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Anthony Ward Thomas pedals the Atlantic Ocean

Posted on December 24, 2015 by Jake Bloch

The journey

It never ceases to amaze me just what people do to raise money for charity nowadays. Running a marathon, not speaking for a week, cycling from London to Brighton. Well I recently heard of a challenge that stopped me in my tracks from a person that I know well.

Anthony is the chairman of The Ward Thomas Group of companies that includes Anthony Ward Thomas Removals so I had to ask him why he was doing this and what for…

On-the-riverGetting-some-rowing-practice-in

“I am giving my time to support the Naomi House and Jacksplace Children’s Hospice. The nature and definition of a Hospice does not come with many crumbs of comfort but when defined by the age group, has on the surface no upside at all. The great majority of us are family people, and discovering Naomi House has made me realise precisely what we take for granted. It is precisely that we have never experienced such sickness in children. It is precisely never having experienced enforced separation, and it is precisely as a parent, I have never experienced the gut wrenching sorrow and impotence in the death of a child. I will not try to do justice to the organisation. Just so much better to view them below”www.naomihouse.org.uk
“Any my challenge. I am not going to run a marathon, nor am I going to walk to Lands End; all worthy efforts I might add. Instead I am going to attempt to pedal and row the Atlantic, together with my good friend (soon to be close friend) James Ketchell. I have designed and built a craft – not by myself – that can both be rowed and pedaled at the same time, and the task is to cross the ocean between 45 & 55 days. The Atlantic has been rowed many times, but never has it been done with essentially an upturned bicycle! I am extremely excited about the trip, both as a challenge and for what can be done for Naomi House. This is really a proper cause & we aim to put in a proper effort. I would hope that this appeals, and that this proves to be a success for all. Charities tend to take a bit of a bashing around the festive season, but I would ask you to consider what better time than now?

We will be following Anthony’s efforts and will give you regular updates as he crosses the Atlantic Please take a look at www.pedaltheocean.co.uk for more details.
The-boat
Your donation will help terminally and critically ill children in so many ways…

  •  £1918 pays for long respite weekend for a child.
  • £1000 pays for 50 hours of nursery care for a child
  • £500 pays for enough arts and crafts materials for 50 children
  • £285 pays for a hydrotherapy session for a child
  • £150 pays for one day of nursing care for a child
  • £62 pays for a multi-sensory session for a child

 

If you would like to join us and supporting Anthony and The Hospice, please access the Virgin Money Giving page on the www.pedaltheocean.co.uk website by clicking on the donate button at the top of the page. Alternatively, send a cheque made payable to Naomi House & Jacksplace Hospice to him at 141 Acton Lane, London, NW10 7PB. (If you are donating via cheque and it is applicable, please also print out, then fill in the Gift Aid Form to make your donation go further.

boat

 

Anthony Ward Thomas Essential Moving Guide

Posted on December 17, 2015 by wardthomas

Moving house is widely considered to be one of the most stressful challenges you encounter in life, along with divorce and bereavement. For this reason it is vitally important you take every step possible to make the move as painless as possible. This essential home moving guide aims to take away a lot of the hassle, by providing a moving time table of key timeline milestones that need to be considered before your move and we also go one step further by providing actionable tips and websites to visit for more information to help your move go smoothly.

 

2 Months – Before the Move

“Fail to prepare, prepare to fail”, as they always say, and this holds some truth when it comes to moving house too. The first couple of tips involve nothing more than picking up the phone or sending an email. You should book some time off work for a couple of days around the move date, to give you some breathing space and then arrange (if applicable) the transfer of any school, work and medical records for the family respectively.

It is also wise to have a spring clean at this point, to help you prioritise what is coming with you, and what could probably be disposed of. Moving house is a chance for a fresh start, so clearing out a lot of your possessions can be incredibly therapeutic/rewarding. Although sometimes difficult, a good way of helping you decide which items to keep and which to get rid of is to ask yourself “Have I used/worn this item this year?” and if the answer is no, you should get rid of it. Clothes bins, car boot sales, second hand shops and second hand online stores such as eBay are great ways of decluttering your house before a move.

Websites that can help with your move:

http://www.redcross.org.uk/Get-involved/Our-shops/Donate-to-our-charity-shops

http://www.recyclenow.com/

https://www.freecycle.org/

http://www.saga.co.uk/magazine/home-garden/homes-interiors/how-to-guides/21-tips-to-declutter-the-house.aspx

 

6 Weeks – Before the Move

Around 6 weeks before your move, you should be confirming the actual moving date with all parties involved (buyer and seller, lawyers etc.) and decide on a plan of action. Removal companies should be contacted at this time, to give you the best chance of getting a good deal. If you are planning to use a removal company (which is highly recommended as these guys are experts in home moves) it is also a good start to think which one suits your needs the most, do you have expensive items to move, large household equipment, etc.…? You also need to make sure that your removal company is regulated and has the right insurance cover, this is very important as accidents can occur while moving home and you need to make sure your covered at all times.

Quotes from removal companies can vary enormously in terms of what is offered in the package; has there been extra insurance cover for valuable items and are packing materials included? You can shop around but make sure you are aware of what the package price covers and what it doesn’t.

One of the most important factors when choosing your removals company is to check that the firm has suitable insurance cover for the value of your items (even the most careful movers have accidents and breakages do occur).

Some cover is available through household insurance (you will need to check your policy as level of cover varies per policy), however many general household policies do not cover any goods that have been packed by the customer. Professional removal firms their insurance often cover any potential breakages, so have the professionals pack all the valuables if you are on a budget. This information is crucial and should be in your mind when choosing a company to help you move house.

When choosing your removal firm make sure they are BAR accredited as this is the body that governs the removals industry, a company with a BAR register will give you peace of mind that a professional firm is in charge of your house move.

Starting to pack up and de-clutter your outside spaces, the garden is always a good place to start, as it usually seems less daunting than the house. Clean the shed and garage out, which will make space for boxes from the rest of the house to be stored until you move. Away from your home move, you may also need to consider other important areas if you are moving jobs as well, you should be letting your employers know of your decision to give them as much time to find a replacement as possible.

Back to the home, perishable and frozen foods should also be on your agenda, as you won’t be taking them with you. Either plan your fridge space ahead of your move or let a family member have a free rummage around to save you having to throw it away.

Now is also a good time to let your friends and relatives know that you are moving, and try to keep track of all incoming mail, notifying them of a change of address. An inventory of everything should attempt to be compiled now too, which you will rely upon after the moving in.

Websites that can help with your move:

http://www.bar.co.uk/index.php/find-a-remover-all/

 

4 Weeks – Before the Move

The pace begins to increase at this stage. Start collecting boxes and newspapers for storage and wrapping, shops, pharmacies, building sites and schools are good sources for these. You will need to ensure your new home is set up from a communications point of view and you will want phone and internet facilities in your new home to be set up as soon as possible, so now is the time to book that in with the relevant providers. It can take up to four weeks for broadband suppliers to setup a new account.

Start the daunting task of clearing out the loft now and decide how your larger furniture items are going to be moved – can you do it yourself or will you need special help? Pianos, grandfather clocks etc. are going to need professional removal help with specialised equipment. Non-essential items should begin to be packed now (the items you can do without until you are settled in), pots, pans, lamps, books for instance. Important documents should also be collated into one space, including birth and marriage documents, academic qualifications, and sentimental items. You also need to ensure you have all your car insurance and documentations to hand. In the unlikely event you are in an accident, you don’t want to be sieving through box after box of possessions trying to find the required paperwork. You should also notify your landlord if renting privately (or as early as you need to) and begin to notify the relevant authorities and companies (solicitors, local council, accountants, etc…) of your change of address.

Websites that can help with your move:

https://www.gumtree.com/freebies/uk/cardboard+boxes

http://www.athriftymrs.com/2014/04/get-free-boxes-moving-house.html

https://www.gov.uk/council-tax-bands

https://www.gov.uk/change-address-driving-licence

http://www.rightmove.co.uk/news/articles/top-10-tips-for-packing-up-your-home

https://www.gov.uk/change-name-address-v5c

http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/check-if-you-need-one/for-your-home/youre-moving-address-aud23

 

2 Weeks – Before the Move

With 2 weeks to go, the move is getting serious and the finish line is in sight. Your bank or building society should now be informed of your move/new address, as should the post office, so that your mail can get redirected. If you’re moving with pets over a long distance, necessary transport and consideration needs to be organised, most people over look this step but your pets are part of your family and need to be looked after during the move as many animals find moving home a stressful experience.

If you have “helpful” friends in the area, now is the time to recruit them for help (and return any borrowed items). We say helpful as we want friends that can help the move, not get in the way or just snoop around your possessions and drink tea!

At this stage you also need to double check that the removal vans/companies are booked and confirmed on the right dates.

You can now start the process of packing! Pack up the items in the least used rooms first and ensure that the boxes remain light enough to lift. Top tip: use the biggest boxes for the lightest items. Label all boxes with what is in them, and what room they need to be delivered to in the new house. Some removal companies offer a packing service so you can leave this to the experts if you wish, while you sort out all the other important tasks at week 2.

Websites that can help with your move:

https://www.royalmail.com/personal/receiving-mail/redirection

http://www.pets2go2.co.uk/

http://sellingwarnerrobins.com/2015/03/relocation-tips-when-moving-with-pets/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/homes/property/moving_packingtips.shtml

http://www.rightmove.co.uk/news/articles/self-pack-packing-tips

http://acesouthwest.com/helpful-resources/how-to-guides/how-to-move-your-antiques-collectibles

http://www.instructables.com/id/how-to-pack-clothes-for-moving/

http://moving.about.com/od/packingtipsandtricks/a/move_kitchen.htm

 

4 Days – Before the Move

All utility accounts should now be settled, as should the new phone/internet date of connection. Make sure at your new home new phone numbers and the internet connection is installed on the day that you move in. Cancel all subscriptions and deliveries and defrost the fridge and freezer. Remind your neighbours of your impending move and say your goodbyes (now is the time to send change of address card). Pack a survival kit which includes first aid gear, torch, batteries etc. If you’re moving garden equipment (such as lawn mowers) ensure all fuel is drained properly for transit. Valuable and irreplaceable items should be packed to travel in the cars with the family (digital cameras, jewellery, sentimental items). Also keep in mind that removal vans aren’t climate controlled, so items like candles should also go in the family cars.

Finally, make sure any expired or unwanted medication is disposed of domestically or taken with you. Ensure you pack all these items up and then take them to the nearest pharmacy where they will dispose of them safely.

Websites that can help with your move

http://www.britishgas.co.uk/help-and-advice/Moving-home/What-to-do-before-you-move/Moving-Home-What-you-need-to-do.html

http://www.wikihow.com/Defrost-a-Freezer

http://www.reallymoving.com/moving-advice/removals/moving-day-survival-kit

http://www.allied.com/moving-tips/packing-tips-garage-storage.aspx

http://www.movingcards.co.uk/

http://www.punchbowl.com/ecards/moving

http://psnc.org.uk/services-commissioning/essential-services/disposal-of-unwanted-medicines/

 

1 Day to Go

Exciting times, only one day to go. Make sure you have the keys to your new house secure and at hand. Pack a refreshments box for the family and removal men/helpers. All liquids and oils should be secured properly and any items not already packed and boxed need to be. All white goods should be disconnected now (if these goods are hard wired then you may need to hire an electrical to disconnect these from the mains), and the gas, electric and water meters should be read. Top tip: take a photo of the readings with your smartphone/camera for future reference. All plumbed items such as washing machines need to be properly disconnected (see below for tips on carrying this out yourself). For larger electrical goods such as TVs, computers, etc., take photos of the back connections to help you install them properly.

It is also a good idea to make sure you have a toolkit with you and some old towels or rags at hand just in case you need them during the move.

Also ensure you take your soft furnishings with you. Curtains are a must for your new home as most people take these with them when they move.

Triple check with the removals company that they are coming in the morning, and keep the kettle handy for a last minute cup of tea on the day of the move. This is one of the most important pieces of equipment during your house move!

Make sure you notify the neighbours in the new area that you are moving into your new home tomorrow and apologise for any noise or road blocking that may occur. This is also the best time to find out if there is sufficient parking and road access for that day (i.e. no road closures are planned) and ensure you have the route confirmed.

Finally, ensure the children are looked after for the move, then get as good a night’s sleep as possible!

Websites that can help with your move

http://realestate.aol.com/blog/videos/home-improvement/518454564/

http://london-plumber.co.uk/knowledge-base/how-to-disconnect-reconnect-a-washing-machine/

https://www.britishgas.co.uk/discover/home-move/#/hub

https://www.broadbandgenie.co.uk/broadband/review

http://www.helpiammoving.com/moving_house/moving_with_children.php

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-14226/10-tips-to-get-great-sleep-no-matter-how-stressed-you-are.html

 

Loading – Moving Day

The big day arrives. Drop the kids off so you are free to concentrate on the move. Go through the house and ensure all taps, switches and lights are off and do a final walk through check. You can even put off the circuit breaker to ensure all electrical items are off just in case. Boxes should be loaded first followed by the big furniture if you are doing it yourself. If you have hired some movers, then you can sit back and marvel at how so much of your house can fit into the back of a van. Take photos of your meter readings and leave your contact details for the new occupants. Make sure the delivery team (if using one) have your contact details and know where they are going.

Websites that can help with your move

http://www.confused.com/home-insurance/guides/moving-home-checklist-from-confused

http://www.collisonvehiclerental.co.uk/blog/load-a-removal-van

http://www.wikihow.com/Pack-a-Moving-Truck

 

Arrival – Moving Day

It is important that the cars arrive before the vans so that someone is there to open the house and unload the smaller items whilst the removal men pack up the last of the boxes. Start loading smaller and essential items into the cars and when you arrive at the new home you can start unpacking the cars, just make sure you put these boxes somewhere safe and out of the way. Once the vans arrive, unload the large furniture from the van and place them in the house roughly where you want them to stay in a room, then move everything in around it later on. All boxes should be labelled, so drop them into their allocated rooms accordingly. If on the move day the weather is wet/muddy, put down sheets (or flattened cardboard boxes) to prevent mess and muddy boots as a lot of people will be coming in and out of your property and you do not want muddy boots on your new carpet. Some people can use plastic slip-ons to make this process a little easier, but still this involves a lot of taking off and on every time you enter the house.

You can also choose to put all your boxes and packing material aside and offer them to someone looking to move home (as mentioned in the first steps).

Now is the time to begin unpacking the rooms in order of use, but remember from the previous step the kettle is always the most important item; sure in your essential kit you have tea bags, milk, coffee and biscuits! Try to remember to take photos of the current meter readings, and introduce yourselves to the neighbours when you get a moments rest.

One of the most important rooms to setup is the bedroom, make sure your bed has been assembled and that you have your curtains up. There is nothing worse than going to bed after a busy move day without any curtains up. Streetlights and early morning sunlight is not a welcome guest after a busy day.

Finally, source a local takeaway’s number and treat all your helpers to the first night meal in your new home as a thank you for all their hard work. Moving home is tiring for all people involved and a meal with a few drinks is the ultimate way to relax after a hard day.

The rest of the house can be unpacked at your own pace in the coming days and weeks. Pat yourself on the back for successfully moving house and navigating one of life’s major stresses relatively pain free.

Websites that can help with your move

http://moving.tips/moving-day-tips/how-to-unload-a-moving-truck/

https://www.freecycle.org/

http://www.just-eat.co.uk/

Moving Home at Christmas

Posted on December 17, 2015 by wardthomas

moving home at Christmas with Anthony Ward Thomas

Top tips for moving house at Christmas

There’s no other time throughout the year that’s more difficult to move into a new house than during the Christmas holidays. The combination of bad weather, increased volume of traffic (particularly in city locations) and other factors makes the move stressful to everyone in the family.

On the other hand, it is also the one time of the year when you don’t have to go to work, giving you enough time and freedom to move to a new house. Besides, spending your first Christmas in your brand new home should be a good enough motivator, despite the storm. This is why, even with all the concerns, many people still move house over Christmas.

Moving at Christmas involves careful planning and months of thinking ahead as you may be up against factors that are unique to this time of year.

If you’re planning to move this Christmas, we’ve compiled a full list of things to remember in order to make the process as smooth as possible.

Book your Christmas removal van

Make Sure You Book Your Removal Company Early

Most companies are usually busy during the Christmas holidays, which is why having an appointment booked in advance is important. This ensures that the movers have prior notice of your Christmas move. Furthermore, most companies cut down on staffing during holidays. Requesting an impromptu moving service may catch the moving company off-guard, and they might not be fully staffed. Many firms will book in workers during this period to provide the house move service, so make sure you notify the companies well in advance, they will then ensure you are able to move during this time period.

Inform Your Friends and Family about Your Move Through Christmas Cards

In case you haven’t been planning for the move and the need to move house is relatively short-notice, you can inform your friends and relatives about the move earlier on through Christmas cards. This doubles up as a great way to notify your nearest and dearest of your intention to move house and reduces the extra cost of sending change of address cards. However, be careful with this as you may find you receive house warming gifts for Christmas rather than presents for yourself!

moving home in the snow at christmas

Plan for Bad Weather

Sometimes winter can be challenging, especially on the roads and with travel plans. It is not un-common for many areas in the UK to experience snowfall during December, and if not snow the temperature can drop to minus figures causing ice and hazardous driving conditions. While having snow can lead to a picturesque Christmas, it can cause trouble for the moving process. This is why it is essential to plan ahead and have an estimate (weather is usually unpredictable around this time of year) to know when is the best day likely to be to plan the move.

Check the local and national weather forecasts for the entire week or month and, if possible, reschedule the move if the conditions are likely to be bad. If the date is fixed, and the weather turns bad with unpredictable snowfall, make sure you as a precautionary method, you salt your pathway, driveway and outside pavement. This will prevent the collection of snow around your house, which could cause the removal men to slip, breaking your possessions and worse injuring themselves in the process. If the weather is bad make sure you double the time frames that you have allocated for your move and leave earlier with plenty of time to reduce stress.

You also want to make sure there are extra clothes on hand during the move day to make sure everyone is warm and to prevent any illnesses.

Make Sure You Have Food for the Day

Most people forget about food due to all the excitement of the move at Christmas time, but the truth is, you probably won’t enjoy cooking after spending the entire day moving boxes and unpacking. You might also not be in luck with the local shops since most of them close early during the holidays and with the nights getting darker earlier.

Scout the area before you move to it and get the phone numbers of the local takeaway service; (check that they are open during this time). Your family will appreciate the treat!

The majority of local takeaway restaurants that offer a home delivery service can also be found online and you can use them to order food for that evening.

pack your Christmas presents for your move

Pack Your Valuables and Christmas Presents Carefully

Everything in your house as a value one way or another, be it monetary or sentimentally. However, understandably items with a higher importance should be treated as such. This includes jewellery, documents, passports, birth certificates, photo albums, whatever you hold dear. Additionally, you may also want to pack all your Christmas presents in a separate box to avoid misplacing them and having to ransack all boxes searching for the gifts. For good measure, take care of this yourself instead of leaving it to the movers. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Start Planning Well Before the Actual Move

The last minute rush to pack everything including Christmas presents will usually cause a lot of problems with the organisation of items. The Christmas decorations should be packed last so that you can quickly unpack them and start decorating once you get to the new home. Packing a week earlier before the date of the move is highly recommended. As with other house moving preparations, don’t forget to start with large furniture that needs to be dismantled. It is also important to label the boxes to make the unpacking a lot easier, otherwise you could find yourself having to go through each and every box in search for something.

Most people don’t recognise just how much they have in their home until they try to pack it all. This might just be the sign you need to declutter and start afresh at the new address. (Read our top tips on decluttering your house during a move).

Take Care of the Bills

During the Christmas move details such as utility bills may slip your mind. In our moving house guide we cover how important it is to contact your utilities provider. It’s not enough to just contact them, though. Make sure you have the actual readings on the meters to get accurate bills. Take a photo of your meters on your phone for easy access after the move.

This is especially important when moving at winter, as you need to ensure your new home has electric, heating and water otherwise Christmas could be quite difficult. During this time electric, heating and gas is very important with relatives coming to stay and Christmas dinner to cook, you do not want to be cut off with so much at stake.

putting the chrsitmas decorations up after your house move

Prepare the New Home and Add Christmas Decorations

It’s crucial that you settle into your new home without any problems, and this means stopping by the house earlier on to check on things. For example, you need to have the fireplace checked before you light the fire when you arrive. Additionally, make sure you have enough spare light bulbs and a torch just in case any problems arise.

Make Provisions For The Children

As with any move, moving to a new home is stressful for everyone, but young children tend to get more upset because they may not understand why they are moving.

Children tend to get very excited around Christmas and a house move may add to this heightened level. A move around Christmas is stressful enough so we would advise letting a family member take them shopping or to visit the Christmas festivities that are going on at this time of year, whilst you move house. This welcome distraction will allow you to get on with the move without having over excitable children running around.

 

Moving during Christmas time has its challenges but it can be a good way to declutter your house, spend time with your family and start the new-year with a fresh outlook.

It is essential you reduce your own stress levels at this time of the year, so we highly recommend using a professional home moving company who has experience in moving house during Christmas.

Once the removal team have left and you are unpacking with your family, make sure the first thing that goes up (after beds and bedroom curtains!) is the Christmas tree and decorations. It may be the last thing on your mind, but it is Christmas and by spending a little time as a family will increase the Christmas spirit in your new house.

Spending your first Christmas in the splendour of your new home creates a magical cosy experience and one that your family will cherish for years to come.