Posts in Category: News

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…

The post Is the age of knowing your neighbours a thing of the past? appeared first on Ideal Home.

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…

The post A quintessentially British country home overlooking a famous village cricket ground is on the market for £4.35million appeared first on Ideal Home.

Garden swings to make your summer swing along nicely

Garden swings aren't just for kids - check out our favourites if you fancy getting back into the swing of it

When was the last time you went swinging? And no, we’re not talking about anything dodgy – honestly! Chances are you haven’t swung on a garden swing for a long time.

But garden swings aren’t just for kids – there’s genuinely nothing more freeing than swinging through the air, no matter your age. So if you’re missing the carefree fun that comes from flying high, check out our pick of the best garden swings around. And incase you’re feeling a little apprehensive – don’t worry, we’ll soon have you back in full swing.

Opt for traditional garden swings

Handmade tree swings garden swings

Tree Swings started life when the owner’s wife one day suggested it would be nice to have a garden swing to hang from their oak tree. And who can blame her? If you also have a large tree from which to place a traditional swing, these beautifully handcrafted pieces could be perfect for you. Made out of sustainable wood sourced locally to the owner’s Cheshire workshop, the Ingram oak tree swing is a wonderful, eco friendly option that will look great in any garden.

Buy now: Ingram oak tree swing, £219, Tree Swings

Push the button

Didi authentic button swing Rowen and Wren-garden-swings

Some things are classics and can’t be improved, and this old-fashioned-style garden swing is precisely that kind of object. Made out of 100% reclaimed wood, it has a natural finish that blends in beautifully with its environment. The seat diameter is 29.5cm and the rope length is 6m – more than enough to get you swinging your feet up off the ground.

Buy now: Didi Authentic tree swing, £78, Rowen & Wren

Swing in style

Go Modern Armadillo Garden sofa garden swings

If the thought of actually swinging up high in the sky is a little too energetic and/or frightening for you, how about this super-stylish swinging garden sofa? A much more sedate option, the Armadillo is ideal for chilling on sunny days and reclining with a glass of fizz. Ah, that’s the life!

Buy now: Armadillo swinging garden sofa, £2,360, Go Modern

Hang out without a tree

Retiro rattan egg chair garden swings

Not got a tree from which to hang your swinging recliner? Then check out this rattan egg chair, which comes complete with its own frame. As long as you have a patch of outdoor space, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy a little bit of swinging fun.

Buy now: Ritiro rattan egg chair, £299.99, Gardens and Homes Direct

Frame it

TP Double Knightswood Swing Frame garden swings

The same can be said of traditional-style garden swings. If you don’t have a suitable tree to hang a swing from, consider a frame. This one has a lovely natural finish that doesn’t look out of place among greenery. It’s designed primarily for children, but the frame is available with a range of different seats, which can accommodate varying weights, so check this out before choosing your seat options.

Buy now: Double Knightswood swing frame, £169.99, TP

Dreaming of having a summer house? READ: Summer house style ideas to inspire you

Personalise your swing

John Lewis personalised garden swing-2

Make your garden swing feel extra special with a personalised design. Hand carved in The Oak and Rope Company’s Kent workshop, personalised swings make a great gift. And you don’t have to stick to people’s names – a positive message will do the trick, too.

Buy now: The Oak and Rope Company large personalised swing, £360, John Lewis

Create a laid-back vibe

Hammock garden swings

Image credit: Simon Scarboro

Okay, a hammock is not strictly speaking a swing, but it hangs on rope and swings about, so it’s definitely a very close relative. Hammocks are affordable garden seating options, but the trick can be finding a suitable place to hang them. If this is a problem, there are loads of hammock frames on the market. Wherever you put yours, add lots of cushions for the ultimate in comfort.

Buy now: similar hammock, £89.90, The Hammock Store

Are you ready to swing free this summer?

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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

The post PETA Vegan Homeware Awards 2017 – and the winners are… appeared first on Ideal Home.

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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Ikea and Hay are making beautiful homeware together

The interior giant’s latest collaboration is a simple, contemporary take on essential furniture and homeware

Ikea has done it again. Its latest must-have collection is a collaboration with a master of contemporary homeware, Danish design company Hay. We can just imagine the introductions – Hej Hay! Talk about a Scandi marriage made in heaven.

Between them, they have reinvented more than 30 key pieces of furniture and homeware. The resulting Ypperlig range is – not surprisingly – stunning.


Launching this October, the Ypperlig collection encompasses larger pieces, such as sofas and bookshelves, and smaller accessories like candlesticks and vases.

To give you an idea of how accessible these pieces will be, the Ypperlig three-seat sofa-bed shown above comes in at £550, and the Ypperlig coffee table is a steal at £35. You’ll be able to pick up the Ypperlig throw and cushion cover for £8 and £5, respectively.


The price of this chic nest of tables is set to be just as reasonable. We love the way the smaller tables hang in the centre of things. The Ypperlig candle holder on top is just £3.

They’ve even given the iconic blue Ikea tote bag a fresh look – in a white and forest green woven fabric with green straps.

Love Ikea furniture? Take a look at this Ikea sofa styled three ways.

The idea behind the collection was to challenge people’s perception of Ikea quality and design. Natural unstained wood, simple shapes and a largely earthy palette, give the pieces an authentic and ageless feel. These are investment pieces, without the need for a big investment!


Perfect for freshly cut foliage from the garden, this rustic Ypperlig vase will cost £12.

Love IKEA? Do you own all of their most popular products?

‘We learned a lot of things from this collaboration that we can apply to our own company,’ says Rolf Hay, who founded the brand alongside wife Mette in 2002. ‘For example, there’s the simplicity in the Ikea supply chain. Or taking something that’s complex and making it more simple and therefore better and less expensive.

‘We also learned a lot about creating the best tools and strong solutions, and dealing with flat-pack challenges,’ Rolf adds.

We can’t wait to get our mitts on this pretty and practical Ypperlig shelving, price to be confirmed…

Ikea-Hay-Ypperlig-wall-shelf…or …or this Ypperlig wall shelf, which costs £12. Yes, that’s just TWELVE POUNDS for an iconic piece of Scandi design.

Hay is the latest in a series of designer collaborations for Ikea. Last year Kanye West tried to jump on the Ikea bandwagon after he declared his ambitions to design for the company.

We won’t hold our breath…

The post Ikea and Hay are making beautiful homeware together appeared first on Ideal Home.

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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