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December 2019

Property news Mid-winter getaways: Will you shun the shivers or hit the slopes for your mid-winter break? Page 12

INSIDE THIS ISSUE Protect your home this Christmas

Last minute gift ideas for everyone

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Cats adaptation set to prowl cinema screens

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Editor’s Letter Welcome to the December issue! ‘Tis the season to be jolly! The countdown to the festivities has well and truly started but fear not; we have got lots inside to help you get prepared for Santa’s visit, as well as preparing you and your home for moving! Moving can be stressful at any time of the year but more so over Christmas and New Year celebrations as there are often lots of things to juggle, all at once: making your home festive and bright, preparing to welcome family and friends, and cooking dinner. Add packing up your home to the list and the to-do list can seem daunting. But fear not: inside this issue we give top tips on moving during one of the busiest times in your social calendar, as well as advice on how to keep your property safe and secure. And if you’re looking for a last minute gift idea or planning a new year escape, then we’ve got those covered too! Wishing you all a magical December. Until next time. Linda McKeown Editor


Deck the halls…

with moving boxes and wine Making the move out of an old house and into a new one in December can be a taxing time. But never fear: we are here to spread festive cheer with some excellent tips to help keep the magic alive during this hectic time

The Tree Buy an artificial tree. We all love the smell of a real Christmas tree, but do you want pine needles in all your moving boxes and around your new home? Artificial trees are easy to pack away and store for the next year and are available in a range of sizes too. They are also cost-effective and if you want a real tree when you’re settled, an artificial tree is great for a kid’s bedroom. Really Elf–ul Tip: Don’t buy an artificial tree with snow-effect spines, buy some snow spray and do it yourself!

Christmas Shopping If you are moving over the festive period, try to get your Christmas shopping done early to avoid rushing around at the last minute. This will give you time to settle into your new home, comfortable knowing that you have finished the Christmas shopping. You will also be able to store any presents in a safe place where they won’t get confused with moving boxes. Love a large Christmas dinner? Avoid busy supermarkets and order your food online early for delivery. When you get your food delivered, you can put it straight away without it overtaking your house. You can stock up for the whole month, saving you the trek to the shops over the busy festive period. Really Elf–ul Tip: Before doing an online food shop, search for any offers available, as most supermarkets do discounts on your first online food shop.

at the same time. Sort through old decorations before your move; if you have any sentimental decorations, keep them. Otherwise, why not buy new decorations for your new home? This way you may free up some boxes for moving while not having to search for the old decorations! Really Elf–ul Tip: Why not wrap used moving boxes in Christmas wrapping paper, ready to put under the tree to make your new home feel even more festive?

Practical Matters Get the heating system checked before you move. If your boiler needs servicing, arrange for a professional to do these jobs before you move. The last thing you need over the holidays is for your heating to break. If you have a log burner or oil heating, ensure you order your logs or oil before you move in. Winter is the busiest season for logs and oil, and you don’t want to be miserable without heat over the festive period.

If your boiler needs servicing, arrange for a professional to do these jobs before you move

No Scrooges Allowed! To keep Christmas spirit flowing, get your kids involved from day one. Keep advent calendars and get your children to write letters to Santa explaining they have moved. Find fun ways to keep the children festive; if you are moving to a new area, find out the best place to visit Santa and any other festive events taking place.

Mark your moving boxes to keep them separate from Christmas decorations. If you mark each box according to which room they are going into, this will make unpacking a lot easier. You could also mark boxes in matter of importance, so you know what needs to be unpacked straight away and what can wait until after the festive period.

If you plan on doing some work to your new home, leave it til after Christmas. You don’t want to be serving Christmas dinner in a half-finished dining room with a cold breeze blowing through. Also, because of the weather, any professionals you may get in will break up for the festive season themselves.

If you have children, you will already understand how many presents they receive over Christmas. Adding these new toys and games onto their already huge existing stash can seem impossible when packing to move. So, why not sit with your children, picking out their favourite toys, and any they no longer play with could be donated to charity. This way, you will have more space at your new home, plus you will have helped to make someone else’s Christmas.

When you are unpacking, this is a great time to bring out the festive cheer by putting up the decorations

Really Elf–ul Tip: Shop around for log and oil prices online. Just like broadband and insurance, there are some fantastic deals to be found.

Really Elf–ul Tip: Christmas movies and Christmas songs are a great way to keep everyone’s spirits up during this busy period.

Moving Boxes

Keep advent calendars and get your children to write letters to Santa explaining they have moved


‘Tis the season

to be careful

Follow these handy tips to make sure Santa isn’t the only one getting into your home during the festive season Christmas is a time for giving, receiving … and, unfortunately, taking. Recent crime figures show that incidents have spiked alarmingly over the two-week festive period and, astonishingly, most of those robberies and burglaries go unsolved. So, what can we do to stop any light-fingered characters casting a black cloud over what should be the brightest and happiest time of the year? Police and leading security experts believe there are many obvious signs registering with thieves that someone has been splashing the cash before Christmas or where Santa has been particularly generous. These include a large build-up of cardboard left alongside bins in the build-up and an abundance of boxes and gift-wrapping left waiting for kerbside collection afterwards. The advice is to break boxes down as small as possible to squeeze into the recycling bins then take them out as late as possible or, better still, take them to your local recycling centre as soon as you can. Aside from advertising your absence with posts on social media about spending the festivities at great aunt Hilda’s in Hartlepool or changing your home answerphone message to say: ‘’Hi, we’re not home right now, we’re off for a week in Val d’Isere and will be back on…’’, experts advise homeowners to take note of the following: Power points: Don’t power your external decorations by trailing an extension cable through a window. It can be an open invitation to burglars, and police say 30 per cent of burglaries occur through open windows.


Opt for solar or batteryoperated lights. Even better, install outdoor electrical outlets. Out of sight: Don’t put your wrapped presents around the Christmas tree if you are going out or away for a few days. If you do, make sure your curtains and blinds are drawn or give the impression someone is at home by keeping a light on, thanks to a programmed timer. The same goes for cars – keep your shopping out of sight in the boot. And lock it. Key to being safe: Don’t hide your house keys ‘in a safe place’ under the third flowerpot from the left on the patio or under the doormat ‘just in case’. Thieves will often look in obvious ‘safe’ places first to make entry easier. Also make sure any ladders are stowed away, and that sheds and garages are securely locked – you wouldn’t want that Christmas bike to get wheeled away or your new set of chisels helping an unwanted guest gain entry. Or, even worse, wind up at a car-boot sale. Paper trail: At any time of year, it’s good practice never to dispose of unwanted receipts and personal paperwork without shredding it. Obviously keep hold of warranty details – and the receipt for that jumper because you seriously under-estimated extra-large – but keep them safe. Take note: Don’t leave any notes for couriers telling them to leave parcels next door. It’s a sure sign the house is unoccupied, so always make sure you’ve given alternative arrangements to delivery companies.

Let a friend park on your drive to give the impression the house is still occupied

Plan ahead: If you are going away, remember to cancel milk or paper deliveries and let a friend park on your drive to give the impression the house is still occupied. If they are trusted neighbours, you could always let them have a key to clear post away from the front doormat. And don’t forget timers for key lights. Very illuminating: Deterrent is still the best form of protection. Safety first: It’s free Invest in a motionto register your sensor floodlight property on At any time of year, or even some Immobilise, which outdoor lights is a national it’s good practice never to highlight property to dispose of unwanted the exterior database of your home; police receipts and personal because even a can access paperwork without determined burglar and search if shredding it won’t fancy being lit suspected stolen up as he goes about property is recovered. his nocturnal activities. A police spokesman said: “Officers regularly Highlighting with decals search the houses of the fact your possessions are suspected criminals and also check security marked, registered on car boot sales and second-hand Immobilise ( dealers and we have a device that and, therefore, traceable gives any can identify stolen property if the potential intruder something else bar code is registered.” to think about. Light work: Make sure your outside decorations aren’t lit up during daylight hours. You could probably get away with it on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, but not on the Monday after. Timers again can help, as can a neighbour with a key. Keep a watch on the neighbourhood: Even if you can’t afford the latest surveillance equipment, it costs nothing to keep an eye out for any suspicious-looking strangers on the street. They could be innocent, but they could also be scouting for victims.


Ho! Ho! Ho!

Christmas is fast approaching; and if you’re struggling to find the perfect gift for your loved ones, here we feature some of our favourite finds to help you along your way



The Everything Chocolate Collection This fab little selection of chocolate is perfect for any chocaholic. Featuring 40% Milk Puddles, Billionaire’s Shortbread, Chocolate Brownies, Salted Caramel Puddles, Patisserie Collection and selection of Nano Slabs. Yum! £27.50

Ghd Platinum+ & Air Limited Edition Rose Gold Deluxe Set Surprise someone special with ghd’s most deluxe styling gift set yet. Includes award-winning Platinum+ styler, Air hair dryer and smart vanity case. Ergonomic design ideal for left and right handed users. £298

The Yankee Candle and Pink Rose Bouquet Mix Containing a selection of official Yankee Candle votives, silk roses and chocolate, all presented in a bouquet, this unique gift is ideal for any candle and chocolate lover. Featuring 5 votive candles, silk roses and a choice of chocolate. £31.95


Space NK x Selfish Mother Set Working with Molly Gunn, founder of the Selfish Mother blog and the FMLY Store, Space NK have created a kit of musthave beauty treats for skin and hair. £5+VAT from every sale goes to national domestic abuse charity Refuge. £30



Bomb Cosmetics Superheroes Saviour Gift Pack

English Pewter Company Tumbler

Give your very own superhero a treat that they can indulge in! Containing Shower Gel, Soap, Bath Mallow, Bath Blaster, it’s sure to help lift their mood.

This 11oz tumbler measures 9cm in height and has an elegant pewter base to both add style and to give the tumbler a satisfying weight when being used. Main 100% pewter. Outer 100% glass.



Leather Belt Gift Set Cut from leather with a subtle grained texture, this belt from Ted Baker showcases a sleek metal buckle with branded loop, while its reverse is accented in a contrasting finish. Presented in a stylish box. £55

Personalised Bedside Watch and Phone Stand

Stylish, contemporary and made by Mijmoj Design, this handcrafted solid walnut or oak personalised bedside watch stand is perfect for that hard-to-buy-for man in your life. Featuring luxury grey or brown leather detail. Can be personalised with front and back engravings. £39.95




Monopoly Toy Story


With the recent release of Toy Story 4, now you can get in on the action with this special edition Monopoly. Choose to play as Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Bo Peep, Jessie, Alien, or Rex while you journey around the gameboard visiting some of the favourite places featured in the Toy Story films such as Andy’s Room and Al’s Toy Barn. For two to six players. £24

David Walliams Box Set This funky and colourful set of books includes David Walliams’ The Boy in the Dress, Ratburger, Mr Stink, Billionaire Boy and Gangsta Granny. Perfect for any avid bookworm. £34.99

Emoji Game The perfect card game for the kids! Will you be the first player to collect a suite of emojis before your rivals? And who will be crowned emoji king or queen in this fun and frantic family game? £8

15-Piece Toy China Tea Set Inspire imaginative play with this fine china set that’s been designed for little hands. Includes teacups and saucers, milk, sugar jugs and a teapot. £10




Christmas Tails Santa Belt Dog Socks Red

2019 top ten Christmas toys

Get your pet into the holiday spirit with these Santa belt socks, featuring a Santa belt pattern in a pull-on style with elastic at top. £5

If you’re wondering what the must-have toys are this year, according to toy retailer, Smyths, these are the top ten!


Fur Real Friends Cubby The Curious Bear, £69.99


PAW Patrol Super PAWs Mighty Jet Command Centre, £49.99


LEGO 75957 Harry Potter The Knight Bus, £27.99


Pets Alive Boppi the Booty Shakin’ Llama, £19.99


L.O.L Surprise! 2-in-1 Glamper Playset, £99.99


Ryan’s World Giant Mystery Egg Gold, £49.99


Barbie Travel DreamPlane, £59.99


NERF Fortnite AR-E Motorised Blaster, £7.99


Push ‘N Talk Forky 22cm Action Figure Toy Story 4, £24.99


Disney Frozen 2 Arendelle castle, £159.99

Cardboard Cat DJ Scratching Deck This Cat Scratching Pad enables your furry pet to scratch away – in style – without fear of ruining the furniture! Comes as a flat pack cardboard kit: no glue is required. £24.99




fi adaptation

to hit cinema screens

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s successful West End and Broadway musical, Cats, is recognised as being one of the most successful musicals of all time and has now been adapted for the big screen Since 1981, the musical Cats has been a massive stage hit around the world and now this holiday season, the live action remake is hitting cinemas up and down the UK. Cats is based on ‘Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats’; a book dating back to 1939. It was written by T.S Eliot and contains many different but linked poems telling the story of a tribe of cats called the Jellicles and the one night every year when they make the “Jellicle choice” which decides which cat will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new life. The film, which is based on the stage musical, is directed by Tom Hooper who is most noted for his previous box office hit Les Misérables which he directed in 2012. The production also involves other Hollywood heavyweights such as Steven Spielberg and choreographer Andy Blankenbuerhler, with screenplay by Lee Hall (Billy Elliott). The stage show has millions of adoring fans across the globe, many of whom have seen the show on multiple occasions, so the film has, in their eyes, a lot to live up to. Since the film’s trailer was released in July of this year, it has received mixed reviews. Many described the animated felines as “horrifying” or “cursed”; however, fans of the poems have praised this as being closer to T.S Eliot’s original concept.

Cats is based on ‘Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats’; a book dating back to 1939


Due to the success of the stage musical, the film was always going to need a stellar cast and with big names such as; James Corden, Sir Ian McKellan, Idris Elba, Jason Derulo, Taylor Swift, Rebel Wilson and Dame Judi Dench, the film adaptation is most definitely in good hands. The most important question for Cats’ fans however is who would take on the role of Grizabella, whose song ‘Memories’ is possibly the most iconic song from the musical. This was originally sung by Elaine Paige and in the film, this role is taken by Hollywood star Jennifer Hudson. The film is due for release on 20th December 2019 and although there is little information regarding the film, it appears that it will make use of cutting-edge motion capture technology and CGI techniques to transform the actors into their cat personalities. This has caused much division amongst die-hard fans, with the first trailer being negatively received. However, Andrew Lloyd Webber is on board with the new direction of his musical: so much so, that he has written a new song to be included in the film.

p u k o o C a feast! Image used for illustration purposes

Put a twist on your Christmas dinner this year by offering your guests this moist Christmas turkey roll created by chef Tom Kerridge. It features a crunchy topping and a bacon stuffing

Roast turkey roll

Preparation time: less than 30 mins Cooking time: 1 to 2 hours Serves: 6-8


For the crumble topping

• •

• • • •

100g/31/2oz pork scratchings 1 00g/31/2oz sourdough bread, broken into pieces and baked until crisp 100g/31/2oz shelled pistachios, roughly chopped 50g/13/4oz dried cranberries, roughly chopped 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves 1 orange, zest only

For the stuffing mix

• • • • • • • • • • •

00g/1lb 12oz sausage meat 8 400g/14oz onion, finely chopped and fried until translucent 100g/31/2oz cooked and peeled chestnuts, finely chopped 160g/51/2oz fresh breadcrumbs 1 bunch fresh sage, chopped 2 tsp salt 3 tsp cracked black pepper 100g/31/2oz dried cranberries 1 tbsp juniper berries, crushed 20 rashers smoked streaky bacon (approximately 250-300g/9-101/2oz)

For the turkey • • •

-2.2kg/4lb 8oz-5lb boneless and skinless turkey breast 2 140g/5oz brown sauce bread sauce, to serve

Method 1. For the crumble topping, crush the pork scratchings and the sourdough pieces in a bowl. Add the pistachios, cranberries and thyme. Mix with your hands and set aside in a covered container. 2. For the stuffing, mix all ingredients together apart from the bacon. 3. Trim any bits of fat or membrane from the turkey. With a sharp knife, open out the turkey breast as if you are butterflying it. Place the turkey between two sheets of cling film and flatten it out a little with a rolling pin. 4. Cut two large pieces of aluminium foil and lay the turkey breast on top. Season with salt and pepper. Spread a generous dollop of the stuffing mix in a 5mm/1/4in layer onto the turkey breast and then use the foil to help you roll it up like a Swiss roll. Completely encase the turkey in the two layers of foil and secure with cook's string at regular intervals along the length of the roll. Place in the fridge until needed. 5. Preheat the oven to 120C/250F/Gas1/2. 6. Add 400ml/14floz boiling water to a deep roasting tin. Place a wire rack in the tin and place the rolled turkey breast on top.

Cover the roasting tin with aluminium foil. 7. Roast in the oven for 11/2-2 hours, then check the core temperature with a meat thermometer. You are looking for a temperature of 70C/160F. If it is not ready, place back into the oven and continue to cook. Once cooked, remove from the oven, cover with aluminium foil and set aside to rest for 40 minutes. When cool, remove the string and foil. 8. For the stuffing, preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3 and line a terrine mould or flameproof bowl with the streaky bacon, leaving some excess hanging over the sides. Pack the mould with the remaining stuffing mix and wrap the bacon over the top. 9. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, or until the middle has reached 70C/160F on a meat thermometer. When cooked, remove from the oven and set aside to rest for 20 minutes. 10. After 20 minutes, turn out the stuffing and pat dry. Heat the grill to hot, then grill the stuffing until the bacon is crisp. 11. When rested, remove the turkey from the roasting tin and brush a thick layer of brown sauce over the top. Cover with the Christmas crumble mix, top with a little orange

zest and serve straight away with the stuffing. This recipe, and more, can be found at


It’s one of the great modern-day dilemmas for holidays at this time of year: shun the shivers for sunnier climes or embrace the cold and hit the slopes. It’s time to choose…

Daylight hours are short, invariably grey, damp, dismal. Christmas always passes in a blur of twinkling lights and belt-straining over-indulgence. Equally, the New Year sails past in a symphony of popping corks and already-broken resolutions. Of course, the antidote to January and days when you can’t feel your toes is to slide those same toes into

a warm, azure sea or thick socks and snug snow boots en-route to a day on the slopes. If the bank balance can take the strain, there’s nothing quite like the boost of a midwinter break for recharging batteries run down by excess and extravagance. But do you blow the Christmas bonus and annual pay-rise or do it on a budget?

Life's a beach SCRIMP: TENERIFE


Brits have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Tenerife, largely because in summer it’s hot, tacky and rammed with tourists. In January, it’s almost the opposite: average temperatures have recently been 20 degrees C, there are four wet days during the month, and it’s easier to get out and see the real Canaries’ culture. Car hire is reasonable, making the Teide National Park and Siam Park waterpark accessible. Plus you can get flights from £54 ( and plan your own break while TUI’s seven-day holidays start at £330 per person ( SPLASH: BARBADOS


Just as Britain is shivering in January, one of our outposts, Barbados, is similarly suffering one of its coldest months – at a mere 28 degrees C. If island culture is your thing, slurping a rum cocktail while lounging on a white sandy beach takes some beating.


Imagine colonial splendour against a cloudless sky and you’re halfway there. It’s not as eye-wateringly expensive as you might think with seven-night breaks from £891 (britishairways. com) – you may even catch some cricket where rain, possibly on ten days a month, stops play. SPLURGE: DUBAI


The sky’s the limit here. Dubai is home to the world’s tallest building, the staggering 828m Burj Khalifa, some of the world’s most opulent hotels, amazing shopping, both traditional and modern… and skiing. In the desert, or to be precise, at the Mall of the Emirates. With penguins. So, you get the best of both worlds. As well as average temperatures of 24 degrees C, the Dubai Shopping Festival runs throughout January to test your retail resilience. As for hotels, offer five nights at the Doubletree by Hilton on Marjan Island for £759. Alternatively, if there’s someone in your life you really need to impress – or grovel to – Tropical Sky can get you five nights in the seven-star rated Burj al Arab for a princely £3,249 per person.

If island culture is your thing, slurping a rum cocktail while lounging on a white sandy beach takes some beating

The slippery slopes SCRIMP: SÖLL, AUSTRIA


Most armchair skiers will be familiar with Kitzbühel but only the enthusiasts will know Söll, which shares some of its famous neighbour’s ski area. The Kitzbüheler Alpen AllStarCard covers 10 Austrian ski areas including Kitzbühel, St Johann in Tirol and the new area of Alpbachtal and Wildschönau – more than 1,000km of piste – for £188 for six days. Right in the centre lies Söll, which has a lively après-ski atmosphere and where seven nights B&B in mid-January will cost from £485 (crystalski. The slight disadvantage is the slopes are about 1km from town. SPLASH: ZERMAT, SWITZERLAND


With the magnificent Matterhorn as a backdrop, Zermatt is a wintersport enthusiast’s dream with 350km of trails and slopes. Here you can ski over a mountain pass in Switzerland and down into a trail in another country – the Matterhorn’s southern face is in Italy, and skiing over the Theodul Pass leads into the immense trail system of Breuil-Cervinia in the Val d’Aosta. Transfer time from Geneva is more than two hours but the skiing is well worth it. have some good offers with seven nights in mid-January setting you back £969 for a mid-range hotel.



The resort to be seen in, whether you intend to tackle the slopes or not. The sport in the iconic Colorado town matches the resort’s celebrity status with four separate areas – known as the Aspen Snowmass – to challenge skiers of all standards. The adventurous head for Aspen Mountain, the beginners tackle Buttermilk, and the hung-over stick to the centre of the Victorian town with its posh boutiques and replenish their calorie intake in the wide-ranging restaurants. There is, of course, an area the locals frequent where prices are a little more reasonable. Hotels are equally far-ranging, with offering January holidays from £2,113 to £3,231, which includes ski rentals and lift passes.

If the bank balance can take the strain, there’s nothing quite like the boost of a midwinter break for recharging batteries


English sport

review 2019

It’s been a spectacular year for English sport; here we look through some of the highs

Motor Racing Lewis Hamilton won his sixth world title in November with a second-place finish at the United States Grand Prix. The title moves him up to second in the all-time list, leaving him just one behind Michael Schumacher. In what he has called, “his toughest season ever”, Hamilton only won two races out of seven before the United States race. The 35-year-old has now set his sights on a seventh world title and more with the suggestion that his skills have yet to peak. This was his third title in a row, and it is hard to see anyone stopping him next year.

Football The Premier League is still the ultimate football championship in the world, shrugging off Ligue 1, the Bundesliga and La Liga. Yes, players still clamber to play for Real Madrid and Barcelona, but with worldclass managers like Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp in the Premier League it is, without doubt, the most competitive league around. This was shown by English teams winning not one European competition, but two, this year in Liverpool in the Champions League, and Chelsea in the Europa League.


Lewis Hamilton won his sixth world title in November with a second-place finish at the United States Grand Prix

England may have lost the Ashes, but they were unstoppable in the ICC World Cup. After a sluggish start, losing to Australia, Sri Lanka and Pakistan they then produced some of the most exciting cricket of the year to beat New Zealand on boundary count after the game was tied at 241 runs. It was England’s first time winning the competition and hopes were high going into the Ashes against Australia, and despite some edge of your seat cricket and tournament stealing performances from Ben Stokes, Australia ended up victorious.

Rugby Union For one match the England Rugby team, led by Owen Farrell, made us


believe this was our year at the Rugby World Cup. After sailing through the group stages and into the knockout rounds, England impressed with a 40-16 win over Australia in the quarterfinal and an even more impressive defeat of New Zealand 19-7 in the semi-final; giving us all flashbacks of Jonny Wilkinson, Martin Johnson, Lawrence Dallaglio et al. Unfortunately, the final was where it all fell apart (or picked apart) by a South Africa team who had steamrollered every team in their path, remaining undefeated throughout the tournament.

Sports Personality of the Year With such a blistering array of talent, here are our picks of some of the standout performers in their sports this year.

Raheem Sterling, football: The standout English player in the Premier League over the past year. Once misunderstood, it’s not only his football prowess that stands him out from the rest but his work for local communities and his stance on racism in the game.

Ben Stokes, cricket: Cricket all-rounder Stokes won the ‘Professional Cricketers’ Association player of the year award’ after helping England to their historic World Cup win, followed by his incredible unbeaten 135 in the Ashes.

Dina Asher- -Smith, athletics: Sprinter Asher-Smith won 200m gold and 100m silver at the IAAF world championships and helped the 4x1000m team to a silver place finish. Asher-Smith and fellow athlete Johnson-Thompson are the stars needed to pique interest in athletics in the build-up to the Olympics next year.

T ‘ theis

Season... Ornaments

Ornaments are a great and easy way to make your house festive with no Blu-tac or Sellotape. You could go classical with wooden nutcrackers or more modern with light-up LED Santa’s and reindeers. There are plenty of options for external ornaments as well such as wicker reindeers with LED lighting and snowmen. A favourite will always be an automotive train on a track around the bottom of the Christmas tree!

Christmas Tree

A Christmas tree is always the centrepiece of any living room during the festive season. Whether you are planning on a real tree or a fake tree, pick out a colour scheme early on so you can colour match your baubles and tinsel. One of our favourites is a classical colour scheme incorporating simple reds, silvers and whites. Alternatively, you could go more natural with real wood decorations for your tree such as pinecones you’ve picked up over autumn.

to get creative with your decorations! With Christmas fast approaching, you’ll be thinking about decorating your home. Here are some easy ways to get your property festive – and fast

cheer this year. Why not create your own with pinecones and snow spray or tinsel, or go even bolder and make use of last years’ Christmas baubles?


Don’t pull a Clark Griswold this year with your Christmas lights! Subtle colours such as warm white or ice blue are very ontrend this year. You can create a lovely icicle effect with blue lights hanging from staircases or around your windows. Multicolour lights are still popular, especially if you have children. These look best when hanging from a Christmas tree.

Faux Presents

Leftover wrapping paper from last Christmas? Why not make use of it by wrapping up empty boxes and placing them under your tree early to create a lovely festive mood in your home – with the added insurance that your partner or little ones won’t ruin their surprise when they try to sneak a peek?

holiday season and are available in festive scents such as Winter Spice, Berry and Pine Cone, Gingerbread and Mulled Wine.

Models & Scenes

Another lovely way to set the scene this Christmas are musical and light-up Christmas scenes such as Musical Villages scenes, Christmas Carousels and singing father Christmases. These wonderful ornaments are perfect for completing your home this Christmas and look fab when above a feature fireplace or in the window.

Final Tip

Christmas is a time of joy and a time for family; so, remember not to stress out when untangling the Christmas lights or when the tinsel breaks!

& Christmas Wreaths Candles other scents Christmas wreaths are a classic way to add some classy festive spirit to your property before you even step inside. With fake or real options available, wreaths are an inexpensive way to add some Christmas

Nothing says Christmas like the smell of the Christmas tree and freshly baked cookies and cakes. Candles and wax melts are a great way to keep your home smelling festive throughout the


Warwick Avenue, Cuffley, Hertfordshire, EN6 4RU


HUGE 3221 Sq Feet 5 Bedroom, 3 refitted, fully tiled Bathrooms, 5 Reception Room Detached Family Home set on a large plot approximately one third of an acre with stunning private unoverlooked gardens, a driveway, garage and detached outbuilding currently a games room and also perfect for a home studio or office. Cuffley High Street is approx 1 mile away and provides local shops, doctors, dentist surgeries, and Cuffley main line station with regular services to Moorgate in 35 minutes. Central London is approximately 20 miles away and the property is ideally placed for access to the national motorway network via the M25 or A1.

Mangrove Hall, Hertford, SG13 8AJ


6750 + sq ft - A Georgian Landmark Detached House with PERIOD FEATURES & every luxury & modern convenience comprising 8 DOUBLE BEDROOMS, 6 BATHROOMS, 3 RECEPTIONS, STUNNING Mark Wilkinson KITCHEN, VERANDAH, GARAGING, PARKING, MANICURED WALLED GARDENS & only 7 minutes walk from M&S SIMPLY FOODS & the Town with EAST & NORTH BR.


Cowper Crescent, Hertford, SG14 3EA


NEARLY 2400 SQ FT - A 5 BED, 3 BATHROOM, 3 RECEPTION ROOM RECENTLY EXTENDED AND REFURBISHED THROUGHOUT Detached Family Home. Complimented by a huge almost 24 foot by 20 foot open plan Living/Kitchen/Dining Room with bi-fold doors across the entire back wall that leads out onto the MONSTER SOUTH/WEST Facing rear garden. Cowper Crescent is catchment to the local Bengeo JMI primary school and Hertford and Ware Secondary schools most of which have Oustanding Ofsted Reports. Walking distance to Hertford Town and Hertford North train line with links to Moorgate and Kings Cross.

Gammon Farm, Appleby Street, West Cheshunt EN7 6PQ


A very impressive detached double fronted Victorian Farmhouse completely upgraded throughout with an interesting range of cottage/ stables -ideal for livery, menage & 9 acres of rolling grassland privately set on the edge of West Cheshunt - CHAIN FREE. The property stands in approximately ten acres of gardens and grounds with a range of traditional outbuildings; currently there are 17 stables in two blocks, tack room and two bedroom cottage, menage and four paddocks.

Willow House, Tanfield Farm, EN7 6PQ


Accessed from a private road, Willow House offers almost 5335 square foot of prestige living space set on Tanfield Farm, an individual development of just 10 Brand New luxuriously finished 5 Bedroom, 5 Bathroom Detached smart homes each with a gated driveway, detached triple garage and 35’ games room above with potential for a further conversion to Annexe. The Master bedroom suite takes up the entire rear half of the first floor with stunning views from the double sliding doors and balcony. Benefiting from a walk in wardrobe and en-suite bathroom.

Woodcock Place, Tanfield Farm, Goffs Oak, EN7 6PQ


Accessed from a private road, Woodcock Place offers almost 5000 square foot of prestige living space set on Tanfield Farm, an individual development of just 10 Brand New luxuriously finished 5 Bedroom, 5 Bathroom detached smart homes each with a gated driveway, triple garage and 35’ games room above. The Master bedroom suite takes up the entire rear half of the first floor with stunning views from the double sliding doors and balcony. Benefiting from a walk in wardrobe and en-suite bathroom.


Yewlands House, Yewlands, Hoddesdon, EN11 8BX


8000+ Sq Feet - AN EDWARDIAN 7 DOUBLE BEDROOM, 8 BATHROOM, 4 RECEPTION ROOM DETACHED FAMILY HOME with stunning views from almost every room in the house over The New River, Admirals Walk Lake and rolling countryside. Dripping in character and Marble with many original features throughout exquisitely restored to its former glory by the current owner.

Woodlands House, Woodlands Drive, Hoddesdon, EN11 8AZ


WEST FACING WITH VIEWS - Almost 5000 sq ft, BRAND NEW and accessed via a private road, this rare opportunity to purchase a 6 Double Bedroom (with walk in wardrobes to Master & Guest Suites), 5 Bathroom, 4 Reception Eco Smart Passive House (Passive is s a rigorous, voluntary standard for energy efficiency in a building, which reduces the building’s ecological footprint. It results in ultra-low energy buildings that require little energy for space heating or cooling). All just a short walk to Broxbourne Station (13 mins to Tottenham Hale & 28 mins to Liverpool Street) and local amenities in both Broxbourne & The Market Town of Hoddesdon Air con throughout and a 10 year warranty.

Meet our Team CTOR Having been at Simply Homes since its inception in 2010 I am overjoyed to have achieved my dream of taking over ownership of the business which I am so passionate about. I have some fresh ideas which




I am confident will enhance an already successful operation previously lead by Steven Oates.


I live only 3 miles from my office, with my wife and young daughter. With my wealth of knowledge of the local area and a wide spectrum of experience within the property market I base my sales success on providing accurate valuations, focussed energetic marketing, and great customer service to vendors and purchasers. The result ‌‌. Guaranteed sales! My passion for photography and eye for detail makes your property stand out above the rest. My expertise covers all aspects including lifestyle, twilight, and aerial shots, ensuring I capture your home in every light and show it to its absolute best potential. Committed to selling your property for the best price, I am willing to go above and beyond to achieve that for you, and will always make myself available, delivering regular updates and a personal service from start to finish.





developers including Berkeley Homes, Weston Homes, Beverly Homes and Taylor Wimpey. Well experienced in valuations, sales and customer service, Linda is a valued member of our team, ensuring we deliver the very best experience for our vendors and buyers. She prides herself on excellent and positive communication with clients, often going above and beyond to make the sales process as smooth as possible. Linda has lived in Hertford her whole life, and has excellent knowledge of the property market and local area. Passionate about keeping fit, you must ask her about her trek to Machu Pichu if you get a chance. Linda is friendly, warm, a joy to share an office with, and


progression, having started her career in the New Build sector, working with well known local



Linda most recently joined the team at the start of the year, bringing her expertise in sales





she looks forward to helping you with your move





R I started my estate agent journey at Simply Homes six years ago as a Saturday member of the team, using the extra money to buy our first home, alongside my full-time job in fashion buying. I worked as a fashion buyer for eight years using my creative flair dealing with and building relationships with suppliers all over the world. I left when I became a Mum and have worked 2/3 days a week at Simply Homes since. In June 2018 my husband, Ben, and I took over the business. Using my creativity, I look after the marketing side of the business; Creating new branding to take Simply Homes forward as a company. Having moved house four times in four years, I have a good understanding of the process and having lived in Hertford all my life I have excellent local knowledge.

01992 558557



Simply Homes is in a different league to all other agents we’ve been with, for us it’s the personal touch, the fact that everyone in the business is involved with the transaction and they always told us what was going on with our house


The brochure itself, when I first saw that, was phenomenal, I almost fell in love with the building before actually being in it, after seeing the video brochure, there was no way I wasn’t going to see what is now my home.

MATT & SARAH The level of service we received was always excellent, I had mobile numbers I could contact anyone whenever I needed to, and whenever I couldn’t get hold of somebody, they’d come back to me really quickly.

LESLEY & MATTY I would definitely recommend Simply Homes to my friends & family when it comes to selling a house as I had an excellent result of an asking price offer and an agreed sale within 9 days, which meant which meant we were able to move on and get the house we wanted.

POLLY I’d certainly recommend Simply Homes to all my family and friends, just because they are a very professional body of estate agents with personal service and give that little bit extra when it comes to finding a buyer.


I certainly would recommend Simply Homes, and already have, for their professionalism and understanding of what someone may be looking for.


Exclusively At Simply Homes

Giving you peace of mind every time Our innovative approach to marketing, together with our unrivalled customer care, makes us the right choice to market your property and guide you through your move

Selling your property

Exclusively to us in our area, your property will receive its very own FREE microsite showcasing a property video, OFSTED reports, and a property brochure. Sharing your personalised website across the social networks widens the audience for your property, to find the right buyer and increasing the chances of a quicker sale.

A leading independent agent covering Hertford, the name Simply Homes is synonymous with trust, excellence and integrity.

Our qualified database of home buyers will be notified of your property coming to market on their dedicated search websites where they can book viewings and offer feedback.

With decades of experience, specialising in all aspects of residential property, our friendly, enthusiastic and professional service ensures that our clients continually return to sell and buy through us.

Quite simply we endeavour to sell your home for the best price, in the shortest possible time, providing you an outstanding service, with a personal and friendly approach.

When you choose to market your property with Simply Homes, you can be confident that we’ll ensure that everything goes smoothly. Whether selling or buying, relax and know that we have your property in safe hands.

We also recognise the importance of marketing, so your property will be advertised on the major online property portals, our website and social media sites, as well as traditional placement in our window display.

As part of what makes us unique at Simply Homes we offer a free monthly magazine featuring properties and up to date market news. Call us today to receive our monthly magazine by emailing We look forward to hearing from you.

The power of social media Your property will also receive its very own FREE property website showcasing a property video, OFSTED reports, and property brochures; something that we are proud to say is exclusive to Simply Homes in our area. In addition, our qualified database of tenants will also be notified of your property coming to market on their dedicated search websites where they can book viewings and offer feedback. All our tenants are fully referenced and vetted, making sure the highest of standards are met to find the right tenant for you. today VALUATION Book your FREE


By sharing your personalised websites with family and friends across the social networks you will be widening the audience to find the right buyer or tenant for your property, increasing the chances of a quicker sale or rental.


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Feature in our monthly magazine

Comparables of houses SOLD and price guides


Tech gimic (Drones, 360 tours)

Want to find out more about our range of exclusive services?


UNIQUE with Simply Homes

Print marketing: Property brochure, photography, floorplans and newspapers










Portals and websites

Then please feel free to pop in or give us a call and we’ll be more than happy to help. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Rightmove featured property advertising*

Feature on our Facebook and Twitter

Property video

All our applicants receive your property on their own search for a home website

little things... IT'S SIMPLY THE

Let us work our magic to get you moving, while you concentrate on enjoying those special moments

Get a FREE personalised website for your property to share on social media!

INSTANT VALUATION ONLINE I’m marketing my property with Simply Homes

Share with friends Request a viewing Local schools View on a map Value my home

T. 01992 558 557 W.

Profile for thepropertycollection

Simply Homes December 2019  

Simply Homes December 2019