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LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

PROPERTY NEWS

JANUARY 2020

HOME DÉCOR TRENDS FOR 2020

FROM UNUSUAL SHAPED MIRRORS AND SIMPLISTIC INTERIOR DESIGN TO THE MORE ABSTRACT KICKSTART 2020 START THE YEAR THE RIGHT WAY

NEW YEAR NEW HOME HOW WE CAN GET YOU MOVING THIS YEAR!

RECIPE IDEAS ENJOY A TAKEAWAY THE HEALTHY WAY!

SIX NATIONS KICKING OFF THE 21ST CHAMPIONSHIP


CONTENTS COVER STORY

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LIFESTYLE

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Home décor trends for 2020 We’ve compiled a list of the top trends to look out for in 2020

PROPERTY

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New year, new home How we can get you moving this year! Our latest instructions Take a look at a selection of our latest properties on the market About us Get to know us a little better and see why we are your agent of choice

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Kickstart your 2020 Start 2020 the right way and think afresh and focus on making positive changes The 92nd Academy Awards This will take place on 9th February; but just who will take a coveted trophy? A new plastic revolution Is enough being done to reduce the use of single-use packaging?

FOOD

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TRAVEL

SPORT

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Recipe: Vegetable Curry Stay on track with your healthy eating plan with this low-fat, vegetarian dish

Gin and bear it! The season of goodwill to all men has passed, so how about a few days of goodwill to you?

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Happy birthday… at last! Every four years we get an extra day in February. But what does that mean, particularly for those born on February 29?

Guinness Six Nations 2020 The 21st Six Nations kicks off on the 1st Feb with Wales looking to defend their Grand Slam

WELCOME TO THE JANUARY ISSUE!

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ll of us here hope that you enjoyed the festive period and had a fabulous New Year too. Start the new year as you mean go on, by planning how you can make 2020 your best year yet! If a move is on the cards, then we will be here to help guide the way, using our innovative marketing products to ensure your property gets the attention it deserves. And don’t forget to focus on you too! The excesses of Christmas and New Year celebrations can take a toll on your health and wellbeing, so take time now to look at how you can make yourself feel healthier and fitter. Inside we give inspiration and

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PROPERTY NEWS

ideas on taking control of your lifestyle for the better. But if you’re not quite ready to fully get back to the daily grind and you fancy getting away for a break, take a look inside at our top value holidays away. As ever, there is plenty inside to keep you reading, such as top trends for the home in 2020 and how you can help protect the environment by reducing the amount of plastic you use within your home. Wishing you all the best for 2020 and beyond. Linda McKeown Editor

NEW NEW GET A FREE VALUATION Call us today for your free, no-obligation valuation. One of our expert valuers will pop round to give you an estimated valuation on your property based on local market value and their expert local knowledge. While with you, our valuers will show you what makes us stand head and shoulders above the other agents with our innovative marketing techniques and excellent customer service. Our team are on hand every step of the way offering you friendly advice to help maximise the potential of your property; making sure the right people see it to help you get the best possible price.

GET YOUR PROPERTY VISIBLE

You will want your property getting the greatest number of viewings from legitimate buyers as soon as possible, so you can get out there looking for your new dream home. When you market your property with us, you will receive a free website for your property with personalised virtual tours that your friends and family will be able to share to maximise the visibility of your property – and help to get you into a position to put in an offer on your new, dream home.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Social media marketing is the way forward. When you market your property with us,


YEAR, HOME you, your friends and your family will be able to share your property far and wide through all the major social networking sites. Your property may also be featured in our monthly magazine and on our social media accounts such as Facebook. We have invested in the most innovative marketing techniques that no other agent in this area can offer. Your buyer may not even know they are looking to move until they see your property (their perfect property) on social media!

PROPERTY VIDEOS

Not only will you get professional photos and floor plans, but you will also get your own personal property video, helping showcase the most sellable attributes of your home. Property videos are more immersive than standard photos and with our professional voiceovers, they are immensely more shareable over social media. A personalised property video can truly make your home stand out.

CUSTOMER SERVICE

As well as the most up-to-date marketing available for your property, we also pride ourselves on our friendly, expert customer service. Our team has expert local knowledge and a database of clients that

With the new year come thoughts of resolutions and goals to achieve. So, start 2020 the right way and think afresh and focus on making positive changes

will help make your move as simple and stress-free as possible. We will also share your property on all the usual property portals including Rightmove and have professional photos and floor plans from our experienced team.

RELIABILITY AND VIEWINGS

Our trusted team of local experts will be on hand – and on time – to every appointment, whether it be a viewing or a valuation of your property. We pride ourselves on accompanying all viewings to help show buyers around your property, giving honest answers to their questions. We want to find the right buyer for you, so you’re confident that when the time comes to make an offer on your dream home, that your sale is steady, simple and stress-free with no hidden surprises.

LOCAL ADVERTISING

Your buyer is more than likely someone local. So, as well as being on Rightmove and our own website, you will also feature in our window displays and may even be included in our widely distributed property magazine. We do this to help maximise the visibility of your property to gain optimal exposure to find you a buyer. Alongside our database of local ready-to-move buyers, we will get you moving this year!

You will also get your own personal property video, helping showcase the most sellable attributes of your home

WE KNOW YOUR BUYER As one of the most successful agents’ in your area, the chance is we will already know your buyer; or, more importantly, the owner of the property you want to buy. Because of this, we can negotiate the best price possible for your property and the dream home you wish to purchase. Our aim is to make the process as simple as possible and with open, clear and concise communication, we can make this happen for you today.

SUPPORT

Our team are local members of the community and they understand how stressful it can be selling your property and buying your dream home. That is why our team are on hand with all the support you need throughout the entire process – from the initial valuation, through to marketing and viewing and onto negotiations and sales progression when you have found your buyer. To us you aren’t your address, you are a person, and we want to help you move in 2020.

For more information and to book a free, no-obligation valuation, please talk to a member of our team today.

LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

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HOME DÉCOR

TRENDS FOR

2020

From unusual shaped mirrors and simplistic interior design to the more abstract, we’ve compiled a list of the top trends to look out for in 2020

ABSTRACT DESIGN

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redicted to become a massive trend is abstract design, with bold geometric prints, hand-drawn sketches and electric blocks of colour; it’s all about adding your own unique personality into your home. The beauty of abstract is the freedom that comes with it; the trend really allows you to become bold with your colour palette and with the combinations you use. Plus, you can make an abstract statement in any room in the house, from large canvases to duvet covers and statement rugs, or even a bold wallpaper design. A trend full of fun and colour!

SIMPLISTIC If bold and colourful isn’t for you, then this trend most definitely

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will be. Originating from the Nordic retreat ideas of 2019, this trend really does encapsulate a chilled out and relaxed style. To create a simplistic interior look, soft and neutral colour palettes are key, staying clear of cool grey, embrace warm neutral colours such as natural whites, soft browns and beige, (yes, it’s making its comeback). It also includes textures such as wood, wicker, sheepskin and wool. This trend can work in any setting; however, it works best in a living room or bedroom and if paired with a dark accent colour, you’ll create a simple, understated, yet comfortable feel. Overall, a great trend for those wanting a more calming and warmer décor.

A TAKE ON GLAMOROUS RETRO Last season retro was a big design-must and the new year is continuing this popular style trend, with its own bold and glamorous take. This reimagined trend channels thirties


Last season retro was a big design-must and the new year is continuing this popular style trend, with its own bold and glamorous take

UNUSUAL SHAPED MIRRORS

sophistication and elegance, with a small nod to the sexy seventies-style. To create this look, pick rich tones for key pieces, such as royal blue or ruby and mix in warm tones such as rose or bronze. Think of an elegant occasional chair with a scalloped shell-like back, a glam cocktail trolley or tables in burnished brass or glossy marble. You could also incorporate a retro feel by choosing an extravagant wallpaper or by adding plush textiles. Retro is perfect for those brave enough to mix textures, colours and shapes in the same place.

JAPANI The Japanese design element has been a regular amongst interior collections for the past few years. Incorporating rich silk textures, pretty bird motifs, oriental prints and structured furniture, this elegant style offers a real minimalist feel

and it is not hard to see why it has remained such a popular trend. This new take on Japanese style and rustic Scandinavian simplicity, however, is set to take off in 2020. The trend brings together the best of these two styles and takes on the less-is-more approach. To create the look, embrace calming tones, such as pale blue and muted green and for furniture think Scandi Woods with Japanese-style black plus dark woods to add depth. A simple touch could be to add lantern style lighting to the room. If done correctly, this interior trend really does create a calming and unique space.

Velvet has quickly become a must-have fabric in the home and 2020 is set to be no different

Let’s face it, (excuse the pun) mirrors have become an important part of our daily routines. We all check ourselves out in the mirror before leaving for the day and although historically they have been rectangular or round, 2020’s trend incorporates some more unusual shapes, including rhombus, trapezium and polygon.

MODERN LIGHTING Modern lighting is all about creativity; it really can make or break a room and is an easy way to make an effective impact to any space. There are many different options for modern lighting in your home, but it’s important to keep in mind the overall style and feel of your décor.

VELVET In the past few years velvet has quickly become a must-have fabric in the home and 2020 is set to be no different. Velvet beds and sofas are the most popular way of bringing this look to your home, both of which are great as stand-out pieces of furniture: they bring comfort, yet a stylish flair to any space. If you’re after a small touch, why not add a velvet throw, cushions or bedding?

LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

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With the new year come thoughts of resolutions and goals to achieve. So, start 2020 the right way and think afresh and focus on making positive changes

KICKSTART YOUR 2020 T

op of the list for new year resolutions has to go to the mantra of ‘lose weight’ and ‘stop smoking’; but whatever your new year resolutions, the key is to make your goals achievable, otherwise they will ultimately fail before you even get started.

And why not organise a group activity to encourage you to stay committed? A study by the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine suggests that exercising with a group makes people feel physically and mentally better than if they were working out alone: “The communal benefits of coming together So, whatever your aspirations, whether with friends and colleagues, and doing it’s to get fit, try a new something difficult, hobby or make that move, while encouraging one Researchers take time to think about another, pays discovered that what you can do to make dividends beyond working out in a a change. exercising alone,” says group actually lowers lead researcher Dr Dayna Yorks. “The stress by 26 percent GET FIT & HEALTHY findings support the while significantly Changing your concept of a mental, improving quality appearance can often physical and emotional of life help build confidence, approach to health whether it’s just a fresh that is necessary.” new haircut or something more drastic like shedding some pounds. In fact, researchers discovered that Of course, this can’t happen overnight, so working out in a group actually lowers if getting fit and losing weight is a goal, stress by 26 percent while significantly think about how you can achieve this. Are improving quality of life. you going to join a gym or start walking the school run or to work? Planning in Advice from the NHS says that those aged exercise to your routine will help ensure 19-64 should aim to be active every day that you stick with your new plan. and do at least 150 minutes of moderate

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PROPERTY NEWS


aerobic activity such as cycling or fast walking every week – as well as strength exercises on two or more days a week that work all the major muscles, such as legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms

DITCH SMOKING According to the Office of National Statistics, 14.7% of people aged 18 years and above in the UK smoked cigarettes in 2018. This equates to approximately 7.2 million people in the population; and is a decline of more than five percentage points since 2011. Before quitting, it’s important to ensure that you actually want to quit and remind yourself why, each day. Taking a more positive approach will encourage you to keep going – whether you want to quit straight away, or by naturally cutting down on your usage. There’s also support available from your local stop smoking service – www.nhs.uk/ Service-Search/Stop-smoking-services/ LocationSearch/1846. Data shows that you’re up to four times more likely to successfully quit smoking with their

expert help and advice. You can also call the NHS Smokefree helpline on 0300 123 1044.

TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT Taking up yoga can be a great way to kick start your new year with a focus on positive energy, and there are plenty of free tutorials online. Take in your surroundings by walking a little slower and appreciate what is going on around you, rather than rushing through each day. However, it doesn’t all have to be about changing habits; just trying different things can help with taking time out and having some ‘me time’. Keep your life positive and aim to be thankful for at least one thing every day – even if it may seem like a small thing, such as a hug from a loved one.

Data shows that you’re up to four times more likely to successfully quit smoking with their expert help and advice

FOCUS ON WHAT YOU WANT If making new resolutions are not for you, why not write list of things you want to accomplish throughout the year? These can range from learning to play a new instrument, to donating blood. And if your 2019 wasn’t as great as you were hoping, look back, reflect and think why? You may find that 2020 could be a

great time for a career change, starting a family, going on an adventure or finding your dream home. It’s all about what makes you happy and how you can achieve it!

LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

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ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

• Joaquin Phoenix (Joker) • Adam Driver (Marriage Story) • Leonardo DiCaprio (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) • Robert De Niro (The Irishman) • Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes)

Our favourite:

Joaquin Phoenix (Joker)

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE • Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) • Tom Hanks (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood) • Shia LaBeouf (Honey Boy) • Jamie Foxx (Just Mercy) • Al Pacino (The Irishman)

Our favourite:

Tom Hanks (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood)

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

• Renée Zellweger (Judy) • Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story) • Charlize Theron (Bombshell) • Lupita Nyong’o (Us) • Saoirse Ronan (Little Women)

Our favourite:

Saoirse Ronan (Little Women)

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE • Jennifer Lopez (Hustlers) • Laura Dern (Marriage Story) • Scarlett Johansson (Jojo Rabbit) • Margot Robbie (Bombshell) • Florence Pugh (Little Women)

Our favourite:

Margot Robbie (Bombshell)

BEST PICTURE

• The Irishman • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood • Marriage Story • Parasite • The Two Popes • The Farewell • Jojo Rabbit • Bombshell • Joker

Our favourite: Joker

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PROPERTY NEWS

THE 92 T ACADEMY AWARDS ND

Excitement is already building for the 92nd Academy Awards which take place on 9th February; but just who are in the running to pick up a coveted trophy?

he Academy Awards honours the best films of the year and this year’s event will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, at 11.30pm GMT. Presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the ceremony is an eagerly-awaited event with actors across the globe hoping to bag one of the prestigious awards. Despite the event not taking place until next month, there has already been much talk about the contenders for this year’s Academy Award winners for several months. With this year’s Nominations Announcement having took place on 22nd January 2019, we take a look at some of the hopefuls who are in the running to bag a trophy!


ENJOY A TAKEAWAY THE HEALTHY WAY!

Vegetable Curry

You don’t need to give up your curry nights just yet; stay on track with your healthy eating plan with this low-fat, vegetarian dish Preparation time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 35 minutes Serves: 4 Nutrition: 207kcal per serving

INGREDIENTS 1-2 tbsp red Thai curry paste 500ml low-sodium vegetable stock 2 onions, chopped 1 aubergine, diced 75g red lentil 200ml can reduced-fat coconut milk 2 red or yellow peppers, deseeded and cut into wedges 140g frozen peas 100g bag baby spinach, roughly chopped brown basmati rice and mango chutney, to serve

METHOD 1. H  eat the curry paste in a large non-stick saucepan with a splash of the stock. Add the onions and fry for 5 mins until softened. Stir in the aubergine and cook for a further 5 mins. Add a little more stock if it starts to stick.

This recipe, and more, can be found at www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1507675/summer-vegetable-curry Image for illustrative purposes only

2. A  dd the lentils, coconut milk and the rest of the stock, and simmer for 15 mins or until the lentils are tender. Add the peppers and cook for a further 5-10 mins. Stir through the peas and spinach and cook until spinach has just wilted. Serve with rice and mango chutney.

LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

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GIVING THE I

TO A NEW PLASTIC REVOLUTION

t took a series of heart-wrenching images from the BBC’s Blue Planet II series to make people sit up and realise scientists hadn’t been over-elaborating when they claimed the planet was choking on plastic.

But while a survey conducted a little over a year ago revealed that 88 per cent of people interviewed had changed their habits, it is a sad indictment on society that it took footage of an albatross feeding pieces of plastic to her chicks on a TV programme to ram home a message A sperm whale trying to eat a discarded scientists had been pushing for decades. plastic bucket; the remains of an albatross Attenborough’s dire warning went from which died from living room to ingesting a plastic bag boardroom in the blink of in the Antarctic; fish an eye. But the Last year’s major dodging discarded development and recycling breakthrough plastic in the ocean… viability of alternative came with the That, coupled with Sir packaging doesn’t outlawing of singleDavid Attenborough’s happen overnight and use containers, hard-hitting message at it’s only now – almost two showcased by the ban the end of the episode years later – that on water bottles at the – the fourth mostinitiatives and substitutes Glastonbury Festival watched programme in are becoming British TV history – commonplace. prompted a lot of finger-pointing; mostly in the direction of For example, the first crisp packet supermarkets and food producers. recycling scheme has been launched by Walkers, who asked the public to return empty packets for specialist recycling. More than 8,000 collection points have been set up and, when returned, the bags are cleaned, shredded and turned into plastic pellets to make products such as outdoor furniture. Coca-Cola, committed to removing all unnecessary or hard-to-recycle plastic from its portfolio, revealed their first step by abandoning the use of shrink-wrap packaging for multi-buys in favour of a paperboard clipping arrangement which they hope to have rolled out across Europe by next year. Last year’s major recycling breakthrough came with the outlawing of single-use containers, showcased by the ban on water bottles at the Glastonbury Festival. However, the big five supermarkets, convenient whipping boys when it comes

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GREEN LIGHT Since the horrifying images shown on Blue Planet II, consumers have become more conscious about the lasting damage of single-use packaging, with supermarkets bearing the brunt of criticism. So, how have they reacted?

to over-use of plastic – particularly shrinkwrapping individual items to prolong shelf life – were ahead of the game. WAITROSE had already implemented their ‘reuse and refill’ scheme in a trial at a store in Oxford, where customers were encouraged to fill their own containers with pasta from large jars, beer on tap, and pick ‘n’ mix frozen fruit. More than 90 per cent of their customers gave it the thumbs up, and it has been extended to other stores. Customers will soon be invited to bring in their own containers for meat, fish and cheese, while Waitrose aim to replace all single-use fruit and vegetable bags with a home compostable alternative… and ensure all their own-label cards, wraps, crackers, tags, flowers and plants are glitterfree before this Christmas. TESCO are about to trial a new delivery scheme called Loop, a modern take on the milkman where products ordered online will be delivered in reusable containers to be collected, cleaned and refilled. They are also targeting excessive packaging – half-filled crisp packets and cereal boxes – and those who don’t reach their standards won’t reach the shelves. They also want to scrap plastic bags with home deliveries; remove plastic cutlery from their own ‘on the go’ meals; and are using their flagship Extra store in Cambridge as a trial store to reduce waste. MORRISONS have been at the forefront of getting customers to use reusable containers and have also trialled a reuse and refill scheme for pasta, seeds and frozen fruit. They boast they have the highest proportion of loose fruit and veg sales of any supermarket and are trialling reverse vending machines at selected stores to encourage customers to return plastic bottles. They also want to introduce

a household cleaning ‘bottle for life’. SAINSBURY’S, bottom in Greenpeace’s 2018 survey on plastic policies, have retaliated by removing lightweight loose produce bags, scrapping plastic trays from certain products, encouraging customers to bring in their own containers to meat and deli counters, replacing plastic film on vegetables and fruit with a recyclable alternative and swapping PVC, black plastic and polystyrene trays with an ecofriendly alternative. They also aim to trial areas where customers can remove unwanted packaging and leave it for recycling, as well as piloting deposit/ return schemes. And they are looking at options to replace plastic milk containers. ASDA say that since early 2018 they have removed 6,500 tonnes of plastic – calculated at roughly 600 million empty plastic bottles – from their own-brand products and are trying a new coating on fresh produce which could double shelf life. They have removed wrapping from greetings cards and all unnecessary films, trays and windows; encouraging customers to bring their own reusable fruit and veg bags, and selling refillable cleaning products.

The first crisp packet recycling scheme has been launched by Walkers, who asked the public to return empty packets for specialist recycling

However, supermarkets acknowledge they can’t do it on their own. Shoppers need to change their own habits – particularly when bearing in mind, that despite the plastic bag tax, more than 1.75 billion were still sold by major retailers in the 12 months to April 2018 – to ensure footage of wildlife shrouded in discarded plastic doesn’t just become a chapter in TV history.

LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

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GIN & BEAR IT! The season of goodwill to all men has passed, so how about a few days of goodwill to you? Here’s some suggestions for a few days away, whether you fancy chilling out, the call of the wild, or a gin-fuelled bonanza!

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ongratulations! You did it… you survived Christmas and the new year with your sanity, health and bank balance relatively intact.

No-one bought the kids a drum kit or a trumpet, no-one contracted food poisoning from your cold buffet on Boxing Day, grannie’s sherry intake bordered on the acceptable, there was no need to involve ACAS during charades, and you didn’t disgrace yourself on New Year’s Eve! Here we are in January and, let’s face it, it’s all gone a bit flat. It’s grey and miserable, Easter and the promise of spring aren’t even on the horizon, and even Netflix can’t provide inspiration. So, if you didn’t use all your Christmas budget, what about a cheeky break? Some ‘you’ time? A bit of R and R with the emphasis on aaaahhh rather than aaarrgghh…

TAKE TIME FOR ‘YOU’ TIME

It’s cold outside, but the best place to properly chill is a spa break, and there are plenty from which to choose, whether you’re after a day’s pampering, a blissful overnight stop or a couple of days to totally unwind. For example, the Macdonald Hill Valley Hotel Golf & Spa in Whitchurch, Shropshire offers The Ultimate Spa-cation, three nights bed and breakfast, two 55 minute treatments, dinner on the first day, afternoon tea on the second, bottle of Prosecco, and full use of the facilities for £244.50 per person. For one night, how about the Blue Harbour Health Club and Spa at The Chelsea Harbour Hotel in south-west London, where £109 gets you bed and breakfast in a suite, robe, towel etc and full use of the spa facilities. Plus, a smoothie don’t forget the smoothie! Spa Days are widely available and prices vary, although the Morning Roof Top Spa Experience at Rudding Park, Harrogate – an Elysium Collection spa – which includes robe etc, use of the indoor swimming pool, juniper log sauna, bucket shower, thermal experiences and a drink and snack voucher, looks intriguing at £64. Further spa breaks are listed on spabreaks.com

It’s cold outside, but the best place to properly chill is a spa break, and there are plenty from which to choose

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If the weather isn’t an issue and The Great Outdoors is your thing, head out to the forest to take in the sharp, fresh woodland air and bed down in your own cosy, log cabin. Forest Holidays (forestholidays.co.uk) operate at 11 sites in Britain and offer six types of accommodation from tree-houses to self-catering; all featuring logburner and hot tubs, for weekend breaks or longer. For example, a Golden Oak cabin in Keldy Forest, north Yorkshire costs £405 for a family of four on a midweek break (Monday to Friday) and £445 in Sherwood Forest. Forest Holiday have sites at Ardgartan Argyll and Strathyre (Scotland), Beddgelert (Snowdonia), Blackwood Forest (Hampshire), Cropton (north Yorkshire), Deepark (Cornwall), Forest of Dean (Gloucestershire), Keldy (north Yorkshire), Sherwood Forest (Nottinghamshire) and Thorpe Forest (Norfolk).

Alternatively, there is a straightforward gin festival at Manchester Cathedral on February 21-22 where, again, more than 100 selected gins are available to taste and, with tickets only £12.50 and two nights in a Manchester hotel from £120 at the ibis Styles Manchester Portland, you’ll probably only get an alcohol-induced headache, rather than a financial one. If gin’s not your thing, there’s always Winchester’s Cocktails Week (February 3-9), the Yorkshire Pudding Festival (February 1) in Leeds, or back to Bristol on February 22 for the Prosecco Festival at The Passenger Shed. Alternatively, there’s the family-friendly Lightopia Festival (January 22 -March 1) in Chiswick House and Gardens, London or the London Classic Car Show at Olympia (February 22) if you fancy a breather in the capital. Failing that, York holds the annual Ice Trail (February 1-2), when the streets of the historic city are filled with ice sculptures and, two weeks later, the city pays homage to its past with the 36th Jorvik Viking Festival – a week-long celebration (February 15-23) of the Scandinavian invaders who settled in the area. Expect living history encampments, markets, tours. Two nights at the Staycity Aparthotel starts from £155 for a family of four (expedia.co.uk).

If the weather isn’t an issue and The Great Outdoors is your thing, head out to the forest

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE GIN! Of course, the best breaks are those centred around an event: a show, a one-off event or… a gin-tasting extravaganza! The Gin To My Tonic Festivals bring together 100 different gins – as well as selected vodkas and rums – from across the world, promising “a voyage of gin discovery” with tastings, premium mixers and live entertainment. In February, they are being staged at the town hall in Stoke (February 1) and the Guildhall in Winchester (February 29), while the Gin Tasting Bristol takes place onboard Brunel’s steam ship, the SS Great Britain, on February 14. For this Valentine’s Day treat, the Gin To My Tonic team will introduce specially selected gins in a five-course tasting menu, with ‘courses’ coming every 30 minutes with their own back-story, appropriate tonic and garnish.

LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

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GUINNESS SIX NATIONS 2020 PREVIEW T

he annual Rugby Union competition between England, France, Wales, Scotland, Italy and Ireland begins this February. The tournament was first played in 1883 as the Home Nations Championship between England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales and became the Five Nations with the addition of France in 1910. Italy joined in 2000 to create what we now know as the Six Nations. After a disappointing World Cup for all the teams – despite an appearance in the final for England and semi-final for Wales – all six teams will look to rebuild and move on at this years’ Six Nations. Let’s look at all six teams before the tournament kicks off.

ENGLAND Eddie Jones’ England haven’t got a lot of work to do. The team that reached the World Cup final are still together; however, he will hope for stronger performances than the one in the final at the World Cup when they were outplayed and ultimately beaten by a strong, but uninspiring, South Africa side.

WALES Warren Gatland has left, and Wayne Pivac has come in as head coach. He says he is planning an evolution of Wales’ playing style. Gatland’s Wales were built on a strong defence, something not lost on Pivac who will concentrate on the transition between attack and defence. Will this be a more attack-minded Wales than we’ve seen recently?

The annual Rugby Union competition between England, France, Wales, Scotland, Italy and Ireland begins this February

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PROPERTY NEWS

The 21st Six Nations Championship kicks off on the 1st February with Wales looking to defend their Grand Slam

SCOTLAND Scotland had a disappointing World Cup. Besides two good halves – one against Japan and one against England – this current squad seems to lack in morale. With some of their best coaches being poached by Union squads, there is a lingering doubt that the current coaches will get the best out of the squad. The big question is: will Gregor Townsend be able to motivate his team and get them fired up for the Six Nations?

IRELAND Andy Farrell has come in as head coach after a successful stint as defence coach. The players are trying to get the disappointment of the World Cup off their chests with their respective teams and most them have been performing well. The question now is: will Farrell blood a new generation or stick with the tried and tested players such as Johnny Sexton and Cian Healy?

FRANCE With the new joint head coaches, Raphael Ibanez and Fabien Galthie, France are aiming to muster a challenge for the title this time after last year’s fourth place finish. They produced some moments of brilliance at the World Cup, only to end up holding onto games, so will have to gain confidence to see out important games.

ITALY Conor O’Shea has left over six months early, leaving Franco Smith as interim head coach. Will Smith use the Six Nations to press his case to be given the job full time? Will the cancelled match against New Zealand at the World Cup still be on their minds? With Italy, you never know.

The Six Nations kicks off on the 1st February with matches live on ITV and the BBC.


HAPPY BIRTHDAY… AT LAST

It’s a leap year, when every four years we get an extra day in February. But what does that mean, particularly for those born on February 29?

T

he celebrated English actor Joss Ackland, who has appeared in more than 130 film and TV roles, is 23 next month. Darren Ambrose, the former Colchester United, Ipswich Town and Newcastle United footballer, made his England under-21s debut at the tender age of five. And Superman hasn’t had his 21st birthday yet*. Yes, you read that right. Joss Ackland is 23. But hasn’t he made a career of playing grizzled old blokes in films such as The Hunt for Red October and Lethal Weapon 2, and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy on TV? We know you can do wonders with make-up and prosthetics but, even so… And Darren Ambrose doesn’t strike you as a child prodigy either. As for Superman, well it must be something to do with Earth’s atmosphere… Actually, it’s much simpler. They are all leaplings, leapers or leapsters – leap year babies born on February 29 who only get to celebrate their official birthday every four years. It is estimated there are almost five million of them across the globe, with the chances of being born on that day one in 1,461. However, Norwegian mum Karin Henriksen might have something to say about that – she gave birth to her children Heidi, Olav and Leif-Martin on

consecutive Leap Days, while Irishman Peter Keogh (1940), his son Eric (1964) and granddaughter Bethany (1996) were all born on February 29. Not only that, for centuries astrologers believed babies born on that rare day were endowed with unusual talents, unique personalities and even special powers. Well, that accounts for Superman! But what is a leap year and why do we have them?

Leap years come every four years but are skipped every centennial year

Well, prepare to be confused. Leap years come every four years but are skipped every centennial year (1800, 1900 etc), but not 2000 as it can also be divided by four, although according to the Gregorian calendar, the most widely used across the planet, we still kept the extra day. We need them to counter-balance time. The Gregorian calendar measures a year at 365 days, the time it takes the Earth to orbit the Sun. But because this orbit takes 365.24 days, an extra day is added to the shortest month every four years to keep our seasons synchronised with the solar calendar.

If this didn’t happen, in 750 years or so, June would be in the middle of winter. All of which probably means very little to someone who needs to decide when their new-born celebrates their ‘unofficial’ birthday in the intervening years. It used to be that a baby born before noon on February 29 could celebrate their ‘unofficial’ birthday on February 28, while after that it was March 1. But, like the tradition of women being able to propose on Leap Year Day, that went the way of the dodo when legislation in the United Kingdom was introduced to say when a leapling (or leaper or leapster) turns 18, their birthday has to be on March 1. *Technically Superman has two birthdays – his Earth birthday was on April 18, 1938 when he first appeared in print, but he was actually born on February 29 two years previously on Krypton. Joss Ackland was born in 1928 and Darren Ambrose 1984.

LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

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Villiers Street, Hertford, SG13 7BW

Price Guide ÂŁ475,000

OVER 1300 SQ FT OF ACCOMMODATION is this large 2 double bedroom, 2 reception Victorian end of terrace home with a long private SOUTH FACING rear garden and detached 2 storey building with annex potential. There is huge potential in this property that sits just 2 minutes walk to Hertford East train line, Hertford Town Centre, the shops and amenities. The River Lea and stunning countryside walks are also on your doorstep as well as permit resident parking.

Brook Barn, Great Hormead, SG9 0NT

Price Guide ÂŁ950,000

The property has many character features including oak timbers and weatherboarded elevations under a tiled roof. The contemporary interior includes generously proportioned rooms with a large living room leading through to a family/dining room, kitchen/breakfast room, utility and downstairs w.c.. To the first floor there are four bedrooms, the master bedroom having a large en-suite bath/shower room and a spiral staircase leading to an en-suite dressing room. There is also an en-suite shower room to two of the bedrooms and a main family bath/shower room. The barn is situated over three floors with bespoke double glazing throughout. The main living room has doors to the garden. Outside the property there is a 100ft south facing garden which is mainly laid to lawn, further garden area, lots of parking and a double cartlodge.

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Ware Road, Hertford, SG13 7EN

£385,000

A STUNNING AND REFURBISHED 3 BEDROOM OPEN PLAN HOME with stunning 100 foot plus rear garden, large decked area, detached double garage with electric up and over door and additional 2 car driveway.Enter via a spacious porch with room for coats and boots, leading to the lounge which has a cast iron log burning stove and a large front aspect double glazed window. Double glass doors lead to an open plan kitchen/diner with rear French Doors and a window over looking the long gardens that back onto fields.The exterior of the property has a large front garden, 100 foot plus rear garden and Double Garage with electric up and over door with a 2 car driveway at the rear.

Thunder Court, Ware, SG12 0PT

£475,000

A SPACIOUS and IMMACULATELY PRESENTED 3 BEDROOM SEMI-DETACHED HOME with 2 bathrooms (additional cloakroom), 19 feet Living Room, re-fitted Kitchen/Diner Room, re-fitted family bathroom and re-fitted en-suite. A private rear garden is accessed via French Doors in the kitchen/diner and a large garden sits at the front of the property and backs onto a garage. The garage could be removed and a 4 car driveway created (STPP).

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Molewood Road, Bengeo, SG14 3AQ

£299,995

CHAIN FREE - WE HOLD THE KEYS - A MUCH LARGER THAN AVERAGE 2 DOUBLE BEDROOM GARDEN MAISONETTE with stunning countryside views and the River Beane, with spacious separate kitchen, own front door, an extremely long lease WITH a share of the freehold. A rear garden, single garage and personal front door direct to the property.Situated on a quiet road just a stones throw from Hertford North train line with links to Kings Cross and Moorgate, a short walk to Hertford Town Centre and all its amenities, pubs and restaurants. Hertford

Whitely Road, Hoddesdon, EN11 0PX

£739,393

ONLY 5 Years Old with 5 years remaining NHBC Warranty - and almost 2000 SQ FT with HUGE PROPORTIONED ROOMS - 3 double bedrooms with the possibility to convert one into 2 bedrooms and make this property a 4 bed DETACHED Family Home with private rear garden, gated 4 car driveway and a brand new Detached double garage with electric up and over doors, power, lighting and water (to be rendered). EXCELLENT VIEWS OVER THE ALLOTMENTS

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Castle Street, Hertford, SG14 1ER

ÂŁ399,950

WE HOLD THE KEYS - Part of a converted manor house in the centre of town dripping in history, modern luxurious kitchen with stylish quartz worktop and 2 fully tiled en-suite bathrooms and 3rd toilet/cloakroom is this 1350 sq ft duplex property with its own front door and gated, allocated parking.New 125 year lease and LOW SERVICE CHARGES, to include a Share of The Freehold. Offered Chain Free.

New Blenheim Cottages, Wareside, Ware, SG12 7RF

ÂŁ535,000

An exquisitely refurbished 2 bedroom character cottage, completely renovated from the ground up. A stunning re-fitted kitchen with island and quartz worktops. Bi-fold doors open up the entirety of the kitchen onto the south facing garden.The lounge has a log burning stove, wooden flooring and stairs to the first floor. Twisted metal spindles line the banister railings that lead to the first and second floor. A main bedroom with En-Suite and amazing views over rolling countryside with second bedroom and third room currently a loft room with potential to convert into a master bedroom, en-suite with epic views. The rear gardens are mostly laid to lawn with raised decking area and large brick built store. There are raised planters with plants and shrubs and a front garden with blossom tree, picket fencing and additional plants and a mature acer tree. To the front a 2 car driveway.

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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

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

BEN S H

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.

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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

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

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

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she looks forward to helping you with your move

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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.

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01992 558557

Testimonials

CALL US TODAY FOR A FREE NO OBLIGATION VALUATION

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

HANNAH & CAMELO

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.

PETER

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

SHELA

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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 sales@simply-homes.co.uk. We look forward to hearing from you.

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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

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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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Comparables of houses SOLD and price guides

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

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UNIQUE with Simply Homes

Print marketing: Property brochure, photography, floorplans and newspapers

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RECEIVE YOUR VERY OWN

EXCLUSIVE PERSONALISED

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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

sales@simply-homes.co.uk

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


Simply make a resolution you can keep and welcome the start of a new year with a new home. Ask us how we can make it happen.

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Simply Homes - January 2020  

Simply Homes - January 2020