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Your Way To A Scrumptious Summer – Summer Recipes

Summer is on our doorstep and it’s barbeque season! With the warmer weather on the horizon it’s time to get outdoors and make the most of the summer season.

Whether it’s a light summer salad or a full evening meal, Miller Homes employees have compiled some of their favourite tastes of the Med to inspire you. All of these can be easily made and Miller Homes’ kitchens are ideal as they are spacious and designed with functionality in mind and are perfect for enjoying in your gorgeous garden (weather permitting!).

5 A Day Moroccan Tagine

Ingredients

  • 4 carrots, cut into chunks
  • 4 small parsnips, or 3 large, cut into chunks
  • 3 red onions, cut into wedges
  • 2 red peppers, deseeded and cut into chunks
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp each ground cumin, paprika, cinnamon and mild chilli powder
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 small handfuls soft dried apricots
  • 2 tsp honey


Method

Heat oven to 200°c/fan 180°c/gas 6. Scatter the veg over a couple of baking trays, drizzle with half the oil, season and then rub the oil over the veg with your hands to coat. Roast for 30 minutes until tender and beginning to brown.

Meanwhile, fry the spices in the remaining oil for 1 minute – they should sizzle and start to smell aromatic. Tip in the tomatoes, apricots, honey and a cup of water. Simmer for 5 minutes until the sauce is slightly reduced and the apricots plump, then stir in the veg and some seasoning. Serve with couscous or jacket potatoes.

Simple But Classic Greek Salad

Ingredients

  • 4 large vine tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1 cucumber roughly chopped
  • ½ a red onion, thinly sliced
  • 16 olives
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 85g feta cheese, cut into chunks
  • 4 tbsp Greek extra virgin olive oil


Method

Place all of the ingredients in a bowl, lightly season, then serve with crusty bread to mop up all of those beautiful juices. We love Jamie Oliver’s method for making this classic summer dish.

Summer Italian Traybake

This served 6 adults and 3 children

Ingredients

  • 4 baking potatoes (approx. 750g total) unpeeled and cut into 2 cm chunks
  • 10 chicken thighs bone in and skin on
  • 8 good quality sausages
  • small bunch (6 or 7 sprigs) of rosemary
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt flakes or ½ teaspoon pouring salt
  • ground pepper

Serve with fresh bread and green veg or salad.

Method

Preheat the oven to 200°c. Put the potatoes into a large, shallow baking tray and add the chicken thighs and sausages, you might have to put over 2 trays depending on size of trays, and doesn’t matter if they are all a bit squished in. Arrange about 4 sprigs of the rosemary among the chicken and sausages, then finely chop the needles of another 2 sprigs to give you about 2 teaspoons and sprinkle these on top of everything. Zest the lemon and season with the salt and a good grinding of pepper. Drizzle with the oil and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the chicken skin and sausages are golden and the potato pieces are cooked through. If using 2 trays then swap round in the oven so they cook evenly.

Make sure chicken is cooked thoroughly before eating.

Fruit and vegetables are in their prime during the summer and nothing is better than an ice cold drink on a warm summer day. Smoothies are perfect for any time of the day whether you are in a rush in the morning and don’t have much time for breakfast or are looking to get more of your 5 a day into your diet. London based blogger Deliciously Ella has a variety of great recipes for healthy smoothies and juices that you can quench your thirst this season. One of our favourites is her Natural Vitamin Water.

If our suggestions have tantalised your tastebuds, we’d love to hear how you got on! Send us a picture via our twitter account or leave us a comment here on our blog.

Be sure to check out our Pinterest board dedicated to recipes that you can try at home. 

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Celebrate Your Local History

local comm history

As we know from our series of location blogs the location of your new home is a vital part of the moving process and can have a huge impact on your final decision. However , no matter where you live in the United Kingdom you are never far from a vast array of history and during the month of May the country will celebrate Local Community History Month which aims to increase awareness about the wealth of history which surrounds us.

To commemorate Local Community History Month we have chosen a few of our developments in various locations throughout the UK and delved deep into the history to dig out some hidden historic gems.

-          Victoria Mills – Dunfermline

Dunfermline is a town and a former Royal Burgh of Fife and was first recorded in the 11th century, with the marriage of Malcolm III, King of Scotland, and Saint Margaret at The Great Abbey of Dunfermline.  The Abbey Church is the last resting place of many of Scotland’s monarchy and is only a short drive away from our Victoria Mills development.

A notable figure who hails from Dunfermline is Scottish American industrialist, Andrew Carnegie, who led the expansion of the American steel industry in the 19th century. Carnegie was born in the town in 1835 but emigrated to the United States with his parents in 1848. He presented his home town with a number of gifts which included a library and swimming baths. Most important of all he donated the Pittencrieff Estate after he purchased it in 1903 to be converted into Pittencrieff Park.

-          Stretton Glen – Great Glen, Leicester

Believed to have been founded in 50AD, Leicester boasts the title of the tenth largest city in the United Kingdom and is one of the oldest cities in England. Our development, Stretton Glen, is based in the village of Great Glen, seven miles from the city of Leicester.

Famously highlighted by the media in more recent times is that of the search for King Richard III’s remains. King Richard was originally buried in Greyfriars Church at the end of the War of the Roses, a series of battles for the throne of England. In 2012, the University of Leicester and Leicester City Council announced that they had begun a search of a car park where the church used to be and earlier this year his remains were reburied in Leicester Cathedral.

-          Gate House Fold, Bamber Bridge

Bamber Bridge is a large village in Lancashire and is three miles south-east of the city of Preston. Gate House Fold is set on the edge of the village with open farmland stretching to the east and is a delightfully landscaped development.

Historically the village is documented due to the ‘Battle of Bamber Bridge’. During the Second World War, Bamber Bridge played host to a number of American servicemen with their base located on Mounsey Road, part of which still exists now as home to 2376 Squadron of the Air Training Corps. Trouble began in the summer of 1943 between a number of soldiers after a dispute over racial tensions. A fight broke out in the end and guns were drawn with local police urging members of the public to stay indoors.

-          Philosophers Gate & Terlings Park, Hertfordshire

Located just north of London, the county of Hertfordshire borders Essex, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridge and is home to many of our developments including Philosophers Gate in Ashwell and Terlings Park in Gilston.

Hertfordshire is featured in some of the world’s best loved literacy. In Oscar Wilde’s famous ‘The Importance of Being Ernest,’ Hertfordshire is the base of the main character, Jack Worthing’s, country house. Other notable mentions include Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’ which is mostly set in the county and ‘Bleak House’ by Charles Dickens.

Finding out about your local community history can be very simple and information is readily available. Not only do we have the luxury of the internet but local churches, libraries and town halls can be fountains of knowledge about your community.

The Historical Association has created an online database that has access to information about local events up and down the country.

For information on our locations throughout the country please click here


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Decorating your first home

decorating your new home

For some home owners once they have moved in and unpacked it’s time to sit back and enjoy their new home, for others it’s the start of putting your stamp on your home. We’re sure you’ve heard that one of the benefits of buying a new build home is that it’s a blank canvas for you to work with, although for first time or new home buyers choosing where to start can be hard.

By decorating and accessorising you’ll be able to add your personality into your home. Although it’s advised that you don’t decorate (paint walls or hang wallpaper) for the first year from when your home was built. Until you can decorate the walls there are still a lot of other things you can do to bring your home to life. Picking colours, themes and furnishings for your new home can be very exciting but to get the tasks done you’ll need a few items.

Essential items for home decor

If this is your first home it’s unlikely that you’ll be stocked for home décor. You’ll need to purchase the essentials for your DIY work you may need more decorating tools but our list should hopefully get you started.

Dustsheet

Protect your flooring and furniture by laying out dustsheets before starting any work. There are a variety of dustsheets available from heavy weight, lightweight or plastic disposable your choice is likely to depend on the job they are required for.

Screwdriver

A selection of screwdrivers would be useful for moving in things such as shelves, furniture and fitting electrical items* such as wall lights, ceiling lights, switches and sockets.

*Always turn of the mains before removing anything electrical, if you’re unsure hire a professional electrician.

Sharp knife

This can be used to open tubes of decorators caulk, packets of filler and wallpaper paste and for cutting wallpaper, or even to sharpen your pencil.

Hammer

This will be useful for a variety of house hold chores and tasks including hanging up pictures, mirrors and shelves.

Painting essentials

A selection of good quality paintbrushes is often useful for in your toolbox, a range from ½ inch up to 3 or 4 inch is ideal, the most commonly used are 1 ½ and 1 inch brushes.

A roller cage should last you a long time, or even years depending on how much you use it. A 9 inch roller will be most useful allowing you to cover walls and ceilings quickly. For small and hard to reach areas a mini roller can be very useful. You’ll need a tray for your roller and it’s not essential but you might also want a smaller tray for you mini roller.

Masking tape

This can be used to hold dustsheets in place, masking skirting and architraves and a handy thing to have in your toolbox.

Now you have the essentials it’s time to pick your themes and colours.

There are a few things to consider when decorating, such as do you want a running theme throughout out home or themed rooms. Considering your local area as you can incorporate it into your home décor. If you live near the seaside decorating with coastal accessories and colours can work really well.

Colours and themes

Choosing neutral colours for the walls and floors can be a good option as you can use accessories to create the theme or look that you’re going for. You could choose colours, themes or patterns that you switch seasonally.  When you’re decorating keep in mind the furniture and the layout of the room.

Trends

If you’re lost for inspirations for your home décor don’t worry we’re here to help. We keep up to date with industry trends and tips from our interior designers across the UK. We share their tips and trends on our blog. We also have a variety of interior inspiration boards on our Pinterest feel free to get pinning.

You might find relevant information on new build homes in the NHBC’s practical guide to looking after your new home.  
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Results of the General Election 2015

Chris Endsor

Commenting on the results of the 2015 General Election, Chris Endsor, Chief Executive of Miller Homes, said: “We were very pleased to see housebuilding was high on the agenda for all political parties during the 2015 General Election campaign. 

“Over the past five years, the coalition government introduced a number of measures to support housebuilding, which have had a positive impact on the industry and the wider economy.   We hope the commitments laid out in the Conservative party’s manifesto to home ownership, including extending Help to Buy and the forthcoming introduction of the Help to Buy ISA along with the Starter Home initiative, will help the market maintain the momentum which has been built in the last couple of years and see growth in housebuilding continue apace.

“As well as offering strong stimulus to support the market at all levels, and particularly to help first time buyers realise their aspirations of home ownership, we believe it is imperative that the new government ensures that the efficiency of the planning system is a key priority.  The effectiveness of the planning system is critical if the industry is to successfully support the delivery of the new government’s ambitious target for new homes.” 

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Location location location Ashbourne

Lodge chase farm

Our recent blogs have focused on the arrival of Miller Homes developments at some of the most desirable places to live in the UK. Here we continue the theme by taking a closer look at Derbyshire and more specifically the pretty market town of Ashbourne, where a selection of two, three and four-bedroom new properties are available at our Lodge Farm Chase development.

Ashbourne sits midway between Stoke and Derby, on the southern boundary of the Peak District National Park, one of the UK’s designated areas of outstanding natural beauty.

Ashbourne

The town of Ashbourne features an attractive mixture of historic buildings and modern shops, bars and restaurants, a cobbled marketplace, hidden alleyways and medieval yards. The elegant Church Street at the heart of the town centre is considered to be one of the finest collections of Georgian buildings in Derbyshire.

Lodge Farm Chase

Lodge Farm Chase sits close to the Peak District which forms the southern end of the Pennines and much of the area is uplands above 1,000 feet. Despite its name, the landscape generally lacks sharp peaks but is home to rounded green hills and pretty rolling countryside that attracts millions of visitors each year.

Henmore Brook winds its way through Ashbourne, which is famed for its annual two-day Royal Shrovetide Tuesday football match, in which one half of the town plays the other at football, using the town as the pitch, with the goals three miles apart. A great array of pubs and in the town centre makes Ashbourne a popular leisure destination for visitors and local residents alike.

Get outdoors

Walking and cycling trails run through nearby Tissington and the Limestone Way, a walk through the limestone landscape in the White Peak area of the Peak District National Park, is just three miles away from Ashbourne – making it an ideal place to settle for people who love the great outdoors.

Thrill seekers

The Alton Towers theme park is a short drive away from the town, along with the breath taking beauty of Chatsworth House and gardens, the 12th century splendour of Haddon Hall manor house, and Carsington Water, a popular destination for those who enjoy sailing, walking and biking.

House hunters will be pleased to learn that in addition to great transport and leisure activities, there are plenty of practical aspects to Ashbourne too. The town sits in close proximity to the M1 and M6 and is supported by a strong network of ‘A’ roads, making it an ideal base for those looking to commute.

Ashbourne also has a selection of supermarkets within half-a-mile radius and local health provision is of a high standard, as are the area’s state schools, which maintain an excellent reputation, as does the town’s modern, spacious leisure centre and swimming pool.

For more information on the Miller Homes development at Lodge Farm Chase, please click here or contact 0808 278 4703.

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