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LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

PROPERTY NEWS

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MARCH 2021

LIVING ROOM RENOVATIONS BREATHE NEW LIFE INTO YOUR LIVING SPACE TODAY KIT-OUT YOUR GARDEN BE SPRING-READY WITH THE BEST GARDEN FURNITURE

ST PATRICK’S DAY RECIPES COOK AN IRISH FEAST TO CELEBRATE ST. PADDY’S DAY

NEW MUSIC FROM STARS CLASSIC BANDS RELEASING BRAND NEW MUSIC

BEAT THE BOREDOM HOBBIES TO TRY AT HOME TO KEEP YOU BUSY


CONTENTS COVER STORY

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Living room renovations Breathe new life into your living space today

PROPERTY

2 16 20

Kit-out your garden Be spring-ready with the best garden furniture Our latest instructions Take a look at a selection of our latest properties on the market About us Get to know our team a little better and see why we are your agent of choice

FOOD

8

A feast for St Patrick’s Day Tasty Irish recipes, perfect for celebrating St Paddy’s day

LIFESTYLE

4

A matter of time The clocks go forward this month, but what does it all mean?

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A head-start on your garden There are certain seeds and bulbs you can now start to sow

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The Many Saints of Newark What to expect from the film based on The Sopranos series

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New music from old stars We look at the classic bands releasing new music

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Beat the boredom Put some bounce into spring with a new hobby

SPORT

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Reaching for the pot of gold The race to reach the Premier League is entering the last leg

WELCOME TO THE MARCH ISSUE! The schools go back in a week and, at the end of the month, outdoor sports facilities will reopen and the rule of six will come back into place. This is obviously positive news for everyone, especially with the days getting longer. This month, to coincide with the positive news, we want to help you get your garden up to scratch and to do so we have two great features about your outdoor space. The first includes the ‘best buys’ to kit-out-your-garden in styles, and the second is our Spring gardening guide. At the end of the month the clocks change; lighter evenings are coming and on pages 4&5 we have an in-depth look at the

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PROPERTY NEWS

process. Moving inside, we have a superb feature with some incredible, space-saving living room renovation ideas. In the middle, we celebrate St. Patrick’s day with some traditional Irish recipes, and, on top of all these, we have a preview of The Many Saints of Newark, the best new music releases from old favourites and a look at the EFL Championship teams pushing for promotion this Spring. The clouds are clearing and there is light at the tunnel… Remember, Stay Safe, Stay Positive. Jonathan Wheatley Editor

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ack in August, the UK recorded a record-breaking heatwave. Therefore we can be hopeful of rivalling temperatures in 2021. So, in preparation, here are some perfect DIY garden ideas so you can make the most of celebrating the British Summer from your own home.

COOK OUTDOORS

If you want to capitalise on the warm weather this Summer, then give yourself a good excuse to cook outside, and treat yourself to a new barbecue, or, if you feel like getting hands-on, then check out how you can design a barbecue from scratch. Perhaps you would like to go a step further. In this case, look to build a whole outdoor kitchen so you can really make the garden the place to be. As well as increasing your living space, its openness provides the perfect opportunity for entertaining guests, and allows everyone to gather around whilst dinner is being prepared.

SNUGGLE UP IN THE DARK

A really stylish way to transform your garden is to install a fire pit. Through just a few easy steps, and a handful of materials, you can create a stunning visual display, which is equally as practical. On cool evenings a firepit can provide you with some much needed warmth, and add some colour to your garden. On top of this, they are the perfect crowd-pleaser. With just the addition of a few chairs, fire pits are great for socialising late into the night. They can also offer a great way of cooking food. For example, you can place a grill rack over the top in order to give your dinner the authentic taste of a campfire. And what’s more, the fire pit is the gift that keeps on giving, because it can be used throughout the year. Just grab some blankets, and experience its warmth into the winter months.


CREATING

YOUR OWN

SUMMER

PARADISE

SOAK UP THE RAYS

There is nothing more exciting about the Summer months than the prospect of hot weather

TAKE THE PARTY OUTSIDE

If you want to take the good times anywhere you go this summer, then why not create your own home bar? For example, if there is a rustic shed at the end of your garden which is going unused, then why not dust it down and revamp it into an industrial pub shed. Or, if you fancy going for a slightly more minimalist approach, then choose to extend a bar counter onto the outside of the kitchen. By merely switching to appropriate windows, this can transform your kitchen into a restaurant-like bar in seconds, and make it easy to transfer food and drink across, creating a link between your kitchen and patio. And if you fancy designing a bar that can follow you around the garden, then opt for a sturdy bar cart, and fill it with all the drinks of a fully-stocked bar, so that, wherever you are, the party is never far behind.

How many times have you basked in the summer heat, and wished you had a hot tub to be soaking in? Well this year, make this dream a reality! There are so many reasons why getting one would be a fruitful investment. For example, along with a fire pit, a hot tub is not restrictive to the summer season, so you can relax in one whether it’s sunny or snowing. They also add a very bold statement to any household. They’re great for entertaining guests, or if you’d prefer to use it privately, they can act as a personal oasis, whilst simultaneously boasting health benefits, such as de-stressing and muscle relaxation. And finally, soaking in a hot tub is a superb way to feel pampered, without going on holiday. Just lie back, turn on the jets, and enjoy your own private retreat

GO ALL OUT ON A SUMMER HOUSE

If you fancy an even bigger project, then why not splash out on a summer house? As well as providing a statement for your garden, summer houses are great places to detox f rom the stresses of everyday life. For instance, the sanctuary of a summer house offers ample opportunity to unwind with a good book, or even to get creative with arts and crafts. And if you need some peace and quiet f rom the bustle of your own house, then turn this space into your own home office, and say goodbye to being interrupted during all of your important meetings. More than anything though, a summer house gives you more options for entertaining, so that you can really take advantage of the warm weather.

How many times have you basked in the summer heat, and wished you had a hot tub to be soaking in?

LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

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A MATTER OF

TIME The clocks go forward this month, but what does it all mean?

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hat started with a throwaway remark in 1784 has influenced our lives for more than 100 years. But although one of America’s Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin, observed on a visit to France that Parisiennes should be woken an hour earlier by cannons and church bells, the concept of Daylight Saving Time (DST) – or as it is more widely-known British Summer Time – did not gain traction until 1895 when a New Zealand scientist, George Vernon Hudson, proposed to his government that the clocks should go forward by two hours every summer. Although he was unsuccessful, an English builder, William Willett, began lobbying Parliament in 1907 to alter the clocks to create more hours of daylight in the

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summer. Although cynics sniped it was to allow Willett more time to play golf and ride out, he argued we were frittering away natural light by rising at the same time in the summer as in the darker days of winter. He advocated putting clocks forward of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) by 80 minutes (20 minutes at a time during April) and reversing it in similar stages throughout September. But it wasn’t until the spring of 1916, a year after his death, that Willett’s proposal was adopted - and then only by an hour – as wartime governments around Europe tried to cut fuel consumption and increase productivity. Incidentally, Willett is the greatgreat-grandfather of Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, who co-wrote the track Clocks for the group’s album, A Rush Of Blood To The Head. A nod to his ancestor, perhaps? Anyway, apart from a spell during, and immediately after, the second World War when they were brought forward two hours to avoid fuel shortages, that’s the way it stayed until 1968 when Britain spent three years in DST.


But fears around road safety prompted a return to the status quo, disappointing those who argued changing the clocks twice a year upset natural sleep rhythms which could ultimately lead to health problems. To say nothing of the shocks suffered by those who had forgotten to change and couldn’t work out what was going on. Our former European colleagues also tackled time in 2018, when the European Union commissioned a study which found 84 per cent of people in countries which had DST wanted it discontinued. It gave member states the option to continue in summer time by adjusting their clocks for the last time this month, while those opting for permanent winter time would turn back their clocks in October. For most of us, though, it all revolves around whether, for one day, we are gaining – or losing – an extra hour under the duvet. So, in this case, it means after 1am on Sunday March 28th, we spring forward from our beds, desperately hoping the other half remembered to adjust the central heating settings. The main advantage, of course, is that evenings gradually become lighter, promoting more activity

after work, which is obviously good for general health and the retail sector, which has long complained that darker, colder afternoons reduce footfall apart from around Christmas.

Nature starts to break out of its winter slumber to bring splashes of colour to the countryside

Roads also become safer. Figures show casualty rates peak at 8am and 10am and worsen at 3pm and 7pm during darker hours and deteriorating road conditions when cyclists – particularly children on their way home from school – are most at risk. There are also environmental benefits, as demand for electricity decreases in correlation with the increased hours of daylight as well as rising temperatures. Plus nature starts to break out of its winter slumber to bring splashes of colour to the countryside. Consequently, people generally feel happier and more energetic.

Employers’ organisations say there are lower sickness rates among their workers while instances of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as winter depression) drop significantly, while carb cravings are also lowered. And once the clocks go forward, the clock starts ticking down to the first of the Bank Holiday weekends, heralded by the four-day Easter blockbuster, followed by two more in May and another at the end of August. So, as you ponder the complexities of resetting the timer on the boiler count yourself fortunate. There are more than 2,000 clocks in the Houses of Parliament. And the time on your Smartphone updates automatically.

LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

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NEED SOME INSPIRATION ON HOW TO RENOVATE AND TRANSFORM YOUR LIVING SPACE?

If you’re renovating your living room, and trying to change things up, and/or create more storage space, look no further for your inspiration than here

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asking in the peaceable kingdom that is your living space has never been so important. Whether it be a calming décor, an ocean of soft and fluffy comfort for your bare feet to walk through, or a crackling fireplace spitting happily away as you read a good novel, your living space should be a thing of beauty. Here are our ideas for how to get the best out of your living space.

HANGING ART.

Art is the gateway to the soul, as someone great surely once said. Grace your walls with art. And art is art – it doesn’t need to be by a world-renowned artist, just something you like which suits your tastes.

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Perhaps choose colours which match your desired décor of the entire room. Either way, art or photography can go a long way in giving your living space a much needed lift in character and mood.

RUGS. If you’re in the process of renovating your living space, rugs can serve a very good practical purpose as well as a decorative one. If you’ve recently moved some significant furniture to another position, for instance, this can leave unattractive indentations in the carpet, and a rug can discreetly solve this problem. Two birds, one stone. It’s fun to decide upon the right colour and design of your rug, too!

TV AND UNITS.

The size of the unit obviously is determined by your television, because it’s all about the widescreen high def. Right? Well, not always. It’s often about storage and décor. Perhaps you’re someone who doesn’t particularly care for an enormous TV in your living room. Either way, a TV unit is a fantastic way of creating precious space for your Sky box, DVD’s, Blu-rays, video games, books, ornaments, and many other things. Make it work for you.

STORAGE BOX SEATS.

One of the most wonderfully versatile pieces of furniture for the living space can be a foldable storage stool. It can provide a


Throw pillows can also be the perfect seasoning to chairs, and can help blend the chairs into the desired décor of the room

brilliant storage solution for a great many bits and bobs, but also act as a foot rest, or a full on seat. Pick the right colour and style, and you’ve got yourself a very welcome new member of the furniture family.

CHAIRS AND THROW PILLOWS.

Hanging chairs can make the difference between traditional and modern, if done right. Be thoughtful in your creative thinking, and the chairs you have in your living space can complete it in reliable ways. Throw pillows can also be the perfect seasoning to chairs, and can help blend the chairs into the desired décor of the room. Hanging chairs are a more modern option, which, depending on the style of your room, can be one of the most impressive things in it.

COFFEE TABLE.

The centre piece of many living spaces, believe it not, can be a coffee table. If it’s a large, marble, beautifully crafted coffee table, for example, it certainly has the power to completely transform the living space from a mere room to a beautiful entertaining space. They usually serve

great practical purpose too, acting as a kind of storage solution in themselves, both on top and underneath the table.

FIREPLACES.

The fireplace can be key to creating the focal point in your living room. It can enhance the modern feel to the space, or indeed complement the vintage style to the room. Fireplaces can get expensive, though, so be sure to pick the right one for you, in terms of style as well. Log burners can be ideal for the winter, whereas wall-mounted fireplaces can be more low maintenance. With many factors to consider, the choice is yours to make.

BOOK SHELVES.

Like the aforementioned hanging art possibility, lots and lots of books can be the finishing touch to a living space and add a touch of class. After all, reading by the fireplace – is there a more peaceful scene? Book shelves can solve many storage problems. With an entire wall dominated by beautiful, elegant and spacious book shelves, you’ve got yourself a mini library, which is when a library ladder would be in order to really give your living space a delightfully stylish finish.

If you’ve recently moved some significant furniture to another position, for instance, this can leave unattractive indentations in the carpet, and a rug can discreetly solve this problem LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

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COOK UP A FEAST TO CELEBRATE ST PATRICK’S DAY St Patrick’s Day is on the 17th March, so what better time to look at some great recipes from the Emerald Isle

Ireland isn’t just about Guinness and Potatoes, we have scoured through the cookbooks to find some of the most comforting and tasty Irish recipes, perfect for celebrating St Paddy’s day at home this year.

FIFTEEN Ingredients 15 digestive biscuits 15 marshmallows 15 glacé cherries, cut in half about 200ml condensed milk 100g desiccated coconut, to coat Method Crush the digestive biscuits in a food processor or in a plastic bag with a rolling pin, then put them in a large mixing bowl. Chop each marshmallow into 4 pieces and add to the bowl with the cherries and 175ml condensed milk. Mix until the ingredients are well combined and you have a sticky mixture. If it’s too dry, add a splash more condensed milk.

Images for illustrative purposes only Recipes from www.bbcgoodfood.co.uk

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PROPERTY NEWS

Sprinkle most of the coconut over a large piece of cling film (or foil). Tip the mixture onto the coconut and shape into a long sausage, about 30 x 5cm. Sprinkle more coconut over the top of it and wrap the cling film tightly around, twisting the ends together. Leave in the fridge to chill for 4-6 hrs, then cut into 15 slices and serve. Will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week wrapped in cling film.


IRISH STEW A classic, hearty and warming Irish stew, perfect for a cold Spring evening. Ingredients 3 middle necks of lamb (about 1.8kg/4lb), filleted and boned - you need to end up with about 950g/2lb 2oz pure meat 650g floury potatoes, such as King Edward 650g waxy potato, such as Desirée or Pentland Javelin 1kg carrots 2 onions ½ tsp fresh thyme leaves chopped fresh chives and parsley, to garnish For the stock bones from the lamb 1 large carrot, quartered 1 onion, quartered ½ celery stick, quartered 1 bay leaf 2 large sprigs of thyme a generous sprig of parsley 6 black peppercorns, lightly crushed

Images for illustrative purposes only Recipes from www.bbcgoodfood.co.uk

Method Make the stock. Put the lamb bones in a large heavy-based saucepan with the carrot, onion, celery, herbs, peppercorns and 1 tsp salt. Pour in 3 litres/5 ¼ pints water. Bring to the boil and simmer uncovered for 2 hours. Strain the stock through a fine sieve to remove bones and vegetables, then return to the pan. Boil until reduced to about 1.3 litres/2 ¼ pints. (You can make the stock the day before – keep it in a covered container in the fridge, or freeze it for up to 3 months.) Make the stew. Cut the lamb into large chunks. Peel the potatoes (keeping both types separate) and cut into pieces of similar size to the meat. Put the two different types in separate bowls of water to keep them white. Peel the carrots and cut into slightly smaller pieces. Slice the onions into thick rings. Put the lamb in a large, clean saucepan. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil, skimming off all the impurities from the surface. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Add the floury potatoes, carrots and onions. Season generously and simmer for a further 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the waxy potatoes and thyme. Simmer until the lamb is tender (15-20 minutes). Take off the heat, cover (don’t stir) and leave for 15 minutes. (You can make this up to 2 days ahead and keep in the fridge). Garnish and serve.

LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

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GET A

HEAD-START

ON YOUR GARDEN It’s that time of the year, gardeners everywhere are getting prepped for what they hope will be an incredible year in their gardens

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t may still be cold outside, but, hopefully, the last of the year’s frosts has come and gone. There are certain seeds and bulbs you can now start to sow, both outside and inside, ready to move outside later on. If you get the timing just right, regardless of whether you have a greenhouse or not, or the size of your garden, you can have a bumper crop of veg and herbs alongside some beautiful flowers in your borders, but you need to put the work in now.

good quality compost and pick a few different varieties of tomatoes. Sow the seeds on the top of the seed trays, before sprinkling on a thin layer of compost. Give them a good water, before covering and leaving in a warm and sunny place. When the weather gets warmer, then transplant them into a large planter or grow bags with bamboo or trellis to hold them up.

HERBS

Another great group of plants, that when grown yourself at home adds so much to As opposed to shop-bought flowers ready your summer BBQs, are herbs. Basil, to plant, if you have grown oregano, and thyme your flowers from seeds and are three of the most bulbs, as well as the popular and you can There are certain excitement of watching start these great seeds and bulbs you them grow, they will plants off early. Sow can now start to sow, actually be hardier than the basil, oregano and both outside and shop-bought variety. thyme now in seed inside, ready to move planters with good outside later on For a little investment now quality compost and in seeds, if you’re savvy, you a propagator lid in a can then use the seeds warm place. The from the veg that grow for next years shoots should start to show within a week crops and likewise with the herbs. If you and when they do keep them moist until take a cutting towards the end of the they’re large enough to pot-on. When season, you can have your herb plants potted-on, put them in a warm, sunny ready-to-go next year too. spot in your garden or, even better, a greenhouse.

TOMATOES

Tomatoes are one of the best go-to veggies for your garden or greenhouse. Get an early start by sowing your seeds early in seed trays indoors. Start with some

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CHILLIES

Chilli peppers and sweet peppers perfectly compliment the tomatoes and herbs you already have growing and they are just as


If you get the timing just right you can have a bumper crop of veg and herbs alongside some beautiful flowers

simple to grow. Pick a few different varieties such as Burrito Chilli, Sweet Pepper and Cayenne, and sow the seeds similarly to the tomato plants. The roots go deeper in chilli plants, so plant each seed 1cm into the compost and then water, cover and keep in a very warm place. Once the plants are 2-3cm tall pot-on into individual containers somewhere warm and with lots of sunshine. Ideally, keep them in a greenhouse or lean-to with direct l Always use good quality compost when starting sunlight. your seeds to get incredible growth.

GARDENING TIPS

BULBS

l If you don’t have a lot of room for seed trays and Most of your Spring propagators, simply cover pots with cling film. bulbs should already l Always put pots with seeds in a well-lit and warm be in, however, there area to encourage growth. are a few more you can plant now. l When potting on, pull out the plant – root included Summer-flowering – using the leaves as if they break they will grow bulbs like Pineapple back, whereas a broken stem won’t. Lilies and other Lilies l Tomato plants grow like a jungle when bunched alongside your Gladioli together, so make sure you use bamboo or trellis to are prime to go into try to keep the space neat and tidy. the ground next. For Gladioli, soak the bulbs in water a day before planting and then plant the bulbs 2-6 inches deep, 5 inches apart in rows before covering again with soil. These will take between 70-90 days until they flower. For Lilies, plant the bulbs three times as deep as the height of the bulb and set pointy side up.

LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

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THE MANY SAINTS

OF NEWARK – WHAT ARE WE

TO EXPECT?

On the cusp of the millennium in 1999, we were introduced to The Sopranos. Spanning six highly critically acclaimed seasons of ground-breaking TV, and leaving our screens in 2007 with almost 12million viewers tuning in for the final season’s finale. A story about New Jersey’s most famous fictional mob family, the upcoming film based on the TV series will act as a prequel to the series’ events, thus being set in the 60s and 70s during, and in the wake of, the Newark riots, which was one of many race riots of the time, killing 26 people. Films like The Godfather and Goodfellas romanticised the antihero in cinema, and The Sopranos was perhaps the first iconic TV show which carried on that tradition, putting the viewer in uneasy positions as we forever awkwardly albeit sympathetically root for the antiheros of the show. Shows like Sons of Anarchy, Breaking Bad and Mad Men followed in a similar theme,

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Just over 20 years later, and it’s back on the screen – the big screen. The Many Saints of Newark is due for release this year, after a COVIDcaused delay

exploring and glamorizing the darker complexities of human nature.

David is a masterful storyteller and we... are thrilled that he has decided to revisit, and enlarge, the Soprano universe in a feature film

David Chase, creator of The Sopranos and co-writer of The Many Saints of Newark, has already divulged that the storyline of the film centres on the 1967 Newark riots and racial tensions between the Italian-American and African-American communities. He said: “I was interested in Newark and life in Newark at that time. I used to go down there every Saturday night for dinner with my grandparents. But the thing that interested me most was Tony’s boyhood. I was interested in exploring that.”

New Line Cinema purchased the rights to produce the film along with HBO Films, and NLC chairman, Toby Emmerich, has said: “David is a masterful storyteller and we, along with our colleagues at HBO, are thrilled that he has decided to revisit, and enlarge, the Soprano universe in a feature film.” In the famous TV show, the Soprano family, racist and hypermasculine as they usually were, were frequently looking back on the plight of the Italian American’s place in society, whilst struggling with their lack of a sense of home in the US. We are surely to expect The Many Saints of Newark, then, to explore just how the family’s tough and bitter men and women came to be the way they were in the modern day. “[The film will be] set in the 60s and 70s during, and in the wake of, the Newark riots, which was one of many race riots of the time, killing 26 people.”


THE

BIG NAMES

BRINGING OUT

NEW MUSIC

As we enter March, the music keeps on coming, as we welcome new material from some of the biggest acts around the world

KINGS OF LEON

This year is sees Kings of Leon release new music. Back in January, the Tennessee quartet shared two new songs ‘Must Catch the Bandit’ and ‘Feel the Way You Do’, with further snippets released for two further tracks. With the exception of the aptly-titled song ‘Going Nowhere’, in 2020, this is the first new music that the band have dropped since their 2016 album ‘WALLS’. This album, which landed the No.1 spot on the Billboard 200, has much to live up to, so the group will hope for their new album ‘When You See Yourself’, to be equally successful, when it comes out on March 5th.

This is the first new music that the band have dropped since their 2016 album

EVANESCENCE

For the first time in a decade, Evanescence will be releasing new music, following up the self-titled 2011 offering. ‘The Bitter Truth’, will be available from March 26th, with a number of singles

already available to listen to. To mark the announcement of the upcoming record, the band released the song ‘Yeah right’, a hard rock number, offering insights into the band’s lengthy tenure in the music industry. Speaking to Rolling Stone, frontwoman Amy Lee spoke of the difficulty in writing music during lockdown, saying, ‘Even on the days that I don’t want to, I come out here and I go, ‘Let’s do this. Let’s finish the album.’’

STING

RINGO STARR

The former Beatles drummer will also release a new five-song album in March. The record, entitled ‘Zoom In’, was recorded between the months of April and October 2020, and will include contributions from Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl and Finneas. Starr has already dropped one song, ‘Here’s To The Nights’, which was available to listen to from December, and was worked on with songwriter Diane Warren.

Due to unforeseen manufacturing delays, the release of Sting’s forthcoming album ‘Duets’ will be released on March 19th. As the title suggests, the seventeen-track album will feature some big alreadyreleased collaborations, including with the likes of Eric Clapton, Shaggy, Annie Lennox, and Mary J. Blige. It will also feature one new song, entitled ‘September’, which Sting has recorded with the famed Italian singer, Zucchero. Speaking in September 2020, Sting spoke of the ‘amazing people’, who he had recorded music with, leading to the creation of this new star-studded album.

LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

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THE GREEN SHOOTS OF PERSONAL GROWTH

Put some bounce into spring with a new hobby

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o here we are, spring already: the season of new birth, new growth … and new ideas. It’s an exciting time of the year, even more so if you’ve decided to broaden your horizons and embark on a new hobby. As the weather, hopefully, grows warmer and daylight gets longer there’s more chance to get outside to indulge newfound interests and put to use those rediscovered items which were bought with the prefix: “One day, I’ll…” Technology’s relentless advance brings information and advice to your fingertips, particularly helpful if your new smartphone also has a state-of-the-art camera, which has piqued an interest in photography. There are many online tutorials and workshops to help you develop your skills before advancing to that big digital SLR camera you’ve dreamt of for years. Similarly art, whether it be sketching or painting with watercolours or oils. Springtime, with its rapidly-improving light and emerging plant life, is a rich source of inspiration and the internet is awash with advice on how to get started, selecting your subjects and brushing up your techniques to get the best results.

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Painting, particularly capturing landscapes, might just encourage a feeling of well-being, of being at one with nature. In which case, a logical step forward would be to try Tai Chi, the traditional Chinese martial art with its sequences of slow, controlled movements which reduce stress, improve mood and sleep, and promote weight loss … just the thing to shed those Christmas pounds in anticipation of Easter chocolate. Again, there are many lessons online, but for the best grounding, join one of the many classes at sports centres, gyms or village halls so a qualified instructor can help you get the principles right before you go solo. Could there be anything more invigorating than callisthenics in the back garden in the early-morning sunshine? Well, how about standing thigh-deep in a swift-running stream trying to outwit a fighting-fit trout? Angling has long been one of Britain’s biggest participation sports, and while fly-fishing may be seen as elitist, it is anything but. Fairly accessible, relatively inexpensive and incredibly therapeutic, there are lessons online but for the best experience – and when lockdown restrictions are

It’s an exciting time of the year, even more so if you’ve decided to broaden your horizons and embark on a new hobby eased – enrol for a day-long lesson at venues such as Anglian Water’s recognised fisheries at Grafham, Pitsford, and Rutland waters, or Ravensthorpe Reservoir, and pretty soon you’ll be hooked (sorry). If you become proficient, you can always cook your catch. Barbeque cooking is an art-form in itself and something to explore beyond chargrilling the whatsits out of a forlorn sausage on a balmy summer evening. Again, internet tutorials – plus recipes – abound, while the same applies if you fancy more ambitious and creative continental cooking. A hobby where you can eat your efforts? Can’t be bad!


REACHING

FOR THE

POT OF

GOLD The race for the Premier League is entering the finishing straight

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he English Premier League is, on the surface, the land of milk and honey, a footballing Utopia where the streets are paved with 24-carat gold bricks and the super-rich chatter idly of multi million-pound contracts and eyewatering sponsorship deals. But, as with most elitist societies, there are fat cats lounging at the top table with the wannabes scrambling around, snapping up the hand-me-downs and dining off scraps. And then there are those huddled outside, noses firmly pressed against the window, waiting for their membership of this lucrative club to be rubber-stamped so they too can bask in the limelight of being one of the chosen few. Unfortunately, for those outsiders, the path from the threshold to the cosiness of the inner sanctum is littered with broken dreams and, more often than not, severely-depleted bank accounts. Norwich City know this more than most. In the 29 seasons of the Premier League, they have had five separate spells in the top flight, none lasting more than three

seasons. And yet, once again, they are perched among the front-runners trying to escape the Sky Bet Championship for the Promised Land of the Premier League.

As the season enters the final quarter, it’s all about momentum and consistency

Their last attempt at gaining a toehold on football’s Everest came with a longanticipated relegation in May last year, but crucially, unlike many of their doomed predecessors, they managed to keep hold of the majority of their highlyrated younger players.

quarter, it’s all about momentum and consistency – and most of their rivals have shown anything but. Watford and Bournemouth squandered points around the middle of the campaign and lost ground, with Swansea, who squeezed into the playoffs last season, emerging as contenders from a rather congested pack. However, it is Brentford, another of last season’s bridesmaids, who continue to take the eye in a leading group otherwise dominated by clubs who have previously reached for the Holy Grail and been found wanting.

And with the arrival of the well-regarded Oliver Skipp on a season-long loan from Tottenham, they have regrouped, shown great resilience and now look a solid bet to bounce straight back, if not as champions then in the other automatic promotion spot.

The Bees, cruelly denied in the playoffs last season, continued to thrive despite subsequently losing key players Ollie Watkins and Said Benrahma, and their run to the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup hinted at greater things, thanks to the arrival of Ivan Toney from Peterborough and the continued potency of Sergi Canos and Bryan Mbeumo.

Who accompanies them, though, is not so obvious. As the season enters the final

Perhaps there will be no sting in the tale this year.

LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

15


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Offers over £1,100,000

Church Street, Olney

A fine period property situated adjacent to the protected church glebe within the town’s historic conservation area. This substantial property boasts distinctive features and enjoys a south facing rear garden with beautiful uninterrupted views. Towards the wonderful parish church and spire. The present owners have, over time, skilfully reconfigured, extended and improved the accommodation, paying particular attention to detail. The ground floor accommodation has been carefully arranged to ease circulation and provides great space for entertaining. The large upper floors currently provide for four bedrooms but they could be easily reconfigured to provide a minimum five bedroom accommodation.

£925,000

High Street, Olney

An impressive five bedroom detached property, developed to an exceptional standard by well respected local building firm oval park construction limited. The property is constructed in local stone and brick under a slate tiled roof and enjoys a private cul-de-sac location close to the centre of town. The spacious accommodation of approx 2,420 sq ft benefits from a gas fired unvented pressurised central heating system comprising underfloor heating to the ground floor and radiators to the first floor accommodation. Natural wood double glazed windows.

stephenoakley.co.uk


01234 711800

enquiries@stephenoakley.co.uk

CALL US TODAY FOR A FREE NO OBLIGATION VALUATION

Clifton Road, Newton Blossomville

£550,000

A charming four bedroom semi detached period property commanding a prominent position in the heart of this idyllic north buckinghamshire village. This impressive grade ii listed property boasts origins dating back to the 17th century and stands as one of the oldest properties within the village. In latter years (1898-1968) the property served the local community as the post office. In recent years the current owners have improved and well maintained the property paying particular attention to retaining original features. Benefits include oil fired radiator central heating, secondary double glazing, Various outbuildings, off road parking and a well established garden backing on to open farmland.

£510,000

Prospect Close, Wollaston

An established five bedroom detached property, enjoying a corner plot in a quiet cul-de-sac on the fringe of this popular northants village. The flexible accommodation is deceptively spacious and can easily be arranged to provide a self contained separate annexe. Benefits include gas fired radiator central heating, replacement double glazing, substantial off road parking and a private south facing rear garden.

stephenoakley.co.uk


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£495,000

Ferne Furlong, Olney

An impressive three bedroom detached house situated in the corner of a quiet cul de sac on a highly sought after development, close to a small green and pond. This well presented property has been well maintained and improved by the present owner. Benefits include gas radiator central heating, double glazing, security system and cavity wall insulation. In addition, there is a double width garage and a well established private rear garden.

£495,000

Hollow Wood, Olney

A modern four bedroom detached house, set in the corner of a quiet cul-de-sac on a highly sought after residential development. The property has been reconfigured in recent years to provide a study within part of the original garage space. Benefits include gas radiator central heating, double glazing, a conservatory and a partly walled south-facing rear garden. The property is offered with no upward chain.

stephenoakley.co.uk


01234 711800

enquiries@stephenoakley.co.uk

CALL US TODAY FOR A FREE NO OBLIGATION VALUATION

£479,995

High Street, Turvey

A fine stone built semi-detached period property providing some scope for improvement but offering a spacious four double bedroom accommodation incorporating many fine original features. Benefits include gas radiator central heating, several open fireplaces, a large established garden and off-road parking for several vehicles.

£375,000

Midland Road, Olney

A rarely available semi detached victorian property, providing a three / four bedroom accommodation, situated in a quiet and sought after residential area. The property enjoys a partly walled south facing rear garden and un-restricted parking to the front. Further benefits include gas fired radiator central heating and replacement double glazing.

stephenoakley.co.uk


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MEET THE TEAM

Stephen Oakley Stephen is a partner and has enjoyed over thirty f ive years of working within the local property market. He is a fellow of propertymark naea and a licensed member of Arla Stephen resides in Olney and is actively involved with local sports and events.

Kim Oakley Kim is an active partner involved in all aspects of the company including administration, accounts and hr. Kim enjoys swimming, travelling and interior design.

Ben Norrish Ben is an established member of the business having been a loyal servant for over 13 years, initially within the sales dept and more recently working in the busy property management and lettings team. Ben is a keen golfer and avid supporter of ‘The Cobblers’ Northampton Town F.C.

Nick Pearce Nick heads up our busy lettings dept, resides with his family in the town and is actively involved in the local football scene. Nick is a passionate supporter of ‘The Hatters’ Luton Town F.C.

Zara Pryce Zara has a joint role as a sales consultant and providing valuable administrative support. Zara is passionate about interior design, lives locally and enjoys socialising within the local community.

stephenoakley.co.uk


01234 711800

enquiries@stephenoakley.co.uk

CALL US TODAY FOR A FREE NO OBLIGATION VALUATION

Martin Blackburn Martin is responsible for property maintenance and assists with the commercial dept. Martin resides in the town with his family and enjoys cooking. He is a committee member and former chairman of ‘The Bucks Farmers Ball’.

Geraldine Vale Geraldine brings vast experience to the sales team, having worked within the local property market for over thirty five years. Geraldine resides in the town and is actively involved within the local community.

Yvonne Norrish Yvonne provides admin and support to both the sales and lettings teams. Yvonne has a publishing background and has lived locally for many years. Yvonne is a passionate follower of the ‘The MK Dons’ F.C.

Michele Harrison Michele is a chartered accountant and is responsible for our property management accounts. Michele is a keen follower of bedford blues rugby club and enjoys travelling and equine activities.

Julie Rose Julie is an experienced book-keeper and manages the business accounts. Julie lives locally and enjoys canal boat sailing and walking with our canine friends.

stephenoakley.co.uk


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Here’s what some of our

Mr D Soul – COMMERCIAL AND RESIDENTIAL LANDLORD

Always found him and his team honest and reliable. Managed properties for me, negotiating repairs and other work as necessary. They’ve also advised me on rental levels and provided new tenants when required. So all in all they are in my view a complete package of which I have been very satisfied.

Mrs E Gould – PURCHASER

As this is one of the most important purchases that we will ever make, for me personally, the most important thing is that they are trustworthy and that their communication skills are second to none.

Mrs J Romeo – PURCHASER & VENDOR

I had two estates agents round to value my property and I was particularly impressed with Stephen Oakley, I found them to be trust-worthy and to have a lot of local knowledge and the customer service at that time was excellent.

stephenoakley.co.uk


01234 711800

enquiries@stephenoakley.co.uk

CALL US TODAY FOR A FREE NO OBLIGATION VALUATION

customers have to say

Mr P Bennett – RESIDENTIAL LANDLORD

I would always recommend Stephen Oakley not just to family and friends but to wider business circles because I think basically their professionalism makes them stand out estate agents.

Mr N McFarland – PURCHASER, VENDOR & LANDLORD I’ve used Stephen Oakley on serveral occasions now as a tenant, a landlord, buying a house and selling a house. I’ve recently recommended them to friends who are looking to buy simply so they get the right service and the correct information.

Mr P & A Carlisle – PURCHASERS & VENDORS

We have recommended Stephen Oakley lots and lots of times and will continue to do so. We’ve always found the service to be excellent.

stephenoakley.co.uk


Planning your next project

Your best laid plans deserve the best service! We offer you exceptional customer service alongside innovative marketing, ensuring your plans come to fruition on time, every time.

01234 711800 stephenoakley.co.uk enquires@stephenoakley.co.uk

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Stephen Oakley March 2021