When February kicked off, it brought the last few days of my mom’s short visit to London. Most of February was wet and dreary in London, with one or two blue days and a few blooming camellias poking through the iron bars of fences in Chelsea. It was my two-year anniversary with Jorge. We had Danny and Lucy over for dinner in our tiny flat. And for the last week, we headed overseas to Boston where we spent a solid weekend exploring the historical city. I stayed for the week to work before flying up to Buffalo, New York for a few days in March.
Here’s a look back at February through Instagram in 15 images:
1. Chinatown on Chinese New Year. February kicks off with Chinese New Year, so we took a walk through London’s Chinatown on a rainy evening. The colours were vibrant in the red hanging lanterns, the lit shop fronts where roasted ducks and creative cakes are on display and the reflections in the wet streets. The main celebrations were the next day so there was a buzz of anticipation in the air.
2. The Elk in the Woods, Islington. During my mom’s visit to London, we headed east to Islington for a wedding dress appointment and a stop for lunch at one of my favourite quirky food joints, The Elk in the Woods. They serve up simple yet delicious soup (perfect for a rainy Winter day) with a side of sourdough bread. Love the wallpaper and attention to detail (elk skulls, a paper roll on which the daily specials are written, scruffy wood tabletops).
3. Emergency sweets. I’ve always had a pretty strong sweet tooth, so I was amused by this display on the wall of The Conran Shop. It’s an inspiring place to get lost for an hour or so, looking through shelves of photography and fashion books, walking around dining room table set ups with designer furniture and cutlery and playing with the knickknacks and old-fashioned games in the basement.
4. Le Quecumbar, London. On our second date, Jorge took me to a restaurant called Le Quecumbar, tucked away in the backstreets of Battersea. It has a 1920s vibe with live jazz and gypsy swing music played from a tiny stage every night and plenty of character and history in the interior design. We went back for our two year anniversary in February.
5. A thoughtful gift. A typical gift for a dinner host might be a bottle of wine, so Lucy and Danny’s was a nice surprise. Lucy baked rock buns for us, packed them into a shiny tin with a bow and wrote out a lovely label. Her creativity was very much appreciated and it even inspired a blog post mid-way through the month on thoughtfulness.
6. Cheerful Spring flowers. When the hyacinths come out, that seems to mean that the glorious days of Spring will be on the way before too long. These purple blossoms brightened up our kitchen counter for a week or so, but the best part about them is the smell. Unfortunately, that is not instagrammable – maybe one day…!
7. Essentials for a Sunday afternoon. Sometimes, the best weekends are the lazy ones when not much of anything really happens, when there are no plans and no obligations. It starts with a breakfast tea from Paul, a lazy walk, a light lunch and an afternoon of paging through the stacks travel magazines and design books I have to catch up on – one being the London Style Guide that my mom bought me during her trip.
8. Natural History Museum. I took this photo on the warmest (in a Winter way), sunniest, clearest day of the year so far. The skies were a vibrant blue and I had a whole afternoon ahead to enjoy. I wandered around the outside of the Natural History Museum in South Kensington, checking out the detail in the architectural design, which I wrote about in an earlier post.
9. Now boarding. Heading to the States, we were shuttled planeside for boarding. It was just starting to rain. I took this photo of the side of the plane just before we walked up the steps. Planes have always fascinated me – the way they are built, how they work, etc – and it’s impressive to be outside this close to one so huge!
10. Some old-school “wisdom”. We stumbled upon these two books in a small independent shop in Beacon Hill area. They’re full of little snippets of “wisdom” from almost 100 years ago. An example: “Don’t increase the work of the house by leaving all your things lying around in different places. If you are not tidy by nature, at least be thoughtful.” We’ve had fun reading them to each other.
11. Boston Public Gardens. Just across from our hotel in Boston was the public gardens – snow-covered, with tree-lined paths and a bridge across the pond in the middle. Plenty of people were out walking on the ice without a second thought. Loved this sweeping willow tree catching the sun in the depths of Winter.
12. Colour in Boston Harbour. Boston is definitely an interesting city – historically and architecturally – but it’s not very colourful, at least not this time of year. I was thrilled to stumble on this scene at the edge of the harbour which was a nice contrast to the white snow and the brick and concrete buildings that dominated the cityscape.
13. Architecture in Boston Harbour. Something I really enjoyed about Boston was the buildings – from the old Beacon Hill homes to the high rise office buildings along the harbour. They brought an interesting mix of shapes, lines and shadows. It was nice to be able to cross the bridge, step back and take it all in from the other side.
14. A lobster. It had been a while since I had last eaten lobster (a food I love) so I was determined to enjoy one while we were in New England. On our third night in the city, we sought out a seafood joint, donned our special lobster bibs and set to work cracking the shell and pulling out delicious bites with our tiny forks.
15. Texture. Some of my favourite images are simple textures or patterns with no real focal point. I even have a Pinterest board dedicated to textures and patterns – mostly those found in real world situations as opposed to graphic design. These were stones nearby a Holocaust memorial that Jorge and I walked through in Boston on our way to the harbour.
Find me on Instagram @LittleObservationist for more.