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Selling a house

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Published: 13/09/2017   Last Updated: 13/09/2017 11:44:08   Tags: Selling A House

The property community has long railed against the excessive cost of stamp duty, but up until now, theirs has been a lone voice. With a number of Conservative politicians recently highlighting the issue amid concerns over the stagnating housing market, pressure is finally building on Philip Hammond to reform what is being called a ‘tax on moving’. To add weight to the argument, the Office for Budget Responsibility has said that stamp duty is putting the economy at risk and a recent report by the London School of Economics and the VATT Institute for Economic Research has found that there would be a 27% increase in people moving home if the tax were abolished.

The current rates of stamp duty were introduced by George Osborne in 2014 to smooth out the old slab system that created artificial pinch points in the market. There is no doubt it’s now a more progressive tax and the changes have reduced the cost of moving to homes below £937,500. But for anything above that level, and for buy to let and second homes, the costs have risen substantially. Currently, 14% of revenue comes from the boroughs of Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea, but with the average house price in London at £481,345, more and more transactions are being dragged into the higher tax net.

It’s not just the recent changes that are to blame - the general levels of stamp duty have been rising for some time - up 30% in real terms over the last decade.

As a result, at the top end of the chain, pensioners have found it increasingly difficult to sell their homes when they try and downsize, because the tax pushes up the price of their properties. Their typical buyers are those with growing families whose finances are already stretched, pushing those properties even further out of reach. They in turn are not selling their own homes, reducing the supply to second steppers and pushing up prices. At the bottom end of the chain first time buyers, who are already struggling to save for a deposit, have to add stamp duty on top.

Some FTBs manage to avoid it, but only in the cheaper areas, because the starting rate for the tax is nearly 50% below the national average house price.

The rising cost of moving home is also reducing labour mobility. When taking into account the extra spending a move generates, the Adam Smith Institute estimates that the reduced levels of mobility alone are costing the economy £9bn a year.

The Institute’s Ben Southwood also pointed out in a recent interview with the Telegraph newspaper that our failure to move closer to our places of employment increases commuting activity,

‘With stamp duty, people move to houses they value less in areas they don’t necessarily want to live in. There is an economic cost to that.”

So what are the chances of any changes being made to the tax? Unfortunately, despite slowing sales, the government’s revenue from the tax is rising. In 2008, according to HMRC’s own figures, the tax generated £2.9bn. Last year it had risen to £8.6bn and the government has, no doubt, come to rely on it in their budgets. However, the increase is most likely the result of the rising sales volumes that occurred as the market recovered after the 2008 crash. Analysis undertaken by Oxford Economics suggests that the changes in stamp duty have resulted in a substantial fall in transactions over £1million, knocking 10% off the potential tax take and leading to the loss of 14,000 jobs.

However, the housing market is more than just a source of tax revenue - it is a key component of a healthy economy. If the slowdown continues, the government will be forced to look for ways to stimulate the market. One of the simplest options is to reduce stamp duty. RICS is already reporting falling levels of stock on agents’ books – down nearly 30% compared to normal levels, but, with the government distracted by Brexit, we'll have to hope they take note of the signs and act accordingly.

Article by Simon Cairnes

House prices

Published: 12/09/2017   Last Updated: 12/09/2017 17:51:42   Tags: House Prices

The general slowdown in the property market continues as we move into some of the quietest months of the year. Average UK house prices are still rising across the country, according to most of the indices, but transaction volumes and stock levels are falling.

The Halifax reports that, nationally, house prices rose by 0.4% in July to £219,266. That's 10% above their peak in August 2007 and 42% higher than their low point of £154,663 in April 2009. However, their quarterly figures also show prices fell 0.2%, there was a 3% drop in the number of sales and mortgage approvals for new purchases were down by 0.7%.

Nationwide’s rival report paints a very similar picture, with monthly growth slipping, very slightly, from 3.1% to 2.9% and transaction volumes hitting a nine month low.

Robert Gardner, Nationwide's Chief Economist, says

“This pattern looks set to be maintained in the near term. Survey data points to relatively sluggish levels of new buyer enquiries, but at the same time surveyors report that relatively few properties are coming onto the market and at a time when the number of homes on estate agents’ books is already close to thirty year lows.”

There are a number of factors behind the slowdown - there is no doubt that the uncertainty caused by Brexit has had an impact on consumer confidence, with a knock-on effect on the housing market. Payment card company, VISA, have said that consumer spending fell for the third month in a row in July - the first time it has done so in four years. At the same time, wage growth is consistently running behind inflation, leading to ever more stretched finances. Conversely, unemployment is at its lowest level since 1975, mortgage costs remain at historic lows and with new instructions falling for the sixteenth month in a row, supply shortfalls are helping to support house prices.

Amongst all this contradictory data, one of the more revealing surveys is from RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors).

In order to get a better insight into exactly what is going on, RICS asked what people felt were the main contributors to the current flat trend. 44% identified the political uncertainty in the aftermath of the election and 27% Brexit as the key drivers of their more cautious behaviour. In London it was a slightly different story, with Brexit and the recent changes in stamp duty cited equally as the main causes.

RICS’s members also report the term ‘uncertainty’ is cropping up more and more frequently in the feedback they are receiving from buyers and sellers alike.

In other news, the government is rumoured to be considering modifying or bringing an end to the Help to Buy scheme. There has been no official confirmation, although it has already had a negative impact on the share prices of house builders. If the changes restrict the supply of new houses to the market, they could, potentially, push up prices.

HOUSE PRICES AND STATISTICS

Despite the usual summer slowdown, all the indices are showing signs of month to month and annual growth, albeit at low levels. There are some quite wide regional disparities, with London slipping down many of the growth tables and areas such as Birmingham now topping them.

Nationwide: July: Avge. price £211,671. Monthly change +0.3%. Annual change +2.9%
Halifax: July. Avge. price £219,266. Monthly change +0.4%. Annual change +2.1%
Land Registry: May: Avge. price £220,713. Monthly change +0.5%. Annual change +4.7%
Hometrack UK City Index: June: Avge. price £252,400. Quarterly change +3.8%. Annual change +5.1%
Rightmove: July: Avge. price £316,421. Monthly change +0.1%. Annual change +2.8% (asking prices on Rightmove)

BUY-TO-LET

After a period of relative stagnation, growth has now returned to the rental market. According to Homelet's Rental Index, rents rose by an average of 1.1% in July when compared to last year.

The biggest growth occurred in Northern Ireland, up +5.7%, Scotland, up 3.6%, and the East and West Midlands, up 3.2% and 2.4% respectively. In London rents fell by 0.6% over the same period, but saw the biggest monthly rise in July, up by 2.6%.

When Homelet questioned landlords about their intentions to raise rents further, 51% said they would do so in the next year or so, 17.4% weren’t sure and just 21.1% said no.

Interestingly, they also found that 84.7% of tenants said their rent levels were between very or quite affordable, 12.1% said they were quite unaffordable and just 3.2% said they were very unaffordable.

Article by Simon Cairnes

How much?

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Published: 12/09/2017   Last Updated: 12/09/2017 17:53:58   Tags: How Much

Do you know what the average costs are for some of the bigger jobs around the house? For example, how much would it cost you to build a new extension? Or what about rewiring the house? And have you got any idea how much it would cost to replace all the windows?

Whether you’re buying a new house or just renovating your existing one, it’s really useful to get a ballpark figure in your head before wasting a lot of time investigating something you cannot afford. Bear in mind that these are only very rough, guide figures, which will vary considerably according to the size of the house and the complexity of the job. You should also be aware that building costs vary across the country and are typically higher in London and the Southeast. To get accurate figures, you should always get quotes from respected, local specialists.

1) New central heating system – Based on a fairly typical 3-4 bed house and a tight budget, ie no fancy radiators or control systems, expect to pay around £4,000.

2) Extension – A 5m x 5m single storey extension would cost around £40,000 or nearer £60,000 in London (appx £1,200 to £1,500/sqm). This does not include fitting a kitchen or bathroom (see costs below). A two storey extension with a similar footprint would be roughly double the price.

3) Attic extension – A simple room conversion could cost as little as £15,000, but if it involved alterations to the roof structure on an average sized house, it could cost anywhere from £40,000 upwards, depending on the size of the space and the complexity of the changes.

4) New Kitchen – The cost of a new kitchen can vary wildly, depending on the spec. A rough ballpark figure for a new family kitchen is around £7,000. If you buy it from IKEA and build it yourself, you could reduce the cost considerably, but if you want a designer one with all the latest gadgets, the opposite will apply.

5) New windows – The cost of these will be dictated by the size and type required. An average sized UPVC window would cost around £700 and a timber sash one £1,300. Some manufacturers will offer discounts for larger orders.

6) Rewire the house – A two bed house could cost around £2,500, a three bed just over £3,000 and you should allow £4,000+ for a four bed house.

7) New bathroom – The average bathroom installation costs £4,500, according to Victoria Plumb, but the costs will increase considerably if you specify expensive tiles and fittings, live in London or have a larger than average bathroom. And, if you like things like gold taps, you can add a nought on to that figure!

8) Flooring costs – Like everything else, this varies according to the quality of the products specified and the size of the room. Tiles - As a rough guide, a mid-range tile costs £20-£40/sqm and anywhere between £30-£45/sqm to lay. Wood floor – Laminate prices start from as little as £4/sqm, engineered flooring ranges from £20-£75/sqm and solid wood flooring from £25-£100/sqm. Fitting is between £10-£30/sqm. Carpet – Carpet £7-£30/sqm (although you can pay considerably more), underlay £4-£10/sqm and labour £4-£6/sqm.

9) Replace a tiled roof - A small mid-terrace house with a roof of 55sqm would cost around £4,000 to retile with mid-range tiles, but a larger, detached 4 bed house could cost up to £8,500. The price is dependent on the size and complexity of the roof and the type of roof tiles you use - you can add about 25% extra for slate.

10) Basement – Conversion of an existing cellar would cost £750-£1,400/sqm. Lowering an existing one would cost between £1,500-£2,000/sqm and £2,000-£3,000 to create a new one.

11) Conservatory – Typically, they cost between £6,000 and £20,000, depending on the size and quality.

12) Solar panels – Installing solar panels to power the average house (3kW) would set you back around £4,000-£6,000.

These are rough guides only and are not suitable for formal budgeting purposes.

Article by Carol O'Connor

Life's a beach

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Published: 12/09/2017   Last Updated: 12/09/2017 17:51:20   Tags: Lifes A Beach

We're deep into August now and it seems like the whole world is away. You only have to look at your local high street or supermarket to see how quiet things are - everywhere is half-empty. Even the traffic has died right down.

But, beware, appearances can be deceptive. Soon, the new school term will begin and the country will be getting itself back into full working mode, whether that’s scouring the shops for a new school tie, or the latest ‘must have’ trainers, or just dashing off to pick up your suits from the dry cleaners, it will seem like summer had hardly happened.

If you’re still lying back on that sun lounger, cooling your brow with an ice cold drink or biting into a ‘99’, probably the last thing you are likely to be thinking about is selling your home. After all, what’s the rush?

But the wise ones are doing just that. The market is definitely busier - which is an early start to the autumn market. If you want to take maximum advantage you need to get a move on. Be ahead of the game if you can and be ready to go live early September. If you’re thinking about it please call us, we can come round, give you our appraisal and get the ball rolling…

Enjoy the rest of the summer and we’ll catch you again next month, if we don’t hear from you before.

 

Article by Richard Gee

Mortgage news

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Published: 12/09/2017   Last Updated: 12/09/2017 17:52:56   Tags: Mortgage News

MORTGAGES AND INTEREST RATES

The Bank of England voted by 6-2 this month to keep the base rate on hold. Last month the vote was closer at 5-3. Even so, the Bank’s chief, Mark Carney, warned it will rise some time over the next year. Many commentators disagree, because the most recent data on the key drivers of a rate rise are heading in the opposite direction - consumer confidence is falling, the economy is weakening and wage growth remains low. And, although inflation is rising, it is only thought to be the short term effect of the post Brexit, devaluation of the pound.

So why is Mark Carney being so hawkish? It is inevitable that the base rate will rise at some point, especially if the economy picks up or inflation accelerates, but that looks unlikely to happen over the next year. Mark Carney, however, is more concerned about motivating homeowners to prepare themselves for the prospect of higher monthly mortgage payments. There has been some considerable tightening of lending criteria to deal with the issue, but many homeowners have never experienced a base rate rise and may struggle to deal with the extra demands on their finances.

Even with the base rate remaining as it is, mortgage prices can still rise. It looks like two year fixed rates may have already bottomed out. In April, the average rate for someone with a 10% deposit was 2.43%, now it’s 2.50%. For those with a 40% deposit the average rate dipped to 1.24%, but has since risen to 1.38% (source: B of E).

Mortgages for first time buyers are also on the rise as lenders reduce their exposure to those with smaller deposits in a more challenging housing market. The average rate for a 95% LTV mortgage has gone up from 3.89% at the start of the year to 4.24% (source: Moneyfacts).

Below is a selection of this month’s best buys from Moneyfacts.co.uk:

Two year fixed rates: 1.19% from Sainsburys Bank. Arrangement £995. 75% LTV.
1.24% from Sainsburys Bank. Arrangement £995. 80% LTV.
Three year fixed rates: 1.46% from Yorkshire BS. Completion £995. 75% LTV.
1.64% from HSBC. Booking £999. 80% LTV.

Five year fixed rates: 1.69% from Yorkshire BS. Completion £995. 65% LTV.
1.74% from HSBC. Booking £999. 75% LTV.

Tracker rates: 1.49% (1.24% + base rate). For term. From Coventry BS. Arrangement £999. 65% LTV
1.55% (1.30% + base rate). For term. From Coventry BS. Arrangement £999. 75% LTV.

BUY-TO-LET (BTL)

Best two year fixed rate: 1.43% from Post Office Money. Arrangement £1495. 60% LTV.
Five year fixed rate: 2.24% from Virgin Money. Arrangement £1995. 60% LTV.
Best two year tracker rate: 1.74% (1.49% + base rate) from Virgin Money. Arrangement £995. 60% LTV.
The information we provide is our personal opinion and should not be relied upon for financial advice. Should you need financial advice or guidance please contact an appropriate professional.

Article by Carol O'Connor

London time

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Published: 29/03/2017   Last Updated: 29/03/2017 19:28:57   Tags: London Time

With British Summer Time, or Daylight Savings Time upon us it might be darker when you wake up in the morning, but the evening will be much longer and you will hopefully be home in daylight to enjoy your evening.

Living in London steeps you in history and culture even when it comes to telling the time.  Big Ben housed in the Elizabeth Tower in Westminster marks out time for the whole UK but is on your doorstep if you are lucky enough to live and work in London. You may or may not have noticed that the most famous time piece in the UK is having extensive work carried out on it, the Elizabeth Tower.

Problems with the clock hands, mechanism and pendulum, have been identified which need to be dealt with to make sure that the clock can continue to work properly. Surveys are still being carried out to identify the extent of the works required to the Tower itself but we have already identified areas of concern, including cracks in masonry, leaks, erosion, and severe rusting of metalwork.

On top of the general repairs, the Tower needs to be brought in line with modern fire prevention guidance, and health and safety measures for staff and visitors. In order to provide a better means of emergency evacuation, and to improve accessibility for a wider range of people, a lift will be installed within the existing ventilation shaft of the   Tower.  Overall the plans will conserve the Tower, upgrade facilities as necessary and ensure its integrity for future generations to enjoy as they make their way about this great city of ours.

https://www.parliament.uk/about/living-heritage/building/palace/big-ben/elizabeth-tower-and-big-ben-conservation-works-2017-/all-your-questions-about-the-works-answered/#jump-link-8

Longer tenancies are needed

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Published: 29/03/2017   Last Updated: 29/03/2017 19:30:07   Tags: Longer Tenancies Are Needed

Sometimes work opportunities can mean you need to be away from your London home for a period of time. But fortunately if you have a property in London there will be many reputable tenants looking to rent desirable properties in London. One recent survey by the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC) indicates that UK landlords and property managers should consider offering more long term tenancies.

The AIIC points out that in the English Housing Survey 2014/2015 the average private tenancy length is now four years, up from three and a half years in the previous survey. It also found that some 46% of 25 to 34 year olds lived in the private rented sector in 2014/2015, up from 24% in 2004/2005.

‘Despite numerous reports suggesting that the average tenant doesn't want a long term contract, the official statistics show that average tenancy lengths are increasing, particularly among families, as people rent for longer,’ said Patricia Barber, chair of the AIIC. With a wider acceptance of renting for longer periods there is increasing demand but it also means a different approach is required. 

Barber points out that the phenomenon of long term renting highlights how important it is for landlords and tenants to be organised and make sure they're on top of their administration duties. The AIIC also highlighted that landlords should be aware of the need for evidence and records, especially for long term tenancies, and this again demonstrates the value of a thorough and professionally prepared inventory carried out at the start of the rental. Making sure you have a reputable London agent such as Hawes and Co to help you prepare for and manage longer tenancies can prove invaluable.

http://www.propertywire.com/news/europe/uk-landlords-tenancy-terms/

Making plans for Mother's Day

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Published: 22/03/2017   Last Updated: 22/03/2017 14:03:46   Tags: Making Plans For Mothers Day

Mothering Sunday has been celebrated on the fourth Sunday in Lent, in the UK and Ireland, since the 16th century. This year it falls on Sunday 26th March and is a day to show love, gratitude and appreciation to mums everywhere, through acts of kindness, the giving of gifts and a feast.

Mothering Sunday and Mother's Day have different origins, although they represent the same meaning. Mother's Day celebrations date back to the ancient Greeks where they would celebrate Rhea, the Mother of the Gods and Goddesses, every spring with festivals of worship. The Romans also celebrated a mother Goddess, Cybele, every March as far back as 250BC.

Later came Mothering Sunday and it too had religious origins. Held on the fourth Sunday in Lent, exactly three weeks before Easter Sunday, it was a originally a day to honour the Virgin Mary, also known as Mother Mary. To do this people were required people to visit their 'mother' church, the main church or cathedral in a family's area. As Christianity spread throughout Europe in the 16th century the celebrations increased and put Mothering Sunday permanently on the calendar. The gatherings reunited families and gave children who worked as domestic servants, or as apprentices sometimes mile from home (from as early as ten years old), the opportunity to have the day off to visit their family and see their mother.

As with any national holiday, food always seems to take centre stage and a Mother's Day Sunday roast has become traditional.  Good job there are plenty of great gastro pubs and good restaurants in South West London to book in with.


http://www.findmeagift.co.uk/mothers-day-gifts/history.html

Natural Materials for the home

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Published: 22/03/2017   Last Updated: 22/03/2017 14:02:32   Tags: Natural Materials For The Home

Whether or not you are swayed by trends natural materials are great for enhancing any home. Cork is supposed to be on the rise again and not only is it a stylish material that adds warmth and texture to spaces, it’s also ideal for absorbing noise in our increasingly large, open plan homes. Renewable, durable, mold-resistant, and modern, cork is the interior decorating material that’s all the rage for 2017 say some.

Typically, cork has been chosen for the kitchen, bathrooms, and the laundry rooms in homes because of its anti-microbial and eco-friendly properties it’s great, where moisture is most commonly found. But it has great utility as a functional and stylish floor for other parts of the home. “It’s so easy to walk on, and nice for babies to crawl over,” says interior design expert Jeffrey Weldler. Cork gives your kitchen flooring a comfortable layer under your feet, so, as a home cook, you’ll notice the difference in your back and knees.  It’s also much warmer than wood or tiles.

Cork has even made a bit more of a colourful comeback “Traditionally, you’d think of cork as being beige and bland, but the panelling that’s made today comes in a vast selection of styles and colours, including ebony, dark brown, grey, or white,” says Weldler. You could use grey cork panelling on the walls of your dining room as an alternative to wallpaper. Or as a giant notice board, a cork wall is ideal for a home office or child’s bedroom. Cork walls are not only trendy, they’re practical; all of your mementos, reminder notes, and household works of art can be pinned up and organized to look good.


https://www.domain.com.au/advice/the-interior-trends-youll-be-loving-in-2017-20160309-gnek90/

Daffodils herald the Spring

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Published: 16/03/2017   Last Updated: 16/03/2017 07:48:19   Tags: Daffodils Herald The Spring

All of a sudden daffodils seem to be in bloom everywhere and they have long been thought of as the true heralds of Spring. There common name is Daffodil but their Latin name is actually Narcissus

and they come from a group of bulbs that typically flower from February to early May. Planted in the autumn, they spend several months developing roots before the flowers burst forth in spring. They are one of the easiest bulbs to grow and can be planted in borders and containers although they prefer the sun or light shade.

Daffodils can actually be divided into 13 divisions! These divisions are based mainly on flower form, but some divisions are known particularly for their smell of spring, or for their ability to naturalise in grass. If you have some daffs in your garden and want to make sure you have more next spring why not have a go at helping them propagate. They are pretty good at division meaning they naturally produce offsets (baby bulbs) next to the parent bulb. Some bulbs naturally propagate themselves by seed if you leave their heads on long enough to dry out. 

If you are an avid gardener you can also collect seeds and try growing some yourself. Once the flowers have dried out. Separate from the chaff and Sow seed thinly on the surface of seed compost. They will need to be in a cold frame or unheated greenhouse over winter. Some seed will germinate straight away, sending up a shoot (these bulbs are referred to as epigeal) The seedlings can usually be potted up in their second year. They can take a number of years to develop to flowering size but their riot of yellow are worth the wait.


https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=365#section-2

England Ireland Six Nations 2017

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Published: 16/03/2017   Last Updated: 16/03/2017 07:46:43   Tags: England Ireland Six Nations 2017

Ruby sport has seen such growth in the last few years and with Twickenham just down the road it’s hard to miss that the current Six Nations Championship is under way. The Six nations is one of the world's greatest rugby tournaments where the collective fans of six proud nations, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France and Italy support their teams and share in the passion and excitement of this ruby challenge. Some of the rivalries in this tournament date back more than 140 years. This Saturday 18th March 2017 England will be playing Ireland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin at 5.00pm.

With such a long history of Irish immigration to London it might be tricky for some to decide who to support. Sport has always played its part in building London communities. Way back at the end of the 19th century there was a consensus on both sides of the Irish Sea that a sporting club for Irishmen in London was badly needed. Part of the inspiration for this came from London Scottish that had been formed in 1878 and London Welsh seven years later in 1895. These clubs offered their countrymen a place to meet and relax while employment or education or other reasons took them away from their home. "So it was in 1898 that a group of Irishmen came together to form their own club, the London Irish Rugby Football Club". 

After looking at various options and locations for a base 12 acres of land were eventually purchased at Avenue Road, Sunbury on Thames in south-west London. The transaction was completed in,1931 for the princely sum of £1,280! Alongside St Patricks Day falling on 17th March 2017 the influence of Ireland on London will be hard to miss this weekend.


http://www.six-nations-guide.co.uk/tickets.html

Home sweet home

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Published: 10/03/2017   Last Updated: 10/03/2017 18:03:27   Tags: Home Sweet Home

Home sweet home

Smell is such an important sense it can alert us to dangers in the home like a gas leak or a fire and it is closely linked to parts of the brain that process emotion and memory. Although our sense of smell is not as acute as other animals humans are able to detect up to 10,000 different odour molecules.  Smell has been an integral part of evolution and survival of the fittest for our species in the past. Although humans rely less now on smell for survival a huge importance is still placed on smell for simple enjoyment.


It is easy to take our sense of smell for granted but some of us are obsessed with the smells in our homes and there are lots of products to help your home stay smelling sweet.  If lots of chemicals are not for you there are ways to enhance the smell of home with more natural products. One traditional French method is to burn Le Papier d’Armerie a scented paper that can be found in almost every French household,  a sheet of it is fold accordion-style, and lit at one end before blowing out,  as the paper smoulders, it leaves an incredible floral and sandalwood scent that lasts for days.

If you like to make things yourself scented draw diffusers are easy to craft.  If you find some small muslin bags you can just fill them with your favourite dried herbs, flowers like lavender or spices, then place in your drawers to make your clothes smell lovely, naturally.  If you hate the smelly shoes in your hall way or in your under stairs cupboards you could always try putting dry herbal  tea bags in the toes of your trainers for mint or apple-scented shoes.


https://www.domain.com.au/advice/fresh-and-clean-15-hacks-to-make-your-house-smell-delicious-20170118-gttnlp

London living

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Published: 10/03/2017   Last Updated: 10/03/2017 18:05:06   Tags: London Living

One of the best things about living in SW London is how many events are so easily available. If you are a fashion fan you probably will have already clocked that it is the 20th anniversary of Lady Diana Spencer’s death. And to mark the event a new exhibition and temporary garden celebrating her life has been opened at Kensington Palace, where she lived for over 15 years.

‘Diana: Her Fashion Story’ traces the evolution of the Princess’s style, from the demure, romantic outfits of her first public appearances, to the glamour, elegance and confidence of her later life. From her very first days in the public eye, everything Diana wore was closely scrutinised, and the exhibition explores how she build on her unique position, learning to use her image to engage and inspire people, and to champion the causes she cared about.

The exhibition ranges from the glamorous evening gowns worn on engagements in the 1980s, to the chic Catherine Walker suits that made up Diana’s ‘working wardrobe’ in the 1990s. In addition the Princess’s relationship with some of her favourite designers is explored through a display of some of their original fashion sketches, created during the design process. Diana really did help London and British designers back onto the world stage.

Some of the highlights of the exhibition are the pale pink Emanuel blouse worn for Diana’s engagement portrait by Lord Snowdon in 1981, and Victor Edelstein’s iconic ink blue velvet gown, famously worn at the White House when the Princess danced with John Travolta.


http://www.hrp.org.uk/kensington-palace/visit-us/top-things-to-see-and-do/diana-her-fashion-story/#gs.9vT41os

10 portions of fruit and veg a day?

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Published: 01/03/2017   Last Updated: 01/03/2017 11:43:26   Tags: 10 Portions Of Fruit And Veg A Day

If you pride yourself on being a healthy eater you will probably already be having your 5 portions of frit and veg in a day.  Scientists say even just 2.5 portions on a daily basis can lower your chance of heart disease, stroke, cancer and premature death so clearly five portions of fruit and veg a day is good, but apparently 10 is much better. 

The findings of the study led by Imperial College London say we should be piling up platefuls of vegetables and raiding the fruit bowl every day if we want the best chance of avoiding chronic diseases or an early death. Dr Dagfinn Aune, lead author of the research from the School of Public Health at Imperial said. “We wanted to investigate how much fruit and vegetables you need to eat to gain the maximum protection against disease, and premature death. Our results suggest that although five portions of fruit and vegetables is good, 10 a day is even better,” Eating up to 800g of fruit and vegetables  the equivalent to 10 portions was associated with a 24% reduced risk of heart disease, a 33% reduced risk of stroke, a 28% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, a 13% reduced risk of total cancer, and a 31% reduction in premature deaths.

But not all fruit and veg are created equal, apples and pears, citrus fruits, salads and leafy greens, spinach, lettuce and chicory, and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower were found to be best at preventing heart disease and stroke. To reduce the risk of cancer, the menu should include green vegetables, such as green beans; yellow and orange vegetables such as peppers and carrots; and cruciferous vegetables. But don’t panic it’s still good to aim to eat at least five portions of vegetables and fruit a day but you can always just start by adding an extra portion to your lunch or swap  a bad snack for a piece of fruit.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/feb/23/five-day-10-portions-fruit-veg-cut-early-death

How to find the perfect home to rent

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Published: 01/03/2017   Last Updated: 01/03/2017 11:41:49   Tags: How To Find The Perfect Home To Rent

There is much to be said for renting a home even if many of us look for the security of ownership but as more and more people turn to renting a home, even if it is just for certain periods of time in life,  it makes sense to take charge of the situation and enjoy what is on offer. Before you start house hunting make sure you do a bit of preparation so you search SMART for your new home. With a bit of forward planning you can find yourself living in the ideal rental home for you with our support in no time at all.

Before you start check your budget and decide what your rental bracket is so you are realistic about what you should look at and this helps avoid disappointment. Then brainstorm the features you are ideally looking for, ask yourself if they are essentials or "nice-to-haves".  Are you looking for modern or older home do you want a patio or a proper garden? How many bathrooms do you need and are there showers or baths in them? The open fire or the wood burner can seem attractive but do you really want the hassle? If you're a foodie, you are going to want a gas stove in the kitchen?

Of course school catchment areas are vital as are other local amenities. If like so many people you need to be setting up a home office you will need to make sure you have enough room.  Don’t forget to check out the parking restrictions especially if there is only on street parking. At the end of the list it can be good to consider your compromises, as it can help to make the final decision.

http://www.hgtv.com/design/real-estate/5-steps-to-finding-the-perfect-rental-home

Healthy pancakes this year

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Published: 23/02/2017   Last Updated: 23/02/2017 19:45:53   Tags: Healthy Pancakes This Year

Love him or hate him Jamie Oliver can cook. This pancake day how about giving your batter a healthy new twist? One of the things that you may have made already is Jamie’s granola dust from Everyday Supper Food an incredible concoction of nuts, seeds, oats and fruit galore whizzed up that can be added to lots of thing from smoothies, to porridge to pancakes adding a nutty twist to the naturally sweet and fluffy batter. Or just invent some of your own to add to the following.

First peel 1 banana, and mash it in a bowl with a fork then crack in 1 large free-range egg and beat well. Next mic in one heaped tablespoon of wholemeal self-raising flour and two heaped tablespoons of granola dust (Jamie’s or your own) and mix it together until you get a smooth batter.

Then heat a large non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat, and add a little drizzle of olive oil or pure rapeseed oil if you think the olive oil is too strong a flavour. Swirl the oil around the pan, then add heaped tablespoons of the batter in to the pan, spacing them out evenly like drop scones.

Cook them for 1 to 2 minutes, or until golden underneath then flip the pancakes over, and fry for a further minute or so until cooked through. Serve with your favourite nut butter and fresh fruit. Or go classic with some sugar and lemon juice.  The fun thing about pancakes is you can experiment with making them in lots of shapes and sizes.

http://www.jamieoliver.com/news-and-features/features/how-to-make-healthy-pancakes/

Instagram mini-home trend

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Published: 23/02/2017   Last Updated: 23/02/2017 19:42:12   Tags: Instagram Mini Home Trend

Have you noticed the miniature dollhouse trend taking Instagram by storm at the moment? #miniatureinteriordesign .  If you had a dolls house in mind for the kids there is so much style available in miniature its stunning. These really aren’t your traditional dollhouses, they are uber chic, modern, incredibly trendy miniature homes brimming with inspiration that you could even use to inform the design of your own home.

The decor in these teeny tiny rooms reflect many current trends our there from faux fur and Greenery to simple Scandi Style. There are dream bedrooms with sunset colours and clever ideas like painting the lower half of your bedroom wall a different colour to add depth, there are amazing kitchens with organic details and chic backsplashes offering ideas and design without sacrificing precious space. Mellow and modern spaces with cowhide rugs and velvet couches abound, everything in many of these miniature rooms is on point, even down to the wall decor, including a tiny wooden pineapple on one wall. Scandi Style offers the sanity-making powers matched in real life with a pared-back aesthetic coupled with warm tones to help chill out even the most frenzied of dolls/families. There are of course cute nursery’s to help you think about what you would add to your real life one in terms of stimulating shapes and compelling colours.

You really do wish you could be turned into mini versions of yourself "Honey I Shrunk the Kids"-style, to explore them fully. Many of the creations are so stylish, it seems hard to imagine you’d want to go back to being  life-size, unless of course to turn your dreams into reality.

 

http://www.elledecor.com/design-decorate/trends/a8664401/trendy-dollhouses/

Housing White Paper promises change in urban areas

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Published: 16/02/2017   Last Updated: 16/02/2017 02:07:50   Tags: Housing White Paper Promises Change In Urban Areas

Home ownership remains a “distant dream” for so many young families, so the government’s recent white paper needs to make some changes.

At a glance the key points in the government’s most recent plans are:

• Incentivising older people to downsize to smaller properties.

• Forcing developers to start building within two years of securing planning permission.

• A £3bn fund to help small builders deliver more homes.

• Incentives for build to let.

• Maintaining protections for the green belt.

The communities secretary, Sajid Javid, told the House of Commons that he placed the blame for the housing crisis almost entirely on low rates of house building, telling MPs that the number of home completions in England has been lower than anywhere else in Europe, relative to the population, for the last three decades. So a fresh wave of home building is promised.

We all know we need new homes but are the government’s plans just a bit disappointing signalling lots of talk and not a lot of action? It seems even more pressure is going to be placed on already struggling Councils to further plan housing needs and demands, as well as the ability for them to put pressure on developers to start building on land they own.

The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Review Panel’s Report into the effectiveness of CIL has long concluded that the current system simply doesn’t work, the regulations are overly complex and unfit for purpose and should be overhauled but this report only receives only a passing reference in the Housing White Paper. The Government recognises that substantial CIL reform is needed, but changes are not expected until the Autumn Budget – in November 2017. Without root and branch overhaul real change is perhaps further away than hoped.

 

Hawes & Co as experienced agents know everyone want a decent home whether it is owned or rented and are keen to help match people with property, if you would like to have a chat then pop into your local branch of Hawes & Co or call us on 0208 946 1000.


Source: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/feb/07/housing-market-government-white-paper-sajid-javid

House plant health benefits

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Published: 10/02/2017   Last Updated: 10/02/2017 19:07:02   Tags: House Plant Health Benefits

Trust Me I’m A Doctor is back on BBC2 and one of the things they have examined is the purpose of house plants beyond brighten up our homes. Houseplants can be great at absorbing nasty chemicals such as formaldehyde, found in cleaning products, toilet paper, facial tissues and paper towels, as well as other indoor air pollution from furnishings, synthetic building materials, pollen, bacteria, and moulds.

Plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, making plants natural air refreshers as Nasa notes “plants improve the quality of indoor air”. Ivy, geraniums, lavender and many ferns are good at absorbing formaldehyde, aloe vera not only cleans the air but the gel inside its thick leaves helps relieve burns and cuts, and spider plans battle benzene, commonly found in glue, paint and detergent, as well as  formaldehyde and carbon monoxide.

Studies at the Agricultural University of Norway found keeping plants indoors decreases the incidence of dry skin, colds, sore throats and dry coughs, they can also help to reduce headaches because they help eliminate stuffy air; homes with many indoor plants can even help reduce high blood pressure.

Studies have even shown that looking after plants after an operation or illness can actually increase your healing time. They can even help you with your work!  Studies have shown that working in the presence of plants improves your concentration, productivity and memory. Being “under the influence of plants” can increase memory retention up to 20%, according to research by the University of Michigan. And A recent ‘Green versus Lean’ report, conducted by Exeter and Cardiff universities, revealed that introducing plants into the office lifts workplace satisfaction by up to 40%. Seems like it must be time to invest in some house plants if you don’t have some already.

http://www.elledecor.com/design-decorate/trends/g8653881/benefits-of-houseplants/?slide=10

Is it time to get back to basics?

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Published: 10/02/2017   Last Updated: 10/02/2017 19:06:04   Tags: Is It Time To Get Back To Basics

It’s already February and whatever happens 2017 is likely to be a year of change and sometimes the best way to prepare for change is to get back to basics. As experienced agents Hawes & Co know this does not mean abandoning the progress that has taken place in the UK housing industry over the years but maybe it’s time to really refocusing on what agents do best: match people with properties.

Many believe the housing industry has an inbuilt social responsibility when matching people with the appropriate property and with that commitment in mind, ‘back to basics’ would be all about listening and engaging with customer to understand their needs and wants. Hawes & Co also believe that it is important to make sure customers have the right products and services to enable them to realise their property wishes. Sometimes this means everyone involved has to stop and think about the mortgages that are recommend as well as considering if the customer is suitably prepared with the appropriate insurance products. 

It is entirely possible that on some occasions the outcome of genuine listening will be a decision not to move home, re-mortgage your property, invest in further property or realign your portfolio, and that’s just fine.  Likewise good agents need to think more about the landlords they take on. A landlord who doesn’t care for their tenants can come at a high price both to the pocket and the reputation for all concerned. 

https://www.estateagenttoday.co.uk/features/2017/2/agents--its-time-to-get-back-to-basics

Minimalist Desires

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Published: 10/02/2017   Last Updated: 10/02/2017 19:04:50   Tags: Minimalist Desires

When the world is so hectic and full of things the desire to live with fewer material possessions can be attractive. Hawes & Co agents in their everyday work see some fantastic minimalist homes, some people even choose not own a car or TV, but not having things is not really the point. Minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom.

That doesn’t mean however that there’s anything inherently wrong with owning material possessions. The modern problem seems to be the meaning we assign stuff: we tend to give too much meaning to things, often forsaking our health, our relationships, our passions, even our personal growth. Minimalism as an idea might simply help you to make better decisions about these things.

There is no better place to start than in your home, one project Designed by UK-based studio Extravagauza promotes a style as a unique combination of aestheticism and functionality, which they call ‘Attractive Minimalism’. Their approach has its origin in a fascination with simple, minimalist forms which are enriched with luxury elements attractive to the human eye. A subtle extravagant touch acts as a blank canvas for other features. A focal point becomes a cozy bed upholstered with high quality, soft fabric enriched with two asymmetric lamps giving the space unusual and exciting look. Their color palette is simple but elegant, as they try to create an environment that pleases the senses without causing distraction or irritation. It’s a start.

http://interiorzine.com/2017/01/30/attractive-minimalism-at-project-calacatta-by-studio-extravagauza/

Rental deposits are on the rise

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Published: 03/02/2017   Last Updated: 03/02/2017 12:21:31   Tags: Rental Deposits Are On The Rise

Rental deposits for any property have been on the rise across the country as rents have steadily risen and the average tenancy deposit for England and Wales is now just below £1,000. A recent survey by the tenancy deposit firm DPS says that the average deposit paid between October and December 2016 across the UK was £970.18p. This figure indicates a £154.40p increase on July to September last year, it is just 30p lower than April to June 2016, with the third quarter typically experiencing a dip as students return to rented accommodation ahead of the new academic year. In London however, and some of the areas closest to the capital deposits can rise to £1,800.

The size of deposits means that deposit protection schemes are all the more important to protect both tenant and landlords. By law, a landlord must protect a deposit for any assured shorthold tenancy. There are 2 types of tenancy deposit protection schemes: Custodial schemes where a landlord pays the deposit into the scheme and the scheme looks after your money or Insurance-based schemes where landlords hold the deposit and pay insurance into the scheme.

As a landlord you must be able to confirm numerous pieces of ‘prescribed information’, such as: the amount of the deposit paid to you, the address the deposit relates to, how the deposit will be repaid at the end of the tenancy. Landlords are breaking the law if they haven’t told their tenants which scheme they’re using within 30 days of taking their money so make sure you and your tenants are protect with an official scheme. Hawes are more than happy to help Landlords find the right scheme to protect tenants and landlords alike.

https://www.lettingagenttoday.co.uk/

Supply and demand for 3 beds in London on the up

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Published: 03/02/2017   Last Updated: 03/02/2017 12:20:19   Tags: Supply And Demand For 3 Beds In London On The Up

There is clearly a gap in the market meaning that tenants are willing to pay over the odds for a three bedroom property in London according to figures from the National Rent Review from buy to let mortgage lender Landbay. There are many more smaller homes available but rents for three bedroom properties in London continue to grow while one and two bedroom homes are getting cheaper, according to the research.

Across the country the uplift in rent between one and two bed properties excluding London, is 19%, and only 15% when rising from a two bed to a three bed. However, in London rents jump by twice the national average from £1,455 for a one bed to £1,926 for a two bed and three times the national average to £2,690 for a three bed property. Three bed properties are the only property size in London where rents have ended the year without notable falls, remaining flat year on year by the end of 2016, at an average rent of £2,690.

Hawes & Co know that people are now renting for three years longer than in 1995, with growing families arriving before homes have been bought. According to John Goodall, chief executive officer of Landbay, this demand for family size homes is set to keep rising. ‘In London, where space is already at a premium, a relatively well served two bed rental market means those looking for more space now pay dearly for that extra bedroom,’. For London landlords who have the opportunity to offer a three bed property in London they will benefit from a 40% uplift in rent for no more than 30% more living space.

http://www.propertywire.com/news/uk/rent-three-bed-homes-london-rising-due-lack-supply/

Bring some winning design glamour into your home’s interior

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Published: 30/01/2017   Last Updated: 30/01/2017 16:37:30   Tags: Bring Some Winning Design Glamour Into Your Homes Interior

If you’ve been following this year’s The Great Interior Design Challenge on BBC2 you would know that Daniel Hopwood won due to her ability to push the boundaries by creating her own unique interior designs.

Daniel demonstrated an ability throughout the series to understand her customers needs and likes and then adapting this to fit her own unique style for their homes. She had the creative talent to bring glamour into every room, whether it was through her use of LED lighting or through her choice of furniture.

If you would like to bring a bit of Daniel’s glamour into your home’s interior then why not consider her use of curtained walling, using LED lighting. This can make a large expanse of walling feel softer, instantly giving a room a sense of evening prestige. Daniel also used other forms of effects on walls, from soft paint colours to wooden paneling. Her fabric hanging pendent light in the bedroom gave the room a feeling of opulence. The bronze mirrors she used on the kitchen cabinets worked beautifully in the final as they reflected the softer wood material used on the floor. Selecting key pieces of furniture and thinking about redesigning room layouts was also part of her winning formula.

If you would like to buy a house which has been beautifully designed then Hawes & Co Surbiton has this stunning four bedroom family home for sale. It’s located in a sought after residential area with a 117' South Facing Garden. The property is arranged over 2 floors and offers the potential to be extended (STP). The property benefits from a double reception room with Bi-Fold doors, a recently fitted kitchen and 2 further reception rooms. Further benefits include a downstairs W.C and an En-Suite shower room to the master bedroom. Situated within walking distance to Surbiton mainline station with its fast link into Waterloo and within easy reach of highly regarded local schools. No onward chain.EPC GRADE-D. £1,250,000.

For more information or to arrange a viewing please follow this link.

House prices expected to rise in 2017

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Published: 30/01/2017   Last Updated: 30/01/2017 16:35:26   Tags: House Prices Expected To Rise In 2017

House prices in all parts of the UK are expected to see an increase according to the latest survey by RICS, Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. They state that although there was a slow down in property prices towards the end of the year in London, other areas experienced a rise in sales such as Wales, the South West, and the North of England. They have also said that they expect rents to increase by 5% per year over the next five years.

However the lack of fresh supply continues to hinder the property market, making December the tenth month in a row where there was no improvement on the flow of new properties coming onto the market.

Contributors said that looking further ahead the twelve months sales forecast remains largely unchanged with 32% of people anticipating a rise in property prices rather than a fall. In the North of England, the outlook was much brighter, respondents reported the strongest price growth compared to all other areas of the UK, with 55% of those people surveyed experiencing an increase in prices.

House prices and rental prices are expected to continue to increase, as lack of supply in the rental market continues to push up prices.

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist stated: ‘A familiar story relating to supply continues to drive both the sales and lettings markets impacting on activity, prices and rents,’

‘The eagerly awaited housing white paper should help to create a more positive framework for new build delivery but with the best will in the world, it is going to take time before the resulting uplift in the development pipeline begins to impact on the opportunities for either homebuyers or tenants,’ he pointed out.

‘The survey provides further evidence that both price and rent pressures are continuing to spread from the more highly valued to more modestly valued parts of the market for good or ill,’ he continued.

If you are looking to market your property this year why not pop into your local office of Hawes & Co for a coffee and a chat or give our team a call on 0208 9461000 for a free market appraisal


Source: Property Wire

Readers might also be interested in:

Private Landlords Should Be 'Supported' And ‘Recognised For Their Contributions'

http://hawesandco.co.uk/blog/private-landlords-should-be-supported-and-recognised-for-their-contributions

Council garages - the key to reducing land shortage in London?

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Published: 18/01/2017   Last Updated: 18/01/2017 12:01:11   Tags: Council Garages The Key To Reducing Land Shortage In London

The shortfall in housing supply in the UK, especially in London and the home counties looks to continue, however according to the Property Partner this could be reduced if space currently occupied by council garages was released as new building land.

The council garages according to the funding organisation could potentially provide thousands of new homes for London. Councils currently own 53,000 lock-up garages – with 41% of them being left empty or not used due to disrepair. The estimated surface area according to the organisation could enable 16,11 average sized flats to be built, which could help to reduce the housing shortage in central London.

The eagerly anticipated Government’s White Paper on the current housing situation is due to be released at the end of this month - so it will be interesting to find out if they do take into consideration building on sites where council garages are currently housed.

In this article produced by The Guardian last year: ‘Three things the government must put in the housing white paper,’ they stated that the Government must recognise that each housing market faces different challenges and opportunities, as well as treating London as a special case and reforming the dysfunctional land market, for their full article please follow this link.

Sources:

Estate Agent Today
The Guardian

Warming Pea and Ham soup recipe…

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Published: 18/01/2017   Last Updated: 18/01/2017 12:02:51   Tags: Warming Pea And Ham Soup Recipe

Pressure cookers have made a come back, if you money is tight it’s a great way to make delicious money saving meals. If you are also looking at cutting back and reducing your waste line this January, then you can use it to make the most delicious soups.

One of the most popular soups in the UK is pea and ham soup as it’s delicious and not very expensive to make. Here is a recipe from the BBC Good food website:

Knob of butter

1 onion chopped 1l ham or pork stock

1 medium potato peeled and diced

500g frozen petits pois

300g thickly sliced ham, trimmed of any fat and diced

First of all heat the butter in a saucepan until it foams slightly, then cook the onions on a low heat until transparent and soft. Then tip the potatoes into the pan and coat with butter, then poor over the stock. Then tip in your frozen peas, bringing them to the boil. Remove from the heat, blend until smooth. Stir in the diced ham and serve. You can also add all of the ingredients to a pressure cooker and they will cook even faster. If you add some mint sauce to the recipe adds a slight zing to the recipe.

Source: BBC Goodfood website

Are finances keeping you awake at night?

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Published: 13/01/2017   Last Updated: 13/01/2017 16:02:13   Tags: Are Finances Keeping You Awake At Night

If lack of finances are keeping you awake at night this January you will not be alone, as according to a new study 20% of us are kept awake due to financial worries, mainly due to overspending during the Festive season. Monday 16th of January, has been coined Blue Monday, because it’s the apparently the most depressing day of the year.

One of the best ways to tackle stress and depression caused by financial issues is to tackle the problem head on, most of us will want to bury our heads in the sand, but this is the worst thing you can do, as problems not dealt with tend to manifest themselves into our sub consciousness and then come out in other ways, such as lack of confidence.

So how can you improve your finances? First of all draft out a list of all of your income and expenditure, that way you will be able to see if there is a shortfall between the two and work out a plan of how to tackle it if there is. Set yourself a budget for expenditure each month, then you will be able to differentiate better between what you need and what you want.

Take a look at your expenditure, can you cut out any monthly direct debits, such television subscriptions, magazine subscriptions and so fourth.

If you have a large sum on your credit card, which has a high interest rate, as many have, then think about taking out a cheaper loan to pay it off. Think about changing to a different bank where you could get £200 for switching.

Make sure you using the cheapest energy company for your electricity and gas, some smaller suppliers can work out cheaper, check out sites such as moneysavingexpert.com. They also have a whole list of ways in which you can save money this year.

Private landlords should be 'supported' and ‘recognised for their contributions'

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Published: 13/01/2017   Last Updated: 13/01/2017 16:04:31   Tags: Private Landlords Should Be Supported And Recognised For Their Contributions

Tax relief on mortgage rates is due to be phased out over a three year period from this April and although the changes are a major concern to many landlords, a recent poll by Landlord Voice revealed that half of the landlords survey owned their rental properties so would not be affected by the oncoming changes.

However for those landlords who do have buy-to-let mortgages there is still some hope that the Government might do a U-turn before April and not introduce the new changes. Landlords would also like to see some other aspects changed, like an end to the 3% the levy on stamp duty payable on investment homes according to the poll. They would also like to see a reduction on capital gains when they sell a property.

‘We strongly urge Chancellor Philip Hammond to listen to landlords’ concerns. Landlords should be supported and recognised for their contributions in providing affordable housing, rather than burdened with unfair tax measures that will see them having to take considerable cuts to their income and being forced to pass some of this to their tenants,’ said Jenny Mayes from Simple Landlords Insurance.*

Although the private landlord has been accused of inadvertently pushing up property prices in the UK, it’s important to remember that they still play a very important role in supplying homes to people who cannot get onto the housing ladder. The chronic shortage of social housing has meant that people will have to rely on the private landlord to provide them with somewhere to live. In reaction to the problem the Government has pledged an investment of £1.2 million pounds into the Starter Homes Land fund aimed at first time buyers between the ages of 23-40, however Government schemes in the past aimed have had very little impact on the housing shortage in the UK. 

In a recent article in Property Wire, they stated that half of tenants in the UK’s private sector cannot afford to buy, saying that first time buyers living in London can’t even afford starter homes. A survey completed by an investment firm based in Manchester found that 52% living in rental property said that they couldn’t afford to buy and 25% of people didn’t meet the mortgage criteria.

Source:

 
*Property Wire

Brighten up this winter by moving to a contemporary home

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Published: 09/01/2017   Last Updated: 09/01/2017 15:16:41   Tags: Brighten Up This Winter By Moving To A Contemporary Home

Gone are the days when we were restricted to living in houses with small windows, technology has advanced so much in recent years that we can now, at a price, introduce walls of glass into our homes, bringing in enough valuable light to get us through the bleak winter months.

Living in a house with large windows and a contemporary design is a lifestyle choice, and there’s something about living in a modern home which really can boost moral and our bank balance - as typically modern homes are cheaper to run due to the fact they incorporate the latest energy saving materials.

If you are looking at moving into a contemporary home this year then this property could make the ideal home, with no onward chain and a comprehensively refurbished interior, you could literally move into this family home straight away and start enjoying the Wimbledon lifestyle. This property is on the market with Hawes and Co Wimbledon Village with a guide price of £1,395,000 this spacious four bedroom contemporary property is set in a quiet location, and within mature grounds.
 
Situated off Copse Hill within a 10 minute walk of Raynes Park Station and excellent shopping facilities and Southern Region Train service (approx. 21 minutes) whilst just a few minutes walk from Wimbledon Common and Kings College School.

Features include:
•4 Bedrooms
•2 Bathrooms
•Open Plan living/Dining Room
•Study/TV Room
•Large Kitchen
•South West Facing Private Garden
•Landscaped Communal Gardens
•Off Street Parking

For more information or to arrange a viewing please call Hawes and Co Wimbledon Village on 020 8946 1000 or follow this link.

Letting agents save landlords nearly £2,000 a year…

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Published: 09/01/2017   Last Updated: 09/01/2017 15:14:45   Tags: Letting Agents Save Landlords Nearly 2000 A Year

If you are a property investor and have one or more properties you let out you will no doubt understand the importance of using a registered Lettings agent. Not only can they manage your rental property, giving you peace of mind but according to a new report they can on average save a landlord almost £2,000 a year by helping them with rent and void periods.*

The research by the insurance firm Endsleigh found that landlords can save money by using a good lettings agency such as Hawes and Co. 41% of landlords stated that by using an agent gave them peace of mind, with 25% of them contacting their agent at least once a week.

Their survey showed that 76% of landlords said that their agents proactively helped them to find tenants, as well as providing other vital services such as help with legal and financial matters. However they also highlighted that a landlords relationship with their agent isn’t just about finances alone, 50% of them stated they preferred to use an agent because of their knowledge within the industry.

If you are looking to access the services of a professional agent then Hawes and Co lettings will not only find tenants for your property, we can also provide a fully managed property service. We offer advice, organise all the financial and legal paperwork, manage your tenants on a day-to-day basis, maintain the property, inspect it at regular intervals and of course, collect rent. In short, rather than you spending time worrying about what could go wrong with your property, we can be there to help make sure it doesn't.

For more information about this service please call our team on 0208 946 1000.

Source: http://www.propertywire.com/news/europe/good-letting-agents-can-save-landlord-almost-2000-month/

Bring a bit of blue magic into your home’s interior this Christmas…

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Published: 09/12/2016   Last Updated: 09/12/2016 11:35:51   Tags: Bring A Bit Of Blue Magic Into Your Homes Interior This Christmas

Blue has dominated the interior fashion scene this year, and it looks to continue throughout Christmas and into the New Year too. So we checked out the house beautiful website, packed full of festive ideas using blue this Christmas.

They say that adding shades of indigo, cobalt and sapphire will give your scheme a regal feel, together with flashes of antique and guilt will give it a vintage twist. Try to avoid using just one tone of blue as this will make your scheme appear flat. Adding gold touches through ornaments, soft furnishings and ribbons will also bring in a bit of festive cheer.

This two bedroom maisonette currently on the market with Hawes and Co Raynes Park has embraced the blue theme, introducing a retro, cool blue into the splash backs of the kitchen. Cool blue tiles, lift the predominantly white palette, giving the room a modern feel.

It’s an amazing fully refurbished two bedroom ground floor maisonette with its own garden, 900+ years unexpired lease, reasonable maintenance outgoings having new fitted kitchen, luxurious bathroom, spacious accommodation being in this sought after location convenient for Wimbledon Chase amenities & Thames Link commuter station.

Features include:
•Two Bedrooms
•Large Lounge
•Luxurious Bathroom
•New Gas Central Heating
•Fully Fitted Kitchen With Double Doors Onto Patio & Garden
•New Wiring & Lighting
•New Wood Floors
•Luxuriously Fitted
•Convenient Location
•Own Front Door
•Own Garden
•EPC:D

For more information or to arrange a viewing please follow this link http://hawesandco.co.uk/property/rp003b78/sw20/kingston-road/wimbledon/maisonette/2-bedrooms or call Hawes and Co Raynes Park on 020 8946 3000.

Getting your home ready for a January sale

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Published: 09/12/2016   Last Updated: 09/12/2016 11:37:26   Tags: Getting Your Home Ready For A January Sale

January is one of the most popular months for home buyers, one of the busiest days for property searches is on Boxing Day, so if you are thinking about selling your home in January, you will need to get it marketed in December.

One of the first things to do is to contact a good local estate agent such as Hawes and Co, they will be able to give you all the advice you will need as well as a good indication of how much your home is worth.

Once you have instructed an agent to market your home you will need to make sure that your home looks at its best. Although it’s one of the most popular months for people moving – due to embracing a new year, new life, it’s also one of the hardest months to make your home look appealing, so here is a list of some of the things you can do to make your home look good this January:

• Make sure you finish off any DIY jobs

• Maximise the light in your home – put on bedside tables and lighting

• Make sure your home feels warm and inviting – if possible light an open fire if you have one.

• Make sure your home is clutter free

• Create curb appeal by making sure that the front of the property is well maintained, hid any bins, clean up drives and paths and keep flower beds turned over.

• If you have a light in your porch and are doing viewings late in the afternoon then make sure its on.

If you would like any more help and advice on how to sell your home this January, why not pop into your local agent or give our team a call on 0208 946 1000.

How to get a good night’s sleep…

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Published: 09/12/2016   Last Updated: 09/12/2016 11:33:46   Tags: How To Get A Good Nights Sleep

According to new research, sleep deprivation is causing the UK economy £40bn per year because of people being absent or less productive during their working week. This latest research by Rand Europe was taken from 62,000 people, they said the loss amounted to 1.86% of economic growth.1

The impact of not getting a good night’s sleep is serious, some health experts have stated that those people who constantly get less than six hours per night are 13% more likely to die earlier than those people who have more than 7 hours sleep per night.

The NHS state that the main causes for insomnia comes from computers, stress and taking work home. They state that there are 7 main reasons why a good nights sleep can boost your health, these include: immunity, slimming, boosts mental health being, sleep prevents diabetes, increased sex drive, wards off heart-disease and increases fertility.2

If you would like to improve your night’s sleep then you could try these following ideas:

• Try and cut out caffeine during the day, especially the latter part.

• Make your bedroom a sanctuary, which means no computers, televisions, smart phones, no work.

• The best colour palette for a bedroom is soft blue.

• Try and avoid drinking too much alcohol as this will give you a disturbed night’s sleep

• Have a bed time routine – go to bed at the same time every night, have a herbal tea such as camomile which promotes sleep, light a candle, have a warm bath, read a book.

Check out the NHS beating insomnia guide: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/insomnia/Pages/bedtimeritual.aspx

Sources:
1. http://www.bbc.com/news/business-38151180

2. http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/tiredness-and-fatigue/Pages/lack-of-sleep-health-risks.aspx

Rental properties in Winter

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Published: 09/12/2016   Last Updated: 09/12/2016 11:39:13   Tags: Rental Properties In Winter

Winter can sometimes be a bit troublesome if you own a rental property, with temperatures already having fallen quite dramatically over the weekend, the last thing you want is to receive a call over the festive season from one of your tenants. But hopefully by now you would have already taken some steps to winter proof your property.

One of the main issues at this time of year, is burst pipes, it accounts for one in five insurance claims made by landlords each year. This is most likely to happen in a vacant property where the heating is turned off – you must always ensure that you keep your property sufficiently heated even if it is empty, otherwise your insurance might be invalidated. If you do have tenants in your property then it might be worth advising them to keep the heating on if they go away during winter, even on low, especially at night time. It’s also a good idea to show your tenants how where the stop cock is for the water supply, just incase there is an emergency and they need to switch it off straight away.  If there is a leak then it’s the tenants responsibility to report it straightaway.

Managing properties can be testing at time that’s why many landlords have chosen to use a lettings company, such as Hawes and Co so that they can take away the stress if things do go wrong. If you would like to find out more about our lettings service then please check out our website http://hawesandco.co.uk/management or call our team on 0208 946 1000.

Source: https://www.landlordtoday.co.uk/breaking-news/2016/11/checklist-how-to-winter-proof-your-rental-properties

Autumn Statement, a further blow to the letting’s industry

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Published: 29/11/2016   Last Updated: 29/11/2016 15:10:36   Tags: Autumn Statement A Further Blow To The Lettings Industry

Philip Hammond delivered his Autumn Statement this week, announcing a ban on all letting fees to be introduced as soon as possible, he also promised to invest more money into new homes - £2.3bn of investment, which would amount to around another 100,000 homes being built in areas with high demand, as well as an investment of £1.4bn for 40,000 more homes.He also stated that he would bring in a pilot scheme giving housing association tenants the right to buy their own homes.

Before the Autumn Statement was announced property experts Estate Agency Today created a ‘wish list’ for estate agents that included mortgage relief interest, greater support for SME developers, and a reduction in capital gains tax. However the statement delivered none of this. There was also some optimism that recent changes to stamp duty for investment properties introduced by the former Chancellor which came into effect in April would be dropped, however no concessions on this were made by the new Chancellor either.

The private landlord plays an important part in the UK, providing accommodation for those people who cannot afford to buy their own homes, without them it could add to the housing crisis. One of the problems of taking away fees from letting agents is that less investment will result in a reduction in service quality.

If you are concerned about the latest changes announced in the Autumn Statement and would like to discuss them with our team why not give us a call on 0208 946 1000.

Good broadband pushes house prices up as much as 5%

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Published: 29/11/2016   Last Updated: 29/11/2016 15:08:36   Tags: Good Broadband Pushes House Prices Up As Much As 5 Percent

Broadband is a vital part of most people’s lives, so it’s great news that the Chancellor has pledged more than 1 billion pounds to improve broadband speed and mobile phone signals in the UK. 1

Having access to good broadband is at the top of most buyers list when thinking of purchasing a new home. New research by Broadband.co.uk has revealed that some buyers feel that it’s more important than off-street parking. Good broadband speeds can it say add as much as 5% to the value of your home, that’s the equivalent of £25,000 on a £500,000 home. Many new home owners will make sure that they have internet connection before other services such as gas and TV, electricity was the only service to have priority over the internet. 1 out of 10 home buyers reject a home due to a bad internet connection.

In another survey carried out by Gocompare it showed that many Britons now consider internet connection to be more important than heating, they found that 76% of British adults view broadband as an essential utility with 36% saying they couldn’t live without it. 2

Ben Wilson, from Gocompare.com Broadband, said: “These figures highlight just how important the internet has become in our daily lives, with the majority of people now considering it an essential utility, like energy or water.”

So if you are looking to buy a home make sure that you check the internet connection before you buy.  

Sources:

1.    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/property/news/9570756/Fast-broadband-more-important-to-house-buyers-than-parking.html

2.    https://www.propertyinvestortoday.co.uk/breaking-news/2016/11/good-broadband-now-considered-vital-by-property-buyers

Choosing the right estate agent

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Published: 24/11/2016   Last Updated: 24/11/2016 09:26:42   Tags: Choosing The Right Estate Agent

Your property will probably be the most expensive asset you will ever sell, which makes it vital that you chose the right estate agency to sell your home. In recent years we have seen a glut of on-line estate agents offering sellers the opportunity to sell their homes at a fraction of the cost of a traditional agent, but that’s where the benefits stop, as 95% of sellers have realised.

Making sure you chose the right agent can make all the difference for your property being sold quickly or hanging around on the market for months, so it’s vital that you get it right.

The first thing to do when ensuring you chose a good estate agent such as Hawes and Co is to check out their track record, you can do this by checking on-line review sites such as allAgents.co.uk where they give regular feedback, checking social media sites such as Facebook and Linkedin is also another good place to check for references and to get a feel for the agent.

Make sure that your agent has a track record in selling homes like yours, there’s no point selling your property with an agent that doesn’t have a history of selling properties like yours.

It’s also a good idea to have a drive around your area, to see who the predominant estate agent is by looking at for sale boards.

Meet your potential agent face to face this way you will get a good idea of who they are and whether you would like to use them.

Make sure that when you sign the contract you read the small print carefully and understand what you are signing.

If you are thinking about selling your home and would like some help and advice from an experienced estate agent, why not pop into your local branch of Hawes and Co or give our team a call on: 0208 9461000.

Sources: 1. The Guild of professional Agents

Credit score map – which credit score area do you live in?

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Published: 24/11/2016   Last Updated: 24/11/2016 09:30:05   Tags: Credit Score Map Which Credit Score Area Do You Live In

According to new data people who live in Kingston upon Thames and in South West London have the best credit rating in the UK. The new data basis its credit scores by postcode, just hover over this map to find out much your postcode credit score is https://clearscore.carto.com/viz/239216e6-9c78-11e6-8160-0e3ff518bd15/public_map. Their data is based on more than 2.5 million people.

Kingston scored the highest average score with 396.3, followed closely by the Shetland Islands 390.91, Guilford 389.95, Sutton 380.23. The postcodes with the lowest average score were Sunderland 317.67 and Kilmarnock 318.13.1 People in Kingston tend to not move so frequently and are more likely to be registered on the electoral role, which all help credit ratings.


Reasons why someone could have a low credit rating or could be rejected for a credit card are: not being on the electoral role, not having a borrowing history to base a credit rating on, you’ve had a bad history of borrowing and exceeding limits, have had a County Court Judgement that you haven’t settled. If you want to check your credit rating go to http://www.experian.co.uk/creditexpert2/01_credit_rating.html?sc=701685&gclid=CLPw_Y-a4cUCFUbJtAodOHsAxw.

People who will be a likely to check your credit score will be banks, phone providers and even landlords so it’s important to make sure that you look after yours. Private rental tenants can improve their credit ratings by paying their rent through the Rental Exchange Scheme free of charge, because every time you make a payment on time Experian will be notified.

Ways in which you can improve your score is by not applying for a credit card until you have improved your credit score. Make sure you are on the electoral register and cancel any unused credit cards.

Sources:

1.Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/personal-banking/credit-cards/credit-score-map-are-you-more-creditworthy-than-your-neighbours/

2. https://clearscore.carto.com/viz/0d863b00-525e-4651-b2a0-02a77c6b0691/public_map

3. Experian

Legislation to prevent landlords from renting out tiny rooms

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Published: 24/11/2016   Last Updated: 24/11/2016 09:18:00   Tags: Legislation To Prevent Landlords From Renting Out Tiny Rooms

In an attempt to stop landlords from renting out tiny rooms the Government is proposing to bring a new law to prevent people from renting out rooms smaller than 6.5m2 or 70sq ft in HMOs. The proposal has been put forward to stop landlords from renting out tiny bedrooms, some for as much as £1,000 in London.1 There is some concern that increasing the minimum size of rental bedroom might push up rents further, however most discerning landlords will probably welcome the changes, as it will stop rogue landlords from renting out tiny spaces.

House sizes in the UK are much smaller than those found in the rest of Europe, according to Cambridge University. The size of a new build property averages at 76sqm, which is half the size of the average home in Denmark which is 137sqm.

Brandon Lewis, the housing minister, commented on the new proposals:  “It is simply unacceptable that people are living in cramped, unsafe accommodation provided by landlords who are more interested in a quick profit than the safety or welfare of their tenants.

“The government is determined to crack down on rogue landlords … The proposals intend to make it easier for local authorities to raise standards in houses used as shared homes by setting a minimum size of rooms in line with existing overcrowding standards.”

The ARLA, Association of Registered Letting Agents and most buy to let landlords have embraced the proposed changes. David Cox, managing director of the Association of Residential Letting Agents, stated: “The consultation is a step in the right direction. There are a minority of rogue agents and landlords bringing the sector into disrepute, and anything that can be done to try and eliminate these is a good thing.

“We must focus our scarce resources on removing the rogue and criminal landlords and agents and this can only be done through enforcement, not administration.

Sources:

1.    https://www.theguardian.com/money/2015/nov/06/government-proposes-minimum-bedroom-size-for-rental-properties

2.    http://www.simplybusiness.co.uk/knowledge/articles/2015/11/new-legislation-set-to-see-minimum-bedroom-size-enforced/

Properties are selling faster than this time last year

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Published: 24/11/2016   Last Updated: 24/11/2016 09:22:55   Tags: Properties Are Selling Faster Than This Time Last Year

News from Halifax Housing Market Confidence Tracker this week showed that although house prices have fallen slightly, property transactions will continue at the same rate, especially for first time homes where prices have risen by 1.7% in the past month.
 

However a clear majority of those people surveyed, 57% still think that property will have increased in value by this time next year, and Brexit seems to have very little impact on buying and selling in the UK, with only 15% of those people who were surveyed before the vote saying that they had delayed or changed their minds about selling or purchasing a property.

According to Rightmove properties newly launched properties on their portal have dipped by 1.1% in the past month, however this is less of a dip than the average 1.8% normally seen at this time of year.

Rightmove director and market analyst Miles Shipside stated: "This is the smallest drop in average November asking prices since we saw the same figure - down 1.1 per cent - in November 2011. Furthermore the average time to sell of 65 days is one day quicker than at this time last year"

The asking price of properties newly launched on the market has dipped by 1.1 per cent in the past month says Rightmove - but this is less than the average 1.8 per cent drop usually seen at this time of year.

Martin Ellis, Halifax housing economist stated: ‘Optimism in the housing market has taken a fall in recent months, with many people now expecting a general slowdown in the market and no, or little, change in house prices over the coming year.

‘This sentiment is consistent with recent findings from the Halifax house price index which show that prices are still growing, but to a lesser extent. Confidence with the wider economy has tracked down sharply since May 2015 but encouragingly, optimism has bounced back to where it was a year ago and is broadly neutral,’ he added.

Sources: http://www.propertywire.com/news/europe/brexit-will-affect-uk-house-prices-not-sales-confidence-index-suggests/

https://www.estateagenttoday.co.uk/breaking-news/2016/11/asking-prices-dip-but-no-cause-for-panic-says-rightmove

Wimbledon this Christmas

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Published: 24/11/2016   Last Updated: 24/11/2016 09:32:04   Tags: Wimbledon This Christmas

One of the benefits of living in Wimbledon there is always so much going on the lead up to Christmas, and this year it doesn’t look as though it’s going to disappoint with one of this year's events being the Christmas market which will run from the 26th November until the 20th December. There will be Christmas lights, bustling stalls, exciting gifts and mulled wine and music.

Thousands of people descend Wimbledon each year in order to enjoy the ‘Walking in a Wimbledon Wonderland’ which will be held on Sunday 27th November this year. There will be festive music played by brass bands, accompanied by choir singing, dancing penguins and roller skating Christmas puddings. Organisers state that they are “Filling up the day with everything that makes Christmas special. There will also be the opportunity for those young and old to enjoy the magical carousel and snow dome photobooth. You will also be able to stock up on Christmas presents from local and regional traders selling everything from homewares  to Christmas bakes and special stocking fillers. The event will take place at The Cresent in Wimbledon Town Centre, from 12-6pm. There will also be a free fireworks display courtesy of Centre Court Shopping Centre at 5.30pm.

If you are looking for some family entertainment in the lead up to Christmas then why not book to see ‘Babe VIP Performance’ at the Polka Theatre, suitable for 5-11 year olds on Saturday 6 December at 3pm.  The theatre play is an adaption of the classic children’s story about a pig that discovers a talent for sheep herding.  For more information or to book – hurry as tickets are selling quickly – please follow this link: http://www.polkatheatre.com/whats-on/babe-the-sheep-pig-vip-performance/performances.

Winter warming pumpkin soup

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Published: 24/11/2016   Last Updated: 24/11/2016 09:20:32   Tags: Winter Warming Pumpkin Soup

If you are looking for a winter warming food then there’s nothing more delicious than a homemade soup. Pumpkin is deliciously tasty at this time of year so we here is a lovely winter warming soup recipe for you to enjoy this winter from the BBC Goodfood website:

-4 tbsp olive oil

-2 onions, finely chopped

-1kg pumpkin

-or squash (try kabocha), peeled, deseeded and chopped into chunks

-700ml vegetable stock or chicken stock

-142ml pot double cream

First of all you will need to heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil and then gently cook the onion for around 5 minutes or until it goes transparent. Add the deseeded pumpkin to the pan and cook for a further 8-10 mins. Then add the vegetable stock and bring to the boil until it goes soft. Then add the double cream (you can add single cream for a less calories), bring back to the boil and then liquidise.

Pumpkin is really good used in all different types of foods from cakes, to vegetarian Biryani. For more delicious pumpkin recipes please follow this link.

Source: BBC Good food website

Generation renters accept the fact they may never buy their own home

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Published: 21/10/2016   Last Updated: 21/10/2016 13:41:39   Tags: Generation-Renters-Accept-The-Fact-They-May-Never-Buy-Their-Own-Home

Renters are conditioning themselves to the fact that they might never be able to buy a home, this is due to several factors including not being able to save up the deposit required to buy one. A survey by the Post Office found that two out of five people currently renting will never be able to afford their own home, which equated to 8.5 million renters never being able to get on the first step of the property ladder.

Their research highlighted that he average age to buy a property in the UK starts at 30 years old in Scotland, and increases in the South East where the figure is 35 years old and 37 years old for those living in the South West. Those who do expect to purchase their own home mainly tend to rely on the bank of Mum and Dad for a deposit, those people not so fortunate anticipate that it will take around eight years to save for a deposit. However some people who choose to rent do so as a lifestyle choice, as it gives them more freedom to move around the country.

John Willcock, head of mortgages at Post Office Money, stated: 'The struggle that first-time buyers face remains a huge concern and confidence among the group is low.

'High house prices and concerns about the cost of living have left many assuming that owning their own property is a distant dream rather than an achievable goal.'

 If you are looking to buy your first home and would like some help and advice then why not pop into your local branch of Hawes and Co or call our team on 0208 946 1000.

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/property/article-3799954/Are-forever-renter-eight-million-expect-never-home.html

One bedroom rental properties out perform larger properties

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Published: 21/10/2016   Last Updated: 21/10/2016 13:48:14   Tags: One-Bedroom-Rental-Properties-Out-Perform-Larger-Properties

If you are thinking about investing in a rental property you might want to consider buying a one bedroom home, because according to Landbay’s latest Rental Index, the average rent for one bedroom grew by 0.12%, and increase of 0.09% in August, a 1.57% growth year on year. Whereas average rents for larger properties, two and three bedroom increased at a slower rate. 1 The National annual rental growth is 1.65%, down from 1.83% in August.

Landbay's latest Rental Index showed that in September the average rent for one-bed properties grew by 0.12% up from 0.09% in August, year-on-year this amounts to growth of 1.57%, so despite overall rental growth slowing last month it would seem that the average rent for one-bed rental properties continued to grow. Average rents for two and three-bedroom rental properties also increased last month, but by a smaller margin than one-bed homes.

The average national calendar rent during September was £1,187 (£747 excluding London and £1,891 in the capital). John Goodall, chief executive and co-founder of Landbay says, "There’s no denying most people aspire to own their own home, but it’s critical that efforts to bolster the country's housing stock don’t overlook the importance of the buy to let market for a supportive and sustainable housing market," “RICS’ forecast that 1.8 million more households will be looking to rent by 2025 is a stark reminder of the scale of future demand for the rental market," he says. "The fact remains that those building up toward a house purchase rely on a well-served buy to let market to ensure that excessive rental growth doesn’t dampen their purchasing power."

The demand for rental property remains strong so if you would like to find out more about investing in property or would simply like some advice then why not pop into your local branch of Hawes and Co or call us on 0208 946 1000.

Source: https://www.landlordtoday.co.uk/breaking-news/2016/10/one-bed-properties-buck-the-trend-with-continued-rental-growth

Are you breaching the terms of your lease with short term holiday lets?

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Published: 14/10/2016   Last Updated: 14/10/2016 07:48:40   Tags: Are You Breaching The Terms Of Your Lease With Short Term Holiday Lets

As from the 6 April 2016 the Government increased the tax allowance on their Rent a Room scheme, from £4,250 to £7,500 per year. Enabling people to rent out a room even if they don’t own their own home or run a bed and breakfast or guesthouse up to  £7,500 tax-free, each year.

Holiday letting sites such as Airbnb, Rent a Room have facilitated this, by marketing properties as short term holiday lets - however according to a new warning by the legal company Mishcon de Reya many property owners who own leasehold properties might be breaching the terms of their leases.

In a case brought to the high property court – Nemcova v Fairfield Rents Limited, the lease stated that the property must be used only ‘as a private residence’ which means that the leaseholder doesn’t have the right to rent out any space in her home for a short period of time.1

Nemcova rented her property out through sites such as Trip Advisor and Airbnb, however other residents in the same block of flats made complaints about strangers coming into the communal areas and making a disturbance. The tribunal came to the conclusion that she was in breach of her leasehold stating: "In order for a property to be used as the occupier's private residence, there must be a degree of permanence going beyond being there for a weekend or a few nights in the week.  Granting very short term lettings (days and weeks rather than months) … is a breach of this covenant.

“Having numerous individuals coming and going and, in the case of secured blocks, having access to the common areas can create security concerns for other leaseholders as well as noise and nuisance issues, ” Fairfield Rents warned.

This case could stand as a president for other people with leasehold properties, so if you do own a leasehold property it would be advisable to check the terms and conditions to make sure you can rent out your property on a short-term basis.

Source: 1 https://www.lettingagenttoday.co.uk/breaking-news/2016/10/airbnb-short-lets-new-warning-that-owners-may-breach-leases

October gardening

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Published: 14/10/2016   Last Updated: 14/10/2016 07:40:40   Tags: October Gardening

It’s a busy time for gardeners in October, planting spring bulbs for next year, cleaning up leaves, planting, harvesting and cutting back plants, so we thought we would check out the Guardian’s October gardening guide “Mulch to ado about Autumn’.

This is the time of year when you will need to start collecting seed heads and them in envelopes and hanging them up side down ready for replanting next year.

They state to leave the leaves in situ so that they can rot down into the flowerbeds, helping to fertilise the plants. But remove them from lawns.

Divide perennials whilst the soil is still warm, such as hostas, day lilies and so fourth, to do this dig up the root ball and separate, some will come apart easily others will need to be sawn to split them up, either plant them in the ground or in pots and keep watered.

Clean any plastic garden furniture, they suggest using warm water and a few drops of Stardrops all-purpose cleaner, rinse it off using a hose. Then store in a dry place throughout the winter months.

If you have a vegetable patch which will lay dormant throughout the winter cover it with homemade compost, grass cuttings and then top it off with corrugated cardboard, weighed down with rocks so that cats can’t use it as a grit tray throughout winter.

According to Thompson Morgan autumn is an ideal time to plant clematis, if would like to move large plants and shrubs this is a great time of year to do it. Prune climbing roses.

This will probably be the last time you can cut your grass before winter, it’s also a good time to recut your lawns edges, if you need to put some more turf down this is the time to do it. If you are looking at putting your house up for sale during winter it’s really important to make sure that you garden looks neat and presentable during the winter months.

Sources:

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/oct/08/gardens-mulch-ado-about-autumn

http://www.thompson-morgan.com/what-to-do-in-the-garden-in-october

Shortfalls in interest only mortgages

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Published: 12/10/2016   Last Updated: 12/10/2016 09:46:27   Tags: Shortfalls In Interest Only Mortgages

Homeowners who took out interest only mortgages between the 80’s and early noughties could find that they can’t pay back their mortgage over the next decade. According to the Cebr, Centre for Economic and Business Research the average shortfall will be around £21,000 per household, with a gross figure across the UK standing at £6.1 million, with 27% of those people not being able to pay back the shortfall.1

Lack of clarity when these homeowners took out their mortgages seems to have been one of the main issues, the study showed that 18% of mortgage holders said that they didn’t understand their loan, 23% of people surveyed did not know the rate of interest they are paying, with one in 10 saying that they have no plan to pay off the remaining debt and have no idea when the payment will be due. Some homeowners have planned to pay off these mortgages by using their endowment policies taken out at the same time but unfortunately, especially with the recent economic changes they have found that there still isn’t enough money left in the pot to pay back their loans.

Simon Markey Chief Executive officer for OneFamily stated: ‘Our research adds to a disturbing picture facing thousands of home owners who do not yet know how they are going to meet their mortgage obligations,’

‘With many just not sure what to do, it’s vital they seek advice on all the options including new lifetime mortgages which can help them pay off their interest only mortgage, release capital for other adventures, and stay in the home they love,’ he added.1

If you mortgage is coming to and end or you would like some help understanding your current policy why not pop into your local branch of Hawes and Co for a chat or call our team on 0208 946100.

Your home could be at risk if you do not keep up the repayments on your mortgage.

Source: 1. http://www.propertywire.com/news/europe/interest-mortgage-loans-uk-facing-multi-billion-pound-shortfall/

The UK needs private landlords

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Published: 12/10/2016   Last Updated: 12/10/2016 09:48:36   Tags: The UK Needs Private Landlords

Since April this year the Government has introduced various measures in order to dissuade investors from purchasing buy to lets, including a levy on stamp duty. Since then if you buy an investment property or second home you can now expect to pay an extra 3 percentage points in stamp duty.

Their intention was to free up more properties for first time buyers and although there are more available properties on the market – some of this is attributed to the vote to leave the EU, it still leaves a massive deficit in the amount of rental property available. Private landlords play a very important role in the UK providing accommodation for people who just cannot buy their own home. Nearly 4 million people currently rent in the UK  and this figure is expected to expand to 6 million within the next few years.

In direct consequence to the changing laws, including a reduction in tax allowance on mortgage interest and a change to the wear and tear allowance many property investors sold their properties before the 1 April deadline. Earlier this year the housing charity Shelter called for the Government to create another 12,000 new properties a year in order to tackle lack of housing in the UK.

In a new report from Your Move this week it showed that nearly half of the renters in the UK are 50 or over, with 46% of them happy to continue renting.

It seems that unless the Government changes its policy or introduces stack of new social housing we could be heading for a major property rental shortage in the very near future.

If you would like to talk through any property related issues why not pop into Hawes and Co for a chat and a coffee or call our team on 0208 946 1000.

Source:1.https://www.commonspace.scot/articles/3481/generation-rent-shelter-calls-12000-new-homes-year-tackle-crisis

Looking to rent a property? Avoid being scammed

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Published: 04/10/2016   Last Updated: 04/10/2016 15:22:22   Tags: Looking To Rent A Property Avoid Being Scammed

A shortage of rental property in the UK has resulted in would-be tenants finding it harder to secure somewhere to live. Unfortunately those unscrupulous people in our society are targeting people desperate to rent a house, according to an article by the Times.

YouGov, stated that in 2013, 1 million people fell foul of fraudsters.* Fake landlords are advertising properties on-line and are tricking people into parting with deposits for non-existent properties.

It’s very easy for a fraudster to upload fake photographs on-line and then take them down along with their email address once someone has parted with their money. At Hawes and Co we would always suggest using a registered lettings agent, however if you do find a house to rent on-line we would advise you visit the property and sign a contract first before handing over any money. Your security deposit should be paid directly into a rental deposit scheme. Ask for the landlord’s identification and ask to see copies of his utility bills. If a property seems to good to be true, then it probably is. Never wire money abroad.

If you use a registered ARLA, The Association of Registered Lettings Agents, such as Hawes and Co then you know that they will adhere to a certain code of conduct, which will give you peace of mind in the knowledge that all of their letting properties have been properly vetted, that they meet the latest safety regulations; concerning CO2 detectors, smoke detectors and servicing of boilers etc. and your rental deposit will automatically go into a rental deposit scheme.

If you would like to find out more information about renting a property then why not pop into your local branch of Hawes and Co or follow this link to view all of our latest properties to let.



*http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/consumer-affairs/would-be-tenants-hit-by-rise-in-online-rental-fraud/

Stay safe on-line

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Published: 04/10/2016   Last Updated: 04/10/2016 15:20:20   Tags: Stay Safe On Line

With more of us than ever using our computers to make financial transactions it’s more important than ever to make sure that we know how to avoid internet scams. According to the Citizens Advice Bureau over 4 million people were victims of an on-line scam in 2014. Even the most computer savvy person can get caught out, as fraudsters are constantly changing tack when it comes to trying to access our money. So here is a guide to making sure you keep secure and do not fall foul of phishing:

• Always avoid clicking on email links into any of your on-line accounts – make sure that you type in the correct URL address into your browser’s window.

• Keep your passwords in a safe place. If you create a passcode with capitals, symbols and numbers then it makes a code much harder to crack – check out this website to see how safe your password is.


• When you pay on line always make sure that there is either a padlock or an https symbol on the top left of the URL, the ‘s’ stand for secure.

• Avoid paying for anything on-line if you are using an open server – such as in a hotel or restaurant.

• Make sure that your firewall is turned on in your computers settings

• Use anti-virus software and keep it up to date

100 years of Roald Dahl

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Published: 19/09/2016   Last Updated: 19/09/2016 19:04:11   Tags: 100 Years Of Roald Dahl

This week we have been celebrating 100 years of the life and works of the prolific author, screen writer and poet, Roald Dahl who was born on the 13 September 1916. Throughout 2016 the whole nation has been taking part in the celebration of this much loved author, who has produced some of the most popular children’s stories to date, including Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, and Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. His books have sold more than 250 million world wide

To celebrate his centenary there have been plays, puzzles and reading challenges across the UK.  In Chertsey they show cased the world’s biggest dot-to-dot puzzle, at a height of 40ft by 80ft wide it was projected onto the side of Botley Mansion in August. The image created by Puzzler media was of Roald Dahl’s classic BFG.

Throughout the summer the Garsons Farm Shop in Esher held a number of story telling sessions to celebrate Roald Dahl’s 100th Birthday, which included the BFG, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda and the Fantastic Mr Fox.

Disney also celebrated 100 years of Dahl by releasing a feature-film based on the BFB, Big Friendly Giant written in 1982. The book received various awards and recognition including the 1985 German award the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis, in 2003 it was also ranked number 56 in the Big Read, as well as several others.

One of the most incredible things about Dahl’s stories is that they never seem to date, with one generation after the next enjoying them just as much as the first. Dahl showed an incredible understanding of how the human mind works, and unlike some of the other children’s authors over the centuries not shying away from portraying some of the more nitty gritty parts of everyday life and human weakness.  Here is one of his famous quotes: “I think probably kindness is my number one attribute in a human being. I’ll put it before any of the things like courage or bravery or generosity or anything else…Kindness – that simple word. To be kind – it covers everything, to my mind. If you’re kind that’s it. “

Surbiton - a perfect mix of town and country

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Published: 19/09/2016   Last Updated: 19/09/2016 19:03:43   Tags: Surbiton A Perfect Mix Of Town And Country

Surbiton is a suburban area of south-west London, its close proximity to Kingston and London has made it a very desirable place to live, in fact it’s so well-liked that properties that go onto the market in this area tend to get snapped up by buyers pretty promptly.

One of the reasons which makes it so popular is its good selection of pubs, cited as an essential ingredient for a good place to live by the Sunday Times. Including The Lamb pub, which is one of the most popular pubs in the area - specialising in great beer, fine wines, and top-notch spirits. If you enjoy a bit of live entertainment then every Wednesday and Sunday evening they host live music nights.

If you fancy some fine dining there are plenty of really good restaurants to chose from including the Michelin star rated restaurant ‘The French Table’ voted Surrey’s restaurant of the year in 2015, which might prove to be your Table D’or.

If you are looking for a bit of retail therapy or even a place to do your weekly shop the town of Kingston is within walking distance and has an excellent choice of stores.

The beautiful Surrey Hills are also easily accessible by car or bike, making it simple to get out into the great outdoors. Its close proximity to the Thames brings with it all the delights of being close the river such as owning a yacht, enjoying a gentle stroll along the riverbank or taking a picnic.

Despite its close proximity to London the crime rate is also very low.

There are also some highly rated secondary schools including Tolworth Girl’s School and Dysart School.

If you would like to enjoy a bit of what Surbiton has on offer then Hawes and Co Surbiton has this beautiful detached 3 bedroom family home for sale. It’s situated just minutes away from Berrylands Station and close to some well thought of schools. The house is well proportioned and offers just shy of 1600 sq. ft. of internal space, in addition to the integral garage. Downstairs there are 2 generously sized reception rooms, refitted kitchen and downstairs shower room. Upstairs there are 3 good sized double bedrooms, a refitted bathroom and separate W.C. To the rear is a well maintained, attractive and mature, 70’ garden.

The property is currently on the market for £900,000.

Property Features
•3 Double bedrooms
•Detached
•Walking distance of Berrylands station (approx. 6 minutes)
•Tree lined street
•1600 sq. ft.
•Garage
•Off-road parking
•2 Reception rooms
•Downstairs shower room
•Refitted kitchen and bathroom
•70’ Rear garden

For more information about this property or any other properties we have for sale in the area please call our team on 0208 946 100 or to view this property please follow the link.

Green prescriptions…

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Published: 15/09/2016   Last Updated: 15/09/2016 18:26:03   Tags: Green Prescriptions

There’s nothing like getting away from the hustle and bustle of every day life and escaping to the countryside. We are so lucky to have so many parks and large expanses of areas to walk in South West London. There’s something very healing about being in nature, and having some time out from the normal confides of our every day lives.
 
In the news this week we have seen that doctors are now being urged by the NHS to write so-called green prescriptions for people battling with their weight. A typical green prescription could include free visits to National Parks and gardening with the National trust. Doctors in Dorset are already prescribing outdoor activities that include walks, gardening, conservation work and sailing.
 
According to the NHS Choices people who participate in regular exercise have:
 
up to a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
up to a 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes
up to a 50% lower risk of colon cancer
up to a 20% lower risk of breast cancer
a 30% lower risk of early death
up to an 83% lower risk of osteoarthritis
up to a 68% lower risk of hip fracture
a 30% lower risk of falls (among older adults)
up to a 30% lower risk of depression
up to a 30% lower risk of dementia
 
Getting out and spending time isn’t all about losing weight, it can also have a positive impact on people who suffer from anxiety and depression.
 
Recent studies by scientists have also shown that excercising regularly for 30 minutes each day can really help to maintain a healthy weight. One of the scientists behind this study Dr Astrid Jespersen told the Daily Telegraph: “The subjects in the test group that exercised the least talk about increased energy levels and a higher motivation for exercising and pursuing a healthy everyday life.
 
“They take the stairs, take the dog for an extra walk or cycle to work.
 
“In contrast, the men who exercised for one hour a day, after training, felt exhausted, demotivated and less open to making a healthy change.
 
“We are thus seeing that a moderate amount of exercise will significantly impact the subjects' daily practices.”
 
As with everything in life it seems as though the smallest of changes in life can really make the biggest differences to our health. So why not get out and enjoy some of the wonderful countryside this area has to offer and perhaps even do a spot of blackberry picking, to freeze and use during the months ahead.
 
Sources:
 
-http://www.bbc.com/news/health-37274562
 
-http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/10321468/30-minutes-of-exercise-better-for-weight-loss-than-longer-workouts.html

House prices to increase over the next 5 years…

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Published: 15/09/2016   Last Updated: 15/09/2016 18:24:25   Tags: House Prices To Increase Over The Next 5 Years

House prices are just starting to settle down after the referendum vote to leave Europe according to RICS, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.
They have also predicted that house prices will continue to rise over the next 5 years, at a rate of 3.3% per year. They state that the shortage of homes will continue to push up prices for at least the next 5 years.
Simon Rubinson, Chief Economist at Rics stated "There are clear signs that the housing market is settling down after the initial surprise of the outcome to the EU referendum."
 
"Buyer enquiries did dip again in August but only modestly, and more significantly, sales expectations are beginning to edge upwards once again.
 
"It is likely the swift response from the Bank of England has played a role in helping to support confidence."
 
Rics also stress that house prices in some part of the country have suffered more than others, houses where we have seen the largest growth such as London, have experienced a slight softening as well as the West Midlands.
 
Most surveyors have predicted that house prices will continue to increase at a steadier pace over the next three months, as fears over a the implications of what a Brexit might bring and the reality of it start to kick in. The fall in sterling also continues to attract foreign buyers.
 
If you are looking at moving home or investing in property and would like to discuss any concerns around the UK’s housing market then why not pop into your local branch of Hawes and Co for a chat and a coffee or call our team on 0208 946100.
 
Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/business-37297910

Back to school for the whole family but who is really in charge?

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Published: 06/09/2016   Last Updated: 06/09/2016 07:18:06   Tags: Back To School For The Whole Family But Who Is Really In Charge

If you are a family looking for a home in Surrey finding a property close to good schools is top of the list for many. But once a great school has been found and the kids enrolled who really is in charge. Summer is a great time to kick back and spend some time with the family but when it back to school the expense, the logistics, and trying to get the little ones out of bed and back into a hectic daily routine can be a challenge. And it would seem that mums are the organisational powerhouse behind any family.

So have you sorted your back to school check list? School clothing: children grow and the need for new clothing is a fairly constant factor through their school years, a new uniform, new shirts and new shoes means everyone’s presentable on the first day back. Mum knows school shoes need to be practical, presentable, yet comfortable. When it comes to school supplies: it’s important for the children to be fully equipped for the year ahead, a full set of pens, pencils and maths stuff together in a sturdy case will hopefully see them through the year. Then there is the sports kit and a good sturdy bag for carrying it all about it can be essential. Travel and transport also needs to be organised, if a bus pass needs renewing or a student ID updating it is often mum making it happen. Perhaps you need to reorganise your shared school drop and pick up with friends and neighbours.

It can be a bit of a struggle getting back into the school routine but if everyone pulls together, the whole family are soon back on track with their busy lives.

Beaches easily accessed from Surrey

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Published: 06/09/2016   Last Updated: 06/09/2016 07:21:01   Tags: Beaches Easily Accessed From Surrey

Despite the last bank holiday of the year being over until Christmas, there is still hope of an Indian summer and a September weekend might offer a quick trip to the beach. The south east of England is home to many beaches from traditional seaside resorts like Brighton, to the golden sands at Bournemouth and hidden treasures like West Wittering.

Getsurrey, Surrey’s on-line magazines favourite beaches that can easily be reached from Surrey include of course Brighton with the Palace Pier, its own Eye and its new Eye 360 attraction. The world’s tallest moving observation tower, with a viewing pod built around a central column, is a stunning technical achievement. Built on the site of the derelict West Pier, which was opened 150 years ago.

“Just as the West Pier invited Victorian society to walk on water, so British Airways i360 invites visitors to walk on air,” said David Marks, one of the architects responsible for the new attraction and for the London Eye. It’s a smooth ride to the high point, taking just six minutes to rise up, slowly and gracefully; the antithesis of a funfair ride.

Then there is West Wittering, the natural and unspoilt sandy beach of West Wittering has been a top destination for a family day out for generations. The beach also offers wonderful views of Chichester Harbour and the South Downs beyond. If you are looking for a traditional bucket and spade day out its perfect.

If you have never been to Bournemouth Pier in Dorset it sits on seven miles of golden sands and sparkling sea, with a town full of a vast variety of shops, restaurants, quality B&Bs, a buzzing nightlife and endless countryside with beautiful award winning gardens and water sports galore. Perhaps you should make time to check it out. Many more on the Getsurrey list.

http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/whats-on/family-kids-news/nearest-beaches-surrey-9833696

The icing on the cake

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Published: 06/09/2016   Last Updated: 08/09/2016 20:25:11   Tags: The Icing On The Cake

We are well into this year’s series of the Great British Bake off, and what an exciting series it has been so far, we have seen indistinguishable Viennese Whirl Biscuits in this weeks episode, collapsing ginger bread houses and soggy biscuits. With all things in life getting the details right when baking is essential to creating that perfect bake.

Hawes and Co Wimbledon Village has this lovely 7 bedroom house for sale – it has every essential ingredient to make the perfect home – it’s light and airy, has top quality fittings and fixtures, all carefully presented with an eye for detail. The main entrance hall, with marble floors set the scene for the rest of the house – this property really is a magnificent example of a brand new home.  It has a guide price of £5,500,000.

It is located in a highly popular residential road opposite and with stunning view over Wimbledon Park Golf course within a short walk of local shops and underground railway Station (District Line). Wimbledon Village High Street with it’s eclectic mix of shops, boutiques, restaurants, cafés and wine bars is just a short walk as is Wimbledon Common which offers extensive walks, cycle routes, bridle paths and golf.

Other recreational facilities in the area include tennis, squash, golf and fitness clubs and riding stables. Several of the area's best schools, including King’s College School and Wimbledon High School, are within walking distance.

Central London is easily accessible either by road or by train and tube from both Wimbledon park and the Mainline station in the town centre – Waterloo 12-15 mins (SR Mainline).

Property Features

• Seven Bedrooms
• Five Bathrooms
• Four Reception Rooms
• Gym
• Games Room
• Driveway
• Garage
• Close To DL tube & Local Shops
• 10 Mins Walk To Wimbledon Village
• Fantastic Location Overlooking The Golf Course
• 0.25 Acre Plot
• 140' Rear Garden

If you would like any further information or would like to arrange a viewing please contact Hawes and Co Wimbledon on 020 8946 1000 or follow this link.

The right references are top of the list

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Published: 06/09/2016   Last Updated: 06/09/2016 07:19:30   Tags: The Right References Are Top Of The List

When renting out a property one of the key factors when choosing a lettings agent is their track record in ensuring potential tenants have passed reference checks, according to new research by Hunters.

2,506 landlords across the country were asked what their priorities were and almost 70 per cent cited reference checks as “highly important” for determining how they chose an agent to help them let out their property. The speed at which the property was let out was also “highly important for 66 per cent” of those asked. “It’s highly important to ensure that, although the market is widening, agents are still doing the necessary procedures to protect both landlords and tenants” said Carrie Alliston.
 
It is interesting to see that although landlords are often cast as only interested in the amounts they can rent a property for, the amount of rent, or capacity to secure a higher rent, did not feature amongst the top three issues that landlords found most important.  Commentators on the study suggested that, “this indicates that the increase in rental prices across England is due to wider market factors, such as house price increases or the additional stamp duty charges introduced in April, rather than landlord greed”. 

Making sure that potential tenants for your rental property are properly checked and that they are reliable and trust worthy is clearly something that is important for any landlord. Good tenants deserve good landlords and reliable letting agent to help the whole process run smoothly.

If you are a landlord looking to use an agent to rent out your property then why not get in touch with your local branch of Hawes and Co or give our team a call on: 0208 946100.

Tips on how to keep your tenant happy

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Published: 19/08/2016   Last Updated: 19/08/2016 13:33:33   Tags: Tips On How To Keep Your Tenant Happy

Keeping a tenant happy is key to successful property management, as it’s not only costly to keep replacing tenants and contracts it’s also hard work. One way in which you can view your tenant is as a customer, if you keep them happy then they will be more likely to take care of your property and stay for a longer period of time.

Here are some ways in which you can keep your tenants happy:

• Make sure that you are always responsive to questions and any problems

• Keep your property well maintained, if something needs fixing then do this as promptly as possible.

• Make sure if your tenant makes a request that you listen to it and respond accordingly. Such as if they would like the carpet updated, or an appliance needs upgrading – buying good quality appliances usually pays.

• If you have a great tenant then treat them like a great tenant.

• Think before you increase the rent, ask yourself whether it’s really necessary, as if your tenant refuses the new amount you might find that you have to spend more time on money on finding a new one.

If you are finding renting out your property is all time-consuming you might want to consider a lettings management company such as Hawes and Co, we can provide a fully managed property service freeing you up to take care of other matters. We can also offer advice on all the financial and legal paperwork – something which has become far more complicated of late. We can also manage tenants needs on a day-to-day basis, maintain your property, inspect it at regular intervals and collect the rent each month.

If you would like to find out more about our property management service then why not call our team on 0208 946100 or pop into your local branch for a coffee and a chat.

A perfect example of the Arts and Crafts movement

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Published: 17/08/2016   Last Updated: 17/08/2016 18:36:29   Tags: A Perfect Example Of The Arts And Crafts Movement

The Art and Crafts movement began in the 19th Century in Britain at a time when designers felt as though there had been a decline in design standards caused by the Industrial Revolution, as well as being a response to the Great Exhibition of 1851 where the exhibits showcased were of inferior quality, artificial and ornate.

The Arts and Crafts movement was really a reflection of a time when designers started to realise and appreciate the importance of having items made by craftspeople. Items made during this time were handcrafted and of intricate design, often seen in medieval, romantic or folk styles of decoration.

If you would like to buy a house built in the Arts and Crafts era then Hawes and Co Wimbledon has this 5 bedroom house for sale (featured) and is beautiful example of a house created during that illustrious period.

A variety of original period features combined with a modern kitchen and shower/bathrooms present the buyer with a fantastic semi detached, family home. There is plenty of room to grow into with just under 1,900sqft of living accommodation, five bedrooms and a study just off the master suite.
 
Not only does this home have off street parking, but Wimbledon Station is less than a ten minute walk away. The award winning South Park Gardens is even closer, and is the ideal setting for family activities all year round. This property is on the market for £1,495,000.

Features:
•Edwardian Semi Detached
•Arts And Crafts Movement
•Excellent Condition
•Two Shower/Bathrooms
•Substantial Master Suite With Study
•Extended Kitchen/Family Room
•Off Road Parking
•Very Convenient Location
•EPC: E

For more information or to arrange a viewing please call Hawes and Co Wimbledon village on: 020 8946 1000 or follow this link.

Getting the garden ready for Autumn

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Published: 17/08/2016   Last Updated: 17/08/2016 18:33:22   Tags: Getting The Garden Ready For Autumn

August is a great month for gardening all we need to do is to make sure that we keep everything watered and if you are growing vegetables make sure that you harvest them regularly. September is only a couple of weeks away and so we need to start thinking about preparing the garden for next spring. If you have apple trees, now is the time to harvest the fruit, storing them in a dark cool place if you don't feel like using them straight away. If you are looking to bottle or preserve pears and plums or make green tomato chutney then now it the time to do it. If you buy bulbs by mail order then you will need to make sure that you put your order in soon to ensure that you receive early flowering spring bulbs such as Narcissus by the end of the month. However most other bulbs can wait until the month of October and tulips don’t need to be planted until the end of November. If you would like to inject some early bursts of colour into your garden, especially if you are planning to sell your home next Spring then Wallflowers are a great choice – they come in all different colours from deep reds to delicate lilacs and lemon.

Take a look at your boarders, if perennials have become too large or overcrowded then this is a good time to divide them up into smaller plants so that they can establish their roots before the next growing season in Spring. Bring in any house plants you have had outside during the summer months.

How to create that illusive perfect bake

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Published: 17/08/2016   Last Updated: 17/08/2016 18:38:38   Tags: How To Create That Illusive Perfect Bake

This year’s series of the Great British Bake off is only a week away so if your cakes are more a flop than a success we thought we would share with you a few tips from the Baking Guru, Mary Berry.

Mary Berry says that as with all things practice makes perfect. Make sure that you weigh your ingredients accurately. Unlike other type of cooking if your measures are only slightly out it will effect the end result of your baking.

If you want to avoid cracks in your cakes make sure you don’t bake your cakes too high in the oven.

Use any equipment that will make baking easier, it might sound obvious but if you get better results from using a mixer why not use it.

Make sure you use the correct amount of baking powder, if you use too much you could find that your bake rises too much and dries out.

Caster sugar is better than granulated sugar as this tends to dissolve better into the mix and stops the top of bakes.

When you ice a cake cover it with apricot jam first as this will stop crumbs from entering your icing.

If like me you usually melt your butter in a microwave, apparently this could be a bit of a baking faux pas – apparently it’s much better to put your weighed butter into a glass dish over some luke warm water for 10 minutes before adding it to your mix.

Cut up glace cherries before adding them to your bake so that they don't sink to the bottom.

Source: Country Living

Landlords: Improve your homes energy efficiency

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Published: 17/08/2016   Last Updated: 17/08/2016 18:35:06   Tags: Landlords Improve Your Homes Energy Efficiency

According to a new report 330,000 buy-to-let landlords will be required to pay ‘green tax’ to make their properties more energy efficient. The report by The Telegraph suggests that landlords will soon need to start paying upfront for energy saving improvements such as insulation, cavity wall filing and new boilers as from 2018.

As from 2018 Landlords will be required to improve the energy efficiency ratings of their homes from F and G to E and D, which means that any rental property which currently falls under the higher energy bands will require major work in order to bring it under new legislation.

The properties which are most likely to be effected by the new changes are from the Victorian and Edwardian era, as these properties are renowned for being less energy efficient than homes built in more recent years.

Richard Jones, from the Residential Landlords association has stated that unless the government make more funding available to landlords that it will be the tenant who loses out as they will just pass on the cost of the changes to their tenants.

If you are trying to keep up-to-date with the new changes to energy efficiency rating in your rental properties why not call our team on 0208 946100 or pop into your local branch for a coffee and a chat.

Save energy by using smaller suppliers

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Published: 17/08/2016   Last Updated: 17/08/2016 18:31:38   Tags: Save Energy By Using Smaller Suppliers

It seems odd to start thinking about saving money on energy at this time of year, especially when it’s so hot, but thinking ahead when we will probably need to start putting the heating on in September makes sense.

If you are still with one of the six main energy giants it might be time to consider changing to a smaller supplier – at least two million people in the UK have done this and they are already benefiting from reduced energy bills - £200 per year according to the Mail on Sunday.

The UK’s six largest energy suppliers are npower, SSE, EDF, E.On, Scottish Power and British Gas – they hold a 95% market share in energy, however this is set to change over the next few years as savvy homeowners change to smaller independent suppliers.

The UK’s six big suppliers are npower, SSE, EDF, E.ON, Scottish Power and British Gas, and they currently have a market share of 95%, however this is expected to change over the next few years, as savvy homeowners change to smaller independent suppliers.

Among some of the smaller suppliers are better energy, Bristol energy, bulb, daligas, green energy, Sainsbury’s energy, the Utility Wearhouse and several more. If you check out USwitch.com they offer a tariff calculator where you can put in your postcode to find out how much money you can save by moving to a smaller supplier http://www.uswitch.com/gas-electricity/suppliers/

Explore Surrey’s woods with the humble stick

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Published: 02/08/2016   Last Updated: 02/08/2016 12:22:14   Tags: Explore Surreys Woods With The Humble Stick

The County of Surrey is one of the most wooded in England and Wales – 40% of the Surrey Heath District is covered in trees, which makes it one of the most densely populated areas.1 Experts behind this survey state that the main reason for this is because Surrey has many large gardens and less agriculture, which has meant less wooded areas have been cleared to grow crops.

So when we heard about the National Trust’s new summer campaign 2016 to encourage more children to head out and explore the English countryside by playing with the humble stick we thought there can be no better place to enjoy this new campaign but in leafy Surrey. 

The National Trust theory behind the stick was that it was voted the best toy for fueling children’s imagination, they say a stick can be used for all type of play including a pen, wand, a sword, anything! It also comes from their own survey which showed that 84% of parents believe that playing outdoors makes their children more imaginative and creative, and 96% of them felt that they thought it was necessary for their children to have a connection with nature.

These findings were also backed up by Child Development Psychologist Dr Sam Wass2 who stated: ‘Being outdoors, with space to run around, is something that benefits all children… they have to use their imagination and their own creativity much more they do when they are indoors, watching screen media. [These] are vital life skills that will help children stay attuned to nature and to the environment throughout their adult lives.’

If you would like to find out some of the best woodlands to visit in Surrey then why not visit Surrey County Councils website.

1.Why Surrey really is leafy: County found to have highest concentration of trees in exhaustive survey that shows there are 280million in England and Wales - Link.

2.The humble stick revealed as the must-have toy for summer -  Link.

Family homes for sale £600,000 or less in Surrey

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Published: 02/08/2016   Last Updated: 02/08/2016 12:39:51   Tags: Family Homes For Sale 600000 Or Less In Surrey

Surrey is a very desirable county for families as it offers its residents an easy commute into London, has some of the best rated schools in the UK and is surrounded by beautiful rolling countryside. So we thought we would check out family properties for sale under the £600,000 mark, here are our picks:

Hawes and Co New Malden has this beautifully presented 2/3 bedroom link chalet style house for sale for £585,000 in New Malden. It’s situated on this highly popular tree lined avenue within a short walk of excellent commuter routes and local amenities.  Fully Refurbished in 2009.

Features include:

-Two Double Bedrooms

-Study/Bedroom Three

-Kitchen

-Conservatory

-Lounge

-Dining Room

-Family Bathroom

-Garage

-Double Glazed

-Mature Rear Garden


-FULLY REFURBISHED IN 2009

-NO ONWARD CHAIN

-EPC Rating E

For more info or to arrange a viewing please call Hawes and Co New Malden on 020 8949 5856 or follow this link.

Hawes and Co has this quaint two bedroom Victorian cottage (featured in photo) in a unique secluded setting within Weston Green's conservation area, with easy access to shops, restaurants and Esher mainline station for £599,950.  It’s located in an idyllic private setting, located between other cottages. It is a charming home with front porch entrance leading to two receptions, fitted kitchen to rear, ground floor bathroom and to the first floor are two bedrooms.

Features Include:

-Semi-detached

-Two reception rooms

-Fitted kitchen

-Ground floor bathroom

-Two bedrooms

-Side access

-Patio to rear garden

-Scope for updating

-Close to West Green Pond and Amenities and convenient for Esther main line station.

-For more info or to arrange a viewing please call Hawes and Co Thames Ditton on 020 8398 2500 or follow this link.


Hawes and Co Surbiton has this beautifully presented 3 bedroom semi-detached family home situated in Berrylands and with a well kept 62' rear garden for £600,000. The property benefits from off street parking, double-glazing, gas central heating and a modern fitted kitchen and family shower room with under floor heating. This fine home further benefits from the potential to be extended (STPP). Located close to sought after schools including Grand Ave Primary and Junior Schools. Tolworth Broadway and station are within walking distance. Surbiton station with its fast link into Waterloo is a short drive away.

Features include:

-3 Bedrooms

-Semi Detached Family Home

-Berrylands

-Beautifully Presented

-Hallway

-Double Reception Room

-Fitted Kitchen

-Family Shower Room With Under Floor Heating

-Extension Potential (STPP)

-Walking Distance To Sought After Schools

-62' Rear Garden

-Off Street Parking

-Double Glazing

-Gas Central Heating

For more info or to arrange a viewing please call Hawes and Co Thames Ditton on 020 8390 6565 or follow this link.

If you would like to find out more about properties for sale in the area why not pop into your local branch of Hawes and Co or call our team on 0208 946100.

1 in 5 children stay at home until 26 years of age...

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Published: 24/07/2016   Last Updated: 24/07/2016 17:08:40   Tags: 1-In-5-Children-Stay-At-Home-Until-26-Years-Of-Age

According to a recent survey one in five children will not leave home until they are at least 26 years of age. The report carried out by Nationwide Building Society said that children were just finding it too comfortable to move out. With quite a high percentage – 30% stating that they were not using that time to save up money to buy their own property as well as only 20% giving a contribution towards their living expenses despite the fact that two thirds of the people who were interviewed were in full or part-time work.

Nationwide Building Society have warned parents about the pitfall of supporting adult children, and not saving enough money for themselves during their old age.

Andrew Baddeley-Chappell, head of policy, mortgages and savings, said: ‘For parents, a delayed offspring departure often incurs unforeseen and prolonged costs and expenses, since our research shows a surprising number of adults who, while continuing to live at home, do not contribute towards bills or even save any money to be able to enable them to move out.

 “The ‘Hotel of Mum and Dad’ is often staying open for longer than many anticipated as rental costs and deposits or the need to save for a mortgage deposit mean that some children understandably have to wait before flying the nest.

“For some, moving out may never be an option, but it seems the more financially comfortable the living situation, the less incentive there is for children to move out.

“Parents looking forward to becoming empty nesters have to rely on the hope that their children are putting away enough savings to move out of their own accord.'

“But a normal hotel wouldn’t let someone stay free of charge, so why should the ‘Hotel of Mum and Dad’?

 However some adult children are taking advantage of this time to save up to buy their own home, with more than 36% taking out a mortgage when they left the family home, with two in five choosing a privately rented home and 7% renting social housing.

If you are living at home and would like to save up to buy your first home then check out our guide:

 • Create a budget and stick to it – write a list of all your expenses and allowances for the month, be realistic, and then pay the rest of the money you don’t need into a savings account.

 • Make an appointment with a financial advisor to see how much deposit you will need to buy your first property.

 • Draw up a list of requirements that your property must have – although all of these have to be a bit flexible.

 • Use a good Estate agent – such as Hawes and Co who will have their finger on the pulse when it comes to the local market.

If you are looking at buying your first property why not pop into one of our local Hawes and Co branches for a coffee and chat or call our team on 0208 946100.

Source: Express: http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/643241/One-in-FIVE-living-parents-until-at-least-26-hotel-mum-dad

Sun cream – the best way to protect your kids this summer

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Published: 24/07/2016   Last Updated: 28/07/2016 17:35:51   Tags: Sun-Cream-The-Best-Way-To-Protect-Your-Kids-This-Summer

It’s at this time of year, especially with this hot weather or if you are planning a summer holiday somewhere abroad this year that we turn our attention to making sure that we use the best sun cream to protect our little ones from the suns harmful rays – and it’s not only on sunny days, UVA rays can also penetrate through clouds, so it’s important to apply sun cream, preferably before your child goes out each day.

It’s best to apply a total sun block or a high factor sun cream – 30 plus to your childs skin, making sure that you cover areas such as ears and feet, which sometimes get missed. If your child will be going swimming then you need apply sun cream at least thirty minutes before they swim, so that the cream absorbs into the skin, then reapply once they have been swimming. If you are planning on staying on the beach for a long period then make sure your child wears a UVA protected t-shirt and hat, plus sun cream, taking a UVA resistant tent or parasol is also a really good idea to so that it can offer some respite from the suns powerful rays.

Nichola Lowe, a skin specialist told the Daily Mail that the best types of sun creams to protect against the suns rays are those creams with Zinc Oxide and Titanium Oxide. He also suggests that people buy well-known brands such as Ambre Solaire, Vichy, Vaseline Intensive Care’s range, Piz Buin and Boot’s Soltan because all of these creams have been thoroughly tested.

Marie Claire also carried out their own tests on suncreams, and here are three of their top ten 2016 recommendations:

Ambre Solaire Face Protect SPF30, £12.49

Eve Lom Daily Protection SPF50, £90

Dior Bronze: Beautifying Protective Creme Sublime Glow, SPF 30, £24.50

For the full article please visit: http://www.marieclaire.co.uk/beauty/best/7212/11/sun-cream.html#index=6

Sources:

Maire Claire

The Daily Mail

Three thirst quenching summer drinks….

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Published: 24/07/2016   Last Updated: 28/07/2016 17:37:10   Tags: Three-Thirst-Quenching-Summer-Drinks

When the weather is hot there is nothing more enjoyable than drinking a refreshing cocktail, or mocktail, so here are three of our favourite picks from the BBC GoodFood website:

Strawberry Gin – this takes three weeks to mature so if you would like to enjoy a bit of gin flavoured gin you will need to create this recipe quite quickly.

You will need:

700ml bottle of gin

400g punnet of strawberries, sliced

100g caster sugar

All you need to do is to mix the gin with the strawberries and caster sugar in a large bowl and pour into a sterilised jar. Then store this in the fridge for three weeks, stirring every two days – then strain through a filter or a muslin cloth and serve with ice and mint.

Mojito Mocktail – this is a great mid-week recipe or if you are the allocated driver.

You will need:


1 tbsp sugar

small bunch mint

juice of 3 limes


soda water

For the method please follow this link

Peach Melba smoothie - Peaches are in season at this time of year, so rather than using tinned peaches as the recipe suggests you could use 410g of ripe peaches instead cut in half and decored.

You will need:

410g can of peach halves

100g frozen raspberries, plus some to garnish

100ml orange juice

150ml fresh custard, plus a spoonful for garnish

For the method please follow this link

Young professionals choose to live in Wimbledon

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Published: 24/07/2016   Last Updated: 28/07/2016 17:37:59   Tags: Young-Professionals-Choose-To-Live-In-Wimbledon

Wimbledon was recently voted one of the most desirable places for young professionals according to new research by Lloyds bank – as they are realising that they can buy cheaper property whilst enjoying the benefits of an urban lifestyle without the hustle and bustle of living in the city centre.

Mike Songer, mortgage director at Lloyds Bank, said: 'Young professionals tend to have a professional or University qualification, are in well paid jobs and enjoy an urban lifestyle without the hustle and bustle of living in the city centre.

'Our research shows that aspiring young urbanites choose to settle in areas which give them the best of both worlds - attractive suburbs offering good amenities and quality of life, which are within easy reach of a larger city centre - and in many cases they are prepared to pay a premium to live there.

'With a third of London's population in the 25 to 44 age group it is not surprising many of the most popular areas with this group are in the capital.'

If you are looking at buying your first property in Wimbledon, Hawes and Co Wimbledon Broadway has this two bedroom top floor flat just moments from Wimbledon Broadway with a sale price of £395,000

The flat has two double bedrooms, reception room with a separate kitchen. Conveniently situated close to South Wimbledon's Northern Line tube and Wimbledon Broadway with its retail and leisure amenities along with its mainline/district line stations. This flat would make an ideal first time or investment purchase.

Property Features:

Entrance Hall

Two Double Bedrooms

Bathroom

Kitchen

EPC Rating

Chain Free

For more information or to arrange a viewing please give Hawes and Co Wimbledon Broadway a call on: 020 8542 6600 or follow this link

Source: Daily Mail

Airport expansion could be denied, say campaigners

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Published: 12/07/2016   Last Updated: 12/07/2016 11:07:59   Tags: Airport-Expansion-Could-Be-Denied-Say-Campaigners

However you feel about leaving the EU it could mean the plans for the 3rd runway Heathrow expansion may not go ahead especially if Boris Johnson succeeds David Cameron as Prime Minister, according to campaigners. Something that would have significant impact on the South West and East of London.
 
Stop Heathrow Expansion campaign coordinator, Robert Barnstone, said. “If a leading Brexiteer and Heathrow expansion opponent, such as Boris Johnson, becomes the new Prime Minister this autumn, it could mean a very different situation on the question of runway capacity in London & the South-East." “David Cameron, with his term as Prime Minister now entering its final phase, is unlikely to want to cause further damage within his own ranks on whether the highly controversial expansion of Heathrow goes ahead. A decision previously pencilled in for a fortnight’s time now looks substantially less likely."
 
John Stewart, chairman of campaign group Hacan, agreed. He said: “ ‘Outers’ like Boris Johnson, who is fiercely opposed to Heathrow expansion, have won. At the very least, a decision on a new runway must now be up in the air.” “A new Prime Minister would want to look again at its desirability, its deliverability and the cost its related rail and road infrastructure would impose on the public purse.”

Ravi Govindia, leader of Wandsworth Council, said: “What our country needs now is strong leadership and unity, so attempting to push through the most divisive and unpopular infrastructure scheme in modern history is about the last thing any government should do. "Everyone knows that London’s residents, councils, MPs and Mayor will all line up to fight this deeply damaging project.”
 
Source: Wimbledon Guardian

How to freeze food…

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Published: 12/07/2016   Last Updated: 12/07/2016 11:06:02   Tags: How-To-Freeze-Food

Food waste still continues to be a huge problem in the UK, in the past fresh food, especially pre-packed salads, and Buy-One-Get one free items on fresh items were the main cause of food waste, but now it seems confusion over the consumption of frozen items seems to be the biggest issue, as according to the FSA, Foods Standards Agency we throw out the equivalent of 6 meals a week in the UK because of our lack of understanding when it comes to food waste.

Reasons cited in their report showed revealed that confusion over best before dates, cooked food and how long food could be stored in the freezer were the main contributors. 1,500 people they surveyed, 43% thought that food could only be frozen on the day it was bought.  With 38% of people thinking that food could become unsafe when frozen.

Here’s a guide on how to store frozen food:

The first thing to do is to make sure that you have a glut of freezer bags and storage containers. Investing in a large freezer is also a good idea, as you can then buy meat, food when it’s on offer and store it in your freezer until you are ready to eat it.

• If you have meat that you can’t use before the best before date then store it in the freezer in either plastic freezer bags or an appropriate container. You can also store meat in a freezer even if it’s on the date of expiration.

• If you can’t use lemons/limes before they go off, chop them up pop them in a bag and use them as ice cubes. This is a great way to store ginger as well, just freeze whole and grate into dishes when needed.

• Most vegetables which do not contain a smaller water content can be stored in the freezer – peppers, chili’s, broccoli, cauliflower can be chopped up and used when necessary.

• Fruit is a bit trickier – most fruits need to be cooked before freezing – except for berries which need to be frozen on a flat tray and then put into bags.

• Cooked foods can also be stored in the freezer - this is a great way to cook a large lasagna for example and then save the leftovers for another day. Some cooked foods freeze better than others, but you will find this out as you go along.

• Once you have de-frosted your frozen food you will need to handle it in the same way as fresh.

June Gardens

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Published: 12/07/2016   Last Updated: 12/07/2016 11:07:02   Tags: June Gardens

June is a great time for gardens and it is worth sparing a thought for how tilling the soil and growing plants can affect the mind. Research carried out by the National Gardens Scheme (NGS) has shown  that more than a third of people questioned said that being in a garden makes them feel healthier, while 79 per cent believe that access to a garden is essential for quality of life.
 
If you find gardening is a way of calming your mind and decompressing after a hard week at work maybe filling up the weed bucket can help calm competing thought and help new ideas that are barely formed take shape.  There are plenty of other jobs to do in June too; feeding, watering and supporting your fruit and veg is vital. Your runner beans will need well-prepared ground and suitable supports, like bamboo canes, to grow up and continuing to feed plants and fruit regularly once they are established is important.
 
If you are into growing some vegetables now is the time to continue sowing salad crops, leafy salad crops may do better when sown in partially shady sites.  Beans are a great favourite and French, runner and broad beans can be sown directly into prepared beds outside. French beans are best sown in traditional rows, 45cm (18in) apart, at 15-22cm (6-9in) spacing.
 
Courgettes, marrows and pumpkins can still be sown outdoors in June down South but you need to plant out any vegetables sown indoors earlier in the season, including winter brassicas and sweet peppers. Remember gaps between winter brassica plants can be used for quick-maturing crops, like radishes or gem lettuces. Feeling better already.
 
Source: Royal Horticultural Society

Recipe - Pimms three ways…

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Published: 12/07/2016   Last Updated: 12/07/2016 11:07:22   Tags: Recipe-Pimms-Three-Ways

There’s nothing more refreshing than a glass of Pimm’s especially when watching Wimbledon so here are three ways in which you can enjoy this classic summer drink:

Pimms with Lemonade
Sliced fruit such as cucumber, peaches and strawberries work well. Make sure that you use really fresh fruit so that it doesn’t go mushy – add this to a jug of 50ml of Pimm’s and 100ml of lemonade – or basically one part Pimm’s to three parts Lemonade, try and avoid sugar free or cheap lemonades, and if you like your drink less sweet add tonic water instead.  Fill up the rest with ice, and garnish with mint, strawberries and cucumber. Stir and serve.
If you want to prepare a jug before your guests arrive make sure that you add the ice and lemonade at the last moment, because there is nothing worse than flat lemonade in a glass of Pimm’s.

Pimms with Whiskey
This is a variant on the classic Pimms recipe, you can also use Bourbon instead, add 1 ½ measure of Pimms, 2/3 of Scotch Whisky, 1/3 lemon juice and 5 measures of Lemonade to a jug and then fill with ice, Pimm’s is one of the only drinks which is better when slightly diluted with melted ice.

Southern Punch Pimms
This recipe is great if you are hosting a big party, if not just reduce the quantities - Mix 1 bottle of Pimm’s, with a bottle of Bourbon, ¼ bottle of sweet Vermouth, ¼ bottle of white Rum, 330ml of Orange juice, 1 bottle of Champagne or Sparkling wine – add a selection of fruits, we would suggest strawberries, pineapple, cherries and peaches.

Strawberries & Cream cheesecake jars

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Published: 12/07/2016   Last Updated: 12/07/2016 11:07:47   Tags: Strawberries-Cream-Cheesecake-Jars

Wimbledon is upon us and if you are still recovering from the football fiasco, how about looking at the tennis and at least making a delightful pudding to eat in the garden or on a picnic or even on the sofa. You can make your strawberry ripple cheesecakes portable by packing them into jam jars or the Kilner jars you bought for cocktails but never got round to using , then you could even enjoy on a summer picnic
 
What ingredient you need:
200g buttery crunchy biscuits
200g cream cheese
200ml double cream
6 tbsp icing sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
500g of Strawberries halved or quartered
 
To make you just need to blitz the biscuits to crumbs in a food processor or in a bowl with the end of a rolling pin. If you are going for the jars divide the biscuit crumbs evenly between the jars, then in a large bowl, whisk the cream cheese, cream, 5 tbsp icing sugar and the vanilla extract until softly whipped. Tip half the strawberries and the remaining sugar into another bowl and crush them up with a fork to more of a purée. Ripple the purée through the cream and divide the mixture between the jars. Top each cheesecake with remaining strawberries, secure the lids and chill until ready to pack up, they need to be kept cool so make sure you use a cooler bag if you are going further than the garden or the sofa.
 
Source: BBC Good Food Guide

The cream of Wimbledon

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Published: 12/07/2016   Last Updated: 12/07/2016 11:07:36   Tags: The-Cream-Of-Wimbledon

This year’s Wimbledon tournament now under way and is due to finish on the 10th July 2016. Each year visitors of the event consume around 28,000 kilos of Strawberries, so we thought we would find out why strawberries are closely associated with the Wimbledon Championships.
 
Strawberries are always just at their best at the end of June beginning of July, and during the very first Wimbledon Tournament 130 years ago strawberries and cream were served up. Apparently French writers also wrote about the ladies love at that time for strawberries. So it looks at though the tradition of strawberries and Wimbledon is one that started right at the beginning of its conception and has continued ever since.
 
If you are interested in buying a house in Wimbledon, Hawes and Co Wimbledon has this beautifully presented three bedroom maisonette located in the Kenilworth Avenue Conservation Area for sale. This Victorian conversion features a southerly aspect private rear garden, large open plan living area and benefits from a very quiet location which is within walking distance of Wimbledon station and a multitude of amenities. The ever popular Bishop Gilpin Primary School is also moments away.
 
Property features:
 
• Three Bedrooms
• First Floor Maisonette
• Private Garden
• End Of Terrace Edwardian
• Quiet Road
• Very Popular Conservation Area
• EPC: D
 
For more information or to arrange a viewing please call Hawes and Co Wimbledon Village on 020 8946 1000 or follow this link

Buyers seek out period properties…

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Published: 23/09/2015   Last Updated: 23/09/2015 15:25:16   Tags:

Victorian homes built during the reign of Queen Victoria, between 1837 and 1901 were the first houses in the UK to benefit from proper sanitation.

They sprung up in their millions in cities around the UK, as people, poor and middle class migrated from the countryside to enjoy the modern city living. Victorian houses have an easily recognisable style with their uniform fronts, brick structures, slate roofs and large sash-windows. This new style of architecture encompassed large panes of glass not available in the former Georgian and Regency period, as advances in glass technology enabled architects to design houses with larger openings, which in return let much more light into people’s homes.

It was around this period that Britain was a world leader in glass technology and hence we saw the birth of Joseph Paxton’s Crystal Palace a wonder feet of modern engineering, utilising plate glass and iron to create a wonderful umbrella canopy.

Victorian properties are a huge part of our heritage and remain highly sought after by property buyers as these homes that have been carefully renovated still have their have high ceilings, ornate cornices and beautiful original fireplaces.

At Hawes and Co we are currently marketing this beautiful Victorian property in Goodenough Road, Wimbledon, SW19 for £839,950. This charming property is situated in this highly sought after residential cul-de-sac. Comprising three bedrooms and two bathrooms, the property has already been subject to skilful extension work into the loft to create a large, bright bedroom and bathroom, whilst there is still ample scope to extend STPP to the rear of the property. Dundonald Primary School is situated within 110m and Wimbledon Town Centre with all its excellent transport, shopping and recreational facilities is also within easy reach.

For more information please contact our Hawes & Co Wimbledon office, contact us by telephone on 020 8542 8689 or alternatively please check out the property link http://bit.ly/1WhMhkr

Public consultations announced for regeneration proposals of Eden Walk Shopping Centre in Kingston

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Published: 02/06/2015   Last Updated: 05/06/2015 12:51:43   Tags: Surbiton, Local News, Sold Properties

A series of public consultations have been announced for the regeneration proposals of Eden Walk Shopping Centre.

The plans include new retail and leisure units, residential apartments and office space at the Kingston town centre location.

Residents were previously consulted on plans last summer.

Eden Walk Shopping Centre is jointly owned by British Land and Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS).

On the Eden Walk Regeneration website it states: "Our proposals will seek to attract new retailers in a scheme that compliments the existing retail offer of Bentalls, John Lewis and the vibrant independents.

2015 Autumn Statement…

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Last Updated: 03/12/2015 11:34:36   Tags: Autumn Statement

This year’s Autumn’s statement revealed several changes to the UK’s housing sector – mainly aimed at would-be buyers who are trying to get onto the housing ladder.
 
As part of these plans the Chancellor stated that the housing budget would be doubled to £2bn in a year, which will fund 400,000 affordable new homes by the end of the decade.
 
More Housing Association tenants will also have the right to buy their properties.
 
Property investors – including landlords were badly hit by this year’s budget as it was announced that a stamp duty levy of 3% would be added to each investment property purchased after 1st April 2016.

 

The new stamp duty changes are:
 
*   Property purchase of £40,000 to £125,000 – Stamp Duty will be levied at 3% (currently 0%)
*   Up to £250,000 – 5% (currently 2%)
*   Up to £925,000 – 8% (currently 5%)
*   Up to £1.5m – 13% (currently 10%) 

 *   Over £1.5m – 15% (currently 12%)
 
Other changes concerning landlords will be the amount of time they have to settle government property related charges - currently investors have up to 30 days to settle Stamp Duty charges this will be reduced to 14 days as from April 2016. As well as having only one month to settle a Capital gains bill relating to a sale of an investment property. 
 
The London Help-to-Buy scheme - from early next year the government has pledged that they will increase the upper limit of equity loans, so that buyers in London can access from 20% to 40%. Also people living in London will be able to have access to an interest-free loans worth up to 40% of the value of a newly built home – homebuyers will then need to secure a mortgage of up to 55 per cent to cover the rest.

If you would like to find out more about the proposed changes then why not come into one of our local branches or call us on 0208 946100.

 

 

3 spring asparagus recipes…

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Last Updated: 30/04/2016 13:25:26   Tags: 3-Spring-Asparagus-Recipes

Asparagus is in season and delicious at this time of year, so here are three of our favourite spring recipes – with one that uses the stalks. 

One-pan salmon with roast asparagus

You will need:

-400g new potatoes halved if large
-2 tbsp olive oil
-8 Asparagus spears, trimmed and halved
-2 handfuls cherry tomatoes
-1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
-Balsamic vinegar
-2 salmon fillets, about 140g/5oz each
-A handful basil leaves

For the method please visit this website. http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/5925/onepan-salmon-with-roast-asparagus

Throwing away the stalks on asparagus always seems such as waste, so I tried out this lovely asparagus soup recipe, which is perfect for warming our insides during this cold arctic blast.

We found this asparagus soup recipe on the Allrecipes website:

You will need:

-1 tablespoon olive oil
-1 knob butter
-2 medium white onions, chopped
-2 cloves garlic, crushed
-400g asparagus ends
-500ml chicken or vegetable stock
-sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the method please follow the link.

If you enjoy dipping bread soldiers into your boiled egg, you will love this more sophisticated recipe using asparagus by Jamie Oliver:

You will need:

-1 bunch of asparagus
-4 large free-range eggs
-Sea salt
-Freshly ground black pepper

For the method follow the link to the website.

A mix of Dahl and Wimbleon, what could be better?

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Last Updated: 11/05/2016 20:41:10   Tags: A-Mix-Of-Dahl-And-Wimbleon-What-Could-Be-Better

Roald Dahl was born on the 13 September 1916 – 23 November 1990, and during this time he created some of the most unique literature. His children’s stories were known for their unsentimental, macabre, often dark comment – hugely refreshing for children at the time. He is most well known for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The BFG, Fantastic Mr Fox, The Twits, Games and the Giant Peach, and my personal all-time favourite Tales of the Unexpected.

James and the Giant Peach – took us on a magical adventure across several lands all the way to New York City. In celebration of Roald Dahl’s centenary and his continuing influence on children today Polka Theatre in Wimbledon are putting on a stage production.

Main Stage Running time 1 hour 45 minutes (including interval)
Recommended for ages 5-11. Click here to read Polka's Age Policy. Children under the age of 4 will only be admitted to All Ages Welcome performances. 
Tickets £15 for adults and children | Concessions £10
(£1.50 transaction charge per booking)
Concessions are available by calling the Box Office on 020 8543 4888 for those registered unemployed or receiving benefits, includes Pension Credits.
School Tickets £10 (plus one free teacher/adult ticket for every 10 students)
For more information please visit their website

Photo Source.

An Ideal Home Easter weekend…

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Last Updated: 23/03/2016 17:44:35   Tags: An-Idea-Home-Easter-Weekend

This year’s Ideal Home Exhibition is well under way, and if you’re into all things home, then this will be a great way to spend this Easter weekend. If you haven’t been to this annual home event at Olympia London then it really is worth visiting, it’s packed full of home ideas, gadgets, food halls, recipes – visiting this year, I was taken back by the amount of gizmos and gadgets all designed to make our life’s easier in the home - it’s mind boggling – and one great advantage of visiting an event like this is that you can benefit from some great promotional discounts.

One of the most interesting parts of the is the new generation of modular properties being showcased, especially when using a modular stacking system, such as the ARC design home, on show this year. It’s sleek, curvy design looks positively new age – and you can’t help but wonder how good you would feel waking up in this glass and wooden curved structure, which seems to break all architectural norms – simple living which they state can also produce electricity which you can sell back to the grid. You can build the ARC on simple foundations, hillsides – they can be added to flat roofs and erected on water.

The ARC home also offers a great combination of insulation, heating and ventilation which ensures that your home is kept clean, healthy and at a temperature required by the homeowner. In summer the green roof is automatically irrigated to create a cooling effect, and ventilation systems can be fed with cooled air to offer natural air conditioning.

For more information about this year’s Ideal Home Exhibition please visit the link.

 

A perfect mix of old and new

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Last Updated: 30/10/2015 10:18:59   Tags: Permitted Development

As space becomes harder to find in urban areas we have had to refocus our idea of expandable spaces within our homes, heritage buildings such as Georgian and Victorian houses can successfully embrace bold linear lines of a modern architecture, so extending these homes has become not only a great way to expand our living area but also introduce more light. 

However extending our homes often comes down to how well your local planning department processes applications, but by using Permitted Development rights or (PD) it might not be necessary to consult them. PD gives homeowner the right to make a range of alterations to their homes without planning permission, these can include rear extensions and loft conversions. Permitted development rights might be restricted if you live in a conservation area.

Although PD has been introduced to loosen modest building development, it’s important to remember that you can’t avoid other necessary requirements such as Building Regulations, party wall legislation and Listed Building Consent, the best way to proceed if you wish to extend your current home is to enroll the services of an architect.

If you would like to build a simple one-storey extension on a detached house this can be extended up to 4m back from the rear wall, on a semi-detached house or terraced house you can build up to 3m. The roof can be either pitched or flat as long as the highest point is no more than 4m from the ground and the eaves are no more than 3m from ground level.

We currently have this beautifully refurbished and extended four bedroom house in Wimbledon for sale – this is a great example of how an old Victorian property can be enhanced by adding modern architecture in the form of a brand new extension on the back with by-folding doors. For more information about this property please follow this link

Brexit – what impact, if any, will it have on the UK property market?

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Last Updated: 09/06/2016 09:01:24   Tags: Brexit What Impact If Any Will It Have On The UK Property Market

Unless you live on a remote desert island it would be difficult to avoid talk of a possible exit, or Brexit as it’s been coined. So what would the impact be on the housing market be if there were an exit from Europe? It’s difficult to say or to know the real impact it could have, any opinion would be speculative at this stage  - some economists are stating that a Brexit could cause UK house prices to drop by up to 5% nationally. At the moment property investors do seem to be sitting back and waiting to see what happens, the pound also dropped by nearly 250 pts yesterday against the Euro, after the latest Brexit poll showed the leave campaign to be edging slightly ahead. 

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently announced that it had downgraded the UK’s monetary growth, it stated: “a British exit from the European Union could pose major challenges for both the UK and the rest of Europe. Negotiations on post-exit arrangements would likely be protracted, resulting in an extended period of heightened uncertainty that could weigh heavily on confidence and investment, all the while increasing financial market volatility.”

The information available for voters still seems to be really confusing, leaving around 20% of voters not sure whether to vote to “stay” or to “leave”. Leave campaigners want to be freed from EU red tape, stating that the UK would be free to make their own decisions. The Leave campaigners also state that immigration is causing the loss of jobs, however being part of Europe costs the UK around 0.5% GDP (£9billion) and in return the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) states that we receive between £62bn to £78bn in return annually.

There is much to consider before we cast our votes on 23rd June, if we stay in Europe then we will continue to be controlled by Brussels, but we will sustain the rewards of being in Europe, if we leave then it’s an uncertain path, one that could see us struggling in the short term but perhaps being better off in the long run, but the truth is it seems that nobody really knows.  We will just have to wait and see.

Buy an Ace in Wimbledon

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Last Updated: 17/03/2016 13:57:13   Tags: Buy-An-Ace-In-Wimbledon

This year we have seen first-time buyers taking the leap to purchase their first home together, partly due to the Government’s new initiatives and interest rates being at an all time low. If you are a first time buyer or a property investor looking at investing in a property in Wimbledon, Hawes and Co Wimbledon Village have this stunning 1 bedroom maisonette for sale in the heart of Wimbledon village.

This one bedroom maisonette is on the market for £450,000, it is beautifully presented, which would mean that a buyer could simply move in and start enjoying one of the many benefits of living in Wimbledon village straight away. The other great asset is that the accommodation is laid out over two floors, and is accessed via its own front door.

If you are an investor looking for a buy to let this could be the perfect property for you too, as it has been easily rented out over the past few years.

Property Features
One Bedroom
Maisonette Over Two Floors
Village Location
Very Good Condition
No Onward Chain
592 sqft
EPC: C

Nearest Transport Links
Wimbledon Station - 0.44 miles
Wimbledon - 0.49 miles
Wimbledon Park Station - 0.91 miles

Property Size
Floor area: 592 sq ft (55 sq m)

For more information about this property please either call Hawes and Co Wimbledon on 020 8946 1000 or check out this link.

 

Buy-to-let returns remain good…

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Last Updated: 26/05/2016 18:57:38   Tags: Buy-To-Let-Returns-Remain-Good

Buy-to-let investors have had a hard time over the past year, with significant changes being made to tax allowances and how mortgage interest can be off-set against buy-to-let mortgages, as well as an increase on stamp duty by 3%. Despite all of this buy-let-returns are still good compared to most other investment opportunities at the moment.

Interest rates remain at a historical low which is great for home buyers, but not so great if you are looking at getting a return on your savings. Buy-to-let investments have continued to surpass all other major asset classes according to the latest PPRMI buy-to-let index from Property Partner - with returns on property overtaking other forms of investments such as shares, bonds and cash.

Rob Weaver said: “Total returns for residential property crept up to 9.6% in the year to March, as investors rushed to beat April’s stamp duty deadline. “This was especially true of London, where annual returns were in double digits, reaching an eye-watering 16.5%. The East was strong too.”

 “Investors are understandably showing caution ahead of the EU referendum. But the fundamentals – high employment, wage growth, cheap borrowing and the chronic shortage of supply – remain in place and are positive,” Weaver added.

 If you would like to find out more about investing in property or expanding your buy-to-let portfolio, or you would simply like some advice about the new changes then why not pop into your local branch of Hawes and Co or call our team on 0208 946100.

Source: Buy to Let Landlord

Can electronic devices be bad for a child’s development?

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Last Updated: 31/03/2016 23:05:28   Tags: Can-Electronic-Devices-Be-Bad-For-A-Childs-Development

There has been a lot in the news recently about young children’s development being hampered by electronic toys, if used too regularly and without using moderation. This week a new study has shown that children who are not stimulated enough in the nursery years might not be mentally advanced enough to start learning at primary school level.

Tablets, phones and other electronic gadgets are often used by parents as a pacifier, but does this hamper normal development?

Dr Jenny Radesky, clinical instructor in Developmental-Behavioural Pediatrics at Boston University, told the Daily Telegraph: "Mobile devices are everywhere and children are using them more frequently at young ages. The impact these mobile devices are having on the development and behaviour of children is still relatively unknown.

"It has been well-studied that increased television time decreases a child's development of language and social skills. Mobile media use similarly replaces the amount of time spent engaging in direct human-human interaction.”

According to the BBC electronic guidelines for children, if used in the right way, electronic devices can be really useful in enabling children with communication problems to communicate more easily. This combined with a generous helping of story time, playing outside, interaction with other children can help enhance their learning ability. They also state that guiding your children through the technology is key.

It seems that technology in the form of electronic devices can play a useful part in our children’s development but the amount of time and the usage needs to be monitored carefully. But experts do say not to let your child use them before going to sleep as the light they omit can cause problems with sleep. For more information about using Electronic goods please follow this link

Sources: The Telegraph/BBC/The Guardian

Ditch the fad diets, and eat full fat?

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Last Updated: 03/06/2016 08:35:41   Tags: Ditch-The-Fad-Diets-And-Eat-Full-Fat

If you are fed up with the fad diets, and diets clubs then it’s hardly surprising, as most food nutritionalists would argue that starting any of these fad diets will keep you slim in the long run, in fact some research has shown that people will be more likely to put on more weight after following a strict calorie regime. Any type of diet which makes you feel as though you are going without something you want will probably fail, as you will simply want to reward yourself at some point.

The BBC news channel featured some examples where Doctors had gone against the advice of the health experts and had recommended that their patients who were suffering from type 2 diabetes ate less carbohydrates and increased their consumption of full fat produce. Doctors who have been trialing this new full-fat, low carb diet with their patients experienced a rapid improvement in the health of the people suffering with diabetes.

Other health specialists have called for a shake up in the way we view food, with some food intuitionalists stating that processed food of any kind will be turned into fat on the body, which means that no matter how long someone exercises the processed food will just be put down as body fat – this theory goes against current beliefs in the UK.

 The best way to lose weight is to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, limiting carbohydrates and not eating any processed food, if you want to snack then chose nuts, seeds and grains over crisps and chocolate. Full fat dairy products will make you feel fuller for longer, which will help stop any snacking.

 Make small changes to your lifestyle such as cutting out drinking alcohol mid-week and avoiding binge drinking at the weekends. If you are a regular drinker battling with weight issues you will be surprised at the difference this will make. Check out our drinking guide lines article “So how much is safe to drink?’

Introduce more exercise into your life, walk to work if you can, avoid lifts – take the stairs, go for daily walks – buy a pedometer so that you can work out how many steps you are doing each day around 10,000 is healthy.

Drink plenty of water, this will flush out any bad toxins and will help your body to work more efficiently.

Always consult a doctor before making any dramatic changes to your current lifestyle

Do you believe in love at first sight?

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Last Updated: 09/06/2016 08:48:38   Tags: Do You Believe In Love At First Sight

Most home buyers make up their minds about buying a property within the first few minutes of a viewing – which makes it even more important if you are selling or planning to sell your home that you make sure that it looks at it’s best from the outside and that your entrance hall feels really welcoming.

The importance of a well presented entrance hall to a prospective buyer can sometimes be overlooked by the seller – but it should not be overlooked as it's the first place where people will get a glimpse of what’s to come - and if you don’t grab the attention of the buyer in a positive way within the first few minutes this could be a deal breaker. It’s similar to a synopsis of a book, it could make all the difference to whether you buy it or not. 

So what is the secret to making sure that your home instantly draws in a buyer? It’s all about curb appeal from the moment they stand in front of your home, whether it’s situated in a block of flats, a front door or an entrance hall, needs to look neat, cared for and welcoming. If you have outside lights and you have a viewing planned for late afternoon or evening make sure these are on. De-clutter –make sure any coats, umbrellas, wellies, shoes and so fourth are not on show. If your hallway has period features make sure these are presented in the best possible way.

Hawes and Co Surbiton has a really well presented five double bedroom house for sale, from the cobbled driveway to the immaculate exterior, and beautiful stained glass windows all of these elements really do give a potential buyer a real clue about how beautiful and well presented the rest of the house is. If you love period features, then you will no doubt admire the way in which this house has been renovated, as it offers the perfect blend of period and contemporary design. It would be hard not to drawn into the charm of this elegantly restored building.

Property Features
•Five Double Bedrooms
•Kitchen/Breakfast Room
•Sitting Room
•Media Room
•Dining Room
•Games Room
•Study
•Utility Room
•Family Bathroom
•En suite Bathroom
•Downstairs Cloakroom
•Additional W.C
•Cellar
•Large Loft
•Garden
•Off-Street parking

For more information about this property please give our Hawes and Co Surbiton team a call on 020 8390 6565 or follow this link

First time buyers demand drive up property prices

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Last Updated: 12/03/2016 14:52:16   Tags: First-Time-Buyers-Demand-Drive-Up-Property-Prices

This is said to be the year of the first-time buyer - as a combination of Government initiatives and low interest rates have made it so much more interesting for first-time buyers to invest into the housing market.

Previously the lack of property coming onto the market place has hampered transactions, but according to a new report, new properties coming onto the market this year have increased by 5% compared to this time last year.

A new report from the ARLA, Association of Residential Letting Agents – has show that people looking to buy a first home would have spent on average £50,000 renting since moving out of their family home, so it’s easy to see why they are to secure their own home.

These figures are based on someone moving out of their home at age 18 and renting for 13 years, they state that in the North East first time buyers are likely to have spent £32,000 on rent before they buy whereas in London they are more likely to have spent £68,000 on rent.Figures also show that UK tenants spent an average of 22% of their wages on rent last year.

David Cox, managing director of Arla, said: “The rising cost of rent in this country is a huge issue, and is preventing tenants from being able to save to buy a home.

“As house price affordability worsens and interest rates start rising, more pressure will be put on renting with weekly rent likely to rise, so homeownership will remain out of reach for many.”

If you are looking to buy your first property why not pop into your local branch of Goodfellows or call our team on 0208 946100.


Source: The Guardian

 

 

Help-to-Buy ISAs, will they benefit people living near London?

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Last Updated: 08/12/2015 14:51:45   Tags: Help-To-Buy Isas, First Time Buyers

If you are a first-time buyer you will probably be aware of the Government’s Help to Buy ISA - a first-time buying scheme which started on the 1 December 2015.

As part of the scheme a first-time buyer can save up to buy a house worth £250,000 or less outside the capital or up to £450,000 if it is based in London. For those people buying on the fringes of London, in the South West for example, this is a major concern, as prices are already much higher than the national average. The Treasury has based the London boundary on the information set out by the ONS, Office for National Statistics, the higher purchase limit includes 32 boroughs of London plus London, here is a map of the areas where you could benefit from the higher cap.

If you are a first-time buyer and are looking at accessing the scheme you will need to be 16 years of age or over, and it must be the first property you have ever owned in the UK or abroad. If you and your partner are both considering setting up individual Help to Buy ISA, then this will have to be the first property you have both owned, enabling you to access double government bonuses. If either you or your partner has owned a previous house then only one of you will be able to set-up a Help to buy ISA.

The minimum amount you can pay into the scheme is £1,600 giving you a bonus of £400, the maximum bonus you can receive is £3,000 for each ISA. You will also see a return of 4% on your ISA savings.

The other downside to this new government scheme is that as property values continue rise the amount you can receive in bonuses will remain the same.

 

 

House prices continue to rise according to Halifax

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Last Updated: 18/01/2016 18:01:33   Tags: House Prices Continue To Rise According To Halifax

The property market experienced a last minute boost in the last quarter of 2015 – prices were 9.5% higher than in the same period than the year before. According to the Halifax price index, the average price of a UK home stands at £208,286.

Martin Ellis from the Halifax stated: "There remains a substantial gap between demand and supply with the latest figures showing a further decline in the number of properties available for sale. This situation is unlikely to change significantly in the short-term, resulting in continuing upward pressure on prices” says Halifax housing economist Martin Ellis.

As homes become less affordable for first time buyers, the house price to earning ratio rose to 5.58 in December, this figure stood at 5.49 in November, the highest figure since January 2008.

If you are looking at selling your property this is a great time of year to put it onto the market, it’s one of the busiest times of year for buyers looking on-line. Over the Christmas period, the property portal Rightmove reported a 22% rise in page views, with over 31 million page views on Boxing Day – rising to 44 million on Decemeber 30.

If you would like to get an idea of how much your property is worth why not get in touch with your local branch of Hawes and Co or give our team a call on 0208 946100.

How not to do a property viewing

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Last Updated: 26/04/2016 14:07:47   Tags: How-Not-To-Do-A-Property-Viewing

In our business we often hear of stories concerning disastrous property viewings, so here are a few things to avoid when preparing and presenting your home to a potential buyer:

Bad odors - There is nothing more off putting to buyers than bad aromas, whether these are from cigarettes or from the smell of animals, this is to be avoided at all costs. Clean carpets where necessary, ventilate by opening windows and give a fresh coat of paint where needed.


Loud music – yes we have had stories where homeowners have played loud music whilst doing a house viewing.
Strange room layouts – these are when a house has a strange room layout, such as a kitchen being placed between two bedroom in a single storey house.


Half finished DIY jobs, or badly done DIY jobs – there’s nothing worse than the cracking of badly fitted laminate floors, this cheap type of flooring came into the UK in the mid 1990’s and has evolved since with better quality wooden floors. Any badly finished DIY projects or half finished will distract a buyer from looking at the qualities of a property and are a big no, no. In this category we have to include any type of damp traces too. If there is any repair work needed a buyer will normally need to see this reflected in the price.
Starting up a lawn mower or any other noisy machinery during a visit - yes this really can happen.


Animals – not properly clearing up after animals in the house and garden, it’s imperative that there are no signs of animals in a house, or smells, clear away dogs beds, if you have caged animals in the home make sure these are put out of sight during visits.
Making the most of natural light - it has been known that home sellers leave their curtains and interior doors closed during a visit. It’s always best to leave these open as not only does it allow the light to penetrate into the center of the house it also makes a property feel more spacious.


Ripped carpet, damaged flooring – It’s always a really good idea to make sure that the flooring areas are clean and well presented.
Badly presented front gardens – rubbish bins left in view, broken, weedy paths, badly painted facias and front doors, hanging baskets with weeds growing out. One of the first things a buyer will see when they are doing a property viewing is the front of your property, make sure it has curb appeal, and will entice a purchaser to want to see more.


If you would like some advice on how to present your home for a viewing please contact us either by Facebook or pop into one of your local Hawes and Co branches.

How to avoid being a victim of a scam?

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Last Updated: 24/04/2016 19:22:11   Tags: How-To-Avoid-Being-A-Victim-Of-A-Scam

One in ten people in the UK have fallen for fraud in the UK, according to the website This is Money, every two minutes someone is ripped off by a fraudster in the UK. According to the Office for National Statistics there were 7.6 million cases of fraud and cyber crime in England and Wales in 2015.

Scams are becoming more and more sophisticated so it’s become really difficult to avoid losing money through this type of fraud at some point in our lives. However the BBC have produced a guide to help us avoid losing money through these scams.

The BBC guide runs through how to avoid email invoices - where people send invoices pretending to be a company you are currently dealing with. How they access this information is unknown, but must involve some kind of hacking. If an invoice seems suspicious always contact the company or person using their usual telephone number, never click on an email link.

You can be scammed in various ways in your own home, via email, text, computer, telephone and by someone arriving on your doorstep.

Some of the recommendations the BBC suggest for avoiding a scam are to make sure that you keep your passwords safe, by simply adding symbols and numbers to a password can make it much more secure. Be careful when using public hotspots, never use sites where you need to make a card payment when using this type of facility instead use your mobiles 4G data service.

Try out their spot a scam quiz – “Would I Spot a Scam?”

 Easy ways in which you can avoid divulging private information are:

• Always shred your paperwork before binning it – especially any with your name and address

• Never share your personal data, including if your bank calls you. Always call them back on their normal number.

• Be careful when you pay by card on-line –ask them what happens to this information after you have made your payment.

• Be careful when you post on any social media accounts, avoid putting any information on their which could be compromising. Check out the security settings of your account, and if you don’t know someone who is on your account get rid of them.

For more information please visit the BBC website.

How to clean difficult every day items…

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Last Updated: 18/01/2016 17:33:39   Tags: How To Clean Difficult Every Day Items


Most of us have a daily or weekly cleaning routine which doesn’t normally tackle trickier items such as handbags, keyboards, purses and so fourth, but these can be especially dirty as they are exposed to germs outside our own environment.

So we checked out the Good Housekeeping’s guide to ‘8 everyday things you need to clean and how.’

1.Handbags – they state that 90% of handbags contain extremely high levels of bacteria. Cleaning suggestions are: empty out unnecessary contents such as old receipts and lose change and clean with a leather cleaner if it’s leather, but make sure you don’t use a coloured shoe polish as this could come off on your clothes. If it’s not leather clean with some anti-bacteria wipes and dry with some kitchen towel. 
 
2. Purse – these are used everywhere from shop counters to the bottom of your handbag these are considered much dirtier than a man’s wallet. In order to clean they state to use the same process as cleaning your handbag.

3. Gym bag – According to a recent study carried out by Initial Washroom Hygiene over a third of bags contained Coliform, a nasty form of bacteria with can lead to an upset tummy, pneumonia and vomiting – with leather gym bags being the worst. Clean your bag it with anti-bacteria wipes. If you can use a washable bag you can put in the wash every few weeks.

4. Your mobile phone – most of us probably own a mobile phone, but think to never clean them, but according to the magazine they can be as dirty as the average toilet seat, hosting over 25,000 germs!


To clean Good Housekeeping recommend using a micro-fibre cloth that will remove and retain the dirt to clean the back and the screen of your smartphone. Make sure you use a circular motion to avoid scratching the screen and don't forget to clean your camera lens to avoid blurry pictures.
 
 To check out the rest of their cleaning tips please visit their website.

How to keep your Christmas tree in tip-top condition

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Last Updated: 08/12/2015 14:51:17   Tags: How To Keep Your Christmas Tree In Tip-Top Condition

If you have a young family then you might have already bought and decorated your Christmas tree for this year’s Festive season, so keeping it in tip-top condition until Christmas Day could prove to be a bit tricky, so here are a few tips to keep your tree looking at it’s best:

It’s important that you keep your tree away from any direct heat source, such as being next to radiator, near a wood burner, or in direct sunlight. If you place it near a window or next to an outside wall this will help to stop your tree from drying out.

Some people suggest spraying hair spray onto the tree which can help to stop the needles from falling off, but I’ve tried this a couple of times and it just seems to make everything sticky and doesn’t seem to work. 

Make sure that you place your tree inside a water-tight container, as it will need to be watered daily, trees will need 1 litre of water a day to keep them looking healthy. You could also try adding some sugar to the water, this will help to feed the tree throughout its life.

If you haven’t already brought your tree into the house, then leave it in a bucket of water as long as possible. If you haven’t yet purchased your tree then the types of trees that don't drop their needles so quickly are the Noble Fir, Normand Fir, Lodge Pole Pine and Fraser Fir.

 

 

How to keep your home clutter free…

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Last Updated: 18/01/2016 17:32:21   Tags: How To Keep Your Home Clutter Free

According to the Guardian the average Brit has over 3,370 cubic feet of his/her home full of items that they never or rarely use. Which is twice as clutter much as we used to have. 

So what are the reasons for this growing problem in our homes? Many people view the clutter as being a symptom, a bi-product of a cheap consumerism, which I also feel could be a big cause. 

Over the past 20 years the way in which we view clothing for example has really changed, we used to buy less and keep it for longer, partly because they were better quality and lasted longer and secondly because we were not so hung up on changing fashion trends, as we couldn’t afford to be. 

There is a big price to pay for cheap products, not only in the exploitative labour practices but damage to the environment on every scale. Our consumer habits are having a huge negative effect globally.

Let’s take clothes industry for example; the rate in which we are buying clothes has increased exponentially in the past 20 years. We can no longer support the rate in which we want to produce cheap clothing – cotton growers cannot produce enough cotton, which means that they are having to spray their crops with expensive pesticides which often make producers ill as well as harming the soil and the environment in the process. Clothing waste is a huge issue, not only does it take years to decay, the chemicals in clothing as they decompose absorb into the soil and environment. Cheap dyes, leathers and so fourth are all causing harmful effects on those people who have to work with them but also their local environment. These are only a few of the negative effects our consumer habits are having on the world.

So if you would like to keep your home clutter free, stay away from cheap manufactured items and try to buy from local or from ethical stores, where you will buy less because they are more expensive, which means you will appreciate them more and they will last for longer.

 

How to prepare your home for sale…

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Last Updated: 01/10/2015 18:03:20   Tags:

In a competitive market it’s vital that you make your home stand out from the rest, and this isn’t necessarily about having the latest kitchen appliance, or an in-built home cinema systems, sometimes it can be down to just making sure you present your home to the highest possible standard, bearing in mind who your intended buyers are. 

The first aspect to tackle is which market you are aiming your home at – whether it’s the family market, young professional or the senior market. Once you have established this you can then give each room a purpose - for example if your home office looks more like a store room, then make sure this is tidy and presented as a home office, this will be especially important if you are aiming at the professional market, so if you have a small box room that you are currently using for storage, think about presenting it as a home study. However if you are marketing your home to families then present your extra room as a bedroom, as most families will be looking for bedroom space, dependent on the amount of bedrooms in your home. If you are unsure who your potential market is then please contact your local branch of Hawes and Co. 

 We have put together some ideas to help you maximise your home’s potential:

• Gardens – for the young professional they will probably want a low maintenance, but well managed garden. Families will desire easy access from the house to the garden, so steps and so fourth to the garden can be a bit off putting, if you do have either of these, then make sure they are in good condition.

 • It’s important to provide enough storage space, whether this comes in the form of a boarded out loft, garage, large shed or enough cupboards throughout the home will be an important factor.

• Dress your home, try and colour co-ordinate your furnishings and make sure windows have curtains or blinds. Half finished DIY projects, damp issues, or too much clutter can be really off putting to buyers. 

• Buyers like to be able to entertain in a kitchen, young professionals will require at least a small breakfast bar, or a place to put a table in the kitchen where they can entertain and cook. For most families a large kitchen dinner is high on the list, as it ticks off a certain lifestyle.

• Maximise the light – make sure your window coverings allow enough light to enter your home, by just cleaning the windows can make a huge difference, for buyers in the UK having light, airy rooms is really important.

• Kitchens and bathrooms, buyers know that these are the most expensive rooms to put right, so make sure these are well presented, if you have an old bathroom or kitchen you will probably have to reflect this in the asking price. 

These are just a few of the many suggestions we have to get the most from your property, if you would like more information on this or any other aspect of selling your home, please do not hesitate to get in touch with your local branch of Hawes and Co.

How to top up your income

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Last Updated: 06/04/2016 18:18:41   Tags: How-To-Top-Up-Your-Income

In the budget last year George Osborne announced that there would increased tax benefits for people renting out a room out to lodgers.

From April this year the people renting out a room will be able to earn up to £7,500 tax free, an increase of £3,250 from last year. It’s the first time this threshold has been moved since 1997.

This change in the law has meant that homeowners are starting to view their properties as a means of topping up an income.

If you are looking at buying a house with the potential to rent out some extra space, perhaps on a long term basis or for shorter rentals through sites like Airbnb then Hawes and Co Wimbledon Village has this stunning character property for sale for £2,999,500, which comes with a self contained one bedroom flat, which could let for around £1,400 per month.

Property Features
•• 7 Bedrooms
•• 2 Reception Rooms
•• 3 Bath/Shower Rooms
•• Kitchen Breakfast Room
•• Playroom
•• 1 Bedroom Self-Contained Flat
•• West Facing Garden
•• 1 Single and 1 double garage
•• Off street parking

For more information please either follow the link  or call Hawes and Co on 020 8946 1000

 

Important changes to Carbon Monoxide and smoke detectors in rental properties...

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Last Updated: 01/10/2015 18:13:25   Tags:

If you own a rental property you will need to be aware of the new changes coming into place on the 1st October concerning the installation of carbon monoxide and fire detectors in rental properties.  

Landlords will need to fit smoke alarms to each floor of their rental property, and they must be in working order at the start of a new tenancy. Carbon monoxide detectors are only required in high risk rooms – those with solid oil or gas heating systems, as well as a rooms that have either a wood burner or open fire.

Those landlords who fail to provide the required smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their rental property could face a civil penalty of up to £5,000.

The good news is that inventory clerks can carry out checks on smoke detectors and carbon dioxide alarms in rented properties when required, which is a relief to agents and landlords as there has been some concern about extra costs incurred by having to employ another tradesman to carry out these checks.

Patricia Barber, chair of the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC) stated: ‘As part of an inventory compilation or check in procedure at the beginning of the tenancy, an AIIC independent inventory clerk will be able to check smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms for power where possible and report back any problems found,’ she explained.'

 This then paves the way for landlords or their property managers to carry out subsequent checks during mid-term visits. While the majority of landlords and agents may already have some sort of procedure in place, hopefully this news will help to put some property professionals' minds at ease, saving time and money,’ she pointed out.'

 As always we maintain the importance of making sure that any property inventory is carried out by an independent inventory clerk. AIIC clerks are highly trained and can report the presence of each alarm and test for power at the start of the tenancy. A tenant will then be asked to sign a statement agreeing the clerk’s findings,’ she added.

Government has given funding to fire and rescue authorities to provide some private landlords with free smoke alarms. To find out more please speak to your property manager or call our team on 0208 946100.

Source: Property Wire

Improve your home’s colour scheme

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Last Updated: 18/01/2016 17:33:24   Tags: Improve Your Homes Colour Scheme

If you, like many of us homeowners are not interior designers or just haven’t had much experience in home interiors, it can feel slightly overwhelming when it comes to finding the perfect colour scheme for our interiors. 

Choosing the right colours can be really important when it comes to creating a mood in a room - pale shades of blue and green for example are often used in bedrooms or bathrooms to create a relaxing environment. 

One of the tricks of the trades when it comes to designing a home’s interior is using colour wheel, according to House Beautiful a colour wheel is composed of three colours; primary, secondary and tertiary. With the primary colours being red, yellow and blue, secondary; orange, green and purple and the the tertiaries are red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-purple, and red-purple.


They state that there are two ways in which you can use the wheel: ‘Firstly, it can help you select the perfect tone to get the look you want. For instance, a tone of green that’s closer to the primary yellow has a brighter, more welcoming look than a green that’s close to the primary blue, which is more sophisticated. The wheel is also the key to planning a scheme of more than one colour. A toning scheme uses tints and shades of just one colour, while a harmonising look combines colours next to each other on the wheel, and colours opposite each other are contrasting and will make a bold statement in your room.’


Hues are pure colours on the wheel, pure hues are bold and exciting. These colours are good for feature walls and pops of colour.


Tints or pastel shades - this is a colour which has had white added to it. They are soft and often used for an understated design scheme or a child’s bedroom.


Shades – these are the opposite of pastel shades as they have black added to them. These are often used on soft furnishings as they are more masculine in colour.


For further tips on how to choose improve your home’s colour scheme.

Income gap for first time buyers increases…

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Last Updated: 04/03/2016 10:56:01   Tags: Income-Gap-For-First-Time-Buyers-Increases

The continuous growth in the property prices in the UK looks as though it is going to continue, as demand outstrips supply. Which has resulted in the gap between the average income and the pay of people currently renting and wanting to buy their first time property has reached a post-recession high according to the ONS, Office of National Statistics and the Council for Mortgage lenders - who state that the average income a would-be-buyer would need to support a first time buyer mortgage is £38,977, which is £11,332 higher than the average salary which stands at £27,645.


This is the largest gap we have seen since the recession – which means the that unless there is a dramatic change in the house prices or the system, we will continue to see the ‘generation rent’ growing in the UK. This gap is attributed to tighter mortgage lending criteria, rising prices, which has made it harder for first time buyers to get onto the property ladder, even with the help of family members and government incentives. If we look back at the year 2000, the gap between the average salary to support a first time mortgage was only £3,170 and £7,505 in 2011.


In London prices have soared over the past ten years which has meant that in order for a first time buyer to purchase a property in the Capital they would need to have a salary of £58,500 or 65% more than the UK average wage.
 

Overall this data indicates that the gap between those who own a property and those who don’t will continue to grow, as the rate of wage increase will not be able to compete with rising property prices – which will mean that lettings industry will remain buoyant for the foreseeable future.


Source: Letting Agents Today

 

It’s blooming marvelous again…

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Last Updated: 26/05/2016 18:55:22   Tags: Its-Blooming-Marvelous-Again

It’s that time of year again when the Chelsea Flower show buds up for this year’s largest UK garden contest. It’s a chance to get ideas and inspiration for our own gardens, no matter how small they might be, and incorporate some of the techniques into our own slice of England.

One of the more unusual techniques on show this year is ‘stone balancing’ by Adrian Gray, you may well remember him in one of the old series’ of Grand Designs, balancing two stones in the garden of a house precariously built on an eroding cliff on the English coast. Since then he has made quite a name for himself through his stone balancing art. It might sound like magic, but it really is an art, basically he gets two rather large stones, and rocks them backwards and forwards until they find a natural balanced position, once he has found their perfect position he then fixes them discreetly with a metal rod to keep them from being knocked off – the result is a really natural looking rock sculpture.  Gray’s display at Chelsea includes the world’s largest, 11 tonne, 17 foot tall boulders from Bodmin Moor.

This year’s Chelsea Flower show runs from the 24th May until the 28th May 2016. Some of this year’s highlights include:

• Photographic exhibits in honour of the Queens 90th birthday celebrations this year.

• The memorable poppies tribute by Philip Johnson

• An Acoustic garden inspired by world-leading percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie.

If you would like to find out more about prices and show times please visit their website.

Keeping your home safe this Christmas

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Last Updated: 18/12/2015 09:26:00   Tags: Keeping Your Home Safe This Christmas

If you are planning on going away for Christmas then you will probably concerned about leaving your home empty over the festive period. According to Aviva, who have based their research over a ten year period, the worst day of the year for burglaries is in November – Bonfire night when house break-ins and car theft spikes. Surprisingly the least amount of burglaries occur on Christmas day and boxing day, however over the Christmas period fire claims worsen up by 120% compared to the rest of the year.

However on the lead up to Christmas it’s best to stay on guard as burglars will target homes which have nicely wrapped, brand new presents under the tree, make sure you take extra precautions when going out on pre-Christmas parties and evenings. Leaving a radio on, or TV and making sure that your lights are on and curtains are drawn will help to give the impression that there is someone in the house.

Make sure that if you are going away over the Christmas period that you do not announce it over any social media channels, thief’s will be on the look out for this, and you won’t be insured by your insurance company if they find out that you broadcasted it over social media. 

If you would like to make your home more secure, here are some of our recommendations:

• Fit a burglar alarm – these are much easier to install and cheaper than they used to be

• Register valuable property at https://www.immobilise.com/about.html it's free of charge and could deter a thief.

• Fit all of your windows with locks, as well as a 5-lever mortice lock to the front door – this is often considered as standard practice under most home insurance policies – if in doubt get in touch with your insurance company.

• Never leave a spare key in your garden.

• Make sure you keep your external doors locked at all times, even if you are in your home.

• Ask neighbours to watch your house whilst you are away and take in bins.

• Programme a light to come on and off at nighttime.

If you would like some more advice on how you can improve the security of your home, then contact Surrey Police on 101 and ask to speak to your local Crime Reduction Advisor.

 

 

Know your responsibilities as a landlord

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Last Updated: 18/01/2016 15:15:10   Tags: Know Your Responsibilities As A Landlord

If you are a landlord in the UK you need to make sure that you are up to date with all of the latest changes to the law concerning renting out a property to tenants. As from last October changes in the law now mean that all properties must be fitted with smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

Here are is a list of your obligations as a landlord:

• Make sure that your property is safe and free from any health hazards
• Ensure that all gas and electrical equipment provided in the property is safely installed and maintained
• Provide an energy performance certificate for the property

Fire safety

• Fit and regularly test carbon monoxide and smoke alarms in your rental property
• Follow fire safety regulations in a purpose-built block of flats or for houses and property adapted into flats.

Income on rental properties:

You must pay income tax on your rental properties, minus your day to day running costs, as well as Class 2 national insurance contributions if the work you do renting property counts as running a business.

For any further information about renting out property or becoming a landlord please do not hesitate to get in touch with our team at Hawes and Co or give us a call on 0208 946 100.

Landlords – important changes to S21

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Last Updated: 30/10/2015 10:18:45   Tags: Changes To S21

If you are a landlord you will need to be aware of the changes that have taken place to the eviction process, Section21. As from the 1 October 2015 landlords will be unable to end a tenancy using S21 if they have failed to address repair complaints if they have been referred to a local authority. These changes have been introduced to stop revenge evictions, when a landlord evicts and tenants because they have complained about repairs or the state of a rental property.

Tenancies that begin on the 1 October 2105 or after this date will no longer be able to serve a section 21 notice in the first four months of a tenancy. During this period the tenant can put forward any complaints to the landlord about repairs. 

In addition to this at the start of each new tenancy a landlord must now provide tenants with a valid Energy Performance Certificate, an annual Gas Safety Certificate and a copy of the Government’s How to Rent Guide in order to legally serve a S21 if needed in the future.

The NLA, National Landlord Association is calling upon local councils to provide a clear framework of how they plan to deal with complaints from tenants. Richard Lambert, CEO of the NLA stated: “These kinds of evictions are extremely rare but we have to make sure that complaints by tenants don’t just get lost in the system, regardless of whether they’re legitimate or not.”

“We all know that local councils are under-resourced but housing problems must take priority. If a tenant complains about a potentially hazardous issue then both they and their landlord should have a clear expectation of how and when the council will deal with it.”

If you are a landlord and would like more information on how these new changes might affect you, then please visit your local branch of Hawes  and Co or give our team a call on 020 8399 5522.

Readers might also be interested in:

Important changes to Carbon Monoxide and smoke detectors in rental properties... http://bit.ly/1jawVA8

London’s buried diggers…

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Last Updated: 06/04/2016 18:13:33   Tags: Londons-Buried-Diggers

One popular way to increase space and add value to a home is to develop a basement space, especially in areas such as London and its suburbs. One phenomenon which has been born from this need to build down is the fact that future archeologists when excavating areas in London will be shocked by the amount of diggers they find left in under properties.

The reason for this glut in buried diggers is has been born from the fact that it costs builder less to leave them in situ than paying for them to be removed.  To begin with developers would often use large cranes to retrieve the diggers that were left in the depths of an underground cavern. But the process was very difficult, first of all a crane would need to be hired, then the entire road would have to be closed for a day or so, which would invariably upset people in neighbouring properties. So in the end construction companies weighed up the costs and decided that it would be cheaper to leave the diggers buried under their sites.

The new method of leaving a digger in place is to cover it with hardcore, a mixture of sand and gravel. Then poor a layer of concrete over the top. It is estimated that between 500 and 1,000 buried diggers are buried underneath London basements.

 

Looking to earn some extra tax-free money from your home?

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Last Updated: 02/06/2016 18:08:10   Tags: Looking-To-Earn-Some-Extra-Tax-Free-Money-From-Your-Home

The Government has brought in many changes to the rental market this year – one positive move was that homeowners/renters can now rent out their spare room or studio for up to £7,500 tax-free.

The price of renting a room has also increased over the past few months - excluding London prices have increased by 5.01% in the past year, in comparison London prices have risen more slowly at 1.6%, and in the South East and South West landlords are demanding the highest monthly room rents. The largest growth in rental prices has been experienced in the South East, where monthly room rents have risen to an average price of £485 per month, an increase of 6.59% compared to 2015.

In London the average spare room can be rented out for around £747 a month, however rental price increases have slowed down compared to the rest of the country.

Esher in Surrey is one of the most expensive places to rent a room, with the average monthly rent of £629 per month, however after London Twickenham is the most expensive place to rent a room, on average they cost around £647 per month.

Whilst renting out a room is very attractive proposition renting out a whole property still offers a great return.

According to a new study published by Your Move and Reeds Rains last week, property rental across the UK have risen by around 2.4%, to around £793 per month over the past year.

If you would like to find out more about renting out your spare room or space, or if you are thinking about investing in a rental property then why not pop into your local branch of Hawes and Co or give our team a ring on 0208 946100.

Source: Daily Mail

Readers might also be interested in: Buy-to-let returns remain good…

Maximize your property by developing your basement

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Last Updated: 24/11/2015 10:49:50   Tags: Basement Conversions

There’s no doubt that property in South West London is highly sought after, and this is being reflected in increasing property prices across the region. If you are looking at adding value to your property then one of the best ways to do this is to develop your basement.

In order to calculate how much money this will add to your property, you will first need to work out how much a property in your area is worth per square foot. You could do this by asking an estate agent such as Hawes and Co, who will have their finger on the pulse to exactly how much you can expect to achieve at any given time.

The cost of creating a basement will be about £300 per square foot, so if your property is worth more than £300 per square foot you will be adding instant value to your home.
In order to achieve a great living space in your basement you need to consider several important factors; lighting – will there will natural light or will you have to introduce this through clever lighting? Ask yourself what the space will be best used for, adding an extra bedroom would probably add the most value if you only have a two bedroom property, perhaps a kitchen, extra living area.

Dry lining a basement is the best way to making sure that you keep damp out, you will have to add a sump pump as well to extract any water that might rise from the water table.

Although there are no regulations about ceiling heights in cellars, the taller the ceiling the better it will feel. A practical height of around 2.4metres is a good gauge. If however the basement is to form a separate dwelling then the minimum ceiling height is 2,3-2.4 metres. Remember to allow extra space for your concrete floor.

If you would like any help and advice about developing your property then why not contact your local branch of Hawes and Co or alternatively give our team a call on: 020 8399 5522

Mother’s Day gift ideas…

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Last Updated: 21/01/2016 17:46:51   Tags: Mothers Day Gift Ideas

This year Mother’s day is on Sunday 6th March, it’s a great way for the kids and grown up kids to show their appreciation to their Mum’s, whether it’s a home made card or breakfast in bed, it’s often the acknowledgement that means more than an expensive present.

If you would like to make some homemade gifts for your Mum, there are some great ideas on Country Living website . Gift ideas including making a glass centerpiece out of recycled glass bottles, mason jar sewing kits, family tree serving tray and many more, please check out the link for more information

If you are looking at personalising a Mother’s Day gift then check out the not on the high street website which has gifts from personalised family poster to personalised hampers.

If you fancy having a go at baking for your Mum then we found 75 delicious looking cake recipes on the Good to know website .

If your kids would like to have a go at cooking some fantastic Mother’s Day treats then we found these lovely recipes;

Make-ahead Mother's day menu,

Spoilt rotten Mother’s Day menu 

and Spring Time menu.

If you don’t fancy cooking and are planning on taking your Mum out there are so many good restaurants and pubs to chose from across East London. 

Check out some more homemade gift ideas by visiting Pinterest.

Mother’s Day Treats…

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Last Updated: 04/03/2016 10:55:30   Tags: Mothers-Day-Treats

Mother’s Day is early than usual this year and is being celebrated on the 6 March 2016, and the most important thing is not to forget this special day, especially if like many of us it has crept up on us.

Mother’s Day is time when all of us can say thank you to our Mum’s for everything they have done for us and our children throughout the year, whether you just send a card, or take her out for a dinner treat – it’s a great day to show our appreciation.


If you are looking at ideas this Mother’s Day, then there are some great things to do in the London and Wimbledon area, here are our top picks:


If you would like to bring a bit of sparkle into her day how about visiting our local award winning Winery, Denbies. They are offering a special Mother’s Day brunch and outdoor train tour for £29.50 per person, children under 12 £10. To find out more information please visit their website .

If your Mum enjoys flowers – let’s face it most Mum’s do, how about taking her to the Rose garden tour at Morden Hall Park, where she will be able to enjoy a guided tour around the beautiful Rose garden and learn about the history of the park. Tours are running between 11am-4pm Sunday 6 March.

If you have young children how about investing in a quality family shoot? So many of us with Smart phones we almost forget about making sure we have quality pics of our children which we don’t only want to use on Social Media. Check out Julia Boggio’s studio which is based in Wimbledon.

If you would like to offer your Mum some beauty treatments then why not buy her a voucher for a local beauty treatment, such as Ruby May, who offer all sorts of treatments from pedicures to massages.

If you fancy going further afield then how about taking your Mum into London for the day and treat her to a quintessentially British afternoon tea - on offer this Mother’s Day at the Aqua Shard, Bake-a-boo, Belgrave Pont St, Blue Bird, Claridges, Fortnum and Mason, The Dorchester and many more.

 

Multi-gold Award winning sparkling wines, grown locally

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Last Updated: 23/10/2015 12:15:32   Tags: Estate Agent Surrey, Denbys Wine Growers

Over the past few year’s wine growers in the South East have been producing some of the best award-winning sparkling wines in the world.

Viticulturists have produced some of the best wines by growing their vines on the chalky slopes of the North Downs - a great environment to produce some of the best wines in the world. It’s even been rumored that French Champagne makers have been looking into acquiring land in Surrey as it’s far cheaper than other chalky areas in France, English wine-growers, especially those in the South-East and London choosing this type of soil to grow their vines, and as a result their businesses are blossoming.

One of these vineyards is Denbies, one of the largest wine producers in the UK and situated not far from Dorking. Chris White the general manager whose family originally bought the then pig-farm and turned it into a vineyard now produce some of the best sparkling wines in the world. Something he says was unimaginable when his family started out producing their own wine in the 1980’s.

“When we started out it was not all that easy,” he says. “People were not sure about English wine. But now saying that we are an English wine is one of our best and biggest strengths.“Demand has never been higher, from supermarkets and customers alike.”

Even the royal family has realised just how good UK produced wine is - serving it up to President Obama at Buckingham Palace and then again for the Jubilee. The Queen is also selling it from Windsor Great Park, the Duchess of Cornwall has also requested that we give UK sparkling wine a jazzier name so that it can compete with its Mediterranean rivals.

So next time you choose a bottle of sparkling wine on an evening out, rather than buying a Cava, Proseco or Champagne why not try one of the locally grown multi-gold award winning Denby wines.

If you would like to find out more information about the selection of locally grown wines why not check out the Denby website @ http://www.denbies.co.uk/

Source:London Loves Business - Photograph: Denby's Sparkling Wine

New Year, new home?

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Last Updated: 18/01/2016 17:33:49   Tags: New Year New Home

What better way to start a new year than moving into a brand new home. There are many advantages of buying a brand new home, one is that in most circumstances you will get to chose the finishes of your home, which means that you are not having to fit into someone else’s ideas of décor. Plus everything is brand new and clean.

Another benefit of buying a new home is that you can move in as soon as it’s finished – chain free.

As soon as you move into your new home you will be able to start saving money as you will be able to cut down on energy bills if you are moving from a more traditional home – as new homes are up to four times more efficient than traditional built homes.

Most news homes are also built conveniently close to shops, transport and schools.

New build home developers who are registered with the National House Building council will offer a 10 years warranty on your new home.

At Hawes and Co we have two beautiful new homes for sale in Wimbledon Village, built by the award winning developers ‘Indigo Development’ at a guide price of £3,250,000. The purchaser will be encouraged to work closely with the developer to choose all of the finishings to create their perfect bespoke home.

 Property features:
•5 Bedrooms
•4 Bathrooms
•Drawing Room
•Family Room
•Kitchen/Dining/Living Room
•Garden
•Parking
•10 Year LABC Warranty
 
For more information please either contact Hawes and Co Wimbledon on 020 8946 1000 or check it out on our website.


 

New year, new home – how to get your home ready for a sale

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Last Updated: 18/12/2015 09:26:12   Tags: Prepare Your House For Sale

December and January are the most popular months for people wanting to purchase a new home, so if you are looking at selling your property you will probably want to start preparing your home now.

In the industry we use the term ‘staging’ when preparing your home for buyers; this should give your home more appeal, resulting in a faster sale.

When getting your home ready you need to make sure that a potential buyer can see past all of your personal goods, especially if your home is cluttered, so make sure that you de-clutter your home. Be careful not to strip out too much character, for more years than I can remember developers have been decorating homes with insipid colours such as magnolia, instead if you want to breathe life into your home use some ‘pops’ of colour – these are bursts of colour, teal is bang on trend at the moment, introduced on a single wall and in soft furnishings could bring a tired room bang up-to-date.

If your room is furnished with oversized furniture, or you are not using a room to show off its full potential, re. a spare bedroom is being used as a storage room, you will need to address this before selling.

Make sure that your home has curb appeal – address any issues at the front of your home which might potentially put off a potential buyer, such as a scruffy front door, or unsightly bins, remember the front of your house is like a shop window, if a potential buyer doesn’t like what they see they won’t want to come in and look around. Most buyers will make up their minds if they want to buy a house within the first few minutes of a viewing, so make sure you give that vital good first impression.

Finish off any DIY projects, and if your kitchen or bathroom needs extensive work you will probably need to reflect this in the asking price.

When you are carrying out your viewings make sure your home is well lit, open curtains, make beds, light open fires, fill vases with fresh flowers, make sure your home feels warm and if you can bake a loaf of bread, there’s nothing like the smell of a freshly baked loaf to make your buyers feel at home.

These are just some of the recommendations we would make if you are planning to sell your property, but if you would like to find out more why not get in touch with your local branch of Hawes and Co or give our team a call on 0208 946100.

 

 

Open plan living – will it stand the test of time?

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Last Updated: 18/01/2016 17:28:56   Tags: Open Plan Living Will It Stand The Test Of Time

It’s been several years now since we started smashing down walls in poky Victorian, Edwardian and Georgian homes to make larger and brighter open spaces, I must admit that I was one of the skeptics who thought it would be a ten year fad, but this type of open plan living has been really popular in the UK for around 15 years now.

According to The Telegraph, the number of kitchen-diners has risen by over 50% in the last decade – stating that one in five homes in the UK has had one or more of its downstairs walls demolished.

Generally when we talk about this type of open plan living it usually concerns knocking the downstairs walls down, typically making an unused dining room into part of the kitchen.

Open plan living works really well if you have younger children, it’s a way of all being together in the same space, making for a sociable area to catch up on days activities or just making sure that your children aren’t up to any mischief.

Open plan spaces often seem to be lighter, as by making two rooms into one you normally end up with windows at either end of a space, which in turn makes a home feel larger too.

Simon Hamilton, International Director at the British Institute of Interior Design, told The Telegraph: "The inside of homes are starting to look very different. Houses, especially older ones, were designed with set rooms for set activities.

"With our increasingly hectic lifestyles, convenience and sociability have become key. That is why kitchen-diners and games rooms have grown in popularity. In the next ten years, the majority of houses will be designed in this style." 

Sources: Houzz and The Telegraph

Party season appetizers

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Last Updated: 30/10/2015 10:19:09   Tags: Party Food Ideas

The party season will soon be upon us, and it will soon be time to air our robes and tucks for the long pre-Christmas season ahead – with the promise of endless bottles of fix and delicious appetizing delights. If you are looking for some new appetizer ideas to liven up your social events, here are two of our handpicked French recipes that your guests will just adore.

Cigarettes de Feuille de brick with tuna, cream and mustard

You will need:

1 tin of natural in water
1 lemon
3 stems of dill
30g butter
200ml of full fat cream
1 dessert spoon of crème fraiche
12 round sheets of filo pastry
1 tsp French mustard – moutarde a l’ancienne
½ tsp of mixed pepper corns

Pour the cream into a bowl and place in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Melt the butter. Pre-heat your oven to 180c or gas mark 6. Brush the sheets of pastry with the melted butter using a brush. Form the pastry into cornets and place inside grease proof paper the same size as your cornets, they need to be approximately 9cm tall and place on a baking tray lined with grease proof paper – making sure that you do not leave any holes at the bottom. Place in the oven for 5-7 minutes, keeping a close eye on them to make sure they don’t burn.

Remove the leaves from the dill and add to a bowl with the tuna, lemon, crème fraiche and the crushed mixed pepper corns.

Take the cream out of the freezer, this should now be in the form of a Chantilly cream, light, cold and airy, then add the mustard. 

Then fill a piping bag with the cream, squeeze some into the bottom of your cornets, then add the tuna mix and top with the cream. Garnish with some more dill and they are ready to eat, place in the fridge to conserve for later.

Cake pops – Boules de Noel and now for a chocolate treat…

These will look like white coated round lollypops when you have finished

You will need:

To form the interior of the lollypop:

454g of butter – this is for the chocolate
50g butter
100g dark chocolate
Wooden skewers

For the lollypop coating:
150g white chocolate
Sugar Flakes

Break the chocolate up into smaller chunks with the 50g of butter, and melt in a bain-marie, when this is completely melted leave to cool. Then place the butter into a mixer and add the cooled chocolate until it has formed into a pate type texture, form into 3cm diameter balls. Place in the fridge for around 30 minutes, until completely chilled.

In the meantime melt the white chocolate for coating your lollypops in a bain-marie. Take out the chilled chocolate balls, place on the end of the skewers and coat them with the white chocolate and sprinkle with the sugar flakes, if you want to add a bit of extra glitz you could add some gold sparkles instead. Leave to chill and then serve. You can place these in a pretty jar to serve.

Preparing your house for a sale for the busiest time

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Last Updated: 03/12/2015 11:34:58   Tags: Best Time Of Year To Sell Your House For The New Year

Historically the busiest days of the year for people looking at property on line recorded last year were the days between Christmas & New Year, so if you want to start the new year with a sale it would be sensible to get ready to market before Christmas. Here are a few viewing tips:
  
With everything in life, first impressions count, so you will need to make sure that the front of the property is well groomed and maintained. Look at it as though it’s your shop window and you want to sell the contents. With these short days you will also need to consider making sure there is ample lighting for your potential buyer. Put away bins and makes sure that if you have a front lawn that this is kept well mown. Make sure that the number or name on your property is clear, some potential buyers might want to drive-by before committing to a viewing.

Once you’ve sorted out the ‘curb appeal’ of your property you will need to concentrate your attention on the inside.
  
• Finish off any half finished DIY projects or any areas that need attention, such a mould.

 

• Make sure your floor coverings are clean, if you have a carpet then it might be worth having this cleaned before viewings.

 

• Stage your home by turning on the lights, bed side as well, make your beds, open curtains, place flowers, bake bread, light the fire. Make sure your home feels warm for visits too.

 

• De-clutter your home – especially the kitchen and bathroom.

 

• Check all of your window dressings to ensure that they are in good order and not broken.

 

• Make sure that your home feels fresh, get rid of any pet smells and make sure pets are out of the way for viewings. You could ask a friend or a neighbour to look after them for you.

 

If you would like any other advice then why not get in touch with your local branch of Hawes and Co or give us a call on: 0208 946 100.

 

 

Property on-line browsing reaches record highs…

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Last Updated: 13/04/2016 19:05:26   Tags: Property-On-Line-Browsing-Reaches-Record-Highs

Over the past few years our hunger for all things property related has been satiated by the plethora of property programmes which have been aired on our TV screens. It all started with Property Ladder hosted by Sarah Beeny and moved onto bigger and greater projects in Grand Designs with Kevin Mc Cloud, to DIY SOS, to Homes Under the Hammer, with the latter two still be just as popular as ever.

It would be a natural presumption to think that we would have had enough of property but no our fascination with homes has moved to on-line property window shopping according to new research by Direct Line Home Insurance. They have found that 63% of people in the UK shop on line for properties they have no intention of buying. Their findings revealed that 2.6 million property addicts search through property websites at least once a day, so that they can possibly keep an eye on property prices and dream about possible future homes. The people most likely to be browsing on line are aged between 18-34 and men tend to browse more, on average around nine times a month whereas women look at sites around six times a month.

Katie Lomas, Head of Direct Line Home Insurance, thinks, “We are a nation of property obssesives with very good reason, becoming a homeowner or even climbing the ladder in the UK is a huge challenge and aspiration for many.” She added: “Property sites are a source of information and inspiration and browsing these sites has become something of a past-time for millions of people.”

Source: Property Investor Today.  

Queen’s 90th birthday – 1920’s housing

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Last Updated: 26/04/2016 14:06:22   Tags: Queens-90Th-Birthday-1920S-Housing

As the Queen celebrates her 90th Birthday today we thought we would take a look back at housing around the time she was born in the 1926.

Houses built in the 1920’s were built with ample space, in fact if we compare the average size house built today, they were twice the size of today’s new builds. The average British home built today is just 925 square feet compared to 1,850 in the 20’s.

Houses in this period were often semi-detached and had bay windows on the ground and first floor, often divided in the middle by tiles and fashioning a window gable. The pitch of the roofs were also very acute, making them ripe for loft conversions in the today’s world.

Interior fashions of the time were quite dark and oppressive compared to today’s interiors where making our rooms as light as is usually a priority. Dark, ornate furnishings, mirrors, guilt picture frames, heavy patterned curtains, dark shades of paint, stripped wooden floors with rugs, were all the rage.

If you are looking to buy a 1920’s house, with large rooms and plenty of space for a family Hawes and Co Raynes Park has this fantastic five bedroom property for sale for £1,850,000. Unlike the 1920’s interiors this house has been painted in a neutral palette throughout, giving it a lovely light and airy feel.

Features:

    5 Bedrooms
    2 Bathrooms, one marble
    2 Reception Rooms
    2 Kitchens
    Courtyard garden
    Roof terrace
    Parking
    Electrically operated gates

For more information about this property please call 020 8946 1000 or follow the link.

Right to rent to be enforced across the UK

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Last Updated: 03/12/2015 11:34:47   Tags: Right To Rent; Landlord Checks

Important changes are taking place in the UK concerning Landlords ‘right to rent’. As from February 2016 it will be compulsory for Landlords and letting agents to carry out checks on the immigration status of their tenants before renting out a property.

The decision to introduce the ‘right to rent’ scheme in the UK was made after the policy was trialed in the West Midlands this year, during which 109 people were found to be in the UK illegally.

These new rules are part of the Immigration Act 2014, which has introduced new measures, including this one to tackle the problem of illegal immigration across the UK.

If you are a Landlord or a lettings agent you will need to check identity documents for ALL new tenants and among these documents are:

• a UK passport
• a European Economic Area passport or identity card
• a permanent residence card or travel document showing indefinite leave to remain    
• a Home Office immigration status document

• a certificate of registration or naturalisation as a British citizen

A full list of documents is available here.

There are four steps involved in making a Right to Rent check:

1. Check which adult tenants will live in the property as their only or main home

2. Ask tenants for the original documents that show they have the right to be in the UK

3. Check the documents are valid with the tenant present

4. Make and keep copies of the documents and record the date you made the check

If a potential tenant has an outstanding immigration application or appeal with the Home Office, you can conduct a check on that person’s ‘right to rent’ via the Landlords Checking Service.

 If you would like any other advice then why not get in touch with your local branch of Hawes and Co or give us a call on: 0208 946 100.

 

 

Save money this Black Friday

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Last Updated: 24/11/2015 10:50:02   Tags: Black Friday Sales

If you are looking at saving money on Christmas presents, or would just like to snap up a bargain then watch out for the last Friday in November - the 27th this year, known as ‘Black Friday’. Originating in America this is when sales start after their thanks giving holidays in the states, however for the past five years quite a few of our UK retailers have realised that this is a very lucrative sales day, and so have introduced Black Friday to the UK. 

Last year was the busiest Black Friday in the UK, with consumers spending an estimated £810m on-line shopping, according to retail experts IMRG, Interactive Media Retail Group. The savvy shopper knows that in order to get the best bargains that you need to get on-line early. Stores such as John Lewis, Currys, Argos and Amazon are leaders in the Black Friday sales. Last year over 5.5 million products were ordered from Amazon on Friday alone.

“The Black Friday sales saw Britain’s most savvy shoppers logging online in the early hours to secure the best bargains and spend their cash,” said Guy Mucklow, Postcode Anywhere’s chief executive told The Gaurdian. “It is clear that because many of those deals spanned the payday weekend, many shoppers were already spent by the time Cyber Monday landed.”

The top 10 retailers who are offering Black Friday deals this 2015 are:

 
1.    Argos
2.    Amazon only on-line
3.    Currys
4.    River Island
5.    Debenhams
6.    Marks and Spencers
7.    John Lewis
8.    Tesco
9.    Boots
10. Ebay

Simple and easy picnic ideas…

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Last Updated: 02/06/2016 18:11:21   Tags: Simple And Easy Picnic Ideas

The countryside and parks around Surrey and London are brimming with wild life at this time of year – the sound of the spring chorus is enough to encourage us to spend more time outdoors, where we can enjoy the green, lush open spaces us English are so good at creating. They can be the perfect place to enjoy a family picnic, especially when the weather is good. However if you are fed up with soggy sandwiches and crisps, or perhaps spending too much time creating a gourmet picnic feast here are a few of our favourites from the ‘101 picnic ideas’ by the Guardian newspaper:


Beetroot salad

Peel raw beetroots and grate them. Add pistachios or hazelnuts; dress with orange zest and juice, and olive oil. Add some goats' cheese and chopped parsley.

 
Curried egg salad

Make egg salad with hard-boiled eggs, mayo, curry powder, Dijon mustard, lime juice, salt, pepper, parsley, onion and apple.


Cornflake chicken bites

Cut boneless chicken breasts into small pieces. Dip in milk or buttermilk, then dredge in seasoned crushed cornflake crumbs or cornmeal. Pan-fry in oil, drain, cool and eat cold with celery sticks, with ranch or blue-cheese dressing for dipping.

Chef's tip: Gordon Ramsay

Mackerel pâté – this is a great recipe for an starter too

Mix flaked smoked mackerel, crème fraîche, lemon juice and a good dash of horseradish. Or chickpea purée: whizz up a tin of chick peas with 4 tbs natural yoghurt, lemon juice and chopped fresh mint. Then pack a mixture of raw vegetable sticks, cooked shelled prawns tossed in olive oil and some grissini.


Asparagus – and seasonal at this time of year

Steam or boil; slice on the bias. Toss with orange segments, zest and juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Garnish with sesame seeds. Add prawns or shredded crab, lobster or chicken if you like.

Fore more recipe ideas please follow the link.

Source: The Gaurdian

Simple changes can make healthier lifestyle

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Last Updated: 18/01/2016 18:01:51   Tags: Simple Changes Can Make Healthier Lifestyle

Obesity in one of the leading causes of preventable deaths in the UK, and is expected to be the biggest problems facing the NHS, with health experts predicting that by only 2050 half of the population will be obese. One in four adults and one in every five children between ages of ten and eleven are obese.

Documentary films such as ‘Fed Up’, ‘Cowspiracy,’ ‘Sick and Nearly Dead,‘ to name just a few available on Netflix have really brought it home to us just how important our diet can be, as it has a negative effect on our health, environment and how long we might live for. Experts this week have also said that there should be a super tax on sugary foods of 50%, so that we are forced to change our eating and drinking habits. The recent free sugar app introduced by the NHS, to help parents calculate sugar in foods says that children on average consume 22 kilos of sugar per year - the equivalent average weight of a five year old.

All of this information is hard to decipher but one sure way to live healthier and to help reduce our weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle is to make small changes to the way that you live forever, short term diets are supposed to be very ineffective in battling weight issues long term.

So here are few changes you could make to have a healthier lifestyle:

• Cut out drinking alcohol mid week, instead drink plenty of water

• Use coconut oil to cook in it’s much better for you

• Eat whole grain foods such as rice, bread, pasta and so fourth as this will not only keep you fuller for longer but will also be less likely to be turned fat

• Try and eat more vegetarian meals, 70g of processed meat or beef per day is now recommended by the NHS.

• Check food labels - Avoid buying anything where you do not understand the ingredients

• Use unrefined sugar, and use locally sourced honey as an alternative - this is could also help with allergies too.

• Cook from fresh, avoid buying processed food

• Any processed food – for example most of the contents of our supermarkets is full of fatty and sugary processed foods – try and avoid these, if you fancy a treat make your own cakes and biscuits using whole meal flour and unrefined sugar.

So how much is safe to drink?

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Last Updated: 11/05/2016 20:43:06   Tags: So-How-Much-Is-Safe-To-Drink

The Government’s recommended drinking limits have been updated this year, and there has been a big change in the amount that men especially are recommended to drink. Previously men were told they could drink around 21 units safely per week, but now the amounts for both women and men stand at just 14 units per week. So what does 14 units amount to? This is always the confusing part – well it’s the equivalent to 6, large 175ml of wine, 6 pints of 4% lager or beer, or 6 pints of cider, or 14 25ml 40% shots.

It’s an amount the government says we should be aiming at achieving – although for most of us it would be very difficult to cut down to that amount per week without making major changes to our lifestyle.

On the DrinkAware website as well as having plenty of other drink relating facts, they also have a section which tests whether you have become alcohol dependant – it’s enlightening that among this list is whether or not you could conceive having a Friday night without having a drink?! They state that anyone drinking regularly will have a degree of alcohol dependency.

According to Dr Nick Sheron, a liver disease specialist from Southampton University, alcohol dependency operates on a spectrum. “At one end of the scale you have people who are mildly dependent,” he says. “That’s people who, for example, can’t conceive of a Friday night without having enough drinks to get a bit tipsy. At the other end, you have people where alcohol is more important than their jobs, their families, than pretty much anything, including being alive.”

The worst type of drinking is binge drinking – it’s much better for you to have one glass of wine per day than having all of your units in one go – if you find that you have been struggling with your weight you would be amazed at how much you would lose if you cut out drinking from your lifestyle. I wouldn't be surprised if the Government in the future, state that all drinking is bad for us.  In parts of India they have heavily regulated drinking as it was having a really negative effect on people living in the district of Kerala. The great thing is that there is a really good choice of non-alcoholic drinks available in bars, restaurants and supermarkets, so why not give your liver a rest and stop drinking for 14 days, keep a diary to see how much this impacts on your daily life – from raised awareness, to better sleeping to an increased amount of energy levels.

Source: DrinkAware

South Park Gardens, bursting with autumnal colour

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Last Updated: 14/10/2015 16:26:42   Author: Melanie Hollidge    Tags: South Park Gardens

If you are looking to get out and about this weekend with your family in South West London, then why not visit one of the many beautiful local parks with their autumnal splendor. One of our favourite parks is South Park Gardens – a Victorian park, which opened in September 1901, in the noughties the park fell into disrepair, however since then the park has received a grant from the Heritage National Lottery Fund and has been restored back to its former glory.

There are over 150 trees in the garden, comprising of 40 different varieties. During the renovation it was discovered that many of the conifers were either rotten or diseased, so these have been removed, which has given the park a much more open feel. Local primary schools were then invited to replant some of the trees, which was a nice touch, these included The Priory, Holy Trinity, St Mary’s and Pelham - to commemorate the restoration. The four trees – Silver Maple – Acer sacchirinum (Holy Trinity); Purple Leaf Flowering Plum - Prunus cerasifera ‘Nigra’ (St Mary’s); Japanese Crab Apple – Malus floribunda (The Priory) and Hupeh Crab Apple – Malus hupehensis (Pelham) if you visit the park you will be able to identify them by their plaques.

If you want to discover some of the rarer trees throughout the park why not follow the tree trail walk, where you will be able to spot the following:

The Strawberry Tree - Rare in England, more plentiful in Ireland. It has dark green glossy leaves with a serrated edge and has panicles of white bell-shaped flowers in the autumn.

Judas Tree - The bark is purplish and ridged with fine brown fissures. Leaves are small and alternate and avry from yellowish to dark green.

Deodar Cedar - in the circle at Kings Road/Trinity Road junction – the largest tree in the Gardens. Unlike the Cedar of Lebanon, which has level branches, these sweep down to the ground. The spiral set leaves are dark green and curved.

Tortured Willow in opposite corner of the Gardens; beautiful shaped tree with interesting, twisted leaves and branches. A cultivar of a once very rare species, from China, now more common and sometimes called

‘contorted’, which describes it very well.

Caucasian Wingnut tree close to horse trough. Rare specimen, has fabulous bright gold/yellow foliage in October. It has large pinnate leaves and catkins. Most of the 8 species originate in China.

Sweet gum tree their leaves generally unfold in May and are similar to a maple and provide good colour in the autumn - perfect for a visit at this time of year.

Spring cleaning tips…

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Last Updated: 14/03/2016 16:26:38   Tags: Spring-Cleaning-Tips

With Spring just around the corner, this is a time of year many of us will be dusting away the winter cobwebs and giving our homes a real spring clean. A really good way to bring in that spring feel is to open up all of the windows on a warm day to get rid of any stale air, GP’s recommend we should do this for a few minutes everyday throughout the winter months, to stop germs from building up in a centrally heated environment.

 

Here are our top spring cleaning tips:


1.Bring extra natural light into your home by cleaning the windows. Clean curtains and nets. The best way to clean windows is by using white vinegar and water, 1 to 5 parts, spray onto your window, clean with one rag and buff with another.

2.Clean your walls, use a sponge and some soapy water and gently rub off any marks, sugar soap is really good too. If you would like to clean light switches then use a damp cloth or a cleaning wipe.

3.Move around your furniture to properly vacuum your skirt boards, underneath sofas, chairs and so fourth, this will also stop any moth infestations.

4.The best way to clean a leather sofa is with washing up liquid and water, brush the leather in a circular movement, being careful not to use to much water and then dry off with a towel – avoiding placing your sofa near a heat source such as a radiator or sunlight will stop the leather from drying out.

5.If you have carpets and rugs in your homes this is a really good time of year to get them professionally cleaned.

6.Use bi-carbonate soda and water to clean your fridge – dab your cloth into bi-carb and then rinse off with water – this will remove any nasty odors too.

7.If your microwave has caked on dirt, difficult to remove, just put half a lemon or lime cook on full power for 20 seconds and leave it inside for a couple of hours – remove the lemon and then just wipe out with a cloth.

 

Stand up to bullies

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Last Updated: 24/11/2015 10:50:32   Tags: Anti Bullying Month

Anti-bullying awareness month is taking place between the 2nd- 27th November, with this year’s theme being Cyberbullying and E-Safety. It’s a time when bullying is addressed at schools, enabling children who have suffered or are suffering from bullying to open up about their experience. Once seen as a normal passage of childhood, we have now realised that bullying can lead to depression in later life, and in the worse case, suicide. 

The anti-bullying organisation offers various resources for schools such as DVD’s about bullying, resource books, tips, cards and games. They are also hosting a road show this year created to combine anti-bullying week and anti-bullying month.


‘Let’s make noise about bullying’ is this year’s competition where children are encouraged to write up their experiences, first prize is £300, followed by £75 for second place, plus runners up prizes. Entry is free.

The organisation has also created a virtual world of 3D Virtual Sim linked up to other countries in the EU where children can feel safe about talking about bullying in their created Cyber world
 
If you are a parent, and you think your child is being bullied this could be a good time to approach the subject as your child will have probably watched some of the anti-bullying videos aired on TV and also talked about it in school.

The bullying UK website, Family Lives, contains some really good advice. Sandra Hiller from the organisation states; "Listen without getting angry or upset," "Put your own feelings aside, sit down and actually listen to what your child is telling you – then show you have done so by ‘playing back’ to them what you hear. Ask your child: "How do you want me to take this forward?" rather than just taking over so they don’t feel excluded from deciding what to do or end up even more stressed/worried than they were already.
 
Reassure your child it’s not their fault. There’s still a stigma attached to bullying and some children feel they’ve brought it upon themselves. Remind them that many celebrities have been bullied too. Being bullied isn't about being weak and being a bully isn't about being strong. "Encourage your child to try to appear confident - even if they don’t feel it," says Sue Atkins, former deputy head and parenting coach. Body language and tone of voice speak volumes.

For more information and tips on how to tackle bullying please follow the link http://www.bullying.co.uk/advice-for-parents/what-to-do-if-your-child-is-being-bullied/

 

Styling your home this autumn

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Last Updated: 30/10/2015 10:19:24   Author: Melanie Hollidge    Tags: Autumn Home Design, Estate Agent

Glitz continues to remain a popular design choice in our homes this autumn - think the Great Gatsby, 1920’s styling. Copper, brushed silver with dark chrome accented across accessories including wallpaper and soft furnishings.

Introduced through pendant lighting – copper pendants work well with pink pastel tones across soft furnishings and furniture colours.

If you are looking to bring a bit of boutique glamour into your bedroom, this can be achieved by adding some metallic wallpaper, such as the wonderful teal range from Graham and Brown; their Desire Teal and Majestic teal wallpaper which combines metallic colours and traditional prints. 

Bring this design into your kitchen and bathroom environment by adding touches of chrome and brass to taps and accessories.

Nature still plays a strong part of home design this autumn, and Sanderson’s Papavera range offers a refreshing choice of wallpaper - modern abstract interpretations of natural forms, created by using a technique of stencil cutting. They combine engaging simplicity with dynamic colour combinations. Brightening up any living space on a dull winter’s day. If you are looking for a fresh colour blast in your home, then why not take a look at this large bold stylized coloured print from Papavera. Introduced across cushions or a single armchair this could create a real fashion design statement in your home.

Bring a bit of decadents into your home’s interior with these Indian Inspired Boho Velvets and Sojourn weaves from Sanderson, available in twenty-two vibrant jewel-like colours. They are lovely to touch but are apparently very hard wearing.

The best way to enjoy Chestnuts

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Last Updated: 14/10/2015 16:27:40   Author: Melanie Hollidge    Tags: The Best Way To Enjoy Chestnuts

This is the best time of year to go foraging for Chestnuts because they are abundant in our woodlands and parks in and around South West London. Chestnuts are very shiny brown nuts, which are encased in an outer cone with sharp, needle-like burrs. The best way to remove the nuts is to gently roll them underfoot; this ensures that they pop out without having to touch any nasty prickles.

One of the best ways to enjoy Chestnuts is by baking them, either in a conventional oven or on an open fire. First of all score the Chestnut with a knife to stop them from bursting then either cook them on a tray in the oven or place them in a pan with holes, once these are cooked remove from the outer shells and serve with some salted butter – delicious.

The easiest ways to peel a Chestnut is by piecing its skin, put in a bowl of water and then pop them in the microwave for around 1 minute – this will do about four at a time, then remove and the outer skin comes off really easily, a really handy tip if you are looking at producing a recipe with them.

One of our favourite recipes using this lovely seasonal fair is for Chestnut Bourginon, a tasty alternative to the traditional recipe which uses beef.  Here is one we found on the BBC Good Food website:

You will need:

125g/4oz dried chestnuts, soaked for 6-8 hours

2 bay leaves

1 sprig fresh rosemary or 1 tsp/5ml dried rosemary

210ml/7fl oz vegetarian red wine

300ml/10fl oz vegetable stock or water

25g/1oz butter or soya margarine

8 small pickling onions or shallots, peeled

125g/4oz chestnut mushrooms, wiped

125g/4oz button mushrooms, wiped

2 tsp Dijon mustard

2-3 tbsp tamari or soy sauce

freshly ground black pepper

fresh parsley, finely chopped

225g/8oz vegetarian puff pastry, thawed if frozen

For the method please visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/chestnutbourgignonpi_3042

The benefits of having a home gym…

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Last Updated: 11/05/2016 21:50:58   Tags: The-Benefits-Of-Having-A-Home-Gym

If you are fed up with having to pay expensive gym membership fees for a year, and hardly ever going then perhaps it’s time to think about having a home gym. Not all of us are lucky enough to have the space to have our own gym, but if you do there are some great benefits to not having to leave the house to do our daily exercise regime.

Training doesn’t have to take an hour or two hours, so having a home gym means that you can just catch a quick 10 or 15 minutes work out either before or after work.

The most important aspect to consider when setting up your gym is to make sure the space feels light and airy, somewhere you will want to spend time on a regular basis – if you like watching TV whilst you train then make sure you have a TV in your gym. If you are unsure about what gym equipment you might use regularly then ask your local gym for a free day trial, that way you can decide what is the best equipment for you.

If you would like to buy a house which already comes complete with a gym, Hawes and Co Wimbledon Village has this fantastic house for sale with a guide price of £5,500,000 with views of Wimbledon Park.

Property Features

- Seven Bedrooms
- Five Bathrooms
- Four Reception Rooms
- Gym
- Games Room
- Driveway
- Garage
- Close To DL tube & Local Shops
- 10 Mins Walk To Wimbledon Village
- Fantastic Location Overlooking The Golf Course
- 0.25 Acre Plot
- 140' Rear Garden

For more information please follow this link

The budget: Property related changes

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Last Updated: 23/03/2016 17:49:06   Tags: The-Budget-Property-Related-Changes

Last week George Osborne, the Chancellor of the exchequer announced the Budget, confirming that the proposed increase of 3% stamp levy for property investors and those people buying a second property would still go ahead as from next month. Osborne also announced that large property investors, those with portfolios of 15 or more properties would also not be exempt from the increase in Stamp Duty.

Commercial property investors will have to pay 0% for properties worth up to £150,000, 2% on the next £100,000 and 5% on properties above £250,000, in a move to help smaller firms.

There was good news for savers as Osborne revealed the details of a new lifetime ISA available as from next year, where anyone under the age of 40 years of age can pay into and open up. Savers will be able to invest up to £4,000 per year and they will receive a 25% bonus from the Government, which means that every £4 saved the Government will pay £1. Savers will be able to pay into this ISA up until the age of 50, and the money can be either used for retirement or to buy a first home. Savers will also be able to invest up to £20,000 in an ISA as from next April, where as at the moment the maximum is currently £15,240.

There were also some changes made to Capital gains tax, as from the 6 April this year, the higher rate of capital gains will be cut from 28% to 20% and the basic rate will be cut from 18% to 10%. Residential property will remain the same, and it’s good to remember that capital gains does not apply to your primary residence.

 

The joys of Wimbledon living

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Last Updated: 17/03/2016 13:55:06   Tags: The-Joys-Of-Wimbledon-Living

There are so many benefits of living in Wimbledon, not only is it one of the most desirable places to live in the UK because of its great schools, beautiful parks, shops, café culture and its proximity to London but also because there is always so much on in Wimbledon. This month there is a really diverse range of events coming up, for people of any age group, here are our favourite picks:

Running this weekend is Nipt at the Polka Theatre, a show about two neighbours who are too big for their house, they have to live/act in really cramped conditions. Nipt packs in the laughs as two flexible performers squeeze, twist and contort into some very tight corners, exploring observations from everyday life.   It’s suitable for everyone aged 6 and upwards for more information please visit the Polka Theatre website.

Happy Harry’s Cafe at the Polka Theatre

Happy Harry serves great soup at his café. It’s so deliciously good that his friends – Matt the Cat, Jo the Crow, Ryan the Lion and Robin the Robin – all rush to get there before it runs out. But today something’s wrong with Matt – he says the soup’s no good. What is Harry going to do?

Recommended for ages 3-5 it runs from the 19 March until the 8 April,
Wednesday10:20 am - 2:00 pm
Thursday10:20 am - 2:00 pm
Friday11:05 am - 3:30 pm
Saturday11:05 am - 3:30 pm
Sunday11:05 am - 3:30 pm

For more information please visit their website.
Samuel West in conversation with Gulwali Passarlay

Gulwali Passarlay arrived in Britain as a 12-year-old child following a harrowing journey across Europe from Afghanistan. Gulwali Passarlay will discuss with the audience his story and writing of his book, with a question and answer time at the end. The event is being run in partnership with the Wimbledon book fest and Merton Welcomes Refugees; a voluntary group which offers practical advice and help to newly arrived refugees. This even runs from Monday, 25 April 2016 from 19:00 to 20:00  at the Odeon - 39 The Broadway, London, for more information please visit their website.

 

The new kitchen must have: 2 plus dishwashers

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Last Updated: 26/05/2016 18:53:45   Tags: The-New-Kitchen-Must-Have-2-Plus-Dishwashers

At Hawes and Co we are always interested in new kitchen concepts, so when we came across this new way to wash and store crockery, dishes, cutlery, glasses and so fourth, it spiked our curiosity.

It seems that this year’s new kitchen ‘must have’ is to be in possession of several dishwashers, ranging from dishwasher drawers to the more conventional - some householders swear by having four or more – so how does that work? - Well basically you take out all of your cupboards and replace them with several dishwashers, the items inside are then rotated, so you will never need to unload and put away another thing. The only problem is that you will need several sets in order for the rotation to work. 

Matt Prall, from the kitchen design company Papilo told The Daily Mail that the multiple dishwasher trend has come down from the super rich to become a near-standard desire among the middle-class.

One woman interviewed by The Daily Mail was Jenny Weiss, an interior designer, she owns four dishwashers and explains that she needs over 50 plates in order to keep her dishwasher rotation working as well as it can.

Other pros to having multiple dishwashers is the fact that items are less likely to get broken or chipped, as they can do sometimes when loaded and unloaded from cupboards.  It’s also a time saver, and you will probably use less water than having to wash up the pots and pans in the sink every time. 

Two of the best dishwashers recommended by Mandy Francis, from the Mail are:

Miele Semi-integrated XXL, £2,250.

Highly economical to run (this dishwasher is 20 per cent more energy -efficient than the top A+++ efficiency rating), this can be controlled from your smartphone.

Four interior LED lights illuminate your crockery. The racks have flexible elements and silicone pads to hold everything in place. The door has a patented motor which opens and closes it automatically.

Samsung DW60J9970BB Chef Collection WaterWall, £999.

Designed with the help of top chefs, this impressive appliance uses a sweeping ‘wall’ of jet-powered water to clean. Individual water pressures and temperatures can be set for different ‘zones’ of the dishwasher, too. Cutlery can be laid flat for better cleaning.

For the full list please follow the link to the article.

 Source: The Daily Mail

The solution to small bathrooms…

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Last Updated: 18/01/2016 17:33:03   Tags: The Solution To Small Bathrooms


The modern day bathroom has changed dramatically over the centuries, and with it we have really improved our daily ablutions. It wasn’t so long ago that many of us would have a quick hand wash before running out to school and work, something you’ll find that young people can’t quite get their heads around since the introduction of showers and en-suites, queuing in most homes is now a thing of the past. 

Even though our cleaning habits have improved, many of us still have to put up with small bathroom spaces, so here is our guide on how to make your bathroom appear larger than it is:

As with any new project you will need to create a floor plan, and there are several on-line that are free to use, however remember to design enough space to move around bathroom fittings – generally around 70cm in front of a WC and basin and 100 cm in front of a bath.

Just because you have a small space doesn’t mean to say that it can’t look good. Sinks which double up as shelves underneath can save space on storage, but make sure its floating, as this will give the illusion of more space. If you have a radiator which is taking up valuable space consider installing under floor heating or a heated towel rail which can double up as a place to keep your towels.  

Do I have to install a bath?

If you are looking at re-selling in the future, it might limit your audience not to install one, as even though it suit your needs it might not necessarily suit those of your potential buyers. If space is tight then consider purchasing a compact version available from 1,500mm x 700mm, and the Gem from Bathroom Heaven comes in lengths of just 1,200mm or 1,300mm. Rather than having a separate shower, consider installing a shower/bath, these normally come with a fixed panel to prevent your room from getting splashed.

If you make sure you hang your basins and loos this will give the illusion of more floor space. Short projection basins and WC’s designed to fit into a corner are also a good idea for small spaces.

The splendour of the Edwardian house…

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Last Updated: 24/11/2015 10:49:36   Tags: Edwardian House For Sale-Edwardian Property

In the Edwardian era between 1901-1910 architects embraced new technology, bringing quality houses to the UK. Interior design moved away from the previous dark, and oppressive heaviness of Victorian styling; with its somber furniture and soft furnishings, and was replaced by a new wave of cheery, bright floral designs. This period also brought a higher level of construction techniques to the suburbs. Building regulations demanded a certain quality of build not seen previously in the Victorian era.

Art nouveau and the arts and crafts movement heavily influenced architects at this time, which was then translated into their visions of a modern building that was adorned with elaborate window furnishings, carved decorative wooden panels, large overhangs and bright interiors.

If you are looking to buy one of these glorious Edwardian homes then Hawes and Co Wimbledon Park branch has a beautiful Edwardian house for sale in the sought after leafy area of Wimbledon park. This bright and airy four bedroom property has two bathrooms, two reception rooms and an open plan kitchen. The property offers the perfect mix of old and new, as the current owners have kept most of the original features but have enhanced the property by introducing quality fixtures and fittings.

It is perfectly located for close access to Wimbledon Park DS tube station, a good selection of local shops and schools. EPC:E

For more information please get in touch with Hawes and Co Wimbledon Village 020 8946 1000 or email wimbledonc@hawesandco.co.uk

This year’s Merton Arts Trail…

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Last Updated: 24/09/2015 16:23:57   Tags:

It’s nearly that time of year again when Merton Art trail enables artists in and around the Merton area to open up their homes to the public to showcase some of their wonderful creations. It’s an excellent opportunity to view and perhaps buy from some of our talented local artists.

This year we are proud sponsors of the 5th Merton Art Trail which takes place over the following two weekends – 19/20 September and the 26/27 September.

It always amazes us just how much talent there is in such a small area – show casing all different styles of art from the modern linear sculptures, glass-work to different painting styles from those more traditional to modern mixed media

Taking a look through some of this year’s 98 artists there’s Tim Norris with his natural inspired collection of sculpture and land installations, a stunning example of how art can sit perfectly in a natural habitat. Ben Nicholas with his natural looking ceramic sculptures, the one showcased is reminiscent of a coral formation. Suzanne Cole with her use of colours in her paintings. Hauxwell Harland has managed to conjure up emotion with his emotive black and white photography. Julian Rena with her Dali like shaped stone sculpture. This is just a small selection of the wonderful art on offer. If you would like to find out more information about this event then please visit their website @ http://www.mertonartstrail.org/

Tips on how to save money in 2016

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Last Updated: 18/01/2016 17:34:10   Tags: Tips On How To Save Money

It’s at this time of year when many of us will be feeling that post-Christmas pinch on our finances, so if you are looking at saving some money over the coming year, here are a few tips:

Energy for your home:

• Make sure you are getting the best deal from your energy supplier - with falling oil and gas prices you could buy into a cheaper tariff, to find the cheapest deal go to the Energy Saving Club  and put in your postcode – some other comparison sites are not always the cheapest.

• If you are currently paying your bills quarterly you could change to direct debit and save up to £75 annually from your energy bill

• If you earn less than £16,500 per year you could be entitled to a new free boiler and free insulation for your loft. Check this link to find out more information visit the moneysavingexpert- British Gas however offers £700 towards insulation and cavity wall insulation and it’s not dependant on your income.  

• Use less energy, set your heating’s thermostat to 21 degrees.

• Make sure your house is well insulated.

Banking

• If you switch bank accounts you could earn up to £220 for a year, check out M&S bank, First Directs, HSBC and Halifax.

• If you have a credit card and it’s maxed out transfer over to a 0% interest card.

•When traveling abroad check out top up cards such as EasyJet’s card, it’s free to load money, and they give you a good rate of transfer, cash withdrawals are usually free and so are most purchases.

Food bills

• The best way to cut down on food shopping is to be prepared – this includes writing a list of meals you are going to cook in the week and a list of ingredients that you need.

• Swap well-known brands for supermarkets own brands – if you don’t like them you can always swap back and if you do you could save money.

• Avoid buying packet vegetables and buy one get one frees on fresh food.

• Stick to your shopping list

• Check out your freezer and cupboards before going shopping.

• Make sure you watch you portion sizes, especially when cooking rice and pasta.

• Use common sense when it comes to best before dates, don't throw out veggies or fruit if it looks as though it hasn’t gone off just because it’s gone past the best before date.


Source: Moneysavingsupermarket

Valentine's at home...

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Last Updated: 18/01/2016 17:28:39   Tags: Valentines At Home

This year Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday, and if you are planning a romantic night in we have a few tips on how to prepare your home this Valentines’. There are plenty of ways in which you can make your home the perfect alternative to that romantic break away.

First of all spruce up your living quarters, chose which room or rooms you are going to use and splash out on some Valentine touches. By using pink and red accents you can really make a home feel romantic, you can even cut out your own hearts and place on hearths and furniture around your home.

If you want to brighten up your home with flowers, chose flowers which are not normally associated with love such as daisies with their bright interiors, Primrose flowers and Sweet Violets – check out your local florists to see what they have available.

Light some candles and place around your room. Add romantic scents to your home by burning incense ticks of sandalwood and rose.

If you have a log burning stove why not set up a romantic dinner for two on a rug in front of the fire, you can chose all of your favourite drinks, food and nibbles for the evening. You could even choose some romantic poetry to read out to one another or play a romantic game such as romantic heart which comes complete with 100 scrolls and tweezers with questions such as ‘ name the things that you find beautiful or pleasing about your partner,’ priced at £12.99 https://www.gettingpersonal.co.uk/romantic-presents/romantic-gifts.htm

If you are looking at buying some personalised presents to offer this Valentines, then why not check out the site www.gettingpersonal.co.uk it’s packed full of romantic gift ideas from a personalised message in a bottle to a personalised postcode jigsaw puzzle, we first met here, for more information please visit their website.

Vegetarian lasagnes – recipes

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Last Updated: 18/01/2016 15:14:16   Tags: Vegetarian Lasagnes Recipes


Lasagna is one of those lovely winter warming foods, but if you are getting bored with the same old recipe we have found three alternative Lasagna recipes you can check out:

Vegetarian Lasagne – sweet potato and courgette

You may not of heard of Madeleine Shaw, she has published a recipe book full of healthy recipes (not just vegetarian) using whole grains, and if you are looking for a meat free alternative to the traditional lasagna this is a great recipe.

You will need:


Ingredients

Serves 4


•Pasta
 
2 medium parsnips
 2 medium courgettes

•Dairy free Bean Béchamel

 1 can of butter beans
 ¼ lemon
 1 tbsp of butter or coconut oil
 100g of natural yogurt or coconut yogurt

•Roasted sweet potato and spinach
 
1kg of sweet potato
 1.5 tbsp of coconut oil or butter
 500g of spinach
 ¼ tsp of nutmeg

•Tomato Sauce

 1 can of chopped tomatoes
 1 large onion
 2 garlic cloves
 1 tbsp of coconut oil or butter

For the full recipe.

 
Roasted vegetable lasagne

We found this recipe on the BBC goodfood website, it’s more traditional than some of the others, and is tasty as long as you enjoy aubergine.

You will need:


•  3 red pepper
•  2 aubergine
•  8 tbsp olive oil
•  ½ quantity tomato sauce (see below)
•  300g fresh pack lasagne sheets
•  ½ quantity white sauce (see below)
•  125g ball mozzarella
•  handful cherry tomatoes, halved

For the method.


Jamie Oliver’s Proper Veg Lasagne – a recipe from his Comfort Food book, according to Glamour Living this is lovely and cheesy and is great fun to assemble.

You will need:

•  1 royal pasta dough
•  1 white sauce
•  14 oz. ricotta
•  2 oz. Parmesan

Squash
•  1 large butternut squash (4 lbs.)
•  1 tsp. ground coriander
•  1 level tsp. chili powder olive oil

Veggie Sauce
•  3 medium eggplants
•  3/4 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
•  1 large red onion
•  2 carrots
•  2 ribs celery
•  2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
•  2/3 cup chardonnay or viognier
•  2 14-oz. cans of plum tomatoes
•  4 cloves garlic
•  4 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

Spinach

•  8 sprigs fresh marjoram or oregano
•  1 3/4 lbs. fresh or frozen spinach

For the method.

What is the secret of a successful period house renovation?

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Last Updated: 31/03/2016 23:03:21   Tags: What-Is-The-Secret-Of-A-Successful-Period-House-Renovation

Period homes when mixed with contemporary finishes and interior furnishings offer the best of both worlds – the lovely feel of having something crafted and old alongside sleek, modern design - it’s like putting the icing on the cake.

The best conversions seem to be those that preserve the essence of what makes a period home special – normally in the form of ornate tiles, fireplaces, stained glass windows, architraves enhanced with modern well thought out floor plans, and a dusting of classic, contemporary furniture.

Choosing the right colour scheme is also important, often those rooms that are painted in one colour, including the woodwork make original features shout out, such as a beautiful ornate tiled floor will look much better when showcased next to something plain – think art gallery.

At the moment Hawes and Co Wimbledon Village has a beautiful four bedroom period house for sale for £935,000, which offers the perfect mix of old and new. The current owners have created a superb, modern open plan kitchen, dining room which has a lovely light feel, due its neutral colour pallet and the lustrous extension. There is also a large garden to the rear of the property.

Features:


•Four Bedrooms
•Two Bathrooms
•Drawing Room
•Large Family/Dining Room
•Open Plan Kitchen
•45' Rear Garden
•Pretty Front Garden

A buyer could move in and start enjoying the Wimbledon Village life style straight away.

For more information please follow this link or give Hawes and Co Wimbledon Village a call on: 020 8946 1000 or follow this link.

What statement are you making with your choice of front door colour?

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Last Updated: 18/01/2016 17:32:40   Tags: What Statement Are You Making With Your Choice Of Front Door Colour

According to the Huffington Post the colour we chose for our door can say a lot about our personalities. It’s also the first thing that people see when they walk up to our door. The most popular door colours are red, yellow, green, black, white and blue. 
 
So what does your choice of colour say about you?
 
Red is often associated with ‘hey look at me’, it’s also a colour associated with luck and a warm welcome, so visitors to your home will probably find this colour welcoming. 

Yellow – often associated with clarity, intellect, creativity and positive charge. It’s also a colour associated with happiness, and it can feel very uplifting. 

Green – this is a colour we associate with growth and transformation and is said to promote energy and well being. Someone who paints their door this colour could be very grounded and community based.

Orange – this colour is often used on modern contemporary builds. Orange is associated with good communication, perception, commerce, movement, intelligence and flexibility. This would be a good colour to chose for your business, especially if you have an IT company. 

Blue – this colour is often associated with the imagination, freedom, calm. According to the Huffington post people will want to know you if you paint your door this colour.


White – A crisp white door is often associated with someone who likes an orderly and neat life.

Black – this is a colour associated the most with secrecy, someone with this colour door could be a really private person. It’s also a timeless look so can fit in well with any type of building.
 

 

What to do in the Garden in March

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Last Updated: 21/01/2016 17:48:03   Tags: What To Do In The Garden In March

March is one of the busiest months in the garden, it’s a time to start preparing the garden for spring and putting in place the plans we made during the winter months. It’s also normally when we can finally get outside and put right any damage caused by water logging or winds which has occurred during the winter months.

So we have put together a list of jobs to do in your garden this March:

• Finish off pruning summer flowering creepers such as clematis, buddleia and wisteria. But don't cut any evergreen plants back until April, when the weather is warmer.

• Pull up any weeds that have grown throughout winter.

• Sweep paths and drives, and wash with a jet wash where necessary.

• Cut the grass, when its dry; this a great time of year for re-shaping boarders. If you need to lay turf then March is a great time for this, but wait until the last frosts before sewing any grass seed.

• Slugs – protect new shoots from slugs, put down salt or other organic pellets.

• Plant early potatoes, onions and summer flowering bulbs.

• If there are any warm days try and open up greenhouse and summer house vents, this will enable them to warm up and dry up any damp which has occurred during the winter months.

• Now is the time to start feeding fish again and you can also remove pond heaters.

• Open the green house doors to let the warm air inside.

Source: RHS

Where does the 'Cornish' pasty originate from

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Last Updated: 23/10/2015 12:15:10   Author: Melanie Hollidge    Tags: Cornish Pasty

The debate over where the original Cornish pasty came from still continues, and it is no longer a dispute between two counties, as historian Peter Brears states that they actually originated in London.

In 2006 Devon and Cornwall, both pasty selling counties waged war with each other, as sales in Devonshire’s pasties outnumbered those sold in Cornwall. It might sound a bit far fetched but immediately a Cornish Historian retaliated by stating that cave paintings dating back from 8,000 BC showed people eating pasties in Cornwall. We are all familiar with the old tale of Cornish men taking them down for lunch in tin mines, with one end filled with meat and the other with fruit.

However in this latest twist to the pasty trail, Brears has said that not only does the term ‘Cornish pasty’ come from London it is also a middle-class meal as they were the only people who could afford to fill them with meat – he states it was a way of the middle-classes using up the end of joint of meat.  He states that the term ‘Cornish’ was introduced into the name as recently as the 19th Century.

Speaking to the BBC, Brears said: “These are the first Cornish pasties to be published with the title as ‘Cornish pasties’. They are only a couple of inches long. But [they are] unlike most of the original Cornish pasties from Cornwall, which didn’t contain meat, because people couldn’t afford it.”
If you would like to have a go at making one of these delicious meat pasties then here is a recipe we found on the BBC Good food website.
 
You will need the following ingredients:

For the pastry

125g chilled and diced butter

125g lard

500g plain flour, plus extra

1 egg, beaten

For the filling

350g beef skirt or chuck steak, finely chopped

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 medium potatoes, peeled, thinly sliced

175g swedes, peeled, finely diced

1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper

For the method please follow this link: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/7776/cornish-pasties

Which market are you aiming your home at?

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Last Updated: 11/05/2016 20:30:21   Tags: Which-Market-Are-You-Aiming-Your-Home-At

It’s very important when getting your home ready for a sale that you have one eye on your potential market. If for example you are aiming your homes at the family market then you will probably need to present a fourth room as a child’s room rather than a study, but if you are marketing it at a young professional couple you would probably do the opposite.

So here is a guide to who you need to be aiming your home at, and the best time of year to market your property:

One/Two bed flat

This type of property will normally appeal to a young professional market. It might even appeal to first time buyers, depending on the asking price. Potential buyers in this property will normally start to search for properties in September so that they can move in before Christmas.

Three-bedroom house

These are usually homes which tend to attract second-steppers, those looking to move from one or two bedroom homes, if they are planning on having more children in the future. Spring – especially April and Easter is out of the way and there is still a couple of months to go until the start of the summer holidays and the start of the new school term.

 Four-bedroom house

These are usually bought by people moving onto their third or fourth property, so plenty of en-suite bathrooms and open plan family areas are usually very popular for this market. February is a good time of year to put a house of this size on the market, as you will be doing so before the main glut of four bedroom houses are marketed in March.

Five bedroom+ houses

House buyers in this range will probably be expecting a bit of luxury, from high quality white goods, to an immaculately presented home. These will normally appeal to the family market, people who could be moving for the third or fourth time. A good time to put a house this size on the market would be from February onwards.

Why chose bi-folding doors?

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Last Updated: 30/04/2016 13:18:44   Tags: Why-Chose-Bi-Folding-Doors

Bi-folding door systems have been around for quite a few years, but in that time they really haven’t lost their appeal  - seamlessly merging the inside of a property with the outside – they also provide a stunning back drop to any interior layout. 

Folding, sliding wall systems are really good at introducing natural light into rooms that lack luminosity  - especially in more traditional buildings where natural light can be limited. Their low threshold system makes them much more appealing than traditional opening door systems, such as French doors and patio doors, as the flooring inside a home can continue into the outside areas, expanding the useable living area.

Hawes and Co Surbiton currently has this six bedroom house for sale for £2,500,000 with full width bi-folding doors which flawlessly open up the inside space onto the terraced area outside.

There is also a large area suitable for a tennis court in the garden.

Property Features

•6 Bedrooms
•3 Bathrooms
•4 Reception Rooms
•Lovely Reception Hall
•Large Utility Room
•Master Bedroom With En-Suite Shower Room & Dressing Room
•100' Rear Garden
•Large Cellar
•15 Minutes Walk to Surbiton Station ( Waterloo 17 mins )
•Close to Good Schools

For more information please contact Hawes and Co Surbiton on 020 8390 6565 or follow this link.

Winter sun escapes…

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Last Updated: 18/01/2016 17:32:52   Tags: Winter Sun Escapes

If you want to find some sun this February half term then according to the Guardian you do not need to go on long haul flight – instead they say to head off to the Mediterranean, Canaries, Africa and Oman.


Among the places they are recommending to visit are:

Fuerteventura

Tenerife

The Gambia

Cyprus

Mallorca


If you are prepared to travel further afield then you are almost guaranteed winter sun if you travel to Dubai, which the Telegraph says is hard to beat. It’s a 7 hour flight from London, so it might not be for everyone, especially if you have young children to consider. But there is lots of family fun for everyone in Dubai, so it might be worth checking it out.


Florida, this is a 9 hour flight from London, but is packed full of things for kids to do, and if you don't fancy doing the amusement parks for your stay then why not head down to one of the islands, the keys, the beaches are clean and the sea is lovely to swim in, it offers plenty of sun shine to brighten up the winter blues.


You could also consider a trip to the Caribbean but you will need to book early as this can get booked up early.


As with any holiday if you want to find the best deals you need to be prepared to book early.

 

Winter warming soup recipes

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Last Updated: 03/12/2015 11:35:08   Tags: Winter Warming Soup Recipes

It’s officially the start of winter this month and it’s at this time of year that we all turn to winter-warming meals to make us feel better. Soups are really warming and are the perfect meal if you are trying to stay trim and healthy. So here are three of our favourite winter warming soup recipes:

Butternut squash is in season at this time of year, so it tastes at its best, here is our recipe for butternut squash soup:

You will need:

½ a butternut squash, cubed and cooked in the oven on 190c for 25 minutes

500ml of chicken stock, or veggy stock

Seasoning

1 Onion peeled and diced

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

Tbs Olive oil

Tbs of crème fraiche or 50ml cream

Salt and Pepper

Place the onion and olive oil into a pan, and sweat the onions on a low heat until transparent and tender, then add the garlic – making sure that it doesn't burn. Then add the stock and seasoning and cook for a further 10 minutes on a high heat. Blend, then stir in the crème fraiche, and serve.

Cream of chicken noodle soup recipe from Good Housekeeping

You will need:

500g bag vegetable casserole mix

1 tbsp olive oil

1litre (1 3/4 pint) hot chicken stock

400g tin cream of chicken soup

100 g (3 ½oz) lasagne sheets, roughly broken into small pieces

300 g (11oz) , roughly chopped

3 tbsp crème fraîche

2 tbsp finely cut fresh chives
For the method please follow this link.
 
Vegetable soup from the BBC Good food website, this soup they state is a meal in itself, packed full of vegetables, spices and aromatics.

You will need:

For the base ingredients

2 tbsp olive or sunflower oil, or 30g/1oz butter

1 onion, peeled and chopped

1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped

For the aromatics

1 bouquet garni

and/or 1-2 fresh red chillies, de-seeded and chopped

or 1 tsp or more curry paste or curry powder or spices, e.g. cumin, fennel seeds, cinnamon, etc

For the main ingredients

1 potato, or other thickener if needed, peeled and cut into chunks

500g/18oz vegetables, prepared as appropriate and roughly chopped

For the liquid

1-1.5 litres/1¾-2¾ pints) vegetable or chicken stock, or vegetable cooking water, or a mixture of water and milk

Seasonings

salt

freshly ground black pepper


For the method please visit their website.

 

 

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