Win a Wax Lyrical package worth £57!

wax lyrical

The Lakes Collection has been inspired by the pure and unspoilt beauty of the Lake District, home of Wax Lyrical. Founded in 1980, Wax Lyrical is the UK’s largest home fragrance manufacturer with a wide range of products.

The Lakes Collection Meadow features a warm and inviting fragrance of sweet oral heart notes, resting on a soft and gentle base of amber. So, feel free to kick of your shoes and breathe in the beautiful Lake District sunshine.

The winter package includes the full Meadow range including 100ml Reed Di user, 250ml Reed Di user Re ll and Boxed Candle Glass.

Available to buy at your local Wax Lyrical stockist or online 

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.

London – home to “Money Mutes” - People in the North far more likely to talk finance with friends

People in the North of England are far more comfortable talking about money with friends than their counterparts in the capital.


Yorkshire is the region with the lowest proportion of “Money Mutes” with 14% of people uncomfortable conversing about cash, followed by 16% of people in the North West and 17% in the North East.


The findings of the study by the free, online mortgage broker Habito, released to coincide with Financial Capability Week, show that Londoners are the least comfortable talking about money, with a quarter of people in the capital revealing that it’s their least favoured topic of conversation with friends.


There’s a clear North-South divide with the South East (24%) and the Midlands (23%) not far behind.


Eco-friendly and simple with plenty of storage: the UK’s ideal home revealed

Ideal home

When you think of the perfect British home, what do you imagine? A quaint country cottage or perhaps a regal manor house? 

Well, according to a survey carried out by GoCompare Mortgages it’s an ‘eco-minimalist’ detached home complete with three bedrooms and a modest, medium-sized garden.

Using the research, GoCompare teamed up with an architect from eye-kon to bring the dream house to life. 


UK’s ideal home revealed by GoCompare

New shared ownership housing scheme offers affordable ‘forever homes’ for London families

A new scheme offering family-sized houses to buy in London under shared ownership has been launched by housing provider, Octavia.

The scheme, which is a first for Octavia in that it is open to anyone currently living in a London borough, offers a selection of three or four bedroom houses at Octavia Living’s Gladstone Village*, a new development in a quiet, green space location, overlooking parklands near Dollis Hill, London NW2.

The scheme is aimed at helping working families across London, who are priced out of the London housing market but wish to live close to where they work and to be part of a community.  It represents a new departure in shared ownership for Octavia and recognises the growing need for affordable housing for people other than first time buyers.

From flat to flowers: A first-time buyer’s guide to owning a garden

From flat to flowers: A first-time buyer’s guide to owning a garden

As young people are spending almost six times more on rent than their baby-boomer counterparts, the concept of owning a garden is unfortunately a myth to many. If you are lucky enough to have made the leap on the property ladder, or your flat comes with some luscious greenery, you may be wondering where to start.


Gardening is a tough process of trial and error, but you will learn from it, be kept busy and might even grow some free food in the process too! Follow our beginner’s tips below and you will be set to get your green fingers in no time.


Pick seeds over plants

Advice for first time buyers on upcycling/restoring furniture

Advice for first time buyers on upcycling/restoring furniture

The Emporium Somerset’s Co-owner, Cato Cooper, has her own painted furniture and home accessories studio and workshop and she offers advice on how to upcycle and restore items, so first-time buyers don’t have to blow their budgets on furnishing their new homes.
She says: “Buying your first home can be a pretty big expense, so you’ll want to save money wherever possible. For many the cost of the purchase and the monthly payment of a mortgage make it tricky to buy furniture too, however if you aim to upcycle and restore, rather than buying brand new, you could save a fortune.

Get smart as winter fast approaches


Consumers set to save over £100 a year with installation of smart heating

Install a smart heating system and enjoy instant savings


It’s that time of year again. The nights are drawing in, hats and gloves are starting to come out and the thermostats are being turned up. The first frost has now officially been forecast and Brits are preparing themselves for the chilly autumn weather. Now is the perfect time to ensure that firing up the heating at home does not burn the pounds in your wallet.


Bernay gives advice on how to create a mood board

Bernie Laity Azalee

IF YOU’VE moved into a new home and would like to do a bit of re-decorating, then interiors expert Bernay Laity recommends creating a mood board (November, 2018). 


Bernay Laity from the contemporary, luxury, online store Azalée says a mood board will help you to focus your ideas to ensure you get a coordinated look and a stylish finish when you complete your re-styling project.


‘Generation rent’ can now build a credit score and bypass security deposits on new app

London: Partnering with Experian, UK property rental market disrupter Canopy willgive ‘Generation Rent’ an edge in the rental market and help them to become property owners. The new service eliminates the need for rental security deposits and helps tenants strengthen their Experian credit history by paying rent on-time. 

Canopy (formally known as InsureStreet) is re-engineering the property rental market by making it simpler, more efficient and fairer for renters, landlords and estate agents. Canopy recently received £1.6m in funding from strategic investors including £1.3m from Direct Line Group.  


Learning more about companion planting 

companion planting

The art of companion planting has been with us for many years. The method of growing certain crops side by side to maximise growth has been found to enhance their development and prevent disease. 

Many gardeners are reluctant to implement companion planting in their gardens however. This is due to the risk involved. When plotting two compatible crops next to each other, amazing results can occur. However, choose the wrong combination and it could end in disaster. 

The secret is knowing which fruit and vegetables work well with each other. To give us more of an insight, Suttons Seeds —  gardening experts and retailers of vegetable seeds — have created a useful infographic. Read on to see which crops grow well together and those that are best kept apart.

Housebuilders offers buyers of new homes a wheelie good time at Cheshire developments

Housebuilders offers buyers of new homes a wheelie good time at Cheshire developments

With more and more people choosing pedal power over other forms of transport, Barratt Homes and David Wilson Homes are helping people in Cheshire to get on its bike by building new homes close to the National Cycle Network and providing storage for bicycles at their developments.

Cycling in the UK is increasing year on year according to British Cycling, the sport’s governing body, with more than two million people across the country getting out on their bike at least once a week.

Door Issues To Look Out For When Viewing A House


When you are viewing a house you would potentially like to buy, you are probably preoccupied looking at things like how much space there is in the house or if any major works are required such as rewiring or reinstalling a boiler. However, you should also be looking out for smaller issues, such as problems with external and internal doors.


Refitting your home with brand new internal and external doors can be a costly business, so to minimise your budget it is worth checking for a a few simple signs that the doors on the property you are viewing might need changing when you move in. It can help you understand whether expensive refurbishments may or may not be required.


Government acts to create a "cheaper, faster, and less stressful" home buying process

Government acts to create a "cheaper, faster, and less stressful" home buying process

A new drive to make buying a home a "cheaper, faster and less stressful process" has been announced as a leading politician calls for more to be done to plug Britain's housing gap. 

Communities secretary Sajid Javid is calling on the government to strengthen its commitment to housing by borrowing money to build the hundreds of thousands of new homes needed across the UK. 

Mr Javid's call coincides with the announcement of an eight-week housing review, which aims to work with industry experts, including estate agents, solicitors, and mortgage lenders to make the home buying process more accessible and affordable.

Key home buying issues include:

Avoid arguments this winter with our tips to reduce your heating bills


With one-third of couples arguing over when to take the plunge and turn on the central heating, there’s little doubt that keeping your home warm during winter can be eye-wateringly expensive.


A CORGI HomePlan survey of 2,000 UK homeowners showed that 33 per cent of people disagree over when to go for the ‘big switch on’, while the debate over the length of time the heating is cranked up each day rages on, for more than a quarter of couples.


Domestic wars are also fought over the temperature the thermostat is set to (26 per cent) and whether windows should be kept open or closed (25 per cent).


10 Top Tips for Saving on Your Energy Bills at Home

In this post, TOTO Energy, who provide discounted gas and electricity, offer a few easy tips to help save money on your energy bills at home.

Saving on bills doesn’t necessarily mean spending hundreds of pounds on home repairs or replacements. Being cautious of your actions and behaviours when going throughout your day can make more of a difference than you would think. It often seems like a daunting and time-consuming task, TOTO energy makes this all the easier by bringing you their top tips for conserving both your wallet, and the planet. 

1. Start using LED bulbs 

Preparing your home for winter

Preparing your home for winter

Now that autumn is officially here, it’s time to start to think about preparing your home for even colder weather over the winter months.

Fortunately, leading specialists Gutter Supplies have some top tips that will save your home from taking the brunt of the harsh weather.


Although gutters may not be on the top of your list of priorities, it is essential to keep them damage free and in working order through the colder months.

Bovis Homes pledges to help tackle industry skills challenge

 Bovis Homes pledges to help tackle industry skills challenge

Bovis Homes is pledging to work with its sub-contractors to recruit and train more people to the highest standards and help tackle the home building skills challenge in the UK.

It has signed up to the Home Building Skills Pledge, a set of five key actions developed by the Home Builders Federation (HBF) through its Home Building Skills Partnership (HBSP).

Roger Morton, Head of Talent at Bovis Homes, said: “We are building new homes at more than 100 sites across the country, working with hundreds of contractors and understand the importance of future proofing workforce skills.

Apprentices lay career foundations with Barratt Homes

Apprentices lay career foundations with Barratt Homes

A leading UK housebuilder is training up the next generation of construction workers as it takes on new apprentices. 

Five star housebuilder Barratt Homes has taken on six new apprentices to work on developments in the Bristol area as the homebuilding sector continues to grow.

Over the next two years, the apprentices will be combining college study with practical training giving them an industry recognised qualification and a valuable trade. 

The new intake includes three apprentice carpenters and three apprentice bricklayers who will be working at developments across the region including St Matthias, Charlton Hayes, Lyde Green and Bilbie Green.

How to save money when moving home

How to save money when moving home

The amount of money involved when buying a new home is always a worry. From paying off your mortgage to stamp duty and removal companies, it's not long before all those costs are enough to make you jump out of your skin!

However, online property platform Settled has a few tips to keep costs down, leaving you with some extra, hard-earned money to spend on yourself for once.

1. Use a Moving Check List

There are a hundred things to remember when moving home. Having a detailed list of everything that needs to get done and when will avoid you having to fork out money for services last minute when costs are probably higher. Get everything in one place and work through your list.

The UK property market is evolving

The UK property market is evolving
  • Adults are choosing to buy homes with friends rather than wait for a partner
  • Increased number of online searches for ‘tenancy in common’


The homeownership market in the UK is evolving, with more tenants choosing to buy and live in homes with friends, rather than with a partner or on their own.


To understand this emerging trend, online furniture retailer Furniture Choice conducted a UK wide survey and spoke with individuals who have already bought a house with a friend.


L&Q’s PricedIn Learning: many still confused about home ownership options


In a recent survey commissioned by L&Q, it emerged that only 52% of 24-35 year old renters know what Shared Ownership is, with nearly a fifth of participants confessing they had never heard of the alternative home ownership scheme.


Taking the confusion out of getting onto the property ladder, L&Q are launching PricedIn Learning, a campaign which aims to answer any questions that potential buyers may have: How do Shared Ownership and Help to Buy differ, and which one is right for me? Will I meet the eligibility criteria? Is the process complicated?