Thursday, 17 April 2014

Going on the market! How I chose my Bromley Estate Agent

choosing a Bromley estate agent - going on the market
Choosing an estate agent to sell our home was a tough one! We had 3 market appraisals with estate agents. I recently wrote about my fears for selling our home which you can read about here.

I'm in Bromley (BR1) which seems to have an abundance of estate agents!

The first one was with a Bromley (Market Square) based agent who I'd been speaking to on and off for about a year because we almost put our house on the market a year ago and started looking to see what was around. I'd felt the agent had always advised me honestly and that she'd kept notes on things we had spoken about.
I also liked their sales style, there would be an open day on a Saturday where there would be one viewing at a time but all would take place on the same day - there wouldn't be more than one viewing in the house at the same time. People who were interested would then be invited to submit their very best offer on the following Monday. This would mean people would have had time to consider their offer, everyone would have had a chance to offer, there wouldn't be any biding wars and as the sellers - we would be able to consider all offers at the same time. 
I liked this as it's how I'd like to be treated as a buyer - I personally don't like  aggressive, high pressure and bidding wars situations! 

The second agent was one which is predominant in our current area (Grove Park, Downham/Bromley border, Sundridge park) and I was keen to see what they would suggest seen as they have a firm grip on our local area.
They valued higher than the first agent but seemed to go for the more aggressive route - there would be two viewings done at the same time on an open day and there would be a queue outside of several viewings booked tight together to create a "buzz" - offers would be encouraged straight away and bidding wars would be an ideal situation for us to achieve a high price. The fees for this agent were really high.
Whilst that's great for a seller, I wouldn't want to be treated like that as a buyer. 

The third estate agent was a Bromley South one which has a strong presence in the area we want to move to. They were similar to the first, in respect of open days being managed in a similar way but also a bit like the second one, they have a reputation for being aggressive. I liked the agent who came out to see me and she also vaulued the property higher than the first agent. The fees were similar to the first agent.

All three agents commented on how lovely our home was, that the hard work we've put in was great and it was beautifully presented. 

I had a preference for the first agent, purely based on having spoken with that agent for so long already but I also liked the third agent too - the second one was too aggressive for my taste but husband thought this could work better to our advantage as sellers but the choice really came down to me this time as hubby works long hours it would be me talking with the agent most. The fees didn't come into the decision because I'd already ruled out the most expensive agent and the difference between the other two was small.

There was really only one thing for it, I had trust with the first agent so I would have a face to face chat with her and then make my final decision - I had my husband sign both contracts and headed out the door with a bag full of paperwork and passports! 

The first agent had been expecting my call that morning anyway so I built myself up for the moment, I considered what I wanted to say, gage and gain and steadied my nerves - I'm not good in these sort of situations and I've never sold a house before! - to think, back when I had a different career - I used to present to boardrooms!

I walked into the office, only for the agent to be out! I hadn't prepared for that scenario ha ha - so off I went for a coffee (any excuse for a Starbucks! Bromley has 3 of them!) and waited! I didn't have to wait long for the estate agent to return so I went in and had a chat. Apart from just feeling comfortable with the agent and believing in her confidence and ability - she did point out something I hasn't considered - the other agent tied you in to a 12 week contract and any agent with any confidence in selling your property shouldn't need 3 months to do it should they? 
That was that, decision made, papers signed - my agent filled in a 0 week period because she's confident in what she's doing.

The next day we had photos taken and we were supposed to go online on the Friday but there was a computer glitch which delayed the online listing slightly - enough to make me panic (only because my background is online marketing!) but the agent reasured me and pointed out that they had already started contacting their database and had interest and viewings booked in.

The opening day was 10 days after signing the paperwork which is about the norm!

My tips for choosing an Estate Agent are:
• Get at least 3 valuations.
• Check your fees - although if your talking small differences, this shouldn't be your deciding factor.
• If you actually like the agent, you're going to be speaking regularly and they are going to be representing your home to buyers.
• If they seem confident and honest.
• If you personally like the way they treat both sellers and buyers.
• How long you are tied into the contract for. The more confident the agent, the shorter this will be.
• If the agent fees are on the valuation price or the final selling price.Between 1 and 1.5% of the final selling fee seems to be the norm.
• You shouldn't be paying extra for marketing, it's in the agents interest to market and sell your property for their fee. Make sure you will be listed on zoopla and rightmove etc
• It's worth considering if the agent is dominant in the area you want to move to aswell as your current location, They might be able to help you find your new home!

Did I make the right choice? That remains to be seen! Selling your home - especially in a London Borough like Bromley can be hard - it's an emotional rollercoaster!

I'll be writing about the open day and the next stages very soon!

Emma in Bromley xx
@beachpebble

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Joules Parade Blazer Review

Joules Parade Blazer tweed jacket Emma in Bromley I was very excited to recieve the Joules Parade tweed blazer to review - it's become my most favourite item of clothing - I love it! see more of the tweed jacket collection from Joules


Joules Parade Blazer tweed jacket Emma in Bromley The wool tweed is perfect for our current spring weather - particularly on the morning school walk! 


Joules Parade Blazer tweed jacket Emma in Bromley I've never had an item of clothing attract as many compliments from strangers as this one does! 

Joules Parade Blazer tweed jacket Emma in Bromley
I love the colours in the tweed - I love the green and brown hues with the brighter pink hint and it's so soft and warm! 
Joules Parade Blazer tweed jacket Emma in Bromley
The smooth satin lining is a wonderful touch with its horse print.
Joules Parade Blazer tweed jacket Emma in Bromley

I absolutely love the curve hem line and the cord collar, the jacket is a lovely fit with it's vented back and fitted waist.
Joules Parade Blazer tweed jacket Emma in Bromley
Joules Parade Blazer tweed jacket Emma in Bromley

But I especially love the delicate touch of miss match buttons on the cuffs! One has a mounted horse and one has a fox head.


Joules Parade Blazer tweed jacket Emma in Bromley I love Joules, there are always lovely little details to be found and quality is always paramount, I'm a fan of the equestrian detailing and love the current tweed collection - perfect for our spring weather!
Emma in Bromley xx
@beachpebble

RLSB Parent and Toddler group comes to Penge

RLSB parent and toddler group penge
RLSB is to launch its fifth Parent and Toddler group this spring, allowing even more families in London to access the service.


Opening in Penge, in the London Borough of Bromley, this is the latest step in our expansion of the Early Years services, which provide specialised support for parents and vision impaired toddlers based in London and the South East.
Sue Rivett RLSB’s service development manager said: “We aim wherever possible to make our services available to families, in or near their own communities.”
The group offers informal sessions that allow parents and families to meet and share personal experiences, while toddlers enjoy structured play sessions.
The sessions are designed to increase:
•    Knowledge and understanding of the world
•    Communication and social skills
•    Ease of movement and mobility
•    Confidence and creativity
The Penge Parent and Toddler Group will be held every Wednesday from 12:30 at Community Vision, Woodbine Grove, Penge, SE20 8UX.
“The location we’ve chosen is a popular, well-equipped Children’s Centre with good transport links and parking nearby, as well as giving great access for families in the boroughs of Bromley, Croydon and Lambeth,” Sue added.
Starts 23th April 2014 
For more information call Kerry Hawkins on 01732592500 or emailconnections@rlsb.org.uk

Emma in Bromley xx@beachpebble

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Daily Deal - Lovely Children's Clothes Offer round up, Couche Tot, Toby Tiger, Character Kicks, Little Ducklings, Organic,

Beautiful hand smocked dress by Couche Tot, usually £42 on offer at £25.99 until 14.04.14
Hand Smocked Dress Couche Tot
Character Kicks Little Miss Sunshine High Tops usually £16 on offer at £10.99 until 14.04.14
Character Kicks Little Miss Sunshine High Tops
Character Kicks Spiderman High Tops usually £28 on offer at £16.99 until 14.04.14
Character Kicks Spiderman High tops
Little Ducklings duck egg blue heart dress usually £46 on offer at £19.99 until 14.04.14
Little Ducklings Duck Egg Blue Heart Dress £19.99
Gingerbread Cheft set - apron, hat and tea towel - great for both boys and girls, one of those perfect birthday party presents! Usually £9 on offer at £5.99 until 14.04.14
Gingerbread Chef Set £5.99

Blue Hungry Hippo Tee usually £17 on offer at £5.99 until 14.04.14
Blue Hungry Hippo Tee £5.99

Toby Tiger Elephant Dress usually £27 on offer at £19.99 until 10.04.14
Toby Tiger Elephant Dress £19.99
Toby Tiger Organic Cotton Stegosaurus Tee usually £21 on offer at £14.99 until 10.04.14
Toby Tiger Organic Stegosaurus Tee £14.99

Happy Shopping :-)

Emma in Bromley xx 
@beachpebble

Kwibuka 20, Rwandan Genocide Remembrance


On Monday, across Rwanda, thousands gathered in stadiums, churches and community centers to take part in Kwibuka - Remembrance. 20 years ago marked the start of 100 of the darkest days in human history. 1 million people were killed in the Rwandan Genocide. Show that you stand with the survivors and will not let the million lost be forgotten by sharing this candle on Facebook, Twitter or your own blog.

Kwibuka 20 Rwanda Remembered


This week we ask that you join us in simply standing with the people of Rwanda and hearing their voices. You can learn more and see video and photos from the event at 
http://kwibuka.rw/


Share on Facebook  Tweet

Emma in Bromley xx

Monday, 7 April 2014

Maegan and the Baby Hedgehog

Upon having a lovely Sunday afternoon stroll in Bromley with my 2.5 year old daughter, Maegan - we found something very very exciting ...
Maegan Darcie Clement and her Baby Hedgehog

According to Maegan, she had found a baby hedgehog - a lost and cold baby hedgehog! We had to bring him home and look after him.

Very carefully Meg picked him up and noticed that he was tickly and still curled up in a ball, she carefully carried "him" all the way home and was excited to show her big brother Blake, Daddy, Grandma and Grandad her find!

It was incredibly sweet and lovely and for a while Blake (age 4) also believed it to be a real baby hedgehog.


I wanted to share a bit of their discussion with you because the magic of believing is wonderful :)


Just incase you were wondering ...



Maegan Darcie Clement and her Baby Hedgehog

Emma in Bromely xx
@beachpebble

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Silent Sunday - tree climber

Blake Preston Clement

Spring summer 2014 Leading Ladies Celebrates British Women - Marks and Spencer

MARKS & SPENCER ANNOUNCES THE NEW LEADING LADIES
FOR SPRING / SUMMER 14

This season, Marks & Spencer is unveiling a new line up of Leading Ladies to front its Spring/Summer advertising campaign.
Marks and Spencer Leading Ladies 2014

An eclectic group of influential British women take centre stage to define the spirit of the campaign. An international supermodel, a music icon, campaigner, a BAFTA recipient for Best Actressand an acclaimed engineer are just a few of the women that will showcase the M&S Spring/Summer ’14 collection, shot by the iconic fashion photographer Annie Leibovitz.
Marks and Spencer Leading Ladies 2014

Launched nationwide on 31st March 2014 and featuring M&S ’Spring/Summer collection, the latest Leading Ladies campaign celebrates British women from diverse backgrounds and professions – united by their strong sense of personal style and inspirational achievementsWhether it is through a selfless dedication to a cause, entrepreneurial and creative flair or pushing the boundaries of designeach woman is truly inspiring and unique in her own way.
Marks and Spencer Leading Ladies 2014

The Leading Ladies:

Emma Thompson Actress, Screenwriter and AuthorAnnie Lennox OBE Singer/Songwriter and Human Rights Campaigner,Rita Ora Singer/Songwriter, Alek Wek Supermodel, Activist and; Artist, Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon OBE Campaigner and Life Peer, Lulu Kennedy Designer and Fashion Guru, Rachel Khoo Chef, Writer and BroadcasterRoma Agrawal Structural Engineer and Advocate for Technical Careers.

Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne. M&S Executive Director Marketing and Business Development comments:
Our Spring/Summer campaign is a celebration of style and accomplishment. These dynamic Leading Ladies represent the unique and diverse women of a modern Britain. They are united in their extraordinary achievements but confident in their differences.
Marks & Spencer is a democratic brand which is relevant to women of all ages and strands of life; it is therefore natural forM&S to celebrate women in this way.
M&S is extremely proud to have convened such an extraordinarygroup of exceptional women; this campaign is the embodiment of true British style, quality, diversity and success’.
Marks and Spencer Leading Ladies 2014

The Leading Ladies are presented in four stunning tableauimages across quintessentially British settings from a coastalscene to the idyllic countryside. Locations include Camber Sands and the Cotswolds.

The Spring/Summer 14 campaign sees a considered edit and interpretation of the season’s strongest trends. A graphic monochromatic palette and abstract prints are dramatically positioned alongside feminine pastels and shimmering metallicsto depict a fresh aesthetic.

The campaign launches on 31st March 2014 as a continuation of Marks & Spencer’s commitment to British style, outstanding quality and inspired innovation. The campaign will appear in print, online, mobile and on outdoor sites across the UK. Selected shots from the campaign will also feature in Marks Spencerinternational flagship stores in France, the Netherlands, Greece, Hong Kong, China, India, Hungary, Russia, Turkey and Singapore.

All items featured in the campaign are available to buy in selected Marks and Spencer stores and online at www.marksandspencer.com from 31st March 2014


CAST INFORMATION:
EMMA THOMPSON
A true individual with her own sense of style, the award-winning actress and writer has appeared in some of the world’s favourite films as well as worked forActionAid, the Helen Bamber Foundation and the Teaching Awards.
ANNIE LENNOX:
The iconic singer-songwriter, advocate and campaignerhas a unique style. In 2011 she was awarded an OBE for her work with HIV/ Aids among women and children in Africa.
RITA ORA:
The singer-songwriter has a fun and fearless sense of style. Her first album reached number one in the UK and she was nominated for three awards at the 2013 BRIT Awards.  
ALEK WEK:
An internationally recognised beauty, Alek Wek was the first African supermodel to appear on the cover of American Elle in 1997.  She has been actively supporting the United Nations for over a decade was appointed Goodwill Ambassador for the UNHCR in 2013
BARONESS LAWRENCE OF CLARENDON OBE:
The well-known campaigner, mother of murdered British teenager Stephen Lawrence, was awarded the OBE for services to community relations in 2003 and made a life peer in 2013.
LULU KENNEDY:
This designer and fashion guru epitomises London cool and is credited for her work in the evolution of London Fashion Week, making it a must-see event.
RACHEL KHOO:
A Saint Martin’s graduate and former fashion PR, chefRachel has a unique, vintage-inspired style. She has four successful books to her name as well as cookery show The Little Paris Kitchen and has just finished filming two new shows for the BBC.
ROMA AGRAWAL:
A young professional with a real sense of style, structural engineer and advocate for technical careers, Roma’s work designing iconic landmark ‘The Shard’ has won her numerous awards including 'Young Structural Engineer of the Year’.

Emma in Bromley xx
(@beachpebble)

Hold That Thought, Milton - Parragon Book Buddy Review


Blake Clement Reading Hold That Thought, Milton!Blake Clement Reading Hold That Thought, Milton!Blake Clement Reading Hold That Thought, Milton!Blake Clement Reading Hold That Thought, Milton!


As a Parragon Book Buddy, we recieved a copy of Hold That Thought, Milton! Written by Linda Ravin Lodding and illustrated by Ross Collins.



It's about a little boy full of questions when everyone is super busy preparing for a family wedding ... Slowly Milton's held thoughts start to change him into his thoughts ... A frog! Until his thoughts burst out! My four year old, Blake absolutely loves this book - it's a brilliant book full of humour for little ones and always raises a giggle - even after the 6th read of the evening! 


I had Blake talk about the book because he's just lovely :)

Written by award winning author Linda Ravin LoddingHold That Thought, Milton! is a brilliantly comical tale, perfect for the whole family to enjoy reading together.The story follows a young boy,Milton, who has a lot on his mind. As hard as he tries, he struggles to get anyone to listen to him – and he has something very important to say! So when Milton loses his beloved frog, Burp, Milton takes matters into his own hands… Hilarity ensues as Milton desperately races to find Burp. Ross Collins’ richly hued, quirky illustrations make the story explode off the page!
Hold That Thought, Milton!


    Facebook: Parragon Books, Twitter: @parragonbooks, Pinterest:                      parragonbooks, Instagram@parragonbooks

Emma in Bromley xx



Saturday, 29 March 2014

Ant and Dec Saturday Night Takeaway Supercomputer in Bromley

Ant and Dec Saturday Night Takeaway Supercomputer in Bromley
Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway Supercomputer Will be at 'Intu Bromley' (formerly The Glades) shopping centre in Bromley  on Sunday 30th March 2014 from 10am to 5pm (although even Supercomputer needs to take a few breaks).

"So why not come and say hello and you can even register for a chance to play to try and win places on our plane heading to Florida (5-12 April)
You must be 18 or over to participate. We will allocate waiting numbers to people who register but not everyone will get to play. If selected to play, participation times vary. Further terms including extra prize information will apply on registration. The Supercomputer will reward you if you perform your best! So show the Supercomputer your talents, big personality and show that you really want that prize"


Emma in Bromley xx

Science Dress Up Day - Science and Engineering Week

A week ago last Friday, at the end of National Science and Engineering Week,  and Blake's primary school had a science dress up day to celebrate.
Blake Clement Science Day dress up

I'd never heard of science dress up day before and in all honesty, I wasn't quite prepared, as a reception parent I'm still very new to all this and I'd just conquered my very first World Book Day!  I'd been second  guessing the prospect of a sports relief dress up so was surprised to recieve the school email newsletter with only a week's notice explaining Friday would be science dress up day! ( School - please note, a week is not long enough for newbies!)

At first I went into panic mode - we have heaps of superhero costumes and a few random ones (Wall.e and a Dragon) but nothing in the "science theme"!

I headed online but a new costume such as an astronaut or a lab coat with postage to arrive within a week would have been at least £20 so I enlisted the help of my very talented mother in law who came up with a wonderful lab coat and bow tie from an old blouse (and a scrap from my old PJ's) for Blake! 

My mother in law worked hard on Blake's lab coat and he looked a real star! We teamed it with Blake's bright red jeans, his stripy shirt and a pair of children's sunglasses with the lenses popped out. We slicked Blake's hair into a side parting and my father in law made a little book of inventions for Blake to carry.

I noticed at the school, many children had lab coats made from men's shirts, there were lots of Doc Mcstuffins and nurses, skeletons and a star! One of Blake's friends was an astronaut with a proper helmet - a tinfoil covered cereal box helmet :)

I'm going to be one of those annoying parents for just a moment and gloat - Blake won best costume in his class :-)

Emma in Bromley xx

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Olly the Little White Van books

Blake and Maegan  Clement reading Olly the Little White Van BooksWe were sent a set of new Olly the Little White Van books to review - from the popular preschooler cartoon, 100% written, designed and animated in the UK and currently showing on Milkshake.

Chunky Storybooks
Each of the chunky board books of Olly and his friends has painted edges and is perfect for little hands 1+. RRP £3.99 
Blake and Maegan  Clement reading Olly the Little White Van Books
Blake and Maegan  Clement reading Olly the Little White Van Books
Blake and Maegan  Clement reading Olly the Little White Van Books

There are four different ones to collect - Olly, Bazza, Royston and Jethro.
Each board book has a curved painted edge and is a great size to pop in your changing bag. My youngest (age 2) loves the Royston (fire engine) book the most.
Each book has a good story to it and bright eye catching pictures.
Story Books
These wonderful story books have fabulous story lines, big pictures and are fantastic quality. RRP £3.99 
There are two story books to collect and they are taken from episodes of the tv show with the pictures being stills from the animation.  
Blake and Maegan  Clement reading Olly the Little White Van Books
Blake and Maegan  Clement reading Olly the Little White Van Books

Press-out Sticker and Activity Fun
Children will have hours of fun colouring Olly and his friends, playing with the press-out pieces, board games, stickers and finishing all the super-cool activities. All activities are designed to help your child practise skills such as logic and problem solving. RRP £4.99
My four year old has really enjoyed making and playing the board game inside this activity book.
Blake and Maegan  Clement reading Olly the Little White Van Books
Blake and Maegan  Clement reading Olly the Little White Van Books

Sticker and Colouring Fun
There are lots of pictures of Olly and his friends for you to colour, and you can use your stickers to decorate the pages, too! RRP £3.99
Both my children are sticker mad and have thoroughly enjoyed making sticker scenes and colouring in pages to decorate further with the stickers.
Emma in Bromley xx
Blake and Maegan  Clement reading Olly the Little White Van Books
Blake and Maegan  Clement reading Olly the Little White Van Books