Archive for London

Plan for the Bathroom

I’m still in the midst of taking photos to give you an updated apartment tour, but until that’s ready, it’s the perfect time to give you a sneak peek into our bathroom.  It seems to be the only room that we’ve been able to give some love to while we were watching the cats.

We started out with quite the blank slate: a basic vanity and some basket weave tiles.  Since this is a rental, we have no plans to upgrade the vanity or tile – even though the look is not my style.  Those towels also permanent since we got them as a wedding present and we love the color.  The walls are a light blue, but since we can paint them, I’m not too concerned about it. bathroombase

With a pretty basic foundation, it has given Joe and I a lot of flexibility with which direction we can go in.  There are so many possibilities that I feel drunk with power.  I guess going from a floor-to-ceiling marbled bathroom to a blank slate can do that to a girl.

Anyway, here is the current plan:


1)   In terms of color, we’ll be using Martha Stewart Living Cornbread paint from Home Depot.  It’s something we already have – and have had for almost three years!  We used it on our tv stand but I’m ready to try it out on the walls.  The good news is that it’s free, so if we don’t like it, it won’t be a big deal to go pick up a new color.  In terms of accent colors, we’re going to use reds, greys, and greens from the shower curtain.

2)  When we asked you which direction we should go in for the bathroom, a whopping 71% of you voted for the Åkerkulla Shower Curtain from IKEA.  This was also our favorite (although if we had a house/more bathrooms, I would definitely choose the other two) so on a recent trip to IKEA, we picked this beauty up.  It’s a very cheery curtain and I love it.

3) I spent a bit of time trying to decide on a piece of art for our bathroom and ultimately ended up choosing a photo we took on our honeymoon.  The plan is to get a large print made – I’m hoping around 11″x14″ – and then maybe tossed in a red frame to keep things spicy.

4)  For the past couple of years, Joe and I have been using a very tiny and flat bathmat from IKEA (this one if you’re curious).  We chose it originally because it was budget friendly but stuck with it because our last apartment’s bathroom was so tiny.  Now that we have the luxury of a bathroom with enough space that you can turn in, we decided that the Toftbo Bathmat from IKEA was the right fit for us.  I can honestly say I love it.

5)  One thing I wan to do is place a tray on the top of the toilet tank.  My top pick right now is this  Lacquer Bath Tray from West Elm, although we could end up with a bamboo tray or a wood that matches the vanity.  Regardless, I’d like to add some fun accessories, like clear containers for the cotton swabs an q-tips (already owned) and this Casa Tissue House by CB2.  I have been crushing on this for a few years and I feel like this is the perfect time to invest.

Now that you know our plan of attack, I can share with you where we’re at. When you first saw the bathroom, it was pretty basic.  Heck, it didn’t even have a shower curtain up!  Thankfully, that was an easy update which has already done wonders for the room:


The blue on the walls still hasn’t grown on us (womp womp) so we’ve got plans to paint.  Since we haven’t had time to paint yet, I’ve used Photoshop to show you what it will look like.  It’s about to get a whole lot cheerier in there thanks to Martha Stewart.


 What do you think?  Are you digging the direction we’re going in or do you hope we’ll make a U-Turn and reconsider?  

Posted in Bathroom, Colors, Design, Home, London | 12 Comments

Big Up to Brooklyn

This Saturday, I headed into Brooklyn to visit my baby sister, Laura.  Thankfully, it’s not too difficult getting to her apartment from ours and it only took me about 45 minutes which is pretty great when you think about it.

Laura and I had a great time.  After she and I met up, we spent some time walking around and exploring the area.The first stop on our tour was at the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company.  I am not joking – this is a legitimate store in Brooklyn and it’s pretty freaking cool.  They sell things like capes, secret identity garb (like glasses), and superpowers like invisibility.  Pretty much all you need if you’re a superhero.  All the proceeds go to 826NYC which was created to support young children with their writing skills (in case you feel guilty on buying e.s.p. powers).

After browsing around there for a little while, my sister and I walked around and stumbled upon a rummage sale.  There was a lot of variety there – silver platters, jewelry, furniture – but we ended up leaving empty-handed.  I wasn’t too disappointed because it wouldn’t have been fun to carry that around all day.

At this point, we were both getting hungry so we stopped in at the Chipshop for fish and chips for me (surprise, surprise) and a full English breakfast for my sister.  Guys – this was so yummy.  It was almost like being back in London.  I don’t know what they did, but the batter was very similar to what we had abroad.

The place was tiny but filled with British decor.  In fact, there were even British coins in our table.  I shared a pic on instagram, but I wanted to share the original so you could see all the coins.  PS - Definitely a place I want to go back to.

Laura and I decided to take a walk through Prospect Park.  After eating as much as we did, it was absolutely necessary.  It was nice to be in the shade and just stroll around.  We eventually stumbled upon the Greenmarket in the Grand Army Plaza.  If I lived around the area, you can be sure I’d wake up early and grab all our fruits and veggies from there.  There were also meats, cheeses, flowers, and even a lavender guy (apparently he only sells lavender).  It was fun to stroll around and look at the goodies.

By the way, has anyone heard of apple mint before?

Since I’m old, I needed to take a break.  We headed back to my sister’s place and drank some iced tea while we painted our nails.  It was fun to kind of cool off and relax for a while.  Neither of us tend to be the kind of people who prefer just sitting down all day so we got up and made a game plan of walking across the Brooklyn Bridge – something I had never done before.

This is very cool.  Definitely something you want to do if you come to New York.  The views are amazing. not to mention it’s a cool feeling to be walking above cars as they drive by.

One fun detail my sister noticed was that there were a lot of locks on the bridge.  I would have no idea why they were there except that I remembered reading about it over at Little House Big Heart.   It’s a tradition where people add locks to the Pont des Arts bridge in Paris and then throw the locks in the Seine.  Looks like the tradition has spread to New York.  Each lock had something either written or engraved.  Typically, it was something like “The Smiths 2011″, but every so often you’d see a “BFF” on the locks.  Regardless of what was written on the locks, it was very cool to see.

After I got back to the Manhattan side, my sister and I split up.  I headed back to Staten Island thanks to the ferry and met Joe on the other side.  We made a quick stop pizza by our old apartment (they’re personal sized, and I get the margarita with baked calamari and no cheese… sooo good).  Saturday night was filled with my recuperating from walking miles and miles.

What did you do over the weekend?  Did you explore an area that was new to you?  Maybe did some traveling?  Have any of you gotten to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge before?

Posted in Fun, London | 12 Comments

Looking for Clues

One of the perks of not having cable is getting to watch British TV shows, and let me tell you that I love them.  Downton Abbey, Sherlock, Essex… I love them all (even though I am well aware of how, er, diverse those shows are).  I’d like to say that this started while Joe and I were in England but I can’t lie to you all.  It started long before that.  Joe was watching Sherlock one night and I just kind of rolled my eyes at him.  Wouldn’t you know that I ended up watching the remaining two episodes without him because I needed to know what was going on?  Of course, then I got upset that there were only 3 episodes and I needed to know what happened.  Thankfully, Downton Abbey came into my life and I calmed down a bit… at least until I finished season one…

Traveling to the UK didn’t help matters.  Joe and I watched a whole lot of BBC, the news, tons of Jamie Oliver (which we then of course watched on Netflix when we got home) and some house hunters/flipping show, among others.

I finally got around to watching the Sherlock finale on PBS this week (I am so confused trying to figure out how it all happened!) and have to wait around a year before I get any answers!  Ah!

Anywho… in an attempt to hold me over, I found this – The Sherlock Observation Game.  I highly recommend you give it a go if you:

a) Enjoy Sherlock and can’t wait for the next season, either.
b) You enjoy a good puzzle where you have to spot the differences in two photos.
c) You have some downtime and have already gone through all of your blogs.

Don’t worry – I won’t judge you based on which option you chose.

I played the game and I got Dr. Watson.  Not too shabby, if I do say so myself!

Head over to PBS and play the Sherlock Observation Game… then let me know how you did!  Any other Watsons out there?  Maybe a Sherlock?

Posted in Fun, Honeymoon, London, Scotland | 3 Comments

Traditional English Breakfast

Happy first day of Spring!

This weekend (while I was making cake pops), Joe was making a full English breakfast for us.  It originally started as him planning on making bubble and squeak, but it quickly became bigger and bigger.

On our honeymoon, the last hotel we stayed at in London had an amazing English breakfast.  It was so filling that we were able to run around the city for a long time before we needed to stop for lunch.  The breakfast was so good that we made a point of eating it one last time before we left for the airport.  I am not a breakfast person but this is the one kind of breakfast I would make sure to eat everyday if I had the time.

It wasn’t actually a full English breakfast as we didn’t have all of the parts, but it’s the effort that counts.  Our breakfast consisted of bubble and squeak, toast, baked beans, grilled tomatoes, and tea.  That means we were missing the bacon, eggs, mushrooms, and black pudding (I think that’s it, but please let me know if I’m wrong!).

Even without it being filling, it was SO good.  I wish I didn’t have a 1.5 hour commute both ways because then I could wake up at the same time and make this breakfast every morning.  That would be wonderful, although I’m sure pancakes or waffles and ice cream would sneak in there occasionally.

Have you ever tried to recreate something you’ve eaten on vacation?  Anything you’ve really enjoyed?  A meal you still think about?

Posted in Food, Home, Honeymoon, London, Vegan | 14 Comments

Honeymoon Part 3: London, Again

Going back to London was tough.  Joe and I really enjoyed Edinburgh so it wasn’t easy getting back on that train.  Trust me, I love London (I honestly think it’s my favorite city in the world) but going back meant that we had to go back home in a couple of days.  Talk about a buzz kill.

Maybe my sadness played a part in this, or maybe I just wanted to soak in as much as possible, but I didn’t take as many pictures those last couple of days.  I took pictures, but nowhere near the volume of photos we got on the first leg of our trip.

Regardless, here are some of my favorite photos from the last part of our honeymoon…

Joe and I had afternoon tea at our hotel (The Montague at the Gardens) and it was awesome.  I want to have afternoon tea every day for the rest of my life.  Yes, I want to eat little sandwiches, have too many scones, and then nibble on desserts… all while I drink tea.  It was such a relaxing time and afterwards, I was full but not so stuffed that I needed to lie down.  It was just the right amount of fuel for running around the British Museum.

Scones in the states are usually just hard biscuits.  I like to pretend that this was the first time I ever had a scone because these were just crunchy enough on the outside but the inside was incredibly soft.  I honestly couldn’t eat them fast enough.  My long-term goal is to either find a place in the city that has scones as good as these or find a recipe so I can make them at home (although that can end dangerously).

Before that tray of goodies came out, we were served our tea.  Joe and I each got our own teapot (notice the hourglass so we knew when the tea was finished brewing?) and some rice pudding.  I have never been a fan of rice pudding until that day (the day was 11/11/11 in case anyone is curious) but this somehow managed to be light and not too sweet.  It was exactly the way it should be.

Just scouting out some flats so Joe and I could stay in London forever.  Totally normal.

While we were staying there, our hotel had started prepping for the holidays.  There were tall, red branches all along the fence with lights strung around them (an I idea I would love to steal when Joe and I have our own house).  A bit more traditional, there was also garland going up.  This picture screams “Christmas!” to me.  Maybe Joe and I can send it out as our 2012 Christmas card.

I don’t know what the Bedford Office is but it looked pretty cool, especially with the leaves cascading from the roof.  All of these building felt old (in a charming way) and I couldn’t get enough of it.

Red phone booths!  They exist and I only took two pictures of them the entire trip!  Seriously, this was as touristy as I got.

There aren’t as many of these booths around London as I imagined (or maybe there are but Joe and I were in the wrong areas) but I love the way they look.  The bright color is so perfect… not just so they’re easy to spot but because it’s fun.

I lost my cool at the British Museum.  Not that I’m regularly cool, but I lost my composure a bit when I saw what the museum held.  I thought it was going to show the history of England but instead it had everything.  Things I had studied in my art history classes.  Things I never imagined I would be lucky enough to see in real life.  We immediately found the Rosetta Stone but soon entered the Egyptian art area.  Do you know how fascinated I am by Egyptian art?  Very.  I was running around like a crazy lady looking at everything and snapping photos.  Don’t worry – I made sure not to use a flash.

I believe this was near the Greek art section but I’m not entirely sure.  I was still running calmly walking around the museum trying to take pictures of everything.  Whatever it is, that guy on the left cracks me up.  He looks so sassy.

And so, that was part three of our honeymoon!  After the British Museum, Joe and I found the closest All-Bar-One and I got my last order of fish and chips for dinner.  We went back to the room, packed our bags (even though neither of us wanted to leave), and relaxed.

Joe and I were able to see so many things and learn a lot, too.  It was the perfect trip for the two of us.  Ideally, we’ll be able to go back for our five-year anniversary.  Here’s hoping!

Pst… want to see our photos from the earlier in our honeymoon??  Click here for photos from when we first got to London and here for photos from when we were in Edinburgh!

Posted in Details, Food, Honeymoon, London, Travel | 7 Comments
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