It’s been a strange month for me. The first week I was in North Tonawanda, New York, for a whirlwind family visit on the tail end of my work week in Boston. When I returned to London, I was whisked off for emergency eye surgery for a retinal detachment the next day. Not fun. I spent the following three weeks confined to the house unable to do much besides rest and recover. It was the last weekend before I was let out of the house, so I made the best of it with some London market adventures. Here are a few instagram shots from throughout the month of March.
1. Hawaiian Mochi Ice Cream. This is one of my favourite desserts. I first had mochi in a Japanese restaurant in Barcelona and then a sushi restaurant in New York City. My mom found these in Premier – a food shop near home, and they are absolutely delicious. Mochi is made of a rice paste and that’s wrapped around balls of ice cream. These were mango and pistachio flavours on a colourful napkin.
2. Shovelling snow. Funny enough, I miss shovelling. Living in London for the last seven years there has never been a need for it. I always love going back home to New York in the winter when it snows and I’m pretty sure no one minds when I offer to take on driveway / sidewalk clearing duties. This was a small snow before the big blizzard a few weeks ago.
3. An old spice rack. I took this photo in my grandma’s house in New York. She lives now in the same tiny white house where I spent my first 18 years. This ancient spice rack hanging on the kitchen wall takes me right back to those days. She still uses it too and she probably thought I was strange for taking a picture of it…
4. A Winter sunset. I took this photo as the sun was setting over the field behind my parents’ house. This is their balcony, still covered in a thin layer of snow. There have been some very memorable vibrant sunsets here over the years. In the Summer, it’s a great place to soak up some sun in the hammock, more often than not with the sounds of a baseball game in the distance.
5. My old bedroom. Amazingly, my parents have left my bedroom in their house pretty much exactly as I left it apart from a few extra additions to my closet. The last time I really lived there, if you don’t count summers during university was about 12 years ago! I still sleep there when I visit and it almost feels just like I never left.
6. Winter in New York. It’s about a five minute walk between my parents’ house and my grandma’s house. There’s a shortcut through this school parking lot. It’s a route I’ve walked probably more than any other in my life and a place we used to rollerblade and ride bikes as kids. This day, walking over to play scrabble with her, the edges were piled with snow, a fresh white layer just fallen.
7. Spring in London. And a few days after the above photo, I was back in London which looked like Spring. This is a tree we see from our kitchen window in Chelsea. It was in full bloom and absolutely stunning when I walked past it to work the day after I returned. Little did I know that was the last I would see of the outdoors for a while. Later this evening, I was waiting in the eye hospital for news of my surgery.
8. Colours of Spring. This was the same day as the above photo, a photo from Brompton Road, along the route of my walk to work. I couldn’t believe how vibrant the flowers were after coming from snowy New York. The season comes much more quickly here in London. It’s refreshing to see the light after 5pm as well.
9. Recovery flowers. The next day, I had eye surgery for a detached retina. I came home to beautiful red tulips from Jorge and a few days later flowers arrived from a few others who wished me a speedy recovery. This beautiful white bunch are from Jorge’s sister, brother-in-law and mom. They are, believe it or not, mostly still alive a few weeks later.
10. Letters and Wanderlust. After I had my eye surgery, I couldn’t do much but after a few days, I could look through some of my favourite magazines like Wanderlust and managed to write a snail mail letter to my grandma. Screens were out for nearly a few week and now I’m gradually easing back in. In some ways, it was nice not to be able to use them.
11. A bookshelf. Sitting at home for three weeks meant that I have been seeing a lot of these bookshelves that take up most of one wall in the bedroom. They inspire me as they are full of things I love – art, plants, magazines, notebooks, cameras and books about everything from style to interiors to cooking and plenty of my favourite novels.
12. Cabbages and Roses goodie bag. Jorge and I were invited to the Cabbages and Roses shop opening in Chelsea which also celebrated the launch of founder Christina Strutt’s latest book, Living Life Beautifully. Since I wasn’t allowed to leave the house after my surgery, Jorge went without me to mingle and brought back a goodie bag. Inside was a fun notebook, a pencil, love hearts and these fabulous little bookmark-sized cards with envelopes.
13. A morning at home. Another day at home while I recover. Jorge picked up a copy of The Guardian for me and I entertained myself with the sudoku. It’s unbelievable how difficult it is to find things to do when you can’t leave the house, see properly or look at a screen. Reading for more than a few minutes gave me a headache. It is incredible to think of how precious and important our eyes are and how easy it is to take sight for granted.
14. Spanish mint. This is a mint plant that sits in our kitchen window soaking up what little sun London skies provide. It is one of my absolute favourite plants. Like the scent of just watered cherry tomatoes growing in the garden, it has a scent strongly attached to memory. For me, the smell of mint brings me instantly to hot summers in New York when my mom and grandma would always have jugs of sweet iced tea waiting in the fridge. Glasses were filled with ice and topped off with a sprig of mint from the garden. So refreshing!
15. Lemons from the tree. These were just plucked off of a lemon tree to cater for my honey-lemon tea craving. I woke up with a sore throat (not my month…) and this was always a childhood remedy that my dad used to make for us when we were getting sick. It’s soothing. And it works. The next day, no sore throat (knock on wood).
16. A cut grass candle. One of my favourite scents come spring and summer is that of freshly cut grass, and here it is in candle form from The White Company. It’s actually a mix of sage, violet and chamomile, but it really does smell of cut grass. They also had one called English Garden and another called Fresh Herbs. It was a difficult decision, but the grass won.
17. Late morning banana cake. Since my eye surgery, Jorge has been doing all of the cooking, so I was thrilled when the surgeon told me I could go back to my normal activities. This weekend I whipped up some banana cake with rum frosting which was a perfect accompaniment to my late morning tea and a travel magazine. Recipe on the blog soon.
18. A London phone box. There is one of London’s icons tucked away on a back street around the corner. I love walking by it because it reminds me that I am living in London, such an incredible city. It was a beautiful day on Saturday – my first weekend out of the house in a long time – and I sat in the park to enjoy it for a while with my book. Took this photo on the way home.
19. Spring in Notting Hill. On Saturday, I spent the afternoon browsing the boutiques around Westbourne Grove and the vintage end of Portobello Market. I love all of the colourful houses around this area and stopped to take a photo. In front of a row of small gardens along a decent stretch of the street were these lovely Spring blossoms.
20. Flowers on Pimlico Road. Despite how close it is to my house, I don’t often walk down Pimlico Road. It’s full of small design shops, buzzy sidewalk cafes, quiet squares lined with benches and trees and pretty flower stands like this one. It was a pretty busy day, being Mother’s Day (or Mothering Sunday, as it is called), in England.
21. The Book Club. East London is full of little gems. I came across The Book Club when it was recommended in The London Style Guide, so, for a much overdue catch up, the lovely Carolina and I decided to pop in for tea. It was suitably quirky. Between our new discovery and her inspiring positivity, it was a wonderful afternoon. These plants covered one wall as you enter.
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