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    Add style to your bedroom

    2019 - 10.13

    Looking for inspiration to style your bedroom. Sealy drew upon its 75 years in the Australian bedding industry to provide these tips.

    Tip 1: Use colour to harmonise elements.

    Crisp whites are classic, clean and energising, but can look sterile if not paired with coloured accents or varied in texture. Solid, subtle creams, beiges, taupes and muted shades of blue are softer alternatives that are less likely to age than trendy geometrics and graphic patterns.

    Tip 2: Use your budget wisely.

    Upcycling can be fun and is a wonderful way to reduce wastage when revamping an outdated room. Refreshing an aging dresser with simple silver hardware or a new finish, for example, is a relatively inexpensive way to breathe new life into your daggy decor.

    Other aspects of your bedroom interiors however, such as a supportive mattress that allows you to sleep restfully, are worth investing in. There should be no skimping when it comes to your health -you spend one third of your life in bed, after all -but there are plenty of creative ways to acquire minimal, classic pieces of furniture and decor on a budget.

    Tip 3: Keep your comfort at the forefront.

    Generously layering plush pillows over your bed will create the feel and appearance of abundant luxury. The rest of your bedding, however, should be easy and practical. A temperature ranging between 16 and 20°C is ideal for a restful night’s sleep, so opt for fresh, light bedding in the summertime. In the cooler months, soft, textured throws and cozy knits in versatile neutrals are a great investment for adding warmth.

    Tip 4: Declutter your space to the best of your ability.

    Space is luxurious and liberating, while clutter only serves to collect dust. Unfortunately, many of us are in the habit of cluttering our nightstands with our personal belongings, and hanging on to every beautiful piece of decor we come across. Less is more, so resist the urge to hang on to anything that a) isn’t useful, or b) doesn’t vibe with the rest of your interiors.

    If minimalism is something that you struggle with, take it slow: aim to donate, gift or recycle one belonging of yours per week, and usespace savers, hidden storage or a storage locker for the rest of your non-essentials.

    Tip 5: Add a touch of personality to your interiors.

    Clean and classic doesn’t have to be mundane, in the same way that playfulness doesn’t have to be messy. Fresh greenery and a captivating artwork are two great ways to bring life to your space in a way that’s tasteful, and work especially well bringing balance to a mature master bedroom. See your local nursery for a low-maintenance indoor plant that will add effortless pep to your interiors, or pick out a beautiful, calming piece by your favourite local artist.

    To sleep, perchance to dream: Deep, dusty blue hues are perfectly paired with dark, romantic plum hues in this chic bedroom interior by Sealy.

    PM to AGL on Liddell: help

    2019 - 10.13

    Closure: Liddell power station near Muswellbrook. The station’s future is a national issue as its closure in 2022 has prompted increasingly alarmed predictions of a looming energy crisis across the eastern states. AGL Energy says it has made no commitment to sell Liddell power station after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Tuesday said the company may be open to selling to a buyer willing to keep it open beyond 2022.

    In a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange on Wednesday AGL reaffirmed comments it made on Tuesday and Monday about closing Liddell and “getting out of coal”, after Mr Turnbull told parliament he had had discussions with the company about extending operations until at least 2027.

    ”AGL recognises community and government concerns in relation to energy security, as highlighted in the Australian Energy Market Operator’s 2017 Electricity Statement of Opportunities published yesterday, and continues to assess the capacity that will be needed post 2022 to replace Liddell,” the statement said.

    “AGL will continue to engage with governments, regulators and other stakeholders to deliver appropriate outcomes, but notes that the company has made no commitment to sell the Liddell Power Station nor to extend its life beyond 2022.”

    The company said its aim was to “prosper in a carbon-constrained world and build customer advocacy as our industry transforms”.

    Liddell power station could remain open beyond its2022 closure date under a proposal to usegas in a re-purposed facility, some Hunter community leaders have been told.

    Upper Hunter MP Michael Johnsen said he had been briefed on a tentative gas future for the site as part of AGL’s broader rehabilitation discussions. An AGL spokesman said there were “no specifics” as it pursues a rehabilitation and transition plan.

    Hunter MP Joel Fitzgibbon called Mr Turnbull’s comments on Liddell increasingly desperate, referring to how Mr Turnbull described hisrequest to AGL to extend the life of Liddell beyond 2022 as “discussions”.

    “We know AGL slapped down Barnaby Joyce when he raised the question of building new clean-coal generators. He was told it was too expensive, would take too long, and the company would not ask its shareholders to risk it,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.

    “It’s even more unlikely AGL -which has been running television commercials promoting its withdrawal from coal generation -would invest the money needed to extend Liddell. Then again, I suppose it depends on how muchtaxpayers’money the Prime Minister is prepared to throw at AGL to run the plant for another fiveyears.”

    In a statement after Mr Turnbull’s comments AGL said the company was committed to the closure of Liddell in 2022, and was “actively assessing what capacity will be needed post-2022”.

    “We, along with other market participants, will consider AEMO’s report in light of these plans,” AGL said.

    On Monday night AGL chief executive Andy Vesey reaffirmed his position on Liddell by tweeting: “We’re getting out of coal.”

    Mr Fitzgibbon said he had not been briefed on any gas proposal for Liddell, but one of the biggest issues was the availability of gas.

    “I’ve been advocating gas generation in the Hunter as a transitional fuel. I strongly support that approach either through retrofitting or new gas-fired generators. We have the land, the skills, and the transmission lines but we must get more gas to the east coast market,” he said.

    In August AGL released a rehabilitation program for Liddell designed to attract proposals from around the worldfor the“post coal” use of the power station assets. The most economic optionwould not be coal or baseload gas, but a mix of energy from wind and solar supported by mechanisms including battery storage.

    In a statement released on Tuesday night, AGL said it was committed to the “decarbonisation of our generation portfolio and doing this in a measured and orderly way”.

    “This means not extending the operational life of our existing coal fired power stations,” a spokesperson said.

    “We are committed to working with our employees and we have already started working with local business, industry, government, and educational institutions to identify new investment prospects, encourage economic diversification, and create new employment opportunities in the Hunter.

    “Our rehabilitation report outlines the process we will implement to identify possible reuse of the Liddell site for alternative energy or industrial activities, with subsequent employee opportunities.

    “We have not identified a specific post closure solution. The AGL rehabilitation report highlights the commencement of the transition project, designed to identify potential opportunities for the Liddell power station post 2022.”

    Tips and hints for hiring tradies

    2019 - 10.13

    Reliable, valuable tradespeople arearguably the most integral part of any home project. Here are ninetips on how to find them.

    1. Ask to see their licence

    Most tradespeople are required to carry a licence that verifies their position. Trades such as electrical, plumbing and building also require formal qualifications. An exception is sub-contractors, such as tilers, who can work for someone who holds a licence.

    2. Don’t compromise on insurance

    There are two types of insurance tradespeople should have: if a tradie gets injured on the job, their income protection will cover their own losses, but their liability insurance will cover any damage that occurs to your property during work.

    3. Insist on a written quote

    Ask for a written, itemised quote, no matter the value of the job. This gives you recourse if things go wrong. For larger jobs this should be a contract (requirements vary between states). Confirm whether your quote is fixed or merely an estimate, and whether it includes GST. Always get multiple quotes from different suppliers and ask why the prices differ.

    4. Verify any reviews

    Some service providers may post fake reviews to ensure potential clients will discover glowing reports from multiple sources. Try also contacting those who have left reviews for the tradesperson and ask them for more details on the job.

    5. Value professionalism

    Some traits to be wary of are a lack of communication and regular tardiness, as well as tradespeople who don’t provide a clear timeframe of their arrival. Their general manner can also be a good indicator of their professionalism down the track.

    6. Never pay upfront

    Final payment should not be requested until the job has been completed and you are satisfied with all work in accordance with current regulations. But payments for materials are reasonable.

    7. Request a completion date

    A completion date should be provided by the tradesperson before works begin and should only be strayed from due to unavoidable conditions such as weather delays.

    8. Beware of cash jobs

    Be wary of any tradespeople who insist on cash payments with a cheaper price tag that excludes GST, as this can be a huge risk for your insurance. It’s important to receive a tax invoice or receipt for the work completed.

    9.Know your rights

    If works are unfinished or not complete to a satisfactory standard, your tradespeople should be held accountable. The first thing to do is raise your concerns with the tradesperson or company. You can also withhold your final payment until the agreed work has been completed to standard.

    KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: You are entitled to know what you’re getting, and for what price, before you commit to a tradesperson.

    Boogaard steeled for test against Sydney

    2019 - 10.13

    ON THE BALL: Nigel Boogaard is confident the Jets defence will be up to the task of handling Sydney FC on Saturday. Picture: Max Mason-HubersCAPTAIN Nigel Boogaard was bewildered, almost embarrassed, at the Jets’ feeble finish to last season.

    In contention for the play-offs in January, the Jets’ campaign flatlined, culminating with the six straight losses to collect the wooden spoon and cost coach Mark Jones his job.

    They leaked a whopping 53 goals to have the equal worst defence alongside Perth.

    And while much of the focus of the pre-season has been on the Jets new-look attack, Boogaard has made it clear that “we can’t concedeanywhere near as many goals as we did last year”.

    Boogaard has a new central partner in Nikolai Topor-Stanley and the arrival of right back Daniel Georgievski has added further experience to the back four.

    “The whole game plan is different,” Boogaard said. “We defend from the front and really try to put teams under pressure in their own half. That alleviates a fair bit of pressure from us. The biggest thing is not conceding soft goals and goals from silly mistakes. Last season we gave away too many penalties and conceded from too many corners.”

    To date, the signs have been good. As you, would expect, they held firmagainst northern NSW NPL teams and regional opposition in Northern NSW and Canberra.

    They conceded from a corner in the 1-0 loss to Adelaide in the FFA Cup and also failed to clear a set piece in the 3-1 win over Melbourne City.

    “We haven’t been cut a part in terms of open play,” Boogaard said. “Melbourne City was good. We stuck to the game plan and made sure we pressed them in the right areas. They turned the ball over in areasErnie thought they would. It is about understanding the game and when you can press and when you can’t.Hopefully come round one, we are where Ernie wants us.”

    The Jets take on Sydney FC at Magic Park on Saturday in what Boogaard expects to be their biggest test.

    “They will be a tough and it will be a good marker for us on where we are at,” Boogaard said. “They have quality all over the park. Against A-League opposition, they make clever runs and try to out-muscle you.The more games you play as a back four, the better the understanding. It is about getting ready for round one.”

    Meanwhile, Hunter Sports High will take on Westfield Sports High in the final of the Bill Turner Girls Trophy at NNSW headquarters on Wednesday from 1.30pm.

    Hunter Sports beat Melbourne school Maribyrnong 2-1 in the semi-final on Tuesday.

    Whitebridge High will play-off for third in the Bill Turner Boys Cup after they went down 6-0 to Penleigh andEssendon Grammar.

    Shinn declares course proper for spring run

    2019 - 10.13

    TRACKSIDE: Newcastle trainer Kris Lees, right, gives jockey Blake Shinn instructions before Sound Proposition’s gallop on Tuesday. Picture: Simone De PeakJOCKEY Blake Shinn was confident Sound Proposition and Newcastle’s course proper would be perfect for next week’s spring carnival after an exhibition gallop on the surface between races on Tuesday.

    Shinnhas been booked to ride Sound Proposition for thegroup 3 Cameron Handicap (1500m) at Newcastle on Friday week. The race is one of four group 3 events on Newcastle Jockey Club’s premier day.

    The inside section of NJC’s $11.2 million main track, which opened in March,has not been used since May after maintenance work in June.The surface has come in for criticism but Shinn saw no problems with it after taking the six-year-old gelding along the rail.

    Shinn declares course proper for spring run TweetFacebook Newcastle racingSimone De Peak images from Painted Lady’s win in race four and the exhibition gallop of Sound Proposition on Tuesday.“I couldn’t fault it, I could only be complimentary,” Shinn said.“The horse felt beautiful on the ground and he was happy to really let down, and it didn’t appear that he was kicking back anything.I could only go on what I felt, and the ground felt perfect.”

    Sound Proposition was clocked over the final 600m, running into a strong headwind,in 34.2 seconds and Shinn said “it just shows the track’s in really good order”.It also pointed to a strong showing from Sound Proposition, a group 1 winner in New Zealand, in the Cameron.

    “He think he’s a great ride,” Shinn said.“Obviously he’s got form over longer but he’s come up through the ranks nicely since joining Kris and I think after his little freshen up, he’s going to be extremely hard to beat.”

    Sound Proposition isunbeaten in two starts for Lees at Randwick but is likely to face stiff opposition fromstablemate and Missile Stakes champion Invincible Gem.

    Lees said Invincible Gem will “probably run in the Cameron” after her luckless third in the group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) last Saturday at Randwick. Hesaid“she will be hard to beat where ever she goes” and the four-year-old had come through the checked run well.

    As for the Newcastle Cup (2300m), Lees said he would nominate Wahng Wah, Admiral Jello and Doukhan, which finished second, third and fourth respectively in the same race at Randwick on Saturday, for the feature. Singing, fifth in the Wyong Cup first-up last Friday, was another nomination.

    “Singing had an encouraging first-up run and Admiral Jello, dropping back in weight, I think he’ll run pretty well,” Lees said of his best Newcastle Cup hopes.

    As for other chances at the Newcastle carnival, Lees saidPrincess Posh, which won at Wyong Cup day, would go to the group 3 Tibbie Stakes and “deserves her chance in a race like that”.

    The word trackside on Tuesdaywas five-time Melbourne Cup-winning owner Lloyd Williamswas set to nominate three horses for the Newcastle Cup.

    Meanwhile, Paul Perry will enterWyong Cup runner-up The Getaway and possiblyDer Meister for the Newcastle Cup, his son and stable foreman, Shannon Perry, said. The Newcastle trainerhad a winning double at home on Tuesday with San Francisco and Painted Lady, which could be nominated for theTibbie Stakes.