Archive for March, 2011

Have you planned your Royal Wedding Street Party yet?

This is a legacy post from the blog which is now maintained as an archive within the Zoopla blog. Links have been preserved.

Call us slow, but FindaProperty has just realised it’s exactly one month until Wills and Kate waltz down the aisle in the fairytale wedding of the millennium, well so far anyway.

Wills & Kate: Don’t they just make you want to have a street party?

And as the penny dropped, so too did the realisation that this might be our last chance to plan our Royal Wedding street party and give us a much-needed excuse to get the bunting out.

With that in mind, we’ve put together this handy guide – with thanks to Eric Pickles – for anyone who wants to follow our lead and plan a street party to celebrate Kate’s big day and bring the neighbours together.

Get permission from your council


You might not realise it, but there are some boring, but necessary legal hoops to jump through before you can start tucking into the Victoria sponge. Contact your council now to find out what’s required as granting permission can take a month (and that’s all the time you’ve got!).

Draw up a guest list

A street party, as the name suggests, is just for you and your neighbours. But you need to let them know it’s happening, so think about how you can do this: old-fashioned flyers through doors perhaps?


And here’s the fun part. Sure you’ll be toasting Kate and Wills, but perhaps a scarecrow competition with a royal bride and groom theme would be the ultimate tribute? Either that or a tombola, of course (no street party is complete without one, but I think you know that).


As we all know, Britain’s got a lot of it and it doesn’t always behave the way we want. Think about what you’ll do if it really does rain on the Royal’s parade. Do you really want everyone back to yours?

March 29, 2011 at 5:49 PM 1 comment

Kate Hudson nesting in north London

This is a legacy post from the blog which is now maintained as an archive within the Zoopla blog. Links have been preserved.

FindaProperty has always been a big fan of frothy and fun actor Kate Hudson and even more so since hearing she’s just dropped £4 mill on a mews house in north London (no stuffy mansion for Goldie Hawn’s daughter!).

Kate Hudson has spent £4 million on a North London mews home

Kate Hudson has spent £4 million on a North London mews home

Hudson, 31, who is expecting her second child with muse rocker Matt Bellamy, 32, has been a regular visitor to these shores in recent times and spoken on more than one occasion about her affection for old Blighty.

The star of How to Lose A Guy in 10 Days apparently went to a lot of trouble to make sure her new gaff had enough space to accommodate her extended family and she’s reportedly already shown Goldie and Kurt around the area.

Hudson and Bellamy are clearly set to go the bi-continental route of Gwyneth Paltrow and Madonna and split their time between the UK and the US, with reports that the couple’s house buying spree ain’t over yet: they are apparently looking for another home in Miami (apparently a five bedroom beach house!).

FindaProperty isn’t surprised to hear Hudson’s now well and truly focused on feathering her nests and is spending quality time sourcing the perfect accessories to make her new homes, well, erm, homely.

“I love shopping but once you get into houses and wanting to nest you get into lamp shopping and bedding,” she told the latest edition of Look. “I really love interior design. My shopping has gone from fashion to more of the house stuff.”

March 24, 2011 at 2:14 PM Leave a comment

Hampstead Garden Suburb mourns Elizabeth Taylor

This is a legacy post from the blog which is now maintained as an archive within the Zoopla blog. Links have been preserved.

FindaProperty was saddened to hear about the death of screen legend Dame Elizabeth Taylor who grew up in London’s Hampstead Garden Suburb.

Elizabeth Taylor aged 19 arrives at the airport in London in 1951

The film star grew up with her parents and older brother Howard at number 8 Wildwood Road in the north London enclave known affectionately as the Suburb.

Dame Elizabeth, who was 79 when she died in Los Angeles, apparently always kept London and Hampstead Garden Suburb close to her heart.

In 2007, she agreed to become the patron of the area’s centenary celebrations. In a message to residents she said: “The happiest days of my youth were when my brother and I would run through woods and feel quite safe. I wonder whether the Suburb is still like that now. I do hope so. It was heaven for this child and her brother.”

Last year it was reported that Dame Elizabeth, who made her name in films Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Cleopatra and National Velvet, was looking for a new home in the area, presumably to rekindle some of those childhood memories.

March 23, 2011 at 6:06 PM Leave a comment

Britain’s Greenest Home: Challenge Michael Fish & win £3000

This is a legacy post from the blog which is now maintained as an archive within the Zoopla blog. Links have been preserved.

Ducking and diving through the throngs at London’s Ideal Home Show, FindaProperty caught sight of weather icons Michael Fish and John Kettley and could just about forget about today’s other big news story (erm, that’s the Budget for anyone who hasn’t been following).

Weathermen icons: John Kettley and Michael Fish launch Britain’s Greenest Home competition

The weathermen, who are almost as famous for a 1998 novelty song as they are for telling us what to expect outside, came together today to launch a brand new competition to find Britain’s Greenest Home with a winner’s purse of £3000.

The two, who were clearly delighting many a visitor to the Ideal Home Show with their old-school charm, posed with a weather map to launch the competition, which is being run by solar panel company HomeSunand sponsored by

Fish told us he was very happy to be involved with a competition that encouraged people to make their homes greener.

“I’m seriously concerned about global warming and climate change and every contribution that can be made to cut down Co2 emissions and therefore slow down, what I call, the ultimate weapon of mass destruction is worth doing,” Fish said. “This is just one small thing amongst many things we can do to make a contribution.”

While Fish doesn’t have any solar panels on his West London home because “it’s in a conservation area and faces in the wrong direction”, he told FindaProperty that he’s always strived to take the lead with eco measures at home.

“I’ve done everything I can to make my home greener, in fact I was ahead of the game, when I started 40 years ago. I’ve got double glazing, loft insulation, all my light bulbs are energy saving and I’ve installed a new boiler.

“I’ve done everything I could possible do, in fact, I could possibly win this competition.”

Right then, we’ll consider ourselves warned. Although if you think you can give Fish a run for his money, click here to enter the competition, and be in with a chance to win £3000.

March 23, 2011 at 5:17 PM Leave a comment

2011 Budget: Thanks for the help, George, but is it enough?

This is a legacy post from the blog which is now maintained as an archive within the Zoopla blog. Links have been preserved.

During the cost cutting frenzy initiated by the coalition after the election last year, one of the casualties was the Homebuy Direct scheme, which had been set up by the Labour government to help first timers buying new homes. It helped some 10,000 people on to the property ladder through a ‘shared equity’ scheme.

But despite the protests of many at the time, the coalition said it was a luxury the nation could not afford and the scheme ended in late 2010. So it’s interesting to see that that help for first time buyers is back on the agenda in today’s Budget.

The truth is first time buyers are the bedrock of a healthy housing market – without them the seemingly eternal stream of people moving up the property ladder comes to a halt, eventually.

The average price for a first time buyer home in the UK is £153,601, our figures show, so the government’s £250m shot in the arm for Britain’s growing army of thwarted wannabe home owners will help an extra 16,275 of them onto the first rung of the property ladder.

This will help improve the feel good factor but it’s still not enough and is a slightly bigger version of the Labour government’s Homebuy Direct scheme, which helped an extra 10,000 into home ownership in that government’s dying days.

But high prices and a difficult mortgage market mean there are at least 50,000 first time buyers being locked out of the housing market each year – so to be effective the scheme needs to be more ambitious if it’s going to ease the first time buyer crisis.

Osborne’s scheme sounds almost identical to the Homebuy Direct scheme but, for the purposes of a budget statement, is being repackaged as a new idea. The government will fund 10% of a new home’s purchase price as an interest-free loan for first time buyers (who have a household income of under £60,000 a year) and the developer will then pitch in with another 10%, and the buyer needs to produce a further 5%, adding up to 25%.

This is significant because, at 75% loan to value, mortgages are much easier to secure and usually cheaper to pay for. This, along with the recent Stamp Duty relief for first time buyers, may sharpen up an increasingly soggy housing market.

March 23, 2011 at 9:36 AM 1 comment

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