06Dec

Q. We have a property that is likely to be unoccupied over the winter. Are there any precautions that we should take?

A. With an empty property over the winter, one of the main concerns must be to ensure that the property is properly protected against the danger of burst pipes. By far the safest way to deal with this is to have both water and central heating systems fully drained down. This does mean that the property will feel cold, damp and uninviting, but that’s a small price to pay for the security of knowing that you’re not going to face a repair bill for perhaps tens of thousands of pounds.

Sadly, the other main concern you need to address is the risk of vandalism – or at least, unauthorised entry. Obviously, a properly functioning alarm system can work wonders in helping to deter intruders, and asking a neighbour to keep an eye on the place is also advisable. However, an empty house is easily spotted, so it’s a good idea to keep a couple of lamps, and even a radio, on timer switches, to give at least the casual observer the impression that someone’s at home. And if your neighbour can be prevailed upon to park a car in the driveway occasionally, then so much the better.

You should try to visit the property regularly, or arrange for someone else to do so. Again, this will help create the impression that the place is occupied. Also if anything has gone wrong, or any damage - accidental or otherwise - has occurred, it can be spotted and rectified before its expense escalates. Besides, it’s important that the property should look cared for. Few things are more likely to attract the unwelcome attention of vandals and others than a general air of neglect. This is true at any time of year, of course, but particularly so during the winter months. So, things like keeping the front garden neat and tidy, the windows clean and the hallway free of accumulated junk mail, are all worth doing.

Finally, bear in mind that many insurance companies will only cover empty properties for a limited period of time – often as little as one month. So, check!


06Dec

More baking brilliance from friend of a friend: a great recipe which little ones can enjoy making too.


These little Rudolphs have a little secret, they're actually upside down gingerbread men!


PREP

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C, gas 4 

You will also need two baking sheets, with non-stick liners, and a gingerbread man cutter; I use one approximately 2/3in.


INGREDIENTS

  • 75g light brown soft sugar
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 1 tablespoon black treacle 
  • 1 tablespoon water 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 rounded teaspoon ground ginger
  • pinch of cloves
  • finely grated zest of ½ orange
  • 95g block butter 
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 225g plain flour sifted, plus a little more (if needed)
  • 1 tube of white, red and black writing icing (to decorate)


METHOD

  1. Put the sugar, syrup, treacle, water, spices and zest together in a large saucepan, then bring them to boiling point, stirring all the time. 
  2. Now remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter (cut into lumps) and the bicarbonate of soda.
  3. Next stir in the flour gradually until you have a smooth manageable dough. Add a little more flour if you think it needs it. 
  4. Now leave the dough covered in a cool place to become firm (approximately 30 minutes).
  5. Now roll the dough out to 3mm thick on a lightly floured surface and cut out the gingerbread men. Arrange them on the baking sheets and bake near the centre of the oven, one sheet at a time, for 10–15 minutes until the biscuits feel firm when lightly pressed with a fingertip.
  6. Leave them to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire cooling rack.
  7. To decorate, turn them on their heads, the legs become the antlers, the arms the ears and the head his big red nose, with the eyes on what was the tummy! 
  8. I like to give them all their own little characters, making them all a little individual as after the antlers, ears, eyes and nose the rest is up to you!


Store in an airtight container. If giving them as a gift pop a few in a polythene bag with a fancy bow and they'll make everyone smile.


Hope you enjoy this recipe. Happy Christmas.


Emily Doyle
Paper Doyleys
www.paperdoyleys.co.uk
078 555 40 444


06Dec

KIDS’ AND FAMILY EVENTS

  • Winter wonderland illuminations at Drusilla’s
    until 2nd January, switch on at 4:30pm daily
  • Ice-rink at Brighton Royal Pavilion
    until 15 Jan
  • Santa at Brighton Royal Pavilion 
    until 04 Jan (closed 24 & 25 Dec)
  • Beauty & The Beast 
    Ropetackle Arts Centre, Shoreham-By-Sea
    until Sat 31 Dec
  • The Fat Controller and Thomas at Drusilla’s
    31 Dec
  • Winter swim at (heated!) Arundel Lido
    Dec 24, 25, 26, 29 and Jan 1st
    10:00am-1:00pm
  • Granny Gingerbread’s family find at Nymans
    until Fri 23 Dec, then 26 Dec to 6 Jan
  • Peter Pan by Chichester Festival Youth Theatre 
    17 Dec - 31 Dec 
  • Facts, Fun and Fairytales at Nymans
    until Fri 23 Dec, then 26 Dec to 6 Jan
  • Family trail: What to look for in winter at Nymans
    until Fri 23 Dec, then 26 Dec to 6 Jan
  • Things to make at Nymans
    until Fri 23 Dec, then 26 Dec to 6 Jan
  • Christmas concerts at Eastbourne Bandstand
    25, 26 Dec, 01 Jan
  • Peter Pan
    Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne
    11 Dec - 17 Jan


FUN OUTDOORS

  • Santa at Brighton Royal Pavilion 
    until 04 Jan (closed 24 & 25 Dec)
  • Winter wonderland illuminations at Drusilla’s
    until 2nd January, switch on at 4:30pm daily
  • Ice-rink at Brighton Royal Pavilion
    until 15 Jan
  • Bothy at Standen House and Garden
    Standen House and Garden, East Grinstead
    until Sun 1 Jan
  • Family trail: What to look for in winter at Nymans
    until Fri 23 Dec, then 26 Dec to 6 Jan
  • Boxing Day Cruises on the Wey and Arun Canal
    26 Dec
  • Boxing Day Racing at Fontwell Park, Arundel
    26 Dec
  • Boxing Day Jazz Breakfast With Mike Hatchard
    Ropetackle Arts Centre, Shoreham-By-Sea
    26 Dec
  • Boxing Day Stroll at Standen House and Garden
    Standen House and Garden, East Grinstead
    26 Dec
  • New Year walks at Nymans
    27 Dec to 8 Jan


PANTOS, THEATRE, CONCERTS, CAROL SERVICES

  • Christmas Carol Services at Chichester Cathedral
    19 Dec - 12 Jan 2017
  • Peter Pan by Chichester Festival Youth Theatre 
    17 Dec - 31 Dec 
  • Winter swim at (heated!) Arundel Lido
    Dec 24, 25, 26, 29 and Jan 1st
    10:00am-1:00pm
  • Wey Canal Boxing Day Cruises
    26 Dec
  • Midnight Spiritual Carol Service 
    Adasta Hall, Hassocks
    24 Dec
  • Midnight Mass
    St Nicholas’ Church, Worth, Crawley
    24 Dec


GETTING CULTURAL

  • The Treason Show: That Was The Year That Was 2016!
    Ropetackle Arts Centre, Shoreham-By-Sea
    31 Dec
  • Photo-Punk: 40 images from the birth of punk
    until 05 Mar 
  • Experimental Motion: the art of film innovation
    until 04 June

BOXING DAY EVENTS

  • Boxing Day Cruises on the Wey and Arun Canal
  • Boxing Day Racing at Fontwell Park, Arundel
  • Boxing Day Jazz Breakfast
  • Ropetackle Arts Centre, Shoreham-By-Sea
  • Boxing Day Stroll at Standen House and Garden
  • Standen House and Garden, East Grinstead
  • Pinocchio The Panto
    The Barn Theatre, Southwick
    31 Dec to 7 Jan
  • Winter swim at (heated!) Arundel Lido
    Dec 24, 25, 26, 29 and Jan 1st
    10am-1pm
  • Granny Gingerbread’s family find at Nymans
    until Fri 23 Dec, then 26 Dec to 6 Jan
  • Facts, Fun and Fairytales at Nymans
    until Fri 23 Dec, then 26 Dec to 6 Jan
  • Family trail: What to look for in winter at Nymans
    until Fri 23 Dec, then 26 Dec to 6 Jan
  • Things to make at Nymans
    until Fri 23 Dec, then 26 Dec to 6 Jan
  • Christmas concerts at Eastbourne Bandstand
    25, 26 Dec, 01 Jan

GETTING OUT ON NEW YEAR’S DAY

  • New Year’s Day Stroll at Standen House and Garden
    Standen House and Garden, East Grinstead
    1 Jan
  • New Year’s Day cruises on the Wey and Arun Canal
    1 Jan
  • New Year walks at Nymans
    27 Dec to 8 Jan
  • Pinocchio The Panto
    The Barn Theatre, Southwick
    31 Dec to 7 Jan 
  • New Year walks at Nymans
    27 Dec to 8 Jan
  • Pinocchio The Panto
    The Barn Theatre, Southwick
    31 Dec to 7 Jan

23Sep

Mansell McTaggart have strong links to rugby with many of us either current or ex-players (bruises to show!). We believe in the values that lie at the heart of the sport of respect, teamwork, commitment and fair play. We support several clubs in Sussex and are very pleased to once again re-new our sponsorship of Newick Rugby Club.

22Sep

This unique project comprises a terrace of five new family houses as part of an established community with associated shared landscape, community facilities and biomass district heating.

The development situated in a tranquil, semi-rural location on the southern edge of East Grinstead off the desirable private Coombe Hill Road.

Set in an acre of expansive mature gardens with a perimeter of protected trees, the site is within easy access of both the town and a Montessori farm school and shop. East Grinstead mainline railway station, with direct access to London, is only 1.4 miles away and there are good bus links to the town centre and surrounding villages.

The scheme is designed by awarding team of Nicholas Pople Architects and Douch Partners with specialist engineers Corbett Tasker. They each have over 25 years of specialist experience in sustainable technologies and building techniques. Phase 1, the converted Tobias Hostel comprising nine flats, won the Mid Sussex District Council Small Residential Design/Sustainability Awards 2015 and a Sussex Heritage Trust Award in 2013.

The overall design is driven by ecological considerations and enhanced by the use of responsibly sourced materials and attention to detail in the finishes.

Our truly sustainable approach takes into consideration long-term maintenance and running costs delivering a high quality living experience with low outgoings.

Call Mansell McTaggart East Grinstead on 01342 311711 for more information

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