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Save Energy Week top tips

Energy light bulb

Are you looking for ways to cut down on your energy bills and usage? This week is Save Energy Week, so we have taken a look at way to save on your energy, giving you some extra cash to spend however you wish.

When buying a home you have a lot of different expenses to consider, including the running costs. If you’re buying or have bought a new build home you will instantly notice savings on energy. Buying a new build home means you’ll be getting a very high quality home built to the latest building standards. Your home will not only stand the test of time, but will in fact end up saving you money.

Research by the HBF (Home Builder Federation) stated “that on average, new homes built in England and Wales today are 65% more energy efficient than a Victorian house of the same style.

“This has been accomplished through a combination of innovative design and using the modern materials, for example installing boilers that only give you hot water when you need it, fitting modern double glazing, using quality insulation in the roof and walls, and by creating sophisticated water drainage systems.”

We are doing a lot as home builders to ensure you save on your energy, but once you move into your home there are some additional measures you can take to help you save even more. Our first tip is to turn it off your electrical goods, if you just turn items to standby they’ll still be using energy. The majority of all electrical and electronic appliances can safely be turned off at the plug without upsetting their systems. On average a household can save around £30 a year just by remembering to turn off appliances left on standby and those left on but not in use.

Switching bulbs can also help you to save on your household energy. There are now LED spotlights available that are bright enough to replace halogens, as well as regular energy saving bulbs, that come in a selection of shapes, sizes and fittings.

If the typical household replaced all of their traditional bulbs with energy saving bulbs, and all of their halogens with LEDs, it would save about £35 a year.

In the kitchen you can save over on average £45 a year just by using your appliances more sensibly. For example, set your washing machine to wash at 30°C (the £45 a year figure comprises a saving of £6 by washing at 30°C rather than a higher temperature), use a bowl to wash up rather than leaving the hot tap running (£32 by washing using a bowl rather than under a running tap), don’t fill your kettle up if you are only making one cup (£7 by only boiling what you need in the kettle), boil the amount of water you need.

New technology can also help to save energy with tools such as heating controls, which will allow you set the heating and hot water to come on and off when you need them, heat just the areas of your home you want and decide how warm you want each area to be. By fitting a room thermostat, programmer and thermostatic radiator valves, you could save up to £80 to £165 a year.

This allows you to make savings by using your controls more effectively. For example, turning down your room thermostat by just one degree, if it’s too warm inside, can save up to £90 a year.

We are sure that these tips will help you to cut down on your bills and energy usage leaving you with more money to spend on the things you want.

 If you have looking for other reasons on why to buy new, the Home Builders Federation have recently release a report click here for facts on buying a new build property.

For more ideas on how to become more energy efficient check out our infographic.

Image by Anton Fomkin, shared under a Creative Commons Licence

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Spring Cleaning Tips 2015

spring cleaning

April is the month for spring cleaning and while some of us look forward to it others dread it! Spring cleaning can be hard work and boring, although when your home is sparkling clean it will be very satisfying to relax in.

Having a spring clean is a great time to give your home a once over from top to bottom, tackling the chores that you might not have time to do on a more regular basis. We have put together our top spring cleaning tips for 2015.


We can often forget to clean the walls in our homes, but over time your painted walls will need a clean. To do this you will need a clean cloth or sponge and water. If that doesn't remove marks on the walls, dip the cloth or sponge into water mixed with a small amount of dishwashing liquid, the milder the better. If there are any more stubborn marks still there put some soap directly onto the wet sponge or cloth you're using. Use stronger products with caution as they will have strong solvents in them, which can soften the paint surface. Before you are finished with cleaning the walls, rinse the wall with plain water.

If you have mirrors and framed pictures carefully take them down and clean them. Make sure you keep water or products away from framed pictures as liquid can get behind the glass and cause damage.


When spring cleaning, taking care of your carpets is key.  You can do this either by getting a professional in to do so, hiring the equipment yourself or buying products to do the cleaning by hand. Once your carpets are clean, try to make sure all shoes are taken off at the door this will keep your carpet cleaner for longer.


Keep the heart of your kitchen clean by using a foaming oven cleaner, leave on for the recommended time then all dirt, spillage and grease should lift easily.  When cleaning the rest of your kitchen use microfiber cloths instead of paper towels. When wet, they sanitize and clean floors, counters, glass and tiles. They're reusable therefore more eco-friendly as they are machine-washable and cost about £3 for a pack.


Rub a teaspoon of lemon oil on glass shower doors, this will freshen up the glass and enable water to bead up and roll off. Over time plug holes can become clogged with hair. To keep drains free of hair and clogs, use a plug hole unblocker to make sure clogs are gone, then pour boiling water down drains.


Washing your window on a cloudy day is best as if it is too sunny, the cleaning solution will dry too fast and you'll have streaks and smears. When cleaning your windowing don’t forget about curtains and blinds. Check the directions on your curtains on how to wash them and if you have blinds soak your blinds in your bath with water and bleach (or vinegar), they will look as good as new when you take them out.


The easiest place to start in the bedroom is the bed, first of all flip your mattress then organise the storage under your bed. Storage boxes that fit under the bed are great to maximise space. You could store away winter furnishings and clothing. Which leads onto tackling you wardrobe, get rid of clothes and accessories if they haven’t been worn in year. Then organise your clothes into seasons, pack away your winter clothes and then organise the rest by how you get dressed in the morning and by colour. Your wardrobe will look pleasing, and will make your everyday routine easier. Don’t forget to go through your drawers too.


If you are looking to transformation the colour scheme of a room, change the textiles or colour of accessories in your home. You can make a fast and simple change with new bedding, towels and cushions, as these will create a different mood. If you want to switch things out seasonally, or whenever you want to play with a certain colour or pattern, this can be done relatively cheaply with textiles and accessories.


Organising your entertainment (books and DVDs) can turn shelves into a feature in a room. Go through your items and see if there is anything you no longer need that could go to charity or that you could sell. Once you have organised what items you are keeping organise them on shelves in a way to create an interesting display. With your books line them up, some vertically, some horizontally, in a pattern. This will relieve the flatness of rows.

Now your home have been Spring cleaned it’s time to sit back, relax and enjoy!  Visit our Pinterest boards for ideas on storage and lots of other top tips and ideas for your home. 

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Location Location Location Blyth

Wensleydale Park

Spring has well and truly sprung and the coastal town of Blyth is the perfect location to enjoy the beaming sunshine with your family.

Known for its rich history of coal mining, ship building and fishing, this bustling port town is located in South East Northumberland, thriving as an ideal settlement area for families of all ages, with plenty to see and do all year round. 

The picturesque South Beach attracts families from across the county, boasting all of the ingredients to make a great family day out, with a children’s play area, award winning fish and chip and ice cream shops and an amenity building nearby.

South Beach is also home to the only beach huts in Northumberland, overlooking a stretch of beautiful golden sand. The beach huts are extremely popular with couples, families, walkers, surfers, canoeists and sea anglers, and are available to rent on an annual, seasonal, monthly, weekly or daily basis.

For lovers of the great outdoors, Blyth is home to Ridley Park, located less than a five minute walk away from the town centre. The leafy park is an ideal setting to enjoy a stroll with a loved one through its scenic formal gardens and woodland areas. Little ones are also catered for with children’s play areas and a unique water play area for the summer months.

Leaders of an active lifestyle can revel in the busy schedule of activities at Blyth Leisure Centre. The wide range of activities and facilities on offer range from a swimming pool, sauna and steam rooms for those looking for relaxation, to trampolining and martial arts to satisfy any thrill seekers.    

Nestled in the town centre is the thrice weekly Blyth Market. Shoppers can browse a selection of fresh produce, handmade goods and unique gift ideas. An abundance of well-known retailers can also be found in the town centre.  

This wonderful residential area in beautiful Northumberland offers a diverse range of stunning outdoor attractions as well as appealing practical amenities sought after by househunters.

Find out more information on our Wensleydale Park and new Portland Wynd developments in Blyth, or our other developments in the North East on our website

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National Gardening Week tips for gardening in Summer 2015

To coincide with National Gardening Week, we have come up with some tips and suggestions to help you celebrate summer in your garden.

With spring now upon us it is a great time to get stuck into your garden. Garden maintenance is a year round project, but preparing your garden in spring with tasks such as planting will mean you have all of summer to enjoy it.

Your first garden or your new garden might seem very daunting, but it will be a much easier project if you break it down to simple tasks. If this isn’t you first garden the blank canvas might leave you feeling a little lost in the excitement of where to start.

Our first tip is take the time to think about what you want from your garden. Are you making it family friendly, a place to entertain, have you thought about flower beds or somewhere to grow fruit and vegetables.

Once you have decided what you want from your garden, make a plan of what needs to be done and in what order, this will help to keep you focused.

To get started in the garden, you're going to need a small number of garden tools. Picking out the essential gear for your new hobby can be great fun, most large supermarkets and gardening centres will stock the tools that you will need.

One of the first things we suggest for you to think about is the placement of trees and large bushes. If you want to have a tree or any large bushes in your garden you will need to identify areas where they could grow, a tall growing tree will need to be a few metres from your home. Hedges and windbreaks may be needed to provide shelter, privacy, structure or to attract wildlife to your garden.

Now it’s time to think about flowers, annuals are known to be an easy plant for beginner gardeners to care for and they are also widely available. When planning your flower bed choosing the right plant for the right place is important, ensuring they have enough room to grow.

It is also worth considering the following, when and where you want colour or interest in the garden.

If you are still stuck on which plant is right for you and your garden use the RHS Plant Selector for ideas. Now all that is left to do I get some furniture in your garden and hope for a summer of good weather where you can make the most of the outdoors. 

We also have a Pinterest board dedicated to gardening, we hope it inspires your green fingers. Send us photos on Facebook or Twitter of what you have done to your garden, we'd love to see your work. 

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National Pet Month Welcoming a New Pet Home

National Pet Month is upon us (April 1st – May 4th 2015) and sometimes a four legged friend can make a home. To celebrate National Pet Month and the nation’s love of animals, we have compiled a list of top tips on how to welcome a new furry friend into your household.

-          Stock Up On Supplies

In the weeks leading up to your new pet coming home its best to be over prepared for the big day. For dogs and cats you will need to choose a collar, a lead for dogs, feeding and water bowls, food, some toys and a place for them to sleep. Don't forget to prepare an identification tag with your contact details i.e. your pet’s name, your name, address and telephone number if you are letting them outside the house. Ensure that you add a cat scratching post to your list to save your furniture from those sharp nails.

-          Find Their Spot

To us a training crate may seem a little cruel but to your pet it’s a place of their own and somewhere they can find comfort.  Find a quiet place in your home to place the crate and be sure to introduce your animal to the space. Let them know it’s theirs by placing some of their favourite toys in and around it. Having this will also help with training especially in dogs.

-          Prepare Your Family

Taking care of a pet is no easy task so some changes may have to be enforced around the home to prepare for the new addition. Involve the kids by working up a schedule with jobs they can help with including feeding times, exercise and play time, training and changing their water bowls. This will not only help them bond with the animal but it will give them a sense of responsibility. 

-          Welcoming a Second Pet

When introducing a second pet into your home you have to take into consideration the current residing animal. Some animals can be very territorial over people and places so introduce your new pet in a controlled environment and make sure that you are in the room ready to intervene. Cats by nature are very protective over their space so take things slowly at first by introducing them through the cat carrier. If there is any tension it’s not the time. It is known that having cats of different ages and gender will be easier to integrate as they will feel less defensive. Generally, your current cat will best accept a kitten as the kitten will grow to his or her rules.

We also have a blog post dedicated to moving with pets. For more information please click here.

To find out more about National Pet Month and their incentive for 2015, Pets and the Elderly, please visit their website.

For more information on our developments please visit our website.

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