Monday, March 28, 2011

21 sleeps until moving day!

Less than a month until moving day and we're so excited to move into our new place and to start nesting and making it feel like home! After 10 months of living with family and what will be a month and a half of living on a friend's living room floor we are soooooo looking forward to having a space to call our own again! We're so grateful for having the family who is willing to put a roof over our heads and friends that don't mind having us as room- mates and we promise to pay it forward to the next person that needs our help.

While I'm twidling my thumbs waiting for my residency paperwork to be sorted out and approved so that I can start to look for work I've been dreaming up how I want to decorate our new place. Since we're living on one income and working with a tight budget (thank you London for being a redonkulously expensive city), we're going to be getting crafty and creative! 

We're lucky to be inheriting a ton of stuff from some our friends/current room-mates who are moving back to Canada in a few months including a ton of kitchen stuff and a mattress so we have a good start. Hooray for not having to sleep on a blow-up mattress! We also plan to bring back a bunch of stuff when we visit Canada in May - I can't wait too be reunited with our zester, my cake decorating tools and any other of our kitchen gadgets that I can stuff in my suitcase.

I think we've settled on 'DIY repurposed vintage' as our decor theme. That's my fancy designer speak for free/and or cheap second hand things. Between IKEA, Freecycle, Craigslist and Portobello Market we're hoping to find everything to furnish our home sweet home.
I've been searching the interwebs looking for pictures to create an 'Inspiration Board' and to make sure James and I are on the same page decorating-wise. Thanks to the Martha Stewart website for all the pretty pictures, great ideas and step by step instructions on how to make them happen! 

I plan on unleashing my inner DIY diva on this flat! I'll be posting pictures as we go sharing the trash that we turn into treasure and how my DIY attempts turn out. Here are some of the pictures I've collected for inspiration so far.

If anyone has any recommendations for good home decorating websites/blogs that inspire you, please share!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

London as a Local - Dalston Farm Shop

As we get to know this city we now call home, I thought I'd start a feature on the blog to highlight all of the interesting places and things we come across that you wouldn't necessarily see as part of 'Movie London' and the typical tourist attractions. It might be a great restaurant, a cool local business, a lovely outdoor space, a fun festival or market or anything that happens to catch our attention. I hope that if you ever find yourself in London Town that you'll check some of them out.

For the first installment of London As A Local I'd like to introduce you to the Dalston Farm Shop. Yes you read that right - it's a farm in a shop!

James and Katee and I came across this little gem a few week-ends ago and I just had to share. We popped into the shop while we were wandering through Dalston and got a tour of the space from one of the people working there.

The people behind the project have taken a run down shop space and have transformed it into an urban farm. They are raising and using the water from the fish tanks to fertilize the soil that they are using to grow a variety of herbs and lettuces hydroponically. 
The tilapia fish tanks in the front of the shop

Some of the herbs being grown
Fish aren't the only animals in the shop though - they are raising chickens on the roof who are laying eggs daily that are selling and soon there will be pigs in the back garden. You'll be able to buy 'shares' in the pigs which will eventually yield you some tasty tasty bacon!
The chicken coop on the roof
The Farm Shop a great way to repurpose an abandoned space, bring the community together and teach people about urban farming. It's showing people that you don't need acres of space to exercise your green thumb.

You can check out their website here

Thursday, March 10, 2011

An Ode to Portobello Road

In honor of our soon to be neighbourhood, I thought I'd post a clip from one of my favorite childhood movies, Bedknobs and Broomsticks. Portobello Road - where you can buy anything your heart desires and have multicultural dance-offs in the streets!

Enjoy this vintage oldie but goodie!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

London- Week 1

Life went from 0 to 60 in the matter of a week!

Two weeks ago we were sitting in Manchester wondering where we were going to end up, where James was going to get a job, if he was going to get a job in Europe or if we were going to be heading home to Toronto with the last four months havin been one verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry long vacation.

Thankfully, James was offered a job and we were able to make the move to London. We couldn't be happier! James got through his first week of work last week and is loving it. The office, the projects he's working on and the people he's working with are all great.

While he's been at work it's been my job to find a place for us to live...a full time job in and of itself!!! Flat hunting in London is NOTHING like trying to find an apartment in Toronto or Kingston. Most apartments are rented through letting agents, who are similar to real estate agents in Canada. Apartments, or flats here, are small, expensive and usually not very well maintained.

The search to find our new home sweet home was feeling like a pretty fruitless and frustrating exercise but I finally lucked out and found us a a great place in a fantastic area!

As of April 18th, James and I will will be calling a lovely studio flat in Notting Hill home! It's in the lower level of a Victorian house and is a 20 minute walk to James' work and a 5 minute walk to Portabello Road and Portabello Market. Hotel Dixier will be open for business on April 19th and we can't wait for guests!

Since we don't move in until the middle of April so we're crashing with friends until the big move and planning on how to make the flat feel like home.  There are lots of antique and vintage furniture stores near our new place and we're excited to go hunting for one of a kind finds. And when I say we, I really mean me...James can already see me mentally furnishing our new place and he's a little frightened!

Now that the apartment issue is settled we have to focus on getting me my leave to remain so that I can start looking for work. In the meantime, I plan to play the part of a tourist and do some sight seeing during the day while James is at work.