Lunch That Turned To Dinner Due To GMT

Well hello!

I’m taking a small break from talking about the renovation as believe it or not there are other things going on in my life (no really). Haha.

I’m currently staying in a serviced apartment and invited my family round for lunch yesterday afternoon to try and restore some normality to my world. Normality? My family? Who was I kidding?

My sister and her three week old baby were the only ones that turned up when they were supposed to. Mum arrived about two hours late (due to a number if public transport dramas) and my cousins were so late we’ve agreed that they will try again next week.

That’s GMT for you. Not Greenwich Mean Time, Ghana Maybe Time (I’m half Ghanaian). Ghana Maybe Time basically means when you invite someone to arrive at 5pm they MIGHT arrive at 5pm…but they’re more likely to arrive at 7pm. To mitigate this, it is common practise to invite guests to arrive at least two full hours prior to the time you actually want them there. This does sometimes backfire and you end up getting lunch guests arriving for breakfast. Yesterday was not one of those days.

Anyway here’s what we ate

Teriyaki salmon


With sweet potato mash and baby spinach


Rice noodles with prawns, courgettes, sweet peppers and sweetcorn


Spicy thyme chicken (cooked for my cousin that doesn’t eat fish…)


Apple Strudel for dessert (I didn’t make this)


House Renovation Chronicles Ep 10 (A Thousand Words)

As promised…pictures of progress to date…

Master Bathroom

Shower tray going in…


Bath in (taps should have been on the wall under the window so you can sit at either end but hey)


Tiling started




Today…mosaic tiles have been removed



Walls have all been painted. Skirting and coving have been done. Spotlights have gone in.

Kitchen spotlights


Kitchen has been decluttered and cleaned so looks like a kitchen again. As you can see the new boiler had gone in on the right


Cloakroom (downstairs toilet) floor tiles in…


Floor tiles grouted


Vanity unit in and wall tiles laid



Loft room…greeny bluey wall paint


Master bedroom grey wall paint


Office baby blue wall paint


Wood floor down in the dressing room. White wall paint (as the walls will pretty much be covered in with wardrobes)


House Renovation Chronicles Ep 9 (The Last 6 Weeks)

Hello all,

You’ll be pleased to learn that I am indeed still alive. It’s been a painful, very painful process of trying to get through this renovation and still lead a normal life. I’m just about coping to do both with amazing support from friends and family.

This episode is going to be a brief summary of what’s been going on with the house and my life. Do let me know if you want some more detail on any of the points.

1. The house isn’t done (big surprise)

It was supposed to be done on 18th October, or at least done enough so we could move into one bedroom and have one functioning bathroom. Why 18th October? That was the date we had to move out of the apartment we were renting so the new tenants could move in. Now I was fully aware that we probably wouldn’t hit that date and booked a serviced apartment near work for a few days but by that weekend the builder told me it would be another 2-3 weeks “or so”. It’s the “or so” that is un-nerving right? Right!

2. “We” is now “Me”

So “we” are officially on a 6 week break but I have no idea if there will be a “we” ever again. The process of buying a house is partly to blame…it definitely brought to light some issues that I wasn’t aware of but hey that’s life…that is my complicated life.

3. I think the builders preferred the “We” to “Me”

This has by far been the most challenging aspect of it all. Bad enough I’m having relationship issues, whilst trying to renovate a house and having to deal with being a little bit homeless the builders have become increasingly difficult to deal with. It’s like when they found out they decided to rip up the specification of works and take a holiday. Everything from refusing to provide me with updated payment schedules to messaging him in response to a message I’ve sent, to just flat out rudeness. I’ve lost count of the number of times I had items delivered to the house and there was no one around.

4. I’m Back to Daily Inspections

Against everyone’s advice I’m back to this again and it’s the only way I would have found that next to nothing was done for 2 weeks. It’s maddening but comforting s at the same time.

5. I Think I Can See The End

Though it has been a drama the house is just starting to look like a house again. I can see that when it is eventually done it will be just what I wanted. Hopefully like a mother that has just given birth I will forget all the pain and be overwhelmed with joyful emotion. Yeah right!

The next post will be picture heavy with updates in progress.

House Renovation Chronicles Ep 8 (Let There be Love)

…it’s 8.30pm (UK time), we came to check on the house and low and behold the builders are still here.

…they’re putting the floors joists in so the floor can be closed off with floorboards tomorrow. Hurrah!!

The pipe work and electrical cables are all done so just need to stuff insulation in there’ll be a floor! An actual floor! Don’t get me wrong there still a HUGE list of tasks left to do but I’m focusing on the positives for now.



House Renovation Chronicles Ep 7 (Started From the Bottom Now We’re Here)

Progress people progress. Finally!

Since I posted last last we found that when it rains water comes up through the foundations of the house (a lot of water). That meant that the bricks holding up the house were rotting away and had to be replaced. We also found that the house is sitting on clay (great for absorbing water) and the concrete sitting on top of that clay was only about an inch thick. What was I saying before about there not being anything else left to take up? I’ll know better for next time.

Oh also the woodworm found its way into the first part of the staircase so that has to be rebuilt also.

Pretty much all of the ground floor is being re-laid will a nice thick layer of concrete, damp proof course (essentially a huge plastic sheet) and engineered bricks (which are less likely to absorb water).

See “progress” pics below.










House Renovation Chronicles Ep 6 (Nothing Left)

This process is starting to get tricky. With each stage of discovery, another problem gets uncovered.

Oooh those tiles are cracked and the floor isn’t straight lets take up the tiles. Ooooh now we’ve taken up those tiles we can see the floorboards have woodworm, lets take up the floorboards.
Ooooh now we’ve taken up the floorboards we can see the joists are rotten, lets take out the joists.
Ooooh now we’ve taken out the joists we can see the supporting brick columns are damp and there are puddles of water sitting on top of the foundation.
There’s nothing left to take up is there?

We’ll find out this morning whether the supporting brick columns can be saved in any way and I’ve also asked about installing under floor heating.

Here are the stages of stripping back the floor in the two receptions rooms.







House Renovation Chronicles Ep 5 (A New Outlook…Kinda)

I haven’t been to visit the house in 4 whole days. Shock horror! I’m taking a new approach to dealing with the renovation in an attempt to better manage my stress. I call this new approach The Don’t Visit The House Multiple Times A Day And Obsesses Over Every Minute Detail. Catchy, I know…I’m very proud. So is this new approach working?

Nope! Well it might be but work has been pretty manic so the time I would normally spend visiting and obsessing (i.e. every spare waking and sleeping moment), has been spent on work. In essence the stress hasn’t disappeared its just transferred. My boyfriend has been so good at keeping me updated in just the right doses and taking lots of pictures although not the angles I would have taken but hey. He works in IT so his pictures mainly focus on wiring and (the holes for) speakers, lighting, network cables and TV points. See what I did there? I said it’s because he works in IT, not because he’s a man….and now I’ve said it anyway so that cancels out my attempt not to make sexist remarks. Moving on…

Look what they found under the floor of the first reception room!


A friggin car battery! How on earth? Why on earth?

They’ve filled in the former fireplace (they had to take it out and redo it because it was filled with rubble which was causing damp).They were a little over-zealous with the removal phase of that task as they went right through to the neighbour’s house and we could see the back of their wallpaper.


See? Pictures of holes for spotlights and speakers in the kitchen ceiling.


New wiring laid in the floor.


Oh and before I forget, subsequent to further investigation it wasn’t just the area of floor the builder fell through that was affected by woodworm, it’s 80% of the entire ground floor. Yay for woodworms they’re pretty efficient little buggers aren’t they?

House Renovation Chronicles Ep 4 (Working Document)

So you know in the last post I showed you a picture of the ceiling in the master bathroom and had “a bit worrying” in brackets? Well…EEEEEKKK! I’ll explain the girly screech in a moment but let’s go back in time a couple of minutes to the beginning of the conversation that led to the aforementioned “eeeek”.

I got a call from my other half yesterday afternoon and he told me, that the Project Manager told him, that one of his workers had fallen through the fall. Erm…What?!?

The poor guy was ok (phew) but him falling through the floor was inevitably a sign of (yet another) problem with my darling house. To clarify, he fell through the floor of the front reception room (ground floor) so fell into the sub floor cavity which is just a couple of feet deep….nevertheless…Phew! Turns out the floorboards are good and rotten as they’ve been feasted on by wood worm. Geez! It’s ok it’s ok only PART of the floor in the front reception is bad…I’m guessing that would be the part that the guy fell through?

The Project Manager has agreed to fix the floor at no extra cost and treat all the surrounding floor for good measure. Cool. Doesn’t seem quite that bad…but wait there’s more…

Then my other half goes on to tell me, that the Project Manager told him that he kind of removed the floor in the kitchen. Erm…What?!?! That wasn’t in the spec! The kitchen was only renovated a couple of years ago. The kitchen is fine it was not to be touched. At this point I’m going into “Semi Diva Strop” at my desk much to the amusement of my colleagues… Then he tells me the reason he took the executive decision to remove the floor was because he decided the tiles in the kitchen wouldn’t look right with the wooden floor we planned to put down in the two reception rooms? Say WHAT?!? Needless to say I went into “Full Diva Strop” mode left the office and drove straight to the house in order to unleash my wrath! On arrival the project manager took one look at my face and knew exactly why I was there.

After a lot of pointing and hands on hips and shouting, the project manager finally managed to explain that the floors weren’t level and thus where the kitchen / diner floor meets the back reception room floor there would be a step on one side but it would be flush on the other side. Ok so fine BUT, I explained you can’t just go ripping things out at will, especially if you’re not going to fully explain why. We won’t have to pay for the floor to be laid but we will have to pay for the materials! We’ll see about that but moving on…

The joists in the ceiling are soaking wet (and have been for a while) and will likely collapse without warning at any moment. Good times. I thought the project manager was being a bit dramatic until he took me up to inspect them and they do indeed look and feel very very weak. This was not in the plan!!!! I know the plan is a bit of a working document but this was out of scope! More expense, more time, more hassle. I was told the first two weeks are the worst and all the gruesome discoveries happen in that time but its only day four!

My new hole in the floor…ah well we could always stick a jacuzzi in there…