Nine of the best: drinks trolleys

Since its Seventies heyday, the humble trolley has been pushed up against the wall — but now it is returning to centre stage...

Diary of an estate agent: Gerrards Cross

In a week that goes from one extreme to the other, one Gerrards Cross estate agent wonders how to tell his wife about his plans for a surround-sound media room...

​Bakewell tart

This recipe uses traditional raspberry jam in the filling but gooseberry or damson jams are great alternatives.

Get in quick: year-end property and stamp duty offers

With builders aiming to sell the few homes remaining within this year's new developments, buyers can take advantage of slashed prices - and discounts on stamp duty, legal fees, parking spaces and even furniture packs.

20 London homes under £250,000

The price of an average starter home in London has reached more than £460,000, according to the latest figures from Rightmove. 

Yet there are still homes to be found across the capital that are priced below £250,000, if you know where to look. 

"While they’re not easy to find in the location people want, if people are willing to compromise on area or to put some time in to refurbish a place, they could find a property in this price range, especially in some of the further out boroughs of the capital,” says Rightmove director and housing market analyst, Miles Shipside.

However, buyers on a budget need to act fast because homes in this price range only represent 7.2 per cent of properties for sale, and are typically selling within 35 days. They are also showing signs of drying up as double-digit price rises in some of London's most affordable postcodes is pushing the number of cheaper homes to record lows, says Countrywide's research director, Johnny Morris. 

We've uncovered 20 London homes for first-time buyers priced below £250,000. Start your search now, and you could be in before Christmas...

Take a virtual tour of One Blackfriars

A new viewing gallery in Berkeley Square allows you to study specification details and floor plans and even get simulated views from particular apartments.

Play with fire in the garden

Install a fire pit, fireplace or oven outdoors to keep toasty, cook pizza and enjoy the romantic glow on chilly nights.

Christmas presents: restaurant gift vouchers

Restaurant gift vouchers make the perfect thank-you present for the host who has everything. They are also great gifts for friends and family who love the experience of dining in the capital's latest hotspots and hidden gems...

Christmas gift guide: kitchen gadgets

We take our pick of the best gifts for foodies and budding master chefs this Christmas, from compact breadmakers to cheese making kits and hand-held smokers.

Fifteen hot homes under £250,000

There's still time to find a new home for the new year, and with owners keen to get sales wrapped up before Christmas, now's the time to buy. We uncover the starter flats and homes for second-steppers priced under £250,000 throughout the capital, including a studio flat in Chelsea for £140,000...