Renovations, renovations….. PART 2

So it’s been almost 6 months since the first post about renovating our new apartment.

Oh man, has it been one hell of a ride. I can swear my intake of comfort food level has shot up through the roof, and last I checked in the mirror, my white hairs have doubled.

And yeah, our house project which should’ve taken about 2 months (tops, they said) is going into its 4th month and there’s no finish line in sight yet.

Let me just give you a quick summary of unfortunate events which have occurred thus far:

– Heart attack numero uno: Kitchen guy messes with actual kitchen dimensions and mistake was only discovered merely a few days prior to confirmation and manufacturing of kitchen cabinets. Can you imagine the faces when the extra 80 cm of product would’ve arrived with nowhere to be installed. Oh, and by the way, we just found out our kitchen wood is stuck at the Port Authority. So not sure when we will actually have the kitchen done. Perhaps another 3 weeks?

-Heart attacks numero dos and tres: Messing up the tile placements.. TWICE! After repeating myself over and over where each tile should go and for which bathroom, the tiler managed to use one bathroom’s tile for another. and did it again in another bathroom after having fixed the first mess up. We kind of laughed about it and even joked about the painter making the same mistake.

-Heart attack numero quatro: yeah. Guess what?!?! the Painter painted the wrong room, the wrong walls, with the wrong color (not even on our list of colors). WHATTTT?? If we had not realized from the beginning he would’ve continued with the same color on all 11 walls in the bedrooms. (P.S: we did not laugh about it until it was fixed)

I wonder what the next mess up will be. Will it be during the laminated floor installation? door painting? new windows installation? Let’s wait and see……..

When Pumpkin meets Penne

IMG_0671When autumn set in, I decided to go wild on pumpkin. So I went and bought the biggest butternut squash I could find at the market, and started chopping to prepare a recipe I found online: cubed roasted pumpkin, goat cheese, mushroom, tomatoes and some greens. One sliced finger later, the salad was ready. My friends and I gathered around the table, my face gleaming with pride, as it was my first time to work with pumpkin. And then after the first bite…the horror! The salad was such a disappointment! No one had seconds and the salad was black listed. The next day, I had some left over pumpkin cubes and goat cheese. A box of penne pasta, parmesan and cooking cream were found as well! I thought, why not? Add them all together, pop them into the oven and voila! The best, tastiest, most delicious winter comfort food one could ever have! And here is the recipe, which has now become a staple in our house:

1- Cut up enough butternut squash cubes to fit your pan

2- Drizzle some olive oil

3- Salt and Pepper to taste

4- Add cooked penne on top

5- Mix in some goat cheese (or Philadelphia cheese, if you prefer)

6- Pour the cooking cream over the entire mix

7- Put the pan in the oven at about 300 degrees until the pumpkin cubes are tender

8- Take out of the oven, and sprinkle some parmesan on top and let it melt.

9 – Eat until you can’t eat no more!

Renovation, renovation….

A few weeks ago, hubby and I decided to buy a 30 year old apartment and give it a thorough renovation.

A recent visit to my hubby’s uncle’s newly renovated home, as well as a friend’s blog post on how she changed their kitchen to their advantage, opened our eyes to something we hadn’t thought of previously: a renovation is not just about better floors or a different wall color! you can also totally change the layout of an apartment to suit your demands! what a discovery!! An additional bathroom here, close an unwanted door there, open another one elsewhere, change the dimensions of your kitchen, create 2 rooms out of 1. The options are endless! Suddenly, the apartment seemed much more appealing, and we became excited at the idea of having a new project on our hands.

After the epiphany, we decided to have a go at changing the layout of the house, without an architect’s help. We also hired our close friend to be the contractor. Some good ideas (and not so good ones) were passed around until we finally settled on a design that would give the apartment a more spacious feel.

So for the past week, genius ideas (and not so genius ones) were passed around, until we finally settled on a design that will allow us to have an additional bathroom, and a more spacious feel to the house as a whole.

We thought we’d have a look at kitchen designs and start working on ordering that part of the house, since it will take the longest to deliver. Then we thought we should find the best way connect the bathroom to our bedroom ( which seemed impossible since there was a column right where the door should’ve been positioned), and build another guest toilet elsewhere.

Two weeks later, I can definitely say we have learned one thing: Listen to everyone and anyone who has an opinion/advice  and wants to share it! This goes against what people usually say. But one thing is for sure: when you keep an open mind and take into consideration other points of view, you will definitely end up with a better plan, albeit being utterly confused from all the incoming information. But the best part, is when you are finally able to find the design that incorporates the information and fits your needs or potential needs in the future.

In the end we got to the following conclusion, but had no idea how to implement it, since some ideas were not compatible with each other:

1- don’t place the fridge in a way that it would stand out

2- better buy a french door fridge

3- You may end up needing space for a live in maid ( no matter how far in time that may be)

4- add a bathroom to your bedroom

That’s when the contractor and the internet came  in handy. Our contractor managed to find another access to the bathroom : let’s create a passage to the bathroom by taking a small corner from the kitchen. From there, the light bulb above our heads suddenly lit up!  The ” built in” fridge concept was finally possible, which in turn will allow us to have a future live-in maid’s room (a seating area for now). I’m sure you’re confused by now, and I can safely say so are we! but stay tuned! I will post the final look once it’s done :)

Our First Home

My hubby and I have been married for almost 10 months now. And after less than a year of marriage, we are moving to a new home again, to one that we will truly call our own. We are excited of course, since we will be giving it a thorough renovation, and we are always up to a new adventure and a new challenge.

But on the other hand, this means that we will be leaving our very first home.

I remember when the wedding date was approaching, and we had nowhere to stay yet, we were faced with the question ” where will we live?”. After many considerations, my grand mother was kind enough to let us stay in her old apartment in the heart of Beirut, specifically in Barbour, until we found another appartment.

We were excited, scared, worried. We had never lived in Beirut. We both lived in quiet mountain neighbourhoods and hardly ever went down to Beirut, except for work or the random outing in Hamra, Monot, or Achrafieh. The idea of living in the city, with the traffic, the pollution, in an area where buildings were practically glued to one another ( I swear, I can watch tv with the neighbours in the building across from my balcony, sound, detailed image and all included).

I cried many times at the thought of leaving the only home I ever lived in since I moved to Lebanon. I’ve moved so many times before ( from Abu Dhabi, to Canada, and back. Then to Cairo, and finally to Lebanon). I guess this has the effect of getting you used to “leaving” but also pretty sensitive every time it’s time to pack up all your things and leave everything you have gotten used to behind.

And then that day finally came, we returned from our honey moon at 4 in the morning, and went straight to our new home, in a neighbourhood that we are not familiar with and looked nothing like what we’ve always known.

We barely slept that night. It was so damn hot! It turned out our duvet was not very summer friendly, the A/C was hardly working (PS: I haven’t had an A/C in my life for the past 4 years. Thank you mountain weather). and to top it all, as we were trying to move the bed, it actually fell apart! I had a mini break down and told my husband that each of us should go to his parents home, and that we would reconvene the next day. Of course, that did not happen, the bed was put back together, the sheets were removed and a somewhat goodnight’s sleep went by without further incident.

The first week after that was a series of ” I want to go home”, “it’s too hot in this place”, ” it’s too dark in this place”, ” this was a bad idea”, ” I hate this place, nothing is working properly!”. But after some good DIY fixing of all faulty things in our house, things went a lot better from there.

And then, a few lighting fixtures, a hoover, a few rugs, and some other decorative items later, this place became our favourite place in the world.  It became our sanctuary. We loved having people over, and hosting game nights.

I went back to my old house about 4 times since, only! Who would’ve thought! And although I cried a lot at the prospect of leaving my beloved bed and comfort zone behind, I hardly even miss it now.

Here we are again, 10 months later, going through that very same cycle again. We have now fallen in love with Beirut, with its small streets, and old homes waiting to be discovered. Our neighbours have become our friends. And now, every time I remember that I am leaving our first home, I cannot help but feel my heart breaking a little, with some tears being shed every now and then. Will I forget about it as well? Never think of returning? Forget Beirut, its small streets and lovely people? The smell of hot, fresh spinach pies from the bakery near by, or the 4 o’clock coffee with my favourite neighbour? I honestly don’t know.. but for now.. absolutely not. After all, right now, it is my favourite place in the world.

Home made cinnamon chocolate rolls!

Waiting to be baked!

Waiting to be baked!


Took me hours to finish this. My first time to make dough. It’s pretty close to making a ” buche de noel”, with the whole chocolate filling and rolling it into a log. I think i’ll be making some changes next time to make it fluffier inside and perhaps ill substitute the Nutella with something else!

You can get the recipe from I love the website! check out her amazing Marshmallow recipe!

Update: Day after chocolate cinnamon rolls taste much better !! Nutella taste is less obvious and the cinnamon really kicks in! yummmyyyy