Saturday, February 26, 2011

house tour :: kitchen

Ta-da! Here's our kitchen. I told you, this place is huge! Yet, from the 22 or so places we saw that day, this was within our budget and more affordable than the other properties. The places that we viewed were pretty interesting, one was a carriage house turned two floor flat and the other was a renovated flat in an old police station.

The walls are red / pink. Unlike Canada, the landlord does not need to paint the rental when new tenants move in and if you want to hang shelves / pictures, then you must get permission first.

The landlord will hopefully remove the kitchen table, chairs, bar stools and hutch. It's going to be empty for a bit while we settle in and find something that better represents us. I'm thinking our bench seat with a wood kitchen table and some retro wood chairs against one side and a teak buffet (my great grandma had this exact one!) on the other for some extra storage?? Perhaps some floating shelves to display our retro kitchenware and pyrex collection? Endless possibilities! Oh, and maybe a fresh coat of off white paint to neutralize it.

Gas stove, microwave / convection oven, a full oven and a dishwasher. Oh, and they love hiding their fridges here...

Surprise! Fridge on the left, freezer on the right. Due to the size, we are getting used to shopping more often!

weekend :: here and there

Fruit and veg market by the Wimbledon stadium. Above is a meat truck where they auction off their meat. 
Bus to waterloo station...
loving the old building in the background with the modern art installations...

stop in chinatown for noodles!!

Friday, February 25, 2011

mini-break :: birmingham

We met up with E + M last weekend and took the train to Birmingham for the Designer Vintage Bridal Show which was amazing! Not only did I meet Rock 'n' Roll Bride and Love My Dress, but I discovered some amazing wedding suppliers such as Vintage Glamour Days specializing in afternoon tea and vintage china hire and Debbie Carlisle Bouquets that makes bespoke vintage wedding bouquets and accessories - beautiful! It was an amazing show, so if you are in the area, keep an eye on their website for the next event.



Check out the post by Rock 'n' Roll Bride here for more pictures (<- much more amazing than mine!).

This church was across from the Bullring (one of the largest shopping malls in the UK). Love the teeny balcony on the bottom right hand corner. You can click on the picture to enlarge it. 

Across the street is the Bullring Open Market which pretty much has everything - food, curtains, fabric, haberdashery, electronics, underwear, clothing, shoes... you name it! All for pretty reasonable prices too. That entire bowl of lemons, tomatoes or oranges for £1 or approx. $1.58 CDN. I could never find that in Vancouver!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

london :: randoms wk 2

 (ASDA - aka Walmart)
 (Antiques at Spitalfields)

(crazy how skinny some of the buildings are)

Since we didn't have a reliable internet connection last week, here are some random snapshots from around London. Here are some things that we have learned recently (check out week one here!):

  1. We live near East Putney station which is at the end of zone 2. If we want to head to Wimbledon, we need to upgrade to zone 3 (just like in Vancouver). However, if you travel by bus, there are no zones. Saves money and you see more!
  2. Eggs are located in the middle of the grocery store and are not refridgerated. This through me for a loop a few visits ago. I just kept circling the shop.
  3. Car insurance is ridiculously cheap here. Think £200 for the year. Cars are more affordable here as well.
  4. If the shop states that they are open 24 hours, they do not mean on Sunday's. Sunday hours are generally 11-4pm or 11-5pm.
  5. The largest tub of catnip I can find is 2oz. For all those wanting catnip toys, I will be busy stuffing when I get to Vancouver for the Spring Got Craft event.
  6. Cornish pasties have been given a protective status. To call the pasty Cornish, they have a long list of rules they must meet which include:
  • must be prepared in Cornwall, but can be cooked elsewhere
  • must only be made with beef (at least 12.5% beef)
  • must have the distinctive 'D' shape 
  • must have a robust crust that survives baking and cooling

van city kitty :: meet cleo

In case you missed me showing off Cleo like a proud cat momma, I thought I would send her some extra love on the blog. Cleo is this week's Van City Kitty over at Vancouver is Awesome. Think she's a cutie? Leave a heart for her at the bottom of the post!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

... and we are back

(walk from Aldgate East to Spitalfields Market)

Our internet was installed this afternoon which means that we now have a reliable connection! Regular posts to commence shortly!

Monday, February 14, 2011

happy valentine's day

image from a life through the lens

Happy Valentine's Day! It's beautiful out today, crisp and sunny. Planning on a field trip to Clapham Junction for a few more house items (seems like it never ends!), lunch and then we will head home to finish up some work.

Do you have special plans? Would love to hear about them!

xo andrea + robert

Sunday, February 13, 2011

house tour :: top floor

Down the hall from the craft studio and up a small flight of stairs (below) is the main bedroom. Please excuse the mess. I was too lazy to tidy up before snapping the pics! I am happy to announce that I found a nice, metal bed frame from gumtree (UK version of craigslist) this afternoon which will be delivered to us next Sunday. Originally a £500 or so frame for £120 from Habitat. Score! 

Don't get me started with UK mattress sizes. Omg. Apparently, our double (north american) is classified as a king size here, but it also depends on the retailer as they all have their different sizing charts. To top it off, Ikea makes one size of mattress for North America and then another size for EU which are both different from the UK sizes, so if you want an Ikea bed frame then you have to purchase a mattress from them too. 

Why yes, that is my bowl of cereal on the stairs! hehe

Between the craft studio and the bedroom, there is a small bathroom with a toilet, sink and washer / dryer (it's a combination, but the dryer part never works).

Here is a picture of me lying in the bed looking up. We have 3 skylights in the bedroom and one additional skylight in the hallway. Fantastic cross breezes! After sweating up a storm each summer at our old place, I can't wait for the summer here. There are also two speakers to the right of the room where the little window is. You can see one of them in the top picture. Have no idea what these are connected to. Seems so random.

This is the other half of the room. It's awkwardly shaped, but after looking at 22 different flats, this isn't uncommon. First floor pictures coming soon... may need a few days to take some proper pictures. Internet is finicky too. Our internet won't be properly installed until February 22nd or 23rd, so we purchased a temporary BT Openzone account for Rob's work.

Overall, things are coming along slowly. Missing Vancouver on and off... lots to learn.. sometimes feel like I'm living in a country of opposites... adjusting... can't wait for our boxes to clear customs... excited to visit Birmingham with e + m this Saturday!

PS. For those that are interested, I started a separate flickr account to post random London pictures. It's only visible to friends and family, but you can search for andreatongtucker.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

house tour :: craft room and terrace

Here's the cole's notes version of us finding our flat...

Feb 1: leave vancouver

Feb 2: arrive in london

Feb 3: viewed 22 different flats, found "the one" - signed papers, offer accepted, listing removed

Feb 4: deposit paid, waiting for references, move in date finalized

Feb 7: reference approved, landlord is coming to the city to sign the papers on Wednesday
Feb 8: received call to say that since we don't have an UK income (eventhough they knew we didn't have this at the beginning), they need 6 months rent plus 6 weeks deposit. On a side note, it doesn't matter how much money you have elsewhere, they only care about what you have in the UK. Lots of back and forth. We negotiated 3 months, 3 months and then a monthly contract.

Feb 10: 30 minutes to us leaving to meet the agent for the keys, we receive a call to say that the boiler is broken and we are banned from the premises until who knows when.
(5 hours later): Finally moved in! Apparently partially furnished can be deteremined differently depending on the person. Let's just say, I started the next morning eating cereal with a plastic fork that I stole from the Waitrose deli.
(keys onto the terrace - love the skeleton keys here!)

We spent the last few days settling in and shopping for all the necessary staples. I know that a few of you have been asking for photos, so here is the first set. Our new place is technically called a maisonette (little house) that is split over three levels and built around the 1930's. We have a private entry with our own mail slot, two bedrooms, one full bath, one half bath, a craft room / den and the best part, a private rooftop terrace (see above)!
We had a few peaks of sunshine this afternoon, so here are some quick snapshots!

To get onto the terrace, you have to walk through the third bedroom which I have turned into my craft room (it's way too small for a bedroom!). In the UK, you can rent flats fully furnished (very popular!), unfurnished or partially furnished. We chose partially furnished, so that we could add our personal touches which is why it's looking pretty empty right now. We are still figuring out the furniture bit, so I will post "after" pictures when we are ready. Anybody know of any car boot or thift stores I should check out here?
Photo taken with the terrace behind me looking in. Not sure what they intended to do with the two display areas they made in the wall (picture above). Thought I would make some cute roxypop displays. ha! Suggestions?
Main bedroom pictures coming soon!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

week one

via shelf

We left Vancouver one week ago and arrived Wednesday afternoon UK time. We've been busy adjusting, but here are some things that we have noticed during our week one...
  1. When crossing the street, lights do not matter. Just start walking / running whenever you see a free moment.
  2. When searching for flats, they still use carpet in the bathroom and separate cold / hot water taps (as much as we wanted to avoid this one, we have one in our bathroom)
  3. Party walls = a wall that separates two buildings belonging to different owners.
  4. If you purchase property in a certain distance of a church of England, you may be responsible for maintanence fees. 
  5. Everyone in customer service (e.g. banks, transport) works behind glass and speaks through a microphone. 
  6. They sure like sandwiches here!
  7. Television shows start at awkward times - e.g. 18:05 to 18:58
  8. The UK first floor is what we (Canada) call the second floor
  9. Animated, talking animals (think bumble bees for vodafone, meerkats for insurance, etc.) are very popular in Commercials.
#10 is the biggest hurdle that we are overcoming. It seems that everything here is a catch 22 and if you speak to anybody that has relocated here, they completely understand, because they went through the same thing you did. 

Cell phone: We have the phone, but need a new SIM card. We can't get one unless we have bank statement with our UK address listed which means that a) you need to have a UK address b) you need to wait a month or so to receive one in the mail. We ended up getting a cheap (£7 pay as you go phone) as a temporary number.

Banking: We signed up for offshore accounts prior to landing and are hoping to move them to a local branch this week. If you arrive here without a bank account, you can't open one until you have a job no matter how much money you are trying to give them.

Coming up... I will tell you how everything went from "the flat is yours" to "the flat is only yours if you do X and X" to "the flat is yours again" in 24 hours. And yes, I will post pictures as soon as I can!

Monday, February 7, 2011

real weddings :: jeanette and cassian

Came across this the other day and realized that I had never posted it. Better late than never! Here is a same day edit of Jeanette and Cassian's wedding by Cloud Nine Creative. Thanks to Nicole from Down the Aisle for helping out with this one!

Friday, February 4, 2011

one (small) bathroom

We are currently staying in a studio apartment rental in Wimbledon while we finalize the plans for a more permanent home. Pretty decent space that is super close to the high street for a low price. However, I do want to show you the bathroom. I think it's the smallest one that I have ever experienced! The picture pretty much sums it up. Shower on the right... toilet on the left... It's also kind of drafty in there, so the key is not to touch anything with your bare skin. Brr.

events :: bridal swap

After many trips to the floral wholesaler looking at vases and visits to Ikea, I am so happy to tell you about Vancouver's first Bridal Swap! Connecting past brides and brides to be, Bridal Swap is the place to buy and sell gently used wedding items. Perfect opportunity to clean out your closets, re-live some of the wedding excitement, make some money and give your treasured items a new home!

Here are the event details:

WhereHeritage Hall, 3102 Main Street Vancouver
Date: Sunday, February 20th, 2011
Time: 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Cost: $10 in advance, $12 at the door

Interested in selling your goods? Tables are $75 to $125. Early bird rates available. Contact Dreamgroup for details.

Cleaned out your place already? Only have your wedding dress left? No problem! Click here for more information about consigning your dress.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

found :: one flat

Just over 24 hours after we landed, we were picked up by our relocation agent and taken on a tour of 22 properties. They guarantee finding a flat for us by the end of the day, and sometime around 3:30pm (UK time), we found 'the one'. Two bedrooms, separate craft room, own mail slot at our door, two bath, cat friendly and private roof top terrace. All in our budget. Isn't that crazy!? It's a freaking house! The listing has been taken off the market and the owner has accepted our offer (prices can be negotiated here). We placed a deposit and are now waiting for a reference check. If it comes back positive, we move in February 10th where we will meet our landlord and go through the house to let them know which pieces of furniture we want and what needs to be removed (most flats come furnished, but you can request for it be unfurnished or partially furnished).

Fingers crossed...

If there isn't much happening over here, then check out the Got Craft blog.
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