Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Nissan Murano Platinum SL Review

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Help to Buy : Winners and Losers

The Help to Buy Scheme

The UK Government Help to Buy scheme was probably created with good intentions. The scheme was meant to deliver millions of new AFFORDABLE homes and help hard working people to purchase their first home.

Who are the winners and the losers?

According to , Help to Buy: Shared Ownership and Help to Buy: Equity Loan were introduced to help hard-working people like you take steps to buy your own home.

With the government's Help to Buy: Shared Ownership scheme you can buy as little as 25% or as much as 75% of a home and pay rent on the rest.

Help to Buy: Equity Loan makes it possible to buy a home with just a 5% deposit and up to 20% loan (40% if buying in London) from the government subject to eligibility.

Our focus will be on Help to Buy: Equity Loan. For more information on the Shared Ownership, visit the help to buy website in the links provided at the end of this article.

Help to Buy Equity Loan: Fantasy

At first glance, it seems really good that instead of getting a typical mortgage of 90% LTV meaning you provide 10% and the bank will lend you 90% of the property value, you can now provide a deposit of 5%. Thanks to your knight in shining Armour, the Help to Buy: Equity Loan Scheme.

In some sort of twisted dark fantasy, developers welcomed this idea with open arms and started overpricing new build properties which are the only properties you can purchase with the Help to Buy Scheme.

If things were straight forward, for simple mathematics and illustration purpose only:

You want to buy a property worth £200,000.

Instead of looking for a £20,000 deposit to combine with £180,000 loan from the bank, you can now buy with a £10,000 deposit with the option of getting up to £40,000 equity loan from the government (interest free for 5 years) reducing your borrowing from a mortgage provider to £150,000 and boosting your chances of getting an approved mortgage based on your earnings and credit history.

If you are keen on using the Help to Buy scheme and earn a decent salary accompanied by good credit history, you can put down £10,000 and get a loan of only £10,000 from the government and still get approved for a 90% loan from a mortgage provider. This limits how much you will have to pay back the government assuming the value of your property goes up (with equity loan you pay back same percentage of the property value you borrowed from the government plus interest after 5yrs of no interest, not the exact amount you borrowed).

The developers get to build and sell their new built homes,
construction workers get jobs,
economy grows.
Everybody wins including the government.

The above ideal case would have been lovely but it’s very far from reality.

Help to Buy Equity Loan: Reality

Scenario below is closer to reality.

Thanks to lack of regulation by the government, property developers knowing that the government can provide a 20% equity loan started hiking prices of new buildings.
Developers can now put a price tag of 240,000 on the same building and the only help you now get is help into more debt because the developers will reap most of the benefits as they’ve played you to have no choice but to get the 20% equity loan from the government and stretch your initial deposit to £12,000 (mandatory 5% of the property value) in order to be able to afford the purchase of your new home.

Although you only have to find just £2,000 more to add to your initial deposit to be able to afford the new home which might not seem so bad, you will be paying £40,000 more and owe the government and the mortgage provider more money. All the help to buy is doing in this case is helping you to get into more debt and you can guess it, in this game, you are the loser and this is a choice that most first time buyers have gone with. 

The first batch that took this route when the scheme launched in April 2013 are due to start paying back the interest on their equity loan. To read more about this, see useful links section of this article. 

How to Play Safe

It’s not all doom and gloom. To make the most of the help to buy scheme you have to make sure you are not overpaying for the property. Check price of properties in the area especially what people are paying for similar size (area, not room numbers) properties. Get developers to give up as much as possible. Some developers will offer to decorate the new home (worth thousands of pounds) and even pay stamp duty (no stamp duty for first homes less than £300,000) if you push them hard enough. That way you are getting a total package that’s more in line with the property value.

What's the Way Forward?

In order for Help to Buy to achieve what it was set out to achieve, the government will have to regulate the pricing of these new builds with help to buy eligibility. New homes should be affordable before they qualify for the Help to Buy scheme.
That way, innocent people trying to get on the property ladder will be protected from the claws of greedy property developers.

Email questions and comments to:

Definitions and Useful Links

Help to Buy Scheme: Government scheme to assist those interested in buying new build to step on to the property ladder and in turn provide more homes in the UK.

LTV (Loan to Value): If your deposit on a £100,000 property is £10,000, since your deposit is 10% of the property value, LTV is the remaining 90%

Stamp Duty:
You must pay Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) if you buy a property or land over a certain price in England and Northern Ireland.

For first time buyers, you can claim a discount (relief) so you don’t pay any tax up to £300,000 and 5% on the portion from £300,001 to £500,000.


Useful links:

Help to Buy Equity Loans
What they are & how to pay them off:

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Duomo Di Milano | Milan Cathedral

Follow our exploration of the magnificent Duomo Di Milano.

Name: Duomo Di Milano

Location: Piazza del Duomo, 20122 Milano MI, Italy.

Construction: 1386 - 1965 (renovation ongoing till date)

Transportation: Bus 73 from Milan Linate Airport (€1.50 for single journey)

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Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Poems About You (PAY)

Poems About You is dedicated to everyone that is in love, that has ever loved and that will sooner or later fall in love.
Love is a beautiful thing and it's a feeling we should all have the pleasure to enjoy in our lifetime.

This publication is packed with 24 heart warming poems that explores the beauty of being in love and the challenges and sacrifice that comes with that. Each poem is carefully written and easy to understand.  Please click on your desired format and distribution channel below.


Google PlayBook

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Book Depository

Lulu Bookstore


Poems About You is a celebration of love and the challenges that accompanies being in love. This book compliments the emotions shared in my earlier publication 'Emotions and Belief'. I hope old readers and new readers alike will enjoy reading this book as much as I enjoyed creating it. This book is dedicated to the love of my life, everyone that is in love, that has ever loved and that will sooner or later fall in love. Love is a beautiful thing and it's a feeling we should all have the pleasure to enjoy in our lifetime. "And the Lord make you to increase And abound in LOVE one toward another, and toward all men, Even as we do toward you" -1 Thessalonian 3:12.

Friday, 29 July 2016

Emotions and Belief Fourth Edition

140 pages of Poetry and stories that touch is now available for your reading pleasure.
Please click on your desired format and distribution channel below.


Google PlayBook

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Book Depository


Lulu Bookstore

Okada Books


Emotions and Belief is a compilation of poems and short stories based around topics such as love, religion, emotions, romance, humour, changes and life style. The author of this book has been able to link all the topics mentioned above in a way that is easy to read and understand. This is not a typical poetry book; the structure which this book was written makes it very enjoyable and easy to understand. The poems in this book will definitely touch you and help you to get a deeper understanding of the link between your 'Emotions and Belief'.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Olympic Games- Rio 2016

Lay the foundation of the arena with bronze,
And make the track with silver lining.
Mark the finish line with gold
And amplify the loud roar of the fans,
Cheering our golden boys and girls to victory.

Hold your breath for the 100m final,
And watch every stride of the fastest men on earth.
Be blown away by the routines of the gymnasts,
And the endurance of the marathoners.

Feel the splash of the water,
As every swimmer swims
And all rowers row,
Even as the sailors sail.

Gold, silver and bronze, we want them all,
As no effort of the competitors will be in vain.
To compete in the Olympics is not a joke,
So for those without medals,
Keep your heads high.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Spectre : 50 + Years of James Bond Movies in One Poem

Dr. No is a special guy that came From Russia with Love,
He had a Goldfinger and a Thunderball.
Unlike Drake, YOLO was not his motto,
As he believed You Only Live Twice.
He was On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,
There he realised Diamonds Are Forever.
He had to Live and Let Die,
Not even The Man with Golden Gun could stop him.
The Dr was in love with The Spy Who Loved Me,
Until he was pushed off the Moonraker.
He wrote a letter to the spy titled For Your eyes Only,
After which he met the beautiful Octopussy.
Dr. No had A View to a Kill in The Living Daylights,
Licence to Kill and a GoldenEye.
To him, Tomorrow Never Dies,
And The World Is Not Enough.
Dr No. can always Die Another Day,
As long as he plays ‘Texas hold’em’ at the Casino Royale.
The Quantum of Solace gave him the happiness he was after,
Until he arrived at Skyfall.
Although the sky fell on him,
nothing will stop him from Infiltrating the Spectre.
Dr. No's name is James....
James Bond!

Written by : @poetic_kelz

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

The Africa That Never Was African (Written by Cynthia Nakanjako)

The Great Sankore University in Timbuktu
The wave of independence across Africa in the twentieth century was once heralded as one of the greatest liberating movements in African history. Many swear colonialism is a thing of the past. Yet the reality today paints a somewhat different picture. 54 countries in the African continent, but you can count on one hand how many of these have a native "African" language as an official language. Colonialism is alive and still dictates today.
With the colonial era came the fallacious idea that portrayed the West as the superior know-how and Africans as the representatives of an inferior culture. This is very misleading considering that by the 19th century the African landscape had advanced to surpass their economic and political systems.
Indeed Pre-colonial Africa had prosperous political systems in the form of autonomous States and groups. African economies were advanced in every area particularly the area of trade long before colonial rule. By the 14th century, the legendary city of Timbuktu was one of the greatest academic and commercial centres in the world due to trade in salt, gold and ivory. Under the Songhai empire, Timbuktu was also a great Muslim centre with Qur'anic schools and a university centred at the Sankore mosque. Thousands of students all over the world came to study here
Exploitation, suppression and economic enslavement - these are terms that have their roots in colonialism and still continue to survive as weapons of domination in today’s Africa.
Today, Western powers are not taking over countries as in the 19th century but the insidious influence of Western armies, finance and culture demonstrates that colonialism still exits albeit in another form. In fact what we have is neo-colonialism. Such that in theory the countries are independent but in actuality their economic systems and political policies are directed from outside - This is the new face of colonialism experienced in Africa.
It is no secret that Africa is home to some of the world’s most precious minerals including diamonds, gold, coltan and uranium - but as long as the miners have no say; as long as most mines are in the hands of the private sector majority of which are foreign companies, the sole beneficiaries remain the West. While the miners become like dogs waiting to feed on the crumbs that fall from the master’s table.
In the 19th century, the economic goals of colonialism were simple: to provide maximum economic benefits to the colonial powers at the lowest price possible. How much has changed since? Not much . The West are still fronting "trade" "democracy" "human rights" but behind the scenes they are exploiting Africa for oil and other natural resources just like in the colonial rule era. It is the countries that they "helped" or are "helping" that suffer so badly.
Oil- rich Libya is now famed for political unrest and battles. Once upon a time, the lucrative oil industry had turned Libya into Africa's wealthiest country. Libya had the highest GDP per capita and life expectancy on the continent. In fact less people lived below the poverty line than in the Netherlands. That was all until the West decided to intervene and control the oil. Hiding behind the veil of "democracy" they branded Gaddafi a tyrant and then killed him. As of now, the democracy and freedoms promised by the West, are yet to fully arrive, and may never do so.
Libya is literally on its knees, it is now no more than a radical Islamist's playground, its economy is in shambles. But ever since chaos erupted in Libya those who financed Gaddafi’s ouster chose to instead turn a blind eye; and play hide and seek to the massive exodus of refugees which has turned into a crisis on their door step.
Moreover, most major European countries today have gold as their reserve- massive reserves of gold which have a very expensive price tag. But can you show me at least one gold mine in any of these countries. Can you name one net exporter of gold ore in any of these countries? How ironic that the countries they buy this gold from remain poor?
Somewhere along the way Africa is being short changed.
And God forbid all African nations come together as one to fight imperialism and build one stable economy, because then the real losers will be the West. Where will they go to get these natural resources at the exploitive prices they enjoy now? This is why Pan-Africanism is a threat to Western interests in Africa and the imperialists are ready to fight tooth and nail to combat the movement. Colonel Muammar Gaddafi was one of Africa's surviving Pan Africanists. He had a road map to Africa’s unity and prosperity of which he was willing to finance. But of course this did not augur well with the Western powers so something had to give. The soft option was to get rid of Gaddafi and maintain their exploitative tendencies.
Colonial languages: Map showing languages that were introduced to Africa when Africa was colonised by Europe. As a result, European languages (colonial languages) became the official language(s) - This remains the case even today.
When you look at the continent’s railway systems. They all go from a coastal port inland to a mine. They were not built to link peoples or towns or regions, they were designed to extract Africa’s mineral wealth as quickly and cheaply as possible and ship it overseas. The "colonial map that made little sense" drawn in Europe by Europeans, is still the basis for the political map of Africa today. Africa played no part in the creation of their national states and despite being home to at least 2000 languages, you can count on one hand how many of the 54 national states have a native "African" language as an official language.
"Children go to school without any learning aids. Taught in a language which is not theirs..."  Nelson Mandela during his speech at the London School of Economics, 2000.
Colonialism long existed in Africa but it is the Berlin Conference of 1884-85 that fully legitimised it. At the conference, Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Spain and Portugal convened to negotiate their territorial claims in Africa and establish their colonial borders, hence the term Scramble for Africa. Africa was literally carved up without regard for pre-existing linguistic and political boundaries. This not only perpetuated ethnic tensions where they did not previously exist, but it also introduced a cultural dichotomy detrimental to the native inhabitants. The new inherited national states often had little in common with traditional boundaries based on ethnicity, language, religion or natural features. This created border disputes and underpinned many African conflicts such as those between Tutsis and Hutus, Ethiopia and Eritrea, Somalia and ‘Somaliland’, and North and South Sudan.
Yet half a century later, Africans were given flags and national anthems, airlines and armies and told they were “independent,” but the countries created and the systems that the Europeans imposed on Africa as they left were not rooted in African culture or experiences. And they were certainly not strong enough to contain social and ethnic pressure that lay immediately beneath the surface.  As much as slave trade, colonialism destroyed Africa. Its resources, lands, people, and cultures were expropriated. Colonialism meant the development and enrichment of the West at Africa’s expense; a crime of enormous proportion that can never justified. Millions died.
“In the mid-20th century, more than 3 million people were killed in the construction of the Brazzaville-Ocean Railway by France. The creation of such infrastructure, which connected Africa’s raw materials to points of export to Europe, was described as giving Africa the benefits of “Western civilisation.” The same process continues today and is now called “development.”
The multi-sided war that has killed more than 6 million people in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 1998 is not simply the result of tribal animosities but the country's wealth in coltan. The war was coincided with the information technology boom that has caused a huge demand for coltan - the mineral used in electronic gadgets such as mobile phones, computers and iPods. Congo possesses 80 percent of the world's coltan.”
Ultimately, independence officially restored power in Africa to Africans but Western influence remains strong. And while Africa is often presented as “chaotic” there is always a comprehensible explanation. Despite its corrupt leaders and their poor management of resources, most of this chaos is created by outsiders to serve their capitalistic greed. Africa remains a victim of a neo-colonialist conspiracy to keep it poor, a continuation of imperialism and exploitation that dates back to the slave trade.

Monday, 25 May 2015

The Great Wall of China

A Chinese saying goes that:

"He who has not climbed the Great wall is not a true man"