Monday, 17 June 2013

What Does Your House Look Like?

Wherever life takes you, you have to embrace that culture.  You have to make it your HOME for the time you live there.  We were very fortunate to find a lovely house to make our HOME here in England for the past year and a half.  Many people picture us living in an attached, 2 bedroom flat in London with a tiny kitchen.  We actually live in a detached, 4 bedroom house in a neighborhood.  We have a long driveway, which is unusual in England.  We also have a good-sized "garden" (yard).  The rooms are all a decent size, and we have three "loos" (bathrooms).  Here are some long overdue BEFORE and AFTER pictures of our house...

Pulling into our long driveway
Fence to the left is a neighbor's backyard.  Brick wall to the right is two neighbors' backyards.  They like to build the houses very close to each other here.

Downstairs window is the formal dining room which we made a playroom.
The large window upstairs is Dylan's room.
The small window upstairs is Cora's room.

 Our backyard...playing soccer with Grandpa Trost and Ben


We took these doors down as well as the door into the family room.

 Family Room


Downstairs Bathroom 

 Master Bedroom

Master Bathroom.  Small shower to the left


 Dylan's Room

 Amelia's Room

 Cora's Room

 Upstairs Bathroom
(Notice Eric changed the faucet so the water mixes and comes out of one tap.)
I made the curtains out of a shower curtain.

This house is not perfect.  It is not huge, and it does not have a great deal of storage.  We found that we did not really need extra space and more things.  We even hosted 4 adults at one time here, and we took turns sitting at the kitchen table for breakfast.  We always made it work, and it did.  In the end, this house was wonderful to us.  I am always a little sad when we pack up and leave a house because of all the memories made there.  But I look forward to returning to the states and OWNING a future home so we can paint the walls, hang shelves and make it our own.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Laundry, the American Way

It's been a while since I've posted.  My time here in the U.K is coming to end soon, so I am going to try and post a few times this week about some things that are different here in England.  Today's topic is LAUNDRY.  Doing laundry is a chore for anyone.  I never really used to mind it until I moved here. 

First of all, the washing machine is in the kitchen.  Some people might think that is convenient, but I think laundry needs it's own space.  

Our cozy kitchen.  The washing machine is in the left corner.

Secondly, most homes here do not have a tumble dryer.  They hang almost everything to dry.  Sometimes they hang it on racks in front of the fire or racks on the radiators.  When it is above 40 degrees and not raining, they hang it out on the line.  I am not kidding when I say that we see laundry on the line in very cold and windy weather.  We often see neighbors running out to grab it when it starts to rain.  Well, I might be the only one in our town who does not hang clothes on the line.  I use the dryer for almost everything.  We are fortunate to have a dryer, but here's the's in the garage.  No big deal, right?  Even though our garage is connected to the house, there is no door between them.  So I have to go out the front door, unlock the garage, roll the big door up (no garage opener here) and make my way to the dryer amongst bikes, balls and dirtbikes.

My laundry journey...out the front door and roll up the garage door to the dryer

The view from Dylan's window of neighbor's laundry

The view from Amelia's window of neighbor's laundry

Both the washer and dryer hold smaller loads than what I was used to in the U.S.  They also take SOOOO much longer for regular washing and drying cycles.  I think the main reason I dread laundry so much here is that it takes so long.  I start with sorting it upstairs, wash it in the kitchen and then transfer it to the garage.  When I can get back out there after around 90 minutes of drying, I then take it to my room to fold it.  It just seems like laundry here is never-ending!  We did purchase a washer/dryer all-in-one, but let me tell you that it takes at least 3 hours if not longer to wash and dry one load.  It dries using the steam from hot water, and I do not care for the way it makes our clothes smell.  I do hang some things to dry in our one closet upstairs.  It has the hot water heater in it, and I refer to it as the "hot closet".

Clothes drying in our "hot closet"  

The containers of detergent are smaller too.  No SAM's-sized Tide here.  I feel like I am constantly buying more detergent.  The dryers here do not take dryer sheets.  They do not even sell them here.  I tried some Snuggle sheets that we brought from the US, but it went straight to the lint collector.  We use liquid fabric softener in the wash.  It's not bad, but our towels and washcloths have become almost water resistent because of all the fabric softener.  I prefer soft towels though.   

 I look forward to doing laundry the American way when we return...a laundry room with a large washer and dryer side by side and an industrial sized detergent bottle where 3 loads can be washed, dried and folded in the same time I can complete one load here.