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.

Friday, 7 September 2018

Ways you can get involved and help a charity

Charities, by their very nature, do good deeds for other people. Their work is tireless, often heroic, and intended to be at no cost to the recipient. Their efforts are for the good of those who are in need (in one way or another) of money, food, care or just some time.

But charities themselves often need some help too.

With over 160,000 charities in England and Wales alone, it's easy to see why funds are, generally, in short supply and why resources for day-to-day operations, which are largely dependent upon volunteers, can be sparse.

Still, they somehow achieve success in being a central mainstay in many local communities. They not only provide a lifeline for those in need, but a purpose for those who volunteer. They can be a reason to get out of the house each week, meet new people and get involved in a wide range of activities and events.

For others, of course, volunteering is simply a way to give something back.

And with charities ranging from huge nationals to small locals, there'll be lots of opportunities in your area too. It's not about giving huge donations, or dedicating 5 days a week every week, it's about playing a part in fulfilling the purpose of a charity in whatever way you can.

Here are four simple ways that you could get involved and help:
  1. Remember strangersMake donations to local or national causes, taking into account the time of year and how others less fortunate could be affected. In the months running up to winter, take old coats, woolly jumpers, hats, scarves and blankets to charities that help the homeless.

    Your cupboards are probably full of excess tins, jars and packets too so let someone else make good use of them. Food banks are ever-increasing in popularity (and impact) so hunt down your local one and make a delivery. They may even require some man-power, you never know.

    In 2017, 50 per cent of people helped a stranger, let's keep this moving.
  2. Offer your time
    Volunteer in local charity shops, just a few hours will help to tick some jobs off the list. Or if an event is more your thing, help on the day with the organisation and marshalling. You could even take part in the event yourself. Charity fun runs, monthly initiatives (Movember!) or fitness challenges are great ways to raise funds and provide you with the ultimate feel-good factor.

    For the less active (but equally willing) think about selling any unwanted items you have. Tackle eBay or local selling sites to declutter your house or garage and donate the proceeds to a cause close to your heart. There's even the option all over the UK to donate your blood, it's quick, simple and always needed.
  3. Part with your cashOne-off lump sums aren't the only way to give money, and generally don't work for a lot of people. What is more successful (and manageable) is making regular donations in smaller amounts, especially if you can donate from your pre-tax salary; you'll never know it's gone. Or you could simply set up a monthly direct debit. Many smaller, local charities rely upon these regular donations as part of their budgeting.

    And if you're sponsoring others to complete a charity event, make sure you gift aid. The charity will receive an extra 25p for every £1 donated from all UK taxpayers.
  4. Organise a fundraiserThere are lots of opportunities to piggy-back national events with your own local variation, the World's Biggest Coffee Morning by Macmillan being a perfect example. You can create a real community spirit by encouraging local people to come along and get involved. You'll soon learn of a whole host of skill sets (and enthusiasm) in your area.

    You could even take the initiative and organise your own event. Bring and buy sales, bingo nights, a swishing party or pamper evening are all full of fun and largely successful in generating the crowds and raising the funds. All you need is a small team of helpers!
There are so many ways that you can get involved and support charities, locally or nationally. You just need to tap into one (or a few) that you'd like to support and take it from there. There's a role to suit everyone in the world of volunteering.

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Steering the future of house-buying

The UK housing market is one which is always under much scrutiny, and even more so since Brexit.   

How will house prices be affected in the years ahead? Will they continue to rise? 

After all, they have gone up by an astonishing 259% since 1997. Maybe it’s time to see them fall... even just slightly.    

This could mean that the housing market is opened up to a wider audience. People need to strike while the iron’s hot and,  if the right property comes along at the right price, you need to be ready to buy. 

What will the impact of this be on the rental market? As it is financially beneficial (in most cases) to pay a monthly mortgage instead of a monthly rent, those able to make the move onto the property ladder will do so. Some even plan years ahead to build their savings pot into a sizeable deposit. 

But still, the problems associated with an on-going housing shortage could work against any positive impact Brexit may have. Even if we see a soft (or limited) fall in house prices, the theory of demand exceeding supply could see them shoot back them up again. 

So, no matter how much we obsess about the economic possibilities of UK house prices, there really is no certainty. The best we can achieve is opinions and predictions from those in the know (and those buying and selling).   

Lynne Fitzpatrick
At Larkfleet, we aim to keep up-to-date with the latest trends and work hard to understand what our customers, and future customers, are thinking.     

Our recent house buyer research, conducted in partnership with some key industry names, provided us with valuable insights into the whys and wherefores of the current UK housing market. 

We look forward to sharing these results with you very soon. But, in the meantime, we’d like to congratulate the winners of our prize draws. Participant input into this type of research is fundamental if we are to deliver results that are both accurate and reliable. The more people who take part, the more representative our findings are.    

Anne Bladon
So, a huge thank you to everyone who completed the research survey, and the telephone interview, your input is very much appreciated.   

And a special congratulations to both Lynne Fitzpatrick and Anne      Bladon who each won £500 in our prize draws.     

We hope you enjoy spending your winnings ladies! 

Monday, 3 September 2018

Join us for morning coffee!

The World’s Biggest Coffee Morning is once again coming to Larkfleet House. 
This year’s event will be held on Friday 28 September in support of Macmillan’s biggest fundraising event for people facing cancer.  
And it’s no half-baked job.  
Staff across the business, including those at Larkfleet House and at our individual sites, will be busy baking or buying delicious cakes and snacks to add to the mix. And they’ll all be available to purchase on the day as part of the mammoth fundraising efforts.  
So why not pop along to Larkfleet House, or your nearest show home, to join in our Macmillan coffee and cake bonanza. There are no limits to what you can enjoy (because no one will be counting) so join us for a piece of cake (or two, three or four) and a cup of coffee and know that you have done your part to support Macmillan.  
The success of these events is crucial to everyday people all over the country and since the first ever coffee morning in 1990, they have raised in excess of £200 million for the charity. One in two of us will face cancer at some point and this staggering amount of money will make sure no one has to face it alone.     
Last year’s combined coffee morning efforts saw an unbelievable £27 million raised and so the bar is set for 2018.  
We’re going to be a part of this phenomena once more and we’d like you to join us.  Who can really say no to coffee and cake on a Friday morning?    

Friday, 31 August 2018

Kids’ bedroom makeover ideas

Kids bedroom makeover space for study and play
As the kids prepare for the new school year you might be thinking about giving your kids’ bedrooms a makeover? Stuck for ideas?

The good news is, there is no end of ideas out there to give you inspiration if you are thinking about changing or redecorating a child’s bedroom. You only have to look on social media sites like Pinterest and Houzz to see the ideas are endless.

It is worth remembering though that kids are as individual as us adults. They have their own personalities, interests, likes and dislikes. Bear this in mind when you are considering your makeover.
Not only that. Children seem to gather as much, if not more, ‘stuff’ than grownups. Any makeover of a child’s bedroom will need to consider de-cluttering and storage.

Here are some tips for getting your child’s bedroom makeover just right, so it doesn’t just suit the overall look and feel of your house. It will also give your child a space of their own that they will love and want to spend time in – not just sleeping.

Age and whether you have girls or boys will dictate your choice of theme. Find out what your kids are in to – if you don’t already know. Younger boys will no doubt be mad on pirates or superheroes, Star Wars or football. Girls on the other hand may be more interested in Frozen, gymnastics or their favourite YouTuber. Or maybe those 'gender sterotypes' don't apply and your daughter would prefer a football theme and your son wants to feature a vlogger. You won't know unless you ask!

Pre-teens and teenagers will be different. The things they were interested in as younger children may not excite them anymore and plainer themes might be more suitable. That will allow them to personalise their space with their own accessories.

Don’t conform to stereotypes though. Make sure you involve your child in choosing a theme. Make sure they will get a room they love.

Once you’ve got a theme you’ll need to get a colour scheme sorted. Depending on the theme, you could be looking at bold primary colours, stark contrasting tones, or soft pastel shades. You might be using blues and reds to compliment Superman or the softer shades of a Disney Princess.

When you are choosing colours, don’t forget that the bedroom should be a place where your kids can relax and sleep easy.

There are all kinds of things that you can include to complement the design of your child’s bedroom. Bed linen and curtains should match the theme and colour scheme. Remember, you need to consider comfort and practicality. Blinds or curtains should shut out enough light to aid sleep. There’s nothing worse than a child waking up at the crack of dawn in the summer because blinds or curtains don’t cover the windows properly.

Lighting is also important. Choose relaxing themes. Lamps and lampshades can be added to enhance interest for your chosen theme.

Add some activity for active kids. If you have some space, what about including a climbing wall? Add built-in space for hobbies like trains, Scalextric or collecting. And for older children, you might want to add some space to accommodate gaming accessories.

Try to keep furniture functional – but make it fit your theme. Fill wall space with murals relating to the theme or add pictures and photos in creative ways.

Storage and organisation
Do you find yourself tripping over toys or walking over Lego bricks with bare feet? Storage is important. It will stop you hopping around in pain and help to maximise the space in your child’s room.

Use cupboard space, wardrobes, shelves and hangers to store your children’s stuff. Maximise space by choosing beds with drawers underneath. You could even add space-age racking to hang up gaming accessories or toys.

Add display space so your kids can show off models, toy figures or art work. Just make sure your storage options match the themes you have chosen.

School age children will need a calm space, free of distractions, where they can do their homework or enjoy some downtime with a favourite book.

Include a book shelf, desk and chair, but make sure there are enough power points so that they can plug in their laptops or PCs if they have them.

Where space is at a premium, why not build a work space into a bunk bed solution?

Chill out
When you are re-doing your children’s bedrooms, remember that whatever theme you pick, make the space restful. Make it a space that your kids want to spend time in and one where they will be able to work and play.

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Top telly this Autumn

Wanderlust BBC1
The summer is drawing to a close and, for some of us, it’s a bit of a sad time as the warmer, drier weather starts to give way to cooler, wetter times.

Don’t worry though. Autumn is a great time to embrace being with the family and enjoying some home comforts.

Not least amongst the season's homely pleasures is settling down on the sofa with the family to enjoy some great telly. Now’s the time that TV programme controllers start to release new shows for the autumn and the run up to Christmas.

Here’s our pick of the schedules:

Strictly Come Dancing – BBC1
Strictly has established itself as a firm family favourite over the past 14 years. This year another eclectic mix of actors, celebs and sports stars will strut their stuff to keep us entertained right up to Christmas.

Vanity Fair – ITV
William Makepeace Thackeray’s ani-hero Becky Sharp springs to life from the pages of his novel in a lavish new adaptation with an all-star cast including Suranne Jones, Michael Palin and Martin Clunes. It starts on Sunday 2 September.

Wanderlust – BBC1
This 6-part family drama begins on 4 September and stars Hollywood actress Toni Collette (pictured).

Strangers – ITV
A conspiracy thriller starring John Simm. The first episode airs on Monday 10 September.

A Discovery of Witches – Sky 1
A supernatural romance featuring witches and vampires. Nice and spooky for the lengthening autumn evenings.

Dr Who – BBC1
Starring Jodie Whittaker as the 13th and first female Doctor, the new season gets underway later this Autumn.

The War of the Worlds – BBC1
Another literary adaptation, this time of HG Wells’ 1897 novel. It promises to remain faithful to the tone and spirit of the book while also being contemporary.

The First – Channel 4
Set in the 2030s this is a sci-fi drama about the first manned mission to Mars.

For info on what’s on TV this Autumn visit The Radio Times website.

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Dan is helping us build for the future

Larkfleet Homes Dan Wedekind
One of the things we are proud of at Larkfleet Homes is our commitment to encouraging and developing the next generation of construction professionals. And in doing that we are able to resource our plans to expand the number of homes we’re building.

To help us, we have appointed a new trainee architect and film fan, Dan Wedekind. Dan took his A Levels at Hinchingbrooke School before going on to the University of Lincoln where he gained an honours degree in architecture.

Now he is working with us to develop new housing. The experience will eventually enable him to return to university for another two years to complete a master’s degree and become a fully qualified architect.

Dan told us: “I am learning a lot from my boss and colleagues, seeing how a site is laid out and learning some of the more technical aspects of development.

“I am really enjoying the experience and seeing how all the design and engineering planning finally comes together into a completed housing development.”

Part of Dan’s role involves attending open evenings at Greater Peterborough University Technical College (GPUTC) and trying to get current and prospective students interested in the construction industry -  in particular the design side.

“As a trainee myself I am able to pass on my experience and knowledge thus far on my route to becoming an architect,” said Dan.

GPUTC is a brand-new £12 million state-of-the-art technical school located on the Park Crescent Campus in Peterborough. It specialises in teaching engineering and the built environment alongside traditional A Levels and GCSEs to students aged between 14 and 19.

UTCs are unique in that they have sponsors and partners which play a large part in the way that students learn, from offering work experience, industry exposure and mentoring through to providing a guaranteed job interview upon completion of study.

Larkfleet has been involved with GPUTC since before the first plans were drawn up and is one of the sponsors. Our CEO Karl Hick sits on the school’s board of governors.

Investing in the future of the construction industry, by supporting local young people in their training and development, has always been part of our ethos at Larkfleet.

Friday, 24 August 2018

Four gardening jobs for August - gardener's work is never done!

When people say managing a garden is a year-round job, they're not wrong. Even in August - the peak holiday season - there are jobs to be done and plans to be made for the months ahead.  

So, for the next few weeks, it’s all about the pruning, the deadheading and the harvesting.  

For most, it’s this glorious hot weather that has no doubt left your garden in full bloom. Everything is looking perfect and your planning earlier in the year has come to fruition.  

As much as this should be enjoyed for as long as possible, now is the time to start preparing for the inevitable cold spell. Plant crops for the winter months, cut back your herbs and deadhead your potted plants.  

Here’s just four of the jobs you can tick off this August:  

1. Sow your winter vegetables  

Some of the trusty staples like potatoes and onions should already be well underway, but there’s still time for a last drill of turnips or carrots. Other hardy vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and brussels sprouts can also be sown now ready for a winter harvest.  

In the greenhouse, a winter lettuce will flourish along with parsley, coriander and dwarf beans (of the ‘speedy’ variety).  

Outside, spring onions and spring cabbages should be planted now for a spring crop (the clue is in the name). Sowing radishes will give you a good autumn harvest as well as spinach ‘perpetual’ and pak choi. Both are trendy yet nutritious, so are a great staple for some healthy-but-hearty winter dishes.

2. Take care of your fruit trees  

Home crops don’t stop with the lettuces in the greenhouse or spuds in the allotment. There’s so much love for home-grown fruit too. Think of the apple and blackberry crumbles, the raspberry jam or the peach cobbler.  

To keep your fruit trees in the best shape possible, you need to harvest the ripe and ready fruit and then give the trees a good prune. Help them to keep their shape and regain their strength (after a heavy crop) by propping up any struggling branches. As long as they have fruited, cut raspberry canes back to the ground and prune blackcurrant bushes by about a third.  

3. Trim your hedges  

By the end of August, you should be safe to trim your hedges as the birds using them for breeding nests will probably have vacated. Hedges often have a growth spurt earlier in the year, but slow down over the winter months.  

You need to get in and snip them back into shape as they’ll need to grow a little after this last trim. This is to protect themselves and make sure there are no obvious bare patches before the cold really sets in.  

You should also clip any topiary bushes you have and prune the late summer-flowering shrubs and wisteria.  

4. Plant your bulbs    

If you can handle talk of how many shopping days until Christmas, you can start to think about buying prepared hyacinth and some narcissi bulbs now too. Pot them up in late summer and they should be ready and looking beautiful by December.  

Thinking even further ahead, if you like to enjoy pretty spring flowers as early as possible, your daffodils need to go in during August and September. For the best chance of success, plant spring bulbs two to three times their own depth and add a little bone meal to the planting hole. But be careful not to dig them up as you tackle the winter weeds.  

You don't really get a break from gardening during the summer. And even though life slows down a bit as Autumn approaches, you still need to keep on top of the autumn gardening jobs to make sure your garden is looking beautiful and producing well all year round.

And it’s always worth a quick sense check to make sure there’s nothing you’ve missed from one month to the next; gardens are season sensitive after all.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Bank Holiday BBQ - is it on your social calendar?

There's nothing like the good old cliché of 'time flies when you're having fun' but this summer really has flown by. It's hard to believe that it's nearly the end of August... and even harder to believe that we have been blessed with so much sunshine.

But with talk of Christmas starting to creep in and temperatures dropping accordingly, we need to make the most of the end of the summer. What better excuse than the great British bank holiday weekend? 

Whether you've been eating from the BBQ all summer or need to dust it down for the occasion, make sure you get some outdoor grilling in this weekend. Decide on how big an occasion it is (are you just cooking for yourself or a group of friends?) and start the menu planning from there.

Fortunately, for the avid chef, it isn't just about the obligatory burgers and sausages any more. There's amazing inspiration to go at for recipes, quality of ingredients and cooking style. In fact, BBQs can be run like an informal, outdoor dinner party - complete with a 3-course menu - all cooked outside.

You can even select a theme. Mexican, Spanish, Italian or Chinese are just a few that can be adapted for the BBQ, giving your guests a great talking point and a food style to focus on. Add in some garden decorations to fit the theme and go crazy with accessories like sombreros, castanets or chopsticks.

For the food, let's start with the starter. There's no need to seat yourself (or your guests); the best starters are those presented like substantial canapés. Offer a good choice of complementing tastes and flavours and let people enjoy them over an aperitif and a good chat. 

Some sort of grilled tiger prawn, cheese-inspired skewer or toasted bread delight (with toppings or dips) will go down a treat. Offer them on plates, beautifully presented, and let your guests enjoy them one at a time.

A good BBQ can be all about the finger food - and that doesn't mean unsubstantial nibbles. It means great tasting food that can be easily enjoyed without any hassle. 

The same goes for the main course too. But, if you'd like to sit round the table at this stage, then go for it. Buffet-style is well within the BBQ rule book. You can really explore with flavours and textures here, but don't restrict yourself to just meat and fish. There's an ever-increasing selection of vegetable-inspired delights out there too.

Use lots of herbs and spices to create some taste sensations and try kebabs, salads and homemade burgers. You could really show-off and present a whole joint of meat including fillet, pork loin or butterflied lamb. And what about a whole salmon marinated for hours and presented straight off the coals and still in the foil, ready for people to help themselves? 

The potential to create a stunning BBQ feast is endless.  

Whatever you do, don't hold back on the dessert. There's nothing quite like some sugary, sticky, cinnamon-coated fruit that's been chargrilled to perfection. Pineapple is a well-known favourite and teams perfectly with strawberries, ice cream or crème fraîche. Try some fruit kebabs to dip in to melted chocolate or serve with vanilla cream. Or simply toast marshmallows.

The BBQ opportunities really are endless and you can be as adventurous or traditional as you choose. Nothing beats al fresco dining (when the weather's good) and we need to make the most of the opportunities we have to cook and eat outside. It creates a social excitement all of its own. 

Don't miss out on the bank holiday BBQ opportunity. To tempt you even more, here's a great selection of recipes, all tailor-made for outdoor grilling.

Good luck and enjoy!

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Could Thorney Meadows be your next home? (only one plot remaining)

Move into a new home at Thorney Meadows
Do you live in or around Peterborough? Are you looking for your next adventure?
A brand-new house in Thorney Meadows could be the answer. But with only one plot remaining, time is of the essence.

The village of Thorney is located just eight miles outside the vibrant city of Peterborough, making it an excellent base for commuting further afield. It sits on the A47 (the road linking Leicester and Norwich) and is within easy reach of the A1. Not forgetting the mainline railway station at Peterborough.

Also nearby are the towns of Market Deeping, Whittlesey, Wisbech and Spalding; the beauty of village life perfectly combined with the ease and accessibility of local towns and cities.  

And nestled within the heart of the village sits Thorney Meadows. An exclusive development of only fourteen houses, comprising properties with three, four and five bedrooms. This unique collection has been designed to appeal to families seeking stylish but affordable living.

All properties at Thorney Meadows are built to the Larkfleet quality and come with solar photovoltaic (PV) as standard. These panels produce electricity from daylight and generate useable power even on cloudy days. Reduced electricity bills are a welcome addition to any home at Thorney Meadows.

Thorney itself is a largely self-sufficient village with a great community feel. It boasts a primary school, post office, village shop, library, chemist, medical practice, pub and restaurant. It even has its own museum which has catalogued the story of this historic settlement. 

And to complement this vibrant and busy feel, the village is also home to a number of interest groups which are welcoming and inclusive of new residents. In addition there is the well-known Thorney Lakes Golf Course which is situated nearby and a great place to play, whether you’re a novice or a pro.

If you’re interested in taking a look at the Thirsk, the last remaining property at Thorney Meadows, then give our sales office a call on 0845 450 7872 or email thorney@larkfleethomes.co.ukThis beautiful 5-bedroom home won’t be around for long so get in touch to book a viewing. It is available now, ready to move into, at a price of £426,995.

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Bringing the summer indoors (what's been the inspiration?)

Bring summer colours into your home

Whatever the weather outside (and it's been mainly glorious until now), the summer is a great time to spruce up your home. And with lots of trends set for this season, we thought we'd take a look at what has been inspiring people.

Summer is a season of feeling good about most things in life. It's bright. It's positive. It's all about the feel-good. Summer naturally creates a lot of positivity, probably a result of being outdoors, in whatever guise. A holiday abroad is as exciting as a staycation. But as these only cover a week or two of the long summer months, bringing the sunshine into your home is a great way of feeling that summer vibe for longer.

So what were the predicted trends for this year's summer decor?

Colour confident

The amazing colour palette has to be a primary mention. Who knew it could get as exciting as basing your theme around ice cream colours. The vibrant yet muted range of blues, pinks, greens and yellows has been adopted by many, for accessories alone if not for feature walls and furniture mainstays too.

This colour palette can be toned up or down to individual taste and carries the bonus that all colours work as well on their own or combined with any other. They give the instant feeling of nostalgic days on the beach, surrounded by painted beach huts and stripy parasols. They're fun and funky and can add a fresh touch to any room.

Pattern savvy

The geometric look has continued its reign. Over the summer months its popularity has grown from simple cushions and blankets to being centre stage for art, tiles and wallpaper too. The sharp lines of this style make it a striking look and when teamed with the bold colours that make 'geometric' work, it's a sure-fire winner for standout interiors.

Even better, geometric designs have been combined with other seasonal patterns, such as pretty florals, to provide a sensational finish. The key is to restrict your overall room design to just a few staple colours so that the patterns chosen can complement each other well.

Foliage happy

Bringing the outdoors in, with luscious green plants, has brought an element of living vibrancy to many houses this summer. There's lots of little nooks and crannies (that we don't even realise we have) to perfectly display the humble houseplant. And it's a trend that's really taken off.

The rule is suggesting the more the merrier with the scope to combine flowering prettiness with leafy green wonders. Go for standout and make sure you choose some highlight pieces, they really can bring a quiet corner or retiring shelf to life. And then there's the option to fully embrace the foliage by teaming it with an element of green luxury. Accentuate the vibrancy with a charming armchair or stunning rug.

Tropical paradise

It is impossible for anybody to have missed the flood of flamingos that have arrived this summer. Not to mention the pineapples, palm trees and sunsets. There is no doubt that these have ruled the summer look for fabrics, cushions and accessories and are guaranteed to achieve that crazy summer feel.

Their stunning beauty has broad appeal and the tropical look, combined with bright blues and pinks, has been a winner for all age ranges. They work perfectly both indoors and out, creating a wonderful feeling of summer paradise for lounge room living or al fresco dining. Teamed with patterns of tropical leaves, this style works to combine summer fun with the love for all things plants.

Glittering gold

The metallic that has lasted the test of time; this summer has been all about the gold. It's sophisticated and fun all at the same time and has been shown to work well with so many colours and patterns. Its versatility, when combined with all other trends, make it more than capable of achieving that warm sunshine finish.

And accessorising with gold couldn't be easier. Bring it into any room with stunning finishing touches such as stylish round mirrors, prominent lamp bases and soft velvety cushions. Gold hasn't always been everyone's colour of choice, but it sure has made its way up the rankings this summer.

So, the options to bring the summer indoors have been endless, and exciting. With so much to go at in terms of texture, colour and patterns, there will have been some amazing re-styles over the summer. The inspiration has been over-whelming and the options to succeed endless. There's no doubt that with at least one of these trends in place, your house will be well on its way to a happy summer vibe.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Light up your garden this summer (and draw attention to the best bits)

Enjoying your garden after dark
Long summer evenings are the perfect time to sit outside and enjoy the last of the day's sunshine. And with the majority of us juggling manic days as standard, the most time we get to spend at home during the week is in the evenings.

There's nothing quite like relaxing in your own space and an evening outside, after dusk, always has that extra special feel. The problem arises, however, when the magic of your garden disappears with the sunshine.

You've waited all day for that early evening, ice cold summery drink and suddenly everything that is beautiful about your garden is plunged into darkness. You can't see beyond the end of your nose and the time and effort you've put into planning and creating your garden is lost, until the morning.

So if you'd like to make the most of your garden long after the sun's gone down, you need to think about some creative lighting.

And there's lots of choice out there.

Whether you're looking to make a feature in one particular area, enhance your favourite plants or simply light up your garden, there's so many creative ideas for you to explore.

And it isn't a case of one size fits all. To make the most of your space, you probably need to consider combining a few different lighting styles. Some are more functional and will simply serve a purpose, others will be pretty and twinkling to create a magical feel. Both are great and can work well together.

The purpose of your functional staples may be to provide overall lighting across your garden, or at least light up the main areas, such as the patio. 

This type of lighting is likely to be fixed, and powered by your mains electricity. This is because what you need here is reliability. Come rain or shine, they need to work and do their job. This is not to say they won't look good. Functional lighting can be stylish too and chosen to work with an overall theme in your garden.

Then there's the option of portable lighting. It's very description suggests more flexibility. So once you've decided what you are going to light up and how, you can really start the planning.

Fairy lights in trees are a great way to create a expanse of delicate lighting. Depending on where your trees are positioned, this could be a magical addition to your seating area or decking space. Hanging lanterns are also very effective (and pretty) for lighting with height and work well hung on branches or along fencing.

You can complement these with small, low level, individual lights which can be placed around your garden as you choose.

Pick places that will highlight your favourite plants or mark the edge of a feature such as a pond or flower bed. And there's no limit to how many lights you can (or should) add either. As long as you keep it looking stylish and don't overcrowd an area, the overall finish can be very effective.

Lighting your garden at a low level is the perfect way to enhance the textures and colours you've created. 

Depending upon the importance of the low-level lighting in your garden, you may need to consider whether you go for battery LED or solar power lights. For guaranteed illumination, the battery won't let you down (until you run out batteries) but solar lights are obviously only as good as the amount of sunshine they receive. Not the best result at the end of an overcast but warm day.

And don't forget the trusty candle; perhaps the most beautiful lighting effect of all. Especially if you have an outdoor log burner or chiminea on the go as well.

So lighting up your garden really can be fun, and the effect you achieve can be so rewarding. Done well, it's a definite talking point and will work to enhance only the best bits of your garden. Think of this outdoor space as an extra room in your house and draw attention to the focal points. A good, well-lit garden can look stunning and will keep people enjoying the outdoors well into the evening.

Create a garden allotment this summer (it's easier than you think)

Allotments have become something of a must-have for many urban families.

Undeterred by the typical characteristics of city (or town) life, people are keen to become green-fingered with a new enthusiasm for 'gardening'. The aim is to achieve a degree of self-sufficiency, whilst having fun as a family.  

It's something we can do together. Get the kids involved. It's a great outdoor activity.    

All common assumptions from those even considering an allotment. But for those brave enough to turn it into a reality, what are the options?    

Official allotments are generally owned by local councils and tend to carry an extra-long waiting list for those looking to take a plot. And once people have marked their territory and got the bug for growing their own produce, the chances of one becoming available are few and far between.    

So perhaps the key is to look a little closer to home. The best advice for novice growers is to avoid being over-ambitious and taking on more than you can chew (excuse the pun).    

Look no further than your own back garden. And start with some simple prep work.    

1. Your plot    

Choose the best space for your allotment by considering which part of the garden gets the most sun. Veggies generally don't favour growing in the shade so choose somewhere with at least five hours of sunshine a day. Most of the plants you'll work with will need to grow rapidly in a short space of time and sunshine is a vital ingredient in this.    

Plants also need to be protected from the wind so try some fence panels, hurdles or even a permanent hedge along the windy, western side of your allotment. And if possible, position it away from other flower beds to help prevent the slugs straying over and nibbling through your vegetables.    

2. The preparation    

Start a compost heap now as allotments generate a lot of green waste that can easily be recycled into the soil. If there's room, add a small shed alongside the proposed plot too. This is not only great for storing your tools and equipment but allows you to install guttering and a butt to collect the rainwater too. A large cost saving when you consider how much watering you'll have to do every day.    

You'll need to mark out your beds and section with gravel or paving slabs to make them easy to walk around (and across). And then it gets really technical when you have to start working on your cropping plan. The secret is in sowing your seeds little and often. Do some research and work out what you need to plant when to keep your garden producing through the winter and into spring.    

3. Your produce    

You must remember that the purpose is not to grow every edible fruit and vegetable you can think of, but more to start small and expand as you learn. Mainstays such as potatoes, carrots and parsnips are great fun to dig for but need to be in the ground for a long time, potentially taking up valuable space.    
Go for a trusty lettuce if you're keen to see results. There's lots of different varieties for a good mixed salad and they'll keep growing as you're harvesting. Other leafy greens such as kale or spinach produce a healthy, tasty result too. And then there's the classic tomato plant and faithful cucumber which chosen well, can taste amazing and produce a great home crop.     

And the list doesn't end there. Once you've taken the plunge for a home allotment, you've committed to years of living like The Good Life. The annual excitement as your favourite crops come to fruition will be worth it's weight in gold, and planning your allotment to ring the changes will bring lots of fun too. There's no time like the present to get going, or at least start digging!

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Keep your house cool, and your temperament cooler

There are many things that accompany the long summer days - extreme heat often being one of them. It doesn't often go down as one of the main highlights and, in typical British style, is more likely one of the things we grumble about.

We long for summers that actually fit the dictionary definition of "the warmest season of the year, in the northern hemisphere from June to August and in the southern hemisphere from December to February." But, when we're lucky enough to experience this - like recently - we find ourselves checking the weather forecast for any signs of a temperature drop or even a cool shower.

But let's be realistic, summer is meant to be sunny so we just need to deal with the heat. Keeping yourself cool is one thing and, in many ways, an easy thing. Wear lighter clothing, take a cool shower, enjoy the shade and keep topped up with ice cold drinks and refreshing snacks.

Keeping your house cool on the other hand, can be slightly harder.

Some houses are naturally more resistant to the heat and can regulate their own 'thermostats' more efficiently than others. This can be down to a number of factors including the orientation of the house, the style and positioning of the windows and the level of insulation that has been installed. Trees and shrubs that have been strategically placed in the garden could also provide some very welcome and natural shade for the house.

But there are still things that we can do ourselves to reduce the warm, clammy feeling of sitting indoors on a hot day.

Windows and curtains

Resist the temptation to open all the windows. There's a heatwave going on outside, opening all the windows will not result in a cool breeze floating through. Instead, keep the windows closed and the curtains drawn - for the hottest part of the day at least - and then, when the temperature drops, get everything open again. And go for white curtains or blinds where possible, they'll help to reflect the daytime heat.

Lights and gadgets

All appliances generate their own heat. The very act of plugging them in generates heat. If you're not watching the TV or using your laptop, keep it switched off and unplugged. It's also a good idea to manage with natural lighting for as long as possible each day. As small as they may appear, lightbulbs can be toasty little things. As for the tumble dryer, pretend you don't have one and hang everything out to dry (it will save you a fortune as well as keep you cooler).

Cooking and dining

Warm sunny days are not the time for a cheeky roast dinner. Take the opportunity to cook outside on the barbecue as much as possible and go for the option of tasty salads rather than steamed veg. Eating al fresco is also a great idea; especially early evening when everything is cooler and calmer. Nothing creates as much heat as the buzz of a kitchen, so whilst avoiding the cooker, give the dishwasher a wide berth too; the steam alone is not conducive to a cooler house.

While you're avoiding the generation of extra heat within the home, or filling the place with unnecessary steam, there's still the chance you'll feel too hot. Fear not. A neat little trick is to place a bowl of icy cold water in front of a fan. Take your seat, turn the fan on, wait for the ice to evaporate and a blow a refreshingly cool breeze your way. There are no rules about how long you're allowed to sit there.

Keeping your house cool is a sure-fire way to keep the people in it cool and happy too. Let's face it,  on hot sunny days this is almost essential to surviving the summer! Give these handy little hints a try.

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Make this weekend a walking one

Walking is just one of the many ways to spend some time in the great outdoors; especially if there are routes straight from your doorstep. What better past-time than ambling your local area, taking in the sights and stopping at quaint pubs along the way for a refreshing something.

Walking is instantly relaxing and can be enjoyed on your own, in the happiness of your own company, with a group of friends or a team of like-minded walkers. It's a great way to socialise and meet new people, not least because it gives you plenty to discuss; everything before your very eyes.

The chances are that you'll learn so much more about your local area - and the beauty of its paths, tracks and fields - in one walk than you will driving around it for years. It's also a hobby with some noticeable health benefits, including:

  • Helping you to sleep better
  • Improving your mood
  • Boosting your vitamin D levels
  • Keeping your heart healthy
More often than not you'll be able to find some good (and interesting) walks where you live without the need for too much effort. All you need is a good path and you're away. If you can throw in some countryside, woodland areas, streams - or even a beach - then you've got lots to go at. But at the very least, a path will more than suffice.

Take a look at Rutland for example. A beautifully flat county (the UK's smallest in fact) with so much personality to explore on foot; it's a ramblers dream. Packed full of delightful little villages, with country pubs in abundance, it's easy to make a day out of discovering this little gem. Even if you're a trusty Rutland resident, don't be surprised at how much it will still hold for you to learn and see. 

From the country to the coast, Somerset has to be a winner for its beaches. With some stunning yet traditional coastlines on offer, walking is a great way to make your way around this beautiful seaside destination. Take in the scenery of some breath-taking cliffs, coves and harbours with these 7 scenic coastal walks; a sure-fire way to enjoy a Sunday stroll whether you're a local rambler or visiting tourist.

All walking, however, does require some prep and pre-planning. Decent walking shoes are a must, as is some water and a little stash of snacks. Always have an idea of the route you're planning to follow, but feel free to veer off for points of interest and unexpected sights. And don't forget the suncream, sun hat and jungle formula (essential for exploring rivers and forests).  

For some great woodland walks near you, check out these suggestions from the Woodland Trust.

Up-size, down-size, same-size? The housing excitement of a retiree.

Planning for your retirement is always an exciting time (once you’ve accepted you’re actually at retiring age). There are so many things to think about and... well... plan.  

Retirement today is very different to retirement of yesteryear. It no longer assumes a nursing home, walking frame and cabbage soup. Rather it is more about making the most of the years ahead; working part-time, holidays abroad, staycations, meeting friends, new dates… all with a good G&T in-hand.  

In the background, creating an excitement of its own, is the all-important decision about where and how to live.  

The obvious choice for so many couples and individuals is to move house and down-size. The golden years are upon you and the idea of freeing up some cash and cutting back on your expenses is an appealing one - not to mention that a smaller home is inevitably more manageable.

Cue a retirement village.  

It's not everyone’s cup of tea, but certainly worth a thought if any of the above fits your retirement criteria.  

If you really embrace it as a lifestyle choice, your village can become more than just a place to live. It’s a vibrant community of like-minded people who enjoy the same values from retirement-busy lifestyles.  

These are the exact principles we’ve used when developing, The Croft. Set in the beautiful and vibrant village of Baston, South Lincolnshire, it’s our first development designed exclusively for the over-55s. And, with the first-phase complete and fully-sold, we are officially opening phase two with great delight on Friday 10 August 2018.  

Consisting of mainly of one, two and three-bedroom bungalows, the architecture is such that it represents the heritage and tradition of more classically designed homes. Each property is located around attractive walkways and gardens to create a pleasant and welcoming community environment.  

Even better, all the homes have been designed with minimal ongoing maintenance in mind. Homeowners can benefit from the independence and security of property ownership without the day-to-day worries of property upkeep.  

The Croft's new show home will be open to the public from 2:30pm on Friday 10 August. We would love to see you there. Pop by and talk to us in more detail about how this retirement living may be for you. It's a lifestyle choice.

Friday, 3 August 2018

Weekends are made for the sunshine!

There’s nothing more appealing than planning a fun, action-packed (or lazy and relaxing) weekend in the sunshine. Two whole days each week to get out and enjoy the British sunshine whilst exploring where you live. This year, we have had the added benefit of the sun.  

With our obsession with the weather, it is standard to trawl all the weather forecasts until you find one that promises the weather you’re looking for. Once you've found the date, get an idea of the type of thing you’d like to do. Research local options and investigate further afield too. Then gather a group of friends and make a whole day (or weekend) of it.  

For a sunny day, all-action often springs to mind and something like cycling is perfect for a range of ages and abilities; even better if you can find somewhere to hire the bikes and make it a truly hassle free activity. If you plan the timings well, you can set off early, miss the midday sunshine and get back in time for a delicious picnic lunch under a shaded tree.  

Close to Rutland Water is a local gem for this type of weekend entertainment. It is just on the outskirts of Oakham, close to our new Farriers Reach development, and is a beautiful setting with more outdoor paths than you need, lots of cafés for refreshments, great picnic areas and, best of all, it's absolutely free. They even have a bike hire centre where you can get kitted up with everything you need for a day on the saddle.  

For something slightly more relaxing, there’s always the option to check out memberships like the National Trust. There's an initial investment, but it means you have lots of different places to go to, each offering their own definition of fun.

Close to our Collingham site, there is the amazing Belton House which is a wonderful day out for any family. There’s a huge outdoor play area, lots of grounds to explore, masses of space to picnic and a café for the ice-cold refreshments (complete with indoor play area).  

If it’s local culture you’re looking for, then try investigating stately homes or places of historical interest. Somerset is home to The Bishop's Palace which is steeped in local history and full of things to do and explore. From the palace and gardens to pond-dipping and giant garden games, you’ll be spoilt for choice – whilst learning lots at the same time.

But sometimes all this is too much and it’s simply a long lunch, watching the world go by, that ticks the box for a sunny weekend. If this is the case, then exploring local options is always a winner. Research the area well and find somewhere with locally-sourced food. Knowing it originated on your door step instantly makes it taste better; especially if you’re by the seaside. Eating outside is a must when it’s warm of course!  

The beauty of summer weekend activities like these is that they are as good for people on holiday as they are for those living in the area. You can visit them as a one-off or you can return time and time again if it becomes a firm favourite. Either way, try as many different things as you can and be sure to tell people about the best finds - you can’t beat a recommendation for a good day out.

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Is there a summer buying season?

It's safe to say that deciding to buy or sell a house is backed by one of two mindsets; an impulsive desire to change your life or a well-thought through strategic next step.

There's nothing to say which approach is the right one, or indeed the most lucrative, but each do require some sort of plan beyond the initial big decision.

So, if moving house has come from a moment of spontaneity, rational thinking will need to kick in at some point to make sure you are getting the best deal. Key considerations should include mortgage interest rates, the type of house you're looking for, where you'd like to live and how the housing market is currently stacking up for buyers.

The ultimate question is: 'Is now really a good time to move?'

With summer (more than one consecutive day of sunshine) in full swing, we should also consider moving house in the context of the seasons. And although this comes with much debate, there is a lot to be said for buying in the summer.

Everything looks better in the summer. The days are longer, the evenings are brighter, the gardens are greener and houses generally look happier (although there is something appealing about the coziness of a log fire in the winter). Summer brings with it a sense of get up and go. People are inspired and enthusiastic - give them a project and it is generally achieved.

After the mayhem of the spring house buying season, and before the autumn flurry, summer tends to be a little quieter. Lots of people favour holidays over houses meaning your choice of properties could be limited. The good news is that new developments don't tend to be affected by the holiday season either and you could find the perfect plot to put your own mark on and make your home.

It's can also a good season to bag yourself a property that's perhaps been on the market for a while. Sellers that haven't sold in the spring may not want to hold out until the autumn, and therefore a strong offer (that may not be the highest) could seal the deal. Play into the hands of the seller and present your benefits. Offer them a cash deal if it's an option. Equally as appealing is a quick turnaround as a result of a short chain. People have put their house on the market to sell, and there's nothing more disheartening than it just sitting there.

Summer may be the season that you just make the decision to buy a new house. If this is the case you have the time to put the wheels in motion before the October rush hits. Make the most of the good weather to explore the areas you'd like to live, and get a feel for the type of houses that are available; they'll almost certainly be looking their best right now. And, if you're able to move quickly, there's the incentive to be in and settled for Christmas (without sounding too cliché).

Check out our locations, developments and homes to see if there's one for you.

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Baston in the Blitz. It’s the real deal.

This hugely popular event is returning for another year to the beautiful and vibrant village of Baston.  

Held over the weekend of the 4th and 5th August, Baston in the Blitz is a 2-day WW2 and military extravaganza and this year’s event is set to be the biggest and best yet.  

Steeped in history and with an atmosphere to match, it’s the perfect trip out for individuals and families alike. The line-up includes thrilling battle re-enactments, firepower demonstrations, The Blitz Dancers and a Punch & Judy show, not to mention a wide variety of delicious food, drink and refreshments.  

And with over 60 trade stalls, 70 display groups and more than 500 WW2 re-enactors, it’s a weekend not to be missed. Be transported back to the 1940s and celebrate the music, style and spirit of Britain’s finest hour. We are!  

With Baston being home to our over-55s development, The Croftwe’re fully embracing true community spirit with a stall at this huge event. It’s a great opportunity to be a part of something special locally, perfectly showcasing the essence of life in Baston; a friendly and tranquil village with a very welcoming feel.  

Why not pop along and see us, we’d love to tell you more about these exclusive communities we’re creating. The Croft developments are based on independent living combined with the health and social benefits of being part of a wider community.    

So, while you’re enjoying the life and times of the 1940s, take a quick trip over to our stall or take a visit to The Croft at Baston where our teams will be delighted to meet you. We’ve got lots of goodies to give away and a prize draw (complete with a Pimm’s Hamper star prize) for you to take part in.  

Until 18 August, you can also receive free flooring on any plot purchase at The Croft. It’s more than just a place to live, it’s a lifestyle choice too.  

Call our sales office today on 07917 761020 or visit The Croft at Baston for more information.  

In the meantime, enjoy the Blitz!