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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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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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Ings Lane, North Ferriby

£164,950

Close to the foreshore this modern 2-bedroom middle house located in the popular village of North Ferriby is positioned in a pleasant position between the village centre and the banks of the Humber Estuary. The property has upgraded uPVC double glazing and gas central heating via a modern Worcester boiler and is well suited to a young professional or those looking to downsize. Internally the property provides well-presented accommodation that comprises an entrance hallway, a lounge with feature fireplace, a kitchen/diner with integrated oven and hob and at first floor two bedroom (the main bedroom has fitted wardrobes) and a bathroom with over bath shower.

Petfield Drive, Anlaby

£384,950

WOW - Stunning Home Alert! Built by David Wilson and situated on the popular Aspect Site this modern detached home must be viewed. It is tastefully decorated and offers spacious accommodation comprising; entrance, W.C, Lounge, Study, utility and open plan kitchen/diner with modern kitchen and integrated appliances. From the spacious first floor landing are Four bedrooms (master en-suite and three of which have fitted wardrobes) plus family bathroom. It benefits from Grade 2 Alarm System, gas central heating, UPVC double glazing, garden, side drive for two cars, garage and enclosed SOUTH FACING rear garden. (CCTV and other items are negotiable).

oscarshull.co.uk


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The Mill House, Beverley Road, Skidby

£595,000

The Mill House is a truly unique property which is tucked away from the road within this popular village location. The property overlooks open fields to one side and backs onto the iconic Skidby Mill which makes for a spectacular setting. There are landscaped grounds of circa 1/4 acre. The current owners have extensively remodelled and refurbished the property during their ownership to a high standard throughout. This family home now offers internal space which is normally seen in 4/5-bedroom properties. The layout could be adjusted to include a 4th bedroom but currently offers 3 large double bedrooms, an en-suite shower room, a dressing room and a well-appointed family bathroom to the first floor.

Hamlyn Avenue, Hull

£194,950

Spacious & Homely 3 BED PLUS LOFT SPACE Semi Detached House comprising; entrance hall, open plan lounge/diner (Log burner fitted Nov 2018) & modern spacious breakfast kitchen to the ground floor. Three bedrooms, modern and spacious bathroom to the first floor plus fixed stairs leading to Loft Space. It benefits from UPVC double glazing, Gas central heating (New Ideal Logic boiler fitted Aug 2018 with 10yr warranty), paved garden to front, large rear mainly laid to lawn with patio, garage and private parking via ten-foot. Situated in a popular location close by to shops/amenities/local schools and public transport.

oscarshull.co.uk


High Street, North Ferriby

£205,000

Situated close to the centre of North Ferriby village is this period 2/3-bedroom middle house with southerly rear garden and off street parking. This quirky cottage retains character whilst also catering for modern day living and the internal accommodation comprises a 17ft lounge with feature brick wall, L-shaped kitchen/diner and at first floor 2 bedrooms, a box room/study and a good size family bathroom. Outside there is a yard with traditional outhouse, off street parking and a low maintenance rear garden which benefits from a southerly aspect. Offered with no onward chain.

Kendal Way, Anlaby Common

OIRO £210,000

FANTASTIC CORNER PLOT! Extended Semi-Detached Family Home in a highly sought-after area NOT TO BE MISSED! Entrance hall, through lounge/diner, conservatory, additional reception room, kitchen, utility and W.C with Three bedrooms (two fitted) and modern bathroom. It benefits from gas central heating (new boiler 2018), UPVC double glazing, off street parking and garden to front, side and rear garden (outdoor bar - negotiable) plus drive and garage to rear! I would strongly advise anyone interested to act quickly as we do not expect this property to be available for long.

oscarshull.co.uk


01482 446644 CALL US TODAY FOR A FREE NO OBLIGATION VALUATION

Hawkshead Green, Anlaby Common

£190,000

Offered with NO CHAIN INVOLVED! Lying in a head of cul-de-sac position and having been the subject of recent improvement/ refurbishment, this exceptionally well presented 3-bedroom semi-detached family home offers spacious accommodation which is uPVC double glazed and gas centrally heated throughout via a modern combi boiler with warranty. Approached from the cul-de-sac via a driveway leading to a garage, the internal layout includes a 23ft open plan lounge/diner with feature fireplace, bi-folding doors which open into a 14ft conservatory, fitted kitchen with integrated double oven and hob and a separate utility area. At first floor there are 3 bedrooms (the master bedroom includes fitted wardrobes) and a well-appointed family bathroom with over bath shower.

Reynolds Close, Melton

OIRO £265,000

modern kitchen and bathroom & including large loft conversion to regulations. (Completion Certificate available) Entrance hall, lounge, dining room and modern kitchen with three double bedrooms and modern bathroom with four-piece suite to the ground floor and the impressive oft conversion to the first floor has a walk-in wardrobe and scope for possible potential further conversion. It benefits from gas central heating, UPVC double glazing, gravel to the front, side drive, garage and large stunning feature garden to the rear. Ideally located for access to A63/M62.

oscarshull.co.uk


Meet our team

ALISDAIR BOTT-FRANCIS How long have you lived in the area? All my life What do you love most about you job? Working with a team of people who I have worked with for many years and who I admire and respect Tell us something unique about you? I have sung solo on stage at Hull City Hall

Managing Director

MARTIN BOTT How long have you lived in the area? Almost 45 years

INDIA BOTT-FRANCIS How long have you lived in the area? Since I was 3. I was born in London.

What do you love most about your job? Meeting different people every day

What do you love most about you job? Meeting new people and seeing some amazing homes.

Tell us something unique about you? I have stood on the top step of the F1 podium at Silverstone

Director

What makes you happy? Spending time with my family

Director

CLAIRE RENFREE

JENNY CATCHPOLE How long have you lived in the area? All my life

How long have you lived in the area? All my life – 20 years east, 27 years west

What do you love most about you job? The buzz & My work family!

What do you love most about you job? The variation that there are never two days the same and handing the keys over at completion

Tell us something unique about you? I can do over 20 football ‘keepy uppys’ Operations/Accounts Manager

Tell us something unique about you? A member of my family was awarded the Victoria Cross

What makes you happy? My beautiful daughter, husband and dog and loving family

sALES NEGOTIATOR

oscarshull.co.uk

Tell us something unique about you? Gary Barlow follows me on twitter


01482 446644 CALL US TODAY FOR A FREE NO OBLIGATION VALUATION

NICOLA CALVERLEY

ALEX MONEY How long have you lived in the area? All my life, not giving my age away though!

My first house: Having recently relocated from London, where I was working in the property industry, I am now saving for my first property in Hull.

What do you love most about your job? I love being part of the process of a sale from valuation all the way through to handing the keys over

sALES NEGOTIATOR

Tell us something unique about you? I have a distinction in elocution

In my spare time/ hobbies I go to the gym and watch the football. I also love music and play guitar when I can.

sALES NEGOTIATOR

LEANNE ORD

REBECCA PATTISON My first house: A two bedroom extended house in the West of Hull which was decorated green internally from top to bottom.

My first house: A small cosy 2 bed terrace in West Hull. My dream home would include: Dressing room and a huge garden with a summer house would be the dream.

My dream home would include: A balcony with a sea view.

SALES MANAGER and VALUER

My favourite local restaurant: Thai house or Lucca on Princes Avenue

OLIVIA WITHERS My first house: I am currently in the process of looking to purchase my first home with my boyfriend it will either be in a west Hull Village or Beverley.

Senior Property Manager

My favourite local restaurant: 42nd Bakehouse in Beverley

My favourite local restaurant: Bengal Lounge – got to love a good curry.

CHARLOTTE HUDSON My first house: Still living with my parents, after 26 years in the same home. My dream home would include: It would have to have a drive!! And probably a dressing room, actually no definitely a dressing room.

My dream home would include: A traditional home with modern interior.

Property Manager

Best piece of advice Always look on the bright side of life.

Sales/Lettings Negotiator

oscarshull.co.uk

My favourite local restaurant: Swan & Cygnet.


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here's what our customers have to say I thought the service was absolutely first class, very professional and efficient, and they kept me in full communication with all the developments, viewings etc, and there were a lot thank to all their hard work. So absolutely excellent. Right from the very first contact they were very professional and efficient, polite and arrange very quickly to meet with me at the property and they went from there. The staff were all very efficient and polite and over all it was an absolutely excellent experience and I’d recommend them to anybody

- BRUce, Vendor

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We chose Oscars to market the property due to the fact that we had Alisdair come around, he’s very friendly and a nice person, we seemed to hit off a nice rapport right away. And the service they were willing to provide for the price of the property was the best on the market.

oscarshull.co.uk

- Phillip, vendor


01482 446644 CALL US TODAY FOR A FREE NO OBLIGATION VALUATION

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The customer service was brilliant, the girls were always at the end of the phone, they act quickly, they meet all my needs and they’re always there for me. I have recommended Oscars to family and friends

- Denise, landlord

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They way they treated prospective clients when they came to see the house was first class, and then their follow up to me to tell me how the viewings went was first class too. Their extremely good at communicating, they look after you wonderfully. I would recommend Oscars to friends, they’re very good on the price situation but also more than that they’re very good at communication and keeping you informed on how the job is going.

Everyone knew what they were doing so I had no concerns whatsoever. The reason I’d recommend Oscars is their cost is very competitive and I though was reasonable. - Dennis, vendor

oscarshull.co.uk

- TOny, vendor


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.

01482 446644 | oscarshull.co.uk | Sales. sales@oscarshull.co.uk Lettings. info@oscarshull.co.uk

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Oscars - February 2021