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LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

PROPERTY NEWS

FEBRUARY 2021

SEEDS TO SOW AND BULBS TO BUD TOP GARDENING TIPS FOR THIS MONTH VALENTINE’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

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Seeds to sow and bulbs to plant It’s time to prepare the ground for summer blooms and crops

PROPERTY

4 16 20

Home entertainment system Helpful tips for upgrading your sound system Our latest instructions Take a look at a selection of our latest properties on the market About us Get to know our team a little better and see why we are your agent of choice

FOOD

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A romantic night in Treat your partner with this spectacular Valentine’s dinner

LIFESTYLE

2

Designing your Valentine’s day Celebrate at home with your significant other

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Audible Books Reasons to be encouraged by this new style of literature

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Valentine gifts for pets Wonderful ideas for your pet on this special day

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Positive vibes Things we can do to give ourselves a lift at this difficult time

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What is Shrove Tuesday? What is it? Where does it come from? And what happens?

SPORT

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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.

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PROPERTY NEWS

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

I love

FOOD

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.

o


ROMANCE AT HOME:

DAY

one

It’s the most romantic day of the year. And what better way to celebrate than at home with your significant other

DESIGNING YOUR

DIY VALENTINE’S

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.

EXPERIENCES

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.

LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

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PUMP UP

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

H

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.

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PROPERTY NEWS

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

LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

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THE FUTURE IS AUDIBLE The ease with which we consume digital content has changed rapidly in the past decade

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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

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PROPERTY NEWS

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.

THE PERFORMANCE

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

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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.

RABBITS

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

LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

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TREAT YOUR KING OR QUEEN THIS VALENTINE’S DAY Treat your partner with this spectacular Valentine’s dinner, perfect for a romantic night in!

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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

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PROPERTY NEWS

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.

LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

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POSITIVE

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

A

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.

GET OUT

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

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PROPERTY NEWS

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.”


NEW GOALS

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.”

LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

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WHAT IS

SHROVE

TUESDAY?

WHAT IS IT?

WHERE DOES IT COME FROM?

WHAT HAPPENS?

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.

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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?

PROPERTY NEWS

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.


& GLORY

HOPE

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)

W

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)

LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

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SOWING THE

SEEDS OF

LOVE

The dark days of winter may finally be behind us, so it’s time to prepare the ground for summer blooms and crops

A

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.

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PROPERTY NEWS


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.

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Wyedale, London Colney ÂŁ249,950

Offered with no upper chain. An immaculately presented top floor two bedroom apartment with the benefit of a long lease, situated within easy reach of London Colney Shopping Fields, public transport and great motorway links. The property has been maintained to high standard by the current owner and offers recently fitted double glazing, gas central heating system, modern bathroom suite, new flooring throughout and fully fitted kitchen. Additional benefits include loft storage and residents parking.

The Meads, Bricket Wood ÂŁ795,000

JW&Co. are pleased to offer this unique 5 bedroom detached home, located in a sought after location of Bricket Wood just a short drive from St Albans City Centre and excellent motorway links. The property comprises entrance hallway, two kitchens, a lounge/dining room, sitting room, three bathrooms and five bedrooms. The property has the potential to create two properties. Other benefits are large DRIVEWAY, enclosed courtyard for annexe side, mainly laid lawn and garage at the rear. This property is offered CHAIN FREE.

bushey@jwandco.co.uk | stalbans@jwandco.co.uk | parkstreet@jwandco.co.uk | londoncolney@jwandco.co.uk


St Albans 01727 844444 Bushey Heath 020 8950 3434 Park Street 01727 875555 London Colney 01727 824311

Eskdale, London Colney ÂŁ550,000

A bright and commodious four bedroom detached house in close proximity to convenient local amenities including the London Colney Shopping fields and great motorway links. The property has been extended to the front incorporating a spacious kitchen and downstairs cloakroom. To the rear, you benefit from a sizeable lounge space leading onto a conservatory and continuing outwards to a well-maintained rear garden. The property has the convenience of block paved parking with space for two cars to the front.

Harriet Way, Bushey ÂŁ355,000

TWO BEDROOM DUPLEX MAISONETTE situated off Little Bushey Lane within close proximity to Bushey Heath with its numerous local amenities and transport links. The accommodation comprises entrance hall, lounge/ dining room with door leading onto a balcony overlooking the communal gardens and well-appointed fitted kitchen and bathroom. On the second floor is a large double bedroom and bedroom two. Outside the property benefits from well-kept communal gardens and an extended lease and garage in block.

jwandco.co.uk


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Harcourt Road, Bushey £579,950

EXTENDED THREE/FOUR BEDROOM TWO BATHROOM TERRACED HOUSE situated in the residential area of Harcourt Road and located within approximately half a mile of Bushey Village’s multiple shopping and transport facilities and within approximately two miles of Bushey’s Mainline Station. The property has been subject to complete modernisation by the current owners and is offered for sale in good decorative order throughout. The accommodation comprises of open plan lounge dining room, kitchen/breakfast room with utility room and ground floor master bedroom with en suite shower room. To the first floor are three generous sized bedrooms and family bathroom. Outside the property boast low maintenance front and rear gardens.

St Annes Road, London Colney £425,000

Two bedroom semi-detached bungalow situated in the highly desirable location The Green and within easy reach of local amenities and public transport. The property is available chain free and offers well balanced accommodation with a large lounge, separate kitchen, fitted bathroom suite and storm porch. Outside you have a paved rear garden and large front garden. Available chain free.

bushey@jwandco.co.uk | stalbans@jwandco.co.uk | parkstreet@jwandco.co.uk | londoncolney@jwandco.co.uk


St Albans 01727 844444 Bushey Heath 020 8950 3434 Park Street 01727 875555 London Colney 01727 824311

Kilfillan Gardens, Berkhamsted £225,000

Over 50’s two bedroom apartment tucked away in a peaceful cul-de-sac and only 0.6 miles from Berkhamsted High Street with its numerous shops, restaurants, cafés and public transport with Berkhamsted train station under a mile from the property. Benefits to include, allocated parking, beautifully maintained grounds, lift and a secure telephone entry system. Available Chain Free.

Mayflower Road, Park Street Chain Free £1,500,000

An exceptional, contemporary SIX DOUBLE bedroom detached family home, offering luxurious and flexible accommodation over three floors. Featuring a substantial 40ft open plan KITCHEN/DINING/ FAMILY ROOM which looks out onto the large, enclosed garden. This property offers an additional TWO separate reception rooms on the ground floor. The first offers FOUR double bedrooms with en-suite rooms, plus a luxury family bathroom. The third floor offers another two double bedrooms, with ample space to work from home. With an integral garage and a carriage driveway, there is ample off-street parking. This property is approximately 3,700 sq ft.

jwandco.co.uk


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David Smith

Tom Smith

Jack Smith

David is a fully qualified chartered surveyor who has 35 years’ experience in dealing with all aspects of property including sales, lettings and property management. He has worked exclusively In the St Albans area for the last 20 years and has been active in dealing with new developments and conversion schemes for many large financial institutions. He is a keen sportsman and is a single figure handicap golfer. Email: davidsmith@jwandco.co.uk

Tom has had a successful career as a professional footballer and has always had an interest in property. The purchase of two existing businesses with extensive local interests was too tempting to resist. This gives him the opportunity to combine his football career with sales and property management. Tom lives in Berkhamsted with his wife Nina and three children. Email: tomsmith@jwandco.co.uk

Jack is very proud to be involved in this exciting and vibrant Company. He has always had an interest in property and is delighted to be able to transfer his skills from professional football to this new area. “We have a very strong team of employees and I am looking forward to working closely with them”. Jack has played professional football for Swindon, Watford, Millwall and AFC Wimbledon and currently lives with his wife Sophie and beloved dog, Lola in Berkhamsted. Email: jacksmith@jwandco.co.uk

CEO

Chairman

Director

PARK STREET

Danielle Saville

Ruth Bearne MNAEA Sales Director

Trainee Sales Negotiator

Ruth joined JW&Co Langleys in 2014 as a Having joined the company in 2018 Danielle Trainee and has quickly progressed to a Sales Director at our Park Street branch. has already flourished in her role as a Trainee Negotiator bringing an enthusiastic Ruth passed her NFOPP exams with flying colours and is now a member of the approach to sales in addition to bringing National Association of Estate Agents; buyers and sellers together. Under the with over 7 years in the property industry, management of Tim Griggs, she hopes to climb the ranks in the company and become she brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the team. Ruth’s interests a fully-fledged member of the National include travelling to new destinations, Association of Estate Agents, helping her bring an unrivalled level of professionalism good food and wine with friends and to her clients. Danielle enjoys spending family and loves to cook. her spare time with her young family and Email: ruthbearne@jwandco.co.uk reading, her favourite author being Deborah Harkness. Email: daniellesaville@jwandco.co.uk

BUSHEY HEATH

Tim Griggs Sales Director

Tim is Bushey born and bred after attending local schools and still lives in the Bushey area. In 1998 Tim joined JW&Co Langleys. and brings with him his seventeen years’ experience and continues to bring the company forward and develop the business with his initiative and marketing ideas. Whilst Tim currently works in the Bushey Heath office, he has also previously established offices in Bushey and Oxhey village making his knowledge of the surrounding area second to none. Tim goes the extra mile for his clients and builds up great rapport with those he works with. Email: timgriggs@jwandco.co.uk

Nick Tidball

Sales Negotiator Nick started his career in estate agency here at JW & Co twelve years ago, working alongside Tim Griggs across multiple offices. Having left the company in 2006 Nick pursued his career in the buoyant London market selling luxurious homes in Hampstead and surrounding areas. Re-joining the team in our Bushey Heath office for 2017, he returns with a wealth of knowledge and experience within the industry, keen to help drive the business forward. Born and bred in Bushey, Nick’s extensive local knowledge and history of the area is an asset to building new and existing relationships when both valuing and selling properties. Email: nicktidball@jwandco.co.uk

bushey@jwandco.co.uk | stalbans@jwandco.co.uk | parkstreet@jwandco.co.uk | londoncolney@jwandco.co.uk


Bushey Heath 020 8950 3434 St Albans 01727 844444 Park Street 01727 875555 London Colney 01727 824311

ST ALBANS

Meet our team

MNAEA Sales Director

Lettings Manager

Lauren King

Catherine Grimer

Mark joined JW&Co Langleys in 2011 as a Senior Sales Negotiator. He quickly progressed to become Sales Director of both St Albans and London Colney. As a member of the National Associations of Estate Agents, Mark takes an active part in ensuring that the emphasis on training and the expected high levels of customer service, are being delivered. Having worked within the property industry for 15 years, he brings a wealth of experience and insight to the company. He has an excellent knowledge of the St Albans area, and lives locally. In his spare time Mark enjoys travelling, running, going to the gym, watching F1 and dreams of one day, attending the Monaco Grand Prix.

Lauren joined our company as a trainee in 2011 and has worked her way through the ranks. Lauren quickly became a very valuable member of our team. Lauren is now part of our busy lettings team and is a successful negotiator, and prides herself on being helpful, professional and efficient. As a local, born and raised in St Albans, she is an ideal team member, able to offer insight into the local market and what the area could offer you. Email: laurenking@jwandco.co.uk

Catherine joined the company in September 2018 as a Trainee Sales Negotiator in our St Albans Branch. St Albans born and bred, attendee of some of the top local schools - she has an extensive knowledge of the area and is a strong advocate for living in Hertfordshire. A variety of roles in both corporate companies and experience working abroad, has helped her to cultivate a number of different skills. Her knowledge of the local area, work experience and a penchant for property has resulted in Catherine quickly becoming an active and valuable member of staff. Email: catherinegrimer@jwandco.co.uk

Debbie King

Jack Cotton Sales Negotiator

Trainee Sales Negotiator

Debbie joined JW&Co Langleys in March 2015, having previously worked in St Albans in an accounts-based role. Having lived in and around St Albans all her life, Debbie is very familiar with the local fraternity and also brings valuable accounting and administrative skills to the Company, across our Lettings and Sales businesses. Debbie is also involved in processing all Tenant and Landlord payments for our rental properties. Keeping with the family trend, Debbie’s daughter Lauren is also employed in our St Albans office

Jack joined JW & Co Langleys in November 2019. He has worked within the property industry for the past 5 years and has experience in working in both corporate and independent agencies. Maturity shines through Jack, despite his young appearance. He prides himself on providing clients with the best customer service with his personable & friendly approach for both potential buyers and vendors. Jack lives in Kings Langley and is a big football fan, following Arsenal FC. He has a vast interest in music and is a keen gig/ festival-goer.

James is our new trainee negotiator, with high aspirations and drive to become an extremely successful individual in the JW&Co Langleys Company. James has gaged a good understanding of the Hertfordshire region living withing many areas of Hertfordshire. James has also just completed his full education studying Business, PE and Maths and is now ready to work towards his career as an estate agent. He is bringing youth, new approaches and teamwork to the company, from his love of sport, he has participated in football, rugby, cricket, basketball, boxing and goes to the gym regularly. James is a peoples person and focuses on achieving his client’s needs whilst providing a professional service

Mark Antony Saville

Property Negotiator

LONDON COLNEY

Email: marksaville@jwandco.co.uk

Accounts Manager

Email: debbieking@jwandco.co.uk

James Simmons

Email: jackcotton@jwandco.co.uk

Email: jamessimmons@jwandco.co.uk

jwandco.co.uk


Scale of Charges SCALE OF CHARGES FULL MANAGEMENT SERVICE

INTRODUCTION ONLY SERVICE PLUS RENT COLLECTION

INTRODUCTION ONLY SERVICE

12% (INC VAT)

11% (INC VAT)

10% (INC VAT)

amount to be deducted from the monthly rental payments received by the Agent

amount to be deducted from the monthly rental payments received by the Agent

of the rent collected for the first six months. Payable for each individual letting where the tenant is introduced through JW&Co Langleys, hereafter referred to as ‘the Agent’

CONTINGENCY RESERVE

A minimum reserve amount of £150.00 (amount to be confirmed) will need to be obtained prior to the initiation of the tenancy as a contingency in the event of any maintenance work. The contingency reserve will be deducted from the first month’s rent and will be held by the Agent. The fees under the above service are payable when any one individual or organisation enters into an agreement to rent the Property as a result of our promotion, introduction, or viewings conducted by the Agent.

ADDITIONAL SERVICES

FEE

Tenancy set up and referencing (managed) Inc deposit registration

£230.00 (INC VAT)

Tenancy set up and referencing (let only) Inc deposit registration

£275.00 (INC VAT)

Deposit Registration Fee

£60.00 (INC VAT)

Inventory Service plus check-in & smoke alarm and sensor testing

From £190.00 (INC VAT)

Inventory update plus check-in & smoke alarm and sensor testing

From £150.00 (INC VAT)

Checkout Fee (payable at the end of each tenancy)

From £115.00 (INC VAT)

Legionella Risk Assessment

£130.00 (INC VAT)

Property inspections (Introduction Only Service)

£60.00 (INC VAT)

Utility set up (Introduction Only)

£60.00 (INC VAT)

Energy Performance Certificate

£90.00 (INC VAT)

Annual Gas Safety Certificate

From £75.00 (INC VAT)

Annual Gas Safety Certificate and service

From £135 (INC VAT)

Section 21 Notice

£108.00 (INC VAT)

Section 8 Notice

£108.00 (INC VAT)

Accelerated Possession Order & Court Attendance Rent & Legal Protection for a period of 6 Months

From £840.00 (INC VAT) £96.00 (INC VAT)

Rent & Legal Protection for a period of 12 Months

£192.00 (INC VAT)

Rent & Legal Protection Renewal for a period of 6 Months

£121.00 (INC VAT)

Rent & Legal Protection Renewal for a period of 12 Months Short Lets (Of a duration less than 6 months)

£217.00 (INC VAT) 18% of the rent due (INC VAT)

Tenancy Renewal (Managed)

£90.00 (INC VAT)

Tenancy Renewal (Let only Service)

£250.00 (INC VAT)

Change of tenant

£250.00 (INC VAT)

Arranging Contractors/Maintenance Works (let only)

£45.00 (INC VAT)

PAT testing for the first five appliances

We are required by law to disclose all the charges you will incur during the set up procedure. Please do not hesitate to contact us and one of our dedicated team members will be happy to talk you through the process.

FEES IN RELATION TO A TENANCY THAT STARTED PRIOR TO THE TENANT FEE BAN ON THE 1ST JUNE 2019, UNTIL THE 1ST JUNE 2020 l Checkout fee – from £60 - £102 INC VAT (as stated in the tenancy agreement) l Renewal fee £90 INC VAT (as stated in the tenancy agreement)

TENANCY SET UP & DEPOSIT l Holding fee – one weeks rent that can be refunded or taken off the first month’s rent/deposit l Security Deposit – Up to five weeks rent

ADDITIONAL PAYMENTS FOR TENANTS

l Higher rent payment for pets – additional £50 rent per calendar month l Lost keys / security devices from £2.50 £175 INC VAT

From £150 (INC VAT) price on quotation From: £60 (INC VAT)

l Early exit charge £50 INC VAT

l Tenancy set up and referencing l Deposit protection fee l Inventory make/update and check-in l Checkout Fee l Rent & Legal protection for 12 months

Where the Landlord cancels the Agent’s instruction to provide a management service the Agent will charge. The Landlord will then be subject to to pay a fee of 8.4% (Inc VAT) of the agreed rent for the period not exceeding six months from the commencement date of the tenancy. VAT is payable at the prevailing rate on all our fees. In accordance with consumer legislation it is quoted as included in the prices stated above.

jwandco.co.uk

You should always choose your agent with care, only considering those displaying these trusted accreditations which provide the peace of mind that comes with the knowledge your money is protected and your agent abides by a strict code of conduct.

l Change of sharer / amendment to contract £50 INC VAT (plus the cost of any charges incurred by the company)

DISCOUNTED BUNDLE OPTION £750 (INC VAT) FOR THE SERVICES LISTED BELOW MINIMUM FEE

With nearly 40 years’ of experience and full membership of UKALA, the national Lettings Association (NLA) and The Property Ombudsman, JW&Co Langleys are experts in all aspects of lettings. We care about our Tenants and for that reason we pride ourselves on the level of service we provide.

l Fee for late rent payments – £TBC (up to 3% above the Bank of England base rate)

In the event that a dispute arises under the tenancy deposit scheme, we will undertake all of the administrative responsibilities in resolving said dispute (Introduction Only Service)

Electrical Fixed Wire Testing

TENANT PERMITTED PAYMENTS AS PER THE TENANT FEE ACT 2019

COMPANY LETS l Set up fee £450 INC VAT T&C – A holding deposit is non-refundable when an application is rejected due to incorrect/misleading information given prior to the commencement of references.


Here’s what our customers have to say...

Bob & Pauline

There were no problems; we were kept informed at all times and there was a satisfactory result for everyone. We would recommend this agent to family and friends.

Heidi

I heard of JW&Co Langleys through word of mouth. They’re a real part of the community so they were a natural choice for us to approach. In terms of what we’re looking for in our agent is someone looking out for us and anticipating and helping us with the needs of the whole process - and that’s what Neil gave us, including liaising with our solicitors, and really advocated us through the process.

Carol

I’ve always dealt with them and found their standards to be very, very high and they’ve always been extremely helpful and professional whenever I’ve dealt with them in the past.

Jude

I think the reason JW&Co differs from other lettings agent is that you really do get that personal touch and it’s all a very relaxed situation.

Mark

We met a couple of agents within our area and felt that JW&Co stood out, just because of their professionalism. As soon as they walked through the door, and the advice and the preparation they came with, is what stood out for us.

jwandco.co.uk


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. St Albans T: 01727 844444 E: stalbans@jwandco.co.uk Incorporating

LANGLEYS

jwandco.co.uk

Bushey Heath T: 020 8950 3434 E: bushey@jwandco.co.uk

London Colney T: 01727 824311 E: londoncolney@jwandco.co.uk Park Street T: 01727 875555 E: parkstreet@jwandco.co.uk

Profile for thepropertycollection

JW&Co - February 2021  

JW&Co - February 2021