Posts By Katie Garrett

Is the age of knowing your neighbours a thing of the past?

A recent poll suggests it might be...

Gone are the days of popping round to borrow milk or sugar, throwing street parties or inviting your neighbours round for a barbecue. British homeowners now spend just an hour each year talking to their neighbours.

This is according to a poll of 1,507 homeowners by pensions advice specialist Portafina.

Only 23 per cent of those polled classed their neighbours as friends, and less than a third said they ‘live in a friendly neighbourhood and all talk’.

Read more: What makes a bad house guest?


Image credit: David Iliff License: CC-BY-SA 3.0

These are the top five reasons we don’t speak to our neighbours, as found by the poll:

1. Not wanting to invade their privacy
2. Liking our own privacy
3. Concern that we would have nothing in common
4. Being new to an area and not having met neighbours yet
5. Believing that our neighbour doesn’t like us

Where you live, the type of property you live in and your age may all play a significant role in your willingness to interact with those who live around you.

The survey showed that those under the age of 34 are more than twice as likely not to speak to their neighbours at all compared to over 55s.

‘As much as attitudes have naturally changed due to the digital culture we live in, my feeling is that this outcome is largely due to the huge time pressures on our young people,’ says Jamie Smith-Thompson, managing director at Portafina.

‘In our later years we tend to have more time and inclinations to build stronger relationships with our neighbours – often building lasting friendships.’


Owners of detached properties are 50 per cent more likely to class their neighbours as friends than flat/apartment owners, implying that having distance from our neighbours could actually bring us closer together.

Across the whole of the UK, these are the five locations with the friendliest neighbours, based on time spent chatting with next door on average per month):

1. Norwich
2. Glasgow
3. Dublin
4. Nottingham
5. Newcastle

Read more: The top five family-friendly cities have been revealed

Do you interact with your neighbours? Let us know what you think about the results of this poll in the comments box below…

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Aldi has launched a new upcycling range – ideal for a rainy weekend

Whether you're an upcycling pro or a complete beginner, you won't want to miss Aldi's new range of upcycling tools and equipment

This year has seen a surge in the popularity of upcycling, with people getting crafty and personalising old furniture rather than going out to buy brand new.

In line with this trend, Aldi has launched a new range of upcycling tools and equipment to help thrifty upcyclers save even more money.

Need inspiration: Check out these easy upcycling ideas

ALDI upcycling

The range will be available in store and online from Sunday 30th July – that’s your rainy day activity sorted!

Aldi’s new range includes everything budding upcyclers need to transform a dilapidated dresser into a stunning kitchen centrepiece or give a scruffy wooden chair a new lease of life. From electric power tools, including a mini bench grinder and a sander, to chalk paint and furniture wax, to pretty haberdashery accessories including buttons and ribbon, there’s something for every project.

ALDI upcycling

Prices start from 79p for Aldi’s haberdashery essentials, with brushes available for £2.99, chalk paint for £4.99 and furniture wax for £5.99. The top of the range product is the mini bench grinder, costing £26.99.

ALDI upcycling

Read more: Six reasons why you should start upcycling

‘Upcycling is a fantastic trend which gives home improvers the opportunity to create unique and personal items,’ says Tony Baines, Managing Director for Corporate Buying at Aldi.

‘We know that the special tools, paints and equipment needed to upcycle a piece of furniture can be expensive so we’re delighted to be offering a range of great-value upcycling essentials at a fraction of the price consumers might expect, without sacrificing on quality or performance.’

ALDI upcycling

‘We hope that this range will give our customers the opportunity to recycle unsightly old items of furniture into prettier pieces, worthy of a place in their homes.’

Are you a fan of the vintage look? Check out Aldi’s new vintage home Specialbuys

We know where we’ll be heading on Sunday…

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A quintessentially British country home overlooking a famous village cricket ground is on the market for £4.35million

The ground has hosted celebrity cricket matches with the likes of Michael Parkinson and Tony Blackburn

Set within four acres of beautiful grounds in rural Buckinghamshire, this country home oozes English charm. From its architecture and interior design to its stunning location, Wickenden is a quintessentially British country home in every way.

Read more: Masterchef’s Gregg Wallace has bought a new home in rural Kent


The impressive residence overlooks Taplow village cricket ground, where Terry Wogan used to be cricket club president. During his time there, Sir Terry hosted three annual celebrity matches with the likes of Michael Parkinson and Tony Blackburn participating, among others.


The front door is flanked by two stone pillars in the shape of cricket stumps, and these subtle and light-hearted cricket references continue charmingly throughout the house.

A heavy timber front door opens to a grad reception hall, with doors leading off to the kitchen, dining room. drawing room, study and snug.

More like this: Take a tour around a new-build country barn in Surrey

The kitchen is fitted with handmade oak units, topped with granite and wooden work surfaces. The exposed brick here and throughout the property mimics the traditional brick and tile country home exterior.


The grand vaulted drawing room with double height bay windows offers perfect views across the cricket ground. In fact, there are fantastic views of the cricket ground from many rooms throughout the house, so this is definitely one for cricket fans.

Wickenden Wickenden

An oak carved staircase leads upstairs to a galleried landing area. The expansive home boasts five bedrooms. One of these is the master suite with an en suite and dressing area, while two more are also en suite with dressing areas. The master suite has French doors leading out to a balcony with views across the cricket field.

There is also a family bathroom and a sauna – how luxurious!

If the house wasn’t impressive enough already, check out its grounds. There’s a terrace, formal lawns, clipped hedgerows, vegetable and herb gardens, a croquet lawn, koi pond and a wildflower meadow.

Wickenden Wickenden Wickenden

The home also comes with its very own cricket pavilion – the perfect spot for enjoying a picnic while watching the cricket.


The property is available for £4.35million through Savills.

Get the look: Modern country style ideas

At only 36 minutes from central London, this is worth commuting for…

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PETA Vegan Homeware Awards 2017 – and the winners are…

The demand for sustainable homeware is growing, and PETA are celebrating the best designs and innovations in the vegan homeware sphere

Sustainable fashion has never been so in demand, and more people are choosing a vegan lifestyle than ever before. In line with this growing focus on ethics, the demand for compassionate and sustainable homeware is also on the increase, and where there is demand, there is supply…

To celebrate the work of designers and retailers who are considering animal cruelty and the environment, PETA have created the first ever PETA Vegan Homeware Awards – and Ideal Home can exclusively reveal the winners.

The awards, with 14 categories, recognise the best designs and innovations for a ‘cruelty-free’ home.

‘Home is where the heart is – and compassionate consumers are driving the demand for beautiful vegan homeware,’ says PETA Director Elisa Allen. ‘Forward-thinking designers are experimenting with sustainable and cutting-edge vegan materials and offering a great variety of cruelty-free choices to suit every home and budget.’

More winners: Pinterest honours their top Pinners in the first ever Interiors Awards

Here are the winner’s of this year’s inaugural awards:

Best vegan sofa

PETA Vegan Homeware Awards

Rockett St George Faux Cowhide Style Sofa

Buy Now: Faux Cowhide vintage-style two-seater sofa, £625, Rockett St George

Best faux-sheepskin rug

Ikea Tejn Rug

Buy Now: Tejn rug, £10, Ikea

Best vegan leather home office chair Keira office chair in black PU and brass

PETA Vegan Homeware Awards

Buy Now: Keira office chair in black PU and brass, £149,

Best cruelty-free home fragrance

Le Labo home fragrance

Buy Now: Home fragrance, £78, Le Labo Fragrances

Best vegan candle

Pacifica soy candles

PETA Vegan Homeware Awards

Buy Now: Pacifica soy candle in ruby guava, £18, Holland & Barrett

Best faux-fur throw

Heal’s Lynx faux fur throw

Buy Now: Lynx faux fur throw, £249, Heal’s

Best wool-free blanket

Oliver Bonas woven stripe pom pom throw

PETA Vegan Homeware Awards

Buy Now: Woven stripe pom pom throw, £75, Oliver Bonas

Best down-free beddings

Debenhams ‘Feels Like Down’ microfibre duvet

Buy Now: 13.5 tog ‘Feels Like Down’ microfibre duvet, from £75 for a single, Debenhams

Best feather-free cushion

Monsoon square tassel cushion

PETA Vegan Homeware Awards

Buy Now: Square tassel cushion, £35, Monsoon

Best vegan mattress

John Lewis memory collection mattresses

Buy Now: Memory collection contour cool support memory foam mattress, £850, John Lewis

Best silk-free sheets

Habitat washed sateen range

PETA Vegan Homeware Awards

Buy Now: Washed sateen pink double duvet cover, now £45, Habitat

Best wool-free curtains

Zara Home grey velvet curtain

Buy now: Grey velvet curtain, £25.99, Zara Home

Innovation award

Simon Kern – Beleaf Chair

PETA Vegan Homeware Awards

Slovakian designer Šimon Kern has crafted a unique chair made from a mixture of recycled leaves and bio-resin.

Influencer award

Emily Turnbull – Studio Can Can: Vegan interior design and build

Award-winning designer Emily Turnbull has created compassionate modern interiors for Fred Perry stores, hotels, private homes, and eateries including vegan café The Den and ‘vish’ and chips van Battered

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The nation’s favourite British artworks, revealed

If you want to impress your guests, have one of these hanging on your wall…

When you think about your favourite British artworks, do you imagine classic paintings or do you prefer graffiti and creative album artwork?

Either way, you are not alone. The nation’s favourite British artworks have been revealed, and the findings show that street art by Banksy and his contemporaries is just as popular as the old classics.

Read more: Seven wall murals to transform a room into a work of art

Two thousand British adults voted for their favourite visual artwork as part of a study carried out by the Frame National Art Audit. Banksy has been ranked ahead of the likes of Turner and Constable, with his ‘Balloon Girl’ ranked the nation’s favourite. John Constable’s ‘The Hay Wain’, which hangs in the National Gallery, was voted the second most popular work of art. Two vinyl record covers also make the top ten.

These results highlight an eclectic and open-minded national taste, with British people appreciating street art just as much as traditional paintings.

Here are the nation’s top ten favourite British artworks:

1. Banksy, Balloon Girl

Britain's favourite artwork

2. John Constable, The Hay Wain

The Nation’s Favourite British artwork

3. Jack Vettriano, The Singing Butler

The Nation’s Favourite British artwork

4. JMW Turner, The Fighting Temeraire

The Nation’s Favourite British artwork

5. Antony Gormley, The Angel of the North

The Nation’s Favourite British artwork

6. L S Lowry, Going to the Match

The Nation’s Favourite British artwork

7. John William Waterhouse, The Lady of Shalott

The Nation’s Favourite British artwork

8. Peter Blake, Sgt Pepper album cover

The Nation’s Favourite British artwork

9. Hipgnosis and George Hardie, Dark Side of the Moon album cover

The Nation’s Favourite British artwork

10. George Stubbs, Mares and Foals

The Nation’s Favourite British artwork

The study also revealed that 70 per cent of us exhibit artwork in our homes. But beware, 73 per cent of Brits admit they judge people based on their choice of art that they display.

Read more: How to display wall art at home

If you’re looking for artwork inspiration or want to ensure guests are impressed by your taste, look no further than this eclectic top ten list, there’s sure to be something that takes your fancy.

We wonder what the list will look like in 20 years time…

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Beach hut for sale – but would you pay the £280,000 price tag?

It's got a fabulous location in Christchurch, Dorset. But would you pay this much for a property that doesn't even have electricity?

A beach hut on the Dorset coast has gone on the market for £280,000 and could be the most expensive beach hut ever sold in the UK.

If you’re forking out more than a quarter of a million pounds you’d expect your new property to have electricity and running water at the very least, surely? But this unusual property goes against the grain and defies these expectations…

Like this? Have a look at these gorgeous coastal cottages and beach houses

Beach hut

The price tag is predominantly down to the beach hut’s sought after location, on the exclusive Mudeford Sandspit in Christchurch, Dorset.

Another factor is its beautiful presentation. The wooden hut has also undergone a full renovation and modernisation and the result is a luxurious cabin with a sleek timber, seaside-themed interior.

Read more: Summerhouse style ideas to inspire you

Beach hut

A mezzanine level contains a surprisingly spacious double bedroom, while downstairs the living space doubles as a sleeping area, so the hut sleeps four comfortably and is perfect for family holidays.

Beach hut Beach hut

The kitchen is furnished with modern appliances. There is solar power for the fridge and lighting, and bottle gas for cooking.

Beach hut

The beach hut has been kitted out with double-glazed windows and glass bi-fold doors. These fold right back and open straight onto a wooden terrace, with the beach beyond.

Beach hut

Beach hut

This 170 sq ft property is on the market with Denisons.

Thinking about moving to the coast? These are the seaside towns making the biggest splash in the housing market

The location makes it an idyllic spot for spending the summer holidays – children can spend hours playing on the beach and swimming in the harbour, while parents can light the barbecue and enjoy long summer evenings relaxing on the terrace.

With beautiful waterside views across to Chirstchurch, there are certainly worse spots to spend the summer.

Image credits: Denisons

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Church conversions worthy of praise

Do you a-spire to living in a religious conversion? Feast your eyes on these divine sanctuaries

Is there anything more impressive than a church conversion? We’re always amazed to see the transformation of ancient churches and chapels into liveable, family-friendly homes. The design and architectural skill that goes into these grand designs is second to none.

After plenty of nosing, we’re come up with a foolproof recipe for success. Combine traditional features such as Gothic-arched windows, stone walls and timber roofs with contemporary necessities. And always make the most of that grand space with a mezzanine and double height living space.

Step inside these beautiful sanctuaries, all for sale or to rent with Savills. You’ll be in awe…

Read more: Step inside this striking converted church, once owned by the Queen

Church House, Fife

Church conversions Church conversions

The original character of this charming church has been retained during the careful restoration of the property. Decorative stone carved arches and pillars act as room dividers and are striking alongside the original timber panelling, stained glass windows, and vaulted ceilings. The tower has also been cleverly restored and provides incredible 360 degree views over the neighbouring farmland.

Church House is on the market for offers over £695,000

St John’s Church, Hertfordshire

Church conversions

Church conversions

Is this the most picture-perfect church conversion you’ve ever seen? The entire property is surprisingly bright and airy thanks to its enormous stain glassed windows and clever lighting. A double-glazed glass extension, built with vaulted ceiling in keeping with the style of the church, provides further light. The renovation retains the original features while adding modern luxuries such as underfloor heating.

This five bedroom church conversion is available to rent for £7,950 per month

The Old Chapel, Gloucestershire

Church conversions

Church conversions

This statuesque gothic church conversion has been converted with flair and imagination. The original Gothic arched windows throughout are striking and look out to an idyllic country village setting.

This stunning conversion is on the market for £650,000

Read more: The quirkiest Airbnb properties around the UK

The Steeple, Angus

Church conversions

Church conversions

Aside from the incredible tower with panoramic views, the oak beams and doors are the main feature of this interesting and beautifully designed church conversion. Teamed with glass panels to create the illusion of space and light, the oak beams and wooden spiral staircase are traditional yet modern.

The cheapest of the bunch, this property is on the market for £370,000

St Mary’s Church, Surrey

Church conversions

Church conversions

This one-bedroom conversion has maintained the church’s vaulted ceiling, with its exposed timbers, but otherwise focused on modernisation and making best use of the tiny space. The living space is ope- plan, and a conservatory has been added to the side of the property. Heavenly.

This chocolate box church conversion is for sale for £645,000

Read more: Step inside this elegant yet rustic barn conversion

Which of these church conversions would you most like to live in? Let us know in the comments box below…

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The UK’s property hotspots are revealed by Zoopla – did your town make the list?

The historic market town of Belper has come top in a list of UK property hotspots so far in 2017

The historic market town of Belper has been named the UK’s biggest property hotspot of the year so far by property website Zoopla.

Property prices in the Derbyshire town have increased by 7.43 per cent since the beginning of the year, according to a new report by the property site. This is the largest increase of house prices in any town in Britain.

Belper is situated on the River Dwent just outside of the Peak District, and is part of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site. In 2014 the picturesque town won the High Street of the Year award.

Revealed: The UK’s top five family-friendly cities



In second place is the coastal town of Hove in East Sussex, where house prices have risen by 7.07 per cent since the start of 2017. This is followed by Todmorden in West Yorkshire, which has seen a 6.66 per cent increase.



Read more: The seaside towns making the biggest waves in the housing market

Here are the top 10 towns for house price increases since January 2017:

  1. Belper, Derbyshire, 7.43 per cent increase
  2. Hove, East Sussex, 7.07 per cent increase
  3. Todmorden, West Yorkshire, 6.66 per cent increase
  4. Woodbridge, Suffolk, 6.59 per cent increase
  5. Sudbury, Suffolk, 6.56 per cent increase
  6. Bexley, Kent, 6.56 per cent increase
  7. Langport, Somerset, 6.55 per cent increase
  8. Swanley, Kent, 6.49 per cent increase
  9. Worcestor Park, London, 6.41 per cent increase
  10. Holyhead, Anglesey, 6.29 per cent increase

These statistics are in contrast to the rest of the country, where the property market has reportedly only grown by 1.1 per cent since the start of the year. This marks a huge slowdown when compared to the same period last year, when there was 5.28 per cent growth in the market.

The worst performing town in terms of property prices is Yorkshire’s Richmond, where average house prices have fallen by 5.34 per cent since the beginning of the year. Two towns in Surrey follow, with prices in Leatherhead dropping by 5.22 per cent and Walton-on-Thames seeing a decline of 5.21 per cent.

The average British home is now valued at £304,469 – up by just £3,039 since January.

Read more: What does a £1million house look like around the UK?

‘Whilst the rate of growth has slowed to a more modest rate, we’re not seeing the stark downturn in values that has been predicted,’ says Lawrence Hall, spokesperson for Zoopla. ‘News of a slowdown might not be what homeowners want to hear, b does present a possible opportunity for those looking to get on the ladder by the end of the year.’

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Could you live in this one-bedroom prefab home?

Prefab homes are being touted as the saviour of the UK's housing crisis, but would you shack up in this tiny 26 sq m apartment?

It’s common knowledge that the UK’s housing supply is in crisis, and a company better known as a car and home insurer believes it has a solution, in the form of prefab homes.

Legal & General has opened a new ‘modular’ factory for the production of ‘flatpack’ houses. Working with RHP housing association, it’s developed a revolutionary prefab home model that can be installed in a single working day. The timber-framed homes are made in modules at a factory in Leeds and bolted together on site.

Short on space? Read: Small living room ideas for gorgeous spaces

Prefab house

Image credit: Andrew Holt

They come complete with a built-in kitchen, bathroom, doors, fitted carpets, and even furniture if requested. The downside? They’re tiny, at just 26 sq m. Could you live in such a small space?

Let’s take a look around the prototype…

Prefab house

Image credit: Andrew Holt

The interiors have been cleverly designed to optimise space, with a kitchen running down one side leaving space for a sofa and even a dining table in the living area.

Prefab house

Image credit: Andrew Holt

The bedroom has room for a small double bed, and has a large window to allow plenty of light in.

Prefab house

Image credit: Andrew Holt

A one-bed apartment will reportedly take one week for the factory to build. there’s also a two-bed option that will take two weeks – far quicker than the time it takes to build your average home.

Legal & General claims that the factory-line process will use less energy than usual building methods, and the homes will also use less energy to run that a standard home, making them more environmentally-friendly.

Prefab house

Image credit: Andrew Holt

The first production run began last week in Richmond, where housing association RHP became the first in the country to purchase hundreds of one-bedroom apartment from L&G. They plan to rent them out for £600-£700 per month, which is far cheaper than the average rent for the area – £1,097 according to Zoopla.

Last week, L&G also announced a new two-storey, two-bedroom ‘turn-key’ prefab home that it hopes to deliver next year. This model will be much larger, at 82 sq m. Take a tour around a prototype of the revolutionary home:

What do you think? Could this be the solution to Britain’s housing crisis?

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Dunkirk spirit – Thames houseboat used in Christopher Nolan’s Hollywood blockbuster is for sale for £425,000

All aboard! This lovingly restored barge is a wonderful piece of UK maritime history

Xylonite, a sailing barge that was used in the making of the new Hollywood blockbuster ‘Dunkirk’, has been put on the market for £425,000. Christopher Nolan chose to include the boat in his latest movie because of her pre-war exterior, which the owners have carefully restored.

Read more: Liam Gallagher’s former Hampstead home is up for sale

Dunkirk boat for sale

Although the 91-year-old boat was not involved in the real Operation Dynamo in 1940, she has a long history as a cargo boat. The vessel worked the shores of the east coast of Britain for 51 years before coming out of the trade service in 1977.

She has been privately owed since then, and the current owners have spent time lovingly and painstakingly restoring her. The boat’s original features have been retained inside and out, with the addition of contemporary fixtures and fittings.

houseboat for sale

The 86ft boat has four bedrooms and a spacious living/dining area. There’s plenty of room for entertaining, or just hanging out with the family. It’s on the market with Riverhomes estate agents,

Feeling nautical? Check out these Stunning canal boats you’ll want to set sail in

houseboat for sale houseboat for sale

The décor has a traditional English pub vibe, with hardwood floors and panelled walls. A Chesterfield sofa and a dark wooden table and benches, complement this look wonderfully.

houseboat for sale

The kitchen has a wooden worktop and all the modern appliances needed to create a comfortable and liveable home.

houseboat for sale

The bathroom is suitably nautical, and the freestanding bath ups the level of luxury.

houseboat for sale houseboat for sale

Read more: Nautical decorating ideas for every room in your home

Those with sea legs will be pleased to hear that the boat can go out in open water using sail or motor. But if you’re less water-confident, you can at least enjoy the barge’s current mooring spot at Limehouse Basin Marina in London, between Canary Wharf and The City.

Image credits: Riverhomes

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