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LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

PROPERTY NEWS

AUGUST 2020

UK ATTRACTIONS TO VISIT THIS YEAR CHECK OUT OUR GUIDE TO THE OLDEST AND MOST BEAUTIFUL CASTLES IN THE UK LOCKDOWN EXCESS? LOSE WEIGHT AND GET FIT NOW!

JAMS AND CHUTNEYS SIMPLE PRESERVE AND CHUTNEY RECIPES

STAMP DUTY HOLIDAY WHAT IT MEANS FOR YOUR FINANCES

DISTANCE LEARNING HOW DISTANCE LEARNING CAN HELP YOUR CAREER


CONTENTS COVER STORY

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UK attractions to visit Check out our guide to the oldest and most beautiful castles in the UK

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PROPERTY

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Stamp duty holiday We explain what the announcement means for sellers and buyers

FOOD

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Jams and chutneys Some fantastic jams, preserves and chutney recipes to make at home

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LIFESTYLE

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Upcycling for the garden Household cast-off’s can be transformed into great garden features

Protecting yourself in the sun Top tips for staying safe during the hotter months

Fruit foraging It’s time to hit the hedgerows and roadsides for nature’s free feast

Inspirational Books We’ve picked five books, of the 21st century that are worthy of comment

Online distance learning A look into the endless possibilities of distance learning

HEALTH

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Lose the lockdown weight We take a look at some workouts and exercises to get you fit for the summer

WELCOME TO THE AUGUST ISSUE!

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here has this year gone? This month, on pages 4&5, we have a guide to help you lose any weight you may have put on over lockdown. We also have fantastic upcycling ideas for your garden using materials readily available. It may not have been as hot as expected so far, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look after your skin in the sun – check out page 6 for our handy tips. Has the Stamp Duty Holiday got you in a muddle? On page 13 we have a breakdown of what it means for you… Looking for interesting days out with the family now the school holidays are here? Check out our article on the most interesting

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castles to visit in the UK this year. We have also put together some recipes for stunningly simple preserves and chutneys. At the end of the day, when you’ve had enough sunshine, you can relax with our breakdown of the most inspirational books of the 21st century and a guide to online distance learning. So, sit back and relax with your copy of this months magazine… As we are all getting used to the new normal, remember to Stay Safe and Stay Alert at all times. Jonathan Wheatley Editor

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t doesn’t work now. There’s a hole in it. It’s not fashionable. I don’t need it anymore… bin it. No, hold that thought. Whatever ‘it’ is probably doesn’t need to be dumped in a skip, it could become a decorative feature to brighten the backyard. Thousands of inventive gardeners have been breathing new life into household items by rescuing them from an uncertain future at the local dump by upcycling to create practical – and whimsical – focal points among the shrubs. For instance, an old chest of drawers can be repainted, the drawers lined and filled with potting soil to show off just about everything from trailing bedding plants to flowers and ferns. Got a lot of paint pots leftover from those DIY projects during lockdown? Why not paint them and use them as colourful planters for spring bulbs or herbs? And if you are having a new kitchen or bathroom fitted, why not rescue the porcelain pieces? There’s nothing quite like a cluster of phlox or geraniums in a white cistern, shower tray, or basin to brighten even the shadiest of corners in your plot. You could also, quite literally, throw the kitchen sink at the garden to make a quirky – and colourful talking point. Although


Why one man’s household cast-off is another man’s upcycled feature for the garden

recycling the loo might set the neighbours chattering for all the wrong reasons… But the thing is any household item can be given a new lease of life with just a little thought.

solar-powered lights and positioned at strategic points to bring added brightness to borders. For those at their wits’ end desperate to add a little colour and life to their minute courtyard garden, find yourself a pallet. Stand it on end, cover the back with a piece of landscape fabric, fill it with soil and there you go… a vertical garden ready for herbs, alpines and dainty bedding plants.

Old wellies which don’t fit or leak can become planters and would be particularly effective with a trailing plant such as ivy or lobelia cascading from them, while those old Crocs you wished you’d never bought can be filled with soil, hung Thousands of on the wall and filled inventive gardeners with winter pansies to provide a bit of have been breathing winter colour. new life into

Or you could scour your local recycling centre for a wooden stepladder, paint it a nice Cambridge Blue or grey, fix it to a wall, attach household items Take the handle off a some pots and it’s a plastic colander and tiered garden, while potentially you have a planted wheelbarrows hanging basket, complete with drainage and rusty bikes with a basket on the front points, while a battered tin bucket, which add colour and a certain industrial cum has rusted and leaks like a sieve, could rustic charm to barren spaces. make a new home for a dramatic hosta and give the slugs that dine off it And if you think those old dining room something to think about. chairs are past their best, think again. Simply give it a coat of wood stain or There’s no need to fork out for a bamboo protective varnish, remove the seat and windchime because you can drill holes in attach some chicken wire to create a the handles of that old stainless steel basket-like shape. Line that with sheet cutlery set great aunt Nora bought you as moss, inlay some landscaping fabric or a wedding present, thread them with even newspaper, fill with soil and plant twine, and hang them from a stick to away with Alpine leeks, Saxifraga and create a less clunky alternative. other ground-coverers. Old glass containers, particularly Mason jars, can be painted to use as planters or, more effectively, filled with twinkling

DIY projects, failed or just past their use-by dates, can also be revitalised with a little sympathy rather than a sledgehammer.

A brick-built barbecue, for instance, can be painted and have planted trays inserted instead of wire shelves while yesterday’s old kettle barbie, which has been sitting at the back of the garage gathering dust and rust since the arrival of the new gaspowered toy, can also be upgraded with a lick of paint to become tomorrow’s must-have garden accessory.

LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

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LOSE THE LOCKDOWN WEIGHT Let’s face it, over the lockdown period we have all gotten a little less fit, and maybe a little rounder around the sides…

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espite the best efforts of Joe Wicks, as lockdown went on, people’s motivation started to drain, and without gyms and swimming pools open, and JustEat and FoodHub offering no-contact delivery direct to your door, a lot of people are now finding themselves in worse shape than three months ago. However, now some gyms are open again with outdoor space, we thought we’d take a look at some workouts and exercises to get your heart pumping and to get fit ready for the summer…

CARDIO

Jogging and cycling have been great for people to build their cardio over the past few months. To get the most from a cardio session, there are a few things you can do… HIIT – HIIT means High-Intensity Interval Training. Which in simple terms means switching between high-intensity work and lowintensity work, for example… 1-minute sprint – 2-minute jog – 1-minute sprint – 2-minute jog – 1-minute sprint, for a total of twenty minutes. Steady State – Steady State cardio is the best form if you have a high percentage of body fat to lose. The aim is to get your heart rate up enough and to get sweating and to stay there for 30-45 minutes.

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PROPERTY NEWS

10-minute warm-up on a rower, a stationary bike or a jogging machine, followed by 30-minutes at a steady pace that keeps your heartbeat up. Interval Training – Interval Training is the bridge between HIIT and Steady State. Mixing high-intensity bursts with longer steadier states of training, for example… 5-minute warm-up – 2-minute sprint – 5-minute steady pace – 2-minute sprint and so on…

RESISTANCE TRAINING

If you think resistance training is all about lifting heavy weights while grunting like a meathead, then think again. Resistance training combined with cardio is the best way to lose weight and tone up at the same time.

A lot of people are now finding themselves in worse shape than three months ago

Compound Movements – Compound exercises, otherwise known as full-body exercises, are the fastest way to burn fat and get toned. Squats – Squats are one of the best exercises for weight-loss. Start with a heavy weight on a barbell balanced on your shoulders. Bend your knees, while keeping your back straight, go as low as you can, and then push up. Deadlifts – Start with a barbell on the floor and your legs at shoulderwidth. With your knees slightly bent, and your back straight, grip the bar an equal distance apart and raise to standing position keeping your core tight. Incline Bench Press – With a weight bench set at an incline of 45 degrees, using a pair of dumbells


A lot of people are now finding themselves in worse shape than three months ago

or a barbell, lay back on the bench (you may need a partner with a barbell) and slowly raise them above your chest, keeping the motion fluid and steady. Pull-Ups – Using either a pull-up machine, which makes pull-ups easier using weights inside, or a standard pull up bar, grip it with either an overhand or underhand grip and pull yourself up towards the bar to your chin. Isolation Movements – Isolation movements, otherwise known as Isolation exercises, are those which involve just one muscle group. Cable Push-Down – Cable PushDowns are perfect for working the triceps. Using a pull-down machine, add a rope bar, grip at both ends, and while keeping your

core tense, pull down bending at the elbows. Triceps are more important than biceps if you’re looking for toned arms. Standing Lateral Raise – If you’re looking to improve your shoulders, Standing Lateral Raises are the best exercise for you. With a dumbbell in each hand (don’t go too heavy) raise each dumbbell to the height of shoulders outwards. Keep your elbows locked to keep your form good and avoid injury. Dumbell Fly – The perfect accompaniment to the Incline Bench Press, the Dumbell Fly will work other parts of the pectorals and shoulders. Lay back on a flat bench with a dumbbell in each hand. Keeping your arms straight, with a slight bend at the elbows, bring your arms together

in a wide arc above your chest. Standing Barbell Curl – Simply the best exercise for your biceps. Go with a heavy weight if you’re looking to build strength, or a lower weight if you’re looking to tone up. Standing with your legs shoulderwidth apart and your grip the same on the bar, slowly raise the barbell to your chin, and then slowly lower it again to the starting position. A mixture of cardio and resistance training will work best if you are looking to lose weight and tone up. Remember, for any weight/ resistance training, it isn’t how much you can lift, but how good your form is. Don’t be intimidated by the weights, mixing low weight with high reps, and high weight with low reps will offer you the best overall outcome.

LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

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TOP TIPS FOR PROTECTING

YOURSELF IN THE SUN A bit of sun is what we all need at the moment as we slowly come out of our lockdown, but staying safe is still high priority because the sun, bright and wonderful though it is, can have its dark side too…

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lready on record as being approximately 1C hotter than the long-term average temperature of British summertime, we are emerging from lockdown feeling a trifle stifled yet grateful for the warm sunshine on our faces. Though this may make us feel good short term, long term there are potentially negative side effects from absorbing too much sun. Staying safe, as we’ve learned better than ever over the past few months, is paramount, so here are our top tips for staying safe during the hotter months.

STAY HYDRATED

* Whether you’re playing sports, travelling or just sunbathing, getting enough to drink is more important than you might think, particularly for your heart health because keeping the body hydrated helps the heart pump blood more easily through the blood vessels to the muscles.

Stay

HYDRATED THIS

er m m u S

Wearing white clothing means the heat from your body gets reflected right back towards it, whereas black coloured clothing absorbs everything coming in from the sun

SUNTAN LOTION

* Spread the lotion onto the skin thickly, not thinly, as it’s much better to be safe than sorry. * Apply a new batch onto the skin every few hours, and after you’ve been in the water, and apply it before you’re exposed to the sun, not during. * Keep a note of when you first opened your bottle of suntan lotion. Each bottle of lotion comes with an expiry date, which is symbolized on the bottle with a small image of an open jar with a number followed by an ‘M’ beside it, like ‘12M’, for instance. This means that, after 12 months, the ingredients in the lotion begin to decompose and can become inactive and ineffective.

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PROPERTY NEWS

PROTECTIVE CLOTHING

* It’s a point that’s often overlooked or dismissed as trivial, but wearing the correct clothing under the sun is far from trivial. Wearing white clothing means the heat from your body gets reflected back towards it, whereas black coloured clothing absorbs everything coming in from the sun.

SUNGLASSES

* There’s a reason why the majority of good quality sunglasses today are polarized. With polarized sunglasses, the filter creates vertical openings for light, meaning that only light rays that approach your eyes vertically can fit through those openings. So, for instance, the lenses will block out all the horizontal light waves bouncing off a smooth pond or a shiny car.


RICH PICKINGS It’s time to hit the hedgerows and roadsides for nature’s free feast

We are heading into the season of mellow fruitfulness. It may not seem it in this crazy year, but in what seems like a bat of an eye, we are already into August, a month where we traditionally hang on to summer but mentally start to prepare ourselves for autumn. And that means bringing in the harvest – and not just those f ruits we slavishly grow in our gardens. It’s time to step beyond the larch-lap fence panels and hit the hedgerows.

Foraging has been around for thousands of years – indeed, the ability to find wild foods was the key to survival long before formal agriculture and animal husbandry – but has enjoyed something of a revival as we turn our back on the processed for more organic produce. Plus it’s free and fun . . . as long as you are prepared for the scratches and stinging nettles. So, what are we looking for? Well, blackberries, the fruit of the prickly brambles that are prevalent along country lanes and heathland, are the obvious favourite. Those beautiful deep purple-black berries have been ripening slowly in the summer sun with gentle rains helping them to swell and ready to pick in late July and August. Bursting with vitamin C, they can be eaten raw or cooked in pies, crumbles, jams and jellies with micro varieties creating subtly different flavours. However, it may seem obvious, but they need to be washed thoroughly before eating, particularly if picked from a busy roadside. Although lead is absent from car fuels, the exhaust fumes can still lay on thin-skinned fruit, even if health risks are considered low.

The same warning applies to another foraging favourite, elderberries. Easy to recognise as the small dark reddish black berries hanging from trees in neat clusters in August and September, this fruit is also packed with vitamins and is loved by cordial and winemakers. It also makes a nice hedgerow jam. Crab apples are another staple for the roadside huntergatherer between August and October. But, although it may be the ancestor of the cultivated apple, it should carry a health warning: Do not eat raw unless you wish to enter the British Gurning Championship - they can be extremely sour. Once cooked, though, they make an incredible sunsetcoloured jelly which is gorgeous on bread and as an accompaniment to many meats. Hazelnut trees are also common in woods and hedgerows, and if picked early in the season when green they are good to nibble on and are lovely roasted. Any later and you’ll have to beat off the squirrels … But don’t limit your foraging to fruit. Try weeds, such as the Greater Plantain, the rosetteshaped plant found in lawns, roadsides and waste ground. The young leaves are best for salads, and although older growth is tough, blanched and sautéed with butter they are quite tasty.

LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

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TOP UK D CASTLES TO VISIT THIS YEAR

uring medieval times castles were built primarily to serve as protection for the nobility and were generally a symbol of the power of the ruling family at the time. Their intimidatingly majestic-looking structures and grounds served as an active and effective defence against potential intruders or attackers. Today they symbolise the power of history, and more particularly a nation’s desire to hold onto it. Castles radiate a special kind of glow, and in the evenings many literally do glow with outside lighting illuminating walls which have served so many leaders in our past, leaders who made us who we are today as a people.

When it comes to castles, beauty is enhanced with age, and here are the oldest, and most beautiful, castles to visit in the UK

Marvelling at them from the outside, though, is just the tip of the iceberg, for the sheer sense of age, tradition and antiquity is prevalent in the air when you step inside, and can thus only truly be experienced via a tour, or indeed a wedding. From the dungeons to the castle Keeps, these castles in the UK have it all and are probably some of the very best castles Britain has to offer.

WINDSOR CASTLE It’s difficult to establish definitively what the oldest castle in Britain is due to lack of evidence, but the oldest occupied castle (and not only in Britain but in the world) is Windsor Castle.

Inaccurately considered by many to be the oldest castle in Britain, Warwick Castle, built in 1068, is, like Windsor Castle, one of the more popularly visited in the UK

Built around 1070, Windsor Castle’s St George’s Chapel was the venue for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding on 19th May 2018. The castle occupies 13 acres of land and combines the features of a fortification, a palace and a small town. It was built after the Norman invasion of England by William the Conqueror, and since the time of Henry I, it has been used by all 39 reigning monarchs, being the longest-occupied palace in Europe.

TOUR TICKET PRICES Adult: £23.50 Over 60 / Students: £21.20 Under 17 / Disabled: £13.50 Under 5: Free Family (2 adults and 3 under 17s): £60.50

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PROPERTY NEWS


WARWICK CASTLE Inaccurately considered by many to be the oldest castle in Britain, Warwick Castle, built in 1068, is, like Windsor Castle, one of the most popularly visited in the UK, and again was built by William the Conqueror. Originally a wooden Motteand-Bailey castle, and then rebuilt in stone during the 12th century, the structure is situated on a bend of the River Avon enjoying scenic views. The facade opposite the town was refortified during the Hundred Years War, resulting in one of the most recognisable examples of 14th-century military architecture today.

TOUR TICKET PRICES

PORTCHESTER CASTLE, BEESTON CASTLE, AND COLCHESTER CASTLE These are some of the very oldest castle sites in Britain, and the historical significance of them stems from their structural origins. Portchester Castle still comprises habitable areas and was formed from a Roman fort built on the same site in the 3rd century. Though now inhabitable, Beeston Castle has a largely intact gatehouse, the site starting out as a Neolithic settlement in c3500 BC. Colchester Castle was previously a 1st Century Roman temple and was transformed into a castle between 10691076, making its Keep older than the Tower of London.

Castle, Grounds & Gardens: from £20 Standard Warwick Castle annual pass: from £35 Premium Merlin annual pass: from £139 A ‘stay overnight’ package is also offered.

OTHER PARTICULARLY OLD AND BEAUTIFUL CASTLES IN THE UK WHICH SHOULD BE VISITED AT LEAST ONCE: Cardiff Castle – constructed in the 11th Century. Edinburgh Castle – constructed in the 12th Century. Bunratty Castle – constructed in the 15th Century.

The oldest occupied castle (and not only in Britain but in the world) is indisputably Windsor Castle

Pictured: Edinburgh Castle

BERKHAMSTEAD CASTLE AND NORWICH CASTLE In line with the most reliable information we have, these two castles are officially the oldest castles in the UK, both on record as being built in 1067. Like what Warwick Castle was originally, Berkhamstead Castle is a Motte-and-Bailey castle, built to obtain control of a key route between London and the Midlands during the Norman conquest of England in the 11th century. Robert of Mortain, William the Conqueror’s half-brother, was probably responsible for managing its construction, after which he became the castle’s owner. William the Conqueror plays a key role in yet another one of Britain’s most beautiful castles, Norwich Castle, a royal fortification, which was founded in the aftermath of the Norman conquest of England when William the Conqueror ordered its construction in alignment with his campaign to subjugate East Anglia.

LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

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SUMMER FRUIT AND VEG

JAMS AND CHUTNEYS With the incredible amount of fresh fruit on offer in the UK during the summer, here are some fantastic jams, preserves and chutney recipes to make at home…

750g Mixed baby tomatoes 175g mixed sweet peppers 350g red onion 1 tsp salt flakes 2 tsp mustard seeds ¼ tsp crushed chillies 2 garlic cloves 300ml cider vinegar 90g sultanas 225g light muscovado sugar

SPICY BABY TOMATO & SWEET PEPPER CHUTNEY This is an easy to make sweet, sour and spicy chutney that is perfect for autumn. It tastes even better with homegrown tomatoes and peppers from the garden…

METHOD 1. Add all the ingredients to a large preserving pan except the tomatoes. 2. Bring to the boil and simmer for 25 minutes. 3. Add the tomatoes and simmer for a further 35-minutes, stirring occasionally. 4. Ladle into hot jars and seal.

2kg plums, stoned and roughly chopped. 2kg white granulated sugar. 2 tsp ground cinnamon. 1 tbsp lemon juice. 3 cinnamon sticks. Knob of butter

CINNAMON-SCENTED PLUM JAM Plums are in abundance this time of year, and this recipe with a warming cinnamon twist is incredible on toasted teacakes.

METHOD 1. Put the plums in a large preserving pan and add 200ml water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10-minutes. 2. Add the sugar, ground cinnamon and lemon juice and allow to dissolve without boiling. 3. Increase the heat and bring to the boil. After 5-minutes spoon a little jam onto a cold saucer and wait. If it wrinkles it is ready. 4. Remove from heat and add the cinnamon sticks and the butter. Let cool before ladling into jars and sealing.

8 Red Onions 1 Red Chilli 2 bay Leaves 25 ml Olive Oil 200 g brown sugar 2 teaspoons Mustard Seeds 150 ml Balsamic Vinegar 150 ml Red Wine Vinegar

CARAMELISED RED ONION CHUTNEY This really easy caramelised red onion chutney is perfect with cold meats and crackers any time of the year.

METHOD 1. Cut the onions and chilli into thin slices and put into a pan with the bay leaves and olive oil. Cook gently for 20-minutes. 2. When the onions have browned, add the sugar, vinegars and mustard seed, and simmer for 30-minutes until the chutney is thick. Stir occasionally. 3. Pour the hot chutney directly into hot, sterilised jars and seal.

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Image for illustrative purposes only

LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

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INSPIRATIONAL BOOKS OF THE 21ST CENTURY Just twenty years in, the 21st Century has already gifted us with so many inspirational pieces of literary work worthy of comment. So we’ve picked f ive books, of different styles and genres, which embody this overarching theme.

THE KITE RUNNER

THE 4 HOUR WORK WEEK

KHALED HOSSEINI, 2003

This thriller, which became a New York Times Bestseller, focusses on the story of Amir, from childhood into adulthood, against the backdrop of Afghanistan’s political history. Centred around correcting the mistakes of his childhood, this story is based on the themes of guilt, bravery, and redemption, all against a dangerous, but all too real backdrop.

TIMOTHY FERRISS, 2007

This New York Times Best Seller self-help book tears up the traditional ‘retirement plan’, in favour of increasing income and controlling one’s own working hours. In the most recent edition, the author recounts his own drastic changes to his working week, whilst also providing case studies of families who have used this method as a framework for their lives.

PROUD

GARETH THOMAS, 2015

In 2009, Gareth Thomas, the Welsh Rugby star, came out as the sport’s first openly homosexual player. In this autobiography released a few years later, Thomas recounts the guilt created by keeping his sexuality a secret within the context of a culture dominated by masculinity, and the dangers that revealing his true self might pose to his career, and his personal life.

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PROPERTY NEWS

THE BOY IN THE DRESS

DAVID WALLIAMS, 2008

This children’s book, which has since been made into a play by the Royal Shakespeare Company, aims to break down gender barriers at a young age. Telling the story of Dennis, who enjoys cross-dressing, this novel informs youngsters that a hobby, such as this, is acceptable, and nothing to be ashamed of.

WHY I’M NO LONGER TALKING TO WHITE PEOPLE ABOUT RACE RENI EDDO-LODGE, 2018

This novel, which sparked international conversation, was originally a blog, focussing on how those who discussed racism in Britain were led by those who racism did not affect. In this novel, Eddo-Lodge explores racism throughout history, right up to what it is like to be a person of colour today. Such has been the positive reception since release, this novel has been used as a core material during the Black Lives Matter movement.


STAMP DUTY HOLIDAY: WHAT IT MEANS FOR SELLERS AND BUYERS Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a temporary holiday on stamp duty for property sales in England and Northern Ireland As part of the government’s plans to boost the economy, especially the property market, Sunak announced a temporary holiday on stamp duty until next March starting from the 8th of July. In reality, what the Chancellor has actually done is increase the stamp duty threshold to £500,000 for property sales in England Northern Ireland. This means anyone completing on a main residence under £500,000 from now until the 31st March 2021 will not pay any stamp duty, and anyone completing on a property over £500,000 will only be taxed on the amount above £500,000. A move which could save buyers as much as £15,000.

Stamp duty is a lump sum payment for anyone buying a property and is paid upon completion, so from now on, if you’ve exchanged, but not completed you will be eligible for the stamp duty holiday.

With more buyers out there, it is expected that more properties will come to the market. For example, Mr and Mrs X, who already own a home, will now have no stamp duty to pay for an onward purchase up to £500k. With the saving, they come to the market offering a property perfect to a first-time buyer who now has a larger deposit knowing they won’t have to pay stamp duty. Mr and Mrs X have the confidence that their property will get plenty of interest with more buyers out there looking to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday. First-time buyers, will now no longer have to figure stamp duty into their finances for a move, so will have more money to put towards a deposit, which may, in turn, increase their budget. First-time buyers who were just short of having a deposit may wake up this morning now ready to move.

What do you think about the news? Has it affected you? Let us know today…

This could be an average saving of £4,500 with just under nine out of 10 people buying a main residence this year paying no stamp duty at all

Y UT P D AY AM ID ST HOL

The Chancellor has suggested this could be an average saving of £4,500 with just under nine out of 10 people buying a main residence this year paying no stamp duty at all. Before the announcement, stamp duty was due on any property over £125,000, while first-time buyers didn’t pay stamp duty up to £300,000.

teetering, unsure of whether to make the jump due to financial reasons, will hopefully be tempted by the saving on offer, especially as, for now, it is only in place till the 31st March next year.

This is huge news for the property market affecting all sections. Buyers who were

LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

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LEARN SOMETHING NEW THIS AUTUMN If during the lockdown you’ve had second thoughts about your career, or you want to beef up your CV, why not look into online distance learning.

O

nline distance learning offers you the opportunity to get an Undergraduate or Postgraduate degree from the comfort of your own home. Allowing you to add something new to your CV and move closer to your dream career.

An Open Degree isn’t for everyone, however, the positives are there for all to see

Distance learning is offered by countless universities in the UK. The most popular is The Open University, who have helped over 2 million people to get a degree. They offer Undergraduate and Postgraduate degrees in a huge array of subjects including Arts and Humanities, Business and Management, Politics, Health Sciences, Education and many more. With over 120 undergraduate qualifications available, you will be able to find the right course for you and your career. And with 70% of Open University students working full time, you won’t be the only one struggling to manage your time. Luckily, The Open University has a handy Time Planner to check it’ll work for you.

The team at The Open University are fantastic and very helpful. If you have an idea where you want to get to in your career, their Careers and Employability service will guide you to the right course to get you there. Each course has a range of optional and compulsory modules which as a part-time student will be completed in a specific order over six years. However, if you are struggling for a year, you can defer. Each annual module is broken down into Teacher Marked Assignments (TMAs) and Examiner Marked Assignments (EMAs). TMAs are basically coursework assignments whereas EMAs are an exam based assignment done from your own home. Some degrees do have an actual exam where you will have to travel to a nearby Open University registered building to take your exam. At the start of each module, you will receive a study pack with study materials and your study guide. If you are proactive you can get ahead of the curve or you can follow the dates suggested to spread the module out over the term period. You will also have direct contact with a dedicated tutor, student forums and optional learning events to ensure you’re never alone. Once you finish your degree, if you choose, you can keep on studying and maybe even get a Masters in your subject. Having a degree on your CV will open doors that were previously closed during your career, however, you do need to check you have the right work/ life balance to complete the degree. ‘But I won’t get accepted for a student loan’ or ‘I can’t afford it,’ I hear you say… Well, actually, you can apply and will be eligible for Student Finance UK if you’re a UK national

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ORIGAMI

(or have settled status). If you’re currently working and are looking to study part-time you may be eligible too as long as the course intensity is 25% or more – which is around 18 hours a week. You will only start repaying your student loan when your income is over the threshold amount for your repayment plan. The threshold amounts change every April. The earliest you’ll start repaying your course is the April after you leave your course or the April 4 years after the course started.

With over 120 undergraduate qualifications available, you will be able to find the right course for you and your career

Registration for this year closes on the 10th September for courses starting in October, and you can order a prospectus online

Most students will only start paying once their income is over £511 per week before tax and deductions. Generally, once you are over the threshold you will pay back 9% of the total you are over the threshold. Your payments will be automatically taken out of your salary and you will be able to see the payments on your payslip. An Open Degree isn’t for everyone, it is a lot of hard work over a long period, however, the positives are there for all to see… If you can’t get a Student Finance loan you do have the option to pay upfront or in instalments. Notable alumni of the Open University include Lenny Henry, Mylene Klass, Talulah Riley and Meles Zenawi the 8th Prime Minister of Ethiopia.

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to move

NOW’S THE TIME

The time is now! The property market is bouncing back and with us, you will get the exceptional customer service and innovative marketing you deserve, including a FREE personalised property website to share with friends and family.

Take advantage of the stamp duty holiday and contact us today.

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Welden Edwards - August 2020  

Welden Edwards - August 2020