Gaynor Morgan-Hoole, 46, runs a property company. She is married to Tim, 46, a company director and they live in Prestbury, Cheshire, with daughter Jessica, 11. Gaynor also has a son, Alex, 25. She and Tim have other properties on the Algarve, Portugal, and in Altrincham. Gaynor says:
Ask me to name my favourite house and it’s a struggle. Currently, I’m utterly in love with my house in Portugal. I remember sitting by the pool with my family at Easter, sun-kissed and happy, finishing a gorgeous meal as the sun dipped below the horizon and thinking there was nowhere on earth I’d rather be.
But ‘home’ is definitely Cheshire. There is a 360-degree horizon of rolling hills blanketed in gold in the autumn. The smell of wood smoke and sodden earth on a chill evening makes me fall in love with England all over again.
Then, of course, there’s my flat in Altrincham, which I use when in town for business meetings: gleaming, sleek ultra-modern with lots of steel appliances, it’s efficient and impressive. Just how business should be.
Gaynor Morgan-Hoole’s ‘gleaming, sleek ultra-modern’ flat in Altrincham, Greater Manchester
Her villa in the Algarve, on which she spent £500,000 has four bedrooms, each with en suite
I know I am lucky — but I’ve worked hard for everything. My parents ignited my property bug. When I was in my early 20s they gave me a plot of land next to their home and said I could do what I wanted with it. Battling for planning permission and studying plans allowed me to see the potential for investment. I sold it a few years later at a good profit.
We bought a property in Cheshire three years ago for £850,000. I razed the ugly house and started again.
We spent £500,000 building our perfect family home — four bedrooms, each with an en suite. It is now worth double what we paid and we love it. We bought the villa in Portugal in 2008 after falling in love with the area while visiting friends and built it from the ground up. It is a two-acre estate. It has four bedrooms, all en suite, with a pool and an outside kitchen and bar. It is worth around €3 million.
We rent out the villa when we are not there. A property abroad has to make money for us.
Her ‘home’ is definitely Prestbury, Cheshire, with a a 360-degree horizon of rolling hills blanketed in gold in the autumn and a smell of wood smoke and sodden earth
Gaynor Morgan-Hoole, 46, runs a property company and owns three luxury properties
The flat in Altrincham was a purchase I made ten years ago. Alex loves to crash there, too.
We keep clothes and towels at each property. It allows us to head off to Portugal at short notice, taking just hand luggage.
I do have moments at night when I wake up not knowing which home I am in, and wander off to the loo in the wrong direction!
Some people who don’t know us can make jealous comments. Those in our social circle know how hard my husband and I have worked for what we have.
Sarah Cross is an interior designer and married mother of five to Oliver, 12; Jonny, ten; Eloise, eight; and Harry and Lottie, five. The family lives in Cambridge and also have properties in Anglesey and St Lucia. Sarah, 45, says:
After a trying day juggling the demands of five children, I like to let my mind wander. It doesn’t have to go too far: just to the beaches of Anglesey or the azure sea of St Lucia. And I can do that — and still be at home!
I got on the property ladder after I was awarded financial compensation. I’d been badly injured in a hit-and-run accident in London in 1995.
The sum I received just about allowed us to put a deposit on our first property in West London. It was while I was renovating the flat, enjoying experimenting with fabrics and colours, that I realised I could earn a living from design and interiors.
The home is ‘modern and practical’ with an open-plan kitchen, dining room and living room
I spent my 20s and 30s getting married and having children. Yet during that time I was renovating our next home — another London flat. We sold up and moved to Cambridge in 2013, before our youngest child was born. Our detached home there is modern and practical with six bedrooms, an open-plan kitchen, dining room and living room, all painted in bright colours. It’s cosy, family chaos, but also big enough for us to all come together and have our own space, too.
I’ve been going to Anglesey on holiday since I was a child. It’s a really special area for me.
We bought our place there in the village of Rhoscolyn, in 2015. I think a family home is different from a holiday home. It took me a year to get it how I like it: now it’s a stunning New England beach- style house which can sleep 12. It even has a hot tub. I rent it out when we’re not there.
Sarah can let her mind wander with guaranteed sunshine at a property in St Lucia (pictured)
The home in Rhoscolyn which they bought in 2015. Sarah had often visited Anglesey as a child
The St Lucia property was an obvious choice because it is somewhere we have loved going and meeting friends for years.
With guaranteed sunshine, it’s also a place where my husband can truly switch off.
There was land for sale in 2016, so we went for it. It took a year to build our four-bedroom, four-bathroom home.
The children all have their favourite place. As for me, wherever my family is is where I want to be at that moment.
Jane Sayce, 59, is a marketing agent, and lives with her partner, Paul, 52, an electrician. She has two children Cassie, 32, and Joshua, 33, and a grandson Zae, one. She has homes in Cyprus, Shropshire and Cleethorpes. Jane says:
Ever since I was a little girl growing up in a council house in the Midlands I always knew I’d have a property overseas one day.
And I was right. Today, I still get a rush of pleasure waking up to azure blue skies and a twinkling, inviting swimming pool — and ending the day with something chilled and gorgeous, as I watch the sun go down.
This is the life I adore in Cyprus for five months of the year.
Jane Sayce’s cabin in Bow House Country Park, Bishop’s Castle, Shropshire
Jane Sayce’s property in Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire, a seafront flat bought as an investment
As soon as I left home at 18, I went to Belgium, where I worked as an au pair before working in hospitality in hotels in Germany and Denmark. When I returned to the UK, I married and raised my family. I’m one of life’s grafters and so when the children finally flew the nest, I set about making my dream a reality. I sold my UK property in Staffordshire and used the proceeds to buy a place off plan in Cyprus.
It took three years to build my three-bedroom dream home in the sun. I’d fly out to see the progress and gradually fell in love with the Cypriot way of life. I’m not someone who divulges the costs involved, as I regard that as personal.
When it was ready three years later, I sold my house in Staffordshire and moved here full-time. Not everyone was here in Paphos permanently and before long people began to ask me to manage their property. I found it was something I not only enjoyed, but was good at.
I went from managing eight to then launching my own company and marketing approximately 100 holiday homes, although today I have scaled the business back to 80 properties.
It took Jane three years to build her three-bedroom dream home in the sun, in Cyprus
Marketing agent Jane Sayce, 59, at her holiday home in Paphos, Cyprus
Three years ago, I bought my two-bedroom ‘log cabin’ retreat in Shropshire. I find the summers too hot in Cyprus, and also it’s closer to Birmingham, where my grown-up children live.
The wildlife is stunning; I sit on the terrace and wind down while watching geese waddle by or listening to the woodpeckers in the forests.
I am already thinking about my future though, which is why I have just snapped up a town property in Cleethorpes. It’s a rather chi-chi seafront flat, which I regard as a great investment. I can see it is somewhere we could both retire to when I eventually sell up.
My family are rather proud of me. They know how have worked hard to achieve this.