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Flights of fancy Make a good impression on Valentine’s Day; book a romantic break away




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Fall in love with a new home Top tips on how to search for your perfect property

Vegan delights Here we feature a tempting recipe that’s sure to whet your appetite


Make your own garden of Eden Show your garden some love and get passionate about your patch again Upgrading windows and doors What you need to consider when replacing your windows and doors

About us Get to know us a little better and see why we are your agent of choice



Should you furnish your lettings property? As a landlord, should you furnish your property or let your tenant do it? Our latest instructions Take a look at a selection of our latest properties on the market

Benefits of a vegan diet We take a look at the health benefits of a vegan diet Cleaning hacks you can’t live without Our favourite cleaning hacks to make cleaning your home easy and cost effective



The Champions League The Champions League returns with the ‘Last 16’ games kicking off this month and running through to the 18th March



e’re not quite sure how January has flown by so quickly already; just where has the time gone? If you’ve been thinking about moving but not started the process yet, then now is as good

a time as any. Not sure where to start? Then come and have a chat with us. As your local independent estate agent, we have all the tools you need to get you moving – including a FREE personalised website for your property so that you can share it on social media. And this issue of our magazine will also give you plenty of support and advice on property; from falling in love with a new home, creating your own garden of



Eden, and where to start when replacing doors and windows. Plus, if romance is in the air, then take a look at our top tips for romantic getaways this year; you will (and your loved one) be spoilt for choice on where to head to. They say that the way to someone’s heart is through food – and what can be more on trend then a vegan recipe to dish up and impress with? We reveal the health benefits of taking on a vegan diet. Plus, we also feature a delicious recipe to introduce you to the variety that a meat and dairy free diet can provide. Until next time. Linda McKeown Editor

Searching for your perfect property is much like trying to find your perfect partner

You need to go on dates and get to know each other before taking that step to be together. However, for houses, dates become viewings and the true test of getting to know each other comes after the purchase is already complete. Which is why it is good to be picky when it comes to choosing your perfect property. Sometimes your perfect property isn’t ‘the one’ in the long run, because of location, lack of space or even character. Therefore, when it comes to searching for property love, it pays to be specific when it comes to your joint wants and needs; and to compromise (if only love was so easy!) The main things to consider when finding your perfect property are the number of bedrooms, size of the garden, location, off-road parking, ability to extend, the number of reception rooms and closest schools. Sit down with your partner and get these things confirmed before you view.

LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT Maybe you and your partner will fall in love with a property at first sight but take it slow and don’t get too carried away. Just like life,

TOP TIPS TO FIND A PROPERTY YOU’LL LOVE Sit down and make a list of must-haves and nice-to-haves Get specific with your requirements Confirm your budget Go on multiple viewings of each property Make compromises with your partner Don’t overstretch your finances




if you build something up too much you just may set yourself up for disappointment. Try to go into any property viewing with an open mind. Your favourite property may disappoint, while the one you didn’t want to view could be perfect.

conveyancing fees and survey fees. To get things moving swiftly, you will need these ready for as soon as your offer is accepted. You don’t want to find your perfect place only to find yourself short and lose it. Be upfront about your finances from the start of the process.

And your perfect home will probably be the most expensive thing you ever buy. That is why it’s important to make sure it’s the right one. Try to go on multiple viewings. Like a first date, on your first viewing, you will only see the good things or bad things about the property. Go on a second viewing and get to know the property better before making a decision.

Look into planning permission early to see whether it’s likely that they’ll allow you carry out any work you wish to undertake, such as an extension, dropping the curb for off-road parking or changing the windows and doors. You don’t want to have big plans for your forever home, only to find out you can’t carry them out.

THE COST OF LOVE Just like at the start of any relationship, it is easy to get into debt, by going on expensive dates, buying new clothes and trying new things. With a property, you may be tempted to spend more than you had planned but be careful not to overstretch yourself. Your perfect property may turn into a nightmare if you don’t have any spare cash to do odd jobs, or even go on a date once a while!

Your perfect home will probably be the most expensive thing you ever buy

Remember the other costs involved too, such as mortgage broker fees,

Look beyond the current state of the property and focus on what you could see the property becoming

A JOINT LOVE AFFAIR Love is a two-way street. Sit down with your partner to agree both of your needs. Your perfect property may not be theirs, but by working together you can agree on the nice-to-haves and the must-haves of a home you can share and enjoy together. Just like some people enjoy reading at home while others feel the need to be outside, there is always a way to compromise for the greater good of your relationship.

LOVE THAT LASTS Be realistic. This may or may not be your forever home. Aesthetics are always a major factor when it comes to both romance and property. However, look beyond the current state of the property and focus on what you could see the property becoming. A perfect relationship needs work, and the same is true for the perfect property.

For every compromise on one’s behalf, the other partner could get something in return. For example, if one of you has green fingers you know they’ll want a nice garden and if the other works from home or enjoys their peace, try to get somewhere with a snug or study. Just like a working relationship, compromise is always the way forward.





I As relationships go, it’s been on the backburner for a few months. But now is the time to get passionate about your patch again

t’s hard to imagine anything lovable about your garden this month. It’s cold, damp and that bare, bedraggled, weather-battered mess you see from your window bears no resemblance to the vibrant, verdant, perfumed patch of horticultural perfection you lovingly nurtured last summer.

Those ornamental trees you bought for their eerie sculptural forms during the winter have been shredded by Storm Gerda and Storm Brendan; early-flowering bulbs are timidly poking their petals above the surface fearing winter’s final onslaught, and even the fiercely territorial robins are thinking of moving out because the grass looks greener over the fence. But even if the weather is filthy and you can’t get out and do the jobs you know you need to do – such as pruning shrubs, climbers, and evergreen hedges, and giving your borders a boost with some organic feeds – there is one important thing you can do from the comfort of your armchair: plan. Because if you fancy turning your mudheap into a Garden of Eden this summer, start preparing the ground now. Even the smallest of backyards can be turned into a sensory sensation by the simplest of touches, the most obvious being fragrance and colour. But the easiest are lights.

Soft lighting, comfy seating, trickling water… add some wind chimes and suddenly you’ve created your own outdoor spa! The majority of gardens have shady corners which could benefit from a little subtle lighting, either by candlelight (in a nice tall glass jar obviously, we don’t want the slightest breeze to snuff out any flames of desire), full-size bulbs strung for a rustic overhang between posts or - yes it’s cheesy but remarkably effective twinkling fairy lights. Think about it. If fairy lights can transform even the dingiest of artificial Christmas trees, what could that soft glow achieve on a warm summer evening wrapped around the balustrades on a veranda or swinging lazily from a pergola. Better still, hang them round the low-hanging branches of your favourite tree to create the ultimate chill-out zone… with the aid of a soft-seating zone and an endless stream of G&Ts, naturally.



Talking of streams, nothing says serenity and calm like the sound of trickling water and no, we don’t mean taking the lid off the water butt so the clogged gutter can dribble into it. Proper water features can add texture and height to a garden; and it doesn’t have to be an elaborate fountain. Tilting rain sticks, a small pond with a waterfall, or even a birdbath with a solarpowered pump can add the necessary effect. A cosy seating area is a must, whether it be formal chairs, loungers, benches around a picnic table… or you could create a romantic low-level spot from a sunken area. Think it’s impossible? Have a look at Tony Smith’s Quilted Velvet Garden at the 2009 RHS Chelsea Flower Show and all will become clear. You just need cushions. Lots of cushions.

So, soft lighting, comfy seating, trickling water… add some wind chimes and suddenly you’ve created your own outdoor spa! However, nothing says romance like the gentle waft of a random scent caught on a breeze. Roses and honeysuckle are the obvious candidates for inclusion, but while the former are beautiful they need to be nurtured for the best results. The latter can be prone to aphids – and there’s nothing romantic about watching a colony of insects writhing over your favourite aromatic shrub, prior to stripping it bare of flower and leaf. Instead, try the delightful mock orange. Heralding the beginning of summer, it’s a hardy plant that tolerates some shade, has small white flowers and, as the name suggests, releases a sweet orangey fragrance when you brush against it. Likewise, that perennial favourite lavender, where that heady aroma immediately transports you to the sunny fields of Provence in the south of France. Great for borders and even when the flowers are over, they can be cut and taken indoors to enjoy further.

Even the smallest of backyards can be turned into a sensory sensation by the simplest of touches

If you’ve gone for an “English Country Garden” theme, you’ll be familiar with that staple, the sweet pea. Easy to grow, multi-coloured and with a sweet perfume, they are a must for a scented garden. Similarly, gardenia’s mass of attractive foliage and white flowers make it a firm favourite – they can be grown in pots and containers too – and their scent will fill the garden through the summer months. With a range of scents from lemon to pineapple, mint is often written off as just a cooking ingredient, but it can double its worth in the garden where the slightest brush against it releases a fresh, clean aroma. However, if left, it can spread. Visually, if creating a new area, consider a hard, sculptured backdrop of yucca or bamboo to add architectural effect. Not only can they support a string of light, but they give height and structure to contrast with bright traditional colourful bedding plants such as red geraniums, alyssum, lobelia and silver cineraria. And what could be more romantic than planting purple and white ornamental kale in a heart shape? So, what are you waiting for? Start planning now and rekindle your love affair with the garden.




WHEN REPLACING YOUR WINDOWS AND DOORS New windows and doors can not only keep your house warmer over winter but also save you thousands of pounds in the long run


f you are looking into new windows and doors this year, the range on offer can confuse; as can the regulations implemented back in 2002. It is no longer as simple as replacing them; you will need to make applications to your local council, choose the type and style and check they meet all regulations.


• L1 Conservation of fuel and Power – Simply put, the glass you use must be at the required U-value. U-value is the rate of transfer of heat. In essence, this regulation ensures when alterations are made that heat gain and loss is limited through the use of thermal control elements.

Since April 2002 you must have approval from the Building Control department of your local council, confirming the replacements have been fitted in accordance with local building regulations. You • N1 Glazing protection against Impact – Essentially, will need to apply for a certificate from your local this means where windows and other glazed council. And this doesn’t just apply surfaces are present, they for windows – if your doors are over must be safe for passing 50% glazing they will need to be Depending on your pedestrians and inhabitants confirmed as well. budget there is a wide when open and resistant to It is against the law to fit windows and doors which do not comply with the building regulations. This can also cause issues when it comes to selling your property. Your buyer’s surveyor will require to see the evidence of any windows or doors replaced after 2002; failure to do so could cause problems when it comes to completing your sale.

range of materials and styles on offer when it comes to your replacement windows and doors

THE REGULATIONS Getting a local tradesman in to complete the work is always a good idea and they should comply with all the building regulations. However, if you are doing the work yourself, here is a breakdown of the main regulations:



impact if a collision occurs. Should a breakage occur it should be ensured the glass breaks in a way that no injuries are caused.

• Structural regulations – Approved Document A covers the structure of the building including the confirmation that the foundations can support the weight of the windows and doors. Also, that in the event of an accident, the building, including the windows and doors, can withstand reasonable force. • Ventilation – Approved Document F deals with the uncontrolled ventilation of the property. This covers the energy efficiency of the property including insulating and sealing against draughts to ensure

it does not have an adverse effect on energy performance. It states there must be adequate ventilation to prevent excessive condensation build-up that could cause rot and decay.


grade.’ Fixed windows are also cheaper than windows with openings, and for any windows that need to open, go for ‘casement’ windows. Try to avoid madeto-measure windows and doors if you are on a budget as these will increase the cost, as will designs such as curves, circles, bays and bow windows.

Depending on your budget there is a wide range of materials and styles on ADDITIONAL EXTRAS offer when it comes to your replacement windows and doors. If you are looking As well as there being a wide range of to save money, then uPVC is the windows and doors to choose from, there wisest choice as it will save you money is an even longer list of added extras compared to timber you can get which and aluminium can bump up the construction. Avoid price! Options such You must have approval single-glazed windows, as between-shade from the Building as they aren’t efficient enough for the UK, so go for double-glazing instead. Although not as efficient as tripleglazing, they will insulate your house well.

Control department of your local council, confirming the replacements have been fitted in accordance with local building regulations

When purchasing your windows and doors go for ‘buildergrade,’ or ‘contractor-grade,’ materials which will be cheaper than ‘architectural

glass, laminated exteriors, trim supplied and installed and integrated grilles, so double-check if the benefits will outweigh the cost in the long-run.

Old or inefficient windows and doors can have a significant impact on the heating of your home as well as your energy bills.

Signs of rot or warping on your windows are big indicators that they need to be changed. When you are getting them replaced, following the regulations of course, there are further additional upgrades for security and aesthetics. A range of window locks are available with popular choices being keyed lock, hinged wedge locks and sash locks. Aesthetically, aluminium and timber frames offer the most eye-pleasing look, however, they come at a higher cost compared to uPVC. You could also go for added safety with Plexiglass which is an impact resistant type of glass ten times stronger than regular glass.




THE WAY FORWARD? Since 2014, more than half a million people in 178 countries have been inspired by the Veganuary movement; ditching dairy and meat in favour of plant-based foods. But how healthy is it to be a vegan?


UK non-profit organisation, Veganuary encourages people to go vegan for the month of January as a way of promoting and educating a vegan lifestyle.

Whopper, and McDonald’s has released its Veggie Dippers; with many more sure to follow suit.

And, with the provision of vegan food in shops and restaurants steadily increasing, it’s never been easier to opt for a vegan diet.

With so much publicity on Veganuary, there has been plenty of debate as to whether a vegan It’s also recommended to include diet is healthier, simply because it beans, pulses and other proteins, is plant based. and to drink While vegan plenty of fluids. Since 2014, more than food omits the And if you do half a million people use of meat and include foods and in 178 countries have dairy products, drinks that are the substitutes high in fat, salt or been inspired by the used in the sugar, try to have Veganuary movement preparation these less often. and cooking can mean that the calorie and fat WHERE CAN I FIND content is higher. For example, OUT MORE? Subway’s meatless marina contains There is a wide range of information 120 calories, and 7g more sugar,

VEGAN VARIETY Last year, food-to-go retailer Greggs had phenomenal success with their Vegan Sausage Roll; in fact, they have recently rewarded all their employees with a £300 bonus in light of its success. This year, they have launched their Vegan Steak Bake. It’s been designed to mirror some of the original Steak Bake’s classic features, including 96 layers of puff pastry and have teamed up with Quorn to wrap it around savoury mycoprotein pieces and diced onions in a rich gravy. The verdict so far? Only time will tell although there has been a thumbs up from many already – including non-vegans. And they aren’t the only ones to launch new vegan products this year. So far, KFC has launched its first-ever Vegan Burger, Burger King has launched its Rebel




and base meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates to ensure a healthy body. There is a plethora of dairy alternatives available, such as soya drinks and yoghurts – but remember to choose lower fat and lower sugar options.

compared to the meat version.

available on the Internet; from advice, tips and menu plans/

However, Burger King’s Rebel Whopper bucks this trend, having less calories than its meat alternative. Therefore, this shows why it’s still important to ensure you make healthy choices when opting for vegan items.

recipes, so if you are considering going vegan, do your research so you can ensure you give your body – and mind – what it needs to function to its full potential.

VARIETY IS KEY The NHS advises you to eat at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day

Not quite ready to fully embrace all that a vegan diet entails? A great solution is to be a flexitarian; this means that you follow mainly a plant-based diet, with the occasional addition of meat and fish.

If you missed out on trying Veganuary, have no fear; here we feature a tempting recipe that’s sure to whet your appetite (and the rest of the family too)


VEGAN MAC ‘N’ CHEESE Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 20 minutes (plus overnight soaking) Serves: 6 Nutrition: 686kcal per serving




160g raw cashews

1. The night before, soak the cashew nuts in water and leave overnight.

200g carrots, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes 700g potatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes 90ml olive oil 40g nutritional yeast 1 lemon, juice only 4 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped 1 tbsp Dijon mustard 1 tbsp white wine vinegar 1 tsp cayenne pepper


Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Steam the carrots and potatoes together for 5 mins, until completely softened. Transfer to a food processor. Drain the cashews and add these with 60ml of the oil, then blitz. Tip in rest of the other ingredients, except the macaroni, breadcrumbs and the remaining oil, then blitz again until it’s smooth. Season well. Add a splash of water and a drizzle of olive oil if it looks too stiff, then set aside.


Cook the macaroni in a large pan of salted water for 1 min less than packet instructions, drain then stir through the sauce. Transfer the mix to an ovenproof dish, stir the breadcrumbs with the remaining oil and some seasoning. Scatter over the top of the macaroni and bake for 20-25 mins until piping hot and crisp.

400g macaroni 3 tbsp panko breadcrumbs

4. Serve with a fresh side salad.

This recipe, and more, can be found at https://www. bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/vegan-mac-n-cheese




ere we’ve compiled a few of our favourite cleaning hacks to make the cleaning process easy and cost effective; some of the tips may surprise you!

Thanks to the likes of Mrs Hinch, giving your house a spring clean in preparation for selling or for house viewings has never been easier

Shaving foam – that’s right, you read correctly! Shaving foam is a great way to remove stains from your carpets. Having lighter coloured carpets means they are much more likely to show dirt and are much harder to clean, but simply rub in the shaving foam and let it sit for around 30 minutes. Once the area is dry, hoover it. A simple and cost-effective cleaning hack to prevent buying costly new carpets! Vinegar – forget just using vinegar on your chips; this cheap household staple has a few surprising uses to help clean your home. It can be used cheaply, safely and effectively to clean surfaces, windows, microwaves and can even be used to clean your toilet bowl, and dishwasher (replacing the need for expensive dishwasher rinse aid). Something else you may not know, is that distilled white wine vinegar when used with your laundry will reduce odour, soften clothes and act as a brightener Giving your house a for white spring clean in clothes preparation for without selling or for house having to use viewings has never harsh been easier chemical products – which has the added benefit of being better for the environment. We could go on but once you realise the value of vinegar, you may never need to buy cleaning products again! Lemons – another common household item, but what can you do with them other than slice and add to a well-earned gin and tonic at the end of a busy day? Why not try placing a bowl of water and lemon rinds in the microwave, turn it on for three minutes, leave for a further five



minutes before opening the door – unexpected uses. If your bathroom or then wipe! You’ll have a clean and kitchen have signs of mildew or mould, fresh smelling microwave at minimal make a paste from bicarbonate of soda cost. If your wooden furniture needs a by mixing with lukewarm water and polish, combine 2 parts then apply to taps, olive oil with 1 part plugs or grouting. Use lemon juice and you a brush to scrub it in It really is amazing will have your own then rinse; it will look that so many of the natural and fresh as good as new. This products we have smelling furniture mixture, when in our homes can polish. And if the combined with white be used as a cheap grouting in your wine vinegar, can also and effective bathroom or around be used as a very method of cleaning your kitchen tiles are in effective sink and need of attention, drain un-blocker. Just spray undiluted lemon pour hot water into juice on the offending area and leave the offending sink, add a cup of for about ten minutes, then wipe off. bicarbonate of soda and warm white It’s guaranteed to leave your tiles and wine vinegar, let grouting sparkling and smelling fresh it fizz then rinse and clean. with hot water. Bicarbonate of Newspaper – we all aspire to having soda can also be streak free windows: a handy hint used as a when cleaning interior or exterior deoderiser to windows with either vinegar, lemon or remove commercial cleaning products is to unwanted rub off the cleaning agent with smells on newspaper. It’s an excellent and very furniture and economical trick for creating streak mattresses, free windows. simply sprinkle on the offending Coke – it’s another item many people item leave for a regularly have in their homes, but did couple of hours you realise that if you pour a can of then hoover up. coke, or the remains of the bottle which has gone too flat to drink, into Rubber gloves your toilet bowl, leave for about an – if you have hour then flush away, it will leave the pets who toilet looking clean and fresh. regularly shed hair, a good way of removing this from your upholstery is Bicarbonate of Soda – yet another to simply rub the offending area with a household staple which has several rubber glove. Doing this will pick

up the hairs which can then be easily disposed of! Toothpaste – did you know that toothpaste can be used to clean your stainless-steel sink? Simply squeeze some regular toothpaste onto a micro fibre cloth, then buff the sink and rinse which should leave it deodorised and shining. It really is amazing that so many of the products we have in our homes can be used as a cheap and effective method of cleaning – making them just as effective as expensive big name branded items. Using household products also have the added benefit

of being better for the environment, helping to reduce waste and contain fewer harmful chemicals as they only rely on natural ingredients.





orget the hearts and flowers. Chuck the chocolates in the bin. The road to your loved one’s heart is not in the clichéd, but more likely in an airport terminal. Because nothing says modern romance quite like: “Get your case. We’re off.”

Obviously, Paris must be on the shortlist. Stunning, stylish, charming (just avert your eyes as you travel through Montmartre to the beautiful Basilica of the Sacre Coeur; parts of it are less than romantic), Paris is everything you hope it will be, largely because you know it so well from the movies.

Still ranked as THE place to propose, get married or honeymoon, the best time to visit the French capital is in the spring when even the oldest buildings in this architecturally perfect city look freshly washed. Intimate strolls with your significant other through Don’t ignore the Bois de Boulogne, and along Amsterdam, where the the Seine to the Pont Neuf district maze of slow-flowing are recommended, as is a sunset canals, lined by trees cruise along the city’s majestic waterway – if the budget can and the towering stretch to it – for a different centuries-old buildings, perspective of the city. create an enchanting

It may be Valentine’s Day this month, but early February isn’t generally the ideal time to risk an impromptu break – with a notable exception.

But unless your budget extends to a week on some tropical idyll in the Indian Ocean or the Caribbean, you’re probably looking at a European city break and nobody enjoys tramping around under a brolly, so far better to play the medium to long game and atmosphere drop a couple of e-tickets or copy of a booking confirmation email in your Valentine’s card for a couple of days away when the sun might put in an appearance. With romance your guide, where better to head for than Italy, particularly Verona, home to the ultimate star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet? Less than an hour from Venice on the train and 30 minutes from Lake Garda, Verona is genuinely beautiful. The Piazza delle Erbe is a delight, the astonishing Arena di Verona predates Rome’s Colosseum by 50 years and leads you nicely to the queue for Juliet’s House, that balcony and the statue of our tragic heroine, which, if you rub her right breast, will make you lucky in love (be aware this statue is a copy so it may not work – the original Juliet is in the Museum Castelvecchio after restoration). If that’s not enough, Florence – home of the iconic Duoma, stunning Renaissance art including Michelangelo’s David and Ponte Vecchio – is just a three-hour rail trip away.



Speaking of waterways, don’t ignore Amsterdam, where the maze of slow-flowing canals, lined by trees and the towering centuries-old buildings, create an enchanting atmosphere. And if crossing one of the many illuminated bridges at twilight, just as the water takes on an orange glow, does not leave you a little weak at the knees then, quite frankly, you’ve become a lost cause. And there lie the not-so-secret ingredients for a romantic getaway: charm and character. The old European cities – Vienna, Prague, Bruges for example – have it in bucketloads, while the ‘recently-accessible’ centres, such as Ljublana in Slovenia are catching up. Frequently overlooked in favour of nearby Bled, which is stunning in its own right, picturesque Ljublana has a wonderful vibe and is rapidly becoming one of the continent’s top foodie destinations. Similarly coming up on the outside in the Romance Stakes is Santorini. The picture-perfect Greek island is now the wedding destination of choice and not just because of the climate. A

If you’re looking to make a good impression on Valentine’s Day, broaden your horizons to give your relationship wings dramatic, rugged coastline, cliff-hugging villages and probably the most famous sunset in Europe at the irresistibly photogenic Oia makes the ideal conclusion to anyone’s big day. Or does it? Because for the ultimate romantic break you need to head north. To the Arctic Circle. For a scene straight out of Mills & Boon, picture yourself on a crisp cold night, thousands of stars twinkling like diamonds on a black velvet cloth, a snowy wilderness, a hot tub outside your own log cabin, two glasses of fizz and that most beguiling of natural phenomena, the Aurora Borealis, shimmering across the skyline. But if a trip to Iceland (not that one) or Scandinavia for the Northern Lights ticks the boxes, avoid late April through to September because the hours of darkness diminish considerably.

With romance your guide, where better to head for than Italy, particularly Verona, home to the ultimate star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet?

However, as anyone who has been married for a long time will tell you: the secret to a long, happy and stable relationship is give and take. With that in mind we give you the compromise capital of Europe… Barcelona. Spain’s most popular tourist destination attracts thousands for its blend of culture, out-of-this world food and Antoni Gaudi’s mind-boggling architecture. So, by day it’s Las Ramblas, the world-famous food market La Boqueira, and a trip to Gaudi’s as-yet unfinished masterpiece, the stunning La Sagrada Familia. And by night, Barcelona’s other ’cathedral’, the majestic Camp Nou, home to one of European football’s elite, FC Barcelona. And even if Barca aren’t playing, there’s always the behind-the-scenes tour and museum. Who said romance was dead?



IT’S A KNOCKOUT! Four British teams are left in this years’ Champions League when the round of the ‘Last 16’ kicks-off


he Champions League LIVERPOOL returns with the ‘Last 16’ Champions League holders games kicking off this Liverpool have run away with month and running through to the the Premier League this season. 18th March. Chelsea, Tottenham, Jurgen Klopp’s men have gone Liverpool and Manchester City from strength to strength and as are all hoping to make it through opposed to previous to the last eight; years, they seem however, Europe’s to have the belief elite squads stand The Champions that they won’t let in their way. League Last 16 it fall through their kicks off on the fingers. However, CHELSEA does the Premier 18th February League title mean and runs through Frank Lampard’s that much to them to the 18th March Chelsea are at they may take their a crossroads. eyes off the prize Still in a fight for when it comes to fourth place in the the Champions Premier League, it would never be League? Their opponents, Atletico easy for Lampard’s young squad Madrid, are keeping pace with Real this season. However, with the Madrid and Barcelona in La Liga, so goals of Tammy Abraham and a the games on the 18th Feb and 11th solid core of Kovacic, Kante and March should be some spectacle. Jorginho in midfield, on their day they can beat anyone. They face MANCHESTER CITY Bayern Munich on the 25th Feb and the 18th March. Bayern aren’t Pep Guardiola’s Citizens have having it all their own way in the released their grip on the Premier Bundesliga this season, despite the League this year, with some frankly ridiculous form of Robert unexpected results. However, key Lewandowski who already has over players Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo 30 goals to his name.



Silva and Fernandinho have hit form coming into the second half of the season. Does this mean Guardiola has now prioritised Champions League success for this season? It’s the last trophy missing from his time with City, but with his old foes Real Madrid waiting on the 26th Feb and the 17th March, it will not be easy. Sergio Aguero is back leading the line and will hope, like Guardiola, to add the one trophy missing from his cabinet.

TOTTENHAM Pochettino’s celebration at the end of last years’ incredible semi-final is a distant memory, replaced with the sombre, sulking figure of Jose Mourinho. The new manager bounce has come and gone and it’s fair to say, compared to last year, their season has been disappointing. Struggling for a top-four finish, Mourinho will know the best chance to keep Champions League football next season will be to go one better than his predecessor and win this years’ competition. Captain Harry Kane is injured and will not return for the rest of the season including their matches against RB Leipzig on the 19th Feb and the 10th March.




hen you are looking to rent your property, you have two options; you can provide the furniture and furnish it yourself or you can rent it empty ready for the tenant to furnish, which is known as renting unfurnished. Both options have their benefits and their downfalls.

FURNISHED Furnished properties are popular with first time renters who haven’t got a house load of furniture already, as it will make things simpler in the short term. Another benefit is that your tenants may give your property more respect if they can see that you have invested in good quality furniture for them. A furnished property can demand a higher rent; however, it may limit the market with renting to families, especially those with children who may have their own furniture. There is also the potential fear for the parent, that a child may damage the furniture which could affect the deposit in the long run. Furnished properties are also perfect for professional couples and singles, especially those commuting. These tend to be short-term rentals and

can work well for professionals looking for somewhere convenient and close to work while relocating and looking for somewhere more permanent.

One of the biggest questions facing landlords, is whether to furnish your property or to let your tenant do it them and may encourage them to stay longer than if it was a furnished property.

You will also have less stress regarding wear and tear on your However, there is a significant cost furniture as well as your property. involved when it comes to furnishing There will be no need to replace a property, as furniture and white your tenants goods at the end of will want a a tenancy as it will A furnished property can certain quality be the responsibility demand a higher rent; of furnishings of the tenant. There however, it may limit the – especially will also be no market with renting to when you expensive bills if any families, especially those consider appliances break with children who may white goods during a tenancy. have their own furniture for the kitchen In conclusion, the alongside choice to offer your beds, sofas, tables and chairs. property furnished or unfurnished is

UNFURNISHED Unfurnished properties tend to appeal to longer term tenants, especially families who already have belongings. You will open your property to a larger market if it is unfurnished as people love being able to put their own stamp on

yours. However, depending on the type of tenant you are looking for, one may be more beneficial to you than the other.

a place.

For example, if you have a flat close to a commute it may be a good idea to offer it furnished, whereas if you have a three-bedroom property in a residential area it will be more beneficial to keep it unfurnished.

With your tenants able to design their own living spaces, it will make the property feel more like home for

For more advice when it comes to renting your property, please talk to our lettings team today.




Allscott Mill, Allscott, TF6 5EE


Stunning Opportunity to purchase this 7 Bedroom Detached Grade II listed house that occupies a fantastic riverside plot with approximately one acre of grounds, located in this highly sought after Hamlet that has good road links to both Telford and Shrewsbury. Allscott Mill has been extended by the current owners to provide over 4000sqft of flexible living space spread over 3 floors.

The Old Builders Yard, Stars Lane, Cold Hatton TF6 6PZ


Fantastic opportunity to purchase this new build four bedroom detached house that occupies a superb plot with outstanding open views to the rear, on this select development of just two homes. The ground floor comprises entrance hallway, sitting room with feature log burning stove, breakfast kitchen with integrated appliances, separate dining room, utility and a ground floor wc. The first floor features master bedroom with Juliet balcony doors with far reaching views and an en-suite shower, three further bedrooms and a family bathroom with bath and separate shower cubicle. Plot 2 benefits from a detached double garage, driveway parking, large landscaped gardens, air source heating with under floor heating to the ground floor and radiators to the first floor.



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Rodington Court, Rodington, SY4 4QL


This stunning five bedroom 3 storey barn conversion is located in the highly sought after village location of Rodington, that has excellent access to both Shrewsbury and Telford. The property offers extremely flexible family accommodation, the ground floor comprises, large reception hallway, lounge, dining room with dual French doors to the gardens, kitchen, utility and a ground floor wc. The first floor features sitting room, master bedroom with en-suite shower and fitted wardrobes, two further bedrooms and a family bathroom. The top floor has a further two rooms and useful loft storage space. The property has many charming features throughout including plenty of natural light from roof lights and several exposed beams and timbers. EPC – D

Eider Drive, Apley, TF1 6TJ


A superb five bedroom detached house situated in a generous corner plot. The property has been upgraded to a high standard and comprises of entrance hallway, lounge, modern kitchen with dining space, dining room, conservatory with log burner, utility and cloakroom. To the first floor is a master bedroom with ensuite, a second double bedroom with ensuite shower room, three further bedrooms and family bathroom. This beautiful home has double garage, plenty of parking, established gardens and a sweeping L-shaped garden with patio area and mature trees. EPC – D



Wrekin Road, Wellington, TF1 1RN


This much improved four bedroom end terraced house has been completely refurbished by the current vendors and offers flexible modern living with some great character features and driveway parking. The property comprises entrance hallway sitting room with log burning stove, dining room, refitted kitchen, ground floor shower, four bedrooms and a refitted bathroom. The property features enclosed rear gardens, extensive driveway parking, gas central heating and double glazing. Internal inspection is highly recommended to appreciate the superb merits this home offers. EPC – D

Broomhurst Way, Muxton TF2 8RG


One off opportunity to purchase this stunning four bedroom detached house that occupies a superb sized plot and benefits outstanding open views to the rear and benefits end of cul-de-sac position, The property is located in the highly popular established location of Muxton. The accommodation comprise entrance hallway, sitting room, dining room, conservatory, breakfast kitchen, ground floor wc, master bedroom with en-suite shower, three further bedrooms and a family bathroom. The property features garage with electric roller door, driveway parking, fantastic landscaped gardens, gas central heating, double glazing. Within easy reach of Granville Country Park and golf courses. EPC – D



01952 245064

Ketley Park Road, Ketley, TF1 5BF


Internal inspection is essential to appreciate the fantastic family accommodation on offer with this 4 bedroom 3 storey town house, located on this popular residential development that has great local amenities and motorway access. The property offers well planned flexible living the ground floor comprises entrance hallway, breakfast kitchen, lounge/ dining room with French doors to the gardens and a ground floor wc. The first floor features a master bedroom with en-suite shower, 4th bedroom/family room with French doors on to a lovely terraced balcony. The top floor comprises two further good sized bedrooms and a family bathroom.

Leegomery Road, Wellington, TF1 3BP


Fantastic opportunity to purchase this three bedroom semi detached Victorian house, located in this highly sought after established location within walking distance of Wellington Town centre. The property offers spacious and flexible family accommodation the ground floor comprises reception hallway, sitting room, dining room, breakfast kitchen with walk in pantry, ground floor shower room and a useful rear entrance porch/lobby, to the first floor the property features three good sized bedrooms and a family bathroom. The property benefits from driveway parking, 29ft garage, established gardens, gas central heating, partly double glazed and has NO UPWARD CHAIN.



ANTHONY LOWE - BUYER I was satisfied in every way with the service I received, it’s a lovely bright airy office with a good frontage onto Market Street so just from the window it was a pleasure to look to see what properties were coming onto the market day-by-day. I would frequently walk in and engage with different members of staff, all of which were equally friendly. I would recommend Mannleys to family and friends as they offer a full service.

MR & MRS REYNOLDS - SELLER They were all very professional and pleasant and a pleasure to deal with.

LI ZHOU - LANDLORD I found them very helpful, they helped me from day 1 after I had bought my properties and again when they gave me advice on how to make my properties stand out and again very good rental return.

LIAM KING - LANDLORD Their main USP is they’re very young, very dynamic, very hard working, they work 24/7 their marketing is superb, their logo and their colours make them stand out from all the others.




RICHARD BAILEY - LANDLORD They say they’ll do everything and they do it, they follow it up well the staff have enough initiative to chase a problem up and then come back to you.

DAVE MORRIS - LANDLORD They’re big enough to deal with any day-today problems, but small enough to care.

BILL STONE - LANDLORD I think they differ from the rest because they’re more professional but they’re down to earth as well they’re straightforward guys that I can get along with.

STUART ELLIS - SELLER I’d use Mannleys again without question due to them being trustworthy, reliable and the affordability of it.



AARON MANLEY - DIRECTOR Since leaving school and heading for a career on the building site Aaron (AJ) had two weeks work experience in a local estate agent and never returned to mixing cement. In fact he went on to pass his industry exams and has now been involved in the property sector for 20 years. AJ gained a wealth of knowledge working his way up from tea boy to running his own office, and in 2008 set up his own lettings and management business in the local area. After 8 successful years, the opportunity to expand and grow came along and the business re-formed into Mannleys Estate Agents where he is one of the Directors. AJ loves all aspects of sport and enjoys a round of golf, watching football and has the occasional tip for the geegee’s.

SIMON O’TOOLE - DIRECTOR Simon is a very entrepreneurial character who has been in business in the Telford area for a number of years. Previously having his own builders merchants “Wrekin Building Supplies” supplying builders across the county and beyond with materials, Simon is now a Director with Mannleys on the land and new homes side of the business. Very well-known with an amazing portfolio of contacts, he has a special gift in business with a proven track record. Simon is very well-connected, has a soft spot for hot food, and enjoys all sports including, football, boxing, horseracing and is involved in a horse racing syndicate.

CHRIS MANN - DIRECTOR With over 24 years in estate agency, Chris’ journey began in 1995 as a trainee, soon progressing after only two years to office manager. He enjoys all aspects of the property market and through his time has gained a great insight into the Shropshire property market. This has given Chris excellent knowledge of the property world and has enabled him to offer clients professional advice. The creation of Mannleys began in 2016 and setting up Mannleys with such a great team was an amazing journey and Chris is proud of what they have already achieved. In what spare time he gets, Chris spends time with his family and friends, enjoying plenty of travel. He also loves cooking, especially with his kids, and also enjoys most sport – particularly football and cricket.

DANIELLE RICHARDS - SALES NEGOTIATOR Danielle started working as an apprentice Sales Negotiator in 2014 at an agents in Telford before joining Mannleys in 2017. She has a keen interest in property after growing up watching her father and uncles build and renovate different properties. Danielle has just completed her first renovation project of her own and is hoping to find her next very soon! In her spare time she enjoys socialising with friends, watching reality TV, shopping and Hinching! She has expanded her knowledge within lettings since working at Mannleys and is currently working towards completing the NAEA Technical Award.

LYDIA MOORE - SALES NEGOTIATOR Lydia joined Mannleys Sales and Lettings in 2018, having previously worked for two other agents where she started off as a trainee Lettings Negotiator. In the last six years Lydia had gained experience in residential sales and lettings. Lydia enjoys the fast pace work environment at Mannleys and seeing the whole process throughout whether that be moving a tenant in or a sale completing. At the moment Lydia is currently working towards the NAEA Technical Award in residential sales and lettings which she is due to take later this year. In her spare time she enjoys horse riding and is a keen cook!



01952TEAM 245064 MEET OUR

JACK O’TOOLE - MARKETING Jack has been working with Mannleys since it opened in 2016. Always smart and looking the part, Jack was a shy and nervous young man. Three years on he has worked his way up to be a young, confident and charismatic individual who has completed his apprenticeship within Mannleys. He has now taken on an important role within the business as Marketing Manager which involves property photography and drawing floorplans. He is already deep into his college photography night course and is working towards becoming EPC qualified. Jack tends to be an active individual whose main interests involve the gym, computers and he is one hell of a dancer!

CHERYL WEYMOUTH - PROPERTY MANAGEMENT Cheryl never even thought of being an Estate Agent, but after coming back from London as a Nanny, way back then…. she saw an advert and thought ‘why not’ and has now been in the Industry since 1987! Starting in Wellngton, Cheryl has worked all around Shropshire and now back full circle. Most of her career has been in the Sales department, so it’s a new challenge working in Lettings. Cheryl’s main passion is travelling and she had the privilege of taking 3 months off from work going to Australia and America. When she retires, she may become a bit of a nomad and travel the world; but until then, she loves what she does!

HELEN MITCHELL-GOUGH - PROPERTY MANAGEMENT Helen started with the company in 2017, initially taken on in the Lettings department part time, to help out with maintenance, that soon changed! With the business growing so rapidly so have the hours, but but Helen loves it! Previously, life for Helen was mostly in Retail Management but she left to have a career break whilst nurturing her 2 sons and helping her husband’s new founded business, Q Financial, which now also works in conjunction with Mannleys. Helen loves socialising and eating out in nice restaurants and has a passion for collecting different Gins.

SARAH CHARD - PROPERTY MANAGEMENT Sarah came to Mannleys in 2019 with many years of PA, HR and operational management experience. She is very involved in Wellington and project managed the building of Wellington Orbit before coming to us. She works in our lettings department 2 days a week and works the rest of the week for other local small businesses. Out of work Sarah loves to travel, and spend time with her dog, her 2 grown up children and husband (in that order!)

ROSIE CURRAN - APPRENTICE Joining Mannleys in July 2019 as an Apprentice, Rosie has been introduced to the team as a Sales and Lettings Administrator Apprentice. She has ambition to become a fully qualified member of the team to fulfil her career aspirations in estate agency. Rosie wants to complete additional training within estate agency so she can gain more skills in the area. She enjoys different aspects of sales and lettings and hopes to achieve a successful career with Mannleys. She is determined, has a strong desire to succeed and is delightful to have round the workplace. During her free time, she likes to spend time with family and friends, travelling, going shopping and walking her dog Harvey!




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Why did you buy the house? The location near school How long have you lived there?

Everyone loves a happy ending. And when it comes to moving, we’ll be on hand to help you find your perfect property. Talk to us now about how we can help.

5 years What is the best feature? The open plan living space A deceptively spacious and extended detached house located in the corner of this popular cul-de-sac enjoying a large corner plot garden with lovely far reaching views to the rear. The property further benefits from double glazing, a single garage and off road parking together with electric heating

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Mannleys - February 2020