Sunday, March 31, 2013

Bathroom Remodel Update

Well I figured I would take a quick break from blogging our trip to do a bathroom remodel update. I had forgotten honestly how miserable it is to live in a house that is being remodeled. I think it's like childbirth, the mind has a way of erasing the unpleasantness of the process so that you only think of how happy you are with the end result that you're willing to do it again! Someone please remind me of this when I start talking about remodeling the kitchen PLEASE!!!

All in all this has gone relatively smoothly. (I hope I didn't just jinx us...). Our neighbor is our contractor which is really helpful and convenient. He may feel otherwise...haha! We've just finished week 3 of what we hope to be 4 weeks to completion. I think we are pretty close to being on schedule, just a slight snag with the shower unit being backordered. I had to be picky and choose a non-stocked color! Ugh!

So here we are moving all of the plumbing around. The new washer/dryer hookups are in the wall as they should have been in the first place, nice to have it properly done this time. This is where the old tub/shower unit was.

When they framed in the shower area in the back room, I saw an opportunity for more storage in the space to the left!! So I had two shelves framed in!

Shower area with my little shelves in the funky framed in box to the left

cabinets, vanity top, tile and everything else is all waiting in the garage

There's my little cubby! Toilet paper, shampoo, shower gel and everything else a teenager needs but is too lazy to actually open a cabinet to get will go here on these little bonus shelves!

Mario is putting the new tile in...

And this weekend is our turn. Drywall is mostly all up, tile is down and grouted and we are painting in here as much as we can before cabinets go in on Monday. (she says hopefully...)

tile floor looks great!

Painting this weekend and hopefully the finishing touches of everything will happen next week. Cabinet installation, vanity, shower, washer/dryer (please God let the washer/dryer happen) pendant lights, towel bars, the works!

Painting is done! The back room which is now the toilet and shower room is a color called chocolate truffle!

The front room is a lighter more mocha latte color for a bit of contrast but not being too dark.

I will post the grand finale next week! (she says hopefully...) :-)

Thursday, March 28, 2013


So after a fun filled long weekend in the English countryside taking in the sights (and even more pubs) Tommy and I were up bright and early to catch the very fast Virgin train from Birmingham to London. I tell you I really wish the US would adopt train travel as is done in the UK and Europe. No need to rent a car on vacation or even take a car on a commute. The trains are so easy to catch and are very fast. We left B'Ham at 8:30 and arrived at Euston Station in London by 11 am!

I studied here in London for my spring semester at Michigan State many moons ago and have been back a couple of times but for whatever reason I never made it back to my old dorm area off Baker street. That was rectified on this trip as I really wanted Tommy to see where I spent 3 great months in college.

Here we go on the train. A really comfortable ride and fast. It would certainly be my preferred mode of travel!

We arrived at our hotel, the Renaissance St Pancras which is an historic old restored building that was absolutely beautiful! This is the view from our fantastic room!

We were upgraded to a junior suite in the old historic chambers club section of the hotel. I highly recommend this hotel and this particular section if you want a 5 star, luxurious and historic stay!

walk upstairs to our beautiful marble bathroom complete with rubber ducky on the tub!

We hopped the tube (this was our method of travel every day and it was easy easy easy!) and headed to Chinatown for lunch

Just a couple of blocks in London but some of the Chinese New Year decorations were still up which looked pretty cool

Never made it into this restaurant but it's notorious for it's rude wait staff! Sounds very much like the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld! We ended up at a Trip Advisor recommended restaurant called The Four Seasons instead. I suspect that some of Wong Kei's waitstaff migrated over here based on our experience!

We spent the rest of the day hopping around seeing the sights. Look kids - Big Ben...Parliament!
My husband could be Clark Griswald on any given day believe me. I have the scrape on the ceiling of our living room from the way too tall Christmas tree as proof!

Trafalgar square and St Martin in the Fields

So next we headed over to Baker street station and headed to find Hanover Lodge, my old dorm. Fortunately I did some research to find out that they razed the old dorm and built beautiful individual villas. Hanover Lodge, the original Hanover Lodge, was restored and sold for £120!! It has made history as the most expensive home sold in the UK! It's a far cry from my old dorm let me tell you!

Here it is!

Hmmmm... I don't remember it quite looking like that!

This villa right next door is where I believe the large dorm actually was with the original "Hanover Lodge" home next to it

The canal behind the dorm/villas is the same although much nicer now and kept up well. There was a dirt path along the canal that we used to walk along to get to Baker street. 

This was my old college that we would walk to through Regent's park every morning to get to classes

The mosque was there then as well and you could see the beautiful roof from the window of my dorm room

My beautiful walk every morning through the park to get to class. Just Like the beautiful walk on MSU's campus as well!

One more trip down memory lane took us to my favorite fish and chip shop, The Seashell of Lisson Grove. Back then there was only a take away window with a picnic table out front if you wanted to eat it there. They still have the take away window but now a fancy restaurant next door which we opted to do.

as good as it was, NOTHING beats eating a giant slab of fried cod right out of a newspaper drenched in malt vinegar!

Tommy isn't much of a fish guy so he opted for the bangars and mash and loved em!

Topped it off with my new favorite British drink - Aspall's Suffolk Cyder! YUM!

Wouldn't be our trip if we just had statues and historic buildings now would it?! Finished off a great first day and a half in London at the pub!

Stay tuned for the rest of the London adventures and the grand finale in Paris!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Day 3 - Shakespeare's town and pub night!

We headed out to Stratford upon Avon, Shakespeare's hometown, for a third and final day in the English countryside with our friends Sharon and Kevin. What a cute little village this is and we are so glad that we headed here for the day!

the day started off fabulously with Kevin toiling away in the kitchen making a full English breakfast which was FANTASTIC! 

Lord knows we wouldn't want our alcohol titers to drop so Sharon breaks out the Buck's fizz! (mimosas here in the US)

Poached eggs, ham, sausage, black pudding (YUM) toast, stewed tomatoes, baked beans...

so we spotted a pretty interesting vehicle on our way...


the cute town of Stratford

Hmmm - we may have visited this pub later in the day...

Shakespeare's house! How cool!

It was a nice day so we took an open top bus tour around the village which was great

Gotta have the photo in the red telephone booth right?!

So this pub was established in the 1400's if you can imagine! Great pub with great history! More photos later during our visit there (you didn't think we wouldn't go in did you?!!)

Forgot what house this was but it's OLD!

inside the Garrick

well I had to make sure the ale was drinkable didn't I?

After a fun day in Stratford we headed to Birmingham to visit a CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) pub where there were 16 different ales on tap. Tommy and Kevin were determined to get through the entire menu which they did! Thankfully we took the train in from Longbridge so we were responsible drinkers!

By the looks on his face I'd say he's about halfway through the menu!

One of the cool things about this pub is you can bring in your own food. Poor Sharon shlepped a giant bag with bread, a cheeseboard and some egg and sausage leftover from breakfast (just to annoy Kevin who doesn't do leftovers!)

well guess what... I do leftovers and was pretty happy to have that egg on bread to soak up the wine/beer/lager/ale/you name it!

We then headed next door to a pub that looked like it had been either a library or museum. I can't recall but think it may have been an old courthouse. (yes that was after way too many pubs that day...)

beautiful inside

this lovely bar towel now resides in our bar at our home in Michigan (No he didn't nick it, it was a gift from the bartender for the visiting Yanks!)

What a fun 3 days in the country with friends!

Off to London tomorrow as the adventure continues!