• cropped-henry-be-229092.jpg


  • cropped-pexels-photo-111249-1.jpg


Big plans this year? Do they include buying a house? Best of luck!

Our main advice is to do your research in due time and try to have a guideline before you start searching. You can actually start with these 5 things in mind:

  1. Give yourself enough time for research.
  2. Is it going to be your home forever-and-ever or just for a couple of years?
  3. Location is most important for you?
  4. Estimate correctly the buying time.
  5. What are the main responsibilities you are looking to?!

5 things to think about when you buy your first house

Read more

Photo source: Wikimedia http://bit.ly/2EBN0JJ

[…] the growing appetite for flexible offices is permeating across European markets, with London, Berlin and Paris witnessing the strongest growth. The sector will continue to expand, as new styles of workspaces are developed to service a growing variety of occupier needs […]

Commercial property market in Europe starts 2018 on a positive note

Read more

Photo source: Wikimedia http://bit.ly/2D7jGxK

Being energy efficient can make a big difference to the cost of your energy bill. It doesn’t always need a big investment in time or money to make sure you’re wasting less energy and saving more.


These are our top tips to help you save money on your energy bills:

Switch off or unplug any chargers or appliances you don’t need on.
If they have a stand-by light, a display or are hot to the touch they’ll be using energy just by being plugged in.


Washing at a lower temperature will use less electricity.

Washing at 30ºC rather than 40ºC can save you a third of the cost to run the cycle.


Insulating your home can save you money.

Loft insulation can save up to £140 a year off your energy bills and cavity wall insulation can save up to £160 a year.


Think ahead when setting your heating.

Set your heating to come on 15-30 minutes before you need it on, and off 30 minutes before you go to bed.


If you have storage heaters, make sure you’re using them efficiently.

Keep the input constant at the amount you need, but turn the output down to a minimum when you don’t need the heating on or turn it off at the wall.


Turn the pressure down on the power shower.

A high-pressure power shower is a great luxury to have but you’d be surprised how much water they use – sometimes even more than a bath.


Hang up your laundry.

Air-dry your laundry rather than tumble drying it, particularly if there’s warm or windy weather. What’s more nothing smells better than air-dried clothes.

Read more

Photo source: Pixabay http://bit.ly/2qKmbRC

Kitchen design in 2018 is all about timber veneers, colour contrast, texture, metallic, and the ongoing industrial look,’ says bespoke furniture manufacturers Schmidt.

The tail end of 2017 has seen the emergence of more bold colours and textures in kitchen doors and this will follow into the New Year. The mix of striking solid colours and woodgrains will continue to prove popular, whilst more industrial finishes like concrete will sit alongside these to really create interest in the kitchen. Consumers are increasingly looking for more variety and being braver in their style and colour choices.’


  1. ‘Vibrant colour schemes will continue to be popular for 2018 with a focus on both Scandinavian application. The use of colour in the kitchen is extremely important and should reflect homeowners’ personalities and their needs. For instance, a space for cooking should be light and bright while spaces designed for entertaining could have a darker essence to provide a suitable ambience.’


  1. From Cobalt blue to powder blue and teal, blue is the colour of the MOMENT when it comes to kitchens. Darker shades of this versatile hue will prove to be the most popular. ‘Undoubtedly the biggest colour trend the industry has seen this year is the desire to have blue in the kitchen,’


  1. ‘Golds have been on trend for a while now but the move to combining them with browns and organic materials is going to be big for 2018,’ predicts Papilio. ‘Combining the use of neutrals, golds and organic textures makes for a warm environment with slight seventies feel, hitting the mark in terms of both style and substance. The Boho look is not only easily adaptable with other colours but also comes hand in hand with good quality and timeless design – something which a kitchen needs to present.’


  1. ‘Smart appliances are developing at a rapid pace and anyone considering installing a new kitchen in 2018 should really not do without a boiling water tap , being seen as a necessity in today’s living, wifi ready appliance that are allowing us to control our kitchens from afar, and steam ovens and vacuum drawers, this makes cooking quicker, easier and contains the flavour in the food,’ say Kitchens International.


  1. Feel like you’re on holiday all year around with a kitchen inspired by warmer climates. Pinterest data reveals that there has been a 128% rise in searches and saves for Moroccan-inspired décor, with ‘Moroccan tiles’ and ‘Moroccan splashbacks’ really gaining momentum. Mike Lavers agrees. ‘We predict that striking mosaic wallpaper and feature floor tiles will be hugely popular in 2018, along with other light Moroccan touches such as chunky wooden worktops, gold lanterns and pendant lighting.’
Read more


At the end of the first world war, Britain was a nation in which almost 80% of people rented their homes, almost all from private landlords. Concern about the poor standards of the housing stock led the prime minister, David Lloyd George, to promise a “land fit for heroes” for the homecoming Tommies. The 1919 Housing Act provided subsidies for local authorities to build council houses.


House building peaked at 350,000 a year in the mid-1930s as a prolonged period of cheap money prompted a private-sector building boom. With land and labour plentiful, and official interest rates pegged at 2%, this was the era of the three-bedroom semi and the expansion of cities out into the suburbs. New industries – car plants, aerospace companies, engineering firms – accompanied the ribbon development along the major arterial roads.


The second world war caused a double whammy: German bombing inflicted widespread damage to urban areas while house building came to a halt. The Beveridge report identified “squalor” as one of the five “giants” blocking the road to progress, but with money tight and construction materials in short supply, the pick-up in activity was slow. Aneurin Bevan, jointly health and housing minister, insisted council homes be built to high standards.


Council-house building peaked under the Conservative government of the 1950s, when the end of rationing and a growing economy meant that 250,000 new local authority homes a year were being put up. Much of the expansion was in the new towns designated by the Attlee government in land beyond the newly created green belt surrounding London – towns such as Hemel Hempstead, Harlow and Crawley.


House price boom-busts were still a thing of the future in the 1960s, the decade that saw combined private and council house building hit a postwar peak of just over 400,000 a year. This was the era of the tower block, with quantity coming at the expense of quality. One block, Ronan Point in east London, collapsed in 1968 following a gas explosion. By the end of the 1960s, Britain had as many owner-occupiers as renters.


Britain had its first experience of a housing bubble during the so-called Barber boom of 1973. An easing of credit conditions by the Bank of England coupled with the go-for-growth strategy of the Conservative chancellor, Tony Barber, resulted in house-price inflation peaking at 36%. The average price of a home, which had risen from £2,000 to £5,000 between 1950 and 1970, doubled in the next three years. The boom ended when the Yom Kippur war and the Opec oil embargo ushered in the stagflation of the mid-1970s.


Offering council tenants the right to buy their own homes was suggested to Jim Callaghan at the end of the 1970s. He rejected the idea but it was pounced upon by Margaret Thatcher, who made it the centrepiece of her political pitch to the aspirational working classes. Those who took advantage of the offer quickly saw the value of their assets surge in Britain’s second big housing bubble – the Lawson boom. House prices rose by 16% in 1987 and a further 25% in 1988.


The bust that followed the Lawson boom was long and painful. Interest rates were raised to 15% and left there for a year to control inflation. Unemployment doubled to hit 3 million for the second time in a decade and many of those who had taken out big mortgages could no longer afford the repayments. Record numbers of people had their homes repossessed as house prices fell for four successive years. It was not until the end of the 1990s that the market started to recover.


A rising population. More than a decade and a half of steady economic growth. Ample supplies of cheap credit. A sharp fall in the number of homes being built. These were the ingredients that contributed to Britain’s third big housing bubble of the post-war period. The average house price more than doubled from £100,000 in 2000 to just under £225,000 in 2007, before the financial crash brought the boom to an end. House building fell during the recession to its lowest peacetime level since the early 1930s.

Read more

Or where to spot the most stunning wildlife? Browse our places to see before you die and see how many you can tick off your bucket list…

Photo source: PublicDomainPictures http://bit.ly/2CqF8dq

Swim, snorkel and dive Australia’s Great Barrier Reef

Explore the living masterpiece that is the Great Barrier Reef by swimming, sailing, snorkelling and diving. The World Heritage-listed attraction stretches more than 2,000km along the Queensland coast and can be seen from outer space. Hop between the idyllic, palm-fringed islands and discover the bright coral and marine life. Visit Heron and Wilson islands during the annual turtle nesting season (November to March) where you can witness hatchlings scurrying to the sea.


Gaze at the Northern Lights from a glass igloo in Finnish Lapland

The Northern Lights are one of nature’s phenomenon’s that you need to see to believe. With easy access to the natural light display, snowy wilderness and reindeers, Finnish Lapland is a magical place to spot the Aurora Borealis. Instead of watching them outside in freezing temperatures, why not spot the lights from the comfort of your own heated glass igloo? It means you can spend the night gazing at the sky from your bed and wake up to the spectacular snow-covered scenery.


Marvel at mysterious Stonehenge

An unforgettable day out and one of Britain’s most wonderful attractions, Stonehenge is a highlight of the South West and probably the most famous prehistoric monument in the world. It comes with a mysterious history and was built around 5,000 years ago. Was it a temple for sun worship? A healing centre? A burial site? Or maybe a huge calendar? The World Heritage Site never fails to impress and is surrounded by prehistoric landscape, perfect for a walk in the beautiful Wiltshire countryside.


Take an outdoor bath in Budapest

Soak up the atmosphere of Budapest in the winter when the locals and tourists hit the city of baths’ outdoor thermal pools to keep warm, socialise and enjoy the healing waters. The Szechenyi has an enormous neo-Baroque courtyard with a bath and one of its best sights is the dedicated chess players with their floating cork boards! The Gellert is known as the finest of all the bath houses with its main indoor pool – perhaps the best example of Hungary’s neo-classical architecture. Rudas and Kiraly are other historic baths in the city.


Feel the freedom of an American road trip on Route 66

It’s inspired songwriters, novelists and filmmakers, and Route 66, the Mother Road of America makes for an epic journey across the States, stretching for 2,400 miles from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California. Route 66 crosses eight states: Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. Spend 16 days exploring the route and stopping at attractions, such as St Louis’s jazz clubs, Oklahoma City, the desert scenery of Santa Fe, the vast Grand Canyon and the Las Vegas Strip.






Scottish Highlands

The Highlands of Scotland are filled with some of the most incredible scenery in the world. Here, you’ll feel as if you’ve walked into a painting, with towering heather-covered mountains, picturesque lochs, cascading waterfalls and magnificent, ancient castles.


Take a dip in Iceland’s Blue Lagoon

Fed by naturally-heated and mineral-rich seawater, Iceland’s Blue Lagoon is the country’s most unique attraction, located 40 minutes from Reykjavik. The extraordinary pool is where you can take off your thermals and bathe in the water, reaping the benefits of the geothermal water. Be sure to smother yourself in the white silica mud and take your natural spa experience to the next level by sweating in the sauna with a view of the lagoon and standing underneath the waterfall for an energising massage. Bliss!


The Taj Mahal

The 17th century jewel in India’s crown has been attracting tourists and royalty alike for centuries. It was commissioned by the emperor as a tomb for his favourite wife, and that sense of lavish romance spills into the 21st century. Pose for a photo on that bench – made famous by Diana and recreated by William and Kate – and then explore Agra by bike. Sundown on the Yamuna will be an unforgettable end to the day.

Read more

Welcome to 2018! Optimism tells us it is going to be a great and exuberant year, so be prepared!

Consider it a DIY project or your new home and make the best of it. As we know from the previous year already, anything can be changed and we tried to prove it with helping articles, tips& tricks, and a handful of useful advice.

Let us guide you through 2018 as well and enjoy the ride that will make you reconsider your perspectives about a home.

Photo source: Pinterest http://bit.ly/2qdJcfn

First things first, we trust a general guideline about the trends to follow in the year to come. Elle Decor made a list based on Pinterest searches and it features:

  1. Wall art
  2. Patterned plants
  3. Mixed metallics
  4. Terrazzo flooring
  5. Statement ceilings
  6. Spa-inspired bathrooms

You will find details and pictures in the article.

What have you been thinking about changing in your house this year?


Photo source: Pinterest http://bit.ly/2lJfYA6

Read more

Photo source: Wikimedia http://bit.ly/2lhq4IC

Walthamstow, also known as ‘awesomestow’, is exactly that.


An earlier spelling of Walthamstow was ‘Wilcumstowe’ meaning ‘place of welcome.’ AEC was located in Walthamstow and was responsible for the mass production of London’s famous buses. The “mile long” Walthamstow Market began trading in 1885 and is one of the most iconic markets in the city. However, the legend of it being a mile long is a slight overestimation as in reality it measures in at 100 metres. Despite starting life as a rural area, it’s now largely a suburban, built up area. Head to Walthamstow Village for a little taster of what the area was originally like.


Walthamstow is very well served by Underground and Overground stations with stations for both at Walthamstow Central and Blackhorse Road. Full bus services operate from Walthamstow Central. The buses also provide a hopper service making all journeys simple and quick.


All you read is love was a pop-up café/coffee shop with a twist that has just found a permanent spot in Leytonstone (next to Walthamstow). The twist is that it is a book café run by Danish siblings on the beautiful Hoe Street. Serving up sandwiches, cakes, coffee and craft beers along with DJs and writing workshops at certain times.

Walthamstow Market


This historic market has been trading for well over a hundred years. It has a variety of stalls selling food, clothes, furniture, and antique goods while there are also cafes and restaurants selling anything from Caribbean food to jellied eels. It hosts a popular farmer’s market every Sunday between 10am and 2pm.

Address: Walthamstow Market can be found on Walthamstow High Street.


‘The Mall’ have a number of shopping centres all over the UK and are one of the leaders in this market. As well as hosting a number of events throughout the year, including craft markets on Sundays and children’s events this Halloween, the Mall has hundreds of shops under its roof. From household names to eateries, it’s well worth a visit for all the shopaholics out there!

Address: The Mall Walthamstow, 45 Selborne Walk, Walthamstow

Read more

For affordability and an easy commute to Canary Wharf, the only way is E16.

Canning Town platform Photo source: Geograph.co.uk http://bit.ly/2ljhSX8

East London’s post-industrial landscape is rapidly disappearing in favour of quirky cultural venues, artfully rustic cafes and glassy residential towers. While the investment potential in Hackney and Tower Hamlets has been well-documented, other locations that are just as accessible have managed to slip under the radar.

One of these is Canning Town, a part of town with a rich dockers’ history, that has just been re-zoned along with Stratford into Zone 2. Sitting on the Jubilee line and the DLR, commuters can be in Canary Wharf in 10mins and, once the Elizabeth Line is up and running at nearby Custom House, 17mins from Bond Street.

The first sign of investment interest arrived with the ExCeL London exhibition centre in 2000, but the financial crash slowed down further development – until the recent residential boom.

Now, 10,000 new homes are planned from a variety of developers and housing associations, many for sale on affordability schemes like Help to Buy and Shared Ownership, along with a £600m revamp of the town centre and a hotel along with new pedestrian and cycling routes.

The real jewel in the crown, though, is nearby London City Island sitting just across the border in Tower Hamlets, whose anchor tenant will be the English National Ballet bringing a much-needed cultural boost to the area in 2018.

Compared to other areas with similar commuting times prices are a steal, too, which is why young professionals priced out of surrounding boroughs are looking for value in Canning Town.

Nick Parr, partner at Knight Frank City & East, agrees, but thinks its investment appeal can only be fully realised when put in context with surrounding areas. “It’s a great place to be, two stops down from Canary Wharf and half the price, two stops from Stratford and The Royal Docks are taking off.

Data from Johns & Co bears this out; the estate agent reports that “a lot of interest” is coming from corporate tenants aged between 25 and 35 working in the City or Canary Wharf and, recently, buy-to-let investors.

“It’s proving a hotspot for investors, not least because property price growth is anticipated to rise by up to 30 per cent in the next five years,” says managing director John Morley. “Yields north of five per cent are now hard to come by in many parts of central London, but this is still possible in E16 with yields currently at five to six per cent.”

Area highlights

If you’re a keen comic book fan or just like roaming wistfully around travel shows, you’ll like being a short walk away from the ExCeL London Centre. Regular business travellers will also enjoy being so close to London City Airport, which is only 10 minutes away on the DLR and it’s so small, it’s like waiting to board a plane from someone’s living room. If you’re looking to meet new people, seek out the Canning Town Caravanserai, a flexible space used for art installations, story-telling, food markets and skills workshops. You’re never far from water, with the River Lea, the Thames and the Royal Docks nearby, and you can take the Emirates Skyline over to the 02 Arena. Good restaurants nearby include reasonably-priced Italian Pepenero, contemporary brasserie Docklands Bar and Grill and Fatboy’s Diner the other side of Bow Creek, a 1950s-style diner next to arts space Trinity Buoy Wharf.

Read more


Photo source: Geograph http://bit.ly/2BYpnxr

  • South Woodford lies in the north-east corner of London, minutes away from the border of Essex. In fact Woodford and Woodford Green are both located in Essex.
  • E18 is leafy and suburban; it’s popular with commuters who love the convenience of being less than 30 minutes away from the West End.
  • The high street contains your usual, basic convenience chain stores but is broken up by boutiques, gastro pubs and a local cinema.
  • If you like weekend walks, then this is the place for you, as Epping Forest is on the borders of this area.
  • The area is reasonably small and quiet, but with that comes a sense of living in safe surroundings.

South Woodford’s retail and business area is centred on George Lane, the location of South Woodford tube station, and Woodford Green High Road. There are several leading chain store shops, such as Sainsbury, Marks & Spencer, Waitrose and Boots and a number of smaller shops, restaurants and cafes. There is a crown post office and Royal Mail sorting office.

There is a seven screen Odeon cinema, which opened in 1934 as a Majestic and is the only cinema in the area. As of November 2017, its freehold is for sale. Next door, The George pub, an 18th-century building on the site of an earlier inn, was originally a stopping point for stagecoaches, with several bars. The George once had a fine dining area on the first floor and then later a pizzeria in the basement, with a large spiral staircase between the floors. Other amenities include a number of green areas, many of which form part of Epping Forest.

There are numerous churches and chapels representing various Christian denominations, several synagogues and a mosque.

The area is served by South Woodford tube station in Travel card Zone 4 on the Central line of the London Underground.

South Woodford has a good selection of schools including Nightingale Primary, Snaresbrook Primary, Churchfields which has a junior and infant department, as well as Oakdale. There is also Snaresbrook Preparatory, St Josephs’ Convent voluntary maintained school, and Woodbridge Secondary School.

Forest School is an independent school, within close proximity to South Woodford, in that the playing fields are arguably in South Woodford.

Read more