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In this two-minute read, we share three short stories to make you smile. We may be in the middle of a winter lockdown, but there are still plenty of reasons to be cheerful. Here are a few upbeat stories from around the world to lift your mood.


Animal adoptions on track

A campaign to promote animal adoptions has been a hit with Moscow commuters. Thirteen of the city's animal shelters joined forces to turn a standard Metro train into the Tails and Paws train.

The Tails and Paws' interior is plastered with photographs of cats and dogs living in animal shelters in the city. Next to each image is a QR code that people can scan to read a profile of the animal and decide if they want to adopt it. In just one week, 22 animals featured in the Tails and Paws train found forever homes. Pawsome.

The Prime Minister announced at 8pm this evening people in England will be going back into lockdown tomorrow following a surge in Coronavirus cases.

The tighter restrictions include schools shutting until the February half-term for most pupils. People must now work from home if they can, and only essential shops can remain open.

Which leads us to how these new measures will affect people wanting and needing to move home.

According to the Government’s latest advice issued on its website, people CAN still move home as long as they follow the guidelines in place.

The section which addresses the property market states.

Moving home

You can still move home. People outside your household or support bubble should not help with moving house unless absolutely necessary.

New Year, New Hope …….. New Home?

A 90-second speed read to share some resolution ideas to bring some hope in 2021.

99.9 per cent of us cannot wait to see the back of 2020.

And what better time to draw a line under this ‘unprecedented’ year than the opportunity to welcome in a new year. And one which brings new hope.

Below are 10 of the most common resolutions people have made over the past five years, according to polling website You.Gov.

- Exercise more.

- Eat more healthily.

- Lose weight.

- Budget finances better.

- Learn something new.

- Spend more time with friends and family. (Fingers crossed).

In this two-minute read, we look at five Christmassy things to do with the kids that won’t break the bank.

Covid-19 has put the kibosh on big family gatherings and trips to the panto this Christmas, but there are still plenty of ways you can get into the festive spirit with your little ones. 

Here are five low-cost activities that will bring comfort and joy to your children during the holiday season.

1. Go on a Christmas lights walk/drive

Kids love a bit of razzle-dazzle so take them on a night-time tour – either by foot or car – of the most bling light displays in your area. Make an event out of it by taking along a flask of hot chocolate, and a few Christmas treats to nibble on as you marvel at the inflatable Santas, luminous reindeers, and flashing penguins on show.

2. Get crafty

Turn pine cones into mini Christmas trees with this easy-peasy craft project. The first step is to source your pine cones (from either the floor of your local woods or a craft shop). Give each pine cone a coat of green paint. Let them dry and then paint the edge of each pine cone scale white to represent snow. Add splodges of red and gold paint for lights, and glue on pom poms for baubles.

 

In this two-minute read, we trace the origins of some of the sights, sounds, and smells of Christmas.

Christmas is a time of mistletoe and mulled wine, twinkly trees, and messages from the monarch.

It seems like many people can’t wait for the festive break.

So, let’s explore the history behind the enduring Christmas customs many of us enjoy.

Why do we decorate Christmas trees?

In Pagan times, evergreens were placed in the home to ward off evil spirits and to remind people during the depths of winter that spring would return.

By the 16th century, devout Christians in Germany, who believed evergreen trees symbolised everlasting life, had taken things a step further. They decorated evergreen conifers with apples, paper roses, and candles (which they then lit) creating an incredible spectacle – and a terrible fire hazard.

King George III and his German wife Charlotte were among the first to adopt the Christmas tree tradition in England, and it was later popularised by Queen Victoria and her German-born husband, Albert.

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