Tuesday, 25 September 2018

12 films for autumn

Larkfleet autumn films
As the nights get longer, and bad weather keeps us indoors more often, there's nothing better than settling down on sofa with a classic film with a real autumnal feel.

Autumn is also a time when the movie studios release their new films ahead of the holiday season, so in addition to some cracking classics, we've also listed a few of the new arrivals to look out for, if you prefer to get out to a cinema.

6 classics
  • Halloween (1978) – a classic slasher horror movie that still keeps audiences on the edges of their seats. So good, it spawned a whole series of sequels, not to mention a whole sub-genre of films influenced by director John Carpenter.
  • Rushmore (1998) – the back to school theme is explored in this movie set in a US prep school over an autumn term.
  • Far From Heaven (2002) – a tribute to 1950s melodramas, directed by Todd Haynes, this film is about a house wife dealing with the prejudices of a mixed race affair after her husband admits that he is gay. It's a true classic that oozes autumnal charm.
  • Dead Poets’ Society (1989) – another heart-warming movie with an autumnal back to school theme. Robin Williams is superb as inspirational English teacher John Keating.
  • When Harry Met Sally (1989) – a quintessential romcom that features leafy walks in Central Park and Meg Ryan’s wool and tweed hats and blazers.
  • Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987) – John Hughes’ 1980s comedy classic staring Steve Martin and the late John Candy is all about the chaos of holiday travel and bad weather.
If you haven’t already got these in your collection, you can stream them from an online provider or order the DVD from your favourite online entertainment retailer.

6 new releases
  • The Predator – a reboot of the 1980s classic sci-fi creature feature.
  • The House with the Clock on its Walls – a children’s gothic horror starring Jack Black and Cate Blanchett from horror master Eli Roth.
  • Venom – a Spiderman spin-off about journalist Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy), infected by an alien parasite that gives him superhuman powers.
  • Halloween  – a direct sequel to the original 1978 John Carpenter classic.
  • First man – a biopic of Neil Armstrong and his journey to become the first man on the moon.
  • Bohemian Rhapsody (November 2) – biopic of consummate showman Freddie Mercury starring Rami Malek culminating Queen’s iconic 1985 performance at Live Aid. 
The region boasts plenty of options for your viewing pleasure. Here are local cinemas near Larkfleet developments:

Boston – Savoy, Boston West End
Corby – Savoy, Corby
Peterborough – Showcase Cinema deLux
Spalding – South Holland Centre
Taunton – The Odeon

Follow the links for what's on and screening times.

Friday, 21 September 2018

Fundraising is a piece of cake for Larkfleet Homes

Larkfleet Homes MacMillan Coffee Mornng
It’s coffee time!

The World’s Biggest Coffee Morning takes place on Friday 28 September and the team at Larkfleet Homes will, once again, be joining in to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Forget Bake Off! Staff at Larkfleet Homes’ Bourne HQ will be baking or bringing in cakes and snacks that will be sold in the building’s main meeting room to raise money for the charity.

You can help by buying a cake and cup of coffee throughout the day at any of our show homes.

Having a coffee morning is the perfect chance to catch up over a cuppa and a slice of something delicious … all for a great cause.

The team will be creating a buzz around the office with posters, bunting and cake cards to make the place look the part. There will also be a raffle with all donations collected going to Macmillan.

We hope that you, and all our visitors, will join in the fun, buy a cake or two and enjoy a cup of coffee in aid of this popular cause.

The World’s Biggest Coffee Morning is Macmillan’s biggest fundraising event for people facing cancer. Since 1990, the Coffee Morning has raised over £200 million for Macmillan Cancer Support. People all over the UK host their own coffee mornings and money raised on the day is given to Macmillan. Last year alone saw a total of £27 million generated for the charity.

This year Macmillan is aiming to raise even more – and the Larkfleet Homes team is aiming to do its bit.

Please bring your cash along if you are visiting our offices or one of our show houses, and help us to help Macmillan!

Thursday, 20 September 2018

6 things to do with the kids at harvest time

things to do with the kids at harvest time
Harvest time is a wonderful time of year. It’s a season that touches us at Larkfleet Homes because many of our developments are in rural areas and small market towns whose communities and economies depend, in part, on agriculture.

Harvest is an important time for farmers. It’s the culmination of a year's work and investment. And it’s a time of celebration, which is why harvest festivals are important in rural areas.

Ample food and the freedom from the necessity to work in the fields are two central features of harvest festivals with eating, merriment, contests, music and romance being the main themes in harvest festivals around the world.

The full moon nearest the autumnal equinox is called the Harvest Moon. So, in ancient traditions Harvest Festivals were traditionally held on or near the Sunday of the Harvest Moon. In two years out of three, the Harvest Moon comes in September. In some years it occurs in October.

During a harvest celebration, people bring in produce from the garden, the allotment or farm. The food is often distributed among the poor and senior citizens of the local community; or used to raise funds for charity.

If you'd like to do something with the kids this harvest time, we've compiled a quick list of suggestions.
  • Have a look at The Campaign for School Gardening. Run by the RHS, it provides a wealth of practical information as well as running fun competitions such as “Young School Gardener of the Year”.
  • The BBC and RHS have teamed up and provide some great tips for gardening with children of all ages. Why not get them interested? 
  • Gardening with Children runs a club - membership of which allows access to all sort of useful resources that can help your budding young gardeners get even more enthused 
  • Why not make corn dollies? As an old tradition, to preserve the spirit of the corn, the final ears used to be fashioned into corn dollies (also known as 'kirn-babies' (also spelt kern), ivy girls, and mell dolls), and kept in the farmhouse all winter, before being ploughed into the first furrow in spring. Corn dollies can be woven into a variety of shapes including chandeliers, horns and horseshoes. The Eden Project website shows you how to make your own corn dolly.
  • You can celebrate the part bread has to play in the harvest by baking a mini harvest loaf with flour that has been milled as locally as possible from the most locally grown grain possible.
  • Or you could visit a local wind or watermill. Sacrewell Farm is a great local example or there’s Whissendine Windmill near Oakham or Heckington Windmill near Sleaford.
And while you’re there, why not take a little time to visit one of our show homes in Oakham.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

7 essentials for creating the perfect home gym

Larkfleet Homes home gym
As Autumn kicks in and the mornings and evenings start to get darker, the idea of lacing up the trainers and getting out for a run becomes less appealing. Shorter days, combined with wet and windy weather, mean the lure of the sofa can be hard to resist. Weekends are great for getting out running in the daytime, but our busy lifestyles often leave us time poor. Exercise can lose out to family and work commitments.

This is where equipping your home with some domestic gym equipment can really help. You can choose when to exercise and you don’t need to worry about failing light or the inclement British weather.

Some people worry about cost and space believing that gym equipment is expensive and will take up loads of space in the home. But the reality is, that’s not always the case and there are plenty of budget options available. And they don’t necessarily need to take up lots of space either.

Larkfleet Homes are generously proportioned and, depending on your family’s needs, have space to install a home gym.

You can kit out a spare room, garage or shed with a few key pieces of essential equipment for around £1,000 - £2,000. There are plenty of places to pick up used gear at a fraction of the cost of new equipment like online auction sites and classified ads.

When you’re looking for gear, go for versatility. This means you’ll need to buy less stuff, saving on
space and your pocket.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Flooring – There are plenty of options for proper rubber flooring, either in tiles or on the roll. It will save your joints and help you to look after your equipment. It will also protect the floor.
  • Kettlebells – These are versatile and can be used for a variety of exercises.You will only need a couple. Ensure you choose a weight that is going to push you, but not cause injury or strain.
  • Spin bike – A spin bike will help you with your cardio and get you in the fat burning zone. It’s a great way to multi-task too. While you’re gently spinning away, catch up on some telly or make those phone calls that you have been putting off. 
  • Treadmill – This is a great addition to a home gym and will help you stick to your running programmes, even in the depths of winter. Don’t completely substitute the outdoors though and make sure you get outside to pound the pavements and suck in some fresh air when you can.
  • Bar bells – A bar and barbells are part of the ‘essentials kit’ and will form the basis of your cardio and conditioning exercises such as squats, bench presses, behind the neck Military Press, arm curls – the list goes on.
  • Rack – Essential for placing your weights when you bench press, etc.
  • Bench – Obviously, you can’t do bench presses without a bench.
Whether you’re fully equipped, or choose a few essential pieces, having access to some gym equipment at home can mean you are able to keep you exercising through the worst that the British weather has to throw at you.

For more ideas on home gyms visit Houzz or Pinterest.

Monday, 17 September 2018

Autumn running for charity

larkfleet run for charity
At Larkfleet we believe that putting something back into the community is vitally important. That’s why we support several different charities throughout the the year.

This year we are giving our support to Anna’s Hope, Shine, Greater Peterborough UTC, MacMillan and the Peterborough City Hospital Breast Care Unit.

Anna’s Hope is the leading children’s brain tumour charity in the East of England. It was inspired by Anna Olivia Hughes, who tragically died from a brain tumour aged only three years and eight months. It was set up by Anna's parents, Rob and Carole Hughes, and her five Godparents in October 2006.

There are lots of different ways in which you can help the charity. If you are feeling sporty you could sign up for the Anna’s Hope 5k Fun Run, which takes place at the Great Eastern Run in October. You can sign up to run here.

Runs are also the most popular way to support Peterborough-based charity Shine, which provides specialist advice and support for spina bifida and hydrocephalus in the UK. They have loads of information about signing up on their website.

Of course, the most popular distance run in this region is the Perkins Great Eastern Run. You can get a charity place or start your own Just Giving page and sign up for the race here.

Running is a fantastic way to get fit and you can use your new-found fitness to benefit others in the community by entering challenging events for a good cause. But it’s important to maintain your fitness, eat the right food and not over do things to avoid injuring yourself.

Here are a few training tips to help you along.

Friday, 14 September 2018

Top toys for Christmas

Argos top toys for Christmas
It is some time off we know – 12 weeks more or less – but with the kids back at school, Striclty on the telly and the nights drawing in it might be a good idea to start thinking about Christmas.

We’re thinking here mainly about what pressies to get the kids.

Argos has already made its predictions for the top toys for Christmas.
2018 is the ‘Year of the Unicorn’ with the mythical steeds set to dominate the toy scene having already taken over social feeds and the food and design worlds.

Four unique and innovative unicorn toys are expected to fly off the shelves this year, including the My Lovely Unicorn Electric Ride-On (£229.99) which makes a great high-impact gift, to the quirkier Poopsie (£49.99), the unicorn who poops glitter.

Other predicted bestsellers for 2018 include the latest innovations from LOL Surprise and Fingerlings, such as dinosaur-themed Fingerlings and the LOL Surprise Under-Wraps (£14.99) which is the first cylindrical-shaped case from the collectible favourite. TV stars Paw Patrol also feature with the brand-new Rescue Fire Truck Playset (£69.99).

Boxer (£79.99) the playful robot is a fantastic choice for those looking for toys that encourage children to be interactive and imaginative. Kids who prefer something more hands-on will also love the Treasure X 3-Pack Chest (£29.99) which lets you dig for gold-dipped treasure. And construction fans will be delighted with the City Arctic Mobile Exploration Base from perennial favourite LEGO

You can shop for toys online here.

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Top tips for getting your home ready for winter

autumn home maintenance
While many of us are enjoying some late summer sun, it’s worth remembering that Autumn is on its way. And winter is just around the corner.

With colder temperatures and worsening weather not that far away, now is good time to have a look around the house and garden and see what needs preparing to see you through the winter.

We have pulled together this handy guide to plugging up the gaps and sealing your home against the worst that the British weather has to throw at it.

Check your heating – Give your heating system a trial run before you actually need it in cold weather. You’ll be able to identify any problems and get them sorted out now before you really miss it. If you have open fires, make sure you get chimneys and flues cleaned and swept.

Heating service – If it’s been a while, now would be a good time to organise a boiler service. Once the cold weather really starts to bite, competent heating engineers can be hard to find as this is a really busy time for them. Have a look at Checkatrade or Trustatrader for recommendations.

Check your loft – Have a look at the water expansion tank in your loft and check the ball valve on the water inlet to make sure it’s working OK. Move the ball up a down a few times to see if the water flows and then shuts off. While you're up there, inspect your insulation and top it up if needed to the required depth of 270mm. Also check that any pipework in your loft is insulated; you don’t want frozen or burst pipes in cold weather.

Draft proofing – Check your doors and windows for draft proofing. Adding a threshold strip or a letterbox draft excluder are cheap and quick ways to improve draft proofing and save yourself some money on your heating bills this winter.

Check ventilation – Because we tend to shut up the house at this time of year, a resulting lack of ventilation can cause condensation problems. Condensation can be removed by ensuring that your rooms are well ventilated and extractor fans fitted in areas such as the kitchen and bathroom.

Check outside – A bright sunny day in autumn is a good time to check your walls and brickwork for any damage. Flaking and cracks can allow water to penetrate, so you’ll need to get these repaired. Also make sure there’s no soil or debris piled against the walls that could cause a breach of your damp proof course. Also check air vents and air bricks are clear and free from debris to ensure adequate ventilation indoors.

Clear drains and gutters – In late autumn, once most of the leaves have fallen, clean out drains, gutters and downpipes of any blockages. You should also repair any leaks you find in gutters and down pipes.

Check your roof – Get out a pair of binoculars and inspect your roof to make sure there are no damaged slates or tiles. Replace any damaged or missing tiles and make sure and damaged flashing is also repaired.

Outdoors – Check external pipes and taps and insulate them to prevent freezing. Clean paths and patios and treat external timber.

Exterior lighting and homes security – You could fit some motion sensitive lighting outside your home to ensure you have some welcoming light when you come home from work on the darker evenings. Good quality external security lighting also helps to deter would-be burglars.

The colder months aren't here yet, but by getting ahead of the game with a few 'prep jobs', you can sit back and relax and enjoy a stress free winter.