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TV property gurus Kirstie and Phil’s 2021 predictions

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The difference of opinion between Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer is part of the appeal of their show Love It Or List It, but a point on which the duo agree wholeheartedly is that the programme should really be called: ‘Love It Or List It But Whatever Happens Chuck Half The Stuff Out’.

‘It’s got to the point where people are paying to store clutter,’ says Kirstie. ‘So it’s no wonder they can’t make up their minds about how to improve their homes.

‘We counted 90 mugs for a family of five in one programme – and they were complaining about a lack of space!’

Property gurus: Love It Or List It's Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer share their expert advice

Property gurus: Love It Or List It’s Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer share their expert advice

Kirstie and Phil are talking exclusively to the Mail before the next series begins on December 30. This will be the sixth series of the show, during which Kirstie and Phil go head to head (Kirstie on team Love It, Phil on team List It) to convince homeowners either to improve their home or sell up.

What they had not quite bargained for during filming was that a pandemic would throw everything upside down. Like most homeowners, both are worried about how Covid-19 will affect the market next year.

‘We are going to see a rise in unemployment, and that means banks will start to question what they are prepared to lend, and then it will become awkward. The perfect storm,’ says Phil.

Kirstie is not impressed by reports that on average house prices have risen by 6.5 per cent in 2020.

‘Yes, there are snippets of the country where prices have gone up, but all this tells you is that there is a greater division between the haves and the have-nots.’

So what advice do they have for first-time buyers at one end of the property ladder, and potential downsizers at the other?

‘If you can find what you want now, then go for it while mortgage rates are so low and before the stamp duty holiday ends,’ says Phil. ‘First-time buyers should remember that if you take London and the South-East out of the equation, you can get a lot for your money. We were filming in Stoke and came across a five-bedroom detached house with huge garden for £275,000.’

When it comes to downsizing, Kirstie says: ‘If you have started to think about it, do it – and do it now.

‘We meet couples all the time who say, ‘We should have downsized five years ago’. My advice is to move while you still have the energy and can enjoy it.’

L ove It Or List It – which is based on a Canadian show – first aired in 2015 and is seen as a natural spin-off of Location, Location, Location, which launched Kirstie and Phil’s TV careers in 2000 and which has featured 357 sets of house-hunters. So which is their favourite of the two?

‘Love It Or List It is a great show, but I don’t get to do the deal,’ says Phil.

‘And I’m very interested in the use of space,’ says Kirstie. ‘I love nothing more than poring over a floorplan, and so Love It Or List It gives me a huge buzz.’

When it comes to selling a home, Phil says the photographs you put online are crucial – but often estate agents use too many. ‘You want to create some intrigue with the pictures,’ he adds.

‘Less is more is a good principle. You don’t want people thinking that they’ve seen so much of a property online that they have no need to see it in person.’

One of the biggest changes in the world of property recently is the importance of fast broadband, especially now that many of us are having to work from home – in fact, a recent survey by broadband provider TalkTalk found that ‘more than half of workers expect they will never return to working five days a week in the office’.

‘I’m not saying superfast broadband will sell a home,’ says Phil. ‘But it will be a big factor in not selling it if you don’t have it.’

Kirstie and Phil have noticed how people want more from their homes now that going to an office is not such a key part of their lives.

‘The pandemic came just as commuting was becoming insufferable, and there is no question that people are going to work far more from home,’ says Phil.

‘In addition, they want fresh air, green spaces and a sense of community.’

Kirstie thinks open-plan design has had its day and that people might even start putting up walls rather than taking them down, ‘creating new spaces to reflect the extra time you spend at home’.

One of the silver linings of this ‘ghastly’ year, adds Kirstie, has been that ‘local shops have done a roaring trade and that has to be good news for villages and communities up and down the country.

‘And that’s something that should carry forward into next year.

‘It could also be the case that, because people have not been spending money on commuting or going on holidays, they will be encouraged to have a lifestyle change, which invariably means either moving home or making better use of your existing home.’

  • Kirstie And Phil’s Love It Or List It begins on Wednesday, December 30 at 8pm on Channel 4.

On the market… room for improvement 

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Social Democrats activists consider deferring request on leadership contest

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A group of Social Democrats activists who want to see a leadership election in the party is looking at deferring their request to consider such a contest until after a new general secretary is appointed to the party.

A draft letter to the party’s national executive, signed by two councillors and 14 others, seeking the leadership contest emerged on Friday evening.

The letter, which has not been sent to party authorities, requested the national executive meet to hold a vote to call a leadership election.

It pays tribute to the party’s current co-leaders Catherine Murphy and Róisín Shortall, who it states “have done exceptional work”, but adds that “it is now time to move to the next stage”.

The party released a statement later the same evening saying its TDs are “united behind co-leaders Catherine Murphy and Róisín Shortall”. This statement was shared on Twitter by all six of the party’s Dáil Deputies.

One of the councillors who signed the draft letter, Kildare representative Chris Pender, responded with his own social media post saying: “Anyone who’s read the letter will know it states we don’t have an issue with the leaders, but we believe in the democratic right to vote for that/those leaders.

“A leadership contest would give members the opportunity to show support for the current leaders, if that’s what they want.”

Cllr Cat O’Driscoll, who sits on Dublin City Council, was the other public representative who signed the draft letter.

Motivations

Sources insisted the motivations behind seeking a contest include giving the Social Democrats’ membership a say in who leads the party, as well as an issue of timing. They say with no general election expected imminently, it would give the next leader time to prepare.

It was also revealed on Friday that Brian Sheehan, a former director of the Yes Equality campaign, is to step down from his role as Social Democrats general secretary in early September. The decision is not connected with the call for a leadership election and those behind the draft letter were unaware of Mr Sheehan’s decision to leave the job.

However, it has prompted a rethink of the request for a leadership contest.

The Irish Times understands the activists are considering a new version of the letter that takes Mr Sheehan’s departure into account and would not seek a discussion about a leadership contest until after his successor is in place and has had some time in the job. A source suggested the approach with any new letter would be “a bit more cautious”.

On Monday, a party spokeswoman ruled out any contest for the leadership, either before or after the appointment of a new general secretary.

“The rules of the party state any leader must be a TD and all of our TDs are united in their support for the party leadership. The general secretary position is entirely unrelated to the party leadership,” she said.

Ms Murphy and Ms Shortall have jointly led the Social Democrats since its establishment in 2015.


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Instagrammer captures abandoned Welsh property in series of eerie photographs

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Who would live in a house like this? Instagrammer photographs abandoned Welsh property – complete with a bottle of Champagne for ‘Grandad’s’ 90th birthday, dishes still in the sink and a newspaper dating back to 1956

  • Photographs reveal the rooms have been untouched for decades and house opened bottle of Champagne  
  • Discovery was made by Instagrammer Kyle Urbex while exploring the countryside in Flintshire, North Wales 
  • Kyle said: ‘Overall the whole exploration just left me wondering the whole backstory’ 
  • ***Do YOU know who lived in the abandoned house? Contact izzy.nikolic@mailonline.co.uk*** 

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An abandoned Welsh house has been captured in a series of eerie photographs complete with a bottle of Champagne for ‘Grandad’s’ 90th birthday and dishes still in the sink.  

Photographs reveal rooms that have been untouched for decades and reveal a bottle of bubbly with a sticker which reads: ‘Happy 90th Birthday. Sorry I can’t be there to drink this with you! Lots of love James xxx.’  

The property has been dubbed ‘Granddad’s abandoned house’ after it was discovered tucked away in the woods. 

A piano can also be seen with sheet music still in place along with clothes hanging up and dishes still in the sink.

Photographs reveal rooms that have been untouched for decades and reveal a bottle of bubbly with a sticker which reads: 'Happy 90th Birthday. Sorry I can't be there to drink this with you! Lots of love James xxx'

Pictured: A piano can also be seen with sheet music still in place along with clothes hanging up

Photographs reveal rooms that have been untouched for decades and reveal a bottle of bubbly with a sticker which reads: ‘Happy 90th Birthday. Sorry I can’t be there to drink this with you! Lots of love James xxx’

The property has been dubbed 'Granddad's abandoned house' after it was discovered tucked away in the woods. Pictured: The exterior of the property

The property has been dubbed ‘Granddad’s abandoned house’ after it was discovered tucked away in the woods. Pictured: The exterior of the property 

Random debris including a broken bicycle, piping, empty tins and folding tables and chairs were left strewn throughout the house

The discovery was made by Instagrammer Kyle Urbex (pictured) while he was exploring the countryside in Flintshire, North Wales

Random debris including a broken bicycle, piping, empty tins and folding tables and chairs were left strewn throughout the house

Mr Urbex said: 'I visited the property just over four weeks ago and getting to the actual location wasn't too bad, just a walk up a small hill and the door was wide open'

Mr Urbex said: ‘I visited the property just over four weeks ago and getting to the actual location wasn’t too bad, just a walk up a small hill and the door was wide open’

The discovery was made by Instagrammer Kyle Urbex while he was exploring the countryside in Flintshire, North Wales.

Kyle also spotted a newspaper dating back to 1956 in what he believes was once someone’s ‘dream family home.’

He said: ‘I visited the property just over four weeks ago and getting to the actual location wasn’t too bad, just a walk up a small hill and the door was wide open.

‘Once inside I instantly saw the whole location was eerie because it was a house full to the brim of memories, ranging from clothes in the bedroom to old decaying pianos which once may have entertained many.

‘The porch area had been trashed, however the seating still remained intact and of course the champagne bottle for his 90th birthday still left on the fireplace.

He added: 'Once inside I instantly saw the whole location was eerie because it was a house full to the brim of memories, ranging from clothes in the bedroom to old decaying pianos which once may have entertained many'

Dishes are left undone in the sink in the kitchen

He added: ‘Once inside I instantly saw the whole location was eerie because it was a house full to the brim of memories, ranging from clothes in the bedroom to old decaying pianos which once may have entertained many’

Kyle says he has now been left wondering about the story behind the house. He added: ‘While the place appears to have been ransacked by vandals, clothes still hang in wardrobes; one of the few signs of the home it once was’

Kyle also spotted a newspaper dating back to 1956 in what he believes was once someone's 'dream family home'

Kyle also spotted a newspaper dating back to 1956 in what he believes was once someone’s ‘dream family home’

Mr Urbex added: 'Overall the whole exploration just left me wondering the whole backstory and how somebody could just leave so much memories and cherished possessions behind'

Mr Urbex added: ‘Overall the whole exploration just left me wondering the whole backstory and how somebody could just leave so much memories and cherished possessions behind’

‘I found it quite sad really given all the memories just left to be forgotten about. As well as the house there was a caravan hidden at the back in all the overgrowth which had more memories inside, old books and so on.

‘I managed to uncover an old bike in the shed which looked like it had been there quite a while.

‘Alongside all of these findings I came across a newspaper dated from November 3 1956.’

Kyle says he has now been left wondering about the story behind the house.

He added: ‘While the place appears to have been ransacked by vandals, clothes still hang in wardrobes; one of the few signs of the home it once was.

‘Overall the whole exploration just left me wondering the whole backstory and how somebody could just leave so much memories and cherished possessions behind.’

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Foley to bring school reopening plan to Cabinet on Tuesday

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Minister for Education Norma Foley says she has every confidence schools will reopen fully from late August and early September.

Ms Foley said there was ongoing engagement between her department and public health officials on the matter but all schools were set to reopen.

Strong mitigation measures would be in place in schools to ensure that they would continue to be controlled environments, she told RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show on Monday.

Covid-19 infection rates among children were at their highest when children were not at school and public health experts had pointed out “on a consistent basis to schools being a very significantly controlled environment”.

The safe operation of the Leaving Certificate exams and enhanced summer camps indicated that the safe operation of education could be maintained, she said.

A plan would be put in place to allow schools to “draw down” CO2 monitors and the Minister said she was confident there would be enough monitors for all schools by the start of the new school year.

In relation to Covid-19 vaccines for children, Ms Foley said the “expertise” lay with the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) from which her department would take guidance.

“I have received confirmation that the 16 to 18-year-old cohort should be in a position for online registration in the coming days, and I have been advised that the 15-year-olds cohort are still being considered by NIAC and there has been no definitive timeline given,” she added.

Ms Foley will bring a plan to Cabinet on Tuesday outlining enhanced public information campaigns, the outcome of antigen testing pilots, and the purchase of C02 monitors to assist in ventilating classrooms.

Capacity limits on school transport services will also remain in place.

Government sources were adamant on Sunday that second-level education would resume in the autumn, despite concerns among public-health officials that the wave could grow following the reopening of indoor dining today, before peaking in September.

“Schools will reopen,” a senior Coalition source said.

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