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 

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 very best in town and country living at Aborfield Green, Wokingham 

A kitchen in Aborfield Green, Wokingham 

First time buyers looking for the perfect blend of town and country living are flocking to Catalyst Homes’ latest development Aborfield Green, in the historic market town of Wokingham in Berkshire. 

The development, which forms part of the newest Garden Village, offers a stylish collection of one and two bedroom Shared Ownership apartments set within this vibrant new community. 

TOGTIPS – expert advice on choosing the right duvet

Choosing the right duvet

Now that the warmer weather is finally here, it’s time to think about changing your bedding and choosing the right duvet.

An adult can lose up to a litre of sweat in one night and the thicker winter duvets that you enjoy in the colder months provide a completely different experience to lighter summer duvets. 

If you need help choosing the right filling, cover or Tog for the season, Angela Moran, Product Strategy Director at Silentnight, provides 10 ‘TogTips’ to help choosing the right duvet a bit easier.

1) Know what a Tog is.

Rebel against moving stress - Move into Tipi!

Lucy & Charlie moving into a Tipi Apartment

Research by energy company E.ON has found that 61% of people find moving house to be more stressful than a relationship breakdown, a divorce or starting a new job, with the stress of the move lasting over three months.

Lifestyle-led rental homes provider Tipi believes it doesn't have to be that way. In fact, the rental rebel's latest Wembley Park building, Alameda, has made moving in even easier with its innovative design features.

Become one of the first to own a new Shared Ownership home at ARRO

Shared Ownership home at ARRO

Catalyst Homes is giving first time buyers the chance to get on the property ladder at one of London’s most significant regeneration projects. 

ARRO features 66 studio, one and two bedroom Shared Ownership apartments and forms part of Southall Waterside, which when completed, will create a whole new neighbourhood of 3,750 homes offering great connectivity with an extensive leisure and retail offering, a new primary school, a community hub, piazzas and parks.

Cavanna Homes inspires local school children to build a career in construction

Children being inspired to build a career in construction

Class 5 pupils from Collaton St Mary Primary School in Paignton put on their wellie boots and high vis jackets and joined Cavanna Homes to learn first-hand how to build a house and be inspired to build a career in construction.
The 9 and 10 year olds, along with their teacher Mr Ben Nelson-Smith, were taken on a site visit to Cavanna Homes’ Kings Orchard site with Head of Health and Safety, Richard Henderson, and Group Director Martin Cavanna.

"We only viewed one property and knew it was perfect straight away" 

Property exterior - St Andrew’s Triangle in Uxbridge

For couple Maciej Pietrzak (35) and Debora Melo Domingos (36) owning their own property had always seemed like a distant dream but it suddenly became a reality when they purchased a two bedroom Shared Ownership apartment at Catalyst Homes’ latest development St Andrew’s Triangle in Uxbridge. 

Maciej explains, “I had been working for the Government for two years as a Civil Servant and we had been living in the Hackney and Islington area for over 12 years renting a number of different properties. We both thought that owning our own home was a long way off because we didn’t have enough for a deposit but then one day my sister showed us details for some Shared Ownership apartments at a new development by Catalyst Homes.  

When moving into a new home a new carpet is often high on the agenda

New carpet

When moving into a new home, we tend to make a mental checklist of things we are going to address straight away, such as changing the kitchen and painting the walls. A new carpet is often high on this list.
A recent survey by United Carpets and Beds, however, has revealed that over 86% of the public keep the previous owner’s carpet when moving into a new home. Despite the initial desire to fit new carpets, the job often gets pushed down the list as the assumption is that this will be an expensive purchase. As we can generally ‘make do’ with a less than ideal carpet, other jobs get prioritised which are bigger or need completing as soon as possible. 

Aesthetics a greater motivator than hygiene to change carpet

Aesthetics a greater motivator than hygiene to change carpet

People are twice as likely to change their carpet because it doesn’t match the décor of the room than over concerns for cleanliness and hygiene, research shows. 

A recent survey by United Carpets and Beds found that home owners choosing to change their carpet to match a new colour scheme outnumber those replacing a carpet that ‘felt unhygienic’ by almost two-to-one.

As many as 86% of those surveyed said they would choose to keep the carpets from the previous owners when moving into a new home, despite old carpets harbouring a variety of germs and dirt—including dead skin cells.

How to ensure your garden stays well-presented all year round

Garden care – snapdragons

Britain’s radically changing seasons can cause chaos to your outdoor space. In the summer, gardens can fall foul to too much sunshine, while frost causes issues in the winter, meaning it’s hard to keep your garden looking in top condition throughout the year. Here, with suppliers of garden equipment, Dobies, we will take a look at the plants which are best suited to the varying seasons and how you can keep your patch looking top notch.

Philips Hue Wireless Lighting - Review - Homefocus

Philips Hue lighting - four colours

Editor Victoria Galligan tried out the Philips Hue smart lighting system – read her review to find out why she’ll never go back to boring bulbs…

Philips Hue White and Colour Ambience Wireless Lighting - £169.99 

The lighting revolution is here – and it’s rainbow-coloured

When I was asked to review the Philips Hue smart lightbulbs I was quite pleased as I had just bought two new lamps for my living room. Plus, I was often being berated by family members for leaving the lights on all day. However, I wasn’t sure how something as simple as changing the lightbulbs would enhance my home lighting experience. Well, I was about to find out…

Homebuyers are the bees knees for local pollinators

Bees in bee brick

A new home for bees, as well as people, is on offer from leading developer Lovell as it prepares to give away a free bee nesting block to anyone who reserves a new home at one of its developments next week. 

In support of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, which runs ‘Bees’ Needs Week’ (8th to 14th July 2019), Lovell is encouraging its customers to do their bit for nature and install a Bee Brick™ in their garden.

There's More In Store For Your Family With The Moorecroft

The Moorecroft Housing

Leading housebuilder David Wilson Homes North Thames has invited Bedfordshire buyers to view the final property available at its Langford development, The Paddocks.

The five bedroom Moorecroft is the final home available at the popular development and boasts a flowing living space set over three storeys.

The developer is now encouraging house hunters to come and view the property at The Paddocks, where they will be able to find out more about how they can make a move with the offers and schemes available. 

The Moorecroft is also a unique opportunity for buyers to benefit from over £40,000 worth of incentives, including Stamp Duty paid, flooring included throughout, and an upgraded kitchen with integrated appliances. 

West London Living Made Affordable

London apartments

L&Q has announced the first launch of new homes at Churchfield Quarter, a collection of 60 one, two and three bedroom Shared Ownership apartments in the heart of Acton, West London. 

Forming part of the redevelopment of The Oaks Shopping Centre, the homes are set around stepped landscaped podium gardens, offering residents secluded communal space off Acton’s bustling high street. Striking glass encased balconies promote a sense of community and space; Green roofs and decorative nature-inspired panelling complete the look.

Cavanna Homes triumphs in national Housebuilder Awards shortlist

Cavanna Homes development

Westcountry homebuilder Cavanna Homes is celebrating a hat-trick after being shortlisted for three awards in the 2019 national Housebuilder Awards.

Two of the firm’s developments; Primrose Hill in Torquay and Yarners Mill in Dartington, have been shortlisted in the ‘Best Design for Three Storeys or Fewer’ category, alongside eight other national developments.

Cavanna Homes’ successful apprenticeship scheme has also been shortlisted for ‘Best Training or Recruitment Initiative’, alongside six others.

The Housebuilder Awards, in partnership with the National House Building Council (NHBC) and the Home Builders Federations (HBF), recognise innovation and excellence in the housebuilding industry.

Bat boxes and bee hotels for North Yate development

David Wilson Homes North Yate Development

Local housebuilder David Wilson Homes has pledged to make its new development in North Yate its most wildlife-friendly yet. 

The company has unveiled a wide range of initiatives at its Ladden Garden Village development, which will help to boost everything from birds and bats to hedgehogs and insects.

David Wilson Homes has protected existing natural hedgerows surrounding our developments - in turn preserving natural living environments for animals and insects.

The development’s show complexes feature bird and bat boxes to provide essential nesting areas. Fences have been left open to the hedgerow - allowing wildlife like hedgehogs, frogs, toads and newts to move easily through and around the garden.

City homes with green spaces - Life at Tipi

Tipi city apartments

Living in an urban area with green spaces has a long-lasting, positive impact on mental well-being, according to the European Centre for Environment and Human Health. Meanwhile, researchers have estimated that outdoor exercise leads to £2.2bn of health benefits for adults in England every year.

However, the Green Space Index by Fields in Trust shows that 2.6 million live more than a 10-minute walk from the nearest green space area. Not only that, but the average amount of green space per person works out to just over 35 square metres.

Thankfully for Londoners, lifestyle-led rental brand Tipi is turning all that on its head. The company's Emerald Gardens apartments are built around nearly an acre of green space for residents' private enjoyment.

Part Exchange Makes Moving Easy At Willow Grove

Willow Grove Living Room

Leading housebuilder David Wilson Homes is offering Bedfordshire homebuyers the chance to use its Part Exchange scheme at its development, Willow Grove in Wixams, cutting out the hassle of using estate agents. 

Happy buyers, Vivienne and Paul Murphy took advantage of the Part Exchange scheme, that removes the stress of selling your property, when they moved to Willow Grove earlier this year.

Vivienne said: “We chose to buy our new home with David Wilson Homes because of the quality of their properties and how beautiful they are.

“The sales team at Willow Grove looked after us so well and provided us with photos of our house build progress every week.

Barratt Homes Site Manager Recognised As One Of The Best In The Country

Barratt Homes Site Manager Sam Foglia

A Site Manager for Barratt Homes in Milton Keynes has won a top national award for the quality of the homes he is building from the National House-Building Council (NHBC).

Sam Foglia (36) who is the Site Manager at Brooklands on Fen Street has been recognised by the NHBC for their annual Pride in the Job Quality Awards. 

Sam, who has worked for the homebuilder for two years, picked up his first Pride in the Job Quality Award this year.

He said: “This is such a massive achievement for me and it just hasn’t sunk in yet but I’m over the moon.

“I’d like to thank the team around me and the sub-contractors for all of their support, it’s been a real team effort and it’s great to be building for such a reputable brand like Barratt Homes.” 

Are you looking for a new, luxurious throw to complement your room?

Luxury throw

So, let me start by saying, I absolutely love throws and cushions, and have had my fair share in the past. 

I'm always replacing them for something nicer, better quality or a new design and find them a great way to accessorise any room. 

I recently received the ICON™ Bavarian Wolf Extra Large Faux Fur Throw from and my first impression was, wow, it feels like such good quality material. 

Sumptuous faux fur, inspired by Bavarian Wildlife, it is a must item to have!!

It has a beautiful velvet effect on the reverse, which is so soft and cuddly, and I must add, extremely nice and warm, so perfect for those wintry evenings, or to take outside when the sun goes down in summer! 

Buyers Seek Semi-Rural Retreat At Aylesbury Development

Barratt Homes Aylesbury Development

Leading developer Barratt Homes has announced a rapid growth in sales at its Aylesbury development, Kingsbrook.

After a successful few weeks, the housebuilder has revealed that there have been approximately three properties sold a week at the development, totalling 15 sales in a month, which is six times the national average.

Offering a collection of two and three bedroom homes, Kingsbrook is the perfect place for a variety of buyers, including those looking to take a step on or up the property ladder.

It’s no surprise the development has become such a property hotspot, with its homes all featuring contemporary designs and open plan layouts that are perfect for modern family living. 

Staircasing 101

Staircasing on a white background

Everything you need to know about taking a step up the shared ownership ladder

By Samantha Eaton - Associate solicitor in the residential property team at Gorvins Solicitors

What is staircasing?

Staircasing is the process of purchasing further shares of a shared ownership property you already own.

Depending on the terms of your lease, once you have lived in your property for a certain period of time you will be eligible to staircase.

The eco-friendly devices every home needs

The eco-friendly devices every home needs - plastic rubbish for recycling

Aldous Hicks, CEO and Co-founder of ReCircle Recycling Ltd, discusses some of the top eco-friendly devices every home will have within the next 10 years…

We have a major problem with our recycling at the moment. 5.25 TRILLION plastic items have ended up in the sea and we continue to add to this. In addition, 50% of what we put into recycling bins isn’t recycled.

Part of the problem is that so much of our plastic waste is contaminated and cannot be recycled. This is no surprise as people, even when they want to recycle and try hard to get it right, find the whole process very confusing.  What we need is to do is make the process easier and take, for example plastic, and recycle it into a pure product that can be reused.