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Author: Ben Foster

nhs and key worker window displays

As lockdown continues, we here at Julian Wadden Didsbury wanted to show some appreciation to the wonderful NHS and Key Workers that are currently keeping the community and in fact, the whole country going! We therefore decided to do a window display in our office.

We know we can’t begin to say how thankful we are for and to these people, but this is just a small gesture from us!

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Essential Tips For Working From Home

For a small number of people, working from home will be the norm. But for the majority of the nation, the current climate has caused us to quickly adapt our working practices to home working for the safety of ourselves and those around us. In doing this, it is important to create healthy working practices to maintain motivation and routine throughout the day.
We’ve gained advice from those who regularly work from home so that we can share some top tips for the coming weeks ahead. Continue below for our top tips on how you can get the best out of home working:
1. Get ready for the day
Get up and ready for work as you normally would. Getting dressed out of your pyjamas and fresh for the day helps you to maintain a routine and get ready for a day of work. Doing this will signal to your brain that you are going to work and create a good mindset.

2. Have a routine
Working from home can get lonely, so a routine will prevent the day blurring into a mix of work and relaxation time. Creating a morning routine that will guide you into your work chair each day so that you can signal the separation between home and work. Start and finish work at your usual times so that you do not become overworked.

3. Create an office space
If you have a separate office space to work in, then that’s great. But even if you don’t, it is still important to create an area in your home that you can designate and associate with work. Whether that be at a desk, or if it has to be your dining room table, this will support you to keep a routine. At the end of the day, shut down your equipment and put it away. This will signal the end of your working day and the start of your own time.

4. Keep to your regular hours of a working day
With all your work equipment at home, it can be tempting to try and get ahead by setting yourself mammoth tasks that take you all evening to complete. Set yourself achievable goals (as you would when you go into work) so that you maintain your usual work hours and maintain your positivity and optimism. This will also allow you to keep a work life balance.

5. Have regular breaks
When you are in the office, you naturally take short breaks throughout the day. Whether that be to go and make a drink or go and discuss something with a colleague. These breaks away from the computer are crucial for your productivity and health. Breaks away from the computer screen help to break bad posture habits, help with concentration and productivity, and prevent fatigue. This should be no different at home. You can call a colleague for a chat, go and make a drink, or spend some time in a different room for a few moments.

6. Get some exercise
Living and working in the same space can be challenging at times so you may find it important to get a change of scenery. Stepping outside for a walk not only allows you to “leave the office” but also allows you to get valuable exercise (providing this is in line with Government guidelines). Some fresh air and natural light will do you the world of good. With people rarely leaving the house, a short walk could be all the exercise you get in a day so place importance on this. Alternatively, you may want to do a short home workout. There are tons of guides online to help you do this. Let’s not forget about those all-important endorphins.

7. Take your lunch break
You are still entitled to your full lunch break and it is important to take this. Ensure you continue to eat well and take time away from your work space to break up the day. Using this time to get some exercise (as advised in step 7) is a great idea too.

8. Get on the phone
Communication is so important during this time. Working from home can be isolating (especially if you live alone). To overcome this, ensure to keep up with regular team meeting via group calls. Check in with your colleagues throughout the day – even for a general chat not related to work. This is what you would usually do in the office and it is important to maintain this to make the day more enjoyable. Call people instead of email so that you can have proper conversations during the day which is so much more personal that email communication. You could even use Facetime for a more personal touch.

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west didsbury comedy fest goes online!

west didsbury comedy festival

So with the sad news that we have had to cancel/postpone the festival for now we are not just sitting back and taking that!

Over the dates of the festival we have 4 brand new online and live show formats for you featuring some of the brilliant acts we had booked to play the festival. 

Of course its a shame, but we will be back bigger and better than ever! For now please pick up a free ticket below for some amazing online comedy and please share! Let’s make this huge!

Check out our website for updates, news, listings and discounts! www.westdidsburycomedyfestival.com 

https://www.jokepit.com/comedy-by/west-didsbury-comedy-festival

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francis house virtual chick hunt

In the run up to and in the weeks after Easter, large knitted Easter chicks come home to roost in the windows of shops, restaurants, cafes and businesses throughout Didsbury village for the Francis House Easter Chick Hunt.

New for 2020

From 3 – 30 April all the chicks will remain with the Francis House team, but you can still find them all on their virtual chick trail. Click on a location to reveal the name of the chick, its temporary home and an interesting fact about Francis House. Test your memory and answer all 22 questions to reveal your score. Please help Francis House and the families we support by making a donation.

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the evolution of ‘thyme out’

Many of the local restaurants are having to evolve how they operate, and a great example is Thyme out, one of West Didsbury’s staple café/ restaurants.

Due to Covid-19, they’re changing how they do things, until further notice, they’ll be closed to walk-in customers, but we will be launching a delivery/ collection service as of Friday 20th March.

They’re also launching ‘Prepped’ an alternative take away – a great concept and bound to be a winner.  Check it out…. https://www.thymeoutfoodco.co.uk/index.html

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support your local traders

#didsbury

Support local businesses during this busy time, they’re here to support you!

Many of the fantastic local, independent businesses are offering local delivery for those stuck at home, and I believe stock levels are much better in local shops rather than the big chain stores.

If you own or run a local business, here is also a great place to get your message out there and help to support each other during this crazy time. https://twitter.com/hashtag/didsbury?lang=en

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covid-19 community help

A facebook group has been set up to support people, particularly those having to self-isolate throughout Didsbury, Withington and Burnage.

Set up by Jen Sevaris she’s establishing if anyone can help by doing shop runs, getting medications etc for people who cannot get out to do so then please volunteer on the face book page. Please write the times you are free, your name and area you will travel to, if you have a car and if you are DBS checked or not. For anyone needing help or knows someone who needs help for anything like food, medication etc just ask for help and hopefully someone from our community will be able to help. https://www.facebook.com/groups/138973914166677/?ref=group_header

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Top Tips For Viewing A Property

When it comes to buying property, it is important to keep in mind that it could potentially be the home you live in for the rest of your life. With this in mind, it is essential that when you view potential properties that you take the time to be thorough and get all the information you can.
To help make sure you don’t miss a thing and make the right choice when you do eventually make an offer, we’ve compiled the following list of tips to help you to view a property like a pro.
Don’t rush
We all feel a bit strange viewing someone else’s home, but as we said earlier, you could be living in this property for decades, so don’t rush through this process! It’s vital that you spend close to 30 minutes exploring the property, asking questions and just getting a good sense of how it feels. If you just wander from room to room, taking a quick look and then moving on, you won’t get a good feel for the property. Taking that little extra time will mean you are well-informed when you come to make a formal offer.

Think about how much space there actually is
When it comes to property, space is one thing you can never have enough of. Whether you’re looking to fit in that Queen-size bed or you need somewhere to store all of the precious knickknacks that you have collected over the years, space is incredibly valuable. Pay attention to the way the current owner has laid out the furniture, as it will provide you with some insight into how to best make use of the property’s available space. It’s also an excellent opportunity to think about how much room your items take up and whether there is any scope for a little pre-move declutter.
Take a walk through the area
When you’re buying a property you’re not just investing in that building, you’re also investing in the neighbourhood itself. If you’re first-time buyers and looking to build a life in this new home, you have to ask whether the area is suitable for your family’s needs. Are there plenty of shops close by? How do the local schools perform? It’s best to wander around the area for a short while in order to see how it all feels, after all, if you’re going to be here for some time, you need to feel comfortable.
Once you’ve taken a good look, take another and maybe another
As we stated at the beginning, when it comes to buying property it’s best done the right way, but even when you do everything right, it’s always best to check things twice. No matter how thorough you intend to be there is always the possibility that you missed a couple of things the first time around. Most would advise visiting a property 2-3 times and at different times of the day – if possible – to see if you feel the same way each time. Buying a home can be very exciting, so it is worth visiting the property a few times.
Don’t forget that your agent is there to help you! Make sure you ask them questions about the property’s history and the local area, as they will be more than happy to assist you with your decision.

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How To Transform Your Kitchen On A Budget To Achieve A Quick Sale

In often cases, the kitchen is what holds properties back from selling quickly. Not everyone can afford to replace a full kitchen, but with some pointers, and a few YouTube tutorials along the way, you can learn how to make affordable improvements yourself. Without breaking the bank.

A typical 8-unit kitchen that provides 10m2 of storage space can cost at least £1000. A larger kitchen however, requiring 20-units, giving 30m2 could be more like £7000 and that’s not even including the worktops, appliances or installation fees. Besides, if you were going to invest that much money, you’d want it to be for your own kitchen that you can enjoy yourself! With our kitchen guide, you can transform your kitchen space for under £80!

Before we start, you will need: (For the best quality supplies, head to Dulux or Johnstones.)

• Dust sheets! Old bed sheets will do too or these can be ordered online for as little as £1.
• Degrease wipes £2 from any supermarket
• Advanced primer in white £8
• Water based acrylic satin, mixed in any colour you want £9
• Foam roller £4
• Paint brush pack £11
• Mini roller bucket £3
• Knotting solution £7 (if necessary)
• New cupboard furniture, around £20
• Sanding pad pack £4

Step 1. PREP
Start by removing cupboard and draw furniture (handles and knobs.) Use a screwdriver to do so, usually either a flat head or a Philips. Then start sheeting the floor. You don’t want any paint splashes on your tiled floor (use masking tape to secure if you’re worried.) With your sanding pad, start going over the ins and out of your cupboards. Be thorough and make sure all food splashes are rubbed off. Dust down well. Then with the degrease wipes, give everywhere a wipe down. This is important and if done properly will help the paint sit better on the surface.

Step 2. BARE WOOD?

This step is only for those who will be transforming bare wood units. After wiping down, get your knotting solution and with a cloth or thin paint brush, ensure all wood knots are covered well. If you don’t know what a knot looks like, give it a google! We use this so the darkness of the knots, don’t shine through under the paint, especially if it’s a light colour. This dries instantly, so about fifteen minutes later move on to the next step.

Step 3. PRIME.

With a 1.5-inch paintbrush start applying the advanced primer. This removes the porosity creating a smooth coat ready for the following final coats. To get the best outcome do two coats, just to get a good coverage, avoiding any other colour or wood flashing through. Leave around 3 hours in-between coats and overnight for the last.

Step 4. PAINT.
Grab the water based acrylic satin, a clean brush, foam roller and mini roller bucket. This stage can vary depending on what cabinets you have. If you just have flat doors and draws, then that’s easy! If you have grooved or paneled cabinets, then this will require just a little more attention. For flat doors, with the brush, paint the outskirts of the door. Do one door at a time and don’t do a wide area, keep it neat and narrow. Coat the roller well in the acrylic satin and spread evenly over the entire door and lay it off well so there are no bubbles and is evenly covered. Don’t forget to do the side of the opened door as well. Don’t apply any more paint to the roller, just run it up and down and it will cover perfectly. If you want to do inside the cabinets as well then repeat this process.

For grooved or panelled doors, paint with a brush the panels and grooves, if there is an area larger than the width of your roller, roll it. If it is smaller and needs the paint to be worked into it, then stick with a brush. Lay it off well with the roller again to make it smooth and even. Using a foam roller will eliminate any brush marks and will make it look like the cabinets were that colour to begin with!

Make sure all edges are painted. This stage needs two coats, so wait 6 hours between coats and then overnight after the final. You might be thinking this will take up too much time, but I would say it’s much better than having fitters in and leaving you without a kitchen for a couple of days.

Step 5. DRESS.

This is the fun part. Now everything has dried, removed the sheets. To make the kitchen more modern and in keep with the transformation, you may want to replace the furniture. You can get a pack of four handles from Wilko for £6. When putting these on, be careful not to scratch your masterpiece! Dress with a new fruit bowl, a fresh bunch of flowers or some hanging green plants.

There are millions of hints and tips found online. Look through Pinterest for colour inspiration and watch any YouTube videos along the way if you find yourself struggling. Just by doing this can really increase your chances of selling. A major kitchen remodel only returns around 80% on to your investment, a minor remodel like revamping your cabinets, has an 87% return!

For £80, it’s a no brainer.

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interest cut

Interest rates have been cut to 0.25% in a bid to shore up the economy amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. This is the first time since the financial crisis that the Bank of England has announced an emergency move.

Low interest rates may well help cushion the housing market in the months ahead. Over 70% of homes are purchased with a mortgage.

According to data from the Bank of England, activity in the mortgage market is currently at a four-year high and mortgage rates are increasingly competitive on the high street.

In 2008, interest rates were cut for six consecutive months, falling from 5% in September 2008 to 0.5% in March 2009. Low interest rates helped the property market rebound throughout 2009.

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