In this two-minute read, we bring you four news stories to lift your spirits and make you smile.

You can’t lose if you snooze

If you often nod off mid-afternoon, we have good news – a new study suggests napping can sharpen your mind and help ward off dementia.

A survey of 2,214 people, published in General Psychiatry, found post-lunch snoozers had better memory recall and improved emotional stability and verbal fluency. 

All this comes with a few conditions, however. Scientists say it’s best to get your head down after lunch but before 2pm and sleep for no more than 40 minutes. 

Napping too late in the day or for too long could interfere with your night-time sleep patterns.

Love and cheerfulness

Love was in the air on Monday when couples across Wales celebrated St Dwynwen’s Day by exchanging flowers, chocolates, and cheeky cwtches (cuddles).

So, who was St Dwynwen? According to Welsh legend, she was a 5th century princess who ran away and became a nun after having her heart broken. 

It doesn’t sound like a very romantic story, we know, but St Dwynwen then dedicated her life to helping the course of true love run smooth for others.

The Welsh patron saint of lovers was an upbeat soul, apparently, and fond of saying: “Nothing wins hearts like cheerfulness”. Hear! Hear!

Bright ideas

In the future, our cities and towns may be swept and tidied by a fleet of autonomous robots called Pixies.

The prototype for this advanced litter-picker is just one of the bright ideas shortlisted for a Green Alley Award.

The awards recognise the innovative start-ups that are working to make the planet greener. 

Other shortlisted innovations include waterproof clothing made from biodegradable polymers (often outdoor kit is hard to recycle, so it winds up in landfill), and an organic alternative to plastic that is made from fish waste.

Big cats are back

Environmentalists have released a jaguar and her two four-month-old cubs into the Gran Iberá Park in north-eastern Argentina as part of an ambitious re-wilding project.

It’s been 70 years since jaguars – the third largest cat species in the world – roamed the region. Unfortunately, due to hunting and human activity, they became extinct locally seven decades ago.

To reverse this loss, a group of conservationists have implemented a carefully considered strategy to revive the ecosystem. They started by reintroducing giant anteaters and pampas deer, before bringing in the big cats.

It’s hoped that eventually 100 jaguars will make the Gran Iberá Park their home.

Thanks for reading, stay safe, stay hopeful and from all of us here at Storeys, have a great weekend in Cheshire.

Ian
07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Copyright 2021 Storeys

This article discovers there are levels to lockdown boredom and shares with you the World’s most boring museum, film, town, and date. A surprisingly interesting 3-minute read.

At Storeys we’re an optimistic bunch and see the lockdown across Cheshire as being safe at home rather than stuck indoors.

Yes, it can be boring at times, especially when the weather is bad. But nowadays we have plenty of digital distractions at our fingerprints.

And we’ve made use of some of our own spare time to compile a list of the World’s most boring film, date, city, and museum.

Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Film Flop

In 2017 a survey by Samsung saw the film 50 Shades of Grey live up to its dull title. It was voted by 34 per cent of those surveyed as the most boring film they’ve seen. One reviewer said: “There is little more critical than to say a third of the film had people laughing at dialogue, and the other two-thirds wiggling in their seats, not from discomfort or innervation, but boredom.”

Fancy a Day Out?

Once lockdown is over, and life returns to normal here’s a day trip to France, you might want to avoid. If the idea of watching paint dry leaves you understandably underwhelmed, then a visit to the Musee Du Paper in Rixheim probably won’t scrub up too well either. It’s a museum promising a ‘complete panorama of the history of wallpaper.’

A Date to Forget

Does April 11, 1954, ring a bell? It didn’t for us either. And according to a Cambridge based computer programmer, it is the most boring date of the past 120 years.

William Tunstall-Pedoe said April 11, 1954, was the least exciting day for a long time. “This particular day was extremely notable for having almost nothing happen. It’s not that nothing happened. It’s just that it was spectacularly un-notable in terms of the events that happened that day.” Which is quite a boring explanation in itself.

Boring, Boring, Boring

There’s a town in Oregon, USA, called Boring.

But it seems as though the fine folk of the town have a sense of humour at the very least as they are twinned with the Scottish village of Dull.

Added to that, Boring’s tourist board has come up with the tag line: “Boring -The most exciting place to live.”

Its name comes from the town’s founder, a certain Mr Boring, who we thought only existed in Mr Men books.

If you’re looking for something interesting to do right now, why not hop onto our website and see some of the excellent properties we currently have available.

And spare a thought for the lady who had a summer temp job where all she did was staple up to 500 reports every day.

Ian
07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Copyright 2021 Storeys

In this two-minute read, we look at seven reasons people in Cheshireare upping sticks and moving out, on, and upwards.

Over the years, we’ve helped hundreds of people across Cheshire move home successfully.

The reasons why people move are varied, but in our experience, they tend to be one of the seven ‘L’s.

What are the seven ‘L’s? Fear not, dear reader, because we’re about to reveal them below.

  1. Love

A new romantic relationship is a beautiful time in people’s lives. And when things get serious in the love stakes, the decision to move in together is one that fuels the moving market.

  • Loss

Sadly, on the flip side, when a loved one dies, or a relationship ends, this can also be a catalyst for people to want to move out and on to a different chapter of their lives.

  • Learning

When love turns into a family, then the demand for being near good schools motivates movers as much as anything we come across. That’s why people will pay a premium to be within the catchment areas of great places for their children to learn and develop.

  • Lifestyle

A change is as good as a rest as the old saying goes. People’s lifestyles change as they get older, and their circumstances change. This is the driving force behind people upsizing, downsizing, and relocating.

  • Location, location, location

One of the main motivating moving factors. It might be about being nearer to loved ones, an open space, good schools, transport links, even a view. Location is always up there as one of the most popular reasons people move.

  • Leaving

When children get older and spread their wings to seek their own nests, the family home can often seem a little too big. This can be the cue for people wanting to downsize and free up some of the equity in their current home.

  • Lockdown

The pandemic has made many of us re-evaluate our lives. And spending so much time indoors and at home has made many people want somewhere new to live. It could be because of a lack of space, a need for a garden, or to be nearer loved ones.

Whatever your reason for thinking about moving, we’re here to help you every step of the way.

Ian
07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Copyright 2021 Storeys

A 60-second speed read on the games people are playing in lockdown.

One of the few positives of the lockdowns has been that families living in the same home have spent more quality time together.

This ‘together time’ has seen a surge in the number of board games sold.

Amazon has just released the top ten games that families across Cheshire and the UK have been buying in the battle to banish boredom.

Here they are:

1. Monopoly
The property classic. Number of players 2 to 6, £14.99.

2. Match and Spell Game and Shopping List Extras
Educational learning for ages, 4+, £12.

3. EXIT – The Game
Escape rooms for the home, numerous players, ages 10+, £14.

4. Animal Families
Develops matching and memory skills, 2-4 players and for kids aged 4+, £4.99.

5. Bananagrams Big Letter
Fun word game. 1-8 players, ages 7+, £16.99.

6. Monopoly Deal
Property card game 2-5 players, £5.88.

7. Articulate
Fast-talking description party game, numerous players, £20.

8. First Times Tables
Multiplication learning for kids aged 5-8, 2-4 players, £8.30.

9. Ticket to Ride United Kingdom
Travel fun. Ages 8+, 2-5 players, £34.90.

10. 5 Second Rule
A fast-paced, talking game, 3 or more players, £12.73.

One of our favourite board games is driving around Cheshire and seeing our sold signs.

What games are you playing to stave off lockdown boredom and to bring your family together?

Ian
07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Copyright 2021 Storeys

In this two-minute read, we share tales of triumph and generosity from around the UK.

Postcards of Kindness

The pandemic has been tough on us all, but particularly so for care home residents.

To ease the sense of isolation that many people in care homes feel, an army of postcard writers has sprung up across the UK.

Each week, thousands of people write to people they have never met as part of the Postcards of Kindness scheme.

Some senders even draw or paint the images on the postcards themselves (flowers, animals, and landscapes are popular subject matters).

While the cheerful messages on the postcards delight the recipients, the images help to evoke memories and start conversations.

To give you an idea of how many postcards are sent, the Postcards of Kindness Facebook group has 45,000 members, some of whom send 20 to 30 cards a week.

Shout-out to Keith

Our hero of the week is Keith, an intensive care nurse at Royal Papworth Hospital, Cambridge. 

Keith stepped in to play hairstylist for a patient on his ward who was preparing to propose to his girlfriend.

Jordan Simon, a heart transplant recipient, was hospitalised on 22 December due to kidney problems.

After spending Christmas alone, doctors allowed Jordan a special visit from his girlfriend, Beth Dodge.

Jordan decided to use the opportunity to pop the question to Beth and called on Keith to help him look sharp for his big moment.

“He [Keith] was more nervous than me to be honest,” laughed Jordan as he explained to the BBC that Beth had tearfully accepted his proposal.

Karate King

We didn’t know it was possible to compete in a karate competition remotely but, as we learned this week from the story of Hampshire schoolboy Tom Klemz, it is!

Instead of spending lockdown playing computer games or watching YouTube, 12-year-old Tom has been focusing on his international karate career – from the safety of his back garden.

Tom has a fighting studio at his home (his dad and uncles built it for him), from where he trains and competes. 

So far, he has high-kicked his way through 20 online karate competitions and is now ranked second in the world in the Under-13 kata division (kata means choreographed routine, which is something else we learned this week).

We bet that when Tom’s school reopens, no one will mess with him in the playground.

From all of us here at Storeys, have a good weekend. Stay safe, stay hopeful.

Ian
07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Copyright 2021 Storeys

In this 60-second speed read, we share ten tunes to put a spring in your step despite what’s going on in the world.

What do you get when you cross a fashion magazine with a scientist? And no this isn’t a joke from an open mic Zoom night at your local comedy club.

Vogue Magazine reported back in the first lockdown that a neuroscientist, Dr Jacob Jolij, claims to have discovered the perfect feelgood song formula. And here’s his top ten.

1 – Don’t Stop Me Now – Queen

2 – Dancing Queen – Abba

3 – Good Vibration – The Beach Boys

4 – Uptown Girl – Billy Joel

5 – Survivor – Eye of the Tiger

6 – I’m a Believer – The Monkees

7 – Girls Just Wanna Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper

8 – Livin’ on a Prayer – Bon Jovi

9 – I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor

10 – Walking on Sunshine – Katrina and the Waves

We’ve all got one song or playlist which makes us feel better about things. What’s yours?

Thanks for reading and stay safe, stay hopeful and stay tuned for regular updates on the Cheshire property market.

Ian
07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Copyright 2021 Storeys

In this two-minute read, we look at the reasons why people struggle to sell their homes and what can be done about it.

Monday was officially the most depressing day of the year, as if we needed reminding.

Scientists claim it’s the perfect storm for a downer.

Money is tight, resolutions have fallen by the wayside, and the weather is rubbish. Add to that the lockdown and you have a recipe for doom and gloom.

And if you have a home that won’t sell, you can feel down in the dumps.

But at Storeys, we believe it shouldn’t be that way.

So, we’ve come up with four ways you can beat the home selling blues.

Is the price right?

The right price is vital to securing a sale. Buyers have budgets, so if your home is just over their limit, they won’t find it if they are searching online. Mortgage lenders are also put off by an overvaluation. Check what similar homes in Cheshire have sold for and get a new valuation from another agent, but be mindful of any contractual obligations you may have with your selling agent.

Are your photos up to scratch?

Nowadays, online searches are the most popular way people look for properties, which means photos are crucial. An excellent agency takes the time to get these super important parts of the marketing puzzle in place and looking good. Bad photos cause buyers to scroll past your property.

Try the mystery shopper approach

A good agent will let you know what prospective buyers think of your home and the interest it is generating. If this isn’t happening, get a friend or family member to pose as a mystery buyer, with a budget in your property’s price range, and phone the agent to see if they mention your home. If they do, great, if they don’t, it’s a cause for concern.

Are your chances being clogged up by clutter?

Choosing a new home is a big step. Buyers want to visualise what your property will look like after they have moved in, complete with their choice of décor and their belongings. Make it easier for them to do this by making your home look and feel more spacious.

Rooms should be clutter-free and well lit – small touches can make a big difference, and first impressions count.

We hope that’s helped. Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions about banishing the property selling blues.

*You can still sell your home at this time. Storeys strictly adheres to the government’s Covid-19 restrictions.

Ian
07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Copyright 2021 Storeys

In this 60-second speed read, we share eight ace ideas to help children and teenagers take a break from their screens.

Many family homes across Cheshire are now doubling up as school classrooms.

The remote lockdown learning added to gaming and social media use means many young people spend up to 80-90 per cent of their waking time looking at computer screens.

While educationally it’s essential, it’s also important they have some ways to ditch the digital and do something different that doesn’t involve screen time.

Here are eight easy ideas to play around with:

1)            Read a book. (We told you they were easy).

2)            Play balloon sports, football, tennis etc. – works inside and outside.

3)            Have a paper aeroplane flying contest.

4)           Write a note to a school friend and post it.

5)           All gather around and play a board game.

6)           Cook a meal together.

7)           Start the day with a walk.

8)           Draw how they think the homes of the future will look.

At Storeys we love points 5 (anyone for Monopoly?) and 8 – it’ll be fascinating to see what your architects of the future create so feel free to share their drawings with us.

Thanks for reading and stay safe, stay hopeful and stay active.

Ian
07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Copyright 2021 Storeys

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.

Kind gift for Max

The incredible story of Max Woosey, the Devon lad who has been camping in his garden since March, got even better this week.

During the first lockdown, Max vowed to sleep in his tent until the Covid-19 crisis was over.

The 11-year-old has stuck to his word and nine months later is still sleeping outdoors – a feat that has so far raised £128,000 for North Devon Hospice.

This week we learned Max is braving the elements with the help of a specialist sleeping bag, donated to him by the mother of a fallen soldier.

Lisa Snow of Cheshire was so moved by Max’s efforts that she gave him her late son’s sleeping bag. 

Joseph Berry, a former Scout who was mad about camping, died aged 21 while serving in Afghanistan.

Max told the North Devon Gazette: “I feel so happy that I remind Lisa of Joe. I am so proud to say that I will be using a soldier’s sleeping bag because I’m just a boy sleeping in a tent while he was brave and served his country.” 

Wildlife discoveries

2020 was tough on the health and economic fronts, but it proved to be a boon for bio-scientists who discovered hundreds of new animal species.

Among the newly identified creatures was a beaked whale, spotted in Mexican waters, and a cute little primate called a Popa Langur that looks like it’s wearing white eyeliner.

Meanwhile, in northern India, a new species of emerald green viper has been named Trimeresurus Salazar.

Harry Potter fans might recognise that this is a reference to Salazar Slytherin, the cunning founder of the House of Slytherin. Slytherin’s mascot is a snake, and its house colour is green.

That’s all from all of us here at Storeys, thanks for reading. Be nice, be kind, and stay safe.

Ian
07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Copyright 2021 Storeys

In this three-minute read, we look at England’s new leasehold reform package.

What will the new leasehold reforms, announced last week, deliver for leasehold property owners in Cheshire? Here’s what we know so far.

Now, ‘leasehold reform’ may not be the sexiest of subject matters, but if you are one of the 4.3 million people in England who owns a leasehold property, don’t doze off as these changes could significantly impact you.

Background

England’s medieval leasehold laws are loathed by leaseholders who have dubbed them ‘fleecehold’ laws. Key gripes include:

  • The cost of lease renewal or freehold purchase. This can be tens of thousands of pounds, or even more. If negotiations with the freeholder break down, the leaseholder can go to a tribunal, but this takes time and can be expensive.
  • Escalating ground rents. In the worst cases, the ground rent on a leasehold house doubles every ten years, leaving the leaseholder with an ever-growing bill and making it impossible to sell the property.
  • Exorbitant service charges for maintaining communal areas and gardens at apartment blocks.
  • Freeholds being sold off to a cash-hungry third party.

Here’s a rundown of the proposed reforms.

No 1: Owners of leasehold homes or flats will be given the right to extend their lease by a maximum term of 990 years at zero ground rent. (Currently, leaseholders of houses can only extend for 50 years with a ground rent while leaseholders of flats can extend as often as they wish at a zero ‘peppercorn’ ground rent for 90 years.)

Benefit: In theory, the change would provide security and eliminate ground rent. However, it’s not yet clear how much it would cost to secure a 990-year lease so it’s impossible to do a cost versus benefit analysis.

No 2: Owners of leasehold flats in apartment blocks will be able to shift to a Commonhold Agreement model.

Benefit: Flat owners could take control of the upkeep of their building, ending rip-off maintenance charges. Getting all the relevant parties to agree to move to a Commonhold Agreement may be difficult though.

No 3: Introduction of an online calculator to simplify determining the cost of buying a freehold or lease extension.

Benefit: This would take some of the hassle out of the negotiation process but much depends on the formula used to calculate costs.

No 4: The abolition of ‘marriage value’.

Benefit: ‘Marriage value’ is a rather cumbersome rule that has probably caused a few divorces in its time. It means that if a lease falls below 80 years, the cost of renewing it shoots up.

When will these changes be introduced?

Legislation regarding change No 1 will be brought forward in the upcoming session of Parliament. The rest will take longer to realise. (If you’d like to be kept informed on the progress of these reforms, we’ll be monitoring the situation closely, so please get in touch with us here at Storeys.)

To learn more about the leasehold changes and how they could affect the value of your property, get in touch with us here at Cheshire.

Ian
07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Copyright 2021 Storeys