WIN the Climate Control sleeping range from Slumberdown!

The Climate Control sleeping pillows

Today is your chance to WIN the Climate Control sleeping range from Slumberdown!

Slumberdown’s Climate Control range is perfect for warmer weather as it regulates body temperature, helping to prevent overheating.

The unique fibres within the filling are specially formulated to carry excess heat and moisture away from the head and body, leading to a cool and comfy night’s sleep.

The range is machine washable and suitable for tumble drying. RRP: 4.5 tog duvet from £17.99, pillow pair £13.99. Stockist: Amazon

About Slumberdown 

Who needs to buy a bulb? WIN £150 worth of Philips LED bulbs!

Philips LED bulbs

Signify reminds consumers of the savings switching to LED bulbs can make for pockets and the planet!

After weathering the holiday months and the new year festivities, don’t letrising energy bills darken your winter. While switching suppliers or turning down the heating are obvious ways to save on energy, the impact of your choice of lighting within the home is often overlooked. 

Signify, formerly Philips Lighting and the world leader in lighting, reveals how one simple switch to energy efficient LED lighting could help -consumers make considerable winter energy savings for themselves, and for the planet. 

Exploring Help to Buy and Shared Ownership schemes

Photo of new home example of available on shared ownership scheme or help to buy schemes in UK

Have you ever heard the words “shared ownership”, or “Help to Buy” but always wondered exactly what people were talking about?

The world of affordable home ownership might seem like a complex one, particularly for first-time buyers, but here at HomeFocus we strive to cut through the jargon and tell you exactly what you need to know.

Thanks to the sky-high prices of homes and houses nationwide, people right across the country are being priced out of the open market, and add that to the extortionate cost of renting, it’s no wonder that people are struggling to get a foot on the property ladder.

However, there are affordable home ownership schemes in place to help you buy your own home - and the key word there is affordable.

The ICON™ Kenai Cloud Two-seater Faux Fur Bean Bag

The ICON™ Kenai Cloud Two-seater Faux Fur Bean Bag

A few weeks ago I received the most gorgeous bean bag in the post.  The ICON™ Kenai Cloud Two-seater Faux Fur Bean Bag, Arctic Wolf from bean bag bazaar. 

This isn't just any bean bag, it's uber-luxurious with gorgeous faux fur. 

It is a real statement item to have in your home. 

I've homed the Bean Bag in my living room, and every single person who has visited has commented on how stylish it is, and how inviting it looks! I have definitely been a source of envy amongst my friends.  

Show home opening celebrates new community of homes in Dawlish

Cutting the ribbon at a Dawlish show home

The Mayor of Dawlish has officially opened Cavanna Homes’ latest show home at Barley Meadow in Dawlish with a ribbon-cutting. The development, located off Secmaton Lane, has already secured four reservations. 

Councillor Lisa Mayne was joined by Andy Addison, Head of Operations, Lauren Pybus, Sales Manager, and Anne Beadle, Sales Advisor, for the ceremony. 

Cllr Mayne said: “It’s remarkable to see how this space has changed since the turf cutting back in November into a community of new homes for Dawlish.

Research reveals the increasing popularity of smart home tech

Smart home technology being used in a kitchen

Smart home appliances have seen a huge rise in popularity in recent years, with devices such as smart meters receiving over 2,338 Google searches (UK) in the last 12 months.

The online smartphone retailer, e2save has delved into the ownership of smart home tech in the UK2, revealing which devices are most popular.

With an increasing focus on energy efficiency, it’s notable that smart energy meters are the number one appliance in the country, with the data showing an increase in ownership from 14% in 2018 to 17% in 2019*.

Other popular smart home appliances are smart washing machines/tumble dryers with a 16% ownership, fridge/freezers (16%) and microwaves (15%).

1,000th Resident Welcomed To Flourishing Milton Keynes Community

Karla Wilson and Jeremy Atkin-Smith outside their new Milton Keynes home with 1,000th resident balloons

Barratt Homes Northampton is celebrating after welcoming its 1,000th residents to the flourishing community at its Brooklands development in Milton Keynes. 

Karla Wilson (31) and Jeremy Atkin-Smith (33) have taken their first step onto the property ladder and bought a brand new three bedroom home.

Brooklands was the ideal choice of location to set down roots for the couple ahead of their wedding in August and they are delighted to be joining the growing neighbourhood. 

The couple said: “It feels amazing to be the 1,000th residents at Brooklands, this home couldn't have come at a better time for us, it’s literally like it was meant to be. 

Is It Important To Live Near Public Transport?

Barratt Homes near Public Transport

A total of 69% residents in Bedfordshire say that living near public transport is an important consideration when moving home, a survey by leading developer Barratt and David Wilson Homes has revealed. 

Seeking convenience and great commuter links is a top priority for a number of homebuyers in the county and the survey has proven transport links, especially public methods of travel such as rail and bus services are at the top of the list. 

Barratt and David Wilson Homes strives to build properties in carefully planned locations that consider each of the residents that will move into the homes.

New Homeowners Altered Spending Behaviour To Get On Property Ladder

New home owners in house after getting on the property ladder

New research from the UK’s leading price comparison site MoneySuperMarket reveals that over half (58%) of British homeowners made tactical changes to their spending habits in order to get onto the property ladder.

Nearly a quarter (23%) spent on a credit card and cleared the balance at the end of each month in order to improve their profile to potential lenders, while nearly a third (32%) actively paid off existing debts in the run up to their mortgage application. 9% also used cash more frequently during this timeframe to ensure lenders couldn’t see everything that was being paid for.

Couple Use Help To Buy To Secure First Home

Couple stood outside their new first home

Settling down to begin their family planning in the new Wixams community, a couple in Bedfordshire have secured their first home together using the Help to Buy scheme.

Michael Owens and Emily Platten, both 28-year-old Retail Managers, took advantage of the available tools for purchasing their new home and secured a new build property at Barratt Homes’ development Willow Grove.

Previously living with Emily’s dad, the couple were able to make the move to a three bedroom Maidstone style home with just a 5% deposit and sought professional guidance from an onsite Mortgage Adviser to benefit from a smooth transition.

Why smart home technology is a smart investment for first-time buyers

smart home technology​ expert Craig Foster, Managing Director of HomeServe Labs

Smart home technology​ is fast becoming a necessity for modern living. Craig Foster, Managing Director of HomeServe Labs, on why first-time buyers need to be well connected…

With all the hype around smart home technology, it can often seem like a challenge for consumers to work out which devices on the market are actually worth their time and money. The challenge can be greater for first-time buyers, who are less likely to have the kind of disposable income available to invest in smart home technology which doesn’t provide real-world benefit to their lives.

How to create a nursery fit for a baby prince or princess

White nursery for a baby
By Matthew Currington, Technical Director at The Lighting Superstore

It’s no secret the Duchess of Sussex is known for her fresh and feminine taste in interiors. Many of us are excited to see the types of nursery purchases she’ll be making on behalf of her new arrival, which no doubt, will fly off the shelves as savvy fans copy her elegant style. 

Whether you’re influenced by “Megs” herself or have your own little prince or princess on the way, The Lighting Superstore has put together its top tips for a nursery fit for Frogmore Cottage. 

Safety first

Loving Game Of Thrones? Check Out The Iron Throne Bean Bag!

The Iron Throne Bean Bag

The Iron Throne Bean Bag: Furniture for the contemporary Queen or King

Nottingham-based GreatBeanBags, retailer and manufacturer of the UK’s largest selection of bean bags, has created an Iron Throne bean bag inspired by the release of the final season of Game of Thrones.

This luxurious metallic throne took more than 100 hours to build with a team of six people across design, construction and supply.

Currently the Iron Throne bean bag is a limited edition piece, priced at £249.99, however, fans of the show can register their interest to ensure they are at the front of the queue for this medieval piece of furniture.

5 ways to clean painted walls

A woman cleaning painted walls

When planning to give your house a thorough spring spruce up, there are some areas that are more straightforward than others to clean as we keep on top of them regularly - but what about surfaces like your painted walls? Walls gather dust and grime over the years, and they’re not something we tend to freshen up on a regular basis (well, most of us anyway).

Try cleaning your painted walls using these 5 tactics from Airtasker:

Here are a few things to consider before you start though…

Don’t forget to dust off any excess dirt before starting. You can do this using a simple duster for those areas you can reach, and a broom with a rag over its bristles for any high areas.

69% Of Buyers Can't Resist The Draw Of No DIY & A Blank Canvas

New build homes - buyers cannot resist draw of no DIY
Three quarters of home seekers would consider a new build home in a new survey for the Home Builders Federation shows. 

The energy efficiency of new homes, not having to carry out DIY or spend thousands on renovations were cited as the most attractive features for buyers alongside the opportunity to unleash their inner interior designer onto untouched, neutral interiors.

This year, New Homes Week which is supported by Barratt Homes North Thames takes place from May 13th to May 17th and is dedicated to the numerous benefits of buying new and provides valuable information to those weighing up their home buying options. 

Leading Developer Invests In North Thames

Simon Francis - managing director or leading developer Barratt Homes in North Thames

Barratt and David Wilson Homes North Thames, based in Watford, has built 668 new homes in its operational area last year and has contributed over £86 million to the UK’s economic output.

The achievements are highlighted in a new report which measures the housebuilder’s social and economic contribution to its operational region over the past financial year (1st July 2017 – 30th June 2018). 

The five star housebuilder covers Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Essex.

Included within the company’s socio-economic footprint are key figures relating to the company’s support for the housebuilding supply chain, local communities, environment, public services and employment. The figures revealed the housebuilder: 

What to do if you encounter one of these 4 common boiler problems

boiler problems - a radiator

Boilers are essential to heat our homes, but sometimes things can go wrong. Jacqueline Gallazzi-Ritchie, Director of All England Gas, told us what to do if we encounter some of the most common boiler problems. 

Buying your first home is exciting, but knowing how everything works can be daunting, and it’s even worse when something fails. We rely on our boilers to heat our homes and water, but do you know what to do when things go wrong? I’ll be giving you my expert advice on how you can deal with the most common boiler problems.

TO CHUCK OR TO CHERISH?

Reupholstery this tired but trusty sofa into this with Plumbs fitted covers seen in Mully, Sky fabric

As the new mood for upcycling and reupholstery gathers momentum, one British company holds the key to giving shabby sofas and tatty chairs a new lease of life.

Plumbs, the UK’s number one name in made-to-measure fitted and tailored covers and reupholstery, offers a choice of more than 800 different fabrics for those looking to revitalise or restore tired but trusty furniture.

But how to tell if your furniture is best cherished or chucked? Says Sarah Page, md of the family run company, established more than 60 years ago:

Star wars themed room at show home in sandbach

The Star Wars themed bedroom inside the Harborough show home at Barratt Homes' J One Seven development

A leading developer is celebrating ‘Star Wars Day’ (4th May) in style with a themed room commemorating the movie masterpiece at its Sandbach development, J One Seven.

The Star Wars themed bedroom inside the Harborough show home at Barratt Homes' J One Seven development

Located on Old Mill Road, the intergalactic bedroom is featured in the Harborough style show home, a four bedroom family property that is perfect for those looking to upsize. 

The room features a wall that pictures an X Wing Fighter, a famous spaceship from the film franchise, as well as a character-covered duvet set and themed wall hangings, where residents will truly feel like they are in a galaxy far, far away. 

Why Buy There Unless You Want To Live There?

Why Buy There Unless You Want To Live There
Article by Jeffrey Gritzman

The three most important things to look for when looking to buy a home are said to be location, location, location. The reasons why you want to live in a particular location vary from person to person: close to work, close to transport, good school catchment areas, near family and friends, it’s the area I know, it’s trendy, up and coming, prices bound to go up in the next few years, handy restaurants, bars and coffee shops...you can add your own reasons why somewhere is the place you really want to live.

And if you’ve got enough money you can live there. But if you’re on a budget, then you’re stuck, having to buy where the developers and housing associations offering affordable homes have their new-build properties. Or do you?

Busting The Myths Of Shared Ownership

Couple holding house keys after buying shared ownership home

People have got all sorts of strange ideas about shared ownership. From having fears that you will be forced to live with a complete stranger, to having little or no say on which property you buy, there are lots of things people tend to worry about.

However, Homefocus is here to separate the myths from the facts to help you find out more about how shared ownership could work for you.

SHARED OWNERSHIP HOMES ARE JUST TINY STARTER FLATS

Some of them may be starter homes, but they’re not tiny... You can expect the same standards of space, storage and eco-efficiency as in any typical new-build, so you’re not going to lose out.
IT MUST BE CHEAPER TO RENT THAN BUY!

High specification Shared Ownership apartments

Inside a high specification Shared Ownership apartment

High specification Shared Ownership apartments along the Northern Line at Whetstone and Finchley 

With excellent public transport links both north and south and buzzing high streets, it’s no wonder that Whetstone and Finchley are sought after places to live. 

Catalyst currently has two high specification Shared Ownership developments, which are both just moments from the Northern line and are a great choice for first time buyers and growing families.