Friday, 27 February 2015

Farewell Febraury

There are mere hours to go until Matthew and I depart for a romantic, fun, and very necessary mini-break to Victoria.

I'm not sure it will look exactly like this photo I just pinched from the internet, because it is still winter (so no green leaves), however I am sure it will be just as lovely.

Matthew has been furiously paining and gaming in all his free time, preparing for the WarHammer Convention this weekend. You can check out his marvelous work at Heaven's Teeth; here's a sneak peek:

We deserve a vacation because we have not hung out for more than one day together since Christmas, and also because we have been working 10+ hour days since the beginning of February.

Also, it will be Matthew's Big Birthday.

Also, we have been doing Feb Fast (LITERALLY ONE MORE DAY TO GO). We struggled in the first two weeks because we had nothing to drink except water and tea. Then we got wise: Matthew brought his espresso machine home from work and I stocked up on artisanal ginger beer. Not sure whether we were making any healthier choices once you consider the caffeine and the sugar... at least we know we can do without alcohol. Mission (almost) accomplished.

See you in March.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Valentine's Day and the Hot Chocolate Festival

Well hello there. Yesterday was Valentine's Day. Usually this is not a significant holiday in my calendar. Matthew and I traditionally exchange a gift, eat chocolate, attempt to go out for dinner. In fact we have had a series of Valentine's dinner fails (set menus of food we don't want, single roses on tables, awkward new couples all around). But this year, for some reason, I felt particularly gung ho for it.

That reason was: Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival. For the last month, various cafes and chocolateries around town have been selling fancier-than-usual hot chocolates. We found out about this quite by accident (I think a friend tipped us off). And we have never been particularly hot-chocoate-motivated. ...Friends, I tell you, it was like the summer of ice cream all over again. I drank about 20 hot chocolates in one month. And yes, I do weigh a kilo more than I did a month ago.

We have been to:
Chocolate Arts (Fir and 3rd; dangerously close walking distance)
Bel Cafe (foyer of the Hotel Georgia, with very fancy cakes)
49th Parallel (this place has become our local and we go here too often)
Bella Gelateria (the one that opened in Yaletown; reminds me so much of Brunetti in Lygon St!)
... and Chocolaterie de la Nouvelle France

Urgh, now that I am writing it all down, it is coming crashing home to me just how much goddamn hot chocolate we really have been consuming. But hey, January is a long and difficult month, slogging through the middle-to-last of winter. So what else is there to do but treat yo' self to chocolate, right? Plus, what with sober January and Feb Fast, and not drinking coffee anymore either, there are precious few joys left, I feel.

Back to Valentine's Day. Originally Matthew had to work on Saturday, so I had arranged to catch up with my good friend Ann (again; Ann and I also had hot choc last weekend, and I think even the weekend before!) at the adorable chocolaterie at 21st and Main, and work our way down Main St.

But on Friday, Matthew applied for Saturday off work, so I didn't want to leave him high and dry. Ann and I met and ate HEAVENLY local chocolate at Chocolaterie de a Nouvelle France (what a mouthful!! a big name for a tiny cafe), and then did some delightful spring dress shopping (such beautiful and stylish things!), and then rendezvoused with Matthew at 49th Parallel for yet another hot chocolate and a doughnut.

Ann, me and Matthew, and our "lumberjack" hot chocs, and maple marshmallows.

A tiny plastic hippopotamus that we found under my chair at 49th Parallel. Mascot, what?

Then Ann, Matthew and I walked to Main and King Ed, to French Made Baking, for a maracon (I was a bit hot choc-ed out, but Ann adventurously went three for three!!). And then lo, there was a second-hand bookstore next door. I mean to say, hold me back. It had an intense dusty old book aroma. I can't believe this place has been on our map this whole time, and we never knew!

By this time it was well dark, so we parted ways. Apart from the excellent company, yesterday was also delightful because of the sunny warm weather. Vancouver is green as this winter; there is not a slip of snow to be seen on any of the local hills. Even though it is the middle of February, all the bulbs are out and the trees are blossoming. Happy Valentine's weekend! xoxo