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Spurs kick managerial woes to touch with superb display

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Tottenham Hotspur 4 Sheffield United 0

It is not all doom and gloom for Tottenham. Although there is no end in sight to the search for a new manager, Ryan Mason is doing everything in his power to ensure that whoever takes over has European football next season.

This was a reminder that Spurs can play. Gareth Bale scored a splendid hat-trick and Son added a beautiful fourth as Mason’s side moved up to fifth place, five points below Chelsea with four games remaining. Champions League qualification is not out of the question yet.

There were times when it felt like Spurs were trying to remember their values. Although they raised their level now and then during the first half, there were long spells when they lacked cohesion on the ball. They looked unfocused, distracted, not quite at it. They were better than the visitors, which is hardly saying much, but overall there was a listlessness to their play, a sense of a team lacking in confidence and struggling to find an identity.

Perhaps that is inevitable when the man in the dugout is a 29-year-old caretaker with no managerial experience. It is, of course, not Mason’s fault that he is in this position. This is on Daniel Levy, the chairman who was blinded by the supposed celebrity appeal of José Mourinho after sacking the best manager Spurs have had in the Premier League era.

Spurs have fallen a long way since the heady days of challenging for the title under Mauricio Pochettino. The past week has been tough. After seeing their top choice to replace Mourinho, Julian Nagelsmann, agree to join Bayern Munich and another target, Erik ten Hag, extend his contract at Ajax, there is little sense that Spurs know where to turn next.

Desperate

For all the uncertainty, however, Spurs were more than capable of opening up Sheffield United, who had the air of a team desperate for the season to end. It was hard to detect much of a plan from the visitors. The division’s bottom side repeatedly invited pressure with sloppy attempts to play out from the back and it came as little surprise when Spurs finally broke through in the 36th minute.

The goal, coming moments after Rhian Brewster had almost hit the corner flag with a rare effort at the other end, was deftly constructed when it arrived. Serge Aurier earned the assist with a neat pass over the top for Bale. He dinked a clever finish over a hesitant Aaron Ramsdale, who had received treatment for a foot injury a few minutes earlier.

Spurs deserved their lead after controlling much of the opening period. Bale had fired over and Son Heung-min had threatened from 20 yards, bringing the best out of Ramsdale. United always looked vulnerable at the back and they were fortunate that Harry Kane wasted two clear sights of goal.

Mason could be reasonably satisfied, even if there were moments when attacks broke down too easily. Dele Alli, starting in the league for the third time this season, was busy in the No 10 role and Giovani Lo Celso, who was fortunate to escape serious injury when John Fleck trod on his head at the start of the second half, was eager to seize responsibility in central midfield.

Revenge

Lo Celso was soon exacting his own brand of revenge on Fleck, nutmegging the United midfielder with an impudent pass. There were bright flashes from Spurs and they appeared to have made the game safe when Son beat Ramsdale after latching on to a raking pass from Toby Alderweireld in the 51st minute, only for a VAR review to show the forward was offside.

Reprieved, United tried to summon a response. They looked slightly sharper after introducing Oliver Burke and Sander Berge at half-time and began to enjoy some possession as the hour approached.

They should have known better. After 61 minutes, United won a corner and piled forward. Moments later, the ball was in their net. Spurs cleared their lines and Son led an electrifying counterattack down the right before releasing Bale, who raced clear and steadied himself before smashing an emphatic finish past Ramsdale.

The individual quality was too much for United, who will start over in the championship next season. Bale, teed up by Aurier, completed his hat-trick from 20 yards and there was time for Son to complete the rout with a glorious bending effort.

– Guardian

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Selling your home? Here’s how to make sure it has kerb appeal by sprucing up outside space

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As anyone who has indulged in the brutal ‘swipe left’ culture of internet dating will testify, you don’t often get a second chance to make a first impression. And the same is true when trying to sell your property.

That’s why what lies at the front of your house — be it lawn, gravel or flagstones — can play a major role in making a sale.

Indeed, having a pleasing ‘shop front’ to snag potential buyers scrolling through listings or even walking past outside can offer leverage to boost the asking price, says Colby Short, CEO of estate agent comparison site getagent.co.uk.

Dress to impress: Colourful flower beds transform the look of a cottage in East Lothian, Scotland

Dress to impress: Colourful flower beds transform the look of a cottage in East Lothian, Scotland

‘Homes that offer a front garden carry a 4 per cent property price premium versus those without, and that equates to more than £11,000 in the current market,’ he says.

So what changes can you make to the patch in front of your house to help improve the saleability of the property?

Some alterations are simple, entry-level innovations. For example, even the smallest swatch of grass should be mown and rubbish-free. 

In fact, bins and recycling boxes are often the first thing you see in a front garden, as well as the detritus left by squirrels who have curated bits of dinner from your bags of rubbish. But it’s easy to hide bins away in a box unit.

‘If you’re trying to hide ugly bins, how about building a bin store with a planter on the top, then you can have some gorgeous outdoor succulents and flowering alpines?’ says QVC UK’s gardening expert Michael Perry. 

You can also buy wooden bin stores from outdoor furniture suppliers such as Wayfair (from £125.99).

Meanwhile, hanging baskets outside your front door help to break up a harsh brick wall, says Sean Lade, of Easy Garden Irrigation.

‘Hanging baskets are an excellent choice for adding colour and scent to your front garden and soften the front of your house. They should be installed at eye level —about 5 ft off the ground.’

Hanging baskets add colour and scent to a front garden and soften the front of a house

Hanging baskets add colour and scent to a front garden and soften the front of a house

And think about replacing tired fencing or dilapidated brick walls with natural borders, such as Boxwood hedging, which will add visual interest and is also easy to prune throughout the year.

‘If you prefer a cottage garden appearance, then why not train climbing plants to create natural archways around your front door, porch or gate?’ says Deborah Cobb, product manager at builders’ merchants MKM.

‘Raised flower beds are also a clever way to add some natural foliage. If you fill them with evergreen shrubs, then they are an easy-to-look-after and low-maintenance option that will look good all year round.’

In terms of what plants to go for, Nicola Bird, founder of seed subscription service The Floral Project, suggests some annual flowers are perfect for planting at the front of your house if you’re looking to sell. 

‘They include varieties such as cosmos, phlox, zinnias and sweet peas — not only to bring a bright splash of colour to your front garden, but also serve as a great conversation starter with your potential buyers.’

Even if you don’t have a patch of grass in front of your home, there are other fundamentals which will help with the sale, says Jonathan Rolande, professional property buyer at housebuyfast.co.uk.

This includes jet-washing your path. And just before a visit from potential buyers, remove any vehicles, where possible, to help to create an impression of space.

‘Clean the windows, frames and front doors — and clean the house number,’ he says. ‘If the garden is mostly given over to parking, soften the look with pots and planters filled with bright flowers and attractive shrubs.’

 You may think your garden gnomes are cute, but to a prospective buyer, they can be just plain creepy

He adds that if you don’t have a lawn, terracotta planters on the front sills look great with fragrant plants such as lavender and rosemary appealing to the sense of smell, too.

If your front garden is really small, use decorative gravel such as pea shingle or slate chippings, suggests Thomas Goodman, property expert at homeowner and tradesman connection website myjobquote.co.uk.

‘This will give you an attractive, low-maintenance base for topping with a few nice plant pots.

‘Fix anything that’s broken, including gates, fences and walls. These detract from any nice planting and give the impression of a home that’s not properly maintained and is going to need work.’

Colby Short says some items in your garden should be permanently jettisoned to improve the chances of a sale.

‘You may think your garden gnomes are cute, but to a prospective buyer, they can be just plain creepy. The same goes for any large statues or display items, particularly if they are of a political, religious or risque nature.

‘When it comes to potential buyers, you want to present a blank canvas. But that doesn’t mean this canvas can’t look good and add appeal in its own right.’

On the market… with kerb appeal 

Buckinghamshire: This four bedroom semi-detached cottage is on the edge of Denham Village. The bedrooms are spacious overlooking front and rear gardens. Struttandparker.com, 01753 481 781, £800,000

Buckinghamshire: This four bedroom semi-detached cottage is on the edge of Denham Village. The bedrooms are spacious overlooking front and rear gardens. Struttandparker.com, 01753 481 781, £800,000

Suffolk: There are four bedrooms in this detached house in Old Newton. The property dates from the 16th century and has a thatched roof and mature gardens. Fineandcountry.com, 01379 646 020. £1.2m

Suffolk: There are four bedrooms in this detached house in Old Newton. The property dates from the 16th century and has a thatched roof and mature gardens. Fineandcountry.com, 01379 646 020. £1.2m

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Elephant Park expands its retail offer (GB)

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Lendlease has announced the openings of two new spaces at Elephant Park: all-day kitchen and bar RAREBIT; and community garden store The Nunhead Gardener.

 

RAREBIT – the all-day kitchen and evening dining, bar, and grocery store – has opened its first brick-and-mortar location on Elephant Park’s casual dining hub, Sayer Street. The brand-new concept has a menu focusing on British favorites including the Welsh ‘rarebit’, and its grocery stocks a range of independent wines, craft beers, and coffee from East London coffee shop, Climpson & Sons. This selection is complemented by cheeses from Neal’s Yard Dairy, charcuterie from London Smoke & Cure, and produce from Natoora.

 

The Nunhead Gardener is the latest brand to move from one of Lendlease’s meanwhile units into a permanent space at Elephant Park, following the likes of Dima Beautiful, Beza Ethiopian Vegan, and bar and bottle shop The Tap In. The 900ft² unit on Sayer Street stocks a selection of indoor and outdoor plants, as well as specialty gardening tools, seeds, and seasonal scented candles.

 

Guy Thomas, Head of Place Assets at Lendlease, commented: “Both of these openings speak to our core values at Elephant Park, with a commitment to providing our local community with uses that are independent, sustainability-oriented, and unique. The arrival of RAREBIT adds a new cuisine to casual dining hub Sayer Street, and The Nunhead Gardener’s revamped permanent space has created a plant haven that we know local people will love.”

 

Mark Angell and Will Nias, Co-Founders of RAREBIT, said: “RAREBIT is about bringing a modern, fresh concept to people who want top-quality food and drink. Whether that be for grocery shopping or sit-down dining, we are so excited to be welcoming customers through our doors at Elephant Park. It is such a buzzing area, and we are proud to introduce RAREBIT to this diverse and vibrant environment.”

 

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Hotel Indigo debuts in Austria

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Hotel Indigo opened its first hotel in Austria, Hotel Indigo Vienna – Naschmarkt. Located a short walk from the city’s historic center, the hotel offers 158 guest rooms, a rooftop garden resembling an urban jungle, a restaurant, and a lobby bar.

 

Taking inspiration from a famed local architect, Otto Wagner, a key member of the Secessionist movement, guests will find touches of gold used throughout the fixtures in the bathrooms as well as intricate patterns, made famous by Otto, woven into the carpet design in the hallway, and the tiles behind reception. Otto’s love for gold, Art Nouveau design, and ornate patterns can also be seen at famous local buildings such as the Majolikahaus, a short walk from the hotel. From ground level, the building looks innocuous, but as guests look skywards, they will see the top floors are decorated with exquisitely sumptuous floral motifs in brightly colored porcelain and gold leaf, a hallmark of the new style.

 

Stefanie Augustin, General Manager, Hotel Indigo Vienna – Naschmarkt, commented: “We are pleased to open our doors and accept our first guests into the first Hotel Indigo in Austria. We sit in the heart of the surrounding neighbourhood and strive to make all the locals proud, by helping to bring a bit of that external story in so guests can truly experience what Vienna has to offer.”

 

 

 

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