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10 Things parents should do to keep kids’ bedrooms tidy and stylish Play, design and parenting experts give Lisa Salmon tips on decorating and organising children’s rooms, to make them easier to keep clean. WRITTEN BY LISA SALMON


child’s room is rarely a tidy one, and if anything, it only gets worse as they get older.

Certainly, new research by Habitat ( has found almost half (41%) of parents say tidying their kid’s room is their biggest bugbear – yet one in 10 continue to do it, simply because it looks good on social media and for guests. Despite the fact that many children’s bedrooms look like a bombsite most of the time, Habitat found that, on average, parents spend £729 per family on their children’s bedrooms every year – more than they spend on their own master suites (£704), spare room (£512) and the dining room (£649).

interior design

“Always consider safety when it comes to your child’s bedroom – make sure chests of drawers are attached to walls”

Habitat Kids spokesperson Emma Worrollo, a play expert from The Playful Den (, which runs a community, blog and courses to help encourage parents and children to be more playful, puts parental investment in children’s rooms down to an increased understanding of the link between play and wellbeing, as well as them wanting to keep kids inspired for longer, after 18 months of being forced to stay at home during the pandemic. And The Mummy Concierge Tiffany Norris (, who aims to help mothers figure out the best – and most stylish – way through pregnancy and motherhood. says: “Furnishing your child’s bedroom can be incredibly fun, but also daunting. There’s so much to think about – from colour schemes and safety to themes – and these need to appeal to you as an adult, as well as to your child.” Here, Worrollo and Norris give their tips for creating a stylish bedroom that’s easier for parents and kids to keep tidy…


Norris stresses that safety should come before anything else in a child’s bedroom. “Always consider safety when it comes to your child’s bedroom – make sure chests of drawers are attached to walls,” she stresses.



If you want to encourage your child to help tidy up, it needs to make sense to them, explains Worrollo. “Get onto their level and work out a basic organisation system that’s within their reach and easy for them to comprehend,” she advises. “Talk about tidying in a playful way, using terms like ‘toy homes’ or ‘toy dens’, rather than making it sound like a chore.”


When it comes to décor, Norris recommends parents use a ‘stick and peel’ wallpaper to make life easier for themselves, and keep kids happy as their tastes change as they grow. “It’s easy to apply, and means when your child gets bored of one design a few years on, it’s easy – and inexpensive – to change,” she says.


“Walls are your friend,” says Worrollo, who suggests putting up accessible bookshelves, hooks and whatever else works to spread out the organisation options. “Too much bulky storage concentrated around the floor is going to overwhelm the room quickly,” she warns.


Go with the play-flow to both help with organisation and improve creative play, advises Worrollo. “Take a step back and really tune into how your child likes to play. If they’re old enough, ask them about their space and what they love to do in it,” she suggests. For example, if they like lining things up, you could put up some small shelves – at their height – for them to line their toys up on, and tidy for you. If your child is more active, make use of shelving again. “Get things up and off the floor, and trade toys for floor cushions, to give them more room to be active,” she says.



To reduce the use of bits of paper that usually end up on the bedroom floor, you could turn one of the walls into a blackboard or whiteboard, so your child can write things on it, such as homework reminders, sums, spellings or times-tables, and books they’d like to read, advises Norris.


If you and your child have contrasting opinions about how you want the room to look – they want a space theme whereas you want something more subtle – compromise by decorating the ceiling, suggests Norris. “You could add stars and moons on the ceiling, so when your little one lies in bed they can see it, whereas the rest of

interior design


We all like our own space, especially older children and teens, so make sure you have an area in their room for a desk, where they can keep all their school bits tidy (in theory) and a lamp. “Let them help you choose the style of their work space, so they enjoy sitting there,” advises Norris.


If a child builds a model or makes a piece of art – which Worrollo describes as “a little piece of their play soul” – think about reserving some areas of their room for display purposes, she suggests. This could be a rail with clips that art can be hung from and, if you have space, a display cabinet or shelf for models can feel really

special, she says. “While it might not be possible to keep all of these things forever, it’ll mean a lot to your child that you see value in their creations – and you’ll have somewhere to put things when tidying.”


For older children who collect and play with toys that have micro pieces, use portable containers that have a variety of compartments. “Sorting and organising is a play pattern in itself,” says Worrollo,”so with the right tools, your kids might fall in love with taking care of their collections.”



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MGY Expand into Pontcanna MGY Estate Agents move in on the Cardiff West property market Following a number of smaller business acquisitions MGY Estate Agents & Chartered Surveyors have now acquired the business of Chris John & Partners of Pontcanna, Cardiff. This brings together two of the longest and renowned businesses in Cardiff which results in a further branch for MGY. This strategic move will further establish MGY as one of Cardiff’s largest independent Estate Agent and this branch in Pontcanna will complement our existing offices at Cardiff Bay, Heath and Radyr. MGY Director Michelle Bishop explains, “To ensure we continued to serve the people of Cardiff as extensively and professionally as possible, we have been increasing our geographical reach. We are fortunate that the business has put us in the prime position to make our move when the opportunity with Chris John & Partners arose.” While the Chris John & Partners lettings team will continue to service their existing landlords and tenants, the arrival of MGY will see them take over additional lettings and residential sales in the Pontcanna

area. MGY Director James Thomas explains that MGY will continue to focus on providing personal service and professional excellence to their Cardiff customers, across the full complement of property services. With an eye on continuous business improvement, the agency will stay abreast of industry developments, property trends and technological advances to provide the best possible service, leading to customer loyalty and repeat business. James also comments “Joining forces with Chris John & Partners heralds the start of an exciting new chapter for MGY Estate Agents and Chartered Surveyors. We are delighted to be broadening our offering and adding to our already well-established branches across Cardiff. We look forward to working closely both with the Chris John lettings team and their existing lettings clients, as well as forging new relationships with Pontcanna’s residential residents and those wishing to move into one of Cardiff’s best locations.”

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Property Knowledge Legal Questions & Answers Get all your legal questions answered with our resident solicitor Mark Hobbs, Managing par tner of Howells Solicitors.

the lease on a first floor flat in Q Ia own Victorian house. I want to buy the

loft from the freeholder so I can build a bedroom and en suite and effectively create a new floor to the flat. There is a ground floor flat but access to the loft is only through my home. I have about 98 years left on my lease. If I was to succeed in agreeing a price with the freeholder, can you tell me how this would affect the lease? Is there anything else I should be taking into consideration?

A is likely to increase the value of your

The loft conversion you are planning

apartment, and the freeholder will wish the premium you pay to reflect this. It would be sensible for you to instruct a surveyor to advise you regarding the value of the loft space so that you do not overpay your freeholder. Your freeholder would also expect you to pay their legal and surveyor’s costs relating to your purchase of the loft space. In addition to the premium your service charge may increase as you would have an extra floor in the building. The terms of your lease would need to be varied to deal with matters such as an increase in service charge, and the demise of the loft space to you. As your lease has only 98 years

left, see if your freeholder will extend its term. This issue could be dealt with in the deed of variation changing the terms of your lease. You will need building regulations approval, listed building consent if the building is listed and possibly planning permission.

Q in value since we bought it 30 years

Our home has increased significantly

ago. We have paid off our mortgage. My husband and I are due to retire in the next couple of years, but we both have very small pensions. We would like to use the equity in our home but do not want to move. We have heard of equity release and lifetime mortgages and we wonder, is this where you sell part of your property and lease it back?

mortgage is a long term loan secured on your home. Again, there are no monthly payments. Compound interest is added to the loan, which increases accordingly. The loan and accrued interest are repaid when your home is sold, either upon your death or if you go into long term care. However there are various types of a lifetime mortgage, for example, protected lifetime mortgages where an inheritance can be guaranteed, and interest payment lifetime mortgages. Take expert advice and make sure you fully understand all the terms and conditions before committing. Also discuss it with your family. Remember that equity release can affect any welfare benefits you receive.

A property rich and cash poor. A home Equity release is useful if you are

reversion plan involves all or part of your home to a reversion plan provider in return for a tax-free lump sum and a guaranteed lease of your home for your lifetime. There are no rental or monthly payments. Interest does not accrue. On your death or if you go into long term care, your property would be sold and the provider repaid. A lifetime

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Stoneart 303 Slate grey with Riva 893 Sanremo oak reproduction 029 2049 3900

We have the Market Covered Our name says it All ……………

Bathroom Style Soak up inspiration from these latest bathroom looks... WRITTEN BY GABRIELLE FAGAN


here’s a new wave of styles washing over bathrooms. The tide’s turning against the predictable, and embracing a more go-with-the-flow approach means you can mix-and-match furniture and fittings to conjure a space that perfectly suits your taste, as well as your practical needs, whether it’s a spa-like haven, a functional family room, or a contemporary wet room.


As designers become more adventurous, sophistication, glamour and individuality rule. And it’s easy to achieve a ‘wow’ factor, thanks to state-of-the-art technology - think TVs, sound systems and light and water shows in the shower - sculptural sanitary ware, and even stunning waterproof wallpaper now vying with tiles for attention. “The traditional bathroom suite has become outdated and there’s a desire for the space to become customised, with people seeing it as a room where they can display individual pieces, as they would art,” says Leanne Martin, head of product at Sottini. “A strong industrial trend is coming through, with steel-effect wall-hung cabinets complemented by sleek brassware and fresh white walls for an efficient, sleek look. Bathroom units raised off the floor, increasing visible floor space, to create an illusion of a larger room, are starring, and a particularly striking ‘floating’ effect can be achieved, with wall-hung, chunky, unsupported slabs in gloss or wood grain, and slim, curved vessel basins on top.”


“Bathrooms no longer mean matching tiles as far as the eye can see - as a nation, we’ve become experimental with wall finishes and shrugged off the constraints of the white bathroom tile,” says Leanne Martin Martin. “Industrial concrete walls are being paired with textured wallpapers, while tile effects are being created using countless different sizes, shapes, prints and texture options. Even a retro wood finish has made a comeback for a Scandi-chic style statement, and for the really bold, vertical green, living walls, to give a 3D impact you can’t beat!” Water, she points out, is a feature in itself. “It’s not enough that it drains down a plughole any more. It’s all about the spectacle of how it falls in a waterfall-like sheet from a height and disappears out of sight into concealed drainage.”

Look out for ...

Mirrors with sensor controlled lighting and de-misting, as well as inbuilt functions linked to music systems, TVs and phones.





“The bathroom isn’t purely about functionality, or a clinical environment any more. It’s a sanctuary that needs as much design consideration as a living room,” says Daniel Cook, principal development designer at C.P. Hart. “It’s all about subtle elegance and a beautiful harmony of shades with less ‘pops’ of colour. Muted consistent tones, such as taupes and greys for furniture and sanitary ware, are increasingly popular colour choices. There’s a move beyond white and glazed surfaces and a significant increase in pastel shades of pinks and blues.”

Look out for ...

A refined industrial trend with brushed finish brassware, matt finishes for ceramics, as well as silk/satin glass finishes.


“From cars to holidays, and clothing to furniture, customisation is one of the fastest growing consumer trends,” says Jayne Barnes, managing director, AQATA. “The discerning bathroom buyer now wants not only a highly engineered luxury shower enclosure or screen, handmade to fit their space, but also a completely individual customised design to bring their own character and personality into the bathroom. Home trends are being reflected in bathrooms with diverse colours, patterns and textures making their mark. “Today’s shower should incorporate these essential features: easy access (walk-in wet rooms are perfect for this), spacious enclosures and a steam function, as well as power showers and body jets to cater for comfort and wellbeing, and distinctive personal touches.”

Look out for ...

Larger showers as they’re being given more space in either a bathroom or bedroom, plus frameless enclosures featuring coloured or tinted glass.

interior design



interior design

Your Questions & Answers with Justine Bullock - Designer &

Director at The Tap End

How often do styles change, and what can customers do to make sure their bathroom still looks great in the future? With the advent of social media trends now change much more frequently than they ever used to before. With that in mind a good way to ensure your bathroom is timeless and wont date is to keep it neutral. Sounds obvious but choose a neutral base and accessorise with on trend accessories rather than committing to a pattern or coloured tile that you might grow to dislike when the trend passes. Natural products also never date - so opt woods and stones for interest without the risk of dating.

How much will it cost - Is there an average budget? Bathrooms vary and are much like buying a new car. It completely depends on the size of your room, the brands you choose, features you include and the style of tiles. People are often more surprised at the cost of fitting rather than the cost of the goods. For example we would say £8000.00 all in is a good starting point for a really nice mid range bathroom including fitting. Of that we would say £4000.00 for the goods and £4000.00 for the fitting. For something more high end you would certainly be looking upwards of £8000.00 and for luxury you could be looking upwards of £30,000.00 +.

How can I give my bathroom the WOW factor. Large mirrors are an excellent way of adding interest and wow factor to any bathroom, this along with lighting can really elevate a space! Carefully consider what you see when you walk into a room, for example if its a blank wall rectify that, if its a WC try and move/hide it, if its a window position the bath central to the window width - sometimes adding wow factor to a space is not about a single element but rather how the whole room looks and feels on completion. 20 / PROPERTYMAIL

Vicki Smith​of LBS Building Merchants You can find 12 LBS Kitchen & Bathroom Showrooms across South Wales. People are at the heart of what we do, and our experienced Designers will work closely with you to create your Bathroom to suit your lifestyle, project and budget. We pride ourselves on working with leading suppliers and manufacturers, allowing us to provide you with the highest levels of customer service. Let our team guide you thorugh the entire design and planning process and help inspire you to create your ideal space in your home, complete with all the finishing touches. Visit our beautiful Showroom in Barry today for a browse or a free design consultation!

Propery Mail K&B- bathrooms - 07.10.2021.pdf 1 07/10/2021 11:01:03









Be inspired Your nearest showroom is:

LBS BARRY, CF63 2BE | 01446 500925 11 Showrooms across South Wales.

Contact us today for a FREE design consultation.



Put simply… we love bathrooms! The time has come, the nights are drawing in, the seasons are changing and in turn how we use our homes will also change. Out come the blankets, the throws, candles and basically anything cosy and warm. Dog owners dread the rain as they try and chase their furry friend around with a towel before they step on their cream carpet, and coffee is our friend more than ever before!

“Is there anything better than having a long soak in a hot bath on a cold rainy evening?! I am a massive bath person and spend hours in the bath in the colder months. For me a bath is a must in a home, I favour freestanding tubs and a tub with ambient lighting behind it is always a super relaxing experience as shown here in this Cardiff based project of ours.”

Justine Bullock, Designer & Director at The Tap End

“Ambient lighting comes into its own in winter. I love schemes that have layered lighting, like this design by Daniella. There are wall lights and a strip light under the vanity unit. To have these on without the main spot lights will create a lovely low level lighting for evening bathing. No more stocking up on candles when you have ambient lighting at the flick of a switch!”

Lynda Rees Director at The Tap End 22 / PROPERTYMAIL

“Hot showers and plenty of them are my go to in colder seasons. There is only one thing better than a hot shower, and that is stepping out of the shower onto under-tile heating! I think that if your budget can stretch to features like under-tile heating this is a hidden luxury that you wont regret when colder weather hits.” Katie Imperato, Showroom Administrator at The Tap End

“Walk in showers are wonderful additions to the home, but in the winter you cant beat a shower enclosure in my opinion. It keeps the heat in, and if you have a tiled shower seat then you can really sit and take in the benefits a long hot shower after outdoor exercise for example. Steam showers are also super luxury and particularly nice in winter, your very own spa experience every single day!”

Daniella Fantini Designer at The Tap End

The Tap End, 57 Llantrisant Road, Pontyclun, CF72 9DP Tel; 01443 449056

We are also on


interior design

Home Design With Steve Bloom, founder of Space fitting furniture.

Space Fitting Furniture’s carefully chosen German kitchen product for over the past 40 years is Rational. Rational is the German brand award winner 2021. With endless variety of beautiful colours, units, organisational systems, and clever storage solutions, you can have a stylish, sophisticated and practical design. Launched in Germany this September, Rational showed designs encompassing modern living and unifying interiors. This year’s colour trends are following browns and earthy tones enhanced with the use of natural products, leather, wood, slate and marble. Stunning ceramic Dekton doors have been added to the collection. Selective detailing such as, hidden doors, sliding panels, clever bi folding and pocket doors complement your space making it chic and uncomplicated. Rational’s new Ethos is ‘Much more than a kitchen’ The flexibility of available units allows them to be used anywhere in the home. 24 / PROPERTYMAIL

Space fitting furniture have been using Rational units in their interior designs for many years, in bedrooms, bathrooms, home offices and lounges. This allows you to give your home a distinctive feel and personal feel, from contemporary to homely. For all your interior designs, we would love to be able to assist in making your home a special place. Please follow our Instagram @spacefitting for further inspiration.




WWW.SPACES-DESIGN.CO.UK INFO@SPACES-DESIGN.CO.UK 02920 756840 Follow us on instagram @spacef itting


Ask The Agent 10 Tips to prepare your property for viewings. Get all your Flower, legal questions withofour resident&solicitor By Nichola Owner answered and Director Stephens Partners Estate Agents Getting your property ready for viewings is so important. You need to sell buyers not just on the space, but the idea of living there themselves. It’s important that potential buyers step into your home and feel connected with it as they will be more likely to make an offer. In fact, with a wellstaged home you can improve the number of offers immensely, so don’t dally and instead get started with our 10 top tips to prepare your property for viewings:

1. Declutter Your Space

Clutter is your enemy, so go through your home methodically and declutter from top to bottom, then pack up as much as you can. You want your rooms and storage space to feel spacious, your shelves to be balanced, drawers to open easily, and in general for viewers to get a sense of the space – not your belongings! Tip: This is a great time to actually start packing. When you go through your clutter, pack away the items you love and want to keep, and then sell, donate, or get rid of the rest. We don’t often have a reason to declutter so aggressively, and this is the perfect opportunity to start, plus you’ll have half of your home packed up ready to move!

2. Remove Personal Belongings

Some personal belongings can feel cosy. Photos of your family can help convey to buyers that this is a great family home, but don’t overdo it. Remove and pack up some of your personal belongings so that potential buyers can best imagine themselves in your home.

3. Give Your Home a Deep Clean 26 / PROPERTYMAIL

Either use some elbow grease or hire a professional cleaning service to deep clean your property from floor to ceiling. When cleaning and sprucing up your home, it’s important to remember the exterior. Get professionals to powerwash dirt and grime off your property, bring in window cleaners, and repaint windows and doors if necessary.

certainly the structural integrity – of your home, you might want to consider repainting the whole property. If you prefer dark and dramatic walls this could work against you when selling your home. Consider painting them a light cream, white, or off-white colour instead. It could mean the difference between a sale and no sale!

4. Improve the Light

8. Consider Renting Furniture or Decorations

Remove plants, furniture, and other bulky items away from your windows. Consider adding mirrors or painting your walls white so that the space feels bright and spacious. Natural light is such an important feature in any home, and you can make your property feel more naturally lit even if it isn’t.

5. Improve Front and Rear Gardens

Be sure to weed, shape, and care for your front and rear gardens to improve the kerb appeal. Beautiful gardens are important to 1 in 5 buyers and add additional charm to a property that can be hard to resist. With a beautiful front garden, you can sell them your home before they even set foot inside

6. Make Repairs

Consider getting a surveyor in to run a check over your property. You can use this report later on when showing off the house, especially if the report turned up nothing of note. If there are repairs to be done however, get them fixed before you put your property on the market.

7. Refresh the Paint and Fix Wallpaper

If your paint looks worn, wallpaper is peeling from the wall, or there are other issues that affect the aesthetic – and

There are companies out there that will rent furniture or decorations to you for the purpose of house viewings. If your furniture is too big or bulky for the space, you might want to consider doing this, so that you showcase a furnished home that feels big, spacious, and flowing.

9. Add Fresh Flowers

Fresh flowers, or alternatively baked goods, are a great trick to make the space feel fresh, luxurious, and smell great. Use them sparingly and do pay attention to how flowers smell next to each other, as you don’t want a clash of the senses.

10. Invest in a Homebuyer Survey

If you feel confident, you could even invest in a homebuyer survey yourself rather than potential buyers needing to do so. If repairs have been done, let your estate agent know so that the information can be passed onto viewers. They will then know your property is a sure thing, and there aren’t any hidden surprises lurking! For expert advice on preparing your home for viewings, contact the team at Stephens & Partners Estate Agents on 029 2022 7603 today.

Are you looking at this?

With your advert here, it could be seen by tens of thousands of eyes every week. CALL 029 2064 4734 TO ADVERTISE NOW PROPERTYMAIL / 27

Cosy Home

Get ready to banish the bland and boring. White

There’s a chill in the air and it’s time to hibernate at home. Gabrielle Fagan hunts the hottest buys to warm up rooms. Get ready to banish the bland and boring. White and RAID NATURE’S COLOUR PALETTE Embrace the warmth of the autumn colours as an antidote to the creeping chill in the air. Rich reds and russets star on the hedgerows and trees, and adding those hues in accessories will have the same effect in a room.


“OPTING FOR DARK BLUE AND WHITE OFFERS A BEAUTIFUL ALTERNATIVE TO A MONOCHROMATIC SPACE.” Get ready to banish the bland and boring. White and grey have

interior design

TELL A TEXTURE STORY You don’t have to abandon glamour in the bedroom when the temperature drops - instead, layer with soft fabrics, from fluffy sheepskin cushions to silky throws. They won’t just be a visual treat, and are essential in a muted scheme, decorated in neutrals that could otherwise look bland. They’ll also add a sexy, sensual cosiness. Get ready to banish the bland and boring. White

Get ready to banish the bland and boring. White

ADD SOME FUR-FABULOUS ACCESSORIES Embrace the warmth of the autumn colours as an antidote to the creeping chill in the air. Rich reds and russets star on the hedgerows and trees, and adding those hues in accessories will have the same effect in a room.

TELL A TEXTURE STORY You don’t have to abandon glamour in the bedroom when the temperature drops - instead, layer with soft fabrics, from fluffy sheepskin cushions to silky throws. They won’t just be a visual treat, and are essential in a muted scheme, decorated in neutrals that could otherwise look bland. They’ll also add a sexy, sensual cosiness.

Get ready to banish the bland and boring. White PROPERTYMAIL / 29

Property Knowledge Tops Tips to avoid Gazumping & Gazundering. Get all yourHopkins, legal questions withofour resident solicitor By Daniel Owner answered and Director H&M Properties

Gazumping and gazundering are common phrases you might hear in the buying and selling of property, but what are they are how can you avoid them?

done through the solicitor. If you need help or advice choosing a solicitor get in touch and see our marketplace for conveyancers.


Get the property off the market – when making an offer, ensure part of the offer is that the seller removes the property from the market.

This is when a purchaser of a property has an offer accepted, then before the purchase completes, the seller accepts another offer from a different buyer. This can happen sometimes days before exchange. Is it legal? unfortunately yes, the seller has the right to sell the property to another buyer should they wish, before exchange of the property, at which point the sale becomes legal. So how can we avoid this? in all honesty, you can’t. However, here are some tips that will help avoid gazumping. Try and act quickly – show the seller you mean business. Get your paperwork into the estate agent as soon as possible and book the survey in.

A lock in agreement – These aren’t used much at the moment, but they will becoming more common over the next few years. Normally, the buying and selling process of property is not legally binding until exchange of contracts. However, with a lock in agreement, you can tighten up this process by having financial penalties to breaking the agreement. Get insurance – You can get insurance to cover your out of pocket costs should you get gazumped. If you choose a solicitor through our marketplace you qualify for free insurance.

Mortgage in principle – make sure you have your mortgage ready. I recommend using a broker who can speed the mortgage application up for you and guide you through some hoops you may be required to jump through. If you would like some mortgage advice, get in touch, it’s important to get expert advice.


Have your solicitor / conveyancer ready to go – choose wisely. The conveyancing process is where most deals can break down. Ensure you have your payments ready for any searches, or other payments you may require as these payments need to be

Here are some tips to help avoid this.





This is when a buyer of a property lowers their offer, normally near the end of the buying process to pressure you into accepting a lower price. Is it legal? Again, unfortunately yes. The buying process doesn’t become legal until exchange of contracts.

Survey – Your buyers are likely to have a survey done, especially if buying with a mortgage. Push for them to get the survey done as quickly as possible.

Exchange of contracts – Try to agree a date to exchange contracts. This give the buyer and solicitors a date to work do. Try to keep this on track. A good estate agent should have this under control. Be realistic – Your property should be priced to entice buyers. Do not over price the property as this will only increase your chances of the initial offer be lowered. This is especially prevalent if a surveyor confirms in his report the property is overpriced. Red flags – If a buyer offers significantly over asking price then this could be a red flag. There is a strong chance they could reduce their offer near to exchange to pressure you into accepting a lower price. Be ready – have all your paperwork ready and have your solicitors ready to go. If you need help choosing a solicitor get in touch. You can visit the conveyancing marketplace which shows solicitors costs and ratings. You will also then be eligible for free insurance to cover any out of pockets expenses should the sale fall through. It can be a worrying time through this period. If you would like any advice, get in touch. You can read more at online – just Google or search on Facebook Cardiff Property Info.

Property Knowledge Property Questions & Answers

I am considering selling my home Q but my garden trees and hedges

are heavily overgrown. Some trees belong to me, other trees belong to my neighbour who has indicated that he does not wish for any trees to be removed. What should I do?


Most gardens are bordered by tall hedges (commonly Leylandii or Lawson Cyprus), and have you ever wondered what your rights are if you consider these hedges to be overpowering and shading your garden? On the 17 November 2003, the Anti-social Behaviour Bill received Royal Assent and Part 9, includes key provisions to deal with problem hedges. Clause 72-91, provide a framework for a local authority to consider the impact of a problem hedge and to determine the relevant action required both now and in the future. The main key issues of the Act are detailed below: • Definition of the Act - The Act defines a hedge as two or more evergreens or semi-evergreens that form a barrier to light or access. The legislation does not apply to the deciduous plants, single trees or a hede that stands less than two metres. The Act only applies to domestic property. • Complaints Procedure - Prior to making a formal complaint to the local authority, it is advisable to speak to your neighbour first to endeavour to resolve the problem on amicable terms. DEVELOPER WEBSITE OPENING TIMES

Failing this, upon payment of a free, the local authority will decide if a nuisance is caused by using flexible criteria. The local authority has access rights to the hedge owner’s land by giving 24 hours notice. • Establishment Guidance - There are a series of calculations to assess the action hedge height. If the hedge is considered to adversely affect a complainant’s property, a remedial notice will be issued by the local authority stating what action is required to remedy this nuisance and prevent its recurrence in the future.

A Seller is normally required to give the Estate Agent a specific time (contract period) before they can terminate the agency, with a minimum notice period to end. The contract period and notice to terminate will vary with Estate Agents. Such an agreement will be presented as a ‘Sole Agency’ agreement, which is the most popular agreement with Sellers. However, Sellers need to be aware of a clause sometimes referred to as ‘Sole Selling Rights’, which extends the rights of the Estate Agent, so that they are entitled to a fee, even if another Estate Agent sells. ‘Sole Selling Rights’ can cause Sellers a problem with having to pay two lots of selling fees, if they have instructed a second agent to sell their home. You should never sign a ‘Sole Selling Rights’ agreement, unless you have taken legal advice from your Solicitor and understand the implications.

• Enforcement - Failure to comply with a notice is a criminal offence and may result in a fine of up to £1,000 and a community fine on a daily basis for non-compliance.

Is a mortgage survey from a Bank or Building Society sufficient when purchasing a home?

• Appeal - There is a right of appeal within 28 days to the Secretary of State or the National Assembly for Wales.

purchasers obtain a mortgage A Most to finance their new home and rely

For more information on the subject, visit overthegarden-hedge


What is the difference between Sole Agency and Sole Selling Rights? selling your home, pay A When special attention to the Estate

Agent’s terms of contract offered, which can be complex. They should not be, but make sure you understand the terms of engagement before you sign.


solely on this, to decide if they should proceed to buy. But be warned, a Mortgage Valuation Report is prepared for your Lender to help them decide if your home is one they wish to lend on and if it offers suitable security. The safest way to reach an informed decision, is to have a professional Survey and Valuation of the property by a qualified member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). It is like a full ‘health check’ for buildings, that could possibly save you thousands in the future.


Expert tips to get your home smelling great TV’s Queen of Clean Lynsey Crombie and chemist Dr Tim Bond share clever ways to keep your home smelling lovely. Lisa Salmon reports. You don’t normally notice the smell of your house when you’re in it, but most of us have occasionally walked in after being out and thought ‘Eeew, what’s that awful smell?’ Unpleasant odours are often connected to pets, cooking, damp or mould, or even simple uncleanliness. But if you smell them, any guests will too. Luckily, there are plenty of both practical, common sense measures and clever tricks you can use to keep your home smelling fresh and inviting. Natural health expert and chemist Dr Tim Bond, who’s been working with essential oils company Puressentiel (uk.

32 / PROPERTYMAIL, says: “Keeping the home smelling fresh is important. “Focus on the obvious things like cleaning out and washing rubbish bins, particularly food waste bins, clean your fridge regularly and throw out any food either turning mouldy or past its use by date. “Wash pet beds, bed linen, spills on carpets, and open windows through the house for five to 10 minutes – no more than that because you want to reduce the risk of outdoor polluted air. “Tackle any dampness in your home too. The quality of indoor air, including its smell, is important for health.”

But don’t overdo it with the chemical cleaners, he warns. “You don’t necessarily want an overpowering chemical smell when you walk through the door. This doesn’t tell anyone that your house is fresh and clean. Instead, you want a sense of freshness and relaxation in your home which can be achieved with natural freshener.” TV’s Queen of Clean Lynsey Crombie, who has regular slots on ITV’s This Morning and 248,000 followers on Instagram, has plenty of advice on how to get your home smelling nice – but she stresses the simple and obvious ones are among the best.

home tips

cooking or even decorating smells is harnessing onion power. “Just cut an onion in half, pop it in the corner of the room and let it soak up the smell,” she advises. “You’ll notice that in the morning the onion will have shrivelled a bit because it’ll have soaked up the odours. It doesn’t make the room smell of onion either – it smells for a short period, but that soon disappears.”

3. VIGOROUS VACUUMING Regular vacuuming to get pet hair and bits out of your carpet is really important, stresses Crombie.


“I do a homemade fabric refresher, rather than buying one,” says Crombie. “It’s just a spray bottle filled nearly to the top with tap water, a spoonful of bicarbonate of soda and 20 drops of your favourite essential oils. Once that’s made up, it will last you three months. Bicarb, and white vinegar, are the best things ever.”

5. SPRAY ON SOME VODKA “Windows open is a big one for me,” she says. “Some people just don’t like having their windows open, which is fair enough, but it’s the best thing – and taking the covers off cushions and throws and washing them once or twice a month if you’ve got the time can help keep your home smelling nice. “But the best thing to do to keep your house smelling fresh is just to keep it clean.” Here are Crombie’s tips for keeping unwanted odours away…

1. USE VINEGAR TO BANISH COOKING SMELLS “If you’ve cooked fish or a curry or something like that, and you’re struggling to get those smells out with just fresh air, boil up a small amount of white vinegar on the hob, let that into the air, and that’ll break down any cooking smells,” she says.


Crombie promises that if your clothes smell for some reason, a spritz of vodka will lift the odour out of the fabric as the alcohol evaporates. “Spraying your clothes with vodka if they smell is an old trick, but it does work,” she says. “Tips from the olden days are the best ones, and I’d vouch for the vodka one, definitely.”


If your teen’s trainers are making the house smell, all you need is the help of a spot of dry shampoo, advises Crombie. “If you’ve got smelly trainers or shoes, pop a bit of dry hair shampoo in them to freshen them up – that keeps your shoe cupboard smelling nicer too.”



Most dog owners know that if their furry friend rolls in fox poo, which they seem drawn to, it stinks to high heaven. “It’s disgusting,” groans Crombie. “But if it’s making the house smell, what my mum does is she rubs her dog in ketchup and washes it off, and the smell just goes. My mum swears by it – she’s just as clean freaky as I am, and if she does it, it’ll work. There must be something in ketchup – I use it for cleaning off rust too.”


Crombie says she gets lots of messages from people wanting to know how to stop their dogs making the house smell, and advises: “If you keep a pretty clean ship, you won’t notice their smell. Wash their beds and blankets regularly too – when I wash my dog’s blanket she hates me and gives me the most evil look, and then she watches it in the washing machine as if to say, ‘Don’t clean my blanket!’ – but we have to clean them. And even their little soft toys that they play with, I put them in the washing machine, and the plastic ones in the dishwasher.”


Crombie says she uses a lot of lemons for cleaning, and then “I put them in the bin to keep it smelling fresh – I just put whatever’s left of the lemons, even just the skin, in there.”

11. COFFEE OR BICARB FOR THE FRIDGE “You can put coffee grains in the fridge, to help absorb the smells in there, but I put a dish with bicarb in near the back instead,” says Crombie. “I change that every Friday on my ‘Fridge Friday’.”

“In your bathroom, a few drops of essential oils on the carboard tube of your toilet roll will keep your bathroom smelling nice,” promises Crombie, who says the oils will need refreshing once a week, or when you put in a new toilet roll.

Another Crombie tip for dealing with PROPERTYMAIL / 33

Marketing your business in Property Mail works really well. But don’t just take our word for it. CARDIFF HOMES Richard Slater Regional Manager We wanted to promote our company to potential customers that are looking for storage solutions due to moving house throughout Cardiff. We chose Proper ty Mail for a couple of reasons. Firstly, its proper ty related and therefore targeted at our core business user as people reading it may be in the process of moving or planning to in the near future and therefore likely to be requiring storage or related services. Secondly for its distribution, we know this is an area they are passionate about, which gives us the confidence that so many people are picking up the magazine and seeing our adver t. We have 89 storage facilities all over the UK. I’m happy to repor t that outside of the M25 our Cardiff store is one of the most successful. One major factor for this is down to regular marketing in Proper ty Mail.

THE TAP END Justine Bullock Co-Creator and Designer

We have used the Proper ty Mail for our local adver tising for around two years. Mitchell and the team know and understand our needs and are always on hand if we have any questions about our adver tising. They are a great team who we enjoy working with! Clients often comment on how much they enjoy reading the magazine, and we couldn’t be happier with the results. For us, we wanted to find local adver tising that was flexible and allowed us to run different types of adver ts based on our current/ completed projects, we are thrilled with how many people seem to recognise our company logo and how the magazine has resulted in more social media hits as a result.


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Rick Stein

Rick Stein is ripping up the rulebook in his new cookbook WRITTEN BY PRUDENCE WADE

Apple charlotte recipe from Rick Stein At Home by Rick Stein


Rick Stein has won countless accolades for his food over the years, but one of his greatest achievements came during the first lockdown of 2020.

were eased earlier in Australia than the UK, meaning he had the opportunity to spend more time with his family and start hosting those weekly dinners.

His wife’s 98-year-old grandmother, Betty, had gone off her food – until Stein started hosting weekly family dinners. “She made an exception for my food,” the 74-year-old says with glee. “She had lots of it, she really tucked in. If we cook, we all love it if it’s clear people enjoyed what you’re cooking. And a 98-year-old tucking in with great gusto was quite special.”

He doesn’t take this time for granted, saying it taught him “how much the business of life is unnecessary, in a way”. It allowed Stein to get back to his roots: cooking dinner for a small group of loved ones, revisiting some of his all-time favourite recipes.

Stein spent five months of 2020 in Sydney, when the pandemic meant he couldn’t get back to his beloved Cornwall. The chef “feels bad” in saying he enjoyed the lockdown, because “everywhere, people suffered enormously” – but last year, Covid-related restrictions

Staying and cooking in one place also led him to write his latest book: Rick Stein At Home. He describes it as “fairly scruffy food” – the kind of meals you’ll throw together in a hurry from whatever you have in the fridge. The book is “about what really goes on cooking-wise”, he explains, “as opposed to the slightly upmarket view of how I cook at home. I try to keep it as real as possible.”

food & Drink

At Home by Rick Stein (BBC Books, £26) Available now.

Cornish briam recipe from Rick Stein At Home by Rick Stein

Free from the shackles of fancy meals or culinary rules, Stein calls this kind of cooking “liberating”. Unlike his past books, which tend to be dedicated to a certain country, such as France, Spain or Greece, the recipes are “thoroughly eclectic” – just like normal home cooking is. Although Stein’s background is in French cooking – a cuisine full of strict directions on how things should and shouldn’t be done – he ripped up the rulebook in many of the dishes here. “I’m thinking about my mother’s risotto, because it’s not a proper risotto,” he explains. “But I thought that’s what we do cook, that’s what the kids really like and I like for the kids. I’m not saying it’s a proper risotto, it’s more a rice pilaf, but my mother would call it her risotto.” The book is peppered with stories and recipes from friends and family too. “I’ve got three sons [Edward, Jack and Charlie] and two step-kids, Zach and Olivia, and it was really nice how they all wanted to contribute recipes, I didn’t interfere at all”, Stein says. Luckily, the recipes “were all great”,

he says enthusiastically – including Charlie’s pad kra pao and Zach’s vegan chilli, along with cottage pie from his wife Sas [Sarah] and dessert from his mother-in-law.

so it’s a real concentrator of the mind. Also, if you’re talking to somebody, you have to make it as funny or as meaningful as you can – so that’s how I did it.”

Mini essays punctuate the book’s pages, with Stein’s ruminations on everything from the redundancy of a first course (he much prefers loading up on fancy nibbles and then going straight into the main) to all the fancy food gadgets languishing unused in his garage.

With nearly 50 years in the industry and over 15 cookbooks under his belt, Stein’s approach to food has changed since he was first starting out. “In the early days of running the restaurant, I felt like I had to emulate the great French chefs of the time and make everything incredibly complicated,” he admits. “Lots of garnishes, everything a bit too pretty.”

Despite these captivating tales, Stein says with a hearty dose of humility: “I’m not a very good storyteller, as it happens” – although fans of his TV shows would surely beg to differ. “It’s funny doing television, because I’m quite shy. If you’re made to do something like speak on TV, it’s a great way of concentrating your attention whether you like it or not, and it’s the same with telling stories.” To help focus his mind on the essays in the book, Stein dictated them. “The problem with writing is it’s very easy to get distracted, but if you’re dictating to somebody, you have to be talking,

This is no longer the case: “I guess I try and keep things absolutely simple,” he says of his approach now. “I’m not chasing accolades in food, I just want people to like what I’m cooking.” And if his grandmother-in-law Betty is anything to go by, it’s safe to say Stein is doing alright. Rick Stein At Home: Recipes, Memories And Stories From A Food Lover’s Kitchen is published by BBC Books, priced £26. Photography by James Murphy. Available now.

RICK STEIN’S APPLE CHARLOTTE RECIPE Got some spare slices of bread hanging about? Transform them into a sweet apple dessert. We’re well and truly into apple season now, and what better way to celebrate this crisp fruit than in a baked dessert? Rick Stein’s recipe for apple charlotte is simple but delicious – if you’re feeling like amping things up a bit, add your favourite spices such as cloves or cinnamon.

1 15cm in diameter and 10cm deep, Grease a pudding basin, about

with plenty of the butter. Peel, core and finely slice the apples. Rinse in cold water and put them in a saucepan with the sugar, lemon zest and 30g of the butter. Cook to a pulp over a low heat and then beat to a puree with a wooden spoon. Allow to cool. Preheat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C.

2 slice of bread into the butter and

Melt the remaining butter. Dip each

then line a pudding basin with about three quarters of the slices. Pack them in tightly and don’t leave any gaps. Spoon in the cooled apple puree and cover with the remaining buttered pieces of bread and gently push down.


Tightly cover the pudding with foil and bake for about 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for a further eight to 10 minutes until the top is golden brown. Leave the pudding to rest for five minutes before turning out on to a serving plate. Serve with custard, clotted cream or ice cream.


INCREDIENTS Serves 4 125g butter 350g Bramley apples 350g Cox’s apples 2tbsp sugar A little grated lemon zest, to taste 6–8 slices white bread, about 5mm thick, crusts removed Custard, clotted cream or ice cream to serve



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