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What should you know about negative gearing before the 2019 Federal Election?

  With the 2019 Federal Election fast approaching, negative gearing has become a key campaign issue as each of the major parties offer significantly different policies should they win the election. Here we’ve outlined each major party’s election policies regarding negative gearing and the associated tax concessions. We’ve also taken a deeper loo...

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How to Perfectly Hang Three Pictures in a Row

As a homeowner, you've likely noticed pictures hanging on someone else’s wall, which weren't exactly level. Even something as seemingly minor as this can throw your decorating efforts off kilter! For decades, there's been an unwritten rule that wall groupings contain odd numbers, so you're off to a good start as far as that goes.  How to hang pictures It really doesn't matter...

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20 Home Design Trends For 2019

  With each new year come new interior design trends and fads to consider and even reconsider so you can update your home with confidence and ease. Last year we saw a rise in client requests for rose gold, subway tiles, and exposed lighting as these were some of the top home decor trends of 2018. But with a new year come new decorating patterns and ideas...

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ATO to Double Its Rental Audits.

The ATO has warned rental property owners to make sure that their claims are correct this tax time, as it intends to prioritise deductions and double its rental audits. Assistant commissioner Gavin Siebert said that, in the 2017–18 financial year, more than 2.2 million Australians claimed over $47 billion in deductions. He said that this year the ATO has made rental deductions a top p...

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The Best April Fools’ Day Office Pranks Anyone Can Pull Off

When it comes to pranking colleagues, we all know the classics: exchange keys on the keyboard or cover up the ball on their computer mouse. They’re both excellent in a pinch, but these April Fools’ jokes will leave a lasting impression.   Gone Fishing This is better than a prank because it’ll make someone’s day! Who wouldn’t want to open a bor...

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6 knock-on effects of Labor’s neg gearing change

Assuming negative gearing and capital gains tax concessions will be amended in line with Labor’s much-publicised change proposal, there will be a range of implications, from an increase in yields to falling prices, rising rents and increased risks for developers, according to new findings from SQM Research. Managing director Louis Christopher said the analysis suggests that the marke...

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8 ways to refresh your walls on a budget

When you look around your home, what type of vibe do you feel? Does your decor emanate a cosy warmth, a minimalistic modernism or a boho-chic lifestyle? No matter your answer, it’s the right one. Your home should reflect your personality and the things that are important to you, regardless of what those things are. Would you say it does right now? If the answer is no, there are lots of w...

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8 enticing uses for your spare room.

Spare rooms have a habit of becoming a disorganised dumping ground for household clutter and collecting dust, which can bring you down mentally and physically. The best way to avoid this is to give empty spaces in your home a new purpose that brings you enjoyment. Whether you want to indulge a passion or transform the space into something more practical, one of these eight ideas is bound t...

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How to increase the appeal of your rental property.

When you decide to rent out your house, investment property or holiday rental, the goal is simple – to secure a good tenant, quickly. But with thousands of competing properties available for rent at any time, the competition is tough. Luckily, there are a few easy things you can do to increase the appeal of your property and encourage a higher rental return. To start with, think abo...

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Weekend jobs to add value to your home

When we think about renovating our home, we usually turn to areas such as the kitchen and bathroom, as these high-traffic areas tend to be the biggest selling points of a house. However, you don’t need to fork out thousands of dollars to add value to your property. Simple weekend jobs such as painting and updating old fixtures can quickly modernise a home without breaking the bank. Here ...

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Gluten Free Stained Glass Christmas Cookies

Prep Time:  20 minutesCook Time:  14 minutesTotal Time:  34 minutesTotal Carbs:  39 gProtein:  2 gServings:  24 cookies INGREDIENTS 1.5 sticks dairy free margarine, or butter , 175g1 cup sugar , 200g2 large eggs3.5 cups all purpose gluten free flour blend , 450g1 tsp xanthan gum , omit if included in your flour blend1 tsp gluten free baking powder1/2 tsp vanilla ...

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Red Velvet Cupcakes

PREP TIME:     1 hour 0 minsTOTAL TIME:  2 hours 0 mins INGREDIENTS 2 c. all-purpose flour1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa1 tsp. baking soda1/2 tsp. baking powder1/2 tsp. kosher salt1 1/2 c. granulated sugar1 tbsp. liquid red food colour2 tsp. white vinegar2 tsp. pure vanilla extract1 1/4 c. unsalted butter2 large eggs1 c. buttermilk2 package cream cheese1 1/2 c. confectioners’ s...

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Mini Mince Tarts with Cheddar Crusts

MAKES:  16PREP TIME:  30 minsTOTAL TIME:  2 hours INGREDIENTS 2 c. all-purpose flourc. finely ground cornmeal1/2 tsp. kosher salt1 c. unsalted butter4 oz. extra-sharp white Cheddar2 egg yolks1 egg2 tbsp. ice water1 navel orange1 lemon4 c. mixed dried fruit (cranberries, golden and dark raisins, plus apricots, quartered)1 1/2 c. fresh cranberries1/2 c. brandy1/2 c. packed brown ...

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Candy Cane Brownie Trifle

Serves Serves 16 INGREDIENTS1 9×13 inch pan of baked brownies6 ounces (1 cup) semi-sweet chocolate chips3 tablespoons butter1 and 1/4 cup half and half or cream3/4 sugar3 tablespoons light-coloured corn syrup1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract2 cups whipping cream1/4 cup powdered sugar1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract1 cup crushed candy canes (about 12 candy canes) INSTRUCTIONS Start ...

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Snickerdoodle Cookie Dough Truffles

Eggless Sugar Cookies INGREDIENTS1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour1 tsp. baking powder1/4 tsp. salt1/2 c. unsalted butter1/2 c. granulated sugar1 tbsp. sour cream1 tsp. vanilla extract DIRECTIONSIn a small mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 4 to 5...

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Raspberry and Vanilla Cream Napoleons

SERVES:  8PREP TIME:  20 minsTOTAL TIME:  20 mins INGREDIENTS1 c. heavy cream2 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting1 tsp. pure vanilla extract24 waffle cookies6 oz. raspberries DIRECTIONSUsing an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat heavy cream, confectioners’ sugar and pure vanilla extract in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Transfer to a ...

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Frosty the Snowman Marshmallows

INGREDIENTS ToothpicksDark chocolate, meltedOrange candy melts, meltedHot chocolate, for serving DIRECTIONS Use a toothpick dipped into melted dark chocolate and melted orange candy melts to dab on eyes, a mouth and of course, a carrot nose. Serve in your favourite hot chocolate and drink quickly before they disappear.

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Christmas Ornament Cupcakes

Makes: 24 CUPCAKES PREP TIME:  1 hr 30 min TOTAL TIME:  02 hrs 20 min   INGREDIENTS CUPCAKES 1 (15.25- to 16.5-ounce) package white cake mix 1 cup Land O Lakes® Half & Half 1/3 cup Land O Lakes® Butter, melted 4 large Land O Lakes® Eggs 2 tablespoons red, green and/or white decorator sprinkles FROSTING 5 cups powdered sugar 1/2 cup Land O Lakes® B...

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Christmas Ornament Cupcakes

INGREDIENTS CUPCAKES 1 (15.25- to 16.5-ounce) package white cake mix 1 cup Land O Lakes® Half & Half 1/3 cup Land O Lakes® Butter, melted 4 large Land O Lakes® Eggs 2 tablespoons red, green and/or white decorator sprinkles FROSTING 5 cups powdered sugar 1/2 cup Land O Lakes® Butter, softened 2 teaspoons vanilla 5 to 6 tablespoons Land O Lakes® Half & Half ...

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Cookie Presents

INGREDIENTS FOR THE COOKIESSquare and rectangular cookiesMelted white chocolate or red candy melts FOR THE RED ROYAL ICING3 large egg whites1/2 tsp. cream of tartar1 lb. confectioners’ sugarred food colouring DIRECTIONS Stack square and rectangular cookies and place on a wire rack set over parchment paper. Pour melted white chocolate or red candy melts over cookies; let set. Using wh...

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Christmas Trees with Chocolate Orange Cream

CHOCOLATE ORANGE CREAM Fills approximately 10-12 small glasses INGREDIENTS 300ml heavy pouring cream200ml milk70g caster sugar6 egg yolks200g good quality dark chocolate, roughly choppedFinley grated zest of one orange HOW TO MAKE Heat the milk and cream together in a saucepan over a low heat to just below boiling point. Remove from the heat. Whisk the sugar and egg yolks together in a bo...

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Melted Snowman Oreo Balls

INGREDIENTS 1 (8 oz.) pkg. ]ream cheese softened36 OREO Cookies (regular size), finely crushed16 oz . vanilla candy coating , melted (like Candiquick or almond bark)48 Mini OREO Bite Size Cookiesdecorations: decorating icing or gel; multi-coloured sprinkles INSTRUCTIONS Mix cream cheese and cookie crumbs until well blended. I like to crush the Oreos in a food processor and then add the cream...

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Snowman Cupcakes

MAKES:  8 PREP TIME:  1 hour 35 mins TOTAL TIME:  2 hours 10 mins INGREDIENTS 1 batch basic gingerbread cupcakes1 batch vanilla buttercreamFinely shredded coconutmini chocolate chipsOrange Tic TacsSour candy stripsChocolate jelly rings DIRECTIONS Make 1 batch basic gingerbread cupcakes as directed, lining 8 holes of the muffin pan with red paper liners and lightly coating t...

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Red Velvet Truffles

PREP TIME: 1 hour COOK TIME:  22 minutes TOTAL TIME:  1 hour 22 minutes INGREDIENTS 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder1/8 teaspoon baking soda1/8 teaspoon salt1/4 cup canola oil1/4 cup sugar2 tablespoons buttermilk1 egg white1 teaspoon red food colouring1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract1/8 teaspoon white vinegarFor the rest:3 ounces cream cheese, soften...