Larkfleet Homes on Blogger

24 Feb 2018

Larkfleet helps young adults buy their own homes

First time buyers young adults Larkfleet Homes
According to recent research from the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS), today’s young adults are much less likely to own their own home than those in their place two decades ago.

At Larkfleet we have always been keen to help the younger generation get on the housing ladder. Take Liam and Zoe  and Chelsea and Martin.

We have been pleased to help both couples take the next steps in their home ownership journeys.

The IFS has found that the biggest decline in homeownership has been among young adults like our couples, with middle incomes. In 1995–96, 65 per cent of 25 to 34-year olds with incomes in the middle 20 per cent for their age owned their own home. By 2015–16 that figure had plummeted to just 27 per cent of that group owned their own home.

This group of young adults have after-tax incomes (including the income of a partner) of between £22,200 and £30,600 per year. A third of them are university graduates, and three-quarters of them live with a partner.

So why have home ownership rates changed so much for young adults over the past twenty years? The IFS found that this sharp decline in home ownership among young adults has been driven by the rapid rise in house prices relative to their incomes.

Over the past twenty years, average house prices have grown around seven times faster than the average incomes of young adults. The average UK house price was two and a half times higher in 2015–16 than in 1995–96 after adjusting for inflation, but the mean net family income of 25 to 34-year olds grew by only 22 per cent in real terms over those twenty years.

The IFS research also found that for nearly 90 per cent of 25 to 34-year olds, average house prices in their region are more than four times their annual after-tax family income; for nearly 40 per cent, house prices are more than 10 times their income. Twenty years ago, fewer than half of young adults faced house prices of more than four times their income, and less than 10 per cent faced house prices of more than 10 times their income.

Comparing a young adult today with a young adult twenty years ago whose income was similar relative to house prices, they are equally likely to own their home. The fall in homeownership is entirely explained by the fact that young adults’ incomes are now much lower relative to house prices on average.

The report’s author, Andrew Hood, a senior research economist at the IFS, said: “Home ownership among young adults has collapsed over the past twenty years, particularly for those on middle incomes – for that group, their chances of owning their own home have fallen from 2 in 3 in the mid-1990s to just 1 in 4 today. The reason for this is that house prices have risen around seven times faster in real terms than the incomes of young adults over the last two decades.”

Here at Larkfleet Homes and our sister company Allison Homes we hope to continue to be able to support first-time buyers obtain the home of their dreams.


20 Feb 2018

Fancy netting up to £1,000 for just a few minutes of your time?

Larkfleet Homes survey First Time Buyer magazine survey
We have launched a survey to get the thoughts and experiences of house buyers. Complete our survey and we will enter you into our prize draw for a chance to win £500.

If you agree to take part in a brief follow-up chat on the phone you will be entered in a second draw to win a further £500.

Go to www.tiny.cc/larkfleet-survey to take part in the survey.

The Larkfleet Homes team is always working to develop new ways to provide the best possible products and services to our customers. We want to know what house buyers really think of the housing market and what they want from housebuilders like us.

To help us, we have teamed up with First Time Buyer Magazine, What House and What Mortgage to develop and deliver a comprehensive survey to find out what you, our customer, is really looking for in a new home.

The survey covers everything from the type of property people are looking to buy or have bought (whether it’s for their own use or an investment) through to topics such as location, size and energy efficiency.

It takes less than ten minutes to complete at www.tiny.cc/larkfleet-survey. The survey is being managed by independent marketing company OlsenMetrix Marketing and all the data collected will be anonymous.


15 Feb 2018

Last minute things to do with the kids this half term

half term things to do Peterborough
Half term is drawing to a close for many people but there are still a few days left to enjoy with the kids. Here are a few last-minute ideas for things to do close to many of Larkfleet Homes' developments.

Nene Valley Railway – Thomas the Tank Engine is on the tracks over the weekend of 17 and 18 February.

Break your journey with a stop off at Ferry Meadows Country Park.  Tickets cost £16 per adult, £13 for seniors and £8 per child. For more information visit nvr.org.uk/events/february-thomas-half-term-specials.

Peterborough Museum – Secret Agents. During World War I, both sides tried to find out secret information about the enemy. From code-cracking to spies in enemy territory there were lots of 'tricks of the trade'. This half term, Peterborough Museum asks - do you have what it takes to be a secret agent? Find hidden clues, decode messages, and identify friend from foe before it's too late. Last date for the tour is Friday 16 February, from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm (last entry 4:00 pm). Cost is £3 children, £4 adults, £12 families. Under 5s go free.

Flag FenArchaeology Adventurers Club For kids aged 8 – 12, it’s a fantastic opportunity to get involved in fun activities, make new friends and try something new. Your budding archaeologist will be able to get hands-on in the Big Dig Tent, handle artefacts, explore the Bronze Age landscape and wildlife, try new crafts and lots more! Email flag.fen@vivacity-peterborough.com for more details. Friday 16 February from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, cost £22 per child per day.

Sacrewell Farm – Learn how to be a blacksmith with classes where children as young as 7 can learn to forge a coat hook. The course runs on Saturday and Sunday 17 and 18 February. Visit the farm website for more details and how to book, or to find out what else in on offer.



14 Feb 2018

Chinese New Year – time to celebrate the Year of the Dog

Chinese New Year Larkfleet Homes Year of the Dog
We don't know about you but it seems that we’re becoming more multicultural when it comes to looking for an excuse for a good party.

Take Chinese New Year, which begins officially on Friday (16 February). According to the Chinese zodiac, this year is the Year of the Dog. The Spring Festival to usher in the new year lasts until 2 March.

Some cities with significant Chinese communities will be hosting special celebrations. In London this year a variety of cultural events will be held on Sunday 18 February. It’s the largest Chinese New Year celebration held outside Asia, so it’s definitely worth a visit.

If you prefer to stay at home, why not host your own Chinese New Year themed party? Here are some ideas of things that you can do to make your celebrations go with a bang.

  • Clean the house before the party – cleaning symbolises sweeping away accumulated bad luck.
  • Prepare boxes of candied fruit or chocolate coins to give to your guests.
  • Get lots of your favourite Chinese food in to share with guests and family. Cantonese chicken and fish is particularly good.
  • Dress up – the key colour is red. Wear a red jumper, scarf or shoes. This will bring you good luck in the coming year.
  • Buy something red for the house – paper cut window grilles, lanterns and dog toys are ideal decorations for the home and garden.
  • Serve oranges and tangerines – they represent wealth, good luck and happiness.
  • Give a gift of a small amount of money to parting guests – older generations often give gifts of money in red envelopes to the younger generation in Asian cultures.
  • Get some Chinese fire crackers to let off – but remember to follow the 'firework code', be considerate of neighbours and be safe.


12 Feb 2018

Larkfleet helps launch Corby anti-litter campaign

Corby Clean and Proud
We are always glad to put something back into the communities where we have developments. With that in mind Larkfleet Homes is backing the Corby Clean and Proud campaign.

The initiative is being led by the Great Oakley Group and the de Capell Brooke family.

Our joint managing director Helen Hick was on hand to help launch the campaign.

Larkfleet has worked closely with the Great Oakley Group and Alexander de Capell Brooke on the delivery of Oakley Rise, part of the larger Oakley Vale development in Corby.

There’s little point in creating places like Oakley Rise, with a great sense of community in a very appealing area, unless you keep the place tidy – which is why we were happy to join the Corby Clean and Proud campaign.

Other founding partners include Mid-West Landscaping, Brooke Weston Trust and The David Laing Foundation.

The Corby Clean and Proud campaign is urging Corby businesses to pledge to keep the town’s streets clean and tidy.

Businesses are encouraged to take the CLEAN pledge in the lead up The Great British Spring Clean week at the end of February. CLEAN calls for local businesses to;
  • Commit to reducing the litter local to the Corby community
  • Learn more about the impact of litter in our communities
  • Engage with fellow businesses for a collective effort to keep the area clean
  • Act as an ambassador in promoting waste reduction
  • Notify the council if you spot any excessive littering

Corby Borough Council will be holding events to mark the week and businesses can take part in these or set up their own as part of their pledge.

Each business to sign up will receive a campaign certificate and window sticker and be featured on the campaign website.

You can find out more about Corby Clean and Proud and sign up your business at www.corbyclean.co.uk and visit www.facebook.com/CorbyClean

Our photo shows the campaign launch with Helen Hick.


10 Feb 2018

Make your home a romantic haven for Valentine’s Day



Larkfleet Homes ideas for Valentine's Day
We love Valentine’s Day. It’s a perfect excuse to enjoy some quality time with your ‘better half’.

Valentine's day this year is on Wednesday - 14 February, of course. There's still time to plan if you've not got it all sorted already.

We have trawled the internet for tips on making your day a success.

While the origins of Valentine’s Day are shrouded in the mysteries of Roman and early Christian history, the traditions we follow today began in the 18th century and were refined by the Victorians.

Cards became popular in the early 19th century but when Sir Rowland Hill introduced the Penny Post in 1840, sales of Valentine’s cards rocketed. And later chocolate maker Cadbury’s introduced fancy gift boxes for chocolate.

Now, Valentine’s Day is more popular than ever. In 2016 in the UK we spent over £960 million on gifts, food and drink, cards and wrapping.

Although commercialised, the day can still provide a nice romantic interlude to the workaday grind.

Here a few ideas to help turn your home into a romantic haven.
  • Create an atmosphere – use scented candles and diffusers.
  • Lighting – heart shaped LED string lights
  • Cushions and throws - we’ve talked about Hygge before – but creating a cosy environment to settle down with a favourite rom-com will make your evening.
  • Rugs with a floral theme – try roses
  • Table decorations and tea lights
  • There are loads of ideas on Pinterest 
  • If you’re planning an intimate evening at home with your significant other, no doubt a nice meal will come into the equation. Here are some great ideas for Valentine’s Day table decorations 
  • If you need some inspiration for your menu have a look at Sainsbury’s
 If you don’t fancy staying at home why not go on a romantic day out. How about a walk on a windswept beach followed by lunch in a cosy pub or restaurant? Or visit a favourite historic location – English Heritage has a list of days out on its website.

The opportunities are endless.

Whatever you decide to do, we hope you have fun.


09 Feb 2018

Things to do in the garden in February

gardening jobs February
Now that we are well and truly into February and Spring is just around the corner, it’s time to tackle some of those jobs in the garden that you have been putting off all Winter.

Some solid preparation now will mean you can make the most of the growing season to come.



Here a few tips for what you should be taking on now:
  • Prune Group 3 Clematis
  • Cut out old, dying or congested stems from Bamboo
  • Plant bare-root roses
  • Trim lawn edges
  • Cut back deciduous grasses
  • Prepare vegetable seedbeds and sow some veg under cover
  • Chit potatoes ready for planting
  • Improve drainage on heavy soils by working in lots of organic matter
  • Tidy up weedy beds
  • Stock on things like ties and stakes for the coming season
For more gardening tips and details of what to grow visit the Royal Horticultural Society website.


08 Feb 2018

Pancake Day – a recipe for some Winter fun

Larkfleet Homes pancake day fun
We love pancakes here at Larkfleet Homes. That's why we're looking forward to Pancake Day next week.

Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Day, is on 13 February this year. Traditionally, it is the last day of feasting before the fasting of Lent (what will you be giving up?) begins on Ash Wednesday.


It’s time to finish off all the rich foods in the house and put on some weight before Lent. That’s why the French call it Mardi Gras – Fat Tuesday.

The name Shrove Tuesday stems from old English traditions where Christians would go to Confession to be absolved of their sins – or ‘shriven’. A bell – the Shriving Bell – would be rung – to call the people to Confession.

There are a lot of traditions surrounding the day. As well as making and eating delicious pancakes, communities up and down the UK will be holding Pancake Day races. It’s an opportunity for large numbers of people, often in fancy dress, to race down streets tossing pancakes. The object of the race is to get to the finishing line first, carrying a frying pan with a cooked pancake in it and flipping the pancake as you run.

The most famous and probably first pancake race takes place at Olney in Buckinghamshire where, according to tradition, in 1445 a woman of Olney heard the shriving bell while she was making pancakes and ran to the church in her apron, still clutching her frying pan.

Another, and much rougher tradition, is the playing of Shrovetide or mob football played up and down the highways, fields and footpaths between pubs or villages. The tradition began in the 12th century and is still played today in Cornwall, County Durham, Derbyshire, Northumberland and Warwickshire.

We eat pancakes because the basic ingredients of pancakes have religious significance. Eggs symbolise creation, flour is the staff of life, milk symbolises purity, while salt signifies wholesomeness.

How to make the perfect pancake:
BBC Food has a quick and easy recipe for pancakes.

Usually, pancakes are served with lemon and sugar. The fun starts when you add your favourite fillings.

According to a BBC Top 10 our favourite pancake filling is banana, chocolate and peanut butter. Another favourite is blueberries with maple syrup. There are all sorts of other things you can use to top you pancakes, from sweet to savoury.

Whatever you choose, have fun and enjoy your pancakes!


04 Feb 2018

Larkfleet South West development scoops planning award

Larkfleet Homes South West Churchinford Hills
As an award-winning developer we’re always keen to add to the trophy cabinet. We had some great news last week. Our sister company Larkfleet Homes South West won Best New Housing Development in the Somerset Building Excellence Awards for its Churchinford Hills development.

Not only that. Its development at Creech St Michael was highly commended in the same category.

The Building Excellence Awards are run by the Somerset Building Control Partnership of which Sedgemoor District Council, the area in which Churchinford Hills is located, is a member.

Churchinford Hills will now go forward to the regional Local Authority Building Control (LABC) Awards to be held in Plymouth in April. It will come up against an array of other projects from across the whole of the South West of England.

The development won the award because the team at Larkfleet Homes South West was able to demonstrate building excellence by using traditional methods of construction, such as loose lay flint stone, hand laid thatch, natural slate and a variety of renders, combined with modern elements to ensure building regulation compliance.

The development is set deep within the Blackdown Hills, a designated area of outstanding natural beauty. Areas of outstanding natural beauty enjoy significant conservation protection and planning is strictly controlled, so it was vital that the development was sympathetic to the village and the surrounding countryside.

Head of construction at Larkfleet Homes South West, Shaune Hicks, said: “We have given great consideration to modern living within this rural location by introducing large open interior space, modern bathrooms and kitchens with LPG heating, but with exteriors that retain village charm.”

Churchinford Hills is an exclusive 20-property development of 2,3 and 4-bedroom detached and semi-detached homes, incorporating affordable housing, situated in a unique rural position. The development is enclosed and screened by existing hedgerows and trees on both the northern and western boundaries. The site also has magnificent views across the Blackdown Hills, a rare location that the architects and developers were keen to make the most of.

We’ll keep you posted with news of how we get on at the regional awards in Plymouth in April.


04 Feb 2018

Do you know how you’re going to repay your mortgage?



Larkfleet Homes interest-only mortgage
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is concerned that many of us who have interest-only mortgages may not be able to meet shortfalls in our mortgage repayment plans. In other words, we do not have the cash to pay off the original loan when the interest-only deal ends. We could face being left homeless as a result.


According to the FCA one in five of us has an interest-only mortgage.

It recently carried out a review into the fair treatment of existing interest-only mortgage customers. The review found that, although mortgage lenders are writing to customers prior to their mortgage maturing, borrowers are not contacting lenders to discuss repayment options.

If you have an interest-only mortgage that is maturing and you haven’t been in touch with your lender about repayments, now is the time. Maturity of this type of mortgage is peaking now among customers who are approaching retirement.

Jonathan Davidson, executive director of supervision at the FCA, said: “We are very concerned that a significant number of interest-only customers may not be able to repay the capital at the end of the mortgage and be at risk of losing their homes.

“We know that many customers remain reluctant to contact their lender to discuss their interest-only mortgage for a variety of reasons. We are very clear that people should talk to their lender as early as possible as this will give them more options when it comes to the next steps they can take.”

There are currently 1.67 million full interest-only and part capital repayment mortgage accounts outstanding in the UK. They represent nearly a quarter of all outstanding mortgage accounts. Over the next few years increasing numbers will require repayment.

The FCA has produced a handy leaflet which outlines your options. You can access it here.


02 Feb 2018

Groundhog Day - again

Today - Friday 2 February - is Groundhog Day in the US and Canada. The observance centres around a groundhog called Punxsutawney Phil, from Gobbler’s Knob in the town of Punxsutawney Pennsylvania in the US.

Other towns across North America hold their own celebrations and observances of the day.

Groundhog Day became well-known in the UK thanks to the film of the same name starring Bill Murray. The film was a hit and the term became synonymous with repetition or déjà vu.


Tradition has it that if the groundhog sees its shadow on February 2 it will be frightened by it and will then return to its burrow, indicating that there will be 6 more weeks of winter. If it does not see its shadow, then spring is on the way.

This weather lore dates to pre-industrial Europe. February 2 is Candlemas in the Christian calendar. A spell of clear weather at this time of year was believed to indicate a prolonged winter. The groundhog will see its shadow in clear weather, but not if it’s cloudy. In Europe, especially Germany, the animal whose behaviour was used to determine the length of winter was the badger. Settlers coming to North America from Europe brought the tradition with them but used the groundhog in the absence of the badger.

There plenty of rhymes in the UK that were used to predict weather:

If Candlemas Day be fair and bright
Winter will have another fight
If Candlemas Day brings cloud and rain,
Winter won’t come again.


Used to predict rain, the rhyme "red sky at night, shepherd’s delight/red sky in the morning, shepherd’s warning" is probably the best known. "When spiders weave webs by noon/fine weather is going to follow soon" is another.

Hundreds of years of folklore have given us many different sayings and ways of predicting the weather, from the prevailing weather on saints’ days (Saint Swithun’s Day is an example) to animal behaviour.

Phil’s antics may indicate spring weather is on the way but the Spring Equinox – the first day of Spring -- will always be six weeks off -- whether he sees his shadow or not.

Let us know what your favourite ways of predicting weather are. And if it’s fine why not get out and about and visit one of our show homes?


27 Jan 2018

Today is International Chocolate Cake Day

International Chocolate Cake Day
There are awareness days for just about anything these days.

Marketers love them. It’s a great way of flogging their products to millions of us every day. But some are just for fun.

We love them at Larkfleet Homes, especially ones that have something to do with food.


That’s why we thought we’d share the news with you that today – 27 January – is International Chocolate Cake Day.

If you’re like us you’re probably close to breaking those diet related New Year’s resolutions. Indulge yourself with some chocolate cake.

So, where does chocolate and chocolate cake come from?

Chocolate use originated with the Mayans and the Aztecs. Chocolate was brought to Europe in the 16th Century by returning Spanish Conquistadors. Spanish monks refined the bitter cacao by adding sugar to sweeten it. The secret was taken to France by a Spanish maid and the craze for chocolate spread across Europe.

In 18th century London drinking chocolate was the 'in thing', replacing coffee as the drink of choice among the London elite.

Up until the 19th century chocolate was only available as drink, created by grinding cocoa pods into a liquor and adding sugar and spices. A Dutchman, Conrad van Houten, developed the chocolate and a process of removing the fat from chocolate and adding potash to make it digestible.

As soon as chocolate could be solidified, industrial chocolate production quickly followed with firms like Cadbury, Fry’s and Terry’s setting up factories in the UK, most famously in Birmingham and York.

Chocolate cake as we know it today, with chocolate added to the cake batter, began to be baked in the late 1800s. Rich chocolate cakes became more widespread in the 1940s, particularly in the US.

There are many different varieties of chocolate cake available today. For a lush chocolate cake recipe, you could do worse than this one from Queen of Bakers Mary Berry.

Enjoy!


24 Jan 2018

Tips for preventing burglary

Crime home security
One of our worse nightmares is coming home to find a door or window open and discovering that we've been burgled.

We don’t want to scare you but, according to the most recently available figures from the Office of National Statistics, the numbers of burglaries recorded by the police in the year to June 2017 was up six per cent on the previous year. And according to police crime prevention figures, homes with no security measures are five times more likely to be burgled than those with even the simplest security measures.

Generally, we live in a safe society. Communities where we have developments are wonderful places to live, but it’s always a good idea to take precautions. Here is some advice from the Home Office on securing your home:
  • Lock your doors and windows every time you leave the house, even when you're just out in the garden, remembering to double-lock UPVC doors (lift handle and turn key).
  • Hide all keys, including car keys, out of sight and away from the letterbox (remember a device could be used to hook keys through the letterbox).
  • Install a visual burglar alarm.
  • Install good outside lighting.
  • Get a trusted neighbour to keep an eye on your property.
  • Leave radios or lights in your house on a timer to make the property appear occupied.
  • Make sure the fences around your garden are in good condition.
  • Secure bikes at home by locking them to an immoveable object inside a locked shed or garage.
  • Keep ladders and tools stored away; don't leave them outside where they could be used to break into your home.
  • Ensure side gates are locked to prevent access to the rear of the property.
  • Ensure rear fencing is in good repair.
  • Improve natural surveillance at the front of your property, eg trim high hedges.
  • Consider joining or forming a Neighbourhood Watch scheme.
  • Remove valuables from view of ground floor windows.
  • Store any high value items (eg, jewellery, passports) in a properly secured safe or bank vault.
If you’re off on holiday, make your home look like someone is living in it.  
  • Use automatic timer-switches to turn your lights and radios on when it goes dark.
  • Cancel any newspaper or milk deliveries.
  • Use the Royal Mail's 'keepsafe' service - they keep your mail for up to two months while you're away. Mail sitting on your doorstep is a sign that you are away.
  • Trusted neighbours may be able to help you by collecting your post, opening and closing curtains and they could park their car on your driveway.
  • Avoid discussing holiday plans on public social networking sites - burglars can use any information you post on there to their advantage.


22 Jan 2018

Missing the festive celebrations? Host a Burns' Night supper

Larkfleet Homes Burns night tips
Christmas and New Years’ celebrations are a distant memory and the lighter evenings are still a way off. So, the Larkfleet Homes' team thought; what better way to pass a January evening than hosting a Burns’ Night supper?

It might sound simple – just a meal of tatties (potatoes), ‘neeps (mashed swede) and Haggis. Not much to do there you might think. But Burns’ Night – the January day given over to commemorating Scotland’s most celebrated poet – is steeped in etiquette and tradition.

Typically held on January 25th, the night is a celebration of Scottish culture. Go traditional if you want to do things properly. The menu could be cock a leekie soup (made with leeks, chicken and barley), haggis (oats and spiced sheep’s offal wrapped in a stomach lining), all served with a whisky sauce. If this doesn’t sound appealing there are vegetarian options available. Finish with the traditional Scottish pudding, cranachan, made with layers of cream, raspberries and oats with whisky and a cheeseboard followed by coffee.

As well as whisky to serve to your guests you will need to keep the beer and wine flowing for lots of toasting during the evening.

Set the mood by playing some traditional Scottish music. If you haven't got that - something by Rod Stewart might do!

Start by welcoming your guests and reciting the Selkirk Grace:

Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it,
But we hae meat and we can eat,
And sae the Lord be thankit.

When you bring in the haggis it’s time to pipe it in while a guest recites the address to the haggis – a rendition of Burns’ poem To a Haggis.

Finish with a rousing rendition of Auld Lang Syne.


19 Jan 2018

Dry January doesn’t have to be boring January

Dry January, non-alcoholic drinks
If you’re anything like us, you are probably all partied out and have finally come down after the festive period – which seems like a distant memory now.

Many of us are taking part in Dry January, the alcohol awareness initiative that was original started by the charity Alcohol Concern back in 2012.


The event has grown over the years and now five million Britons are giving up the booze for a month.

Quite apart from the health benefits – including improved sleep and some healthy weight loss – giving up your favourite tipple for a month can also save you a few quid.

It is more than half way through the month though and statistics suggest that one third of folk who started Dry January will have ‘fallen off the wagon’ by now. And many more of us are thinking about quitting the campaign – along other New Years’ resolutions.

So, how can you motivate yourself to stick it out to the end of the month – and what can you replace alcohol with to keep your meals and entertaining interesting?

The team at Larkfleet Homes has a few ideas:

  • Ginger-based drinks like ginger ale or fiery ginger beer can add a zest to your evening. It goes without saying that you should avoid the alcoholic ones – at least for this month.
  • Mocktails – Host a mocktail party. Here are some great non-alcoholic cocktails that you can try. Mulled apple juice is particularly good for a cold January evening.
  • Hot drinks – Have a look at some alternatives to instant coffee - ideal for these cold winter evenings. Try sweet chai tea, Mexican spiced hot cocoa, malted hot cocoa with marshmallows or spicy cranberry drink for starters.
  • Water – Adam’s Ale is a great standby. For an alternative to boring tap water there are plenty of premium bottled mineral waters you could offer guests. Brands include AquaFina, Evian, Fiji, San Pellegrino Volvic and Voss.

Enjoy, and remember you are almost at the end of Dray January. There’s just over a week to go – good luck. If you really can’t hold out, we'll see you down at the pub!


16 Jan 2018

Seven groups receive cash from Larkfleet Homes Community Fund

Larkfleet Homes Community Fund
At Larkfleet Homes we aim to help communities develop and become more cohesive.

That’s why we set up the Larkfleet Homes Community Fund. So far, it has donated nearly £50,000 to community groups and ventures across the country which support our vision of integrating new developments into the community.


Recently, the fund has welcomed applications from groups that focus on activities that enhance or develop local communities. In the past few weeks the fund has awarded grants of up to £10,000 to each of seven projects.

Applicants were invited to send their proposals which were then reviewed by a judging panel. The panel is managed by the Cambridgeshire Community Foundation which administers the fund.

The successful groups were awarded money for a range of projects and our congratulations go to:
  • Thorney Parish Council, for a zip-wire, trampolines, outdoor gym and swings for the older children of Thorney.
  • Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust, for wood-working equipment for retiree volunteers to produce signage for interpretation and education.
  • Donington Parish Council, to provide a garden shed and equipment for herb and wild flower beds.
  • Families First Peterborough CIC, to continue an arts and crafts workshop for young people and adults who are leaving care homes to make their own way in the community.
  • Sawtry and District Bowling Club, to provide ramps which will improve access to the club’s facilities.
  • Moulton Chapel Youth & Community Centre, to build a playground including inclusive play equipment for children of all abilities.
  • Somerset Sight Limited, to reduce isolation and loneliness by providing six additional outings for 12 sight-impaired adults.
Our CEO Karl Hick, said: “It’s really important to us that when we build new homes for people, we actually develop communities. Being able to support the fantastic charities and volunteer groups in the areas we are working in is vital. These groups are very often the backbone of the community and the support which the winners of this round of funding offer to the people who use their services is immeasurable.

“Thank you to everyone who contacted us about the fund. We really look forward to hearing over the coming months how the donation has helped your group.”

Karen Leader of Sawtry and District Bowling Club told us: “As a club we’re really passionate about bringing together a wide range of different people from our community. It helps reduce isolation for some and encourages people to take part in physical activity which is fantastic.

“By successfully being granted money from the Larkfleet Homes Community Fund, we’ll be able to make our club even more inclusive by improving access to the bowling green and club house. People of all abilities will be able to take part. We are so grateful, and I know it will help make people happier, healthier and feel more connected for years to come.”

Cambridgeshire Community Foundation manages The Larkfleet Homes Community Fund on our behalf. If you are part of, or know of, any community or voluntary group that wants to find out more about the fund visit www.tiny.cc/larkfleet-fund, telephone 01223 410535 or email info@cambscf.org.uk


15 Jan 2018

How does it feel? 8 ways to banish the Winter blues

beat Blue Monday plan activities
Apparently, today is Blue Monday. No, it’s not a celebration of the tune by the band New Order. It’s the day of the year that Britons feel the most miserable.

Blue Monday is the most depressing day of the year.

Of course, we're all different. so it is an average. How do you feel today?

Originally conceived by Sky Travel, the date of Blue Monday (typically the third Monday in January) is arrived at by a complex formula created by academic Dr Chris Arnall that considers factors such as post-Christmas debt, the weather, low motivational levels and time since failing on those New Year’s resolutions we all make.

But fear not. Let’s make the day as positive as we can. Never ones to get down in the dumps, the Larkfleet Homes team has come up with a few suggestions to help you banish the winter blues.


  1. Get as much natural light as you can. Get out doors as much as possible and take steps to let as much natural light as possible into your home.  Keep the curtains and blinds open and cut back any foliage or plants which block light.
  2. Try and have as healthy a diet as possible. Consider dietary supplements that can boost moods. Get some daily exercise, reduce your caffeine and alcohol intake and get regular sleep at night. But don’t forget the old adage that a little of what you fancy does you good – you’re not a Spartan.
  3. Book a holiday and enjoy some winter sun. If you can’t go on holiday, now’s the time to plan your summer holiday. Looking at all those pictures of bright blues skies and sun-kissed beaches should help to lift your spirits.
  4. Curl up with a good book – something positive and inspiring – or settle down to watch a favourite film.
  5. Brighten up your home with flowers. Your best choice is orange as research has shown that longer wavelength (orange) light has a positive effect on mood and cognitive function.
  6. Giving your self something to look forward to will help to keep you positive. Organise a social event with family and friends. Or, plan a weekend activity.
  7. Keeping warm will help to keep the blues at bay. Feeling cold makes us feel miserable, we think you’ll agree. Wrap up warm. Have hot drinks and keep your home heated as much as possible.
  8. Do something creative or indulge in your favourite hobby. That should distract you from the negative aspects of the season.

Whatever you do be positive and remember – Spring isn’t far away – some Spring flowers are already bringing a splash of colour to front gardens and roadsides up and down the country.


14 Jan 2018

Rejuvenate your old stuff with upcycling

Rejuvenate old stuff upcycling
January New Year de-cluttering underway? Perhaps you have found a few things that you are attached to and can’t bring yourself to bin, even though you’re not using them.

That’s where upcycling comes in. Why not give that old chair or table a new lease of life with some simple sanding, varnishing or repainting? What else can you rejuvenate to suit your 2018 style and décor?


So, what exactly is upcycling? In brief, it is the creative re-use of unwanted items into something new or a new product altogether. You could produce some new furniture for your home – or even sell what you make via Ebay or Etsy if you’re feeling entrepreneurial.

Got some tired Ikea furniture? Before you chuck it, consider spray painting it another colour to match your new décor. Be right up to the minute and use Pantone’s Ultaviolet – colour of the year 2018.

If you have untreated wooden storage boxes, give them a makeover by waxing or oiling them to change colour and look.

Tired of that boring plain pine chest of drawers? Paint the top and sides in a colour of your choice. Then, choose a complementary wallpaper and cover the drawers. Also, consider changing the handles. You can find loads of accessories and fittings in DIY stores like B&Q.

Breathe some new life into your dull pine kitchen table. You could paint it using bold contrasting colours. Cover the top with patterned oilcloth. Consider converting it into a wash stand, office desk or console table using paints, tiles and wall paper. There are some ideas here.

Upcycle old chairs with paint, decoupage or recovering in a new material. Add padding to a plain wooden kitchen chair.

Paint old flower pots to bring a splash of colour to your window sill or potting shed.

Rejuvenate metal patio chairs by spraying them to create a jazzy ombre effect.

If you have some old pine shelves give them a new lease of life by sanding, repainting and adding a contrasting wall paper to the back of it to add interest.

There are a million things you can do to transform your old belongings into something new and beautiful. Explore Pinterest if you are stuck for some ideas.


09 Jan 2018

Larkfleet gives football’s next generation a helping hand

Larkfleet Homes sponsors Baston Juniors FC
The FA Cup is in full swing. The Fourth-Round draw has been done and local side Peterborough United scooped a home draw against either Fleetwood or Leicester City.

We enjoy football at Larkfleet Homes, so we are delighted to help youngsters in nearby Baston enjoy the ‘Beautiful Game’.


We are helping talented local youngsters to stay dry and look cool by sponsoring waterproof jackets worn by Baston Junior Football Club’s under-14s squad.

The new Joma Bench Rain Jackets, featuring the club badge and players’ initials on the front, with the Larkfleet logo on the back, are worn by the U14s to keep them warm and dry on the training pitch and on match days.

Baston Junior FC was established in summer 2015 and they have been successful in their first couple of seasons. The current U14s squad played its first season in the U12 Division 1 of the Peterborough Junior Alliance League.

They won the League Cup and finished second in the league. They also reached the final of the Lincolnshire U12 County Cup, which was held at Stamford’s ground.

As U13s in the 2016/2017 season the team won the coveted PFA Cup played at the ABAX Stadium, home of Peterborough United, and just missed out on winning the league.

The ambitious team is playing up a year for the current season 2017/18. Despite being an U14s squad, Baston Juniors are currently playing in the Peterborough Youth League U15 Division 2.

Our joint managing director Helen Hick said: “Larkfleet is committed to supporting the local community and it’s a pleasure to sponsor the Baston Juniors FC rain jackets.

“We consider ourselves to be a winning team here at Larkfleet and it is great to be associated with such a successful local football team. Our logo will be on display when the players are out and about in the region representing their team.”

Who knows, some of these lads could be playing in the FA Cup in the future.


08 Jan 2018

Dealing with a cold snap

January is well and truly here. And with it comes more cold weather. The coldest months of the winter in the UK are usually between now and March - and it's certainly cold outside right now!

So, how can we make sure we keep warm and stay healthy as the mercury drops? Here are our top tips for keeping warm as temperatures plunge this winter.

  • It’s easier to warm yourself up than it is to raise the room temperature. Instead of turning up the heating, add another layer of clothing.
  • Layering up with several layers of thinner clothing is better than a single thick layer of clothing.
  • Any exposed surface on your body will cause you to lose heat. Cover up and make sure you wear a hat when you go outside.
  • Keep cosy under the covers by using an electric blanket or a hot water bottle. Never use the two together though.
  • Make sure you block out any drafts. Buy draft excluders or have a go at making your own. Get a foam swimming buoyancy tube – cut it in half, cover in fabric and slide it under the door.
  • Draw your curtains and blinds to keep in heat as dusk falls.
  • Don’t forget to set your programmable thermostat so that your home is always toasty when you get in from work. You can even set it using your smart phone.
  • It’s not the most cost-effective way of heating – but if you enjoy baking you will find that having your oven on will provide a boost to your heating.
  • Get some handwarmers to put in your coat pockets when you’re out and about.

Stay warm and stay healthy this winter.