Larkfleet Homes on Blogger

17 Nov 2018

Best books for children

Child reading book in library
If you’re thinking of buying a book as a Christmas gift for a child, here are some suggestions for ones that you might put under the tree.


We hope you will have fun browsing and that your young friends will have fun reading whatever you decide to buy.

But why restrict this to Christmas? A book may be for Christmas, but reading is for life. Opening up the world of books to young minds is one of the greatest gifts you can give.

And, if you make use of your local library, it need not be an endless expense.


15 Nov 2018

Get your boiler serviced – save money, save lives

Boiler being serviced
Getting your boiler serviced might not just save you a load of money – it might also save your life.

According to the government, more than 4,000 people go to hospital accident & emergency departments each year because of carbon monoxide poisoning and 50 people die. Most of these tragedies are as a result of faulty central heating boilers.

If you are a landlord, you have to get the boiler in any rental property checked each year. But if you are a homeowner, there is no legal requirement to do anything about making sure your boiler won’t kill you. We think it might be a good idea, though!

If you’ve bought a new Larkfleet home, your brand-new boiler will be covered by a warranty and we’ll have given you all the paperwork for this. But the warranty is only valid if you get the boiler serviced regularly.

Knowing how important it is, we recommend that you make sure whoever looks after your boiler is registered with Gas Safe . Only technicians on the Gas Safe register are legally allowed to work on gas boilers.

As well as keeping you safe, getting your boiler serviced regularly should save you money. A proper inspection and service by a qualified technician will make sure your boiler is running as efficiently as possible and isn’t squandering energy. This will not only cut your bills it will also cut your ‘carbon footprint’ and make some small contribution to tackling global warming. And every little helps!

Regular servicing should also extend the life of the boiler, meaning it will be longer before you eventually need to replace it. That could save you a load of money too!

Once each year should be your target for servicing. As we head into winter, now is the time to do it.

A boiler breakdown over Christmas may put a real hold on your celebrations – have you ever tried to get an emergency plumber over the Christmas holidays? Even if you can find one willing to break into his or her festive holiday to come to help you, you can expect to pay a hefty fee. And, if the boiler needs a spare part that the plumber doesn’t have in the van, you could be without heating until the stores open again after the Christmas break.



14 Nov 2018

House prices moving up again

Cheaper to buy than rent
House prices rose by 0.4 per cent in October – the first monthly increase since February – according to property website Your Move. The average price of a home in England and Wales is now £304,433, up from £301,367 last October.

Your Move says that prices in most regions continued to show growth, with the exception of the south east and north east which showed modest falls.

Overall, though, if you look at the figures for a full year rather than just for October, the annual rate of house price inflation is continuing to fall and is now down to 1.1 per cent. That’s the slowest rate of growth for six years.

But the picture varies across the country. The East Midlands (where we have many of our developments) bucked the national trend, with annual growth of 2.8 per cent.

In London, annual price growth slowed substantially in the past month, falling to just 1.8 per cent, yet there was still an increase of £10,889 in the past 12 months with the average price of a home in London now £620,571.

Meanwhile, figures from estate agent Hamptons suggest that there has been a ‘real’ fall in rents over the past ten years. Over the past decade rents have risen by 22 per cent, but the consumer prices index (CPI) which measures the average cost of goods and services (or the cost of living) has risen 24 per cent.

As with house prices, though, the figures do vary by region. Hamptons says that in the East of England (where we also have many developments) ‘real’ rents have risen by 7.5 per cent over the past 10 years.

And if you look at the short-term trends, Hamptons says that the average cost of a new let in Great Britain rose to £977 per month in October as rental growth accelerated to 2.0 per cent - the highest level since February 2018.

Every region recorded a rise in rents, with the East of England seeing the biggest increase at the equivalent of 3.9 per cent per year.

This all means that you are still better off buying rather than renting. A recent study found that it is cheaper to buy than rent in every region of the country. Average savings are at least £2,000 per year.

You can check out all our new homes here and see what you can afford to pay on a mortgage here.


10 Nov 2018

What to do in the garden in November

We’re not yet quite in the winter season, when even the keenest gardeners can sit back and relax. This is still the tail-end of autumn so there are a few tasks you can get out of the way before frosts set in.

Autumn leaves on the lawn
The leaves are still falling, but don’t wait until every last one has left the tree. Continue to clear fallen leaves off the lawn to keep it healthy. If you leave them too long they will kill the grass underneath.

And talking of leaves, if you’ve not done it already, put nets over your pond (if you have one) to prevent leaves falling in. If you need to clear pond weed, lay it next to the pond for a day or two to allow wildlife to escape back to the water.

If you haven't already aerated your lawn, there's still time to do it before winter. Either use a lawn aerator or simply insert a garden fork at regular intervals and lean it back slightly to let air in.

And now’s the time to give the lawn its final cut of the year. Set the blades on your mower to their maximum height and give the grass a trim that will last the next few months until it starts to really grow again in spring.

Now is also the time to edge your lawn, to create a neat and tidy appearance that will make future maintenance easier.

November is the ideal month for planting daffodils, tulips and other spring-flowering bulbs. If you are planning to make roses a garden feature next year (and for years to come) November is also good for planting bare-root bushes. Existing roses could usefully be pruned to prevent ‘wind rock’ during the winter, when gales blowing through the branches can loosen roots.

Tender plants need protecting from frost, gales and freezing rains – and now is the time to do it. Move plants into a greenhouse if you have one or consider wrapping plants or pots. Also think about putting pot stands beneath pots and tubs to prevent winter water-logging.

And finally – remember that winter can be a tough time for birds. Now is the time to get into the habit of regularly putting out food and water. Apart from the pleasure of seeing birds in the garden this winter, you will be helping yourself. Birds are gardeners’ friends and will keep pest numbers down all year round.

There is lots more advice on this month’s gardening tasks on the Royal Horticultural Society website at https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/in-month/november.



09 Nov 2018

Time to get away?

Beautiful Barcelona
Summer holidays seem like a long time ago – especially if you decided to get away before the schools took their break – and Christmas is still a few weeks off. Many people are thinking that this is a good time to take a long weekend to recharge their batteries now that the clocks have gone back and it's definitely ‘autumnal’ outside.

But where to go?

We’ve taken a look at some of the recommendations being made by people who know about these things. Here’s what we’ve found.

The Daily Telegraph https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe/articles/best-european-city-breaks-and-hotels/ lists not just cities in European countries such as France, Italy and Spain, but also recommends hotels in each of them. Rival newspaper The Guardian has a different list of cities and hotels at https://www.cntraveller.com/gallery/european-city-breaks-for-autumn-preferred-hotels while Conde Nast at https://www.cntraveller.com/gallery/european-city-breaks-for-autumn-preferred-hotels provides yet more options.

Trip Advisor https://www.travelsupermarket.com/en-gb/blog/inspiration/top-10-autumn-city-breaks/ gives its view on the top ten city destinations that includes not just Europe but also the Americas.

If you don’t want to travel so far, the UK still has much to offer – even at this time of year. The Guardian presents its list of ten ideas at https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2017/sep/23/top-10-autumn-weekend-breaks-small-uk-british-town-city. The Evening Standard’s top 25 selection is at https://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/travel/25-of-the-best-autumn-breaks-in-the-uk-a3357496.html.

Or you could just stay at home! Turn your phone off, unplug the TV and curl up with some of those books you’ve been meaning to read for ages – like the ones you took on your summer holiday but never actually found time to look at.

Or maybe (dare we mention it?) take a weekend out to do some Christmas shopping before the stores get too crammed with folk like us who leave everything to pretty much the last minute.

Whatever you do, wherever you go – have fun!

Our photo shows beautiful Barcelona - a city mentioned on several of the top destination lists above.


08 Nov 2018

You can’t have hygge without candles!


Candles for hygge
The Danes allegedly burn more candles per person than any other nation – and that’s all to do with hygge.

If hygge (pronounced 'hue-ugh') has passed you by, let’s explain that it is the Danish idea of being comfortable and cosy. It has been something of an international lifestyle and fashion trend over the past two or three years. It’s all good (we reckon) but maybe slightly over-hyped (which is definitely not hygge!).

And whenever you hear about hygge, you soon end up hearing about candles. In the winter, the Danes burn them all day long to create a cosy, welcoming lighting for the room (we’re talking about home here, not the office – but there’s a thought…). In summer they come in handy for light once the long days come to an end. Apparently you just can't have hygge without candles!

And have you noticed how often there is a candlelit garden, teamed with twinkling lights and an open fire in romantic comedies? This could be a ploy by Hollywood to tap into our desire to have more 'hygge'.

Candles provide a more natural light than electricity. In Danish they are called levende lys which means “living light”. After a day under the strip lights of the office, shop or factory, levende lys provides a definite change of style.

But hygge is more than candles, of course. You can make your home more hygge with smart, minimal and intentional design. "Less is more" is the unofficial hygge motto. So, if you’re thinking about how to make your home more hygge, ask yourself, "Does this piece of furniture or item make me feel more relaxed or cosy?" If not, consider moving it or giving it away!

And your lifestyle can be more hygge if you ‘chill out’. Stop rushing about. Relax.

When you get home tonight, light some candles, wrap yourself up in a blanket and drink a warming cup of hot chocolate. Happy hygge!


01 Nov 2018

Have fun, stay safe on Bonfire Night

Bonfire Night this year is actually on Monday next week (5 November) but many people will be having parties or attending events over the coming weekend.

Safe firework party
If you are planning to have an event at home, here are some sobering statistics:

  • According to the NHS, there were 4,436 incidents with fireworks last year that required an ambulance or a trip to A&E.
  • According to the UK Fire Service, over the past five years more than 350 pre-school children, some only a year old, were treated in hospital for fireworks injuries.
  • According to the government, around half of all firework injuries happen to children under the age of 16.
  • According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, far fewer people are injured at public displays than at family or private parties.

And talking of 'sobering' statistics – best advice is that the person in charge of the bonfire and fireworks should not be drinking alcohol. If you have someone who is the ‘designated driver’ for taking people home, hand him or her the matches!

But don’t be put off by the statistics. It is possible to have a safe and fun bonfire party at home. Just follow these simple tips:

  • Ensure that you actually have enough room in your garden to safely light fireworks. Not having enough room can increase the chance of injury to those attending and damage to your property.
  • If you don’t have a suitable tree or post, avoid Catherine wheel or other types of fireworks that could damage your fence if that is where you were thinking of pinning them.
  • Clearing up the garden can reduce the risk of something going wrong. Remove any furniture that isn’t required, clear away dry leaves and move anything that you or your guests may trip over in the dark.
  • Let off fireworks as far away as possible from trees and bushes.
  • Only purchase fireworks from a reputable shop. They should have CE and BS 7114 written on the box to prove they conform to British Standards. And talking of the box – make sure you keep your fireworks in a box with a lid on. A stray spark could be a disaster! Take the fireworks from the box one at a time rather than setting several up in advance.
  • Keep buckets of water and/or a hose that is hooked up to a water source nearby. Hopefully you won’t need them, but prevention is better than cure.
  • Pick where your spectators are going to stand and then measure out a ‘clearance distance’ of at least five metres – more if you are having some large fireworks. Most fireworks are sold with information about how big a space you need, so make sure you check this when you're buying them. Once you have worked out where people are going to stand, make sure they stay there. Set up a rope barrier if you can. 
  • The bonfire, if you are having one, also needs a clear space around it. Make sure that kids running around cannot trip and fall into the flames.
  • Keep an eye on the children – little ones don’t appreciate the danger and may duck under the rope to take a closer look at the fireworks or fire.

But don't forget sparklers for the youngsters; these can create really magical moments. Make sure they wear gloves, though, and don’t run around with sparklers in their hands.

Not everyone enjoys fireworks – and pets can be distressed by noise – so talk to your neighbours to let them know what you’re planning. Think about inviting them to come along (they cannot really complain about the noise if they were there!).

It all sounds like a lot of hassle and ‘health and safety gone mad’, perhaps. But it is actually just common sense and, if you follow these tips, you can have a great, safe, party.

Enjoy!



31 Oct 2018

Budget help for house buyers

Saving for a new home
More help for first-time buyers and plans for ‘homes on the High Street’ were among the measures announced in the budget by Chancellor Philip Hammond this week.

What does it all mean for house buyers? We’ve picked out some of what we think are the key points below.

Help to Buy

The Help to Buy scheme, under which you may be able to buy a home with as little as a five per cent deposit, is to be extended to 2023.

It had been due to end in 2021 so we reckon this is good news for people trying to ‘get on to the property ladder’. Our own market research has shown how important the scheme is to first-time buyers, with many telling us they simply would not have been able to afford a home without it.

The rules are being changed, though, so that the scheme will be available only to first-time buyers. At present, almost anyone can get a Help to Buy loan.

There are also changes to the rules about how big the loan can be. At present, there is one single limit for the whole of the UK outside London. In future, there will be different limits in different regions.

But don’t worry if you have already started your Help to Buy application – or even if you haven’t. The new rules don’t start to apply until 2021 so you have plenty of time.


Stamp Duty

It has always been a bit odd that most first-time buyers are exempt from Stamp Duty – unless they are buying a shared ownership property. Now the government has put that right and the same benefit will be available to shared-ownership buyers.

What’s more, the change is being back-dated to last year’s Budget (22 November 2017). So if you have bought a shared ownership property since then, talk to your solicitor to see whether you could be due a repayment of Stamp Duty. However, it would probably be best to wait a few days until we’ve all had time to figure out exactly how the details of the Chancellor’s announcements will work.


Funding for housebuilding

The Chancellor also announced that the government is putting another £500 million into the Housing Infrastructure Fund - a pot of money that local councils can apply to for help with building homes. Mr Hammond says this will “unlock a further 650,000 homes”.

And there are to be government guarantees for loans made from the British Business Bank to small builders to help them finance the building of homes.

Neither of these things is likely to have an immediate impact on house buyers – but, if they work as planned, they should mean more new houses being built over the next couple of years. And the market law of ‘supply and demand’ should mean that, with more homes being built, any rise in house prices over the next few years will be (slightly) less than it would otherwise be.


Homes on the High Street

The rules under which shops and offices can be converted into homes – usually apartments – are being simplified to make this easier. And money will be available to local councils to help with these conversions. Again, this should mean more new homes.



30 Oct 2018

Have you bought your tickets for the big bang?


Have you bought your tickets yet for the fireworks at Bourne Abbey Primary School on Saturday (3 November)?

Fireworks sponsored by Larkfleet Homes
We’re sponsoring the event again, as we did last year, and are looking forward to a spectacular night of ‘bangers and flash’.

Right now, the weather forecast for Saturday evening looks good. Dry and (relatively) warm – but still best to wrap up well.

As well as the fireworks and bonfire there will be live music (from Pads Lad and The Overdubs) and food stalls (Groovy Foods, Panjab and Georges Fish Bar).

Gates open at 4:00 pm, the official welcome from the mayor is at 4:15 followed by music and then the bonfire will be lit around 4:45.  There is a ‘low bang’ children’s firework display from 5:15, more music at 5:30, and then the main display of fireworks (with accompanying music) from 6:30.

Advance tickets are on sale at the school and at Greetings in The Burghley Centre in Hereward Road and Stringers decorating centre in Manning Road - £18 for a family of five, £7 for an adult and £3 for a child.

If you prefer to pay on the night, tickets on the gate are £22 for a family, £9 for an adult and £3 for a child. You can pay by card as well as cash.

There is more information on the event’s Facebook page. We look forward to seeing you by the bonfire!


26 Oct 2018

£8,100 per mile

£8,100 per mile is how much you can save on buying a new house if you move from central London to Peterborough.


The average price of a new-build house in the London Borough of Camden (home to King’s Cross station) is £849,000 according to the latest Land Registry data. Catch a train to Peterborough, less than an hour away, and you’ll pay an average £241,000 for a newly-built home.

It is just 75 miles ‘as the crow flies’ which makes the price drop per mile an amazing £8,100.
That’s less than the cost of a 12 month season ticket for rail travel between the two stations.

Of course, house prices aren’t the only reason to make the move. There are all the lifestyle benefits as well. Get out of the big city and enjoy a higher quality of life!

And if you want to take that idea a little further, maybe don’t look for a home in Peterborough itself but in one of the many towns and villages that surround it.

Like Baston, for example. If you have reached that stage in life where you no longer need a property as big as your current one, and you want somewhere that will fit your dream lifestyle, this could be your opportunity to cash in.

If you own a home in London, you have a hugely valuable financial asset that will help you to realise that dream. ‘Downsize’ to a new build home in Baston and you could pocket a small fortune when you sell your home – and enjoy a new lifestyle full of possibilities.

The Croft at Baston is designed to provide the over-55s (whether retired or still working) with the independence of owning their own homes combined with the benefits of being part of a community.

If you are looking for a new home in a community-spirited, friendly and tranquil village that offers age-exclusive living for busy modern lifestyles, then The Croft at Baston is for you. It’s not just a place to live. It offers a lifestyle of possibilities, leaving you with more time and energy to do the things you enjoy doing, every day, within a bustling community environment.

The new second phase of The Croft at Baston consists of one and two-bedroom bungalows all located around attractive walkways and gardens that help to create a pleasant community environment.

Located close to the bustling market towns of Market Deeping and Bourne, Baston boasts two excellent village pubs with restaurants, a church, a hairdresser, a post office and a general store. Other local shops and services are also conveniently located.

Its proximity to the A15 also means that The Croft at Baston offers easy access by car or bus to Peterborough, making commuting to London swift and convenient.

And, of course, what’s good for commuting for work is also good for commuting for leisure. All of London’s life and culture are easily accessible.

All the homes in this modestly scaled community have been designed to need minimal ongoing maintenance, so homeowners can benefit from the independence and security of property ownership without the day-to-day concerns of property upkeep.


24 Oct 2018

Showing off new homes to Lynda

We love to show off at Larkfleet Homes (well, who doesn’t?) so we were delighted to be able to show Lynda Clark, editor of First Time Buyer Magazine, around some of our show homes last week.

Lynda Clark at Collingham BrookIn a ‘whistle stop tour’ we took in our developments at Collingham Brook, Nettleham, Boston Gate and Pinchbeck Fields (OK, some of these are actually developments by our sister company Allison Homes – but we could still bathe in the reflected glory).

When we dropped Lynda back at Peterborough railway station to return to London after her day out on site she said: “I was really impressed by your developments. The quality of your homes is outstanding and I shall be telling everyone they should move to your area!”

That’s just the sort of thing we like to hear, of course. Especially coming from an expert like Lynda who must see more show homes than you could ‘shake a stick at’ (though why you would want to shake a stick at a show home is a bit of a mystery).

Even so, you don’t need to take Lynda’s word for it. Come along and take a look for yourself. There are details of all Larkfleet Homes and Allison Homes developments here which will tell you which have show homes.

Most of our show homes are open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm seven days each week (but check the website for details – we’d hate to miss your visit if you come along when we’re not open).

Our photo shows Lynda Clark of First Time Buyer Magazine at our Collingham show home.


23 Oct 2018

Baby, it’s cold outside


Moving house in the rain
Moving to a new home is not just exciting – it’s stressful. And there’s nothing more likely to dampen (literally) the excitement than rain on moving day. Or snow!

There’s lots of advice on our website about planning for your move. But the weather can throw in a few extra problems if it is wet and cold on the day.

With the clocks going back at the end of this month, and our ‘Indian summer’ apparently now turning to more typical autumn weather, here are a few tips for moving in the wet.

Plan ahead. Take a look at the Met Office website a couple of days before you move and get a detailed forecast both for the postcode of your existing home and for your new one. We all take the mickey out of weather forecasts, but they are actually pretty accurate, especially if you’re only looking a day or two ahead. If the forecast says it is going to be dry at both ends of your move, you can stop reading right here!

Protect what needs protecting. Wooden furniture, your washing machine and tumble drier, even cardboard boxes full of your precious possessions, won’t be damaged by a bit of rain as you load/unload them from the removal van. But you may want to think about protecting soft furnishings with a sheet of polythene to keep the rain off. Do the same with electronics such as computers and the TV – in our experience, water and electricity don’t mix well! Make sure plastic sheeting is well secured with tape – it will be more of a nuisance than a help if the wind gets under it and blows it down the street!

Hot drinks and more. Have a box of ‘essentials’ kept separate from all your other packing. It should have mugs, a kettle, tea, coffee, milk, sugar (you may not use it but the removal contractor’s staff may like sugar in their tea) and a few snacks. If there is any doubt about whether electricity and gas may will be operating as soon as you walk through the door of your new home, take an insulated flask of tea or coffee. And maybe some hot soup!

Clothing. Plan for moving day like it’s a ski trip. Lots of layers rather than one or two thick ones are best. You may work up a real sweat while shifting furniture and then cool down rapidly when you’re unpacking the plates. Being easily able to add or remove a layer or two of clothing will help you maintain a steady body temperature. And if you are expecting heavy rain, having a complete change of clothes (or maybe two) conveniently packed for easy access is a good idea so that you aren’t wandering around your new home soaked to the skin and dripping water everywhere you go.

Snow shovels. Seriously – if you are expecting snow on moving day, make sure you have shovels and maybe salt or grit to clear drives and paths at each end of your moving journey. You don’t want to be sliding around on ice while moving heavy furniture. Or your best china.

Floor coverings. If it is wet outside, you and anyone else involved in the move is going to be traipsing through the house in wet and, maybe, muddy footwear. Plastic sheets or some old bedding such as sheets and blankets can protect carpets and tiles – sort them out in advance and have them ready for moving day. But make sure you don’t create a hazard on shiny surfaces such as parquet flooring. Floor protection that slides out from under you while you are carrying heavy furniture is a recipe for broken limbs (and broken furniture).

Inside team and outside team. If you have enough people involved in your move it can be a good idea to have an ‘inside team’ and an ‘outside team’ when moving in bad weather, with furniture and boxes being passed from one team to another at the door. Both can be dressed for the environment in which they are working, and this system cuts down on the number of muddy boots crossing the threshold. It could be bad news if you’re nominated for the outside team, though!

Lights. It’s not just an issue in bad weather – if you’re moving in winter you could be moving in the dark at either end of the day. Make sure you have torches (with batteries!) packed somewhere that enables you to find them easily if you need them.

If the weather is really bad – think floods and blizzards – you may have to postpone your move. Again, checking the weather forecast should give you advance warning. If you are in a ‘chain’ you will need to talk to the people moving into your existing home to see if a postponement is possible. With a little goodwill all round you may be able to complete all the legal processes (and not break the chain) and just delay the actual move. 




18 Oct 2018

No tricks - just treats


Little witch with cauldron
Our sister company, Allison Homes, is getting spooky in the run-up to Halloween. It’s running a ‘shared ownership event’ at its Pinchbeck Fields https://www.allison-homes.co.uk/new-homes/pinchbeck-fields/development over the Halloween weekend – Saturday and Sunday 27 and 28 October.

Shared ownership can be a way to get onto the ‘property ladder’ without breaking the bank.

It is a scheme in which you can have a new home for perhaps as little as 50 per cent of the market value. You pay for the share of the value that you are buying and then pay rent on the rest. Later on, you can increase the share that you own - either in a series of steps or in a single purchase of all the remaining share.

Allison Homes has a number of three-bedroom houses available for shared ownership at Pinchbeck Fields, with prices from £85,250 for a 50 per cent share.

Over the Halloween weekend you can take a look at a home like the one you could soon be moving into. You can also have a chat with an independent financial adviser. She will explain to you how shared ownership works, what the best balance between ‘rent’ and ‘buy’ will be for your individual circumstances and where you can get the best mortgage deal on the part of the home that you buy.

And, if you reserve a new shared ownership home at this event, you get the chance to pull a prize from a Lucky Dip Halloween Cauldron. You could walk away with an offer for free carpets for your new house, free turf for your new garden or a range of options to personalise your new shared ownership home to your taste.

Pinchbeck Fields is at Wardentree Lane, Pinchbeck PE11 3UF.


17 Oct 2018

Having a ball


Big Bold Ball logo
We have bought two tickets to the Big Bold Ball – but no-one from Larkfleet is using them!

Having paid for the tickets, we’ve given them back to the organisers of this event which is raising funds for the Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice in Peterborough. So, two people from the charity who would not otherwise have been able to attend will get seats.

The Big Bold Ball takes place on Saturday (20 October) at the Holiday Inn in Peterborough. Starting at 7:00 pm and running until the early hours of next morning, there will be dining, dancing, probably a bit of drinking, a magician, caricaturists, raffle, auction and a whole lot more fun.

Your Larkfleet bloggers will be there (we’ve only handed back two tickets) having fun while contributing to a very worthy cause.

If you are coming, we look forward to seeing you at the ball!



16 Oct 2018

Spice up your life


Curry
It is National Curry Week next week – starting on Monday 22 October and running through to the following Sunday. So, if you need an excuse to try out some spicy new recipes, this is it.

The event was the brainchild of the late Peter Grove, author of The Curry Connoisseur's Cookbook and general all-round curry expert and enthusiast. He set up the first National Curry Week in 1998 and it has been held every year since then, making this the 20th.

Peter Grove’s idea was to raise awareness and appreciation of the Indian restaurant industry, whilst also raising funds for charity. It seems to have worked. There are now said to be more than 9,000 Indian restaurants and curry houses across the UK.

Research shows that while Korma and Tikka Masala are still Britain’s favourite curries, tastes are increasingly changing. Hotter, spicier, curries are becoming more popular.

If you want to try creating your own dish for National Curry Week, there are 47 different curry recipes here https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/curry.

Or you could just go out for dinner – or get an Indian take-away. Many establishments are preparing special dishes for the special week, with part of the money they make on each of them going to Curry For Change http://curryforchange.org.uk/- a charity dedicated to helping families in Africa and Asia suffering from hunger.

However and wherever you decide to celebrate National Curry Week, we hope your meal is second-to-naan. (Sorry)




12 Oct 2018

Fried or scrambled?

Smiley egg face for World Egg Day
Did you know that today (12 October) is World Egg Day? No? Neither did we until a short while ago. We assumed that was Easter – lots of lovely chocolate eggs.

But it seems World Egg Day doesn’t have quite such a long history as Easter. It was first celebrated (if that’s the word we’re looking for) in 1966.

It is the invention of the International Egg Commission (no, we’d never heard of that, either) which aims to “give a global presence to egg producers and to promote and popularize egg consumption as part of a balanced diet”.

As the publicity for the event points out, the egg is a versatile ingredient for both sweet and savoury dishes. From the humble boiled egg to the master chef’s soufflé, the egg has a vital place in many recipes. There is no country in the world that doesn’t make extensive use of the egg in its traditional cuisine.

So, today is the ideal time to try a new egg recipe. Here are four of our favourites:

  1. Egg Florentine pizza. A bit of a stretch to call this an ‘egg recipe’ because it’s basically a pizza with an egg on top. Very good, though, and this is a ‘quick and easy’ pizza dough.
  2. Omelettes. You can’t help but think of omelettes when you think of egg recipes. Here is a guide to the perfect omelette with lots of ideas for ‘jazzing up’ the basic egg dish with a variety of fillings
  3. Baked eggs with potatoes, mushrooms & cheese  A great winter evening dish – and very easy to make
  4. If you’ve a sweet tooth, try a traditional English custard tart. This recipe from Delia Smith includes (as you’d expect) making your own pastry. But you can always cheat and buy some ready-made. Or even cheat a bit more and buy a ready-made pastry case!

Whatever you do, have fun both cooking and eating.


10 Oct 2018

Going with a bang

Fireworks display - Larkfleet Homes is sponsoring Bourne Fireworks
We’re delighted to be the main sponsor again this year for the fireworks at Bourne Abbey Primary School.

There will live music and a variety of stalls selling an array of goodies and treats. Plus a bonfire, of course. And fireworks, obviously. Lots of them.

It all takes place on Saturday 3 November on Bourne Abbey Primary Academy Sports Field, Manning Road, starting at 16:00 and finishing around 20:00. Musical entertainment between displays will be provided by local band The Overdubs.

There is more information on the event’s Facebook page . It's a great night for the kids (of all ages). Who doesn't like watching money go up in smoke?

You can save a few pounds if you buy your tickets in advance - £18 for a family of five, £7 for an adult and £3 for a child. They are on sale at the school and at Greetings in The Burghley Centre in Hereward Road and Stringers decorating centre in Manning Road.

If you prefer to pay on the gate, on the night, it's still a bargain and you can purchase your tickets with a credit card or with cash.

The Larkfleet Homes team is looking forward to a sparkling night which raises money for local charities. Do come and join us.


09 Oct 2018

Young people priced out of housing market

Model house with money
We were interested to read this week a report from the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) which says that “even the cheapest local homes are out of reach for at least 40 per cent of young adults”.

Of course, the figures vary greatly across the country and the average is driven up by the astronomical price of property in London. Still, the message is clear – it’s not getting any easier to get onto the property ladder.

And why not? Basically, because house prices are going up faster than wages and have been doing so for years.

The IFS says that in 1996 over 90 per cent of 25- to 34-year-olds would have been able to purchase a house in their area as long as they had a 10 per cent deposit and if they borrowed 4½ times their salary (the maximum that most lenders will now allow). By 2016, that proportion had fallen substantially. Even with a 10 per cent deposit, only around 60 per cent of young adults would have been able to borrow enough to buy even one of the cheapest homes in their area.

The IFS has put forward some ideas for tackling the problem. In a nutshell, it is about building more homes where they are needed.

At Larkfleet Homes we are caught on this ‘house price escalator’ along with everyone else. By far the biggest cost of building a house is usually buying the land to put it on and we have to compete with other builders to buy sites for development.

But we are trying to do what we can to help. There is advice on our website for first-time buyers (and that helped us win a nomination for the First Time Buyer Magazine Reader Awards for best website earlier this year). And we are pleased to introduce potential buyers to independent financial experts who can advise on the best mortgage deals.

We can also assist people get support from the government’s Help to Buy scheme. And it is worth pointing out that this is not just for first-time buyers – even those moving house can qualify.

So come and talk to us.


08 Oct 2018

Coffee, cake and cash

Larkfleet Homes Macmillan Worlds Biggest Coffee Morning
The Larkfleet Homes team recently took part in the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.

Forget Bake Off! Staff at Larkfleet House baked or brought in a wonderful selection of cakes and snacks - that's just some of them above -  that were sold in our main meeting room to raise money for the charity.

Visitors joined in the fun, buying and enjoying a cake – or two – with a nice cup of coffee, all in aid of a great cause.

Visitors to Larkfleet Homes and Allison Homes show homes were also invited to buy coffee and cakes throughout the day.

The World’s Biggest Coffee Morning is Macmillan’s biggest fundraising event for people facing cancer. Since 1990, Coffee Morning has raised over £165.5 million for Macmillan. People all over the UK host their own Coffee Mornings and donations on the day are made to Macmillan. Last year alone saw a total of £29.5 million raised in aid of the charity.

This year Macmillan aimed to raise even more and the Larkfleet team was happy to help.


03 Oct 2018

Walk to school month

Walk to school
October is International Walk to School Month. The aim of the campaign is to promote walking as a way to improve yours and your kids’ health, while also thinking of the environment.

But there is one thing that stops a lot of families from walking – the number of cars on the road around many UK schools. According to research carried out by Living Streets and YouGov, 54 per cent thought that there are too many cars around school gates. Half found that cars parking on pavements is the most annoying thing about walking to school while 45 per cent thought that there is too much traffic on the journey to school.

Motor vehicles are the biggest source of air pollution and one in four cars on the road at peak times are on the school run. As a result, over 2,000 primary schools in the UK are situated in pollution hot spots, putting pupils’ health at risk.

One solution, if you’re looking for a new home, is to find new developments that are within safe walking distance of local schools.

Most of our developments are situated within easy reach of schools - here are six as an example:
  • Collingham Brook – John Blow Primary School is within walking distance of this new development in the Nottinghamshire village of Collingham.
  • Farriers Reach, Oakham – There are a number of state and independent schools in Oakham that are within walking distance of our new development at Farriers Reach. These include Catmose Primary School, Oakham C of E Primary School, Brooke Priory School and Harington School.
  • Whittlesey Green, Whittlesey– The Alderman Jacobs Primary School and Harry Smith Community College are close to our Whittlesey Green development.
  • Gretton Valley, Weldon – The development is in Priors Hall Park Corby. As part of the wider development a nursery, pre-school, primary and secondary schools are being built, which will all be within walking distance of Gretton Valley.
  • Thorney Meadows, Thorney – The Duke of Bedford Primary School is within walking distance of this development.
Currently just 53 per cent of children in England walk to school according to the National Travel Survey. This is down from a generation ago, when 70 per cent of children used to walk to school.

Living Streets currently works in over 2,000 schools across the UK to increase the number of children walking to school through WOW – the year-round walk to school challenge. WOW schools walk to school rates have increased by 23 per cent on average with a corresponding drop in cars around the school gates. Quite a result!

At Larkfleet Homes we are keen on delivering living communities, not just housing developments. That’s why our developments are situated in locations close to amenities such as shops and schools to provide a home for all the family. Will you walk to school this October?