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Travel: Beer Tourists

One of our favourite activities on a trip is seeking out awesome beers. It started on our trip to Canada a few years ago when we started hunting out new and unusual beers. Then we found ourselves in Waterbury, VT, and at Borefts beer Festival last year, and has spiralled ever since! 

This years holiday might have marked a turning point as not only were we seeking out beers to drink whilst we were away, but we were also looking for cans to bring home with us!

Each of our stops brought us a different brewery to visit and some new beers to try! Here are just a few of our favourite stops along the way. 

Luckily for me, Jim recorded (almost) everything we drank on his UnTappd profile, so I don't have to remember what we sampled. It's not a perfect list as there are still a few that he hasn't included but it's pretty conclusive!
We didn't drink all that much in Washington. Jim had a bit of a bug when we arrived and I was fully in the throws of post radiotherapy fatigue, but we had a couple of stops in the city we had to visit, and we found a fab little beer shop round the corner from our Airbnb too! First on our visit list was DC Brau, we went on our way out of town to the music festival we wnt to, so we couldn't drink in, as Jim had an hours drive ahead of him, but we did pick up a 6 pack of their Amageddan to try. 

Also on our 'must visit' list was The Partisan. Jim came across the bar through Cloudwaters' Instagram and after seeing their beers, it was immediately added to our list! My favourite that I sampled that day was a cherry number. But I am a sucker for anything cherry so that's not surprising really! Jim was raving about a stout, but it's a stout - they're not for me! The food didn't disappoint either. And the bar staff were really lovely too!
Mid way through our trip to Philly, we got the train out of town to visit Tired Hands Brewing in Ardmore. There are two locations in the town so we split the trip between the two and sampled as much as we could.For a tiny little town, this brewery has two really busy bars and a shopWe had some really tasty IPA's and an amazing cheese board with a honey dip on it. Yes to cheese and honey! 

Unfortunately we were there on a Thursday and they sell their cans on a Wednesday and a Saturday so we couldn't add any to our take home stash, but grabbed ourselves a growler to take on the road with us, and not only because they do a growler swap, meaning we could exchange one of the ones we'd got in Washington for one of their super cool ones! 
In Amish country we stumbled across an awesome little place on our way to our Motel called St Boniface in Ephrata. This place was rather cheap so we grabbed a couple of 6 packs of the 3lb IPA and Libation DIPA, which were really good! We brought some of these back to the UK with us and they were just as good at home as on the trip!
Our next stop was Long Island - on the first day we headed to the Little Creek Oyster House for lunch and had some of the Greenport Summer Ale, which lead us to drift back to the car past their brewery too for a 6 pack. It was upstairs in the cutest little building and had some fab pump handles! 

We also made sure to hit up the Montauk Brewing Co. mostly because I wanted some of their Watermelon beer. It was raining pretty badly the day we were in Montauk, so we didn't hang around there too long, but we did grab some of the watermelon ale to bring home with us!  
In New York Jim was adamant he wanted to go to Other Half in Brooklyn, which was kind of our excuse to make sure we got to Brooklyn. They brewery was selling cans in 4 packs so he grabbed 12 cans and we popped into the tap room, which was super cool - and busy! Rammed in fact! 
But lets be honest - it wasn't all craft beer, there were cocktails and some gins and 100% we had to seek out some beeritas. (We may have drunk a few too many of these in Whistler) We went to Bubba Gump for them because my brother told me he'd got some points that needed spending but we didn't actually find any points on the card! Hmmmmmmmm.
And what did we do with all that beer we brought back? Well, because of our awesome flight choices (first out and business back) we had loads of luggage allowance which meant we'd taken an extra hold all and a box we could construct with beer can dividers in it to bring them home. It worked pretty well over all - one can got punctured in the air, and a few got dinged up a bit, but all in all it was a pretty successful beer run - because I got to sip watermelon beer in my garden all summer so you can't say much better than that! 

So, here's our brewery tour from our last trip to America. Have you got any places you have to visit on holidays? Or do you just think we're crazy? 

House Update: The Hallway Renovation

Our big project for the last well, forever, has been the renovation of the hallway. It's had to be done in stages due to time and budgets but we're finally there! And I just love how different it looks and how much happier I am when I come into the house. I never thought I would love a hallway, but I do!

So, let me take you back 3 years and show you the hallway as it was when we bought the house - It was yellow and orange woodchip on the walls, and we had mis-matching carpets up the stairs (4 different mis- matching carpets in all!) and white lino tiles on the floor downstairs. It was a ‘fixer-upper’ as they would say on a makeover show!

Obviously it couldn’t stay like this but it was a lot of work to even get it to a stage where we could start decorating it. It didn't stop me dreaming of renovating it though!

First off we had the woodchip to strip. We've got 3 floors of house and therefore 3 floors of woodchipped hallway to contend with. Luckily for us Jim's mum and her husband came over and did that for us. They did an awesome job – I have nothing but admiration for them in the time it took to get rid of all that woodchip.

But, like most rooms in this house, once the wallpaper had gone it unearthed some very uneven and patchy plastering. Which meant that we had to have the whole space plastered. Again, 3 floors of plastering required, which meant we had a little saving up to do to get it done. So for a while we lived with a bare plaster kind of look - if my hair salon can pull it off, our house can too - right? Plus, shortly after we had the hall plastered, we got my diagnosis and it threw us off our decorating game!

But now it meant we could start to make headway with making some changes. We'd decided that we wanted to add a doorway to the hallway (our neighbours have one and we liked it) to create a porch area for our shoes and coats, and to make the house warmer, but mostly to stop the dogs eating the post. Which they love to do!

I think this might be one of the best things we have done to the house. It's created an 'airlock' to stop the dogs going quite as crazy at the door, and it hides the mess of shoes and things from our sight when we're in the house.

Now, on to the painting. In my head the best plan would have been hiring someone to do the painting but, budgets and all that meant that we had to do all ourselves. I'd had the paint colour for the lower walls sorted for a long time. I'd fallen in love with a shade called 'Anchors Aweigh'. It would have a little nautical theme to it. Of course! I was less worried about the colour for the rest of the walls, I just knew I wanted a slight off white and I basically picked the colour because I liked the name - 'Soft Wool'. The best way to pick a paint colour, right? As the downstairs walls were going to be two tone, I drew a line at 90cm’s and we painted beneath the line with Anchor Aweigh and above it, with Soft Wool. The walls upstairs, on both floors are Soft wool too!

I was lucky in that I'd been sent a couple of Valspar vouchers for their premium paint, as I couldn't attend an event they were holding. Whilst we’ve used Valspar before, I've never bought the Premium paint but I can honestly say it was a godsend. It meant no priming of the plaster and with all these walls to do, which was something that I was well up for.

I'm going to be straight up here - I was sent vouchers for 5ltrs of paint and we ended up using 15ltrs of paint, so I'm not being biased in this! I spent a small fortune on more paint and since doing these walls we've bought Premium for our dining room and plan to buy it for the bedroom we’re about to start on too!

We decided to paint the new porch area fully in ‘Anchors Aweigh’ as we thought the slightly darker colour would help disguise an mud that the dogs might bring in, and I think it was a brilliant decision for us, because I just love the colour, and it really makes the white shoe and coat racks pop.
Once we’d got the walls fully painted,  I got my dad over to put a dado rail up - it felt like the sort of thing a dad ought to do, and he was good at it! By this time chemo had started so I made sure he came to do it on a steroid day so I had the energy to help.....

So, we had walls painted, dado rails up, art on the walls (because I’m impatient sometimes) – so it was time to turn our attention to the flooring. 

I’ve wanted a striped carpet, herringbone floor combo for the longest time – I blame Pinterest, but but but, after falling in love with both items, I thought it'd all be too expensive - until my mum reminded me she was buying us the hall carpet as her (very belated) housewarming gift, which meant it was becoming more of a reality. We have a fab flooring shop near our house, Mintons, all our flooring so far has been from them, and I suspect the rest of the house will be too! We waited a good few months for the guy to come fit our floor, but it was totally worth it!

We've got the stripes running all the way up to the 3rd floor, and I just love the look of it. But the parquet flooring went down last week and it’s completely stolen my heart. Now, I have to say, it’s not real parquet, it’s a vinyl tile. Because, are you mad? We can’t afford real parquet – but it looks like the real deal thing and that’s the most important thing to me.

We still have a few things to do to fully complete to space – like painting the porch door (I just can’t decide what colour to do it) and switching out the paper lamp shades (the fittings I saw were £150 each and we have 7 fixtures, and I haven’t found anything else I like yet!) 

It might have taken us a while, but I’m 100% in love with what we have created. I just love how different the house feels when you walk into it. I can even overlook the fact that Jim dumps junk on the console table because I like it so much! 
What do you think? Have we made the right decision? Would you have kept the yellow woodchip? (if the answer to this is yes, you might need some help!)


Valspar Premium 'Soft Wool' upstairs and on the upper walls
Valspar Premium 'Anchors Aweigh' on the lower section of the walls downstais
Camaro Cambridge Parquet  wood flooring. Fitted by Mintons.
Carpets from Mintons 
Hallway Table - 123Furniture
Mirror - Mirror Mad
Hall lamp - Shopped from the house
Artwork from a variety of places - Mountain pics taken by me on holidays in the mountains , gig posters from concerts we've been to, fish print from Howkapow, Sheffielfd Map was a gift from Jim.
Console Table with handles from Antropologie
Blue and grey basket - Sainsburys Home
Wine Picnic Basket - Nether Edge Farmers Market
Skateboard - Lives and Levels
Scarf basket - Dunelm
Mountains hoop - Snowbird Artworks
Trones shoe storage boxes - Ikea
Sticks Coat Hooks - Umbra
Home Etc