraditional job can earn 20 to 30 percent more than they could in a tradition occupation, according to the Labor Department. Women can find inspiration in the $20 to $30 entry-level wages paid for many of these nontraditional careers.

An auto mechanic is a male-dominated job. However, this well-paying job is not just lacking in the number of women seeking this type of work. There is an overall shortage of mechanics. An entry level mechanic can make approximately $42,000 annually and with ASE certification a mechanic can make six figures. This job can be attractive to a woman who likes cars and wants to be a grease monkey.

Another traditionally blokey trade is demolition. Image of a great hulking man with a sledge-hammer. But in a day where safety is key, maybe we are stereo-typing a little when we say that women “care more” about the safety of those around them. and most cases, it’s true. This is extremely important in trades like the one Vanessa is a part of – asbestos removal. Vanessa has worked for a Melbourne asbestos removal company called Clear Asbestos Removal, she is one of a small team where she is the only woman, she says that she is often the one who is calling the shots when it comes to safety on the work site.

According to the Labor Department, of the 20 percent of women in nontraditional jobs, most are in fields that don’t require a degree, such as truck driving and plumbing. However, there has been a big increase in professional nontraditional jobs in white-collar industries like the law and engineering. While women have come a long way in terms of gaining nontraditional positions, there’s still a long way to go. Women still dominate the workforce in the low-paying support industries such as retail, clerical and food service.

It’s important to remember that a woman has the right to decide what field that want to enter. Although common myths say that security jobs are too dangerous, women aren’t cut out to do certain tasks, blue collar work is too messy or some jobs aren’t feminine enough, no one should prevent a woman from choosing any career path that interests her.

Equal Pay for Women 2016

According to a recent report that analysed the gender pay gap, Australian women only earn around 83 cents for each $1 that a man earns.

This report from the recruiting firm Glassdoor, entitled Demystifying the Gender Pay Gap, was based on over 534,000 salary reports that the firm held on pay differences between women and men in countries that included Germany, France, Britain, the United States and Australia.

The results from Australia was based on information from over 4000 local employees salaries. It showed that whenever variables like job title, company, year, location, industry, occupation, experience, education and age, are considered, the adjusted gender pay gap decreases to 3.9 percent from 17.3 percent.

Over 38 percent (one-third) of the unadjusted pay gap can be explained by the differences in the way women and men sort into various industries and occupations with varying degrees of earning potential.

The Workplace Gender Equality Agency released figures last year that showed that on average men earn $27,000 more every year than women do. It is estimated that the gender gap in Australia is around 17.9 percent.

There were similar findings in the Glassdoor report, which tracks over 4000 salaries from 1370 employers from the years 2006 to 2015.

Their samples was 23 percent female and 77 percent male. The average age of the individuals included in the survey was 35 years, with work experience of over 6 years.

The average base pay for women was $84,218 and for men it was $99,940. That is equivalent to a $15,722 gender pay gap in base pay between women and men.

The survey from Glassdoor collects base salary information in addition to total compensation. Given that employees have the option to report income from commissions, bonuses, tips and other types of pay, the report stated that these are subject to being under-reported by users and so for that reason base pay was their primary focus.

Overall, the base pay gap between females and females is 17.3, and the gender pay gap for total compensation is 17.8 percent.




Tradie Ladies – Women in Trades

It happens often that women who choose a career in the trades are more committed to their job and have a better eye for the detail than most men.

As vocational training has been subsidized by the government, the number of women who choose this career path has increased by 80% compared to year 2008.

Northcote’s APlus Apprentice and Trainee Services came up with an initiative that aims at placing female students in traditional trades that usually rule out women. This initiative is in line with the government’s initiative to encourage women take up such trade apprenticeships.

The Institute of Automotive Mechanical Engineers had the idea of a study which included 500 workshops. The study aimed at determining the main reasons why employers avoid hiring female workers. The study revealed excuses such as the lack of female toilets, the swearing by male workers and the risk women might quit if they had a baby.

When it comes to carpenters, the answers are very similar to the findings of the above mentioned study. Women have no idea they can actually be good carpenters. Besides, nobody wants to encourage them to enter this industry. The same goes for industries like Asbestos abatement. Women may have better attention to detail, thereby ensuring safe asbestos removal Perth, however they rarely get a chance to prove themselves in this heavily male industry.

Peter Blanshard, Chief Executive of the Institute of Automotive Mechanical Engineers, said he won’t accept any more excuses. He believes the industry has to shift to hiring and training more women to fill all skills shortages it has to face today. He finds this solution much better than hiring overseas workers.

Females represent a tiny 2% of all trade workers in automotive, engineering, construction and electro-technology is NSW.

Various organisations across Australia try to develop and implement strategies to attract young girls to choose these areas and complete training to get qualified in these trades.

There are many advantages to choosing a career in the trades, For instance, you can gain your independence, you can choose your own work hours, you can earn a good income and you can broaden your horizon by spotting new opportunities as they come along.

The Girls in Trades resources are available to view and download by anybody who is interested. Teachers, parents, students and career advisers can study this information, the video footage, the posters and the lesson plans to implement in the classroom.

Men who apply for these trades need education, as well. This makes our job easier. However, most male applicants tend to do their own research prior to applying to our programs. They may go as far as to talk with someone in their trade of interest. Nonetheless, there are several female apprentices on our books. They are involved in several areas such as Electrical, Air Conditioning, Refrigeration, Boiler Making and Diesel Fitting. These women are very good from professional standpoint. They are as good as male students in both academical and technical matters.

If you believe you might be suitable for a trade based career, my personal advice is to do the following before applying for an apprenticeship:

– Go online and do a thorough research of the trade you are interested in.

– Once you are clear about what you’d like to do, search for a tradesman in your vocational area of interest and try to discuss with him various issues and challenges of the trade.

– If you are still a student, discuss your intention with a career advisor and with your industrial arts teacher.

– Try to see with your own eyes the work process. Find and approach a company that operates in your area of interest and ask if you can visit their workshop.

– Put together a good resume stating all your previous experience that might be relevant to the trade you wish to pursue a career in.

Top Twenty Tips to Help Women Succeed in the Business World

The corporate world is filled with women who are trying to develop a successful professional career. These women follow the top 20 tips listed below to help ensure their success. Put these tips into practice to help you become successful.

  1. In order to be successful, you must develop good habits and employ them in your day to day life.
  2. Grudges are bad for business. Let them go to help you succeed.
  3. A good set of virtues is more important than goals.
  4. Maintaining a good reputation is essential to your success.
  5. Understand that your biology affects how you react to certain things- it will keep you sane.
  6. A successful career is a lifelong commitment; your destiny is controlled by the actions you do today.
  7. The right attitude is more important than the right answer.
  8. There will be people that do not like you, but that’s okay.
  9. In order to succeed, you must rely on your inner strength.
  10. Kindness goes a long way in the business world. Be nice to the people you know and work hard to get the results you want.
  11. You become disposable when you try to use sex to get ahead in the business.
  12. You are often not a part of the decisions that affect your career.
  13. Learn the difference between a mentor and a sponsor. A mentor cares about your development while a sponsor is only concerned with your achievements.
  14. Become friends with someone you admire who is successful in the business world. They can teach you great things.
  15. You create chaos by the choice you make.
  16. Self-criticism will not help you become rich, powerful or happy.
  17. Confidence is the belief you can figure an answer out when you do not have the solution.
  18. Be satisfied. You will find that you are happiest when you don’t try to be everything to everyone.
  19. Learn how to be productive. Stop doing the things that are easy and start doing what really matters.
  20. No matter your career, there is no set path and roadblocks will occur along the way.

The tips located above will help you succeed in the business world. Use the tips listed above to help you grab your career by the horns and become the success you have always dreamed of.

Strategies for Women to Accelerate their Careers

1. Get as much training and education as possible

The most powerful secret weapon in the arsenal of women is education and we have been planning a sneak attack for the last ten years or more. Most of the college degrees that were awarded in 1975 went to men rather than women. It didn’t matter if the degree was at the doctoral, the first professional, master’s or associate bachelor’s level, this pattern still held true. By the year 2000, this had changed somewhat with a majority of master’s and associate bachelor’s degrees being awarded to women. These figures were provided by the Postsecondary Education Opportunity Research Letter. In addition, the Research Letter reports that at the doctoral and first professional degree levels, the huge gap from 1975 had mainly been closed and by the end of the decade a majority of those degrees would also be awarded to women.

2. Become an Internet Researcher

Throughout most of higher education, women are now in the majority. This also holds true for Internet use with women making up at least 52% of Internet users as noted by Nielsen/Net Ratings. It seems that women also use the Internet more efficiently, It is believed that they don’t “surf” as much because they know what they are looking for ahead of time.

Women have learned how to use the Internet to put the huge amount of information that is available there at their disposal. By 2010, it is believed that there will be 10,000 times more information available than there is today. With those numbers, it goes without saying that knowledge is power and women are positioning themselves well to use the Internet efficiently.

3. Leverage interpersonal and communication skills

There have been several recent studies that have observed the differences in the way women and men communicate and relate to one another in an interpersonal way. This does not mean that women’s methods of communicating are better than those of men but they might be more suited to recent styles of management. There are “feminine attributes” like being good at building relations with customers and open to joint ventures along with partnering with suppliers. These abilities are become much more important in business according to the manager of business development for AOL’s Digital City, Janice Gjertsen.

4. Plan your career

Career planning, which is important for everyone, is especially critical for women because they will often experience more twists and turns as they move along the road to success. It will go better if you have created a road map ahead of time. You will be less like to be derailed if you find that you have a baby, move away with a significant other or find that you have to care for a parent who is elderly.

Make a decision about what you want your career to look like 5, 10 and even 15 years in the future. Then build some flexibility into your plans in cases circumstances change. If you plan this way you will be able to accommodate changes in your life while still sticking to your core life plan.