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Blog

Summer fun with the family

Bubbles

With the school holidays well underway, the challenge for parents is to keep their children entertained over the summer. Don’t despair, with developments located all across the UK, we know there are a lot of activities that you can do, around your home, in your local area or further afield if you choose.

Activities

The summer is a great time to explore theme parks and attractions across the UK.  Keep a look out for theme park deals as buying tickets at the gates can be costly especially if you are buying for a family.

An example of the deals of offer is with Tesco’s Clubcard, you can exchange points for vouchers which can be used at the following parks across the UK.

M&Ds Theme Park

Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Legoland

Drayton Manor

Home and garden

There are lots of activities you can have fun with in your home and garden.

Create your own tent or den

Children love making their own tents and dens – they can be made from old, unused curtains, clothes and sheets. The Eden Project provides lots of great ideas on how to help your children make a den.

Camp out and star gaze

Enjoy the long summer evenings by having a camp out in your garden. Start the evening with an alfresco dinner, as the BBQ is cooling off toast marshmallows and when the sun sets enjoy an evening of star gazing.  Read our BBQ top tips blog.

Mini crazy golf circuit

On the back of the Open Championship create your own mini crazy golf circuit in your garden. All you’ll need is to find pipes, trays, wood and anything else that would work to make your course. Pick up a couple of clubs and golf balls at a sports shop such as Decathlon and let the championships commence!

Craft box

Arts and crafts are a great way to keep the kids entertained, especially on days where the weather isn’t great. Sign up for a craft box from Toucan Box, which is a subscription service that delivers arts and crafts kits to children, they are suitable for 3-8 year olds. The boxes include activities and craft materials such as stencils, stickers, pens and paper. The Toucan boxes prices start from £3.95 for their Petite Box.

Get gardening

If you have a little gardening work to do give the kids their own little section of the garden to look after. You can teach them the basics of gardening and how to care for their own plants or vegetables. Read our gardening blog for more tips on how to get the family involved.

Explore your local area

If you are new to your area or just feel as if you should explore what’s on your own doorstep check out libraries, local tourist information centres and council websites for information about what they have going on. Your local council's website or magazine should have lists with lots of free or inexpensive activities for children to do over the school holidays. It’s also worth looking into what activities local libraries are putting on.

Across the UK there are lots of free museums and galleries to explore, click here to find one near you.

Geocaching

If you've got a GPS device, try geocaching, a cheap way to put a smile on kids' faces. Geocaching is a great way to teach the whole family about the local area and maybe even further afield. Geocaching is a real world outdoor treasure hunt at specific locations, which usually lead you to goodies!

If you would like to find geocaching near you sign up for a free membership then enter your postcode. Enter the co-ordinates of your chosen site on your GPS and off you go!

Playday National Day

Playday is the national day for play in the UK, traditionally held on the first Wednesday in August. Playday 2015 is on 5 August. On Playday thousands of children and their families get out to play at hundreds of community events across the UK. From small-scale events to thousands of children taking over Trafalgar Square – Playday is celebrated by each community in a way that suits them.

Click here to find events near across the country.

Check out this great printable summer holiday planner and visit our Pinterest boards for ideas for food, DIY, your home and garden that will keep you and the family busy this summer.

We’d love to hear what you have planned for this summer?

Visit our website to find out more about our developments across the UK.

Image by Ryan Hyde licenced via Creative Commons

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Location location location Gateshead

Gateshead

Gateshead is a lively hub of activity, offering residents a winning combination of great local amenities, stunning spots of nature, iconic landmarks and cultural venues. Located just a short distance from Newcastle City Centre, it also has excellent transport links.  

For a relaxing retreat in the heart of Gateshead’s urban community, Saltwell Park’s historical and peaceful grounds are a favourite with people from all walks of life. Nestled in the heart of the borough, this award-winning park attracts over two million visitors each year. There’s lots to see and do, with beautiful ornamental and woodland gardens, an educational centre, Saltwell Towers visitor centre, a boating lake, bowling greens, play areas and an exciting maze.

With the iconic Angel of the North, one of the country’s most talked about pieces of public art, dominating its skyline Gateshead is definitely a cultural hotspot.

The Gateshead Quayside is home to two of the region’s most iconic art and entertainment venues. The Sage Gateshead brings a diverse collection of international music to the North East, as well as offering performance, learning and participation opportunities. Just next door, the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art displays an ever-changing calendar of art exhibitions and events, showcasing everything from blockbuster exhibitions from well-known artists, to innovative collections from artists in the local community.   

If sport is more your thing, Gateshead International Stadium regularly hosts many national and international events, including sporting events such as athletics and rugby, as well as concerts, fairs and festivals. The stadium also has public access to many ultra-modern facilities, including a gym, café, football pitches and an indoor athletics training hall.

An array of shops, bars and restaurants can be found in the bustling area of Low Fell, rivalling those found in the neighbouring Newcastle City Centre. A brand new multiplex cinema is also nearby at retail and leisure destination Trinity Square, while Gateshead is also home to Europe’s largest shopping centre intu Metrocentre. So, whether it’s shopping for those everyday essentials, meeting friends for evening drinks or dining out with the family, you’ll be sure to find a location that suits.

Gateshead is a fantastic residential area boasting something for everyone, a real gem in the North East.

Find out more information on our Park View and Bishops Park developments in Gateshead, or our other developments in the North East on our website

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On your travels

On your travels

Our home décor can really be personalised by taking inspiration from a variety of sources. As we hit the holiday season, travel and the culture of different countries can offer endless opportunities for inspiration, which can be built upon over the years.

No matter if your favourite travel destination is in Europe, South America or Asia, there are lots of ways that you can bring this part of your life and the world into your home.

We’ve taken a look at some of the most popular travel destinations for people in the UK and some of the items you could collect whilst you are there.

Spain

Spain is a great place to pick up brightly coloured and patterned handmade pottery. Markets are held in most Spanish towns once or even twice a week. At the markets you can pick up fresh produce, crockery and textiles, which you could use to make items such as curtains or table cloths.

One of the most popular patterns you’ll find in Spain is Moorish. You can find handmade tiles, pottery and textiles all displaying the traditional Moorish pattern.

               

Netherlands

Cloggs and wooden shoes are a typical tourist item to buy in the Netherlands, however they can make great ornaments for your home. They’ll look great either on a shelf or hung from a wall.

Delftware originates from Delft in the Netherlands. Delfts blauw more commonly known to us as blue porcelain, is sold almost everywhere in The Netherlands. You can get an endless variety of items in the classic Delftware pattern.

 

Turkey 

The spice markets in Turkey are a fantastic experience, you’ll find stall after stall displaying countless sacks of spices. You’ll also find lots of spice grinders and racks, in a variety of colours and styles.  This will be a great accessory in your kitchen.

Turkey's tribal carpets and kilims represent a cultural tradition that goes back centuries. Kilims will look great in your living room under a coffee table and are much cheaper and better quality than what you could buy in the UK. Collectors travel from all over the world to snap up the carpets and kilims made in Turkey because of their expert artistry and quality.

 

Mexico

Mexican pottery reflects ancient techniques and modern skills. Uriarte is the place to go for tiles, pottery and ceramics, they have a large selection.

Textiles are another item that is worth picking up whilst you’re in Mexico. To decorate a home in traditional Mexican style, look out for bright warm toned hand-woven rugs and blankets.               

 

Morocco

During your visit to Morocco you’ll see hundreds of different types of ceramics, including plates, bowls, cups, and decorative pieces.

Traditional Moroccan colours are bright, but you’ll still be able to find natural coloured ceramics and pottery.  Make sure you wrap any ceramics or pottery that you buy in bubble wrap or even a beach towel will help to protect your items from breaking whilst you are travelling. 

A handmade Moroccan lamp or lantern is a great home décor item and they can be easily transported. At markets and shops you’ll find an extensive range of shapes, sizes and materials.

 

Thailand

               

If you’re visiting Thailand bring home a mango wood vase - you’ll be able to find them in a variety of shapes and sizes.

You should also take a look at the bright coloured and patterned table runners available in Thailand. Table runners are light weight, therefore perfect for fitting into a suitcase or backpack.

If you visit the Thai markets you’ll be able to pick up fresh soap ornaments. You could hang them in your home or car as they look and smell nice.

Thai silk, is another great purchase which can be made into household items such as cushion covers, table mats, runners and bed spreads. The silk can be found in a variety of bright colours. If the silk is a little out of your budget you’ll be able to find similar textiles at market stalls and beach vendors.

Throughout Thailand you’ll find a lot of very pretty lamps, lanterns and fairy lights. The lamps and lanterns all come in a great range of colours and patterns that will look really nice at home.

Buying authentic items whilst you are on your travels can create an interesting talking point for visitors.

For more inspiration for home décor visit our Pinterest boards.

Do you have items in your home that you have bought on your travels? 

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Career profile: Charlotte Little

Role: Area Sales and Marketing Administrator
Based: Basingstoke and covering the Midlands and South
 
Can you describe a bit about what your job involves?
 
In my role I provide support for the sales team by looking after the marketing activity for the region.  This is a varied role, which involves maintaining and updating content on the Miller Homes website and property sites (Rightmove, Zoopla, Help To Buy South / Midlands etc), issuing email communication to our database, co-coordinating production of development brochures, liaising with agencies, analysis of marketing campaigns and occasional development photography
 

How did you get into your chosen career? What experience and qualifications do you have?

I worked in arts marketing for six years at a charitable arts organisation. I also attended training courses in both marketing and graphic design. After then going down the graphic design route and working at a design agency for a while, I decided I missed the marketing aspect so joined Miller Homes in October 2014. As it was a new role in the company, it was a good opportunity to develop it and make it my own.
 
What do you enjoy most about working for Miller Homes and what are the best bits about your job?

Miller Homes is incredibly supportive of its employees and offers great opportunities to progress within the company. It is a very rewarding place to work and all my colleagues are very supportive of each other. I like the fact that I have been allowed to make my role my own and have been encouraged to come up with new ideas for marketing. It’s also lovely to be able to get out on site to take photos or travel to the Derby office to meet with colleagues there. I love the variety and the chance to work with a mix of people across different departments.
 
What would you say to someone looking to enter the industry?
 

I would recommend it – there are a great variety of roles available and it’s a rewarding career.

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Create your own

Create your own

Handmade items can make a house a home. They can be pricey but with lots of how to guides and tutorials online there is no reason why you can’t create your own. Hand crafted home accessories create a casual or rustic air to the overall look and feel of a room.

Knitting and crocheting is a trendy hobby to get into, with lots of people becoming craftsy even celebrities such as Sarah Jessica Parker, Kate Middleton and Kristen Stewart. It’s also a relatively cheap hobby and one that you can enjoy from your garden, commuting to work or in your favourite café.

What are you waiting on, let’s get knitting!

If you’re new to knitting it can be tempting to go into your local crafts store and splurge on endless amounts of wool and an array needles. We suggest trying to hold back, as to do your first couple of projects you won’t need lots of supplies and it’s best to find out if you will enjoy it!

So, what do you need to get started?

- Yarn/wool
- Needles
- A pair of scissors
- A sewing needle
- A crochet hook

About.com has a great selection of easy knitting patterns for beginners.

 What you could make

There are so many items you could knit it’s hard to know where to start, however we’ve highlighted some of our favourite home décor projects:

Knitted Pouf

A knitted pouf is great for either a lounge or nursery as it instantly creates a cosier atmosphere in the room. Visit Pickles for lots of ideas and tips on making your own pouf.

What you’ll need

9 or 10 balls wool
- Large knitting needles
- Tapestry needles
- A couple of old pillows and/or an old single duvet

Armchair caddies

With an armchair caddy you’ll never lose your TV remote again. It sits over the armchair of your seat or sofa and holds items such a TV remote, knitting needles and kindles. With an armchair caddie you’ll have all the items you need for a night in front of the TV at your fingertips.

Pillows

Brighten up any room in your home by making your own knit pillow! Here are some great tips on knitting pillows for beginners.

What you’ll need

Wool in the colour of your choice
- Knitting needles
- Pillow form
- Crochet hook

Blanket

Many knitting websites and tutorials state that crocheting an afghan patterned blanket is possible in six hours. As a beginner it might take you longer but it’s an easy project to get you started. The warm, chunky yarn makes this the perfect winter accessory for anyone who wants to get cosy.

When you have been knitting or crocheting for a while it won’t need your full attention so you’ll be able to work on it while you catch up on your favourite television programmes.

Watch this great YouTube video for more inspiration on DIY projects.

All for Free Knitting have more ideas on what you can knit for your home

Image by Wicker Paradise and licensed by Creative Commons 

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