SEEDS TO SOW AND BULBS TO BUD TOP GARDENING TIPS FOR THIS MONTH VALENTINEâ€™S DAY SET THE MOOD AT HOME THIS YEAR
BLOCKBUSTER SOUND CREATE THE PERFECT HOME CINEMA SETUP
THE FUTURE IS AUDIBLE HOW WE CONSUME DIGITAL CONTENT HAS CHANGED
FITNESS AND WELLBEING HOW TO LOOK AFTER YOURSELF IN LOCKDOWN
CONTENTS COVER STORY
Seeds to sow and bulbs to plant It’s time to prepare the ground for summer blooms and crops
4 16 17
Home entertainment system Helpful tips for upgrading your sound system About us Get to know our team a little better and see why we are your agent of choice Our latest instructions Take a look at a selection of our latest properties on the market
A romantic night in Treat your partner with this spectacular Valentine’s dinner
Designing your Valentine’s day Celebrate at home with your significant other
Audible Books Reasons to be encouraged by this new style of literature
Valentine gifts for pets Wonderful ideas for your pet on this special day
Positive vibes Things we can do to give ourselves a lift at this difficult time
What is Shrove Tuesday? What is it? Where does it come from? And what happens?
Six Nations Championship As the countdown continues England maintain momentum
WELCOME TO THE FEBRUARY ISSUE! The year hasn’t kicked off the way most wanted it to, but we have made it to February. The property market has had a huge start this year, and estate agents are busier than ever. In this month’s magazine we will be showing you how to treat your significant other with a Valentine’s day at home guide alongside some sumptious recipes for the special evening. It’s not just your partner we’re showing some love to; we also have the best treats for your pets, and for yourself, a guide to keeping mentally healthy and physically fit while spending so much time at home.
And, while you’re at home, why not treat yourself to the perfect home cinema system with our guide to the hottest tech to bring the blockbusters to you! Venture outside as the weather slowly gets warmer and we have a guide of what seeds to sow and blulbs to plant this month. Top this off with a look at the future of books with our guide to Audible and audiobooks; the history of Shrove Tuesday and finally a preview for the Six Nations. Most of all though, take care, be safe and stay positive this month. Jonathan Wheatley Editor
To the one
A huge part of the celebrations of Valentine’s Day is the role that food plays. From decadent titbits to homemade comforts, food should not be underestimated in its importance to the day as a whole. Let’s start with the morning’s offerings. Why not treat your partner to a good, old-fashioned breakfast in bed? But just because it’s breakfast, that doesn’t mean that it should be predictable. Cupid’s Tip: Why not splash out on a waffle-maker and make your partner some homemade goodies? Based on your partner’s preferences, you do know those, right? Choose between sweet and savoury, and for a more comprehensive list of waffle-themed ideas, visit ‘delish.com’ for their recommendations.
ROMANCE AT HOME:
It’s the most romantic day of the year. And what better way to celebrate than at home with your significant other
Now onto the really important meal of the day - dinner. Often, Valentine’s Day dinners can come with a great amount of pressure to get the perfect table, at the perfect restaurant, at the perfect time. But this year, make sure you aren’t disappointed, and take matters into your own hands! Construct your own, personalised menu, and treat the pair of you to a meal catered exactly to your liking. ‘Goodhousekeeping.com’ offer easy-tomake recipes for a variety of cuisines, including a decadent cheese-beer fondue for fans of French/Swiss cuisine, or a wild mushroom risotto for those of the Italian persuasion. And if you want to go a step further, why not organise to cook together? As well as creating your perfect meal, this can be a great activity for couples to bond over.
And speaking of activities, let’s look at some other ways to fill your day with that special someone. Start with getting creative and do some crafts. If you’re one of those couples that have managed to print off photos of your memories together but haven’t done anything else with them since then, then get hunting for them and design your own scrapbook of your favourite moments. Alternatively, you can look to make romance-themed practical objects. For instance, if you have unwanted mason jars, then you could use these to create votive candle holders, with the addition of only glitter and card. Or, if you happen to have firewood which is going spare, then why not cut these down, and create your own coasters? These are great ways of doing something rather unusual. However, if you don’t have a single creative bone in your body, then let’s explore some other ways of spending quality time with your other half. Nothing quite says ‘I love you’ like freshly-baked goods, so choose to go all out on the food front this year. If you want to make something which is a visual statement, then bake some Valentine’s cupcakes adorned with decadent pink and red icing, or popping candy and sprinkles if you fancy something more playful. And if you’re looking for something to complete your day with, then why not organise a movie night? Pick your favourite romantic film, get the blankets down, set the mood in your room with candles, and unwind together.
GIFTS Another great pressure of Valentine’s day is finding the perfect gift for your partner. So, to ensure that you don’t fall short on the present front, here are some thoughtful DIY ideas. If your partner is a fan of relaxation, then get some candles, and through online tutorials at ‘helloglow.co’, customise them with your initials and other heart-shaped decorations. This technique can also work with other items, such as mugs or tea towels, and is great for adding personal touches to everyday items. Or if your partner loves nothing more than to unwind after a day of life’s stresses, then make their day with some homemade bath bombs. There are plenty of online recipes to instruct you to make whatever shapes you wish, and it is a great way of adding a level of luxury to your gifting this year, whilst also using ingredients that you might already have in your cupboards.
THE VOLUME Does your telly pack an audio punch to match the picture quality? If not, it might be time to invest in a surround-sound system or a new soundbar
ome entertainment system. Three words to send a geek into overdrive and an uninformed consumer into meltdown. Sure, you’ve lashed out and bought a nice big, shiny 4K ultra high-definition TV that’s got all the bells, whistles and whatnots and can change its ambient lighting by shouting at it. Sure, the picture is fantastic, and the definition is awesome. But the sound is… well, puny.
Next, consider the features and what you will be viewing most of the time. Many modern soundbars have wireless subwoofers, Bluetooth connectivity, 4K-friendly HDMI outputs for games consoles or 4K Blu-ray player-enabled HDMI outputs. Some even support Dolby Atmos, which takes the longstanding surround-sound concept and gives it more oomph, providing big cinema sound in a smaller space. With that in mind, investigate the Sonos stable. The Beam,
It’s not a surprise Manufacturers are making televisions so thin, so lightweight something has to give, and as TVs are judged on their visual capabilities, it’s generally audio quality that is lacking. So, if you have moved into a nice new home with the acres of space you were craving, perhaps it would be wise to set aside a little of the money earmarked for Stamp Duty and invest in a decent sound
system to create the immersive experience your TV deserves. The obvious starting point is a soundbar, but before you start looking, be sure of your dimensions. They will either sit in front of the TV or just below it if wall mounted, so you don’t want to partner a bar that is so wide it overhangs the set or is so small it is dwarfed by the screen.
It’s not a surprise Manufacturers are making televisions so thin, so lightweight something has to give, and as TVs are judged on their visual capabilities, it’s generally audio quality that is lacking.
rated by many industry insiders as the company’s best soundbar yet, is small and adaptable, and packs an impressive three-dimensional sound with a surprisingly beefy bass, which more than offsets a bit of a background hiss at volume. Its spec sheet includes voice-control assistance from Amazon’s Alexa and supports the Dolby 5.1 format. The Sonos Arc, meanwhile, is fully compatible with Dolby Atmos and is the perfect partner for a 4K of more than 55ins. It uses 11 drivers to create a soundfield which puts you at the heart of the action and is nicely balanced if you just want to listen to music. Similarly, the Yamaha YSP-2700 offers a compact way to get the
full surround-sound experience into your home with the bar and wireless subwoofer providing a gutsy solution for movie buffs who will relish the 7.1ch effect. However, it does not support Dolby Atmos, unlike Sony’s HT-ST5000, which has a high feature count and makes film soundtracks totally immersive – put simply, if you want to watch Saving Private Ryan, fetch a tin-hat first. If you have deep pockets, a biggish room and a sensitive ear, go all-out on the Sennheiser Ambeo – excellent dynamics, sumptuous sound – but beware: to deliver a sound
that rich without a subwoofer means a soundbar that is 14cm tall and needs to be positioned perfectly for the best effect. Of course, you may have just moved into a barn conversion or have a vast open-plan living space you want to fill with sound. In which case, a full-blown surround speaker system is the way to go. There are obvious things to consider - such as trailing cables and whether you want to rearrange the furniture to accommodate it – before weighing up whether you want a 5.1 system (five speakers, two pairs of either floorstanding or standmount, plus one central) or a 7.2 (adding back speakers behind the main seating position, plus an extra subwoofer).
With that in mind, What Hi-Fi? named the Dali Oberon 5 5.1 Speaker Package their product of 2020 and its not hard to see why. “Lean, attractive and unfussy… are words equally apt for both the aesthetics and acoustics”, they said of a system with a full, warm sound “that brings the best out of any soundtrack”. Less bulky, yet almost as powerful, is the Q Acoustics 3050i 5.1 Cinema pack, a versatile bundle with an intense sound, while the sixth generation of Monitor Audio’s Silver series, the 200 AV12, has a clear balanced sound which is immense for both surround and stereo.
If you have deep pockets, a biggish room and a sensitive ear, go all-out on the Sennheiser Ambeo
THE FUTURE IS AUDIBLE The ease with which we consume digital content has changed rapidly in the past decade
nd this phenomenon has even reached something as physical as reading. Those who are loyal to the physicality of a novel might be sceptical about audiobooks, but there are plenty of reasons to be encouraged by this new style of literature.
THEY’RE AS EFFECTIVE AS BOOKS
A study, reported by Time, has shown that audiobooks have no negative bearing on an audience’s understanding of the material. Different participants were given the same material to listen to, or read, and when quizzed afterwards, there were no clear signs that one group had understood any less of the content. In a further study, different groups of participants either listened to, or watched blockbuster films. They found that those who listened to the audio versions had a higher heart rate and body temperature, which suggests a more intense emotional response to the material.
BOOKS STILL SELL Something reassuring for those who prefer physical ‘the real thing’, is that it doesn’t appear that audio content is causing an impact on the sales of physical books. A report claims that there are different audiences for different types of content, so the two don’t overlap too much. The report goes on to state that those who listen to audiobooks tend to be a
lot younger than those who don’t, and claims that, on average, those in their 20s or 30s are the biggest consumers of audio content. Interestingly, it also suggests that audiobooks are bringing in new audiences who would not have previously read books. So this can only be a good thing for the world of literature.
With the boom that audiobooks are experiencing, they, themselves, are being immersed into popular culture. For example, audiobooks now attract A-list celebrities as narrators. For instance, Elizabeth Moss narrated The Handmaid’s Tale, and Michelle Obama provided the voice for her own memoirs. On top of this, a top publisher has stated that there are certain audiobooks which would never have been made if not for added technological capabilities. He points to Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris’s book The Lost Words, which is a collection of poems. As a result of the opportunities which audio content provides, the makers were able to create individual soundscapes for each poem taken from recordings in the wild.
LOVING AND BRILLIANT GIFTS FOR YOUR PET
Your pet means the world to you, show you mean the world to them too with a treat this Valentine’s Day
e love our pets. They listen to us and they never argue back, which, as the unconditionally loving companions they are, makes them especially peaceful to have by our sides. In fact, studies show that three in 10 adults claim that their cats and dogs are better listeners than their other halves, and that over a third of people generally prefer their pets to their partner. Furthermore, 29% claim that their cat or dog is better at snuggling than their partner, with 44% of owners even going as far as to say they prefer to cuddle up with them rather than with their significant other. So give back this Valentine’s Day!
DOGS Shock absorbent leash. A gift your dog can really benefit from, ensuring much more comfort for the animal and much less chance of your four-legged-friend having their shoulder pulled out of their socket.
Dog wellies. Not only will these prevent wet and muddy paws, but also act as protection against any sharp and nasty objects they might accidently step on outside.
Woven grass pet bed. Play tunnel. Heart-shaped salt licks.
Orthopaedic gel memory foam dog bed. Dogs need their beauty sleep too, and in fact require 12-14 hours of sleep each day/night, so a great bed would provide real quality of life for a dog. Top three customer-rated dog toys on Amazon: • https://tinyurl.com/y9agvpsy • https://tinyurl.com/y77ljtx5 • https://tinyurl.com/y8ohhyj2
CATS Pet tote bag. Ideal for travelling, these bags will guarantee comfort and convenience for both you and your cat, typically with an open slot for the cat’s head so they can see the world as they travel. Cat wheel (treadmill). A portion of cat breeds are of particularly high energy, so something like this would be a perfect way for your cat to get their hyperactivity out of their system. It’s also a lot of fun for your kitty! Self-cleaning cat box. Both you and your cat will enjoy not having to deal with a dirty cat box each day with this product, as all you need to do is cover the disposable litter tray, toss it, and insert a fresh one.
GUINEA PIGS AND HAMSTERS Play or digging tower, or play bridge. Climbing nature house. Exercise wheel.
Top three customer-rated cat toys on Amazon: • https://tinyurl.com/y9ka67zz • https://tinyurl.com/ya2r4cu3 • https://tinyurl.com/y9sqfne5
TREAT YOUR KING OR QUEEN THIS VALENTINE’S DAY Treat your partner with this spectacular Valentine’s dinner, perfect for a romantic night in!
ake Valentine’s day extra special with our gorgeous menu featuring a delightful starter, an impressive main course and a sumptious dessert.
STARTER – REALLY EASY CHEESE FONDUE Ingredients 125ml white wine 450g gruyère, grated 450g cheddar, grated 50ml kirtsch 1 heaped tsp cornflour small baguette, torn into chunks, to serve Method Heat the wine in a heavy-based saucepan, then add the cheese, a handful at a time, and keep stirring. When all the cheese has melted, add the kirsch, followed by the cornflour, stirring until completely smooth. Serve the pan in the middle of the table on a wooden board with the chunks of baguette for dipping.
Images for illustrative purposes only Recipes from www.bbcgoodfood.co.uk
Images for illustrative purposes only
Recipes from www.bbcgoodfood.co.uk
DESSERT – CHOCOLATE FONDANT Ingredients 50g melted butter, for brushing cocoa powder, for dusting 200g good-quality dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces 200g butter, in small pieces 200g golden caster sugar 4 eggs and 4 yolks 200g plain flour Caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream or orange sorbet, to serve
MAIN COURSE – STEAKS WITH GOULASH & SWEET POTATO FRIES Ingredients 3 tsp rapeseed oil , plus extra for the steaks 250g sweet potatoes , peeled and cut into narrow chips 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves 2 small onions , halved and sliced (190g) 1 green pepper , deseeded and diced 2 garlic cloves , sliced 1 tsp smoked paprika 85g cherry tomatoes , halved 1 tbsp tomato purée 1 tsp vegetable bouillon powder 2 x 125g fillet steaks , rubbed with a little rapeseed oil 200g bag baby spinach , wilted in a pan or the microwave Method Heat oven to 240C/220C fan/gas 7 and put a wire rack on top of a baking tray. Toss the sweet potatoes and thyme with 2 tsp oil in a bowl, then scatter them over the rack and set aside until ready to cook. Heat 1 tsp oil in a non-stick pan, add the onions, cover the pan and leave to cook for 5 mins. Take off the lid and stir – they should be a little charred now. Stir in the green pepper and garlic, cover the pan and cook for 5 mins more. Put the potatoes in the oven and bake for 15 mins. While the potatoes are cooking, stir the paprika into the onions and peppers, pour in 150ml water and stir in the cherry tomatoes, tomato purée and bouillon. Cover and simmer for 10 mins. Pan-fry the steak in a hot, non-stick pan for 2-3 mins each side depending on their thickness. Rest for 5 mins. Spoon the goulash sauce onto plates and top with the beef. Serve the chips and spinach alongside.
Method First get your moulds ready. Using upward strokes, heavily brush melted butter (use 50g in total) all over the inside of the pudding mould. Place the mould in the fridge or freezer. Brush more melted butter over the chilled butter, then add a good spoonful of cocoa powder into the mould. Tip the mould so the powder completely coats the butter. Tap any excess cocoa back into the jar, then repeat with the next mould. Place a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, then slowly melt 200g good-quality dark chocolate and 200g butter, both chopped into small pieces, together. Remove the bowl from the heat and stir until smooth. Leave to cool for about 10 mins. In a separate bowl whisk 4 eggs and 4 egg yolks together with 200g golden caster sugar until thick and pale and the whisk leaves a trail; use an electric whisk if you want. Sift 200g plain flour into the eggs, then beat together. Pour the melted chocolate into the egg mixture in thirds, beating well between each addition, until all the chocolate is added and the mixture is completely combined to a loose cake batter. Tip the fondant batter into a jug, then evenly divide between the moulds. The fondants can now be frozen for up to a month and cooked from frozen. Chill for at least 20 mins or up to the night before. To bake from frozen, simply carry on as stated, adding 5 mins more to the cooking time. Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Place the fondants on a baking tray, then cook for 10-12 mins until the tops have formed a crust and they are starting to come away from the sides of their moulds. Remove from the oven, then leave to sit for 1 min before turning out. Loosen the fondants by moving the tops very gently so they come away from the sides, easing them out of the moulds. Tip each fondant slightly onto your hand so you know it has come away, then tip back into the mould ready to plate up. Serve with a squeeze of caramel sauce and a scoop of ice cream.
VIBES Mental health experts say there are several things we can do to give ourselves a lift at this difficult time so here is our guide to keep your spirit’s lifted
nd so, here we are again. Lockdowns are fast becoming the norm for our COVID-crippled communities, but unlike before there’s no summer, no Christmas on which to focus. Lockdown 3.0 wan announced in the gloom and cold of winter - a season that can be tough for many under normal circumstances – and the respite of warmer days and lighter evenings seems a long way off. However, there are many things we can do to make sure we reach the promised land of spring in good shape.
Any outdoor activity at this time of year may seem a bit daunting, but doctors agree it is an ideal way to boost your mood. Exercise triggers the release of endorphins into the bloodstream – producing a feeling of well-being – as well as increasing electrical activity in the emotionprocessing areas of the brain, preventing the risk of anxiety and depression. It also produces a protein crucial to brain health, so even a short period of exercise which exerts the body, such as a
brisk walk or a cycle ride, will be beneficial. Dr Brendon Stubbs, from King’s College, London, says: “Think of it as brain fertiliser – it helps parts of your brain regenerate.”
DON’T THINK ABOUT IT
People often dwell on problems or difficulties, allowing negative thoughts to dog their lives. But while it’s normal to worry, many fears never materialise. The key is to shift focus from worries to practical problemsolving, and Prof Jennifer Wild, from Oxford University, says: “If you’ve been worrying about a problem for 30 minutes or more without coming up with a plan of action, it’s time to stop.” Exercise is a good way to break those trains of thought. While it’s perfectly normal to worry, humans have, over time, become highly tuned to negativity and danger. “It’s over-encoded in our brains,” says Prof Wild. “You can make yourself much calmer if you recognise you are overthinking. Stop and focus on facts.”
Setting a new target, whether it be something as grand as learning a new language or trying a new recipe, can be beneficial. Learning new things is generally how we acquire self-worth and keeps us motivated. Stepping outside your comfort zone helps you to focus and brings a sense of control.
GO FOR IT
Don’t think twice about doinsomething, even if conditions suggest you’re not going to get the best results, says Olivia Remes, from Cambridge University.
“Novelty is fundamentally rewarding,” says Dr Dean Burnett, a leading neuroscientist. She says: “Our inner voice of criticism stops us “Learning to do new things is frequently how we doing worthwhile things, so acquire self-worth. Goaljump straight into action. Do motivated behaviour is one things and accept they People often dwell on of the most fundamental might initially be done badly problems or difficulties, ways we operate.” – most of the time, the
IT’S GOOD TO TALK
allowing negative thoughts to dog their lives. But while it’s normal to worry, many fears never materialise
results are not that bad and they’re almost always better than doing nothing.”
Maximise the little social contact that is available. Humans are social creatures, so isolated people are more likely to focus on themselves, going over small problems in their heads until they become issues.
That way, she believes, we can encourage ourselves to be optimistic and accept life’s not all down to things we can’t control.
“We’re not really designed to be on our own. We feel better with social contact,” says Prof Emerita Elizabeth Kuipers, of King’s College, London. “Isolated people are more likely to focus on themselves and that can make things worse.” Talking things through can help reframe problems, and if lockdown means you cannot do that in person, make that phone call or arrange to talk online.
She also recommends writing down three things a day which we are grateful about, forcing ourselves to focus on what’s gone well and why. This stimulates the left-hand side of the brain which is associated with positivity, and she concludes: “Emotions are contagious – steer yourself away from negative, miserable people who are constantly complaining because you could be come one of them.”
WHAT IS IT?
WHERE DOES IT COME FROM?
To put it simply, Shrove Tuesday is the last day before Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday marks the first day of Lent - an event, which takes place over a period of forty days, replicating the forty days of hardship when Jesus was stranded in the desert. The religious period is observed by many Christians, including Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists and Roman Catholics.
The meaning of the word ‘Shrove’, comes from the past tense of the verb ‘to shrive’, which means to give absolution after hearing confession. Therefore Shrove Tuesday is the last day to make confession before the period of Lent. The alternative name to Shrove Tuesday, and perhaps the more common title nowadays, is ‘Pancake Day’.
Traditionally, Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent, which is associated with self-denial and abstinence. Therefore, Shrove Tuesday is treated as the last day to celebrate and indulge before this period. As produce such as eggs, fat, and milk were traditionally foods which could not be eaten during the period of Lent, pancakes became a suitable snack to make out of the leftover foodstuffs so that food did not go to waste.
So, Shrove Tuesday is known as the last day to clean the soul before the self-restriction of Lent begins. Historically, people would go to church in order to be repented for their sins.
The Christian period of Lent will soon be among us. And with Lent, comes Shrove Tuesday. But what is it? Where does it come from? And what happens?
This name supposedly originated from a story from Olney in Buckinghamshire when, in 1445, a woman who was making pancakes heard the church bells and ran out of her house with a frying pan in hand. This started the tradition of a pancake race in the town, which has been an annual event ever since.
The earliest pancake recipe in England dates back to the 15th century, so it could be possible that Christians have been successfully (or unsuccessfully) flipping their pancakes, and competing in pancake races for over six hundred years.
The Six Nations is back with England keen to maintain momentum as the countdown to France 2023 continues
SCHEDULED FIXTURES (ALL TIMES GMT) February 6 Italy v France (2.15pm) England v Scotland (4.45pm)
ith the 2023 Rugby World Cup looming ever larger on the horizon, England and the rest of the home nations will take another significant step on the road to the sport’s showpiece event in France when the Guinness Six Nations Championship is scheduled to resume this month.
However, it will be interesting to see how the England coach responds to the rising threat from across the channel and whether he adapts his “he who kicks most, wins most” philosophy. It makes Le Crunch on the penultimate weekend of the Six Nations on March 13 at Twickenham the pivotal game of the championship.
The draw for the pool stages in early December merely whetted the appetite for rugby union’s major showpiece after a hectic autumn in which England won the sport’s oldest and newest competitions – beating France on points difference in last year’s interrupted Six Nations, and then beating the same opposition in the final of the hastilyconvened Autumn Nations Cup.
Before then, England open the Northern Hemisphere’s major tournament with the home Calcutta Cup showdown against Scotland on February 6 before another Twickenham tie against perennial whipping boys Italy.
And while it may look as if Eddie Jones’ team had ended their international season on a high in the probably one-off cup tournament, the truth paints a different picture, England labouring to beat a side of emerging talent and youth team players thanks to an equalising try in the last minute and a penalty in the sudden-death period.
And then the journey gets a tad tougher. Matchweek three sends them to Cardiff to face Wales, never an easy place to go and likely to be more hostile if the Welsh have not fired in their preceding games against Ireland or Scotland. From there, it’s the back-to-back run-in against France and Ireland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, where the sponsors’ black velvet will flow irrespective of who has won.
February 7 Wales v Ireland (3pm) February 13 England v Italy (2.15pm) Scotland v Wales (4.45pm) February 14 Ireland v France (3pm) February 27 Italy v Ireland (2.15pm), Wales v England (4.45pm) February 28 France v Scotland (3pm) March 13 Italy v Wales (2.15pm), England v France (4.45pm) March 14 Scotland v Ireland (3pm) March 20 Scotland v Italy (2.15pm) Ireland v England (4.45pm) France v Wales (8pm)
The dark days of winter may finally be behind us, so it’s time to prepare the ground for summer blooms and crops
s the days grow longer, gardeners will be making their plans for the spring, preparing their seeds for both flower and vegetable plots.
And even if the weather does not play ball and the ground is still cold, much can be done - particularly if you have a greenhouse or conservatory - to kickstart the growing season. If conditions allow and the soil is frost free, gently dig over and prepare the area you have earmarked for planting. This will expose soil pests to cold nighttime temperatures and bird predators, giving new plants a better chance to prosper and, if you have moved into a new house, will help identify whether you have inherited a light or heavy soil. Obviously, a stodgy, clay-based soil will need longer to warm, and this will affect planting plans. But if you discover a light, sandy mixture and live in a mild part of the country you can crack on – after weeding and allowing the soil to settle – by covering the area with clear polythene, cloches or fleece to warm the ground before sowing.
Once a crop rotation has been formalised, then you can sow broad beans, carrots, parsnips, early varieties of beetroot, salad onions, lettuces, radishes, spinach and summer cabbages under the covers. And then it’s back indoors again. Experienced veg growers will be keen to chit their seed potato tubers as soon as they have them. Novices may be baffled by the term, but it simply means encouraging the seed potatoes to grow before they are planted out, generally about six weeks after they have been arranged, blunt end up, in trays or old eggboxes, and allowed to sprout. Peas can also be started off in a heated greenhouse by using upturned and discarded – but clean – drainpipes with holes drilled in the bottom for good drainage, while cucumber seeds can be sown in a propagator, placing them on their sides at a depth of 1cm in a 7.5cm pot of free-draining compost.
If, however, your greenhouse isn’t heated wait a few weeks until March – and the same goes for tomatoes, which should germinate within two weeks in a propagator or on a sunny windowsill as long as the seed compost is kept moist. Even though it is very hardy, kale needs to be started indoors, where they can be sown in modules or 7cm pots with two or three seeds per module before thinning out to leave the healthiest seedling. For those who prefer colour to crops, mid to late February can also be a busy period. Now is the time to start off summer bedding, such as lobelia and Impatiens (Busy Lizzies), in propagators, giving them a head start before are big enough to be planted out or in hanging baskets. Sweet peas are probably one of the easiest – and most fragrant - summer flowering plants to grow, particularly when given a good start in a biodegradable pot on a sunny windowsill. Once established, they can be relocated to the garden when the weather turns milder without having to be
removed from their containers, which could damage fragile roots. Cosmos are similarly easy to grow and look great in borders or in a meadow where the single-flowered varieties, such as Fizzy Pink, attract pollinators. These annuals need light to germinate, so sow on top of seed compost in a tray then prick out when large enough to handle. Salvias, on the other hand, need to be sown on a bed of seed compost and then covered with a fine layer of compost which must be kept moist and placed in a light, warm spot. They can be planted out in the spring where they will add structure and height to borders and containers. However, be warned – low light levels and stuffy conditions can encourage what horticulturists call ‘damping off’, a fungal disease that can sweep through trays of seedlings. It can be easily prevented by adding perlite, an amorphous volcanic glass which will keep soil loose and light; watering pots from below; and opening propagator vents during the day.
Cosmos are easy to grow and look great in borders or in a meadow where the singleflowered varieties, such as Fizzy Pink, attract pollinators.
Walton on Thames
45a High Street, Walton on Thames, Surrey KT12 1DH CALL US TODAY FOR A FREE NO OBLIGATION VALUATION
Meet the team WALTON ON THAMES
Steve Turner Director Steve has worked as an estate agent in the local area since 1990. Steve also grew up in Walton and Hersham and attended Rydens School, therefore not only has great property knowledge, but he knows the local area inside out too.
Peter Brown Director Peter began his career in property as a negotiator in 1994 and worked for two local estate agents before opening HTB in 2003. Peter now lives in Effingham with his wife, two daughters and Baxter the labradoodle!
Linda Gyton Property Manager
Austin Hewett Negotiator
Linda grew up in Walton on Thames. From school Linda worked in banking before moving out of the area where she not only worked for a local letting agent but also built up her own portfolio of property. With over 10 years’ experience in property management, Linda has now returned to Walton and we are delighted she has joined the team at HTB. As a mum of two Linda leads a very busy life, however she still finds time to visit the gym and regularly swims before work! Keeping with the HTB tradition, Linda loves dogs and has a lovely Labrador, Maisy.
Austin is the newest member to the HTB family and joined early 2019 at the Walton on Thames branch. Austin has already learnt a great deal about the local property market and is enjoying working within both the sales and lettings teams. He is a bubbly character and is a hard worker who enjoys meeting new people and is building solid relationships with many of our clients. Previously, Austin was studying Carpentry at Brooklands College but, with most of his family already in the estate agency business, the move to HTB felt like a natural step.
Charlotte Dover Property Manager
Sherrie Edwards Senior Negotiator
Charlotte is a big asset to us and joined the team in 2013 as Property Manager. Prior to this, Charlotte worked within the Repossession Department for an established Asset Management company. Originally from Buckinghamshire, Charlotte moved to Surrey and studied locally at Rydens School, Brooklands College and attended the University of Surrey, where she studied Business and Marketing. Charlotte lives locally with her boyfriend and their Bulldog puppy, ‘Frank’.
Having worked in real estate in Australia, Sherrie did a little travelling before settling in Walton on Thames in 2010. Sherrie joined HTB in 2012 originally at the Walton on Thames office, and in that time has gained valuable experience and knowledge of not only the UK housing market, but the local area too. Sherrie is now a valuable member of the team at the East Molesey office and is now involved in both sales & lettings. In her spare time, Sherrie enjoys time with her partner James and their beautiful daughter, Ella.
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Harmes Turner Brown Netley Drive, Walton-on-Thames ÂŁ650,000
Harmes Turner Brown are delighted to offer this spacious five bedroom family home which enjoys a corner plot within a popular residential road. The accommodation has been skilfully extended to provide the perfect space for large families and entertaining. Another fabulous feature of this detached home is the large double garage and extended work shop to the rear of the garden. Vehicle access is to the side of the house and this usable space would suit any car enthusiast with the ideal space for several vehicles but could be converted to a work from home office, gym or of course storage. The property briefly includes entrance hallway with access to utility room, separate cloakroom, bright and airy family room overlooking the rear garden and through lounge/dining room with feature fireplace. The inner hallway gives access to the fitted kitchen with access to the garden. On the first floor you will find five generous bedrooms, most with built in wardrobes.
Lovelace Gardens, Walton-on-Thames ÂŁ550,000
Harmes Turner Brown are delighted to offer this beautifully presented three bedroom family home which has been recently updated to a particularly high standard by the present owner. This lovely semi detached home is quietly tucked away within a popular residential cul de sac within a short walk of Hersham village shops, the ever popular Hersham schools and Walton on Thames mainline station. The accommodation has been skilfully rearranged to provide a welcoming entrance porch with skylight, entrance hallway with access to the modern downstairs cloakroom/WC. The designer kitchen is fitted with a large range of eye and base level units and drawers complimented with a wood work top and appliances. Across the rear of the home you will find a bright and airy living room/dining room with quality laminate flooring, feature fireplace and double glazed doors giving access to the garden. On the first floor the accommodation has been cleverly adapted to provide three generous bedrooms and a newly fitted three piece family bathroom with beautiful tiling.
01932 222266 Molesey 0208 001 8385 Walton on Thames
CALL US TODAY FOR A FREE NO OBLIGATION VALUATION
Field Common Lane, Walton-on-Thames ÂŁ550,000
APPROX 1320sq ft (123sq meters) BRAND NEW FOUR BEDROOM HOUSE AVAILABLE FOR IMMEDIATE OCCUPATION - Dion Gardens, Walton on Thames. 10 Year Build Zone Warranty. 2 Year Dion Homes Customer Care Nestled in the sought after village of Hersham these homes have each been designed to offer the very best of specification, technology, and overall space. Perfectly placed for everything you need on a day to day basis, just over half a mile is Hersham Village with many local amenities. There is also a good selection of places to eat in both Hersham and Walton On Thames. The Heart Mall in Walton is perfect for retail therapy with a selection of well-known stores. Both Walton on Thames and Hersham Station are less than a mile away with links into London Waterloo in little over half an hour so you can enjoy easy access to the capital for work or pleasure.
Stanley Gardens, Walton-on-Thames ÂŁ535,000
We are delighted to offer this well presented end of terrace three bedroom family home quietly tucked away within a private gated residential cul de sac within easy reach of Walton mainline station and Hersham village. The accommodation briefly includes an entrance hallway with access to the downstairs cloakroom, open plan through lounge/ dining room with high quality wood laminate flooring, double glazed doors to the rear garden and access to the modern fitted kitchen. The open plan staircase leads to the first floor where you will find three generous bedrooms and the modern three piece family bathroom. Externally the private rear garden is mainly laid to lawn with private paved patio and a selection of raised borders and well stocked shrubs and trees plus there is the advantage of side pedestrian access. Residents parking is available in bays to the front of the house and there is the advantage of a garage in nearby block.
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Harmes Turner Brown
Don’t just take our word for it...
THE WHOLE TEAM HAS BEEN EXCELLENT, VERY ATTENTIVE AND I’VE BEEN VERY SATISFIED. I know that you are treated exactly the same whatever end of the market you are, so it is across the board without a doubt.
Lizzie Elam Seller
THE ADVICE THEY GAVE WAS REAL QUALITY The relationship feels a lot stronger, we can go in there and quite openly discuss something that we’re looking to do, and get some real quality advice.
Satinder Sabherwal Seller
I HAVE ALOT OF TRUST IN HARMES TURNER BROWN
The reason I chose Harmes Turner Brown to sell my property is because I did trust them. I’ve known them a long time, my son worked with them for a time, so therefore I just couldn’t have picked anybody else.
Caroline Denham Seller
45 Walton Road, East Molesey, Surrey KT8 0DP CALL US TODAY FOR A FREE NO OBLIGATION VALUATION
Meet the team MOLESEY
Richard Harmes Director
Scott Davis Senior Negotiator
Julie Mellish Senior Negotiator
Scott has recently joined our East Molesey team having worked as an estate agent for over 16 years and in the local area since 2008. Scott brings a wealth of knowledge and is well known for his warm friendly approach, always having a smile on his face. Scott lives locally and is currently refurbishing his family home which he shares with his wife, four children and a labradoodle, Dougie. Scott enjoys clay pigeon shooting, keeping fit and family days out.
Julie has recently joined our new office in East Molesey. Having had 22 years’ experience as an estate agent in the local area, Julie is keen to assist with making our new branch in Molesey as successful as our office in Walton – we have no doubt she will be a huge success. Julie has lived most of her life in the area and currently lives in Walton with her husband, two children and their Labrador puppy, Lottie.
Karen Glands Negotiator
Pam Stringer Negotiator
Karen has lived locally all of her life, growing up in Teddington and moving to Hersham in 1990 when she purchased her first bungalow. Karen then travelled the world, and lived in New Zealand for two years before returning to Walton. She currently lives in Walton with her husband and two teenage children. Both of her children attended primary school in Walton, and now keep her busy with their social schedules.
Pam enjoyed an extensive career as part of the senior management team with Camelot, the founder and operator of the U.K. National Lottery, before her career took her towards property. Pam has a keen interest in property having renovated many houses over the last 20 years. Pam lives locally in West Molesey where she is currently busy revamping her latest house whilst also managing her recently acquired allotment. Pam also has two young grandchildren and a very active black Labrador, so just as well she loves being busy!
Richard began his career in property at just 18 years of age in 1988 and by the age of 21 he had worked his way up to become branch manager. Working with large national corporate estate agencies has given Richard the skills needed in the industry, whilst working with independent market leaders has given him the passion, drive and winning mentality that has helped him succeed in today’s market. Richard grew up locally in Lower Sunbury and bought his first house in Walton on Thames at the age of 21. He now lives in Weybridge, where he and his wife, two children and their Golden Retriever, Wilson, have lived for the past 18 years.
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Harmes Turner Brown Cambridge Road, West Molesey Guide Price ÂŁ360,000
Harmes Turner Brown are pleased to offer this modern two bedroom house which is situated in a cul de sac location on the popular Bishop Fox estate, close to the River Thames and within easy access of East & West Molesey Villages with its excellent schools, supermarkets and local amenities. Hampton Court Station (TFL Zone 6 connecting with London Waterloo) is the local train station and there is a bus service connecting with Kingston and Waltonon-Thames. The well presented accommodation briefly comprises entrance hallway, downstairs cloakroom, modern refitted kitchen, separate living room with patio doors to the garden. On the first floor there are two double bedrooms and a family bathroom which has been refitted with a modern white suite with chrome furnishings and part tiled walls.
Weston Avenue, West Molesey ÂŁ775,000
LAST ONE REMAINING Harmes Turner Brown are pleased to offer this new development of six brand new homes which are built to a high specification in a popular residential area, between Walton on Thames and West Molesey. There are two four bedroom detached homes and four, four bedroom semi-detached homes in a cul de sac location. For more detailed information please contact either our East Molesey office on 0208 001 8385 or our Walton on Thames office in 01932 222266.
01932 222266 Molesey 0208 001 8385 Walton on Thames
CALL US TODAY FOR A FREE NO OBLIGATION VALUATION
Hurst Road, West Molesey ÂŁ625,000
We are pleased to offer this attractive bay fronted semi-detached family home which has been extended on both the ground and first floor, providing an extra reception room and a much improved third bedroom. The property is tastefully decorated throughout and is with a very short distance of the river Thames towpath and also conveniently located for local bus routes, Hurst Park School and Tesco s supermarket. The accommodation briefly comprises entrance porch leading the entrance hallway, downstairs cloakroom, through lounge dining room with period fireplace, modern refitted shaker style kitchen with stone work surfaces and some integrated appliances, brick base double glazed conservatory and access to the integral garage with power and light. On the first floor there three double bedrooms, having been extended over the garage. The master bedroom benefits from a range of fitted wardrobes and the family bathroom is a good size.
Glebelands, West Molesey ÂŁ475,000
Harmes Turner Brown are pleased to offer this attractive two bedroom semi-detached period home which is situated in a quiet cul-de-sac location, which is close to shops and bus links giving access to Hampton Court station and Hampton Court palace. The well planned accommodation briefly comprises a bay fronted through lounge dining room with open plan staircase to the first floor, a good size separate kitchen and the main bathroom on the ground floor, whilst on the first floor there are two double bedrooms. Externally there is a good size westerly facing garden which is mainly laid to lawn and a timber storage shed and to the front, there is off street parking for one vehicle. Other notable features include gas central heating via radiators and double glazed windows. No onward chain.
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Walton Litter Pickers
Walton Litter Pickers officially came together in April 2019. Having spent a few months picking up litter around the streets where we live with our dog, we noticed an increase in people commenting and offering to help. No one is going to say no to help from other likeminded people so we started the facebook group, quickly followed by the Twitter page. As things stand we have 210 local members on facebook and over 600 twitter followers. Not bad for a small town in North Surrey whose sole role is to pick up the junk other people drop!
young people. The local Cubs, Scouts and Brownie groups have done some amazing work litter picking around town. As well as helping to make our community cleaner, our activities encourage people to get outside into the fresh air and to get some exercise. We have seen longterm friendships develop and hope that our activities also improve the general environment and the pride people take in our community.
Measurable Success So far we have picked almost 6 tonnes of rubbish from the streets on Walton in 10 months! This is an amazing amount, considering we are all volunteers and can only pick when family commitments/work allows. We run group picks once per month. Please look at our twitter or facebook page for details.
#CommitToYourStreet To help engage with followers we developed the #CommitToYourStreet and #SpreadTheRedMap hashtags. We wanted to create a visual representation of the work that we do, whilst trying to encourage others to get involved. The concept took a little while to catch on, but we now have a nice big matrix of streets in Walton, and indeed its spread into Hersham and Molesey. In fact, it has spread beyond to areas of Kent, Cornwall, Nottingham, Germany, the USA and Australia!!
Keep Britain Tidy Big Spring Clean 2020 This years KBT Big Spring Clean takes place between 20th March and 13th April. Why donâ€™t you get out and help keep our community tidy? Our coordinated pick will be one March 28th starting at 2pm from the Riverhouse Barn. The Molesey Litter Angels and Keep Herhsam Tidy groups will also start their litter picks at the same time. Please feel free to contact us on waltonlitterpickers@ gmail.com, @Litterwalton or just search for us on facebook
Involving the whole community Part of our aim is to engage with the whole community especially
01932 222266 Molesey 0208 001 8385 Walton on Thames
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Thinking of letting your property? Find out more from our expert teams at HTB. BY LE HT T B
f you are considering letting
your home, why not contact our Lettings team to find out more
about the outstanding service we offer. From full management, rent collection or our standard intro service, we offer
exceptional advice at a competitive fee. We have a large database of private &
corporate tenants looking for both long term and short term lets.
People become Landlords for many
reasons and regardless of your reason, you need a letting agent you can trust.
Trust to give you accurate advice, clear
guidance on the process, legislation and tax, find you a reliable tenant and look after your property.
You need to know your investment is in safe hands. And you can rest assured with Harmes Turner Brown you and
your property are in safe hands with us. We have a dedicated team of experts at both our branches, for further details contact:
Lettings, Walton on Thames 01932 222266 (option 2) Lettings, East Molesey 0208 001 8385 (option 2)
Silverdale Avenue, Ashley Park LET IN WALTON ON THAMES A beautifully presented five bedroom family home situated on a fantastic westerly backing plot within the confines of the highly prestigious Ashley Park private estate.The double aspect lounge opens onto the family room with views to the rear garden. The kitchen/breakfast room is well appointed and open to a utility area. A notable feature on the ground floor is the annex which comprises of a good size double bedroom, en suite, dressing area and door to the garage. On the first floor you will find the master suite which includes a vast range of fitted wardrobes and en suite shower room. There are three further bedrooms on the first floor and another luxury shower room.
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Harmes Turner Brown Lettings
T LE HTB BY
Beauchamp Road, East Molesey LET IN EAST MOLESEY
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Annaleigh Place, Hersham LET IN HERSHAM
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Ashley Road, Walton on Thames LET IN WALTON ON THAMES
OPENING ALL THE RIGHT DOORS! Unlock your dream home this year. With our professional and personal approach, alongside our innovative marketing including your own FREE property website to share with friends and family, we will ensure all the right doors are open to you this year.
htbproperty.com T. Walton 01932 222266 | Molesey 0208 001 8385 E. firstname.lastname@example.org | email@example.com