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August 2019

Property news

Add value

to your property PAGE 4

INSIDE THIS ISSUE Which is best – Google Home or Alexa?

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Booking a bargain last-minute holiday

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Can England regain the Ashes?

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Editor’s Letter Welcome to the August issue which we guarantee is filled with lots to keep you reading – from broadband and smart voice assistants in the home, to school uniform finds, we’ve got it covered! In the average home, no fewer than ten devices are connected wirelessly to a broadband router at any one time. And with 5G set to be launched later this year, and Fibre Broadband readily available, just how fast does your internet need to be? We take a look here. And with smart voice assistants now in over 12.6 million homes in the UK, the two market-leading brands are Amazon with their ‘Alexa’ and Google with their ‘Home’ hub. But which option is best for you? On Sunday 14th July England beat New Zealand in a thrilling match at Lord’s, winning their first-ever Cricket World Cup! But can England regain the Ashes? In its 71st series, the oldest rivalry in cricket between England and Australia begins in August and runs until mid-September where the final test match will be played at The Oval. Read our review inside. Enjoy this issue and we’ll see you next time. Linda McKeown Editor

With smart technology becoming a normal part of our day-to-day lives, broadband speeds take on even more importance

Is it really worth it? With 5G to be launched later this year, and Fibre Broadband readily available, just how fast does your internet need to be?


In the average home, no fewer than ten devices are connected wirelessly to your broadband router at any one time! With most of us now watching movies and TV through a streaming service, usually on multiple devices at any one time, broadband speeds are one of the most important things we look at when it comes to buying or renting a property. With 4K TV becoming more affordable and the premium way to watch your favourite movies, TV shows and play the latest games, you will want broadband that can cope with your needs. You will require a minimum speed of 25Mbps to stream in the highest quality possible, for 1080p HD you will need 5-8Mbps and for standard definition 2Mbps. With smart technology becoming a normal part of our day-to-day lives, broadband speeds take on even more importance. With a Google Home or an Amazon Echo, you can control the lights, the heating and the appliances in your home. If your broadband is intermittent you may lose the control you have over your home and its appliances at an inconvenient moment. Always choose a broadband provider that will never limit your speeds during peak times. We ask Google on average 1020 questions a day per person; whether it’s to find out about the weather, how to make BBQ marinade or to search for last minute flights and holidays! With slow broadband it can be frustrating waiting for your smart assistant to find an answer. We are all so used to having all the information at our fingertips, that when we don’t have it, we fall apart! Most of us stream or download our music through apps like Deezer, Amazon Music or Spotify. There is nothing more annoying than when the favourite part of your song cuts out at the wrong point – the headbanging bit from Bohemian Rhapsody being a perfect example. If you listen to a lot of music, you will probably want to take it with you on your smartphone. To save your mobile data, download the albums you love at home – with faster

broadband you can download a whole album in seconds. 40% of Brits now work from home each week with the benefits from doing so obvious; from saving money on the commute, to being in for deliveries and the school run. However, if your broadband speed isn’t up to scratch it can be frustrating. Employers are likely to call you back into the office if your speed can’t handle the work you need to do. Alternatively, if you use Skype for business, a poor broadband speed could seriously hinder any meetings you have planned, with your call falling out and poor quality pictures for meetings.

In the average home, no fewer than ten devices are connected wirelessly to your broadband router at any one time

Slow broadband speed is a big turn off when it comes to buying or renting a property – luckily rural countryside areas are finally catching up with innercity speeds. You can check the estimated broadband speed on Rightmove and Zoopla or direct through the providers’ website. Comparison websites such as Uswitch and Compare the Market will show you the best deals and estimated speeds in your area in minutes. Not only do you need a fast broadband speed, but you also want one that is consistently good from morning to evening. The number of providers has tripled in the past few years with packages available to suit all budgets. Fibre Broadband is widely available now and offers some of the highest speeds on the market – so that Mum can watch Stranger Things, while the kids play on Fortnite, and Dad watches the Ashes. However, check reviews and restrictions, as some providers limit speeds at peak times when you need them the most. Our world is only in the early stages of technological advancement. To future proof your home it is well worth it to get as fast a speed as possible for the future. Schools now use tablets in classrooms and the ability to use computers and the internet is a key skill for your children’s future. By providing superfast broadband at home you are safeguarding their future and providing them with all the tools they need to thrive.

Top tips when looking for a new Broadband Provider: •C  heck what speed you are currently receiving – which can be done online or through an app •C  heck your contract carefully for any loopholes •T  alk to a person – don’t sign-up online: you may get a better deal •C  heck how long your special rate will last • Check any upfront fees • Check the length of your contract • Use a Speed Comparison Checker

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Easy ways to

add value to your property

Whether you are carrying out a home renovation project, remodelling or simply giving your home a bit of a makeover, our top tips will have you covered for boosting the value of your home

Extensions Even if you are not thinking of selling your house right now, it’s good to know how to add value to your property. Certain projects are guaranteed to not only boost its kerb appeal but also its value.

Converting a Garage If your property benefits from the use of a garage and you are not using it to store the car, you could consider converting it into a living space. Your first step should be to check if the conversion requires planning permission. You could even consider converting the garage into a studio, gym or games room to give your property a unique feature.

When designed as an additional room, a summer house can also add value to your property

Whether it is by means of a conservatory, or a formal extension, extending the living space can add a significant boost to your home’s value. A conservatory will bring you closer to the outside and would typically cost less than a formal extension. Usually, they don’t require planning permission; however, your main dilemma would be choosing which glass to opt for as you will want your conservatory to be as efficient as possible. There are a range of different styles of conservatories too, from traditional to modern, so it’s best to find one which suits your house and lifestyle. If you already have a conservatory, add a tiled roof to improve insulation and increase your home’s value. Extra kitchen and utility space can also add valuable space to your property and considerably improve the layout too. Kitchens can sell a home, so offering more units and worktop space may mean you can aim for a higher asking price.

Kerb & Garden Appeal Garden space can be limited, so if you’ve got it, make sure you’re making the most of it! A deck or patio can transform a garden into an entertaining space, and when designed as an additional room, a summer house can also add value to your property. First impressions are essential, with most buyers deciding if they like a property before they even get out of the car; it can be hard to shake off negative first impressions created by a poor or unattractive exterior. So if you’re selling, give your home some kerb appeal with a lick of paint, a new door and repointing brickwork. Tidy up the garden by mowing the lawn and sweeping up leaves.

Solve Structural Problems Structural issues such as subsidence can, in some cases, be likely to be amongst the most expensive work required in a renovation project but, in terms of adding value, they


Even if you are not thinking of selling your house right now, it’s good to know how to add value to your property

are absolutely essential. If you are unsure about confusing structural defects with purely cosmetic faults, then consult a builder, surveyor or structural engineer.

Keep Leases Up to Date and Apply for Planning Permission Properties with diminishing leases decrease in value once they have less than 60 years remaining and it can be hard to get a mortgage on a property with a short lease; so ensure the lease is kept topped up. Applying for planning permission, and having it granted, is also a great incentive for someone to buy and the scope for potential could add thousands to your asking price, even without you carrying any work out!

Decorating Decorating may seem like only a small job that wouldn’t directly affect the value of your property: however, dated decor and superficial defects could deter potential buyers and

effect you receiving your asking price. Typical defects such as mouldy sealants in the bathroom, peeling paint, loose tiles and damaged windows will put many buyers off – but are easily resolved by any competent DIYer.

Loft Conversion A loft conversion does seem like a costly investment, but would give you more space and huge potential. In terms of adding value, it is likely to be a very good investment providing it adds more accommodation than it takes away (remember you need to make room for a staircase in the existing space). According to a recent survey by sellhousefast.uk, on average a loft conversion adds £23,754.57 to a property’s value.

Remodel to Add Value One of the best ways to add value to a home? Change the existing layout before you consider extending! Maximum value will be added by improving the main living spaces, such as the kitchen, dining and living area and the way in which they work together. Think about removing dividing walls to create open plan spaces. Fewer but larger rooms with clear sight lines will make a house seem larger, especially if the flooring and wall finishes continue throughout.

Natural light can be brought in either via dormer windows or rooflights. A loft conversion does not normally require planning consent, as it uses existing volume; however it is always worth checking with the planners.

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Stop Right Now Doors stops are ideal for allowing air to circulate around rooms without the fear of slamming doors. But if the colder weather sets in, a draught excluder is ideal to eliminate draughts and slow down heat loss. Here are our favourite finds!

Croft Collection Chunky Knit Door Stop This unusual but attractive doorstop is hand knitted from chunky cotton yarn and is finished off with a lovely wide leather handle. £18 • www.johnlewis.com

Personalised Mile Stop Door Stop by the Oak & Rope Company A truly personal door stop! Up to four favourite locations and the distances can be engraved on these chunky door stops. Made from 'green oak' and weighs approx. 4kg. £105 • www.notonthehighstreet.com

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Croft Collection Chunky Knit Draught Excluder A gorgeous hand knitted draught excluder made from chunky cotton yarn. Featuring real leather handle. Ideal to help banish the chills. £35 • www.johnlewis.com

Cement Door Stop Now this is certainly a durable choice for a door stop! Cast in cement, it has an industrial feel that will fit well in any contemporary home. Dimensions: H35cm, D11cm. £30 • www.gardentrading.co.uk

Cat Doorstop Faux Leather Pay homage to your furry pet with this cat doorstop. Made from faux leather and filled with dried sand, it’s the perfect home addition for any cat lover. £19.50 • www.avocadostone.co.uk


Dora Designs Black Sheep of the Family Draught Excluder The perfect way to keep your home warm and draught free. This cute flock of fluffy sheep is weighted with sand and weighs approx. 2.5kg. £64.99 • www.millbryhill.co.uk

Did you know? Very little is known about the person who was given credit as the inventor of what is commonly known as the ‘door stop’; but Osburn Dorsey, a 19th century African-American inventor, received patent number 210,764 for this invention back on 10th December 1878!

Enchanted Rainbows White Unicorn Faux Fur Draught Excluder Ideal for the kids’ room, this unicorn draught excluder is bang on trend. Made from 100% polyester. £18.95 • www.heat-treats.co.uk

Harlesden Check Fabric Draught Excluder Woven in the UK, this Harlesden Check Draught Excluder features traditional check in an autumnal colour palette, with coordinating piping and reverse. £28.99 • www.wayfair.co.uk

Personalised Unicorn Door Stop Get personalising with this pastel pink unicorn door stop. A message of your choice can be embroidered on, making it the perfect addition to your home. £22.99 • www.very.co.uk

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GOOGLE HOME vs

ALEXA which is best? Smart voice assistants are now in over 12.6 million homes in the UK – a growth of over 30% year-on-year With more compatible apps and tech released every month, this is only expected to grow in the future. There are numerous brands and a range of models to suit all budgets on the market. However, the two market-leading brands are Amazon with their ‘Alexa’ and Google with their ‘Home’ hub. But which option is best for you?

Voice Control Google Assistant is better at handling more complex queries than the Amazon Alexa. Alexa is heavily dependent on Wikipedia, whereas Google Assistant generally searches the whole web. Alexa only has one female voice, whereas Google Assistant has both female and male voice options. Not unsurprisingly, when it comes to shopping, Amazon Alexa leads the way; however, virtually every product it recommends is from Amazon itself. The Google Assistant is more of a conversationalist with better free-flowing technology compared to Amazon Alexa. Voice GOOGLE HOME Control Rating AMAZON ECHO

9/10 7/10

Sound Quality Google Home offers richer sound than the Amazon Echo, although it isn’t as loud. The Google Home delivers better sound quality with better bass and treble control. However, the Amazon Echo has a 3.5mm out socket so it can be

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connected to an external speaker, which the Google Home does not. If you are listening to music, the Amazon Echo supports Amazon Music, with the Google Home supporting Google Play Music and YouTube Premium. Both speakers can be used as Bluetooth speakers, so the Google Home will play Amazon Music – however, not by using voice control, and vice-versa. Sound Quality Rating

GOOGLE HOME AMAZON ECHO

8/10 7/10

Smart voice assistants are now in over 12.6 million homes in the UK

goodbye’, and she will turn off your lights, your TV and switch your heating settings. Smart Home Rating

GOOGLE HOME AMAZON ECHO

Amazon, however, does rule the roost when it comes to controlling your smart home, with support for more technology and the clever Routines option, which controls a variety of technology when you say a certain phrase. Say ‘Alexa,

10/10

Range of Models Amazon currently has the larger range of smart speakers, with the Echo as the all-rounder model, while the Echo Plus and Echo Dot are a smaller less obtrusive model while the Echo Show comes with a 7-inch screen. Google meanwhile has the Google Home Mini, the Google Home Max and the Google Home Hub which, similar to Amazon Echo Show, has a 7-inch screen. The new Amazon speakers are more aesthetically pleasing than the previous ones, but the Google Home is still more pleasing on the eye.

Smart Home Your Smart Speaker can turn your home into an uber technologically advanced home; letting you control the lights, the temperature and even the fridge and freezer! Both Google and Amazon speakers support the market-leading brands such as Nest, Samsung and Philips.

7/10

Range Rating

GOOGLE HOME AMAZON ECHO

8/10 8/10

Our Winner: Both the Amazon Echo and the Google Home scored 32/40 which goes to show just how evenly matched these two smart speakers are. In the end, it comes down to individual taste and we would recommend testing each out in a store before purchasing.


Upgrade

your lunchbox Couscous salad with Halloumi (serves 4) Couscous is easy to make, cheap and filling – what’s not to love? Adding fried halloumi on top will add some extra flavour.

Ingredients 250g couscous 250ml vegetable stock 400g can chickpeas, drained 1 courgette, chopped 1 onion, chopped 1 pepper, chopped 2 tomatoes, chopped 1 garlic, finely chopped 1 block halloumi, sliced

Method 1. Tip the couscous into a bowl and add the boiled vegetable stock. Stir well, cover and leave to stand for 5 minutes. 2. Heat some oil in a pan and fry the chopped veg and garlic until they’ve softened. Season with salt and pepper, mixed herbs and paprika. 3. Grill the halloumi until charred on either side. 4. Once cooked, mix the veg into the couscous, drizzle in some olive oil and season to taste. Top with the grilled halloumi.

Chicken Tikka Wraps (serves 4) These are quick and easy to make – and versatile too, as you can add in salad, rice, sauce or chutney! To make them even quicker to prepare, use pre-cooked chicken tikka pieces. You can also change the meat to lamb koftas, or try a veggie version jam-packed with your five-a-day!

Ingredients 2 chicken breasts, cut into small cubes 4 tbsp tikka pasta 4 tortillas (or naan bread) 1/4 cucumber, sliced 1/4 iceberg lettuce, shredded 2 spring onions, sliced Natural yoghurt with handful chopped mint leaves

Method 1. Coat the chicken breasts with the tikka paste (the longer you leave it to marinade, the stronger the flavour), skewer them and place under a hot grill until they are cooked through, turning occasionally, and brushing them with the paste. 2. Lay each naan bread out flat, and lay out the cooked chicken, spring onions, iceberg lettuce, cucumber (and any other vegetables of your choice). Top with cooked rice (optional) and the mint yoghurt. Roll them up and enjoy!

Pea hummous This would be more of a healthy mid-morning snack at your desk, and a great way of introducing your children to different vegetables. Making hummus from peas gives it a sweeter flavour and makes a bright, green colour to appeal to kids!

Ingredients 200g cooked peas 1 garlic clove, crushed 1 tbsp tahini 1 tbsp cooked cannellini beans, from a can 2 tbsp olive oil Strips of pitta bread, to serve Raw vegetable sticks, to serve

Method 1. Add the cooked peas, crushed garlic clove, tahini, cannellini beans and olive oil to a food processor and blitz. 2. Add 1-2 tbsp of water if the texture is too thick, then blitz again until it’s smooth. This can be stored chilled for up to 3 days.

Chocolate-drizzled popcorn (serves 1) This chocolatey snack makes a sweet little lunchbox filler. It’s quick and easy to prepare too!

Ingredients 12g unsweetened popcorn 15g dark, melted chocolate

Method 1. Lay the popcon out on a baking tray and drizzle the dark chocolate on top. 2. Leave to chill in the fridge overnight to set the chocolate. Simple!

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Get the best buys when it comes to getting the kids ready to go back to school

SCHOOL BAGS Samsonite Happy Sammies Backpack

Hype Electric Fireworks Multi Backpack School Bag This Hype rucksack features the iconic brand’s design with this season’s latest style. Includes 18L capacity as well as padded straps and back panelling. £24.99 www.justhype.co.uk

With a 7.5L capacity, the Happy Sammie’s backpack is big enough to carry anything you could ever need for school. Featuring adjustable, padded shoulder straps, and a front strap for extra comfort and security. £25.12 www.bagsdirect.com

Minecraft Tales From The End Backpack Got a Minecraft fan at home? Then this is a must have accessory for them! Featuring a large inside section with an interior laptop pocket, gear hangers, two adjustable padded shoulder straps, additional side water bottle pockets, and a zip-up front pocket, as well a Minecraft patch on the front. £21.99 www.vanillaunderground.com

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DRINK BOTTLES Kids Water Bottle By RusticManGifts at Etsy These adorable and sturdy personalised tumblers are perfect to help keep the kids hydrated while they learn. With a flip-top screw-on cap. £4.97 www.etsy.com/uk

LUNCHBOXES

Anker Water Bottle Join the plastic free revolution with style! This super durable 350ml steel bottle offers a cute option for both warm and cold drinks. Comes with two lids, a steel screw cap lid and a sports lid (BPA free). £24 www.kidly.co.uk

LEGO Lunch Box with Carry Handle Officially licensed by LEGO, this LEGO lunch box with carry handle is just the treat for any Lego enthusiast. £9.60 www.aplaceforeverything.co.uk

Unicorn Kids Lunch Bag Make every day an adventure with this Unicorn Kids Lunch Bag! £20.00 https://uk.sunnylife.com

STATIONERY ESSENTIALS

Kipling Banana Yellow Pencil Case This Kipling Banana pen case is great for a bit of back to school fun. Bright, bold and funky, it’s sure to put a smile on your child’s face – including everyone in class!

Helix Ultimate School Set

£16 www.aspenofhereford.com

This all-in-one set features the essential stationery needed by kids in school. And it’s great value too! £4.99 www.ryman.co.uk

Sass & Belle Aiko Panda Kawaii Friends Pencil Case We think this is just adorable! Inspired by Japanese pop culture and the love of all things quirky and cute, this pencil case has been designed for those who love Kawaii style and cartoon-like fun – whether you are a child or an adult! £5.59 www.flamingogifts.co.uk

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How to book a

last-minute holiday Last-minute holidays are fantastic. You can get excellent value for money and they are perfect if you are open to where you want to visit. The feeling of spontaneity can be exciting too!

Take advantage of some of the amazing deals available, and snap up a last-minute holiday to somewhere you’ve never been before.

When Is The Best Time? People have different ideas as to when the best time is to book. Some people say that booking at the very last-minute (just days before you fly off) is the best way to do it, while others believe the ideal time is around four weeks before you fly out. However, the best time for you will depend on who you’re going

on holiday with. If you are going on your own or as a couple, you might be more flexible and willing to snap up the odd seat by itself on the plane and the remaining double room in a hotel. In this case, waiting until the very lastminute is a good idea. On the other hand, if you’re travelling with children or as a large group, you may want plane seats grouped together or hotel rooms next to each other. In that instance, you’re better off booking approximately four weeks before you want to go to ensure you have the option to do just this.

Generally, flights get cheaper the closer you are to the departure date. That might mean being patient and holding out until nearer the time you want to travel, but keep an eye on comparison sites to see when prices start to drop. There are plenty of good deals to be found leading up to the departure date and prices vary during the day and it pays to be flexible on your departure and arrival dates.

Where To Look? Travel Agents on the high street are a great place to go if you need some inspiration or want to ask for some expert advice on places of interest to you. They can also offer good advice on where to go and when is the best time to book. There are a range of useful websites online to browse through and find your perfect last-minute getaway. Sites like Travel Supermarket (www. travelsupermarket.com/en-gb/ holidays/) Holiday Pirates (www. holidaypirates.com/) and icelolly. com are all great for browsing

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Travel Agents on the high street are a great place to go if you need some inspiration or want to ask for some expert advice on places of interest to you

thousands of late deals in one place, saving you valuable time. Travelzoo.com have a dedicated last-minute tab, giving you the low down of your required destination, while BAHolidays.com is a great place for a last-minute bargain, and even offer car hire and hotels too, giving you the all round package in one place! Cruisecritic.co.uk are the one-stop shop for all holidays on water. They also have a Price Drop facility showing you the latest discounts of the week to help you spot price trends. You can search for a late cruise, flight, flight with hotel, hotel only or holiday package deals, and even last-minute car hire. All holidays and holiday packages advertised on these sites are ATOL protected so you get piece of mind alongside a great price.

Should You Go All Inclusive? All inclusive holidays market themselves on offering great value for money as everything is included in the price of your

holiday including transfers, accommodation, food and drink. However, booking separate flights and a self catering hotel could actually be cheaper if you plan your holiday smartly. If booking a holiday last-minute, the chances are you may not have the time to plan your flights, hotels and transfers separately. In order to sell their spare rooms and flights, most travel agents offer good deals last-minute to encourage holiday seekers to snap up the last seat on the plane and

There are a range of useful websites online to browse through and find your perfect last-minute getaway the remaining hotel room. Alternatively, if you love exploring and spending a lot of time outside getting to know the area and eating out at different places, a

half board or self-catering lastminute deal may be the best option for you!

Keep Looking for Deals and Don’t Get Ripped Off! Once you have found the deal for you, don’t stop the bargain hunting there! Try searching online for discount codes. Sites such as Tui and Thomas Cook are always offering discount codes throughout the year. Enjoying an extra 10% off an already discounted holiday will save you some extra money to spend in the duty free or at the bar! It’s important to remember too that you shouldn’t jump at the first deal you see; if it looks to good to be true, it probably is! It’s best to remember that some travel sites may take advantage of your last-minute search for a holiday and disguise a normal price as a bargain. Make sure that the holiday you booked is ATOL protected and you’re fully insured in case anything goes wrong before or during your holiday.

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Fixture list for The Ashes 2019

1st TEST: Thursday 1st – Monday 5th August 2019 Venue: Edgbaston, Birmingham 2nd TEST: Wednesday 14th – Sunday 18th August 2019 Venue: Lord’s, London 3rd TEST: Thursday 22nd – Monday 26th August 2019 Venue: Headingley, Leeds 4th TEST: Wednesday 4th – Sunday 8th September 2019 Venue: Old Trafford, Manchester 5th TEST: Thursday 12th – Monday 16th September 2019 Venue: The Oval, London

The Ashes 2019 In its 71st series, the oldest rivalry in cricket between England and Australia begins this month in Edgbaston and runs all the way through until midSeptember where the final test match will be played at The Oval

DId you know? England beat New Zealand in a thrilling match at Lord’s on Sunday 14th July to win their first-ever Cricket World Cup!

The two teams take it in turns to host the five-test series, usually every other year, and the winner keeps the Ashes urn. The Ashes dates back to 1882 when Australia won for the first time on English soil, at The Oval. An English newspaper at the time wrote a mock obituary to English cricket saying it had died and ‘the body will be cremated and the ashes to be taken to Australia’. The following test series in Australia was then dubbed as an attempt to win the ‘ashes’ of cricket back, and the captain Ivo Bligh vowed to ‘regain those ashes’. A name which has stuck for over a century. For a series which has gone on for over 130 years, the overall tally is remarkably close. In total there have been 70 series. Australia have won 33, England 32, and five have been drawn. The most recent Ashes series, in 2017-18, was won by Australia on their home turf. England were the holders, but Australia won the series 4-0, regaining the Ashes after their innings victory in the third test. After the revelations that Australians cheated by ball tampering in their test series against South Africa in March 2018, there were questions over their fair play during the Ashes. After being banned for a year from cricket for ball tampering, former captain Steve Smith and former vicecaptain David Warner are likely to endure a bad reception from England fans, who booed them during the warm up game in June. However, England bowler Jimmy Anderson said that booing and sledging will only make them play better:

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“Having played against them so many times before and knowing how they respond to that kind of thing, whether it’s sledging on the field or booing from the crowd, they are going to up their performance,” Anderson told Talksport Radio. “I understand people won’t like what they have done but it’s in the past. I would rather it’s not talked about, although I’ve got a feeling that it’s going to be talked about.” This year’s Ashes begins in Edgbaston in Birmingham, before going to Lords, followed by Headingley and Old Trafford, before the final test match at The Oval in London. Australia have not won an Ashes series on English soil for 18 years, however England will be hoping to end a big summer of cricket with the urn in their hands. The anticipation for this year’s Ashes series seemed slightly subdued compared to previous years, especially with this summer’s World Cup which was also hosted in England and in Wales. There has been talk in recent years that the test format of the game is slowly losing momentum whilst the limited over formats seem to be rapidly growing in excitement. However, the Ashes promises to be a month of high intensity, passion and grandeur between the two sides ranked 4th (England) and 5th (Australia) in the ICC Test Rankings, in front of sold out venues across the country.


Garden maintenance:

who is responsible: you or your landlord? Sheds

When you looked at renting your current property, one of the first things you probably looked at was the garden; however, did you know that the maintenance of the garden is one of the most common disputes between tenants and landlords?

If a shed came with the property it is up to you to maintain it.

If a shed came with the property it is up to you to maintain it, just like the interior of your property. All property inside the shed when you moved in is the property of the landlord. So, before you throw any of it away to make space for your belongings, check whether the landlord would still like it stored. Landlords often leave paint andother bits and bobs in a shed for the maintenance of the property.

The Fence

During the warm summer months, you want to take advantage of your garden, enjoying nice summer evenings on your patio with a BBQ watching the kids playing on the freshly cut lawn. But whose responsibility is it when shrubs get overgrown, the fence breaks or the patio gets a stain? Let’s have a look at some of the most common garden maintenance issues.

Most properties will have a fence of sorts surrounding the garden. If your fence gets damaged, whether by accident or from natural causes, this is a job for your landlord. Do not make any repairs yourself unless you have written agreement from the landlord, and you are up to the job.

The Lawn

Shrubbery

When you sign your tenancy agreement you agree to look after the property and this agreement stretches to the outside of your property too. The lawns are your responsibility. Patio areas are perfect for They will need to be cut having a drink after a hard week regularly, both front and or as somewhere to relax while the back and if there is any kids play on the lawn. However, even damage from outdoor though patios are hardwearing they still equipment such as need looking after. Weeds grow through the slides, playhouses cracks and patio slabs can stain easily. Before or trampolines, moving out ensure you weed the patio and use a your landlord can power washer to remove ground-in dirt and stains. take this off your deposit.

Patio Areas

Overgrown shrubs and trees can make a beautiful garden look wild and unloved. It is up to you to trim back any shrubs or branches that aren’t within reach of the properties roof. If, however, there is a large tree whose roots could cause structural damage to the property or whose branches are larger than average, notify your landlord or us immediately.

Your landlord will want you to feel at home in your property, and by following the tips above you can help to avoid any disputes when it comes to the maintenance of your garden.

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Get packing THIS SUMMER

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